In the light of what we see amongst the lives on the redeemed it is obvious that there are still many problem areas that need to be addressed. The most important of these are true repentance, unforgiveness and the restoration of the relationships that have been hurt and damaged by our insensitivities and actions.
The last year’s travels showed us that the desire to serve our heavenly Father, in Spirit and Truth, is uppermost in the lives of the redeemed of the Lord. All this said and done, there appears to be unfinished work, something left undone, which is not allowing people to enter into the fullness of the relationships the Father intends us to have with one another.
There are so many hurts, grudges and unforgiveness being held one against the other that the love that is intended to flow amongst us being hindered. A close look at our own lives in relation to the requirements of Torah and the Revelation of the teachings and actions of Yeshua can help us identify and deal with our relationships.
Some of the behavioral patterns evident in those struggling with relational problems are; covetousness, bitter unforgiveness, lack of tolerance, or the inability to honor someone else’s point of view on spiritual or other issues and dogma.
A warning sign of one battling to ‘deal with unforgiveness’ is seeing the failure of one to recognize that unforgiveness has become a universal problem and will remain so, as long as we do not recognize and actively apply what the Word requires of us to do.
The main reason for the failure to recognize these short falls has been a lack of instructions for holy living, correct understanding and translation of the Hebraic intention of the Word. As we progress, hopefully we will see the error of our ways, correct them and come to enjoy relationships with all our fellowmen as the Father intended.
In short, the Scriptures are all about relationships, our relationships with the Father and with one another in Messiah. Hopefully this booklet will help you to improve both.
In it we will address the following issues:
- Understanding the Hebraic mind - there is more than one right answer – tolerance
- Kavannah, the way to pray and live
- Sacrifice – is it still needed?
- Torah - is it mandatory?
- Prayer – is it enough?
- Messiah’s work on the cross
- There is always a cost – it is not a free service
- Our part in our forgiveness
- Our part in the forgiveness of others
- How do we make it right with others?
- Restore or turn the other cheek?
Sin – the Hebraic definition
- For every action there is a consequence
- Three different defined sins
- Three types of agreements
- Three different consequential actions and how does Yeshua function in these processes?
Baptism – A full understanding
More than one right answer - The Hebraic perspective
A trait very evident in the Western church is the fact that people divorce themselves from those that do not share exactly the same ideas and understandings. This leads to dissention. Unity should be the body’s strongest witness to the world and it is not. This dissention has led to the formation of denominationalism with rigid requirements to force the conformation of people to a given set of rules in which they feel comfortable. The Word challenges us daily to change our ways and to continue on the road of sanctification. Why is that when we are challenged in areas as profound as returning to a Torah oriented lifestyle and embracing our Hebrew roots that so many people feel threatened?
There is an old Jewish saying “If you put two Jews together you have three opinions”. This is very true because of our traditional acceptance of more than one point of view. The Torah and the traditional writings of the Sages encourage the discussion of differing opinions. The Hebrew language is so rich that it is possible to have more than one correct interpretation and linguistic understanding of the same passage of Scripture.
Most English translations of the gentile Bible were taken from Greek texts. One has to understand the difference between Hebrew and Greek thinking to be able to understand the magnitude of the problem that faces an English speaker trying to explore his Hebrew roots.
The simplest way to explain Greek or Hellenistic thinking is to think of a pyramid. There is always someone on top. The democratic system of government and decision making comes from this idea; that a person from within has to be placed in authority by the authority of those under him. I do not need to go into the dangers of the pitfalls (buying votes etc.) but the norm is that those with power, financial or other tend to be the ones who win elections. Man always wants to create a role model, somebody that he can aspire to be like and therefore votes for the person that he would most like to emulate.
Hebraic thought is the antithesis of Greek thought. It is linear as opposed to pyramided. What does this mean? We, as men, are all created equal in the image of the Father* and He is the only authority over us. As we are equal, each person is entitled to his own opinion and interpretation and we need to honor this. Should we not agree, we could try to persuade the other party of our own persuasion but should they not be persuaded, we are to continue to love and honor them as part of the Father’s creation. Men are appointed as leaders but to implement the instructions of the Father and not as within the Greek Hellenistic ideology, to rewrite them!
