YEHOVAH, The Triune God and Father

Gen 1:1-2  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.   And the earth was without form and empty. And darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.

Gen 2:4  These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created in the day that Yehovah God made the earth and the heavens.

Dt 6:4-5  Hear, O, Israel. Yehovah our God,  Yehovah is one. (5)  And you shall love Yehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Ex 4:22  And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says Yehovah: Israel is My son, My first-born.

Isa 48:16  Come near to Me, hear this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning. From its being, I was there; and now the Lord Yehovah, and His Spirit, has sent Me.

Mat 12:31-32  Therefore I say to you, All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. (32)  And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this world or in the world to come.

Mat 28:19  Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Jn 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Rev 19:13  And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Jn 14:6-11  Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me. (7)  If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. And from now on you know Him and have seen Him. (8)  Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. (9)  Jesus said to him, Have I been with you such a long time and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. And how do you say, Show us the Father? (10)  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The Words that I speak to you I do not speak of Myself, but the Father who dwells in Me, He does the works. (11)  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the very works themselves.

Jn 17:3-6  And this is life eternal, that they might know You, [Father], the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (4)  I have glorified You upon the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. (5)  And now Father, glorify Me with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (6)  I have revealed Your name to the men whom You gave to Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

Eph 2:14-18  For He is our peace, He making us both one, and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us, (15) having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, making peace between them; (16) and so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself. (17) And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near. (18) For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Col 1:15-18  He is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation. (16)  For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him. (17)  And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. (18)  And He is the Head of the body, the church, who is the Beginning, the First-born from the dead, that He may be pre-eminent in all things.

1Th 5:23  And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blamelessly at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Php 2:8-11  And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9)  Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name, (10)  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; (11)  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.

Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

 

Belief in some Deity, or God, or gods, is found in every culture of people everywhere. (Today, largely through unfounded belief in evolution, there is a falling away from even this elementary belief.)  Which, or What that God (or those gods) is/are has been the primary reason for missionary efforts to take the truth of the one true God to those worshipping idols or, superstitiously, the ‘unknown God’.   YHVH God called Israel His witnesses to the Gentiles that they should know HIM, and come under His rule and authority.  Yehovah declares that He is the God over all – Heaven and Earth, the seas and all that is in them, the hills and the valleys, the seasons, all created things – living and dead (inanimate).  He is the God of gods, Lord of lords, King of kings!

For those who believe what Moses wrote, with help from the Holy Spirit, the knowledge of God was known from the beginning of human history, was brought into strong focus during and after the flood in Noah’s days to those who survived the judgment of the world at that time, and through the Jewish Israeli people, knowledge of the true God has been dispersed throughout the world until today. The creation itself bears witness to the truth of a Creator God – of a Father in Heaven – that is great, loving, caring, and protective of all that He has created and made, and who requires especially humans to willingly choose to acknowledge Him and rightly give Him praise and glory.

The idea of one God who is three could only be known by revelation from God Himself. The very first sentence in the Bible (in Hebrew it is especially clear) we have already a clue to something very unusual:  a plural God (Elohim) who singularly created (bara)!  We see the Jewish people, to whom He first revealed Himself through His covenant relationship with them, reject the belief of a ‘triune’ God who is one in order to “prove” by natural (with satanic help!) reasoning why Jesus cannot be truly God with us in the flesh – Immanuel.  In Islam, too, the other monotheistic world religion, the thought that God would ever humiliate Himself to become a mere Man or to need a son is blasphemy.  Praise God that as the Father He gives His inheritance to His first-born Son and the many brethren with Him!  Only true believers in Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, hold to the faith once-for-all delivered to the saints.  It is the lying, antichrist spirit that rejects this supreme and profound truth, which YHVH God Himself has revealed about who He is:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Holy is His name!

I remember when I first got saved, I asked Dwight, who led me to the Lord: “If Jesus is God and the Son of God, where was the Father during those years while Jesus was here?”  Dwight answered simply by saying, “Someone had to take care of the universe.”

All relationships and communication begin in YHVH God, who speaks within/between/among Himself as a Father to a Son, and of the Holy Spirit equally active in God’s creation, in the resurrection of Yeshua, in the new birth of one who repents and believes the gospel. The one, true, living God sometimes refers to Himself in the singular, at other times in the plural, e.g., “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion. . . .”;  “ I am YHVH your God; you shall have no other gods before Me.”  All of human relationships in family and in society are founded in God Himself, who made us in His image and likeness.  He spoke to Adam as a father to a son to instruct him in boundaries of what is permitted and what is not.  He has given instructions on family, on government, on moral discipline, on judgment.  It all begins in and from Him.  YHVH is God to be feared and worshipped, King to be respected, Lord to be obeyed, Father to be honored and loved.

In YHVH is male and female, for He said, “So God created Man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God gave them dominion over the world He created; but He gave the man the rule over the woman, and over the household.  This is the picture of God as, first of all, the Source of all things, and with the male – the Father, the husband, the ‘man’ – having primary responsibility. For us who believe the Bible to be the Word of God, we understand things by first believing what He says of Himself, and of us, and of the world He created and made.

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He taught them to come to God as their Father, not as their Mother. Nor did He teach us to pray in a generic sense to “our God”, as if to include all the Trinity in that plural word, Elohim/Eloheinu.  As a son, Yeshua committed and subjected Himself to honor His Father in all things, which is the right attitude — humility — for all human beings, whether male or female, whom God created to enjoy Him and all that He has made.  It is the Father who is the provider and protector of the family, with the mother having her authority and freedom to act and to help by willingly agreeing and accepting the will of the Father and Husband (idealistically speaking).  When Jesus was told that His mother and brothers and sisters wanted to see Him, He answered that His mother and brothers and sisters were those who do His Father’s will.  The Holy Spirit lives in the born-again believer, and gives honor to the Father and the Son, not to Himself.  (Interestingly, in Hebrew the word for ‘spirit’ is feminine, but when referring directly to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, it is always in the masculine.)

From the moment that we are born-again, we receive the spirit of adoption, and so call God our Father, “Abba”. It is very interesting to me that many Israeli Jews, in times of stress, call out “Ima!”, Mother!  Yeshua told us that if we do not receive Him, we do not have the Father, either, and in this most fundamental relationship of God with His people, the sin of unbelief and subsequent disobedience to His Word has brought in this separation, which is only repaired and healed through knowing God the Father by knowing Yeshua/Jesus His Son, and ‘They’ give the Holy Spirit to live within the forgiven sinner!  By this, we know that we are children of God, and that we have become one spirit with Him. (1Cor 6:17)

There are many examples which God has given to show the possibility of “three being one”: as human beings, we are spirit, soul, and body, yet one person; Time is present, past, and future, all three ‘elements’ needed to be what we know as ‘time’; Water can be in the form of liquid, ice, or steam, yet they are each and all water, H2O.  The Holy of Holies, and the New Jerusalem, are perfect cubes, whose measurements of length, height, and width are equal.  These speak of where God dwells, in His Temple, in His House.  In the New Heavens and New Earth, God and His glory are said to be all and in all:  1x1x1=1.  There are many more examples which could be given, but these are enough to simply show that the idea of three being one is not strange to us, even if no example fully explains the mystery that is God.  We must believe what He has revealed about Himself; He can not be known by human wisdom or scientific research, yet He has placed it into us to seek for Him.

Why is it so important that we believe in the “Trinity”, and in God as Father?

First of all, it is because YHVH, the only true God worthy of the name, has described Himself in this way. God is spirit, and for us to worship the Father in spirit and truth, for us to approach Him without the idolatry of our own understanding as opposed to faith in His revelation, it is necessary that we learn what this great foundational truth of the mystery of God is. God is Light, whom no one can see; Jesus came in the form of man (even as a willing slave!) so that we could know God, know the Father. The Holy Spirit is given us that we can be true and faithful witnesses of the one true God and Savior, and to be conformed into His image and likeness, for the Spirit of God knows the things of God. (1Cor 10:10-12)

It is important so that we do not separate the God of the New Testament from the God of the Old Testament. All of the covenants given to Israel as a nation, or to individuals, such as Abraham, Aaron, and David, within the nation, are from the same God.  The New Covenant in Jesus Christ is first promised to Israel, and Jesus came in the flesh as the Son of YHVH God, the Creator and Redeemer of all.  Jesus is the Word of God, by Whom all things were created and for whom are all things. There is only one true God of the Bible – YEHOVAH, who was, and is, and is to come!

Relationally, as members of the Body of Messiah/Christ, we have a closer relationship with God than even Israel knows. All of the great prayers of the Tanach are addressed to the great God Yehovah, God of Israel, who keeps covenant.  In the New Testament, we see a change:  most of the prayers are addressed to the Father, in connection with the Lord Jesus Christ, on behalf of both Jewish and Gentile believers. If I speak of my father, I may tell you his name; but when I speak to my father, I call him ‘Dad’ or ‘Father’.  So, too, now with God:  He is no longer just YHVH, who is ‘the Father’ in a general way (the father of all flesh and of all spirit), but He has become my Father in Heaven because of the fellowship I can have with Him, and with the Son, by the Spirit of God dwelling in me through a personal faith in who Jesus Christ is:  my Lord and my God who has redeemed me and saves me from my sins.  Jesus came to reveal God as our Father.  Glory to God, and to the Lamb upon the Throne!  In both Judaism and in Islam, neither one ‘has the Father’ because of rejecting the Father’s love and choice of Jesus and of Israel as His unique Son and nation.  (Think of the brothers of Joseph and their relationship to their father in connection with their attitude and intentions towards the beloved son.)   In a spiritual sense today, both Muslims and unsaved Jews are “fatherless”, the former deliberately, by harboring a spirit of rejection nurturing a bitter root and a murderous grudge; the latter unwittingly, due to envy and hatred without a cause.  Both conspire and mingle together against Yehovah and His Anointed One.

Knowing God for who He is helps us in our own interpersonal relationships: love is the key, whether as a husband or a father, a wife or mother, a child, a steward for God over what He has given us responsibility for in the world that He made.  He sends us out to bring others into His household and family!  God the Father is the perfect father, and we must know Him and His ways as an antidote to the imperfections of our earthly fathers!

Heb 12:1-11  Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2)  looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God. (3)  For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be weary and faint in your minds. (4)  You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (5)  And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons,

“My son, despise not the chastening of YHVH, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him; (6)  for whom YHVH loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” (7)  If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten? (8)  But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (9)  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (10)  For truly they chastened us for a few days according to their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. (11)  Now chastening for the present does not seem to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it.

God is our Father, whom we know in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Yehovah is one, and His name one.

Who I Am In Messiah – 14 Jan 2015

Who are you?  Has anyone ever asked you that question?  Were they genuinely interested in knowing who you are, or were they challenging you?  Did you know how to answer the question?  Let’s look at a scene in the Bible, and how this question and answer can help us know who we are, our identity:

Jn 8:12-30 (23-25)   And [Yeshua] said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.  Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I Am He, you will die in your sins.”  Then they said to Him, “Who are You!?”  And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.”

Yeshua was being challenged and threatened by the religious leaders in His day, trying to find a way to justify not accepting Him as Messiah.  It is interesting for us, who do know that Jesus IS the Messiah, how His answer to them as to who He is takes them back, I believe, not only to when He began His public ministry, but to “the beginning”, reminding them (and us) of Gen 1:1 (and of Jn 1:1; 1Jn 1:1).  We know that Yeshua is YEHOVAH in the flesh-and-blood body, and He has been speaking to His people “from the beginning”.  He had been speaking to them, and doing His marvelous works, testifying that He is YEHOVAH, the promised Messiah, the Son of God.  YEHOVAH was visiting His people, bringing salvation.  Yeshua is the Light of life.

To know who I am in Messiah/Christ – to know my identity as a person and a believer in Yeshua/Jesus – I need to know who Yeshua really is, since my identity is connected with Him and His name.  YHVH God has revealed Himself to us in personal ways by telling us His names.

He first reveals Himself by name to Moses, when He tells him that He is “I Am Who I Am”, and that He is the God of our fathers:  YEHOVAH, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob. (Ex 3:14-15; Mt 22:32)  Being that God Is Who He Is, He has revealed Himself to be, among other things:

El Shaddai – God Almighty (Gen 17:1)
Ehiyeh – I Am (Ex 3:14; Jn 8:24)
YHVH (YEHOVAH) — Eternal, Self-existing One (Ex 6:2-4)
YHVH Jireh – YHVH Will See [and Provide] (Gen 22:14)
YHVH Rophe – YHVH [our] Healer (Ex 15:26)
YHVH Nissi – YHVH my Banner (Ex 17:15)
YHVH M’Kadeshchem – YHVH your Sanctifier (Lev 20:8; 11:44-45; 1Cor 1:2)
YHVH Shalom – YHVH [our] Peace (Jud 6:24; Eph 2:14)
YHVH Tzidkeinu – YHVH our Righteousness (Jer 23:6; 2Cor 5:21)
YHVH Ro’i – YHVH my Shepherd (Ps 23:1)
YHVH Shammah – YHVH is There (Ezek 48:35)
YHVH Tsva’ot – YHVH of Hosts (Is 6:3-5; Jn 12:37-41)
El Elyon – God Most High (Gen 18:19)
El Ro’eh – God who Sees (Gen 16:13)
El Olam – Everlasting God (Gen 21:33)
El Gibor, Pele Yoetz, Sar Shalom, Aviad – Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace,
Everlasting Father (Is 9:6)
Tzemach – Plant (‘Branch’) (Is 42; Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8)
Father – (Ex 4:22; Is 9:6; Mt 6:9)
Netzer – Root branch (Is 11:1; Mt 2:23)
Yeshua – Savior (Mt 1:21)
Immanuel – God with us (Mt 1:23; Is 7:14; Lev 26:12; 2Cor 6:16)
Messiah – Anointed One (Dan 9:25; Mt 1:16; 27:22)
The Son of Man (Dan 7:13-14; Jn 3:13-15; Mt 26:63-64)
The Son of God (Pr 30:4; Mt 16:16)
The Word of God – (Jn 1:1; Rev 19:13)

Some of these names we use for our God in general, but some of them apply also to Messiah Himself, for Jesus is the Son of God; Jesus is YHVH! (Phlp 2:11; Is 6:3-5; Jer 23:6)  In His conception, life, works, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus fulfills the essence of these names which describe Who He Is.  Just as YHVH placed His name upon the Children of Israel through the priestly blessing (Num 6:24-26), so, too, is the name of Christ upon those who belong to Him in New Covenant relationship. (Acts 11:26; 1Pt 4:12-16; Is 65:15)  We are children of God if we are in Christ/Messiah: God has become my Father; we have become His children! (1Jn 3:1-3)  We, in Christ, are sons and daughters of the Creator and King of the universe!   In Messiah, we are heirs with Him of all things! (Mk 12:7; Lk 12:32; Heb 1:2; 12:28)  We all may know believers who have an identity crisis, either for not accepting who they are in the flesh (our natural origin), or else for not identifying themselves in Christ with Him.

