Happy Shavuot 2017—Sunday, June 4! Enjoy this fresh manna from heaven!

Attaining Spiritual Maturity in the New Covenant—On Being a Spiritual Mountain Climber

(This manna from heaven was revealed and downloaded to Natan in the back country of Alaska while sitting, Bible in hand, prayerfully, overlooking Little Port Walter on Baronov Island (75 miles SE of Sitka), and while on a boat in the Pacific Ocean in the Chatham Straights between Baronov and Admiralty islands.)

On Being Spiritual Mountain Climbers

From the time that YHVH revealed himself to the children of Israel while they were enslaved in Egypt, he has been calling his people to be spiritual mountain climbers. He first called the Israelites out of Egypt and up to Mount Sinai, and then up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem. He then called his people to come even higher yet to the upper room on the day of Pentecost, and he is now calling his people to come up even higher to the New Jerusalem that is above us and is the mother of us all. This highest mountain of YHVH is the ultimate source of our spiritual sustenance, the source of the river of life along which the trees of life are situated. From this spiritual wellspring comes all divine revelation and ultimately immortal life as children of the Most High.

The beginning of the upward spiritual journey of YHVH’s people is memorialized in the counting of the omer, which starts on First Fruits Day occurring during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and culminates fifty days later with the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Heb. Shavuot; Lev 23:4–16). Each new step in this journey is a stepping stone or a launch pad to the next. For the Israelites, the journey started at sea level in the flat-land river delta of Egypt (a metaphor for this world, Satan and death) and then continues climbing higher and higher until it reaches heaven itself—the abode of Elohim.

The problem is that most people only climb so far in their spiritual journey and then stop, or they grow weary along the way or become comfortably complacent at the level they have thus far attained and never move past that spot. This is dangerous!

To not move forward spiritually is to stagnate and to die. YHVH wants a people that are on the move, who will obediently follow him wherever he leads, and not stop and park along the way only to construct their religious monuments with their fossilized customs, rituals and traditions. Heaven is a long way above the earthly plane, and YHVH wants children who will seek him no matter what, who have a heart to follow him no matter where, and no matter the cost. Although eternal life is a free gift from heaven, it won’t be given easily. It costs nothing, but, at the same time, it costs everything! Man must be willing to sacrifice his all—to lose his earthly life—to gain eternal life. YHVH refuses to give out his priceless gift of eternal life willy-nilly to anyone and everyone! YHVH requires that his saints be determined, tough and gritty mountain climbers who refuse to give up until that summit is reached. He has no pleasure in those who turn back, or refuse to go on. Only those who doggedly overcome the world, the flesh and the devil remaining lovingly loyal and obedient to him will receive the highest reward he has to offer.

The Spirit Versus the a Letter of the Law—the Two Covenants

Let’s now explore what it is to climb the mountains that YHVH has placed before us to ascertain where we are at on the journey and how far we have to go to reach the ultimate summit.

In 2 Corinthians 3:1–18 we read,

1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of the Messiah, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living Elohim, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 4 And we have such trust through the Messiah toward Elohim. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from Elohim, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away [brought to an end, ESV; Gr. katargeo], 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away [Gr. katargeo] was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech­ — 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away [Gr. katargeo]. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in the Messiah. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Let’s now explain this passage to understand better the transition between the “old” and “new” covenants and the differences between the two.

Verse 7, Was passing away [NKJV]/brought to and end [ESV], This phrase is the Greek word katargeo meaning “to render idle or useless, to vanish, to abolish, to put away, Continue reading


Who was at fault—Elohim or man?

Many hands pointing finger at you

Hebrews 8:8, Finding fault with them. What was the fault of the first covenant? The Torah-law of Elohim, or the people who failed to abide by the terms of the covenant, i.e, the Torah? The next verse gives us the answer: “because they continued not in my covenant…” The Israelites were at fault.

YHVH gave Israel his Torah-laws (or instructions in righteousness) to teach them how to love him and to love their neighbors (Mark 12:29–31). If they followed his Torah-instructions, he promised to bless them (Deut 28:1–14), and declared that all would go well with them (Deut 4:30). Of course, we know the sad history of ancient Israel and how they rebelled against YHVH again and again. There was nothing wrong with his Torah laws, which said, you shall not murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, covet, kidnap, commit homosexuality or incest, worship false gods, take YHVH’s name in vain, keep his Sabbaths, don’t practice divination, honor your parents and so on. What’s wrong with these? Nothing. The fault was with the people who failed to abide by these standards of righteousness, and this is exactly what the author of Hebrews is saying here. Because the people broke their contractual or covenantal agreement with YHVH and literally abandoned him for false gods, he was forced to make a new covenant with other people who would have the heart and love and obey him. This is exactly what Jeremiah prophesied would occur, and the writer of Hebrews is simply quoting Jeremiah in this passage. What is the main difference between the first and second covenants? As the Israelites of old didn’t have the heart to obey YHVH because of the hardness (or carnality) of their hearts (Heb 3:8, 15; 4:2, 7), YHVH promised through Jeremiah to renew his covenant with the descendants of the ancient Israelites (i.e., the house of Israel and the house of Judah, Jer 31:31; Heb 8:8), but this time, by his Spirit, he would write his Torah-laws on their hearts and in their inward parts, so they wouldn’t resist obeying him, but would desire to be pleasing in his sight. So the fault was with the hard-hearted Israelites, not with YHVH standards of righteousness called his Torah-laws!



What is passing away—the Torah or the covenant?

2 Corinthians 3:11, Passing away. This is not a reference to the Torah-law itself, but to the old or former covenant (i.e., the agreement or contract YHVH and Israel made with each other) as it phases into the new or renewed covenant.

Yeshua initiated the new covenant at his last supper, but it will be finalized with the two houses of Israel (see Jer 31:31, 33 and Heb 8:8) at his second coming when the two sticks or houses of Israel are reunited (see Ezek 37:15–27) at which time he will finalize the new covenant with a reunited Israel (v. 26; see also Isa 54:10; 55:3; 59:21; Ezek 34:25; Jer 32:40; 50:5; Hos 2:18–23).

We are presently in the intermediate phase between the two covenants. To view it from a different perspective, Yeshua betrothed himself to his spiritual bride (redeemed Israel, spiritual Israel or the Israel of Elohim, see Gal 6:16) at his last supper, but will marry her at his second coming. The saints who are now in Yeshua are under the new covenant as the betrothed bride of Yeshua, but all Israel will be brought into the new covenant at his second coming at which time he will finalize the covenant that he initiated with his disciples before his death.


An Overview of YHVH’s Marriage to Israel as Fulfilled in the Lives of Redeemed Believers

Exodus 19–31 and the Marriage of YHVH to Israel—Types and Shadows

YHVH married ancient Israel at Mount Sinai.

Read Ezekiel 16:1–14

Redeemed believers are preparing to be the spiritual bride of Yeshua.

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Messiah. (2 Cor 11:2)

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, “Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he saith unto me, “These are the true sayings of Elohim.” (Rev 19:7–9)

What are the prophetic implications of and spiritual parallels between YHVH’s first marriage to ancient Israel and YHVH-Yeshua’s upcoming marriage to his bride—the saints who keep his (Torah) commandments and have faith in him (Rev 12:17; 14:12)?

Marriage 33370184

In his Parable of the Ten Virgins, Yeshua likens his bride to the five wise virgins who had oil in their lamps. Oil is a Hebraism for the Spirit of Elohim and the Torah. In other words, the prospective bride of Yeshua will walk in the Spirit of Elohim and the truth of Torah, which Yeshua tells us is a mandatory requirement if one is to have a relationship with YHVH (John 4:23–24; 1 John 2:3–6). We learn from the fact that since five foolish virgins who weren’t allowed into the wedding supper that not all redeemed believers will be the bride of Yeshua. Some believers will be the least in YHVH’s kingdom and some will be the greatest (Matt 5:19). According to Yeshua, how obedient one is to the Torah will determine one’s level of rewards in his eternal kingdom (Matt 5:19).

Between Exodus 19 and 24, we find recorded the steps Israel took to enter into a marital Continue reading


The Abrahamic Covenant — Foundation of the New Covenant

The Torah, the first five books of the Bible, is the chronicle of YHVH giving man instructions to follow, and of his entering into covenantal relationships with men and men either keeping those agreements or breaking them.


The word Torah means “instructions, teaching or precepts; specifically in biblical context: the teachings or instructions of YHVH to lead men into a righteous relationship with him through covenantal agreement.” The Torah is a giant b’rit or covenant. The Torah in a number of places even refers to itself by the Hebrew word b’rit or covenant. We see this in the following passages:

Exodus 34:27, And YHVH said unto Moses, Write you these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.

Deuteronomy 29:1, These are the words of the covenant, which YHVH commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.

The Torah is not unlike an instruction manual that one might receive from the manufacturer of an automobile, computer or some such device to help the buyer to operate his new purchase in a manner that allows him to receive years of trouble-free service. The Torah is Continue reading


The Transition Between the Old and New Covenants

Hebrews 8:13, Ready to vanish away. 

Many who read this verse assume that the writer is saying that the Torah-law was ready to vanish away ergo the law has been done away. This belief is orthodox Christianity! But is this what the author is saying here? Read it again? Is he saying that the law is vanishing away or the covenant is vanishing away? The latter!

So what is the difference between the former and latter covenants? The covenant was nothing more than a contract between YHVH and the people of Israel that he made with them at Mount Sinai (Exod 19–24). Think of a modern contract (e.g., buying a car, a house or agreeing to pay for services rendered). A contract is nothing more than an agreement between two or more parties. Then you have the terms of the contract. If one party fails to keep up his end of the agreement, does that mean that the terms of the contract are evil? Not at all. It means that one party failed to keep his word and the contract was then voided. The same was true with the contract of the “Old Covenant” that YHVH made with the Israelites. The terms were that if they would worship him and obey his Torah-laws, he would bless them, and if not, he would punish them. They agreed to these terms three times (Exod 19:8; 24:3,7), yet they ended up not keeping their word and instead worshipped false gods and broke his laws again and again. After hundreds of years of unfaithfulness, they finally totally abandoned YHVH. The covenant was broken for good.

But did Israel’s unfaithfulness to his Torah-laws mean that his instructions in righteousness were evil, or rather that their hearts were evil? Logic dictates the answer to be the latter. To say that the Torah was evil and needed to be obliterated (or done away with) is like saying when you get a speeding ticket, the laws prohibiting speeding should be eliminated. Of course, this is absurd, and so it is to say that the laws of YHVH need to be eliminated because the people violated the covenant thus rendering it null and void.

Here are some more observation on the subject of the Old Covenant vanishing away and giving way to the New Covenant:

According to Jeremiah 31, the new covenant will be made (or finalized) after YHVH has gathered (or redeemed, v. 11) all the families of Israel (v. 1; i.e., the houses Ephraim or Israel [i.e., Christians] and Judah [i.e., the Jews], vv. 9, 20, 27, 31) who will be returning from the north country, the coasts of the earth and the isles (vv. 8, 10) back to Zion with joy, singing and dancing (vv. 12–13, 24). This will occur after Ephraim (the church) repents (v. 20) of its Torahlessness, and YHVH’s spiritual daughter turns away from her backsliding (vv. 21–22), and upon coming out her captivity in the end times (v. 23; from spiritual Egypt or Babylon the great).  At that time, YHVH will make a new (or renewed) covenant with the two houses of Israel (vv. 31–33; loosely speaking, the Jews and the Christians), and all Israel will know Elohim from the least to the greatest. This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.

The author of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah 31:31–33 (Heb 8:7–13) asserting that the new covenant is the same covenant about which Jeremiah prophesied. From that author’s perspective (Heb 8:13), the new covenant isn’t fully in place yet, and the first covenant is decaying (wearing out), growing old and vanishing away (disappearing). The implication is that the old covenant has not totally gone away yet (see also 2 Cor  3:11).

We know that Yeshua initiated the new (or renewed) covenant at his Passover seder (also called the last supper; Luke 22:20). This covenant has been given to believers in Yeshua, but it hasn’t been universally applied to all Israel yet. This will occur when the two houses of Israel will return to the Promised Land after they have been set free from spiritual Babylon at Yeshua’s second coming.

YHVH’s Word tells us that no man can add or subtract from the terms of the old covenant (Gal 3:15). Although YHVH made this covenant with men, it is a divine covenant, and YHVH himself (not men) determines its terms and conditions! When Yeshua initiated the new covenant at his Passover, the old covenant and the Torah were still in force, and not one jot or tittle will be removed from the Torah until heaven and earth pass away (Matt 5:18). The Torah determine the terms of both the old and new covenants. Any traditions that have come into the Christian (Sunday, Christmas, etc.) or Jewish religious systems that are contrary to the Torah are men’s additions, and are therefore invalid and irrelevant.

Even as there was a gradual process of phasing into the first (or old) covenant, the same is true of the new covenant. With the former covenant, the Israelites put the blood of the lamb on their door posts at Passover, prepared themselves to meet YHVH at Mount Sinai (Exod 19), were then presented with the terms and conditions of the Sinai covenant on the Feast of Weeks (Heb. Shavuot, Exod 20–23), and then the covenant was ratified (Exod 24). After that, subsequent generations of Israelites automatically entered into that covenantal agreement as they were born (Deut 29:12–15) even as Americans, for example, are still bound to the U.S. Constitution many generations after its ratification. Similarly, Yeshua initiated the  new covenant with Israel in his day when his blood was put on the cross at Passover, then wrote his Torah (the terms and conditions of the new covenant) on their hearts by his Spirit on Pentecost. This began the process of regathering scattered and adulterous Israel back to YHVH through the blood of Yeshua the Lamb of Elohim. When the process of regathering Israel is finally completed (during the Millennium). YHVH will finalize his new covenant agreements with them. It will be called the everlasting covenant (Jer 32:40; Ezek 37:26; Isa 55:3) or the covenant of peace (Isa 54:10; Ezek 34:25; see also 59:10; Hos 2:19–19).

This process of redeeming or regathering Israel will continue into the millennium as pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles (Heb. Sukkot), which is the time of the great fall harvest. During the Millennium, those who have already entered into the new covenant and who have kept YHVH’s Torah commands and have the testimony, faith or patience of Yeshua, and who have been preparing themselves to be the bride of Yeshua by keeping their spiritual lamps full of oil (a metaphor for the Torah and the Holy Spirit), and by putting on spotless white wedding garments (which is a metaphor for the righteous deeds or works of Torah) before the second coming will be Yeshua’s kings and priests. What will they be doing? They will be teaching a world full of physical humans the ways of Torah and faith in Yeshua.

Not all people will submit to Yeshua during the Millennium. Everyone will be tested with regard to their allegiance to YHVH-Yeshua and his word. During the millennium, YHVH will enter into covenant with all Israel who will be saved, but when Satan is released at the end of the Millennium to test mankind, many will follow the devil in rebellion against Yeshua. This corresponds to Hoshana Rabbah, which means “save us O Great One,” which is the last or seventh day of Sukkot. This corresponds to the time of the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20 when all the  wicked who followed Satan’s rebellion and who fell in with Gog and Magog, along with all the wicked dead will stand before YHVH to receive the reward of rebellion against him—to be cast into the lake of fire.

After the white throne judgment occurs Shemini Atzeret, which is the last of YHVH’s seven biblical holidays and prophetically pictures the coming of the New Jerusalem. Only those who have become spirit-born children of YHVH and who have passed the spiritual tests laid out before them and have continued in their obedience to Torah and their faith in Yeshua the Lamb of Elohim will be a part of YHVH’s everlasting spiritual kingdom, which is epitomized by the new heavens, the new earth and the New Jerusalem.

Other Scriptures on the Renewed Covenant 

The following scriptures point to YHVH establishing a covenant with both houses of Israel during or at the end of the millennium after all the scattered people of Israel have returned to the land of Israel.

  • Ezek 34:25, YHVH will make a covenant of peace with the lost and scattered sheep of Israel and David (Messiah Ben David or Yeshua from the cross onward as well as King David during the Millennium) will rule over them. This prophecy began to be fulfilled at the time of Yeshua and will be fully fulfilled. Edom, the perpetual enemy of Israel will be destroyed (at the second coming, Ezek 35).
  • Ezek 37:26, YHVH will make an everlasting covenant of peace with reunited Israel/both houses (after the destruction of Edom, the Valley of Dry Bones and the reuniting of the two sticks of Israel) and David will be ruling over them in the Millennium. After this, at the end of the Millennium, YHVH will test the inhabitants of the earth by letting Satan loose for a little season. Satan will entice Gog and Magog and a multitude as the sand of the sea to rise up against the saints, and YHVH will destroy them (Rev 20:7–10). There may be two Gog/Magog events: one just before the second coming of Yeshua and one at the end of the Millennium.
  • Isa 55:3, YHVH to make an everlasting covenant with Israel and David shall be a leader and commander of YHVH’s people (v. 4). This covenant is formulated sometime in the future in relationship to the establishment of the New Jerusalem (54:11–17).
  • Jer 32:40, YHVH will make an everlasting covenant with the children of Israel and the children of Judah (vv. 30,32) after he has gathered them out of the countries where he scattered them and has brought them back to the land of Israel (v. 37). He will make them one by giving them one heart and one way (v. 39), which corresponds to the two sticks of Ezekiel 37 coming together (a process which started at the time of Yeshua and will continue to the end of the millennium), and then he will make an everlasting covenant with them (v. 40).
  • Jer 50:5, YHVH will make a perpetual covenant with the children of Israel and Judah after they have reunited to seek YHVH together (v. 4) as they are returning to Zion (v. 5) from out of Babylon (v. 8). This occurs after Babylon is fallen/defeated at Yeshua’s second coming (Rev 18 and 19).



The Old or Former Covenant Vs. the New Covenant

Hebrews 8:6, Better covenant … better promises. In the Greek, the word better is kreitton meaning “more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous, more excellent.” The Renewed Covenant is a better covenant for the reasons discussed in the notes in verse eight. The Renewed Covenant comes with Yeshua’s promise that the Set-Apart Spirit will from with in our heart empower and lead us into all truth. Under the Renewed Covenant, the promise of salvation resulting in eternal life in the kingdom of Elohim is spelled out more clearly. Also, as discussed in the verse eight notes, the covenant (or contract) is the actual agreement between two parties. The terms and conditions of a covenant (or contract) are something else. Torah was the terms and conditions of YHVH’s agreement between himself and his people. When the author here uses phrase like “better covenant,” this in no way implies that the Torah has been abrogated. If this were true, then this flies in the face of what is said elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua to the contrary (e.g., Matt 5:17–19; Acts 21:24; 24:14; 25:8; Rom 3:31; 7:14; 1 John 2: 3–6; 3:4; Rev 12:17; 14:17; 22:14).

Hebrews 8:8, Finding fault with them. What was the fault of the first covenant? The Torah-law of Elohim, or the people who failed to abide by the terms of the covenant, i.e, the Torah? The next verse gives us the answer: “because they continued not in my covenant…” The Israelites were at  fault.

YHVH gave Israel his Torah-laws (or instructions in righteousness) to teach them how to love him and to love their neighbors (Mark 12:29–31). If they followed his Torah-instructions, he promised to bless them (Deut 28:1–14), and declared that all would go well with them (Deut 4:30). Of course, we know the sad history of ancient Israel and how they rebelled against YHVH again and again. There was nothing wrong with his Torah laws, which said, you shall not murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, covet, kidnap, commit homosexuality or incest, worship false gods, take YHVH’s name in vain, keep his Continue reading