“If I shut up the heavens and there is no rain; if I command the locusts to ravage the land; or if I let loose pestilence against My people, when My people, who bear My name, humble themselves, pray, and seek My favor and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear in My heavenly abode and forgive their sins and heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:13-14
The Old Testament is The Consecrated Hebrew Scripture.
But, what is the true faith of these Hebrew Scriptures?
by Charles J. Voss based on an article by Dr. James D. Tabor.
T he Designer of the universe must have an overall plan for ALL of the inhabitants of the earth. This is a search for that plan. The stars in the sky are proof of an overall power in the universe that somehow put them all in place and controls all that there is. Our goal is to search out and find what the CREATOR’s will is for all of His creation.
Our Quest will focus on the ancient writings of the Hebrew people. These writings were inspired by our CREATOR. They were chosen because there are no mediating documents that our CREATOR has authorized. His Scriptures stand alone as the only authority of His will. There are NO religious factions that are based strictly on His Scripture alone. All religions factions1 are based on other writings. We will discover that the Abrahamic Faith is based upon the Hebrew Scriptures alone. In our study, we will look at and compare the Hebrew Faith with religions which are governed by their own mediating writings.2
We will be specifically looking at the religion of Judaism, the religion of Christianity, and the religion of Islam. It is true that the religion of Judaism claims to be based on these ancient writings, but they have other books that are just as, or even more, consecrated to them. In our Quest we must seek out only the inspired writings by the CREATOR Himself that stand alone and has a plan for ALL of mankind. The Hebrew Scriptures are the only writings that fit this requirement.
What does the word “Hebrew” mean? The answer to that question is straight out of the Hebrew Scriptures (known as the Old Testament):
Jonah 1:7-9.3 (KJV) And they [sailors] said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” So, he [Jonah] said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear ETERNAL, the CREATOR of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
The Hebrew Scribes translated the Paleo Hebrew into modern Hebrew as “YHWH” which Dr. James Moffatt translates as ETERNAL in his English translation of the Scriptures. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible also gives ETERNAL as a meaning of “YHWH,” #H3060. Like Dr. Moffatt, I use the meaning ETERNAL for because this calls immediate attention to the actual name rather than a title or description for the CREATOR.
Jonah said, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear ETERNAL (ONE, ONE single Being) the CREATOR of the heavens who made the seas and the dry land.“ Notice that Jonas did not say that he was an Israelite or a Jew. He describes himself as a Hebrew
Since he is certainly not a Gentile, and since Hebrew’s are set apart, he placed himself on the other side of a moral divide with the Hebrews on one side and everyone else on the other side.
Jonah’s answer to the question is the subject for today. It is important that we understand what our CREATOR would have us do. Although we say that we believe in the ONE true CREATOR, we certainly need to know that He has only ONE set of Scriptures. Since we emphatically say that we only believe in The Hebrew Scriptures, we must make sure that we do not identify with any of the other books that could be used to override the Hebrew Scripture. Having made that point clear, there is still a lot that we need to do in order to live by the writings of The Hebrew Scriptures. First, we will look at what it means to be a Hebrew.
Genesis 14:12-13. They [the kings that had gone to war against Sodom] also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew…
Genesis 14:13 is the first time the word “Hebrew” is used in the Scriptures. We are focusing on the faith that Abram lived by – the Faith of Abraham the Hebrew. What is that faith? Notice immediately that one of the first times Abram is mentioned in Scripture, he is called a Hebrew. The story flow is that CREATOR told Abram to leave the country and he did so without question.
Genesis 12:4-5. …Abram departed as ETERNAL had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.
Notice that when Abram was told to do something that he did it immediately. Abram obeyed the CREATOR. Why would Abram obey? What is it about the CREATOR that could cause Abram to have this kind of faith to obey ALL the things the CREATOR told him to do? Remember at this time that Abram did not know what he was getting into. He had no idea where he was going or what the future held. All he knew was that he was going to a place in which CREATOR would show him. Abram was tested to see if he was a man who would obey his Creator. Again, Abram was tested. Notice:
Genesis 22:1-5. Now it came to pass after these things that SOVEREIGN tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which SOVEREIGN had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
Notice Abram said “we” which is plural. WE will come back to you. To quote that verse from the King James Version:
Genesis 22:5. And Abram said to the young men, abide here with the ass and I and the lad will go yonder and worship and come again to you.
Abram was confident that he would come back with his son, Isaac. Thus, we see that Abram obeyed because he knew he could trust what ETERNAL told him. But, what had the ETERNAL told him that made him think he would be able to come back to the men with his son? Notice:
Genesis 12:1-3. Now ETERNAL had said to Abram: “Get you out of this country and from your family and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you. And in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
What was the promise that ETERNAL made to Abram? ETERNAL promised Abram that from his descendents would be a great nation. According to ETERNAL, Isaac was the son from which this promised nation would come. Consequently, Abraham trusted ETERNAL to do just what He said He would do even if it meant that ETERNAL would have to bring Isaac back to life.
Genesis 12:4. So Abram departed as ETERNAL had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
Genesis 22:6-8. So, Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac5 his son. And he took the fire in his hand and a knife and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said “My father.” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, [the] CREATOR will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.” So the two of them went on together.
Again, Abraham is showing why he obeyed. He obeyed because he trusted his SOVEREIGN. You will see that has even a deeper meaning. Down to verse nine.
Genesis 22:9-12. Then they came to the place which ETERNAL had told him; and Abraham built there an altar and placed the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
[In other words, he had drawn back and was coming down with the knife.] But the angel of ETERNAL called to him from heaven and said “Abraham! Abraham!” So, he [Abraham] said “Here I am.” And He [ETERNAL] said “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him, because now I know that you fear your CREATOR since you have not withheld your son, your only son from Him.”
Abraham proved that he trusted our SOVEREIGN. ETERNAL then knew6 that Abraham was obedient and that He could trust Abraham. This is the faith of Abraham – the Abrahamic faith, or the Hebrew faith. It is my belief that there is just a single faith and that faith is based solely on The Hebrew Scriptures. When I say The Consecrated Scriptures or The Hebrew Scriptures, I am referring to what the world commonly refers to as the Old Testament.
I claim that this one faith was indeed the faith of all the ancients from Seth to Noah to Shem to Abraham and then to Moses. It was and still is the ONE AND ONLY true faith of mankind. This faith is neither Christian nor Jewish nor Islamic in any modern sense of those terms. All religions are man made and are based partly on “the True Faith” but mostly from their own mediating documents. All religions are a deviation from the truth and all religions use their mediating documents as their main authority.
So, what is the religion of Abraham? Abraham DID NOT HAVE a religion. Was Abraham a Jew? Was Abraham a Christian? Was Abraham an Islamic? NO!!! Abraham lived by faith – the faith that the CREATOR Himself instructed Abraham to live by. How would you label Abram’s faith? In addition, what about Enoch, Noah, Shem, Moses, David, or any of the Hebrew Prophets? These men loved their SOVEREIGN and obeyed Him. They did not add to His Instructions (Commandments) nor did they take away from them. They simply obeyed.
The Muslims have their bible, the Koran, which “they say” supersedes and overrides The Hebrew Scriptures. The Christians have their bible, the New Testament, which “they say” supersedes and overrides The Hebrew Scriptures. The Jews have their books, the Mishna and Talmud, which “they say” supersede and override The Hebrew Scriptures. The Mormons have their bible, the Book of Mormon, which “they say” supersedes and overrides everything and everybody.
In Scripture, our forefathers are called Hebrews or Israelites. For many years now the Jewish people refer to the forefathers as Jews but that is not correct. According to our CREATOR’s words, they are Hebrews or Israelites. The terms Israelites or Hebrews also include the Jewish people; but the Jews only make up 1/13th of all of the Israelites. The Jews are only one tribe out of thirteen tribes.7
Here are two very important questions that we can look at here. Please think about them. What religion or faith did our forefathers practice? Is that religion or faith around today? Those are excellent questions because there are not many who practice what The Hebrew Scriptures state. This matter of labeling a religion is confusing. Most of us have worn such labels at one time or another. Many of us have changed from one religion to another in the course of our Quest for truth. I believe a growing number of people would like to resist such tags, labels, and somehow get back to the core Scriptural faith. An increasing number of believers desire to be nondenominational — free from the fetters of religious organizations and creeds.
At this time, I am taking the liberty of setting out the broad outlines of the single Scriptural faith. I claim that this one faith was indeed the faith of all the ancients from Enoch to Abraham and later to Moses8 It always was and still is the one true faith of mankind. The faith is neither Christian nor Jewish nor any other religion and it is absolutely nondenominational. Only one organization that I am aware of, The United Hebrew Congregations, represents that faith. Thus, there is a lot that we must still learn and understand. As far as I know, we are the only organization that even claims to use only The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and to serve only ONE SOVEREIGN. In saying that, I am not saying that we have fully arrived where the CREATOR wants us to be because many of us have just come into this knowledge and it takes time to change belief patterns and habit patterns and all humans sin against our CREATOR.
And as far as I know, we are the only group that proclaims that The Hebrew Scriptures and them alone are the sole written Words of ETERNAL our CREATOR and SOVEREIGN. We must live by these words. I have used the three main Western religions in my examples, the ones that we have just mentioned, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam because all three claim to go back to this one man Abraham as their founding father.
Friend of ETERNAL
What is the basis of Abraham’s faith? We need to know this because Abraham is uniquely called the friend of ETERNAL in Isaiah.
Isaiah 41:8. “But you, Israel, are My servant Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend.”
ETERNAL our SOVEREIGN, calls Abraham His friend. The English word translated ‘friend’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘ohad’ which comes from the verbal root ‘ahed’ number #H1579 and means “to love or to have affection for.” It is a strong and tender word of affection and devotion and is even used for a passionate lover.
The simple but deeply meaningful description ‘friend’ captures the essence of what I want us to come to understand. What would it mean to live by the faith of Abraham? It would mean to be the friend of the ETERNAL and for Him to say of us that we are His friends.
The ‘Abrahamic Faith’ or ‘Hebrew Faith’ is the core Scriptural faith and it is well represented by Abraham. It centers on three fundamental concepts. Simply put, the first one is to know the one true CREATOR10 or The Almighty. The second one is to follow the way of the CREATOR. Additionally, the third one is to participate in the universal plan of the CREATOR for mankind.
These concepts can be stated just that simply but each one involves profound areas of Scriptural revelation. Millions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims claim to represent the truth in these three vital areas. Yet, they are hopelessly divided as to an understanding of who the CREATOR is and how one might have an intimate relationship with Him much less understand His way for mankind and the ultimate purpose or plan of our SOVEREIGN in history.
I claim the Scriptural revelation can be understood plainly. It carries a unifying message in each of these areas: knowing our SOVEREIGN is ONE, the way of our SOVEREIGN, and the plan of our SOVEREIGN. This Abrahamic faith is just that clear. It involves a singular faith that was shared by all the ancients. In other words, this one true faith for all mankind has not changed over the ages, yet, it is surprisingly different from what most people assume the Scriptures say. You do not hear this message from the pulpits in this land. This understanding has become almost wholly lost or even rejected by most of those who claim to follow Scriptural revelations. It is seemingly understood and lived by only a few. Still, if we are to believe the Prophets, this Abrahamic faith is the definite wave of the future. The Prophets foretell of a time when this specific wave will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.
The Messianic Age
Isaiah 11:1 “There shall come forth a rod from Jesse, the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of its roots.”
…11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
This is referring to King David11 when he will be called out of his grave and stand upright. He will then sprout out of his roots.
Isaiah 11:2-10. The spirit of the ETERNAL shall rest upon him. The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of council and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the ETERNAL. His delight is in the fear of ETERNAL and he shall not judge by the sight of his eyes nor decide with the hearing of his ear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. He shall strike the earth with a rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips, he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be in his loins and faithfulness the belt of his waist. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb; the leopard shall lie down with the young goat. The calf, the young lion, the fatling together, and the child shall lead them. The cow and the beaver shall graze. Their young ones shall lie down together and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play on the cobra’s hole and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all of My consecrated mountain for the earth shall be full of the ETERNAL as the waters cover the seas. And in that day, there shall be a root of Jesse who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek him, and his resting place shall be glorious.
The English word ‘root’ is translated from the Hebrew word ‘sheresh,’ Strong’s #H8328, and means ‘a root.’ Root comes from #H8327, ‘sharash,’ which means, ‘to strike the soil, to pluck from.’ In other words, “there shall be a root of Jesse that will be plucked from the soil, he shall stand as a banner to his people, for him Gentiles shall seek, and where he is will be a glorious place on earth.” The time is coming upon the earth when the way of ETERNAL will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.
We Must Return to the Ancient of Days
What I am giving you is a clarion call for the restoration of the True Faith. The ETERNAL CREATOR told Ancient Israel:
Zechariah 1:3. “…return to Me and I will return to you.”
There is a vital principle involved here and the Scriptures say much about why and how CREATOR has actually hidden Himself from and all of mankind. We must first return to our CREATOR. Long ago Moses spoke of such a return:
Deuteronomy 4:29. You will seek the ETERNAL, your CREATOR, and you will find him if you search for Him with all your heart and with all of your soul.
The Prophets make clear that the Gentile nations of the world will eventually return to the ancient faith (Jeremiah 16:19-21) This great return, this restoration of all things, is part of the SOVEREIGN’s Plan.
There will come a time when ETERNAL will set His hand and bring all nations to Himself. The beginnings of that appear to be unfolding in our time – right now in the 21st century. At this point in history, reconciliation to ETERNAL is totally an individual matter. It is up to each individual to Quest to find the Ancient of Days. UHC proclaims that, at this time, it is up to each of us to seek and to find. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear this proclamation with the inner spiritual motivation to actually return to the ONE CREATOR’s original Scriptural faith will be few.
The pressures of tradition and the comfort one finds in what he has always believed make it very easy to stay with those beliefs. Others have been burned out by chasing down this or that biblical claim for truth over the years. The result is that it is hard now to make an honest and absolute open commitment to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Still, there are those of us who would be drawn to this ancient Way, and in being drawn we return directly to our ETERNAL CREATOR, the SOVEREIGN of the universe. We cannot return to any human being or organization but only to our SOVEREIGN. The rewards and satisfactions are great. It is like having a veil lifted from our eyes which brings clarity of understanding and a renewed purpose in life (Isaiah 25:6-7).
Ultimately, it is our CREATOR Himself who calls us into an understanding of His true faith. Yet, we are told at the same time to Quest for Him with all our heart and soul. Is that a contradiction? No it is not because ETERNAL must put within each of us a new heart and spirit while at the same time we are told for us to “get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit”12 How can that be? First, we must Quest to find the Ancient of Days. Then in some mysterious way the CREATOR uses our works as He works His will in our lives for those of us who will respond in time.
The foundation pillar of the Abrahamic faith is to know the one true SOVEREIGN. Our problem today is that when we use the word “God” or even bring up a concept of the “Divine,” we invite English confusion and controversy. Yet, Scripture speaks of One Being beside whom there is no other. In contrast to other deities or claims about divinity, this One Being is called the true and living SOVEREIGN (Jeremiah 10:10).
The gods and goddesses of the nations of this world are declared by the Hebrew Prophets to be idols, empty vanities, and void of living reality. For us to draw close to our CREATOR, we have to have a revelation of Him. He is the one who has acted in history. He can personally encounter us individually and directly. The foundational confession of Scriptural faith is called the ‘Shema.’ This great confession is repeated by faithful Jews daily whereas Christians have sorely neglected it.
Although Mark 12 plainly makes clear that the ‘Shema’ is the absolute core of the faith of that book, it actually came from the last sermon Moses gave to ancient Israel. The first word is ‘hear’ and in Hebrew that word is ‘shema.’ “Hear, (Hebrew – Shema)…
Deuteronomy 6:4-7. “Hear, O Israel: ETERNAL our SOVEREIGN, the LORD is one! You shall love ETERNAL your SOVEREIGN with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these Words [Commandments] which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
The above affirmation defines what the Abrahamic Hebrew Faith is. All else is just words on how to fulfill it. The Shema is so fundamental to the Abrahamic Faith that it bears repeating but this time from a different version.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (Tanakh).13 Hear, O Israel! ETERNAL is our SOVEREIGN, ETERNAL is one.14 You shall love ETERNAL your SOVEREIGN with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up.
There is Only One SOVEREIGN, One Saviour
Few who claim to follow Scriptural revelation uphold the vital affirmation that there is only one SOVEREIGN. The CREATOR chose the people of Israel to be witnesses to this simple pillar of Scriptural faith with all of its implications. Notice carefully the following quotation from Isaiah where the SOVEREIGN Himself speaks in the first person addressing the nation of Israel and He makes this point very clearly.
Isaiah 43:10. You are My witnesses declares ETERNAL and My servants whom I have chosen in order that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no other god or no other deity formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I am ETERNAL and there is no Savior besides Me.”
This is an incredibly profound passage. It is the absolute foundation of the faith spoken by the CREATOR Himself. Israel‘s purpose is to deeply absorb this notion of the oneness of the CREATOR in order that she might declare it to the Gentile nations.
Isaiah 45:6. That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is none beside Me. I am ETERNAL and there is no other.
Isaiah 44:6). I am the first and the last and there is no CREATOR beside Me.
This truth is also stated in Isaiah 44:8; 44:24; and 45:5. Now, take these passages that say “I am ETERNAL, there is no other besides Me.” What do people of all religions do with these powerful words? Millions of people are able to run quickly through these passages without absorbing the significance of this unequivocal language. This teaching of one SOVEREIGN can not be reconciled with the doctrine of the ‘trinity’ as three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or the doctrine of a ‘twinity’ of two persons, the Father and a son. You can not even reconcile a doctrine or teaching which confuses or equates a Messiah, (in Christian’s minds the one they call “Christ”) with the one SOVEREIGN. There can not be a trinity or a twinity. There is only ONE CREATOR SOVEREIGN and He alone is our Savior.
To know the CREATOR as ONE is to love Him with one’s whole being and to follow the Commandments with their full implication. This alone is the true faith. This teaching about one CREATOR, one Elohim, is not just some technical doctrinal point. IT IS THE KEY TO UNLOCK THE TRUE FAITH! Isaiah speaks of knowing, of believing, and understanding just who the CREATOR is. (Isaiah 43:10 above) Note these three verbs knowing, believing, and understanding. This is a vital matter of personal faith and experience. To come before the one true SOVEREIGN, the one CREATOR, the Righteous One of Israel, is a very concrete and distinct experience. It involves the whole being, mind, as well as the heart.
The term ‘god’ is used in so many confusing ways. For most people, it is somewhat vague and perhaps often a bit unreal. After all, can anyone really say they absolutely know ‘god’? How can anyone be sure? There have literally been countless thousands of gods or idols throughout history. How are we to know which one is real?
According to the Hebrew Scriptures, ETERNAL revealed Himself clearly and dramatically. He did this once for all in the time of Moses at Mount Sinai when Israel was delivered from slavery in Egypt. This fundamental revelation was like no other before or since. It is constantly referred to in Psalms and by the latter Prophets. It is the actual, absolute fundamental truth that is never to be superseded nor forgotten. This is not some Old Testament bible story that ‘Christians’ can quickly skim over as some kind of background to the New Testament. Rather, this is the absolute essential bedrock. Without a deep understanding of this core revelation at Mt. Sinai, no one will ever understand and know the one true SOVEREIGN. This extra ordinary revelation comes directly through Moses.
Initially, the CREATOR appeared to Moses in the Sinai area as a voice speaking in the first person from the burning bush. Notice that the SOVEREIGN first identifies Himself.
Exodus 3:6. Moreover He said, “I am the SOVEREIGN of your father; the SOVEREIGN of Abraham, the SOVEREIGN of Isaac, and the SOVEREIGN of Jacob.”
And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
In the above verse, I substituted ‘SOVEREIGN’ for the word ‘God.’ The way the SOVEREIGN describes Himself here is striking. He is not merely the CREATOR, the first cause, or a cosmic power of force. He is the intimate personal SOVEREIGN of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This means that there is a definite family line through which He revealed Himself.15
To speak of the SOVEREIGN of Abraham is to tie into a definite claim about historical revelations. It is a claim that the one “God” the CREATOR, has involved Himself specifically in an unfolding historical plan. In other words, He will be known and understood through the concrete historical experiences of His chosen people. This is in contrast to the philosophical inquiry or individual path of seeking the Almighty.
When the CREATOR told Moses to go and deliver the people, Moses had protested that if he goes to the Israelites and tells them that the ‘god’ of their fathers had appeared to him, they will say, “what is His name?” In other words, they would want this ‘god’ to be identified. At that point, CREATOR tells Moses:
Exodus 3:15. Say to the people of Israel, ‘YHWH,’ the ‘God’ of your fathers, the ‘God’ of Abraham, the ‘God’ of Isaac and the ‘God’ of Jacob has sent me to you. This is My name forever and I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
If you think about it, it is quite remarkable that the CREATOR appeared to Moses, speaks directly in the first person to him, and most importantly, that He identified Himself by name . Our CREATOR actually has a name just as human beings have an identifying name. The name here, represented by the four Hebrew constants Yod He Waw He, are used nearly 6,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is a compound of the Hebrew word ‘hyah’ meaning ‘to be.’ The meaning appears to be “the one who will be, the one who is, and the one who was.”
It is important to understand that at this time the pronunciation of the Almighty’s name is unknown. Many scholars prefer to use the name ‘Yahweh.’ In spite of what you read in most reference books, very few will use the pronunciation ‘Jehovah’ or perhaps, ‘Yahovah’ which then becomes ‘Yah’ in a shortened form. How to pronounce this name precisely is not as important as what it means.
We recognize that His Name is a personal name revealed by the CREATOR Himself to Moses. ETERNAL is the SOVEREIGN or the CREATOR, who was, is, and always will be. He is ETERNAL. That’s what His name means. Rather than use ‘Elohim,’ the Hebrew name for ‘God’ with its pagan origins, I say ‘CREATOR’ or ‘SOVEREIGN’ and these terms are always appropriate.
The reason that we do not know ETERNAL’s Name is that He declared that His Name would no longer be named in the mouth of any man of Judah. Therefore, since no one is certain how to pronounce the name in Hebrew, I prefer to use the English translation of the Name as it is the most important attribute that we have left.
The Name of our SOVEREIGN is not known today because He took it away. Notice this startling statement:
Jeremiah 44:26-28. Therefore hear the word of ‘Yehovah’ (H3068), all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt. “Behold, I have sworn by My great name,” says ‘Yehovah,’ “that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Adonay’ (136) ‘Yehovih’ (3069) lives. Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them. Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, (but with out the Name) and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs.”
Strong’s states that ‘Yehovih’ (3069), a variation of ‘Yehovah’ (3068) used after ‘Adonay’ (136), and pronounced by Jews as Elohiym (430), in order to prevent the repetition of the same sound, since they elsewhere pronounce Yehovah (3068) as Adonay (136). Editors Note: No wonder it is lost!
For centuries, devout Jews have considered this name too sacred to pronounce and they have substituted ‘Adonai’ meaning ‘Master’ or ‘Lord’ in prayer and ‘HaShem,’ which means ‘the name,’ while speaking. The important point here is that the CREATOR reveals Himself by Name, and not by just any name, but the awesome sacred Name that only belongs to Him. There is a great difference between saying “I am the Lord” and saying, “I am ETERNAL.” The latter is personal and direct. It immediately calls forth the absolute unique and singular understanding of the one true CREATOR. Notice again what we have just gone over above in the quotation from Isaiah how the CREATOR uses the name constantly in the first person. “I am ETERNAL, there is none other besides Me.” ï¿½His name in Hebrew is YAHUAHï¿½
The Scriptures speak of “calling upon the name of ETERNAL” which conveys a completely unrelated meaning when mistranslated and says, “calling upon the name of the Lord” (Joel 2:32). There are many so-called gods and lords who people call upon. We hear constant talk of the lord of this or the lord of that and one might just ask, “Well, who is this lord? What is his name? What “Lord” of what religion are you talking about?” Notice what Jeremiah says:
Jeremiah 33:2-3. Thus says ETERNAL, who made the earth, ETERNAL, who formed it to established it, ETERNAL is His name. “Call to Me and I will answer you. I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
What an extraordinary declaration of promise spoken directly in the first person by the ETERNAL SOVEREIGN Himself. To literally call upon ETERNAL leads one into an intimate relationship with the very CREATOR.
But you may ask, “If we do not know what His name is, how can we call on it?” Let’s let ETERNAL answer that through Isaiah.
Isaiah 52:6. Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore, they shall know in that day that I am He who speaks: “Behold, it is I.”
He took His Name away and will give it again. Notice that “shall know” is future. We will know when we are given a new language.16 In the meantime for His Name, we must use the best that we have and that is the meaning of His Name which is ETERNAL.
Knowing our CREATOR’s (what?) is a tremendous revelation and once understood it can transform one’s whole sense of who our SOVEREIGN is. In Exodus, the CREATOR tells Moses:
Exodus 6:3. I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai, but by My Name ETERNAL was I not known to them.
Though the meaning ETERNAL was not revealed to Abraham or those before him, the essential meaning of the Name was known. We find this in Genesis 21:33 where Abraham calls on the Name of the everlasting ‘God’ (El in Hebrew). In Genesis 14:19’s time, El was understood to be “most high SOVEREIGN of heaven and earth.” The revelation of the name ‘ETERNAL’ at Mt. Sinai serves to capture in a single, supernatural awesome word the concept of who He is.
Much later when Israel comes out of Egypt and is gathered by Moses at Mount Sinai, the CREATOR Himself is revealed to the whole nation in an overwhelming display of power and Esteem speaking directly to them setting forth the Ten Commandments. There was thunder, lightning, and clouds of smoke and fire, the piercing sound of a trumpet and the whole mountain shook. Finally, the SOVEREIGN Himself spoke in an audible voice for all to hear. But, first, He identifies Himself.
Exodus 20:1. I am ETERNAL, your SOVEREIGN, you shall have no other sovereigns beside Me.
The reaction of the people is terror. They call out to Moses.
Genesis 20:19. You speak to us and we will hear, but let not CREATOR speak to us, lest we die.
Forty years later Moses reminds the Israelites of the uniqueness and purpose of this great moment of revelation.
Deuteronomy 4:33-39. For ask now of the days that are passed which were before you since the day that CREATOR created man on the earth and asked from one end of heaven to the other whether such a thing as this had ever happened or has ever been heard of. Did any people hear the voice of a CREATOR speaking out of the mist of fire as you have heard it and still live? To you it was shown that you might know the ETERNAL is SOVEREIGN. There is not other beside Him. Out of heaven, He let you hear His voice that He might discipline you. On earth, He let you see His great fire and you heard His words out of the mist of the fire. Know therefore, this day, lay it upon your heart that the ETERNAL is SOVEREIGN of heaven above and on the earth beneath. There is no other.
The further dramatic and awesome aspects of this revelation of our SOVEREIGN at Mt. Sinai took place the second time that Moses ascended to the mountain after the golden calf incident. The CREATOR literally identifies Himself to Moses and offers him a remarkable description of His SOVEREIGN character. The CREATOR told Moses He would send His angel to accompany them further, but would not personally go in their midst because of their rebellion.
Moses had an extraordinary personal relationship with ETERNAL. Our SOVEREIGN would speak to Moses face to face as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). Primarily ETERNAL would speak to Moses in the Tabernacle Tent but also speak to him in other places as well. ETERNAL would manifest His audible voice along with His physical presence during times in the wilderness.
In a conversation on the mountain, Moses pleads with ETERNAL to accompany them personally rather than through an agency of an angel or messenger. ETERNAL was persuaded and agreed (Exodus 33:12-17). Then Moses asks something more. “Oh let me behold your Esteem,” he asked and is told that no human could see CREATOR face to face and live. However, he would be allowed to experience some measure of the SOVEREIGN’s Shechinah Esteem or direct presence. As ETERNAL passed by him, Moses was allowed to see the SOVEREIGN’s backside (Exodus 33:18-23) in what is surely the most significant self-revelation of the CREATOR in the entire Hebrew Scripture.
Exodus 34:5-7. Now ETERNAL descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the Name of ETERNAL. And ETERNAL passed before him and proclaimed, “ETERNAL, ETERNAL SOVEREIGN, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. [But] by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
Let us explore the phrase “who will by no means clear the guilty.” First, notice that unrepented sin not only causes grief in a person’s life but also in his children’s lives. Depending on the severity, the sin may affect several generations. I am sure you have heard people say from time to time, “Well I know what it says, but because of this or that (excuse) I did it. But ETERNAL is a loving SOVEREIGN and I know He will understand.” An example of this could be: “I know it says to get rid of leavening from our homes, but, you know, I’m on a limited income and I just can’t afford to throw that away. I’m sure our loving SOVEREIGN will understand.” Well, don’t be too sure. Let’s look at some other examples and notice the rule, the breaking of that rule, and then the excuse.
1. Genesis 2:17. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat of it, for in the day that you eat, thereof, you will die.
Genesis 3:6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, a tree desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and she did eat.
Her excuse was probably like this: “I know Adam said not to eat the fruit, but it’s good for food and it’s pleasant to look upon, and I’m hungry and I’m sure the loving SOVEREIGN will understand.”
2. “The Scripture said to roast the lamb, but they have already boiled it and I am sure the CREATOR is going to understand.”
Brethren, if the SOVEREIGN says to do it a certain way then that’s the way that He wants it done. No amount of human reasoning will be enough. Going back to Exodus.
Exodus 34:5-7. ETERNAL, ETERNAL SOVEREIGN merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Keeping steadfast, love for thousands, forgetting iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty.
Brethren, if we have done anything wrong, that does not mean ETERNAL will immediately zap us with a lightning bolt, but when we come to realize that we did something wrong, we must repent. Now, to repent does not mean, “Oh, yeah, I’m sorry about that.” Repent means to change. It means to do something different — to go at it an entirely different way. If you throw a ball up into the air, gravity begins to take hold and it slows down, stops, and then falls back to the earth.
Repentance is the same way. If you are doing wrong — going away from the CREATOR, the pull is against you making you realize that you are going in the wrong direction so you stop and go back the other way. Repentance is going before the SOVEREIGN with a contrite and broken heart, declaring your guiltiness, and asking for mercy because He is abounding in steadfast love for thousands, forgetting iniquity and transgression and sin. So when we have transgressed, all we have to do brethren is ask for mercy. You do not need a blood sacrifice as some religions say you have to have. The CREATOR says what He is interested in is a contrite and broken heart and that is what He expects us to have. And if we sin, then follow the example in Psalm 51 as King David did and go before ETERNAL and pour out your heart confessing your sin and He will forgive you.
Although it must have been awesome to see the SOVEREIGN coming down to show Moses His Esteem, Moses’ face was turned away so that he would not die. Moses experienced the Esteem of the ETERNAL SOVEREIGN to the extent that his face even glowed after he was in the CREATOR’s presence. The SOVEREIGN personally proclaimed His awesome Name, ETERNAL, to him. He also described His basic nature, His inner character, “merciful and gracious and slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). Remember that this is what Abraham understood also.
Abraham understood that the ETERNAL was “merciful, gracious, and slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” And it is out of His faithfulness that we can obey the CREATOR. This self-revelation is so basic, so profound that it occurs repeatedly in various forms throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. It becomes a heavenly-revealed character sketch of ETERNAL Himself. Moses refers back to it on numerous occasions.
What is so impressive, so remarkable about this whole Sinai revelation is its absolute concreteness. When we read Exodus and Deuteronomy, our two accounts of these awesome events, there is an unmistakable feeling or sense of what the texts convey. It has to do with the notion of our SOVEREIGN breaking into the normal events of history and actually introducing Himself by making Himself known in the most objective sense imaginable — similar to the way that we encounter another human being. It is truly extraordinary.
The first three Commandments, summed up in the Shema, tell us that we must love ETERNAL our SOVEREIGN with all our hearts, with all our soul, and with all our might. How is it that our SOVEREIGN could command us to love Him? Think about that. He commands us to love Him. Is love something that can be demanded? When one deeply understands the greatness and the goodness of our CREATOR, fear and love are the natural response. In other words, to truly know ETERNAL is to fear Him and to love Him as King David sang about in Psalms 145…
Psalms 145:3. Great is the ETERNAL and highly to be praised. His greatness is unsearchable.
…145:8. ETERNAL is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.
…145:9-10. ETERNAL is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. All your works shall praise You, O ETERNAL, and Your saints shall bless You.
Verses eight through ten is the precise description of the ETERNAL’s character as revealed to Moses and is repeated here — “full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. ETERNAL is good to all. His tender mercies are over all His works.” Our love for ETERNAL arises out of a deep realization of His goodness as expressed toward us and all creation and in keeping with this very specifically revealed character. In other words, this is absolutely what He is like. As we truly learn to experience that, we are drawn in love towards Him. Notice how Moses puts all these concepts together in his great farewell address to ancient Israel:
Deuteronomy 10:12-13. And now, Israel, what does ETERNAL your CREATOR require of you, but to fear ETERNAL SOVEREIGN, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve ETERNAL CREATOR with all your heart and with all your soul and to keep the Commandments of ETERNAL and His statutes which I command you today for your good.
This is a very definite unfolding sequence of response in coming to truly know ETERNAL, the ETERNAL SOVEREIGN. First and absolutely vital is the fear of ETERNAL. Without this fear of the CREATOR, there is no possible relationship and certainly no love. As Moses goes on to say…
Deuteronomy 10:17. For ETERNAL, your SOVEREIGN is SOVEREIGN of elohims and SOVEREIGN of adonais, the great SOVEREIGN, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
The fear of ETERNAL is the very beginning. That is the absolute foundation of everything else.
Psalm 111:10. The fear of ETERNAL is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His Commandments. His praise endures forever.
To fear our SOVEREIGN is to have a deep and awesome reverence for who and what He is. This fear, or rather, absolute awe, is based on His majestic greatness. As King David said, “His greatness is unsearchable. It is past finding out.” First and foremost, ETERNAL is the very CREATOR. The Scriptures declare:
Psalm 33:6. By the word of ETERNAL, the heavens were made.
ETERNAL is the great one who spoke order and life into existence on this planet. He gives us our very life and breath. Without His awesome creative wisdom and power, which belongs to Him and Him alone, planet Earth would be a vast and empty waste much like Mars or Venus today. Likewise, the fear of ETERNAL rests upon His great and mighty acts in history, particularly the exodus from Egypt and at Mt. Sinai. This fear of ETERNAL necessarily results in a concrete response of us walking in all His ways.
One comes to know and accordingly love the ETERNAL analogous of the way one comes to know and love a fellow human being. There is no separation between these elements of fearing, loving, and obeying the SOVEREIGN. This is the bedrock of an intimate relationship of friendship with ETERNAL. Notice how the Shema begins by speaking of loving the CREATOR with all your heart, soul, and might but immediately adds:
Deuteronomy 6:6. And these words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart.
A deep fear of ETERNAL, coupled with a heartfelt following of His way, result in total love of ETERNAL. This is something that only you can experience.
Three Words That Show the Way
“Well, what about that way? The way of the CREATOR is intimately bound up with and absolutely grounded in the revealed character of ETERNAL. As mentioned earlier, CREATOR tells Moses that He is ETERNAL. A SOVEREIGN merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, but that He will by no means ignore sin. This very specific character sketch spoken of by ETERNAL Himself, about Himself is reflected throughout the Hebrew Scriptures by three Hebrew words. These three words are unquestionably the three key concepts of the Scriptural Abrahamic Hebrew Faith. Yet, ironically, they remain virtually unknown to most English readers of the Scriptures.
To introduce them, I will turn to a truly profound passage by the prophet Jeremiah that really says it all in a very few words directly from the ETERNAL CREATOR:
“Thus says ETERNAL, let not a wise man boost of his wisdom and let not the mighty man boost of his might and let not the rich man boost of his riches. But let him who boosts boost of this–that he understands and knows Me, that I am ETERNAL who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth. For I delight in these things says ETERNAL.” (Jer. 9:23-24)
Now the words loving kindness, justice, and righteousness come from three Hebrew words. Loving-kindness comes from “hesed” (khek’-sed), justice from “mishpat” (mish-pawt’), and righteousness from “tzedakah” (tsed-aw-kaw’). “I can say here what I said earlier about the Shema. This is the faith all else is commentary.
If you know and live by these, that’s it. That IS the Faith, anything else is just words. There is more in these two verses than in shelves of theological books. Note first how CREATOR specifically identifies Himself by name, “that one understands and knows Me.” He says, “that I am ETERNAL.” Further, observe how the three says of mankind are sharply contrasted with the three components of the Way of CREATOR. Humans seek more wisdom, power, and wealth, that is the human way, which is separate from CREATOR and is the root of all evil.
“We then come to our three great words, hesed, mishpat, and tzedakah. In these, the SOVEREIGN Himself delights. After all, they are a description of His very character, as a prescription of His way for mankind:
- “Hesed which is often translated “mercy, love, or kindness” is a tender word. It is the very heart of our SOVEREIGN’s character and is much connected to the concept of grace and forgiveness. The combination translation of “loving kindness” though somewhat awkward is a fine one, I think. Through the prophet Hosea, ETERNAL declares:
“I delight in “hesed” rather than sacrifice.” (Hosea 6:6)
“Micah declares in answer to Moses’ question “what does ETERNAL require you? “that one must love ‘hesed‘” 19 which might strike one as an odd way to put it, yet, the point is profound. Those that come to know the SOVEREIGN, which is to know the Way of the CREATOR, must learn to delight in “hesed.”
- “Mishpat is usually translated “justice.” It means to act with fairness, equity, and impartiality in any situation. Again, Micah, in the same passage declares that ETERNAL requires that one do justice. (That’s Micah 6:8). The Prophets constantly speak of “mishpat.” In a well-known passage, Amos cries out:
- “Let justice “mishpat” roll down like water.” (Amos 5:24)
- “Tzedakah is often linked directly with “mishpat.” They are closely related, sometimes overlapping. It is usually translated “righteousness” referring to the fine and upright way of behavior. In other words, these are the CREATOR’s moral standards for humankind. The three words together form a balanced and complete triad. 20 They combine with one another to play off of one another. Loving-kindness can sometimes temper justice. And yet, what is truly just and right often defines the way of loving kindness in the first place.
“The following quotations illustrates this point quite well:
“He loves righteousness and justice. The earth if full of the loving kindness of the ETERNAL.” (Psalm 33:5)
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Loving kindness and truth go before you.” (Psalm 89:14)
When ETERNAL finally stands on the Mt. of Olives21 and King David is resurrected as the Messiah (Mashiach), his basic plan is to establish the Kingdom or Rule of the ETERNAL on Mt. Zion 22 with justice and righteousness. And yet, the throne will be established in loving kindness.” 23
The Way of ETERNAL
“There is an interesting text in the early part of Genesis. The ETERNAL CREATOR determines to share with Abraham, His intimate friend, His plans for utter destruction of the wicked one of Sodom and Gomorrah. The ETERNAL reasons within Himself:
“Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” (Genesis 18:17)
“Then comes an absolute and fundamental verse:
“I have chosen,” (the literal meaning is “known”) him in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the Way of ETERNAL by doing righteousness and justice.” (Gen. 18:19)
“There you have it. The very Way of ETERNAL is defined precisely. It is doing and practicing tzedakah and mishpat. The entire Plan of CREATOR involving the very message of Abraham depends upon this preservation and extension of this Way.
“What is involved here? The terms righteousness and justice mean many different things to different people. Each individual or culture tends to reason out their own sense of what they consider to be just and right. “Human beings have been apt at developing their own systems of ethics and morals. However, when the Scriptures use these terms, something absolutely specific and concrete is intended.
“There is a definite ‘Way of ETERNAL’. It is not determined by shifting sands of human culture and opinion. It has never changed in the least from the creation of Adam until our day. We can specifically know it that Way. It is actually laid out in concrete form with all of its details.
“There is only one place and one place alone that one can truly come to know and understand the Way of ETERNAL. One must turn to what is called in The Hebrew Scriptures the “Torah and the Testimony.”24 Perhaps the most misleading translation of any term in the entire Scriptures is the rendering of Hebrew word “Torah” as “law.” The modern English word “law” in no way conveys the beautiful, highly positive and compelling meaning of the original Hebrew concept. The very first Psalm describes the way of the righteous person:
“But his delight is in the Torah of the ETERNAL. And in His Torah he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
“The Hebrew Scriptures always speak of the Torah of the ETERNAL in the most positive way. Note the following verses:
“The Torah of ETERNAL is perfect, restoring the soul.” (Psalm 19:7)
“Your Torah is true.” (Psalm 119:142)
ï¿½Oh, how I love your Torah. It is my mediation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)
“Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things out of your Torah.” (Psalm119:18)
“Eighteen times in Psalm 119, David exclaims his love for and delight in the Torah. So, what precisely is the Torah? The Hebrew word itself means “instruction or teaching.” But it is most always used in a more specific way to mean the Torah or teaching of the ETERNAL Himself given to Moses at Mount Sinai. (See Deuteronomy 4:8; 31:9; Nehemiah 8:8).
“Unfortunately, this is not the way many “Christians” have been taught to think of the Torah. 25 Their understanding, in direct contradiction to those plain verses, has been poisoned by a serious wrestling in the writings of Paul, and a thoroughly anti-Judaic “Christian” theology which developed in the 2nd century CE.
“Regrettably, through the greatest deception of western history, millions of “Christians” have been conditioned to think negatively about the so-called “Law” as if it is something to be despised as inferior, void of deep spiritual meaning. And yet it is the everlasting, perfect revelation of truth spoken by ETERNAL CREATOR Himself. David, throughout the Psalms, exalts the Torah. He clearly has something specific in mind. As King of Israel, he was even required to write for himself a copy of this Torah and to read it and mediate on it all the days of his life (Deut. 17:18-19).
David, a man after the CREATOR’s own heart, loved this Torah of ETERNAL making it the very center of his life. Those who speak against Torah are under a great deception and have lost the knowledge of the true CREATOR, His way, and His plan for humankind.
“Torah is a broad term that can refer to total Divine Revelation to humankind. However, it is preeminently the Teachings revealed in the books of Moses and the Prophets. And even more specifically, the teachings of the so-called Pentateuch, 26 or the Five Books of Moses, are the first five books of Scripture. This revelation is fundamentally basic and never to be superseded. And yet, we have great denominations that have books that they claim to supersede these fundamental everlasting Scriptures.
