Posts Tagged ‘Tree of Life’

A Tale of Two Trees

“Out of the ground Adonai, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9).

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

The tale of this tree begins when Elohim presented two trees to Adam in the Garden of Eden. He explained the consequence of eating from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil: death.

I have a vision of this Tree as having one large split trunk called Knowledge. The part of the trunk splitting to the right is ‘Good’ and the other is ‘Evil.’ From each trunk smaller branches reach out with numerous leaves hanging from the branches. Each leaf defines what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil.’ Whether a leaf produces ‘good’ or ‘evil’ fruit, it is still the fruit of the same tree, a tree that brings death.

Death has two parts: physical and spiritual. Physical death happens when the mortal body returns to the dust from which it came (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Spiritual death is described as eternal separation from Elohim. Even though a person may have a physical life, if they remain spiritually dead, they will be thrown into the lake of fire burning with sulfur to suffer for all eternity (Revelation 14:10-11, 20:15).

After Adam and Havah (Eve) disobeyed Elohim and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, they were removed from the Garden of Eden. They were sent into the world where they experienced the full knowledge of ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ Havah had children which was ‘good,’ but she watched her son become ‘evil’ and kill his brother. Though there was some ‘good’ with the birth of Seth and when people called on the name of Adonai, ‘evil’ escalated from Nimrod to Noach (Genesis 6:5).

Many years ago my mother-in-law and I discussed death and eternity. She felt she had no need for ‘God’ because she considered herself a ‘good’ person. In fact, she was anti-semitic and wouldn’t have considered a Jewish Savior. I discussed this same subject with a young man who believed only ‘bad’ people went to ‘hell’ and didn’t consider himself ‘bad.’ My question to both: “Who determines the baseline for ‘good’ and ‘evil’? You? Me? Who?

“Because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die” (Genesis 2:17 NASB).

When people die, especially innocent ones, those who grieve create a dishonest theology. For example, a young man driving home from work falls asleep at the wheel of his car, hits a tree, and dies leaving a wife and three small children. At his funeral his loved ones say, “He is watching over us.” Why do they say this? Because they need to believe that ‘good’ people are rewarded with some sort of life after death. It makes them feel ‘good’ to believe ‘someone’ they love or loved them is watching over them; that isn’t ‘evil.’

Or, a young alcoholic woman goes to a bar, gets drunk, drives her car off the road and not only kills herself, but several others walking along the road. Inevitably, at the funeral of the ‘innocents,’ the loved ones will say, “They were such good people and we will see them again” with the idea that because of their tragic death, they will be rewarded life after death. The poor girl who caused the accident may be deemed ‘evil’ by those same people while her family rationalizes their pain by suggesting she is now ‘resting in peace.’

Apart from bringing sin into the world through Adam, the serpent brought forth a great deception when he said to Havah, “It is not true that you will surely die” (Genesis 3:4). This lie is the tap root that established the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the soul of mankind. The lie that there is no eternal death keeps the masses believing that everyone who automatically dies passes into some ‘happy ever after’ realm. After all, how many people would honestly say, “Poor Joe is now lost for all time?”

Adam and Havah lost their spiritual life in the Garden and each of us has been born into that same loss. We chew on the same ‘good’ and ‘evil’ leaves of the Tree. There is no one born into this world who will not surely die –– physically as well a spiritually –– whether they pick leaves from the ‘good’ trunk or ‘evil’ trunk. They are both trunks of the same Tree of Death.

The Tree of Life

“Adonai, God, said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever” (Genesis 3:22).

The tale of the second tree also begins in the Garden of Eden. Though Elohim explained the consequence of the one tree, He didn’t explain death. He also did not explain the blessing of eternal life with Him.

Adam and Havah learned quickly that death separated them from their Creator. They were removed from Paradise because Elohim did not want them to eat from the Tree of Life while in a state of spiritual death. He did, however, explain that One from the ‘Seed of woman’ would come and restore Paradise (Genesis 3:15).

Restoration to eternal life with our Creator comes through the ‘Seed of woman’ who defeated the curse of death by rising from the dead. He is the only One who is able to watch over us and see what we we’re doing. He is the One who raised people from the dead because he is the ‘resurrection and the life’ (John 11:25). He is the One who restores eternal life to anyone who puts their faith in him (John 3:35-36). He is the Way that restores spiritual life to all mankind because it is Elohim’s will that each person return to the Garden of Eden. This One’s name is Yeshua and means ‘salvation.’

When Lazarus died, Martha believed in a resurrection of the dead at the Last Day and put her faith in the promises of the prophets. She knew that Yeshua represented the presence of Adonai on earth and proclaimed her faith in Him. She was rewarded with seeing her brother restored to life and tasted a healing leaf from the Tree of Life.

“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?” (John 11:25-26).

Do you believe what Yeshua asked Martha? Do you believe that Yeshua is the Way to the Tree of Life? Everyone who rejects the Way provided by Elohim does not experience eternal life after physically dying. If family and friends have not accepted the Way provided by Yeshua, then they don’t have any life after death either. Without Yeshua, there is no eternal life; there is no eating the leaves of the Tree of Life.

The Two Choices

When Yeshua hung on the cross, two criminals hung with him. Each of them had the same choice that each of us has up to the moment of death: to trust Yeshua for eternal life or reject him. One criminal mocked Yeshua as many do today; he continued to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The other criminal, even though he knew he was guilty of a crime, acknowledged that Yeshua was the King of a coming Kingdom. Proclaiming his faith in the promise of eternal life even with his last breath brought a promise from Yeshua –– that in the Last Day he would be with him in Paradise eating leaves from the Tree of Life (Luke 23:39-43).

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).

My mother-in-law who was 92 years old passed away several years ago. She went to sleep never to wake up in Paradise. She was definitely a ‘good’ woman and loved by her family, but she did not understand the offer of Yeshua and didn’t choose it. Her eternal destiny is the lake of burning fire and sulfur unless in the last breaths of her life, she admitted her sinful condition and cried out like the criminal on the cross. I won’t know until the the Resurrection, but I cannot say with confidence that I will see her in the ‘land of the living.’

My mother passed away when she was 43 years old. She was a ‘good’ woman, too. Tragically she died young from leukemia. Though the process of her death was very difficult to watch, I knew when she passed that I would see her again at the Resurrection on the Last Day, not because she was young, loved, or suffered for months, but because she had put her faith in Jesus and his promise of eternal life. She lived and died walking out that faith bearing fruit –– the very large church was packed with those who loved her at her funeral. I know that I will see her in the ‘land of the living.’

Today, we still have a choice between eternal life and eternal death. We can choose to continue eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and remain in a spiritually dead condition thinking everyone is ‘good’ and there is no one truly ‘evil’ and worthy of eternal death in the lake of burning fire and sulfur. Or, we can choose eternal life through faith in Yeshua and enter the restored Garden of Eden and eat the healing leaves from the Tree of Life.

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

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 Chapter 2 – Ephesus

Messianic Community in Ephesus

‘Church’ or Community

I will be using the word community because the word ‘church’ holds preconceived ideas about worship, study, and doctrine. In the first century when Yochanan (John), the apostles, and Sha’ul (Paul) preached the message of Messiah, there were no Christians or churches. Instead followers of Messiah, both Jewish and gentile, continued to go to the Temple, attended synagogues on Sabbath to hear Torah, and met in homes for table fellowship (Acts 20:7-12). By gathering in homes, a community of fellowship developed with unity of faith and faith-based goals (Acts 2:46, Romans 16:23, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 1:2). It is in this context that Yeshua sent his messengers to challenge, rebuke, encourage, and promise rewards to his followers.

Ephesus was an ancient Greek port city on the Ionian coast –– present-day Turkey. It was situated on the northern slopes of the hills south of the Cayster River. It was known for its Temple to Artemis –– one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Artemis was called the ‘goddess of the dawn, the bringer of the light‘ illuminating lives and directing people to find their way.

According to Acts chapter 19, Sha’ul began his diaspora preaching in Ephesus. He spent more time in Ephesus than any other city, nearly three years on his second visit. His ministry began by telling the crowds that man-made gods (idols) are not gods at all. The craftsmen in the city worried that their trade of making silver articles for the worship of Artemis would suffer. No one wanted the temple of the “great goddess Artemis … to be taken lightly. It could end up with the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and indeed throughout the whole world, being ignominiously brought down from her divine majesty!” Upon hearing the message of Sha’ul, they were filled with rage and began bellowing, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:27-28).

Sha’ul’s letter to the Ephesians is filled with hope and encouragement about their redemption and their eternal inheritance. He reminds them they are no longer foreigners to the covenants of Elohim and are being built into a holy, spiritual temple, a dwelling place for God.  He teaches them that salvation is by grace through faith, not by works; and how to stand against the wiles of the enemy.

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Ephesus, write: ‘Here is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven gold menorahs:  “I know what you have been doing, how hard you have worked, how you have persevered, and how you can’t stand wicked people; so you tested those who call themselves emissaries but aren’t — and you found them to be liars. You are persevering, and you have suffered for my sake without growing weary. But I have this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Therefore, remember where you were before you fell, turn from this sin, and do what you used to do before. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place — if you don’t turn from your sin! But you have this in your favor: you hate what the Nicolaitans do — I hate it too. Those who have ears, 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'” (Ephesians 2:2-7).

Yeshua sends his first messenger –– ‘angel’ in Hebrew is malak and means ‘messenger’ –– to the community in Ephesus. Yeshua reveals himself as the “one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven gold menorah.”  He holds the seven messengers in his right hand and releases them to take messages to the seven communities.

John 8:12

The golden Menorah in the Tabernacle had seven branches made of pure, hammered gold.  It was lit every evening by the priests with a new supply of pure olive oil. The central lamp, the ner tamid, was never to go out, even during the day. No specific dimensions were given to Moshe as it was made in the image of the heavenly Menorah that Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (Adonai) showed him on the mountain.  It becaue a ‘shadow’ of the heavenly Menorah.  As the holy Menorah, the Light of the World, Yeshua walks among the seven individual branches representing his light; for without him, they would have no light.

Yeshua sees their works of faith and perseverance through adversity. He has seen they don’t grow weary, even though they are persecuted. He sees how they test those who come to them as missionaries to make sure they are not liars. He sees how they hate wicked people, but something is missing.

The Messianic believers in Ephesus have one grievous sin –– they have lost their first love. They work hard, but not for their ‘first love,’ but for themselves –– humanism. They have lost their love for Yeshua, the Light, for whom they should be doing their righteous acts. If they don’t repent from this sin and return to loving him with all of their hearts, their menorah will be removed. Without light from the ner tamid, the darkness will engulf them, and their testimony of good works will be snuffed out (Matthew 5:16).

To the credit of the Ephesian community of believers, 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 in Ephesus –– those who rule and those who submit.   Yeshua hates this hierarchy because he is to be the only Shepherd over his sheep, King over his Kingdom, High Priest over his Priesthood, and Bridegroom for his Bride.  

Christiandom has come to exemplify a Nicolaitan culture with priests or ruling over the masses and pastors being in authority over lay people.  If someone studies the Word and sees a Truth that is not embraced by church tenets or doctrines, the the leader quenches the Spirit’s work in order to keep control. This is called ‘conquering the people.’ There are millions of people who warm pews and sit in auditorium chairs and no longer read the Scriptures for themselves. They have come to depend on a pastor’s interpretation for the Word or just the pastor himself. This is evidence of modern-day Nicolaitans.

Yeshua uses the word overcomer for the victor.  In Genesis 32:22-32, Ya’akov (Jacob) wrestles with with an ‘angel of Adonai.‘  The wrestling match appears to be between equals, but Ya’akov doesn’t give up; he perseveres. To try to end the confrontation, the ‘angel’ touches Ya’akov’s hip, dislocating it. Ya’akov continues to wrestle the ‘angel’ until daybreak even with an injured hip. At the end of the match, he requests a blessing. Yeshua, who is the ‘angel of the Adonai,‘ tells Ya’akov that his name is changed to Isra’el because he struggled with Adonai and prevailed –– an overcomer.

To the overcomer in Ephesus, Yeshua promises a reward when he returns. To receive the reward, the community in Ephesus must return to their first love so their menorah will not be removed leaving them to completely assimilate into the dark world.

When Adam and Eve sinned and lost their ‘first love,’ they lost the light of Elohim’s presence. They made a covering of leaves for themselves –– a work of their own doing. After receiving the consequences for their sin, spiritual death, they were sent out of Paradise and away from the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:24).

The reward for the overcomer in Ephesus will be a restoration of what was lost in the beginning to Adam and Eve. In the new heavens and new earth, the cherubim will be removed and the overcomer will enter through gate into the New Jerusalem and eat from the Tree of Life (Revelation 22:14).

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

Yeshua uses these same words in the gospels when he speaks in parables, however, he doesn’t include the words, ‘what the Spirit says to the communities.’  One reason he taught in parables was so that people could ‘look but not see, and listen but not understand’ the message of the Kingdom (Isaiah 6:9-10, Luke 8:10).  Because he wanted his disciples to have a deeper understanding of the coming Kingdom, he explained the hidden meaning away from the crowds.

Yeshua spoke all of his parables before the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot when the ‘holy wind’ was poured out and the new covenant was instituted (Acts 2:2).  With the arrival of the new covenant, men and women who obey the message of Yeshua are given new hearts and a renewed spirit.  The Ruach haKodesh gives them ‘ears to hear what the Spirit is saying’ so they can obey His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ his message, but ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be heard through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd (Psalm 95:7-8, John 10:27-28)  His sheep were to ‘listen’ and ‘obey’ the message so they would be overcomers –– Isra’el –– and receive their eternal reward.  

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

Revelation 2 – Messianic Community of Smyrna

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

New Beginnings – The Eighth Day

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer there” (Revelation 21:1).

In the beginning, Adonai created the Sabbath. The seventh day completed His work of creation and He rested. Without a beginning or an ending –– an evening and a morning –– the seventh day was an eternal ‘day.’ When sin entered the world, Adam and Eve were removed from eternity and chronological time became the realm in which we live.

“Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of Sukkot for seven days to Adonai.  On the first day there is to be a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work.  For seven days you are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai; on the eighth day you are to have a holy convocation and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai ; it is a day of public assembly; do not do any kind of ordinary work” (Leviticus 23:33-36).

The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven-day ‘appointed time’ with an eighth day holy convocation or mikrah meaning ‘rehearsal.’ This hidden mo’ed is known as Shimini Atzeret.

In Scripture, numbers have prophetic value and the number 8 means ‘new beginnings.’ With the eighth-day celebration, there is vision for something ‘new’ to begin. Within Jewish and Messianic congregations, this is the day that the Torah scroll is rolled up and unrolled in order to begin a ‘new’ yearly cycle of reading first five books of the Bible.

However, there is a hidden gem within the Shimini Atzeret –– the promise of new beginnings. Yochanan was given a vision of the ‘eighth day’ new heavens and a new earth when all things will be restored to as they were ‘in the beginning’ and should have remained. This is truly the good news of salvation: the restoration of all things.

What will this ‘eighth day’ look like? First, it will be a completely restored eternal Sabbath –– a Sabbath without end. However, it will have some order of time according to the prophet Isaiah. There will be delineations for weeks with the Shabbat and months with the Rosh Chodesh. These delineations will be put in place for worshiping the yod-hey-vav-hey.

“For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making will continue in my presence,” says Adonai, “so will your descendants and your name continue. Every month on Rosh-Hodesh and every week on Shabbat, everyone living will come to worship in my presence,” says Adonai” (Isaiah 66:22-23).

There we will be a New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven prepared as a Bride. This vision is the culmination of Bride of Messiah becoming resplendent not just before her King as in the Messianic Era, but having an eternal place next to her Bridegroom reigning with him forever.

“Also I saw the holy city, New Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).

Even more wonderful will be God, Elohim, Ha Shem, El Shaddai, El Gibbor, El Elyon, the Creator making His dwelling with His people. Everyone will see His face, His glory without fear of death because there will be no more death. The ‘old order’ of things will pass away bringing the Kingdom of God to us.

“I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See! God’s Sh’khinah is with mankind, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and he himself, God-with-them, will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will no longer be any death; and there will no longer be any mourning, crying or pain; because the old order has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).

“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.  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 22:3-4).

There will be no Temple in the New Jerusalem for Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh and Yeshua will be its Temple. There will be no sun or moon in the New Jerusalem because the Glory of yod-hey-vav-hey and Yeshua will be its light.

“I saw no Temple in the city, for Adonai, God of heaven’s armies, is its Temple, as is the Lamb.  The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s Sh’khinah gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. Its gates will never close, they stay open all day because night will not exist there,  and the honor and splendor of the nations will be brought into it” (Revelation 21:22-26).

The nations will walk by this light, earthly kings will bring their splendor into it, the gates of the city will never close because there will be no day or night in the city.

“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. 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” (Revelation 22:1-3).

The River of Life, sparkling like crystal, will flow through the New Jerusalem pouring out from the Throne of I AM and Yeshua. The Tree of Life will produce a unique fruit each month and its leaves will heal the nations. The Torah is known as the ‘Tree of Life’ because of its life-giving teachings and instructions from Adonai to His people. This ‘Tree of Life’ was in the center of Gan Eden, but Adam and Eve chose not to eat its fruit. With the restoration of everything, the ‘Tree of Life’ will be available to everyone. The fruit it produces heals the nations; the Torah will no longer be in force in the new heavens and earth (Matthew 5:17-18).

It is with hope for the new heaven and new earth that the ‘appointed time’ of Shimini Atzeret is celebrated. The eighth day will restore Eternity and the nations will walk by the light of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem. Shimini Atzeret is the ‘new beginning’ when yod-hey-vav-hey will live with His people and they will see His glory ‘face to face.’

“For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.