Posts Tagged ‘circumcision’

Y’hoshua and the Commander

After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, Y’hoshua was told to circumcise the nation’s men. The warriors who had come out of Egypt had been circumcised, but all boys born in the wilderness had not been circumcised while traveling. As these boys, now young men, were the new generation of warriors, they needed to be circumcised before entering the Land of Promise.

As I read this section from the prophets, I saw the Hand of Elohim in this week’s Torah portion as timely. Isn’t ‘I AM’ always just on time? As the modern nation of Isra’el prepared for Pesach this week, they were put into a ‘lockdown’ much like the Pesach in Egypt. It is in this week’s reading in Y’hoshua that the ‘new’ nation of warriors were circumcised before the nation celebrated Pesach. Could it be in 2020 that Elohim is preparing a new nation of warriors?

“Adonai said to Y’hoshua, “Today I have rolled off from you the stigma of Egypt.” This is why the place has been called Gilgal [rolling] ever since.  The people of Isra’el camped at Gilgal, and they observed Pesach on the fourteenth day of the month, there on the plains of Yericho. The day after Pesach they ate what the land produced, matzah and roasted ears of grain that day.  The following day, after they had eaten food produced in the land, the man ended. From then on the people of Isra’el no longer had man; instead, that year, they ate the produce of the land of Kena‘an” (Joshua 5:8-12).

Once the nation was ‘circumcised,’ Elohim says the disgrace of their lives in Egypt had been ‘rolled off.’ This means it was behind them. They had to look forward to what would be required of them as a new generation of fighting men. In this historic time, the circumcision was of the flesh, but Sha’ul teaches that ‘circumcision’ must also be of the heart or its purpose is not able to be fulfilled – to be true praisers of Elohim, to be Y’hudah, to be Isra’el.

It is important to be praying for the nation of Isra’el during this Pesach season that many Jewish hearts worldwide would be circumcised to know Yeshua in his Father’s ‘appointed time.’

“For the real Jew is not merely Jewish outwardly: true circumcision is not only external and physical. On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from God” (Romans 2:28-29).

The following verses state that after the nation celebrated Pesach, one day while Y’hoshua was standing by Jericho, he saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Y’hoshua was intrigued and asked, “Are you on our side or on the side of our enemies?”

“No,” he replied, “but I am the commander of Adonai’s army; I have come just now. Y’hoshua fell down with his face to the ground and worshipped him, then asked, “What does my lord have to say to his servant?” The commander of Adonai’s army answered Y’hoshua, “Take your sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy.” And Y’hoshua did so” (Joshua 5:14-15).

Once Isra’el had celebrated the memorial to their deliverance from Egypt and began to eat the fruit of the Land, the ‘bread from heaven’ stopped, but at the same time, Bread from Heaven appeared. The next part of their journey would not be in the wilderness, but in the Land of Promise. Just like his predecessor Moshe, Y’hoshua stood on holy ground and removed his sandals and worshipped Elohim. With instructions given directly from Yeshua, the Commander of Elohim’s army, Y’hoshua was commissioned to lead the new Israelite nation into war against the pagan nations. This would be the beginning of taking control of the land promised to Avraham.

In these last days, and perhaps even revelations of the end times, have we had our hearts circumcised? Have we become part of the nation of Isra’el through Pesach, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits? Are we prepared to be warriors in the army of Yeshua for the next phase of ‘taking back the Promised Land’ when the nations of the world rejoiced only weeks ago about it being divided?

The final verse for the reading is Joshua 6:1, that says “Yericho had completely barricaded its gates against the people of Isra’el — no one left, and no one entered.” It seems that today we are all quarantined in the city of Jericho and no one can come and go. Many nations in the world continue to hate Isra’el and the Jewish people. The physical battle for Jericho consisted of walking around the city seven times and blowing shofars until the walls fell down, but it was also a spiritual battle for releasing the city from a demonic stronghold.

In these days of pestilence, evil, and rumors of wars, we wait for Yeshua, the commander of Elohim’s armies to give the battle cry, to have his messengers blow their shofars to release this world from its physical and spiritual strongholds. We must remain faithful in our walk around the city, not within it. Then like Y’hoshua and the Israelites before us, when our commander appears, we can take back the Land of Promise.

We are definitely in the days of Pesach and Unleavened Bread. Do you have a circumcised heart? Are you being prepared as a warrior? Are you ready to battle in Yeshua’s army for the sake of His people, Isra’el?

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

Covenant – Hebrew: B’rit

Breet or b’rit in Hebrew means “covenant, league, confederacy”

ברית

Used with the most common verb, karat כרת meaning ‘to cut

“But I will establish (cut)  my covenant with you (Noah)” (Genesis 6:18, CJB).

“But with you (Noah) will I establish (cut) covenant (b’rit)” (Genesis 6:18, NIV).

“That day ADONAI made (cut) a covenant with Avram …” (Genesis 15:18, CJB).

“The Lord made (cut)  a covenant (b’rit) with Abram” (Genesis 15:18, NIV).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Bet – ‘A House’ means ‘a house or family’

Resh – ‘A Head’ means ‘authority or leader’

Yod – ‘A Closed Hand’ means ‘a finished work

Tav – ‘Crossed Sticks’ means ‘sign or covenant’

b’rit – family authority finished work of the covenant

There are many different covenants in Scripture.   There was a covenant with Noah regarding the destruction of the earth and mankind, a covenant with  Abraham and the promise of Land and descendants, a covenant with Isra’el as a nation, a covenant with Aaron and an eternal priesthood (Exodus 28), and a covenant with King David to always have a king from Judah on the throne over Israel (2 Samuel 7:11-16, Psalm 89:3-4, 29, 34-36).  None of these covenants were replaced by new ones.

There was no specific covenant made with Moses called the Mosaic covenant. Moses was only the intercessor between God and Isra’el and a type and shadow of Messiah Yeshua.  Unlike Abraham, Aaron, and David, who received a personal covenant promise with God, the covenant with Isra’el was made through Moses, not specifically with Moses.  It applied to him in as much as it applied to all Israelites and the mixed-multitude that came out of Egypt.

Covenants are expressions of loving relationship and promises that two parties make with one another.

“Y’honatan made a covenant with David because he loved him as he did himself.  Y’honatan removed the cloak he was wearing and gave it to David, his armor too, including his sword, bow and belt” (1 Samuel 18:3, CJB).

Covenants are eternal and not changing.  They can be ‘re-newed’  as in the case of the covenant with Isra’el because Isra’el had broken covenant.   God said that he would renew the covenant (Jeremiah 31).    The renewal of the covenant would not be in a removal of God’s covenant, but would result in a change of heart of the people so His ‘word, statutes and precepts’ would be written on new hearts of flesh – Ezekiel 26.

The ‘new covenant’ in Hebrew is b’rit chadashah.  This can be literally interpreted as the ‘new cutting’.  When a Jewish boy is circumcised, it is called a ‘brit’.  So, the ‘renewed covenant’ can also be known as the ‘renewed circumcision’ which is what the prophets foretold and Paul spoke about in Romans 2.

©2011 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

What’s Wrong in Galatia?

“They stirred up the people, as well as the elders and the Torah-teachers; so they came and arrested him and led him before the Sanhedrin. There they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking against this holy place and against the Torah…” (Acts 6:12-14).

When we share our faith walk with non-Jewish believers saying that we keep the Biblical Sabbath, celebrate the Feasts of the Lord and eat according to Leviticus, we are always referred to the book of Galatians and warned of legalism and Judaizing.  What is it about Judaizing, legalism, and the so-called ‘Galatian error’ that incites people to react defensively toward a non-Jewish believer who desires to obey God’s commands out of a heart of love, commitment and devotion?

The Word is “Compel”

“Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised.  They only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Messiah…. They want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh” (Galatians 6:12-14).

According to this verse, new gentile believers were being compelled to undergo outward flesh circumcision as a requirement to live out their faith in Yeshua of Nazareth. This happened because some Messianic Jews were fearful of being persecuted by non-believing Jews for their faith in Yeshua.

The Galatian error had nothing to do with faith obedience to the commands of God or Torah, it had nothing to do with the Sabbath, the Festivals or dietary regulations. The Galatian error was about a ‘written code’ that was inhibiting the non-Jew’s freedom to live in obedience to God’s commands and enjoy the blessings, promises, and covenants they now had access to as part of the commonwealth of Israel through faith in Messiah.

Circumcision

“Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts” (1 Corinthians 7:19).   

When studying Galatians and especially Paul’s teachings, it is important to understand the terminology he used when referring to the Body of Messiah, Jews and non-Jews. Many times ‘circumcision’ verses are taught with an ‘anti-circumcision’ viewpoint with the idea that if non-Jews become circumcised, they lose their freedom and are forced to obey God’s commands. This is not how Paul used the terms ‘circumcision’ and ‘uncircumcision;’ this is not what ‘circumcision’ means.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians has nothing to do with the act of circumcising the flesh.  He compares the flesh condition of two different groups of people: the Jews who were known as ‘the circumcision’ and the gentiles who were known as ‘the uncircumcision.’  Putting the verse in its proper context and terminology, Paul is saying that it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a non-Jew, what matters is keeping God’s commandments.  It can be reasoned from this verse that Paul never taught a gospel that encouraged disobedience to Torah,  but believed that both Jew and gentile have the responsibility to keep God’s commandments which include Sabbath, Festivals, and dietary regulations.

Paul uses the same terminology in Galatians 6:16:

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” 

Paul is again not speaking about the act of circumcision.  He is saying “Being Jewish or non-Jewish means nothing; what counts is being a new creation [in Messiah].”  He wants all the Galatians (and those who read Galatians) to understand that our outward flesh condition nor our DNA, has anything to do with our justification before God. All of us, Jew and non-Jew,  (circumcised or uncircumcised) need to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God; everyone, Jew and non-Jew, (circumcised and uncircumcised) needs to become a new creation in Messiah (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Redemption from the Law

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4).

Yeshua, who was fully God, humbled Himself and came down to earth as a human being.  He  was born into a world of (the law of) sin and death just like every other human born of a woman.   He lived under the law of human nature with the temptation of sin, however, he remained sinless because his Father was not Adam, but Yahweh.  He never broke one of His Father’s commands as written in Torah.  He lived them perfectly and taught them to his followers correctly.  Because he was completely righteous and without sin, his death was sufficient payment to free all mankind, Jew and non-Jew (circumcised and uncircumcised), from the law of sin and death and give them life now and eternally as sons of God.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Messiah Yeshua, for all of you who were immersed into Messiah have clothed yourself with Messiah.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.  If you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 5:26-29).

We all live under the ‘law of sin and death’ until we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and become sons of God.    No one in Galatia or anywhere else at any other time was ever justified by laws – man’s or God’s.   As redeemed sons of God in Messiah, there is no spiritual differentiation between Jew and non-Jew (circumcised or uncircumcised), male or female, slave or free.   When each of us comes to faith in Messiah, we become Abraham’s seed and evidence of the promise God made to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through him.

Zealous for ‘the law’

“For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.  I was advancing Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers” (Galatians 1:13-14).

In his own words, Paul admits that before he met Yeshua, he persecuted new Jewish believers regarding Judaism and the traditions of the fathers that he called ‘the law.’  If anyone lived contrary to the ‘traditions of Judaism,’ they were persecuted and even put to death by his authority. Until his Road to Damascus experience,  Paul was the greatest persecutor of Messianic Jewish followers of Yeshua who he thought could no longer adhere to traditional Judaism and the religious system that it included.  Acts 7:54-60 records him front and center at the stoning of Stephen receiving the coats of the witnesses at his feet.

Conversion through Circumcision

Before Yeshua’s death and resurrection,  the only way for a gentile God-fearer like Cornelius to  join the ‘commonwealth of Israel’ was to convert to Judaism.  This was done through a religious process that included circumcision of the flesh.   Though circumcision was initially given as a covenant sign of faith to Abraham, over the centuries circumcision had become the outward sign of following Judaism and all of the manmade traditions, yokes, and burdens that went with it.

In the Temple, a ‘wall of partition’ separated the people of Israel from the gentiles.  Though a God-fearing gentile could come to Solomon’s Colonnade to pray, they could never enter the Temple area unless they had legally converted to Judaism through the ritual of flesh circumcision.  It was this ‘wall of partition,’ the ceremonial ‘law’ to become legally Jewish that Yeshua destroyed in his flesh.

The problem in Galatia was not that Messianic gentiles were being forced to obey the commandments of God, but that non-Messianic Jews wanted gentile believers to convert to Judaism.   Paul made it very clear that gentile believers did not have to  convert to Judaism to live out their faith in Yeshua. 

In fact, Paul taught that all followers of Yeshua of Nazareth needed to remain in the flesh condition they were in when they were saved.  If they were ‘uncircumcised,’ they were to remain as gentiles.  If they were ‘circumcised,’  they were to remain as Jews.  It is the witness of Jew and gentile worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob together according to the commands that is the testimony of Messiah. 

“Circumcision has value if you observe the law [of Judaism], but if you break the law [of Judaism], you have become as though you had not been circumcised” (Romans 2:25).

Paul states that circumcision to become lawfully Jewish has no value because it is completely dependent on observing Judaism and its traditions.  A ritual circumcision does not necessarily have its foundation in faith, but in the value of the traditions of the fathers; the traditions of men.  These traditions or laws are easily broken and then it is as if the person is no longer a convert to Judaism.

Paul understands this entire process more than anyone because he was a ‘Judaizer’ himself wanting gentiles to convert to Judaism.  Moreover, he has learned through personal experience that being legally Jewish, of which he has the most extensive credentials, is not as valuable as faith in Messiah Yeshua.   It is faith in Yeshua that gives all believers – circumcised or uncircumcised – not only freedom from the law of sin that leads to death, but also the burdens of laws of Judaism.

Titus and Timothy

Enter Titus.  Titus was a Greek believer (non-Jew).  He did not feel compelled to be circumcised.  He was quite content to remain in his non-Jewish condition, but it created some problems within the  Jewish congregation that needed to be addressed.

“This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Messiah Yeshua and to make us slaves” (Galatians 2:4). 

Notice Paul doesn’t say Jewish believers in Messiah are creating the problems, but rather ‘false brothers’ who had ‘infiltrated’ the body of believers in Jerusalem.  In Jerusalem ‘false brothers’ would most likely be Jews who had rejected the Messiah and were Judaizing the new non-Jewish believers or ‘false brothers’ could imply that these men ‘pretended, bore false witness’ to the Messiah. The purpose of these ‘false brothers’ was to ‘infiltrate’ the Body of Messiah and compel the gentile believers to convert to Judaism through circumcision.

Titus was the test case.   Though he personally did not feel the need to be circumcised, he was still being compelled to become legally Jewish.  If Paul allowed him to be flesh circumcised and become legally Jewish, then the whole message of salvation by faith for gentiles would have been nullified.   It would have changed justification by faith in Yeshua to works of the flesh – heritage or conversion.  The gospel to the nations with which God entrusted Paul would have ended abruptly.

But what about Timothy?   He was circumcised.

Timothy had a Greek father and a Jewish mother. His mother and grandmother raised him with the Hebrew Scriptures and he understood his Jewish heritage.   For him to be circumcised was not an issue of conversion to a legal Jewish one because he was already ‘legally Jewish’ through his birth mother.   Furthermore,  Paul was going to take Timothy with him on his missionary journeys to places where there were unbelieving Jews. Being an uncircumcised Jew would have been a huge a stumbling block for those Jews to hear and receive the message of salvation in  their own Jewish Messiah.

Did Titus not keep God’s commandments while Timothy did? Of course not. This question has already been answered: “Circumcision [being Timothy] is nothing and uncircumcision [being Titus] is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts” (1 Corinthians 7:19).  For Titus to believe that he had a different set of commands as Timothy or did not have to obey God’s commandments like Timothy would have amounted to not only ignorance, but also ‘gentile’ arrogance.

Foolish and Bewitched

“You foolish Galatians!  Who has betwitched you?” (Galatians 3:1).

I cannot count how many times this verse has been quoted out of context to ‘correct us’ and our walk of faith. It is almost funny, if it wasn’t so sad.  We have met and known real people who sincerely  believe that obedience to God’s Torah is foolish and we are somehow being led astray by a ‘bewitching spirit’ and have ‘fallen from grace.’

Justification for sin comes through Messiah Yeshua’s atonement on the cross and by faith in Him alone. There is no argument there.  To compel someone to become Jewish according to a ‘written code’ involving circumcision of the flesh is most definitely a foolish error when it comes to the message of justification.  However, someone who loves the Lord God of Israel and desires to obey His commands out of that love are not bewitched or foolish. They are not trying to compel anyone to legally convert to Judaism.  In fact, it is quite the opposite. They are sharing a fuller message of salvation that includes sanctification. Yeshua Himself said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands” (John 14:15).

Zealousness and History

“Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good.  What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them” (Galatians 5:17). 

The unbelieving Jews, the Judaizers, only wanted gentile believers to ‘mutilate their flesh’ so they could boast about them.   They liked the idea of multitudes following them and their rules.  It boosted their egos and made them feel important and in control of this new movement of God.   They wanted to be able to say, “Look how many gentiles are converting to Judaism!”  Simply put, this was the Galatian error in Paul’s day: forced gentile conversion to Judaism.

It is highly probable the Messianic Jews didn’t really know what to do with the number of gentiles coming to faith in Yeshua. Though the Council in Jerusalem outlined the responsibility of a gentile initially turning to God, there was no guarantee that the pagan ways of the nations wouldn’t infiltrate and destroy the Messianic faith that was just out of the womb.  Messianic Jews like Paul were well aware that Yeshua didn’t preach the kingdom of Judaism, but they also didn’t want to lose their Jewish identity and Biblical heritage.  In their defense, after 2000 years of gentile infiltration and councils denouncing everything Jewish about faith in a Jewish Messiah, there was some merit to their concerns and struggles.

In the first century, there were more Jewish believers than gentile.  Gentiles who came to faith in Messiah grafted into the ‘commonwealth of Israel‘ and became part of the Olive Tree of Israel.    They met in synagogues on the Sabbath and were taught the Torah (Acts 15:21).   They took on a Biblically ‘Jewish’ identity while retaining their unique calling as gentiles to make the Jew envious.   As they tried to live out their new faith celebrating Biblical holy days, they encountered judgment from the Judaizers who wanted their adherence to the ‘written code’  first: gentiles needed to convert to Judaism.  Read in this cultural context Colossians 2:16 takes on a whole new perspective.

“Therefore do not let anyone (Jew)  judge you (gentiles) by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Messiah.”

When the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, the Jewish nation was scattered all over the world.  Jerusalem was no longer central to Judaism, the Jewish people, and the Messianic faith. The Jewish congregation of believers led by James was no longer the an example of faith (1 Thessalonians 2:14).

As the centuries passed and the number of gentile believers increased, they lost their connection to Jerusalem.  The Torah no longer came out of Zion nor the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Anti-circumcision or anti-Jewish doctrines crept into the ‘church’ and edicts from various church councils like Nicaea and Laodicea made it illegal for  believers in Yeshua to follow anything that appeared ‘Jewish’ including Sabbath, Biblical festivals, circumcision, and Levitical dietary regulations. 

Unfortunately for the growing Body of Messiah,  everything in the Bible looked ‘Jewish’ because God had  entrusted His Torah to the Jewish people to guard and protect.  Eventually Rome took the place of Jerusalem, the Pope spoke in the place of God, and the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Latin. Gentile believers easily fell into Roman religious practices against all warnings by Paul in his letter to the Romans (Chapters 9-14). Jewish believers either converted to Roman ‘Christianity’ or died.  Then, of course, came the Crusades, the Inquisitions, and the Holocaust.

The Modern Error in Galatia

Judaizing is a non-issue today as Christians are no longer part of the Messianic Jewish community.   They do not attend synagogues for their teaching and instruction as did the first century believers.  They are not faced with ‘false brothers’ who compel them to convert to Judaism or be cast away from the God of Israel.  The Christian church no longer teaches Torah as an outline for living a life of obedience.   In fact, most Biblical truths that were taught by Yeshua and lived out by the Apostles and first gentile believers (including some Jewish traditions that Paul commended the gentile believers for keeping) have been eliminated to the point that neither Paul, the Apostles, or Yeshua would recognize the Body of Messiah today.

The modern Galatian error is a now a ‘gentile code’ that compels Jews to follow the ways of the nations embedded in Christian doctrine.   Jews who come to faith in Jesus Christ no longer embrace the eternal covenants and promises given to them. They ‘legally convert’ to Christianity through baptism and confirmation into one of hundreds of denominations. Through the misunderstanding of a first-century issue, the modern-day church discourages anything remotely Jewish and their ‘circumcised’ converts attend church services on Sunday and celebrate foreign holidays that are prohibited by the God of Israel in the Scriptures.  In these murky waters, many of the ‘circumcised’ have lost their Jewish identity and their call to be a light to the gentile nations has been snuffed out. 

