Our new annual Scripture Reading Schedule for 2020-2021 with daily readings that began on 10/11/20 is available to download and print. The link to the previous 2019-2020’s Scripture Reading Schedule will still be available on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links” into next year. If you are using a mobile device or tablet, the link may be below, meaning you’ll need to scroll down instead.
Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link or the “share your thoughts” box below.
The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day: one each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.
Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 2/21 through 2/27/2021.
Scripture reveals that the saints are to be a holy or set-apart (kadosh) priesthood, not a profane (worldly and polluted) one. Which are you? Kadosh or profane?
YHVH Is Preparing His Saints to Be a Kingdom of Priests
In the Bible, YHVH declared that it was the destiny of the Israelite nation to become a kingdom of priests (Exod 19:6). As such, he commissioned them to become a light to the heathen nations around them and to lead them to YHVH—the one true Elohim (Deut 4:6–8). This is why YHVH in his sovereignty positioned the nation of Israel at the crossroads of the major trade routes of the ancient world—between three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. Israel did not fulfill this prophetic destiny because of sin and rebellion. They desired to conform their lives to the standards of the wicked nations around them rather than conform to YHVH’s standards of righteousness as revealed in the Torah-law. While ancient Israel failed in its divine mission to evangelize the world, in these last days, through Yeshua the Messiah, YHVH has raised up his people (the Israel of Elohim, Gal 6:16) to be that holy priesthood tasked with spreading the good news of the kingdom of Elohim globally (1 Pet 2:9; Dan 7:18; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6; Isa 66:21). Let us now explore how YOU be a part of fulfilling this divine commission.
First, who are you? Knowing this will enable you to understand your divine calling and mission.
Those who come to faith in Yeshua the Messiah become children of Abraham and are thus Israelites (Rom 4:16; 9:8-11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28-29) who have been grafted in to the olive tree of Israel (Rom 11:11–32); they are the current “Israel of Elohim” (Gal 6:16). Ancient Israel never fulfilled its divine calling to be a kingdom of priests and a light to the nations of the world. YHVH’s calling and purposes for Israel are without repentance (Rom. 11:29). What ancient Israel failed to accomplish because of disobedience, rebellion and faithlessness will be left to grafted in Israel—the one new man in Yeshua the Messiah—to accomplish. Yeshua commissioned his disciples to preach the good news (or gospel) of the kingdom of Elohim to the world (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). But more than that, his disciples were to become that kingdom of priests that ancient Israel missed the opportunity to become.
We read in the Testimony of Yeshua (or New Testament) that the saints of YHVH will be called kings and priests (or a kingdom of priests) of YHVH-Yeshua the Messiah and will reign with him during the 1000-year Millennium or Messianic Age.
[T]o him, the one who loves us, who has freed us from our sins at the cost of his blood, who has caused us to be a kingdom, that is, cohanim [priests] for YHVH, his Father… (Rev 1:5–6, CJB)
[At] the cost of blood you ransomed for YHVH persons from every tribe, language, people and nation. You made them into a kingdom for YHVH to rule, cohanim [priests] to serve him and they will rule over the earth. (Rev 5:9–10, CJB)
Blessed and set-apart is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be cohanim [priests] of YHVH and of Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years. (Rev 20:6, CJB)
During the Millennium, Messiah will be the King of kings. His government will be a theocracy with him, as the High Priest-King, at the head. The children of Israel operated under a theocratic from of government with Moses as the priest-king (he was from the priestly tribe of Levi and was called a king in Deut 33:4-5) as the human head of state. David Stern in his Jewish New Testament Commentary (p. 10) describes the role of the biblical priest to be like that of a prophet and to serve as spokesman and mediator between YHVH and man. The prophet speaks to man on behalf of YHVH, the priest to YHVH on behalf of man. In terms of practical job-description their primary duty was to offer sacrificial animals on the altar.
Of those who will be the priests to reign with Messiah during the Millennium, Christian commentator Matthew Henry says in his commentary on Revelation 1:5-6 that Messiah has made believers kings and priests to YHVH and his Father. As such they overcome the world, mortify sin, govern their own spirits, resist Satan, prevail with YHVH in prayer, and shall judge the world.”