‘Kavannah’ is a Hebrew word that means literally ‘with intent’ and comes from the word ‘kivoon’ which means ‘direction’. For those of you that have orthodox Jewish friends you may often hear them say that you need to pray and act with ‘Kavannah’. Many will say that Jewish tradition is not good. It would be right to say that there is some Jewish tradition that is not good or does not glorify the Father but there is much of tradition that does do just that. Kavannah is just one of the things from the old tradition that helps us to focus on the way we pray and with the actions that we perform daily.
Kavannah is a discipline, I would like to quote portions of a letter from Rabbi Dressler of
We cannot recite aimlessly from a prayer book or babble on with meaningless words. We are to pay attention to the purpose and the meaning of prayer – to pray with fire!
- Prayer with Kavannah is a labor of the heart.
- Prayer and actions with Kavannah gain merit with the Father not only for the one being prayed for or receiving the fruit of the good works but also for the one in obedience or by conviction saying the prayers or doing the good works.
In summary Kavannah is the concerted effort and targeted energy we put into our prayers and actions making sure that the Father is always the centre of these prayers and actions.
In Hebrew the word for repentance is ‘Tshuva’ which has two meanings, both relative to what we understand as repentance. The first meaning is ‘answer’ and the second meaning is to return. The traditional Christian understanding of the word repentance is to turn away from sin but the Hebrew is far clearer. In the seeking for answers we are to turn back or return to the ways of the Father. Repentance is not understood as an apology for something done wrong; we will deal with this in more detail later in this booklet. Rather repentance is a move away from the ways of the world and a return to the ways of the Father.
Both John the Baptist and Yeshua made repentance the centre of their ministries while they were on earth. It is the first basic change that we need to under go before we can come to an understanding of what it is to restore relationships, not only with our Heavenly Father but with our fellow man as well.
I am reminded of Yeshua’s redress to the cities that saw great works and still did not repent. That it would be better for S’dom to be judged than for those who did not repent.
To whom do we repent? If we follow the form of the prayer that Yeshua taught us, we see that it is clear that our request for forgiveness is directed to the Father and not to Messiah and that it is conditional. We ask for forgiveness in the same measure that we forgive others. No wonder that prayer for restoration seems to be powerless, we first need to repent and free ourselves, through interaction with those that we have wronged of unforgiveness.
Repentance is a confession followed by or done in conjunction with action. Remember this; we will be referring to it as we continue discovering what it is to restore relationships Biblically.
Sacrifice – is it still needed?
The question often posed is “When the sacrificial order is restored or the
Before we attempt to answer this question, let us put a few facts on the page. Yeshua often went to the synagogue as well as to the
We know that Yeshua went to the
Paul too as an observant Jew would have done exactly the same. We know that Yeshua went to the
Later in this booklet we will look in depth at Yeshua’s redemptive sacrifice on the cross that saved us from the law of sin at work in us.
We can safely assume that we would offer the required offerings at the required times as Yeshua himself said that not the smallest letter or the smallest, most insignificant decoration would be removed from the Torah until His return
Torah – is it mandatory?
If the answer to the question is ’yes’ then we would be earning our salvation by good works. As we know that we cannot earn our salvation by good works and that we are saved to do good works, then what is our obligation to Torah?
Yeshua enables us to live out the Torah, the will of the Father, in a meaningful and practical way. He lifts us out of the bondage that Torah can be to those who are not redeemed. He enables us to make the choice to receive the blessing that Torah is when lived out in the freedom and love that our faith in Him enables. Our decision to return to the Torah is similar in type to the one we made when we accepted the atoning sacrifice that Yeshua made for us. It is a freewill choice. The blessings and curses still apply but we can choose life and blessing!
Prayer – is it enough?
In a previous section we have seen the importance of ‘Kavannah’. It is prayer with action. So many times traditional church bodies teach us to ‘lift people up in prayer’ which is good but we need to ask ourselves the question ‘is my prayer the best I can do to restore the relationship I am trying to restore?’ We are told that faith without action is worthless so too, our prayers, as a static action if they are without action are not as effective as they could be should we get actively involved in working towards our prayer being answered.
