The Gospel Message in the Israelites’ Wilderness Journey

Exodus 14:19, Angel [or Messenger] of YHVH. This is the preincarnate Yeshua—the Messenger or Word of Elohim before he was made flesh (John 1:1, 14).

Went behind them. Fire does two things: It both destroys and purifies substances depending on the durability of their composition. It consumes that which is flammable (e.g. wood, hay and stubble) and refines or purifies that which is inflammable (e.g. gold, silver and precious stones; 1 Cor 3:12–15). To those people whose lives are characterized by wood, hay and stubble, fire is a threat and terror; to those whose lives are gold, silver and precious stones, fire is welcomed, since they have nothing to fear; it will only make them better, not destroy them. Moreover, fire creates light. To those whose lives are characterized by light (truth and righteousness), fire is a positive thing, since it exposes sin and gives them light by which to go forward spiritually. To those people who are of the darkness (i.e. the world, the flesh and the devil), as was Pharaoh and Egypt, and who love sin and hate Elohim and his righteousness (John 3:19–20), fire and light are feared because it will not only expose their evil deeds, but will consume them in judgment. Therefore, the fiery flame that separated the Israelites from the Egyptians was a good thing and a blessing for the former and a bad thing and a curse for the latter. In fact, in Exod 15:7 in poetic terms the Egyptians are likened to stubble that YHVH destroys in his wrathful judgment. This same thing will occur again on a global scale when the earth is burned with fire and the wicked become ashes under the sole’s of the feet (Mal 4:3) of the righteous after the white throne judgment (Rev 20:11–15).

The Red Sea. The Israelites went through the midst of the Red Sea. Like the killing of the Passover lamb and the painting of his blood on the door posts, the Continue reading

 

The Yeshua Model of Evangelism

Mark 10:17–22, Yeshua’s model for one-on-one evangelism is here revealed. In his encounter with the rich, young ruler, Yeshua reveals a method of evangelizing in a one-on-one scenario. He uses the following five-step approach:

  1. Yeshua first establishes the character of YHVH Elohim and how man falls short of this in comparison. Namely, YHVH is good, and man is not. 
  2. Next, Yeshua presents the Torah as Elohim’s moral and spiritual standard that determines the definition of good—right and wrong. 
  3. Yeshua then shows the young man that he was violated that standard of goodness by violating the Torah’s standard of righteousness.
  4. He advises the young man then to repent of his Torahlessness (or of breaking YHVH’s laws, which is the biblical definition of sin, see 1 John 3:4).
  5. Finally, Yeshua invites the young to make the total commitment to being a good person and to follow him.

We see this evangelistic model again in Acts 17:24 when Paul addresses the Greeks on Mars Hill.

 

Yeshua the Messiah Prophesied in the Life of Joseph

Genesis 37–41 The Life of Joseph—A Foreshadow of Messiah Ben (Son of) Yosef

The spirit of Antimessiah (Antichrist) is on a dramatic rise in our day. It is even rampant among those who are returning to the Hebraic, Torah-centric roots of the Christian faith where some people are losing their faith in Yeshua the Messiah. A few are even converting to Rabbinic Judaism, which denies the messiahship and deity of Yeshua and the divine inspiration of the Testimony of Yeshua. Some of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of a few of the modern-day descendants of the non-believing Pharisees (i.e. the Rabbinic Jews), who use clever arguments to beguile unstable and unlearned souls into humanistic reasoning devoid of a living faith in Yeshua their Savior and the Redeemer of man. Because of a spiritual blindness that Scripture prophesied would come upon the Jews producing a hardness of heart toward Yeshua the Messiah, unbelieving Jews ignore the numerous prophetic shadow-pictures pointing to Yeshua the Messiah contained in their own Tanakh.

May the following study strengthen your faith in Yeshua the Messiah, in his divine origination in the very heart, mind and essence of Elohim, and in the fact that he was foreordained to come to this earth to reconcile sinful man to his Heavenly Father through his self-sacrifice on the cross. All this was prophesied long ago in the Tanakh. The ancient Jewish sages speak of a messianic figure coming called Messiah son of Joseph (Mashiach ben Yosef), the Suffering Servant, whose life and ministry would parallel that of Joseph, yet Continue reading

 

Jacob’s Ladder YHVH’s Plan of Salvation From Genesis to Revelation—The BIG Picture!

Introduction to the Study of Genesis 28:10–22

Jacob’s vision of a ladder to heaven is one of those enigmatic Scriptural passages which has befuddled the
keen intellects of many Bible scholars down through the ages. Perhaps the deeper elucidations of Jacob’s
vision has escaped the reader as well. If so, you are not alone, for well-known Christian commentators such as Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke have stabbed at its meaning realizing it has something to do with the Person of Yeshua the Messiah and his heaven-ordained ministry to reconcile earth’s inhabitants to their Heavenly Father and Creator. Keil and Delitzsch don’t even connect this dream to the Person of Yeshua. Other than vague explanations as to the dream’s interpretations, these esteemed scholars have nothing more to proffer the reader. Little if anything is said of the allegorical meaning of the ladder, the dust, the stones (plural) becoming a stone (singular) or of the significance of “the place.” Even the unusually insightful biblical scholar Arthur W. Pink in his book, Gleanings In Genesis, though he draws 101 parallels between Joseph and Yeshua the Messiah, can gives us no more insights into the spiritual and prophetic implications of Jacob’s ladder than do Henry and Clarke. This is some of the best that Christianity has to offer on this subject.

Now what does the best of rabbinic Judaism have to offer us by way of explanation of Jacob’s dream? It goes without saying that their interpretations will be devoid of any references to Yeshua, but can we learn anything else from them. After all, they have been studying this passage for more than 3800 years! Rashi, viewed by some as the greatest Torah expositor of the last 1000 years has little to add to our understanding as does Samson Raphael Hirsch, the great nineteenth-century Torah teacher. The Baal HaTurim in his Torah commentary adds some interesting insights relating to the subsurface or hidden meaning of some of the Hebrew words used in the text that not only confirm the simple or plain meaning of the text, but add depth to it as well on an allegorical or prophetic level. We will cite a number of other Jewish scholars who between them contribute greatly to our understanding of the text. But for all their collective wisdom, they, not surprisingly, fail to connect the meaning of the ladder to YHVH’s plan of redemption and salvation for mankind. They fail to see the big picture and master plan involving the Messiah, the Living Word of Elohim sent from heaven to redeem lost mankind. 

Both the Christian scholars and the Jewish sages are blind in part since both have rejected half of the key to unlocking the full depth and panoramic understanding of this vision. The former has, to one degree or another, rejected its Jewish or Hebraic roots and the relevance of the written Torah to theological understanding and lifestyle, while the latter has rejected Yeshua, Living Word or Living Torah sent from Heaven to give us wisdom, understanding, redemption and salvation. Each side is spiritually blind in part to one-half of YHVH’s truth (Rom 11:25). Both have stumbled over the stone of stumbling and the rock of offence (Isa 8:14). The Christians have rejected much of the truth of the written Torah, while the Jews have rejected the spirit of prophecy as revealed through Yeshua, the Living Torah (Rev 19:20). To understand the heart of the Father as revealed in his written word, Yeshua said that it would take both spirit and truth (John 4:23–24). With these thoughts in mind, let us proceed to understand this vision of Jacob.

The Text 

Let’s now read the text in Genesis 28:10–22 pertaining to Jacob and his dream of the Continue reading

 

The Parable of the Sower in Context Explained

Matthew 13:14, Hearing you will hear. In Yeshua’s Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:3–23), we are confronted with the difficult issue about who will receive the gospel message and thus enter into the kingdom of heaven and who will not. Put into modern vernacular, Yeshua is discussing who will receive YHVH’s free gift of salvation resulting in immortality and who and who will die in his sins to perish for eternity.

Yeshua’s discussion all started when his disciples asked him why he taught the people using parables. To them, it was as if he were deliberately obscuring the gospel message.

A superficial reading of his response in verse 15 to their question may imply not only a lack of impartiality but a brutal selectivity on the part of Elohim when it comes to determining who he will choose to receive the gift of salvation including the gift of immortality. If this is the conclusion one draws from Yeshua’s response, then what he said contradicts other scriptures that indicate Elohim’s unconditional love for the whole world and his desire that all be saved (John 3:16; 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 2:9).

The fact is that a thorough reading of this passage shows us another important truth, which in no way impugns the character of Elohim, but instead leaves the onus on man.

After giving this parable, Yeshua quotes Isaiah the prophet (Isa 6:9–10), where we learn that it’s up to the individual as to how far they want to go with Elohim spiritually. All humans have eyes and ears to see and hear, but merely seeing or hearing doesn’t equate with understanding or perceiving. Sadly, many people want to dabble in religion, or to have a religious experience, but they don’t want to change their lives spiritually, to give up their sin, and then to submit to the will of Elohim by adhering to his commandments as revealed in his written Word, the Bible. This is because they have willfully hardened their hearts and closed their eyes (Matt 13:15). YHVH isn’t going to cram “religion,” so to speak, down their throats. For example, in the Gospel record, we read that many people followed Yeshua out of curiosity and in hopes of being healed or getting fed physically or seeing a miracle (John 6:26; Matt 12:39), but when he demanded obedience, many turned away from following him (John 6:66). The same is true of people today. Human nature, the condition of man’s heart, remains the same down through the ages. Though Yeshua calls many to follow him, few actually do (Matt 20:16; 22:14). Of the thousands who flocked to see Yeshua during his earthly ministry, only about 120 people remained faithful to him (Acts 1:15).

Why would Yeshua (and Isaiah) express reluctance at having some people come to saving faith in Elohim? The answer lies in the Parable of the Sower itself. Yeshua explains that the good seed of the gospel message is sown on various types of ground. Only that which is sown in the fertile soil produces fruit. Though the seed germinated and began to grow in the bad ground, it eventually died because of unfavorable external factors. Yeshua in explaining this parable to his disciples says that many people receive the good seed (i.e. they hear the gospel message), and they respond favorably to it initially, but they’re not willing to go all the way, for their hearts and minds are only open superficially. Once the excitement and emotions of their spur of the moment decision dies down, they go back to their old lifestyle. Peter describes those who initially respond favorably to the gospel, but turn away in this way in 2 Peter 2:20,

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Yeshua the Messiah, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

Of those who are superficially converted but turn away, Yeshua, elsewhere likens such a person to a house that gets cleaned and swept spiritually of evil spirits, but if that person doesn’t guard his house to keep it clean, the evil spirits will come back in greater force than before to repossess the house. Yeshua exclaimed that the latter state of the man is worse than his first state (Matt 12:43–45).

It is perhaps for these reasons that, though Yeshua clearly desires all to be saved in a general sense, he only wants those who will be serious about their spiritual walk actually to be saved. This lessens the possibility of those who are less serious from making spiritual commitments, getting saved, then falling away into a worse spiritual state than before. Yeshua values quality over quantity when it comes to his disciples.

What’s more, he spoke the mysteries of the kingdom in parables, so that those who were serious would be forced to take the step of faith necessary to gain understanding. Those who are unwilling to push forward in the pursuit of truth aren’t worthy to have the mysteries of the kingdom entrusted to them. It would be like casting pearls before swine or giving that which is holy to the dogs, as Yeshua elsewhere states (Matt 7:6). Again, many are called and few are chosen.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven—Some Mysteries Revealed

Matthew 13:1–58, Yeshua reveals some fundamental mysteries pertaining to the kingdom of heaven. 

Let’s systematically analyze this amazing chapter section-by-section to see if we can unlock some deep mysteries pertaining to the kingdom of Elohim.

In the Parable of the Sower, Yeshua reveals that he is sowing the seeds of the gospel message far and wide across the field of the world (v. 38). That seeds falls on all types of ground and there are external influences (i.e. the world, the flesh and the devil) that affect whether the seed will germinate and come to fruition or not. The bottom line is that the majority of seed gets destroyed along the way and fails to produce fruit.

Yeshua then explains the purpose of parables (see comments on v. 14). The main point of this discussion is that only those who are genuine and earnest truth seekers will find the deep spiritual truths of Yeshua’s kingdom behind his parables. These are the ones who have “eyes to see and ears to hear” who will eventually become part of his kingdom. All others will fall by the wayside having disqualified themselves by their lack of spiritual zeal and tenacity to enter into his kingdom.

Yeshua’s Parable of the Wheat and Tares is an expansion of one aspect of the of the previous parable. In the Parable of the Sower, bad seed (i.e. the sons of the wicked or the lawless/Torahless one, vv. 38 and 41) can also be sown by the enemy (the wicked one or the devil, v. 39) into the field in which the good seed on the good ground is sown. This means that of the seed that is sown there’s a reduction factor of four to one. Only one in four seeds or twenty-five percent Continue reading

 

What REALLY is the narrow gate?

Matthew 7:13, Enter the narrow gate. Here Yeshua speaks of the straight gate and the narrow way that leads to life versus the wide and broad gate that leads to destruction. This narrow gate relates to Jacob’s dream of a ladder to heaven.

In Genesis 28:10–22, we have the account of Jacob’s dream of a ladder reaching into heaven. The dream greatly amazed Jacob and afterwards he concluded that he had experienced a divine encounter. He named the spot where he had the dream Beth El meaning “House of El (God),” and he concluded that this spot was “the gate of heaven” (verse 17). In Hebraic thought, “the ladder” to heaven is equivalent to the Tree of Life, which is another term for the Torah of Elohim. We know that Yeshua was the Torah-Word of Elohim made flesh ( John 1:1,14). Not only that, Yeshua likened himself to a ladder reaching to heaven (John 1:51). 

Furthermore, we see both Moses and Joshua describing the Torah-law of Elohim as a (narrow, by implication) path from which one must turn neither to the left nor to the right (Deut 5:32; 17:11, 20; 28:14; Josh 1:7; 23:6). In Proverbs, the path of wisdom (i.e. Torah) is also likened to a (narrow, by implication) path from which one must not turn either to the left or to the right (Prov 4:27). 

The term “gate” (or door) itself in Matthew 7:13 is a Hebraism referring to the means by which one enters into the Tabernacle or Temple of Elohim (Exod 27:14, 16; 32: 35:17; Ezek 40:3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 etc.). The Tabernacle (or Mishkan) of Moses was representative of the pathway to redemption or salvation. Before actually entering the tabernacle, one encountered the altar of the red heifer, which is a prophetic picture of the cross of Yeshua. To enter the tabernacle, one passed through a multi-colored gate. One of the colors was crimson, which represented the blood of lamb on the door posts of the Israelites’ homes on Passover eve. After that, one would come to the brazen alter of sacrifice, which pictures the new believer dying daily, after the example of Yeshua on the cross, and daily ingesting of the “blood” and “body” of Yeshua (pictured by the Christian ritual of communion), the Lamb of Elohim. 

Yeshua fulfilled all these prophetic types and shadows. He said that he is the door or gate ( John 10:7, 9, 10) by which all must enter to have salvation (Acts 4:12), in order to have access to the Father in heaven (John 14:6). Yeshua told the rich young ruler that the Torah (both the Written Torah and Yeshua the Living Torah-Word of Elohim) was the path to eternal life (Matt 19:16–17). Moreover, the Torah points to Yeshua who was the “aim” or “goal” (not the “end” or “termination” of the Torah, as Rom 10:4 is often mistranslated as in most of our English Bibles) of the Torah who is the Living Torah-Word of YHVH ( John 1:1, 14). Yeshua said that he was the way (to the Father in heaven), the truth and the life ( John 14:6), and that the Word of Elohim is truth ( John 17:17). The only Word of Elohim that existed when Yeshua spoke these words was the Tanakh (or Old Testament).

Yeshua defined himself as the truth, so what is truth? How does Scripture define “truth”? In Psalm 119:142 and 151, David says that the Torah-law and Torah-commandments of Elohim are truth. It’s this simple! Any religious theology that attempts an end run head face into the truth of Torah. Period!

We see the concept of gates in the messianically prophetic verses of Psalm 118:19 and 20. Here the Messiah (Yeshua) is likened as gates of YHVH and gates of righteousness (Ps 119:172 defines “righteousness” as “all of thy Torah-commandments) which all the righteous shall enter.”

So Yeshua is the gate, or the straight way of life and truth, the door to salvation or redemption and the way to the Father in heaven. He is the Word of Elohim made flesh or the Living Torah (John 1:1, 14).