This is an apt description of those who will qualify to become priests in YHVH’s kingdom, but let’s define some words Henry uses in his descriptions. How does Scripture define sin? Sin in its simplest definition is the transgression of YHVH’s Torah-law (1 John 3:4). Henry says that the Saints as priests will “judge the world.” What does this mean? Do you know of any secular judge who makes judgments without following some legal code upon which civil law is based? Of course not. What legal code is Scripture based upon? The Torah-law YHVH gave to the children of Israel through Moses. In numerous places YHVH instructed the priests and kings of that time to rule and judge on the basis of his Torah-law. When they failed to do so YHVH sent prophet after prophet to warn them to turn from their wicked ways and return to following YHVH’s laws.
What standard of righteousness do you think YHVH’s kings and priests will rule and judge from during the Millennium? There is only one standard of truth outlined in Scripture: that is the Torah (Ps 119:142, 151), which is YHVH’s Torah, which by strict etymological and scriptural definition simply means YHVH’s “instructions, teachings and precepts in righteousness.” Since YHVH’s standards of righteousness do not change, for his character and nature do not change (Mal 3:6) despite what religious men may say or do, it stands to reason that YHVH’s kings and priests will be Torah-obedient set-apart or holy ones (or the saints). In fact, this is how the book of Revelation defines the saints: they keep the Torah-commandments of YHVH and have faith in Yeshua the Messiah (Rev 12:17; 14:12). Yeshua goes on to say in Matthew 5:19 that those who keep his Torah-law will be called the greatest in his kingdom (i.e. they will be kings and priests), while those who do not keep his Torah-law will be called the least in his kingdom. In other words, the higher the level of obedience to Torah the higher will be one’s rewards and responsibilities in YHVH’s kingdom. Yeshua told his disciples that if they loved him they would keep his (Torah) commandments (John 14:15, 21).
The Saints Are Called to Be a Set-apart (Kadosh) Nation
If you have repented of your sins, been washed in the blood of the Lamb and been born of the Holy or Set-apart Spirit (Heb. Ruach haKodesh) you are part of a set-apart priesthood. This is your identity according to Scripture. Get this into your spirit and every day live out the reality of it!
The Gospel of John contains many deep spiritual insights that are found in none of the other three Gospels. John wrote this Gospel probably in the AD 90s when he was very old and likely after all the other apostles were already dead, and some 60 years after the death and resurrection of Yeshua. By that time, he had seen a lot of water go under the bridge—both good and bad, so to speak, and had developed many keen and unique insights that come only with time, experience, understanding and wisdom. Please enjoy a few of the golden nuggets in John’s writings that this disciple of Yeshua has discovered over the years and is now sharing with you below.
John 5:2, In Hebrew. (Gr. Hebraisti) This phrase indicates that either John was originally written in Greek, or it was written in Hebrew, then translated into Greek with the insertion of this editorial comment.
John 5:4, Troubled/stirred the waters. The Greek word for stir or trouble can mean “to agitate, disquiet, make restless, cause inward commotion, to strike one’s spirit with fear, perplex the mind, render anxious or distressed or to cause dread.” The troubling of the waters at the Bethesda Pool was more than just a breeze causing some riffles over the waters. Those at the pool’s edge must have sensed something supernatural when the angel troubled waters—that something supernatural was about to occur. Perhaps they sensed the presence of Elohim in their spirit. The outward stirring of the waters (with the inward stirring of the spirit?) coupled with their acting in faith to get to the waters to be healed brought about healing. What is the lesson here for us? When we sense the presence of the Almighty to heal us, we must step forth in faith seeking Elohim’s healing touch in our lives. Our seeking might result in our finding heaven’s miracle for our lives at that exact moment.
John 5:12, Sin no more. Sometimes our physical infirmity is a result of sin was case in this verse, and sometimes sin is not the cause of the infirmity as was the case with the man who was born blind (John 9:2–3). Only by divine revelation (or by the Holy Spirit gift of the word of knowledge) was Yeshua able know the cause of an ailment when praying for someone’s healing. Yeshua’s healing of the man at the Bethesda Pool was an act of divine grace by Yeshua. Yeshua didn’t require the man to repent of his sin before healing him, although he advised him sin no more, so that a worse judgment wouldn’t come on him later.
