Posts Tagged With: Mount of Transfiguration

Sukkot: Hidden in the Shade of God

Col. 2:16-17 (LITV) Then do not let anyone judge you in eating, or in drinking, or in part of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of coming things, but the body is of Christ.

In my last post, I tried to help the reader to understand that not all darkness is evil. Sometimes darkness simply implies what is hidden from our natural (and spiritual) sight. A shadow, like Paul mentions above, falls into that same category. In a godly sense, the shadow is cast by the heavenly reality. The last thing one would desire to do is to speak evil of the shadow, for that shadow is the testimony of heaven.

Ironically, that’s exactly what many well-meaning Believers do when they read the above verses from Colossians. They seek to do away with the shadow because they think it detracts from the reality. I am an amateur artist. Proper shading turns a 2-D piece of art into something that appears 3-D. It gives the piece depth, making it a more realistic representation of the actual figure. Shadows are vital to help one see the reality.

My good friend, Dr. Robin Gould, wrote an excellent BEKY Book explaining the context and culture of Colossae called Colossal Controversies. I urge you to get a copy and give it to those that are perplexed by your obedience to Torah, especially if they’ve been taught that verses such as Colossians 2:16-17 imply that the shadow is useless.

What was the Biblical context of the word “shadow” for a first century Torah observant Jewish Pharisee? After all, that’s how Paul described himself.[1] When he spoke of one’s eating, drinking, partaking of feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths, and connected them to both a shadow and Messiah, this was no small matter. When we understand this significance, we too, will joyfully set our sights on “the things above,” the reality… by following the earthly shadow given by Adonai.

Col. 3:1-4 (TLV) Therefore, if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above—where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. 4 When Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him, in glory!

Rather than denigrating the dietary laws, feasts, Sabbaths, and new moons, Paul’s message to the Colossians was a powerful testimony of their eternal benefit and protection. To fully appreciate the portrait that He paints, let’s start with the beginning.

The First Shadows

The first Adam, male and female, were created in the image of God. Their mandate was to fill the earth, take dominion, and rule over all its creatures.

Gen. 1:27-28 (NASB) 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.”

Man and woman were created in HIS image. The Hebrew word for image is tzelem. The following is The Complete Word Study Dictionary’s entry[2] for tzelem:

H6754

צֶלֶם ṣelem: 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.

It is used metaphorically to depict persons as shadows, phantoms, or unknowing, senseless, fleeting beings carrying out the motions of life (Psa 39:6 [7]); unless they have hope in God (see Psa 39:7 [8]). In a similar vein, the wicked before the Lord are considered as mere dreams or fantasies (Psa 73:20).

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 mimic the reality. Thus, one’s words, deeds, actions, and fruit will either confirm or profane His 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.)

The common Hebrew word for shadow is tzel. It is just like the word for image above without the mem.

H6738 צלtsêl  Brown, Driver, Briggs Definition: 1) shadow, shade 1a) shadow (on dial) 1b) shadow, shade (as protection) 1c) shadow (symbolic of transitoriness of life) Part of Speech: noun masculine A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H6751

Tzel can be a literal shadow or shade, but just as in English, it can be figurative. It is in this sense that David and other Psalmist speak of God’s shadow being a place of refuge and protection:

Ps. 91:1-2 (NKJV) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

Ps. 36:7 (NASB) How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

It is vital to understand what is and isn’t Adonai’s shadow. If His shadow is a secret place of refuge, like the wings of a mother bird, who wouldn’t want to run and hide there? I wouldn’t call this a “mere” thing. Isaiah, speaking of the future of Zion, makes some interesting connections in Hebrew between God’s House and His shadow:

Is. 4:4-6 (NKJV) When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, 5 then the LORD will create above every dwelling place (makon, like mishkan) of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering (chuppah). 6 And there will be a tabernacle (sukkah) for shade (tzel –shadow) in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

God’s Tabernacle, Sukkah, and Chuppah are all shadows of protection. His sukkah is the shadow that protects one from the heat; it is a refuge and shelter in the storm. This passage also recalls when the children of Israel faithfully followed their Husband in the wilderness[3] as He was a cloud by day and a pillar fire by night. These shadowy pillars protected, led, and covered the people.

The reason one is commanded to dwell in booths or sukkot during the Feast of Sukkot is so that all future generations will know that YHWH made the Children of Israel dwell in sukkot when He brought them out of Egypt. He doesn’t want His people in any generation to forget, so there is something very important about this appointment.

Lev. 23:42-43 (NKJV) You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.’ “

Oddly, the “tents” that Israel dwelt in while in the wilderness are never called sukkot. They are called ohalim, literally tents, or a mishkan, a tabernacle/dwelling place. (For example, see Exodus 18:7; 33:10, Numbers 33:10; 16:27, etc.) This peculiarity has sparked some interesting explanations by the sages. Rabbi Eliezer believed that the sukkot that HaShem made Israel dwell in was His “clouds of glory,” the Ananei HaKavod. Rabbi Akiva disagreed and said that the sukkot were the literal tents that Israel set up in the wilderness. (Sukkah 11b)

Perhaps they are both right. The word sukkah comes from the following root[4]:

H5526 ךּכַסָsāḵaḵ: I. A verb meaning to cover. It means to hide something or to shield something: the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant was covered by the wings of cherubim (Exo 25:20); God’s hand covered and protected Moses (Exo 33:22). It is used of separating off an area with a curtain or hanging (Exo 40:3, Exo 40:21). Figuratively, it shows God shielding those who trust Him (Psa 5:11 [12]; Psa 91:4); He covers Himself in anger (Lam 3:43) or with a cloud(Lam 3:44) II. A verb meaning to stir, to excite. It means to rouse up, to spur on in the context of the Lord’s action (Isa 9:11 [10]; Isa 19:2). III. A verb meaning to weave together. It describes the Lord’s activity in creating a child’s fetus within the womb (Job 10:11; Psa 139:13).

Sukkot is also the name of a place. In fact, the first stop Israel made after leaving Egypt was Sukkot.[5] Inherent in the meaning of this word is the idea of covering, concealing, hiding, and protecting. Paul says that our lives are “hidden in Messiah,” but will one day be revealed when He is revealed in glory (kavod). When the resurrected Messiah left the earth, it was a “cloud” that received Him. Two angels told the disciples that when He returns, it will be in the same manner.

Acts 1:9-11 (NASB) And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Mark 13:26 (NASB) “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory.

Shadows and clouds are equivalent expressions in many cases. They both cover, hide, conceal, and protect. Hebrews 12 calls those that had faith and trust in Adonai a great “cloud of witnesses.” In Isaiah 4 above, it is specifically the sukkah that is called a shadow (tzel). To further this connection, Adonai chose a specific person to be the craftsman or builder of His Tabernacle in the wilderness.

Betzalel

Ex. 31:1-5 (NASB) Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 “I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 5 and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.

Betzalel’s name means, “in the shadow of El/God.” His father, Uri, means fiery and Hur means white textiles.[6] Like Messiah, he was from the tribe of Judah. The names of his father and grandfather (fiery and white) also connects Betzalel with Yeshua, the one with blazing white robes and fiery eyes. His was filled with the Spirit of God, and was called to be a craftsman or builder of the House of God. Betzalel is certainly a “shadow” of Yeshua, the son of a carpenter, the spirit-filled builder of Adonai’s House.

Betzalel, the one in the shadow of God, built the earthly shadow of the Heavenly Temple. Ponder that for a moment. The shadow built or created the shadow, so that the people could draw near to God. The pattern of the Tabernacle was shown to Moses on the Mountain top. He was instructed to carefully make it after the heavenly pattern. (Ex. 25:40; 26:30; 27:8) Shadows should mimic the reality perfectly. If we are the shadow or the Temple of God on the earth, then Betzalel has much to teach us. Paul uses this imagery in the following passage.

1 Cor. 3:9-17 (NASB) For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident;for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

If we are the shadow or image of Messiah in the earth, then like Paul, we too, should look at our lives, walk, and ministry[7]as if we are builders of His House and Kingdom. As I’ve written previously, if we aren’t building, we are tearing down.

Pr. 14:1 (NASB) The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

At the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, the Apostles and Elders gathered together to consider what should be done with the Gentiles that were joining their ranks. Peter reminds them that God’s choice was to use his mouth to declare the Gospel to the Gentiles. (This is what Peter’s Vision in Acts 10 was about.) Then, Barnabas and Paul gave testimony of all they had witnessed among the Gentiles. After careful consideration, James gives his answer or judgment on the matter by quoting Amos 9.

Acts 15:14-17 (NKJV) Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: 16 ‘AFTER THIS I WILL RETURN AND WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID, WHICH HAS FALLEN DOWN; I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS, AND I WILL SET IT UP;  17  SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, EVEN ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME, SAYS THE LORD WHO DOES ALL THESE THINGS.’

