A Hand from Heaven…Extended to YOU!

Leviticus 3:2, Without blemish. Heb. tamiym meaning “complete, whole, entire, sound, healthful, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity.” Of this word, The TWOT states, [Tamiym r]efers to animals which are without blemish; also translates as such related adjectives as full, whole, upright, perfect. It represents the divine standard for man’s attainment.” Tamiyn occurs in the Tanakh 91 times, and the KJV translates it in a variety of ways: without blemish, perfect, upright, without spot, uprightly, whole, sincerely, complete, full. What can we learn form this and how does it apply to us?

First, here are some examples of how tamiym is used in the Tanakh:

  • Noah was a just, perfect or upright (tamiym) man (Gen 6:9).
  • YHVH admonished Abraham to walk perfectly or blamelessly (tamiym) before him (Gen 17:1).
  • The Passover lamb was to be without blemish (tamiym, Exod 12:5) as were all the other animals offered to YHVH as sacrifices (e.g. Exod 29:1; Lev 1:3, 10; 3:1, 6, 9; 4:3, 23, 28, etc.).
  • YHVH instructed the Israelites to be blameless (tamiym) before him by not being like the wicked, abominable and idolatrous nations around them (Deut 18:13).
  • Elohim is perfect (tamiym, Deut 32:4).
  • The people of Elohim are to fear him and to serve him in sincerity (tamiym) and truth and to put away the gods of Egypt (this world) and to serve Elohim (Josh 24:14).
  • David was blameless or upright (tamiym) before Elohim (2 Sam 22:24). Even thought David committed adultery, murder and egregiously disobeyed in some other areas, Elohim viewed him as tamiym because of he had repented of and turned away from his sins.
  • When a person is upright or blameless (tamiym) before Elohim, Elohim will be blameless (tamam meaning “to be complete, be sound, be unimpaired, be upright or to deal in integrity, to act uprightly) in response to that person (2 Sam 24:26).
  • The ways of Elohim are perfect (tamiym, 2 Sam 22:31).
  • Elohim makes the ways of the saint perfect (tamiym,2 Sam 22:33).
  • Those who walk uprightly (tamiym) will be allowed to dwell in the presence of Elohim (Ps 15:2).
  • The Torah-law of YHVH is perfect (tamiym, Ps 19:7).
  • YHVH blesses or withholds no good thing from the upright (tamiym, Ps 84:11 cp. Ps 119:1; Prov 2:21; 28:10, 18).
  • The righteous are to walk perfectly or blamelessly (tamiym) before Elohim (Ps 101:2, 6; 119:80; Prov 11:5).
  • YHVH delights in the blameless (tamiym) person (Prov 11:20).
  • The wicked abhor those who speak uprightly (tamiym, Amos 5:10).

From the scriptural usages of tamiym it is evident that this not only describes the sterling character of Almighty himself, but is the high bar, gold standard for how the saints of the saints of the Most High are to be and to act as well. To have a relationship with our Father and Creator in heaven, we must endeavor to become like him—to meet him on his terms and on the transcendent plateau on which he exists. Yes, Scripture is clear that Elohim reaches his hand down from heaven to lift lost humans from the pit of their sinful existence, but it is only to lift them up. All day long he is continually extending his hand of mercy and grace to those humans who will reach out to him in humility and want to  brought up to his place of perfection and wholeness. Scripture is also clear that there is no other way to bridge the vast and cavernous gap that exists between humans and their Creator except through Yeshua the Messiah who is the way to our Father in heaven, and who is the ladder that all must climb to meet our Maker in heaven on his terms (John 14:6; 1:51). YHVH Elohim is reaching out to some of you right now through these words that you are currently reading. What are you going to do about it?


More Discussion on Sin, Its Consequences and Yeshua’s Atoning Death on the Cross

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An Overview of the Sacrificial System and Its Relevance to YOU

Leviticus 1–7

Although Jewish and Christian scholars disagree about whether the sacrifices were to cease after the coming of the Messiah, as Edersheim points out, all agree that the object of a sacrifice was substitution for the offender (The Temple – Its Ministry and Service, p. 90). He also notes that the Jewish fathers along with the Scriptures that all these substitutionary sacrifices pointed to none other than the Messiah. This understanding is especially expressed in the proto-rabbinic biblical Aramaic commentaries or Targumim (e.g. Tarum Jonathan and the Jerusalem Targum; ibid., p. 92). Later rabbinic sages, in light of the rise of Christianity, were loath to accept this interpretation and, to this day, pretend it was never the belief of their ancient predecessors. 

As the Tanakh progresses, the concept of the substitutionary sacrifice as it relates to the sinner and to the Messiah expands and unfolds. The unity of the Tanakh in this regard and its progression of revelation on this subject must be taken into consideration when studying the sacrifices listed in Leviticus and the rest of the Torah if we are to understand completely the biblical concept of substitutionary sacrifice as well as the Messianic prophecies. The concept of sacrifice in the Tanakh point us prophetically in progressive stages to the sin atoning death of the Messiah on behalf of sinners. Such passages in the Tanakh as Pss 2, 22, 35, 69, 72, 89, 110, 118 along with Isa 52:13–53:12 (many other scriptural passages could be cited here as well) point undeniably to the Person and work of Yeshua the Messiah including his suffering and glorification. The apostolic writers understood these prophecies and how Yeshua fulfilled them perfectly (e.g. Isa 52:13–53:12 cp. Heb 9:11–15; 10:4–7, 1; etc.), and this understanding forms the basis for the New Testament, which the authors thereof refer to as The Testimony of Yeshua (Rev 1:9; 6:2; etc.). 

Brief Overview: Six Types of Offerings (Heb. korban) Offered on the Altar (Lev 1-7)

Burnt or Elevation (Heb. Olah) Offering (Lev 1:3–17) 

The olah or ascending offering signified the offerer giving himself up totally, wholly ascending or complete surrender to Elohim. The priests offered up this sacrifice up twice daily—the morning and evening (Exod 29:38–42; Num 28:1–8). This offering was always a male animal whose blood was to be sprinkled around the altar. The offerer was to lay his hands on the head of the animal before it was slaughtered symbolizing substitutionary atonement for sins. The offering would be accepted as a sweet aroma by Elohim.

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“Thy way, O Elohim, is in the tabernacle”

Exodus 40:1, You set up the tabernacle. This verse implies that Moses set up the tabernacle single-handedly without any help. To what does this point prophetically? (Read Hebrews 3:3–6.)

Exodus 40:2–7, Set up the tabernacle. YHVH’s instructions to Moses to set up the furnishings in the tabernacle followed a particular order. In fact, if one traces Moses’s footsteps in doing so, it forms an interesting geometric pattern that is highly significant spiritually. Let’s explore this. 

In placing the furnishings in the tabernacle, Moses first started in the holy of holies where he set up the ark of the covenant. After this, he went into the holy place and over to the right side where he set up the table of show bread. He then moved across to the left side of the holy place and set up the menorah. Next, he moved to the center of the holy place in front of the curtain or veil separating the holy place from the holy of holies where he set up the altar of incense. After this, Moses made a straight line and exited out of the tabernacle itself into the outer courtyard we he set up the altar of sacrifice. Having done this, Moses then set up the bronze laver, also in the outer courtyard just in front of the door leading into the tabernacle. If you trace Moses’ steps and make a line in the dirt, what is the outline?

The outline of Moses’ movements makes a triangle on a cross with the base of the triangle forming the arm of a cross. The base of cross corresponds to the altar of sacrifice, while apex of the triangle corresponds to the altar of incense and the top of the cross, which extends past the apex of the triangle is where the testimony in the holy of holies is. Why did YHVH instruct Moses to set up the tabernacle’s furnishings in this order, and not another order? What is the spiritual significance of this particular pattern? How does it relate to you and me? Let’s unpack this.

The base of this arrow is at the altar of sacrifice representing Yeshua’s death on the cross atoning for our sins. Next, the arrow points us to the bronze laver picturing a believer’s next step in his spiritual walk which is baptism for the remission of sins and legally identifying with Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection, as well as receipt of Elohim’s Set-Apart Spirit and the washing of our lives by the water of the Word of Elohim. Next we come to the menorah picturing the Spirit of life in Yeshua the Messiah as the new believer manifests begins evidencing the fruits of the redeemed life, which is the fruits and gifts of the Spirit, which shine like a light into the dark world around us. Next we come to the table of the showbread picturing the regathering and unification of the tribes of Israel around the table of Yeshua’s body in sweet fellowship and covenantal relationship. Through the Messiah of Israel, the scattered tribes are regathered and can pray to and worship Elohim together unified at the altar of incense as they prepare to enter into the eternal kingdom of YHVH Elohim’s presence as pictured by the holy of holies under the glory cloud of YHVH himself.

The way to Elohim through Yeshua the Messiah is laid out in the Tabernacle of Moses making the outline of a cross and an arrow that points heavenward. This goes to show us that the tabernacle is, in reality, a giant gospel tract that shows sinful man the way of salvation leading to his glorification as immortal sons and daughters of YHVH Elohim, our Father in heaven.

Your way, O Elohim, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a El as our Elohim? (Psalm 77:13)

Exodus 40:34, The glory of YHVH filled the tabernacle. The glory cloud that covered the tabernacle signaled ­YHVH’s approval of the work that was done. Had the Israelites not followed all of YHVH’s minute construction instructions would he have inhabited the tabernacle? Is there a lesson to be learned from this? Could YHVH’s anointing on our lives be greater if our obedience to YHVH’s instructions were greater?

 

What to do when Amalek is attacking you when you’re down

Deuteronomy 25:19, Blot out Amalek.The Hebrew name Amalek literally means “I am king.” Remember how the people of Amalek attacked the children of Israel as they were coming out of Egypt (Exod 17:8)? These heathens attacked the weary, stragglers and weak Israelites who were falling behind in the rear ranks (Deut 25:18). For this evil deed, Elohim put a curse on them. 

The Israelites ended up defeating Amalek militarily under the leadership of Moses and Joshua when Moses stood on a hill with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross (Exod 17:10–13). It was at this spot that Israel learned that YHVH Elohim was their spiritual banner (Heb. Yehovah Nissi; Exod 17:15). 

There is a spiritual lesson in this story for us today. Amalek is a spiritual picture of the world, the flesh and devil that will attack and try to destroy us spiritually as we’re coming out of our own spiritual Egypt and beginning our trek through the wilderness of life en route to Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance, which is the kingdom of Elohim from heaven. 

This reminds us of Yeshua’s Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:3–9) where the good seed of the Word of Elohim was sown on four types of soil. The seed failed to grow in the three types of soil representing the world, the flesh and the devil (Matt 13:18–23). This is another picture of Amalek. What defeated Amalek? Joshua the valiant warrior defeated the Amalekites militarily, while at the same time Moses was perched on a hill overlooking the battlefield with his arms raised to heaven. Both Joshua and Moses are a prophetic picture of Yeshua the Messiah. Joshua’s Hebrew name is Yehoshua, which is the long version of the name Yeshua or Joshua in English. 

At the same time, on the mountain Moses’ arms grew tired and had to be supported by Aaron and Hur and in so doing his arms took the form, more or less, of a cross. What are these things a spiritual picture of? Moses and Joshua combined form a prophetic picture of Yeshua defeating the world, the flesh and the devil at the cross on Golgatha’s hill. Coincidentally, as Yeshua had two other men crucified with him—one on each side, Moses had a man each side of him. This is another shadow picture pointing forward to the Messiah and his death on the cross.

Only when Moses’ arms were outstretched and raised up to heaven in openness, surrender and supplication to the Almighty did Joshua experience victory over the Amalekites. Similarly, only through prayer and the intercession with arms open and upraised to heaven as we beseech our Heavenly Father as we come before his throne through the blood of the resurrected Yeshua the Messiah in heaven, who is acting as our Great High Priest before Elohim’s throne will we be able to defeat the spiritual enemies that are attempting to prevent us from entering the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance. 

The enemies of our salvation will attempt to destroy us when are weak, tired and falling behind in our spiritual walk, even as Amalek attacked the weak and straggling Israelites who had fallen behind the camp. However, when we recognize our plight and weakness and then determine to fight, we have Yeshua’s victorious death on the cross as well as his help in heaven to overcome our enemies. 

One of YHVH’s covenant names is Yehovah Nissi or YHVH Is My Banner. A military banner is something used to help build the morale of troops during the battle. YHVH is our strength and morale booster in the time of battle, and through or faith in YHVH-Yeshua, we already have the victory over the world, the flesh and the devil! 

This lesson illustrates the fact that the Scriptures contain many rich and deep spiritual mysteries and truths that if it weren’t for the physical examples or prophetic shadow-types contained therein they might otherwise be obscured to us and too difficult to comprehend.

 

Numbers 21: The Process of Overcoming­—From Sin to Victory and Salvation!

21:4–9, The bronze serpent on the pole is a prophetic picture of salvation at the cross of Yeshua from the sting of death brought on by sin (John 3:14–15; 1 Cor 15:55–57). This is a picture of the believer’s initial salvation.

21:10–22:1, Here is a recounting of the Israelites’ wilderness trek before entering the Promised Land. It was a time of testing, refining, building of faith, and learning obedience for the Israelites. This is a picture of the spiritual walk of the believer through the wilderness of this physical life.

21:14–35, While crossing the wilderness, the Israelites had to fight and overcome the enemy—that is, those who would keep them from fulfilling their YHVH-ordained destiny to possess the land and inheritance he had promised them. First came the fighting and overcoming, followed by the victories. The life of the believer is one of spiritual struggle, as well, against the world, the flesh and the devil. (See Rom 7:14–25; 2 Cor 10:3–5; Eph 6:10–18.)

21:10, 14–18, Here we read how Israel was refreshed with water from the rock. Isaiah speaks about the wells of salvation (Isa 12:3). There is a springing up of joy and praise (verse 17) that comes as victory is experienced, and as YHVH makes rivers to flow out of seemingly dry and barren situations (verse 18). We, too, are called to come to the rivers of salvation, the river of life and to become a river of life ourselves to all those with whom we come into contact (John 7:37–39). Yeshua is the source of that living water; he is the spiritual Rock and source of water that never runs dry (John 4:10, 13–14; 1 Cor 10:4).

Numbers 21:4–9, Fiery serpent. The plague of fiery serpents was a righteous judgment Elohim brought upon Israel for murmuring and unbelief. Israel had “sharpened their tongues like a serpent” (Ps 140:3) and “their throat [was] an open sepulcher; with their tongues have…used deceit; the poison of asps [was] under their lips” (Rom 3:13). All this was directed at Elohim and Moses. As a result of their sin, they reaped what they had sown. Elohim loosed fiery serpents upon the Israelites to bite and sting to death the unbelieving murmurers.

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The menorah, not the cross should be the Christian symbol

Numbers 8:2, The menorah. The phrase toward the face of the menorah is an interesting one. The Jewish sages teach that the three wicks on the right and the three on the left were all directed toward the menorah’s central stem, thus concentrating light toward the center. The menorah symbolized that YHVH is the Source of all light (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 775). What are the connotations of this for a believer in Yeshua? How did Yeshua describe himself? (See John 8:12; 9:5.) Moreover, what did he mean when he said that “I am the vine and you are the branches?” (John 15:5) What does this mean and how is this pointing to a type of human menorah? Now relate this to the seven Messianic assemblies of Revelation 2 and 3 being likened to menorahs (Rev 1:13, 20). Is Yeshua the center of all that we do? Do we place all of our focus on him? Can we say, as the Apostle Paul did, that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)? Does the power of his resurrected life and anointing flow through you even as oil was in the menorah and sap flows through a tree to its branches?

Redeemed Israelites Are That Menorah

The Scriptures plainly states that Yeshua and his body of followers are likened to a tree of which the seven-branched menorah that adorned the mishkan (tabernacle) in the wilderness as well as the sanctuary of Solomon’s Temple is a picture. Furthermore, remember what Yeshua said in John 15:5? “I am the vine and you are the branches …” This is a perfect picture of the menorah, which has a central trunk with six (the number representing man) branches growing out of the trunk. Remember what Yeshua said in Matthew 5:14–15, that his followers were to be lights upon a lampstand on a hill for all the world to see—a clear allusion in the mind of anyone in Yeshua’s audience to the temple’s menorah (which was upon the Temple Mount like a light on a hill).

Additionally, when a redeemed believer in and follower of Yeshua is in a sacred state of worshipping his Master and Savior, he will often lift his arms heavenward. Not only is this the universal sign of surrender (in this case to one’s Heavenly Master), but when we lift our hands our bodies are actually forming a human menorah. By doing this, in worship we are acting out what we are—a lampstand to the world radiating forth the good news of the truth and love of Yeshua.

In fact, The Scriptures shows us that the menorah, and not the cross, is the symbol of Yeshua’s spiritual body of believers. We see this in Revelation 1:12, 20 and 2:1 where the seven congregations are symbolized as a seven-branched menorah! The menorah here is the symbol of the congregation of redeemed believers.

Though the cross is representative of the redemptive work Yeshua accomplished on our behalf, it is not the symbol of the body of believers, commonly called the “church,” but the menorah is! Furthermore, in Jewish thought, the menorah is analogous to an olive tree (the ancient temple menorah was constructed of hollow tubes of solid gold filled with olive oil that burned when lit), to which the Apostle Paul makes reference in Romans 11, as representing the tree of life (which ultimately represents Yeshua) into which all must be grafted if they are to be part the spiritual body of Yeshua and have his eternal life.

 

A Cross on a Cross…

Numbers 2:1–34 (especially note verse 1, 9, 16, 24, 31), The Israelite encampment around the tabernacle. On the east side were Judah, Issachar and Zebulun; on the south side were Reuben, Simeon and Gad; on the west side were Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin; and on the north side were Dan, Asher and Naphtali. According to the numbers of the fighting men given in Numbers 2, we see that the encampment of Israelites around the tabernacle formed a perfect Paleo-Hebrew letter tav, which looks like our small letter “t” or the cross. The Levites camped around the tabernacle forming a protective perimeter between the Israelites and the tabernacle itself (Num 1:53). (See diagram below.)

There is no doubt that our Redeemer was crucified on a wooden cross. The apostolic writers make reference to the cross 18 times in the Testimony of Yeshua in reference to both the torture instrument upon which Messiah was brutally murdered and later as a metaphor or word picture of the glorious redemptive work that Messiah accomplished there.

Some redeemed believers, sadly, have rejected the cross symbol because of its clear pagan connotations. It has been used as a pagan symbol of sun worship for millennia. Despite its dubious reputation, and long before it was co-opted by the pagans, the cross was significant in the ancient Paleo-Hebrew script—the language in which YHVH wrote the ten commandments. Paleo-Hebrew is the precursor to the modern square script, which was introduced into the Hebrew language by Nehemiah the scribe, and the letter , tav was a pictographic symbol resembling a cross . We see this same cross symbol or mark (literally, the Paleo-Hebrew tav)mentioned in Ezekiel 9:4. There, in the prophet’s vision, YHVH instructs one of the angels to place mark or a tav on the foreheads of those men who sigh and over all the abominations done in Jerusalem. This same symbol was used earlier in the history of America when illiterates were allowed to sign legal documents by marking a cross on the signature line. 

Other occurrences of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav are to be found when Jacob, while prophetically praying over Ephraim and Manasseh, crossed his arms making this very symbol (Gen 48:14). Likewise, on Passover eve YHVH commanded the Israelites to smear the blood of the lamb on the overhead crosspiece (lintel) and two side posts of their doors. The blood on the lintel would have dripped down onto the threshold of the door. This would have been the perfect configuration of the bloody spots left by Yeshua’s head, hands and feet on his cross of crucifixion. Finally, in the Tabernacle of Moses and later in Solomon’s Temple, the layout of the seven furnishings form a perfect cross-pattern.

Indeed, the cross is not something to shun or reject, for it is a symbol of redemption, ownership and covenant pertaining to those who have been saved or redeemed by Yeshua.