Life in the Wilderness: Initial Salvation, the Trek and Final Victory!

Numbers 21 and the Wilderness Journey: Salvation, Overcoming­ and Victory!

21:4–9, Initial salvation. The bronze serpent on the pole is a prophetic picture of salvation at the cross of Yeshua from the sting of death brought on by sin (John 3:14–15; 1 Cor 15:55–57). This is a picture of the believer’s initial salvation.

21:10–22:1, The wilderness trek. Here is a recounting of the Israelites’ wilderness trek before entering the Promised Land. For the Israelites, this was a time of testing, refining, building of faith, and learning obedience. This is a picture of the spiritual walk of the believer through the wilderness of this physical life.

21:14–35, The wilderness struggle. While crossing the wilderness, the Israelites had to fight and overcome the enemy—that is, those who would keep them from fulfilling their YHVH-ordained destiny to possess the land and inheritance he had promised them. First came the fighting and overcoming, followed by the victories. The life of the believer is one of spiritual struggle, as well, against the world, the flesh and the devil. (See Rom 7:14–25; 2 Cor 10:3–5; Eph 6:10–18.)

21:10, 14–18, Salvation in the  wilderness. Here we read how Israel was refreshed with water from the rock. Isaiah speaks about the wells of salvation (Isa 12:3). There is a springing up of joy and praise (verse 17) that comes as victory is experienced, and as YHVH makes rivers to flow out of seemingly dry and barren situations (verse 18). We, too, are called to come to the rivers of salvation, the river of life and to become a river of life ourselves to all those with whom we come into contact (John 7:37–39). Yeshua is the source of that living water; he is the spiritual Rock and source of water that never runs dry (John 4:10, 13–14; 1 Cor 10:4).


Numbers 21:4–9, Fiery serpent. The plague of fiery serpents was a righteous judgment Elohim brought upon Israel for murmuring and unbelief. Israel had “sharpened their tongues like a serpent” (Ps 140:3) and “their throat [was] an open sepulcher; with their tongues have…used deceit; the poison of asps [was] under their lips” (Rom 3:13). All this was directed at Elohim and Moses. As a result of their sin, they reaped what they had sown. Elohim loosed fiery serpents upon the Israelites to bite and sting to death the unbelieving murmurers.

The wilderness Elohim led the Israelites through was full of fiery serpents and scorpions (Deut 8:15), yet this is the only account in the Torah of these creatures ever attacking Israel. YHVH had protected them to this point, but this one time he pulled back his hand of providential protection and grace allowing them to experience the due recompense of their sinful actions. 

Continue reading
 

The Divorce and Remarriage YHVH the Son and the Deeper Meaning of the Gospel Message

Romans 7:1–6 —The Law of the Husband Explained

How many of us have read the first few verses of Romans chapter seven and assumed that somehow Paul is telling us that we are dead to the entire Torah-law—that we are no longer bound to it, that we no longer have to keep it? Is this what he is really saying? If so, does this mean that it’s now all right to violate the Torah’s prohibitions to steal, lie, murder, commit sexual sins, covet, worship idols, dishonor our parents, take YHVH’s name in vain and worship idols? If not, then what is Paul really saying in this passage—one that is often used by perhaps well-intended but misguided people in an attempt to prove that the Torah-law that YHVH Elohim gave to Moses and the children of Israel has been “done away with”?

To understand what Paul is really saying in Romans 7:1–6, let’s take a trip back into the Torah to understand what he is saying with regard to a specific law that has to do with the marriage covenant which Paul refers to as “the law of her husband” (v. 2), and which law a wife is dead to (v. 4) if her husband dies, and then how this relates prophetically to Yeshua’s death on the cross and the saint. You are to discover a deep truth pertaining to the gospel message that has been hidden in plain sight all along!

In Deuteronomy 24:1–5 we read,

1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her [The Stone Edition Tanach: found in her a matter of immorality; found her offensive in some respect] then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.

3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;

4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before YHVH: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which YHVH your Elohim giveth thee for an inheritance. [Emphasized sections are to be discussed.]

The word uncleanness or immorality is the Hebrew word ervah (Strong’s H6172) which according to The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament refers simply to “nakedness or the resulting shame therefrom.” Strong’s Expanded Concordance adds to this definition: an indecent thing or figuratively the idea of disgrace or blemish. According to Strong’s Concordance this word is used in a various ways in the Tanakh (Old Testament) with reference to shameful sexual exposure or nudity as in the case of unlawful cohabitation (Lev 18:6), or the shame resulting from Israel’s spiritual adultery (Lam 1:8); or any “indecent thing” that represents defilement or uncleanness resulting from the misuse of the physical body (e.g. uncleanness [due to not burying human excrement] in the military camp, or violation of any laws of sexual abstinence, or being in a state of impurity from sexual cohabitation or nocturnal emissions). With regard to Deuteronomy 24:1 Strong’s comments, “ervah appears to bear this emphasis on any violation of the laws of purity—if a groom is dissatisfied with his bride ‘because he hath found some uncleanness in her,’ he may divorce her. Obviously this evidence is not of previous cohabitation, since such a sin merits death (Deut 22:13ff).”

