The Torah Code - Volume One: Foundations - 1.1 Religion, Reason, and Reality - Ken Power Books
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1.1 Religion, Reason, and Reality


Volume 1: Foundations—Chapter 1

Religion, Reason, and Reality

The Torah—the “Law of Moses”—is apparently a most puzzling document. Hardly anybody—even the rare individual who claims to live by it—seems to have a handle on what it really means. Though it is the foundation of two of the world’s longest-lived religious traditions, Judaism and Christianity, its primary effect on both of them seems to be consternation and evasion: nobody actually does what the Torah says to do, though both groups readily admit that it’s God’s word. Why is that?

The Jews (those few who try) substitute what the Torah plainly says for a caricature of its precepts—a convoluted and largely contrived system of 613 “Mitzvot” that bear only passing resemblance to the Torah’s actual requirements. Extra-biblical Jewish writings based on a hypothetical “Oral Law” that supposedly accompanied the written Instructions (but aren’t referred to anywhere in the Tanach), are given weight equal to or greater than Scripture itself. But the Mishnah and Gemara (together known as the Talmud) and the Midrashim (a series of stories expanding and expounding upon Biblical incidents) are the products of centuries of rabbinical scholarship and opinion—which pretty much guarantees that they’re self-contradictory, if not incomprehensible. The prevailing Jewish position seems to be that if their greatest rabbis can’t agree on what G-d (they mean God, heaven forbid you should use His actual name) said to do, it must be impossible, so the Supreme Being is going to have to settle for our best effort—hence all the shrugging, sighing, and feelings of unresolved guilt endemic in the Jewish mindset.

Christians, on the other hand, usually try to dodge the Torah’s requirements by assuming that since Yahshua (or Yahushua, commonly known as Jesus) paid for their sins, the Law has nothing more to offer them: it has served its purpose and may be safely ignored as a quaint anachronism that no longer applies. But Yahshua plainly said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19) So the Law of Moses, He says, stands intact. It is to be both kept and taught. But then, as if this weren’t confusing enough already, God confirmed that gentile (non-Israelite) believers did not have to physically perform the Law of Moses in order to be saved. The test case was circumcision (see Acts 15), a symbolic rite which was still required of Jews. Was God instituting a double standard, one method of redemption and reconciliation for the Jews, and another (easier) road for the gentiles? No. But to understand why, we need to comprehend what Yahshua meant when He said He had come to fulfill the Law but not to destroy it. If keeping the Torah to perfection was the price of peace with God, then exempting a segment of the world’s population from compliance would indeed have destroyed the Law—abrogated it, done away with it. And that, He said, was not His purpose.

The key, therefore, is to understand what it means to “fulfill” the Law. The word in Greek is pleroo, meaning to make full, to fill up, hence to make something complete or perfect, to accomplish, to carry out an undertaking, to bring it to realization or fruition. If the Torah is just a collection of rules we must obey to please God, this makes no sense. How does one “fill up” a regulation? How does one complete a law or bring it to fruition? If I were to obey all the traffic laws while driving my car (yeah, picture that), I may have kept the law, but I still wouldn’t have fulfilled it: nothing about the law would have been fundamentally concluded or accomplished when I reached my destination. The use of the word “fulfill” implies something beyond mere performance. It speaks of realizing a potential, of completing an unfinished act, of keeping a promise. Yahshua was therefore announcing that the Torah was a pledge or vow God intended to keep—through Him. That is, the things God instructed Israel to do comprised a demonstration, a dress rehearsal, of what He Himself had pledged in His heart to do on behalf of all mankind—Jews and gentiles alike.

Israel’s job, then, was to reenact the image of God’s intentions before all of humanity throughout their generations. By keeping the Torah, they would be, in effect, telling the world, Our God has a wonderful plan to redeem fallen man, to restore anyone who seeks Him to fellowship and blessing. And the things we do symbolize and reflect—in detail—the various components of that plan. Well, that’s how it was supposed to work. As it is, since they don’t keep the Torah as God delivered it, all we have to go by is the instructions themselves. It’s as if the Jews were supposed to be the actors in a Broadway play, but they missed their cues, blew their lines, and lynched the Leading Man—so not surprisingly, the production closed on the first night. Now, all we have left is the script.  

***

On the face of it, the Torah seems to be a collection of statutes, guidelines, and religious rituals addressed to a single bronze-age family, one on the cusp of becoming a nation in its own right. This code of law was delivered amid a recounting of the history of mankind as it pertains to this family—the family of Abraham, through his sons Isaac and Jacob, later known as Israel. The text itself identifies the Author of these “rules”—the One True God, mentioned by name 1,787 times in the five books of Moses: Yahweh (more accurately pronounced with the “w” as a vowel—Yahuweh). The fact that God’s self-revealed name was replaced every single time in most of our English Bible translations with an anemic title (“the LORD”) should give us some appreciation for how badly our adversary wants to obscure God’s identity. Calling Yahweh “the Lord” is like calling the Pacific Ocean “moist.” Though it’s true enough, it’s a totally inadequate description. Yahweh is a name that means “I am,” or “I exist.” But names are to be transmitted, not translated, and certainly not replaced.

Yahweh’s prophet and amanuensis was Moses (or Moshe). Time and time again we see the phrase, “Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel….’” Yahweh’s blunt command “You shall…” peppers the Pentateuch like stars in a clear summer sky. His signature line, “I am Yahweh,” punctuates scores of these passages, as if to say, My name alone is reason enough to make you serious about keeping my commandments. His instructions to Israel are specific, detailed, authoritative, and unbending.

The Torah’s straightforward compendium of rules and instructions is unique among the religious writings of man, as is its setting in a matrix of contemporary historical reality. Most religions are actually philosophies that have been promoted over time to the status of cultic systems through the sheer weight of their societal influence. Therefore, they usually offer only abstract theories on how to achieve what their prophets or priests presume man wants: peace, prosperity, power, enlightenment, oneness with the universe, personal gratification, or a foolproof means to appease god.