John 5:18, [Yeshua]…broke the Sabbath. (Also see notes on Matt 12:1–14.) Allow me to share an interesting and sad, but true story from my life about a false Christian teacher that I went head-to-head with. Many years ago, I was in a meeting where a Christian Bible teacher was giving a message on the end times. In the middle of his teaching and totally out of context, he quoted this passage from John and claimed that Yeshua broke the Sabbath. There was a rustle in the audience of about 300 people. A little later, he made the same statement again and began to deride the Sabbath. This time there was an audible moan from some in the audience—many of whom were Sabbath keepers. A feeling of being hit in the gut went through me. A little later, he made the same statement again, and continued to bash Sabbath observance. This time, I could hold my peace no longer, and I stood up and challenged him in the middle of the meeting. I told him that to say that Yeshua had broken the Sabbath was to call Yeshua a sinner, and that Yeshua had not broken the Sabbath, but some Jewish legal traditions (or halakhah) pertaining to the Sabbath. The speaker was flustered and had no response, and the host of the meeting decided to take an intermission.
A year later, it was announced that this Bible teacher had suddenly and unexpectedly dropped dead in the pulpit while preaching. One can’t help but wonder if he had come under divine judgment for blasphemously teaching that Yeshua was a sinner by supposedly breaking the fourth commandment.
Had this false teacher simply pulled down a concordance from his bookshelf and looked up the word broke in the Greek, and had read John’s statement in verse 12 in the context of verses 8–10, he wouldn’t have been teaching this blasphemous heresy about our Master and Savior!
Here is the explanation of this passage: The word broke is the Greek word luo meaning “to loose, untie someone or something bound, to dissolve, destroy.” According to The Theological Dictionary of the NT, luo means “to free from prison, open something closed; destroy fetters, foundations, walls; to release.” What Yeshua was breaking was the Jews’ extra-Torah legal traditions that made the Sabbath a burden by prohibiting the alleviation of human suffering and need on this day (John 5:8–10). He was in no way violating the actual Torah, since there is no Torah-law prohibiting healing on the Sabbath or carrying one’s bed role. In attempting to follow the Torah through men’s traditions, many of the Jews of Yeshua’s day had actually omitted the weightier matters of the Torah (justice, mercy and faith, see Matt 23:23), and had forgotten that YHVH is more concerned with heart issues rather than religious legalism, since he desires mercy over sacrifice, and the knowledge of Elohim over burnt offerings (Hos 6:6).
Any tradition of man that violates the letter and the spirit of the Torah is an illegal tradition. Yeshua was only violating an illegal tradition of men. Therefore, in the eyes of the Jews he was breaking the Torah. In reality, he was loosing (not breaking) the Torah from the traditions of men that had corrupted the true intent of the Sabbath law. A better translation of this verse would be, “he…loosened/untied the Sabbath [from men’s legalistic traditions].” Yeshua didn’t come to set men free from the Sabbath. He came to set the Sabbath free from men’s unbiblical traditions.
Did Yeshua Break the Law?
According to most of our English Bibles, Yeshua broke the Torah-law of Moses. For example, we read in John’s Gospel,
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:18, NKJV)
Exodus 27:1–8, An altar.As we continue our tour of the Tabernacle of Moses, the Torah takes us next to the bronze altar of sacrifice just inside the tabernacle’s door. Everything occurring in the tabernacle revolved around this altar—EVERYTHING! This fact is highly significant, since this altar points to the “altar” of the cross on which Yeshua the Messiah died for our sins. This is one truth that the mainstream church has gotten wonderfully right: the cross and what happened there is the central point of the gospel message. One cannot read the writings of the apostles and fail to see this unless one is sadly spiritually naive and spiritually blind!
Just inside the door of the tabernacle was the altar of sacrifice. It was made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze, which is a prophetic picture of Yeshua the Messiah bearing the judgment for men’s sins on the cross. The blood of the sacrifice was poured out on the ground at the base of the altar symbolically picturing Yeshua shedding his blood at the cross. Two lambs were offered at the altar morning and evening (Exod 29:38–42). This pictures our need to come humbly before our Father in heaven morning and evening in prayerful devotion as living sacrifices to confess our sins, to praise and thank him for saving us from the penalty of our sins, which is death (Ps 51:16–17; Heb 13:15; 1 John 1:7–9; Rom 6:23).
