Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Parashah 54: V’zot (This is the blessing)

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

“This is the blessing that Moshe, the man of God, spoke over the people of Isra’el before his death” (Deuteronomy 33:1).

This final parashah of the annual Torah cycle is always read on Simchat Torah. The blessing of Moshe was not only for his generation, but for all generations to come.

“Adonai came from Sinai; from Se‘ir he dawned on his people, shone forth from Mount Pa’ran; and with him were myriads of holy ones; at his right hand was a fiery law for them”
(Deuteronomy 33:2).

The myriads of holy ones at the right hand of Adonai are the saints. These men and women have been justified by the blood of Messiah and have been made holy through the Word of Truth (John 17:17).

‘Saints’ or ‘holy ones’ are living persons, not dead, contrary to some ideologies. Sha’ul writes to the Corinthians calling them ‘saints,’ those “who have been set-apart by Yeshua the Messiah and called to be God’s holy people” (1 Corinthians 1:2).  Saints will one day judge the world and receive a glorious inheritance (1 Corinthians 6:2, Ephesians 1:18).  Saints are to love one another, and their prayers rise to Elohim like incense (Colossians 1:4, Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4).  Yeshua will be glorified through the saints (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

At Adonai’s right hand was a ‘fiery law’ which is Yeshua as the living Torah. ‘Fire’ symbolizes the divinity, the glory, and the holiness of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. His holiness was in the burning bush and his glory was the pillar of fire. Fire as His Ruach came down on the Temple at Solomon’s coronation, and on Shavuot, tongues of fire rested on the heads of Messianic Jews in Jerusalem. Sodom and Gomorrah were judged by fire, and the refiner’s fire melts away dross and leaving the purity of gold (Malachi 3:1-2).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Fiery Law or esh-dath – אש דת – alef, shin –– dalet, tav
– first strength consumes –– pathway sign

“Your word is refined to complete purity, and your servant loves it” (Psalm 119:140).

Being refined by Torah will perfect and leads us into a pure and holy walk with Elohim. Torah is the ‘double-edged sword’ that pierces our heart, transforms us, and guides us in our daily relationship with Adonai.

There is no difference between a holy one from a Tribe of Isra’el and a saint from one of the nations. Torah is an inheritance for the community of Isra’el that includes those who join the community through faith in Yeshua. Moshe’s blessing continues with the holy ones sitting at the feet of ‘I Am’ and receiving His instructions. 

“Then a king arose in Yeshurun when the leaders of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Isra’el together” (Deuteronomy 33:5).

Moshe uses the poetic term Yeshurun a second time. In the Septuagint, it is translated ‘the beloved one’ and refers to the people of Isra’el, the land of Isra’el, and the children of Jacob who became Isra’el.  There are two different possibilities for the Hebrew root of Yeshurun.  One is yashar which means ‘to be upright’. The other is from the word shir or ‘song’ alluding to the great rejoicing that will occur when the Messiah unites the Tribes of Isra’el.

Moshe Blesses the Tribes

Judah (Y’hudah)
“Hear, Adonai, the cry of Y’hudah! Bring him in to his people, let his own hands defend him; but you, help him against his enemies” (Deuteronomy 33:7).
 
Judah has always fought to stay alive from men like Haman, nations like Syria, and genocides like the Inquisitions, Crusades and Nazis. As the other tribes are scattered throughout the world, Judah remained Judah, the Jews.   Though it appears they fight their enemies with their own hands, Adonai always intervenes in order to keep His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the recent conflicts with Gaza and the Palestinians, many in the Israeli Defense Force spoke of miraculous events that could only be attributed to HaShem.

Levi
“Let your tumim and urim be with your pious one, whom you tested at Massah, with whom you struggled at M’rivah Spring. Of his father and mother he said, ‘I don’t know them’; he didn’t acknowledge his brothers or children. For he observed your word, and he kept your covenant. They will teach Ya‘akov your rulings, Isra’el your Torah. They will set incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar. Adonai, bless his possessions, accept the work he does; but crush his enemies hip and thigh; may those who hate him rise no more” (Deuteronomy 33:8-11).

The word ‘pious’ in Hebrew is chasid and means ‘godly one.’ The contemporary Orthodox movement known as ‘Hasidic’ came out of Russia in the Eighteenth Century and spread through Europe and into the western nations. Hasidic Jews are recognized by their long beards, dark suits, and payos or side curls that hang down on the sides of their faces. Their lifestyle gives the appearance that they are deeply spiritual because they adhere to strict religious practices and keep themselves separate from the rest of the world.

The Levites are called ‘pious’ because they were willing to keep Adonai’s covenant even when it meant killing members of their own family. Because of the faithfulness of the Levites, they would teach Torah to Isra’el. Though they would have enemies, their enemies would be crushed at the ‘hip and thigh’ and rise no more.

Yeshua brings division into families in Isra’el. There is a cost to following him, just as there was a cost for the Levites. Those Jews who choose to follow him will be and are rejected by their families (Matthew 10:34-38, Luke 14:25-32).

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, his mother, his wife, his children, his brothers and his sisters, yes, and his own life besides, he cannot be my talmid [disciple]” (Luke 14:26).

Benjamin (Benyamin)
“Adonai’s beloved lives securely. He protects him day after day. He lives between his shoulders”
(Deuteronomy 33:12).

‘Beloved’ is the endearment that describes the bride in Song of Songs, an allusion to the Bride of Messiah. According to this blessing, the ‘beloved’ is protected day after day and lives securely in Adonai.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Beloved or yadid – ידיד – yod, dalet, yod, dalet
– finished work pathway, finished work pathway

Loved or ahav – אהוב – alef, hey, vav, bet
– first strength revealed binding the family

Joseph (Yosef)
“May Adonai bless his land with the best from the sky, for the dew, and for what comes from the deep beneath, with the best of what the sun makes grow, with the best of what comes up each month, with the best from the mountains of old, with the best from the eternal hills, with the best from the earth and all that fills it, and the favor of him who lived in the [burning] bush. May blessing come on the head of Yosef, on the brow of the prince among his brothers. His firstborn bull — glory is his; his horns are those of a wild ox; With them he will gore the peoples, all of them, to the ends of the earth. These are the myriads of Efrayim; these are the thousands of M’nasheh” (Deuteronomy 33:13-17).

Joseph is the prince among his brothers. Ephraim and Manasseh have become a multitude of nations and are his glory. He is blessed with the best of everything from the sky, the dew, the deep; the best of what the sun makes grow, the best of the mountains, the earth and the eternal hills.  He is blessed with the favor of ‘him who lived in the burning bush’: the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. Joseph received the favor of personally knowing Yeshua through His character, His presence, and His deliverance. 

Zebulun (Z’vulun)
Issachar (Yissakhar)
“Rejoice, Z’vulun, as you go forth, and you, Yissakhar, in your tents. They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer righteous sacrifices; for they will draw from the abundance of the seas and from the hidden treasures of the sand” (Deuteronomy 33:18-19).

These two tribes rejoice together because they will summon people to the mountain of Adonai to offer righteous sacrifices. They will find their abundance in the seas and hidden treasures of the sand. Zebulun and Issachar will have a significant role in the restoration of Isra’el.  From the sea of nations, ‘grains of sand,’ the faithful descendants of Abraham will return to Mount Tziyon and worship Adonai.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. A man found it, hid it again, then in great joy went and sold everything he owned, and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).

Gad
“Blessed is he who makes Gad so large; he lies there like a lion, tearing arm and scalp. He chose the best for himself when the princely portion was assigned. When the leaders of the people came, he carried out Adonai’s justice and his rulings concerning Isra’el” (Deuteronomy 33:20-21).

Like a devouring lion, Gad will become a powerful nation. When it is time for Adonai’s justice and His rulings to be carried out concerning Isra’el, Gad will fulfill the call.

“Justice will once again become righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it” (Psalm 94:15).

Dan
“Dan is a lion cub leaping forth from Bashan” (Deuteronomy 33:22).

Og, the giant, was king in Bashan which is located in the Golan Heights. Cattle and a special breed of sheep have been raised in this area since ancient times. Wild animals often attacked the sheep which didn’t fare well for the animals.

Dan was the rear guard as the Israelites traveled through the wilderness.  As a lion cub, Dan may become the protector of the sheep. Dan’s land inheritance and the city of Dan are near the borders of Syria and Lebanon.  It is important that Dan is a lion cub, for perhaps it will become a military base protecting the sheep of the House of Isra’el.

Naftali
“You, Naftali, satisfied with favor and full of blessing from Adonai, take possession of the sea and the south” (Deuteronomy 33:23).

Standing on the cliff of Mount Arbel, I was able to see the land inheritance of Nafatli, a beautiful, lush, fertile land. This land lies north of the Sea of Galilee which is not ‘the Sea and the south.’ Perhaps as the end times unfold, it will be the descendants of Nafatli who secure the West Bank from the Arabs which lies west and south of the Sea of Galilee.

Asher
“May Asher be most blessed of sons, may he be the favorite among his brothers and bathe his feet in oil. May your bolts be of iron and bronze and your strength last as long as you live”
(Deuteronomy 33:24-25).

Asher is to be the most blessed of Jacob’s sons and will the favorite among his brothers.  His feet will be bathed in oil and he will have great strength. 

Being ‘bathed in oil’ is an allusion to being anointed as king, priest or prophet. Queen Esther ‘bathed in oils’ as she prepared to meet the King. Psalm 104:15 says, “Oil makes the face glow,” however, it is Asher’s feet not his head that will be bathed. This may symbolize prosperity and that wherever his feet are placed, there will be blessing.

“Miryam took a whole pint of pure oil of spikenard, which is very expensive, poured it on Yeshua’s feet and wiped his feet with her hair, so that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume”
(John 12:3).

Jeshurun
“Yeshurun, there is no one like God, riding through the heavens to help you, riding on the clouds in his majesty. The God of old is a dwelling-place, with everlasting arms beneath. He expelled the enemy before you and he said, ‘Destroy!’” (Deuteronomy 33:26-27)

Yeshua will return ‘riding on the clouds’ so this is prophetic to the return of the majestic King Messiah. At his return, he will destroy Isra’el’s enemies and remove them from the Land.

“Sing to God, sing praises to his name; extol him who rides on the clouds by his name, Yah; and be glad in his presence” (Psalm 68:5).

Isra’el
“So Isra’el lives in security; the fountain of Ya‘akov is alone in a land of grain and new wine, where the skies drip with dew. Happy are you, Isra’el! ‘Who is like you, a people saved by Adonai, your defender helping you and your sword of triumph? Your enemies will cringe before you, but you will trample down their high places’” (Deuteronomy 33:28-29).

‘Fountains’ symbolize spiritual nourishment that comes from the Word of Elohim.  When Yeshua reveals himself to Isra’el as Messiah, there will be security and the Land will drip with dew, grain, and new wine. ‘Dew’ symbolizes blessing and Isra’el will finally receive the fulfillment of her blessings: the covenants and the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Aaron, Phineas, and King David.

Selah
Two tribes are not blessed by Moshe: Reuben and Simeon.

Moshe Goes to His Ancestors

“I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over there” (Deuteronomy 34:4).

From the top of Mount Nebo across from the Jordan River, Moshe was shown all of the Promised Land –– from Gilead as far north as Dan, all of Nafatli and the Galilee, the lands of Ephraim and Manasseh, the land of Judah all the way to the Mediterranean and beyond, the Negev desert and the Aravah including the valley of Jericho and as far away as Tzoar.

Moshe died in the land of Moab at 120 years of age with ‘eyes undimmed and vigor undiminished.’  Though has aged, his eyesight and vigor suggest he still had many years left to live, but because of his unfaithfulness in front of the community of Isra’el, he had to die ‘young.’ He was buried in the valley of Beit-P’or, but to this day no one knows the location of his grave.  Isra’el mourned 30 days for Moshe.

“Since that time there has not arisen in Isra’el a prophet like Moshe, whom Adonai knew face to face.  What signs and wonders Adonai sent him to perform in the Land of Egypt upon Pharaoh, all his servants and all his land!  What might was in his hand!  What great terror he evoked before the eyes of all Isra’el!” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)

Moshe was the greatest prophet who ever lived. He was the most humble man on earth because that is how Adonai knew him. It was not with pride or arrogance that he led Isra’el or wrote down the words of Torah, it was in great humility.

Drawn out of the reeds of the Nile River as an infant and raised in the Egyptian court, Moshe became a simple shepherd. He was called by Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh from a bush that burned, holy ground under his feet, and was transformed into a man who performed signs and wonders –– evidence that Adonai Elohim was with him.  He stood before the Egyptian Pharaoh and judged his nation and his gods. He led a group of millions out of slavery through the Red Sea and into a covenant relationship with ‘I am.’ He talked with Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh panim el panim and received hand-written instructions from Him, twice. He stood in the crevice of the ‘Rock,’ protected by His Hand as the glory of Adonai passed by.

He struggled with the quarreling, judgments, and rebellion of the Israelites offering his own life so that they would not be destroyed from the earth. He saw manna come with the dew and water gush from the ‘Rock.’ He instructed Isra’el to build a Mishkan so Adonai could dwell among His people in a cloud of glory. He had to wander in the wilderness 40 years with a faithless generation who whined, groaned, and mixed the holy and profane until he had enough and hit the ‘Rock’ losing the privilege of entering the Promised Land.

From the mouth of Adonai, he received and wrote down the accounts of creation, the flood of Noach, the lives of the patriarchs until the day the Hebrews left Egypt. He was given Adonai’s instructions, mitzvot, regulations, and statutes. He wrote them in a book called Torah, a book that would sit at the right hand of the Ark of the Covenant until the words would be brought to life through the Torah in the flesh –– Yeshua of Nazareth.

Yeshua, a prophet like Moshe, was even greater because he is the visible image of the invisible Elohim. He taught the Torah that was spoken by his Father and written down by Moshe. Through his blood, he instituted the promised new covenant that transformed the rebellious hearts of Isra’el into hearts of flesh. As the living Torah, the instructions of his Father remain a righteous and holy standard for life in this present world and the Messianic Era. Torah will only passing away when there is a new heaven, new earth, a New Jerusalem, and Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the ‘I Am’ tabernacles with man once again and for eternity.

Y’hoshua
“Y’hoshua, the son of Nun was full of the Spirit of wisdom, for Moshe had laid his hands on him, and the people of Isra’el heeded him and did what Adonai had ordered Moshe” (Deuteronomy 34:9).

Yeshua and The Resurrection

“When Yeshua arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute-players, and the crowd in an uproar, he said, ‘Everybody out! The girl isn’t dead, she’s only sleeping!’ And they jeered at him. But after the people had been put outside, he entered and took hold of the girl’s hand, and she got up” (Matthew 9:23-25).

“When he arrived at the house, he didn’t allow anyone to go in with him except Kefa, Yochanan, Ya‘akov and the child’s father and mother All the people were wailing and mourning for her; but he said, ‘Don’t weep; she hasn’t died, she’s sleeping.’ They jeered at him, since they knew she had died. But he took her by the hand, called out, “Little girl, get up!” and her spirit returned. She stood up at once, and he directed that something be given her to eat” (Luke 8:51-55).

“Yes, indeed! I tell you that there is coming a time — in fact, it’s already here — when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will come to life” (John 4:25).

“Yeshua said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Marta said, ‘I know that he will rise again at the Resurrection on the Last Day.’ Yeshua said to her, “‘I Am the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world….’ Yeshua looked upward and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I myself know that you always hear me, but I say this because of the crowd standing around, so that they may believe that you have sent me.’ Having said this, he shouted, ‘El‘azar! Come out!’ The man who had been dead came out, his hands and feet wrapped in strips of linen and his face covered with a cloth. Yeshua said to them, “Unwrap him, and let him go!” (John 11:21-27, 41-44)

©2018 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 Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, Study Helps, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

Parashah 8: Vayishlach (He sent)

Genesis 32:3-36:43

“Ya’akov sent messengers ahead of him to ‘Esav his brother toward the land of Se’ir, the country of Edom, with these instructions …” (Genesis 32:3).

