Role of Women Main Page
Builder or Destroyer?
In Part VIII, we looked at how men are the strong foundation of the House, but our focus was on women as “builders.” A woman builds with the Holy Spirit of Binah or understanding –discernment. (Is. 11:2) She builds upon the firm foundation of the Word, the Son of Man, and her husband. Once again, here is the Proverb’s verse that speaks to this:
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. (Pr. 14:1)
Before we look at the first builders of the Torah and the Gospel, I would be remiss if I didn’t deal with the second half of this verse in Proverbs. If a woman is not a builder of the house, she can only be one other thing — a fool that “tears the house down with her own hands.” I’ve mentioned the duality found in the female before. Dr. Alewine deals with this concept extensively in her Creation Gospel workbooks.
In the Bible, we are often faced with two women, one righteous and one wicked. A Bride and a Harlot. The problem is that as humans, we have a difficult time discerning which is which. These women are easy to confuse if we are ignorant of the written Word, are immature in the faith, or if we operate in pride. (That latter one is nearly inescapable; we must diligently search our hearts for pride.)
But do not be deceived! Even a sincere follower of the God of Israel can confuse the two — just ask Judah about Tamar. One very important concept that will help us to grasp the difference between the two is to realize that when we are acting contrary to the Word of God, we ARE the harlot. It also may be helpful to research the term “harlot” in a concordance. Most of its references are used to refer to God’s wayward people. And much of the time, the people actually believed that they were righteous —everything was “okay” in their own eyes. We become the fools if we think it is any different for us today.
I believe this why our verse in Proverbs refers to the woman that “tears down” her house as a fool. She doesn’t realize what she is doing. A woman that tears down is actually a destroyer. Does this indicate who her master might be? It definitely reveals what “spirits” light her lamp. They are the seven abominations of Proverbs 6:16-19. If I’ve learned anything from studying the seven Spirits of God and the seven abominations, it is this: our hearts are desperately wicked. We are ALL capable of operating in the wicked lamp. (Pr. 6:16-19) Our “good intentions” can often just be a cover so that our flesh can get what it desires. But wisdom is still calling from every corner. She knows the Way to our freedom.
“Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars.” (Pr. 9:1)
Wisdom’s seven pillars are the seven Spirits of God and the seven Holy Moedim (feasts). If you want to know what fuels your lamp, you must take an honest look at your own heart. This exercise must be an ongoing endeavor. The moment we think we’ve “arrived” or have it all figured out, is the moment pride (the first wicked spirit) has entered our hearts. Both the harlot and the righteous woman (wisdom) call to us daily. We must learn the difference between the two. One appeals to your desires, your lower nature. Her call is very pleasing and can be good. But like the tree of knowledge of good and evil — she cannot produce LIFE.
Keep the notion of the woman being a contranym (a word that can mean its own opposite) at the forefront of your mind. We will continue unpacking the duality of the woman throughout this series. For now, remember that as a woman you are either a builder or a destroyer. Men do not get to escape this duality, because both men and women are found within the woman, the wife, the harlot, the virgin, or the bride. At the end of our days, we will be revealed as righteous or wicked.
There is one other important point to grasp in this duality. It is not happenstance that God compares His people to a “woman.” Both men and women are meant to deal with the body like a mother deals with an infant. If tender mercies and nurturing the immature fails to shine through our Torah keeping, then we are not “builders.” How many young (new-to-Torah) in the faith have been “destroyed” by Torah terrorists? I suspect far too many. These “terrorists” may have a lot of “knowledge,” but they do not operate with the Holy Spirit of Da’at (sacrificial love). The Holy Spirit of Da’at is willing to die for wayward sheep like Moses and Yeshua. (Ex. 32:32; Rom. 5:8) The righteous or unrighteous stance of the people isn’t what mattered. They were willing to die for those even in their sin. The question is: are you?
How far are you willing to go? Will you leave the 99 sheep to rescue the one? Can you reserve judgment when necessary? Do you know the difference? There is not a black and white answer to these questions. God is love. Binah (the Spirit that builds the House) requires you to discern the difference between compromise and love. Our lower (nephesh/flesh) nature will choose judgment and justice over mercy every time. It likes to point the finger. It secretly relishes in condemning others. It’s much easier to be a destroyer. But beloved, you are called to build! You can be LONG suffering and merciful without compromising, never let anyone tell you any different.
If you struggle with your past, bad circumstances, pain, contentment, depression, self-pity, or the like, my article Repairer of the Breach will offer some realistic solutions to repair or rebuild what has been breached.
Key #1 You are either a builder or a destroyer of God’s House.
Often, the difference is difficult to discern.
Women, the First to Receive the Torah?
Interestingly, in Jewish tradition and understanding, the women were the first to receive the Torah from Moses. Their reasoning is two-fold. First, notice how the Torah words the following verse:
Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel:” (Ex. 19:3)
The Sages explain that the phrase “house of Jacob” refers to the women; whereas, the “sons of Israel” refers to the men. Based on what we discovered in Part VIII, you should be able to discern with a Hebraic lens why they make this inference from the text. Women are associated with the HOUSE. But, why would the Torah reference the women before the men? Ah, that’s the other side of their reasoning and there are conflicting opinions as to “why” this is so. Below, is an example from Mechilta on Exodus 20:1.
G-d told Moses to relate the “general principles” of the Torah to the women, and its “exacting particulars” to the men. The woman relates to the Torah’s all-inclusive essence, while the man relates to the detail, specific law and particular application…Moses went to the women first because the Torah’s revelation unfolds from the general to the particular, from the supra-spatial point of concept to the breadth and depth of the law.
Pay very close attention to the bolded print from the above quote. The Sages believe that the women received the Torah first because there is a natural process of how people learn and grow. In Part VIII, we essentially deduced the same conclusion. Babies (physical and spiritual) require their mother’s “milk” before they can eat the “meat” at the Father’s table. This in no way diminishes the intellectual capacity of women or their ability to eat meat for themselves. But what it does imply is that women are endowed with the unique ability to ingest MEAT and then transform it into a substance (milk) that can give a baby the nourishment it needs to thrive.
This natural/physical reality is also true in the spiritual realm. The writer of the Book of Hebrews, Peter, and Paul all mention the “milk” of the Word in the Brit Chadashah (N.T.). They associate those that need milk with immature infants. What makes it obvious that they are spiritual babies? Look at these passages:
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1 Cor. 3:1-3 NASB)
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. (Heb. 5:12 – 6:2)
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God… Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation. (1 Pet. 1:22- 2:2)
Spiritual babies haven’t learned how to allow the Spirit to rule over their nephesh (flesh). In other words, they are controlled by their feelings, emotions, and personal experiences (past). The evidence is found in outbursts of jealousy, anger, strife, malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. Emotion and personal feelings are king to a toddler, but they are also king to immature Believer.
Gen. 4:3-8 (NASB) So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 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.” 8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
Cain was the firstborn son of Adam and Chavah. He is the archetype of the (firstborn) flesh nature of every human being, epitomized by jealous anger toward God and the second born son, Abel, which leads him to become the first murderer. One’s countenance is their faces (paniym), plural. This is a Hebrew idiom for one’s emotions, which are revealed through many facial expressions.
It is very easy to become a destroyer when emotions rule one’s heart. A spiritual mother teaches one with a mindset of Cain, that if he/she does well (learns discernment, personal responsibility, and self sacrifice [da’at]), it will go well for them. But if they choose to persist in their “feelings” of unfairness, jealousy, and anger, sin will master them, leading to a literal or figurative murder.
The “milk” verses were written to encourage these babies to GROW, learn to OBEY, PRACTICE training their SENSES, and to seek after genuine love for the brethren. Once these precious ones learn (through practice) to overcome and tame the beast (their flesh), only then can they truly walk in the maturity of Da’at or sacrificial love.
According to the Rabbis, women have a natural ability to help these “babies” mature. If the details, particulars, and depth of the Torah is placed in the hands of the immature, judgment will be levied without the tender mercies learned by receiving the mother’s milk first. This brings destruction, not growth. Rabbi Yaakov Hillel, in Ascending Jacob’s Ladder, puts it this way:
“If you learn Torah, it will make you big. But in what it will make you big depends upon what you plant. If you plant seeds of good middot [character traits] Torah will make you a great tzaddik [righteous one]. If you don’t work on your middot [character traits], Torah will make you big — but you will be a big monster.” (Brackets and bolding mine.)
The middot are character traits. By studying and practicing the attributes of God, one learns to become more like Him. Without this type of intentional living, a disciple will live life based on animal-like instincts. But, from the beginning, God has ordained that we rule over this side of our nature. The Jewish exercise of building godly character traits is called mussar. I wrote a little introduction to mussar here.
The whole point of practicing mussar is to gain the upper hand over your nephesh (flesh). Rabbi Hillel already knows what those returning to Torah are just starting to understand: an immature (flesh ruled) person that learns Torah will grow, but instead of growing in righteousness (salvation), only his monster (beast) will get bigger.
This makes him a destroyer, not a builder. Mussar is practiced throughout one’s lifetime. As a human, your lower nature will always seek the upper hand. But, if you do well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him. (Gen. 4:7)
Key #2 The Torah was first received and taught by the women,
the House of Jacob.
Key #3 Learning Torah will make you big.
Will you be a big tzaddik or a big monster?
Women, the First to Proclaim the Gospel?
It is important to note right here that my pointing out or alluding to women being the “first” (at anything) is in no way meant to disparage men or their role. God has painted a masterpiece with the two genders. Sadly though, we often miss the true beauty of His work because we constantly want to separate what He has meant to be ONE. (Unified)
Both men and women are revealed in “the woman” in the Bible. (Think: wife, bride, virgin.) For century after century women have been oppressed and silenced. If this is true in the natural, then it is also true in the spiritual realm. By living according to the design of the Creator instead of perpetuating the curse, women are elevated to their coequal status with men. In this process, men are edified and made whole in ways that we never imagined. The bottom line is that if women are bound, then men (as the other half) are also bound.
The Bible is full of stories and parables that hint at this “hidden” reality. The Holy Spirit is revealing these things in our day because the time is short. One little nugget that opens up this truth is to simply look at the gospels anew. This time, pay very close attention to the women.
It was the women who first proclaimed the good news of “He is Risen!” I reblogged a post by Jane Diffenderfer on this very topic called: Firstfruits and the Women Who First Preached the Good News. I encourage you to read it.
Why does it matter that Yeshua entrusted women with the gospel first? Does it have any significance? After all, even the disciples didn’t “believe” the report of the women, so why should we? Are women unreliable witnesses? Are women prohibited from proclaiming the Good News? Did Yeshua make a mistake by giving this vital message to the women first?
We must answer these questions. Your tradition, upbringing, culture, and personal opinions about the proper role of women (and men) will be reflected back to you if you honestly seek the answers from the Word of God. You will find yourself either aligned with the Word or aligned with what you want the Word to say. And then, you have to answer one last question: What is it that I fear will happen if women are coequal with men?
I’ve witnessed men actually leave the room when a woman gets up to bring forth the Good News to the assembly. They really believe that it is sinful to listen to her. But isn’t that exactly what the disciples did with the report of the women from the tomb? By not listening to these women, they remained in unbelief UNTIL Messiah Himself appeared to them. One thing is certain: Yeshua charged the women first to proclaim the Good News! Carefully read His words and then consider the reaction of His disciples:
Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. (Mark 16:9-11)
I believe that everything Yeshua did was intentional. He consistently challenged tradition and cultural norms. He wasn’t surprised that the women were the first to find the empty tomb, and He certainly didn’t make a mistake by entrusting them with the Gospel. The message He gave to the women was meant to reveal the hearts of His disciples. Notice that Mary Magdalene had had SEVEN demons cast from her. Could these have been the seven wicked abominations of Proverbs 6: 16-19? Regardless, she was a new creation through Messiah Yeshua, yet the disciples refused to believe her report. Here is the same account from Luke:
And as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. (Luke 24: 5-11)
I wonder how many treasures YHWH has entrusted to His daughters that men have considered nonsense throughout the centuries? History does repeat itself, and there is nothing new under the sun. My hope is that by reconsidering these two accounts in the Gospels that it has pricked your heart to reevaluate the numerous other accounts in the Bible regarding women. The last thing we would desire is to not believe a report given by our Master because we deem the vessel of His choice unworthy or less than optimal.
It’s time to build and not destroy. We each have various materials, textiles, and tools to build up the House of Adonai. All are needed.
Key #4 The Gospel was entrusted to the women first,
but the apostles failed to believe their report.
Part X and the Repairer of the Breach. You can access past articles in this series here.
Recap of the four keys in this post:
Key #1 You are either a builder or a destroyer of God’s House. Often, the difference is difficult to discern.
Key #2 The Torah was first received and taught by the women, the House of Jacob.
Key #3 Learning Torah will make you big. Will you be a big tzaddik or a big monster?
Key #4 The Gospel was entrusted to the women first, but the apostles failed to believe their report.
 See this “Ask Moses” article for more information: http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/108,2217159/Ladies-First.html#articlepageinformation: