Parable #29. Cost of Discipleship:
- Today is Day #29
- The Twenty-ninth Mashal of Messiah
- Messiah’s follow-up remarks to the Mashal
- Building a Tower – 15 Observations
- Salt and Life in the Spirit – 17 Insights
- Follow the Messiah – 12 Reasons
- Salt in the Tanakh – 49 Points
Today is Day #29:
1. Today is “Day #29″ in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot (פסח שני).
2. Today is Twenty-nine days in the Omer.
Today is twenty-nine days which are four weeks and one day in the Omer.
היום תשעה ועשרים יום, שהם ארבעה שבועות ויום אחד בעומר. פ
Haiyom tish’ah v’esrim yom, shehaym arba’ah shavuot v’yom echad ba’omer.
“You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty day.” (Leviticus). “You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu’ot for Adonai Eloheinu.” (Deuteronomy).
“Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.”
ברוך אתה, אדוני אלוהינו, מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציוונו על ספירת העומר.פ
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha’omer.
The Twenty-ninth Mashal of Messiah:
כִּי מִי מִכֶּם הֶחָפֵץ לִבְנוֹת מִגְדָּל לֹא יֵשֵׁב רִאשׁוֹנָה וִיחַשֵּׁב אֶת־הַהוֹצָאוֹת אִם־הַשֵׂג תַּשִׂיג יָדוֹ לְהַשְׁלִימוֹ׃ פֶּן־יְיַסֵּד וְלֹא־יוּכַל לְכַלּתוֹ וְהָיָה כָּל־רֹאָיו יָקוּמוּ וְלָעֲגוּ־לוֹ לֵאמֹר׃ הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה הֵחֵל לִבְנוֹת וְלֹא יָכֹל לְכַלּוֹת׃
מי מכם, החפץ לבנות מגדל, לא ישב תחלה ויחשב את ההוצאות, לברר אם יש לאל ידו להשלים אותו? שהרי אם אחרי שהניח יסוד לא יוכל לסים, כל רואיו יתחילו ללעג לו ויאמרו: האיש הזה התחיל לבנות ולא היה יכול לגמר! פ
[Lukas 14:28] “For which one of you who desires to build a tower would not first sit down and calculate the expenses and whether his hand truly holds enough to pay for it? If not, the foundation may be laid, but he will not be able to finish it. All who see it will rise up and ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build but was not able to finish.'”
אוֹ מִי־הוּא הַמֶּלֶךְ הַקָּם לְהִתְגָּרוֹת מִלְחָמָה בְּמֶלֶךְ אַחֵר וְלֹא יֵשֵׁב בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה וְיִתְיָעֵץ אִם־יוּכַל לַעֲרֹךְ בַּעֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים לִקְרַאת הַבָּא עָלָיו בְּעֶשְׂרִים אָלֶף׃ וְאִם־לֹא יוּכַל וְשָׁלַח אֵלָיו מַלְאָכִים בְּעוֹדֶנּוּ מֵרָחוֹק לְבַקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם׃
או איזה מלך, היוצא לערך מלחמה נגד מלך אחר, לא ישב תחלה וישקל אם יש ביכלתו לצאת בעשרת אלפים לקראת הבא עליו בעשרים אלף? אם לא יוכל, ישלח אליו משלחת בעודנו רחוק וישאל לתנאי שלום. פ
[Lukas 14:31]”Or who is the king who rises to venture into battle with another king, but does not first sit down and take counsel as to whether he is able to deploy ten thousand to meet the twenty thousand who are coming against him? If he is not able, he will send messengers to him to seek shalom while he is still at a distance.”
וְכֵן כָּל־אִישׁ מִכֶּם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יַעֲזֹב כָּל־קִנְיָנָיו לֹא יוּכַל לִהְיוֹת תַּלְמִידִי׃
לפיכך כל איש מכם שאיננו מותר על כל רכושו אינו יכול להיות תלמידי. פ
[Lucas 14:33] “Likewise, every one of you who does not abandon all his possessions is not able to be my talmid (תַּלְמִיד-disciple, follower, student).”
*Nimshal: the moral application of the mashal.
Messiah’s follow-up remarks to the Mashal:
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
“So then, none of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Building a Tower – 15 Observations:
Observation #1. The very first mention of migdal (מִגְדָּל-tower) in the Torah is found in Genesis 11:4: “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower (מִגְדָּל), whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
Observation #3. Towers are mentioned throughout the Tanakh:
A. The Tower of Babel;
B. The Tower of Edar;
C. The Tower of Penuel;
D. The Tower of Shechem
E. The Tower of Thebez;
F. The Tower of One Hundred;
G. The Tower of the Grace of the Almighty;
H. The Tower of the Furnaces;
I. The Great Tower;
J. The Tower of Jezreel; and
K. *The Tower of Wood
*The Tower of Wood was constructed for the purpose of Ezra reciting all of the Torah from a wooden migdal for all the people to hear on Sukkot (הקהל-Hakhel, cf. Duteronomy 31:12, “assembly of the people”).
Observation #4. We are told to “walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof” (Psalm 48).
This commandment to study the towers indicates to us that when we are meditating on the many great spiritual truths that are connected with Jerusalem, we should be certain not to neglect the study of the wonderful mysteries and deep truths that are associated with the ancient Towers of Jerusalem.
Observation #5. The central meaning of the Towers of Zion is that they are all symbolic of the protection that Adonai our God provides His people (מִגְדּ֖וֹל יְשׁוּע֣וֹת-a Tower of Deliverance; מגדול ישועות-literally a Great Salvation). In Proverbs 18:10 we learn that the Name of Adonai (HaShem) is a Strong Tower:
מגדל־עז שם ה’ בו־ירוץ צדיק ונשגב׃
מִגְדַּל־עֹז שֵׁם ה’ בֹּֽו־יָרוּץ צַדִּיק וְנִשְׂגָּֽב׃
“The name of Adonai is a Strong Tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe (literally to be safely set on high).“
Observation #6. There are five spiritual Towers of Zion alluded to in the Tanakh that are especially important for us to understand. When the righteous run into the spiritual meanings of these five towers and exercise faith in the Holy One we are “safe.” The names of these five towers are:
A. Migdal HaMe’ah The Tower of the One Hundred (מגדל המאה);
B. Migdal HaChanan’El The Tower of the Grace of God (מגדל החננאל);
C. Migdal HaTannurim The Tower of the Furnaces (מגדל התנורים);
D. Migdal HaGadowl The Great Tower (המגדל הגדול);
E. Migdal ‘Ets Tower of Wood (מגדל עץ).
What is the truth that the Spirit of the Holy One is revealing to us in our study of these very special Five Towers of Jerusalem?
Observation #7. The Tower of the 100 reminds us that when father Jacob first returned to the land of Israel he purchased a parcel of land in the ancient City of Shalem. This parcel was located in the territory of Shechem that was located at the foot of the two mountains of Mount Gerazim (the Mount of Blessings) and Mount Ebal (the Mount of Curses). This land was purchased by Jacob for one hundred pieces of silver called a “kesitah.”
The kesitah is an ancient form of silver coinage that was stamped with the likeness of a Lamb. This silver coin represents the purchase (redemptive) price of the flock of a hundred sheep. This figure is symbolic of the complete flock of father Jacob’s descendants and the land we are assigned to live in (the land of Israel). What follows is seven explanations about this truth that:
The Flock of Israel is represented in the Tower of One Hundred:
First, since this symbolic act of Jacob’s redemption of the land and people of Israel has been depicted as a single flock of one hundred sheep the Messiah in His teaching more than once represented our people of Israel around this figure of one hundred.
Second, the payoff for the redemption of the flock of one hundred (Israel) and the City of Shalem, the ancient plot of land that was located adjacent to Shechem (modern Nablus), was in “silver.” In the Torah silver is the metal of “redemption.” The foundation of the Tabernacle was one of redemption, silver, paid for by the redemption of the soul offerings (later temple tax of one half-shekel).
Third, the purchase of the land of the City of Shalem (fifty miles north of Jerusalem) is symbolic of the redemption of the land and people of Israel by El-Elohe-Israel.
Fourth, this reference to the redemption of Israel by El-Elohe-Israel is related to the time when father Jacob was given his new name of “Israel.” The original historical promise of the redemption of the Land and People of Israel was first given by Adonai Eloheinu to father Abraham.
Fifth, therefore, the actual redemption (of the land and people) that is spiritually depicted in Jacob’s prophetic role-play actions should be seen as credited to father Abraham, the Friend of God who the promises were first made to and who “believed” in these promises. It was this faith of father Abraham, therefore, that actually brought to reality the fulfillment of the actual redemption through his Seed—the Messiah ben Jacob-Israel is the HaGo’el-the Redeemer (Lamb) in view here.
Sixth, this sacred location of the City of Shalem is the first place where our father Abraham camped when he originally arrived in the promised land of Canaan (Genesis 12:6). The site was marked by an “Oak Tree at Moreh.” The site of the ancient City of Shalem where the leaders of tour Twelve tribes rest (awaiti resurrection). This site is marked by the Oak Tree at Moreh.
The site was marked by an Oak Tree at Moreh.
Seventh, in the Torah there is an entire grove of oak trees in the Valley of Moreh that represent our individual and collective identification with and dependence upon the Messiah and his sacrifice for us. This prophetically speaks of the redemptive ministry that the Messiah, the Lamb of Adonai our God – who takes away the sin of the world, accomplished when he sacrificed his life as an atonement for our sin on the accursed Oak Tree (Migdal ‘Ets). The Sign of this Oak Tree is configured in the shape of the final letter in our Hebrew twenty-two letter alphabet—-the letter Tav.
The letter Tav is a picture of a two party transaction whereby “two sticks” intersect (come together). The principal transaction that is being conveyed here – in the Hebrew letter Tav (ancient pictograph) – is God’s “covenant,” “redemption,” “purchase,” and “ownership” of His land of Israel and His people of Israel.
M’shico (His/God’s Messiah) purchased our redemption and reconciliation through the voluntary sacrifice of his life.
The Messiah purchased our peace with God (Shalem) through his blood (the sacrifice of his life). Redemption comes through the shedding of the blood of the Messiah. The blood represents essentially the sacrifice of all of the life of the Messiah; spiritual (spirit) as well as physical (body). Therefore, this once-in-eternity redemptive sacrifice of the Messiah includes the sacrifice to God of all of his body, soul, mind and spirit (cf. Leviticus 17:11):
“For the life (literally soul, nefesh) of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life (lit. nefesh) that makes atonement.”
The sacrifice of the life of the Messiah was foreshadowed in the testimony of father Abraham’s first sacrifice that he made upon entering the Promised Land next to the Oak Tree at Moreh. “Moreh” (מורה) means “Teacher.”
The word picture here is one of the Divine “Teacher” (the Spirit of the Holy One) who casts His teaching (meaning) of His Torah through His Shekinah Glory Cloud upon us ( Israel) just like His heavens cast (root of moreh יָרָה-yarah, לִירוֹת-to throw) their life-giving waters upon us; that the thirst of our parched, dry souls might be filled to the full with His Life:
Like the rains that descend from heaven causing life to spring up everywhere,
The teaching of the Rabbi of Heaven causes life to spring up everywhere.
The teaching of the D’var HaShem is built on the foundation of the Divinely inspired Hebrew alphabet. Each letter in our ancient twenty-two letter system is a word picture. The literal Hebrew word picture of our word Torah is:
The casting of arrows of rain (yarah, teaching) from: the Person who is Nailed to the Sign of the Tav.
Observation #8. The Tower of the Grace of El (God) testifies to the truth that without the Grace (chesed, chen) of Adonai that includes the redemptive works of Messiah and the preserving, healing, purifying, righteous works of the Spirit of Grace and Truth foreshadowed in the Covenant of Salt – Israel will never be saved, delivered from sin, made perfect; therefore, able to fulfill the spiritual purpose of the Law (of Moses).
[Seven points follow:] First, the Law of Moses was given to our nation of Israel to show us and all humanity that we cannot please the Holy One by our own works. We don’t possess the means to achieve moral perfection through our own efforts. We need a Savior (the Messiah; lit. Anointed One) and we need an eternal Helper—-the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One.
Second, the Spirit of the Holy One is “omnipresent” and, therefore, He can simultaneously dwell in heaven and in the hearts of every Jewish man, woman, and child. Adonai our Father and our God is not limited by space-time. However, Adonai Eloheinu can not indwell us with His Spirit until we have been cleansed of our sin. For no one other than the Messiah has ever perfectly obeyed all of the commandments of God. So we the nation and people of Israel are in need of a Savior., Deliverer. Only a sinless Jewish Messiah can be our Savior. Our nation and people of Israel, therefore, cannot be the Messiah:
For when has our nation or our people (Israel) ever been without sin?
Never. Only a sinless nation could die (offer a blameless sacrifice) to redeem the sins of our people of Israel (and of the world). Israel as a nation cannot redeem its own people because our nation is stained with sin. The Sinless One is not the Nation-Messiah of Israel but the Individual Messiah of Rabbeinu Yeshua.
The Individual-Servant is the one who must save Israel and our people (cf. chapter 68). The Messiah came first as the lowly, forsaken, and rejected Suffering Messiah ben Yosef to redeem our land and our people of Israel. Our Messiah will return a second time in irresistible power and great glory (we believe in this 21st century). Except this time he will not return as the lowly Suffering Messiah ben Yosef.
This time the Messiah will triumphantly return to us from heaven as our Conquering Messiah ben David.
Third, in the time of Messiah’s first appearance in Israel, in order to demonstrate that our Jewish religious and political leaders had not followed the Law perfectly (as only the Messiah has), the Messiah called upon them to sell all their possessions and give them to the poor. This is called the *Test of Riches.
*In the Test of Riches Adonai (the LORD) entrusts some of His wealth to a person then He waits to see what the person will do with the wealth; whether he (or she) will be a wise steward of God’s wealth and help others; or whether they will be self-centered and die in the sin of violating His trust in them. The test is:
Will we give to the service of others what our heavenly Father has so graciously entrusted to us?
If the answer is “Yes,” then we are Rich in Adonai our Father and our God and He will bless us for voluntarily being trustworthy and faithful. If we are faithful in using a small portion of His resources then He will trust us with more of His (unlimited) resources.
Fourth, therefore, the wealthy, powerful, elite religious-political-business leaders and their priestly counterparts who lived in the time of Messiah’s first visitation responded very poorly to our Father in heaven’s Test of Riches. The Messiah attempted to correct these greedy, wicked leaders (rulers) but their reaction to his attempting to help them was that they hated him and sought to kill him at the first opportunity.
Fifth, Messiah demonstrated by his own humble Torah-lifestyle that they, the false shepherds, did not truly love the flock of Israel. Unlike the True Shepherd of Israel these false shepherds did not love their fellow countrymen. The Messiah alone was perfectly Rich in Adonai. The Messiah alone was capable and willing to sacrifice his own *immortal perfect moral (blessed) life so that we who are not immortal or perfect might one day be perfected and live forever with God and His Messiah.
*When one is without sin (any sin) God has promised that such a one “will never die.” Only those of us who have sinned “will die.” Therefore, the sinless Messiah had to in (holy) love voluntarily lay down his immortal life for us; so that we might receive (in him) the eternal life that is due to him.
Sixth, the Messiah came into Israel so that he might live perfectly (without any sin) under the written Law and therefore, fulfill all of the Law. Only the perfect love of the Messiah fulfills all of Adonai our God’s Brit HaAhavah (ברית האהבה-Covenant of Love) and His Test of Riches.
Seventh, the Messiah gave His life as a redemptive act of love on behalf of both his own Jewish people (Israel) and the Gentiles (Commonwealth of Israel). Our Messiah is the true (real) Tzaddik sent to us by God. He is the Righteous One who was promised to us by Moses.
Abba (Father) Avinu (our Father) has sent to us a moral and spiritual champion who possesses the means to tear down the present rule of the evil one and permanently replace it with the Israel Rule of God that is called the—-kingdom of Adonai (the LORD) our Father and our God.
Observation #9. The Tower of the Furnaces was situated near the ovens in the Jerusalem bread baker’s district. However, for a short while during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the ovens were converted for use to make bricks to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. [Four points follow:]
First, the Tower of the Furnaces of ovens, therefore, enjoyed a dual usage. In a time of deficient defensive capability the ovens were instruments for building up Israel’s defenses. In a time of adequate defensive capability the ovens were used to make bread. In this dual way the Tower of the Furnaces reminds us that historically Israel has been and will continue to be flexible in its national priorities. Sometimes the economy of Israel has to be defense driven. In this case the production of the fired bricks used to repair the walls represent more than a strong defense of Jerusalem, the strong defense also is a symbol of the national sovereignty of Israel.
A city-nation “without walls” is representative of a subjugated government that is not sovereign.
Second, in ancient days a city “without walls” was a city without sovereignty. Only vassal city-states were disallowed from being protected by fortified walls. These subjugated, wall-less, defenseless cities were completely dependent on the foreign nation and king that had subjugated them to support their prosperity and defense. As long as these subjugated nations and their cities paid enough tribute to their foreign overlord king and that king’s army remained superior to all the other foreign armies, then the vassal city-state/nation remained safe; that is safe to remain subjugated to the foreign king and his occupying army.
A city-nation with walls indicates that the government “within the walls” is sovereign, independent, and self-governing.
Third, therefore, cities without walls had no sovereignty and were subjugated vassal states. Cities with walls were sovereign and independent. The symbolism of Israel building the walls of Jerusalem was a sign to all the surrounding peoples and governments that the people of Israel were back in the land, not as a subjugated enemy of Persia but as an ally that enjoyed a high degree of governmental and religious freedom; who possessed adequate fortifications and weaponry to defend their people and their property.
A wall-less Jerusalem is not a biblical sign of peace but of “subjugation” and a loss of our (Israel’s) national sovereignty.
Fourth, we have noticed over the years that there are many scholars who think a wall-less Jerusalem is a positive scriptural sign of peace, nothing could be farther from the truth, it is a sign of “subjugation” and a loss of national “sovereignty.” This means a Jerusalem without walls is a symbol of Divine judgment and not favor. Walls are an eternal sign of: Peace through Superior Strength! Even the heavenly city, the Jerusalem from above, is described as having eternal walls.
Walls are a good thing: it is the walls that keep the evil outside and the good inside.
Observation #10. The Great Tower (The Spring Tower). The archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron labeled the Great Tower the Spring Tower (1, 2). To be exact, it should probably be called “the great tower that lies out” as recorded in the scroll of Ezra and Nehemiah.
In 1997 Reich and Shukron discovered a mammoth Canaanite tower over the Gihon Spring.
This Tower (built over the Gihon Spring) was made out of huge blocks of masonry, some nearly 6 feet long, 3 feet high, 3 feet deep, and weighing 4 to 5 tons. The ancient Tower measured 45′ x 55′ and had walls that were over 12 feet thick. The Great-Spring Tower is mentioned in the rebuilding project of Ezra and Nehemiah as they describe the rebuilding of Hezekiah’s mid-slope wall following their return to Jerusalem from the Persian Empire.
After a seventy year period of captivity about fifty thousand Yehudim, out of two million, chose to return home and rebuild Israel.
This remnant of fifty thousand people was less than three percent of the total population; the rest of Israel chose to remain in Persia. [Three points:]
First, the first mention of the tower says: “Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the Tower that lies out.” Notice the spiritual connection of the Water Gate (gates speak of governance):
The Water Gate speaks of our governance of the heavenly life-giving waters (teaching) that our heavenly Father has poured out upon us.
The Water Gate of Avinu Shebashamayim is of great importance for it speaks of the administration of grace that the works of His Spirit of Grace (רוּחַ הַחֶסֶד-Ruach HaChesed) administers to redeemed humanity. This gate was incorporated into the mid-slope wall above the Gihon Spring. The second mention of the Spring Tower is: “After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lies out, even unto the wall of Ophel.” In this passage the word “the great” (הַגָּדוֹל֙) is added to the word “the tower” (הַמִּגְדָּ֤ל) and this is how we are given the exact and complete title of the tower, The Great Tower that Springs Out; therefore:
This special Great Tower is a covering and protection for the Jerusalem’s entire water supply.
When you think about this Great Tower keep in mind that the Divine works of the life of the Spirit of the Holy One, His works of grace, are described as the life-giving waters (the rain) that freely falls from the heavens above to replenish the earth here below.
Second, the prophet Moses instructed the children of Israel to gather for a reading of the Law (Torah) during Sukkot every seventh year (Deuteronomy 31:10-11). The teachings of the spiritual meanings of the spring water supply of Jerusalem are very much an integral part of the celebration of Sukkot (cf. “Messiah in Sukkot.”). Accordingly, it was on Sukkot and at the site of this very Water Gate and Spring Tower that the Law, as instructed by Moses, was read by Ezra to the remnant of Israel who had returned to rebuild Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 8:5-6 we read:
“And Ezra opened the Book (the Torah) in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people [notice the elevation he was ‘above’ everybody] and when he opened it (the five books of the Torah), all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed Adonai Eloheinu. And all the people answered, ‘Amen Amen!’ while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped Adonai with their faces to the ground.”
Third, before the Water Gate and the Great Spring Tower, the remnant of Israel zealously reaffirmed the commitment that their ancestors had made at Mount Sinai. The Jewish remnant pledged their complete fidelity to the Spirit of the Holy One using a very rare verbal seal at the end of their pledge called the “Double Amen.”
This use by Ezra of the Double Amen at the Water Gate by the Great Spring Tower is an incredibly important symbolic priestly act.
Observation #11. The Double Amen is used in the Torah as a “Seal” to a wife’s legal assertion that she has been faithful to her husband; with a consent to severe discipline if she is lying.
The Double Amen is also used as a sincere expression of reverence and submission to Adonai our God and His Word. The Double Amen, therefore, is exclusively used by our people (Israel) when want to absolutely assert that we have been ‘faithful’ to Adonai our God by obeying all of His Torah.
Observation #12. The Double Amen is used only twice in the Tanakh (Numbers 5:22; Nehemiah 8:6). In this context the number two speaks of “witness;” therefore, there is a legal witness of two passages to support the doctrine of the ‘Seal.’
There is a legal witness of two passages from the Tanakh to support the doctrine of the Seal of Faithfulness – the Seal of the Double Amen.
Observation #13. Both Ezra and Nehemiah’s names are a witness to the administration of the Holy Spirit. Ezra (Helper) is a scribe and priest. Nehemiah (Çounselor) is a governor of Judah (during the reign of Persia over Israel). Both persons are types of the administration of the Holy Spirit (cf. Nehemiah 8:9). Ezra means the Spirit is our “Helper.” Nehemiah means the Spirit of the Holy One is our “Comforter” and “Consolation.”
Observation #14. The Tower of Wood. In this rarely mentioned Double Amen text Ezra was suspended over the people on a high wooden platform, teaching the people the D’var HaShem (Word of Adonai) in the Jerusalem square near the Water Gate; the great gate that refers to the work of the Holy Spirit (cf. Deuteronomy 31:10-12: Wooden Tower of the mandatory seven year assembly, Hakhel-הקהל).
Therefore, the priest-scribe Ezra—a type of the administration of the Holy Spirit—was lifted up upon the high wooden platform (literally upon a Tree Tower-עַֽל־מִגְדַּל־עֵץ֮) over the people. [Two points:]
One, this symbolism of lifting up the healing ministry of the Spirit of the Holy One upon a wooden structure is reminiscent of Moses when he lifted up the Bronze (copper) Serpent on the pole in the wilderness that protected the people from the consequences of their sin and rebellion against the Holy One.
Two, this prophetic picture (Numbers 21:9) foreshadows the Spirit of Grace’s testimony regarding the Messiah who was lifted up, as a substitute sacrifice for the people. The Messiah was lifted up upon the accursed wooden pole (configured according to the Sign of the Tav). The Torah of Moses taught by Ezra bears witness to the Holy Spirit and Messiah’s healing-Ministry of Reconciliation between Adonai our God and His/our people of Israel.
The Helper’s teaching that takes place at the Water Gate speaks of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of glorifying, lifting up Adonai’s Ministry of Reconciliation that has been made available to us through the atoning sacrifice of our (Israel’s) Messiah, who is also the Savior of the World (Moshia HaOlam).
The Tower of Wood and the Great Tower together speak of the fulfillment of the Double Amen pledge by Israel.
Observation #15. The Tower of Wood and the Great Tower, the Spring Tower. Through the most gracious help of the redemptive ministry of the Messiah and the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One our people (Israel) now possesses the means to fulfill our pledge of marital fidelity at Mount Sinai and at the Water Gate, as by faith we are assembled under the Tower of Wood (literally: Tower of a Tree). This Tower of Wood along with the Water Gate and Great Spring Tower are sacred symbols of how Israel is cleansed of sin and filled to the full with the righteousness of God our Father.
The prophecy of the Tower of Wood and the Spring Tower is that the relationship between Adonai and Israel will one day be fully restored.
The combined testimony of these symbols – the Tower of Wood and the Water Gate (the Great Spring Tower) requires that there be some follow-up discussion about what these two prophecies are all about: first, of the forgiveness (cleansing) of all of Israel’s sins; and second, of the Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One coming (in the near future) to Indwell the hearts, souls, bodies, and minds of every Jew (all Israel). This requires that we discuss next the Torah meaning of “salt” and God’s Covenant of Salt.
Salt and Life in the Spirit – 17 Insights:
Insight #1. The difference between the Torah symbols of salt being ‘upon’ a person and salt being ‘in’ a person is an important one. Salt upon a person means the love of the Holy One is unilateral. He loves us. But we don’t as yet possess the means to reciprocate. Salt in a person means the love between Adonai our God and us is a ‘reciprocal’ love. In this reciprocal state of relationship Adonai loves us and we (His family of Israel) love Him back.
Insight #3. The assembly of Israel will be effectively guided by the Holy Spirit only when His Presence is Indwelling us. The people of Israel (individually and corporately) cannot fulfill the great promises given to our fathers without our assembly becoming spiritually empowered through the Indwelling Presence of the Omnipresent One (הַמָּקֹום-HaMakom). [Five points:]
One, this is the meaning of what we are saying here: Adonai your Father and your God is already with you, if you were born a Jew (אם נולדת יהודייה). However, being born a Jew is not enough. For it is only a guarantee that the invisible Presence of God your Father will be with you in this mortal lifetime. You also need to ask for and receive the second gift of Adonai Avinu (our Father) that is the Indwelling Presence of His Spirit. If you were born a Jew (אם נולדת יהודייה) your receiving the gift of the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One within you ‘individually’ will guarantee that your Father will be with you forever. Your receiving this second gift of our heavenly Father will also hasten the day of the return of the Messiah of Israel from heaven; which shall usher in the ‘corporate’ restoration of Israel and the establishment of the International Commonwealth of Israel.
Two, have faith (emunah). Quit thinking only in the natural (the modern naturalistic ‘reasoning’ of man). Yes use human reasoning but not only human reasoning. The three of us have earned ten accredited university degrees; including two doctorates. So what! [C, D & M] Human reasoning is good. But it is not enough! Think supernaturally. Believe like our shepherding fathers – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Aaron, Moses, and David – believe in the supernatural-miraculous way (as well as the natural).
Today the Spirit is restoring our Jewish hearts to be like the hearts of the fathers; who exercised supernatural faith in Adonai.
Three, soon, we believe in this century, miraculously, Israel and the Gentile world will finally be brought to a place where billions of people will come to enjoy all of the blessings and the good things that have been promised to our founding fathers and us (Modern Israel) by Adonai Avinu. This shall also be a blessing to the Gentiles. For as the ‘elect’ (firstborn) Servant-Nation we (Israel):
Four, when Israel is restored to the fulfillment of all of the promises of God the whole world will exist under the covering of Divine blessing. Without the full restoration Israel the whole world will continue to be ‘uncovered’ by the Divine blessing. The revived Nation of Israel is the key to restitution of everything. Without the (supernatural) Shalom of God Indwelling Israel the entire world will continue to live under the curse of the evil one’s control of over the entire world (1, 2). With Israel dwelling in the (supernatural) Shalom of God the whole world will be blessed.
Insight #4. The one who aspires to be like Abraham, Moses, and David, must learn to live by the Spirit. Such a one daily walks (halakhah, lives his life) according to the will and the power of the Spirit of the Holy One. This does not mean such a one should study Torah all day long in a secluded room somewhere. Living in the Spirit is not always studying. Living is walking and abiding in the Spirit of the Holy One. Similarly, holiness is not being separated from the world.
Holiness is being in the world and changing the world without the world changing you.
What does this holiness (abiding in the Spirit) look like? To use a farmer’s analogy: If you put Salt in a manure pile what do you get? You get fertilizer. And where do you put fertilizer? You put it upon and in the ground. Then what happens? It makes things grow. Israel was never called to be an oasis in the desert. Israel (the Rule of God) is called to turn the entire spiritual desert of the world into a Garden. Our nation and people of Israel are called by our heavenly Father to change this useless, barren world back into a prosperous, fruitful “Garden of God.”
We are called to change this useless, barren world back into a prosperous, fruitful “Garden of God.”
Insight #5. Being a person of salt in its purest form, being permeated without and within with the Presence of the Holy One, is being a change agent. For instance: if you put Salt in a manure pile the Salt won’t change but the manure will! Other substances (symbolic of persons without salt) can’t help but be changed by the overcoming power of (God’s supernatural) Salt. We are Living in the manure pile of the Gentile world but we (Jews) are called to naturally and supernaturally be different. Have you noticed?
We are a peculiar people. We are God’s own treasured people and possession. On Shabbat we are together in worship. We are privileged to be fit for inclusion in Adonai (our Father and our God’s) gourmet meal of the week. On Shabbat there is Salt on ‘His’ family table; his family table of Israel.
However, on the other days Israel is called upon to take up our place (as national Salt) – where our heavenly Father inserts us inside the international manure pile. This we must do until the useless (barren) manure pile (the world) changes into the useful (procreative) generative agricultural material that Adonai Avinu wants it to be. The world is a dirty, stinky place and if we are going to ever transform it to good use we are going to have to get dirty on the six work days. So if you are a Jew commit yourself to becoming a farmer of the world. Get a shovel. Make some fertilizer. Apply it to the soil of all the nations, peoples and families of the world. Then convert the previously useless soil to good use. You (Israel) have to get dirty and stinky before we can make things grow and flourish the way Abba Avinu wants them to grow and flourish (abundantly).
If Israel is the real salt it is called to be then Israel won’t change (diminish in its abiding in the Presence of the Holy One) but the world will.
In the case of Israel being “Salt in the World,” the contaminated soil of the international consciousness will gradually be cleansed and changed; sufficient for it to become qualified to grow the natural and supernatural good things (דברים טובים-d’varim tovim) of God. Adonai Avinu through M’shicho (His Messiah) called us (Israel– the Rule of God) to be Salt in the World (HaOlam). One day, we pray soon, we will live up to the high expectations of Adonai Eloheinu and His Servant, our Messiah. A good place to start is for the Yehudim to start exercising faith in our Messiah. Faith is not the natural business of the Gentiles; that is why they are so ineffective at practicing it.
Faith is primarily the business of the royal-priestly nation of Israel and that is why Adonai Avinu insists we (Jews) practice it.
Insight #6. Therefore, the earth and all that is in it belong to Adonai, who is our Father. He is both the Creator (Hayotzer) and the cultivator of life. He is a Farmer. But most of ‘His’ soil, the everyday ground of humanity’s ‘being,’ is arid and non-productive. The consciousness and behavioral life of humankind today is very much morally diseased and spiritually unproductive (worthless).
Insight #7. It is Israel’s assignment to be supernatural salt that will make the greatest positive impact on the manure pile. Like our heavenly we are called to be farmers. We are to make Israel an oasis in the world and then, when the Messiah returns to us, we are destined to make the whole world like the Garden of Eden. This is a process outlined in the sodim (secrets, mysteries) of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. The new Israel is to be a nation of pure Salt; permeated through and through with supernatural power of the Divine Presence of Adonai our Father and our God.
There remains in Israel today an unbelievable amount of religious nonsense.
Insight #8. There remains in Israel today an unbelievable amount of religious nonsense that is not solidly anchored in the Torah. We are referring to the ridiculous first and second century (CE) extra-biblical writings of the Prushim and their Tannaim sages; and their Talmudic successors from the third century CE to our present day (Amoraim to Acharonim).
Of this religious gibberish the Master, the real Messiah has prophetically said: “Throw it out!
It – this useless, man-made religious gibberish- is not of sufficient quality and usefulness to be applied to the manure pile of the world or to be used as Divine fertilizer in the fertile ground of Adonai Avinu’s future messianic kingdom!
Insight #9. As previously stated a few paragraphs back, the Great Tower has been identified with the spring of Gihon and this water is a symbol of the springs of the Living Water of the Holy Spirit. The meaning here being that if our people of Israel were to rightly partake of the water of the Spring that lies within the Great Tower (also called the Tower of the Spring), then we would all be filled (together) with the Spirit of the Holy One. Then natural Israel (we Jews) would become the supernatural Israel that father Abraham always envisioned we (his physical descendants) would become. Then we Jews would become an international blessing to all of the nations, peoples and families of the world! This then means that father Abraham not only be our physical and spiritual father: he would also become the spiritual father of our faith to countless numbers of believing gentiles who would also embrace our faith Adonai Avinu (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7):
וְלֹא־יִקָּרֵ֥א ע֛וֹד אֶת־שִׁמְךָ֖ אַבְרָ֑ם וְהָיָ֤ה שִׁמְךָ֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם כִּ֛י אַב־הֲמ֥וֹן גּוֹיִ֖ם נְתַתִּֽיךָ׃
ולא־יקרא עוד את־שמך אברם והיה שמך אברהם כי אב־המון גוים נתתיך׃
“No longer shall your name be called Exalted Father (אַבְרָ֑ם) Avram, But your name shall be Father of a Multitude, Avraham (אַבְרָהָ֔ם); For I [Adonai] have made you the father of a multitude of nations (אַב־הֲמ֥וֹן גּוֹיִ֖ם).
Insight #10. In the ancient time of the development of the Tanakh the filling of the Spirit was rare and was usually related to the ability to serve in some particular area. Sinning against Adonai was defined as grieving the Spirit (Isaiah 63:10-11). The Spirit of the Holy One was the supernatural-creative force behind the work of the inspiration of all of the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. All those who contributed to the written construction of the Tanakh were infallibly guided by the Spirit. The Spirit of Adonai gave these men supernatural wisdom (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
Insight #11. The Spirit of the Holy One gave these persons special skills in writing, just like He gave the tailors special skills for the making of the priestly garments (Exodus 28:3) and the workmen for the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:3; 35:30-35). The Spirit of Adonai infused into the Hebrew Scriptures supernatural power, just as He filled Samson with superhuman strength (1, 2, 3, 4). The Presence of the Holy One was involved in all of the miracles reported in the Tanakh. Without the (Help) Presence (Salt) of the Holy One there is no Supernatural Salt. On the one hand: without the Indwelling Presence (Salt) of the Spirit there will never be any significant (sustained) blessings of either the natural or supernatural kind in Israel; or for that matter anywhere in the world. On the other hand:
With the Divine Presence (Salt), nothing will be impossible for Israel or for the entire believing *Gentile world!
*The yet future (messianic age) international Commonwealth of Israel.
Insight #12. Every Jewish man, woman, and child should be filled with the Spirit today. For it has been prophesied of this new generation of (modern) Israel that after we are filled with the Spirit then the Spirit will be poured out on all of the Gentiles of the world as well. The grand finale of the Great Commission of our Messiah to Israel will not begin to truly be fulfilled until our Messiah returns to us (we believe in this century) and all of our nation and people are finally saved. Therefore, when we (Yehudim) receive our Messiah we will be forgiven by Abba Avinu for our sin of unbelief. Then will we (all Israel) be Indwelt forever with the eternal Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of Adonai our Father and our God.
Only a Messianic Israel can usher in the Golden Age of Israel and the International Commonwealth of Israel.
Our father Moses was not an Egyptian; a citizen by birth of the (symbolic) world system (spiritual Egypt) that is at war with the God of Israel. Mosheh just for a time mistakenly appeared to be an Egyptian. Later we (our ancestors) discovered he was in fact a Jew by birth. Still that was not enough for our ancestors. At first Moses was rejected. It took time for his fellow Jews to believe in him.
Our father Joseph was not an Egyptian. Yosef just for a time mistakenly appeared to be Egyptian. Later we (our ancestors) discovered he was in fact a Jew by birth. Still that was not enough for our ancestors. At first Joseph was feared and not trusted. It took time for his Jewish brothers to believe in him. It took time for his Jewish (Hebrew speaking) brothers to stop being “afraid ” of their own brother (by birth) who had completely forgiven them for abusing him, selling him into slavery, and lying to their father Israel (Jacob)—-that he was “dead” (חיה רעה-eaten by an evil, ferocious animal; like a wolf).
God’s Messiah (M’shicho) is not an Egyptian. He is by birth a Jew. Only the world has lied and temporarily made it appear that he is not of Israel.
Now we Jews are discovering that he (Yeshua) is in fact a Jew by birth. He is also not dead. He is alive and he (the heavenly Messiah) will appear to us (his family Israel) again when he returns as our Conquering Messiah, the Messiah ben David. However, in the meanwhile, we know that like Mosheh and Yosef it will take more time for our people (his family) to believe in him; and no longer be afraid of him (and his real gentile followers; cf. Joel 2:27-29):
“Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, that I am Adonai, Your God, and there is no other; and My people will never be put to shame. It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit (אֶשְׁפּ֤וֹךְ אֶת־רוּחִי֙) on all mankind (עַל־כָּל־בָּשָׂ֔ר-lit. all flesh, Gentiles included) and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
Insight #13. In the spiritual struggle of Israel, every Jew faces the present evil (ruling) world system that is contrary to the will of Adonai Avinu. The Salt (returning Presence) of the Spirit of Adonai (our Father) is the supernatural means of victory that we the people of Israel so desperately need to lead and guide us; rather, than to be led by the vain philosophies and empty deceits of men.
It is absolutely clear that the entire work of Adonai Eloheinu on behalf of Israel is directly related to the question of whether or not our people of Israel will now believe on the Messiah that he has already sent to us, receive His forgiveness, and be filled with the Indwelling Presence of His Spirit. For without faith in our Messiah and his atoning sacrifice for sin we cannot receive forgiveness for our sins; and without our being cleansed of our sin we cannot receive the Gift of our heavenly Father; which is the Indwelling Presence of His Holy Spirit.
Insight #14. A number of important blessings come into the world when even one of our own people of Jewish descent believes on the Messiah and is filled with the life of the Father’s gift—-the life of His own Spirit.
Nearly two thousand years ago on the day of Shavuot there were only one hundred and twenty persons of Jewish descent who were filled with the Spirit of the Holy One.
Yet this small Jewish remnant of Israel has won over countless thousands of Jews and millions of Gentiles to faith in Adonai our God through their obedience to the guidance of His Holy Spirit of Promise. Yet, the efforts of this righteous Jewish remnant (thus far) has not been enough to bring in the time of the messianic age. Why? Because the Gentile world cannot and will not be fully changed until the entire nation of Israel is supernaturally filled with the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Gentile world has temporarily been blessed by our (Israel’s) temporary (partial) rejection of our own Messiah. This is true. Yet the Gentiles will be far more richly blessed when the hearts of our people (Israel) are fully restored equal to the supernatural faith of the hearts of our fathers – when we believe in our Messiah and at we accept our Father”s calling to receive the gift of His Holy Spirit. Therefore, for the sake of the entire Gentile world and not just the Jewish nation of Israel the hearts of the children must be restored to the hearts of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who faithfully heard, understood, and obeyed the guidance of the Heart of the their hearts (and ours), the Spirit of the Holy One.The Messiah prayed for every member of Israel race when He said:
קַדֵּשׁ אוֹתָם בָּאֱמֶת: דְּבָרְךָ אֱמֶת.פ
קדש אותם באמת: דברך אמת.פ
“Sanctify them [believing Israel] with the truth: Your Word is truth.”
Insight #15. The important experience of more and more persons of Jewish descent becoming Spirit-filled will result in the progressive sanctification of (first) Israel and then all of the Gentile nations of the world. The inevitable result of this process of transformation will be that He, the Spirit of the Holy One, will one day fully manifest the fruit of His Spirit (His Divine virtue and unlimited power) among and through all Israel and thereafter among all of the nations, peoples, and families of the world. This will transform our tiny little nation of Israel into an international Commonwealth of Israel that will administer the blessed Rule of God throughout all of the the world.
We believe in the messianic age that over ninety percent of all the world’s populace will exercise a saving faith in Adonai our God.
Insight #16. The effect of being filled with the Spirit not only transforms a Jewish person’s character but this blessed experience also amplifies and empowers our natural talents and spiritual gifts. One of the supernatural gifts that is assigned by the Holy Spirit is the gift of teaching. Messiah predicted that in the future his Jewish disciples (and our elect nation of Israel) would supernaturally teach the Word of God to not only Israel (our own people) but to all of the Gentile nations, peoples, and families of all of the world.
The omnipresent Spirit of Adonai (the Holy Spirit) is One Who shall lead us (Jew and Gentile) into all truth. This is made clear in Messiah’s saying:
עוֹד רַבּוֹת לִי לְהַגִּיד לָכֶם אַךְ לֹא־תוּכְלוּן שְׂאֵת עָתָּה׃ וְרוּחַ הָאֱמֶת בְּבֹאוֹ הוּא יַדְרִיךְ אֶתְכֶם אֶל־הָאֱמֶת כֻּלָּהּ כִּי לֹא יְדַבֵּר מֵעַצְמוֹ כִּי אִם־אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁמַע יְדַבֵּר וְהָאֹתִיּוֹת יַגִּיד לָכֶם׃
אבל הוא, אשר הוא רוח האמת, כשיבוא ידריך אתכם אל כל האמת, כי לא ידבר מעצמו, אלא את אשר הוא שומע ידבר ואת הבאות יודיע לכם. פ
“I still have many things to tell you (his Talmidin), but you will not be able to bear it now. When the Spirit of Ha-Emet (the-Truth) comes He will guide you to the entire (whole) truth. For He will not speak from Himself; rather, He will speak what He hears, and tell you (supernaturally) what is yet to come.”
Insight #17. Another important result of being filled with the Spirit is that every Jew (and Gentile) can then experience the guidance of the wisdom of the Holy One (Ruach Ha-Chokmah). This matter of Divine guidance (the gift of wisdom) enters in where the Word of Adonai is not specific about practical solutions that are customized to our modern era. The nation and people of Israel need (supernatural) guidance in our specific decisions that relate to our personal and professional lives; as well as our national calling to be Adonai Avinu’s Salt and Light (priests) who serve all of the peoples and nations of the world. What is needed, therefore, is not the halakhot of men. What is needed is the guiding Presence of the Spirit of Wisdom. In the messianic age to come:
The oral law of man will be replaced by the Oral Torah of the Spirit (Living Torah).
For the Spirit of the Holy One will generously and directly (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) give His wisdom to each and every individual Jewish man, woman and child. In the messianic age every citizen of Israel will possess his (her) own individual fig tree—spiritual-supernatural priestly relationship with Adonai—and grape vine; understanding and discernment sufficient to fulfill each one’s own personal calling. Israel will be perfectly one (echad: a “unity” in the Spirit); as if our nation and people had supernaturally become one person and one body.
Follow the Messiah – 12 Reasons:
Reason #1. Large crowds were going along with the Messiah and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross (cf. sign of the tav) and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
Reason #2. The Messiah impressed upon his Jewish followers the need for them (and us today) to understand the extreme challenges that lie ahead. Israel enjoyed a very healthy family system and now that the Prushim rabbinate (hyper-orthodox religious establishment) of Israel had rejected him, it was inevitable that they would eventually get around to rejecting and persecuting any of their own Jewish friends and relatives who would dare “defy” them and follow our Messiah; instead of these men.
Reason #3. In advance the Master prophesied to his Jewish followers what relationships would be manipulated by the corrupt religious establishment to turn the common people of Israel away from our Messiah and away from Adonai our God who sent M’shicho (‘His’ Messiah) to us. [Two points:]
First, these false shepherds (the Prushim, the ultra orthodox, pious ones) had it in their hearts to turn the entire nation and people of Israel against the Messiah of God. They would secure their power by excommunicating any Jew who refused to openly renounce the Messiah. This left the Jewish followers of the Messiah with a choice: they could renounce the Messiah and not lose their beloved family relationships; or they could confess their belief in the Messiah and be shunned from their families and excommunicated from worshiping with the rest of the assembly of Israel (i.e. be kicked out of the synagogues).
According to the Messiah there were seven “idols” that his followers would be tempted to replace him and Adonai with. These seven sources of idolatry (replacements for God) are:
6) Sisters, and
Therefore, the Messiah taught his (first) Jewish followers (and us today)that the principal source of conflict between the will of the Righteous Father and His people (Israel) would be one of natural-family loyalty over supernatural Family loyalty. Who gets first place? Adonai our God? or one’s immediate family? or one’s own self-interest?
Second, by the first century (CE) the populace of Israel put these false shepherds (the Bramble Bush KIng) and their family ties before Adonai Eloheinu. As a result our people of Israel temporarily lost our (supernatural) blessing of the protection and help of our Father—-Adonai Eloheinu. On the other hand, in the last seventy years there has been proof that things are now changing for the better; in so far as our relationship with Adonai Avinu is concerned:
Since 1948 it appears that prophecy, signs, miracles, and wonders (God’s Presence) is returning to our people and land of Israel.
Reason #4. The words of the Messiah still ring true today. He is saying to his Jewish followers in the 21st century the same truths that he said to his original Jewish followers so long ago: “Count the cost of being my disciples.” The cost of being an authentic follower of the Messiah is still high. His Jewish followers are still being treated as if they are outcasts in the eyes of their own families, friends, business associates, and our *hyper-Orthodox religious leaders.
*The Reform Jewish synagogues in the United States are more tolerant than the Orthodox and and Conservative synagogues.
If you are a Jew by birth the Reform movement congregations will accept you even if you believe (as we do) that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel.
“Reform Judaism continues to be the largest Jewish denominational movement in the United States. One-third (35%) of all U.S. Jews identify with the Reform movement, while 18% identify with Conservative Judaism, 10% with Orthodox Judaism and 6% with a variety of smaller groups, such as the Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal movements.”
However, it is important to note that “about three-in-ten American Jews (including 19% of Jews by religion and two-thirds of Jews of no religion) say they do not identify with any particular Jewish denomination” (Pew Research Center Religion & Public Life).
Reason #5. A strong family system can bring good things (as it most often does). However, it can also bring bad things. In the case of Israel’s first and second century (CE) religious leaders they exploited our strong Jewish family, cultural, and psychological bonds to use it as a weapon against our Messiah and his followers.
Our religious leaders first plotted against the Messiah in secret. They knew full well that what they were doing was evil. Yet, they went and did the wickedness anyway. Sadly, our common people did not understand what was happening. So the Messiah in his anguish and torment cried out to our heavenly Father on behalf of the people:
“Father forgive them, for they (the common people) do not know what they are doing!”
Reason #6. Using two illustrations in His mashal of the “Cost of Discipleship” the Rabbi of rabbis taught that His followers must be willing to pay the full price of their lives and, if necessary, be willing to give up all of their material possessions as well.
Reason #7. In the Messiah’s first illustration of the “Tower” we learn that before a person can build a tower he must first be prepared to pay-out the full cost of the project.
Reason #8. In the second illustration concerning the “King” we learn that if a king determines he is unable to win an impending battle, he should send a delegation to the stronger opposing king, while he is still a long way off and ask for his terms for peace.
Reason #9. The Messiah is asking us: Before you (Israel) do battle with the evil one and his evil world system, do you have sufficient resources and will-power to win the battle? The answer should be “Yes!” But only if we are acting in accord with the will of God; and this is the will of God that we believe on His Messiah. For only Adonai (our God) and His Messiah are able to overcome the evil one (1, 2).
Reason #10. Messiah is also inferring the reverse question: Before doing battle with the real Messiah of Adonai (the LORD) do you have sufficient resources to win the battle against him?” The answer, in truth, has to be an unqualified “No!” In such a case you would be wise to immediately accept a peace agreement with him. This is so because no force or power in all of creation can prevail against Adonai and His Messiah (cf. Psalm 2; ashrei-man, Part II).
The rejection of the Suffering Messiah (ben Yosef) by our ancestors (old Israel) has been an open, festering wound in the side of our people for far too long (almost two millennia). Furthermore, our return to the land of Israel has not yet put an end to the problem.
Did not our ancestors reject our own Messiah? Did not our elite religious leaders blaspheme against the Spirit of the Holy One?
Ask yourself if our ancestors did such a good deed of rejecting a false messiah, a sorcerer who could do miracles—why did the Holy One not openly reward us for the great righteous deed we had done? Why does it feel like the opposite? Why did it take nearly twenty centuries for Adonai Eloheinu to put a new generation of Israel back into His Land? Why does it seem like our ancestors were wandering for nearly nineteen centuries in a wilderness as punishment?
So what is your answer? Our answer is that our ancestors (old Israel) stupidly rejected the real Messiah who was sent to us by the real Adonai our God and because our corrupt religious and political leaders were threatened by him (the man)—they (we) rejected him and by rejecting him (the man) we ignorantly ended up rejecting and angering Adonai Avinu too.
We believe that most of our elite hyper-Orthodox religious leaders deliberately chose to blaspheme the Spirit of the Holy One; rather than give up their rule over us (the common people) and lose their material wealth and political power. These wicked rulers actually told our Messiah, whom Adonai (the LORD) sent, that the Spirit within him was the “spirit of the evil one.”
Our religious leaders blasphemed when they called the Spirit of the Holy One who Indwells M’shicho—the spirit of ha-satan.
How much trouble do you think this caused our ancestors (old Israel) and now those of us (modern Israel) who are living today? The Messiah said that the blasphemy against him (the man) would be forgiven but calling the Holy Spirit that Indwelt him the ‘spirit of satan’—-would never be forgiven.
Now we are being given a second chance and we believe this new generation of Israel will accept Messiah and be reconciled with Adonai.
But how long will it take? You tell us. We don’t know. But we expect this twenty-first century will be the century when it happens. When what happens? When the Messiah returns then all of the promises to the fathers and the prophets of Israel will be fulfilled. Read Psalm 2 and see that Israel is only victorious in our dealings with the Gentile Nations when our Messiah reappears. Therefore it is written:
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
Ask yourself what would happen if the above messianic help was offered by Adonai our God and then rejected? How much favor with Adonai would we lose? Would there be any refuge for us anywhere in the world? Without heaven’s support who would protect us form the raging hatred of the evil one and the Gentile peoples and nations of the world that he controls? You know the answer.
Without heaven’s support the people of Israel have become the most hated and despised people on the earth.
Yet, in spite of all that we have gone through we still fail to hear the warnings of the prophets, who clearly predicted long ago what would happen when we failed to hear, understand, and obey the Message of the Messiah of Adonai our God:
“Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the ‘Arm of Adonai’ been revealed?
For he grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A ‘Man of Sorrows’ and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem him.”
Reason #11. There is no possible way, even if all of the combined forces of the fallen angels and all of the nations and peoples of the earth opposed the Messiah that they could ever win such an undertaking. It is absolutely impossible to defeat the one who Adonai our Father and our God has blessed forever. The futility of going into battle against the Messiah and the Spirit of the Holy One who sent him is an insane undertaking.
How could our ancestors do what they did?
Did our ancestors not learn something from what eventually happened to all of the Gentile nations and peoples of the world when they long-opposed the will of the God of Heaven? The Second Psalm clearly describes how completely futile an endeavor it is for any one nation or for that matter all of the nations to oppose the Messiah. [Four points:]
First, “Why are the Gentiles in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against Adonai and against His Anointed One (the Messiah) saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”
Second, “He who sits enthroned in the heavens laughs, Adonai scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have consecrated and installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
Third, “I will surely tell of the decree of Adonai: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break and rule them with a rod of iron. You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
Fourth, “Now therefore, O kings, show discernment. Take warning, O judges of the earth. Serve and worship Adonai with respectful fear and reverence. And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that he not become angry, and you perish in the way. For his wrath may soon, quickly, and suddenly be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in him!”
Reason #12. Especially pay attention to the last sentence of the Psalm: “How blessed are all who take refuge in him!” This mirrors the verse, “The name of Adonai is a Strong Tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). In this way we see that:
The Messiah who comes in the Name of Adonai is the Strong Tower that the righteous run into and are safe.
Salt in the Tanakh – 49 Points:
Point #1. Salt is a flavor enhancer. Even Job acknowledged this (Job 6:6): “Can something tasteless be eaten without salt?”
A. Salt was most valuable as a preservative before refrigeration.
B. As a salt-brine it possesses the ability to dehydrate bacterial cells, inhibit bacterial growth, and prevent food from spoiling.
C. Salt draws the blood and moisture out of fresh meat, drying and preserving it.
D. Salt helps give bread dough a uniform texture, processed meats a firmer texture, and gives an even consistency in cheese and other foods.
E. It is salt that helps make bread bake to a lovely golden color.
Point #2. Even though the oceans of the world contain fifty million billion tons of salt, it takes an amazing forty million tons of salt to satisfy the world’s needs every year.
Point #3. For most of the ancient world, salt was rare and very costly. Countries without salt had to import it, and salt-tax was prevalent. Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, acknowledged that there was such a tax in his day.
Point #4. Did you know that more wars have been fought over salt than over gold? It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution, which introduced mass production that such battles over salt came to an end.
Point #5. In ancient days salt was used as a form of compensation and income. Ezra 4:14 refers to this: “Now because we are in the service (melach) of the palace…” The Aramaic word “service” is sometimes translated “maintenance,” but a literal translation would be, “Now because we eat the salt of the palace,” meaning the king provided their salary. The Latin word for a Roman’s salt ration is where we get our word “salary.”
Point #6. Salt represents a covenant with Adonai. The “Salt of the Covenant” mentioned in Leviticus 2:13 follows the prohibition of using leaven and honey (cf. Leviticus 2:11). Both honey and leaven cause “corruption” or fermentation. Salt does not cause corruption, but purifies and preserves and as such is a symbol of “incorruptibility.”
Point #7. Every Shabbat salt is used to remember Adonai our Father and our God’s everlasting covenant. “Everlasting” is a word that describes Adonai Avinu’s faithfulness to always keep all of His promises. We are still learning how to keep our promises but one day (the day of resurrection) we will be able to love the Holy One as He loves us now, perfectly; without moral spot, wrinkle or blemish.
Even if we are unfaithful, His love is indestructible and incorruptible. So He continues to remain faithful in the fulfillment of His part of His Salt Covenant with us. It is a true saying that God our Father remains faithful to us (without corruption) even when we are (corrupt) and unfaithful to Him.
Point #8. Every Shabbat (Sabbath) meal there is the salting of the challah (loaves of bread). On Shabbat salt is added to the challah because on this day the family dinner table becomes an altar to the Holy One. Just before the blessing is said over the bread the father (the head servant-leader of the household) reaches for the salt and sprinkles salt over the two loaves. The salting of the challah is a reminder of the Twelve Loaves of Bread on the Temple’s Table of Shewbread. This is also a reminder that all the offerings of the Temple times were salted. The command is found in Leviticus (2:13), the Torah says:
1st- וְכָל־קָרְבַּ֣ן מִנְחָתְךָ֮ בַּמֶּ֣לַח תִּמְלָח֒ – “ve kol korban minchateka bamelach timlach.” And all of the grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt.
2nd- וְלֹ֣א תַשְׁבִּ֗ית מֶ֚לַח בְּרִ֣ית אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ מֵעַ֖ל מִנְחָתֶ֑ךָ – “ve lo tashbit melach berit Elohekha meal minchatekha.” So that the salt of the covenant (מֶ֚לַח בְּרִ֣ית) of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering.
3rd- עַ֥ל כָּל־קָרְבָּנְךָ֖ תַּקְרִ֥יב מֶֽלַח – “al kol korbankha takriv melach.” with all of your offerings you shall offer salt.
For these important reasons we Jews should never look at salt in a common way, not just at the Shabbat table, but anytime we use it. Salt should remind us of who we (Jews) are and who Adonai Eloheinu is. The “Indwelling Presence of the Holy One” is the real Salt and we (Jews) should be real salty!
Point #9. In Numbers 18:19 we read, “All of the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to Adonai I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before Adonai to you and your descendants with you.” Here we see an additional emphasis, that of the “everlasting” or “perpetual.”
This means that the Covenant of the Salt is still effective today and that it will continue to be in effect throughout all eternity.
Point #10. In the days of the Second Temple King Herod held a monopoly on salt coming from the Dead Sea, which supplied the priests with the salt they needed for the Temple rituals. Earlier, in Ezra’s time, it was the king of Persia who supplied the salt (cf. Ezra 7:21–22). The Jewish worshiper, in fact, was not required to supply the salt for the sacrifices. Salt, as well as wood and oil, were provided by the Temple and kept in special chambers on the Temple compound.
In ancient Israel salt was used for sanctification.
Point #11. After Abimelech captured an enemy city, “he sowed it with salt” (Judges 9:45). Josephus mentions such a thing also: “and when he had overthrown the city to the very foundations, for it was not able to bear a siege, and had sown its ruins with salt, he proceeded on with his army” (Antiquities, Book V, Chapter 7).
Point #12. One popular Jewish tradition is that when one moves to a new house, the house is sown with salt to sanctify it and cleanse it.
Point #13. The ancient Israelites washed a newborn baby with water after rubbing the baby softly with salt (Ezekiel 16:4). Sanctification and cleansing with salt and/or water was a common custom among the ancient Israelites. Elisha used salt to purify a city’s water supply (2Kings 2:21).
Partaking in common of salt by two parties seated together at a table was an ancient symbol of friendship and alliance.
Point #14. In the Arab culture they have an ancient saying, “there is salt between us” (هناك الملح بيننا – hnak almulihh baynana) to refer to a contract made between two parties. Therefore, among the ancients and many in the Middle East today, salt was/is a symbol of friendship.
Point #15. The Talmidim of Messiah (and the Jewish nation as a whole) are compared to salt. A disciple who does not manifest the Presence of the graciousness and mercy (salt) of the Holy One has lost his (her) salty character and is utterly useless; in so far as service to Adonai is concerned. When functioning as a group the bad behavior of one un-salty disciple can significantly dilute the overall positive effect of the goodness of the entire group.
Salt, which has lost its salty character, is utterly useless.
While salt can preserve and flavor almost any food, it is useless to add good salt to bad, and salt without flavor should be thrown away. So the Jewish disciples who do not practice radical dependence upon and constant and abiding spiritual sensitivity toward the purifying Presence (Salt) of the Holy One are useless. These compromised disciples are useless when it comes to positively impacting the rottenness of the world; which so sorely needs the preserving-purifying Presence of the Spirit of Holiness.
A Jew without the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One, is utterly useless.
Point #16. The moral character indicated in Messiah’s teaching on the Covenant of Salt is not sourced in Man (one’s own self or others); or in the fallible teachings of men. The Master is talking about the need for His Jewish talmidin and all of His fellow Jews to exercise a constant and abiding personal dependence on the Holy One and in so doing become the Salt and the Light of the entire world.
Point #17. The central appeal of Messiah is not that we Jews rely on ourselves alone; which today seems to be almost as much a Jewish preoccupation as it is a Gentile one. The Master is telling our nation and people of Israel that the Covenant of Salt will only be fulfilled as we exercise a constant and abiding (radical, raging) dependence on the Spirit of the Holy One Himself!
The Salt in view here is what the Divine Presence does upon, in, and through us—modern Israel.
Point #18. Messiah was anticipating that in the future the Divine Presence of the Holy One would one day permanently Indwell the individual (and collective) hearts, minds, souls, and bodies of all of the people of Israel.
Point #19. Although the vast majority of the modern populace of Israel has rejected the Suffering Messiah (Yeshua) of the first century (CE) there is now a small remnant of several thousand Jews who have not. It is this remnant of Israel that Messiah is addressing when across the span of time he saying:
You Jewish followers of mine are the salt of the earth!
Israel as a nation and a people are called the salt of the earth in Messiah’s teaching. The entire nation and people are chosen, elect, but at the time of Messiah’s first appearance only a remnant of elect Israel responded to the “call.” By the extended grace (chen, chesed) of the Salt Covenant, the Presence of the Holy One had already been “with” every Jewish man, woman, and child since the time of Moses. This faithfulness continues even to today. Still only a minority of the Yehudim (Jews) are consciously aware of this privilege. Most are not.
When the ‘Moses to come’ appeared (the Messiah) to make atonement for Israel, to fulfill the promise of the redemption of Israel, and to secure for our people the gift of the ‘Indwelling’ Presence of the Spirit: our people misled by their (unsalty) false shepherds rejected the Messiah.
Our people of Israel are (already) forgiven for rejecting the Moses to come. The Messiah affirmed this fact himself.
However, our first century (CE) religious leaders will never be forgiven for their insulting rejection of the Spirit of Grace and Truth (chesed v’ emet) that Indwells the Messiah of God. For the Messiah and the Holy One who sent him were both profanely rejected by them. These men greatly insulted the Spirit of Grace (רוּחַ הַחֶסֶד) by trampling under foot the redemptive sacrifice of His Messiah and regarding as unclean the blood of His covenant (דַם הַבְּרִית).
Messiah referred to this more severe tragedy of insulting the Spirit of Grace when he warned Israel’s first century (CE) religious leaders that their blasphemy against him would be completely forgiven but that their blasphemies against the Spirit of the Holy One would never be forgiven.
The seasoning that the Messiah urged his people of Israel to acquire was the seasoning of the Divine Presence.
Point #20. This seasoning must constantly be dwelling ‘in’ our Jewish hearts, souls, minds, and spirits. Only those Yehudim who have exercised faith in the Messiah have received the heavenly Father’s gift of the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit. This Gift of of our Father in heaven is available to everyone born of Jewish lineage. Yet, only a small remnant of Israel has so far exercised this privilege. However, it is a true sayingL
One day (we believe very soon) in this 21st century, the entire nation of Israel will exercise this privilege!
Point #21. Messiah is saying to his Jewish followers today (modern Israel) that after the Divine Presence dwells within us, we will manifest his Salt (his Divine Essence) in both our consciousness and in our behavioral life; so that those who come in contact with us (Israel) will be positively impacted by the supernatural Presence of the Holy One that is working upon, through, and in us.
Therefore, it is only the works of the Spirit of Holiness that adds Divine flavor to our lives.
Point #22. No Divine Indwelling Presence—-No flavor! The works of His (God’s) Presence must be reverenced. The Presence of the Holy One must be kept in a special treasured, exalted place of our conscious being. We must put His Presence above everyone and everything else.
Point #23. Messiah’s original Jewish disciples did this and so he calls them the “Salt of the earth.” However, many of the later generations of the Gentile followers of Messiah have left out the salt entirely. While identifying with the name of the Messiah these multitudes of persons have done the wicked deeds of the evil one; and truth be told they were not of Adonai Eloheinu and as such they were not of our Messiah. Therefore, the Messiah said of these false followers:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ (i.e. one whose confession is that the Presence of Adonai Indwells the Messiah) will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord’ (Adon, Adon) did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
Point #24. The Messiah warned his (first) Jewish followers (and us today) that just as the whole of ancient Israel was infiltrated with the works of the enemy of our souls, so his own messianic movement would one day be infiltrated and corrupted by the gentiles.
Many would come to confess the name of Messiah without really knowing him or Adonai (his God and our God).
These future false gentile followers will come in the Messiah’s name but the truth is that they will be false prophets and false teachers. Therefore, we are to be discerning and not follow such as these:
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
Point #25. When has there ever been a large scale movement of Yehudim who have called the Messiah “Lord, lord”? The answer is there never has been such a movement. The Yehudim have not as yet embraced full-faith in the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua).
So who are these people who falsely claim to know the Messiah, speak on his behalf and claim to have done miracles in his name?
Point #26. There is only one possible answer to the previous question, “These false prophets and false teachers must nearly all be Gentiles!” This means at the first the religious leaders of the Jews betrayed the Messiah and at the last it is the religious leaders of the Gentiles who shall betray him. No wonder the Messiah said:
לַשּׁוּעָלִים יֵשׁ מְאוּרוֹת וּלְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם קִנִּים, אַךְ בֶּן־הָאָדָם אֵין לוֹ מָקוֹם לְהַנִּיחַ אֶת רֺאשׁוֹ.פ
לשועלים יש מאורות ולעוף השמים קנים, אך בן-האדם אין לו מקום להניח את ראשו.פ
“The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man (בֶּן־הָאָדָם) has nowhere to lay his head.”
Point #27. Furthermore, we know that these Gentile false shepherds, who will enjoy a mass following of nations and peoples will be Jew-haters. How do we know? The Messiah warned his first generation of Jewish followers that in the future their movement would be corrupted. Then, one of the signs of the corruption would be that these false (Gentile) prophets and false teachers would deliberately and violently begin persecuting Jews:
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
Point #28. Therefore, the Messiah’s warnings have been unheeded and these unsalted ones (first the Jewish apostasy, now the Gentile apostasy) have become just as he prophesied, they have become:
3) Without seasoning (devoid of the the Presence of the Holy One);
4) Useless, not worthy to even be used as fertilizer for the soil of the kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Adonai our Father and our God.
Tragically, many so-called Gentile followers of the Messiah are living in just such a worthless self-deluded state. Without the true salt of Adonai’s Presence (His Indwelling Presence and the works of His Spirit) these false followers works (real or imagined) will all be rejected and “thrown out.”
Point #29. We believe what is happening today is Adonai Avinu is completing His outreach to the gentile world and He is turning His attention back toward His (elect) people of Israel. When (old) Israel rejected the Messiah the Holy One reached out to the Gentile nations and peoples. But as stated many times before all of the nations of the world have been tested and no nation has proven itself to be Rich in Adonai.
Point #30. When (modern) Israel fully understands and accepts more than the mere traditional symbol of the Covenant of Salt but the spiritual ‘reality’ of the Covenant of the Salt, then we Yehudim will once again receive both the gracious redemptive work of Messiah and the gift of the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit:
Then will Israel finally become Adonai (our God’s) Salt and Light to the world.
Point #31. Salt was something that could not be destroyed by fire or time or any other means in antiquity. This means that in the Salt Covenant of Adonai He would never (permanently) forsake His people Israel and also that His children have a perpetual duty to Him to respond in kind.
Point #32. To have salt in one’s inner self (heart, soul, mind) reminds us of all the properties of salt, the foremost in this case being purity. Our ancient Jewish ancestors declared that there was nothing in the world purer than salt because it came from the two purest things, the sun and the sea. The very glistening whiteness of salt is a perfect picture of purity. Salt illustrates God’s refining process. When we go through the fire we come out purified.
When we live daily in a receptive, humble manner toward the Spirit of the Holy One, His Divine Presence purifies us.
In this manner of life we grow more and more each day to be like the One we love—-Abba (Father) Avinu (our Father). Again, notice that the Master said we are to have salt “in” ourselves. There is a great difference in the two prepositions “with” and “in.” Also, notice that Salt has to do with Shalom. If we seek wellness with others in our own limited strength without benefit of the Divine Presence ruling within us we will fail.
Notice that the Master (haAdon) said we are to have salt (the Presence of God) “in” ourselves.
Point #33. The synonym for the Covenant of Salt that exists between us and the Holy One is the Covenant of the Grace of Adonai. Salt “that has lost its taste” is what happens when we mix the Graciousness (chesed, cen, chanan) of Adonai—His own gracious eternally efficacious works and teaching—with our own self-generated ungracious and ineffective works and teachings.
Salt that has lost its taste is a reference to salt that is ‘contaminated’ with other minerals; causing a weakness in its flavor.
In such a case the life of the Salt is to some degree uselessly infused into other materials that dilute its potency. The Salt loses its unique character in the ‘mixture.’ Therefore, whenever large amounts of other minerals are mixed in with salt the new material possesses salt residue in it—but the new material is not salt. We must be careful about the preponderance of other things we bring into our lives that would dilute the dominance of the Presence of Adonai Avinu. This includes hyper-religious activities that are merely intellectual substitutes for a life of real service to and friendship with our heavenly Father.
Point #34. Messiah’s use of the phrase “has lost its taste” is a symbolic reference to the possibility of our abandoning or deviating from the pure undefiled works of the Holy One. The Salt loses its flavor when the Divine Presence of Adonai is subordinated to our desire to control, for our self glorification, what really belongs solely to the Creator. The temple of our bodies, brains, minds, souls, and spirits were created by Adonai and we were created for Him.
We can study Torah until we get eye-bleeds and ear-bleeds. But that is not what the Holy One desires.
Avinu Shebashamayim first desires friendship with us! Like father Abraham we are called to first be the ‘friends’ of Adonai. Then second, we are called to be the friends of each other. The love of Adonai our God and each other is the fulfillment of all of the Law. The entirety of all of the combined revelation of Abba our Father hinges on this: Be Love! Do Love!
The statement “have salt in yourselves, and be at shalom with one another” explains the central meaning of the Covenant of Salt.
Point #35. The central purpose of the Covenant of Salt is so the friendship and compassion (the Divine Shalom) of the Holy One might first be present “upon” and “in” Israel, and then, second, manifested out “through” Israel to all the Gentile nations and peoples of the world (hence, the law of hospitality plays a large role in this Divine initiative).
Point #36. Part of being an authentic follower of the Messiah is learning that we are not to become a slave to the things we own or of the social programming that other people have put consciously or unconsciously in our brains. Rather, through our Mind ruling over our brain we are to become servants of the Spirit of the Holy One. So then, the Messiah has said, “None of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions to the poor.”
The Master is simply saying, “You have to say no to materialism before you can follow me and learn, like me, to be Rich in Adonai.”
Point #37. “For everyone will be salted with fire.” Sacrifices are salted. If a sacrifice was not salted, it was not acceptable. For us to be acceptable “living” sacrifices to Adonai our God we have to occasionally go through the refiner’s fire, so all the “unsavory,” “impure,” “unhealthy” elements of our consciousness which are useless to the Holy One are burned up.
Point #38. This voluntary sacrifice of one’s self and all of one’s possessions on the altar of Adonai (our Father’s) mercy and grace means that one who hopes to follow Messiah, to become Rich in Adonai, must be absolutely committed to serve him throughout all of his (or her) lifetime. Since the way that we fulfill the Great Commandment of loving Adonai (the LORD our God) is through serving humankind (practicing hospitality) this is a call for commitment for all of us who have been fortunate enough to be blessed by God to extend a helping hand out to those who are less fortunate; and in need of our assistance.
Point #39. If we do not see that all that we have is actually the property of the Holy One, then are we not saying that “we are not your people?” If we Jews are living in a manner that says, “we am not yours, we belong to ourselves alone,” then how is it that the Holy One bears any responsibility whatsoever for our welfare?
There is an incredibly powerful potency (forcefulness) to purity!
Point #40. Purity does not mean isolation. Purity is a form of immense engagement and a penetrating display of God’s strength. Impurity, in contrast to the incredible force of purity, is weakness. Therefore, four points about this.
First holiness. The temporal phase of our eternal existence is not about shrinking back and hiding from the problems of the world. Holiness is sanctuary in the Presence of the Beloved but it is also a setting apart for an aggressive overcoming engagement with evil.
Holiness is also a setting apart for an aggressive overcoming engagement with evil..
Second, good overcomes evil. Adonai engages and overcomes the rulers, powers, and authorities of darkness in the world – while all the while retaining all of His purity. This overcoming force of Adonai’s purity of Presence is what we need to preserve and change (transform) the world from being a place that is unsalted and inhospitable to a place that is thoroughly salted and is wonderfully hospitable.
The character of the pure substance always out performs the character of the impure one.
Third, Israel is in the salt (grace) business. It is our royal nation’s calling to separate ‘chaos’ from the Divine order. This process of separating chaos from (God’s) Salt is a refinement process. It is a process of patience. (God’s) Salt has to co-exist in a pit full of chaos while the fire of His sun descends upon both elements, until the ocean water (the chaos) is completely evaporated and all that remains is the Salt of Adonai (the Presence of our God).
Fourth, the maturation process of the original Jewish followers of our Messiah was a harsh one.
They were trained to overcome even their fear of death. Messiah’s first Jewish talmidin encountered numerous testings and fiery ordeals. These fiery tests and ordeal refined them, built them up, and this made them more sensitive, responsive, and dependent upon the Spirit of the Holy One.
Point #41. You can’t make salt without the Presence of the All-consuming fire of the Holy One’s Presence burning up and consuming the chaos:
There is no salt without the refining influence of the abiding, all-consuming, fiery presence of the Sun.
The phrase “every man will be salted with fire” (הן כל אחד ימלח באש) refers to the refining process Adonai Avinu that has been designed to transform our rebellious, stiff-necked people (Israel) into a state of general compliance.
Salt is stamped with the “Divine Power” of the eternal, all-consuming fire of Adonai. Internal to the Covenant of Salt there is an unbearable refining process that must be undergone if we are to be qualified to become the salt of the earth. This horrible but necessary refinement process is a means to qualification. Not disqualification. This means that when our Father in heaven salts us, refines us with fire, He is putting His stamp of ownership and approval on us. He is connecting us to the Covenant of Salt He made so long ago in ancient times with our physical (and spiritual) fathers.
Point #42. You cannot say you are a follower of Messiah and be so unsalted that you don’t love the Master’s own temporarily estranged but natural, permanently beloved family. Satan has temporarily discredited the Messiah by sending multitudes of false disciples and false teachers in His Name. Messiah told his Jewish remnant this would happen and it has!
The Covenant of Salt is a covenant of perpetual obligation!
Point #43. In cultures throughout the Middle East region the eating of salt is a sign of friendship (even to this day). In the case of Adonai Eloheinu He is obligating Himself in His Covenant of Salt to be Israel’s Friend, forever. However, it is a two-party covenant, so Adonai Avinu’s gracious perpetual offer requires that we reciprocally act in good faith toward Him, as His friend.
Our ancestors harvested salt by pouring sea water into pits and letting the water evaporate until only the salt was left.
Point #44. In the ancient Jewish-Hebrew idiom the water of the sea is a symbol of chaos (go study the Hebrew letter “Mem” pictograph). Therefore, in the symbolism of this ancient fiery refinement process we see prophetically that it is the chaos that must be evaporated, burned up, consumed first.
This means that self-judgment must precede true friendship with the Holy One.
Judgment must begin first in the Household of Adonai (our Father). Then this magnificent substance of the Divine Presence (symbolized in the symbol of Salt) will begin to appear. It is the Divine Presence alone that can administer “healing,” “preservation,” and “purification” to Israel and thereafter to the entire Gentile world.
Point #45. The messianic kingdom will arrive soon. We believe in this century. The New Generation of Israel will be like a newborn baby (a new creation). Newborn babies were rubbed with salt in ancient Israel (Ezekiel 16:4). The significance of rubbing a Jewish newborn baby with salt is to indicate that the child would be raised up under the (seasoning) influence of Adonai’s own graciousness (chesed, chen) and truthfulness (emet):
Whatever Abba our Father says He will do, He always does!!
Point #46. This perpetual offer of Friendship by Adonai to His chosen people of Israel is found symbolically represented everywhere in Israel’s religious traditions and rituals:
Point #47. Leviticus 2:13 reads, “And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of Your God (Eloheicha) to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.”
Another place the term Covenant of Salt is used is in 2 Chronicles 13:5. In the days after Solomon when Israel was divided into the two kingdoms Abijah, king of Judah, came against King Jeroboam of the northern kingdom.
When speaking to Jeroboam, Abijah remarked before the battle began, “Do you not know that Adonai the God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a Covenant of Salt?” Abijah knew Adonai had made just such a covenant with Abijah’s forefather David when He promised David an everlasting kingdom (2 Samuel 7:16). To Abijah, the “salt of the covenant” was a symbol of something that lasts forever. Abijah also knew that although Jeroboam had set up a religious institution and kingdom of His own (in the north of Israel) to compete with the form and likeness of the throne of David and the Temple in Jerusalem—it would fail. It would fail because it possessed no salt. Jeroboam lacked the essential ingredient for true success, everlasting success: the Promised Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One Himself!
Point #48. Therefore, under the Covenant of Salt and the Law of Hospitality (cf. chapter 45) Israel is called as a covenant people to be a witness nation to all the nations and peoples of the world. We are elected to be a national witness of Adonai’s Graciousness and His desire to extend His Covenant of Friendship to all who will turn to Him and believe in His Besorah of Salt; His Good News Message of Grace and Mercy.
Point #49. The Mitzvah of Hospitality, Hachnasat Orchim (הכנסת אורחים), literally means “Bringing in the Guests.” The verb “bringing in” is an active transitive verb. This means the people of Israel are called to cause others to come in. “Come in where?” Through the mitzvah of hospitality we Jews must nationally and internationally inspire others to come into the kingdom of Heaven here on earth. We are causing others to come into the generous provision of the heavenly Father’s family here on earth. We are called to do our part in persuading the Gentile peoples of the world to become the friends of Adonai; instead of (remaining) His estranged enemies.
The Cost of Discipleship is death to our self-life and rebirth into the life of God our Father.
We cannot enter into a right relationship with the heavenly Father until we become morally and spiritually perfect (shalom; complete) as He is. The Messiah has laid out for us a clear path so that we might attain this. The temple sacrifices foreshadowed the once-in-eternity sacrifice of Messiah that alone can forensically purify us of sin and make us legally (morally and ethically) acceptable to the Holy One.When we (Jews) trample underfoot the sacrificed life of the Messiah we insult the Presence of the Spirit of Grace (Ruach Ha-Chesed).
The seasoning (saltiness) of God’s grace is the actual Presence of the Ruach HaChesed.
For the Presence of the Spirit of Grace to remain salty upon, in and through us we must lift up God’s Name and His Word with all honor, love and respect so that His Presence will not diminish and depart from us. Therefore, we are not to treat what is holy as common (i.e. wastefully spill the salt out on the ground). Our ancestors did not put their salt on the common ground (dirt). They carefully stored (preserved) their salt upon a solid rock surface so that it would not decay and spoil. Salt is a symbol of the preserving and purifying graciousness, purity and favor that comes from a proper respect and love for the Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One. When we ignorantly and sinfully mix the holy salt with man’s dirt – vain secular philosophies and empty religions – the Presence of the Holy One will become useless to us.
Messiah taught us that the people of Israel are to be Salt and Light to the entire World!
Our Messiah humorously mentioned the three terms “salt,” “soil,” and “manure pile” all in the same mashal (Jewish parable). Our Messiah is saying to us that our calling to be “the salt of the world” includes the mitzvah that each and every one of us must possess an abiding sense of commitment to Abba Avinu’s law of hospitality and as we do so: we must also (humbly) exercise His—God our Father’s—great sense of humor while we do it.