Prophet Pearls #4 – Vayeira (2 Kings 4:1-37)

Elisha and the Shunnamite's Son by Timothy Welchel, Prophet Pearls Vayeira, 2 Kings 4:1-37, elisha, elijah, keith johnson, nehemia gordon, parsha, prophet, tanakh, resurrection, Shunnamite, yehovah, yhvh, yhwhThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeira covering 2 Kings 4:1-4:37. The miracles of Elisha yield fascinating pearls as Gordon and Johnson discuss the similarities and differences of Elisha’s and Elijah’s stories, the measure of spirit that Elisha really asked for, whether the Shunammite was full of faith or just evasive—and why her travels on Shabbat present problems for both rabbis and Karaites. Gordon looks at other instances of resurrection in the Tanakh and gives chapter and verse explaining how the books of the Tanakh are grouped according to three fields of knowledge. We also learn that whether the prophets are considered “classical” or “literary,” these guys completely expected to be kept in the loop. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #3 – Lech Lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)

Lech lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Lech Lecha, covering Isaiah 40:27-41:16. As Isaiah spoke consolation to invaded Israel, Gordon and Johnson console the listener with the deep wells contained in the original Hebrew—nuances that bring even greater comfort from the promises of the Creator. Word studies include: “renewed” strength, “first and last,” “righteousness,” and “eternity”—with the significance of its second root. Gordon and Johnson consider the options concerning “who stirred up from the east” and discuss how the ancient Israelites knew who was speaking in this Portion’s fast-paced dialog. Gordon concludes with the comforting news implied by the winnowing process—not all nations will be carried away. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #2 – Noach (Isaiah 54:1-55:5)

Prophet Pearls Noach, Isaiah 54:1-55:5, davidic covenant, Yehovah, Yehovah of hosts, hebrew root words, Hebrew roots, isaiah, Keith Johnson, lord of hosts, messianic promise, nehemia gordon, noach, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophet Pearls, root words, seed of davidThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Noach covering Isaiah 54:1-55:5. Gordon and Johnson revel in the glorious promises to Israel and explore the various ways the Tanakh allegorizes her: as a barren and abandoned woman, a maidservant, a slave, an owned animal, and yet, wholly and eternally a beloved wife. Original language brings insight to the following words: “foaming” anger, Yehovah of “hosts,” mercy, kibbutz, and “brief” moment. Despite differing views on some issues, Gordon and Johnson stand firmly on common ground concerning the messianic promise as Yehovah connects his eternal covenant with Israel to the seed of David. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #1 – Bereshit (Isaiah 42:5-43:10)

Prophet Pearls Bereshit (Isaiah 42:5-43:10)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Bereshit covering Isaiah 42:5-43:10. After a quick tutorial on the origin of the Haftarah, we learn that the Prophets aren't the golden oldies; their writings are as relevant as ever and more current than our news feeds. Gordon and Johnson explore the original context in which this portion was written, followed by the context in 168 BCE when this passage was first read aloud in the synagogue, and finally the context in September 2014 when Netanyahu spoke the holy words of Isaiah to the United Nations. In addition to parsing key words from the portion, Gordon and Johnson answer the following: What service did the Jews provide to the ancient Roman Empire? And since the Creator refers to himself in so many wonderful ways, would he really name himself, “Lord”? In closing, Gordon and Johnson remind us that while God’s one and only name may have been lost for generations, he did not lose ours—he calls every one of his covenant people by name. Continue reading

Hebrew Voices #1 – Where Prophets Tread

Where Prophets Tread, baptism of Jesus, Jordan river, yeshua, east bank, west bank, elisha, elijah, haftarah, hebrew voices, israelites, cross over, john the baptist, joshua 1:1-18, naaman dip, nehemia gordon, Prophet Pearls, river jordan, Vezot ha’Bracha, yardenRecorded on the west bank of the Jordan River during sand storm, the inaugural episode of Hebrew Voices features Gordon’s broad insight into the scriptural, geographical and cultural contexts for this special place in Biblical history. Joining Gordon to share his unique perspectives is Anthony Garcia—who believes Yeshua was the Messiah, yet doesn’t consider himself a Christian. Gordon and Garcia discuss the world-changing events that occurred at this exact location through the millennia: the Israelites crossing over “into the land”; Elijah and Elisha parting its waters; and the baptism of Yeshua by John the Baptist. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #53 – Ha’azinu (2 Samuel 22:1-51)

Prophet Pearls - Ha'azinu (2 Samuel 22:1-51)This week, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Haazinu which covers 2 Samuel 22:1-51. As Gordon and Johnson compare this portion to its parallel in Psalm 18, we learn more about the contexts of these living, breathing prayers and prophecies and the families of Levites who read and sang them in the Temple and in synagogues. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #52 – Vayelech (Isaiah 55:6-56:8)

Prophet Pearls Vayelech, everlasting name, everlasting name not cut off, foreigners israel, isaiah, Isaiah 55:6-56:8, jewish soul, joined to israel, Keith Johnson, lavah joined, nehemia gordon, outcasts of israel, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophecy, Prophet Pearls, prophets, Vayelech, Vayelech haftarah, vayelech prophets, yad vashemThis week, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayelech covering Isaiah 55:6-56:8. Gordon and Johnson rejoice in this portion that heralds good news for the wicked, the unrighteous, the outcasts of Israel, the eunuch and the foreigner. And if none of these describe you, feel free to check “other.”

The portion begins with a play on words with nothing less than God’s name and the promise that he “will be found” by whoever seeks him. This inclusive statement is supported by the word-of-the-week lavah/joined—the concept of non-Jews joining themselves to Yehovah—a persistent and straightforward biblical concept often muddied by the metaphysical idea of a “Jewish soul.” Gordon compares other scriptures about God’s great big umbrella, explains why the words “yad vashem” appear in this portion, and provides four rabbinical interpretations of the “everlasting name” that shall not be cut off. In closing, Johnson thanks Yehovah for welcoming the foreigner and choosing to place his name on his holy mountain in Jerusalem. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #51 – Nitzavim (Isaiah 61:10-63:9)

Prophet Pearls Nitzavim, angel of his presence, Elijah, haftarah, Isaiah 61:10-63:9, Keith Johnson, Metatron Enoch, nehemia gordon, Nitzavim, Nitzavim haftarah, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophecy, Prophet Pearls, prophets, prophets portion, Temple Mount, watchmen walls, watchmen walls jerusalem, Yeshua, yeshua haftarah, yeshua reading synagogueThis week, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Nitzavim which covers Isaiah 61:10-63:9. These watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem recount their most recent visit to the Temple Mount and Gordon gives the historical background of Muslim-control of the only holy site in Judaism.  Gordon and Johnson discuss the Isaiah passage read by Yeshua in the synagogue—which confirms first-century Haftarah readings. We learn statistics on named and unnamed angels in the Tanakh and Gordon provides three rabbinical traditions for the “angel of his presence” mentioned in this passage.  In closing, Gordon asks Yehovah to turn the hearts of those who desecrate the Temple Mount—and to send his messengers to help those on the wall do his work. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #50 – Ki Tavo (Isaiah 60:1-22)

Prophet Pearls Ki Tavo, glory of Israel, haftarah, Isaiah 60:1-22, Keith Johnson, ki tavo, ki tavo haftarah, ki tavo prophets portion, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Temple MountThis week, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Ki Tavo covering Isaiah 60:1-22. Gordon and Johnson revel in this sixth in a series of seven “Haftarot of Consolation,” as the prophet Isaiah details the future glory of Israel. Gordon and Johnson provide eyewitness accounts of the fulfillment of some of the prophecies—such as walls built by foreigners and the ingathering of exiles. Word studies include uri/wake up, kavod/glory leaving, netzer/branch and hamas/violence. We learn that signs of a hastening are going on right now and that eternal life on Earth is a Jewish concept. In closing, Johnson prays for the day when there are no coups and no confusion and Messiah reigns from Jerusalem. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #49 – Ki Teitzei – Prophecy Fulfilled

Prophet Pearls Ki Teitzei, A.J. Bernard, dead sea scrolls, drash peshat, drash versus peshat, drash vs peshat, edom rome, Essenes, holy spirit judaism, holy spirit ruach ha-kodesh, illuminational exegesis, Ki Teitzei, Ki Teitzei haftarah, messianic prophecies, Messianic prophecy, nehemia gordon, parashah, parshas, parshat, pesher habakkuk, Prophecy, Prophet Pearls, prophets, ruaḥ ha-qodesh, teacher of righteousness essenes, teacher of righteousness yom kippur, tovia singer counter-missionary, wicked priest, YeshuaIn this special bonus episode,  I discuss with Methodist Pastor A.J. Bernard whether Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled in the New Testament. Seydel wrote: “This teaching was fantastic…I really loved hearing the two perspectives. I believe these kinds of discussions are so important because they help us to see Scripture from another point of view. Hopefully this will lead to respect and love for our fellow believers in Yehovah. Thank you so much for this wonderful teaching. It truly was a blessing to me.” Continue reading