An important word about the Word of Elohim

In the following short article, we’ll answer the following questions: Who is Elohim? Who is the Word of Elohim?Who’s was Yeshua? What did the apostles believe about the deity of Yeshua,? Who was the God of the Tanakh (OT)?

John 1:1, The Word was Elohim. Is Yeshua or the Father the God (Elohim) of the Old Testament (Tanakh)? For many believers in Yeshua, there is confusion as to who it was in the Godhead who interacted with the Israelites in the Tankah. Was it the Father or the Son? In the minds of the apostolic writers, there was no confusion about this. Yeshua, in his preincarnate state, was the One that YHVH Elohim the Father used to both create (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3), and then to interact with mankind. He was the Word of YHVH Elohim, the Father, who become flesh and dwelt among men (verse 14). This truth is easily confirmed in several passages in the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament).

First, Yeshua himself claims to be YHVH or the I Am of the burning bush (see John 8:58 cp. Exod 3:14). The Jews viewed Yeshua’s claim to be deity as blasphemous, which is why they picked up stones to kill him (John 8:59). Next, Yeshua in declaring to the Jewish religious leaders that “I send you prophets, wise men and scribes: some you will kill…” (Matt 23:34), he is claiming the rights and prerogatives of YHVH — a right and role that solely belonged to YHVH in the Tanakh.

Yeshua also declared that no man has seen the face of Elohim the Father (John 5:37). Yet in the Torah, we have several instances of men seeing YHVH (e.g. Gen 17:1; 18:1; 26:2; 48:3). If we are to take what these scriptures say literally, then it could not have been YHVH the Father these individuals saw, but rather YHVH the Son who later become Yeshua. Not only that, Yeshua even goes so far as to say that the Israelites of old not only never saw the Father’s face, but neither at anytime even saw his form nor heard his voice (John 5:37). Therefore, it becomes evident that while on Mount Sinai, Moses didn’t see the backside of the Father, but rather that of the pre-incarnate Yeshua (Exod 33:18–23).

What’s more, in John 14:15, Yeshua, speaking to his disciples, declares, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” When Yeshua says commandments here, we know from Luke 18:20 that he has the Torah in mind. In this statement, Yeshua is actually quoting himself when he made the same statement to the children of Israel while he was delivering to them the Oracles or Torah of Elohim at Mount Sinai (Exod 20:6; Deut 11:1).

Stephen, in agreement with John, clearly demonstrates that Yeshua was the prophesied “prophet like Moses” who was to come (see Deut 18:15), and who was the Angel, or more correctly, the Divine Messenger from Elohim, who gave the Torah to the Israelites (Acts 7:37–38). Paul goes on to say in enigmatic terms that Yeshua was the spiritual rock from which the Israelites drank and that followed them (1 Cor 10:4). And finally, Paul equates Yeshua, “the Word of Elohim made flesh and that dwelt among us” (John 1:14) with the Written Torah which YHVH gave through Moses to the Israelites. This he does when he quotes Deuteronomy 30:11–14 and substitutes the word Torah for Yeshua (see Rom 10:5–13). In Paul’s mind, Yeshua was not only synonymous with the Torah, but he was very much present with the children of Israel.

The Word was Elohim. Numerous scriptures in the Testimony of Yeshua clearly show that the apostolic writers believed in the deity of Yeshua (see Matt 1:23; Luke 24:52; John 5:18; 8:58–59; 9:38; 10:33; 19:7; 20:28; Phil 2:6; Col 2:9; 1 Tim 3:16; Tit 2:13; Rev 21:3, 6, 23; 22:1–5). Amazingly, even James (Heb. Ya’acov), the writer of the epistle that bears his name and believed to be the biological half brother of Yeshua equates Yeshua with YHVH of the Tanakh (Jas 5:7, 8, 10, 11 cp. 1:1). This is evident in his usage of the word “Lord” where he equates the Lord Yeshua (verses 8 and 10) with the LORD (or YHVH) of the Tanakh (verses 10 and 11).

The Word was Elohim. The Greek grammar of this statement is very specific. It says, “and the Word was God/Elohim.” It doesn’t say, “And the Word was the God,” which is Sabellianism or modalism, which is the belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one monadic Elohim. It also doesn’t say, “and the Word was a god,” which is Arianism, which is the belief that Yeshua the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by and is therefore distinct from and inferior to Elohim the Father (Basics of Biblical Greek, pp. 27–28, by William Mounce).

What Is the Word/word of Elohim from a Hebraic Perspective?

