by Beth PiepenburgAbraham Journey

Abram was living in Ur of the Chaldees, in present day Southeastern Turkey, with his father Terah.  Although from the righteous lineage of Shem, a son of Noah, his father Terah was a pagan worshiper. When Abram had irritated his fellow Chaldeans with his talk about the true God, he and his father were forced to leave Ur. Although the Lord was directing Abram to move to the land of Canaan, his father preferred to relocate at Haran, about forty miles south of Ur, and set up a center for the worship of Sin, the moon goddess.

After the death of his father five years later, seventy-five year old Abram was free to follow the Lord’s directive to dwell in Canaan. Here the Lord promised him that his seed would be numerous, but from his seed would come One in which all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Not only was Abram to be blessed with a son, but Abram was carrying through his own seed the spiritual promise of a physical Savior.

However, God was not yet ready to give Abram a son until he and his wife Sarai were mature in their faith. They settled in various places, learning to grow in faith. When famine hit they abandoned Canaan and dwelt in Egypt. Relying in his own cleverness rather than trusting God, Abram told the Pharaoh that Sarai was his sister rather than his wife. Well, she was a paternal cousin, a little stretch from sister. When Pharaoh discovered their half-truth, they were told to leave. Returning to Canaan, their faith in God developed deeper roots.

Faith is like a mustard seed that begins small and grows to be a large plant. Likewise, Abraham’s faith had started with a small seed of belief and for centuries continued to grow with his descendants. The ultimate return of his faith would come to fruition with the Promised Seed.

Being ten years from when Abram and Sarai had left Haran, God had not provided them a physical heir. While ten means completion, they found themselves uncompleted or lacking a son. So, Sarai hatched a plan of using her handmaid, Hagar, as a surrogate mother. Ishmael was conceived, and Abram and Sarai were satisfied with the outcome. (Ishmael became the father of the Saracens, not the Arabians.)

When Abram was ninety-nine, the Lord appeared to announce His blessings over Abraham’s lineage, to instruct him about the covenant rite of circumcision, to give Abram and Sarai a name change, and to shake their world with the promise of a son through Sarah. Well, wouldn’t you laugh, if your wife was well past the age of bearing children? As promised, the next year Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah.

Several years later, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Perhaps, Abraham thought that Isaac was the Promised Seed and God would provide a miracle. With heavy heart, Abraham took Isaac, a lad, up to the mountains of Moriah, possibly the very same spot where Christ was crucified. Willingly, Isaac laid himself on the altar, putting his trust in his father. Relief swept over father and son when the angel of the Lord called out to stop Abraham, because the purpose of the test was to see if Abraham feared the Lord. Whew! A ram was caught in the thicket for the sacrifice! The imagery speaks so well of the Father giving his Son as a sacrifice on Calvary, and a Son willing to lay his life down. Surely, the promise of a Seed was being passed down from Abraham unto generations later, to Mary the mother of Jesus.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2015. All rights reserved.


by Beth PiepenburgSeed2

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall lie in wait for your head,
And you shall lie in wait for His heel.”
(Gen 3:15)

Clearly, Eve and Adam had disobeyed the command of the LORD to not eat of the Tree of Life, knowing that the consequences would be death. The LORD told the Serpent, which had tempted Eve to disobey the LORD, that his seed would face an enemy, her Seed. Therefore, the LORD had a specific plan to set mankind free from the grip of the enemy.

While Scripture refers to women possessing seed, the scientific fact was not discovered until 1928 by Edgar Allen. Mankind had thought that the seed only came via the male, and most societies set up the family and tribal units with the patriarchal ties, which has its importance. In traditional Judaism, land and family ties are connected to the male, but Jewishness is passed down through the mother.

Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother through her seed, since any mitochondrial DNA from the father is destroyed during the fertilization process. Eve’s mitochondrial DNA would pass through the female line all the way from Eve to Mary, the mother of Jesus!


While the X-chromosome of the mother is inherited by her sons and daughters, the X-chromosome of the father is inherited only by his daughters. Only the sons inherit the Y-chromosome of their father. Although Mary would not receive a Y-chromosome from her father, she would receive an X-chromosome from him that had originated with Adam. She also would receive an X-chromosome from her mother that had originated from both Adam and Eve.

Therefore, the importance of Eve’s seed was the ability to transfer human mitochondrial DNA and the X-chromosome to successive generations, which would guarantee redemption for the entire human race through Jesus Christ. Although Adam’s X-chromosome would be handed down to Mary, his Y-chromosome would not. Mary’s would be dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit to produce a Y-chromosome for her Godly Seed, and for the healing of her human DNA.

The battle of the two seeds pertain to the head, which represents source of nurturing, and the feet, which represents authority. The serpent’s seed would lie in wait to attack the authority of Christ, but Christ, the Seed of the woman, would attack the source of the Antichrist, that is, Satan. God has put all things under Christ’s feet (authority), and gave Him to be the head (nurturing source) of all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all. (Eph. 1:22-23)

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2015. All rights reserved.

Christ on the Cross, by Carl Heinrich Blochby Beth Piepenburg

Does the Bible really imply that the Father could not look at Jesus on the cross because he was carrying all of our sins? After all Jesus cried out the Hebrew words, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” Translated from the Hebrew[1] these words mean, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Yet, God has been looking at humanity’s sins from the time of Adam and Eve. If God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient then how could he not have seen his Son carrying our sins on the cross? If we understand the context of these words, we will see that the Father never lifted his eyes off his Son.

Jesus was fully human and fully divine. Yet while dying, Jesus, in his humanness, felt very forsaken by the Father. Was it true? No, Jesus’ statement was an emotional response of what he felt at the moment. Then why did Matthew and Mark record this emotion? Besides being prophesied in Psalms 22:1, the answer lies in the Epistle of Hebrews 4:15, which tells us that we have a High Priest, Jesus Christ, who was touched with the same feelings of our infirmities. Have we never felt like God has forsaken us? We know that our Savior has already experienced that feeling of being forsaken because of being made to be sin for us.

A second reason that God did not forsake Jesus while on the cross is understood in the sacrifices. A priest took special care in handling the sacrificial animal, because of its worth in terms of its life being given for the sin of a person or people. A Messianic Jewish friend, Adrian Ze’ev Bernal, PhD, shared with me that a priest would not have turned his back on the sacrificial animal during the ceremony. Therefore, would the Father turn his back on the Messiah, the ultimate sacrifice?

These words spoken by Jesus are taken from Psalms 22:1, which is a prophecy of the crucifixion of the Messiah. The Psalm gives us the imagery of the crucifixion scene. Yet in verse 24, the answer to the question is stated. “For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard.” (NKJV) Now we know from Scripture how the Father would have responded.

As mentioned in the Old Testament scriptures, covenants were important. One such covenant was the Royal Grant[2] which was a gift from the Suzerain. Ratification of a Royal Grant Covenant happened when the sovereign party would walk alone between the pieces of the sacrifice. We see God performing this act in the Covenant between Him and Abraham (Genesis 15:12-18) when He passed between the sacrifices as a smoking furnace and a burning lamp after the sun had gone down. How silly would it be to presume that God was absent from his role as Suzerain with the most important Covenant that Heaven and Earth would witness! In fact, the Father passed through at this point because of the darkness that miraculously came over the land evidenced by the earthquake and the Temple veil being rent in two.  In Luke 23:46, Jesus confirms this with his final cry, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (NKJV)

Some may argue that according to Jn. 9:31 God does not hear sinners, and according to Isaiah 59:1-2 our iniquities separate us from God and our sins have caused God to hide his face from us and not to hear us. True, for the one who commits sin. However, Jesus who was sinless, took on our sin, which is not the same as committing sin or taking on the nature of Satan as some would propose. Since God made Christ to be sin for us, so we might be made the righteousness of God, then how could the Father not look on his own work and call it good?

By looking at the context of Scripture, the emotional response of Christ would be a reflection of our own inner turmoil we face because of our sins, and that Jesus took on sin for us for a redemptive purpose. Understanding Hebrew culture of the Old Testament era, the foreshadow of the ultimate sacrifice was carried out with skill and care by the priest who represented the Father, and the foreshadow of the Royal Grant Covenant was carried out by YHWH who personally was an active part of the Covenant with Abraham. However, the most important point is that David had prophesied the words of Christ and the Father’s response centuries before.



Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2014. All rights reserved.

by Beth Piepenburg

While the moedim, or appointed times, originally pointed back to the events of the Exodus, they served as foreshadows of events pertaining to the Messiah.


The Autumn Moedim played the chord of the major events of Christ: the Annunciation, Redemption, and the Grand Finale. Yom Teruah or Day of Trumpets played the first note of the Autumn Moedim, sung out by the announcement of Gabriel concerning the Son of God. Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement played the second note of the Autumn Moedim, pointing to the Supreme High Priest sacrificing himself for the people who would become the Temple of God. However, the details would happen during the time of the Spring Moedim. Chag Sukkah or Feast of Tabernacles played the final note of the Autumn Moedim, depicted by the Church living in temporary shelters until the Lord’s return, possibly the Eighth Day of Assembly.

moedim S


The Spring Moedim played the melody of the short time frame leading up to the events of Cavalry and Pentecost. Rosh HaShannah or New Year, originally held in the spring after the first sighting of the green ear of barley, was the opening note. Two weeks later was the Pesach or Passover note, with the crucifixion of the Lamb of God. Consecutively came the Chag HaMatzah note, with the breaking of the unleavened bread representing Christ, the Bread of Life. Three days later the Reishit Katzir or Firstfruits played the Resurrection note. Fifty days later was Chag Shabua or the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the first believers.


With a better understanding of historical documents and astronomy, we can understand the Scriptures much better than before. By dovetailing the Autumn Moedim with the Spring Moedim, the drama of Redemption comes to life.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2014. All rights reserved.

by Beth Piepenburg

Yom Teruah DSC_0751

Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets, was the sixth moedim, or appointed time, and was established by Moses as commanded in the Torah. Once the new moon was sighted for the seventh month, Yom Teruah would begin. This seventh month, called Chodesh Shebiy’iy, opened with the sound of trumpets announcing the coming of Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles later in the month. Celebrated by the blowing of trumpets and shouts of praise, the purpose of Yom Teruah pointed to the signs in the heavens, to the future Messiah, and to the importance of the other appointed times of the Hebrew calendar.

Besides beginning this seventh month, the new moon is located in the constellation of Virgo. Who is Virgo, but the Virgin, and is known as Bethulah in the Hebrew tongue. She is described as having in her left hand a sheaf of barley, and in her right hand she holds the branch.  Both symbols represent the Messiah. But why Virgo?

Virgo Yom Teruah

In 3 BC, the angel Gabriel was sent to a young virgin named Mary. This same Gabriel had been sent to Daniel centuries before to announce the seventy sevens, the future year of the atonement of Christ. Now, Gabriel was being sent to Mary to announce the birth of the Messiah. Precisely, on this date of Yom Kippur, she conceived the Son of God by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. With Jesus being conceived in September, his birth would take place on an insignificant day during the next spring, and celebrated by the Wise Men on the 25th of December. These facts can be generally substantiated historically and astronomically.

While the moedim, or appointed times, pointed back to the events of the Exodus, they served as foreshadows of events pertaining to the Messiah. The spring moedim played the melody of the short time frame leading up to events of Cavalry and Pentecost. The autumn moedim played the chord of the major events of Christ: the Annunciation, Redemption, and the Grand Finale. Yom Teruah played the first note of the autumn moedim, sung out by the announcement of Gabriel concerning the Son of God.

Moses had established Yom Teruah as a special day for blowing the trumpets and the shouting of praise. Not only was Yom Teruah a day of rest, but every Jewish male was required to participate at the location of the Tabernacle. Because Yom Teruah lacked significance to anything particular in Jewish history or its importance had been lost, the day was replaced with Rosh HaShannah by the Rabbis during the Babylonian captivity. Rosh HaShannah was the first moedim, or appointed time, and was celebrated in early spring as the Hebrew New Year. By moving its date to autumn, the Jewish Rosh HaShannah could be consolidated with the timing of the Babylonian Araḫ Tišritum, producing a mild religious syncretism. However, this change overshadowed the importance of Yom Teruah.

Although the melding of Yom Teruah and Rosh HaShannah was influenced by Babylonian culture, the adjustment appears not to have influenced the Jews into pagan worship. To this day, Jews celebrating Rosh HaShannah in autumn do so in genuineness of heart towards God. However, the changing of the calendar was deceptive in itself. How? If each moedim or appointed time was an indicator of what God would be doing in respect with the Messiah, then tampering with the Mosaic calendar would hinder the Jewish people from knowing the purposes of the true times and seasons.

Celebrated on the first day of the seventh month, Yom Teruah was dedicated to blowing the trumpets to announce the important event of the Savior coming to Earth as seen in the heavens and prophesied in Scripture. Let us continue to rejoice as Mary did on this day.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2014. All rights reserved.

Joseph and Mary


“Adoration of the Shepherds” by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

by Beth Piepenburg

24 Now when Yoseph arose from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and he took his wife, 25 and he did not know her until she had given birth to her first-born son and she called his name Yeshua.

Joseph, who had been contemplating on divorcing his espoused wife, had an angel appear in a dream. When Joseph arose from his sleep, he did several important things expressed by Matthew in four subordinate clauses, which are not always translated well in most English translations.

First, Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. I’ve heard some indicate Joseph was a mediocre step-father whom God needed to hit over the head by an angel so God’s plan could move accordingly. I disagree! Scripture says Joseph was righteous, and I think he was God’s best man for the calling. Desiring his actions to be done God’s ways, Joseph sought the Lord for help, and he was very much in tune with God’s plans. Because of Joseph’s receptivity, the Lord sent an angel to Joseph on three different accounts to confirm or prepare Joseph for the next major changes that would affect the life of Jesus. Most of all, Joseph was obedient and full of faith.

Second, Joseph took his wife. Since Mary was espoused to Joseph, they had already entered into a written agreement of marriage called a ketubah. Having believed that Mary had violated the contract by becoming pregnant from another man, Joseph would have been justified to seek for a divorce.  However, the angel of the Lord confirmed Mary’s story that her pregnancy had come from the Holy Spirit, and validated the event as prophesied by Isaiah. Therefore, instead of “putting her away”, he took her into his home as his wife fulfilling the legal contract.

Third, Joseph did not know Mary until she had given birth to her firstborn son. Although Matthew had already written they had not come together previous to Joseph taking her as his wife, the gospel account continued to emphasize their celibacy status after marriage. Apparently, the angel must have conveyed that they were to remain celibate until the birth of the Lord. However, the word until does not necessarily mean that they did or did not have marital relationship after the birth. If a parent tells a child that he/she cannot legally vote until he/she is eighteen years old, it does not mean that the child will ever vote in an election, but that age is no longer a restriction. Likewise, Joseph and Mary would be free to fulfill intimate relationship towards each other. However, did they?[1]

In the Jewish culture, firstborn does not mean that others siblings follow. Primogeniture is right of the one who is first to come forth from the uterus to have a title of preeminence, and to receive the double inheritance.  The firstborn had first place among his siblings (Gen. 43:33, Deut. 21:17), and held some authority over his siblings (Gen. 37:21-30). Before the Law was established, the firstborn included a right to the priesthood. In Ex. 13:2, the Lord tells the Israelites that the firstborn were to be sanctified. In Ex 34:19-20, the Lord tells the Israelites that the firstborn were to be redeemed. In Num. 18:15-16, every firstborn male was to be redeemed for 5 shekels. So, Joseph and Mary would have had to pay this redemption price for Jesus.

Fourth, she named him Jesus, as translated from the Aramaic Peshitta. The angel had already told Joseph that Mary was to call the name of the baby Jesus (Yeshua). Thus, Joseph is obedient to angel’s words. Why? Mary is the woman chosen by God to bear the Seed of salvation promised after the fall of mankind (Gen. 3:15). As Eve birthed sin into the world by her act of disobedience, Mary has to be responsible to speak the name of the child as Jesus (Yeshua), a savior for mankind. As Adam had supported Eve in their disobedience, Joseph is to support Mary in their obedience to God.

Therefore, Joseph was obedient to the angel’s directive by taking Mary as his wife, by protecting her virgin status, and by allowing her to name the baby Jesus.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2014. All rights reserved.


[1] As a Protestant, I have researched this topic and have found some surprising conclusions. From the time of the early church until the last century, the Christian Church comprised of Protestants, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Catholic believed that Mary remained celibate. With exception of the Roman Catholic Church, everyone else believed Mary was born with a sinful nature and was in need of a Savior. From early writings, both Joseph and Mary believed that her female anatomy had become too sacred to enjoy a normal marriage relationship as a result of what God had done in the conception and birth of Jesus. Remember, Joseph was much older, and references to brothers and sisters could be children born to Joseph from a previous marriage or just cousins. It’s a topic worth researching with open eyes, mind, and heart.

by Beth Piepenburg

220px-Giorgione_045Mt. 1:23 Behold a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call his name Emmanuel which is interpreted, ‘Our God is with us’.

Some say that the word virgin in Isaiah 7:14 was mistranslated as young maiden, and was fulfilled shortly thereafter. If so, then why does Matthew use this particular Scripture in reference to Mary? By looking at historical context, language, and Biblical astronomy, we can validate Matthew’s use of the word virgin.

Why did Isaiah prophesy this verse? When King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Northern Israel conspired against King Ahab of Judah, the prophet Isaiah meets Ahab and gives him a word to not fear these two kings. Isaiah informs Ahab that these two kings have conspired against Ahab to set a puppet king to him, and that it won’t stand nor come to pass. Being a critical time for the Davidic dynasty, Isaiah gives a prophetic word to Ahab that if he would trust the Lord, then he would be established. Ahab fails to trust the Lord, and used the temple gold and silver to request help from Tiglathpileser III of Assyria for help. Although Syria and eventually Northern Israel would be destroyed, Ahab’s reign held many problems including his pagan worship.

When Isaiah delivers the prophetic word to Ahab, the Lord challenges Ahab to ask for a sign, which Ahab refuses to do. Then Isaiah turns to everyone present, and addresses the House of David, to give them a sign of hope, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Fifteen year old Hezekiah, Ahab’s son, would one day rule and continue the lineage of David. God’s purpose of a future Savior could not be thwarted by the fickleness of Ahab.

almah = young female, maiden (H.)
bethulah = a virgin (H.)
parthenos = a virgin maiden (G.)
virgo = virgin (L.)
ܒܬܘܠܬܐ = chaste girl, virgin (S. Peshitta.)

Concerning whether the word virgin or young maiden is correct, some claim the Hebrew word almah was originally used and mistranslated by the Greek Septuagint. While almah means young maiden, the high expectation of a young maiden entering marriage would be to keep her virginity before marriage. In one sense, the difference of the words is a minor point, but in the sense of a prophetic word given centuries beforehand and referenced by Matthew, the difference is a moot point. Because scribal copies of prophetic Writings were less scrutinized than the Torah, variant copies surfaced. Although the Great Isaiah scroll from the 1st century BC and the Masoretic Text of the 9th century AD uses almah, yet the Greek Septuagint had translated this passage with the word parthenos. Was the Greek Septuagint translation, which was agreed upon by seventy Jewish scholars and approved by the High Priest, correctly rendering parthenos from an earlier Hebrew text using bethulah? Were the later editions of the Hebrew/Aramaic substandard? Or did these Jewish scholars feel that parthenos would convey the best context of the original Hebrew word?

 To further validate the point, both Mt. 1:23 and its chiastic counterpart Mt. 1:18 indicate that Joseph and Mary abstained in their marriage relationship prior to the birth of Christ, because of the importance of Mary remaining a virgin. Since Matthew would have access to the commonly used Septuagint and the Aramaic scrolls, he would be aware of any differences. Remember, Matthew’s audience is the Jewish nation.

From an astronomical position, the first sign of the Jewish Mazzaroth is Bethulah or Virgo, as we know the constellation. Bethulah is the Virgin holding the ear of barley (firstfruits) in her left hand and the Branch in her left hand. The dominant star in the ear is Spica, the Seed, which can mean stream, or ear of grain, usually barley. The other stars in the Branch are Zavijava = the gloriously beautiful, Subilon = a spike of corn, and Vindemiatrix = the son or branch who comes. So, the stars and grain symbolism in the constellation of Virgo, which validates a Son who will be the firstfruits.

Virgo Yom Teruah 3 bc

At sunset on September 11, 3 BC, the seventh Chodesh (new moon) of the year appeared, situated in the constellation of Virgo. With this particular Chodesh came the celebration of Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets. Before dawn arrived, Jupiter was very close to Regulus in the Constellation of Leo, creating an effect of a very bright “star”. On this day, Mary would have most likely conceived the Lord Jesus Christ. As the last three fall feasts conclude the end of the agricultural season of farming, so the sounds of the trumpets on this particular Yom Teruah would announce the end of the age of Old Testament times.

Leo Yom Teruah 3 bcWhile some focus on nitpicking over the word virgin and guessing at interpretations, we can be assured that Matthew’s use of the word virgin can be validated by historical context of Isaiah, language, and Biblical astronomy.Virgo2 Yom Teruah 3 bc





Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2013. All rights reserved.

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