The Altar of Sacrifice in More Details. Upon understanding that the Person and work of Yeshua is the way into spiritual life, light and truth, one must also recognize that one’s sin liability keeps one from a having personal relationship with one’s Creator. The broken fellowship with our Father in heaven due to our uncleanness because of our sin is the reason for this. For one to have a relationship with a sinless, perfect, totally set-apart or holy Elohim,the sin problem has to be dealt with. Sin must be atoned for along with the resulting guilt, shame and penalty (i.e. death) that sin brings. In the Tabernacle of Moses, the liability and effect of sin is dealt with at the altar of the red heifer outside the gate of the tabernacle, which represents the work of Yeshua at the cross (Heb 13:10–13). There one was purified and made ready to come into the actual tabernacle. Upon doing so, the first thing one encountered when entering the tabernacle was the altar of sacrifice where both kosher animals and unleavened bread (made of the finest flour and the purest olive oil) were offered, and a wine libation was poured out twice daily (morning and afternoon, Num 28:1–8). These all picture the body of Yeshua being broken and slain for sinful man and our need to “eat” his body and “drink” his blood in a spiritual sense to which the communion elements of the Lord’s supper taken on the Passover during the seder meal symbolically point (John 6:35–58).
The fire on the altar was to be kept burning at all times; it was never to go out (Lev 6:13). Additionally, before ministering at the altar, a priest was to always wash his hands and feet at the bronze laver (Exod 30:17–21), and to put on the priestly robes (Lev 6:10). These activities are prophetic shadows that point to the ministry of Yeshua before the throne of the Father in heaven. There, as our heavenly high priest, he, in an ultimate state of purity and perfection is ever making intercession for his saints and reconciling us to the Father (Eph 2:18; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 7:25–26; 8:1–2, 5–6; 9:11–22; 10:19–22; 1 John 2:1).
At the twice daily offering (the morning shacharit and the afternoon minchah), a yearling lamb was sacrificed on the north side of the altar, or its left side as viewed from the holy of holies, which represents the throne of Elohim. (Furthermore, north is significant since Scripture seems to indicate that the third heaven where Elohim dwells is in the northern region of the sky [Isa 14:13].) The lamb’s blood was then sprinkled round about the altar as an atonement for sin, while a wine libation was poured out onto the altar, and unleavened bread was cooked and offered at the same time on the altar (Num 28:1–8; Lev 1:11). The fact that the lamb was killed on the north or left side of the altar is prophetically significant, since it points to Yeshua’s first coming as the Suffering Servant Messiah, the Lamb of Elohim. The left side is significant, since the left hand (usually the weaker hand), in Jewish thought, represents grace and mercy, while the right hand (usually the stronger hand) represents strength, power and judgment. At his first coming, Yeshua was like a lamb led to the slaughter (Isa 52:13–53:12, especially note 53:7), as he spilled his blood as an atonement for men’s sins (Isa 53:5–6,10). Upon his death and glorious resurrection, he returned to heaven where he took his rightful place as the right arm of YHVH Elohim (Acts 7:55–56; Rom 8:34). At Yeshua’s second coming, he will come, this time not as a lamb led to the slaughter, but in power and glory as a regnal warrior on a white stallion to judge the wicked and to reward the righteous. After that, he will assume his rightful position as King of kings and Lord of lords over the earth during the Millennium as revealed in the Book of Revelation.
YOU need to read this article to understand what the Bible really says about salvation in it full Hebraic context. This will insure that YOU are truly saved and not just an unsaved false convert or a spiritual tare that will end up being cast into the lake of fire on Judgment Day.
The following information will also insure that you do not make false converts as you share the gospel messages with others.
This information is important to know because many Christian churches DO NOT preach the full Truth about salvation, but teach the unbiblical traditions of men, thus making millions if not billions of false converts who think they are saved but who are not saved according to biblical standards.
What is Salvation?
