Posts Tagged ‘Council of Laodicea’

Revelation Chapter 3 – Laodicea

Messianic Community of Laodicea

Laodicea, most likely named after the wife of Antiochus II Theos, sat on a hill between the valleys of two small rivers, the Asopus and Caprus which flow into the Lycus. The town was originally called Diospolis or the “City of Zeus.” In 60 CE an earthquake leveled the city, but the residents would not take government help and rebuilt the city themselves. Laodicea was known for a major medical school where they made an eye salve from a local stone. Because of its gold, it was known as a financial center throughout the ancient world. The city also was know for its black wool and the garments it made known as ‘trimata.’ Today, Laodicea is near the city of Denizli, Turkey.

There were many Jews who were ‘transported’ from Babylon to Laodicea in the days of Antiochus the Great. Though they sent gold annually to the Temple in Jerusalem, it was confiscated by other Roman citizens. Because of the large Jewish community in Laodicea, the message of Sha’ul (Paul) was readily accepted. From the book of Colossians, it appears his letters were shared between Laodicea, Colossae which was 11 miles west, and Ephesus which was 99 miles east.

“Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, also to Nympha and the congregation that meets in her home.  After this letter has been read to you, have it read also in the congregation of the Laodiceans; and you, in turn, are to read the letter that will come from Laodicea” (Colossians 4:15-16).

The Council of Laodicea

The Council of Laodicea met in this city about 360 CE.  The main focus was regulating the behavior of ‘church members.’ At this time many anti-semitic doctrines were established that remain part of  Christian theology today. One significant is Canon 29 which outlawed the keeping of the Biblical Sabbath and encouraged resting on Sunday.

“Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day.”

Canon 29 from Laodicea further states, “Rather [they should] honour the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, rest then as Christians.”  It is obvious that those at this council knew ‘The Lord’s Day’ was not the Sabbath.  Instead they began to instill the idea that ‘The Lord’s Day’ was the ‘first day of the week’ and to be honored apart from the Jewish Sabbath.

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Laodicea, write: ‘Here is the message from the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the Ruler of God’s creation: “I know what you are doing: you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth! For you keep saying, ‘I am rich, I have gotten rich, I don’t need a thing!’ You don’t know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked! My advice to you is to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be dressed and not have to be ashamed of your nakedness; and eyesalve to rub on your eyes, so that you may see. As for me, I rebuke and discipline everyone I love; so exert yourselves, and turn from your sins! Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me. I will let him who wins the victory sit with me on my throne, just as I myself also won the victory and sat down with my Father on his throne. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities'” (Revelation 3:14-22). 

Yeshua sends the seventh and final messenger to the community of Laodicea and reveals himself as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, Ruler of God’s creation.”

As the ‘Amen,’ Yeshua has the final say to the condition of this community. His words are faithful and true, the witness of two for his words. He also reveals himself as the Ruler of Elohim’s Creation.

The Set-Apart Sabbath

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being” (John 1:1-3).

In the beginning, Elohim through His Word created the heavens and the earth in six days and on the seventh day He rested. This is why He blessed the seventh day and set it apart for Himself. The Sabbath is a memorial to the week of creation.

“For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself” (Exodus 20:11-12).

The Sabbath is a sign between Elohim and His people so that we know yod hey vav hey is our God.

“I am Adonai your God; live by my laws, observe my rulings, and obey them, and keep my shabbats holy; and they will be a sign between me and you, so that you will know that I am Adonai your God” (Ezekiel 20:19-20).

The Sabbath is given to the nations.

“And the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai to serve him, to love the name of Adonai, and to be his workers, all who keep Shabbat and do not profane it, and hold fast to my covenant, I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer …” (Isaiah 56:6-7).

Delighting in the Sabbath brings delight in Elohim and encompasses blessing.

“If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, Adonai’s holy day, worth honoring; then honor it by not doing your usual things or pursuing your interests or speaking about them. If you do, you will find delight in Adonai — I will make you ride on the heights of the land and feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Ya‘akov, for the mouth of Adonai has spoken” (Isaiah 58:13-14).

The Sabbath will be celebrated in the new heavens and new earth. It is a prophetic vision to the coming eternal Kingdom.

“For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making will continue in my presence,” says Adonai, “so will your descendants and your name continue. Every month on Rosh-Hodesh and every week on Shabbat, everyone living will come to worship in my presence,” says Adonai. “As they leave, they will look on the corpses of the people who rebelled against me” (Isaiah 66:22-24).

Most importantly, Yeshua as the Ruler of Elohim’s Creation is Lord of the Sabbath.

For the Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat!” (Mathew 12:8, Mark 2:28, Luke 6:5).

This edict by the Laodicean Council directly not only contradicts the Fourth Commandment given by Elohim in Exodus 20:8-10, it is an affront to every Sabbath Scripture. Judaizing has nothing to do with obeying the commandments as an expression of faith.   The term had become synonymous with requiring a non-Jewish follower of Messiah to convert to Judaism through ritual flesh circumcision. Keeping the seventh-day Sabbath has nothing to do with Judaism, but has everything to do with obeying Elohim’s commandments.

This deliberate twisting of the Biblical Sabbath has kept the ‘church’ from is Biblical foundation and the blessings of a Biblical walk. It has also successfully kept the non-Jews from provoking the Jewish people to jealousy for their own Messiah which is their calling according to Sha’ul (Paul) in Romans 11.

 Sabbath was and is central to a Biblical faith and was part of the Jewish heritage from Elohim. They were taught how to set apart the Sabbath from their days of eating manna in the wilderness. The Laodicean Council wanted no part in becoming ‘one new man’ with the Jews or their Jewish ‘traditions.’ They acted out of arrogance and at that moment were cut off of the Olive Tree of Israel. Those who accepted and followed their edicts brought anti-semitism into ‘the church,’ an anti-semitism that exists today in Christianity.

A Tepid Temperature

Many believers in Messiah claim to be ‘on fire for the Lord,’ but that doesn’t make them hot.  To be hot means to be close to the ‘fire’ of Elohim. Moshe stood next to that ‘fire’ in the burning bush and removed his shoes in the holy presence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. That ‘fire’ burned in a pillar over the Tabernacle in the wilderness and only a few could go near it. It is a ‘fire’ of Yeshua that burns in the heart of a person so intensely they cannot humanly contain it. It is a hot ‘fire’ that refines a person’s spiritual life removing the dross of sin in order to become more a more set-apart vessel for the Kingdom of Elohim.

“But if I say, “I won’t think about him, I won’t speak in his name any more,” then it seems as though a fire is burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I wear myself out trying to hold it in, but I just can’t do it” (Jeremiah 20:9).

“That third part [the part that survives] I will bring through the fire; I will refine them as silver is refined, I will test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is my people’ and they will say, ‘Adonai is my God'” (Zechariah 13:9).

To be cold means to be far away from Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh and His presence.  To be cold is to be from the nations, a foreigner, separated from God, His people and His teachings. Cold means to be pagan with lustful desires and embracing false gods. Cold means to be agnostic with sterile ways of thinking, an intelligence shrouded in darkness, to be estranged from the life of God because of ignorance. Cold means to be atheist – irreverent, secular and profane.

“Therefore, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth — called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised — at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise. You were in this world without hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:11-12).

“Many people’s love [of God] will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah” (Matthew 24:11).

According to the dictionary, lukewarm is a state of being warm, but only barely. The example is used of a forgotten cup of hot tea becoming lukewarm. When it comes to the people of Laodicea they lack zeal and enthusiasm for the ways of Elohim. Lukewarm in a Biblical sense is a mixing of the hot holiness of Elohim and the profane coldness.

The priests of Isra’el are warned about their mixing the holy and the profane. Ezekiel tells them they violate Torah by not distinguishing between the clean and unclean and hiding their eyes from the Sabbath. This behavior profanes the name of Elohim among themselves and among the nations.

“Her cohanim have done violence to my Torah, profaned my holy things, made no difference between the holy and the common, not distinguished between unclean and clean, hidden their eyes from my shabbats, and profaned me among themselves” (Ezekiel 22:26).

The Hebrew word ‘violence’ in this verse is chamas and means ‘do violently against.’ Profane in Hebrew is chol and means ‘to make common.’ This is the antithesis of being ‘set apart as Elohim is set apart.’

“Therefore Adonai says, “‘Go out from their midst; separate yourselves; don’t even touch what is unclean. Then I myself will receive you. In fact, I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters.’ says Adonai-Tzva’ot.” Therefore, my dear friends, since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that can defile either body or spirit, and strive to be completely holy, out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

These verses from 2 Corinthians had a profound impact on my walk of faith. As I read through it, I noticed several things. First, I was to separate myself from certain people. At the time, I had no idea who those people could possible be, but I soon learned. Second, the Scripture said not to even touch anything unclean. I did not know what that meant so I looked up ‘unclean’ in the small Concordance in the back of my Bible. It took me to Leviticus 11 that described ‘clean and unclean’ animals, meats that were not created as food. At the end of chapter 11, Elohim states that “you are to be holy as He is holy.” I considered that not eating ‘unclean’ foods would make me ‘holy.’ Third I noticed that by obeying what Elohim says, He becomes my Father and I become His daughter. From what I had been taught throughout my ‘church days,’ I just assumed the Father/daughter relationship came with faith in Yeshua. You know, unconditional love. Fifth, we are to purify ourselves from everything that defiles not just our spirit, but also our bodies – out of reverence for Elohim.

I became excited with what I saw in those verses. I had received a ‘word’ from the Lord and wanted to share it. When I opened my Bible, read the verses and explained to some friends what I saw, I was emphatically told two things: One, we are no longer under the law; and two, if we did those things we would be considered legalistic. I knew from that response the ‘who’ I was to separate myself from.

Those verses did in fact come from the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel and were quoted in the new testament even though new testament believers rejected them. As the Ruach haKodesh continued to give me understanding, I realized that because I am part of the royal priesthood serving Yeshua, I am obligated to the same standard of holiness as the Levitical priesthood; in fact a higher standard of holiness. I am not to mix the holy and the profane or become indifferent to the Sabbath. I am not to become lukewarm and profane the name of yod hey vav hey among the nations. As for unconditional love, that is one-sided. I have to show my love for Yeshua by obeying his commands; I have to show reverence for my Father as His loving daughter.

Unfortunately much of the modern-‘church’ is lukewarm. They don’t understand the difference between what his holy hot and profane cold. They mix the holiness of Elohim with the pagan ways of the world. They have exchanged the Sabbath for Sunday as pronounced by the Council of Laodicea; they have combined the worship of the goddess Astarte/Ashtoreth with the resurrection of Yeshua, they have confused the birth of the sun-god Saturn with the incarnation of the Son of God, and they falsely believe that Yeshua’s death on the cross either changed the makeup of pigs, horses, and eagles or just removed sin to the point that disobedience still merits eternal rewards.

Laodicea is being told a different message by the faithful and true witness. They are being told they are so lukewarm that Yeshua wants to vomit them out of his mouth. The Greek word for ‘vomit’ is emeo and means ‘repulsed, showing utter rejection, and disgust.” In other words, the people in this community disgust Yeshua and he wants to utterly reject them. This doesn’t sound like the mainstream gospel message of today.

Assimilation and the Soul

The people of Laodicean see themselves as so rich that they have need of nothing. Their materialistic lifestyle makes them prideful and deceived to their real spiritual condition. Yeshua uses the very things Laodicea values as a city to rebuke this community that has assimilated into that culture: gold, clothing, and eye salve.

Yeshua sees this community as it really is. He doesn’t look at their outward appearance, but at their inner soul. His is disappointed in their way of thinking and sees them as naked, poor, and blind. But, because of his compassion, he offers them spiritual direction.

Sardis had soiled clothes; Laodicea has no clothes. They deceptively believe they are clothed in the righteous of Messiah, however, their manmade riches do not cover their nakedness. The could be likened to the wedding guest at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb who didn’t have wedding clothes. Though this guest had been invited, he didn’t properly prepare. He had not been to the rehearsal dinner so he didn’t know what was expected.

““Now when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who wasn’t dressed for a wedding; so he asked him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 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,  for many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14).

Even though they have much gold, Yeshua tells them they need to purchase gold refined in the fire. They exchanged a ‘golden life’ for their an eternal reward of being with him. They have become arrogant and need the hotness of the refining fire to remove the dross so they can become pure and holy.

For their spiritual blindness, Yeshua tells them they need eye salve. They need to become aware of their detestable practices. They have left the pure milk of the Word and violated Torah. They have mixed the holy worship of Elohim with the false god worship. The salve he offers so they can regain their spiritual eyes is dust and water.

“He answered, “The man called Yeshua made mud, put it on my eyes, and told me, ‘Go to Shiloach and wash!’ So I went; and as soon as I had washed, I could see” (John 9:11).

Exert Yourselves!

“How happy [blessed is] the man whom you correct, Yah, whom you teach from your Torah …” (Psalm 94:12).

The people of Laodicea are so complacent Yeshua tells them to “exert yourselves and turn from your sins!” ‘Exert’ means ‘to put forth some physical or mental action.’  The false doctrine of “Yeshua did everything and so I don’t have to do anything” has utterly deceived them. These people do not need a message of ‘rest in Yeshua,’ they need a ‘Put-forth-some-effort-because-you-need-to-repent’ message. Because Yeshua loves this community, he rebukes them in a harsh way. He disciplines them so they will ‘repent’ and not be lost for all eternity.

“For Adonai disciplines those he loves and whips everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6).

“Yah disciplined me severely, but did not hand me over to death” (Psalm 118:18) .

In Exodus, the Ten Commandments were numbered and lettered in Hebrew not Roman. In the list, dalet or ‘door’ represented the fourth commandment. The ‘door’ commandment is “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”

Yeshua pleads with the Laodicean people.  On the seventh-day Yeshua stands at the dalet knocking.  He wants these people to repent and return to the true witness of their relationship with his Father. He wants someone to open the ‘door’ so he can come in and eat with them.  If they open the ‘door,’ he will fellowship with them and together they will celebrate the ‘appointed time’ of the Lord, the Sabbath. This is the same Sabbath day the Council of Laodicea decided was Judaizing and encouraged people to discard it!

The reward for the overcomer is to sit with Yeshua on his throne.  The action of sitting after a victory is a symbol of rest and cessation of work.  This is the original meaning of Sabbath – to cease work and rest.  When the Laodiceans open the ‘door’ and embrace the Sabbath as it was created, they will no longer be poor, naked or blind to the prophetic vision and hope they have lost. They will rule and reign with Yeshua, the Lord of the Sabbath, in the his eternal Kingdom.

Those [in Laodicea who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit, Ruach haKodesh [the holy wind] is saying to the Messianic community ….”

Yeshua uses these same words in the gospels when he speaks in parables, however, he doesn’t include the words, “what the Spirit says to the communities.’  One reason that he taught in parables was so the people could “look but not see, and listen but not understand” the message of the Kingdom (Luke 8:10).  Because his disciples were given deeper understanding to the coming Kingdom, he would explain their ‘secret’ meaning to them away from the crowds.

Another reason may be that the parables all occurred before the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot when the ‘holy wind’ was poured out and the new covenant was instituted (Acts 2:2).  With the new covenant, men and women who believed the message of Yeshua are given new hearts of flesh and a renewed spirit – neshama.  The Ruach haKodesh within would compel them obey his Torah (Ezekiel 36:24-27). His Ruach would give them “ears to hear what the Spirit was saying” so they could His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ the message, but to ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be ‘heard’ through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd.  His sheep were to ‘listen’ to the message and ‘obey’ what he instructed in order to be an overcomer – Isra’el – and receive an eternal reward.  

For he is our God, and we are the people in his pasture, the sheep in his care. If only today you would listen to his voice … “(Psalm 95:7-8).

“My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands” (John 10:27-28). 

“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says, ‘You will keep on hearing but never understand, and keep on seeing but never perceive, because the heart of this people has become dull — with their ears they barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, so as not to see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and do t’shuvah [repent and turn from sin], so that I could heal them.’

But you [Laodicea], how blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear!” (Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:14-16). 

Revelation 4 – Heavenly Throne

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Parashah 16: B’shallach (After he had let go)

Parashah 16: Exodus 13:17-17:16

“After Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not guide them to the highway that goes through the land of the P’lishtim, because it was close by …” (Exodus 13:17).

Pharaoh let the Israelites leave Egypt, but their journey had only just begun.  Though they were fully armed from plundering the Egyptians, Elohim didn’t want them to become fearful and return to Egypt if the Philistines attacked. He led them on a route by the Yam Suf or the Red Sea.  The Israelites traveled from Sukkoth to Etam at the edge of the desert.  Sukkoth is the same place that Jacob stayed after he met with Esau and put up ‘temporary shelters’ for himself, his family and their livestock.   And, as Joseph requested before he died, Moshe had his bones that were to be taken to the Promised Land.    

The Cloud and Fire

“He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. They asked, and he brought them quail; he fed them well with the bread of heaven.  He opened the Rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a river in the desert” (Psalm 105:39-41).

Elohim went ahead of His people in a cloud during the day and at night in a column of fire, enabling them to travel both day and night.  The cloud shaded them from the desert sun and the fire kept them warm when the desert temperatures dropped. Neither the cloud nor the fire moved from in front of the people.

They set up camp in front of Pi Hahiroth between Migdol and the Red Sea, in front of Ba’al  Tz’fonElohim had them set up camp in this precarious place because it would make them look as if they had lost their way and were wandering aimlessly.

Pi Hahiroth means ‘mouth of water’ and faced Mount Tiran.  It is located at the point of the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea.   Ba’al Tz’fon means ‘lord of the north’ and was located on Mount Tiran, north of Pi Hahiroth.    Migdol means ‘watchtower’ and was centered between Pi Hahiroth and Ba’al Tz’fon close to the Red Sea. 

Pharaoh came out of shock from the death of his son and remembers his slaves were set free and his cities are no longer being built.  He hears that the Israelites are lost in the desert and Elohim hardens his heart for the last time so that He would win glory to Himself at the expense of Pharaoh and his entire army.  He wanted the Egyptians to finally realize that He is Yahweh Elohim.

Pharaoh prepared his 600 chariots along with their commanders.  Elohim made Pharaoh so hard-hearted that he pursued the people of Isra’el with ‘a high hand.’

Some translations use ‘confidently,’ ‘proudly’ or ‘deliberately with assurance’ for “a high hand.” The Hebrew words b’yad ramah suggest rebellion against authority.   B’yad ramah is used in 1 Kings 11:26 to describe how Jeroboam rebelled against his father, King Solomon. 

The Egyptians chased after the Israelites with their horses and chariots, their cavalry and army and approached them as they camped by the sea. The Israelites saw the approaching Egyptian armies and forget Yahweh’s miracles and cry out to Moshe.

“Was it because there weren’t enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we’ll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians’ slaves than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:11-12)

Moshe responded: “Stop being fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how Adonai is going to save you.  He will do it today–today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again!  Adonai will do battle for you.  Just calm yourselves down!” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Moshe’s faith had grown exponentially. The Spirit of Elohim flowed through him making him an earthen vessel with omnipotent power.  He was sure of what he hoped for and certain of what he didn’t see because he had witnessed the power of Yahweh many times before (Hebrews 11:1).

Yahweh told Moshe to lift up his staff, reach his hand out over the sea and divide it.   When Moshe raised his staff to divide the waters of the Red Sea, the angel who had been in front of the camp moved to the back. The cloud did the same until it stood between the Egyptian army and the children of Isra’el.   One could not come near the other all night long.

A strong easterly wind began to blow and the Red Sea separated, leaving not mud, but dry land.   Millions of Israelites, men women and children, walked across the sea on dry ground with walls of water on their right and left.  Their journey lasted throughout the night.   The Egyptians continued to pursue them, even following them into the sea. 

Just before sunrise, Yahweh looked out at the Egyptian army “through the column of fire and the cloud” and they panicked.  He caused the wheels of their chariots to break off and they could barely move.

Moshe reached out his staff a second time over the sea and the water rushed back on the Egyptians and the entire military force drowned in the sea.  When the children of Isra’el saw what Yahweh had done against the Egyptians, they feared Himand put their trust in His servant, Moshe. 

They sang a song to Yahweh and the prophetess Miryam, the sister of Aaron and Moshe, took a tambourine in her hand and all the women danced and sang, “I will sing to Adonai, for he is highly exalted: The horse and its rider he threw in the sea” (Exodus 15:1, 20).

The Hebrew shir is the word for ‘sing.’  It is in the future tense yashir, and according to some interpretations of the verb tense, Isra’el not only sang for their immediate deliverance, but prophesied about the Messianic era.  Because there is a nuance of ‘repetition,’ there is a midrash regarding how Moshe sang a line and the Israelites repeated it or responded with “I will sing to Adonai.”

“Our ancestors in Egypt failed to grasp the meaning of your wonders. They didn’t keep in mind your great deeds of grace but rebelled at the sea, at the Sea of Suf. Yet he saved them for his own name’s sake, to make known his mighty power. He rebuked the Sea of Suf, and it dried up; he led them through its depths as through a desert. He saved them from hostile hands, redeemed them from the power of the foe. The water closed over their adversaries; not one of them was left. Then they believed his words, and they sang his praise.” (Psalm 106:7-11)

Shirat HaYam–The Song of the Sea

Highlighting the main idea in each section in the ‘Song of the Sea’ reveals ‘I AM’ to His chosen people and mankind as Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, Yeshua (salvation), yad yamin (the right hand), ruach (wind), gibbor (warrior), tsur (rock) and the mishkan (dwelling place).

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh – Yahweh

“Sing to Yahweh, for he is highly exalted! The horse and its rider he threw in the sea” (Exodus 15:1)

This is the first time the children Isra’el corporately acknowledge Yahweh as their Elohim.

Yeshua – Salvation

“Yah is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (verse 2).

In this verse Yah, a shortened form of Yahweh, has become their yeshua.  For the Israelites, Yahweh and His salvation (yeshua) are echad or ‘one.’

Gibbor – Warrior

“Yahweh is a warrior; Yahweh is his name” (Exodus 15:3).

Yahweh fought the enemy for His people.  After their deliverance from the Egyptians,  they declare to the nations around them who has protected and defended them.

Though Yeshua is considered the compassionate, merciful Savior,  he is also a warrior.  He is not just a warrior, he is Commander in Chief of the armies of Elohim (Joshua 5:14-15).  He judges, makes war and strikes down nations – beginning with Egypt (Revelation 19:11-16).

Yad Yamin – Right Hand

“Your right hand, Yahweh, is sublimely powerful; your right hand, Yahweh, shatters the foe” (verse 6-7).

Elohim is Spirit.  He does not have literal arms and legs.  This unique part of Elohim shows He is omnipotent or all powerful.  Whenever Yahweh shows His divine power and intervenes in the matters of mankind, He uses His right hand.  WhenHe reaches out His right hand and holy arm to deliver His people, it is a revelation of Yeshua.

“Sing a new song to Adonai, because he has done wonders. His right hand, his holy arm have won him victory” (Psalm 98:1).

“Adonai has bared his holy arm in the sight of every nation, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation [yeshua] of our God” (Isaiah 52:10).

Ruach – Wind

“With a blast from your nostrils the waters piled up–the waters stood up like a wall…. You blew with your wind and the sea covered them, they sank like lead in the mighty waters” (verses 8, 10).

The wind piled up the waters for the Israelites and then relented covering the Egyptians.  The Hebrew word for ‘blast’ and ‘wind’ is ruach.

The Ruach Elohim is Yahweh’s very breath, the part of His life-giving essence.  The Israelites acknowledge that His Ruach blew from His nostrils and piled up the waters like a wall.  He blew again His breath from His nostrils and the waters covered their enemies.

Tzur – Rock

“The depths of the sea became firm ground” (verse 8). 

Verse 8 in the Orthodox Jewish Bible says, “And the tehomot were congealed in the lev yam (heart of the sea).”  Tehemot means “springs which oozed up from the deep.”  Just dividing the waters didn’t make the sea bottom become firm, dry ground or charabah. There were oozing springs that left mucky mud.  The word for ‘firm ground’ in most translations is ‘congealed’ meaning ‘to change from a soft or fluid state into a rigid or solid state.’ Elohim congealed the oozing springs from the deep into a solid state like rock.

El Shaddai is also called the Rock of Isra’el (Genesis 49:24). Yahweh is a Rock of refuge and the horn or stronghold of salvation (Psalm 18:2).   Yahweh isthe Rock of our salvation (Psalm 91:1). There is a cornerstone, a firm foundation stone, that is laid in Tzion prophesying Yeshua (Isaiah 28:16 ). On the Rock of Yeshua, the children of Isra’el walked on the floor of the Red Sea from one side to the other.

When the Ruach Elohim blew a second time, ‘the springs of the deep’ returned to their original state and the Egyptians armies got stuck in the mud.  The sea swallowed them along with their horses and chariots.  Because Pharaoh and the Egyptians did not heed the word of Elohim, the rock became sinking sand.

“So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on bedrock. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the winds blew and beat against that house, but it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the wind blew and beat against that house, and it collapsed — and its collapse was horrendous!” (Matthew 7:24-27)

The Dwelling Place

“In your love, you led the people you redeemed; in your strength, you guided them to your holy abode…. You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain which is your heritage, the place, Yahweh, that you made your abode, the sanctuary, Yahweh, which your hands established” (verses 13, 17).

Yahweh is leading his people to the foot of the mountain where He first called Moshe.  At this mountain, He will give them Torah, His instructions, and create the nation of Isra’el.  The Torah will include instructions for making His ‘dwelling place’ or Tabernacle where Yahweh will live the middle of Isra’el’s camp while they travel around the wilderness.  After they enter the Promised Land, Yahweh’s Temple will be established on Mount Tzion in Jerusalem (Psalm 48:12); the Millennial Temple of Messiah will also be on the same mountain as Yeshua is the ‘dwelling place’ of the Ruach Elohim (Isaiah 2:1-3).

“Yeshua answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”  The Judeans said, ‘It took 46 years to build this Temple, and you’re going to raise it in three days?  But the “temple” he had spoken of was his body’” (John 2:19-21).

The Nations

“The nations have heard and they tremble; anguish takes hold of those living in Philistia, then the chiefs of Edom are dismayed, trepidation seizes the heads of Moab,  all those living in Canaan are melted away. Terror and dread fall on them; by the might of your arm they are still as stone until your people pass over, Adonai, till the people you purchased pass over” (Exodus 15:14-16).

The terror of judgment that Egypt experienced firsthand caused the nations around them to fear and tremble.  They heard about the Egyptian armies being killed in the Red Sea and they stood ‘still as stone’ until the Israelites passed by their lands.  No nation wanted to go to war with the people who the ‘I AM’ defends.

Rafa-El – The Healer

Three days after the deliverance from the Red Sea, the Israelites arrive in the Desert of Shur.  It is believed this desert is part of the Arabian desert on the northeastern border of Egypt.  This is the same wilderness area the angel of Elohim found Hagar when she ran away from Sarah.

Two events occur that involve water, a necessity in a desert. In between the two events, Elohim tells the Israelites to pay attention to His commands and observe His laws.

Bitter Water

“They couldn’t drink the water because it was bitter…. Moshe cried to Adonai, and Adonai showed him a certain piece of wood, which, when he threw it into the water, made the water taste good, sweet, drinkable” (Exodus 15:25).

The word for ‘bitter’ in Hebrew is marah. From marah comes the name Miryam (Mary).   The Hebrew word for ‘wood’ is etz and means ‘tree.’   Yahweh shows Moshe a piece of wood or a part of a tree with no specific name.  There are several interpretations for the meaning of the ‘tree.’ Some suggest it is symbolic of the cross on which Yeshua died.  Others suggest it is mankind, “For man is the tree of the field”(Deuteronomy 20:19).   Adam and Eve were given a choice between two trees, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life.   They had to choose between obedience to Elohim’s command or rebellion; they had a choice between life or death.  In Judaism, the etz represents the Tree of Life or Torah (Genesis 2:9 and Revelation 22:19). 

Elohim tells His people they must do what is right and pay attention to His commands.  At the bitter waters,  Yahweh reveals an important aspect of His character that is conditional.  If the children of Isra’el obey Him, then He will be their Rafa-el, Healer.  The waters at marah needs healing and only Hecan do it.

Torah directs us to Elohim, gives us wisdom and reveals salvation.  More importantly, the Torah holds the living water for our spiritual thirst.  Though the cross is a nice symbol for the tree, it removes the significance of Rafa-el giving healed water to His people at marah quenching a spiritual thirst.   The etz of obeying His commandments transforms the undrinkable bitter water into sweet living water. 

“If you will listen intently to the voice of Adonai your God, do what He considers right, pay attention to his commands and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, because I am Adonai your Healer” (Exodus 15:26).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Marah (Bitter) – מרה – mem, resh, hey

water is the head revealed

Etz (Tree) – עץ – ayin, tazdik

understand righteousness

Mathoq (Sweet) – מתוק – mem, tav, vav, koof

chaos, the sign of being bound to what is behind

Spring Water

“They came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and camped there by the water” (Exodus 15:27).

After they leave marah, they camp at Elim which means ‘ram’ or ‘strong.’  Elim is an oasis in the region south of the Suez Canal in the Egyptian delta.  The Hebrew word for ‘springs’ is ayin, the same word ‘eye’ meaning ‘to see or understand.’ Ayin is the 16th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents the number 70.

Jacob left Canaan and went down into Egypt with his twelve sons and their families.  This small nation consisted of 70 people.  Over 400 years later, more than two million Israelites camp in an oasis in the desert, an oasis that remains to this day.  Each tribe receives water from their own spring and puts up their tents in the shade of the 70 trees.  This passage is evidence of El Shaddai’s promise to Abraham for many descendants who would be preserved after being enslaved in a foreign nation.  At the springs of Elim, Isra’el is refreshed, strengthened and encouraged after the test at the waters of marah.

The Hebrew word for ‘palm’ is tamar.  Palm trees symbolize those with great faith, who planted by water, bring refreshment to weary souls (Psalm 92:12-13).  Tamar, who had sons with Judah, was considered righteous because of her behavior.   Her womb flourished with twins, one of whom began the ‘scarlet’ blood lineage of Yeshua.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Elim (Ram, Strong) – אילם – alef, yod, lamed, mem

the first, finished work of the shepherd’s water

Spring (Eye) or Ayin – עין – ayin, yod, noon

see the finished work of life

Palm or Tamar – תמרtav, mem, resh

the sign of water from the head

Yahweh Yireh – The Provider

“I have heard the grumblings of the people of Isra’el.  Say to them: ‘At dusk you will be eating meat, and in the morning you will have your fill of bread.  Then you will realize that I am Adonai your God’” (Exodus 16:4-5).

One month after leaving Egypt and being refreshed under the trees at Elim,  the Israelites whine or kevetch again. They miss their pots boiling with meat and wish Elohim had killed them while they were still slaves. They grumble against Moshe and Aaron and accuse them of starving the people.

“Here, I will cause bread to rain down from heaven to you.  The people are to go out and gather a day’s ration every day.  But this I will test whether they will observe my Torah or not.  On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, it will turn out to be twice as much as they gather on the other days” (Exodus 16:4-5).

Yahweh appears in glory from the cloud.  He responds to their grumbling with another test because He desires them to trust Him as Provider.   He promises to rain bread down from heaven on them each day, but on the sixth day He will miraculously transform one day’s rations into two.  He also promises them meat.

In the evening, quail appear and cover the camp while in the morning there is a layer of dew around the camp.  When the dew evaporated, there was a fine flaky substance on the ground.  They called it man hu or ‘what is it?’

“Yeshua answered … ‘I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world’” (John 6:48-51).

The Shabbat – The Sabbath Day

Moshe told them man hu is the bread that ‘I AM’ has provided as food. The people called the food manna.  It appeared as fine as frost on the ground, white like coriander seed and tasted like honey cakes.  Each man was to gather according to his appetite, two quarts per person for everyone in his tent.  The children of Isra’el followed Moshe’s instructions and no one had too much or too little. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much or four quarts per person.  According to Yahweh’s instructions, two quarts of manna was collected and put in a jar to be kept for future generations to see the bread that He fed them in the wilderness.  The Israelites ate manna until they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land forty years later.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Manna (What is it?) or Man hu – מן הו– mem, noon, hey, vav

water of life, behold the binding

“This is what Adonai has said, ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai.  Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning…. Because tomorrow is the Shabbat for Adonai, you won’t find any in the field.  Gather it six days, but the seventh day is Shabbat–on that day there won’t be any” (Exodus 16:21-26).

Up until this time, the Israelites did not keep the Sabbath day.  As slaves they labored every day in Egypt with no time for rest. After their hasty exodus from Egypt and their travels through the Red Sea, they had no time or place to rest.  Elohim now provides them with more than just food, He gives them rest.

Still, there were those who did not obey His commands.  Some kept the daily manna until the next morning and it turned to worms.  Others went out on the Sabbath to gather manna and there was none. 

“How long will you refuse to observe my rulings and teachings?  Look, Adonai has given you the Shabbat.  This is why He is providing bread for two days on the sixth day.  Each of you, stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.  So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 16:28-30).

According to Hebrews 4, the Sabbath day still remains.  Yet, there are those like the Israelites who refuse to obey Elohim’s instruction.  They don’t believe their manna will turn to worms (Isaiah 66:24). They work and gather and gather and work and never enter His rest.

The Rock

“He split a rock, and water gushed out, flowing as a river over the dry ground, for he remembered his promise to his servant Abraham” (Psalm 105:41).

The Israelites leave the Desert of Sin and travel only a short distance until they quarrel again because there is no water.  They demand that Moshe give them water and accuse him of trying to kill their children and livestock.  This place was named Massah and Merivah, the place of testing and quarreling.

“Go on ahead of the people … take your staff in your hand, the one you used to strike the river; and go.  I will stand in front of you there on the rock in Horev.  You are to strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so the people can drink” (Exodus 17:5-7).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Massah (Testing) – מסה – mem, samech, hey

water props to reveal

Merivah (Quareling) – מריבה – mem, resh, yod, bet, hey

water heads finished work of the house revealed

Horev (Mountain) – חרב – chet, resh, bet

inner room of the head of the house

Tzur (Rock) – צור – tzadik, vav, resh

harvest bound to the highest person

Mount Horev is the ‘inner room’ where Moshe met Elohim in the burning bush and received His memorial name, yod-hey-vav-hey. It is at the ‘rock’ at Mount Horevwhere ‘I AM’ pours out His living water.

Yahweh tells Moshe to go to a specific ‘rock’ that he will know because Hewill “stand in front of you on the rock.”  Moshe is to strike the ‘rock’ with his staff that was used to judge Egypt.  When he followed Yahweh’s instruction, the ‘rock’ split open and water gushed out of it – fresh water for the Israelites to drink.

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, also they all ate the same food from the Spirit, and they all drank the same drink from the Spirit — for they drank from a Spirit-sent Rock which followed them, and that Rock was the Messiah” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

Sha’ul gives three significant facts about the ‘rock.’  First, it followed the Israelites.  According to Jewish tradition, the ‘rock’ was a literal rock, like a well and full of holes like a sieve from which the water trickled and then shot up to the sky.  The ‘rock’ was the size of a large round vessel, surging and gurgling upward, as from the mouth of this little flask, rising with them up onto the mountains and down with them into the valleys. Wherever the Israelites would camp, it made camp with them on a high place, opposite the entry of the Tent of Meeting.  It is believed that when Isra’el sang “Spring up, oh well! Sing to the well,” they were referring to the ‘rock’” (Numbers 21:17).

The early church fathers rejected the idea of a literal rock because it comes from Jewish tradition. However, several times in Torah, Moshe personifies the ‘rock’.  From his perspective, the ‘rock’ was literal and it followed the Israelites.

The Rock! His work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A trustworthy God who does no wrong, He is righteous and straight” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

“After all, how can one chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to rout, unless their Rock sells them to their enemies, unless Adonai hands them over?” (Deuteronomy 32:30)

The ‘rock’ speaks to King David and makes a covenant with him.  “The God of Isra’el spoke; the Rock of Isra’el said to me …” (2 Samuel 23:3).   Isaiah speaks of the ‘rock’ being eternal “Trust in Adonai forever, because in Yah Adonai, is a Rock of Ages” (Isaiah 26:4).   When Moshe asks to meet with Yahweh face to face, he is told to ‘stand in the crevice of the ‘rock’ until the glory of Elohim passed by (Exodus 33:20-22).

Second, the ‘rock’ gave the Israelites spiritual drink.  The water from the ‘rock’ was not bitter water turned sweet or even a spring like those at Elim.  This water was living water, brought forth by an act of Elohim that would quench the spiritual thirst of the Israelites. Moshe struck the ‘rock’ in the sight of the leaders of Isra’el, proving again that it was a literal rock.   The ‘rock’ can be spiritualized, but when Moshe hits the ‘rock’, why is it understood the ‘rock’ is Messiah and he is only to be beaten once?  Sha’ul uses Torah to state this case which is not merely a tradition.

Third, the ‘rock’ was Messiah.  The ‘rock’ is Yeshua.  This is the reason when Moshe hits the ‘rock’ the second time, it is understood to be Yeshua.   Yeshua is the ‘rock’ which the builders rejected, but became the cornerstone of a spiritual Temple (1 Peter 2:7, Ephesians 2:19-22).   He is a tested stone, a ‘rock’ over which Isra’el will stumble (Isaiah 8:14). 

“The very Rock that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone! This has come from Adonai, and in our eyes it is amazing” (Psalm 118:2-3).

El Nissi

At Refid’im (Merivah), the Amalekites attack Isra’el.  Moshe tells Joshua to choose men to go into battle.   In the morning when the fighting begins, Moshe along with Aaron and Hur climb to the top of the hill with the staff of Elohim.

Moshe is 80 years old and leads the nation of Isra’el.  He cannot actively participate in battles and possibly be killed.  However, as a leader, he is responsible to keep the fighting men focused on their job – defeat the Amalekites.   He shows his leadership by using the staff that divided the Red Sea reminding the men of Yahweh’s victory over the Egyptians and to trust that He will also win this battle for them. 

Holding up his arms Moshe is symbolically offering a priestly blessing over the Israelite armies. When his hands are raised with the staff, Isra’el prevails against their enemy. When he gets tired and his arms slowly drop, the Israelite army begins to lose the battle.  He sees that when his hands are up, the Israelites win so when he gets tired, Aaron and Hur step in, find a rock for him to sit on and hold up his hands so that his arms remain raised until sunset.  When the armies of Isra’el look up to the hill, they see Aaron and Hur remaining faithful to Moshe who trusts Yahweh to defeat the Amalekites.

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Write this in a book to be remembered, and tell it to Y’hoshua: I will completely blot out any memory of the Amalekites from under heaven’” (Exodus 17:14).

Moshe builds an altar and calls it Yahweh Nissi, (Elohim is my Banner).  This is another attribute of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh who has revealed Himself as the Rafa (Healer), Yireh (Provider) and the Nissi (Banner) of Isra’el.

Yeshua, Sabbath and Laodicea

Revelation 3:14-22

In the message to the congregation of Laodicea, Yeshua reveals himself as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, Ruler of God’s creation.” 

The Laodicean congregation was lukewarm, neither hot or cold, and Yeshua wanted to vomit them out of his mouth.  To be hot means to be close to the fire of Elohim’s holiness.  To be hot means you are always seeking His presence, His ways, His life, His truth.   To be cold means to be far away from Him and His presence.   Cold is a complete indifference to His commands, precepts, and statutes.  To be cold is to be a pagan from the nations, a foreigner, separate from Elohim, His people, His teachings, “without God, without hope in this world” (Ephesians 2:12).

Mixing the hot and cold creates lukewarm. Lukewarm is a mixture of the holy hotness of Yahweh and the profane coldness of the world exemplified with the golden calf.   Though the Israelites had the right intentions, their  worship was detestable to Elohim because it mixed the holy and the pagan.  Aaron rationalized their abominations, but it was still not acceptable to Elohim (Exodus 32).

The Laodicean congregation believed they were rich and had need of nothing, yet Yeshua saw them as poor, pitiful, blind and naked.   He tells them to buy gold refined by fire because they needed a hot refining fire to remove the ugly dross and scum in their lives.

The Laodiceans believed they had the righteousness of Messiah, but will be ashamed when they are seen as naked. Manmade fig leaves do not cover their naked bodies any more than they covered Adam and Eve.   They also need eye salve because they have been blinded to their mixture of holy and pagan practices.  They perceive themselves as holy, but have fallen into the great deception where the pure milk of the Word has been mixed with false god worship. They believe they are hot while they commit spiritual adultery and are sickening lukewarm (2 Corinthians 11:2-4).

The Laodiceans are so complacent, Yeshua tells them to “exert yourselves and turn from your sins!” ‘Exert’ means to put forth some serious physical action. The Laodiceans do not hear a message of ‘rest in me,’ because they need a ‘put forth some effort because you need to repent message.’   Yeshua loves this congregation which is why he is rebuking them so harshly.  He wants to heat them up and refine them so they aren’t vomit in his mouth.

Laodicea was situated on the Lycus River in the Roman province of Asia and was the meeting place for the Council of Laodicea about 360 CE.  It was at this council when many anti-semitic doctrines were established for the church that are still part of Christian theology today.

The Council of Laodicea

“Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day.”

This canon by the council directly contradicts the Fourth Commandment given in Exodus 20:8-10.  Judaizing has nothing to do with obeying Elohim’s commandments.  Judaizing is the ideology that required a gentile believer in Messiah to convert to Judaism through ritual circumcision in order to keep the Sabbath.  Keeping the Sabbath has nothing to do with Judaism, but is an expression of faith in Yeshua through obedience to the commandments of Elohim.  This deliberate twisting of the meaning of Judaizing has kept the church from obeying a Biblical commandment.  It has also kept the church from provoking the Jewish people to jealousy so they will put their faith in own Messiah.

“Rather [they should] honour the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, rest then as Christians.”

It becomes clear that those in Laodicea knew the ‘Lord’s Day’ was not the Sabbath.  They obviously did not heed the warning given by Yeshua because their edicts have created a lukewarm church where there is a mixing of the holy ‘Sabbath’ and the profane ‘Sunday’.

This is a serious edict because the Sabbath is the memorial to creation and a vision of eternity.  According to Yeshua’s message to Laodicea, he is ruler over creation and as the ‘Amen,’ he has the final ‘so be it’ regarding the Sabbath.  The decisions made at Laodicea nullified the command of Elohim and are not ‘faithful and true.’  Yeshua is the ‘faithful and true witness’ and without his ‘witness,’  the ‘Lord’s Day’ belief is not Biblical truth nor faithful to Elohim’s command.

Yeshua stands at the door of the Laodicean congregation and knocks.  He wants someone to open the door so he can come in and eat with them.  If they open the door, there will be table fellowship and a Feast of Yahweh!   ‘Door’ in Hebrew is  dalet and represents the Fourth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”  Yeshua desires to fellowship with the faithful who are willing to open the dalet of the ‘true’ Sabbath.

The reward for the overcomer in Laodicea is to sit with Yeshua on his throne.  The action of sitting after a victory is an allusion to rest and cessation of work.  This is the meaning of Sabbath – ceasing work and resting. 

Haftarah (Readings of the Prophets)

Judges 5:1-31

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

John 6:25-35

John 4:13-14

John 7:37-38

Revelation 15:1-4

Midrash B’Shallach:  King Saul’s Disobedience

King Saul disobeyed Elohim’s command to completely destroy the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15, Esther 3).  Discuss the results of his disobedience to himself and the future of Isra’el.

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