The Thorn, The Tender Herb and the Reed

As I was reading in the word today, I became aware of several terms that began to distill in my heart with great importance and meaning.  In this study, we will examine the biblical meaning of Thorns, Herbs and Reeds.  These verses peel back layers of meaning and open the scriptures with depth and truth.  

Come, let us reason together…

Thistles, Thorns and Briars

Genesis 3:17-18 KJV

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

The first time we see the word thorns, we are reminded to consider the fall of Adam and Eve.  We see the curse that was given to Adam.  Observe that thorns and thistles here are said to arise from the ground…

Matthew 13:8-9

8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

We see that Jesus speaks of this ground also in his parable of the Sower.  He describes the ground very specifically to his apostles…

Matthew 13:23

23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

We see that the “good ground” is a PERSON who hears the word and understands it…and afterward begins to bear fruit.  Sadly, we can also understand that the ground that is not good is the heart of a person who hears and does not understand…or rejects.  

In Adam’s case, he heard the word of God and chose NOT to listen to the commandment which was given unto him.  And…rather than bearing fruit… Adam and his seed were destined to work in cursed ground… from which thorns and thistles would arise.

Also notice that an additional part of Adam’s curse is that he would “eat” the herb of the field.  This word “eat” comes from the word עֵשֶׂב (ʿēśeḇ) which also means to “devour”.

Numbers 33:55 KJV

55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.

In this verse, we begin to see that it is the inhabitants of the land that are described as pricks and thorns.  This means that we are no longer speaking in mere agricultural terminology, but rather we are talking about people who are raised up as thorns.

Joshua 23:13 KJV

13 Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

Joshua confirms this idea when he describes any remnant of heathen nations of Cannan as being thorns in the eyes of Israel. 

Judges 8:7 KJV

7 And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.

The idea of “thorns” is given greater depth in this verse in Judges where Gideon overtook the Midianites.  When  Succoth and Penuel declined to lend aid to his troops, he promised to scourge them with the “thorns of the wilderness”.  

Many people interpret this verse to mean that Gideon literally scourged the men with whips of thorns and thistles… BUT… 

Judges 8:16-17

16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.

17 And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.

… we can see in light of his actions, that Gideon destroyed Penuel’s defense tower and ravaged their city.  He likely did this to the surrounding areas of Succoth.

This action would have left the men of Succoth and Penuel defenseless against outside invaders (thorns or the wilderness).

Isaiah 27:4 KJV

4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.

Isaiah describes the violence of warring men as briers and thorns.  

Isaiah 7:24 KJV

24 With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.

Ultimately, Isaiah’s language describes the effect upon the LAND.  “The whole LAND shall become briers and thorns” is a prophecy that describes the whole land devolving into a state of war and turmoil.

But what is the core lesson that we can glean about thorns, thistles and briers?  If we are very careful, we can see that thorns describe the attitudes of men who have become hostile and aggressive.  It is a disposition of the heart.

Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Jesus brings this (ehem) point home when reminds his disciples that we cannot gather righteous fruit from a heart that is hostile against the peaceable fruit of the spirit.  Notice also, how this explanation of thorns and thistles is connected to the inward disposition of a people who are likened unto “ravening wolves“.

What must be done, is that the corrupt tree must be hewn down and cast into the fire. Think this through carefully. Whether we succumb to a firey justice… or we are reborn and set afire of the holy spirit… the thorns and thistles ARE cast into the fire.

2 Corinthians 12:7

7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

We can understand now what Paul meant when he said that he had a thorn in the flesh… he truly meant a messenger of Satan…

This was likely an attitude of hostility or worry regarding corruption and false teaching… 

Readers can still detect his concerns about these issues, as they seem to inhabit many of his latter letters.

Tender Herbs

Deuteronomy 32:1-2

1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

This verse gives us clearer understanding that the tender herb is not merely describing vegetation.  

Doctrine by itself is not literally intended to distill upon grass and herbs… It is upon open ears and receiving hearts.

Isaiah 37:27 KJV

27 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.

Here we see Isaiah describe a people of “small power”… A people dismayed and confounded… The ordinary person– scared and vulnerable.

Isaiah 66:13-14

13  As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

14  And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.

Isaiah uses this language again to describe a people who have become strong in the Lord.  A people whose bones flourish and grow up like healthy herbs.  

Notice how herb here is connected to the servants of the Lord.

Job 8:12-14

12 Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.

13 So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish:

14 Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider’s web.

The wisdom of Job describes the tender herb as a person who is green… a person just beginning to understand the plentiful bounty of God.

