Tag Archives: Yehovah

Clean Reflections

This is the eleventh article of our Living Tabernacles series, where we study the Tabernacle in depth. It is exciting to see how each element symbolizes some characteristic of Yeshua.  It is also challenging when we examine what each element means for us, since each of us is now a living tabernacle of YHVH [Yehovah].  We are posting two articles each month as part of this series. YHVH is building His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  Our King reigns from His throne and also pronounces judgment from there. 

This article focuses on the significance of the Bronze Laver (basin) that YHVH instructed His people to build and place between the Brazen Altar of sacrifice and the Tabernacle. In Exodus 30:18, YHVH [Yehovah] said to Moshe: “You are to make a basin of bronze, with a base of bronze, for washing. Place it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it” [CJB].

In verses 18-21, YHVH explains to Moshe how this basin is to filled with water and used by the priests for washing before they come into His presence and before they bring sacrifices to the Altar: “Aaron and his sons will wash their hands and feet there when they enter the tent of meeting — they are to wash with water, so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by burning an offering for Yehovah, they are to wash their hands and feet, so that they will not die. This is to be a perpetual law for them through all their generations”.

To help the priests see their dirty places more clearly, YHVH also instructed the Israelites to embed mirrors into the bronze laver: “Bezalel made the bronze washbasin and its bronze stand from bronze mirrors donated by the women who served at the entrance of the Tabernacle” (Ex 38:8).  Since YHVH wants us to come before Him without spot or blemish (as in Ephesians 5:27), the bronze mirrors from the women helped the priests to clean up those physical spots that would keep them from full immersion into YHVH’s presence.

These instructions that YHVH gave to His people show the importance He places on purity.  When His people come before Him to minister to Him, they are to be “clean”.  So, what does Yehovah mean by clean in this context?  He has given us many examples of cleanliness in the physical world, such as His instructions to the priests to wash themselves before coming into the Tabernacle or Temple, for His people to eat clean instead of unclean foods, and to cleanse ourselves after touching a dead body or being healed of leprosy.

However, these are only physical object lessons that point to His more crucial message that we need to cleanse and purify our hearts and minds before coming into His presence, as in Psalm 24:4: “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up their soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully”.  The importance to YHVH of purity of hearts and hands is also shown in Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” and James 4:8: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded”.  After David committed his most flagrant sins, he cried out to God in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me”.

Aaron and his sons were the appointed priests for the whole nation of Israel, but we know that all of YHVH’s children are to be priests ministering before Him, as in Exodus 19:6: “And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation”.  Yeshua said in Revelation 5:10: “And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God”.  We know that we are to come before YHVH’s throne and into His presence, as in these Scriptures in Hebrews:

  • Hebrews 4:16 – “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most”; and
  • Hebrews 10:22 – “…let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him…

Now that we understand that we are to be priests before YHVH, be cleansed, and come into His presence, how do we go about cleansing ourselves?  First, look at the second part of the verse from Hebrews 10:22: “For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Messiah’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water”.  While it is true that Yeshua’s blood has saved us from our sins, we still need to be cleansed and made holy by “the washing of water by the word(Eph 5:26)

In James 1:25 [NLT] it says: “But if you look carefully into the perfect law [Torah] that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it”.  So, YHVH says that we are to study the Torah (the Word of YHVH) and follow what it says.  The living Word is Yeshua.  As it says in John 1, verses 1 and 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us…”.

The Word of God (both written and Living) is our water of cleansing – it is His will for us to spend time every day soaking in His Word, being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and being cleansed in our souls so that we can constantly draw closer and closer to Abba and His precious Son, Yeshua.

YHVH’s Sanctuary

yhvh-is-a-shelterWhat did Yeshua mean when He said in His Olivet discourse: “as it was in the days of Noach” (Matt 24:39)?  In this and other Re(new)ed Covenant Scriptures (2 Pet 2; 2 Thess 2), the authors speak of a future world of great wickedness, such as has not been known since the times of Noach and Sodom.  These Scriptures also speak of YHVH’s judgment on those who are deceived by the lies of hasatan and refuse to turn to the truth of the Creator and Redeemer of the world, Yehovah Elohim.

They also speak of YHVH our Deliverer saving and protecting His people during times of past trials or judgment:

  • Noach and all his family were divinely saved from destruction by the protection of the Ark (2 Pet 2:5). Note that the Hebrew word for ark (tevah) not only means a box or covering, but it also means “word” – so you can think of Noach and his family truly being covered by YHVH’s Word!
  • In the time of Sodom & Gomorrah, we are told that the people were very immoral and ungodly, but also that God [Elohim] rescued Lot from the fiery judgment because Lot was a righteous man who followed the truth (2 Pet 2:6-7)
  • Moses (Ex 44:7), David (1 Sam :14-15) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:4-8) were all protected in the wilderness
  • In the same way, when YHVH brought all the plagues onto the people in Egypt, He spared the Hebrews from the worst of those plagues (Ex 9). Yeshua became our Passover Lamb 2000 years ago, and now we can cover ourselves with His blood for protection from the enemy’s attacks
  • Finally, in speaking about the end of days, Yeshua says in Revelation 12 verses 6 and 14 that YHVH will once again protect His people from both the unbearable attacks from the adversary hasatan, and also from His own judgments against the wicked

From these Scriptures we know that YHVH has protected His people many times in the past, and has said that He would protect us again during the Tribulation period.  We also know from Yeshua’s words in Matthew 24 and Sha’ul’s prophecies in 2 Timothy 3 that the times before the end of this current world will be characterized by great sinfulness and evil.

What will lead the people of the world into such great lawlessness, though?  We know there are plenty of greedy, boastful and wicked people throughout the world now, but Yeshua says the End will be a time like no other that has ever been seen or will ever be seen again.  Several Scriptures speak of a great apostasy, deception, or falling away (2 Thess 2:3, Matt 24:10).  Reading further in these Scriptures we see many reasons for this falling away of believers in Yeshua, so great that even some of the elect will be led astray (Matt 24:24).  Yeshua speaks of many false prophets and teachers, and the great signs and wonders they will use to try to convince believers that they are the Messiah who is prophesied to return.

There is a stronger deception than simple signs and wonders that will be leading the saints away from YHVH, though.  This deception becomes clear when you look at the expanded meaning of apostasy – it means “an abandonment of the truth”.  In spiritual terms, this means that the end times will involve a wholesale rejection of YHVH’s revelation, a further “falling away” of an already fallen world.  This “end times” falling away is confirmed as the sign that will come before the Tribulation ends and Yeshua returns for His saints (the set-apart ones) in several other Scriptures.

When Sha’ul talks about the end times in II Timothy 3, he talks first about all the wickedness that will mark that time, but then he goes on to say in Verse 7 that people at that time will be: “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth”.  This agrees with II Thessalonians 2:10-12 which states that the ones who will be judged in the latter days will be the ones who did not believe the truth of YHVH, but instead believed the enemy’s lies.  The crux of this passage in Verse 11 says: “…God will cause them to be greatly deceived, so that they will believe these lies”.

Going back to Matthew 24, Yeshua’s first answer to His disciples about the signs of the end was: “Be careful that no one leads you astray! For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will lead many astray” (Matt 24:4-5).  Remember that one of Yeshua’s harshest reprimands of the religious leaders was in John 8:44 when they accused Him of casting out demons and healing people in the name and power of the devil: “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies”.

The essence, then, of the reason for the great falling away in the end times will be that a great majority of the people (believers and unbelievers alike) will believe the lies of the false teachers and prophets and of the anti-messiah himself.

So how do we prepare ourselves for these perilous times, so that we can discern false from true teaching and prophecy, and resist following the popular path of believing the captivating lies of the enemy’s allies?  As with all temptations and allurements of our society, we need to put all our trust in our Rock and Redeemer, Yeshua HaMashiach, and be filled with Yehovah’s Holy Spirit.  We need to ask Abba for guidance in discerning the truth from the lies, and then follow that truth no matter what are the world consequences.  While it is true that not all believers will be delivered physically through the Tribulation, we know that if we remain steadfast in our trust and obedience, YHVH will help empower us to overcome the world, by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony.  In this world we will have tribulation, but Yeshua has overcome the world, and greater is He that is in us (the Holy Spirit) than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Safe Shelters

refuge-under-your-wingsIn my blog two weeks ago, I wrote about Yeshua as the Door of the sheep, and how He protects from us from all dangers.  Another closely related Biblical concept is that YHVH shelters us, but how does He shelter us?  In many places in the Psalms, David talks about YHVH sheltering us in His hiding place, for example:

  • Psalm 91:1 – He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty [El Shaddai].
  • Psalm 27:5 – For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His sanctuary; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me (the Orthodox Jewish Bible says that He will keep us safe in His Sukkah and shelter us in His tent)…He is our refuge and our fortress;
  • Psalm 32:7 – You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance;
  • Psalm 119:117 – You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word;
  • Psalm 144:2 – My lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge

Other scriptures speak about God sheltering us in His high tower, on a rock that is higher than us, or in his fortress, just to name a few of the graphic images He paints.  Many times David and others speak about YHVH as not only keeping them safe in His secret hiding place, but as actually being that hiding place, refuge, fortress, high tower, stronghold, rock, sanctuary, Sukkah, etc.  As an illustration of a high / strong tower, Sh’lomo says in Proverbs: the name of Yehovah is a strong tower; and the righteous run to it [Him] and are safe.  Now we are getting to the purpose of YHVH sheltering us in all these amazing ways: He is keeping us safe from the enemy.  Psalm 32:7 above provides one of the most beautiful word pictures of God’s protection in all of Scripture: He is not only our hiding place, but He protects us from trouble and surrounds us with songs of deliverance.