“What millions of “Christians” have woefully misunderstood is that the Torah is universally and perpetually valid. Jeriamiah’s teaching about the New Covenant says nothing what so ever about replacing or abrogating the Torah. On the contrary, in the Messianic age the Torah is to be put into the very heart of the restored people of Israel. 27 Ultimately, the Torah is for all humankind. Isaiah declared it is the Torah that will go forward from Zion to all nations, defining that way of justice and righteousness. 28
“The Torah is the perpetual standard of tzedakah and mishpat. It is only by going to what is called the Testimony–which I will explain later–and to the Torah in full as amplified by the Prophets that one can come to truly understand the way of ETERNAL in all of its concrete and practical implications.
The ideas of human beings are infinite, but the definitive revelation of ETERNAL CREATOR is once for all most specific. The material I have been going over regarding the true understanding of the CREATOR, His Name, and His very character is drawn from the Torah. The rest of Scripture is merely an amplification and reinforcement of this foundational revelation. This is among the most essential revelations in Scripture. It is not merely background material. It is bedrock, benchmark, and truth about the fundamentals of the faith and is essential to any true Scriptural understanding of the true CREATOR and His Way.
The Torah and Testimony
“Human beings long for the supernatural, for some revelation about the mystery of our existence. Isaiah tells of a time when CREATOR will hide His face from both Israel and the nations and people will walk in darkness turning to spiritism and to the occult in order to find the answers. But the Scripture states:
“Bind up the Testimony, seal the Torah among My disciples. …And when they say to you, ‘consult the mediums and the spiritualists who whisper and mutter,’ [but], shouldn’t a people consult their CREATOR? …[and go] to the Torah and the Testimony! [And] if they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no light. …then they will look to the earth and behold the stress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be driven away into darkness.” (Isaiah 8:16-22)
“This is an important and fascinating portion of prophetic Scripture. The true disciples of ETERNAL will turn to the Torah, which is the true light in a world of darkness. Isaiah also speaks of the Testimony. What is the Testimony? Does he have something specific in mind when he said that? Notice carefully the instructions that CREATOR gave Moses at Mount Sinai:
“And you shall put the covering on the top of the Arc (of the Covenant). In the arc you shall put the Testimony which I shall give to you.” (Exodus 25:21)
“Here we learn that the Testimony is something quite specific. It is an actual object that can be placed inside the Arc of the Covenant. Indeed, the Arc itself was often called the “Arc of the Testimony.” The more familiar term “Arc of the Covenant” is merely a variation of the phrase, “Arc of the Testimony.” 29 In other words, the whole point of having the Arc, which is a gold-plated wooden chest, was to hold this Testimony. And yet, the Arc, as the only furnishing in the inner room of the Temple, the Holy of Holies, radiated the very Presence of Esteem of ETERNAL. Here, before the Arc of the Testimony, CREATOR would directly speak in an audible voice to Moses. And Moses would behold the “form” or the shape of the CREATOR Himself. 30 There had been no other revelation quite like this in history. Obviously, there is a profound point to all of this.
“The Testimony is virtually important. It is the very focal point of the revelation of the CREATOR’s Esteem. Further, the entire Tabernacle which Moses was instructed to build is called the “Tabernacle of the Testimony” (Ex. 38:21). In other words, this Testimony, whatever it is, is the central focus of the entire system of worship that was revealed to Moses.
Many think of the Tabernacle as primarily a place for the ritualistic slaughter of animals. Actually “animal sacrifices” were not the focus of the Tabernacle, nor of the later Temple of Jerusalem. Rather, this special “Tent” is called the “mikdash” (“Sanctuary” or “Holy”) or the “mishkan” (“Dwelling or “Tabernacle”).
Both have to do with the CREATOR actually dwelling among humans. In other words, the Tabernacle or the Temple is the “earthly House” for the literal manifestation of the Esteem of the “Face” of ETERNAL Himself. This Esteem is described as appearing like a Cloud or a Fire. The people could see an actual physical manifestation. Only Moses could go near ETERNAL as He manifested Himself in this extraordinary way. And the Testimony is an intricate part of this phenomenon. What, then, is the Testimony? Exodus gives us the plain answer:
“And when He (ETERNAL) had finished speaking with him (Moses) on Mount Sinai, He (ETERNAL) gave Moses two Tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of CREATOR. (Exodus 31:18)
“These mysterious tablets were further described in the next chapter. They are written on both sides, engraved with the writing of the ETERNAL SOVEREIGN Himself (Exodus 32:15). This is quite a phenomenon. The ETERNAL CREATOR Himself wrote on two tablets of stone His Testimony and gave them to Moses to be preserved in the very heart of the Sanctuary, in the most consecrated Arc of the Covenant.
The Tabernacle is understood to be the earthly model of the heavenly Sanctuary (Ex. 25:9). “Written on the tablets are the Ten Commandments. Literally, Ten Words spoken by CREATOR Himself on Shavot (the Feast of Weeks) to all Israel at Mount Sinai (Ex. 34:28). At this unprecedented moment in history, CREATOR Himself gave awesome testimony to His ETERNAL Way of justice and righteousness. He literally spoke the Ten Commandments in a voice that could be heard, and in a marvelous display of power and esteem.
“These Ten Commandments are the heart and core of the Torah. Our CREATOR spoke those words, “and He added no more” (Deut. 5:22). They are complete within themselves. All other commandments, statutes, and ordinances of Torah which were given for Israel to observe in the land are essentially applications of this ETERNAL Way of justice and righteousness. (Check Deuteronomy 12:1)
“This Testimony offers in a beautiful summary form, the outline of the CREATOR’s Way for all humankind. Each of these Ten Commandments, including the seventh day Sabbath, were known and practiced by those who knew the SOVEREIGN from Adam to Moses. 31 We read that Enoch walked with CREATOR and that Noah was a righteous man who also walked with the CREATOR (Gen. 5:22; 6:9). The SOVEREIGN reminds Isaac that Abraham was chosen: “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” (Gen. 26:5)
“Although these men and women did not know of the Torah in the precise and full form the nation of Israel knows it, they certainly knew this basic way of justice and righteousness (see Gen. 18:19). 32 There is nothing particularly Jewish about this testimony of ETERNAL. Although it actually became the center and core of the CREATOR’s specific Covenant with all of the tribes of Israel at Sinai, these Ten Words, as they are called, are much more than mere commandments that one might legalistically just tack off and throw away. Each one represents a topical heading, an entire category of understanding: (e.g., human sexuality, property rights, and human speech). They are amplified and expounded throughout the Scripture.
“Those who maintain that this awesome Testimony of ETERNAL, the Ten Words spoken by the ETERNAL Himself that they have been abrogated, altered, or superseded are under the most serious kind of deception. Let us understand what would be required to restore the Abrahamic faith to this world:
“And many people shall say, come you and let us go back to the mountain of the ETERNAL to the house of the SOVEREIGN of Jacob. He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His path and out of Zion shall go forth the law (Torah), and words of ETERNAL from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3)
Abrahamic Faith for All Nations
Did you see that the Torah will go forth and many people, many nations, the whole world, universal will be restored to the Abrahamic or Hebrew faith. It will be required to have the Torah faith in all nations. “Although the Torah was given once, for all by Moses to Israel at Mount Sinai, it is essentially universal for all humankind. It is to the Torah that we must go, and from Torah, we must derive the essentials of the faith. It is useful to call this faith the “Abrahamic Faith” or “Hebrew Faith,” since the very mission and the meaning of Abraham’s calling and the subsequent Covenant with Israel was that all nations would be blessed. Remember, we covered that, Genesis 12:1-3, the first time CREATOR dealt with Abraham. In other words, any view of Abraham, or of the Torah, which ignores the universal aspects is wrong headed from the start.
I want to emphasize that I am not advocating Judaism 33 or that anyone should become Jewish. The Jewish sages and rabbis have developed through their written and oral traditions a particular understanding of Torah observance which is based upon the writings of the Talmud and the Mishnah (see footnote 1).
So I am not in any way advocating that anyone should become Jewish. To be of the Hebrew or Abrahamic Faith is not the same as the Jewish faith. Remember that there a total of thirteen tribes of Israel and Judaism is strickly the religion of the Jews. Whereas, the Abrahamic Hebrew Faith is Torah (Hebrew Scriptures) based, and not based on the Talmud, Mischnah, or Oral Traditions.
Yet, the Prophets speak of Gentiles (Isa 56:1-8) who know and fear ETERNAL and who associate themselves with the mission of Israel (all tribes), taking up the Way of ETERNAL, the Way of Abraham, which will be a blessing to all people. Most Gentiles have assumed that the teaching of the Torah is a “Jewish thing” and they have viewed the living Torah of ETERNAL as a historical relic, largely irrelevant in the modern “Christian” world.
Yet, the Scriptures teach that there is a valid form of Torah Faith and observance for all of humankind. The Shema speaks of “laying these Commandments upon your heart,” of “talking of them” constantly. King David spoke of “mediating on the Torah day and night.” Is there a single Commandment (mitzvah) of the Torah for which one can not learn essential aspects of ETERNAL’s nature and Way for humankind? Which of the Commandments of Torah or spurred or forgotten? One has only to page through whole sections of Torah such as Leviticus 18-20 or Deuteronomy 12-25, to realize the vital relevance and importance for humankind as a whole. Humans should:
“…know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of ETERNAL.” (Deut. 8:3)
This is something that is mirrored in the New Testament 34. “The Torah addresses all aspects of human life: social relations, economic justice, health and hygiene, ecology, criminal justice, sexual conduct, and on and on. The Torah is a blueprint, framed in an ancient Israelitish setting, of a Way of justice and righteousness for all humanity. Until the whole world turns to the principles of the Torah, we will continue to suffer all of its collective ills and horrors. The Prophets make that clear. The collapse of our human societies and the judgment that comes upon all nations on the Great and Terrible Day of ETERNAL” is based on our flouting the Way revealed in Torah (see Isaiah chapter 24 and chapters 59-66). Also, the Torah is much more than just Commandments. It contains a fundamental, unfolding heritage. It is from that core, fundamental, narrative that we learn of the fundamentals of the Faith.
“The Hebrew Prophets go hand and hand with the Torah. They too come to us in their ancient dress, reflecting the conditions of Israel and Judah from the 8th through the 5th century BCE. But they preserve for us an entirely valid commentary by ETERNAL Himself, on every aspect of human life and society. Are these very words of CREATOR to be ignored because they are said in the context of ancient Israel? Anyone who has deeply studied Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, or Micah comes away with the impression that the Prophets speak with a voice that is perpetually relevant, literal, and up to date as the morning paper. Furthermore, large sections of the Prophets directly address the “last or latter days,” as they are called. In that sense, important parts of these writings are more for us than for the ancient Israel.
“ETERNAL is the SOVEREIGN of history. His Way and His Plan are revealed and are worked out in time and history. This requires that His word be historically conditioned coming out of a specific time and place. But in application, the revelation of the entire Hebrew Scripture is universally relevant to all mankind at all times.
“Each individual, in seeking a relationship with our SOVEREIGN directly and without contemplation, will find his or her own way to express Torah faith and observance appropriate to the situation. I can not think of any Commandment of the ETERNAL SOVEREIGN that is to be abrogated or ignored.
“As a matter of practical fact, the “Christian” churches are starving for the riches that come from the deep and submissive study of the Torah and the Prophets. And this has nothing to do with a discussion of “legalism,” “law and grace,” or earning “one’s salvation.” And yet, most of the Torah is abrogated and becomes a part of the so-called “Old Testament” that one might consult on occasion for “historical background.” Millions talk about how “they just can not understand the Old Testament” or “they just can not identify with the “God” of the Old Testament.”
“The deeply spiritual nurture that comes from meditating on the direct words of ETERNAL Himself as revealed in Torah and the Prophets is lost to many “Christians.” Instead, they try to cling to a “New Testament” which is thoroughly removed from the historical Israelite context, heavily interpolated, poorly translated, and paraded forth in its Hellenistic/pagan dress. Surely, it goes without saying that none of the writers of the New Testament document had a New Testament. All of them looked to The Hebrew Scriptures; The Hebrew Scriptures preserved by the Jewish people of Israel. Accordingly, the “Christian message” that most hear Sunday after Sunday from their pulpits is stripped of all true spiritual power. It is largely cut off from understanding of ETERNAL as the ONE true SOVEREIGN from Torah and from the people of Israel–the pillars of Scriptural faith.
One endlessly hears a single theme–“accept, one who they call, Chr-st, tell others so that you can enter into heaven when you die.” How tragic! This aborted message in no way reflects the grand revelation in the message of Scripture. Millions of “Christians” have truly sold their birthright for a mess of potage! They wonder why their frantic, emotional, save-yourselves-and-others program does not satisfy. They question why our CREATOR is not “real” to them and why they never seem to find true contentment in their way of life. In the meantime, our society is cut off and drifting into a kind of moral chaos which is truly frightening. The powerful, direct, living word of ETERNAL is not heard in the land. Read Isaiah 59. This is the message that needs to ring out from our pulpits. Shouted by those who know and obey the living SOVEREIGN, The Righteous One of Israel.
Further, I lament that “Christians” have largely missed the richness of an in-depth Scripture study. There is nothing to compare to the richness, depth, spiritual insight, and technical knowledge of Hebrew. On the positive side devout Jews throughout the world follow a weekly cycle of reading and study of the Torah and the Prophets. When we draw close to ETERNAL in this way, lovingly and seeking “to live by every word that proceeds out of His mouth,” the results are phenomenal.
Well, this brings to a close this First Day of Unleavened Bread. If you all will rise, we will close in prayer.
“Oh ETERNAL, CREATOR of the universe, Father, we come before Your presence in the very control room of the universe, in the third heaven, to thank You for the knowledge You have given, and to thank You, Father, for the knowledge of the Faith of Abraham. The Hebrew Faith, which is the Faith, needed to save the world. It is the Faith that some day, the world will live by.
And oh ETERNAL, as we are here waiting on You, learning Your Way, trying to live by it, we need to have Your strength and Your Spirit upon us. We ask that You would guide and direct our paths that we can draw ever closer to You, because the world needs the message to ring forth that You are the SOVEREIGN, that Your Way is plain, is pure, and is simple. The Way that will bring happiness to this very sick and dying world. So, Father, help us promote the study of Your word. Help us promote Your Torah and work toward a reunification of Israel and Judah under the Messianic reign of King David.
Thank You so very much, aw-mein’.