Have YOU crossed over?

John 1:28, Bethabara beyond the Jordan. John’s discussion with these Jewish leaders occurred “beyond the Jordan” or on the east side of the Jordan River. Bethabara in Hebrew means “house or place of the crossing over” and contains the same three letter root (עבר) as the name Eber, who was the grandfather of Abraham from which the name Hebrews drives. 

John baptizing in the Jordan River was spiritually symbolic of one making the choice, as did Abraham, the father of the Hebrews and the saints’ spiritual father of faith (Gal 3:29), and the one to whom YHVH initially showed the path or pattern of salvation (Romans chapter 4), to cross over from the world (or “Babylon”) and to become a Hebrew. A Hebrew or Ivrit is one  who has crossed over by faith from the world and its religious systems into the Promised Land of one’s spiritual inheritance. 

In the case of John, the priest or cohen, he was baptizing those who were crossing over from a manmade or worldly religious system that had largely become disconnected from the essentials of its Hebraic roots and had become a confused (or Babylonian) mixture of good and evil (as in the tree by that name that was located in the garden) and was no longer a tree of life. 

Baptism was a symbolic act of dying to the world, the flesh and devil by coming out of false religious systems of men and crossing over into deeper, purer and anointed spiritual relationship or walk with Elohim through Yeshua the Mashiach (or anointed one) just as Abraham had done two millennia previously.

Presently, YHVH is calling all of this people to come out of spiritual Babylonian religious harlot systems that are fornicating with the world by becoming like or syncretizing with the it (Rev 18:4) and to cross over into a more Hebraic spiritual orientation in their walk with him. This act along with one’s faith in Yeshua the Hebrew Messiah (John 1:1–18, 29) is a pre-requisite for becoming a child of Elohim (John 1:12).

 

Hebrews 8–9 on the “Old” versus “New” Covenants and the two tabernacles

Hebrews 8

Hebrews 8:2, 5, The true tabernacle…heavenly things. The Tabernacle of Moses was merely an earthly or physical replica of the one that exists in heaven where Yeshua is no ministering as our Great High Priest before the throne of YHVH Elohim the Father (see Heb 9:11, 23–24; Rev 8:3–5; 9:13; 14:17, 18; 16:7, 17; 11:19; 15:5, 6). 

Hebrews 8:6, Better covenant … better promises. (See Heb 9:11–15.) In the Greek, the word better is kreitton meaning “more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous, more excellent.” The Renewed Covenant is a better covenant for the reasons discussed in the notes in verse eight. In 2 Cor 3:7 calls it “the ministry of the Spirit” and refers to it as “more glorious” than the former covenant. The Renewed Covenant comes with Yeshua’s promise that from within our heart the Set-Apart Spirit will empower and lead us into all truth. Moreover, under the Renewed Covenant, the promise of salvation resulting in eternal life in the kingdom of Elohim is spelled out more clearly. The Renewed Covenant also carries with it relief from the penalty of the law, which is death, for those who put their faith in Yeshua’s atoning and substitutionary death (see notes at 2 Cor 3:7). Through the Spirit and blood of Yeshua, one’s sin conscience is now cleansed in that the guilt from sin is removed (Heb 9:14). Also, as discussed in the verse eight notes, the covenant (or contract) is the actual agreement between two parties. The terms and conditions of a covenant (or contract) are something else. Torah was the terms and conditions of YHVH’s agreement between himself and his people. When the author here uses phrase like “better covenant,” this in no way implies that the Torah has been abrogated. If this were true, then this flies in the face of what is said elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua to the contrary (e.g. Matt 5:17–19; Acts 21:24; 24:14; 25:8; Rom 3:31; 7:14; 1 John 2: 3–6; 3:4; Rev 12:17; 14:17; 22:14).

Hebrews 8:8, Finding fault with them. What was the fault of the first covenant? The Torah-law of Elohim, or the people who failed to abide by the terms of the covenant, i.e, the Torah? The next verse gives us the answer: “because they continued not in my covenant…” The Israelites were at fault.