Something definitely has ‘bewitched’ the church. It’s not a Messianic believer obeying God’s commandments; it’s a distortion of the Truth. This distortion has paralyzed ‘the uncircumcised’ from entering into the promises given to Abraham, the reality of the new covenant as prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and walking in the commandments of God as lived out by Yeshua. Jew and gentile, ‘circumcised’ and ‘uncircumcised’ still remain separated. Their testimony to the world of ‘one new man’ is impeded by an error that can no longer be called Judaizing and compelling gentiles to become legally Jewish through ritual circumcision.  The modern ‘Galatian error’ has become the anti-Jewish catch phrase for arrogance over the first century Messianic Jews who dared to allow the ‘uncircumcised’ to enter the commonwealth of Israel through faith in the Jewish Messiah.

©2012 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. 

A ‘Sign’ for You

Elohim uses many different ‘signs’ in the Scriptures to reveal Himself, to direct people where they should go, to be a testimony in a believer’s life, and to establish covenants.  Each ‘sign’ has a prophetic purpose and brought forth a response from the person or people to whom it was given.

Immanu’el

“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).

Elohim gave this ‘sign’ to shepherds at the time of Messiah’s birth. They were in the fields at the Migdal Eder known as the ‘watchtower of the flock’ just outside of Bethlehem.  Because these shepherds tended the sheep raised for the sacrifices in the Temple, they would have understood the prophetic significance of the ‘sign.’  Through angelic messengers, these shepherds were given a ‘sign’ for recognizing the ‘Lamb of God’. As soon as they were given the ‘sign,’ they went to find the Savior.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call him Immanu’el” (Isaiah 7:14).

The prophet Isaiah directed this prophetic ‘sign’ toward all young virgins in Isra’el.  Many Jewish young women hoped to be the vessel for birthing the nation’s salvation through the Messiah.  They placed their faith in this ‘sign’ that would bring forth the promised ‘Seed’.

Lights in the Heavens

“God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to divide the day from the night; let them be for signs, seasons, days and years…” (Genesis 1:14).

Elohim created the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day as ‘signs’ for ‘seasons, days, and years.’  The sun ruled the day, sunset to sunset; the moon determined the months from one new moon to another, and the stars signaled the seasons of planting and harvest.  In Hebrew the word for ‘season’ is mo’ed and means ‘appointed times’ or ‘appointed seasons.’

A week is comprised of seven days, each day rendered from evening to morning, with the seventh day called the Sabbath.  The new dark moon started a new month and the counting of the days of the month. This counting beginning with the new moon establishes Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Feast of Weeks.  Feast of Trumpets, the first of the fall ‘appointed times,’ occurs on the first day of the seventh month and a new moon. Once this day is established, the Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles can also be set. The constellations governed the year as they moved around the heavens. Each year began with a new moon with the spring constellations as its guide.

The Covenant Sign for Noach

“And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come.  I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember  my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.  Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy life” (Genesis 9:12).

Elohim gave Noah a ‘sign’ after the flood. The rainbow appearing after the flood became the ‘sign of the covenant’ that He would never again destroy the earth and its inhabitants by water. When the rainbow appeared in the clouds, the bow would remind Elohim of His promise. Rainbows still continue to appear in the clouds, a ‘sign’ from Elohim that remains from the days of Noach and the worldwide flood.

Abraham and Circumcision

“I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.  This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep:  Every male among you shall be circumcised.  You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.  For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner – those who are not your offspring” (Genesis 17:11, 10-12).

When Elohim promised Avram that He would increase his descendants, He made a covenant with him and gave him the ‘sign’ of circumcision. The ‘sign’ in Avram’s flesh became the evidence of his faith in God’s promise that many nations would come from his loins. Elohim changed Avram’s name to Avraham meaning ‘father of many nations.’ All of his male children, including Ishma’el, along with his male servants entered the covenant of faith through the ‘sign’ of circumcision. This ‘sign’ remains today as evidence to the continuous fulfillment of God’s promise to Avraham.

“And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.   So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised (the gentiles), in order that righteousness might be credited to them.   And he is also the father of the circumcised (the Jews)  who not only are circumcised (in the flesh), but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised” (Romans 4:11).

When El Shaddai made His covenant with Avraham, there were no ‘Jews’ because neither Isaac, Jacob nor Judah had been born. This ‘sign’ of the covenant was Avraham’s faith response to the promises of El Shaddai. It was an outward ‘sign’ of the inward condition of his heart – not a ritual to convert to Judaism which did not exist at this time. Because Yeshua was an offspring of Avraham through Isaac, Jacob, Judah and King David, he was circumcised eight days after his birth according to the command given to Avraham and his descendants.   Because the ‘sign’ of the covenant, circumcision, occurred in Avraham’s heart before it was done in his flesh, anyone who puts their faith in the promises of Elohim already has received circumcision of the heart (Ezekiel 36:24, Romans 2:26-27).

Passover and the Blood

“The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).

Through plagues of judgment, Elohim began the Hebrews’ deliverance from a life of slavery in Egypt. The final judgment plague was the ‘death of the firstborn.’  Each Hebrew family sacrificed a lamb and placed it’s blood on the doorposts and lintel of their home. The blood would be the ‘sign’ for the Destroyer to ‘pass over’ that home.  Families without the ‘sign’ of blood would mourn the death of their firstborn. To have this ‘sign’ on your home resulted in life; to not have the sign brought death.

Sabbath

“I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so that they would know that I, Adonai, made them holy.  Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us.  Then you will know that I am Adonai your God” (Ezekiel 20:12-20).

Elohim gave Isra’el a ‘sign’ that would set them apart from all other nations on earth.  Observing this ‘sign’ would show the world that Elohim has a special relationship with His chosen people – along with those who join with His people through faith in Yeshua.   Keeping and guarding the Sabbath day is a ‘sign’ that yod hey vav hey, the Creator, is our God.

Believer’s Testimony

“And these signs will accompany those who believe.  In my Name [Yeshua] they will drive out demons, they will speak in new languages; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16:17,18).

Yeshua said that ‘signs’ will be a testimony of the power of Elohim’s Spirit in a believer’s life.  Laying hands on the sick making them well, driving out demons, being able to drink deadly poison, and picking up snakes are a few of the ‘signs.’ Do we have these evidence ‘signs’ in our walks of faith? If not, perhaps we have lost the power of the Spirit of Elohim.

Languages

“Tongues are a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers …” (1 Corinthians 14:22).

Sha’ul (Paul) discusses tongues or speaking in other languages as a ‘sign’ for unbelievers.  The purpose of ‘tongues’ is revealed in Acts 2 when Jews from every known nation gathered in Jerusalem for Shavuot.  They heard the message of salvation (Yeshua) in their own language.  Because they were going to return to their home nations, these Jewish people needed to hear the message in their native ‘tongue’ so they could share the message they heard with their own friends and families. Because of the powerful event on Shavuot, Jewish people from around the known world became the first missionaries of Yeshua.

Woman’s Head Covering

“For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of power/authority on her head to pray and prophesy” (1 Corinthians 11:10).

The woman’s head covering or veil is another ‘sign’ given in the Scripture.  The reason a woman wears a head covering is ‘because of the angels.’ It is a ‘sign’ of authority or power when a woman prays or prophesies in the presence of these spiritual beings.   Though few women wear them in western cultures, the ‘sign’ of the head covering has deep spiritual meaning. Women in foreign countries who honor the ‘sign,’ receive God’s ‘authority’ to pray, prophesy and have power when it comes to spiritual warfare.

Making Aliyah

“Here am I, and the children Adonai has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Adonai Tzva’ot, who dwells on Mount Tzion” (Isaiah 8:18).

This verse was placed on a website of friends who live in Isra’el.   They chose this verse because of its prophetic ‘sign’ to the end times when the Jewish people would be regathered back to the Land.   Seeing men, women, and children making aliyah (meaning ‘to go up’) is a ‘sign’ that Elohim still presides over Mt. Tziyon.

‘Signs’ in Scripture connect us with our Biblical heritage. The rainbow ties us to Noach, the worldwide flood, and an ‘older earth’ that experienced great judgment. Circumcision connects us to Avraham and his faith in the coming ‘Seed.’ It is evidence of what has happened in our own hearts as part of the new covenant promises.  The sun, moon, and stars are ‘signs’ in the heavens the Creator gave to us to reveal His ‘appointed times’ and the prophetic revelation of His Son. Sabbath is a ‘sign’ that reveals to the world that are Elohim’s people. Head coverings are a ‘sign’ that powerfully displays how the physical realm affects the spiritual realm. The virgin and the baby wrapped in cloths is the ‘sign’ that Elohim became flesh and lived among His people as Yeshua, the Messiah of Isra’el.

©2002  Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.