Rebutting the Entitlement Mentality in the Church

Who me???

Exodus 19:10, Consecrate them today. 

How to Come Into the Presence of YHVH Elohim

How did Israel, as a bride-to-be, prepare herself to meet with YHVH? How are YHVH’s people now to be preparing themselves for their spiritual marriage with Yeshua? (Compare Exodus 19:10 with Revelation 19:7–9.) What is the righteousness of the saints (mentioned in Rev 19:8)? Righteousness is defined in Psalms 119:172 as, “…all thy [Torah] commandments are righteousness.” If what the Scriptures define as righteousness (i.e. the Torah) was “nailed to the cross,” as is popularly taught, then who is in error? The Scriptures or those who teach against YHVH’s Torah laws? 

Why it important to ask these questions? Simply because popular religious notions as taught by respected religious leaders often get lodged into the thinking of well-meaning people, who then need to ask themselves whether these notions line up with Scripture or not (see 1 Thess 5:21 cp. Acts 17:11). As the serious Bible student will soon discover, often what is taught in churches does not line up with the Word of Elohim. By studying the Bible assiduously, including the lives of those who have gone before us as recorded in Scripture, the Word of Elohim, including the chronicles of the lives of those recorded within its pages, can become a mirror in which we can view our own lives. Let us now pursue this trail to see where it leads.

Discussion A. Why is it essential to study the example of the children of Israel preparing themselves to come into the presence of YHVH in Exodus 19? After all, if Yeshua did it all for us, we can just come boldly before the Father’s throne anytime, anyway we want, right (Heb 4:16)?

Let’s explore this concept a little to see what the Bible has to say about it.

Paul says in I Corinthians 10:11,

Now all these things happened to them [i.e. the children of Israel] as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (See also Rom 15:4.)

The writer of Hebrews has something similar to say in his prefatory remarks to his statement in Hebrews 4:16 about coming boldly before the throne of YHVH through the merits of the sinless righteousness of Yeshua our High Priest. In the preceding several verses, the author draws upon the example of the children of Israel (Heb 4:1–10) as an example for us not to follow. They were a faithless and disobedient lot in that they rebelled against the Torah-word of Elohim.

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Who and what is a priest? YOU?!

Genesis 14:8, Priest. (Heb.cohen). The Meaning of the Term Cohen Explored. This is the first occurrence of this Hebrew word in Scripture. According to The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (or The TWOT), the exact etymological meaning of cohen is unknown since it underlying verbal root does not appear in the Tanakh. 

However, in light of the usage of the word cohen in the Bible, the verbal root is assumed to mean “serving as minister.” This is because the Bible uses cohen not only in reference to those who served in ecclesiastically (as in the Levitical priesthood), but also those who were the first born (or patriarchal) and spiritual heads of their families (Exod 19:22). A cohen could also refer to non-Levitical spiritual ministers (e.g. Melchizekek in Gen 14:8 and Jethro in Exod 2:16; 18:1). The word was also used of those holding ministry offices in a secular or civil government (1 Kgs 4:5; 20:26; 1 Chron 18:16, 17). Truthfully, it is not known whether some of these government officials were actual descendant of Aaron or not such as Ira the Jairite, who was David’s chief minister or cohen (2 Sam 20:26). In at least one case, cohen is used in reference to the sons of King David who served as officials in his administration (2 Sam 8:18), although, as The TWOT points out, the Hebrew of the MS may be in error since the LXX fails to include the term cohen in this verse. 

Moreover, in a sense, all Israel were priests (Exod 19:6), or at least that was to be their spiritual destiny presuming they served YHVH faithfully and did not forget his Torah-law (Hos 4:6). The Bible’s looser designation of the term priest to include non-Levites, and eventually and potentially all Israelites prefigures the eventual royal priesthood of all believers as predicted in Exodus 19:6 and Isaiah 66:21 and was carried forth to its prophetic fulfillment by the apostolic writers to include all Israelites (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). who are “the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16).


Below is an article that I wrote nearly 20 years ago as I was just starting out as a congregational pastor. This was one of the first article that I wrote and published on our near Hoshana Rabbah website. It is still as relevant now as it was then, for the Word of Elohim is timeless, his Truth and standards of righteousness never change and human nature remains the same.

If Yeshua Calls You a Priest, Then Act Like One!

Scripture reveals that the saints are to be a holy or set-apart (kadosh) priesthood, not a profane (worldly and polluted) one. Which are you? Kadosh or profane?

YHVH Is Preparing His Saints to Be a Kingdom of Priests

In the Bible, YHVH declared that it was the destiny of the Israelite nation to become a kingdom of priests (Exod 19:6). As such, he commissioned them to become a light to the heathen nations around them and to lead them to YHVH—the one true Elohim (Deut 4:6–8). This is why YHVH in his sovereignty positioned the nation of Israel at the crossroads of the major trade routes of the ancient world—between three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. Israel did not fulfill this prophetic destiny because of sin and rebellion. They desired to conform their lives to the standards of the wicked nations around them rather than conform to YHVH’s standards of righteousness as revealed in the Torah-law. 

Those who come to faith in Yeshua the Messiah become children of Abraham and are thus Israelites (Rom 4:16; 9:8-11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28-29) who have been grafted in to the olive tree of Israel (Rom 11:11–32); they are the current “Israel of Elohim” (Gal 6:16). Ancient Israel never fulfilled its divine calling to be a kingdom of priests and a light to the nations of the world. YHVH’s calling and purposes for Israel are without repentance (Rom. 11:29). What ancient Israel failed to accomplish because of disobedience, rebellion and faithlessness will be left to grafted in Israel—the one new man in Yeshua the Messiah—to accomplish. Yeshua commissioned his disciples to preach the good news (or gospel) of the kingdom of Elohim to the world (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). But more than that, his disciples were to become that kingdom of priests that ancient Israel missed the opportunity to become.

We read in the Testimony of Yeshua (or New Testament) that the saints of YHVH will be called kings and priests (or a kingdom of priests) of YHVH-Yeshua the Messiah and will reign with him during the 1000-year Millennium or Messianic Age.

…[T]o him, the one who loves us, who has freed us from our sins at the cost of his blood, who has caused us to be a kingdom, that is, cohanim [priests] for YHVH, his Father… (Rev 1:5–6, CJB)

…[At] the cost of blood you ransomed for YHVH persons from every tribe, language, people and nation. You made them into a kingdom for YHVH to rule, cohanim [priests] to serve him and they will rule over the earth. (Rev 5:9–10, CJB)

Blessed and set-apart is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be cohanim [priests] of YHVH and of Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years. (Rev 20:6, CJB)

During the Millennium, Messiah will be the King of kings. His government will be a theocracy with him, as the High Priest-King, at the head. The children of Israel operated under a theocratic from of government with Moses as the priest-king (he was from the priestly tribe of Levi and was called a king in Deut 33:4-5) as the human head of state. David Stern in his Jewish New Testament Commentary (p. 10) describes the role of the biblical priest to be like that of a prophet and to serve as spokesman and mediator between YHVH and man. The prophet speaks to man on behalf of YHVH, the priest to YHVH on behalf of man. In terms of practical job-description their primary duty was to offer sacrificial animals on the altar.

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The Faith of the Saint and the Protective Faithfulness of Elohim—Meditations on Psalm 17

Psalm 17:3, In the night. That is, in times of trials, afflictions and difficulties. During times of adversity, YHVH tests us by viewing our reactions to this difficulties, and to determine the true state and contents of our heart. The true mettle of a person, that is, the contents of their heart is revealed only during times of duress and when things are not going well. The question is this: when tested, will we walk in the Spirit and manifest the fruit of the Spirit or react carnally and manifest the works of the flesh (Gal 5:16–26)? These times of darkness and testing that befall each of us from time to time is often referred to as “the dark night of the soul”; they either make or break us. Jacob encountered such a time when he wrestled with the Messenger of Elohim in Genesis 32 and came out a changed man with a new spiritual identity. Yeshua went through a similar experience in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to his crucifixion. 

Psalm 17:4, The destroyer. This can be taken as a reference to Satan who comes to kill, steal and destroy. The Hebrew word for destroyer is pereets and taken in context with its verbal root means “one who destroys by dividing violently and then robbing, that is, one who divides and conquers.” The tactics of this enemy and his human minions have never changed from then until now.

Psalm 17:8, Apple of your eye. In Hebrew, this verse literally reads “Guard [Heb. shamar] me like the little man or the pupil daughter [Heb. bat] of the eye.” Apple is the Hebrew word ‘ıyshôn literally meaning “little man of the eye [according to Gesenius and The Artscroll Tanach Series Tehilim/Psalms Commentary] or pupil.” This is because when one looks at another person, the image of a little person is visible on the pupil like a reflection in a mirror. Eye is the generic Hebrew word ayin. The idea of the little man in the eye is beautiful and poetic imagery that captures the desires of the psalmist that the Creator would keep his image in his eye (i.e. the Big “Man” or Elohim is keeping the little man or the saint in is eyesight) continually or that Elohim would guard him as he goes through life as a father does his own daughter. 

The expression “the apple of his eye” is now an English idiom meaning “to view a person favorably, to care deeply for them and to cherish them in one’s heart.” 

This same expression is also found in Deuteronomy 32:10 where YHVH views the people of Israel as the apple of his eye. Although Elohim loves the whole world in a generic sense (John 3:16), and desires that every person be saved (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9), he refers to no other people but Israel as the apple of his eye. 

It can also be presumed (as Matthew Henry notes) that Elohim will tenderly keep or protect those as the apple of his eye who keep or guard his commandments as the apple of their eye (Prov 7:2). That is to say, when we obey YHVH’s commandments, we automatically put ourselves under his protection or under the shadow of his wings as Psalm 17:8 suggests (see also Ps 91:4 and Matt 23:37).

Psalm 17:14–15, Men of the world…When I awake. Here the psalmist juxtaposes those who make material achievements their chief goal in life as opposed to those who seek first the kingdom of Elohim and his righteousness. The former have their reward in the physical life, while the latter have a greater reward to come in the next life when they awaken from death in the likeness of Elohim as possessors of immortality.

Belly…hidden treasure. The belly here is a reference to the womb, and hidden treasure literally means “that which is hidden, covered over or protected.” This is a clear reference to babies in the womb, which are a treasured gift that heaven gives to both the wicked and to the righteous alike. Those who murder their children through abortion or neglect or abandon these little divinely granted treasures are literally spurning or rejecting Elohim’s gift to them—a grave affront to the Almighty and his generosity to be sure!

Psalm 17:15, When I awake. This is one of the most notable passages in the Tanakh proving the validity of the concept of the resurrection of the righteous dead. Here David expresses his faith in the hope of the dead saints to eternal glory in the Presence of YHVH’s in his eternal kingdom. Corollary scriptures to this include Ps 16:10–11 and 1 John 3:1–3.

The Rapture of People out of the world
 

Who Is the Bride of Yeshua?

John the apostle in the book of Revelation (Rev 19:7) says that the wife of Yeshua has made herself ready for him. Who will be the bride or wife of Yeshua the Messiah?

In a general sense, all redeemed believers are the bride of Yeshua—or more correctly, have the potential to be the bride of Yeshua. Paul assumed this (2 Cor 11:2–3). All redeemed believers are presently betrothed to Yeshua. Yet not all believers will become the wife of Yeshua (Matt 25, the Parable of the 10 Virgins). Some will remain pure and undefiled by being faithful to YHVH’s Torah Word, and others will fornicate with the world by being faithful to some of YHVH’s Torah, but by also following foreign or pagan gods and lovers. Only virgins who have not defiled themselves with “men” (a biblical metaphor for spiritual fornication with the world) will be eligible to be the bride of Yeshua. These are the 144,000 mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Rev 14:4). These are the true saints—the set-apart or holy ones, who adhere to the Torah and to Yeshua the Messiah (Rev 14:12). The church of Yeshua is currently being tested or refined and the wheat and tares are being separated. Yeshua wants a pure bride. Judgment begins first at the “house” of Elohim (1 Pet 4:17).

Like the law of the jealous husband who suspects his wife of adultery discussed in the Torah (Num 5:11–31), the faithfulness of all believers will be tested. In the end times, all the saints will go through tribulation and the great tribulation, but only the betrothed bride who is guilty of adultery will go through the wrath of Elohim. Those saints who refuse to walk in Torah and who are guilty of Torahlessness will be rejected of Yeshua because they didn’t know him intimately (Matt 7:21–23). We know YHVH intimately by keeping his Torah-commands (1 John 2:6–7). The wrath of Elohim are the bitter waters that the adulterous bride of YHVH will have to swallow (cp. Num 5:11–31). Like the wife suspected of adultery, all who will follow Yeshua must eat the words of Torah. For those who have been faithful to Torah, which is their marriage vows, Torah is sweet like honey. To those who have not been faithful, the judgments Torah spells out for those not being faithful to the curses for Torah-disobedience will be like bitter waters in their belly. In Revelation 10 (cp. Ezek 2:8–10; 3:1–3), John eats a little book. Is this Torah, which specifies curses that come upon all those who sin by violating it (1 John 3:4)? When we love Yeshua by obeying YHVH’s (John 14:15), they will be sweet like honey to us (Ps 119:103), since we don’t come under the curses they specify for disobedience. Torah-obedience brings blessings in this life and the next life; Torah is life (Deut 30:19), and Yeshua is the Living Torah incarnate (1 John 1:1, 14) and he is life (John 14:6).

In conjunction with the end times wrath of Elohim that will come upon this world due to Toralessness are the Elohim’s seven thunders judgments (Rev 10:3–4), which are possibly YHVH’s wrath upon a Torahless bride and world. Leviticus speaks of four sets of seven judgments that would come upon YHVH’s people who turned away from Torah (Lev 26:14ff). Similarly, the book of Revelation reveals that in the end days four series of judgments that will come upon the world. They are the seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven thunders, and the seven bowl judgments.

At the same time in the last days, there will be a remnant on earth who have heeded the call of Elohim to remember the good ancient paths of Torah (Jer 6:16), and whose hearts have turned back to the fathers of their faith in the end days before the day of YHVH’s wrath and who are remembering Torah (Mal 4:3–6).

Those people who are heeding the call of Elohim through his Spirit to return to the ancient paths are those who have turned back to the biblical Hebraic faith and have reconnected to spiritual root of Israel—to the spiritual fathers of their faith. They’ve rediscovered their tribal and spiritual identity as grafted in (Rom 11:11–32), as redeemed, one new man and non-Gentile Israelites (Eph 2:11–19)—as the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16). These saints have chosen to begin living like Israelites. They understand the Jewishness of Yeshua and want to be Jewish like him and pleasing to him (John 14:15). They want to know YHVH more deeply by keeping his commandments (1 John 2:3–6), and they are putting on robes of righteousness, which is Torah-obedience (Rev 19:6–7)

These end time saints are part of the John the Baptist, Elijah forerunner generation of royal Melchizedek priests under Yeshua (1 Pet 2:9; Heb 7), and kings in training who are helping to prepare the way for Yeshua.

They saints are the wise virgins who have awakened with oil in their lamps. Oil represents Torah and the anointing of YHVH’s Spirit. Without the Torah and the anointing of YHVH’s Spirit in our lives, there will be no Torah-light.

These called out ones have left off their lukewarm, deaf, naked and blind ways of a Torahless and Laodicean lukewarm church and have opened the door to the real Jewish Yeshua to come into their lives; they have exchanged a paganized, Greco-Roman Jesus for their the real Hebraic Yeshua. To be the bride of Yeshua, you must truly know him, not merely know about him through the eyes of a cultural Christianity, Christo-pagan paradigm.

The bride of Yeshua will fit the definition of the end time saints: They will be Torah observant and have the faith of Yeshua (Rev 12:17; 14:12).

Scripture likens redeemed believers to a virgin (2 Cor 11:2). Some believers are wise virgins, and some are foolish virgins (Matt 25:1–13). There will be different levels of rewards in the kingdom of Elohim; some of the virgins will be least in the kingdom and some will be the greatest in the kingdom depending on their Torah-obedience level (Matt 5:19). Which one are you? 

Now is the time to ask yourself this questions—are you a wise or a foolish virgin? Do you want to be the least or the greatest in the kingdom of Elohim under King Yeshua the Messiah? Now is the time for each person to judge himself or herself before the refining fires of YHVH’s judgment forcefully reveal the building materials of each person’s spiritual house whether it be wood, hay and stubble, or gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor 3:12–13).

 

If Elohim Calls You an Israelite, Then Act Like One!

Who me? Yes YOU!

Romans 4:16, Abraham … the father of us all. 

A spiritual relationship with Elohim based on trusting faith after the pattern of Abraham’s relationship with him is available to all men including those who are born and raised within a framework of Torah (e.g. the Jews), and non-Jews who were born and raised outside of a Torah framework. After all, it must be remembered that when Abraham came to faith in YHVH it is quite possible that he had no little or no background in or understanding of Torah. The same could be said of the Israelite slaves in Egypt when YHVH redeemed them because they had faith in the lambs’ blood on their door posts.

Romans 3:30 says that Israel received righteousness by the Torah (which, through the sacrificial system, pointed to Yeshua, the Redeemer and Living Torah), and the Gentiles receive righteousness through their faith in Yeshua (the Living Torah, which leads one to the righteousness of the Written Torah). In either case, both routes lead to the same conclusion—namely, a people who keep the Torah-commandments of YHVH and have faith in Yeshua, the Messiah. John lists these two criteria in Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 as the notable determiners of who the end-time saints will be.  They are those who both keep the commandments of Elohim and who have the faith or testimony of Yeshua. This is an important fact that cannot be quickly passed over. Whether the end-time saints are Jews who came to faith in Yeshua through an understanding of and obedience to the Torah, or Christians who came into Torah-obedience through faith in Yeshua, the two groups end up in the same place arm-in-arm worshiping the same Elohim, trusting in Yeshua the Redeemer, and following his instructions in righteousness (the Torah).

The promises to Abraham were based on trusting faithfulness, and not just a legalistic obedience to the Torah-law, so that all his seed (both Jews and Gentile who would be grafted into Israel, see notes on Rom 11) might be included in his promises which would eventually not only encompass the geographical area of Israel, but the entire world as noted in verse 13. This in no way implies that Torah-obedience is incumbent only upon the Israelites and not upon Gentiles. Paul again and again makes it clear that the gospel message he is preaching in no way annuls Torah.

Father of us all. Paul says in a number of places that those who come to Yeshua are no longer Gentiles but are the children or seed (literally “sperm,” which is the meaning of the Greek word) of Abraham (Eph 2:11–19; Rom 4:16; 9:8–11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28–29). The word gentiles as used in Scripture simply means “ethnic groups or nations.” There are many places in Scripture where Jews and Israelites are referred to as “Gentiles.” There is no class of people called “gentiles” in the spiritual body of Yeshua. As proof of this, Scripture uses the following terms for the redeemed of YHVH: the saints, the called out ones, or the one new man or the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16), which is another way of saying redeemed Israel or spiritual Israel. Any attempt by anyone to keep the Jew—Gentile division alive within the body of Yeshua is in effect keeping up the middle wall of partition that the Paul spent his life attempting to tear down (see Eph 2:11–19). This mission eventually cost him his physical life.

Furthermore, we must also keep in mind that there are only twelve gates through which one may enter the New Jerusalem, and these gates are named after the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev 21:12). There is no Gentile gate! The only way that one will be able to enter the New Jerusalem will be through spiritually identifying with the tribes of Israel. So which tribe are you?

Finally, YHVH, the God of the Bible, never made any covenants with non-Israelite nations—only with nation of Israel. To be in covenantal relationship with YHVH one has to accept the Jewish Messiah, and be grafted into the Israelite olive tree through the Messiah and become an Israelite—PERIOD! For example, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews clearly states that the New Covenant is made with the two houses of Israel—not the Gentile nations (see Heb 8:8 and Jer 31:31, 33). This may come as a shock to some people reading this, but this is the truth of Scripture.

Scripture reveals that there are only two classifications of people in Scripture: Israelites and non-Israelites or Gentiles (i.e. people of the nations). The former has eternal life because of their relationship with the Elohim of Israel through the Messiah of Israel. The latter group, unless they repent of their sin (i.e. lawlessness or Torahlessness, see 1 John 3:4), will burn in the Lake of Fire. 

