Author Archives: rameshdesilva

Elul and the King in the Field – The meeting of Bride and Bridegroom

The Month of Elul which is the name given to the sixth month in God’s Calendar, precedes the Seventh month with God’s Appointed Times of Trumpets, Atonement & Tabernacles. The Fall Feast Days, as they are called denote the 2nd Coming of Yeshua, The Judgement and The 1000 Year Kingdom He is going to establish among His people, ending with a New Heaven and New Earth. So it’s no wonder that the month of Elul is considered a month of repentance and self-examination in the earnest wait to meet the coming King.

The word Elul is mentioned in Jewish Writings* to be an acronym which stands for “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” from Songs of Solomon 6:3, the actual phrase being “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li” ( אני לדודי ודודי לי). This fits in with the picture of the Bridegroom(Yeshua) who weds the Bride (His People) at the End of Days.

Furthermore, This month has also been called** the month where “The King is in the field”. This denotes the Fall Harvest, where God sends out His Angels to collect the Wheat unto His Barn and burn the tares. It also shows a picture of a King who the worker may not see everyday, who has come in His abundant mercy, to meet the common man.

The Story of Rebekah & Isaac
How Rebekah meets Isaac is a picture and symbolizes how God chose Israel and how Yeshua is coming back for His People. Let’s look at the many Allusions made in the story of Rebekah and Isaac and how they speak about coming events and the Month of Elul when the King is in the Field.

Abraham sends his servant to procure a Bride for his son (Gen 24:1-10)
Eliezer was no simple servant. He was in line to inherit Abraham’s possessions as we see in Gen 15:2. He is tasked with finding a Bride for His Son from a far away land. In the same way, God tasks Moses, His Servant(Num 12:7) to go get Israel, His Bride(Jer 3:20) from a far away land. In the same way, God tasks Yeshua, His Servant(Mat 12:18) to go get Israel, His Bride(Joh 3:29, 2Cor11:2) from the ends of the earth, for a Newly Resurrected King – Yeshua.

Rebekah is willing to leave her life to be joined to Isaac (Gen 24:46,58)
Rebekah shows her love and kindness to Eliezer who by his message, makes up her mind to leave her present life for a suitor who she has not seen. Israel puts their trust in Moses and leaves a place which provided for them (Exo 16:3) to the promised Land and a God they have never seen. In the same way, we have chosen to follow Yeshua, leaving our old life, after believing He is the Saviour even though we have not seen Him

Rebekah is brought out by giving the bridal price (Gen 24:53)
Rebekah’s Kin is given “precious things” (H4030/G1435- Gift, Offering, Sacrifice) to take her away from them. Israel is brought out by the precious blood of a lamb and similarly we are also bought by the Blood of our Messiah – the unblemished Lamb(Joh 1:29)

Rebekah receives gifts as a promise from said suitor (Gen 24:22,53)
Eliezer gives precious jewels of Silver, Gold and Clothing to Rebekah as a deposit. Similarly Israel came out with a lot of jewels of Silver, Gold and clothing (Exo 12:35,36). In the same way Yeshua left the Holy Spirit with us as a pledge of the promise He has made(Eph 1:13,14)

Rebekah goes to her suitor with a procession (Gen 24:59,61)
Rebekah leaves her family, but does not travel alone – but with a procession. Israel also comes out with a mixed multitude(Exo 12:38). It is the same with the Bride of Yeshua (Rev 19:7-9). Some would be the Bride while others will be invited to be in the procession(Rev 19:7,9).

Isaac comes from the Well of the Living One Seeing Me (Gen 24:62)
Isaac is mentioned to come from the well known as “LahaiRoi” which means the Well of the Living One who sees me. This is an allusion to Both God(Psa 36:8,9) in Israel’s story of receiving the Covenant as well as Yeshua(John 4:10,11)

Rebekah covers herself with a Veil (Gen 24:65)
Rebekah puts on a cloth and covers herself just like a modern bride in front of her bridegroom, denoting modesty. This is the same way God wanted His people to act (through obeying His Covenant) and Yeshua wants us to live(1Co 7:34) as He is our Husband.

