Posts Tagged With: cunning

The Mark of the Beast Part II

In Part I, many Scripture references were given to demonstrate that the sign of Adonai upon one’s hand and forehead is Passover, Sabbath, and the Shema or Words of God. (Dt. 6:4-9) These feasts teach one that YHWH is the Creator, Deliverer, and Law-Giver. He is the supreme authority and King of the Universe.

Initially, I had planned to go directly into the contranym or the mark of the beast, but then I realized that it would be a mistake to not first rehash some key Hebraic concepts. Especially, given how provocative the topic of the mark of the beast is. Thus, there will be a Part III.

Context is king. The mark, which signifies authority, cannot be understood apart from the “image” of the beast. And, the image of the beast must be understood in light of the image of God.

Image of the Beast

Rev 13:15 (NASB) And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

Does this remind you of this verse?

Gen. 2:7 (NASB) Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

In Targum Onkelos,[1]this verse reads:

Gen. 2:7 And the Lord God created Adam from dust of the ground, and breathed upon his face the breath of lives, and it became in Adam a Discoursing [speaking] Spirit.

The enemy is a counterfeiter through and through. God gave the breath of life to his image bearers, and it became in Adam a speaking or discoursing spirit. The second beast gives breath (and speech) to the image of the first beast. It is the “speaking image” of the beast that is worshipped. We will return to this image after reviewing the image of God.

 

Image of God

Gen. 1:26-27 (NASB) Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Gen. 5:1-2 (LITV) This is the book of the generations of Adam: In the day that God created man. He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and blessed them, and called their name Adam in the day when they were created.

Man and woman were created in the image of Elohim. The Hebrew word for image is tzelem. The following is The Complete Word Study Dictionary’s definition.[2]

H6754 צֶלֶם tṣelem: A masculine noun meaning an image, a likeness, a statue, a model, a drawing, a shadow. The word means image or likeness; its most celebrated theological and anthropological use was to depict human beings as made in God’s own image (Gen 1:26-27; Gen 5:3). People continue to be in His image even after the fall, although the image is marred (Gen 9:6), and still serves as the basis of the prohibition not to kill human beings… The word is also used in a concrete sense to depict images cut out of or molded from various materials. The word describes the images or idols of foreign or strange gods (2Ki 11:18; Amo 5:26). The people of Israel produced images used as idols from their own jewelry (Eze 7:20; Eze 16:17). Israel was, on its entrance into Canaan, to destroy all the molten images of the heathen (Num 33:52). In Eze 23:14, this word refers to pictures of Babylonians that enticed the people of Israel into apostasy when they saw them (Eze 23:14).

Mankind is the shadow of Elohim. In Hebrew thought, this isn’t about one’s appearance, rather it one’s purpose and actions. YHWH placed within mankind (both male and female) a shadow or likeness of His character and will. We are His representatives in the earth, His image or shadow bearers. Shadows or images mimic the reality. Thus, one’s words, deeds, actions, and fruit will either confirm or profane Adonai’s image. This is why tzelem can also mean a graven image or an idol:

Ex. 20:4 (NASB) “You shall not make for yourself an idol (tzelem), or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. (See also Lev. 26:1, Ezek. 16:17, etc.)

If the above sounded familiar, it’s because it is a quote from my article entitled, Sukkot: Hidden in the Shade of God. In it, I tie several themes together regarding the image of God, a shadow of things to come, Betzalel, Mary, and the Transfiguration. These things demonstrate how one that is the true image of God in the earth is a builder, most specifically of the Kingdom.

What do the tzelem of God do? They subdue and rule over the fish, birds, and the beasts. (Not one another.) In Greek, the word for image in Revelation 13 and in the Septuagint of Genesis 1:27 is eikon. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines it as:

G1504 εἰκών eikōn 1) an image, figure, likeness. 1a) an image of the things (the heavenly things). 1a1) used of the moral likeness of renewed men to God. 1a2) the image of the Son of God, into which true Christians are transformed, is likeness not only to the heavenly body, but also to the most holy and blessed state of mind, which Christ possesses. 1b) the image of one. 1b1) one in whom the likeness of any one is seen. 1b2) applied to man on account of his power of command. 1b3) to Christ on account of his divine nature and absolute moral excellence. Part of Speech: noun feminine. A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1503

There are two possible images that one 

can reflect to the world: 

Adonai’s or the Beast’s.

The Image of the Beast, From the Beginning

In Revelation 13, people worship the eikon of the beast. The first mention of “a beast” in the Bible is on day six of creation.[3] The same day (number) that man was created.

Gen. 1:24-31 (NASB) Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. 25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

In creation, the beast was created before the man. It was born first, so to speak. But, that in no way placed the beast in authority over the Adam. “The older shall serve the younger” is what the LORD told Rebekah when she sought Him about the warring twins in her womb. Her sons, Esau and Jacob, are archetypes of the two images man can reflect. The elder is red and hairy like a beast, and grows up to prefer the field. He sells his birthright in a moment of hunger, a snapshot in time, which is the epitome of the flesh wanting instant gratification. Jacob, though far from perfect, is a smooth man, peaceful, a dweller of tents. It is not a coincidence that their father, Isaac, was SIXTY years old when they were born.

Gen. 25:23-28 (NASB) The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.” 24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

It was as if even in the womb, the older, beast-like Esau was trying to crush the head of Jacob. I suggest rereading this account in Genesis. Pay special attention to the actions and nature of Esau. His tzelem does not reflect Adonai. He is much more like a beast. On another mystical level, we all are the twins. We are Esau AND Jacob. Who will win in the end?

Both the beast and mankind are day six creations. From this point forward, the number six in Scripture is teaching one about the nature of the beast or the nature of man. To be a true “man” or Adam (male and female) one will reveal the image of God in the earth. To reveal anything else, is an image of a beast. Just like Esau and Jacob.

Beasts live by instinct, desire, appetites, and fleshly drives. Mankind has all the same instincts, but he/she is to live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. One’s flesh nature, though not evil in and of itself, should not rule or be what drives a person. This sets mankind apart from their day six counterparts, the beasts.

Dr. Alewine teaches that the basic desires of a beast are to eat, sleep, procreate, play games, and expand territory.[4] None of these things are evil, and a beast is fulfilling its God given purpose by following these instincts. Mankind also has these impulses; and, none of them are sin when fulfilled – IF they are governed by the Word of God. But any one of these impulses, if allowed to rule (control) a person will lead to sin.

You are meant to be a man, which is the tzelem of Adonai, not a beast. You are meant to rule over this nature within yourself by constantly meditating upon and obeying the Words of Life. The beast, like the serpent, will challenge God’s Word, His Authority, and your resolve. This is what happened in the Garden of Eden.

Gen. 3:1 (NKJV) Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

What does a tempter, like the serpent, appeal to? How is he “cunning” or “crafty?” He is a beast, so he will always appeal to the desires of the flesh and the power of emotions, because that is all he knows. The story of the fall is packed with words that speak of desire. Why shouldn’t we have what we want? Did God really say? That’s the voice of the beast. It is the lips of a seductress. It whispers and entices. It is the voice that questions, twists, and perverts the Word of God to have what it wants without any pesky misgivings.

It gives breath and speech to the things
 
that should have no voice, and seeks to kill

those that will not bow down to its will. 

(Rev. 13:15)

The first murderer, Cain, wrestled with this “speaking beast” in the form of jealous anger. Adonai warned him:

Gen 4:6-7 (NASB) Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

In the past, I’ve made the mistake of misreading these verses. (To be fair, translations can be misleading.) Unlike English, Hebrew indefinite pronouns must always refer to a correctly gendered noun. The pronouns “its and it” of verse seven read as if they are replacing the noun “sin.” But, sin is feminine and “its and it” refer to a masculine noun. To find the masculine noun these pronouns are replacing, one must look back to verse 6. The phrase “your countenance fallen” is more literally “your face has fallen.” Face is a masculine noun. This is an idiom for intense anger.

It wasn’t “sin” that had desire for Cain, but something that was within him: his anger! Emotions are part of the lower, beast nature of man. God told Cain to master or rule over this powerful force. If not, the emotion of anger would master him. It was close at hand, at the door, ready to take the reins. Cain did not heed the warning of the LORD. The very next verse says:

Gen. 4:8 (NRSV) Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.

Notice the reference to the field. (It’s been present in many of the passages I’ve quoted above.) The field is where beasts dwell. The serpent was the most cunning beast of the field. Cain is warned that his strong emotion of anger is crouching at his door. In the very next verse, his anger rose up from its crouch and killed his brother. He became the beast. Anger took over and ruled the man, and murder was the result.

Rev. 13:15 (NASB) And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

Men (and women) ruled by the beast nature are destroyers, whether they realize it or not. One ruled by their desires and emotions live by the animal kingdom’s “survival of the fittest.” At its core, it is selfish and self-serving, because it is fueled by FEAR. It doesn’t want to play nice, share, or put anything or anyone before what it wants. It is the epitome of want. It seeks to subjugate and dominate others because it serves only its own desire. Consider the beasts of the field. This is exactly what they do.

There were two beasts that spoke in the Torah: the serpent in the Garden and Balaam’s ass. In both cases, the people involved had been enticed by their desires. Chavah (Eve) desired the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Balaam desired honor and to profit from his prophetic gift. The serpent’s words roused and deceived Chavah into fulfilling her desire. Balaam’s ass, a beast of burden, tried to save Balaam (and herself) from the sword of the angel. She was a voice of reason to the hardened prophet. He must only speak what God tells him to speak.

These two examples are perfect teachers. The serpent is an untamable, cold blooded creature. It hisses, charms, and bewitches the listener. This is akin to the unbridled lower, beast nature. The ass is broken and trained to carry a burden. She is faithful to her master. This is akin to one that has bridled their emotions and nephesh (flesh) with all its impulses.

 

The Image of the Son

How can one overcome the fallen nature and be a proper tzelem of Adonai? Yeshua is the Way!

Col. 1:15-23 (NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.  19  For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,  20  and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

We are to be conformed into the image of the second Adam. (Rom. 8:29ff) Not the first Adam. The older shall serve the younger. This is accomplished most notably through suffering, which is something the beast hates. But it also requires diligence and mindfulness. It is a lifelong process. While the beast seeks to subjugate and dominate, the Spirit of the Lord brings freedom!

2 Cor. 3:17-18 (NASB) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

I’ll leave you with Paul’s instruction in this matter. He gives examples of both images, two kingdom attitudes, two paths. The more we know the traits of each side, the more wisdom and understanding we will have to discern between the beast and the man.

Col. 3:1-17 (NASB)

1  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

2  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

3  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

4  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

5  Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

6  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,

7  and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

8  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

9  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

10  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

11  a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

12  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

13  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

14  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

15  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

16  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

17  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

 

More to come in Part III.

 


[1]Targum Onkelos is the official eastern (Babylonian) Aramaic translation to the Torah. Its authorship is attributed to Onkelos, a famous convert to Judaism in Tannaic times (c. 35–120 CE).

[2]The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament by Warren Baker. Retrieved using Strong’s number H6754 on E-Sword Bible software.

[3]Why the focus on the beginning? Because it teaches the end.  Is. 46:9-10 (TLV) Remember the former things of old: For I am God—there is no other. I am God, and there is none like Me—10 declaring the end from the beginning, from ancient time, what is yet to come, saying, “My purpose will stand, and I will accomplish all that I please.”

[4] The Creation Gospel Workbook Four: The Scarlet Harlot and the Crimson Thread 

Categories: Biblical Symbols | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Garments of Light Part II

In Part I, we looked at the Hebrew word arom (naked). I’d like to revisit this briefly as it is the context of this post. Adam and Chavah (Eve) were naked and not ashamed before they sinned. They were innocent without anything to hide. The enemy was also arum (cunning), and he was certainly hiding something. Now, let’s look at some of the words he chose to tempt Chavah.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5)

Before we examine the verses above, let’s look at one more.

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— (Gen. 3:22)

Did you notice the “cunning” of the serpent? He didn’t exactly lie to Chavah, did he? In fact, he used the truth. Perhaps the truth had a little twist or perhaps he caused her to doubt. Regardless, we all know the outcome. Their eyes were opened and they were like Elohim knowing good and evil. Sin stripped them (made them bare) of their heavenly garments (innocence), so Elohim covered them with ohr, mortal flesh or skin.[1]

One strategy of the enemy that is often overlooked is that he can use truth to strip one of their garments, thus covering one with shame. I wonder how many of us have followed his example unwittingly? Do we sometimes use truth to strip our neighbors? Do we sometimes leave people naked and in shame without covering them?

Dirty Laundry

Dirty-LaundrySin is likened to dirty garments in the Bible.

Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by. (Zec. 3:3-5)

For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Is. 64:6)

Conversely, clean garments can represent one’s righteous acts, salvation, wedding garment, or even the priesthood. Thus, we can figuratively “wear” anything from shame to salvation. This is a common biblical metaphor. But, it is also an English metaphor. Not long ago, I heard the old Don Henley song “Dirty Laundry.” It got me thinking about the sad state of social media, the news, and the like. People LOVE to put other people’s dirty laundry on display for the whole world to see. But even worse, those that claim to be followers of the Messiah are often the worst perpetrators.

After meditating on this, I printed out the lyrics to “Dirty Laundry”. You can see the full list here, but here is a sample:

Dirty little secrets

Dirty little lies

We got our dirty little fingers

In everybody’s pie

We love to cut you down to size

We love dirty laundry

 We can do the Innuendo

We can dance and sing

When it’s said and done

We haven’t told you a thing

We all know that Crap is King

Give us dirty laundry

Why do we feel the need to air another person’s dirty laundry? Why do we always seem to focus on the crap? What would possess one to post the downfall of another human created in the image of Elohim on Facebook? How does this serve the King of the Universe? Are we without sin? No, yet we are often the first to throw stones at our brothers and sisters. Something in us secretly relishes in another person’s demise – and it’s NOT the Spirit of God! How sick and sad is this?

May I suggest that when we do things like this we are following the image of the serpent beast and not YHWH? The nachash (serpent) was the first to use this tactic. His careful choice of words made them doubt the motives and goodness of Elohim. His final blow was to tell them something that was true. They would indeed become like Elohim knowing good and evil.

You see, we think that just because we know something that it is always the will of the Father to reveal it. We fail to take into account the sovereign timing of YHWH. Only the Sower knows when the seed should be planted and when it will sprout to life. We are meant to be the servants and holy vessels Adonai uses to accomplish His will. We don’t decide these things, He does.

Now don’t misunderstand, I’m not suggesting that we withhold truth from people. Nor am I suggesting that we hide our light. But, what I am proposing is that we need to be careful in our method of delivery and in our follow-up (discipleship). Even with good intentions, we can strip the robe off of our neighbor and leave them uncovered and naked. For example, you might tell someone the truth about the origins of Christmas. This reality is painful. The person most likely has strong emotions, memories, and traditions tied to this unbiblical festival. If all you do is strip them of this dirty garment, you have left them naked.

“Lately My people have risen up as an enemy— You pull off the robe with the garment From those who trust you, as they pass by, Like men returned from war. (Mic. 2:8 NKJV)

This is the problem. Many love to proclaim the truth ONLY to shake the foundation or faith of others. But this isn’t LOVE unless one is also there to cover and protect their exposed and tender flesh. We must be merciful and allow others to grieve their loss (false covering). We also must be there to bandage their wounds with oil and wine and cover them with the true festivals and the comfort of the white linen garments of heaven. We are called to MAKE disciples and this requires a genuine relationship, not a Facebook meme or Youtube video.

What is Shame?

Recall that in the beginning, Adam and Chavah were naked (arom), but not ashamed. But once sin entered the equation, their nakedness became something else entirely. They were now naked (arum) like the serpent, with something to hide: sin. Sin shames us.

The Hebrew word for shame in Genesis 2:25 is boosh (beht, vav, shin). It carries the idea of great disappointment (in self). Pictographically, it means to be linked with the destroyer of the house/tent. Isn’t this exactly what happened to Adam and Chavah? Were they not found to be in collusion with the enemy of Adonai?

Angry group pointing finger.Shame is the realization, sorrow, and guilt one feels when this truth is exposed. It is greatly humiliating whether the action was done in ignorance, through deception, or with our full intention. Our light or covering is ripped off to expose our weak and sensitive flesh. Shame can be quite devastating and is the cause of many suicides. Shame leaves a person in a state of feeling worthless and hopeless. And this is the goal of the enemy. He wants to kill, steal, and destroy any and all hope for a future.

How did YHWH respond to the “nakedness” in Adam and Chavah? We need to pay close attention to Adonai’s remedy, because it is THE pattern we are to use with one another when dealing with sin. Reread Genesis chapter 3. Notice that first, YHWH deals with their sin. He questions them about their participation while they are still exposed and trying to cover/hide themselves with fig leaves. Adonai hears both of their excuses, and then outlines the results of their actions. (He makes a righteous judgment.) The blame game didn’t absolve them from guilt or consequence.

But after making a righteous judgment, Adonai gracefully clothes the tender and exposed flesh of Adam and Chavah. He binds up their emotional wounds. He covers them with skins of flesh and takes them away from the temptation. This is mercy, grace, and love at its finest.

This is our model. If we are walking in the image of Elohim, we can remove the shame of our brothers and sisters the same way. Leaving them to wallow in their despair and hopelessness is the same thing as leaving them naked.

Clothing the Naked

 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ (Mt. 25:35-36)

Messiah says that when we feed, give drink, clothe the naked, visit the sick and prisoners, we are His hands and feet in the earth. How we treat our neighbors is of great import. Does He just mean this in the literal sense or is He also speaking figuratively? The metaphoric language of Scripture demands that His statement be both literal and figurative (spiritual). After all, humans are both flesh and spirit. Elohim always deals with the whole person.

This analogy is the same when we think we need to announce to the world another person’s sins, familial issues, finance issues, or the like. When we participate in tearing down the reputation and character of another human being created in the image of Elohim with great revelry, we are an enemy. We are satan. We are defaming the Name of our Great Elohim. We are a destroyer and accuser of the brethren. We are the man or woman that strips another down to naked shame. The only reason a person could take pleasure in such treachery is because they want to draw attention away from their own fig leaves of insecurity, rejection, and guilt. If one must tear down another person to feel better about their own issues, then they are no better than a beast. This is the attitude of a destroyer, a snake, and an accuser of the brethren.

As I write, we are in the Ten Days of Awe, the season of repentance. Yom Hakippurim is just around the corner. May we be reminded of the true reason for the fast:

“Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. (Is. 58:6-10)

light and darkWe should mourn and fast when a brother or sister falls or when they are living in the bondage of ignorance and false traditions. We should not be pointing our scaly fingers in accusation. Our fast is meant to break the bonds of wickedness and cause a well of repentance to spring in our neighbor’s heart. This is the will of YHWH. Sin oppresses one with a transparent garment of shame. But Adonai says, if someone is naked and exposed to the world on account of his or her shame, we should cover him or her with mercy and forgiveness. All the while, never forgetting (not hiding from the fact) that we too have flesh just as tender and needy. (This requires humility!) In other words, we are no better than they. This is how the original light that we bestowed in the beginning shines through the darkness of a fallen world.


[1] For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. (2 Cor. 5:1-4)

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Garments of Light Part I

bible-verse-ephesians-5-children-of-the-lightAnd the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Gen. 2:25 NASB).”In the beginning, man and woman were “naked” and not ashamed. The Hebrew word for naked in the above verse is arom (ayin, rosh, mem). It comes from the verbal root aram (same Hebrew letters as arom), which means, “to make bare, to be subtle, crafty, or cunning.”[1] This is interesting because in the next chapter of Genesis, actually in the very next verse on the scroll, the serpent is introduced. He is more subtle, crafty, or cunning that any BEAST of the field that YHWH had made.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1)

As I’m sure you have guessed, the Hebrew word used to describe the serpent as crafty is from the same Hebrew word above. It is the passive participle form of aram, pronounced arum (again same Hebrew letters as arom).[2] Thus, like many Hebrew words, arom is actually a contranym (a word that is its own opposite).[3] To be naked is akin to being transparent with nothing hidden. On the contrary, to be cunning or crafty, something is definitely hidden or concealed.

In the case of Adam and Chavah (Eve) before the fall, their nakedness wasn’t something in which they should be ashamed. They were transparent with nothing to hide. Their nakedness was virtuous at this point. They had no need of being covered in the hair of a beast, nor did they need a covering of fur for protection. (Obviously, the converse was true for the serpent, but we explore him in a later post.)

Skins of Light

There are traditions from both Jewish and Christian sources that teach that before the fall, the skin of Adam and Chavah was luminous. In other words, they were “covered” by divine light and would “glow,” so to speak. I hope this triggers your mind to make some connections to Moses’ face and Messiah, but we will get there soon enough.

lightbeingThis idea or tradition isn’t random. The Hebrew language is VERY idiomatic, metaphoric, and figurative. Contranyms, homonyms (sound alike words), parables, and many other literary devices are used heavily to help one understand spiritual concepts through the experience of natural things.[4] Hebrew speaks through our senses and imagination. It draws simple “pictures” that even a child can understand. As the old adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In our case, it is neither coincidence nor chance that the Hebrew word for light and for skin sound exactly the same: ohr. Look carefully at the following:

אוֹר Light (aleph, vav, resh)

עוֹר Skin (ahyin, vav, resh)

The only difference is the first letter (read from right to left). Light begins with aleph, a letter heavily associated with God,[5] and skin begins with ahyin, the letter that also means eye. Both aleph and ahyin are silent letters. They have no sound aside from the vowel associated with them. In our words above, the vowel is shown by the letter vav with the dot on top, which is called a cholem vav. The last letter is a resh, an “r” sound that pictographically means “a man’s head.”

By simply looking at the pictographic meaning of these words, both have a heart that connects. Vav means to link, connect, or hook together. It is also the number 6, the creation day for both beast and man. In the verses above in Genesis, the text presents us with a beast (snake) that speaks like a man.

The other Hebrew letters for each word reveals what light and skin connects or links one with. In the case of light, the head (resh) is connected to God (aleph), the Father. But in the case of skin, the head (resh) is connected to only what one’s eyes (ahyin) can see (flesh/natural).

Dr. Alewine in The Creation Gospel Workbook Four: The Scarlet Harlot and the Crimson Thread has this to say:

“Rabbinic insight is that the clothing of Adam and Eve was glory, or radiance (or with an aleph), a white light invisible to the human eye that was replaced with a covering of skins (or with an ayin). The white light is the same covering of the Bride of Messiah in Revelation. The Bride reflects the Lamp of the New Jerusalem, the Lamb. In terms of the menorah, there was a spiritual covering over the first couple’s earthly bodies, a covering or radiance pictured when Moses spoke with Adonai on the mountain, receiving the Torah covenant for Israel. Like the Holy One in whose image they were made, they had corresponding covers of light like garments.” (p. 175)

Roaming Eyes

Do you recall what organ tempted Chavah (Eve) to fall into deception?

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5) 

The serpent, the one that was arum (cunning), was implying that Adam and Chavah were “blind” in some way. Recall, that at this point, Adam and Chavah were naked, arom, but had no shame. Before sin, their covering was the spiritual light of Elohim (God). Again, notice below the association with EYES.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. (Gen. 3:6-7)

Chavah SAW the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and found that it delighted her eyes, and had the potential to make one WISE. Folks, our eyes are what typically deceive us. Imagine with me all the sins that begin by looking at someone or something with our eyes: coveting, jealousy, lust, greed, envy, judgment, false witness or testimony, etc. It has been this way since the beginning. Our eyes can be deceitful because they are a part of our flesh/nephesh. They need a constant physical and visual reminder that will refocus our attention back to the heavenly and spiritual reality. This is one reason YHWH gave the commandment to wear tzit-tziyot (fringes) on the four corners of one’s garments. Again, notice the EYES.

“It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. (Num. 15:39-40)

Leaves that Kill, Leaves that Heal

When Adam and Chavah ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they forfeited the Light (of God) as their covering. In other words, they took upon themselves a different authority. Once they transgressed YHWH’s command, they immediately realized that their heavenly garments were missing. They were “bare” or naked without this covering (of light). Like them, we would probably scramble to find a replacement for such a great loss. In fact, this realization is what caused them to fear, and it is the reason they hid from Elohim. (Gen. 3:8)

tree of life3So, why do you think they chose fig leaves? I believe that prior to sin, the Tree of Life provided Adam and Chavah with their garments or skins of Light. Often used as an idiom for the Torah or Law of God and Wisdom, the Tree of Life indeed produces light, life, healing, fruit, and blessings. I encourage you to do a concordance search and find your own associations.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Rev. 22:1-2)

The leaves from the Tree of Life HEALS the nations. Perhaps, Adam and Chavah thought that the leaves from the Tree of Knowledge (their new tree of choice) would do the same. But what they discovered is that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil only leads to darkness, exile, death, sickness, fleshly desires, and curses. It is the exact antithesis to the Tree of Life. So what did God do?

The LORD God made garments of skin (ohr) for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. (Gen. 3:21)

What Kind of Skin?

We typically assume that God slaughtered an animal and made coverings of fur for the first couple. But the text doesn’t explicitly say that this is what God did. There is no mention of Him slaughtering an animal. Our old assumption isn’t necessarily wrong, but the skin (ohr) that God made could have been of (mortal) human skin. The verse literally says that God made (asah) ohr (skin) and clothed Adam and Chavah with it. Perhaps, after losing their garments of Light, God made them garments of (mortal human) skin. This is a viable possibility in the Hebrew and one to consider.

Whether or not Adam and Chavah once had literal garments of Light that were forfeited when they sinned isn’t the point. God did make for them skins (human or animal) in which to cover their nakedness. Maybe their nakedness wasn’t physical. Or perhaps, it was both physical and spiritual. Either way, this series will explore the figurative or spiritual side of this coin.

Much more to explore in upcoming articles. Click here for Part II


[1] See Strong’s definitions for H6174 and H6191.

[2] H6175

[3] A contranym (also spelled contronym) is sometimes called an auto antonym. Like Hebrew, the English language has many terms that fall into this category. Think of the word cleave. It can mean to cling to tightly or to cut into as to divide into pieces. Other examples are as follows:

Bolt: To secure, or to flee

Bound: Heading to a destination, or restrained from movement

Buckle: To connect, or to break or collapse

Clip: To fasten, or detach

Screen: To present, or to conceal

Splice: To join, or to separate

Transparent: Invisible, or obvious

[4] 1 Cor. 15:46

[5] This is based on the many words that begin with aleph: for example, Elohim, Abba, El, etc. Moreover, the ancient Hebrew pictograph means a strong leader, strength, power, ox, etc.

For more great insight into the first couple and the serpent in the garden, please see Rabbi David Fohrman’s book, The Beast that Crouches at the door.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Messianic Issues | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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