Congregational Logo

"Messiah 101"

Foundational Principles of Messiah
R' Richard Pustelniak
(Congregational Leader, Beit Avanim Chaiot)
November 19, 2000

Warning: The truths contained in the following teaching are not for the faint of heart, or the lukewarm! You can be sure that haSatan (the adversary) will do all he can to keep you from understanding and applying the concepts and truths contained herein, but it is our prayer that every one who receives these notes will carefully consider and apply the contents to their lives.

Table of Contents:
  1. Introduction
    1. Preface
    2. Context
    3. Of Milk and Foundations
    4. Maturing Away From Milk
    5. Foundation Not Refuse
  2. Repentance from Deeds that Lead to Death
    1. Biblical Terms
    2. Teshuvah, the Concept
    3. Teshuvah, the Need
    4. Teshuvah, the Purpose
    5. Teshuvah, the Foundation
    6. Teshuvah, the Process
    7. The Levels of Teshuvah
    8. Teshuvah, a Gift of G-d
  3. Faith toward G-d
    1. Biblical Terms
    2. Emunah, the Concept
    3. Emunah, the Perspective
    4. Emunah, the Need
    5. Emunah, the Foundation
    6. Emunah, a Gift of G-d
    7. Emunah, the Gift that Grows
    8. Emunah, an Invitation to Excel
  4. Doctrine of Ceremonial Immersions
    1. Biblical Terms
    2. T'vilah, the Concept
    3. T'vilah, the Perspective
    4. T'vilah, Our Tradition 
    5. T'vilah, Our Messiah's Need
    6. Immersion, in "The Name"
    7. Related Concepts and Scriptures
  5. Laying On of Hands
    1. Biblical Terms
    2. S'michah, the Concept
    3. S'michah, the Core Doctrine
    4. S'michah, Other Examples 
  6. Resurrection of the Dead
    1. Biblical Terms
    2. Continued Existence After Death
    3. Continued Consciousness After Death
    4. Restored Life After Death
    5. Resurrection, A Cardinal Tenet of Judaism
    6. Resurrection of Messiah
    7. General Resurrection of the Dead
  7. Eternal Judgment
    1. Biblical Terms
    2. The Instinctive Sense of Need
    3. The Timing
    4. The Standard
    5. The Initial Determination
    6. A Matter of Degree
    7. Separation of Wheat from Chaff
    8. Grading on a Curve

top ^
I. Introduction

I-A. Preface
bible icon...although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the very first principles of G-d's Word all over again! You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who has to drink milk is still a baby, without experience in applying the Word about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by continuous exercise to distinguish good from evil. Therefore, leaving behind the foundational principles of Messiah (reshit d'var Mashiach), let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from deeds that lead to death (t'shuvah mima'asei mavet), faith toward G-d (emunah b'El_him), instruction about ceremonial immersions (torat hat'vilot), of the laying on of hands (s'michat yadayim), the resurrection of the dead (t'chiyyat chameitim), and eternal judgment (hadin hannitz'chi). And, G-d willing (im yirtseh HaShem), this is what we will do. (Heb 5:12-6:3)
(See note 1)

For various reasons in the history of the 'Body of Messiah,' great effort has gone into distancing the 'church' from it's Jewish origins. As a result, much of the understanding of the Holy Scriptures has been lost or blurred. This is because, from cover to cover, the Scriptures are essentially Jewish documents, written by (divinely inspired) Jewish men, brought forth from within a Jewish cultural framework, and reflecting the Jewish mind set and world view. This includes the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant Scriptures), which was written in Greek, the primary common/trade language in the civilized world of the day. And, although it was written in Greek, it deeply reflects the rich Jewish heritage of its authors, with its continuous usage of Jewish constructs and logic, its reflections of the Jewish mind-set of the day, along with its innumerable references and allusions to poetic Hebrew-isms and local colloquialisms.

With the loss of the Jewish mind set in approaching the Scriptures, has come a general eroding of the very foundations of the faith. There are great, seemingly un-bridgeable divisions in the 'Universal Body,' stemming, in part, from the loss of understanding of the 'Foundational Principles' (of Messiah) which we will be discussing in this series. It is hoped, that, as the original understandings of these principles are restored, and the foundation of the 'House' is fortified, divisions within the house can be done away with, and its construction can proceed unimpeded.

Also, because these are 'Foundational Principles,' they should prove to be very profitable for instructing both seekers, and new believers, as to the mission and identity of Messiah, and the meaning of the basic ordinances of the Messianic faith. To this end, our study will be rich with references to the source-book of these principles, the Tanach (Hebrew Bible). We will also be referencing the works of various Jewish sages, and commentators as well as others. Understanding these "foundational" principles, as they are presented, should also prove to be a great benefit for those who long to be able to share their faith, but lack an adequate understanding of what they believe, to be able to communicate it. Since they are, in fact, "Foundational Principles of Messiah," they can easily be shared, "to the Jew first," and to the non-Jew, as well.

top ^
I-B. Context

The Importance of Context

The context of a passage of scripture is extremely important in its examination. It will often prove to be it's best interpreter. So much has been lost because of the failure to remember this principle. The words of Scripture should be allowed to speak from within its immediate context, as it is written, as well as from within its cultural, ethnic, and historical context.

There are many commonly accepted doctrines which have been derived by excising and extracting small sections, lines, or even phrases of Scripture from their contexts. Entire books have been written on these Scripture "Snippets, " and, many divisions have formed in the Body, as well a aberrant offshoots from the faith, as a result of either the acceptance or rejection of these doctrines.

The following "Snippets" are examples of those which have generally lost their original meanings due to their traditional isolation from their original/intended context. The actual discussion of these passages shall be left for other teachings.

bible iconAssuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven... (Matt 18:18)
bible iconNo one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man... (Mk 3:27)
bible iconFor where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them... (Matt 18:20)
bible iconIf any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him... (Jas 1:5)
The Context of Our Study
bible icon...although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the very first principles of G-d's Word all over again! You need milk, not solid food! (Heb 5:12)

The passage we are examining is part of one of the more controversial ones in the B'rit Chadashah, with a multitude of diverse interpretations (with respect to: who is being addressed; what is the purpose of the passage; does this passage touch on the concept of "eternal security;" etc. However, allowing the Scripture to speak for itself, one can deduce that the passage is intended to correct a specific problem. It is apparent that the author is seriously dissatisfied with the level of development he observed in the group being addressed. Given the amount of time that has passed since their introduction to the subject(s) at hand, they should have been fully capable of passing them on to others, but, in his opinion, they needed to start all over again, from the beginning, with the basics.

As we shall see, the author wants to move on to more "meaty" instruction, but the audience was not ready. Although the author appears to be frustrated with the situation, we should be able to greatly benefit from the time we will spend in the 'Basics' or the ABCs of the faith...

top ^
I-C. Of Milk and Foundations...

bible icon...You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who has to drink milk is still a baby... (Heb 5:12)

Milk is a foundational food, designed by the Holy One to get babies off to a good start. It is easy to digest, and contains all the nutrients and fluids the baby needs to develop, even at the very rapid growth rates that babies (human or animal) exhibit. However, the goal of the nutrition provided by milk is to bring the baby to the point where it doesn't need it anymore.

A person, just born into the world is a physical baby, in the same way, a person just born into G-d's family is a spiritual baby. This can be clearly seen from Scripture:

bible icon Y'Shua answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of G-d. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'" (Jn 3:5-7)
bible iconBut as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of G-d, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of G-d. (Jn 1:12,13)
bible iconSince you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of G-d which lives and abides forever... (1Pet 1:22,23)

Just like physical babies, new Spiritual babies need nutrition which is easily digested and assimilated. Such a one is unable to feed himself, nor determine for himself what is good for him. He needs G-d's special infant formula, which will strengthen him and enable him to eventually discern, for himself, what is good and right and true.

bible iconTherefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the L-rd {is} gracious. (1Pet 2:1-3)

It is natural for a baby to desire (crave) its milk. If a baby doesn't seem to want its milk, this gives cause for alarm to the mother. In the same way, if a Spiritual baby is not hungry, consideration should be given to why. Is he sick? Has he eaten something which is not good for him? Has he been hanging on to something he shouldn't? Is he getting the love and care he needs? Is he even truly alive (been born)?

top ^
I-D. Maturing Away from Milk

bible icon...Anyone who has to drink milk is still a baby, without experience in applying the Word about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by continuous exercise to distinguish good from evil...(Heb 5:13,14)

While it is good for a baby to be a baby, it is not good for it to remain a baby: fully dependent upon its care-givers, unable to discern good from bad, unable to feed itself, unable to reproduce, etc. Babies are irresistible: faces trying all possible expressions, arms and legs moving in all directions at once, cooing and speaking gibberish, etc. But, for one who should be an adult and mature to be found still doing these things is deplorable and sad.

Anyone knows that the yetzer ha-ra (evil inclination or nature) is fully functional at birth. No one has to teach a baby how to be selfish, self-seeking, or demanding. As a matter of fact, it is a very good thing that the baby is so helpless, because the rage that can be expressed when he doesn't get his way could easily result in murder, without remorse. Again, no one has to teach a child how to lie, steal, cheat, or deceive. Part of the maturation process is learning how to master the yetzer ha-ra.

bible iconIf you do well, will you not be received? And if you do not do well, sin (the yetzer ha-ra) crouches (like a lion in ambush) at the door. And its desire (to dominate and control) {is} toward you, but you should master it. (Gen 4:7, author's literal translation)

Never being fed, or refusing to receive and assimilate the milk of the Word, can lead to a failure to mature. The un-mastered yetzer ha-ra can, and will, hinder the maturing process, and with it, the ability to grasp the deeper truths (solid food, meat) may be impeded.

bible iconAnd I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual {people} but as to carnal, as to babes in Messiah. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able {to receive it,} and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where {there are} envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like {mere} men? (1Cor 3:1-3)

Even when food (milk or solid) is actually consumed, if the nutrition contained in it is not extracted and assimilated, it does not promote the maturation process. Therefore, the baby remains a baby. The way that the nutrition, if you will, contained in G-d's word is extracted and assimilated is by putting into practice (doing) what is received and learned. Then maturing process is simply a natural result. It cannot be speeded up by force of will. It simply will occur at the rate intended by the creator, but it will occur.

bible iconTherefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted (engrafted, fruit-bearing) word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (Jas 1:21,22)
bible iconI write to you, fathers, because you have known Him {who is} from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him {who is} from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of G-d abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one. (1Jn 2:13,14)

It is only the mature that are able to handle the storms and trials of daily life, and who are able to pass that ability on to others (by teaching and coming alongside to strengthen and aid).

bible iconTherefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (Matt 7:24-27)
bible iconBlessed {be} the G-d and Father of our L-rd Y'Shua the Messiah, the Father of mercies and G-d of all comfort (strengthening), who comforts (strengthens) us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by G-d. (2Cor 1:3,4)

It is by putting into consistent practice, that the surety of the foundation is tested and expressed. Knowledge without practice reveals a true lack of understanding and maturity.

In spite of the emphasis placed on rationality by halachah (Jewish code of law), it is essential to grasp that the importance of "doing" never lost its pristine place in Judaism. Judaism was never turned into a rationale at the expense of being a living faith. On the contrary, it ever upheld as its banner the declaration of the sages to the effect that "he whose deeds exceed his wisdom, his wisdom shall endure. But he whose wisdom exceeds his deeds, his wisdom will not endure" (Aboth 3,12). Grounded in reality, Judaism never allowed the Torah or its ideals to become so heavenly that they were no earthly use. The stress and emphasis always lay on living in the manner compatible with its ideals so that "heavenly days on earth" would be possible. Doing is not merely a casual consequence of antecedent events. It is an expression or vehicle of meaning conceptually tied to an underlying pattern of thought or intention. Whether this pattern is fully comprehended or not, the act of doing both presupposes and actualizes the background structure.
(See note 2)
top ^
I-E. Foundation Not Refuse

bible icon...Therefore, leaving behind the foundational principles of Messiah (reshit d'var Mashiach), let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation... (Heb 6:1a)

Most modern "Christian" interpretation of the passage of Scripture we are examining says that the author is intending to provoke the recipients of the letter to lay aside the Old Testament (Jewish) shadows of New Testament fulfillment. As we have stated before, the context of a passage of Scripture is generally the best interpreter of the passage. Careful examination and acceptance of the context, will easily lead one to the impression that what the author is expressing is the need for full understanding of the foundational truths before one can progress into deeper, more meaty instruction.

The truth is that unless the foundational truths listed here are grasped, whether by direct instruction, inference by other Scriptures, or just plain spiritual instinct, one simply cannot understand the mission and purpose of the Messiah, or how to correctly determine and recognize His identity.

bible iconThen He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Messiah to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Lk 24:25-27)

The list of truths which we are about to examine, in some detail, is not a list of Jewish religious practices which are to be superseded by "Christian" philosophy and faith-oriented thinking. Rather they are essential, foundational truths to be learned, understood, retained, and built upon as a sure foundation.

bible iconTherefore thus says the L-rd G-d: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily". (Isa 28:16)
top ^
II. Repentance from Deeds that Lead to Death
bible icon...the foundation of repentance from deeds that lead to death (t'shuvah mima'asei mavet)... (Heb 6:1)
II-A. Biblical Terms
metanóias apó nékron ergón: literally meaning, "putting away," "putting an end to," or "turning away from, the working of or doing death"

metanóia: literally meaning "a change in thinking, judgment, or resolve."
teshuvá: literally meaning "to turn or return"
top ^
II-B. Teshuvah, the Concept

Like the Hebrew, teshuvah, the Greek, metanoia is a much more rich concept than the simple etymology of the word would suggest. To put it succinctly, teshuvah is a complete turning around, in thought, attitude, and action. A change of mind without a change in action is not truly a change of mind.

This does not mean merely a re-commitment to "good values" that are so abstract that they function only to make us feel good when we espouse them. Real teshuvah means determining in considerable detail exactly what we are going to do differently in our lives, taking into account the things that will likely throw us off or undermine our resolve.
(See note 3)

Teshuvah does not necessarily have to be a turning from only bad, or evil, but from anything that gets between the individual and G-d. This can include traditions, religious systems (though they may espouse very moral and ethical values and lifestyles), even true ministries for HaShem (if they stand between one and HaShem, Himself).

The Jewish concept of teshuvah is more than a one-time decision. It is a process, a lifestyle, a renewed mind set, a freshened way of approaching life. The process known as teshuvah is actually closely akin to the Christian concept of sanctification:

bible iconThis I say, therefore, and testify in the L-rd, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of G-d, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Messiah, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Y'Shua: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to G-d, in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:17-24)
top ^
II-C. Teshuvah, the Need

The primary attribute of the Holy One, blessed be He, is that which is called holiness. This attribute comes from the Hebrew, kadosh (), which, at its most basic level, means separate. By extension to HaShem, the meaning is: "completely separate from that which makes impure, unclean, or incomplete." It is this attribute which is the wellspring of all of HaShem's other attributes. In fact, according to the prophets, this is the attribute which is being constantly proclaimed and extolled, in the presence of the Holy One:

bible iconIn the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the L-rd sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His {robe} filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy {is} the HaShem of hosts; the whole earth {is} full of His glory!" (Isa 6:1-3, NKJ)
bible icon{The} four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, HaShem G-d Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!" (Rev 4:8, NKJ)

In the beginning, man was created completely perfect, and devoid of anything which lacked holiness. Our relationship with HaShem was open, free, and unhindered. However, when we, for the first time, allowed unholiness into our existence, by doing that which was contrary to His will, our relationship with Him underwent a radical change, as He warned us, and tried to spare us:

bible iconAnd the HaShem G-d commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen 2:16,17)

The death He warned us about was the separation from our beloved G-d. And that death was immediate, and we knew it, as guilt and shame flooded in for the first time. And we became painfully aware that there was now something about us which needed to be covered up. We (in Adam) could no longer abide the light and presence of His awesome and perfect holiness, and we knew it:

bible iconThen HaShem G-d called to Adam and said to him, "Where {are} you?" So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked (or exposed); and I hid myself." (Gen 3:9,10)

And we still know it:

bible iconSo I said: "Woe {is} me, for I am destroyed! Because I {am} a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, HaShem of hosts." (Isa 6:5)
When the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) stood in Jerusalem and bathed the world in divine daylight, no man with a residue of spiritual impurity (Tum'ah) could approach G-d until he had undergone a process of purification. That G-d is the source of life, and that sin (i.e., disconnection from the divine) is synonymous with death, was no mere conceptual truth, but a fact of life.
(See note 4)

And if we choose to pretend it isn't so, our loving Creator reminds us, and warns us of the fact:

bible iconAnd he (Moses) said, "Show me Your glory."...But He said, "You cannot see My face (literally faces, or presence); for no man shall see Me, and live." And the HaShem said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back (or afterglow); but My face (or presence) shall not be seen." (Exod 33:18-23)
bible iconBehold, HaShem's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your G-d; and your sins have hidden {His} face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isa 59:1,2)

If we choose to ignore His warning, that which is not holy (perfect, pure, and undefiled) is consumed by the inconceivable presence of pure holiness:

bible iconThen Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censor and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the HaShem, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the HaShem and devoured them, and they died before the HaShem. And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the HaShem spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.'" (Lev 10:1-3)

What we inherited from our father Adam, was not his guilt, for his sin. But the inclination to sin, the yetser harah, which begins to express itself from birth (in selfishness, self-centeredness, deceit, etc.). Once we have sinned, ourselves, knowing right from wrong and choosing wrong, we then are definitely lacking in holiness.

While we live, we are sheltered, somewhat, from the purity of G-d's full presence. However, once we pass through the veil of death, we will enter into that presence of G-d, without limit. There, is where eternal death (separation) will ultimately take place...unless something is done about our lack of holiness. This is the essence of our study of the foundational principles of Messiah, for, this is His primary purpose for coming to us: to grant to us holiness and righteousness, which we cannot gain for ourselves. Which brings us back to the topic at hand: repentance.

bible icon"For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the L-rd HaShem..."Therefore turn (t'shuvee, repent) and live!" (Ezek 18:32)
bible iconThe L-rd is not slack concerning {His} promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2Pet 3:9)
top ^
II-D. Teshuvah, the Purpose

The results of sin are an increasing insensitivity to damage and ultimately, death. This can be illustrated in one of the methods used by Eskimos to deal with wolves which threaten their herds:

A razor-sharp, double-edged knife is repeatedly dipped into fresh blood, which is allowed to freeze on the blade. This process continues until the blade is rather thickly coated with frozen blood. Then the knife handle is packed into the snow, in an upright position, leaving the blade exposed. Wolves have a keen sense of smell, and soon the wolf is attracted to the fresh blood-sicle.

The first lick excites the wolf and it begins to lick with increasing zeal, meanwhile, the cold of the frozen treat is beginning to numb the tongue. Eventually, the licking will begin to expose the razor sharp blade, but by this time the tongue is well beyond feeling the pain as the blade begins to cut into it.

Now fresh, warm, blood is being released. Without the warning of the pain, the wolf is unaware that it is actually enjoying its own blood. Zeal increases, until, in the morning, the wolf is found...lying in the snow, with a red stain in the snow around its head.

Sin will try to convince one that all that is desired is a small area of the map, and the rest will be left alone. But, it will not be satisfied until the whole map is consumed:

bible iconIf you do what is right, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do what is right, sin crouches (like a lion in ambush) at the door. and its desire (to dominate and possess){is} for you, but you should master it. (Gen 4:7, Author's version)

Teshuvah is the means by which we reverse the process, and restore the sensitivity to damage, before the ultimate result, death, occurs. HaShem's ways are the best ways. He does not reveal His guidelines for life so He might have opportunity to smash us when we fail to live up to them. Rather, He gives them to us as gifts, so that we might have fullness of life:

bible iconTherefore know this day, and consider {it} in your heart, that the HaShem Himself {is} G-d in heaven above and on the earth beneath; {there is} no other. You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong {your} days in the land which the HaShem your G-d is giving you for all time. (Deut 4:39,40)
top ^
II-E.Teshuvah, the Foundation

Teshuvah stands firmly on three legs. Without all three, it is not true teshuvah:

One becomes, or is made, aware of the fact, and recognizes that the current path one is not the correct one.
bible iconIf a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the L-rd's commands, he is guilty. When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering for the sin he committed...(Lev 4:27-28, NIV)
One comes to agreement with G-d, that the path is incorrect. This is not a simple admission, but a re-adjustment in attitude and perspective.
bible iconAnd it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these {matters,} that he shall confess that he has sinned in that {thing;} and he shall bring his trespass offering to the L-rd for his sin which he has committed... (Lev 5:5,6)
bible icon{But} if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and {that} I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. (Lev 26:40-42)
bible iconIf we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us {our} sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jn 1:9)
One actually changes the path, first in true intent of the heart, then in action. However, the response is still incomplete, until the underlying, motivating, thoughts are also changed.
bible iconLet the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the L-rd, and He will have mercy on him; and to our G-d, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isa 55:7)
bible iconKeep your heart with all diligence, for out of it {spring} the issues of life. (Prov 4:23)
bible iconBut those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies... (Matt 15:18, 19)

True and completed repentance is revealed when the opportunity to do the sin is present, and the repentant one doesn't do it. To repent without intent to stop sinning is not repentance.

Whoever confesses merely with words, but has not decided to stop sinning is like one who immerses oneself in a ritual bath still holding a (contaminating) reptile. The immersion will not be effective until the person who "confesses and forsakes sin shall gain compassion."
(See note 5)
top ^
II-F. Teshuvah, the Process

Often, sin acts as a snare, which one can be deeply trapped, because of many years of yielding. The intent is there, but the flesh is indeed weak. In such cases teshuvah may, of necessity, be more of a process. This is because breaking a stronghold, without divine intervention, cannot be accomplished in one easy step.

The sin cycle can be described as proceeding as follows:

  1. Temptation applies pressure
  2. One resists, but the pressure increases as the individual contemplates the sin
  3. The individual gives in and commits the sin (This has the added effect of increasing the pressure next time, making the sin harder to resist. Fires are not quenched by adding fuel to them).
  4. The pressure of temptation lifts, the individual returns to his senses, and either, despairs of ever succeeding, giving in fully to the sin for a time (in an attempt to get it out of the system), or engages in self-condemnation. Both actions are at a minimum a waste of valuable time in the process.
  5. The individual comes to a place of repentance, confesses, renounces, and asks forgiveness, promising: "Never again," and meaning it.
  6. Time passes and the process begins again...

Often, the repentant individual loses hope, because of the apparent lack of success, no matter how much effort is put forth. The lack of success is due mostly to the belief that the process can, or must, complete in one step. When actually, the process may take significant time. Hope is restored when one is able to gauge progress in the positive direction. Here is the key: moving the place of repentance sooner and sooner, until one-by-one, steps 4, 3 , then 2 drop out. Step 1 may never drop out, but success can be obtained when one is able to repent as soon as one recognizes that he is in the consideration phase, and performs step 5, immediately. Remember, it is not a sin to be tempted.

top ^
II-G. The Levels of Teshuvah

The following levels of teshuvah are those suggested by the 14th century Jewish sage, Isaac Aboav (probably of Spain):

  1. Repentance is immediately after the sin. (Highest and best)
  2. One who has been enmired in sin for many days or years, but still repents while still young and in full possession of bodily faculties.
  3. Although one is still young, the opportunity for sin is no longer there. Or perhaps it is still there but one is embarrassed to pursue one's evil inclination.
  4. One who repents because of fear of troubles or of a divine decree.
  5. One who regrets one's sins after getting in lots of trouble. People may not accept this kind, but G-d does (like Manassah).
  6. Repentance in one's old age, when one is too feeble to be able to proceed along the path of sin.
  7. The person who never regretted what had been done, continues sinning even though it will prove fatal, and repents only when that person sees death approaching.
top ^
II-H. Teshuvah, a Gift of G-d

Probably the most important concept to keep in mind, concerning the concept of teshuvah, is that it is a gift of G-d. He loves us to much to allow us to suffer, as slaves to our fleshly lusts and enslaving habits and sins. Even the desire to make teshuvah is a result of the working of the grace (overcoming power) of G-d in our lives. And that same grace, if received and yielded to, will result in freedom, and life.

bible iconAnd a servant of the L-rd must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if G-d perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and {that} they may come to their senses {and escape} the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to {do} his will. (2Tim 2:24-26, NKJ)

Remember, the commandments of G-d are not bondage, but freedom for those who study them and put them into practice in their lives.

