Messiah has appeared within time and space to Israel as the transcendent High Priest of a more perfect Sanctuary (the heavenly original Mishkan) and of the good things having already come that are yet to be fully arrived.
There are numerous doctrinal ideas and spiritual principals alluded to in this chapter that apply to all believers regardless of ethnicity. However, it is important to continue to remember that the recipients of this work are first century Jewish believers and not Gentile believers. Therefore, words and phrases like “covenant, called, elect, eternal land” etc. are ethno-religious phrases that have a certain meaning to Torah observant Jews and in particular first century Jews.
For both the ancient and modern Gentile reader there are fewer obstacles in the way of understanding the eternal atonement of Yeshua because for the most part the Gentile audience does not understand the temporal (present age) sacrificial system of Torah as a primary, even intrinsic part of cultural religious practice (of course this is now also true of rabbinical Judaism to some extent). The first century C.E. Messiah following Jew on the other hand is wrestling with how the then functional temple cult converges with a belief that Yeshua is the singular ultimate sacrifice Who fulfills and is the goal of all the sacrificial requirements of Torah, to the point of revealing the heavenly Tent of Meeting (Mishkan) and the origin of the redemptive work of God.
To view this text only through the revisionist lens of universal application is to misunderstand it. With this in mind we must be intentional in seeking to understand how the Jewish recipients of this work in the first century C.E. are viewing this teaching and what it might have meant for them by way of application (halakhah).
The Book to the Hebrews 9:1-10:18 explains that the new covenant is of eternal effect and is better than the former covenant of the Mosaic Torah because Yeshua the Great High Priest offers His eternal Spirit infused blood before the face of God in the original Holy of holies of the heavenly realm, thus, He atones once for all who will receive Him and need not offer sacrifices for Himself and others daily because He remains without sin, having died to secure the covenant and having been raised to life everlasting in order to apply it to all who believe. Therefore, Yeshua gives access to the heavenly Holy of holies to all who believe.
NB: The section of the Talmud Bavliy called Seder Kodashiym (Order of Holies) addresses the many aspects of the Mosaic sacrificial system and the daily Temple practices of the first century C.E. as a reflection of Mishnaic Law.
As is the case with all Scripture (scrolls of the original texts), there are no chapter breaks or verse markers (or punctuation for that matter) in the scroll of the Book to the Hebrews. It’s important to see the text of this chapter as a continuation of the previous chapter, the last verses of chapter 8 being:
12 For I will be merciful, forgiving toward their unrighteousness, iniquity, perversion, And their sins [missing the mark set by God’s holiness], and their iniquities, perversions I will no longer bring to mind, perpetually.” [Jeremiah 31:31-34 LXX] 13 When He said, “new covenant,” He has indicated that the first is old, decaying. Now whatever is decaying and growing old is about to disappear, be destroyed.
BOOK TO THE HEBREWS Chapter 9:1-14 (Author’s translation)
1Now truly, indeed, the first covenant had regulations, judgements, righteousness for divine service and the earthly sanctuary, [a holy place in the land]. 2 For the first tent of meeting was prepared, built, ordained in which was the menorah[H] and, the table, and the exposed bread, bread before the face; this is called the Holy Place. 3 And after the second curtain there was a habitation which is called the Holy of holies alt. The Hebrew text reads, “and from the house to behind the second parochet (curtain) of the mishkan, is called holy of the holies [umibeiyt laparochet hasheiniyt mishkan hanikra kodesh hakadoshiym]. 4 having a golden censer of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden pot holding the mãn[H] [What is it?], Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and over it the cherubiym of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, atoning cover; but about these things we can’t now speak in intricate detail. 6 Now when these things are (present tense) prepared, built, ordained the priests are (present tense) continually entering the first section of the sanctuary, performing the divine service, 7 but into the second [behind the parochet into the holy of holies], only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood which he offers for his soul and for the errors of the people committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit in this is showing, that the way into the holiest place of all was not yet revealed, appeared, manifest while the first sanctuary was still standing [referring to the Mishkan (Tent of meeting) constructed by Moses in the desert.], 9 which is a figure, parable, symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are (presently) offered which cannot perfect, make whole the moral condition, conscience, heart, core being, inner person of those serving, worshipping, 10 since they are only food, drink, and various washings/immersions, and carnal, flesh, bodily regulations, judgements, ordinances imposed, laid out until a time of reforming.11 But when Messiah appeared as a high priest of the good things having come, He entered through the greater and more perfect, full, excellent Sanctuary, not made by human hands, because it is not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through the blood of His own soul, He entered the holiest place once for all time, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who have become defiled, unclean, sanctify as a means of purifying, cleansing the carnal form, flesh, body, 14 how much more will the blood of the Messiah, Who through the eternal Spirit offered, presented, sacrificed His soul without blemish, mark, spot to God; purge, cleanse, purify your conscience, moral consciousness, heart, core being, inner person from dead, necrotic works, deeds, doing, in order to serve the living God?
HEBREWS 9:1-14 (line upon line)
1Now truly, indeed, (men[G], b’emet[H]) the first (protos[G], harishonah[H]) covenant (habriyt[H]) had regulations, judgements, righteousness (dikaiōma[G], hayu diyneiy[H]) for divine service (avodah[H], latreia[G]) and the earthly sanctuary, [a holy place in the land] (kosmikos hagion[G], umikdash ba’aretz[H]). 2 For the first (protos[G]) tent of meeting (skēnē[G], Mishkan[H]) was prepared, built, ordained (kataskeuazō[G]) in which was the menorah[H] (luchnia[G]) and, the table (trapeza[G], shulkhan[H]), and the exposed bread, bread before the face (prothesis artos[G], lechem hapaniym[H] alt. uma’arechet halechem[H]); this is called the Holy Place (hagion[G], kodesh[H]). 3 And after (meta[G]) the second (deuteros[G]) curtain (katapetasma[G]) there was a habitation (skēnē[G]) which is called the Holy of holies (hagion hagion[G]) alt. The Hebrew text reads, “and from the house to behind the second parochet (curtain) of the mishkan, is called holy of the holies [umibeiyt laparochet hasheiniyt mishkan hanikra kodesh hakadoshiym].
1Now truly, indeed, the first covenant had regulations, judgements, righteousness for divine service and the earthly sanctuary, [a holy place in the land].
Having already been told that the earthly sanctuary was a copy of the original heavenly Sanctuary, it is now pointed out that the covenant connected to that same earthly replica had certain regulations that were carefully followed out of holy awe for the God Who commanded them through Moses His servant. We are also told that the purpose of these regulations was to direct Israel, through her priests, in “Divine service”.
2 For the first tent of meeting was prepared, built, ordained in which was the menorah[H] and, the table, and the exposed bread, bread before the face; this is called the Holy Place.
By way of pretext, both the Mishkan (Tent of Meeting) and the Mikdash/Heiykhal (Temple) consisted of an outer court (which is not mentioned in this passage), a holy place, and the Holy of holies (Exodus 25-31, 35-40).
Mishkan (Tent of meeting) being related to both shakhen (neighbour) and Sh'khinah (Talmudic Hebrew describing the manifest feminine presence of God [related to Hak’vod HaShem, the manifest Glory of God)]).
Mikdash (Temple) is used in Exodus 25:8 to describe the Mishkan and is therefore synonymous with both the Mishkan and the later temples. Etymologically it is a composite word made up of “mi” (from) and “kadash” (sanctify), thus, from God comes the means of sanctification through blood atonement which makes reconciliation to and permanent dwelling (right relationship) with God possible.
Heiykhal (Temple) is the most commonly used noun for the temple and can mean, “temple, palace, hall, sanctuary” etc. It is thought to be derived from the root yakol meaning, “to prevail, overcome, endure, have strength”. Thus, we overcome in God (the meaning of the ethnic noun Israel).
The Holy Place:
The articles described here were all situated in the holy place of the Tent of Meeting and were still in use in the holy place of the second temple at the time of the writing of this Book to the Hebrews (though at the time of the second temple they were replicas of the original articles).
Menorah – (7 branched golden lampstand) The Menorah is described in detail in Exodus 25:31-40. It stood on the south side of the holy place (Exodus 40:24), and was kept burning day and night. The Talmud Bavliy Menachot 28b, a tractate of Seder Kadoshiym states that the menorah stood 18 handbreadths/palm widths (three common cubits) high, or approximately 1.62 metres (5.3 ft).
Menorah is probably derived from the words nir (flame, light), nahar (stream, river), nahara (light, daylight), thus, the composite form minhara meaning “Place of light river” becomes menorah.
The symbolism of the menorah is almost uncontainable, and considering the God it points to, not surprisingly so. Being a complex unity of seven connected branches, seven flames fed by pure olive oil and kept perpetually lit, the menorah (place of light river) is a representation of the manifest light presence of God, Hak’vod HaShem (Biblical Hebrew) or Shekhinah (Talmudic Hebrew).
The oil used to fuel it is representative of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Therefore, it is a symbol of the sevenfold attributes of God (Isaiah 6:1-5) and is also connected to the seven days of creation through the all existing light from which creation begins (Genesis 1). There are many other figurative meanings that are too prolific to note here.
Shulkhan – (Table) The Table of the exposed bread stood on the north side of the holy place (Exodus 40:22) [approx. 0.8m H x 1m W x 0.5m D]. Shulkhan is from the root shalakh meaning “send, extend, direct, spread out” and with regard to shulkhan by implication, means to spread out a meal.
The symbolism of the table is also rich. The essential meaning relating to its firm construction of Acacia wood is connected to the shoot of human offspring. Acacia wood is hardy and grows in the Sinai desert among other places. The gold covering symbolizing royalty, and ultimately deity. Thus, the table on which the bread before the face is placed can represent the King Messiah Yeshua, the root out of dry ground (Isa. 53:2) crowned in glory as Divine King (John 1:1; 10:30-33; 20:28, Rev. 1:8, Matt. 28:20; John 2:24-25; Phil. 2:6-11; 3:21). Messiah carries on His shoulders the hope and redemption of the twelve tribes of Israel, which are ever before the face of God.
Lechem Hapaniym – (The Bread before the Face) The recipe and presentation of the showbread and its use is detailed in Leviticus 24:5-9. Two rows of six unleavened loaves (matzot) were placed side by side representing the twelve tribes of Israel. These loaves were to be eaten by the high priest Aaron and his sons. The loaves were made from ingredients offered to God by the tribes of Israel and were to sit exposed on the north side of the holy place and before the curtain of entry to the holy of holies. The loaves were placed at the beginning of each Shabbat. The incense censer was used to sprinkle incense on top of the bread before the face. The same incense was burned on the incense altar (Lev. 24:7; Num. 7:14).
3 And after the second curtain there was a habitation which is called the Holy of holies alt. The Hebrew text reads, “and from the house to behind the second parochet (curtain) of the mishkan, is called holy of the holies [umibeiyt laparochet hasheiniyt mishkan hanikra kodesh hakadoshiym].
The writer makes a clear distinction here between the holy place (v.2) and the holy of holies where the ark of the covenant once resided (v.3).
The “second curtain” may refer to the Tent of Meeting having an entry curtain (first) and the second curtain parochet to the holy of holies. Alternatively, it may refer to the dual curtains before the holy of holies during the second temple period as attested to by the Mishnah and Talmud (Mishnah Shekaliym, c. 8. sect. 5. Maimonides on Hamikdash, c. 7. sect. 16: Talmud Bavliy Yoma, fol. 54. 1. & Ketubot, fol. 106. 1. Vid. Philo de Vita Mosis, l. 3. p. 667.)
“he walked in the temple till he came between sh’neiy haparochot (the two vails), which divide between the holy, and holy of holies, and there was the space of a cubit between them.” - Mishnah Yoma, c. 5. sect. 1.
4 having a golden (chruseos[G], hazahav[H]) censer of incense (thumiastērion[G], mizbach[H]) and the ark (kibōtos[G], aron[H]) of the covenant (ho diathēkē[G], habriyt[H]) covered on all sides with gold (chruseos[G], zahav[H]), in which was a golden (chrusion[G], zahav[H]) pot (stamnos[G]) holding the mãn[H] [What is it?] (manna[G], haman[H]), Aaron’s (Aharon[H], mountainous, light bringer) rod (rhabdos[G], mateih[H]) which budded (blastanō[G], parach[H]), and the tablets (plax[G], veluchot[H]) of the covenant (ho diathēkē[G], habriyt[H]); 5 and over (huperanō[G]) it the cherubiym (cheroubim[G], cheruveiy[H] guardian, mighty-approacher, blessing bringer) of glory (doxa[G], hakavod[H]) overshadowing (kataskiazō[G]) the mercy seat, atoning cover (hilastērion[G], hakaporet[H]); but about these things we can’t now speak in intricate detail (kata meros[G]).
4 having a golden censer of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden pot holding the mãn[H] [What is it?], Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tablets of the covenant;
The items mentioned here all relate to the holy of holies, and all but the censer reside within the holy of holies.
“Golden Censer of incense” The word “altar” is not in the Greek (oldest) text. There is good reason for this, the writer is about to thematically connect the offering of the incense on Yom Kippur when the incense is taken beyond the parochet (curtain) and into the holy of holies, to the fragrant path of Yeshua’s entry into the Holiest place in the heavenlies.
Therefore, because the writer is describing items that have their place inside the holy of holies (the incense altar being outside the holy of holies in the holy place) he thus speaks of the censer that carries the incense from the incense altar into the holy of holies once a year and for that reason does not name the incense altar itself. Once again the gold of the incense censer denotes royalty and glory.
While the Torah does not stipulate that this censer be golden (Lev. 16:12-14), the first century Jewish historian Josephus does (Antiquities. l. 3. c. 8. sect. 3.) and the Mishnah (Yoma, c. 4. sect. 4.) tells us that there were various censers used by the priests in the daily service, but the one being described here was unique and was used by the high priest on Yom Kippur (the day of atonement). The high priest used a silver censer on other occasions, but on the Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) he used this specific golden one, and with it he entered into the holy of holies. Revelation 8:3 affirms that the heavenly censer replicated in the earthly temple service is in fact golden.
“The Ark of the covenant” The ark is so named because it contains the two tablets of the covenant [ten commandments] (Exodus 16:33-34; 25:10-16; Num. 10:33; 17:8-10). It was housed inside the holy of holies (Exodus 40:21).
NB: Exodus 25 says “It is to be 21⁄2 cubits in length, 1 1⁄2 in breadth, and 1 1⁄2 in height (approximately 131×79×79 cm or 52×31×31 in).” A relatively small rectangular box.
The ark was symbolic of the throne and manifest presence of God and is therefore the holiest of the articles of the service within the Tent of Meeting/Temple. The Mishkan was erected to house the ark and not the other way around. The ark was the first article constructed after God instructed Moses to build the Tent of Meeting (Exodus 25:8-10). The manifest glory of God dwelt between the cherubiym atop the mercy seat in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, the cloud being the daylight expression of the fire’s effect and the fire being more visible at night (Exodus 40:34-38; Psalm 80:1).