I remember growing up as a Jewish boy in a gentile Christian society.  In synagogue we learned that we Jews believed in the one true living God.  We read in the Bible (only the O.T. for us!) that God spoke to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, etc.  God not only spoke the worlds into existence, but He also spoke with people!  When God speaks to someone, His life is forever affected!  When God speaks to someone, He is revealing something about Himself, and the one spoken to knows that there are implications from hearing God’s voice.

I heard God’s voice just as I got saved through believing that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord.  This became part of my testimony to my Jewish family:  we had learned that Adonai our God was living, and that He spoke to people that we read about in the Tanach.  So, He also spoke to me; and He said, “Go to Israel.”  As I just said, there are implications when God speaks to you.  Jesus made Israel home for me, and for Randi – and now for our children and grandchildren.

After a couple of days from hearing this, God spoke to me again.  The Holy Spirit said, “Jesus died for you, and because of you and your sins, and has brought you home to your Father in Heaven.”  These two occasions forever changed the whole course of my and my family’s life, and has affected my knowledge of who God is, and who I am – all because I have repented and believed the gospel.  God is the Messiah! Jesus is the Messiah; He is the Lord; Jesus is God manifested in the flesh!

Believing the good news, and hearing God’s voice – both audibly and also through reading the Scriptures and hearing others speak or preach –  ­­have helped me to know who I am in Christ.  When the religious leaders went to John the Baptizer to find out who he was, he answered that he was “a voice of one crying in the desert [to make straight the way of YHVH”. (Jn 1:23; Is 40:3)   When I am asked by people in the context of religious identity (which is what Yeshua and John were being asked), I say, “I am a believer in Yeshua/Jesus“.

And among other things:
–I am a male person, a son of Adam.
–I am an Israeli Jew, a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel.
–I am a Christian, since Yeshua is the Messiah/Christ, the netzer root and offspring of David; and I am in Him, belong to Him, and follow Him.
–I am a child/son of God.
–God is my Father.
–I am your brother.
–Jesus is not only the Lord and the Savior, but my Savior and my Lord.
–I am a new creation.
–I am a saint.
–I am a servant of Yeshua, who died for me and gave me hope and a future; He has given me purpose and significance and an everlasting destiny with Him.
–I am a stranger and pilgrim on the Earth (a Hebrew!).
–I am an exhorter, to strengthen and encourage especially other believers to stand in the faith, and to know that the God of Israel is the living God, that Jesus is the truth, and the Word of God is true.

My experience of receiving the Holy Spirit, of God telling me to go to Israel, of my being a sinner who personally needs a Savior – these are all found in the Bible as true from God. (Joel 2:28-29; Ezek 36:22-29; Zech 12:10; Acts 3:17-26)  I can verify these experiences as being from the one true God because they are in accordance with His written Word.

To know who we are in Messiah, what do we need to do?  What Abraham our father in the faith did; what Saul, who is better known as Paul the apostle, did:  they each believed the word which the living God spoke to them, and they obeyed with faith the revelation and vision which they received. (Acts 26:19; Heb 11:8-19)  Do not shrink back, and our God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – will confirm and strengthen the call, the election for salvation, and our identity in Messiah, for we are hid with Him in God. (Heb 10:39; Col 3:3)

Let’s close with the Holy Spirit-inspired words to us through the apostle John, our brother in Messiah (1Jn 3:1-3):

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God:  therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not.

Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is.

And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.”

Yeshua is the Savior; He is YEHOVAH! – 27 Dec 2014

Lk 2:11  There is born to you this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord!

Our faith in God through Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ is unique and different from all other religions and faiths.  Every other religious faith requires keeping certain commandments and doing certain works in order to maybe earn by our own efforts what can be called “inheriting the world to come”.  That is, earning the right to live, both now and forever.  Faith in Yeshua as the Messiah and the Son of God justifies a person in God’s sight for salvation, and God gives each and all who do believe with their mind and heart the gift of eternal life.

In other religions there is the need to appease an angry God, or capricious gods, in the hope that you might be saved from his/their displeasure.  This can even be said to be true about what Israel made of their religion in professing to believe in Yehovah their God.  Yet He had spoken to them of His desire that they should love Him for being their Savior and Deliverer in bringing them out of slavery in Egypt, and in giving them the Land of Canaan as their everlasting possession.  If they had loved Him, they would have obeyed Him with faith, and be blessed by His presence among them, and by peace and prosperity. (Jer 7:20-26)

The idea of YHVH God being the Savior of Israel was known to Israel and the Jewish people, repeatedly spoken of through the Hebrew Scriptures.  He covenanted with them to protect them, and to deliver His people to preserve them physically from their enemies, and, more so, to save them from their sins, and from their unfaithfulness to Him and His covenant with them. (Dt 20:1-4; Jdg 2:11-22; Is 63; Jer 31:31-34; Ezek 36; Ps 25:5; Ps 51)  The Judges, before there was a [human] king in Israel, were all ‘saviors’, whom God gave to the people to deliver them from the hand of their enemies.

YHVH is holy; He is not like any other so-called gods.  He is a Savior God, full of lovingkindness, mercy, compassion, goodness and truth – desiring that His people should live, and not die. (Ex 34:5-9; Ezek 18:30-32)  His goodness and mercy pertain to the individual (see, for example, Naaman, the gentile Syrian; and Josiah, the King of Judah), as well as to the corporate nation.  Even today, in modern Israel, the nation has survived, thrived, and defeated enemies more numerous and stronger than she, which, for the believer, can only be fully explained by YHVH’s faithfulness to preserve the nation, even as He is also judging her for her continued unrepentant unbelief, with many Israelis dying and being killed without faith in Him.

Whenever we speak with an unbelieving Jewish person about Yeshua/Jesus, if we speak ‘long enough’, the question will always come to us: “Do you really believe that Jesus/Yeshua is God!?” Will you be able to give a clear answer to that very good and crucial question?

Let us look in particular at two Old Testament passages from the prophet Isaiah, where YHVH (Adonai) declares, and is declared, that He is Israel’s Savior:

Isa 43:1-3  But now, thus says Yehovah who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; nor shall the flame kindle on you.  For I am Yehovah your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you.

Isa 43:10-13  You are My witnesses, says Yehovah, and My servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me no God was formed, nor shall there be after Me.  I, I am Yehovah; and there is none to save besides Me.  I have declared, and have saved, and I have shown, when there was no strange god among you; therefore you are My witnesses, says Yehovah, that I am God.  Yea, before the day was, I am He; and no one delivers out of My hand; I will work, and who will reverse it?

We see in these verses from Is 43 that YHVH is proclaiming that He alone is the Savior of the children of Jacob/Israel, and there is no other God or Savior besides Him.  He has chosen Israel to be His servant and witnesses to the nations of the truth that He alone is God, and that He alone is capable of saving.

In Is 33:22, we have this great declaration by the Prophet:  For Yehovah is our Judge; YHVH is our Lawgiver; YHVH is our King; He will save us!

Israel’s God and Judge, the one who gave them His laws to live by, and who also governs and leads them, is YEHOVAH their Savior.

