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A few months ago I watched the video ―Feasts of the Lord,‖ demonstrating how Jesus fulfilled the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost to the hour that they were celebrated by the Jews according to God’s commands in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. I was awestruck and a little embarrassed that after 30-plus years of Christian teaching I had not discerned these truths before. Suddenly, the Old Testament became more important to me and I flung myself headlong into the scriptures. I was taught the book of Hebrews harmonized the relevance of observing Old Testament law in what has been termed the ―age of grace‖ through faith in Jesus. When my studies took me to chapter 4 of the epistle, I made an amazing discovery: The Gospel was preached to the Israelites in the desert! According to everything I had been taught, the Gospel was the good news that Jesus was born, died on the cross for our sins and rose again so that we could have forgiveness for our sins and eternal life. I knew this was not that which was preached to those in the desert. I had to find out what the Gospel was. The Holy Spirit directed me on a scriptural journey, answering my questions as I traveled through the Word to my final destination of understanding. Here is that journey, reconstructed step by step:
Hebrews 4:2—4:6 “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world . For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the did not go in, because of their disobedience.‖
preached to them
What gospel [Good News] was preached to those ―in the desert‖?
Exodus 19: 3—7 ―Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." ―So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak.
How did the people respond?
Exodus 19: 8 ―The people all responded together, "We
will do everything the LORD has said."‖
In Exodus 20: 1—23:19 God gave them the beginning of the Torah, literally ‗teachings‘ or ‗directions‘ for being a ―kingdom of priests and a holy nation.‖ In Exodus 23:20 what two things does God promise?
Exodus 23: 20 "See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.‖
In Exodus 23: 21 what does God say specifically about the angel?
Pay attention to him Listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion My Name is in him.‖
What is ―Name‖ ?
Name - H8034
שםshem ―Deity as being present with mortals‖
― שThe letter Shin symbolizes Shin Daled Yud, a name of G-d meaning ―unlimited One. םMem…The classical Hebrew script (Ketav Ashurit) is constructed of a Kaf with a Vav beside it. The
gematria for these components equals the value for the Divine Name. The name of the letter probably signifies water itself, and it’s most ancient forms bore a resemblance to waves of water, As such, mem represents the sea of Torah, the ocean of Talmud, knowledge, wisdom, etc. Mem has two forms: an open form and a closed form. The open form ( pesucha) is said to represent the revealed truth of God (as demonstrated by Moses), whereas the closed form (stumah) is said to represent the concealed truth of God (as demonstrated by the Mashiach [Messiah], the revealer of mysteries). ―Then the disciples came and said to him, ―Why do you speak to them in parables?‖ And he answered them, ―To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.‖ (Matt. 13:10—11)…The Open Mem is at the beginning of a word while the closed Mem is at the end of a word. Hebrews4Christians.com & TorahTots.com By understanding the meaning of the letters that make up the word ― Name‖ we can see that the word itself means ―concealed truth of the unlimited One!‖
Where else is deity concealed among men?
In reference to the Messiah, John says: John 1: 10—11 ―He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him‖
What name was given to the Messiah?
Matthew 1: 20—23 ―But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus*, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."‖
יהושועH3091 Yĕhowshuwa` - Yeshua, Joshua = Jehovah is salvation From H3068 יהוה Jehovah = ―the existing one‖ and H3467 שעYasha = ―to be saved‖
*Yeshua The name of YHWH or Jehovah ―the existing one‖ is IN the name Yeshua. Was the pre-incarnate Yeshua the angel (messenger) who led God’s people, Israel, through the desert to the Promised Land? Adonai himself said, ―My Name [concealed truth] is in him‖ and the name of God is ―IN‖ the name Yeshua – our Savior!
Back in Exodus 23 God tells the people to ―listen to what [the angel] says‖. Compare this to what took place at the Transfiguration:
Matthew 17:1—5 ―After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" God is giving the same directions to Peter, James and John as he gave to the Israelites in the desert!
In Exodus 23: 22 – 31 what are the conditional promises of God?
1. I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 2. My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of [your enemies] and I will wipe them out. 3. [My] blessing will be on your food and water. 4. I will take away sickness from among you, 5. None will miscarry or be barren in your land. 6. I will give you a full life span. 7. "I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive [your enemies] out of your way. 8. "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. 9. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you.
What are the conditions?
1. You listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, 2. [You] do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 3. [You] worship the LORD your God, These conditions and promises are the foundation of the covenant made between God and Israel.
What did Moses do with the Words (Torah) that Adonai spoke to the people?
Exodus 24: 3—7 ―When Moses went and told
the people all the LORD's words and laws, they responded with one voice, "Everything the LORD has said we will do." Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the
mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read do everything the LORD has said; we will obey."
it to the people. They responded, "We will
What was told, written down then read to the Israelites in the desert?
According to Exodus 24: 7, it was the Book of the Covenant, also known as the Torah or ―instructions for living‖ as a ―kingdom of priests, a Holy Nation‖. This is the Gospel that was preached to them.
Why is it considered Good News?
It has the conditional promises of God ―If you…then I‖ This is
salvation! Following Torah leads to
blessings from God and long physical life!
Deuteronomy 6: 1—6 ―These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.‖
Where then is salvation?
After Moses read the Words of the Covenant to the people and they agree to do everything that God said: Exodus 24: 8 ―Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."‖ The Covenant was sealed with the blood of bulls. Sin (breaking of the covenant) was atoned for by the blood of bulls, goats and lambs: Exodus 29: 38—43 ―"This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning —a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire. ―For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the plac e will be consecrated by my glory.‖‖ See also: Leviticus 4: 1—35 Leviticus 6: 24—30 ―The LORD said to Moses, ―Say to Aaron and his sons: 'These are the regulations for the sin offering: The sin offering is to be slaughtered before the LORD in the place the burnt offering is slaughtered; it is most holy. The priest who offers it shall eat it; it is to be eaten in a holy place, in the courtyard of the Tent of Meeting. Whatever touches any of the flesh will become holy, and if any of the blood is spattered on a garment, you must wash it in a holy place. The clay pot the meat is cooked in must be broken; but if it is cooked in a bronze pot, the pot is to be scoured and rinsed with water. Any male in a priest's family may eat it; it is most holy. But any sin offering whose blood is
brought into the Tent of Meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place must not be eaten; it must be burned.‖ Israel’s salvation has always been by , believing that the blood that was shed on the Altar was all that was necessary for the forgiveness of their sins! Only when their sins were atoned for could they meet with the Lord.
What is the RENEWED Covenant?
John 1:29 ―The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Matthew 26:28 ―This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.‖ John 6: 48—58 ―I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."‖ Hebrews 9: 7, 11—27 ―But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.‖ ―When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! ―For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. ―In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep." In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness . ―It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacri fices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's
presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.‖‖ We do not offer up sacrifices of animals and pour blood on the Altar because the blood of Yeshua, our salvation, has been shed once and for all for the forgiveness of all sin.
Does the renewing of the Covenant mean Jesus did away with the Law?
Matthew 5:17—18 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Did Jesus preach the Gospel?
Matthew 4:23 ―Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.‖ Luke 24:25—27 ―[Jesus] said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.‖ Without understanding Moses (the Law) and the Prophets, it is impossible to understand who Messiah Yeshua is and what his purpose is.
Did Paul and the disciples preach the Gospel?
Acts 5:42 ―Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.‖ Read Acts 7:1—53 (Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin); Acts 17: 22—31 (Paul’s message to the Greeks about their Unknown God) Their messages follow patterns that often include: Creation…Abraham…Moses…the coming of the Righteous One!
For whom is the Gospel intended?
Leviticus 18:26 ―But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things,‖ Numbers 15:26 ―The whole Israelite community and the aliens living among them will be forgiven, because all the people were involved in the unintentional wrong. ‖ Deuteronomy 16:11 ―And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you .‖ Deuteronomy 26:11 ―And you and the Levites and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.‖
Joshua 8:35 ―There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.‖ Ezekiel 47:22 ―You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.‖ Romans 1:15-17 ―That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." Romans 11:11 ―Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.‖ My conclusion is this: The Good News (gospel) is that Jehovah chose a Righteous man named Abraham to produce a people that would become God’s chosen Nation (Israel). Jehovah made a Covenant with Israel filled with conditional promises (If you…then I). The people agreed to do all that Jehovah Commanded them, Jehovah promised to bless them …the Covenant was sealed with the blood of bulls. Because Jehovah knew that His people would not be able to keep their end of the covenant He provided atonement for their sins: the blood sacrifice of innocent animals poured out on the altar. The continued disobedience of Israel ultimately led to the destruction of His Temple (including the altar upon which the atoning sacrifice was made), and the dispersion of Israel among the nations. The only way to draw them back and renew the Covenant was to send His Son to be born as a man. As an Israelite, Yeshua was able to complete man’s contractual oath to the Covenant (He fulfilled the Law). Then, as the perfect, innocent Lamb of God, He was able to lay down His life as the final Atonement for All sin. As the resurrected Son of Adonai, Yeshua, the Messiah was able to complete Jehovah’s oath of the Covenant: giving to all, Israel and the aliens among her, blessings and long (eternal) life. If we do not know what took place in the desert, we will never fully understand Yeshua’s life, death and resurrection. He said ―If you love me, keep my commandments.‖ (John 14:15) ―He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind." (1 Samuel 15:29) Keeping the commandments of Jehovah has always been man’s oath in the Covenant. Jehovah’s pledge is to bestow blessings and life upon those who keep his commands. We are to live our lives so as to look separate from the rest of the nations -―a Holy Nation‖. Keeping Torah is obedience. Salvation is by faith in the shed blood of the lamb – originally it was many lambs slaughtered on the Altar in the Temple…now it is by Faith in the shed blood of the Lamb of God: Yeshua the Messiah.
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