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Yeshua: The Hebrew Word for Jesus

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Intro to Mikvah/Immersion

Part 1 - Immersion for Ritual Purity

Part 2 - Immersion in the Holy Temple

Part 3 - Customs of Immersion

Part 4 - Immersion into Messiah

Part 5 - A Mikvah/Immersion Service

Mikvah, Part 3



Washing of the hands as a form of immersion is by far the most widespread. The method of washing is either by immersion up to the wrist or by pouring 1/4 log (approximately 1/2 pint) of water over both hands from a receptacle with a wide mouth, the lip of which must be undamaged. The water should be poured over the whole hand up to the wrist, but is effective as long as the fingers are washed up to the second joint. The hands must be clean and without anything adhering to them; rings must be removed so that the water can reach the entire surface area. The water should not be hot or discolored and it is customary to perform the act by pouring water over each hand three times. The hand washing ritual is commonly known as netilat yadayim/taking water to the hands, or lifting of the hands.

Clean hands are seen as a symbol of a guiltless soul, one that could stand before G-d with a clean heart. Upon entering the sanctuary and ministering to G-d one must be free of guilt and all impurity. In Psalm 134:2 it is written:

"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD".

In Psalm 28:2 it is written:

"Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle."

Rav Sha'ul/Rabbi Paul put it this way in 1 Timothy 2:8 as it is written:

"I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting".

When a murder was committed, the body found out in a field, and the perpetuator unknown, a determination was made as to which village was nearest to the slain person. The elders of the village that was nearest to the slain person were to go out into the field with a heifer of the herd that had not had a yolk placed on her neck or had ever been worked. They were to take the heifer to a valley with running water, which had not been plowed or sown. The neck of the heifer was to be broken in the valley. The elders were to say "Our hands have not shed this blood nor did our eyes see it." the elders were to wash their hands over the heifer's neck asking for forgiveness of Israel and ask the L-rd not to place the guilt of innocent blood on the people. In Deuteronomy 21:6 it is written:

"And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: (7) And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. {8} Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them. {9} So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.

At the trial of our Messiah when the sentence of death had been passed by Pilate, to show to everyone that Yeshua/Jesus was a just and innocent man Pilate washed his hands. This act was to convey to all present that he was not responsible and was guilt free of this death. In Matthew 27:24 it is written:

"When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it".

By the first century washing of the hands had developed into a tradition of the elders and expanded into other areas besides removal of guilt. Washing the hands is a rabbinic ordinance to correct the condition of tomeh yadayim/impurity of hands. According to one tradition "impurity of the hands" (and washing them as a means of purification) was instituted by King Solomon. while another has it that the disciples of Hillel and Shammai were responsible for it. It seems that the custom spread from the kohen/priests, who washed their hands before eating consecrated food, to the pious among the laity and finally became universal. The detailed regulations concerning "impurity of the hands: constituted one of the 18 ordinances adopted in accord with the opinion of the school of Shammai against the school of Hillel, and it met at first with considerable opposition. In order to establish the practice the rabbis warned of dire consequences for those who disregarded it, even going so far as to predict premature death. The reasoning was that in the marketplace one may touch ceremonially impure things; the impurity is removed by rinsing up to the wrist. Orthodox Jews today observe n'tilat-yadayim/ritual hand washing before meals. The rational for it has nothing to do with hygiene but is based on the idea that "a man's home is this Temple," with the dining table his altar, the food his sacrifice and himself the kohen/priest. Since the Tanakh/Old Testament requires the kohen/priest to be ceremonially pure before offering sacrifices on the Temple altar, the rabbinic ordinance requires the same before eating a meal. We see an example of this is in Mark 7:3 as it is written:

"For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders." (They were also careful that all their pots, pans, dishes etc. were immersed in the mikvah). {4} "And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables"

We see in Mark 7:5 what seems to be a contradiction in scripture. Messiah appears to be condemning all of Pharisaic tradition, in the answer He gives to the Pharisees, when criticized for not keeping the tradition of the elders.

{5} "Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, 'Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?"

The answer is recorded in Mark 7:7-8 as it is written:

"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. {8} For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do."

Actually Messiah was only opposed to those practices of the Pharisees that placed human tradition above G-d's command. Please remember that Messiah never broke any commandment but He did break quite a few of the traditions of the elders.


Washing of the hands and feet is a type of immersion and was a requirement for the kohen/priests before participating in the Temple service. Each time before entering into the Tabernacle or the Temple the kohen/priest must wash his hands and feet under a penalty of death. In Exodus 30:17-21 it is written:

"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {18} Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. {19} For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: {20} When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD: {21} So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

Messiah washed the feet of this talmidim/disciples/students at the last passover Seder. This act has inspired many traditions in many dominations. Actually several dominations have been formed on this one act alone. Messiah was preparing His talmidim/students to receive their ministry just as the sons of Aaron had. Yeshua was also acting as a priest installing/consecrating His talmidim/students into the office of kohen/priest. In Exodus 30:20 it is written:

"When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD"

The sons are Aaron were already cleansed from impurity, but even so they had to wash their hands and feet, or under penalty of death they could not serve in the Temple. Just as the talmidim/students could not receive their ministry until they had been washed. In John 13:4 it is written:

"He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. {5} After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. {6} Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? {7} Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. {8} Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. {9} Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."



I am often asked, "What about Sprinkling?" Sprinkling was a form of Ablution used in the purification of the Tabernacles and the Temple. The ashes of the red heifer was mixed with water and in some cases blood and sprinkled on items that could not be immersed. It is said that the water Yeshua/Jesus turned to wine at the wedding in Canna was mixed with ashes of the red heifer. In John 2:6-9 it is written:

And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. {7} Jesus saith unto them, fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. {8} And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. {9} When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;)".

Sprinkling was a part of the purification process of cleansing the leper. In this case, a person was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice. Always a total immersion was to follow. In Leviticus 14:6-7 it is written:

"As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: {7}And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field".

If a person was exposed to a dead body of either a human or unclean animal, or if a person went into a tomb/grave, then this person became unclean. Part of the purification process was to be sprinkled with the water mixed with the ashes of the red heifer. His tent, cooking vessels, and anything that he touched was sprinkled with this mixture on the third and the seventh day after he had become unclean. The seventh day he was to totally immerse himself (Numbers 19:18-19).

There are other times that sprinkling is used as part of the purification process. They are very similar to what was just mentioned in the previous paragraph.


It was customary for the sages (those who recorded the scriptures) to immerse each day before beginning work. If during the day they had a bad thought or began to perspire they had to go and immerse. The understanding being that they must be pure to work in the scriptures.

Before the young boys would begin to study the scriptures each day they would go through an immersion.

Before presenting a sacrifice in the Holy Temple the person would go through the Mikvah. Even today many people immerse before Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, Rosh haShanah/Feast of Trumpets and the Sabbath.

Immersion in the mikvah is an act of self re-newal and re-birth and therefore, it is customary to immerse as a sign of repentance. When a person had been through an area of sin it was customary for him to go through the mikvah. If a person had been very sick he would go through the mikvah.

Some upon rising in the morning would go through the mikvah before studying Torah.

One passing under an Asherah tree becomes impure and must go through an immersion. An Asherah tree is described in Jeremiah 10:3-5 as it is written:

For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. {4} They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. {5} They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne because they cannot go".

To some this description resembles the modern Christmas tree.

After being expelled from the Garden of Eden, tradition tells us that Adam set in the river and repented of his sin of high treason.


There was a custom in some communities to immerse the body after death in the mikvah as a final purification ritual to prepare the person for resurrection. The practice was strongly discouraged by many rabbis, however, on the grounds that it discouraged women from attending the mikvah/ritual bath, when there attendance was required by Torah. The most widespread custom is to wash the deceased with 9 kav (approximately 4 1/2 gallons) of water. We even today practice washing and dressing our dead. However it is not for the purpose of a final purification rite. Rav Shaul/Paul was asked about this custom and answered this way. In 1 Cor 15:29 it is written:

"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead"?

Basically what he is saying "this is an act that states that you believe in the resurrection, if you do not believe in the resurrection why are you doing this". This was only a custom and not a commandment. It was also the custom to anoint the dead person before burial, we see an example of this in Luke 7:36-38 as it is written:

"And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. {37} And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, {38} And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

Remember there was a very short time after the death of Yeshua until they buried him. In the story in Luke 7:36-38, the woman was a sinner as we all are if we do not receive the cleansing blood of Yeshua. She was giving Him the preparations for His burial and resurrection.


The earth went through an immersion in Genesis 1:2 it seems to make it ritually pure for the creation of Adam. It is said in Midrash that God intended to give Torah/instruction to the generations of Noah. That generations was so vile and corrupt that it could not accept Torah. Only eight souls were found to be righteous at that time. Thus we see another immersion of the earth. If water could not rectify man by purifying him, it would do so by destroying all who were evil.

The covenant has been given that the earth will not go through another immersion by water but the next time it will be a purification of fire. Just as the men of war returned from battle all the spoils received that could be put through the fire were to be purified in that manner. The men of war could not enter the camp for seven days. We will be with Yeshua for a seven year period while the purification by fire is being performed on the earth.

Part 4


The Elijah Message by Eddie Chumney (DVD)

Elijah Message DVD

Eddie Chumney is the founder of Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int'l. The DVD: "The Elijah Message" explains what are the main aspects and elements of the Elijah Ministry in the end of days (Malachi 4:4-6). The DVD is a 2 1/2 hours.  Some of the topics included on the DVD are as follows: 

  • What is the ministry of Elijah in the end of days? (Malachi 4:4-6)
  • How is the ministry of Elijah associated with embracing the Hebraic roots of Christianity?
  • How does the ministry of Elijah relate to the two houses of Israel uniting in the end of days?
  • What is Baal worship? Did ancient Israel practice Baal and sun worship?
  • What is mixed worship of the God of Israel?
  • Is mainstream Christianity following Baal and sun worship customs today?
  • Are we NOW living in the days of the Elijah ministry?
  • What role does the Elijah message play in preparing for the coming of the Messiah?
  • What is the Jezebel spirit in modern mainstream Christianity today?
  • Does modern mainstream Christianity embrace the Elijah message?

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