Outside of the Judeo-Christian experience, only one major religion, Islam, claims to speak for the one true deity. But unfortunately (for the Muslim) the only scriptures attributed to this deity offer little or nothing in the way of practical instruction. The Qur’an offers almost nothing from which to derive Islamic Sharia law. Islam’s “five pillars” and the vaunted seventy virgins in paradise that Muhammad promised to Muslim martyrs are conspicuously absent from Allah’s supposed revelation: these doctrines must be gleaned instead from the Hadith (the “sayings of the prophet”) and the Sunnah (the biographies, or “example” of Muhammad). That makes the Torah the only body of law or instruction in the world that is—or even purports to be—handed down directly from the One True God. In other words, when it comes to rules for living, the Muslim—along with the Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, Orthodox Jew, Pagan Christian, and every other practitioner of religion in the world (including political religions like communism, fascism, progressivism, and atheistic secular humanism)—is forced to make do with the opinions of men instead of the oracles of Almighty God. If you don’t believe He exists, of course, this is not viewed as a problem. But for the overwhelming majority of mankind—who do claim one way or another to worship or follow one or more deities—it’s a real predicament.  

For convenience, I’ve been speaking of the Torah as if it’s scripture that can be legitimately compared on some level to the writings of the world’s most popular religions. In reality, it’s nothing of the sort. Religion is man’s systematic endeavor to reach out to “god,” however that god is defined. In contrast, the Torah, and indeed the entire Bible, is the record of God reaching out to man. It is thus the very antithesis of religion, no matter how much following its precepts might look like one. To understand why this is so, we need to grasp the fact that when God says “Thou shalt” or “Thou shalt not,” He’s not defining what we must do to please or appease Him. Rather, He’s either asking us to trust Him to know what’s best for us, and to reenact—to rehearse—what He was doing to reconcile us to Himself.

The whole thing can be confusing, however, because there are points of similarity between God’s Word and “competing” scriptures. The fact is, not all religions are automatically mistaken about everything. There’s a reason even a nearsighted squirrel finds an acorn now and then: he’s looking for it. As flawed as man’s wisdom is, it isn’t always wrong, for man was created in the image of God. As Paul points out, “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness.” (Romans 2:14-15) So we should not be surprised to occasionally find some of the same basic truths presented in a plethora of scriptural traditions. Take for example the “Golden Rule.” Its core premise (or something quite similar) shows up everywhere. I’ve listed these sources in the chronological order of their appearance:  

Torah: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke (that is, reprove or correct) your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Yahweh.” Leviticus 19:17-18

Jainism: “One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.” Mahavira, Sutrakritamga

Brahmanism: “This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.” Mahabharata, 5:1515 

Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18

Confucianism: “Is there one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout one’s whole life? Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Analects 15:23 

Taoism: “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien

Zoroastrianism: “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself.” Dadistan-i-dinik, 94:5

Rabbinic Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Christianity (New Testament): “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (cf. Luke 6:31)

Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” Sunnah.

(Note, however, that if you accept the claim that the Qur’an was revealed directly from Allah to Muhammad, you’re forced to conclude that the Muslims’ “god” had a very different take on it: “Kill them wherever you find and catch them. Drive them out from where they have turned you out; for disbelief is worse than slaughter.” Qur’an 2:191. “The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and his Prophet and make mischief in the land is to murder them, crucify them, or cut off a hand and foot on opposite sides.” Qur’an 5:33. “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, torture them, and lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.” Qur’an 9:5. “I will terrorize the unbelievers. Therefore smite them on their necks and every joint and incapacitate them. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes.” Qur’an 8:12. Need I go on? So much for the Golden Rule in Islamic thought. On the other hand, it does explain why Muslims who really believe their “holiest” scriptures tend to be murderous and/or suicidal.)  

You don’t have to be God, then, to offer good advice. But only God can do it with authority. What are mere platitudes and maxims on the lips of men become binding commandments when Yahweh says them—or at least they do if we call Yahweh our God. Although His invitation to a loving relationship is extended to all people, the choice to accept it—and Him—is ours to make, not His. Love requires free will; it implies the freedom not to reciprocate. Our choices, however, have repercussions. If we choose to receive and respond to Yahweh’s love, we are acknowledging His sovereignty, His right to instruct us. It is illogical in the extreme to tell God, “I want all the good things You’ve reserved for your children, but I’m not willing to even try to do what You ask.” Those very instructions are a big part of the “good things” He has given his children to enjoy.

If, on the other hand, we choose not to avail ourselves of the relationship Yahweh is offering—if we reject His authority and His love—then we are not obligated to heed His Law. After all, a citizen in one country is not bound by the laws of another, nor is a child required to obey a total stranger. We keep our own laws; we honor our own parents. The latent anarchist in us may rejoice at this apparent “liberty,” but the “benefit” of being free from God’s Law is an illusion. It’s like being set free from the law of gravity: there’s a downside. Imagine yourself in a town with ordinary traffic laws but no police or courts to enforce them. Inevitably, somebody will choose to ignore all the speed limits, traffic signals, and road signs, declaring himself “free.” But is he? Even though no one will arrest him, his choices still have consequences. Eventually, this guy will find himself either lost, maimed, or dead—and he will have adversely affected the lives of people who were trying to observe the traffic laws, as well. No policeman or judge is necessary to “punish” a man for driving 86 miles per hour on a curvy mountain road, intoxicated, in a blinding snowstorm. The “accident” he’ll have will have been no accident at all, but rather the natural result of rejecting the authority of the law. His “punishment” will be self-inflicted.

In the same way, Yahweh doesn’t go out of His way to punish people for failing to share a relationship with Him. What we choose to do is our own prerogative. But if we don’t recognize His authority, we must bear the responsibility—and the consequences—of having followed our own. We can’t logically blame Yahweh for our own poor choices. We can only “blame” Him for having given us the right and ability to make those choices in the first place. That’s real freedom. It’s Yahweh’s primary gift to mankind. In the same way, if we don’t invite Him to bear our guilt, we have no alternative but to it carry ourselves. If we don’t ask to be given eternal life with God, we will possess only whatever life we are able to provide for ourselves. It bears repeating: our choices have natural consequences. Since Yahweh alone is God, the greatest of man’s “wisdom” is derivative at best, and a deadly fraud at worst. Therefore, the only possible alternative to Yahweh’s instruction runs a distant second in both wisdom and potential benefit.

