Posts Tagged ‘firstfruits’

The Feasts During Wuhan

Passover

“Come, my people, enter your rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath is past” (Isaiah 26:20).

While the world reeled from the global orders surrounding the Wuhan virus, those who attached themselves to the Biblical calendar celebrated Pesach. As commanded thousands of years ago in Egypt, this year’s Pesach found families gathered behind closed doors in their homes waiting for Elohim to reveal Himself. Glasses of wine were poured and shared and unleavened bread was broken to remember deliverance and redemption. Through Yeshua and his words at his final Pesach, the renewed marriage covenant between Elohim and His people became memorialized in this ‘appointed time.’

Unleavened Bread

During the days of Matzah or Unleavened Bread that follows Passover, I watched an interesting video by Alef-Bet Ministries about the burning bush and the three signs that Elohim gave Moshe to show the Israelites that would not only prove He sent Moshe, but would also heal them from the 400 years of emotional scars they carried.

The first sign for Moshe was the staff that transformed into a snake and then return to being a staff. Even though the Egyptian magicians could perform this same ‘trick,’ this was a ‘sign’ for the Israelites that Elohim knew His people had been treated like animals. He saw that the leaders of Egypt had been programmed to believe the multiplying Hebrews were an ‘infestation’ that needed to be controlled and conquered. Pharaoh’s edicts reduced Elohim’s people to ‘snakes’ slithering on the ground which made them hated and easy targets for abuse and death. But He was able to pick them up ‘by their tails’ and restore them to their original purpose: His treasured possession.

For the second sign Moshe put his hand in his cloak and when he pulled it out, it was white with leprosy. When he returned his hand to his cloak it came out healed. As explained in the video, the white of the leprosy was symbolic of death. This death, however, was the death of of newborn babies. In Exodus 1:15-6, Pharaoh gives an order to the midwives to kill all baby boys as they are delivered on the birthing stool. This means that the midwives would perform a post-birth murder (break the child’s neck) and hand a stillborn infant son to its mother.

Two midwives did not follow the Pharaoh’s orders and allowed the baby boys to live. However, because of their refusal to kill babies, Pharaoh issued a new decree for all Egyptians in Exodus 1:22. This decree not only applied to the guards, leaders and midwives, but to the citizens of the entire nation. If you were a Hebrew woman walking down the street, any Egyptian, man or woman, could steal your baby boy from your arms and throw him in the Nile River. This effectively made stealing newborns and drowning them acceptable to an entire nation.

The third sign was to be done in Egypt. Moshe was to take some water from the Nile and pour it onto the ground where it would turn to blood. This would be another ‘sign’ to the Hebrews that Elohim saw all of the blood of their ‘nameless’ sons buried in the water of the Nile River.

While I was listening to the explanation of this last sign, I had a clear vision about the Wuhan pandemic, especially in New York where thousands of people were dying of the virus and placed in mass graves on Hart Island, not even able to have proper burials because of the number of deaths. They were nameless and faceless to even their own family members who were not allowed near them during their dying days.

The headquarters for Planned Parenthood, the world’s abortion machine, is located in Manhattan where there have been 15,789 virus deaths and 274,252 abortions in just the past two years. China has also has an infant death record on their heads. For centuries it has encouraged the infanticide of baby girls. Just as Elohim wanted His people to know that He saw the mass murder of Hebrew baby boys, He is using the China virus to judge the world’s murder of millions of babies who have no names and no faces. Adonai knows and sees everything. He is dealing with the sin of child murder on a global level as nearly every country in the world has some sort of legalized abortion. Even the few, like Egypt, that don’t allow abortion had some Wuhan cases, but very few. With a population of 98.2 million, Egypt only had 816 deaths. This is .00000830 chances of dying in Egypt.

Firstfruits

During the days of Unleavened Bread is Yom Habikkurim or Feast of Firstfruits when the resurrection of Yeshua occurred. In the midst of all of the death in this world, there is offered the hope of life, redemption and restoration. Yet, even this event, the most profound and miraculous event in world history – the resurrection of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua – was ‘hidden’ from the world due to stay-at-home orders abolishing large gatherings. Could it be that the time for repentance is running out for the world? Could it be that Adonai is hiding His face because of the massive global sin of murder? Could our Yeshua be preparing to become a Warrior?

Counting the Omer

Beginning with Firstfruits and ending with Feast of Weeks is the Counting of the Omer or the 50 days between the Resurrection of Yeshua and the pouring out of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). During these 50 days of barley harvest, there has been a lot of confusion regarding the pandemic from inflated number of deaths to wondering how this virus began whether from a lab or from eating things Elohim never intended to be food.

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Censorship of truth, whether it’s information about the danger of rushing a vaccine or nurses and doctors revealing scientific facts about the human body and health, is spreading unchecked so that people are incapable of making intelligent decisions for their own lives. This lack of truth is keeping much of the world’s population in bondage: bondage at remaining at home where they have a false sense of security by keeping themselves from sunshine and fresh air. Even though we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully’ created by Adonai, a lack of faith in anything divine is keeping humanity from working with the very immune systems that were given to us for fighting illness.

Quarantine is required in many places, or as we call it ‘set-apart time’ because Biblically speaking, quarantine is only for sick people and there are millions of people ‘quarantining’ who aren’t sick. Also according to the Bible, quarantine was set at 7 days with a review of the symptoms by the priest and then another possible 7 days. Contrary to Elohim’s commands, the quarantine of healthy people continues because of the ‘fear’ of being asymptomatic. These lies from wherever they are coming will continue to keep people from living and allowing more to die.

The Days of Woe

When I think of this time period in terms of Biblical truth, I am reminded of three verses. The first two come from the prophet Isaiah:

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute [set] darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute [set] bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

We are living in the days of ‘woe’ or ‘great sorrow and distress’ where good is called evil and evil is called good. How so?

Consider the word ‘essential.’ It is ‘essential’ to murder babies during the pandemic, but not ‘essential’ to gather in groups to worship the Creator of the Universe? It is ‘essential’ for pot and alcohol to be sold, but sunshine or Vitamin D and fresh air are not? What about ‘essential oils?’ We are being blinded by deception and lies, through the father of lies. We are seeing and hearing what is being allowed to be seen and heard by powers and principalities that were destroyed by Yeshua himself, but will be given power again at the end of days. Sweet for bitter? We are told it is ‘sweet’ to stay home and stay safe, distance yourself from those you love or wear a mask as if we’re all at a masquerade party. Or, are these ‘mandates’ bitter to our tastebuds that have been seared as if by a hot iron of twisted information.

Days of Conspiracy

“You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it” (Isaiah 8:12).

Conspiracy is defined as a ‘secret plan by a group to do something harmful.’ The prophet Isaiah warns us that we are not to get involved in conspiracy theories or fear them as the masses do. Unfortunately, when evil is called good and truth is called a lie, then what is a conspiracy theory may actually be what is really happening. In any case, we are not to fear ‘what they fear’. Fear is a ‘spirit’ that is not of God. He gives us a sound mind through studying and knowing His Word, and eternal love through faith and walking with Yeshua. It is interesting that the Complete Jewish Bible translates ‘fear’ into ‘timidity.’ Being timid means to be a coward and fainthearted. In these days, those who believe Yeshua is Sovereign King of Kings should not shrink back or fear what is coming on this world because a ‘new heaven and earth’ is a promise.

Confusion and Disorder

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Though this verse in Corinthians refers to speaking in other languages and the need for ordered gatherings, this is what is happening today in the world. Tongues through social media are wagging everywhere and they don’t stop long enough for anyone to figure out if what is actually being said is true. Within seconds another tongue is wagging saying something completely different. I remember hearing a long time ago that sound travels on forever which is why Adonai wants us to speak less and listen more. All of these tongues wagging with nothing but garbage fills the universe with a cacophony of sound creating universal confusion.

Some days I feel like I’m reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. The book is written by a demon named Screwtape to Wormwood, another demon. Ultimately they are trying to bring one man into the Satanic Kingdom (and fail). These demons write letters back and forth with lies and deceptions, lying and deceiving each other until, well, I stopped reading the book because I became entirely confused as to what was truth and what was a lie.

Wait for the Promise

Ten days before the end of counting the omer, Yeshua meets with his disciples on the Mount of Olives. At this time, he tells them to wait for the promise in the city of Jerusalem. Then, he is taken up into the heavenly realm in the clouds before their eyes. An angel appears and tells them that he will return in the same way – in the clouds.

Shavuot

“If you love me, you will keep my commands; and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforting Counselor like me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever” (John 14:15-16).

Ten days after Yeshua returns to his throne at the right hand of his Father is the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot. This Biblical holy day is upon those who know and understand the Biblical calendar and ‘appointed times’ of Yeshua. Again, we wait for the promise. This promise is the pouring out of the the Wind of God, on the Jewish nation first, then the gentiles. Could it be that this year there will be an outpouring of Elohim’s Ruach in Israel like never seen before? A pouring out on Jewish people all over the world who will turn to Messiah and be called into the ‘greater exodus’ from the nations around the world and return to the Promised Land? Here’s an awesome video from Isra’el and Isaiah 53, the forbidden chapter.

“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil” (Jeremiah 23:7-8).

On Shavuot the high priest in Jerusalem waved two leavened loaves of bread before the Altar signifying the joining of the Jew and gentile in the faith of Abraham. Could this Shavuot be the day in which the Christian nations awaken to their responsibility to become part of the Commonwealth of Israel so that Yeshua is glorified in the earth? So the chosen people may be sealed from His wrath? Could it be on this Shavuot the Ruach haKodesh will be poured out on the world in such a way that many hundreds of thousands are ‘cut to the heart’ and repent from transgressing Torah that was taught and lived out by Yeshua himself? Stop eating unclean foods? Stop nodding assent to immoral relationships? Begin celebrating the Biblical Sabbath because Yeshua said he was Lord of the Sabbath? I don’t know, but as each of these spring feasts have unfolded this year, they have prophetic relevance to the world events surrounding this pandemic. As a ‘called out’ one, I will wait and watch how the Ruach will move.

After Shavuot there is the long interval of summer before the fall ‘appointed times.’ This summer the people of the world will try to begin living again. Leaders may take baby steps waiting to see whether death tolls rise or drop, whether the numbers are true or false. Many in ‘free’ countries will begin to revolt as they cry out for a return to normal life. Fewer people will become sick due to sunshine and fresh air. Some families will once again hug and kiss. Small business owners will reopen and begin to dig themselves out of an economic pit. Masks and social distancing will remain for those who embrace the ‘new normal.’ Funerals for loved ones will have mourners and wedding celebrations will be filled with guests.

“And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-27).

“For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

“So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you” (Revelation 3:3).

Feast of Trumpets

“Oh, sinful nation, a people weighed down by iniquity, descendants of evildoers, immoral children! They have abandoned Adonai, spurned the Holy One of Isra’el, turned their backs on him! “Where should I strike you next, as you persist in rebelling? The whole head is sick, the whole heart diseased. From the sole of the foot to the head there is nothing healthy, only wounds, bruises and festering sores that haven’t been dressed or bandaged or softened up with oil” (Isaiah 1:4-6)

After the dog days of summer when the Sovereign King brings forth the second wave of Wuhan or something different to disrupt the lives of people on planet earth, the first fall ‘appointed time’ arrives in the season for corporate repentance. This year is also a Shemitah or a beginning of a Sabbath year. We have already watched the earth begin its Shemitah as the air is cleaner, the sky is bluer, the water is clearer, and the incessant shaking has slowed down. But even with the earth seemingly at rest, the prophecy given by Yeshua for the end of days birth pangs seems to be growing stronger. There are wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes all over the world, false prophets on social media and the news stations, and the spiritual distancing from Torah by many who call themselves believers has made the love of many toward Adonai Himself, grow cold – so cold they don’t even know His prophetic times through His Son (Matthew 24).

