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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Q & A: Sabbath Gathering and Rebellious Jews

Question: As our group has been studying Month 4, Keeping the Sabbath, a question has arisen that I need help answering. Jews in New Testament times met on the Sabbath in synagogues to study God’s Word. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath is described as a holy convocation…convocation meaning gathering. What did that look like for the Jews in the Old Testament? They clearly did not travel to tabernacle/temple every Sabbath once they reached the promised land. So where and how did they gather? Did they gather? Were they supposed to be gathered?

Response: As far as I can tell, the passages that really speak of a holy “convocation” (or gathering) are all similar to Leviticus 23:3 and speak of refraining from work as the centerpiece of this weekly holy day. If we want to know what that “looked like” we might need to examine what communal or corporate worship required in Old Testament times. National corporate worship had to happen in the right place. Early on, of course, this place was the tabernacle. After Solomon’s day, the place of worship was the temple in Jerusalem. Even a casual reading of Deuteronomy 12 or Deuteronomy 16 leaves no doubt about the designated place of corporate worship. Numerous other passages make this clear. It becomes plain when we look at this, that a corporate worship assembly was not occurring each week in ancient Israel. 

The important Sabbath-keeping injunction was physical rest. In Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15, the command enjoins rest from labor as the means of keeping the day “holy.” Other scriptures that mention or regulate the Sabbath in the Old Testament also define the Sabbath by rest; not by gathering at worship services. Look at the following passages, too: 

Exodus 31:12-17, Numbers 15:32, Nehemiah 13:15-22 and Jeremiah 17:19-27. 

You will note that the way to desecrate the holy day was by a failure to rest from physical labor; not by a failure to assemble corporately. 

The “convocation” of Leviticus 23:3, in light of these passages, had to refer to something other than a big assembly at the designated place of worship. I suggest that the gathering of Leviticus 23:3 was a gathering of families for rest, reflection and worship together at home… similar to the kind of worship we still have together around our tables and at bedtime in our dwellings today. 

Question: Were those Jews “fake” Jews who crucified Jesus? Was it fake Jews who reclaimed Israel as a sovereign nation in 1948? 

Response: Following the initial question we discussed above, a comment was made about how that “fake Jews” or false Jews existed by the time of Jesus (the Pharisees) and how it wasn’t real Jews who placed him on the cross, but those who were merely claiming to be Jews. There’s a sense in which this is true. TRUE Jews (those who had been studying Old Testament prophecies and were sincerely attempting to look for their fulfillments) would have certainly recognized and become humble before the Messiah. Certainly those who crucified the Lord did not possess the heart of true Judaism, which is loving the Lord with all of their hearts, souls and minds (Deuteronomy 6:5). A reading of Matthew 23, along with many other passages in which Jesus addressed the scribes and Pharisees, makes clear to us  that the hypocrisy and pride of these groups (at large) separated them from God. Very soon after their rebellious crucifixion of God, the Son, circumcised Jews were destroyed as a nation, and the spiritual Israel of God, today–that is, the church of Jesus–replaced them as God’s chosen people. Today, Israel consists of those who have been circumcised not in body, but in their hearts (See Romans 2, especially verses 25-29). 

(It is important to remember, though, that, while the Jews who rejected and crucified Christ were not faithful Jews [while killing their own promised Messiah], they were still called Jews by Inspiration in multiple places in the New Testament. It would be be more accurate to term them “rebellious Jews” than “fake Jews”. After all, Jews were Jewish by birth; not based on their characters. They were unrighteous Jews or hypocritical Jews.)

We also saw that the comments contained the statement that the fake Jews had done it again in 1948. We assume that the writer meant that Jews had rallied to take back Jerusalem in a bloody war with Palestine and Egypt; a war that was at least partly based on Biblical land promises that had, in actuality, already been fulfilled in the Old Testament (Joshua 21:43-45). This is also true. Since the Roman armies came to obliterate Judaism in A.D 70, all Jewish ancestral records were destroyed at that time. There is not a single Jew today who can trace his tribal lineage. In that sense, those who claim Judaism today are “false” in that claim. Jerusalem is no longer the earthly headquarters of the religion of Jehovah and there are no outstanding land promises. 

Things to remember:

  1. Whatever assembling occurred on the weekly Sabbath in Israel was, very apparently, not a corporate multi-family assembly for worship.
  2. The primary sabbath injunction involved physical rest.
  3. Jews were false to the very heart of Judaism when they rejected Jesus and crucified him.
  4. Jesus strongly denounced the hypocrisy of many scribes and Pharisees of his day, while approving many faithful, God-fearing Jews, who believed on Him.
  5. All land promises to Israel were fulfilled in the conquest of Canaan in Old Testament times.
  6. Those who claim Judaism today cannot trace their tribal lineages because God meant to destroy Judaism (and did, through the Romans in AD 70, as prophesied) and replace it with Christianity. He did that replacement, as well, in a marvelous event at Calvary and on the following Sunday morning and on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. I’m so glad because this Gentile grandmother in 2020 can be a spiritual Jew, bringing children and grandchildren to the Israel of God! Praise Him!

(Please feel free to comment further on the DD page. We always want to openly address any study related thoughts/questions. Thanks to those who took the time to comment previously on the postponed submission. Sometimes, we just cannot get to all of the page “traffic” as quickly as we’d like. Page “traffic” is a great thing. Whenever we stop having traffic, we will stop having a DD study!  Thanks for always understanding.)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Israel Trip: SLIGHT Modification

You know how the airlines are. We Colleys surely use them all the time, but they sometimes seem to be about the least user-friendly business in all of the modern industrial world. Your flight can be delayed a whole day or even canceled and the financial burden is often partly, or even totally on you.

Thankfully, we have an advocate  in Bible Land Passages and, this time, the airline surprise is only going to amount to a minor schedule change, which, in some ways, is even better.

Instead of leaving on a Monday from Nashville, we will be leaving late in the afternoon on the day before. We will all be able to worship wherever we choose in the Nashville area on that Sunday morning and then we will provide a time and place for us to all worship together on Sunday evening, likely in a room at one of the airports. That will be a great way to kick off our trip together, in praise to the One around Whom the entire trip revolves!

Another good thing is that we will get an entire extra night and touring day on the end of the trip, at no additional cost. We are truly sorry for any inconvenience, but the price was going to escalate tremendously from our original estimate if we departed as originally planned. I am praying that no one is really going to have any hardship making this work.

Of course, anyone can leave on Monday, as originally planned, and join the tour after arrival overseas, but you would have to make your own flight arrangements, as we could not justify raising the prices for the whole group by a large amount.  The group will leave from Nashville on Sunday afternoon between five and six as the attached information details.

We have 20 more days before we open up the trip to members of the church who are not Diggers. We have 21 registered family members of Diggers so far and a few who are still getting paperwork in! Here are the full details, from Bible Land Passages, of the amended departure time! Praying it works for you. Again, I am very sorry for this change that is beyond my ability to “fix”.

Finally, I am also including his message about travel insurance. Thanks to all who are cooperating to make this happen!


Dear Bible Land Passages Participant,
We have finally received a guaranteed quote and flight itinerary from our travel agent and United
Airlines for the May 2019 tour and studies program to Israel. The good news is that the pricing will stay
the same, the somewhat bad news is that to secure that pricing we will have to depart a day earlier than
expected, on Sunday, May 12, at 5:31 PM from Nashville. This gives us an extra night in Israel and more
time for touring (all at the same price of $4,250), and we will still return to the US on Saturday May 25th
as originally planned. It is still possible to depart on the originally scheduled date, but you will have to
make your own flight arrangements, due to the fact that a reasonable group price for the advertised
dates could not be secured. Options are presented below.
I’m fearful that having to depart a day earlier will cause an issue for some of you, and for that I deeply
apologize, but the airlines have been wreaking havoc on pricing. We have never encountered this
before, but thankfully we have a good friend in Israel who is working with us to create the best possible
experience. If your schedule will ONLY allow you to depart on Monday, May 13, it is still possible for you
to participate. As we stated in our brochure and terms and conditions policy, the $4,250 was an
approximate price and not guaranteed until time of ticketing. Unfortunately, the airlines did not
guarantee pricing until 11 months prior to return dates. So here are our options.
1. Depart One Day Earlier on Sunday, May 12 at 5:31 PM (from Nashville).
New Dates: May 12-25
Advantages: Additional Night at the David Dead Sea Hotel Resort and an extra full day of touring.
Price remains the same as advertised including airfare: $4,250.00 (double occupancy)
Flight Schedule: Depart Nashville (BNA) United 337L on Sunday, May 12 at 5:31 PM
Arrive in Newark on Sunday, May 12 at 8:49 PM
Depart Newark United 90L on Sunday May 12 at 10:50 PM
Arrive in Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion) Monday May 13 at 4:20 PM
Depart Tel Aviv, United 91T on Friday May 24 at 11:10 PM
Arrive in Newark on Saturday, May 25 at 4:10 AM
Depart Newark, United 4043T on Saturday, May 25 at 6:05 AM
Arrive in Nashville (BNA) on Saturday May 25 at 7:36 AM
Flight Schedule (Same as above but copied directly from Airlines itinerary)
1 UA 337L 12MAY SU BNAEWR*HK28 531P 849P\
2 UA 90L 12MAY SU EWRTLV*HK28 1050P 420P\
3 UA 91T 24MAY FR TLVEWR*HK28 1110P 410A\
4 UA4043T 25MAY SA EWRBNA*HK28 605A 736A\

Land-Only Price: 3,150.00.
ALL airline arrangements are made by participant. Note: portage pricing to hotel will
apply if participant arrives after the main group and/or departs at a different time.

2. Depart on Original Date as Planned
Original Dates: May 13-25
Land-Only Price: $2,950 per person (double occupancy).
Flight Schedule: Secured, paid, and determined by you.
Land Portage to and from Airport if different from the main group:
Portage (May 14) from Ben Gurion Airport to David Dead Sea Hotel: Ranges from $50 per person to
$250 per person depending on the number in your group.
Portage (May 24) from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport if different from main group will range from
$30 to $75 per person.
Disadvantages: Price overall will more than likely be more than the advertised price, and you could
possibly miss one or two days touring with the group (depending on your flight schedule).

Finally, we pray that this will not impede your plans to assemble for worship on the day of our departure
from Nashville. While most will have the opportunity to worship at a morning assembly in the area of
Nashville or beyond, we will also be providing an opportunity to worship later the same day when we
arrive in Newark. We are working on securing a private place to assemble during our brief layover at the
Newark airport.
Again, we deeply apologize for this change in the schedule. Circumstances surrounding this change are
completely out of our control but in the end we feel that we will actually end up receiving a better
overall experience with more to see and enjoy. We are very excited about the opportunity to grow and
learn as we walk together throughout the land of the Bible.

John W. Moore

Bible Land Passages


If participants wish to protect their travel investment against an unforeseen cancellation or a needed
emergency return flight home, it is recommended that they purchase a travel insurance policy. If a
participant desires to purchase such a policy, he/she should be aware that most insurance companies
will restrict certain coverage unless he/she submits for coverage within 14 days of registering for the
Insurance Assistance: If participants need to purchase either medical or travel insurance, they should
refer to the list of providers below. Please note that BLP is not involved in securing travel insurance or
the medical insurance offered by these companies and is not under any contract with the companies
listed below.
 Medjet Assist at
 Patriot International at
 Access America – 1-866-8073982 (
 Insure My Trip – 1-800-487-4722 (
 Travel Guard – 1-800-826-4919 (
 Travelex – 1-800-504-7883 (
 AAA – 1-800-463-8646 (
 Brotherhood Mutual – 1800-333-3735 ext. 5680 (

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

For the Diggers: Lessons from Jabesh-Gilead

The town of Jabesh-Gilead was in the half tribe of Manasseh that settled on the east of Jordan. Jabesh was the name of the town and Gilead was the region, that region being partially in Manasseh and partially in Gad. Jabesh-Gilead was in the land belonging to Manasseh. (You will remember Manasseh was one of the sons of Joseph, along with Ephraim.) We remember that one of the stipulations for their being allowed to settle on the east side of the river, before the conquering, was that they would go across the Jordan and help their brethren fight for the promised land, driving out the inhabitants of Canaan. We read about this agreement in Joshua 1: 14,15:

Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.

It seems that the two-and-a-half tribes kept that commitment to go in and fight for the whole of Israel as they conquered Canaan. But it was during a later civil war that erupted between Israel and a remarkably immoral tribe of  Benjamin, over an abused concubine, that the men of Jabesh-Gilead went AWOL and failed to defend the honor of the nation against Benjamin. Because they failed to show up in this important and God-sanctioned war, the men and married women of the city of Jabesh were killed in the very last chapter of the book of Judges. A curse had been pronounced on Benjamin, because of their immorality and violence, that no man of Israel would give his daughter in marriage to the Benjamites. So, because of this failure to come to war against the Benjamites, the remaining unmarried women of Jabesh-Gilead were given as wives to the Benjamites who had survived the war.  (After all, this was not technically a violation of the curse, since these virgins had no fathers to give them in marriage. Their fathers had been killed in the punishment on Jabesh-Gilead.) These marriages were performed in order to preserve the tribe of Benjamin, threatened by extinction because the few men who remained had no wives.  Thus began the rebuilding of the tribe of Benjamin (of which Saul, coincidentally, was a son).

Fast forward to I Samuel 11. Though some years had passed, it appears to me that there were some of the men of Judges 21, who may have  been living still by the time of the events of I Samuel 11. (Some commentators put these events in close proximity time-wise. Others believe they may have been some 300 years apart.) The young boys who were left in Jabesh-Gilead had perhaps had time to reach adulthood or even be grandfathers, but the city would have likely been yet vulnerable to attack since its utter destruction had occurred in the not-too-distant past (although the exact date of the civil war is not certain). 

At this point (I Samuel 11), Saul was on the brink of becoming the brand new king of Israel and his first major challenge was when the Ammonites, under King Nahash, attacked the city of Jabesh-Gilead. The vulnerable city attempted to make a league of service to the Ammonites, but the men of Nahash the Ammonite required that the men of Jabesh-Gilead have their right eyes plucked out before coming into their service. The men of Jabesh-Gilead asked for one week, during which they appealed to Israel for help, in order to preserve their eyes and perhaps maintain their liberty. It was Saul, who organized an army and rescued Jabesh from the Ammonites. Lots of questions can emerge from this scenario. 

  1. Was Saul’s mother or grandmother one of those women who came from Jabesh-Gilead in forced marriage to a remaining Benjamite? Was this one reason he was quick to go to the rescue of that city? Did he have relatives who were young boys at the time of the initial destruction? 
  2. Was Saul lacking in character as the first king of Israel because of the fact that the male leaders of his tribe were almost all killed as a result of their immorality? Was this, perhaps, part of God’s purposeful lesson in giving the nation a human king rather than allowing the intended divine system to remain in place? 
  3. Lastly, we see that the bodies of Saul and his sons following their deaths in battle against the Philistines were left on the wall of Bethshan (I Samuel 31:11-13). Who was it that went to get the body of the former king of Israel and bury him? It was the “valiant men of Jabesh-Gilead.” They brought Saul and his sons to Jabesh and buried them under a tree. David later thanked the people of Jabesh for this act of piety (2 Samuel 2:4-6). Why, out of all of Israel, who had served under this the first king of Israel, was it that the men of Jabesh went to get the body?  Was it possibly because the king’s matriarchal ancestor was from Jabesh-Gilead? This is impossible to ascertain, since we cannot be sure of the exact chronology of the events in Judges 21 or the exact identity of Saul’s mother, but it is interesting to ponder. 

What we can know is that, for whatever reason, Saul was quick to defend the people of Jabesh-Gilead even before he became king of Israel. He was not of the judgment that, because of their prior failures to stand with Israel, that Israel should fail to stand for them. 

Finally, it is interesting to note that the attacking people in 2 Samuel 11 was the people of Ammon. The Ammonites, of course, were the Semitic people born of Benammi, who was one of the sons born to Lot after his incestuous relationship with his daughters shortly following his delivery from Sodom. The Ammonites, though related to Israel through Lot, were a constant thorn in the side of God’s people. 

In all of these interwoven accounts, one thing is very clear. Sin has a very progressively negative effect as time goes by. A “vacation” from the battle for Jabesh turned into the massive destruction of the adults of the entire city. (How much destruction do we encounter/cause when we take a break from fighting the spiritual battles of our own environments?) 

A single act of immorality turned into the humbling of an entire tribe of Benjamites. (How often do we fail to see huge consequences of “a little action” that violates the moral code of God? Is this not the 2017 Fox News story we see being replayed over and over this very week?)

An entire nation of wicked people grew from a single incestuous decision/act on the parts of some desperate women. (Do parents today make decisions that may turn into national tragedies? You do not have to look very far into monarchies and other governments of the modern world to see what happens when parents become separated from Biblical moorings.) 

The rejection of God as king never had a chance of being what was best for Israel. (Spiritually, we rob ourselves of our very best happiness in this life and eternal fulfillment when we reject Him as King in our lives.)

The regrowth of Benjamin without the fathers/leaders of that tribe resulted in moral poverty. (Once again, this is the plight of our nation today. It is the catalyst for moral bankruptcy or, at least, one recurring arc of a cycle of moral depravity.)

Saul and his sons were poor and desperate at the time of their deaths. There was no national mourning for the king, no proper burial and no pomp and circumstance. (When we die without His favor, our desperation is inevitable and limitless in both its depth and its eternality.)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“However,” No Israel Trip Next Year


For the past year, Glenn and I have been working toward and praying about and saving our money for a trip to Israel. The trip evolved rapidly into a Digging Deep trip for the Diggers and their families and it was our plan to have the June 2018 podcast live from Jerusalem.I announced this on last month’s podcast and many of you have asked about details.  I even planned that month’s (June 2018) study around the resurrection so we could be in the area of the tomb as we discussed the study live. John Moore, of World Video Bible School and Bear Valley Institute of Biblical Studies and Bible Land Passages has been so kind and helpful every step of the way and with every detail of the planning. Our plans have been at the expense of lots of time and effort on his part, for which we are very grateful. You can read about these trips and even plan your own at

And now, there’s the “however”…

However, in the interim, my life has gotten a bit more chaotic as we have had the privilege of stepping up the care for my aging father and pre-set schedules of siblings have collided. I’m blessed to get to do what I am doing with a full 1/3 of my life at this point, but it’s not going to  be possible for us to salvage those plans for Israel. We tried moving the trip in both directions, but, for different but unrelenting reasons, neither direction worked for 2018. It’s our very real desire to walk where our Lord walked and so we are praying to be able to reschedule for another year. I hope we will still be digging and I hope many of you can go. Glenn will be speaking the gospel in key places of this land, the “cradle” of Christianity. I plan to have some devotionals for ladies as well as the podcast. All of these things are some of the most exciting prospects we can imagine right now. We will, thus, come up with another plan, when we can see the way clear, and, for now, keep thanking Him for the blessing of caring for parents. We truly are blessed by our families—a big reason we have Jesus and even the desire to see the Bible lands, in the first place! 

I covet your prayers as plans are gearing up for Polishing the Pulpit, several ladies’ events and lots of time at my father’s house. Let’s keep digging. I’m very excited about the release of the new study and growing in the Word for the next year through it.  If we can’t go to Israel right now, we can still bring its amazing historical events into our hearts through the precious Word! And many thanks for the patience on the part of so many of you as we tried to reschedule. 

Romans 8:28!