Do you view yourself as Elohim’s special/peculiar treasure?

Deuteronomy 26:18, His special people. Heb. am segulah. (See notes at Exod 19:5.)

Exodus 19:5, Peculiar treasure. This term or treasured people (Heb. am segulah) is

used several times in the Torah. Here (Exod 19:4–6) YHVH betrothed himself to and married the people of Israel and they became his am segulah or treasured possession among all the peoples of the nation, a kingdom of priests and a kadosh or set-apart nation. Later Moses restates this same idea to the younger generation Israelites about to enter the Promised Land (Deut 14:2); and finally in Deuteronomy 26:18 (see also 7:6) he again calls Israel his “treasured people” and admonishes them to keep his Torah-commands that he might “make you high above all the nations which he has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor, and that you may be a set-apart people unto YHVH your Elohim.” In the Testimony of Yeshua, this theme is again picked up by Peter in his first epistle (1 Pet 2:9) when he refers to the saints as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a peculiar people.” 

Am segulah/hllgso means “possession, treasure, valued property, peculiar treasure.” The basic meaning of the word is “personal property.” Well attested in Hebrew, Ugaritic, and Aramaic, the Akkadian sakalu, ‘to acquire property’ and sikiltum ‘personal property’ are also doubtless related. While the word occurs only eight times, it is filled with theological and spiritual treasures. The preacher in Ecclesiastes reports that the accumulation of the finest of personal possessions is sheer vanity. Those who fear the Lord become his peculiar possessions whom he will never forget, even in that time of great judgment (Mal 3:16–18, see TWOT).

“Israel was God’s personal possession (Ps 135:4). Moses reminded Israel that God chose her and redeemed her from bondage not because of her goodness, but solely because he loved her and was faithful to the promises given to the patriarchs. Israel should reflect God’s holiness and live out his commandments (Deut. 12:2ff), reflecting his standards in a life of wholehearted compliance with the terms of the covenant made at Sinai (Ex. 19:5-6) and renewed at their entrance into Canaan. Then would they have good success (Deut. 26:16-19). So it should be with all believers. These verses are doubtless alluded to in Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9” (Ibid.).

How do you view yourself spiritually? How does Elohim view you? How are these two views different from each other? How you view yourself should be determined by what the Scriptures say about you. What does Elohim’s Word say, and do you believe it?

  • I am complete in Yehshua who is the head of all principality and power. (Col 2:10)
  • I am free from the law of sin and death. (Rom 8:2) 
  • I am alive with Yeshua. (Eph 2:5)
  • I am far from oppression, and fear does not come near me. (Isa 54:14 )
  • I am born of Elohim, and the evil one does not touch me. (1 John 5:18)
  • I am holy and without blame before him in love. (1 Peter 1:16; Eph 1:4; Col 2:10)
  • I have the mind of Yeshua the Messiah/the Anointed One. (Phil 2:5; 1 Cor 2:16)
  • I have the peace of Elohim that passes understanding. (Phil 4:7)
  • I have the Greater One living in me, greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
  • I have received the gift of righteousness and reign as a king in life by Yeshua Mashiach. (1 John 4:4 Rom 5:17)
  • I have received the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Yeshua, the eyes of my understanding being enlightened. (Eph 1:17–18)

(For a complete list of what the Scriptures say about you, please see http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/who_i_am.pdf.)

 

Is Your Personal Spirit Defiled or Clean?

2 Corinthians 7:1, Cleanse…the…spirit. The personal spirit of each person can be defiled by the sinfulness of the flesh, and thus needs cleansing. See notes at Heb. 9:13–14 and Exod 29:13, 17.

Hebrews 9:13–14, Purifying the flesh…cleansing your conscience. The Levitical sacrificial system was never able to atone for sin in the full sense. These sacrifices were effective only temporarily in that they had to be continually repeated. These sacrifices never mitigated YHVH’s judgment against sin. The Levitical sacrifices simply covered over sin, so that the sinner could stand before Elohim without being consumed by his righteous judgments. Only Yeshua’s death could satisfy Elohim’s judgment against sin. Only his atoning sacrifice could thoroughly wash away our sins, remove the death penalty, which is the wages or penalty of sin, and cleanse the sinner of the guilty conscience which resides in his personal spirit, so that one could “serve the living Elohim” with a clean slate. Sin can contaminate the spirit of man, which houses the conscience of man (2 Cor 7:1; see notes at Col 3:10). Only the blood of Yeshua can miraculously cleanse our flesh and spirit and bring us to perfect holiness in the fear of Elohim (ibid.) This Yeshua did in a spiritual sense in the spiritual temple in heaven, which is greater than the physical temple on earth, which was a mere copy or shadow of the one in heaven (Heb 8:3–6). The cleansing the temple system offered was physical and external, while the one Yeshua offers through the heavenly temple gives internal cleansing.

Exodus 29:13, 17, Entrails/inwards…legs. In the process of cleansing the animal to be sacrificed, there are two lessons here for us. First, Yeshua was perfect, totally clean and spotless Lamb of Elohim sacrificed for the sins of man. Second, the saints are to become living sacrifices (Rom 12:1–2). This means we are to be like Yeshua—totally clean on both the inside and outside. Yeshua rebuked the religious hypocrites of his day for being like whited sepulchres and for being like cups that were clean on the outside but dirty on the inside (Matt 23:26–27). As the sacrifice was laid on the alter (Exod 29:18), and as Yeshua went to the altar of the cross, so we must lay our lives down as a living sacrifice as well.

 

Golden Calf Worship Among YHVH’s People Today

Are YHVH’s people still prone to golden calf worship today?

Some things never change, since human nature is still the same today as it was thousands of years ago when the children off Israel worshipped the golden calf.

So let’s explore this question.

Let’s look at the series of events that occurred as the children of Israel were leaving Egypt, which have major relevance to what is occurring in mainstream Christianity in our day. If we fail to learn the lessons of history, we’ll likely repeat the mistakes of history. It has to do with golden calf worship.

YHVH redeemed the children of Israel out of Egypt and set the slaves free. He blessed them not only by giving them their freedom, but by giving them the wealth (gold and silver) of Egypt as well. We read that the Israelites exited of Egypt with a high hand. They were victorious, free and wealthy.

YHVH led them into the wilderness en route to the Promised Land—normally an eleven day journey. They had some difficulties: Pharaoh tried to kill them at the Red Sea, they lacked clean drinking water, and they had food issues, but YHVH provided them deliverance from Pharaoh, gave them clean water, manna and meat, and they overcame these trials.

Next, YHVH led the Israelites to the foot of Mount Sinai, and on Shavuot he made a covenantal agreement with them and gave them his Torah as their national constitution. They agreed to obey him and to keep his commandments. He promised to bless them if they remained faithful to him.

Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah-covenant on two tablets of stone. While he was gone for 40 days, the people grew worried and anxious and become weary of waiting for Moses to return.  This was a test they had to pass of their faithfulness. Would they be faithful to YHVH and keep his commandments, or would they stray spiritually from the path of righteousness YHVH had given them and they had agreed to follow?

The Israelites got tired of waiting, and took the gold from Egypt and turned it into a golden calf, and then they rose up to play (to party). They even called their revelry a feast to YHVH! They used religious verbiage like “YHVH” and “feast” to add legitimacy to their Continue reading

 

The Sabbath/s of Elohim—An Identifying Sign Forever

Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am YHVH that doth sanctify you. (Exod 31:13)

There remaineth therefore a rest/Sabbath [Greek: sabbatismos or keeping of the Sabbath]  to the people of Elohim. (Heb 4:9)

Exodus 31:13–17, My Sabbaths you shall keep. Note that Sabbaths is plural. This is a reference not only to the weekly Sabbath, but to the feast day Sabbaths as well. However, the seventh day Sabbath remains central to YHVH’s spiritual economy for his people. Why did YHVH designate it as a sign (“signal, distinguishing mark, banner,” Exod 31:12) between him and Israel? As YHVH’s set-apart people, Israel was distinguishing itself from the surrounding nations who did not keep the Sabbath. What distinguishes the saints today as YHVH’s set-apart people from the non-believing heathen around them? Certainly our love for one another is a distinguishing mark, according to Yeshua (John 13:35). Yeshua also said that if we love him we will keep his Torah commandments (of which the Sabbath is the fourth of the ten commandments, John 14:15; Exod 20:8). John was inspired to write that those who say they know Elohim and don’t keep his Torah-commandments (of which the Sabbath is a foundation stone) are liars and the truth is not in them (1 John 2:3–6). And finally, Yeshua told those who were Torahless (i.e. workers of iniquity or lawlessness) to depart from him, that he didn’t know them even though they claimed to be his followers and had done many religious works in his name (Matt 7:21–23). Although the Sabbath and the biblical feasts may not be the exact sign of the Renewed Covenant, Elohim’s Sabbaths are foundation stones of the Torah, and the keeping of them remains to this day for the saints of Elohim (Heb 4:9).

The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach translates verse 15 as follows:

For six days work may be done and the seventh day is a day of complete rest, it is sacred to [YHVH] … (emphasis added)

What is complete rest? What is the connection between “complete rest” and the idea of sacredness or being set-apartness or kadosh? The people of YHVH are called to separate the kodesh from the common or profane:

Her priests have violated my Torah, and have profaned my set-apart/kodesh things: they have put no difference between the kodesh and profane [common, polluted] neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. (Ezek 22:26)

And [the priests] shall teach my people the difference between the kodesh and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (Ezek 44:23)

What is common or profane is that which is commonly done on the other six days of the week.

Exodus 31:14, Sabbath…profanes it. Profaning or polluting the Sabbath with secular activities is a sin. Sabbath desecration is as much a capital offence in YHVH’s eyes now as it was then. The wages of sin is still death (Ezek 18:4; Rom 6:23).

Exodus 31:18, Written with the finger. The Sabbath was ordained by Elohim and written by his finger. How dare men subsequently declare that the Sabbath was changed and that what YHVH wrote with his finger in tablets of stone is now irrelevant or passé! What hubris and arrogance on men’s part to counter the will and laws of Elohim with silly, specious and vacuous justifications for man-made and unbiblical teachings. Such edicts of men will not stand, but will blow away like dust in the wind, will be burned to ashes in the fiery judgment of Elohim, and will fall by the wayside like all the other traditions of men, which have dared to make the word of Elohim of no effect!

 

Introduction to Biblical Aroma Therapy—Essential Oils

Exodus 30:34–38, Sweet spices. According to Jewish tradition (b. Talmud Keritot 6a), there were eleven sweet spices (Heb. ketoret bisamim) in the tabernacle incense, four of which are mentioned here. They were balsam, clove, galbanum, frankincense, myrrh, cassia, spikenard, saffron, costus, aromatic bark (a type of cinnamon), and cinnamon. Four thousands of years, ancient cultures relied on the medicinal properties of aromatic plants. Only in recent years, has the West rediscovered the salutary benefits of these plants. Listed below are the suggested healing properties of several of these herbs. In modern times, the oils from these plants are being extracted for use in various ways. (Source of information is from various online sources and Aromatherapy Workbook by Marcel Lavabre.)

  • Galbanum (Ferula gummosa or Ferula galbaniflua) is an antiseptic (prevents the growth of disease-causing microorganisms), and helps to treat asthma, acne, coughs, cramps, scar tissue, wrinkles. Apparently, the smoke from burning the resin of this plant was used in ancient times to keep flies and snakes away.
  • Onycha may by cloves, which is an antiseptic, analgesic (pain relief), carminative (for relieving flatulence) or Styrax officinalis, which is a resin from this tree and is great for kidney support (edema), bronchitis, colds, sinusitis, skin conditions, and is said to relieve stress.
  • Frankincense is a skin tonic, heals infected wounds and is an anti-inflammatory. It helps to reprogram cellular memory thus promoting permanent healing. It is used against typhoid, allergies herpes, tonsillitis, head injuries, depression, and cancer. Research shows that it will lower cortisol by 40 percent just by deep inhalation. Elevated cortisol contributes to weight problems.
  • Myrrh (stacte) is a skin tonic or conditioner, anti-inflammatory, cough expectorant, vulnerary (heals wounds), fungicide, antiseptic, astringent (causes the contraction of body tissues—notably the skin). It is especially useful for mouth ulcers and throat infections. In ancient times, pregnant mothers anointed themselves with myrrh for protection against infectious diseases, and they used myrrh during labor to stretch the perineum and on umbilical cords. Myrrh has a long history of use in skin health and hygiene products, and it prolongs the life and scent of other oils. Myrrh helps to combat wrinkles, is antiseptic, aids in balancing the thyroid, clearing athletes foot, ringworm, viral hepatitis, thrush in babies, inflammation and bronchitis.
  • Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia) is an antiseptic, antibiotic, and immune system builder.
  • Spikenard is a skin tonic or conditioner.
  • Aromatic Bark is an antiseptic (against flu and infectious disease), stimulant (circulation, nervous system).
  • Cinnamon (leaf) is an antiseptic (against infectious disease), relieves skin irritants (e.g. poison oak).
 

Are Humans Equal in the Eyes of the Creator?

An genuine 2,000 year old holy half-shekel.

Exodus 30:15, Rich…poor. This passage teaches the equality of all believers. In YHVH’s eyes, each redeemed Israelite saints are equal. To the Creator of all things and who owns everything, no one is worth more than a half-shekel, and no one is worth less than a half shekel. The rich aren’t better than the poor and vice versa. This is also the moral of Yeshua’s Parable of Lazurus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19–21). Contrary to what many Christians have been taught, this parable isn’t a doctrinal statement about the state of the dead and the afterlife. To many people, including the rich Scribes and Pharisees of Yeshua’s day, material success denotes superiority and even divine favor. The Bible dispels this false notion. YHVH looks at the heart and character of a person and the righteous fruits of their lives, and not at the outward, physical trappings—the proverbial cover of the book. The Scriptures address this issue in several places:

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matt 7:19–20)

But YHVH said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for YHVH seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but YHVH looketh on the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)

Now the Torah and the rest of the Scriptures teach that all the saints are equal. But what about the rest of humanity? Are all humans created equal?

There are many ways to look at this equality issue. But let’s see what the Bible teaches.

The Bible states in several places that all humans are created in the image of Elohim. This implies equality among all humans.

The Bible also states that all humans are sinners, that all deserve death and that none are righteous of themselves. This also implies equality.

The Bible states that Elohim so loved all the world that he sent his Son to die for all humanity. This implies equality among humans.

The Bible also state that Elohim loved us while we were still sinners. This implies equality among all humans.

Elohim desires all humans to be saved. This also implies equality among humans.

The Bible furthermore states that Elohim isn’t a respecter of persons. This implies equality among humans.

The Bible teaches that there is one Torah-law standard of righteousness for all people—Israelites and non-Israelites. This implies equality.

Moreover, the Bible states that Elohim will judge all humans by that law. All humans will come before his judgment seat. Thus all are equal before the law and before the Judge of the universe.

Conversely, there is no question that the Bible teaches that Elohim favors those who love and serve him. He favors them with a special love and enters into a personal relationship with them. He blesses then in a special way (salvation, healing, answered prayers, special protection, guidance, wisdom the Set-Apart Spirit, etc.) and eventually will reward them with eternal life, glorification and inclusion into his eternal kingdom as his adopted children. So in this sense, Elohim starts out loving and treating everyone equally, but those who choose to love and obey him he favors them and extends his grace to them. In this case, not everyone is treated equally. But this is not based on favoritism on YHVH’s part, but upon the choices that humans make with regard to his initial equal treatment of all. In the end, all humans will reap what they sow. If they obey Elohim they will be blessed with immortality. If they disobey him, with eternal death.

 

Is the oil level in your spiritual engine low or high?

Herodian oil lamps from the first century A.D. The lamp on the left is a replica. The lamp on the right is an actual 2000 year old clay lamp from the Holy Land.

Exodus 27:20–21, They shall bring pure oil. Olives, olive oil and the olive tree are very significant biblical symbols. This oil was used for anointing and for burning in the seven-branched menorah—a picture of redeemed Israelite believers comprised of many different congregations (Rev 1:12–13). This olive oil was pure and the olives were beaten or pressed to produce oil for light (Exod 27:20). How does this relate to the believer’s life, so that he can be the light of the world Yeshua commanded him to be (see Matt 5:14–16 cp. Acts 14:22; Rom 8:17; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Pet 4:12–14; Jas 1:2–3)?

The priests attended to the menorah to keep it burning continually from evening till morning. This reminds us of Yeshua’s Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25:1–13), where Yeshua’s exhorted his disciples to be like the wise virgins who kept their lamps trimmed and full of oil as they were watching and waiting for their bridegroom to come.

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the level of oil in each virgin’s lamp was the factor that determined whether they would be allowed entrance into the bridegroom’s wedding or not. Therefore, what is the significance of olive oil (the fuel for the lamps) scripturally? There are several.

Olive oil was used in consecrating kings and priests for YHVH’s service (see 1 Sam 16:13; 1 Kgs 1:39; Lev 8:12).

Olive oil symbolizes YHVH’s rich blessings on one’s life, was used for consecrating the tabernacle and its contents (Lev 8:10).

Olive oil was a medicinal agent for healing (Isa 1:6; Luke 10:34).

Olive oil is also a scriptural metaphor for YHVH’s anointing on one’s life (see Ps 23:5; 133:2; Zech 4:12–14).

Olive oil is a biblical metaphor for gladness or joy (note Ps 45:7; Prov 27:9; Isa 61:3; Heb 1:9).

Olive oil speaks of healing by the laying on of hands (read Mark 6:13; Jas 5:14).

Olive oil is a symbol of prosperity (see Deut 32:24).

In Jewish thought, olive oil is also a metaphor for Torah, since it is a comfort to the head and body even as are the words of the Torah (Everyman’s Talmud, by Abraham Cohen, p. 134).

Oil in the Parable of the Ten Virgins oil is generally recognized to be a symbol of the blessing and anointing of YHVH’s Set-Apart Spirit functioning in one’s life.

Let us not forget that the same is the spiritual force that Spirit leads one into YHVH’s Torah-truth (John 15:26; 16:13). The five foolish virgins’ lack of oil speaks of their lacking YHVH’s anointing and blessing, that their lives were not fully consecrated to him, that they were deficient in YHVH’s Spirit and were not walking in the fullness of his Torah-truth. Torah teacher, Dean Wheelock characterizes the foolish virgins’ lack of oil in this way:

The foolish squander their oil, their precious oil of Torah instruction, which tells them how to live their lives in a righteous manner. Meanwhile the wise hang on to their Torah learning, and thereby save their oil for that time when it is needed. And the time when it will be most needed is when Messiah arrives to take us to the wedding. Then we will need all of the Torah oil we can muster. That is what the “foolish virgins” were missing. They did not have an adequate supply of understanding of the Torah, they were not living a Torah-centered life, they had not prepared themselves adequately to be the wife of the Messiah Yeshua, the one who as the “Living Torah” when he walked the earth some two thousand years ago. (Hebrew Roots Magazine, Sept./Oct. 1997, article entitled “Oil For Our Lamps,” by Dean Wheelock, p. 10)

In the Scriptures, how is the lamp viewed metaphorically? (Read 2 Sam 22:29; Ps 119:105; Prov 6:23.) Believers are to be leading lives reflective of YHVH’s light and are to be lamps or lights shining in the darkness of this world (note Matt 5:14; Luke 12:35; Phil 2:15). The ceramic lamps used in biblical times are an apt symbol of our physical lives, which the Scriptures describe as vessels of clay, which contain the Spirit of YHVH, for the spirit of man is the candle or lamp of YHVH burning inside of man (Prov 20:27) and, our lives are earthen vessels that contain YHVH’s spiritual light (2 Cor 4:6–7). At the same time, the pure gold menorah in the tabernacle shows us although we may now be mere vessels of clay as we walk this earth, it is our spiritual destiny, upon receiving our glorified bodies at the resurrection to be gold in that we will be like Yeshua (1 John 3:2).