Posts Tagged With: slavery

Torah Nugget: Parsha Bo

I am still out of town, but wanted to make a quick post about something that jumped out to me this year, likely due to my study of Amalek.

Pharaoh is the epitome of one that desires to control, enslave, and oppress. He views people as a commodity, sheep that he can shear and fleece. During the plagues (miracles) of judgment, Pharaoh’s servants advise him to just let the MEN go to worship Adonai. Pharaoh heeds their advice and calls Moses and Aaron back into his presence. He asks them, “Who will go (halak)?”

“Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Send the men, so they may serve Adonai their God. Don’t you realize yet that Egypt is being destroyed?” So Moses and Aaron were brought to Pharaoh again. “Go, serve Adonai your God,” he said. “But who will be going?” Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our elderly, our sons and our daughters. We will go with our flocks and our herds—for we must have Adonai’s feast for Him.””  (Ex. 10:7-9 TLV)

All the people, including the women and children, even all the livestock will go to worship Adonai. This is not the answer Pharaoh wanted to hear. In his mind, they all belong to him. By allowing the women and children and the livestock to be released with the men, the whole Body or nation would be set free. He would no longer be able to profit from their labor.

We would do well to keep a couple of spiritual truths in mind. Pharaoh believes he owns you and yours. You are no more than a good that can provide cheap service and labor to further his earthly kingdom. He is the opposite of rest and freedom. It took 7 plagues to get him to partially relent. But even then, he couldn’t let go of the thought of future revenue. That’s what the women, children, and livestock represent – the future. Moreover, when any gender or racial group is required to remain enslaved, this is not the “freedom” Adonai has in mind. (Livestock is often a symbol of the nations.) Paul knew this well and advised the Galatians:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed—heirs according to the promise.”  (Gal. 3:28-29 TLV)

A spiritual “Pharaoh” knows that restraining the women, children, and nations, will keep the Body under his control. This is the way of fearful, flesh ruled men. If Pharaoh can keep them hostage, he has the men also, even though they have a facade of liberty. Adonai and Moses know that true freedom must include the women, little ones, and even the livestock (nations).

“But he (Pharaoh) said to them, “So may Adonai be with you, if I ever do let you go, with your little ones. See clearly now! Evil is in your face. Not so! Go now—the men—and serve Adonai! For that’s what you were seeking.” Then they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.”  (Ex. 10:10-11 TLV)

Adonai and Moses’ demand that the whole Assembly leave Eygpt to worship YHWH. This infuriates Pharaoh. He calls Moses ra or evil. He even implies that Moses is deluded and cannot see clearly by telling him to ra’ah or see that evil is neged or in front of his paniym (face).

Did you catch that? I’ll repeat it. Pharaoh believes Moses is blind and cannot see what is right in front of his face! I wonder how many have bought into Pharaoh’s twisted words? How many blind lead the blind? Is it evil to desire that the WHOLE Assembly serve and worship Adonai as He has called? Pharaoh thinks so.

Interestingly, the first use of neged, the word that means “in front of” is kenegdo in reference to the creation of woman. She is right in front of man’s face. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that Pharaoh refuses to let the WOMEN go with the men. They are the first step in the whole Body, including the nations, being set free.

The Exodus is one of the largest motifs in the Bible. (For a great book about this, click here.) In fact, the whole Bible is about Adonai moving one from slavery to freedom. We must grasp every detail of the Exodus to understand true redemption, salvation, deliverance, sanctification, and restoration. Enemies like Pharaoh reveal (to those with eyes to see) the heart issues of depraved man. The desire to control and subject others is never godly, even if the perpetrator believes himself to be a god.

Consider modern government today. How much of it is corrupted by the beastly desire for selfish gain, the drive to build a name and kingdom for self, greed and acquisition? What about religious man? Is he any different? Don’t these same desires nest in the hearts of many that lead flocks? I wonder how many actually believe they are building Adonai’s Kingdom when they are in fact only serving their own selfish desires?

Don’t let Pharaoh frighten you, especially if you are considered marginalized, inferior, or a minority. You are NOT a commodity; rather, you are an HEIR according to the Promise. Adonai, Moses, and Yeshua proclaim the Good News. They work to set the captives free from the House of Bondage and Slavery. The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. And, contrary to what oppressors like Pharaoh will tell you, these gifts and callings are meant to SERVE Adonai and build His Kingdom – no matter your sex or race. Stop building for Pharaohs that call good evil and evil good.

(Is. 61:1-6 TLV) 1 The Spirit of Adonai Elohim is on me, because Adonai has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, 2  to proclaim the year of Adonai’s favor and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all who mourn 3  to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of Adonai, that He may be glorified. 4  They will rebuild the ancient ruins. They will restore former desolations. They will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. 5  Strangers will stand and shepherd your flocks, children of foreigners will be your plowmen and vinedressers. 6  But you will be called the kohanim of Adonai, They will speak of you as the ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations and boast in their abundance.

(Jer. 46:27 TLV) “But you, fear not, Jacob My servant, nor be dismayed, O Israel. For behold, I will save you from afar, your offspring from the land of their exile. And Jacob will return and be at peace and secure, no one frightening him.

Categories: Torah Portions, Women | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Biblical Equality

john McKee

I just finished a short ebook by J.K. McKee of Outreach Israel Ministries and TNN Online called “Biblical Equality and Today’s Messianic Movement”. It is fantastic and I highly urge you to forgo a $3 coffee to buy this informative document. You will be glad you did. (: This post will explore some of Mr. McKee’s insights and some of my thoughts that he helped tie together.

Mr. McKee focuses on Galatians 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.

Notice that there are three categories of people mentioned in this verse. Most people understand that this verse is emphasizing the equality and freedom we have in Messiah. And this is true! However, there is more to the story. We will get to that in a bit.

For now, consider some of our most outspoken disagreements within the whole of Messianic circles. Number one centers on the identity and separation/inclusion of Jews and Gentiles (Greeks). Some Messianic Jewish leaders just released a scathing treatise against those that are for inclusion and equality between these groups back in January 2014. One of their most notable battle cries was IDENTITY markers for Jews, which (they believe) Gentiles should not infringe upon. In their mind, Sabbath, dietary laws, and the moedim (feast days), are their markers. (For a response to this treatise, click here)

They have an unwarranted and unholy fear of Gentiles actually being obedient to the Covenant. In their mind, if there isn’t a line drawn in the sand to separate these racial groups, the Jewish people will cease to exist or be overrun by Gentiles. Thus, they claim that followers of the God of Israel that come from Gentile backgrounds should not seek to keep the Creator’s calendar and Torah, lest they become vile practitioners of supersessionism. What they fail to realize, is that by demanding such, they have placed themselves as the dark overlords and gate keepers of the covenant. You can’t be the light, draw people in, to only turn them away.

Ungodly fear is at the root of this type of thinking. To lose (perceived) control can be a very compelling goad. Their scare tactics have succeeded somewhat and they have managed to persuade some into their hypocrisy. Sadly, if they would only open a genuine dialogue with those that “see” differently, their fears would be alleviated. In over ten years, I haven’t met one single person from a Gentile background that desires to keep the Torah and cling to the God of Israel that has any notions of usurping Judah, overtaking Israel, or replacing Jews in any form or fashion. Instead, I see a people that would pick up a sword any day of the week and defend Judah, Jews, and the Land. This even when their name and faith is continually slandered, rebuked, and denied legitimacy by the former.

Mr. McKee posits a poignant question in his book:

What happens in a religious culture that emphasizes distinctions first, rather than common faith and belief in the Lord Yeshua? What will commonly be manifest in such an environment are rivalry, suspicion, self-superiority, factionalism, and division, to be then followed by resentment and bitterness.[1]

Do we not see these things happening right now in those returning to the Torah and their Jewish roots? Ahh. But there is more to this story. While non-Jewish believers have been crying out for acceptance and equality in the Body, many have forgotten the last third of Galatians… there is neither male nor female.

Restoring women IS the missing key to this equation. Those bent on complementarianism rather than equality or egalitarianism among the sexes are denying the complete restoration and a full return to Edenic values. Mr. McKee puts it this way:

“The LORD God of Israel is not going to honor the request of a Messianic non-Jewish man, to be treated as a welcomed equal in Messianic Judaism, if such a man’s wife might not be treated as an equal, co-leader of the family along with him.”

Mr. McKee observes that the three groups mentioned in Galatians 3:28 are all interconnected. We can’t isolate one group and that be our only focus of restoration, for they actually reflect one another. They are each a picture of the other two. Thus, if we desire to seek true freedom and equality, there are three categories that must be simultaneously considered.

Many of my readers are aware that when I began to diligently seek out the biblical role of women, the Father dropped a bomb in my lap by revealing the issues of modern day slavery. I grasped the connection immediately; and I thought I was seeing the other side of two-sided coin. But, I now realize that what I’m really looking at is more akin to a wicked tripod that supports and gives strength to oppression and domination in all forms. Isn’t it written somewhere that a threefold cord is not quickly broken? (Ecc. 4:12)

dreamstimelarge_22045424

© Christianm

In light of Galatians 3:28, where there are issues of race, there will be issues of slavery and domination. Where there are issues of slavery, there will issues of gender equality and repression. One begets the other. Do you think it is a coincidence that Woman Suffrage, Equal rights, and the abolition of slavery are all intertwined in (recent) United States history? I think Paul saw this link a long time ago.

This is why now more than ever, those returning to the Torah and keeping the Testimony of Yeshua should be breaking the legs of this wicked tripod and uplifting and restoring the marginalized groups back to the original state: Eden.

But how can we accomplish such a feat? Where do we begin? How does a society and a Body entrapped in the dogma of authority, dominance, and control shift gears and do a 180 degree turn?

What many fail to elucidate when examining the issues of race, slavery, and gender equality, is our world’s proclivity toward male oriented authority, dominance, and control. Which are all, by the way, traits that the Creator especially endowed in the masculine side of His Creation. When these characteristics are tempered by the Holy Spirit and the feminine side of Creation, they bring balance and security.

But what happens if these masculine qualities dominate without the opposite, yet complimentary, traits of the feminine? We would expect to see a world entrenched in a power grab for dominance, authority, and control. Is that not the world we live in? On a smaller scale, we see the same thing happening within the Body of Messiah. The scales are tipped too far in the direction of the hard masculine. The Jewish sages, particularly the Chassidic sect, see this unjust scale and foresee a transition coming.

As with the general scheme of the cosmos, so with man and woman and the human consciousness. The history of humankind can be seen this way: A transition from male to female values, from authority to dialogue, from dominance to persuasion, from control to nurture.[2]

Do you hear the heart of this rabbi? He can clearly see the problem… and the solution. Dialogue, persuasion, and nurture are needed for reform. All of these qualities are feminine. But if we continue to deny females to operate in their God given abilities; or worse, deny their legitimacy to minister to the Body altogether we can expect a continual struggle with race, slavery, and gender. What a vicious cycle!

I have great hope that we are on the cusp of real restoration. It has taken us a long, long, time to get to where we are today. There is still much struggle and resistance to change (restoration). But I cannot help but to also recognize another connection to the three groups mentioned in Galatians 3:28.

With the reestablishment of the state of Israel in 1948, came also a theological paradigm shift. Israel and the Jewish people have a God given right to exist and flourish. For many Christians, seeing this took a sincere desire to reexamine the Scriptures. Old traditions, dogma, and pride had to be laid on the altar of Truth.

Do you believe that it is a coincidence that the Civil rights movement quickly came on the heels of this restoration? And with that the beginnings of a return of both believing Jews and Gentiles to the Torah of YHWH? Like it or not, all these happenings are CONNECTED.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is also always another spirit that likes to work contemporarily with the Truth and offer the naïve a counterfeit. Sometimes core truths are twisted into a tree that no longer resembles the seed from which it sprang in ideologies such as liberal progressivism and secular feminism. Nevertheless, each started with “good intentions”. If only we could step back and look at the bigger picture of what is happening. We have a problem that begins with IDENTITY.

Identity Crisis

Let’s back up for a minute and reexamine Galatians 3:28.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.

Mr. McKee pointed out something else in his paper that hadn’t resonated with me before. Was Paul refuting traditions found both in 1st century Judaism and other surrounding cultures on some pretty ingrained social norms in Galatians 3:28?

There is a morning blessing in the orthodox siddur (prayer book) that seems a little offensive without understanding its true background. The prayers in question are in the shacharit[3].

 “Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a Gentile.”

“Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a slave.”

“Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman.”

Before I address the traditional justification for these prayers, I’d first like you to notice that these prayers are not only the exact same “social” classes mentioned by Paul in Gal. 3:28, but they are also in the same order. Is this a coincidence?

I don’t believe Paul’s declaration in Galatians 3:28 coincidently countered these three blessings in the Jewish siddur. As a matter of fact, Judaism wasn’t the only religion or society that held social class views on these subgroups in the first century. The language of the three blessings echoes Greek prayers. In his later years, Plato is reported to have said, “I thank God that I was born Greek and not barbarian, free and not slave, male and not female, but above all that I was born in the age of Socrates.”[4]

Again, is the striking similarity of this proclamation to the Jewish prayer and Paul’s declaration just a coincidence? I think not.

It is human nature to compare ourselves to others. We encounter the good and bad results of this in today’s world just as much as they did in the 1st century. Social psychology has developed a theory called social comparison that attempts to explain this tendency. Social comparison centers on the belief that there is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations. The theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others in order to reduce uncertainty in these domains, and learn how to define the self.[5] In other words, we compare and distinguish ourselves from others to determine our own IDENTITY. Pay close attention to that last sentence, for it is at the root of much of our quarreling and division.

The common apologetic for the three “blessings” mentioned above from the Siddur is that these three classes of people – gentile, slave, and woman – are not sociological classes, but mitzvah classes. The apologetic insists that the prayer has nothing to do with the equality of these individuals. Instead, they are meant to be expressions of gratitude for the mitzvot (commandments), and each of the people mentioned in each blessing has more mitzvot than the one preceding.

While this explanation is compelling, it still stands to reason that this section of the Siddur could have been influenced by the Greek culture of the first century. I am not alone in the assumption. Many Jewish scholars conclude the same thing.

I believe Paul was calling the people to recognize that in a redeemed or restored state, we must forgo our old social comparisons. Our identity is not found in comparing ourselves to others, but in the finished work of the Messiah. Our destiny and proper “social” status is not found in modern society, not in the Middle Ages, not in the first century, and not even in the age of the patriarchs. We must seek to return to our first estate and that place is most akin to the Garden of Eden, before the fall. For it is there where we have no Jew or Greek, no slave or freeman, no male or female; we have perfect oneness and unity!

If we could grasp the Hebraic concept of the cyclical nature of time, seasons, and restoration, instead of a progressive linear view of supersessionism , then the social comparison tendency would have to fall to the wayside. While our propensity remains to be a preoccupation with authority and patriarchalism, Yeshua tried to steer us BACK toward the beginning — a place of mutual submission, sacrificial love, and servanthood.

Mat. 20:25-28  But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  (26)  “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,  (27)  and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;  (28)  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

There is to be a mutual equality, respect, and submission between men and women in the Body based upon the gifts that the Spirit gives to each male and female believer (Acts 2:15-21; Gal. 3:28). Likewise, there is to be a mutual equality, respect, and submission within the home between husband and wife (Eph. 5:21-33).

Mr. Mckee persuasively pointed out WHY the Edenic model is not only powerful, but so desperately needed in the Body of Messiah today. His proposition not only resonated with me, but baffled me as to why we have such a hard time seeing this, for it is pure simplicity!

In order to fully realize this, let’s look at the Galatians 3:28 one more time:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.

Until we jump down from our high horse of social comparison and pick up the lens of the Messiah, we are doomed to repeat the millennia of mistakes of all those that have gone before us. We must exchange our desire for dominance and control with a heart for service, servanthood, and sacrificial love; or we are not fulfilling the law of our King.

Perhaps this is why FLESH was a daily offering. We cannot look out for numero uno (number one) and win the race of the Kingdom. All of God’s children of every race, tribe, and tongue, both genders, are equal and one in the Kingdom of Heaven. What are we waiting for? Why don’t we start living out this principle now?


[1] McKee, John Kimball Biblical Equality and Today’s Messianic Movement, 2014. Kindle file.

[2] http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/AID/2918/ShowFeedback/true

[3] Shacharit = Morning Prayers. The name is derived from the Temple service offerings: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Liturgy_and_Prayers/Siddur_Prayer_Book/weekdayprayer.shtml

[4] http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/e/euthyphro-apology-crito-and-phaedo/plato-biography

See also the classical work: Vitae Philosophorum 1.33

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_comparison_theory

Categories: Messianic Issues, Women | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Slaves

shackles broken

In my previous two posts, A Parable and Masters, we discovered the close relationship between a parable and dominion. This foundation inspires my conclusions in this post. If you haven’t read those articles, please do so for context.

My original question was how Genesis 3:16 and 4:7 are teaching us a parable. Let’s look at these verses once again.

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

“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Gen. 4:7)

In the Biblical Role of Women, we learned that in Genesis 3:16 YHWH is telling Chavah (Eve) the consequence (curse) of her disobedience. This is not the same thing as a commandment even though many theologians across the centuries have treated it as such. In other words, God’s original design didn’t include a hierarchy among the sexes or a mandate that men would rule over women. The text is clear that Chavah was designed to be Adam’s ezer kenegdo (helpmeet); which is an aid, protector, rescuer, boundary setter, and guide. This is far from a mere domestic assistant.

This, however, doesn’t mean that Chavah “ruled” Adam or that her status was superior. Adam has a function and purpose and Chavah has a function and purpose. It is only by working in tandem as “One” that they most effectively accomplish YHWH’s will for their lives. They are one flesh and are equal in the eyes of Elohim. It takes both a man and a woman to display the image of Elohim.

But sin frustrated this design for both Adam and Chavah. Each of their purposes were cursed or distorted due to the fall. Through toil and with sweat Adam will now strive to cultivate the ground. Chavah’s role to be Adam’s ezer is now also problematic. Just as the ground will not effortlessly yield to Adam’s labor, Adam will not easily relent to Chavah’s role as his ezer.

The tension between men and women will be as thorny as the cursed ground. And Eve’s curse reveals the heart of the issue. There will now be a power struggle as fallen Adam seeks to subjugate Chavah in self-preservation.

© Walter Arce

© Walter Arce

This is where the second account we are examining comes in to play. We see virtually the same phrase in Hebrew when YHWH speaks to Cain before he kills Abel. The difference, as I pointed out in the Biblical Role of Women, is that YHWH commands or explicitly states to Cain that it is possible to master sin and that this IS the will of YHWH. In other words, man was NOT created to be ruled or mastered by their nephesh or basic animal drives. Humans are meant to be ruled by the Word of Elohim (God). We live by His words, not our fears or fleshly appetites.

To summarize, let’s look at what we’ve covered so far. (Some of these conclusions are drawn from the Role of Women series.)

  1. Adam ruling over Eve is a curse, not a commandment. Chavah’s desire to be Adam’s ezer kenegdo isn’t evil or sinful. This purpose and function is at the core of every woman redeemed or not. However, all men will resist this function of their wife. This isn’t the design or will of the Creator. This is why a redeemed man is expected to love his wife sacrificially. He must master his desire to resist his wife’s role. Likewise, a woman must not let her desire to be the man’s ezer control or undermine the relationship. She must allow the Spirit of YHWH to bring healing in His timing.
  2. Cain is told that he SHOULD master sin. It is our unbridled passions, desires, and beastly urges that cause us to sin. These urges aren’t evil or sinful in and of themselves; however, if they control or rule our life, they lead us to commit sin. They are only concerned with self. This is why we need the Word of God to set the proper boundaries for living as a human created in the image of Elohim.

A parable or a proverb is a comparison of two things; there will be similarities and there will be differences. Our job is to discern the heart or point of the story or saying. The message should cause a change in our thinking that leads to a change in our behavior.

In both Genesis 3:16 and 4:7, teshukah (desire) is present. Chavah has teshukah for Adam and sin has teshukah for Cain. YHWH doesn’t call teshukah evil or sinful. In fact, it was YHWH that created teshukah! Teshukah is our inborn desires and appetites that motivate us to live and survive.

The first thing that should stand out to us is the fact that Chavah and all women since have an additional teshukah that men do not have. All of mankind (men and women) have the desire to eat, sleep, procreate, and expand their territory. But, women have an additional teshukah for their men; that is to be the ezer kenegd0. This is the way women are wired — before sin and the fall. A woman is an ezer kenegdo whether you allow YHWH to use her or not. And whether she is redeemed or not. (Pray she is redeemed! For an ezer kenegdo that is ruled by her nephesh (flesh) is truly rottenness to the bones of her man! [Pr. 12:4])

Mashal (to rule/master and a parable/proverb) is also present in both of these verses. There is a message to be received in these accounts. Who rules who or what is the real question here. If Adam (man) is ruled by his nephesh, he will walk  in the curse and subjugate his wife in tragic animalistic fashion. A nephesh craves power to benefit only ones’ self. We see the epitome of this when Cain takes the life of his brother. There can be no self-sacrificing love or protection given by a nephesh ruled person since his heart is only focused on numero uno.

However, a redeemed man has relinquished himself over to the Creator. He is no longer guided by his ungodly fear and the flesh (nephesh); therefore, he is free to forgive and love his wife— even sacrifice himself for her. Any authority granted to him is used to benefit his wife, not control her. This is how a restored and redeemed relationship functions. This is unity and oneness. Both the man and the woman are free to fulfill their purpose within the clear and protective boundaries of the Word of Elohim.

As a result, I really believe this is also what reverses the curse on Adam’s purpose as well. Any time we are obedient, we bring restoration not only to our relationships, but also to the creation itself. The Jewish sages call this tikkun olam, repairing/healing the world. We know that creation is enslaved by the corruption of sin and death just as we are; and like us, it desires to be set free[1]. This happens as the sons of God are revealed. We are a son/daughter of God as we are conformed to His image.

I submit to you that the parable presented in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7 is a story about slaves and masters. In the beginning, man (man and woman) were given joint authority over the earth and all the living creatures (the beasts).

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26)

What YHWH declares to Cain is simply a reiteration of His original purpose for mankind. You rule the beast (nephesh), not the other way around. Adam and Chavah were meant to be coheirs[2] of the creation and image bearers of Elohim[3]. In other words, they were meant to master the creation together as godly stewards, not as tyrants. Ultimately, YHWH is the only righteous Master, Ruler, and King. We are His emissaries carrying forth His loving instruction and order in creation.

We must choose whom we shall serve. Will it be YHWH? Will it be some false god? Or will we serve ourselves? As I mentioned in my last post on Masters, there is real irony when we choose to serve anything other than YHWH. While we may believe that serving another god or that satisfying our own fleshly desires is “freeing”, it is actually the very thing that enslaves us to sin. In other words, our real choice is to be slaves of death!

The parable teaches us that there is one Master, YHWH; but our nephesh (soul/flesh) will try to usurp His authority and rule instead. If we allow this to happen, we are nothing more than a beast. By trying to “rule”, we only enslave ourselves to death and destruction, a curse.

We must also be mindful of whom we try to master. For example, I don’t believe it was YHWH’s design nor will that people enslave people. Slavery is a perversion of servant-hood. We have destroyed the spiritual imagery of serving YHWH and the brethren with human abuse, oppression, bondage, and slavery.  In other words, forced captivity and servitude is a perversion of the protective and free will service of the heart we should have for the Master of the Universe.

This is why it is so hard for us to relinquish our whole being over to YHWH. Like an oppressed slave, we fear that YHWH is going to withhold real “goodness” from us. This is why many people drag their feet in coming to repentance. They think true followers no longer have any “fun”. Do you see the irony in that?

Real Slavery

But there is another reason that we need to understand Chavah’s curse. The rule of Adam in the curse isn’t godly. It is oppressive. And if you think I’m wrong about that, perhaps you should take some time to look at world statistics[4] on the plot of women. If you think women are only oppressed in third world countries, you are flat dead wrong. While the hardest hit regions for victims (where slaves are picked up) are South and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa, the destination countries (where they are bought!) include Europe, USA, Japan, Australia, India, Israel, and the Gulf States[5]. In other words, western countries are providing the “demand” for this horrendous practice. Many end up as forced prostitutes or on internet pornography.

“More girls were killed in the last 50 years, 
precisely because they were girls,
than men killed in all the wars in the 20th century. 
― Nicholas D. Kristof, Half the Sky

Yes, women (and even some weaker men and boys) are a hot black market commodity in today’s “progressive” world. In the US, human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly[6]. It is estimated that 200,000 US women annually are forced into the sex trade. The majority of these are American, not imported from other countries. The largest annual human trafficking event in the US is the Super Bowl[7].

Where women are oppressed the most, they are educated the least[8]. This is one way men maintain control and power over women. In less developed countries, as many as 87% of women are illiterate. If you don’t believe that this twisted mindset has infected Judeo-Christian doctrine and tradition, you haven’t read history. In every century since the dawn of mankind, women have been subdued by men the world over. Bible believers have justified this behavior with the Scriptures with Chavah’s curse standing out as the “precedent”.

These facts should at least cause us to pause and consider our current paradigm of the woman’s role. Has our view of women in marriage and the assembly been colored by the beast? Where do you think such ideas as “women shouldn’t even be taught the Torah” originate? The answer can only be found in fallen man. By the way, all these things should also cause us to rethink what Paul is saying about women in his letters. We have a very long secular and spiritual history tainted by the curse. We must separate truth from tradition. Silencing half of our assemblies is a serious matter; especially since women are a metaphor for the Holy Spirit.

“One reason why trafficking has been ignored 
     is that the victims are voiceless.” 
- Nicholas D. Kristof, Half the Sky (Emphasis mine)

There is only one answer to our plot. . Rule the beast (nephesh/flesh); do not serve your lusts, desires, and appetites. Serve YHWH by knowing and keeping His word. If YHWH blesses you with an ezer kenegdo, treasure this gift; there is no need to fear her or control her. Choose to walk in blessing instead of the curse. She’s perfectly suited to guide, nourish, and protect you (inwardly) just as you are perfectly suited to do these same things for her (outwardly).

Hear the parable of Genesis 3:16 and 4:7. The only thing we are meant to rule is the creation and its creatures. The only thing we are meant to master is the beast within us all, our nephesh (flesh). If we fail to do so, we become a curse, enslaved like a beast — headed for the pit.

Now go and read all of Romans 7 and 8 with fresh eyes.

 



[1] Rom. 8:18-23  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  (19)  For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.  (20)  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope  (21)  that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  (22)  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.  (23)  And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

[2] 1 Peter 3:7

[3] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Gal. 3:28-29)

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Ownership, God’s Way

As of late, I’ve been pondering the issue of modern day slavery and what I can do to help the helpless[1]. But as I’ve been prayerfully looking into organizations that I can support and other ways I can make a difference, YHWH (the LORD) has been reminding me of the other side of the coin and what true servitude is according to His purposes and will.

You see, we are all a slave to something. The wretched truth is that the majority of people in bondage aren’t even aware that they are enslaved. While I’ve been researching real physical slavery in the natural, there is an even more sinister taskmaster that enslaves billions, not millions. That taskmaster is sin. And of all the tyrants who ever lived, sin has brutally subjugated more people in every generation than any mere man ever could. There is not a single soul (save Yeshua) that has escaped sin’s relentless grasp.

The Creator of the Universe made mankind for the purpose of service[2]. This is our natural function. We will serve something. The question is WHOM shall we serve[3]? Before the fall, our purpose and function were clear: mankind would serve YHWH and the creation. Since the fall, man has been duped again and again by the enemy’s many crafty disguises for sin. Even human tyrants have a master; they serve their own evil inclinations and sin. They are bound in way that will only be truly revealed on Judgment Day. On that day, they will wish for the atrocities they inflicted upon their earthly victims.

Therefore, the loving, compassionate, and merciful God of our souls asks us to serve Him. He is the only good Master and the only good King. If we are designed to serve, then each of us throughout our entire life are constantly seeking to serve something. So, who will your master be?

All of this culminates in the idea of ownership. To own something is to have it in your possession. Whether your “property” comes to you in the form of a gift, through hard work, or even by evil means, you will go to your grave and leave it behind. Hence, can we really own anything? The Hebraic worldview and language says, “NO”. Only the Master of the Universe can rightly “own” something or someone.

The Hebrew language really drives this point home. In it, ownership and possession are expressed with the idea of “to me”. Instead of saying “I have a book”, a Hebrew literally says, “A book to me”. Hebraically, I can never really own anything. I am only a guardian of the things that come into my care —- they are “to me” for the time being. YHWH is the only rightful owner.

This is true when it comes to people as well. A person that serves us (in any form) should be in our CARE. They are not a piece of property that we do with as we wish. They are not to be abused or mistreated. People in our care are to be treasured. This includes any person that serves us in any way. Like the store cashier, the mechanic that changes your oil and the hands that prepares your food. In reality we are all servants. And we are our “brother’s keeper”.

This also means that all of our worldly possessions, all of our spiritual gifts, all of our talents, and even our children are on loan from YHWH. We are mere stewards. Even our very breath of life belongs to the Creator.

But there is one thing that is ours and ours alone.

The only thing that truly belongs to us is our SIN.

Pause and consider this.

Sin is the only thing that we create on our own. It’s the only thing that we author. Everything else is YHWH’s. Amazingly, He will take our wretchedness upon Himself. He will save us from ourselves. But not forcefully; He is no tyrant. He lets us choose to wallow in our own creation or choose to follow Him. The choice is ours. Serve my sin or serve the King of the Universe.


[1] See my post: Women in Slavery.

[2] This is explored in my posts on The Biblical Role of Women.

[3] And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Jos. 24:15 KJV)

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