The bottom line: if we wish to avail ourselves of the benefits of God’s recorded instructions to mankind, we have no choice but to consult the Torah. It is the only code of Law or Instruction in existence that claims divine authorship—and those claims are vindicated ever more convincingly the closer one looks. Deny them if you want to—it’s your choice—but know for certain that there is no logical alternative: every other code of Law in human experience, without exception, is the product of man’s imagination—or worse.

*** 

We have observed that Yahshua came to “fulfill” the Torah, and that to do so, He needed to do more than flawlessly observe its statutes: He had to become the fulfillment of its promise, the completion of its contract, the accomplishment of its covenant. Isaiah explains what was happening: “I, Yahweh, have called You [i.e., Yahshua the Messiah, identified previously as ‘My servant whom I uphold…My elect one, in whom My soul delights’] in righteousness, and will hold Your hand. I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house….” The “Elect One” was “given” by Yahweh to two groups of people, for two different but related purposes. First, He is God’s “covenant,” that is, His promise, contract, or pledge. To whom? Since the contrasted group is “the gentiles,” or “the nations” (goyim), “the people” apparently refers to Israel. Isaiah has revealed that the Messiah is to be the personification of God’s covenant promises of redemption and reconciliation, as symbolized in the rites of the Torah—the very thing Yahshua claimed of Himself when He said, “I have come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.” Second, the Messiah is given by God to be “a light to the gentiles.” These are not distinct concepts, but two sides of the same coin. That which brings spiritual enlightenment, opens the eyes of the blind, and brings Satan’s prisoners out of the gloom of bondage to sin, is the same person who fulfills the covenant of Yahweh to Israel: Yahshua, God’s Anointed One.

Isaiah continues the prophecy: “I am Yahweh, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare. Before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:6-9) We haven’t changed subjects. Yahweh is declaring through His prophet that He had already revealed the nature of this covenant and defined the source of this enlightenment—and that He was still in the process of revealing new facets of His plan. The revelation had begun in the Torah, and it was continuing apace in Isaiah’s day. That last sentence, “Before they spring forth I tell you of them,” separates the real God from the wannabes. Yahweh has identified a fundamental benchmark of the true and living God, as opposed to false gods and “carved images”—predictive prophecy. The reason is evident: the real God is not confined by the dimension of time. You’ll search in vain for a “god” other than Yahweh whose prophets could speak of specific future events with unerring accuracy. Only one comes to mind who even tried: Muhammad called himself a prophet who spoke for his god, Allah. Although he uttered very few predictive prophecies, even those few he did failed to materialize. (He prophesied, for example, that women would someday outnumber men a hundred to one; and that the end of the world—judgment day—would happen half an Islamic “day,” or 500 years, from the coronation of its last prophet, i.e., himself. That works out to 1110 A.D., but we’re still here, waiting.)  

Yahweh’s prophets, on the other hand, are incessantly heard delivering predictions of future events or conditions. But even here we have a “problem” or two. The overt prophecies are often somewhat obscure—making them sound like something Nostradamus might have come up with. They’re specific enough, but their meaning, their significance, often seems a little esoteric—until the prophecy comes to pass, that is, at which point anybody who’s looking for it can recognize the obvious fulfillment. These correlations between prophecy and fulfillment would tend to go right over the heads of people who weren’t looking, however. For example, Yahweh never just comes out and tells us plainly that He will manifest Himself as the “Anointed One” or Messiah—and that He will be born into the world as a human child in the town of Bethlehem. No, first he tells Isaiah to write, “For unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7) Then He tells another prophet to say, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2) You often have to use more than one interlocking “puzzle piece” like this to see the truth. Once you’re prepared to embrace Yahshua as the anointed human manifestation of the Living God, it all makes sense. But if you’re not, it all seems pretty vague.

Why does God do this? Why does He make the truth obvious only to those who are willing to accept it? It’s because of something I mentioned earlier: love requires choice—the liberty to either accept or reject its object, however one chooses. Without this freedom, love degenerates into something less: loyalty, gratitude, obedience, or even good manners. If Yahweh were to prove to you in obvious and undeniable terms that your salvation depended on reciprocating His love, you’d have to be completely insane—in a state of denial—in order to reject Him. (It’s like the guy who thought he was dead, but his friend, after convincing him with undisputable scientific evidence that dead men don’t bleed, stuck him with a pin—producing a gusher of blood. Seeing it, the man merely replied, “Well, what d’ya know? Dead men do bleed.”) God could prove His love, but not without abridging our ability and right to choose whether to love Him back. The evidence is there in abundance if we want to see it, but Yahweh refuses to cram incontrovertible proof down our throats.  

So God is seldom blatantly direct in His prophetic pronouncements. His information concerning the future is often delivered to us in poetic language that leaves as much “wiggle room” for the skeptic as it does vindication for the faith of the believer. For example, the prophet says, “The virgin shall bear a son.” The follower of Yahshua looks at the historical record of Matthew and Luke and praises Yahweh for His mind-bendingly literal fulfillment. The rabbi, meanwhile, looking for a way to undermine Yahshua’s credentials, notes (quite rightly) that the word for “virgin” can, under certain circumstances, simply mean “young woman.” God has not forced him to accept what to the Christian believer is obvious and wonderful. He has, however, left the rabbi with a problem: he must explain why such a mundane prophecy is included in Scripture. As signs go, it isn’t much. It’s like saying, “The sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning.” Face it: virtually all “sons” are born to “young women.” It was considered a miracle, in fact, when Abraham’s son Isaac was born to an old woman. So if the rabbinical take on it is correct, this is hardly an earth-shaking revelation. What, then, was God’s point? A sign from God: tomorrow, the sky will be blue!

Besides using poetically obscure prophecies, Yahweh often resorts to symbols, metaphors, and parables to communicate His story. In fact, Yahshua taught primarily with parables: “And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.” (Mark 4:33-34) This wasn’t an innovation on the part of the Messiah. Yahweh had been using the technique since the very beginning, if only we’d open our eyes to what He was showing us. As He revealed His Instructions through Moses, practically everything He told His people to do, or use, or give, or avoid had parabolic significance. So Asaph writes of Yahweh’s preferred method of communication, “Give ear, O my people, to my law. Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.” (Psalm 78:1-3) Through every precept of the Torah, God was telling Israel in symbolic terms something about Himself or the relationship He wished to enjoy with them—and with us. If we don’t sort out the parables—if we don’t comprehend the symbols—we won’t really understand what Yahweh was telling us.

These symbols are the subject of this book. Together they form a sweeping panorama of information about God’s nature and intentions. They aren’t meant to be understood by everyone, however. As with fulfilled prophecy, they’re only intended for people who are honestly seeking His truth, His companionship, His love—they’re for His children, His adopted family. They’re not expected to be comprehensible or appreciated by outsiders, by those who don’t really wish to share a relationship with Yahweh, no matter how badly they’d like to reap the rewards of religious conformity. When God says, “Do this” or “Don’t do this,” it is of no lasting benefit to the hearer to do what He says without reference (or deference) to Who He is. That’s why He repeated the phrase “I am Yahweh” over seventy times in the Pentateuch—always to punctuate His authority by stressing His identity. If He’s our Father, we need to listen to Him.  

The symbols are a Code of sorts. Once established, they always signify the same thing, within the Torah and throughout the entire Bible. The meaning of the symbol is often revealed, or at least hinted at, in its very first usage in scripture. Usually, the intrinsic nature of the code element is a clue to understanding the mind of God. As in the parables of Christ, some common component of the human experience is recruited to teach a lesson of greater significance than the original image might suggest. These mundane attributes are pressed into service in Scripture to demonstrate extraordinary spiritual principles. Taken together, these common metaphors—scores of them—form a Code that reveals the very nature of God to those who are looking for Him. For example, lambs are vulnerable, harmless, and innocent; gold is immutable, thus a metal whose value is enhanced by removing its impurities through a violent, fiery process; yeast permeates and changes the character of bread dough, and so forth. Note, however, that every code has a key, something that controls or secures the objective, the system that grants access and understanding to what would be otherwise random and unintelligible. In The Torah Code, that key is Yahshua the Messiah: without reference to His life and mission, the Code is gibberish. (So although lambs are fuzzy, and gold is heavy and yellow, these facts are not germane to God’s cryptic purpose.)

I’m not suggesting that there are hidden messages in this Code (an idea the Kabbalists dote on) that supersede or challenge the plain reading of the text. I’m not advocating or promoting gematria (i.e., biblical numerology), equidistant letter sequences, or any other veiled and mysterious technique for ferreting out of scripture concepts that are neither introduced nor supported by the plain text. (I’m not necessarily declaring gematria or ELS to be fraudulent, either, but they’re not what I’m talking about.) I am, rather, trying to point out something I’ve noticed time after time in my study of the Torah: things mentioned over and over again seem to mean something: they invariably stand in for, and point toward, a larger and more significant concept. I’ve found that if you pay attention to the Code, all of scripture forms a cohesive, comprehensible whole, one that points unequivocally to Yahshua as God’s chosen means for reconciling us to Himself. Nothing in the Code contradicts the plain meaning of the Word, but its elements work on an entirely different level—they cast light of a different wave length, so to speak. The Torah Code can (and for me, does) illuminate and consolidate the parts of scripture that seem, to some people, to be disjointed or incongruous.

The Torah is part of both the Jewish Tanach and the Christian Bible, and yet these two groups invariably have radically different views of what the Law of Moses means and requires. Orthodox Jews (who don’t avail themselves of the Key) neither comprehend it nor find the Torah remotely possible to observe in any meaningful sense, even with the strictest discipline. So they retreat into a man-made maze of substitute or derivative rules (that for any number of reasons can’t be kept flawlessly either). Christians, on the other hand, tend to see the Torah as irrelevant, obsolete, and of no further use, choosing to ignore Yahshua’s clear statement to the effect that He hadn’t come to abolish the Law of Moses. They’ve got the Key, but overlook the keyhole. The Code reveals where both traditional Christian and Judaic doctrines have gone astray, for it ties all of the rites, rituals, customs, sacrifices, architecture, props, and raw materials referred to in the Torah directly to the person and work of Yahshua of Nazareth. Simply stated, there are no contradictions between the Torah and the Gospels, between the Tanach and the epistles of Paul—there are only failures on our part to discern how Yahweh has explained the latter through the symbols of the former.

***  

You may be asking, “Okay, I can see where there might be a Code, a system of symbols, employed in the Word of God that go largely unnoticed by both Christians and Jews. But what makes this guy think he’s qualified to sort them out?” It’s a fair question. The answer may explain why I began to see the pattern in the first place, when so many other students of scripture—good and faithful men and women—have missed so much of it. You see, I wasn’t always a writer. (You may protest that I’m still not, but that’s another subject.) I was trained as an artist. For thirty years, I made my living as a graphic designer. I have designed scores of logos, trademarks, signatures, symbols, and icons to be used in corporate or commercial environments, and I have implemented hundreds more in my work. I know how they’re supposed to work, what they’re expected to achieve, what their limitations are, and what factors contribute to their success or failure.  

I’ve always seen graphic design as a tool for visual communication, as important and significant in its own way as printed text or the spoken word. Its function is far more significant that merely “making something pretty” or “making a style statement.” I spent much of my professional career as a packaging designer, which meant that my primary “canvas” was usually limited to the front panel of a container displayed for sale on a store shelf. Within a few square inches of printed space, I had to “do battle” in the marketplace and in the mind. In that limited area, I had to (1) Attract the consumer’s eye, (2) identify what the product was, (3) communicate its features and benefits, (4) intimate that its manufacturer could be trusted, (5) promote confidence (or at least desire) in the mind of the consumer, (6) compete with other products in the same class, and (7) negotiate a maze of Federal regulations designed to protect the consumer from fraud, warn him of any possibility of danger, and level the playing field.

Needless to say, these goals could work against each other. I could make a package scream “Look at me!” from forty feet away, but it would be so butt-ugly at arm’s length it would repulse any intelligent shopper. I could explain every nuance of the product’s appeal and functionality on the front panel, only to lose the impact of its benefits in a sea of fine print. I could tell the honest truth about the product while running afoul of the FTC’s packaging guidelines. I could sacrifice the message of the product to the prestige of the brand, or vice versa. I could make the thing so pretty it failed to communicate anything of substance. And there was no such thing as working in a vacuum. As if it weren’t complicated enough already, I had to consider extraneous factors, like: could I count on advertising to support and extend the package’s effectiveness? What was the competition doing? Was the manufacturer or brand well known, or obscure? Was the product a pioneer, or a Johnny-come-lately? How big a learning curve would the customer encounter in order to appreciate the product? What was the budget? Did the product stand alone, or was it part of a series? What needed to be shouted, and what needed to be whispered? One of the hardest things I had to do was make my clients understand that only one thing could be “first read,” the most prominent feature, and it had to be chosen with care.

Upon reflection, it occurred to me that Yahweh faced a lot of the same kinds of hurdles in presenting His “product” to His target audience—the human race. That “product,” in a manner of speaking, is Himself. The marketing problem, specifically, is how to persuade us to “buy” the concept of redemption, of salvation, of reconciliation with Him. (As I’ve noted, He could have forced us to buy into the idea, but not without violating His own standards and character. Remember: love requires choice.) So God, like any manufacturer, finds Himself faced with communication challenges to overcome between Himself and His intended audience. In His case, His product is unique (which is essentially the meaning of holiness—being set apart from the crowd)—there is nothing else like it in existence. This alone makes the learning curve steep indeed. That’s not to say there aren’t competing products out there. There are a myriad of cheap knock-offs, look-alikes, and counterfeits. None of them actually work, you understand, but many of them are brilliantly packaged, promising something, with glowing words and images, that can look to unsuspecting “shoppers” like viable alternatives to God’s plan—if only because we’ve been subjected to a relentless but misleading advertising campaign telling us so. In reality, Yahweh has no rivals worthy of the name, but that doesn’t stop the adversary from hawking his cheesy wares, distracting and defrauding us if he can. Caveat emptor.  

Why is Satan able to grab so much “market share?” Because people naturally want the product. There is within us—by Yahweh’s design—something called a neshamah (first encountered in Genesis 2:7)—roughly that which Pascal described as a “God-shaped vacuum” within our souls. It’s why we intuitively know right from wrong, and it’s why we invent religions in an attempt to deal with the aching chasm within us. Nothing but Yahweh Himself can fill the neshamah perfectly, breathing into us, as He did with Adam, the “breath of life.” Satan however, who envies Yahweh with every fiber of his being, keeps pushing his phony bootleg knock offs—in such a dizzying variety we humans sometimes get the idea that Yahweh’s grace is merely one of scores of worthy competitors. But like a hundred dollar bill, there are only two kinds: the real thing and something else.

So Yahweh, whose infinite love precludes Him from forcing the issue, has gone to the trouble of “marketing” His plan of redemption to us. As with any major product launch we might do, He relied not on a single means of communication, but used many. He began with individual, One-on-one communication with the likes of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses—word-of-mouth advertising, so to speak. Then He made mass media personal appearances, like the exodus miracles or the sound and fury of the Sinai experience, the point of which were to verify the credibility of the “Brand” in the eyes of the target audience. He appeared in dreams and visions to a long succession of prophets—subliminal advertising, so to speak. And He employed a “focus group,” Israel, not to fine tune His product (which was perfect from its inception) but to function as the foundation of a “viral marketing” strategy: the world was supposed to see Israel’s relationship with Yahweh, comprehend the benefits of such a relationship, and want it for themselves.

Then He used the written word, stating (whether plainly or not) what the nature of the “product” was—a personal, familial relationship between Almighty God and mortal man. Of course, the vast chasm between the natures of God and man made the job of verbal communication tougher than we can possibly imagine. Complicating matters, human language is a moving target, imprecise and elusive. So everything essential to our understanding was stated many different ways, with many different turns of phrase, through many different messengers. Because it had to “work” in every language and culture known to man, the message was delivered not by one succinct, catchy advertising slogan, but built up line by line, precept by precept, over the course of several thousand years. Remember “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh, what a relief it is?” What was arguably the most successful advertising slogan of the twentieth century will be meaningless gibberish in a hundred years, incomprehensible or at the very least incapable of communicating anything remotely related to its original meaning. Yahweh’s message of love and redemption, on the other hand, is still crystal clear and awesomely powerful six thousand years after it was first presented—even though we who study it can’t pretend to understand it fully.  

Finally, Yahweh employed symbols—a system of shorthand devices designed to focus our understanding, jog our memory, teach us basic principles, and function as keys to a puzzle—the Torah Code. As a designer, I used graphic metaphors all the time. The most significant symbol on a product or package is invariably the one that identifies the brand. This “trademark” is called the logo (or “signature,” if it’s achieved solely with text). The logo’s job is to wordlessly identify the manufacturer or brand, and hopefully bring to mind the consumer’s entire positive experience with that company. As I said, it’s shorthand. The bigger the brand or corporate entity, the less pictorially specific the logo has to be to be effective. When we see these marks, we are expected to, through thousands of repetitions, mentally connect the products with the company that made them. This necessitates that the logo be used consistently, for change is unsettling and potentially confusing. Updating a corporate logo must be done with glacial deliberation—so slowly you can’t really see it move—if a company doesn’t wish to undermine public confidence in their soundness. (Of course, if the company has been poorly run, offers a crappy product, and has thus earned its reputation as a loser, a total revamp of the image is usually considered job one. It’s a pity such companies don’t put their efforts into real self-improvement instead of mere image enhancement.)

Let’s consider a few logos from the automotive world. (It’s a guy thing, I guess.) Through sheer weight of ubiquity, most car brands are instantly recognizable via their logos, at least to anyone who spends a fair amount of time on the road. They’re always displayed prominently on the back end of the car (which helps, because so many of them—like the religions of man—have a lot in common these days). The older brands’ logos may not have anything going for them except history, but that’s enough to get the job done: Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Mercedes Benz, and many others can’t change their logos very much because they’re indelibly etched in the public’s mind. Whatever that squashed plus sign Chevrolet uses once signified (if anything) is lost to posterity; now it just says, “Chevy!” Ford did something brilliant a few decades back. After wallowing for a while in graphic-update limbo, they decided their history was, after all, one of their most appealing features, so they went back to the old turn-of-the-century Ford script they’d been trying so hard to make everyone forget. They framed it in a blue oval and began displaying it prominently again, as if to say, “We’ve been around forever, so you can trust us to build good cars.”

