HaDavar Ba!

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After SEVEN + LONG YEARS and much labor, the new translation of the Jewish Scriptures, which we are calling “HaDavar”, has gone to the publisher for printing!  Our great hope is that it will be available before the fall feasts!  It would be a gift from above to begin our new, liturgical season with His Word treated as the SINGLE sourced, Jewish, semitic book that it is, finally!  Below is the introduction from the upcoming printed volume, to explain fully why this was done.

 

Introduction

דִּבְרֵי חֲכָמִים כַּדָּרְבֹנֹות וּֽכְמַשְׂמְרֹות נְטוּעִים בַּעֲלֵי אֲסֻפֹּות נִתְּנוּ מֵרֹעֶה אֶחָֽד׃ וְיֹתֵר מֵהֵמָּה בְּנִי הִזָּהֵר עֲשֹׂות סְפָרִים הַרְבֵּה אֵין קֵץ ….

 

“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 over His Word, that precludes anyone else having 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 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 “Davar” [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 seven 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

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“O, Happy Door”

יהוה  is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works.  All Your works shall praise You, O יהוה ; and Your Khasidim shall bless You.  They shall speak of the Kavod of Your Malkhut, and talk of Your might;  To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glory of the majesty of His kingdom….” Tehillah 145:9-12
As I prayed one morning, these verses pierced me.
For years, I have been striving to do just this, to make known the glory of the Kingdom of Elohim, through His appointed and anointed King, Messiah Yeshua, King of the Jews, King of Israel.
So many people miss the beauty, the majesty, the glory of His Kingdom, which is seen in His People most clearly when Jews and Gentiles are assembled together around His Torah.  Our Congregation is a beautiful picture in microcosm of His WHOLE kingdom: A small number of Jews surrounded by people from EVERY RACE and nation, language, and culture, coming together to exalt the CREATOR and His Son Messiah Yeshua, to declare His Word, to learn, and most importantly, to “impress” His Words upon the hearts of our children, so there will be a righteous generation following after us.
It never ceases to amaze me how this simple goal is thwarted and fought so much.  When we declare the beauty and benefit of keeping His Torah as ONE BODY, we are hammered!  And many times by those who say they know HIM.
I know that sometimes our message is blurred by my humanity, and by others in the Messianic Faith who are sometimes frustrated by the opposition.  [the opposition is never really any person, may we understand this].
We are His ‘works’, and He truly does extend His TENDER MERCIES to me every single day.  Today, I only echo Shaul’s words in that regard:
“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.”
Our congregation is getting to a place where we are becoming “Ekhad.”  It has been hard work, and it has oftentimes been very painful and sad; but, at the SAME TIME, it has been a GREAT JOY.  This morning, as I prayed, I began to pray beyond the bounds of our Congregation for the whole Body of Messiah.  We who keep His Torah do passionately believe that His Whole Body should and DOES keep His Torah.  Yeshua is STILL a Torah-observant JEW!  He wears a ‘vesture’ [once called a me’il, which we NOW call a tallit, but which Jews have ALWAYS worn], and on His is written the following:
מֶלֶךְ הַמְּלָכִים וַאֲדֹנֵי הָאֲדֹנִים
Melekh HaM’lakhim, V’Adonei HaAdonim
King of Kings and Master of Masters
When we in Messianic thinking try to communicate the rule of law in His Kingdom, we are often seen as being judgmental and ‘legalistic.’    And, make no mistake, I have seen people who claim to be Messianic to be the MOST judgmental people at times, and it is NO WONDER to me any more why some stand so  opposed to the ‘law’, the Torah of His Kingdom.  But, His Torah is not a burden: MEN make it into a burden.  His Sabbath, His most frequent appointed CALLED OUT [of our homes] assembly is the MOST IMPORTANT of the feasts, and it is PRECIOUS to Abba.  He calls it an “ONEG”, a SWEET DELIGHT!  And it is made sweet like various spices when His many different children assemble together for ONE purpose: to PRAISE THE KING!  On the DAY HE said for us to do so.  He blessed the SEVENTH day, for eternity!  We enter into HIS BLESSING when we ‘observe and remember the Sabbath.
We in our congregation are STRIVING for a BALANCE.  One of the primary concepts of the Torah, “Justice”, or “Just weights and just measures,” or ‘equal’ weights and measures, applies to how we apply the Torah to our lives and THEN those around us.  Judgment within the Body of Messiah is absolutely necessary!  We are told that we ARE to judge our brethren.  But, what most do not realize is that where English has ONE word for ‘judge’, Hebrew has three!  And in this case, it simply means to ‘measure’ the behavior of our brethren and ‘see’ if there is an equal measure of mercy to be applied!  THERE USUALLY IS!  There are precious few reasons we are given to divide from our ‘brothers’ [who may not actually be our brothers, but may be false brothers].  Those reasons are CLEAR, in both the “FIRST” and “RENEWED” covenant scriptures.  But, on the lesser ‘measures’ of the Torah, we are ALWAYS supposed to apply MERCY!  This is what Yeshua meant when he says, ‘LEARN WHAT THIS MEANS:  I DESIRE        MERCY!    and NOT sacrifice.’  Serving Abba without mercy for those around us is a STENCH in His nose.  But applying MERCY to our brothers in EVERY OPPORTUNITY is SWEET!  “ONEG”, a unique, SWEET DELIGHT.  He gives us the opportunity to do this EACH WEEK on Shabbat.
My prayer for myself, our congregation, and the WHOLE Body of Messiah, is that we learn not only the need to OBEY HIM as individuals, but the need to LOVE EACH OTHER as a unit: ONE MAN,  ONE BODY, where we all take signals from the ‘head’, Messiah Yeshua.  Bat Tzion is small, and the ‘least’ among congregations, and we passionately believe that we should obey His Word, ALL of it.  BUT, we hearken to the words Yeshua told Kefa when Kefa tried to ‘deflect’ to Yokhanan:
“What is it to you?”
It is the WEIGHTIER ‘measures’ of the Torah that are MOST important:
“Woe to you, Sofrim and P’rushim, you hypocrites! For you take tenth-parts on mint, dill, and cummin, and you have overlooked the more important matters of the Torah, such as justice, compassion, and absolute trust. These were necessary for you to have done, without having left the others undone..”
That’s the ‘balance’ we seek.  To do the stuff that is EASY: attend the synagogue on Shabbat, keep the Seven Feasts of G-d, avoid pagan feasts, wear tzit-tziyot, give offerings.  These are SIMPLE things.
“Compassion”, here, is the word “Khesed”, which means ‘overflowing kindness’/’goodness’ out-flowing from the one giving it.  The three Hebrew letters are חֶסֶד, khet, samekh, dalet.  The meaning of each of these letters/symbols is interesting:  LIFE, APPOINTED, DOOR.  “Samekh” is to ‘lean into,’ to put weight on; but it rhymes, in one sense, with ‘same’akh’, for ‘Happy’.  Many ‘thinkers’ have noted rightly that happiness comes instantly when we do good to others.  Yeshua is the door to happiness, and doing ‘good’ to others is the FOUNDATION of His teaching, and THAT is what Torah teaches!  It’s just that so many get HUNG UP on trying to ‘be’ perfect, they cannot even ‘see’ that Messiah has ALREADY imparted HIS PERFECTION to those who trust, in regard to ‘judgment’.  And HE challenges us then to strive to reach that same perfection!  “Messiah is the goal at which the TORAH AIMS.” Rom 10:4
Recently, during a Torah discussion, something was said concerning Eli-Yahu’s experience at Mount Khorev, implying that Elohim ‘smacks’ us when we get ‘down.’ Eli-Yahu had just won a great victory over the prophets of Ba’al, and then was threatened by the queen of harlotry, and ran for fear.  He subsequently had been sent on a long journey by The Messenger of יהוה , and was hiding in a cleft in a rock on the Mountain of יהוה .  Then He [HaDavar] appears to Eli-Yahu, who heard first a great wind, then felt an earthquake, and then saw fire;  ALL of these are elements of ‘judgment,’ and G-d was NOT IN ANY OF THEM!  G-d did not ‘smack’ Eli-Yahu for being down.  He wooed him with a still, small voice.  He ‘calmed’ him, and comforted him.
“And He said, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before יהוה .” And, behold, יהוה passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before יהוה ; but יהוה was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but יהוה was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire; but יהוה was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still, small voice. And it was so, when Eli-Yahu heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, “What are you doing here, Eli-Yahu?”  This ‘still, small voice’ continued to speak to the Navi, WITHOUT judgment, only telling him to continue to do His service for the Kingdom.
Abba showed KHESED to Eli-Yahu that day, something of which most ‘believers’ are bereft.  We are quick to ‘shout’ [wind], to tremble in anger [earthquake], and to excoriate with judgmental words [fire], and very, very slow to express compassion to His servants, our brothers.
I am not speaking from a high place of judgment, either, thinking that I have perfected anything.  But, I do ‘press on,’ as Sha’ul set the example and expressed to us in Messiah:
“My brethren, I do not consider that I have reached the goal; but this one thing I do know, forgetting those things which are behind, I strive for those things which are before me; I press on toward the goal to receive the prize of victory of the highest calling of Elohim through Yeshua HaMashi’akh.”  Fil 3:13-14
May all of us strive toward that end, keeping in mind that KHESED is ‘life’s happy door’, and Yeshua is the MERCIFUL ONE.  “Do not CONDEMN, unless you want to BE CONDEMNED.”  The word here is ‘din’, which means to judge in the sense of handing down a ‘sentence’, punishing your brother.  Matt 7:1  It is NOT OUR PLACE to punish ANYONE for their offenses!
“Love covers over a multitude of offenses.”  “It is the discretion of a man to be slow to anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”  I believe THIS is the ‘glory’ of the Kingdom of Elohim, that we CHOOSE to express ‘khesed’ when we ‘think’ we should punish!  That we continue to strive for ‘shalom’ with ALL men, most especially our brothers.

Don’t! Shoot a foot!

Many Messianic believers, including our congregation, quote 1 Jo 1:6-10 weekly in our liturgical, congregational prayers.  For two weeks or so, I’ve had a very rare word from that prayer rolling around in my mind.

שֻּׁתָּפוּת       שתף     לְשַׁתֵּף

In Hebrew, this word is ‘shutafut’.  From the verb l’shatef,  from the root shataf.

The ultimate numeric value of the root is “6”, the number of man, the day Adam and Khava were created.

The verbal root concept of it is ‘to include’, and comes to ‘participation’ and eventually can get rendered as ‘fellowship’, and hence ‘communion.’   In this sense, it is literally “ONENESS” in the context of the scripture in mind, where we read, “ואִם אוֹמְרִים אָנוּ שֶׁשֻּׁתָּפוּת יֵשׁ לָנוּ עִמּוֹ “  and “ יֵשׁ לָנוּ שֻׁתָּפוּת זֶה עִם זֶה  “If we say we have ‘shutafut’ with Him…[Yeshua],” and again “We have ‘shutafut’ one with another.”    The passage is telling us that if we ‘claim’ to have ‘oneness’ with Messiah but do not walk the Torah as He walked it, then we are liars;  the converse is this, that if we DO walk the Torah the way He taught it, then we ALREADY  have ‘shutafut’ with one another, and/because the Blood of Yeshua the Messiah cleanses us of all our sin.  [‘walking’ in Hebrew is a 1st Century Jewish Torah concept, the way one follows a Rabbi and how he lives out the Torah; Yeshua is the ONLY Rabbi ever to do it perfectly and teach it correctly]

Shutafut is a funny sounding word to the English ear.  It means ‘inclusion in’ , ‘participation in’.  In this case, ‘inclusion’ in the oneness of Messiah’s Body [not of flesh, but of His Ru’akh, given by the Father, to [in] Him, and to us through Him], and thereby inclusion IN EACH OTHER.  This ‘inclusion/participation’ is in spite of our sins, against G-d, and against one another.  The Blood of Messiah ‘covers’ over ALL of those.  IF WE LET IT.

Most people do not realize the very ‘literal’ level these words have to us.  We are NOT our own.  We are NO LONGER little individuals.  We have become part of HIS BODY, a LIVING ENTITY which covers the globe, but is NOT made up of flesh and blood, yet is ‘contained’ in vessels of flesh.  But, it is ONLY made up of those who ACTUALLY ‘participate in’ Messiah, in HIS WALK.   Just a few verses later, Yoknanan writes: “Hereby we know that we are in Him: he who says “I am in Him” ought himself also to walk His Halakha.”  Yeshua did NOT follow the Rabbis, not those of His day, and certainly not today’s.  Neither did He follow the popes, who moved the Shabbat and all the feasts, taught about three gods in one ‘substance’, and licensed everyone to go against the Torah in most ways, falsely reporting that ‘grace’ is the free ticket to heaven no matter how one lives his life.

We as believers find it very difficult at times to separate the flesh from the neshama [the life of G-d in those of us ‘born again’].  But, we who claim to be IN HIM are instructed shortly thereafter, “He who loves his brother abides in the light.”

Love is NOT an emotion, like many people think.  It does at times ride on our human emotions, but the source of love is NOT ‘feeling,’ but G-d Himself.  It is a function of our “NEW NATURE” AND our WILL.  And if Yeshua is IN US, then we WILL [decide to] love one another.  And that is what real ‘shutafut’ is: participation in Messiah and in ONE ANOTHER, in the supernatural, in His Presence, which is in anyone who trusts AND follows HIM.  This was the very theme of Yeshua’s last prayer, before he went to hang on the tree: “Let them be EKHAD BANU,”  ONE IN US [The Father and His Son].  Sha’ul and Kefa both teach this concept, one saying we are a ‘body’ made up of closely knit joints, sinew, and marrow, and another saying we are a building of ‘living stones’ fitly joined together.  If you’ve seen the Temple’s foundation in Yisra’el, you know just how ‘close’ that is.  Though we are ‘individuals’, we, as those who trust in Messiah and follow His Way, are not to think that way any longer.  We belong to Him, and to one another.  While we are “free”, we are yet “servants” of Tzedaka. 

Our western mindset and our society over-influence us on a subconscious level to ‘think’ in opposition to this very radical idea, which is not an idea, but a hard reality.  We, as ‘corporate’ believers are, at times, failing, tearing at the Body of Messiah.  He [the mind/head] is striving to communicate [Through His Living WORD] to His various parts to ‘cooperate’, “l’shatef” zeh im zeh. [have oneness one with the other].

