Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The "Second Coming" of YEHOVAH God!
For the last 1,700 years millions of Christians have focused on the so-called "Second Coming of Christ" as THE main event which ushers in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. But, as surprising as this may seem, the "coming of the Messiah" at the end of the age is definitely NOT the major emphasis of the Old Testament prophets. In fact, less than a dozen texts describe the role of the coming Davidic King and, in contrast, there are literally HUNDREDS of texts in the Hebrew Prophets which deal with the end of the age, the great Day of Judgment and the arrival of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
by John D. Keyser
Strangely, in text after text, the role of the Messiah is not even mentioned in the Bible -- much less emphasized! Now don't misunderstand, this is NOT to minimize the Biblical doctrine of the Messiah. Rather, the point is this: A very BASIC teaching of the Bible has been totally ignored by untold millions -- that of the COMING OF YEHOVAH GOD HIMSELF!
The identity and role of Yeshua the Messiah had a very different connotation in the first century from that which it has had ever since the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. Notes author Don Cupitt:
"The mainstream churches are committed to a certain doctrine about Jesus, but specialists in early Christian thought are questioning the arguments by which that doctrine was reached. New Testament scholars ask if the New Testament teaches it at all, and historians wonder at the gulf between Jesus himself and fully-developed Christianity. These questions are very unsettling, for they imply that Christianity [and this includes Churches of God] may be IN WORSE CONDITION THAN WAS THOUGHT. It is perhaps not a basically sound structure that needs only to be modernized, but may be in need of radical reconstruction..." (The Debate About Christ, London: SCM Press, 1979, p. vii, 4).
So, at this point, we need to clearly identify the names applied to YEHOVAH God the Father and those applied to Yeshua the Messiah. When you diligently study the Bible one thing emerges with vibrant clarity -- the identity of the Davidic Messiah (Christ) is NEVER confused with that of YEHOVAH (YHVH), the Eternal God of Israel.
To claim, as many Christians have, that the Messiah IS YEHOVAH (YHVH) God in the flesh -- or even to EQUATE the Messiah with YEHOVAH -- borders on blasphemy and reflects the worst kind of confusion and, certainly, an abysmal ignorance of the most basic texts in the Bible. Writes Jim Tabor --
"The Messiah is the one chosen and appointed BY YEHOVAH; he is the CHIEF AGENT OF YEHOVAH, who sits at His right hand. He is, accordingly, YEHOVAH'S anointed one. As exalted as his role and mission is, he is, and always remains, YEHOVAH'S faithful servant" (The LORD (YHVH) God and His Messiah, p. 16).
This is borne out in the Psalms:
"Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD [YHVH] and against His Anointed [the Messiah], saying, "Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us" (Psalm 2:2).
Also, in Psalm 28:8 --
"The LORD [YHVH] is their strength, and He [YHVH] is the saving refuge of His anointed [the Messiah]."
Further, in Psalm 132, we read --
"Arise, O LORD [YHVH], to Your resting place, You and the ark of your strength, let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy. For Your servant David's sake, DO NOT TURN AWAY THE FACE OF YOUR ANOINTED [THE MESSIAH]....For the LORD [YHVH] has chosen Zion...There I will make the horn [government] of David grow; I will PREPARE A LAMP FOR MY ANOINTED [THE MESSIAH]. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon Himself his crown shall flourish" (verses 8-10, 13, 17-18).
A pivotal text appears in Psalm 110 which is quoted no less than 22 times in the New Testament! The Messianic significance attached to one verse in particular (verse 1) by the New Testament writers demands our attention. This verse reads as follows: "The LORD [YHVH] said to my lord, 'Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.'"
Unfortunately, the translators of the King James Version of the Bible clouded the meaning of David's words by assigning an upper case "L" to the second "lord" in the verse. This error has led astray many of those who are unable to read the Hebrew text themselves. If they were able to read the Hebrew text they would soon realize that the KJV fails to follow the normally expected "translators' convention" which uses an upper case "L" to distinguish between TWO QUITE DIFFERENT HEBREW WORDS -- one of which always refers to God (YHVH) and the other of which never refers to God (YHVH). This error has also been carried on by some later versions of the Bible such as the NKJV, NASB, and the NIV. It has been, however, recognized and corrected by several others -- the RSV, NRSV, and the NEB. This problem with the upper case "L" has led many to confuse the role of Yeshua with that of YEHOVAH (YHVH) who is, in actuality, God the Father.
The Translators' Error
In our English Bibles, the word "lord" translates SEVERAL distinct Hebrew words. Therefore, a long-established "translators' convention" uses different combinations of upper and lower case letters -- such as "LORD," "Lord," and "lord" -- to distinguish between the original Hebrew words. If those of us who don't read Hebrew rely on this established convention, then when we see "Lord" written with an upper case "L" we immediately assume that this is a translation of "Adonai."
Unfortunately, the second word translated "Lord" in Psalm 110:1 is NOT "Adonai" in the original Hebrew! In this one verse, for whatever reason, the KJV has blurred the issue by assigning an upper case "L" to the quite DIFFERENT word "ADONI." In all other places in the Old Testament where this word is translated as "lord" in the KJV, it correctly appears with a lower case "l".
So, with this in mind, we need to look carefully at all the Hebrew words which are translated "lord." Young's Concordance lists eleven Hebrew words which are translated "lord." The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible also lists a total of eleven. However, the four that concern us the most at this point are listed as follows -- YHVH, ADON, ADONI, and ADONAI:
1) YHVH (YEHOVAH)
This word is the first "LORD" found in Psalm 110:1 and means, according to Strong's Concordance, "self-Existent" or "Eternal" (#3068). It is the Divine Name considered so sacred by the Jews that they never pronounced it. Instead, when reading from the Scriptures, they substituted the word "ADONAI."
In English translations it is the accepted convention that this word ALWAYS translates as either "LORD" or "GOD" (all upper case) -- thus allowing us to recognize that the original word is "YEHOVAH."
This word is formed from the Hebrew consonants Aleph, Dalet and Nun. It appears often in this form (without any suffix) and, apart from about 30 places where it refers to the Divine Lord, it ALWAYS refers to human lords. According to Strong's it comes from an unusual root that means "to rule," "sovereign," i.e. "controller" (human or divine) lord master, owner.
In English it always has a lower case "l", except on those very few occasions when it refers to God. In those cases it is given an upper case "L".
It is very important to distinguish between "Adon" and three other similar -- but quite distinct -- words which are formed by the addition of suffixes:
This word accounts for two of the three other words just mentioned and is formed from the root word "adon" with the addition of the suffix "AI".
In its main form it ALWAYS refers to God (YEHOVAH) -- AND NO ONE ELSE. Notes Strong's Concordance: "...an emphatic form of 113; the 'Lord' (used as a proper name of God ONLY) (#136)."
In this form (according to the accepted "translators' convention") it ALWAYS appears in English as "Lord" with an upper case "L".
It should be pointed out that the main form of "Adonai" has a different vowel point under the "N" to distinguish it from the second much less common form of the word that is used in the plural and means "of men."
This Hebrew word is formed by adding the suffix "i" to "adon." With this suffix it means "my lord," or sometimes "master."
It appears 195 times in the Bible and almost entirely refers to HUMAN LORDS -- and very occasionally of angels. When translated "lord," it always appears with a lower case "l" -- except, unfortunately, for the ONE TIME in Psalm 110:1!
Due to a lack of knowledge of the original Hebrew, many have incorrectly assumed that the second "lord" in Psalm 110:1 is ADONAI -- which ALWAYS refers to God (YEHOVAH). This has further led to the INCORRECT assumption that this verse is a "proof text" that Yeshua the Messiah was the YEHOVAH or YHVH of the Old Testament! Nothing could be further from the truth! We have just seen that the actual Hebrew word used is ADONI, which refers to HUMAN lords. It speaks of the HUMANITY of Yeshua -- not the Deity of YEHOVAH.
If we study the New Testament texts that quote Psalm 110, we will clearly see this to be true. Let's start with Matthew 22:41 --
"Now while the Pharisees were gathered together Jesus asked them: 'What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?' They said to him: 'David's.' He said to them: 'How, then, is it that David by inspiration calls him "lord," saying, "Jehovah [YEHOVAH] said to my lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet.'" If, therefore, David calls him 'lord,' how is he his son?" (Verses 41-45, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
Turning now to Mark 12:36 we read:
"By the holy spirit David himself said, 'Jehovah [YEHOVAH] said to my lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet."' David himself calls him 'lord,' but how does it come that he is his son?" (Verses 36-37).
Also, in Luke 20:42 --
"For David himself says in the book of Psalms, 'Jehovah [YEHOVAH] said to my lord, Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.' David, therefore, calls him 'lord'; so how is he his son?"
In the book of Hebrews, which discusses the role of the Messiah as the High Priest of YEHOVAH God we find written --
"Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest [the Messiah], who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the LORD [YEHOVAH -- YHVH] erected, and not man."
In Psalm 110 (and other passages) YEHOVAH speaks to the Messiah, exalts him, empowers him, and counts him as His beloved chosen one -- but NEVER is the Messiah confused with YEHOVAH God! How could these texts be any plainer -- in Hebrew or in English? All one has to do is to read the texts with an open mind and take the language he sees there seriously. No careful student of the Bible could ever remotely come up with the distorted idea that Yeshua the Messiah and YEHOVAH God the Father (YHVH) are one and the same!
Incidentally, those who know and use the Divine Name (YHVH) and recognize that this is a NAME -- not a title such as LORD -- seldom have any problem telling YEHOVAH apart from His Messiah, Yeshua. In other words, the LOSS of the understanding of the Sacred Name has greatly contributed to the current confusion in many of the Churches of YEHOVAH God.
A Clear Distinction
With few exceptions, this CLEAR DISTINCTION between YEHOVAH and His Messiah is maintained throughout the New Testament texts. Please note the following:
Acts 2:36: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both lord and Christ [Messiah], this Jesus whom you impaled."
Note that in the Greek of the New Testament the word for "lord" in this passage is NOT the same as the word used for YEHOVAH.
Acts 3:13: "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers [i.e., YEHOVAH, YHVH!] has glorified His servant Yeshua [the Messiah]."
Acts 4:26: "The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers massed together as one against JEHOVAH [YEHOVAH] and against His anointed one [Christ]." (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
This same text, in the Jewish New Testament, reads as follows --
"By the Ruach HaKodesh, through the mouth of our father David, your servant, you said, 'Why did the nations rage and the peoples devise useless plans? The kings of the earth took their stand; and the rulers assembled together against ADONAI [YEHOVAH] and against HIS MESSIAH [YESHUA].' This has come true in this city, since Herod and Pontius Pilate, with Goyim and the peoples of Israel, all assembled against your holy servant Yeshua, whom you made Messiah, to do what your power and plan had already determined beforehand should happen."
Revelation 4:10 -- 5:7: "The 24 older persons fell down before the one seated on the throne and worshipped the one that lives forever and ever, and they cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 'You are worthy, JEHOVAH [YEHOVAH], even our God to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.' And I saw in the right hand of the one seated upon the throne a scroll written within and on the reverse side, sealed tight with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice: 'Who is worthy to open the scroll and loosen its seals?'"
"But one of the older persons says to me: 'Stop weeping. Look! The Lion that is of the tribe of Judah [the Messiah], the root of David, has conquered so as to open the scroll and its seven seals.' And I saw standing in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the older persons a LAMB [the Messiah] as though it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which [eyes] mean the seven spirits of God that have been sent forth into the whole earth. And he went and at once took [it] out of the right hand of THE ONE SEATED ON THE THRONE [YEHOVAH, YHVH]" (verses 4:10-5:2).
Here, again, we PLAINLY SEE that the Messiah and YEHOVAH (YHVH) are TWO SEPARATE ENTITIES. In other words, the Messiah of the New Testament is NOT the same as the YEHOVAH of the Old Testament -- regardless of what many of the Churches of God say!
To conclude, let's turn to Revelation 21:22:
"And I did not see a temple in it [Jerusalem], for JEHOVAH GOD [YEHOVAH GOD, YHVH] the Almighty is its temple, also the LAMB [the Messiah] [is]. And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine upon it, for the GLORY OF GOD lighted it up, and its lamp was the LAMB" (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
These same verses are rendered, by the Jewish New Testament, in the following fashion:
"I saw no temple in the city, for ADONAI [YEHOVAH], God of heaven's armies, is its Temple, as is the LAMB [the Messiah]. The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, because GOD'S SH'KHINAH gives it light, and its lamp is the LAMB."
In all of these verses -- and I could multiply them many times over -- it is absolutely crystal clear that God the Father, the one called YEHOVAH in the Old Testament -- the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- appoints, chooses, anoints, and exalts HIS SERVANT YESHUA THE MESSIAH.
The Glory of YEHOVAH God
In the above passage from Revelation 21:22, the phrase "glory of God" in The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures is rendered "God's SH'KHINAH" in the Jewish New Testament. This is very important. The word "Shekinah" (Sh'khinah) was coined from verbal cognates (related words) in the Bible which describe the "presence" of YEHOVAH in a certain locality. The verbal cognates are used extensively to describe the "Shekinah" appearances. The word "Shekinah" itself is not found in the Biblical texts, but the concept clearly is. The word most certainly is derived from "shakan," and whoever first used the word "Shekinah" coined it as a substantive (noun form) from the verbal forms used to describe the "abiding, dwelling, or habitation" of the physical manifestations of YEHOVAH God described in Exodus 24:16, 40:35 and Numbers 9:17-18 -- and various other places where "shakan" is used.
Note that the word is also used to describe the mystical "Shekinah" presence in the Tabernacle and later in the first and second Temples. The word "mishkan," (mshkn), a derivation of "shakan" (shkn), is often translated "tabernacle." The Hebrew for tabernacle is more often simply "ohel," 'ohel, or tent. "Mishkan" means "dwelling place" -- that is, THE "DWELLING PLACE" OF "HIM WHO DWELLS" OR "SHEKINAH."
The Hebrew verb "shakan" (shkn) simply means to take up residence for a long period of time in a neighborhood. The distinction between this word and "yashav" -- which is also translated "dwell" -- is as follows: You can use the word "yashav" to mean an individual doing the dwelling WITHOUT reference to others or to duration, while "shakan" means a PROTRACTED DWELLING IN THE MIDST OF A NEIGHBORHOOD OR A GROUP OF PEOPLE. The primary meaning is to reside and continue as a member of the community. Of course, when it refers to YEHOVAH God, it takes on an added mysticism that is obvious from the scriptures.
When verbal forms are translated as nouns, the word sometimes means "habitat." Grammatically (in Hebrew), when verbal forms are translated as nouns, they are called "substantives." Technically, therefore, "Shekinah" is a substantive rather than a noun.
Some people object that the word "Shekinah," (shknh), is not to be found in the Old Testament in its noun form, and that it describes a concept that is not scriptural. It is also claimed that the word was coined by Post-Biblical Rabbinic scholars. While it is admitted that the Rabbinic concept of God being some sort of hovering non-personal force is an unacceptable extension of the meaning, the CONCEPT OF A PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION of YEHOVAH God's localized dwelling on this planet IS, nonetheless, scriptural. I have chosen to use the word "Shekinah" (shknh) to name this "presence" and to better develop a concept I will get to later on in the article. Also, this meaning is in general use among many Christians -- even though they are generally ignorant of the origin of the word.
In the Encyclopedia Judaica the "Shekinah" is defined as "the Divine Presence, the numinous immanence of God in the world,...a revelation of the holy in the midst of the profane...." (Volume 14, pp. 1349-1351).
The Encyclopedia goes on to say --
"One of the more prominent images associated with the Shekhinah is that of light. Thus on the verse, '...the earth did shine with His glory' (Ezekiel 43:2), the rabbis remark, 'This is the face of the Shekhinah' (Avot diRabbi Natan [18b-19a]; see also Chullin 59b-60a). Both the angels in heaven and the righteous in olam ha-ba ('the world to come') are SUSTAINED BY THE RADIANCE OF THE SHEKINAH (Exodus Rabbah 32:4, B'rakhot 17a; cf. Exodus 34:29-35)....
"According to Saadiah Gaon [882-942 C.E.], the Shekhinah is identical with kevod ha-Shem (the glory of God"), which served as an INTERMEDIARY BETWEEN GOD AND MAN during the prophetic experience. He suggests that the "glory of God" is the Biblical term, and Shekhinah the Talmudic term for the created splendor of light which ACTS AS AN INTERMEDIARY BETWEEN GOD AND MAN, and which sometimes TAKES ON HUMAN FORM. Thus when Moses asked to see the glory of God, HE WAS SHOWN THE SHEKHINAH, and when the prophets in their visions saw God in HUMAN LIKENESS, what they actually saw WAS NOT GOD HIMSELF BUT THE SHEKHINAH" (see Saadiah's interpretation of Ezekiel 1:26, I Kings 22:19, and Daniel 7:9 in Book of Beliefs and Opinions 2:10).
Throughout the Bible YEHOVAH God speaks of His desire for an intimate relationship with His people. The "Shekinah," therefore, refers to the presence of YEHOVAH that was -- but is not now -- physically manifested in the time-space continuum. It could be seen. The presence was A VEHICLE OF THE PERSON OF YEHOVAH GOD IN THE THREE DIMENSIONAL WORLD. Solomon's understanding that YEHOVAH cannot actually be limited to Temples on earth because of His eternal nature can be seen in I Kings 8:27 --
"But will God really dwell [yashav] on earth? Even the heavens to their utmost reaches cannot contain You, how much less this House [Temple] that I have built!"
This omniscient, eternal presence of YEHOVAH (that Solomon recognized) is the HEAVENLY, but not the earthly, "Shekinah." Even though the INFINITE spiritual presence is, and was, COINCIDENTAL with the PHYSICALLY DISCERNIBLE "SHEKINAH" -- it was DISTINGUISHED from the physical even in Mosaic times. Right now the "Shekinah" is only manifested in the infinite way, but in the near future it will be manifested in the PHYSICAL FORM once again when IT RETURNS TO THIS EARTH to reside in the new Temple in Jerusalem!
During the time of Moses the added PHYSICAL "Shekinah" presence was evidence of the REAL which is omnipresent and unseen. During the Mosaic dispensation the "Shekinah" was physically disturbing. The presence was NOT YEHOVAH (YHVH) -- it was a PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION of the actual presence of YEHOVAH among His people. Be aware that it is to be distinguished from the "angel of the LORD." The "Shekinah" was first evident when the Israelites set out from Succoth in their escape from Egypt. There it appeared as a cloudy pillar in the day and a fiery pillar by night -- note Exodus 13:20:
"They set out from Succoth, and encamped at Ethan, at the edge of the wilderness. The LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] went before them in a PILLAR OF CLOUD by day, to guide them along the way, and in a PILLAR OF FIRE by night, to give them light that they might travel day and night. The PILLAR OF CLOUD by day and the PILLAR OF FIRE by night did not depart from before the people."
The physical "Shekinah" was also evident at the crossing of the Red Sea --
"At the morning watch, the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] looked down upon the Egyptian army from a PILLAR OF FIRE AND CLOUD, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He locked the wheels of their chariots so that they moved forward with difficulty. And the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from the Israelites, for the LORD [YEHOVAH] is fighting for them against Egypt" (Exodus 14:24-25).
The Israelites were led by the "Shekinah" for forty years, after which the "holy presence" of the omniscient God inhabited the Tabernacle and the land of Israel. The "Shekinah" was not always afterwards physically manifested -- as we read in Numbers 35:34 --
"You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I Myself abide ['shakan'], for I the LORD [YEHOVAH] abide ['shakan'] among the Israelite people."
When Moses and the Israelites finished erecting the Tabernacle, the "Shekinah" of YEHOVAH God filled it --
"When Moses had finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the PRESENCE OF THE LORD [YEHOVAH] filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud had settled upon it and the PRESENCE OF THE LORD filled the Tabernacle. When the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the Israelites would set out, on their various journeys; but if the cloud did not lift, they would not set out until such time as it did lift. For over the Tabernacle a cloud of the LORD rested by day, and the fire would appear in it by night, in the view of all the house of Israel throughout their journeys" (Exodus 40:33-38).
Whenever that presence was physically manifested, it was frightening to those who experienced it:
"When Moses had ascended the mountain, the cloud covered the mountain. The PRESENCE OF THE LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] abode ['shakan'] on Mount Sinai, and the cloud hid it for six days. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. Now the PRESENCE OF THE LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] appeared in the sight of the Israelites as a consuming fire on the top of the mountain" (Exodus 24:15-17).
Writes Fred P. Miller: "Earlier, the seventy elders had gone up into the cloud and actually saw the 'Shekinah' glory, and they were so afraid they asked Moses never to take them again. As far as they were concerned, they saw YEHOVAH God! You can only imagine their hair on end and their wide-eyed appearance as they came down from the mountain exclaiming 'We saw YEHOVAH God! It was terrible!'" (Zechariah and Jewish Renewal).
A few days earlier, when the Ten Commandments were given, the appearance of the physical presence of YEHOVAH God on Mount Sinai is described as fire and cloud and thick darkness. The Psalms contain a description of this event calling it a "Shekinah" presence --
"Why do you fume with envy, you mountains of many peaks? This is the mountain [Sinai] which God desires to dwell ['shakan'] in; yes, the LORD [YEHOVAH] will dwell in it forever. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of thousands; the LORD is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place. You have ascended on high, you have led captivity captive; you have received gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD GOD might dwell ['shakan'] there" (Psalm 68:16-18).
The Shekinah Presence in the Tabernacle and Temple
Later the physical "Shekinah" presence of YEHOVAH God took up residence in the newly completed Tabernacle and was apparent to the whole nation of Israel.
There are a number of other occasions when the direct intervention of YEHOVAH God was manifest in a "Shekinah" presence to Moses. At the time of the setting up of the Tabernacle (before it was finished) YEHOVAH spoke to Moses out of the cloud and Moses realized the "Shekinah" was a VEHICLE and NOT YEHOVAH God. As we see in Exodus 33, Moses asked for more -- to actually "see" YEHOVAH -- and YEHOVAH allowed him to see A LARGER PORTION of His PHYSICAL "Shekinah" presence. Notice --
"And the LORD [YEHOVAH] said to Moses, 'I will also do this thing that you have asked; for you have truly gained My favor and I have singled you out by name.' He [Moses] said, 'Oh, let me behold Your Presence!' [He was speaking to YEHOVAH's voice coming from the 'Shekinah.'] And He [YEHOVAH] answered, 'I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim before you the name LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH], and the grace that I grant and the compassion that I show. But,' He said, 'you cannot see My face, for men may not see Me and live.'"
After Israel entered the Promised Land, YEHOVAH's presence was manifested spiritually in the Tabernacle -- but not often in a physical manner. YEHOVAH's actual presence was always accepted by the Israelites as being in the Tabernacle (and later in the Temple), but was not always physically confirmed by the visible "Shekinah." However, there were occasional renewals of miraculous appearances of the "Shekinah" -- such as when the Temple of Solomon was dedicated. There was an initial appearance in a vision when the LORD (YEHOVAH) promised that He would "shakan" or dwell in the house that Solomon was building. Notice I Kings 6:11-13:
"Then the word of the LORD [YEHOVAH] came to Solomon, 'With regard to this House [Temple] you are building -- if you follow My laws and observe My rules and faithfully keep My commandments, I will fulfill for you the promise that I gave to your father David: I will abide ['shakan'] among the children of Israel, and I will never forsake My people Israel."
Later, when the construction of the Temple was finished and the day of dedication was at hand, the holy "Shekinah" manifested itself in a very physical way --
"When the priests came out of the sanctuary -- for the cloud ['Shekinah'] had filled the House of the LORD and the priests were not able to remain and perform the services be cause of the cloud ['Shekinah'], for the Presence of the LORD filled the House of the LORD -- then Solomon declared: 'The LORD has chosen to abide ["shaken"] in a thick cloud: I have now built for you a stately House, a place where You may dwell ["shakan"] forever'" (I Kings 8:10-13).
This same incident is recorded in II Chronicles 5:13. The "Shekinah" would no longer be associated with the Tabernacle but was to be transferred to the Temple. As a result, this physical manifestation was necessary to that generation because the Law of Moses was being amended at this point and YEHOVAH God was showing His approval of the amendment to His legal system by the manifestation of the "Shekinah."
Whenever YEHOVAH God makes a "forever" promise in the Bible, there are conditions connected to it -- and this case is no different. When He said He would dwell ("shakan") in the Temple "forever," there were conditions to this promise. Therefore, at the destruction of the First Temple, He did not allow His "Shekinah" presence to stay in the Holy of Holies (inner sanctuary of the Temple) after a certain level of corruption had taken place. What is surprising is that He stayed in the Temple for so long! Evidently, His love for His people is such that He endures far more than any human judge would deem possible -- even with all the corruption that occurred during the last days of Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin (and most of the reign of Zedekiah). Ezekiel's vision of the DEPARTURE OF YEHOVAH'S "SHEKINAH" from the Temple and city did not occur until after the beginning of the final siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and his army.
Ezekiel's description of YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" is more detailed but very similar to what the 70 elders saw on Mount Sinai, as recorded in Exodus 24. Writes Fred Miller --
"Ezekiel's description of the "Shekinah" in chapter one of his prophecy is physically exciting just to read. Imagine actually seeing it! It is described as fire enfolding itself borne by cherubic creatures whose appearance pulsated with undulating light, themselves borne by gyroscopic double wheels. Lightning came out of the midst of the fire surrounded by clear sapphire where a man-like person on a throne sat in an electric eye. If electricity is anachronistic, the word is nonetheless 'chashmal' which is the modern Hebrew word for electricity. The Septuagint has 'electrum' and so does the Vulgate! Whatever 'chashmal' and 'electrum' meant to the ancients who used these words it can only be said that 'eyn chashmal' in Hebrew and 'opsin electrou' in Greek and 'speciem electri' found in Latin in Eze. 1:27 is not 'amber' as in the English translation. The word 'color' does not appear in the text" (Zechariah and Jewish Renewal).
There are other descriptions of the nature of YEHOVAH God's "Shekinah" that Ezekiel saw LEAVING a then desolate Temple. The building was still standing but no longer had YEHOVAH's glory before it was destroyed!
It should be noted that Ezekiel saw both the DEPARTURE of the "Shekinah" and the RETURN in two distinct visions separated in time by a number of years. The visions that he saw -- of events that happened after his own death -- describe exactly the same "Shekinah" which he saw first in chapter ten and then afterwards leave the Temple in chapter ten. As we shall note, at the beginning of chapter ten the "Shekinah" was still in the Temple --
"The glory of the LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house [Temple]; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory ['Cavod YHVH']".
However, YEHOVAH God was making preparations to REMOVE the "Shekinah" from the Temple and then from the very city itself:
"And the cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight; when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the EAST GATE of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above" (Ezekiel 10:19).
Then, in Ezekiel 11:23, we read of the actual DEPARTURE of YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" from the MOUNT OF OLIVES --
"And the glory of the LORD ['Cavod YHVH'] went up from the midst of the city, and stood on the mountain which is on the east side of the city [Mount of Olives]."
From the Mount of Olives the "Shekinah" departed from this earth to later return to the Temple that was rebuilt under Zerubbabel, but before the arrival of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Guarding David's Sepulcher
The "Shekinah" remained in the Temple from this time through the enlarging of the Temple complex by Herod, and his subsequent improvements. This is borne out by a little known but awe-inspiring incident that occurred when Herod tried to tap into the tremendous wealth of King David's tomb in order to finance his grandiose plans to rebuild the Temple.
The original tomb of King David was located in the vicinity of the City of David on the southeast hill of Jerusalem -- called the original Zion in the Bible. However, a new location for David's tomb had to be found when Simon the Hasmonean cut Mount Zion down to bedrock. According to Ernest L. Martin: "They picked the region just to the west of the former (and original) Zion....they transferred almost everything up to that new area. This included even the Tomb of David. They built a new cenotaph for David and from the time of Simon [the Hasmonean] onward, it was this newly rebuilt area that became known as 'Mount Zion' and the new official place for the 'Tomb of David'" (The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot. Portland, OR: ASK Publications, 2000, p. 343).
When David and Solomon were buried in the City of David, part of the enormous wealth that had been accumulated for the construction of YEHOVAH's Temple was buried with them. So when the new tomb was built on the new Mount Zion, it is believed that considerably more than 3,000 talents of gold was transferred to it -- an enormous sum in today's money. We are told by Josephus that John Hyrcanus -- the son of Simon the Hasmonean -- took that amount from David's new tomb to pay for the services of the mercenary troops he employed. He was "the first Jew to start this practice" (War I. 2, 5). Herod was the next that we know of.
Writes Gary Arvidson:
"So, how was Herod able to finance this and other projects? Toward the beginning of his great work 'all their sacred treasures were exhausted.' We are told in this same context that people around the world sent an abundance of money for the Temple project. But there were other funds to be raised. And Herod found ANOTHER SOURCE!" (In Search of King David's Tomb, part 1, p. 27).
Arvidson goes on to say:
"What we are going to find is that Herod tapped David's sepulcher as a major resource for his great works...and as a consequence gained access to David's sepulcher to finance and decorate his empire. What had been amassed for the First Temple and laid aside by Solomon, was finally used for the Second Temple period" (ibid.).
The first-century A.D. Jewish historian and priest Josephus, records that "at this time he [Herod] opened the sepulcher by night, and went into it, and endeavored that it should not be known in the city, but took only his faithful friends with him" (Antiquities 14.7.1).
Then begins the most unusual account of all. Herod was determined to explore the multi-room structure of David's tomb to the limits. Suddenly, a great miracle occurred --
"However, he [Herod] had a great desire to make a more diligent search, and to go further in, even as far as the very bodies of David and Solomon; WHERE TWO OF HIS GUARDS WERE SLAIN BY A FLAME that burst out upon those that went in, as the report was. So he was terribly affrightened, and went out, and built a propitiatory monument of that fright he had been in; and this of white stone, at the mouth of the sepulcher..." (Antiquities 14.7.1).
The physical "Shekinah" put the fear of God in Herod and his surviving men and, frankly, "scared the hell" out of them!
The next recorded intrusion of David's tomb, and the subsequent confrontation with YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory, is reported in Joseph Simon's book, The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (Malibu, CA: Pangloss Press, pp. 84-85). Ernest Martin gives a summary --
"We have the account mentioned in the travels of Benjamin of Tudela in the twelfth century that 15 years before the traveler got to Jerusalem the Rabbi Abraham of Jerusalem told him the story of two workmen who were helping to rebuild a wall of a church that had collapsed in the Upper City. About noontime, they found a cavern that they thought to enter. They said they peered in and saw a large chamber resting on pillars of marble overlaid with silver and gold. There was a table of gold with a scepter and crown. They also saw coffins [plural] in the chamber. At this moment they tried to enter the chamber, but they encountered a FIERCE WIND that caused them to appear as dead men until evening. They aroused and heard a man's voice say" 'Arise and go forth from this place.' They immediately left and went to the Christian Patriarch and informed him of the incident. Benjamin then said the Patriarch summoned Rabbi Abraham who informed them that they had discovered the Tomb of David and other kings of Israel. Because the workmen who discovered the site were terrified, the Patriarch and the Rabbi decided to close up the area and to hide it. Rabbi Abraham told Benjamin of Tudela these things" (The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot, footnote 495, p. 344).
It seems evident that YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory was still guarding David's tomb as late as the 12th century A.D.
The Final Departure
YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" remained in the Temple all through the life and death of the Messiah and up to the year 66 A.D. -- when it was seen leaving the Temple and alighting on the Mount of Olives. Notice!
"There is also another reason why Christians in the first century were very interested in the Mount of Olives. This is because it was believed that the Shekinah Glory of God which supposedly dwelt inside the Holy of Holies at the Temple left the sanctuary and went to the Mount of Olives and hovered over that spot at the time of the Roman/Jewish War which ended in A.D. 70. The fact that the Shekinah Glory left the old Temple and migrated to the top of the Mount of Olives was an important event to Eusebius [church historian and scholar A.D. 260?-340?]" (Secrets of Golgotha, by Ernest L. Martin. 1988: ASK Publications, Alhambra, CA. p. 83).
In Eusebius' book Proof of the Gospel we find this passage --
"Believers in Christ congregate from all parts of the world, not as of old time because of the glory of Jerusalem, nor that they may worship in the ancient Temple at Jerusalem, but...that they may worship at the Mount of Olives opposite to the city, whither the glory [the Shekinah Glory] of the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] migrated when it left the former city" (Book VI, Chapter 18 (288)).
According to Eusebius the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple and hovered over the Mount of Olives during "the siege of Jerusalem" (66 A.D. to 70). However, Eusebius was not the only observer who mentioned that the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple before the destruction of the Temple and hovered over the Mount of Olives. A Jewish rabbi named Jonathan -- who was an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem -- said the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple and for three and a half years
"abode on the MOUNT OF OLIVES hoping that Israel would repent, but they did not; while a Bet Kol [a supernatural voice from heaven] issued forth announcing, Return, O backsliding children [Jer. 3:14]. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you [Mal. 3:7], when they did not repent, it said, I WILL RETURN TO MY PLACE [Hosea 5:15] (Midrash Rabbah, Lamentations 2:11)" (Secrets of Golgotha, by Ernest L. Martin. p. 84).
There was yet another writer who recorded the fact of the "Shekinah" presence of YEHOVAH God moving from the Temple in Jerusalem just before the war with the Romans. Josephus mentioned that in the Spring of 66 A.D. some astonishing events took place within the Temple. He recorded three miracles associated with YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" and the Temple -- and each one showed clearly that the "Shekinah" was departing from the Holy of Holies. In War VI, 290 he stated "that a GREAT LIGHT shone over the altar for thirty minutes at 3 o'clock in the morning (a week before Passover in A.D. 66) and then it DEPARTED. He said the sacred scribes interpreted this sign as a bad omen for the Temple. It was like the Shekinah Glory moving away from the Tabernacle in the wilderness as a sign to disassemble the Tabernacle and transport it to another location" (ibid.).
Josephus goes on to say that "a few days later (during Passover itself) the enormous brass gates of Nicanor, requiring twenty men to open and close them, opened at midnight of their own accord (War VI, 293-295). This was also interpreted as showing a desolation coming upon the Temple. And then, on Pentecost, the final sign was given which definitely showed that the Shekinah Glory was departing the Temple as the other signs indicated (ibid.):
"Moreover, at the festival which is called Pentecost, the priests on entering the inner court of the Temple at nightfall, as their custom was in accomplishment of their ministrations, stated that they first became aware of a commotion and a roar, and after that the voice of a great multitude saying 'We are departing hence'" (War VI, 299).
When we couple Josephus' information with that of Rabbi Jonathan (also an eyewitness) we can see that the "Shekinah" went directly to the Mount of Olives and remained over the top of the mountain for 3 and 1/2 years -- from late Spring in 66 A.D. to about December of 69 A.D. -- some eight months before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans. It then went back to heaven and had not returned to earth up to the time he wrote.
These miraculous events had much more significance to the early Christians than may meet the eye today. Eusebius, as we have just seen, mentioned the importance of this removal of the Shekinah glory. It was clearly a sign that YEHOVAH's physical presence had departed from the Temple on the western hill of Jerusalem and had retreated to the MOUNT OF OLIVES on the EAST as the new place of His divine residence. This event of the "Shekinah" glory leaving the Temple and residing on the Mount of Olives became highly significant to the early Christians because this is the mountain where YEHOVAH God's holy "Shekinah" will RETURN in the near future!
The Messiah's Death On the Mount of Olives
"Theologically," explains Ernest Martin, "it was the presence of the Shekinah in the Temple that made the Temple itself the holiest place on earth to early Jews. But in A.D. 66, according to the Jewish source just cited (along with Eusebius), the Shekinah of its own accord left the Temple on Mount Moriah and situated itself over the top of Olivet. Theologically speaking, this would have indicated the Mount of Olives as being the holiest place on earth to God. Early Jewish Christians must have reckoned this event as having great symbolic consequence. It thus becomes sensible WHY they then began to call Olivet the new 'Mount Sion' and where the new 'House of God' was established. Even a century after the time of Eusebius, Jerome reconfirmed that it was the Cherubim who carried the Shekinah from Moriah to Olivet and it was there that those angelic creatures 'founded the Church of the Lord'" (Letter CVIII. 12) (The Discovery of Jesus' Tomb. Portland, OR: ASK Publications, 1989, p. 12).
We now come to an event that also shows WHY the mount of Olives was considered so holy to the early Christians, and proves conclusively that Yeshua the Messiah was NOT the YEHOVAH (YHVH) of the Old Testament -- nor His "Shekinah" presence as many seem to think. I have been carefully tracing the history of YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" presence to bring us to this point and to this proof:
When a careful study of the New Testament is made, along with secular and apocryphal literature, it becomes evident that the Messiah was executed on the MOUNT OF OLIVES FACING THE EASTERN ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE. Writes Ernest Martin --
"he was led from the Antonia past the Temple on his right, out the EASTERN GATE of the Temple, over the two-tiered arched bridge, up to the summit of the Mount of Olives. But instead of being killed at the Miphkad Altar, he was taken a short distance south (to where criminals could be executed 'IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD,' that is, IN SIGHT OF THE TEMPLE) and there he was crucified (and stoned to death)" (Secrets of Golgotha, p. 248).
Since the Messiah died on the Mount of Olives facing the eastern gate and the entrance to the Temple and Holy of Holies where the glory of YEHOVAH God (or "Shekinah") resided -- just WHO was this "God" that he died "in the presence of"? Think about it -- if the holy "Shekinah" in the Temple was the same as Yeshua the Messiah (as many seem to think) then the Messiah died in the presence of himself!! This, of course, is totally ludicrous! When the Messiah was dying on the tree facing the Temple he cried, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). Luke, in his account of the Messiah's death, has him saying (after he cried out the above heart-wrenching plea): "FATHER, into Your hands I commend My spirit" (23:46). The Messiah DID NOT die in the presence of himself -- but in the PRESENCE OF HIS FATHER who was residing (shakan) in the Temple in the form of the physical representation or "Shekinah" glory of YEHOVAH or the YHVH of the Old Testament!
The Messiah's outburst in Matthew 27:46 refers back to Psalm 22:1 where David is praising YEHOVAH (YHVH). What could be clearer? Yeshua the Messiah was NOT the YEHOVAH or YHVH of the Old Testament.
Yeshua the Messiah lived in Israel while the "Shekinah" of his Father indwelt the Temple! Not only that, but he prophesied the DEPARTURE of the "Shekinah" in A.D. 66, which would make the Temple "desolate" --
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets, and STONE them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! BEHOLD, YOUR HOUSE [TEMPLE] IS LEFT TO YOU DESOLATE" (Matthew 23:37-38).
The "Shekinah" Glory, which made the Temple holy in the first place, moved from the Temple and positioned itself directly over the very region where the Messiah was put to death and where he was resurrected from the dead. In this area the "Shekinah" manifested itself now and then as a divine apparition -- as it once did when it resided (shakan) in the Temple. And, according to Rabbi Jonathan, it gave its warnings to repent to the people of Jerusalem over a period of three and a half years before departing as the Roman armies encircled the city.
Vision of the Millennial Temple
The prophet Ezekiel, in a vision, saw the restored MILLENNIAL TEMPLE -- which is recorded in chapters 37 and 39 of his book. In this vision of the Millennial Temple, as it would be after being built at the time of the end, YEHOVAH God said to him --
"Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I WILL SET MY SANCTUARY [TEMPLE] IN THEIR MIDST forevermore. MY TABERNACLE [TEMPLE] ALSO SHALL BE WITH THEM; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when MY SANCTUARY [TEMPLE] IS IN THEIR MIDST forevermore" (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
Then, in chapter 39:
"I WILL SET MY [SHEKINAH] GLORY AMONG THE NATIONS; all the nations [of the earth] shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward" (verses 21-22).
This event, which Ezekiel experienced in vision, will be fulfilled in the near future when YEHOVAH God's "Shekinah" returns to this earth and habitates, once again, a newly built Temple! We find this SAME event recorded in Zechariah 2 -- where he says: "Sing, Jerusalem, and rejoice! For I have come to live [shakan] among you, says the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]. AT THAT TIME [of the end] many nations will be converted to the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH], and they too shall be my people; I will live [shakan] among them all. Then you will know it was the LORD of Hosts [YEHOVAH, YHVH] who sent me to you....Be silent, all mankind before the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]; FOR HE [IN THE FORM OF THE "SHEKINAH"] HAS COME TO EARTH FROM HEAVEN, FROM HIS HOLY HOME" (10-13).
The Golden Age to come, which Zechariah said was to follow the return of the "Shekinah" at the end of the age, describes the city and surrounding areas as being at peace in an age when people can grow old in a secure environment. To those who lived in Jerusalem, in the hearing of Zechariah, that would seem like a miracle -- so great was the desolation of the place. But of the conditions that would follow the RETURN of the "Shekinah" to the Temple at the end of the age, Zechariah records:
"Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]: I have RETURNED TO ZION, and I will dwell [shakan] in Jerusalem....Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] of hosts: There shall yet be old men and women in the squares of Jerusalem, each with a staff in hand because of their great age. And the squares of the city shall be crowded with boys and girls playing in the squares. Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] of Hosts: Though it will seem impossible to the remnant of this people IN THOSE DAYS, shall it also be impossible to Me? -- declares the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] of Hosts" (Zechariah 8:4-6).
Now what about the New Testament -- does the New Testament record the RETURN of YEHOVAH's glory or "Shekinah" to this earth and to a NEW Temple in Jerusalem? Indeed it does, and in a passage that Christians (in their confusion) have taken to refer to the return of the Messiah for more than 1,700 years!! Incredible as it may seem, Satan has blinded millions over the centuries to the TRUE identity of the Person pictured in Revelation 19 --
"Then I heard what sounded like the roar of a huge crowd, like the sound of rushing waters, like loud peals of thunder, saying, 'Halleluyah! ADONAI [YEHOVAH, YHVH], GOD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES, HAS BEGUN HIS REIGN!'....Then I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called FAITHFUL AND TRUE, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were MANY ROYAL CROWNS. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself. He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which he is called is, 'THE WORD OF GOD.' The ARMIES OF HEAVEN, clothed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations -- 'He will rule them with a staff of iron.' It is he who treads the winepress from which flows the wine of the furious rage of ADONAI [YEHOVAH, YHVH], GOD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES. And on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written: 'KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS'" (Verses 6, 11-16, Jewish New Testament).
YEHOVAH God the Father's future universal role on earth in the form of the physical "Shekinah" presence is a major theme of the Old Testament. Verse 6 above inaugurates YEHOVAH God the Father's Kingly reign on earth -- although its establishment requires several stages: first is the RETURN OF THE MESSIAH in Revelation 10, the wedding feast of the Lamb (the Messiah) in Revelation 19:7-9, climaxed by the RETURN OF YEHOVAH'S SHEKINAH PRESENCE (Revelation 19:11-15); then Satan must be chained (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10), judgment must take place (Revelation 20:11-15), and only then does the Messiah actually rule as king and priest to his Father who resides in the new Third Temple in the form of the "Shekinah" presence.
In order for the wedding feast of the Lamb (the Messiah) to take place, the Messiah must FIRST return to this earth -- NOT afterwards as would be the case if Revelation 19 referred to the Messiah's return!
In Titus 2:13 we are encouraged "to expect the blessed fulfillment of our CERTAIN HOPE, WHICH IS THE APPEARING OF THE SH'KHINAH OF OUR GREAT GOD AND the appearing of our Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah" (Jewish New Testament). Verses 11-16 of Revelation 19 describe this eagerly awaited (by the early Christians) "Second Coming" of YEHOVAH's holy "Shekinah" -- NOT the Second Coming of the Messiah as millions have blindly believed!
The phrase "Faithful and True" in verse 11 has been correctly capitalized in all the translations I have seen, and denotes the ULTIMATE in faithfulness and truth -- which, of course, is YEHOVAH (YHVH) the Father. In Jeremiah 10:10 we read: "But the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] is the true God [more correctly, "God of truth" -- Elohim emet]; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to abide His indignation." The "God of truth" in the above verse is not primarily the God who reveals eternal verities, but the God who can be trusted to keep His covenant. The RETURN of the "Shekinah" Glory will be the faithful REAPPEARANCE of Him who has already appeared among men -- this time He comes to bring the covenant promises to their final and full consummation.
In verses 12-13 of Revelation 19 we read -- "His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were MANY ROYAL CROWNS. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself. He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which he is called is, 'THE WORD OF GOD.'"
The phrase "The Word of God" is thought by many to refer to Yeshua the Messiah -- and they try to link this phrase to the "logos" of John 1:1. However, there is absolutely NO justification for doing this. In fact, NOWHERE in the Bible does this phrase refer to Yeshua the Messiah! In most cases in the New Testament, "the word of God" refers to the message or words revealed through the writings of the Old Testament or Torah. However, and note this, there are a few passages in the Bible that indicate a DIRECT communication from YEHOVAH, through the "Shekinah," took place. Notice I Kings 12:22 --
"But THE WORD OF GOD came to Shemaiah, the man of God: "Say to King Rehoboam son of Solomon of Judah, and to all the House of Judah and Benjamin and the rest of the people: Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]: You shall not set out to make war on your kinsmen the Israelites. Let every man return to his home, for this thing has been brought about by Me." They heeded THE WORD OF THE LORD [YEHOVAH] and turned back, in accordance with THE WORD OF THE LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]" (The Tanakh).
Here "the word of God" is clearly identified with "the word of the LORD [YEHOVAH]," showing that "the word of God" is the SAME as "the word of the LORD" -- and is certainly indicated to be the "Shekinah" of the LORD [YEHOVAH] communicating with Shemaiah.
Similarly, in I Chronicles 17, we read: "But that same night THE WORD OF GOD came to Nathan: 'Go and say to My servant David: Thus said the LORD [YEHOVAH], YHVH]: You are not the one to build a house [Temple] for Me to dwell [shakan] in" (verses 3-4).
Once again, we find here that the phrase "THE WORD OF GOD" is associated with YEHOVAH and indicates that He is communicating to Nathan the prophet by means of His holy "Shekinah." In the New Testament we read where "the word of God" came to John the Baptist --
"Annas and Caiaphas being high priests, THE WORD OF GOD came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:
'The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
"Prepare the way of the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH],
Make His paths straight." ' "
Here we see that John the Baptist receives a direct communication from YEHOVAH God which tells him to "prepare the way of the LORD [YEHOVAH] -- thus linking the "word of God" with the One called YEHOVAH or YHVH.
In Revelation 19:13 the phrase "The Word of God" is capitalized in the original Greek, thereby indicating the Rider of the white horse to be the physical "Shekinah" representation of YEHOVAH -- a component of the same "force" that directly communicated with Shemaiah, Nathan and John the Baptist.
Finally, in Revelation 1:2, "the Word of God" is clearly separated from the Messiah -- notice!
"This is the revelation which God gave to Yeshua the Messiah, so that he could show his servants what must happen very soon. He communicated it by sending his angel to his servant Yochanan [John], who bore witness to THE WORD OF GOD AND to the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah...."
The next verse, verse 14 of Revelation 19, states that "the ARMIES OF HEAVEN, clothed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him [Adonai, YEHOVAH (see verse 6)] on white horses." Throughout the New Testament the "armies of heaven" are ALWAYS associated with, and are commanded by, ADONAI -- who, according to the plain words of the apostle James is THE FATHER! "With it [the tongue] we bless ADONAI, THE FATHER; and with it we curse people, who were made in the image of God" (James 3:9 -- Jewish New Testament). Further, in Ephesians 1:3, this is echoed when Paul says -- "Praised be ADONAI, FATHER OF OUR LORD YESHUA THE MESSIAH..."
In Revelation 1:8 we find written: "I am the 'A' and the 'Z,'" says ADONAI [YEHOVAH, YHVH], God of HEAVEN'S ARMIES, the One [ADONAI] who is, who was AND WHO IS COMING." Again, in Revelation 4:8: "Holy, holy, holy is ADONAI, GOD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES, the One who was, who is and who IS COMING." Also, in Revelation 11:16 -- "We thank you, ADONAI [YEHOVAH, YHVH], GOD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES, the One who is and was, that you have taken your power [in the form of the "Shekinah"] AND HAVE BEGUN TO RULE [ON EARTH AFTER HIS COMING IN REVELATION 19].
I don't wish to seem redundant, but the One on the white horse leading the armies of heaven to this earth is YEHOVAH THE FATHER in His "Shekinah form -- NOT Yeshua the Messiah!
This is affirmed by the very fact that Revelation 19:17-18 -- verses that talk about "the supper of the great God" -- is taken straight out of Ezekiel 39:17-20 which calls the "supper" a "sacrificial meal." In other words, the events covered by Revelation 19:11-21 are the exact SAME events covered in Ezekiel 39! So who, in Ezekiel 39 and the chapters leading up to it, is the Being responsible for rescuing Israel from her enemies and laying the table for "the supper of the great God"? Notice Ezekiel 37:21-23:
"Then say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD [YHVH -- YEHOVAH]: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I [YEHOVAH God] will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I [YEHOVAH] will be their God." ' "
Then, in Ezekiel 37:26-28, YEHOVAH attests --
"Moreover I [YEHOVAH God] will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I WILL SET MY SANCTUARY IN THEIR MIDST FOREVERMORE. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I [YEHOVAH God] will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the LORD [YEHOVAH], sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore."
Now, it doesn't say that the tabernacle of Yeshua the Messiah will be in Israel's midst forever -- as one might think from reading Revelation 19 and all the notations and comments found in most New Testaments available today.
Ezekiel the prophet reveals that at the conclusion of Gog's (the Beast's) destruction, YEHOVAH God the Father will Himself be physically present on the ground, in the land: "For in My jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, on that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at My presence" (38:19-20).
YEHOVAH God says that throughout the earth, both people and animals will "quake at [His, YEHOVAH's] presence." The word used for "presence" is the Hebrew word panim. Panim is a reference to the ACTUAL FACE OR PRESENCE OF A PERSON. When YEHOVAH God says that the people of the earth will quake at His panim, He is saying that they will be terrified because of His ACTUAL presence. Concerning the word panim, The New Unger's Bible Dictionary says, "The presence (face) of Jehovah is Jehovah in his own personal presence." The New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words says, "In the OT, being in God's or another's presence is indicated by a preposition (I) prefixed to the Hebrew word panim ('face'). The thought is to be 'before the face of the person.'"
Panim is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the actual presence of YEHOVAH God the Father. Jacob, for instance, after wrestling with the angel of YEHOVAH God, referring to seeing YEHOVAH face-to-face: "So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, 'For I have seen God face [panim] to face [panim], and yet my life has been delivered'" (Genesis 32:30).
It is also interesting to note that in place of the Hebrew panim, the Septuagint used the Greek word prosopon. Prosopon is a word commonly used in the New Testament to refer to actual presence. Prosopon is a powerful word that implies actual face-to-face presence. An excellent example of the New Testament usage of prosopon is a scene where the righteous are actually looking upon the face of YEHOVAH God in the eternal city: "No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His [YEHOVAH's] face [prosopon], and his name will be on their foreheads" (Revelation 22:4).
Ezekiel's description of people quaking in fear of YEHOVAH's face reveals that at the conclusion of the Battle of Gog and Magog (the destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet), YEHOVAH God the Father will be physically present on this earth, in the land of Israel, in the City of Jerusalem.
Further evidence for the physical presence of the Father at the end of the age and at the conclusion of YEHOVAH's anger against the Beast powers is seen in Ezekiel 39:7: "And My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD [YHVH -- YEHOVAH], the Holy One in Israel."
This is the only time that the phrase "the Holy One in Israel" is used in the Bible. It is the Hebrew qadowsh qadowsh ba Yisra'el. A similar phrase, "the Holy One of Israel" (qadowsh qadowsh Yisra'el), is used thirty-one times in Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 12:6; 43:3; 55:5; 60:9). But here, YEHOVAH God is not merely the Holy One of Israel; He is actually present in the land and on the ground!
Moving now to verse 16 of Revelation 19, we read -- "And on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written: 'KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.'" These titles denote the ultimate in praise that can be bestowed and, therefore, must be titles of YEHOVAH the Father. Throughout the New Testament the Messiah indicates that the Father was far GREATER than he -- see John 14:28 for example. Also, if we examine the original Greek for "King of kings and Lord of lords" we will quickly discover that the first "King" and the first "Lord" in this title both start with upper case letters -- showing Him to be the ULTIMATE "King" of all kings and the ULTIMATE "Lord" of all lords. Some argue that the Lamb (the Messiah) depicted in Revelation 17:14 also has these titles and must, as a result, be the Rider of the horse represented in Revelation 19. But, once again, if we closely examine the original Greek we will first of all find that the title is REVERSED from that in Revelation 19 and reads instead "lord of lords and king of kings." Then we will notice that the first "lord" and the first "king" of the title are lower case in the Greek -- showing that the Messiah was (as pictured here in Revelation 17:14) NOT the ultimate "lord of lords" or the ultimate "king of kings." He is a LOWER "lord of lords" and "king of kings," which entirely agrees with Yeshua's statement that his Father was greater than he.
The title in Revelation 19:16 expresses YEHOVAH (YHVH) THE FATHER'S rulership over all creation and all the kings and lords therein. It is equivalent to the phrase "King of kings of kings" which the Jewish Siddur (prayer book) applies to YHVH in this song which introduces the Sabbath in many Jewish homes --
"Welcome, ministering angels, messengers from the Most High, from the King of kings of kings, the HOLY ONE, blessed be he. Come in peace....bless me with peace,...go in peace...." (Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 840).
When we add all these proofs up, the clear and astounding TRUTH is that Revelation 19 pictures the glorious RETURN OF YEHOVAH GOD'S "SHEKINAH" PRESENCE to this earth to rule, with the Messiah directly under Him, from the new Third Temple in Jerusalem. May YEHOVAH God hasten that day!
What About the Messiah?
So, what of the return of the Messiah? If Revelation 19 depicts the "Shekinah" return to this earth, do the Scriptures elsewhere record the future event of the Messiah's Second Coming? They surely do -- in Revelation 10. For further information read our article, The Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
The Clear Testimony of the Prophets
For centuries Christians -- and even the Churches of YEHOVAH God -- have been thoroughly confused over these two events and placed their hope and expectations and yearnings on the return of Yeshua the Messiah while relegating YEHOVAH (YHVH) and His return to the dust bin! While the return of the Messiah is not to be minimized -- the FAR GREATER, earthshaking, awesome mind-reeling event is that of the "SHEKINAH" GLORY RETURNING TO THIS EARTH to reside and rule from the Temple in Jerusalem! THIS is the event pictured in Revelation 19! All the prophets of the Old Testament clearly predicted a visible, awesome, literal manifestation of the "Shekinah" Glory of YEHOVAH once again -- this we see in Revelation 19.
Much too often Christians have allowed themselves to hastily read through the texts, all the while ASSUMING that when the prophets write of YEHOVAH Himself acting in decisive ways, they actually refer to His Messiah. How often have you heard preachers and ministers say that "when Jesus returns, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives." Unfortunately, this is CARELESS AND UNSCHOLARLY exegesis. As you can plainly see, after reading all the texts I have laid out, the prophets ALWAYS maintain a CLEAR DISTINCTION between the DRAMATIC APPEARANCE of the LORD God (YHVH) in Revelation 19 and the coming of the Messiah in Revelation 10:1-7, and His subsequent rule UNDER YEHOVAH.
The prophets understood this dramatic, personal intervention of YEHOVAH in history as a RETURN or "Second Coming." We read in Haggai that YEHOVAH declares: "ONCE MORE in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land" (2:6). Isaiah clearly yearns for this time to arrive:
"Oh, that You would rend the heavens and COME DOWN, that the mountains might quake at Your ['Shekinah'] PRESENCE -- as fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil -- to make Your name known to Thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your Presence! When You did awesome things which we did not expect, YOU DID COME DOWN, the mountains quaked at Thy ['Shekinah'] presence. For from of old they have not heard nor perceived by ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides You, who acts in behalf of the one WHO WAITS FOR HIM" (Isaiah 64:1-4).
Also, in Isaiah 24, the prophet proclaims --
"Behold, YEHOVAH lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface, and scatters its inhabitants...They raise their voices, they shout for joy. They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of YEHOVAH. Therefore glorify YEHOVAH in the east, the name of YEHOVAH, the God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea...So it will happen IN THAT DAY, that YEHOVAH will punish the host of heaven, on high, and the kings of the earth, ON EARTH...Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, FOR YEHOVAH OF HOSTS WILL REIGN ON MOUNT ZION AND IN JERUSALEM, and His glory ['Shekinah' presence] will be before His elders...For behold, YEHOVAH IS ABOUT TO COME OUT FROM HIS PLACE to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; and the earth will reveal her bloodshed, and will no longer cover her slain" (Isaiah 24, selected verses).
The prophets were thinking back to the time of Moses and the unprecedented events at Mount Sinai, when YEHOVAH God dramatically judged the nation of Egypt and freed the Israelites from slavery. There, at Mt. Sinai, all Israel experienced the awesome, visible, dramatic, manifestation of the Presence (literally, "face") and GLORY OF YEHOVAH. Explains James Tabor, "The Torah is most explicit regarding this unprecedented experience. Nothing like this had ever happened before, or has happened since. YEHOVAH Himself appeared to the people in a fiery cloud-like pillar; they actually heard His voice and saw His Glory (Exodus 19:18-19; 20:18-21; 40:34-38; Numbers 14:14). The very purpose of the Tabernacle (literally, "dwelling place") was to provide a locus for this extraordinary manifestation of YEHOVAH" (The LORD (YHVH) God and His Messiah).
We have seen Ezekiel report that this Presence ("Glory") of YEHOVAH departed shortly before the Exile. Ezekiel understood this in the most LITERAL way -- actually describing the cloud-like "Shekinah" moving through the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem, up the Mount of Olives, and away (Ezekiel 10:18-19; 11:22-23). In Deuteronomy 31:17 this "departure" is called the "hiding of the Face of YEHOVAH." To fully understand this teaching of Scripture, I have endeavored to show the DISTINCTION between the general presence of YEHOVAH God (which is always with His creation) and this VERY SPECIFIC, literal, awesome, visible, manifestation of the Divine Glory or "Shekinah."
In that sense YEHOVAH departed from this planet, and in that sense all the prophets (including John) tell of His return. In other words, they clearly point to and predict a visible, earthshaking, LITERAL, manifestation of the holy "Shekinah" (Glory of YEHOVAH) once again. For the righteous this will bring great rejoicing, but for all the wicked this will cause terror and the fear of judgment.
Focus On the East
I have also tried to point out that the Scriptures show a definite focus on the EAST. On the EAST side of Jerusalem is the EASTERN gate of the Temple Mount, and EAST of that gate -- the Mount of Olives. From this sacred area the holy "Shekinah" (Glory of YEHOVAH) departed, and it is HERE that it will return. This clearly connects to the passage in Zechariah that predicts "on that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives" (14:4).
This area -- EAST from the Temple Mount and including the Mount of Olives -- is evidently the El Bethel (not the northern town of Bethel) where the patriarch Jacob had his vision of the ladder going up to heaven. He identified this place as awesome and sacred, and none other than the portal or "gate of heaven." Evidently Jacob was lying on the Temple Mount area and facing EAST, looking in his dream at the summit of the Mount of Olives (Genesis 28:17; 35:5-8).
Chief Agent of YEHOVAH
Yeshua the Messiah served and worshipped YEHOVAH his God, the God of his fathers -- the One God of Israel! He constantly testified to this in the New Testament: "Yeshua answered him [Satan], 'The Tanakh says, "Worship ADONAI [YEHOVAH, YHVH] your God and serve him only"'" (Luke 4:8). Then, in Mark 12:29-30: "Yeshua answered, 'The most important is, "Sh'ma Israel, ADONAI Eloheynu, ADONAI echad [Hear, O Israel, the LORD [YEHOVAH] our God, the LORD [YEHOVAH] is one], and you are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength."'" Also, in John 17:3: "And eternal life is this: to know you, THE ONE TRUE GOD, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah." As the apostle Paul put the matter in I Corinthians 8:6, "yet for us there is ONE GOD, THE FATHER, from whom all things come and for whom we exist; and one Lord, Yeshua the Messiah, through whom were created all things and through whom we have our being."
The confusion arises when people misunderstand the basic idea of agency. As the chief agent of YEHOVAH, the Messiah does carry out the Divine Will. So, in that sense, he too can be seen as King, Judge, Shepherd, Redeemer, Savior and Lord. But -- and remember this -- he is NEVER called YEHOVAH, and all such roles are clearly given to him by YEHOVAH Himself. States James Tabor: "Shared rulership, task, and mission, DO NOT IMPLY SHARED IDENTITY. For example, according to Revelation 3:21 the Messiah promises his faithful followers that they can 'sit with me on my throne, as I sat with my Father (YEHOVAH) on His throne.' The idea here is unity of task and mission, NOT a merging of personal identity" (The LORD (YHVH) God and His Messiah).
There are a number of New Testament passages which show the Messiah as REFLECTING THE IMAGE of YEHOVAH God -- see II Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3. Once again -- and please understand it -- this is not to be confused with identity. Writes James Tabor -- "An image is just what the word implies, representation. The idea here is that YEHOVAH Himself is invisible and unseen, but the Messiah can REFLECT an image of God. In other words, the Messiah can function as a human representation and manifestation of God. One must NEVER confuse the reflection, no matter how perfect, with the One reflected" (ibid.). For example, the angel of YEHOVAH in the Old Testament could speak for YEHOVAH God and represent Him with full power and authority -- He was a visible manifestation of the Invisible One whom no man can see or behold (Exodus 3:2; 23:20-21). But remember this -- NEVER are the two confused.
The Messiah is also called "Son of God." But this does not make him YEHOVAH God, rather it implies faithfulness and intimacy -- such as we see in II Samuel 7:14! The son remains just that -- a "son." As such, he carries out the will of his Father, YEHOVAH God. As we see in I Corinthians 15:28, NEVER are the roles confused.
The Messiah As High Priest
In Zechariah 6:12-13 we find a passage that is quite extraordinary in its implications --
"Then speak to him, saying, 'Thus says the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] of hosts, saying: Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and HE SHALL BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD; yes, HE SHALL BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He SHALL BE A PRIEST on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both [YEHOVAH God and the Messiah].'"
In this passage we find that the Branch -- a reference to the Messiah -- will rebuild the Temple of YEHOVAH God in Jerusalem and function as PRIEST as well as King. Since the Messiah was a descendant of the tribe of Judah through King David, it is obvious that he cannot serve as a priest in the line of Aaron -- who was of the tribe of Levi. However, this problem is solved in the Scriptures by basing the Messiah's priesthood on another lineage -- that of Melchizedek. This we learn from the extraordinary Messianic prophecy in Psalm 110, which we looked at earlier in this article. Here King David calls one of his descendants, the Messianic figure, "Lord" (Adoni), thereby acknowledging His superiority:
"[King David speaking:] YEHOVAH says to my Lord [master]: Sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet....YEHOVAH has sworn and will not change his mind, 'YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.' YEHOVAH is at your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among the nations" (Psalm 110:1, 4-5; compare with Psalm 80:17).
This future "man" of YEHOVAH'S right hand (who is none other than Yeshua the Messiah), though not of Aaron's line, will serve as PRIEST in the new Temple much like Melchizedek did in the days of the patriarch Abraham -- see Genesis 14. The shadowy figure of Melchizedek was understood by the early Christians, as well as by the Dead Sea community at Qumran, as a MESSIANIC FORERUNNER. This can be seen when you compare Hebrews 7 with a fascinating text fragment found in Cave 11 of the Dead Sea Scrolls (11QMelch). This Dead Sea text seems to interpret the figure of Melchizedek in a heavenly, exalted, Messianic sense -- much like the early Christians did.
The future branch of David (the Messiah) is anointed/Messianic in this double sense -- as King and Priest. This is made plain in the New Testament book of Hebrews, where we read --
"If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), WHY was there still need for another priest to come -- one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?" (Hebrews 7:11).
Here the Greek word teleiosis is often rendered "perfection" -- but, in fact, it means "reaching the goal" of being reconciled with YEHOVAH God and able to be forever in His presence as the Messiah is now. In other words, for sinful human beings to reach this goal they must become "perfect" by having their transgressions forgiven by YEHOVAH God. Paul later shows that this can NEVER come about through the Levitical priesthood, but can only come about through THE MESSIAH'S priesthood.
Some might argue that the goal can be reached by adherence to the Scriptures alone; and this is why Paul offers as an argument the possibility of reaching it through the system of priests derived from Levi that, in connection with it, the Jewish people were given the Torah. However, in verse 19, Paul destroys the validity of this argument by pointing out that the Torah itself did not bring anything to the goal. This is the same point as Paul makes when he notes that mere possession of Torah or the legalistic observance of its commandments DOES NOT make a person righteous in YEHOVAH's sight and able to enter His presence. Romans 3:20 points out that "no one will be declared righteous in his [YEHOVAH's] sight by observing the law [alone], rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."
In verse 12 we read:
"For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law."
Continuing in verse 13 --
"He of whom these things are said [the Messiah] belonged to a different tribe [Judah], and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar [as a priest]. For it is clear that our Lord [the Messiah] descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek [the Messiah] appears, one who has BECOME A PRIEST not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared [in Psalm 110:4]:
'You are a priest FOREVER,
in the order of Melchizedek.'
"The former regulation [of priests descended from Aaron] is SET ASIDE because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and A BETTER HOPE [of the Messiah as HIGH PRIEST] is introduced, by which WE DRAW NEAR TO GOD [YEHOVAH, YHVH]."
There is only one place in the New Testament which speaks of a transformation or change in the Torah (Greek nomou metathesis, which the Revised Standard Version renders, "a change in the law"). The Old Testament itself records at least one change in the Torah -- that of the addition of the festival of Purim; and there is a prominent Jewish tradition that speaks of a change in the Torah when the Messiah comes. The logical necessity for such a change or transformation is demonstrated by the passages we have just read in the book of Hebrews. The Scriptural basis for this transformation is found in Psalm 110:4, which states -- "The LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] has sworn and will not relent, 'You are a priest FOREVER according to the order of Melchizedek.'"
The context of Hebrew 7 makes it overwhelmingly clear that NO CHANGE or transformation in the Scriptures is envisioned other than in connection with the PRIESTHOOD and the sacrificial system. Writes David H. Stern --
"The term 'metathesis' implies retention of the basic structure of Torah, with some its elements rearranged ('transformed'); it DOES NOT imply abrogation of either the Torah as a whole or of mitzvot not connected with the priesthood and the sacrificial system."
As the Messiah himself said in Matthew 5:17: "Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah....I have come NOT to abolish but to complete.
A second reason for the "transformation of Torah or the law," as stated in Hebrews 7:12, is that the Levitical priesthood set up by the Old Testament in the form that Moses received it from YEHOVAH God was based on the PHYSICAL DESCENT from Levi's son Gershon in the case of priests in general, and from Gershon's great-grandson Aharon in the case of the high priest. While Numbers 25:3 relates that Aharon's grandson Pinchas was given "the covenant of an everlasting priesthood," the Messiah himself has an everlasting priesthood by virtue of THE POWER OF INDESTRUCTIBLE LIFE. This is suggested in the Midrash by the life of Melchizedek. This, of course, sets aside the need for a system of passing on the priesthood from generation to generation.
"The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest [the Messiah], who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty [YEHOVAH, YHVH] in heaven, and WHO SERVES IN THE SANCTUARY, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth [under the Old Covenant], he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven...But the ministry Jesus has received is SUPERIOR to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it founded on better promises" (Hebrews 8:1-7).
The Messiah's Future Role
There are ten basic texts in the Old Testament Prophets which deal directly and specifically with the future role of the Messiah when he returns to this earth to prepare the way for the return of his Father's Shekinah glory. These texts are highly specific about what the Messiah is to accomplish -- that is, about His messianic task and mission. And I would like to underscore that it is upon these texts -- and these alone -- that we should meditate on and consider deeply before forming our own concepts of the Messiah's messianic role. Let's go through each of these passages carefully to get a full and direct picture of just what the Prophets say.
Without a doubt the most complete picture comes from Isaiah --
(1) "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And His name will be called the WONDER of the Counselor, the JUDGE of the Mighty Everlasting Father -- the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts [YEHOVAH, YHVH] will perform this."
Unfortunately, many Christian translations have erroneously rendered the name of this child, giving the totally misleading impression that the Messiah (Yeshua) is to be called Mighty God and Everlasting Father. This is a complete misunderstanding of the Hebrew use of names -- not to mention the fact that the Messiah is YEHOVAH'S anointed/appointed one. The name of the child is "Pele Jo'etz El Gibbor Avi-Ad Sar-Shalom." Hebrew names quite often celebrate the CHARACTER and ACTIVITY of YEHOVAH God the Father -- see the extended name "Maher-shalal-hash-baz" in Isaiah 8:3. This name celebrates the counsel or Plan of YEHOVAH God in bringing forth the Messiah as the Davidic ruler. To think, as many do, that the child is being called YEHOVAH God, because his name reflects and signifies the unfolding Plan of YEHOVAH God, would be akin to asserting that the prophet Isaiah is God because his name means "YEHOVAH'S Salvation."
In the next passage -- Isaiah 11:1-12 -- we read:
(2) "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch [netzer] shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of YEHOVAH shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord [YEHOVAH]. His delight is in the fear of the Lord [YEHOVAH], and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord [YEHOVAH, YHVH] as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse [the Messiah], who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious....He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
Next, in Isaiah 16:5 --
(3) "In mercy the throne [of David] will be established; and One [the Messiah] will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness."
At this juncture a number of basic points should be emphasized in these vital texts. This judge or ruler is an extraordinary King of the line (seed/branch) of David. He is a dedicated, faithful SERVANT OF YEHOVAH -- quite remarkable in His gifts and powers. His future rule on this earth will be characterized by justice, righteousness and peace. He will prepare the way for His Father by re-gathering the tribes of Israel to Palestine, by crushing the wicked and spreading YEHOVAH's way of life to all the nations. Through his reign (under YEHOVAH) humankind, as well as creation itself, will reach a harmony and fulfillment unknown since the Garden of Eden.
The book of Jeremiah contains a clear passage about the Messiah which is repeated twice for emphasis --
(4 & 5) "Behold the days are coming declares YEHOVAH, when I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch (tzemach) [the Messiah]; and he will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which he will be called "YEHOVAH Tzedekenu" [YEHOVAH is our righteousness]" (Jeremiah 23:5-6; repeated in 33:14-16; compare Isaiah 4:2).
Once again -- as with Isaiah -- we have the same emphasis on restoring Israel to the land and the resulting environment of justice and righteousness which will prevail. Zechariah similarly prophesies about this person called "the Branch":
(6) "I am going to bring in MY SERVANT THE BRANCH (tzemach) [the Messiah]. For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua [high priest]; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it, declares YEHOVAH of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, declares YEHOVAH of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree" (Zechariah 3:8-10).
(7) "Behold, a man whose name is the Branch (tzemach), for he will branch out from where he is; and HE WILL BUILD THE TEMPLE OF YEHOVAH, yes it is he who WILL BUILD THE TEMPLE OF YEHOVAH, and he will bear the honor and sit and rule on his throne. Thus, he will be a priest on his throne and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices [i.e., king and priest]" (Zechariah 6:12-13).
Here we see that the Davidic figure (the Messiah) will rebuild the Temple of His Father in Jerusalem when he returns (Rev. 10) and will function as priest as well as king. As we have already seen the Messiah, as a descendant of Judah through David, cannot serve as a priest in the line of Aaron, who was of the tribe of Levi. Yeshua's priesthood will be based on the lineage of Melchizedek.
This future "Branch" -- though not of Aaron's line -- will serve as a priest much like Melchizedek did in the days of Abraham. The Messiah, the future Branch of David, is anointed/messianic in this double sense -- as King and Priest. In another passage Zechariah presents an additional image of this coming King:
(8) "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King [the Messiah] is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. I [YEHOVAH] will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He [the Messiah] shall speak peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth" (Zechariah 9:9-10).
Here, as in the book of Isaiah, we see that the Messiah combines the traits of humility, peace and loving kindness with those of forcefulness and strict obedience to his Father's law. He will reign triumphantly over his enemies.
Finally, both Micah and Amos speak of this coming Davidic King -- Yeshua the Messiah! Amos talks of the coming restoration of David's throne --
(9) "'On that day [when the Messiah re-gathers Israel to the land] I [YEHOVAH, YHVH] will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,' says the LORD [YEHOVAH] who does this thing" (Amos 9:11-12).
Micah next offers details connecting an exile and a long period of banishment with the culminating return of this Davidic King:
(10) "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me [YEHOVAH, YHVH] the One [the Messiah] to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth, then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He [the Messiah] shall stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of YEHOVAH HIS GOD; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth. And this One [the Messiah] will be our peace" (Micah 5:2-4).
This King (Yeshua the Messiah) comes from the line of David which was broken or interrupted with the last kings of Judah. Notice, as in Isaiah and Jeremiah, the appearance of this Davidic King coincides with the restoration of all the tribes of Israel to the Holy Land -- and subsequent worldwide peace.
What is strikingly consistent about these ten passages from the Prophets is the fact that they clearly refer to the Messiah as the coming Davidic King. The overall portrait they present is astonishingly unified and complete. Taken together we have a composite core -- a singular view of the coming Messiah and what he is to accomplish: He is a mighty SERVANT OF YEHOVAH -- filled with the holy spirit and possessing great gifts and qualities. He combines within himself the triple-anointed functions of Prophet, Priest and King. He is instrumental in re-gathering the lost tribes of all Israel, REBUILDING THE TEMPLE OF YEHOVAH GOD in Jerusalem and putting down all wickedness and opposition to YEHOVAH HIS GOD before His Father (in His Shekinah Glory form) returns to the Temple. He (the Messiah) will usher in an era of everlasting peace, righteousness and justice worldwide.
These are clearly the tasks that must be accomplished by Yeshua the Messiah. This is the ALL-BUT-FORGOTTEN Messianic task and mission which fired the imagination of the early Christians, the followers of John the Baptist and many in the Quran Dead Sea community. These messianists longed for the imminent arrival of the Davidic King (the Messiah) to prepare the way for the return of the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God and the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God -- which will be a direct fulfillment of this unified vision of the Hebrew Prophets.
YEHOVAH the Father Himself will return to Zion in His Shekinah Glory -- acting personally and directly to punish the wicked and rule as King over all nations. This is the day pictured in Revelation 19 and Ezekiel 39 -- that we should be waiting for with increasing expectations and excitement. Let's retrieve YEHOVAH GOD from the dust bin and give Him His rightful place in the scheme of things, as well as the greater praise and adoration that is His due -- not forgetting to stay awake for the earlier return of His Son and Servant Yeshua the Messiah.
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
Hope of Israel Ministries
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