Monthly Archives: June 2016

Ancient Hebrew Confirms Yeshua’s Work on the Cross

How to live Torah“So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am He.” John 8:28

We have spoken before about all the amazing prophecies of the Messiah in the Nevi’im (prophets) that foretold the first coming of Yeshua and how He would die and be resurrected to atone for our sins and bring us back into relationship with Abba Father.  When we go deeper into the history of the Hebrew language and look at the paleo-Hebrew word pictures, even more incredible Messianic prophecies are revealed to us.

The most elemental aspects of our relationship with YHVH [Yehovah] are the life instructions He gave us in His Torah, and the covenant(s) He made with us from the beginning of His creation.  Looking at the ancient Hebrew symbols for Torah first, we see that the final letter is hey, which appears like a person with their arms raised, meaning “to reveal or behold”.  As the final letter, it actually means “what is revealed from”.  Looking back at the first three letters, they tell us where the law [Torah] originates from.  The third letter, resh, which looks like a person’s head, means “the man”.  The second letter, vav, means “nail”, and the first letter, tav, means “cross”.  So, putting all these together, torah means “what is revealed from the Man nailed to the cross”.

Covenant in Hebrew is b’rit (pronounced breet).  This word starts off with the letter bet, which means “house” in ancient Hebrew word pictures, and then is followed by the letter resh, meaning a person, man or leader.  When these two letters are placed together, they mean “the man of the house” or more commonly “the son of the house”.  The next letter is yod, which means hand or arm, but when used at the end of the first two letters, it becomes possessive, or “my”.  So the first three letters now give us the meaning of “my son”.  Finally, we have the tav at the end of the word, which we saw above meant “cross”.  Putting these together, we get the awesome prophetic meaning of the word covenant as “the cross of My Son”!  This was prophesied in Psalms 22:16 as “they pierced My hands and My feet.” And Zechariah 12:10 as “they shall look upon Me [Yeshua] whom they have pierced”.  We know that YHVH’s covenant with His people started with Abraham, but it was prophesied that the final covenant would be fulfilled through the Messiah, our Redeemer.  Through Isaiah, Abba Father said to Yeshua the Messiah: “I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people” (Isa 49:8).

If we go full circle back to the name of the Hebrew language, iv’rit, in the ancient word pictures it is written the same as covenant [b’rit] with one addition – the letter ayin (meaning reveal) is added to the front of the word.  Putting these letters together, we can see the purpose of the Hebrew language stated in its name, meaning in English “to reveal the covenant”, which is “the cross of My Son”.

These are beautiful insights into the Scriptures and the Hebrew language, but what does it all mean for our lives?  If we study YHVH’s Word, then His Son will be revealed to us more and more, and we will come to know Yeshua and His Father, our Creator and Redeemer, who desires only good things for our lives (Jer 29:11).

Living Torah

Torah on HeartOn this feast of Shavuot (“weeks” in Hebrew), we celebrate both the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai and the re-issuing of the Torah in human hearts as the Holy Spirit was poured out on the followers of Yeshua.  I am writing this blog on Shavuot and will post it today rather than on Friday.  Hopefully this article will clear up misunderstandings about the work that YHVH has planned from the beginning of creation.

The English word for the feast of Shavuot is Pentecost which means “fifty”.   YHVH told the Israelites to count seven weeks (Shavuot) and one day to remember the time He dwelled with them while they were in the wilderness.

The word Pentecost originates from the Greek “pentēkostē and means fiftieth day.  Either way, it comes out to the same amount of time.  However, the similarity between Christian and Jewish perspective ends there.

As I browsed various websites discussing Pentecost, I discovered that many Christians believe that Pentecost was a brand new event totally unconnected to anything YHVH had done before.  There seems to be no awareness of a much older celebration known as Shavuot.  On the other hand, as I visited Jewish websites, there was no recognition of the work that YHVH continues to do in humans through His Holy Spirit.  This lack of knowledge and understanding has led to some grave errors in both Christianity and Judaism.

Let us examine the Christian perspective first.  Many Christians mistakenly believe that the “church” was born on Pentecost.  They do not understand the background that YHVH began His kingdom building long ago and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a continuation of this work, not a whole new idea.  The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the next step in the process YHVH started long ago.  In other words, YHVH was not “scrapping” His work with the Israelites (Jews) and starting over with other people.  This is evident by the fact that the Holy Spirit was first given to Jewish followers of Yeshua (Acts 2).  What was the purpose of this outpouring?  To empower and perfect us in keeping the Torah (instruction or “law” of YHVH).  We must be holy as He is holy (1 Pet 1:14-16).

There is confusion among Christians concerning the writings of Paul, especially his letter to the Romans.  Much confusion arises from faulty translation and lack of background knowledge.  In Romans 1:5, Paul tells us Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell [all people] everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name (NLT, emphasis mine).  How can we obey YHVH if there is no law to follow?  YHVH is building a kingdom, not a church (Dan 2:44, Matt 3:2, 4:17).  It is true that we are not saved by our own efforts (Eph 2:8), but it is also true that once we are admitted as citizens into YHVH’s kingdom, we are to obey His laws.  Romans 2:5 states, But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  Christians have mistakenly generalized YHVH’s mercy to mean that He not only did away with the guilt from our sin, but that He also did away with His Torah, thereby eliminating any possibility to transgress His law.   We no longer are subject to death when we sin (disobey YHVH’s Torah) if we repent.  In Hebrew, the word for repent is teshuvah which means turning back to YHVH.  We do not merely ask for forgiveness when we sin, and then keep on sinning, knowing we can ask forgiveness each time.  We are to literally turn ourselves away from sin and return to YHVH and His ways.  How can we do this?  That is where the Holy Spirit comes in to empower us to do what YHVH requires of us.  When we rely on the Holy Spirit, we have our own personal teacher, showing us how to be obedient, convicting us when we stray, and empowering us to follow YHVH’s ways (John 14:26, 16:13).

 On the other end of the spectrum, those who follow Judaism understand that the Torah was first given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai after YHVH delivered them from slavery to the Egyptians.  They celebrate this giving of Torah (instruction), because YHVH is teaching them how He intends for us to live.  Many Jews today are diligent about following Torah.  However, they are relying on themselves and their own efforts are enough to make them right with YHVH.  They do not realize that they need to first be reconciled to YHVH through Yeshua. 

 Jews who do not recognize that Yeshua is their long-awaited Messiah, believe that Yeshua did not keep Torah and taught others to do the same.  They are confusing Torah with the extra writings and teachings of generations of rabbis who have added to and subtracted from Torah in direct violation of YHVH’s command (Deut 4:2).  Yeshua refused to obey man-made traditions, especially when they went against the true intention of Torah (Matt 9:1-14, Luke 13:15-16).  The purpose of Sabbath is to put aside working for our own gain to spend quality time with YHVH.  Yeshua did His Father’s work of kingdom building.  Healing those who are broken is so important, that it can be done even on Shabbat.

 Messianic believers hopefully recognize that the Torah is still valid and that the Holy Spirit is very much needed in order to carry out our Father’s commands.  They recognize Yeshua as the embodiment of the true Torah and refer to Him as the living Torah.  In Matthew chapters 5-7, Yeshua not only reinforces the validity of Torah, but raises the bar.  Why would he raise the bar when people already had enough trouble in obeying Torah?  Yeshua knew that He would be sending the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us.  When Yeshua returns He will still require us to follow Torah.  We will have a new Temple so that we can fulfill all the requirements.  He will rule with an iron rod (Ps 2:9, Rev 2:27. 12:5).  Until then, we welcome the Holy Spirit’s help as we follow the instructions of our loving Father and King.

Made in the Image of God’s DNA

Knit me TogetherIn my previous postings on the evidence of God’s brilliant hand in Creation, I talked about why we should believe that God [Elohim] is the Creator of everything in the universe.  I also spoke about the evidence of ingenious design we see all around us in the Earth and skies.  Finally, I have cited examples of creatures that have amazing characteristics and abilities that could only be conferred on them by an intelligent designer as awesome as our supreme being, YHVH Elohim.  One of my Creation blogs focused on all the indisputable evidence of the young age of the Earth – in this blog, I want to dig deeper in this exploration, specifically looking at the young age of the human population.

Without getting into too many technical details of human DNA, even from a high-level point of view we know that it is the most complex but at the same time easily traceable element of our physical bodies.  The DNA in each of cells is what makes us uniquely who we are, in terms of how others see us externally, as well as the nature of our mind and heart tendencies and emotional characteristics deep within our souls.  Staying on the surface level, we also know that each subsequent human generation experiences a certain number of mutations (copying errors) in their DNA.

Through extensive research over the years*, scientists have found consistent rates of mutations from one generation to the next.  Focusing on the average mutations of the male Y chromosome from one generation to the next, these have been recorded at a higher rate of about 1 mutation per generation.  The average number of total Y chromosome mutations per person area about 300, giving a complete genealogy of only 300 generations in humankind’s history.  If we figure that a generation is somewhere around 20 years, then this would calculate out to about 6,000 since Adam and Eve were created.  In addition, at this standard rate of mutations, it would be impossible for humans to be able to function as living beings past 1,000 Y mutations, meaning that we could not have existed for more than 20,000 years as a race.  We have a similar type of scenario when we look at the Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is only inherited from the mother, with the total number of years since the first woman also coming out to about 6,000.

In the evolutionary science camp, it is believed that a great percentage of our DNA (approx.. 95%) is “junk DNA”, meaning that it is left over from all the trial-and-error attempts of “natural selection” to produce a higher level of species.  However, it has recently been found that the vast majority (98%) of all DNA serves a useful purpose, much of it in support of producing new DNA by replicating itself.  And because DNA is loaded with more information than all the Wikipedias contained in all the world’s computers, it would take a divine Programmer to reprogram one animal kind’s DNA into another’s (e.g. an ape into a human).

If we go back to the source of all human beings, we see that we were made in the image of YHVH: “So God [Elohim] created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).  Without going into too much detail about it means to be created in the image of YHVH Elohim as far as our spirit, soul and body, we can at least say with confidence that we have some portion of God’s DNA within us.  We know that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24), so we cannot even speculate what it means to be created in the image of God’s DNA.  We know that Yeshua is a perfect image of God: “ For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9).  We can extrapolate from this (I know, I’m a computer geek – what can I say) that we as humans are made in the perfect image of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Since Yeshua said that He wants us to be one [echad] with Him as He is one with the Father, does that mean we are just meant to have the same physical DNA in our bodies?  I believe from Scripture that it means far more than this.  We are body, soul and spirit just as YHVH is body, soul and Spirit.  However, our bodies do not endure – only our soul and spirit last beyond this earthly life, into eternity.  The focus of our lives should be on renewing and perfecting our souls and spirits, not our bodies.  When we are “born again” (born from above), our spirits are perfect and sealed forever (Eph 4:30).  However, it is our responsibility to work on our souls, bringing them closer in line with YHVH every day.  When we get the DNA of our souls and spirits in line with the Creator and Master of the universe, then we can truly feel the Echad closeness with Yehovah that Yeshua spoke about – let’s renew our minds day-by-day: “even though our outward person is perishing, yet our inward person [our soul] is being renewed day by day” (II Cor 4:16).

  • Thomas, Brian, MS “Does Modern Genetics Confirm a Historical Adam?,” in Acts & Facts, Vol 45, Number 4 (Texas, Institute for Creation Research, 2016), page 20.

Life in the Rock

for they drank froim the Rock

In a previous blog (Tzur Chayeinu-Rock of Our Lives, March 12, 2016), we began a study of rocks and stones in Scripture.  We discovered that rocks can have either positive or negative connotations.  Stones and rocks had various uses in Scripture including memorials of visions or significant events and witnesses to covenants. The most important Rock in Scripture is Yeshua, who produced the most significant event in our history and is the Mediator and Guarantee of our most important covenant (Matt 26:28, Heb 7:22).

A comment in the New Revised King James Bible led me to explore the word tzur further.  I learned that not only is this word for rock or cliff a noun, but it can be a verb as well.  I did not have to search long before I uncovered a treasure trove of meaningful information and symbolism.  One cannot plunge anywhere in Scripture without encountering a bottomless depth.  My exploration produced a wealth of pictures or images of our Rock, Yeshua, and the numerous roles He has in our lives.  Each of these Scripture references uses the word tzur or a variation of it.

Yeshua (YHVH) is our Origin, the Rock from which we were cut (Is 51:1).  We see a clearer picture in Deuteronomy 32:18.  You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth.  YHVH not only created us, but He gives us a new birth in Yeshua.

Yeshua is our Defender.  A tzur is not only a mountain or a cliff, but it can contain caves or enclosures where we can hide.  One of the definitions associated with tzur is “to enclose or barricade” (Song of Songs 8:9; Ps 139:5).   David hid from the Philistines in or near a cave (1 Chron 11:15).  Although the cave and rock were physical structures that David used as a stronghold, David discovered that his only true stronghold is YHVH (Ps 18:2, 27:1, 5).  In Daniel 2:45, we see that the Rock that destroys the other nations is hewn from a mountain, but not with human hands, signifying Yeshua.  Our Rock trains us for battle (Ps. 144:1, 2 Sam 22:35).  Our Rock besieges our enemies and even us, when He needs to punish us or bring us back (Ex 23:22, Is 29:2).

Our Tzur is our Atonement (Ps. 62:6).  It is appalling how quickly we can forget Yeshuas sacrifice for us, yet we do, just as the Israelites forgot the Savior who rescued them from slavery to the Egyptians (Deut. 32:5).  Perhaps that is one reason for circumcision.  The instrument to be used was a sharp (surim) knife (flint) (Joshua 5:2-3).  The males were to be cut in a vulnerable area of their bodies, causing them much pain, just as Yeshua made Himself vulnerable to severe pain at His crucifixion.

Yeshua, our Rock, is our Righteousness.  Everything He does is perfect and everything He does is just and fair (Deut 32:4).  In Judges 6:21, we have a picture both of YHVH accepting sacrifices offered to Him as well as the perfect sacrifice of Yeshua (the meat and the unleavened bread).  YHVH is perfect holiness and righteousness (1 Sam 2:2).

Finally, our Rock, Yeshua, is our Eternal Life.  My favorite Scripture in this study is the picture presented in Exodus 17:6.  I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.  Yeshua, our Rock, was struck on our behalf and out of Him flow rivers of living water.  Yeshua Himself provides eternal life and is Life (John 11:25). With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (yeshua) (Is 12:3).  Yeshua invites us to come to Him to drink (John 7:37).

Although I have always been attracted to mountains and cliffs, I will now look at them with a new appreciation as I reflect on our most important and awesome Rock.  This article barely skims the surface. I encourage you to search for yourself in the treasure trove of Scripture perhaps beginning with Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew 6696 and 6697.  You will be greatly rewarded for your efforts.