Posts Tagged With: Hebrew

Hebrew Numbers 11-30

This is another reference post to help with Bible study, symbolism, dream interpretation, etc. Related articles can be found on the Misparim page. For numbers 1-10, click here.

22 Hebrew Letters

Eleven achat esre [f.] echad asar [m.] Outsider, disorder, disorganization, incomplete, lack (12-1) or excess (10+1) [both signify imperfection], transition (moving back to 10 or ahead to 12), betrayal, idolatry, bribery, and rebellion to heavenly authority (pictured best by Esau). While eleven can deal with the prophetic realm, be very careful of its counterfeit, divination. (Sadly, many confuse the two.) It is usually about doing what is “right in your own eyes.” It’s action based on “what I feel,” not “what is written.” Thus, it is highly associated with the spirit of anti-messiah. However, there is also some strong indication that if a person is walking uprightly and humble, eleven has prophetic implications.

In Daniel 7, a “little horn” arises from the ten horns of the terrible fourth beast, making it the 11th horn. This horn was epitomized in evil Antiochus Epiphanes, which is a type of the beast and anti-christ. According to Daniel, this man and the spirit of the anti-christ seeks to CHANGE the times and law, that is the Torah and the Feast Days.

‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (Dan 7:25) 

These are the “changes” that Antiochus decreed for Israel:

You shall profane the Sabbath.
You shall profane the festivals and holy days.
You shall set up idols.
You shall eat unclean animals.
You shall not circumcise your sons.
You shall forget the Torah.

Thus, if the “prophetic” word one receives mirrors the actions of Antiochus and seeks to abrogate God’s Holy Law or Holy Feast Days… run! It is not a Word from the LORD.

Eleventh Hebrew Letter: Khaf Numerical value of twenty. Pictograph meaning of an open hand or container. As a suffix, it shows possession or ownership. An open hand is one that receives, or in Hebrew kabbalah. It’s interesting that Jewish mysticism or kabbalah depicts both sides of the number eleven. There are true prophetic things in kabbalistic teachings, but there is also a much more popular form that is perverted like divination. The number/letter also can mean similar. Our job is to discern the difference.

  • Jacob had to face Esau while his family was incomplete with 11 sons (Benjamin wasn’t yet born). He had to fight an “Angel of the LORD” all night long.
  • Esau’s chieftains were eleven (Gen. 36:40-43) compared to Jacob’s twelve. Just reviewing the history of Esau’s lineage (Edom) makes it abundantly clear that he is associated with rebellion and living by the nephesh (beast/flesh).
  • The wilderness journey was only eleven days, but rebellion cost Israel forty more years in the desert. Moses recounted this punishment to them on the first day of the eleventh month (Dt. 1).
  • Eleven disciples were incomplete until a twelfth was chosen. (Acts 1:21-26)
  • Delilah betrayed the judge Samson by taking the bribe of 5 lords of the Philistines. Each offered her 1100 pieces of silver. (Jud. 16:6, 3:3)
  • Right after Samson’s story in Judges, the remaining chapters (17-21) depict the moral and political decay of Israel. All of it is contrary to God’s order. And amazingly, it all begins with a story about another 1100 pieces of silver. Here are the highlights and I believe they are indicative of the number 11:

The word to describe the state of affairs in these chapters is “confusion“: Stolen money is used for idols, the Lord is invoked to bless the thief, individual shrines replace worship at the tabernacle, Levites and common people are consecrated as priests, idols are used in the worship of Jehovah. And Micah supposed the Lord would bless him in all of this! Moreover, as the story continues, A Levite’s concubine is raped to death, a civil war ensues, and the tribe of Benjamin is almost wiped out. This verse begins and ends the entire series of chapters: In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Jdg. 17:6 & 21:25)

  • 5 + 6 = 11. Look back at the meaning of numbers five and six. If power and strength (5) is added to man and beast (6), a twisted counterfeit emerges unless that man (or woman) is ruled by the Spirit of Adonai. In the case of the latter, eleven can symbolize a place of godly transition. Sadly, many believe that Adonai rules them, but it is their nephesh/flesh that really has the upper hand. Where this is true, their life will be characterized by confusion, disorder, an extreme of lack or excess, duplicity, corruption, divination, and the like.
  • Messiah was “cut off” (crucified) because of our rebellion (sins) when He was about 33 years old (3 x 11). (Dan. 9:26) In His case, this was obviously a godly “transition” as He overcame the grave!

Twelve shtayim esre [f.] shnayim asar [m.] perfect government, order, organization, united, perfect subdivisions of time (12 hours in day, 12 months in a year, 12 primary constellations) and of people (12 tribes of Israel, 12 Disciples/Apostles). This demonstrates a holy people serving a holy God based on the Creator’s clock and calendar.

  • Twelfth Hebrew Letter: Lamed Numerical value of thirty. Pictographic meaning shepherd’s hook/staff, teaching, learning, goading, protection, yoke, bind. Infinitive prefix for verbs, meaning to or for or belonging to.
  • 12 foundations in the heavenly Jerusalem
  • 12 Gates
  • 12 Pearls
  • At age 12, Yeshua first appears in public and engages with the teachers in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:42, He was at Bar Mitzvah age.)
  • In Luke 8, a woman that had an issue of blood for 12 years touches Yeshua’s tzit-tzyiot (tassels/fringes) and she is healed. This occurred while He was on His way to heal a 12 year girl.
  • 2×10= 12. If we look at the ideal for numbers two and ten, then we can see that 12 is about a united (2) and perfect congregation (10).
  • 3×4=12. Again, looking at the ideal for numbers three and four, we can see that when the seed is ripened (3) with the Holy Spirit (4), it produces resurrection life (3) that is powered by divine government (4).
  • 2×6=12. If we review numbers two and six, twelve will ideally picture a unified relationship (2) that is serving in the image of Elohim (6). The beast is being ruled by the two in one flesh of restored Adam (mankind).
  • Multiples of twelve, such as 24 or 144,000 will carry these same ideas.

Thirteen shlosh esre [f.] shlosha asar [m.] Thirteen is associated with covenant, love, unity, and eternity. It is the 6th prime number, so it will have some of the same meanings as the number six. Thirteen has the stigma of being an “unlucky” number. I don’t believe in luck, nor do I believe that thirteen ONLY has negative connotations. The idea that the number 13 is bad luck comes from pagan influences. The Hebrew word for love (ahavah) and oneness (echad) share the numerical value of 13. Thus, one would expect to see 13 linked with love and unity. However, on the negative side, there are connections to the opposite of love, which is not hate, but apathy, indifference, and fear.

