Christ’s Crucifixion: Cross or Tree? Does it REALLY Matter?

Sycamore Fig Tree in Israel  (Source: Pinterest)

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” — 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (NASB)

Many have asked the age-old question of whether Christ was crucified on a Roman cross regardless of its shape (e.g. the traditional crux immissa or Latin cross, the crux commissa or Tau cross, etc.) or hung on a tree per Torah (=the Law).  If a tree, what kind and why? For starters, let’s examine one of the more significant pronouncements that the incarnate Christ made:

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (NASB)

Author’s Note: Believers do NOT go to Heaven; the Kingdom of Heaven is New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-14), and she will descend from the New Heaven to the New Earth after Judgment Day (aka the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord [lit. Yahoah]).

Most “Christians” conveniently forget that Joshua (see footnote b) the Anointed (Gr. Iesous Christos/Heb. Yehoshu’a HaMaschiach) is a Torah-observant Jew who hails from the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14-17). These same “Christians” claim to be from NT-only churches and that the Law (Heb. Torah) does not apply to them; they couldn’t be more wrong (Acts 15:1-32).

Flashing back to 10 Abib in 36 CE leading up to Christ’s crucifixion on 14 Abib (Passover), we have this peculiar event:

Matthew 21:18 Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. 20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (NASB)

Author’s Note:  Examine Strong’s 4808 regarding early figs in June with the primary harvest in August and September.  There was absolutely no way ANY fig tree in the Levant would have beared fruit in late March/early April, so this act was definitely symbolic.

But, why this particular fig tree? Let’s flash back to the Garden of Eden (Heb. Gan ‘Eden):

Genesis 2:15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (NASB)

Note that God gave the commandment to Adam; Eve had not been created yet! Adam had a choice of immortality from the beginning; EVERY decision has cause and effect. Also, note:

Genesis 2:25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (NASB)

Flashing forward to the moment of the “original sin:”

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 4 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed FIG LEAVES (emphasis mine) together and made themselves loin coverings. (NASB)

Obviously, Adam taught the commandment spoken to him by God; Eve CLEARLY knew the rule (although she added to it: “or touch it” in v3b), but the DESIRE to obtain something forbidden (i.e., the false promise of having the mind of God) overtook her. Adam certainly had no backbone to say no; that reminds me of a majority of men today  spiritually and morally bankrupt!

Bottom line: They BOTH partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and immediately became MORTAL and ashamed of their nakedness. What was the first thing they did? They gathered leaves from the tree closest to them and fashioned loin coverings!  Folks, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a FIG TREE!

Flashing back to that eventful day on 14 Abib in 36 CE… Most think that Christ was crucified in accordance with Roman law.  That flies in the face of Christ’s proclamation regarding His fulfilling Torah in Matthew 5:17-19, doesn’t it? Pilate washed his hands of the affair. So, what was Christ’s alleged crime?

Matthew 26:59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council [=Great Sanhedrin] kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. 60 They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 61 and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 The high priest [=Yosef ben Caiaphas] stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; 66 what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!” (NASB)

So, Christ’s alleged crime was blasphemy, which is a crime worthy of/punishable by death (v66) as He confirmed that He is the prophesied “Son of Man” [=Son of God]. Then, we have these two exchanges:

John 19:1 Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; 3 and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. 4 Pilate came out again and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” 5 Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!” 6 So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” (NASB)

So, what is that Law referenced in v7?

Deuteronomy 21:22 “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance. (NASB)

See what transpires next:

John 19:13 Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” 15 So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

16 So he then handed Him over to them [=the Jews, specifically the Council of the Great Sanhedrin] to be crucified. 17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross [Gr. stauros; =crossbar; Lat. patibulum], to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. (NASB)

Author’s Note: Golgotha is the place where Goliath’s severed head was buried outside the walls of modern day Jerusalem by then shepherd boy David (1 Samuel 17:31-58). Christ is of the lineage of David both patrilineal (Matthew 1:1-16 concentrating on v6) and matrilineal (Luke 3:23-38 concentrating on vv31-32).

So, the tree on which Christ and the two criminals were hung was the cursed and withered fig tree — which was likely the original tree of the knowledge of good and evil from the Garden of Eden! Why was this done in this manner?

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” — 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (NASB)

What an impressive picture through symbolism! Man was created and intended to live forever; that ended as mortality was introduced when Adam and Eve partook from the fig tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! Christ cursed that tree that led to death for all of mankind, then that Lamb of God became a “curse of the Law” so that believers in Him — including Gentiles — may receive Salvation and everlasting life! His First Coming was about overcoming death and providing Salvation!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (NASB)

Hallelujah and amen! Please read my article on Passover for more details.

Remember:  If you had been a true prophet, sage, or scribe of El Elyon — much less the Son of God — you would have had a proverbial death wish in ancient Israel; some things never change.  Pharisaism in the first century CE re-emerged as modern rabbinic Judaism (Matthew 23:8).

Matthew 23:29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of [lit. Gehenna]? 34 “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (NASB)

One parting question: How did we end up with Christ’s crucifixion being symbolized by a Latin cross? Because the RCC usurped everything that is “Christian” and applied their own esoteric symbology and “sacred mysteries” as well as false traditions (embellishments not in the Scriptures), precepts of men (manufactured theology), and doctrines of demons (assimilated paganism); the Scriptures explicitly warn against all of these. Many of these false teachings carried over to Protestant churches after the Reformation. No modern church nor synagogue teaches the whole truth; truth mixed with lies are still lies! The TRUE early church was called The Way — to the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentiles); practically everything Hebraic has been eradicated and replaced in our “Christian” churches. It is in good company with modern JudaismBelial is proud of his handiwork.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (NASB)

We have arrived, folks!  #QuestionEverything

Be sure to examine the articles, calendrical documents, maps, and figures in the following series:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 2019, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)

HaDerech Scroll - Paleo-Hebrew

21 Abib: The Last Day of Unleavened Bread – An Annual or High Sabbath

Exodus 23:15 You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. (NASB)

This “yom” on 21 Abib, the third day of the week (evening of 4/10 and morning of 4/11) on the seventh day of Unleavened Bread, marks the final day of the feast; it is an annual or High Sabbath and is a holy convocation:

Leviticus 23:6 Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. 8 But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. (NASB)

In 36 CE, Christ had ascended to Heaven for the first time the day before and spent this day resting at the right hand of the Most High.

Be sure to read the companion articles in the Passover/Unleavened Bread series as well as the events leading up to them:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 1995-2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)

HaDerech Scroll - Paleo-Hebrew

20 Abib: The Great Commission and Christ’s First Ascension

Luke 24:50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising God. (NASB)

On this day in history… 20 Abib in 36 CE, the second day of the week (evening of 4/9 and focusing on the morning of 4/10) on the sixth day of Unleavened Bread, the following occurred:

All three passages may be read here for your convenience.

As was discussed in yesterday’s article 19 Abib: Christ’s Empty Tomb Discovered, the account in Mark 16 is spurious as that passage was not found in early manuscripts and contains false information about the day of His resurrection in v9; see the footnotes for vv9 and 20.

This was the day that the Great Commission was issued and when Christ ascended into Heaven at Bethany in Galilee in Luke 24:50-53. This was also the day before the annual or High Sabbath that marked the closing of the Feast of Unleavened Bread on 21 Abib. On that day, He rested with His Father in Heaven.

Note that the original ascension did not occur forty (40) days after Easter on a Thursday (i.e., Feast of the Ascension) as is observed in some churches. We know that Christ visited His disciples on other occasions. For example, the “doubting Thomas” event occurred during the following week in John 20:26-31. We also have the opening of Acts (again, written to Mattathias ben Theophilus sometime between 65-66 CE when he served as chief priest in Jerusalem before the outbreak of the First Jewish-Roman War that started in 66 CE):

Acts 1:1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. (NASB)

Verse 2 speaks of the Great Commission followed by His initial ascension. Verse 3 speaks of many convincing proofs over the next 40 days which remain mostly undocumented in Biblical canon. Note also:

John 20:30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (NASB)

Again, we know in 1 Corinthians 15 focusing on verses 6-7 that other events occurred that did not make it into Biblical canon:

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. (NASB)

Author’s Note: The “church of God” that Saul (Heb. Sha’ul) persecuted in v9 was the “sect” called The Way (Heb. HaDerech) documented in the Dead Sea Scrolls; see Acts 9:1-31; 19:8-10,23-27; 22:1-16; and 24:1-16 focusing on vv14-15.

The two witnesses of Revelation, Enoch and Elijah, will fill in the gaps for those believers who endure to at least mid-Tribulation.

Be sure to read the companion articles in the Passover/Unleavened Bread series as well as the events leading up to them:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 1995-2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)

HaDerech Scroll - Paleo-Hebrew

19 Abib: Christ’s Empty Tomb Discovered

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. (NASB)

On this day in history… 19 Abib in 36 CE, the first day of the week (evening of 4/8 and focusing on the morning of 4/9) and the fifth day of Unleavened Bread, the following occurred:

All four passages may be read here for your convenience.

Now, read Mark 16:9-20. Focus on verse 9 and read the footnote:

Mark 16:9 Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. (NASB)

a. Mark 16:9 Later mss add vv 9-20

Author’s Note: mss = manuscripts

Do you see how some of the Scriptures have been adulterated — how lies were introduced (concentrating on v9)? Christ arose as Lord of the weekly Sabbath on 18 Abib — NOT the first day of the week! Now, examine v20 and its footnote:

Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.

[[b]And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.] (NASB)

b. Mark 16:20 A few late mss and versions contain this paragraph, usually after v 8; a few have it at the end of ch

What does the Bible say regarding to adding to or taking away from the Word?

Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. (NASB)

Deuteronomy 12:32 “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.” (NASB)

Revelation 22:18-19 states the same but is relegated specifically to that prophetic book.

The bottom line is that LATER manuscripts introduced Satan’s lies through early church “fathers.” In Christ’s own words:

Matthew 23:9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. (NASB)

By what honorific is the pope addressed? Holy Father! The arrogance is shocking, isn’t it?

There is only ONE way – THE WAY! How can there be so many movements, denominations, sects, orders, and rites all proclaiming to teach the truth? Have they not added to the Word through false traditions (embellishments not found in the Scriptures), precepts of men (manufactured theology), and doctrines of demons (assimilated paganism)? The Scriptures warn us specifically against ALL OF THESE! See 1 Timothy 4:1-5; Matthew 15:4-11. Note that Matthew 15:5 is in reference to the korban sacrifices.

In modern Judaism, there are primarily Orthodox, Conservative, Reform/Progressive, and Karaite movements; in Catholicism, there is Roman as well as Greek Orthodoxy with numerous orders and rites; in Protestantism, there are movements such as evangelical, charismatic, and fundamentalist with denominations such as Episcopalians, Lutherans, Mennonites, Anglicans, Calvinists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Amish, Quakers, Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists, Pentecostals, Assemblies of God, Church of God, Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, and many others of varying flavors; and finally there are Latter Day Saints/Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and numerous non-denominational churches.

Study the Bible as it is presented… PLAINLY and SIMPLY! If a Study Bible states that a passage was not found in early manuscripts, redact it with indelible ink — it is NOT of God!

Be sure to read the companion articles in the Passover/Unleavened Bread series as well as the events leading up to them:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 1995-2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)

HaDerech Scroll - Paleo-Hebrew

18 Abib: The TRUE Resurrection Day

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (NASB)

On this day in history… 18 Abib in 36 CE the first weekly Sabbath after the Passover, seventh day of the week (evening of 4/7 and morning of 4/8) and fourth day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, several things regarding the priesthood occurred.

Examine p.2 of the calendar of the Most High discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. When did the 24 Levitical divisions (Heb. mishmarot) commence? 18 Abib!

Let’s examine that passage when these were assigned by lot during the reign of Solomon (Heb. Shlomoh):

1 Chronicles 24:7 Now the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, 8 the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, 9 the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, 10 the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah, 11 the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, 12 the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, 13 the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Jeshebeab, 14 the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, 15 the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Happizzez, 16 the nineteenth for Pethahiah, the twentieth for Jehezkel, 17 the twenty-first for Jachin, the twenty-second for Gamul, 18 the twenty-third for Delaiah, the twenty-fourth for Maaziah. (NASB)

Please read 1 Chronicles chapters 23-24 in context.

What is so important about these 24 divisions other than with the commencement of these on 18 Abib on the Most High’s calendar? Let’s examine the 24 elders in the Book of Revelation:

Revelation 4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. (NASB)

Revelation 4:9 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” (NASB)

Also read the following passages:

All three may be read here for your convenience. Yes, these 24 elders play a prominent, supporting role at the end of days.

But, there is one priestly order that is greater than the Aaronic/Leviticalthe order of Melchizedek (Heb. Malki-tsedeq; =my King is Righteous[ness]). This is the one to whom Abram (before he was renamed Abraham) gave a tenth of the choicest spoils who had no earthly lineage (Hebrews 7:3):

Genesis 14:17 Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram of God Most High (lit. El Elyon),
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
He gave him a tenth of all. (NASB)

So, Malki-tsedeq, the priest of El Elyon (=God Most High; aka the Father), who was the king of Salem (aka Jerusalem) brought out BREAD and WINE! What was served at the Last Supper? Bread and wine ONLY. The Passover seder on the first day of Unleavened Bread is comprised of roasted lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:6-13 concentrating on vv8-9). The other “symbolic foods” are not found in the TaNaKh and were added latter by rabbinic tradition.

Psalm 110:1 [Lit. Yahoah] says to my lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

2 [Lit. Yahoah] will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
3 Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew.
4 [Lit. Yahoah] has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

Fulfillment of this prophesy is found in Hebrews 7; the following passage bears repeating:

Hebrews 7:11 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was therefor another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. (NASB)

New Law = New (and better!) Covenant

What’s even more important is v3, referenced above and bears repeating:

Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually. (NASB)

This was the day that the incarnate Christ was resurrected to FULFILL His place as high priest — NOT pagan Easter Sunday. Nothing changed after Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension nor after the Holy Spirit was sent! The weekly Sabbath was NEVER supplanted; it was the first of God’s appointed times (Heb. mo’edim) from the Creation. It is the LORD’S DAY — NOT the “day of the sun!”

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. (NASB)

Mark 2:28 “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (NASB)

Luke 6:5 And He was saying to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (NASB)

Was there Sunday worship in the Book of Acts? Certainly not! That false practice — intentionally to remove the Law from Christ was cemented at the Council of Nicaea! The evidence is clear: Acts 13:14, 13:42, 13:44, 16:13, 17:2, and 18:4.

Study Hebrews 4 with understanding…

So, again Christ was resurrected on 18 Abib with His empty tomb discovered on the first day of the week (19 Abib).

Matthew 28:5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” (NASB)

Yehoshu’a HaMashiach (Eng. Joshua the Messiah/Anointed One) is our Messiah, Redeemer, and Salvation, who conquered death itself! Praise the Father (Heb. El) — the Most High (Heb. Elyon) — and the Son (Heb. Yahoah [preinarnate]/Yehoshu’a [incarnate]). Blessed be His Name! Yahoah and Yehoshu’a are ONE (Heb. echad)! Praise to the Holy Spirit (Heb. Ruach HaKodesh)!

Be sure to read the companion articles in the Passover/Unleavened Bread series as well as the events leading up to them:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 1995-2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)

HaDerech Scroll - Paleo-Hebrew

Preparation Day/Passover vs Unleavened Bread and Weekly vs Annual/High Sabbaths

Exodus 12:1 Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. 4 Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. 7 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10 And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11 Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste — it is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments — I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (NASB)

Before picking up with the rest of the story, let’s take a brief intermission to explore the following:

  • Passover,
  • Unleavened Bread,
  • Preparation Day, and
  • The Weekly vs. Annual/High Sabbaths.

By Christ’s time when incarnate (c. 6-36 CE), rabbinic Judaism (Matthew 23:8) had corrupted the Law (Torah) so badly that they confused the Passover with the first day of Unleavened Bread with both occurring on 15 Nisan; that continues to this day.

This is what the Law states:

Leviticus 23:5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s (lit. Yahoah’s) Passover. (NASB)

Exodus 12:5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. (NASB)

What’s interesting about verse 5 is that Christ is the unblemished (i.e., sinless) Lamb of God. Most theologians believe that Christ’s ministry lasted three and a half years as three Passovers are mentioned in the Book of John. What they fail to realize is that there is a Second Passover (Heb. Pesach Sheni) on the 14th day of the SECOND month on the fifth day of the week each year IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW!

Numbers 9:9 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If any one of you or of your generations becomes unclean because of a dead person, or is on a distant journey, he may, however, observe the Passover to the Lord. 11 In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight, they shall observe it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break a bone of it; according to all the statute of the Passover they shall observe it. 13 But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet neglects to observe the Passover, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the Lord at its appointed time. That man will bear his sin. 14 If an alien sojourns among you and observes the Passover to the Lord, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its ordinance, so he shall do; you shall have one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land.’” (NASB)

Author’s Note: The word “alien” (Heb. ger[im]) in v14 is in regard to a proselyte to Judaism.

Christ’s ministry was, in fact, slightly over a year and a half total! He certainly met ALL the requirements of Exodus 12:5 — He was an unblemished, male, one-year old, Lamb of God! As will be discussed in an article later in the year, His ministry on Earth lasted EXACTLY 574 yomim or 1.58 Qumran calendar years. And, just to be clear, Abib — NOT Nisan (nor Tishri) — is the first month per the Law:

Deuteronomy 16:1 “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.” (NASB)

Again, the pagan Masoretic calendar was followed in Jerusalem at that time. That is one of many reasons why the “sect” called The Way (Heb. HaDerech) in Acts separated themselves from the corruption being practiced in Jerusalem with:

  1. the chaste, male, Jewish priests, Levites, Israelites, and proselytes in the desert wilderness of Qumran 15 miles to the east [i.e., the voice crying out in the wilderness], and
  2. the Congregation of men and women in Damascus, Syria.

Where was Saul (Heb. Sha’ul) going to persecute the men and women of The Way under direct orders from the Great Sanhedrin (Acts 22:4-5)? Damascus (Acts 9:1-19, 22:3-21)! Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian and self-described Pharisee, derogatorily referred to this sect as Essenes (=pious ones). They NEVER referred to themselves as such and were certainly NOT a branch of the Pharisees! See what Christ thought of Pharisees in Matthew 23.

What exactly is the Preparation Day? It is the day immediately preceding a sabbath, a holy convocation and day of rest. As a sabbath is a day of rest, even no meal preparation was permitted! Most people know about the weekly sabbaths, but few know about the ANNUAL or HIGH sabbaths. During Unleavened Bread, there are TWO annual sabbaths, the first and seventh days of the feast:

Leviticus 23:6 Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. 8 But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.’” (NASB)

The day before these two annual sabbaths would be a preparation day. What day fell before the first annual sabbath of Unleavened Bread on 15 Abib? The Passover, which is a Preparation Day, on 14 Abib!

How can “New Testament-only Christians” fully understand the NT without understanding the OT? Are you getting this yet? Christ was NOT crucified on Good Friday and resurrected on Easter Sunday morning; He was crucified on the Passover (14 Abib) — the THIRD day of the week — and was quickly buried before the ANNUAL sabbath on the first day of Unleavened Bread!

Also, He was buried for three days AND NIGHTS per the Jonah prophesy:

Matthew 12:39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (NASB)

I challenge anyone to explain how one arrives at three NIGHTS if Christ were crucified and buried on Good Friday with His empty tomb discovered Easter Sunday morning. Is the Son of God a liar? We have been deceived since the Council of Nicaea. He was dead and buried from 15-17 Abib, was resurrected as Lord of the (weekly) sabbath (Matthew 12:8) on 18 Abib, and His empty tomb was discovered early (during the waning hours of “evening” just before daybreak) on the first day of the week (19 Abib)!

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!) Your Redeemer — the Lamb of God, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 — is Yehoshu’a HaMashiach (Joshua the Messiah)!

Be sure to read the companion articles in the Passover/Unleavened Bread series as well as the events leading up to them:

Copyright (C) 2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)

HaDerech Scroll - Paleo-Hebrew

9 Abib: Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

On this day — 1,982 years ago — during the “morning” of 9 Abib in 36 CE on the fifth “yom” of the week (Heb. Yom Chamishi) and five days before the immovable Passover, Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace (cf. Isaiah 9 concentrating on v6) occurred.  This event is not to be confused with the false tradition of Palm Sunday. 9 Abib corresponds to the “evening” of March 29th and the “morning” of March 30th of the pagan Gregorian calendar.

This important symbolic event is documented in the Synoptic Gospels with the most descriptive account in the Gospel of John:

All four passages may be viewed here for your convenience.

Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke are unclear as to the date in 36 CE, John is crystal clear:

John 12:1 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. (NASB)

So, we know with certainty when He was in Bethany, but the key verse is John 12:12:

John 12:12 ON THE NEXT DAY (emphasis mine) the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” 14 Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” (NASB)

So, Christ’s Triumphal Entry occurred FIVE DAYS BEFORE PASSOVER! As Passover commences the “evening” of 14 Abib on the third day of the week, the Triumphal Entry occurred on the “morning” of 9 Abib.

Why were so many following Christ at this time? The clue is where He visited on 8 Abib — the home of the siblings Martha (Aram. Marta), Mary (Heb. Miriam), and Lazarus (Heb. El’azar; =”God is my help”) in Bethany. This Mary was the one who anointed Christ’s feet with “a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard” then “wiped them with her hair.” The entire story may be found in John 12:1-8 and Luke 10:38-42. Note from the Spikenard article above that nard is one of the 11 ingredients of the consecrated incense Ketoret.

But, the REAL reason was alluded to in John 12:1 above; the Israelites wanted to see Lazarus who was raised from the dead on their journey to Jerusalem for Passover and Unleavened Bread (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). Note that Pharisaic Jews falsely taught that the Passover occurred on 15 Nisan instead of 14 Abib per Torah and the Dead Sea Scrolls; that practice continues to this day through rabbinic Judaism. Corruption of God’s Word such as this was one of many reasons why the “sect” called The Way (Heb. HaDerech) relocated to Quman and Damascus.

This was the greatest of the miracles that Christ performed. He also raised two others from the dead: the daughter of Jarius (Mark 5:21-43) and the only son of the widow from Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Examine the Lazarus account in John 11:

John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 This He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” 16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.” 17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” 28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?” 38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. (NASB)

Note in the first two cases that He said that they were only asleep; that is because the souls of the deceased go to She’ol awaiting resurrection — not Heaven as is falsely taught. What few realize (and no church nor synagogue teaches) is that not one — but TWO — resurrections will occur in the future:

What few realize (or forget) is that there was a third resurrection as Christ surrendered His Spirit at His crucifixion:

Matthew 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (NASB)

It is interesting that the Bible is silent about what happened to these saints; we must assume that they died again as Lazarus did (Luke 16:19-31). What is also interesting is that three, full days pass between vv50-51 and 52-53. The key is v53: “after His resurrection.” Verses 51-52 occurred at His crucifixion on Passover >(14 Abib). Christ was in She’ol (Acts 2:22-36 concentrating on vv27, 30-31, and 34-35) three days and NIGHTS (15-17 Abib) per the sign of Jonah, and He was resurrected as Lord of the (Weekly) Sabbath on 18 Abib (Luke 6:1-5 concentrating on v5). Therefore, vv52-53 could not have occured until at least 18 Abib. Oftentimes, these subtleties are lost on most readers.

Bottom line: The Israelites — and especially John (Heb. Yochanan) the Immerser — knew to expect their Messiah who could give sight to the blind, make the lame walk, cleanse lepers, let the deaf hear, raise the dead, and have the Gospel preached to the poor (Luke 7:18-23 concentrating on v22; Isaiah 35 concentrating on vv5-6).

Luke 7:22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. (NASB)

Returning to the story… Why did Christ enter Jerusalem in the manner that He did? It was to fulfill prophesy, of course!

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The problem is that Israel was expecting a conquering King of kings and Lord of lords at that time to vanquish the Romans; they refused to see the Suffering Servant who was to come first (Isaiah 53). That passage is too important to ignore:

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

3 He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
10 But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

That is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible, yet it is PURPOSEFULLY EXCLUDED from the annual readings from the TaNaKh in synagogues! Watch the video entitled: The “Forbidden Chapter” in the Hebrew Bible – Isaiah 53. At His Second Coming, He will serve in the role they originally expected — instead of a donkey, He will return on a white horse (Revelation 19:11-16)!

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (NASB)


Be sure to read the companion articles in the Passover/Unleavened Bread series as well as the events leading up to them:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)

HaDerech Scroll - Paleo-Hebrew