Posts Tagged With: wilderness

Parched Ground

How do we display the image of Elohim (G-d) in the earth?parched ground

Recently, I participated in an online correspondence class with a rabbi. In it, he made mention of the davar (word) and its relationship to the midbar (wilderness/desert). I know many of you are already familiar with this connection, but for the sake of those who are not, I will briefly explore this notion. In Hebrew, the root of midbar (desert) is davar (word). In other words, the wilderness comes directly from the Word. Being in the desert is akin to receiving the Word. Or to be more precise, the wilderness is where YHWH’s Word is tested in us. In the Torah, the Book of Numbers chronicles the Children of Israel’s wanderings in the desert. Thus, quite fittingly, this book is called BaMidbar or “in the wilderness” in Hebrew.

When YHWH miraculously removed ancient Israel from Egypt or when He rescued us from the figurative house of slavery (sin and death), where did He take them or us? Was it straight to the Promised Land? Or was it into the desert or wilderness? The fact that we all must face a literal or figurative desert upon being saved sounds counterintuitive at first. What do we need to learn in wilderness? I think Bill Cloud said it best (I’m paraphrasing Bill here): “God can remove us from Egypt, but we find that Egypt is still in us.” In other words, salvation, deliverance, and sanctification are ongoing processes. The desert becomes a type of threshing floor for our souls. All that offends is refined, purified, and threshed in the scorching sands of the desert. The Word that began a good work in us continues its commission to test and humble us. The difficulty and the pain of the wilderness “does good” for us in the end. For Abba, this is a labor of love.

“He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. “In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. (Dt. 8:15-16)

But the desert has one more vital message to teach us. It is in our wilderness where G-d speaks. In the ups and downs of the desert, we learn to discern the difference between the Shepherd’s voice and the enemy’s crafty imitation. When we are stripped of all the comforts of Egypt, we finally reach the end of self. It is there, in the midst of what appears to us as chaos and disorder, that the G-d of order speaks kindly to us and lifts our weary heads. With no more worldly distractions, the Word reveals what is in our hearts. Each revelation offers us an opportunity to repent and return to the Master’s loving embrace.

Ones That Speak

While all the above is fascinating, even if a little scary, that’s not what struck me in the Rabbi’s lesson. He mentioned that one way we are like G-d is in the fact that we have the faculty of speech. We are the only creatures in His vast creation that, like Him, have words. We are medeber (ones that speak). Think about this for moment. In the same way that davar and midbar are connected, so is medeber. This means that we are not ONLY “ones that speak”, but “ones like a desert”.

Have you ever thought of yourself as a desert? Maybe our souls have felt dry or parched during a great trial, in the midst of mourning, or while suffering for righteousness sake or on account of our own sins. But have you ever considered that our wilderness journey should be as close and familiar to us as speech?

We were not only meant to speak, but we were meant to drink like the parched earth of a desert. Consider the many passages that urge us to partake of the Living Waters.[1] Or think about how the Word of G-d is figuratively referred to as rain or water.[2] We should be like the thirsty ground, eagerly waiting for the gentle rain of Abba’s Word. Considering that Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, this makes perfect sense. Mankind is essentially dirt or dust. And the ground NEEDS the heavenly rains like we NEED the words of our heavenly Elohim.

Dirt and Seeds

seed-plant-life-garden-grow-dirt-wide.1200w.tnWe are, at our core, the substance (dirt) in which seeds can be planted in order for New Life to grow. The Word is equivalent to a Seed in Scripture.[3] Coincidence? I don’t think so. If words are seeds, we should be careful what we allow to take root in our soil or dirt. I believe these words or seeds can come from three places: G-d, the enemy, and ourselves.

Thus, the enemy’s word is a seed. The words we speak are seeds. The words others speak are seeds. But the only Seed that is always truth and always produces life is the Word of YHWH. The question is how do we know, and I mean without a doubt know that we know, whether the seed we are receiving is G-d’s Seed?

This is where the dry, dirty side of our essence comes in to play. In order to hear or receive the Word of Adonai, we must become like a desert. All distractions and things that vie for our attention must be removed in order for us to really hear or shema YHWH. In the wilderness, our nephesh (flesh) is denied worldly pleasures and conveniences. One reason that fasting is so effective is because it strips the nephesh of gratification. Any time our nephesh (with all its thoughts, desires, and appetites) is ruled over by our younger (new) spirit-man, our connection to YHWH is strengthened. And our flesh serves us rather than us serving it.

Whose Voice?

speakingMany times, we listen to the voice of our own desires rather than the Words of YHWH. Like the Tree of Knowledge, it speaks both good and evil. We know this voice so well that we often mistake it for the Holy Spirit (especially when its speaking “good”). Let’s face it, when it seems as if we will get to avoid suffering in a dry desert, our voice (or even the voice of the enemy) sounds like good counsel to our itching ears. This is why various people can all claim to be hearing from the One Holy Spirit, yet will have conflicting ideas, agendas, and doctrine. We are ones that speak, but rarely are we willing to become a desert. We must learn to submit to the wilderness and allow the Word to test us.

Emptying ourselves of our own desires (even those we deem good and profitable or even godly) is the key to becoming the image of Elohim in the earth. You want to love YHWH with all your heart and love your neighbor like yourself? It will cost you flesh and bone. Are we willing to suffer for YHWH and our neighbor?[4] Or would we rather cause others to suffer so that we can have things our way? Do we open our mouths and speak life (healing/shalom) to others or do we use our speech to persuade others to do things the way we like it or see it? Which voice is the Holy Spirit and which is the voice of our own nephesh (soul)?

The acquisition of treasures (desires of our hearts/flesh) by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death. (Pr. 21:6 added parenthesis mine)

 

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. (Jam. 1:26)

Watch Your Mouth

He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles. (Pr. 21:23)

shut your mouthOur mouths cause us more trouble than any other member of our bodies.[5] Is this because we only desire to be ones that speak and not ones like a desert? After all, you can’t speak AND drink at the same time! Interestingly, if we fail to choose to become a humble desert before YHWH, He will take us there kicking and screaming. Our only choice in the matter is the method of how we arrive and how we act once we get there. YHWH’s Word is ALWAYS tested in the wilderness/desert.[6] Consider the many judgments that result with the people and the land becoming desolate. In these cases, Abba’s judgment has in effect “shut our mouths”.[7]

Is Adonai just an angry tyrant or does He know something that we desperately don’t want to accept? The Bible says that G-d is Love and that He chastises those whom He loves.[8] He takes us to the desert because He knows that the testing of the wilderness will reveal our hearts. We need to face the serpent on the pole, so that we may be healed and saved. The serpent is the voice of our own selfish desires. It is the crafty forked tongue that whispers both good and evil. When we heed its voice rather than Adonai’s, we are stung with its venom and take the fast track toward death.

This is why we must die daily like the lamb offerings in the Tabernacle and the Temple. Our beast must be brought to the altar. Like all creatures, the beast doesn’t submit easily. It is excellent at convincing us (with its mouth) that all is well. The smooth words of the serpent appeals to our feelings of entitlement, self-righteousness, and piety. The beast does not like to identify with suffering or humility. But like Cain, we are told to MASTER this impulse.

Hearing-GodWe do this by becoming what we were created to be. We are a desert; a vast wilderness laid bare for all of heaven to see and judge. In this position, we are no longer mouths that speak to justify or coerce; rather, we become a sponge that soaks up the words of life. Though the Living Word kills the flesh, it quickens the spirit.

This is the key to humility, hearing from Abba, and loving our neighbor sacrificially. It is also what molds and shapes our clay vessels into the image of our great and loving Elohim. If we really got this we would no longer scorn our fiery trials or fear the seemingly empty places of life. Instead, we would prostrate ourselves under the heavens and allow the Word to truly divide between our soul (nephesh) and spirit.

For the word of God is living and active 
and sharper than any two-edged sword, and 
piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit,
 of both joints and marrow, and able to judge 
the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, 
but all things are open and laid bare 
to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 
(Heb. 4:12-13)

[1] Jer. 2:13; 17:13, John 4:10-11, Rev. 7:38

[2] This post speaks about the early and latter rains.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Is. 55:10-11)

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” (Hos. 6:3)

So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. (Eph. 5:26)

[3] Luke 8:11

[4] Suffering for Righteousness’ Sake

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. “FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. (1 Peter 3:8-17)

[5] James 3

[6] Think about Moses and Yeshua. Were they each not tested in the wilderness? What about Paul? Can you recall a period where he was tested in the desert? Consider the Children of Israel, Job, David, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and others. Can you connect these righteous men with both suffering and the desert/wilderness? Does the Bible give us examples of those who willingly flee to the desert and those who are taken there against their will? What is the difference between these two experiences? What is similar about these experiences? It seems as though we ALL must experience the wilderness. The question is: Will we go willingly or by force?

[7] Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God. (Rom. 3:19)

[8] FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” (Heb. 12:6)

Categories: Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Matters of the Heart Part I

lev 2

We all have our own ideas of what we mean when we say things like:

“God knows my heart.”

“My heart just isn’t in it.”

“She has a good heart.”

“My heart is breaking over this issue.”

“His presence makes my heart skip a beat.”

“Just accept Jesus into your heart.”

 Heart Defined

But what exactly is our heart, biblically speaking? Is it merely the blood pumping organ in your chest? Is it just an idiom for your deep seated emotions and convictions? How does the heart differ from your mind? Is our heart deceitful or has Messiah given us a new heart?

The Hebrew word most often translated as heart is “lev or levav”. These Hebrew words are also used to refer to the mind, reasoning, will, and understanding of a person. As a matter of fact, there isn’t a single Biblical Hebrew word to express the western idea of the “mind” or even the brain. When you see the English word “mind” in your Bible translation, it is usually the Hebrew word lev or levav.

Why does this matter? According to Jeff Benner’s Hebrew pictograph’s, the lev, depicts the staff or authority (lamed) with the tent or house (vet). In other words, the lev is a pictograph of “the authority within”. The question becomes one of authority. Who is on the throne of your life? You or the Creator?

What about those times when you feel pulled in two different directions? Could this be an indication that you are fighting YHWH for the throne? For example, have you ever been faced with a decision where you truly felt like you knew the obvious answer in your mind, but your heart didn’t want to follow your own sound reasoning? The heart wants what the heart wants, right?

You might have felt like your heart and mind disagreed in these instances. But in Hebrew thought, your heart and your mind cannot be in opposition to one another. This is because biblically and Hebraically speaking the heart and the mind are one and the same. Thus, a conflict of your seeming heart and mind means that in reality you are double-minded. Ouch. Perhaps the sound instruction you knew to be true (God’s Word) or even good common sense, just isn’t what you desired.

James’ answer is to SUBMIT to God. Apparently that inward struggle is us trying to take the reins and have our own way. We are told to resist the “devil” or the enemy (which can very well be our own flesh) and the “feeling/drive” will flee.

Jam. 4:7-8 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (8)  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Circumstances such as these are indicators that our lev needs to be purified, because we are suffering from double-mindedness. You see, the real battle you are experiencing is between your “renewed” mind/lev and your flesh or nephesh. The nephesh is that big bundle of appetites and desires that we share with all living beasts. Sadly, the things we generally associate with our heart are really no more than this animalistic nature.