YHVH gave Israel his Torah-laws (or instructions in righteousness) to teach them how to love him and to love their neighbors (Mark 12:29–31). If they followed his Torah-instructions, he promised to bless them (Deut 28:1–14), and declared that all would go well with them (Deut 4:30). Of course, we know the sad history of ancient Israel and how they rebelled against YHVH again and again. There was nothing wrong with his Torah laws, which said, you shall not murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, covet, kidnap, commit homosexuality or incest, worship false gods, take YHVH’s name in vain, keep his Sabbaths, don’t practice divination, honor your parents and so on. What’s wrong with these? Nothing. The fault was with the people who failed to abide by these standards of righteousness, and this is exactly what the author of Hebrews is saying here. Because the people broke their contractual or covenantal agreement with YHVH and literally abandoned him for false gods, he was forced to make a new covenant with other people who would have the heart and love and obey him. This is exactly what Jeremiah prophesied would occur, and the writer of Hebrews is simply quoting Jeremiah in this passage. What is the main difference between the first and second covenants? As the Israelites of old didn’t have the heart to obey YHVH because of the hardness (or carnality) of their hearts (Heb 3:8, 15; 4:2, 7), YHVH promised through Jeremiah to renew his covenant with the descendants of the ancient Israelites (i.e. the house of Israel and the house of Judah, Jer 31:31; Heb 8:8), but this time, by his Spirit, he would write his Torah-laws on their hearts and in their inward parts, so they wouldn’t resist obeying him, but would desire to be pleasing in his sight. So the fault was with the hard-hearted Israelites, not with YHVH standards of righteousness called his Torah-laws!

New covenant. (For a discussion on the etymology behind the phrase new covenant see notes at Matt 26:28.)The (renewed) covenant of Jeremiah 31:31 is the same covenant to which the writer of Hebrews makes reference in Hebrews 8:7–13. From the author’s perspective, the renewed covenant isn’t fully in place yet, and the former covenant is decaying (wearing out), growing old and vanishing away (disappearing). The indication is that it has not totally gone away yet.

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2 Timothy 1 and 2—Spiritual Power and Boldness From Above in Times of Shaking and Uncertainty

Do you sense that the world is going stark raving mad and crazy all around you? That the Antichrist demonic forces of hell and death have been unleashed and are waging a rabidly fierce battle to the death against all that is good as defined by the Bible? The natural human reaction in light of this is either flee or to fight. What should the saint do?

The Bible makes it clear. There is a time to fight and a time to flee. I don’t believe that now is the time for most of us to flee. Where would we flee to anyway? No. We must pray for boldness to preach the gospel as the early saints did in the book of Acts even in the face of life threatening circumstances (Acts 4:23–31).

Hopefully, these commentary notes, which I have just written this morning, will encourage us to do just that. This manna gleaned from the Word of Elohim has definitely encouraged me.

Be blessed and strengthened in Yeshua the Messiah who has overcome sin and death and made us partakers of his victory!

2 Timothy 1

2 Timothy 1:6, Stir up.What in us needs stirring up from time to time? Simply this: boldness to share the gospel with those around us as we discuss in the next verse. 

2 Timothy 1:7, Spirit of fear [Gr. deilia]. Deilia denotes “timidity or cowardice.” The opposite of deilia is shame (v. 8), but shame of what? The context is clear here. It shame of the testimony or gospel of Yeshua and of standing up for those who are being persecuted for preaching the gospel (v. 8). For fear of what others will think, too many believers fail to share the gospel with those around them. Yeshua referred to this as putting one’s lamp under a bushel basket when, instead, he called his disciples to be like light on a hill (Matt 5:13–15) and commissioned them to take the gospel to the world (Matt 28:18–20; Mark 16:14–18). For too many saints, the great commission has become the great omission!

What have the saints to fear when Yeshua has given them the victory over sin and death (1 Cor 15:54–56)? Nay, through Yeshua the Messiah, the saint can do all things (Phil 4:13), and has become more than a conqueror (Rom 8:37), for greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). After all, if Elohim is for us, who can be against us (Rom 8:31)? This means that YHVH will give us the boldness to share the gospel message with those around us, even as he gave the early disciples the boldness to do so when they asked him for it in the face of life threatening persecution (Acts 4:23–31).

Power [Gr. dunamis]…love [Gr. agapē]…sound mind [Gr. sōphronismos]. Dunamis refers to miraculous power or strength. Agape denotes “affection or benevolence” and, in Scripture, refers to the love of Elohim for his Son, for the human race, believers for Yeshua, the saints for one another, and is a fruit of the Spirit.  

Sōphronismos denotes “a well-balanced, self-controlled or disciplined mind.” In other words, YHVH has equipped the saint with everything he needs to counteract the natural tendency toward fear in difficult situations. We have the miraculous power of the Spirit of Elohim working within us, the fruit of the Spirit of love, and a well-balanced and self disciplined mental state that will give in neither to irrational nor to naturally occurring human fear in the face of difficult situations. 

What is Paul saying here in contrast to the spirit of fear or timidity and being ashamed of the testimony of Yeshua (v. 8)? He is declaring that Elohim has given his saints the means, power and ability to share the gospel with those around them and to stand up for the testimony of Yeshua in the face of persecution rather than succumbing to the natural tendency to pull away in timidity or cowardice. 

Elsewhere, John declare that there is no fear in love, that perfect love casts out fear, and that the saint’s source of love is from the Father in heaven (1 John 4:18–19). If we are full of the love of Yeshua for others, then we will neither be afraid of what they think nor will we be ashamed to share the gospel with them, for our desire to see them saved will override all fear including that of criticism, mocking or rejection by others. The example of this can be illustrated by a house that is on fire and that contains sleeping occupants who are unaware of the fire that is about to kill them. Without thinking and in total boldness, a good Samaritan will break into the house, rush in yelling and screaming for the people to wake up and escape. He will do so boldly and without concern for what those in the house may think. In a sense, this should be our approach to those around us who are spiritually lost and in danger of being cast into the lake of fire.

2 Timothy 1:9, Before time began.YHVH Elohim established his plan of salvation for mankind through the redemptive life and death of Yeshua the Messiah before the world began (Rev 17:8; Acts 15:18; Rom 16:25; Tit 1:2; 1 Pet 1:20). Additionally, YHVH has chosen each saint through Yeshua before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:14; Rom 87:29–30; 11:2; Acts 18:38). That is, he knew each person by name who would accept his gift of salvation (Rev 13:8; 17:8) and, by implication, he also knew those who wouldn’t. Moreover, the kingdom of Elohim or heaven has been prepared for the saints from or before the foundation of the world (Matt 25:35).

2 Timothy 1:10, Life [Gr. zoe] and immortality [Gr. aphtharsia]. Zoe refers to life in it all of its aspects both in physical and spiritual dimensions. Aphtharsia denotes “incorruptibility or generally unending existence.” Through Yeshua, the saint has both physical and spiritual life that will extend past the final curtain of physical death and will continue unendingly into eternity. This is the message and power of the gospel in a person’s life through a relationship with Yeshua.

2 Timothy 2 

2 Timothy 2:25–26, Grant them repentance.This verse indicates that sinful humans can’t even repent of sin properly on their own strength. Repentance is a gift that YHVH grants to those who have a heart for it—that they will come to their senses and turn from falling prey to the snares of the devil that have bound them in sin. Moreover, verse 25 indicates that YHVH may or may not grant people this gift. 

Elsewhere we read that YHVH is not willing that anyone should perish, but desires that all men everywhere come to repentance (Acts 17:30; 2 Pet 3:9). From these scriptures, we may conclude that whether YHVH grants the gift of repentance or not depends on whether a person is sick enough of his sin to cry out to YHVH for help in desperation for deliverance. 

This gift of repentance can occur at the beginning of one’s spiritual walk as they are coming to faith, or later down the road when one is repenting of reoccurring sin that, in their own strength, they feel powerless to overcome. 

This gift comes as a result of trusting YHVH completely and not relying on one’s own strength to overcome sin. Faith in Elohim and humility on the part of the sinner is the key that unlocks access to the gift of repentance.

 

Salvation Is a Journey, Not a One Time Event

Deuteronomy 2:31, Begin to possess [the Promised Land]. 

Possession of the Promised Land was a process—a journey, at times a difficult one. This concept is as true for us as much as it was for the children of Israel. The idea in mainstream Christianity that when you receive salvation at the beginning of your spiritual walk and that’s all there is to possessing or entering the kingdom of Elohim is a seriously incomplete one. It doesn’t fit the biblical models or the teachings of the apostolic writers about the need for the believer to persevere and overcome to the end to receive his ultimate eternal inheritance.

When this verse states that Israel“began to possess [the Promised Land],” what does this mean? Why didn’t YHVH give the Promised Land to Israel all at once? What did Israel have to do to “possess” the land? What do we have to do to possess our spiritual inheritance? Does YHVH just hand it to us, or do we have to persevere, overcome and fight for it? 

Leaving Egypt is a picture of a believer’s initial salvation, while entering the Promised Land is a picture of a believer’s ultimate salvation involving his glorification or the redemption of his physical body and being granted eternal inheritance at the resurrection. It’s also a picture of rewards for obedience. Between the time of leaving Egypt and entering the Promised Land, there was a 40 year-long journey, which is a picture of our time as physical humans on this earth with all of its ups and downs, trials, victories and so on.

Much more could be said on this subject as the apostolic writers show us. Suffice it so say, the idea that the mainstream church propagates that receiving salvation is a one time event like getting your ticket punched to a movie theatre, amusement park ride or train station falls woefully short of the biblical truth about walking out a righteous and sanctified life. The failure to understand this has led many people to become discouraged and to fall away spiritually. 

Yes, the initial steps in the process of salvation are relatively easy, but then there’s repenting of sin, learning how to live a sanctified life, becoming obedient to the commands and lordship of Yeshua, overcoming one’s sin nature, and using one’s  spiritual talents to help advance the kingdom of Elohim. All of these are aspects of the redeemed believer’s journey through the wilderness  of life en route the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance, and how we do will help to determine the levels of one’s eternal rewards. All of these things are precursors and steps in the process to actually receiving eternal life and a resurrected glorified body.

The children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and 40 years journey to the Promised Land is a picture of this process and all the steps in between.

The idea that the saint can have it all here and now is not a biblical one, but an ear-tickling message promoted by hireling gospel peddlers and corporate church merchandizers who have something to sell you. Beware of these false and misguided teachers who refuse to tell you the whole truth as presented in the Bible! Let the buyer beware.

 

The Prophetic Significance of the Cities of Refuge and YOU

Numbers 35:11, You shall appoint you cities.

All of the details in the Bible are there for a purpose and have different levels of meaning, application and fulfillment. On a literal or plain (Heb. peshat) level of meaning, the cities of refuge were an important aspect of Israel’s jurisprudence system. But on a symbolic and prophetic (Heb. drash) level, they point to something significant far beyond and above the literal meaning of the biblical text that relates to the salvation of the redeemed believer.

On the literal or peshat level meaning of the text, any person who had murdered someone unintentionally or accidentally could flee to a city of refuge and find a safe haven there until the wheels of justice could properly turn to determine the guilt or innocence of the murderer. The gates of these cities were perpetually open and were never closed to anyone for any reason. Anyone who was not guilty of intentional murder could find refuge there from vengeance by the victim’s family free of the fear of retribution for the duration of the high priest’s life. As long as the high priest was living, the murderer had refuge.

On a prophetic, metaphorical or drash level of understanding, the cross of Yeshua our Savior and Redeemer is that place of refuge for sinners where all can come in search of refuge and justice. At the foot of the cross, the Redeemer’s arms are always open wide to receive us, and the doors of salvation are never closed to anyone who desires it! The Scriptures speak of this.

Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, and I will praise YHVH. This is the gate of YHVH, Through which the righteous shall enter. (Ps 118:19–20)

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

Yeshua is our Great High Priest in heaven who intercedes for sinners in the courtroom of heaven at the right hand of Elohim against Satan who is the accuser of the brethren. As long as Yeshua is alive and on our side as our Heavenly Advocate or Attorney, the saint has nothing to fear regardless of one’s past sins (Heb 8:1; 1 John 2:1).

Have you sought refuge at the foot of the cross, in the arms of Yeshua? Have you repented of and turned from your sins (i.e. violation of the Torah, see 1 John 3:4)? Has Yeshua the Messiah (as prophetically prefigured by the anointed high priest in Num 35:25) upon his death become your Savior or Redeemer and Lord or Master? Does he through his word and by the guiding influence of his Set-Apart Spirit or Ruach HaKodesh guide every aspect of your life including all of your words, thoughts and deeds? Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev 21:27)? 

If you have surrendered to Yeshua and said, “yes” to your Savior, then how do you know that you have been saved from your sins? What are the fruits in your life that are evidence that your are set-apart or kadosh and consecrated unto YHVH, that you have passed from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, and that your heart, mind and life have been transformed? Yeshua said that by the fruits that our lives produce we will be known (Matt 7:15–20). The evidence of salvation are the fruit of the Spirit evidenced in a person’s life.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22–25)

 

Are YOU a spiritual mountain climber or a lowland camper-outer?

2 Corinthians 3:11, Passing away. This is not a reference to the Torah-law itself, but to the old or former covenant (i.e. the agreement or contract YHVH and Israel made with each other) as it phases into the new or renewed covenant. Yeshua initiated the new covenant at his last supper, but it will be finalized with the two houses of Israel (see Jer 31:31, 33 and Heb 8:8) at his second coming when the two sticks or houses of Israel are reunited (see Ezek 37:15–27) at which time he will finalize the new covenant with a reunited Israel (v. 26; see also Isa 54:10; 55:3; 59:21; Ezek 34:25; Jer 32:40; 50:5; Hos 2:18–23). We are presently in the intermediate phase between the two covenants. To view it differently, Yeshua betrothed himself to his spiritual bride (redeemed Israel, spiritual Israel or the Israel of Elohim, see Gal 6:16) at his last supper, but will marry her at his second coming. The saints who are now in Yeshua are under the new covenant as the betrothed bride of Yeshua, but all Israel will be brought into the new covenant at his second coming at which time he will finalize the covenant that he initiated with his disciples before his death.

Attaining Spiritual Maturity in the New Covenant—On Being a Spiritual Mountain Climber

This manna from heaven was revealed and downloaded to Natan in the back country of Alaska while sitting, Bible in hand, prayerfully, overlooking Little Port Walter on Baronov Island [75 miles SE of Sitka], and while on a boat in the Pacific Ocean in the Chatham Straights between Baronov and Admiralty islands.

On Being Spiritual Mountain Climbers

The beginning of the upward spiritual journey of YHVH’s people is memorialized in the counting of the omer, which starts on First Fruits Day occurring during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and culminates fifty days later with the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Heb. Shavuot; Lev 23:4–16). Each new step in this journey is a stepping stone or a launch pad to the next. For the Israelites, the journey started at sea level in the flat-land river delta of Egypt (a metaphor for this world, Satan and death) and then continues climbing higher and higher until it reaches heaven itself—the abode of Elohim.

From the time that YHVH revealed himself to the children of Israel while they were enslaved in Egypt, he has been calling his people to be spiritual mountain climbers. He first called the Israelites out of Egypt and up to Mount Sinai, and then up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem. He then called his people to come even higher yet to the upper room on the day of Pentecost, and he is now calling his people to come up even higher to the New Jerusalem that is above us and is the mother of us all. This highest mountain of YHVH is the ultimate source of our spiritual sustenance, the source of the river of life along which the trees of life are situated. From this spiritual wellspring comes all divine revelation and ultimately immortal life as children of the Most High.

The problem is that most people only climb so far in their spiritual journey and then stop, or they grow weary along the way or become comfortably complacent at the level they have thus far attained and never move past that spot. This is dangerous! 

Natan and his sons on the summit of Oregon’s Mount Hood on a recent climb.

To not move forward spiritually is to stagnate and to die. YHVH wants a people that are on the move, who will obediently follow him wherever he leads, and not stop and park along the way only to construct their religious monuments with their fossilized customs, rituals and traditions. Heaven is a long way above the earthly plane, and YHVH wants children who will seek him no matter what, who have a heart to follow him no matter where, and no matter the cost. Although eternal life is a free gift from heaven, it won’t be given easily. It costs nothing, but, at the same time, it costs everything! Man must be willing to sacrifice his all—to lose his earthly life—to gain eternal life. YHVH refuses to give out his priceless gift of eternal life willy-nilly to anyone and everyone! YHVH requires that his saints be determined, tough and gritty mountain climbers who refuse to give up until that summit is reached. He has no pleasure in those who turn back, or refuse to go on. Only those who doggedly overcome the world, the flesh and the devil remaining lovingly loyal and obedient to him will receive the highest reward he has to offer.

The Spirit Versus the a Letter of the Law—the Two Covenants

Let’s now explore what it is to climb the mountains that YHVH has placed before us to ascertain where we are at on the journey and how far we have to go to reach the ultimate summit.

In 2 Corinthians 3:1–18 we read,

1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of the Messiah, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living Elohim, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 4 And we have such trust through the Messiah toward Elohim. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from Elohim, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away [brought to an end, ESV; Gr. katargeo], 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away [Gr. katargeo] was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech­ — 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away [Gr. katargeo]. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in the Messiah. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Let’s now explain this passage to understand better the transition between the “old” and “new” covenants and the differences between the two. 

  • Verse 7, Was passing away [NKJV]/brought to and end [ESV], This phrase is the Greek word katargeo meaning “to render idle or useless, to vanish, to abolish, to put away, to make of none effect.” What was brought to an end or rendered idle? Hold that question in your mind. We will answer it below.
  • Verse 5, Ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. What Paul is saying here that believers in Yeshua must mature from just a letter-of-the-law orientation in their spiritual walk, to both a letter- and spirit-of-the-law orientation. We know that the letter of the Torah has not been done away with or passed away because Yeshua says so in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5–7), where he teaches, for example, that not only murder (the letter of the law is forbidden), but also hatred for a person (the spirit of the law). He says the same about adultery and lust and so on. We know that this is what Paul believed and taught because he elsewhere instructed us to follow or imitate Yeshua as he did (1 Cor 11:1).
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Why does there need to be the shedding of blood for the atonement of sin?

Numbers 31:50, Make atonement. 

What is the big deal about the concept of vicarious atonement, that is, someone dying in another persons’s place to repair a wrong or an injury? Does the really need to be the shedding of blood for the antonement of sin? This is a concept shared only by Christianity and no other major religions in the world including Judaism. The Christians are always making a big deal about “the cross” and “Jesus dying for our sins,” or “Jesus paying for our sins.” Is this a biblical concept or some idea of man to put people under bondage to some ancient religious and irrational superstition? Knowing the answer to this question is a matter of life and death.

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

In this verse 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?

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 related to the blood of Yeshua, the Lamb of YHVH, being shed for the remission of man’s sins, which is the means through which reconciliation between Elohim and man occurs. In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), however, the idea of atonement is somewhat broader and at times more generalized in scope. Herein lies the confusion and the misconceived disparity between the Former (Old) and Latter (New) Testaments or Covenants. Are they in opposition to one another, or is the latter the logical outgrowth of the former and compliments or ­elucidates the former?

The Hebrew word for atonement is kapar. A verb, it means “to make an atonement, make reconciliation, purge. In its noun form, kapar means a ransom, gift, to secure favor”(see Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament [or TWOT], word 1023). Kapar also means “to cover over”and is the same Hebrew word meaning “to cover or smear with pitch”as in caulking the seams of a wooden ship so that it becomes waterproof (see Brown-Driver-Briggs H3722). Our English words cap (as well as the Hebrew kipah, which is a small hemispherical hat that many religious Jewish men wear)and cover are related etymologically to kapar (see The Word—The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Source of Our English, by Isaac E. Mozeson). 

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