Is YaHuWaH’s Name written upon you? 

Let us examine each of the elements of the Priestly Blessing:

  1. The first element is blessing. “May YaHuWaH bless you”… יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה

Blessing (y’varech) יברך contains the same root as knee (berech) ברך It takes real humility – getting down on our knees (figuratively or literally) – to receive the blessing of YaHuWaH. Like the prayer of Yabez that has recently become so popular, we can humbly ask YaHuWaH to bless us. Yabez’ name comes from the same root as Yob (Job) and it means pain. Even if we are in pain, in very real physical or emotional distress, we can still bend our knee to YaHuWaH and say, “I’m really hurting right now, YaHuWaH, but would you please bless me?”

There are times when, like our Forefather, Ya’akov (Jacob), we must prevail with YaHuWaH for His blessing and say, “I will not let you go until You bless me.” (Bereshith/Genesis 32:26).

It seems to me that we have this idea we must struggle and strive with YaHuWaH for His blessing (and there may be times when this is so); but we also need to keep in mind that Ya’akov ‘s (Jacob’s) hip was torn out of its socket – therefore he could no longer fight.

All Ya’akov (Jacob) could do is cling to the Divine messenger of Elohim and hold on tight! Ya’akov simply refused to let go; and we must do the same – clinging for dear life to our Heavenly Father and holding on tightly to faith, refusing to ever let go until He blesses us. “…then He blessed him there.” (Bereshith/Genesis 32:29)

  1. “and keep you…” ויְשְִׁמרְךֶָ

The word for ‘keep’ is shomer שְׁמ ר which means ‘to guard, watch over, and protect from all evil, sickness, poverty and calamity’. The other day I experienced an example of YaHuWaH’s ‘keeping power’ when my son, Timothy, slipped on some mud and fell hard on the edge of a cement barrier right on his spine. His friends heard a loud ‘crack’ and were frightened; he fell very hard and they were worried that he may have sustained a spinal injury. But ‘for some reason’ (and we know why), Timothy had taken his backpack on this particular walk and had stuffed it with books and a jacket which protected him from a potential disaster. The crack was the books breaking rather than his back.  Thank you YaHuWaH that you promise to be our keeper and to give Your messengers charge over us (and our loved ones) to guard us in all of our ways.

It is interesting that the Kohen asks first for YaHuWaH to bless us and then to keep us. Sometimes YaHuWaH’s material blessings can bring prosperity that leaves us open to certain temptations such as greed, covetousness and idolatry. When YaHuWaH ‘blesses us’, we then need Him to ‘keep us’ from becoming possessed by our possessions.

  1. “May He make his face to shine upon you…” יָאֵר יהוה פָנָיו אֵלֶיךָ

YaHuWaH’s face shining upon us denotes His attention, favor, light and friendship. When the children of Yisra’El gained possession of the Land, they freely admitted that “they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them/ but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them. “ (Tehillim/Psalm 44:3)

In Hebrew, it is written, “the light of His face”. It is the light of the face (panim) of YaHuWaH and His divine favor that we so desperately seek and need. If He hides His face from us, we are undone. This is called in Hebrew, ‘Hester panim’.

The same Psalmist, a son of Korah, cried out to YaHuWaH, “Why do you hide Your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? (Tehillim/Psalm 44:24)

Psalm 69 is also such a desperate pleading with YaHuWaH, “And do not hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in trouble; (Tehillim/Psalm 69:17)

One of the worst things for most of us is to feel ignored; that someone has turned away from us. Even Yahusha on the cross felt that YaHuWaH had turned His face away from Him and He cried out: “Eli, Eli, lama Sabachtani, lama azavtani” (My El, my El, why have you forsaken me?) Yahusha understands how we feel; but we can ask for YaHuWaH to turn toward us and shine His face upon us.

“YaHuWaH be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us…” (Psalm 67:1)

This brings us to the next portion of the blessing – favor!

  1. ”and be gracious unto you…” וִיחנֻךֶָ

If we seek the face of YaHuWaH, instead of just His hands – what He can give us – He can cause His

favor to be poured out upon us. The word used here in Hebrew comes from the root chen { חן } from which my Hebrew name Hannah חנה or the masculine version, Hanan { חנן } is derived. This quality of YaHuWaH’s favor is something that money just cannot buy.

Mosheh said to YaHuWaH, “If I have found favor in Your eyes, then teach me Your ways.” (Shemoth/Exodus 33:13) The Hebrew expression used even today for ‘found favor’ is ‘motzeh chen’. It is this special favor of YaHuWaH that causes us to have favor with people.  Joseph even had this favor in prison. I often pray that the favor of YaHuWaH will surround me like a shield.  And I pray daily the favor of YaHuWaH upon my children, family and friends.

Yet YaHuWaH longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For YaHuWaH is an Elohim of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 30:18)

  1. “YaHuWaH lift up His face upon you…” יִשָא יהוה פָנָיו אֵלֶיךָ

Here, the word for ‘lift up’ (yisah) comes from the same root as Naso. It means ‘to elevate’. Most translations write, ‘His countenance’; but actually the Hebrew word used is the same as in the previous verse – ‘panav’ פָניָו – His face. It means YaHuWaH turns His attention toward you – good news for believers; but bad news for sinners.

Again, we deal here with the issue of abandonment. How were you treated by your earthly father? Were you ignored? Or did he have lots of time for you? Many children come from homes where the father was either physically or emotionally absent. This is why it is so healing to consider that our heavenly Father is looking at us. Really looking and seeing us for who we are – turning His gaze upon us. When you think of your father looking at you what do you see on his face? Do you see him smiling? Does he look as if he likes you and approves of you? Or is he frowning and scowling in anger and disappointment?

Some of us had fathers who didn’t often smile at us – when they turned their face toward us, it may have been to yell or criticize or frown. But I believe that YaHuWaH wants us to see His face with a big smile on it. YaHuWaH is not always in a bad mood. He is not chronically frustrated and stressed because of work pressures and fluctuations in the stock market. When He lifts up His face upon us, He smiles in love, acceptance and approval.

  1. “…and give you peace.” וְיָשֵם לְךָ שָׁלוֹׂם

The pinnacle of this blessing is for ‘shalom’ שָׁלוםֹׂ – peace. Actually, ‘give’ is a very poor translation of the original Hebrew. ‘Give’ would be ‘yiten’; but the word used is ‘yasem’ . ‘Lasim’ is to ‘set, place, or establish’. It is not just that YaHuWaH ‘gives’ us peace and then says, “Here it is – do whatever you want with it.” He actually ‘sets, places, and establishes us in a place of shalom’. This shalom (peace) may be in the very center of a storm.

All of us seek for this precious gift of peace but how can this peace be achieved and maintained? It is not enough to simply receive the blessing of peace from the Kohanim if we then go out and act in ways that create strife.

Scripture tells us that as far as it depends upon us, we are to live in peace with everyone (Romiyim/Romans 12:18). Much of the peace in our life (or lack thereof) depends upon us and not others. The word says to pursue (actually chase after) peace. We can’t expect it to passively fall upon us. We have to be willing to even shut our mouth once in a while and not have to have the last word or prove we are right!

There are a lot of Hebrews that believe peace is achieved only through avoiding the evil of lashon hara (literally an evil tongue). These are sins that involve our words such as slanderous gossip, careless speech or simply speaking in a rude manner towards others.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:29)

Before Yahusha died, He said, “My peace (shalom) I leave with you…” (Yohanan/John 14:27) Peace is our very inheritance. When someone dies and they read the will, the person states what he or she leaves to those left alive. In His will, before His death on the stake, Yahusha left us His peace. He did not give as the world gives – peace only if everything is going our way – but a supernatural peace that passes all understanding.

Shalom is not only ‘hello, goodbye and peace’; it also carries the connotation of wholeness, completion and perfection. We can be imperfect people but still be whole, complete and perfect in Yahusha, the Prince of Peace (Sar Shalom).

Shalom is not only freedom from disaster, conflict and war but also health, welfare and security.

Often we want peace at all costs. We think peace means never confronting people when we disagree with them or what they are doing. We equate peace with passivity but this is not the true meaning of peace. Aharon carried the quality of a peacemaker; he loved peace. But he carried it too far when he joined with the people in creating a golden calf when they put the pressure on him. His peacemaking spirit turned into a people-pleasing spirit so that he cared more about pleasing man than pleasing YaHuWaH. Many of us struggle with this because we so desperately want peace that we refuse to stand up against evil.

When Saphira passively went along with her husband’s plan to lie to the Ruach haKodesh, she didn’t end up with shalom. She ended up dead. We have to be careful about carrying the ‘submissive wife’ thing too far; we cannot blindly follow our husbands into evil. A wife is called in Hebrew an ‘ezer k’negdo’, which means a helper ‘against’. Sometimes we do have to stand against something we don’t agree with. The servant of YaHuWaH is not to be quarrelsome, so this is not what I am advocating.

Yahusha taught us that ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.”  But there are times when we absolutely cannot come to a place of peace without first going through a war. No one really ‘wants’ war; we don’t want to fight; but sometimes peace can only come after confrontation and even a series of bloody battles.

King Solomon’s Hebrew name is Shlomo, which comes from the root shalom. In his lifetime, Yisra’El enjoyed peace and security. But this peace did not come until after Shlomo’s father, King David, had fought many bloody battles. In fact, David had so much blood on his hands that he was disqualified from building the Temple. He made all the preparations, but it was his son, Shlomo, who carried that honor and responsibility? Why? Shlomo had peace.

The Ruach haKodesh abides in a place of peace, not turmoil and upset. If we allow ourselves to be upset by every little thing, it is going to be difficult to hear from the Ruach haKodesh. We have to find a place of quiet, rest and peace to hear from YaHuWaH. Often, His name is abbreviated as he letter hey ה . At the end of the word, the ה hey is totally silent. Even at the beginning or middle of a word, it is a very soft exhalation, barely audible. Sometimes we can only hear YaHuWaH in a still, small voice.

Abraham knew the value of peace – so much so, that he allowed Lot to take the best of everything and was willing to settle for the barren leftover land rather than live with strife between their herdsmen. Strife will kill and destroy everything in our lives – our prosperity, our health, even our anointing. The Ruach haKodesh abides in peace. Sometimes we have to cut something off or someone out of our lives in order to have peace. Cast out the scoffer; strife and contention will cease.” (Mishle/Proverbs 22:10)

 We cannot be afraid of confrontation. Hebrews are known for their peace loving qualities; but we all have a sin nature that often leads us into strife. This is the whole problem – in our hearts we so desire peace; but find it sometimes impossible to live it out in our personal relationships one to another. What is our hope? Our hope is only in YaHuWaH, to abide in Him and be filled with His spirit. Peace is one of the fruit of the set-apart Ruach of YaHuWaH.

When all will be Shalom

The prophets promised us a day, when nation will not lift up sword against nation and they will no longer learn war. ‘Loh yisa goy el goy chereb; loh yilmedu od milchamah.’This will be the day when even the beasts of the field will lie down together in peace: the wolf with the lamb, the leopard with the goat and the calf with the lion. A young child will have no fear even of playing with a cobra or a viper. (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 11: 6-9)

When will this time come? The prophet Isaiah tells us it will be when the ‘branch (netzer) comes out of the root of Jesse (father of Jesse)’. We know that King David came from Jesse and that Yahusha is in the line of King David. He is called ‘the branch’ (netzer). In Hebrew it is נצר . Yahusha is called Yahusha of Nazareth (in Hebrew Natzeret). נצרת

In Hebrew, someone who follows Yahusha, is called ‘Notzri’ נצרי . The other meaning to the word Notzer is a ‘guard or watchman’. This is proof that those who follow Yahusha of Natzeret are to be Notzrim (watchmen on the walls) of Jerusalem. (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 62:6-7)

The Priestly blessing ends with these words: “So they shall put My name on the children of Yisra’El, and I will bless them.”(Bemidbar/Numbers 6:27)

As the Kohen blessed the people of Yisra’El, they were to remember that it is ultimately YaHuWaH who blesses. He is the ultimate source of all blessing.

“YaHuWaH, our own YaHuWaH, shall bless us. YaHuWaH shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.” (Tehillim/Psalm 67:6b-7)

The Priestly Blessing is about the power of blessing and the power of our words. Scripture teaches that our words can heal, build up and encourage, or kill, tear down and curse, that the power of life and death is in the tongue. What kind of words come from your mouth—especially to your spouse and children? Charity begins at home. How often do you speak blessings over your children and spouse?

Do you bless those who curse you? How about those who cut you off in traffic and similar situations? If others could see how we treat our loved ones (and our enemies) in secret via our words how would their impression of us change? YaHuWaH sees!

The Levitical priesthood was one of YaHuWaH’s blessings or marriage gifts to his bride, Yisra’El. It was given to her at the time of their marriage to him at Mount Sinai. The Priestly Blessings of Bemidbar/Numbers 6:22–27 indicate that the priests were to be a conduit of YaHuWaH’s blessings to his people.

We further note that in Bemidbar/Numbers 6:22–23, the Torah uses the word saying three times to emphasize the fact that the blessings flow from YaHuWaH to the Yisraelites and are to be passed on to subsequent generations. We are YaHuWaH’s priesthood now (“a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a kadosh nation, a peculiar people,” Kepha Aleph/1 Pet 2:9). Are you an instrument of blessing everywhere you go?

Do you ask YaHuWaH to use you every day to spread the light of His truth and His love to others?

Numbers 6:22–27, The Priestly Blessing can be subdivided into three sections:

(a) The First Blessing: “May YaHuWaH bless you and keep you…” We can see that YaHuWaH gives us the material and physical blessings that Torah obedience brings as enumerated in Debarim/Deuteronomy 28:1–14. This includes good health, wealth, divine protection and victory over enemies. YaHuWaH’s blessing and his safeguarding of those blessings from those who would kill, steal and destroy them go hand-in-hand.

(b) The Second Blessing: “May He make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you…” This illumination refers to the light of the Torah, “For the commandment is a lamp and the Torah is a light.” Mishle/Provers 6:23. Compare this with what Yohanan said about Yahusha in Yohanan/John 1:1–14; 8:12; 9:5. YaHuWaH’s favor involves Him granting His people Torah knowledge, wisdom and understanding to utilize Torah properly and fully; to use the insights gained therefrom to comprehend His purposes.

(c) The Third Blessing: “YaHuWaH lift up His face upon you and give you peace.” In Hebraic thought, the idea of YaHuWaH’s face or countenance shining toward his people is a metaphor of divine favor. Contrariwise, when His face is turned against His people, this represents divine disapproval and shame upon His people (Tehillim/Psalm 4:6; 31:16; 67:1, Wayyiqra/Leviticus 17:10; 20:5, 6, 17; Debarim/Deuteronomy 31:17; Dibre haYamin Bet/2 Chronicles 30:9; Tehillim/Psalm 34:16 ; Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 44:11; Yehezqel/Ezekiel 7:22.). Peace is an essential component of the other blessings, for what good is physical blessings and spiritual insight if one’s life is devoid of peace? What is the Hebrew concept of peace? It is balance, which is the absence of strife between the opposing forces in one’s life. Self-Rule and Sin disrupts this balance and causes strife and warfare as well as creating a barrier between YaHuWaH and His set-apart people (Read what Yahusha, the greatest teacher of all, taught about this in Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:23–24).

When such strife and barriers exist causing the negation of peace, what are some things one must do to restore the peace? After all, Yahusha said, “Blessed [Happy] are the peacemakers …” Does peace just happen or is it necessary to exert effort to create it? Can there be peace where there is sin (i.e., Torahlessness)? Does it logically follow that the more our ways line up with the Torah of YaHuWaH , the more our ways are pleasing to him, the more peace we will experience in all our relationships? (Read Mishle/Proverbs 16:7.)

Bemidbar/Numbers 6:27, Thus they shall put My Name on the children of Yisra’El. What does it mean to “put my name upon the children of Yisra’El”? Can you think of some passages in the Brit Chadashah that speak of blessing, power and authority for the believer in the name of Yahusha? (See Mattithyahu/Matthew 28:19; Marqos/Mark 16:17; Yohanan/John 14:13; Ma’asei/Acts 2:38; 3:6; 9:27; 16:18.)

Looking at this blessing and studying it out, we came across a rendition by Jeff Benner that we would like to share with you which gives a little deeper insight into the Hebrew words via Jeff’s mechanical translation….

YaHuWaH spoke to Mosheh saying, speak to Aharon and to his sons saying, in this way you will respect the sons of Yisra’El saying to them, YaHuWaH will respect you and He will safeguard you, YaHuWaH will make His face shine toward you and He will provide you with protection, YaHuWaH will lift up His face toward you and He will place completeness to you, and they will place My Shem upon the sons of Yisra’El, and I, I will respect them.

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rYm Covenant

To the Torah and to the witness! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because they have no daybreak [light]. Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 8:20

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