The Word of Elohim is my best friend. The word of Elohim is not my best friend. Notice the difference between these two sentences? In the first sentence, Word is capitalized; in the second, it is not. In my post, I capitalized the word Word for a reason. There is a big difference between the two. People can religiously worship words on a page or a book. I worship him who wrote those words and recognize them to be a his words, and a reflection of his very heart, mind, will and character.

Yeshua is the Word of Elohim. John 1:1–2, 14 says,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. He was in the beginning with Elohim….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Yeshua and his word are indivisible. To love his word is to love him. He is his word. This is Hebraic thought.

Hebraically, a person and their character and reputation are inseparable. They are who and what they are.

In our Western Greek mindset, we tend to separate a person’s word from them. This is not a biblical, Hebraic approach.

For example, the Hebrew word debar not only means “a word” but also “a thing.” Here there is no separation between form and substance. If there is no substance, there is no form.

In Greek thought, we tend to look at the outward appearance of something and separate it out from its substance or essence. For example, we look at a building and declare how beautiful it looks on the outside, or how handsome someone looks, or how good that cup or cave looks on the outside.

In Hebraic thought, we are told not to judge according to appearance, but according to righteousness (John 7:24)—to judge something by its fruit (Matt 7:16–20). We have to look at the heart of the matter, or the person, and make our judgments based on that. That is the real essence of what something is—not what it merely appears to be on its surface. For example, Samuel saw how lovely David looked, but YHVH was looking at David’s heart, not at his handsome appearance when he chose him to be king over Israel (1 Sam 13:14). Interestingly, when the heart is right, the outward appearances will be beautiful as well. It kind of follows!

Yeshua rebuked the religious hypocrites of his day for looking good on the outside, but actually being hideous on the inside (for being a dirty cup or a whitewashed tomb). He also said that the words that come out of one’s mouth,  in reality, reflect the true condition of one’s heart (Luke 6:45).

So word and thing have the same equivalence in Hebraic thought.

In Hebrew thought, vanity is defined as one’s words and actions not lining up with each other. If a person says one thing, and does another thing, then it’s considered to be emptiness or vanity. It’s nothing—only hot air or wind.

So to bring this discussion back full circle, Yeshua is his word and his word is him because Hebraically a thing and a word are the same thing. That’s why the Word of Elohim is my best friend. It’s a whole lot more than words on a page to me—it’s the reflection of the mind, heart, character and will of the Author of the Bible which who he is. He and his words are inseparable.

We have a saying, “A man is only as good as his word.” This is a step in the right direction to understanding better the Hebraic approach in regards to someone and their words. In the Bible, Elohim IS the/His W/word!

 

An Encouraging Message from the Unjust Judge Parable About Persistent Prayer

Luke 18:2, A judge. In this parable of the Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge, Yeshua is using a Hebraic form of reasoning or argument called kol v’khomer where a point is made from a lesser weight argument, logically-speaking, to heavier weight one. In other words, if premise A is correct, then how much more so is premise B correct?

In the Jewish religious thinking of the first century, this is one of the seven laws of biblical interpretive laws of Hillel the Great (ca. 32 b.c. to a.d. 7) who was one of the greatest Jewish religious leaders of Yeshua’s day and a main leader of the sect of Pharisees. (Hillel was also the grandfather of Gamaliel the elder, the mentor of Paul, the apostle, Acts 5:34; 22:3.)

In this parable, Yeshua is making the point that if an ungodly, secular judge who cares little about the needs of a widow will grant her wishes because of her persistent pleas for justice against her enemies, how much more will Elohim hear and answer the prayers of his elect saints who have faith in him and cry out to him continually to avenge them of their enemies.

A day of judgment is coming when the scales of justice will be balanced in favor of the saints of the Most High Elohim, the Just Judge of the universe. Certainly Elohim presently attends to the needs of his servants and gives them victory over their enemies in many small ways. But many believers are still suffering greatly at the hands of the wicked who don’t fear Elohim.

The day is coming, however, when YHVH will move with a mighty hand and universally avenge his servants of all their enemies small and great. Until then, the righteous martyrs continue to cry out asking Elohim, “How long, O YHVH, holy and true until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:10). His answer to them is to wait just a little longer (verse 11), for the great day of YHVH’s wrath, the wrath of the Lamb, which is coming upon the wicked (verse 17) is coming soon. Until then, YHVH promises to never leave nor forsake his servants (Heb 13:5), so be strong in him!

 

How well does the guy up front really know his Bible?

Just because someone plops himself into a church pulpit, takes some ecclesiastical title and puts on a religious costume doesn’t mean they knows the Bible very well!

Just because a person stands in a pulpit, leads a church, has a ministry, is on television, or has a website or a YouTube channel doesn’t mean they know the Bible very well. There are many people who have a deeper and broader knowledge of the word of Elohim who no one has ever heard of. Maybe you’re such a person!

Luke 13:15, Hypocrite. Yeshua was able to defend his actions and contradict the leader of the synagogue because he knew the Torah better that religious leader.

This teaches us two things. First, just because one is a church leader doesn’t mean they know the Torah or the rest of the word of Elohim very well. Paul taught the “whole counsel of Elohim,” including the Torah. How many Bible teachers do that in our day? In fact, the New Testament as we know it didn’t even exist in Paul’s day; all they had was the Old Testament from which to teach. Many of today’s Bible teachers know religious tradition and doctrines of men better than the actual word of Elohim. Or if they know the Bible, they know only parts of it (like the New Testament), and know very little or anything about the Old Testament or Tanakh and the Torah.

Second, as a minister of the word of Elohim, one will need to defend it against those who are false teachers and who teach the doctrines of men that make of non-effect the Word of Elohim. To be able to do this, the Bible teacher must study and know YHVH’s word intimately down to the most minute details and better so than one’s opponents. On this score, Yeshua was preeminent, and was able to leave his accusers speechless and without rebuttals. As his disciples, we must endeavor to imitate his example.

 

The Seven Steps of Redemption

Exodus 6:1–9, YHVH redeems Israel. 

The stage is set for Israel’s redemption in Exodus 5:22–23. Yet Moses’ first venture to Pharaoh was a disaster. The plight of the children of Israel had deteriorated instead of improved. Discouraged, Moses almost takes on an accusative tone toward YHVH (Exod 5:22–23). Graciously, YHVH doesn’t rebuke Moses, but as a loving Father encourages him to refocus on his word and the veracity and surety of his promises (Exod 6:2–5).

YHVH encouraged Moses upward and onward despite his discouraging first attempt at gaining the release of the ­children of Israel. Is it possible that YHVH allowed immediate success to elude Moses at his first encounter with Pharaoh to bring Moses “to the end of himself” with regard to any tendency he might have had to rely primarily on himself and on his own wisdom to accomplish Elohim’s plans? After all, Moses, as either Pharaoh’s adopted grandson or his nephew (depending on whether this was the Pharaoh of Moses’ childhood or his son), had an “in” with the monarch that could have been exploited for the benefit of securing the release of Israel. As YHVH wanted Moses to rely on him alone for Israel’s deliverance, even so YHVH wants us to rely on him alone to accomplish his purposes in our lives and not primarily on any human abilities that we may possess. We have to be totally emptied of ourselves before we’re ready for the Master’s use. This doesn’t mean he won’t use our natural abilities or what he have gained through life’s experiences, but we must learn to submit all that we have and are to his sovereign will. In this way, YHVH, not man, gets the glory when success occurs (Jer 9:22–23).

Additionally, YHVH reaffirmed his covenant promises to Moses using his covenant name, YHVH, three times (Exod 6:6, 7, 8). Here are some other examples of how Scripture uses Continue reading

 

A Feeding Trough, Manger or Sukkah?

Luke 2:7, Manger. (Gr. phatne) The Greek word phatne literally means “feeding trough” and according to the word’s etymology and lexicology as stated in The TDNT, there is no indication that this manger is anything but a standard feeding trough or manger.

Nevertheless, this manger may have been a sukkah or tabernacle, which is the flimsy little hut that Israelites build during the biblical Feast of Tabernacles (Heb. Chag Sukkot) as commanded in the Torah (Lev 23:33–43). We see the connection between a manger and a sukkah in Genesis 33:17 where Jacob built booths (or tabernacles; Heb. succot or sukkot is the plural form of sukkah) for his livestock showing us that the Hebrew word sukkah (pl. sukkot) can also mean “livestock barn or manger” as well as a temporary habitation where Israelites dwell during the biblically commanded festival of Sukkot.

This raises the possibility that Yeshua was born in a festival sukkah during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot and not just in an animal barn as Christian folklore would have us believe.

The LXX Greek word for sukkah in Gen 33:17 is skenas meaning “habitation, dwelling or tabernacle” and is the same word used in John 1:14 and Rev 21:1–3 in reference to Yeshua tabernacling with his people.

Putting all the pieces together, Yeshua may have been born in a sukkah-manger prior to or during the Feast of Tabernacles with a human sukkah (or body, of which the physical sukkah during Sukkot is a metaphorical picture) in order to redeem man from sin, so that Yeshua might tabernacle with redeemed men forever in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:3).

 

A Gift for Yeshua: Why I Love Him—Reflections on His Nativity

In December, many people think of the birth of Jesus (Yeshua). Most people who are knowledgable know that he wasn’t born in December, but in the early fall. But nine months before the actual time of his birth puts us at the end of December when Yeshua was conceived—when the life of our Savior began in Mary’s womb. It was at this time that the heaven-sent Yeshua, miraculously pierced the spiritual darkness of the this world at the darkest time of the year. This divine spark of life in the womb of a woman would become the spiritual light of this world to lead men out of the darkness of sin and evil and to the supernal light of his Father, Elohim, and to eternal life.

Whether you celebrate the birth of the babe in the manger in December or in the fall, Yeshua’s arrival is still heaven’s ultimate love gift to humanity as John 3:16 says. “For Elohim so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Please stop for a moment and quiet your heart and mind to reflect on the significance of this momentous event that occurred in the tiny town of Bethlehem some 2000 years ago.

For years since I was a child, my mind fully believed what the Bible tells us about the birth of Yeshua. But it wasn’t until much later, as an adult, that, while I was alone one night and quietly seeking Elohim, that the revelation of the priceless nature of Elohim’s love gift to me literally pierced my heart like a lightening bolt from heaven. As a result of this supernatural revelation and an overwhelming sense of Elohim’s love that accompanied it flowing through me like warm oil, I fell to my knees in worshipful and reverential awe as my heart came alive to just how much Elohim loved me personally—a sinner who deserved death. That night changed my life forever. They say that the eighteen inches between the head and the heart is the greatest distance in existence. My head and heart know this is to be true. Now they were united!

The thought of the baby Yeshua in the manger ignites my heart in ways too deep to explain. I know that I know that Elohim sent him to the world to redeem me from my sins and to show me the path to an eternity in the presence of my Father in heaven. They say that if you have nothing worth dying for, then you have nothing worth living for. I believe that I would give up anything on this earth including my life on account of my love for and devotion to Yeshua, so help me God!

But my love for Yeshua is predicated on more than just emotions. On that night years ago alone in my living room, my heart and mind united indivisibly in love and worship for Yeshua the Messiah, and they have remained the same to this day. Why do I continue to love Yeshua? Let me tell you.

If there were other reason, this one alone would be sufficient: I love him because he’s the Supreme Creator and Law-Giver in the universe. I as a created being owe him my total love, allegiance, and obedience. I owe him my life. Therefore, he is worthy of my total worship and adoration.

I love Yeshua for his beauty and loveliness. When I look at the ugliness of the world around me, I love him all the more.

I love him for the liberating truth that he is and that he shares with me. This is in stark contrast to the bondage of the damning lies masquerading as the truth that fill and permeate the world around me.

I love him because he and his word is (this is not a typo, since he and his word are indivisible, for he is the Word of Elohim incarnate) the light of truth that illuminates my path through the darkness of this world.

I love him because he paid the price for my sins and cleansed me of sin’s stain and guilt and delivered me from the empty darkness and despair of the walking damned.

I love him because he is the strength, joy, peace and hope of my life.

I love him because he is the light and hope of eternal life at the end of this dark tunnel called the wilderness of life.

I love him because he is the way to my Father in heaven, and because he made me in his image because he wants me to be part of his eternal spiritual family.

I love him because he comforts me when I’m down, heals me when I’m sick, feeds me when I’m hungry, clothes me when I’m naked, speaks to me when I need to hear from him, and teaches me his ways through his Holy Word, the Bible.

Elohim gave the gift of his Son to me because he loves me. Because of my love for him, how can I show him (and others) that love? What can I possibly give as an expression of my love and devotion to the one who already possesses everything in the universe? There is nothing that I have that he needs or wants that he doesn’t already have—except my heart.

We’re all familiar with the words of our Father in heaven that like a priceless diamond express his quintessential love for humanity, “For Elohim so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, that whoever believes on him should not perish but have eternal life.” As an expression of my love for him, like a mirror, I would reflect back to Elohim his adoring words in the following way,

For I so love Elohim that I have given him the only thing that I could that was not already his—the affection of my heart, and because he believes in my love for him, our spiritual relationship will not perish, and we shall live together forever in his everlasting kingdom.