  • Thirteenth Hebrew Letter: Mem Numerical value of forty. Pictographic meaning of water, chaos, immersion, womb, blood. Mem is the “center” of the Hebrew alefbet. Shows the masculine plural. As a prefix, is the preposition from, out of, or the means by which.
  • God expresses His glory with 13 attributes. (Ex. 34:6-7, Micah 7:18-20)[1]
  • In Hebrew, the combined letters in the names of the 3 patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) reduce to 13.
  • In Hebrew, the combined letters in the names of the 4 matriarchs (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah) reduce to 13.
  • 13 is considered the age of a youth for becoming a Bar and Bat Mitzvah (son and daughter of the commandments).
  • There are 13 rules of Torah interpretation in Jewish hermeneutics.
  • There are 12 tribes of Israel, yet there are 13 if one counts Ephraim and Manasseh instead of Joseph.
  • There are 12 Hebrew months, but occasionally there is an added 13th month to keep the lunar-solar Hebrew calendar in sync.
  • There are 613 Torah commandments. (600 + 13). Six is the number of a man made in the image of Elohim and 13 is the number of love. Truly, all the commandments hang on one: LOVE (First God, and then your neighbor as yourself).
  • The thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians teaches about LOVE.
  • 6+7=13. The ideal for the number 6 (man expressing the image of God and sacrificial love) added to the number 7 (divine rest, completeness, and reverence), produces both love and unity.
  • The negative side of 6 (man following the image of the beast) added to 7 (one who separates or causes strife between brothers), produces rebellion, destruction, and apathy. It is fear based, rather than being rooted in perfect love. This is best depicted by the seventh church of Revelation: Laodicea (The people lack love; they are apathetic, indifferent, or “lukewarm.”)

Fourteen arbah esre (f) arba’ah asar (m) Multiple of SEVEN, a double measure. The number of the Messiah. To reproduce, recreate, disciple, servant, bond-servant. The moon is nearly full on the fourteenth day of each Hebrew month, symbolizing fullness, revelation, and increased (spiritual) light.

  • Fourteenth Hebrew Letter: Nun Numerical value of 50. Pictographic meaning life, fish, seed, heir, productiveness, continuity, permanence, prophetic, multiplication.
  • Jacob served Laban for fourteen years to marry Leah and Rachel. (Gen. 31:41)
  • After the rebellion of Korah, the people accused Moses of killing the LORD’s people. A plague then consumed 14,700 of them. (Notice the 7s). (Num. 16:49)
  • Every day of Sukkot (Tabernacles), a 7-day feast, 14 lambs were offered. (Num. 29)
  • Solomon celebrated Sukkot for fourteen days when he dedicated the first Temple of YHWH. (1 Kings 8)
  • The genealogy of the Messiah is divided up and given in two sets of fourteen (Mt. 1). David’s name has a numeric value of 14 (dalet, vav, dalet). This is one way that Matthew connected Messiah with David in his gospel.
  • Paul says that he waited fourteen years to go up to Jerusalem a second time to meet with the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. (Gal. 2:1) This speaks to one being patient and gaining wisdom and experience before pushing ahead with an agenda — even if it is from Elohim!

Fifteen chamesh esre (f) chamish’a asar (m) A multiple of FIVE. The short or poetic form of God’s most holy Name (Yahyohd, hey) has a numerical value of fifteen. Fifteen implies salvation, healing, redemption, prolonging, stepping up, ascending, and fullness (like the LIGHT of the full moon).

  • Fifteenth Hebrew Letter: Samech Numerical value of 60. Pictographic meaning thorn, to surround, support, protect, wheel, snake.
  • There are fifteen Psalms of Ascent. (Ps. 120-134) These Psalms were sung as travelers made their way to the three pilgrimage festivals in Jerusalem. In the Holy Temple courtyard, there was an ultra wide stairway that consisted of fifteen large, semi-circular steps that “ascended” into the inner section of the courtyard. The Levites would play music on these steps and sing these fifteen Psalms.
  • YHWH prolonged the life of King Hezekiah by healing him and adding fifteen years to his life. (2 Kings 20, Is. 38:5)
  • Hosea redeemed his wife with fifteen shekels of silver. (Hos. 3)
  • The fifteenth day of (biblical lunar) months always falls on the full moon. The most LIGHT in the night sky occurs when the moon is full. The first day of Unleavened Bread, and the first day of Sukkot, both begin when the moon is full. (See more on this in Moonbeams and the Moedim.)
  • The Aaronic Benediction (Priestly Blessing) consists of fifteen Hebrew words. (Num. 6:24-26)

Sixteen shesh esre (f) shisha asar (m) Multiple of eight. Without boundaries or limits. New beginning. Olam Olam. Outside of time as we know it. Lingering with the Father. Can also picture the completeness of seven (16= 1+6=7) that leads to new beginnings. Covenant. (See eight for more information.)

  • Sixteenth Hebrew Letter: Ayin Numerical value 70. (70 is the number of the nations.) Pictographic meaning eye, well (of water), vision (literal and prophetic), perception, seven Spirits of God (as eyes roaming to and fro).

Seventeen shva esre (f) shiv’a asar (m) Seventeen is the 7th prime number, thus some meanings will mirror seven. 7+10=17 indicates the meaning of the number ten will also inform seventeen. While completeness, divine order, and a congregation are related to this number, the Scriptures also reveal that even those that are called to walk in these attributes can act presumptuously in their immaturity. Joseph was seventeen when he brought the evil report about his brothers to his father Jacob. (Gen. 37:2) Seventeen is close to adulthood (age 20), but not quite. Thus, immaturity, childishness, underdevelopment, and naivety can be indicative of seventeen. The mouth reveals ones state of maturity.

  • Seventeenth Hebrew Letter: Peh Numerical value of 80. Pictographic meaning of mouth, opening, speech, blow, scatter.

Eighteen shmoneh esre (f) shmonah asar (m) In Hebrew, the word for LIFE, chai (chet, yohd) is also the number eighteen. Both prayer and Temple worship are related to the number eighteen. Meanings are related to life, prayer, worship, devotion, offerings, charity, being loosed or freed, and sacrifice. Conversely, when one is rebellious to YHWH, it can relate to the opposite of life: judgment, destruction, captivity, and bondage.

  • Eighteenth Hebrew Letter: Tzaddi Numerical value of 90. Pictographic meaning trail, journey, hunt, righteous (upright) one, justice.
  • In Jewish law, Matzah (Unleavened Bread) is baked for no more than eighteen minutes to be considered Kosher for Pesach (Passover).
  • The Amidah or the Shemoneh Esrei is a standing prayer with eighteen benedictionsThese prayers were formulated to correspond to the daily (continual) offerings at the Temple. These are the “calves of our lips.” (Hosea 14:2)
  • The future New Jerusalem (from Ezekiel’s vision) will be 18,000 cubits: “The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The LORD is there.'” (Ezek. 48:35)
  • In Luke 13:4, the Tower of Siloam fell on eighteen people in judgement. 
  • Yeshua healed a woman bound with an infirmity that caused her to be bent over for eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17). Someone “bent over” with an infirmity is figuratively the opposite of someone “upright” or righteous. Yeshua released (loosed) this woman from the bondage of the enemy. Whatever was preventing her from walking uprightly for 18 long years was removed.
  • The Israelites were punished for periods of eighteen years for idolatry and rebellion in the time of the Judges. (Judges 3:14; 10:8; 20:44)

Nineteen tsha esre (f) tish’a asar (m) 10+9=19, meanings of ten and nine will factor into the number nineteen. Divine order, judgment, truth revealed or concealed. Nineteen is the 8th prime number, which also indicates links to the number eight.

  • Nineteenth Hebrew Letter: Koof Numerical value of one hundred. Pictographic meaning sun on the horizon, time, imitation (of God or enemy), circle.
  • Chavah or Eve has a Gematria value of 19. (See how the woman is associated with the number nine here.)

Twenty esrim (n) Manhood. The age of accountability for those counted among the people for service, war, and worship. (Ex. 30:14; 38:26, Lev. 27:3, Num. 1, 1 Chron. 23:24; 27:23) Doubling of the number ten. Maturity, accountability, being counted, expectation.

  • Twentieth Hebrew Letter: Reish Numerical value of two hundred. Pictographic meaning a man’s head, authority, beginning, first, top.
  • Humans have 10 fingers and ten toes, which together are 20 and symbolize a person’s deeds and walk (lifestyle/where they go).
  • 1 shekel is equal to 20 gerahs. (Ex. 30:13)

Twenty-One esrim v’achat (f) esrim v’echad (m) Can denote a tripling of seven (3×7=21). This can be good as in a multiplication of rest, holiness, or the seven Spirits of God, but can also depict judgment and the spirit of anti-messiah as seen in the triplets of sevens from the Book of Revelation. Can also represent delay or to stand against as seen in Daniel below.

  • Twenty First Hebrew Letter: Shin Numerical value of three hundred. Pictographic meaning of teeth, to devour, chew on, destroy, think about, ponder, fire, tongues of fire, sharpen, press, eat, consume.
  • The Prince of Persia delayed the message Daniel had prayed about for twenty-one days. Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:12-13) The message was about the latter or end days (vs. 14).

Twenty-Two esrim v’shtayim (f) esrim v’shnayim (m) There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet; hence this encompasses the whole of the Word of God, the beginning and the end, the aleph and the tav, and the alpha and the omega. It also represents the LaShon HaKodesh (Holy Tongue). On the negative side, it can picture something wholly wicked as the doubling of eleven (disorganization, doing what is right in your own eyes, anti-christ). Likewise, 22 can picture something highly prophetic or something divined by sorcery. Either way, positive or negative, sacred or profane, it involves WORDS. Other positive meanings: totality, creation, life, and order. Other negative meanings: disorder, destruction or break down, missing components, distress, banishment.

  • Twenty Second Hebrew Letter: Tav Numerical value of four hundred. Pictographic meaning the seal (of God) or the mark of the enemy, completion, signal, symbol, monument. As a multiple of four, government and authority (whether holy or wicked) are also insinuated.
  • YHWH spoke the Universe into existence. He used Words and words are made from letters. Thus, the Hebrew letters are the building blocks to all life.
  • The 22 letters are like human DNA. Each cell has Twenty-two pairs of chromosomes, called autosomes, with an additional pair of sex chromosomes.  The sex chromosomes are the only difference between males and females. Females have XX, while males have XY.
  • David used an acrostic featuring all 22 Hebrew letters when he penned Psalm 119. Eight verses are devoted to each of the Hebrew letters to praise YHWH for His Torah, commandments, and precepts. It’s as if he were “counting the ways” of his love for YHWH and His WORD.

RandomNumbers

Twenty-Three esrim v’shalosh (f) esrim v’shlosha (m) Based on the few Biblical passages that refer to this number, it appears that twenty-three has much to do with immorality, stubbornness, grumbling, complaining, wickedness, idolatry, etc. 

  • Jeremiah preached repentance to an obstinate people for 23 years as the Word of YHWH came to him. (Jer. 25:3, Read this passage for context)
  • Paul reminds about the fall of 23,000 in the wilderness: Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. (1 Cor. 10:6-10)

Twenty-Four esrim v’arba (f) esrim v’arba’a (m) Multiple of twelve. Heavenly government and worship, dividing of time (24hrs in a day), priesthood, watchmen, all parts working together in service to YHWH. On the negative end are those that oppose the government, authority, and worship of the true God. The giant with 24 fingers and toes described below best depicts this.

  • The priests were divided into 24 courses to perform their service in the Tabernacle/Temple. (1 Chron. 24)
  • There are 24 elders around the heavenly throne in John’s vision in the Book of Revelation. (Doubling of 12)
  • Time is daily divided into 24 hour periods.
  • Watchmen (Levites, but not priests) were divided into 24 orders to guard the sanctity of the Holy Mount.
  • The Holy Land was divided into 24 districts.
  • The word shalom (peace) is found 24 times in the Torah.
  • There are 24 books in the Tanakh (Old Testament).  [Christians divide the same books differently to form 39. For example, Jews lump all twelve of the Minor Prophets together into one “book”.]
  • David’s nephew, Jonathan, killed a giant with 24 fingers and toes. This meant that the giant had 6 fingers on each hand and 6 toes on each foot. Since this giant opposed YHWH and His anointed, it’s safe to assume that he followed the image of the beast (6) both inside and out. Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot; and he also was descended from the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him. (1 Chron. 20:6-7)

Twenty-Five esrim v’chamesh (f) esrim v’chamisha (m) Related to five, as in 5 squared or 5×5. Has to do with strength and power to go the distance to spread the Seed or the Good News. This is demonstrated by the age of the priesthood apprenticeship beginning at age 25. Negatively, it is multiplied feet set to do evil and give wicked counsel. Ezekiel’s vision below is an example of this.

  • Chanukah (Feast of Dedication & Light) is on Kislev 25th. The 25th word in the Hebrew Bible is אור “ohr” which is LIGHT. Light & Seed are equivalent expressions.
  • Levites began to apprentice or learn their service to YHWH at the age of twenty-five. (Num. 8:24) [Their ministry doesn’t officially begin until age thirty.]
  • Ezekiel saw 25 men in a vision with their backs toward the Temple and faces toward the sun (false worship). Later, Ezekiel discovers who these men are and what their judgment will be. (Ezek. 8:16; 11:1-13)

Twenty-Six esrim v’shesh (f) esrim v’shisha (m) The numerical value of the Divine and Most Holy Name: YHWH (yohd, hey, vav, hey) is twenty-six. The Torah was given on Mt. Sinai in the 26th generation of mankind. (There were 10 generations from Adam to Noach, 10 generations from Noach to Abraham, and another 6 generations from Abraham to Moses.) Means oneness (YHWH is One [Dt. 6:4]), but also carries ideas associated with the number four (The most holy Name has four letters): dominion, authority, fullness, giving of Torah and Holy Spirit.

  • 2×13=26, denoting that 26 is related to thirteen. Thirteen means covenant, love, and unity.
  • Mankind is created in the image of YHWH (26). Not coincidently, the Bible begins to describe the creation of mankind in the 26th verse on the Torah scroll in Hebrew. This is true even in English Bibles: Gen. 1:26 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.”