In Psalm 91, David says that no evil will befall him because he has made YHVH his refuge and dwelling place.  Because David is abiding under the shelter of His wings, YHVH has promised to give His angels charge over David to keep him safe against all physical and spiritual enemies and attacks.  In Verse 14, He says that because we know and trust in His name (Yehovah), He will set us up on high places (a high rock, high tower, etc.).  He also promises that no evil will befall us, no plague will come near our dwelling, and we do not need to fear the arrows by day or the pestilence that comes in the night.  Finally, in Verse 7 He paints an even more vivid picture of how he delivers us in the middle of great battles: “Though a thousand fall at our side and ten thousand are dying around us, these evils will not touch us” (NLT).

Even from the beginning, God has always been there to shelter us and keep us safe.  When He created the Garden for Adam and Eve, He created it as an enclosed garden that was protected on all sides against enemies.  The meaning of the “Garden of Eden” [Gan Eden] from Hebrew is a sheltered or enclosed garden.  There are many examples of how God has provided for our protection in His creation. For instance, the way an eggshell protects the baby chick as the strongest shape in the world, or the way a mother’s womb protects her unborn baby against environmental dangers.

When God saved Noah and his family from the flood, He once again protected them with an Ark that provided their covering and protection from all the devastation that was going on around them.  Another example of YHVH’s protection was the lamb’s blood covering He told the Israelites to apply to their doorposts to protect them from the angel of death.  In the end times, YHVH’s remnant will be sheltered in the protective rocks of Petra (Bosrah in Hebrew), waiting for our King, Messiah Yeshua, to come and usher us into the homeland of Israel.

As you think about all the ways YHVH protects and shelters us in His fortress or high tower, think about the Hebrew letter “tet”, which in the ancient word pictures represented a shelter for protection.  It is used in the word beten to mean the house that surrounds life (the mother’s womb), and in the word for trust (batach), which pictures us being safe inside the surrounding fence.  The word seter means a hiding place or covering, and from the ancient word pictures it literally means a secret hiding place.  Whereas the word for adversary (satan) means the snake that devours life, YHVH provides the seter hiding place which protects us from evil.  Would you rather be under YHVH’s wings which protect your life from harm, or the enemy’s snake-coil which devours your life?

Yeshua is the Door

the-door-of-the-sheep“Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.John 10:7

In Yeshua’s “I am” statement about being the Door of the Sheep,  He teaches us that He is “the Door”, not just “a door”.  He is saying that He is not only our Shepherd who leads us into the sheepfold of the Kingdom, but He is the only door by which we can enter and be saved and find safe pasture (John 10:9).  There are deeper meanings for understanding Yeshua as our door into the Kingdom of God, so come with me now as we dig deeper into the Word to explore these meanings.

It is helpful to understand more about sheep and shepherding in general and specifically during Yeshua’s time.  Of all domesticated animals, sheep are the most helpless.  Sheep will spend their entire day grazing, wandering from place to place, never looking up. As a result, they often become lost. But sheep have no “homing instinct” as other animals do. They are totally incapable of finding their way to their sheepfold, even when it is in plain sight. By nature, sheep are followers. If the lead sheep steps off a cliff, the others are likely to follow.

Also, sheep are very susceptible to injuries and are utterly helpless against predators. If a wolf enters the pen, sheep won’t defend themselves or run away.  Sheep are totally dependent upon their shepherd for food, shelter, guidance and protection. So close is the bond between shepherd and sheep that to this day Middle Eastern shepherds can divide flocks that have mingled at a well or during the night simply by calling their sheep, who know and follow their shepherd’s voice. The shepherd leads the sheep to safe places to graze and makes them lie down for several hours in a shady place (think of the parallel to Psalm 23). Then at nightfall, the shepherd leads the sheep to the protection of a sheepfold.

In ancient times, there were two kinds of sheepfolds or pens. One kind was a public sheepfold found in villages. It would be large enough to hold several flocks of sheep. This sheep pen would be in the care of a “doorkeeper”, whose duty it was to guard the door to the sheep pen during the night and admit the shepherds in the morning. The shepherds would call their sheep, each of which knew their own shepherd’s voice, and he would lead them out to pasture (see John 10:4).

The second kind of sheep pen was in the countryside, where the shepherds would keep their flocks in good weather. This type of sheep pen was nothing more than a rough circle of rocks piled into a wall with a small open space to enter. Through it the shepherd would drive the sheep at nightfall. Since there was no gate to close—just an opening—the shepherd would keep the sheep in and wild animals out by lying across the opening. He would sleep there, in this case literally becoming the door to the sheep[fold].

Several ancient Hebrew word pictures point to Yeshua as the Door in a powerful way.  The ancient letter for door is dalet.  This meant the tent flap or door originally, but also the “path” or the “way of life”.  Devar in Hebrew means “word”. When we look at the ancient characters for Devar, though, the root meaning is “the Door of the Son”.  Since Yeshua is the living Word, Devar can also be interpreted as “The Word of YHVH”, as in the book of Deuteronomy [Devarim].  Psalm 19:14 says: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, YHVH, my rock and my redeemer”.  In Hebrew, a word for redeem is Padah and the word picture meaning is “redemption comes by the mouth of the door”. The ancient letters tell us that redemption is by the words of the door, and we know that door is Yeshua. Another significant word is the Hebrew word for Righteous, Tsedek, and the word picture tells us that  a person is righteous when their hook is the Door they follow (hook, or fishhook, refers to that which draws you – your passion or desire).

God’s name, Yehovah, is spelled yod-hey-vav-hey in Hebrew. The letter dalet is added to spell “Yehudah” [Judah], out of whose line Yeshua was descended. These 4 letters of the Name of God plus the letter dalet which means “door,” paint a different word picture:  His name tells us that Praise opens the Door to God“.  Since Yeshua is the Door, and He said everyone must enter through Him, this is a graphic picture of the pathway to YHVH – the key to the Door is praise!

Yeshua tells us that He is not only the shepherd of His sheep, but also the door of the sheep. In doing so, He is inviting us to be part of His sheepfold, where we will never have to fear or want for anything.  All we have to do is praise Him, and follow Him on His path, trusting Him with every part of our lives!

Yom Teruah helps us Remember and Rehearse

yom-teruahWhen we talk about YHVH’s feasts or festivals, we sometimes think of big celebrations with lots of festive foods along with family and friends.  Although some of YHVH’s feasts are meant to be joyous celebrations (such as Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles), others are meant to be more somber and introspective.  Yom Teruah (literally the “feast of the blowing of trumpets (shofarot)”) is a combination of both joyous and somber emotions.  In a previous blog (When Yeshua Returns), we have already dealt with the misconception that Yom Teruah is actually the Jewish new year, or what is called Rosh Hashanah (literally “the head of the year”).  Yom Teruah marks the beginning of the seventh month on God’s calendar, so by definition it cannot be the start of the year.

The Hebrew word used most often for YHVH’s feast days in the Scriptures is Mo’ed (feast) or Mo’edim (feasts plural).  However, this word is much better translated as “appointment” or more accurately “divine appointment”.  YHVH meant for these appointments to be holy (set-apart) times on His calendar to meet with Him.  They were also called “Holy Convocations”, which in the Hebrew is Miqra, meaning an “assembly” but also a “Dress Rehearsal”.

Whenever one of YHVH’s divine appointments arrives, we are supposed to look back and remember something that God has done for us in the past, but we are also supposed to look forward to what He will do in the future.  In His Mo’edim, God has essentially given us a “roadmap” of the most important events in human history.  Leviticus 23:24 describes Yom Teruah in this way: “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation (rehearsal)”.  Where it says “memorial” in this verse, another name is being used for the Feast of Trumpets – it is also called Zihk’ron Teruah which means a call for remembering through the loud blowing of trumpets.  So what are we remembering from the past and what are we rehearsing for the future?

By Jewish tradition and ancient calendars, it is believed that Yom Teruah commemorates the first day of Elohim’s Creation of the universe.  This fits with God’s biblical calendar.  When the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt, YHVH then said to them: This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2).  This was of course the first day (new moon) of the Passover month (Aviv), which had been their seventh month but was now their first month by God’s instruction.  Thus we know that the seventh month (Ethanim) had been the first month on God’s calendar, which is the calendar He created for us at the time He created the world.  We can give thanks to Yehovah Elohim on Yom Teruah for creating the universe and us as His children.