In the case of the restoration of relationships we have to take an active role in working out the restoration of a damaged relationship. Prayer is a good and essential part of not only our daily lives but also within the process of restoration. Therefore to obtain restoration we have to seek out and pray out the repair to damaged feelings and relationships. When we discuss sin in the following chapters it will become clear that there are different actions required for different types of breakdowns. When we fully understand the part we are to play and the responsibilities we have to fulfill in the restoration work of the Father we will come to see that perfect restoration of relationships is possible.
Redemption – there is always a price
Redemption is never free. Two of the greatest redemptive acts recorded in history that greatly impacts our daily lives were firstly Yeshua giving himself that we may have a way to the Father and a promise of everlasting life and secondly, in my understanding, the redemption of the Land of Israel by the Father allowing the sacrifice 6,000,000 innocent Jews from Europe in Hitler’s death camps. The Father permitted the death of His son that we may have life and He permitted the holocaust that the State of Israel may be born.
When we want to restore a relationship we are in fact redeeming it. Therefore we have to pay the price. As it is in civil matters, the more the damage, the more expensive it is to repair. The price is sometimes paid by the one who inflicted the damage and sometimes someone else pays it for you (Messiah’s redemption or in physical terms, an insurance policy). I see that our lives on earth are very much like an Insurance policy. We contribute towards it until one day we need to cash it in or claim from it to pay for damages.
We have a responsibility to contribute; to live in obedience to the Father, so that when the day comes we have to where we can turn for help. Torah says in three places that if we have been wronged, we must be restored.
All this is fair and good but we must temper this with the teaching of Yeshua “You shall love YHVH with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. This is the first and great command. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commands all of the Torah and the Prophets depend.
So, we should do all we can to restore broken relationships in the measure of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. We should leave no stone unturned!
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – We cannot be restored without the following compulsory elements – repentance – restitution – forgiveness.
Forgiveness is conditional. As Yeshua taught us to pray – ‘forgive us as we forgive those who wronged us’ we are to pursue all possible options to restore relationships so that the burden of unforgiveness may be lifted. Prayer alone is not sufficient to have this burden removed and dealt with, there has to be the desire for restoration and interaction as well as intercession between the parties.
Once the level and severity of the break down has been identified the appropriate action as we will discuss next can be taken.
Sin – the Hebraic definition
The church has historically taught us that Yeshua died for every form of transgression that we may perform. By the acts of repentance and faith, we are forgiven all that we may have done wrong. When we analyze Isaiah 53, the greatest of the prophetic writings, the prophet reveals to us that this is not necessarily true. Not that Yeshua’s work is at all minimized, rather we have not been correctly taught to identify our transgressions and how to deal with the restoration of the relationships that resulted from that transgression. This does not minimize the role of Messiah in our daily lives but helps us to apply the principles that have been so misunderstood due to translational error. It would be fair to say that our ultimate goal is to gain reentry into the ‘Garden’ and establish between ourselves the type of relationships that were there.
The question that we need to ask is ‘what exactly is Messiah’s role in the forgiveness of our transgressions?’ and does His sacrificial death on the tree atone for every form of transgression or do we have additional deeds and responsibilities that we need to perform dependant on the type of the transgression?’
For every action there is a consequence
Sir Isaac Newton’s fist law of physics states “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It makes an interesting picture when we apply this to our daily lives. For everything that we do, good or bad, there is a resultant reaction – sometimes good and sometimes not so good.
In this article we will be learning how to deal with the ‘not so good’ reaction to our ‘not so good’ actions. In analyzing our behavior we need to realize that what to us may be a triviality may be devastating to someone else. We cannot judge the effect of our actions on other people by our own standards of measure. If we do, this leads to assuming that everything is alright when many times things are not.
If am listing below the text of Isaiah 53 with some highlights and Hebraic transliterations. Following the text we will objectively look at how the Word sees human relational behavior and how we can use these ‘gems’ to get our lives right with each other and the Father.
In the Isaiah 53 text below I have highlighted the Hebrew words used to describe the different types of transgressions. As we work through the meaning and implications of these different descriptions, we will see that our responsibility and the actions of Messiah are not always in keeping with traditional teaching.
I would ask that you prayerfully keep an open mind when reading this and consider what the prophet Isaiah may have wanted to convey to us. We need to allow a deep reformation to take place within our traditional thinking.
1Who has believed our rumors? And to whom is the arm of YHVH revealed? 2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form or splendor; and when we shall see him, no nicety in desiring him. 3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not value him.
4Surely he has borne our grief, and carried our pain: yet we saw him stricken, struck by YHVH, and tortured. 5But he was killed for our felonies (p’shenu) (פשענו), bruised for our misdemeanors (avonotenu) (עונתינו): the ethics of our lives were upon him; and by the marks on his flesh we are healed. 6We all like sheep have erred; we have each gone our own way; and YHVH has punished him as we have all committed misdemeanors (avon) (עון). 7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not speak: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep is before the shearers is dumb, so too he did not speak. 8From prison and from judgment he is taken: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut out of the land of the living: for the crimes of my people he was plagued. 9And he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich his death; because he had violated (hamas) (חמס) no one, neither had he deceived anyone.
10Yet YHVH desired that he suffer pain; when the guilt of his soul is laid down, he recovers, he shall see his seed prolong the days, YHVH desires that by his hand he succeeds. 11His soul shall labor and we shall see his satisfaction, by his knowledge he will justify the righteous servant and he shall justify many and he shall suffer their misdemeanors (avonatam) (עונתם). 12Therefore he will divide with the great and mighty the spoils and the riches as he gave his soul to die and the felonies (p’shaim) (פשעים) were counted against him and he will carry many infractions (chet) (חטא) and for the felonies (p’shaim) (פשעים) the vulnerability (or penalty).
For those of you that are in touch with day to day affairs in the
Three different defined sins
This is, in modern Israeli law, and I am sure good for most modern legal systems, the least of all offences that can be committed. It does not carry a jail term, it may carry a small fine (like a traffic violation – yes, you break the law when your parking meter expires!). The offender, after paying the fine or being excused by the offended is absolved of all guilt and the offence is no longer remembered. Technically at this point restoration should be complete. In the next section under ‘consequential actions we will see if this is the case. For the sake of our discussion we will use ‘chet’ as the transgression for breaking a promise or a non binding agreement.
To describe ‘
Pesha or felony carries the highest punishment possible – death. There are more and more countries,
Breaking of covenant agreement is tantamount to a felony and therefore the death sentence should be handed down to those who offend.
Three types of agreements
By living in a country we are subject to the laws of that country whether we like them or not. If we find our selves in an environment that makes demands upon us that we are not prepared to accept or cannot change, we are free to relocate. But by agreeing to live in a specific environment we ‘agree’ to abide by the rule of law. This applies to all agreements whether casual or formal written or oral and failure to meet the terms of these agreements constitutes a transgression.
Within human society we have three basic forms of agreements that are made between people themselves and between people and the Father. Some are verbal and some are written, some are witnessed and some are not, some are sealed and some are not but the responsibility of the agreeing parties differs depending on the conditions of the agreement. Within Hebraic thought and common sense we see that there are three basic agreements that are made by human beings.
Modern Israeli law uses the definitions of transgressions from the Bible as the basis for defining their modern civil and criminal law whether it be through the secular or the religious legal systems.
In covering the three types of agreements I will use as well the Hebrew transliterations as they are found in the Hebrew text.
1: The Promise
In Hebrew the word is ‘havtacha’ which shares the same root with the words for safety and insurance. These are the attributes that should be present when we give our word, like the sayings of old, ‘A man’s word is his bond.’ The first and most casual type of agreement we call a promise or verbal commitment. It could also be called ‘a loose agreement’ and many would say that it is not binding. It does not require a witness and the consequence of failure to meet the agreement is not normally a disaster. This said and done, the failure to meet a seemingly casual agreement like agreeing to meet a friend for a cup of coffee and failing to show up can be viewed as trivial and inconsequential by some and a direct affront by others as the fact of the matter is that all agreements should be binding.
This type of agreement, when broken does not carry a jail term or a fine. It is not a transgression that creates a debt to society or a criminal record. Because of the lack of provision for official retribution, a broken promise or verbal commitment most generally goes without being fully restored. It is just too easy to say sorry and hope that all will be forgotten. Because this is a trend within the nature of humans to protect ourselves and supposedly others we have a higher, tighter and more responsible type of agreement when higher stakes are involved.
2: The oath, vow or contract
In Hebrew there are two words found in Scripture both meaning and oath or a contract, they are ‘sh’vua’ and ‘neder’. ‘Neder’ comes from the Aramaic but is still in modern use today. An oath or a contract are called upon not to test the integrity of a person but more so, through measured punishment for failure to meet the requirements, to threaten our integrity (the big stick!). If the integrity of man was infallible, if his word really was his bond, there would be no need for contracts, lawyers, courts of law, banks, policemen and penitentiaries. Just think how many people are going to be unemployed and how much money is going to be saved when we all live righteous lives!
To make an oath or a contract binding a few things need to happen. Firstly the parties between whom the agreement is being made need to agree on the terms and content of the agreement (Beware of small print – we often skim over them without checking and more often than not there are many clauses in the small print that would allow people to legalize the illegal). Once there is mutual agreement the parties attach their respective personal marks to the agreement in the presence of witnesses. An oath can be witnessed by men but in the case of a court of law or other specific circumstances the Father is called to be a witness to the agreement. The opening of the prayers on the Day of Atonement open with the ‘Kol Nidre’ (All my vows / oaths) prayers in which we plead before the Father to forgive us for all the oaths and vows that we have taken in His name and failed to keep.
Normally the penalty for breach of the contract is contained within the contract. If there is no breach of the agreement there is transgression.
The differences between an oath and a promise are; it is binding with witnesses and the punishment or the right to extract retribution is included.
3: The covenant
A covenant is always made in the presence of the Father. He is the one that institutes it and He is never the cause of breaking it. The Scriptures have shown us that on occasion He has wanted to break His covenant with
It is important to note the difference between covenant and dispensation. Dispensations start and finish whereas covenants are eternal and run concurrently with each other.
Covenants are agreements made with the Father as a witness and are sealed with blood and are eternal.
The covenants that the Father has instituted, through our forefathers, into our daily lives are the Covenant of Circumcision, in Hebrew ‘Brit Milah’ the covenant of Abraham and his seed, the Mosaic, the Davidic and the Covenant of Marriage ‘Brit haNisuin’. If we look at the previous paragraph at the definition of covenant there are millions of people around the world that have broken the Covenant of Marriage and not dealt with it correctly according to Scripture. There are exceptions and Torah does allow, under certain circumstances, divorce. This is not the forum to discuss it though.
I have heard people say that they have covenant relationships with other people. One can understand this when it comes to marriage as the act of consummation and the spilling of blood seals the covenant and should never be broken.
The penalty for breaking a covenant is death. Should the Father have chosen to break the covenants that He made with the Nation of Israel at any time, the nation today, to all intents and purpose would not exist!
It is the Father’s part in honoring His covenant agreements with the people of
The time has come for us to fully understand the complexity and the responsibility on us as covenant people and to act and behave accordingly.
Now that we have defined the three types of transgressions, we need to analyze how Yeshua is active in the restorative process.
Three different consequential actions and how Yeshua functions in these processes.
The English translations of the three, very distinctly different words for transgressions are for all intents and purposes placed under the banner of ‘sin’. Therefore the action to be taken for forgiveness and restoration has always also been placed under one banner. As we look at the not so subtle differences in the meanings, Yeshua’s part in the forgiveness and restoration and our own responsibility, we will come to understand that we have not fully understood our own part and Yeshua’s prophesied part in the action.
Promise / Chet
When we break a promise or what may seem a trivial agreement, damage has been done. We have failed to keep a commitment. Irrespective of how we, as the transgressor may perceive the damage done, the restorative process is the same. If we have for arguments sake, received a parking violation, we pay it and our ‘sin’ is forgiven. If we however forget or neglect to pay it, the indebtedness compounds and can become a very serious matter.
So too is it with our interpersonal relationships. We need to deal with seems to be the most trivial of matters as a matter of urgency so that it does not get the time to fester and get out of control.
As traditional believers we have been told to take everything to the cross and pray and that Messiah will deal with it. If we look at the text from Isaiahwe see that Yeshua did not die for this form of transgression. If this is correct and earlier in the same chapter it says “and by the marks on his flesh we are healed v.4” it would imply that He is hurt by our actions. This then means that we need to restore our relationship with Him and with the one we have wronged. Really, this seems so simple but because of the simplicity and the apparent lack of punishment, it is one that we most often tend to overlook and allow to become, unknowingly serious.
It is best and reflects care for the feelings of others if a call is made when an appointment cannot be met.
Ultimately we need to restore our relationship with the Father and Yeshua is the vehicle for this. We cannot, though, restore our relationship with the Father before we have restored our relationship with our fellow man. As Yeshua says; “leave your gift there before the altar and go, be first reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come to offer your gift”.
This transgression, in modern legal definition can be both civil and criminal. If one is accused of an ‘avon’, you know that you have done something wrong! The restoration involves a lot of expense for the account of the accused because it is a court of law that will decide the outcome. If we are guilty of the transgression we have to not only restore the one wronged but also pay the lawyer and court costs!
Let’s now apply this to our interpersonal relationships. How do we know that we have entered into this level of transgression against our fellow man? These are issues that go above a casual agreement and have had integrity as an integral part in the relationship. Issues such as marriage relationships, betrothals / engagements betrayal of confidence or false witness are not going to be fixed by simply saying “I’m sorry”.
Restoration of a break down resulting from this kind of transgression a lot of effort, pain and suffering on the part of the offender to achieve to desired result. We are forgiven our transgression but we have to live with the consequential action of that transgression. Torah is very clear that we need to pay for or restore those that we have wronged. How we restore to others is a matter of agreement, it could be the replacement or reinstatement of what was lost or financial compensation. The most important factor here for restoration is the accepted fact that both parties want fair restoration. This issue of ‘what is fair’ is not always easily resolved but can be helped if the offender is truly repentant and this is obvious to the offended.
The reference to Yeshua’s part in the redemptive, restorative process is found in v.5 of Isaiah 53. Again we see that our relationship not only with our wronged brother but also the Father is in jeopardy. It is Yeshua’s, the bruises that He took in our stead that save us from the Father’s wrath. The onus is however still on the offender to repent and to rectify the offence by making good by repayment or in kind.
Covenant / Pesha
First of all a covenant, I would like to stress, is the most binding form of agreement that can be made by man. It is not only witnessed by fellow men and the Father but is sealed with blood because life is in the blood. It may sound barbaric to some but this is the way that the Father chose to set us apart from other nations and people. Sadly, most of the covenants made with the Father (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc.) have been broken and discarded by man.
We as a people, the human race, have failed to see the importance that the Father places on covenant. This has been the result of generations of dispensational teaching that one finishes with a period of time and moves on afresh to a new. However we serve a covenantal Father, one who makes covenants and never breaks them. When we fall out of covenant, the restoration process is the most painful and costly restoration to achieve. We see that the Father gives the death penalty for the committing of Pesha, which is also the breaking of a covenant. As the penalty for breaking covenant is death, the Father sent His son to die in our stead. Yeshua died that the law of sin at work in us is overcome.
The restoration of our relationship with the Father for breaking covenant with him and our fellow men is dealt with annually on the Day of Atonement. Many say that the Day of Atonement is an unnecessary burden for the redeemed but this is as a result of incorrect understanding of the type and severity of transgressions. As with other transgressions we need to make right with our fellow man before we can petition the Father, through Yeshua for our forgiveness and restoration.
Even in the grave case of covenant being broken between humans, we cannot expect to receive forgiveness from the Father before we have forgiven those who transgressed against us.
In all of the above cases true repentance, as Yeshua and John the Baptist ministered is the key to the Kingdom. We see that Yeshua enables us to face our responsibility for our transgressions and so aid the restoration process. It is the Holy Spirit that will prompt and convey wisdom on how to confront those that we have wronged. It is not wrong to pray for restoration but the focus of our prayer needs to be that the Father equips us to deal with the sometimes very difficult process of seeking complete restoration and healing of our troubled relationships.
Baptism – a full understanding
As baptism or immersion is traditionally a Hebraic practice, it is not unusual to find error and incomplete teaching on the subject.
The Greek and Roman influence on the early foundational Faith clouded the Hebraic understanding of practices such as immersion. Praise Him that in these latter days many are returning to an understanding of the relevance and vitality of the Hebraic roots of our faith.
Not much is in the Bible as far as the specifics of immersion other than we know that it happened and that John the Baptist baptized in water and said that Yeshua would come and baptize us with the Spirit and with fire.
To fully understand the act of immersion, let us go to the traditional teaching and gain a fuller understanding of this very old and very important practice.
Correctly, Christianity has taught that the act of immersion is the laying down and death of former ways that we may rise pure and anew out of the water. Immersion is done often. Women immerse monthly and men before going to war but it is not limited just to those times. It is good to ‘mikve’ whenever the Spirit prompts.
The requirements for a mikve are that we are immersed in clean running water, the understanding for that is that when we relinquish it is washed away in the stream and we are not left to wallow in our iniquities. In Hebrew tradition we immerse ourselves; we are not helped or pushed under by a third party. It has to be a voluntary action. A mikve is also taken in the nude and in private. When John was immersing there is no mention of women being present as they always immerse separately. The testimony could be shared between all after the event.
The sages teach us that the body is made up of four distinct elements and that for us to fully surrender ourselves to the Father we have to lay down all four elements.
1: Ash – ‘efer’
2: Water – ‘mayim’
3: Fire – ‘esh’
4: Spirit – ‘ruach’
Ash – from creation the body - From ash – efer, we were created into man. The Hebrew word for man is ‘ben adam’ literally ‘son of adam’ but remember that the Hebrew word for soil or earth is ‘adama’, they share the same root. Ash of course is the result of the infliction of fire. What was, was burnt and from the ash man was made. In the initial creation the ash that was used was purified by fire before its use.
Water – 80 percent of the human body consists of water. Whatever we do as far as relinquishment is concerned, water is going to be a large part of it. The water is symbolic of the cleansing that takes place. In the ‘chesed shel emet’ the service for the preparation for a dead body for burial, the first thing that is done is that the body is given a ‘mikve’. Nothing else may be done until this has been completed.
Fire – the life that is within us. When we relinquish ourselves to the service of the Almighty and we wish to adopt His ways with its blessings and curses, the old fire has to be quenched before being rekindled anew in the new life that is Messiah.
Fire is the symbol of life. It is a miracle that it exists in a body that is 80 percent water, the agent that so well quenches the fire.
Spirit – The Ruach, that part of us that comes from the Father and makes us one in his likeness. When we look at one another, we neither look like, sound like or act like each other. The Spirit of the Father is that element that gives us that unity and oneness that is sometimes unexplainable. When we mikve we are to lay down and relinquish all the foreign spirits that we have allowed to influence us prior to our act of obedience.
In closing, I hope that this information may be helpful in restoring us as a human race to the form that the Father wants us to be. May we be a loving, united and reconciled body of people that will serve Him in Spirit and in Truth.
 John 13:35 “By this everyone shall know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another”.
 1Thess. 5:13-22 “Be at peace among yourselves; warn them that they are unruly; comfort the fainthearted; support the weak; be patient toward all men…”.
* Gen.1:26 “Let Us make man in Our own image according to Our likeness.”
 Michtav MeEliyahu, Vol.4 end of page 361
 Matt.3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
 Matt.4:17 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
 Matt.6:8-13 & Matt.5:23
 Feast of Tabernacles
 John 10:22 “Now it was the feast of Dedication in
 Rom8:2 But the Law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has made me free from the law of sin and death.
 Matt.5:18 “not one yud or kootz will pass from the Torah until all is fulfilled.”
 Matt.7:21 “Not all who say to Me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.
 James 2:25 “For as the body without spirit is dead, so to faith without works is dead also.”
 Ex.21:24 “eye for eye, tooth for tooth; Lev24:20 “fracture for fracture, eye for eye …”; Deut.19:21 “life shall be for life …”
 Matt.10:5-6 Yeshua sent out these twelve, commanding them, saying; Do not go to the goyim, and do not enter into the cities of the Samaritans. But rather go to the lost sheep of the house of
 Isaiah 53:12 the word in Hebrew (chetenu – our transgression in the simplest form)
 Ex.21:24 and others
 bruised for our misdemeanors (avonotenu)
 Isaiah 53:5
 This account is mentioned in the three synoptic gospels; Matt.3:11, Mark !:3 and Luke 3:16 but Mark excludes the baptism of fire.
 Gen. 1:26