Posts Tagged ‘teshuvah’

Parashah 51: Nitzavim (Standing)

Deuteronomy 29:10-30:20
(In a regular year, read with Parashah 52; in a leap year read separately.)

“Today you are standing, all of you, before Adonai your God — your heads, your tribes, your leaders and your officers — all the men of Isra’el, along with your little ones, your wives and your foreigners here with you in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water” (Deuteronomy 29:9-10).

Nitzavim is the Hebrew word for ‘ones standing’ as the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land.  They are the ‘ones left standing’ after the previous generation could not ‘stand’ due to their faithlessness. The Hebrew word for ‘stand’ is natzab and means ‘pillar’ or ‘garrison.’ The Israelites standing at the entrance to the Promised Land are the troops stationed to defend and guard the Land that Elohim will put in their possession.

As the Israelites stand before Adonai from the least of them to the greatest, the leaders, the children, and those who chop wood and draw water are reminded why they are in the presence of Adonai: to enter into a covenant, the covenant promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

“But I am not making this covenant and this oath only with you.  Rather, I am making it both with him who is standing here with us today before Adonai our God and also with him who is not here with us today” (Deuteronomy 29:14-15).

The covenant that Elohim made with the nation of Isra’el was not just for those standing in His presence, but for those in the future who were children of promise to Abraham and would join with Isra’el through adoption or ingrafting.

“Be assured, then, that it is those who live by trusting and being faithful who are really children of Avraham” (Galatians 3:7).

“And the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai to serve him, to love the name of Adonai, and to be his workers, all who keep Shabbat and do not profane it, and hold fast to my covenant, I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:6-7).

Wormwood

“So let there not be among you a man, woman, family or tribe whose heart turns away today from Adonai our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Let there not be among you a root bearing such bitter poison and wormwood. If there is such a person, when he hears the words of this curse, he will bless himself secretly, saying to himself, ‘I will be all right, even though I will stubbornly keep doing whatever I feel like doing; so that I, although ‘dry’ [sinful], will be added to the ‘watered’ [righteous].’ But Adonai will not forgive him. Rather, the anger and jealousy of Adonai will blaze up against that person. Every curse written in this book will be upon him. Adonai will blot out his name from under heaven” (Deuteronomy 29:18-20).

There are three types of wormwood herbs. Artemesia herba-alba which smells like camphor and is extremely bitter. Artemesia absinthium, a perennial herb with silky leaves that has small yellow flowers. The oil from the herb is dark and bitter and is used to make absinthe. Artemisia judaica is a bitter aromatic herb with clusters of small greenish yellow flowers and greenish gray leaves that grows in arid desert areas. Wormwood is used for medicinal purposes: as a tonic for stimulating sweating for a fever, liver disease, worms, and gall bladder issues. Wormwood is also called ‘gall’ in Scripture as when Yeshua was given wine mixed with gall. It was bitter and he refused to drink it (Matthew 27:34).

The danger of turning away from Adonai and serving other gods is to drink the bitter poison of wormwood that results in self-deception.  As a person turns away from Elohim, they secretly bless themselves believing that though they are sinning, they are still righteous. The consequence of living in this deception results in Adonai’s jealousy and anger, and He will blot those names out of His book.

“Don’t deceive yourselves by only hearing what the Word says, but do it!” (James 1:22) 

The Israelites are not the only people guilty of self-deception. With numerous man-made traditions combined with pagan god worship infiltrating the church over the centuries, many who are presented with the ‘other gods’ rooted in their celebrations stubbornly keep doing what they have convinced themselves is right.   Though they willfully sin and are ‘dry’ against obeying the Word, they believe they are ‘watered’ because of their faith in Yeshua.  Allowing self-deception to govern our lives is essentially blaspheming the Ruach haKodesh. There is no forgiveness for that sin (Mark 3:28-30).

“The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter” (Revelation 8:11, NIV).

Expelled from the Land

Generations will follow this Israelite generation that enters the Land, and along with foreigners, they will ask why the Land has become sick with plagues and is like Sodom and Gomorrah.  They will wonder why ‘I Am’ became so angry with Isra’el.

“It’s because they abandoned the covenant of Adonai, the God of their fathers. They went and served other gods, prostrating themselves before them, gods they had not known and which he had not assigned them.  For this reason, the anger of Adonai blazed up against this land and brought upon it every curse written in this book; and Adonai, in anger, fury and incensed with indignation, uprooted them from their land and threw them out into another land — as it is today” (Deuteronomy 29:25-27).

‘As it is today,’ Isra’el is returning to the Land from every nation in the world.   Though they are not living in obedience to Torah as they should, Elohim is gathering His people. After 1700 years of allowing Christian theology to flourish, He is restoring the message of the first-century church to the Jewish people. For nearly 80 years, Jews have been returning to their homeland or making aliyah. Messianic Jews, the remnant who trust in Yeshua, are also in the Land shining his light of salvation.

“It’s the same way in the present age: there is a remnant, chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5).

“On that day the remnant of Isra’el, those of the house of Ya‘akov who escaped, will no longer rely on the man who struck them down, but will truly rely on Adonai, the Holy One of Isra’el. A remnant will return, the remnant of Ya’akov, to the mighty God. For, although your people, Isra’el, are like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return” (Isaiah 10:20-22).

On the Feast of Tabernacles, the fullness of the ingathering of Isra’el will soon occur.  When that day comes, many Jews will make teshuvah or return to the covenant of Adonai. They will obey Adonai with all their hearts, minds and souls. In that day, their exile to the nations will end, and Adonai will show them mercy.

“It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra’el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness; and that it is in this way that all Isra’el will be saved. As the Tanakh says, ‘Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer; he will turn away ungodliness from Ya’akov and this will be my covenant with them, …when I take away their sins” (Romans 11:25-27).

The Hebrew word for ‘mercy’ is rachamim and means ‘compassion and tender mercies.’ It comes from the root rechem which means ‘womb.’  ‘Mercy’ means to love as one loves an unborn child. When Isra’el is ‘reborn’ and comes out of the ‘womb,’ Adonai will end the global exile of His people.  The reverse of exile has begun as Jewish people are being birthed from the spiritual womb and acknowledging Yeshua as their Messiah.

“When the time arrives … you will return to Adonai your God and pay attention to what he has said, which will be exactly what I am ordering you to do today – you and your children, with all your heart and all your being…. God will reverse your exile and show you mercy; he will return and gather you from all the peoples to which Adonai your God has scattered you…. Adonai your God will bring you back into the land your ancestors possessed, and you will possess it; he will make you prosper there, and you will become even more numerous than your ancestors.  Then Adonai your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children, so that you will love Adonai your God with all your heart and all your being, and thus you will live” (Deuteronomy 30:1-6).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Repentance or teshuvah – תשובה – tav, shin, vav, bet, hey
– covenant sign destroys the binding of the house, behold

Compassion or rachamim – רחמים – resh, chet, mem, yod, mem
– highest authority protects mighty, the mighty finished work

Womb or rechem – רחם – resh, chet, mem
– highest authority protects mightily

“For this mitzvah which I am giving you today is not too hard for you, it is not beyond your reach.  It isn’t in the sky, so that you need to ask, ‘Who will go up into the sky for us, bring it to us and make us hear it, so that we can obey it?’  Likewise, it isn’t beyond the sea, so that you need to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea for us, bring it to us and make us hear it, so that we can obey it?’  On the contrary, the word is very close to you — in your mouth, even in your heart; therefore, you can do it!” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)

According to Adonai, obeying His commands is not difficult even for those who do not have circumcised hearts. His commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). His mitzvot are not far away in the heavens or beyond the seas that the Israelites need someone to bring His words to them. They are with them, in their mouths, and even in their hearts!

Part of the promised new covenant is “no longer will any of them teach his fellow community member or his brother, ‘Know Adonai’; for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (Jeremiah 31:34). The knowledge and understanding of Adonai and His instructions will be known by everyone because He will put them in everyone from the least to the greatest.

“I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants, loving Adonai your God, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him – for that is the purpose of your life!” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Adonai calls on His two witnesses, the heaven and earth, to witness against Isra’el. He presents the Israelites (and us) with a choice between life and death, but in His mercy and favor, He tells them which to choose: LIFE! He doesn’t leave them in the dark eternally wandering in the wilderness, He gives them instructions for life in the Promised Land, for life in His eternal Kingdom.

“So Yeshua said to the Twelve, ‘Don’t you want to leave too?’ Shim‘on Kefa answered him, ‘Lord, to whom would we go? You have the word of eternal life. We have trusted, and we know that you are the Holy One of God’” (John 6:67-68).

The ‘final conclusion’ for our life is to love Adonai, pay attention to His Word, and cling to Him through every sorrow and joy, weakness and strength, provision and loss, restoration and hope. There is an answer for everyone who has ever asked, “Why am I here?”

“Human being, you have already been told what is good, what Adonai demands of you — no more than to act justly, love grace and walk in purity with your God” (Micah 6:8).

“Here is the final conclusion, now that you have heard everything: fear God, and keep his mitzvot; this is what being human is all about” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Yeshua’s Prays for His Talmidim

“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son may glorify you — just as you gave him authority over all mankind, so that he might give eternal life to all those whom you have given him. And eternal life is this: to know you, the one true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah.”

“I glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me alongside yourself. Give me the same glory I had with you before the world existed.”

“I made your name known to the people you gave me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you, because the words you gave me I have given to them, and they have received them. They have really come to know that I came from you, and they have come to trust that you sent me.”

“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given to me, because they are yours. Indeed, all I have is yours, and all you have is mine, and in them I have been glorified. Now I am no longer in the world. They are in the world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, guard them by the power of your name, which you have given to me, so that they may be one, just as we are. When I was with them, I guarded them by the power of your name, which you have given to me; yes, I kept watch over them; and not one of them was destroyed (except the one meant for destruction, so that the Tanakh might be fulfilled). But now, I am coming to you; and I say these things while I am still in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.”

“I have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world — just as I myself do not belong to the world. I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Set them apart for holiness by means of the truth — your word is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. On their behalf I am setting myself apart for holiness, so that they too may be set apart for holiness by means of the truth.”

“I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word, that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are united with me and I with you, I pray that they may be united with us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. The glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as we are one — I united with them and you with me, so that they may be completely one, and the world thus realize that you sent me, and that you have loved them just as you have loved me.”

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am; so that they may see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these people have known that you sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will continue to make it known; so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I myself may be united with them” (John 17).

©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.

Repentance – Hebrew: Teshuvah

תשוב

In Hebrew the word for ‘repent’ is shuv and means ‘to repent and turn away, ‘to turn back’ or ‘return.’ This word is found over 400 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. Teshuvah, is the Hebrew word for ‘repentance’ and means ‘a return to righteousness.’

“Men are to return from ‘sin,’ which is a path, a life-style, or act deviating from that which God has marked out. They should depart from sin, be concerned about it, confess it …” (Vines Expository Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words).

““Make the heart of this people [sluggish with] fat, stop up their ears, and shut their eyes. Otherwise, seeing with their eyes, and hearing with their ears, then understanding with their hearts, they might repent and be healed!” (Isaiah 6:10).

“For this is what Adonai Elohim, the Holy One of Isra’el, says: “Returning [teshuvah] and resting is what will save you; calmness and confidence will make you strong — but you want none of this!” (Isaiah 30:15).

“With a winnowing fork I am scattering them to the wind at the gates of the land; I am bereaving them, destroying my people, because they will not return [teshuvah] from their ways” (Jeremiah 15:7).

Yeshua and Sha’ul use the same Hebrew concept of ‘returning’ or ‘turning from sin’ when they speak about repentance. Sha’ul taught this concept not only in Jerusalem and Judea, but also to the gentile nations.

Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!” (Matthew 3:2).

“But I prayed for you, Shim‘on, that your trust might not fail. And you, once you have turned back in repentance, strengthen your brothers!” (Luke 22:32)

“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy among God’s angels when one sinner repents [returns]” (Luke 15:10).

“On the contrary, I announced first in Dammesek, then in Yerushalayim and throughout Y’hudah, and also to the Goyim, that they should turn from their sins to God and then do deeds consistent with that repentance (Acts 26:20).

Hebrew Word Pictures

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

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ב Bet – A House means ‘house’ or ‘family.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for teshuvah: sign destroying the binding house revealed.

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

Pray and Repent, Return

“If I shut up the sky, so that there is no rain; or if I order locusts to devour the land; or if I send an epidemic of sickness among my people; then, if my people, who bear my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn [repent[ from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation for a National Day of Prayer on March 30, 1863 to occur one month later on April 30. On that day, he called the people of the United States in humility before Almighty God to fast, pray, and gather together, and appeal to Him for forgiveness and a restoration of blessing.

The following two days, May 1 and 2, battles raged in the north and south that would change the course of the civil war from being a certain Confederate victory to a victory for the Union. Two months later, the turning points of the war came to pass in Vicksburg which divided the Confederacy and Gettysburg which stopped the northern progress of the war.

Today the United States is facing another dividing civil war, not between the north and south, but still between brothers, sisters, friends, and families. This war is for the very human soul of this country and the rest of the world because we have walked away from the One who created the soul, the One who can heal the soul, Yeshua.

“For such a time as this,” in our day and our time, President Donald J. Trump, inaugurated a new national day of prayer. This national and global day of prayer coincides with the Days of Awe, the days of repentance set up by the God of Isra’el when the Israelites came out of Egypt. This inaugural day of prayer falls between the Biblically ‘appointed times’ of Yom Teruah [Feast of Trumpets[ and Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement] when the God of Isra’el calls the people of the nations to repent before His Day of Judgment.

For the first time in the history of the world, people from every nation came together via livestream as well as physically in Washington, DC to repent and return to the ways of the Creator. Jews and non-Jews joined together during the high Sabbath of the Days of Awe because one man heard the prophetic voice of Adonai in the Scriptures written about ancient Isra’el recurring in the events happening in our day.

In these unprecedented times, President Trump issued a message on the inaugural day of prayer and return, September 26, 2020. May his message be embraced so that Elohim hears our nation’s cries. May his message challenge every American and those in the nations who are God’s people to return to Him, His ways, His commandments. May they put away all religious divisions and become ‘One New Man’ in the Messiah of Isra’el. May they return to being the Light they were called to be for the world, a light to show salvation and hope in Yeshua/Jesus.

May each individual prayer of repentance touch the heart of the God of Isra’el that He turns away from judging us for the sins we have globally committed and propagated against Him with other gods and goddesses, His holy institution of marriage between a man and a woman, and the shedding of innocent blood through the murder of the unborn. May each individual prayer of repentance be a catalyst to change the course of history as it did in 1863.

Presidential Message on the National Day of Prayer and Return, 2020

“On this inaugural National Day of Prayer and Return, the First Lady and I join millions of Christians here in the United States and around the world in prayer, as we turn our hearts to our Lord and Savior.

Our great Nation was founded by men and women of deep and abiding faith—a faith that has stood the test of time.  Four hundred years ago, early American settlers trusted their lives to His providence and braved a voyage to a New World.  From the pilgrims who sought His protection aboard the Mayflower to the countless believers who today bow their heads to ask for His guidance during these unprecedented times, our country continues to turn to the Lord.  Following in our ancestors’ footsteps we continue the “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” that provides us enduring strength and reassurance in our times of need.

The trials and tribulations the American people have faced over the past several months have been great.  Yet, as we have seen time and again, the resolve of our citizenry—fortified by our faith in God—has guided us through these hardships and helped to unite us as one Nation under God.  As we continue to combat the challenges ahead of us, we must remember the sage words of President George Washington during his first Presidential Address: “propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.”  As a country and a people, let us renew our commitment to these abiding and timeless principles.

Today, I am pleased to join my voice to yours in thanking God for blessing this nation with great power and responsibility.  With reverence, humility, and thanksgiving, we beg for His continued guidance and protection.”

Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. To learn more about the civil war and how the United States is following in the footsteps of ancient Israel, read the Harbinger and Harbinger II.

Hebrews 6 – Elementary Teachings

“Therefore, leaving behind the initial lessons about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of turning from works that lead to death, trusting God, and instruction about washings, s’mikhah, the resurrection of the dead and eternal punishment. And, God willing, this is what we will do” (Hebrews 6:1-3, Complete Jewish Bible).  

Sin that Leads to Death

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Sin is defined in 1 John 3:4 as breaking the commands of God.  Yeshua refers to this lawlessness as living contrary to Torah, his Father’s instructions for living in this world and preparing for the coming Kingdom (Matthew 7:23, Luke 13:27).  The consequence for sin is eternal spiritual death.  This was the result of Adam’s sin in the Garden and as his offspring, the consequence of our own sin.

After Yeshua was tested in the wilderness by the Adversary, he went back to the Galilee to live in Capernaum and began preaching the gospel, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). In Hebrew, ‘repentance’ is teshuvah and means ‘to return to God.’   By repenting from sin’s lawless deeds, we turn away from actions that lead to spiritual death and return to God and His ways (Luke 5:31-32).

This basic gospel message is considered one of the elementary teachings. This is the gospel message preached by Peter on Shavuot (Pentecost) in Jerusalem.  Sha’ul (Paul) preached the same gospel message gentiles who were putting their faith in Yeshua.

“Kefa answered them, “Turn from sin, return to God [teshuvah], and each of you be immersed on the authority of Yeshua the Messiah into forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit]! For the promise is for you, for your children, and for those far away — as many as Adonai our God may call!” (Acts 2:38-39). 

“You know that I [Sha’ul] held back nothing that could be helpful to you, and that I taught you both in public and from house to house, declaring with utmost seriousness the same message to Jews and Greeks alike: turn from sin to God; and put your trust in our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah” (Acts 20:20-21)

Faith in God

“Be assured, then, that it is those who live by trusting and being faithful who are really children of Avraham” (Galatians 3:7).

Faith or emunah is defined as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).  Our certainty of God’s existence is basic to the gospel message and considered the second elementary teaching.  

Abraham believed he was too old to have an heir, but God promised him he would have an heir.  He told him to count the stars in the sky, if he could, and his descendants would be as numerous.  “He [Abraham] believed in Adonai, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:4-6).  God tested Abraham with this heir.  He was told to take his son, his only (unique) son whom he loved, to Mount Moriah and offer him on an altar.  Abraham obeyed God because he believed God could raise his son from the dead, the greatest example of his faith (Romans 4:17).  This unwavering trust in God’s promise made Abraham the ‘father of faith.’ 

Yeshua taught that those who follow him must put their faith in God, first and foremost (Mark 11:22).  They must love God, first and foremost (Matthew 22:27).   This is a foundation stone of the salvation message.  Separating faith in Yeshua from faith in his Father leaves an incomplete and misdirected faith. There can never be two gods.  Yeshua’s purpose was to glorify his Father,  to bring redemption to the world, and to show people the correct way to have a relationship with God (1 John 4:14, John 14:6, John 17:1,6,22).

During Hanukkah in Jerusalem, Yeshua states to his Jewish brothers and sisters, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).  In Hebrew, echad means ‘one’ in unity.  He made this statement to make sure they understood that he was not another god to be worshiped or even a separate ‘person’ from his Father. By embracing Yeshua’s unique relationship to his Father, we put our faith in the “visible image of the invisible God” because that is who Yeshua is (Colossians 1:15).

Once a person turns from sin, they put their faith in God through faith in Yeshua. Sha’ul preached that repentance and faith in God is for both Jews and gentiles.

I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Yeshua”  (Acts 20:26).

Instruction about Washings

“Now before the coming of Yeshua, Yochanan [John] proclaimed to all the people of Isra’el an immersion [mikveh] in connection with turning to God from sin” (Acts 13:24).”

The Complete Jewish Bible translates ‘baptism’ as ‘instructions about washings’ or a mikveh.  mikveh is an immersion for purification and done numerous times throughout a person’s life for various reasons.  During the month of Elul (August/September), there was an immersion for the repentance of sins before the arrival of the Days of Awe and the Day of Atonement.  This repentance immersion was nothing new. When John preached repentance from sins at the Jordan River, the men and women of Israel were taking part in the repentance immersion during the month of Elul. It was at this same time that Yeshua came to John, immersed in the Jordan, and the Spirit of Adonai came down and rested on him like a dove (Luke 3:20-22).

When the whole house of Israel was “stung in their hearts” after hearing about Yeshua who is Lord and Messiah, they asked Peter what they should do.  He responded with the first three elementary teachings.

“Kefa [Peter] answered them, “Turn from sin, return to God, and each of you be immersed on the authority of Yeshua the Messiah into forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh! For the promise is for you, for your children, and for those far away — as many as Adonai our God may call!” (Acts 2:36-39). 

After Yeshua ascended to heaven, another dimension was added to the mikveh.  The purpose for the repentance immersion was for purification, a pledge of a good conscience towards God through Yeshua’s resurrection (1 Peter 3:21). Immersion became a personal illustration of sharing in Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection.  The immersion became an expression of being set free from the ‘law of sin and death’ and resurrecting into a new life of obedience to God (Romans 6:4-5).

Though there are many Biblical reasons to mikveh, there is only one that expresses our faith in Yeshua. Repentance, faith in God, and teachings about mikveh lead us into the next elementary teaching.

Laying on of Hands

Do not be hasty in the laying on of  hands, and do not share in the sins of others” (1 Timothy 5:22).

Sh’mikah is the fourth elementary teaching. In Hebrew, the word sh’mikah means ‘authority’ and came through ‘laying on of hands.’  Throughout the Bible there are many examples of sh’mikah from Isaac blessing Jacob to Yeshua blessing little children (Luke 18:15-17).  One of the more significant sh’mikah is when Moshe passed his authority onto Joshua to take the Israelites into the Promised Land (Numbers 27:18-20).

One spiritual aspect of sh’mikah is physical healing through the forgiveness of sins.  Yeshua had the authority to forgive sins, and soon after his resurrection, Yeshua passed this authority onto his disciples by breathing on him.   If they forgave an individual’s sins, their sins were forgiven.  If they didn’t, the sins remained on the person (John 20:20-23).

Yeshua gave his disciples the authority to release men and women from the bondage of guilt. To hear Your sins are forgiven” releases anger, bitterness, guilt, and removes the stronghold of the Adversary. Once those deeply-rooted issues were removed, physical healing could begin (Matthew 9:5-6).   The authority that Yeshua gave to the apostles was so powerful that even their shadows healed the sick and set free the demon possessed (Acts 5:15-16).

After Yeshua ascended to his Father, the power and authority of the Ruach HaKodesh was received through laying on of hands (Acts 8:15-17).   Believers in Yeshua rejoiced when they received this power and it was so great that even ‘unsaved’ men desired it. They offered the apostles money to have the power because it resulted in healing they could use to become rich (Acts 8:18-19).

Sha’ul warns Timothy about laying hands too quickly on an individual because there is always the potential of distorting the sh’mikah given to the apostles by Yeshua.  He also conveys the idea that when there is sh’imikah for forgiveness of sin, there is the danger of the sins of one person being placed upon another.

Resurrection of the Dead

Resurrection of the dead is the sixth elementary teaching.  Resurrection, like mikveh, was not a new concept. Isaiah prophesied about the resurrection: “Your dead will live, my corpses will rise; awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust; for your dew is like the morning dew, and the earth will bring the ghosts to life” (Isaiah 26:19). Daniel also prophesied about those who would ‘awaken’ to eternal life or shame:  “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). 

The prophets Elijah and Elisha raised people from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-22, 2 Kings 4:32-35, 2 Kings 13:20-21).  Yeshua raised the widow’s son from the dead and the daughter of the synagogue leader (Luke 7:11-15, Luke 8:41-42, 49-55).  Peter raised Dorcas from the dead; Sha’ul raised Eutychus (Acts 9:36-41, Acts 20:9-10).

When Lazarus died, his sister Martha believed that she would see him again in the resurrection at the ‘last day’ in the Messianic Era.  She also knew that she stood in the presence of the Messiah and her faith in Yeshua brought her brother back to life (John 11:24-26). Many holy people were brought out of their tombs by the same power of God (Matthew 27:50-53).

This elementary teaching about the resurrection was not embraced by everyone in Israel.  The Pharisees believed in the eternal soul and a resurrection of the dead; the Sadducees did not.  This is the reason they tested Yeshua about Levirate marriage and the seven brothers who married the same woman. Whose wife she would be in the resurrection? (Luke 20:27-30). Peter and John irritated the Sadducees by using Yeshua as proof of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 4:1-2). Sha’ul (and even Yeshua) claimed his religious affiliation with the Pharisees and their view of the resurrection (Acts 23:6).

According to the book of Revelation, there are two resurrections.  Those who take part in the first resurrection will reign with Yeshua as priests of God during the Messianic Era (Revelation 20:6-7).   The second death will have no power over these risen saints; they will have already entered the glory of eternal life.  The second resurrection is of all people from the beginning of time who have died. As the prophet Daniel prophesied, some will rise to eternal life, others to judgement and eternal death (Daniel 12:2-3).

“But if it is preached that Messiah has been raised from  the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Messiah has been raised.  And if Messiah has not been raised our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:12-14).

Eternal Punishment

As Sha’ul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now!” (Acts 24:25)

Eternal punishment is the seventh elementary teaching. In the days of Noach, the former heavens and earth were judged by water; wicked and ungodly men were destroyed in the flood.  This present heaven and earth will be judged by fire destroying wicked and ungodly men (2 Peter 3:7).

“Just as the weeds are collected and burned up in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age” (Matthew 13:40).

The godless will experience spiritual death or eternal separation from God.  On the Day of Judgment, books will be opened and everyone will be judged by their works.  Some will find their name has been blotted out of the book of life and are no longer listed with the righteous (Psalm 69:28).  Anyone’s name that is not found written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire along with the Adversary, the beast, the false prophet and even Jezebel (Revelation 20:11-15).

There is also an eternal judgment for some who received eternal life, but lived contrary to God’s commands.  They remain in the outer darkness, outside the gates of the New Jerusalem, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12, Luke 13:28).  Gnashing of teeth implies these people knew the Truth, heard the Truth, but chose not to obey the Truth. They have escaped the lake of fire as through flames. They do not lose their free gift of eternal life, but they lose entrance to the Kingdom (Revelation 22:15).

In the days of Yeshua, gentiles were referred to as ‘dogs’ (Matthew 7:6, 15:26).  Though many gentiles receive justification through Yeshua, they refuse to repent from pagan traditions and idolatry based on lies and deception. They refuse the first elementary teaching of ‘repent’ and ‘return to God.’ ‘Evildoers’ and ‘workers of lawlessness’ are those who disobey God’s commandments – Torah – and/or teach others to disobey ‘the law.’   These people will be least in the Kingdom according to Yeshua’s own words: Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On that Day [of Judgment], many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’ Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!'”  (Matthew 7:21-23).

 “If anyone hears what I am saying and does not observe it, I don’t judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. Those who reject me and don’t accept what I say have a judge — the word which I have spoken will judge them on the Last Day [of Judgment]” (John 12:47-48)

These are the elementary teachings: repentance, faith in God, mikveh, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal punishment. We are to leave behind these elementary teachings so that we can go on to maturity. “And, God willing, this is what we will do.”

©2005 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.