Twenty-Seven esrim v’sheva (f) esrim v’shiv’a (m) Three cubed equals twenty-seven. Thus, review the number three for more details as to how 27 is an exponential picture of this. To gather, resurrect, seeds, trees, fruit, counsel, dry land, chaos adverted, firstfruits, harmony, and balance. 3 x 9 = 27, thus the significance of the number nine reveals traits of twenty-seven. Based on the Scripture references below, it appears that 27 is linked also to things hidden being revealed and the Seed of the Woman, which is the mystery of the Gospel (nations being coheirs with Israel).

  • Sarah lived 127 years (Gen. 23:1). She is the “mother of nations.”
  • The Persian King Ahasuerus and Esther the Jewess ruled 127 provinces [nations] (Esther 1:1). As a descendant of Sarah, Esther was truly a “mother of nations.”

Twenty-Eight esrim v’shmoneh (f) esrim v’shmonah (m) 4×7=28, indicating that twenty-eight is linked to both four and seven. As mentioned in Hebrew Numbers 1-10, four and seven are indeed connected and picture many of the same things. 14+14  equals 28, linking Messiah to this number as well. A full lunar month can occur in only 28 days. Jewish thought associates 28 with seasons as seen below. Thus, 28 has to do with holy time and the calendar.

  • King Solomon enumerated 28 times, seasons, or purposes for everything under Heaven (Ecc. 3:1-8).

Twenty-Nine esrim ve tesha (f) esrim ve tish’a (m)
 The number of accountability and expectation (20) plus the number of judgment, fruitfulness, and multiplication (9). It also has connotations of potential.

Thirty shloshim (n) Represents the life cycle in miniature. Perfect order (3 x10), maturity for official ministry or service, price of bondservant, time of mourning a life.

  • Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh (Gen. 41:46).
  • King David began to reign when he was thirty years old (2 Sam. 5:4).
  • Messiah was thirty years old when His ministry began (Luke 3:23).
  • Aaron was mourned for thirty days (Num. 20:29).
  • Moses was mourned for thirty days (Dt. 34:8).
  • Priests that handled the most holy things began their official service at age thirty. (Num. 4)
  • The redemption price for a bondservant gored by an ox is 30 shekels of silver (Ex. 21:32).
  • Zechariah prophetically asks Judah to estimate his value. He is valued at 30 shekels of silver (Zech 11:12-13).
  • Judas betrays Messiah for 30 shekels of silver. (Mt. 26:15)
  • Samson had thirty Philistine companions when he went to marry his wife. He put a riddle to them, offering them thirty changes of clothes if they could figure it out. But his new bride tricked Samson into revealing the riddle, so Samson slew thirty men to fulfill his wager. (Judges 14 — multiples of 3 reign in Samson’s story.)

[1] Ex. 34:6-7 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

For more references, see the footnotes under the page Misparim.

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Moonbeams and the Moedim Part III

If you haven’t read Part I and Part II of Moonbeams and the Moedim, please start there for the best context. In this post, I had planned to cover the Feast Days within the framework of a human gestation cycle, but I felt it was more important to first lay the foundation of why NINE months are necessary for new life. Due to length, gestation and the moedim will be covered in Part IV. Sorry!

Nine

In Part IV of this series, I will enumerate all seven Feasts of YHWH and the two feasts of the people, Chanukah and Purim. All nine of these days will then be compared to the human gestation cycle. Regardless of how you view the latter two festivals, I encourage you to consider my conclusions. If we add the feasts of the people with YHWH’s seven moedim listed in Leviticus 23, we get a total of 9. These nine feasts span an approximate nine month period.[1] Not coincidentally, so does the gestation cycle of a human being.

As it turns out, the number nine, represented with the Hebrew letter tet, harnesses not only the duality of women, but also their associations with concealment, birth, and fruitfulness. I plan on using some space to explore this letter, its meaning, and usage because I believe it is intricately linked to our subject matter. In modern block print, tet looks like this:

tetIn ancient pictographic form, this letter looked like a vessel, basket, or a container. Frank Seekins’ Hebrew Word Pictures suggests that the imagery of tet could also be a coiled snake, implying something that surrounds (like a woman’s womb). Tet actually looks very similar to an inverted letter mem, the other Hebrew letter associated with the womb. We will explore the womb more fully in a latter post. For now, you can view this footnote for a brief explanation.[2] In Modern Hebrew print, this letter still looks like a receptacle with an inverted spout or rim.

While tet is actually the least common letter in the Hebrew Bible, the first time it appears is in the word tov or good, which is used numerous times throughout the Creation story. I hope you just made the connection that like the Holy Spirit, the moon, and women, tet is the least “seen” letter in the Bible. In other words, there is a “hidden” aspect in all of these things that provides a place of protection, so that growth can safely occur. But, that is what a womb (and a woman) does! They surround and protect new life in order to build the family. Though hidden, this stage is good and necessary.

The goodness of fruit is hidden or concealed within a woman until the fullness of time –nine months. This natural picture of gestation is manifested in the spiritual when one produces the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit, both of which, are NINE. (Gal. 5:22-23, 1 Cor. 12:8-10) When nine reveals what it conceals inside, fruitfulness, multiplication, and the building of the House are made visible.

The multiplication aspect of the number nine is extended into the natural through mathematics. If any number is multiplied by nine the resulting digits always add to nine. For example: 2 x 9 = 18 (1+ 8=9); 3 x 9 = 27 (2+7=9); 4 x 9 = 36 (3+6=9), and so on. Also, every multiple of nine will reduce back to nine. This makes a mirroring effect when the multiplication tables are written out. Can you see the reflecting nature of nine in this graphic?

magic9-4Nine is quite a fascinating number! You can view more mathematical tricks of nine here. For now, consider that every multiple of nine remains nine. For example, consider these biblical numbers: 144, 153, and, 666. All reduce to 9 in Gematria.[3] (1+4+4=9, 1+5+3=9, 6+6+6=36=3+6=9)

Moreover, there are some pretty important Hebrew words that reduce to nine. Adam, a-men, covenant, light, Shabbat, and chesed (loving-kindness) all equal nine when reduced. These seeming anomalies weren’t lost on the rabbis. True to its pictograph, there is obviously something good about this number, though it appears shrouded in mystery. Perhaps, the most notable word associated with nine, TRUTH (אמת), will help one’s understanding.

Not only does truth reduce to nine, but its Hebrew spelling contains the first, middle, and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The rabbis’ say the lesson we are to learn is that something that is true cannot be altered and must be true at the beginning, middle, and end. (I hope this reminds you of Messiah! [4]) In other words, truth is immutable and eternal. Like God, it changes not.[5] This author finds it fascinating that the number nine implies this reality in the natural through mathematics. Remember, every multiple of nine remains to be nine. It will not change!

Maybe this is one reason that the Creator chose to give humans life in a nine month gestation cycle. And perhaps, this is why the festivals that testify to eternal life also span a nine month period. Fruit, whether of the womb or of the Spirit, is concealed in order to grow, mature, and eventually sprout new life. The tet pictures all of this and more.

One way in which we connect to the Creator to effect a changed life is through prayer. The Amidah prayer has 18 (1+8=9) benedictions. The ninth hour is not only called the hour of prayer (Acts 3:1; 10:30), but is also the hour that Messiah gave up His Spirit on the Tree (Cross). (Mt. 27:46) By this, He made the ultimate connection between us and the Creator. What was concealed, at last was revealed.  And the mysterious number nine had a role to play in that glorious act!

The Flip Side of Nine

But like most all things Biblical and Hebraic, there is another side to this coin. All words have both a positive and a negative connotation and many words are a contranym.[6] Tet is no exception. Do you recall all of those wonderful positive words associated with nine and tet like truth, covenant, light, and Shabbat? Well, on the flip side, the Hebrew words satan and seduce also contain the letter tet. Although tet is a symbol for GOOD, it can also be a symbol for EVIL. In other words, within the letter tet is the potential for duality.

For example, the Hebrew words for pure and impure (clean and unclean) both begin with the letter tet. While neither of these bodily states imply evil, they do suggest dualism. Obviously, women move in and out of purity and impurity in their monthly cycle and after giving birth. Family purity laws[7] pretty much center on these states of being and their required sacrifices and washings. The Sages make an inference from this that only God, symbolizing Divine Goodness, has the power to make the unclean clean again. In this way, tet unites both the pure and impure in duality to create one renewed entity.

While tet is the symbol for the number nine, the Hebrew word that spells the same number is tayshah. It comes from the root sha’ah,[8] meaning to look to, regard or gaze upon. It is first used when God regarded Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s. Thus, the number nine also implies righteous judgment and discernment.

14224971_10153927122020875_935253292969723228_nThe dualism continues with the Hebrew tet if one considers the modern numeral 9. It appears to be an inverted 6 — the number for both man and the beast.  This question from the very beginning is one that we all must answer. Will you be a man created in the image of Elohim or will you, in the end, be found marked with the image of the beast? When the Creator turns us upside down in judgment (9), either a man or a beast (6) will be revealed.

God had Moses make and mount a brass serpent on a pole to heal those that had been bitten by his judgment of fiery snakes in the wilderness.[9] Later, Yeshua tells Nicodemus that He would be lifted up just as that serpent on the pole had been and that by this He would bring salvation to His people.[10] In these accounts, we can see Yeshua associating Himself with the serpent. He is not the serpent, but He is the Seed of the Woman[11] that crushes the serpent’s head. How does one receive healing or salvation in these examples? By looking upon or regarding the one lifted up — this is the goodness hidden/concealed within the letter tet. What appeared tragic or evil was concealed for God’s tov (good) purposes! Thus, tet demonstrates the two postures of man as referenced by this graphic:

tet-dualWe are a builder or a destroyer, a man or a beast, good or evil. But if we are honest in our self-examinations, we learn that each and every one of us is a contranym.[12] Within even the most holy soul on earth, duality is present with the potential for wickedness. We are like the letter tet because we are a vessel with the potential for both good and evil.

Sometimes our goodness is concealed though the possiblilty for actualization is real. Other times we erect our head like a serpent and gnash our teeth at the very One that was lifted on the stake for our salvation. The serpent beast within must learn to shed its skin of pride and take on the weighty humility of truth. The 6 (man/beast) will be inverted through righteous judgment (9). The question is: Will YHWH find a humble man or a striking snake when your vessel is turned over to reveal its contents?

Now that we’ve laid the foundation of the importance of nine and hinted at its role in the gestation of new life, my next post (Part IV) will cover the festival cycle and human gestation.

(For even more on tet, please see this video by Rabbi Trugman.)

 


 

[1] For example, this year (2015), Purim begins on March 4th and Chanukah begins on December 6th. There are approximately nine months that this year is pregnant with the feasts of Israel.

[2] There are two Hebrew words for womb: rechem and beten. The former has a mem, and the latter a tet. However, beten is used in a much broader sense and can refer to the bowels of either a man or a woman. Rechem is used exclusively for the feminine womb that carries a child. It is also the Hebrew word for mercy. These things will be elaborated on in a future post on the Biblical Role of Women.

[3] This article from Hebrew for Christians explains Hebrew Gematria.

[4] Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Heb. 13:8 CJB)

[5] “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (Mal. 3:6 NASB)

[6] A word that can mean the opposite of itself is a contranym. Examples in English: bound (bound for Chicago, moving) and bound (tied up, unable to move), cleave (to cut apart) and cleave (to seal together), buckle (buckle your pants — to hold together) and buckle (knees buckled — to collapse, fall apart), citation (award for good behavior) and citation (penalty for bad behavior), clip (attach to) and clip (cut off from), dust (remove dust) and dust (apply dust — fingerprints), fast (moving rapidly) and fast (fixed in position), left (remaining) and left (having gone), literally (literally) and literally (figuratively), moot (arguable) and moot (not worthy of argument).

[7] Here is an article about Family Purity from the Jewish Virtual Library.

[8] H8159 שׁעה shâ‛âh BDB Definition:

1) to look at or to, regard, gaze at or about

1a) (Qal) to gaze at, regard, behold, look about

1b) (Hiphil) to look away, cause gaze to turn away

1c) (Hithpael) to look in dismay, gaze about (in anxiety)

Part of Speech: verb

[9] Num. 21:4-8  Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey.  (5)  The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.”  (6)  The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.  (7)  So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people.  (8)  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.”

[10] John 3:13-15 “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.  (14)  “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;  (15)  so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

[11] Gen. 3:14-15  The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;  (15)  And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

[12] See footnote 6. Also see The Creation Gospel Series by Dr. Hollisa Alewine.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

A Parable

Proverbs 1:1-7  The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;  (2)  To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;  (3)  To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;  (4)  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.  (5)  A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:  (6)  To understand a proverb (mashal), and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.  (7)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (NASB)

Back to the Beginning

In The Biblical Role of Women posts, we explored and compared Bereshit (Genesis) 3:16 and 4:7. These two verses are about Chavah’s (Eve’s) curse after the serpent deceived her and YHWH’s remarks to Cain before he killed Abel. If you will recall, YHWH’s statements in these verses contain some striking similarities, especially in Hebrew.

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” (Gen. 3:16 NASB)

“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.” (Gen. 4:7 NASB)

In this post, instead looking at the word for desire, teshukah, as we did in the Biblical Role of Women, I want to explore the Hebrew word translated as rule and master. In each of the verses above, the same Hebrew word is used: moshal (משׁל). This is the verb form of the word mashal, which means proverb or parable. This Hebrew word is very interesting.

Strong’s defines the verb moshal as to rule: (have, make to have) dominion, governor, and reign. And defines the noun mashal as a sense of superiority in mental action; properly a pithy maxim, usually of a metaphorical nature; hence a simile (as an adage, poem, discourse): – byword, like, parable, proverb.

The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible defines both words together since they are cognates. Rule, dominion: The dominion one rules over. Also the comparison of things as a rule of measurement. Compare: To compare one thing to another in the sense of a rule of measurement, often a proverb or parable.

