Revelation Chapter 1 – Unveiling Yeshua

“This is the revelation which God gave to Yeshua the Messiah, so that he could show his servants what must happen very soon. He communicated it by sending his angel to his servant Yochanan [John], who bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah, as much as he saw. Blessed are the reader and hearers of the words of this prophecy, provided they obey the things written in it! For the time is near!” (Revelation 1:1-3). 

The word ‘revelation’ in this passage means something ‘hidden’ is being ‘revealed.’  I like to think of the ‘revelation’ in this book as the ‘unveiling of Yeshua’ at the end of days.  Yochanan had the distinct privilege of seeing this unveiling and writing it down with his unique understanding of the ‘days, times, and seasons’ as well as the history of his own people.

The book of Revelation begins with Yochanon on an island called Patmos.  He had been exiled from Roman-controlled Palestine (Isra’el) because of his testimony to the Word of Elohim and his faith in Yeshua of Nazareth as the Messiah of Isra’el.  As he prepares to leave this world for the world to come, he an encounter with Yeshua.  This encounter takes him to the last days of this present world, the Millennial Kingdom, and into the new heavens and earth.  It must have been comforting for him to see the prophecies of the ancients being fulfilled.   It must have been an honor to be given the privilege of writing down the ‘unveiling’ of Yeshua for those who would live in the ‘Day of the Lord.’

A Blessing

Revelation often instills fear in its readers because it has some disturbing and confusing imagery.  Yet, Yeshua does not want anyone to be afraid to read what Yochanan wrote. A blessing is promised for reading, hearing and obeying the words of this prophecy.   Imagine the blessing from actually understanding the prophetic words in its cultural context and original language will bring!  Because I want to be as authentic as possible, I will use Hebrew words and names throughout my study.  This helped me to keep the Scriptures in their original perspective; I pray it adds a new dimension to your study too.  I also enjoy using the meanings behind the original Hebrew letters to form a Hebrew Word Picture of a word that gives a little different view of the word.  

The Hebrew word for blessing is barak and means ‘to kneel.’  There is also a nuance to barak that means ‘to bring a gift.’  So, when we read and obey the words of this prophecy, we are effectively kneeling and receiving a gift from the Creator of the Universe, our Heavenly Father. 

Hebrew Word Pictures

Blessing – baruck – ברך

Bet is a ‘house’ and means ‘home or family’

Resh is a ‘head’ and means ‘authority’

Kaf is an ‘open hand’ and means to ‘open’

BaruchFamily authority [the Father] opens [the way for a gift]

The Hebrew word ashrei is actually used in this passage for ‘blessed’  and means ‘happy, blessed, praiseworthy.’  With this knowledge, why wouldn’t anyone want to read and obey the words of ‘the unveiling’ and be worthy of praise?

Happy – ashrei – אשרי

Alef is an ‘ox’ and means ‘first or strong’

Shin is a ‘tooth’ and means ‘consume’ and may represent the Skekinah of Elohim, His divine presence

Resh is a ‘head’ and means ‘authority’

Yod is a ‘closed hand’ and means ‘finished work

AshreiThe first, strong consumes the authority is a finished work

The Greeting

The greeting of this letter is from Yochanan who is writing to the seven Messianic communities in Asia.  With specific descriptions and numerous Scriptural witnesses, he makes clear the revelation is not from him, but from Messiah Yeshua and the Father.

He bears witness to the Word of God and the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah.  These two witnesses describe those who are sanctified, made holy by Elohim.  These are the two characteristics that describe God’s people in Revelation 12:17 and 14:12.  It is the people who obey Word of God and have a testimony of Yeshua who will need to persevere through the events found in Revelation. 

The Hebrew for ‘Word of God’ is dvar Elohim. Dvar can refer to a written word, a spoken word or even a thing.  In the beginning, Elohim ‘spoke’ a dvar and the heavens and earth were brought into existence.  His dvarim (Deuteronomy)were written down by Moshe as commandments.   The dvar that was with Elohim and the essence of Elohim in the beginningtook on flesh in the person of Yeshua  who fully lived out the dvar of his Father (John 1:1-2, 14, Colossians 1:15). 

A testimony is defined as a ‘formal written or spoken statement, especially in a court of law.’  Yochanan wants those who read, hear and obey what is in his vision to understand this is his testimony, his word of truth – dvar emet – presented to him by Yeshua.

Glorified Described

“Grace and shalom to you from the One who is, who was and who is coming; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; and from Yeshua the Messiah, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the earth’s kings” (Revelation 1:4-5).

Within the first verse of the greeting is the Hebrew word chesed meaning ‘lovingkindness’translated as ‘grace.’  Shalom is an interesting Hebrew word that means more than just ‘peace.’  In its Hebrew Word Picture it means “the destruction of the One who causes chaos.”

Hebrew Word Pictures

Peace – shalom – שלום

Shin is a ‘tooth’ and means ‘consuming’

Lamed is a ‘shepherd’s staff’ and means ‘leader prods’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘to bind’

Mem is ‘water’ and means ‘chaos

Sshalom – The consuming of the leader prodding and bound to chaos

From the beginning in Genesis, there has been the promise of the ‘seed of woman’ destroying the one who deceived the world into sin.  The entire book of Revelation reveals Elohim’s judgment on the world and His final reckoning with the Adversary – the one who has caused all of the chaos throughout the history of the world.

The Seven-fold Spirit of Elohim

The Hebrew word for ‘spirit’ is ruach and means ‘wind’ or ‘breath.’ Ruach is found in Genesis 1:1 when the ruach elohim – ‘breath of Elohim – hovered over the waters. The Hebrew phrase actually uses the word for ‘brooded’ as one would see a hen brooding or incubating her eggs before they are born.

“The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God – ruach elohim – hovered over the surface of the water” (Genesis 1:2).

In the Gan Eden (Garden of Eden), Adam and Chavah (Eve) walked in the ‘cool of the evening.’ which properly translated from the Hebrew is they ‘walked in the wind of the day.’ In other words, they walked in the ‘breath’ of Elohim basking in His presence. (Note: even the Complete Jewish Bible mistranslates hayom which means ‘day’ not evening. Haerev would be ‘evening.’)

“They heard the voice of Adonai, God, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, so the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Adonai, God, among the trees in the garden” (Genesis 3:8).

When Elohim created the animals and Adom, he put a ‘spirit’ within them. This ‘spirit’ is an animal spirit called a nefesh that lives by instinct and flesh desires. It is not a ‘spirit’ that seeks its Creator. It doesn’t have personal awareness nor does it have the ability to reason. It just exists in the physical realm. This nefesh gains knowledge from its flesh voice and the voices of men. This ‘spirit’ is what drives men to the sins of ‘lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life.’ This is the man Sha’ul (Paul) refers to as ‘the old man’ who is hostile to Elohim and whose life ends in death.

When Elohim breathed the ‘breath’ of life into Adam, it was His ‘breath,’ his ‘holy wind’ or the Ruach haKodesh. This ‘breath of life’ spirit is called the neshama. It seeks a relationship with its Creator. The neshama is self-aware and seeks spiritual nourishment ‘like the deer pants for living water.’ This neshama gains wisdom from listening to the voice of Elohim. Sadly, for Adam and Chavah and all mankind, they sinned against Elohim by listening to their fleshly desires and lost the ability to ‘hear’ His voice carried on the wind.

“Adam, the first man, became a living human being; but the last “Adam” [Yeshua] has become a life-giving Spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45).

“The Spirit of Adonai will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fearing Adonai— he will be inspired by fearing Adonai” (Isaiah 11:2).  

Halleluyah, there is a ‘last Adam’ or the begotten Son of Elohim. He was conceived through the ‘breath’ of Elohim and born into this physical world. However, because of the ‘holy wind’ in his neshama, he listened only to His Father’s voice. He had the blessing of the Ruach haKodesh rest on him in its fullness of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and reverence for Elohim.

“Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be possessed by force. On the contrary, he emptied himself, in that he took the form of a slave by becoming like human beings are. And when he appeared as a human being, he humbled himself still more by becoming obedient even to death — death on a stake as a criminal! Therefore God raised him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name; that in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow — in heaven, on earth and under the earth — and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai — to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11).

This ‘last Adam,’ Yeshua, left his heavenly position and became a human being. He humbled himself to the point of having to die like a criminal. But now, he is risen and exalted above all other places and given a name above every name. Through his faithfulness, the Ruach haKodesh was poured out so that those who trust in him and are born again of ‘the wind’ and water may have the blessing to hear the voice of their Creator again.

Faithful Witness

Yeshua is the faithful witness to the hope of the coming Kingdom.  In Jeremiah 42:5, the children of Isra’el claim that whatever Elohim tells them to do, they will do.  If they don’t, He will be the faithful witness against them.  This time of judgment is also known as the ‘time of Jacob’s Trouble.’   It is during this ‘trouble’ that the faithful witness will judge his own people for their disobedience, but also deliver them through it.  

“How dreadful that day will be! — there has never been one like it: a time of trouble for Ya’akov [Jacob], but out of it he will be saved” (Jeremiah 30:7). 

Firstborn from the Dead

This is an allusion to the Feast of Firstfruits and the hope of the resurrection. As Sha’ul told the Corinthians, Yeshua was the firstfruits of those raised from the dead.  As there is a firstfruits resurrection, there will be two other resurrections – one of the redeemed and the second of all the dead (Revelation 20:5,12).  

“But the fact is that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have died…. But each [person] in his own order: the Messiah is the firstfruits; then those who belong to the Messiah, at the time of his coming… (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23). 

“Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence” (Daniel 12:2). 

Ruler Over Kings

Yeshua is the ruler of earth’s kings.  At his death, Yeshua was given the title ‘King of the Jews,’ but when he returns to set up his eternal Kingdom, he will be King of kings and King over all the earth.

“Then Adonai will be king over the whole world. On that day Adonai will be the only one, and his name will be the only name” (Zechariah 14:9). 

“Therefore God raised him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name; that in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow — in heaven, on earth and under the earth — and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai — to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11, Isaiah 45:23). 

“Then the culmination, when he hands over the Kingdom to God the Father, after having put an end to every rulership, yes, to every authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24). 

The Deliverer

The message of deliverance through Yeshua is one of love, being freed from the bondage of sin through his righteous life and sacrificial blood.  Even more is his call to be born again into his Kingdom as a priest for his Father.  As part of this royal priesthood, we give glory to the one who rules forever.  

“To him, the one who loves us, who has freed us from our sins at the cost of his blood, who has caused us to be a kingdom, that is, cohanim [priesthood] for God, his Father — to him be the glory and the rulership forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:4-6).

“In turn Adonai is agreeing today that you are his own unique treasure, as he promised you; that you are to observe all his mitzvot [commandments]; and that he will raise you high above all the nations he has made, in praise, reputation and glory; and that, as he said, you will be a holy people for Adonai your God” (Deuteronomy 26:18-19). 

“But you are a chosen people, the King’s cohanim, a holy nation, a people for God to possess! Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). 

Hebrew Word Pictures

Priests – cohanim – כהנים

Kaf is an ‘open hand’ and means to ‘uncover’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘to reveal’

Nun is a ‘fish’ and means ‘life’

Yod is a ‘closed hand’ and means ‘finished work’

Mem is ‘water’ and means ‘chaos’

Cohanim – Uncover and reveal the life that finishes the work of chaos

A Vision of Return

Look! He is coming with the clouds!  Every eye will see him including those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the Land will mourn him” (Revelation 1:7).  

Yochanan quotes both the prophets Daniel and Zechariah who describe the return of Messiah.  He puts them into the context of the end times vision of the unveiling of Yeshua.

“I kept watching the night visions, when I saw, coming with the clouds of heaven, someone like a son of man. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence” (Daniel 7:13). 

“And I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son; they will be in bitterness on his behalf like the bitterness for a firstborn son” (Zechariah 12:10).  

The prophecy in Zechariah is an allusion to Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement.  It is on this ‘appointed time’ in the future when Yeshua returns in the clouds that all of ‘veiled’ Isra’el will mourn for the one they pierced.  Also at that time, the prophecy that all Isra’el will be saved will culminate (Romans 11:26).   These quotes from the prophets give a specific time for coming events.  

The Day of the Lord

“I came to be, in the Spirit, on the Day of the Lord; and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet …”(Revelation 1:10). 

This verse stumbles many people’s eschatology because of a misunderstanding of the ‘Day of the Lord.’ Many interpret this phrase to mean that on the ‘first day of the week,’ Sunday, Yochanan was in the Spirit.  However, this idea comes from years of catholic theology that changed the ‘Sabbath to Sunday‘ and made the ‘first day of the week’ into ‘the Lord’s Day.’   

If the ‘Day of the Lord’ was a specific day of the week, it would be the Sabbath as Yeshua himself said he was “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8).  If‘The Lord’s Day’ was any day that Yeshua is Lord, then it would have to be the seventh and not the first.    

Yochanan was a Jew and well-versed in Hebrew and Aramaic; in fact, he wrote his vision in Aramaic which was translated to Greek.  To him the phrase en teé juriake´heem´ra, translated ‘the Lord’s Day,’ was a time period spoken of by the prophets or the time from when Elohim’s judgment of earth and mankind begins and continues through the 1000-year reign of King Messiah (2 Peter 3:8).  Accordingly, the ‘Day of the Lord’ is not a ‘day’ on which someone should wish anyone a “Good Lord’s Day” or “Happy Day of the Lord.”

“Oh no! The Day! The Day of Adonai is upon us! As destruction from Shaddai it is coming!” (Joel 1:15). 

Woe to you who want the Day of Adonai! Why do you want it, this Day of Adonai? It is darkness, not light” (Amos 5:18). 

Howl! for the Day of Adonai is at hand, destruction coming from Shaddai…. Here comes the Day of Adonai, full of cruelty, rage and hot fury, to desolate the earth and destroy the sinners in it.” (Isaiah 13:6,9). 

The ‘Appointed Time’

The ‘appointed seasons’ or mo’edim were created by Elohim on the fourth day of Creation with the sun, moon and stars governing the times.   The ‘seasons’ were given ‘appointed times’ explained in Leviticus 23.   All of the spring mo’edim were fulfilled by Yeshua on the exact day and time as outlined in the Feasts of the Lord.  The next ‘appointed time’ needing to be fulfilled is the Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah.  

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar” (Leviticus 23:23-24). 

Yom Teruah is a holy gathering or mikra which means ‘rehearsal.’ It is to be announced with blasts on the shofar as a day for remembering,  but what is to be remembered is not mentioned.  In other words, the ‘appointed time’ of Yom Teruah is for remembering something that will happen in the future that has not happened before. 

The voice-sound of the shofar implies the vision given to Yochanan begins on the Feast of Trumpets as Yeshua’s way to prepare his people spiritually for the coming ‘Days of Awe.’  The ten ‘Days of Awe’ are a time of repentance and preparing oneself to stand before the throne of Elohim on the final ‘day’ when books are opened, every personal deed is revealed, and final judgment is rendered on the Day of Atonement.  

“A stream of fire flowed from his presence; thousands and thousands ministered to him, millions and millions stood before him. Then the court was convened, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:10). 

“And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:12)

The Beginning and the End

“I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’” says Adonai, God of heaven’s armies, the One who is, who was and who is coming” (Revelation 1:8).

This is another verse that translators change from Aramaic/Hebrew into Greek.  Again, it not only messes with understanding the beginning from the end, it takes away a unique part of the Hebrew Scriptures that unveil Yeshua in practically each sentence.

The two letters that begin and end the Hebrew alphabet are the Alef and the Tav – את.  These two letters create a small world, ‘et’ that is found throughout the Bible.  Some give it a grammatical meaning as a noun modifier, but in general it has no specific meaning.  

Look at Genesis 1:1 in the Hebrew read right to left:

בראשית ברא אלהים את השמימ ואת הארץ

Transliterated: Beresheet bara elohim et hashamayim vet haeretz.

Notice the two-letter word ‘et’ or the aleph and the tav? This is what Yeshua is referring to in Revelation 1:8.  He is  the ‘alef and the tav’ that is found between the first words in Genesis and between 1000s of words in the Hebrew Scriptures.  By saying he is the alef and the tav, he is revealing himself in every page of the Bible.  He is saying he is the beginning and the end of everything from Genesis through Revelation.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Et – את  

Alef is an ‘ox’ and means ‘first and strong’

Tav is a ‘crossed sticks’ and means ‘sign’

את – The first, strong sign

Many suggest that the first sign is the cross because of the ‘crossed sticks’ in the ancient letter of Tav.  However, I believe there is more to the et than just the cross.  It is the beginning and the end, the creation of the universe to the re-creation of the universe.  It is also connected with the “God of heaven’s armies’ of which Yeshua is the Commander in Chief.  I believe that the words ‘alef and tav’ in this instance is the ‘first strong sign’ of Yeshua’s revealing will include his arrival with his heavenly armies.  

Menorahs

“I saw seven gold menorahs; and among the menorahs was someone like a Son of Man …” (Revelation 1:12)

Yeshua is standing among seven gold menorahs.  The Amplified Version and New International says ‘seven golden lampstands.’  The King James Version says ‘seven golden candlesticks.’   Though ‘lampstand’ could be an acceptable translation for menorah, candlesticks is a stretch.  

The Golden Menorah created for the Tabernacle and placed in the Temple was made of pure gold.  It was filled with pure olive oil, not candles.  It was designed from what was in heaven and shown to Moshe on the mountain.  The Golden Menorah was made through divine intervention and has become synonymous with Isra’el and the Jewish people.   In the first century, these Asian congregations would have been comprised of Jews and non-Jews.  Translating the word ‘menorah’ into ‘candlestick’ is just one subtle way to separate the Jewishness of the message from the message. 

According to Yeshua, the seven gold menorahs represent the seven congregations that will receive a message from the angel or messenger of that congregation. Each of the seven congregation shines as a menorah into the darkness of the world.  Seven is the number of completion symbolizing that the revelation given to Yochanan will happen as prophesied and is complete.  

The Appearance of Yeshua

Yeshua was “wearing a robe down to his feet and a gold band around his chest.His head and hair were as white as snow-white wool, his eyes like a fiery flame, his feet like burnished brass refined in a furnace, and his voice like the sound of rushing waters.In his right hand he held seven stars, out of his mouth went a sharp double-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength” (Revelation 1:13-16).

His Hair

Wool was used with hyssop to sprinkle blood on the children of Isra’el and the Torah when Moshe instituted Elohim’s covenant with Isra’el in the wilderness.  Wool and linen are not to be blended together in a garment.

Wool comes from lambs. How appropriate for the Lamb of God to have wool-like hair! Wool could also be symbolic of being cleansed from sin by the Lamb. Having a head and hair white as snow-white wool could also be the evidence that Yeshua overcame sin and death so that our scarlet crimson garments could also turn white as snow and wool.  

White represents purity and being undefiled. Only a pure and undefiled person is righteous enough to lay down their life and become an atonement for the corrupt and unholy. White also represents being worthy and only Yeshua is worthy of such a righteous act.

“White hair is a crown of honor obtained by righteous living” (Proverbs 16:31).

His Eyes

Yeshua has ‘eyes like a fiery flame.’ In Hebrew the word for fire is esh and means ‘flashing or blazing.’ Yeshua’s eyes blaze and flash. Perhaps ‘fiery eyes’ suggest that in his glorified state, Yeshua refines the heart and minds of his people with just one look.

“I have made you a refiner and tester of my people, to know and test how they behave” (Jeremiah 6:27). 

“But who can endure the day when he comes? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire, like the soapmaker’s lye” (Malachi 3:2).

“For Adonai your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24). 

Hebrew Word Pictures

Fire – אש – esh

Alef is an ‘ox’ and means ‘first and strength’

Shin is a ‘tooth’ and means ‘consumes’

Esh – The first and strength consumes

His Feet

Yeshua’s feet were like “burnished brass refined in a furnace.”  For me this is two-fold.  First, Yeshua as a man went through the refining furnace of suffering until he died on the cross.  His suffering taught him obedience.  If we seek to be like him, our sufferings should also bring obedience to the Word of Elohim.  

“Even though he was the Son, he learned obedience through his sufferings” (Hebrews 5:8).

Second, I see Yeshua becoming ‘burnished bronze’ from standing in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abedigo in Babylon, from standing with any of his people when they go through the fiery furnace of suffering for righteousness sake.  Just like the three young men in the furnace came through the suffering and lived, they attained a type of resurrection of the dead.

“Yes, I gave it all up in order to know him, that is, to know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings as I am being conformed to his death, so that somehow I might arrive at being resurrected from the dead” (Philippians 3:10).  

His Voice

His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. According to King David, the sound of rushing waters is evidence of the power and splendor of El Elyon (God Most High).

“The voice of Adonai is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, Adonai over rushing waters, the voice of Adonai in power, the voice of Adonai in splendor” (Psalm 29:3-4). 

“More than the sound of rushing waters or the mighty breakers of the sea, Adonai on high is mighty” (Psalm 93:4). 

Out of Yeshua’s mouth comes a double-edged sword. This is the living Word of Elohim being used to divide the soul and spirit.  It is being used to judge iniquity in the heart of the inner man.  

“See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4;12). 

Prophets and Yeshua

Daniel had many dreams and visions while living in Babylon and he wrote them down as commanded.  One vision included seeing the Ancient of Days seated on his throne.

“His clothing was white as snow, the hair on his head was like pure wool” (Daniel 7:9).

Ezekiel had a vision of the throne of Elohim.  Above a throne that appeared to be a sapphire, appeared a person. 

“Gleaming, amber-colored fire radiated from what appeared to be his waist upward.  Downward from what appeared to be his waist, I saw what looked like fire, giving a brilliant light all around him.  This brilliance around him looked like a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day” (Ezekiel 1:27-28). 

Yeshua takes Kefa (Peter), Ya’akov (James) and Yochanan to a mountain where he meets with Moshe and Elijah.  He is transformed into glory for those few moments and “his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light” (Matthew 17:2). 

This would be the second time Yochanan sees Yeshua in his glory with a shining face and white clothing. The first time he, Kefa and Ya’akov saw Yeshua’s glory, they believed the Millennial Kingdom had arrived and it was the ‘appointed time’ for the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.  This time, however, he falls down at Yeshua’s feet like a dead man. 

The Living One

“Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, the Living One. I was dead, but look! — I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys to Death and Sh’ol [Hades]”(Revelation 1:18-19). 

Spiritual death came to mankind ‘in the beginning’ when Adam sinned and was forced out of Eden.  Physical death accompanied spiritual death though not immediately.   Because of Adam, every human born into this world is spiritually dead and separated from Elohim.  It is only through Yeshua that the relationship between man and his Creator are restored.  And, it can only be restored because Yeshua died, conquered death and  remains alive forever and ever.

“Should I ransom them from the power of Sh’ol? Should I redeem them from death? Where are your plagues, death; where is your destruction, Sh’ol?” (Hosea 13:14).   

“Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin; and sin draws its power from the Torah; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah!” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). 

Because he paid the wage of sin and death for us and then overcame death, Yeshua holds the keys to Death and Sh’ol or Hades.  Hades can refer to the powers of evil that Yeshua had to contend with.  Along with being a god of the underworld, Hades motive of operation was Death and a place of darkness where the unrighteous are taken.  This place is described in Scripture as the ‘outer darkness’ where there is ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“He will guard the steps of his faithful, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. For it is not by strength that a person prevails…” (1 Samuel 2:9). 

Moreover, I tell you that many will come from the east and from the west to take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven with Avraham, Yitz’chak [Isaac] and Ya‘akov. But those born for the Kingdom will be thrown outside in the dark, where people will wail and grind their teeth!” (Matthew 8:11-12). 

“Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth…” (Matthew 22:13). 

“You will cry and grind your teeth when you see Avraham, Yitz’chak [Isaac], Ya‘akov and all the prophets inside the Kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown outside” (Luke 13:28).

What or where is ‘outer darkness?’ Specifically, it is complete separation from Elohim. In the beginning, Elohim said, “Let there be light.” There was light and the light was good.  He also separated the light from the darkness.  This suggests there is still a place of ‘outer darkness’ in the created realm for those who utterly reject the Creator and the way He provided to enter into and remain in His Light.  

“The wicked plots against the righteous and grinds his teeth at him…” (Psalm 37:12). 

“With ungodly mocking and grimacing, they grind their teeth at me. (Psalm 35:16). 

“On hearing these things, they were cut to their hearts and ground their teeth at him” (Acts 7:54). 

“Weeping and gnashing of teeth” is an idiom that brings forth the idea of anger and severe pain brought on by regret.  It will become the end and eternal result of people who heard the truth of salvation and mocked it, had the Word of Truth and rejected it, or even were taught the commandments of Elohim and willingly chose to disobey and rationalize their disobedience.  The unrighteous, wicked, lawless will weep and gnash their teeth at the righteous who obtained eternal life rather than eternal death in the lake of fire. 

Death and Sh’ol

Yeshua holds the keys to Death and Hades.  Keys are essential to opening and closing doors or gates, but also understanding the ‘key’ is crucial to discerning the door or gate.  

Caesarea Phillipi was known for its immoral pagan practices.  It was filled with shrines and idols erected to fertility gods and goddesses.   Near the city was a cave known as the “Gates of Hades” or the “Gates of Hell.”  It was believed that fertility gods and goddesses like Astarte (Easter) would go into this cave and sleep through the winter.  In springtime, pagans would hold ceremonies to encourage the gods to ‘come back to life,’ or resurrect themselves. 

It was in this pagan city near the cave that Yeshua asked his disciples who they believed he was.  Kefa confessed that he believed Yeshua is the Messiah of Isra’el, the Son of Elohim.  Kefa’s confession of faith also included the hope of resurrection since he knew about the beliefs  of the pagan people within this city.  In order for there to be a true resurrection, Death and Sh’ol would have to be defeated.  Yeshua responded to Kefa, 

“How blessed you are! For no human being revealed this to you, no, it was my Father in heaven. I also tell you this: you are Kefa,” [which means ‘Rock,’] “and on this rock [of faith] I will build my Community, and the gates of Sh’ol will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:16-18).

Write a Record

Yochanan is commanded to write down everything he sees both in the present and in the future.  Yeshua also reveals the ‘mystery’ of the seven stars and seven menorahs.  The seven stars are the seven messengers to the congregations in Asia minor; the seven menorahs represent each of the Congregations: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. 

Revelation 2 – Community of Ephesus

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

The Sabbath Rest Remains

A Look at Hebrews 4:1-13

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it”(verse 1).

The Bible gives a promise for entering God’s rest that still stands even within the context of the new covenant.  The Sabbath rest has not been done away with or changed for it is an eternal reminder of the Creator’s rest.  We must be careful that we do not fall short of entering His rest.  ‘Falling short’ is a Hebrew idiom for sin, and we must not ‘fall short’ and like an arrow in archery shooting for a target,  miss the mark.

“For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith” (verse 2).

Sometimes it is surprising to read that the Israelites had the gospel preached to them.  This is because the gospel had been whittled down to be the new testament only with John 3:16 as its foundation.  However, the Israelites received the good news of salvation through  Moses.  Deuteronomy 18:15 describes a future deliverer, a prophet to be raised up from among the nation of Israel to whom they were to listen.  It was the veiled gospel of good things to come.

Israel’s obedience to God’s commandments would be  the evidence of their faith and would set them apart from the rest of the nations of the world.  If they followed God’s ways,  they would be a light to the nations and salvation would come to the world through them. 

They chose, however, to have Moses speak directly to them rather than God (Exodus 20:19).  Because they did not want to hear to God’s voice themselves, Moses became the mediator between God and the Israelite people.  They had more fear of God than faith in His loving-kindness so His words held no value to them.  They didn’t mix His commandments with faith and without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

How often is the word of men accepted over the Word of God because of the fear of having to change, suffer or walk alone?  We must not be only hearers of the Word; we must be doers of the Word  as well (James 1:22).   We must believe by faith the commands of God and put aside the teachings of men along with centuries of twisted and inaccurate doctrines.  According to the writer of Hebrews, faith and obedience go hand-in-hand.  You can’t have one without the other.

“Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, ‘So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest…’” (verse 3).

Those who believe God and the truth of His Word will enter His rest.  However, if they anger God by a  lack of action-based faith, they will be no different than the Israelites in the wilderness who did not enter His rest (Psalm 95:11).  According to Hebrews 3:18-19, it is the disobedient who do not enter His rest. It is the disobedient who have a lack of faith.    

“And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.  For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day (Sabbath) in these words: ‘And on the seventh day God rested from all his work” (verse 4).

This verse is a direct reference to the seven-day Creation account.  God rested from all His creative work on the seventh day.   His example set the cycle for our weekly lives showing us that we are to work and be creative for six days and then rest on the seventh.  The  seventh-day Sabbath is not just any day that we choose, it is the  day that our Creator chose: ”He also blessed the seventh-day and made it holy” (Genesis 2:3).

“It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in because of their disobedience”(verse 6).

It still remains, however, that some will enter into God’s rest through obedience. Some will not enter  God’s Sabbath rest in spite of having the good news preached to them.

In the wilderness, some of the children of Israel collected the right amount of manna on the sixth day so they would have enough on the seventh.  Others collected too much or not enough and suffered the consequences.  The disobedient children of Israel did not enter into God’s Sabbath rest.    Their persistent disobedience caused an entire generation of Israelites to die in the wilderness and not enter the Promised Land.

According to Paul’s words in Corinth, we are to learn from the Israelites’ mistakes and not fall into their same faithless disobedience (1 Corinthians 10:11).  However,  rather than learning from Israel, it seems that because of the gospel, many refuse to enter His rest!

“Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: ‘Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’” (verse 7).

God set aside a certain day called Today.  He didn’t bless Today like He did the Sabbath.  He gave Today another purpose. 

‘Today’ is ha yom in Hebrew and means ‘the day.’  Today is not about the Sabbath. Today is not about you setting aside whatever day  works for you to rest or pick another day to call the Sabbath.   Today is THE day, if you have ears to hear His voice, that you are to commit your heart to Him.  Today is THE day you have been given to make a choice.   Today may fall on the seventh-day Sabbath or Today may just be the day of the week that the Creator chooses to write His Sabbath on your heart so that you can enter into His rest.   Today, when He speaks,  you are to obey His words.  Today is the day of God’s favor (2 Corinthians 6:2).

“For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day” (verse 8).

Though Joshua led the people from the wilderness into the Promised Land, he did not give them rest.   In fact, it was through Joshua that the Israelites slowly claimed their Land through battles and wars with kings of pagan nations.  It wasn’t until King Solomon that Israel had peace with the nations around them and ‘rested’ from warfare.

Another day is coming when God’s rest will be eternally established.  On that ‘day,’ written about in Revelation, those who have combined faith and obedience in their walk on earth will enter God’s rest, His  New Jerusalem and His eternal Sabbath. 

“There remains then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his” (verse 9).

Some like to spiritualize this verse which only brings confusion to the fourth commandment of remembering the Sabbath day.     Read the verse again slowly.  What do you see?  God rested from His creative physical work.   Those of us who desire to enter His rest must imitate Him and rest from our own creative works, our daily jobs just as He did.

There is no suggestion in this verse that ‘resting from works’ means resting from meaningless Jewish manmade traditions, doctrines of your denomination,  or ‘works of the law’ for salvation.  None of these were the  works from which God rested in the beginning.  He did not need to rest from manmade traditions or church doctrines nor did He need salvation from sin.

There are some who teach that the Sabbath is a representation of the Messiah himself. They believe that when we accept Yeshua’s work on the cross for our salvation that we somehow enter a personified Sabbath rest.  Though we may liken Messiah’s delivering us from the law of sin and death as a type of ‘sabbath’,  he is not a day of the week, especially the seventh-day Sabbath God commanded His people to remember.  When we keep the seventh-day Sabbath, God pours His light onto one of the shadows of His ‘appointed times.’   With His light, we begin to see and understand the reason for  Sabbath and  the Messiah who called himself  ‘Lord of the Sabbath.’

“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their (Israelites) example of disobedience” (verse 11).

Entering God’s rest takes effort because the world never rests; even most church goers never rest.  There will always be activities and opportunities for breaking the Sabbath command.  Entering into the Sabbath takes serious action on the part of the believer.   This is not works-based action in order to be saved;  it is faith expressing itself through love for our Father and his commandments (Galatians 5:6).

Some church leaders teach that keeping the Sabbath is a burden which is a gross twisting of Scripture (1 John 5:3).   Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments.  It is one of the guidelines describing how we are to love God.  Keeping the Sabbath is our response to His incredible love, grace, and mercy to us.  He desires to give us rest from our creative works whether it’s seedtime or harvest. He does not want us to be a slave to the world’s ways which is where the burden really lies.

Not entering God’s rest is considered ‘falling short.’  This is the second time the writers says this meaning that it is doubly important to remember.  Letting our arrows miss the mark is sin and sin is disobedience to God’s commandments.  Consistently ‘falling short,’ proves that we are not learning from Israel’s example.   

“For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (verse 12).

The Word of God, the commands of God, the Torah, and ‘the law’ are all the same expression for God’s sword that penetrates the soul and spirit. God judges the thoughts and attitudes of each person’s mind  because His Word is spiritually active.   It is designed to ‘cut us’ to the heart so we look within, judge our motives, and turn away from a disobedient lifestyle. There are many anti-semitic attitudes surrounding the Sabbath  that need to be ‘cut out’ of our hearts. God’s sword needs to penetrate our souls and spirits to remove all anti-law doctrines so that we are transformed through the renewing of our minds. 

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (verse 13).

Nothing in creation is hidden from God, especially the hearts of His people.  He knows the iniquity in our hearts; He sees every sin we commit and every justification we create.  Our actions of faith or faithlessness in this life will be uncovered and laid bare before our Father’s eyes just like it was with the Israelites. We will all stand before the Judge of the Universe and give an account for the actions  or inactions in our lives.  He will use His commandments, His Torah, as the standard for righteous judgment.

A Weekly Choice with Eternal Vision

Sabbath was created in the beginning by God as part of His eternal  and complete plan of salvation.  God rested from His creative works  and we are to imitate Him.  He gave Sabbath as a command to Israel and they are to our example of obedience or disobedience.  When we mix faith with action, we live out the gospel as preached to them and show forth our hope in the coming eternal Sabbath.

Faith in Yeshua does not nullify the Sabbath. As God’s Son, he  had to obey all of his Father’s commands or he would not have been sinless.  With God in the beginning at Creation, he is ‘Lord of the Sabbath.’  The Sabbath still remains until eternity and we have the same decision as Israel:  enter into God’s rest by faith or disobey.  By making every effort to enter the weekly Sabbath and taking a day off from regular creative work, we show our Creator that we trust in His provision for our lives now and forever.

©2004  Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.  

Satan – The Adversary

Though the Hebrew word satan is a verb, it has become personified as the Adversary, the one who brought sin into the world and ultimately, in the end, the wrath of Elohim against that sin. Satan was used by Elohim to test Job as his modem of operation is to actively encourage the righteous to disobey the Word/Commands of Elohim.

This is why he tested Yeshua, the only righteous one who could remove the wrath of sin from those in the world who would choose to put their faith in him.

Satan, according to witches who worship him, appears as a normal man with blonde hair.

Behemoth – Chaos

“All forest creatures are mine already, as are the animals [behemot] on a thousand hills …” (Psalm 50:10).

The word behemoth is the plural of behemah referring to a beast of burden. Behemoth is first among the works of yod hey vav hey on the sixth day of creation and only He can approach the animal with His sword. The physical description of Behemoth, like Leviathan, is given to Job by Elohim (Job 40:15-24). Some consider this animal to physically be a hippopotamus or an Egyptian water buffalo as it eats grass like an ox, has strength in its loins, and power in its abdominal muscles. The muscles in its thighs are like cables, its bones are like bronze, and its limbs are like iron. He can stiffen his tail like a cedar.

From a spiritual perspective, Behemoth is a beast. The mountains produce food for it which suggests that it nourishes itself from the power hungry nations of the world. It is compared to bronze and iron like the nations shown to Daniel in Babylon. It seems only Yeshua can approach the beast because he alone is the Word of God.

Behemoth lies down under thorns and is hidden by reeds in the swamp. Because this beast is thought to have Egypt as its origin, an allusion to Moshe being hidden in the swamp of Egypt in a reed basket could be made. Even Yeshua, who wore a crown of thorns was held in secret in the ‘swamp of Egypt’ in order to be protected from Herod.

Lotus bushes shade the beast and willows by the stream surround it. During the dry season in the Jordan valley, water levels in ponds and streams drop until the dry ground cracks. Lotus seeds and roots remain dormant in the dry ground. When the spring rains come, the lotus puts down its roots in the mud. The leaves and flowers soon appear growing out of the water showing that life that endures in spite of adversity.

Though the obvious is that Yeshua was put into the dry earth only to raise from the dead bringing forth eternal life, there could be another allusion to the nation of Isra’el. The people of Elohim have endured much adversity in their history from Noach to today. They have had times of refreshing spring rains to challenges of war, captivity, and assimilation. From being enslaved by the Egyptians to the more recent Holocaust, like the lotus, they continue living as a nation of people until this very day.

Psalm 137:1-3 describes the Jewish exile to Babylon where they hung their lyres on willow trees when those who had taken them captive demanded them to be joyful. This beast is surrounded by and made to remember that, no matter what happens to them, the nation of Isra’el will survive – as there is a judgment coming for Behemoth.

He doesn’t worry if the river overflows, he has confidence even if the Jordan rushes by his mouth (Job 40:23).

The Jordan River had to be crossed to enter the Promised Land. It seems that Behemoth hangs out in the desert west of the Jordan. The Hebrew word for ‘river’ in this verse is vadi and is a dry stream or river bed in the desert that fills with water when there is excessive rain. In Hebrew the word ‘overflowing,’ is ashaq and means ‘to oppress.’ The verse could be more accurately translated, “Behemoth doesn’t worry if he is oppressed, he is [so large and] able to drink a river, even if the Jordan gushes into his mouth.”

“How long must the land mourn and the grass in all the fields wither? The wild animals [behemot] and birds are consumed because of the wickedness of those who live there; for they say, “He will not see how we end up” (Jeremiah 12:4).

