Exploring the Concept of Atonement as It Relates to the Tabernacle and Salvation

This is a lengthy article that explores the concept of the blood atonement as it relates to the salvation of the sinner. The idea of atonement for sin is rooted in the Torah and is not simply a New Testament concept. Redemption through atonement is the foundation of the gospel message. Understanding this will strengthen your faith in the message of Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross.

Natan

In Numbers 31:50 we read, “We have therefore brought an oblation for YHVH, what every man has gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before YHVH.” In a similar passage in Exodus 30:15–16, we read, “The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto YHVH, to make an atonement for your souls. 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 question before us is this: Do these passages in the Torah imply that YHVH grants man absolution based something other than the shedding of blood, and by logical extension, does this call into question our redemption from sin through our faith in Yeshua the Messiah’s blood atonement?

Lamb sacrifice

The concept of atonement can be a confusing one. Some in rabbinic Jewish circles teach that the Torah (i.e., the first five books of the Bible) does not require the shedding of blood for atonement of one’s sin to occur. According to the above Scripture, this could appear to be the case. Before briefly discussing the subject of atonement, let us not forget the stern warnings of the Apostle Peter when he warned end-time Saints against false teachers who would lure people away from the simple truth of the gospel:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not…. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceiving while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children, which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Yeshua Messiah, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2 Peter 2)

In the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament), there is no question that when the concept of atonement (i.e., to make ransom for or to cover over man’s sins) is presented it is Continue reading

 

New Video: Following Yeshua = Immortality

Is there more to life than just living and dying? Need hope? What are the logical reasons to follow the Yeshua/Jesus of the Bible? What is the hope of the resurrection of the dead and how can that hope be yours? Watch this video for the answers.

 

Salvation — What Is It and Do You Have It?

What is Salvation?

The dictionary defines the word salvation as “the deliverance from the power and effects of sin.” In a general sense, salvation is “preservation from harm, ruin or loss.” Relating the first definition, which is biblical in nature, to the second definition, which is generic in nature, we see that salvation is the deliverance or preservation from the power of sin, which causes harm, ruin or loss. Salvation and redemption are synonymous terms in biblical Hebraic thought. We will discuss the idea of redemption below.

So what is sin that it causes harm, ruin or loss, and what is being harmed or being lost such that we need deliverance? Very simply, Scripture (the Bible) defines sin as the violation of YHVH Elohim’s (the LORD God’s) Torah-laws (1 John 3:4). What is YHVH Elohim’s Torah-law? It is the instructions, precepts or teaching of YHVH as found in the first five books of the Bible, which can then be expanded to include the entire Bible or Word of YHVH. Man is commanded to live by every word found in Scripture (Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4). Man is to hear and do the Words of YHVH (Deut 6:4), place YHVH’s words in his heart (Deut 6:6), teach them to his children (Deut 6:7), and to make them the basis for all that he does and thinks (Deut 6:8). The words or laws of YHVH Elohim can be summed up as loving YHVH and loving one’s neighbor (Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18; Mark 12:30; John 14:15). The cornerstone of those laws is found in the well-known ten commandments as found in Exodus 20. They are…

  1. I am YHVH your Elohim.
  2. You shall have no other gods before me.
  3. You shall not take my name in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it set-apart.
  5. Honor you father and mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not lie.
  10. You shall not covet your that which belongs to your neighbor.

The first five statements constitute loving YHVH Elohim, while the last five constitute loving one’s fellow man. These ten statements are but the beginning of YHVH’s laws as outlined in Scripture, which if man break, man is guilty of sin. There are 613 such laws in the Tanakh (Old Testament) and more than 1050 in the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament). This may seem like a lot of laws for man to have to follow, but in reality, it is nothing compared to the hundreds of law books that constitute the laws of most nations on earth. Whole law libraries are established to contain them all!

As civil governments have established laws to maintain order among the inhabitants of a society, and as all societies impose penalties upon its citizens for breaking those laws, the Continue reading

 

Reasons to Believe in Yeshua

1 Corinthians 15:20, But now Messiah is risen from the dead. Why Believe in Yeshua the Messiah? Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll believe it when I see it”? Is seeing really believing?  Many people saw Yeshua when he was on this earth, but most didn’t believe him. 15209414

It has been 2000 years since Yeshua walked this earth, and since we’ve never seen him, nor even talked to those who saw him, what is the basis of our faith? Is faith in Yeshua blind? Or are there logical reasons to believe in him?

For those of us who have had a faith in Yeshua for a while, for us there are a myriad reasons that have come together to form the basis of our faith. However, for those who are new in their faith walk and don’t have a lifetime of “spiritual experiences” that corroborate that faith, initially finding a basis for that faith can be difficult.

Some people come to Yeshua because that’s their last hope. They’ve hit rock bottom in their lives and there’s no where else to go. They hear and believe the gospel message of hope and end up experiencing the power of the Yeshua and his Holy Spirit in their lives. Others take a more reasoned approach to establishing a faith in Yeshua. Perhaps their lives haven’t hit rock bottom, but they know they’re missing something — there’s still a void in their life. They sense that there must be more to life — a higher purpose — than simply existing and then dying. Others come to faith in Yeshua because they look around and see intelligent design behind everything in existence, which speaks of a Creator, which leads them to want to know more about him. Some people come to Yeshua as a way of dealing with their on mortality.  In their quest to answer the question of whether there’s life after death, they come to faith in Yeshua. Perhaps some come to faith in Yeshua due to the pang of a guilty conscience because of their sin and the need for redemption. Some people have studied the world’s religions and find that only the gospel message as presented in the Bible addresses the deeper issues of life.

These are all valid and logical reasons for coming to faith in Yeshua. Whatever the reason for believing what the Bible says about Yeshua, there are good reasons to believe in him  based on both the claims of the Bible and logic.

Yeshua — A Historical Figure

Whatever we think about Yeshua pro or con, he was a historical figure. More has been written about him than anyone else, and he has impacted the world more than anyone. There must be something to all this, and thus we have

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The Bronze Serpent and Yeshua

Numbers 21:4–9, Fiery serpent. The fiery serpents were a righteous judgment Elohim brought upon Israel for murmuring and unbelief. Israel had “sharpened their tongues like a serpent” (Ps 140:3) and “their throat [was] an open sepulcher; with their tongues have … used deceit; the poison of asps [was] under their lips” (Rom 3:13). All this was directed at Elohim and Moses. They reaped what they had sown. Elohim loosed fiery serpents upon the Israelites to bite and sting to death the unbelieving murmurers. 176144 The wilderness Elohim led them through was full of fiery serpents and scorpions (Deut 8:15), yet this is the only account in the Torah of these creatures ever attacking Israel. YHVH had protected them to this point and just this once he pulled back his hand of providential protection and grace allowing them to experience the due recompense of their sinful actions. How often has our merciful Father withheld the just desserts of our faithless, rebellious and abominable action against him and gracefully protected us from the full consequences of our sin? If we fail to hear his soft voice of correction he will deal more harshly with us until our attention is gained (Ps 32:8–9). All he has to do is withdraw his hand of protection that restrains the judgments we all deserve and the “fiery serpents” will likewise attack us. What happened to Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts is an example of this (Acts 5:1–11). Job experienced a similar situation as well. Israel’s Murmuring. Israel complained for lack of food and water. In unbelief they concluded and confessed (literally prophesied upon themselves a curse) that they would die in the wilderness. Elohim gave them the fulfillment of their faithless delusions—serpents to sting them and leave them physiologically in a parched and burning condition. (The poison of these snakes actually leaves the victim burning with a fiery pain in his body and a desperately dry and thirsty condition [See Adam Clarke’s Commentary, vol. 1, p. 684]). This occurred with the quail also. They complained with their mouths and lusted for meat and Elohim gave them so much quail that it “came out of their nostrils” (Num 11:20). Many were struck dead in judgment. What is the lesson of this story? That for which we lust or that which we fear will come upon us, for Elohim allows those very things to rise up, attack us and judge us. Why? So that the false gods of our hearts will be exposed and we will, as a result, see the error of our ways, repent and turn back to obedient faith to the one true Elohim. Few understand this method of operation of Elohim, but the Scriptures reveals this as one of the ways he deals with his people to help them to grow up spiritually. Salvation. Israel repented and received salvation from the sting of death by looking upward toward the brass or bronze (bronze representing judgment) serpent on the pole. Of course, no less than Yeshua himself reveals to us that this serpent is a pictures himself dying on the tree as a sin offering and source of our salvation (John 3:14 and 12:32). Even the Jewish sages admit that the serpent did not heal the afflicted Israelites, but looking upward unto heaven granted them salvation and healing. (See Wisdom 16:4–12) Parallels between the bronze serpent and Yeshua:

  • Both the serpent and Messiah were lifted up on a pole.
  • Israel was to look up to the brass serpent to be healed physically; sinners are to look up to Messiah to be saved.
  • YHVH provided salvation from the sting of death from no other source but the serpent. Similarly, there is salvation in no other name but Yeshua (Acts 4:12).
  • If the Israelites looked at bronze serpent they were healed and lived; if sinful man looks at Messiah he will live.
  • Both the serpent and the cross are merely symbols of Elohim’s grace and mercy. They simply point one to YHVH in heaven who heals those who believe him and have faith in him.

A Type of the Devil. The Bible calls the devil a great red dragon or serpent (Rev 12:3) whose venom inflames men’s sinful passions through his fiery darts aimed at humans (Eph 6:16). Fiery serpent is the Hebrew word saraph the plural of which is seraphim, which is a type of an angelic, flaming spirit (Heb 1:7). Though physical snakes bit the Israelites, this is nevertheless a picture of Satan, the fallen angelic being who is now the serpent and enemy of both YHVH and man. For Our Example. Israel experienced these things for our examples (1 Cor 10:1–12). What they went through and how they reacted to various situations is literally a mirror held up for our benefit for us to see ourselves as we really are, so that we will not repeat their mistakes. We owe them a debt of gratitude, for we are able to gain spiritually by their experience if we will lean from their mistakes by not repeating them.

 

Getting in Tune With the Heavenly Philharmonic

This is a story — not just any story, but our story — yours and mine. It’s the story of our lives, the  story of our people. It’s an old story, yet a new story. Only the faces and places have changed. The plot remains eternally the same. It’s the story of the Creator reaching out to humans, who struggle to accept his love, yet who end up largely refusing it. It’s a never-ending cycle going from one generation to the next.

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This story started a long time ago. When in Egypt, the children of Israel were in tune spiritually to the rhythms and beat of Egypt (a biblical metaphor for this world).

YHVH led the Israelites out of Egypt into the quietude of the wilderness. The Hebrew word for wilderness is midbar and is from dabar meaning “to speak, declare, converse” and is related the word d’bar meaning “to hear.” Thus, one could say that YHVH led the Israelites into the wilderness to hear him speak his word,  and to enter into conversation with him — an impossibility in the noise and confusion of the environment of Egypt where man is at the center of everything and a lot is going on. The wilderness was a sterile and neutral environment devoid of the noise and confusion of man-made stuff.

The first place YHVH brought the Israelites to was the foot of Mount Sinai so he could speak to them face to face.

Before they could hear him, they had to prepare themselves. They had to make themselves clean and set apart from the physical and carnal impurities and distractions of the world and the flesh, which impede one’s ability to hear YHVH -— to connect with their Creator (Exod 19).

YHVH spoke to them, but it was too much for them to hear. It frightened them because Continue reading

 

The Red Heifer and Yeshua

Numbers 19:1–11. The red heifer.

The Overview of the Red Heifer Ceremony and Its Greater Implications
The Jewish sages teach that the commandment (mitzvah) of the red cow is “beyond human understanding.” Like the afikoman (the middle broken matzah that is “buried” and “resurrected,” which is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua) in the Passover (Pesach) Seder, the meaning of which to this day remains unclear to the Jewish scholars, the red cow is a ritual that makes sense only when Yeshua the Messiah is added to the picture.

21193108 While the symbolism of the red heifer was, to Jewish Torah scholars, admittedly incomprehensible to human reason, by the second temple era they began to speculate about its spiritual significance in their aggadic literature. Some felt that it was an atonement for the sin of the golden calf (The Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion, Massada – P.E.C. Press, 1965, p. 327; The ArtScroll Chumash, p. 839). Others viewed it as somehow relating to the azazel or scapegoat and the bullock sin offering of Yom Kippur, since all were sacrificed outside the camp of Israel (Lev 16:27).
The sacrifice of the red heifer was for the purpose of purifying someone who had become ritually impure or polluted through contact with the dead, or for purifying metal war booty (Num 31:21ff). This sacrifice was to be made outside of the camp of Israel, and later occurred outside of the walls of the city of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, not far from the Temple. The concept of the camp signifies outside of or away from the divine presence or shekinah of YHVH meaning outside the tabernacle courtyard (The ArtScroll Chumash, p. 839).
The heifer was to be three to five years of age and totally red in color, blemish free and to have never born a burden and, according to Jewish tradition, to be without a single black or white hair on its body. The animal was slaughtered with the priest sprinkling its blood seven times toward the tabernacle’s entrance (later this occurred at the temple in Continue reading