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve been faced with such inner conflictions, I KNEW what I SHOULD do (my renewed mind); it’s just that my DESIRE was to do to the opposite (my heart). My nephesh wanted what it wanted, regardless of logic or the Word of God. This is why James calls a double minded person “unstable”. (Jam. 1:6-8) They don’t have a legacy of overcoming the desires of the flesh, making them more akin to a beast than a human. This can also be a maturity issue. The beast (flesh) must daily be placed on the holy altar — something we must learn.

The Occupied Mind (Lev)

Knowing that we each have this warring nature within, YHWH gives us the remedy.

Dt. 6:4-5 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! (5)  “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart (lev) and with all your soul (nephesh) and with all your might (meod).

Loving YHWH begins in the mind (lev) which encompasses our emotions and will. This leads to us making our flesh/nephesh come into obedience (self-control). The more we exercise this type of submission, the stronger we become spiritually. But, the key is our lev as the next verse attests that the Word/commandments of God are to be UPON our lev. (Dt. 6:6) We must purposely choose to meditate on the Word of God day and night. This will strengthen our lev (mind) and we will have much better chances of overcoming our greatest enemy, our flesh.

So far, we have discovered that:

  1. The lev is more than our heart; it is our MIND.
  2. The lev involves thinking, planning, feeling, knowing, remembering, intent, etc.
  3. The lev can listen to your nephesh (flesh/desires) or the truth (Word of God).

Now let’s consider some verses that use the Hebrew lev and read them with this fuller understanding. There are hundreds of verses to choose from; I encourage you do to your own concordance search for more detail.

It searches:

Dt. 4:29 “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

It speaks to you:

Dt. 8:17 “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’

It’s in need of circumcision:

Dt. 10:16 “So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.

Ps. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

It can be changed and enlarged:

1 Sam. 10:9 Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day.

Ps. 119:32 I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart.

It can carry you away:

Job 15:12  “Why does your heart carry you away? And why do your eyes flash,

It can rejoice:

Ps. 13:5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

It can meditate and be taught:

Ps. 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

Ps. 86:11 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.

It has a tablet or record that must be guarded:

Pr. 3:3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Pr. 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

It can deceive you:

Jer. 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Our hearts/minds must be guarded and “fed” a healthy diet of God’s Word in order to stay steadfast and righteous. It truly is a well spring of life —- or death. Thoughts are like seeds. They have the power to produce fruit/deeds. Our natural inclination will be to produce death. This is because a sinful person is really sick. The virus wants to reproduce itself. The only remedy we have or need is the Living Word of YHWH.

The good news is that YHWH is not only willing, but desires to renew our minds. But it will require us to relinquish ourselves to Him. Which brings me to a quandary that I often meditate upon (a faculty of my lev).

Does YHWH supernaturally place or write His Word and Commandments on our heart (lev) upon receiving Yeshua? Or is this a “process” that we must choose to allow by the washing and watering[1] of His Word? My meditations have caused me to consider that this isn’t a real either/or question. Both are true, if you can take off Greek/western lenses. Let’s look at a familiar story in the Scriptures that forces us to look at the “heart of the matter”.

cropped-exodus1.jpgPharaoh’s Hard Heart

The passages concerning the Passover and exodus from Egypt are read every year in the Torah cycle and are commemorated each spring with the first moed (feast) on YHWH’s calendar. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that Pesach (Passover) is FIRST on YHWH’s calendar. This story retells the Israelites redemption and release from slavery. Followers of Yeshua also understand that He is our Pesach Lamb year after year. Like Israel of old, we are redeemed and saved by the blood of the Lamb. We are released from the bondage of Egypt and Pharaoh. Not because we deserve it, worked for it, or earned it. YHWH’s great compassion, mercy, and loving-kindness moved Him to act on our behalf.

But after our release, we must get to know our Redeemer. We must choose to trust and follow Him. We will all face the wilderness. In the wilderness we will be tested and tried, so that our true lev or heart/mind will be revealed. This is life, folks. Will we die in the desert or move on to the Promised Land?

Dt. 8:2 “You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

Each year as we commemorate Israel’s and our freedom, we are faced with a seeming paradox in regards to the heart. In the account of the plagues of Egypt, sometimes we see YHWH hardening Pharaoh’s heart and sometimes Pharaoh hardens his own heart. These verses were most confusing to me in the past. How could Pharaoh be held accountable for his resistance to God’s Word if YHWH was pulling all the strings? You might have asked the same question. YHWH loves an honest question—— it requires us to exercise our mind. We have just learned that it was actually Pharaoh’s lev that was hardened. But first, let’s look at this “hardening”.

The Hebrew word for hardened is chazak. This word may be familiar to you if you have a Jewish Bible. There is a traditional phrase that is chanted at the completion of each book of Torah in the reading cycle. It is chazak, chazak, v’nit’chazek! It means: Be strong! Be strong! And let us be strengthened!

Thus, what should our lev be strengthened by? The Torah! Isn’t this what the Shema and V’ahavta are all about? (Dt. 6:4-9)

When I looked up the Hebrew word chazak, I was rather amazed by the fact that this word is only translated as “hardened” in reference to Pharaoh’s heart. It is most often translated as “be strong”. It literally means to seize, to grab hold, to strengthen.

