Posts Tagged With: role of women

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pagesI have recently created a page (menu heading) for the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh). Links to my book, audio and video teachings, documents, and links to related material will be gathered there. The audio to my most recent teaching on the new moon has already been posted, check out Rosh Chodesh Helps.

In 2017, I hope to start adding audio and video files to Grace in Torah. As always, your prayers are appreciated.

Categories: Moedim, News Flash, Women | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Biblical Role of Women Part XI

Role of Women Main Page

I had promised to look at sacrificial love and respect in marriage in Part XI, but after further study, this post had to come first to lay a proper foundation. Enjoy!

 

dreamstime_l_47405125 copyMan, Woman, and Fire

 

Up until now, we have only explored the roles of the male (zakar) and the female (neqevah).[1] In this post, we will look at what it means to be a man or husband (ish) and a woman or wife (ishshah).

For this reason a man (ish) shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife (ishshah); and they shall become one flesh. (Gen. 2:24)

Let’s begin by looking at the ish and ishshah in Hebrew.[2] Below are Brown, Driver, and Brigg’s Hebrew definitions.

אישׁ

BDB Definition: (ish) 1) man 1a) man, male (in contrast to woman, female) 1b) husband 1c) human being, person (in contrast to God) 1d) servant 1e) mankind 1f) champion 1g) great man 2) whosoever 3) each (adjective)

 

אשּׁה

BDB Definition: (ishshah) 1) woman, wife, female 1a) woman (opposite of man) 1b) wife (woman married to a man) 1c) female (of animals) 1d) each, every (pronoun)

Man אישׁ and woman אשּׁה share two Hebrew letters: aleph and shin. The difference between the two is that man has the letter yohd and woman has the letter hey. Interestingly, if we put these two together, it spells Yah (yohd, hey). Yah is the poetic form of God’s Name.[3] In other words, the man and the woman each have a piece of the name and authority of God, but only when they come together as one flesh, can we see the Creator’s Name.

יהּ = Yah

This shouldn’t be surprising considering that it takes both the male and the female to display the image of Elohim (God) in the earth. But before we take this further, let’s see what the ish and ishshah share in common. What does aleph and shin spell in Hebrew?

 

אשׁ = Fire

 Man and woman are beings of fire without the yohd and hey (Yah/God).[4] What does this mean? I believe this depicts two different yet complimentary things to us. I want to explore both. The most obvious side of this issue and the one most often taught is the negative aspect. Fire, burning, and consuming are rarely seen as something positive. In the case of men and women or husband and wife, we understand this all too well. If we say that our marriage is burning, we most likely mean that it is falling apart, collapsing from within, or turning into ashes. Thus, let’s consider this for a moment.

Fire is Destructive

Fire burns. Fire is hot. Fire consumes. Fire can destroy life. If you touch a flame, the effects are painful long after you remove your hand. Nothing hurts quite like a burn. And nothing scars our flesh in a worse way. Flesh can literally melt in a fiery furnace. And yet, at the core of our being, you and I (man or woman) ARE fire (aish). Does that sound scary? You see, we can easily (or maybe not so easily) relate to YHWH as being a “consuming fire”, but how often have you thought of yourself as one?

lion fireThe truth is that with or without YHWH, we are still FIRE. We are truly made in the image of our “fiery” Creator. Do you recall from Part IX how we are either a builder or a destroyer? The analogy is the same here. The question is: “What will you do with your fire?”

If we are fueled by the motives and desires of the flesh, we will burn and consume ourselves and our relationships with a destructive heat. Even if we manage to put the flames out, irrevocable damage and scarring is left in our wake. We must be very careful and intentional with the power the Creator has granted unto us.

Men and women are “hot”, and not in a sexy way. The fact that our FLESH naturally produces heat has a spiritual message to teach. If we live by the “flame” of our desires, we are sure to find ourselves in the Refiner’s fire of correction.[5] (How’s that for a living parable?)

 

Fire Cleanses and Refines

On the other hand, fire can cleanse and refine. Fire can give warmth. Fire can tenderize and cook meat. Fire can form, shape, and create new land. Fire and can refine precious metals. Fire can transform dead soil into a rich fertile environment. Fire can preserve life.

Fire, when handled properly and surrounded by definite boundaries, is a very good thing. Thus, we use phrases such as “I’m on fire” to describe our zeal, compassion, blessed efforts, and the like. We even use it to express a winning streak in life or in a game. Not all fire is destructive.

In fact, there are certain seeds that will not germinate and sprout to life without the intense heat from fire. The giant redwoods (sequoias) are a fine example of this. This is interesting considering that most seeds will sprout in the presence of just water. If we look at this natural picture from a spiritual standpoint, the seeds (Word of God) sprout or produce life in the presence of both water and fire. (Does this remind you of baptism in water and fire? The pillar of cloud and pillar of fire? The judgment of water (flood) and of fire? The river of life and the lake of fire?)

At first glance, water and fire seem like polar opposites. But if Hebraic thought has taught me anything it is that every word has the potential to be a contranym and that two diametrically opposed concepts often have a mighty truth to teach if we will just wrestle with the opposites.

The contrast of water and fire was first given to us in Genesis chapter one. The first reference to the Holy Spirit is on Day one of creation where He is hovering or moving upon the faces of WATER. (Gen 1:2). Then, God says, “let there be light”. Light can easily be associated with fire. We see a repeat of this contrast of water and fire on day two when the heavenly waters (shamayim) are separated from the earthly waters (mayim). (Gen. 1:6-8)

shinThe shamayim (heavens) are quite literally waters (mayim) with a shin prefix. As we mentioned above, shin is not only one of the two letters that make the Hebrew word for fire, but it also physically looks like tongues of fire! Thus, it is quite easy to deduce (as Rashi did) that the heavens are indeed waters of fire or fire waters.[6] For our purposes here, the main point is that from the very beginning until the very end, God uses the imagery of both water and fire to not only express His nature, presence, Word, creativity, judgment, and harvest, but also to express similar things in us! The fact that the Hebrew words ish and ishshah depict the heart of men and women as fire and the scientific fact that our “hot” bodies of flesh are composed of mostly water only reiterates this apparent dichotomy.

cropped-art-fire-and-ice-wallpapers-hd-1080p-high-quality-widescreen-hd-wallpaperAre you fire or are you water? The answer is yes. And both water and fire can either destroy life or preserve it. When our lifeblood begins to boil, will it be in lust? In anger? With envy? Or will we give our warmth over to preserve life? To clothe or feed the naked? To defend the helpless?

The truth is that our fire can only be fueled from two places. We either fan the flames with that which is below the expanse or that which is above the expanse. Will our fire come from our lower earthly nature or from the cool, blue, fiery heavens? Both burn with intense heat, both can destroy or purify, but only one does so with a soothing heat that promises everlasting life.

‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Mat 6:10)

Back into the Frying Pan

Man

I think you get the analogy now. But I want to zoom back in on the differences between the ish and ishshah one more time. Remember that the word for man or husband contains fire (aish) and the letter yohd. The yohd is a pictograph of a hand (yahd) or a fist. It has the numerical value of ten and carries the idea of working or creating.[7]

fire hand 2This is similar to the function of the zakar (male), but with more emphasis. A man or a husband is for all intents and purposes “a hand on fire”. The fire within a man needs to be channeled into working or creating. (Perhaps this is why so many men love to collect tools. Or why they and boys love mission oriented video games.) A man with idle hands will always find trouble and destruction.[8] Thus, a man’s (and a husband’s) greatest strength is found in what he does with his hands. It is his actions that show YHWH to his wife, to his children, and the world at a large. (And actions really do speak louder than words!)

Do you recall from Part I how the zakar literally serves YHWH when he works the ground? A man’s career will bring him the most fulfillment when he labors to till, guard, and keep what YHWH has given him to tend. In marriage, one way that a man serves his wife and children is by reaping the produce of his labor. Ideally, the provision he provides sustains the family. In this way, his “contained” fire preserves life.

The “hand on fire” or the man has great potential. Those fiery fists can accomplish mighty things. If they are fueled by the cool heavenly flames, his hands will become callused and strong by putting food on the table, building the house, leading and blessing his family, and sometimes even wielding a rod that gently corrects the children. All feel safe, secure, and loved by the large worn hands that create and protect a home that is warmed by his fire.

But as you’ve already surmised, this great strength is also a man’s or husband’s biggest test. Hands that strike and abuse, hands that withdraw when they should caress, hands that fail to work, hands that deal under the table, hands that touch what is forbidden… all these things are a misuse of a man’s fire, but are no less powerful. No one is safe, secure, or loved by a man that gives his fire to these destructions. It won’t take long before his house turns to ashes and all of his labors are consumed.

The good news is that we always have a choice to change fuel sources. A man that finds himself wearing sack cloth and sitting in ashes can rebuild. And if he stays the course, those very ashes will make the ground doubly fruitful. There is always hope. YHWH desires reconciliation. And He loves even the fallen.

Woman

 In the case of the ishshah, a woman or wife is fire with the addition of the letter hey. Hey has a numerical value of five and means a breath or to behold.[9] Pictographically, the letter hey portrays a person with arms lifted up or of an open window. Both imply making something known by drawing attention to it. In other words, the fire of a woman is meant to REVEAL something. I hope you recall from Part X that while women are the epitome of what is hidden, they do in fact reveal (prophetic).

They also draw attention to what isn’t easily seen. For example, YHWH is a Spirit. Though we can’t physically “see” Him, it is usually a woman (mother, grandmother, wife, sister, or the like) that first reveals our hidden God to others. (See Part IX for more on this.) As a wife, a woman can often intuit certain motives of people or circumstances that affect her husband and children. Again, this is her revealing something that is hidden. To make these things known, she must use her hey or breath.

fiery breathThus, for all intents and purposes, a woman is a “fiery breath”. Yikes! That sounds too much like a dragon for my liking! Yet, the fact remains that a woman who is not walking uprightly can sure depict this flaming beast. Just ask any man with a nagging, controlling, or contentious wife.

Ideally, a woman’s gentle breath will be a flame of fervent prayers, praises, and edification. In fact, the hey pictures this very thing. In ancient Hebrew, hey looked more like a person standing with arms lifted high. This is a worship pose. It is certainly one of praise! Perhaps this is why so many women are such valiant worshippers, dancers, counselors, and prayer warriors.

In marriage, this strength carries over to her husband as well. How many of you have read in multiple self help books on marriage that one of man’s greatest desires from his wife is praise? Well, the Hebrew is one more witness to this truth. A man is motivated to work even harder and to stoke the flames brighter when he has a woman that gushes his praises.

Like it or not, we were created to function this way as one flesh. When a man functions in his righteous role as that loving hand of fiery work,[10] the woman feels “safe and secure”, which compels her mouth to sing fiery praises to her man.[11] The converse is also true. Actually, the jury is out on which comes first here… the chicken or the egg. What I do know is that the roles are reciprocal and one fans the flames of the other. If we do our part, even when it seems futile or even if it’s the last thing we “feel” like doing and we don’t grow weary, the other half naturally changes. Change always starts with YOU, not your spouse. But I digress… let’s continue with the woman.

The strength of a wife or woman is in how she expresses the praises of both Adonai and her man. With words women reveal the will and Word of God to their husband and children. Words can encourage, inspire greatness, and motivate others. Words can bind up wounds and brokenness. Words can uncover the heart of a matter or situation. Women are far more relational than men. Our lives focus and center around our family and friends and to maintain these relationships we use our words in person, on the phone, and through social media. There’s a reason women are known for “talking”.

refiners-fireBut like our counterpart, the ish, it is also our greatest test. I once heard someone say that our greatest trials and tests are in our strengths, not our weaknesses. The Refiner’s fire isn’t fun, but it is better to suffer for the sake of righteousness than for the sake of unrighteousness.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Pet. 4:12-13 ESV)

I wonder how many of these “fiery trials” occurs within marriages? I suspect a great deal. And ladies, how often is our strength (our mouth) the reason for our troubles? Dr. Alewine says that women have trouble with “delivery”. She intends the pun because it encompasses childbirth and delivering a message. How we say things, the way it comes off of our lips, MATTERS.

Women can be gossipy, cheeky, and manipulative with words. Women know how to say all the right things, but say it in a way that undermines the very message they are conveying. With a look, sigh (breath), or even a smile, they can tell you everything you need to know about what they are really thinking. That old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a lie from the pit of hell. Words give or destroy life! And words are indeed associated with fire in the Bible.[12]

When a woman speaks solely from her emotions or feelings her fire can race out of control. The flood from her lips can consume an entire forest. (People are trees!) And because women are gifted with juggling multiple tasks and holding numerous issues, topics, and stressors in the forefront of their mind at one time, this flood can touch EVERY area of the person she spews on at once. Somebody yell, “FIRE!”

We need some water on aisle 9! The good news is that all this destruction can be redeemed. Perhaps, a giant sequoia will grow from the ashes. But of course, the better path is to allow the seeds to sprout after a gentle rain. My prayer is that we LEARN the difference and choose to be a breath of shalom. (By the way, the breath can be another symbol for the Holy Spirit, the ideal role model for the female. See Part V for more detail.)

One Flesh

Now, none of this is meant to limit an ish or ishshah to a one-size-fits-all box. Obviously, men use words and women use their hands! But what this does teach us is that men have more proclivities toward work that involves their hands, physical labor, or just “rolling up their sleeves” to conquer a task (literally and figuratively); whereas, women usually shine brighter when they are able to interact with others in a relational way. There will always be some cross over between the roles of men and women. My thoughts are expressing the general rule based on what I see in real life, the Hebrew language, and the Bible.

Remember, you are not just a light, but also a fire. Burn responsibly.

In upcoming Part XII, we will continue the man, woman, and fire with a tie-in on sacrificial love and respect. For previous posts in this series click here

See also Dr. Hollisa Alewine’s The Creation Gospel Workbook 3: The Spirit-Filled Family, p. 39


[1] See Part I.

[2] These transliterations are pronounced eesh and eesh-shah. There is NO short English “i” sound in Hebrew. Every time you see an “i” in a Hebrew transliteration, it is marking the long double “e” (ee) sound. For example, Elohim (God) does not sound like the English word “him” at the end. It sounds like “heem”. If you hear someone making a short “i” sound in a Hebrew word, it is incorrect. 🙂 As my Hebrew teacher taught me, Hebrew uses strong pure vowels. I guess she was implying that English is impure, lol.

[3] For example, see Psalm 77:11. ( Strong’s H3050) Many translations simply translate the poetic name Yah with LORD as they do for the Most Holy Name YHWH. You can search online Bibles to see the poetic version for yourself.

[4] Fire is often transliterated as aish, esh, or aysh. Make the English letter “a” say it’s name then add “sh” to the end and you’re saying it correctly.

[5] But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. (Mal. 3:2-4 ESV)

[6] The great Jewish commentator Rashi asserts that in Genesis 1:8, “God mingled fire with water and of them made the heavens“. He bases this on an etymological analysis of the Hebrew word for heavens. Rashi explains that shamayim is a compound of the words for fire (esh) and water (mayim).

I wrote about the spiritual aspect of water (and somewhat on fire) in Miriam’s Cup Part I, Part II, and Part III.

You can also read more about the creation days, including the mayim and shamayim, by studying Dr. Hollisa Alewine’s The Creation Gospel Workbook One.

[7] For more on the value of ten, see Hebrew Numbers 1-10.

[8] Pro. 19:15

[9] For more on the number five, see Hebrew Numbers 1-10.

[10] This implies much more than a “job”. I mean work in the fullest sense of the word. Work at work. Work at home. Work for YHWH. Work in marriage. No man does this without LOVE, which we will explore in Part XII.

[11] This is respect or reverence, which we will cover in Part XII.

[12] Think of YHWH’s Ten Words coming from a “smoking” Mt. Sinai and the tongues (words/language) of fire that rested upon the disciples in Acts 2. If good and righteous words are akin to fire, you better believe that there is a counterfeit! What do you think the watery river that flows from the mouth of the dragon in Revelation 12:15-16 is metaphorically speaking about? Remember, water and fire mirror one another. (You can see this comparison in my post on The Rivers of Eden.)

Categories: Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Biblical Role of Women Part X

Role of Women Main Page

In Part VIII and Part IX, we discovered that women (and men as the bride of Messiah) either build the House of Adonai or they tear it down. We also looked at how YHWH sovereignly chose to first entrust the Torah and the Gospel with His daughters. Again, this is about building His House. It is the mother who first teaches a child the Torah. Then later, as the child matures, the Father brings the stronger correction (mussar).

 

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction (mussar) And do not forsake your mother’s teaching (torah). (Pro. 1:8)

My son, observe the commandment (mitzvah) of your father And do not forsake the teaching (torah) of your mother. (Pro. 6:20)

 

In both of the proverbs mentioned above, the father is mentioned first, but it is the Torah of the mother that is not to be forsaken. To forsake is to abandon or forget – implying something that was learned beforehand. Infants begin life by receiving the nourishing milk of the mother in both the physical and in the spiritual through her teaching. In light of this simplicity, it is easy to understand why the women were the first to receive and proclaim the Torah and the Gospel. The tender mercies of a mother’s teaching are balanced by the stricter judgment/correction of the Father. Both are necessary to bring a child to maturity. (This is true physically and spiritually.)

 

The Hidden Woman and Time

 

I hope that you have noticed a common theme emerging throughout my posts on women. The woman is often “hidden” within the biblical narratives, much like she was once “hidden” within Adam. There is good reason for this when we take the whole of Scripture into account. Righteous women are a living representation of the Holy Spirit; and as such, they also portray the prophetic or what is future.

 

If that sounds too far fetched for your liking, let us first consider the Hebraic concept of time. Westerners typically view the past as being what is “behind” us, whereas the future is what is in “front” or ahead of us. Thus, to encourage someone to stop dwelling on past mistakes, we might tell them to “stop looking back” (past) or to “focus on what is ahead” (future). But in Hebraic thought, these expressions are reversed. The past is what you can see; it’s in front of you (and your eyes). The future (what you can’t see) is behind you. Perhaps the following illustration will flesh out this notion.

 

ff_130330_6339-Edit

In this image, the man is the power (motor/rower) and the one steering. But as such, he faces away from where he is headed. The woman in the boat is the one that can clearly see upcoming obstacles in their path. Can you see the roles of men and women in this analogy?

Imagine someone rowing a boat down a river. The river is time. In order to row a boat, a person must face backwards while rowing forward down the river. What the rower can see with his eyes is the area he has already travelled. (past) Because he doesn’t face in the direction he is headed, he cannot see what is ahead (future). This is truly how mankind experiences time. What has already happened (past) is clearly seen and understood, but the future is unclear and unknown. I know this totally reverses the definitions of hindsight and foresight, but I’ve found that most things in western thought compared with Hebraic thought are (sadly) reversed! Things like this shouldn’t surprise us any more.

 

Do you recall the function or role of the male from Part I? He is to remember (zakar). In order to remember or recall something, the thing being referred to would have already happened. In other words, it requires looking at what’s in front of you on the river of time. (Past) Everything that YHWH has said, the male is to remember and act on that Word. (This doesn’t excuse women from doing the same! The two become ONE flesh.) The man guards and protects all those things that are clearly “written”. Moreover, what is “past” is evident; there is no ambiguity. In other words, the past is firm or set in stone. Just like the written Word of God, it does not change. Can you see how this makes the male a picture of not only a firm foundation on which to build, but also associates him with time past? (Both are firm, set, solid, and reliable.)

 

As the male’s counter balance, the female should then represent the other side of this coin or what is “future”. Does Scripture indicate that this might be true? I believe that it does. Before we look at the Biblical text, let’s first consider the things that women do. They birth, nurture, and build the House or the future of God’s people. The stories involving women in the Bible are more hidden (or obscure) in the text. When we do encounter women in the Biblical record, prophetic (future) things are often being revealed.

 

Moreover, In Part I, we looked at the neqevah or female as a protector and setter of of boundaries. But when we examine the context of this word in its further uses, something awesome is revealed. Often neqevah is juxtaposed with sound alike Hebrew words that deal with future expectation. For example, qevah without the nun prefix means to wait, expect, or hope. All of these words imply looking toward something that is future. [1] But even more interesting, if we add the nun back to qevah as a prefix, it indicates the collective future tense! Reread Jeremiah 31:22 with this in mind and the prophetic picture is heightened to include an expectation for a good future. 

 

Sometimes, at first glance, the motives of women are uncertain. Women usually have a strong sense of “knowing” or great intuition into things that are hidden or concealed from plain sight. They can often pick up on things in the spiritual realm easier than men. This is why most of the great women referenced in the Bible are called “prophetesses”. [2] They represent the future and the prophetic. I could go on, but you get the point. It takes both a male and female to display the image of Elohim in the earth. And life cannot be understood separately from time.

 

Future-Present-Past-1680x1050The Most Holy Name of our Elohim, YHWH (yohd, hey, vav, hey), is the very essence of time. As a form of the verb “to be”, the I Am, He is the One who is, who was, and who is to come. In other words, He is our present, our past, and our future. YHWH is time itself. Thus, it is no coincidence that mankind (male and female) as His image in the earth also typify time.

 

Men portray the past. Women picture the future. Together, as male and female, they build in the present with YHWH. Both men and women are equally important in displaying the image of God and His time clock. YHWH’s calendar masterfully weaves together both the past (remember) and the future (what is to come) in His holy moedim (feasts). Women are intrinsically connected to the rhythms and cycles of the Creator’s calendar. You can read more about this in my series entitled Moonbeams and the Moedim.

 

YHWH has plainly told us that His desire is to REVEAL Himself unto His people. Men, in the image of God, represent what YHWH has already revealed of Himself (past). Women represent how YHWH works behind the scenes of our lives and the many promises and plans He has for us (future). If we could just grasp the enormity of what will happen when the woman is revealed, then we’d all be screaming from the rooftops, “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’”

 

Key #1 Men portray the past. Women picture the future. Together, 
as male and female, they build in the present with YHWH.

 

The Revealed Man and Time

 

For the most part, men (and their role) have stood out in the Biblical text, in history, and within marriages and families. This is to be expected since men are a picture of the past and what is REVEALED. We don’t have to “look” for the masculine. The role of the man stands out, just as they do physically. Nothing is hidden.

 

Conversely, women represent what is HIDDEN. If the role of women were easy to “see” or discern, there would be no need for this series. In the natural, this truth is likewise expressed to us in our most intimate parts that create life. I know this is rather crude, but consider that a woman’s reproductive organs are “hidden”, whereas a man’s reproductive organs stand out. Men are clearly revealed; women are concealed. Do you think this is just happenstance? Can this natural picture also be speaking a spiritual truth?

 

If so, why would we ever consider that one supersedes the other? It takes both male and female “parts” to create life in the natural. Do you suppose it is any different in the spiritual realm? I submit to you that it is not. The ideal function of both man and woman is to express the image of God in the earth. While their “parts” or roles are different, it takes both working together to create New Life. If one side of this coin is shunned, regulated, oppressed, usurped, or gagged Abundant Life cannot grow.

 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Why Does This Matter?

 

Abundant life includes happy and healthy marriages. It also includes the entire Body of Messiah (men and women) being able to function within the full capacity of their roles in our assemblies. My hope in the remaining articles of this series is to emphasize the fact that YHWH’s ideal for men and women is to work together. [3] Each is one half of the whole.

 

The problem is with our fallen natures or our evil inclinations. The old man operates from a place of fear rather than love. This is why we still struggle greatly not only in the roles of the sexes, but in every other area of life as well. But our Redeemer beckons us to walk in New Life. We will take a deeper look at this in Part XI, which will explore sacrificial love (daat) and respect (yirat) especially in regard to marriage.

For past articles in this series, click here. For Part XI click here.

See also Dr. Hollisa Alewine’s The Creation Gospel Workbook 3: The Spirit-Filled Family, p. 40

Key #1 Men portray the past. Women picture the future. Together,
as male and female, they build in the present with YHWH.


 

 [1] See The Scarlet Harlot and the Crimson Thread Workbook Four, page 140 (2012) by Dr. Hollisa Alewine. Also see Strong’s number H6960 (qevah or kavah). 

[2]  Examples include Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and Anna.

 [3] Other areas that this series will look at:

Sacrificial Love and Respect in Marriage

Ish and Ishah (Man and Woman) and Fire

The Hidden Womb of Woman

Character Studies of Biblical Women

 

 

Categories: Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Moonbeams and the Moedim Part I

moon

Women, Cycles, and Time

Have you ever considered why many of the families that have returned to the seventh day Sabbath and YHWH’s festivals began with the prompting of the woman or wife?[1] Or have you ever wondered why there is so much physical preparation (domestic and relational requirements) that a woman must do in order for the family to keep Shabbat and the Feasts? What about the rabbinical ruling that women are “exempt” from certain time related commandments; what is this about? Why do women seem to be associated with TIME again and again? Hopefully, we will begin to answer these questions in this post.

I think I’ve figured out why I’ve struggled to start this next series of posts. They each deal with time. And time, like light, is still very much a mystery to mankind (and modern science). There are several ways that people try to understand time. Some think of it as a linear line with an infinite beginning and end. Each end of this line is constantly moving away from the other. Others view time as a circle with the beginning also being the end. And still others believe that while time is indeed cyclical, that it is much more akin to the double helix of our DNA. It is connected, but with rungs that progress upward on a twisted ladder. Lower parts touch higher rungs repeating the information in new and more dynamic ways with each cyclical step.

The latter view will be the way in which I present this material. This part will present the base line and it will spiral and spread throughout the following posts, but will twist back to touch this post again. To put it simply, I will present this in a “spiral” form of teaching. I just don’t see any other way to do it. (:

Cycles

grapicOne thing that I really try to emphasize when teaching others about Hebraic Roots is the difference between Hebrew and Greek thought. We are so accustomed to linear thought that many treasures from the Bible and Creation falls on blind eyes. One thing is certain, the Word and Creation both declare CYCLES to us again and again. Thinking about a linear timeline that moves from the indefinite left and progresses to the indefinite right is not Biblical or logical; especially when we consider the largest and smallest things in the creation. Take a look at the graphic “Cycles in Nature”. Everything we can see moves in CYCLES. And the seen things are meant to teach us about the unseen (spiritual) things. (1 Cor. 15:46)

God’s calendar, His appointed times, are also cyclical. Before we delve into how women are connected to these cycles, let’s first look at how God has revealed time.

YHWH’s calendar is primarily based on the lunar cycle.[2] New months begin with sighting the first sliver of a new moon and mark out the appropriate timing of our festivals, fasts, and harvests. In other words, the moon keeps or guards our weeks, months, and years. The passage below chronicles Day 4 of creation. Those of you that have been following my posts or that are Creation Gospel students will notice that as the fourth day, God is establishing His government or authority in the luminaries. (And in His calendar.)

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth“; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. (Gen. 1:14-19)

Verse 14 states that one of the governing actions of the luminaries is to serve as signs, seasons, days, and years. I believe “days” and “years” are pretty self-explanatory, so let’s look at the “signs” and “seasons”. The Hebrew word for signs is ot (aleph, vav, tav). It literally means a mark, signal, omen, or flag. The heavenly lights declare not only the glory of God, but give us signals or warnings of things to come. So while they may help us to keep track of time (past), they can also point to or warn us of future events (prophesy).

The Hebrew word for seasons in verse 14 is moedim. I expect that most of my readers will be familiar with this word. These are our feasts and festivals.[3] Notice that in the very Beginning, YHWH established His calendar or His time clock on day four of creation. This is significant because our calendars govern our day to day lives. They dictate when we celebrate, when we rest, when we work, and when we gather together. If the Creator felt that His calendar required the actual sun, moon, and stars to guard, protect, keep, and mark His time, how much more should His people regard His calendar?

These appointments with the Creator give us LIGHT much in the same way that the sun, moon, and stars give us natural light. They truly separate the light from the darkness. If we ignore these appointments, we will have less light, less revelation. Remember, the natural things are meant to reveal spiritual truths. The guardians of God’s calendar speak to every creature on earth summoning us to come and meet with the King. David said it this way:

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. (Ps. 19:1-3)

In the very Beginning, the Creator preordained that we meet with Him certain times of the year. You only need to look up at the majestic sun, moon, and stars to see and know the season. Notice that at night the heavens reveal “knowledge”. This is the Hebrew word da’at. This type of knowledge is an intimate knowing and carries with it the idea of sacrificial love. It is the “bone of my bone and flesh of flesh” that Adam experienced with Chavah (Eve) and she conceived and bore a son. It is the loving knowledge that provoked Yeshua to become the sacrifice for His people. Because of the intimate nature of da’at, it cannot be completed without a woman. This type of sacrificial love needs a vessel to pour itself into and women are the natural imagery of a receiving vessel. (Hopefully, you can see men too in this imagery as part of the Bride.)

There is a cycle at work here that is meant to be a guide to God’s people. For our purposes, we will limit our study to the lesser light of the moon. Both men and women as the people of Elohim can be compared to the moon. But women have a unique association that I’d like to focus on. Since both the male and the female are revealed in The Woman in Scripture, we will see some overlaps in the two sex roles.

Moonbeams

He made the moon for the seasons (moedim)… (Ps. 104:19)

The moon has a special role to play in the guardianship role of the moedim (feasts). It is a master timekeeper of sorts. While the sun and stars also share in this responsibility, the moon beckons us to watch it a little more closely. As the nearest heavenly body to earth, the moon has mesmerized mankind since time immemorial. Sadly, many have fallen victim to the idolization of these heavenly bodies. They have failed to realize that these luminaries serve us, we are not meant to serve them.

The moon’s closeness and the fact that it governs our moedim make it quite mysterious. This becomes even more mystical when we consider that the brightest light in the night sky has no light of its own – it can only reflect the light of the sun. We will come back to this concept in a later post.

Since women’s bodies follow a lunar cycle (menses), the Sages have long concluded that women are uniquely associated with not only the moon and YHWH’s Festivals, but with time itself.[4] Let’s review what we’ve covered so far. As you read through my enumerations, ask yourself if any of these remind you of the role of women.

The moon:

  1. Sets boundaries for our months.
  2. Keeps or guards the moedim.
  3. Warns of things to come.
  4. Reflects the light of the sun.

I hope some of these facts caused you to think of the neqevah (female) and the ezer kenegdo from the Biblical Role of Women Part I and Part II. Or perhaps even the prophetic nature of women from Part V. One of the more obvious links between women and the moon is seen in the various PHASES in which both continually go through.

The regular arrival of the new moon and its growth to fullness, followed by its soon disappearance has long been a visible symbol of life, death, and rebirth. With every new moon, we see the necessity of being renewed (born again). This rhythmic clock sets our calendars with each cycle marked as a new month (moonth).

Like clockwork, women also go through phases each month. Similar to the moon, a woman’s phases are directly linked to life, death, and rebirth. Each month a woman’s womb prepares its “soil” for life and then sheds it (death) if no viable seed is planted — only to renew itself once again. This cycle repeats again and again. When a woman’s body is in the shedding stage of menses, blood appears. When the moon gives us a warning of judgment (death), it appears red. It’s not a coincidence that we call this a blood moon.

Not surprisingly, there are four primary phases of the moon with more elaborate depictions showing eight (a factor of 4). You can watch a quick video about these phases here.  Due to the length, we will examine each of the four primary moon phases and their relationship to the feast days and women’s cycles in Part II.


[1] Obviously, this isn’t always the case. However, in most of the families I have met, this is true. Whether she was home schooling the children and discovered these truths through in-depth Biblical and historical studies or by the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit, it is usually the wife that first “sees” God’s calendar as relevant for the family.

[2] The Hebrew calendar does take the solar cycle into account to maintain the seasons. For an interesting article about this, click here.

[3] See Lev. 23

[4] These two articles speak to women and the moon. Women of the Wall and Aish. Women being associated with time in general is a two-fold concept. The first is simply what we’ve been discussing. Women are tied to time because YHWH made their bodies to mimic His time clock. Secondly, the rabbis ruled that women are exempt from certain TIME related mitzvot. We will explore this idea in a later post.

Categories: Moedim, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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