Whenever Paul uses the term gentile, he is either referring to ethnicity, and not using the term as a spiritual designation, or he is using the term gentile to mean “worldly.” In this case, it is a moniker referring to those who are carnal in that they act like gentiles (heathens) who are “without God and without hope” (Eph 2:12). The term gentile is not a spiritual designation for a redeemed believer, for they have been called out of the world and have become a member of a special group called “the called out ones” or “church” (the Greek word ecclesia meaning “church, assembly of people”). Scripture also calls redeemed believers “saints”  (A Greek word meaning “set-apart”), who are set apart from the gentile world that is without Elohim and without hope. Scripture teaches that those who are redeemed or who are “in Messiah” are no longer Gentiles, for they have been grafted into and become part of the nation of Israel (Rom 11:13–24 and Eph 2:11–19). They have become the one new man about which Paul speaks in Ephesians 2:15.

Now that we know that we are really part of a people group called “Redeemed Israel” or “the Israel of Elohim” (Gal 6:16), what does one do with this information? That is up to you. Pray and ask your Father in heaven to help you to live out your new identity as an Israelite. 

Many people upon finding out that Scripture actually defines them as Israelites and not Gentiles, begin to sense a need to begin acting more like Israelites in their lifestyle and beliefs. They become interested in the feasts and Sabbaths of Israel and their life takes on a more Hebraic or Jewish flavor as they see themselves more in light of the book of Acts believers instead of the paradigm of typical Christianity. This is a path that you will need to begin to explore. As you go down this spiritual straight and narrow path, please keep in mind the words of Yeshua in Matthew 5:17–19; John 15:15 and the words of the apostles in 1 Corinthians 11:1 and 1 John 2:3–6 along with Romans 7:12, 14 and 3:31.

Here are some  more Scriptures that confirm that the saints are Israelites and NOT Gentiles.

  • In Romans 4:16, Speaking to both Jewish and non-Jewish believers in the church of Rome, Paul states that Abraham is “the father of us all.”
  • Paul in Galatians 3:7–9 speaking to the believers in Greece says that those who have faith in YHVH are the children of Abraham, and this includes the heathen to whom the gospel is preached in all nations (see verse 8).
  • Paul says in Galatians 3:14 that as children of Abraham, the believing Gentiles are entitled to all the blessings YHVH promised to Abraham’s descendants.
  • In Galatians 3:28–29, Paul states that in YHVH’s view with regard to his plan of salvation, there is neither Jew nor Greek, but all are one in Yeshua the Messiah. If one is a redeemed believer in Yeshua, then one is the seed (or literally, sperm) or offspring of Abraham and heirs to all of the promises YHVH made to him and his descendants. 
  • Paul clearly states in Ephesians 2:11–19 that the saints were in the past a part of the people-group the Bible calls the peoples of the nations (or Gentiles) and as such were at that time without Elohim (God) and (spiritual) hope. As such, they were not a part of the nation of Israel, and were outside of the covenants of promises YHVH had made to Israel, but now, thanks to the redemptive work of Yeshua the Messiah, these people of the nations are no longer considered to be Gentiles, but are actual Israelites through their faith in Yeshua, and have become one people along with spiritually redeemed Jews. This people group is now called “the one new man.” 

Believers in Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, are the seed of Abraham, or what we might call “redeemed Israel” regardless of their specific ethnic origin. Period. Our understanding of Paul’s passages in this light is confirmed by what John writes concerning the New Jerusalem. Again, it is a fact that in the New Jerusalem there are only twelve gates named after—you guessed it—the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev 22:12)! It may come as a shock to some, but there is no “Gentile Gate”! Gentiles are not permitted into the New Jerusalem—only Israelites. So if you call yourself a redeemed believer in Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah of Israel, again we ask you the following question: Through which gate will enter the New Jerusalem, or stated another way, to which tribe of Israel do you belong?

 

Are YOU a living menorah?

Numbers 8:2, The menorah. The phrase toward the face of the menorah is an interesting one. The Jewish sages teach that the three wicks on the right and the three on the left were all directed toward the menorah’s central stem, thus concentrating light toward the center. The menorah symbolized that YHVH is the Source of all light (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 775). What are the connotations of this for a believer in Yeshua? How did Yeshua describe himself? (See John 8:12; 9:5.) Moreover, what did he mean when he said that “I am the vine and you are the branches?” (John 15:5) What does this mean and how is this pointing to a type of human menorah? Now relate this to the seven Messianic assemblies of Revelation 2 and 3 being likened to menorahs (Rev 1:13, 20). Is Yeshua the center of all that we do? Do we place all of our focus on him? Can we say, as the Apostle Paul did, that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)? Does the power of his resurrected life and anointing flow through you even as oil was in the menorah and sap flows through a tree to its branches?

