Uri: Light in the Darkness

Uri: Light in the Darkness


While cataloguing the genealogy of Bezalel, the Architect of the Tabernacle, we’ve exposed a stunning family history, filled with astoundingly audacious men and women.

His great great grandfather, Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, abandoned his household, history, and homeland to join the Israelite nation, before their freedom.

His great grandmother, Miriam and her mother, Yocheved, may have been the midwives who defied the Pharaoh of Egypt’s order to genocide the Israelite baby boys but instead spared and hid them like Moses.

Bezalel’s great grandfather, Caleb, overcame possible racial discrimination and served as the Tribe of Judah’s scout into the Promised Land, believing so intensely in God’s ability to help them overcome the giants that he challenged the ten fearful scouts and demanded they take the land immediately.

Bezalel’s grandfather, Hur, understood that daring stands are not limited to the battlefield, as the Battle of Rephidim would have been lost if Hur and Aaron had not supported Moses’ arms as he held the Staff of God. Hur also recognized that bravery is not only displayed against your enemies, but sometimes in opposition to your own people as we see in his attempt to stop the making of the golden calf, which led to his possible murder.

Bezalel’s father displayed a unique kind of valor, Uri was a shining light during one of the darkest moments of the young Israelite nation’s history.

Israel was at its lowest point after the creation of the golden calf and the murder of Hur (ref. [Midrash (Rabbinical commentary on the Old Testament): Tanchuma T’zaveh 10:10]). Moses prevented the obliteration of the entire Israelite population from God’s Righteous Wrath, but Moses still shattered the original set of Commandments when he reentered the camp. The Israelites were forced to drink the ash of the ground idol, subjected to a massacre by the Levites, and struck by a plague, decimating the people (ref. Exodus 32). God’s judgement was heavy upon them and there was still the lingering threat that God would “consume them” before they made it to the Promised Land.

It is during this episode we are introduced to Uri, as the father of Bezalel, and as the son of Hur.

Uri’s name is unique amongst the list of Bezalel’s ancestors as it is only mentioned five times (Exodus 31:2; 35:30; 38:22; 1 Chronicles 2:20; 2 Chronicles 1:5) and each time Hur is associated with his father’s name Hur.

As we’ve seen in previous articles, names were extremely culturally important as they marked how you were seen by the community and exemplified how you would be remembered. Constantly labeled “son of Hur” is important to understanding Uri and what his name means.

Hur’s name described a dark jagged hole where snakes liked to hide. Uri’s name is most often translated as “light” or “fire” and when coupled with his surname “ben-Hur” (meaning son of Hur in Hebrew) we begin to seen a poetic explanation of his role in the Exodus story.

Uri ben-Hur’s name meant light in the cave/pit/dark place.

Uri’s name is also prophetically symbolic of what happened next.

When Moses returned to Mount Sinai to engrave the second set of commandments, he made a special request from God: Moses wanted to see God’s Glory (Exodus 33:18).

Because not even Moses would be able to see God’s face and live, God devised a special plan in order to bless His Prophet. God would first place Moses in the cleft of the mountain, cover Moses with His hand as He passed, and then uncover Moses so he could see the trailing of God’s Glory.

In the pitch black darkness of a mountain cave, Moses was not frightened that God would abandon him permanently, but looked with anticipation, for the Glory, God would reveal, at the right moment.

Afterwards, Moses came down with the new tablets in hand and his face shined radiantly from even the limited exposure to God’s Glory.

It is right after this point that construction on the Tabernacle, by Uri’s son Bezalel, begins.

In many ways, Moses’ trust in God’s Promise, while in the cleft of the rock, pales in comparison to Bezalel’s previously listed ancestors. Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, left his free people and married an Israelite slave, praying for God’s Deliverance, during their harshest treatment by Egypt. Miriam and her mother defied Pharaoh, the most powerful person in the world, stopping Moses’ murder and possibly an infant genocide, at mortal danger to themselves. Caleb would later stand up against his fellow scouts to petition that Israel take the land from the giants, an unpopular position which would further isolate him from a population suspicious of his mixed-race background. Hur took on a supportive role to Moses when glory on the battlefield was available and may have lost his life challenging the creation of the golden calf.

All these characters feared God and trusted in Him when it was hardest, believing that His Promises would come to pass, knowing that God was on their side.

However, Uri’s promise that his son Bezalel would be the architect of the Tabernacle was now in question, as God was threatening to destroy Israel. After his father Hur’s murder, Uri could have doubted whether God was on his and his family’s side. With the deaths of thousands of people all around him from massacre and pestilence Uri could have thought his very survival was uncertain. But, like Moses in the blackness of the cleft of the mountain, Uri waited with readiness for God’s Glory to appear.

Because of the threatening shadow around him, Uri’s extraordinary fiery faith shines even brighter.

Through several successive generations, each step displaying their own daring devotion, despite the overwhelming circumstances they faced, God used His People’s unique talents and courage to establish the foundations for His Tabernacle as a place where His Spirit could dwell amongst them. The Holy Spirit’s Presence and Miracles will be seen in this new era and those who will be part of the PMT Campus, mirroring Uri, will serve as radiant lights contrasting the darkness.


Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator


Hur: Supporting the Vision

Hur: Supporting the Vision


Most people in the modern church have never heard the name Hur, outside of his namesake “Ben-Hur” (meaning Son of Hur in Hebrew), the titular character of the Lew Wallace novel and the cinematic epic starting Charleston Hesston. The 1880 book, whose full title is “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ”, is considered to be the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century, and the movie adaption, critically praised as one of the greatest movies ever made, which won a record 11 prizes in the 1960 Academy Awards, both pale in comparison to the seemingly forgotten legend of Hur, Bezalel’s grandfather.

Hur’s saga opens on the scene of a massive battlefield, with the clamoring of shields and swords, and the shouts of warriors engaged in blood brawls.

The Israelites are fighting the Amalekites, who ambushed the Israelites while they were encamped at Rephidim, the site where the miracle of water flowing from the struck stone occurred.

Amongst all the chaos and calamity, we fail to find our hero, Hur.

He, along with the aged Moses and Aaron, are watching the battle from a nearby hill.

Hur’s grandfather, Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, had a long standing hunting heritage, and Hur’s father, Caleb, would later serve as one of the scouts in the Promised Land. They were both mighty men of action, and Hur undoubtedly felt he should have been in the frenzy and fray.

The humiliation and embarrassment of missing out on the glory of the battlefield as a young man (in his late teens or early twenties as his father Caleb was forty), and having to sit on the sidelines with two old men must have been crushing.

But, God had a greater role for Hur.

While watching the battle of Rephidim, Moses realized that the Israelites had the upper hand when his arms were raised and the Israelites began to lose when Moses dropped his arms. When Moses is overcome by exhaustion from holding the Staff of God above his head, Aaron and Hur sit Moses upon a stone to rest and they stood for hours supporting Moses’ arms till the sun set when the Israelites are able to repel the Amalekite attack (ref. Exodus 17:11-13).

After the battle, Moses built an altar at the site of the hill he watched the battle from. This monument was consecrated Yahweh-Nissi, which translates “The Lord is my Banner” (ref. Exodus 17:15).

The consequences of a raised or fallen flag, standard, or banner in warfare are so universal that its symbolic significance can be translated outside the battle’s boundaries. Stephen Crane’s classic war novel The Red Badge of Courage poetically details the valor required to keep the colors raised, especially while under fire, and the great sacrifices required to maintain it. America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is based on Francis Scott Key’s poem “Defense of Fort M’Henry” describing the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, with the momentous closing victoriously declaring “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave”. The 1945 Pulitzer Prize winner for Photography, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, depicting the raising of the American flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima, is arguably the most iconic photograph taken during World War II.

While Hur may have desired to be part of the military force defending against the Amalekite attack, he sagely recognized the significance of sustaining the Staff of God. Not only did this “banner” inspire the Israelite troops in battle, but it served as the most recognizable reminder of God’s Power in Israel’s Exodus from Egypt and embodied the hope of an Israelite nation that would look first to God for guidance and direction.

It had to be supported at all costs.

After Hur’s role in the Battle of Rephidim, Hur is so trusted by Moses, that three months later, Hur is given authority, along with Moses’s brother Aaron, over the Israelite encampment while Moses goes up to Mount Sinai to receive the first set of Commandments (ref. Exodus 24:14).

Hur is never mentioned again.

