The Tabernacle Times
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Marchy 2018 ......................... Adar - Nissan 5778 ......................... Volume 1 Issue 3

Emunah

Angela Kunkel
by
Angela Kunkel
  Now FAITH is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of realities not seen. (Heb. 11:1 TLV)

According to the Book of Hebrews, faith has substance and evidence. It is not an abstract or an imaginary concept. The apostle Sh’aul (Paul) had a lifetime of experience in first century Judaism. He used the Tanakh (Old Testament) as his foundation in doctrine. In other words, his understanding of “faith” had been clearly
instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle and all its utensils and furnishings. In parsha Terumah, HaShem tells Moses to call for a donation, given as their heart compels, of precious goods to be used in the project (Exodus 25:3-7). Then along comes Parsha Ki Tisa (When you take) and Moses is instructed by HaShem to take a census. Every man must give a half a shekel as an offering to HaShem. Exodus 30:15 states, “The rich are not to give more and the poor are not to give less than the half shekel, when they present the offering of HaShem to make atonement for their souls.” According to Rashi, the half shekel was used for the sockets that held the walls of the Tabernacle together. So why was it so important that everyone give the same instead of “as their heart compels” as in the
established in the Tanakh. It was not redefined in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament). This is why he then goes on in this passage to explain this “faith” to us starting with Bereshit (Genesis).

If we read Hebrews 11, we notice that each of the great men and women of faith have TWO things in common. They had faith and they acted upon that faith. The Hebrew word most often translated as “faith” is “emunah”. Jeff Benner’s Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible defines emunah as:

“The Hebrew root aman means firm, something that is supported or secure. This word is used in Isaiah 22:23 for a nail that is fastened to a “secure” place. Derived from this root is the word emun meaning a craftsman. A craftsman is one who is firm and secure in his talent. Also derived from aman is the word emunah meaning firmness, something or someone that is firm in their actions. When the Hebrew word emunah is translated as faith misconceptions of its meaning occur. Faith is usually perceived as a knowing while the Hebrew emunah is a firm action. To have faith in G~d is not knowing that G~d exists or knowing that he will act, rather it is that the one with emunah will act with firmness toward G~d’s will.”

The first time we see the term emunah translated as “faith” or “belief” is in the Torah in connection with Abraham. After obeying G~d’s command to leave his family and home, Abraham is led to the land which G~d promises to give his descendants. Famine forces him to sojourn in Egypt, where his wife Sarah’s beauty almost precipitates a tragedy. Back in the land promised by G~d, Abraham and his nephew Lot find that they cannot live together in peace, so each goes his own way. Lot is captured by enemies and then freed by Abraham. -- “After these things,” the Torah tells us, “Do not fear, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “My L~rd Adonai, what will You give me, since I am living without children, and the heir of my household is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look! You have given me no seed, so a house-born servant is my heir.” Then behold, the word of Adonai came to him saying, “This one will not be your heir, but in fact, one who will come from your own body will be your heir. He took him outside and said, “Look up now, at the sky, and count the stars—if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your seed be.” Then he believed in Adonai and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

The context makes it very clear: Abraham’s act of righteousness is his demonstration of “trust” in G~d. The emunah spoken of here is more than belief that certain statements about G~d are true; it is belief in G~d, trust and reliance upon G~d, all of which call forth behavior consistent with that stance of trust and reliance.

In the past few Torah portions, we have learned how Moses led the Children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt, across the Sea of Reeds, and brought them safely to the base of Mount Sinai. The Children of Israel made a vow to HaShem, that everything He has spoken they will do and obey. We’ve spent some time in the portions Terumah and Tetzaveh, which feature detailed
            (Continued at top of next column)
  previous offering? The teaching of the half shekel applies for every person, and is a personal message for our lives today. The Torah, after all, is a guideline for proper living today.

Emunah

The power of the written Torah is that no matter what year we live in, it’s instructions are for all people at all time. Written in Torah are 613 commandments, or as I like to think of them--connections. Mitzvot (commandments) are ways we connect to the Holy One. King David summarizes the 613 down to eleven in Psalm 15. Isaiah sums up the commandments in only six (Isaiah 33:15-16). The prophet Michah takes the number down to only 3 in Michah 6:8. The prophet Habakkuk summarizes all the 613 commandments down to only one. “A righteous person lives by his emunah (faith)”. Habakkuk 2:2-4 contains key doctrine used twice by Paul and once by the writer of the book of Hebrews.

In light of this, emunah is something we practice, not just agree with. Faith is exercised, it is something we use, and is a beautiful gift given to us by our Creator. Every person who was commanded to give this equal half shekel gave to what would be the very foundation of the Tabernacle. This foundation is firm and secure, just as the faithfulness of HaShem and His promises found in His Word.

Emunah is a commitment to a promise, like those enumerated in Hebrews 11, we live according to HaShem’s commandments, trusting in His promises, in other words, biblical faith is faithfulness. Faithfulness in His Torah. Faithfulness in our Messiah. If you notice the second half of Exodus 30:15 tells us this half shekel is to make atonement for their soul. Kaphar is the Hebrew word for atonement in this verse. Kaphar not only means make atonement, but also means forgive, cleanse, and be merciful. Most important, Kaphar means covering. Just as our Messiah’s blood was the covering for our souls.

Can you now see how faith has substance and evidence? Trusting in the promises and the Torah of HaShem is what we hope for and the things we cannot see with our natural eye. Our actions (emunah/faith) are the substance and the evidence. It is the things we say and do--because we trust. Emunah is our response to G~d, our part as the bride of Messiah.


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The Tabernacle in Branson The Tabernacle is an outreach of Tabernacle of Praise Ministries, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Tabernacle is led by Messianic Rabbi Jeremy Storch and is located in Branson, Missouri. If you have questions or comments, please email us at: info@TheTabernacleInBranson.com. Visit The Tabernacle Website at www.TheTabernacleInBranson.com