Posts Tagged With: New Jerusalem

Sukkot: Hidden in the Shade of God

Col. 2:16-17 (LITV) Then do not let anyone judge you in eating, or in drinking, or in part of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of coming things, but the body is of Christ.

In my last post, I tried to help the reader to understand that not all darkness is evil. Sometimes darkness simply implies what is hidden from our natural (and spiritual) sight. A shadow, like Paul mentions above, falls into that same category. In a godly sense, the shadow is cast by the heavenly reality. The last thing one would desire to do is to speak evil of the shadow, for that shadow is the testimony of heaven.

Ironically, that’s exactly what many well-meaning Believers do when they read the above verses from Colossians. They seek to do away with the shadow because they think it detracts from the reality. I am an amateur artist. Proper shading turns a 2-D piece of art into something that appears 3-D. It gives the piece depth, making it a more realistic representation of the actual figure. Shadows are vital to help one see the reality.

My good friend, Dr. Robin Gould, wrote an excellent BEKY Book explaining the context and culture of Colossae called Colossal Controversies. I urge you to get a copy and give it to those that are perplexed by your obedience to Torah, especially if they’ve been taught that verses such as Colossians 2:16-17 imply that the shadow is useless.

What was the Biblical context of the word “shadow” for a first century Torah observant Jewish Pharisee? After all, that’s how Paul described himself.[1] When he spoke of one’s eating, drinking, partaking of feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths, and connected them to both a shadow and Messiah, this was no small matter. When we understand this significance, we too, will joyfully set our sights on “the things above,” the reality… by following the earthly shadow given by Adonai.

Col. 3:1-4 (TLV) Therefore, if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above—where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. 4 When Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him, in glory!

Rather than denigrating the dietary laws, feasts, Sabbaths, and new moons, Paul’s message to the Colossians was a powerful testimony of their eternal benefit and protection. To fully appreciate the portrait that He paints, let’s start with the beginning.

The First Shadows

The first Adam, male and female, were created in the image of God. Their mandate was to fill the earth, take dominion, and rule over all its creatures.

Gen. 1:27-28 (NASB) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Man and woman were created in HIS image. The Hebrew word for image is tzelem. The following is The Complete Word Study Dictionary’s entry[2] for tzelem:

H6754

צֶלֶם ṣelem: A masculine noun meaning an image, a likeness, a statue, a model, a drawing, a shadow.The word means image or likeness; its most celebrated theological and anthropological use was to depict human beings as made in God’s own image (Gen 1:26-27; Gen 5:3). People continue to be in His image even after the fall, although the image is marred (Gen 9:6), and still serves as the basis of the prohibition not to kill human beings.

It is used metaphorically to depict persons as shadows, phantoms, or unknowing, senseless, fleeting beings carrying out the motions of life (Psa 39:6 [7]); unless they have hope in God (see Psa 39:7 [8]). In a similar vein, the wicked before the Lord are considered as mere dreams or fantasies (Psa 73:20).

The word is also used in a concrete sense to depict images cut out of or molded from various materials. The word describes the images or idols of foreign or strange gods (2Ki 11:18; Amo 5:26). The people of Israel produced images used as idols from their own jewelry (Eze 7:20; Eze 16:17). Israel was, on its entrance into Canaan, to destroy all the molten images of the heathen (Num 33:52). In Eze 23:14, this word refers to pictures of Babylonians that enticed the people of Israel into apostasy when they saw them (Eze 23:14).

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

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

The common Hebrew word for shadow is tzel. It is just like the word for image above without the mem.

H6738 צלtsêl  Brown, Driver, Briggs Definition: 1) shadow, shade 1a) shadow (on dial) 1b) shadow, shade (as protection) 1c) shadow (symbolic of transitoriness of life) Part of Speech: noun masculine A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H6751

Tzel can be a literal shadow or shade, but just as in English, it can be figurative. It is in this sense that David and other Psalmist speak of God’s shadow being a place of refuge and protection:

Ps. 91:1-2 (NKJV) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

Ps. 36:7 (NASB) How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

It is vital to understand what is and isn’t Adonai’s shadow. If His shadow is a secret place of refuge, like the wings of a mother bird, who wouldn’t want to run and hide there? I wouldn’t call this a “mere” thing. Isaiah, speaking of the future of Zion, makes some interesting connections in Hebrew between God’s House and His shadow:

Is. 4:4-6 (NKJV) When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, 5 then the LORD will create above every dwelling place (makon, like mishkan) of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering (chuppah). 6 And there will be a tabernacle (sukkah) for shade (tzel –shadow) in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

God’s Tabernacle, Sukkah, and Chuppah are all shadows of protection. His sukkah is the shadow that protects one from the heat; it is a refuge and shelter in the storm. This passage also recalls when the children of Israel faithfully followed their Husband in the wilderness[3] as He was a cloud by day and a pillar fire by night. These shadowy pillars protected, led, and covered the people.

The reason one is commanded to dwell in booths or sukkot during the Feast of Sukkot is so that all future generations will know that YHWH made the Children of Israel dwell in sukkot when He brought them out of Egypt. He doesn’t want His people in any generation to forget, so there is something very important about this appointment.

Lev. 23:42-43 (NKJV) You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.’ “

Oddly, the “tents” that Israel dwelt in while in the wilderness are never called sukkot. They are called ohalim, literally tents, or a mishkan, a tabernacle/dwelling place. (For example, see Exodus 18:7; 33:10, Numbers 33:10; 16:27, etc.) This peculiarity has sparked some interesting explanations by the sages. Rabbi Eliezer believed that the sukkot that HaShem made Israel dwell in was His “clouds of glory,” the Ananei HaKavod. Rabbi Akiva disagreed and said that the sukkot were the literal tents that Israel set up in the wilderness. (Sukkah 11b)

Perhaps they are both right. The word sukkah comes from the following root[4]:

H5526 ךּכַסָsāḵaḵ: I. A verb meaning to cover. It means to hide something or to shield something: the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant was covered by the wings of cherubim (Exo 25:20); God’s hand covered and protected Moses (Exo 33:22). It is used of separating off an area with a curtain or hanging (Exo 40:3, Exo 40:21). Figuratively, it shows God shielding those who trust Him (Psa 5:11 [12]; Psa 91:4); He covers Himself in anger (Lam 3:43) or with a cloud(Lam 3:44) II. A verb meaning to stir, to excite. It means to rouse up, to spur on in the context of the Lord’s action (Isa 9:11 [10]; Isa 19:2). III. A verb meaning to weave together. It describes the Lord’s activity in creating a child’s fetus within the womb (Job 10:11; Psa 139:13).

Sukkot is also the name of a place. In fact, the first stop Israel made after leaving Egypt was Sukkot.[5] Inherent in the meaning of this word is the idea of covering, concealing, hiding, and protecting. Paul says that our lives are “hidden in Messiah,” but will one day be revealed when He is revealed in glory (kavod). When the resurrected Messiah left the earth, it was a “cloud” that received Him. Two angels told the disciples that when He returns, it will be in the same manner.

Acts 1:9-11 (NASB) And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Mark 13:26 (NASB) “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory.

Shadows and clouds are equivalent expressions in many cases. They both cover, hide, conceal, and protect. Hebrews 12 calls those that had faith and trust in Adonai a great “cloud of witnesses.” In Isaiah 4 above, it is specifically the sukkah that is called a shadow (tzel). To further this connection, Adonai chose a specific person to be the craftsman or builder of His Tabernacle in the wilderness.

Betzalel

Ex. 31:1-5 (NASB) Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 “I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 5 and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.

Betzalel’s name means, “in the shadow of El/God.” His father, Uri, means fiery and Hur means white textiles.[6] Like Messiah, he was from the tribe of Judah. The names of his father and grandfather (fiery and white) also connects Betzalel with Yeshua, the one with blazing white robes and fiery eyes. His was filled with the Spirit of God, and was called to be a craftsman or builder of the House of God. Betzalel is certainly a “shadow” of Yeshua, the son of a carpenter, the spirit-filled builder of Adonai’s House.

Betzalel, the one in the shadow of God, built the earthly shadow of the Heavenly Temple. Ponder that for a moment. The shadow built or created the shadow, so that the people could draw near to God. The pattern of the Tabernacle was shown to Moses on the Mountain top. He was instructed to carefully make it after the heavenly pattern. (Ex. 25:40; 26:30; 27:8) Shadows should mimic the reality perfectly. If we are the shadow or the Temple of God on the earth, then Betzalel has much to teach us. Paul uses this imagery in the following passage.

1 Cor. 3:9-17 (NASB) For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident;for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

If we are the shadow or image of Messiah in the earth, then like Paul, we too, should look at our lives, walk, and ministry[7]as if we are builders of His House and Kingdom. As I’ve written previously, if we aren’t building, we are tearing down.

Pr. 14:1 (NASB) The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

At the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, the Apostles and Elders gathered together to consider what should be done with the Gentiles that were joining their ranks. Peter reminds them that God’s choice was to use his mouth to declare the Gospel to the Gentiles. (This is what Peter’s Vision in Acts 10 was about.) Then, Barnabas and Paul gave testimony of all they had witnessed among the Gentiles. After careful consideration, James gives his answer or judgment on the matter by quoting Amos 9.

Acts 15:14-17 (NKJV) Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: 16 ‘AFTER THIS I WILL RETURN AND WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID, WHICH HAS FALLEN DOWN; I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS, AND I WILL SET IT UP;  17  SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, EVEN ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME, SAYS THE LORD WHO DOES ALL THESE THINGS.’

Notice that Amos and James, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, prophesy that the nations turn to HaShem BECAUSE He is rebuilding the Tabernacle of David. This is what Mashiach, the Builder, does. Adonai’s desire all along has been for His House (Tent/Tabernacle/Temple) to be a House of Prayer for ALL nations.

Is. 56:6-7 (NKJV) “Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants—Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant— 7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

 “For God so loved the whole world,” has been true from the beginning. When King Solomon (another shadow of Yeshua) dedicated the House of Adonai, he did not forget the foreigners.

1 Ki. 8:41-43 (NKJV) “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name’s sake 42 (for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple,  43  hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.

When we understand that the mountain, the holy hill, the tent, Tabernacle, Temple, House, the Cloud, the Smoke, His Wings, Dwelling Place, Messiah, and many other beautiful analogies are all speaking about the same thing, and have from the very beginning, and that their purpose and function all teach the same message as a shadow of the heavenly reality, the Bible makes so much more sense.

Sometimes Adonai does something spectacular with His shadowy wings and the realm of heaven kisses the realm of earth. Interestingly, the writers of the Apostolic scriptures call this “to overshadow.”

Overshadow

While studying Torah Portion Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11–34:35) last year, I had the pleasure of learning from Rabbi Sariella Creeger. In the message, she mentioned Betzalel and connected his name with the message given to Miriam (Mary) before conceiving Yeshua.

Luke 1:35 (NASB) The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 

What happened to Miriam when God “overshadowed” her was not unlike what happened when He filled Betzalel with His Ruach. Both were given the heavenly pattern to build the Tabernacle or Dwelling Place of God among His people. They were both “builders” of the House of Adonai. Both Houses were a shadow of the heavenly reality. Both Houses or Temples made a way for the people to draw near to God.

As a side note, I should mention that there are numerous correlations between the womb, the Tabernacle, and intimacy with YHWH. This is true even in the definition of sakak, the root of sukkah, outlined above. Author, teacher, and pastor John Diffenderfer, delivered an amazing message to Mercy Collective in Nashville, TN on Shavuot 2017 called God’s Womb, the Tabernacle, the Bride, and the FeastsI encourage you to watch it; the metaphor is stunning!

A son (ben) and a house (beit) in Hebrew both come from the same root, banah, which means “to build.” Understanding, as in the Spirit of Understanding (Ex. 31:3, Is. 11:2), also derives from the root banah. Do you see the connection? Building a house and building a son (a people) are the same thing. Neither can be accomplished without the Holy Spirit of Binah.

When training someone to perform a new job or task, we often have them “shadow” a seasoned or experienced person in that trade or field. This is how one learns. If we skip the training, it will affect our job knowledge and performance in a negative way. But if we shadow (mimic/mirror) the successful, experienced employee or boss, we too, will prosper.

This reminds me of young girl watching her mother care for her younger sibling or a young boy watching his father build their house. Innate in each is the compulsion to imitate their parent. The young girl likely has baby dolls with toy milk bottles, diapers, and changes of clothes. This is her “shadow nursery” where she practices caring for her future family. Without the reality of her mother’s faithfulness to care for the next generation, this young girl would have nothing (good) to imitate. Either she wouldn’t have a shadow nursery, or her nursery would be distorted by a lack of understanding of what a mother actually does.

The young boy likely has a toy carpenter station with plastic hammers and nails, fake wood planks, and rubber saws. This is his “shadow woodshop” where he learns to care for his future family. Like the young girl, he can only be the shadow of what he sees. If the father is absent, he might think the hammer is used to hurt others. On the other hand, if the reality is a good father, the boy might grow to not only build the house of his family, but many others.

We might laugh at this analogy, but this whole world is a shadow of the heavenly reality. The shadow is the proof or evidence of what we cannot yet see.

Heb. 11:1-3 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

When the Ruach HaKodesh overshadowed Miriam, the Greek word used was episkiazō. This word comes from the Greek word skia, shadow. Skia is equivalent to the Hebrew word tzelem. Thayer’s defines it below.

G4639 σκία, skia

1) shadow 1a) shade caused by the interception of light 1b) an image cast by an object and representing the form of that object 1c) a sketch, outline, adumbration. Part of Speech: noun feminine

Visualize standing outside with your back to the afternoon sun. Your body blocks the light in front of you, producing a dark, phantom-like representation of your form. If you raise your hands, so does your shadow. If you squat, so does this shady figure. While the shadow mimics your actions and outline, it cannot convey or capture the many colors, textures, and other things that truly make you, you. It cannot move or act of its own accord. And, as long as the light shines on you, you can’t escape or out run your shadow. It is connected to you completely.

Have you ever tried to touch your shadow? There is nothing there. Yet it is proof that something is there… you. This is how the Spirit realm appears to humans (most of the time). Other things in nature give a similar parable, like wind and clouds, both of which are used in the Bible to describe the Holy Spirit. The creation week, the Tabernacle, the Temple, and Yeshua are all a type of “shadow” expressing the reality of Elohim (God) and His Throne. They are proof that there is indeed another realm, far more real and tangible than the world in which we live and breathe. They are the pattern one is meant to learn in order to know YHWH, and discern between the truth and a lie. This enables one to be the true shadow of God. (Ezek. 43:10)

YHWH, speaking through Isaiah, compared Israel to the precious building materials of the Temple and Jerusalem. Yeshua, the son of God, compared Himself to the Temple. Paul compared our bodies to the Temple, and John describes the Bride, Adonai’s people, as the New Jerusalem. All are true and none supersede the others. Each of these shadows is vital to the complete picture of the heavenly.

John 2:19-22 (NASB) Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”  21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.  22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

Is. 54:10-12 (NASB) “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you. 11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, Behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and your foundations I will lay in sapphires. 12 “Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies, And your gates of crystal, And your entire wall of precious stones.

 The Overshadowing Cloud

Overshadowing occurs in a different, yet similar fashion at the Mount of Transfiguration. In the following account, look for the themes of Sukkot, and key words such as mountain, cloud, a voice, glory, overshadow, build/make, revelation (awake), etc. Where have we read about these things before? Is it a coincidence that this occurred on the “eighth day”?

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Luke 9:28-36 (NASB) Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.  29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.  30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. 33 And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen. (Compare with Mat. 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13)

The cloud that formed and “overshadowed” the disciples is the same Greek word used in the account of the Holy Spirit overshadowing Miriam (Mary). In the transfiguration, Yeshua is the bright light that casts a shadow of glory visible to Peter, James, and John. They “see” into the Spirit realm, the reality of Who Yeshua is (revelation). Time as we (and they know it) no longer applies, as even Moses and Elijah (Torah and the Prophets) are standing and talking with Yeshua on the mountaintop.

The disciples had two responses to this glorious vision. Peter speaks up and offers to BUILD or make three tabernacles or dwelling places for them, not realizing what he was actually seeing. It is Sukkot, but what he sees is the reality, not the shadow. While he’s speaking, a cloud overshadows them, which brings about their second response: FEAR. They were afraid. (Aren’t we always afraid, since the garden?) Then, a voice speaks from the cloud. As Rabbi David Fohrman would ask, “Where have we seen these words before?”

Ex. 19:9 (NASB) The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.

Ex. 19:16-19 (NASB) So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder (voices) and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.  17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.  18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.  19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder (a voice).

Ex. 24:15-16 (NASB) Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.

Dt. 18:15-16 (NASB) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 “This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’

In Jewish thought and teachings, the “revelation” is Mount Sinai, because that is where God revealed Himself to the entire nation of Israel.[8] Mountain tops are images or shadows of the Temple or Throne of Adonai, the place where He dwells and speaks to His people. Mount Zion is the Temple Mount in the natural, though there is still a heavenly reality. God’s Presence (Shekinah) is likened to clouds, smoke, and fire. His voice is compared to thunder, a loud shofar or trumpet blast, and even the sound of rushing water.[9] Experiencing His majesty causes mortal man to tremble.

In a sense, the entire nation was overshadowed by Adonai’s awesome Presence, Cloud, and Glory at Mount Sinai. Peter, James, and John experienced a similar preternatural revelation as they were overshadowed on the mountain of Transfiguration by Adonai’s Cloud. Like ancient Israel, they too, heard a Voice that reminded them of Deuteronomy 18:15-16 (listed above). But this wasn’t the first time that a voice spoke of the Son in the hearing of the disciples, nor would it be the last.

Mat. 3:16-17 (TLV) After being immersed, Yeshua rose up out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Ruach Elohim descending like a dove and coming upon Him. 17 And behold, a voice from the heavens said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased!”

Just after His triumphal entry, but before His death, John records this account:

John 12:27-30 (NASB) “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.”

Glory in Hebrew is the word kavod. It means weighty or heavy, and often manifests as a cloud (or smoke). Yeshua’s prayer was for Father’s Name to be glorified. In Hebrew thought, it’s not the pronunciation of His Name that brings Him glory; rather, He (and His Name) are glorified when one obeys Him completely, no matter the cost. When the glory of YHWH filled the Tabernacle and Temple, it was a Presence so weighty that Moses, the priests, and the people couldn’t enter the space or stand to perform their services. One day, the whole earth will be filled with the holy glory of Adonai.

Num. 14:21 (NASB) But indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.

This will be a time when the shadow and the reality are One, the fulfillment of Yeshua’s prayer. This is the New Jerusalem, the heavenly, coming to earth, the display of Adonai’s splendor and glory. When His glory is revealed marvelous things happen. Even our shadows can cause miracles, and it’s not by our power or might, but the glory and power of the Ruach HaKodesh.

Acts 5:15-16 (KJV) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

Peter, in this instance, was truly walking in the image of Elohim as even his skia, tzelem, or shadow was full of the Holy Spirit that healed the people, the House of God. I believe that is the desire of all that follow Adonai in Spirit and Truth. A true disciple wants to be the shadow of Yeshua as He is the shadow of YHWH. When He raises His right arm, we mimic His action, just like a shadow. When He speaks, we speak. We He is silent, we are silent. Where He goes, we go. That is the way of shadows.

It might seem odd at first to think of yourself as a shadow of Yeshua. It might seem odder still that he desires a shadow to build His House by making even more disciples after His image. But that is the calling, beloved.

Mat. 28:16-20 (TLV) Now the eleven disciples went to the Galilee, to the mountain Yeshua had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped; but some wavered. 18 And Yeshua came up to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, 20 teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Everyone needs a mountaintop revelation of Adonai. That is what the pilgrimage festivals lead one to – Zion, the Temple, the House, and the Throne of Elohim. His mountain (Spirit) overshadows, envelops, and fills faithful hearts with the heavenly pattern. It is the blueprint upon which His Kingdom is built.

Paul specifically calls eating, drinking, partaking of the feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths a shadow of the Body of Messiah. In other words, these are the things His Body does, because they reflect the heavenly reality. They keep one attached to the Head, Yeshua. The world hates the shadow and the reality, preferring a false light, the precepts of men, things that decay rather than the eternal.

Col. 2:18-23 (TLV) Let no one disqualify you by insisting on false humility and worship of angels—going into detail about what he has seen, puffed up without cause by his fleshly mind. 19 He is not holding fast to the Head. It is from Him that the whole body, nourished and held together by its joints and tendons, grows with a godly increase. 20 If you died with Messiah to the basic principles of the world, why—as though living in the world—do you subject yourselves to their rules? 21 Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!” 22 These all lead to decay with use, based as they are on man-made commands and teachings. 23 Indeed, these are matters that have an appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and humility and self-denial of the body—yet none are of any value for stopping indulgence of the flesh.

“The Seven Shepherds” Painting by Kisha Gallagher 2018

So, what are the sabbaths, new moons, and feasts a shadow of? What are they concealing and protecting?

Is it the body or reality of Messiah? The Gospel? The Kingdom? The Temple? The Mountain? God’s Throne? The Revelation? The Clouds of Glory? The Day of the LORD? Us?

The answer is YES! So, definitely do not let anyone judge you for doing the very things the Master taught and did. He is a good, good, shepherd.

Be like Betzalel, the son of white garments, a master builder of Adonai’s House. And, be like Miriam filled with the Seed of God, a builder of the Kingdom. Experience the fullness of the Transfiguration at the end of days (Sukkot), by following the cloud, His shadow, keeping the appointments (feasts), which are the cycles that take your feet to Jerusalem, so you can learn the pattern shown by Moses and Yeshua on the Mountain. And lastly, remember that you are hidden in Messiah (the House – Heavenly Jerusalem) as His tezelem or shadow. He is with us always even unto the end of the age.


 


[1]Philippians 3:5-6, see also Acts 23:6; 26:5

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

[3]Jer. 2:2 (NASB) “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, The love of your betrothals, Your following after Me in the wilderness, Through a land not sown.”

[4]The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament by Warren Baker. Retrieved using Strong’s number H5526 on E-Sword Bible software.

[5]Ex. 12:37 (NASB) Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.

[6]The actual meaning of Hur is unclear as there are several root words of which it could be derived. These roots deal with burning – literally or in anger, growing or making white – literally with textiles or pale in the face, or it could mean a hole or cavern. Based on (the man) Hur’s history in the Biblical text, I chose the meaning “white textiles.” Hur and Aaron helped Moses hold his hands up when Israel battled Amalek (Ex. 17:12), and he turns out to be the grandfather of the man that would be endowed to work in many crafts, including textiles. You can see chur or Hur translated as white fabric in Esther 1:6 and 8:15.

[7]All Believers have a ministry. Ministry is service and serving Adonai and His people. Everyone does this in some capacity as they are part of His Body, His House.

[8]Hopefully, this will inspire you to read the Book of Revelation with an adjusted perspective.

[9]I think it’s interesting that one of the Hebrew words for thunder is the same word as voice, kol. Some of the crowd in John 12 perceived the heavenly voice as thunder. Revelation, the mountain of God, the heavens, and His Throne are also accompanied by voices and thunder:

Rev. 11:19 (NASB) And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunderand an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

Rev. 14:2 (NASB) And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Five Smooth Stones

He (David) took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. (1 Sam. 17:40)

K. Gallagher

K. Gallagher

My family recently visited the Cherokee National Forest to view the beautiful waterfall in Tellico Plains called Bald Creek Falls. Noted as one of the most scenic and impressive falls in eastern TN, it is also the most accessible. (You can get a great view and photography opportunity right from your car.) We decided to spend the day relaxing up the road along the Tellico River. Though the temperature outside was hot and humid, the river water was a chilling 60 degrees. (One of the reasons it is ideal for trout fish.) Needless to say, the stark contrast of the water and air temperature made this an ideal place to spend a hot summer afternoon.

As I sat on a large rock dangling my feet in the refreshing cold water, I took a survey of the thousands of smooth stones surrounding the riverbed. I bent down to examine stone after stone. Each had its own color, pattern, size, shape, and other unique characteristics. But nearly every single one had soft smooth edges. (Ideal for skipping, my husband and son would tell you.) Just gazing at the constant flow of the water or listening to its soothing rushing sound is enough to invoke feelings of relaxation and wonder. But dialing the lens in closer, looking at the seeming mundaneness of pebbles and stones, conjured up thoughts of another person that obviously enjoyed the brook, the young King David.

When faced with the threat of an enemy army and their champion giant, it wasn’t the king’s armor or sword that David chose to wield. No, this shepherd went with what he knew best, his trusty old sling shot. His choice of ammunition? Five smooth stones from the brook or river. Before we get into his choice of picking up five stones, let’s look at the Hebrew word used here for brook. It is different than the word for river used in Genesis 2:10, where I examined the The Rivers of Eden.

In Hebrew, the word is nachal spelled nun, chet, lamed.[1] It is indeed a stream, brook, or river. But what struck me is its verbal root, also nachal,[2] which means to inherit, to occupy, to bequeath, or to possess. In other words, David drew his ammo from the only trustworthy source: from the living waters of the promises of YHWH.[3] David knew that Saul’s armor had not been tested, but there was One that had never failed David in the past. David took from the inheritance he had in YHWH Tz’vaot.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. “This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Sam. 17: 45-47)

What made David so sure that he could defeat the giant, Goliath? After all, he was the youngest of his brothers and was much smaller in stature than King Saul. I believe it was because he knew who he was in the eyes of Elohim (God). Shepherding the flocks of his father Jesse had given him valuable experience in not only tending to the vulnerable, but also in defeating mighty beasts. And that’s exactly what David compared Goliath with, an uncircumcised beast.[4]

David knew that the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) would always prevail over the nephesh/flesh of a beast whether that beast is an actual beast of the field, or if it is a man living in the beast’s image. David had already chosen to live after the image of Elohim (God). Those made in the image of God RULE over all creatures, great and small.[5] Goliath was no exception and David had complete faith in this truth from the Word of YHWH.

Though the giant taunted Israel with threats for forty days[6], invoking great fear in the king and army of Israel, David could “see” beyond his natural sight. I believe this is figured not only in the source of his ammunition (the stones were retrieved from Living waters), but in the number of stones that he chose to wield.

Why Five?

In Hebrew, a stone or eben, is a contraction of the words father and son (av + ben).[7] This is why a stone is not only strong, but a far worthier choice of ammo against the enemy. What is stronger than the Father and the Son? Nothing! If this is true, why did David choose five stones when it only took ONE stone to defeat the great giant?

K. Gallagher

K. Gallagher

I believe that YHWH loves metaphors and figurative language. Literary devices such as these are what give depth and dimension to any story, report, poem, song, dream, or vision by conveying multiple facets and angles in very little space. Thus, details matter greatly and can often reveal a sharp angle that is cut just so that the story sparkles only when it is held and turned slowly in the LIGHT. A less diligent examination would miss this beautiful twinkle and some of the story’s dimension.[8]

Five is the number of strength and power as the fifth manifestation of the Holy Spirit. (Is. 11:2) This power is what fueled the first global migrations of the birds and fish created on the fifth day of creation. Just in case we missed this connection with creation and the number five, it says in 1 Sam. 17:48 that when Goliath went to meet David in battle, that David “ran quickly” to meet him. The word for ran (rutz) is the same root word used to describe the movement of the creatures created on day five. Quick flowing movement is a trademark of those filled with YHWH’s Spirit of Power.

For more symbolism found in the number five, please see my article: Hebrew Numbers 1-10. For now, consider that there are FIVE books of Moses or Torah. The Ten Commandments were written on two stone tablets, with FIVE commandments teaching one how to love YHWH and FIVE teaching one how to love their neighbor. FIVE is associated with grace, the gospel, and anointing.

Though it only took one smooth stone to defeat Goliath, David picked up five, a clear indication that the Torah (Word) is what defeats a beast. Our greater King David, the Messiah Yeshua, was likewise taunted (tempted) for forty days. Like David, He overcame the adversary with one smooth stone by quoting one of the FIVE books of Torah. (Deuteronomy, the fifth book) Coincidence? I don’t think so.

The hints of the number five are one example of many precious stones scattered throughout the Biblical text. When the Light hits them just right, our (spiritual) eyes see the connections that thread the entire Bible together in one seamless and flawless tapestry. The same story is told again and again in simple and progressively more detailed and varied ways. That story is the Good News or the Gospel.

So, Why Are the Stones “Smooth”?

The answer to this question came to me as I sat by the river examining the multitude of smooth stones and pebbles. If the Word is in us, we become the stones that cry out in triumph.[9] We have become One with the Father and the Son.[10] The constant washing of the water of the Word wears down all of one’s rough and crooked edges. Like the river stones, this is a slow process, a journey if you will, down the bumpy and twisted path of life.

K. Gallagher

K. Gallagher

Each impact, trial, and toss that the Living Water subjects one to, wears, carves, and sculpts us into the image of Elohim. The persistent and consistent rush of tiny water droplets beats (or threshes) the things that offend off until one is as smooth as David’s five stones.

God chose the story of David and Goliath to be one of the first impressions we are given about King David. Why do you think this is so? Could it be that He wanted us to know how “a man after His own heart[11] defeated the beast without AND the beast within (nephesh/flesh)? We see David battling both throughout his lifetime. One quality seems to stand out with David and it’s not perfection. He committed serious sin in his lifetime. But like the water, David was persistent and consistent to turn (repent) and let God continue the good work He began in him. As such, he became a “living stone” and a role model for us.

I think YHWH expects us to sit by a river and meditate on the smooth stones and the rushing water. This natural phenomenon has deep spiritual implications. The Father’s Light (water) is always trying to penetrate our thick skulls (and hearts). But like the hard rocks, we must yield to the soft water (of the Word). The will of God is evident: He desires for us to be Living Stones in His House.

“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua the Messiah.” (1 Peter 2:5)

 I want to leave you with the following passage from the Book of Revelation. This section speaks about our future inheritance (nachal). Like David, we can draw from this truth right now when we have a giant to face. Life is hard and trying. If you find it easy, you might not be in the River getting worn and washed by the Word. Rejoice in your current battle, circumstance, and trial. Move fluidly and without fear as David did; for each step will only make you smoother in the New Jerusalem!

 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev. 21:9-27)


[1] Strong’s number 5158.

[2] Strong’s number 5157.

[3] Fresh water streams, rivers, and brooks (even those that run under ground) are constantly moving or flowing. In Scripture, waters that are specifically called “Living Waters” come only from these sources. David’s five smooth stones would have been retrieved from a source of living waters!

[4] 1 Sam. 17:34-37

[5] Gen. 1:26-28

[6] Forty is a time of completeness as a multiple of four. It especially marks a period of testing and trial. By the time David arrives on the scene, this period has reached its peak and David, filled with the Ruach HaKodesh (4), is ready to move in strength and power (5) against this insolent head of a beast. For more on the symbolic meaning of numbers, see Hebrew Numbers 1-10 or Misparim.

[7] See Frank T. Seekins’ Hebrew Word Pictures under Aleph.

The Hebrew words “stone” (eben) and “son” (ben) were spoken by the Messiah in a play on words in Matthew 3:9, “And do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones (eben) God is able to raise up children (ben) to Abraham.”

Luke 19:37-40 records Yeshua making another comparison to His people (ben) and stones (eben).

[8] Don’t let this reality cause you or those you love to despair. The wisdom of YHWH is all encompassing. The plain, simple, one-dimensional surface meaning of His Word is enough for the smallest child and any of us. The joy is that no matter our I.Q. or developmental stage, the Word is Alive! From the shallow pools to deepest depths, the nuances, patterns, analogies, symbolism, chiasms, numbers, and codes are in His Word for the unearthing. No matter who or where you are, the Word has just what you need and more. There is something for everyone, no matter your maturity level. I don’t know about you, but I find this most extraordinary and exhilarating!

[9] See notes in footnote 6.

[10] “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:20-23)

[11] 1 Sam. 13:14

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Creation Gospel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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