Good Sap

The richness of Jewish faith in Messiah Yeshua:
“For if you [non-Jews] who have been cut from the wild olive tree which is natural to you, and grafted contrary to your nature into a good olive tree [Israel], how much more fruitful would they be [Jews], if they were grafted into THEIR OWN natural olive tree [Israel IN Messiah Yeshua!]? I am desirous, my brethren, that you should know this MYSTERY, so that you may not be wise in YOUR OWN CONCEITS…”
Yeshua said, “Salvation [life] is from the Jews”, Jn 4:22
When Constantine severed the ‘church’ from Jewish Believers, he cut that ‘church’ off from life!  Before you defend him, in his own words, “Let us no longer have ANYTHING to do with that disgusting people, the Jews.”  He said this as the ‘head of the church’, when he MANDATED the CHANGE from worshiping on the Shabbat to worshiping on The Sun’s Day.  He acted as an anti-Messiah, a False Messiah [Daniel 7:25, 1 Jn 2:18]  He cut all those who followed him and the first ‘ecumenical counsel’ OUT of the Olive Tree of Israel!  Shaul was prophetic when he wrote,  “Well, they were cut off because of their lack of trust, but you exist by trust. Be not high-minded, but fear!  For if Elohim did not spare the natural branches, beware, or He will not spare you!  Consider therefore the goodness and severity of Elohim: on those who fell, severity; but on you, goodness, IF you continue in His goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off!”
Am I saying that no one who is a ‘christian’ is saved.  NO.  Because in spite of him, the WORD remains true!  What I am saying is that those who DO know Messiah know that He IS a JEW.
And, I am saying that if a Jew comes to trust in Messiah, his ‘fruit’ in Messiah is marvelous!  All the TRUE traditions of Israel ‘come alive’ in Messiah Yeshua, even some of those they developed AFTER Yeshua came to earth.  Suddenly, the Synagogue is a place to hear the VOICE of the MESSIAH, His Torah.  The Sabbath is a day of JOYFUL rest, and not a drudgery done to try to be perfect and earn salvation.  The FEASTS become a living example of what Yeshua did, especially Pesakh [Passover].  And, they become predictive of what He is about to do, if we understand them FROM A JEWISH PERSPECTIVE.
Jews, unbelieving ones, point to Yeshua, even when they don’t WANT to!  They have established some customs that can ONLY be explained in Yeshua, long after they rejected Him.  “To them is given the oracles of G-d” [Romans 3], even if they don’t believe!
One example: The Affikomen at Passover.  This is a later tradition of Jews.  This is a ‘dessert’, which is actually a piece of the Matzah [unleavened bread] placed in a ‘unity bag.’  That “Matzah Tash’ or matzah bag/unity bag has three compartments.  A piece of Matzah is divided up into three pieces and placed into each of the compartments.  The MIDDLE piece of the ONE broken piece of bread is taken out at a certain point in the ceremony.  Three pieces of ONE Matzah: Father, Son, Ruakh.  The middle piece is taken out. [“I came out of my Father”]  It is wrapped in LINEN and hidden away for children to find.  It must be sought together, and brought to the FATHER [the one conducting the ceremony in a home is the father].  The Seder is not complete until the Affikomen is found!  The father gives the child who found the Affikomen a token, usually a coin [silver dollar], and promises a greater gift later.  This ‘custom’ is such a CLEAR picture of Messiah Yeshua, the “middle matzah”, the Son, coming to earth, dying, being hidden in a grave, rising from the grave and leaving his linen cloth behind, being sought out, returning to the Father, and giving a ‘deposit’ on LIFE, with the promise of RESURRECTION at a later date!
Another:  Khannukah is a custom that developed about 200 years before Yeshua ministered.  During the Maccabean revolt, Jews took the Beit HaMikdash back from Antiochus Epiphanes, an “anti Messiah” Greek who told Jews they could not study Torah NOR keep the Sabbath [just like Constantine].  He defiled the temple by offering a pig in the Holy Place, and erecting a statue of zeus and declaring himself god.  The popes have done the same.  The Maccabees revolted.  They took the Temple back, cleansed it, and “Dedicated” it.  The word for “dedication” is Khannukah.  They began to celebrate that “Dedication” AS A NATION, and Yeshua honored it!  He went to Jerusalem during Khannukah [Jn 9-10], and preached a message about the false shepherd! [Antiochus, Constantine, and the eventual Anti-Messiah, the son of perdition who will soon appear].  It’s important to note that as passionate as Yeshua was about pointing out the errors of the Pharisees, HE DID NOT REBUKE THEM FOR THIS FEAST!  Khannukah is called the Festival of Lights, because they would light a lamp with 8 lights during this season.  Why?  Because they ‘dedicated’ the Temple in the 9th month of the year [our December], and that dedication was considered a “Sukkot” celebrated out of season, Sukkot usually being celebrated in the 7th month as commanded, and is a 7-day feast, with an 8th day called “Yom HaShmini”, also known as “Simkhat Torah” [Lev 23].  The two Temples that Israel had built before had been dedicated on Sukkot, an EIGHT DAY FEAST [seven days, with a “Great Day” at the end].  At ‘Khanukah,’ the ‘dedication’ after his defilment, to begin that feast out of season, they LIT THE MENORAH, as lighting lights begins EVERY DAY with Elohim, especially His Sacred Days [Sabbath, and the feasts] They had not been able to keep the ‘Season of Our Joy’ [Sukkot] for three + years because of the Greeks, and its kicking off with the lighting of the Menorah was a GREAT JOY to them!  Little did they know that the Messiah would be CONCEIVED during Khannukah, and be BORN DURING SUKKOT!  And, after all that took root in Israel, nearly 1500 years later a new custom developed around the “Khannukiah.”  The original, in-home Khannukiah [Khannukah Lamp] was an oil lamp with eight holes in it [these 1st century pottery lamps have been found all through Jerusalem].  When candles became the standard ‘lamp’ for the home, the “Khannukiah” of today was developed.  This was an eight-stemmed candelabra that looked like the Menorah.  [Hence, it came to be called a Menorah].  Today, there are NINE LIGHTS.  None are certain why, but one account says that In the late middle ages, a community of Ashkenazi Jews [probably one of my grandfathers, 😉 as “Dreyer” means ‘turner’, which also happens to be the root of the ‘turning toy’, Dreidel, of Khannukah] ordered a bunch of 8 branched “Menorahs” ahead of time.  When they were received, they had NINE lamps on them! Oy!  No bother, we’ll use it, and call it “The Shammash”, the servant candle.  It is used only to light the other eight lights!  This, too, is a beautiful picture of Messiah Yeshua, conceived at Khannukah, who gives light to the world!  And, He gives light into the ‘eighth millennium!  [8’s symbol also means infinity; in Hebrew, it is the letter khet, LIFE, also known as the “Letter of Light!”].
He was conceived during the commemoration of ‘new light’ after one of the ‘darkest’ times in Israel’s history.  He was born during Sukkot, the ‘Feast of the Ingathering.’  He died and rose again during the feast of Pesakh.  He sent the Ru’akh on Shavuot, and will call His Bride out on Yom Teruah!  He will judge the world on Yom Kippur, and begin to dwell with us at Sukkot.
The JEWISH nature of our faith is SO RICH.  EVERYTHING Jews do, whether believers or not, if it does not contravene Torah, it points to Yeshua!  They can’t help it!
Again, “how much more fruitful would they be [Jews], if they were grafted into THEIR OWN natural olive tree? I am desirous, my brethren, that you should know this MYSTERY, so that you may not be wise in YOUR OWN CONCEITS…”
And, “If their rejection [of Messiah] has resulted in reconciliation of the world, how much more will their restoration [to Messiah] be? Indeed, it will be life from the dead!”
Be good to Israel.  It could be the life of you.

HaAhavah

אהבה
Is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not over iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. אהבה never fails FOREVER…
 
Many, if not most people, equate this only to romance between a man and a woman.
 
This tells me that the believing community does not understand אהבה at all…
 
Sha’ul was writing to and about the BROTHERHOOD.
 
He had just written about the BODY of Messiah as a single unit, and explained that, though we all serve different purposes with different gifts from G-d for the purpose of serving, yet, we are ONE.
 
Then, he tells us that to LOVE in this manner is GREATER than our actual service and use of His gifts!!!
 
I was reading this first in English, (sourced from Aramaic), and the word ‘fails’ caused me to be curious to go into the Hebrew. ‘nafal’, for ‘fails’, caused me to stop and meditate…
 
הָאַהֲבָה לֹא תִּפֹּל לְעוֹלָם
 
Love does not fail FOREVER….
 
Because of the overuse and almost exclusive use of this scripture at weddings, we do not stop and understand what Sha’ul writes here, and the incredible importance to the BODY this passage has. We relegate to an earthly, sensual, emotion-only ‘love’, to which only humanity can relate. We are NOT like the world, nor should we THINK like the world, nor should we love like THE WORLD, which is temporal and conditional love. We SHOULD be ‘understanding’ this in this way:
 
Love [for a brother/sister] Is not easily provoked [to anger],
 
Love [for a brother/sister] thinks no evil [of a brother/sister]
 
Love [for a brother/sister] rejoices not over iniquity [in the Body of Messiah] ,
 
but Love [for a brother/sister] rejoices in the truth [in the Body of Messiah]
 
Love [for a brother/sister] bears all things [with a brother/sister] ,
 
Love [for a brother/sister] believes all things
 
Love [for a brother/sister] hopes all things
 
Love [for a brother/sister] endures all things
 
Love [for a brother/sister] never fails FOREVER
 
This has been one of my favorite, unsung passages. It governs my heart.  I keep it near in my mind, especially when I am struggling with a brother/sister in Messiah over some issue of the flesh.
 