Redeemed Israelites Are That Menorah

The Scriptures plainly states that Yeshua and his body of followers are likened to a tree of which the seven-branched menorah that adorned the mishkan (tabernacle) in the wilderness as well as the sanctuary of Solomon’s Temple is a picture. Furthermore, remember what Yeshua said in John 15:5? “I am the vine and you are the branches …” This is a perfect picture of the menorah, which has a central trunk with six (the number representing man) branches growing out of the trunk. Remember what Yeshua said in Matthew 5:14–15, that his followers were to be lights upon a lampstand on a hill for all the world to see—a clear allusion in the mind of anyone in Yeshua’s audience to the temple’s menorah (which was upon the Temple Mount like a light on a hill).

Additionally, when a redeemed believer in and follower of Yeshua is in a sacred state of worshipping his Master and Savior, he will often lift his arms heavenward. Not only is this the universal sign of surrender (in this case to one’s Heavenly Master), but when we lift our hands our bodies are actually forming a human menorah. By doing this, in worship we are acting out what we are—a lampstand to the world radiating forth the good news of the truth and love of Yeshua.

In fact, The Scriptures shows us that the menorah, and not the cross, is the symbol of Yeshua’s spiritual body of believers. We see this in Revelation 1:12, 20 and 2:1 where the seven congregations are symbolized as a seven-branched menorah! The menorah here is the symbol of the congregation of redeemed believers.

Though the cross is representative of the redemptive work Yeshua accomplished on our behalf, it is not the symbol of the body of believers, commonly called the “church,” but the menorah is! Furthermore, in Jewish thought, the menorah is analogous to an olive tree (the ancient temple menorah was constructed of hollow tubes of solid gold filled with olive oil that burned when lit), to which the Apostle Paul makes reference in Romans 11, as representing the tree of life (which ultimately represents Yeshua) into which all must be grafted if they are to be part the spiritual body of Yeshua and have his eternal life.

 

What does it mean to be like Yeshua in this world?

1 John 4:17, As he is, so are we in this world. If this phrase were taken cherry picked out of its context and made to stand along, as some Christian Bible teachers have done, one could assume that as Yeshua currently is in heaven in his fully power, glory, perfection and deity, so are the saints on this earth here and now. Is this what John is really saying? No!

What does the first part of the verse say? “Love has been perfected among us…” Love is the issue here, not the full power, glory and deity of Yeshua. What John is saying is that the saints are to express Yeshua’s love in this world. That’s the context of the entire chapter of 1 John 4. It’s about loving one another. Period. After verse 17, John then goes on to reiterate the idea of the love of Yesua in the next two verses. There is nothing in this passage to suggest that John is implying that the saints currently have the full glory, power and perfection of Yeshua. Where do we see anyone on planet earth doing this? This idea is not even hinted at in the verse or the entire chapter. 

Shame on Bible teachers who cherry pick verses out of context, then read into them things that aren’t even said or implied and tickle the people’s ears with their nonsensical interpretations…and after making the people feel all warm and fuzzy, they often pass the offering plate. We’ve all seen this occur many times in various church meetings!

The bottom line message of 1 John 4:7–19 is that as Elohim IS love (vv. 8, 16), and he so loved us, as a result, we too are to be conduits of his love to this world. We’re to be a literal river of life of his love to those around us. 

Based on these wonderful verses in 1 John, we can add that when we are so full of the love of Yeshua, a fruit of the Spirit, and we love him and his word so much, and we’re obeying all of his commandments the best we can and are trying to imitate him in all areas of our thoughts, words and actions, we have nothing to be afraid of. We are fully in the grace of Elohim and our ultimate salvation and glorification is assured. This means we can stand boldly before the throne of Elohim on the judgment day with nothing to fear. No fear of hearing the words, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity….” This has nothing to do with our greatness, power, glory or anything like that. It has to do with knowing who we are in Yeshua, and having full confidence in his word pertaining to our spiritual standing before him, and that we have, by his grace and strength, overcome the world, the flesh and the devil and that we have passed from judgment into life because we believe in him (John 3:18; 5:24–25). Give him the glory!