Posts Tagged With: garments

Chodesh Elul 2018

This post is a little early for the upcoming month of Elul, but I have already transitioned my notes into an article. I look forward to hearing what Abba is telling you this year!

  • Month 6 (12thor last month on civil calendar)
  • Tribe: Gad, meaning “an invading troop”
  • Mazel: Betulah or Woman, the Virgin or Virgo
  • Sense: Action To act requires both thought and deed. It connects the head (thought/speech) to the arm/hand (fruit/deeds) and the feet (one’s walk).

Questions to ponder from last month, Av:

  1. Did you fight major spiritual warfare from Tammuz 17th– Av 9th?
  2. Were these battles particularly to prevent some type of destruction in a family, assembly, physical body, or physical house (all types of the Temple)?
  3. Did you experience a shift or release after the 9thof Av (Tisha B’Av)?
  4. Have you experienced some comfort from the Father (doesn’t mean that the test or trial is over) on or after the 15thof Av (Tu B’Av)?
  5. Were you tested in “hearing”? (See this post for clarity.)

Chodesh Elul

As the sixth month, expect to see parallels to day six of creation, and other implications of six. See my post on numbers, for more themes that relate to the number six.

Just as Friday, the sixth day, is the preparation day for the coming seventh day Shabbat, Elul, the sixth month, is the preparation for the seventh month, Tishrei. Not surprisingly, the sense for the month of Elul is action. One needs to act. And, one acts out what they really believe. Preparation certainly requires action in thought, word, and deed.

This is the month to prepare for the upcoming High Holy Days and Sukkot. While it is necessary to make physical arrangements to celebrate the fall festivals, the primary preparation is inward and spiritual, one of the heart.

The idea of organization and preparation correlates perfectly with the tribe of Elul: Gad. Gad was the seventh son born to Jacob. Seven is the letter zayin, which looks like a plowshare or a sword. Shabbat and other sevens are tools for harvest AND instruments of war. Gad means “an invading troop.” Compare the blessings of Jacob and Moses for this tribe:

Gen. 49:19 (TLV) Gad—attackers will attack him, but he will attack their heels.

Dt. 33:20-21 (TLV) For Gad he said, ‘Blessed is the one who enlarges Gad. Like a lion he crouches, and tears off an arm or even the crown of a head.  21 He chose the best for himself, for there a marked portion was reserved. He came with the heads of the people. He carried out Adonai’s justice and His judgments for Israel.’

Gad is tribe of war. 1 Chronicles 5:18 describes them as “men who bore shield and sword and shot with bow and were skillful in battle.” It requires great preparation and organization to amass a troop and train them for combat. Gadites know where to strike, because they have trained well. They attack the heel (lower nature/nephesh/appetites/ego), the arm (deeds/power/strength), and the head (the source, leader, authority). When David fled from King Saul, the mighty men of Gad joined him in the wilderness. 1 Chronicles 12:8 describes them this way:

From the Gadites there came over to David in the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for war, who could handle shield and spear, and whose faces were like the faces of lions, and they were as swift as the gazelles on the mountains. (NASB)

How does the month of teshuvah or repentance relate to this aspect of the tribe of Gad? Each day of this month, leading up to Yom Kippur is a training day. There is a battle, but it is not necessarily with an external enemy. The preparation of Elul is a time to search the depths of one’s heel (nephesh), arm (power- intentions and actions), and head (are you at the helm or is Elohim?).

Such great battle tactics might seem excessive for searching or judging one’s self, but in my experience (both personal and observing others) SELF is the last place most people desire to search, examine, and judge. It’s much easier to point the finger and blame others or one’s circumstances for bad behavior. This is the question that six (especially day six of creation) asks of us. Are you a beast or are you a man/woman made in the image of Elohim? In the sixth month, the same question is posited as one prepares for the High Holy Days.

Symbol of Gad

Last month (Av), we mourned the destruction of the Temple, the House of God. The second Temple was destroyed because of “baseless hatred among brothers.” The political climate in the U.S. is alarming. How people treat others in general is out of control. The golden rule has been left in the dust. It is time to consider what we say (or type) about other people, regardless of their actions or words. This isn’t a call to stick one’s head in the sand or to subvert justice; rather, it is a call to treat other people (even enemies) as those made in the image of Elohim. They are His shadow in the earth, even when they aren’t acting like it. We can speak of and to them with honor and respect, and do so without condoning a wicked behavior.

I’m working on a series about lashon hara, or proper speech. The mouth or tongue is an unruly member that can quickly send one on a spiral of chaos and destruction. With the tongue (or keyboard), we have become murderers, accusers of the brethren. During Elul, we have an opportunity to make amends with those we have offended before we reach the altar on Yom Kippur.

Mat. 5:21-24 (TLV) “You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be subject to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be subject to fiery Gehenna. 23 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Lamentations says, “Let us examine and test our ways, and let us return to Adonai.” (3:40 TLV) That is the heart of Elul. Self examination, deep introspection, and yes, judging one’s own heart, is the 40 step process during the days of teshuvah. I wonder if we can avoid looking at other’s sins for forty whole days while we clean our own house? This is true preparation for the seventh month, and also the “turn of the year[1]” on the civil calendar. It’s as if one is getting ready to enter a new time, a new realm, a new day… that’s because beginning with Rosh Hashanah (the Hidden Day), the head of the year[2], we are!

The Torah portions that fall during the month of Elul mirror this conclusion. They are Shoftim (Judges), Ki Tetze (When You Go Forth), Ki Tavo (When You Come In), and Nitzavim (Standing). Judges, when you go forth, when you come in, stand. These portions give disciples instruction for the Season of Teshuvah. (Collectively, this is Deuteronomy 16:18 – 30:20) The highlights from each section or portion[3], will inform a careful eye with the themes for the month Elul. These are things that you will battle with and walk through as you prepare for the fall feasts. Here is a sample:

  1. Adonai expects His people to set up righteous judges that will execute righteous judgement. The people are expected to obey their rulings.
  2. A prophet like unto Moses will arise, look for Him, but also beware of false prophets.
  3. Laws for cities of refuge and the accidental man slayer. (More on this below.)
  4. How to deal with false witnesses.
  5. Rules of warfare, mind the fruit trees (people), and respect the female captives.
  6. Laws concerning sexual immorality, and falsely accusing one’s virgin bride.
  7. Laws concerning divorce and levirate marriage.
  8. Offering firstfruits and tithes.
  9. Mount Ebal – curses and blessings.
  10. Covenant renewed at Moab.
  11. Repentance & Forgiveness
  12. Choice of Life or Death.

These portions cover a lot of territory, but if you look closely, they are a microcosm of our journey! The cities of refuge jumped out this year in relation to Elul. Three cities are to be in the Land He is giving them to possess and three more when He expands their territory for a total of six. Elul is the sixth month. In Chassidic teachings, Elul is the city of refuge in the yearly cycle. The thinking behind this is that we are ALL guilty of being a “man-slayer.” (Didn’t Yeshua say as much in Matthew 5:43-48? See also Proverbs 18:21) Whether we realize it or not, we have killed ourselves and others… with words. (Action)

It is in this season, a space in time if you will, that we contemplate past thoughts, words, and deeds, and rectify wrong doing through heartfelt repentance. In this safe place (in time), a city of refuge, one can truly get to know what is in their heart– the good, the bad, and the ugly. In tradition, the King is said to be in the field during Elul. This implies that He is approachable and near, not as a harsh judge on the throne, but as a loving and compassionate Father ready to receive His prodigal child. Thus, Elul is also called the month of mercy and the month of forgiveness.