There are those in my past that I have been very, very close to, who, for one reason or other [most of which has been antisemitism, but some of which has been a misunderstanding of the above, a perversion of His Love] have come to HATE me, even though they say they follow the Messiah who inspired the teaching above about HaAhavah.
 
The way the last phrase reads in Hebrew is actually:
 
הָאַהֲבָה לֹא תִּפֹּל לְעוֹלָם
 
Ha’Ahavah WILL NOT FAIL [lo tipol] FOREVER [L’olam].
 
It is NOT a function of our ‘will’ that says it will not fail…but a function of the NATURE of the LOVE OF MESSIAH, the LOVE of ELOHIM, that is INSIDE of those who trust in Him and have HIS RU’AKH.
 
GOD IS LOVE!!!!
 
If HE is inside of us, then we WILL love…. not ‘must’.
 
I HATE it when someone says, “I have to love you because I’m a believer”….
 
And I hate ‘love’ that is a false display, pretense.
 
Others that have come to hate me, even of late, I STILL love.  I STILL desire reconciliation.  His LOVE does NOT ‘fall away’, which is what ‘tipol’ means… it CANNOT, because it is FOREVER.
 
HIS LOVE endures EVERYTHING, even hatred returned for love, which is what Yeshua endured while hanging on the tree.  I am getting a sense of that these days.
 
Some people think that there are no ‘degrees’ to this kind of love, and that there is only ONE ‘kind’ of love.  They think that this ‘kind’ of love is or should be equally shared among the brethren from individual to individual in the exact same quantity. If this is the case, then Yeshua and Yokhanan broke the command. Sha’ul did too, as there were several men that he loved very dearly, more than others of his friends.  Timothy and Onesimus each was to Sha’ul like a son.  That is a deeper form of this godly love.  We are ‘joined together’ in the Body of Messiah, which implies closeness, tight binding. [Kol 2:19, Efisim 4]:

“that we be sincere in our love, so that in everything we may progress through Mashi’akh, who is the head.It is through Him that the whole Body is closely and firmly united at all joints, according to the measure of the gift [Ru’akh] which is given to every member, for the guidance and control of the Body, in order to complete the edifying of the Body in love.”

It is NOT that love fails…  It is that we fail to follow love, that is in our hearts, if Messiah is indeed inside of us.

This past Shabbat, I spoke about the ‘blessing’ of Elohim that is inside of us.  This is it.  “HaAhava”.  And our verse from the Haftarah was a command that we should “LOVE COMPASSION.”

“It has been told you, O man, what is good, and what  יהוה  does require of you, only to do justly, and to love compassion, and to walk humbly with your Elohim.”

The LOVE of ELOHIM in us produces this ‘khesed’, which is a deep ‘compassion’ for the failures of our brothers.  We, as a people, the people of G-d, are yet far too bent on judging others, holding grudges, keeping people at bay, doubting each other.  Self included.

This is my prayer this week, and perhaps for a while, for the local Body into which I am knitted:

הָאַהֲבָה לֹא תִּפֹּל לְעוֹלָם

 
Ha’Ahavah WILL NOT FAIL [lo tipol] FOREVER [L’olam].

FB Merger w Yokhanan

Yesterday, I finished reading Yokhanan again, my favorite account of the B’sorah.  I got excited about some things that are in ‘plain sight’, and posted them on fb.  I’ve commented on some of these in former posts, but these are just fresh nuggets of observation.  Here are the three posts in one here on my blog:

==========

4:35 AM

Continued in Yokhanan:
“Now since it was almost Erev Shabbat, the Y’hudim said, “Let not these bodies remain on their execution stakes, because HaShabbat is beginning,” but this Yom Shabbat was a HIGH DAY.”
People rightly conclude that the Biblical Shabbat starts on Friday Evening [Erev Shabbat], but WRONGLY think that He was executed on a fri evening. This ‘Sabbath day’ was a HIGH DAY…meaning, it was NOT the regular, weekly Shabbat, but a ‘sabbath’ created by the Pharisees, the 15th of Nisan; Yeshua’s High Sabbath had begun the night before, when He kept THE Pesakh Seder at its proper, Torah-given time. This was actually a WEDNESDAY night, when He was hung on the tree….

4:46 AM

Since I just read about His execution again this morning, I thought I’d repost this.  ‘Watching’ Him die again this morning, my heart is invigorated.
I ‘see’ it so much more clearly, every time I read it, how He took MY place, OUR place. There is SO MUCH in Yokhanan 19….
Today, I think about His PAIN.
And the fact that the ‘new birth’ into His Kingdom began the moment He died, when His dead body was pierced, causing blood and water to flow…
We are still being ‘born’ into LIFE because of that moment.
HOW it was done has been twisted, for theo-political reasons. The ‘vision’ of it is thwarted.
Consider: https://danielperek.com/2019/04/17/men-orah-you-wrong/

5:35 AM

Okay, I thought I was done, BUT, I finished reading Yokhanan, and realized THIS for the FIRST TIME, and got EXCITED: in ch 21:
שִׁמְעוֹן
Yeshua addressed Shimon Kefa, saying “Shimon Ben Yonah”…

Shimon is his given name, the one his parents gave him. Yeshua usually called him Kefa, or “Shimon Kefa”. The name ‘Shimon Kefa’ literally means, “Hear with acceptance [Shimon], ROCK”.

So here, Yeshua is saying to Kefa by saying His whole legal, earthly, given name, “Shimon Ben Yonah”, “Hear with acceptance a Son, A Dove,” THREE TIMES.

Yonah means ‘dove’; the Ru’akh had descended on Yeshua in the shape of a Yonah.

The word ‘ben’ is ‘Son’, which comes from the root word ‘banah,’ ‘to build’. A man builds a house through his son. The two letters in ‘ben’ are ‘bet’ and ‘nun’; a letter ‘bet’ is a symbol of a house,’ and a ‘nun’ is a symbol of a seed. A son is the seed of a house, and a son ‘builds’ up the house of his father.

Yeshua addressed Shimon Ben Yonah that way three times, saying, “Tend to my lambs; Tend to my sheep; Tend to my ewes.” Tend to/care for the WHOLE FLOCK.

Each time the first word of the great command, “Hear, O Yisra’el,” [Shema], was echoed in Shimon’s name: “Hear and accept”.

Yeshua wanted him to HEAR…

Shimon, who is usually called a ‘rock,’ [kefa], is called by His LEGAL name, earthly name, which beckons him to hear the Son and the Ru’akh, to tend to His WHOLE FLOCK.

I have to get to my other writing, but I just had to share…

Neat?

Who are “They”

So I’ve been reading Yokhanan this week; my favorite account of the B’sorah, because I identify with Yokhanan, the writer.  He writes in a very detailed fashion, giving a full eight chapters to Yeshua’s last Pesakh.  One might call that ‘long-winded’ today.

In that account of Pesakh, the third one he mentions in his book, Yeshua teaches His Talmidim about who He is, about the coming of the Ru’akh HaEmet, and about true obedience being measured by doing the Mitzvot, those that were from the Father, given to Yeshua, and given to us, just as the Ru’akh is from the Father, given to Yeshua, who gives it to us.

He then tells His Talmidim that the measure of whether or not we are keeping the Mitzvot is whether or not we love one another, “Just as I have loved you.”  That is a TALL order. Yeshua loved His Talmidim to the point of death.  T’oma, whom many call ‘the doubter’, was not in any way a doubter.  He was the one who had, just a few days before, said, “Let us go and die with Him.”  Here, he has told Yeshua, “Show us HaAv”.  And Yeshua explains that He is a perfect expression, an exact manifestation of HaAv, because HaAv [The Father] IS IN HIM, and He is IN HIS Father, BY and THROUGH the Ru’akh. And, because He gives us of His Ru’akh HaEmet [His ‘Breath of Truth’, ‘True Breath’ (spirit)], we will love one another, but be hated by the world.

I saw an old friend in the gym yesterday, and we discussed this ‘hatred,’ and how very evil people can be.  He and I had just gone through similar things concerning ‘the world’ and its treatment of people in general [the love of most will grow cold because of lack of Torah], and its treatment of believers that is worse than just general ‘lack of love,’ but a fomented hatred of Truth.

There are those who say they believe, but they do not express their love for Messiah through obedience to His Word.  Yeshua had, just three months before, taught on the ‘False shepherds’, and the ONE False Shepherd.  He explained there that His sheep follow after His Voice, His Way, and anyone halfway learned in the Jewish scriptures understands that The Way is The Torah, and for us who believe, it is The Torah as explained/expounded by Messiah Yeshua.  He alone is our Rabbi.

At Pesakh, after explaining His Oneness with HaAv, the coming Ru’akh HaKodesh, obedience to the Mitzvot being a true expression of love for Messiah, and the hatred of the world for any who follow Him, He then shows us a ‘they’, and today, too many people completely miss the point of His teaching.

“They” will do all ‘these things’ for the sake of My Name, He said.  What things?  Hate His Talmidim; persecute His Talmidim; hate The Father; hate Yeshua; put you out of the Beit Knesset [synagogues]; kill you to think they offer G-d a gift; not believe/trust in Yeshua.

So, who are “they”?

