Stained-Glass Filters

Church. For most it means stained-glass windows and ministers preaching in monotone. It means sitting for 20 minutes in uncomfortable pews listening to platitudes while dreaming of doing something else.

Too often, passing through church doors automatically trips the mind into neutral where all critical thinking stops.

Is this how it was when the Messiah taught His disciples on the shores of the Galilee 2,000 years ago? Where was the liturgy and the doxology then? Where was the neat packaging of ritual and repetition? How could the Bible be taught in such an unfettered atmosphere?

Two thousand years of syncretizing with foreign mystery religion has today’s churchgoers looking at the truth with apprehension. Keeping the Sabbath, feast days, and the other laws is anything but conventional today. Never mind that the Savior observed and taught them, and His Assemblies in Acts faithfully followed them.

Isn’t it strange how tradition blinds us to other possibilities?

This brings to mind the woman who went back to her corner church because the new spinoff group met in a motel and it “just didn’t feel like church there.”

No doubt meeting by the seashore or on the hills of Galilee would not “feel like church” to most churchgoers. And neither does hearing such words as “law” and “obedience.” But unless we can let the truth of Scripture stand on its own in open sunshine, without centuries of mind-numbing dogma to twist and swallow it up, then our faith is disingenuous.

Yahshua said that until heaven and earth pass away, not even the least letter of the alphabet nor its embellishment would be dropped from the law. Deuteronomy 7:9 says Almighty Yahweh is faithful to keep His covenant with those who keep His commandments “to a thousand generations.” Taken literally, we still have 16,000 more years to keep the law!

A popular magazine claimed that to get gentiles to become Christians, avoiding circumcision and other Jewish laws, Paul had to bring in a new doctrine: salvation outside of the Mosaic law. Obviously this magazine writer had himself been blinded by too much stained glass. Had he only turned to 1Corinthians 7:19, he would have discovered that Paul minimizes physical circumcision in favor of the law!

Imagine how different society could be if even half the churches taught obedience to the moral law. But it is not human nature to want to submit to any authority, and so the “faith alone” bandwagon is packed full.

In a stunningly graphic prophecy, Isaiah describes the nominal world of religion in 2022: “This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of Yahweh: which say to the seers, ‘See not;’ and to the prophets, ‘Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits,” 30:9-10.

What about you? Do you see the Scriptures in the pure, white light of truth, or in light filtered through colored glass?

The Sixth Letter, Waw or Vav?

Modern Hebrew uses a “vav” (v) for the sixth letter of its alphabet but anciently this wasn’t the case. Originally it had a “w” (double “u”) sound. This is a big deal when determining the proper pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. The only “v” sound in classical or biblical Hebrew is made from the second letter, the “bet” (for you Hebrew students this is the Hebrew letter “bet” without the dot called the dagesh lene, which indicates the harder pronunciation “b”).

It is known from antiquity the Tetragrammaton letters yod, heh, and waw are vowels. Vowels are spoken with the open mouth. The “v” is a consonant, not a vowel, and is spoken with the upper teeth and lower lip together. The historian Josephus (37 CE) said of the high priest, “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of the Almighty]: it consists of four vowels.” (War of the Jews, Book 5. 5. 7.)

Consisting of four vowels, the name Yahweh is pronounced with the open mouth, i.e.,  ee – ah- oo – eh. You cannot have or inject a consonant v as in Yahveh or Yehovah i.e.,  ee – ah – vv – eh. The two-syllable name Yahweh can be breathed when you deeply inhale and exhale.

The Masoretic vowel pointing backs up Josephus’ claims about the yod, heh and waw. In biblical Hebrew there are six unchangeable vowels (see chart above).

In his biblical Hebrew lecture series, Dr. Bill Barrick makes this interesting observation: “Sometimes actually in the transcription of ancient Hebrew such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, a ‘waw’ is sometimes given as a vowel letter for the qibbuts, which really represents a shureq and that also indicates the sounds of them were very, very close, even in ancient times.” (Biblical Hebrew Grammar I, Lesson 12). youtu.be/qb6DzN875y4?t=386 The qibbuts is a short vowel and has a “u” sound like in the word “ruler,” which equates to the “w” or double u. (See Basics of Biblical Hebrew Chapter 2.4)

J.D. Wijnkoop, literary candidate at the University of Leyden and rabbi of the Jewish Congregation in Amsterdam, states in his book, Manual of Hebrew Grammar, “Waw is a softly, scarcely audible pronounced w, which is produced by a quick opening of the lips,” (Forgotten Books, Classic Reprint Series, 2015, p. 3, original publication 1898).

Dr. Steven E. Fassberg, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard and teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a professor in the Hebrew language department and who headed the University’s Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and has contributed to numerous  works such as The Encyclopedia Judaica, stated: “There is no doubt that the original sound was w and not v. Sometime during the history of the Hebrew language there was a shift from w > v in pronunciation, probably already during the Mishnaic Period [70 CE-200 CE]” (email correspondence).

We posed the  V vs. W question to the Hebrew language Department at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. The Department Chair, Professor Adina Moshavi, responded in great detail: “I believe there are many ways to demonstrate that the waw was not originally pronounced as a bilabial “v” as it is in Tiberian Hebrew.  The fact that the waw is frequently used as a mater lectionis for a long u sound would be impossible to explain if it was pronounced v, like the bet rafeh, rather as the semivowel w.  Furthermore, there are many Hebrew words where a historical dipthong aw, as evidenced from Semitic cognates, has been reduced to a long vowel, e.g., in hiphil perfect of w-initial verbs hawrid > horid “he brought down”, or in the word yawm > yom “day”, and alternations between a dipthong and a long vowel, e.g.,absolute mawwet vs. construct mot “death.”  Such correspondences are only understandable if the phonetic value of the waw was a semivowel.”

The Aramaic language became the common language throughout the Middle East, eventually displacing Assyrian cuneiform as the predominant writing system. Aramaic is still spoken today in parts of Turkey, Iraq and Iran. “An Aramaic institute was established in 2007 by Damascus University that teaches courses to keep the language alive. The institute’s activities were suspended in 2010 amidst fears that the square Aramaic alphabet used in the program too closely resembled the square script of the Hebrew alphabet and all the signs with the square Aramaic script were taken down.” Wikipedia “The Persians adopted Aramaic. The Babylonians adopted it and so did the Jews. It then prevailed as the language of the Middle East until 700 AD.” (Easter Sunday: A Syrian bid to resurrect Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ)

Another interesting fact is found in the Aramaic alphabet. The Hebrew square script used today derived its letters from Aramaic around the time of the Babylonian exile. Being the language the Messiah spoke as well as the biblical patriarch Jacob, it uses a “w” for the sixth letter. We read in Deuteronomy 26:5, “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.”

Ugaritic and later Semitic languages like Arabic, Maltese, and Ge’ez, all use a double “u” comparatively for the letter. This fact dynamites any possibility that the sixth letter had the sound of a “v” anciently as these languages all derive from older Semitic languages through Aramaic and as far  back as Phoenician, i.e. ancient Hebrew.

Another substantiation is the linguistic study of the Yemenite Jews of Arabia. These Jews were never displaced from the region. Edward Horowitz writes: “The sound of waw a long time ago wasn’t ‘vav’ at all but ‘w’ and ‘w’ is weak. The Yemenite Jews of Arabia who retain an ancient, correct, and pure pronunciation of Hebrew still pronounce the waw as ‘w,’ as does Arabic, the close sister language of Hebrew,” How the Hebrew Language Grew, pp. 29-30.

From this and other incontrovertible evidence, we see that any name for Yahweh like Yehovah, Yahvah, Yahveh, etc., has no basis in historical and linguistic fact.

The Pagan Origins Of “God” And “Lord”

A Tight Collection Of Notes Regarding The Pagan Origins Of “God” And “Lord” and why rejection of them is most reasonable.
Agreed-upon:
1) It is wrong to use anything besides the Sacred Name when reading a scripture that contains The Name. Substitutes not allowed.
2) The Scriptures transliterate names of pagan gods and kings. Thus, by example, Yah teaches transliteration.
3) For clarity, titles should be translated -> idea-for-idea, accurately rendering Yah’s Thoughts and Priorities.These are not issues. OK? The Issue:
We are commanded to not utter the names of pagan deities. We have reason to believe that names of pagan deities are a common part of the English vocabulary, and thus should be avoided in a devotional context.
Exo 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other elohim, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.This author is focusing on the use of “other elohim” in a devotional context. Days of the week and other topics will not be addressed here. Further, we only summarize points relative to the common titles “god” and “lord”.Is it possible that pagan names have crept into worship?Admission: Word origin (etymology) usually has an element of uncertainty. When we trace a word or name to its possible origin, there is a chance we have missed something, or made a false connection. Conjecture abounds.
The names of deities do travel great distances. Mithra originated in Persia. Then the Romans brought Mithra to Central Europe, where his worship was mingled with Christian practices.

Ishtar originated in Assyrio-Babylonian mythology, and made her way to central Europe, as the sunrise goddess, Ēostre or Ostara. (Christians will deny this).

The name “god” originated somewhere in the eastern hemisphere, and has made its way all the way to Asia, where American territories and allies use it frequently.
Modern pagans in the USA (yes, they do exist) freely invoke the names of Egyptian, Babylonian and Teutonic deities.

It is certainly possible that the name of pagan deities would make their way across great distances. These deities travel with people, and people migrate great distances.

Could pagan names in our mouths be an issue today?

Without a doubt, the answer is Yes. In the last days, Yahshua tells his people, worldwide, to come out of Babylon. Babylon was global before global was cool.

Twice, Yahshua’s Revelation warns us about “names of blasphemy” associated with the beast. Note this is the plural form, “names”, and the beast is filled with them (Rev 17:3)
Combining these facts, Yahshua’s Revelation makes it a certainty that “names of blasphemy” is a matter of concern for his people worldwide at the end time.

Why would “names of blasphemy” apply to the command cited, above, from Exodus 23:13?

Connecting “names of blasphemy” to pagan names is easily done by looking at the interpretation that best fits the facts.

In Isaiah 66:1-3, Yahweh condemns a hypocrite, and (among other things) states the following in vs. 3b:“ … he that burneth incense, is as if he blessed an idol.
Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.”

That clause, “he that burneth incense, is as if he blessed an idol” is translated in the Greek Septuagint as:

“… he that gives frankincense for a memorial, is as a blasphemer.”
(the above taken from http://www.ecmarsh.com/lxx/Esaias/index.htm)
Thus, the names of blasphemy are connected to blessing an idol, through the word “blasphemy” (Greek #988 and 989) in our Greek copies of Revelation and Isaiah. Though “blasphemy” has a handful of applications and interpretations, this one best fits the facts: The “names of blasphemy” in Yahshua’s Revelation are the names used in idolatrous worship around the world.

This connects Revelation to a systematic theology against these names, meaning, it is a continuation of ancient warnings. In addition to Exodus 23:13, we have:
Psa 16:4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

Hos 2:17 For I will take away the names of the Baals out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

If this is not the correct interpretation, then what are the “names of blasphemy”? Outside of Sacred Name teaching, no one seems to have a systematic theology for this issue, even though it emerges twice in Yahshua’s Revelation.
What is the problem with the name “god”?

We start with “god”, because it is easiest to demonstrate. Weakest data first and building from there.

Linguistic theory of the origin of “god” shows it is perhaps from the Sanskrit (Proto-Indo-European) root “gheu” meaning to call, or else to pour. It can go either way.

The meaning “call” is connected to the Hindu deity Indra through the epithet (secondary name) “khuta”, meaning “invoked one”. This is not necessarily a problem. After all, Yahweh is invoked too. But that idea does not accurately translate the word “elohim.” Other possible meanings and origins of “god” are even more problematic.

The alternate meaning, “pour”, is interpreted as either pouring a drink offering or pouring a molten idol.
The citation, below, from the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Ed. Vol VI, begins at once with uncertainty.

The word, geotan, highlighted in red, will be important, as will be the Greek cuton.

The connection with molten images, suggested near the end, is most alarming, but deemed unlikely by the author. That is, unlikely until other data is considered.
At dictionary.com, under “ingot” we get this: 1350-1400; Middle English: literally, (something) poured in, equivalent to in- in-

1
+ got (e) a stream, Old English *gota, akin to gēotan to flow; cognate with German giessen, Gothic giutan, Old Norse gjōta to pour
From: ingot. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ingot

Thus, the “got” in “ingot” means “to pour”. The form “geotan” appears above both in the speculative derivation for “god”, and for the “got” in “ingot”. It is eerily similar to “Godan”, one of the names of Wodin/Woden/Wodan.

While the “got” in “ingot” comes from a word meaning to pour, linguistic sources shy away from connecting god->got-> g,heu (pour) in Sanskrit. Thus, the Sanskrit/Proto-Indo-European data is both ugly and elusive.

Note the mention of the Greek “cuton”, above, meaning “cast” (as in molten metal). This Greek word is sounded like “khuton”. Though evidently cognate with Sanskrit “khuto”, that connection is rejected out of hand by the citation, above.
While the Sanskrit-origin path is unclear, (to scholars, anyway), an alternate explanation is the importation of “god” from the Semitic word “gawd” (H1408, 1409).In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word gad (or rather gawd) is usually a nice word with positive meanings. In the one case where it is part of a religious scenario, it is condemned, as it is the name of a deity.Isa 65:11 But yeH859 are they that forsakeH5800 Yahweh,H3068 that forgetH7913 (H853) my holyH6944 mountain,H2022 that prepareH6186 a tableH7979 for gawd (fortune),H1408 and that furnishH4390 the drink offeringH4469 unto that number meni (luck).H4507 (citation adapted from esword withStrong’s numbers).That alone should eject the word “god” from the vocabulary of the saints. At a minimum, the English “god” sounds JUST LIKE the name of a Babylonian deity of luck.

A cogent connection between the central European “god” and the Semitic “gawd” is found in the name for the Almighty in Slavic languages in Eastern Europe, which is right next door to Central Europe. “Bog” is the name they use. And its fundamental meaning is “Rich”.
Even more, while the Semitic “gawd” also means “troop”, Slavic mythology has legends of “bogatyrs”, who were soldiers of fortune. The following table may clarify the connection.

The intellectual connection between the Semitic “gawd” and the Slavic “bog” lends weight to the likelihood of a deity having to do with “wealth” migrating around central and Eastern Europe.

It should be remembered that there is no literary evidence connecting “god” to Sanskrit. Those connections stated above by the pros are admittedly conjecture. They are unverified, but plausible.
The connection to the Semitic “gawd” is just as plausible, if not more so, with that connection to Slavic “bog”.

More importantly than the above, despite any origin, the Teutonic word “god” (and related words) always pointed to Germanic idols and false deities. First, keep in mind that pagan mythology and religion are related, but not the same thing. Religion calls into play devotional practices. In “Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs” (2002) by John Lindow, page 147, the author speaks to the use of this word “god” in mythology.

It is significant that the word “god” is used almost always in a plural form in mythology, and that it appears in singular only in reference to the sun, or else an alternate pagan deity. But in religious practice, “god” is used for idols. Only in later, Christian times, is the word “god” brought screaming into a Monotheistic interpretation. This is explained in the following citation from the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica:
The fact that “god” was always a pagan deity, and (if you prefer the Semitic root) the fact that “gawd” is the name of a known Babylonian deity, should cause us to remove this word “god” from our worship AT ONCE.
But these words were never pagan to me.
This statement suggests that if something is done in ignorance enough times, then it becomes sanctified. On the other hand, the great apostle said:
Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance Elohim winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:The forgoing material may seem like a witch hunt. But the urgency to “Come out of her, my people” points to a need for diligent inquiry. There is something here to which Yahshua is alerting the end-time saints. And since Revelation is directed through 7 gentile assemblies, the focus should be on names used among the nations.
What is the problem with the word “lord”?

Let it be agreed that the word “lord” should not be rejected, merely because it was used as a substitute for the Holy Name.

Linguistic Theory says that “lord” comes from “hlaf-ward”, where:“hlaf” means loaf and “ward” means “keeper”, like a warden.

At this time, this author has nothing in analysis of the word, “ward”.

The word “hlaf”, for loaf, is more interesting. From http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=loaf

loaf (n.)
late 13c., from Old English hlaf “portion of bread baked in a mass of definite form,” from Proto-Germanic *khlaibuz, the common Germanic word for “bread” (source also of Old Norse hleifr, Swedish lev, Old Frisian hlef, Old High German hleib, German Laib, Gothic hlaifs “bread, loaf”).The Germanic root is of uncertain origin; it is perhaps connected to Old English hlifian “to raise higher, tower,” on the notion of the bread rising as it bakes, but (according to OED) it is unclear whether “loaf” or “bread” is the original sense. It is disguised in lord and lady. Finnish leipä, Estonian leip, Old Church Slavonic chlebu, Lithuanian klepas probably are Germanic loan words.
The words in Bold, above, draw the connection to the Latin word “Libum”, from which it is derived. A closer look at “loaf” reveals:
From: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/loaf
Word Origin
Old English hlāf; related to Old High German hleib bread, Old Norse hleifr,
Latin libum cake
So, what does “libum” mean? From: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/libum
Noun[edit]
ībum n (genitive lībī); second declension
1. pancake (sacred to the gods)
Key point:
Other online sources (For example: http://www.latin-dictionary.org/libum) also show that this libum cake is sacrificed to the gods on one’s 50th birthday.
Here is the connection:
Libum (pagan sacrifice cake) -> hlieb (Old German for bread) -> hlaf (for loaf) + ward->hlaf+ward->lord
The last step is the hardest to accept. But if this is true, “lord” means a pagan sacrifice cake keeper. Yes, we are reaching back far, but the urgency of Yahshua’s Revelation compels us to test all things.
Isn’t the foregoing a stretch?
erhaps it is, in at least two(2) dimensions.
As is common with word evolution, “libum” is hidden in the word “lord” through centuries of contraction. Though this author is unwilling to use “lord” in worship, perhaps some will think the long evolution of this word has adequately cleansed it … Rather like those who think a sufficiently hot deep-fryer will cleanse the fried chicken made in the same vat as shrimp and crabs.More importantly, the transition from “hlaf-ward” to lord is a stretch. In Surnames as a Science (1883), Robert Ferguson expresses doubt over “Lord” coming from “hlaf-ward”, he states under LORD, LORDING (Kindle Locations 2847-2848):
We may take the above to be the same as an [Ango-Saxon] Lorta and Lorting, … And whatever may be the origin, it is certainly not [Ango-Saxon] hlaford, Eng. “lord.”
The connection from “hlaf-ward” to “lord” becomes abundantly absurd when considering the middle-English form “Lorde”, which is common in old Geneva Bibles, a sample of which is pasted below. It’s hard to see how
“hlaf-ward” would morph into “Lorde” with that “e” at the end.Psa 23:1 A Psalme of Dauid. The Lorde is my shephearde, I shall not want.The case against “lord” is much stronger than the “hlaf-ward” connection, owing to its evident cognate status with pagan deities from the past. The following is an expansion of material available in Elder Chris Koster’s work, “The Final Reformation” (also known as “Come Out of Her My People”, under the section on LORD, subsection (a) LARTH, which is the strongest evidence.Koster’s section will be pasted at the end, but material you can check will be provided first.There was a household idol from Roman days, which appeared in pairs. Singularly, one was called a “Lar” and when they started popping up in pairs, they were called “Lares”. The form Lar was also cognate with Larth.
Koster makes the following connection within an ocean of legitimate linguistic data:
Lar / Larth ->Lard ->Lord
Information on Lar and Lares is available in many places. You are invited to do n internet search on your own.
First consider the Lar connection to Larth. It was a common prefix name, meaning “Lord”, as shown here:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3DLar1

Lār or Lars , Lartis, m.,
I.a prænomen of Etruscan origin (in Etruscan, usu: “the prefix of the first-born, while a younger son was called Aruns. The name Lar, Lars, or Larth was an honorary appellation in Etruscan, = Engl. lord): Lars Tolumnius, rex Veientium,” Cic. Phil. 9, 2; Liv. 4, 17, 1; 4, 58, 7: “ad Lartem Porsenam,” id. 2, 9 (nom. Lar, Charis. 110 P.).From: A Latin Dictionary. Founded on Andrews’ edition of Freund’s Latin dictionary. revised, enlarged, and in great part rewritten by. Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and. Charles Short, LL.D. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1879.Next …
The Middle English Dictionary (online) is a recent achievement. The entry of “lord” is located at this link: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/m/mec/med-idx?size=First+100&type=headword&q1=lord&rgxp=constrainedThey list several variants of the word “lord” from Middle English:
lōrd (n.) Also lorde, lorte, lhord,
(errors) lor, lorlde & loverd,
(early) lovered, lowerd, lhoaverd, hloverd,
(errors) lover, lorverde & lard,
(early & N) laverd,
(early) lavord, lavard, laverred, lavert, laferd, laford, lhaferd, hlaverd, hlavord, hlaford, (error) laver &(early) leverd, læverd, leaverd, leoverð. Pl. lōrdes, etc. &

(?error) lōrde &
(early) hlāforde(n; pl.gen. lōrdes & lōrden(e & (early) lōverde, lāfordæ, hlāforden.The purpose of posting this list is to note and compare ancient spellings for “lord”. It is especially intriguing that forms deemed to be “error” are nearly identical to non-error forms. “lorde” is deemed an error, yet we see it plainly in the Geneva Bible.  It is most significant to compare the existence of 1-syllable and 2-syllable forms, as though the parallel history of two different words are mixed up together.The citation from Koster’s book is here. (Downloadable PDF: http://www.sa-hebroots.com/koster.htm)(a) LARTH: There was an Etruscan house deity whose name was Lar, which signified “Lord”, also known as Larth, who later on became very popular in Rome and became known as Lares (plural), because as idol statues they were usually in pairs. This deity was invoked together with Janus, Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus and Bellona. The Greek equivalent of this name was Heros, which was another name for Zeus, as we have seen previously in this article. A feminine form was known as Lara, who was the beloved of Mercury, the Sun-deity. Another name for Zeus was Larissaeus, which also was another name for Apollo. Zeus was also known as or Lariseus, while Larasios was also a surname of Helios. Typical of the syncretism and polytheism of those days, we read of emperor Alexander Severus (222 – 235 C.E.) who “had images of Abraham, Christ and Alexander the Great among his household Lares.” These Lares are to be found in the East as well, seen in niches in Hindu houses. However, what is the analogy between Larth (Lar) and Lord? Firstly, all sources agree, that this Lar or Larth means: Lord. Secondly, it is well documented that “the” and “d” were virtually interchangeably used, varying from nation to nation. Thirdly, in Old English and Middle English it was common to find the “o” and “a” interchangeably used too. In the Middle English Dictionary, editor S.M. Kuhn, we read that lord was earlier spelt lard; that lor became lord; that lor was spelt lar in Old English (meaning: the action or process of teaching or preaching); that Lore-fader was also spelt Larfaderr or Larefadir or larfadir (meaning:teacher); that lorspel was lar-spel in Old English (meaning: that which is taught in religion); and that lor-theu was previously also spelt lar-theow, lardewe, lardewen, lauerd, lordeau (meaning: teacher or spiritual or theological teacher). Thus we can easily see the ease of identifying Lard, Lord, Larth, Lor, Lar, Lortheu, Lartheow, Lardewe with one another. In fact, it is easier to trace the origin of “Lord” according to this well documented evidence, rather than the commonly held belief that it originated from hlaf-weard.What is most compelling is that these lord-related word, beginning with the household idols used to “lord” over a home or public place, form a continuum of thought in the arena of master and teacher. This by far beats the mental gymnastics summoned to derive “lord” from “hlaf-word”.

Summary Points for “god”

“god” perhaps comes from a reconstructed Sanskrit root, likely meaning to pour a molten idol. We get this from the connection of “ingot” to the very same Proto-Indo-European root claimed by linguists. This would obviously be unacceptable.

If “god” comes from the reconstructed Sanskrit root “to invoke”, in itself, that would not be a problem. But that makes it an inaccurate translation of Elohim, which means “mightiest one” or “Almighty.” It’s hard to justify a word translation which obviously distorts a ubiquitous, Spirit-Breathed Description of Yahweh in The Scriptures.Or else “god” comes from the Semitic gad/gawd, condemned in scripture in the context of worship.

Or else it came belching forth directly from the bowels of Teutonic mythology, a word always pointing to an idol.

Regardless of your tack, “god” falls short of the intention to faithfully translate a title. In three of the four possibilities, it is unacceptable out-of-hand.

Summary Points for “lord”
Either ”lord” means “keeper of the pagan sacrificial loaf”, using “the hlaf-ward” derivation.

Or

“lord” comes from the household deities named “Lar/Larth” singular and Lares plural. Through old-middle English, its evolution forms a continuum of thoughts in the realm of lord/master/teacher.What is a useful translation for “Elohim”?

In reference to Yah, the most literal way to convey the thought behind “Elohim” is “Almighty”. It is a perfect bulls-eye. In reference to pagan deities, this author has no concerns.
What about other languages, like Greek?
Though the handling of this matter in other languages is beyond the scope of this summary, the handling of Names and Titles in the Greek NT texts is striking. There are at least three (3) text types, which scholars enjoy arguing over. Regardless of textual type, the earliest ones ALL exhibit the “Nomina Sacra”, where we would expect to find Sacred Names and titles. This phenomenon is typically two or three letters of a name or title (an abbreviation) with a line drawn over it. E.g., ̅̅𝒌𝒔̅̅ for “kurios” The purpose of these devices is still a matter of debate. Because this practice is so ancient, we must learn why full-form “theos” and “kurios” never made it into the earliest Greek texts. Until that mystery is explained cogently, there is no compelling reason to leverage “theos” and “kurios” (which have their own questions) as an excuse to be undisciplined in modern times.
Overall Summary

We have an end-time warning about names (plural) of blasphemy, coming to us from Yahshua through 7 gentile assemblies. The saints of all nations should be examining what they use to describe The Supreme Being. In English, the common terms lord and god have fallen short. Yahshua’s Revelation is most likely about this very thing. If not about this, what could it be, to merit such warning in the final Revelation?

One might cling to a more favorable theory about the origins of these words. But, who among us has the supernatural ability to know which one it is? It doesn’t matter: In no case, does “god” convey the inspired concept of “Elohim”, and both of the lord-derivations are unsatisfactory.

Psa 19:13-14 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me:
then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Yahweh, my strength, and my redeemer. To the chief Musician.

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Why They Call Them Testaments

A testament refers to a statement affirming the value of something. It is where the term “last will and testament” derives. To label the two divisions of the Bible “Old Testament” and “New Testament” is regrettable. In fact, use of the term “testament” conceals a core truth about the Scriptures that has contributed to 2,000 years of misunderstanding and serious doctrinal error.

The word “testament” comes from the Latin testamentum, translated from the Greek diatheke. The Greek means either testament or covenant. Diatheke is found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians in an account of the Last Supper.

Paul recorded Yahshua’s words in 1Corinthians 11:25: “This cup is the new covenant [diatheke] in my blood.” We see how testament would not fit here because “new” is kainos (2537), as in freshness. Vines Expository Dictionary explains: “…not new in time [as if appearing for the first time] but as to form or quality, of a different nature…” The first recorded designation of the collection of the Hebrew books was by Melito of Sardis in the late second century (recorded in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History). In his listing of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures (the first such list among the extant Christian writings), he called the group of writings the “Old Covenant” (Greek: palaia diatheke).

The Greek word for “covenant” (diatheke) was translated by Jerome in the fifth century into the Latin Vulgate as testamentum. Because the Latin Vulgate was widely used throughout the Middle Ages, it greatly influenced later translations into vernacular languages. Thus, one of the first English translations of the Bible, made by John Wyclif in the fourteenth century (1382), translated diatheke as “testament,” following the Latin testamentum. William Tyndale’s sixteenth-century English translation followed suit (1524), along with the Geneva Bible (1557) and the 1611 King James Bible.

So now the two divisions of the English Bible are known as the Old and New Testaments, although in the English text diatheke is usually translated “covenant.” The two words are therefore regarded as basically synonymous, but this is misleading. Kainos in Acts 2 is said of Vines, “These languages, however, were ‘new’ and ‘different,’ not in the sense that they had never been heard before, or that they were new to the hearers, for it is plain from v. 8 that this is not the case; they were new languages to the speakers, different from those in which they were accustomed to speak.” If this were glossolalia, it would be totally new.

It’s the same with the “new” covenant. When Jerome translated the Greek to Latin in the fourth century, he used testamentum 30 times. The word for “covenant” (diatheke) is used only about 30 times in the New Testament — mostly in the letter to the Why They Call Them ‘Testaments’ The terms New Covenant and New Testament are often confused. At the core of the biblical covenant lies obedience, the first thing many want to throw out. No wonder “testament” was chosen over “covenant”! “ So now the two divisions of the English Bible are known as the Old and New Testaments, although in the English text diatheke is usually translated “covenant.”

The Scriptures are either absolute or they are obsolete. Your only permanent possession in this world is the record of your life. Hebrews. In the Evangels it is in reference to the institution of the Eucharist: for example, see Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24 and Luke 22:20 — just like Paul’s account. Contrasted with the Old “Testament” the word “covenant” appears almost 300 times. The Old Testament was written down as a whole unit in Greek (the Septuagint) in the second century BCE. Of course, parts of it had originally been recorded in Hebrew. In Hebrew texts the word for “covenant” is berith, which best translates as “to bind” as in an agreement. While the Latin testamentum and Hebrew berith all roughly translate as “covenant,” there are differences.

Understanding these differences makes the meaning of “Old and New Testament” more powerful. Berith most often meant an agreement, even a treaty, between two parties. Sometimes these were sealed in blood. (Berith can also mean “to cut.”) Yahweh made a covenant promise to make Abraham’s heirs a great nation and, again, to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Not an Exact Translation While New Testament writers used the Greek diatheke for “covenant,” many scholars note that diatheke is not exactly a translation of berith. Another word that might might have been more appropriate is syntheke, which means “to bind together” as a law or treaty might do. Diatheke instead refers to an agreement more like a “last will and testament.” And diatheke was clearly the word chosen by the New Testament writers.

Why? Syntheke and berith usually refer to an agreement to be fulfilled in the future, like a treaty or the probate of our last wills and testaments. Old Testament covenants can indeed be seen in that light: Yahweh promised Abraham that, in the future, he would father a great nation. Our wills are seen by our heirs as things they will get in the future. We have to die first, though. But a Greek living in the Greek world of the New Testament would have understood diatheke differently.

In Syro-Grecian law of the time, as noted by the early 20th century biblical theologian Geerhardus Vos, a diatheke disposition of property (like a bequest in a will) could be made during one’s lifetime and have an immediate effect. So if you made someone your heir, it was an immediate form of legal adoption. No waiting on the future. So from the Old Testament covenant as a binding agreement between two parties, sealed in blood, with a future benefit, we now find a covenant that immediately makes someone part of the family.

From Grace to Obedience

From Grace to Obedience

From Grace to Obedience

 

“Guilty” was the jury’s verdict. The judge’s sentence: death by lethal injection. For Adam Sinclair Smith, a convicted murderer, the nightmare of that January day seven years ago had played endlessly through his mind. In a jealous rage he had taken a man’s life. He realized that he deserved the death penalty for what he had done. No amount of agonizing or remorse could change that.

Regardless of how many times he pleaded for forgiveness from the victim’s family, no matter how much he wished he could relive events, one persistent fact remained: Adam deserved to die. The law was the law. He was guilty of a capital crime and would pay the utmost price for his sin. With nowhere else to turn, he sought mercy from the governor.

 

‘You Have Been Pardoned’

Just minutes before his scheduled execution, Adam heard the most wonderful words ever spoken to a condemned man: “By the grace of the governor of this state, you have been pardoned.”

“I can’t believe it,” he said to himself.

“He pardoned me! I can live!”

Humbly thankful for the gracious pardon, Adam vowed from that point on that he would be a model citizen. And he never was in trouble with the law again.

The foregoing illustrates the concept of scriptural grace and how it works in the believer’s life.

No person on earth is sin-free. Paraphrasing the words of Nathan the prophet to King David, “We are that man.” We all deserve to die for our sins, Romans 5:12; 1John 1:10. We earned our fate and nothing we can do can change that fact. Only the mercy of Yahweh and the sacrificial death of Yahshua can save us.

Being sinless, our Savior was the only one who could pay the death penalty in our stead. Yahweh’s grace in sending His Son to die for us is our only hope for salvation. Like the governor in Adam Smith’s case, only Yahweh and His Son can release us from the death sentence our sins earned.

In Romans 6 Paul explains the operation of Yahweh’s grace. The chapter is a profound study in the transformation that takes place in a True Worshiper under Yahweh’s grace. In the last verse of chapter 5 Paul writes, “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Yahshua the Messiah our Master.”

Few other concepts are as misunderstood as Yahweh’s grace. What does Paul mean in Ephesians 2:8 that we are saved by grace? Is he saying that the statutes of Yahweh are no longer binding in this New Testament era? If so, what of the many passages warning us of disobedience and the necessity to watch carefully lest we fall again into the condemnation of the unrighteous?

Now suppose the condemned man went right out and repeated the crime for which he was pardoned. Wouldn’t his actions violate the spirit of the pardon? Certainly! The governor didn’t save him by his grace so that he would go out and commit serious crimes all over again. Would not the courts and the governor deal with the man much more harshly the next time? Absolutely!

Yahweh’s grace is no different. What’s the point of Yahweh’s grace  – His favor on sinful human beings – if once pardoned we deliberately return to sinful ways?

The words, “grace reigns through righteousness,” are key. The New Testament in Modern English translates the phrase, “Now grace is the ruling factor, with righteousness as its purpose and its end.” Grace is not static. It is active and it must work daily in the believer’s life.

Yahweh’s grace has an objective: that we will repent and turn from sin to live uprightly as we follow in Yahshua’s footsteps. Obedience is the mechanism allowing that to take place. That means to obey His laws, since sin is clearly defined as the transgression of the law, 1 John 3:4.

Paul explains further in chapter 6 how grace works in the life of the repentant sinner. “What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Yahweh forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (vv. 1-2)

To accept Yahweh’s grace—His pardon for our sins—and then turn back or continue sinful ways as if nothing happened is to pervert the whole purpose of grace. We make Yahweh’s grace  pointless if we accept His pardon only to repeat the sin.

Hebrews 10:26-27 warns of practicing intentional sin: “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

Further in the chapter we find this solemn warning: “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden underfoot the Son of Elohim, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:29). The word “despite” means, “to insult.” If we continue in sin after receiving Yahweh’s grace, we show contempt for Yahweh.

Slipping up and making a mistake is one thing, willfully returning to sin is another entirely. In Galatians 6 Paul explains the difference.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself lest you be tempted.” “Overtaken” is the Greek prolambano and means, “to be taken off-guard in a trespass.” “Fault” is the word paraptoma and signifies a slip or lapse, rather than a deliberate act.

We have only this option: obey the law, which is righteousness, or don’t obey, which is sin. If we obey, we can’t be blamed.

The next part of the verse reads, “For you are not under the law but under grace.” How clear! Through Yahweh’s grace (His pardon) our former sins will not be held against us. The penalty for breaking the law has been paid by Yahshua’s sacrifice. By trusting in His grace, we will not need to pay the penalty ourselves, which the law demands.

The wages of sin is death, Paul wrote in Romans 6:23. In our case it is Yahshua’s death in exchange for our own. If we continue in sin that has been pardoned, we make a mockery of His sacrifice.

 

The Upright Not Condemned

Does this passage mean that we are free from the law now and can go out and sin again, as some seem to say? The Greek word for grace is charis and is defined as the divine influence on the heart and its reflection in one’s life.

Simply put, under Yahweh’s grace we now emulate His righteous nature. We begin to think and act as He does. That means refraining from sin, which is the same as adhering to His standard, His laws.

When we come in line with His law by righteous living, the law with its incrimination and penalties for the disobedient has no claim on us. In Romans 8:1-2 Paul explains this concept:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Messiah Yahshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yahshua has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

The critical word is “condemnation,” which results from lawbreaking. When we live according to Yahweh’s statutes, we are innocent of sin and therefore free from condemnation and punishment.

An unintentional slipup is certainly covered by grace for the repentant. But if you continue to repeat the sin, you are mocking the spirit of grace and are subject to Yahweh’s wrath.

Paul continues in verses 3-12 of Romans 6, asking, how can we who have followed Yahshua into the waters of baptism and have buried our old carnal life, continue in our old ways? Particularly since baptism means a putting to death of the “old man.” We must become dead to sin, he tells us in verse 11.

A person who has yielded his life to Yahweh, having put to death his sinful nature, must now live a new life of obedience, Paul explains in verse 13. As he puts it, we become “instruments of righteousness.”

Righteousness derives from a Greek word meaning right or just. The opposite is wrong or sin, which is lawbreaking.

Moving on in verse 14 Paul writes, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law but under grace.” Does he mean that after all he has just said about giving up sin that we are no longer under any obligation to obey Yahweh’s law? How is that possible when the law itself defines what sin is? (‘‘For where no law is, there is no transgression,” Rom. 4: 15.) Let’s examine the verse by segments.

First, for sin not to have dominion over us we have to be out from under it. The only way to accomplish that is by obedience to the law because sin by definition is lawbreaking.

As we have demonstrated, to be free of sin is to be obedient to His law. The same concept is found in Galatians 5: 16, where Paul writes, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

If grace means we are not under obligation to keep Yahweh’s laws, then grace gives the okay to sin! To this the prophet Jeremiah speaks for Yahweh in 7:9-10:

“Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other deities whom you know not; And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’?” Yahweh answers that because of these sins and that kind of attitude, “I will cast you out of my sight,” verse 15.

“But does that mean that I am free to do anything I please under grace?” you may be asking. Let Paul answer that question. The very next verse of this chapter, Romans 6:15, reads,

“What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? Yahweh forbid. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey: whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

Under Yahweh’s grace we are expected to live obedient lives, giving honor and worship to Him alone as His special people.

When we sin we are unrighteous. This is shown in verse 20: “For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.”

 

What ‘Under the Law’ Means

The converse is just as true: to be righteous is to be free from sin. No one can be legally arrested for doing good. No sheriff will arrest me for saving a drowning man. There is no law against doing good.

When you do good, you are not under the condemnation of any law. The demands of the law are already met, therefore, and you have no debt to the law. This is what Paul means by not being under the law. It does not mean the law is no longer in effect.  A murderer would not be condemned to die if there were no law against murder. And he would not need a pardon or grace.

Yahweh offers His grace and sent Yahshua to die for our sins for the plain and simple fact that the law is still in effect. Because the law is in force, the penalty for breaking it is real, or else we would have no need to fear sin’s consequences.

Some will argue that Yahshua came to do away with the law and thus we are under grace. This belief falls flat if we can find grace in the Old Testament. Sure enough, in Genesis 6:8 we find, “Noah found grace in the eyes of Yahweh.” Because of grace, Yahweh saved him from the penalty of death by drowning. Exodus 34:5-7 reads like something out of the Book of Galatians. It speaks of Yahweh’s mercy, grace, longsuffering, and abundance in goodness and truth.

If grace existed in the days of ancient Israel, then why does Yahweh command Israel to keep the Ten Commandments? Why should it be any different with us?

We are under grace so long as we do not continue to break the law. Grace is not a permanent condition of the believer but a gift granted by Almighty Yahweh. That gift can be rejected through our rebellion and acts of disobedience.        “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of Elohim; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled,” Hebrews 12: 15.

 

Salvation Cannot Be Earned

Being law observant has nothing to do with “earning” salvation. I don’t get any special reward for paying my taxes on time, for keeping the peace, for not robbing my neighbor or mugging a stranger. I’m simply obeying laws. I’m not earning a thing by being law abiding.

Paul writes in the Book of Ephesians, “For by grace are you saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of Yahweh: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” 2:8- 9.

Nothing we humans can do earns us a place in the Kingdom because Yahweh has not defined obedience that way. Obedience simply engenders Yahweh’s favor and demonstrates our faith in and love for Him. Obedience is the criteria by which He judges us worthy for the kingdom. We are judged by our works, Romans 2:6; Revelation 22:12.

Now if I fail to pay my taxes, if I rob a bank, disturb the peace or mug someone, I will come under the penalty of the law. Yahweh says in Galatians 5:19-21 that those who practice sin are also lawbreakers. Unrepentant lawbreakers will not inherit the Kingdom.

Yahweh’s people love and serve Him and want above all else to please Him. In several Scriptures we find that the love of Yahweh is defined as the keeping of His commandments. (See John 14:15, 21; lJohn 2:5; 5:3; 2John 6.)

Only Yahweh can grant salvation and at His own pleasure. Therefore, we want to be sure we have His favor by being obedient to what He commands. “And being made perfect He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him,” we read in Hebrews 5:9.

Lawkeeping is not salvation by works. Rather, it is salvation by obedience. Obedience can’t guarantee me a position in the Kingdom, but disobedience will keep me out of it!

We complete our faith by following through with action. A faith that is sincere is proved by what we do about it. When we obey Yahweh’s commandments and other laws in our daily life, we prove our faith in Him while pleasing Him at the same time.

Yahweh’s grace is a wonderful gift. May we never forfeit that grace through willful disobedience.

Angelic Realm

Shedding Light on the Angelic Realm Part 2

In shedding light on the angelic realm part 1 we looked at some general characteristics of angels, including their existence, their appearance, their knowledge, their purpose, and more. In this segment we will delve into the different types of angels based on what we find in Judaism and the Bible.

Let’s begin by reviewing how Judaism defines this hierarchy of angels. Because different Jewish scholars had diverse opinions on the hierarchy of angels, you may see different results depending on the source and unique views.

Angelic Hierarchy

For our list we will refer to a man known as Maimonides, whose birth name was Moses ben Maimon and who lived in the 12th century. He was a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most influential scholars of the Middle Ages. Part of his work included defining the following hierarchy of angels:

  • Chayot Ha Kodesh
  • Ophanim
  • Erelim
  • Hashmallim
  • Seraphim
  • Malakim
  • Elohim
  • Bene Elohim
  • Cherubim
  • Ishim

Descriptions for each of these angelic classes follows. Understand that much of the information is rabbinic or traditional, and even mystic from the Kabbalah. In no way does Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry vouch for those lacking biblical attribution. The descriptions are provided for educational purposes only.

  • Chayot Ha Kodesh – “The living creatures, living beings, are a class of heavenly beings described in the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the heavenly chariot in the first and tenth chapters of the Book of Ezekiel. References to the creatures recur in texts of Second Temple Judaism, in rabbinical merkabah (‘chariot’) literature, and in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.” (wikipedia.com)
  • Ophanim – “The ophanim or ofanim (Heb. ‘wheels’), also called galgalim (‘spheres,’ ‘wheels,’ ‘whirlwinds’), refer to the wheels seen in Ezekiel’s vision of the chariot.” (Ibid.)
  • Erelim – “An Arel, Ar’el, or Er’el (Heb. ‘hero,’ ‘valiant one’) refers to a rank of angels in Jewish Kabbalah and Christianity. The name is seen to mean ‘the valiant/courageous.’ They are generally seen as the third highest rank of divine beings/angels below God.” (Ibid.)
  • Hashmallim – “The Hashmallim are angelic entities in Judaism. The word hashmal appears in the Hebrew Bible in Ezekiel 1:4: ‘I saw, and behold, there was a stormy wind coming from the north, a great cloud with flashing fire and a brilliance surrounding it; and from its midst, like the color of the Hashmal from the midst of the fire, and in its midst there was the likeness of four Chayot (living creatures).’ ” (Ibid.)
  • Seraphim – “Tradition places seraphim in the highest rank in Christian angelology and in the fifth rank of ten in the Jewish angelic hierarchy. A seminal passage in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8) used the term to describe six-winged beings that fly around the Throne of God crying ‘holy, holy, holy.’” (Ibid.)
  • Malakim – Hebrew for Angel
  • Elohim – Hebrew for Mighty One/ Mighty Ones
  • Bene Elohim – Sons of the Mighty One
  • Cherubim – “A cherub (plural cherubim) is one of the unearthly beings who directly attend to God according to Abrahamic religions. The numerous depictions of cherubim assign to them many different roles; such as protecting the entrance of the Garden of Eden.” (Ibid.)
  • Ishim – “In Judaism. The Ishim (Heb. ‘men,’ ‘personages,’ ‘personalities,’ individuals’) or Eshim (‘fires,’ ‘flames,’ ‘sparks’) are a class of angels said to be the closest to the affairs of mortals. They are composed of fire and snow, and are described as the ‘beautiful souls of just men’ who reside in Makon, the 5th Heaven.” (Ibid.)

 

Satan As a Cherub

Let’s see what the Bible says about different types of angels. We’ll begin with one you may not have expected, Satan the devil.

In Ezekiel 28 we find a description of Satan before his rebellion. “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith my Sovereign Yahweh; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of Elohim; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of Elohim; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of Elohim: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more,” Ezekiel 28:12-19.

This is a dual prophecy with part referring to the king of Tyrus and part to Satan the devil. What’s intriguing about this passage is that we find in it a description of Satan before his fall, a being full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. These are not characteristics we generally attribute to the Evil One, yet at one point he was wise and beautiful. When you think about the fact that he deceived a third part of all the angels, it is consistent that he would have these grand attributes. Even in the New Testament, Satan is described as an angel of light.

We also see that he was in the garden of Elohim and that every precious stone was his covering. As a side note, every stone mentioned here was also on the breastplate of the high priest.

Satan is also identified as an anointed cherub. As we’ll learn later when we probe the topic of cherubim more extensively, cherubim are a special class of angels among the celestial realm.

Evidence shows that Satan was created. The Bible says that only Yahweh has always had immortality, i.e., eternity.

But Satan fell from grace when iniquity was found in him. The reason for his iniquity is in verse 17: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.”

Ironically, it was Satan’s wisdom and beauty that was his ruin. He allowed his heart to become prideful and, as we see in Isaiah 14, desired to usurp Yahweh’s authority.

An Archangel Named Michael

Another angel, who was a major nemesis to Satan the devil, is Michael the archangel. In Daniel 10, starting in verse 4, we find an inciteful encounter between a messenger, a prince of Persia, and Michael.

“Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy Elohim, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”  Daniel 10:8-13.

Here is an angel delivering a message to Daniel the prophet. What’s intriguing is that this messenger was restrained from coming to Daniel for 21 days while the Persian prince confronted him.

The prince of Persia is likely a fallen angel, evidently one of great strength and power. The messenger was finally able to communicate with Daniel when Michael the archangel came and removed the Persian monarch. This provides us with a glimpse of the angelic realm. Just as we humans have conflict and war, it appears that similar conflict exists in the spirit realm.

We also see indications that there are other archangels similar to Michael; however, Scripture seems to give Michael a premier ranking in the angelic sphere.

Revelation 12:7-8 provides another scene involving Michael. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.”

There are many views on this passage. Some say it’s symbolic, some say it’s literal, some say it has already happened, and some say that it has yet to happen. We believe this is literally speaking about a cosmic battle between Satan and his fallen angels and Michael and his angels. Some believe it is a past event, others future. We lean toward the past, but it’s possible that this could be a future prophecy.

What’s more important, though, is not whether this is past or present, but what we find transpiring between Satan and Michael. As we read in Daniel, we once again see Michael withstanding and defeating Satan and his fallen angels. It also hints that Michael is over Yahweh’s angelic army. This further shows the special role that Michael has among the angelic realm.

A Messenger Named Gabriel

Unlike Michael, Gabriel does not appear to be an angelic warrior. Instead, he serves as a messenger angel; we find him providing prophetic messages to Daniel in chapters 8 and 9 and also to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, and Miriam, the mother of Yahshua, in Luke 1. So while Michael and Gabriel are both archangels, they serve very different roles.

Cherubim

Our next focus is on the cherubim. Satan the devil was once an anointed cherub in the garden of Elohim and ironically the first mention of cherubim is in Genesis 3:24, in the Garden of Eden. “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

After the sin of Adam and Eve, Yahweh cast them out from the Garden of Eden and to prevent them from returning, He placed Cherubim with a flaming sword on the east side. (As a side note, the “im” at the end of cherubim is plural. The singular is simply cherub.)

The cherubim are also found in the following passages:

  • Exodus 25 and 37 – cherubim were placed on the mercy seat upon the Ark of the Covenant.
  • 2Samuel 22:11 and Psalm 18:10 – David describes Yahweh as riding on a cherub.
  • 1Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 3 – Solomon had images of cherubim in Yahweh’s temple.
  • Ezekiel 9:3 – Yahweh’s glory is seen rising from a cherub.
  • Ezekiel 10:2 – Ezekiel is told to gather coals of fire between the cherubim.
  • Ezekiel 28:14 – Satan was once an anointed cherub in the garden of Elohim.
  • Ezekiel 41:18 – images of cherubim will be used in the Millennial Temple.

From these verses we learn that the cherubim: 1) hold a special place in the angelic realm; 2) their images were used in Solomon’s temple and will be used in the millennial Temple; 3) they have wings and can fly and often have a connection with Yahweh’s glory; and 4) Satan was a cherub in the garden of Elohim before he rebelled against Yahweh.

Beyond this, there’s a lot of speculation in Judaism and Christianity as to who and what these creatures are. As we know, most of these beliefs have no biblical basis; they are purely rabbinic or man-made.

Seraphim

Another type of angelic being is the seraphim, found in Isaiah 6:2-4. “Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.”

Probably the most fantastic trait is that the seraphim have six wings – two to cover their face, two to fly, and two to cover their feet. Why they have these characteristics is unclear, although some scholars connect a symbolic meaning, that the wings covering the face indicate humility, while the wings covering the feet signify reverence.

Whatever the case might be, we see they are exceptional beings among the angelic realm. This is the only reference to seraphim that we find in Scripture, but based on this one example, it appears that seraphim may exist to honor and recognize the holiness of Yahweh. In this prophecy, we find them crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh of hosts.” As is seen in the Old Testament, when a word or phrase is repeated three times it’s normally for emphasis. In this example it expresses the supremely holy nature of Almighty Yahweh.

Other instances of this usage of repetition are: Jeremiah 7:4: “Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, are these;” Jeremiah 22:29: “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Yahweh;” and Ezekiel 21:27: “I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.”

Ezekiel’s Vision

One of the most striking and perplexing passages in the Bible is found in the prophecy of Ezekiel 1. According to Barnes’ Notes, special caution is encouraged when reading this passage. “The exposition of the fundamental principles of the existence and nature of a Supreme G-d, and of the created angels, was called by the rabbis ‘the Matter of the Chariot’ (compare 1Chron. 28:18) in reference to the form of Ezekiel’s vision of the Almighty; and the subject was deemed so mysterious as to call for special caution in its study.” Based on this warning, it’s important that we use caution when reviewing this passage.

“And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning,” Ezekiel 1:4-14.

Mentioned here are four living creatures, which in Ezekiel 10:20 are identified as cherubim. “This is the living creature that I saw under the Elohim of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.”

One difference between the cherubim in Genesis 3 and the cherubim we see here is that in Genesis they had two wings and here they have four wings. It appears that cherubim can have a different number of wings.

Another characteristic of the living creatures, or cherubim, is that according to verse 5, they had the appearance of a man, possibly referring to their general stature or the way they stood.

They also had four faces – one of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Many ask whether we should view this literally or figuratively. In other words, are we seeing an angelic being with four faces or are these faces symbolic of something else? I tend to view this literally and not just figuratively, as some do. If what we find here is indeed literal, it shows the diversity, complexity, and uniqueness of the angelic realm. If we could get even a glimpse, what we would find would totally amaze us.

We also discover that their color is like burnished brass. Revelation 1 gives a depiction of Yahshua’s divine presence and He too is described as brass that is burned in the furnace. It appears there’s something very special about burnished brass when it comes to the angelic realm.

The Ophanim

An even more mysterious being is revealed in verses 15-24 of Ezekiel 1. “Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.”

As you can imagine, there are many ideas as to what Ezekiel saw here, including UFOs. Whereas we don’t give any credence to UFO’s, all would agree that the imagery we find here is not of this world.

We again see the four living creatures or the cherubim but we also see something else, i.e., wheels within wheels. This is one of the most mysterious beings in Scripture. How can wheels within wheels travel multiple directions without turning? For verse 17 says, “When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.”

Now we also see here a connection between the living creatures and the wheels, as the wheels would follow the living creatures. In fact, verse 21 states that the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

From verse 18 we see that the rings of the wheels had eyes all around them. It seems that the eyes here verify the wheels are some sort of angelic being. As we see from Maimonides’ list, the Jews call these beings Ophanim, from the Hebrew ophan. A more thorough description of the Ophanim is: “Members of the ophanim rank of angels never sleep, because they’re constantly busy guarding G-d’s throne in heaven. They are known for their wisdom. Their name comes from the Hebrew word ‘ophan,’ which means ‘wheel,’ due to the Torah’s description of them in Ezekiel chapter 1 as having their spirits encased inside wheels that moved along with them wherever they went. In Kabbalah, the famous archangel Raziel leads the ophanim.”

Much of this derives from Jewish rabbinic thought and even Jewish mysticism. We can only speculate what this being really looked like and what Ezekiel must have thought as he saw this vision. Verse 18 also tells us that the wheels were dreadful, which in Hebrew means to fear or to reverence. This must have been an overwhelming vision for Ezekiel.

 

The Glory of Yahweh

One more part of Ezekiel’s vision is found in verses 26-28: “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”

Above the cherubim was a throne with an image of man, whose appearance was of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. The word “likeness” here is from the Hebrew demuwth and according to Strong’s refers to a “resemblance; concretely, model, shape; adverbially, like.” Since the appearance was a resemblance of the glory of Yahweh, this would imply it was not Yahweh the Father. With that in mind, the only Being who could sit on a throne with the resemblance or likeness of Yahweh is the Son of Yahweh, i.e., Yahshua the Messiah.

The Son was with the Father before the universe began. In fact, Yahshua in John 17:5 said He had glory with His Father before the world was or existed.

Now whether this was the Son or the actual presence of the Father’s glory, the pinnacle of this vision is found in these last verses. The four living creatures and the wheels within the wheels are subservient to the being on the throne, who is described as the having the appearance of fire.

Interestingly, there seems to be a connection between the angelic realm and the appearance of fire. Evidence of this is when Yahweh appeared before Moses in the burning bush. The bush appeared to be on fire but never burned. In this case, it was likely only the appearance of fire, similar to Ezekiel’s vision.

There are things about the angelic realm that we will never understand in our present life. But we can see enough here to realize just how incredible and amazing it is!

 

The Throne Room

An equally amazing prophecy is found in Revelation 4. In the RSB we’ve titled this passage, “The Throne Room in Heaven.” Beginning with Revelation 4:2, we read, “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Yahweh El Shaddai, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Yahweh, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created,” verses 2-11.

There are several similarities between Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4. John of Patmos was in the spirit, which seems to  imply that he was seeing a vision, similar to Ezekiel. In this vision he sees a throne in heaven and one sitting upon the throne, most likely the same throne and the same being as we saw in Ezekiel 1. As already stated, this is likely the Son in a glorified state or the actual presence of Yahweh’s glory.

We also see a few other similarities, including precious stones, lightnings, and thunders. The thunders and lightnings are reminiscent of when Israel was around Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:16: “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.” So we see that thunders and lightnings are often connected to Yahweh’s presence.

Also seen are 24 elders who were clothed in white with crowns upon their heads. As noted in the RSB, these elders are likely angelic beings of a celestial council. According to verse 10, their purpose is to worship the One on the throne day and night, casting their crowns before Him.

We also notice that before the throne there was a great sea of glass with four creatures around the throne, full of eyes  in front and behind. While many might believe that the imagery here is only symbolic, it may very well be literal.

Sometimes people are too quick to dismiss certain items and view them as only symbolic. Oftentimes this is done when they don’t understand something or it seems too difficult to believe. We need to remember Yahweh’s ways are much greater and higher than our ways. The imagery we find here is astonishing and beyond any words that we could ever convey.

But we need to recall that what we see here is a vision of Yahweh’s throne room. We should expect nothing short of astonishing when considering the majesty and glory of Yahweh. Whether we’re talking about the cherubim, seraphim, or ophanim, the spiritual realm is amazing. If we could actually see the angelic realm, we would all be totally astounded by its splendor and greatness. For those found worthy of Yahweh’s calling, they will someday have the opportunity to witness the amazing creatures that we’ve uncovered. Hopefully this small glimpse of the angelic realm will encourage and motivate us to become better disciples of Yahweh.

Twisted Ways of Today’s Clichés

We were once visited by a relative who knew that my wife and I were firm believers in keeping Scripture as our Savior taught. Expecting an assault on his liberal, no-law theology, he preempted an anticipated first strike by firing off a volley of tired old bromides on love and grace.

Whenever I hear these sweet nothings, my brain slips into neutral and then flames out. Why do so many replace serious study and investigation of Scripture with jargon they don’t understand themselves?

Many self-claimed teachers cling to featherweight phrases they’ve heard and now personally own – superficialities with no bearing on anything, just empty calories.

We’ll look at some of the shallow sweet nothings you often hear today and compare them with Scripture. This may prove useful if you are ever confronted with cliché abuse.

Frivilous Fluff

It’s the kind of message you hear in countless worship settings.

Preacher Peter steps to the pulpit. “The L-rd spoke to my heart today and He gave me this message. Brother Brad has been struggling in his marriage. Brad, just take it to Him in prayer. Just let go and let G-d.

“Brothers and sisters, what is YOUR burden today?  Whatever your struggle, it’s covered by the blood! Can I get an amen? Remember, He is working things out in your favor, He will never leave you where He found you. No weapon formed against us shall stand. Every assignment has been canceled. Devil, we’re returning everything you sent signed, sealed, and undelivered!”

So did you learn anything? Were you given any fresh insights that motivate you to walk closer to Yahweh in your life?

New clichés are launched all the time. Even Bible verses can become clichés when wrenched from their context and forced to apply where they don’t belong. The worst clichés are the ones that rhyme. “My worship is anointed and appointed.” And, “I’m too blessed to be stressed.”

TV evangelists are great at spinning cotton candy. Throw in some audience participation, some “Speak it brother,” and the crowd will rave, thinking it’s a great message. Platitudes abound where critical thought is absent.

Clichés live in the world of generalities, as do countless sermons today. The minute you get specific is when you must be ready to defend your beliefs and teachings.

Where in the Word do we find support for clichés? Paul said to Timothy, “Avoid profane and vain babblings which some professing have erred concerning the faith,” 1Timothy 6:20.

Let’s dig into some of the more common clichés and see what lurks there. Can we take away anything worthwhile?

  • “If G-d brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” So how do you know He brought you to it? As in the lesson of Job, Satan can also bring you to it. Or maybe Yahweh did bring you to it and wants you to stay there for a while and learn something.

Trials offer great learning lessons.

In 2Corinthians 4:16-17 Paul wrote, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Peter cautioned: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Messiah’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy,” 1Peter 4:12-13.

Trials make the dedicated believer stronger. As the Companion Bible notes, the same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay.

  • “G-d wants me to be happy.” Where is that in the Bible? Happiness is driven by emotion; commitment comes by conformity to the Word, and THAT is what makes Yahweh happy. Yahshua told His disciples in John 13:17: “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye DO them.” True happiness is not about us. It’s about being united with Him through following His will, which leads to wisdom and righteousness.

Worship became emotion-driven about 50 years ago, where happiness became the new goal. Happiness is not an entitlement. Getting in line with Yahweh is what leads to satisfying, real happiness in the Believer.

Peter teaches a counter-intuitive lesson on happiness: “If ye be reproached for the name of Messiah, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of Elohim rests upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified,”1Peter 4:14.

James 5:11 adds, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of Yahweh.” Incidentally, if the law came to an end, so did Yahweh and Yahshua, because the same word telos, meaning goal, is used for Yahshua as being the end goal of the law as well (Rom.10:4).

You can recite clichés all day long, but unless you get out of your comfort zone and do something about the faith you profess, it is just smoke and mirrors in Yahweh’s eyes.

Yahweh is a Creator of action just like the Hebrew language that He uses to describe Himself. Yahshua said in John 5, “My Father works and I work.”

To say what Yahweh is, is tantamount to saying what He does; to describe Him is to talk action and behavior. He is a mighty One of doing and achieving; clichés, on the other hand, live in a world of inertia and indolence. When Yahweh called out Israel, they were expected to start doing His will.

  • “G-d loves you.” In a television series years ago the main character, playing an angel, repeated this phrase in every program as the antidote to every problem and trial. This bromide taught the viewer that all Yahweh wants is to love you the way you are – even in your sin. How does that fit with Yahshua’s teaching in Luke 13:3, and 5: “except you repent you shall all likewise perish”?

In Acts 17:30-31 Paul explained about Yahweh to the pagan Greeks on Mars Hill, “And the times of this ignorance Elohim winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.”

The word repent and its permutations occur 112 times in the Scriptures. That TV actor never told anyone, “Turn to Yahweh in repentance, as the Word admonishes.”                   Most people would run from such counsel to change their behavior. They are happy where they are in whatever faith they have found themselves, and expect Yahweh to honor that.

Rather than conform to His will they expect Yahweh to bend to theirs, and want to be assured that He is completely pleased with their anemic performance, which that TV show, as well as these clichés, promote.

Paul continues, “Because he hath ap-pointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.”

The center of gravity in Yahshua’s salvation plan includes His teachings about overcoming and righteousness. The central theme of the entire Scriptures is to conform to Yahweh’s will. We please the One we worship by changing our life, not spouting meaningless jargon.

The apostle said in 1John 2:5: “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

  • “Where G-d guides, G-d provides.” This implies that Yahweh leads you to Truth so He can make you prosperous. Yahshua was never endowed with wealth. He said in Matthew 8:20, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” This was never Yahshua’s desire.

Today’s prosperity doctrine has aban-doned this fact. The false teaching completely misses the message and example Yahshua brought through overcoming sin and the world. Speaking of false ministers in 1Timothy 6:5, Paul warned about “perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is holiness: from such withdraw thyself.”

  • “We are saved by faith alone – but not by a faith that is alone.” This belief nowhere exists in Scripture. The first extant writing to contain the phrase “faith alone” is John Calvin’s Antidote to the Council of Trent (1547).

“Faith alone” is a spurious twisting of James 2:17: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Also verse 24, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” James then tops it off in verse 26 with, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The “faith alone” doctrine was promulgated by Martin Luther in his attack on Roman church works like indulgences.

Often used is Romans 3:28, which does not speak of being set apart but of justification: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.” We are not saved by faith alone but are justified by faith alone. Faith justifies the man but works justify faith. Justification is followed by sanctification or being set apart by our actions.

  • “Let go and let G-d.” This cliché makes a catchy bumper sticker but can eviscerate the purpose and goal of the believer’s walk. Taken wrongly, it slams the door on obedience and forecloses on any working out of our salvation with fear and trembling, as commanded in Philippians 2:12. Those who repeat it ignore the crucial next step, which is sanctification or being set apart through obedience.

Obedience is a core teaching in every book of the Bible. Those who are called can’t let go, because they are committed to a life of active overcoming. Where in the New Testament do we find any disciple letting go of his walk and “letting Yahweh”? Yahshua never taught it. He said in Matthew 7:21 that we must do the will of His Father. Paul in Philippians 2:12 admonishes to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. James writes in 1:22 to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.

First John 3:24 says, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” And He gives His Spirit to those who obey Him, Acts 5:32.

Often ignored are Revelation 12:17 and 14:12, which say we need the faith of Yahshua as well as keeping of the commandments for salvation. Revelation 22:14 teaches that if we obey then we have the right to the tree of life.

We must not confuse unconditional grace with unconditional salvation. The world thinks salvation is automatic, so they consider “Let go and let Yahweh” a great fit. At funerals you hear that the deceased is now looking down and smiling. Does anyone ever ask how he or she measured up in order to be awarded everlasting life? Let alone explain how they were judged worthy even before Yahshua could return to initiate the judgment.

Paul wrote in 2Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

“Letting go” is just another way of buying into the once-saved always-saved belief and avoiding the command to follow Yahweh’s Word. Many of these superficial clichés have an anti-law, anti-obedience basis.

Yahshua further explained in Matthew 7:21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Master, Master, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Living by the Bible’s commands, which is sanctification, is anything but passive. The true believer’s life can be taxing. He combats opposition from family, friends, employers, and others who have not been enlightened to the Truth.

Yahshua never promised a free ride down Easy Street, but rather tribulation as we follow the Word. He said, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Why mention this at all if Yahweh does everything for us? Promoters of such classic clichés also discount the work of the Holy Spirit that indwells the saint and helps him to obey Yahweh’s statutes, Ezekiel 36:27.

When Paul reflects on the activities of the believer he says nothing about La-Z-Boy recliners and cozy days watching pigeons in the park. Paul’s metaphors for the walk of the True Worshiper are soldiering, tough athletic contests, and planting and farming in the hot sun. The Puritans called their walk “holy sweat.”

Paul defines the metrics clearly in 2Corinthians 5:9: “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”

  • “He or she is in a better place.” One of the most quoted of the clichés, this one is offered in sympathy at funerals, but also in ignorance. How can the grave be a better place? Like the old dog Rover, when we die we die all over.

“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten,” Ecclesiastes 9:5. Verse 10 says further, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” At death we no longer are conscious or sentient.

Of course, this cliché assumes the deceased are in heaven. Even if the Bible taught salvation at death, only Yahshua decides who is worthy of it, and then only at the judgment, Luke 20:35. “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage.”

Scripture says that we lose total consciousness at death. When He returns, Yahshua our Judge will raise to life those He finds worthy of the first resurrection. The dead remain dead until this resurrection event at the Second Coming, Matthew 24:30-31.

Solomon did not say the dead go to a better place. Only that the person’s breath of life, not the person’s immortal soul, goes back to Yahweh: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [ruach] shall return unto Elohim who gave it,” Ecclesiastes 12:7.

All thoughts perish at death, Psalm 146:4, and the dead can’t praise, Psalm 88:10.

Only Yahweh has immortality, 1Timothy 6:16. No one has it automatically.

Furthermore, the dead are RAISED incorruptible. They don’t come DOWN from heaven but rise to meet the returning Yahshua in the air when He comes to earth, John 6:40.

  • “There, but for the grace of G-d, go I.” This cliché is used to minimize or excuse the bad behavior of another. It says in effect, “That could have been me there.” It really says that Yahweh’s grace restrains you but didn’t quite work for them.
  • “Ask J-sus into your heart.” Why my heart? Why not my head as well? This is yet another emotional cliché void of nutrition. What does it mean in the practical world where we all live? Clichés like these make living by the Bible just an ethereal, emotive experience rather than, as Yahshua teaches, one that mirrors His own examples. John tells us in 1John 2:6 to walk as He walked. He says in verse 4 that to say you know Him but don’t keep the commandments makes you a liar without the truth.

The Word teaches action, doing, sacrificing of self, and working out your salvation with fear and trembling. Asking Him into your heart just doesn’t have the same ring.

  • “Do you have a personal relationship with the L-rd?” For the True Worshiper, an honest-to-goodness relationship with Yahshua means taking part in His death and resurrection by repenting and being baptized. It is followed by living a life befitting the example He set.

Paul admonishes in Romans 6:3: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Yahshua were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

In John 15:14 Yahshua defined the personal relationship He wants: “You are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” There is no other valid “personal relationship.”

  • “G-d said it. I believe it. That settles it.” This cliché serves no purpose in a discussion of doctrine or belief. It is used only to deflect any serious inquiry, and padlock the door on further discussion. It is a one-size-fits-all comeback for those who are unskilled in the Word.

Truth to tell, the Bible doesn’t actually say what they may think it says, which means they don’t in fact believe it, and so nothing whatsoever is settled.

With most of these popular clichés the thrust is antinomian, meaning faith over obedience, and passivity over action. Revelation 2:26 counters that with: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.” Overcome. Keep my works. These are action verbs, words of doing, dynamic words that define the True Worshiper’s  life

Forget the ways of false clichés. Start living and applying Bible Truth and discover all the joy and satisfaction that you have been missing in your life.

Based on Peter’s vision, isn’t pork now clean to eat?

Based on Peter’s vision, isn’t pork now clean to eat?

 

Contrary to popular opinion, Peter’s vision in Acts 10 has nothing to do with clean foods. The lesson behind this parable involved the separation between Jew and gentile. Peter later explained that Yahweh showed him that he was not to call any man common or unclean. We further explain in the Restoration Study Bible: “Peter’s vision is a lesson about accepting repentant gentiles into the Body of Messiah as those grafted into the promise of Israel (Rom. 9:17-24). This was a major change as gentiles were considered unclean by the Jews. The meaning and purpose of this vision is explained by Peter himself in verse 28, ‘but Elohim hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’ Peter admits to learning the object lesson in vv. 34-35, having had a personal problem with discrimination (Gal 2:11). The passage is not about eating unclean food, which would have been a violation of the Law of Yahweh,” note on Acts 10:9.

 

 

The sons of God

The Sons of Elohim

Who were the Sons of Elohim in Genesis 6:2? There are two main theories about the identity of these “sons of Elohim,” explained in the Complete Word Study of the Old Testament.

“The first theory is that the ‘sons of G-d’ are fallen angels and the ‘daughters of men’ are mortals. The wickedness for which they are condemned in the unlawful marriage between those who are supernatural and those who are mortal. This ancient viewpoint hinges in part on the assumption that Jude 1:6, 7 refers to angels. The proponents of this view insist, perhaps with some scriptural backing, that the term ‘sons of G-d’ refers only to angels (Job 1:6-12). However, there is no precedent at this point from which this conclusion can be made. And if this sin is, at least to a large extent, the fault of the angels, why is man punished by the flood? When the proponents of this theory are reminded of the fact that [Messiah], in Matthew 22:30, says that angels do not marry, they answer that He only said that they do not, not that they could not or did not. Besides the mythological quality which this viewpoint brings to the text, there is considerable theological difficulty with the existence of human beings who are, at least in part, not descended from Adam (Acts 17:26).

“The second theory as to their identity is the one most often held to within conservative scholarship. The ‘Sons of G-d’ are reckoned to be the [righteous] line of Seth while the ‘daughters of men’ are of the line of Cain. Thus the sin with which they are charged is one which is common to the whole of scripture, and especially to the Pentateuch: the intermarriage of the chosen people of [Yahweh] (the believers) with those who are unholy.”

Inspiration or Mythology

The idea that the Sons of Elohim were angels comes largely from the book of Enoch, which is rejected by Jewish and Christian scholars alike. This book was written shortly after 200 B.C.E. The pseudonymous author doubtlessly received this notion from Greek mythology.

The Greeks believed in what was known as demigod. The Greek mythological warrior Heracles was produced by his Father Zeus, the g-d of the sky, and his mother Alcmene, a mortal woman. This relationship between g-d and mortal produced what is known as demigod, meaning half human and half g-d.

The book of Enoch describes a similar story that seems to be taken right from Greek mythology. The author of this book writes about a time when two hundred divine or angelic beings visited the daughters of men, thus creating giants or demigods.

The theory that angels mated with mortal woman later crept into the Septuagint version. Of the three oldest manuscripts of the Septuagint, only the Codex Alexandrinus of the fifth century offers the word “angels” in Genesis 6:2 instead of “sons of Elohim.” Not one of the Hebrew manuscripts, however, has the word “angels” in Genesis 6:2. Instead, all Hebrew manuscripts read “sons of Elohim.”

Josephus, the Hebrew historian, makes a brief statement in his Antiquities of the Jews regarding the notion that angels procreated with the daughters of men. It is known that Josephus had early associations with the Essenes, which was a zealous Jewish religious sect that had some mystic teachings. This association may have led Josephus to adopt some of its doctrines and beliefs, obviously including the belief that angels created giants through mortal women.

It is easy to see how this corrupted, dogmatic doctrine became infused with the influence of Greek and Romans mythology. During the time of Enoch and such groups like the Essenes, one must remember the major influence at that time were the Greeks and later the Romans, which incorporated Greek beliefs into its belief system. The idea that angelic beings had relationships with mortal women not only is untrue, but a perversion of Yahweh’s creation.

The Inspired Truth

Besides Greek mythology and the book of Enoch, the only other source used by those who advocate this belief is found in Genesis chapter 6.

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And Yahweh said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of Elohim came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And Elohim saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:1-5).

From verse one we find the topic of this passage, “and it came to pass, when men…” It does not say ‘when angels,” nor does it ever indicate angels in verse one. The beginning of this chapter sets the tone for the entire passage. Verse three again verifies to whom Yahweh is angry  by the statement, “…My spirit shall not always strive with man.” Verse five once more verifies that Yahweh is not angry with angels, but angry with mortal man with the statement, “And Elohim saw that the wickedness of man was great…”

Not one reference is attributed to angels in Genesis chapter six. Most proponents of this erroneous belief will often use the term “giants” found in Genesis 6:4 to substantiate the idea of demigods. Those who believe that angels had relationships with mortal women generally also believe that through these unlawful relationships giants were produced.

Nephilim – Giants

The word “giants” in Genesis 6:4 is from the Hebrew word “nephilim” meaning, “a bully or tyrant.” This word does not necessarily mean oversized as in the English word “giant,” but can simply mean one who is a dictator or despot.

In addition to the meaning of the word “giants” as found through the Hebrew word “nephilim” we can also find one other oversight in verse four of Genesis chapter six. “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of Elohim came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

Notice that verse four says that there were giants (nephilim) in those days, and that after the sons of Elohim procreated children with the daughters of men that there were other nephilim. The creation of nephilim, i.e. a bully or tyrant, came before the relationships between the sons of Elohim and the daughters of men.

The nephilim existed prior to these unlawful relationships, thus exposing one more blunder to the theory that the sons of Elohim originally created the nephilim. Furthermore, we can see that the nephilim produced by the sons of Elohim later become “men of renown.” It does not say that the nephilim became supernatural giants, but men of popular status. Obviously, a type of totalitarian rule achieved this status.

Purpose for Flood

When Yahweh saw the result of those illegal and sinful relationships between the sons of Elohim and the daughters of men he was regretful that he made mankind. By reason of this distress Yahweh promised that both man and beast would die, except for Noah and his family. “And Yahweh said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:7).

Advocates for the theory that angels produced demigods with the daughter of men teach that the flood was for the purpose of killing off the offspring of that most-wicked relationship. While Yahweh did destroy the earth due to the wickedness of man, there is no indication that he did so due to divine relationships with mortal women.

If Yahweh did destroy all mankind because of unlawful relationships between divine and human he allowed it later in Numbers 13:33, almost eight hundred years after the flood. “And there we saw the giants [Heb. nephilim], the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

This passage does support that the sons of Anak were certainly larger than the Hebrew men sent out to spy the land of Canaan, but how much larger these men were it does not indicate. Clearly, these sons of Anak were a test for the Israelites. Yahweh in all likelihood placed the sons of Anak where they were to test the Israelites faith and obedience.

The fact remains, if Yahweh’s purpose for the flood was to remove forever the nephilim He made a mistake, because it is clear that the nephilim were never completely removed. Those who support the idea that nephilim came from angels will argue that Yahweh did not make a mistake, but later restricted the nephilim to the land of Canaan.

Why would Yahweh restrict such a wicked people to a land that would later be called the promised land? No such evidence of this notion can be found anywhere in Yahweh’s inspired word. Nowhere did Yahweh say that he was going to restrict the sons of Anak to a certain land. Evidence for this belief simply cannot be found.

Angels Cannot Procreate

One more impossibility that people overlook who advocate that angels procreated with the daughters of men is the fact that Yahweh never designed angels to reproduce other life. Yahshua in Matthew 22:30 plainly said that angels neither marry or are given in marriage, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of Elohim in heaven.”

Yahshua very plainly and without debate stated that angels are not given in marriage, thus indicating that Yahweh never gave them the ability to procreate within their own realm, much less with humankind. When Yahweh placed the man, Adam, within the Garden of Eden and then made the woman from Adam’s own rib he stated that they were to multiply this on earth with other human life.

Yahweh left no question on whether or not mankind could procreate. Not only did Yahweh say that mankind had the ability to create other life, but He commanded that mankind do such. Again, we cannot find one shred of evidence within Yahweh’s inspired word to neither indicate that angels had nor have the ability to procreate other life.

Yahweh’s very name expresses creation and existence, and no other angelic being was ever called by this family name, Yah, except for His Son, Yahshua the Messiah, which created all things under Yahweh’s direction (Hebrews 11:3). To say that angels can procreate with humankind is to say that they have all the necessary components of procreation that man possess. This possibly cannot be true knowing that they are spirit and humans are flesh.

One argument by some is that the fallen angels possessed or took over the bodies of men, and, with earthly women, then produced giants or demigods. While it is clear that this notion contradicts Yahshua’s words in Matthew chapter twenty-two there is one other obvious contradiction with this concept.

One law of genetics requires human genes and chromosomes to produce another human. Genes and chromosomes for human beings are only native to human beings, in other words, it is an impossibility for angels to pass on any other types of genes or chromosomes other than human even in the event that an angelic being possessed a human body.

Sons of Elohim

Verse two is the key verse used by those who advocate the doctrine of angels mating with the daughters of men. Verse two says “Sons of Elohim, very different from “angels of Elohim.” Most often the term “Sons of Elohim” is contributed to those people whom Yahweh has called.

The term “Sons of Elohim” only occurs four times throughout the Old Testament. Besides the account found in Genesis 6:2 this phrase can also be found in Job 1:6, 2:1, and Job 38:7. In addition, the singular form of Son, Heb. Bar, is found in Daniel 3:23, where Nebuchadnezzar sees four men in a flaming furnace, and one being like ‘a’ Son of Elohim. The one that was described as being like a son of Elohim was certainly an angelic being protecting the three young Hebrew men.

Similar to Daniel 3:23, we have another account in Job 38:7 with the phrase “sons of Elohim” referring to angelic beings. “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy.” This verse is referring to the creation of the heavens and the earth before mankind existed; thus the sons of Elohim here could only be those angelic beings that assisted in the creation process.

What about the other two passages found in Job. These last two passages are almost identical so we will examine only Job 1:6. “Now there was a day when the sons of Elohim came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan came also among them.”

Are the “sons of Elohim” mentioned in Job 1:6 angelic or human? The answer to this is contested and uncertain, however, it does seem plausible that the ones coming before Yahweh certainly could be referring to mankind.

Yahweh has established appointed times when we are to appear before His great throne. The three main passages that speak of these days are Exodus 23, Leviticus 23, and Deuteronomy 16. In every listed passage above can we find an order from Almighty Yahweh regarding the observance of His appointed days. Naturally then we could determine that the “sons of Elohim” mentioned inJob 1:6 could have been Yahweh’s chosen people coming before His throne on His appointed time.

The dilemma faced when interpreting that the “son of Elohim” were angels in Job 1:6 is that then we must assume that the angels are not always in the presence of Yahweh. If this interpretation is true then the Messiah was wrong with his statement inMatthew 18:10, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” So if the angels all unceasingly before Almighty Yahweh, then to “present themselves” before Him would serve little purpose.

In addition to what we find in the Old Testament we can also find many examples of the “sons of Elohim” in the New Testament. For example, in Luke 3:38 the first man, Adam, is called the “son of Elohim.” “Which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of Elohim.”

John the evangelist in John 1:12 also testified that those who received Yahshua as the Messiah would later become the “sons of Elohim.” “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of Elohim, even to them that believe on his name.”

Paul also used this curious term in Romans 8:14, 16, 19, 21, Romans 9:18, Galatians 3:26, and Philippians 2:15 in reference to those people whom Yahweh had called and will call.

Moreover, we can find at least seven other passages by our Savior and his Apostles using the phrase “son or sons of Elohim” when referring to mankind. In almost every instance can we find the phrase “sons of Elohim” referring to mankind. We can find this term no fewer than fifteen times throughout the Old and New Testament, and only in three of those passages could it possibly be speaking of angels.

Daughters of Men

The only piece of the puzzle not yet discussed is the daughters of men. Who were the daughters of men, and why were they forbidden to the sons of Elohim? The sons of Elohim as proven cannot be angels, thus they must be human men whom Yahweh has chosen as his own possession.

An example of this is Jacob, which was later named Israel meaning, “who strives with Elohim.” When Yahweh corrected Jacob or his sons Yahweh called them by the name Jacob. However, when Yahweh looked upon Jacob or his sons with favor Yahweh called them by the name Israel. The term Elohim or El when used by Yahweh in reference to mankind shows His favor.

Notice that Yahweh used the word “men” when referring to the daughters that had relationships with the sons of Elohim. This indicates that these women were not followers of Almighty Yahweh, but instead were followers of men. They were not faithful to Yahweh, but instead apparently faithful to the customs of men (Jeremiah 10:2).

Marry in Yahshua

Yahweh in numerous passages warned his people not to make relationships with those people from heathen nations. “When Yahweh thy Elohim shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when Yahweh thy Elohim shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other elohim: so will the anger of Yahweh be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto Yahweh thy Elohim: Yahweh thy Elohim hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:1-6).

Deuteronomy chapter seven should make it obvious why Yahweh was displeased with the sons of Elohim for marrying the daughters of men. The sons of Elohim in Genesis chapter six can only represent the line of Seth, Yahweh’s chosen possession; while the daughters of men represent the line of Cain, the cursed line of Adam.

The Apostle Paul repeated that Yahweh’s people should only marry within the faith in 1 Corinthians 7:39. “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in Yahshua.”

The Apostle Paul once again verifies that Yahweh’s people are not to be unbalanced with unbelievers in 2 Corinthians 6:14. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?”

The notion that angels created superhuman giants plainly cannot be proven within the pages of Yahweh’s inspired word. However, we can see a consistent warning by Yahweh, His prophets, and his Apostles not to marry and become “unequally yoked” with unbelievers. Generally, bad company perverts good company, thus creating disunity between Yahweh and his chosen people.

In Like Manner

As pointed out at the beginning of this article, proponents who support the notion that angels procreated with mortal women will often use Jude 1:6-7 to substantiate their argument.

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

This passage does not necessarily prove that angels had relationships with mortal women. If a close examination is taken with this passage the first sin that is mentioned is not that angels had relationships with mortal women, but that they left their first estate. This is referring to Satan and those angels that rebelled against Yahweh’s authority before mankind existed.

“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:3-4).

The fact is that there is no mention of angels procreating with mortal women in Yahweh’s inspired word. The only specific sin mentioned in the Bible is the rebellion of Satan and his angels against Yahweh’s authority (Isaiah 14:12-16).

Also notice the phrase in verse seven is “in like manner.” It never says that the angels committed precisely the same sin as Sodom and Gomorrah, but committed a sin in comparable or similar manner. What sin could be comparable with the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?

The word “fornication” in verse seven is derived from the Greek word No. 1606, which is a root of No. 4203, porneuo, meaning “harlotry (including adultery and incest); fig. idolatry.” This word “fornication” in the broad sense can also mean idolatry, which is precisely the sin committed by Satan and his followers. In other words, when Satan decided that he should be above Yahweh in authority and stature he committed idolatry.

In this manner Satan’s sin was similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah. As Sodom and Gomorrah forsook Yahweh for their pagan g-ds and their heathen practices, Satan in like manner forsook Yahweh to pursue his own will and his own desires.

Tartarus

Those that support the notion that angels had relationships with mortal women also believe that fallen angels are in Tartarus today awaiting final judgment. This belief is derived from 2 Peter 2:4. “For if Elohim spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment”

The problem with this passage is that it seemingly is speaking of past events, but with careful study of the Greek we can see that this particular passage has no tense. Therefore this passage could be easily read “For if Elohim spares not the angels that sin, but will cast them down to Tartarus, and deliver them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”

The words “spared,” “sinned,” “cast,” and “delivered” found in 2 Peter 2:4 are all in the Greek aorist, which is defined by the Online Bible Greek Lexicon, “The aorist tense is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. There is no direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations.”

This Greek term essentially has no tense, therefore leaving it open to interpretation. Most translators interpret this passage in the past tense, but there is nothing in the Greek indicating that this a past tense event. If this event has already occurred why then do we read about dark angels in the New Testament? If these were fallen angels or demons that had unlawful relationships, why then can we find evidence of their freedom after the flood?

It seems that a proper and consistent interpretation would be that this event in 2 Peter 2:4 has not yet taken place, but will occur when Satan is locked at the bottom of the abyss for the thousand-year period after the Great Tribulation. Any other interpretation does not fit with Yahweh’s word. Besides the common interpretation of 2 Peter 2:4, there is no other evidence that angels have been already imprisoned, but there is much evidence to say that they will be in the future (Revelation 20).

Conclusion

There are various reasons why the “sons of Elohim” could not possibly be angels. Below are ten undeniable facts proving this truth.

  1. Angels are spirit beings that are without physical bodies.
  2. Yahshua stated that angels could not marry (Matthew 22:30), thus indicating that they do not have the ability to procreate other life.
  3. Other than Yahshua the Messiah, no angel is given the name “Yah,” the prime root of creation.
  4. Even if an angel took over a man’s mind, one law of genetics necessitates that only human chromosome and genes produce another human life.
  5. In Genesis 6:3 Yahweh said that his spirit “shall not always strive with man, ” not angels.
  6. In Verses 3, 5, 6 Yahweh said that man sinned, not angels.
  7. In Verse 7 Yahweh said that he was going to destroy man, not angels.
  8. Nowhere are the fallen angels called the sons of Elohim.
  9. Yahweh offers a consistent, stern warning to his people not to marry outside the faith.
  10. Jude 1:6-7 does not mean that the angels committed the literal sin that Sodom and Gomorrah committed, but simply that in like manner they rejected Yahweh’s authority.

It should be easy to understand why Yahweh was displeased with the “sons of Elohim” in Genesis chapter six. As the line of Seth grew they started to intermingle and intermarry with the line of Cain, which disregarded Yahweh’s truth. The line of Seth, instead of following pure worship, adopted the doctrines of man, which end in death

This type of behavior is prophesied to occur before the coming of Yahshua the Messiah. Yahweh’s word prophesies of a great falling away. Before Yahshua’s Second Coming there will be a time when even the elect, Yahweh’s chosen possession, will be drawn away from Yahweh’s word. This will be a time when deception and guile will run rampant throughout this earth.

Yahshua in His Olivet Prophecy said that the last days would be comparable to the days of Noah. He said that they would be eating, drinking, and marring just as in the days of Noah. However, just as the generation of Noah was cut short because of their wickedness, our generation awaits the same fate. We each as individuals and as a collective body should strive to live a life worthy of Yahweh’s calling and study so we will be able to discern truth from error.

As John the Evangelist said in John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of Elohim, even to them that believe on his name.” Let’s all strive to overcome so that we may become the children of Yahweh.

Biblical Oxymorons

What many see as textual conflicts are in fact basic to the Biblical message.

The world of contradiction, or at least what seems to be out of the ordinary, is fascinating to us humans. If you have ever been to an amusement park fun house and seen water defy gravity by running uphill, or watched a science demonstration where “lightning” shoots out of a man’s hands and he is unhurt, you know the intrigue. It often takes some explanation to understand what at first seems impossible. News reports of burning rivers stretch the limits of credulity, until we learn that its the pollution floating on the water that is actually burning.

Incongruities are common in our social customs as well. Seeing men of the Scottish highlands wearing skirts called kilts looks odd every time. So does the bearded lady in carnival sideshows.

Not even our language is free of contradictory concepts. Consider the following couplets from everyday speech: how do you “act naturally”?; or how can you be “almost exact”?; what about “new classic”; “definite maybe”; “pretty ugly”; “exact estimate”; “one-man crew”; or  the phrase “include me out”? These word combinations may not at first seem to oppose each other until one stops to consider what is actually being said. A figure of speech where opposites are combined is called oxymoron. Literally oxymoron means “pointedly foolish”(from the Greek oxus meaning “sharp” and moras meaning “foolish”).

 Skimming the Surface

Like self-contradictory expressions, the danger with erroneous teachings and beliefs is that habitual exposure to them has a way of numbing us to the literal truth. Take the expression, “conspicuous by its absence.” This tired cliche is totally irrationa1. How can something be obvious yet absent? Conflicting ideas are seemingly everywhere.

Yahweh’s Word presents problems to many who have only a surface understanding of it. Because of false preconceptions solidified over centuries, right and proper Biblical understanding commonly taught in the first century is seen today as incongruous. Sadly, centuries-old error derails many before they even have a chance to get on the pathway of right teaching.

This writer once asked a clerk at a religious bookstore for a book entitled, The Jewish New Testament. Her incredulous expression betrayed her thoughts: how could the New Testament possibly be “Jewish”? Why, everyone knows Jews don’t belong in the New Testament!

She apparently forgot that the first converts in the New Testament were all Jews. Yahshua commanded His disciples inMatthew 10:5: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter you not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

The house of Israel included the Jews.

The Savior Was No Greek or Even Roman

A tradition said that Yahshua told the disciples to wait 12 years before going to the Gentiles. He Himself came first to Israel. Paul explains in Romans 11:25-30 that because of spiritual blindness within Israel, Gentiles were allowed into the Covenant. Still, Israel has not been excluded, either.

Why did not Yahshua come as a Greek or a Roman? Or at least why didn’t He take His ministry to Greece or Rome? After all, nominal worship today is as much Greco-Roman as it is Hebraic.

If the New Testament era is only for Gentile salvation, then why did the Son of Yahweh come in the lineage of the Hebrews? The answer is that Yahshua came to the Israelites because the promises were given to them first. John 1:11 tells us He came unto his own, and his own  received  him  not. As a Jew He came to His people with His message of Truth and they rejected Him.

Let’s say you make an agreement with person A (a good friend) to buy your car, but over time he is clearly dragging his feet. Along comes person B who is very interested in buying your car. What do you do? You go back to person A and tell him to “get with it” because you have person B who is also interested.

Yahshua went to the lost sheep of the house of Israel first. They didn’t have the heart to obey. Because they did not follow through with their commitment to keep the Covenant, He said that to their shame that salvation would now be open to all people who could partake inIsrael’s promises. But unless the Savior came as one of them they would never have believed Him. Therefore, He came as a Jew because the promises were given to them as part of Israel. Others could join in after Israel dropped the ball.

Mistaken Oxymorons

For Yahweh’s people to keep Old Testament Feasts in the New Testament is for many a huge contradiction — an oxymoron. “Those days are Jewish and are not for us,” they say. What they stumble over is that the Savior, Himself a Jew (Heb. 7: 14), kept the seventh-day Sabbath and Feasts of Leviticus 23.

Are we not told to follow His example? Is not Yahshua the Messiah our pattern in all righteousness? Read what He said: “If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love” (John 15:10).

Misunderstood by many, the Sabbath and Feast days were given to all 12 tribes of Israel, not just to the tribe of Judah. Today’s True Worshipers are either physical or spiritual Israelites. They are not in a new religion completely separate from Old Testament Israel. They are grafted into the same promise made with Israel at Sinai. This fact is no oxymoron, but one of the central truths of the Scriptures.

Paul asks today’s worshiper, “Who are Israelites?” And then he answers his own question: “To whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of Elohim, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Messiah came, who is over all, Elohim blessed for ever. Not as though the word of Elohim has taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall your seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of Elohim: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Rom. 9:4-8).

Here in this passage we find the following key facts:

 • Israelites through the Covenants are given the promise of everlasting life.

 • Others can be a part of Israel and receive the same promises by adoption and by following the same precepts Israel was commanded to keep.

 • Those who are spiritually of Yahweh are counted as part of Israel.

Paul compares to branches those of Israel who were rejected, adding, “And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree. Boast not against the branches.But if you boast, you bear not the root, but the root you” (Rom. 11:17-18).

Clearly, what Israel was commanded and observing is for today’s Believer, too. Today’s True Worshiper is grafted into the same promise of Yahweh’s Kingdom given to Israel.

Yahweh promised never to abandon His chosen people. Not even in this New Testament era. Notice the prophecy In Ezekiel of bringing Israel back:

“Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be My People, and I will be their Elohim,” 37:20-23.

Is this a contradiction? Only for those who believe that the New Testament is exclusively for Christianity.

Graceful Obedience

The Bible’s teaching that obedience in an age of grace is necessary for all True Worshipers is yet another oxymoron for many who don’t understand Biblical grace.

In the following passage Paul defines how grace operates: “For the grace of Elohim that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying unrighteousness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and devoutly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). Also in Romans 5:21 Paul says that grace reigns through righteousness. Righteousness here is holiness, meaning to be set apart from sin or lawlessness, l John 3:4.

Grace, then, teaches us to conform to a righteous standard — that is — Yahweh’s laws. This fundamental truth is explained by the very one who many believe was the champion of “lawless-ness,” Paul himself!

Notice what else Paul writes about grace, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Yahweh forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1-2). Known as Antinomianism (“against law”) the teaching said that the more one sins the more grace one gets. Therefore let us continue in sin and we will get even more grace.  Paul addresses this twisted concept in his letter to the Romans.

In truth, by living in His grace we are dead to sin. This means we do not transgress the Bible’s laws when under grace. A teaching in Paul’s day perverted the concept even as today. If truth seekers would be willing to take a close look at what first seems to be contradictory,they would soon find that the real problem lies in false preconceptions.

 Layers of Crusty Fallacy

Misinformation and outright error is often difficult to overcome. Unlearning false teaching is much more difficult than learning what’s right to begin with.

When it comes to the Bible, erroneous beliefs become firmly embedded through reinforced teaching and practice. To get to the truth, one has to chip through layers of crusty fallacy built up over the centuries.

It has been said that a cult gains increasing respectability the longer it survives. The same goes for error. Bad habits die hard, especially when firmly entrenched for centuries.

by Alan Mansager