As far as rehearsing the future on Yom Teruah, we need to look to the verses where the shofar blast is described as a warning or announcement of a future event.  There are a number of Scriptures where we see the shofar being blown as a call to repent and turn back (teshuvah) to YHVH, warning us of the God’s great judgment at the end times, in the “Day of the LORD”. (Joel 2:1, Zech 9:14, Rev 11:15)  In Matthew 24, Yeshua tells us of the great shofar blast when He comes in judgment and to gather His remnant together from the whole Earth: “And He will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather His chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven”.

Abba, as we are celebrating your appointed time to be with You on Yom Teruah, help us to remember all that You have done for us in the past, including the great sacrifice of Your Son for our salvation and deliverance.  Help us to also look ahead at what You are going to do in the future, and make sure we are prepared like the wise virgins who had an abundance of oil for their lamps.  We want to be a part of Your remnant, pleasing to you and prepared in our hearts and spirits to receive Your blessing when You return to this Earth to reign and rule.

Ancient Hebrew Confirms Yeshua’s Work on the Cross

How to live Torah“So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am He.” John 8:28

We have spoken before about all the amazing prophecies of the Messiah in the Nevi’im (prophets) that foretold the first coming of Yeshua and how He would die and be resurrected to atone for our sins and bring us back into relationship with Abba Father.  When we go deeper into the history of the Hebrew language and look at the paleo-Hebrew word pictures, even more incredible Messianic prophecies are revealed to us.

The most elemental aspects of our relationship with YHVH [Yehovah] are the life instructions He gave us in His Torah, and the covenant(s) He made with us from the beginning of His creation.  Looking at the ancient Hebrew symbols for Torah first, we see that the final letter is hey, which appears like a person with their arms raised, meaning “to reveal or behold”.  As the final letter, it actually means “what is revealed from”.  Looking back at the first three letters, they tell us where the law [Torah] originates from.  The third letter, resh, which looks like a person’s head, means “the man”.  The second letter, vav, means “nail”, and the first letter, tav, means “cross”.  So, putting all these together, torah means “what is revealed from the Man nailed to the cross”.

Covenant in Hebrew is b’rit (pronounced breet).  This word starts off with the letter bet, which means “house” in ancient Hebrew word pictures, and then is followed by the letter resh, meaning a person, man or leader.  When these two letters are placed together, they mean “the man of the house” or more commonly “the son of the house”.  The next letter is yod, which means hand or arm, but when used at the end of the first two letters, it becomes possessive, or “my”.  So the first three letters now give us the meaning of “my son”.  Finally, we have the tav at the end of the word, which we saw above meant “cross”.  Putting these together, we get the awesome prophetic meaning of the word covenant as “the cross of My Son”!  This was prophesied in Psalms 22:16 as “they pierced My hands and My feet.” And Zechariah 12:10 as “they shall look upon Me [Yeshua] whom they have pierced”.  We know that YHVH’s covenant with His people started with Abraham, but it was prophesied that the final covenant would be fulfilled through the Messiah, our Redeemer.  Through Isaiah, Abba Father said to Yeshua the Messiah: “I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people” (Isa 49:8).

If we go full circle back to the name of the Hebrew language, iv’rit, in the ancient word pictures it is written the same as covenant [b’rit] with one addition – the letter ayin (meaning reveal) is added to the front of the word.  Putting these letters together, we can see the purpose of the Hebrew language stated in its name, meaning in English “to reveal the covenant”, which is “the cross of My Son”.

These are beautiful insights into the Scriptures and the Hebrew language, but what does it all mean for our lives?  If we study YHVH’s Word, then His Son will be revealed to us more and more, and we will come to know Yeshua and His Father, our Creator and Redeemer, who desires only good things for our lives (Jer 29:11).

Made in the Image of God’s DNA

Knit me TogetherIn my previous postings on the evidence of God’s brilliant hand in Creation, I talked about why we should believe that God [Elohim] is the Creator of everything in the universe.  I also spoke about the evidence of ingenious design we see all around us in the Earth and skies.  Finally, I have cited examples of creatures that have amazing characteristics and abilities that could only be conferred on them by an intelligent designer as awesome as our supreme being, YHVH Elohim.  One of my Creation blogs focused on all the indisputable evidence of the young age of the Earth – in this blog, I want to dig deeper in this exploration, specifically looking at the young age of the human population.

Without getting into too many technical details of human DNA, even from a high-level point of view we know that it is the most complex but at the same time easily traceable element of our physical bodies.  The DNA in each of cells is what makes us uniquely who we are, in terms of how others see us externally, as well as the nature of our mind and heart tendencies and emotional characteristics deep within our souls.  Staying on the surface level, we also know that each subsequent human generation experiences a certain number of mutations (copying errors) in their DNA.