Jacob heads toward the land of Seir in Edom, the land of his brother Esau. He has become a wealthy man with wives, children, and livestock. Because he fears that his brother may attack him, he divides his family into two camps so if he is attacked, one camp may escape. He prays to Elohim: “I’m not worthy of all the love and faithfulness you have shown your servant, since I crossed the Yarden with only my staff. But now I have become two camps. Please! Rescue me from my brother ‘Esav!” (Genesis 32:10-11)

While messengers are sent to Esau, Jacob divides his camp and sends his two wives and two concubines along with his 11 sons to the other side of the Jabbok River. Jabbok in Hebrew means ‘to empty itself.’ The source of this river was in Edom (modern-day Jordan) where his brother lived. When Esau is seen in the distance, Jacob further divides the camp. The concubines and their children are sent out first, followed by Leah and her children; Rachel and Joseph are last.

Jacob divides his family to protect them as sometimes division is necessary for protection, but the division is prophetic. Joseph, along with his mother (Benjamin has not yet been born), were kept behind the other mothers and Jacob’s other ten sons. The separation of the ‘ten northern tribes’ from the ‘two southern tribes’ was part of Elohim’s plan to keep the nation of Isra’el protected from complete destruction.  At the ‘appointed time,’ all of the tribes will be brought back together as the nation of Isra’el (Ezekiel 37:17).

Jacob, the Overcomer

Once the camps are divided, Jacob is alone. During the night, a man comes to him and begins to wrestle with him. When the man sees that he will not defeat Jacob, he strikes his hip socket so that it becomes dislocated. At sunrise, the man requests that Jacob let him go, but Jacob refuses unless he receives a blessing. The man asks his name and Jacob replies, “Ya’akov.”

The man blesses him, “From now on you will no longer be called Ya’akov, but Isra’el; because you have shown your strength to God and men and have overcome” (Genesis 32:28). Jacob asks the man his name, but he refuses to reveal it.

Jacob names the place Peni-El or ‘Face of Elohim’ because he had seen Elohim ‘face to face’ and his life had been spared. The ‘man’ who wrestles with Jacob is the Elohim of Hosts or the Commander of Elohim’s army –– Yeshua. This is a personal encounter with Yeshua and the reason Jacob can be ‘face to face’ with Elohim and live.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Peni’el (Face of Elohim) – פני – אל – peh, nun, yod, alef, lamed
– source of life, finished work of first strength urging forward

Up until Jacob wrestles with Yeshua, he lives his life in the flesh doing things his own way, which always includes some form of deception.  As he fears the meeting with his brother, he separates himself from his family and flocks.  Alone and sitting by the Jabbok River, he ‘empties himself’ before Elohim.   His carnal ways of life battle with the strength of Elohim’s hand on him.  He releases his carnality, limping for the rest of his life, and takes on Elohim’s strength, the Ruach Elohim, and receives a new name –– Isra’el.

“That is why, to this day, the people of Isra’el do not eat the thigh muscle that passes along the hip socket – because the man struck Ya’akov’s hip at its socket” (Genesis 32:32).

Isra’el means ‘because you have shown your strength both to Elohim and men and have overcome.’ In the book of Revelation, Yeshua rewards those in the Messianic congregations who ‘overcome’ with the right to eat from the Tree of Life, not being hurt by the second death, hidden manna, a new name, authority, white clothing, an eternal name, a pillar in the Temple, the name of Elohim, the New Jerusalem, and to sit down on his Father’s Throne.  To ‘overcome’ the flesh and its unspiritual desires has everything to do with ‘becoming’ Isra’el.

There are now two ‘persons’ within the same physical man: Jacob, the carnal man; and Isra’el, the spiritual man. In the physical world, Jacob receives a land inheritance and physical descendants; in the spiritual world, Isra’el receives the inheritance of the coming eternal Kingdom.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Jacob (Supplanter) or Ya’akov–יעקו –yod, ayin, kof, bet
– finished work, understand what is behind the family

Isra’el (Overcomer) or Yisra’el –ישראל–yod, shin, resh, alef, lamed
– finished work consumes the highest authority, first strength urges foward

Jacob Meets Esau

“A person’s gift clears his way and gives him access to the great” (Proverbs 18:16).

Esau has also grown into a nation of people. He brings 400 men with him to meet his brother. His cry to Isaac, “Have you only one blessing, my father,” has proven unfounded. He has become a wealthy man and, as a physical descendant of Abraham, Elohim blessed him just as He blessed Ishmael. Esau seems to have forgotten what happened in the past and is not interested in Jacob’s gifts or his wealth. He is just grateful to have shalom with his brother.

Sukkoth

Jacob leaves his brother and travels on to Sukkoth where he builds himself a temporary dwelling and puts up shelters for his cattle. Sukkoth is a city located east of the Jordan River in the plain north of the Jabbok River. It is known today as Tel Deir Alla. As there is a fall ‘appointed time’ called Sukkot, the site of this temporary dwelling may be an allusion to the season when Jacob and his family camped at Sukkoth.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Sukkoth (Shelter) or Sukkot – סוכות– samech, vav, kaf, vav, tav
– support the finished work, allowing the binding of the covenant

The Account of Dinah

“Here is what Adonai says: ‘Don’t learn the way of the Goyim [pagan nations]…’” (Jeremiah 10:2).

Dinah is the only daughter of Jacob and Leah. In Genesis 34:1, it is written that she went out to visit the local girls in Shechem. She leaves the security of the camp, her father, her mothers, and her brothers. The implication given by Josephus, the Jewish historian, is that Dinah wanted to observe, and probably copy, the customs of her neighbors.

“Now as the Shechemites were keeping a [pagan] festival,  Dinah, who was the only daughter of Ya’akov, went into the city to see the finery of the women of that country.”

Shechem, a descendant of Canaan who was cursed because of his father’s sexual sin, rapes Dinah, but then falls in love with her and wants to marry her.  Shechem’s father goes to Jacob to arrange a marriage.  Jacob maintains his personal shalom while his sons, Dinah’s brothers, are outraged. Their immaturity in dealing with jealousy and anger will lead them to sell their younger brother into slavery.
There has been no direct command given by Elohim against intermarriage. Abraham and Isaac desired their sons not marry Canaanite women, suggesting there was a generational understanding about intermarriage with the cursed descendants of Canaan.

The negotiation plan presented by Shechem’s father to Jacob had five options:

  1. Begin the intermingling of the two nations. This was irrelevant because Shechem was the first place where Abraham pitched his tents. There had been intermingling between the two nations since that time.
  2. Sign a treaty of peaceful co-existence. Jacob had lived in this area for about 11 years before the event with Dinah. The problem between Shechem and Dinah is the first recorded problem between the two nations. A treaty was irrelevant to the negotiations.
  3. Jacob would be given the right of land possession in the territory. Jacob had already paid 100 pieces of silver for the land on which he lived. He already had the right of physical ownership. Spiritually, he had taken possession of the land when he built an altar to Elohim in Beit-el. This suggestion was irrelevant to the negotiation.
  4. Shechem was part of the great trading route between the Far East, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea.  Shechem’s father knew of Jacob’s wealth and perhaps wanted a share in it so he offered a trade agreement. This could be relevant to the negotiations and would be a perk when Shechem married Dinah. However, Jacob did not accept this offer.
  5. The last option was a bride price to be set by Dinah’s family. A bride price was definitely relevant to the negotiations as Dinah has been raped, which was the reason negotiations had to take place. It is not Jacob, Dinah’s father, who sets the bride price; it is her brothers. They require the circumcision of Shechem and all the men of the city as Dinah’s bride price.   Shechem is willing to do whatever they ask because he is “honorable of all the men in his father’s house” and, he loves Dinah.

Selah
Shechem’s circumcision could be the first example of the nations entering into the covenant given to Abraham because of a love for a virgin daughter of Isra’el.

Circumcision was the ‘sign’ of the covenant given to Abraham, a symbol of his faith and obedience, and his heart for El Shaddai. Circumcision set Jacob’s sons apart from the uncircumcised men around them, a separation instituted by Elohim. Shechem and the men of the city did not have a heart for Elohim; therefore, circumcision was not something they should have been asked to do. The sons of Jacob perverted the act of circumcision and used it in a deceitful way, not only to humble the men of the city, but to destroy them.