Thus, the Hebrew word for rule and dominion is also the word for a proverb or parable. Think about that for moment. How are these words related in the Hebraic mindset? Rabbi David Fohrman, in his book The Beast that Crouches at the Door,[1] suggests that the reason people tell parables is to interpret reality. In our day-to-day experiences of life, things can happen that are hard to make sense of or understand. We need something to “compare it to.” This is how a story, parable, or proverb “rules” over our experience. They point out what is important in our circumstance so that we can understand and grow. Is this not what a (good) ruler does for us? He sorts out our circumstances and directs our paths.

Proverbs 1:1-7 is quoted at the beginning of this post. Look at the words that Solomon used to describe the function of a proverb or parable (mashal) in these verses: to know, to understand, to perceive, to receive, to attain, and to increase in knowledge, wisdom, understanding, judgment, and equity. A parable opens the door for us to perceive or understand something that to us, is hidden. By relating a message in story form, the moral or lesson is left up to the hearer to discern or interpret. Is this not why Yeshua concludes many parables[2] with: “He that has ears to hear, let him hear?

Whether a particular connection or comparison is understood also depends on what or who controls the heart of a person. At least, this is the conclusion of King Solomon in verse 7. What Solomon points out is that a person that fears YHWH can “hear” what the proverb or parable is teaching. Conversely, those without YHWH as their Master and Elohim (God), have no real wisdom or knowledge. A life devoid of the governing Word of the Creator is nothing more than the unbridled desire, passion, and appetites of a fool. In other words, what rules or controls the person is their own nephesh or soul. Are you starting to see the pattern of mashal’s integrated uses of to rule and a parable?

Solomon wants to teach his children with the authority of a proverb. This is the purpose of a parable. They contain the power (rule; dominion) to change a person’s perception of life, circumstances, and even their worldview. That’s pretty powerful! They are the lighthouses that reveal the shoreline on a dark and foggy night. Do you ever find that your “vision” is blurred by your situation? Have you ever felt that you are at a crossroads? I know I have on numerous occasions. We all need a mashal that will shift our lenses so that YHWH’s purpose and will comes into our focus.

If we listen (shema) carefully, YHWH gives these mashalim (proverbs/parables) to us all the time. They definitely are found in Scripture, but they also occur in our day-to-day lives. For example, the other day I was correcting my son for the umpteenth time for something we’ve covered again and again. I was frustrated by his lack of compliance and apathetic attitude. I vocalized my disappointment by saying that all he had to do was simply obey what I said. “Why can’t you do that?” I asked.

Immediately, I felt YHWH say to me, “That’s how I feel. You do the same thing to me all the time. Why can’t you also simply obey me?” Wow, talk about feeling like a hypocrite! My loving Father used my son as a living parable to teach or direct my focus to a problem I couldn’t “hear” without this powerful comparison. If I change my actions because of this mashal, then I have increased or attained wisdom as the verses quoted above in Proverbs attest.

In the account with Eve and Cain, is there more to the proverbial story than we’ve previously conceived? Isn’t there always? We find the exact same Hebrew structure in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7. Teshukah and Mashal. Passion, desire, and appetites compared with dominion, rule, and mastering. Is YHWH highlighting something for us here in the beginning? Is there a parable that will direct us further? I hope to explore this in my next post called Masters.


[1] I have a digital version, so page numbers do not correlate properly. You can find his musings of moshal/mashal in chapter 12. The hard copy can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/The-Beast-That-Crouches-Door/dp/0983269041/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386891475&sr=8-1&keywords=the+beast+that+crouches+at+the+door

[2] Mt. 11:15, 13:9, 13:43; Mk. 4:9; Lk. 8:8; 14:35, and other places phrased slightly different.

Categories: Musings, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Torah Portion: Shlach L’cha

Torah Portion for June 1st, 2013

Numbers 13:1-15:41; Joshua 2:1-24; Heb. 3:7-19

Hebrew Names

Anytime there is a long list of Hebrew names or genealogies given in scripture, many are tempted to just skip over them and move on to the “meat” of the story. How sadly mistaken they are! Hebrew names have meaning and they usually tell a beautiful story. The list of names given for the spies is no exception. First, the tribes are not listed in their birth order, a hint that should stand out to the reader. Here is the list with the corresponding Hebrew meaning.

  • Shamua —-  Name, character
  • Shaphat —-   To judge
  • Caleb —-     Like the heart
  • Yigal —-     He redeems
  • Hoshea —-   Salvation; saves
  • Palti —-  My deliever
  • Gadiel —-  El (God) of the assembly; troop; army
  • Gadi —- My good fortune
  • Amiel —-  El (God) of my people
  • Setur —- Hidden, concealed
  • Nakhbi —- Refuge
  • Geuel —- El (God) is exalted; lifted high

This is the story hidden in the Hebrew names of the 12 spies.

The Name of the judge of our hearts redeems and saves, for He is our deliverer. The God of our assembly is our good fortune. The God of our people conceals us in His refuge. Exalted be our El (God)!

Thus, Hebrew never ceases to amaze me….

The Spies and a Pinch of Fear

Shlach L’cha literally means “send for yourself.” In this case, it refers to Moses sending out twelve men to “spy out” the land of Canaan. The Hebrew word for “spying out” in verse two is “toor” (tav, vav, reysh). It would be better defined as “seeking out, touring, or exploring.” In fact, our English word “tour” sounds exactly like the Hebrew word in question. Could it be derived from “toor”? Perhaps. Consider for a moment the difference between touring or exploring and spying. The latter implies something much more strategic and militant while the former implies something much more casual.

The irony is that Moses actually did send the men out as “spies” on a military reconnaissance mission regardless of the true meaning of the Hebrew “toor.” (Num. 13:17-20) This mission will end up costing Israel a 40 year longer stay in the wilderness. What I hope to show you is that this mission was doomed from the start. While our portion seems to be unclear as to whose idea this mission is attributed to, Deuteronomy 1:22-23 gives more details. Once again, it was the people’s lack of faith in the promises of YHWH that cost them dearly. Even though YHWH had told them to go and take possession of the land and to do so without FEAR, they did exactly the opposite. (Just as we often do!)

Even Moses was caught up in their “fear.” In Dt. 1:23, Moses says their idea of a recon mission also pleased him. The problem was that their spiritual eyes were closed. In the natural, the people of Canaan were strong and many. Their cities were large and fortified. Yet the land was good, flowing with milk and honey, just as YHWH had promised. But, the majority couldn’t see past the obstacles. There was a GIANT stumbling block in their path: the enemy. The problem seemed too large and too difficult for them to overcome.

How often do we feel this way about various circumstances and problems in our own lives? How often are we like the ten spies after taking a survey of our own circumstances? Things seem impossible from our perspective. We justify our lack of faith by telling ourselves or saying that we are being sensible or realistic. Perhaps we even conclude that the promise isn’t really for us.

The real enemy is FEAR. This Shavuot (Pentecost 2011), Dr. Hollisa Alewine taught our congregation The Creation Gospel. One point that really stuck out for me was the seventh branch on the menorah. This branch in her thematic study corresponds to the seventh day of creation (Shabbat), the feast of Sukkot, the Spirit of Yirat Adonai (Fear of YHWH), and the church of Laodicea in the Book of Revelation. She pointed out that when we fear anything other than YHWH, we are operating from the wicked lamp.[1] In other words, when we fear man or circumstance we can only produce rotten fruit.

