- Kislev Scripture Lesson #4: The Eternal One will Remember all His Promises
- Messiah is both the “Prince of Fire”and “Friend of the King” (the Friend of God)
- God glorified Himself in His Cloud of Fire and His Prince of Fire
- God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth
- The Jewish dual-addressal of Adonai Eloheinu (our God) and His Messiah
- The Messiah Yeshua is the Voice of Adonai Avinu
- God first spoke through His prophets; now He speaks through M’shicho
- Meaning of the second elder’s name, “Friend of the King”
- Father Avraham, the Friend of God our King
- Abstaining from selfishness by practicing Hospitality and Friendship
- Adonai Avinu rebuked our religious leaders for possessing hearts hard as flint
- This Chanukkah let the Spirit of Loving-kindness (Chesed, Grace) rule your heart!
Kislev Scripture Lesson #4: The Eternal One will Remember all His Promises:
ויהי בשנת ארבע לדריוש המלך היה דבר־ה’ אל־זכריה בארבעה לחדש התשעי בכסלו׃
וַֽיְהִי בִּשְׁנַת אַרְבַּע לְדָרְיָוֶשׁ הַמֶּלֶךְ הָיָה דְבַר־ה’ אֶל־זְכַרְיָה בְּאַרְבָּעָה לַחֹדֶשׁ הַתְּשִׁעִי בְּכִסְלֵֽו׃
Zechariah 7:1: “In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of Adonai came to Zecharyah on the fourth day of the ninth month (חודש תשיעי), which is Kislev” (כִסְלֵֽו).
The name of the prophet Zechariah (זְכַרְיָה) means “Adonai Remembers.” In the month of Kislev Adonai remembered His promise to provide Israel (and through Israel the world) with a Savior—-the Messiah.
The Spirit of Wisdom (Ruach Ha-Chokmah) tells us in the beginning of this prophetic narrative that the prophet Zechariah is the son of Berechiah (בֶּן־בֶּ֣רֶכְיָ֔ה) who is the son of Iddo (בֶּן־עִדּ֥). These two personal names reveal to us the origin of the promises of Adonai and when and where these promises are fulfilled (remembered).
The two names of the fathers tell us all that we need know: The name of the first father Iddo (עִדּ֥) means “eternity;” and the name of the second father Berechiah (בֶּ֣רֶכְיָ֔ה) means the “Blessing of Adonai.” This means the Blessing of Adonai originates in eternity and it comes to fruition—is fully remembered and passed on at just the right time—to the elect community (עָדָה) of Israel. Therefore, it is written:
.אבל כאשר מלאה העת שלח אלוהים את בנו, ילוד אשה וכפוף לתורה
Truly at the fullness of time, God sent His Son, born of a woman and subject to Torah.
In Zechariah 1:2-4 we discover in the context of the Kislev passage a repeated double witness not only to time (the number of the month and the name of the month) but also a double witness of the two elders who have come from the “House of the Almighty” (בֵּֽית־אֵ֔ל-Bethel) to go up to the priests in Jerusalem (the “Foundation of Peace”), to obtain knowledge that will gain them favor with Adonai. Please note that in the witness of the two meanings of the given names of the two elders from Bethel it is revealed:
Messiah is both the “Prince of Fire”and “Friend of the King” (the Friend of God).
The names of the two elders referenced in Zechariah (1:2-4) bear witness to the Messiah who is both: the “Prince of Fire” (שַׂר־אֶ֕צֶר ,שַׁרְאֶצֶר-Assyrian); and a “Friend of the King” (רֶ֥גֶם מֶ֖לֶךְ-Arabic). Therefore most importantly: since God is our King we are to become a Friend of God (ידיד אלוהים)-Hebrew) This three-fold witness to a specific time, person, and place is important. Bethel (בֵּֽית־אֵ֔ל), the place of origin of the Prince of Fire and Friend of the King, is a reminder of our previous study of the “Staircase of Ya’acov” (סֻלָּם יַעֲקֹב).
Question: What is the house that God most desires to dwell-in?
Answer: God desires to dwell in the house of Man.
We see in the place name of Bethel (Beit-El) a word picture of both the man (בֵּֽית־אֵ֑ל-man-the house of God) and of El-Bethel (EL-Beit-El), the God who Indwells the house (הָאֵל֙ בֵּֽית־אֵ֔ל-God-of the house of God). The names of the two elders are a witness of the Messiah of Adonai. The Messiah has made it possible for the Spirit of the Holy One to tent, be cloaked in human form, and dwell among us. Therefore, in the testimony of the last Adam (Ha-Elohim), who always hears, understands, and obeys Adonai our Father, there dwells in our Jewish brother all of the Presence of the Holy One; whose glorious Presence is an—-All-Consuming Fire (אֵשׁ אוֹכְלָה) to us.
God glorified Himself in His Cloud of Fire and His Prince of Fire:
This was not the first time that Adonai had manifested His glorious Presence in a visible form.
At the first Adonai glorified Himself in the Cloud of Fire. Yet again, a second time, Adonai now has glorified Himself by Indwelling His Beloved Son and our Jewish brother, the Messiah. The Messiah, therefore, is the ‘Prince of Fire.’ Ironically, the transliterated Assyrian word for “fire” sounds exactly like our Hebrew word for treasure (אֶ֕צֶר). This means:
The Presence of Adonai that we love and treasure resides within the tent of the humanity of His Messiah.
For these reasons we honor the Messiah above all men and above all creation, however, we only worship our Father Adonai who Indwells Him. As Jews we are are incapable of worshiping a man (any man). The Messiah has clearly and emphatically stated that God is Spirit:
האלוהים הוא רוח והעובדים אותו צריכים לעבדו ברוח ובאמת.פ
הָאֱלֹהִים הוּא רוּחַ וְהָעוֹבְדִים אוֹתוֹ צְרִיכִים לְעָבְדוֹ בְּרוּחַ וּבֶאֱמֶת.פ
God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
God is Spirit and not a man. The Messiah who is a man is not God. The Divine Spirit, however, Who Indwells our brother, the Messiah—He is God and it is He who we do worship. Unlike the gentiles who as yet do not see the difference. We see the difference. The believing gentiles are confused because they see only the unity (echad) but not the difference. Thereby they ignorantly worship the man as being equal to the Presence of God that Indwells him. This we cannot do. As Jews we know the difference.
Messiah repeatedly taught His Jewish disciples to know the difference between himself and the Spirit of Adonai Avinu Who Indwells him.
In the first century when the Messiah walked the earth Adonai Avinu taught His sons (our brothers who were called to become talmadin of the Messiah) to differentiate between Himself (God) and His House (the Messiah). When one of the talmid Thomas (תֺּאמָא-i.e. Twin, תְאוֹם) realized he was in the presence of the perfect (sinless) unity the Messiah and Adonai our Father His addressal was like that of King David, he addressed the Messiah as “my Lord” and then He addressed the Holy One as “My God” (the latter being the LORD of my Lord):
My Lord and My God!
The Jewish dual-addressal of Adonai Eloheinu (our God) and His Messiah:
This Jewish dual-addressal that addresses the presence of the man as lord and worships the Indwelling Presence of Adonai as God is just like David’s prophetic addressal of the Messiah and Adonai Eloheinu in Psalm 110:1; except David’s addressal of the Messiah and Adonai is delivered in the opposite order of Thomas’ addressal.
With the Prophet-King David the first addressal is made to Adonai who is the God of the House (ELOHIM-Bethel) and the second addressal is to the Messiah, the man who is our Lord (Bethel, the house of God). We read in Psalm 110:
לְדָוִד מִזְמֹור נְאֻם ה’ לַֽאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִֽימִינִי עַד־אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶֽיךָ׃
A Psalm of David.
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
Why does the Talmid Thomas (the “Twin”) address the Messiah and Adonai Eloheinu in a different order than does the Prophet-King David?
In the declaration of the talmid Thomas he addresses the Messiah first, then He addresses Adonai Eloheinu second. This order of addressal is due to Thomas knowing that in this fullness of time it is the will of the Father that he first believe in the Son (the redemptive sacrifice that cleanses us from sin), and then, only after he had affirmed his faith in the sacrifice of the Messiah and by faith been cleansed of his sin, would it be proper for him to ‘directly’ address the Indwelling Presence of the Holy One that resides within (the *body of) His Messiah.
*הן במשיח, בגופו, שוכן כל מלוא האלהות – In Messiah, in his body, lies the fullness of the Deity.
The Messiah Yeshua is the Voice of Adonai Avinu:
It is also very important to point out that Rabbeinu Yeshua, our Redeemer, never claimed to be God. He never came to our Jewish ancestors in His own name. He came to us solely in the Name and the will of Avinu Shebashamayim. For He is what He says He is—-the humble Servant of the Holy One.
What is initially very confusing to all of us, however, is that when Adonai Avinu is speaking to us through (the tent of) His Beloved Son, who is His Voice (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), He does not speak through him to us in the third person; as He always has done when He has spoken through His servants the prophets. Rather, Adonai our Father always communicates with us through His Messiah (M’shicho) in the ‘first’ person—-‘I say to you‘.
God first spoke through His prophets; now He speaks through M’shicho:
Therefore, in times past the Spirit of the Holy One spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, in part, in the third person. However, now ever since the coming of M’shicho (His Messiah) Adonai speaks to us Face-to face (through him). Understandably, this has caused our wayward religious leaders to wrongfully believe that Rabbeinu Yeshua was a blasphemer. Although, we Jews are beginning to see that this very false belief is very wrong and so it is beginning to be corrected.
As to the gentile believers, this first person prophecy has also caused them problems too. Except they are confused in a different way. They are confused by the unity (echad) that exists between our brother Yeshua and God our Father (Adonai Avinu). The perfect unity of the Father to our Messiah is such that most of the gentile believers have come to believe that the Messiah is God. Apparently, these persons who also believe in and love Adonai are forgiven for their transgression.
Meaning of the second elder’s name, “Friend of the King:”
Our understanding is that our Father in heaven has winked at their (gentile) sin of unknowing transgression for He knows (sees) that in their hearts these God fearers actually are sincerely worshiping Him (Adonai Eloheinu) and not the Son (note to the readers: more to follow on this later). Next question:
What is the meaning of the second elder’s name, the “Friend of the King?”
Throughout the entirety of our Hebrew scriptures it appears that Adonai Eloheinu is seeking from us (Israel, and the Commonwealth of Israel; redeemed humanity) nothing more or less than a permanent state of friendship.
Father Avraham, the Friend of God our King:
Almost four thousand years have gone by since our father Avraham was blessed to be called a Friend of God (ידיד אלוהים). Is it any surprise to any of us today that nothing has changed? For the truth is Adonai wants to be a Friend to us just as He has been (and continues to be) to our father Abraham. Therefore, Elohei Avraham has clearly said to us through His Holy Servant, the Messiah (ben Avraham):
לָכֵן הֱיוּ שְׁלֵמִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם שָׁלֵם הוּא.פ
Be a peace offering (shelamim) so you may be (shalem) like your Father; Who is a complete and perfect friend in every way.
Abstaining from selfishness by practicing Hospitality and Friendship:
Of these two elders whose names testify to the wondrous unity (echad) of our sinless Messiah, a perfect man, a friend to all just as our God who is both perfectly hospitable and friendly in every way—-we must ask what do these two elders mean by their asking the priests of Jerusalem the question, “at what times should we practice fasting?” And why was Adonai’s answer “no”?
The answer to both of these questions is found in the rejection response that was delivered to the two by the prophet Zechariah. The God of the Beginning (Elohei Kedem) replied that for seventy years His (our) people had been substituting the practice of fasting for the moral and relational virtue He had required:
The fast Adonai Avinu wanted was for His family Israel to abstain from selfishness.
The Holy One wants our people to practice kindness and compassion (genuine friendship) toward one another. Additionally, He wants our people to practice charity toward the widows, the fatherless, the poor, and the aliens who live in His most sacred land of Israel. Adonai therefore was rebuking our ancestors and us (their wayward descendants) for abusing (instead of helping) the economically disadvantaged. The Holy One was very disappointed and angry with our ancestors. He accused them of being zealous to act religiously—exercising ritualistic prayer and fasting—while secretly being guilty of exploiting the poor and aliens living in ‘His Land:’
Adonai Avinu rebuked our religious leaders for possessing hearts as hard as flint:
This lack of compliance to Adonai’s will has severely angered Him in the past. Our lack of friendly behavior to one another has always been considered an act of aggression and hostility to the Holy One. So His righteous answer in Jerusalem to the two leaders from Bethel was that because they had disregarded His former and present requests for relational excellence and charity, He would disregard their (our) request for safety and material blessings.
Therefore, the land of Israel would remain desolate for as long as our people continued to perform the deceit of zealously performing religious acts while failing to practice the more important acts of kindness toward one another and compassion toward the poor and disadvantaged living in our land.
This Chanukkah let the Spirit of Loving-kindness (Chesed, Grace) rule your heart!
Need anymore be said right now about the Spirit of Grace that should rule over our lives during the observance of Chanukkah and throughout the entire year? The answer is “yes, more must be said of Grace.” For although we have been faithless He must remain faithful for He will not deny Himself the joy of loving His treasured people (Israel) that He has set apart as His own possession. Therefore, hear the D’var HaShem (Zechariah 8:14-23):
כי כה אמר ה’ צבאות כאשר זממתי להרע לכם בהקציף אבתיכם אתי אמר ה’ צבאות ולא נחמתי׃ כן שבתי זממתי בימים האלה להיטיב את־ירושלם ואת־בית יהודה אל־תיראו׃ אלה הדברים אשר תעשו דברו אמת איש את־רעהו אמת ומשפט שלום שפטו בשעריכם׃ ואיש את־רעת רעהו אל־תחשבו בלבבכם ושבעת שקר אל־תאהבו כי את־כל־אלה אשר שנאתי נאם־ה’׃
כִּי כֹה אָמַר ה’ צְבָאֹות כַּאֲשֶׁר זָמַמְתִּי לְהָרַע לָכֶם בְּהַקְצִיף אֲבֹֽתֵיכֶם אֹתִי אָמַר ה’ צְבָאֹות וְלֹא נִחָֽמְתִּי׃ כֵּן שַׁבְתִּי זָמַמְתִּי בַּיָּמִים הָאֵלֶּה לְהֵיטִיב אֶת־יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְאֶת־בֵּית יְהוּדָה אַל־תִּירָֽאוּ׃ אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר תַּֽעֲשׂוּ דַּבְּרוּ אֱמֶת אִישׁ אֶת־רֵעֵהוּ אֱמֶת וּמִשְׁפַּט שָׁלֹום שִׁפְטוּ בְּשַׁעֲרֵיכֶֽם׃ וְאִישׁ אֶת־רָעַת רֵעֵהוּ אַֽל־תַּחְשְׁבוּ בִּלְבַבְכֶם וּשְׁבֻעַת שֶׁקֶר אַֽל־תֶּאֱהָבוּ כִּי אֶת־כָּל־אֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר שָׂנֵאתִי נְאֻם־ה’׃
For thus says Adonai Tseva’ot, “Just as I purposed to do harm to you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,” says the Adonai Tseva’ot, “and I have not relented, so I have again purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear! These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates (the place where court is held). Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury (false oath); for all these are what I hate,’ declares Adonai.”
ויהי דבר־ה’ צבאות אלי לאמר׃ כה־אמר ה’ צבאות צום הרביעי וצום החמישי וצום השביעי וצום העשירי יהיה לבית־יהודה לששון ולשמחה ולמעדים טובים והאמת והשלום אהבו׃
וַיְהִי דְּבַר־ה’ צְבָאֹות אֵלַי לֵאמֹֽר׃ כֹּֽה־אָמַר ה’ צְבָאֹות צֹום הָרְבִיעִי וְצֹום הַחֲמִישִׁי וְצֹום הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְצֹום הָעֲשִׂירִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵית־יְהוּדָה לְשָׂשֹׂון וּלְשִׂמְחָה וּֽלְמֹעֲדִים טֹובִים וְהָאֱמֶת וְהַשָּׁלֹום אֱהָֽבוּ׃
Then the word of the Adonai Tseva’ot came to me, saying, Thus says Adonai Tseva’ot, “The fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth months will become joy, gladness, and goodly (cheerful) feasts for the house of Judah; so love truth (הָאֱמֶת-relational firmness, faithfulness, and reliability) and peace (הַשָּׁלֹום-societal safety, quiet, tranquility, well-being).
This prophecy means we (the people of Israel) are to help each other become complete persons. We are called by our heavenly Father to practice shelamim and strive to be shalem, like Avinu Shebashamayim is Shalem. In the name of Adonai Avinu we are expected to practice hospitality with each other and to all; therefore, we must seek friendly relations with everyone—even our enemies.
כה אמר ה’ צבאות עד אשר יבאו עמים וישבי ערים רבות׃ והלכו ישבי אחת אל־אחת לאמר נלכה הלוך לחלות את־פני ה’ ולבקש את־ה’ צבאות אלכה גם־אני׃ ובאו עמים רבים וגוים עצומים לבקש את־ה’ צבאות בירושלם ולחלות את־פני ה’׃ כה אמר ה’ צבאות בימים ההמה אשר יחזיקו עשרה אנשים מכל לשנות הגוים והחזיקו בכנף איש יהודי לאמר נלכה עמכם כי שמענו אלוהים עמכם׃
כֹּה אָמַר ה’ צְבָאֹות עֹד אֲשֶׁר יָבֹאוּ עַמִּים וְיֹשְׁבֵי עָרִים רַבֹּֽות׃ וְֽהָלְכוּ יֹשְׁבֵי אַחַת אֶל־אַחַת לֵאמֹר נֵלְכָה הָלֹוךְ לְחַלֹּות אֶת־פְּנֵי ה’ וּלְבַקֵּשׁ אֶת־ה’ צְבָאֹות אֵלְכָה גַּם־אָֽנִי׃ וּבָאוּ עַמִּים רַבִּים וְגֹויִם עֲצוּמִים לְבַקֵּשׁ אֶת־ה’ צְבָאֹות בִּירוּשָׁלִָם וּלְחַלֹּות אֶת־פְּנֵי ה’׃ כֹּה אָמַר ה’ צְבָאֹות בַּיָּמִים הָהֵמָּה אֲשֶׁר יַחֲזִיקוּ עֲשָׂרָה אֲנָשִׁים מִכֹּל לְשֹׁנֹות הַגֹּויִם וְֽהֶחֱזִיקוּ בִּכְנַף אִישׁ יְהוּדִי לֵאמֹר נֵֽלְכָה עִמָּכֶם כִּי שָׁמַעְנוּ אֱלֹהִים עִמָּכֶֽם׃
Thus says Adonai Tseva’ot, “It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of Adonai, and to seek Adonai Tseva’ot; I will also go.” So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek Adonai Tseva’ot in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of Adonai.” Thus says Adonai Tseva’ot, “In those days ten men (מניין-minyan, a worship quorum) from all the languages of the nations they will grasp the corner of the garment of a Yehudi (one Jew), saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God (אֱלֹהִים) is with you.”’