Monthly Archives: January 2016

Esau’s Blessing

choice between life and deathMost of us are familiar with the narrative of Jacob and Esau who were twins. Esau was the firstborn, but as he emerged from the womb, Jacob was holding onto his heel. Esau was very casual about his birthright (traded for a bowl of lentils) and rebellious when it came to following YHVH’s commands (marrying a pagan woman). We recall how Jacob tricked his father into giving him Esau’s blessing as the firstborn son. These stories can be found in Genesis 25-27.

When we read the story of Jacob and Esau, we tend to dwell on the rivalry between the brothers, Jacob’s deception, and family dysfunctions with Isaac favoring Esau and Rebecca favoring Jacob. We focus our attention on Jacob and shove Esau into the background. Do we realize that Esau’s story is our story? Do we comprehend what YHVH (through Isaac) was saying to Esau (and to us)? Let us examine Esau’s blessing closely, for in it lays a gem of hope, the greatest hope for us all.

The blessing consists of three sentences and is translated incorrectly in many English versions. The English Standard Version (ESV) and the New Living Translation (NLT) have a more correct translation. The first sentence, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above.” So far this doesn’t sound like much of a blessing and indeed it isn’t. Esau will not enjoy the abundance and blessings that YHVH provides for us in the earth. Even what he has, he will not enjoy. This is not something new for Esau, because he never really enjoyed or appreciated what he had. He could not see the true value in his blessings.

Although Esau was the firstborn and was entitled to receive a double inheritance, he traded it for instant gratification in a bowl of lentils. His carnal nature, his flesh, dominated his decision making. So it is with us when we are still in sin and in the kingdom of darkness. Even what we have on this earth, we cannot fully enjoy and appreciate while we are blinded by the enemy.

The next sentence of the blessing states, “You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother.” Esau would serve Jacob, his younger brother. What does this mean for us? We live in a world of violence and deception. We end up serving those who are crafty enough to foil us. Our concern is to gain what we can, often by any means, and protect it at all costs.

So where is the hope in all this? It is contained in the last sentence, “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” How was Esau to break free? How are we to break free? We must make the same decision that YHVH presented to Esau. We must choose to stop serving hasatan and the humans who follow the ways of the kingdom of darkness.

When we decide to break free, we can be restored to our birthright which is relationship with YHVH . We have this option because of the love and sacrifice of Yeshua, our Messiah. We throw off the yoke of Satan and accept the yoke of Yeshua. It is an easy yoke. We serve others, not because we are forced to, but out of love and gratitude to YHVH. Our older Brother serves us and we serve Him. Our brothers and sisters serve us just as we serve them. We no longer haggle over the abundance of the earth, but share and enjoy all that YHVH provides, which is far more than enough for us all.

Scripture tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If you aren’t Yeshua, you fit into this category with all other humans. Whether we know it or not, we are serving Satan when we don’t serve YHVH. Just before I prayed for salvation for myself, I distinctly recall inwardly chafing at the idea of turning my life over to Yeshua and serving Him. The idea of being a servant seemed foreign to me. I thought I was my own person, making my own decisions. Only sometime later would it become crystal clear to me just how much I had been in bondage to Satan all my life. My greatest joy is to serve Yeshua now that I realize all that I have gained by serving Him.

If you have not yet made the decision to break free from the yoke of Satan, do not wait any longer. Perhaps you don’t feel that you are in any type of bondage. You are your own person and you live your life the way you see fit. This was precisely what Esau did when he married a pagan woman. He did not consider YHVH’s commands or his parents’ teachings. This was precisely what I did and my life was a mess before I threw off Satan’s yoke.

Tell Yeshua that you no longer want to work for Satan, but you want to work for YHVH. Tell Him that you are ready to trade your cumbersome yoke of bondage for the easy yoke of Yeshua. Embrace Yeshua’s precious gift of salvation and let Him embrace you with His overwhelming love.

Oil vs. Oil

precious oilFor when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,…(Matt 25:3)

If you have been wise enough to heed James Corbett’s documentary (How Big Oil Conquered the World) relating the history of how the oil industry has taken over medicine, finance, education, and agriculture, then you know that Satan once again has his counterfeit of YHVH’s genuine provision.

Satan’s workers have manipulated events, industries, and perceptions in order to attain wealth for themselves at severe and often devastating cost to others. Yeshua warned us to be wise to the enemy’s ways, to understand how the enemy works. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.…” (Matt 10:16)

Yeshua also warned us about the values of the kingdom of darkness. “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight” (Luke 16:15) Those who desire to attain this world’s wealth have made crude oil their god and it will lead to destruction. Those of us who follow Yeshua must pursue another type of oil. This Oil is our God, better known as the Holy Spirit. Yeshua set aside His power to show us the power and glory of His Oil. Philippians 2:1-11 shows us how to use this Oil properly. Yeshua did not grasp the power that was rightfully His, but emptied Himself to show us how to thrive in YHVH’s kingdom.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed. . . . (Luke 4:18)

The world’s oil is pursued by a few to enrich themselves, thus resulting in impoverishing many.  YHVH’s Oil is intended for all who pursue Him and is designed to enrich all.

When one day we stand before the Judge, crude oil and all that it can buy will be as dung. If we have selfishly pursued building our own kingdom instead of pursuing YHVH’s kingdom, we will stand condemned even if we were revered by the world.

Those of us who have pursued YHVH’s kingdom and His Holy Spirit with reckless abandon will be rewarded with treasures far superior to any treasures the kingdom of darkness can offer. Kingdom of darkness treasures will wear out, but Kingdom of light treasures will never be destroyed.

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21)

How is it that the masses have been so gullible and allowed themselves to be manipulated and deceived? Is it possible that the majority of those who profess to follow Yeshua have not pursued His Oil with a fraction of the vigor and zeal that Satan’s servants have demonstrated in pursuing the world’s oil? How active have we been in increasing YHVH’s kingdom on earth and teaching His values? Yeshua has restored dominion of the earth to His followers, but how zealous have we been to restore the earth to Yeshua? If we have dominion over the earth, then through Yeshua’s power and authority, we can change the very atmosphere of our environment.   Our Oil enables us to blaze forth to vanquish the darkness that currently prevails.

 Of course, there is great risk in promoting values that oppose the world’s current culture. Yeshua Himself suffered the consequences for doing so and warned us to expect the same treatment. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also (John 15:20).

These are harsh words to ingest, especially for those of us who have been nestled in our comfort zones for so long. Our comfort zones provide nothing more than a delusion that we are secure. We must renew our minds and realize that our only security lies in risking all for YHVH’s kingdom. We will only be able to carry out our assignments if we have the Oil that YHVH provides.

 “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matt 10:19-20)

There has long prevailed a distorted teaching that the Holy Spirit and all that He brings are “not for today, but was provided only to get the church established.” Actually it is YHVH’s kingdom that needs to be established and when we call it “church” we seem to lose sight of the true goal.  If we are not guided by the Holy Spirit, we will be guided by earthly values and our efforts will merely contribute to Satan’s kingdom.   Yeshua’s words in Matthew 25 refer to the Holy Spirit as the Oil that will prepare us for the Bridegroom’s return. Since the Bridegroom has not yet returned, we should be diligently pursuing the Oil of the Holy Spirit, lest we are caught unawares and be shut out forever. May the Bridegroom find each one of our lamps brimming with Oil when He returns.

Yehovah is Light

light shining out of darkness We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5

I John 1:5 says that God is light, but what does that really mean and why is it important to us? It seems significant that immediately after God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth, He saw that “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was over the face of the deep”. (Gen 1:2)  It is clear that He was not pleased with the darkness, because He then said “Let there be light”, and when He saw the light, He declared that it was good (Gen 1:4). But He didn’t stop there – He was still not totally satisfied, because He then separated the light from the darkness.

At a physical level, we have a very consistent theme here – God is light and is the source of all light. There is a related theme that is just as important though – God cannot dwell in the presence of darkness, so He must separate His light from all darkness. I quoted the first part of I John 1:5 above, but I left out the last part – after John says that God is light, he goes on to say “in Him there is no darkness at all”. Throughout the Scriptures, darkness is associated with people’s sinful hearts (John 3:19), or the evil one and his Kingdom of darkness (Col 1:13).

In the same way that YHVH separated the light from the darkness in His creation, he wants to separate us from the darkness of this world. In Isaiah 52:11, YHVH says: “Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves..”. He is telling His people to come out of the darkness and impurity of the world and to cleanse their hearts of worldly impurities. Sha’ul tells us to live in the light: “You are all children of light and of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness”. (I Thess 5:5) Peter [Keifa] says that as followers of Yeshua we are: “…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light”. (I Pet 2:9)

From all that we have studied about the deeper (sod) spiritual meaning of YHVH’s Scriptures, everything that YHVH does has a purpose and usually teaches us some type of lesson. So let’s dig a little deeper here. We started at the front of the book with God “turning on the lights” in the beginning, and also heard John make the statement that God is light. Now let’s go to the back of the book. In Revelation 21:23, Yeshua tells John that in the end there will no longer be any need for the sun and moon because the glory of God will illuminate the city of New Jerusalem, and the Lamb [Yeshua] will be its light. When we look at the ancient Hebrew word pictures associated with the three letters in the word for light (ohr in Hebrew), we see a deeper meaning emerge: “the first Man [Yeshua the living Word] was there in the beginning when light was created”. So, we see that Yeshua was the source of light in the beginning, and He will be the source of Light again when He comes to reign on the new Earth.

