Behold the Lamb of God

An article by Joel Allen

1 Corinthians 5:7b “…Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.” For who, you might ask and what is exactly the Passover lamb? The Apostle Paul the author of this epistle uses the comparison of an ancient Hebrew feast symbol to teach a Biblical principle that God’s people are saved and set free from the slavery of sin through the sacrifice of a chosen spotless lamb. Paul clearly emphasizes that this is not an ordinary lamb like so many Hebrews had slain but this lamb was in fact, Yeshua Messiah. Ever since the days of Abraham and the offering of Isaac, his only begotten son, there was an expectation of a perfect ram/lamb sacrifice to come in the form of another son…the son of God:

Genesis 22:2, 6-7 KJV 2 “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. … 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid [it] upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here [am] I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where [is] the lamb for a burnt offering?

It is important to note here that Solomon, the son of David and King of Israel, built the Temple of God on the same mountain region as where Abraham and Isaac were when God provided the sacrifice ( 1 Chronicles 3:1). And just as Abraham lifted the knife of sacrifice toward his bound son, the voice of the Lord tells him three times to stop and that God Himself will provide a sacrifice, as a ram is caught in the thicket by Abraham. Ever since these days there has been an expectation on Israel for God’s lamb sacrifice to come and take away the sins of the world. It is the love of God that would give of His most precious offering, His only son, Jesus. In fact, the Hebrew word for love is ahav אהב and the very first time this word is mentioned in the entire Bible is found in this passage dealing with Abraham giving up his son whom he “loved.” There is no greater love than this according to the Biblical definition of love. Indeed it was John the Baptist that proclaimed on the banks of the Jordan river that Jesus, the embodiment of His love, was that lamb chosen by God to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

So where did the term “Passover” come from? The mention of Passover is in the story of the people of Israel bound in slavery in the land of Egypt. The sons of Jacob (Israel) came down into Egypt and settled in the land of Goshen. Scripture tells us that a new Pharaoh rose up that did not know Joseph or the God of Joseph (Exod. 1:8). This Pharaoh saw the blessing of God upon Israel because they prospered at all they did. Their cattle and their crops were greater and even their sons and daughters multiplied greatly (Exod. 1:12). Pharaoh became fearful that the children of Israel would try to take over Egypt so he devised a plan of putting them under slavery to keep them from multiplying any further. For 400 years the children of Israel served Mitzrayim (Egypt) and it became known to the Pharaoh that a deliverer was coming to set the people of Israel free who would be born among the Hebrews. Moshe (Moses) was that deliverer  and through 10 judgments or plagues the hand of God through the prophet Moses slew the “Goliath” nation of Egypt and cut off the head or posterity of the King of the known world. It was at the 10th judgment that the children of Israel would be set free. It was the judgment of death to the first born and the only judgment that offered instruction for those that would obey to escape this death penalty. Through the blood of a spotless yearling lamb placed on the door posts and lintel anyone (Hebrew or non-Hebrew) would be saved from death.  The blood was a sign so that the death angel would “pass over” the homes that had this sign and only enter the homes that did not. The Passover meal is a remembrance of this day and includes elements that are to remind and teach future generations about the deliverance of the children of Israel with a “mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” It is during this strange feast in the evening instructed by God Himself that we see a remarkable picture of salvation and deliverance.

Exodus 12:21-23 ESV 21 “Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.”

If you have read this story before or maybe have seen the popular movie, “The Ten Commandments,” with Charleton Heston you sort of get the picture that the Lord entered Egypt and killed the first born of anyone that didn’t have the blood applied to their doorposts. However, at closer investigation you will see that it is the “Destroyer” that kills the first born of Egypt and the Lord is the one that sees the blood and places Himself over the doorway and keeps the Destroyer from entering into those homes. Exodus 12:23b… “the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.” It is worth noting here that in the Ancient Near East during this time there were customs that sacrifices would be killed at the threshold of the door of houses and that in some cases this would protect the home from invaders and bad spirits1. Later in history the Jewish people added this theme to a commandment of the Torah to write the commandments upon the doorposts of their homes. This was called a mezuzah and modern day mezuzahs on the doorways of Jewish homes bear the Hebrew letter shin, representing “shaddai” or the protector of the door.

Scholars believe that after the prophet of Malachi finished his written scroll there was approximately 400 years of “silence” when no prophet spoke to Israel and the land was void of a voice from heaven. During this 400 years Israel was taken over by the Babylonians, the Medio-Persians, Greece, Egypt, Syria, and finally Rome. Instead of slavery to one nation they were slaughtered and pillaged by many nations and during the reign of King Herod (not from the lineage of David) there arose a rumor of a King of the Jews and deliverer to be born at this time. Like in the days of Moses, the ruler of the Jews decreed for the slaughtering of innocent male children in a futile attempt to debunk the Sovereign’s plan (Matthew 2:16). In fact the similarities don’t stop there. Joseph and Mary were told by the Angel of the Lord to flee to Egypt and to return when it was safe. Mary’s name would have been the Hebrew name Miriam and in the Old Testament Miriam was the sister of Moses that hid him in Egypt. Was this coincidence or God’s prophetic plan? It was in a town called Bethlehem, that the deliverer was born. This was the town that Rachael, Jacob’s wife died (Gen. 35:19), and the place that she would be “weeping for her children” as they were slaughtered by the evil King Herod (Matthew 2:18).  In this desperate time a deliverer named Yeshua not Moses was born and the one promised to be a prophet like unto Moses (Deut. 18:15). Born to be rejected, beaten and torn and just like Isaac who carried the wood of sacrifice upon his back so He would be destined to carry the heavy wood of the cross upon his back as he climbed the same hill as God’s spotless lamb caught in the thickets of a crown of thorns upon his head.  It would be the blood of Yeshua that would set the captives free not from the grips of Egyptian slavery but the pangs of slavery of sin that leads to death. Just as the blood of the lamb caused the Lord to protect the first born from the Destroyer, so the blood of the Lamb of God brings freedom and protection from the enemy of our souls. This is why the writer of Hebrews in chapter 11 states that “Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” He adds a very important clue in this statement that it was by “faith” that the Passover was kept. There are many believers that think today that the observance of Passover is an empty Jewish tradition but in all reality this feast of the Lord is a symbol of the passing over from death into life and entering into a covenant protection and blessing in the Lord. When we drink of the cup and eat of the unleavened bread, called matzah, we discern the body and blood of Jesus. As believers in Yeshua Messiah as the Passover lamb, this feast is not about leaving Egypt but it is about celebrating the feast of freedom from sin and death.

1Corinthians 11:23-25 KJV “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Yeshua the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.”


1Turnbull, H. Clay (1896) The Threshold Covenant

Mirror, Mirror on the Shelf

an article by Joel Allen

In the popular childhood story, Snow White, the evil queen would often look into a magical mirror on the wall to see if she was the fairest woman of the land. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose the fairest of them all?” The mirror would normally say that she was, but the time that the mirror saw someone else as fairer, namely Snow White, the queen went into a rage and insisted that this girl be killed so that she could remain the fairest of the land once again.

Did you know that according to James, the Torah is likened unto a mirror?

James 1:23-25 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”

In his teaching, James, is saying that those that continually dig into God’s Torah and do what it says, will never forget what they are and what they are supposed to do and that person in turn will be blessed in all things that he does. This is consistent with what the Torah says of those that keep His commandments:

[Deu 28:1-2 ESV] 1 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

Don’t you want to be blessed in all that you do? I think most people would say yes if not all but the problem is we have to understand where blessing comes from. James presents two issues that cause us not to be blessed.

  1. We have to be hearers of the Torah- For many in main stream Christianity this poses to be a problem. If you believe that the Torah (five books of Moses) has been annulled by the Messiah, then dependence on obedience to God’s commandments has been more than likely replaced with dependence on God’s grace. We have to understand that obedience leads to blessing while faith and grace lead to salvation. One does not undo the other. Israel didn’t keep commandments to be saved by God from Egypt but once they were saved by His grace they came to the mountain and received instructions (the Torah) as a means to be blessed and to rise above all the other nations. So integral was the hearing of the Torah in the Jewish culture every week during the Sabbath services in homes and Synagogues, that it was a foundational instruction that was handed down to newly converted gentiles that were coming to the faith during the book of Acts. We can read in Acts 15 about a letter dispatched to these non-Jewish converts to the Messiah with essential things to start their walk of discipleship. The rest they would learn by hearing Moses (Torah) read every week in the Synagogues (Acts 15:21).
  2. Secondly and very important is that you have to be doers of the Torah and not just hearers- James makes a point that if you just hear the instructions but you don’t actually do them then you are like someone that looks in a mirror but then forgets what they look like. Any teacher will agree that the best way of learning and retaining information is by doing something with the teaching. By hearing and doing it raises your retention levels and the student greatly benefits from it. I talk to many people today, including Pastors and teachers that agree that the Torah, the Sabbath, and the Feasts of the Lord are very important Biblical concepts for Jews and Christians alike but they only hear it and don’t put it into practice. This is frustrating to me as I am sure it was for James as well. By not doing what you have heard you are forgetting key concepts that will lead to your ultimate blessing from the Lord. Paul confirms this in Romans 2:13 ESV- “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

Another big issue with believers these days goes well beyond the disregarding of God’s Torah but His authoritative Word in general. The Bible is widely known as the bestselling book of all time. A survey by the Bible Society concluded that around 2.5 billion copies were printed between 1815 and 1975, but more recent estimates put the number at more than 5 billion (Guinness World

With so many Bibles in print and sitting in hotels and homes across the planet then why is there so many issues? Why is this world still ravaged by wars, terrorism, sickness, and human trafficking? It is quite obvious that although this beautiful and life-changing book is so widely available it is mostly stuck on shelves, collecting dust and most certainly unread. The very mirror that God has given us to see ourselves as we truly are is forsaken, doomed to an existence of obscurity. We look to the Church but unfortunately we see more problems than answers. Marriage is treated like a gum ball machine covenant easily tossed away in divorce the moment the flavor leaves. Pornography, addictions, greed, homosexuality and lies- If only we would open up the Bible and read it for what it says. Dust off that Mirror and face the truth about what we look like and begin to allow God to transform us into something beautiful. Paul teaches about the importance of this mirror in our lives because the more we dig into God’s word, especially His Torah, we start to change and become more like Yeshua (Jesus).

2 Corinth. 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

lion-kitten-mirror Why wouldn’t we want to be transformed into the same image as the Son of God? Why do we fight the commandments of God and pick and choose what we want and throw out the rest? The more time we spend away from our studies in His Instructions the easier it is for us to make up our own image of who we think we should be like. The truth of the matter is we are a lot like that Evil Queen in Snow White. We only want to hear that we are the fairest in the land. We want the grace, love and blessings of God but never think that our disobedience will lead to hideousness not holiness. We don’t want to face the truth that the Messiah Yeshua and the Apostles were Jews that kept the Sabbath and commandments of God. We would rather try to kill “Snow White” rather than face our own ugliness.

We need to allow God’s Word to reveal, rebuke and restore. Maybe that is why the Bible is likened unto a Mirror (James 1:23-25), a Sword (Hebrews 4:10), and Sustenance (Bread & Water- John 6:33, Eph. 5:25-27). Could this be why God commanded that the bronze laver outside the tabernacle inner sanctuary, where the priests would look into and wash themselves before entering in, were made from mirrors?

Exodus 38:8 “Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.”

Listen to what Paul teaches in Ephesians about how Yeshua will be coming back again for a bride that is without spot or wrinkle. This is not the Evil Queen in the Snow White tale, but a bride that knows who she is and has made herself ready for the return of her bridegroom. May we be ready when he comes again.

Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

distorted-mirrorsNone of us have the full picture. If only we could see ourselves the way God sees us! Today we have a massively distorted view of who we are. Our identity is not rooted in Christ or His Word but in Hollywood, pop culture, and our peer groups. Like a circus mirror we see ourselves twisted and beyond recognition. Some are inflated with pride and see themselves more highly than they should (Romans 12:3) while others are pressed down with little self worth and confidence. Only through the mirror of God’s Word will you truly start to see yourself in light of the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts but if you submit to the process the truth also heals and sets you free (John 8:32).

One day we will all be seen as we truly are. For some that is a scary thought because they haven’t looked into the mirror lately and they are afraid of how they have changed their appearance through compromise and doubt. I want to challenge today to dust off that Bible and get it off the shelf and start to look at yourself through God’s eyes. But just don’t just read it or hear it; do what the Bible says even if it costs you something that you are unwilling to give up. That’s when miracles begin. That’s when we start to become the fairest in the land.

[1Co 13:12 NLT] Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Law in the New Testament

Law in the New Testament

an article by Joel Allen

There seems to be a huge misconception with what the New Testament has to say about LAW or more correctly said, Torah. What about the Apostles and early believers in the Messiah? Did they follow the Torah? Yes! They were Jewish apostles (sent ones) that were obedient to the Torah or the instructions of God. They did not see the Law or Torah as burdensome or bondage but a way of life that was pleasing before the Lord.

Let’s take a look at some New Testament (Brit Chadasha) references to the Law or Torah:

Mat 5:17 KJV – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

Mat 5:18 KJV – For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Mat 5:19 KJV – Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Yeshua states in Matt. 5:17/ Luke 16:17 that He did not come to “destroy or abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill.” Many erroneous teachings state that the word “fulfill” means to end or abolish in the sense of it not being needed anymore. Fulfill does not mean to destroy or abolish as it would contradict what the Messiah already said that He didn’t come to do. The word fulfill in the Greek, PLEROO means, “to fill up full of meaning or to render perfect.” In fact, the Greek word for destroy that is used in this passage, KATALUO, translates as meaning “to dissolve or disunite what was already put together.” This shows us the great error of dividing our modern day understanding of the Bible into an “Old Testament and New Testament” way of thinking. What the Messiah came to do was recorded by men and their accounts or Gospels were compiled into the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The rest were letters and accounts written by early Apostles recording the activities and struggles of the early assemblies. Somehow the modern day understanding of the Bible has led many into thinking that the Messiah came to do a “New Thing” and that these Gospel accounts and letters somehow became the sole basis of doctrine and the origination of faith. Messiah makes it very clear that He was not going to bring disunity, separate or do some “new thing” but rather bring unity, perfect and fill up the Torah and the Prophets full of meaning.

Mat 5:17 KJV – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

Mat 5:18 KJV – For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Mat 5:19 KJV – Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Law inthe New Testament Let me ask you a question. Go outside and look up in the sky, is there clouds, stars, sun and moon? Is there dirt and grass on the ground and trees and plants and animals? If you answered yes then it would be safe to say that the Torah has not been done away with either. “Till heaven and earth pass,” Yeshua stated. This is solid evidence that the Torah and all of its details (jots and tittles) are still in effect and significant in the new covenant believer’s life. Let’s look at some more examples in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament).

Stephen was a Messianic Jewish Martyr recorded in the book of Acts. Stephen was a faithful servant of YHVH and performed many miracles as a result of his obedience and strong devotion to Him. A group of the Pharisees who did not believe in Yeshua the Messiah wanted to silence Stephen and his message so they brought up FALSE accusations against Stephen to the Sanhedrin council who according to this false testimony ordered his death sentence by stoning. You need to take careful note as what this FALSE accusation was to truly get a picture as to what Stephen believed and taught.

Acts 6:12-14 And they (the Pharisees) stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place (the temple), and the law (Torah): For we have heard him say, that this Yeshua of Nazareth shall destroy this place (the temple), and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us (Torah).

Now can we assume that anyone that teaches today that Yeshua of Nazareth came to destroy the temple and temple service and to do away with the Law and customs of Moses are indeed FALSE witnesses and according to the Torah and the writer of Hebrews in chapter 10 and verse 28, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:” These are very scary accusations and one should feel fearful to tread on such doctrine. Teaching and making doctrines that say that the Torah is legalism and bondage is no different than the FALSE reports of the FALSE witnesses. These teachers, pastors, priests, rabbis today that teach such nonsense are indeed false witnesses and false teachers and we have to be ready to defend our faith just as Stephen had done, as he was being stoned to death for standing on his faith which included the testimony of Yeshua and keeping the commandments of God. This will also be the last generation spoken of in HIT’GALUT (Revelation).

Rev 12:17 KJV – And the dragon (HaSatan) was wroth with the woman (Eve), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (the Bride of Messiah), which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Yeshua Messiah.

Peter also wrote of these false teachers and false prophets that they would lead people to deny Yeshua and to go away from the “way of truth,” which we learned earlier is Torah (Psalm 119:142).

2Pe 2:1-2 KJV – But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them (Yeshua), and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth (Torah) shall be evil spoken of.

The Apostle Paul was by his own admission a Hebrew among Hebrews and studied under the great Torah scholar and teacher Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). In a letter to the believers in Philippi, Paul boasts of his background and lineage but to emphasize the point that it means nothing without faith in the Messiah.

Phil 3:5- Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Paul was not ashamed of being a Pharisee or teacher of the Torah. He was in fact Zealous for the Law and in His writings confirmed this very devotion to keeping and living the Torah.

Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Yeshua, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

Romans 2:17-18 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

Romans 7:25 I thank God through Yeshua the Messiah. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God;

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Romans 10:4 For Messiah is the end (Greek word TELOS which means the aim or purpose) of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

law in the new testamentThis is just to mention a few examples of Paul’s writings that advocated the Torah even after the work of the Messiah. Many false teachers today say that Paul advocated the Torah being abolished through the atonement of Yeshua Messiah but it is abundantly clear that he emphatically supported the Torah and customs of Moses while adhering to his faith in Yeshua as the Lamb of God. There were other “New Testament believers” that kept the commandments of God while having the testimony of Yeshua. Let’s just take a look at a few examples:

Acts 21:20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

Acts 22:12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,

Act 18:24-25,28 KJV – And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, [and] mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Yeshua was Messiah.

2Tim 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

2 Timothy 3:8 is in a letter from Paul to his student in the faith, Timothy, warning him of what to expect in the last days. He likens those that live in the last days as to Jannes and Jambres so that he could understand and get a clear picture as to what Paul is talking about. They “withstood Moses” Shaul states in his epistle and they resist the truth (Torah). Jannes and Jambres historically were looked at as the magicians of Egypt that conjured up similar tricks to defy the signs of YHVH before Pharoah (Exodus 7:10-12). According to the Jewish traditions in the Targums, Jannes and Jambres supposedly left Egypt with the Israelites in the Exodus and very likely perished along the way in the wilderness as tares among the wheat. Now according to Paul those that resist the truth (Torah/Psalm 119:142) have corrupt minds and are reprobate concerning the faith. Clearly he is not advocating the rejection of Torah and even goes as far as warning Timothy to stay clear of those that fall into this mold. Paul goes on in his epistle to Timothy to further warn him of such tares among the wheat:

2Tim 3:13-17 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures (the Tanakh), which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yeshua. All scripture (the Tanakh) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect (spiritually mature), throughly furnished unto all good works.

We cannot hope to attain spiritual maturity, build sound doctrine or hope to bring correction to a lost and dying world without a balanced walk with our God. For some, the Torah was taught as far back as you could remember and the message of the Messiah offered a completed picture. For others, like myself, we have stumbled through snippets of scripture and half-truths trying to see the whole picture and desperate to find our roots. The Door is open. The Way has never been clearer. According to Paul, Timothy grew up reading and knowing the scriptures making him “wise unto salvation.” The New Testament did not exist yet so the scriptures that Paul is referring to is the Tanakh or Old Testament consisting of the Torah and the Prophets. Tanakh is a Jewish acronym which stands for:

T= Torah / The five books of Moses

N= Neviim/ The books of the Prophets

K= Ketuvim/ The other writings (Proverbs, Chronicles, Ecclesiastes, etc.)

It is through the scriptures (Tanakh) that the disciples were able to confirm that Yeshua was indeed the promised Messiah.

Jhn 1:45 KJV – Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Yeshua himself used the Tanakh after He arose from the dead when the two men were walking to Emmaus, troubled at the death of the one they thought was a great prophet. He did not reveal Himself directly to them as the Messiah but instead opened up their understanding with the Torah and the Prophets, making them wise unto salvation.

Luk 24:25,27 KJV – …O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken…And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

The fascinating thing is that the two men already announced to Yeshua that they knew the Messiah had died and that they saw the tomb empty and knew of the reports of angels present at the tomb and that the Messiah was to be risen on the third day. For many new covenant brethren that is the entirety of the “gospel.” But Yeshua called them fools and slow of heart and used the Tanakh to add a richness and fullness to the gospel that they had received. It is through His teaching (Messianic Teaching) of the Tanakh that made them wise unto salvation and the fiery law burned in them as they listened to Yeshua.

Luk 24:31-32 KJV – Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the scriptures (Tanakh) to us?”

These two men ran back to Jerusalem and announced to the 11 Disciples what they just experienced and Yeshua shows up in the midst of them and does the same thing to them.

Luk 24:44-45 KJV – Then He said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the scriptures (Tanakh).”

You can see here very clearly the breakdown of Torah, Prophets and other writings.

It is very clear both in the words of Yeshua and the teachings of Paul that the New Testament or Brit Chadasha does not teach against the observance of Torah but reaffirms the understanding of the Patriarchs and Prophets that the Torah was and is life giving instruction from the Father. This instruction pointed to the Messiah and that is how the Disciples knew Him and how the Apostles preached the Gospel to Jerusalem and the nations. It is through the Jewish Tanakh (Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim) that doctrine, instruction and correction and be attained according to Paul, a Torah observant Jew.

Just When Exactly Am I Saved? And What Does That Have to do With a Grill?

an article by Joel Allen

A question I get asked a lot as a Messianic Teacher is “when am I saved as a believer?” Growing up in a major denominational Christian Church I was always taught that I was saved when I asked Jesus in my heart. For me, that was an altar call back when I was eight years old. I don’t remember exactly what the Preacher said that tugged on my heart that Sunday above all others but it was something that I remember as a key moment in my walk with the Lord even some 31 years later. My grandmother, who was a pillar of faith in my life and a devout Baptist, gave me my first Bible. I remember the smell of that black covered King James Bible and when I cracked open the first page I could read that this Bible was given directly to me. My very own Bible.

It wasn’t until I was about 30 years old that my wife and I began to study the Hebrew Roots of the Christian Faith. We began observing the seventh day Sabbath and gradually began keeping the Holy Feasts we read about in Leviticus 23. Up until this point I thought I was saved. I felt like I was saved but a lot of Messianic teachers started to challenge this notion by saying that we aren’t really truly saved until we are in the kingdom. This caused a panic in my soul as I wrestled with this most crucial doctrine. When are we saved?

After becoming a Pastor I still wrestled with this issue. Over several years of study and asking for wisdom from the Lord finally I believe the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. After teaching on this subject to my own congregation a couple years ago I have received enough questions by email and through conversations with messianic believers so confused, as I was about this issue, that I am putting this teaching in an article. Although this will not serve as an exhaustive study on the subject I hope to draw enough connections to help rid a little bit of the confusion.

Okay so to start this out we have to define some terms that are used in the New Testament centered around the subject of salvation. I am sorry of you think these are “churchy terms” but they are what we read in the New Testament so for the sake of this study please bare with me. I promise it will all work out. If not I will give a full refund for this article ( LOL ). Kidding aside let’s get started!

The first term we have to define is Justification. This is a big word but at its essence is quite simple. To be justified according to the Bible is to be in God’s sight as “just as if I never sinned.” You are in full right standing with God as if you never sinned or committed any transgression at all. I kind of view this as a chalkboard full of marks against you wiped clean. This is an event and not a process. It occurs the moment you put your full trust in Yeshua as your Lord and Savior, casting all of your sins upon the work of the cross and dedicating your life to please the Father. This is a gift, accomplished solely through the blood of Yeshua as He exchanges your righteousness, which is as filthy rags in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6), with His righteousness. How can we see this in the Old Testament? We can see this clearly through the life and ministry of Joseph, a stark example of the Messiah in the Torah. Pharaoh viewed the Hebrews as abominations as they were shepherds (Gen. 46:34). They would never have favor or audience with the Pharaoh because they were unclean and detestable. However, through Joseph (who was a Hebrew also but hidden) Jacob and his sons were given favor and high estate with the Pharaoh and best of the Land. Without Joseph who saved Egypt The Sons of Jacob had no chance. In like manner, the savior of the world, Yeshua, was slain for the sins of the world so that we who were dead in our trespasses could be accepted as sons and daughters of the kingdom. Yeshua is our Joseph to the Father. Without His righteousness we have no standing with the Father. We are detestable and unclean. Now let’s look at what the New Testament says about Justification:

Romans 5:17-18 “17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Yeshua Messiah.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.”

Notice in this passage that Paul likens our justification as a free gift. This is not earned as much as Joseph’s mercy toward his brethren was not earned. It is this event in someone’s life that the Bible describes as being saved or justified, not of works lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

Romans 3:23-24,26,27-28 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua: 26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Yeshua. 27 Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

It is clear through the writings of Paul that the Law does not justify us but has a unique purpose in the life of the believer. Justification is starting your class with a 100% grade average. You are setup for victory and blessing. It is by grace and grace alone. It is a gift, the Bible tells us, and a gift you can’t earn or pay for but only receive. So how does one receive the justification and forgiveness of sins that is described here? I don’t think it is an exact formula but a turning of your heart and mind by fully abandoning yourself to the Lord and His mercy towards you. Here is a wonderful outline of how this should happen:

[Rom 10:9-13 KJV] 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Yeshua, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

No flaming hoops to jump through or 13 steps just crying out to the Lord. It is meant to be easy and not burdensome. From the drunk on the bar stool to the philosophy professor it is the same gift to be received. It is a free gift to us but it came at a terrible price. Religious men have tried to add conditions and disclaimers to this gift making it very heavy and cumbersome. Like the sect of the Pharisees that went behind Paul who preached a free gift of salvation message and many gentiles responded, but then were told that they weren’t saved yet until they were circumcised by the custom of Moses. Paul was outraged!

Galatians 1:6 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel…”

We read in Acts 15 just what this “elite” group of Jews were preaching:

Acts 15:1 “And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

This brings me to the second term we have to define which is the term, Sanctification. This is the part that I feel Christianity by in large stumbles over because of a lack of understanding that God does want those that are saved or justified to walk in holiness. There is an understanding to some degree, for instance if a drug addict became justified by repenting their sins and committing their life to the Lord, then the church leadership would certainly disciple that person to continue walking in salvation. But when it comes to keeping the instructions of the Lord as revealed through the Torah, we are generally told in many Christian denominations that keeping commandments are not necessary anymore. Sanctification is not an event but a process. This process begins once you have been justified and not before. What is the Torah example of this? We can clearly see that Israel was saved and delivered from Egyptian bondage, which is our old sinful nature, and this was only through God’s mercy and grace. Israel did not earn this but through the love of God He heard their cries for freedom and set them free. Then Israel is taken to a mountain where they are given instructions for righteous living, also known as the Torah. Over and over again as God is revealing His instructions He tells them that He is the God who sanctifies them:

[Exo 31:13 ESV] 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you.

[Lev 20:8 ESV] 8 Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

[Lev 22:32 ESV] 32 And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you,

We also see this in the ministry of Yeshua when He sets the adulterous woman free. He is the only one that could have pronounced a death sentence on that woman but he chose mercy. He forgave her (justified) and then He tells her to “go thy way and sin no more” (John 8:11), which is the process of sanctification. Let’s look at some of the letters of the Apostles to see some more examples of this concept:

[1Th 5:23 ESV] 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshua Messiah.

How do you keep your spirit, soul and body blameless before the Lord? If justification is all there is then why does the New Testament speak of keeping and guarding that salvation? Many criticize those that keep a kosher diet as being legalistic and not a matter of salvation. I agree that it is not a matter of justification but I strongly believe that it is a matter of your sanctification as we keep our “bodies” blameless as much as we can before His return.

[Phil 2:12-13, 15-16 ESV] 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. … 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Here in this passage from Philippians we read about being blameless again in connection with obedience and holding fast to the word of life, God’s instructions. In so doing, you will stand without blemish in the midst of a crooked generation as lights to the world. If you are doing what everyone else is doing you are not a light or shining forth the good works God has called us to do. Have you ever wondered why Paul says to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling? If justification was the only thing that mattered then why fear? Why work anything out at all. Aren’t we living in grace and therefore we don’t have to follow the commands of God?

[Jde 1:4 KJV] 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Yeshua Messiah.

Some versions of Jude 1:4 state that some people, believers mind you, are turning the grace of God into a “license to sin.” So the Sabbath doesn’t matter anymore and our diet doesn’t matter because we live in grace, right? He is the Lord that sanctifies you! With what?

[Jhn 17:17 KJV] 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

[Psa 119:142 KJV] 142 Thy righteousness [is] an everlasting righteousness, and thy law [is] the truth.

[Eph 5:26 KJV] 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Just as we read in the Torah that through the commands God sanctifies Israel, guess what, that same standard is what He sanctifies His body of believers today! He sanctifies us through the Word and the Spirit, which you will never see working separately. The Word and the Spirit always work together as a dynamic duo, just like Faith and Works!

[Jas 2:14, 17-18, 20, 22, 26 ESV] 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? … 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. … 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? … 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; … 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

[Eph 6:17 ESV] 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

The life of a believer is constantly balancing the Spirit and the Word as well as Faith and Works, in their lives. You need both not one or the other. I see a dangerous pattern emerging among my New Covenant brethren. I see those that are heavily resting on works denying the event of justification in the life of believers because they might not keep all of the 613 commands of Torah. Furthermore, they teach that these believers are actually not believers at all and will be cast in the lake of fire one day. For those brethren I would remind you of Matthew 5:19:

[Mat 5:19 ESV] 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Notice our Messiah did not say that they would be burning in a lake of fire but simply considered least in the Kingdom, BUT they will be there. Why? Because they are Justified by the blood of the Messiah through Faith and not of works. Maybe they didn’t get very far in the sanctification part but who are we to judge that! Do you have hatred in your heart? Have you ever lied even a little white lie? Have you stole anything regardless of value? Have you lusted in your heart for anyone, because Yeshua said that if you lust in your heart you commit adultery. According to the Bible liars, thieves, and adulterous will not be let in the Kingdom! Be careful because in the same measure we judge, we will be judged. In other words, if you are harshly judging others you will be judged harshly as well. I don’t know about you but I need MERCY! Perhaps this is where the Bible talks about that there will be many who are first that will become last and last that will become first, simply because of the haughtiness and merciless judgments we make on our fellow brethren. For those that have been justified but don’t think much about sanctification, my warning to you is to not make it a license to sin. Our goal in life isn’t to make it in the Kingdom by a thread but to become like Yeshua. Don’t you want to be considered “great in the kingdom?” Do you realize that you can suffer loss in the Kingdom and miss out on great rewards and being close to the very One that created all things?

[1Co 3:10-15 ESV] 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw– 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

[Luk 12:47-48 ESV] 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Now the last term to be defined is Glorification. This is also an event that takes place when we, as believers are finally in the Kingdom with Yeshua in our glorified bodies. This is the fulfillment, the very summit of a believer’s journey. This is when there will be no more sickness, no more death, and no more sin (Rev. 7, 21). This is the day that Paul so desperately was longing for speaking of our current sinful state in comparison to what we will become one day:

[Rom 7:24 ESV] 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

[Rom 8:23 ESV] 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

[1Co 15:50-54 KJV] 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

The Apostle John wrote of the same thing:

[1Jo 3:2-3 KJV] 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

In the book of Romans we can also see the connection with first event of Justification and the ultimate event of glorification, the finished product:

[Rom 8:16-17, 29-30 KJV] 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Messiah; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. … 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Now what does any of this have to do with a grill? Okay so let’s put all of this together in an easy to understand parable. Yeshua liked to teach in parables, so here I go giving it a shot. Justification is like going to the store and being handed a brand new grill. Is was more than you could afford but someone else paid for that grill and gave it to you, free of charge. You are so blessed and grateful for your new grill. You sing and giggle all the way home and share your grill with your whole family, explaining how it was a gift. You once did not have a grill but now you have one! Your neighbor had one that you could smell cooking all summer long and you wished and wished you could have a grill like your neighbor and finally it was here! Now, not only do you have a new grill but your whole family get’s to benefit from your new awesome grill. Time goes by and you are still excited about your grill but as you smell your neighbor’s grill cooking you notice that yours does not give off that same aroma. You think you got cheated or maybe you were given the wrong denomination or oops I meant brand. You walk over to your neighbor’s house and ask him where he got his grill. You realize he got it at the same place as you, so you ask what brand it was, and sure enough it was the same brand. So why was his grill smelling so good and producing yummy delicious steaks and yours was not? Your neighbor asks you if you had put your grill together yet? You say no, it is still in the box. Your neighbor chuckles and says you have to put it together in order to use it, silly. You feel stupid and a little betrayed by the store for not telling you about putting it together. Your neighbor goes on by saying that it is really simple, all you have to do is open up the box and read the instructions, the rest will make sense once you start the process. So you are super excited again and you rip open the box that was collecting dust in the garage and you start to follow the instructions for the first time! Wow, everything starts to make sense and the grill is closer to being ready to fire up a sizzling steak than ever before! You can almost taste it! Finally, after a long process of getting the grill and putting it all together with the instructions you grab a delicious steak and cook it to perfection. What a sweet smelling aroma and what a rewarding finish!

You see the grill represents your salvation through justification. You didn’t earn the grill, it was originally given to you as a gift. All you had to do is receive it! Then you realized that you needed to open up the box, which is the Word of God, and follow the instructions, which is the Torah. Without the instructions you still have a grill but it isn’t a pleasing aroma to the Father, like your neighbor’s grill which is in full use. Our lives are attractive to people when we are doing God’s Word. It draws people to us just like the smell of a steak cooking on the grill. This is the sanctification process. There are so many believers that have a grill and it is collecting dust in a box. So many believers don’t own a Bible let alone open it up and actually do what it says. This is unprofitable for you and your family as none can benefit from a grill in a box. Finally, the steak is cooked to perfection. This is a picture of glorification. This is when we do what we are made to do. One day we will be there in the Kingdom but the more we dig into the instructions and follow His ways now we will actually act and produce fruit as though we are already in the Kingdom. Kind of like Phineas who was given the covenant of peace before it is actually fulfilled in the kingdom to come (Num. 25:12).

Justification is an event (I was saved) = FAITH

Sanctification is a process (I am being saved) = WORKS

Glorification is the final product (I will be saved)= Faith is established

I am that I am- Asher HaYah Va HoVeh Va Yavoh

Who was and is and is to come

I am the Lord who sanctifies you…

In conclusion, please if you haven’t gotten a grill please take the time to pray to the Father to forgive you your sins and to accept Yeshua as your Lord and Savior. Receive your free gift of salvation today! If you have already done this then please go get your grill box (Bible) and open it up and follow the instructions so that you, your family, your friends, and neighbors will benefit from your living sacrifice, a sweet smelling aroma unto the throne of God. If you have been studying the instructions for a while please be like the good neighbor who gently points people with your lifestyle and stop telling believers they don’t have a grill but inspire them to open the box and read the instructions. Who knows you might be invited to their next cookout and taste the rewards of discipleship. May God richly bless you with His Shalom.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

An article by Joel Allen

We’ve heard it said over the pulpit, through the airwaves hundreds and even thousands of times. As Christians and Jews alike this name of God has been a central defining name that separated the God of the Hebrews and the “gods” of the other nations and religions. YHVH our Elohim wanted to differentiate himself from other Elohim or mighty ones worshiped by the heathen so He was specifically the God of Abraham. Abraham had a son whose name was Isaac and so YHVH became the God of Abraham and Isaac. Isaac married and had a son named Jacob and therefore, YHVH became the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. But could there be more than what meets the eye here? Is there a hidden message in the name, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

In order to answer this question a basic foundation has to be laid so that you can understand better how the Torah and the other scriptures have been constructed and how one has to study them to reach the proper assumptions derived from them.

The first thing we have to realize is that in order to know the God of the Hebrews fully we should probably get to know the Hebrew roots, culture and historical context of the scriptures. Shaul (Paul the apostle) asked this question: What benefit is it to being a Jew and he goes on to answer this question by saying that the “oracles of God” or the holy scriptures were entrusted to them. It’s true! The Bible was written by Jews or Hebrews. All of the prophets were Jewish, the Messiah was Jewish and he chose Jewish disciples. Wouldn’t it be prudent to understand Jewish things before claiming to know and understand what this book is all about? Both the Old and New Testaments are riddled full of Jewish idioms. Idioms are sayings that are spoken and are understood by a select group of people. Look at it like an inside joke… I guess you had to be there, kind of thing. Imagine if you were a foreign exchange student coming to America and you heard the term, “well a little birdie told me.” They might think you were nuts! Crazy Americans! In like manner, there are Jewish idioms and sayings that make complete sense to those that understand the language and culture of the Bible but those that are alien to it have a hard time trying to figure it out. The Hebrew scriptures were written in Hebrew and therefore the proper context of studying them is going back to the Hebrew language.

The second thing we have to understand is that the Torah (first five books of the Bible/books of Moses) has many layers of revelation and understanding within its text. You can look at it like the human body. We have five physical senses including smell, touch, taste, hearing, and seeing. But beneath the outer shell we are made up of complex organs, vessels, and nerves. Even beyond that we can look in a microscope at different intensities and see the matrix of atoms, the building blocks of life. That doesn’t even get into the almost mystical connections of the soul and spirit. Some of us only care about the five senses and never care to look beyond. Others are scientists and soul searchers that dig deeper to understand more. The study of Torah and all of scripture is very much the same way. According to ancient Jewish sages the study of Torah consists of these levels as seen in the acronym PaRDeS:

  • Peshat- The literal reading or face value of the text
  • Remez- The hinted or alluded meanings of the text
  • D’Rash- homiletical or exegetical application to the text
  • Sod- ‘secret’ or mystical meaning hidden in the text (e.g., Gematria)

I personally believe that YHVH has constructed the scriptures in this fashion by the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) so that He could meet the reader or studier where they are at. Many scholars and theologians can agree that no matter how many times you may read the same scripture over and over you can pull out new and profound things each time. Just like the Israelites who gathered fresh manna every morning, a studier of the word of God should be able to find something fresh every time they “feed” upon the bread of life.

Having laid this foundation we have to look at the story of Abraham and where his name came from and what it meant. Abraham wasn’t always called Abraham but was named Abram according to Genesis 12:1. It wasn’t until YHVH called out Abram and made a covenant with him and a promise that YHVH had changed his name from Abram to Abraham. Interestingly enough, Sarai his wife also had a name change to Sarah. In both cases YHVH had added the letter “h” or “hey” in Hebrew to their names. In Hebrew each letter of the Aleph-Bet has significant meaning. The sages believed that the meaning of the letter “hey” is divine presence or spirit filled in the New Testament vernacular. So when Abram and Sarai came into covenant with YHVH they were promised that nations would come forth from them and that they would inherit the land of Canaan. Furthermore He changes their name by filling them with His presence (the letter hey). Abram in Hebrew means “exalted father.” By adding the hey or divine presence in his name we can look at the new meaning of his name as, “highly exalted father” or “Heavenly Father.” By no means am I saying that we should pray to Abraham as our heavenly father but there is a message in the names that points to something remarkable so let’s push on!

Abraham and Sarah had a son in their old age just as YHVH had promised and they named him, Isaac because Sarah announces that, “God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me (Gen. 21:6).” The Hebrew word for Isaac is, Yitschaq, and it means “he laughs.” This Hebrew word comes from the root word, tsachaq, which means to “mock or jest or make sport of.” Remember that when the news came to Abraham that he would get a son in his old age with Sarah that Sarah laughed to herself. Unlike Abraham and Sarah, Isaac did not have his name changed by YHVH, but you will notice that it was YHVH that named him to begin with (Gen. 17:19).

Isaac grew up and married Rebecca and they had twin sons named Esau, who was the first born out of the womb and Jacob, who grabbed a hold of Esau’s heel as he came out second. Esau was named so because he was red and hairy all over and therefore was named Esav, which means “hairy.” Jacob was a twin of Esau and when Esau came out of the womb, Jacob grabbed a hold of his heel and wouldn’t let go so his name was called, Ya`aqob, which means “one who deceives or literally “one who strikes or grabs the heel.” Later on we can read that Jacob deceives Esau out of his birthright, which goes to the firstborn , and receives the divine double portion blessing from Isaac. As a family feud ensues, Jacob flees his family because he fears Esau’s anger and finds himself wrestling with an angel or even perhaps YHVH almighty himself. During the struggle Jacob grabs hold of the “divine being” and exclaims, “I won’t let you go until you bless me!” The “divine being” touches his hip which makes Jacob crippled on his side and he let’s go. At this time YHVH changes his name from Jacob to Israel, which means “God prevails.” This was because Jacob wrestled and God prevailed.

Now that we have laid the foundation of the meanings behind the names, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob we can dig a little deeper and see an almost cryptic message within this title for God. But first, we have to read one of the first messianic prophecies in the Torah found in Genesis 3:15:

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

The Hebrew word translated as bruised is shuwph, which can be translated as bruised or another possible translation could be seized or grabbed. In this verse YHVH is prophetically laying out the struggle between the serpent (Hasatan) and his seed and the woman (Israel) and her seed (Yeshua). We can see this throughout the history of Israel and in particular with an enemy called Amalek, a type and shadow of HaSatan and his devises.

Deuteronomy 25:18-19b “How he (Amalek) met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God… thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.”

This is why YHVH is so adamant about defending the weak because they are the feeble ones, the poor, the fatherless and widows that HaSatan strikes at like a lion seeking whom he may devour.

Psalm 10:8-9 “He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.”

Psalm 12:5 “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.”

Psalm 83:3 “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.”

Yeshua was manifest to destroy the works of the devil and therefore was a defender of the weak, the poor, etc. HaSatan lingered in the dark places and struck at those afflicted but Yeshua became poor so that we could partake of the riches of his glory. He was the good shepherd that left the 99 to save the 1 that was lost. Amein!

2 Corinth. 8:9 “For ye know the grace of our Lord Yeshua Messiah, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

So now we can see the full picture of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the God of Israel. The seed of the woman, Israel was Messiah, the son of David, Yeshua. Through His death the seed of the serpent struck His heel but through Yeshua’s resurrection the head of that serpent of old was crushed. Let’s review the meanings of the names again:

  • Abraham- Heavenly or Highly exalted Father
  • Isaac- Laughs or makes sport of
  • Jacob- one who grabs or strikes the heel
  • Israel- God prevails

If we look at the meanings of their names we see the beautiful picture of the fulfillment of Messiah all the way from Genesis and it looks something like this:

Our Heavenly Father (Abraham) laughs at (Isaac) the one who strikes his heel (Jacob) because God/Yeshua prevails (Israel).

Every time we exclaim and pray the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob we are declaring to the forces of darkness and the world this awesome and prophetic message implanted in the names and selecting of the patriarchs of our faith, both Jew and Christian alike. In a modern world that wants to water down and compromise who God is and abandon the ancient paths we must stand in unity. Our God is NOT Allah, our God is NOT Buddha, and our God is NOT some nameless Higher Power (sorry Oprah). Our God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! In a modern age of disputing and denying the rights and identity of the Jewish people as the rightful owners and inhabitants of Israel with Jerusalem as the Jewish capital we must stand tall and declare that our God is the God of Israel. This is who He has declared Himself and associated Himself with. Perhaps we should take a note from His book and stop trying to rewrite HIStory.