Three days after the men are circumcised and in pain, Simeon and Levi take their swords and descend on the city and slaughter all the males, including Hamor and Shechem. The remaining brothers climb over the dead bodies Simeon and Levi had killed and plunder the city as revenge for defiling their sister.

Dinah is found in Shechem’s house, which means she was betrothed, even married, and believed the bride price had been paid in full with the circumcisions. Shechem had done what was honorable and paid the required bride price. Dinah’s brothers, however, respond with vengeance and murder Shechem.

Simeon and Levi do not regret killing the men of Shechem.  They viewed it has an honor killing for their sister.  Jacob is not pleased with their behavior and says they made him a “stink in the opinion of the local inhabitants” (Genesis 34:30). Jacob makes it quite clear and it becomes written in Torah that honor killings are an abomination to Elohim and an unacceptable way for Isra’el to solve problems with their neighbors.

Judah and Reuben do not take part in the murders. Later, it is Judah who saves Joseph’s life and Reuben repents for everything done to their brother. In spite of their shortcomings (Reuben sinning with his father’s concubine and Judah’s rejection of Tamar), they have a deeper sense of value for human life, especially when it comes to family.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Dinah (Controversy) – דינה – dalet, yod, nun, hey
– pathway of finished work of life, revealed

Shechem (Shoulder) – שכם – shin, kaf, mem
– consume and open chaos

Immersion and Purification

“Get rid of the foreign gods that you have with you, purify yourselves, and put on fresh clothes.  We’re going to move on and go up to Beit-El.  There I will build an altar to God, who answered me when I was in such distress and stayed with me wherever I went” (Genesis 35:2-3). 

Elohim tells Jacob to return to Beit-el.  Before the camps set out, he instructs everyone to get rid of their foreign gods.  Apparently while living near Shechem, his family collected more foreign gods.   The household teraphim, along with all the women’s earrings, were collected and buried under a Pistachio tree.

The Pistachio tree in Hebrew is terebinth and is often translated in the Scriptures as ‘oak’  as in the ‘oaks of Mamre.’ The Hebrew word for pistachio is elah.  It was in the Valley of Elah, also known as the Valley of Pistachio trees, where David fought Goliath.

Jacob tells his family to purify themselves and put on fresh clothing. The Torah still has not been written, yet Isra’el and his family know the requirements for purification. They obviously understand there are ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ physical issues even before Elohim gives His written instructions.

Many teach there are no longer ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’ regulations because the Torah was abolished at the cross. They claim Yeshua did everything for us; therefore, we have no need to purify ourselves. This is not a Biblically sound argument when both John and James support purifying oneself even after the resurrection of Yeshua.

“And everyone who has this hope in him continues purifying himself, since God is pure” (1 John 3:3).

“Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Clean your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded people!” (James 4:8)

Purification or cleansing refers to ritual washing long before Torah. Ritual washing was more than just taking a bath; it was symbolic of repentance and removing the impurities that pollute the soul through immersion in water. A ritual immersion takes place in a mikvah. A mikvah is a pool of water that must be connected in some way to natural or spring water. Putting on clean clothes is part of the purification required to attend a holy event. Jacob’s family is heading to Beit-el to meet with the Holy One of Isra’el. They need to wash and dress accordingly; they need to prepare their souls.

El Shaddai

Wherever Jacob and his family traveled, the fear of Elohim fell on the people so no one followed or tried to attack them.  During their travels, Elohim appears to Jacob a second time and blesses him.  By repeating that Jacob’s name is changed to Isra’el, there is a witness of two and the nation of Isra’el is established forever.

“Your name is Ya’akov, but you will be called Ya’akov no longer, your name will be Isra’el.  Thus he named him Isra’el. God further said to him, ‘I am El Shaddai.  Be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed a group of nations, will come from you; kings will be descended from you.  Moreover, the land which I gave Avraham and Yitz’ak I will give to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you’” (Genesis 35:10-12).

This is the second time Elohim refers to Himself as El Shaddai. The first time occurs when He changes Abram’s name to Abraham. El Shaddai emphasizes His all-pervasive power, influence, and authority in all of creation while still having the nuance of being a ‘bosom friend.’ It is El Shaddai who makes promises of Land and descendants to Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob.

Jacob sets up a second stone pillar. Along with anointing it with oil, he pours out a drink offering. This is the first time a drink offering is mentioned in Scripture. A drink offering was offered on the Sabbath as a symbol of rest. Only after El Shaddai defeated the enemies of Isra’el and gave them rest in the Promised Land did He accept drink offerings, but even then, the people did not drink the offerings as they were not the ones who defeated their enemies. El Shaddai defeated them by His arm of salvation –– Yeshua.

Jacob is now at rest.  He has shalom with his brother and his neighbors. His enemies have been subdued and he has received the eternal covenant given to his grandfather and father. Since drink offerings were poured out on the Sabbath, it may be inferred that he set the stone and poured out the drink offering on this day.

The drink offering was only given to Elohim.  While portions of animal sacrifices were set aside to be eaten by the priest and the person offering the sacrifice, the entire drink offering was poured out on the Altar.  This prevented the priesthood from drinking in the Tabernacle. As there is no Tabernacle at this time, there are no prescribed animal sacrifices or rules for drink offerings. On the  stone altar that Jacob makes, he does not offer an animal; he pours out a drink offering for El Shaddai and Him alone.

The drink offering symbolizes the life of the worshiper.  Sha’ul refers to his life as being “poured out like a drink offering” (Philippians 2:17).  Jacob has definitely ‘poured out his life’ to be at the place he has arrived, and now acknowledges the work was done through El Shaddai. He cannot deny that he wrestled with Yeshua and had his name changed –– he limps!

At Yeshua’s last Passover seder, he takes a cup of wine and refers to it as his blood being ‘poured out’ as drink offering (Matthew 26:26-28). This drink offering would occur on the cross as the required offering with the ‘meat’ of the lamb. Yeshua also said that he would not drink from the fruit of the vine again until the Kingdom of Elohim comes.

“I am poured out like water; all my bones are out of joint; my heart has become like wax — it melts inside me; my mouth is as dry as a fragment of a pot, my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me down in the dust of death” (Psalm 22:14-15).

“I tell you, I will not drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ again until the day I drink new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).

Rachel Dies

While traveling to Efrat (Bethlehem), Rachel goes into labor.  She dies soon after giving birth to Jacob’s last son, but not before she names him Ben Oni (Son of My Grief).  Jacob changes the baby’s name to Benjamin (Son of the Right Hand). Rachel is buried near Bethlehem; Jacob continues to travel.

Selah
Beit-Lechem (Bethlehem) in Hebrew means ‘House of Bread.’

Isra’el pitches his tent on the other side of the Migdal Eder near Bethlehem.   Migdal Eder means ‘Tower of Eder.’  The prophet Micah referred to this place as the ‘watchtower of the flock.’ This is the location where sheep were raised for the Temple sacrifices in Jerusalem.  On the night that Yeshua was born, the shepherds at the Migdal Eder, who raised the sheep for the sacrifices, received the good news from the angels that the Messiah had been born.

“You, tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Tziyon, to you your former sovereignty will return, the royal power of the daughter of Yerushalayim” (Micah 4:8).

“But you, Beit-Lechem near Efrat, so small among the clans of Y’hudah, out of you will come forth to me the future ruler of Isra’el, whose origins are far in the past, back in ancient times. Therefore he will give up [Isra’el] only until she who is in labor gives birth. Then the rest of his kinsmen will return to the people of Isra’el. He will stand and feed his flock in the strength of Adonai, in the majesty of the name of Adonai his God; and they will stay put, as he grows great to the very ends of the earth; and this will be peace …” (Micah 5:2-5).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Ephratha or Efrat (Fruitful) – אפרת – alef, peh, resh, tav
– first strength source of the highest authority of the covenant

Bethlehem or Beit-Lechem – בית לחם – bet, yod, tav – lamed, chet, mem
– house of the finished work of the covenant
urging forward to protect the mighty

Esau and the Edomites

The Edomites, the descendants of Esau, have an interesting Biblical history. Esau took many Canaanite women as wives against his parents‘ wishes.  None of the marriages were blessed by Isaac or Rebekah and created an ongoing conflict between Isra’el (sons of Jacob) and Edom (sons of Esau). 

Though Esau was blessed in terms of physical wealth, he was not part of the spiritually blessed lineage. He behaved corruptly through sexual immorality and godlessness (Hebrews 12:15-17). One of Esau’s wives, Adah, gave birth to Amalek from whom descended the Amalekites, Isra’el’s greatest enemy. King Saul was commanded destroy the Amalekites, but disobeyed. An Amalekite named Haman came to power in Persia during the reign of King Ahasuerus and wanted to destroy the Jewish people from the kingdom (Esther 3).

Elohim commanded Isra’el to regard the Edomites as brothers despite their unwillingness to let them pass through their land (Deuteronomy 23:7).  During the reign of King Saul, Edom became a subject nation of Isra’el (1 Samuel 14:47); and King David established a military fort there (2 Samuel 8:14).  In the days of Yoram, the son of Ahab, the Edomites became an independent nation.  Herod the Great, who wanted Yeshua killed, was an Edomite.  Since the Muslims conquered the region of Edom, the area has been virtually unoccupied, except by Bedouins.

Isra’el and the Edomites

This parashah contains the genealogy of Esau because it is important to know one’s enemies. Understanding the battles between the two nations of Edom and Isra’el is important for understanding prophecies against Edom in the ‘last days.’ The Edomites, along with the Ishmaelites, are the first of many nations mentioned in Scripture that desire the destruction of Isra’el.

“God, don’t remain silent! Don’t stay quiet, God, or still; because here are your enemies, causing an uproar; those who hate you are raising their heads, craftily conspiring against your people, consulting together against those you treasure. They say, ‘Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Isra’el be remembered no more!’ With one mind they plot their schemes; the covenant they have made is against you — the tents of Edom and the Yishmaelim”… (Psalm 83:1-8).

“Therefore Adonai Elohim says, ‘I will stretch my hand out over Edom and Eliminate both its humans and its animals. I will make it a ruin; from Teman to D’dan they will die by the sword. Moreover, I will lay my vengeance on Edom through my people Isra’el; they will treat Edom in accordance with my anger and my fury; and they will know my vengeance’” … (Ezekiel 25:13-14).

The prophet Obadiah states that Edom will be completely destroyed for his hatred of his kinsman, Judah.

“You whose homes are caves in the cliffs, who live on the heights and say to yourselves, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’” (Obadiah 3)

Mount Seir was the hill country where Esau took his wives and children to live. The Edomites held the rock fortress of what is known today as Petra, modern-day Bozrah, Jordan, which can only be reached through a narrow, winding gorge. The fortress was so protected that it was said only twelve men were needed to defend it against an entire army.

“Your warriors, Teman, will be so distraught that everyone on Mount Esau will be slaughtered” (Obadiah 9).

Teman is a city in southern Edom to the east of Isra’el.  It was named after the grandson of Esau and became synonymous with the region of Edom.   Teman is possibly the modern-day Ma’an located about 135 miles southwest of Ammon, Jordan.

“For the violence done to our kinsman Ya’akov, shame will cover you …” (Obadiah 10).

The word ‘violence’ is the Hebrew word chamas or, as it is spelled today, Hamas.  It refers not only to violent crimes like robbing and extortion, but also false witness.  Hamas is an Arabic acronym for Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya, which means ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement.’ Hamas in Arabic means ‘zeal.’

“Here is what Adonai says: ‘For Edom’s three crimes, no, four — I will not reverse it — because with sword he pursued his kinsman and threw aside all pity, constantly nursing his anger, forever fomenting his fury; I will send fire on Teman, and it will consume the palaces of Botzrah’” (Amos 1:11-12).

“Who is this, coming from Edom, from Botzrah with clothing stained crimson, so magnificently dressed, so stately in his great strength? ‘It is I, who speak victoriously, I, well able to save.’ Why is your apparel red, your clothes like someone treading a winepress? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone; from the peoples, not one was with me. So I trod them in my anger, trampled them in my fury; so their lifeblood spurted out on my clothing, and I have stained all my garments; for the day of vengeance that was in my heart and my year of redemption have come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I was appalled that no one upheld me. Therefore my own arm brought me salvation, and my own fury upheld me. In my anger I trod down the peoples, made them drunk with my fury, then poured out their lifeblood on the earth’” (Isaiah 63:1-6).

The prophet Isaiah asks, “Who is coming from Edom?” Revelation 19:12-14 reveals the answer: Yeshua, stained with blood of his enemies. He is not coming from ‘heaven,’ but from Edom in southern Jordan, and the stronghold of Petra, where he finally judges the Edomites for their chamas against Isra’el.

“Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many royal crowns. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself. He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which he is called is, ‘THE WORD OF GOD’” (Revelation 19:11-14).

Esau became a great nation, but he lived a faithless life and passed his godlessness onto his descendants ultimately bringing complete destruction to his own progeny by none other than Yeshua, his brother.  The same may be said of Ishmael who also became a wealthy man, but left the faith of his father Abraham. His descendants have become the ever-increasing Arab population who embrace chamas and perpetuate violence on Isra’el. Their destruction is prophesied along with Edom.

Yeshua’s Immersion

“The [Jewish] people were in a state of great expectancy, and everyone was wondering whether perhaps Yochanan himself might be the Messiah; so Yochanan answered them all, ‘I am immersing you in water, but he who is coming is more powerful than I — I’m not worthy to untie his sandals! He will immerse you in the Ruach haKodesh and in fire. He has with him his winnowing fork to clear out his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the straw with unquenchable fire!’ While all the people were being immersed, Yeshua too was immersed. As he was praying, heaven was opened; the Ruach haKodesh came down on him in physical form like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, whom I love; I am well pleased with you’” (Luke 3:15-22).

“Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim [disciples], immersing them into the reality [authority] of the Father, the Son and the Ruach haKodesh” (Matthew 28:19).

“They replied, ‘When you are in your glory, let us sit with you, one on your right and the other on your left.’ But Yeshua answered, ‘You don’t know what you’re asking! Can you drink the cup that I am drinking? Or be immersed with the immersion that I must undergo?’ They said to him, ‘We can.’ Yeshua replied, ‘The cup that I am drinking, you will drink; and the immersion I am being immersed with, you will undergo’” (Mark 10:37-39).

“His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now six stone water-jars were standing there for the Jewish ceremonial washings [immersion], each with a capacity of twenty or thirty gallons. Yeshua told them, ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and they filled them to the brim” (John 2:5-7).

©2018 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 Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

Revelation Chapter 20 – The First Resurrection

“Next I saw an angel coming down from heaven, who had the key to the Abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan [the Adversary], and chained him up for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, locked it and sealed it over him; so that he could not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were over. After that, he has to be set free for a little while” (Revelation 20:1-3).

A messenger comes down from heaven with a key and a chain in his hand. His purpose is to seize the Dragon, one of satan’s demonic forces, and lock him up. According to the prophet Isaiah, the Dragon is Leviathan, the ‘serpent in the sea’ –– the Adversary in the midst of the world (Isaiah 27:1). According to Psalm 74, Leviathan also has many ‘heads’ or ‘leaders’ that will be judged (Psalm 74:14).

In the days of Noach, the angels that left their heavenly realm of power and defiled human women were bound with everlasting chains. According to the Amplified Version, the chains kept these fallen beings in ‘the thick gloom of utter darkness’ (Jude 6). Now, the Adversary who deceived Havah in Gan Eden will be imprisoned and kept in that same darkness.

‘Abyss’ in Hebrew is tehom and is used for the ‘the depths of the seas.’ The tehom is the place described as the waters beneath the waters where Leviathan is imprisoned (Job 41:1-3). The word tehom is used in Genesis 1:2 as tohu v’bohu meaning ‘darkness’ or ‘void.’ The Adversary, along with the fallen angels and Leviathan, are in the dark void of the deep waiting for the Day of Judgment.

These enemies of Adonai will be bound for one-thousand years during the Messianic Era and the reign of King Yeshua. During this one-thousand year period, human lifespan will be restored as it was when Adam and his descendants lived nearly one-thousand years. “No more will babies die in infancy, no more will an old man die short of his days — he who dies at a hundred will be thought young, and at less than a hundred thought cursed” (Isaiah 65:20).

“Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them received authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God, also those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands. They came to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be cohanim of God and of the Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).

Yochanan sees thrones on which are seated resurrected martyrs; saints beheaded for their testimony of Yeshua. Those who had not worshiped the ‘beast’ or its image and didn’t receive the ‘mark’ on their foreheads or hands also receive authority to rule and reign with King Yeshua. This is not the first time this group of holy ones who have a testimony of Yeshua and obey the Torah have been blessed.

These two groups of people made a stand for righteousness in the world. One group practiced standing for Yeshua and the Torah every day, suffering persecution that ultimately led to their death. The second group didn’t bow to serve the ‘beast’ to protect their lives. Taking for righteousness or making a stand against the ‘beast’ is not something that just suddenly happens. Standing for righteousness and against the ‘mark’ of the beast’ takes discernment, courage, and faith.

What if the ‘mark of the beast’ is the rejection of the holy Sabbath as one denomination claims (Ezekiel 20:2)? What if taking the ‘mark of the beast’ requires eating ‘unclean’ animals (Isaiah 66:15-18)? What if taking the ‘mark of the beast’ means death for keeping Adonai’s ‘appointed times’ (Daniel 7:25). How does someone suddenly start obeying Torah when faced with death? Being a holy one, a saint, is defined as one who has a testimony of Yeshua and keeps the commandments of Adonai. Obeying Torah because of faith in Yeshua strengthens the holy ones, the saints, to stand when faced with persecution and death.

Those who come back to life during the great harvest take part in the first resurrection; they are blessed and holy. This first resurrection prophesied by Daniel and Ezekiel we believed by the sect of Pharisees and many Jews.

“Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence” (Daniel 12:2).

“He asked me, “Human being, can these bones live?” I answered, “Adonai Elohim! Only you know that!” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones! Say to them, ‘Dry bones! Hear what Adonai has to say! To these bones Adonai Elohim says, “I will make breath enter you, and you will live” (Ezekiel 37:3-5).

Martha expressed her faith in the resurrection ‘at the last day,’ after her brother Lazarus died (John 11:21-27). Yeshua tells her, “‘I Am’ the Resurrection and the life” confirming the resurrection of the dead. Peter and Yochanan annoyed the Sadducean leadership because they used Yeshua’s resurrection as proof of the resurrection of the dead –– a belief they did not embrace (Acts 4:1-2). Sha’ul who was a Pharisee teaches about his hope in the resurrection: “And I continue to have a hope in God — which they too accept — that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous (Acts 24:15).

The Hebrew word for ‘blessed’ is barak and means ‘to kneel.’ This word suggests that those who attain to the first resurrection will kneel in reverence before the El Elyon. The Hebrew word for ‘holy is kadosh and means ‘to separate.’ Kadoshim are set-apart from infirmity, impurity, and sin – the ‘holy ones’ of Adonai. Those who take part in the first resurrection lived righteous lives of faith separating themselves from sin by obeying the commands of Elohim (1 John 4:3).

Sha’ul teaches that the resurrection has ‘parts.’ Yeshua was raised from the dead as the ‘firstfruits’ of those who have died. The word ‘firstfruits’ is plural meaning there were others who died and were raised to life with Yeshua. This may include Lazarus and the little girl, but there were ‘firstfruits’ who came out of the graves and walked around Jerusalem where many people saw them (Matthew 27:52-53).

The second part of the first resurrection, the main harvest of souls, will occur when Yeshua returns. Those who belong to him will come back to life at the beginning of the ‘last day.’ The resurrected saints, called the ‘royal priesthood,’ will reign with King Yeshua in the Millennial Kingdom as priests of Adonai (1 Peter 2:9). They will not experience the second death at the end of the one-thousand years.

“But the fact is that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have died. For since death came through a man, also the resurrection of the dead has come through a man. For just as in connection with Adam all die, so in connection with the Messiah all will be made alive. But each in his own order: the Messiah is the firstfruits; then those who belong to the Messiah, at the time of his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

The third part of the first resurrection will be the gleanings during the Messianic Era. During Yeshua’s Millennial reign, Satan is bound for one-thousand years. There will be no deception from the Adversary to deceive the world’s people; there will be no excuse of ‘the devil made me do it.’ Sin, however, will still rule the hearts of humanity. Sin that needs to be judged and atoned for.

Yeshua will sit on Mount Tziyon and rule the unredeemed nations with an ‘iron rod.’ ‘Iron’ suggests a strong rule of law,’ while ‘rod’ is an allusion to a ‘scepter’ that is used by a King. The King of Kings will not bend his ‘rod’ to the will of the kings of the nations. He will come against them and shatter them like a clay pot (Psalm 2:9). The overcomers from Thyatira rule and reign with ‘iron rods’ with him (Revelation 2:9). Ruling with an ‘iron rod’ means there is a standard of ‘law;’ the Torah that will remain the standard for justice until the the present heaven and earth pass away (Matthew 5:17-20).

Unredeemed mortals who make up the nations will have to follow Torah regulations for Temple services. The descendants of the priesthood from the clans of Levi, Aaron and Zadok priests will serve at the Altar of Sacrifice for the unredeemed of the nations.

“When the thousand years are over, the Adversary will be set free from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for the battle. Their number is countless as the sand on the seashore; and they came up over the breadth of the Land and surrounded the camp of God’s people and the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The Adversary who had deceived them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10).

When the Messianic Era is complete, the Adversary will be set free from the Abyss to deceive the people of the world whose number is as great as the sands on the seashore. All nations will come into the land and surround Jerusalem. They will bring on the Gog and Magog war, the battle that reveals mankind’s problem is not the devil, but deep-rooted sin. Adonai looks down from heaven and laughs because the nations of the world will become the inheritance of His Son (Psalm 2).

Magog was Noach’s grandson whose descendants settled north of Isra’el. The prophet Ezekiel describes this nation as a huge, mighty army led by Gog, the chief prince of Meshekh and Tuval (Ezekiel 38:2, 15). Meshekh and Tuval were the sons of Japeth, the grandsons of Noach. The descendants of Meshekh settled north of the Black Sea in the area known today as the Republic of Georgia, a war-like land that hates peace (Psalm 120:4-6). Tuval settled in central Turkey which is where the final caiphate of Islam will be located.

Many scholars believe there are two Gog-Magog wars with Isra’el. The one described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 occurs mid-way through the Great Tribulation with a few nations from the north attacking Isra’el. The result of this war brings Isra’el to repentance, the Messiah returns, and they worship Him during the Messianic Era.

The second Gog-Magog attack one-thousand years later is orchestrated by the Adversary once he is released from the Abyss. He is prepared to destroy Yeshua and the nation of Isra’el. In this war, all of the nations of the earth rebel against Yeshua. The battle between the Adversary and Yeshua will be quick as fire from heaven consumes the evil one. The ‘beast’ and the false prophet are thrown into the ‘burning lake of fire and sulfur’ along with the Adversary where they spend eternity in torment.

“Next I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done. The sea gave up the dead in it; and Death and Sh’ol gave up the dead in them; and they were judged, each according to what he had done. Then Death and Sh’ol were hurled into the lake of fire. This is the second death — the lake of fire. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).

Those mortal humans who remain alive at the end of the one-thousand years will immediately stand before the Great White Throne of judgment (2 Corinthians 5:9-10). Millions who died in the sea, and millions kept in Sh’ol are raised up to stand in front of the fiery throne. There will be no time for repentance; judgment as come and they will be judged by their works. This will be the final judgment for everyone through all time who rejected the offer of eternal life. Those who had a testimony of Yeshua and obeyed his commands have already been resurrected, received their immortal bodies, and reigned with Yeshua during his earthly Kingdom.

The Greek word for ‘judgment’ is bema and refers to the platform where one stands to receive the verdict for their crime. In the synagogue, the bema was a raised platform around the aron kodesh, the holy place, where the Torah scrolls were kept. A ner tamid or eternal light hangs over the area to symbolize the eternal light of the Torah. From the bema, Yeshua stood in the synagogue and read from Isaiah on a Sabbath (Luke 4:16-17). When the day of administering punishment or reward arrives, Adonai will stand each person on the bema and use Torah as His plumbline to execute justice (Daniel 2:2, John 5:28-29).

The prophet Daniel is given a vision of this final court of judgment on Yom Kippur. Thrones of the righteous redeemed were set in place. The Ancient One sat on his throne of fiery flames with wheels of burning fire –– a vision of the k’ruvim guarding the throne of Adonai. Fire flowed from His presence while thousands and thousands ministered to him. Millions and millions from all the nations stood before the throne; the court was convened, and books were opened. Yeshua separated the ‘sheep’ from the ‘goats.’ The ‘sheep’ who were kind to Isra’el go to his right hand and receive the blessing of their inheritance, the Kingdom prepared before the founding of the world; the ‘goats’ who mistreated Isra’el will go to his left and into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels! (Daniel 7:9-10, Matthew 25:31-45).

Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah begins the ten Days of Awe when each person takes time to repent for their sins. On Yom Kippur, ‘books are opened’ and the judgment verdict for each life is read and sealed. The prophetic vision for Yom Kippur is the final judgment at the Great White Throne when the Book of Life is opened (Psalm 138:16, Malachi 3:16). Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life or have been ‘blotted out’ experience the second death and receive eternal spiritual death in the ‘lake of burning fire and sulfur.’

“I also request you, loyal Syzygus, to help these women; for they have worked hard proclaiming the Good News with me, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers whose names are in the Book of Life” (Philippians 4:3).

“He who wins the victory [in Sardis] will, like them, be dressed in white clothing; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life; in fact, I will acknowledge him individually before my Father and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).

Yeshua will reward his ‘holy ones.’ Those whose names are found in the Lamb’s Book of Life will receive rewards based on how they built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles (Ephesians 2:20). How each person builds on that foundation – with precious stones, wood or straw –– will be tested at the fire coming from Yeshua’s throne. Some will enter Eternity as just making it through the fire; others will receive crowns that last forever (2 Corinthians 9:25).

“All that awaits me now is the crown of righteousness which the Lord, “the Righteous Judge,” will award to me on that Day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for him to appear (2 Timothy 4:8).

“How blessed is the man who perseveres through temptation! For after he has passed the test, he will receive as his crown the Life which God has promised to those who love him(James 1:12).

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

The present heaven and earth will vanish.

Chapter 21 – The Restoration and Renewal

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

Revelation Chapter 17 – The Whore and The Beast

“Then came one of the angels with the seven bowls; and he said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great whore who is sitting by many waters. The kings of the earth went whoring with her, and the people living on earth have become drunk from the wine of her whoring” (Revelation 17:1-2).

In this interlude of Tribulation events, Yochanan is shown more details about the ‘great whore’ and ‘the beast’ from Revelation 13. The Hebrew word for ‘whore’ is zanah and means to ‘commit adultery.’ This ‘whore’ or ‘adulteress’ is a spiritual adulteress. She is a harlot who has chosen to forsake the Creator, the God of Isra’el, and submit to false gods. Her global harlotry includes kings and people from every nation, tribe, and tongue.

This spiritual adulteress sits on many waters. Some suggest that this is a reference to a specific place, but it may refer to spiritual nourishment coming from every false religion in the world –– the ‘one world’ religious system. Many people believe ‘there are many ways to God’ and seek other religions to fill their empty soul. There are ‘many waters’ that draw people who have a spiritual thirst, but it leaves them parched.

The prophet Jeremiah warns the nation of Isra’el about drinking the dirty water, “For my people have committed two evils: they have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water!” (Jeremiah 2:13). Adonai considers it ‘evil’ to abandon His ‘fountain of living water’ for broken cisterns that can’t hold water.

Everyone who forsakes the God of Isra’el becomes a spiritual harlot drunk on the ‘wine’ of spiritual immorality. The Hebrew word for ‘whoring’ is zenunim and means ‘fornication’ suggesting that these spiritual harlots never entered the ‘marriage covenant’ with Elohim. They are godless, irreverent, and completely immoral, yet they believe they are spiritually enlightened. Being drunk not only impairs judgment and vision, but also balance. According to the prophet Isaiah, the sin of fornication affects the earth: “The earth staggers to and fro like a drunk, sways back and forth like a watchman’s shelter; its transgression weighs heavy upon it; it will fall and not rise again” (Isaiah 24:20).

This will be the condition of the earth; this is the condition of the western culture with its abominations. As the whole world begins to embrace detestable sexual practices, leaders and nations will fall into a drunken spiritual stupor.

“She must remove her whoring from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts. Otherwise, I will strip her naked and place her as she was the day she was born, make her like a desert, place her like a dry land and kill her with thirst. I will have no pity on her children, for they are children of whoring — their mother prostituted herself, she who conceived them behaved shamelessly; she said, ‘I will pursue my lovers, who give me my food and water, wool, flax, olive oil and wine’” (Hosea 3:2-5).

“He carried me off in the Spirit to a desert, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast filled with blasphemous names and having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet and glittered with gold, precious stones and pearls. In her hand was a gold cup filled with the obscene and filthy things produced by her whoring. On her forehead was written a name with a hidden meaning, BAVEL THE GREAT, MOTHER OF WHORES AND OF THE EARTH’S OBSCENITIES. I saw the woman drunk from the blood of God’s people, that is, from the blood of the people who testify about Yeshua” (Revelation 17:3-6).

The Ruach haKodesh carries Yochanan into the desert. The Hebrew word for ‘desert’ is midbar and and also means ‘wilderness.’ A desert or wilderness area gets little to no moisture, it is spiritually dry. There is no living water.

He sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns. In Revelation 12:3, the dragon that gives the ‘beast’ its power is scarlet or red. This same ‘beast’ in Revelation 13 has blasphemous names written on its heads. This ‘beast’ represents a global demonic political force given life through the Adversary.

‘Scarlet’ symbolizes power and wealth within the ‘beast’ political system. Scarlet was considered a status symbol during the Roman Empire. Moreover, scarlet clothing is worn by Cardinals, the religious leaders in the Roman catholic hierarchical political ‘beast.’ The prophet Isaiah compares sin to the color of scarlet, and the ‘beast’ is the embodiment of sin (Isaiah 1:18).

The dictionary defines blasphemy as ‘the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God’ or ‘a mere man suggesting that he is divine’ (John 10:33). The scarlet beast is full of blasphemous names showing its contempt for Adonai by claiming to be God ruling. He doesn’t have just one blasphemous name, but many names/rgovernments claiming to be God. This may be how the nation’s kings embrace ‘the Lie’ perpetuated in the Garden of Eden. In 2018, the Democratic National Convention in the United States claimed itself to be the party of the religiously unaffiliated, the agnostic, and the atheist.

The ‘woman’ riding the scarlet beast is dressed in scarlet and purple. The word argaman is ‘red-purple’ in Hebrew. This ‘woman’ is the global religious system that sits atop the politically demonic ‘beast.’ In this scenario there is no ‘separation of church and state;’ they are all one. She glitters with gold showing her wealth, topaz showing her religious spirit, and pearls showing her beauty comes from everything ‘unclean’ (Ezekiel 28:13). She is gaudy –– excessively showy, ostentatiously embellished. Her pride lifts her high upon the ‘beast.’

In her hand, she holds a golden cup filled with filthy and obscene things – abominations – produced by her whoring. On her head is written a name: Babylon the Great, Mother of Whores, and the Earth’s Obscenities. The word sod is used for ‘mystery’ and means ‘hidden.’ Sod is used for a secret or mystical meaning of a Scripture. Though the meaning of her name may be mysterious, her global conquest of religions and politics is not.

The ‘mark of the beast’ is put on the forehead or hand; this ‘whore’ holds abominations in her hand and her forehead is ‘marked’ with a mysterious name. Those who embrace this political religious system will choose to receive the ‘mark of the beast.’

The ‘whore’ is drunk on the blood of the saints, those who have a testimony of Yeshua. This scarlet beast-whore religious political system will be murderous. Anyone who makes a stand for Yeshua will be murdered and martyred by this bejeweled woman and her false, anti-Torah, lawless political religious system.

“On seeing her, I was altogether astounded. Then the angel said to me, “Why are you astounded? I will tell you the hidden meaning of the woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that was carrying her” (Revelation 17:6-7).

In the Hebrew, the words shammah gadolah, in the feminine, mean ‘great name;’ however, these two words also mean ‘appalling desolation.’ The authority and power of this ‘woman’ distressed Yochanan and brought him great horror. The angel saw his distress and tells him to ‘wake up’ from his shock and horror so the angel can explain the sod of the ‘scarlet beast.’

“The beast you saw once was, now is not, and will come up from the Abyss; but it is on its way to destruction. The people living on earth whose names have not been written in the Book of Life since the founding of the world will be astounded to see the beast that once was, now is not, but is to appear. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven hills on which the woman is sitting; also they are seven kings — five have fallen, one is living now and the other is yet to come; and when he does come, he must remain only a little while. The beast which once was and now is not is an eighth king; it comes from the seven and is on its way to destruction” (Revelation 17:8-11).

The ‘beast’ is representative of historical kingdoms described by the prophet Daniel. However, he only mentions four kingdoms: Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome (Daniel 7). There is another –– one which was, now is not, and will return. Could one of them be Babel, Egypt, Assyria? Will one of these ancient religious political systems return?

“Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city with a tower that has its top reaching up into heaven, so that we can make a name for ourselves and not be scattered all over the earth” (Genesis 11:4).

The first kingdom after the flood was in the land of Shinar. At the Tower Babel, the people of the world had a combined religious system with a government. Everyone spoke the same language which made building the tower possible and the ability to set their thrones above Adonai. Nimrod set the precedent in Babel, Pharaoh in Egypt, Sennacheri in Assyria, Nebuchadnezzer in Babylon (Daniel 4:3). When kings refuse to submit to Adonai and His Torah, they become lawlessness; the ‘spirit’ of anti-messiah that is still at work in the world (1 John 4:3).

“Look at the land of the Kasdim [Chaldeans]! This was the people who did not exist … so that it has been made a ruin” (Isaiah 23:13).

The land of the Kasdim was ancient Babel. At the time of this revelation, Babel no longer existed though it had been ‘revived’ during reign of Nebuchadnezzer in Babylon. ‘Mystery Babylon’ will be the last kingdom with a king that seeks to set his throne above Adonai. This king will separate himself from Torah, he will oppose himself to everything that is called a god or an object of worship, and he will sit in the Temple and proclaim himself God (2 Thessalonians2:3-4). This last kingdom that will smash and crumble all others will be the kingdom of the Adversary and his false prophet (Ezekiel 28:2).

The people of the earth do not care about prophecy, do not have the Ruach haKodesh to direct them, and will be astounded that this once-dead ‘beast’ kingdom come to life. This kingdom doesn’t come out of the ‘sea of nations,’ but out of the Abyss of demonic darkness and sits on the ‘sea of nations.’

To understand the ‘mystery’ calls for a mind of wisdom. Wisdom is needed for those who understand the number of the ‘beast,’ as it is the number of a person (Revelation 13:15). It would be astounding to see Nimrod, the first powerful ruler on earth who hunted people’s souls to be resurrected from the Abyss after being beheaded by Esau (Genesis 10:9, 1 Chronicles 1:10).

“And Nimrod and two of his men that were with him came to the place where they were, when Esau started suddenly from his lurking place, and drew his sword, and hastened and ran to Nimrod and cut off his head” (Jasher 27:10).

According to the angel, the seven heads are seven hills. The only city that sits on seven hills is Rome. Each of these hills have pagan gods and goddesses attached to them: Aventine Hill (dedicated to goddess Diana), Caelian Hill (merging of Roman and Greek gods), Capitoline Hill (dedicated to god Saturn/Christmas, and Jupiter), Esquiline Hill (nymphs who animate nature), Palatine Hill (Temple of Cybele, the Great Mother), Quirinal Hill (dedicated to god Quirinus), and Viminal Hill (Babylonaian Ishter/Easter).

Wisdom suggests two different religious systems in the world: one that has been usurping Truth for centuries and comes from Rome; the other comes from Mount Tziyon and teaches the Truth of Torah and the Word of Yeshua (Micah 4:2).

“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet begun to rule, but they receive power as kings for one hour, along with the beast. They have one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are called, chosen and faithful will overcome along with him” (Revelation 17:12-14).

The ten kings or horns on the ‘beast’ will be powerful leaders for a very brief time. They will be destroyed in one hour, another unspecified time (Revelation 18:10, Isaiah 24). The Hebrew word is etzah is used for ‘mind’ and means ‘counsel’ or ‘advice.’ As one counsel, they give their power and authority to the ‘beast.’ These ten kings are the ten toes of the ‘beast’ in Daniel 7.

They will go to war against the Lamb. They will perceive him as a Lamb still, but Yeshua will be a lion. He will not be led to the slaughter. He will be the Lion of Y’hudah, the warrior King and make war against the kings of the earth. He will defeat the ‘beast’ and the kings.

The Hebrew word qara for ‘called ‘ means not only ‘to call, to proclaim,’ but ‘invited’ (Matthew 22:14). Those who are ‘invited’ will be victorious with Yeshua The Hebrew word for ‘chosen’ means ‘those he knew before the foundations of the world.’ The ‘invited,’ ‘chosen,’ and faithful will overcome with the Lion King. One Hebrew word for ‘overcome’ means ‘roar’ like a lion!

“The lion has roared. Who will not fear? Adonai, God, has spoken. Who will not prophesy?” (Amos 3:8).

“Here is a people rising up like a lioness; like a lion he rears himself up — he will not lie down till he eats up the prey and drinks the blood of the slain” (Numbers 23:23-25).

“They will go after Adonai, who will roar like a lion; for he will roar, and the children will come trembling from the west” (Hosea 11:10).

“Then he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the whore is sitting, are peoples, crowds, nations and languages. As for the ten horns that you saw and the beast, they will hate the whore, bring her to ruin, leave her naked, eat her flesh and consume her with fire. For God put it in their hearts to do what will fulfill his purpose, that is, to be of one mind and give their kingdom to the beast until God’s words have accomplished their intent. And the woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:15-18).

The ‘waters’ where the ‘whore’ sits symbolizes peoples, nations, and languages. ‘Sitting’ suggests that she has spiritual authority and political power over them. She personifies a perverted and adulterous religious system that needs Elohim’s judgment. He puts in in the hearts of the ‘ten kings’ to destroy ‘the whore’ just like He hardened Pharaoh’s heart. The kings leave her naked, eat her flesh and consume her with fire. The ten kings will then hand their kingdoms over to the ‘beast.’

In the ‘days’ of the beast, the perversion of Adonai’s covenant will be lawlessness and the complete removal of His covenant along with those who guard it. His covenant is Torah; the ‘sign’ of the covenant is the seventh-day Sabbath (Ezekiel 20:20).

To those who have a Laodicean heart, tjudgment is coming. Those who mix the ‘holy’ and the ‘profane,’ have justified mixing their perverted religious system. Being found naked is how Yeshua finds the congregation in Laodicea. They had become too rich and self-sufficient to see their need for the Provider (Revelation 3:17).

To ‘eat her flesh’ symbolizes the carnality of the ‘whoring’ religious system in its death throes. When a bacteria ‘eats flesh,’ the skin dies from the infection. The blood supply, the life force, is cut off and skin tissues begin to decay. This is known as necrosis. This ‘whoring’ religious system has become so carnal that it’s own fleshly desires destroy it. It is consumed with fire. Judgment by fire is promised to those who are ungodly (2 Peter 3:7).

“All her carved images will be smashed to pieces, all she earned consumed by fire; and I will reduce her idols to rubble. She amassed them from a whore’s wages, and as a whore’s wages they will be spent again” (Micah 1:7).

“You are worn out with all your consultations — so let the astrologers and stargazers, the monthly horoscope-makers, come forward now and save you from the things that will come upon you! Look, they will be like straw! The fire will consume them. They will not save even themselves from the power of the flame. It will not be coals for warming oneself, not a fire to sit beside! So much for your [wizards], with whom you have worked all your life! Each will wander off in his own direction, and nobody will save you” (Isaiah 47:13-15).

Chapter 18 – The Fall of Babylon the Great

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