The ark was known by several names:
a. Numbers 10:33 calls it Aron Habriyt (Ark of the covenant) due to the tablets of the covenant residing within as a warning against sin.
b. Exodus 25:22 calls it Aron Edut (Ark of the testimony), edut being from the root ed (witness). In other words, the ark of the testimony of the witness.
c. 1 Samuel 3:3 calls it Aron Elohiym (Ark of God), denoting God as Judge and the contents of the Ark as an indictment against sin.
d. 1 Kings 2:26 calls it Aron Adonay YHVH (Ark of the Lord YHVH Mercy), denoting its symbolic representation of God’s Kingship and His mercy.
e. 2 Chronicles 35:3 calls it Aron HaKodesh (The Holy Ark), denoting God’s holiness and invoking awe. It is this name that our rabbis adopted in reference to the ark that houses the Torah situated behind a parochet (curtain) at the front or centre of the modern synagogue beneath the nir tamid (perpetual flame/light) which symbolises the ancient menorah.
f. Psalms 132:8 calls it Aron uzachei (Ark of Your Strength), denoting the redemptive immutable strength of God. Our rabbis made this phrase part of the Torah service. As we return the Torah to the ark we say, “When the ark rested Moshe would say ‘Return O Lord to the host of Israel’s families. Arise O Lord to Your resting place, you and Aron uzachei the ark of Your strength…’”
When the Mishkan was erected in the desert the Aron Habriyt ark of the covenant was housed in the holy of holies which was beyond the parochet (curtain) of entry seen from the holy place. It is worth noting that following the inauguration of Solomon’s temple the ark of the covenant is not heard of again in Scripture. Numerous Jewish commentators and sources affirm this (Talmud Bavliy Menachot, fol. 27. 2. & Yoma, fol. 21. 2. Menasseh ben Israel Koncil. in Gen. qu. 41. Kimkhi in Hagg. i. 8.).
The location of the ark of the covenant is unknown, and there is little agreement among Jewish commentators on who took it, when, and where it now resides. some say, it was carried away by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon, as one of the beautiful vessels of the house of the Lord, 2 Chronicles 36:10 (Talmud Bavliy Yoma, fol. 53. 2. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 25. T. Hieros. Shekalim, fol. 49. 3.) others, that Jeremiah the prophet took it and hid it in a cave on Mount Nebo (Joseph ben Gorion, l. 1. c. 17. 2 Maccabees. ii. 4, 5. ). The most common supposition is that it was hidden by King Josiah in some unknown deep place, which king Solomon had built for that purpose underground, knowing, that the temple would be destroyed (T. Hieros. Sota, fol. 22. 3. T. Bab. Ceritot, fol. 5. 2. Maimon. Beth Habbechira, c. 4. sect. 1.); numerous Jewish commentators claim that it was hidden under the pavement of a room in the temple, called "the wood room" (Mishnah Shekaliym, c. 6. sect. 1, 2. T. Hieros. Shekaliym, fol. 49. 3. Talmud Bavliy Yoma, fol. 54. 1.).
Many have proposed theories on where the ark now resides. From Jerusalem beneath the temple mount, or under mount Nebo, to Rome, Egypt, Scotland, Ethiopia and the list goes on. Many continue to search it out and develop new theories, allowing their lives to be enveloped by the need to discover it, and it may well be discovered or will at least be recreated for use in the third temple, regardless, as Messiah followers we must have a different focus, not earthbound but heavenly.
In Messiah Yeshua we have come to understand that the ark of the covenant being an earthly replica of its heavenly counterpart, is no longer necessary. Therefore, foolishly chasing after the hidden location of the ark on earth is not only a waste of time but has also become a practice of idolatry among many, both Jewish and Christian.
As followers of Messiah and readers of the inspired Scriptures we know where the true, original ark of the covenant resides:
“Then the Temple of God in heaven was opened, and the Ark of His Covenant appeared in His Temple. And there were flashes of lightning and rumblings and clashes of thunder and an earthquake and heavy hail.” -Revelation 11:19 TLV
In fact, at the time of Yeshua’s earthly ministry and therefore, prior to the destruction of the second temple during the time of the writing of the Book to the Hebrews, the holy of holies was empty. Ha-even (the foundation stone) exposed at the centre of floor of the holy of holies. Therefore, the blood sprinkled yearly by the high priests of Israel on Yom Kippur, was being sprinkled on “The Stone that the builders rejected” (Yeshua the King Messiah).
The ark of the covenant, like the table of the bread before the face, was made of acacia wood signifying Messiah’s humanity and was covered inside and out with gold representing His sinless nature, eternal deity and Kingship.
It is worth noting that just as the ark of the covenant was on earth (Exodus 16:33-34; 25:10-16), so too was Yeshua “the root from dry ground” (Isa. 53:2), and just as the ark of the covenant is now depicted in the heavens (Rev. 11:19), so too Yeshua is seated in the right hand of the Father God in the heavens.
The contents of the Ark of the covenant:
Some suggest a contradiction between Hebrews 9:4 and 1 Kings 8:9, but this is nonsense. Hebrews 9:4 records the original contents of the ark, while 1 Kings 8:9 records the contents of the ark at the time of Solomon’s temple, meaning that by that time the staff of Aaron had been removed, possibly during the time that the ark spent outside of Israel’s possession (1 Samuel 4 – 2 Samuel 7).
“The golden pot containing manna” The manna contained in the pot was miraculous in the sense that it was a portion of the manna that if left for a day would be maggot ridden (except on the Shabbat) [Exodus 16:19-20, 22]. Therefore, this portion of manna which God commanded to be put inside the ark (Ex. 16:33) as a remembrance of His provision of food for the wandering Israelites, was like the manna that deteriorated, but not the same. This is just one of many figures pointing to the nature of Yeshua, Who said of Himself, “I am the manna from the heavens” (John 6:41-51).
The Hebrew man (Exodus 16:15) transliterated into English as manna, is a contracted form of the phrase “Mah zeh?” (What is it)? This is because when the Israelites first saw it they were dumbfounded as to its nature and exclaimed “What is it?” For approximately a thousand years we Jews asked this question, and when the King Messiah Yeshua entered time and space born of a virgin, and came of age to teach, He spoke to us a teaching that effectively said, “You’ve been asking the wrong question, instead of asking ‘Mah zeh?’ (What is it)? you should be asking ‘Miy Hu’? (Who is He)?” Manna is also known by three other names: “lechem min-hashamayim (bread from the heavens)” (Ex. 16:4), “lechem abiyriym (bread of mighty ones/angels)” (Psalms. 78:25), and as described by the complaining Israelites “balechem hakelokel (bread that is light, swift, a trifle)” (Num. 21:5).
The Manna prefigured Messiah in many ways:
Rav Shaul (Paul) called it “spiritual food” (1 Cor. 10:3) because of its supernatural origin (Ex. 16:4). The whiteness of the manna denotes the purity of Messiah (Ex. 16:31; 1 Peter 1:19). The manna was placed inside the ark (Ex. 16:33) as a symbol of Messiah’s tomb and His coming before the throne of God on our behalf (Heb. 9:23-24). Messiah through His messenger announces that He has “hidden manna” to give to those who overcome in the community of first century Pergamum (Rev. 2:17) etc.
“The rod of Aaron that had budded” The historical record of the budding of Aaron’s staff is found in Numbers 16-17. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram gathered 250 leaders from the twelve tribes in order to challenge the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God caused the ground to open up and swallow Korah and all who stood with him in rebellion against Moses and Aaron (leaders appointed by God) [Num. 16:32]. The 250 leaders who rebelled against Moses and Aaron were destroyed by God with fire/lightening from the heavens (Num. 16:35). The following day the people of Israel accused Moses of killing his fellow Israelites. God provided further proof of Aaron’s right to be high priest when He instructed Moses to gather a representative from each tribe to bring an almond rod with the his name engraved on the rod representing his tribe, Aaron’s name being engraved on the rod for the tribe of Leviy (Num. 17:3). The rod of the man God had chosen as high priest would blossom. All twelve rods were placed in the Mishkan before the “testimony” (ark of the covenant), the next morning Aaron’s rod had not only budded, it had blossomed and yielded almonds (Num. 17:8). Aaron’s rod was placed in the ark as a warning against rebellion and as evidence that God alone appoints the true high priests of Israel.
The budding, blossoming, and fruiting of the rod of Aaron was a figure for the resurrection of the King Messiah and Great High Priest Yeshua.
“The tablets of the covenant” These were the second set of two tablets of the covenant engraved by God on stone that Moses had hewn (Exodus 34:1). The first set had been hewn by God and engraved by His finger (Exodus 24:12), but had been broken by Moses upon his witnessing Israel’s idolatrous worship of the golden calf (Exodus 32:19). The second set of tablets were placed into the ark as a witness, a testimony (Deut. 10:2). When Moses had finished writing the Torah (not just the tablets but the 5 books of Moses) it was placed beside the ark as a witness (an indictment) against the rebellious children of Israel (Deut. 31:25-27).
Talmudic scholars claim that the book/scroll of the Torah (the five books of Moses) was placed inside the ark (Baba Batra 14), but the Targum Yonatan states that it was placed in a box and kept at the right side of the ark. The Targum is consistent with Scripture, the Talmudic claim is not.
The tablets too are figurative. Messiah the Living Word sent by God was broken for us. Like the second set of tablets Messiah is of the earth by his human lineage according to the line of David, and is seeded of the Holy Spirit as God with us, just as the tablets hewn from the earth were made a unity by the written word of the finger of God.
Messiah was made under the Torah (Gal. 4:4). The Torah was within His inner being (heart) and He fulfilled the letter of the Torah concerning what was written about Him (Ps. 40:8; Heb. 10:7-9). He did not come to destroy the Torah but to fully fill it (Matt. 5:17). He bore the curse of the Torah by being made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13).
“For Messiah is the goal of the Torah for righteousness to everyone who believes, trusts.” -Romans 10:4 (Author’s translation)
5 and over it the cherubiym of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, atoning cover; but about these things we can’t now speak in intricate detail.
NB: Of the four cherubiym of Solomon’s Temple, two are fashioned into the lid of the ark of the covenant as guardians of the mercy seat and two are made to stand as guardians of the Inner Sanctuary [Holy of holies] (Exodus 25:18-22; 37:7-9; 1 Kings 6:23-28; 1 Chronicles 3:10-14).
The Hebrew word cherub has no known root, however etymologists link its meaning to an Assyrian word used to name similar creatures, and theorize that the ancient Hebrew root probably had similar meaning. The best guess at its meaning is: mighty-approacher, or blessing bringer. Unlike certain other messengers of HaShem who sometimes appear in humanoid form, the cherubiym are always winged and have an appearance that mirrors specific animals, such as eagles and lions.
It was between the two cherubiym atop the ark that the manifest glory of God appeared (Exodus 25:17-22; Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89; Psalm 80:1).
Several ancient Jewish commentators say that the two cherubiym atop the ark reflect the two cherubiym placed by God in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24) [Targum Yonatan &. Hieros. in Gen. iii. 24.).
“the atoning cover” Kaporet (Num. 7:89) This was a slab of solid gold that fit precisely over the top of the ark (box). It was on this cover that the blood of the Yom Kippur sacrifice was sprinkled each year by the high priest (Lev. 16:14-15).
“but about these things we can’t now speak in intricate detail.” The intricate details are not needed in order for the writer to properly convey the teaching of the Holy Spirit on the subject of Yeshua’s superiority to the earthly things. What’s more, the first century Jewish audience, at very least the devote among them, already knew the details concerning the temple service and the great significance of each article used in the practice of the priesthood.
6 Now when these things are (present tense) prepared, built, ordained (kataskeuazō[G]) the priests (ho hiereus[G], hakoheniym[H]) are (present tense) continually (diapantos[G]) entering the first section of the (protos[G]) sanctuary (skēnē[G], mishkan[H]), performing the divine service (avodah[H], latreia[G]), 7 but into the second (deuteros[G]) [behind the parochet into the holy of holies], only the high priest (archiereus[G], kohen hagadol[H]) enters once a year, not without taking blood (aima[G], dam[H]) which he offers (prospherō[G]) for his soul (nafsho[H]) and for the errors (agnoēma[G]) of the people (ho laos[G], ha’am[H]) committed in ignorance.
6 Now when these things are (present tense) prepared, built, ordained the priests are (present tense) continually entering the first section of the sanctuary, performing the divine service,
The items mentioned in verse 2 already indicate the service associated with them. The duties of the kohaniym included keeping the menorah lit continually (Ex. 27:20-22; Lev. 24:1-4), placing fresh loaves before the face on the table of showbread (Lev. 24:5-9) and burning incense on the incense altar (Ex. 30:7-9), which is something Zechariah the father of Yochanan (John the Immerser) performed during his period of priestly service (Luke 1:9-11). These acts of priestly service “are” being performed at the time of the writing of this work. Therefore, the work was written prior to the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E.
The writer makes a point of distinguishing the holy place (first section of the sanctuary/temple). He is combining the figures of Mishkan (tent of meeting) and Mikdash/Heiykhal (temple), and is making a clear distinction between the holy place and the holy of holies, both of which are part of the tent/temple.
7 but into the second [behind the parochet into the holy of holies], only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood which he offers for his soul and for the errors of the people committed in ignorance.
The holy of holies is now referred to and the need for the Levitical high priest to offer the blood of animals, in particular, with regard to Yom Kippur (tenth day of the seventh [shabbat] month Tishrei), a bull and subsequently a goat (the goat for HaShem), thus offering blood for both himself and his household and then for the people of Israel (Lev. 16). This blood, like all atonement, covers sin repented of, therefore, committed in ignorance. Covering is not affected for the wilfully unrepentant.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” -Leviticus 17:11 NASB
The writer confirms the ineffective service of the Levitical priesthood pertaining to its inability to provide eternal atonement, given that the high priest of the Levitical priesthood himself needs to be regularly atoned for.
8 The Holy Spirit (Hagios Pneuma[G], Ruach Hakodesh[H]) in this is showing (dēloō[G]), that the way (hodos[G], haderekh[H]) into the holiest place of all (ho hagion[G], el-hakodesh kol[H]) was not yet revealed, appeared, manifest (phaneroō[G]) while the first (protos[G]) sanctuary (skēnē[G], mishkan[H]) was still standing [referring to the then standing second Temple approx.. 60 C.E.], 9 which is a figure, parable, symbol (parabolē[G], mashal[H]) for the present time (lazman[H]). Accordingly both gifts (dōron[G], minatot[H]) and sacrifices (thusia[H], uzvachiym[H]) are (presently) offered which cannot perfect, make whole (teleioō[G], lehashliym[H]) the moral consciousness, conscience, heart, core being, inner person (suneidēsis[G], levav[H]) of those serving, worshipping (latreuō[G], haoveid[H]),
8 The Holy Spirit in this is showing, that the way into the holiest place of all was not yet revealed, appeared, manifest while the first sanctuary was still standing [referring to the Mishkan (Tent of meeting) constructed by Moses in the desert.],
The Holy Spirit is linked to the spoken and written word of God as the wind of God’s voice, or the wind of His davar[H] (logos[G]), essence, word (Yeshua). The writer of the Book to the Hebrews refers to the Holy Spirit in a similar way in 3:7.
