Posts Tagged ‘Thyatira’

Parashah 22: Vayak’hel (He assembled)

Exodus 35:1-38:20
(In a regular year, read with Parashah 23; in a leap year read separately.)

“Moshe assembled the whole community of the people of Isra’el and said to them, ‘These are the things which Adonai has ordered you to do’” (Exodus 35:1).  

The instructions given to the Israelites are sometimes referred to as ‘The Mosaic Law.’ Though that delineation differentiates the Torah from other laws like man-made traditions or even the ‘law of sin and death,’ it has been wrongly interpreted to mean ‘the law that came from Moshe that has nothing to do with anyone who isn’t Jewish.’   In truth, Moshe was only the intercessor between Elohim and the Israelites and did not make any commands or instructions.

Elohim reminds His people to remember the Sabbath day once again.  He places considerable value on this commandment! The Israelites are to work only six days because the seventh day is a holy day of complete rest, the Shabbat. Whoever works on the Shabbat is to be put to death. This seems like a harsh consequence, but the wages of breaking Adonai’s commands is death.  He knows that if one person begins breaking the Sabbath, others will follow, and eventually His holy day will be forgotten. It is important that while the Israelites work to build the Tabernacle, they only work six days and enter His rest on the seventh.

Hebrew Word Pictures 
Sabbath or shabbat – שבת – shin, bet, tav
– the covenant sign consumes the house

Seven or sheva – שבע – shin, bet, ayin
– consume the family, understand

“Then he [Yeshua] said to them, ‘Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat; So the Son of Man is Lord even of Shabbat’” (Mark 2:27-28).

According to Yeshua, the Sabbath was created for man. Elohim created Adam and Eve, and then created the Sabbath day so they could fellowship with Him. Elohim did not create the Sabbath and then humanity; he did not want any bondage to the day. No man-made rule should keep anyone from peace, joy, and fellowship with Adonai on His holy day.

Because Yeshua is Lord of the Shabbat, he can determine what is lawful and what is not. He can decide whether picking grain on the Sabbath is lawful because his disciples were hungry. He can heal on the Sabbath because he came to set people free from ‘carrying a burden.’ As the Son of Man, he also implies that an individual has the authority to decide the proper halacha or ways for walking out the command of Sabbath. With the Ruach haKodesh, true halacha is written on the hearts of the followers of Messiah and not in the traditions of the rabbis and sages.

“A man there had a shriveled hand. Looking for a reason to accuse him of something, they asked him, ‘Is healing permitted on Shabbat?’ But he answered, ‘If you have a sheep that falls in a pit on Shabbat, which of you won’t take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore, what is permitted on Shabbat is to do good’” (Matthew 12:10-2).

“You are not to kindle a fire in any of your homes on the Shabbat” (Exodus 35:3). 

Adonai gives the first of six commands for honoring the Sabbath. While the Israelites were living in the desert, they didn’t need much fire during the day; at night they had the pillar of fire to keep them warm. However, they needed fires for cooking so they were being commanded not to cook on the Sabbath.  They had already been instructed about collecting extra manna on the sixth day, now they are not to cook it over a fire on the seventh.

Over the centuries Jewish traditions turned this simple command into a plethora of rules regarding kindling a fire.  Shabbat candles, for example, are not to be lit after sundown as that is considered kindling a fire.  Hanukkah candles on Shabbat must be lit before the Shabbat candles, both before sunset. In some parts of the colder regions of world, gentiles were hired to kindle fires on Shabbat so Jewish families could stay warm. This type of behavior goes directly against the command for anyone within your home to honor the Shabbat. Kindling a fire is different from maintaining a fire to keep from freezing to death.

Years ago I heard a rabbi teach about living, not dying by Torah. He used the example in Matthew 12:1-6 of Yeshua going through the fields and picking grain on the Sabbath, which was considered work according to Jewish tradition.   The leaders judged him for breaking the Shabbat.  He reminds them of David who, when he was hungry, took the consecrated bread that was supposed to be only for the priests and fed it to his men (1 Samuel 21:1-6, Luke 6:1-5). This was ‘unlawful,’ but acceptable to the priest. Why? When faced with a life or death situation, the priest knew that Elohim desires that we choose life over death (Deuteronomy 30:19). It is a command of Adonai not kindle a fire on Shabbat; however, if someone is going to die from the cold or starvation, it is His will to choose life and kindle that fire.

“Anyone whose heart makes him willing” (Exodus 35:5).

Moshe tells the Israelites everything that Adonai told him on the mountain.   In order to make the Tabernacle, a dwelling place for Adonai’s presence, a collection was taken of gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, fine linen, goat’s hair, tanned ram skins, fine leather, Acacia wood, oil, spices, along with onyx and precious stones.

The key to the contributions concerned the heart of the individual.  Adonai knows the hearts of His people and He doesn’t want their contributions if they don’t have a willing heart. Most, if not all, of these items were received when plundering Egypt and weren’t actually Israelite property. The property belonged to Adonai who delivered the Israelites. Any person who wanted to hold onto the plundered goods would not be included in worshiping Adonai through a free-will offering.

Adonai knows our wicked hearts better than we do which should make us fearful of Him.  In Acts 5:1-11, Ananias and Sapphira are perfect examples of ‘half-hearted’ giving to Adonai and they received their reward.  They died.

Moshe begins listing everything they will be making for the Tabernacle.   He calls on craftsmen to come forward and help building the Mishkan, all the furnishings, and the garments for the priesthood. Everyone whose “hearts were stirred” brought their offerings to Adonai. Everyone whose “spirit made him willing” brought offerings of gold (Exodus 35:20-22).

None of the Israelites, except a chosen few, were given the Ruach Elohim.  Adonai’s Spirit has not yet been poured out for His instructions to be written on the hearts of His people. The Israelites were filled with His Spirit and desiring to obey and live by His rulings. Each person acted out their faith through a willingness of heart, a stirring of their human spirit.

Born again believers who have the indwelling Ruach haKodesh and should have Torah written on their hearts have become much less willing to live by Adonai’s instructions. There seems to be no issue with blaspheming the greatest power ever given to us –– the power of the Ruach haKodesh that transforms us into obedient children in His family.

“Also, everyone who says something against the Son of Man will have it forgiven him; but whoever has blasphemed the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit,  will not be forgiven” (Luke 2:10).

Only a select few Israelites, which included Betzal’el and Oholi’av, were filled with the Ruach Elohim.  They were given wisdom, knowledge, and understanding about working with gold, silver, bronze, precious stones, and woodcarving, and the skills for every kind design work including embroidery. They were also given the ability to teach others.

The Feminine Touch

“Likewise the women whose heart stirred them to use their skill” (Exodus 35:26).

Women also gave what they had of the plundered goods; they were not separated out or ignored.  They had skills which were needed and used in creating the Tabernacle. Spinning was a woman’s work and the Israelite women immediately began spinning the blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, fine linen and goat’s hair.

With the modern-day feminist movement, women in the Body of Messiah have bought into the same lies as the women of the world.  They believe they need to be equal to men, not accepting that they were created differently. The ‘spirit of Jezebel’ has bewitched women to rise up and take positions of leadership over men. When Eve stepped out from under the authority of Adam, she became the catalyst for bringing sin into the world. The failure of men to be strong spiritual leaders has occurred because women have stepped out of their place of authority, which is under man, who is under the authority of Messiah, who is under the authority of his Father (Luke 7, 6-8, 1 Corinthians 11).

Women argue against wearing a head covering as a sign of their authority, but some women in the Hebrew roots movement will wear tzizit and prayer shawls that are supposed to be worn by men.  They have embraced the idea that ‘Israelites’ includes both sexes, when only Israelite men were counted when leaving Egypt or for the census.  Women were not considered less valuable than men or unequal, they were placed under the authority of men: fathers, brothers, and husbands protecting them from being raped, sexually assaulted or abused within the community. In their proper position, women had much to offer in the building of the Tabernacle.

Some may argue that in Adonai’s Kingdom there is no difference between men and women (Galatians 3:27-28). This is true spiritually. Both men and women sin, and both need redemption.  However, in the physical world, there are obvious physical differences between men and women.   Though physically weaker than men, women are to be respected as heirs to the Kingdom. If husbands do not respect their wives as fellow heirs, their prayers will be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

Feminism has blurred the roles between men and women so decisively that if this were the days of Moshe, women would be forcing men to spin goat’s hair while they fought for the right to melt gold.  The confusion of gender roles would undermine ‘hearts being stirred’ to offer what each individual was gifted to offer.   Dissatisfaction with the gender roles would have never propelled a physical Tabernacle to rise up in the wilderness, let alone a spiritual one built with living stones.

Women also served at the Tabernacle. The Hebrew word for ‘served’ is tzaba and means to ‘minister.’  Tzaba also infers ‘a soldier who goes off to war’ and is the root for the Hebrew ‘hosts,’ tzvaot. Tzaba is used to describe the service of the priests, Aaron’s descendants in the Tabernacle (Numbers 4:23,35,39).  Though it is believed that those who performed Tabernacle duties were only men, it is implied that Levitical women also had ministering roles in the Tabernacle.

The hearts of the children of Isra’el were stirred above and beyond what was asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20-21). Their willingness to give for the Tabernacle proved their desire for Adonai to live among them.

“The people were restrained from making additional contributions.  For what they had already was not only sufficient for doing all the work, but too much!” (Exodus 36:7)

Yeshua and Thyatira
Revelation 2:18-29

Yeshua reveals himself to Thyatira as the ‘Son of God’  with a very detailed description of his glorified person. His eyes are a fiery flame and his feet are burnished brass.  With his fiery eyes, he searches minds and hearts and gives to each person what they deserve. Everyone, including followers of Yeshua will be accountable for everything said and done in this life, as well as how they build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (1 Corinthians 3:13, Ephesians 2:20).

Thyatira was named after the Greek goddess Pelopia and was located south of modern-day Istanbul (aka Constantinople named after Constantine).  A god-fearer named Lydia who sold purple cloth was from Thyatira.  When she heard Sha’ul’s message of salvation, Adonai opened her heart.   She was so full of joy that she invited Sha’ul and Silas to her home (Acts 16:14-15).

The believers in Thyatira have love, faith, service, and perseverance.  They continue to spiritually grow and their works increase as they mature.  However, they tolerate a woman known as Jezebel, a false prophetess who leads Adonai’s people into sexual immorality and encourages them to eat food sacrificed to idols.   Yeshua has dealt with this woman and given her time to repent, but she has refused.  He will judge her by throwing her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her will have great trouble.  He will even strike “her children dead!” (Revelation 2:23).  

The account of Jezebel is found in 1 Kings 16-21 and 2 Kings 9. Jezebel married Ahab who was the King of northern Isra’el.  He was a weak man and allowed Jezebel to take authority over her him and the kingdom.  She did not love the Elohim of Isra’el and she had zero moral compass.  She had her husband steal Nahab’s vineyard and kill him.  She had many of Isra’el’s prophets murdered. She allowed temples to be built in the northern kingdom for worshiping Ba’al. Only the prophet Elijah stood against her and her 450 prophets of Ba’al.  When the Elohim of Isra’el is proven greater and more powerful than the Ba’als, Elijah and Jezebel become mortal enemies, and Jezebel seeks his death.  After King Ahab dies, Jehu is anointed by Elisha to overthrow the house of Ahab and confront Jezebel.  She eventually dies by falling from a balcony and her body is eaten by dogs.

According to Yeshua, Jezebel knows “Satan’s deep secrets” (Revelation 2:24). This makes her not only a false prophetess, but a woman of the occult.   She is called an adulteress and those who follow her false prophecies commit spiritual adultery with her will suffer the consequences.  They will endure a bed of suffering, trouble, and watch their children die!

To be thrown onto a bed of suffering alludes to the ‘lake of fire that burns with sulfur’ which refers to the second death or complete spiritual death (Revelation 20:8).  Spiritual death is eternal without any hope of redemption. It is the final judgment for the Adversary, the beast, the false prophet, and those who follow Jezebel.

Fighting against the ‘spirit of Jezebel’ is oppressive and burdensome.  There is always the temptation to fall into spiritual adultery because the Adversary’s ways are enticing.  The battle is so fierce for the believers in Thyatira that Yeshua adds nothing more for them except to “hold fast to what you have until I come” (Revelation 2:25).

Those who overcome the ‘spirit of Jezebel’ will receive authority to rule over the nations.  Their authority will not be usurped by any demonic spirit.  They will rule with an iron staff and crush the nations to pieces like pottery.  Their authority will not be readily accepted, but they will have victory because they overcame Jezebel’s deep secrets. They will also be given the Morning Star.  Discerning true prophets of Adonai who give light to the congregation and put to death the false ones like Jezebel is utterly important for receiving a reward from Yeshua.

“Yes, we have the prophetic Word made very certain. You will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark, murky place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19)

(See Study Helps for information on the book Illusion of Truth, a testimony about spiritual warfare and the victory over the ‘spirit of Jezebel.’) 

The Tent Coverings

The tent covering was made of layers from different fabric. On the inside where the priests would minister, ten sheets, all the same size, were made with finely woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet yarn. They were joined together so the interior part of the tent formed one single unit. The next covering layer was made of spun goat’s hair. The sheets were made in the same way, ten sheets, all the same size, joined together into one single unit. Another layer of covering was made of fine leather from rams’ skins.

The tent was set up using planks and cross bars made of Acacia wood overlaid with gold and set in silver sockets. For the entrance to the tent, a screen of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen were woven together in colors. It had five posts and hooks. Everything was overlaid with gold while the five sockets were bronze.

K’ruvim or Cherubim

“He made the [holy] curtain with k’ruvim worked in that had been crafted by a skilled artisan” (Exodus 36:8).

Skilled men made the Holy Curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place of blue, purple, scarlet yarn and fine linen. Other skilled artisans wove k’ruvim into each sheet and the Holy Curtain. K’ruvim is the Hebrew word for ‘cherubim’ and means ‘nearness’ or ‘intimacy.’ They are a type of angelic being anointed to guard the heavenly sanctuary, and one specific k’ruvim guarded the Garden of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13).

K’ruvim has the same root as korban which means ‘offering. ’ Each of the artisans ‘drew near’ to Adonai as they worked His instructed designs into the fabric.  Imagine how the Ruach Elohim was moving, teaching, and showing these men things they could never have imagined without divine guidance!  Consider that the Tabernacle would become a very spiritual place where the priests, and especially the high priest and Adonai would meet, but it was also very physical ‘tent’.  Through the physical actions of these men and women, as they created and worked, they entered the spiritual realm.

The prophet Ezekiel describes a k’ruv, who had “the seal on perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in Eden, the garden of God” (Ezekiel 28: 11-12)  This particular k’ruv protected a large region and was placed on Adonai’s holy mountain.  “You walked back and forth among stones of fire.  You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness  was found in you” (Ezekiel 28:14-15).  

This k’ruv became filled with violence and sinned.  He was thrown out from the mountain of Adonai and destroyed by fire and turned to ash. “You protecting k’ruv, your heart grew proud because of your beauty, you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. Therefore I have brought forth fire from within you, and it has devoured you; I reduced you into ashes on the ground”  (Ezekiel 28:17-18).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Cherubim or k’ruvim – כרבים – kaf, resh, bet, yod, mem
– to cover the highest authority of the house, the mighty finished work

The Holy Place

“A tent was set up, the outer one, which was called the Holy Place; in it were the menorah, the table and the Bread of the Presence” (Hebrews 9:2).

Every object in the Holy Place within the Mishkan was made from gold.  Gold comes from the Hebrew word zahav and means ‘brilliance and splendor.’  Gold is associated with all that is ‘Kadosh l’Adonai.’ The judgments of Adonai are true and righteous and are to be desired more than fine gold (Psalm 19:9-10). King Solomon compared instruction, wisdom, and understanding to gold (Proverbs 8:10, 16:16). Faith is tested in the fire like gold because it is very precious (1 Peter 1:7).

The Ark of the Covenant 

“Arise, Lord, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might” (Psalm 132:8).

Betzal’el made the Ark of the Covenant from Acacia wood and overlaid it with gold inside and out.  He put molding at the top, made rings for the corners, and put carrying poles in the rings. He made the kaphar or cover for the Ark.  On the cover were two k’ruvim made of pure hammered gold which were one piece with the cover. The k’ruvim had their wings spread so they covered the Ark. They faced each other, but their eyes looked down toward the center of the Ark covering where Adonai and the high priest would meet. The k’ruvim on the Ark of the Covenant match the descriptions of the k’ruvim found in Ezekiel 1:4-14 and Revelation 4:6-8.  In both references, the k’ruvim are with Adonai as part of His chariot and His Throne.  They are so close to Him that to be close to them brings nearness to Him.

The Table of Presence

“The altar was of wood, five-and-a-quarter feet high and three-and-a-half feet long; its length and walls were also of wood. He said to me, ‘This is the table which is in the presence of Adonai’”
(Ezekiel 41:22).

Betzal’el made the Table of Presence of Acacia wood with a molding and overlaid it with pure gold. He made four gold rings and attached the rings to the corners of the table near the legs for the gold-covered carrying poles.  All utensils that were used with the table, its dishes, pans, bowls, and pitchers, were made of pure gold.

The Altar of Incense

“All the people were outside, praying, at the time of the incense burning, when there appeared to him an angel of Adonai standing to the right of the incense altar” (Luke 1:10-11).

Betzal’el made the Altar for burning incense from Acacia wood with a molding and overlaid its top, sides, and horns with pure gold. He made two gold rings to hold the gold-covered carrying poles fastening them under the molding at the two corners of the Altar on both sides. He also created the anointing oil and pure incense as instructed by Adonai.

The Menorah

“Then the angel that had been speaking with me returned and roused me, as if he were waking someone up from being asleep, and asked me, ‘What do you see?’ I answered, ‘I’ve been looking at a menorah; it’s all of gold, with a bowl at its top, seven lamps on it, and seven tubes leading to the lamps at its top’” (Zechariah 4:1-2).

Betzal’el hammered the holy Menorah from 60 pounds of pure gold.  He made its base, shaft, cups, rings, outer leaves, and flowers a single unit. Six branches extended from its sides –– three on one side and three on the other.  Each branch had three cups shaped like almond blossoms with a ring of outer leaves and petals. On the central shaft, he made four cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with its ring of outer leaves and petals.  Where each pair of branches joined the central shaft was a ring of outer leaves with a pair of branches. The rings of outer leaves and their branches were one piece with the shaft making the whole Menorah one piece of hammered pure gold. He also made its seven lamps, tongs, and trays of pure gold.

In Hebrew, ‘almond’ is shakeed which means ‘diligence, perseverance or watchfulness.’  In Judaism, the ‘Tree of Life’ is believed to be an almond life.  In Scripture, the almond symbolizes old age (Ecclesiastes 12:5), a rod of authority (Numbers 17:8), and the eyes of Adonai.

“The word of Adonai came to me: ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ ‘I see the branch of an almond tree.’ ‘You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that My Word is fulfilled’” (Jeremiah 1:11-12).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Almond or shakeed – שקד – shin, kof, dalet
– consume what is behind the pathway

Imagine standing in the Holy Place as a Levite priest. Every object is covered in gold from the poles and crossbars holding up the tent to the frame around you. It would be like standing inside a cubed golden box. The thickness of the outer coverings blocks the light from the outside. The Menorah is filled with oil and glows. Its light reflects from every golden object from the tables to the utensils. A supernatural light –– The Divine Presence –– guarded by the k’ruvim, the angels of Adonai, surrounds you in its perfection.

Now imagine stepping through the thick curtain separating the Holy Place from the Outer Courtyard into the sunlight. The difference between the divine light in Holy Place and the sunshine in the Outer Courtyard makes you squint your eyes. This difference between the place of purification and the place of sacrifice is the difference between the ‘light’ on the first day of creation and the light of the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day.

The Outer Courtyard

Everything in the Outer Courtyard was made of bronze.  Bronze comes from the Hebrew word nechosheth and can mean brass, brazen or copper.  Bronze is an alloy mixed with other metals such as zinc, aluminum or nickel and easily cast into a shape.   It was not a precious metal, but was strong, durable and resistant to corrosion. The serpent that Moshe held up in the wilderness was made of bronze (Numbers 21:8-9) and Goliath had a bronze coat of chain mail, a bronze helmet, bronze leg armor, and a bronze javelin (1 Samuel 17:5-6).

Betzal’el made the Courtyard tapestries of finely woven linen. He also cast bronze sockets and posts with silver rings for hanging the tapestries and banded silver posts. The screen for the entrance gate to the Most Holy Place was woven in colors of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen. The tent pegs for the Tabernacle and the Courtyard around were made of bronze.

The Altar of Sacrifice

“Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar” (Psalm 51:19).

Betzal’el made the square Altar for burnt offerings from Acacia wood.  He made horns on its four corners and overlaid the whole Altar with bronze. He made the pots, shovels, basins, meat-hooks, and fire pans out of bronze.  He made a grate of bronze netting for under its rim that went halfway up the Altar.  The corners had four bronze rings for the four bronze carrying poles that fit into the rings on the sides of the Altar.  The inside of the Altar was made of planks and remained hollow.

The Bronze Laver

“He made the basin of bronze with its base of bronze from the mirrors of the women serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting” (Exodus 38:8).

Betzal’el made the Laver of bronze creating its base from the mirrors of the women serving at the entrance to the Tabernacle.  Mirrors in ancient times were not glass like mirrors today, they were highly polished bronze. By making the base from a reflective material, the priests could see whether or not their face and bodies were washed of blood before entering the Holy Place.

Yeshua and Ephesus
Revelation 2:12-17

In the message to the congregation in Ephesus, Yeshua describes himself as the “one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven gold menorahs.” Yeshua, as the holy and beaten Menorah, walks among the menorahs of his people because he is the one from whom the congregation receives its light. Without him, there is no light in the darkness (John 1:9).

Ephesus was a Greek metropolis known for its Temple to Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  Acts 19 recounts Paul’s visit to Ephesus and his comments regarding the goddess Artemis and ‘the fallen stone.’ Within this city, there is great darkness and the light of the Menorah, Yeshua, is of utmost importance.

Yeshua knows the Messianic believers in Ephesus work hard; they persevere and they don’t grow weary for his sake.  They hate wickedness and liars. Yet, they have one grievous sin –– they have lost their first love. Their works have become either mundane, are just an outward act for others to see or done for personal satisfaction. Though they may take care of the poor, the widow, and the orphan, they no longer do it out of love for the ‘light of the world.’

When Sha’ul’ wrote to the Ephesians, his letter was filled with hope and encouragement. He writes about their inheritance and standing in the heavenly realm.  He explains  how they have become part of the Commonwealth of Isra’el and are being built into a holy, spiritual temple.  He compares a marriage relationship to Messiah and his Body.  It is to Ephesians he writes that their salvation is by grace through faith, not their works. 

Yeshua sees only their works, not their love for him. The consequence for this sin is the removal of their menorah.  If they don’t repent and return to loving Yeshua with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, they will be left in darkness.  Without his light, they will no longer shine in the dark city around them and their testimony will be snuffed out.

In their favor, they hate the Nicolaitans. In Greek, nico means ‘conquer’ and laitan refers to ‘lay people.’  Nicolaitan means ‘conquer the lay people.’ This implies there is a hierarchy of those who rule and those who submit to their rule. Yeshua hates this hierarchy because he is to be the Shepherd over his sheep, King over his kingdom, High Priest over his priesthood, and the Bridegroom of his bride.

When Yeshua returns with his reward, the overcomer will be allowed to enter the Garden of Eden and eat from the Tree of Life. They will experience the total restoration of everything, including the eternal Sabbath (Revelation 22:14). Until that time, the Ephesians must return to Yeshua, their first love, so that their menorah will not be removed from its stand and they assimilate into the darkness of the world.

“How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city!” (Revelation 22:14)

©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 22 – The Promise of Messiah

“Next the angel showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1).

“A river went out of ‘Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided into four streams. The name of the first is Pishon; it winds throughout the land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. The name of the second river is Gichon; it winds throughout the land of Kush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it is the one that flows toward the east of Ashur. The fourth river is the Euphrates” (Genesis 2:10-14).

The revelation to Yochanan continues with the ‘river of life’ flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. The prophet Zechariah prophesies about this river of fresh water flowing out of Jerusalem bringing life to the Dead Sea (Zechariah 14:8-9, Ezekiel 47:1-9). In the new heaven and new earth, the ‘river of life’ will flow from the life-giving throne of Adonai in the New Jerusalem.

In Gan Eden, there was a ‘river of life’ that watered the garden. It divided into four streams: Pishon, Gichon, Tigris, and Euphrates. These rivers continue exist today in name only.

Pishon in Hebrew means ‘press on, break forth, and spring forward.’ Some scholars believe this river originated from a spring and created a type of delta. The Pishon flowed through Havilah where there was pure gold. Havilah means ‘to whirl in a circular motion’ and ‘sand’ which may be where the idea of a delta comes or even ‘swirling sand’ like an eddy.

Gichon in Hebrew means ‘bursting forth.’ This is the name of a spring near Jerusalem, the Gichon spring from where the priests gather water for the water-pouring ceremony for the Feast of Tabernacles.

Tigris in Hebrew is hiddekel and means ‘rapid.’ This river flowed east toward Assyria or northern Mesopotamia. A river by this name sources in the mountains of Armenia and flows southeast.

Euphrates in Hebrew is perat and means ‘fruitful.’ A river by this name is the longest river of western Asia and also sources in the Armenian mountains flowing into the Persian Gulf.

When Yeshua returns, there will be an earthquake that will change the geography of Jerusalem and the whole world similar to the flood. What we see and know now will change drastically even though geographical names may remain the same.

“Between the main street and the river was the Tree of Life producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations — no longer will there be any curses” (Revelations 22:2-3).

Between the New Jerusalem’s main street of pure transparent gold and the ‘river of life’ is the Etz Chayim or Tree of Life. Before Adam and Havah ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they had a ‘taste’ of the fruit from the Etz Chayim. In Eternity, the Tree of Life will be the sustenance for the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem.

According to Jewish tradition, the Etz Chayim is the Torah. King Solomon reminds his son that the commandments of Adonai impart life, peace, grace, truth, and wisdom (Proverbs 3:18). In the new heaven and new earth, there will no longer be a need for Torah; it will disappear.

Glorified, immortal men and women will eat the fruit from the Etz Chayim that produces 12 kinds of fruit, a different kind every month. These fruits will be edible and may be the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These fruits will be the pathway of life in Eternity –– heavenly halacha.

The leaves of the fruit on the Etz Chayil will heal the nations. The prophet Ezekiel says the leaves on the trees will have ‘healing’ properties’ (Ezekiel 47:12). The Hebrew the word for ‘healing’ in Ezekiel is teruphah and means ‘medicine.’ The Hebrew word for ‘heal’ in Revelation is marpha and means ‘healer’ in the sense of ‘faith healing’ or ‘alternative medicine.’

Before allopathic medicine, leaves from herbs and trees were used for healing the body. Olive leaves were used to heal the skin and reduce fevers. Willow leaves and bark reduced pain. Comfrey leaves brought relief for muscle sprains, bruises, and inflammation. Essential oils, made from leaves of plants, have become very popular. Dr. David Steward wrote a book entitled, Healing Oils of the Bible that describes the healing properties of the many herbs and oils mentioned in the Bible.

Why do the nations need ‘healing’ in Eternity where there is no pain or sorrow? The Greek word for ‘healing’ in this verse is therapeia and means ‘attention, medical service.’ A deeper look into the word holds the unique purpose of glorifying Adonai as the Healer. The ‘healing leaves’ may ensure not just eternal life, but also eternal health. Putting the Greek and Hebrew meanings together, the leaves may be used to heal by faith bringing glory to Rafa-El, the Healer.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Tree of Life – Etz Chayil – אץ חיל

א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ and ‘strong.’

צ Tzade – A Fishhook means ‘pull toward.’

ח Chet – A Fence means ‘protect.’

י Yod – Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ל Lamed – A Shepherd’s Staff means ‘draw near.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for etz chayil: first strong pull toward to protect the finished work, draw near.

“The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads” (Revelation 22:3-4).

The servants will worship the El Elyon in the ‘face’ of Yeshua. In the Hebrew, the ‘sign’ of Yeshua, the alef tav –– את –– is placed between ‘see’ and ‘face’ putting Yeshua into the vision. The name yod-hey-vav-hey will be written on the servants’ foreheads –– the reward given to the congregation in Philadelphia.

“Night will no longer exist, so they will need neither the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because Adonai, God, will shine upon them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).

In Eternity, there will be no day or night; there will be no lamp or light of the sun. Adonai will shine His ‘face’ upon those living in the heavenly New Jerusalem just as He put His Name upon His people in the priestly blessing (Numbers 6:22-26). Those glorified souls who live in the New Jerusalem will reign as kings forever, judging angels (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

“Then he said to me, “These words are true and trustworthy: Adonai, God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must happen soon. Look! I am coming very soon. Blessed is the person who obeys the words of the prophecy written in this book! I warn everyone hearing the words of the prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written in this book. And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book” (Revelation 22:6-7, 18-19).

Every word in the book of Revelation, the unveiling of Yeshua, can be trusted because they are emet – true. Through the spirit of prophecy, a messenger sent to Yochanan reveals events which will happen soon.

The messenger of Yeshua states that those who ‘obey’ the words in this prophetic book will be ‘blessed.’ In Hebrew, the word for ‘obey’ is shamar or ‘guard’ and means to ‘watch, keep, and preserve.’ Those who guard, keep, and preserve the words in Revelation will be blessed. Whoever doesn’t guard, obey, and preserve this prophecy –– by adding to or removing from –– will lose their share in the Etz Chayil and their entry into the New Jerusalem.

Yeshua began his revelation by stating that those who ‘read’ and ‘hear’ the words of the prophecy and ‘guard over, watch, and preserve the words, will be blessed; he ends it with the same words (Revelation 1:3).

“Then I, Yochanan, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am only a fellow-servant with you and your brothers, the prophets and the people who obey the words in this book. Worship God!” (Revelation 22:8-9).

Hearing the messenger’s words, Yochanan falls down to worship the angel. The angel responds, “Don’t do that!” How does one know whether a holy presence is a messenger or the ‘Angel of Adonai,’ as both bring on ‘fear.’ If the holy presence tells you to stand up and not worship him; it is an angel; Yeshua will receive your humble worship.

The angelic messenger says he is a servant of Adonai along with the disciples, the prophets, and those who guard the words of the prophecy. ‘Guarding’ the words of the prophecy does not mean ‘sealing’ it so no one can read them; reading the prophetic words brings a blessing.

“Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy” (Revelation 22:11).

Until the judgment ‘Day of Adonai’ and the restoration of Eternity, those who act wickedly will continue to act wickedly. In Greek, the word for ‘wicked’ means ‘to act against Torah.’ There will be lawless, anti-Torah people who have the spirit of anti-messiah and will continue on that path. The Greek word for ‘filthy’ means ‘defiled with iniquity.’ In Hebrew, ‘iniquity’ is avon and means ‘to be guilty of breaking the law.’ Iniquity begins in the heart and comes out as sinful ‘filthy’ actions.

The Greek word for ‘righteous’ means to ‘adhere to divine law’ and ‘keeping the commands of God.’ Those who are righteous will gain wisdom from the Torah, the symbolic Tree of Life. They will obey the commands of Adonai from Genesis through Revelation. The Greek phrase for ‘keep doing what is righteous’ means they will practice the commands of Adonai as their lifestyle. They will be innocent, faultless, without guilt, and approved by Elohim. Those who are righteous, keeping the commands of Adonai, will continue on the path of obedience.

The Greek word for ‘holy’ means to ‘to be different from the world.’ The Greek word is similar to the Hebrew word kadosh and suggests being set-apart or consecrated for Elohim. Those who have chosen to be ‘holy as He is holy’ will continue to walk in holiness, being set-apart by Adonai.

“Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12).

Yeshua says, ‘Behold’ or ‘Pay attention.’ In Hebrew the word is hineni. This word is first used in Genesis when Elohim points out all of the plants that He was giving Adam for food. He says, “Look here, I’m pointing this out to you!”

Hineni also means ‘Here I am, send me!’ It implies a complete readiness to do the will of Adonai physically as well as spiritually. Joseph used hineni when Ya’akov called him to go look for his brothers –– the event that began Isra’el‘s move toward slavery. Moshe said hineni when Adonai called to him from the burning bush –– the event that began Isra’el’s deliverance from slavery.

“Each [person] will be rewarded according to his work. For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. Using the grace God gave me, I [Sha’ul] laid a foundation, like a skilled master-builder; and another man is building on it. But let each one be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Yeshua the Messiah. Some will use gold, silver or precious stones in building on this foundation; while others will use wood, grass or straw. But each one’s work will be shown for what it is; the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire — the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work someone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward; if it is burned up, he will have to bear the loss: he will still escape with his life, but it will be like escaping through a fire” (1 Corinthians 3:8-15).

Yeshua is returning soon. He will be complete the will of his Father and bring the rewards he promised to the congregations in Ephesus, Pergamum, Sardis, Thyatira, Smyrna, Philadelphia and Laodicea who had ears to hear what the Ruach haKodesh said to each of them (Isaiah 40:10, Isaiah 62:11, Daniel 12:13, Matthew 5:16-20).

“Those who have ears [in Ephesus], let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him winning the victory I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life which is in God’s Gan-‘Eden” (Revelation 2:7).

“Those who have ears [in Smyrna], let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. He who wins the victory will not be hurt at all by the second death'” (Revelation 2:11).

“Those [in Pergamum] who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him winning the victory I will give some of the hidden man. I will also give him a white stone, on which is written a new name that nobody knows except the one receiving it”” (Revelation 2:17).

“But to the rest of you [in Thyatira], to those who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some people call the ‘deep things’ of the Adversary, I say this: I am not loading you up with another burden; only hold fast to what you have until I come. To him who wins the victory and does what I want until the goal is reached, I will give him authority over the nations; he will rule them with a staff of iron and dash them to pieces like pottery, just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities”” (Revelation 2:24-28).

“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. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities”‘ (Revelation 3:5-6).

“I will make him [in Philadelphia] who wins the victory a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he will never leave it. Also I will write on him the name of my God and the name of my God’s city, the new Yerushalayim coming down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities”‘ (Revelation 3:11-13).

“I will let him [in Laodicea] who wins the victory sit with me on my throne, just as I myself also won the victory and sat down with my Father on his throne. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities”‘” (Revelation 3:20-22).

“I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:12).

Yeshua doesn’t call himself the ‘A and the Z,’ the first and last letters of the Latin alphabet because he didn’t speak Latin; he also didn’t speak Greek and call himself the ‘Alpha and Omega.’ Being the ‘first and the last’ letters of any alphabet may not seem important, but in the Hebrew Scriptures the alef and the tav, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, have great significance.

Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures the two letters alef and tav –– את –– appear without any particular meaning. Some consider ‘et’ a type of modifier, but it has no specific purpose. In Revelation 1:8 and 21:6, Yeshua clarifies the meaning and purpose of those two letters: “I am the alef and the tav, the beginning and the end.” By claiming himself to be the ‘et,’ he is found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures so the reader can see him. Using the Hebrew Word Picture for ‘et,’ Yeshua is the ‘first strong sign of the covenant’ dispersed throughout the Old Testament. He is in the beginning, the middle, and the end. To remove or change those letters removes his presence in the written Scriptures; actions for which he gave a dire warning.

Hebrew Word Picture

Alef and Tav – ‘et’ – את

א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ and ‘strong.’

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

The Hebrew Word Picture for et: first strong sign of the covenant.

How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city!” (Revelation 22:14).

A blessing is given to those who wash their robes –– who take personal action. Sardis was rebuked for having soiled clothes. If they didn’t wash their soiled clothes, their name would be blotted out of the Book of Life. They could not enter gates of the New Jerusalem and eat from the Tree of Life.

Soiled clothes means to be contaminated by the pagan ways of the nations. Washing soiled clothes requires effort. Sha’ul wanted to present the Corinthians as a pure and holy Bride, but some had been led astray by deceiving doctrines (2 Corinthians 11:2). The deception began in Gan Eden with the serpent asking Havah, “Did God really say?”

Has Adonai changed His mind about what He views as ‘clean’ and ‘unclean,’ ‘holy’ and ‘profane?’ It’s not easy to keep one’s robe unspotted from deceptive doctrines, it takes discernment and a willingness to remove the defilement of pagan traditions and the spots of twisted truth (Joshua 24:15). Those who are willing to wash their robes will be considered victorious and enter the New Jerusalem and eat from the Etz Chayil.

Outside are the homosexuals, those involved with the occult and with drugs, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:15).

Outside the gates of the heavenly New Jerusalem will be those who lived contrary to the Torah of Adonai; those who rebelled when He spoke His Word to their heart (Hebrews 3;15). These people outside the gates have ‘eternal life,’ but refused to repent. They lose all rewards and are just barely saved out of the lake of burning fire and sulfur.

The sexually immoral –– the homosexual, the fornicator, the adulterer –– will not enter the city. Those who are involved in sorcery will also remain outside the gates. The Greek word for ‘sorcery’ is pharmakeia and means ‘the use of medicine, drugs or spells.’ Specifically, pharmakeia means ‘to poison’ and the noun pharmakeus or ‘pharmacist’ means ‘poisoner.’ Pharmaceuticals are drugs given by pharmacists to poison the human body. ‘Sorcery’ is always used in connection with idolatry or placing someone or something higher than Adonai and His Word of Truth.

“I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Messianic communities. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).

Yeshua says he is the ‘root’ and ‘offspring’ of David. The ‘root’ of King David is the Tribe of Judah. Yeshua came from the lineage of Jesse whose grandfather was Obed, the son of Boaz and Ruth. He is the ‘offspring’ of David as his mother was a descendant of King David (Luke 3:31-34). He was ‘in the beginning’ as the ‘root’ and he is ‘at the end’ as the ‘offspring’ (Isaiah 11:10).

Yeshua calls himself the bright ‘Morning Star.’ In keeping with astronomical signs throughout Revelation, the morning star is the planet Venus seen just before dawn. This ‘star’ refers to the prophetic Word that lights our hearts until the Messianic Era arrives (2 Peter 1:2). Those in Thyatira who are victorious over the false prophetess of Jezebel and her occultic practices will be given the Morning Star, Yeshua, as their reward (Revelation 2:27-28).

“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone who is thirsty come — let anyone who wishes, take the water of life free of charge” (Revelation 22:17).

All you who are thirsty, come to the water!” Yeshua quoted Isaiah when he attended the water- pouring ceremony during Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:37-39). He directed the attention to himself and the Spirit that would be poured out after he was resurrected. Not only does the Ruach haKodesh offer living water, but the glorified Bride of Messiah is filled with rivers of living water flowing from her innermost being to the nations outside the New Jerusalem.

 “The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’” (Revelation 22:20).

All things must be established by a witness of two. Yochanan is the first, the second is the angelic messenger, and the third is Yeshua. He repeats that he is ‘coming soon’ to establish his return as a fact in which we can put our hope.

Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua!” (Revelation 22:20).

Amen! So be it! In Hebrew, aman means ‘to support or confirm, to be reliable or established.’ Its root comes from emunah or ‘faithfulness.’ There is nowhere in Scripture that any prophet, apostle or Yeshua ended their prayers with aman. According to a footnote for Matthew 6:13, Yeshua didn’t end the Disciples’ Prayer with aman. The original manuscript of Revelation did not use aman. This is a Greek addition. There is no need for aman because Yeshua’s words and his return are confirmed, reliable, and established because they were spoken by Yeshua himself as the witness.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Amen, aman – אמן

Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ and ‘strong.’

Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for aman: first strong mighty life.

“May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!” (Revelation 22:21).

Come Messiah Yeshua. This should be the desire of everyone who puts their faith in the Messiah of Isra’el. Bo Mashiach. Come Yeshua. May it be in our day, in our lifetime.

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

Revelation: The Seven Messianic Communities

Most of what is written by the Jewish apostle Yochanan (John) in the Book of Revelation is found throughout the Torah and the Prophets beginning in Genesis with the creation of the heavens and the earth.   This shouldn’t be surprising because everything that Yochanan knew and understood came from the only Scriptures available –– The Hebrew Scriptures. 

As I have studied Revelation throughout the years, adding my understanding of my Biblically Jewish heritage, inclusive of the symbolism found in the ‘appointed times’ of the Lord, discrepancies and confusion slipped into the background. The Spirit of God opened my eyes to new and unique perspectives.  Several years ago I used a similar approach to study the seven congregations in Asia Minor.   Drawing from historical events that happened to Isra’el transformed preconceived ideas and previous teachings that didn’t include a Hebrew perspective and were even anti-semitic at their core. 

These are the links to the Seven Congregations in Asia. To continue studying more chapters in Revelation, click here.

Revelation Chapter 1 – Unveiling Yeshua

Revelation Chapter 2 – Ephesus

Revelation Chapter 2 – Smyrna

Revelation Chapter 2 – Pergamum

Revelation Chapter 2 – Thyratira

Revelation Chapter 3 – Sardis

Revelation Chapter 3 – Philadelphia

Revelation Chapter 3 – Laodicea