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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.

First Night of Hanukkah

First night of Hanukkah excerpt from the study guide, Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts available on amazon.com

Feast of Dedication – Hanukkah

“Then came the Festival of Dedication [footnote: Hanukkah] at Jerusalem. It was winter,and Yeshua was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade” (John 10:22). 

The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah is not a designated Feast of the LORD, however Yeshua went to the Temple in Jerusalem during this festival and revealed himself to the people.  Hanukkah has its roots in anti-semitism and the leader of a great nation’s desire for the destruction of the Jewish people.  It is celebrated in November/December in the winter.  

The historical account of Hanukkah is found in the inter-testamental book of 1 Maccabees. There are numerous suppositions as to why Maccabees was not included in the canon of Scriptures, but 1 and 2 Maccabees are found in the Septuagint used by the Catholic church and the eastern Orthodox churches.  Whatever the reason for its exclusion from the canon, Yeshua was found in the Temple during the celebration of his nation’s victory over anti-semitism.  

In 167 BCE (Before Common Era), King Antiochus (Greek: anti-christ) of Syria desired to Hellenize (make everything Greek) the empire of Alexander the Great.    He made Judaism illegal.  This caused a conflict between the Greeks who had their own gods and culture and the Jews who worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and lived according to the Torah commands. 

Initially, Antiochus desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing pigs on the Altar and putting their blood all over the Holy Place.   He ordered the Levite priests to make sacrifices away from the Temple and demanded the Jewish people follow Greek sacrificial rituals and customs.  When the Jews continued to read Torah, keep the Sabbath, eat according to God’s dietary instructions and circumcise their sons, they became enemies of the state.  If they were caught following any of God’s commands, they had the choice to submit to the new governing authority or die.  

One Levite priest, Mattathias, was commanded to sacrifice to Zeus on an altar away from the Temple.  He refused.  A nearby Jewish man stepped forward and obeyed the soldier’s order.   Mattathias killed the man and the soldier.  Thus began what is known as the Maccabean revolt.  

Mattathias had a son named Judah.  He was given the nickname Maccabee, meaning ‘hammer.’  With the realization they would have to fight the Syrian armies in order to regain control of the Temple, maintain their customs and survive as a nation, Judah put together a small army that fought for years against the massive Greek armies.  After seven years of war, Judah and his army defeated the Syrians and regained control of the Temple in Jerusalem.  He located faithful Levite priests to restore the Temple and to rebuild the Altar.  Once everything was cleansed and restored, it was ready to be rededicated back to God.  According to the instructions in Torah,this process would take eight days.

There is a story in the Talmud (the oral law) that says when the priests went to light the great Menorah, they found only enough consecrated oil to last one day.  Miraculously, the oil lasted the full eight days, the time required for consecrating new holy oil, and thus came forth the miracle of the oil. It is from these events that the Feast of Dedication or the eight nights of Hanukkah came to be established.

Eight Nights of Hanukkah

Each evening of Hanukkah as the sun sets, a special menorah or Hanukkiah is lit.  A Hanukkiah can be bought online or simply created from 9 candles on a table; however make one significantly different to be the shamash or ‘helper candle.’    The activities for Hanukkah are designed for one topic every day for eight days, however, one topic can be developed to last the entire week of Hanukkah;  thus giving this section an eight-year outline of study.

First Night of Hanukkah – Anti-semitism & Persecution

“For you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure” (Deuteronomy 7:6). 

Family Study and Activity:

On the first night of Hanukkah, light the most separate candle or shamash on the Hanukkiah.  From the shamash, light the first night’s candle.  After you light your Hanukkiah, place it in a window to show your solidarity with the chosen people of God. 

Define shamash:

Persecution is not new to the Jewish people.  They have been persecuted since their time of slavery in Egypt! There will always be anti-semitic people like Haman, Antiochus, the Romans, the Crusaders and Hitler who want the destruction of God’s chosen people.  The greatest persecutions demand the Jewish people stop being Jewish by disobeying the instructions of Yahweh in the Torah.  This is not something they would ever do and, in spite of severe consequences, have faithfully guarded the Word of God throughout the millennia with their lives.  It is because of their steadfastness to the Torah and the Prophets that we have the Bible today.  It is because of the courageous actions of the Maccabees protecting the lineage of Judah that Yeshua, our salvation, could be born.

1. Read Matthew 5:10-12, James 1:2-3, 1 Peter 5:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:3, Revelation 13:10 and Revelation 14:12.  How did each of  these Jewish men deal with persecution from their own people?  People from the nations?

Peter:

James:

John:

Sha’ul:

Timothy:

Yeshua:

2.  Read Romans 11:16-20.  Discuss the warning Sha’ul gave to the church in Rome.  Did the Roman church heed the warnings?  Why or why not?

3.  How has Rome influenced the church today?  Are these influences easily recognized?  Why or why not?

4.  Should Roman influences be removed from a pure walk of faith?  Why or why not?

5.  Read Revelation 3:15-16. Hot and cold in these verses refer to mixing the holy ‘hot’ with the profane ‘cold’ as in the golden calf account in Exodus 32.  How has the influence of the Roman church made the Body of Christ ‘lukewarm’?

6.  Compare how the Maccabees dealt with the Hellenization of their faith with that of the Romanization of the faith the actions of believers.

7.  Read the requirements for being a saint in Revelation 14:12.  Are you a saint?  Why or why not?

8.  What does it mean for a saint to ‘patiently endure’?

9.  Have you ever experienced persecution for your faith in Yeshua/Jesus?  In what way?  By whom?

10.  What is the difference between a trial and persecution?  

Define trial:

Define persecution:

11.  If you celebrated Hanukkah do you think you would be persecuted by Jews? Friends? Christians? Why or why not? 

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Ten Commandments with the Hebrew Alef-Bet

In Hebrew, each letter has a word picture based on its shape.    After learning the word pictures through the book Hebrew Word Pictures by Frank T. Seekins, I replaced the ‘roman numerals’ of the 10 Commandments with the numerical word pictures.  In this way, I saw the commands in a new and unique way.    This is how I taught my children the 10 Commandments after teaching them the Hebrew alphabet.  Remembering a concept with a letter was easier than remembering the order and phrases of the commands.    This is only MY interpretation of things  – it’s not ‘set in stone.’  I also included a New Testament verse with each command as there are some who say that one of the commands (specifically Sabbath) was not reiterated by Yeshua.

א Alef

This is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  The Hebrew letter picture is an Ox.  The Ox is symbolic of strength leader, first.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3).

“Yeshua answered, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the LORD your God and serve him only‘” (Luke 4:8).

Yahweh is the One and only God, the first strength.  There is no other God like Him.

ב Bet

The Hebrew letter picture for Bet is a Tent or House.  It symbolizes a household, in, into and a family.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).

1 John 5:21 “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).

In Egypt, the gods were called ‘household gods’.  Rachel was guilty of sitting on hers when Laban came to Jacob.

ג Gimel

The Hebrew letter picture for Gimel  is a Camel and means ‘camel.’  The symbolic meaning is to lift up or pride.

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Exodus 20:7).

Some of the traveling Jewish men who adjure evil spirits also undertook to call the name of the Lord Yeshua over those who had evil spirits, saying, I solemnly implore and charge you by the Yeshua whom Paul preaches!  Seven sons of a certain Jewish chief priest named Sceva were doing this.  But one evil spirit retorted, Yeshua I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?  Then the man in whom the evil spirit dwelt leaped upon them, master two of them, and was so violent against them that they dashed out of that house in fear, stripped and naked and wounded” (Acts 19:13-16).

We, as believers in Yahweh are not to pridefully use His name, but to respect it.  When we live lawlessly, against the commands,  and call ourselves by His name, we are misusing His name and profaning it among the people with whom we live.

ד Dalet

The Hebrew letter picture for Dalet is a door and Dalet is means ‘door.’  The symbolic meaning is a door, pathway, or a place to enter.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it ‘set apart’.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:8).

“Then Yeshua said to them, ‘The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5).

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work (of creation), just as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:9,10).

Yeshua stands at the ‘dalet’ and knocks. For anyone who opens the door, he enters in and feasts with them (Revelation 3:20).  Sabbath is the first Feast listed in Leviticus 23.  The Sabbath is a ‘door’ we enter so we can have a more intimate relationship/fellowship with the Father.

__________

The first three commandments are about how to love the LORD and the last 6 about how to love our neighbor.  The door is the pathway that takes us from one love (our first love) to the second greatest  commandment of loving our neighbor.

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).

ה Hey

The Hebrew letter picture for Hey is a Window and means ‘to reveal’ or ‘behold’.  It is symbolic of revelation and is ‘the’ like in  ‘Ha Shem’ (The Name).

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 2:10).

Yeshua, on the cross, looks at John and tells him, “John, behold your mother. Mother, behold your son” (John 19:26).

ו Vav

The Hebrew letter picture for Vav is a Nail or Peg.   It is symbolic of binding and securing, and the connector ‘and’.  It is found in phrases  like ‘chesed v’ahava’ (mercy and love).  Yeshua was nailed, secured to the cross.

“You shall not murder/kill” (Exodus 20:13).

“Do not murder,  and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with is brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22).

ז Zayin

The Hebrew letter picture for Zayin is a Weapon like an axe.  It is symbolic of dividing or cutting off.

“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).  

“Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate (cut apart)” (Mark 10:9).

ח Chet

The Hebrew letter picture for Chet is a Fence or Inner Room.  The symbolic meaning is to keep private or to separate.

“You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15).

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need” (Epheisans 4:28).

Fences keep one neighbor’s things from another.   A fence protects and keeps certain things in and other things out.  In Hebrew thought, the Torah is considered a ‘fence’ because it guards those who walk in its ways.  The Torah protects from the deceptions of the outside world and guards the inner chamber of the believer’s heart.

ט Tet

The Hebrew letter  picture for Tet is a Snake.  It is symbolic of twisting or surrounding.

“You shall not bear false witness (lie) against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning,  not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

The ‘father of lies’ twists the truth.  We are not to surround our neighbors with lies, twisted truths, and false testimony.

י Yod

The Hebrew letter picture for Yod is a  Closed Hand.  This is symbolic of  a finished work or deed.

“You shall not covet your neighbors house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s (Exodus 20:17).

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrew 13:5).

Be content with what your hands have completed and don’t desire what the work of others has brought to them.

©2000 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.  

The Disciples’ Prayer

Matthew 6:9-13

Tefillah Talmidim – The Disciples’ Prayer

Yeshua taught his followers to pray the well-known “Lord’s Prayer” found in Matthew 6:9-13.  This prayer, though often thought to be ‘new’, actually follows the traditional Jewish outline for tefillah (prayers).  Thus, our Jewish Savior gave his Jewish (and non-Jewish) followers a completely Jewish way to pray to his Father, our Abba, the Creator of the Universe.

:אבינו שבשמים ית1דש שמך

Avinu shebashamayim, yitkadash shemekha.

Our Father in heaven!  May your Name be kept holy.  

:תבא מלכותך יעשה רצונך בארץ כאשר נעשה בשמים

Tavo malkhutekha, ye’aseh r’tzonekha ba’aretz ka’asher na’asah vashamayim.

May your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.

These first phrases resemble the kaddish, an ancient Jewish prayer.  Like all Jewish prayers, it begins with acknowledging the Creator of the Universe who is our Father in heaven followed by sanctifying His ‘set apart’ Name, the יהוה .  The coming Kingdom of God is the rule of God’s Spirit in, through, and over the hearts of men.  This is the ultimate fulfillment of the ‘new covenant’ found in Jeremiah 31:31 and will bring forth God’s will on earth as it is in the heavenly realm – obedience to His commands that are part of His Kingdom rule.

__________________ 

:תן לנוּ היוֹם לחם חקנוּ

Ten-lanu hayom lechem chukeinu.

Give us the bread we need today.

The word ‘give’ at the beginning of this phrase is the imperative.  It presents the idea of a child completely dependent on their father for everything they need.  This day is a reference back to the manna – the bread of life –  in the wilderness which was provided each day in order to build faith in the One who Provides.  Lechem chukeinu is also used in Proverbs 30:8:  “keep falsehood and futility far from me, and give me neither poverty nor wealth. Yes, provide just the food I need today ….”  

__________________

:וסלח לנוּ את אשמתנו כאשר סלחים אנחנו לאשר אשמו לנוּ

U’selach-lanu et-ashmateinu ka’asher solechim anachnu la’asher ashmulanu.

Forgive us our sins just as we are forgiving those who sin against us.

Yeshua taught in Luke 6:38 that we will receive the same measure that we measure out.  This not only includes how we use our gifts, but also includes forgiveness.   Yeshua also made it clear that unless we forgive others, God will not forgive us.  This part of the tefillah is a mirror to our hearts and is in the present progressive as the process of forgiving continues 70 x 7.

________________

:ואל–תויאנוּ לידי מסה כי אמ–הצילנוּ מן הרע

Ve’al-tevieinu lidei massah, ki im-hatzileinu min-hara.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  

Massa is translated as ‘test or temptation,’ but can also mean ‘despair’ as in the ‘melting of one’s heart.’   This phrase does not suggest that we be kept from trials, but that as we go through them our hearts are changed or melted and be delivered from  falling into despair and becoming bitter or angry. Hatzileinu min-hara is more than being drawn into evil inclination, but a deliverance from the Evil One who is the root of our evil inclinations and tries to steal all glory from God.

________________

:כי לך הממלכה וחגבוּרה  והתפארת לעולמי עולמים

Ke lakha, hamamlakha, vehageverah, veha tiferet l’olemei ‘olamim.

For kingship, power and glory are yours forever.

The conclusion of this prayer reflects the prayer and praise of King David in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 when he dedicated the first Temple in Jerusalem.

_______________

אמן ו אמן

Amein

Amen

The Jewish sages taught that Amen is an acronym for el melech ne’eman or “God is a faithful King.”

©2017 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

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