The books of Edras and Enoch give more description to the creation of Behemoth and Leviathan. While Leviathan was given the Abyss, the watery dark regions of the earth, Behemoth was given the dried up parts of the earth, the desert.

“Then you kept in existence two living creatures; the name of one you called Behemoth and the name of the other Leviathan. And you separated one from the other, for the seventh part where the water had been gathered together could not hold them both. And you gave Behemoth one of the parts which had been dried up on the third day, to live in it, where there are a thousand mountains; but to Leviathan you have the seventh part, the watery part; and you have kept them to be eaten by whom you wish, and when you wish” (4 Edras 6:49-52).

“And that day [of judgment] will two monsters be parted, one monster, a female named Leviathan in order to dwell in the abyss of the ocean over the fountains of water; and (the other), a male called Behemoth, which holds his chest in an invisible desert whose name is Dundayin, east of the garden of Eden” (1 Enoch 60:7-8).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Behemoth – בהמות

Bet is a picture of a ‘house’ and means ‘family’

Hey is a picture of a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal.’

Mem is a picture of ‘water’ and means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

Vav is a picture of a ‘nail’ and means ‘binding.’

Tav is a picture of a ‘cross’ and means ‘sign.’

Behemoth is a family revealing chaos bound as a sign.

Behemoth is a sign for the final judgment and the binding of chaos. Because Leviathan is split in half, its other half will receive the same judgment. Behemoth will have its ‘heads’ crused and be given as food to the creatures of the desert.

“By your strength you split the sea in two, in the water you smashed sea monsters’ heads, you crushed the heads of Livyatan
and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert”
(Psalm 74:13-14).

©2021 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Leviathan – The Dragon

“And war broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels making war against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought, but they were not strong enough, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down—the ancient serpent, called the devil and satan, who deceives the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).

From the passages in Revelation, the great Dragon was thrown down to earth after a war in the heavenly realm and will deceive the whole world.

Leviathan is called a ‘serpent in the sea,’ a Dragon. In Scripture, the ‘sea’ symbolizes nations and peoples. According to Psalm 104, it seems that Leviathan frolics in this sea of humanity.

“There, ships go to and fro. Leviathan—You formed to frolic there” (Psalm 104:26).

This ‘sea’ creature has many heads according to Psalm 74. Taken literally, the Dragon is multi-headed, but symbolically this suggests that Leviathan controls nations. According to Revelation chapter 12, he has made covenants with seven kings and the nations that rise up from those kings.

“Another sign was seen in heaven there was a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven royal crowns” (Revelation 12:3).

In the book of Job, an entire chapter describes Leviathan who terrorizes all ‘beasts’ and is ‘king over all the sons of pride.’ He is so powerful that he cannot humanly be overcome. His desire is to have servants in covenant with him forever. When the Dragon arises, the mighty are afraid. To battle with him is foolish and the battle will always be remembered. No spear or javelin affects him. Iron is as straw, bronze as rotting wood. No arrow make will make him flee. Stones are like chaff blown away in the wind.

Physically he is described as impenetrable, having an outer garment of double armor. He has fearsome teeth and his rows of scales are his pride. He sneezes fire and has black shokor eyelids. His mouth shoots out flames, and his breath sets coals on fire. From his mouth come fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16). Smoke pours from his nostrils like a pot burning reeds. His neck is strong, his flesh is folded and immovable, his heart is hard as a rock, hard as a millstone. His underside is like earth that leaves a trail in the mud. He leaves a shining wake behind him giving him the appearance of white hair.

The Dragon’s heart is like stone, like the bottom part of the millstone. Whenever there is a mention of a millstone of judgment, it can be likened to the destruction of a child’s spiritual inheritance. Yeshua warns those of ensnare a child away from faith in him that their judgment will be worse than being tossed into the sea with a millstone around their neck (Matthew 18:6).

This creature, the Dragon, will be punished for his spiritual pride and deception. Those who have ‘made a covenant’ with him will be crushed. The prophet Isaiah referring to the Day of Adonai, Leviathan, prophesies that the Dragon will be killed in the ‘sea.’

You crushed the heads of Leviathan, giving him as food to the desert dwellers” (Psalm 74:14).

“In that day Adonai will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent with His fierce, great, strong sword, Leviathan the twisted serpent! He will slay the dragon in the sea” (Isaiah 27:1).

Leviathan is an ancient demonic force of darkness and chaos whose main realm of influence is spiritual pride and deception. His female counterpart is Lilith.

©2021 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Lilith – Night Monster

In Genesis 2, Elohim creates a wife for Adam by putting him into a deep sleep and removing a part of his flesh. When he wakes up, he sees that Chaya is ‘bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.’ He recognizes her; she is a suitable helper.

The legend of Lilith is believed to be found in the creation account of Genesis. According to Genesis 1:26-27, Elohim creates man and woman together: “So God created mankind in the divine image, male and female God created them.” According to Jewish mythology, this created being was androgynous, male and female together. Elohim then split them into two parts which lead to the idea of ‘soul mates.’

The person of Lilith is believed to be a Sumerian vampire, Lillu, or a Mesopotamian female night demon, Lilin. The full account of Lilith and Adam was written by Ben Sira from antiquities. In summary, Lilith is an assertive wife who fought with her husband all the time. She rebelled against her husband and was banished to the desert. She was replaced by Chaya and then became the killer of newborn babies during the night.

Lilith became known as a beautiful woman who seduces men in their sleep and births demon children. She is called by some as the Queen of Demons. The prophet Isaiah mentions Lilith and calls her a night monster.

“Wildcats and hyenas will meet there; and billy-goats call to each other; Lilit [the night monster] will lurk there and find herself a place to rest” (Isaiah 34:14).

©2021 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.