How I struggle with this! There is fear of the unknown, fear for the future, fear for our children, fear for our nation, fear for our finances, fear for our health, fear of death, fear of what others think, fear of ridicule, fear of weather, fear of government, fear of our enemies, fear of…  you name it. I personally suffer from occasional anxiety. This is a form of fear whether it begins with physical imbalances or not. But, we are called to be overcomers and we are told over and over in scripture to “fear not!” I dare say that this is one commandment that even Torah keepers struggle with regularly. Sadly, ungodly fear is usually justified one way or another. As Dr. Alewine said on Shavuot, “There are boogers around every corner!”

Once again we find ourselves wearing the very shoes of our Israelite counterparts. We are just like them. Although we like to think that we are like Caleb or Joshua, we really are more likely to be one of the ten bringing a bad report and causing even more of our brothers and sisters to falter with us.

There is only one remedy of our malady: we must learn to fear YHWH and fear Him alone. After all, the beginning of wisdom is the fear of YHWH. (Ps. 111:10; Pr. 9:10)

Creation Gospel’s Seventh Branch

Shabbat

This portion has caused me to mediate on the menorah and the thematic counterparts to Yirat Adonai (Fear of YHWH). I’d like to begin with Shabbat. Shabbat is the day YHWH set apart for rest. It is holy, it is a sign, and it is the seventh day of the week. Yeshua declares Himself  “Adonai (Lord) of the Shabbat day” (Mt. 12:8; Mk. 2:28; Lk. 6:5) What are we really resting in on this day? The finished work of Messiah. There can be no fear when we are resting in Him. Selah. There is nothing like entering in to worship the King of the Universe at His appointed time: Shabbat. Sure we can experience sweet worship any day and at any time, but there is something different about that worship when He appoints it, when He has declared that time sacred. There is absolutely no fear (of man & circumstance) when we adore and show our love to our King. (1 Jn. 4:18)

Sukkot

Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) is the seventh feast and it lasts for  seven days. Therefore, it is thematically linked to the 7th branch of the menorah and Shabbat, in The Creation Gospel model. It is not a coincidence that this feast commemorates the children of Israel living in tents or booths in the wilderness. Since the setting of our portion is the wilderness and the sin of the evil report by the ten spies, it becomes even more apparent that we need to learn from their example. (Heb 4:11; 1 cor. 10:5-6; Heb. 3:8-10)

Sukkot is also called the Season of our Joy. It is the last of the 3 pilgrimage feasts and looks forward to the future millennium when the overcomers shall rule and reign with Yeshua for 1000 years. This is pictured in Caleb and Joshua. We desire to persevere and come into the Promised Land! We cannot do this without Yirat YHWH.

Yirat YHWH

The seven spirits of God are given in:

Is. 11:1-2  And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  (2)  And the spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of YHWH

These are the attributes of the one Spirit of God. As stated earlier, the fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom. Therefore, we cannot reach the last branch of the menorah without first experiencing the first branch: wisdom. This branch is thematically linked to Pesach (Passover), day one of creation, and the church at Ephesus. We all must first apply the lamb’s blood to our doorposts to begin our journey of redemption, sanctification, and eventual restoration.

Fear of anything other than YHWH is of the enemy. It is a lack of trust and faith in our Adonai. The following quote comes from the corresponding Deuteronomy text for our portion. Moses is recapping the mistake of the spies.

Dt. 1:28-32  Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.  (29)  Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.  (30)  YHWH your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;  (31)  And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that YHWH thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.  (32)  Yet in this thing ye did not believe YHWH your God

If the children of Israel had feared YHWH and not the inhabitants of the land, things would have been much different. How often would our circumstances have been different if we had only trusted in our God, YHWH? Perhaps we too are often left in our own wildernesses for an extended amount time when our breakthrough was just past the Canaanites that we were too afraid to fight.

Laodicea

Laodicea was the seventh and last assembly written to in Revelation. Please read Revelation 3:14-22. Laodicea means “justice of the people”. Already we have a problem; YHWH/Yeshua is our law-giver, He is our judge, and He metes out the only righteous judgment. Laodicea is thematically linked to Shabbat, Sukkot, and the spirit of the Fear of YHWH.

Notice that Yeshua mentions no clean works for this assembly. Instead, He says they are neither hot nor cold and this makes Him want to vomit. Wow. Essentially, they are lukewarm; lukewarm is a mixture of hot and cold. The Laodiceans probably feel they are “just right” or very comfortable. As a matter of fact they say just that:

Rev. 3:17-19  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  (18)  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  (19)  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

The assembly of Laodicea believes she is prospering and doing well. Sadly, she is seriously mistaken and is quite blind. Because this assembly has material wealth, their every need is met by their own works or prosperity. Having great prosperity is synonymous with godliness in the eyes of this church. (Sound familiar, America?) Yet, Yeshua couldn’t commend them on even one clean or good work.

Their worldly desire for prosperity had actually left them wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Yet they didn’t even know it!! Think about this. Yeshua is obviously speaking of their spiritual condition. They think all is well and they don’t even have clothes to wear! He encourages this church to buy “gold” (a play on their worldly lust for $$) refined by His fire.

What is this gold Yeshua speaks of?

Ps. 19:7-10    The law (Torah) of YHWH is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of YHWH is sure, making wise the simple. (8)The statutes of YHWH are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of YHWH is pure, enlightening the eyes.  (9)  The fear of YHWH is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of YHWH are true and righteous altogether.  (10)  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

It was almost as if David wrote this Psalm just for the Laodiceans. He tells us what is perfect and converts our souls: YHWH’s Law (Torah). This is because the Torah defines what sin is. Therefore, one may turn and repent. What is the remedy for blind eyes? According to David, it is the commandments of Adonai. It is apparent so far that even though the Laodiceans believed that they were “good” and lacked nothing, they didn’t have YHWH’s Torah in their hearts. Otherwise, their eyes would be open to their sin and they would realize their wretched condition and repent.

Moreover, this Psalm speaks of YHWH’s judgments. The very name of this assembly (Laodicea means “justice of the people”) speaks volumes about their source of authority: the people. The people decide what is best, what is good, what is prosperous. But, they are blind! YHWH is the only righteous judge. He decides what is good, not us. He decides what is holy, not us. He decides how He is to be worshipped, not us. Doing things His way, walking out His Torah (instructions), fearing Him and not man, and setting Him as our judge and not man or religious institutions is more desirable than much fine gold and sweeter than honey. Repent! Turn back to Him, His ways, His Torah, and receive fresh white garments and salve for your eyes.

Yeshua has more to say to Laodicea. He stands at the door and knocks and desires to “dine” with the Loadiceans. In Hebrew thought, this is a direct reference to a covenantal meal. What meal does Yeshua desire to eat with us? The marriage Supper of the Lamb at a future Sukkot. This meal is also thematically linked to the Pesach (Passover) seder, the beginning of our redemption where a meal is first shared. Passover is our redemption, Shavuot is our betrothal, and  Sukkot is our marriage and consummation. This is all three pilgrimage festivals.

Rev. 22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Rev. 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come.

Caleb & Joshua

Caleb and Joshua saw the exact same things as the other ten spies, yet their report was positive. They tried to quiet the fear of the people with their optimism, but the people would rather wallow in their own fears. They even  prepared to stone Caleb and Joshua  just to get them to shut-up. (14:10) Misery truly does love company, and Caleb and Joshua were uninvited guests. But the people didn’t govern the lives of Caleb & Joshua; YHWH did, and it was His glory that came to their rescue.

Again, we are just like the Israelites. I know many people that truly wish to shut the mouths of those that are eternally optimistic. They would rather discuss the new scary booger they spotted on the internet and the big booger in the White House or the millions of boogers in the Middle East. Some think that big black helicopter boogers are watching their every move; others are worried about one world boogers, and even more fear famine and stock pile so green slimly boogers never touch them. Boogers are everywhere and they are big, they have fortified cities, and they even live in the Land of milk and honey. Just change booger to Canaanites or name your own favorite scary booger. They are all fear of man or circumstance.

One thing is certain: Caleb and Joshua were more afraid of YHWH than big, slimly, green boogers. They are our positive model and example. In order to be like Caleb and Joshua, we don’t have to walk around with our head in the clouds; we see everything the other ten see. The difference is in whom we fear most. If we fear YHWH more than men or our circumstances our spiritual eyes will be open and we too will say, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it!” (13:30)

We will also encourage our brethren, “Only do not rebel against YHWH. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and YHWH is with us; do not fear them.”

If we would fear YHWH, that obstacle would become our “bread.” It will feed us! It will give us strength and sustain us. Why? Because any time we trust YHWH we exercise our faith, which prospers one spiritually. Hence, our faith removes the shadow of protection from our enemies and we become victorious.

I know I still have much to learn in this area, but I desperately want to be like Caleb and Joshua. We can’t let our eyes deceive us or focus on what “appears” to be happening in the natural. Just because I can see that big gooey booger hanging over my head doesn’t mean that it’s there to harm me. If I start telling everyone that any day that booger is going to fall on my head, well then, it just might! I fear the booger more than YHWH.

However, if I believe YHWH loves me and has my best interest at heart and that He would never let a booger hang there day after day without a GOOD reason, then my fear is alleviated, I’m not spreading fear to my fellows, and one day YHWH might just show me that the booger was the glue that kept the chandelier from falling on my head. In this way, it sustained me (it became my bread).

The truth is that anything we fear we have made holy. We have set that thing apart. Think about something you fear or worry about often. By focusing on the circumstance and not Elohim, we have made that thing holy or set apart. It has displaced YHWH’s rightful place in our lives. When we are tempted to dwell on our circumstances we must remind ourselves that YHWH sits on the throne, not our past, not our finances, not our health, not our job, not our enemies, and not our families.

There is one last important detail about this story. After the ten evil spies died from a plague sent by YHWH, the people repented and decided they would now do what YHWH had said and take possession of the Land. BUT, the consequence to their sin was forty more years in exile in the wilderness. Actually, their lack of faith cost them the Promised Land altogether; in as much as those twenty years and older would die in the desert before their children would enter the Land.

I think this happens with us as well. YHWH tells us to do something. We are afraid. We take a survey of the situation and we are even more afraid. Boogers are everywhere; we’ll never make it. We begin telling others of the booger danger. We are out of line and in sin. We suffer because of our lack of trust. Suffering brings us to our senses and we repent. Now we think we will go and do what YHWH said. But, it’s too late. YHWH is no longer with us in this matter. He has moved on to something else. If we go anyway, the boogers will beat us down as far as Hormah. (14:45)

Tzit-tziot

We must follow the cloud. Turn when it turns, stay when it stays. In the last part of this Torah portion, the commandment of wearing the tassels, fringes, or tzit-tziot are given. This is a physical commandment about an article one wears on the four corners of their garment. YHWH is clear as to “why” He initiates this statute.

Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. “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. “I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.”(Num. 15:38-41)

Do you remember the Hebrew word “toor” translated as “spies” at the beginning of our portion? The high-lighted text above uses the same Hebrew word “toor” for seek, follow after, search, or go about. Moses sent men to “spy” out the land of Canaan. YHWH issues us a command to wear a cord of blue on the four corners of one’s garment, so that in seeing the blue cords one is reminded NOT to “spy” with their own hearts and eyes. Doing so makes one a harlot. When we fear anything other than YHWH it becomes our god, thus we commit spiritual adultery.

Though our eyes and hearts might perceive boogers or enticing lusts, we mustn’t stray from our God or His commandments. Wearing tzit-tziot is a physical reminder of a spiritual reality. The blue cord is a reminder of the heavenly tabernacle, our heavenly high priest, and our heritage as a kingdom of priests. Priests are witnesses to YHWH, not boogers. We can choose to see boogers or we can choose to fear YHWH our Elohim.

It is important also to realize that when we trust in YHWH our savior, He protects us. He is truly our deliverer and our refuge. Remember the story told in the Hebrew names of the spies? YHWH conceals us from all the boogers. We are His special treasure, if we will learn to fear Him.

If we look at Caleb and Joshua’s names in Hebrew, the message of the good spies is clear. Joshua is a cognate of the Hebrew word Yeshua or “salvation.” Caleb’s name (kalev) is a contraction of two words: kal, meaning all and lev meaning heart. If we put these names together, we get “Yeshua, salvation, is for all hearts.”

Caleb’s name has even deeper implications. The lev in Hebrew is not the physical blood-pumping heart but is more akin to the mind. Truly it is our minds that need saving. Joyce Meyers is right about one thing: the battle truly does begin in the mind. A saved mind CAN overcome as Joshua and Caleb did!

Even more interesting is that the name kalev (Caleb) is a derivative of the Hebrew word for ‘dog’ (kelev). Remember, Caleb’s name means “all heart.” You see, Caleb followed YHWH wholly with all his heart. Caleb’s name certainly fits his character. Is that not also the nature of (good) dogs? They always come back to their master, ready to serve Him with all their heart. Where He goes, they go, without nary a complaint.

While dogs often have negative connotations in scripture, this sheds new light on Yeshua’s comments about the “dogs eating the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.[2] Could this be an allusion to the fact that no matter who you are or where you are from, if you seek the Master with all your heart, you too, will have bread from the Master’s table? And, what about our two “good” spies, Caleb and Joshua? They are two faithful witnesses. Only their tribes, Judah and Ephraim/Israel, are mentioned by name in the New Covenant.[3] Together, their names suggest that YHWH’s witnesses follow Yeshua with all their heart!

May we become a generation of Caleb’s and Joshua’s!


[1] Proverbs 6:16-19

[2] Mt. 15:22-28; Mark 7:24-30

[3] Jer. 31:31; Hebrews 8:8 I’m not implying here that the other tribes or even those from among the nations are lost and don’t have a covenant, but rather as these verses attest, that we are joined (grafted-in) with one of these two houses of Israel which the Father is making into one New Man. (Rom. 11; Eph. 2)

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