Posts Tagged With: warrior

The Mirror Waters and the GateKeepers

As I was writing Part II of Deborah the Bee, my study took me in an unexpected direction. So, humor me and I promise to post Part II next time. (:
 
laver-daily-for-cleansing

Ex. 38:8 Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

While it’s probably not news to you that the bronze laver was made from the mirrors of the women, the role or service of these women just might be — it was to me. However, for the sake of those that haven’t considered the links of the laver, water, and women, let’s explore that first.

In my posts on the Cup of Miriam, we took a long hard look at why women are so closely associated with water. It is just like our Elohim to use articles from women to build the one piece of furniture in the Tabernacle that contained water. Even more significant is the fact that mirrors are used to reflect an image. Thus, we often hear how the waters in the laver were there so the priests could “see” the dirt and wash their hands and feet.

But it’s more than that. A mirror reflects beauty and defects. The Word of Elohim also reveals both when we look into it.[1] This is why we need the constant washing of the water of the Word.[2] The Hebrew word for mirror or looking glass is marah[3], but this word is ONLY elsewhere translated as “vision” — as in I saw a vision.[4]

You can see the connection with seeing “into” something. In other words, the purpose of the laver was to give spiritual insight about the state of a person’s heart. The washing was more symbolic than a remedy to physical dirt. In order to serve the King, you must be washed by His Water, which is the Word. Only the Torah can show you at once how beautiful and precious you are in the Father’s eyes and at the same time reveal your unsightly blemishes and spots. The Water of the Word is meant to cleanse us of these marks as James so aptly remarks in 1:25.

This idea is expanded by the Hebrew word for laver, keeyor. This word means a furnace and also to purify. Once again we see the dichotomy of fire and water, both cleanse and purify. But who are these “serving” women at the doorway of the tent of meeting? The answer to this question is what provoked me to write this post.

Translator’s (both Jewish and Christian) have a terrible tendency to diminish the roles or service of women. We have become so accustomed to this that we read right through a verse such as Exodus 38:8 and focus on the bronze (or brass if you prefer) laver and/or the mirrors. Yet, we know that there is not an idle word in the Torah. These women were important; and I for one, am ashamed that I never noticed their position until now. But, that’s what I’ve come to expect: the woman is always hidden! And I know that YHWH had divine intent and purpose for that as you will begin to see in my post on Deborah the Bee Part II.

The Hebrew phrase for “the serving women who served” is hatzovot asher tzaveu. You can probably see the repetition of the Hebrew verb tzvah, which means to go forth, wage war, fight, and serve. It is directly related to YHWH Tz’vaot (LORD of Hosts). It carries strong military connotations. This should remind us of the eshet chayil or woman of valor.[5] She too, is often obscured by translation and softened from a warrior to a woman of virtue, goodness, worth, or excellence. Why?

Would it surprise you to know that tz’vaot is feminine? When we call on the God of Armies (YHWH tz’vaot), we are really saying God of (women) warriors. Apparently, the women who “served” at the doorway to the Tent of Meeting were warriors! Now, considering the context of their station, it would appear as though this was more of a “spiritual” guardianship. After all, the laver was made from their “visions” or “mirrors”. I imagine these women to be warriors of the faith, prophetesses, prayer warriors, and guardians of the Water of the Word. I believe there is evidence of this with the prophetess Anna.

Luke 2:36-37 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, (37) and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.

Of course, we also have a witness as to what happens when these women are either taken advantage of or in outright rebellion.

1Sa 2:22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

In this verse, their role has been perverted; these women have become like the harlot mentioned in Proverbs instead of the righteous woman. Whether or not these women were manipulated, forced, or were the seducers themselves is not mentioned. I believe we have evidence of all these possibilities happening in our assemblies still today. Regardless of the reason these women strayed, we see the male counterparts in this story also falling away from their purpose.

1Sa 3:1-2 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. (2) It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well).

There can be no coincidence that as the Word of YHWH and visions began to diminish, so did Eli’s eyesight. What is not immediately apparent is that the women are also related to the reduced visions by their association with the mirrors (visions) of the laver and the doorway. The proverbial “chicken or the egg” question might pop into your head. We want someone to blame. But, I believe the point is that improper worship, negligence, perversion, and the like is the culprit here. Lack of the Word means lack of vision and eyesight (insight, foresight, and hindsight). Torah is our One True Mirror! Without it we perish in our perversion.

Since women are often associated with vision and the prophetic, these next verses shouldn’t surprise you.

John 18:15-17 Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, (16) but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in. (17) Then the slave-girl who kept the door *said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He *said, “I am not.”

The Greek indicates that this “slave girl” was actually a bond-servant. Notice that Peter has to go through HER to get inside. She is the gate-keeper to get to the court of the high priest. And what does she do? She immediately “sees” right through Peter. She knows that he is one of Yeshua’s disciples! But he lies, and this becomes the first of three denials he makes of the Master.

This happens with wives and their husbands as well. A woman meets her man at the door to question him on some issue and if he lies or denies the thing —- she can usually “see” right through him! Since women were created to be managers and guardians of the home, we shouldn’t be surprised that YHWH gave women this role in His House as well.

If we lack vision, perhaps we need to visit the laver. What do you see when you look into the mirror waters? Look closely and allow the waters to fully reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly. Once revealed, true beauty emerges.

bronze laver 2

 

[1] James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (KJV)

[2] Eph. 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, (26) so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (27) that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

[3] H4759 from H4758 (mareh) meaning view or appearance.

[4] H4759: Total KJV Occurrences: 9 visions, 5 Gen.46:2, Eze.1:1, Eze.8:3, Eze.43:2-3 (2) vision, 3 Dan.10:7-8 (3) lookingglasses, 1 Ex.38:8 (2)

[5] For more information, see my post The Biblical Role of Women Part IV, which defines the Eshet Chayil or Woman of Valor.

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The Biblical Role of Women Part VII

Role of Women Main Page

The Real Thing

 

Back in Part V, we looked at the woman as being a metaphor for the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). There are many reasons why this is true. If you haven’t read that post, please do so now before proceeding.

The following is a summary of some of the equal, but different roles of the man and woman. I’ve used the comparison of YHWH (the Father) and the Holy Spirit to demonstrate the ONENESS that should unify the marriage covenant. There was no hierarchy in God’s original design. YHWH purposefully created a male AND a female to display His image in the creation. The list below is by no means exhaustive; we will draw more conclusions as we continue.

Man = Woman
  • Remembers and Obeys the Word (Action)
  • Needs a (spiritual) protector (an ezer)
  • Serves the earth
  • Expresses worship in work and service
  • Man leaves his Father and Mother and is joined to his Wife.
  • Is a Valiant Warrior
  • Aware of moment to moment direction of God
  • Protects Boundaries of Obedience
  • Challenges, encourages, protects, and nourishes
  • Blesses (benefits) her husband
  • Spiritual Guide
  • Takes Ownership of the Man
  • Is a Valiant Warrior
Man shows the image of Father YHWH = Woman shows image of Ruach HaKodesh
  • Father (God) is love. 1 Jn. 4:7-8
  • Father is faithful.1 Pt. 4:19
  • Father is merciful. Titus 3:5
  • Father delights in his children. Ps. 149:4
  • Father is giving. Rom. 8:32
  • Father is patient. 2 Pt. 3:8-9
  • Father never forsakes his own. Gen. 28:15
  • Holy Spirit is Counselor Jn. 14:26
  • Holy Spirit speaks. 1 Tim. 4:1; Acts 10:19-20
  • Holy Spirit intercedes. Rom. 8:26, 34
  • Holy Spirit teaches. Jn. 14:26
  • Holy Spirit bears witness/testifies. Jn. 15:26-27
  • Holy Spirit guides, hears, tells Jn. 16:12-13
  • Holy Spirit comforts/nurtures. Jn. 14:16; 15:26
  • Holy Spirit opposes. Acts 16:6-7

 

Redeemed Marriage

It is not good for man to be alone. He NEEDS an ezer kenegdo — a protector that opposes him. This is why he is the one that leaves the guardianship of his mother and father and cleaves to his wife — his new guardian. The woman will set boundaries that are necessary for the man to stay obedient. It is in this way that she takes ownership responsibility of the man like the woman in the Song of Songs. Dr. Moen expresses it this way:

She is exactly what he needs in order to be what God calls him to be…Her greatest longing is to be his greatest defense. She is built for that and it will not be denied, even if the direction is misplaced…In God’s perfect world, she takes ownership responsibility for her man, and he welcomes it because he knows she is uniquely designed to bring about what is best for him. She is ready and willing to set aside every other agenda in order to bless him with her care. (Guardian Angel p.345)

If there was no hierarchy in the beginning, then men are only the “head” in the sense of order in the creation, not rank. While this rubs against a lot of traditional theology, I urge you to explore this idea more fully before rejecting it off hand. (Dr. Moen has an article that speaks to this issue here and David H. Scholer explores Biblical Headship here.)

If man was meant to rule over or master women from the beginning, why does Paul in Ephesians chapter 5 instruct the women to submit to their husbands? Carefully consider this. We mustn’t allow current doctrine or tradition to define this for us; rather, we must take the whole of Scripture into consideration and let it interpret itself. Though the difference may be “subtle”, it has far reaching implications. The woman must choose to give her husband authority just as we must choose to give Messiah (Christ) authority over our lives. A man doesn’t naturally possess the position of head by the simple fact that he is male.

So why does the wife submit? This action only works properly if the man also does what Paul requires: love his wife. If a man really loves a woman, he’s willing to do anything for her—- even die. This is a selfless type of love. If a woman is loved in this way, she naturally gives the man authority. She trusts that he will always have her best interests at heart. The authority she gives protects her; it doesn’t control or silence her.

So why are men told to love? Men are instructed to do this because in the fallen nature they naturally distrust women. This is why they instinctively place themselves as the (dominating) authority. This is a self-preservation technique. Somewhere deep down, they fear the woman is going to betray them. Therefore, they have great difficulty in giving themselves completely to their wives. Adam must learn to trust Chavah (Eve).

In order for this to happen, Adam must first forgive Eve for misguiding him. He must literally place his life back into the hands of his ezer. This only functions as a two-way street. As many marriage self-help books attest, these two roles are reciprocal. If they fail to come together, there will be no unity. No oneness. Dr. Moen puts it this way:

The wife grants authority to the husband and voluntarily submits to him knowing that it is in her best interests to do so BECAUSE the husband sacrifices his own interest in order to offer all that he is for her wellbeing. Both of these acts of self-denial model the character of God. (Guardian Angel p.346)

 When Disputes Arise

Dr. Moen calls the restored marriage roles we’ve been discussing “Redeemed Marriage”. I like his term and will use it from this point to describe such. I added this little section to offer a few ideas of what to do when issues arise in those marriages where the man and woman are each doing their best to walk in restoration.

There are thousands and probably millions of things in our daily lives that could spark a dispute between a man and wife. Married couples are all too familiar with this truth. The difference in happy couples and unhappy couples is usually in how they speak to and treat one another when things do happen. Though everyone will have a bad day on occasion, couples of faith should have less.

The short answer is humility—- of course, isn’t it always? Put your mate before yourself! Stop feeling sorry for yourself and having pity parties —– these emotions are coming from PRIDE. Crucify your flesh and serve your spouse. By the way, that’s the answer to far more than marriage quibbles, but I digress.

While the short answer is much easier said than done, it should be our FIRST response. Squash the flesh! But sometimes there are issues where we simply can’t “turn the other cheek”. In those situations, it is best that both parties unify and decide TOGETHER. Nobody should have a veto stamp unless one party is mentality injured, diseased, or compromised in some way.

Generally though, a man must listen to his ezer —- she can save him from a multitude of regrets. That’s her God designed purpose, remember? She is his guardian and protector. Likewise, a man that loves his wife will also have to save and protect her —and often, it will be from herself! It is in these times that she must remember why she chose to submit to her husband — he has HER best interests at heart. The bottom line is motivation. What is your motive in winning this argument or battle? Is it self-serving? Will your spouse benefit or will you?

I realize these solutions are very broad and that we are all in different places. So please keep that in mind and the fact that these actions require BOTH spouses to be in faith and agreement to walk out a Redeemed Marriage. There are many couples where only one spouse is willing or trying to reach restoration. I am praying for you and encourage you to never give up. Keep seeking after YHWH and place your focus on improving yourself, not your spouse. Though it doesn’t make sense to our natural mind, this is the only way real change is accomplished. Be the best spouse you can be.

 

The Real World

How do the redeemed roles of a man and woman translate outside of marriage? Are women meant to stay uneducated and at home? What about in our assemblies? Are women to keep their mouths shut lest they offend the males present? Some would scream a resounding “yes!” to all or most of these questions. But based on what we’ve learned about women from the Tanakh, is that the heart of YHWH?

My hope is that the previous six posts in this series have given you some meat to chew on. Most often, books or teachings about a woman’s biblical role begin in the end. By that, I mean they tend to ignore the entire first three quarters of the Bible (the Tanakh or O.T.) and focus solely on last quarter (N.T.).

Is there any other book in the world where people BEGIN their reading or research three quarters of the way into the material? I don’t believe there is, with the exception of an encyclopedia or a dictionary. But the Bible is not a reference book. It is the Book of Life. Only the enemy of our souls could deceive us so openly. He has done a fine job of keeping us away from the beginning and the foundation.

By focusing only on the last quarter of the Bible, one would expect multiple opposing doctrines, teachings, and positions. Each culture (nation, people, and race) would bring their own bias and traditions into practice. This would provoke a multitude of creeds, formulas, and proof texts to support their particular branch. We see all of these things in our Assemblies. Could this be because we have divorced ourselves from the foundation?

The Bible was written by Hebrews. It is within their culture, language, and tradition that our Adonai (LORD) sovereignly chose to reveal Himself. The Savior, Yeshua (Jesus), was/is a Torah observant Jew. His daily life did not deviate from this setting. A careful read of the New Testament reveals that each writer has this same testimony. While they may have challenged the traditions and laws of men, they never questioned the Law of YHWH.

This is the reason I began this series in the beginning, Bereshit (Genesis). If we don’t understand Paul’s standard (the Torah), how can we properly interpret some answer (of which we don’t even have the questions) that he gave in the first century? These are reasonable questions to consider.

Yeshua and Paul would have never strayed from the Torah, Prophets, or Writings (the only Bible available to people living in their day). Instead, they consistently point us back to the beginning for answers[1]. But, shaking off centuries of tradition is no simple feat. Even many western women struggle with the ramifications of what it means to be an ezer kenegdo or an eshet chayil. Sometimes our shackles give us a false sense of comfort and security. To add insult to injury, modern feminism is a twisted counterfeit of God’s original design.

My desire is for God’s people to repent and return to the ideal of the Garden of Eden. Women (and men) will only be truly fulfilled in their relationships when we do things God’s way. This is not to be confused with traditional church teachings or creeds. Manmade laws are NOT God’s laws.

But I must warn you: YHWH’s Word is OFFENSIVE. It offends sinners. It offends self-righteous “churchmen”; and it especially offends religious spirits. Gloria Steinem was right about one thing, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” But that’s only if we are humble enough to allow the Word to change our hearts. So many would rather fight tooth and nail to cling onto a façade of truth rather than relent to the real thing.

A Woman Shall Encompass a Man

Instead of making a list of the roles that women fulfilled in the Bible, I think it is best to go back to the chart in the beginning of this article. Prayerfully look at the attributes of the Holy Spirit, for a woman will naturally reflect these works/roles. This will be true whether your theology accepts it or not. YHWH designed the woman in this way —- no one can change that, not even church laws and creeds. A woman will be an ezer in harmony with her husband or she will be an ezer covertly coaxing her husband. The choice is up to her Adam— for she will always be an ezer. Will he forgive her and trust her or will he continue to resist her?

As we look through the pages of Scripture, we see women functioning in nearly every role of the man. Many draw the conclusion that these instances are exceptions to the rule and that women only stepped into these positions when a man was unwilling to fulfill his role.(Please see Deborah the Bee Part I and Part II to dispel this myth.) Perhaps a better perspective is to consider that YHWH gave us these examples to ensure that fallen Adam would not be able to draw absolute control (mastership) over Eve. Maybe this was the Father’s way of protecting His daughters and their unique design and purpose.

Jeremiah 31 is a chapter of great importance. In it, we have the only plain prophecy about the New Covenant[2].  But if we go back and reread the entire section, we can easily see that the New Covenant hasn’t happened in its fullness — not yet. Not every man knows YHWH and we are still teaching the world about our great Elohim (God). We have not yet been gathered into the land, ending our exile either[3]. But there is one verse I’d especially like to draw your attention to:

How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man. (Jer. 31:22)

While Christian Bible interpretation is often limited, Hebrew is not. In other words, prophecy is multifaceted and dynamic. No interpretation supersedes another. There are usually greater and lesser fulfillments and each are true. The verse in question is often taught to mean a woman’s womb shall encompass a man — the Son of Man to be more specific. And I believe this is very true! Messiah’s work and atonement are central to not only our redemption, but also our restoration of which this passage speaks.

However, that in no way detracts from the literal interpretation of this passage. If this whole section is about our complete restoration, then what does it mean for “a woman to encompass a man”? Could this be an allusion to the Garden of Eden? A return to God’s original design for man and WOMAN? The Hebrew word for “new” in this verse is the same word for “new” in Jeremiah 31:31 in reference to the New Covenant. It is chadash. The AHLB[4] describes it this way:

Strongs #2319: AHLB#: 2151) Renew: New moon: New: The first crescent of the moon as the renewal of the moon, the first day of the month. [from: restoration] To make something like new through repair, restoration, or replacement. [freq. 10] {str: 2318} New: Something that is new, renewed, restored or repaired.  [freq. 54] |kjv: new, fresh| {str: 2319, 2323}

Chadash implies renewal, like the monthly renewal of the moon. The moon isn’t brand new every month, instead it is renewed. This is the language and understanding of the New Covenant. It is the same as the previous covenant — renewed. This is solidified by the fact that YHWH’s Torah (law) will be written on the hearts of His people[5]. In reference to the woman encompassing a man, YHWH also calls this a “renewed” thing. In other words, this is a restoration.

Do you recall the function of the female? She is a boundary setter. She is an ezer that surrounds her husband in protection, counsel, and guidance. Her God designed purpose is to surround or encompass her man. As we progress toward our complete redemption and restoration, we come closer and closer to the garden. Adam will forgive Chavah. She will be restored to her proper role. This, I believe, is one of the prophetic layers found in Jeremiah 31:22.

weddingMoreover, in Jewish tradition, this passage has been used for centuries during wedding ceremonies. When the bride arrives at the chuppah[6], she circles the groom seven times while the groom prays. This symbolizes the idea of the woman being a protective, surrounding light for her husband and their household. She illuminates them with understanding and love and protects them from harm from the outside.

There are several interpretations of the significance of her encircling the groom seven times. Seven is the number of days of the creation, and the wedding ceremony is the creation of a new household. Seven is the number of times the phrase “when a man takes a wife” occurs in the Bible. Seven is the number of times Joshua circled the walls of Jericho in order to bring them down, and in circling her groom a bride brings down any wall that may remain between them.

Also, on the day of his wedding, the groom is compared to a king. Just as the king is encircled by his legion, the groom is to be encircled by his bride. This symbolizes that the bride is a type of “warrior/protector” for the man. She is his eshet chayil. When the bride has finished encircling the groom, she stands at his right, as the Psalmist states, “at the right hand does the queen stand.”[7]

While all the above reasons are given in Jewish tradition for this mystical practice, I believe there is one last purpose that the bride encircles the man seven times. It is because she is a type of the Holy Spirit in the man’s life. There are seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit as we discussed in Part V. A woman of faith will walk in these spirits in order to guide and protect her husband and home.

My prayer is that we will humbly strive towards restoration and obedience to the whole counsel of YHWH in matters of faith, marriage, and community. Let us return to YHWH. Let us return to His ways. Let us return to the garden and find the original man and woman of shalom. May the two become One.

“Who is this, shining forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun” — but formidable as an army marching under banners?

Come back, come back, girl from Shulam (shalom, peace, safety, fullness, complete)! Come back, come back to where we can see you! What will you see in the Shulamite? As it were the dance of two army camps.

 (Song of Songs 6:10,13)

This series was originally meant to be only seven parts. However, due to the the many inquiries I get about this series, its popularity, and my continued studies, I’ve decided to add more posts to The Biblical role of Women. There is SO much more! 🙂

Here is Part VIII.

 

 


 

 

[1] Some examples:  Rom. 16:20, 1 Cor. 6:16; 11:9; 11:12; 15:22, 2 Cor. 4:6; 11:3, 1 Tim. 2:13-14; 4:3-4.

[2] Jer. 31:31-33; Heb. 8:8-12

[3] Jer. 31:8-21

[4] Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible by Jeff Benner.

[5] Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10

[6] A covered wedding canopy. The covering is usually a large prayer shawl (tallit).

[7] Ps. 45:9

Categories: Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Biblical Role of Women Part V

Role of Women Main Page

Please view Part I, II, III, and IV for context.

Proverbs 31

In Judaism, the Proverbs 31 woman is often taught as an allegory for the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh), Wisdom, Torah, Shekinah (Divine Presence), Shabbat, and the Soul. At first glance this may seem odd, but we must remember that most Jewish rabbis, teachers, and sages can read, write, and speak Hebrew fluently. This knowledge allows them to see many things in the original text that isn’t obvious in English (or any other language for that matter). We will focus on two of these allegories in particular: Wisdom and the Holy Spirit.

 

Wisdom

“Wisdom” is the primary character in the Book of Proverbs, and is personified as a woman. If this is a foreign concept to you, I suggest stopping right now to read through this wisdom book. It will become apparent that Proverbs often depicts two women, one righteous and one wicked, to contrast two types of people. These are the good and evil inclinations[1] that every person possesses. King Solomon personifies good and evil in order to teach his son (and us) discernment. YHWH and Solomon instruct us to choose to follow our good inclination (or our spirit, rather than the flesh).

In Hebrew, the Spirit of God or any spirit for that matter is always written in the feminine form[2]. At first, it may seem strange or even blasphemous to refer to God in the feminine. But your Bible does so over and over again in reference to His Spirit in the original language. This is not goddess worship; rather, this is simply what the Bible teaches. God is neither a man nor a woman, yet He has attributes of both genders. This is why it takes a male and a female to properly display His image[3].

menorah-7-branches-12-cm-tribus-design-orThe Holy Spirit of YHWH displays the feminine attributes of YHWH. And the Bible tells us these attributes are manifested in seven characteristics. This is not to be confused with the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is the result of this seven branched tree, not the foundation. We can use a biblical motif to describe these 7 facets. In the Tabernacle in the wilderness, YHWH told Moses to construct a menorah (lampstand) with seven branches. The menorah was to be made of ONE piece of beaten gold[4]. The menorah would illuminate the Holy Place that leads into the Holy of Holies. There is only ONE central branch with three branches on either side. The six outer branches are only out workings of the main central branch. The Bible often uses the symbolism of this magnificent menorah to describe God’s Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh).

Like the seven branches on the ONE golden Menorah, Isaiah, Zechariah, Yeshua (Jesus), and John all write about the Holy Spirit having seven attributes (branches). If you wish to learn about the seven spirits of God in depth, I suggest finding a Creation Gospel[5] trainer and exploring this fascinating topic. Here are some of the verses that attest to the seven.

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (Is. 11:2)

He said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it…Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts…”For who has despised the day of small things? But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel–these are the eyes of the LORD which range to and fro throughout the earth.” (Zec. 4:2, 6, 10)

Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; (Rev 4:5 see also Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 5:6)

While there is much to learn about these “seven” spirits, we must stay on topic. Wisdom is not only the first of the seven manifestations of God’s Spirit, but is also personified as a woman in the Bible. It is for this reason that the Jewish Sages reading the Proverbs 31 text see the eshet chayil (Woman of Valor, Strength, Might) as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. This may come as a relief to many women. Thank goodness! I was feeling pretty inadequate compared to this “perfect” woman.

Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit shows us the way of wisdom which leads us into the fullness of all seven Spirits of God (Is. 11:2) and teaches us not only the proper role of women, but also our strength (chayil). If we allow God’s Spirit to have reign in our hearts and lives, we will naturally produce the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. Do you remember how the woman is designed to be an ezer, a helper? Do you know of another “helper” in scripture?

Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. (Ps. 54:4)

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (Jn. 14:26)

spiritofwisdomThe Holy Spirit operates as a type of helper in the life of a believer. Sometimes He is our aid, but sometimes He opposes us in order to ‘turn’ us in a different direction. This is the same function the woman plays (on a much smaller scale) in the life of her husband! Think about the following roles that the Holy Spirit plays in our lives and compare them to the role of woman.

Actions

  • The Holy Spirit comforts and nurtures; so does a woman.
  • He teaches and instructs; so does woman.
  • He displays mercy and grace; so does a woman.
  • He encourages; so does a woman.
  • He leads and speaks; so does a woman.
  • He’s the unseen One; so often this is also true of the woman (she’s behind the scenes working).
  • He prepares and empowers; so does a woman.
  • He intercedes, testifies, and reproofs; so does a woman.

If you want to know what your duties are as a woman and/or mother, all you have to do is find out the duties of the Holy Spirit; for you are a type or metaphor for the Holy Spirit. This is no different than our counterpart, the man. The metaphor is similar; a righteous man should represent or display the image of our Heavenly Father. A man can look at the actions and roles of YHWH to determine his proper course in life. YHWH is his role model, and the Holy Spirit is woman’s role model. BUT wait! We are not talking about two different gods here. They are ONE and the same. It’s ludicrous to think of YHWH having a control battle with His Spirit. Therefore, men and women should work together in harmony, each displaying a facet of the image of our perfect Elohim (God). One does not dominate the other. There is no power struggle. Male and female He created them in His image.

Atmosphere & Eshet Chayil

Like the Ruach HaKodesh, women set the tone for the atmosphere of the home, fellowship, workplace, school, etc. As women, when we are ruled by our emotions or mood, it affects all those around us. We are a true warrior of God, an eshet chayil, when we choose to crucify our flesh and walk according to the Holy Spirit instead of how we feel. Any time a woman is present, she will determine the spiritual climate of the “room” far more than a man will.

I was raised as the eldest daughter of four girls. I had no brothers growing up. As YHWH would have it, I now have two sons with no daughters. However, I have been blessed to have many nieces. When the whole family gets together, I am always fascinated by the dynamics between the boys and girls. The girls, younger and older, never fail to try and “control” what the boys do and don’t do when they play together. They really are bossy. While this bothers the boys and they sometimes refuse to play, they usually relent just to get the girls to shut-up. Moreover, they are far outnumbered when the family is together and I think they just want to keep the peace.

This little microcosm has taught me much. The sinful nature of females causes us to “force” situations to get our way. We can become bossy tyrants or voices of rage when we feel like we are not being heard. Even though we often know which way to go more so than men, our method of “pushing” them is all wrong. Much to men’s chagrin, we are usually right, and knowing the role of ezer kenegdo and eshet chayil only confirms this. But, where we fail is in our delivery. Far too often, we are ruled by our nephesh (flesh). This allows our evil inclination to flow forth instead of God’s Holy Spirit of Wisdom when “guiding” our mates. And we wonder why they don’t listen to us!

Women are just as powerful as men, but woman’s power lies mostly in her influence. I don’t think women realize how much they affect their own husband, children, homes, assemblies, and workplaces. If you find your home, assembly, or workplace to be a place of peace and sanctuary, look at yourself or the women that are present. They are usually directly responsible. Conversely, if you find your home, assembly, or workplace to be stressful and chaotic, look first at the women. They (or you) may be the culprit! Remember the two women mentioned in Proverbs? Women are capable of reflecting another image: one of rebellion, like the harlot. Women’s strength (chayil) can be used for good or evil. Choose Life!

Think about these things the next time you are compelled to guide your husband (or children). How would the Holy Spirit treat them? It wouldn’t be with degrading words, strife, or manipulation. The Spirit definitely brings correction, but it is done with gentleness, a feminine trait. How much better do people respond with a kind word instead of anger? Your everyday walk requires you to be a warrior. And your battle is most often with yourself! Women have a lot of obstacles to overcome. We deal with hormones that often seem uncontrollable, a world that sees us as second class citizens compared to men, and relationships that usually refuse to let us operate in our God designed function. What are we to do?

I hope that as we continue to peel back the layers of true biblical womanhood you will find great freedom and gratitude in the fact that the Creator chose you to be one of His ezer(s). Nobody said that being an eshet chayil was easy, but it is where you will find your greatest fulfillment. In later segments, we will also speak more on how both a man and a woman can walk out their redeemed roles.

In the meantime, when you find yourself feeling like the whole universe is against you, know that YHWH has a unique role and destiny just for you. If your battle is in functioning as your husband’s ezer and he continues to resist you, know that in the end you will be restored and laughing like the Proverbs 31 woman. If your battle is with tradition and dogma within the church, and they refuse to recognize your God given gifts as applicable to women, relax. YHWH is bringing things full circle — restoration is forth coming. If your battle is with complete oppression or subjugation, take heart for though this life is like a vapor, the world to come is everlasting. In the Kingdom, nobody will be able to prevent you from being who God created you to be.

An excellent wife (eshet chayil) is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones. (Pr. 12:4)

Many daughters have done virtuously (chayil, valiantly, mightily), but thou excellest them all. (Pr. 31:29)

Still more to come on Ruth as an eshet chayil in Part VI.



[1] Christians might refer to this as the battle between the spirit and the flesh.

[2] In Hebrew, all things have either a masculine or feminine gender. There is no neuter or neutral gender like there is in English.

[3] Gen 1:27,  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

[4] Read Exodus 25

[5] Please refer to Dr. Hollisa Alewine’s website: thecreationgospel.com

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

The Biblical Role of Women Part IV

Role of Women Main Page 

Woman of Valor

Please refer to Part I, II, and III of this series for the best context.

On Mother’s Day one the most quoted passages during Sunday morning services is Proverbs 31. Each mother is commended for her role as a virtuous woman. Images of Mother Theresa and other conservative humanitarian women come to mind. Most women and especially men, envision the Proverbs 31 woman to be plain, prudish, and quite frankly — boring. Yet, both genders believe that this (boring) image of women is what God truly desires. So, we all sit in the pews extolling something that women believe they can never measure up to, and men only wish they found attractive. But no one dares to verbalize these inward thoughts. Instead, we all smile and nod and pray to God that He change our dreadful hearts.

I have some great news if you identify with my sentiments. Though the Proverbs 31 woman is often translated as the “Virtuous Woman”, that is not what the text says in Hebrew. In fact, as we investigate the original language about this “ideal” woman, you will find that she is anything but boring! Women will sigh in relief and gasp with delight in the fact that YHWH truly knows their heart. Men will rediscover that the woman YHWH made just for him is not only attractive, but exciting!

 

The Eshet Chayil

 

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. (Pr. 31:10 KJV)

WOV2The Hebrew terms for virtuous woman are “eshet chayil”. While eshet does mean woman, chayil is often translated as virtuous, excellent, good, vigorous, worthy, capable, or valorous (valor) in this verse. Strong’s Bible definitions defines it this way: a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, power, might, host, wealth, virtue, valor, strength, and worth.

In nearly every one of its uses, chayil is coupled with men, particularly strong men of war. There is no room in this Hebrew term for plainness, meekness, or weakness. So why, when chayil is joined with women, do the translator’s choose to “soften the blow” with English words that hide the “strong force” of the Hebrew? What happened to all the power and might of chayil?

I submit to you that part of the reason is based in the fallen nature of Adam. Subtle (and not so subtle) misogyny has plagued the Body for far too long. The truth is that the word chayil empowers women beyond the status quo of many men’s comfort zones. I will admit however, that most of these men mean well and really believe they are in God’s will by mastering or ruling over women. They (and women) have been told and trained that this is their God given right for a very long time. My hope is to peel back the English language and centuries of church tradition to reveal the freeing reality of what YHWH and the Hebrew text really says about women.

Warrior

A chayil, in its simplest translation, is a warrior. The introduction of the Proverbs 31 woman is more accurate to the Hebrew text when it uses words like this: “Who can find a powerful, mighty, valiant woman”? This is the true “ideal” woman; but just in case you think I’m reaching, the succeeding verses (in Hebrew) reveal the same message.

Here are some examples of this courageous woman that are obscured by the English translation. In verse 11, her husband “has no lack of gain,” the word for gain is “shalal,” which usually means booty, spoil or plunder. This is the type of gain that a warrior brings back from a successful military battle. The valorous woman knows how to prosper her family spiritually and physically. Thus, she blesses her husband and children.

In verse 15, “she rises while it is still night and provides food for her household,” the word translated food is “teref”, the normal word for prey. Like a lioness hunting in the night, bringing back prey for her cubs, a woman provides for her family. The suggestion of fierceness or violence adds to the woman’s portrayal as a chayil. Verse 17 declares that “she girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong”. The Hebrew word for strong (arms) is “amatz”, meaning courage. Can you see the warrior imagery in each instance?

WOVVerse 25 is of special import to our study. The woman says, “strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come”. The last phrase is yom acharon. This literally says, “She laughs in the latter days”. I believe this is another prophetic text about role restorations we have been exploring. This warrior woman is prepared both physically and spiritually for the last days. For as we’ve seen in the previous articles, she is most likely laughing for joy at her complete restoration in her role as ezer.

The fact that the Proverbs 31 woman is brave, mighty, valorous, and powerful cannot be denied. Think of this the next time you read this passage or are subjected to another teaching about the meek, weak, and quiet woman. God designed woman to be an ezer. Do you recall what an ezer actually is? An ezer is a help, rescuer, savior, and protector. This sounds an awful lot like an eshet chayil, does it not? What does a warrior do but fight for and protect what is theirs? This is real biblical womanhood.

Real Roles

But lest you think that all these terms are some how condoning the emasculation of men or usurping their vital role, I must explain this further. Men and women were created equal, but different. Each gender has specific roles to play in God’s design. What I have been putting forth to you is a return to God’s original plan. What must be removed are tradition, dogma, and most importantly our fallen nature if we desire to live and walk out this restoration. Our Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus), has already paved the way for us to overcome our nephesh (flesh). He has freed us from this slavery. But too often, we are still wearing shackles in the form of tradition[1] and doctrine[2]. We must choose to break free from these manmade chains.

The man is created to work and serve the creation. His domain of work or service is primarily outside of the home. He is like the man in Proverbs 31 that sits at the city gates. He is there to guard the city, give counsel, and do business. But the woman is built with the same fierceness and power as the man. Her domain or service is primarily inside the home. Her service benefits her man and her children. But what she does and how she does it is identical to the man. The difference is in the object of their service. No one gender rules or exercises dominion over the other. They are equal and equally capable both inside and outside of the home.

I have some questions for the women out there that might help put these ideas into perspective. Every woman I’ve EVER met knows in her bones what her husband needs to be doing. In a subtle or not so subtle way, the woman is always pushing or influencing her husband in one direction or another. If she is a woman of faith, then hopefully she is pushing him toward godly obedience. The contrary would be that she is pushing him away from godly obedience in her own fallen nature of Chavah (Eve). So here are the questions.

  1. Do you have a compulsion to guide your husband (in nearly every issue of life)?
  2. Do you always offer your opinion on matters whether he requests it or not?
  3. Do you set limitations (boundaries) on what he does and doesn’t do? For example, do you tell him (as if he were a child) when he’s watched too much television, been working too much, needs to call his mother, needs to do household chores, not dressed appropriately, not reading the bible or praying enough, needs to seek YHWH instead of relying on his own strength, needs to discipline the children, needs to eat better or exercise, etc.?

Deep down every woman knows she was designed to bless her husband. While he may accuse her of being a control freak or a micro manager, the truth is that she can’t help her herself. She is an ezer; and as such, she is his counselor, protector, and guide. The problem for what seems like forever is that neither the woman nor the man have known WHY she’s the way she is. I hope that by now you can answer that age old question.

In Part V, we will look at the Proverbs 31 woman on a deeper spiritual level.

 


 

 

[1] Mar 7:13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

[2] Mar 7:6-8 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. (7) ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ (8) “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

Categories: Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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