Posts Tagged With: serpent

Garments of Light Part I

bible-verse-ephesians-5-children-of-the-lightAnd the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Gen. 2:25 NASB)

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

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

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

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

Skins of Light

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

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

אוֹר Light (aleph, vav, resh)

עוֹר Skin (ahyin, vav, resh)

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

If we simply look at the pictographic meaning of these words, both have a heart that connects. Vav means to link, connect, or hook together. It is also the number 6, the creation day for both beast and man. In our passage in Genesis, we are dealing with a beast (snake) that speaks like a man.

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

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

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

Roaming Eyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaves that kill, leaves that heal

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of skin?

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

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

  1. What if sin caused Adam and Chavah to be made bare (naked) in different sense?
  2. What is shame?
  3. Exactly how did the serpent deceive the first couple? And does he use the same tactics today?
  4. What do our “garments” represent in the Bible?
  5. Why does the world (and most believers) focus on everyones’s figurative “dirty laundry”?
  6. Can we strip someone naked in a spiritual sense?
  7. What does it mean to clothe the naked?

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


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

[2] H6175

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

Bolt: To secure, or to flee

Bound: Heading to a destination, or restrained from movement

Buckle: To connect, or to break or collapse

Clip: To fasten, or detach

Screen: To present, or to conceal

Splice: To join, or to separate

Transparent: Invisible, or obvious

[4] 1 Cor. 15:46

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

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

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Messianic Issues | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Moonbeams and the Moedim Part III

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

Nine

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

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

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

While tet is actually the least common letter in the Hebrew Bible, the first time it appears is in the word tov or good, which is used numerous times throughout the Creation story. I hope you just made the connection that like the Holy Spirit, the moon, and women, tet is the least “seen” letter in the Bible. In other words, each has a “hidden” aspect to it. But that is what a womb (and a woman) does. It surrounds and protects new life in order to build the family. Though hidden, this stage is good and necessary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Flip Side of Nine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8] H8159 שׁעה shâ‛âh BDB Definition:

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

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

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

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

Part of Speech: verb

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

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

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

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

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Masters

shackles     “No gods, no masters.” ― Margaret Sanger

 

In my last post, A Parable, we investigated the Hebrew word mashal found in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7 translated as rule and master. We discovered that mashal is also the Hebrew word for a parable or proverb and how maxims actually do have dominion and power for those that have ears to hear. In today’s post, I hope to take us a little deeper into this correlation.

In Chavah’s encounter with the serpent, she found the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil to be three things:

  1. Good for food.
  2. A delight to her eyes.
  3. Desirable to make one wise.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen. 3:6)

Why did Chavah consider something that YHWH had said was not to be eaten “good for food”? Does she believe that YHWH is withholding something from her? Apparently, YHWH isn’t completely trustworthy in the eyes of Eve after her encounter with the serpent.

So, why did Chavah trust a walking[1], talking snake? Isn’t a serpent a created beast? As a beast, the serpent knows only what an animal is created to do. His dialogue with Chavah reveals the spirit of a beast, not a man. Anything an animal desires to do is a God given instinct. By pursuing these urges, the beast is actually being obedient to the Creator.

What are these desires? Beasts are “ruled” by the impulse to eat, sleep, procreate, and expand their territory[2]. These inborn urges drive the soul of an animal. If they see something they “desire”, they are never in disobedience by working to fulfill this want. These appetites ensure that these creatures are fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Therefore, an animal’s teshukah[3] (desire) is its master by the design of the Creator.

Humans and animals both have a nephesh, or a soul. Therefore, we also have appetites corresponding to an animal or beast. And this part of our nature is not evil in and of itself. The Creator made us this way and called it very good! Without these appetites and passions we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our primary mandate as humans: to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.

However, unlike the beasts, we are NOT to allow ourselves to be ruled by these appetites and desires. Instead, with YHWH’s help, we are meant to master them. A human created in the image of Elohim masters his flesh or nephesh. This can only be accomplished by living by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of Elohim (God)[4]. Why? Because without the Word, we are ruled by the appetites of our nephesh and are no different than a beast of the field.

If our nephesh controls our actions, are we not our own masters? Isn’t that the real temptation the serpent presents to Chavah (Eve)? By allowing our nephesh to rule, we become like Elohim knowing good and evil and doing what is right in our own eyes. This is pure idolatry — and self is the idol!

This is the precise problem with the second and third observations Eve had of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.(Gen. 3:6 KJV)

The Hebrew word for pleasant is ta’avah and it means to long for, desire, lust, or delight. Its root word, avah, is defined as to wish for, desire, and covet. This is same word used in the second set of the Ten Commandments for “You shall not covet…”[5] This is not surprising since it is usually with our eyes that we first long for (covet) something that is not our own. This is the purpose in YHWH commanding us to wear visual reminders of His commandments. [6] We cannot trust our eyes to remain faithful.

Not by coincidence, the Hebrew word for desired above is chamad. While it does mean delight, desirable, and even beloved; it also means to covet! It is the Hebrew word used in the first set of the Ten Commandments where we are told, “You shall not covet…”[7] What exactly was it that Chavah coveted?

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5)

Chavah could be her own master. She would decide what was good and evil in her own eyes and in effect be a better ezer kenegdo to Adam. Margaret Sanger[8] captured the whole human dilemma given to us, I believe, in parabolic form with her infamous words, “No gods, no masters”. She was certain that the only “master” of a woman’s body was the woman herself. In other words, Margaret’s desire was to do what seemed right in her own eyes — she is her own master or god knowing good and evil. Sadly, this is the battle of all men and women. Who shall rule us?

By listening to the walking, talking serpent or nephesh, Chavah began to have more trust not necessarily in the serpent, but in herself. This is the ultimate deception of the serpent. He is a beast perfectly designed to be ruled by his instinct or nephesh. Chavah is meant to be ruled by the Word of God. So, what happened with Adam in this story?

Unlike Chavah, Adam was NOT deceived.

…and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen. 3:16b)

The Hebrew word for with is eem. It can mean with, by, or beside. The Hebrew allows one interpretation: Adam watched this whole show go down and never protested the obvious (to him) deception of his wife. Why was Adam silent? Did he trust his ezer kenegdo to a fault? Or did he realize, as Dr. Moen suggests[9], that he had an impossible choice to make:

  1. Eve, the only perfect one; made just for me. Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh.
  2. Elohim. YHWH. Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Regardless of why Adam remained silent, his sin was exactly the same as Chavah’s. He chose his own desires and passions instead of YHWH. In other words, Adam was mastered by his nephesh just as Eve was. The difference, I believe, is that Chavah didn’t realize (at first) what was happening, but Adam did. He was not deceived. He chose Chavah, the very delight to his eyes!

Essentially, both Chavah and Adam became their own masters. Their sin was idolatry. I don’t think we realize that this is what we are doing when choose to do what we want to do — or not do. We usurp the highest authority in the Universe when we decide what is good and evil. Only YHWH has the right and authority to make these distinctions. We don’t have to understand his sovereign commandments. We simply are to obey them.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!” (Gen. 3:4)

When we become our own god, we bring curses and death upon ourselves. Sure, the consequence may not be immediate. Adam and Chavah didn’t die… right away. This delay can only be the mercy and grace of YHWH. Sadly, when we are disobedient and nothing “bad” seems to happen, we believe the lie of the serpent and smugly think to ourselves that our DESIRE doesn’t lead to death or destruction either.

Ironically, the very thing a person ruled by their nephesh desires, to be their own master, is the very thing that enslaves them to sin and death. Meditate on that for a while…

 

 

So, what’s the parable or moral found in this story? How does this help us to connect the two accounts in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7? What is the Creator teaching with the teshukah and mashal in Chavah and Cain’s predicaments? I hope to answer that in my next post…


[1] I’m assuming he could walk since his curse after deceiving Chavah (Eve) would be that he would have to crawl on the ground from that point forward. Naturally, the inference is that before this encounter, he did not crawl on his belly.

[2] Dr. Hollisa Alewine, in her workbook The Scarlet Harlot, speaks to this dichotomy between the nephesh and the man made in the image of Adonai.

[3] Please see a more in-depth treatment of the Hebrew word teshukah in my series on the Biblical Role of Women.

[4] Dt. 8:3

[5] Dt. 5:21

[6] And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. (Num. 15:39-40)

[7] “You shall not covet (chamad) your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:17) 

[8] Margaret Sanger is the “mother” of Planned Parenthood. I believe she is a prime example of a woman ruled by her nephesh rather than by the Spirit of YHWH.

[9] Audio file: The Scriptural Role of the ‘Ezer by Dr. Skip Moen. You can purchase it here: http://skipmoen.com/products/ezer/

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