What to Expect in Elul

There is warfare in Elul, but it should be with your own heart. Outside enemies (spirits) will seek to distract or divert one’s attention away from self-examination. This will be especially true on “social media.” Every year at this season, hot debates pop up with people making strong judgments (shoftim) about the “correct” calendar, the names, proper observance, fasting or not fasting on Yom Kippur, and more. Whether or not the intention is to flare up flesh and emotions, the result is the same. Be a Gadite! Don’t fall for it! The focus of these issues is NOT one’s heart and repentance or making amends between brothers. It is a deception. Reread the highlights of the Torah portions. The chaos will fall into one of those categories, and the portion teaches you how to deal with it.

In reality, the many outside distractions are a flimsy fig leave trying to cover the thing we all hate to deal with – self. The root problem is the same issue the first Adam had: Fear. Hearing the voice of Adonai walking in the garden strikes fear in the heart of those that know they are naked before Him. Don’t listen to the voice of fear.

Is. 54:4-5 (NASB) “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.

It’s the season to exchange the fig leave with a new garment provided by Adonai. Let the Holy Spirit do the work of refining, even with fire.

2 Cor. 5:1-5, 10 (NASB) 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. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 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. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge… 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Who doesn’t want to be washed and renewed to don fine white linen garments, like a virgin bride? Perhaps, this is why Adonai placed the betulah or virgin as the mazel to appear in the heavens at this season. The Bride makes herself ready (preparation) before the coming scales of justice in Tishrei (Libra).

In the Torah portions this month, there is a warning to those that falsely accuse a virgin bride. She has a cloth garment with the evidence of blood that proves she is innocent. Beloved, if you are Messiah’s, so do you. BUT, so is your believing/faithful neighbor, even if you disagree on certain points of halachah. Be careful with your accusations. It is the duty of the Ruach HaKodesh to bring each to the place of groaning as He refines one as heavenly gold. No one gets to escape His process of sanctification, which is the point of the festivals. Have compassion for one another as we travail together.

Virgin daughters of Zion, your King is Coming to you! May your righteous acts, the sense for the month of Elul, be bright and clean fine linen at His return at the fall feasts!

Rev. 19:6-9 (NASB) Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”  8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.”

For more on Elul:

Elul

The Vinedresser, the True Vine, and the Branches

A Woman Will Encompass (Eclipse) a Man

 


 

[1]How do we know that the turn or change of the year occurs in the fall? Ask Moses. He gives at least five witnesses (see 5thone in footnote 2):

Ex. 23:16 (KJV)  And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

Ex. 34:22 (TLV) “You are to observe the Feast of Shavuot, which is the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, as well as the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.

Dt. 14:28 (NASB)  “At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. (Context of previous verses places this in the fall.)

Dt. 31:10-11 (NASB)  Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths,  11  when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing.

[2]For those that take issue with the use of the Rabbinical idea of the Feast of Trumpets being dubbed Rosh Hashanah, please see the above footnote. Two of the quotes are from the book of Exodus, which also tells us:

Ex. 12:1-2 (KJV) And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

Verse two doesn’t call Nisan or Aviv the “Head of the Year” or “Rosh Hashanah.” Instead, it calls Nisan the “Head of the Months” or “Rosh Chodeshim.” It shall be the first (rishon) month (chodesh) of the year (shana) to you. I know this irks the Greek, western mindset. I know this because it used to irk me too, lol. But Abba has broadened my understanding, especially with seeming paradoxes such as this. Regardless of your stance on this topic, it is perfectly acceptable in Hebraic thought and in Biblical interpretation to believe (like classic Judaism) that Adonai continued to mark the “year’s” turn or change in the fall, as Moses goes on to do in Exodus 23 and 34 and in Deuteronomy 14 and 31. One can believe this and yet still believe that He marked the head or start for the months in the spring. The four verses in footnote 1 and the Yovel (Jubliee –Lev. 25:8-11) beginning on Yom Kippur, all point to the change and renewal of the shanim (years) in the fall, or seventh month. The question isn’t which is it, spring or fall; rather the answer is yes – both! I love Hebrew thought! It’s so freeing! If this is struggle for you, I pray that your heart and mind are enlarged like Gad.

[3]I love the outline that First Fruits of Zion creates for the weekly Torah portions: https://torahportions.ffoz.org/torah-portions/. (If you use their outline, there is a mistake/typo with Nitzavim as of this writing. The outline listed is actually for the following portion, Vayelech.)

 

Categories: Moedim, new moon, Torah Portions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

What Do Costumes Have to Do With the Book of Esther?

Recently, I participated in a “Table Topics” discussion with Jeremy Legatzke on Hebraic Roots Network. (I’m sure it will air pretty soon.) The topic was Purim. Jeremy prepared several questions that tend to be controversial about this Feast of the People. One question was about the tradition of dressing up or wearing costumes. Pondering this question caused me to dig for an answer. Jeremy quoted from a Haaretz article that states that donning costumes during Purim began in the 14th century as an alternative to lent. Is this tradition a tare that needs to be uprooted or is there a Biblical precedent for this custom?

While I do not agree with the scary Halloween-ish type of costumes, dressing up as Biblical or historical characters can be used as a good (and fun) teaching tool, especially for children. This is true not just for Purim, but at other times as well. Dramatic or associative play (dress-up) is an important part of child development that teaches self-regulation, conflict resolution, and empathy. It encourages imagination, creativity, and language and math development. It also relieves stress, tension, and helps children to deal with traumatic circumstances.

None of this should be surprising to a Bible believer or something we should fear. God made us to be imitators of HIM, so naturally, children learn by imitating the adults they encounter. One year, we dressed up for our Passover Seder and it was one of the most memorable we’ve ever experienced, which is the primary POINT of the Seder.

But, what about Purim? First, it is helpful to do a concordance search on clothing, garments, robes, coverings, adornments, etc. The Word of God actually has A LOT to say about garments. In every generation, clothing has played an integral role as a mark of rank, status, royalty, righteousness, gender, holiness, wickedness, mourning, bridal attire, authority, service, and more. These coverings and what they represent are used literally, figuratively, and metaphorically in the Bible. The first mention of clothing is in Genesis:

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

(I’ve written some thoughts about these “garments of skin” here and here.) The last mention of clothing is in Revelation:

Rev 22:14 (NASB) Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

(I hope you meditate on those two verses for a while, as I believe they teach a profound lesson.) We could spend years exploring garments, the change of garments, and other adornments in the Bible. For now, consider rereading the Book of Esther and underlining or highlighting every time you see a mention of robes, changing clothes, coverings, and other royal attire such as crowns, scepters, and signet rings. That is what I did and it revealed a new dynamic to this fascinating story. If you have a good imagination, you can also picture the attire not mentioned that other characters in the story would have worn. For example, how would one know if a person was part of the royal court, harem, officials, or army if not for their garments?

Wardrobe reveals much about a person. If we see someone wearing a white coat and a stethoscope, we know that individual is a doctor. If we see a man in a blue uniform with a badge, we know that he is a police officer. So, what do the garments in the book of Esther reveal?


Esther Told Through Apparel

  • Queen Vashti’s crown is taken due to her refusal to come at the king’s command. (Est. 1:11,19)
  • Esther is given the crown because she found favor in the king’s eyes and becomes queen. (Est. 2:17)
  • The king gives his signet ring to Haman; giving him the authority to send out a decree to destroy the Jews. (Est. 3:10-15)
  • Mordechai learns of Haman’s plan to annihilate the Jews, tears his clothes, and puts on sackcloth and ashes. (Est. 4:1-2)
  • Many other Jews did the same. (Est. 4:3)
  • Esther donned royal robes to approach the king on his throne. The King extends his golden scepter to Esther and offers her not only her life and favor, but up to half of his kingdom. (Est. 5:1-3)
  • Haman, thinking the king wanted to honor him, tells the king to array a man in the king’s robes and parade him around the city on the king’s royal horse on whose head the royal crown has been placed. (Est. 6:7-9)
  • The king tells Haman to honor Mordecai by doing exactly that. Dress him in the king’s robe and lead him around the city proclaiming, “Thus shall it be done to a man the king desires to honor.” (Est. 6:10-11)
  • Haman was so humiliated that he went home mourning with his “head covered.” (Est. 6:12)
  • When Esther revealed herself and Haman’s plot at the second wine banquet, the king left in his fury. When he returned, he found Haman falling on the couch where Esther sat. The king accused Haman of assaulting Esther, and they (the king’s guard) COVERED Haman’s face. (Est. 7:8)
  • The king took his signet ring off Haman and gave it Mordecai. (Est. 8:2)
  • Mordecai and Esther wrote new decrees in the king’s name and sealed it with the signet ring, so the Jews could fight and defend themselves. (Est. 8:8,10)
  • Mordecai wore royal robes of blue and white linen, a large crown of gold, and another outer garment of purple and linen. (Est. 8:15)

In a sense, the entire plot reversal in the Book of Esther is told through what is “worn.” Can you see how a tradition of dressing up or wearing costumes and masks could have arisen from the Biblical text? This is just the surface level of the story. If we dig deeper, there is more! I’ll give a couple of examples.

Did the King’s Horse Wear a Crown?

Est. 6:8 (NASB)  let them bring a royal robe which the king has worn, and the horse on which the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown has been placed…

It’s obvious that Haman’s pride and unbridled desire for recognition and power had no bounds. This wasn’t lost on King Ahasuerus. Some scholars believe that the Persian horses wore crown-like adornments, especially those used by the royal family, but others disagree. I tend to side with the latter view based on the Hebrew text. The “royal crown” mentioned in the verse above is “מלכות כתר” or keter malkhut. It is used in two other places in the Book of Esther:

Est. 1:11 (NASB) to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful.

Est. 2:17 (NASB) The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

This “royal crown” is different than the large crown of gold (atarah gadol) that was given for Mordecai to wear.[1] Both display authority, but only one represents the actual kingdom, a feminine Hebrew word. Based on the usage of this Hebrew phrase, some scholars believe that what Haman actually requested was not the king’s crown or his horse’s, but the crown of the queen! Even though Haman was second in the kingdom, he wanted more. He wanted to be THE king and have his wife, the queen, too. This isn’t an outrageous interpretation considering what happened when the king returned from his anger at the second wine banquet. He found Haman falling onto the couch (or bed) with Esther.

Est. 7:8 (NKJV) When the king returned from the palace garden to the place of the banquet of wine, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?” As the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.

Ironically, it was this suspicion and judgment that cost Haman his life, not his hatred for the Jews. No one messes with the wife of the king and gets away with it!

Before Esther approached the king unannounced, she had not been summoned in thirty days. (Est. 4:11) Perhaps, the king had already grown bored with her. When she boldly approached him on his throne and invited him and Haman to a “wine banquet,” it intrigued the king. What could she want? To add to the mystery, she didn’t divulge her request at the first banquet, but invited him and Haman to another one the next evening.

After the first banquet, the king couldn’t sleep. Can you blame him? You know he had to be wondering why in the world she (his queen and wife) only invited him and Haman to these specially prepared wine banquets. He tried to ease his troubled and suspicious mind by having the book of records read to him. This is how he discovered that Mordecai had saved his life.

Thus, the next day, all his worry and suspicion is fresh on his mind when he asks Haman how he should honor a man that he desires to honor. Do you think he might have been extra sensitive to Haman using the words “keter malkhut”? After this display, King Ahasuerus was likely wondering if Haman wanted not only his woman, the queen, but also his kingdom and position. I believe this is why he acted so sharply and abruptly when he saw Haman falling onto the couch with Esther. It was a confirmation of all his suspicions!

Haman essentially wanted to switch clothes (roles) with the king. Instead, he ended up wearing the very noose he had prepared for Mordecai! Or perhaps more accurately, a very large pike was adorned with Haman’s head as a warning to all who defied the crown.

Concealed and Revealed

Another common theme in the Book of Esther is hidden motives, hidden identities, and even a hidden God (YHWH’s Name doesn’t appear in the Esther even though His divine providence is seen throughout the book.) Costumes and masks “hide” or “conceal” what is underneath. Esther concealed the fact that she was a Jew at the command of Mordecai, though the writer is sure to tell us that they are from the tribe of Benjamin. (Est. 2)

The author also reveals the lineage of Haman:

Est. 3:1 (NASB) After these events King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and established his authority over all the princes who were with him.

Haman is called the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, or of the Agagites. This recalls Agag the king of the Amalekites, conquered and taken prisoner by Saul, and hewn in pieces by Samuel. (1 Sam. 15:8,33) It also harkens back to when the children of Israel first crossed the Reed (Red) Sea and were attacked by the Amalekites. (Ex. 17:8-16) Hence, both Jewish and Christian expositors regard Haman as a descendant of the Amalekite king, who was a descendant of Esau.

If this is the case, Haman’s hatred of Mordecai and the Jews is a very old sibling rivalry that dates back to Jacob and Esau. On a spiritual level, this is the battle of appetites and desires (flesh) with the truth of the Word of God and His Torah. On the outside, Esau wore the skin of the firstborn, but he was ruled by his flesh rather than the Spirit of God. He acted rashly and without concern for his birthright, because he’d rather be in the field like a beast. But Jacob was a peaceful man of the tents, an idiom for Torah study. Thus, Esau’s stomach of desire sold the divine birthright to Jacob for a bowl of red (earth/flesh-like) soup.

Rebekah was given a Word from the LORD while the boys were still in her womb that the older would serve the younger. And, when an aged and blind (physically and spiritually) Isaac went to bless the boys before he died, Rebekah counseled Jacob to dress up or wear the beast-like costume of Esau.

Jacob disguised his identity by donning the garments of his brother and received the blessing of the firstborn, which YHWH said belonged to him in the first place.

Gen. 27:15 (NASB) Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son.

At first glance, this activity appears to be highly deceptive. I believe we are meant to wrestle with this story. What was really happening here? Did Rebekah and Jacob sin or did they fulfill God’s plan in an unorthodox way? Wasn’t there a way for YHWH’s intended son to receive the birthright and the blessing without such “trickery”?  To add to our struggle, the Word never says that Rebekah or Jacob sinned by going through with their plan.

Israel (Jacob) received the blessing while he was wearing the costume of Esau! Some rabbis teach that this is the real reason for the tradition of wearing costumes on Purim. Descendants of Jacob and Esau met again in Persia, and once again Esau sought the life of Jacob. But also once again, there was a heavenly reversal and Jacob (Mordecai) receives the eminent position that Esau (Haman) sought.

There are some deep lessons to be learned by wearing the garments of another. If children benefit from this activity in the natural, what do you suppose the spiritual counterpart is?

I think the answer is found in Genesis chapter 1:

Gen. 1:27 (NASB) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

We are to be the image of God in the earth. We are to be imitators of the Messiah.[2] We are to be clothed in garments of salvation and robed in His righteousness.[3] But in doing so, sometimes we must beat the beast at his own game of masquerading as an angel of light. Things are not always what they seem. Sometimes we think we are dealing with a harlot, and she’s really a righteous woman doing the will of God. Sometimes we think a ruler is a foreign pagan, and he’s really our brother.

Esau still hates Jacob, even if he offers a kiss. We need to discern these twins within ourselves first. Like Esther, many of us live in exile. But also like Esther, we are daughters of Abihail. (Est.2:15) In Hebrew, Abihail is Av + chayil. Our Father is a strong Warrior!

We recall righteous Tamar that took off her garments of widowhood and concealed her identity from Judah, which procured the line of Judah and the Messiah. We recall Joseph who dressed and spoke like an Egyptian, and saved not only the nation of Israel, but also many others. We remember that the outside of the cup can be deceiving. The children of light give others the benefit of doubt. They are not quick to judge or speak. They do not promote unforgiveness or hatred, even when they are betrayed and hurt. They are image-bearers of God and not a red, hairy beast of the field.

If wearing a costume or dressing up occasionally can teach me to be more like my Daddy, more empathetic to other’s plights, and confuse the schemes of the enemy, then that’s what I want to do.

-K


 

[1] Est. 8:15 (NASB) Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a large crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced.

[2] 1 Cor. 1:11, Eph. 5:1

[3] Is. 61:10

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim | 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 our righteous acts, salvation, wedding garments, 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. He is the first liar, but he also used TRUTH to get Adam and Chavah to stumble. He 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 holy vessels He 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 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 worthlessness, despair, and hopelessness. 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 is 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 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 a destroyer 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. Which takes us to the subject of my next post in this series. Why did Moses’ face shine? And why does the risen Messiah radiate so much light? Coming up soon in Part III.


[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)

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Messianic Issues | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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 say 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 us to 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, 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. The verses above in Genesis, deals with a beast (snake) that speaks like a man.

Examining 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).

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 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 on the heavenly and spiritual reality. This is one reason YHWH gave the commandment to wear tzit-tzit (fringes) on the four corners of our 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, 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 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 (mortal) human skin. The verse 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

Blog at WordPress.com.

The Gathering Place

Media Share With Local Groups

I Am My Father's Daughter

Master of the Universe. I am pleased to be my Fathers Daughter.

Weekly Sabbath Survey

Christian Teaching, Encouraging Words for the times we live in.

The Bee Hive

Pouring out His Divine Honey of Wisdom & Revelation

redshoooz

Living the Abundant Life

In the Galute

B'ney Yosef

His Perfect Timing

My Incredible Journey with God

searchingfornorway

ancestry, geneology, knitting, history

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

Heaven and Earth

Bringing pieces of heaven to earth

Ladder of Jacob

ascend higher.

Operation Jeremiah 6:16

Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Hebrew prophets and other themes from Tanakh

radicalrighteousroots

Biblical foundation resources for the family

Torah Rocker

Writings and studies of Torah

Hardcore Mesorah

Torah and Tefillah for those who aren't faint of heart

BE COURAGEOUS BLOG

NEVER LET GO OF GOD'S HAND

modern day samaritan woman

welcome to all sojourners

Chalom Shalom

Unveiling the Voice of Creation...

ReDo~ReNew

Enjoying New Life in myself, others, and the things I find along the way...

Obadiah's Cave

A place of safety

Blue Jeans and Chocolate

~ My So-Called Glamorous Life

Awakened 2 Torah

It's time to leave Egypt!

The Well Trodden Road

Following the Way back home

Move Your "..BUT God .."

CLIMBING TO THE HEIGHTS OF GOD'S LOVE

Ohana Home Education

"Ohana means family. Family means no-one gets left behind, or forgotten."

Sewn olivette

Elevating Daily Life

Helena

The Protocol of Truth

Wilderness Report

by Cathy Helms

Wholeness 4 Love

Life is for Living & LOVE is a choice!

natsab

Here I stand.

Rus Alan

Kingdom Minded living with issues related to discipleship, the Holy Spirit, and power.

Tannachton Farm

Faith, Family, Farm

GRACE in TORAH

Leaving Egypt is only the beginning of our journey...

Sharing God's Love

My passion is writing to share God's love with everyone who believes in HIm.

Daughters of Torah

Revealing our identity to the nations

Sanctuary Gardener

A Yankee grows in the South ~ Homesteading, gardening, & harvest recipes

little tent on the prairie

Restoring life through simple living

Coffee Shop Rabbi

Basic Judaism spoken here.

%d bloggers like this: