Bye Gosh

This week’s portion, “VaYigash”, ‘And he drew near’, is one of my favorite passages of scripture.  Yosef was betrayed by his brothers, cast into a pit, sold as a servant, becomes the head of a household of Mitzrayim, is cast into prison on false accusations, then brought before Paroh as an interpreter of dreams, and even Paroh recognized the Ru’akh of Elohim in him.  So, he makes him the ruler of all the land, second only to Paroh himself.  I was reminded this week in my reading of it that David once took comfort among the P’lishtim, when those he loved betrayed him.  Sha’ul dwelt among the Arabs for a season, after Messiah saved him and appointed him.  Many patriarchs were driven out of their ‘comfort’ zone, to be ‘comforted’ elsewhere for a season.  By Elohim Himself.  And then used for purposes even they themselves could not imagine.  The same is true of Yosef.

Yosef predicted the famine that would come on the whole world, a message that the Creator had given to Paroh through his dreams.  After the seven years of plenty, the famine has hit the whole world, hard.  Twice now the sons of Yisra’el have come to Paroh, to their brother Yosef, unbeknownst to them, to acquire food.  It seems at first that Yosef is being unreasonably hard on them, provoking them to bring Binyamin, his younger brother, to him, knowing how hard that would be for his father.  Our portion picks up when the brothers return to Yosef, known to them now as the ruler of the world, as Zafenat Pane’akh. צָֽפְנַת  פַּעְנֵחַ  .  One can ‘see’ immediately in this name “Storehouse”, “treasure”, in “tzafenat”.  This may be the Hebrew version of an Egyptian word, because it is written in Hebrew letters in a Torah scroll.  The first three letters are “tzafon” in Hebrew, meaning ‘storehouse of treasure’.  In Hebrew, the tav on the end is many times the ‘construct state’, showing possession: “storehouse of”.  Pane’akh is less obvious, but gets rendered into English by some as “glorious rest”.  The ‘glory’ of G-d is His Face, as expressed in many verses.  The first two letters of Pane’akh, “Peh” and “Ayin”, are ‘face and eyes’, and the last two are “Nakh”, which must be from where translators derive ‘rest’.  “Nakh” is the root of “No’akh”, which does mean ‘comfort’, or ‘rest’.  “The storehouse of glorious comfort”, then, would not be a bad rendering of Yosef’s Egyptian name.  And his Hebrew name means ‘gatherer’, one who gathers up.  He is certainly bringing glorious comfort to the whole world by gathering/storing up food.  But, that ‘comfort’ is most especially important to his family, the brothers who betrayed him.  And in this week’s portion, their comfort is in having their brother, whom they betrayed for dead, revealed to them again as their own flesh and blood.

It is amazing to me how quickly his brothers all turned on him.  Not only so, but it is amazing how willing they were to lie to their father about what happened to Yosef.  For nearly twenty years, they’ve kept up a ruse with their father, knowing all the while that Yosef ‘could’ be alive.  They knew that they had sold him like chattel, their own brother.  They had treated him as far less than a brother.  They ignored their common bond, and chose to feed their own jealousy and serve themselves by being rid of him.  They had been supposedly tending their father’s flock; but instead, were in “Dotan”, ‘two wells’.  They’d left the flock to go to the city, probably to do things they should not be doing. We later see Yehudah’s willingness to adultery; it is possible that was why they were in Dotan.  Nonetheless, they’re ‘tending the flock’, yet at the same time, tending their own flesh in some way.  Yosef showed up, and was their conscience, which condemned them, and they lashed out.  They thought to murder him.  We know that Yeshua teaches that if one even thinks to do so, one has done it.  One brother said not to do so; so Yehudah suggested that they sell him.  Then, they all lied to their father, together, for many, many years.  Their own self-righteousness caused them to ignore the truth: they were simply jealous of their brother’s “elaborate tunic,” the symbol of their father’s affection for him.  And they lived in the sin of lies and murder for years and years.

It was not until they had to rip their other brother, Binyamin, from their father’s side, due to the famine, that Yehudah finally humbles himself.  He put up his own life in the stead of his younger brother.  His contrition and humility breaks Yosef, who wept over his brothers before all Mitzrayim.  He then tells his brothers not to grieve too much over what they had done, as he had been betrayed for greater purposes: Elohim used their betrayal to save all of Yisra’el.  The purpose was not only to preserve that generation of B’nei Yisra’el, but all future generations, in order to bring about Messiah Yeshua, a direct descendant of Yehudah, the eventual ‘hero’ of our story.  I have long thought that Binyamin can represent the Messianic community in our future, and Yehudah can represent the Jewish community that does not yet believe.  Yosef, of course, would be an archetype of Messiah, sold into bondage by Yehudah.

For 2,000 years now, Yehudah has resented Yeshua.   In fact, ‘he’ has lied about Yeshua, saying He is dead, though He lives.  ‘He’ sold Yeshua to the Romans.  In fact, the individual who took the silver bore the same name, “Yehudah”.  [Judas]  ‘He’ [figurative Yehudah, our unbelieving Jews] has lied to his father about his brother!

Just this past week, I and another brother were accosted by a descendant of Yehudah, an unbelieving Jew.  He came at us with an accusatory, aggressive tone, and called us “charlatans,” using the Jewish pejorative for Yeshua’s name, and saying that He is not the son of G-d.  THIS is the spirit of Mashi’akh HaSheker: to deny that Yeshua is come in the flesh.  I looked this Jewish man in the eye and told him with absolute confidence that Yeshua is the Son of G-d, and is risen from the dead, and is standing at the right hand of the Creator.  He said Yeshua is not in the Torah, to which I replied, “He is in the song of Moshe: Shemot 15:2, ‘Yah is become for me Yeshua’.  It’s on the surface of the text!”   The verse actually reads: “Yah is my strength and my song, and He is become my Yeshua[h].”  Yeshua is salvation.  I hoped beyond hope that he would ‘hear’, but he did not.  I had been so exhausted that day, having worked out very hard the day before, and twice that day, and was already hungry after a mere two hours since my last meal.  And, I was on borrowed time with a brother who was helping me, and did not have time to engage him further; plus, I could see he was completely unresponsive.  In fact, he’d told me that I would not change his mind about Yeshua.  He was there only the heckle and scold, and I knew it.  So, I backed out of the conversation as politely as I could.  And since, I have been praying for him, and for all our Jewish people to ‘see’ Yeshua as their brother.  And lo and behold, our portion surfaces yesterday, and all of this comes reeling through my mind again.

I was affectively accused of being a “False Messianic”, by this Jewish ‘brother’, even though I repeatedly declared the flesh and bone Body of Yeshua, which was dead, but is now alive, and is seated at His Right Hand.  Clearly, my accuser doesn’t understand who Mashi’akh HaSheker is.  Mashi’akh HaSheker, and ‘false Messianics’, do not ‘know’ that Yeshua, a man, was raised from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Creator. His hatred of this ‘fact’ caused him to lash out at Messiah in me.  I’ll never forget looking dead into his eyes and telling him of Yeshua’s resurrection and living Body.  If there is one thing I will carry before the throne of judgment, it is that fact alone.

Hatred is a fickle beast, and it lurks in far too many hearts, especially among the religious.  They see their sense of ‘justice’/’righteousness’ as cause for their haughtiness, when it is merely hatred.  Religious hatred is the worst, too.  Rarely does it ever truly do teshuvah, and restore the bonds of shalom, because hatred of another human in the Name of G-d, or any ‘god’, is the ultimate self righteousness.  Yehudah, the brother of Yosef and progenitor of Messiah, had to learn this, and had to submit to humility and contrition, for all our sakes, or we would have no Messiah.  He did so because he realized how he’d been hurting his father.  But, in spite of that, what I took note of this week is that in his telling Yosef, whom he thought was merely Zafenat Pane’akh, he still perpetuated the lie that Yosef was dead! I’ve written before on the power of a lie.  That power, I conclude, is greatest over the one who tells it.  And HaSatan is the father of every lie.   Most especially of the lie that Yeshua is not raised from the dead, or, that someone who professes that with faith is a ‘false messianic’.  To attack a brother who professes that with confidence is to commit the very sin of denying the Body of Messiah.

Perek Khadashah : Yovel

So, Tzilah and I were discussing this yesterday, in relation to the previous week’s parasha, and out of our discussion bubbles the realization that the math is off a bit.  Yeshua would have ‘started’ His ministry in 27 AD, at 30 years old, having been born in 3 BC.  This would put the 40 years of khesed and khen, time for Yisra’el to do Teshuvah, from 27AD to 67AD, which is when Rome’s attack on Yerushalayim began.  I’ve fixed the article below to reflect this.  I had written this in haste one morning, and the math played tricks on me.  The Yovel in 27AD would make the next Yovel in our time be 2027, a mere seven years away.  Are we possibly about to enter the last sh’mitah cycle of mankind, the last opportunity to ‘forgive’, to learn compassion? [the cycle would be relative to Yom Teru’ah, in the fall of 2020]

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A new chapter has begun in the life of our family.  The old one closed pretty much just before Khanukah, just before we lit lights to celebrate the conception of Yeshua in this darkest time of year.  “Perek” means chapter, and is a representation of my surname.  And this year, our family is praying for ‘newness’ of life, and for ‘liberty’.  We are starting a new ‘chapter’ in our lives, and we are welcoming it joyfully.

Since my memories go back so far, all the way to just before my fourth birthday, and I began learning scriptures at that early age in the historic Penfield church in Georgia, this year is looking to be a ‘yovel’ for us.

A Yovel is the fiftieth year of a cycle of years called “Sh’mita” years.  Yovel is a ram’s horn, from which they make the shofar, which is blasted on Yom Kippur of the Yovel year.  We are told a Yovel blew at Har Sinai [Shemot 19].  There is a 49 year cycle where every seventh year, the land lies dormant, giving the land itself a ‘sabbath’ [7th] rest for a year, a year of ‘release’.  In the fiftieth year, after the seventh ‘sh’mita’ cycle, there is another year, called a year of ‘liberty’, making a back to back sabbath year for two years.  “Yovel” is known to most as Jubilee.  In this year, a Shofar is blown, and there is a proclamation throughout all the land: דְּרוֹר .  There is a linguistic link in this word, ‘d’ror’, ‘liberty,’ to one of my favorite scriptures:

“[The] Ru’akh of Adonai יהוה is upon me; because יהוה has anointed me to bring good tidings unto the humble; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the eyes that are bound; to proclaim the year of the good pleasure of יהוה ….”

One of the reasons that this scripture is so special to me is because Yeshua read this passage in the Beit K’nesset in Natzrat, His home town, before his family and the friends with whom he had grown up.  I was contemplating all of this just this previous first day of the week, and began writing this blog.  And then, by mid morning, I began to read the parasha for the week, and realized this passage of Yeshua’s visit to His home town synagogue was our Brit Khadashah portion for the week.  In the Yesha-Yahu 61:1-2a portion, which Yeshua read from at the Bimah in Natzrat, the word there for ‘liberty’ is also ‘dror’, as in the Yovel passage, where a year of ‘liberty’ is declared, since Yeshua was reading this very passage.  Yeshua declared this ‘liberty’ in His synagogue in Natzrat.  Prophetically, I have been looking for the ‘benchmark’ of the biblical Yovel cycle for about twelve years now.  Scholars differ on when the last Yovel cycle of the land of Yisra’el would have been. Some have said 67AD, some have said 70AD, and there are other ideas, but those are the two I’ve been waffling between a bit, but leaning toward the latter.  The reason that I have searched for it for so long, is that years ago, while studying the Hitgalut [Revelation], I was praying and asking Abba to show me just a bit as to how close we might be to Messiah’s return and the restoration of all things.  I determined that there must be a prophecy timepiece, a ‘key’.  And then I read VaYikra 25-26.  I ‘saw’ the Hitgalut in there!  The Yovel cycle leaped out at me.  “Time” in the scriptures had already come to mean a lot.  I had already concluded that there are 6,000 years reserved for mankind, and a 7th “Shabbat” Millennium when Yeshua would rule on earth.  I was wondering if we could get closer to knowing when the Shabbat Rest of Messiah Yeshua, the last Millennium, would start. I started doing basic math, and realized these facts:

A Yovel is a 50 year cycle

In a 6000 year period, there would be 120 Yovel cycles

Abba told No’akh “I have numbered man’s days to 120 years”

A Yovel is a figurative timeframe; there is an unfolding of time.  There are ‘weeks of years’, etc.

From 70 AD to 2020 AD there would be 39 Yovel cycles, so 2020 would mark the beginning of a 40th Yovel from the destruction of the Temple.

40 is the number of judgment: the rains lasted for 40 days and 40 nights, Yisra’el wandered in the desert for 40 years, Torah’s limit of 40 lashes with the whip for punishment, 40 years of Philistine control, Yeshua fasted for 40 days, etc etc.

To me, this pointed to 2020 as a ‘possible’ yovel year, given that the Yovel not kept comes with a promise of judgment, and given that there are 39 cycles from 70AD to 2020.  The 40th would be 2070, but I can’t see how our current state of mankind and prophecy could last that long.  It could, but I just struggle believing it will.  So, 2020 is still a possible demarcation of the Yovel cycle, IF 70 AD was indeed the last one.  Which is how I leaned for years.  These days, I am not so certain, even though 2020 is upon us, and the ‘signs of the times’ do seem to be quickening these days.  It could all turn so fast.  But, there still seems to be ‘too much’ to be fulfilled before the fall of 2020.  And, there is no real biblical reason to believe that 70 AD was a Yovel year, other than the destruction of the Temple.  Yeshua did predict that.  But, He predicted the destruction of the Temple in the last year of His ministry, just before His execution.  He said that the generation of that day would see its destruction.  That was a warning.  That would be only 40 years before 70 AD.  There should have been a forty year cycle, a generation!  A biblical ‘generation’ is 40 years.  It would seem that Yeshua would have given Yisra’el forty years to repent from the time He first stood and declared, “Repent!”.  A whole ‘generation’.  If He started His ministry and declaration for ‘teshuvah’ in 27AD, then it was forty years before Rome sacked Yerushalayim in 67AD.

In the times of Yirme-Yahu, Yisra’el, which at that time was Yehudah and the return of the remnant of the 10 northern tribes, our Jewish people, was about to be punished for not keeping the Torah.  One of the sins that יהוה punished Yisra’el for, that is called out in this Navi’s book, is that of not keeping the Sh’mitah and Yovel cycles.  One of the great things about those cycles is the lesson of compassion.  It is not just about giving the land rest, nor of relieving debt, but about learning to trust יהוה , and learning to demonstrate compassion to those in bondage.   So many people today do not want to learn compassion.  Especially among “Messianic” people who are bent on punishing people for ‘their’ infractions, which usually end up not being Torah infractions at all.  The Yovel cycle calls to mind the same sins in Yisra’el that Elohim punished them for in sending them into captivity into Bavel.  After Yeshua’s day, when they had been visited by Adon HaKavod, they refused to repent, and would not accept Messiah Yeshua as their Moshiah.  For those 37 years, they chased, persecuted, and killed the Kadosh ones, the Khasidim, those who trusted in Messiah and obeyed the Torah.  At the end of those 37 years, their spirit of “Mashi’akh HaSheker,” their מִתְנַגֵּד הַמָּשִׁיחַ spirit, ‘against Messiah’, was punished, and their Temple was destroyed.  And their religious life became a ruin.  They were scattered.   As predicted by Yeshua.  But, that was only 37 years after Yeshua predicted it.  However, perhaps the benchmark of the Yovel has been hiding under our noses all the while.   Yeshua declares a Yovel in our parashah this week! And this was FORTY years exactly before 67 AD!  A ‘generation,’ time enough to warn of impending judgment.

“[The] Ru’akh of Adonai יהוה is upon me; because יהוה has anointed me to bring good tidings unto the humble; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the eyes that are bound; to proclaim the year of the good pleasure of יהוה ….”  The yovel year was indeed the “good pleasure of יהוה …”

Who better to ‘declare’ the Yovel than Yeshua the Messiah? Especially since it came with His anointing, miracles, and His declaration and warning: “The time has come to an end, and Malkhut HaElohim is at hand; repent, and trust in HaB’sorah.”  He spoke these words just days before entering the Beit K’nesset at Natzrat and declaring Yesha-Yahu 61:1-2’s declaration of “D’ror”, Liberty!  The Yovel? !

In the Hebrew, “likro lishvu’im dror’, gets rendered as ‘declare liberty for the captives’ in many translations.  This is not wrong.  However, there may be a hint in that middle word: sh’vu’im.  The root word is very similar to the root for “seven/shabbat”, which would be what the seventh year of the cycle is called.  And the Yesha-Yahu verse finishes with another declaration, the “Year of the Will [good will/favor] of  יהוה .” But, more importantly, the idea of ‘dror’ and ‘good will’ being declared by Yeshua Himself in this first year of His ministry, is very telling, considering that the clock of mankind ‘revolves’ around Him.  If he was born in 3 or 4 BC, then either 27 or 26 AD could have been the year He stood and read this passage.  I tend to believe it was 3 BC, which would make our year of this ‘declaration’ 27AD.  Yeshua then says, after reading this ‘good news,’ “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your ears..”  If this is the case, then exactly 40 years later Rome sacked Yerushalayim.  Forty years is the year of judgment in many scriptures/events of precedent.  This forty years would have been an opportunity for Yisra’el to do teshuvah, which we know that only a remnant did, by returning to Elohim, and trusting in Messiah and not in their own Tzedaka.  For forty years, starting with Messiah Himself, the B’sorah was declared and the Messianic community grew, and only the Messianic community fled Jerusalem before Rome shut it in in 67AD, forty years after Yeshua’s declaration of Yovel, until its destruction in 70AD.  If this is the case, then 2027 may be a very interesting year, as that would be the next biblical Yovel, if my math is right.  It may have been a Sabbath just before or after Yom Teru’ah or Yom Kippur when Yeshua stood and read, and ‘declared’ what looks strikingly like a Yovel.  Would not it make sense that Messiah start His ministry with the official declaration of Yovel, “D’ror”, and that it coincide with the actual clock of scripture?  And would it not then make sense that as soon as His Messianic ministry started, and the opposition of it, that forty years later, the time of judgment, the Temple would be destroyed, and all the punishments for breaking the Yovel would be meted out on Yisra’el?  It is certainly something to consider more deeply.  And it would be further sensible to see that there would be exactly 40 Yovels of time between Yeshua’s declaration and 2027, which ‘could’ mark the 6,000 year mark of the time appointed for man.

As my family and I enter into this time of ‘release,’ ‘freedom’, great joy, we will certainly be contemplating these things more deeply.  Khanukah is a good place to start, too.  So, may the approach to both 2020 and 2030 be rife with introspection and preparation of hearts.

Shalom to all, and Khanukah Same’akh!

 

Yosef The Kohen

Yosef [Joseph] was the first son of Rakhel, the wife whom Yisra’el loved.  As such, Yisra’el loved Yosef abundantly.  He expressed this love lavishly, and gave to Yosef an ‘elaborate tunic’.  This garment has been a part of even our pop culture, commonly referred to as a ‘coat of many colors’, but I suppose my favorite cultural reference to it would be Dolly Parton’s song.  But the word for ‘tunic’, which is rendered ‘coat’ in most renderings, is a special word, and is not in any way a coat like we in the west call our outer winter garment.  The word here, in Hebrew, is כְּתֹנֶת , “k’tonet”.  It is a special type of tunic.  It slips over the body, has long sleeves, and comes down to just below the knees.  Yosef’s was ‘elaborate,’ which does not necessarily speak of color, but more of quality.  The material was likely very expensive, something only royalty would wear.  Yisra’el, his father, took the time himself to make this tunic.  He must have bought the most expensive materials, and he must have devoted hours to fashioning this garment.

Why is this garment mentioned?  Other than that it seems to be the implement of provoking the jealousy and hatred of his brothers, his own flesh and blood, why do we need to know about this garment?

There are some hints to us about future things.  But, lets understand some context first.  In the house of Yisra’el, and I speak of the man at this point, and not the nation, it was understood that the head of the house is the “Kohen”, the intermediary between G-d and the family.  Yisra’el’s family was predicted by Elohim, and chosen by Elohim, to be the family of the coming Messiah and Savior.  The twelve sons we read about here are the heads of the tribes of the nation of Yisra’el, and their thrones are seen in the Hitgalut, beside the throne of G-d.  This whole chapter is linked very tightly with the Hitgalut [Revelation].  A kohen is one who speaks between G-d and man, who ministers, who carries the ‘mantle’ of anointing.  The garment that Yisra’el gave to Yosef was not a ‘me’il’, the more common word for the outer garment, nor an ‘abayah’ [if memory serves], nor any of other several words that speak of clothing in ancient Yisra’el.  The word is ‘k’tonet’, and is a word of very limited and specific use in scripture.

This is actually the word used in B’reshit 3, where Elohim makes ‘coats of skin’ for Adam and Khava.  Those skins were made from the first creatures ever to physically die in the history of the world, and their death was for the purpose of making ‘atonement’, ‘covering’, covering over the shame of nakedness after Adam had lost the Presence of the Creator due to his sin.  It is also, however, used of the priestly garment, a tunic worn close to the body under the robe of t’khelet.  It is the long-sleeved, white garment seen below.

Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 12.32.37 AM

This word is used in only a few other places, other than concerning Adam and Yosef and the Kohen.  Namely, it is the garment of Tamar, the daughter of Melekh David:

“Now she had an elegant, flowing garment upon her; for with such robes were the  daughters of HaMelekh that were virgins apparelled.”

So, a k’tonet is associated with the priesthood and with royalty.  And both priests and kings are anointed.  And the garment is associated with the anointing:

“It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard; even the beard of Aharon, that comes down upon the collar of his garments…”

Is it any wonder, then, that as soon as we learn that Yosef received this ‘k’tonet,’ this elaborate tunic, that we then learn of his brothers’ jealousy, and immediately of his dreams from G-d.  His dreams were not just childish fantasies, but prophecy.  He was anointed!  His whole life is the picture of the Kohen, interceding for all the world, making provision for the whole world.  He is most definitely an archetype of Yeshua, our Kohen Gadol.

Yosef’s brothers already despised him because of their father’s love for him, but now, they ‘hated him yet the more’ because of his dreams and his words.  His dream is echoed in the Hitgalut, chapter 12, where we see the young child snatched up to heaven, under a sign, a woman clothed in the sun.  Yosef’s dream was not only about his eleven brothers, who did bow down eventually to him, but also of Yeshua, before whom all twelve tribes will bow.

What makes this more interesting is that when the brothers betray him, they are in “Dotan”; this was a rebellion against the anointing, in a sense.  And we learn that this rebellion, this overthrow, happened in “BaMidbar”.

“Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him.”

There was another ‘pit’ in the wilderness later in scripture.  The rebellion of Korakh occurred, and a man named Dotan was part of that rebellion.  This happens in BaMidbar, chapter 16 [Numbers].  After Korakh and Dotan and all his bands rebelled, the earth opened up and swallowed them.  And why did they rebel?  They sought the kehunah; they had their own anointing, but wanted someone else’s role.  They envied the garment, perhaps, on a spiritual level.

Yosef’s elaborate tunic is so much more than a mere ‘coat’.  It is a symbol of the anointing.  It is a foreshadowing of Messiah.  And Yeshua had a robe very similar to this one, and to that of the Kohen:

Now when the soldiers had executed Yeshua, they took His clothes and divided them into four parts, a part to each of the soldiers; but His robe was without seam, woven from the top throughout.  So they said one to another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” And the scripture was fulfilled, which said, “They divided my clothes among them, and for my robe they cast lots.”

The most amazing part of the whole Yosef story, is that his brothers were able to carry a lie to their father, give him his elaborate tunic soaked in blood, and deceive him for twenty years.  The most glaring thing that ‘hit’ me when I read it this time was:

“And his father wept for him.”

 

Pri HaGafen

My Parasha [weekly reading portion of scripture] is VaYishlakh: “And he [Ya’akov] sent…”  That is this week’s [12/8-12/14] parasha.

The scriptures in this scheduled reading which was read in the synagogues during the Sabbath week of my birth 54 years ago have been special to me since I discovered the parasha reading schedule some fifteen to twenty years ago.  Ya’akov, whose name my son now bears, wrestled with Messiah, who manifested to him as a “Malakh”, a messenger.  He changed his name to “Yisra’el”.  He was then reconciled with his estranged twin; then, his daughter, Dinah, plays the harlot and is defiled, and his sons take vengeance for her.  Ya’akov is then sent back to Beit El, where he first saw the spiral stairway, and the messengers ascending and descending on it, and finally Ya’akov purges his household of idolatry from there.  At this point, the covenant of Avraham is ratified with Ya’akov under his NEW name, Yisra’el.  He then loses his wife, Rakhel, as she dies as a result of her theft and idolatry, and he names her last son “Binyamin”, “Son of My Right Hand”.  Rakhel was buried in Beit Lekhem of Efratah, where Yeshua, the Son who sits on His Right Hand, was born.  Then, all the twelve sons of Yisra’el are named together for the first time, in this portion.  And then, his father, Yitz’khak, died, and is buried at Khevron [see: “I’m in Khevron”] , the same place where Avraham and Sarah’s bodies were interred.  After this, all the sons of Edom are named.

Needless to say, this is a very ‘full’ portion.

And the “Haftarah” that goes with it is the whole book of Ovad-Yah.  And here, Edom is warned for ‘standing in the way’, which is in the 14th verse, and is where the word ‘perek’ is in Hebrew, which means ‘cross-road’, intersection, from where my surname is derived. This portion speaks about “The Day of  יהוה ”, and there is a promise that on that day there will be those that “escape”, and France and Spain’s Jews are promised the cities of Southern Yisra’el on that day.

But, the portion that I have not paid as much attention to over the years is the Brit Khadashah portion of VaYishlakh, particularly the portion of the B’sorah, as we just adopted that part of our reading schedule about three years ago.

It is the immersion of Yeshua by Yokhanan, the calling of the first few Shlikhim, in particular Netan’el, and then  a wedding in Kana.  All of these events are monumental in the life of Yeshua.

What most people do not recognize about this portion is that this wedding takes place on what we call ‘Tuesday’.

 “On the third day there was a wedding in Kana…”

In the Bible, the ‘third day’ is the name of that day, counting from the first day, which most call ‘Sunday’.  In Ancient Yisra’el, and in some Jewish communities today, the third day was the day many people had their weddings.  This is because on the very first ‘third’ day of the week ever, the third day of Creation, all of the plant life was created, ‘with fruit in them’.  This is the very inception of life in our universe, and is seen as a particular blessing for wives bearing fruit.  And at the wedding Yeshua attended, on this day, He performed His first miracle, the miracle of ‘creating’ “Pri HaGafen,” the “Fruit of the Vine”.  This was an echo of the third day of creation, and was a manifestation of Yeshua’s role as the power behind creation.  Whoever the groom was, who is not named, should have been very grateful for Yeshua, and I’m willing to bet that family flourished, and that groom’s descendants are numerous today.

Yeshua also created the ‘Pri HaGafen’ at Pesakh three years later, in that He ratified the renewed covenant with the THIRD cup of the Pesakh Seder, the ‘cup after supper’, saying, “This is the cup of the Brit Khadashah in my blood, which is shed for you.” [Luka 22] And in Matti, “Then He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them and said, “Take, drink of it, all of you.  This is my Blood of the Brit Khadashah which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.  But I say to you, from now on I shall not drink from this fruit of the vine [Pri HaGafen] until the day when I drink it anew with you in Malkhut HaElohim.”  And they sang the Hallel, and went out to Har HaZetim.”  Har HaZetim, the Mount of Olives, is where Yeshua prayed so earnestly that He shed blood from his sweat glands, on a Tuesday Night.  The Third Day; ratifying a betrothal to His new Bride.

Pri HaGafen, the Fruit of the Vine, takes on a whole new meaning for me in ‘realizing’ this, this week.

Ad Anah

Miqedem is a Messianic Israeli team of musicians who sing The Word set to very compelling, interesting ‘Hebrew’/Middle Eastern sounding music.

They have a song called “Ad Ana”, which is Tehillah [Ps] 13 set to a moving, melodic, tune that, in my view, gets very close to expressing the ‘tone’ of the heart of Melekh David, the writer.

I have been ‘contemplating’ Melekh David of late, and have been re-reading his history, and as such, have decided to teach His life in our next Torah study.  I think one of the reasons he has been on my mind of late is because of the near three-month ‘trial’ that I endured, when I turned to David’s words of ‘prayer/praise’ daily [more than the one or two I usually do], echoing them back to my Savior, Messiah Yeshua, because David ‘gets me’, and expresses ‘right thinking’ in times of trouble.

This ‘Tehillah’, which is ‘praise’, is one of MANY that he wrote, that expresses deep, deep emotion.

Personally, people who say they know Messiah and have not experienced His ‘compassion’ [deep affectionate love] for Him and for His people are missing ‘something’.  Moreover, if they ‘say’ they do not suffer ‘trials’, then their ‘tzedaka’ is suspect.  “MANY are the tribulations of the tzadikim”; “Tzadikim” is “Justified Ones,” those who are set right before G-d by their trust in the blood of Messiah.  They are not perfect, as was not David HaMelekh, who had his own bouts with sin AND affliction; but he understood the compassion of Elohim, and boiled over with it at times.  And, he ‘suffered’ at the hands of PEOPLE, and GRIEVED over it… weeping, crying out, mourning, full of sorrow for things not being ‘right’ between him and people he loved.  I venture to say he emoted more even than me!  He lamented wrongdoing, his own, AND that of others, especially when they wronged him simply because he was anointed, or wronged him simply because they were disobedient to truth and bereft of the compassion of יהוה .  “My tears SOAK my bed,” he lamented.  “My heart writhes within me,”  “I moan ALL the day,” and on and on.

There are those who misread [past tense] my “Chimera” post.  Which is why I took it down.  There are those who misread [present perfect tense] me, when I ‘sorrow’ over affliction.  First of all, they see only one facet of what I might be enduring.  [Right now, I am enduring NOTHING but His joy!  Do not weep for me!]  And, they do not understand the very spiritual truth of the enemy wanting to destroy the Tzadikim, body and soul, if he can.  If WE let him.  “Kol Yisra’el aravim zeh lazeh,”  “All of Yisra’el is responsible one for another”.  Or, the way the Brit Khadashah puts it, “BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS”, “BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER.”  Like Iyov, most people do not ‘see’ when a Tzadik is ‘suffering’ spiritually, because of and for the WILL OF GOD; they only see in human terms, and try to diagnose the Tzadik, instead of simply giving him ‘compassion.’  They judge.  Just as Iyov’s [Job] ‘friends’ did.  Just as those closest to David did. They blurt their perverted version of what is happening, many times in hatred and extreme anger, and condemnation.  They have NO COMPASSION for their ‘friend.’  Especially if they are the one who errs with and/or against their ‘friend’.  Sha’ul even accused his own son of having a perverted relationship with David, when Yehonatan was petitioning the king for David’s life!  He twisted their deep love into perversion!  That is the way of the accuser. David was afflicted by BELIEVERS and PROPHETS!  Not by the wicked, but by fellows, brothers, beloved friends, even his own son.  People who had genuinely ‘experienced’ G-d!  Sha’ul was not only king, but a Navi, given the very Ru’akh of Elohim!  David was NOT troubled by the Kena’ani;  NOT the P’lishtim.  In fact, he once was ‘taken in’ by the P’lishtim, running from those who professed trust in  יהוה !  I once told my wife that I could probably go to a bar and get more compassion than I can among the ‘brethren’.   Sometimes it really does seem that way.  As such, I am abundantly grateful for the brothers who did ‘take me in’, and who did show me compassion during my recent trial, without judging me or reading things into my life that were not there, because of their own perverted views, and worldly counsel.

Looking into David’s life and seeing his experiences, and his EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL RESPONSE to those experiences has been a great comfort to me, especially with the echo of judgement, suspicion, and accusation lingering behind the words of wise and compassionate counsel at times.  Singing this song this past Shabbat [practice] was cathartic, to a  degree, punctuating all the ‘counsel’ given to me of late, by King David, and good friends.  Singing it by myself [with Miqedem] this morning moved me in a new way, and ‘opened my eyes’ again to the purpose of these ‘prayers’ written for the Congregation by King David, the ‘shadow and type’ of King Messiah, Yeshua HaNatzri, who is ‘familiar with suffering’.  Even when it ‘seems’ like Abba is ‘absent’ and not attending to us, yet do we TRUST in HIS COMPASSION, REJOICE in His YESHUA, and SING to HIM, because of His bountiful compassion toward us, ‘ad olam’…

It is NOT wrong, at times, to have ‘sorrow’.  It is wrong to have sorrow and NOT PRAISE HIM ANYWAY!  It is wrong to listen to the counsel of those without compassion, and wrong to trust ‘judgement’ rather than HIS COMPASSION.  His compassion is what sustains us in the sorrow that HE has allowed into our lives, for the purpose of drawing us closer to Him, and showing us where His compassion truly lies. 

Sha’ul understood the depth of His Compassion, writing:

“If He did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, why will He not freely give us all things with Him? Who is to complain against the chosen ones of Elohim? It is Elohim who justifies. Who is He who condemns? It is Mashi’akh who died and rose again, and He is at the right hand of Elohim, making intercession for us. What shall separate me from the love of Mashi’akh? Tribulation, or imprisonment, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we die every day, and we are accounted as lambs for the slaughter.” But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor HaMalakhim, nor empires, nor armies, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else created, shall be able to separate me from the love of Elohim which is in Yeshua HaMashi’akh Adoneinu.”

Tehillah 13

For the Leader. A Mizmor of David.  

Until when, O יהוה , will You forget me forever?  עַד אָנָה יהוה תִּשְׁכָּחֵנִי נֶצַח

                Ad ana, יהוה  , tishkakheini netzakh?

Until when will You hide Your face from me?    עַד אָנָה תַּסְתִּיר אֶת פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי

                Ad ana tastir et paneikha mimeini

 Until when shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart by day?                                              עַד אָנָה אָשִׁית עֵצוֹת בְּנַפְשִׁי יָגוֹן בִּלְבָבִי יוֹמָם

                Ad ana ashit etzot b’nafshi yagon bilvavi yomam

Until when shall my enemy be exalted over me?  עַד אָנָה יָרוּם אֹיְבִי עָלָי

                Ad ana yarum oiyevi alai?

 Behold, and answer me, O יהוה my Elohim;   הַבִּיטָה עֲנֵנִי יהוה אֱלֹהָי

                Habit, aneini,  יהוה  Elohai

 Lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of Mavet [eternal death];          הָאִירָה עֵינַי פֶּן אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת

                 Ha’irah einai pen ishan haMavet

Lest my enemy says, “I have prevailed against him”; lest my adversaries rejoice when I am moved.

פֶּן יאֹמַר אֹיְבִי יְכָלְתִּיו; צָרַי יָגִילוּ כִּי אֶמּוֹט   

                 Pen yomar oiyevi “Yakholtiv!” Tzarai yagilu, ki emot

But as for me, in Your compassion do I trust; my heart shall rejoice in Your Salvation. [Yeshua’s Name is in this word]

                וַאֲנִי בְּחַסְדְּךָ בָטַחְתִּי יָגֵל לִבִּי בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ

              Va’Ani b’khasdeikha batakhti, yagel libi bishuateikha

I will sing unto יהוה , because He has dealt bountifully with me.   אָשִׁירָה לַיהוה כִּי גָמַל עָלָי

               Ashirah la  יהוה  ki gamal alai

Update on “HaDavar, D’var יהוה “

01/21/20

Hu Ba!

It is FINALLY here!

I HOPE you get your copy, and are blessed and increased by reading His Word from these sources, and from a better, Messianic Jewish perspective, glorifying His Name and not hiding/blotting it out.

Click the link “HaDavar D’var יהוה ”  below…. amazon has it, they just haven’t posted the cover image yet.  If you struggle with the link, you can go to Amazon and search on “HaDavar Perek” and you’ll find it.

Read about it below if you’re not familiar yet with our project:

“HaDavar, D’var יהוה “

 

HaDavar

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails well fastened are those that are composed in collections; they are given from One Shepherd. And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of the making of many books there is no end…”

~Kohelet 12:11-12a

When one encounters a new translation of the sacred writings, one is perhaps hesitant, and that is understood. But, the words of G-d are indeed ‘nails well fastened,’ and are powerful beyond language. Nevertheless, a new translation begs the question, what would compel a soul to attempt another rendering of these same words in a language which has offered so many translations already? Is it fanciful desire? Or necessity? For us, who undertook this monumental task with great hesitance and trepidation, it was necessity. We realize what we see as necessity may not be so looked upon by others, but we had a specific goal in mind, and we hope every reader can find value in our bringing that goal to fruition out of our necessity.

What authority or qualifications do we have in order to presume to do this work and offer it to the wider believing community? We do not claim any superior authority over anyone else, nor intellectual authority over His Word, that precludes anyone else having interpretive authority over His Word. Further, we do NOT presume to have authority over The Creator and His Son, who are the arbiters of our destiny. But, we do know this “One Shepherd” who is the composer of these words in Hebrew and Aramaic, collected herein in English, and are as capable through Him of understanding them as any other who has studied those languages. Our great desire is to restore the context of those words from the original texts: historical, religious, and cultural context, as well as scriptural and linguistic.

While many people helped to bring this final version to print, this was primarily the effort of one person, a BA in Biblical Studies and an MA in History, whose study of the Hebrew language began some twenty-one years ago, after having become a Messianic believer by studying the Greek and Greek-sourced “New Testament” texts. After becoming a fluent reader of the Hebrew scriptures, and learning of the Aramaic Peshitta texts, he began to study the Aramaic Peshitta Brit Khadashah in Hebrew and Aramaic. He is now convinced by those words, and also other, external proofs, that they preceded the Greek translations, and are the source texts of those Greek translations. We realize not many scholars agree with this conclusion, but some very qualified persons do, and so we are in good company. But, the greater desire was to have a completely Semitic source of scriptures rendered into English, with the ancient Hebrew and Peshitta texts in Hebrew on facing pages, to give The Word a single flavor: a Jewish flavor. We still await the completion of a Hebrew/English version. But, there are many reasons for the desire of a more Jewish, English rendering of the sacred Hebrew texts, even though some already exist. Those reasons are further elucidated herein.

This is not the making of another book entirely. This is the making of a single volume that contains the Tanakh and Brit Khadashah writings of the ancient Jews who trusted in יהוה for Salvation. This work is meant to offer the Jewish scriptures which most call the “Old Testament”, in their original language, sourced from the Masoretic Texts, with an improved English rendering of those texts. The necessity of another English rendering is predicated upon seeing His Name, יהוה , in the English side of the book, and of seeing the Hebrew nature of the ancient concepts that are communicated in Hebrew to a modern world. It is thereby meant to bring the reader of the English closer to the Creator, if only from another, slightly different perspective. We are confident that the English Tanakh herein does exactly that, with integrity, and with beauty.

This work is also meant to offer a Brit Khadashah portion of the printed writ, “HaDavar,” [The Word] in the Hebrew language, sourced from the Aramaic Peshitta texts, and an English rendering on the facing pages. We still await the Hebrew version. But, this English version shows the reader that His Name, יהוה , was used by Yeshua and by His Talmidim, including Sha’ul, to declare the Good News of Messiah to the world. This Brit Khadashah text in English does that, and also serves to offer readers the Jewish flavor of HaDavar, maintaining the integrity of the original texts. It also shows just how Jewish the believers in the Brit Khadashah were, and remained for the rest of their lives. This volume, therefore, will be unique, giving the reader a different perspective on the use of the Name, completely Semitic text sources for both sides of the Bible, and Hebrew transliterations of important biblical words and concepts.

This translation contains translations of the Masoretic Texts of the Tanakh, and an English rendering of the Aramaic Peshitta Brit Khadashah. The English Tanakh herein is new and original, but relies heavily on the Jewish Publication Society 1917 Tanakh. Similarly, the Brit Khadashah herein is new and original, but relies heavily on Lamsa’s 1933 New Testament. Other sources were consulted for controversial/disputed passages, such as the “Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon”, the “Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible” by Jeff Benner, “The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon”, by Benjamin Davidson, and “Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature” by Marcus Jastrow.

We realize there are similar works out there, but none that we found using the Peshitta as a base text for the Brit Khadashah and the Masoretic Hebrew texts as the base for the Tanakh, that also satisfies our other desires, in a single volume.

There is not one volume offered by anyone we found that offers both the English and the Hebrew of these source texts in a single volume. And that was our primary motivation for setting about to do this work. We have yet to complete the Hebrew translation of the Brit Khadashah, but chose to publish the English ahead of time, by request.

Our secondary and tertiary motivations have already been stated: those of giving The Name יהוה a preeminent place in the English versions, of making the English language more Jewish in tone, and of clearing up confusing and/or contradictory renderings of certain phrases seen in the more traditional versions of scripture. We will cite just a few of those to begin to make our point herein.

There are many places where other Jewish translations of the Hebrew Tanakh into English are obviously not drawing on the Hebrew language alone, but possibly on doctrine, and they seem to betray a motivation to hide the Messiah Yeshua from our Jewish people. One of these places, and perhaps one of the more important, is in the book of Zekhar-Yah [Zechariah] 12:10 “…and they shall look unto Me [ where it is clear that יהוה is speaking ] whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.” The traditional, Jewish renderings of this verse, which read in this wise: “and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through”, change the meaning altogether, seemingly in an attempt to hide Messiah from the Jewish reader. The Christian community has also done likewise with certain verses, seeming to promote doctrine rather than translate the text faithfully. One example is from the book of Ma’asei HaShlikhim [Acts] 20:7, “And at the beginning of the week, when we assembled to break bread…” Most offer a different reading of this verse, inserting a word, seemingly to support a doctrine. Similarly, though probably not deliberate, the use of antiquated English words can leave room for misinterpretation. The best example of this, perhaps, is the use of the word “tongues” in the Brit Khadashah, where the context clearly shows us this word is referencing known, earthly languages. Others have used the literal but vague nature of this rendering to create doctrine. 

There are several examples in both sides of the book [OT and NT] where these types of renderings give us pause. Again, this was NOT our primary motivation, and we are not trying to say that all other versions are bad, but only that in certain places the translators seemed to have been influenced by something other than the language and culture of the scriptures. Having these passages cleared up and made more plain seemed a useful pursuit. Returning the English to a closer, more faithful “Hebrew” flavor gives the reader a better sense of the Jewish nature of these texts, and an understanding of the plain meaning of the text itself, leaving the establishment of doctrine to the reader[s], as much as possible.

The last motivation, but a good one, was that giving the Hebrew tone of the names of Biblical characters, places, and consecrated items not only gives the reader a better sense of the culture of the book, and compels the reader to learn more vocabulary, but also allows a Hebrew student to learn the language more quickly. Having the Hebrew on hand with this volume makes learning the language more meaningful, by having so large a vocabulary accessible in the texts, and a glossary to help learn those words.

This eight years of diligence, dedication, hard work, and sacrifice has truly been a labor of love. We truly hope that everyone who invests their time and means into this work is blessed for doing so, as we know and trust that His Word is the most important earthly evidence of our Creator, apart from His People, and the creation itself.

“Yes, He loves the peoples, all His K’doshim, they are in Your hand; and they sit down at Your feet, receiving of Your words.”  ~D’varim 33:3

I’m in Khevron

A couple of weeks ago, while studying parashat “Khayei Sarah” with my wife, I saw a few things on a deeper level.

Sarah died and was buried at חֶבְרוֹן , Khevron, which was formerly called, קִרְיַת אַרְבַּע , Kiryat Arba.  Reading these in English or transliteration doesn’t reveal much.  Reading them in Hebrew, with some understanding, starts to peel back some layers.

First, ‘Sarah’ means ‘princess’.  Or ‘female ruler’.

Khevron is the city from where David ruled his kingdom for seven years.  Most people know that “Sar Shalom” is “Prince of Peace.”  ‘Sarah’ is the feminine version of “Sar”. קִרְיַת אַרְבַּע , or “Kiryat Arba”, means “City of Four”.  And Khevron means “Friendship”.

In the portion, Sarah has died.  Avraham is looking for a place to inter her body.  On a peshat level, that is as plain as it can be.  But, is there a deeper reason that so much detail is given us concerning her burial?  Is there anything to see, beyond just her interment?  I believe there is.

Everyone should know that Avraham believed in the resurrection.  If so, then everyone should know that, like Avraham, who now lives in “Eden”, otherwise known as “Paradise”, or the “Bosom of Avraham,” Sarah, too, is alive.  Elohim is the G-d of the LIVING, and NOT the dead.  Though her body is dead, Sarah yet lives.  But, her body represents who she was/is on earth.  And she is a princess.  She is the wife of the father of our faith.  She is seen as a symbol of faith.  [Ivrim 11].  Is it possible, then, at all, that she could be representing the Bride of Messiah?

David ruled from Khevron during the first seven years of his reign.  It means “friendship”, where ‘khaver” is the root, and vav-nun is the suffix.  I will leave my thoughts about vav-nun out for now, but to say that a vav is both a nail, and an upright man, and a nun is a ‘seed’, and an upright man.  One might see ‘death’ in the first one, and ‘life’ in the second.

Khevron is a city; and Sarah’s body was placed there.  This is the city where David was anointed to be “Melekh David,” literally “A Beloved King”.  The z’kanim were gathered together there to see him anointed as king .  There are overtones of “prince and princess” in that event, of bride and groom:

“Then came all the tribes of Yisra’el to David unto Khevron, and spoke, saying, “Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. In times past, when Sha’ul [a picture of Mashi’akh HaSheker, the false/lying anointed one] was Melekh over us, it was you that did lead out and bring in [shepherd] Yisra’el; and יהוה said to you, ‘You shall feed My people Yisra’el, and you shall be prince over Yisra’el’.” So all the elders of Yisra’el came to HaMelekh to Khevron; and Melekh David made a covenant with them in Khevron before יהוה ; and they anointed David Melekh over Yisra’el.”    2 Sam 5:1-3

So, the place where Sarah is buried was formerly called “City of Four”, or ‘a city ‘foursquare’, perhaps?  And it is here that David enters into a covenant, bone of bone, flesh of flesh, with Yisra’el’s elders?  And the city is then called “friendship” or “association”.

Is it mere coincidence that Yeshua’s bride, or princess, is seen as “elders”, ‘z’kenim’ assembled around a throne in the Hitgalut [ch 4 and 5]; and that this city is called ‘foursquare’; and that He is anointed/declared the only one worthy, and declared King there; and that a marriage occurs there, and that it takes seven ‘earth’ years to complete the event?  And then Yeshua returns from that City, then to rule in the earthly Yerushalayim for the remainder of man’s time on earth?  It cannot be mere coincidence. Is it also mere coincidence that this is one of the cities of “refuge”, where a person flees from an avenger?  I am a firm believer that every letter, every stroke of the pen in the Torah matters.  [Matti 5:17-19].  There is so much more depth to all of this than I am able to convey right now.  But the overtones, to me, are obvious and glaring.  I cannot wait to see our “Khevron”, our city of refuge, our foursquare city of friendship, where our King will be anointed as King.

 

Deep

Shalom!

It has been a while since my last post.  I have taken some time to press in to our Creator, to seek His face, concerning personal matters.  I do not know what the immediate future holds, but one thing I have is absolute shalom.  And I have gratitude for that, as well as His many other blessings.  These past few weeks have not been fun.  But, in a sense, they have been more beneficial for me in so many ways, ways that others cannot fathom.  Due to huge waves of misunderstanding, I have pursued only Him.

The nightly prayer  we pray with the Shema is Tehillah [ps] 4, and the verse that always ‘shines’ out to me is, “Rigzu, v’al tekheta’u; imru vilvav’khem al mishkav’khem, v’domu; Selah.”

“Tremble, and do not sin; speak with your own hearts in your beds, and be silent. Selah” [sic: on the fly verse citation and xlation from memory]  Selah is likely a musical ‘pause’, or an encouragement to meditate on the prior words.  No one really knows for sure, but to me, that’s what the evidence suggests.  In my morning prayers, I have great communion with Avinu in His Words through our Messiah Yeshua.  During the daily standing prayers, I have a much needed repast from work, and a brief connection to Avinu through His Son again.  But, at night, after the Shema and Tehillah 4 are offered as sacrifices of praise by my wife and me, the ‘deep’ meditation in Him begins, the ‘crying out’ of the soul.  Every night, I ‘know’ that He hears me.  Even though sometimes I don’t ‘feel’ like He did.

The last two weeks have been some of the tougher weeks of my life.  But in the midst of it, I have had a deep, deep Shalom, in spite of the ‘storm’ of words and emotion that is going on.  Two Fridays ago, I was so full of Shalom, that my unusually low resting heart rate of 50-52 was even lower: 40 beats per minute.  In spite of being on a Keto diet, which can rob a person of sleep, I have slept deeper and more sound, apart from the 3 a.m. break required by most men at my age.  And that break actually gives me a second opportunity to ‘commune’ with Him ‘with my heart’.  And those times have been some of my most cherished times, especially these past couple of weeks.

On two separate nights, I asked specific things of Abba concerning His thoughts of me.  Last night I did the same again.  As someone who was raised in a bit of a dysfunctional home, negative ideas about oneself are sometimes difficult to overcome.  When others perpetuate the negative criticisms, they can be even harder to overcome, tearing open old wounds again.  Those have been near incessant for me this year, for some inexplicable reason.  I am all too aware of my many flaws.  But, I am also very aware that there are good things about me, most of which others seem not to see at all.  But, the greatest and single most important ‘thing’ about me is my confession of Yeshua’s death FOR ME.

Each of those three nights that I prayed, asking Abba of His thoughts concerning me, I ‘saw’ in my mind the right wrist of Yeshua being laid on an old piece of gnarly wood, already bloody, with a huge nail poised on His wrist [In ancient Hebrew, the ‘hand’ included the wrist up to where the arm starts to widen out], and I all but heard the first blow of the hammer on the huge nail, and I saw the metal go into His flesh, in my mind.  Last night’s episode was the more vivid, as it seems that it has gotten clearer every time.

Avinu, Our Father, ‘thought’ enough of me, in spite of all my many flaws people are so quick to point out, to send His Son ahead of time, almost 2,000 years before I existed, to take that nail, and two others, into His flesh, after having taken the stripes on His back already, for me.

Not very many people besides my wife ever truly seem to offer me compassion and grace; but, the ONE who NEVER fails to do so for me is our Creator, and His Son, Yeshua.  Each of those nights, when I ‘saw’ His suffering right arm, I awoke the next morning, and in my morning reading I read a Tehillah that spoke specifically concerning the questions that I asked of Abba during my communing with Him by His Son’s Name the night before.  Tehillah 31, then 40, and 129.  Others, who have preconceptions in their hearts and judgments for me, if they read them, may read ‘into’ them what they ‘think’ I took from them; but Abba knows TRULY  what He spoke to me by and through His Son.

I’m not a very confident person; but, I take absolute confidence in the truth of His Word, and for myself, especially in regard to the absolute fact of the death of His Son, Yeshua, for ME.  Others don’t seem to want to give me that compassion, but He has, abundantly.

There are three sides to His Death: the Father’s, who had to forsake His Son for a season while sin was heaped upon Him; the Son’s, whose soul was laden with the sin-guilt of every human being, while His Father turned His back on Him, and the sins that were heaped on Him included all sinners. For me, it is the recognition of His deep, unfathomable love, that He would do such a thing ahead of time, knowing the very depth of our propensity to betray Him by sinning again, against G-d, and against our brothers.

Yeshua rose from the dead, and now His right arm, left arm, and both feet, and His side, bear the scars for eternity that have lifted ALL of my sin debt off of me.  If there is NOTHING ELSE in this world for which to be grateful, there is that.  And I will be able to look upon and touch those scars one day, much as did T’oma, and the eleven.  I cannot wait to see in flesh the reminder of  what I have seen in my nighttime prayers of late.

“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor HaMalakhim, nor empires, nor armies, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else created, shall be able to separate me from the love of Elohim which is in Yeshua HaMashi’akh Adoneinu.”