Yeshua told us clearly that He is the Light of the world and we are to follow Him:

  • John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
  • John 12:46: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
  • Acts 26:17: Yeshua encountered Sha’ul on the road and told him to be a light to the lost: “… to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God…”.

Sha’ul encourages us to walk in the light of Yeshua: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”. (Eph 5:8) In Yeshua’s well-known teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, He says: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”. (Matt 5:14-16) At first glance, it sounds like He wants us to be out there in the world drawing attention to ourselves as we do good works. But look at the punchline at the end. What is the purpose of doing good works? So that we can “Glorify our Father in Heaven”. We are not to draw attention to ourselves through our wonderful deeds, but to Abba Father! We need to be constantly pointing to Him when people ask us why we are doing what we do, acting humbly and selflessly but boldly giving Him the glory.

Who Is YHVH?

Jesus is GodIn last week’s blog, Peter pointed out that Yeshua is YHVH. Why is it so important to make this point? Does it change your perspective of Yeshua? There is a tendency in many of us to rank God the Father as superior to Yeshua. It has even been taught in some circles that we are only to address the Father in prayer, and that it is wrong to pray to Yeshua. When Yeshua taught His disciples how to pray, He addressed the Father rather than Himself. And yet, Yeshua also tells us “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it (John 14:13-14). Yeshua glorifies the Father, and the Father glorifies His Son, Yeshua (John 8:54, 17:1; John 17:5).

Over the past two centuries, there have been various creeds and teachings denying that Yeshua is God. This type of heresy continues today. In fact, in some circles Yeshua is considered to be merely a thought or spiritual representation of YHVH.  Yeshua is clearly identified as YHVH’s Son in Scripture (1 Cor 15:28; Ps 2:7; Heb 1:5; Matt 3:17; John 1:14; 1 John 4:10; John 5:26; 1 John 5:9). Even we mortals produce children and they are certainly more than just a thought or a representation of us. If the name of YHVH had been known and if Scripture in its entirety had been correctly understood, then these debates would not have surfaced or, if they had, could have been quickly dismissed.

In order to get a more complete picture, it is best to start at the beginning and work from there. John 1:1-2 helps us to get started.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” . This verse takes us back to the first chapter of Genesis. The Word spoke creation into being. Later the Word would speak to Abraham in front of his tent (Gen 18) and to Moses in the burning bush (Ex 3). We learn in John 1:14 that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

The Word not only became flesh, but put Himself in the same position as the rest of us. For a time He set aside His power and entered the world in total dependence on the Father. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Phil 2:5). He showed us what we could do when empowered by the Holy Spirit as He was. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12-14)

The Jewish leaders understood that to be the Son of YHVH meant equality with YHVH.    For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18).  Yeshua told them that he saw the Father at work and did the same work as His Father.  Yeshua went on to clarify the relationship between His Father and Himself (John 5:19-23).

YHVH tells us that His thoughts are above our thoughts, and His ways above our ways (Is 55:8-9). It is difficult to understand how three separate persons can be so united and act as one. Yet, YHVH has provided an example for us. The three persons of YHVH are echad, just as a husband and wife are echad.  The husband and wife can become one flesh, but they can also think and act in unity. Even so, they remain two distinct people.  In Hebrew, echad can not only mean “one” as in the number one, but it can mean thinking and acting together as one. The example we have of husband and wife is not perfect, and sometimes far from it.  But we can see how the ideal would be when a husband and wife are aligned in their thinking and acting.

The third Person (Holy Spirit) of the Godhead has been sent to us to help us understand YHVH’s thoughts and ways.  Yeshua tells us in John 16:12-14:

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.…”. 

We see clearly that the Holy Spirit is also a Person, for Yeshua refers to the Spirit repeatedly as He, not it.  Yeshua states that the Holy Spirit will not speak on His own initiative.  If Father, Son and Holy Spirit were all the same Person, there would be no need to make such a statement.  The three persons of YHVH are perfectly aligned at all times and, therefore, may seem to be only one.   Each person of the Godhead, YHVH, is wholly divine and wholly deserving of our worship, awe, and devotion.

Jesus is LORD [Yeshua is Yehovah]

Yeshua is YehovahSo that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ [Yeshua the Messiah] is Lord [YHVH], to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:10-11

In previous postings on the Name of the sovereign God of the universe, YHVH [Yehovah], I talked about the importance of knowing and speaking His Name, as well as the sad history of the silencing of God’s Name for the past 2300 years. If you recall from those blogs, after the return from exile in Babylon, priests of the Second Temple era decided that God’s name was too holy to pronounce, and they banned the speaking of the Name among the common Jewish people (the priests still knew how to pronounce the Name).

In this blog, I continue this history up into the New Testament period and show how there was even further obfuscation of the Name leading up to the time of Yeshua’s first coming. The first translation of the Old Testament [Tanach] into Greek was the Septuagint, which was completed in 132 BCE. By this time, it was well established that the Name of YHVH was not to be written in any texts (even within Greco-Roman writings). Since the Jews had already been substituting Adonai (Lord) for YHVH, the Septuagint scribes continued the same tradition. When more modern English translators strove to come up with translations that were more faithful to the original Hebrew Tanach Scriptures, they reverted the references to God’s Name (as opposed to His holy title of Lord) back to “LORD”, leaving the other references as “Lord”. Thus, we have a clear way to distinguish God’s Name (YHVH) from his title (Lord) in the Old Testament Scriptures.

When the translators of the Greek New Testament translated the Greek into Latin and modern languages such as English, though, they could not distinguish between the references to the Name YHVH and Lord (as a title). Both words are written as Kurios in Greek. What we have in the New Testament, then, are many verses that are ambiguous as to which meaning is being expressed, God’s Name or His title. I want to focus here on the places in the New Testament where Yeshua is referred to as Lord. Many times this truly is a holy title given to our Messiah and Savior. However, there are quite a few places where Yeshua is being addressed by the Name of God Almighty, YHVH [Yehovah].

Some of the most obvious references to Yeshua as YHVH are quotes or paraphrases of Old Testament verses. The most vivid example of this is the Scripture quoted at the top of this blog, Philippians 2:10-11. Just before this passage (vv. 6-8), the author is saying that Yeshua did not take advantage of the fact that He was in His very nature part of the Godhead, but lowered Himself to be born as a human and then of His own will gave up His life to die on a cross. Then in Verse 9, Sha’ul says that Abba Father gave Him the Name that is above every name. Believers in Yeshua, having the English translations available to them for the New Testament, have always assumed that this Name above all names is Jesus [Yeshua]. However, remember that Yeshua was the name given to the Son of God when He was born on Earth as a human – this name represents His mission, since Yeshua means salvation or deliverance.

Here are a few other verses where it speaks of Yeshua as Lord (which should have been translated as LORD [YHVH]:

  • Rom 10:9-10: ..if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [YHVH] and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
  • I Cor 12:3: and no one can say “Jesus is Lord [YHVH]” except in the Holy Spirit.
  • Matt 23:39: [Yeshua said to the people on “Palm Sunday”] – for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord [YHVH]!’

Some of these verses include quotes or paraphrases from the Old Testament:

  • Phil 2:10-11 was patterned after Isa 45:3: That to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess. They shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord [YHVH] I have righteousness and strength.
  • Matt 23:39 was a direct quote from Psalm 118:26 (with LORD in all caps): Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord [YHVH]!

You’re probably asking yourself at this stage – so what is the point of all this? Here’s the bottom line – Jesus [Yeshua] was the Messiah’s name when He was on the Earth fulfilling prophecy as our Savior, but His eternal name is the same as the Father’s – YHVH or Yehovah! He is one of the three persons of the Godhead. He existed from the beginning and was there directing the Creation of the universe along with Abba and the Holy Spirit (John 1:3). To know Yehovah the Father is to know Yehovah the Son and Yehovah the Ruach HaKodesh – they are one [echad] in Spirit but different in character and roles.

[We usually address people by using formal titles (Mr, Mrs, Doctor, and so forth) when we don’t know them well, of if they are entitled to a higher level of respect. Only when we have established some degree of intimacy, do we begin calling people by their given names.] For example, if we are Yeshua’s servants, we would call Him Master; but we are His friends so we call Him by His name, Yehovah. If you want to draw even closer to our Creator, Redeemer, Miracle-Worker, and Lord, call on His Name and you will be able to speak to any or all of the holy and awesome persons of the Godhead who created and love us!