Job contrasts this thought with the hypocrite… A person who claims to know God and yet, is cut off and dangling in a spider’s web.

Hebrews 6:7-8 KJV

7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet  for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 

8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

We see here in Hebrews that those who drink the cool and quenching rain of God… Bring forth in themselves herb meet.  This is the attitude of innocence and openness to the word of God.

Do you recall the second portion of Adam’s curse?  “…thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”

If Adam could have only understood the sheer scope of his curse… Not only would he raise up thorns and thistles… because of his sin…But he and his posterity would DEVOUR the herb of the field also.  The curse of Adam would be to bear offspring that would be hostile to God and consume the righteous in their midst.

What is truly sad, is we see that a cursed mankind was destined to become hostile toward God… and to any of those who trusted God for his eternal giving.

The Reed

Ezekiel 40:2-3 

2 In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south.

3 And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.

In this vision from Ezekiel… What does the man have in his hand?  It is a reed. What kind of reed? A Measuring Reed.

Many verses in the Bible that describe the reed usually describe that reed as being used as a tool for measurement.  This means that the Reed is a symbol of Justice and measure.

Revelation 21:15

15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

Again we see this language in Revelations… This time the reed is a golden Reed…  (It may be helpful to understand that gold is a symbol of purity, sovereignty, and perfection).

We see it again used as a standard of measurement.  In Revelations, we know that what is being measured is the temple… 

Ephesians 2:19-22 KJV

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

…And yet, we are reminded that it is the believers in Christ who are fashioned together into the habitation of God.  Indeed, we are his temple.

What we see is the reed which is intended to measure the temple of God to ensure that it is properly fit to house the presence of God himself.

Matthew 27:29

29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

Finally, what do we see placed upon the head of Christ?  Yes!  It is a crown of thorns… An emblem of his Dominion over our strife and suffering… A symbol of his authority over people who have lived as thistles and thorns… A people in utter hostility toward the simple message of God.

And what do we see in his right hand?  Yes!  It is a reed.  The symbol of his divine capacity to judge and measure out what is right and true before all the Earth.

This was the final image of Christ before he allowed himself to be lifted up upon the throne of his death for our sakes.

In this study, we have learned several things… That thorns are a prickly disposition against the righteousness of God.  It is an attitude we all possess until we are made as tender herbs willing to receive the outpouring of truth and righteousness from God.

As we cast our eyes upward to look upon our savior, we see that Christ himself is Lord over us… he alone wears the crown of thorns… having dominion over all that would prick and poke at the resolve of his church.  

And finally, it is in his hand, that he alone is given the reed of measurement (a righteous Rod of Justice) by which he will form all things and bring them into their proper order.

I submit these things to your heart for consideration, with prayer that they will edify and uplift the body of Christ.

To God be all glory… In the mighty and righteous name of Yeshua our Christ, our eternal Savior.

Amen.

Marriage, the Fornicating Woman, and the New Covenant

Marriage

In this study, we will look at the covenant of marriage, Israel’s relationship to God, and the beautiful terms of the New Covenant between Jesus Christ and his Church.

Genesis 2:23-24 KJVS

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Here we see the terms of what many call the marriage covenant.  God took Woman out of man.  

But here is the mystery: Why did Adam call Woman flesh of my flesh…and bone of my bone? Most people might say that it was because Eve was taken OUT of Adam… and they are right…

But most people misunderstand as soon as they say it.

Think very carefully.  Observe the word “out”.  To have something taken OUT of a person… is to have that principal part removed.  If I took out your spleen you would be without a spleen…and yet, it is because something came out of you that you are incomplete.

What becomes profoundly clear here is that Adam understood that he was incomplete without Woman… in fact to be in union WITH her… was to rejoin her and return to a state of completion before God.  This is why we see Adam CLEAVE unto his wife.

This is also why Adam so strongly encourages offspring to leave their father and mother… because they are incomplete creations of themselves… and yet more completed before God when joined together.

Malachi 2:15-16 ESV

15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 

16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

And yet, we see that it is not man and his desire for woman alone that creates the unifying bond.  We see that God himself offers a portion of his SPIRIT in their union.  Why?

Remember that it is the spirit that hovered over the waters during creation… it is the spirit that is present during our conversion as he brings us to Christ…

But why does God offer a portion of his spirit to a unified man and woman?  What is God seeking?  God is seeking Godly offspring.  It is for this reason, that God admonishes men to be wholly chaste to the wife of our youth.  (The innocent love of our lives.)  Because it is in our union with our Partner that the spirit begins the work of creation and generating life.