Isaac takes Rebekah to her mother’s Tent and makes her his wife (Gen 24:67)
Rebekah is then taken by Isaac with love, as a wife and given the tent of his mother. In the time of Israel, they reached the promised land as the completion of the promise that God gave them. In the same way, Yeshua has promised us that we will enter His Kingdom as a wife in the end of days(Rev 19:7).

Isaac & Yeshua – The King in the Field
Now we must also understand that Isaac was not just a normal man but a King/Lord. Abraham was a wealthy man with riches who even fought against Kings and was offered tribute (Gen 14:14-24). Kings made covenants of peace with both Abraham(Gen 21) and Isaac(Gen 26). Isaac was then a Prince and a King in the time. Now let’s read Isaac’s meeting of Rebekah.

Gen 24:63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.

This is a symbol of “The King in the Field”. Just as Isaac meets the Bride in the Field, Yeshua also comes to meet us especially at this time – the days of Repentance – The Days of Elul, before the “Day of Atonement” when everyone will be judged. The best time to call to Him and meet Him is the Days of this Holy appointment. As we await His Return for His Bride, let us make supplication at this time so that we may grow closer to our Heavenly Groom!

 

*Avudraham, Seder Rosh Hashanah, ch. 1; Reishis Chochmah, Shaar HaTeshuvah, ch. 4.
** Likkutei Torah – Re’eh 32b (English translation: Sichos In English, 5750) where it says “Before a king enters his city, its inhabitants go out to greet him and receive him in the field. At that time, anyone who so desires is granted permission and can approach him and greet him. He receives them all pleasantly, and shows a smiling countenance to all”

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Judgement & Mercy – The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Our God is Gracious! and as Children of God, we have all received an immense amount of Mercy, so that we can escape the impending Judgement through Yeshua‘s Sacrifice. But do we use this mercy in the right way? Do we squander it? What should we do as people who have received the gift of Mercy?

Our Iniquities and the mercy we have received
The writers of the Scriptures were quick to voice out how large and in-numerous our iniquities were, and how there was no way to be or say that we are righteous in any way.

Ezr 9:6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
Psa 38:4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
Psa 40:12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
Psa 130:3,4 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
Psa 143:2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
Job 9:2,3 I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.
Job 9:20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.

But we see how equally large God’s Mercy is. For the sake of keeping this article short, all of these verses will not be listed here. But you can read a small sample of how Merciful our God was, and is to this day here.

The Talent and The Denarii : Be Merciful to receive Mercy
In the Gospel of Matthew, Yeshua answers the question, how much forgiveness or Mercy should we show our Brother, by conveying a Parable.

Mat 18:23-35 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

In the Parable, the first Servant is found owing 10,000 Talents to the King. While “Ten thousand” Μυριων [Strong’s G3461], could mean a vast number which cannot be counted, we can actually calculate how much money this would be, if it was today. A Conservative estimate of 1 Roman Talent is said to be close to 6000 US Dollars. In fact, the Historian Flavius Josephus says that one of the richest Kings – King David had 3,000 Talents in his tomb.

And now Antiochus was so angry at what he had suffered from Simon, that he made an expedition into Judea, and sat down before Jerusalem and besieged Hyrcanus; but Hyrcanus opened the sepulcher of David, who was the richest of all kings, and took thence about three thousand talents in money, and induced Antiochus, by the promise of three thousand talents, to raise the siege. Moreover, he was the first of the Jews that had money enough, and began to hire foreign auxiliaries also. (THE WARS OF THE JEWS – Book 1, Chapter 2, v5 – Josephus)

So there is no doubt that 10,000 talents was a vast sum of money, even to a King; and it would have amounted (even at conservative figures) to about 60 Million USD.

Compared to this, the second servant owed only 100 Denarii (G1220-Denarion). A Roman Talent is said to be 6000 Denariis, which means the second servant owed something close to 100 Dollars.

Roman Talent = 6000 Denarii (Mnemonics delineated, in a small compass and easy method, Intended as a supplement to Grey’s Memoria technica – 1836 – Section 5, Page 98)

So, now we can see the point more clearly, of the Parable told by Yeshua. The first servant was forgiven a debt which was even a large amount for a King, while he imprisoned a man who owed him a few day’s wages. The mercy shown towards him should have made him better, so that he showed the same mercy towards others. Was the first servant rightly owed that 100 Denarii, the same way that the King was owed the 1000 Talents? Yes. But the difference is that while the King showed him leniency, by not only giving him time to pay the debt, but by clearing the servant of his debt, the servant did not even allow the second servant time to pay the simple sum of money.

Conclusion
In the same way, our iniquities are high as the heavens, and we cannot possibly pay the debt. Our judgement would be imprisonment till the debt is paid, which we will never be able to do on our own. But our King is willing and able to clear the debt completely if we simply repent and ask for leniency. But in turn, we must remember to show the same mercy shown towards us, which showcases that we are grateful for the gift of forgiveness we have received.

This is why our Messiah and many of the New Testament writers asked us to show mercy to our neighbour and  even to the ones who do not deserve it (Mat 5:44-45, Luk 6:35-36, Eph 4:32, 5:1-2, Col 3:13). So that we prove to others the amount of mercy we have received when our judgement should have been so grave.

2Sa 22:26 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.
Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Jas 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Let us all strive to show mercy for the abundance of mercy we have all received!

 

Is Yeshua the Promised Messiah?

By the mere fact that this question is being raised, some Christians may feel uncomfortable or become enraged even. But this is a legitimate question when it comes to a person who is yet to accept Yeshua (Jesus’ true Hebrew name) as the Messiah. In my personal journey, I like many other Christians believed in the Old Testament because I believed in Jesus. But now I can confidently say that I believe in Yeshua because of the Tanakh (Old Testament).

The Scriptures were the basis for the New Testament writers to prove that Yeshua was truly the promised Messiah. Over and over, throughout the Gospels, we see the writers bring references from the Torah, Writings & Psalms to show how Yeshua fulfilled specific Prophecies, thereby proving to the reader that He is the promised One.

To the most part, Christians have grown up with the belief that Yeshua is this promised Messiah, and have had no need to question its authenticity.

Those who claimed to be or was pronounced to be Messiah

  1. Todah (Theudas) mentioned in Acts 5:36
  2. Judah HaG’lili (Judas of Galilee) mentioned in Acts 5:37
  3. Bar-Kosiba pronounced as Messiah by Rabbi Akiva in 132AD and given the name Bar-Kochva
  4. Sabbatai Zevi pronounced as Messiah in 1666
  5. Jacob Frank who proclaimed to be a Messiah in 1759
  6. Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994) who is believed to be the Messiah among the “Chabad” movement, and is said to be coming again.
  7. and many others…

Why believe Yeshua is the promised Messiah?
There are many prophecies about the Messiah in the Scripture, of which some prophecies are significant and clear while others are not. The clearest way to convincingly answer whether Jesus/Yeshua could be the promised Messiah would be to compare these Scriptures against His story. This story is laid out in detail throughout the 4 Gospels and some of the other Books and Letters of the New Testament. The main purpose of the Gospels were to prove to the reader that Yeshua is this promised Messiah. So let us compare the Prophecies and the fulfillments of the prophecies mentioned in the New Testament writings according to the witness of these writers who laid their lives for what they believed.

PROPHECY (Messiah must…) Scripture Reference Fulfillment
Be the Seed made of a woman
bruise the head of the serpent
Gen 3:15 Gal 4:4, 1Jn 3:8
Be the Seed of Abraham Gen 12:3 Mat 1:1, Gal 3:16
Be the Seed of Isaac Gen 17:19, 21:12 Mat 1:2, Luk 3:34,
Heb 11:17-19
Be the Seed of Jacab
Be the Star of Jacob
Gen 28:14,
Num 24:17-19
Mat 1:2, Luk 3:34,
Rev 22:16
Descended from Judah Gen 49:10 Mat 1:2-3, Luk 3:33,
Heb 7:14
Descended from David
Heir to the Throne
2Sam 7:12-13, Jer 23:5,
Isa 9:6,7, 11:1-5
Mat 1:6, Rom 1:3,
Luk 1:32
Exist Forever Micah 5:2 Joh 8:58, Col 1:15-19
Be the Son of God Psalm 2:7, Pro 30:4 Mat 3:17, Luk 1:32
Bear the Name of God (YHVH) Jer 23:5,6 Philip 2:9-11
To appear 69×7 Yrs after
rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem
Dan 9:25,26 Mat 2:1,16,19.
Luk 3:1,23
Born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Mat 2:1, Luk 2:4-7
Be born of a Virgin Isa 7:14 Mat 1:18-25,
Luk 1:26-35
Be Revered by Kings Psa 72:10,11 Mat 2:1-11
Follows a messenger who
prepares the way
Isa 40:3-5, Mal 3:1 Mat 3:1-3,
Luk 1:17, 3:2-6
Be anointed by the
Spirit of God
Isa 11:2, 61:1, Psa 45:7 Mat 3:16, Joh 3:34
Act 10:38
Be a Prophet like Moses Deut 18:15,18 Act 3:20-22
Liberate the afflicted, proclaim
freedom to the prisoners and
proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
Isa 61:1,2 Luk 4:18,19
Engage in a Healing Ministry Isa 35:5,6, 42:18 Mat 11:3-5
Lead a Ministry in Galilee Isa 9:1-2 Mat 4:12-16
Be Caring, Compassionate,
Meek & Humble
Isa 40:11, 42:1-3 Mat 12:15-21, Heb 4:15
To be Sinless Isa 53:9 1 Pet 2:22
Bear the Transgressions of others Psa 69:9, Isa 53:12 Rom 15:3
Be a High Priest after the order
of Melchizedek
Psa 110:4, Heb 5:5,6, 6:20, 7:15-17
Enter Jerusalem riding on a Donkey Zec 9:9 Mat 21:1-11, Mar 11:1-11
Enter the Temple with authority Mal 3:1 Mat 21:12 – 24:1,
Joh 2:13-22
Be hated without a cause Psa 69:4, Joh 15:24-15
Undesirable and rejected by
His own people
Isa 53:2, 63:3, Psa 69:8 Mar 6:3, Joh 1:11, 7:3-5
Rejected by the rulers Psa 118:22 Mat 21:42, Joh 7:48
Rejected by Jews & Gentiles alike Psa 2:1,2 Act 4:25-27
Betrayed by a friend Psa 55:12-14 Act 1:16-18
Mat 26:21-25, 47-50;
Be sold for 30 Pieces of Silver Zec 11:12 Mat 26:15
Pay the price for the Potter’s field Zec 11:13 Mat 27:3-10, Act 1:18,19
Must be abandoned by His disciples Zec 13:7 Mat 26:31,56
Be beaten with a Rod Mic 5:1 Mat 27:30
Be Beaten and Spat upon Isa 50:6 Mat 26:67, 27:30,31
Have His Feet and Hands Pierced Zec 12:10, Psa 22:16,17 Mat 27:35, Luk 24:39
Joh 20:25,27
Be craving of Thirst Psa 22:15 Joh 19:28
Be given Vinegar to Drink Psa 69:21 Mar 15:36, Joh 19:29
Have none of His bones broken Psa 34:20, Joh 19:33-36
Be Considered a Sinner Isa 53:12 Mar 15:28, Luk 22:37
Be put to death after 69×7 Yrs after
rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem
Dan 9:24-26 Mat 2:1, Luk 3:1,23
1Pet 3:18
Be a whose Death will be
atonement to all mankind
Isa 53:5-7,12 Mar 10:45, Joh 1:29, 3:16,
Acts 8:30-35
Be Buried among the Rich Isa 53:9 Mat 27:57-60
Rise again from the dead Isa 53:9-10, Psa 16:10,
Psa 2:7
Mat 28:1-20, Act 2:23-36,
Act 13:33-37
Be lifted up to the right hand of God Psa 16:11, 68:18, 110: 1 Luk 24:51, Act 1:9-11,
Act 7:55, Heb 1:3
Perform priestly duties in Heaven Zec 6:13 Rom 8:34, Heb 7:25, 8:2
Be the Cornerstone of
God’s Congregation
Isa 28:16, Psa 118:22,23 Mat 21:42, Eph 2:20,
1Pet 2:5-7
Be the Person to whom even
the Gentiles will turn to
Isa 11:10, 42:1 Mat 12:21, Rom 15:12,
Act 10:45
Be accepted by the Gentile Nations
as Ruler
Isa 49:1-12, Psa 18:49,
Deut 32:43, Psa 117:1
Rom 15:9-11
Fulfill God’s Appointed Days Lev 23 View the graph

Conclusion
While there are many claimants to the Messiah-ship of God, there is only one person in history who fulfilled a large array of Scriptures to prove that He is indeed the Messiah. Any person who is unsure whether He truly matches this position must read and compare the Scriptures with the writings of the New Testament to see whether these match up. To those of us who firmly believe that Yeshua is indeed the promised Messiah, we should also know the reason for that belief is all of the evidence laid out in the New Testament pointing at the Scriptures. The Scriptures and the many pieces of evidence it puts forth is why we believe that Yeshua, unlike other claimants, is the real “Messiah Ben Joseph” who will return someday as “Messiah Ben David”.

Who is my Neighbour? Defining the term “Neighbor”

Love your “Neighbour” as yourself, is one of the main tenets that we live by. But who is My Neighbour? Is it everyone on earth? Is it the person living next door? is it those who we can call our own? Let’s look for answers in the Scriptures and the Writings.

There are 4 Hebrew words which are commonly translated as Neighbour in our English Translations. These 4 Hebrew Words have different meanings, and understanding these meanings will help us understand the real meaning of the Golden Rule.
1. H7934 – Shaken
2. H7453 – Reya
3. H5997 – Amiyth
4. H7138 – Qarob

1.H7934 – שׁכן – shâkên
This is the Neighbour living next door to you. The person who becomes a Neighbour because of the physical closenes you have by living close to each other.

Exo 3:22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour(H7934), and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.
Exo 12:4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour(H7934) next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
Rth 4:17 And the women her neighbours(H7934) gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
2Ki 4:3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours(H7934), even empty vessels; borrow not a few.

2.H5997 – עמית – ‛âmı̂yth
This is the Neighbour who is a fellow citizen. The person who is a Neighbour because of being in the same race or nationality.

Lev 6:2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour(H5997) in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour(H5997);
Lev 18:20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s(H5997) wife, to defile thyself with her.
Lev 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour(H5997).
Lev 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour(H5997), and not suffer sin upon him.

3.H7138 – קרב / קרוב – qârôb
This is the Neighbour who is related to you by blood. The person who is a Neighbour because of being in the same family.

Lev 21:2,3 But for his kin(H7138), that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother, And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh(H7138) unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled.
Lev 25:25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin(H7138) come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.
Exo 32:27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour(H7138).
Psa 15:3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour(H7138), nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour(H7138).

4.H7453 – ריע / רע – rêa‛ / rêya‛
This is the Neighbour who is a friend. The person who you are affectionate towards and consider an intimate companion.

Gen 11:3 And they said one to another(H7453), Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
Exo 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour(H7453).
Exo 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s(H7453) house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s(H7453) wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s(H7453).
Gen 38:20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend(H7453) the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
Exo 2:13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow(H7453)?
Exo 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend(H7453). And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
Lev 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour(H7453) as thyself: I am the LORD.
Deu 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend(H7453), which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
2Sa 13:3 But Amnon had a friend(H7453), whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.
2Sa 16:17 And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend(H7453)? why wentest thou not with thy friend(H7453)?
Psa 88:18 Lover and friend(H7453) hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.
Pro 17:17 A friend(H7453) loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Pro 18:24 A man that hath friends(H7453) must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend(H7453) that sticketh closer than a brother.
Pro 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend(H7453).

So it is clear that the Neighbour mentioned in the Commandment does not mean the next door neighbour or a general countryman or a person of your family. The Neighbour mentioned in the Commandment speaks of a person who you are affectionate towards, whether the person is the next door neighbour, a general countryman, a person of your family or any other human being.

But does this mean that we love only those who we count as friends or fellow companions? The Scriptures are clear about how we should treat even our enemies.

Exo 23:4,5  If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
Pro 25:21  If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
Pro 24:17  Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
Pro 29:10  The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.

The Sermon on the Mount
Our Messiah Yeshua speaks of the above tenets when He says “Love your enemies”. If you curse a person who curses you or hates a person who hates you or persecute a person who persecutes you, you are no better than that person. Yeshua expects us to take the high road and keep the judgement unto our Father in Heaven.

Mat 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

While there is no commandment or instruction to “Hate one’s enemies” in the Scriptures, Yeshua’s instruction shows us that we must strive to be better than our enemies.

Who is my Neighbour? The Parable of the Good Samaritan
When the expert in the Law asked this particular question in Luke 10:29, Yeshua shows that a person who is merely one of your people does not guarantee to be your Neighbour. The person who shows compassion towards another is deemed the Neighbour whether he/she be close to you or not.

Conclusion
The Neighbour as we saw through the above Scriptures was the one deemed as the true friend – a person who shows compassion without hesitation just like the Samaritan. The Samaritan truly lives upto the Commandment “Love your Neighbour as yourself”, as he shows his love for the injured man even when he does not know him.

Is not God just like this? Has He not loved us when we did not even know Him?

1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

By extending His Salvation when we were left for dead in Sin, God has shown us that He is the true friend and Neighbour towards us. And that is how we must live towards others as well. It is a tall order, but as Yeshua said in Mat 5:48, we must also strive to be perfect just as our Heavenly Father is perfect.

The Rapture – Will we be taken away, while others are left behind? Misunderstandings regarding Mat 24:37-42

Estimated Reading time – 10 to 15 Minutes

If you have been taught about the rapture, you are familiar about the idea of Believers being taken away to Heaven (away from the time of Tribulation) while the wicked are left behind to endure through this period. The doctrine of the Rapture which was introduced in the 18th Century AD, and was popularized first by John Nelson Darby in the 1830s, uses the verse in question Mat 24:37-42 also as a proof text. Let’s see whether the doctrine of Rapture is supported by this verse.

Mat 24:37-42 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Mainline Christianity takes the above verse and teaches us that we will be taken away (raptured) while the wicked would be left behind. But look at the verse a little closer and you will see that Christ speaks of the wicked being “taken away” by the flood. If the 2nd coming mirrors Noah’s time, as per Christ – who is taken away, and who is left behind?

In Noah’s time, the flood took away the wicked while Noah and his family settled the earth as the only humans left behind. Yeshua‘s words even say that the flood “took them all away”. Next He explains that one will be taken and the other left Behind. So is it not the wicked that is taken away according to the analogy Messiah makes in this verse? Is it not the righteous that is left behind, contrary to what we have been taught?

Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Reading the above parable, gives you more clues for the same reasoning. The tares (wicked) were gathered first by the Angles and burnt (put to death), and only then were the wheat (Righteous) gathered into His Barn (Kingdom). It is abundantly clear when you read a few verses before Mat 24:37-42 that Messiah Yeshua is speaking of a time after the Tribulation, and that He comes after the time of Tribulation to gather His elect.

Mat 24:29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Conclusion
If the “Rapture” is an event that saves the believers from the period of Tribulation, the verse in question (Mat 24:37-42) does not make any sense, as Yeshua says the events happen after the Tribulation. Not only that, the verse in question that has led to Movies and Books such as “Left Behind”, is taken completely out of context, as the proper interpretation clearly shows the ones who are taken away to be wicked, while the people who are left behind are the righteous who enter His Kingdom on Earth for a Thousand Years.

The meaning of the word “Hebrew” and Crossing Over

Estimated Reading time – 10 to 20 Minutes

God’s chosen people identified themselves as Hebrews both in the Old Testament(Jon 1:9) and in the New(Philip 3:5). Abram was the first person to be called a Hebrew, even though he was from Ur of the Chaldaeans(Gen 11:31). So what does “Hebrew” really mean?

The word Hebrew in its simplest sense means “one from beyond”.

H5680 – עברי – ‛ibrı̂y – Hebrew
Brown-Driver-Briggs Dictionary Definition:
Hebrew = “one from beyond”

Abraham's route from Ur to Canaan

Abraham’s route from Ur to Canaan

This makes sense, as the first time we see the word “Hebrew” used is when Abram is called a “Abram the Hebrew”. This may have referred to the fact that Abram came from the other side of the Euphrates River and settled in the plains of Mamre. A closely connected word to “Ivri”/”Hebrew” in the Hebrew language is “Eber” which means beyond/across. So one who comes across or comes from beyond is a Hebrew.

H5676 – עבר – ‛êber – Eber
Brown-Driver-Briggs Dictionary Definition:
region beyond or across, side, opposite side

Another word connected with “Ivri” (Hebrew) is “Avar” which means “pass over”. All of these words are connected as the root (Ayin-Bet-Resh עבר) in Hebrew stays the same.

H5674 – עבר – ‛âbar
Brown-Driver-Briggs Dictionary Definition:
to pass over or by or through, alienate, bring, carry, do away, take, take away, transgress
to pass over, cross, cross over, pass over, march over, overflow, go over, to pass beyond, to pass through, traverse, passers-through, to pass through, to pass along, pass by, overtake and pass, sweep by, passer-by, to be past, be over, to pass on, go on, pass on before, go in advance of, pass along, travel, advance, to pass away, to emigrate, leave (one’s territory), to vanish, to perish, cease to exist, to become invalid, become obsolete (of law, decree), to be alienated, pass into other hands, to be crossed, to impregnate, cause to cross, to cause to pass over, cause to bring over, cause to cross over, make over to, dedicate, devote, to cause to pass through, to cause to pass by or beyond or under, let pass by, to cause to pass away, cause to take away, to pass over

It should be noted that the story of Abraham is connected to the word “Abar” Pass-over, as we see it is one of the first things mentioned about him.

Gen 12:4-6 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. And Abram passed through(H5674 – עבר – ‛âbar) the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

Israel crosses the Jordan on dry land

Israel crosses the Jordan on dry land

So it is now abundantly clear why Abram was called a Hebrew. This characteristic of “passing over” becomes part of the Hebrew experience, and is seen as part and parcel of the journey of God’s people as seen below.

Jos 24:2,3 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
Jos 24:6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
Jos 24:8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
Jos 24:14,15 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Israel crosses the Red Sea

Israel crosses the Red Sea

In the above passage Joshua makes a distinction between Abram before he passes over, to the life he is called to live after he crossed over. Abram served other gods beyond the river, but when he passed over, he was committed to God. This repeats again with Israel as they cross the Red Sea towards freedom and Israel as they cross the Jordan towards the promised land. Passing over was a distinct feature of God’s people. Passing over the waters as much as it is a physical act, it also signifies a symbolic act of leaving the past behind and starting afresh. This is enacted in the Baptism/Mikveh that each of us go through as young believers as well.

When God speaks to Moses about the passover sacrifice, He Himself says that He will Pass Over the land using the same word (H5674 – עבר – ‛âbar) which is connected to “Ivri” Hebrew, as seen below.

Exo 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
Exo 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

We see the same word (H5674 – עבר – ‛âbar) which is connected to “Ivri” Hebrew, used again in the Song of Moses, after the Hebrews cross the Red Sea.

Exo 15:16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.

Essentially, the Hebrew is a person who has passed from death to life; from a life of sin to a life of righteousness through God’s Commands; from obeying false gods to obeying the one true Creator of the universe.

Yeshua speaks of this fact, saying that whoever hears Him and puts his/her trust in YHVH, would pass from death to life:

Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

What is the evidence that one has passed from death unto life and become a true Hebrew? John explains it in the following way.

1Jn 3:14-24 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

John explains that the evidence that we have moved from death to life, shines through the love of God which is in our lives. A love that is ready to give even our own life for others. A love that is not in word but in deed, but according to the commandment that Yeshua raised to the next level – “Love one another(Lev 19:18), as I have loved you”(John 15:12). Through God’s love, we show whether we are truly a Hebrew or not. Whether we have truly crossed over from Death to Life. Let us strive to be like the great Hebrews of old such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua and many more ; not forgetting Yeshua – A Hebrew of Hebrews, who gave His life so that we may cross over. Like the patriarchs, we may all have our shortcomings. But we should never forget the most important characteristic of a Hebrew – a willingness to cross over from our lives in slavery and death to a life in Covenant and Loving Obedience to God and Love towards everyone who has crossed over and is in the process of crossing over to God’s camp.

Passover and the Abomination of the Egyptians

Passover is intricately connected with the Blood of the “Lamb”, whether it be the remembrance of salvation through the Passover in Egypt or the fulfillment of Passover in Messiah who shed His blood on Passover day(John 19:14) as our Lamb(1Pet 1:19).

But most of us do not see the significance of God’s command to sacrifice a Lamb, especially when the Israelites were under the rule of the Egyptians.

Let’s look at the first hint given in Genesis when Joseph met his brothers for the first time:

Gen 43:32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

But why was it an abomination to the Egyptians to eat with Hebrews? No reason is given here. Many of us conclude that it would have been a cultural practice where the Egyptians saw themselves superior to the Hebrews. But this was not the reason it was seen as an abomination. Let’s look at the next hint:

Gen 46:33,34 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

Now the reason starts to become clearer, as it is mentioned herding sheep was seen as an abominable act to the Egyptians. This is why the Hebrews were settled in Goshen, away from the Egyptians. But why did the Egyptians see shepherds as an abomination? Let us look at the next hint:

Exo 8:26 And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?

When Moses speaks to Pharoah and asks him to let the Hebrews go, so that they can sacrifice to YHVH, the Pharoah tells Moses to do their sacrifices inside Egypt. To which Moses replies in the above manner seen in Exo 8:26. The phrase “Abomination of the Egyptians” does not mean that they saw sheep as an unclean/abominable animal. On the contrary, they worshiped it. The phrasing is written in the perspective of the Israelites and not the Egyptians. Meaning the sheep was a sacred animal which was an abomination that the Egyptians were involved in, in the eyes of God and His people. We see evidence for this in the following verse.

2Ki 23:13 And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.

In the above verse we see that the “Abomination of the Zidonians” was “Ashtoreth”. The “Abomination of the Moabites” was “Chemosh”. The “Abomination of the Ammonites” was “Milcom”. These were all pagan gods that were abominations in the perspective of God and His people. In the same way, the “Abomination of the Egyptians” was the “sheep”. There is historical evidence that the sheep was venerated by the Egyptians, and this makes perfect sense of the first hint we saw in Gen 43:32 as they saw Hebrews as a people who raised, kept and killed sheep as livestock. This is why shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians as seen in Gen 46:33,34.

Pagan gods with the likeness of Sheep in Egyptian History
Khnum and Anum were the two main deities of the Egyptians that had a connection to the Sheep.

Khnum was one of the earliest-known Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile. The worship of Khnum centered on two principal riverside sites, Elephantine and Esna, which were regarded as sacred sites. At Elephantine, he was worshipped alongside Anuket and Satis as the guardian of the source of the Nile River.

Amun is a major ancient Egyptian deity which was later fused with the Sun god, Ra, as Amun-Ra or Amun-Re. Amun-Ra held the position of transcendental, self-created creator deity and was positioned as King of Gods developed to the point of virtual monotheism where other gods became manifestations of him. With Osiris, Amun-Ra is the most widely recorded of the Egyptian gods and was depicted at one point as a ram-headed deity.

Prior to entering the Temple of Amun in Karnak, there is a long row of Sphinxese depicting the ram of the god amun with the king standing under its paws beneath its chin.

The first plague that came upon Egypt may have also targeted Khnum, as he was regarded as the guardian of the Nile.

Conclusion
One can only wonder whether the Hebrews were making bricks for such temples that depicted the sheep as a god figure. In such a background, now we can understand the true circumstances of having to sacrifice sheep to YHVH. Now we can understand why Moses goes to say “would they not stone us” if they sacrificed inside Egypt (Exo 8:26). The stakes were very high, as God was commanding the Hebrews to take a stand against the gods of Egypt. When they sacrificed the lambs at Passover, they would have had to have complete faith in God. If they were wrong, the Egyptians very well could have stoned them the next day for desecrating their land.

By asking to make a public display of the blood of the lamb, God was saying there is no other who can protect the Hebrews other than YHVH. And on the other end God was asking His people to put their faith in Him. To rise up against the abominations of Egypt and show that they are ready to follow God instead.

And there lies the parallel for us, as we enter the season of Passover. As we remember the death of Yeshua on Passover day according to the Gospels, let’s remember that we are also called to rise against the abominations of our past and put complete faith in him. Let us put our slavery to death behind us, and walk towards the Land God has promised His people. Amen.