Through extensive research over the years*, scientists have found consistent rates of mutations from one generation to the next.  Focusing on the average mutations of the male Y chromosome from one generation to the next, these have been recorded at a higher rate of about 1 mutation per generation.  The average number of total Y chromosome mutations per person area about 300, giving a complete genealogy of only 300 generations in humankind’s history.  If we figure that a generation is somewhere around 20 years, then this would calculate out to about 6,000 since Adam and Eve were created.  In addition, at this standard rate of mutations, it would be impossible for humans to be able to function as living beings past 1,000 Y mutations, meaning that we could not have existed for more than 20,000 years as a race.  We have a similar type of scenario when we look at the Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is only inherited from the mother, with the total number of years since the first woman also coming out to about 6,000.

In the evolutionary science camp, it is believed that a great percentage of our DNA (approx.. 95%) is “junk DNA”, meaning that it is left over from all the trial-and-error attempts of “natural selection” to produce a higher level of species.  However, it has recently been found that the vast majority (98%) of all DNA serves a useful purpose, much of it in support of producing new DNA by replicating itself.  And because DNA is loaded with more information than all the Wikipedias contained in all the world’s computers, it would take a divine Programmer to reprogram one animal kind’s DNA into another’s (e.g. an ape into a human).

If we go back to the source of all human beings, we see that we were made in the image of YHVH: “So God [Elohim] created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).  Without going into too much detail about it means to be created in the image of YHVH Elohim as far as our spirit, soul and body, we can at least say with confidence that we have some portion of God’s DNA within us.  We know that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24), so we cannot even speculate what it means to be created in the image of God’s DNA.  We know that Yeshua is a perfect image of God: “ For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9).  We can extrapolate from this (I know, I’m a computer geek – what can I say) that we as humans are made in the perfect image of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Since Yeshua said that He wants us to be one [echad] with Him as He is one with the Father, does that mean we are just meant to have the same physical DNA in our bodies?  I believe from Scripture that it means far more than this.  We are body, soul and spirit just as YHVH is body, soul and Spirit.  However, our bodies do not endure – only our soul and spirit last beyond this earthly life, into eternity.  The focus of our lives should be on renewing and perfecting our souls and spirits, not our bodies.  When we are “born again” (born from above), our spirits are perfect and sealed forever (Eph 4:30).  However, it is our responsibility to work on our souls, bringing them closer in line with YHVH every day.  When we get the DNA of our souls and spirits in line with the Creator and Master of the universe, then we can truly feel the Echad closeness with Yehovah that Yeshua spoke about – let’s renew our minds day-by-day: “even though our outward person is perishing, yet our inward person [our soul] is being renewed day by day” (II Cor 4:16).

  • Thomas, Brian, MS “Does Modern Genetics Confirm a Historical Adam?,” in Acts & Facts, Vol 45, Number 4 (Texas, Institute for Creation Research, 2016), page 20.

Lessons from Bees

bees and creationOur Creator God (Yehovah Elohim) has made some awesome creatures, and I’ve written about some of them in previous blogs.  From my vantage point as a human being, though, there is none more awesome than the humble honey bee.  Evolutionary scientists used to describe the bee and their brain and body functions as being very simple.  However, the more that is discovered about these amazing creatures, the less you hear them described in this way.  As recently as 2006, a well-known scientist said this about bees’ brainpower: The brain of the honeybee is “relatively simple.” (Evolution Research – General Evolution News, August 5, 2006).

Let’s look at some known facts from scientific studies of bees and their anatomy and behavior.  A number of years ago a study was done to compare the processing power and speed of a bee’s brain to that of a supercomputer. The findings showed that the bee’s brain was 7-8 times more efficient than the most advanced computer chips, and about 1,000 times faster in processing instructions.  A bee’s brain can process one trillion instructions per second.  With the latest generation of supercomputers, it is now possible for them to process information faster than the brain of a bee, but there is no comparison in efficiency.  The Fujistsu “K” computer runs 8 times faster than a bee’s brain, but it takes enough electricity to power a city of 10,000 people, while a bee’s brain fits on the head of a pin and takes less than a microwatt of power!

Much of the bee’s incredible brainpower is used to control and process information from their two compound eyes, each of which contains 7,000 hexagonal facets.  Using these light-detecting facets, each pointed in a slightly different direction, the bee has an uncanny ability to detect different types and colors of objects, how far away they are, and how quickly they are moving towards them.  This allows them to see flowers quickly (with a built-in mechanism for detecting whether or not they have pollen), know exactly how far away they are and to find them in any type of weather.  The bee’s eyes (and other sensors in their bodies) also allow them to tell if a food source has been moved to a different location.  Being a God of meticulous design and possessing a great sense of humor, Yehovah’s amazing bee creatures are programmed to do a little “waggling” dance to tell their fellow workers how far away a food source is, and when and where it has been moved.

If Abba put so much thought and creativity into making these tiny pollinating creatures, then how much more does He love us, who have far more intricate, complex bodies than our miniature friends?  In a recent Independent news story, a beekeeper in the UK witnessed the most amazing episode of loyalty to a hive’s queen bee.  As the beekeeper was moving a hive, the box she was transporting them in blew over in the wind, and somehow the queen bee was attracted to something sweet in the trunk of a Mitsubishi Outlander.  She then got herself lodged into the back of the SUV.  About 20,000 bees (from her hive that was being moved) attached themselves to the back of the SUV.  When the car drove off, the swarm of bees followed it for over 48 hours, while the SUV was driving around various parts of western Wales.  They were seeking to rescue their queen!

When I thought about the unwavering loyalty of these bees to their queen, I realized that God has put a deep desire into human beings as well to be loyal to their leaders, or to the homeland where they dwell.  On this Memorial Day weekend in the US, I reflected on how this relates to our soldiers’ pledge to fight for our nation under the most severe conditions, risking their lives to preserve the security of our country.  We know from God’s word that “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).  But what about Yeshua and what He did for us – He laid down His life for his enemies; those who persecuted and hated Him and put Him to death in the most brutal, painful way.  He gave up His life willingly – He said: “No one can take My life from Me; I sacrifice it voluntarily” (John 10:18).  While it is true that bees would sacrifice their lives for their queen, and soldiers for their country, they are sacrificing for the one that gives them safety and livelihood, not for someone who beat and cursed them and then put them to death.

If we are loyal to our family, friends and nation, how much more should we be loyal to our Savior.  We should be willing to lay down our lives for our Lord at any time, just as we see modeled for us by martyred believers in terrorized nations across the world.  When we think of our awesome God who created bees and humans, our greatest desire should be to follow Him at all costs, boldly telling others of His amazing love and sacrifice for us, and praising Him for who He is and what He has done for us.

What would you do if you were God (Part 4)

Rom 1133 - how unserachable“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” Romans 11:33 [NLT]

In the previous installments of this series on God’s ways, I discussed why He does things the way He does and whether we could do any better if we had supreme control of the universe.  Now I want to focus on something a little more personal.  Putting yourself in God’s place for a moment, think about what you would do if your creatures turned away from you to the point where your relationship with them seemed irreparable.

You had designed humans so that their most primal need was to have a deep personal relationship with you, but they had chosen to abandon and deny their need for that intimate relationship.  In human terms, this seems like an impossible situation.  One party (the human being) has gone against the wishes and desires of the other party (God) by disobeying His instructions, speaking against His perfect character, and hurting Him deeply.  The first party will not admit their wrongs and refuses to apologize (repent) for their sins against the second party.

If both of these parties were human, it would be difficult if not impossible to reconcile and restore their close relationship.  The first (wronged) party would have to unilaterally forgive the other one, which requires Godlike humility and unconditional love.  Considering the extreme nature of the sins of people against God, this forgiveness would be on the level of Corrie TenBoom’s forgiveness of the concentration camp guard who brutally and mercilessly beat her sister.  However, as we know, with God “all things are possible”.  From the Romans 11:33 Scripture above, we also know that it is “impossible for us to understand God’s decisions and ways”.

So how did God choose to reconcile us back to Himself from the depths of our sin and disobedience?  Did He shout down to us in His Earth-shattering voice, speaking anger and judgment on us and our sins?  Did He accuse us of turning against Him, shaming us into such a state of humiliation and disgrace that we felt compelled to seek His forgiveness?  Did He come down to Earth, seeking retribution and justice for every sin we had committed against Him and His children?

Or did Abba draw us back to Himself (and to Yeshua) by loving us unconditionally?  It is sometimes hard to even fathom the depth of Abba’s love for us.  Think of a particularly painful time in your life, when someone has hurt you so deeply you cannot even imagine forgiving them.  Then imagine sacrificing your own child for people who despised and cruelly hurt you.  Multiply this a million or billion times and you can start to feel what our Father in heaven feels when we turn away from Him and pierce His heart to the core with our sins.

Yeshua told us to love our enemies, bless those who curse us and do good to those who hate us.  He also told us that “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for your friends”. (John 15:13)  But what if God told you to lay down your life (or your child’s life) for your enemies?  Would you be angry and resentful that He would ask you to do something so unfair?  Well that is exactly what Yeshua did for us – His Father asked Him to lay down His life for those who hated, mocked and abused Him, and He willingly consented to His Father’s will.  If Yehovah could do this for us, can we not forgive those who hurt and abuse us?

Instead of criticizing Abba for the ways He deals with people’s disobedience, try praising Him for his love and forgiveness which are more infinite than all the universe!

 

What would You do if You were God (Part 3)?

free will_2“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 [NKJV]

In the last segment of this series (Part 2), I discussed the reasons why God created us with a free will.  Please go back and read that episode: What would you do if you were God (Part 2), to get the background for this teaching. In today’s blog, we will dig deeper into God’s purpose for giving us free will. YHVH works all things together for good no matter how far we stray from His perfect plan for our lives.

We are born into the earthly realm where hasatan rules and reigns (ever since Adam and Eve gave back their dominion to him in the fall.  So you might ask: why would God have allowed our great adversary to take dominion of the Earth from us?  Well, being our all-knowing Creator, and having given us free will, He knew that we would eventually disobey Him and fall into sin.  So He created us with a conscience that steers us towards what is right and away from what is wrong.

Even young children can be influenced by other forces and willfully choose to disobey their consciences.  Parents may have taught their child right from wrong, but that child can be wrongly influenced by seeing another child doing something they know is wrong (taking something that doesn’t belong to them, or telling a fib, for instance).  If the child is caught in the act and reprimanded, but desires to please their parents, then they will resist the temptation to disobey the next time.  It is the same with our heavenly parent, Abba.  Even at a young age, children start developing a sense of what is right and wrong. They learn that their lives will be happier and less stressful if they take the “right” path in their choices.

When we come into the age of moral accountability, we generally know that we are to keep God’s commandments, but there are many forces tempting us to go astray of those commandments.  We are tempted by the snares of the world, such as the lust of the eyes and flesh around us that appear so desirable on the surface.  We are also tempted by others to stray.  At times, we can be lured by the seductive wiles of HaSatan or his evil forces to commit sinful acts.

How is God working for good through these sinful lapses on our part?  Yehovah has blessed us with intelligent minds that are able to reason through the physical consequences of sin – and a spirit ideally in tune with His Holy Spirit to help us recognize the spiritual consequences of sin, which leads to separation from God.  YHVH desires that all of His children be born again and filled with His Holy Spirit.  This means that when we fall into sin, He uses His rod and staff to correct us and pull us back into His fold.  Sometimes, we fall so far and for so long that we suffer severe consequences. These can take the form of physical or mental ailments.

As many born-again believers’ testimonies confirm, these times of falling away were the low-points in their sinful lives.  Yet God was working to bring them back and restore them to fellowship with Him.  He can work in many ways – through other believers or His angels who rescue us in dire times of great distress or danger, through Yeshua Himself who appears to people in the depths of despair, and even directly by shining His glory light into a fallen person’s heart and thoughts, giving them hope for a joyful future with Him.

There are many examples in Scripture of YHVH pulling people out of the depths of their despair.  In David’s case, he often experienced times of discouragement, desperation and even hopelessness.  Some of these times were brought about because of unjust hostility from others, such as King Sha’ul, Abimelech, etc. (1 Sam 23, Ps 22:1-8, Ps 69:1-4, Ps 56, Ps 34).  But in other cases it was his own sin that brought God’s judgment down on him (Ps 51).  In both cases, he cried out to YHVH, because he knew that God would rescue him out of his dire circumstances even when his sin had temporarily separated him from God’s presence.  At all these times, though, David was learning to trust in God’s protection and deliverance instead of trusting in people and nations to deliver him.

Similarly with Paul (Sha’ul) in the New Testament, he realized that God was his only stronghold and that was sufficient for him no matter how dire the circumstances were.  Sha’ul had sinned greatly by persecuting believers in Yeshua (Acts 7:58), before Yeshua appeared to him and saved him by grace on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-18).  He then came under great persecution himself and had to depend on YHVH to save him from his enemies, learning that YHVH was his strength when he was weak (2 Cor 12:8-10).

Think about the darkest times in your life, when someone has abused or hurt you deeply, or when you have fallen into the darkness of sin and depression.  If you are a believer, you know that those times were when God was working the most fervently in your life – to raise you back up to joy and glory in His kingdom, or to convict you of the destructive effects of your sin and the critical need to turn from your sinful ways and follow Him.  When I think about the freedom He has given us and the power of His love and grace to save us when we fall, I cannot imagine Him doing it any other way!