Acts 17—Natan’s Commentary Notes: Confronting the Modern Philosophers

Acts 17

Acts 17:6, Turned the world upside down. Can it be said of us that we have turned the world around us upside down for Yeshua with the message of the gospel? Has the reputation that we are “Bible thumpers” and “Jesus freaks” preceded us as it did these saints in the book of Acts? Are we, as they were, persecuted and badly treated because of the witness of our faith?

Acts 17:11, Searched the Scriptures daily. Let us not forget that the only Scriptures the saints at this time was the Tanakh or Old Testament, which, in itself, contains the entire gospel message and all that humans need for salvation. The Testimony of Yeshua or New Testament is simply “frosting on the cake” in that it merely confirms the Truth of the Tanakh and is the only divinely inspired commentary on the Tankah.

Acts 17:17, Reasoned [discussed or disputed]…in the marketplace. What is our modern market place? With whom in the public arena are we discussing the gospel on a regular basis? Are we being lights on a hill and being salt and light to the world as Yeshua instructed? Let’s be honest. There is always room for improvement in our fulfilling Yeshua’s command, known as the great commission, to go ye therefore into all the world and to preach the gospel.

Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. The missionary minded saints of Athens placed themselves in the marketplace of ideas where they reasoned or disputed with the proponents of the leading philosophies of the day including Epicureanism and Stoicism. By that day, belief of divine influence (i.e. god and goddess worship) was waning and humanistic philosophies involving individualistic paths of spirituality were the fad of the day that were replacing organized religion and the superstitious belief systems that accompanied religious systems. This is not unlike our day where church attendance is down and people are seeking spiritual alternatives to fill the void that irreligious lifestyles and secular mindsets leaves in their wake. The saints’ response to this religious confusion in society was to preach the gospel and to reason with those who were lost and confused. 

In light of this present societal condition, what is the evangelistically mind saint supposed to do?

Before answering this question, an issue first needs to be discussed. A problem exists in our day that did not exist in the days of the first century believers. The secular Greeks had never heard the gospel message before, and so it was a new and potentially exciting philosophy. We, now, are confronted with the reality that most people have heard of Christianity, about the Christian church and know something about the gospel, even though it may only be a sparse tidbit of information or some twisted caricature of the truth. Nevertheless, most people, based on this scanty or misguided perception, have chosen to reject the message of Yeshua the Messiah, and so preaching the gospel to those who have wilfully closed and hardened their hearts and minds to the good news provides a challenge to those seeking to fulfill the great commission of Yeshua to preach the gospel to the world.

Upon closer look, the philosophies of ancient Greece are not all that dissimilar than many of the prevailing and popular spiritual and philosophical paths that people are following in our day. For example, Epicureanism was a philosophy that sought to enjoy this physical life to the fullest without going to extremes. It championed the idea of self-fulfillment and trying to be a basically good person, while, at the same time, indulging the physical senses and satiating the basic pleasures of the flesh. Does that not sound like a lot of people we know who try to live a good life while having fun and refusing to be constrained by the strict and rather archaic values and morals of the Bible? Its chief competitor was Stoicism, which can be summed up as rolling with the punches while trying to be a good person. Let’s look at these philosophies a little closer and then compare them with what we see going on around us today.

“Epicureanism is a system of philosophy founded around 307 BC based upon the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus. Epicureanism was originally a challenge to Platonism. Later its main opponent became Stoicism… Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention. Following the Cyrenaic philosopher Aristippus, Epicurus believed that the greatest good was to seek modest, sustainable pleasure in the form of a state of ataraxia (tranquility and freedom from fear) and aponia (the absence of bodily pain) through knowledge of the workings of the world and limiting desires. Correspondingly, Epicurus and his followers generally withdrew from politics because it could lead to frustrations and ambitions which can directly conflict with the Epicurean pursuit for peace of mind and virtues…Although Epicureanism is a form of hedonism insofar as it declares pleasure to be its sole intrinsic goal, the concept that the absence of pain and fear constitutes the greatest pleasure, and its advocacy of a simple life, make it very different from “hedonism” as colloquially understood…Epicureanism flourished in the Late Hellenistic era and during the Roman era, and many Epicurean communities were established, such as those in Antiochia, Alexandria, Rhodes, and Herculaneum. By the late 3rd century CE Epicureanism all but died out, being opposed by other philosophies (mainly Neoplatonism)” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicureanism).

The other prevailing Greek philosophy was Stocism. This philosophy is also alive and well in our day, even as Epicreanism is. Defined, “Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or by the fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly. The Stoics are especially known for teaching that “virtue is the only good” for human beings, and those external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves (adiaphora), but have value as “material for virtue to act upon”. Alongside Aristotelian ethics, the Stoic tradition forms one of the major founding approaches to virtue ethics. The Stoics also held that certain destructive emotions resulted from errors of judgment, and they believed people should aim to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is “in accordance with nature”. Because of this, the Stoics thought the best indication of an individual’s philosophy was not what a person said but how a person behaved. To live a good life, one had to understand the rules of the natural order since they thought everything was rooted in nature” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism).

As we can see, the influences of Epicureanism and Stoicism are still with us today. Should we be surprised? After all, there is nothing new under the sun!

So now returning to our original question, what is the saint to do in light of the societal trend to abandon the Christian religion, church and biblical values for any one of a number of popularly trending philosophies or admixtures thereof that are bobbing about on the seas of human ideas and vicissitudes? The bottom line is that in reality nothing has changed. Humans are still humans. They are still sin-bent, still have a hunger for spirituality, while at the same time rebelliously disinclined to submit to the instructions and laws of the Creator as found in the Bible. At the same time, Yeshua’s marching orders to his disciples have never changed: preach the gospel message of hope and love, be salt and light to those around us, love one another and those around us by manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, lift up the name of Yeshua and the message of the cross, and be a spiritual seed planter wherever one goes. Let YHVH through his Spirit do the watering and fertilizing of that seed by convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. YHVH will bring in the harvest to his kingdom how and when he wants. It is our job to be our Father’s business and to leave the rest to him.

Acts 17:24–32, Paul’s model for one-on-one evangelism. In Paul’s encounter with the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill, he uses the five step evangelistic approach that Yeshua used as recorded in his encounter with the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17–22). This five-step approach is as follows:

  • Paul first establishes the character and nature of the one true YHVH Elohim who is the Creator of all things and man should seek him, for man owes all to him (vv. 24–28). 
  • Then Paul shows how the Greeks have not been following the true Elohim, but have been sinning by worshiping false gods (i.e. idolatry), which is a violation of the Torah (v. 29).
  • Next, Paul further alludes to the Torah by establishing that Elohim’s divine nature or character (which is revealed in the Torah) transcends idols, material possessions or anything else devised by men whether artistic or philosophical in nature (v. 29). These things were the chief false gods of the ancient Greeks, for which Paul was taking them to task.
  • Paul then tells the Greeks that Elohim is calling men to repentance for ignorantly following man-made idols and philosophies, (which is sin, or Torahlessness, 1 John 3:4) (vv. 30–31).
  • After this, Paul points the Greeks to Yeshua (vv. 30–31). 

From this evangelistic encounter, Paul gained some converts (v. 34).

 

Leviticus 16—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Leviticus 16:1–34, Passover and the Day of Atonement compared. A cursory reading of the Scriptures seems to indicate that there exists overlapping similarities between some of the blood atonement ceremonies of Passover or Pesach and the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. What are the differences between the sin atonement offerings of Pesach and Yom Kippur

Perhaps realizing the fact that the Passover occurs during the spring feast day season and the Day of Atonement occurs during the fall feast day season may help to answer this question. This is because prophetically the spring feast days picture Messiah Yeshua’s first coming, while the fall feast days prophetically point to his second coming. How does this understanding shed light on the answer to this question? 

Both Pesach and Yom Kippur picture redemption through the shed blood of Yeshua, that is, the saint being delivered from bondage to sin and the rudiments of this world. Passover symbolizes the first steps a new believer takes when coming out of spiritual Egypt and accepting Yeshua, the Lamb of YHVH, as one’s Savior and Master. Yom Kippur, on the other hand, pictures the blood of the Lamb covering over the saint’ sins after his initial salvation experience and the corporate sins of the nation of Israel. 

If our understanding of the order of end time events is correct, Yom Kippur also prophetically points to the time when Yeshua will return to the earth to initiate the final regathering of the lost and scattered tribes of Israel, and to prepare to marry his bride, redeemed Israel or the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16), that is, the saints. Perhaps this latter understanding will help to answer why another Passover-like feast is needed. Yom Kippur does not focus so much on leaving Egypt, but rather on YHVH’s people preparing to enter the millennial kingdom under the Messiah. Those saints who will be the betrothed bride of Yeshua need to make themselves ready for Yeshua’s return by putting on spiritual robes of righteousness that are spotless and pure. Although the bride of Messiah saints are not sinners by definition, for the Bible calls them “the righteous” (1 Pet 4:18), they still sin (hopefully only occasionally; 1 John 1:8–9; Rom 7:13–25), and still need to have their sins washed away by the blood of Yeshua, even just before they meet Yeshua at his return. Yom Kippur pictures this final redemptive cleansing or preparation time of Yeshua’s bride.

Understanding the Yom Kippur Goat Rituals

Understanding and interpreting the rituals of Leviticus 16 can be perplexing and complicated task. This is because often encrypted in certain scriptural passages the deep and open-minded Bible student will find multiple levels of meaning and prophetic fulfillments. The serious biblical researcher understands this and is not put off by any seeming discrepancies between a surface or literal fulfillment of a scripture vis-à-vis its prophetic fulfillment. An example of this would be the virgin and child prophecy of Isaiah 7. There was both a historical or immediate fulfillment of this prophecy and a future one relating to the coming Messiah. 

Moreover, we must keep something else in mind when dealing with biblical passages that are difficult to understand because they contain figurative language of a prophetic nature that often employ typologies (types and shadows). By definition, a type is a person or thing that represents someone or something else. When dealing with prophetic types in Scripture, the type never perfectly mirrors that to which it is prophetically pointing. The type is merely a shadow of what is to come (Col 2:17; Heb 10:1; 8:5), and therefore it is neither a perfect representation of the reality nor its there a perfect one-to-one correlation between the two. However, there are enough similarities to deduce a correlation between the two, even as a shadow is the shape and outline of the image it represents, but it doesn’t contain all the details of it.

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The Protocols for Coming Into the Presence of the Almighty Creator

Leviticus 16:1–31 Explained

How do humans come into the presence of YHVH Elohim? There is one proper way to do so, and many improper ways. The Torah’s discussion pertaining to the rituals associated with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) reveal to us what the proper protocol is and also alludes to the fact that there is an improper way to approach the Almighty Creator as well—something which brings disastrous results. We see an example of this in the case of Nadab and Abihu.

Now YHVH spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before YHVH, and died… (Lev 16:1)

Elohim killed Nadab and Abihu because they came into the holy of holies in the Tabernacle of Moses (a representation of Elohim’s heavenly throne room) in a careless and indifferent manner. Not only does the Torah indicate that they intoxicated with alcohol, but they failed to follow the proper ceremonial protocols outlined by YHVH Elohim to come into his presence. The next few verses lay out what those protocols are to come before the King of the universe. To not follow those protocols brings the death penalty on the person. Such a person is entering illegally as an unauthorized trespasser.

Before exploring how to enter the presence of Elohim properly, let’s bring this abstract concept down to a level we can understand. For example, who hasn’t seen signs on private property that say something like this: “Private Property, No Trespassing,” “Government Property, No Trespassing,” “Unauthorized Entrance Prohibited,” “Violators Will Be Prosecuted to the Full Extent of the Law,” or “Violators Will Be Shot”? What happens to an uninvited intruder who climbs over the fence around the White House or over the walls of Buckingham Palace? Likely, they will be arrested if not shot on the spot. Similarly, there are penalties for coming into the throne room of the Almighty YHVH Elohim illegally.

…and YHVH said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. (Lev 16:2)

YHVH Elohim does not allow humans to casually saunter into his presence anytime and in any manner they want. Though Elohim is our loving Heavenly Father, he is holy (set-apart) and is the Creator of the Universe who is to be feared and respected (Heb 12:28), and he is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). He has the power of life and death; he gives life and can take it away (Matt 10:28). Humans (especially Christians) would do well to know their place before the Almighty, to treat him with the respect he is due and to follow his instructions in all areas of their relationship with him. Indeed, YHVH wants humans to come before him, but in the proper way.

It is utter foolishness and hubris on the part of humans to ignore the clear commands and instructions of Elohim. Nadab and Abihu found out the hard way; their folly cost them their lives. There are no theologies regardless of the respectability or age of the religious institution or denomination or the erudition of the biblical scholars that invented them that can circumvent the clear instructions of YHVH Elohim. Phrases one often hears mainstream church leaders quote with regard to the laws of the Almighty such as “It has been done away with,” “It has been nailed to the cross,” “We’re under grace now, not under the law,” “That was for the Jews,” “Jesus fulfilled that for me, so I’m not required to do that” and so on will not pass muster with Elohim. He makes the rules, his rules do not change, and humans would do well to remember that. For those who take the commands of Elohim casually more as suggestions, remember Nadab and Abihu! “That was under the old covenant, we’re under the dispensation of grace now,” one might say in objection. My reply? Well, then consider the case of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts whom Elohim struck down for lying to the apostles and the Set-Apart Spirit (Acts 5:1–11)!

So what is the first rule of protocol for coming into the presence of YHVH Elohim?

Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. (Lev 16:3)

Without humans acknowledging that they are sinners, they cannot come into the presence of Elohim. What’s more, they must bring the proper sin offering—a perfect bull or ram. Only by the shedding of blood can man’s sins be atoned for. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Until a person’s sins have been atoned for through the shedding of blood, one is not allowed into the presence of Elohim. Period! There are no religious rituals of man, no mantras, no amount of prayers, begging or pleading, no ascetic exercises, no formulas, no incantations, no drug induced altered states of consciousness, no conjured spells, no abracadabra mumbo jumbo words, no wishful thinking, no amount of good thoughts, no self-made or designer spiritual paths or anything else that can bring us into the presence of the Almighty. There is only one way to the Father in heaven and that is through the blood of Yeshua the Messiah, the Lamb of Elohim, who paid the price for each person’s sins (Acts 4:12; Matt 1:21; Mark 16:15–16; John 3:36; 14:6; 1 Tim 2:5–6; 1 John 5:11–12). The sacrificed animals in this chapter are prophetic foreshadows pointing to Yeshua’s death on the cross as a payment for each person’s sin penalty. As no one could come into the Tabernacle of Moses except by following the proper protocols involving sacrifices and the cleansing rituals associated therewith, even so, no one is allowed into the presence of Elohim except through the sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah.

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Acts 15 Explained As You’ve Never Heard It Before

Acts 15

Acts 15:1, Custom of Moses. What is the “custom” or “manner” of Moses as mentioned in Acts 15:1? Likely it is the Torah principle that circumcision of both the flesh and the heart is a requirement for citizenship in the nation of Israel. However, the latter takes precedence over and is at a higher spiritual level than the former, as we will now discuss.

The Torah-law requires physical circumcision of males, who the spiritual heads of their families as a ritual signifying sanctification (or being set apart or being separated) from the carnal rudiments of this world, the flesh and the devil. When the father, as the spiritual representative and head of his family, was physically circumcised, it is as if his whole family (including the females) were circumcised as well. 

But physical circumcision as Scripture, including the Torah, teaches is but a step toward and points to the higher principle of heart circumcision, which all people (both male and female) must undergo if they are to be part of the “Israel of Elohim” (Gal 6:16), which is comprised of both Jews and non-Jews, who have been grafted into the olive tree of Israel (Rom 11:11–32) and are not part of the nation of Israel through Yeshua the Messiah and are no longer Gentiles (in a spiritual sense; Eph 2:11–19). 

So the overall principle of circumcision comes from the YHVH Elohim. How it was specifically implemented and applied in daily life, or the exact details of how the law of circumcision was walked out, is specific to the era in which the people of Elohim lived. This is a fundamental distinction between the basic, eternal and over-arching principles of the Elohim’s Torah-law compared to “the law of Moses.” The principles of the former are for all time and for all people, while the latter are the specifics of how those principles were applied in the daily lives of a particular people at a particular time—in this case, the children of Israel who had a physical nation governed by many laws (i.e. the law of Moses) specific to that situation. In the case of physical circumcision, it was a physical proof of citizenship, like a passport, that one actually wore on one’s body. Since there is no longer a physical nation of Israel as in ancient times,  this specific law is not applicable in the same way as it was then; however, the higher principle of heart circumcision still applies today and includes both males and females. 

Another example of a literal Torah principle that does not apply to us today is the Torah’s ox in a ditch rule. Today, how many of us now use an ox for work or transpiration? Obviously we do not, but the principle of the pulling an ox out of the ditch on the Sabbath day still applies to us but in a different way, even though most of us have never even seen an ox much less own or use one. This principle allows us to help someone in need, or to perform emergency word on the Sabbath, which would otherwise be a violation of the biblical law to rest on that day. The eternal principles of the Torah, like the laws of circumcision and ox in the ditch, never change, but exactly how these principles are applied may vary from one generation and culture to another. 

This concept is very different than what the Christian church teaches about the law of Moses, which they say was “fulfilled” by Yeshua, which they take to mean was “done away with” or abrogated, so that we no longer have to do it. This concept, of course, is fundamentally flawed and illogical and is patently absurd, since it violates countless Scripture from one end of the Bible to the other that specifically uphold the validity of the Torah for all believers for all time. If the Torah was in fact been “done away with,” as the church teaches, then it logically follows that it is now permissible to murder, lie, have sex with animals, not have to tithe to your church, be a homosexual, etc., etc. Of course, this is patently ridiculous, yet this is, in essence, shows the logical fallacy of what church teaches with regard to the Torah-law of Elohim.

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How to Prepare YOURSELF for Passover

Passover is just around the corner. It is the first step in YHVH Elohim’s plan of salvation or redemption of sinful humans to reconcile fallen man back to him. Did you ever wonder how this process really works?

There is never a better time to begin repenting of sin and getting under the blood of the Lamb of Elohim than just before Passover. As the children of Israel applied the lamb’s blood to the door posts and lintels of their house, so we must apply the sin-cleansing and Satan-defeating blood of Yeshua afresh to our lives (i.e. to our thoughts as represented by the door lintel and to our hands or actions as represented by the door posts). Cleansing of our sin occurs as we repent of our sins, and pray for and receive YHVH’s forgiveness. He will then cover our sins over or wash away our sins by Yeshua’s blood (1 John 1:9; Rev 1:5).

In Egypt at Passover time, YHVH judged all those who had failed to put the lamb’s blood on the door posts of their houses. In other words, they weren’t under the blood of the lamb, but were still under the penalty of sin, which is death (Ezek 18:4; Rom 6:23). Any unrepented of sin in our lives brings the curse of death on us. To the degree that we have sin in our lives is the degree to which the spirit of death has a legal claim on us. Now is the time to repent of sin by confessing it and seeking Elohim’s forgiveness under the blood of Yeshua and then forsaking that sin through YHVH’s grace (1 John 1:9). 

Let us now discover the miraculous process of how to overcome sin in more detail through a spiritual magnifying glass. How do we go from being a lost sinner—the walking damned or the living dead—to becoming the glorified and immortalized children of Elohim?

It works like this: When we confess and repent of our sins, Yeshua will pass over or forgive us of our past sins (Rom 3:25; Ps 103:8–12). From this point forward, it is up to us to embrace a new mindset and a new spiritual identity and reality; that is, we must reckon our old sinful man as having been crucified with Yeshua, in that we are now dead to sin, no longer slaves to sin, freed from the power of sin, and alive to Elohim in Yeshua our Lord (Rom 6:7–11). Yeshua is the one who victoriously defeated the power or sting of sin, which is death, hell and the grave at the cross and through his resurrection (1 Cor 15:56–57; Col 2:13–15). Through our faith in him and our legal identification with his death, burial and resurrection through the symbolic ritual of baptism for the remission of sine, his victory is legally applied to us by the courts of heaven, which is how he has made us more than conquerors over sin and death (Rom 8:37; 6:1–14) such that the power of sin and death will no longer have dominion over us (Rom 6:12–14).  He now gives us strength through his enabling and empowering grace to resist and overcome sin, that is, to not let sin control us any longer (Rom 6:12). He promises to give us a new, circumcised heart as he writes his laws or commandments on our hearts, so that we will be supernaturally inclined to love him by keeping his commandments (Jer 31:33; 24:7; Heb 8:10; 10:16; Ezek 36:25–27; Isa 51:7; Ps 40:8; 37:31; Deut 30:6; John 14:12 cp. Rom 7:22). What is that supernatural power that works in us to help keep us from sinning? It the Spirit of Elohim or the Comforter that Yeshua promised would come along side of us to aid us in the process of overcoming sin (John 14:16–18, 25–26; 15:26–27; 16:7–14). 

To summarize, this whole supernatural and miraculous process of being victorious over sin is activated when we first acknowledge our sin, confess our sin, repent of our sin and then place our faith in Yeshua’s death and burial. This occurs when we appropriate or reckon, by faith, our old sinful man to have been crucified with Yeshua, and then been resurrected in the newness of spiritual life with him. We now embrace the new identity that he has given us—a spiritual reality that he has imparted to us and has been legally recorded in heaven (Col 2:14)—that we are a new creation and are victorious over sin (Gal 2:20; 2 Cor 5:17), and have become Spirit-begotten children of Elohim. This whole process is summarized from beginning to end in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans chapters six through eight. The end result, if we continue in a right spiritual relationship with Yeshua the Messiah for the rest of our lives, is that our names will be recorded in Elohim’s Book of Life, and our physical bodies will be glorified—we will be given immortality—at the resurrection of the righteous dead, which occurs at the second coming of Yeshua. 

This whole process or chain of events that transforms sinful humans into glorified and immortal children of Elohim begins at Passover which symbolizes the first steps a person takes when he comes to faith in Yeshua the Messiah.

Here are some things of which to repent: 

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Exploring the Tabernacle of Moses Continued

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.

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Salvation—What Is It and Do You Have It? (explained simply as YOU have never heard it before)

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). 

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