Friday, May 31, 2013

Our Inheritance (part 2)

To continue looking at our inheritance, we first must define two words that are translated “world”, the reason being is that Abraham our father and we his seed, or sperm, have a promise from YHVH to inherit the world; howbeit, not through trying to keep the law, but through faith.  Of the patriarch it was written,the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.  For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world [kosmos], was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith”   (Rom. 4:12-13).   The word used here for “world”, in the Greek, is from Strong’s 2889 - ko,smoj kosmos {kos'-mos}, described as: “An apt and harmonious  arrangement or constitution, order,  government.”  The Apostle John gives a glimpse into what constitutes this present “kosmos”: “For all that is in the kosmos, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the kosmos.  And the kosmos passes away, and the lust thereof” (1 John 2:16-17).  Is this the kosmos that Abraham was promised, or is there another, that will not pass away, that was preserved in heaven but has now come to us through the Spirit of Holiness (ref. Col 1:5-6)?

The other word that is translated world is aivw,n aion {ahee-ohn'}, described as: evermore, age,  eternal, period of time, a fixed order of time.  This is the world that according to Paul we have been transferred out of:  “…Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world [age], according to the will of God and our Father” (Gal. 1:4). 

In order to understand what makes up this kosmos, we have to return to the garden of man’s delight - Eden.  Man was created with an inherent weakness (see 1 Cor. 15: 42-49).  Unlike the reptiles, animals and birds, to which YHVH gave natural instincts, smells and colors to govern them and attract like-life forms in order to perpetuate their respective species, man was given faith, a will and an attribute of the heart called desire. He was given these in order to enable him to have a relationship with his Creator, himself, and others of his own order as well as with the creation. Adam/man was to grow into the same likeness and nature as Elohim.  The Creator also declared that he was to have dominion and rule over all living things.  To the first humans it was given to establish the first “kosmos”, as they walked by faith with their Creator.  Adam and Eve were to serve and to channel Spirit-life and light that they received from this divine relationship, to the kosmos of the creation. That was to be the first expression of the Kingdom of YHVH on earth.  However, we know that in the Garden there was another tree, which contained a potential spiritual influence over man’s faith, will and desire.  Let us remember who placed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden in the first place. And let us also bear in mind that YHVH already had a signed and sealed document called the scroll of redemption.  In other words, He was taking full responsibility for His plan. 

Satan was well aware of Adam and Eve’s inherent weakness, of which he was about to take full advantage.  He knew that they had the potential to believe a lie, and once their faith was diverted from looking toward their relationship with their Creator, he could tempt them through desire (lust), and cause their will to choose his kingdom and express his nature.  So when Eve looked at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil she saw that the “tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise” (Gen. 3: 6).  However, the fruit was not congruent with her (and Adam’s) well-being. Instead of eternal life coursing through their being, death began to reign in and through them, consequently affecting the rest of Creation.   This may sound tragic, but it was all in YHVH’s plan (see Rom 8:20).

Adam and Eve still had dominion over a now groaning creation, but they were being governed by another spiritual kingdom; Satan became their lord, king and constant companion.  Satan’s corporate servant called “Adam” became his channel of expression through the demonic forces that could now influence, inhabit and give expression to their nature through the usage of lusts.  Adam’s kosmos was thus being manifested through the lust of flesh (“good for food”), the lust of the eyes (“pleasant to the eyes”), and the pride of life (“to make one wise”), and consequently man was trapped in his own prison house; the principalities and powers of this evil spiritual kosmos were now in charge.  Humanity was thrown into a realm of spiritual darkness so deep that they believed themselves to be like Elohim.  Satan’s nature of disobedience, rebellion and the pride of life, self-preservation and self-centeredness occupied the heart and mind of man.  Deception engulfed him to such an extend that he now believed that the knowledge of good and evil would enable him to take charge of his life and become like God, and that he therefore no longer needed his Creator. 

Satan now had a body, which Paul defines as the “body of sin” (ref. Rom 6:6), through which he could express his fallen nature.  However, there was a mystery that still smoldered like a spark in the heart of man; a mystery which YHVH, in His wisdom, kept hidden in the depths of His own Spirit-life.  It was like an embryo that would have to wait until the seed (the flesh of man) could fall to the ground and die. This happened when Yeshua went to the stake and gave up His life.  From YHVH’s standpoint, through His Son all of humanity received the penalty for sin, that is death (ref 2 Cor. 5:14-16).  Adam the seed, (1 Cor 15: 44) was now planted into the ground with Yeshua, (Rom 6:4) but as Paul relates, it will be raised but each man in his own order. (1Cor 15:23).

As for us, who have been raised in Messiah in order to receive the promise that our forefather Abraham was given, we must now live in this faith reality of life in Messiah Yeshua.  We can only be in Messiah by faith, and it is only faith which will allow us to continue living in this truth.  “I am crucified with Messiah: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Messiah lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by [or because of] the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”  (Gal. 2:20).
Paul says that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”  (Rom. 14:23). “Let us [therefore]           
lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with        
patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Yeshua the author and finisher of     
our faith”,  so that we of the Abrahamic seed might receive the promise of our   


Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Inheritance

The themes of the scroll of redemption, inheritance and the qualifications thereof, have been brought up in recent letters.  Last week mention was made of the hope that had been laid up for us in heaven, of which we have heard in “the word of the truth of the gospel” (ref. Col 1:5).  The wonderful news is that now this “word of truth” has come to us, as the following verse indicates, “which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and brings forth fruit, as it does also in you, since the day you heard of it, and knew the grace of YHVH in truth” (v.6). Is this good news or what?  This mystery of Messiah in us is the hope of glory, and with Him comes all the riches of our inheritance.  Even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His called out ones, to whom YHVH would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Nations; which is Messiah in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:26-27). What are the riches of our inheritance that have come to us, being in us and bearing fruit?

The Apostle Peter points out that we have become partakers of the divine nature: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:4).  Armed with this knowledge of the Word, what are these precious promises that are now in us? 

Paul’s greatest desire and passion was to share with the believers this incredible reality, and this is why he prayed that the Father of glory would give the believers the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, His calling and the riches of the glory of His inheritance which is now in us, so that we would come to understand the exceeding greatness of His power unto us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He demonstrated through the anointing of His Spirit in Yeshua when he raised Him from the dead (Eph 1: 16-20 paraphrased).  Paul wanted us to be strengthened with might through the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Holiness that is now working in our inner man, and that the reality of Messiah’s life would dwell in our hearts through faith, so that we would be able to comprehend with all the believers the breadth, length, depth and height of this inheritance, but especially the divine nature of love that is in Messiah, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of Elohim (Col 3:16-19 paraphrased).  For our Heavenly Father’s nature is unconditional love (ref. 1 John 4:8).
Let us take a look at what is in us; that is at the divine nature “which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance” (Gal 5:22-23). Reading this list may cause one to wonder whether this divine nature is truly within…  If you have received Messiah Yeshua, through the anointing of the Spirit of Holiness, I assure you that this is His nature and these character traits are already in you, to which you may reply: “I don’t see this nature being manifest through me.”  Both Paul and Peter help us with the dilemma. Peter writes that we must come to the knowledge of Elohim the Father and Messiah Yeshua (ref. 2 Pet 1:2). He also adds that if we give all diligence to the faith, believing that the life and nature of the Messiah is our life and nature, and add to this understanding through the faith – this knowledge, to the knowledge - temperance, to the temperance - patience, and to the patience - godliness, and to the godliness - brotherly kindness and to that unconditional love, we will bear the fruit of the divine nature in our lives. Peter ends this little list with a very important statement: ”For if these things be in you, and abound, you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua Messiah” (2Pet.1:8).  Paul states that,  “you died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. When Messiah who is your life appears [or reveals Himself], then you also will appear [you will know who you are as a renewed, redeemed, restored creation being] and together be revealed with Him in glory” (Col. 3:3-4).  This can only happen if we are walking in the faith, as we move from faith to faith and glory-to-glory - looking to Messiah Yeshua whose Spirit life is resident in us.

Faith in the gospel of the Kingdom and Yeshua the Messiah through the writings of the apostles, as they received it from the Torah and the Prophets, reveal to us some very fundamental insights.  If we are to possess our inheritance, that is the divine nature and the riches and the glory, we must continually stand on the foundation stone of the faith and of YHVH’s work through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. Paul makes it very clear that when Yeshua died “all men died”, and that we are no longer to judge men by the flesh, nor to even recognize them after the flesh (ref. 2 Cor. 5:14-16).  You and I died on that cross once and for all, but are alive because of Him who is our life. (ref. Col. 3:1-4).  He is the new creation Man, the One New Man that came to redeem His brother Adam thus  we are members of His body.  “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Yeshua our Messiah” (1 Pet 1:13). “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is unconditional love” (1 Cor. 13:12-13). 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Kings and Priests of Righteousness

One of the most mysterious bible characters is the one who seems to have appeared ‘out of the blue’, conferring a blessing upon Abram.  Some say that it was Yeshua, others Shem or Noah.  “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.  And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth’” (Gen. 14:18). Who was this person and why did he bless Abram? 

His name, translated “King of Righteousness”, and his title, “Priest of God Most High”, imply a two-fold position of king and priest. He was therefore designated as a (righteous) king-priest.   The first time we run into such an office is in the first chapter of the bible, where Adam is given dominion over all living things (constituting a kingly position), while also “walking with” his Creator (which would imply a priestly role).  At that time this position belonged to both male and female, as sin had not yet separated them from one another: "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them [male/female] have dominion” (Gen 1:26).  After the fall of man into the realm of sin, this coveted position was passed on as a birthright and was given to the firstborn just before the death of his father (that is if the firstborn qualified to receive it).

When YHVH gave dominion to Adam He actually established His kingdom, along with its order, here on earth.  In Psalm 145 it says that YHVH’s kingdom “is an everlasting kingdom,” and that His “dominion endures throughout all generations” (verse 13).  But although YHVH maintained His sovereignty and held the title "Melchizedek" throughout all generations, it could not be fully manifest because man was under the dominion of another spiritual kingdom with another law (the “law of sin and death”).   However, as mentioned in the above scripture, YHVH’s kingdom order was still in effect in the form of the law of redemption, being the only means out of man’s fallen condition, and depended on a redeemer and on the laws that govern the loss of inheritance.

But the question still remains, who was the one who blessed Abram?  Since Noah was still alive at the time, it most likely was the latter (while Shem and Eber were princes in line to take the position that Noah would impart when the time came).  The Scriptures also indicate that Noah was a righteous man according to faith: “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb 11:7).   What was Noah an heir of?  His obedience to the divine directives qualified him to bear the title of the firstborn (king of righteousness), and because he walked with YHVH by faith, the priestly office belonged to him as well. Thus, being alive at the time of Abram he could have very well passed on this office to Abram as part of the covenant that YHVH was making with the latter, who was a prince and a firstborn in the genealogy of firstborn; a man of faith whom YHVH declared righteous through the obedience of faith. 

At the time of Abram YHVH decided to make a covenantal change that would affect the firstborn position.  Instead of a single father, from the generations of the first/born, holding the office of king-priest, YHVH chose a nation to fill that role in humanity.  Thus in the twentieth generation of these princes (firstborn of the Melchizedek line of Firstborn) YHVH, by means of Noah, blessed Abram and established the promise of a nation that would come out of his loins through Sarah (Isaac) and give rise to the chosen nation (Jacob) (see Romans 9:6-13).  This chosen nation would hold the birthrights of the Melchizedek office.  Because this is an irrevocable anointing, Yeshua had to come to this seed as a kinsman redeemer and fulfill all obligations, according to law, as its King and High priest.   He would in effect be King of the kings and High Priest of the priesthood.  Yeshua could then be in a position to restore the kingdom of YHVH to the nation of Israel. This is what the disciples of Yeshua understood when they inquired of Him before his departure, “Is it at this time you are going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).  They did not understand at that time that it would come into them by the Spirit.  “The Kingdom of YHVH is righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit of Holiness” (Romans 14:17).   The bread and the wine that Melchizedek shared with Abram demonstrate the connection between the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant.  The Abrahamic Covenant could not be fully realized until the coming of a kinsman redeemer who would take away the veil of flesh that hid the “faith”, atone for sin and fulfill the requirements of the Mosaic Covenant, which condemned sin in the flesh (ref. Romans 8:3-4).

Now that YHVH has reconciled His people through His Son, Yeshua, and the blood of His cross, we may enjoy the fullness of the promises that were laid up in heaven and have now come into us through the indwelling of the Spirit of Holiness, as stated in Scripture: “….because of the hope which was laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of Elohim in truth;… that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of Elohim;  strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;  giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:5-6, 9-14).For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col 1:19-20).

This hope that was laid up in heaven is now in you through the Spirit of Holiness, “… the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His chosen.  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations: which is Messiah [the anointing of Yeshua] in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:26-27).Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”  (2 Corinthians 7:1).

However, the apostle attached the following condition to this message of the “covenant of faith”: “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight - if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard”  (Col. 1:21-23).


Friday, May 10, 2013

Order in Redemption (part III)

Whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life from the foundation of the earth? Do the Scriptures give us any indication as to who they might be?

Obviously a kinsman redeemer has to be a family member, an elder and firstborn brother and one who possesses the birthrights. We have seen in previous letters that Yeshua was the Father’s proven firstborn, and was given full rights to redeem that which belonged to Him (i.e. to the Father).  Thus, the redeemed would have to be kinsmen of Yeshua. But who is of the family of Yeshua?  The Word tells us of His linage, especially in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  Yeshua was “adopted” into the family of David by Joseph who was of the tribe of Judah, the latter being a son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham – who himself was of the lineage of the firstborn.  There is only one people that fit this specific genealogy, and that is the people of Israel.  The Apostle Paul describes this promised seed very clearly in his letter to the believers in Rome:  “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of Elohim: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, at this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.  And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calls); It was said unto her, ‘the elder shall serve the younger’. As it is written, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated’. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid” (Rom. 9: 8-14).

These people became YHVH's inheritance by being called, chosen and elected according to the statute of first fruit, or firstborn.  It is also worth noting that they were conceived in mothers whose wombs were dead and barren.  Thus “life from the dead” already characterized and identified them from the beginning.   

Since according to the Torah ordinance Israel belonged to YHVH, they must be the recognized firstborn and the ones whose names are written on the scroll. YHVH sealed this relationship by commanding Abraham to circumcise all the firstborn males on the eighth day: “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations” (Gen 17:12).  Later the nation of Israel was commanded: “You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce [fullness] and your tears [that which is produced with labor pains]. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me.  Likewise you shall do with your oxen and your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me” (Ex. 22:29-30). “Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever open the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is Mine” (Ex 13:2).

However, circumcision of the flesh was only a sign of whom the firstborn belonged to, especially so since iniquity and sin still reigned in their mortal bodies, preventing them from fulfilling their divine role as king-priests according to Melchizedec. The latter status would only be made possible through a future covenant, one that would take away the sin nature and circumcise the heart. YHVH then would write His Torah on their hearts and would give them His indwelling Spirit to enable them to fulfill their divine mandate as a firstborn nation. As such they are to become the redeemers/saviors of the rest of humanity, as YHVH gave them the nations/peoples for their inheritance (ref. Isa. 54:3).   

 The Apostle Paul describes this divine order in his letter to the believers in Corinth: “For as in Adam all die, even so in the Messiah all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: anointed first fruits, afterward those who are Messiah's at His coming [hidden presence]  (1 Cor. 15:22-23).  The word translated for “coming” is not referring to a physical appearance, but to His hidden presence in a people, such as: “Messiah in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).  The word in Greek is parousia  (par-oo-see'-ah) and means “presence”.  It does not mean a future coming, but the hidden presence of Yeshua in those who have received His Spirit-life in their innermost being.  This “presence” in the believer is the evidence of the New Covenant that was made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah (ref. Jer. 31:31-34; Eze. 36:24-28).

The Messiah of Israel has come in the Spirit of Holiness, and is in a continual process of revealing Himself in a people that have been preordained (called and chosen)for this glory or light.  This is only made possible through the promises of the New Covenant that was made with His Father’s inheritance (that is, with those who belong to Him who constitute the Firstborn nation). In order for the Abrahamic seed to be a light of His glory to all nations, they had to be first sown into the nations in the state of iniquity and sin, and remain hidden until the time came for “the faith” of their father Abraham to be revealed in them. Only then can they be declared as the “redeemed” who are “returning” to Zion: “Therefore the redeemed of YHVH shall return to Zion and come with singing” (Isa. 35:10).  Returning to Zion means that they were there sometime in the past. How?  In the loins of their forefathers.  How were their forefathers in Zion, the dwelling place of YHVH?  The answer takes us right back to YHVH’s own declaration that the firstborn belongs to Him. They are His possession, His inheritance. These forefathers did not only dwelt in the Land of Zion, but YHVH was also King over them and thus they also dwelt in a “spiritual” Zion (albeit the relationship took on a more external aspect in the form of a tabernacle or temple).

Nevertheless, YHVH gave them over to iniquity, sin and unbelief that He might have mercy upon all.  His plan, even from the beginning, was to make the seed of Abraham into multitudes of peoples and nations.   Before entering the Land as a nation they were told that they would not be able to be righteous according to Law, and as a result would be scattered like seed into the earth, later to be redeemed, harvested and brought back (Deut. 30:1-6). There is not any one skin color, eye color or hair texture that characterizes His people, only two attributes identify them: the faith of their father Abraham and a love for the Torah (see Rom 4:16). And, yes, there is one more significant element… their names are written on the scroll with the seven seals (ref. Rev. 5:1).

It is for this reason that Peter, when addressing a redeemed remnant living alongside the heathens, exhorts them to conduct themselves throughout the time of their stay (on earth) in fear; cognizant of the fact that they are not redeemed with corruptible things, silver or gold, or by their own aimless conduct, through performing the traditions of men, or that of their fathers' traditions, but, rather, that they are redeemed with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Indeed, He was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for them (ref. 1 Pet.1:17-20).

YHVH says that the nations are their/our inheritance. What do you think it will cost them/us to redeem their/our inheritance, "the nations"?   Again the Apostle writes: "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest, hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation [the unveiling of His hidden presences in you] of Yeshua the Messiah; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'be holy, for I am holy'"(1 Pet 1:13-16). "For to this [suffering] you were called, because Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow His steps: who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Pet. 2:21-23). Remember there is still a creation that is groaning, waiting for the appearance of the sons of Elohim! (ref. Rom. 8:19, Hos. 1:10).

We, who are proclaiming our newly found identity as Ephraimites must become aware of who we are as a firstborn and what our destiny is here on earth.  Just as our Messiah was a lamb for a sacrifice and yet a prince and priest, so we, of the lost sheep of the House of Israel, have the same calling.  YHVH describes us best when He says:' Thus says YHVH: ‘I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock.  Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am Elohim'" (Ezekiel 36:37-37).   Yeshua was one of those sacrifices on a feast day in Jerusalem. The scriptures tell us what kind of sacrifice was taken to Jerusalem for those feasts; unblemished, untainted, perfect firstborn!

The redeemed of YHVH shall come with singing: "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb, the Almighty’s prevailing right hand, to take the two redeemed families of Judah and Ephraim and make them one in His hand and the Land."


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Order in Redemption II

In last week's letter we began to take a look at the laws of redemption.  Redemption is a very important aspect of the restoration, because without it restoration would not be possible.

The scroll in YHVH's hand (Rev.5:1) is a legal document, which was already written before the foundations of the world. It is a document specifying the requirements incumbent upon a redeemer. Only by viewing Yeshua’s life story can we find out what was written on the side that specified the redeemer’s qualifications. In order for Yeshua to take that scroll and open it, He had to fulfill all the requirements inscribed on the scroll.  Thus, He had to be a firstborn and a prince in the family. He had to be obedient to the will of His Father in all matters pertaining to life and godliness.  He also had to be His brothers’ keeper and be willing to give up His life for them.  Because the laws of redemption required a blood sacrifice in accordance with the Almighty’s righteousness, the Redeemer had to be perfect, undefiled and unspotted by sin.

Yeshua faced these legal requirements head on. He knew that He was a lamb for the sacrifice who was to be without spot or blemish, and that He had to be obedient in all things pertaining to His Father's will in order to qualify to be that sacrifice. In Revelation chapter five we see John falling on his knees and weeping bitterly, because in that moment he understood what was required for the redemption of the inheritance.  Even King David wrote: "None can by any means redeem a brother, nor give to YHVH a ransom for him, for the redemption of their souls is costly" (Ps. 49:7-8). How costly? Look at the scroll: the shedding of the blood (life) of a firstborn son (the shedding of blood meant not just a few drops trickling down the face, it was the complete draining or separating of the blood from the body). However, it was not just the blood that YHVH was looking at, but also the nature of the life in the blood that was either acceptable or not. In other words, it had to be a sacrifice that was not defiled by sin. Yeshua, therefore, met and fulfilled every requirement of the Supreme Law, both in heart and deed.

Yeshua was not ignorant of the Law; He knew what was written there. That scroll was not called the "Lamb's scroll" (or "Book of Life") for nothing!  And since our names are inscribed on that scroll, we also need to know what is written in that legal document.  Those requirements are written there for us as well, but if we do not know or understand the reason for these instructions we may find ourselves falling short of the calling that is upon our lives because of ignorance.  We are His inheritance, bought with a price for a purpose.

"Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice: 'Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?' And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.  So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it” (Rev.5:2-5).

The strong angel was looking for someone qualified to open, look at and read what was written on the scroll.  It seems almost inconceivable that no one in heaven, or on earth, or under the earth could be found.  John was so shattered over this, that he fell on his face and wept. But then one of the elders comforted him and told him not to weep, because the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has succeeded in fulfilling all the requirements written on the scroll. Yes, Yeshua was the one now able to loose the seals and to disclose the text written on the other side. What was it that was written there? What are the property rights?

Before getting into this, let us take another moment to listen to, and view the courtroom scene in heaven. The Father YHVH is sitting on the judgment seat with a scroll in His right hand; there are angels, four living creatures, twenty- four elders and a myriad of other angels all around.  However, those are not the only ones present in this courtroom. Suddenly a proclamation about a Lion from the Tribe of Judah is made. But lo and behold, instead of a lion we see a lamb, with seven horns and seven eyes, which looks as though it had been slain! What a grotesque animal! Is there some confusion here? No! As we watch this slain, sacrificial lamb go up to the Father and take the scroll out of His right hand, all those around the throne fall down and begin to SING A NEW SONG: "You are worthy, you have succeeded, you have prevailed, you did it, you overcame, you qualified [according to all that was written on that legal document]! You have redeemed us and saved us from the wrathful judgments of YHVH. But not only that, you are also making all those who are written on that scroll into a royal priesthood and a holy nation."

Who are those twenty-four elders sitting on thrones and dressed in white garments with crowns on their heads?  Why were they not qualified to take the scroll and open the seals? Were they not of import and stature? Even though they were out of the firstborn in the human family, they too were in need of redemption and saw themselves as part of the company of the redeemed of the Lamb. Something great had just taken place; so awesome that they fell down and cast their crowns before the throne of YHVH and sang a new song!  But who else was to be redeemed by this lamb?   Who was the "us" from every tribe, tongue, people and nation that legally belonged to YHVH’s inheritance? Who are they and where did they come from?

Remember that there were two sides to the scroll. On the one side were specified the qualifications of the redeemer, and on the other side was the description of the inheritance. Whose inheritance? The scroll was in the Father’s hand. Thus it must have been the Father's inheritance, which was made up of those who were to be redeemed. Therefore it was their names, which were written on the scroll (even before the foundation of the world). These are the ones who are to become kings and priests unto our Elohim, and they shall reign on the earth.  Yes, it is hard to believe that the redeemed were foreordained and predestined according to the will of the Father and inscribed on this scroll before the foundation of the earth. We all have this document in our library. It is called the Holy ("set apart") Scriptures. However, it is sealed with seven (spiritual) seals, so as to make it not entirely comprehensible. Not only are there seals, but there are also veils over our minds, which block our understanding. Only Yeshua can open the seals and lift the veils, just as He did to the two men on the road to Emmaus, or to the Ethiopian eunuch. Therefore, as long as we see through a glass darkly we need to pray: "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your [legal document the…] (Psa.119:18).

Whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the earth? Do the Scriptures give us any indication as to who they might be?