“For loving God means obeying his commands. Moreover, his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

With so many unique events falling into place during the spring Feasts of the Lord Yeshua, could it be that the ‘day of the Adonai’ is as near as this coming Feast of Trumpets? Or, will there be another yearly cycle until the priests in Jerusalem are given the final ‘okay’ to offer the sacrificial lamb on Pesach on the Temple mount?

As Yeshua warned ‘do not be deceived,’ let us not fall into listening to what the world says. Instead, as he says to each of the Messianic communities, “Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying…”  (Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:26-29), Revelation 3:5-6, Revelation 3:12-13, Revelations 3:21-22).

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

Revelation Chapter 7 – Servants of God

“After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the land, on the sea or on any tree. I saw another angel coming up from the east with a seal from the living God, and he shouted to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea, “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads!” I heard how many were sealed — 144,000 from every tribe of the people of Isra’el: From the tribe of Y’hudah, 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Re’uven, 12,000; from the tribe of Gad, 12,000; from the tribe of Asher, 12,000; from the tribe of Naftali, 12,000; from the tribe of M’nasheh, 12,000; from the tribe of Shim’on, 12,000; from the tribe of Levi, 12,000; from the tribe of Yissakhar, 12,000; from the tribe of Z’vulun, 12,000; from the tribe of Yosef, 12,000; from the tribe of Binyamin, 12,000” (Revelation 7:1-8).

After the Lamb opens the sixth seal, there is an interlude before opening the seventh seal. Angels, standing at the four corners of the earth, hold back the four winds so that no ruach (wind) blows upon the eretz (land). The Hebrew word kanaph is translated into ‘four corners’ and means ‘to the extremity’ and ‘wings.’ These messengers of Elohim stand at the ‘extremities of the earth’ or ‘as far as their wings’ and hold back the four winds.

The prophetic events described in Revelation are not always linear, but happen at the same time with more detailed descriptions. Each of the following Scriptures include the ‘four winds’, and from the events, it seems possible that these events happen concurrently.

“Adonai-Tzva’ot says: ‘I will break ‘Eilam’s bow, the mainstay of their might. I will bring against ‘Eilam the four winds from the four quarters of the sky and scatter them to all those winds” (Jeremiah 49:35-36).

The ‘four winds’ according to the prophet Jeremiah are the winds of war. The ‘four winds’ will come against Eilam and scatter its people into those winds. The ancient name, Eilam, is the modern Iran. For a moment after the opening of the sixth seal, the ‘winds of war’ and judgment are held back.

“Next he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath! Prophesy, human being! Say to the breath that Adonai Elohim says, ‘Come from the four winds, breath; and breathe on these slain, so that they can live.’ So I prophesied as ordered, and the breath came into them, and they were alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army!” (Ezekiel 37:9-10).

The ‘four winds’ according to the prophet Ezekiel breathe on the dead of Isra’el and bring them back to life. In the moment after opening of the sixth seal, the breath of life will enter millions upon millions of dry bones creating a massive army.

“I had a vision at night; I saw there before me the four winds of the sky breaking out over the great sea, and four huge animals came up out of the sea, each different from the others” (Daniel 7:2-3).

The prophet Daniel has a vision of the ‘four winds’ of the sky breaking out over the sea. In the moment following the sixth seal, four beasts will appear out of the nations. One, a lion with eagle’s wings, will stand on two legs and be given a human heart though it will not be human. Another like a bear gnawing on three ribs will be told to devour the flesh of humans. A third is one like a leopard with bird’s wings and four heads and will rule over humanity. The last beast will have iron teeth and its ten horns will crush whatever opposition remains.

“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, all the tribes of the Land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with tremendous power and glory. He will send out his angels with a great shofar; and they will gather together his chosen people from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31).

When Yeshua explained the signs before his return, he used the ‘four winds’ to reveal the ‘extremity’ of the places from where his chosen people would be gathered. In the moment following the opening of the sixth seal, along with a great shofar blast, the chosen of Yeshua will be gathered from one end of heaven to the other.

In the moment when the ‘four winds’ of judgment are held back, the dead are raised, the chosen are gathered, and the demonic forces are prepared. A stillness covers the land, the seas, and the trees.

Another angel comes up from the ‘east.’ In the Hebrew, the phrase is ‘to the east of the sun.’ The same phrase is translated in Psalm 113:3 as ‘sunrise.’

This messenger that ‘rises with the sun’ like the dawning of a new day has the seal, the signet ring, of Adonai. This messenger tells the other angels, “Wait!” They are not to harm, injure or wound the sea or the trees until the servants of Adonai are sealed. The Hebrew word for ‘servant’ is avar which means ‘bondsman.’ It comes from the word avodah which means ‘worker’ or ‘laborer.’ Those who are sealed will be the ‘laborers’ for Adonai; they will be bound to Him following the opening of the sixth seal.

The ‘Seal’ of Adonai

The ‘seal’ is shows the authenticity of Adonai Himself. His seal will ‘set apart’ those workers whom He marks. The Hebrew word for ‘seal’ is chatham and is used as ‘sign of circumcision’ to mark the covenant El Shaddai made with Avraham. In Romans 4:11, this ‘seal of righteousness’ was given to Avraham before he was circumcised in the flesh. The ‘seal’ of Adonai is a ‘covenant mark’ and cannot be revoked or changed.

Revelation chapter 14 reveals those are sealed with the ‘covenant mark:’ 144,000 or 12,000 from each Tribe of Isra’el: Y’hudah, Reuben Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. In Hebrew they are listed as B’nei Isra’el. B’nei was used for the ‘children of Noach,’ but means ‘sons.’ This phrase can be translated as ‘Sons of Isra’el.’

The 144,000 ‘Sons of Isra’el’ will be redeemed as firstfruits for Adonai and the Lamb. They are not redeemed from the nations of the world, but from the nation of Isra’el. Firstfruits alludes to the Feast of Firstfruits that will be followed by a great harvest resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20). Whether these firstfruits are those who are raised from the dust to become a great army is not stated, but they are firstfruits for service to Adonai and Yeshua.

“Isra’el is set aside for Adonai, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devour him [Isra’el) will incur guilt; evil will befall them,” says Adonai” (Jeremiah 2:3).

These ‘Sons of Isra’el’ have never lied. They have no fault, no blemish on their lives, and are considered blameless or tamim. Stating that they did not have sexual relations with women means the B’nei Isra’el are only men. In this world full of sexual immorality, finding one or two men who are sexually pure is remote, but Adonai seals 144,000 Israeli men from the 12 Tribes of Isra’el who are pure virgins.

“These are the ones who have not been defiled [by relations] with women, for they are celibate. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased and redeemed from among men [of Israel] as the first fruits [sanctified and set apart for special service] for God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouth, for they are blameless (spotless, untainted, beyond reproach)” (Revelation 14:4-5, Amplified Bible).

Some suggest the verses mean not a physical purity, but a spiritual one. They suggest that these men never defiled themselves with other religions, gods, ideologies –– including Christian –– and remained spiritual pure from idolatry.

There are some who want to include women as part of the ‘sealed’ redeemed. The phrase in Hebrew says, “they were not redeemed with women” removing the idea women altogether. These men are redeemed to follow the Lamb, to go to war with him. According to Torah, women were not included in military actions. In our modern world, women in the military have become normalized, but Yeshua must follow Torah as it is his Father’s Kingdom law. Men were the warriors with few exceptions. Though men and women both work for the Kingdom, the battles during the Tribulation are not meant for the faint of heart. The men ‘sealed’ for the seven years of Jacob’s Trouble are unique –– born and raised for ‘such a time as this.’

In the days of King David, warriors remained celibate. This is another clue that these men will be virgins. These 144,000 ‘Sons of Isra’el’ may be warriors Adonai told Ezekiel to seal. These ‘sealed’ warriors have not succumbed to the abominations of the world, and they grieve over the disgusting practices being allowed in the holy city of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 9:4).

Tribes of Isra’el

There are many gentiles who claim to be Isra’el. As believers in Yeshua, gentiles become part of the Olive Tree of Isra’el and join the Community of Isra’el, but they have not descended from one of the Tribes of Isra’el.

Some suggest the ‘covenant mark’ is the seventh-day Sabbath –– “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 20:20); however Shabbat is a ‘sign,’ not a ‘covenant mark.’

The ‘covenant mark’ for Avraham was circumcision. One of the ‘signs’ for a man to be of Israeli-Jewish descent is circumcision of the flesh. It stands to reason that the 144,000 men from the Tribes of Isra’el who are ‘sealed’ are descendants of Avraham, Yitzak, and Ya’kov and would be circumcised.

The ‘covenant mark’ will be unique in that it will be visible and set-apart these 144,000 virgin men for the army of Yeshua. As they war with the Commander in Chief through the days of tribulation, they will be transformed from virgin men of Isra’el into redeemed warriors and sing a new spontaneous song.

Chapter 7 – White Robes

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

Happy Tu B’shvat!

Today is Tu’B’shvat or the Biblical New Year for Trees!  It is like Arbor Day in the US; however, it is based on Leviticus 19 for determining the age of a tree and when you may eat its fruit. It has become customary on this day to plant a new tree as well.  

Israeli Fruit Tree

“When you enter the land and plant various kinds of fruit trees, you are to regard its fruit as forbidden — for three years it will be forbidden to you and not eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, for praising Adonai. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, so that it will produce even more for you; I am Adonai your God” (Leviticus 19:23-25).  

From a spiritual perspective, Tu B’shvat could be likened to Yeshua’s Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. The seed of the message of the Kingdom falls on different soils creating a different root system.  Some seeds are stolen, some take no root and wither up and die, others become choked out.   Those seeds that fall on rich soil, take root and grow.  As each year passes, the seed transforms into a fruit-bearing plant, being nurtured and pruned by the Father.  The firstfruits are holy to Elohim. The next fruits producing 100 or 60 or 30 times that which was sown – bring forth nourishment to the owner of the tree and to everyone around.

“Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Yeshua the Messiah — to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11).

So, while growing in grace and knowledge of the Kingdom of Yeshua, consider planting a tree in Israel. There are several places that offer this way to obey the command in Leviticus and help each of us to remember to bear fruit for the Kingdom in everything we say and do.

“So that you may live lives worthy of the Lord and entirely pleasing to him, being fruitful in every good work and multiplying in the full knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).

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

The ‘Cloud’ of Witness

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

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

The Greek word for ‘cloud’ is nephele and means a literal ‘cloud.’   According to Vines Expository Dictionary of Greek and Hebrew, the cloud is ‘a definitely-shaped cloud’.  Nephele comes from the word nephos with a symbolic meaning of ‘a dense multitude or throng.’  A nephele is a large physical cloud comprised of masses of clouds that covers the heavens.  

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

When the Hebrews left Egypt, they were guided by a nephele pillar giving the nephele a distinct spiritual implication. When they crossed the Red Sea, they were surrounded by the nephele and the water and immersed into Moshe.

The Hebrew word for ‘cloud’ is anan and means ‘cloud mass’.  Jeremiah describes the anan, “You have covered yourself with a ‘cloud’ so thick …” (Lamentations 3:44). It is used for the presence of Adonai and His ‘cloud’ sukkah over Israel –– His ‘sign of divine protection.’ The ‘cloud’  served as a barrier to hide the fullness of Adonai’s holiness and glory while giving Israel  divine protection from the Egyptians as well as the Red Sea itself.   

“Then he [Moshe] ascended Mount Sinai, as the LORD had ordered him to do. The LORD descended in the cloud, stood with him there and pronounced the name of yod-hey-vav-hey” (Exodus 34:4).

When Moshe ascended to the mountain, Adonai descended in the anan. From within the anan, He proclaimed His memorial name: Esher Ehyeh Asher (Exodus 34:4-5).  The ‘cloud’ along with His divine presence is the exact representation of the name ‘I am that I am.’

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

Nephele is used for the bright ‘cloud’ on the mountain where Yeshua was glorified in front of Peter, James and John.  Appearing with Yeshua were Elijah and Moses.  God spoke aloud to the three dicsiples from the ‘cloud’ that ‘enveloped’ them.  The Greek word for ‘enveloped’ is episkiazó and means ‘overshadow.’ According to Strong’s Concordance, this word is used in the new testament as “God’s over-shadowing presence – which always brings His plan to pass, His immutable will for physical circumstances.”

Both testaments describe the return of Yeshua to the earth. Both testaments support the witness of the ‘two men dressed in white’ who tell the disciples that Yeshua will return ‘in the cloud.’

“Look! He is coming with the clouds! Every eye will see him, including those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the Land will mourn him” (Zechariah 12:10). 

The prophet Zechariah uses the Hebrew anan for the ‘clouds’ on which Yeshua comes, the clouds of the presence of Adonai. Every eye will see him come in the thick ‘cloud’ of his glory, and all the tribes of the Land will mourn.

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

First Thessalonians uses nephele for the ‘cloud’ in which Yeshua will catch up his Bride.  In the nephele, the living and resurrected saints will be transformed from mortal into immorality.

The Firstfruits ‘Witnesses’

“Also the graves were opened, and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life;  and after Yeshua rose, they came out of the graves and went into the holy city, where many people saw them” (Matthew 27:52-53).

At the moment of Yeshua’s death when the Temple veil was torn, Matthew gives ‘witness’ to the holy people raised from the dead. These ‘firstfruits’ were called out of their graves to bear ‘witness’ to the reality of the resurrection of the dead. What happened to these resurrected people as there is no further mention of them?  They could not die again because “it is appointed for man to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). Peter, James and John had already witnessed the ‘cloud’ of Adonai’s glory around Yeshua, Elijah and Moshe on the mountain. Could it be that Elijah and Moshe appeared as the same ‘cloud’ of witnesses as the holy ones?

Great Cloud of Witnesses

“So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment — that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement — and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

The word ‘witness’ in Greek is martus (English: martyr) and is used for a ‘witness’ in history and forensics. Torah requires that to convict a person of any offense or sin, there must be two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). Sha’ul admits that when Stephen was being stoned, he stood as a ‘witness’ in full agreement with other ‘witnesses’ (Acts 22:20).

From Vines Expository Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, another meaning of martus is ‘one who does what he has seen or heard.’   Everyone born again into God’s Kingdom is a martry –– witness ––  to the Kingdom.  We either live as a martyr when we do what Yeshua did and listen to God’s Word or die as a martyr which means ‘to bear witness by their death.’

“And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying [witnessing] about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God” (Revelation 20:4).

This great ‘cloud of witnesses’ that includes Elijah, Moshe, and the holy ones challenges us to repent from sins that keep us from attaining our eternal goal: the glory of Adonai.   This great ‘cloud’ of firstfruits gives us hope in a coming resurrection. This ‘great cloud of witnesses’ promises that Yeshua will return with a ‘great cloud of witnesses.’ As ‘witnesses’ of Yeshua, we eagerly wait for that promised day when he returns and we enter the great resurrected ‘cloud of witnesses.’

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.