Do you fully discern the Lord’s body?


Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made/cut a covenant with me by sacrifice. (Psalm 50:5

Psalms 50:5, Made/cut a covenant…by sacrifice. This refers to the method by which covenants were made in ancient times between two parties. This same ritual occurred when YHVH made (or cut) a covenant with Abraham in Genesis chapter 15 except that YHVH took all the responsibilities for fulfilling the covenant upon himself, for Abraham was asleep when this covenant was cut (Gen 15:9–10, 12). All Abraham had to do was to have faith in YHVH and all the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant would fall upon him (Gen 15:6). We know from Paul’s discussion in Romans chapter four that the Abrahamic Covenant is the original biblical model for how an individual can receive salvation from Elohim. We also know that when YHVH made his covenant with Abraham, the vision Abraham had while he was asleep prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s death on the cross and his initiating the new/renewed covenant as prophesied in the Tanakh (e.g. Jer 31:31–33; also see my discussion of Gen 15:12–21 at Abraham’s vision). Yeshua at his last supper and subsequent crucifixion fulfilled this ancient prophecy as well as the spiritual types and shadows discussed in Psalm 50:7 and Genesis 15:9–21. At his last supper, Yeshua made a new covenant with his disciples through his body (the bread) and blood (the wine), which redeemed believers now commemorate when they take communion. 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt 26:26–28)

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (1 Cor 11:24)

Prior to his death on the cross, Yeshua’s predictively explained the significance of his broken body and spilled blood as it relates to covenantal agreement between him and those who would place their faith in him (as Abraham did in Gen 15).

35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.…47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.…50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.…58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:35, 47, 50, 53, 58)

In the context of the Passover service when the saints through the ritual of communion annually commemorate Yeshua’s “cutting” the new covenant with his saints and then ratifying that covenant through his death, Paul has the following to say about the significance of Yeshua’s body:

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (1 Cor 11:26–29)

Those who carelessly take communion are literally disrespecting not only the high value of the covenant that was made (or cut), but the tremendous price of making a covenant with Elohim (i.e. it cost Yeshua his life, and the believer must also die to himself as he accepts, unconditionally, Yeshua as his Lord and Master). Moreover, careless partakers of communion are not only underestimating the cost of their salvation, but the value and the benefits of that salvation, which is spiritual rewards including eternal life. Elohim is not only not duty bound to give immortality to such people, but would be foolish to immortalize people who don’t sufficiently recognize and appreciate the cost and value of covenantal agreement. In doing so, he would risk having another rebellion on his hand at some point in the future.

An ancient relic of crucifixion.

So when Yeshua died on the cross, he become the sacrifice that was cut (i.e. his body was brutally mutilated prior to and during his crucifixion) to which this verse in this Psalm 50 makes allusion. 

Moreover, Abraham not only had faith in YHVH, but he had to walk out that faith the rest of his life, for faith without works is dead (Jas 2:14–26). Similarly, those who place their faith in Yeshua must also back up that faith by doing his words (John 5:24), doing good (John 5:29; 3:21), loving him and keeping his commandments (John 14:15), coming to the light of Elohim’s truth (John 3:20–21), and showing that they are overcoming the word, the flesh and the devil resulting in eternal life and great spiritual rewards in the world to come (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). 

At the same time, those who don’t place their trust in Yeshua by accepting the covenant he “cut” through his death on the cross and then by backing that faith up with good deeds, or those who have “accepted” Yeshua, but lightly esteem him, will have a terrible price to pay.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (1 Cor 11:29–30)

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28–29)

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)


Communion or the Lord’s Supper Explained in Its Hebraic Context

The Importance of Memorials and Symbols

Obedient and truth-seeking disciples of Yeshua will want to love him by keeping his commandments (John 14:12), and by teaching and doing everything he commanded (Matt 28:20). They will be following Paul’s example to imitate Yeshua (1 Cor 11:1) as well heeding John’s admonition “to walk just as [Yeshua] walked” (1 John 2:6).

With regard to obeying YHVH’s commands, symbols and memorializations figure prominently in YHVH Elohim’s spiritual economy. Why is this? They are teaching aids. Physical humans need physical things to help them to comprehend spiritual truths and ideals. Using symbols, commemorations and memorializations is a method of teaching and relates to pedagogy, which is “the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.” A effective teacher endeavors to build bridges of understanding between what the student knows and what the teacher wants to teach the student— between the known and the unknown, between what the student understands now and what the teacher wants his students to learn. A successful teacher learns the skill of building bridges of understanding with his students to bring them to a higher level of understanding. The same is true of YHVH Elohim as we works with humans to teach them about spiritual things.

On a spiritual level, YHVH Elohim, our Heavenly Teacher, employes similar pedagogic or teaching techniques as he endeavors to bring men to a higher level of understanding heaven’s spiritual truths and realities. The use of symbols and memorials as teaching tools is essential to this process of teaching and learning.

The Bible is full of symbols and memorials that represent or point to something else and act as teaching aids to assist humans in learning about Elohim and what he requires of us. For example, the very name of the Creator, YHVH (Yehovah), is a memorial, symbol or remembrance (Heb. zeker from zakar) of who Elohim really is (Exod 3:15). His name is a Continue reading


A t-Shaped Cross Vs. an I-Shaped Cross Discussed

Stauros, the Koine Greek word for cross, like most words in all languages, has several meanings. To arrive at the true meaning of a word, we can’t just look at the first meaning in a list of dictionary definitions or choose the meaning that best suits our personal biases or theologies.

Too determine which dictionary definition of a word best applies to a particular word in a literary situation, we must consider all the meanings of a word and then look at the context of the literature in which the word is found, and then choose the meaning that best fits.

Even then, well meaning people will have differences of opinions on this (e.g. The Companion Bible, by E.W. Bullinger, appendix 162). This is the dilemma that scholars who translate literary documents from one language to another face. This is the case with the Koine Greek word, cross, which is found in the NT some 32 times.

Stauros means “un upright, pointed stake used for fencing or in the construction of a stockade. It can also refer to a torture instrument, or a cross on which the Roman’s executed criminals. A stauros came in several basic forms: a vertical upright, pointed stake, or an upright stake with a crossbeam resembling our capital letter “T” or our small letter “t”, or it consisted of two intersecting beams of equal length like our letter “X”. Due to the sign that was attached to the top of Yeshua’s torture stake, it seems that his cross was shaped like a “t”; that is, the upright stake projected above the cross beam thus giving the Romans a place to attach the sign (The TDNT, vol 7, p. 572; International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol 1, pp. 826-827).

The reasons that I lean toward the idea that Yeshua was crucified on a t-shaped cross are several. As noted above, such a cross gave a place for the Romans to attach their sign (Mattt 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, John 19:19).

Additionally, more than one nail was used in Yeshua’s hands to attach him to the cross (John 20:25). The use of two nails would have been more necessary had the cross been t-shaped as opposed to an upright stake.

Moreover, the Tabernacle of Moses is a symbolic and prophetic picture of the death, burial and glorification of Yeshua. It is literally a multi-dimensional gospel tract! As such, the furnishings therein are arranged in the form of a t-shape cross.

Similarly, the tribal encampments around the tabernacle are laid out like a perfect t-shaped cross (see Num 2). This is a picture of the believer who, through the ritual of baptism for the remission of sins (see Rom 6:3–11) must symbolically identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua when coming to faith in him.

Furthermore, the marks made by the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of the Israelites’ homes on their first Passover in Egypt made the outline of a perfect t-shaped cross (Exodus 12:7). There are several dozen aspects of this first Passover that prophetically pointed forward to Yeshua who was the Passover Lamb of Elohim slain from the foundation of the world for the redemption of man from his sin, and who fulfilled these symbols perfectly by his death. The t-shaped cross is but one of these prophetic symbols. An I-shaped cross would not have fit this symbology.

Moreover, when Moses initiated the the tabernacle, his steps form a perfect cross—actually a cross with an arrow on it that points man into the holy of holies, which is a picture of YHVH’s heavenly throne room (Exod 40).

Next, when the angelic messenger of YHVH went through Jerusalem before its fall to the Babylonians to search out those saints that would be spared from that judgment, he put a mark in the form of a Paleo-Hebrew letter tav (shaped like our small letter t) on their foreheads. This was another prophetic symbol that pointed to Yeshua, who, through his work on the cross, is our salvation (Ezek 9:4).

Finally, when Jacob was prophetically praying over his two grandsons who whose descendants would largely become the Christian church, he crossed his arms in the shape of a Paleo-Hebrew letter tav, which, pictographically, some take to mean,”sign or seal of the covenant” (Gen 48:14).

With regard to the Scriptures that say that Yeshua was crucified on a tree, the Hebrew word for tree is etz, which can mean both tree and stick (e.g. see Ezek 37:16). A cross whether in a t or an I shape is still made of wood and both can fit the definition of the Hebrew word etz. But how many trees have you seen that don’t have branches? More trees in their natural state resemble a t shape than an I shape. Some trees even have trunks with branches that are opposite each other on the trunk like a t-shaped cross. So in light of these facts, it is not a logical stretch to call a t-shaped cross “a tree.”

Personally, I don’t care whether Yeshua died on a t or an I shaped cross—only that he died for my sins. This is the main point! Let’s never stray from the importance of this truth. Furthermore, I have no ax to grind in this argument. I could care less about defending any cherished doctrines or traditions of the church. I care only about finding and then believing the truth as a found in the Bible. The overwhelming evidence points to the fact that Yeshua was crucified on a t, and not an I shaped cross. That is the reason, and the only reasons, I subscribe to this idea.

I will conclude with this personal testimony. I was born and raised in a Torah-believing church that hated traditional Christianity. We had a sinful Pharisaical superiority complex. We rejected many biblical truths simply because the mainstream church believed them. The idea of a t-shaped cross was one of those ideas we rejected. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30s after leaving that church that I began to objectively examine the truth about the shape of the cross and became convinced based on the biblical evidence that it was t-shaped, not I-shaped as I had been brainwashed to believe. When I presented the biblical evidence to some family members who were still in that church, they flat-out rejected what I had to say—not because it wasn’t the truth, but simply because their minds were closed and the truth didn’t conform to their biases and bigoted opinions. They had been psychologically conditioned to believe something else for the wrong reason. Sadly, there are too many people in our day who are returning to the biblical, Torah foundations of our faith and are rejecting biblical truths simply because the church believes the same things. Shame on us for our lack of intellectual honestly. I’ve been there and done that! I had to repent to this sin.


What Shape Was Yeshua’s Cross?

John 20:25, Nails. The Greek word for nail is in its plural form. The plurality of the word nails is corroborated by the fact that all the major English translation of the NT whether from both the Alexandrian or Byzantine texts contain the Greek word helon (nails, plural) as opposed to helos (nail, singular). This is the case in the Aramaic NT as well (see the translations of Ethridge and Murdock, for example). William Mounce whose Koine Greek grammar book is used in the majority of seminaries in the U.S. in his Greek and English Interlinear NT designates this word as in the genitive case, plural form and masculine gender.

What is the point here? Yeshua was crucified on a standard t-shaped cross, not on an upright stake minus its cross arm. Had he been crucified on the latter torture instrument, only one nail would have been used to secure his hands to the one post, not more than one nail as this text indicates, which would have been required on the traditional t-shaped cross.


The Scepter, the Donkey, the Vine, the Bloody Grapes and the Messiah

Sounds like the title of a C.S. Lewis Christian fiction novel, doesn’t it? Well, when unpacked, these three little verses contain a lot prophetically pertaining to the Messiah. They’re like a  riddle. Let’s use the Bible itself to unlock the code. 

Genesis 49:10–12, The scepter. Below is my commentary on these verses.

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

This passage is a clear reference to the Messiah and the Messianic Age (the time when Messiah would come to rule the earth) and has been so recognized by the Jewish sages from time immemorial (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 279). “The general consensus (with few exceptions) of Rabbinic interpretation is that this phrase [Until Shiloh arrives] refers to the coming of the Messiah …” (The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Torah commentary, p. 2152). In fact, Onkelos [a second-century scholar who translated the Torah (Pentateuch) into Aramaic] in his Aramaic version of the Torah translates this version as follows: “Until the Messiah comes, to whom the kingdom belongs” (ibid.). Rashi (b. 1040 and recognized by Jewish scholars as probably the preeminent Torah commentator of the modern era) “concurs and similarly comments: Until the King Messiah will come…, to whom the kingdom belongs. According to the Midrash, vkha [shiloh] is a composite of ha and uk, [meaning] “a gift to him”—a reference to King Messiah to whom all peoples will bring gifts. See Isaiah 18:7; Psalms 76:12” (ibid., p. 2153). It should not be difficult to see the fulfillment of this rabbinic understanding in the magis’ giving of gifts to the young child Yeshua (Matt 2:11).

Are there any illusions here to the incarnation or virgin birth of the Messiah? Of the incarnation we read the following in The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Torah commentary:

Midrash Tanchuma preserves an opinion that vkha [shiloh] is derived from vhka [shil-yah] meaning “little child, (lit. the amniotic sac in which the fetus is formed: comp. Deut 28:57).” Thus, the passage means: “Until his scion (i.e. Messiah) comes” (ibid., p. 2153).

Of course the same commentators in the same passage, while readily admitting that Continue reading


The prophetic-gospel implication of Isaac’s “sacrifice”


Genesis 22:13, A ram caught in a thicket by his horns. See the study below on the prophetic implications of the two horns of the ram and on how the binding of Isaac (called in Hebrew, the Akeidah) pointed prophetically to Yeshua.

The “Sacrifice” of Isaac at Mount Moriah. 

YHVH credited to Abraham’s spiritual account his willingness to sacrifice Isaac as if he had actually done so. In fact, there is an ancient rabbinical tradition that states Isaac actually died and was resurrected as the midrash comments on this passage: “As the knife reached his throat, Isaac’s soul flew away and left [e.g., he died]. But when a voice went forth from between the angels saying, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad’ (Genesis 22:12), his soul returned to his body” (Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 31 as quoted in The ArtScroll Davis Edition Baal HaTurim Chumash Bamidbar, p. 1417) (bracketed comments are in the original).

The Jewish sages also note that Scripture states that both Abraham and Isaac ascended the mountain, but that it is recorded that only Abraham descended (22:19). Isaac’s absence from the Genesis narrative until many years latter (Gen 24:62) has given rise to much speculation on the part of the sages as to Isaac’s whereabouts in the interim (The ArtScroll Bereishis Vol. 1a, pp. 812–813).

Regardless of the rabbinic interpretations, does Scripture leave Isaac out of the narrative as if to highlight his absence, and to give the impression (albeit a prophetic allegorical one) that he was actually sacrificed? After all, what was the ram caught in the thorn bush thicket (wearing a crown of thorns) by its two horns all about? That ram was a substitute sacrifice picturing Yeshua the Messiah dying on the cross while wearing a crown of Continue reading


How the First Passover Perfectly Pictured Yeshua the Messiah

Cross-nailed to, 16957864

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Messiah, for it is the power of Elohim to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Rom 1:16)

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:18)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved [except the name of Yeshua the Messiah]. (Acts 4:12)

According to the laws of statistical probability, what are the chances of an event happening and then fifteen hundred years later another event occurring bearing an uncanny resemblance to the first one? Now suppose that not only did fifteen hundred years separate the two events, but that they occurred in two different countries several hundred miles apart, which in the ancient world considering the difficulties of travel and communications may as well have been halfway around the globe. Now suppose that the second event involved the death of a person, and that the events leading up to their death including the manner and timing of that death was beyond the control of the individual dying so that in no way could the person dying stage his death to mirror the first event. In fact, those killing the individual possessed no foreknowledge of the event that had occurred fifteen hundred years earlier. What are the chances of this occurring? Well beyond the laws of possibility!

This is not a fictional story! Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. The details of these two events are chronicled in the pages of the Bible. The first event occurred in ancient Egypt and is recorded in the Book of Exodus chapters eleven and twelve. There we find recorded the details of the children of Israel’s first Passover while they were yet slaves in the land of Egypt. A whole series of events led up to this first Passover, which culminated with each family’s ritual killing of a lamb, smearing its blood on the frame of their doors, roasting the lamb, and then eating it. Doing this insured that YHVH would pass over their homes leaving those inside alive. The firstborn of those whose homes did not have the blood on them were killed.

The second event involved a descendant of those ancient people who was born in a different land fifteen hundred years later. His name was Yeshua of Nazareth, a Jew, and viewed by many of his day as the long-awaited Messiah of Israel. One of Continue reading