Category Archives: Gospel Message/Salvation
1 John 5 (pt 1)–The Spirit & Truth Come Together
Psalms 22–24: A Prophetic Messianic Trilogy
Psalms 22, 23 and 24 form a prophetic, messianic trilogy pointing to the circumstances surrounding the death (Psalms 22 and 23), resurrection (Psalm 23) and enthronement of Yeshua as King over Israel (Psalm 24). Psalm 24 shows how a person can ascend the “mountain” of Elohim and come into the presence of our Father in heaven. This psalm also presents the Messiah as YHVH and as the doorway to righteousness and salvation for those who seek him. He is the only way to the Father in heaven, if one will only open the door of one’s heart and let him come into one’s life.
Psalm 22:1–7, You forsaken me…enthroned in the praises. When it seems that Elohim has forsaken us and the heavens seem like brass, this is the time to praise Elohim, and his presence will come. It is also the time to recall and even remind him of all the good things that he has done for us in times past (vv. 4–5). This is despite the fact that the brutish and abusive behavior of others against us often makes us feel as low as a worm (vv. 6–7). Praising and trusting in Elohim at such times is counter intuitive to the natural human mind. It is in such times that one is inclined to cease believing in their Creator and, to one degree or another, forsake him and or abandon their faith altogether. Yet at these times, this is when the faithful saint seeks the Almighty all the more, even as Yeshua did while in praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and while hanging on the cross—the very thing to which this psalm prophetically pointed. For it is verse one of this psalm that Yeshua quoted while hanging on the cross dying. He was telling us that we was the fulfillment of the prophecies contained in this psalm. In fact, this psalm has several prophetic referential touch points to Yeshua’s last moments just prior to his ignominious death. They are:
Verse 1— “My Elohim, my Elohim, why have you forsaken me?”
Verse 6— “A reproach of men, and despised by the people.”
Verses 7–8— “All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted in YHVH, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!’”
Verses 9–10— “But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My El.”
verse 14— “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.”
Verse 15— “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.”
Verses 16–17— “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.”
Verse 18— “They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”
Because of these prophetic references to the events surrounding Yeshua’s death, Psalm 22 ranks as one of the greatest messianic prophecies in the entire Tanakh. There are simply too many unique and direct references to the specific circumstances of Yeshua’s crucifixion as recorded in the Gospels to be merely coincidental. For example, how could the psalmist have known about the Roman mode of execution known as crucifixion some 1,000 years before this event occurred? Actually, the earliest crucifixions as recorded in history were performed by the Persians and Greeks as early as 500 BC, which is still some 500 years before David penned this psalm.
Psalm 22:3–4, Enthroned…delivered them. Praise and worship is a spiritual warfare weapon. (On the dynamic spiritual power of godly music, see 2 Chron 20:20–23 and notes at 1 Sam 16:23).
Psalm 22:3–5, They trusted…you delivered. Praise and worship combined with trusting faith in YHVH is a spiritual warfare weapon that brings the saints deliverance from their enemies.
Psalm 22:12, Bulls of Bashan. Bashan is in the area of Mount Hermon in northern Israel. The southern base of Mount Hermon, in ancient times, was regarded by the pagans as Satan’s seat and the gates of hell. There the pagans erected a temple to the demon-god Pan. Later it became known as Caesarea Philippi, and there Yeshua confronted Satan by declaring that the gates of hell would never prevail against his church (Matt 16:18).
Psalm 22:26, See notes on Psalm 49:15.
Natan’s Reflections on Sheep and on Being a Shepherd of Sheep on the Family Farm
David, the author of this psalm, was a literal shepherd of sheep as we all know. This is something that both David and I had in common. This is because I lived on sheep farm from age six to 24, and like David, it was my duty to care for the sheep. We can learn a lot about ourselves and other people when we hang out with sheep. Being a shepherd makes the Bible come alive, since YHVH Yeshua likens his people to sheep, and he is our Good Shepherd who cares for us (John 10:11, 14).
During my time on the family farm, it was my responsibility to care for the sheep including feeding them twice daily, caring for the lambs, protecting the sheep from predators, keeping the gates and fences that surrounded them in good conditions, cleaning their barns, helping the ewes give birth as needed, tending to sick and wounded sheep, leading them from pasture to pasture, shearing them, and finally, butchering them. I have wrestled with sheep, chased them, led them, fed them, fondled them, sheared them and even butchered them. I loved the sheep that were under my care, and to this day, decades later, I still feel a deep, visceral love in my gut when the thought of sheep come to my mind. Whenever I have the opportunity to be around sheep, if they are tame,you will find me out with them fondling their heads and scratching them behind their ears.
Later, I married and became the father of four children and had the opportunity to shepherd my own flock of human sheep. After that, my wife and I started a congregation which I pastored or shepherded (as I like to say) for 18 years where I shepherded “sheeple.”
Here are a few of my reflections on literal sheep and caring for them and how they are like YHVH’s people (or “sheeple”).
Sheep are defenseless. About all they can do is run from a predator, and they are not fast runners. They will run until they tire out, and then will simply fall down exhausted becoming a hapless victim. When a ewe feels threatened, especially when she has lambs, she will look at you in the eye and stomp her hoof determinately in the ground as it to say, “Don’t come any closer, or I will…do something to you, but I don’t have a clue what….” It is all show, for there is nothing she can do, but hope to out run her attacker. In reality, it’s a pitiful and hopeless situation.Continue reading →
How to Receive Spiritual Light
The Gospel of John chapters seven to nine are a prophetic picture of what will occur at the end of the thousand year millennial reign of King Yeshua the Messiah. In this video, Anna explains the prophetic implications of the Last Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Yeshua being the river of life, the prophetic picture of the Eighth Day, the man born blind, Yeshua being the Light of the world and how this relates to the coming New Jerusalem.
She also reveals how all people fall into three spiritual categories and what the fate of each will be either reward or punishment at the white throne judgment seat at the end of Millennium.
Each of us fits into one of these categories depending on how we respond to Yeshua the Messiah, who is the river of life and the Light of the World.
Will we receive rewards or punishment, life or death?
The choice is now ours to make.
What happened to Yeshua’s soul after he died on the cross?
Yet it pleased YHVH to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of YHVH shall prosper in His hand. (Isaiah 53:10)
The debate has raged within Christian circles for several hundred years as to what specifically happened to Yeshua the Messiah from the point he died on the cross to the time of his resurrection. All agree that his body stayed in the grave, but what happened to the rest of him; namely, his soul and spirit?
It is generally accepted among believers that man is a three-part being: body, soul and spirit. Many scriptural references could be given, but, unless one doubts the Apostle Paul, one biblical example should suffice: that is 1 Thessalonians 5:23, where Paul states that man is comprised of a body, soul and spirit. Furthermore, it is a generally accepted that the body is the physical body of man, that the soul is the rational part of him composed of his intellect or natural understanding, emotions and will or volition, and the spirit is that divine spark or essence YHVH puts in man at the time of inception without which the body and soul cannot live. The spirit separates man from the animal kingdom (Ecc. 3:21) and is the part of man that can connect with the Spirit of YHVH. Therefore, it is through the spirit that man can have a relationship with YHVH (John 4:23-24; Eph. 3:16; Job 32:8; Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor:12:11; 1 John 2:20; Prov. 20:27).
The Bible says very little about the origin or fate of man’s spirit. Several scriptures shed a little light on this subject however. For example, the spirit of man goes up when he dies (Ecc 3:21), and returns to YHVH who gave it (Ecc. 12:7). Likewise, we see that upon Yeshua’s death on the cross he committed his spirit into the hands of the Father in Heaven (Luke 12:6).
With regard to the physical body of a man when he dies, is there any question as to what happens to that? It goes into the grave where it stays to await the resurrection. This is so basic and so widely accepted among Believers that we will not take the time or space here to give scriptural proof of this fact. We know that when Yeshua died, his body was laid in the tomb where it stayed until his resurrection three days and nights later.
Now what about the soul? That is the big question. In the Old Testament we find many scriptures that teach that upon death man’s soul goes into sheol or hell (the grave) waiting for YHVH to raise it up:
Psalm 16:10, “For You [YHVH] will not leave my soul in sheol, nor allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” (See also Acts 2:27.)
Psalm 49:15, “But YHVH will redeem my soul from the power of the grave [sheol], for he shall receive me.”
Psalm 49:8: “For the redemption of their souls [from the power of sheol] is costly.”
Hosea 13:14: “I [YHVH speaking] will ransom them from the power of the grave [sheol]; I will redeem them from death.”
Psalm 86:13: “And You [YHVH] have delivered my soul from the depths of sheol.”
Here we see that in Tanakh (Old Testament) times man’s soul would descend into sheol (the abode of the dead) at the time of his death where it would stay until YHVH would ransom these souls (later through the death of Yeshua the Messiah).
Now let us see how Yeshua’s soul had to pay the price for sin by having to die and go to sheol. To see this we must look at Isaiah 53:10 where it says the Redeemer’s (i.e.Yeshua’s) soul was made an offering for sin. In verse 11 we read that Yeshua’s soul suffered or labored and YHVH was satisfied and many were justified by it as Yeshua bore their iniquities. All the major Bible translations (KJV, NKJV, NIV and NASV) bear this rendering out. Verse 12 says that Yeshua poured His soul out unto death and that he was numbered with the transgressors and bore the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
Why do we see such an emphasis on the soul part of Yeshua dying, suffering, bearing man’s iniquities, justifying many, and satisfying YHVH’s justice? The soul (mind, will and emotions) is the part of man that sins. We cannot rightly say that the spirit part of man or the body sin, although the body does act out the sin, which is conceived in the heart and mind of man. Furthermore, the Scriptures make it very clear that it is the soul that is guilty of sinning and thence must die (Num 15:28, Ezek 18:4; 18:20). Yeshua laid the blame for sin against the heart or soul part of man as well when he said that from it proceed all sorts of evil things such as murders, adulteries, thefts, lying, blasphemies and so on (Matt 15:19). In Matthew 12:33–34, Yeshua shows the connection between the heart and one of the parts of the body, namely the mouth, when he said that “out of the abundance of the mouth thes heart speaks.” Here we see, again, that the body is servant to the soul part of man.
We not only see that Yeshua descended into sheol, but the Scripture makes mention in several places about him descending into the lowest part of hell or sheol. (Ps 88:6, 3, 5, 7, 9, 15, 16. Could Ephesians 4:9 be a description of this as well?)
In the Tanakh, there is a distinction between sheol-hell and the lower part of sheol or the lowest hell (Deut 32:22; Ps 86:13 and Prov. 9:18). Are these the two compartments of hell that exist based on Yeshua’s parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16 as many in the church teach? One compartment is for the unregenerate sinner who, though dead, awaits the judgement seat of YHVH (or the Great White Throne Judgement, Rev 20:11–15) after which he will be cast into the, as yet nonexistent, Lake of Fire, while the other compartment is for the righteous dead and is called Abraham’s Bosom in Hebraic poetic and euphemistic fashion?
Another interesting text is 1 Peter 3:18, which says Messiah suffered for sins being put to death in the flesh (but he did not die in the spirit, for it returned to YHVH!), and the Spirit of Elohim made him alive (even as the same Spirit that had impregnated him into Mary, descended upon him as a dove, led him to the wilderness, and finally raised him up).
The question naturally would arise, what would Yeshua be doing in sheol in either or both “compartments”? The Scriptures say very little about this, so where the Scriptures speak we are able to speak, but where they are silent it is wise for men to be silent as well, and not run the risk of adding to YHVH’s Word. Several scriptures do give us a little glimpse into this time period however. One is Revelation 1:18, which says that Yeshua has the keys of hades (the grave or sheol) and death. Perhaps he obtained those “keys” while his soul was there during his body’s three days and nights in the tomb. First Peter 3:18–20 talks about Yeshua suffering “once [and] for [all for] sins, the just for the just, that he might bring us to YHVH, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient …”
To be sure, 1 Peter 3:18–20 is one of the more enigmatic passages in the Scriptures. We, like those before us, can only guess as to its meaning. Is this passage, coupled with Ephesians 4:8–9, a description of Messiah leading the righteous of old from “Abraham’s Bosom” to an early first of the first fruits resurrection, which is pictured by the early spring barely harvest? Elsewhere we have seen that the scriptural evidence points to the fact that Yeshua resurrected early on the first day (our Saturday evening), and that when he arose he became “the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor 15:20). Then Ephesians 4:8–9 says, “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. (Now this, ‘he descended’—what does it mean but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?)” Who were these captives that Yeshua led out of the graves to be first fruits along with him? In this regard, Matthew in his Gospel records something strange happening at Yeshua’s resurrection:
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (Matt 27:52–53)
What happened to these saints after Yeshua’s resurrection? Did they die again and return to the graves, or did they go to heaven to await Yeshua’s second coming? This is a huge question. Yeshua said that no man had ascended to heaven (John 3:13), but he made this statement before his resurrection. So what happened to these saints then? Did they go to heaven, or did they return to the graves? Stephen under the inspiration of the Spirit of Elohim stated that “the patriarch David… is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.… For David is not ascended into the heavens … (Acts 2:29 and 34). This was certainly true of David, but not necessarily of those saints who resurrected at the time of Yeshua’s resurrection. Revelation 19:1 speaks of “people [literal crowds of people according to the TDNT’] in heaven” who will return with Yeshua at his second coming. Perhaps these people are a reference to those righteous saints who will be resurrected at the sound of the last or seventh trumpet (shofar) (1 Cor 15:51–53; cp. Rev 11:15–18). The Bible doesn’t tell us what became of the saints that arose at the time of Yeshua’s resurrection, but one thing is certain: they were part of the first fruits that followed Yeshua who was the first of the first fruits of the resurrection—and all this happened on First Fruits Day—the day of Yeshua’s resurrection and ascension to heaven.
The Gospels Decoded—Prophetic Pictures of End Time Events
The Faith of a Gentile Woman
Matthew 15:21–28, “Then Yeshua went away from there, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Master, Son of David; my daughter is grievously demonized.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she cries after us.’ But he answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Then came she and worshipped him, saying, ‘Master, help me.’ But he answered and said, ‘It is not suitable to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.’ And she said, ‘Truth, Master, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Yeshua answered and said unto her, ‘O woman, great is your faith. Be it unto you even as you desire.’ And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 21— coasts
- verse 22— Son of David
- verse 23— send her away
- verse 24— I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel
- verse 25— came she and worshipped him
- verse 26— the children’s bread
- verse 27— crumbs which fall from their master’s table
- verse 28— made whole
The Canaanite woman in this story is a non-Israelite Gentile who recognized that Yeshua was the Messiah, Son of David. She, like Rahab of Jericho and Ruth the Moabitesse, had accepted the Elohim of Israel, and she even put her faith in Yeshua, Israel’s Messiah.
In faith, this woman recognized that part of the Messiah’s mission was to exercise dominion over and eradicate from this earth every vestige of satanic influence, while simultaneously advancing the kingdom of Elohim. Indeed, we find prophesied in the Book of Revelation Satan’s demise, his removal from this earth and his confinement to the bottomless pit at the return of Yeshua and the establishment of Yeshua’s millennial kingdom (Rev 20:1–3).
At his first advent, it was Yeshua’s mission to preach the good news of the kingdom of heaven, and to begin establishing the kingdom of Elohim on earth (Matt 4:17)—a mission that his disciples were to continue after his ascension.
Furthermore, the Scriptures teach us that Yeshua and his disciples preached that the “kingdom of heaven was at hand” (Matt 4:17), and that it was near because the sick were being healed and the demonized delivered (Luke 10:9; 11:20). The kingdom of heaven was “among them” (Luke 17:21) through the work and person of Yeshua, and through the fact that the saints are being “translated into the kingdom of his [Elohim’s] dear Son” (Col 1:13; 1 Thess 2:12).
This is what Yeshua and his disciples taught, and what those who followed him believed including any formerly non-Israelites Gentiles, such as the Canaanite woman in this story. Upon acknowledging Yeshua as their Redeemer, these Gentiles are no longer strangers or aliens to the nation of Israel, but become grafted into the commonwealth of Israel and the blessed beneficiaries of the divine covenants of Israel (Eph 2:11–19.
As noted throughout this book, we see that Yeshua’s primary target group was the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Yet the good news message never precluded non-Israelite Gentiles from sojourning with Israel and becoming grafted into the nation and the covenantal promises YHVH made to them (Exod 12:48; Num 9:14; Eph 2:11–19; Rom 11:13–24).
Bread on the masters table metaphorically represents the Word of Elohim, the instructions, teachings or precepts of Elohim (i.e., the Torah) given to Israel to live by. It also points to Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word of Elohim (Matt 4:4; John 1:1, 14; 6:48–58). Yet there has always been a righteous “Gentile” remnant that has been attracted to the glorious light of the Torah-truth of Elohim (Isa 60:1ff). Such was the case with Joseph’s wife, Rahab, Ruth and the mixed multitude that left Egypt with the Israelites (Exod 12:38). Even in our day, many Christian (non-Israelite“Gentile”) believers have been feeding from the spiritual crumbs that have been falling from YHVH’s banqueting table, which David references in Psalm 23:5. These Gentiles have received salvation, deliverance and hope, yet, in a state of being somewhat detached from the Hebraic roots of their faith, they have not realized the fullness and richness of the gospel message. They have become grafted into the olive tree of Israel and are now Israelites in the eyes of YHVH Elohim.
Yeshua referred to this Canaanite woman from the area of Tyre and Sidon as a “little dog” (Matt 15:26). He contrasted this non-Israelite woman with the ten tribes of the lost sheep of the house of Israel (verse 24), which was his mission to regather (Matt 10:5–6). The woman, in great faith, replied that even dogs were allowed to feed from the master’s table and therefore benefit from the spiritual food, salvation and healing available through the Jews and the Jewish Messiah (verses 22 and 27). Upon seeing her great faith and perspicacity, Yeshua granted her the request that he heal her demonized daughter (verse 28).
Furthermore, Tyre and Sidon were cities of Phoenecia, and not part of geographical Israel. This woman of Canaan may have been an Israelite dwelling in the land of the Gentiles, or she may have been a non-Israelite Gentile. Whatever the case, she had a knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and knew who the Messiah was and that his mission would be to heal the sick and to go primarily to Israel and not specifically to the non-Israelite Gentiles.
What can we learn from this encounter between Yeshua and the Phoenician woman? First, there will be those of the non-Israelite Gentile nations who will have a heart for the Messiah and will seek him for spiritual healing. Second, some Israelites will want to keep Messiah for themselves and will hinder the non-Israelite Gentiles from coming to faith in Messiah. Third, Yeshua had a heart for and was willing to minister to those Gentiles who had faith in him. Fourth, some of those who are non-Israelite Gentiles will be demonized and need deliverance at the hands of the Messiah, the Anointed One. This whole story shows the loving grace of our Savior for everyone and that he is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to him in repentance (2 Pet 3:9).
This Gospel account teaches us that the message of the gospel—a message of great hope, deliverance, salvation and life—is not confined to the biological nation of Israel alone, but is a message of hope for all peoples throughout the world. As such, all peoples everywhere are called to become part of Israel.
What You Can Do
Do you feel as if you have been feeding from the spiritual crumbs and leftovers in your spiritual associations? Have you wanted to be an Israelite, or felt a spiritual affinity with the people of Israel, but have believed what your spiritual teachers have told you—that you are a Gentile, and always will be one? Well, it is time to believe the Word of Elohim, which clearly states that if you are redeemed by the blood of Yeshua, you are no longer a Gentile, that is, one who is without Elohim and without hope (Eph 2:11–19). You are now a redeemed Israelite and a literal child or descendant of Abraham, and as such, you are entitled to the full rights and privileges of an Israelite (Gal 3:26–29). As such, you will enter the New Jerusalem through one of the twelve gates named after the twelve tribes of Israel; there is no gate labelled “Gentile” (Rev 21:12)! So now it is time for you to have faith like the Canaanite woman, and claim what is yours and what the Father wants to give to you!
Yeshua Feeds Four ThousandContinue reading →