“YHVH, help us to forgive others as you have forgiven us…”

Roman denarius—a small silver coin

Matthew 18:24, 28, Ten thousand talents…a hundred denarii. A talent was a unit of measure for gold and silver and was equivalent to about 75 lbs. One talent of silver at a rate of $15 per ounce would be worth $36,000. Ten thousand talents of silver would be worth about $18 million. A denarius was equivalent to a fair day’s wages (Matt 20:2). If one earns $40,000 in a year and works 260 days per year, then 100 denarii would be equivalent to about $15,384. 

The lesson of Yeshua’s parable abut the unforgiving servant is obvious. If one’s master forgives him of a debt that’s impossible to repay ($36 million), then one should forgive one’s neighbor the small debt of $15,384.

Likewise, if Yeshua through his death on the cross forgives a repentant sinner of the wages of sin, which is death (an impossible debt for a sinner to pay), then shouldn’t the same forgiven sinner likewise forgive those who have offended him (Matt 18:6–8) or sinned against him (verse 15–19)?

 

Understanding the Biblical Concept of Atonement

Numbers 31:50, Make atonement. 

Exploring the Concept of Atonement as It Relates to the Tabernacle and Salvation

In Numbers 31:50 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 Continue reading

 

The Seven Steps of Redemption

Exodus 6:1–9, YHVH redeems Israel. 

The stage is set for Israel’s redemption in Exodus 5:22–23. Yet Moses’ first venture to Pharaoh was a disaster. The plight of the children of Israel had deteriorated instead of improved. Discouraged, Moses almost takes on an accusative tone toward YHVH (Exod 5:22–23). Graciously, YHVH doesn’t rebuke Moses, but as a loving Father encourages him to refocus on his word and the veracity and surety of his promises (Exod 6:2–5).

YHVH encouraged Moses upward and onward despite his discouraging first attempt at gaining the release of the ­children of Israel. Is it possible that YHVH allowed immediate success to elude Moses at his first encounter with Pharaoh to bring Moses “to the end of himself” with regard to any tendency he might have had to rely primarily on himself and on his own wisdom to accomplish Elohim’s plans? After all, Moses, as either Pharaoh’s adopted grandson or his nephew (depending on whether this was the Pharaoh of Moses’ childhood or his son), had an “in” with the monarch that could have been exploited for the benefit of securing the release of Israel. As YHVH wanted Moses to rely on him alone for Israel’s deliverance, even so YHVH wants us to rely on him alone to accomplish his purposes in our lives and not primarily on any human abilities that we may possess. We have to be totally emptied of ourselves before we’re ready for the Master’s use. This doesn’t mean he won’t use our natural abilities or what he have gained through life’s experiences, but we must learn to submit all that we have and are to his sovereign will. In this way, YHVH, not man, gets the glory when success occurs (Jer 9:22–23).

Additionally, YHVH reaffirmed his covenant promises to Moses using his covenant name, YHVH, three times (Exod 6:6, 7, 8). Here are some other examples of how Scripture uses Continue reading

 

The Holy Half Shekel—Another Pointer to Yeshua!

Exodus 30:15 and 16, To make atonement for your souls. Some will read these verses and conclude that one can buy their redemption through charitable giving and therefore circumvent the need to place one’s faith in Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross. Does this passage suggest a theology where man can save himself from his sins by acts of charity? Let’s dig a little deeper to see what these verses are really teaching us.

In this passage, YHVH instructed the Israelites to pay an annual half-shekel temple tax. This money went, in part, toward, the service (verse 16) and constructing of the Tabernacle of Moses (e.g. Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the OT, vol. 1, p. 459; Exod. 38:21–31), and later toward the purchase of the animals the priests sacrificed (The Temple and Its Service, by Alfred Edersheim, p. 48). In this way, the people were participating vicariously in the act of sacrificing an innocent animal as an offering or atonement for their sins. Again, the Scriptures reveal that this sacrificial system merely pointed prophetically toward the Greater Sacrifice that would come later in the Person of Yeshua, the Redeemer of Israel. (Read Isa 53.) On the point that the paying the half-shekel was a merely a temporary solution to the problem of man’s sin, Keil and Delitzsch say in their commentary on this passage,

As an expiation [atonement] for souls, it pointed to the unholiness of Israel’s nature, and reminded the people continually, that by nature it was alienated from God, and could only remain in covenant with the Lord and live in His kingdom on the ground of His grace, which covered its sin (ibid.)

Keil and Delitzsch’s point is further strengthened in Exodus 30:16, which says,

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; ibid.)

The giving of the half-shekel was a memorial to what? The Hebrew word for memorial is zikrown (Strong’s H2146) meaning “reminder, token, record.” According to The TWOT, a zikrown is an object or act which brings something else to mind or which represents something else. It reminded them of their sinfulness and pointed prophetically to a Redeemer—Yeshua the Messiah— who would come and take away their sins once and for all (Heb 10:10). For a more detailed study of this subject, please see our teaching article entitled, “The Atonement: Bloody or Bloodless? Understanding the Concept of Atonement in the Torah” located on the Hoshana Rabbah website at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/atone.pdf.

 

Salvation — What Is It and Do You Have It?

John 3:16, Everlasting life.

What is Salvation?

The dictionary defines the word salvation as “the deliverance from the power and effects of sin.” In a general sense, salvation is “preservation from harm, ruin or loss.” Relating the first definition, which is biblical in nature, to the second definition, which is generic in nature, we see that salvation is the deliverance or preservation from the power of sin, which causes harm, ruin or loss. Salvation and redemption are synonymous terms in biblical Hebraic thought. We will discuss the idea of redemption below.

So what is sin that it causes harm, ruin or loss, and what is being harmed or being lost such that we need deliverance? Very simply, Scripture (the Bible) defines sin as the violation of YHVH Elohim’s (the LORD God’s) Torah-laws (1 John 3:4). What is YHVH Elohim’s Torah-law? It is the instructions, precepts or teaching of YHVH as found in the first five books of the Bible, which can then be expanded to include the entire Bible or Word of YHVH. Man is commanded to live by every word found in Scripture (Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4). Man is to hear and do the Words of YHVH (Deut 6:4), place YHVH’s words in his heart (Deut 6:6), teach them to his children (Deut 6:7), and to make them the basis for all that he does and thinks (Deut 6:8). The words or laws of YHVH Elohim can be summed up as loving YHVH and loving one’s neighbor (Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18; Mark 12:30; John 14:15). The cornerstone of those laws is found in the well-known ten commandments as found in Exodus 20. They are…

  • I am YHVH your Elohim.
  • You shall have no other gods before me.
  • You shall not take my name in vain.
  • Remember the Sabbath day to keep it set-apart.
  • Honor you father and mother.
  • You shall not murder.
  • You shall not commit adultery
  • You shall not steal.
  • You shall not lie.
  • You shall not covet your that which belongs to your neighbor.

The first five statements constitute loving YHVH Elohim, while the last five constitute loving one’s fellow man. These ten statements are but the beginning of YHVH’s laws as outlined Continue reading

 

The Seven Steps of Redemption or Salvation in Exodus

Exodus 6:1–9, YHVH redeems Israel. The stage is set for Israel’s redemption in Exodus 5:22–23. Yet Moses’ first venture to Pharaoh was a disaster. The plight of the children of Israel had deteriorated instead of improved. Discouraged, Moses almost takes on an accusative tone toward YHVH (Exod 5:22–23). Graciously, YHVH doesn’t rebuke Moses, but as a loving Father encourages him to refocus on his word and the veracity and surety of his promises (Exod 6:2–5).

YHVH encouraged Moses upward and onward despite his discouraging first attempt at gaining the release of the ­children of Israel. Is it possible that YHVH allowed immediate success to elude Moses at his first encounter with Pharaoh to bring Moses “to the end of himself” with regard to any tendency he might have had to rely primarily on himself and on his own wisdom? After all, Moses, as either Pharaoh’s adopted grandson or his nephew (depending on whether this was the Pharaoh of Moses’ childhood or his son), had an “in” with the monarch that could have been exploited for the benefit of securing the release of Israel. As YHVH wanted Moses to rely on him alone for Israel’s deliverance, so YHVH wants us to rely on him alone to accomplish his purposes in our lives and not any human abilities that we may possess. We have to be totally Continue reading