The dictionary defines the word salvation as “the deliverance from the power and effects of sin.” In a generic sense, salvation is “the 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. In the mean time, let us explore the ramifications and implications of salvation as it relates to the deliverance from the power of sin in a person’s life and how this relates to you.
So what is sin that it causes harm, ruin or loss, and what is being harmed or being lost such that each person needs deliverance? Very simply, Scripture (the Bible) defines sin as the violation of YHVH Elohim’s (the LORD God’s) commandments or his Torah-laws (1 John 3:4). What is YHVH Elohim’s Torah-law? Specifically 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 from Genesis to Revelation. The Word of Elohim commands all humans to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Creator as 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). Love is the fulfilling of YHVH’s commandments or laws (Rom 12:8–10). The cornerstone of all of YHVH’s laws is the famous ten commandments as found in Exodus 20. They are:
I am YHVH your Elohim.
You shall have no other gods before me and you shall not worship idols.
You shall not take my name in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it set-apart or holy.
Honor you father and mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery
You shall not steal.
You shall not lie.
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 (1 John 3:4). 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 a small number of laws compared to the hundreds of law books that constitute the laws of most nations on earth. Whole law libraries are established to contain the laws of men!
Law and order or the rule of law form the basis of all areas of authority in the cosmos. There are five such realms of authority as outlined in Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. They are: divine, family or parental, church, civil or governmental and that of employers. 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 same is true of YHVH’s divine laws. The violation of all laws brings a consequence or penalty of one sort or another. Some penalties are serious than others. The punishment should fit the crime. If one violates the law of gravity, for example, and jumps off a cliff, the result is death. If one drinks poison or has an unhealthy lifestyle, the result will be sickness or a premature death. If one violates a speeding law, the penalty may be a fine. If an employee violates a company policy, he may get fired from his job. If child disobeys a parent, the child will be disciplined. If one mistreats one’s fellow man, there are negative relational consequences. If one murders someone, imprisonment or the death penalty will occur. Similarly, Scripture teaches that if one violates divine law (i.e. sin) the penalty is death (Ezek 18:4; Rom 6:23).
The Bible also teaches that all humans have sinned (Rom 3:23). YHVH has imposed a death sentence upon everyone because sin results in harm, ruin or loss in one way or another. As a result, all humans need deliverance, redemption or salvation from the consequences of their sin. The Bible teaches that salvation is deliverance from that death, and that those who are saved will be granted eternal life or immortality because the death penalty has been lifted from them. Therefore, those who are saved from death, the result of sin, will be given immortality (Rom 6:23).
How can each person receive salvation from the wages or penalty of their own sin, which is death? Let’s now explore this concept.
Steps to Salvation
The Bible states that man has a sin problem (read Romans chapters 1 through 3), and that each person must take certain spiritual steps to rectify this problem. We will now explore these steps.
One can have their past sins forgiven by placing their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), the son of Elohim who took man’s sins upon himself and died in each person’s place to satisfy the divine and legal judgment against each person because of sin (i.e. the violation of the Creator’s laws), so that man could pass from death to life (John 3:16). What is sin? We sin when we break YHVH’s commandments as revealed in the Bible, the Word of Elohim (1 John 3:4; Rom 3:20). When a person turns away from committing sin and places their faith in Yeshua, Scripture promises that the person will experience forgiveness resulting in a glorious spiritual relationship with our Father in heaven leading to eternal or everlasting life (Rom 3:21–5; 6:23).
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 theAngel, 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).
All things were made through him.Yeshua is the Creator. (See also Col 1:16; Heb 11:3.)
What Is the Word/word of Elohim from a Hebraic Perspective?
Exodus 25:10–22, Ark. The ark of the covenant was a small box of acacia wood overlaid in gold, which contained the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the two tablets of stone containing the ten statements of Elohim—commonly called the Ten Commandments. Against the ark was leaned a scroll of the complete Torah (Deut 31:26).
Covering the ark was a golden cap called the mercy seat or kapporet and is related to the word kippur as in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Both share a common Hebrew root, which is the word kapar, which according to TheTheological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) means “to make an atonement, make reconciliation, purge”) and the mercy seat—the golden “lid” covering the ark of the covenant located in the D’veer (i.e. the inner shrine of the Tabernacle of Moses)—which in Hebrew is the word kapporet was “the place of atonement or the place where atonement was made.” TheTWOT defines what happened at the kapporet as follows:
“It was from the … mercy seat that [YHVH] promised to meet with the men [of Israel] (Num 7:89). The word, however, is not related to mercy and of course was not a seat. The word is derived from the root ‘to atone.’ The Greek equivalent in the LXX is usually hilasterion, “place or object of propitiation,” a word which is applied to [Messiah] in Rom 3:25. The translation ‘mercy seat’ does not sufficiently express the fact that the lid of the ark was the place where the blood was sprinkled on the day of atonement. ‘Place of atonement’ would perhaps be more expressive.”
The mercy seat covering the ark that contained the Torah is a vivid symbolic picture of YHVH’s mercy triumphing over his judgment (Jas 2:13). We all deserve death for violating his commandments, for the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) and sin is the violation of YHVH’s Torah commands (1 John 3:4). However. Yet when we repent of our sins and place our faith in Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross as payment for those sins, YHVH forgives us and grants us his merciful grace.
Everything in, on and around the ark pointed to Yeshua. Inside the ark was the golden pot of manna, which points to Yeshua who the bread of life—the Word of Elohim made flesh. Aaron’s rod that budded speaks of Yeshua’s role as the ultimate high priest due to his atoning and life-giving work at the cross. The two stone tablets and the Torah scroll speak of the Yeshua who was the Word of Elohim from the foundation of the world (John 1:1,14), and whose words or instructions in righteousness the saints are instructed to follow (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3–6; Rev 12:17; 14:12).
Overshadowing the mercy seat were two golden cherubim with outstretched wings. This is a picture of YHVH’s throne in heaven, which is surrounded by cherubim and other living creatures that sing his praises and minister to him (Rev 4).
The Ark of the Covenant in More Detail
The ark of the covenant is the gold-covered acacia wood box with the pure gold crown or mercy seat upon which are the two gold cherubim that represented the very throne and glorious Presence of YHVH himself. Inside the box were the tables of the Torah, Aaron’s rod that budded (Num 16) and the golden pot of manna (Exod 16:32–34). Against the ark was leaned a scroll of the complete Torah (Deut 31:26).
Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered this part of the tabernacle to make atonement for his sins and those of the nation of Israel (Exod 16:14–19). The most set-apart place was also called the oracle (D’veer), for it was here that YHVH often met with and talked to Moses giving him instructions on how to govern the Israelites (Exod 25:21–22).
The gold-covered wooden box pictures resurrected and glorified humanity raised to that place by the work of Yeshua and the mercy of YHVH. Two realities identify the bride of Yeshua: Spirit and truth (John 4:23); namely, the truth of Torah of the Written Torah (the box contained the two stone tablets) and that of the Living Torah who is the Manna or Bread of Life. In addition, Aaron’s rod that budded (also in the box) pictures the authority and fruitfulness of the priesthood of believers (2 Pet 2:5-9) through the work of Yeshua on the cross (see also Rev 11:17; 12:14). Additionally, the Torah scroll leaning up against the ark illustrates to us that without total dependence on Yeshua (his work at the cross and partaking of the spiritual manna of Yeshua’s broken body we cannot properly keep the Torah. Only with Yeshua living in the heart of a regenerated believer by the power of his Spirit can one keep the Torah. Without the Torah leaning on Yeshua, the Torah becomes the dead letter of the law (2 Cor 3:6)!
As the high priest sprinkled the mercy seat with blood seven times on Yom Kippur so Yeshua bled seven times: at Gethsemane, from the scourging, the crown of thorns, nail in the left hand, nail in the right hand, nail in the feet and the spear in his side.
Exodus 25:21, The testimony. This is the Torah in codified form or what became known as the law of Moses. Prior to this, the Torah was YHVH’s oral instructions to men passed on down generationally from teacher to student, from father to son. Moses, under instructions from Elohim, wrote this oral Torah down as it was transcribed to him on Mount Sinai (Exod 24:12) and to which additions were made on an as-need basis as YHVH subsequently spoke to Moses from his earthly throne of the tabernacle (Exod 25:22).