Why Does the NT Emphasize the Death of Yeshua More Than His Resurrection?

I recently received a comment on this blog from a man who believes that it was Yeshua’s resurrection that atoned for man’s sins and not his death. Is this a new wind of doctrine that’s circulating out there?

When I suggested that he do a search of the New Testament to see if the death or the resurrection of Yeshua was emphasized more, and when I told him that his belief was heretical and false, he turned angry, vitriolic and attacked me. I had to delete his comments. Can’t have this kind of nonsense around here. I requested of him an honest and polite discussion on this subject, but instead he attacked me personally. That’s his problem, not mine.

Anyway I decided to do a study on the subject, and this one is hot off the press, so to speak. Please enjoy.


The Testimony of Yeshua (or New Testament) has more than twice as many references to the death of Yeshua (more than 99 references) than to his resurrection (approximately 49 references). Why is this? Why did the apostolic writers emphasize the death of Yeshua the Messiah more than his resurrection? This fact has perplexed some of us for years. We now will briefly explore why this may be.

To be sure, the resurrection of Yeshua is a momentous event in the history of the world not to be minimized or understated in any way, and is not sub par to the importance of his incarnation, life or death. Furthermore, had Yeshua not resurrected from the dead, there would be no hope of the resurrection of the saints, for as Paul writes,

And if Messiah is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of Elohim, because we have testified of Elohim that He raised up Messiah, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Messiah is not risen. And if Messiah is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Messiah have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Messiah, we are of all men the most pitiable. (1 Cor 15:14–19)

Adding to the perplexing fact that the Testimony of Yeshua emphasizes the death of Yeshua over his resurrection is that notable fact that of the seven biblical feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23 and elsewhere in Scripture, there no feast that specifically points to the resurrection of Yeshua. The day of Passover addresses Yeshua’s death and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the next biblical feast completely skips past the resurrection. After that comes the Feast of Weeks, which corresponds to the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two, which also occurred after Yeshua’s resurrection. 

So why is there no biblical holiday, contrary to popular but ill-informed opinion, specifically portraying the resurrection of the Messiah? In answer to this question, some Bible students will point to the so called  “Feast” of First Fruits (Lev 23:9–13) as the biblical holiday that answers to the resurrection of Yeshua. While First Fruits Day (the correct biblical name for this occasion) does definitely point prophetically to Yeshua’s resurrection, this day was neither a biblical feast or miqra kodesh or a high holy day Sabbath. Rather, it was a moed or divine appointment (all biblical feasts are moedim [the plural of moed] but not all moedim are feasts) on which the Levitical priest performed the ritual of offering up a sheaf of the barley first fruits before Elohim. But for the rest of the Israelites, First Fruits Day was not a Sabbath-day of rest or holy or sacred assembly (Heb. miqra kodesh). Rather it was a common work day when the Israelites went into their in the fields to harvest the newly ripened barley. (I discuss this subject at length in my 23 page article on this subject available at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/firstfruits.pdf.) To call First Fruits Day a feast is a misreading, if not a twisting, of Scripture. Facts are stubborn things for some people to deal with, but facts are truth, and truth is still truth regardless of people’s opinions to the contrary.

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Hold on to Yeshua—He Will Guide and Protect You Through the Wilderness of Life

Steps In a Redeemed Believer’s Walk

In this study, we will examine the spiritual stages of growth and development that a redeemed believer goes through while crossing the wilderness of life en route to our spiritual promised land—the kingdom of Elohim. We will see how the Torah (YHVH’s instructions in righteousness) plays a pivotal role in the believer’s life that keeps us on the straight and narrow path, and that will eventually bring us safely to our spiritual destination, which is YHVH’s kingdom of heaven. In view will be the oft-quoted verse from Proverbs 29:18 which says, “Where there is no vision [or prophetic revelation], the people perish [i.e. cast off restraint, become lawless, unloosened, and unbridled], but he that keeps [or hedges about, guards, protects] the Torah, happy is he.” Many Bible students are familiar with the first part of this verse, but not its second part, where we see that Torah plays a vital role in guiding us to our spiritual or prophetic and eternal destiny. 

From the beginning to the end of the Bible, Elohim is directing his people into the path of Torah righteousness, and he is continually exposing us to the greater message of the everlasting gospel message (Rev 14:6), which involves salvation through faith in the shed blood of the Lamb of Elohim at the cross. 

What’s more, Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word of YHVH incarnate (or in flesh form, John 1:1–4, 14), was the one who, as the arm of YHVH (Isa 53:1), delivered the Israelites from Egypt. He was also the one who, as the Angel (or Messenger) of YHVH, led the ancient Israelites in the pillar of fire, who spoke to them from Mount Sinai and gave them his Torah-instructions. Yeshua also was the rock that gave them water, and was the bread of life to them. Yeshua himself (as well as the apostolic writers) tells us that he was the “God” of the Old Testament, who was with the Israelites throughout their tenure in the wilderness (John 8:58 cp Exod 3:14; John 6:32–58; Acts 7:35–39; 1 Cor 10:4). The point is this: Yeshua is still leading his saints as he was then. He is the one who revealed his Torah-law to them then, and his standards of righteousness have not changed from then until now, for he is the same yesterday, today and forever and he does not change (Heb 13:8; Mal 3:6)! What does this mean for you and me today? Don’t stop reading unless knowing the truth of the Word of Elohim scares and intimidates you, and unless you love spiritual darkness more than light. In what follows, we will let the Word of Elohim speak to us, even if it is different than what you have learned in your man-made church systems.

As you read this study, note how little-by-little, like a parent training his child, Elohim was training his people to walk in his Torah commandments, all the while revealing to them the truth of the redemptive work of Yeshua. Please note that obedience to the Torah and belief in Yeshua go hand-in-hand. The two are completely compatible and indivisible. One cannot believe in, love, and even know Yeshua without obeying his commands (John 14:15, 21; 1 John 2:3–6). Belief in Yeshua and walking in his waysYeshua are two sides of the same coin.

 Interestingly, this message of the gospel (that is, walking in YHVH’s Torah-law, the Written Word of Elohim, and having faith in Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word of Elohim) has never changed. How do we know this? The last book of the Bible which predicts conditions on earth just prior to Yeshua’s second coming identifies the end time saints of Elohim as keeping his Torah-commandments as well as embracing the testimony, faith or gospel of Yeshua (Rev 12:17; 14:12 cp. 22:14). These are the words of Elohim, and not men’s words or traditions!

One’s Pre-Redemption (pre-Salvation) State

We will now identify the steps or stages of spiritual growth and development through which YHVH leads his people as they trek through the bleak wilderness of this physical life en route to glories of immortal life in the promised inheritance of Elohim’s eternal kingdom. Keeping this prophetic vision in view will insure that one does not perish in this life before reaching the end goal. Remember,

Where there is no prophetic revelation [or vision], the people cast off restraint [or perish]; but happy is he who keeps the Torah-law. (Prov 29:18)

1— Slavery to Sin: Israel, while in Egypt, was in bondage, slavery or servitude to the world, flesh and the devil. The Hebrew word Egypt, Mitzraim, is related to matzowr meaning “something hemming in, distress, besieged, bulwark and defense.” Matzowr is from the Hebrew word tzur meaningto cramp, confine, beset, besiege, bind up, enclose and lay siege.”Do these words not describe the state of one’s pre-redemption state or one’s spiritual enslavement to the world, the flesh and the devil before being saved? As a slave to sin and living under the penalty of death and burdened with guilt and shame, how does this make one feel? If Mitzraim doesn’t express one’s spiritual condition, then what does?

2— Despair: While enslaved in Egypt, the Israelites cried out to YHVH in anguish from under the burden of their bondage. YHVH heard their cries and stretched out his strong arm and delivered them with a mighty hand. Their world shook and literally fell apart as he dislodged them from those things that confined them as helpless and enslaved captives in their place of distress, confinement and besiegement. The Egyptian world around them was judged, and Israel experienced some of these judgments, as well, (to arouse their attention, to shake them out of their sinful comfort zones and to awaken them to look heavenward), although YHVH graciously spared them from the most severe judgments that would have otherwise destroyed them. Before you were saved, did YHVH have to do something similar in your life to dislodge you from your enslavement to a life of sin and idolatry, and to awaken you to your spiritual state? Does he not still have to do this from time to time in our spiritual walk to move us to a higher level of spiritual maturity, so that we become more like him and become a more qualified and efficacious worker in his kingdom? Even at this moment, YHVH is urging his people, the saints, to come to a higher level in their spiritual walk by exiting the confused mixture of good and evil that exists in the spiritual Babylon of the world’s religious systems and churches (Rev 18:4).

Redemption

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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).

 

Jewish and Christian Opposition to Moses’ Messianic Prophecy

Deuteronomy 18:15, A prophet from your midst, like me, shall YHVH your Elohim raise up for you. 

Moses—A Prophetic Type of the Messiah

Obviously, Moses’ Deuteronomy 18 prophecy concerning the Messiah was fulfilled in the person of Yeshua. Who else in the history of the world could have fulfilled this prophecy? Despite this, the non-believing religious Jews, to their discredit, run around in philosophical circles attempting to prove that this verse does not apply to Yeshua. Similarly, the Christian church, in its own way, also disbelieves this prophecy. Let us examine some of the arguments attempting to circumvent the simple truth of this messianic prophecy.

For example, the Orthodox Jewish Torah translation The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash in its commentary states, “Moses told the nation that just as he was one of them, so God would designate future prophets [plural] from among the people to bring them his word” (p. 1033, emphasis added). What is wrong with this statement? Is the verse quoted accurately? Moses said “prophet” singular, not “prophets” plural, as the commentary says. So in this manner, the Jewish commentators switch the focus off of one single prophet who would arise, and make it appear as if all the prophets recorded in the Scriptures helped to fulfill this prophecy. This is dishonest biblical interpretation.

On another note, does the “Jesus” of the mainstream church who, it is taught by many church leaders, broke the Sabbath and came to do away with the Torah-law of Moses fulfill this prophecy? Didn’t Moses say that the prophet would speak only the words that Elohim would give him (and the implication is that those words would not contradict what was given at Mount Sinai)? So did Yeshua come to do away with the Torah-law or not? (Read Matt 5:17–19.) In commissioning his disciples in Matthew 28:20, didn’t Yeshua tell them to do and to pass on to others all that he had commanded them? Didn’t Paul tell us to, “Follow me as I follow the Messiah” (1 Cor 11:1)? So how is it that so many people in the mainstream church believe otherwise about Messiah Yeshua and Paul relative to their teachings on the Torah-law? The point we are trying to make here is that the “Jesus” of the Sunday church who, it is taught, came to annul the Torah, does not fit the criteria of this prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15–19. Either the Torah is correct and the mainstream church is wrong or it is the other way around. We choose the former to be the truth, not the latter!

A prophet…like unto me. Let’s now study the parallels between Moses (Heb. Moshe) and Yeshua the Messiah (Heb. Machiach)to see how Yeshua perfectly fulfilled this prophecy.

Moses’ early life seems to foreshadow some details of Yeshua’s life and ministry. This really should not surprise us when we consider the words of the book of Hebrews (10:7 from Ps 40:7), which attributed to YHVH-Yeshua, who said, “The volume of the scroll was written of me.” Yeshua himself, when confronting the Pharisees in John 5:46, said “For had you believed Moses, you would have believed me, for he wrote of me.”

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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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The Overview of the Red Heifer Ceremony and Its Greater Implications

Numbers 19:1–11. The red heifer (Heb. parah adumah). 

The Jewish sages teach that the commandment (mitzvah) of the red cow is “beyond human understanding.” Like the afikoman (the middle broken matzah that is “buried” and “resurrected,” which is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua) in the Passover (Pesach) Seder, the meaning of which to this day remains unclear to the Jewish scholars, the red cow is a ritual that makes sense only when Yeshua the Messiah is added to the picture.

While the symbolism of the red heifer was, to Jewish Torah scholars, admittedly incomprehensible to human reason, by the second temple era they began to speculate about its spiritual significance in their aggadic literature. Some felt that it was an atonement for the sin of the golden calf (The Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion, Massada – P.E.C. Press, 1965, p. 327; The ArtScroll Chumash, p. 839). Others viewed it as somehow relating to the azazel or scapegoat and the bullock sin offering of Yom Kippur, since all were sacrificed outside the camp of Israel (Lev 16:27).

The sacrifice of the red heifer was for the purpose of purifying someone who had become ritually impure or polluted through contact with the dead, or for purifying metal war booty (Num 31:21ff). This sacrifice was to be made outside of the camp of Israel, and later occurred outside of the walls of the city of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, not far from the Temple. The concept of the camp signifies outside of or away from the divine presence or shekinah of YHVH meaning outside the tabernacle courtyard (The ArtScroll Chumash, p. 839).

The heifer was to be three to five years of age and totally red in color, blemish free and to have never born a burden and, according to Jewish tradition, to be without a single black or white hair on its body. The animal was slaughtered with the priest sprinkling its blood seven times toward the tabernacle’s entrance (later this occurred at the temple in Jerusalem). The entire carcass (hide, entrails and meat) was then burned on a wood pyre. Into the fire were tossed cedar wood, hyssop and a scarlet thread. The ashes were then divided into three portion: one part was kept in a secure place on the Mount of Olives (during the second temple period), one part was kept in the area immediately outside the wall of the temple courtyard, and one part was divided among the priests throughout the land of Israel to be used, as needed, in purifying the people (Mishnah Parah 3:11). The ashes to be used in the temple service were then mixed with fresh water (in Jerusalem, from the Pool of Siloam), and then called “waters of separation” (meyi nidahnidah means “impurity, filthiness, menstruous, set apart, ceremonial impurity”), and were ritually sprinkled over something or someone that was impure. Numbers 19:9 states that the waters of sprinkling were for purification. The Hebrew word for purification is chatat, which according to some rabbinic interpreters is a reference to a sin offering (Ibid.). Others disagree arguing that the plain (pashat) meaning of the text does not speak of the red heifer atoning for sin (see Rashi’s commentary on this verse). This is an interesting debate, but regardless of what the Jewish sages think, the ritual of the red heifer shows striking parallels to Yeshua’s salvific work at the cross, as we discuss below.

The crucifixion implications of the red heifer were not missed by the Jewish-Christian scholar Alfred Edersheim. He links the Yom Kippur scapegoat, which was to remove the personal guilt of the Israelites (Lev 16), with the red heifer, which was to take away the defilement of death that stood between man and Elohim, with the “living bird,” dipped in “the water and the blood,” and then “let loose in the field” at the purification from leprosy (Lev 14:1–7), which symbolized the living death of personal sinfulness, were all, either wholly offered, or in their essentials completely outside the sanctuary. He then observes that the Old Testament sanctuary had no real provision for spiritual wants to which they symbolically pointed; their removal lay outside its sanctuary and beyond its symbols (The Temple and Its Ministry, pp. 280–281). This is why Yeshua had to be sacrificed outside of the temple area. Additionally, he had to be the sacrifice for sin outside of the temple area (Heb 13:12), which symbolized the shekinah or divine presence of YHVH. This speaks of the fact that the Father looked away, turned his back on and forsook Yeshua while he bore the sins of the world on his shoulders (Isa 53:4–6Matt 27:46).

The writer of Hebrews understood the greater implications of the red heifer as it pointed to Yeshua when he wrote:

Which stood only in meats and drinks, and various washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Messiah being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to Elohim, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim? And for this cause he is the mediator of the renewed covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (Heb 9:11–15, emphasis added)

Eighteenth-century Christian commentator, Matthew Henry, asks why does the Torah make a corpse a defiling thing? He answers that it is because death is the wages of sin, which entered into the world by it, and reigns by the power of it. The law could not conquer death, nor abolish it, as the gospel does, by bringing life and immortality to light, and so introducing a better hope. As the ashes signified the merits of Messiah’s perfect sin-free life, so the running water signified the power and grace of the blessed Spirit, who is compared to rivers of living water; and it is by his work that the righteousness of Messiah is applied to us for our cleansing (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 137, Moody).

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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!