It is written: "And the tablets were the work of G-d, and the writing was G-d's writing, engraved on the tablets." Read not "engraved" but "freedom"—for there is no free individual, except for he who occupies himself with Torah. (Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 6:2)
top ^
III. Faith toward G-d
bible icon...the foundation toward G-d (emunah b'El-him)... (Heb 6:1)
III-A. Biblical Terms
písteos épi Theón: literally meaning, "resting one's trust upon G-d and His provision and care"

pistós: literally meaning "trusting" (with the nuance of ‘obedient') and "trustworthy"

pístis: literally meaning "confidence," "trust," or "assurance"
It is by deeds, expressing the faith that is within, that the faith is manifested, and made palpable and tangible in the world.
bible iconNow faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)
bible iconBut someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (Jas 2:18)
emunáh: literally meaning, "belief" or "trust"

root : The original sense is to "array in a straight line" and is seen in such words as (aman, meaning "to tutor" or "train"), (omein, meaning a "tutor" or "teacher")

omnám: literally meaning, "in truth"

émet: literally meaning, "truth", derives from older form, "eménet"

ne-emán: literally meaning, "true to one's word," or "trustworthy"

ani ma'amin: literally meaning, "This is what I believe"

amein (generally: known as amen): literally meaning, "so may it be," "may it come to pass," or "I am in agreement"
top ^
III-B. Emunah, the Concept

Believers in this age have bought into the modern culture, wherein, instant gratification, entertainment, and the magic bullet (the quick-fix) are sought for like the Holy Grail. Faith is shallow. Testimonies are lacking in the wonder of days gone by. We seem to have forgotten that the L-rd is our Rock, from whom all that we need flows. We don't stay in one place long enough for our faith to grow in depth and richness, which can only come through commitment and perseverance. In fact, one of the greatest fruits of true faith is perseverance and endurance.

bible iconMy brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have {its} perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (Jas 1:2-4)

Faith has become the Force, some impersonal energy source which, if tapped into successfully, can be used to effect great changes in the world and the various circumstances of life. This kind of belief system is nothing more that another form of witchcraft. Spiritual maturity is not measured by how much one can accomplish by mustering up a cone of power (faith). Rather, true spiritual maturity is measured in the ability of the disciple of the Messiah to receive life as from the hand of the Holy One, Blessed be He.

bible iconWho {is} he {who} speaks and it comes to pass, {when} the L-rd has not commanded {it?} {Is it} not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed? (Lam 3:37,38)
top ^
III-C. Emunah, the Perspective
bible iconThis is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that G-d is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1Jn 1:5)
bible iconFor I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the L-rd, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11)

If we know that G-d is good, without even the hint of evil, and that He is omnipotent (He could do anything, or stop anything from happening), then we must know that all that He allows or does not allow in our lives is for our good. These things are also good for those around us as well. This belief can be one of the greatest sources of peace in our lives: that G-d loves us and has our best interests in mind.

The holy Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin said that you should always strengthen yourself in your faith, and have trust in G-d and not let your heart fall from the vagaries of time and events. Through this nothing evil will be able to overcome you. The main principle of trust in G-d is to believe with complete faith that everything happens with His divine providence and therefore is certainly good. Whatever is not within the grasp of our understanding, there the goodness is just hidden, and is, without a doubt, good on an even deeper level. (Or ha-Ner #30)

The Baal Shem Tov: Whatever happens it should be all the same to you—whether people praise you or condemn you, and for all other things—in food, whether you eat delicacies or not—it should be equal in your eyes, since the yetzer ha-ra is removed from you completely. So for everything that happens to you say, "Is this not from Him, blessed be He? And if it is good in His eyes etc.* [it should certainly be so in mine]." And all your intention should be just for the sake of heaven—but for yourself it should not make any difference [whether you receive one thing or the other]. This is a very high spiritual level. (Tzavaat ha-Ribash, p. 2)

It is an important principle to: "Commit your deeds to the L-rd, and then your thoughts and plans will be established" [Proverbs 16:3] — that with everything that comes to you, you think that it is from Him, blessed be He. And you should see that you pray to G-d, blessed be He, that He always bring to you what He, blessed be He, knows is for your good, and not what seems to be so to men according to their understanding. For it is possible that what is good in your eyes is really bad for you. So cast everything, all your affairs and needs, on Him, blessed be He. (Tzavaat ha-Ribash, p. 2)

The Hafetz Hayim: When a person puts his prayer and request before G-d, he should not say, "Master of the World, give me this!" For a person cannot know [for certain] what is for his good...He should pray: "Master of the World, if this is good for me, give it to me, but if it is not, do not." (Michtivei Ha-Hafetz Hayim HaHadash, vol. 2, II, no. 5, p. 52)
(See note 6)
top ^
III-D. Emunah, the Need

Fear and faith are intimately intertwined. First, first-hand knowledge of the awesome holiness of G-d fills one with the fearful expectation of being consumed by it. While the knowledge of His infinite love for us balances our fear and quiets our spirits. At the same time, the Holy One, blessed be he, has endowed us with drives and desires which propel us to satisfy them. The yetzer ha-ra (inclination to do evil) takes opportunity by these drives to move us by fear, convincing us that G-d is not who He says that He is. The goal being to compel us to fulfill our needs in ways of our own creation, which, are outside the boundaries of righteousness (the right way to act and think). The result of missing the mark (sin), in this way, is separation from G-d (the true and ultimate meaning of death), and destruction of every aspect of our lives.

bible iconDelight yourself also in the L-rd, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the L-rd, trust also in Him, and He shall bring {it} to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the L-rd, and wait patiently for Him; not fret, {it} only {causes} harm. (Ps 37:4-8, NKJ)
bible iconTherefore take up the whole armor of G-d, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of G-d; (Eph 6:13-17)

Fear and worry are, at best, an utter waste of time and energy. They consume our lives, resources, and health, and destroy our peace and confidence. If all these, that are lost to this bottomless pit, are kept in their proper focus (upon G-d and His faithfulness), the reward is without measure.

bible iconTherefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if G-d so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, {will He} not much more {clothe} you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of G-d and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day {is} its own trouble. (Matt 6:25-34)
top ^
III-E. Emunah, the Foundation

Emunah stands firmly on three legs. Without all three, it is not true emunah:

One becomes, or is made aware of, a promise or statement. Faith without this leg is no more than presumption.
bible iconSo then faith {comes} by hearing, and hearing by the word of G-d. (Rom 10:17)
One puts his trust in what is revealed. This is not a simple acknowledgment, but results in a change or readjustment in attitude and perspective.
bible iconFor what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed G-d, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." (Rom 4:3)
bible iconBut without faith {it is} impossible to please {Him,} for he who comes to G-d must believe that He is, and {that} He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Heb 11:6)
One acts upon what one has come to believe. True faith is accompanied by deeds, commensurate with the belief. Faith without this leg is dead (not really faith at all, for there is no life in it).
bible iconWhat {does it} profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what {does it} profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe, and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? (Jas 2:14-22)
top ^
III-F. Emunah, a Gift of G-d

Faith is a gift of G-d, a gift of His divine Grace. Grace is known as ‘unmerited favor,' and so it is. However, more generally, when the word grace is used referenced, its meaning is more correctly, G-d's overcoming power in our lives, motivating and enabling us to do His will. Without the grace of G-d working in our lives, it would be impossible to truly understand or to believe.

bible iconFor by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; {it is} the gift of G-d, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Y'Shua for good works, which G-d prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)
bible iconTherefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares {us,} and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Y'Shua, the author and finisher of {our} faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of G-d. (Heb 12:1,2)

Now what G-d provides, G-d requires...

bible iconWoe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier {matters} of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! (Matt 23:23,24)

And what G-d provides and requires, He subjects to testing, as one tests metal. This is to reveal any flaws or weaknesses which need further work, so that the final product is able to stand up to all the trials and tests of life.

bible iconLikewise, when the L-rd sent you from Kadesh Barnea, saying, "Go up and possess the land which I have given you,' then you rebelled against the commandment of the L-rd your G-d, and you did not believe Him nor obey His voice. You have been rebellious against the L-rd from the day that I knew you. (Deut 9:23,24)
bible iconMy brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have {its} perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (Jas 1:2-4)
top ^
III-G. Emunah, the Gift That Grows

G-d's holy gift of emunah is very much like a muscle. When exercised and challenged, it grows in strength and ability. When neglected and allowed to lie dormant, it atrophies, growing weaker.

In a general sense, one's faith in one's self is challenged and grown while in military basic training. The training instructors know the capacities and capabilities of young men. These same young men have generally never been tested to reveal their true metal, and it is the job of the instructor to cultivate and reveal it. These young men will be continuously asked to perform tasks and produce endurance beyond what they believe they are capable of, but with the passage of time they begin to comprehend that the instructors just may know, more than they do, what they are capable of.

So it is with G-d. We will be continuously asked, by G-d, to endure or perform things which we believe are beyond us. If we will trust enough to obey, we will discover that we are truly capable of abundantly more than we believe ourselves to be. Spiritual growth, indicated and gauged by our trust in G-d, is often very costly, but worth every bit of effort and price paid.

bible iconBut you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of G-d, looking for the mercy of our L-rd Y'shua the Messiah unto eternal life. (Jude 20,21)
bible iconAnd let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Gal 6:9)
top ^
III-H. Emunah, an Invitation to Excel

Contrary to what our senses tell us, the world we know so well is but a shadow of the true world, the world of the spirit. If we could see all what is going on all around us, in the realm of the spirit, what we would see would be well beyond what we would be able to tolerate. Therefore, the lack of this ability to see beyond the mere physical is also a great gift. Because of our partial blindness, we need a guide who can see it all. The Holy One, blessed be He, is the best guide there is for our lives, and worthy of our trust (emunah). The best part is that He offers His guidance to any who will but ask and act upon it.

bible iconTrust in the L-rd with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Prov 3:5,6)

Many of the large ski resorts provide an amazing service: Ski instruction and guidance for the blind (!?!). As amazing as it may sound, it is the truth. First, the prospective skiers are given preliminary instruction, being given the audible commands and signals that the skier needs to understand and respond to, in order to safely negotiate a ski run. The skier must respond immediately, without hesitation, otherwise...disaster. The skier must trust his guide explicitly. His life depends on it. However, if the skier will fully trust and act, eventually, he will be enabled to enjoy the unbelievable thrill of a black diamond run, an extremely fast and challenging run, available only to the most skilled and accomplished skiers. In the same way, the Holy One, blessed be He, desires to take us on the black diamond run of life. We cannot imagine the lives we could have, and the things that could be accomplished, if only we would trust G-d with all our hearts and lives.

bible iconFor the eyes of the L-rd run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of {them} whose heart {is} perfect toward him. (2Chr 16:9, KJV)
top ^
IV. Doctrine of Ceremonial Immersions
bible icon...the foundation of...the doctrine of ceremonial immersions (torat hat'vilot)... (Heb 6:1,2)
IV-A. Biblical Terms
baptismón didakhéis: literally meaning, "teachings on ceremonial immersions"

didakhéi: literally meaning, "an established and formulated doctrine"
bible iconAnd so it was, when Y'shua had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching (doctrine), for He instructed them as one having authority {to originate doctrine}, and not as the scribes {who cite the originators}. (Matt 7:28,29)
baptídzo: literally meaning, "to wash," to "bathe," to "immerse," or, to "dye"
teviláh: ceremonial immersion
bible iconTherefore, if anyone {is} in Messiah, {he is} a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Cor 5:17)
qaváh: literally meaning, to "bind" {together}, to "collect," or "gather together," to "expect"

míkvah: literally, a "gathering together," a "collection," or "reservoir"
bible iconO L-RD, the hope (mikveh) of Israel, all who forsake You shall be ashamed. "Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the L-RD, the fountain of living waters." (Jer 17:13)
tíkvah: normally translated "hope" literally, means, "that which gathers together"
bible iconTherefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope (tikvah). For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (Ps 16:9,10)
top ^
IV-B. T'vilah, the Concept

Like the previous two topics, the interpretation of the true meaning and purpose of t'vilah (ceremonial immersion, or baptism if you will) has been a great source of division in the Body of Messiah. Having long ago let go of our Hebraic roots, we have lost the beauty of G-d's gift to us. We have begun to struggle among ourselves over trivialities and points of dispute that often miss the mark altogether: complete immersion or sprinkling? immersing three times or just once? in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit or in the name of Y'Shua alone? necessary for salvation or not? by anyone or by the elders only? bending forward or backward? quickly in and out or hold them down till they struggle for air? and many more...

As the Hebrew word Torat and the Greek word didakhéi indicate, the concept of ceremonial immersion is a unified and established and formulated set of teachings or instruction. Restoration of the Hebraic foundation leads to a liberating understanding of what otherwise would be a bewildering collection of scriptures and references. For example, understanding the unified concept of t'vilah and mikveh leads one quickly and easily to the answer to the question: "Why did Y'Shua need to come to Yochanan (John) to be immersed?"

The confusion:

Much confusion has come from the idea that whenever immersion is referenced (i.e., the word baptism is used), it refers to the same thing: water baptism. This is not the case. Y'Shua used the concept to express His being completely immersed in His Father's will: yielding His life as an offering, Holy to G-d, unto salvation for all who would receive it. This is definitely not immersion in water.

bible iconBut Y'Shua answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able." So He said to them, "You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but {it is for those} for whom it is prepared by My Father." (Matt 20:22,23)

The next idea to refute before we can move to the truth is that "immersion" in water symbolizes death, burial, and resurrection. This idea is derived from the following scripture:

bible iconOr do you not know that as many of us as were immersed into Messiah Y'Shua were immersed into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through immersion into death, that just as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:3,4)

While there does appear to be a similarity between immersion and burial/resurrection, the immersion being discussed here is an effective immersion, that is, it actually effects a change. It actually accomplishes something, rather than symbolizing the accomplishment. There is only one effective immersion. The immersion, by the Spirit of the Holy one, into the Body (or family/community) of Messiah:

bible icon{There is} one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one L-rd, one faith, one baptism; one G-d and Father of all, who {is} above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph 4:4-6)
bible iconFor by one Spirit we were all immersed into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. (1Cor 12:13,14)

The following passage has enough connective similarity to the two previous scripture references to solidify the interpretation:

bible iconFor as many of you as were immersed into Messiah have put on Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Y'Shua. And if you {are} of Messiah, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:27-29)

Now to the concept that one must be immersed (baptized) to be saved. Knowing of the only effective immersion, you may quickly and boldly state that: "Yes! You must be baptized to be saved," but not in water. Otherwise, Y'Shua was a liar when He told the thief on the cross next to him, "Today, you will be with Me in Paradise." So consider the following in the new light of understanding:

bible iconAnd He said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to every creature. He who believes and is immersed will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mk 16:15-16)
The resolution:

The next concept to put away, is that the waters of immersion wash away sin, as one washes away dirt. This also appears reasonable, in isolation from our Hebraic roots. However, the proper interpretation is very different indeed. Our people have continued to practice t'vilah for the last several thousand years, maintaining connection with the roots. Although there is much they do not know or understand, concerning Messiah, there is much we can learn from them:

The waters are not used to remove any physical uncleanliness, but rather serve as a symbolic rebirth, an emergence from the purified, cleansing waters of new beginnings. The immersion removes any ritual impurity and the person is considered ritually pure—eligible to participate in the ritual life of the Jewish People.
(See note 7)

There are a great number of references to ceremonial immersion in the Scriptures, both in the Tanach (Hebrew Bible) and the B'rit HaChadashah (New Covenant). The unified nature of the doctrine is revealed, in that, in every case, immersion symbolizes being put in a new position, or being moved from one state of being to another: ceremonially impure to ceremonially pure, secular to spiritual, common (or profane) to holy...

top ^
IV-C. T'vilah, the Perspective

While the concept of t'shuvah (repentance) looks to the past, acknowledging our sin and its consequences, and emunah (faith/trust) looks to the present, recognizing how not to sin and the benefits of trusting G-d, t'vilah looks to the future, leaving sin behind and walking in newness of life and dropping the burdens of our past.

bible iconTherefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Y'Shua, by a new and living way which He set apart for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and {having} a High Priest over the house of G-d, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed (immersed) with (in) pure water. (Heb 10:19-22)
bible iconFor Messiah also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to G-d, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while {the} ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us, immersion (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward G-d), through the resurrection of Y'Shua haMashiach, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of G-d, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (1Pet 3:18-22)

When we come to G-d, recognizing and repenting of our sin, and beginning our new lives, putting our trust in Him, we need to be able to put the past behind us. We need to be able to trust G-d for our future, and leave all the old baggage at the altar, where is was atoned for. The waters of mikveh are, as it were, a definitive line in the sand. When that line is crossed, the past is put away, left behind, never to be returned to again.

bible iconBrethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing {I} {do,} forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of G-d in Messiah Y'Shua. (Php 3:13,14)
top ^
IV-D. T'vilah, Our Tradition

The mikveh has seven steps leading down into the water, representing the six days of creation and the Shabbat. The pool called a (bor), and must have enough water for a person to completely immerse. The waters of the mikveh called (mayim chayim), "living waters" or the "waters of life."

The one being immersed must bathe thoroughly first, emphasizing the fact that the immersion is not for physical cleanliness.

Mikva-ot (plural form) are often used, for various reasons:

In the days of Y'Shua, mikva-ot were built right into the homes of the rich. Also, t'vilah was a very important practice, associated with the new life beginning in marriage, even as it is today. This can be seen in the celebration of the wedding in Cana, which was attended by Y'Shua:

bible iconNow there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. (Jn 2:6)

In keeping with the fact that t'vilah is a symbolic act, marking a transition being made by the individual being immersed, all t'vilah is self-immersion, as in modern Jewish practice. This knowledge should dispel the struggles about who does the immersing, and how the immersing is done. The concept of self-immersion is clearly illustrated in the immersion of the Messiah by Yochanan (John), in the Jordan. If He were being immersed by Yochanan, He could not have emerged with such enthusiasm as is written:

bible iconWhen He had been immersed, Y'Shua came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Ruach HaKodesh (Spirit of the Holy One) descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. (Matt 3:16, NKJ)

The primary task of the one overseeing the immersion is to ensure that the statement being made is actually complete, that complete immersion has been accomplished, including hair and all parts of the body. Also, the one credited with doing the immersing is actually only officiating and overseeing the immersions. The one so credited does not have to be the one actually performing the immersions:

bible iconTherefore, when the L-rd knew that the Pharisees had heard that Y'Shua made and immersed more disciples than John (though Y'Shua Himself did not immerse, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. (Jn 4:1-3, NKJ)

In modern conversion mikveh, the officiating rabbis are not even able to see female converts when they are being immersed. The overseeing of the actual immersion is performed by a woman, while the rabbis are present but are kept from seeing the act by an interposing veil. This is done for the sake of modesty.

top ^
IV-E. T'vilah, Our Messiah's Need

The Scriptures are clear, Messiah had no sin:

bible iconFor we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all {points} tempted as {we are, yet} without sin. (Heb 4:15, NKJ)

Yet, Messiah, himself, said that He needed to be immersed:

bible iconThen Y'Shua came from Galilee to Yochanan at the Jordan to be immersed by him. And Yochanan {tried to} prevent Him, saying, "I need to be immersed by You, and are You coming to me?" But Y'Shua answered and said to him, "Permit {it to be so} now, for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him. (Matt 3:13-15, NKJ)

Here we find that Yochanan's immersion was one of repentance (putting ones old life and ways behind, and making a new start), in preparation for the soon coming Kingdom of G-d. Having this perspective, Yochanan stated that he should be coming to Y'Shua, rather than the other way around. However, having no sin, Y'Shua was not in need of repentance. His statement to Yochanan was that t'vilah was needed to fulfill all righteousness. This means that it was needed in order to do everything that needed to be done, the right way.

Since no repentance was needed, what kind of t'vilah was required? Understanding the essential meaning of t'vilah, in all its connotations, yields the understanding that some transition or change of state was to take place, "to fulfill all righteousness."

Before Y'shua came to Yochanan, he was a carpenter, a common or secular state or position, albeit quite an acceptable and honorable one. Yet, from the moment of His mikveh, Y'shua never went back to pick up another hammer or saw another board. He was set apart for the service of G-d and His Kingdom. This is essentially the meaning of Messianic (or Christian) t'vilah, being set apart for the work of the Kingdom. In keeping with the act of consecration, Messiah's commissioning and empowerment for the task he was set apart for, was tangibly expressed:

bible iconWhen He had been immersed, Y'Shua came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Ruach HaKodesh descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice {came} from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matt 3:16-17, NKJ)
top ^
IV-F. Immersion in "the Name"

One of the greatest controversies in the community of Messiah has been the question: "In whose name should one be immersed? In the Name of Y'Shua only? Or in the Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit? This question can also be answered by returning to the Hebraic roots and by a careful examination of the Scriptures. First, to be immersed in the name of someone is to acknowledge and to be identified with that one.

Those in the Scripture that were immersed in Y'shua's name only, were Jews, already in full knowledge, and acceptance of the Father and His Holy Spirit. Being immersed in the Name of the Messiah was all that was needed:

bible icon"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that G-d has made this Y'Shua, whom you crucified, both L-rd and Messiah." Now when they heard {this,} they were cut to the heart, and said to Kefa (Peter) and the rest of the talmidim (disciples), "Men {and} brothers, what shall we do?" Then Kefa said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be immersed in the name of Y'Shua haMashiach (the Messiah) for the remission (the putting away or behind) of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Ruach haKodesh. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the L-rd our G-d will call." And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were immersed; and that day about three thousand souls were added {to them.} (Ac 2:36-41)
bible iconAnd it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some talmidim he said to them, "Did you receive the Ruach haKodesh when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Ruach haKodesh." And he said to them, "Into what then were you immersed?" So they said, "Into Yochanan's t'vilah." Then Paul said, "Yochanan indeed immersed with a t'vilah unto repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Y'Shua haMashiach." When they heard {this,} they were immersed in the name of the L-rd Y'Shua. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Ruach haKodesh came upon them, and they spoke with languages and prophesied. (Ac 19:1-6)

Those in the Scripture that were immersed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were those who had come from outside the commonwealth of Israel. These had no relationship with G-d prior to coming to faith, and needed to acknowledge and symbolically submit to the complete Echad (or Unity) of the Holy One:

bible icon"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, {even} to the end of the age. Amen (or, 'you can put your trust in this')" (Matt 28:19,19)

Here we see one of the nations, but he is obviously not a heathen, but a Jew. Ethiopian Jews (Falashim) continue to exist, and many believe in Y'Shua:

bible iconNow as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, {here is} water. What hinders me from being immersed?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Y'Shua haMashiach is the Son of G-d." (Ac 8:36,37)
top ^
IV-G. Related Concepts and Scriptures

Hearing that Messiah was coming, or had come, the natural response of believing Jews, seeking to be ready and worthy for the promised Messianic Age (or Kingdom), would be to confess and renounce any sin, then to be immersed, signifying the transition to a holier state (corporate and personal) with requisite repentance and faith...

bible iconIn those days Yochanan haTav'li (John the Immerser) came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the L-RD; Make His paths straight.'" And Yochanan himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were immersed by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. (Matt 3:1-6, NKJ)
bible iconBut when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the things concerning the Kingdom of G-d and the name of Y'Shua haMashiach, both men and women were immersed. (Ac 8:12)

T'vilah, for the purpose of sanctification (setting apart for a purpose) of the kohanim (priests), to serve G-d as His representatives:

bible iconAnd you shall anoint the laver and its base, and consecrate it. Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and wash (immerse) them with (in) water. You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. (Ex. 40:11-13)
bible iconAnd Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash (immerse) them with water. (Ex. 29:4)

Even after the immersion of commissioning, kohanim were to use immersion to mark the transition to a special state of holiness, before performing their duties in the Temple:

bible iconYou shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, for Aaron and his sons shall wash (immerse) their hands and their feet in water from it. When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the L-rd, they shall wash (immerse) {their hands and feet} with water, lest they die. (Ex. 30:18-20)

T'vilah was also specified to mark the leaving behind, or putting away, of a state of being tamei (ceremonial inaccessibility to the holy things and presence of G-d):

bible iconAnd he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the tzaraat (traditionally translated "leprosy), and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field. He who is to be cleansed shall immerse his clothes, shave off all his hair, and immerse himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, all his hair he shall shave off. He shall immerse his clothes and immerse his body in water, and he shall be tahar (clean or pure). (Lev 14:7-9)
bible iconSpeak to the children of Israel, and say to them: "When any man has a discharge from his body, his discharge {is} tamei (impure). And this shall be his uncleanness in regard to his discharge, whether his body runs with his discharge, or his body is stopped up by his discharge, it {is} his impurity. Every bed is tamei on which he who has the discharge lies, and everything on which he sits shall be tamei. And whoever touches his bed shall wash his clothes and immerse in water, and be tamei until evening. He who sits on anything on which he who has the discharge sat shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be tamei until evening. And he who touches the body of him who has the discharge shall wash his clothes and immerse in water, and be tamei until evening. (Lev 15:2-7)
bible iconIf a woman has a discharge, {and} the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be tamei until evening. Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be tamei; also everything that she sits on shall be tamei. Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and immerse in water, and be tamei until evening. And whoever touches anything that she sat on shall wash his clothes and immerse in water, and be tamei until evening. (Lev 15:19-22)
bible iconIf any man has an emission of semen, then he shall immerse his body in water, and be tamei until evening. And any garment and any leather on which there is semen, it shall be immersed with water, and be tamei until evening. Also, when a woman lies with a man, and {there is} an emission of semen, they shall immerse in water, and be tamei until evening. (Lev 15:16-18)
bible iconIf there is any man among you who becomes tamei by some occurrence in the night, then he shall go outside the camp; he shall not come inside the camp. But it shall be, when evening comes, that he shall immerse with water; and when the sun sets, he may come into the camp. (Deut 23:10, 11)
bible iconAnd every person who eats what died {naturally} or what was torn {by beasts, whether he is} a native of your own country or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes and immerse in water, and be tamei until evening. Then he shall be tahar (pure). But if he does not wash {them} or immerse his body, then he shall bear his guilt. (Lev 17:15, 16)
bible iconWhatever man of the descendants of Aaron, who {is} a leper or has a discharge, shall not eat the holy offerings until he is tahar. And whoever touches anything made tamei {by} a corpse, or a man who has had an emission of semen, or whoever touches any creeping thing by which he would be made tamei, or any person by whom he would become tamei, whatever the source of his state of being tamei may be, the person who has touched any such thing shall be tamei until evening, and shall not eat the holy {offerings} unless he immerses his body with water. And when the sun goes down he shall be tahar; and afterward he may eat the holy {offerings,} because it {is} his food. (Lev 22:4-7, NKJ)
bible iconThe pure {person} shall sprinkle the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, wash his clothes, and immerse in water; and at evening he shall be tahar. (Num 19:19)

T'vilah is not just to mark the transition from a common state to a holy one, but can also mark the transition from the holy state back to the common.

bible iconIn this way Aaron shall come into the Holy {Place:} with {the blood of} a young bull as a sin offering, and {of} a ram as a burnt offering. He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These {are} holy garments. Therefore he shall immerse his body in water, and put them on. (Lev 16:3,4)
bible iconThen Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of meeting, shall take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy {Place,} and shall leave them there. And he shall immerse his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. (Lev 16:23, 24)

Those who come into contact with that which bears or atones for sin must put away the effect of that contact:

bible iconAnd he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and immerse his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. (Lev 16:26)
bible iconThe bull {for} the sin offering and the goat {for} the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy {Place,} shall be carried outside the camp. And they shall burn in the fire their skins, their flesh, and their offal. Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and immerse his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. (Lev 16:27,28)
bible iconThen the heifer shall be burned in his sight: its hide, its flesh, its blood, and its offal shall be burned. And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and cast {them} into the midst of the fire burning the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall immerse in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp; the priest shall be tamei until evening. And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes n water, immerse in water, and shall be tamei until evening. (Num 19:5-8)

T'vilah also marks the transition to a new way of life, as a corporate entity, as well. For example, the waters of the flood essentially cut us off from our past lives, in the evil and wicked world that was wiped out by that flood. We could not go back even if we wanted to. Another example is found in the exodus from Egypt...when the waters of the Sea of Reeds closed in behind us, we were literally cut off from our past as slaves, and behold, our new life as free men, and servants of G-d, was laid out before us. We could not go back:

bible iconMoreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were immersed into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Messiah. (1Cor 10:1-4)

We are to fully immerse our families in the Word of G-d, continuously looking to the future, and putting away that which is not in keeping with that future:

bible iconHusbands, love your wives, just as Messiah also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing (or immersing) of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious congregation, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:25-27)
top ^
V. Laying On of Hands
bible icon...the foundation of...the laying on of hands (s'michat yadayim)...(Heb 6:1,2)
V-A. Biblical Terms
epithéseós te chairo-u: literally meaning, "firmly placing both hands upon something," from (epí), meaning "superimposition," "above," or " upon;" (títheimi), meaning to "purpose," "ordain," or "place;" (te) meaning "both" or "also;" (cha-ir), meaning "hollow tool for grasping," or "hand"

epíthesis, in the context the present topic, refers to the official imposition of hands for the purpose of imparting a commission or responsibility, or to bless or pray for healing
bible iconAnd the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.(Acts 6:5,6)

bible iconDo not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.(1Tim 4:14)

bible iconThen little children were brought to Him that He might put {His} hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.(Matt 19:13)
korbán: usually translated "offering," or "sacrifice," but which actually means "that which has been brought near"
bible iconTherefore if you bring your offering to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and make your offering.(Matt 5:23,24)

bible iconHe said to them, "{All too} well you reject the commandment of G-d, that you may keep your tradition. For Moshe said, 'Honor your father and your mother;' and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me {is} korban (that is, a gift {to G-d}),"' then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of G-d of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."(Mk 7:9-13)
root : The original sense is to "approach" or "bring {near}"

l'hakrív korbán: literally meaning, "to bring the sacrifice near." This phrase communicates, quite well, the concept of sacrifice, as it was performed in the ancient temple. The word sacrifice, itself, derives from the Latin, sacer (holy) + facere (to make). A korban is essentially, that which has been made holy by having been brought into G-d's presence in the sanctuary, which adds a whole new dimension of meaning to the following:
bible iconOh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of G-d! How unsearchable {are} His judgments and His ways past finding out! "For who has known the mind of HaShem? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?" For of Him and through Him and to Him {are} all things, to whom {be} glory forever. Amen. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of G-d, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice (korban), holy, acceptable to G-d, {which} {is} your reasonable service (or spiritual form of worship).(Rom 11:33-12:1)
s'michát yadáyim: literally meaning "leaning the hands upon," from (samách), meaning "to lean upon," "lie hard," or "establish"; (yad), meaning "{open} hand", with suffix, (...ayim), meaning "a pair." In the context of this study, to lay one's hands upon someone or some thing, is to effectively transfer one's weight to what is leaned upon. Halachah (Jewish interpretation and application of law), requires one performing the rite of s'michah, to lean on the object (person or animal) with both hands, with all his force. One no longer supports himself, but is reliant upon a new or other support. It is important to consider what we are leaning on today...
bible iconThus says HaShem: "Cursed {is} the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from HaShem. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, {In} a salt land {which is} not inhabited. Blessed {is} the man who trusts in HaShem, and whose hope is HaShem. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. The heart {is} deceitful above all {things,} and desperately wicked; who can know it?"(Jer 17:5-9)

bible iconNow look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So {is} Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.(2Kgs 18:21)
top ^
V-B. S'michah, the Concept

The meaning of the rite of s'michah begins to come into focus when examining the passage of Scripture, where, Moses was instructed to ordain, or commission, Yehoshua bin Nun (Joshua, son of Nun), to replace him as leader and G-d's representative to the people.

bible iconAnd HaShem said to Moshe: "Take Yehoshua bin Nun with you, a man in whom {is} the Ruach (Spirit), and lay your hand (v'samakhtá) on him; set him before Eleazar haKohen and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And you shall give {some} of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before HaShem for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him, all the congregation." So Moshe did as HaShem commanded him. He took Yehoshua and set him before Eleazar haKohen and before all the congregation. And he laid his hands on him and ordained him, just as HaShem commanded by the hand of Moshe.(Num 27:18-23)

The ordination described in the previous passage is apparently effected through a public ceremony, where Moses laid both hands upon Joshua's head. The passage continues, describing the ceremony as actually transferring "some of Moses' authority" to Joshua. By this act, Moses is identifying Joshua as the new leader, who is to be followed and obeyed, even as Moses had been. Essentially, Joshua is the new Moses.

Further illustration of the true meaning of s'michah is found in the application of the rite in the offering of a korban in the temple...

bible iconNow HaShem called to Moshe, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When any one of you brings an offering to HaShem, you shall bring your offering of the livestock, of the herd and of the flock. If his offering {is} a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before HaShem. Then he shall lean his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He shall kill the bull before HaShem; and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that {is by} the door of the tabernacle of meeting. And he shall skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire. Then the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that {is} on the fire upon the altar; but he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to HaShem.(Lev 1:1-9)

A superficial examination of the previous passage could easily lead one to interpret the rite of s'michah in this context as transferring the sins of the one offering the korban to the korban. The actual meaning of the act is more subtle and yet, much more profound. It is not sin or guilt that is transferred, rather, it is identity that is transferred. Dependent upon the type of offering being made, the animal represents, or takes the place of, the one who offers it. Nachmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman), one of Judaism's great, thirteenth century sages, in his commentary to Leviticus 1:9, offers a general explanation of korbanot:

He should burn the innards and the kidneys [of the offering] in the fire because they are the instruments of thought and desire in the human being. He should burn the legs [of the offering] since they correspond to the hands and feet of a person, which do all the work. He should sprinkle the blood upon the altar, which is analogous to the blood in his body. All these acts are performed in order that when they are done, a person should realize that he has sinned against G-d with his body and his soul, and that "his" blood should really be spilled and "his" body burned, were it not for the loving-kindness of the Creator, Who took from him a substitute and a ransom, namely this offering, so that its blood should be in the his blood, its life in the place of his life, and the chief limbs of the offering should be in the place of the chief parts of his body.
(See note 8)

It is the rite of s'michah that manifests the notion that the animal stands in the place of the owner himself...The offering of a korban, according to Nachmanides, is essentially an execution in effigy. Its purpose is rehabilitative. As he stands before G-d in the Temple and witnesses his own execution by proxy for sins he committed, the owner of the offering is meant to reach a new awareness of his obligations to G-d so that his breach will not be repeated.
(See note 9)

While the actual offering in view in Leviticus 9 is not expiatory (atoning for sin), but rather, an expression of unreserved devotion, dedication, and submission to G-d. However, the essential element, the rite of s'michah, is correctly interpreted, in that, the korban is representative of, and a substitute for, the one who offers it.

top ^
V-C. S'michat Yadayim, Core Doctrine About Messiah

The concepts and principles already covered in this series are absolutely necessary to prepare us to receive and act upon the concept and principle of s'michat yadayim (laying on of hands): Teshuva (repentance) speaks of recognizing and turning from thoughts and actions that separate us from the Holy One; Emunah (faith or trust) speaks of putting our trust for provision, protection, and meaning, back where it belongs, in the Holy One; T'vilah (ceremonial immersion) speaks of definitively marking the transition, effectively putting the old way of life behind us.

It is necessary to turn from the wrong path to the right one, in our journey back to the Holy One, yet, the turning alone is insufficient. Even if one lives completely without error from the point of turning, to the end of life, one problem remains and continues to bar the path. In order to continue to exist in the presence of perfect, absolute holiness, one must, himself, be holy. Otherwise, there is only the fearful expectation of being consumed, even as Nadav and Avihu were consumed when approaching the Holy One in a non-prescribed manner and condition (Lev 10).

Perfect holiness does not, nor can it, compromise. It also cannot be defiled. That which is not holy is simply consumed in its presence. It was not G-d breaking out in anger against Nadav and Avihu, it was simply the result of entering the presence of perfect holiness without first purging the stain of its lack, no matter how slight.

Teshuvah (repentance), no matter how complete, simply does not deal with the stain of sin already acquired, up to the point of turning. The penalty for previous sin must be paid, either by the one who has sinned, or by a valid agent or substitute. Also, a fresh/new state of holiness must be obtained. This is the essence of the korbanot (offerings) in the temple. The animal must first be inspected to ensure that no blemish or deformity exists which could invalidate it as a korban (the symbolic perfection or holiness). Then the one making the offering performs the rite of s'michah upon the head of the animal, identifying it with himself, and himself with it. The duly specified substitute is then cut off from the living, symbolizing the separation from the Holy one, while the one offering the korban has the symbolic holiness of the substitute imputed to himself, or transferred to his account, if you were.

However, animal substitutes are insufficient to completely/permanently purge or preclude the stain of sin, because the next time the individual sins, the whole process must be repeated. In part, this is due to the fact that the substitute is not a perfect agent for the penitent, in that the substitute is not human, and yet is taking the place of a human. Also, the substitute is not becoming such of its own volition. For substitutionary agency/atonement to be perfect/complete, the substitute for an erring human must be a human, one who possesses the innocence and holiness required of such a substitute. Here is the where the death of our Messiah, may His Name be blessed, fits into the fabric of substitutionary atonement, woven by the Holy One, and symbolized by the korbanot (offerings) specified in our Holy Torah:

bible iconSurely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by G-d, and afflicted. But He {was} wounded for our transgressions, {He was} bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace {was} upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and HaShem has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor {was any} deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the HaShem to bruise Him; He has put {Him} to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see {His} seed, He shall prolong {His} days, and the pleasure of the HaShem shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, {and} be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.(Isa 53:4-11)

Although no formal act of s'michat yadayim is physically performed, when one comes to the Holy One, on the merit of the Messiah (in His name), putting his trust in the provision made available by the Messiah's death, the essence of the rite of s'michah is fulfilled. The Messiah, may His Name be blessed, voluntarily yielded up his innocent/holy life on behalf of the guilty, taking his penalty/separation, and made His holiness available to the guilty. Messiah has completely and permanently atoned for the sin and guilt of any who put their trust in Him.

To obtain the provision of the Messiah, for entrance into the eternal presence of the Holy One, one must simply perform the following:

  1. The penitent must recognize and acknowledge that he is not holy, that he has sinned against G-d, and turn from that sin, while turning toward G-d and the righteous way of living He has prescribed.
  2. The penitent must understand and believe that Messiah Y'Shua, of Nazareth, has lived the perfect life that was required of the penitent, and that He laid that life down on the penitent's behalf, also that the Messiah was raised from the dead to show that the price paid was sufficient.
  3. Finally, the penitent must ask G-d to forgive him, not on his own merit, but on the basis of what Messiah has accomplished on his behalf. He must yield authority for how he lives his life to G-d and ask for access to G-d's holy presence from that point forward, unto eternity, also on the merit of Messiah Y'Shua.

From that moment on, the individual's life shall be forever changed. The Divine Presence takes residence within, and access to the perfect, absolute, holy presence of G-d is guaranteed, on the incorruptible merit of the Messiah. Once atonement has been completed in Messiah, access to G-d in the olam haba (age to come) is never again at risk. However, should the individual sin in the future, G-d forbid, the intimate relationship with G-d (and in some cases, man), in this age, is broken. To restore that fellowship, the individual must seek forgiveness from the person sinned against (if any), then he must come before the Holy One seeking His forgiveness and renewed cleansing, on the merit of the Messiah. No korban ever needs to be offered again, for the offering of Messiah, and its results, are complete and permanent.

top ^
V-D. S'michat Yadayim, Other Examples
bible iconThen HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying: "Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them {ceremonially.} Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and {so} make themselves clean. Then let them take a young bull with its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another young bull as a sin offering. And you shall bring the Levites before the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall gather together the whole congregation of the children of Israel. So you shall bring the Levites before HaShem, and the children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites; and Aaron shall offer the Levites before HaShem, {like} a wave offering from the children of Israel, that they may perform the work of HaShem."(Num 8:5-11)

Here, s'michah is performed to indicate that, from the time of the service forward, the Levites were fully authorized/ordained as agents or representatives of the general congregation in the performance of required activities in the temple.

bible iconLet the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer {is} worthy of his wages." Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. I charge {you} before G-d and the L-rd Y'Shua the Messiah and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure.(1Tim 5:17-22)

Ever since the ordination of Joshua by Moses, via s'michat yadayim, the rite has been the accepted standard for ordination ceremonies. In modern times, s'michah (rabbinic ordination) is no longer conferred by the actual laying on of hands. However, apparently when this letter was written, spiritual leaders of Messianic congregations were still using the actual rite.

bible iconThen the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of G-d and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of {good} reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.(Acts 6:2-6)

Here we see the ordination of the first board of shamashim (deacons). The rite symbolized that the newly ordained leaders were authorized to perform the duties specifically delegated to them (oversight of the daily food distribution to the needy), in the name of, and under the authority of, the spiritual leaders, who were now free to focus of spiritual leadership activities (teaching, counseling, etc.).

bible iconNow when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of G-d, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the L-rd Y'Shua. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.(Acts 8:14-17)

In this case, the question is, "Why did the Spirit of the Holy One wait until the rite of s'michat yadayim?" The answer requires a bit of additional background information. A high level of enmity existed, at this time, between Jews and Samaritans. This is because of the dispute over religious authority, which stemmed back to the days of the subjugation of Samaria by the Assyrians, in the days of Hoshea, king of Israel. To ensure that subjugated peoples would not rebel against their new masters, the peoples were physically moved to other lands that had been subjugated by the Assyrians, moving peoples from those lands to the newly defeated territories. This effectively removed the nationalistic tendencies of the defeated peoples.

bible iconNow the king of Assyria went throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.(2Kgs 17:5-6)

bible iconThen the king of Assyria brought {people} from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed {them} in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.(2Kgs 17:24)

The Holy One responded to the sinful practices of the new occupants, and the king sought to have one of the descendants of Aaron, a priest, to instruct the new occupants concerning the requirements of the Holy One to live in the land. Such a priest was located, and he did give the required instruction. However, over the years, there was significant drift from the original principles given in Torah.

bible iconAnd it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, {that} they did not fear the HaShem; therefore the HaShem sent lions among them, which killed {some} of them. So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, "The nations whom you have removed and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the rituals of the G-d of the land; therefore He has sent lions among them, and indeed, they are killing them because they do not know the rituals of the G-d of the land."(2Kgs 17:25-26)

bible iconThen the king of Assyria commanded, saying, "Send there one of the priests whom you brought from there; let him go and dwell there, and let him teach them the rituals of the G-d of the land." Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the HaShem. However every nation continued to make gods of its own, and put {them} in the shrines on the high places which the Samaritans had made, {every} nation in the cities where they dwelt.(2Kgs 17:27-29)

By the time of Y'Shua, there were actually no common dealings between Jews and Samaritans. Each considered the genealogy, life, and practice of the other to be contaminated, even disputing the location where temple activities were to be performed.

bible iconThen the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings (or hold nothing in common) with Samaritans.(Jn 4:9)

bible iconOur fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you {Jews} say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.(Jn 4:20)

When Philip went to Samaria to proclaim the Good News of the Messiah, great numbers of Samaritans began to believe and put their trust in Y'Shua. However, the last group of people that religious Jews would believe the Holy One would accept into the fold was the Samaritans. Therefore, a definitive confirmation from G-d was required. When the Jerusalem leadership heard about the great movement in Samaria, they sent representatives (Peter and John), who began to lay their hands on the Samaritans.

A two way identification was needed. First, Jews needed to lean their hands upon the Samaritans, showing a willingness to identify with them. Then, the Samaritans needed to be willing to identify with the Jews, while at the same time, acknowledging that the Jews were the conveyers of the identification/authority, as the Messiah had said:

bible iconYou worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.(Jn 4:22)

Once the Jews and Samaritans had expressed their acceptance of the terms and new relationship with G-d and each other, the Holy One expressed His confirmation by the manifestation of His Spirit.

bible iconThen they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.(Acts 8:17)
top ^
VI. Resurrection of the Dead
bible icon...the foundation of...the resurrection of the dead (t'chiyyat chameitim)...(Heb 6:1,2)
VI-A. Biblical Terms
anastáseos te nekrón: literally meaning, literally meaning, "resurrection of the dead," from (anástasis), meaning , "a standing up again"; (te), which, in this context means, "also"; and (nekrós), which , when used as a noun, means "dead" as in "the dead"

hades: in B'rit HaChadashah (New Covenant) and later Judaism, interpreted as the realm of the dead, a place of sojourn prior to the resurrection
bible iconAnd you, Capernaum (K'far Nahum, or village of Nahum), who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (Matt 11:23)

bible iconFor You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (Ac 2:27)
t'chiyyat hameitim: literally meaning, "to cause the dead to live," from (chai), meaning "life," or "living"; and (müt), meaning "to die" or "to kill"

Sheol: the abode of the dead, is where the identity (spirit or soul) of an individual goes to await the judgement, the coming of Messiah, or the resurrection.
bible iconI said, "In the prime of my life I shall go to the gates of Sheol; I am deprived of the remainder of my years." (Isa 38:10)
top ^
VI-B. Continued Existence After Death
bible iconFor man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets. {Remember your Creator} before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. (Eccl. 12:5-7)

In this passage we receive a hint of the eternal nature of the spirit of man. The spirit that comes from G-d is eternal and shall always exist.

bible iconThen Saul said to his servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his servants said to him, "In fact, {there is} a woman who is a medium at En Dor." So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Please conduct a seance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you." Then the woman said to him, "Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?" And Saul swore to her by the L-RD, saying, "{As} the L-RD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" And he said, "Bring up Samuel for me." When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you {are} Saul!" And the king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What did you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth." So he said to her, "What {is} his form?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he {is} covered with a mantle." And Saul perceived that it {was} Samuel, and he stooped with {his} face to the ground and bowed down. Now Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" And Saul answered, "I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and G-d has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do." (1Sam 28:7-15)

Revealed Concepts:

top ^
VI-C. Continued Consciousness After Death
bible iconThere was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Eleazar (Lazarus), full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Eleazar in his bosom. Then he cried and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Eleazar that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." But Abraham said, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Eleazar evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us." (Lk 16:19-26)

Revealed Concepts:

top ^
VI-D. Restored Life After Death
bible iconNow it happened after these things {that} the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. So she said to Elijah, "What have I to do with you, O man of G-d? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?" And he said to her, "Give me your son." So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. Then he cried out to the L-RD and said, "O L-RD my G-d, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?" And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the L-RD and said, "O L-RD my G-d, I pray, let this child's soul come back to him." Then the L-RD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, "See, your son lives!" Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now by this I know that you {are} a man of G-d, {and} that the word of the L-RD in your mouth {is} the truth." (1Kgs 17:17-24)

Here we see the restoration of life, after a brief period of time, although the time was long enough to ensure that this was a restoration of life not a simple resuscitation.

bible iconThen Elisha died, and they buried him. And the {raiding} bands from Moab invaded the land in the spring of the year. So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band {of raiders} and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet. (2Kgs 13:20,21)

Here is a restoration of life after a longer period, where preparation for burial has taken place (spices, wrapping, etc.)

bible iconY'Shua said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "L-rd, by this time there is a stench, for he has been {dead} four days." Y'Shua said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of G-d?" Then they took away the stone {from the place} where the dead man was lying. And Y'Shua lifted up {His} eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said {this,} that they may believe that You sent Me." Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Eleazar (Lazarus), come forth!" And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Y'Shua said to them, "Loose him, and let him go." (Jn 11:39-44)

Here is a restoration of life, after a long enough period for significant putrification and decay to have taken place.

top ^
VI-E. Resurrection, a Cardinal Tenet of Judaism

G-d's ability to bring the dead back to life is called (gevurah), literally meaning strength...10 Resurrection is one of the primary tenets, and hopes, of Judaism, and to fail to believe in the resurrection is to commit chilul Hashem, to desecrate the Name.

Resurrection is so important to the Jewish mind set that it holds a prominent place in the Thirteen Principles of Faith, set forth by the Rambam (Moses Maimonides), for all Jews to believe:

Principle 13: I believe with perfect faith that there will be a resurrection of the dead at the time when it shall please the Creator, blessed be your Name, and exalted be the remembrance of You for ever and ever.11

Faith in G-d's ability to raise the dead, and trust in His faithfulness to do so is pronounced and given thanks for three times daily by observant Jews all over the world, as part of the Amidah (Standing Prayer):

You are mighty forever, my L-rd; You resurrect the dead; You are powerful to save. He sustains the living with loving-kindness, resurrects the dead with great mercy, supports the falling, heals the sick, releases the bound, fulfills His trust to those who sleep in the dust. Who is like You, O mighty One! And who can be compared to You, O King, who brings death and restores life, and causes deliverance to spring forth. Blessed are You, who revives the dead. (Gevurot Prayer of the Sh'monei Esrei)
top ^
VI-F. Resurrection of the Messiah
bible iconYet it pleased the L-RD to bruise Him; He has put {Him} to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see {His} seed, He shall prolong {His} days, and the pleasure of the L-RD shall prosper in His hand. (Isa 53:10)

In this passage, the one that has lost His life by being "cut off, from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken" (Isa. 53:8), is seen with "prolonged days." For those that believe that this passage refers to Messiah, it is obvious that this passage also refers to His restoration to life, after having died and been buried. Among those with this interpretation are: Jewish commentator, Herz Homberg, in his book, "The Jewish Interpretation of Isaiah 53," the Lubavitch Chasdim, in a work published just before the Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendl Shneerson) died, where all the traditional Messianic prophecies are applied to the Rebbe (including Isaiah 53). There is also a poem, called Az Milipheney Bereshit, in the prayer book of Yom Kippur, which has very clear references to Isaiah 53 as Messianic.

bible iconFor You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence {is} fullness of joy; At Your right hand {are} pleasures forever more. (Ps 16:10,11)

Here we a reference to, and by, one that will be in Sheol only temporarily, and whose body will not corrupt while He is separated from it. The Psalmist is King David, who, everyone knows, did remain in the tomb, and whose body did corrupt. Therefore, this passage must be a prophetic reference to one who would die and rise again (the offering for sin of Isaiah 53?).

bible iconMoreover, brethren, I declare to you the 'Good News' which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Messiah died for our sins in accord with the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day in accord with the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas (Peter), then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the congregation of G-d. But by the grace of G-d I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of G-d {which was} with me. Therefore, whether {it was} I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Now if Messiah is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Messiah is not risen. And if Messiah is not risen, then our preaching {is} empty and your faith {is} also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of G-d, because we have testified of G-d that He raised up Messiah, whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead do not rise. For if {the} dead do not rise, then Messiah is not risen. And if Messiah is not risen, your faith {is} futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Messiah have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Messiah, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Messiah is risen from the dead, {and} has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man {came} death, by Man also {came} the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Messiah the first fruits, afterward those {who are} Messiah's at His coming. Then {comes} the end, when He delivers the kingdom to G-d the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (1Cor 15:1-24)

This passage, from the B'rit HaChadashah (New Covenant) makes it clear that the resurrection of the Messiah is absolutely necessary, toward the completion of His work. If the Messiah doesn't rise, then the offering for sin (in Isaiah 53) is insufficient, and no one will rise to life. The stain of sin remains on all. One the other hand, the resurrection of the Messiah is a definite indication that those putting their trust in His atonement will also rise.

top ^
VI-G. General Resurrection of the Dead

There are many passages of Scripture which speak of the great resurrection, directly or by insinuation. However, Ezek. 37, referring to the Valley of Dry Bones, is not one of them. This passage is speaking of HaShem bringing us back to our homeland, first in unbelief, then He will breath the life of faith into our lives. Hear are a few passages which speak of resurrection:

bible iconOh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know {that} my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this {I know,} that in my flesh I shall see G-d, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. {How} my heart yearns within me! (Jb 19:23-27)

Here we see a definite reference to the restoration of life to a body that has completed the process of decay and corruption. The book of Job, as a book, is believed by many scholars to be the oldest book in the collection of Holy Scripture, significantly predating the writing of the Torah. And, even at the time this book was written there was a clear expectation of resurrection and rejoining of soul and body.

bible iconI {was} so foolish and ignorant; I was {like} a beast before You. Nevertheless I {am} continually with You; You hold {me} by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me {to} glory. Whom have I in heaven {but You?} And {there is} none upon earth {that} I desire besides You. (Ps 73:22-25)

Here we see a clear expectation of the Psalmist, to be received into the eternal presence of G-d, following some implied period of time.

bible iconYour dead shall live; {Together with} my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew {is like} the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (Isa 26:19)

Again, a definite expectation is expressed by the Psalmist, to have his essence (or soul) restored/rejoined with his body. The earth, or grave, yielding up those who had been temporarily hidden away there.

bible iconAnd many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame {and} everlasting abhorence. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. (Dn 12:2,3)

Here we see another reference to those, whose bodies have been temporarily hidden away in the dust of the earth (the grave), rising up from that hiding place. Also, there is also a clear indication that all of the those that rise do not share the same fate...

top ^
VII. Eternal Judgment
bible icon...the foundation of...eternal judgement (hadin hannitz'chi)...(Heb 6:1,2)
VII-A. Biblical Terms
krímatos aioníou: literally meaning "decisions, for or against, the effects of which are eternal"

kríma: the result or effect of the decision arrived at by the process described by the word, (krino), meaning "to sentence, or distinguish, by calling into question, [judicially] trying, or going to law." We get the English word 'crime' and 'criminal' from this word.

aiónios: literally meaning, "perpetual, from the past, or past and future, from (aión), meaning "continued duration, perpetuity, eternal." This word was used by Plato to indicate timeless eternity, as opposed to chronos, which is its moving image in earthly time. In the Hellenistic world, Aión becomes the name of the god of eternity.
hadin hannitz'chi: literally meaning, literally meaning, "perpetual or eternal judgment"

diyn: meaning "justice, sentence, or judgement," related to (dayán), "judge" or "minister of justice"

neitzákh: meaning "perpetual, eternal, everlasting," from a root that means "to the most distant point of view" and relating to a "victory that cannot be overturned"
top ^
VII-B. Eternal Judgement, the Instinctive Sense of Need

One of the greatest needs that the Holy One, blessed be He, promises to fulfill in our lives is that need, where our efforts, hopes, and dreams are realized; where doing what is right is rewarded, in truth, and doing what is wrong is punished; where the weak are protected and the arrogant and tyrannical are repaid. Regardless what we think we know, based on our senses, the corporal world, which we believe we know so well, is not the real world, and the spirit world is not the world of shadows. On the contrary, it is the spirit world that is the real world, while the corporal world is in reality the shadow world.

bible iconFor every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore {it is} necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the Torah; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See {that} you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." (Heb 8:3-5)

If our eyes were open and we could actually see what goes on in the spirit all around us, it would be too much for us to handle (rf. 2 Kings 6). Unfortunately, since we corrupted ourselves in the garden so long ago, the dream world we live in has become more of a nightmare:

A dream is perception without the discipline of reason. Here are all the stimuli and experiences we know from "real" life—sights and sounds, thoughts and action, exhilaration and dread. Indeed, everything in a dream is borrowed from our waking lives, for "a person dreams only of his daytime thoughts" (Berachot 55b). But everything is topsy-turvy, defying all norms of logic and credulity. In a dream, a tragedy might be a cause for celebration, a parent might be younger than his child, and one might witness "an elephant passing through the eye of a needle."

Galut (exile from G-d and from the freedom to live Torah-based lives) was born out of a succession of dreams because galut is the ultimate dream—a terrible, irrational fantasy embracing the globe and spanning millennia. A dream in which crime pays, the good die young, and G-d's chosen people are slaughtered with impunity. A dream in which what is right is seldom "realistic," and non-existences such as "evil," "ignorance" and "death" are potent forces in our lives.

In this nightmare world, where some successfully deny the existence of any supreme being, all restraint is cast off. In the presence of such individuals, one's possessions, freedom, one's very life are in constant peril, destruction and devastation are at every hand. If there truly is no G-d, "let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." The survival of the fittest would be the law, and survival itself would be nothing but a pipe-dream. Even in cultures where the one, true G-d has long been rejected, not much time passed before some kind of post-life balancing of the scales, is raised as a hope and a banner (ex.: kharma of the Hindus, the underworld of the Greeks, the Terrestrial, Telestial, and Celestial worlds of the Mormons, etc.)—an attempt to maintain individual and communal sanity. It has often been said, and has happened in every society, Even if there was no G-d, man would invent one. There simply must be an answer to the apparent success of evil in the world:

bible iconBut as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I {was} envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For {there are} no pangs in their death, but their strength {is} firm. They {are} not in trouble {as other} men, nor are they plagued like {other} men. Therefore pride serves as their necklace; violence covers them {like} a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than heart could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly {concerning} oppression; they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth. Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full {cup} are drained by them. And they say, "How does G-d know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?" Behold, these {are} the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase {in} riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart {in} vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I had said, "I will speak thus," behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. When I thought {how} to understand this, it {was} too painful for me, until I went into the sanctuary of G-d; {Then} I understood their end. (Ps 73:2-17)

The truth is evident in the symbols and activities prescribed by G-d, in the Temple. There is reward for the righteous and punishment for the wicked. But when does this great 'balancing of the books' take place? And what form shall it take? This is the subject to be covered in this session. Although most of the material and concepts in the previous sessions have been taken from the Hebrew Scriptures, we will have to draw more upon the Scriptures of the B'rit haChadashah (New Covenant) than we have up to now.

top ^
VII-C. Eternal Judgement, the Timing

According to the Scriptures, each individual that shall ever live, will be given a period, in the dreamworld, to make his/her decision concerning their eternity. Each is given the opportunity to answer the following two questions:

  1. Do you want to spend eternity in the presence of G-d or not?

    If no, the decision will be honored. If yes, only then will the next question come into view...
  2. Do you want to come the way that G-d has provided, or by a way of your own creation, or the creation of another?

    If there were any other way, Messiah would not have had to lay His life down for us. He even specifically requested that if there were any other way...Therefore, to choose any other way is effectively the same as choosing 'no' to the first question.

At the end of the age, the Holy One, blessed be He, will institute a time of great pressure, called the Great Tribulation. This period is intended to apply sufficient pressure to cause any who could possibly be brought to repent and choose eternity with G-d, to do so. Once this total period of opportunity has passed, all will stand in the presence of the 'Judge of All Flesh,' to give account for their lives.

bible iconAt that time {of Great Tribulation} Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands {watch} over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, {even} to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame {and} everlasting abhorrence. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. (Dn 12:1-3)

In this passage we begin to get the hint that the ultimate state of men will not be the same for everyone, although, the ultimate state for all will be eternal (infinite, without end). Some will rise to everlasting life, and, as we have previously established, to live is to be (exist, abide) in the presence of G-d. And this is born out in the statement that some will rise to shame and everlasting abhorrence. To abhor something is to get it out of one's presence, and keep it there.

bible iconNor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it {is} an accursed thing. (Deut 7:26)

Therefore, the ultimate state of those in the second category is shame and everlasting "get away from me."

bible iconAnd then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! (Matt 7:23)
top ^
VII-D. Eternal Judgement, the Standard

In the Hindu system of beliefs, there is no absolute standard. While there is a judgement that takes place when life is complete, one is judged by some nebulous standard, that is based on the individual's inner voice. Either one obeys the inner voice and is rewarded with a step up in the next life, or one ignores the inner voice and suffers a step down in the next life. This is not a righteous judgment. For a judgment to be righteous, it must be based on a securely fixed standard, that must apply equally to all, and that standard of judgement must be made available to those who will be judged by it. This is to provide a positive opportunity to live according to the standard that will be applied at the judgement.

bible iconThen I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face [presence] the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before G-d, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is {the Book} of Life. And the dead were judged in accordance with the things they had done, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to what he, {himself} had done. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)

Common understanding of the books that are opened in the judgement of the last day, is that the books represent the records of the lives of the individuals being judged, as if, each life were played back on some great video player for all to see. But this is not the case. Notice that each individual that is judged is judged by the contents of the books, it is not the contents of the books that are judged. The books contain the standard, against which, each life is compared.

bible iconThen Y'Shua cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come {as} a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him, the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. (Jn 12:44-48)

The ultimate source for the standard of righteousness (right living, right thinking, right attitudes), is the Holy Torah. Whenever citing, or quoting, a source for authority, both the prophets and the writers of the B'rit haChadasha (New Covenant) appealed to the Torah. Since this standard was inspired by G-d, and Y'Shua taught and expounded Torah, Torah, and its elaboration, application, and exposition (the rest of the Holy Scriptures) will be our judge in the last day.

bible iconFor the word of G-d {is} living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things {are} naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we {must give} account. (Heb 4:12,13)
top ^
VII-E. Eternal Judgement, Initial Determination

Once the life of each individual has had his/her life compared to the standard, every mouth will be stopped. All men will know their guilt before the Dayan haEmet (Righteous Judge).

bible iconFor it is written: {"As} I live, says the L-RD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to G-d." So then each of us shall give account of himself to G-d. (Rom 14:11,12)

Once guilt has been established, and acknowledged, the only penalty is death (eternal separation from the Wellspring of Holiness). Another source will then be examined, to determine if that penalty has been paid, or is still due. If one has come to G-d for forgiveness and life, on the merit of the Messiah who paid the penalty for all who will so come, his/her name will be in the record being examined. If the individual does not bear the merit of the Messiah, he/she must bear his/her iniquity.

bible iconAnd at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. (Dan. 12:1)

bible iconThen Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)

The initial judgement to take place in the last day, will be that of direction: into or out of the presence of G-d. That judgement, as already established, will be based on the choice to accept or reject the provision of Messiah. The choice will be manifested (made tangible, palpable) by the thoughts and actions of the individuals who made the choice. This choice is not simply a choice to hold to a particular attitude or belief, but to take action on the belief, actually living out the trust in G-d that one claims—with word and deed.

bible iconBrood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified (declared innocent) , and by your words you will be condemned (declared guilty). (Matt 12:34-37)

bible iconMost assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of G-d; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (Jn 5:25-29)

bible iconAnother parable He put forth to them, saying: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' "But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."'"...Then Y'Shua sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked {one.} The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matt 13:24-43)
top ^
VII-F. Eternal Judgement, a Matter of Degree

As in an earthly court, the sentence passed at the time of the Great Judgement varies, according to the degree of violation. As previously shown, all men will discover that none are righteous on their own merit. Were it not for the Messiah, who paid the penalty for those who draw near to G-d on His merit, all would be destined to an eternity outside the presence of G-d. For those who refuse to receive what the Messiah has provided, with His own life, the penalty remains. For those who do receive access to G-d, on the merit of Messiah, that access is guaranteed. So in what way does the way one lives his/her life contribute? Or does it really matter at all?

Part of the image of G-d that we bear is the innate sense of equity, fairness, and justice. Our instinctive connection with this aspect of our being recoils at the thought that how one has lived plays no part in the consequences faced at the judgement. As it happens, our instinct is correct. While direction is determined by the presence or absence of the merit, and atonement, of the Messiah, the level or degree of punishment or reward is determined by how each individual lived the life entrusted to him.

Unfortunately, one cannot be good enough, on one's own, to merit eternal life. The requirement is absolute perfection. Therefore, if Mother Theresa (her memory for a blessing) passed through the veil into the presence of G-d without getting her name in the Book of Life, she will G-d forbid, spend eternity outside the presence of G-d. It is impossible to conceive that such a life of love and sacrifice was lived without the influence of the Divine Presence, but, for the sake of example she is mentioned. It would also be inconceivable that such a one would suffer the same degree of punishment as that to be suffered by such as Herod the Great, Hitler, and Stalin (may their names be blotted out). The degree of punishment, for the wicked is determined by the degree of wickedness:

bible iconAnd the L-rd said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom {his} master will make ruler over his household, to give {them their} portion of food in due season? Blessed {is} that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for {him,} and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint {him} his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare {himself} or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many {stripes.} But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." (Lk 12:42-48)

As the degree of punishment, for the wicked, varies according to how one lives life, so does the degree of reward for the righteous:

bible iconNow he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (1Cor 3:8)

bible iconBut someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain, perhaps wheat or some other {grain.} But G-d gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. All flesh {is} not the same flesh, but {there is} one {kind of} flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, {and} another of birds. {There are} also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial {is} one, and the {glory} of the terrestrial {is} another. {There is} one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for {one} star differs from {another} star in glory. So also {is} the resurrection of the dead. {The body} is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam {became} a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man {was} of the earth, {made} of dust; the second Man {is} the L-rd from heaven. As {was} the {man} of dust, so also {are} those {who are made} of dust; and as {is} the heavenly {Man,} so also {are} those {who are} heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the {man} of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly {Man.} Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of G-d; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal {must} put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where {is} your sting? O Hades, where {is} your victory?" The sting of death {is} sin, and the strength of sin {is} the law. But thanks {be} to G-d, who gives us the victory through our L-rd Y'Shua the Messiah. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the L-rd, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the L-rd. (1Cor 15:35-58)

There is reward for not only choosing correctly for one's self, but also, for investing in the lives of others, enabling them to make corresponding choices.

bible iconBrethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. (Jas 5:19,20)

bible iconThose who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. (Dn 12:1-3)

One who desires to dedicate himself to such service, must take great care. To be a teacher of righteousness, one must live it. One who knows the standard well enough to reveal its nuances and ramifications, is without excuse. Such a one is held to a higher standard.

bible iconMy brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (Jas 3:1)

For those to whom the Holy One has granted the gift of one so learned and enabled, profit from the influence of such a one is obtained, only when the wisdom offered by him is assimilated and put into practice.

bible iconObey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17)
top ^
VII-G. Eternal Judgement, Separation of Wheat From Chaff

Not all—probably very little—of what we believe is of great spiritual significance is truly of much value. And much that we consider to be of little consequence is of great value in the spirit realm. The values of all such will be revealed at the judgement.

bible iconAccording to the grace of G-d which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation {with} gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on {it} endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1Cor 3:10-15)

Rarely, if ever, will reward be accumulated in great chunks. Great sacrifice, out of abundance, will be compared to simple obedience and acts of gemelut chasadim (selfless deeds of loving-kindness). One will discover that reward is accumulated as one accumulates gold dust from years of consistent, diligent panning, at the river of life.

top ^
VII-H. Eternal Judgement, Grading on a Curve

How can one possibly imagine to get any reward, when compared to such greats as we find wherever we look? Have no fear. There will be no comparison between individuals, but each life will be examined on its own merit. Each will be rewarded according to how much of what he could have done, actually was accomplished.

bible iconFor everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. (Lk 12:48)

Each person is born with a certain, maximum, potential. When that person is judged, what he actually accomplished will be compared to that potential, and his reward will be based on the results. Consider the following;

judgement graphIn this comparison, Person B is an average individual with average potential, while Person A is an extremely gifted individual with great potential. Person A actualized 40% of his potential, while Person B actualized 80% of his potential. According to the curve, Person B will receive double the reward of Person A, even though the effects of the accomplishments of both were equal (equal quantity of accomplishment). The key is in knowing, and factoring in, the potential.

Each choice that we are faced with, every day, presents the opportunity to actualize or discard potential. To choose what G-d desires is to actualize the potential, while choosing our own way causes potential to leak away. Granted, a tiny pinhole in a bucket may leak but a minuscule amount, but a multitude of such pinholes can result in almost total loss.

Bottom Line: Literally, every decision we make has some eternal consequence.

top ^
1 All Scripture references are from the New King James version, unless otherwise specified.
2 Abraham Hirsh Rabinowitz, The Study of Talmud: Understanding the Halachic Mind (Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1996), pp. 39,40
3 Michael Lerner, Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1994) p. 367
4 From Dreamworld, in Week in Review, Vol VIII No 14, December 13, 1996 (Vaad Hanochos Hatmimim, Brooklyn, New York). Based on an address by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Kislev 19, 5717 (November 23, 1956)
5 Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (RAMBAM), from the Mishneh Torah (on Prov. 28:13)
6 Yitzhak Buxbaum, Jewish Spiritual Practices (New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1990) pp. 209-213
7 Rabbi Wayne Dosick, Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition, and Practice (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995) p. 269
8 Nachmanides, Commentary on the Torah, Leviticus 1:9, trans. Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel (New York: Shilo Publishing House, 1974) p. 21
9 Joshua Berman, The Temple, Its Symbolism and Meaning Then and Now (New Jersey: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1995) pp. 118-119
10 Yitzchok Kirzner, The Art of Jewish Prayer (New Jersey: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1991) p. 68
11 Ronald H. Isaacs and Kerry M. Olitzky, Critical Documents of Jewish History, A Sourcebook (New Jersey: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1995) p. 180
12 From Dreamworld, in Week in Review, Vol VIII No 14, December 13, 1996 (Vaad Hanochos Hatmimim, Brooklyn, New York). Based on an address by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Kislev 19, 5717 (November 23, 1956)

Home | Services | Lifecycles | Site Map
About | Teachings | Ministries | Contact Us

Copyright © 1994-2016 - Beit Avanim Chaiot, Inc., a Messianic Jewish Congregation. All Rights Reserved