When we come to the New Testament, this belief in the God of Abraham as the Savior of the covenanted children of Abraham is heard in Mary’s song of adulation, after her relative Elizabeth confirmed by the Holy Spirit the special child within Mary as being her Lord:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior….He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Lk 1:46-47, 54-55)

The old man Simeon, in the Temple when Joseph and Mary brought the baby Yeshua to dedicate Him, was waiting for the Consolation of Israel.  When he saw the child, He blessed God for allowing him to see [His] salvation in the person of this baby, both for the Gentiles, and for His people Israel. (Lk 2:25-35)

Since the last prophet, Malachi, had written at least 400 years earlier, Israel was waiting to hear again a word from the LORD.  The Maccabees, who had led the war against the Greeks to restore the true worship of God in Israel about 160 years earlier, were called saviors; and they are still remembered as such in the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.  This hope of political and national salvation to be Jewish in our own land did not last very long.  As we ‘hear’ from Mary and from Simeon, the long-awaited anticipation of the true savior messiah was strong in Israel at the time of Yeshua’s birth, a time based on Biblical prophesies. (Dan 9:24-26a; Hag 2:18-22; Jn 1:19-23, 31, 41, 45, 49; see also Acts 5:35-39)

Let us now look at the announcement concerning the conception of Jesus and of Mary’s pregnancy, which an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph:

Mt 1:20b-23  . . .Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take to you Mary as your wife. For that in her is fathered of the Holy Spirit.  And she shall bear a son, and you shall call His name YESHUA: for He shall save His people from their sins.  Now all this happened so that might be fulfilled that which was spoken of the LORD by the prophet, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive in her womb, and will bear a son. And they will call His name Emmanuel,” which being interpreted is, God with us.

The announcement to Joseph to accept that which God had done also carries with it great implications:  this child Yeshua is the Savior – not first of all physically or nationalistically from external enemies, but rather from their own sins against God and man, preventing Israel and the Jewish people from being all that YHVH had covenanted with them to be.  We are further told that all this was done so that the Word of YHVH spoken close to 800 years before the birth would now be fulfilled through this virgin birth:  this child who was born, this Son who was given, would be called Immanuel, God with us.  This child, Yeshua, is YEHOVAH!

Soon after the birth of Messiah, the Jewish shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem heard an angel of YHVH proclaim:

Lk 2:10-12   Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord! And this is the sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.

The hope of the ages had come, and the Savior from the devil and from sin was born! (Gen 3:15)  And this miracle and sign from the CREATOR, shaking Heaven and Earth, which still strikes wonder in the heart of the believer, is that the mighty YHVH God had taken on flesh and blood in the weakness of a baby, in order to be the REDEEMER and SAVIOR of both Jews and Gentiles from their sins.

But wait!:  We saw from the Scriptures how only YHVH is the Savior of Israel, and of the nations.  Yeshua’s name was given, saying that HE will save His people [Israel] from their sins:  HE is the Savior!  Only YEHOVAH forgives and justifies sinful people through their repentance and faith in Him, and in His Messiah (Anointed One).  JESUS CHRIST/YESHUA THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF GOD AND SON OF MAN, IS YEHOVAH GOD!  It has been declared, and He showed it to be truth throughout His sinless and miraculous life, death, and resurrection!  Good news indeed, especially to those who believe! (1Tim 4:9-10; Phlp 2:5-11)

We are Yeshua’s witnesses, and serve Him. (Lk 24:44-49)  Let us love the only wise God and Savior for being our Savior and Deliverer in bringing us out of slavery in the world to sin, and in giving us the Kingdom of God as our everlasting possession with Him!  If we love Him, we will tell others this good news, and we will praise and worship the Lord, obeying Him with faith and thanksgiving, and be blessed by His presence within us and among us, having great peace and assurance.  Hallelu-Yah!

Priests Are Burden-Carriers of God’s Glory: Merciful

As we begin a new year it is good to consider what we are looking forward to.  In Messiah all believers are priests, and we are called to carry God’s burden for His people and for His holy name’s sake.  These two elements are inseparable:  the glory of the holy name of YHVH is connected with the life and character of His people worked out in love for Him and for one another.

Ex 34:6-7  Moses asked God to show him His glory.  God answers by saying that He is “YHVH, YHVH God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger (long-suffering), and abounding in lovingkindness (grace) and truth, keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but by no means clearing the guilty. . . ”

The glory of God is seen in His mercy. . . . God did not show Moses then a dazzling light or perform some amazing miracle.  Rather, He described His Name, His attributes!  He is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, full of good things, especially to those who love Him.  He will not acquit those who choose not to repent of their unbelief and rebellion against Him who is Good.  But when He does judge, it is only after many opportunities He has already given to any person or nation to fear and to honor Him, the Creator and Redeemer. 

Our salvation is dependent upon God’s mercy (Rom 11:30-32).  As much as we speak of being saved by grace through faith, it is nonetheless true that we are saved in mercy.  We do not deserve it.  Mercy is for now; we will not be in need of mercy in the New Heavens and New Earth.  There, grace/lovingkindness will abound for all eternity. 

We are God’s witnesses; we are Yeshua’s witnesses.  It is important that we can explain who He is to others in truth.  The Muslims call their God the Merciful One.  It is clear that the definition of mercy which they are using is not the same as that which describes our great God and Savior.  People often speak of love as most important in our relationships with each other and towards others.  That is true, but what definition of love is being understood and lived?  Love in the Bible is described like this:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us, sent from the Father to be the propitiation for our sins. (1Jn 3:16; 4:10-11)

What is mercy?    That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice demands. (Webster’s Dictionary, 1828)

Ex 28:9-12,15,21,29-30,36-38  The High Priest bore the names of their brothers and tribes on their shoulders and over their heart when wearing the holy breastplate (ephod). 

Lev 4:3; 16:6,11,15,16  Priests were to offer sacrifices first for themselves and their own sins; that is, they were to judge themselves first, and thank God for His righteous mercy, and paying the substitutionary price He required for their sin and sins.  Then, they were prepared to be merciful and encouraging to their brothers who were coming to them with their own need to offer to YHVH God the sacrifices for their sins in appreciation of His mercy and grace towards them.  Priests under the Law of Moses were to intercede with mercy by the Spirit of God for their brethren.

Mt 5:7  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercyThe merciful will be supplied with more mercy to continue to be merciful! 

God will judge even believers if we do not have compassion and show mercy to those who need it from us.  (It may not be a salvation issue, but it will surely negatively affect our relationship with the Lord, with others, and will reflect very poorly the name of the Lord which we carry upon us in our lives.) (Mt 6:14-15; Ja 2:13

Mt 18:32b-34  “‘You wicked servant!  I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?!’  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.”

Lk 18:9-14  Some of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought.  The truth is usually otherwise.  And when we do think we are of a higher spiritual ‘level’ than others, we will surely show no mercy towards them, but will simply dismiss them as ‘not as spiritual’ or ‘not as devoted to God or religion or good works’ as we are.  But the eyes of our all-knowing God sees and judges according to a different law:  the one who justifies himself is guilty; he who admits he is a sinner is justified.

Lk 10:25-37  While the respected lawyer sought to minimize his sphere of influence and responsiblity towards his fellowman, the disrespected Samaritan proved to be the ‘good neighbor’ to the one who needed help and care:  he showed mercy on him.

Lk 23:27-47 (Is 52:13 – 53:12)  The glory of God is fully seen in the suffering and the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Truly He displayed what can only be described as that by which YHVH describes what He is like:  merciful, gracious, slow to anger (long-suffering), and abounding in lovingkindness (grace) and truth, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but by no means clearing the guilty.  The words of warning He spoke to the women lamenting what was being done to Him; His kind words to one of  the criminals being crucified with Him; His gracious words to His disciple and to His mother; His asking the Father to forgive those who did not know what they were doing in crucifying the Lord of Glory.

This year, let us give a priority to the Holy Spirit to conform us to the image of the Son of God in this quality of His compassion and mercy.  As we learn to appreciate how much it is that we have been forgiven by God, and what price, we will be enabled to love God and others more.

2Cor 1:3-5  “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as the sufferings of Messiah abound in us, so our consolations also abound through Messiah.”

SANCTIFICATION OF GOD’S NAME – 20 Oct 2012

Ex 20:1-7  no other gods ‘above’ YHVH; do not carry YHVH’s name in vain

Ps 8:1   YeHoVaH, our God, how excellent is Your Name in all the Earth . . . .!

Everyone has received a name from his/her mother and/or father.  We who are parents have given names to our children.
Ex 20:12   Honor your father and your mother:  sanctify their names by honoring them in our
own name as their children.
–hearts of fathers to the children, and of the children’s hearts to the fathers:  functional, healthy family

Who of you want people to think well of you when they hear your name?
Who of you do not want people to think well of you when they speak your name?
Who of you do not care whether others think well of you or not when your name is mentioned?

The Holy Spirit through the Scriptures tells us that “a [good] name is to be chosen than great wealth . . . .” (Pr 22:1a)  For those desiring to be a leader in the church, he “must have a good name among those who are outside . . .” (1Tim 3:7)

YEHOVAH, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, is a jealous God. (Ex 20:5; 3:14-15)  In fact, one of His names is Jealous. (Ex 34:14)  He alone is YHVH, and He will not give His glory to another.  He is Jealous for His holy name’s sake; He is Jealous for the sake of His Good Name.

What distinguishes the God of Israel from all other gods is that He is a Living God, and He is Holy.  He is “other”, different, set apart.  There is NONE like Him. (Lev 11:45)  He alone is eternal.  He alone is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  He alone is Creator of all, and the Redeemer of His own creation.  He alone makes and cuts covenants, and also fulfills His promises.

When Israel asked for a king like the other nations have, they received from Yehovah God what they asked for:  a sinner like themselves who also disobeyed and rejected YHVH from being King over them.  Yehovah is holy, judging not only the outward deeds like we do, but also the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  YHVH wants a holy people without and within.  He alone redeems a people for Himself through mighty deeds to deliver us from bondage, and through the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son, whom He loves.  He is holy, and He will inherit a holy people to be a kingdom of [holy] priests.

Dt 32:14   Yehovah our God is great, perfect, just, truth, righteous, upright!

When we speak His Name; when we meditate on His Name; when we live our lives . . . is His Name precious to us – excellent – above all other names?  Are we jealous for His good and holy Name’s sake?  Do we love Him above all?  Or, are we carrying His name in vain? (Ex 20:7; Num 6:22-27; Jn 17:11-12)

What light can Jewish people or Christians be if we do not know, or else are afraid to say, Who He is that has chosen us to be His witnesses and people!?  What is the Name of HaShem (The Name)?  It is a superstitious fear that prevents Jews from pronouncing the Name of YHVH, going even beyond that by not pronouncing or writing even the Hebrew pronunciation of Elohim or Adonai, neither of which are even personal names of God.  This gets carried over to some believers writing in English God as G-d, and Lord as L-rd; again, neither of them either being proper names.  But Yeshua or Jesus they will write out!

Yeshua said that we must confess His name before men.  Our good works must be done in His Name, if we want our Father in Heaven to be glorified.  We are not giving HIM glory or sanctifying HIS name unless less we speak (or write) it!

Num 23 – 24   YHVH gave the false prophet Balaam to see the end of His work in Israel, and not the present reality (Is 41:1-4,21-24)

Ps 83:16-18 (17-19 Heb)   A prayer of a priest for Yehovah, God of Israel, to act on behalf of His own people in a manner that the enemies will know that He alone has the name YHVH, and is Most High over all the Earth.  He is God of gods!

Ezek 36:20-23   YHVH is telling His people that He must act for His Holy Name’s sake, because we have made His name a reproach among the nations.

Ezek 38:23   YHVH will magnify and sanctify His Holy Name when He brings Gog against Israel in the last days, and defeats him and all his armies on the mountains ofIsrael.  Gog and all the nations — including Israel — will know that His Holy Name is YEHOVAH!

Who is YHVH, that we who believe in Jesus/Yeshua should be so concerned with Him in His determination to sanctify and to glorify His good name?:

Mt 6:9   Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name . . .
–Yeshua brings the revelation of God as the Father in a personal way (2Sam 7:14), and brings us “home”.
–Father to Israel (Ex 4:22; Is 64:8)
–Replacement theology rejects God’s relationship to Israel as the Father who loves them
–orphans, or else a father who rejects His children (Ishmael and Esau), which can produce a bitter root
–In these end-times of the last days, the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ becomes even more “praying in the Spirit” when all our own  talking and righteousnesses become still a hindrance to genuine unity and love.
–sanctified by the truth (Jn 17:17-19)

Jn 12:34-41; Is 6:3   Yeshua, Yehovah of HostsHoly, holy, holy is He, and His glory fills the whole Earth!

Acts 4:12   There is no other Name under Heaven given among men by which we may be saved, other than through the Name of Jesus/Yeshua, Lord and Messiah/Christ!

Until today in Israel, and in many nations of the world, the Holy and Good Name of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ is cursed and blasphemed. (1Cor 12:3)  As sons and daughters of God, and as those who have been saved from sin and death by the precious blood of Jesus, it should matter very much to us that we live our daily lives – whether ‘in the world’ or ‘in the church’ – in such a way that believers and unbelievers will think well of our great God and Savior when they hear His Name.

Phlp 2:10-11; Is 45:21-25; Jn 12:26-28   Every knee will bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD/YEHOVAH – the Name above all names – to the glory of God the Father!

Sanctify and glorify Your Name, O Lord our God!

And in that day, YHVH shall be one, and His Name one. (Zech 14:9)

YEHOVAH or YAHWEH – by Asher Intrater

What’s in a name?

Words have great spiritual importance. God created the world with words, and rules over the world with words. The power of words is in their meaning, not so much in their pronunciation. I am often asked how the name of YHVH is pronounced (Yahweh or Yehovah)? The very question partly misses the point. There is no discussion in the Torah, the Prophets, or the New Covenant on how to pronounce the name.

A name is a word that describes a person. The names in the Bible had prophetic meaning. They described a person’s character, his destiny, his purpose. To the degree that we are looking at a name to have power by its sounds, we have fallen into superstition. However, when we seek to understand the spiritual significance of a name, we are touching the root of its power.

So if I were asked how to pronounce the name YHVH, I would like to respond:  Exodus 34:5-7

And YHVH came down in a cloud and stood with him there and called upon the name YHVH. And YHVH crossed before His face and cried, “YHVH, merciful God and gracious, longsuffering and great in mercy and truth, keeping mercy to thousands…”

Thus the Angel YHVH declared to Moses the name and the meaning of the name on Mount Sinai. This is His full name, as it were, a list of character qualities. It was not a lesson on pronunciation; it was an explanation of God’s attributes and “personhood.”

This same Angel had earlier said to Moses:  Exodus 6:3

I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai but by My name YHVH I was not known to them.

This statement does not mean that the people of Israel did not know of the name YHVH, nor how to pronounce it. It means that they had not received the full meaning of the name as it was revealed to them during the Exodus and at Sinai. Again the issue here is not one of pronunciation, but of revelation.

We know this because the letters and sound of the name were already known to mankind long before this, even at the time of Enosh.

Genesis 4:26

Then men began to call upon the name of YHVH.

The early patriarchs knew how to call on the name YHVH, but they did not have the fullness of the meaning of that name. The revelation they had was of the meaning of the name El or Elohim. The root of the word in Hebrew for El means “power.” The patriarchs knew God as El Shaddai, the God of nature, provision, power, and protection.

At the time of Moses, the people of Israel received more revelation of God, concerning His judgment, redemption, and holiness. That’s what they learned at the Exodus – not a different way of pronouncing the letters.

The root of the name YHVH in Hebrew means “to be.” The letter V may well have been pronounced more like the sound W in ancient times. However, between the V or W pronunciation there is no difference in meaning, and therefore virtually no significance, in my opinion.

Biblical Hebrew was written only in consonants, as we see in the letters YHVH.  Therefore, the main question of pronunciation concerns which vowel (points) to add to the consonants. The vowels can make a difference in the meaning. If we add the vowels – “e”-“o”-“a”- to the consonants, we receive the name YeHoVah.

In this format, the “e” (sh’va) stands for the future tense, the “o” (holom) for the present tense, and the “a” (patach) refers to the past tense. That gives meaning to the name YeHoVah as “He will be, He is, He was.” In other words, the Eternal One. This meaning fits the understanding of the early patriarchs.

If one chooses the pronunciation, YaHWeH, there is no particular sense to the vowel pattern. For that reason I see YeHoVaH as preferable. Yet there is another reason grammatically. Hebrew vowels change form depending on the number of syllables, and on where the syllables are located in the name.

If there is just one syllable, such as Yah, then the “a” vowel is correct. Or if the letters come at the end of the word, such as Eliyah (Elijah), then the “a” is also correct.  However, when the vowel comes at the beginning with multiple syllables, it changes. This can easily be proved by checking a concordance of the Bible.

Such names as Yehoyachin or Yehoshua or Yehoyada or Yehoshaphat contain the same root letters as YHVH, in the same syllable arrangement. All of the names in this pattern display the vowels as “e”-“o”-“a.” If that same pattern is placed in the letters YHVH, we see the name again as Yehovah.

Since EVERY example of the YHVH root used in biblical names in this pattern shows the vowels as “e”-“o”-“a”, one would have to show some other overwhelming evidence, textually or grammatically, to choose a different pronunciation. There is no such other overwhelming documentation weighty enough to refute the biblical and grammatical evidence.

In summary, 1) the meaning of the vowels, 2) the grammatical form, and 3) the list of biblical examples, all point to Yehovah (or Yehowah) as the preferred pronunciation over Yahweh.

Pronunciation of the name, for mere pronunciation sake makes little difference. If it were an important issue, Yeshua or one of the apostles would have emphasized it. Religious cults in both the Jewish and Christian worlds have at times placed great emphasis on certain pronunciations, but that emphasis cannot be supported in Scripture.  (For example, it is popular among some ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis in  Jerusalem today to refer to YHVH as “D” [“daleth”].  Another rabbinic tradition holds that Yeshua performed miracles by “stealing” the pronunciation of the name YHVH from the Holy of Holies, writing it on a note and inserting it in His thigh [Toldot Yeshu, chapter 3].)

This pronunciation issue carries over into the name of Yeshua Himself. The name Yeshua is a shortened form of Yehoshua (Joshua). Yehoshua itself is a contraction of the words Yehovah Yoshia (Yehovah Saves). In other words, the name YHVH is contained INSIDE the name of Yeshua. This corresponds to the biblical prophecy:  Exodus 23:20-21

Behold I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way…Be careful of Him and hear His voice…for My name is inside Him.

What an amazing prophecy:  the name of YHVH would be contained in the name of the Angel who would lead the children of Israel. This Angel YHVH would have the power, character, and authority of the name of YHVH. In addition, the name of YHVH would be contained in the Angel’s name. Both dimensions of this prophecy were fulfilled when Yeshua received His name at birth.  Some Christians and Messianic Jews today want to spell the Messiah’s name as Y’shua or Yahshua, while many modern Israelis refer to Him as Yeshu. All of those pronunciations are patently incorrect. The name Yeshua is found thirty (30) times in the Hebrew text of the post exilic history books of the Bible (like Ezra and Nehemiah).

Every single time the name is written Yeshua. The vowel point is a “tsere,” not a “patach,” “kamats,” or “sh’va”; not even a “segol.” There is always an “ayin” at the end of the name.

One could make an argument for transliterating the name as Yeishu’a, but certainly not Y’shua, Yahshua, or Yeshu.

Personally, I don’t care how someone pronounces His name. I only want to help my friends not to be taken captive by someone with a cultic, hypocritical, or phony intellectual spirit, telling you that you are wrong if you don’t pronounce it just the way they say (even when what they are telling you is not the correct pronunciation anyway). By contrast the seven Skeva brothers all pronounced the name of Yeshua perfectly, yet missed the meaning and authority of the name, and thus were overcome by Satan (Acts 19:14).

The wonderful part of the name of Yeshua is to know that there is revelatory meaning to His name, and that the name and authority of YHVH is found INSIDE His name. You don’t have to worry about how to pronounce YHVH, because YHVH is already contained in Yeshua. Or to rephrase an old advertising slogan, “When you’ve said Yeshua, you’ve said it all.”

I would summarize the revelation of the divine names this way: “El” stands for God’s power; “Yehovah” stands for His holiness, and “Yeshua” stands for His love. Those are the three general attributes of God: power, holiness, and love. God revealed His name (His character qualities) to mankind in three great progressive revelations.

God is all powerful, yet His power is controlled by His holiness. God is perfectly holy, yet His love overcame the holiness by offering us an opportunity to receive forgiveness (through the cross) long before the day of judgment and punishment comes.

Hallelujah! We knew Him first as Elohim. Then we knew Him better as Yehovah. Now we know Him best of all in Yeshua. In Him the power, holiness, and love of God all come together in a full and perfect balance. That’s the name above all names (Phil. 2:9), and the only name by which mankind can be saved (Acts 4:12).

©April 12, 2007 Asher Intrater

 

 

 

 

YHVH’s COVENANTS WITH ISRAEL

(Teaching at conference in Lubumbashi, DRC – Pentecostal  Epiphanie Church — May 26, 2009)

Mt 5:17-19; 2 Cor 1:20     Jesus came not to cancel or to break the Law and the Prophets, but rather to fulfill every jot and tittle of them

Ex 25:21-22; Lev 16: 11-14     the Ark of the Testimony was set in the Holy of Holies; the intercessory cloud of incense covered, and the blood of atonement was sprinkled on the Ark as a witness to the hope of redemption from the holy and righteous demands of the Law of Moses

Acts 24:14-15  Paul’s testimony about the hope of the fathers, as written in the Law and the Prophets, for the resurrection

Rom 8:18-25    the redemption of our bodies in the resurrection

The word redemption in English means to buy (purchase) back and restore what is rightfully mine but legally lost through forfeit (loss of privilege or honor through disqualification by breaking, or by not living up to, the rules or law).  The word ransom means the payment of a price for deliverance from some evil.  It could be for a prisoner of war, a hostage, a slave, or one’s own life (Ex 21:29-30).  In the Bible, redemption requires two things:  the legally qualified person, and the willingness and ability of that person to pay the required price to buy back what was given up. (see Lev 25; Ruth 4; Heb 2:14-18; 1Pt 1:18-19)  The year of Jubilee is all about redemption and restoration, both of people and of property.  A redeemed person or possession is restored to his or its intended purpose.  His dignity is regained.  And the honor given him is greater than before the loss.  Redemption brings a better state than the original natural creation or nature.

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us be clear from the beginning that the redemption of Israel is assured by the fact—by the truth—that Jesus Himself is her Redeemer.  Not only does He deliver prisoners, slaves, debtors, but by His very name, Yeshua is the Savior and Redeemer of sinners. (Mt 1:21)    If Israel could redeem herself from her bondages, then certainly the Holocaust would seem to be sufficient ransom of her own sons and daughters.  But it clearly has not been so.  God wants the loss of intimate relationship with Him restored, so that Israel–and the rest of the world– can have rest and peace and joy.  Messiah Jesus is the uniquely qualified person who willingly paid the necessary price to buy back His own people and kinsmen according to the flesh, and the Land of Canaan, which YHVH, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, promised with an oath to give to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to their descendants forever.

Since Israel asked for a king like the heathen nations have (1Sam 8), YHVH has not been Israel’s God in practice from their point of view.  Jesus came—and was also rejected for Caesar! (Lk 19:14; Jn 19:12-15)—to restore God the Father’s Kingdom both to Israel and to the whole world, the gentiles having already rejected Him in Noah’s day, both before and after the Flood.   

Adam and Eve, through deception and disobedience, lost the paradise and the authority that God provided and gave to them.  Both the people of Israel and the Land of Israel were forfeited by Israel through their breaking God’s covenant with them. (Jer 31:32)  But Jesus was sent by God the Father to redeem His people, His land, even the whole of humanity and the whole Earth; even more—the whole universe of this creation, which has all been corrupted through sin and subjected to vanity, futility.  Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and the Savior of all, but especially for those who believe, for by faith we are saved through grace, not by law or through works or without condition.  Abiding in Jesus is the key to our faith and our love.  The Messianic/Christian faith is a relationship with the Father and the Son, and with others who are born of God.

Jesus says that the whole of the Book is written about Him, and that He has come to fulfill all that is written in the Law and the Prophets. He says that Heaven and Earth will pass away, but not before God has fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Word of God with respect to this creation, which is set and limited by time and seasons.  So as we look at the subject of Israel’s redemption, we do so as recognizing that all Scripture is inspired by the Spirit of God, and is given for our learning to make us wise unto salvation.  By them we can know not only God’s statutes, but also His ways regarding His people and the world at large.  

Israel’s redemption—both of people and land—gives hope and significance to other nations.  God is interested in nations of people, a corporate collection of individual persons bound together by a language, law, customs, culture, boundaries.  He has given each a destiny, and within each of the families of the Earth, the Father is seeking those who will love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to worship Him in spirit and truth.

Christians are expected to be stewards of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.  The Church—the Body of Christ—was a mystery which God revealed especially to Paul to explain.  And Paul also says that Israel’s salvation is a mystery, which again the Holy Spirit explains particularly through Paul.  But without knowing the truth of who Jesus really is, we can not understand either the Church–which is a new creation not of this world–or Israel, which is distinguished from the other nations.   

YHVH is a covenant-making and -keeping God.  Melchizedek brought wine and bread to Abram.  God is love, and so His covenants are expressions of His love and holiness.  Just as the Lord requires a husband and wife to remain faithful to each other, even more so is He faithful to His people—even His Bride—through the covenant relationship He has with us.  He cannot deny Himself.  Jesus’ death on the cross because of our sin and sins–and His subsequent resurrection to justify Him in man’s sight, and to justify in God’s sight all who believe that God raised Him up from among the dead—is the costly ransom which God paid to redeem us from the “legal” claims of the devil—a price which Satan tried to subvert.  God is debtor to no one, and is not out to appease His enemy.  The New Covenant assures us that God will keep all His previous commitments, and on the basis of that ‘filling full’ of all His purposes regarding the world He made, He will create a new heavens and a new earth, also in accord with what is already written in the Holy Scriptures.

Therefore Israel’s redemption is assured, even though only a remnant from each of the tribes will be saved to constitute “all Israel”—those of Jacob who repent from ungodliness so that they can receive God’s forgiveness of all their sins, transgressions, and iniquity. (Dan 9:24; Rom 11:26-27)  No weapon formed against Israel will succeed, just as the gates of Sheol will not prevail against the Church.  It is not by Israel’s or our own righteousness, but by God’s mercy we are saved through faith in Jesus, the beloved Son of God.  The redemption of both Israel and of the Church is connected with preaching the gospel to all nations—to the Jews and to the gentiles. (Mt 28:18-20; Acts 1:7-8)  Israel’s partial blindness and hardness to the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God will remain until the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in. (Rom 11:25)  Gentile (i.e., non-Jewish) Christians have a calling and a responsibility to provoke Israel to jealousy over your own personal relationship with Israel’s own God and Father (Rom 11:11), while at the same time showing mercy to the Jewish people. (Rom 11:30-32)  (It is evident that classic anti-semitism has no place in the heart and mind of a true Christian).  And just as God saves individuals through the forgiveness of sin by their repentance unto faith, so too with nations. (Is 19:16-25 as an example)  The same YHVH God, who speaks to Israel through His prophets whom He sent to them, also speaks to nations, not only about them, through these same prophets.

The whole of God’s purpose in creation and redemption is to make known that He alone is YHVH, the only true God, and that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of the Father.  God wants us to want Him to honor His holy name in the sight of all (Mt 6:9; 23:39)—even as Moses did when the Lord suggested wiping out the rebellious people whom He brought out of Egypt.  We, too, must call upon God to save His people Israel, for the sake of His own Name and His Word, and to establish His Kingdom of Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit on Earth, as it is in Heaven.  For as Paul says, How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ (Rom 10:14-15; Is 52:7; Eph 6:15

God is working from both sides – Jewish and gentile – to fulfill His redemptive history and purposes.  He has given us an active part in that: once we have been joined to the Lord through new birth, we become co-laborers with one another as we serve Him.  But, thank God, by His zeal He will do it!  This is our and Israel’s security and hope.  YHVH has done it!  Jesus lived and died and rose from the dead and lives forevermore.  Nothing is too great for Him to do! 

Through Judgments and War, KNOW that YHVH, He is GOD!

Rev 19:11-16   Jesus in righteousness judges and makes war  

Gen 2:4   YHVH God is the Creator of the Earth and the Heavens  

Ex 3:14-15   YHVH, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; His memorial name to all generations
     6:7-9   the children of Israel will know that YHVH is God by His bringing them out of Egyptian bondage, and into the land of promise
     7:3-5   the Egyptians learned that YHVH, He is God by His great judgments
     8:22-23 (18-19 Heb)   Pharaoh found out YHVH is God Almighty as He makes a distinction between His people and the people of Egypt
     9:16-17   all the Earth will know the name of YHVH by His great power shown towards Pharaoh
    10:1-2   Moses and his sons and his sons’ sons (from generation to generation) will know YHVH is God by His special acts against Pharaoh
    12:12   YHVH defeated all the gods of Egypt
    14:1-4,18   the Egyptians confirmed in their knowing that YHVH is greater than the gods of Egypt, when He gained honor over them in leading Pharaoh and his army into the sea to overthrow them all
    14:30-31   the Israelis saw that YHVH is the Savior God
    15:1-3,11   the Song of Moses:  celebrating the victory; YHVH is my God; there is none like Him!  

Is 43:10-12; Jn 15:16; Acts 1:8; 1Pt 2:9   Israel is God’s chosen people and witnesses to know and serve YHVH as their God, and and that He is the only true God  

Jer 50:29; 51:19   Babylon will know that YHVH is God when He shows Himself strong on Israel‘s behalf  

Ezek 20:39-44   Israel will know that YHVH is God when He brings them back to the Land of Israel and deals with them not according to their own doings, but for His own name’s sake
         33:27-29   those Jews who thought that they were safe because of being chosen and more in number than Abraham alone will find out that YHVH is God in His judging them for pride
         36:1-12   the Land of Israel will know that YHVH is God when He re-possesses it and gives it peace
         38:14-17   Gog, in the latter days, will know that YHVH is God when He is hallowed in their eyes in protection and defense of His people Israel in His war against Gog  

Zech 14:16-17   the nations will know and be required to worship YHVH as God during the Millennial  

Col 2:15   the principalities and powers know that Jesus is YHVH, the Son of God through His military victory by His death on the cross  

Heb 8:10-12   all Israel (the full remnant) will know YHVH when they enter into the New Covenant, their sins forgiven  

Rev 5:13-14   EVERY creature will know YHVH, the Father and the Lamb, is God
       15:1-4   The Song of Moses and of the Lamb:  the victors and all nations will know and celebrate YHVH as God through His righteous ways and judgments.          

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

A SON WITH THE FATHER’S HEART

This week at least three different and separate occasions brought to mind the thought of the relationship between God the Father and us as His sons and daughters in Messiah:  the Bible study at Grace House on Sunday; a letter from Hannah concerning the establishment of a Christian school; and a discussion with a man from Canada who prays for 60 ministries in Israel.

Dt 5:16   Honor your father and your mother, that you may live long on the land/earth which God has given you, and that it may go well with you.

1Jn 5:9-13   If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.  He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.  And this is the testimony:  that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

For those who believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God, we have the privilege by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to call God, ‘Father’.  Jesus came to reveal God’s name as Father (Jn 17:6, 20-26).  There are many names of God throughout the Bible, but the only personal one is revealed by His Son.  It is written that no one knows the Son but the Father, and no one knows the Father but the Son, and those to whom He reveals Him. 

From the first chapter of the Bible in Genesis, we can see YHVH God as the Father creating Man – male and female – in His image and in His likeness, to be sons and daughters, to honor Him…and even to love Him.  It took the death of THE Son of God on the cross for our sinfulness against God our Father to bring us rebellious children back home through repentance and faith in the good news of salvation.  Through this new birth, we receive a new heart and a new spirit to know and to love our Father in Heaven, who first loved us.

ARE WE CHILDREN – SONS AND DAUGHTERS – WITH OUR FATHER’S HEART?

This is not simply a theoretical question, but it affects ultimately every other relationship we have!  In Malachi it’s written that Elijah will come before the great and terrible day of YHVH, and will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and of the children to the fathers.  God wants us to have His heart for one another in our own families, and in His large family of those who believe in Jesus His Son.

Pr 1:8-9   My son, hear the moral instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.  For they will be a graceful ornament on your head and chains about your neck.

When we read the book of Proverbs – a book full of wisdom to help us govern ourselves in the real world – we see it is written largely from a father’s point of view.  Each of the first seven chapters are full of instructions from a father to his maturing children.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Solomon is writing as a father who has learned something to pass on to his children (and to us and ours).  We know that God have Solomon more wisdom than to any other man in history, except for Jesus Himself; yet with all his wisdom he sinned greatly against YHVH who had said to King David that He would be a father to Solomon, and Solomon a son to Him (2Sam 7:14). 

We learn from accepting correction from our Father, both earthly and especially Heavenly.  Then we learn to be under authority, and have something of value to pass on to our children and to others:  show our love for the Lord by listening to Him and receiving His correction, moral discipline, His encouragement.  (Heb 12:5-13)

Sometimes we simply need to humbly accept the Word of God our Father to deal with our lives – with our motives, our attitudes, our character.  Jesus the Son came and spoke the word of God His Father to us.  In Christ, God relates to us as children whom He loves and wants us to mature in our character to display His character in us:  the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the qualities Yeshua taught in the Beatitudes.

Yeshua prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one.  Do we have the heart of our heavenly Father, a heart of flesh to rejoice in doing His will from a motive of love, and to hear Him say, “This is My beloved son/daughter, in whom I am well pleased”? 

Let us learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, and to listen to each other as brothers and sisters who have one Father…God.

 

 

HATED FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE

We previously looked at striving together in prayer for the sake of the gospel; zeal for the sake of God’s covenant; regathering and salvation of Israel for the sake of YHVH’s holy name 

Mt 5:11-12   Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven; for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.     WITHIN ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

Mt 10:21-22   Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.  But he who endures to the end will be saved.     WITHIN FAMILY; CIVIL WAR

Jn 15:18-21   If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.  If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake because they do not know Him who sent Me.   WORLD-AT-LARGE AND ALSO AMONGST PEOPLE OF GOD  

I tell people who ask me what it’s like to  live as a believer in Israel that Israel is a great place to follow the Lord Jesus Christ because it’s difficult to be lukewarm about our faith here.  We have many experiences and opportunities to know and live in the reality of the truth of what we have read in the above passages!  Believers who live in “Christian” countries do not normally consider these verses relevant, and certainly do not understand the truth of them.  We can be “blessed, happy, satisfied” if we are motivated by the love and purposes of God to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus in our life.  

And as Jesus speaks to His disciples that this hatred and persecution will be on account of His Name, this is also to place Him in a position equal to God, since it is for YHVH God that we are to live and die and give glory.  Moses and the other prophets never said to Israel that they would suffer on account of their names.  

We need to understand that, based on the Law, false prophets were to be killed (Dt 13:5,9-10; 18:20)The Lord Himself tells us (Jn 16:1-4) that there will be those who think that by killing us, they are doing God a work of faith, since Jesus is considered by the authorities of the Jewish religion a false prophet:  one who leads the people away from the God of their own understanding.  Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, was like that.  

It requires a revelation from God the Father that Jesus is Himself YHVH to understand the extent of our sin against Him and those who believe in Him.  Only in this way can we with a good conscience be willing to suffer for the sake of the Name of Jesus and not feel that we are offending the one true God of Israel.  The prophets who suffered for the sake of their testimony of YHVH did so by their own people, that is, by Israelis and Jews.  So we, who are witnesses of the risen and exalted Messiah, are not to be surprised by such hatred toward us without a cause.  And we certainly do not want to give them any other cause!  Let their accusations against us be false, like against Daniel in Babylon, and against Jesus and Stephen and Paul.  They do these things because they do not know God the Father nor the Lord Jesus, even while they profess to be serving God.  

We speak at Passover about the importance and necessity of bitter herbs in our life.  Bearing our cross daily for the sake of Jesus is such a bitter herb in our life; listening and seeing our people or our families be against us simply because we know and believe the truth about Messiah is a bitter herb; to be killed without justice is a bitter herb.  But the promise of Jesus – who has authority to make and to keep such promises – the promise of reward in the Kingdom of Heaven, this gives incentive and power and hope and love to endure to the end. 

All of us, let us keep our eyes upon Jesus and the glory that is His already – and ready to be revealed.
1Pt 4:12-19