Rabbinical commentary has several speculations as to why such an important and key character disappeared so suddenly. The most likely and popular theory is that Hur is murdered by the Israelites, trying to prevent the creation of the Golden Calf, which also explains why Aaron was compelled to create it.

This explanation perfectly fits Hur’s character as he understood more intensely than anyone else the importance of ensuring that God’s banner was the raised symbol of Israel.

Hur’s dedication to supporting this vision was not a single event seen from the relative safety of a hill outside the reach of enemy weaponry. Hur was willing to die, at the hands of his own people no less, defending and supporting the hope that Israel would be a nation wholly committed to the Invisible God.

History books are bursting with the bravery of people willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for their nation and its ideals and Hur rightly should be counted amongst these.

Not to be overshadowed by his courageous confrontation against the idolatrous Israelites, was Hur’s decision to support Moses, God’s Vision Bearer, during the Battle of Rephidim. While Hur could have sought personal glory on the battlefield, he understood that he could have a larger impact maintaining God’s Banner.

God’s Eyes do not overlook the supportive roles in His Army.

Hur, like his father Caleb before him, has an unflattering, if not out rightly insulting, name meaning “hole”, specifically a craggy crevice where vipers tend to hide. But, when we consider that the Staff of God was the very rod that was turned into a cobra and consumed the Egyptian magicians’ snakes during Moses’ confrontation with the Egyptian Pharaoh, we begin to get a more complete and complex picture of Hur’s name’s meaning. Rather than a dark pit filled with snakes, Hur’s heart serves as a deep secure cleft, where God’s banner can be confidently braced to be proudly displayed for all to see.

It was Moses’ sacred obligation to serve as God’s Standard-bearer, but this position’s responsibility was too great for him to carry alone, which is why God blessed Moses with Aaron and Hur to help raise The Staff of God. Had Aaron and Hur allowed Moses to drop The Staff of God, the Israelites would have been slaughtered by the Amelekites just days after they had crossed the Red Sea.

Like Moses thousands of year ago, we recognize that The Vision of the Tabernacle is not capable of being sustained by a single person. We need heroic men and women to step forward to help support the hope of the PMT Campus. God’s Army has many positions to be occupied and everyone has a role to realize in this Vision.

Will you do your part to see that the Vision of the Tabernacle is fulfilled?


Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator


Caleb: The Whole Hearted Half-breed

Caleb: The Whole Hearted Half-breed

Some people may incorrectly interpret our recent articles focused on the genealogy of Bazelel, the Chief Architect of the Tabernacle, as arguing that bloodline is an all important aspect of spiritual heritages. While it was important to keep chronological records for evidence of Christ’s Messianic role, we need to remember that Christ’s own bloodline was not fully Jewish. God chose to include Gentiles of extraordinary faith to be a part of Christ’s lineage and the greater Israelite Nation. Israelites didn’t view this inconsistent pedigree kindly, but God was able to take someone seemingly broken and make him whole. We’ll be examining Bazelel’s great grandfather, Caleb, the half-breed.

As mentioned in a previous article, Caleb’s name is based on the Hebrew word kelev, which meant “dog” and may have subtly hinted at the Israelites’ negative perception of him being of mixed heritage. His father Jephunneh, who most likely came from a non-Israeli hunter clan, the Kenizzites, may have viewed dogs as loyal companions on his hunting excursions, which is why he lovingly named his son Caleb. But we need to remember that Jews thought of dogs as filthy and unclean creatures (Exodus 22:31; Deuteronomy 23:18; 1 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 3:8; 2 Samuel 9:8; 2 Kings 8:13; Proverbs 26:11; Ecclesiastes 9:4) and Caleb may have been a nickname to denote their hostile opinions of him.

This mentality of foreigners being viewed as dogs was long standing and Jesus reminds us of this perception in Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30 when the Canaanite woman with the demon possessed daughter asks for help was referred to and even self-described herself as a dog, who only deserved crumbs from her master’s table. Of course, Christ sees her faith and heals her daughter, despite her being a foreigner.

Jewish discrimination shows up again in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (ref. Luke 10:25-37). After a man was attacked and stripped of his belongings and clothes on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho, he is passed first by a priest and then a Levite, the highest religious positions in Jewish society, only to be helped by a Samaritan. Samaritans were Israelites who were not viewed as valuable, important, or skilled enough to be captured by and taken to the Babylonian Empire during the Babylonian Exile, who then mixed with the people of the Samarian region, which is why they were viewed by the Jews as a low status Gentile mixed race. It would have been considered scandalous at the time to make a Samaritan the hero of any story, especially one that reflected poorly on the Jewish priestly classes.

We see the disciples’ own homicidal hatred towards the Samaritans in Luke 9:51-56, when, while on their way to Jerusalem, the disciples are turned down accommodations in a Samaritan village. James and John, the Sons of Thunder, respond to the insult asking, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” Jesus rebuked them and the group was able to find lodging in another village.

This possible perception of Caleb being a “half-breed” in the eyes of the wandering Israelites is important to stress since it runs counter to how he is ultimately recorded and remembered.

When Caleb asks for Joshua for his allotment during the conquest of the Promised Land, Caleb recalls the faith he placed in God after exploring the territory despite coming across giants (ref. Joshua 14:6-15). “I brought…back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear”. Caleb challenges any assertions that he was an outsider, but has been completely grafted in with his “fellow Israelites”. Most importantly, Caleb recognized that blood purity was not what mattered to God, but a heart purely committed to Him, which is still true today, and will be a marker of those who will be a part of the PMT Campus.

Caleb sets himself apart from the fearful Israelites reminding Joshua that “I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.”

Because of Caleb’s full faith in God, “Moses swore to [him], ‘The land on which [his] feet walked on [would] be [his] inheritance and that of [his] children forever, because [he] followed the Lord [his] God wholeheartedly’”. It took forty-five years for Caleb to finally receive his reward, but because of his unfailing faith, “Joshua blessed Caleb, son of Jephunneh, and gave him Hebron as his inheritance… because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.”

Caleb’s passionate devotion to God is not boasted to Joshua to earn himself land, it is an all-encompassing sign to those around him and part of his testimony. Moses openly recognizes Caleb’s faith in following God unreserved after their reconnaissance of the Promised Land. Moses also testifies before the Gadites and the Reubenites (ref Numbers 32:9-13) that their fathers cowardly discouraged the conquering of the land after surveying it. For this, God promised that that generation would not see the Promised Land, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, “because they followed the Lord wholeheartedly”.

Caleb’s testimony is not just acknowledged by Moses, but God openly declares Caleb’s awe-inspiring commitment to Him. When God’s wrath burned against the unfaithful Israelites, He swore an oath to Moses, “Not one of the men of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land on which he has set foot, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly” (Deuteronomy 1:34-36). This promise is repeated again in Numbers 14:20-24, but God calls out something that made Caleb distinct amongst the Israelites: “My Servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly”.

There may be an aspect of word play in Caleb’s name, which was common in Ancient Hebrew. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, Sarai’s name to Sarah, and Jacob to Israel to denote the significance of their relationships with God. Due to his different spirit and extreme devotion, Caleb’s name, or at least its meaning or pronunciation may have also changed at some point. An alternate Hebrew meaning for Caleb comes from the words Col (לכ) which means “all” or “whole” and Lev (בל) which means “heart”. Calev, as it’s pronounced in Hebrew, can now also mean “whole hearted”.

Caleb was unconcerned with how the rest of the unbelieving Israelites thought of him. What was more important to Caleb was how godly men like Joshua and Moses perceived him and most significantly, how Caleb’s testimony was seen by God Himself. Caleb serves as a perfect example of the kind of people we will fill the PMT Campus with: those who are Spirit-filled and seek to follow Him wholeheartedly, despite the giants in the land.

We can’t wait to see how they are transformed by God, as a reward for their faith.


Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator


Jephunneh, the Kenizzite: The First Grafted Gentile

Jephunneh, the Kenizzite: The First Grafted Gentile


There’s been a huge resurgence of interest in family history lately with millions of people ordering services from Ancestry.com, 23andMe, amongst dozens of others. People have been delighted and oftentimes astonished by what they find in their personalized reports. Whether it’s a cultural history they didn’t know about or discovering something new about a distant family member, these revelations can help people feel closer to their past and help them understand who they are today. In this article, we’ll be exploring Bazelel’s great great grandfather: Jephunneh, the Kenizzite.

Anyone who has read the books of Chronicles understands that some parts of the Bible are kind of like the family history websites previously mentioned, with hundreds of genealogical records going back, in the case of the Bible, thousands of years. Those who have been on said websites also know the frustration of coming across dead ends in a family history. There’s a name, but not much is known about the person except maybe birth, death, and maybe children if they had any. There’s no property listings, no occupation, no mentions in local papers, or any kind of distinguishing information about who they were or how they lived.

Jephunneh is kind of like that; a random branch that comes from out of nowhere.

It’s tempting to skip Jephunneh’s name entirely and move on to his more famous son Caleb, but we’d miss out on one of the most important and often overlooked characters in the Bible. Doing a little bit of modern genealogical exploration will help better understand more about him.

Many surnames hold key information about family histories. Smith, one of the most common American names, comes from the Old English word “smite”, as in to strike something, in reference to the metal work occupation the family may have been involved with. Some last names explain what country, province, or city families immigrated from. Alemán, which is the Spanish word for German, is also a surname and though it’s tempting to think it’s a description of what Spaniards thought of Germans (i.e. ale man: people who drank beer), it’s actually the name of the Germanic people, Alemanni, before Germany united as a country.

Jephunneh was called a Kenizzite, which were one of the tribes listed living in the Promised Land when God makes His Covenant with Abram (ref Genesis 15:19). Jephunneh was most likely not a recently freed slave, but a foreigner whose ancestors once lived in the lands that Israel would soon be conquering. The word kenaz, which is the likely root of Kenizzite, means hunter, so Jephunneh and his forefathers may have roamed the regions of the Promised Land, learning intimately the different regions’ terrains during their hunts.

It’s hard not to entertain the romantic notion that Jephunneh shared stories of his hunts with his son describing the beauty of the region and the fertile lands that the plentiful populations of wildlife thrived on, inspiring Caleb to excitedly volunteer as one of the first Israelites to explore the Promised Land as a scout. Perhaps Hebron, the region Caleb asked for as an inheritance for his part in the invasion of the Promised Land (ref Joshua 14:13-14), held distinctive significance to his father Jephunneh.

Hebron stood as one of the most indispensable sites for the Israelites, as the plain of Mamre, as Hebron had been previously called, was the first piece of land purchased by Abraham in the Promised Land. Abraham had also built an altar to God there and buried his wife Sarah in the cave of Machpelah (Genesis 23). The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which still stands in Hebron today, is believed to be the burial place of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as the Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah. Hebron remained the first foothold the Israelites had as a legitimate claim to the land and stood as the first root Abraham planted in the region.

Granting such a historically important location to the son of a foreigner would not have been done thoughtlessly.

At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, as just another name amongst hundreds. But his name’s meaning is significant. Translated as “nimble” or “beholder” by Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Jephunneh perfectly exemplifies someone who saw what God was doing and who quickly ran towards it. Smith’s Bible Dictionary translates his name as “for whom a way is prepared” which not only describes his pathway to joining the Israelite tribes, but also set the model for our joining God’s Family.

Jephunneh, the Kenizzite being accepted into the Israeli community, his son Caleb representing the royal tribe of Judah as a scout into the Promised Land, and Caleb receiving perhaps the most historically valuable piece of land all served as prophetic signs of Christ’s relationship with His future Church. Not only would Gentiles be accepted, but fully grafted onto the roots that God had already established with His People. Christ’s Followers would not be second rate citizens but totally integrated Sons and Daughters representing His Royal Lineage. And His Church would not be allocated table scraps, but first choice of the best aspects of His Inheritance.

It’s fun and exciting to look back at history and explore what happened in the past. It’s also extremely important to learn from, to be able to understand what is happening today. Jephunneh’s decision to follow God’s prompting was not only rewarded with his son Caleb claiming one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the Promised Land, but his great great grandson Bezalel would serve as the chief architect of the Sacred Tabernacle.

Jephunneh recognized that God was moving in a new direction and had the wisdom and courage to leave the life he knew and embrace the blessings God had for him and his family. His family’s constant support of God’s messenger from the beginning of their journey to the Promised Land granted them a far more exciting and prosperous life than they could have ever imagined and set the precedent for our future relationship with Christ. We pray there will be many others who follow Jephunneh’s example and recognize the way God is moving in this new era and head His Calling.


Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator