Is there a back door around the bloody cross?

Exodus 30:15 and 16, To make atonement for your souls. Some will read these verses and conclude that one can buy their redemption through charitable giving and therefore circumvent the need to place one’s faith in Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross. Does this passage suggest a theology where man can save himself from his sins by acts of charity? Let’s dig a little deeper to see what these verses are really teaching us.

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In this passage, YHVH instructed the Israelites to pay an annual half-shekel temple tax. This money went, in part, toward, the service (verse 16) and constructing of the Tabernacle of Moses (e.g., Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the OT, vol. 1, p. 459; Exod. 38:21–31), and later toward the purchase of the animals the priests sacrificed (The Temple and Its Service, by Alfred Edersheim, p. 48). In this way, the people were participating vicariously in the act of sacrificing an innocent animal as an offering or atonement for their sins. Again, the Scriptures reveal that this sacrificial system merely pointed prophetically toward the Greater Sacrifice that would come later in the Person of Yeshua, the Redeemer of Israel. (Read Isa 53.) On the point that the paying the half-shekel was a merely a temporary solution to the problem of man’s sin, Keil and Delitzsch say in their commentary on this passage,

As an expiation [atonement] for souls, it pointed to the unholiness of Israel’s nature, and reminded the people continually, that by nature it was alienated from God, and could only remain in covenant with the Lord and live in His kingdom on the ground of His grace, which covered its sin (Ibid.)

Keil and Delitzsch’s point is further strengthened in Exodus 30:16, which says,

And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before YHVH, to make an atonement for your souls. (emphasis added)

The giving of the half-shekel was a memorial to what? The Hebrew word for memorial is zikrown (Strong’s H2146) meaning “reminder, token, record.”

According to The TWOT, a zikrown is an object or act which brings something else to mind or which represents something else. It reminded them of their sinfulness and pointed prophetically to a Redeemer—Yeshua the Messiah— who would come and take away their sins once and for all (Heb 10:10). For a more detailed study of this subject, please see our teaching article entitled, “The Atonement: Bloody or Bloodless? Understanding the Concept of Atonement in the Torah” located on the Hoshana Rabbah website at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/atone.pdf.

 

The Horns of the Altar and Yeshua

Exodus 29:12, Horns of the altar. The four horns of the altar of sacrifice was the place where the blood of atonement was sprinkled (also Lev 4:4, 17, 18, 25, 30, 34; 8:15; 9:9; 16:18).

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Horn in Hebrew is qeren meaning “horn, hill or ray.” This word is used to describe the rays of light rays emanating from the face of Moses after his encounter with YHVH (Exod 34:29) and the horns of an animal (Ps 69:31).

In ancient cultures, the horn was a metaphor for physical strength or spiritual power (Deut 33:17; 2 Sam 22:3; Ps 18:2).

Elsewhere, YHVH is referred to as man’s “horn of salvation” meaning he is the strength of our salvation. The Hebrew word for salvation is yesha meaning “deliverance, rescue, safety, welfare, victory, prosperity.” The root of yesha is the verb yasha meaning “to save, to deliver, to give victory.” Not only is YHVH called our “horn of salvation” in the Tanakh, but this designation is applied to Yeshua as well in the Testimony of Yeshua (Luke 1:69). Interestingly, the derivative of the Hebrew name Yeshua is Yehoshua (or Joshua), which also derives from yasha.

It should be evident from this quick study that the horns of the altar are a picture of Yeshua, who is the horn or strength of our salvation through his shedding his blood for our sins on the altar of the cross. If this is the case, then why are there four horns on the altar? This is likely symbolic of the four attributes of Yeshua, even as are the four colors of cloth used throughout the tabernacle prophetically symbolize the same thing: crimson speaks to Yeshua’s humanity, purple to his kingship, blue to his divinity, and white to his sinlessness or righteousness.

The Jewish sages view the four horns as symbolizing the four corners of the earth, for, in Hebraic thought, the earth is nothing more than a large altar dedicated to Elohim. (See The ArtScroll Tehilim/Pslams Commentary on this verse and notes at Ps 118:27.)

 

Are you an angel?

John 1:51, Angels of Elohim ascending. This is a clear reference to Jacob’s vision of the latter to heaven. The word angel (Gr. angelos) means “a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from Elohim,” and can refer to human messengers as well as to angels (in the traditional sense of the word).

Jacob's ladder

Angelos is synonymous with the Hebrew word malak, which has the same definition. It was “angels” or messengers ascending and descending the ladder that Jacob saw in his vision. Both malak and angelos can refer to human messengers as well.

For example, Yeshua called John the Baptist a messenger (angelos, see Matt 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27; also see 2 Cor 12:7; Phil 2:25). Therefore, the “angels” Jacob and Yeshua refer to who are climbing the ladder to heaven, which is Yeshua himself, could easily refer to YHVH’s heavenly earthly messengers, which are the saints as they presently or in Yeshua’s millennial kingdom go about their divine task of spreading the gospel of Yeshua who is the way to the Father in heaven.

 

New Video: The Blessing and Glory of Torah—Readjusting Prejudicial Mindsets

What is the bedrock foundation upon which the enitire Bible stands? What is the very heart, characateer, nature, mind and will of the Creator? What is man’s purpose and destiny? How does man enter into an everlasting spiritual relationship with the Creator? How can man experience a blessed and abundant life now and for eternity? The answers are in this video from the pages of the Bible.

 

The Blessing and Glory of the Torah—Readjusting Prejudicial Mindsets

Exodus 20:1, And Elohim spoke all these words, saying.

The following is an excerpt from a larger article on the subject of the Torah, which can be found at http://hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/torahprimer.pdf.

What Is the Essence of the Torah?

Let us answer the question by posing a question. Why do you call yourself a believer, Messianic, Christian or otherwise? Why do you believe that the Scriptures are the Word of Elohim? Why are you currently reading this teaching article? Why were you created and what is your purpose in life? What is the meaning of life and what is your future destiny? Is there a Supreme Being in this universe and what does he expect from you, as a human, if anything at all? Does he care about you personally, and if he does, does he have anything to say to you about life – and about your life, in particular?

Torah reading in a synagogue with a hand holding a silver pointer

Very few humans alive, or who have ever lived, have answers to these questions. Most humans simply exist. Few actually live with purpose and meaning to their lives.

But you are privileged, for you are about to learn the answers to which so-called philosophers, sages and religious luminaries have been seeking since man has existed. Tidal waves of religion, philosophy and politics have swept across this planet carrying away peoples and nations promising to answer men’s most perplexing questions. Though volumes have been written, though countless libraries are full of millions of books, scrolls, papyri, clay tablets, documents and computer files, the answer to it all is surprisingly simple. In fact one word: It is T-O-R-A-H! The Torah of YHVH-Elohim is the Light of Truth from the Originator of Light and Truth. And it has been miraculously transmitted from heaven to earth, from the infinite to the finite, from the spiritual, boundless, eternal, omniscient and all wise mind of Elohim to the limited confines of physical existence on earth. Like a beam of Light shot through space from the great beyond, penetrating the darkness of human existence that Light became the written Torah, the Word of Elohim in the form of a Torah scroll written in Hebrew script of the set-apart Hebrew tongue (lashon kadosh) thousands of years ago.

The Torah-Word of Elohim forms the very bedrock foundation of the Scriptures. The spiritual building of the Prophets, Writings and Testimony of Yeshua rests squarely and securely upon the foundation of the Torah without which the rest would instantly crumble into nonexistence. Elohim was so determined to make that foundation so rock solid that he literally dictated it audibly letter-for-letter and word-for-word to the man Moses, who like a stenographer, wrote down exactly what he heard. This become the Books of the Law of Moses, or the Torah of YHVH Elohim. None of the Prophets or Writings in the Tanakh, though the inspired and infallible Word of Elohim, were so transmitted. The only words in all of Scripture that approach this level of purity and perfection are those words of the Written Word or Torah made flesh; namely, the words of Yeshua as recorded in the Gospels of the Testimony of Yeshua.

The level of one’s understanding of  the written Torah is the key to having a deep and abiding understanding of Yeshua, the Living Torah, and ultimately of having a blessed, a right, eternal relationship with our Father in heaven. ­Having a deep walking-it-out understanding of the Torah will also determine one’s level of rewards in the Kingdom of Elohim — whether YHVH bestows the title of The Least or The Greatest upon one (Matt. 5:19).

Below are quoted some deeply held, age-old convictions that the Jewish sages have lived and died for regarding the Torah. As you read them, please keep in the forefront of your thoughts the concept of Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word of Elohim, who was made flesh Continue reading

 

The Parable of Lazarus and Rich Man Understood Hebraically

Luke 16:19–31, The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. This, and the other parables of Yeshua, are known as aggadah (also haggadah)—a very popular literary style during the second temple period whereby Jewish sages taught moralistic principles to their pupils. It was similar to our modern Aesop’s fables. This genre of literature included ethical and moral teaching, theological speculation, legends, folklore, poetry, prayers, historical information, interpreting of dreams, and expressions of messianic faith and longings. Aggadic literature, though instructive, did not contain legally binding theological and doctrinal dictums. Aggadic literarture is to be contrasted with the legally binding halachic literature of the same period. Aggadic literature made use of parable, satire, metaphor, personification, and poetry. Aggadah was not systematic philosophy, but dealt in its own way with basic theological and moral problems. The purpose of aggadic literature was not to convey point-by-point doctrinal truths, but to teach a moral. Most Christian teachers have used the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man as a theological basis for the doctrine of the immortality of the soul (an exegetical leap that cannot be substantiated when one understands the nature of aggadic literature) and have missed the true meaning of Yeshua’s teaching. He is not making a theologically statement or halachic declaration on the state of the dead. What then is the point of his teaching?

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Context is vital to understanding this parable properly, and all of the Scriptures, for that matter. Prior to this parable, Yeshua gives the Parable of the Unjust Steward that the attendant Pharisees interpreted as a rebuke directed at them (verse 14). Then Yeshua rebuked those who divorce their wives for the purpose of marrying another women. According to Yeshua, when a man does this, it is tantamount to adultery. Again, this was an affront against the Jewish religious system of the day. As Messianic author and teacher Joseph Dombek Sr. has observed, “[T]he Jews should have recognized that [Yeshua] was the Messiah, and that he represented the bridegroom for the coming kingdom. The Jews did not acknowledge him as the Messiah. They rejected his Father’s Word and committed spiritual adultery by setting up their own traditions and customs” (Mark 7:6–9). Because of their power and influence, the Pharisees had control of all aspects of the Jewish religion.

This parable is a continuation of Yeshua’s rebuke of the Pharisees, scribes and Continue reading

 

New Video: The Seven Steps of Redemption in Exodus

The New Testament concept of redmeption or salvation is rooted in the Torah (the books of Moses). In this video, we explore the seven steps of redemption from Exodus 6, and see how they relate to the upward progression in a believr’s spiritual journey. We will also discover how they relate to the seven biblical festivals.