Notice that Amos and James, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, prophesy that the nations turn to HaShem BECAUSE He is rebuilding the Tabernacle of David. This is what Mashiach, the Builder, does. Adonai’s desire all along has been for His House (Tent/Tabernacle/Temple) to be a House of Prayer for ALL nations.

Is. 56:6-7 (NKJV) “Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants—Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant— 7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

 “For God so loved the whole world,” has been true from the beginning. When King Solomon (another shadow of Yeshua) dedicated the House of Adonai, he did not forget the foreigners.

1 Ki. 8:41-43 (NKJV) “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name’s sake 42 (for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple,  43  hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.

When we understand that the mountain, the holy hill, the tent, Tabernacle, Temple, House, the Cloud, the Smoke, His Wings, Dwelling Place, Messiah, and many other beautiful analogies are all speaking about the same thing, and have from the very beginning, and that their purpose and function all teach the same message as a shadow of the heavenly reality, the Bible makes so much more sense.

Sometimes Adonai does something spectacular with His shadowy wings and the realm of heaven kisses the realm of earth. Interestingly, the writers of the Apostolic scriptures call this “to overshadow.”

Overshadow

While studying Torah Portion Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11–34:35) last year, I had the pleasure of learning from Rabbi Sariella Creeger. In the message, she mentioned Betzalel and connected his name with the message given to Miriam (Mary) before conceiving Yeshua.

Luke 1:35 (NASB) The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 

What happened to Miriam when God “overshadowed” her was not unlike what happened when He filled Betzalel with His Ruach. Both were given the heavenly pattern to build the Tabernacle or Dwelling Place of God among His people. They were both “builders” of the House of Adonai. Both Houses were a shadow of the heavenly reality. Both Houses or Temples made a way for the people to draw near to God.

As a side note, I should mention that there are numerous correlations between the womb, the Tabernacle, and intimacy with YHWH. This is true even in the definition of sakak, the root of sukkah, outlined above. Author, teacher, and pastor John Diffenderfer, delivered an amazing message to Mercy Collective in Nashville, TN on Shavuot 2017 called God’s Womb, the Tabernacle, the Bride, and the FeastsI encourage you to watch it; the metaphor is stunning!

A son (ben) and a house (beit) in Hebrew both come from the same root, banah, which means “to build.” Understanding, as in the Spirit of Understanding (Ex. 31:3, Is. 11:2), also derives from the root banah. Do you see the connection? Building a house and building a son (a people) are the same thing. Neither can be accomplished without the Holy Spirit of Binah.

When training someone to perform a new job or task, we often have them “shadow” a seasoned or experienced person in that trade or field. This is how one learns. If we skip the training, it will affect our job knowledge and performance in a negative way. But if we shadow (mimic/mirror) the successful, experienced employee or boss, we too, will prosper.

This reminds me of young girl watching her mother care for her younger sibling or a young boy watching his father build their house. Innate in each is the compulsion to imitate their parent. The young girl likely has baby dolls with toy milk bottles, diapers, and changes of clothes. This is her “shadow nursery” where she practices caring for her future family. Without the reality of her mother’s faithfulness to care for the next generation, this young girl would have nothing (good) to imitate. Either she wouldn’t have a shadow nursery, or her nursery would be distorted by a lack of understanding of what a mother actually does.

The young boy likely has a toy carpenter station with plastic hammers and nails, fake wood planks, and rubber saws. This is his “shadow woodshop” where he learns to care for his future family. Like the young girl, he can only be the shadow of what he sees. If the father is absent, he might think the hammer is used to hurt others. On the other hand, if the reality is a good father, the boy might grow to not only build the house of his family, but many others.

We might laugh at this analogy, but this whole world is a shadow of the heavenly reality. The shadow is the proof or evidence of what we cannot yet see.

Heb. 11:1-3 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

When the Ruach HaKodesh overshadowed Miriam, the Greek word used was episkiazō. This word comes from the Greek word skia, shadow. Skia is equivalent to the Hebrew word tzelem. Thayer’s defines it below.

G4639 σκία, skia

1) shadow 1a) shade caused by the interception of light 1b) an image cast by an object and representing the form of that object 1c) a sketch, outline, adumbration. Part of Speech: noun feminine

Visualize standing outside with your back to the afternoon sun. Your body blocks the light in front of you, producing a dark, phantom-like representation of your form. If you raise your hands, so does your shadow. If you squat, so does this shady figure. While the shadow mimics your actions and outline, it cannot convey or capture the many colors, textures, and other things that truly make you, you. It cannot move or act of its own accord. And, as long as the light shines on you, you can’t escape or out run your shadow. It is connected to you completely.

Have you ever tried to touch your shadow? There is nothing there. Yet it is proof that something is there… you. This is how the Spirit realm appears to humans (most of the time). Other things in nature give a similar parable, like wind and clouds, both of which are used in the Bible to describe the Holy Spirit. The creation week, the Tabernacle, the Temple, and Yeshua are all a type of “shadow” expressing the reality of Elohim (God) and His Throne. They are proof that there is indeed another realm, far more real and tangible than the world in which we live and breathe. They are the pattern one is meant to learn in order to know YHWH, and discern between the truth and a lie. This enables one to be the true shadow of God. (Ezek. 43:10)

YHWH, speaking through Isaiah, compared Israel to the precious building materials of the Temple and Jerusalem. Yeshua, the son of God, compared Himself to the Temple. Paul compared our bodies to the Temple, and John describes the Bride, Adonai’s people, as the New Jerusalem. All are true and none supersede the others. Each of these shadows is vital to the complete picture of the heavenly.

John 2:19-22 (NASB) Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”  21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.  22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

Is. 54:10-12 (NASB) “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you. 11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, Behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and your foundations I will lay in sapphires. 12 “Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies, And your gates of crystal, And your entire wall of precious stones.

 The Overshadowing Cloud

Overshadowing occurs in a different, yet similar fashion at the Mount of Transfiguration. In the following account, look for the themes of Sukkot, and key words such as mountain, cloud, a voice, glory, overshadow, build/make, revelation (awake), etc. Where have we read about these things before? Is it a coincidence that this occurred on the “eighth day”?

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Luke 9:28-36 (NASB) Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.  29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.  30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. 33 And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen. (Compare with Mat. 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13)

The cloud that formed and “overshadowed” the disciples is the same Greek word used in the account of the Holy Spirit overshadowing Miriam (Mary). In the transfiguration, Yeshua is the bright light that casts a shadow of glory visible to Peter, James, and John. They “see” into the Spirit realm, the reality of Who Yeshua is (revelation). Time as we (and they know it) no longer applies, as even Moses and Elijah (Torah and the Prophets) are standing and talking with Yeshua on the mountaintop.

The disciples had two responses to this glorious vision. Peter speaks up and offers to BUILD or make three tabernacles or dwelling places for them, not realizing what he was actually seeing. It is Sukkot, but what he sees is the reality, not the shadow. While he’s speaking, a cloud overshadows them, which brings about their second response: FEAR. They were afraid. (Aren’t we always afraid, since the garden?) Then, a voice speaks from the cloud. As Rabbi David Fohrman would ask, “Where have we seen these words before?”

Ex. 19:9 (NASB) The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.

Ex. 19:16-19 (NASB) So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder (voices) and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.  17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.  18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.  19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder (a voice).

Ex. 24:15-16 (NASB) Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.

Dt. 18:15-16 (NASB) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 “This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’

In Jewish thought and teachings, the “revelation” is Mount Sinai, because that is where God revealed Himself to the entire nation of Israel.[8] Mountain tops are images or shadows of the Temple or Throne of Adonai, the place where He dwells and speaks to His people. Mount Zion is the Temple Mount in the natural, though there is still a heavenly reality. God’s Presence (Shekinah) is likened to clouds, smoke, and fire. His voice is compared to thunder, a loud shofar or trumpet blast, and even the sound of rushing water.[9] Experiencing His majesty causes mortal man to tremble.

In a sense, the entire nation was overshadowed by Adonai’s awesome Presence, Cloud, and Glory at Mount Sinai. Peter, James, and John experienced a similar preternatural revelation as they were overshadowed on the mountain of Transfiguration by Adonai’s Cloud. Like ancient Israel, they too, heard a Voice that reminded them of Deuteronomy 18:15-16 (listed above). But this wasn’t the first time that a voice spoke of the Son in the hearing of the disciples, nor would it be the last.

Mat. 3:16-17 (TLV) After being immersed, Yeshua rose up out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Ruach Elohim descending like a dove and coming upon Him. 17 And behold, a voice from the heavens said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased!”

Just after His triumphal entry, but before His death, John records this account:

John 12:27-30 (NASB) “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.”

Glory in Hebrew is the word kavod. It means weighty or heavy, and often manifests as a cloud (or smoke). Yeshua’s prayer was for Father’s Name to be glorified. In Hebrew thought, it’s not the pronunciation of His Name that brings Him glory; rather, He (and His Name) are glorified when one obeys Him completely, no matter the cost. When the glory of YHWH filled the Tabernacle and Temple, it was a Presence so weighty that Moses, the priests, and the people couldn’t enter the space or stand to perform their services. One day, the whole earth will be filled with the holy glory of Adonai.

Num. 14:21 (NASB) But indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.

This will be a time when the shadow and the reality are One, the fulfillment of Yeshua’s prayer. This is the New Jerusalem, the heavenly, coming to earth, the display of Adonai’s splendor and glory. When His glory is revealed marvelous things happen. Even our shadows can cause miracles, and it’s not by our power or might, but the glory and power of the Ruach HaKodesh.

Acts 5:15-16 (KJV) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

Peter, in this instance, was truly walking in the image of Elohim as even his skia, tzelem, or shadow was full of the Holy Spirit that healed the people, the House of God. I believe that is the desire of all that follow Adonai in Spirit and Truth. A true disciple wants to be the shadow of Yeshua as He is the shadow of YHWH. When He raises His right arm, we mimic His action, just like a shadow. When He speaks, we speak. We He is silent, we are silent. Where He goes, we go. That is the way of shadows.

It might seem odd at first to think of yourself as a shadow of Yeshua. It might seem odder still that he desires a shadow to build His House by making even more disciples after His image. But that is the calling, beloved.

Mat. 28:16-20 (TLV) Now the eleven disciples went to the Galilee, to the mountain Yeshua had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped; but some wavered. 18 And Yeshua came up to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, 20 teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Everyone needs a mountaintop revelation of Adonai. That is what the pilgrimage festivals lead one to – Zion, the Temple, the House, and the Throne of Elohim. His mountain (Spirit) overshadows, envelops, and fills faithful hearts with the heavenly pattern. It is the blueprint upon which His Kingdom is built.

Paul specifically calls eating, drinking, partaking of the feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths a shadow of the Body of Messiah. In other words, these are the things His Body does, because they reflect the heavenly reality. They keep one attached to the Head, Yeshua. The world hates the shadow and the reality, preferring a false light, the precepts of men, things that decay rather than the eternal.

Col. 2:18-23 (TLV) Let no one disqualify you by insisting on false humility and worship of angels—going into detail about what he has seen, puffed up without cause by his fleshly mind. 19 He is not holding fast to the Head. It is from Him that the whole body, nourished and held together by its joints and tendons, grows with a godly increase. 20 If you died with Messiah to the basic principles of the world, why—as though living in the world—do you subject yourselves to their rules? 21 Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!” 22 These all lead to decay with use, based as they are on man-made commands and teachings. 23 Indeed, these are matters that have an appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and humility and self-denial of the body—yet none are of any value for stopping indulgence of the flesh.

“The Seven Shepherds” Painting by Kisha Gallagher 2018

So, what are the sabbaths, new moons, and feasts a shadow of? What are they concealing and protecting?

Is it the body or reality of Messiah? The Gospel? The Kingdom? The Temple? The Mountain? God’s Throne? The Revelation? The Clouds of Glory? The Day of the LORD? Us?

The answer is YES! So, definitely do not let anyone judge you for doing the very things the Master taught and did. He is a good, good, shepherd.

Be like Betzalel, the son of white garments, a master builder of Adonai’s House. And, be like Miriam filled with the Seed of God, a builder of the Kingdom. Experience the fullness of the Transfiguration at the end of days (Sukkot), by following the cloud, His shadow, keeping the appointments (feasts), which are the cycles that take your feet to Jerusalem, so you can learn the pattern shown by Moses and Yeshua on the Mountain. And lastly, remember that you are hidden in Messiah (the House – Heavenly Jerusalem) as His tezelem or shadow. He is with us always even unto the end of the age.


 


[1]Philippians 3:5-6, see also Acts 23:6; 26:5

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

[3]Jer. 2:2 (NASB) “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, The love of your betrothals, Your following after Me in the wilderness, Through a land not sown.”

[4]The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament by Warren Baker. Retrieved using Strong’s number H5526 on E-Sword Bible software.

[5]Ex. 12:37 (NASB) Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.

[6]The actual meaning of Hur is unclear as there are several root words of which it could be derived. These roots deal with burning – literally or in anger, growing or making white – literally with textiles or pale in the face, or it could mean a hole or cavern. Based on (the man) Hur’s history in the Biblical text, I chose the meaning “white textiles.” Hur and Aaron helped Moses hold his hands up when Israel battled Amalek (Ex. 17:12), and he turns out to be the grandfather of the man that would be endowed to work in many crafts, including textiles. You can see chur or Hur translated as white fabric in Esther 1:6 and 8:15.

[7]All Believers have a ministry. Ministry is service and serving Adonai and His people. Everyone does this in some capacity as they are part of His Body, His House.

[8]Hopefully, this will inspire you to read the Book of Revelation with an adjusted perspective.

[9]I think it’s interesting that one of the Hebrew words for thunder is the same word as voice, kol. Some of the crowd in John 12 perceived the heavenly voice as thunder. Revelation, the mountain of God, the heavens, and His Throne are also accompanied by voices and thunder:

Rev. 11:19 (NASB) And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunderand an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

Rev. 14:2 (NASB) And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Light of the World Part III

Rainbows and the Throne of Glory

Rainbow Science

Before we look at the majestic rainbow in Scripture, let’s review what modern science teaches about this unparalleled display of “colorful” LIGHT. In order for a rainbow to occur, three particular criteria have to be met. The sun has to be shining “behind” you. A rain cloud or moisture in the air must be in “front” of you. And, the sun’s rays have to shine through the cloud at an anti-solar point of 42 degrees. (The anti-solar point is where the shadow of your head is)

When a beam of sunlight passes through a water droplet it slows down and spreads out, separating each color that makes up white light. The process of light refracting or bending can be more accurately described as the process of light changing speed as it moves through different densities. The reason why rainbows appear as an arc is because of the bending of and dispersing of light through millions of water droplets. The colors will always display in the same order due to the fact that each color has its own wavelength or intensity.

The most common rainbow is called a primary rainbow. It shows red on the outside with violet on the inside. Often this “bow” of light will have another larger but fainter arc above it. We typically call this a “double rainbow”, but scientists call it a secondary rainbow. The double bow occurs when the water droplets in the primary rainbow reflect light TWICE. Since it is the reflection of the primary bow, the colors are reversed. The “double” bow occurs at 50-53 degrees from your anti-solar point.

double-rainbow

YHWH’s Rainbow

Gen. 9:11-17  “I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.”  (12)  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.  (14)  “It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud,  (15)  and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.  (16)  “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  (17)  And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” (NASB)

The rainbow, according to the Creator, is THE sign of His covenant with every living creature that He will never again destroy all flesh with water. So…were their no rainbows before the flood of Noah’s day? Many Creation Scientists believe the evidence points to the possibility that before the flood it had never rained on the earth. For example, Walt Brown[1], director of the Center for Scientific Creation in Phoenix postulates that rain as we know it was unknown to preflood peoples[2]. If this theory is true, it would have been impossible for a rainbow to form “in the cloud” since there were no clouds. However, this question is not a new one. The ancient sages debated this among themselves for centuries and they likewise considered modern “science” of their day.

The Biblical commentator Ramban argued that a simple experiment proved easily enough that a rainbow is the result of light being refracted through water, which was enough proof in his mind that they were present from creation forward. He never believed that the verses we quoted above, upon close inspection, contradicted science. He states, “Whether the rainbow was created now or whether it had always been a part of nature, the reason for it representing the sign remains the same.[3]

Regardless of whether rainbows existed preflood or not, the Creator plainly states that it was AFTER the flood that He “set” His bow in the clouds as the SIGN of His covenant.

Keshet   קשׁת

The Bow and the Throne

In Biblical Hebrew, a bow as in “rainbow” and a bow as in a “bow and arrow” are the same word, keshet. The mindset behind this is similar to our English idea: they both BEND. In Noah’s day, YHWH sovereignly chose to judge the earth with a weapon or “bow” of water. Therefore, it is fitting that God chose the rain “bow” as the sign of His promise to never again judge the earth. The rainbow points toward heaven instead of earth as a sign of peace. Bible commentator John Gill puts it this way: “Though it is a bow, yet without arrows, and is not turned downwards towards the earth, but upwards towards heaven, and so is a token of mercy and kindness, and not of wrath and anger[4].”

The Ramban (Nahmanides) has a similar idea as to YHWH’s choice of a rainbow: “ancient cultures fought their wars with the bow and arrow, and the side which surrendered, pursuing peace instead of war, would express their will to do so by raising an inverted bow that the enemy could see. Similarly, G-d places an inverted bow in the heavens as a sign that He is no longer warring against humanity.”

In most places, the word keshet denotes a bow of archery or the archers who handle bows. I could only find three[5] other references to the majestic 7 colored rainbow in the Scriptures. In most of these verses, the bow is found surrounding the throne of YHWH. The first place is in Ezekiel’s vision of the FOUR living creatures. I highly suggest you read all of chapter one for context. Also, be sure to take note of all the words associated with light; there are many!

Ezek. 1:26-28  Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.  (27)  Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him.  (28)  As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.

The vision must have been amazing! Can you imagine what this must have been like for Ezekiel? First, notice the reference to the “expanse” or as some translations say, the “firmament”. This should remind you of day 2 of creation when God placed an expanse or firmament between the heavenly and earthly waters. (Gen. 1:6-8) God’s throne and the One with “the appearance of a man” are seen ABOVE this “expanse”.

The One with the likeness of man is oddly described from His loins and upward and His loins and downward, yet both resemble fire — a form of LIGHT. This radiance is said to “surround” Him as a rainbow of colorful light. Thus, we can imagine that seeing YHWH is like seeing bright white light refracted into the 7 colors of the rainbow. Perhaps the color or refracted light is seen because our eyes cannot perceive His full nature as pure white (spiritual) light. It must be refracted, bent, or slowed down in order for our “eyes” to see it. This is something to think about. We must remember that the natural world teaches us spiritual truth.

The remaining two verses about YHWH’s throne and the rainbow are both found in the Book of Revelation.

Rev. 4:2-3  Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.  (3)  And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.

Rev. 10:1  I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire;

In these verses, we get to explore the Greek word for rainbow, iris[6]. We get such words as iris, iridescent, iridium, and iridology from this Greek word. These cognates are named due to their association with a colorful appearance. What I find most interesting about this Greek word is that it is found one time in the Septuagint[7]. It is used in the recipe for the Holy Anointing Oil.

Ex. 30:22-25  Moreover, the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  (23)  “Take also for yourself the finest of spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, two hundred and fifty, and of fragrant cane two hundred and fifty,  (24)  and of cassia (iris) five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin.  (25)  “You shall make of these holy anointing oil, a perfume mixture, the work of a perfumer; it shall be holy anointing oil.

So, the question becomes: What does the spice cassia have to do with an iris or a rainbow? The Hebrew word for cassia is kiddah and means to roll, shrivel, or contract. The spice is made from the bark of the cassia tree. Sections are rolled and dried from both sides toward the center so that they end up resembling scrolls. This rolling like a scroll is hint of creation day 2 and the expanse or firmament between the earthly and heavenly waters. One day instead of being stretched out (Is. 42:5) like a rainbow, the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll. (Is. 34:4, Rev. 6:14)

But our Hebrew word kiddah most often means bowing the head in worship or in great respect. (i.e. Gen. 24:26) Since Hebrew is a very action or verb based language, the verb form of kiddah gives us insight into why the Rabbis translating the Hebrew Tanakh into Greek chose this particular word in reference to the cassia spice.

Cassia is the FOURTH ingredient in the holy anointing oil. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the Rabbis used “iris” for “kiddah” in reference to the Holy Anointing Oil. Four is another picture of completeness or seven[8]. Yeshua the Messiah comes from the house of Judah, Jacob’s 4th son. He is the Anointed One standing in the midst of the 7 branched menorah, representing the Light of God[9]. If you read my previous two posts on the Light of the World, you also recall that the menorah is the perfect motif for not only the 7 Spirits of God, but also for light’s 7 forms in the electromagnetic spectrum and its 7 colors of visible light. The rainbow’s 7 colors is a perfect (natural) display of the splendor of His Kingdom and throne.

As a side note, this should really open our eyes to the blasphemy of His glory and Kingdom when the homosexual community uses this motif as a symbol of their rebellion. While it may appear bright and cheery, it is in reality a counterfeit wicked lamp[10] of darkness.

The Rainbow Was Upon His Head

In Revelation 10:1, we are told of a strong messenger with a rainbow upon his head. Some would envision something like a halo. But the halo doesn’t originate in Scripture. It comes from ancient sun god deities[11], the oldest form of false worship. Nevertheless, we have many places in the Bible where a shining or glowing light, even fire, emanates from either God or a person[12]. I freely admit that it is possible that this “rainbow” upon the messenger’s head in Revelation 10:1 may actually be similar to a halo. Please allow me to explain why.

A rainbow actually forms a full circle around the point directly opposite of the observer from the light source. Since the light source is usually the sun, the center of the circle is the anti-solar point (the observer’s shadow). Most often only a portion of the circle is above the ground so that the visible part is an arc or bow. When the observer is located at a considerably higher altitude, like an airplane or mountain top, the full circle of the rainbow can be seen. The picture below was taken while the observer was skydiving.

Circular_rainbow

Could this circular rainbow be an allusion as to why Moses’ face shone with light after his encounter with YHWH on the mountain top? In other words, when Moses ascended up to that lofty point on the earth, his shadow didn’t block any of YHWH’s glorious light! Don’t we see this same marvel when Yeshua takes Peter, James, and John up to the mountain of transfiguration?

Mat. 17:1-6  Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.  (2)  And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.  (3)  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.  (4)  Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  (5)  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”  (6)  When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.

Do you suppose that the faces of Moses and Yeshua were similar when they “shone”?

Ex. 34:29-30  It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him.  (30)  So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.

I find it fascinating that in the natural, one must be at a high altitude, such as a mountain top in order to “see” a complete rainbow —- a picture of God’s covenant. I personally believe that the shining faces of both Yeshua and Moses would have been similar to the circular rainbow. Yeshua is the one standing in the “midst” of God’s menorah. He IS the Light of YHWH, but at the time of the transfiguration, He was not yet glorified. In other words, it is possible that the light was still “veiled” or refracted (bent or slowed down) and this enabled His disciples to perceive it — and Him.

A rainbow in all its fullness is not just a “bow” or arc, it is a circle! For those of you that have been studying the Hebraic mindset, this shouldn’t be too surprising. God and His creation, His calendar, and His Word are all cyclical in nature. Do you recall our first passage in Ezekiel with the living creatures? Earlier in chapter one, these beings are said to be powered by great sparkling “wheels” or circles.

Ezek. 1:15-20  Now as I looked at the living beings, behold, there was one wheel on the earth beside the living beings, for each of the four of them.  (16)  The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like sparkling beryl, and all four of them had the same form, their appearance and workmanship being as if one wheel were within another.  (17)  Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions without turning as they moved.  (18)  As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about.  (19)  Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also.  (20)  Wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction. And the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.

These shining wheels with rims full of eyes (a symbol of YHWH’s Spirit) are what powered or gave energy to the beings. This can be none other than YHWH’s Light, His Spirit that is symbolized beautifully in the 7 days of creation, the 7 Spirits of God (Is. 11:1-2), and in the 7 Feasts of YHWH! This is why the 7 branched menorah and the 7 visible colors function as a LIGHT display. Creation Gospel students will instinctively perceive why there are 4 living creatures, for this is a picture of 7!

How fitting it is that YHWH chose a rainbow as the first[13] sign of the covenant with mankind and all the creatures of earth! There are more “types” of rainbows than I mentioned in this post. It is a fascinating subject to explore; I urge you to do your own research and see where it takes you. I hope we are all fortunate enough to see a rainbow very soon and take in all its symbolic glory! Imagine the shining faces of Moses and Yeshua and the gleaming Throne Room of the Most High. I leave you with a traditional blessing for when you do see one.

Blessing When Seeing a Rainbow

“Blessed are you, YHWH, our God, King of the universe, Who remembers His covenant, is trustworthy in His covenant, and fulfills His word.”

Related Post: Overcome by a Rainbow

Go back to Part I or Part II


[2] Article, “Did It Rain before the Flood? “ http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/FAQ29.html (7/31/13)

[4] John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, from my e-sword.org bible program on Genesis 9:13.

[5] Including the first rainbow of Noah’s day, this totals FOUR biblical references to the rainbow. Creation Gospel students will recognize once again that 4 is another picture of 7!

[6] Yes, in case you were wondering, our flower by the same name does come from this Greek word! It is aptly named because the iris flower grows in a “rainbow” of colors.

[7] The Septuagint is the Greek version of the Tanakh or Old Testament.

[8] Four also stands for the servant, government, authority, kingdom, the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), the door, and the fullness of the Holy Spirit. (For more information on why this is true please seek out a Creation Gospel trainer)

[9] Rev. 1:12-14  Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands;  (13)  and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.  (14)  His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.

[10] Pr. 21:4  Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin.

[12] Ex. 34:29, Mt. 7:2, Mark 9:2, Heb. 1:3, Rev. 1:14-15, etc.

[13] While many theologians declare that YHWH’s first covenant was with Adam, Scripture doesn’t use the Hebrew word for covenant, brit, until Genesis chapter six with Noah. Many commentators assert that Noah’s covenant was merely an expanded form of God’s covenant with Adam, and perhaps this is true. Regardless of whether God’s first covenant was with Adam or Noah, the first SIGN of the covenant is the rainbow.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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