As a result of our previous post on deception and the article we posted regarding a love of all things Jewish; I have found some more insightful articles on this topic. Last week we also shared with you an article about waking up and re-looking at some of the scriptures through new eyes. One article that I read made me look at a verse in scripture again, but this time I saw it in a completely new way. We are often told that the scepter has been entrusted to Judah based on Genesis 49:9-10. However, if you follow the advice, we gave you and reread these verses, you will see that these verses tell you that the scepter will pass from Judah. I believe that this has already happened and Judah no longer has the scepter or the rulerâ€™s staff. Do not confuse the ruler with â€œthe chosen peopleâ€! Israel is and always will be YHVHâ€™s chosen people. Judah and Ephraim will always be a part of Israel, as will the â€œgentilesâ€ that add themselves to YHVH and His covenants as bondservants. Allow me to be your alarm clock and wake you up.
Shortly after my initial post on â€œdeceptionâ€ I received the article (a love of all things Jewish) that explained some of the problems of the messianic believers in Israel. This article has been met with some positive responses from within the community and has led to a lot of discussions on various groups. Via another fellow believer, I came across an article called â€œThe Keys of Heaven” written by Jesse Himango. Please do click on this link and read his article before continuing. It is a short article, but will form a basis for some of what I will be discussing. As Jesse did such a great job, I do not want to repeat anything that he has already explained. Please ensure that you read this before continuing otherwise you will not be able to understand what is being discussed in this document. I have also received some more input from Peter Bennet and their study group. Please find their notes here for some more insight.
When will the scepter depart?
Based on the article by Jesse you would have learned that the scripture in Genesis 49:8-12 was a prophecy given to the descendants of Judah. They would be the rulers of their brethren. However, this would not last forever.
8 â€œJudah, your brothers shall praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your fatherâ€™s sons shall bow down to you. 9 â€œJudah is a lionâ€™s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse him up? 10 â€œThe scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the rulerâ€™s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. 11 â€œHe ties his foal to the vine, And his donkeyâ€™s colt to the choice vine; He washes his garments in wine, And his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 â€œHis eyes are dull from wine, And his teeth white from milk.
What do we know about Shiloh? From the verse above we know that He has a foal, a donkeyâ€™s colt. If we now look at the Matthew 21, we can easily tie this to Yâ€™shua.
1 When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Yâ€™shua sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, â€œGo into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. 3 â€œIf anyone says anything to you, you shall say, â€˜The Lord has need of them,â€™ and immediately he will send them.â€ 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 â€œSay to the daughter of Zion,
â€˜Behold your King is coming to you, Gentle,
and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.â€™ â€ (Isaiah 62:11, Zech 9:9)
6 The disciples went and did just as Yâ€™shua had instructed them, 7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. 8 Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. 9 The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,
â€œHosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!â€ (Psalm 118:26)
We find another proof of this in the book of John where he quotes the prophet Zechariah.
14 Yâ€™shua, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written,
15 â€œFear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkeyâ€™s colt.â€ (Zech 9:9)
16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Yâ€™shua was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.
We can also prove that Yâ€™shua was King and could thus be classified as Shiloh, if we look at the following proof points. Please note that this is not a complete list to prove that Yâ€™Shua came as King, but simply a few to prove the point. If you do a detailed study on the topic you will find more references to His Kingship.
- Yâ€™Shua had lineage to King David (Messiah is known to be the â€œSon of Davidâ€ which makes him the heir apparent) Matthew 1
- Wisemen from the East had seen signs in heavens proclaiming the birth of the â€œKing of the Jewsâ€ – Matt 2:2
- Herod believed the wisemen that a king had been born and therefore set about slaughtering all the boys in Bethlehem under 2 years to ensure his kingdom was safe -Matt 2:13-18
- The Chief Priest and scribes of the day understood that Messiah would become the rightful ruler of YHVHâ€™s people – Matt 2:4-6 referring back to Micah 5:2
- John the Baptist announces that the â€œKingdom of heaven has come nearâ€ â€“ this gives Yâ€™shua the ultimate right of kingship and it has come! -Matt 3:2
- YHVH acknowledges Yâ€™shua as His Son thereby showing that â€˜He is the rightful heir and holds the ultimate kingship – Matt 3:17 & Matt 17:5
The fact that Matthew 1 proofs to us that Yâ€™shua is a son of David, also puts the following prophecy into perspective:
14 â€˜Behold, days are coming,â€™ declares YHVH, â€˜when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 â€˜In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. 16 â€˜In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: YHVH is our righteousness.â€™ 17 â€œFor thus says YHVH, â€˜David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices continually.â€™ â€
It is clear that the only way for this prophecy to be fulfilled is for Yâ€™shua to be the King. No human king has ruled over the house of David continually. We are all under His authority. Confirmation for this can be found in the prophecy in Daniel 7.
13 â€œI kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 â€œAnd to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.
Thus, the Ancient of Days gave Him the everlasting dominion, glory and a kingdom. We are all to serve Him, not one another! He is the Authority and we all submit to Him, not one another.
What does it mean when the scepter departs?
Now that we have established that Judah once had the scepter, and it then departed, let us take one step back. What does it mean to have the scepter and the rulerâ€™s staff? The king had the scepter and the rulerâ€™s staff. This implies that he who has these has the authority to rule. As you would have seen in the two articles mentioned earlier, this was also referred to in scripture as â€œthe keys.” The keeper of the keys has always had authority over the city or castle. This authority is based on the fact that he who holds the key to the city has the power to decide who will enter and who will have to stay outside.
In scripture this means that the holder of the keys will be those who decide who will enter the new Jerusalem. From Revelation, we get clear instructions of the entering of Jerusalem through one of the twelve gates.
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
Thus, we know now that our robes need to be clean for us to enter the city. In order for your robes to be clean, you will need to do two things:
1. keep the dirt off your robes
2. if your robes do get dirty, clean them as soon as possible.
That sounds easy! So how do we do this? We know that we can get our robes cleaned with the Blood of the Lamb, as is shown to us in Revelation:
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, â€œThese who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?â€ 14 I said to him, â€œMy lord, you know.â€ And he said to me, â€œThese are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Thus, the way to wash your robes includes two important steps:
1. accept Yâ€™shua (the Lamb) as your salvation
2. clean your sins by repentance.
The next step would be to keep your robes clean. If it is sin that dirties your robes, and we know that sin is the transgression of the law ( 1 John 3:4 ), then we need to ensure that we do not transgress the law. We do know that we donâ€™t do that perfectly, we will always need to repent and ask for forgiveness through Yâ€™shua.
How do the keys of the Kingdom of heaven then come into play? How could Yâ€™shua have said that the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes were shutting the Kingdom of Heaven in peopleâ€™s faces (Matt 23:13 and Luke 11:25)? It seems to be that they were withholding from people the ability to wash their robes. These people were already teaching the law of Moses and repentance, so they must have been keeping them from Messiah! We know from Scripture that this was really the case. They were keeping others from seeing the Messiah in their midst and following Him.
The second thing they were doing was causing people to sin. They did this by adding laws that were in contradiction to YHVHâ€™s law. In more than one case, Yâ€™shua accused them from leading people astray with their teachings.
9 He was also saying to them, â€œYou are experts at setting aside the commandment of YHVH in order to keep your tradition. 10 â€œFor Moses said, â€˜Honor your father and your motherâ€™; and, â€˜He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to deathâ€™; 11 but you say, â€˜If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to YHVH),â€™ 12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13 thus invalidating the word of YHVH by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.â€
31 â€œIt was said, â€˜Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorceâ€™; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
This is the reason that He took the authority from them. He has taken back His authority and now allows His followers to make their own decisions based on obedience to Him.
52 â€œWoe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.â€ 53 When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects, 54 plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say.
Passing the keys
Yâ€™shua has placed His followers under His Authorithy. He did this when Simon bar Jona recognized and acknowledged Him as the Messiah. That is the salvation, the One who will help us wash our robes.
15 He said to them, â€œBut who do you say that I am?â€ 16 Simon Peter answered, â€œYou are the Messiah, the Son of the living Elohim.â€ 17 And Yâ€™shua said to him, â€œBlessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 â€œI also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My assembly; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 â€œI will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.â€
We need to do a deeper study on these scriptures to get the full impact of what is happening here. After Simon bar Jona acknowledged Yâ€™shua as the Messiah and Son of YHVH, Yâ€™shua pointed out to him that that had been a heavenly revelation that made him saw and understood that. With this revelation, the relationship between Yâ€™shua and His disciples moved to a new level.
Yâ€™shua then made a statement that can only be clearly understood if we look into the Greek being used. Yâ€™shua stated that Simon bar Jona was â€œpetrosâ€ (here translated as Peter). The true Greek meaning of the word:
Î ÎÏ„ÏÎ¿Ï‚, -Î¿Ï…, á½, (an appellative prop. name, signifying â€˜a stone,â€™ â€˜a rock,â€™ â€˜a ledgeâ€™ or â€˜cliffâ€™; used metaph. of a soul hard and unyielding, and so resembling a rock, Soph. O. R. 334; Eur. Med. 28; Herc. fur. 1397; answering to the Chald. ÎšÎ·Ï†á¾¶Ï‚, q. v., Jn. 1:42 (43)), Peter, the surname of the apostle Simon.
Thayer, J. H. (1889). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm’s Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti (507). New York: Harper & Brothers.
Thus, He called him a stone and then added that upon this â€œpetra,” He would build His assembly. The word â€œpetraâ€ is a different Greek word.
1. petra (Ï€ÎÏ„ÏÎ±, 4073) denotes â€œa mass of rock,â€ as distinct from petros, â€œa detached stone or boulder,â€ or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved.
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (537). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
This means that Simon bar Jona is not the mass of rock, as he is the smaller stone. Thus, what is the rock or foundation? The foundation on which Yâ€™shua would build His assembly is: â€œYou are the Messiah, the Son of the living Elohim.â€ As per His own advice, His house is being built on a foundation of Rock that does not move. Not on a human that will later deny Him under pressure. Yâ€™shua is the rock on which the assembly is built. He is the authority that His followers must submit under.
16 Therefore thus says YHVH Elohim, â€œBehold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
Simon bar Jona later also understood this.
1 Peter 2:4â€“8
4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of YHVH, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to YHVH through Yâ€™shua the Messiah. 6 For this is contained in Scripture:
â€œBehold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.â€ (Isaiah 28:16)
7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
â€œThe stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,â€ (Psalm 118:22)
â€œA stone of stumbling and a rock of offenseâ€; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
Paul in his letter to the Romans also explains why Judah stumbled over this Rock.
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written,
â€œBehold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.â€ (Isaiah 28:16)
Thus Simon bar Jonah could see what the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes could not see, because it was revealed to him by the Father, who is in heaven. By knowing the Messiah, they were one step closer to the Kingdom of heaven. The next verses in Matthew also state that Yâ€™shua then started teaching them that He had to go to Jerusalem to die. I can only assume that He also explained the reason why. This would have given them a much better insight as to what his death would mean for the sin of men and their salvation.
Now that His disciples were on a different level in their understanding of who He was, Yâ€™shua told them that He would give them the keys of the Kingdom. He did not only give it to Peter, as we see in Roman Catholicism. We can prove this by looking at what is said a bit further on in Matthew 18:18. Moreover, when Paul comes to Jerusalem for a ruling on the gentiles, it is not Peter that gives the final verdict, but James.
13 After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, â€œBrethren, listen to me.
What do the keys mean?
19 â€œI will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.â€
18 â€œTruly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. 19 â€œAgain I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
From these two verses, we see that once the keys have been taken back; His disciples have the authority to bind and loosen and do not need to submit to anybody but Him. What does this mean? We find a lot of teaching that states they now have the right to make rules and that these rules will be honored in heaven. How do we align this with the prayer that Yâ€™shua taught His disciples?
9 â€œPray, then, in this way: â€˜Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 â€˜Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 â€˜Give us this day our daily bread.
12 â€˜And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 â€˜And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]â€™
Obviously, these two would then be in contradiction. The problem is created by our lack of understanding of the Greek grammar being used here. We need to investigate the tense of the two occurrences of â€œbind.” For those of you that do have an understanding, here is the summary of the morphology:
What does this grammatical analysis tell us? The first occurrence of the verb â€œbindâ€ is in the active form. The active form signifies that the subject is performing the verbal action. The second occurrence of the verb is in the perfect voice. This verb tense is used by the writer to describe a completed verbal action that occurred in the past but which produced a state of being or a result that exists in the present. Thus, we can see from the grammatical structure of this phrase that the binding in heaven precedes the binding on earth.
What is the implication of this? It simply means that our current understanding of an earthly authority being able to make new rules that will be honored in heaven is wrong. What Yâ€™shua was rather teaching them is that the Heavenly Father will instruct a group of righteous people on how they should guide the group of believers. If we look at it this way â€“ first in heaven, then on earth â€“ this way, it is completely aligned with the prayer that Yâ€™shua taught His disciples.
The binding and loosing refer thus to the authority of Yâ€™Shua’s disciples to make new rules for communal rule, based on the instructions from our Heavenly Father. They could be the authority on earth to lead the community to follow in His way (as the ultimate authority). I believe that this was entrusted to them because they met certain criteria. These include being righteous men and having been instructed by Messiah Himself in His way. He chose them, trained them, and once they had reached a specific level of maturity; He appointed them as His agents on earth. We also know from scripture that He will at the end have the keys to Life and death.
17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, â€œDo not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
This instruction is not in the context of spiritual warfare. The instruction here is not about binding demons. It is also not about prayer. This is not an instruction that more than one must be in agreement before a prayer can be heard. The complete context of Matthew 18:15-20 is about the correction of a brother who sins ( Matt 18:15 â€“ if your brother sins â€¦.). The instruction for more than one person is to serve two requirements. The first is that we need two or more witnesses when charging another with sin, and also it is a case of the four (or six) eye principle when making new communal rules.
Did the disciples use the keys?
In the book of Acts, we have scriptural prove of Yâ€™shuaâ€™s disciples using this authority. In Acts 15 we have the â€œJerusalem Councilâ€ making a ruling about the need for gentile believers to convert. We see from Acts 15, that even though Paul was a Pharisee, he did not go to the Sanhedrin for a ruling. He went to the apostles and the elders in Jerusalem. This is even after the Pharisees clearly ruled that gentile believers must convert.
1 Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, â€œUnless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.â€ 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. 3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. 4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, â€œIt is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.â€ 6 The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.
Another good example of them being led to make the right rulings on earth can be found in these verses of scripture:
1 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were ministering to YHVH and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, â€œSet apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.â€ 3 Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
We can see that they ask for guidance by prayer and fasting before making decisions. Thus, they follow the principle of first the decision (authority) in heaven and then on earth. We also see that the apostles send people to perform certain missions for the Kingdom of Heaven.
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of YHVH, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
Thus, it is clear from these examples that the apostles, and the elders started making decisions on their own. They did not submit to the authority of the Sanhedrin any longer.
What have we learned from this study?
1. Yâ€™Shua took the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven from the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes because of what they were doing.
2. After Simon bar Jona had acknowledged Yâ€™shua as the Messiah, Yâ€™shua handed them (the apostles) the authority on earth to make rules for communal life.
3. The foundation (cornerstone) of His assembly is not Peter, but Yâ€™shua the Son of YHVH. Peter is not the rock, but the stone.
4. The apostles were given the authority to bind/loose on earth that which had already been bounded / loosened in heaven.
5. They used this authority to make their own ruling and not submit to the Sanhedrin or any other religious council.
6. Their decisions were in line with scripture, and they fasted and prayed before making these decisions.
7. As His followers, we are expected to submit to Him. We are not required to submit to one another.
We have all sinned! We all need to return to Him and His commandments.
6 Then YHVH said to me in the days of Josiah the king, â€œHave you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. 7 â€œI thought, â€˜After she has done all these things she will return to Meâ€™; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 â€œAnd I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. 9 â€œBecause of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 â€œYet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,â€ declares YHVH. 11 And YHVH said to me, â€œFaithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 â€œGo and proclaim these words toward the north and say, â€˜Return, faithless Israel,â€™ declares YHVH; â€˜I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,â€™ declares YHVH; â€˜I will not be angry forever. 13 â€˜Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against YHVH your Elohim And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,â€™ declares YHVH. 14 â€˜Return, O faithless sons,â€™ declares YHVH; â€˜For I am a master to you, And I will take you one from a city and two from a family, And I will bring you to Zion.â€™ 15 â€œThen I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. 16 â€œIt shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,â€ declares YHVH, â€œthey will no longer say, â€˜The ark of the covenant of YHVH.â€™ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 â€œAt that time they will call Jerusalem â€˜The Throne of YHVH,â€™ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of YHVH; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 â€œIn those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance.