Judah—A Prophetic Antetype of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah

Genesis 44:18, And Judah came near. What is the spiritual prophetic significance of Judah initiating the approaching of Joseph? Remember who the descendants of Judah became? The Jews became the Southern Kingdom of Israel, and Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh became the Northern Kingdom or house of Israel and eventually the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Prophetically-speaking, who is the most notable descendant of the tribe of Judah? (See Rev 5:5.). Did Yeshua, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, seek you or did you seek him when you were lost? (See Rom 5:8; Luke 19:10; Matt 18:11.) 

Why is Judah coming near to Joseph (who he does not yet recognize as Joseph)? What were Judah’s heart motives in coming near? (See Gen 44:18–34). Was Yeshua motivated to come near to us out of love for his Father, as well? (See John 8:28; chapter 17.)

Did Judah offer to lay down his life as a ransom for his youngest brother? (See Gen 44:33.) Who does this point to prophetically? Who else freely gave his life as a substitute for his brothers? (See Mark 10:45; Matt 20:28; 1 Tim 2:5; John 10:11, 15, 17–18; 1 John 3:16.)

  • Please note that Judah is an antetype (prophetic forerunner) of Yeshua the Messiah.
  • Both sought to please their fathers.
  • Both acted out of unconditional love for their younger brother.
  • Both stood to gain nothing personally, but rather stood to lose much, if their plan did not work. Judah, a prince, would become a slave in Egypt; Yeshua would become a slave to death and hell, if he sinned.

It is interesting to note that classic Christian commentator Matthew Henry draws a similar analogy between Judah’s actions here and Messiah Yeshua, as well (A Commentary On the Whole Bible, vol. 1, p. 243, by Matthew Henry).

Judah’s love for his father and Benjamin and his willingness to lay down his life as a ransom to become a slave in Egypt to Joseph is analogous to Messiah Yeshua’s love for the lost sheep of the house of Israel to whom he came to reach out and to ransom in order to bring them back into the fold of Israel (John 10:15–16; Matt 10:6; 15:24).

What was the burden on the Apostle Paul’s heart in this regard? (Read Romans 9:1–5.) Who does Paul later go on to talk about and extend his heart burden to in Romans 9:23–24? Remember that the term Gentile simply means “ethnic or people groups, or the people of the nations.” Who is Paul specifically referring to here? Paul had the same intense love for his Jewish brethren as he did for those “people groups of the nations” whom he equates with the lost, adulterous and apostate house of Israel (the Northern Kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel). Compare Romans 9:25 with Hosea 2:23 (the former being a direct quote from the latter) in context with the whole book of Hosea, which is addressed particularly to the apostate house of Israel and who had become “lost” among the nations, of which Joseph in Egypt is a prophetic antetype.

 

Chanukah or Christmas, Neither or Both?

Happy Chanukah/Hanukkah! Tonight begins the first night of the Festival of Lights. Want to know more? Please read on…

John 10:22, The Feast of Dedication [or consecration]. This is a reference to the annual Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah, and also known as the Festival of Lights) celebration lasting for eight days beginning in the 25th day of Jewish month Chislev (in the middle of our December). This minor Jewish feast was instituted by Judas Maccabaeus (164 BC) in memory of the cleansing of the Jerusalem temple from its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, the pagan Greco-Syrian king.

The word Chanukah derives from the Hebrew word KH-N-K meaning “to dedicate.”

While Chanukah isn’t a biblically commanded observance, it is interesting to note that Yeshua happened to be at the temple in Jerusalem at this time as John mentions in his Gospel (John 10:22). Are there any spiritual significances to this? Perhaps.

Chanukah falls in the same time frame as the modern Christian festival of Christmas, which has its roots in the pagan Roman festival of Saturnalia, which culminated on December 25. Saturnalia was a pre-Christian festival held from December 17 to 25 in honor of the sun god characterized by drunken revelries, sexual debauchery, hedonistic indulgences of all sort, and human sacrifices. Saturnalia was a festival of lights in an effort to defeat the forces of darkness at the darkest time of the year and to woo the sun as earth’s life-giver back again thus insuring that the earth wouldn’t become an uninhabitable dark and frozen wasteland.

In the fourth century, Christian leaders “redeemed” Saturnalia by attaching the birth of Jesus Continue reading

 

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

 

When Did Easter Replace Passover?

Matthew 28:1, When did the early Christians first celebrate a day commemorating the resurrection of Yeshua?

Although the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah is a biblical and historical fact, it’s celebration (known as Easter), is neither commanded in the Scriptures, nor was it celebrated by the original disciples of Yeshua. It is purely an invention of the church, which eventually replaced Passover! Here are the facts:

In A History of Christianity (vol. 1), Kenneth Scott Latourette states that notice of Easter as a festival occurs in the middle of the second century, but that festivals commemorating the resurrection of Messiah were presumably observed by at least some Christians from much earlier times (p. 137). Church historian, Philip Schaff, also attributes the beginning of the Easter festival to the middle of the second century (History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, p. 207). He states that the Christian Passover naturally grew out of the Jewish Passover, as the Lord’s Day (Sunday) grew out of the Sabbath. “It is based on the view that Christ crucified and risen is the centre of faith. The Jewish Christians would very naturally from the beginning continue to celebrate the legal Passover, but in the light of its fulfillment by the sacrifice of Christ, and would dwell chiefly on the aspect of the crucifixion. The Gentile Christians, for whom the Jewish Passover had no meaning except through reflection on the cross, would chiefly celebrate the Lord’s resurrection as they did on every Sunday of the week.” He notes that the early Christians commemorated the entire period between the death and resurrection of Yeshua with vigils, fasting, special devotions, meetings culminating in a resurrection feast celebrating the whole work of redemption. The feast of the resurrection gradually became the most prominent aspect of the Christian Passover (Easter celebration), but the crucifixion continued to be celebrated on Good Friday” (ibid., pp. 207–208).

Christians universally kept the Passover on the biblical date of Abib (also known as Nisan) 14/15, irrespective of the day of the week until A.D. 135 according to leading Sabbath scholar Prof. Samuele Bacchiocchi quoting the fourth century Christian historian Ephiphanius (From Sabbath to Sunday, p. 81). “This conclusion,” continues Bacchiocchi, “is supported indirectly by the two earliest documents mentioning the Passover celebration, since both emphasize the commemoration of the death rather than the resurrection of Christ. The Ethiopic version of the apocryphal Epistle of the Apostles [or Didache] says, ‘and you therefore celebrate the remembrance of my death, i.e., the Passover’ (ch. 15). In the Coptic version the passage is basically the same, ‘And you remember my death. If now the Passover takes place …’ (chap. 15)’ (ibid., p. 82). 

The second document that attests to the early church’s emphasis on the death rather than the resurrection of Yeshua is the Sermon on the Passover, by Melito, Bishop of Sardis (died ca. A.D. 190). According to Bacchiocchi, Melito provides a most extensive theological interpretations of the meaning of the Passover for early Christians. “Though Melito makes a few passing references to the resurrection, it is clear from the context that these function as the epilogue of the passion drama of the Passover. The emphasis is indeed on the suffering and death of Jesus which constitute the recurring theme of the sermon and of the celebration” (ibid., p. 83).

“The resurrection,” Bacchiocchi admits, “however, did emerge in time as the dominant reason for the celebration not only of the annual Easter-Sunday, but also of the weekly Sunday. The two festivities, in fact,… came to be regarded as one basic feast commemorating at different times the same event of the resurrection.” Bacchiocchi concludes,

It would seem therefore that though the resurrection is frequently mentioned both in the New Testament and in the early patristic literature, no suggestion is given that primitive Christians commemorated the event by a weekly or yearly Sunday service. The very fact that Passover, which later become the annual commemoration of the resurrection held on Easter-Sunday, initially celebrated primarily Christ’s passion [death] and was observed on the fixed date of Nisan [Abib] 15 rather than on Sunday, makes it untenable to claim that Christ’s resurrection determined the origin of Sunday worship during the lifetime of the Apostles. (ibid. p. 84)

 

Jacob’s Wrestling and the Jewish Sages Twistings

With whom did Jacob wrestle—a man or Elohim? If with Elohim, the Father or the Son? The Jewish sages say one thing, while Christian biblical experts say something else. What does Scripture actually say? This will be a faith-confirming, gospel supporting read!

Genesis 32:24–32, Jacob Wrestling With the Messenger of YHVH. In verse 24 we read,

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled with a man [Heb. iysh] or heavenly messenger [i.e. Heb malak]. (KJV, see Hosea 12:4)

In the following passages, we see that this man was Elohim. 

You have power with Elohim and with men, and have prevailed. (verse 28, based on the KJV)

… for you have striven with the Divine [Elohim] and with man and have overcome. (verse  28, The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach and Chumash)

Then Jacob says that he has “seen [Elohim] face to face” (KJV, CJB and The Soncino Edition Pentateuch, Second Edition). The two standard Orthodox Jewish versions of the Torah, The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach and The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, and Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Torah commentary The Pentateuch (by Judaica Press) all read, “For I have seen the Divine face to face.” Here they have translated the Hebrew word Elohim as the Divine (Heb. Elohim panim).

Which translation of the word Elohim is the correct one? Before resorting to human sources to solve this dilemma, does the Word of Elohim itself interpret this passage for us giving it clear light? Most assuredly so. In Hosea 12:2-5 we read,

[YHVH] hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he reward him. He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had strove with [Elohim]. He strove with an angel [Heb malak or heavenly messenger in many instances referring to YHVH himself, as noted elsewhere in this work] and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication to him; he found him in Beth-El, and there he spoke with us; and [YHVH Elohim] of hosts; [YHVH] is his name. (based on the KJV)

The Stone Edition Tanach renders this passage as follows (starting in verse four):

In the womb he seized his brother’s heal, and with his strength he struggled with [an angel of] God; he struggled with an angel and prevailed; [the angel] wept and beseeched him: ‘In Beth-el He will find us and there He will speak with us.’ HASHEM is the God of Legions; HASHEM is His remembrance. (bracketed supplied word are in the original)

So which translation is correct? The first one indicates Jacob was wrestling with a Heavenly Messenger who was none other than YHVH Elohim, while the second translation is cast in such a light as to imply that Jacob was wrestling with merely an angel. 

Does the word Elohim mean the Divine? It is interesting to note that in the Authorised Version the word Elohim appears 2606 times in the Tanakh. It is translated as God 2346 times, god 244 times and several other words less than five times each (e.g. judge, goddess, great, mighty, angels). As in all cases with a word which can have several meanings, the context of the Scripture passage will determine its meaning and its subsequent translation from the original language into English. The word divine was not Continue reading

 

A t-Shaped Cross Vs. an I-Shaped Cross Discussed

Matthew 27:40, The cross. Stauros, the Koine Greek word for cross, like most words in all languages, has several meanings. To arrive at the true meaning of a word, we can’t just look at the first meaning in a list of dictionary definitions or choose the meaning that best suits our personal biases or theologies.

Too determine which dictionary definition of a word best applies to a particular word in a literary situation, we must consider all the meanings of a word and then look at the context of the literature in which the word is found, and then choose the meaning that best fits.

Even then, well meaning people will have differences of opinions on this (e.g. The Companion Bible, by E.W. Bullinger, appendix 162). This is the dilemma that scholars who translate literary documents from one language to another face. This is the case with the Koine Greek word, cross, which is found in the NT some 32 times.

Stauros literally refers to “an upright, pointed stake used for fencing or in the construction of a stockade.” It can also refer to a torture instrument, or a cross on which the Roman’s executed criminals. A stauros came in several basic forms: a vertical upright, pointed stake, or an upright stake with a crossbeam resembling our capital letter “T” or our small Continue reading

 

The Science of the Crucifixion

Matthew 27:35, Crucified him. 

By Cahleen Shrier, Ph.D. (originally posted at http://www.apu.edu/articles/15657/)

Each year, Cahleen Shrier, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biology and Chemistry [at Azuza Pacific University in California], presents a special lecture on the science of Christ’s crucifixion. She details the physiological processes a typical crucified victim underwent and teaches her students to see Christ’s death on the cross with new understanding. The exact events in this scenario may not have happened in Jesus’ specific case, but the account is based on historical documentation of crucifixion procedures used during that time period. Please be aware that the following is of a realistic and graphic nature.

It is important to understand from the beginning that Jesus would have been in excellent physical condition. As a carpenter by trade, He participated in physical labor. In addition, He spent much of His ministry traveling on foot across the countryside. His stamina and strength were, most likely, very well developed. With that in mind, it is clear just how much He suffered: If this torture could break a man in such good shape, it must have been a horrific experience.

Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:37-42, Luke 22:39-44

After the Passover celebration, Jesus takes His disciples to Gethsemene to pray. During His anxious prayer about the events to come, Jesus sweats drops of blood. There is a rare medical condition called hemohedrosis, during which the capillary blood vessels that feed Continue reading