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the Signet

Date of Discovery: 1975 from an Antiquities Dealer in East Jerusalem
Date of Writing: 700 - 600 BCE
Current Location: Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Language: Hebrew, Writing Surface: Clay
Transliteration: Line 1: l'berekhyahu; Line 2:ben Neriyahu; Line 3:hasepher
Translation: Line 1: (Belonging) to Berekhyahu; Line 2:the son of Neriyahu Line; 3:the scribe
Comments: Clay bullaes such as this one are made by placing a lump of wet clay on a document then using a signet ring to impress the seal of the owner on the clay. It is possible that this seal belonged to Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe (see Jeremiah 36:4)

A Kinsman Redeemer
Part One -
Establishing the Signet


by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
(Ephesians 2:12)

"Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My Covenant (commandments), then you shall be My own possession. among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Exodus 19:5-6

"And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of YHVH. Ephesians 2:17-19

"Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him YHVH the Father has set His seal ." John 6:27

As we approach this Pesach season (Hebrew for Passover) it is important to understand, from a scriptural perspective, what the atonement inherent in the celebration of this feast actually was in order to embrace the inheritance of what was released through that act by Yeshua, the Kinsman Redeemer of Israel, for those who would follow Him. From the beginning with Adam and Eve in gan edan (Hebrew for the Garden of Eden), the Plan and Purpose of YHVH has been to have a people that would show forth His Glory. His Desire is for a family through whom the Glory click on the highlighted words to view scripture verses) of YHVH, the Essence of His Nature and Character, would be shown forth to the rest of mankind - a Light to the Nations that those nations would desire to come and to enter into His Family as well. In Him was LIFE and that LIFE was the Light of men. Adam was the first Hebrew son of the Hebrew family of YHVH - the first to be set apart (the meaning of the Hebrew word for holy - kadowsh) from the rest of mankind existing at the time. That there were other people on the planet when Adam was formed is evidenced in several ways but, primarily, with the mark of protection placed on Cain that he not be killed by others and that he took a wife from the land of Nod - outside of the land of Eden before Adam and Eve had given birth to other sons and daughters as recorded in Genesis 5. Adam was the first Hebrew - the first son of YHVH's family fashioned in the image of His Glory (Genesis 4, see the Gospel).

The Hebrew word for "mark" is 'owth and actually means "sign (token) or seal". Thus, the verse in Genesis 4:15 should be more accurately translated, "...and YHVH appointed to Cain a sign or seal..." The record does not say that this sign was placed on Cain's person in any way. The "sign" likely consisted of God's solemn decree itself, known and observed by others throughout the world (compare verse 24 where that decree is referred to by Lamech). Whatever the seal was, it was obviously distinguishable enough for assurance that no person would be allowed to slay him. Just as the rainbow was a sign given to Noah, this sign was there to protect Cain - not curse him. The "curse" was Cain's inability to cultivate crops and thus forced to lead a nomadic life (Genesis 4:12),

High Priest
...the High Priest
In Song of Solomon 8:6 the Hebrew word k'owtham is also translated as "seal". This word describes a cylindrical piece of stone with an external carved inscription. When this cylinder is "rolled" over a soft material, such as clay, it leaves a raised impression that establishes legal ownership over the possession and was often carried on a chain worn about the neck of the owner or on the finger as a ring. In near-Eastern cultures of the time, a seal was recognized as permanently establishing an unbreakable legal and moral bond. The passage from Song of Solomon describes this seal being placed over the heart and on the arm. This same Hebrew word used for "seal", k'owtham, is also found to be used for the word "signet" in Exodus 28:15-36 describing the engravings on the stones of the breastplate worn by the High Priest, covering the heart. These stones carry the names of the twelve tribes of the Family of Israel. It is also the seal of Holiness engraved upon the plate of gold fashioned into the forefront of the mitsnepheth (Hebrew for the turban worn on the head of the High Priest). These are the "breastplate of righteousness" and the "helmet of salvation" depicted by Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) in Ephesians 6:13-18 as part of the whole armor of YHVH believers in Yeshua as the promised Messiah to the family of YHVH are to "put on".

The Hebrew word translated "own possession" in the passage from Exodus at the start of this article is segullah and means "a valued property to which one has an exclusive right of possession." This passage says there are no other people on the face of the earth who are segullah to YHVH besides Israel. You read that correctly - no other people. Israel is YHVH"s exclusive possession and holiness is the mark, the sign, of His Ownership upon those people - His Family. The seal by which those who are segullah to YHVH (who are are set apart for His Purposes) and are identified from the rest of mankind is by their obvious holiness. This passage in Exodus, along with similar ones in Deuteronomy, Leviticus and 1Peter 2, all point in the same direction - only through obedience to His Voice are we considered holy, righteous. It is why Abraham's action of faith was considered righteous (Genesis 26:4-5). Without that distinguishing Seal of Ownership, His People are nothing more than the mixture of other nations (see A Nation of Priests).

Whether YHVH summarizes holiness in a single commandment as with Adam, in the constitution of a nation as with Moses, or in the expression of His Life as exampled by Yeshua, the requirement is the same - there is only obedience or disobedience to His Word. "IF you will obey My voice and IF you will attend to My instructions by following them, THEN will you be My Holy People and THEN will you abide in the Presence of the Eternal One - the Source of LIFE." Obedience to His Direction IS Holiness and the fulfillment of His Purpose as His Family, His People. Obedience makes His People who they claim to be. Holiness is the mark, the seal, the signet of YHVH's Family and Yeshua was the Kinsman Redeemer - the One upon whom YHVH's seal was embedded as the rightful heir with the authority to restore the Kingdom of YHVH to His family of Israel. The Tanakh (OT) is a chronicle of the passage of this seal, this signet through the Hebrew lineage beginning with Adam and culminating in Yeshua.

"Commit your works to YHVH and your thoughts will be established." Proverbs 16:3

The Hebrew word translated as "commit" is galal and means "to roll over". Commitment is a voluntary, thoughtful choice of will. Commitment means giving up my rights to myself and placing those rights into the hands of another. To commit to another is a voluntary relinquishing of self-ownership. The first step in establishing a relationship in the Family of YHVH is galal, to allow that cylinder of ownership to roll over my actions, my attitudes and my thoughts. They don't belong to me anymore. When the psalmist instructs us to commit our works, our way to YHVH, he is telling us to allow the Father's seal of ownership to make its permanent impression on our lives. He is telling us that YHVH must take complete control of our very existence. From this point on, we are "owned". To commit is to be "rolled over," to submit to ownership - an unbreakable covenant bond of holiness.

"Whoever receives Yeshua's testimony sets his seal to this, that YHVH is true."
John 3:33 and 2Timothy 2:19

Strangers Accepted Committing to obey His Voice and keep His Covenant IS to become His Possession - evidenced by my actions in response to His Words. Commitment to His Words is my choice to receive His impression of ownership - to be holy even as He is Holy. This is the seal seen by the rest of the world - the mark of ownership showing separation into His Family, Israel. Throughout the Original Book, there has always been an accommodation for the foreigner, the stranger to come into the family of YHVH (Leviticus 19:34). That accommodation was for the stranger who behaved as the rest of the family, to obey the Voice and keep the Words of YHVH (translated as the Commandments), to be treated as a member of the family (Isaiah 56:1-8, see the Word).

Choosing for the Words of YHVH to be actionable in my life is to be obedient to those Words, even as Yeshua said He was obedient to them in John 14:23-24, and in John 15:10. As YHVH's Words establish my heart and my thoughts, they cause me to become as He Is - Light. Light and darkness cannot abide in the same space at the same time (see the Law of Grace for more explanation). If YHVH's Word is LIFE and His LIFE is the Light of men, then DIS-obedience to His Word of LIFE is to move into darkness and death - a place of UN-holiness. Adam, created in the image of YHVH with the free will to make choices, placed himself into darkness by his DIS-obedience to YHVH's Word, corrupting the pure blood of LIFE that was breathed into him, causing a separation (the definition of "condemnation" used in John 3:16-18) and necessitating a redemption.

Next, we will look into the inheritance of ownership, how that inheritance can be forfeited; the results of forfeiture and why a ransom is required to buy it back. Some of the material in this article is excerpted from Skip Moen's daily exegesis of biblical texts. You may read his studies by going to www.skipmoen.com and searching for the verse reference.

The Kinsman Redeemer Series
Part One: Establishing the Signet,
Part Two: the Inheritance
Part Three: the Need for Atonement
Part Four: theBlood

"For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you that it may go well with you." Jeremiah 7:22-23
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