“The holiest place of all” does not refer to the earthly holy of holies but alludes to the heavenly holy of holies yet to be manifest, as qualified by what follows (the Greek text does not repeat hagion [the Greek way of saying holy of holies] but reads ho hagion “the Holiest”, and the literal translation of the Hebrew reads “the holiest place of all”). In short the Holy Spirit is showing through the symbolism of the earthly Tent of Meeting/Temple system, that the holiest place of all in the heavens is yet to be fully manifest on earth, yet to be understood properly in relation to Messiah’s sacrificial death and the sprinkling of His blood on the heavenly mercy seat as an eternal atonement for all who receive Him, continually first for the Jew and also for the nations.
The Holy Spirit is showing that while the Tent of Meeting was standing (and by inference the second temple) the way to the holiest place in the heavens had not yet been revealed but was symbolised in the earthly replica. The writer is building up to and explanation of the fullness of the revelation of Yeshua’s redemptive work in entering into the heavenly holiest (holy of holies). Something the writer has already alluded to (Heb. 4:14).
This is also an allusion to the fact that it was only ever the high priest who could enter the earthly holy of holies and then once a year, but in Yeshua God would manifest the means by which all who believe are able to enter beyond the parochet (veil), not of the earthly holy of holies but that of the heavens, that holiest place that will come down with the new Jerusalem (a city which has no temple because God Himself and the Lamb are its temple [Rev. 21:22]).
The way to the holiest place in the heavens has been revealed in Yeshua to those who believe by faith through grace, but the fullness of this revelation will come at the end of the age
9 which is a figure, parable, symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are (presently) offered which cannot perfect, make whole the moral condition, conscience, heart, core being, inner person of those serving, worshipping,
“which is a figure, parable, symbol for the present time” The temple (extension of the Mishkan) is (in approx. 60 C.E.) a present parable teaching the deeper truth of the original Mishkan in the heavens and the service of the King Messiah as the Great High Priest in redeeming all who will believe and giving them access to God in right relationship.
It is again emphasised that the then functioning temple cult and its offerings and sacrifices were not able to purge and purify the inner person, in particular those priests (including the Levitical high priest, albeit at that time an apostate appointee) who were performing the rites.
10 since they are only food (brōma[G], habasar[H]), drink (poma[G], hama’acholot[H]), and various washings/immersions (baptismos[G], hateviylot[H]), and carnal, flesh, bodily (sarx[G]) regulations, judgements, ordinances (dikaiōma[G]) imposed, laid out (epikeimai[G]) until a time (kairos[G], ad-et[H]) of reforming (diorthōsis[G], hatikon[H]).11 But when Messiah (Christos[G], Mashiyach[H]) appeared as a high priest (archiereus[G], kohen gadol[H]) of the good things (agathos[G], latovah ha’atiydot[H]) having come, He entered through the greater (meizōn[G], bigdulah[H]) and more perfect, full, excellent (teleios[G], hameulleh[H]) Sanctuary (skene[G], hamishkan[H]), not made by human hands (cheiropoiētos[G], b’yad adam[H]), because it is not of this creation (ktisis[G], meihabriyah hazot[H]);
10 since they are only food, drink, and various washings/immersions, and carnal, flesh, bodily regulations, judgements, ordinances imposed, laid out until a time of reforming.
The food and drink offered in various rites was just that, temporal fuel offered as part of a system that was passing away. With regard to immersions, washings etc. see my commentary on Hebrews 6:2.
“bodily regulations, judgements, ordinances imposed, laid out until a time of reforming.” The writer explains according to the Holy Spirit, that all these regulations concerning the flesh, that is the decaying body of human beings and its outward ritual cleansing, are all symbols pointing to a time of reformation. That time having come in Messiah Yeshua and yet to be fully revealed in the world to come. The new covenant is the reforming of the first covenant. Notice “reform” and not “disregard”. The first covenant is to be regarded as a parable teaching the new covenant which is the original and transcendent perfection of that which the first covenant points to.
11 But when Messiah appeared as a high priest of the good things having come, He entered through the greater and more perfect, full, excellent Sanctuary, not made by human hands, because it is not of this creation;
The writer has spoken extensively of the practicalities of the Mosaic covenant and sacrificial system and has exposed its inability to affect a purging of the soul. It is likely that his Jewish brothers and sisters, the recipients of this work, were still allowing the temple cult to occupy the larger portion of their faith focus, something that, if left unaddressed could lead to their turning away from true faith in the King Messiah Yeshua. Therefore, the writer shifts focus to Yeshua the Great High Priest of the original, transcendent, and eternal Sanctuary of God.
Now Messiah is come and the way into the holiest place (heavenly holy of holies) is manifest, revealed (v.8). The Mishkan of the desert was at the time of this revelation, no longer functioning while the temple was functioning but soon to be destroyed.
Messiah has appeared within time and space to Israel as the transcendent High Priest of a more perfect Sanctuary (the heavenly original Mishkan) and of the good things having already come that are yet to be fully arrived. He has opened to Israel and the nations the way to right relationship in God’s intimate person, an opportunity to dwell in Him eternally. This He did by sprinkling His everlasting blood upon the heavenly mercy seat of the heavenly Sanctuary, which is neither made by human hands nor subject to this creation, but exists perpetually within the all existing God of Israel YHVH.
“48 However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:
49 ‘Heaven is My throne,
And the earth is the footstool of My feet;
What kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord,
‘Or what place is there for My rest?
50 Was it not My hand that made all these things?’” -Acts 7:48-50 (Isaiah 66:1,2) NASB [Ref. Acts 17:24]
12 and not through the blood (aima[G], bedam[H]) of goats (tragos[G], se’iyriym[H]) and calves (moschos[G], va’agaliym[H]), but through the blood of His own soul (aima[G], bedam-nafsho[H]), He entered the holiest place (ho hagion[G], el-hakodesh[H]) once for all time, having obtained (heuriskō[G]) eternal redemption (geulat olam[H]). 13 For if the blood (aima[G], im-dam[H]) of goats (tragos[G], se’iyriym[H]) and bulls (tauros[G], hapariym[H]), and the ashes (spodos[G], eifer[H]) of a heifer (damalis[G], haparah[H]) sprinkled (rhantizō[G]) on those who have become defiled, unclean (koinoō[G], al-hatmei’iym[H]), sanctify (hagiazō[G], yekadoshiym[H]) as a means of purifying, cleansing (katharotēs[G], letaheir[H]) the carnal form, flesh, body (sarx[G], besa’ar[H]),
12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through the blood of His own soul, He entered the holiest place once for all time, having obtained eternal redemption.
As has already been explained “both gifts and sacrifices are (presently) offered which cannot perfect, make whole the moral condition, conscience, heart, core being, inner person of those serving, worshipping,” (v.9).
In particular the reference to “the blood of goats and calves” regards Yom Kippur (Lev. 16), when the Levitical high priest would enter behind the parochet into the holy of holies.
Therefore, Yeshua offered the blood of His own soul. Yeshua’s blood (life) being that substance which is a convergence of deity and sinless human physiology. Put simply, His blood, like the covenant it inaugurated, is everlasting, and as a result its atonement is of eternal effect.
The writer uses ho hagion[G] “the holiest place” for good reason. While he is likening the heavenly place Messiah entered to the earthly replica, he is none the less distinguishing the heavenly holy of holies as the “holiest”, so as not to confuse the two. Messiah did not enter the earthly holy of holies, he need not, the earthly holy of holies (first century C.E.) did not contain the ark or the mercy seat. Therefore, Yeshua entered the heavenly holy of holies, the original, the holiest place, and made atonement upon the heavenly mercy seat which is upon the heavenly ark in the heavenly Mishkan. Thus, as I have stated, the redemption He obtained for all who would receive Him is of eternal effect.
The Targum Yonatan points us toward the redemptive work of God in Yeshua, saying:
“Jacob said, when he saw Gideon the son of Joash, and Samson the son of Manoah, who should be redeemers; ‘not for the redemption of Gideon am I waiting, nor for the redemption of Samson am I looking, for their redemption is a temporal redemption; but for thy redemption am I waiting and looking, O Lord, because thy redemption is an everlasting redemption.’'' -Targum Yonatan Ben Uzziel (2nd Century C.E.) Genesis 49:18
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who have become defiled, unclean, sanctify as a means of purifying, cleansing the carnal form, flesh, body,
Once again the reference to “the blood of goats and bulls” regards Yom Kippur (Lev. 16), when the Levitical high priest would enter behind the parochet into the holy of holies. Only this time the use of the word “bull” specifically refers to the Levitical high priest’s need to sacrifice a bull for himself and his family, something Yeshua being sinless did not need to do.
“and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who have become defiled” The ashes of the heifer were used as a ritual cleansing of those who had become ceremonially unclean through contact with a dead body (Num. 19). As this verse rightly acknowledges, the sacrificial practices and the sprinkling of the water made from heifer ashes were not more than ritual cleansing of the physical body. None of these practices affected purity of the entire being.
14 how much more will the blood (aima[G], hadam[H]) of the Messiah (Christos[G], ha-Mashiyach[H]) Who through the eternal (aiōnios[G], olam[H]) Spirit (pneuma[G], beruach[H]) offered, presented, sacrificed (prospherō[G], hikriyv[H]) His soul (nafsho[H]) without blemish, mark, spot (amōmos[G], bivliy-mum[H]) to God (Theos[G], l’Elohiym[H]); purge, cleanse, purify (katharizō[G], yetaheir[H]) your conscience, moral consciousness, heart, core being, inner person (suneidēsis[G], et libchem[H]) from dead, necrotic (nekros[G], mavet[H]) works, deeds, doing (ergon[G], asiym[H]) in order to serve (latreuō[G], la’avod[H]) the living God (zaō Theos[G], et Elohiym chayiym[H])? 15 And through this (dia touto[G], zot[H]) He is the mediator, reconciler, go between, messenger advocate (mesitēs[G], malakh meiliytz[H]) of a new covenant (kainos diathēkē[G], labriyt hachadashah[H]), so that, by means of His death (Thanatos[G], umoto[H]) we are (nimtza[H]) found redeemed, atoned, purged (apolutrōsis[G], lechaparat[H]) of the violations (parabasis[G], haposhiym tachat[H]) that were committed under the first covenant (protos diathēkē[G], habriyt harishonah[H]), those who have been called (kaleō[G]) may receive (lambanō[G]) the promise (epaggelia[G], et-havtachat[H]) of the eternal (aiōnios[G], olam[H]) inheritance (klēronomia[G], nachalat[H]). [alt. Hebrew text translates as, “that the elect might receive the promised eternal land.”]
14 how much more will the blood of the Messiah, Who through the eternal Spirit offered, presented, sacrificed His soul without blemish, mark, spot to God, purge, cleanse, purify your conscience, moral consciousness, heart, core being, inner person from dead, necrotic works, deeds, doing in order to serve the living God?
“How much more” is a kal vachomer (lenient and strict/lesser and greater) rabbinical form of teaching common to Talmudic literature and practiced for many centuries prior to the codification of the Talmud. This type of argument is similar but not the same as fortiori (a Latin word meaning “from the stronger”). Essentially the writer is saying, “if the temporary blood of the copy is able to ritually cleanse the body, how much more so the eternal blood of the Creator in Whom the original exists and from Whom the temporary signpost pointing to the original was gifted”.
“without blemish” Sacrificial animals were required to be without blemish. In the case of Messiah this refers to His sinless life (Heb. 4:15).
“the blood of the Messiah” As previously stated, Yeshua’s blood (life) being that substance which is a convergence of deity and sinless human physiology. Put simply, His blood, like the covenant it inaugurated, is everlasting, and as a result its atonement is of eternal effect.
Therefore, He alone is able to purge us of “necrotic works/deeds”. We note the stark contrast between the delusional life of necrotic deeds and the authentic eternal life in Messiah. The wording is poignant. To live according to the sinful nature is like a man living with necrotizing fasciitis, a form of bacteria resistant to human medicine. Yeshua comes to that same man and offers to cleanse his entire being inside and out, and as a result the cause and the symptoms of the infection are removed entirely. What the human doctors (a poor replica of healing) cannot do, the Creator of humanity has already done.
Copyright 2021 Yaakov Brown
“for the Torah[H] made nothing perfect” Because the purpose of Torah is to point to the perfector Yeshua the King Messiah. The Torah indicts against sin, Messiah delivers from sin. The Torah continues to serve its purpose until the end of the age, and Messiah continues to purpose salvation unto everlasting life. The Torah is not eternal, how could it be? There will be no need for an indictment against sin in the sinless Olam Haba (world to come). Only the knowledge of good will remain, we will therefore, have no need of instruction against evil. If there is an eternal Torah, it is devoid of the confines of mitzvot (commands). Freedom has no need of fences. One who knows only to do good need not be told to do it, everything he does is good.
Before continuing to study the writer’s exposition of Psalms 110, and the comparative teaching concerning the priesthood of Melkiy Tzedek as it reflects the type of priesthood ordered by the Messiah, which is over all peoples regardless of ethnicity, we first need to understand that many of the Jewish Messiah followers of the latter first century still found the idea that Gentiles could be collectively saved or atoned for before the God of Israel, untenable. While they held that the righteous among the nations could be part of the Olam Haba (world to come), they did not necessarily believe that the redemptive purposes of God for the nations were equivalent to His purposes for Israel, and in part they were correct, but only in part. The writer of the Book to the Hebrews knows that many of those who would receive his Holy Spirit inspired words still considered Messiah Yeshua relevant predominantly and or only to Jews (descendants of Jacob).
Therefore, he is writing (inspired by the Holy Spirit) in such a way as to shake them loose from their spiritual bigotry. He is most certainly not writing in order to rob them of their unique ethno-religious identity as Jews chosen by God. Nor is he at any point suggesting that because Messiah Yeshua’s priesthood is in the order or type of that of Melkiy Tzedek (the mortal priest and king of Salem), that the priesthood of Aaron is redundant (this is clearly not the case given that the very acts of Messiah’s life and sacrificial practice, along with the function of intercession before God in the heavenly holy of holies as Kohen Gadol, reflect the Levitical priesthood which unlike Melkiy Tzedek’s priesthood, had the Mishkan [Tent of Meeting] and the Temple as shadows of the heavenlies, in which to approach God according to the order of the universe as He has set it in place).
Therefore, Messiah’s Priesthood is reflected in both the priesthood of Melkiy Tzedek and the priesthood of Aaron (Levitical), and, without the sacrificial death of Messiah, foreshadowed in the Pesach of Israel and the Yom Kippur sacrifice of the Aaronic priesthood, there would be no possibility of another priest like Melkiy Tzedek arising.
Additionally, Messiah’s Priesthood, which is like Melkiy Tzedek’s priesthood, is not Melkiy Tzedek’s priesthood. It is Yeshua’s priesthood. It is of fundamental importance that this is understood. The writer makes this clear but the interpretation of numerous theologians through the centuries has muddied the waters for many.
As is the case with all Scripture (scrolls of the original texts), there are no chapter breaks or verse markers (or punctuation for that matter) in the scroll of the Book to the Hebrews. It’s important to see the text of this chapter as a continuation of the previous chapter, the last verses of chapter 6 being:
19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both certain, loyal and forceful, reliable and one which enters into the house (Temple), the inner veil parochet[H] [the veil hung before the holy of holies], 20 where Yeshua has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the word, order, type, style, arrangement of Melkiy Tzedek.
BOOK TO THE HEBREWS Chapter 7 (Author’s translation)
1For this Melkiy Tzedek[H], king of Shalem[H], priest of El Elyon[H] God Most High, who met Avraham[H] (Father of many peoples) as he was returning from the slaughter, cutting to pieces of the kings and blessed [spoke blessing over] him, [Gen. 14:18-20] 2 to whom also Avraham[H] apportioned a tenth of all, was first of all, by interpretation, king of righteousness, and then also king of Shalem[H], which is king of peace. 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but was a copy, a model passed off as, a facsimile, a foreshadow of the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually. 4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Avraham[H], the patriarch, founder of the tribe, progenitor, head of the fathers gave a tenth of the spoils, off the top of the heap. 5 And indeed those of the sons of Leviy[H] (joined to) who receive the office of priest have a commandment, precept to collect a tenth from the people according to the Torah[H] (Instruction), that is, from their brothers/people, although they come from the loins Avraham[H]. 6 But he whose genealogy, family is not counted from them, collected a tenth from Avraham[H] and spoke a blessing over him who has been given the promises. 7 And beyond all dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In this case mortal men receive tithes, but there he of whom it is recorded that he lives. 9 And, so I could say, through Avraham[H] even Leviy[H], who received tithes, has paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his forefather when Melkiy Tzedek[H] met him. 11 If therefore, perfecting, completing, fulfilling was through the Levitical priesthood, [for on the basis of it the people received the Torah[H]], what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order, arrangement, type, style of Melkiy Tzedek[H], and not be designated according to the order, arrangement, type, style of Aharon[H]? 12 For when the priesthood is translated, it is necessary that there takes place a translation of Torah[H] also. 13 For the one about whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord is descended from Yehudah[H], a tribe with reference to which Moshe[H] said nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melkiy Tzedek[H], 16 who has become a priest not on the basis of a law of physical (ethnic) requirement, but according to the miraculous power of an indestructible, endless, insoluble life. 17 For it is attested of Him, “You are a priest forever According to the order, arrangement, fashion, style of Melkiy-tzedek[H].” [Ps. 110:4 (109:4 LXX)] 18 For, on the one hand, there is putting away of a former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19 (for the Torah[H] made nothing perfect); but the introducing of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 And accordingly not without an oath 21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) has sworn And will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever’”; 22 by the same extent Yeshua[H] also has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23 The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing; 24 Yeshua[H], on the other hand, because He continues, abides, dwells, remains forever, has an immutable, unchanging priesthood. 25 Therefore, He is also able to save to the full end, perfectly, forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need to offer sacrifices daily, like those high priests, first for His own sins [missing the mark set by God’s holiness] and then for the sins of the people, because He did this once for all when He offered up His soul. 28 For the Torah[H] appoints men as high priests who are infirm, weak, but the word, essence, substance of the oath, which came after the Torah[H], appoints a Son, who has been made consecrated forever.
HEBREWS 7 (line upon line)
1For this Melkiy Tzedek[H] (My king of Righteousness), king of Shalem[H] (Peace, wholeness, well-being), priest of El Elyon[H] God Most High, who met Avraham[H] (Father of many peoples) as he was returning from the slaughter, cutting to pieces (kopē[G]) of the kings, (basileus[G], hamelakhiym[H]) and blessed [spoke blessing over] (eulogeō[G], yivar’cheihu[H]) him, [Gen. 14:18-20] 2 to whom also Avraham[H] apportioned a tenth (dekatē[G]) of all, was first (prōton[G]) of all, by interpretation (hermēneuō[G]), king of righteousness (basileus dikaiosunē[G]), and then also king of Shalem[H], which is king of peace (basileus eirēnē[G], melekh hashalom[H]).
1For this Melkiy Tzedek[H], king of Shalem[H], priest of El Elyon[H] God Most High, who met Avraham[H] (Father of many peoples) as he was returning from the slaughter, cutting to pieces of the kings, and blessed [spoke blessing over] him, [Gen. 14:18-20]
This is a paraphrase of the historical narrative recorded in Genesis 14. The writer of the Book to the Hebrews touches on the elements of the story that best convey his drash (comparative teaching). He is by no means expounding the finer details of the historical narrative. This is a drash on, and not a literal interpretation of Genesis 14.
We note that Melkiy Tzedek was both a king and a priest, roles that were distinct and separate in Israelite history, and that he did not know God as YHVH but as El Elyon (God above all Gods, Supreme God). Additionally Melkiy Tzedek approached Avraham, and not the other way around. All of this is a picture or foreshadow, a prefigure of Messiah and His ministry, but does not mean Melkiy Tzedek the mortal king-priest was Yeshua. To the contrary, it means that he was not.
Shalem (Jerusalem), from which Melkiy Tzedek had come was most likely named for the Canaanite deity Shalim. Shalim (evening star deity) and Shahar (morning star deity) were Canaanite mountain gods of dusk and dawn. This is one of the reasons it is important that Melkiy Tzedek is clearly identified as worshipping El Elyon (God most high), Whom the Canaanites would have understood as the Supreme God of their pantheon. Once again, with these things in mind, it is blasphemous to say that Melkiy Tzedek and Yeshua are one in the same. The nature of Melkiy Tzedek’s religious environment make the idea abhorrent. Melkiy Tzedek is a mortal type, used as a foreshadow, nothing more.
NB: Regarding the Genesis 14 account, it’s worth noting for the purpose of context, that the plunder of the five defeated kings and the plunder of the four previously defeated kings made up a total spoil gleaned from nine kings, Avraham being the tenth king/ruler. We note that Avraham (then Avram) returned the captive people of Sodom and took nothing of the spoils of Sodom except that which was rightfully owed to his men for the work they had performed on behalf of the defeated king of Sodom. Avraham, as the tenth king (king of fullness) then offered a tithe (10) of fullness to the then priestly representative of El Elyon (God most high). A tenth of his personal wealth.
2 to whom also Avraham[H] apportioned a tenth of all, was first of all, by interpretation, king of righteousness, and then also king of Shalem[H], which is king of peace.
The writer explains the interpretation of the Hebrew name of the ancient kingly priest Melkiy Tzedek as part of the midrashic process and not in order to explain the Hebrew language to the believing Jewish recipients or because he is addressing non-Jews who lack Hebrew understanding. Given that the recipients of the work are believing Jews, we should understand the pretext to these words as being “You know this story, you know Melkiy Tzedek’s name means ‘King of Righteousness’ and that Shalem is an old name for Jerusalem the city where peace is outpoured”.
The writer is using the meaning of Melkiy Tzedek’s name to teach a remez (hint) at an allegory/comparison. This was common rabbinical practice from prior to the first century C.E. and beyond, Yeshua Himself employed this type of teaching method, known as PaRDeS (p’shat [plain], remez [hint], drash [comparative], sod [mystery]). Knowing this (alongside numerous other textual and historical indicators) puts death to the foolish idea that the writer of the Book to the Hebrews is saying that Melkiy Tzedek and Yeshua are one in the same. They are not. It saddens me greatly that this has to be emphasised so emphatically due to the proliferation of false interpretation at the present time.
An explanation of Yeshua’s use of the teaching method PaRDeS:
Is there any implicit support for the rabbinical method PaRDeS within the texts of the Bible?
The P’shat or plain meaning is self-explanatory. There is no need to explain to a reader that the book means what it says. Therefore, there is no need to show evidence from the Bible that God intends for us to take it at face value relative to context: linguistic, cultural, historical, geographical, figurative, poetic and metaphorical.
The first mention of the practice of examining the Scriptures in an exegetical way is in the book of Ezra the scribe.
“For Ezra had set his heart to l’drosh inquire of the Torah of Adonai, to observe and to teach its statues and ordinances in Israel.” –Ezra 7:10
The root “darash (drash)” is used specifically in relation to the Torah and therefore describes a practice of interpretation and an intention to walk according to that interpretation and teach it to others. This is the perfect example of what it means to make a drash, or comparative teaching.
As Jews who follow Yeshua, we should look to Him and His disciples for evidence of the use of rabbinical interpretive method. If He doesn’t teach using the PaRDeS method, then why would we?
Let’s take a look at just a few of the many Brit HaChadashah (New Testament) examples of PaRDeS found in the book of Matthew.
As stated earlier, every part of Scripture has a plain meaning, therefore P’shat (the plain interpretation) is the basis for the subsequent methods of interpretation.
Matthew 2:15 - "Out of Egypt I called my son." This is a quote from Hosea 11:1 and is being applied to Yeshua by Matthew. If we read it to refer to the p’shat (plain meaning) of Hosea 11:1, we must interpret it to refer to Israel (collectively). However, Matthew, the disciple of Yeshua, divinely inspired by God, interprets it as a remez (hint) which is alluding to the Messiah King as God’s Son. This is just one of many examples of Matthew’s use of remez.
Matthew 18:18 - "... Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." This verse taken literally and out of context is often used by Christians to demand that spiritual powers submit to them. However, within the context of Matthew 18:14-18 the p’shat (plain meaning) refers to the practical application of principals concerning those who are sinning within the body of believers. Thus the plain meaning indicates a d'rash (comparative teaching) concerning the binding and loosing of our own actions according to Halakhah the way we walk (Yet another rabbinical method of teaching practice that Yeshua and His disciples applied to daily life).
Matthew 26:28 - "Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them saying, ‘Drink from it all of you, This is my blood’ ..." If the figurative language here were taken literally it would not only violate the Torah commandment against consuming blood, but along with other verses concerning the eating of Yeshua's flesh (John 6:51-56), could be understood as teaching cannibalism. Yeshua explains to His disciples that it is the Spirit that produces the deeper understanding (John 6:63), and that His words are spirit and life. This is evidence of a sod (mystery) that cannot be gleaned from the p’shat (plain meaning) of the text. A concept that is illuminated through spiritual revelation alone and by no other means. This particular sod (Mystery) would be fully revealed following His death and resurrection.
So what can we conclude?
a. There is no explicit schematic for Bible interpretation within Scripture.
b. PaRDeS is implicit in Scripture. Both Messiah and His disciples employ it.
c. It is arrogant and even misleading to use Greco-Roman techniques and post enlightenment textual criticism as tools for Scriptural interpretation while excluding the rabbinical interpretive tradition based on the hypocritical assumption that it is not divinely appointed.
Therefore, with regard to Hebrews 7, the point of the writer’s drash is not to show how mystical and awesome Melkiy Tzedek is but how Superior and all existing Yeshua is. Focussing on Melkiy Tzedek (the mortal) misses the point entirely and worse, becomes soil for a seed of idolatry.
3 Without father (apator[G], belo-av[H]), without mother (ametor[G], belo-eim[H]), without genealogy, having neither beginning (archē[G]) of days nor end (telos[G]) of life (zoe[G], hachayiym[H]), but was a copy, a model passed off as, a facsimile, a foreshadow (aphomoioō[G]) of the Son of God (uihos Theos[G], Le-ven ha-Elohiym[H]), he remains (menō[G]) a priest perpetually (diēnekes[G], kohen leolam[H]). 4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Avraham[H] (Father of many peoples), the patriarch, founder of the tribe, progenitor, head of the fathers (patriarchēs[G], rosh ha’avot[H]) gave (didōmi[G], natan[H]) a tenth (dekatē[G]) of the spoils, off the top of the heap (akrothinion[G]).
3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but was a copy, a model passed off as, a facsimile, a foreshadow of the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.
“Without father…” His father is not recorded in the genealogies because the genealogies concern the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the focus of the Torah being to point to God’s redemptive work through the choosing of a certain people set apart unto Himself (the descendants of Jacob/Israel, the Jews). Melkiy Tzedek had a human father, his father is simply not recorded. Jews of the first century understood this to be a fact. At no time were they confused over the identity of Melkiy Tzedek. Nor did they believe that Melkiy Tzedek was in any way an eternal being. This is affirmed by the qualifying phrase “without genealogy” which is understood by those who received this work as “his genealogy is not recorded” and not to mean “he had no genealogy”. We know this because verse 6 of this same chapter says “But he whose genealogy, family is not counted from them...” Meaning, he had a genealogy but it’s neither counted according to Leviy nor recorded in the Torah.
The Syriac version of the New Testament Book to the Hebrews reads "whose father and mother are not written in the genealogies".
“he remains a priest perpetually” In the mind of the reader of the Torah, the man Melkiy Tzedek remains a priest because his genealogy is not recorded, nor is his appointment or any record of succession to his priesthood. This does not mean he wasn’t appointed or that there was not another priest of El Elyon who succeeded Melkiy Tzedek as priest in the then predominantly pagan city of Shalem, rather it simply means that the Torah was not concerned with keeping genealogical records of Gentiles.
NB: Jewish tradition teaches that Melkiy Tzedek and Shem the son of Noach (Noah) are one in the same [Nedarim 32b]. However, this is not tenable given the generational gap between Abraham and Shem, and that Abraham himself is a descendant of Shem and of Ur of Chaldee, which bears no geographical correlation to Salem (Jerusalem).
“Rabbi Zekharya said in the name of Rabbi Yishmael: The Holy One, Blessed be He, wanted the priesthood to emerge from Shem, so that his children would be priests, as it is stated: “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was priest of God the Most High” (Gen. 14:18). Once Melchizedek, traditionally identified as Shem, placed the blessing of Abraham before the blessing of the Omnipresent, He had the priesthood emerge from Abraham in particular, and not from any other descendant of Shem.” -Nedarim 32b
In later rabbinic literature Melkiy Tzedek bestows the priesthood on Avraham, who then becomes priest forever (Talmud Bavliy Ned. 32b; Lev. Rab. 25:6). This seems most likely to be a polemic written against the teaching of the Book to the Hebrews.
The point being that both pre and post Messianic rabbinic thought understood Melkiy Tzedek to be a mortal king and not a transcendent being.
The apocryphal book (mythos) 2 Chanoch (Enoch) 71-72 (71.29, 32), which claims that Melkiy Tzedek was miraculously born of his dead mother Nir, the wife of Noah’s brother and was kept safe through the flood (contrary to what the Torah teaches), in order to be a priest in the post flood generation, may well be one of many reasons for the increasing misteaching among pseudo learned Christians, that he is Yeshua preincarnate. It is sickening to think that non-inspired books full of occult ideology and syncretised Hellenistic mythos such as the books of Enoch, are being used as source material for the spread of pseudo Christian lies throughout the modern Christian community. Rav Shaul warns against Jewish mythos and vain genealogical arguments. We do well to heed his warning:
“3 As I urged you, when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay in Ephesus to direct certain people not to pass on different instruction, 4 or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These give rise to useless speculations rather than God’s training which is in faithfulness. 5 Now the goal of this command is love from of a pure heart and a clear conscience and a genuine faith. 6 Some, having missed the mark, have turned away to fruitless discussion— 7 wanting to be teachers of Torah, even though they do not understand what they keep saying or what they so dogmatically assert. 8 But we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately, 9 knowing that the Torah is not given for a tzaddik but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and worldly, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, homosexuals, slave-traders, liars, perjurers, and for anything else that opposes sound teaching— 11 in keeping with what was entrusted to me, the glorious Good News of the blessed God.” -1 Timothy 1:3-11 TLV
4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Avraham[H], the patriarch, founder of the tribe, progenitor, head of the fathers gave a tenth of the spoils, off the top of the heap.
The writer is using Melkiy Tzedek’s greatness as an example of the Superiority of Yeshua’s priesthood over that of Aaron (Levitical). The Superiority of Yeshua being one of the primary themes of the Book to the Hebrews.
Hebrews 7:4-11 allude to five ways that Melkiy Tzedek is great:
1. He received a tithe of the plunder of battle from Avraham, even though Avraham was the Progenitor, father of all the Jews and what’s more, is the father of faith to all who believe. Nor did Melkiy Tzedek have a family connection to Avraham (despite the false assertions of certain Jewish traditions), and therefore, did not have the right that the Levitical priests had to receive tithes from their own brothers. In fact Melkiy Tzedek is not recorded by the Torah as being entitled to receive tithes from anyone, whereas the Levitical priests are commanded recieve a tenth of the income of the people of Israel (Heb. 7:4-6).
2. Melkiy Tzedek blessed Avraham, implying that Melkiy Tzedek was greater than Avraham (Heb. 7:6-7).
3. The Levitical priests receive tithes even though they die, whereas Melkiy Tzedek is recorded without genealogy and from a Midrashic view considered to be living, because the Tanakh doesn’t record his death (Heb. 7:8).
4. In order of greatness Melkiy Tzedek is placed above Avraham from whom he received a tenth and Avraham above Leviy, his progeny, who received a tenth from the people of Israel through the Levitical priesthood. This order seen as being subject to the fact that Avraham presented his tenth to Melkiy Tzedek while Leviy was still in his seed as a great grandson (Heb. 7:9-10).
5. The Jewish people were given the Torah in which contained a sacrificial system that required mediation via the priesthood of Leviy. But this system was temporary and could not facilitate eternal atonement. This indicates the need for another, different kind of priest, who is compared with Melkiy Tzedek, a priest, who according to the writer’s drash (comparative teaching) is superior to the greatest of the Levitical high priests, Aharon.
The Tenth, Tithe, and Godly Giving (A Supplementary Teaching)
Many within the community of faith see the giving of a tenth of their income as an obligation. Or worse, are encouraged to give money they don’t have to fund building projects and programmes that have little eternal value. This is an unfortunate consequence of a theological view point that seeks to utilize the financial elements of Israel’s priesthood to generate income for extra-biblical projects, while ignoring the far greater obligations of Israel’s commonwealth and her Temple centric worship system.
It seems ludicrous that a community which so fervently professes the faith of Avraham through Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) [that is the Body of Believers, Church, Ecclesia of Messiah], should completely neglect the actions of Avraham in the matter of tithing/giving.
The first person to present a tenth to HaShem is Avram that is Avraham before he became Avraham. This tenth is of great figurative significance to us as Jews. It is not merely an obligation, it is a symbol of all that is complete in us. To separate our financial wealth from our spirituality is as alien a concept to the observant Jew as the idea of separating soul and spirit. We cannot separate the inseparable. We are not spirits in a material world, we are souls (Nefesh), physical, mental, spiritual, emotional: we are complex and unified beings. We are Souls living in God. It is Hashem in Whom we dwell, He Who has made us echad (one).
Therefore, if we are obligated to give a tenth we are also obligated to practise all of the instructions of the priesthood. However, if we are free to give, we have a High Priest Yeshua, Who, devoid of sin, is able to complete and perfect in us the fullness of all that His priesthood requires. Even ten (fullness) by ten (fullness) by ten (fullness) l’olam va’ed (for worlds eternal).
Gen. 14:18 And Melkiy Tzedek (My King of righteousness) king of Shalem (Peace, wholeness, well-being) brought forth bread (lechem) and wine (yayin); and he was priest of El-Elyon (God the most high). Gen. 14:19 And He blessed him (Avram), and said: “Blessed be Avram (Father of a people) of El-Elyon (God the most high), Maker of heaven and earth; Gen. 14:20 and blessed be El-Elyon (God the most high), Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he (Avram) gave him (Melkiy Tzedek) a tenth of all (Hebrews 7:4). –Berieshit (Genesis) 14:18-20
Figuratively speaking, the King of righteousness, Who is also the King of peace and the Great High Priest on behalf of all peoples brought bread and wine to the father of trust, which is faith. As High Priest of the Highest God, He spoke the blessing of God over the father of trust saying, “All blessing has come to you from God, father of a nation: the God above all gods has delivered your enemies and their wealth into your hands.” After the King had spoken these words the father of a nation responded to the King of righteousness, the King of Peace and Wholeness, the Great High Priest, by giving to him a tenth of all that he possessed, both that which had always been his and that which he had plundered from the nations. This tenth symbolized everything that the father of a nation was, and everything that belonged to him. Ten is a symbol of wholeness and completion, of a promise fulfilled and sustained.
Therefore, Avram, father of a great people, prior to becoming Avraham, the father of many peoples, offered a symbol of all that he was and was to become, all that he possessed and was to possess. He offered this from the riches of his own household and from the households of the nations he had plundered. Therefore, it is a practice that can be entered into by both Israel and the nations. He offered the tenth freely to a Priest Who held position before the priesthood of Aaron, and Who was a type, a facsimile, a foreshadow for the Messiah, Who is the Kohen Ha-Gadol Rabah (Great High Priest). Therefore, this free-will tithe holds authority over the obligatory tithe of the temple service and the priesthood of Aaron.
All the tithes and offerings of Israel are presented to God through the mediation of the priesthood of Aaron. Thus, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) becomes the symbolic head of that priesthood. These tithes and offerings are intended to feed and clothe the priests of God and provide for the service of worship which is to be perpetuated generationally.
Messiah did not cancel out the less effective priesthood of Aaron, rather He perfected it, translated it (as the Greek text of Hebrews renders) because He was before it. The Great High Priest Yeshua is now the mediator of the tithes and offerings of HaShem, only rather than making them an obligation He has turned them into an opportunity to respond to the freedom He has purchased on our behalf. This is why Melkiy Tzedek brings bread and wine to Avram. They’re symbols of both provision and redemption. Redemption through the sacrificial blood of Messiah’s death and provision through the life giving blood of His resurrection. Therefore, our tithing and giving are to be offered as a response to this freedom, in the same way that Avram offered his tenth in order to acknowledge the freedom and provision of God. The giving of our tenth, like Avram’s tenth, is a symbolic gesture which acknowledges that everything we are and all that we have belongs to God through Messiah Yeshua.
Mark 12:41 He (Yeshua) sat down opposite the treasury and began watching how the people were putting money into the offering box. Many rich people were putting in a lot. Mark 12:42 Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a 50 cents. Mark 12:43 Calling His disciples over, He said to them, “Amen, it is certain, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the box! Mark 12:44 For they all put in from their surplus; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had, her whole living.” –Mark 12:41-44
In this historical account, Yeshua observes a poor widow and illuminates her actions as being the actions of someone who has decided to offer all to God in the practice of worshipping Him.
Avram’s tenth was also a foreshadowing of the widow’s offering. He did not give it to cover a debt or as an obligatory tithe but as a symbolic gesture which said, “All that I have and am belong to you HaShem”.
This teaches us that the value of that which we give is measured by the intention of the heart of the giver. A believer may never tithe to an organized community of faith, instead, he may open his home to strangers, spending more than a tenth on providing for them and caring for their wellbeing. He may be in the practice of giving to fellow believers when they’re in need or lending his possessions to be used by others in the community. By doing this he shows that all that he has belongs to HaShem. Thus, he gives to God in all circumstances, surpassing the requirement of the Torah.
The number ten is a symbol of all that we are and all that we have.
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.” -2 Corinthians 9:6
When we look at tithing and giving as loosing, or sacrificing something we are missing the point. A wise farmer keeps aside a portion of the grain in order to seed the soil for the next season’s crop. He doesn’t consider this to be a loss or a sacrifice, rather he considers it a necessary part of the process of sowing and reaping. If he fails to plant enough seed he will also fail to reap a good crop. However, when he practices effective sowing he also reaps the benefit. The giving Rav Shaul is describing in 2 Corinthians is one or reciprocity. God owns all, therefore, He supplies us with all things and allows us to manage that supply. Additionally, rather than keeping the harvest for Himself and hoarding its benefits like a human land owner would do, God gives the fruit of the harvest back to the grower and leaves the grower to decide what he will offer as a token of his gratefulness to God.
Today, there are those who misuse the principal of sowing and reaping to illicit funds from people who have nothing more to give. They encourage believers to mortgage houses and take out loans in order to, “reap” a greater reward. In doing so they bring poverty to the community of believers while they build worthless icons in memory of their so called ministries. This is a grievous sin against the body of Messiah that should not be tolerated. God does not ask us to give from what we don’t have but from what we have.
The Scripture says, “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches and glory” not, “I shall supply God’s needs according to my loans and lack of finances.” Those wolves among us, who steal from the poor in order to prosper themselves, may well have turned to the widow whom Yeshua spoke of and said, “If you’ve got a house you should mortgage it, two little coins will not reap the harvest God desires for your life, if you keep sowing so sparingly you’ll become even more accursed by God.” These liars, despicable leeches, false teachers, are condemned men.
“2 Co. 9:7 Let each one give as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion—for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Co. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that by always having enough of everything, you may overflow in every good work. 2 Co. 9:9 As it is written, “He scattered widely, He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 2Co 9:10 Now the One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” -2 Corinthians 9:7-10
Rav Shaul (Paul) explains that it is the heart (leiv) intention (the intention of the core being, not the intention of the emotion) that determines the value of the gift. Remember, it already belongs to God. He is a debtor to no one. If we give grudgingly it is as if we hadn’t given at all. Of course, due to the nature of sowing and reaping, we will also fail to benefit from an abundant crop. This is not a punitive action on God’s part, rather it is the natural result of our own actions.
“2 Co. 9:11 You will be enriched in everything for all generosity, which through us brings about thanksgiving to God. 2 Co. 9:12 For this service of giving is not only supplying the needs of the kedoshiym (holy, set apart ones), but is also overflowing with many thanksgivings to God.” -2 Corinthians 9:11-12
When we give from an understanding of God’s goodness toward us we see God’s provision in all things and are grateful. This in turn inspires us to give to others from the overflow of our own spiritual and physical wealth. Rav Shaul calls this act a “service”, meaning an act of temple worship, a service of the priesthood of all believers. Thus, in Messiah, the Great High Priest, we act as priests under His authority. The result is not only blessing and thanks giving among the holy ones (believers), but also an overflow to those around us. This overflow draws people to Messiah, Who reconciles them to God. Thus giving is one of the ways that the Gospel is perpetuated.
“Because of the evidence of this service, they praise God for the obedience of your affirmation of the Good News of Messiah and for the generosity of your contribution to them and to everyone.” -2 Corinthians 9:13
As a result of our giving other believers praise God and give Him the glory due His Name. Our giving affirms our certain hope in the Gospel of the Messiah.
“2 Co. 9:14 And in their prayer for you, they long for you because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 2 Co. 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” -2 Corinthians 9:14-15 TLV
Our giving is the fruit of the surpassing chesed (practical love) of God which is upon us. It is an act of worship that gives voice to the eternal truth that God’s greatest gift, the gift of His Son, has produced a great harvest of souls. Thus, we praise Him and give thanks to Him.
1. The number ten (Tithe) reminds us that all that we are and all that we have, belong to God in Messiah Yeshua.
2. The free-will tithe of Avram holds authority over the obligatory tithe of the temple service and the priesthood of Aaron.
3. God asks us to give of what we have, not from what we don’t have. Anyone who suggests that the widow in the story of the widow’s offering should mortgage her home because she didn’t give enough in order to reap abundantly, is misunderstanding the principal of sowing and reaping and worse, is committing a grievous sin against the body of Yeshua
4. We are not obligated to give, nor are we free not to give. Like trust and action (faith and works) freedom and giving go hand in hand, they are intrinsically linked, a complex unity
5. The purpose of our giving is to facilitate the perpetuation of the worship of God in our generation and to seed the Gospel work of God's people, so that others will be redeemed into His kingdom and enjoy the prosperity of God, which is both within and beyond the material world
6. Godly giving transforms the seed of temporary wealth into the fruit of eternal peace.
5 And indeed (amein[H]) those of the sons (uihos[G], b’naiy[H]) of Leviy[H] (joined to) who receive (lambanō[G]) the office of priest (hierateia[G], hakehunah[H]) have a commandment, precept (entolē[G]) to collect a tenth (apodekatoō[G], ma’aseir[H]) from the people according to the Torah[H] (Instruction), that is, from their brothers/people (adelphos[G], ha’am[H]), although they come from the loins (osphus[G]) of Avraham[H]. 6 But he whose genealogy, family (genealogeō[G], lemishpechotam[H]) is not counted from them, collected a tenth (apodekatoō[G], ma’aseir[H]) from Avraham[H] and spoke a blessing (eulogeō[G], beirakh[H]) over him who has been given (echō[G], netunah[H]) the promises (ho epaggelia[G], hahavtachah[H]).
5 And indeed those of the sons of Leviy[H] (joined to) who receive the office of priest have a commandment, precept to collect a tenth from the people according to the Torah[H] (Instruction), that is, from their brothers/people, although they come from the loins of Avraham[H].
“The office of priest” refers specifically to the office of High Priest. Although all Levites are considered priests, different subgroups played different roles. There was one priesthood but many facets.
“But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:” -Ezekiel 44:15 KJV
“have a commandment, precept to collect a tenth from the people according to the Torah…”
“20 The Lord said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. 21 “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting… 26 “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.” -Numbers 18:20-21, 26 NIV
6 But he whose genealogy, family is not counted from them, collected a tenth from Avraham[H] and spoke a blessing over him who has been given the promises.
“He whose genealogy is not counted from them collected the tenth” Shows clearly that the one being spoken of has a genealogy, albeit unrecorded in the Torah.
Avraham is the one who has been given the promises, and Melkiy Tzedek spoke a blessing over Avraham. All blessing having its origin in God.
7 And beyond all dispute (antilogia[G], vedavar yadua[H]) the lesser (katan[H]) is blessed (eulogeō[G], yevorakh[H]) by the greater (hagadol[H]). 8 In this case mortal men (anthrōpos[G], anashiym b’naiy temutah[H]) receive tithes (dekatē[G], ma’aseir[H]), but there (ekei[G]) he of whom it is recorded (martureō[G]) that he lives (zaō[G]). 9 And, so I could say (hos epos epos[G]), through Avraham[H] even Leviy[H], who received tithes (dekatē[G], ma’aseir[H]), has paid tithes (dekatē[G], ma’aseir[H]), 10 for he was still in the loins (osphus[G]) of his forefather (patēr[G], aviyo[H]) when Melkiy Tzedek[H] met him.
7 And beyond all dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater.
It’s not true as some Jewish commentators suggest, that the greater does not always bless the lesser. Their reasoning is that Melkiy Tzedek blessed God, but at the same time, those who make this claim understand that all blessing comes from God and that as Jews when we say “Barukh Atah Adonay” We understand “All blessing is of You Adonay”. Therefore, Melkiy Tzedek “blessed God” (acknowledged that all blessing) comes from God. This is an example of God (the Greater) bestowing the ability to bless on Melkiy Tzedek (the lesser), and Melkiy Tzedek offering that blessing back to God so that it might be imparted to Avraham.
This is “beyond all dispute” because all blessing comes from God, Who is the Creator of all and in Whom all things exist and have their being. Therefore, the idea that any created thing could bless anyone without that blessing being first supplied by God is ludicrous.
8 In this case mortal men receive tithes, but there he of whom it is recorded that he lives.
The priests of Leviy all die, but through the remez hinted at in the historical record of Melkiy Tzedek we see that the Greatest High Priest Yeshua continues forever (Psalms 110:4; Heb. 7:24).
9 And, so I could say, through Avraham[H] even Leviy[H], who received tithes, has paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his forefather when Melkiy Tzedek[H] met him.
“So I could say” follows the style of Midrashic rabbinical rhetoric. It indicates an allegorical or comparative use of the plain meaning of the text but does not seek to make a claim that the comparison is the literal meaning. Therefore, the fact that Melkiy Tzedek’s genealogy is not recorded is used as a figure foreshadowing a living priesthood that doesn’t die, is not mortal. The writer is not saying that Melkiy Tzedek is immortal. This teaching is based on a historical figure but is literary, not literal.
11 If therefore, perfecting, completing, fulfilling (teleiōsis[G]) was through the Levitical (Leuitikos[G], bikunat b’naiy leviy[H]) priesthood (hierōsunē[G]), [for on (epi[G]) the basis of it the people received the Torah[H] (nomotheteō[G])], what further (eti[G]) need was there for another priest (hiereus[G], kohen[H]) to arise according to the order, arrangement, type (taxis[G]) of Melkiy Tzedek[H], and not be designated according to the order, arrangement, type (taxis[G]) of Aharon[H]? 12 For when the priesthood (hierōsunē[G], hakehunah[H]) is translated (metatithēmi[G]), it is necessary that there takes place a translation (metatithēmi[G]) of Torah[H] also.
11 If therefore, perfecting, completing, fulfilling was through the Levitical priesthood, [for on the basis of it the people received the Torah[H]], what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order, arrangement, type of Melkiy Tzedek[H], and not be designated according to the order, arrangement, type of Aharon[H]?
“If therefore, perfecting, completing, fulfilling was through the Levitical priesthood, [for on the basis of it the people received the Torah[H]]…” The priesthood which the Torah instructs as mediator of temporal sacrificial symbols offered in the blood of animals, could not perfect sin affected people because the indictment of Torah served to point out humanity’s inability to keep its instruction. Therefore, neither the Torah nor the Levitical priesthood it commanded could bring humanity into a perfect relationship with our Creator, Whom we have sinned against. Our sin separating us from Him.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” -Isaiah 59:2 NKJV
“what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order, arrangement, type of Melkiy Tzedek?” This indicates that Yeshua is not Melkiy Tzedek, rather He is “another priest to arise according to the type of Melkiy Tzedek”.
Where the Torah was made weak in application by our sinfulness, Messiah Yeshua overcame in sinless perfection, arising as the perfector and finisher of faith. The Superior High Priest.
12 For when the priesthood is translated, it is necessary that there takes place a translation of Torah[H] also.
“When the priesthood is translated, it is necessary that there takes place a translation of the Torah also.” The immutable aspects of Torah never change, while the aspects of Torah governing indictment against sin will pass away in the Olam Haba (world to come) where there will be no sin and therefore, no need for indictment. Thus, the priesthood of Messiah Yeshua which is like the priesthood of Melkiy Tzedek, translates the Torah into the language of eternity, making an end to temporal things and imparting everlasting things.
As I explained in my commentary on chapter 5 the Aaronic priesthood was conferred onto Yeshua by Yochanan the Immerser. Another way of saying this is that through the immersion of Yeshua the priesthood of Aaron is translated into the priesthood of Yeshua, which is like that of Melkiy Tzedek.
We note that there is a convergent nature to the priesthood of Yeshua. He unifies the two priesthoods of Melkiy Tzedek and Aaron, which are both in fact everlasting in Him. Given that Pinchas the grandson of Aaron was promised an everlasting priesthood:
“And he (Pinchas) shall have it (the priesthood), and his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.” -Numbers 25:13 KJV
This is why we must understand “change” metatithēmi[G] in the sense of translation from one form to another rather than an end to the one by the other.
13 For the one about whom these things are said belongs (metechō[G]) to another tribe (phulē[G]), from which no one has officiated at the altar (thusiastērion[G], hamizbeakh[H]). 14 For it is evident that our Lord (kurios[G], Adoneiynu[H]) is descended from Yehudah[H] (praise), a tribe with reference to which Moshe[H] (drawn our one) said nothing concerning priesthood (hierōsunē[G], hakehunah[H]).
13 For the one about whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord is descended from Yehudah[H], a tribe with reference to which Moshe[H] said nothing concerning priesthood.
“The one about whom these things are said” refers to Yeshua, Who is the One that the writer’s drash (comparative teaching) is pointing to. The nearest subject in relation to perpetual priesthood is “another priest to arise” (v.11), a reference to Yeshua.
“Belongs to another tribe” Is not a Levite. Yeshua is descended of Judah, of David (Gen. 49:10). There is nothing explicitly commanded by Moses concerning anyone from Judah serving as a priest. However, as explained in my commentary on Hebrews 5, Yochanan the Immerser does confer the priesthood of Aaron upon Yeshua at His immersion (baptism).
15 And this is clearer still (katadēlos[G]), if another priest (hiereus[G] kohen[H]) arises according to the likeness (homoiotēs[G]) of Melkiy Tzedek[H], 16 who has become a priest not on the basis of a law (nomos[G]) of physical (ethnic) requirement (sarkikos[G]), but according to the miraculous power (dunamis[G]) of an indestructible, endless, insoluble life (akatalutos zoe[G], lechayeiy eiyn sof[H]). 17 For it is attested of Him, “You are a priest (hiereus[G], Kohen[H]) forever (eis aion [G], leolam[H]) According (kata[G]) to the order, arrangement, fashion, style (taxis[G]) of Melkiy-tzedek[H] (My king of righteousness).” [Ps. 110:4 (109:4 LXX)]
15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melkiy Tzedek[H], 16 who has become a priest not on the basis of a law of physical (ethnic) requirement, but according to the miraculous power of an indestructible, endless, insoluble life. 17 For it is attested of Him, “You are a priest forever According to the order, arrangement, fashion, style of Melkiy-tzedek[H].” [Ps. 110:4 (109:4 LXX)]
The subject is Yeshua, Who is “another priest” (like but not Melkiy Tzedek). Yeshua has become priest not on the basis of the Torah requirement of Levitical lineage but based on the fact that He is all existing, of God, affirmed by oath (and His miraculous indestructible life as the Father with us). Thus, “a Priest forever”.
18 For, on the one hand, there is putting away (athetēsis[G]) of a former commandment (entolē[G]) because of its weakness (asthenēs[G]) and unprofitableness (anōpheles[G]) 19 (for the Torah[H] [namusa[A]: instruction] made nothing perfect [teleioō[G]]); but the introducing of a better (kreittōn[G]) hope, Good news (elpis[G], tikvah[H], sebar[A]), through which we draw near (eggizō[G]) to God. (Theos[G], HaElohiym[H]) 20 And accordingly not without an oath
18 For, on the one hand, there is putting away of a former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19 (for the Torah[H] made nothing perfect); but the introducing of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 And accordingly not without an oath
“there is putting away of a former commandment because of its weakness…” The commandment concerning the mortal priesthood and its symbolic sacrificial system is made weak by the evil inclination of humanity. In short, our inability to perfect it makes it weak. The commandment itself serves its purpose by exposing our sinful weakness.
“for the Torah[H] made nothing perfect” Because the purpose of Torah is to point to the perfector Yeshua the King Messiah. The Torah indicts against sin, Messiah delivers from sin. The Torah continues to serve its purpose until the end of the age, and Messiah continues to purpose salvation unto everlasting life. The Torah is not eternal, how could it be? There will be no need for an indictment against sin in the sinless Olam Haba (world to come). Only the knowledge of good will remain, we will therefore, have no need of instruction against evil. If there is an eternal Torah, it is devoid of the confines of mitzvot (commands). Freedom has no need of fences. One who knows only to do good need not be told to do it, everything he does is good.
“For what the Torah was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,” -Romans 8:3
It’s important to affirm the goodness and holiness of Torah. The Brit HaChadashah (New Testament) writers honour the place of Torah as that which is (not was) holy and good and points to the King Messiah, its goal.
“So then, the Torah is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” -Romans 7:12 TLV
“For Messiah is the goal of the Torah, the means of righteousness for all who believe.” -Romans 10:4 (YBYP)
Ultimately, it is a mistake to focus on Torah observance. Torah is a sign pointing to Messiah, Who authored it, and is the goal of it [Rom. 10:4]. If Messiah lives in you, then His work is manifest in your actions by the power of God's Spirit. One who lives by the Spirit need not debate the keeping of Torah, because “the Torah of the Spirit of life has set you free in Messiah Yeshua from the Torah of sin and death.” [Rav Shaul's letter to the Roman Believers 8:2]
21 for they indeed became priests (hiereus[G], lekoheniym[H]) without an oath (horkōmosia[G]), but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) has sworn And will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest (Kohen[H]) forever (leolam[H])’”; 22 by the same extent Yeshua[H] also has become the guarantee (egguos[G]) of a better covenant (diathēkē[G], labrit hatovah[H]), . 23 The former priests (hiereus[G], koheniym[H]), on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death (thanatos[G], hamavet[H]) from continuing; 24 Yeshua[H], on the other hand, because He continues, abides, dwells, remains (menō[G]) forever, has an immutable, unchanging (aparabatos[G]) priesthood (hierōsunē[G], kehunato[H]).
21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) has sworn And will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever’”);
The priesthood of Aaron was instructed whereas the priesthood of Yeshua is bound by an everlasting oath which God made by His Own Soul.
“Will not change His mind” translates as “will not turn His mind” in another direction.
This must be understood in accordance with the best commentary that can be made on Biblical text, that being Biblical text:
“15 Brothers and sisters, I speak after the manner of human beings; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man voids it, or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed the promises were made. He does not say, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Messiah. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Messiah, was four hundred and thirty years after the Torah, which cannot void it, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the Torah, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” -Galatians 3:15-18
“13 For when God made a promise to Avraham, since He could swear an oath by no one greater, He swore by Himself, on His own soul, 14 saying, “indeed, for blessing I will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you [your seed/progeny].” [ Gen. 22:17] 15 And so, having patiently waited in his spirit, he obtained the promise. 16 For indeed people swear an oath by one greater, and taking an oath serves as confirmation to them, an end of all strife, dispute, contradiction between them. 17 In the same way God, desiring more abundantly to demonstrate to the heirs of the promise the fact that His purpose is immutable, unchangeable, confirmed it with an oath, 18 so that by two immutable, unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong comfort who have fled for refuge to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both certain, loyal and forceful, reliable and one which enters into the house the parochet inner veil [the veil hung before the holy of holies], 20 where Yeshua has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the word, order, type, style, arrangement of Melkiy Tzedek.” -Hebrews 6:13-20 (Author’s translation)
22 by the same extent Yeshua[H] also has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
“better covenant” The Brit HaChadashah, New Covenant in Yeshua is better because it atones forever, saving unto eternal life those who enter into it, unlike the temporary blood of animals which cannot fully purge sin from the human soul.
We note that the better covenant is made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, the ethnic religious descendants of Jacob and is accessible to the nations through the Jew Yeshua Who is also God with us. Failing to understand the Brit HaChadashah, New Covenant in these terms leads to the satanic teaching of Replacement Theologies which the modern Christian Church continues to proliferate under various pseudonyms such as “Supersessionism, Continuationism, Successionism” etc.
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.’” -Jeremiah 31:31 NIV
This covenant promised by God through Jeremiah does not do away with the former covenant but fully fills it. Just as it is wrong to say Torah observance is obligatory for the Messiah follower, it is also wrong to say that Torah is now obsolete. Torah remains to indict against sin until the end of the age.
23 The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing; 24 Yeshua[H], on the other hand, because He continues, abides, dwells, remains forever, has an immutable, unchanging priesthood.
Notice that this all concerns Yeshua’s priesthood which has always existed in God. And that His priesthood, while likened to that of the mortal Melkiy Tzedek, is nonetheless distinguished from it as being superior to it. Immutable, unchanging.
25 Therefore, He is also able (dunamai[G]) to save to the full end, perfectly, forever (pantelēs[G], lehushiya teshuat[H]) those who come to God (Theos[G], Elohiym[H]) through Him, since He always lives (zao[G], chay[H]) to make intercession (entugchanō[G]) for them. 26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest (archiereus[G], Kohen Gadol[H]), holy (hosios[G], kadosh[H]), innocent (akakos[G]), undefiled (amiantos[G]), separated (chōrizō[G]) from sinners (hamartōlos[G]), and made (ginomai[G]) higher (hupsēlos[G]) than the heavens (Ouranos[G], hashamayim[H]);
25 Therefore, He is also able to save to the full end, perfectly, forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
“Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” -Isaiah 53:12
26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
“He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.” -Ephesians 4:10 NIV
“For what the Torah could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” -Romans 8:3
27 who does not need to offer sacrifices daily (kata hēmera[G], yom yom[H]), like those high priests (archiereus[G], koheniym gedoliym[H]), first for His own sins [missing the mark set by God’s holiness] (hamartia[G]) and then for the sins of the people (laos[G], ha’am[H]), because He did this once for all (ephapax[G]) when He offered up (anapherō[G]) His soul (nafsho[H]). 28 For the Torah[H] appoints men as high priests (archiereus[G], koheniym gedoliym[H]) who are infirm, weak (astheneia[G]), but the word, essence, substance (logos[G], devar[H]) of the oath (horkōmosia[G]), which came after the Torah[H], appoints a Son (uihos[G], haben[H]), who has been made consecrated (teleioō[G], na’aleh[H]) forever (eis aion[G], bishleimot netzakh[H]).
27 who does not need to offer sacrifices daily, like those high priests, first for His own sins [missing the mark set by God’s holiness] and then for the sins of the people, because He did this once for all when He offered up His soul.
“15 For we do not have a high priest Who is unable to sympathize, have compassion with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted, tried, examined, proved in all things just as we are, yet without sin [missing the mark set by God’s holiness].” -Hebrews 4:15 (Author’s translation)
28 For the Torah[H] appoints men as high priests who are infirm, weak, but the word, essence, substance of the oath, which came after the Torah[H], appoints a Son, who has been made consecrated forever.
The oath in Psalms 110:4 was spoken by David in the Holy Spirit centuries after the giving of the Torah at Sinay, and appoints a Son who has been consecrated as an everlasting Priest.
The Word (logos[G]/Davar[H]) of the oath and the Son appointed are one and the same. The Word Who came after the Torah in chronology (time and space) is also the Author of the Torah. He is all existing.
NB: For an explanation of the order of Melkiy Tzedek’s priesthood and why Melkiy Tzedek is not Yeshua, please read my commentary on Hebrews 5.
Copyright 2021 Yaakov Brown
Messiah is come to reveal a greater priesthood, an eternal priesthood that has existed in Him before the foundations of the world (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:17).
23 Then the Roman soldiers, when they had crucified [driven stakes into] (stauroo[G]) Yeshua[H], took His outer garments and divided them into four shares, a share to each soldier and the undergarment (chiton[G], ketonet[H]) remained; now the undergarment (chiton[G], ketonet[H]) was seamless, woven as one piece.
First it is important to recognize something we will rarely if ever see in an artistic representation of Messiah on the cross. All His clothing was removed including His underwear. Part of the suffering experienced by the crucified was the inherent and all-encompassing humiliation. Yeshua was crucified naked.
The outer garments were of lesser value and were divided among the Roman soldiers four ways, thus four items of outer clothing. The seamless undergarment was unique, the work of a skilled seamstress and a rare priestly item. The Roman soldiers recognized this, so rather than tear it they chose to gamble for it.
The seamless priestly undergarment (ketonet[H]) connects Yeshua to numerous prefigures for Messiah which are found in the Tanakh (OT).
We recall that Yeshua had washed the feet of His disciples as a sign of their preparation as priests in the order of His resurrected and transcendent eternal priesthood (Hebrews 7:11-28). Yeshua was wearing only the seamless garment mentioned here as He washed the feet of His disciples (John 13:4). Thus, Yeshua the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) prepared His priests (disciples) to minister the good news of His present and coming Kingdom to the Jewish people first perpetually and also to the nations (all humanity) [Romans 1:16].
The Katenot (fem. plural of ketonet) as Atoning Garments of Skin (A Pre-figure for Messiah’s Sacrifice):
“For Adam and his wife YHVH Elohim made katenot (undergarments) of skins (animal hide) to cloth them.” - Bereishit (Genesis) 3:21
The Ketonet of Joseph (As a Pre-figure for the Priestly Garment of Messiah):
“Now Israel (Jacob) loved Yoseph more than any of his other children because he was the son of his old age, so he made for him an ketonet (undergarment) of pasiym [palms] (plural form of the palm of the hand or base of the foot).” - Bereishit (Genesis) 37:23
*Note that the Hebrew text of Genesis 37:23 does not say that Joseph’s coat (ketonet) was “of many colours” as numerous English translations convey, rather the Hebrew pasiym is a plural form of the word pas meaning palm of the hand or base of the foot. Thus the proper reading in English would be:
“he made him (Joseph) a long sleeved tunic that reached to his feet”.
“And they took Yoseph’s ketonet (undergarment) and slaughtered a kid goat and dipped the ketonet (undergarment) in the blood.” -Bereishit (Genesis) 37:31
The Ketonet of Aaron & Sons - Priests (As Pre-figures For Messiah):
“And these are the garments they shall make; a breastplate and an ephod and a robe, and a woven ketonet (undergarment)…” -Shemot (Exodus) 28:4 (Ex. 28:39, 40; 29:5, 8; 39:27; Lev. 8:7, 13; 10:5; 16:4)
Some may ask “Why is the connection between the priesthood of Israel and Yeshua so important?”
It is important because Messiah is come to reveal a greater priesthood, an eternal priesthood that has existed in Him before the foundations of the world (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:17). This greater priesthood must transition within time and space from the Aaronic priesthood of Israel, not so as to make the Levitical priesthood redundant but so as to cause the Levitical priesthood to fully fill its purpose and reveal the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) and Messiah Yeshua as the ultimate intermediary.
Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) the Son of Zechariah was a true Levite and a legitimate priest, unlike the illegitimate (bought off by the Roman authorities) priests Annas and Caiaphas. For all intents and purposes Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) was a rightful heir to the priesthood of Israel. Therefore, Yochanan the Immerser was given authority by God to transfer the priesthood of Aaron onto the King Messiah. Only in this way could the roles of King of Judah (in the line of David) and High Priest be combined in One Man. The act of transference was symbolically performed by Yochanan the Immerser at the tevilah (immersion/baptism) of Yeshua.
All High Priests of Israel throughout the generations must prepare themselves by washing in order to approach the Lord God to make atonement for the sins of Israel. Yeshua Who is sinless need not be immersed (baptised) for repentance, washing clean, or for any other sin related reason, thus when Yeshua said of His immersion (baptism) “Let it happen now, for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” (Matt 3:15), what He meant by “All righteousness” was to ritually wash Him as Priest of priests and make way for His sacrificial death and life giving resurrection and the means by which all who receive Him can be made righteous through His blood”. This symbolic act of washing (baptism) revealed Yeshua as rightful and eternal Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) and Melekh HaY’hudiym (King of the Jews), Melekh Hamelekhiym (King of kings). Thus, Yeshua united the priesthood and kingship of Israel and showed Himself to be the King Messiah.
Therefore, it was right that Yeshua had been given a priestly undergarment [ketonet] (probably made for Him by Yochanan’s mother Elisheva [Elisabeth: My God blesses sevenfold/makes an oath], a wife of a Levitical priest [Zechariah John the Baptist’s father]).
The King’s Ketonet in Song of Songs (Prophetic of Messiah’s Crucifixion):
“I have put off my ketonet (undergarment); how shall I put it on, I have washed my feet how shall I defile them?” -Shir HaShiriym (Song of Songs) 5:3
Eliyakiym [My God Raises Up] Clothed with the Priestly Garment Ketonet (As Pre-figure for Messiah)
“20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliyakiym (My God Raises Up) the son of Hilkiyah (My Portion is YHVH): 21 And I will clothe him with your ketonet (undergarment) [kutanetecha], and strengthen him with thy belt, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open (ref. Rev.3:8).
23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house. 24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons. 25 In that day, says YHVH Tzevaot (Who goes warring), shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it.” -Yishayahu (Isaiah) 22:20-25
24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots (throw dice) for it, to decide whose it will be”; this was to fulfil the Writing (Graphe[G], Ketuv[H]: specifically a book from the Ketuvim/Writings of the TaNaKH [Hebrew bible]) “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots [Psalm 22:18(19)].”
Yochanan (John) explains that by dividing Yeshua’s priestly undergarment the Roman soldiers fulfilled Psalm 22. In Mark’s gospel 15:34 Yeshua quotes the beginning of this same Psalm, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”
Psalm 22 is quoted directly and implicitly alluded to throughout the New Testament making it one of the most important Messianic Psalms.
1“For the music director, on “The Doe of the Dawn,” a psalm of David.
2 My God, my God,
why have You forsaken me?
Distant from my salvation
are the words of my groaning.[a]
3 O my God, I cried out by day, but You did not answer,
by night, but there was no rest for me.
4 Yet You are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
5 In You our fathers put their trust.
They trusted, and You delivered them.
6 They cried to you and were delivered.
In You they trusted, and were not disappointed.
7 Am I a worm, and not a man?
Am I a scorn of men, despised by people?
8 All who see me mock me.
They curl their lips, shaking their heads:
9 “Rely on Adonai! Let Him deliver him!
Let Him rescue him—since he delights in Him!”[b]
10 Yet You brought me out of the womb,
made me secure at my mother’s breasts.
11 From the womb I was cast on You--
from my mother’s womb You have been my God.
12 Be not far from me!
For trouble is near--
there is no one to help.
13 Many bulls have surrounded me.
Strong bulls of Bashan encircled me.
14 They open wide their mouths against me,
like a tearing, roaring lion.
15 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are disjointed.
My heart is like wax--
melting within my innards.
16 My strength is dried up like a clay pot,
my tongue clings to my jaws.
You lay me in the dust of death.
17 For dogs have surrounded me.
A band of evildoers has closed in on me.
They pierced[c] my hands and my feet.
18 I can count all my bones.
They stare, they gape at me.
19 They divide my clothes among them,
and cast lots for my garment.[d]
20 But You, Adonai, be not far off!
O my strength! Come quickly to my aid!
21 Deliver my soul from the sword--
my only one from the power of the dog.
22 Save me from the lion’s mouth.
From the horns of the wild oxen rescue me.
23 I will declare Your Name to my brothers.
I will praise You amid the congregation.[e]
24 You who fear Adonai, praise Him!
All Jacob’s descendants, glorify Him!
Revere Him, all you seed of Israel.
25 For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the lowly one.
Nor has He hidden His face from him,
but when he cried to Him, He heard.
26 From You is my praise in the great assembly.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear Him.
27 Let the poor eat and be satisfied.
Let them who seek after Him praise Adonai.
May your hearts live forever!
28 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to Adonai.
All the families of the nations will bow down before You.
29 For the kingdom belongs to Adonai,
and He rules over the nations.
30 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship.
Everyone who goes down to the dust will kneel before Him--
even the one who could not keep his own soul alive.
31 His posterity will serve him, telling
the next generation about my Lord.
32 They will come and declare His righteousness
to a people yet to be born--
because He has done it!”
a. Psalm 22:2 cf. Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34.
b. Psalm 22:9 cf. Matt. 27:43.
c. Psalm 22:17 Or, is like a lion.
d. Psalm 22:19 cf. Matt. 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24.
e. Psalm 22:23 cf. Heb. 2:12.
-Tehillim (Psalms) 22 TLV
25 Therefore the Roman soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Yeshua[H] were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Miriyam[H] (rebellion, Mary) the wife of Chelphiy[H] (Klopas[G], exchange), and Miriyam[H] (rebellion, Mary) of Magdala[A] (a tower). 26 When Yeshua[H] then saw His mother, and the disciple (talmid[H]) [John the author] whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear Woman, behold, now, look (hineih[H]), your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple (talmid[H])[John the author], “Behold, now, look (hineih[H]), your mother!” From that hour the disciple (talmid[H])[John the author] took her into his own household.
This interaction between the dying Yeshua and His mother and beloved disciple is recorded only in the gospel of John. It is a heart wrenching and beautiful account of unfathomable sacrificial love. The example set here by Yeshua transcends all others with regard to the practical outworking of self-sacrificing love for others. Yeshua’s mother unnamed and His disciple unnamed are named in Him mother and son. Their suffering and joy would birth the body of faith which has now spread globally to the nations and is about to return to bring redemption to the entire remnant of ethnic, religious Israel, the Jewish people (Romans 11:25).
The gospel can be seen in the names of those mentioned: In exchange (Klopas) for rebellion (Miriyam) a shepherd of Migdal (Magdala, tower).
Yeshua’s mother is not named in Yochanan’s gospel (cf. 2:1). This corresponds to the author’s descriptions of himself as a disciple whom Yeshua loved. The author’s focus is on the Divine Word (Yeshua) rather than His earthly familial and friendship connections which are well observed in the synoptic gospels.
“Standing by the cross” is also rightly translated “standing near the cross”. This in no way contradicts the description of the women standing at a distance (mark 15:40) in the synoptic gospels as the terms “near” and “distance” are subjective contextual variables cited by different eye witnesses.
28 After this, Yeshua[H], knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to make perfect the Writing (Graphe[G], Ketuv[H]: specifically a book from the Ketuvim/Writings of the TaNaKH [Hebrew bible]) [Psalm 69:22(21)], said, “I am thirsty.”
“Knowing that all things had already been accomplished” means that Yeshua was aware of all these things having been completed by Him before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).
Pause for a minute to consider the enormity of the love of God in Messiah. Yeshua (the Living Word essence of creation in Whom all things hold together and have their being) entered time and space to give His life knowing exactly how horrific His suffering would be and being aware that no other could pay the price, He choose it willingly.
In one sense, given the eternal nature of God and Messiah’s Divinity, we could say that the all existing Messiah having seen the end from the beginning was crucified before He was crucified and resurrected before He was born (into time and space) and thus being transcendent remains for us both our suffering Servant and victorious King Who is able to comfort us in every circumstance given His own experience and to deliver us from evil given His authority over all things according to the Father’s will.
“1For the music director, on “Lilies,” of David.
2 Save me, O God,
for the waters
have reached my soul.
3 I have sunk in deep mud,
and there is no footing,
I have come into deep waters,
and a flood sweeps over me.
4 I am worn out by my crying,
my throat is parched,
my eyes fail, waiting for my God.
5 Those who hate me without a cause[a] outnumber the hairs of my head.
Powerful are my enemies who would destroy me with lies.
What I did not steal, must I restore?
6 O God, You know my folly,
nor are my trespasses hidden from You.
7 May those who hope in You
not be ashamed because of me,
my Lord, Adonai-Tzva’ot.
May those who seek You
not be disgraced because of me,
O God of Israel.
8 For I have endured scorn for Your sake.
Disgrace has covered my face.
9 I have become a stranger to my brothers,
a foreigner to my mother’s children.
10 For zeal for Your House consumed me--
the insults of those who insulted You have fallen on me.[b]
11 When I wept and fasted--
that became a reproach to me.
12 When I put on sackcloth,
I became a joke to them.
13 Those who sit at the gate chatter about me,
and I am the song of the drunkards.
14 But as for me, my prayer to You, Adonai, is for a time of favor.
O God, in Your great love, answer me with the truth of Your salvation.
15 Deliver me from the mire--
do not let me sink.
Deliver me from those who hate me,
out of the deep waters.
16 Do not let floodwaters sweep over me,
nor the deep swallow me up,
nor the Pit shut its mouth over me.
17 Answer me, Adonai, for good is Your mercy.
With Your great compassion, turn to me.
18 Hide not Your face from Your servant.
For I am in distress—answer me quickly.
19 Draw near to my soul and redeem it.
Ransom me because of my foes.
20 You know my reproach, my shame, my disgrace.
All my adversaries are before You.
21 Scorn has broken my heart, so I am sick.
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
for comforters, but found none.
22 They put gall in my food,
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.[c]
23 Let their table before them be a snare,
and what should have been for their well-being,
let it be a trap.
24 Let their eyes be darkened so they cannot see
and their backs be bent forever.[d]
25 Pour out Your indignation on them.
Let Your fierce anger overtake them.
26 Let their encampment be deserted.
Let none dwell in their tents.
27 For they persecute the one You have smitten,
so they tell of the pain
of those You have wounded.
28 Add guilt to their guilt--
may they not come into Your righteousness.
29 May they be wiped out of the book of life
and not be recorded with the righteous.[e]
30 But I—I am afflicted and in pain.
Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.
31 I will praise God’s Name with a song,
and magnify Him with praise.
32 It will please Adonai better than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
33 The humble will see it and be glad.
You who seek God, let your hearts revive.
34 For Adonai hears the needy
and does not despise His captive people.
35 Let heaven and earth praise Him,
the seas and everything moving in them.
36 For God will save Zion,
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then they will dwell there and possess it.
37 The children of His servants will inherit it
and those who love His Name will dwell there.
a. Psalm 69:5 cf. John 15:25.
b. Psalm 69:10 Cf. John 2:17; Rom. 15:3.
c. Psalm 69:22 cf. Matt. 27:34, 48; Mark 15:23, 36.
d. Psalm 69:24 cf. Rom. 11:9-10.
e. Psalm 69:29 cf. Rev. 3:5.
-Tehillim (Psalms) 69 TLV
29 A vessel full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.
“Sour wine” (John 19:29) and “vinegar” (Matthew 27:48) are synonymous terms.
Yeshua had earlier been offered “bitter gall” a narcotic (Matt 27:34) but had refused it.
Yochanan is more precise than Matthew in his description of the “stick” on which the sponge was offered. He names the variety of plant the stick came from as “hyssop”, the same branch used by Israel to paint the blood of the Pesach Lamb onto their doorposts (Exodus 12:22). Yochanan (John) has already quoted Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) saying “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of this world” (John 1:29, 1:36). Yeshua’s identity as the Pesach (Passover) Lamb is another key element in Yochanan’s gospel record and is later illuminated by Rav Shaul Hashaliach (Rabbi Paul The Sent One) [1 Corinthians 5:11].
30 Therefore when Yeshua[H] had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished! (teleo[G])” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit, breath (pneuma[G], ruach[H]).
Note that Yeshua pronounced His atoning work on the cross “finished”. His eternal blood offers atonement for all sin, past, present, and future. There is no further sacrifice needed, His sacrifice both precedes and proceeds, it covers (atones for) all who will receive Him and His saving work.
Yeshua “Gave up His Ruach (Breath, Wind, Life, Spirit)”. He chose to give it up, it was not taken from Him (John 10:17-18). The giving up has a certain ambiguity: He gave up His life for us and He gave up His Spirit for us. Our lives are redeemed in the giving up of His life and strengthened in the giving up of His Spirit. Following His resurrection and ascension Yeshua in unity with the Father poured out His Spirit upon and within all who would receive Him.
31 Then the religious Jews (Ioudaios[G], Yehudiym[H]), because they were in preparation, in order that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Shabbat[H] [for that Sabbath was a high (megas[G]) day], asked Pilate (Pilatos[G]) that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
“because they were in preparation, in order that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Shabbat”
“22 “Suppose a man is guilty of a sin with a death sentence and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree. 23 His body is not to remain all night on the tree—instead you must certainly bury him the same day, for anyone hanged is a curse of God.[a] You must not defile your land that Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance.” -Devarim (Deut.) 21:22-23 TLV
re: High Sabbath Leviticus 23:6-7
This High Sabbath was the first day of unleavened bread as convergent with the 14th of Nisan which becomes the 15th of Nisan at sundown by Biblical Hebrew reckoning.
For more information on the death and resurrection time frame please read my article “Did Yeshua Die on a Friday?” link below:
32 So the Roman soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him (Yeshua); 33 but coming to Yeshua[H], when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the Roman soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
Blood separated from water has been testified to by doctors to be clear evidence of death resulting from major heart trauma. Therefore, the plan meaning intends to give the clear evidence that Yeshua was dead and had not simply fainted as some fools suggest.
The blood and water can also be seen as a prophetic precursor to the immersion commanded by Yeshua. All who believer are figuratively and spiritually washed in His blood and in obedience as disciples immersed in water as an identification with the death and resurrection of Yeshua.
35 And he who has seen [John the author] has testified, and his testimony is immutably true (alethinos[G], emet[H]); and he sees (eido[G]) that he is telling the absolute truth (ha emet[H]), so that you also may believe (pisteuo[G], ta’amiynu[H]).
As is the case with the gospels of Matthew and Mark the author is claiming to be a reliable first hand eye witness to these events, and his purpose in writing is to ensure that others will be made aware of the truth of these events and pass on that truth to future generations. The
Jewish Doctor Luke open’s his gospel with a similar testimony, though he does not claim to be an eyewitness but the recipient of information from eyewitnesses.
36 For these things came to pass to fulfil the Writing (Graphe[G], Ketuv[H]: specifically a book from the Ketuvim/Writings of the TaNaKH [Hebrew bible]), “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.” [Psalm 34:20(21); cf. Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12] 37 And again another Writing (Graphe[G], Ketuv[H]: specifically a book from the Ketuvim/Writings of the TaNaKH [Hebrew bible]) says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.[Zechariah 12:10 cf. Rev. 1:7]”
1 Of David, when he feigned insanity before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left.
2 I will bless Adonai at all times.
His praise is continually in my mouth.
3 My soul boasts in Adonai.
The humble ones hear of it and rejoice.
4 Magnify Adonai with me
and let us exalt His Name together.
5 I sought Adonai, and He answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
6 They who looked to Him were radiant,
and their faces will never be ashamed.
7 This poor man cried, and Adonai heard,
and saved him out of all his troubles.
8 The angel of Adonai encamps around those who fear Him,
and delivers them.
9 Taste and see how good Adonai is.
Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
10 Fear Adonai, His kedoshim,
For those who fear Him lack nothing.
11 Young lions may lack, and go hungry,
but those who seek Adonai want for no good thing.
12 Come, children, listen to me:
I will teach you the fear of Adonai.
13 Who is the one who delights in life,
and loves to see good days?
14 Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking treachery.
15 Depart from evil and do good.
Seek shalom and pursue it.[a]
16 The eyes of Adonai are on the righteous,
and His ears are attentive to their cry.
17 The face of Adonai is against evildoers,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
18 The righteous cry out and Adonai hears,
and delivers them from all their troubles.
19 Adonai is close to the brokenhearted,
and saves those crushed in spirit.
20 Many are the distresses of the righteous,
but Adonai delivers him out of them all.
21 He keeps all his bones--
not one of them is broken.[b]
22 Evil kills the wicked--
those who hate the righteous will be held guilty.
23 Adonai redeems the soul of His servants
—no one who takes refuge in Him will be held guilty.
a. Psalm 34:15 cf. 1 Pet. 3:10-12.
b. Psalm 34:21 cf. John 19:33-36.
-Tehillim (Psalms) 34 TLV
“1The burden of the word of Adonai concerning Israel. A declaration of Adonai, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: 2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling to all the surrounding peoples when they besiege Jerusalem as well as Judah. 3 Moreover, in that day I will make Jerusalem a massive stone for all the people. All who try to lift it will be cut to pieces. Nevertheless, all the nations of the earth will be gathered together against her. 4 In that day”—it is a declaration of Adonai—“I will strike every horse with confusion and its rider with madness. I will keep My eyes on the house of Judah but will blind every horse of the peoples. 5 Then the leaders of Judah will say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength through Adonai-Tzva’ot their God.” 6 “In that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a burning torch among sheaves. They will devour on the right and on the left all the surrounding peoples, yet Jerusalem will remain in her place, in Jerusalem. 7 Adonai also will save the tents of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and the honor of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not exceed that of Judah. 8 In that day Adonai will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the weakest among them that day will be like David and the house of David will be like God—like the angel of Adonai before them. 9 It will happen in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 “Then I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication, when they will look toward Me whom they pierced.[a] They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son and grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, mourning like Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn clan by clan. The clan of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves, the clan of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves, 13 the clan of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves, the clan of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves. 14 Each of the remaining clans will mourn by itself and their wives by themselves.”
a. Zechariah 12:10 cf. John 19:34, 37; Rev. 1:7.
-Zachariyah (Zechariah) 12 TLV
38 After these things Yoseph[H] (YHVH adds) of Ramatayim[H], (Arimatea[A], heights, birthplace of Samuel Mt Ephraim), being a disciple (talmid[H]) of Yeshua[H], but a secret one for fear of the Jewish religious leaders (Ioudaios[G], Yehudiym[H]), asked Pilate (Pilatos[G]) that he might take away the body of Yeshua[H]; and Pilate (Pilatos[G]) granted permission. So he came and took away His body.
Yoseph of Ramatayim (Joseph of Arimathea) shows great courage in this public act of care for Yeshua’s body (Matt. 27:57; Mark. 15:43; Luke. 23:50). Matthew’s gospel tells us that Yoseph placed Yeshua “in his own new tomb.”
“57 Now when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had also become a disciple of Yeshua. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body. Then Pilate ordered it to be given up. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. 60 And he laid it in his own new tomb,[a] which he had cut in the rock. Then he rolled a large stone up to the door of the tomb and went away.” -Matthew 27:57-60 TLV
The cost of the tomb Yoseph freely gave for Yeshua’s burial cannot be firmly established, but given the social and religious standing of Yoseph it is likely that it was worth a large sum of money by today’s standards costing millions of dollars (USD).
The Greek word “mnemeion” translated “tomb” in Matthew 27:60 can also be translated “Sepulchre”. Both “tomb” and “sepulchre” often refer to a large tomb with multiple rock-cut cubicles for interring a number of bodies.
A single Sepulchre complex of 63 rock cut tombs in Jerusalem dating to the first century C.E. received the name “Tombs of the Sanhedrin” from Rabbi Joseph Halevi in 1450 because of the large number of burial cubicles inside. While it’s unlikely that this particular Sepulchre is a Sanhedrin burial place, it is very likely that a Sepulchre like it with 70-72 cubicles may well have existed in the first century C.E. and it is therefore likely, given that Yoseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, that the tomb of Yoseph of Arimathea was one of the cubicles within the Sepulchre complex carved out specifically for members of the Sanhedrin and their families. If this is the case the classic notion of a single birth tomb is untenable. In fact, given that family tombs with multiple births dating to the first century have been found in Israel it seems that in most cases the first century Jewish dead were buried in multiple birth tombs, usually with family, and often among those of comparable social status.
Added to this is the fact that “no one had yet been laid” in the tomb (John 19:41): meaning that the generation of the Sanhedrin at that time had yet to utilize the tomb complex, making Yeshua the first to be interred there.
Tombs of the Sanhedrin (1st Century C.E.) Sanhedria, Jerusalem.
Yoseph’s faithful act fulfilled Isaiah 53:9:
“His grave was given with the wicked,
and by a rich man in His death,”
Both Yoseph and Nakdimon were members of the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:50-51; John 7:50-52). They may also have been brothers:
Some commentators believe that Joseph of Arimathea (his home town) is Yoseph ben Gorion, the brother of Nakdiymon (Nicodemous) ben Gorion, the same Nicodemus mentioned in the following verse. One traditional commentary [Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol 25. 1. & 27. 1.] suggests that Yoseph ben Gorion was a priest, and of the richest and most noble of the priests in Jerusalem; that he was a very wise, just, and upright man; and that three or four years before the destruction of Jerusalem, he was about sixty seven years of age (John Gill Commentary on the New Testament). Making Joseph of Arimathea approximately twenty seven years old when he helped to inter Yeshua.
39 Nakdiymon[H] (Nikodemos[G], nikos: vanquish, victory; demos: the people, assembled mass of people)[cf. John 3], who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 45 kilograms. 40 So they took the body of Yeshua[H] and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jewish people (Ioudaios[G], Yehudiym[H]).
Likewise Nakdiymon acts courageously, though a member of the Sanhedrin he risks his status for Messiah.
Jewish tradition records Nakdiymon as a tzaddik (righteous one) who called down miracles and was extravagant in his gifts to the poor. However, it is later recorded in the Babylonian Talmud that Rav Yochanan ben Zaccai saw the daughter of Nakdiymon, having been reduced to extreme poverty, gleaning barley kernels from under the hooves of horses in the northern coastal city of Akko (T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 66. 2). This infers that Nakdiymon ended up impoverished because of his decision to follow Messiah Yeshua wholeheartedly and openly. What a courageous example of true devotion to the King Messiah Yeshua and obedience to the Father God.
The cost of the burial spices (myrrh and aloes) that Nakdiymon brought to prepare Yeshua’s body are estimated by today’s currency as being between $150,000 to $200,000 USD.
Both the wrapping in cloth and the use of spices for burial are alluded to by ancient Jewish commentary:
"let the dead be wrapped in his own linen" - T. Hieros. Ternmot, fol. 46. 2.
“They do not say a blessing over a lamp, nor… the spices of the dead…” - Mishnah. Berachot. c. 8. sect. 6.
The practice of using embalming spices has fallen by the wayside, however the wrapping of the body in a shroud continues to be the practise of observant Jews today. Today, as in ancient times [Talmud Bavli Menachos 41:A] Jewish men are often buried wrapped in a tallit (prayer shawl) as a sign of preparation for the bodily resurrection at the last day.
For more information concerning Nakdiymon please read my article on John 3.
41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 Therefore according to the preparation of the Jewish people (Ioudaios[G], Yehudiym[H]), since the tomb was nearby, they laid Yeshua[H] there.
“In which no one had been laid” is said to make certain that the reader understands that only Yeshua was in the tomb when it was sealed by the large stone. This makes it clear that Yeshua alone was interred there and that Yeshua alone was resurrected from there.
Because of the High Sabbath (First day of unleavened bread), the need to bury the body within a day of death and the ritual uncleanness associated with handling the body, they laid Yeshua’s body to rest promptly.
"they may not dig pits… nor graves… on a solemn feast day.'' - Mishnah. Moed Katon, c. 1. sect. 6.
Copyright 2020 Yaakov Brown
"It will be with the last deliverer,(the Messiah), as with the first (Moses); as the first deliverer revealed himself first to the Israelites and then withdrew, so also will the last deliverer reveal himself to the Israelites and then withdraw for a while.” –Midrash Rut Rabbah
כתביו של יעקב