The exact meaning of ervah is of great controversy between scholars. In his commentary on this passage, Jewish Torah scholar Samson Raphael Hirsch says nothing about the subject, although he goes into great detail about the peripheral issues relating to divorce and remarriage, the legalities concerning the bill of divorcement (Heb. get), etc., but not the cause of the divorce in the first place (i.e. the biblical meaning of unclean thing). Likewise, a cursory search of the Mishna on the subject reveals dozens of pages of minute details regarding divorce and remarriage and various attendant subjects, but I could find no legal definitions regarding the meaning of ervah or had how a marriage could be dissolved because a man found ervah in his wife. The meaning of this word and what were indeed grounds for a man to “put his wife away” was a controversy that raged in the first century between the two main Pharisee camps as well (i.e. the Schools of Hillel and Shammai). Even Yeshua weighed in on this controversial subject in Matthew 5:31–32 siding with the more conservative school of Shammai. The meaning of his exact words have fueled theological debates among Christian scholars to this day with regard to what constitutes legal grounds for divorce among believers.

In the simple or literal (Heb. pashat) meaning of this text ervah may or may not be specifically referring to the loss of the bride’s virginity prior to consummation of her marriage with her new husband, since Deuteronomy 24:1 neither specifically states, nor implies that this is the first marriage for both of them. This is underscored by the Torah’s use of the Hebrew word ishah (wife or woman) in verse one as opposed to either the words bethulah or almah both of which lexically have stronger references to a virgin, youthful bride or young maiden as opposed to the more generic term ishah. Therefore, based on the generic meaning of the word ervah (as discussed above) there could be broader meanings as to why the husband was compelled to “put his wife away” (e.g. as for adultery). If this is the case, do we find any example of this elsewhere in Scripture which could give us additional insight into the Hebraic understanding into the meaning of ervah?

Continue reading
 

Luke 9—Nuggets of Wisdom from Yeshua’s Life

Luke 9:1–2, Gave them power. (See also Luke 10:19.) Spiritual power and authority over demons and sickness is manifested in no greater way than when exercised in conjunction with the preaching of the gospel. It is here on the ragged edge between the kingdoms of light and darkness that YHVH wishes especially to demonstrate his power through his servants in an effort to draw outsiders into his spiritual kingdom. Healing from sickness and deliverance from demonic powers is a great enticement for those on the outside to become part of YHVH’s kingdom, where they will experience freedom resulting in joy, peace and hope and eventually eternal life.

Luke 9:28, Eight days. Eight is the biblical number of new beginnings and the symbol for infinity. When Yeshua comes back in power and glory to establish his kingdom universally on this earth of which the transfiguration was a prophetic foreshadow, it will be a new beginning lasting for eternity.

Luke 9:41, Faithless and perverse. Faithlessness and perversity go hand-in-hand with the ability to cast out demons and to heal the sick. To the degree that one is faithful to and has faith in YHVH and his Word and is in sync with it is the degree to which one will be able to exercise power over demon spirits and sickness.

Continue reading
 

Natan’s Notes on Luke Chapter One

Luke 1:6, Righteous…blameless. Zachariah and Elizabeth (Heb. Elishevah) were totally Torah-observant to the point of being blameless in YHVH’s eyes. This confirms Moses’ words in Deut 30:11–14 that Torah-obedience isn’t outside the realm of human possibility as some in the church erroneously teach today.

Luke 1:10, Praying … incense. Incense is not only a biblical metaphor for prayer (Ps 141:2; Rev 5:8; 8:3–5), but in the temple, was actually burned while praying. 

Luke 1:19, Gabriel. Beside this reference, Gabriel is only elsewhere mentioned in Daniel (Dan 8:16; 9:21). Gabriel means “strong, mighty man or warrior of El.” Michael is the only other archangel mentioned in the Scriptures (Dan 10:13, 21 12:21; Jude 9; 12:27).

Luke 1:20, Because you did not believe. There is a lesson for us in YHVH muting the mouth of Zachariah for a season. If the spiritual leaders are unable to believe what YHVH has told them already, how can he give them more revelation—more things to speak and teach about? If we’re not hearing new revelation from Elohim, maybe it’s because we haven’t believed what he has already told us.

Luke 1:28, Blessed are you among women. These words of Gabriel were repeated verbatim in Elizabeth’s prophecy concerning Yeshua (verse 42). Doubtless this was a supernatural confirmation to Mary concerning her role as the mother of the Messiah, for how could her cousin have known what the angel had spoken to her previously?

Continue reading