Monthly Archives: May 2020

The Mark of the Beast Part II

In Part I, many Scripture references were given to demonstrate that the sign of Adonai upon one’s hand and forehead is Passover, Sabbath, and the Shema or Words of God. (Dt. 6:4-9) These feasts teach one that YHWH is the Creator, Deliverer, and Law-Giver. He is the supreme authority and King of the Universe.

Initially, I had planned to go directly into the contranym or the mark of the beast, but then I realized that it would be a mistake to not first rehash some key Hebraic concepts. Especially, given how provocative the topic of the mark of the beast is. Thus, there will be a Part III.

Context is king. The mark, which signifies authority, cannot be understood apart from the “image” of the beast. And, the image of the beast must be understood in light of the image of God.

Image of the Beast

Rev 13:15 (NASB) And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

Does this remind you of this verse?

Gen. 2:7 (NASB) Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

In Targum Onkelos,[1]this verse reads:

Gen. 2:7 And the Lord God created Adam from dust of the ground, and breathed upon his face the breath of lives, and it became in Adam a Discoursing [speaking] Spirit.

The enemy is a counterfeiter through and through. God gave the breath of life to his image bearers, and it became in Adam a speaking or discoursing spirit. The second beast gives breath (and speech) to the image of the first beast. It is the “speaking image” of the beast that is worshipped. We will return to this image after reviewing the image of God.

 

Image of God

Gen. 1:26-27 (NASB) Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Gen. 5:1-2 (LITV) This is the book of the generations of Adam: In the day that God created man. He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and blessed them, and called their name Adam in the day when they were created.

Man and woman were created in the image of Elohim. The Hebrew word for image is tzelem. The following is The Complete Word Study Dictionary’s definition.[2]

H6754 צֶלֶם tṣelem: A masculine noun meaning an image, a likeness, a statue, a model, a drawing, a shadow. The word means image or likeness; its most celebrated theological and anthropological use was to depict human beings as made in God’s own image (Gen 1:26-27; Gen 5:3). People continue to be in His image even after the fall, although the image is marred (Gen 9:6), and still serves as the basis of the prohibition not to kill human beings… The word is also used in a concrete sense to depict images cut out of or molded from various materials. The word describes the images or idols of foreign or strange gods (2Ki 11:18; Amo 5:26). The people of Israel produced images used as idols from their own jewelry (Eze 7:20; Eze 16:17). Israel was, on its entrance into Canaan, to destroy all the molten images of the heathen (Num 33:52). In Eze 23:14, this word refers to pictures of Babylonians that enticed the people of Israel into apostasy when they saw them (Eze 23:14).

Mankind is the shadow of Elohim. In Hebrew thought, this isn’t about one’s appearance, rather it one’s purpose and actions. YHWH placed within mankind (both male and female) a shadow or likeness of His character and will. We are His representatives in the earth, His image or shadow bearers. Shadows or images mimic the reality. Thus, one’s words, deeds, actions, and fruit will either confirm or profane Adonai’s image. This is why tzelem can also mean a graven image or an idol:

Ex. 20:4 (NASB) “You shall not make for yourself an idol (tzelem), or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. (See also Lev. 26:1, Ezek. 16:17, etc.)

If the above sounded familiar, it’s because it is a quote from my article entitled, Sukkot: Hidden in the Shade of God. In it, I tie several themes together regarding the image of God, a shadow of things to come, Betzalel, Mary, and the Transfiguration. These things demonstrate how one that is the true image of God in the earth is a builder, most specifically of the Kingdom.

What do the tzelem of God do? They subdue and rule over the fish, birds, and the beasts. (Not one another.) In Greek, the word for image in Revelation 13 and in the Septuagint of Genesis 1:27 is eikon. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines it as:

G1504 εἰκών eikōn 1) an image, figure, likeness. 1a) an image of the things (the heavenly things). 1a1) used of the moral likeness of renewed men to God. 1a2) the image of the Son of God, into which true Christians are transformed, is likeness not only to the heavenly body, but also to the most holy and blessed state of mind, which Christ possesses. 1b) the image of one. 1b1) one in whom the likeness of any one is seen. 1b2) applied to man on account of his power of command. 1b3) to Christ on account of his divine nature and absolute moral excellence. Part of Speech: noun feminine. A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1503

There are two possible images that one 

can reflect to the world: 

Adonai’s or the Beast’s.

The Image of the Beast, From the Beginning

In Revelation 13, people worship the eikon of the beast. The first mention of “a beast” in the Bible is on day six of creation.[3] The same day (number) that man was created.

Gen. 1:24-31 (NASB) Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. 25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

In creation, the beast was created before the man. It was born first, so to speak. But, that in no way placed the beast in authority over the Adam. “The older shall serve the younger” is what the LORD told Rebekah when she sought Him about the warring twins in her womb. Her sons, Esau and Jacob, are archetypes of the two images man can reflect. The elder is red and hairy like a beast, and grows up to prefer the field. He sells his birthright in a moment of hunger, a snapshot in time, which is the epitome of the flesh wanting instant gratification. Jacob, though far from perfect, is a smooth man, peaceful, a dweller of tents. It is not a coincidence that their father, Isaac, was SIXTY years old when they were born.

Gen. 25:23-28 (NASB) The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.” 24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

It was as if even in the womb, the older, beast-like Esau was trying to crush the head of Jacob. I suggest rereading this account in Genesis. Pay special attention to the actions and nature of Esau. His tzelem does not reflect Adonai. He is much more like a beast. On another mystical level, we all are the twins. We are Esau AND Jacob. Who will win in the end?

Both the beast and mankind are day six creations. From this point forward, the number six in Scripture is teaching one about the nature of the beast or the nature of man. To be a true “man” or Adam (male and female) one will reveal the image of God in the earth. To reveal anything else, is an image of a beast. Just like Esau and Jacob.

Beasts live by instinct, desire, appetites, and fleshly drives. Mankind has all the same instincts, but he/she is to live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. One’s flesh nature, though not evil in and of itself, should not rule or be what drives a person. This sets mankind apart from their day six counterparts, the beasts.

Dr. Alewine teaches that the basic desires of a beast are to eat, sleep, procreate, play games, and expand territory.[4] None of these things are evil, and a beast is fulfilling its God given purpose by following these instincts. Mankind also has these impulses; and, none of them are sin when fulfilled – IF they are governed by the Word of God. But any one of these impulses, if allowed to rule (control) a person will lead to sin.

You are meant to be a man, which is the tzelem of Adonai, not a beast. You are meant to rule over this nature within yourself by constantly meditating upon and obeying the Words of Life. The beast, like the serpent, will challenge God’s Word, His Authority, and your resolve. This is what happened in the Garden of Eden.

Gen. 3:1 (NKJV) Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

What does a tempter, like the serpent, appeal to? How is he “cunning” or “crafty?” He is a beast, so he will always appeal to the desires of the flesh and the power of emotions, because that is all he knows. The story of the fall is packed with words that speak of desire. Why shouldn’t we have what we want? Did God really say? That’s the voice of the beast. It is the lips of a seductress. It whispers and entices. It is the voice that questions, twists, and perverts the Word of God to have what it wants without any pesky misgivings.

It gives breath and speech to the things
 
that should have no voice, and seeks to kill

those that will not bow down to its will. 

(Rev. 13:15)

The first murderer, Cain, wrestled with this “speaking beast” in the form of jealous anger. Adonai warned him:

Gen 4:6-7 (NASB) Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

In the past, I’ve made the mistake of misreading these verses. (To be fair, translations can be misleading.) Unlike English, Hebrew indefinite pronouns must always refer to a correctly gendered noun. The pronouns “its and it” of verse seven read as if they are replacing the noun “sin.” But, sin is feminine and “its and it” refer to a masculine noun. To find the masculine noun these pronouns are replacing, one must look back to verse 6. The phrase “your countenance fallen” is more literally “your face has fallen.” Face is a masculine noun. This is an idiom for intense anger.

It wasn’t “sin” that had desire for Cain, but something that was within him: his anger! Emotions are part of the lower, beast nature of man. God told Cain to master or rule over this powerful force. If not, the emotion of anger would master him. It was close at hand, at the door, ready to take the reins. Cain did not heed the warning of the LORD. The very next verse says:

Gen. 4:8 (NRSV) Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.

Notice the reference to the field. (It’s been present in many of the passages I’ve quoted above.) The field is where beasts dwell. The serpent was the most cunning beast of the field. Cain is warned that his strong emotion of anger is crouching at his door. In the very next verse, his anger rose up from its crouch and killed his brother. He became the beast. Anger took over and ruled the man, and murder was the result.

Rev. 13:15 (NASB) And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

Men (and women) ruled by the beast nature are destroyers, whether they realize it or not. One ruled by their desires and emotions live by the animal kingdom’s “survival of the fittest.” At its core, it is selfish and self-serving, because it is fueled by FEAR. It doesn’t want to play nice, share, or put anything or anyone before what it wants. It is the epitome of want. It seeks to subjugate and dominate others because it serves only its own desire. Consider the beasts of the field. This is exactly what they do.

There were two beasts that spoke in the Torah: the serpent in the Garden and Balaam’s ass. In both cases, the people involved had been enticed by their desires. Chavah (Eve) desired the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Balaam desired honor and to profit from his prophetic gift. The serpent’s words roused and deceived Chavah into fulfilling her desire. Balaam’s ass, a beast of burden, tried to save Balaam (and herself) from the sword of the angel. She was a voice of reason to the hardened prophet. He must only speak what God tells him to speak.

These two examples are perfect teachers. The serpent is an untamable, cold blooded creature. It hisses, charms, and bewitches the listener. This is akin to the unbridled lower, beast nature. The ass is broken and trained to carry a burden. She is faithful to her master. This is akin to one that has bridled their emotions and nephesh (flesh) with all its impulses.

 

The Image of the Son

How can one overcome the fallen nature and be a proper tzelem of Adonai? Yeshua is the Way!

Col. 1:15-23 (NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.  19  For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,  20  and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

We are to be conformed into the image of the second Adam. (Rom. 8:29ff) Not the first Adam. The older shall serve the younger. This is accomplished most notably through suffering, which is something the beast hates. But it also requires diligence and mindfulness. It is a lifelong process. While the beast seeks to subjugate and dominate, the Spirit of the Lord brings freedom!

2 Cor. 3:17-18 (NASB) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

I’ll leave you with Paul’s instruction in this matter. He gives examples of both images, two kingdom attitudes, two paths. The more we know the traits of each side, the more wisdom and understanding we will have to discern between the beast and the man.

Col. 3:1-17 (NASB)

1  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

2  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

3  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

4  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

5  Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

6  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,

7  and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

8  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

9  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

10  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

11  a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

12  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

13  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

14  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

15  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

16  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

17  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

 

More to come in Part III.

 


[1]Targum Onkelos is the official eastern (Babylonian) Aramaic translation to the Torah. Its authorship is attributed to Onkelos, a famous convert to Judaism in Tannaic times (c. 35–120 CE).

[2]The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament by Warren Baker. Retrieved using Strong’s number H6754 on E-Sword Bible software.

[3]Why the focus on the beginning? Because it teaches the end.  Is. 46:9-10 (TLV) Remember the former things of old: For I am God—there is no other. I am God, and there is none like Me—10 declaring the end from the beginning, from ancient time, what is yet to come, saying, “My purpose will stand, and I will accomplish all that I please.”

[4] The Creation Gospel Workbook Four: The Scarlet Harlot and the Crimson Thread 

Categories: Biblical Symbols | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Mark of the Beast Part I

The Mark of the Beast Part I

There is a lot of chatter about receiving the mark of the beast during the current pandemic. Is it a vaccine, an under the skin microchip, or a tattoo? Speculations about this “mark” have been juicy fodder for apocalyptic literature, whether fiction or nonfiction, for decades, and even centuries. Fear about receiving this damnable mark bolsters countless conspiracies and an endless supply of consumers eager to swallow them. Fear is a very powerful motivator. But, one that serves the Most High is to fear Him alone. Not man. Not circumstances. And, certainly not the mark of the beast.

While one can find numerous books, articles, websites, and YouTube videos about the mark of the beast, little is available about the sign or mark of Adonai. There is such a disparity, that many Believers aren’t even aware that the LORD also gives a sign upon one’s hand and forehead. So, there are millions that focus solely on the counterfeit, having no experience with the real, authentic sign. No wonder there is such confusion! That is the intent of the beast system, spiritual Babylon.

Thus, if one wants to understand the mark of the beast, one must first understand the positive side of the contranym, which is the sign or mark of Adonai. This is a lengthy article, because it contains extensive Biblical quotes. And yet, this mini-series will only scratch the surface of this ancient dichotomy. The enemy is not creative, though he is crafty and cunning. He can only imitate and pervert God’s genuine Word and creation. With that in mind, let’s read about Adonai’s sign upon one’s hand and forehead.

The Passover is a Sign

Ex. 13:4-10 (NASB) On this day in the month of Abib, you are about to go forth.  5  It shall be when the LORD brings you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall observe this rite in this month.  6  For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD.  7  Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders.  8  You shall tell your son on that day, saying, “It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.”  9  And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt.  10  Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.

The sign upon one’s hand and forehead is repeated further down in Exodus 13. The context is still Pesach and Unleavened Bread, but the emphasis in verse 16 is the redemption of the firstborn. In both cases, obedience to celebrating, commemorating, and telling the next generation about YHWH’s mighty works in delivering Israel from the slavery and bondage of Egypt, and His preservation of Israel’s firstborns serves as a SIGN upon one’s hand.

Ex. 13:11-16 (NKJV) And it shall be, when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you,  12  that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD’s.  13  But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.  14  So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, “What is this?” that you shall say to him, “By strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  15  And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.”  16  It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.

 

Defining Hand & Sign

What does the hand signify in Hebraic thought? One acts, performs, or works with their hands. It is a symbol of “doing” something or having the strength to do or act; thus, it can be translated as power. (Dt 32:36, Pr. 18:21, Hos. 13:14, etc.) One’s hand denotes strength to obey, whether that obedience is toward righteousness or wickedness. Whatever one gives their hand to is what (or who) they serve. (Rom. 6:16)

The “sign” in these passages is אות in Hebrew. Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (BDB) defines it as:

H226 BDB Definition: 1) sign, signal. 1a) a distinguishing mark. 1b) banner. 1c) remembrance. 1d) miraculous sign. 1e) omen. 1f) warning. 2) token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof. Part of Speech: noun feminine. A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: probably from H225 (in the sense of appearing)

The following verses are samples of how the word oht or sign is used in Scripture:

Gen. 1:14 (NASB) Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years…

Gen. 4:15 (NASB) So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.

Gen. 9:12-13 (NASB) God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.”

Gen. 17:10-11 (NASB) “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.  11  And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.”

Ex. 12:11-13 (NASB) “Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover. 12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”

Dt. 28:45-48 (NASB) So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the LORD your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46 They shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever. 47 Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.

Ps. 78:41-43 (NASB) Again and again they tempted God, and pained the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power, the day when He redeemed them from the adversary, 43 when He performed His signs in Egypt And His marvels in the field of Zoan…

Is. 7:14 (NASB) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Aleph

An oht or sign is physical symbol of something figurative or spiritual. For example, oht is also the Hebrew word for a single “letter” or character, such as aleph. Thus, even the Hebrew letters can contain signs and meaning beyond the physical. In the case of covenants, the sign is a physical mark such as circumcision or a heavenly appearance of something like the rainbow. Keeping Passover is physical sign upon one’s hand, not as something seen with the eyes, but something physically performed with one’s hand. Observing this moed serves as the sign on the hand. It is both physical and spiritual. In other uses, a sign is the physical miracles and/or judgments of Adonai. Again, these signs are both physical and spiritual.

Defining Forehead or Frontlets Between Your Eyes

What do the phrases “reminder on your forehead” and “frontlets between your eyes” from Exodus 13 mean? In the first case, the Hebrew word for reminder is zikron. Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (BDB) defines it as:

H2146 זכרון zikrôn BDB Definition: 1) memorial, reminder, remembrance. Part of Speech: noun masculine. A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H2142

Zikron comes from the Hebrew root zakar, which Strong’s Definitions defines as:

Strong’s: H2142 זָכַר zâkar A primitive root; properly to mark (so as to be recognized), that is, to remember; by implication to mention; also (as denominative from H2145) to be male: –  X burn [incense], X earnestly, be male, (make) mention (of), be mindful, recount, record (-er), remember, make to be remembered, bring (call, come, keep, put) to (in) remembrance, X still, think on, X well. Total KJV occurrences: 231

The word for forehead in the NASB translation is literally “between your eyes” in the Hebrew of Exodus 13:9. Observing and telling one’s children about the Passover and exodus from Egypt wrought by the Mighty Hand of Adonai is to be a memorial, a mark, and a reminder, between one’s eyes. This phrase and the following one in verse 16, imply undivided attention, thought, intent, and action. The Passover should be right at the forefront of one’s mind, right before one’s “eyes.”

The similar phrase in Exodus 13:16, “frontlets between your eyes,” reveals the same message, but gives one even more information. BDB defines frontlets as:

H2903 טופפה ṭôphâphâh BDB Definition: 1) bands, phylacteries, frontlets, marks. Part of Speech: noun feminine. A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from an unused root meaning to go around or bind.

This word gives physicality to intangible thought being a mark. The Passover memorial is like a band wrapped around one’s head. Just as Pesach cycles around and around on Adonai’s calendar, it is to circle and cycle through one’s thoughts and mind. One should NEVER forget that: “with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt. Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.” This reminder is a standing testimony of the God of Israel.

 

The Word and Commandments of God are a Sign on One’s Hand and Forehead

Dt. 6:4-9 (NASB) Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Dt. 11:18 (NASB) You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

By reading the entirety of the chapter 6 above, along with chapters 7- 11 of Deuteronomy, one is given clear context of what it means to have the word of Adonai bound to one’s forehead and hand. The flank chapters (6 and 11) declare the exodus from Egypt as the archetype of deliverance and following after the One True God. In fact, if one substitutes the Land of Promise with the New Jerusalem, an even clearer picture emerges, for they are one.

If the Word is bound to one’s forehead, then one’s thoughts and mind are continually immersed and washed by the Words of Life. If the Word of God is bound to one’s hand, then their deeds (fruit) will follow the commandments and they will teach their children to follow suit, because it is understood that God’s Word and His commandments lead to life. They embody true love and wisdom, and engender reverence to the Holy One of Israel.

Both Deuteronomy passages above have the phrase “frontlets between your eyes.” Frontlets is the same Hebrew word explored from Exodus 13:16. It is tofafa. These verses are included in the Scripture passages that are placed inside the tefillin or phylactery boxes wore by religious Jews. Donning Tefillin (Totafot) or Phylacteries is the Jewish physical expression of the binding meaning of tafafa. It serves as a physical reminder of a spiritual reality.

While the topic of wearing tefillin during prayer is far too immense to cover in this article, I recommend this summary written by Alexander Cowen. A study of the history and intricacies of this tradition, the inner compartments, the included Scripture, and the design of the boxes with the three and four pronged shin can be found in The Creation Gospel Workbook 6: Hebrew Prayer and Worship Traditions by Dr. Hollisa Alewine. She states on page 237:

The Talmud indicates in Megillah 24b that by the time of its writing, it was primarily Jewish believers in Yeshua who wore the round phylacteries or decorated them with precious metals, and they wore them “without scruple.” (Bagatti, 1984, p.101)

Wearing phylacteries as a physical sign of the commandments and commemoration of the Passover was practiced among early believers in Yeshua. Though this custom is foreign to most modern Christians, it would have been common among John’s day when he wrote the Book of Revelation. A sign upon one’s hand and forehead held significant meaning that was not lost on his original audience. But before delving into his mystical book, we will examine a few more references of a godly sign in the Bible. The more context one has of the genuine sign or mark of Adonai, the better understanding one will have of what the counterfeit actually represents.

 

Weekly Sabbaths and Festival Sabbaths are a Sign

Ex. 31:12-17 (NASB) The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.  14 Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death.  16  So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”

In the above sense, Sabbath is a sign between Adonai and His children. It is like a wedding ring, signifying one that is in covenant with Him. Why the Sabbath? In Genesis chapter one, the Sabbath declares Him the Creator of all things. When one rests in Him by setting the seventh day apart as holy, this is a physical and temporal acknowledgment that He is the King and Creator of the Universe. In this way, it also sets one apart from those that refuse to recognize Him as their true rest and King. One must choose to don this “ring” or symbol of covenant.

Being in covenant with Adonai is often portrayed by the analogy of marriage in the Bible, and in Jewish and Christian tradition. For example, when donning the phylacteries, many Jews recite the following from Hosea.

Hos. 2:19-20 (NASB) “I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, 20 and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.”

In Jewish wedding ceremonies, the bride encircles the groom three times (in some traditions it is seven), to symbolize a wall of protection and the creating of a new creation: the two becoming one flesh. The three “betroths” mentioned above in Hosea are mirrored as she encompasses her man. (Jer. 31:22) Likewise, those that encircle the groom seven times, reflect the seven days of creation culminating with the Shabbat, the sign between Adonai and His people.

Ezekiel also recalls the exodus from Egypt and the Sabbaths as a sign between Adonai and His people. Within his prophetic book, he mentions a mark placed upon the foreheads of those who sigh and moan over the abominations committed in Jerusalem. They are preserved from Adonai’s judgment that will start with His sanctuary.

Ezek. 20:10-12 (NASB) “So I took them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 I gave them My statutes and informed them of My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live. 12 Also I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them.”

Ezek. 9:4 (NASB) The LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.”

Like Shabbat, the Passover (and other moedim) declare the wondrous works of Adonai. They proclaim the good news: freedom for the captives. By rehearsing and commemorating His works again and again, one gets to know God as Creator, Redeemer, Deliverer, Savior, Sanctifier, Miracle Worker, Law-giver, Compassionate Father, Righteous Judge, Forgiver of Sins, Husband, and Immanuel. He is the first and the last, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning and the End, the Amen.

As one follows His divine cycles, the cycles encircle them with His water and fire, an immersion that cleans, purifies, guides, teaches, corrects, and leads. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly this process of growth and sanctification continues. In this way, the Word is engraved upon the heart, which directs one’s feet in the Way of Life. Yeshua modelled this perfectly in His earthly ministry. If we follow Him, we will follow the same path that He walked (walks).

This is a sign upon one’s hand and one’s forehead that we are His. It reminds of us of who we are and to Whom we belong, like a wedding ring. But, it also is a sign to those outside of the covenant as well. Though they can’t see a physical or literal mark upon one’s hand and forehead, they can see that you are different. They will see the “sign” and know that you belong to God of Israel. What does that wedding ring look like?

Your calendar is not like their calendar. The oht you observe are not the oht they observe. Your celebrations and commemorations are not like their holidays. Your weekly life revolves around the holy Shabbat, not the constant 24/7 striving that the world enslaves the masses to. Your daily focus isn’t on the acquisition of worldly goods and wealth, but on the Kingdom of God. You don’t fear what they fear. You fear Adonai. You enter into rest, the antithesis to the beast system, which will be explored later in this series.

Continued in Part II.

 

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Pesach Sheni

Tonight is Pesach Sheni or the Passover in the second month. A small group of locals are gathering for a Seder and prayer time since we were isolated by “stay at home” orders this year during Passover. Rather than elucidate on the details of Pesach Sheni, I have some suggested homework or extra reading for you this Shabbat. Consider the following passages:

Ex 12:1-28

Dt 16:1-8

Num 9:1-14

Hezekiah’s Passover

Hezekiah cleansed the Temple and restored proper worship. He reinstated Passover; they celebrated in the second month. 

2 Ki 18-20

2 Ch 29-32

A few years ago, I wrote about Hezekiah’s Passover. It was celebrated in the SECOND month.

Josiah’s Passover

Josiah was the grandson of King Hezekiah.  Josiah’s heart was to seek and serve Adonai. He made many reforms that cleansed the land of idol worship. After this “cleansing,” he reinstated Passover. 

2 Ki 23:1-30 

2 Ch 34:1-33

2 Ch 35:1-19 

Above all, I ask you to pray for heart like Hezekiah and Josiah in regard to repentance, tearing down high places and idols, and for mercy for those that seek to return to Adonai. May we remember that Adonai is the, “LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

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