What actually occurred was that Pharaoh’s mind (lev) was strengthened. He had convinced himself or “set his mind” to keep Israel subjugated. He wouldn’t even allow the evidence of miracles and plagues to change his mind. He wanted what he wanted. Unfortunately, this strengthening was against the will of God. If you look closely at the text, Pharaoh hardens his own heart toward Israel throughout the first five plagues. And then YHWH hardens Pharaoh’s heart during the last five. It seems that YHWH eventually turned Pharaoh over to his own desires. Paul tells us this is very possible:

Eph. 4:17-19 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, (18)  being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;  (19)  and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Sadly, if we continue to resist the Holy Spirit’s direction to appease our flesh, God will let us have our way. Paul urges us to lay aside the “old self” or the evil inclination and be RENEWED in the spirit of our mind.

Eph. 4:20-24 But you did not learn Christ in this way, (21)  if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,  (22)  that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,  (23)  and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,  (24)  and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Paul continues in the Book of Ephesians by advising us to be imitators of God. The process of laying aside the “old man/self” and taking on the “new self/man” is often called sanctification. It is NOT salvation. It is a process. A journey. A walk. A way of life. This is the wilderness experience.  But how do we know what to kick aside and what to take on? Paul again exhorts us:

Eph. 5:8-11 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (9)  (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),  (10)  trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  (11)  Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

Eph. 5:15-17 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, (16) making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  (17)  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

We must be careful and diligent as we follow the Lord. We must seek YHWH’s will and learn what is pleasing to Him. This is much different than pleasing men, their tradition, and their theology. Nevertheless, we can do this without sinning in anger or speaking evil of those that aren’t in the exact place we are on the path. In other words, our lev must become obedient to YHWH.

The only instructions we have is the Bible. Thus, the Words of Life are contained within its leaves (pages). I can either reject them or follow them. But this is where the controversy arises. Is the whole Book meant for my instruction or are there parts I should ignore? When I stand back from all the theological arguments and the thoughts of men, the answer seems rather simple.

Ecc. 12:13-14 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man(adam). (14)  For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. (JPS)

A whole (restored/complete) adam or man will fear God and keep His commandments, because he has a mind (lev) set on serving the Creator. This is a person that has given his inner authority (lev) over to the ultimate Authority of the Universe.

 

But there is more to come, controversial as it might be for some, as I share my lev in the Matters of the Heart in Part II.

 


 

[1] Eph. 5:6

Categories: Messianic Issues, Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Deborah the Bee Part I

© Olga Vasilkova

© Olga Vasilkova

The Hebrew word for bee is Devorah (Deborah). This is also the feminine form of the word davar (literally: Word). Another derivative from this Hebrew root is midbar or wilderness. Jeff Benner has this to say about our root word:

The root word is ‘davar’ and is most frequently translated as a thing or a word. The original picture painted by this word to the Hebrews is the arrangement of things to create order. Speech is an ordered arrangement of words. In the ancient Hebrew mind words are ‘things’ and are just as ‘real’ as food or other ‘things’. When a word is spoken to another it is ‘placed in the ears’ no different than when food is given to another it is ‘placed in the mouth’. The Hebrew name Devorah (Deborah) means ‘bee’ and is the feminine form of the word davar. Bees are a community of insects which live in a perfectly ordered arrangement. The word ‘midvar’ meaning wilderness is actually a place that exists as a perfectly arranged order as its ecosystem is in harmony and balance.[1]

Bees are fascinating little creatures. The structure of their colonies are perfectly ordered much like the wilderness and the Word of God. The pollination that they provide for our crops is actually vital to our very survival. Is it any wonder that YHWH chose the humble honey bee as a natural picture of His spiritual Torah? Both provide Life! Even more interesting to me is that while the bee is an unclean insect, the sticky sweet honey that they produce is not.

Perhaps that is because we are supposed to be similar to a bee. We should be building the house (colony) in unity and with order. Moreover, much of the time we are ritually unclean and/or spiritual unclean due to sin. Nevertheless, we are told to remedy our dilemma by the cleansing of the blood of the Lamb. Once we do, we can venture into the fields like the worker bees to build the Kingdom by gathering pollen from the flowers of the earth. Our efforts should produce golden sweet honey that attracts all the “whosoevers”. (Living the Word with Love)

Ironically, as the world slips further away from the Creator’s Word and closer to death, the natural honey bee population is also dying.[2] This should cause us great concern because bees are directly responsible for one out of every three bites of food that you ingest![3]

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, 
man would only have four years left to live.” 
― Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee

We need to be praying not only for our nation and the world to turn back to YHWH, but also for the survival of the honey bee. But this post isn’t about the physical bee as much as it is about the spiritual picture that they represent.

 

Deborah the Bee and Nurse

The Book of Judges enumerates the most well-known biblical woman with the name Deborah. But before we explore her extraordinary story, there is another more obscure Deborah mentioned in the Torah that I’d like to highlight. The reference is in the middle of the passage below. Please read all five verses so you can see the beauty of the context.

Gen. 35:6-10 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. (7) He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother. (8) Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; it was named Allon-bacuth. (9) Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. (10) God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called Jacob, But Israel shall be your name.” Thus He called him Israel.

This isn’t the only reference to Deborah the nurse of Rebekah. We also see a brief appearance in Genesis 24 when Abraham’s servant finds Rebekah at the well and requests that she come with him to marry Isaac.

Gen. 24:59 Thus they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men.

Though the nurse isn’t named in this passage, most of the Christian and Jewish commentaries[4] that I referenced believe that this nurse was none other than the Deborah mentioned in Genesis 35. Rashi cites a tradition that Rebekah had sent Deborah to Aram to tell Jacob that it was now safe to return.[5] I find this interesting given the name of the Torah Portion this passage is found in: Vayishlach “And He Sent” (Gen. 32:4-36:43).

Genesis 35[6] comes after Jacob wrestles all night with the “angel”, his reunion with Esau, and Dinah’s violation by Shechem. Jacob has literally gone from the “fire” to the “frying pan” and back again. Life is hard. He has made both good and bad decisions and is living the consequences. YHWH tells him to return to Bethel (House of God) and build an altar. Bethel is where YHWH first revealed Himself to Jacob. It is as if YHWH is bringing Jacob full circle.

At this point in the narrative, the story is interrupted by a blurb about the nurse named Deborah. We are not given much information about her life, but the fact that the Torah mentions her at all is very telling. Deborah was Rebekah’s nurse; Rebekah is Jacob’s mother. Apparently, Deborah had been with Jacob all these years at her request. As a nurse, Deborah would have been a nurturer to Jacob, his wives, and his children. It is doubtful that this woman was married and had children of her own. Instead, she lived a life devoted to Abraham’s seed. She was like one of the worker bees ensuring the survival of the colony. I believe that Rebekah sent this woman to watch over Jacob and ensure his prophetic future.

Once YHWH brings Jacob back to where their relationship began, Deborah dies.[7] The importance of her role is revealed in the place and name of where she was buried: Allon-Bacuth. She’s buried under an oak tree in the land of Bethel. The people called this place “The Oak of Weeping/Mourning”. I can only imagine that for Deborah to have a permanent mention in the Torah that she was indeed a Mighty Oak in the eyes of the family. She was no mere nurse or servant. Her name implies hard diligent service in producing the sweet honey of the WORD.

Before Jacob returns to Bethel, he was a little reckless and immature. A person with a nature such as this needs a counsellor, a guide, a helper, and a nurturer. Though the Torah doesn’t explicitly state that Deborah was these things to Jacob, I believe the “hints” are undeniable. Let’s look at some of the imagery.

  • Deborah = bee (busy/unity) and Word (as in Word of Elohim)
  • Nurse = (yanaq) to give milk or sustenance to the immature
  • Oak = tree (etz) and counsel (etzah) trees are pictures of counsel and the righteous
  • Bethel = House of El (God)

The nurse Deborah is greatly mourned because she was a mother figure, teacher of the Word, and counsellor to Jacob and his family. As a woman of valor,[8] she had been a picture of the gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit in the lives of young Israel.

When YHWH brings Jacob’s life full circle, he is more mature and ready for the stronger boundaries of the Father. After Deborah dies, YHWH again “appears” to Jacob to reestablish the Promise and Covenant. Jacob’s sojourning has prepared him for this day. The change in his nature is marked by the change of his name. He is no longer a supplanter or heel catcher;[9] he is Israel (One who struggles/overcomes with God). As such, he no longer needs his mother’s Torah[10] (the imagery of Deborah); he is ready to walk with his Father. Nevertheless, this process is bittersweet. In this one Torah Portion[11] where Deborah meets her demise, Rachel and Isaac also pass away. Jacob’s promotion comes on the heels of losing a mother figure[12], his beloved wife, and his earthly father.

 

© Ichtor

© Ichtor

Meanwhile, Back at the Hive

The heart of any beehive is its queen. The hive does not exist without her. She literally builds the colony as … a wise woman builds her house.[13] The queen releases pheromones (an aroma) that keeps the hive thriving and humming in unison. This reminds me of the aroma of the anointing oil and the Holy Spirit. This sweet fragrance should also be discernible on us when we meet others. I’m not one to read many Bibles that “paraphrase” the Scriptures, but I couldn’t resist these verses:

2Co 2:14-15 I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. (15) In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life… (CEV)

I happen to follow a blog that is all about bee keeping or apiculture. Recently, an article caught my attention, but for far different reasons than the author intended. The name of the post is “Roar of a Queenless Hive”.[14] The bee keeper had inadvertently removed a panel from one of his hives that had a queen on it. After a few minutes, the hive began to roar with chaos and loud buzzing. He knew that he must have mistakenly removed the queen which sent the hive into a panic. His point was to warn fellow bee keepers of making the same mistake and to “listen” as well as “look” at their hives. But it was his words that really struck me with a startling revelation.

A queenless hive will most certainly roar in a way that you rarely hear otherwise.[15]

I could not help but wonder if this natural picture of bees is also true for the body of Messiah. Like the humble bee, we should also be an example of the (Living) Word. The Word produces sweet honey, not bitterness or condemnation in our lives. But there seems to be something amiss from our hives. Have we been trying to build a colony without a queen?

In Judaism, the Sabbath and the Divine Presence (Shekinah) are likened to a queen or a woman. (This is also true of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom) If physical women are to reflect these aspects of the Creator and we are limiting, restricting, or suppressing this reflection, are we not also in effect quenching the role and work of the Holy Spirit? Is this why our “hives” are often roaring with disunity and disharmony? Women are “mothers” that set boundaries to keep peace between siblings. They nurture and nurse growing babes and ensure they reach maturity.

Perhaps the Messianic movement is similar to Jacob. YHWH is turning us back full circle to where He first appeared to us at Bethel. But like Jacob, Deborah will nurse us until we fully reach the land of milk and honey. Interestingly, it is at this point that the Genesis account shifts focus from Jacob to his progeny — especially Joseph. Since Joseph prefigures the Messiah and the last days, it is reasonable to conclude that our Mashiach will return to the scene once Jacob is ready to become Israel. (A prepared Bride)

Until then, we require the “mothering” of Deborah (Holy Spirit). I suppose the real question is, “Where are we on the journey as a body?” Are we still slaving for Laban? Are we running from Esau? Are we wrestling with the messenger (angel)? Or have we remained silent after the violation of Dinah?

Song of Songs 4:11 “Your lips, my bride, drip honey; Honey and milk are under your tongue, And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

 We will explore more about Deborah the Judge in Part II … stay tuned.

 

Disclaimer[16]


 

[1] http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/27_wilderness.html

[2] http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=15572 In a nutshell, bees are dying at an alarming rate and this has worldwide effects on our food crops. This process is called Colony Collapse Disorder.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Here is an example: Deborah had either been sent by Rebekah to take care of her daughters-in-law and grandsons, or had gone of her own accord into Jacob’s household after the death of her mistress. The mourning at her death, and the perpetuation of her memory, are proofs that she must have been a faithful and highly esteemed servant in Jacob’s house. (Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the O.T.)

[5] See the Etz Hayim Torah and Commentary under Genesis 35:8.

[6] We are told of three deaths in this chapter of Genesis. First, the nurse Deborah, then Rachel dies in childbirth, and finally Isaac passes at a ripe old age.

[7] The mention of Deborah’s death in the Torah is extremely puzzling especially since the Torah fails to indicate how or when Rebekah herself dies. This leads many Jewish commentator’s (such as Ramban) to conclude that this was a veiled announcement of Rebekah’s death. See the Etz Hayim Torah and Commentary under Genesis 35:8.

[8] See Proverbs 31 and my post The Biblical Role of Women Part IV.

[9] These are the meanings of the name Jacob.

[10] Pr. 1:8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction (musar) And do not forsake your mother’s teaching (Torah).

[11] Parashat Vayishlach “And He Sent”. Genesis 32:4 – 36:43.

[12] See footnote 7.

[13] Pr. 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

[14] http://organictruths.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/roar-of-a-queenless-hive/

[15] Ibid.

[16] I am NO way implying that God is a woman or that women are gods with these questions. I abhor the new age sacred feminine and goddess worship. My point is to get the reader to look into the original language and context. The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is always in the feminine form in Hebrew; this is true for many of the emanations of His Presence. The One (genderless) Elohim displays aspects of both male and female. This is why we are repeatedly told that it takes BOTH a man and a woman to reflect the image of YHWH. Sadly, centuries of biased biblical interpretation and direct misogyny have clouded our view of not only women, but also of the Holy Spirit. My desire is to be a vessel of restoration. YHWH desires us to be in Unity and to walk in Fullness. We cannot do this unless we walk in complete Truth by shaking off manmade traditions and antiquated doctrines of men. However, I believe that this also requires diligence and caution from us. There are a myriad of ways we can distort this message of restoration as we have seen in the mystery religions from the beginning. We must carefully weigh all things. My point is to keep the baby and toss out the bath water. Nevertheless, the motivation cannot come from a place of fear or tradition — but from the One True plumb line (Torah). In our age of information, we have no excuse to not search these things out to see if they are so. To refuse is paramount to negligence of which we one day will have to answer.

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

Torah Portion: Mattot and Massei

Numbers 30:1- 36:13, Jer. 1:1-2:4-28, 3:4, Mt. 5:33-37, James 4:1-12

Mattot

The first of our double portion for this week’s Torah reading is Mattot. Mattot is translated as “tribe(s)” 182 times in our Tanakh (O.T.); and as rod(s) or staff another 66 times. Below is Strong’s definition followed by the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible’s entry for this word.

Strong’s H4294

    מטּה From H5186; a branch (as extending); figuratively a tribe; also a rod, whether for chastising (figuratively correction), ruling (a sceptre), throwing (a lance), or walking (a staff; figuratively a support of life, for example bread): – rod, staff, tribe.

AHLB#: 1285-H (N)

1285) ac: Shake co: Branch: The pictograph “mem” is a picture of water, the “tet” is a picture of a basket which contains objects. Combined these mean “liquid contained”. A green branch still contains water allowing the branch to be flexible. A green branch can then be bent to the desired shape and left to dry.

Based on the light shed by our lexicons, what is it to be a tribe? Have you ever heard the phrase “When you’re green you’re growing”? According to ancient Hebrew, to be part of a tribe is to be a tree branch— a green growing branch that is still moldable or flexible. To remain green, this branch must have life giving water still flowing through it. In other words, the word picture shows us a tree (a whole complete unit) and that tree has many branches, but all the branches are a part of the one tree. I recall Yeshua using this very word picture to explain our relationship to Him in John 15.

 John 15:1-8  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  (2)  “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.  (3)  “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  (4)  “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  (5)  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  (6)  “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.  (7)  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  (8)  “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (NASB)

Branches exist for the purpose of producing leaves and fruit. The leaves absorb light/energy which is likened unto the (Torah) and this light ultimately is what powers the leaves to produce food for the whole tree. [Bread from Heaven, anyone?] The fruit however, has an entirely different purpose.

Trees produce fruit for the sole purpose of propagating seeds. And those seeds will produce the exact same tree. This is why Yeshua said, “You will know them by their fruit”. If the fruit doesn’t match the tree they are claiming to be, then we can be sure that they are liars. Trees are known by what kind of fruit they produce.

Mat. 7:15-20  “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  (16)  “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  (17)  “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  (18)  “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  (19)  “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  (20)  “So then, you will know them by their fruits. (NASB. See also Mat. 7:16, 12:23; Luke 6:44)

Now that we understand that as a “branch” or “tribe” of Israel we should be absorbing light (learning Torah) and producing fruit (keeping Torah), is it any wonder that Paul uses the analogy of the olive tree for Yah’s family in Romans chapter 11? Please go and reread this whole chapter.

Yeshua and Sha’ul/Paul are teaching the same message. If you or I (branches) do not do what we were created to do (produce fruit) we are cut off from the tree (Messiah). However, if we do what we were created to do, then we are grafted into The Olive Tree: Yeshua. Therefore, a tribe is a branch in the house of Israel/Yeshua.

Vows

This aptly named Parashah begins by teaching us the Torah of vows in chapter 30. There is basically a simple rule for men: he must keep his vow. Period. There is no recourse for him should he break his vow or obligation. (vs. 2). But the rest of this chapter deals with vows made by women. If you’ve read any of my posts on women, you know that I seek godly restoration for the roles of men and women. That being said, most commentaries on this passage tend to use a skewed lens as they peer into the fact that while a man’s vow must be kept, a woman’s vow may be annulled by her father or husband. Sadly, too many commentators write that this is because the woman is weak, easily deceived, and acts impulsively compared to a man.

If we allow the WHOLE counsel of God to speak to this issue, we can easily see that an assessment such as this is a result of flawed theology and doesn’t even come close to connecting how YHWH created woman or how He SEES her. Remember Hagar? She is the one that proclaims that YHWH was the Elohim that sees her— El Roi[1].

I believe that YHWH not only created woman with a unique role, but with a special purpose in the restoration of all things. If we find ourselves feeling put out like Hagar, we need only to meet the Master by the well of Living Waters. There, He will allow us to SEE with new eyes. How glorious it is when we realize that the Creator of Heaven and Earth really SEES us! This passage is far from being misogynistic.  Instead, if we have eyes to SEE, it is liberating not only to women, but to the Body of Messiah.

In His most endearing of terms for His people, YHWH calls us His wife and His Bride. Both men and women have an opportunity to be included in this glorious remnant. As His special treasure, we are kept in His care. As our Master, Father, and Husband He takes responsibility for us —- flaws and all. What better hands could we ever hope to trust in? When I read this passage about the importance of vows and the glaringly obvious difference between the responsibility of men and women, I have to conclude that this passage is teaching us about YHWH and His people. You see, only He — our Father and Husband — can annul the foolish vows that we make. While it is not impossible to make good on our vows, it is improbable. What else could have motivated the Messiah and James to say the following?

Mat 5:33-37  “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’  (34)  “But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,  (35)  or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.  (36)  “Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.  (37)  “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.

Jam. 5:12  But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.

I am very thankful that as my Abba and Husband, YHWH can annul vows for me. I believe men would also give a hearty A-mein to that! A bond-servant relinquishes all of his rights into the hands of his Master. The servant trusts the Master with his/her life. A servant has no need to make a vow, for he/she lives to serve/please the will of the Master. I am continually amazed by the Messiah’s presence in the volume of the Scroll[2]! It really is all about Him and His relationship with us. But like Hagar, we have to first meet Him at the well and have our eyes opened to His splendor and most tender affection for us.

Massei

This is the last parashah (portion) in the book of B’midbar (Numbers). B’midbar is a book that means “in the wilderness” and so it does chronicle each step and stop as the Israelites marched toward the Promised Land over a 40 year period. Our portion, Massei, can be defined as “pulling up stakes” as this is the word picture we are given from the Hebrew. We usually translate it as “journeys”, since a journey can convey the meaning of pulling up tent pegs to move toward another location.

At this point in the wilderness, the children of Israel are preparing to go in and take possession of the Promised Land, Canaan. YHWH instructs Moses to record each of the 42 stops or encampments that Israel made while dwelling in the wilderness. (Num. 33:2) An inexperienced Torah reader may be tempted to skim or skip over most of chapter 33’s place names. They may seem boring or even arbitrary to the untrained Greek eye. But nothing could be further from the truth! These 42 stops have many past, present, and future implications for those that follow our Master, Yeshua, and keep His commandments.

The rabbis have long taught that each of the 42 encampments is a clue to the “journey” that we are on as we walk and sometimes stubble toward the Promised Land. There can be no coincidence that there are also 42 months (3 ½ years) in the Great Tribulation. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’d first like to draw your attention to the number 42.

42

The number 42 is significant for several reasons. For those of you that are familiar with the Creation Gospel model, the fact that 42 is the product of 6 x 7 will be very telling.

First, 6 x 7 is the number of man (and/or the beast) and of rest, spiritual perfection, or wholeness. Second, 6 and 7 are also representative of the Spirits of Knowledge and Reverence, the festivals of Yom Kippur and Sukkot, and the assemblies of Philadelphia and Laodicea.

These pairings suggest two similar paradigms. The first paradigm is man, as E.W. Bullinger suggests[3], working out his opposition to God. Every person is capable of acting like a man created in the image of Elohim or resorting to his/her base nature (i.e. evil inclination, flesh) that reflects the image of a beast. This inward struggle is common to all of mankind. Like Cain, we have a choice — everyday. Will we walk in the Way of Messiah and mirror His image? Or will we relent to the desires of our flesh and reveal the image of the beast? Both man and beast were created on day 6. This is why the number of the beast is also the number of man[4].

For those that deny or afflict their souls on Yom Kippur (6), sweet rest and rejoicing follows on Sukkot (7). But there is another paradigm revealed in this number as well. Let’s peruse some other instances of the number 42 in Scripture.

  • If we count the 2 years from the original Pesach in Egypt to the evil report and 40 years from Kadesh Barnea to Jericho when Israel finally enters the Land, we get a total of 42 years.
  • Israel’s wilderness journey’s had 42 stops or stages where they sometimes cooperated with YHWH and other times they opposed Him.
  • There were young boys that mocked the ascension of Elijah to Elisha and 42 of them perished before Elisha in the Name of YHWH by 2 female bears. (2 Kings 2: 23,24)
  • The beast is given 42 months to control the earth (Rev 13:5). We also know that 42 months equals 3 ½ years.
  • In our Parashah, the number 42 comes up twice. Once in the wanderings listed above and a second time in ch.35. The Levites were designated 42 cities among their brothers in the Promised Land, besides the 6 cities of refuge.

While the first paradigm reveals an inward struggle, the second pattern exposes a very real outward battle. Those that choose to live by their own desires will find that they are indeed enslaved by the beast. As his captives, they have a natural hatred for the servants of the Most High. We can see this pictured in the last two assemblies mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, symbolizes people who are willing to sacrificially love God and others. This is the epitome of the Holy Spirit of Knowledge[5]. This intimacy is portrayed by the 42 cities given to the Levites in the Land. It is vital that Yah’s people always have an intermediary present. But as we progress to the last assembly, Laodicea, we see a very different image.

Laodicea is neither hot nor cold, so she believes she is just right. But her condition is so vile that it makes the Master want to vomit. In other words, she has no reverence or fear of the LORD — the 7th manifestation of the Holy Spirit. The white garments she should have received on Yom Kippur (6) are missing when Sukkot (7) comes around. Yet she childishly wallows in her pride and ignorance. Without sincere repentance, the beast will overtake her like the 2 bears that slew the 42 young boys who mocked the ascension of Elijah to Elisha.

Have you ever wondered why the beast is given “42” months to control the earth? Most people understand that the number 40 represents probation, trial, and chastisement for those whom YHWH loves[6]. But what happens when we add “2” to that number? Two denotes division and difference in the Bible. For example, the second day of creation DIVIDES the upper and lower waters, the second sentence in scripture speaks of chaos, and the second chapter reveals 2 trees representing life and death. These instances continue throughout the Bible in regard to the number two[7]. While it is true that the world that YHWH loves is put to the ultimate test (40) in the Apocalypse, the addition of the number 2 reveals the vehicle that YHWH will use to accomplish this task: the enemy.

Obviously, the heart of YHWH desires for us to come to repentance above all else. This is what our trials and tribulations are all about. We must tame the animal nature or beast within and choose to walk in His Way, reflecting His image. This is expressed in its fullness when we love YHWH with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Pulling Up Stakes

Our journey begins in the same place for all people living in all times——- Rameses. One thing those of us that are returning to the Torah know and know well is that all roads do not lead to Rome——– or even Egypt——- but to Babylon, or Babel. Rameses means “child of the SUN” and all false worship can be traced back to sun worship that was first concocted in Babylon.

I urge you to look up each of the 42 place names of Israel’s wilderness journeys in Hebrew. I’m certain that you will find a place name that expresses your current life situation, station, trial, or movement. Like Israel, we all are all on journey with YHWH. We may not all be at the same place at the same time, but one thing is certain. There will be a day that we are. In the meantime, consider it another test when you are faced with brethren who are not as far down the path or who are further ahead of you in the Way. How we treat or mistreat them may dictate our next “stop”.

Moreover, it is clear that there is real war along the Way. One of the more pronounced foes is the Canaanites. While the Canaanites are outward enemies, the “spirit” of the Canaanites can reside in our hearts if we allow the beast within (our flesh/evil inclination) to have rule. YHWH gives us this warning:

Num. 33:55-56  ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live.  (56)  ‘And as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you.'”

This is essentially the same message He gives to us in the 42 month rule of the beast in the Book of Revelation. If we do not repent and walk after Him, we will be counted with the beast and receive its punishment.

Rev. 12:14  But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time (42 months), from the presence of the serpent.

Rev. 14:9-12  Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,  (10)  he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  (11)  “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”  (12)  Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

We must willingly pull up the tent pegs when YHWH’s cloud moves our encampment. This is our perseverance as verse 12 above attests. This double portion and all of Scripture for that matter tells the same story in different ways again and again. YHWH loves us and desires for us to dwell with Him in His house. However, we have 2 interwoven enemies that battle for our affections. The first one is the beast within (our flesh, evil inclination, or fleshly desires). The second is the serpent from the beginning, who speaks to our desires. We are told that we CAN overcome the enemy by choosing the Life YHWH has offered us in Yeshua. This New Life of YHWH has House rules that keep or guard us from the beast: His commandments.

But as we live out these earthly lives, we are in a constant state of choosing. This is why our journey requires perseverance! To persevere is to persist, continue, endure, insist, proceed, stick with, etc. And with the empowerment of the free gift of the Spirit of God, we can do just that.

Chazak! chazak! V’neet’chazek!

(Be Strong! Be Strong! And let us be strengthened!)


[1] Genesis 16

[2] Hebrews 10:7

[3] Bullinger, E.W., Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1967, p.268

[4] Rev. 13:18. Also, The Creation Gospel Workbook 1 explores this further.

[5] Is. 11:2

[6] Bullinger, E.W., Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1967.

[7] For instance, even the Brit Chadashah (N.T.) displays this pattern. Consider the 2nd books of Corinthians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Peter, and 2 John; they each speak either about the enemy/antichrist or the church in ruin/apostasy.

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My passion is writing to share God's love with everyone who believes in HIm.

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SnarkyCrunch

Tree-hugging, Hippy-go-lucky, Dread-head, Jewish Mamma

Sanctuary Gardener

A Yankee grows in the South ~ Homesteading, gardening, & harvest recipes

little tent on the prairie

Restoring life through simple living

Coffee Shop Rabbi

Basic Judaism spoken here.

madebymamaleh

Creating a modern Jewish home one project at a time

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