The best logos, to my mind, blend both meaningful pictorial and verbal elements. Some of the newer automotive brands work beautifully. The center of Mazda’s M forms a bird in flight—a euphemism for freedom. Acura’s A is a stylized compass, a classic drafting instrument that’s probably never actually been used to design an Acura, but which nevertheless conjures up echoes of old-school craftsmanship and precision. I love Infiniti’s “infinitely receding highway” symbol. (Nissan’s latest logo is an inadvertent disaster: it bears a strong resemblance to the standardized American road sign for “Do Not Enter.” Oops.) My own design firm logo, which I used for twenty years, was a light bulb, the universal symbol for the bright idea, in which the name of the company, Power Graphics, was spelled out as the bulb’s filament. (Get it? Ken Power… electricity… illumination… the bright idea?) Sadly, the advent of the compact fluorescent light bulb has made my old logo an anachronism. Good thing I’m retired from all that.  

Corporate logos aren’t the only graphic symbols in our everyday lives. You see a red octagon on a pole, and even if you can’t read the word on it, you know you’re supposed to stop. Moreover, there’s an implied warning: if you don’t stop, something bad could happen to you. You see a small icon light up on the dashboard of your car, and you know without reading a word that something requires your attention: fasten your seatbelt; stop for gas soon; the passenger door is ajar. Symbols tell us where the subway is, which restroom to enter, where you can and cannot park your car, how much battery life you have left—all with an absolute minimum of verbal interaction. Symbols don’t have to be visual, either. They can be audible, like the Intel “chime” in computer commercials, the fanfare that accompanies a movie studio credit, a train’s whistle, or a bugle call. Every culture on earth has a characteristic hand gesture that symbolically indicates one’s displeasure or scorn for another person.

Symbols, then, are designed to communicate relatively complex messages through comparatively simple non-verbal means. They therefore tend to be intrinsically universal in nature, for they don’t depend on words (though words themselves are a type of symbol—a sound or written mark representing a concept or idea). Knowing the limitations of language and the pitfalls of translating His word from one to another, Yahweh found symbols to be the perfect complement to the written Word. What one mode of communication lacks, the other has in abundance. Words can shift in meaning through time and cultural upheaval; symbols are (or at least can be) quite stable. Words often can’t be translated perfectly; symbols don’t depend on language at all, but rather on universal human experience. Symbols, however, can be esoteric and obscure, subject to either misinterpretation or (more often) our failure to recognize them at all as anything more significant than what they appear to be on the surface: Oh, that’s just an octagonal piece of red metal mounted on a pole. Words, on the other hand, require direct comprehension: they mean something, whether we concur or not: The sign says to stop. Now I must decide whether or not to obey its instruction. Of course, if you spoke only Finnish, you might not know that the sign actually meant pysähdys, but the red octagon street sign is pretty much universally recognized to mean only one thing: alto, zastavení, postój, stöðva, zatrzymać się, fermata, halten… stop!

***  

If you drive down the street in any town in America, you’ll eventually encounter a symbol. It looks like a lower case sans serif “t.” It’s called a “cross,” and people the world over recognize that this symbol stands for Christianity: there’s either a church nearby, or someone is making a statement about the Christian religion. Cemeteries are full of crosses. People wear them as jewelry, like a charm or amulet. They’re usually plain, but Roman Catholics often depict this symbol with a man being tortured—crucified—upon it, for that was the function of the prototypical Roman cross, the very implement of execution upon which Yahshua died. It would appear to many, then, that the cross is Yahweh’s trademark, His logo, His symbol of corporate identity.

But it’s not. The Greek word invariably translated “cross” in our Bibles is stauros, which actually denotes an upright stake or pole, not a “T”-shaped device. The word is derived from the verb histemi, meaning: to cause or make something to stand; to place, put, or set into position; to make firm; to cause someone to keep his place, to keep intact (referring to a family or kingdom, etc.); to escape in safety; or to uphold or sustain the authority or force of something. So the stauros (as well as the verb from which it’s derived) holds immense symbolic significance for the Christian believer. But is it the same thing as a cross? Not really. The cross as a religious symbol predates the death of Yahshua by several millennia. It was a central feature of Babylonian sun-god worship (built around Tammuz—the initial of whose name the “T” commemorates), dating back to only a few generations after Noah.

I’ll get into the gory details of what the ancient cross symbol really meant (and how Yahweh feels about it) in a later chapter. For now, I merely want to make a point: Satan, like Yahweh, knows how to use symbols to promote his agenda. Just because we dumb humans ascribe universal religious significance to a symbol, it does not necessarily follow that this symbol is part of Yahweh’s chosen vocabulary. We need to keep this fact firmly in mind: there is nothing Yahweh can create that our adversary cannot try to corrupt, counterfeit, confuse, or claim for himself. We need to be constantly on guard, for Satan (as Paul reminded us) walks around like a roaring lion looking for something to devour: you and me. I would add that before the lion roars, he lies in wait, crouching stealthily in the tall grass where none of us suspects danger. When it comes to the wiles of the devil, a little paranoia on our part can be a very healthy thing. In fact, if the whole world buys into something, that’s a pretty good indication that there’s something wrong with it. The broad highway and the wide portal leads to destruction—few choose to travel the difficult road or seek the narrow gate that leads to life. We’ve been warned.  

If the cross—the ubiquitous and universally understood “logo” for the Christian religion—is a symbol that was neither instituted by Yahweh nor one He promotes, then perhaps the most basic question before us is, “Is there such a thing?” Do our scriptures single out one thing, above all others, that represents Yahweh before mankind in terms we can comprehend, in a form to which we can relate? Is there one symbol God introduced with which He intended to communicate His love and His plan to us? After all, He told us through the prophet Isaiah, “‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says Yahweh. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9) What symbol would the Almighty Creator of the universe ultimately choose to represent Himself to the collective object of His undying love, the human race? What image would serve as His logo, His signature, His trademark?

John addresses this most fundamental of issues. He muses, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word? The Greek word translated “Word,” fittingly enough, is logos: a statement or declaration uttered by a living voice, embodying and communicating a thought or idea. John informs us that this Word, this Logos, existed in the beginning, which, if you think about it, makes It (or Him) equal to or identical with Yahweh Himself. But Yahweh described Himself as “One”—that’s the Hebrew word echad: “united, alike, alone, one, only, or together.” Yahweh alone is self-existent, and yet the Logos was both with God and was God. It sounds confusing, so John repeats himself: “He [note that John is now describing the Word with a personal pronoun] was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2) No, God wasn’t “beside Himself.” Nor had God spawned another of the same kind—a second god, like Zeus giving rise to Athena in Greek mythology. We’re being told the nature of the living Symbol—the Logos—that Yahweh introduced into the earth in order to communicate Himself to mankind.

The key to the identity of this Symbol is recorded a few verses later: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) A careful reading of this sentence reveals that Yahweh’s Logos or Symbol was at least three different things—all of which represented Almighty God and communicated Him to mortal men. (As we shall discover shortly, there are actually six such manifestations of the One God, Yahweh—all of Whom are incorporated in this title, Logos.) The first and most obvious is Yahshua of Nazareth: “the Word [who] became flesh and dwelt among us.” Yahshua was identified as Immanuel (“God with us”) from the womb. But the concept of becoming flesh (along with John’s earlier statement that the Word was “in the beginning with God”) makes it clear that the Logos existed before Yahshua was born into the human race in Bethlehem of Judea. So the Symbol includes any and all pre-Yahshua manifestations of Yahweh among men.  

But a third permutation of the Logos is also implied here. John speaks of “His glory.” Not to be picky, but Yahshua in His humanity had no intrinsic glory. As Isaiah had prophesied, “He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by 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 esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:2-3) So to what “glory” is John referring? First, there was Yahshua’s transfiguration (Matthew 17:2), to which John was a witness. But infinitely more significant in the long run was John’s eyewitness testimony of the risen, glorified Messiah (see Luke 24:26). This too is the Logos, the Symbol Yahweh employed to represent Himself to mankind—to communicate His love to us.

Just because the Logos is a Symbol, don’t think of it as somehow less significant or less real than what it represents. As John reminds us, “The Word WAS God.” The fact is, we will never experience direct and unfiltered contact with Yahweh as long as we inhabit these frail, mortal bodies, for the encounter would kill us. All we’ll ever see of Him in this life are these Symbols He’s provided. As I said before, symbols are “designed to communicate relatively complex messages through comparatively simple non-verbal means.” There is nothing more “complex” than Yahweh—certainly no subject where there is a greater dichotomy between reality and our perception of it. And there is no area of human endeavor where it matters more. In short, we cannot appreciate God, much less His unfathomable love for us, unless He alters—diminishes—the scale or intensity of His presence. We can comprehend a glass of water, but we can’t really get our heads around the entire ocean, can we? We might pretend to be able to understand our sun, but there’s no way the human mind can really grasp the enormity of our galaxy. And God? We don’t even have enough dimensions to comprehend Him. If He didn’t employ symbols—radically condensed, compartmentalized sketches of different facets of His nature and character—we’d have no way of knowing Who He is or What He’s doing. The “God-shaped vacuum” within us would remain forever empty and devoid of life.

If Yahweh is incomprehensible to mortal man except through the measures He Himself has taken to inform us of His presence and purpose, we may logically ask, “Why does He bother?” I am continually impressed by both the immensity of the universe and the relative insignificance of our own world. And the dichotomy between Yahweh and mankind is infinitely greater. The universe is trivial compared to its Creator, just as we are but inconsequential specks sprinkled about here and there on the surface of this planet. And yet we do know of God’s existence and are aware of His love and provision—and we have been ever since He first breathed spiritual life into our race. So again, we must ask ourselves, “Why would God bother Himself with mankind? What could He possibly hope to get out of such a ridiculously mismatched relationship?” 

The question begs us to consider the very nature of humanity. If man, as scientists and philosophers have been insisting for the past century or two, is merely an intelligent animal, one of hundreds who have spontaneously evolved on this planet and one of millions of similar creatures who must surely inhabit other planets in galaxies across the universe, then God—if He exists at all—has no particular reason to interact with us. The scilosophers conclude, based upon their questionable assumptions, that all the evidence man sees of God’s existence and care is merely delusion, wishful thinking—a pathetic attempt to impose order upon chaos or to find reason in an unreasonable and undirected existence. But it’s an untenable position: if Darwin’s disciples are right, there’s no reason Christians and pagans alike shouldn’t mug them and steal their wallets. They don’t seem to realize that the very prospect of an interested God (however unlikely that may seem to them) is the only thing keeping civilization civil. If there is no God, then anything not calculated to enhance one’s short range prospects for self-gratification is pointless. Taken to its logical end, evolutionary philosophy inexorably leads either to cruel authoritarian control in the hands of a few strong individuals, or total anarchy—the complete breakdown of society.

But there’s another theory concerning the nature of man—one that explains why we do what we do in the real world, why we sense the presence and personal interest of God in our lives, why we so often find ourselves treating each other with kindness and respect even when there’s no temporal advantage to be gained by doing so. This theory (held by me and at least twelve other people on this planet) states that as far as God is concerned, man is the whole point of creation.

Ask yourself: why did God create anything in the physical realm? Even if He is an eternally existing spiritual entity powerful enough to create all the matter, energy, space, and time in the universe with a snap of His celestial fingers, so to speak, what possible reason could He have had for doing so? Does He need the physical universe? No—as far as He’s told us, He existed quite nicely forever without it, and He intends to undo it someday. So He created it because it’s a necessary requirement for something He wanted—something He didn’t have within Himself. What’s lacking in the God who has (and is) everything—the God who is echad: One, alone, unity? There’s only one thing: companionship.  

The spirit messengers He had created, commonly known as angels, lacked the one important component necessary for true companionship: free will. Angels were designed to do whatever Yahweh told them to do, so He gave them immense power, awesome intellect, and immortality: once created, they cannot die. But although God imbued angels with the ability to operate independently (they aren’t robots), they are not granted freedom of choice. It’s like the classic conundrum of grammar school English: angels can rebel against Yahweh (i.e., they have the capability), but they may not (they don’t have permission). An angel who has rebelled against Yahweh (and apparently, a third of them have) can look forward to an eternity of punishment for his crimes, for he hasn’t been given permission to ignore or disobey God.  

So if Yahweh wanted companionship, if He desired the friendship of someone who could actually love Him (as opposed to merely obeying Him, being loyal, or worshipping Him), He would have to do something dangerous, something counterintuitive: He would have to create a being with free will, a species who not only had the ability to share fellowship with his Creator, but also had permission to choose not to if he wanted. Yahweh wisely decided that this new being should have an entirely different type of life than the angels did, for the prospect of living forever in a state of rebellion was a curse He didn’t want anybody to have to endure. So this new creature—man—would have a mortal body—one that would be born, grow, mature, and die, and during his limited lifetime would have ample time to decide what kind of relationship he wanted to have (if any) with his Creator.

To make the whole mortality thing easier for the man to comprehend (and of course, I’m including his female counterpart in that), Yahweh made all sorts of animals, most of whom had shorter natural lifespans than humans did. But Yahweh also gave the man a neshamah, something the animals didn’t have, that would function as his conscience, give him the sense of God’s presence, and ultimately allow Yahweh’s very Spirit (the Ruach) to dwell within his soul (the nephesh—that component of his being that made him, like any animal, biologically “alive”). The plan was that since God’s Spirit would never die, man’s soul, if indwelled with the Spirit of Yahweh, would never have to die either. But if he chose not to share a loving relationship with God—if Yahweh’s eternal Spirit was never invited to live within his soul—then his soul, like any animal’s, would perish at the end of his body’s mortal life. It would simply cease to be. No harm, no foul. I should point out, however, that there is a downside to having a neshamah in a universe populated with renegade eternal spirits—fallen angels, demons: if asked (but only if asked), they too can inhabit a person’s neshamah. If Satan’s spirit has been invited to take up residence in a human soul, that soul will never die. But spending eternity with Satan instead of Yahweh isn’t what you’d call living—it’s a living death, commonly known as hell.

But I digress. In order to make the man as a mortal being (not pure spirit), God had to start from scratch, building the celestial infrastructure that would in time yield the elements from which He could form us and the world we live in. This invites us to make another comparison between Yahweh’s scale and ours. If my theory is right, then Yahweh was willing to invest a humongous amount of resources to obtain what seems to us like an infinitesimal return. He expended something in the neighborhood of fourteen billion years building the infrastructure that would be needed by His new companions, even though their earthly walk with Him wouldn’t usually last more than seven decades or so. And He was willing to squander most of the universe—100 trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion tons of matter, according to one source (another pegs it at 3 x 10{42} kilograms)—on them, even though their bodies would only weigh a couple of hundred pounds apiece (if that). There have been perhaps ten or twelve billion humans on planet earth since time began. Even if every single one of us chose to appreciate and accept Yahweh’s grace, that’s a degree of extravagance on His part for which there is no counterpart in human experience—not even remotely. But as far as I can tell, Yahweh was willing to sacrifice all of this time and effort for just two people—you and me.  

So once again, I ask: “Why did God bother with us?” We might assume that someone willing to spend so much to get so little was either crazy or stupid, but I can assure you, Yahweh is neither. And it can’t be because He wanted someone to order around or bow down to Him in worship. He already had that with the myriad spirit messengers He’d created—beings who are far more magnificent than anything in our sphere of personal awareness. There can be only one logical answer, an answer that can’t be quantified, classified, or even comprehended by the scilosophers running our world: Love. Yahweh wanted to express His own intrinsic nature: He wanted to love and be loved in return.

Yahweh, then was willing to expend energy and resources we can’t even imagine in the pursuit of our friendship. But that’s the problem: we can’t imagine the lengths He’s gone to on our behalf. It’s like a kind king (the ruler of an imaginary kingdom called Parabolis), who wanted to give every poor homeless vagabond in the kingdom a trillion shekels, deposited for them in a big bank somewhere in the capital city. We homeless vagabonds, however, can’t even comprehend a trillion shekels. Most of us have never seen a bank. And we have no idea where the capital city is. So the king has sent us a representative, an ambassador, a living symbol of his good will—a Logos, if you will. This representative of the king (who looks, talks, and dresses pretty much like we do) comes out to where we homeless vagabonds live, and he presents a scaled-down version of the king’s kind gesture. One by one, he introduces himself and offers to take us out to Macdonald’s and buy us lunch. That we can understand.

The point I want to make is that the hypothetical trillion shekel gift is no less real than the Big Mac and the chocolate shake, even though we can comprehend one thing but not the other. Like the king in the parable, Yahweh has provided something we can see and understand—the life of Yahshua the Messiah—in order that we might somehow come to comprehend something far greater: the love of an infinite Creator. We can, in our finite experience, sort of come to grips with the Messiah’s sacrifice—we can understand how a benevolent God might love us enough to pay the penalty for the sins we know we’ve committed (since our neshamah bears uncomfortable but undeniable witness to the fallen state of our nephesh). But in truth, as awesome as Yahshua’s atoning sacrifice is, it’s “only” a burger and fries to hungry, homeless vagabonds like you and me. It is but a symbol, a pale image, of the real legacy God has in store for us, the “trillion shekel bank account” that’s been set up for us in the real capital city of the King—Heaven. As stunning as the sacrifice of Christ is, it is only (I blush to use that word) a faint and ephemeral hint of the depth of Yahweh’s actual love for us. That love is something we cannot begin to comprehend. Not yet, anyway.

***  

In the same way, our own mortal lives, as real as they seem to us, are only symbols for the true life Yahweh has made available to us, if only we’ll accept the gift. Yahweh, in reality, is as close and accessible to us as His Representative, His living Symbol, His Anointed One: Yahshua—the Logos. If we don’t recognize Yahshua for who He is, we won’t know Yahweh, either, for the Logos is not only with God, He is God.

It is critically important to Yahweh that we understand this. That is why He provided in His Word an extensive matrix of symbols pointing toward the Symbol that points toward Himself. This matrix—the Torah Code—is like a series of road signs that read, “Road Sign Ahead.” If we want to know where we are in God’s plan, we need to pay attention to the signs, for the signs all point toward Christ.

And Christ points all of us toward Yahweh.  




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