Archive for the ‘New Circumcised Heart’ Category

Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah

Open My Eyes – Wonders of Torah (on Amazon)

The catalyst for publishing Open My Eyes – Wonders of Torah came from the myriads of people who, in these last days, are denying the deity of Yeshua and his sonship to the Father.  This is a Bible study of the first five books of the Bible or Torah that reveal Yeshua throughout its written words, it’s language and its shadows.  

The Torah includes the history and foundations of a Biblical faith necessary for a walk with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Isra’el and is the most obvious place to begin learning about the Creator, His Kingdom, His People, His plan of redemption and His restoration of Isra’el and to delve deeper into Yeshua and His teachings.  

When the Torah was written down by Moshe, he didn’t have the fullness of the Scriptures we have today with the prophets,  the writings, the gospels and the letters.  We have a more complete picture of God’s eternal plan while he had only a glimpse.

When Yeshua became flesh and walked on earth, he only had the Hebrew Scriptures – the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings – for teaching about repentance and the Kingdom of God.  Each Torah portion includes words and actions of Yeshua that prove his faithfulness to the instructions of his Father, the Torah, and his divinity.  

The Torah portion commentary comes from questions my family asked, searched out, and may even still have.  Because Biblical names and Hebrew words have unique meanings different from English,  Hebrew Word Pictures are included that illuminate those nuances. Selah, meaning ‘pause and think about this,’ are also found throughout the text.  At the end of each parashah, traditional readings from the prophets as well as the new testament readings are listed along with a suggested midrash.

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

Priestly and Bridal Garments

“Therefore, since we have a great cohen gadol (high priest) who has passed through the highest heaven, Yeshua, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we acknowledge as true” (Hebrew 4:14).

The priestly garments, according Exodus 28, were comprised of blue, purple, scarlet, and linen threads.   Yeshua, our High Priest came from heaven represented by the blue and was the royal King of Kings represented by the purple. The scarlet represented his blood sacrifice for the sins of the world while the linen represented his sinless purity.  Woven through the blue, purple and scarlet yarn was gold, hammered so thin, it became a thread.  The gold represented both Yeshua’s divinity as the Son of God as well as his humanity as he was beaten and hammered.

The high priest wore black onyx stones on their shoulder engraved with the names of the 12 Tribes of Isra’el in their birth order.  In Hebrew, the word for ‘engrave’ is charasso and means ‘set free’.   The engraving was done like a ‘seal’ for a signet ring foreshadowing Yeshua who would set his brothers and sisters free from sin and the darkness of the world represented by the black onyx.

Isaiah, in Hebrew is Yeshayahu and literally means ‘salvation of Yah.’  The book of Isaiah has 66 chapters.  The first 39 chapters of Isaiah speak of Israel’s need for redemption while the last 27 speak of Elohim sending salvation or yeshua to Isra’el.

“I am so joyful in Adonai!  My soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in salvation, dressed me with a robe of triumph, like a bridegroom wearing a festive turban, like a bride adorned with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10-11).

Isaiah describes the wedding clothing of the bride of Messiah.  Along with the priestly garments mentioned above, the Bride wears a festive turban.  The Hebrew word for ‘wear’ in this verse means ‘to mediate’.  The priestly turban had a gold seal with “Holy to Yahweh.”   Wearing a festive turban, the Bride will be Holy to Yahweh because she has ‘meditated’ on her Bridegroom and was ready when he arrived.

The bride wears several garments.  The first is her garment of salvation representing her faith in the atonement of her Bridegroom.  This is like her undergarment.  It is the first piece of clothing she receives.   Her second garment is a ‘robe of triumph’ symbolizing her victory over sin and death and her righteous sanctified life.  Though there is a positional righteousness given to each of us by faith, there is also the practical righteousness of daily obedience to our Father’s commands.  Yeshua is not looking for a lawless bride who does what she thinks is ‘right in her own eyes.’  Yeshua is looking for a set-apart, holy, sanctified Bride.  This garment of triumph is worn over the top of her garment of salvation.

When our Bridegroom returns, he will adorn his Bride with jewels and give her a new name.  It will be like a glorious crown and a royal diadem.

“Then you will be called by a new name which Adonai himself will pronounce.  You will be a glorious crown in the hand of Adonai, a royal diadem held by your God” (Isaiah 62:2-3).

“Then, when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive glory as your unfading crown” (1 Peter 5:4).

The Bride will be given one more garment, a wedding dress.  It is made of fine linen and stands for the ‘righteous acts of the saints.’  It represents her testimony of the Bridegroom in her life as she onto the commandments of his Father.   She has persevered with patience and is rewarded accordingly.

“For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)” (Revelation 19:7-8). 

When the wedding feast of the Lamb and his Bride arrives, it will be a celebration like no other, an ‘appointed time’ of Yahweh.  In Hebrew, the word ‘bride’ is challah. Every Sabbath evening Jewish families eat a special braided bread known as challah.  It is not called lechem or ‘bread’, but the bride.  This bread makes the Bride of Messiah central to the prophetic vision of the eternal Sabbath where Yeshua is not only present, but rules and reigns for all eternity as King of Kings with his redeemed, sanctified and glorified Bride at his side.

©2017 Tentstake Ministries


When I wrote the word, marriage, I heard the priest’s voice from “Princess Bride.”  Marrwigde is what bwings us togedeter today.  It’s not an easy covenant, it’s not always an easy road, but marriage should always try to keep us togedter today.

My husband, John and I (Julie) have been married 31 years; neither of us ever married before.    We have had some tough times to be sure, but we promised something to each other on our wedding day (at the advice of my dad):  Never go to bed angry.  We have lived true to that advice all of these years … talking everything out so the devil doesn’t get a foothold in our relationship.  Forgiveness is a huge concept in marriage whether one is a believer or not.  It is commanded by Yeshua to his disciples.   It is the first step in realizing our own part in every disagreement and the second step to bringing restoration. 

Did we bring junk into our marriage? Of course.  We’re human and we were unbelieving sinners!  But we never focused on our pasts or blamed the junk for our problems.   In some cases we hit the issues head on.  For example, many years ago an old girlfriend of my husband’s stayed with us for two days and, we attended her brother’s wedding.  More recently, I met an old girlfriend of my husband’s on a trip to Arizona.  My husband went to a Denver  football game with me to watch a former boyfriend from college play on the Seattle team.  Sometimes we just have to know who we are in Messiah and know who we are in the marriage relationship and go with the flow.  All of these awkward situations brought healing rather than driving a wedge between us.  We sin against God and against each other enough times that to allow past junk to fester and destroy our marriage is pointless. 

What I see and hear in marriage relationships no one takes personal responsibility.  Husbands and wives  blame each other and previous relationships (marriages) for their problems.   When we are born again into God’s Kingdom, the past is in the past and should not be thrown into anyone’s face or be the cause for judging our spouse.  That’s the work of the devil.  Period.

Of course our past affects who we are, but if we’re born again, we’re new creations and the old has passed away.  That is how I like to live in my marriage relationship and I appreciate that my husband does too.  And, yes, we do sometimes talk about our pasts and have regrets or even huge moments of laughter at our own stupidity.

I remember being married only a few weeks and my husband confessed something from his past that was pretty shocking to me.  I remember stopping while we were walking and asking, “Are you born again?”  He responded, “Yes.”  I asked, “Have you asked forgiveness?”  He responded, “Yes.”  At that point the discussion was over.  The event has never come up again and this is the first time in 31 years that I’ve even acknowledged it happened.

I also feel that many times a husband, but mostly wives since that’s my world as a woman, want to be the Holy Spirit (Ruach) in their spouse’s life.  That is not the job of a spouse.  If you don’t like something figure out if it’s just personal judgement or spiritual.  Then let it go!  If your spouse is sinning, present it to God as a sin and then allow the Ruach to deal with it.  It’s called faith and trust in God to bring us to His perfection.  If your husband is not a believer, then women are commanded to live such pure and holy lives that their husbands are convicted.  Pure and holy doesn’t mean being the Spirit, but allowing the Spirit to live, rule and convict your life.

I had a friend years ago who was pregnant with her third child.  Her husband wanted her to have an abortion.  He was not a believer.  She didn’t know what to do as their first child was born out of wedlock and they married when the child was 7 months old.  They had been through this before.  God brought a opportunity in her life to leave for three days on a little boat trip.  She went.  When she came back, her husband apologized and is now pro-life.  That little girl is his special child.  This friend had faith that God would work while she was gone.  He did.

If you are both believers (and even if you’re not), I believe God joins people together – for better or worse (and it amazes me what people think is worse as I would be divorced numerous times over by now if I had those same standards) and no one is to divide them – no one, not a friend, a child, a pastor or a parent.  Especially a parent.

Parents have no place in a marriage.  This is why the woman leaves her home and a man leaves his mother.  Torah says that for the first year the married couple is to be ‘left alone’ in order to begin their own home – leave and cleave are the buzz words.   When my son got married, we did just that.  We only visited them or them us when they initiated it.  They needed to start their own life together without interference from us.  My husband and I had no interference as my family lived on the east coast of the U.S. and his lived on the west coast.  We lived in the middle of the country and neither family ever interfered with us because of distance.

We agreed on early is that we would never ever use the D (divorce) word.  That just opens doors for the enemy to take hold of one of our sins and as is human sinful nature and pride would run after its obvious course.  It is a sign of wanting to give up rather than to press on toward an upward higher calling in life. 

I was a staunch feminist when I met my husband. In college I had a book bag that said, “A woman’s place is in the House and the Senate.”  I was all for equal rights and everything that went with it.  However, today I am so far removed from that thought process for two reasons.  First, it is rooted in the Jezebel spirit and and creates a woman’s ruling household including the congregation of the Messiah.  If a woman wants a leading man, then let him lead!   Second, according to Scripture we’re only equal in terms of sin, redemption and forgiveness.  There is a line of authority and I am asked to submit to my husband as I would to the Lord – like the holy women in the past.   For me it has been a journey of learning how to do both simultaneously.  Like a father is the essence of how we feel about God as a Father; a husband and how we treat him is the essence of how we feel about God as our Husband.

I was blessed to have parents who were Christians,  loving and married until death parted them after only 21 years of marriage (my father remarried and has been married 36 years).  My grandparents were Mennonite and plain people and that is how I was raised.  My husband’s parents divorced when he was 18 and he purposed in his heart that he would never take that path before he ever met me or the Lord.  My husband and I were both blessed that we did not come from manipulative homes where there was alcohol, drugs, or control freak, overbearing moms or dads; consequently, we are not controlling and overbearing to one another or  our children.

We have trust in our marriage.  This doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been stretched a time or two even to the point of breaking, but if one doesn’t trust their spouse, then what is there?  Remember YHVH divorced Israel for their faithlessness!  Faithfulness is everything.  I do not care to know my husband’s passwords to his computer or phone except in the event he dies,  nor do I stalk him on Facebook because he has his own life and I have mine and we trust each other.   This trust comes not only from early years when we both did foolish things with other men and women and found ourselves in dangerous situations, but trust is how we have chosen to ground our marriage.  

Several months ago we listened to a teaching on marriage for young people.  My husband said, “We did it all wrong.”  Yes, we did.  We lived together, one a believer; the other not.  We didn’t understand anything about the purity of the marriage bed, protecting our hearts and minds, or even the spiritual warfare that is strong and steady against the marriage covenant.   It’s not how you began the race that matters, but how you finish it.  Forgive, press on, and pray your hearts out for your spouses.  Have faith that God will work in His perfect timing.  There are still things that bug me about my husband as I’m sure there are things that bug him about me.  BUT, we have overcome a lot and will continue to do so because that’s what marriage is about.

©2015 Tentstake Ministries

Clouds of Ascension

Forty days after being resurrected from the dead, Yeshua ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives.  He was hidden in a cloud.  If Yeshua is going to return in the same way that he left, then it is important to ‘see and understand’ this cloud with its multifaceted message.

“After saying this, he was taken up before their eyes; and a cloud hid him from their sight. As they were staring into the sky after him, suddenly they saw two men dressed in white standing next to them. The men said, “You Galileans! Why are you standing, staring into space? This Yeshua, who has been taken away from you into heaven, will come back to you in just the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). 

The Greek word for ‘cloud’ in Acts 1 is nephele and means a literal cloud.  According to Vines Expository Dictionary of Greek and Hebrew, this cloud is ‘a definitely shaped cloud’.  Nephele comes from the word nephos with a metaphorical meaning of “a dense multitude or throng.”  In this sense, though a nephele takes a physical shape, it is a large cloud made of masses of clouds that covers the heavens.  

Nephele is used as the physical element of the cloud that covered Israel in the Red Sea. It was through the nephele and the sea that the Israelites were immersed into Moses.

“For, brothers, I don’t want you to miss the significance of what happened to our fathers. All of them were guided by the pillar of cloud, and they all passed through the sea,  and in connection with the cloud and with the sea they all immersed themselves into Moshe …” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). 

Nephele is used for ‘the cloud’ on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Peter, James and John were taken by Yeshua to a mountain where he was glorified before them.  Appearing with Yeshua was Elijah and Moses.  God spoke to the disciples from the cloud that surrounded them.  

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them; and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5).

Nephele is used of ‘the clouds’ in which Yeshua will return.  Even though there will be a massive amount of clouds, every eye will see him and all the tribes of the land of Israel will mourn his return.  It is also the nephele where the living and resurrected dead will meet Yeshua and be translated from mortal into immortality and ‘be with him forever’ as he returns to Israel, Mount Zion, Jerusalem to set up his Millennial Kingdom.  

“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, Zechariah 12:10). 

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise;  then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).

The Hebrew word for ‘cloud’ is anan and means ‘cloud mass’.  It is used to represent the presence of God and his covering or sukkah over Israel in the wilderness.  It is a figurative ‘sign of divine protection’ as is seen when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea.  The anan of God was Israel’s  divine protection from the Egyptians as well as the sea itself.    The ‘cloud’  also serves as a barrier hiding the fullness of God’s divine holiness and glory.  It separates sinful man’s approach to God (Lamentations  6:4) showing that man’s relationship to God is initiated and sustained by God Himself and not initiated or sustained by man (Vines). 

When Moshe ascended to the mountain with the stones tablets, God descended in a anan and stood with him.  Within the anan, He pronounced His memorial name: YHVH (Exodus 34:4-5).  Within the idea of the cloud along with His presence is very name of God, ‘The I AM that I AM’.    

“Moshe cut two stone tablets like the first. Then he got up early in the morning and, with the two stone tablets in his hands, ascended Mount Sinai, as the LORD had ordered him to do. The LORD descended in the cloud, stood with him there and pronounced the name of Yod Hey Vav Hey” (Exodus 34:4).

Ten days before Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), Yeshua ascended in a ‘cloud’, taking the divine presence and glory of God with him until his ‘appointed time’ of return.  This cloud covering is the evidence that not only was the Father’s protection was around His Son, but also His holiness, His glory and His divine name validating Yeshua’s divinity and credibility that he is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).   

The Witness of a Martyr

Apart from the ‘cloud’ being the divine presence of God and Yeshua ascending to the right hand of His Father, there is also another possibility for this ‘throng of clouds’.  It comes from Hebrew 12:1:

“So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment — that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement — and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us ….”

Who or what is that ‘great cloud of witnesses’ that surround us like a cloud? The word ‘witness’ in Greek is martus from where the word ‘martyr’ comes. 

Martus is used as a witness for historical and ‘forensic’ accounts, especially  in God’s judicial system where there needs to be a witness of two to establish a matter.

“One witness alone will not be sufficient to convict a person of any offense or sin of any kind; the matter will be established only if there are two or three witnesses testifying against him” (Deuteronomy 19:15).

“Also that when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shed, I was standing there too, in full agreement …” (Acts 22:20).

Martus is also used of God being a ‘witness’ to our accounts of truth.     

“For God, whom I serve in my spirit by spreading the Good News about his Son, is my witness that I regularly remember you…” (Romans 1:9)

“I call God to witness — he knows what my life is like — that the reason I held back from coming to Corinth was out of consideration for you!” (2 Corinthians 1:23).

Martus means ‘to bear witness to Messiah by their death’.  This is the most common understanding of martyr: one who dies in a horrible way for their faith in Yeshua.   We see this happening around the world today with ISIS murdering Christians in other countries for their faith in Christ.  They are martyred (murdered) because of their martus (witness). 

“Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them received authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God …” (Revelation 20:4).

““I know where you are living, there where the Adversary’s throne is. Yet you are holding onto my name. You did not deny trusting me even at the time when my faithful witness Antipas was put to death in your town, there where the Adversary lives” (Revelation 2:13).

More specifically a martus or witness is ‘one who can or does what he has seen or heard or knows’ (Vines)  In this sense, everyone who is born again into God’s Kingdom is a martry to that Kingdom.  We are all witnesses for God our Father if we are doing what we have seen Yeshua do, listen to what we have heard (and read) in the Word of God on how we are to live, and know His personal salvation and deliverance through experience from a daily walk of faith of dying to ourselves.  When we die to ourselves, we martus ourselves in order to live fully for Yeshua as a witness to his death and resurrection.

Paul teaches this concept of martrydom to the congregation in Galatia.  This type of ‘witness’ is the very essence of being immersed after being born again by Spirit and ‘water’ into the Kingdom of God.

“I have been crucified with Messiah and I no longer live, but Messiah lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). 

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).

In this circumcision done by the Messiah,  you were buried along with him by being immersed; and in union with him, you were also raised up along with him by God’s faithfulness that worked when he raised Yeshua from the dead” (Colossians 2:11-12). 

Though we think of martyrs as dying horrible physical deaths, martyrs only become witnesses to Messiah when they first die to their carnal selves in order to live revived spiritual lives that reflect the One who gave them life.

Feast of Firstfruits

“But the fact is that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have died” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Forty days before Feast of Firstfruits, Yeshua rose from the dead.  At that time there were others who had been resurrected.  Matthew 27:52-53 gives the account of these holy ones:  “Also the graves were opened, and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life;  and after Yeshua rose, they came out of the graves and went into the holy city, where many people saw them.”

What happened to these resurrected people?  There is no mention of them again.  They could not die again because Hebrews 9:27 says ‘it is appointed for man to die once’ – inclusive of Lazarus who had died and was brought back to life.  What happened to these resurrected people?

“When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious– that you, LORD God, might dwell there” (Ephesians 4:8 (Psalm 68:18).

Could it be that these resurrected firstfruits were those who appeared as a massive cloud and bore martyr in a personal way to the resurrection of the dead by being called out of their graves and taken into an immortal dwelling place with Yeshua?  This is not impossible as Peter, James and John had already witnessed Elijah and Moses in some physical form with Yeshua in his glory on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Because of this  ‘great cloud of witness’  to the resurrection that surrounds us, we are challenged to put aside the sins that keep us from moving forward, that keep us from running the race to our eternal goal.    It is this ‘great nephele of martus’ that gives us hope in the coming resurrection of the dead.  Like Israel crossing the Red Sea, we are also protected by ‘a cloud’  an anan – the glory, the holiness, and the eternal name of God – YHVH.  Through His Spirit that was poured out two thousand years ago on Shavuot, we are sealed as true martyrs and wait for the day when Yeshua returns in ‘clouds’ and in great glory. 

©2015 Tentstake Ministries 


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