In context, it looks as if it He is speaking of the Jewish people, on the surface, because he is talking to twelve Jews, and talking about “synagogues”.  The question is, is that who He had in mind?  And if so, is that the only people He had in mind?  The more correct answer is, He is talking about everyone who REJECTS the TORAH.  And what many Messianic believers today do not realize is that our Jewish leaders REJECTED TORAH before Yeshua showed up!  The night He said all of these things, the Jewish leaders SHOULD have been having THEIR Pesakh Seder; but, they CHOSE to move the Pesakh.  And so, they could not recognize that Yeshua IS THE PESAKH LAMB.  He had had discussion with them about THEIR customs REPLACING the Mitzvot of G-d, but they just refused to hear Him [Mark 7].  And today, GENTILE theologians, who are quick to disparage all Jewish people because of their rejection of Messiah, even though the first 100,000 or so believers were ALL JEWISH, have done the VERY SAME THING, and REPLACED the Mitzvot of G-d with THEIR COMMANDS.  They ‘hear’ “Remember the Sabbath Day, to rest on the Seventh Day,” and ‘say’ ‘we don’t have to do that; we can worship on any day, Jesus rose on the first day [which is false] so we worship on day 1’.  They REJECT the MITZVAH of G-d for their own tradition, JUST LIKE the Jewish theologians of His day did, and just like Jewish AND Christian theologians do today.  Isn’t it interesting that “shepherd” is translated into “pastor” in most Bibles, every other place it is used in the NT?

“They” who do all those things to His Talmidim, are those who FIGHT AGAINST His Mitzvot.  And Yeshua showed the ‘heart’ of His Mitzvot during His Pesakh Seder that night.  LOVE.  Love for Elohim, and a love for the brethren such that we are willing to DIE.  Love for Elohim such that we do what HE SAYS, in SPITE of what the ‘pastors’, the ‘houses of assembly’ say and do to those who want to OBEY in TRUTH.  Religious people, both Jews and Christians, have been murdering simple folk who want only to serve G-d in freedom and truth, for 2,000 years.  Study the history of christianity, and one will see that catholics and protestants have murdered many thousands, if not millions, in the Name of G-d, simply because they disagreed with them.  They murder them first with their tongues, and then with swords, spears, fire, etc.

Love for our brethren, such that we are willing to ‘lay down our lives’.  Today, people seem only to apply that phrase to soldiers, or other protectors of the common good.  They are NOT protecting society because of their love for society’s people, and we know this. They do a good and noble thing, but they are NOT expressing the love of His Torah in doing so.   Is that really who Yeshua was describing?  No; He was describing what He was about to do, a deed and act that His Talmidim were about to witness: go to the Tree, lay down His Life by taking on EVERYONE ELSE’s SIN, DIE a horrible and painful death, SUFFER the guilt and shame of EVERYONE ELSE’s sin, and rise from the dead.

9“Just as Avi has loved me, I also have loved you; abide in my love.  10If you keep my mitzvot, you will abide in my love, even as I have kept the mitzvot of Avi [my Father], and abide in His love.  11I have spoken these things to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  12This is my mitzvah: that you love one another just as I have loved you.  13There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for the sake of his friends.”

Yeshua had just called His Talmidim his FRIENDS, right at the beginning of the Seder.  He was speaking of HIMSELF, and NO ONE ELSE.  No one has THAT GREAT a love for G-d, nor for people, and we KNOW it.

Yeshua goes on, singing the Hallel and going to the Garden on Har Zetim, and prays for YOU AND ME, asking His Father that those of us who trust would be ONE, EKHAD, UNITED, JUST AS HE is united with His FATHER, just as His Father is in Him, and He is in His Father, let us also be UNITED IN ONE ANOTHER.  THAT is the TRUEST sign that we belong to Him.

I have failed.  I am willing to confess it.  I have TRIED to ‘lay down my life’ for others, to a degree.  It has not yet been ‘assigned’ to me to do so with my very life, however.  If that day should come, I would hope that I would lay it down willingly.  I pray now that I begin to reaffirm my TRUST in HIM, my OBEDIENCE to Him, by doing so NOW.  Yeshua laid down His self-preservation, and it was HARD WORK to do so, to the point of sweating blood that night from the terror of what He knew was about to happen.  And I want to realize anew that He did that for me, and for all those who confess His Name and obey Him.

I have been hated by ‘the world,’ which is religious people who REJECT HIS TORAH. I have been lied about, kicked out of ‘churches’ [houses of assemblies], even most recently, mocked, insulted, suspected of all manner of evil and falsely accused [personally and on fb], ridiculed, threatened, and all that Yeshua said would happen, except being killed for His Name.  I hope that Yeshua sees that I have never once returned any of that hatred with hatred… I truly have striven to lay down my life in that regard.   But, I know I too have failed His brethren and friends at times; and all I have to lean on is HIS LAYING DOWN HIS LIFE FOR ME.  I try to give that to my brethren, and hope they give that to me.

My prayer for ALL the brethren today is an echo of His prayer for us in Yokhanan 17, my favorite chapter in all the Word, because Yeshua prayed for ME, for US.  I don’t deserve it. Neither does anyone else, but for some reason He has lavished His love upon us.