Open My Eyes – Wonders of Torah (on Amazon)

The catalyst for publishing Open My Eyes – Wonders of Torh came from the myriads of people who, in these last days, are denying the deity of Yeshua and his sonship to the Father.  I wanted to create a Bible study of the first five books of the Bible or Torah that revealed 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

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.

Exodus 20:2-3 “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.”

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

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.

Exodus 20:4-6 “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.”

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

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.

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

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.

Exodus 20:8 “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.”

“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).

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

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.

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

“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.

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

“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.

Exodus 20:15 “You shall not steal.”

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.

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

“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.

Exodus 20:17 “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.”

“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 (a chapter from the book Journey with Jeremiah found in the Book Nosh)

In the Days of Nehemiah

“It was the first day of the seventh month” (Nehemiah 8:2).

After our family began celebrating the ‘appointed times’ found in the Leviticus 23, days, times and seasonal cycles stood out on the pages of the Scriptures.   This specific verse in Nehemiah is no different.  It sets the time for the events to follow as the ‘first day of the seventh month’ or Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets.  This ‘appointed time’ of God begins His season of the fall feasts which are about repentance, atonement and a vision of the coming Millennial Kingdom.

The events in Nehemiah 8 are not some random occurrences in the history of Israel.  They are a testimony to the restoration of the Feasts of Elohim to a people who had lived in exile for over 160 years.  Though there was a first wave of Jewish return to Jerusalem 70 years after being taken captive, Ezra and Nehemiah were in the second wave 90 years later.  It was during this time that the priests gathered the people together on the ‘first day of the seventh month’.

Yom Teruah 445 B.C.E.

A wooden platform was made on which Ezra, the priest,  stood and could be seen and heard by all of the men and women who came to listen to the reading of the Torah.  As he opened the Torah scroll, everyone stood.  Then Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God.  As the people answered with “Amen”,  they lifted up their hands, bowed their heads and fell prostrate before Elohim with their faces to the ground. 

“Amen” has a very interesting root history.  It comes from the Hebrew word aman meaning ‘to nourish, support, make sure and strong’.   The word emunah or faithfulness also has its root in aman.   The Jewish sages say that amen is an acronym for el melek ne’eman or “God is a faithful King’.  According to Revelation 3:14, Yeshua is the “the amen, the faithful and true witness … he is the faithful King.”   What the people said  as they were about to hear the Torah was “God is a faithful King!”

Days of Awe and Repentance

The Levites had the responsibility to explain Torah to the people.  After being in a foreign country for several generations, they needed to translate the Hebrew so that the ‘Persian’ Jews would  understand the words being read.  When they heard the  instructions that God gave them through Moshe, the people began to weep. 

Repentance or ‘turning back to God’ or teshuvah  is central to the fall ‘appointed times.’   After hearing the words of Torah for the first time standing in Jerusalem, the people wept.  They grieved.  They understood they had lost the very essence of their national heritage from the LORD and had not lived accordingly.

Ezra, along with the rest of the Levites, told them not to weep, not to be sad for this day was ‘set apart to Elohim their God.’  It was an ‘appointed time’ of the LORD.  They were told to go out, eat rich food, drink sweet drinks and give portions to those who couldn’t provide for themselves.  Even today sweet foods are eaten on Feast of Trumpets with apples and honey being the traditional foods.

How sweet to my tongue is your promise, truly sweeter than honey in my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).

Mouth of God

Yeshua said in Matthew 4:4 “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.”  What does the mouth or ‘voice of God’ sound like?

Ram's Horn ShofarWhen John was exiled on the island of Patmos, he has a revelation of Messiah.  He says,  “I came to be, in the Spirit, on the Day of the LORD; and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a shofar ….”   The voice of the LORD sounded like the blowing of a shofar.   A shofar, or the horn from a ram, is blown on the Feast of Trumpets.  Obviously, it is only when breath goes through the shofar that it is able to create a sound.  Being vessels of Elohim’s Spirit, it is taught that the ‘breath of God’ or Ruach HaKodesh blows through a shofar when it sounds.  

(Note: John heard the voice that sounded like a shofar on the Day of the LORD.  This is in reference to the events surrounding the coming Millennial Kingdom and a time of judgment, not the first day of the week.  The events for the Day of the LORD will begin on ‘the first day of the seventh month’ or Yom Teruah.)

The Spring of Living Water
Pool of SiloamThe original city of Jerusalem had very different boundaries than modern-day Jerusalem.  In fact, remnants of the city are found in what is known as the City of David.  Within the ‘older’ city of Jerusalem, the Water Gate led down to the Gihon Spring which was located in the Kidron Valley.  This spring was the main source of water for the Pool of Siloam.   The priests would go to the Pool of Siloam to collect the water for each day’s water libation ceremony.  During this event, they would pour water over the altar in the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles.   On the last and greatest day of this feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!” (John 7:37-39).

As the people gathered at the Water Gate, it is symbolic of the pathway to the living water of the Word of God.  With the reading of the Torah by Ezra, the Jewish people had been ‘washed in the water of the Word’ and began preparing themselves as a pure and holy bride (Ephesians 5:25-26).   

Building Sukkot

On the second day,  the heads of the clans of the people joined the Levites and Ezra to study the words of the Torah again.  They found that Elohim had ordered through Moshe that the people of Isra’el were to live in booths or sukkot during the ‘appointed time’ in the seventh month known as the Feast of Tabernacles.  They were to announce the festival of Sukkot in all of their cities and in Jerusalem.  

“Go out to the mountains, and collect branches of olives, wild olives, myrtles, palms, and other leafy trees to make sukkot, as prescribed” (Nehemiah 8:15).

Olive TreeIn Jeremiah 11:16, God calls Isra’el an olive tree. In Romans 11,  Sha’ul speaks about branches of olives and wild olives that make up the Olive Tree of Isra’el.    The natural branches represent the 12 Tribes of Israel  and the wild branches the nations that join with them.  Both receive the same living water of the Word through the same spiritual root.   Though both branches will continue to produce either natural olives or wild olives, they both produce olives.

“A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). 

Middle Eastern MyrtleMyrtle trees are considered an evergreen and are very hardy.   They produce a purplish-black berry called the mursins.  This fruit can be dried then ground and used as a flavoring.  It is one of the four leafy trees bound together for Sukkot that over time have been given the symbolism of ‘good smell, but no taste,’ like a person who has ‘good deeds, but does not study the Torah.’

The prophet Zechariah lived during the time between the first and second returning remnants.  He has a vision of God, angels and horsemen standing in the midst of a myrtle tree.  This vision was given to reinforce God’s promise that the exiles who returned to Jerusalem would be prosperous.  For the Jewish people of Zechariah’s time to prosper, they would need to repent and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, rebuild the Temple and learn Torah.  In the time of Nehemiah 8 and Yom Teruah, the repentance had begun. 

“Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the LORD  Almighty” (Zechariah 1:16).

Palm TreePalms, or lulav in Hebrew,  were also part of the branches collected to make a sukkah.  It is known for its uprightness, fruit and its beauty.  The Jewish sages say that the palm tree, which has taste but no smell, can be compared to a person who studies Torah, but has no fruit of good works. 

The first mention of palm trees in Scripture is when the Israelites camp at the oasis of Elim during their trek in the wilderness.  It is during the Feast  of Tabernacles that palm branches are waved signifying the coming Messianic kingdom. This is why palm branches were waved when Yeshua entered Jerusalem during the Passover season.  The people believed that the kingdom of God hadarrived; however, it was the wrong ‘appointed time’ and season.    In Revelation 7:9, multitudes from every tribe and nation will be waving palm branches and giving glory to the King of Kings.  Today, the lulav is a special binding of three species of branches along with an etrog (a type of citrus fruit).  It is used to worship the LORD during Sukkot and reminds everyone that one day the nations of the world will gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16). 

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The people went out from the city, collected branches from specific trees and made sukkot for themselves on the roofs of their homes, in their courtyards, in the Temple courts and in the open spaces by the Water Gate and the Efrayim Gate. The entire community of those who had returned from the exile made sukkot and lived in them for the commanded time of eight days.   They had not done this since the days of Joshua and they celebrated Sukkot with great joy.  They also read the Torah every day from the first day until the last day of the ‘appointed time.’

In Our Day

The Feast of  Trumpets begins on the first day of the seventh month and Sukkot begins on the fourteenth day. On our Gregorian calendar, these fall festivals occur in our months of September/October.   They are a vision of the coming Kingdom of God when Isra’el, the natural branches of the Olive Tree will gather in Jerusalem along with the nations, the wild branches of the Olive Tree, to worship the King of Kings.  Everyone will wave olive, palm and myrtle branches for they will not just study Torah, they will bear the righteous fruit of the etrog.

The Jews in the days of Nehemiah prepared for this coming Kingdom by repenting and returning to the Torah of God and celebrated the ‘appointed times’ on their commanded days.  As wild olives, we can also embrace the vision of the coming Kingdom millennia later in the say way: repenting and turning back to God, learning Torah,  and proclaiming the ‘appointed times’ to those who stand by the Water Gate desiring spiritual nourishment from the spring of living water.  Amen. “Yeshua is the faithful King.”  

©2016 Tentstake Ministries