Isaiah 54:5 KJV

5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

We see here that it is God himself who is identified as the proper spouse of Israel.  He is the one to whom the nation of Israel is bound and given in marriage.

Ezekiel 16:8-14 KJV

8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.

9 Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.

10 I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.

11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.

12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.

13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.

14 And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.

From these verses in Ezekiel we witness the beauty with which he decked lady Israel.  She is made a bride fit for God himself.  We also see here that God enters into a covenant with Israel… and he likens this covenant to the covenant of Marriage.

Fornication

Ezekiel 16:15 KJV

15 But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.

Observe the sheer sadness uttered here by God toward Israel.  Israel was unfaithful and broke her covenant… even after having been so generously exalted and loved by God.

Jeremiah 3:20 KJV

20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord

God describes the injury through Jeremiah as “treacherous”.  This is such painful and emotional language.

Hosea 9:1 KJV

9 Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.

God speaks this agonizing word over Israel.  Rejoice not.  And why does he say this to her?  Because she has lost herself in fornications… even so as to be described as performing her unrighteousness on the dirty grain floor of the threshing barn.

Ezekiel 16:32-34 KJV

32 But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!

33 They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom.

34 And the contrary is in thee from other women in thy whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms: and in that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, therefore thou art contrary

Israel becomes SO twisted and defiled that SHE gives payment to those that ought be hiring her.  Israel is paying her suitors to fornicate WITH her…

God must acknowledge Israel’s utter depravity.  And with heaveniness he…. divorces her.

Divorce

Deuteronomy 24:1 KJV

1  When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

God’s own law requires him to take action against Israel because of the issue of uncleanness. She is to be given a bill of divorcement.

Joel 1:7-8

7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.

8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

We see that Joel prophesies that Israel was heading toward divorce.

Isaiah 50:1 KJV

50 Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

In the time of ancient Israel, it was common for a Husband to sell a wife to a creditor for debt… But Isaiah explains that Israel has sold HERSELF because of her own iniquities.  This is equivalent in implication to having been “put away”.

Jeremiah 3:6-10 KJV

6 The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.

7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.

8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.

10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.

Recorded here in Jeremiah (verse 8) God signs the love of his youth away.  He has found “uncleanness” in her and must put her away for the sake of her unrighteousness.  This is widely considered to be the statement of divorce from God to Israel.

Hosea 2:2 KJV

2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts.

Finally, we see the culmination of these things as Hosea records that Israel is NOT God’s wife any longer.  

Once Separated, Never Remarried

Deuteronomy 24:1-4

1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.

3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;

4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

We read here that Moses asserts that once a man has “put away” his wife, he is unable to remarry her because of the uncleanness.  It is because she is defiled that she is unable to return to her husband (especially if she had gone to be with another husband.)

Matthew 5:32 KJV

32  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Jesus is in agreement with Moses as he explains that anyone who puts away his wife (except for the cause of fornication) causes his wife to commit adultery… we see that the sin of adultery is spread from person to person…because she is defiled.

New Covenant Remarriage– To a Virgin

Matthew 19:5-6 KJVS

5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 

6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Jesus reaffirms the covenant of marriage.  He agrees with Adam when he reminds the reader that a man and a woman who are re-united shall come together as one flesh…. ANNND that it is God himself that does the joining together with a portion of his spirit.

Ephesians 5:30-32 KJV

30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Look closely here.  This verse describes the marriage of the church to Christ.  This language is very descriptive of the covenant language found in Genesis 2:23.  We are even described as being part of his flesh and bones.

Ephesians 5:22-25 KJV

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

We see in this verse the practical guidance for the marriage between a man and woman.  But what is more importantly described is the role Christ has as the spousal head of the church.

And what is the ROLE of the wife (Church) in union with Christ… We are to submit.  Why?  Because Christ (As our husband) is the head and savior of the body.

Romans 7:1-6 KJVS

1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 

2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 

3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 

5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 

6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

This section of scripture is rich with depth and meaning.

1st, as pertaining to the Law.  The law here is described as one unto whom we are bound in covenant (like marriage).  Paul argues that we are NOT under the old law because we are bound in covenant with HIM in the new covenant.  Not only so, but the law never produced life… rather it produced fruit unto death… but through Christ our fruit in him is unto eternal life.

Further, how long does the law have dominion over man?  Yes, until the man has died.  Then the spouse is released from his duty unto the wife.  But how long will Christ live?  …. Eternally.  That means that Christ’s dominion over us is eternal…and so is our capacity to bear fruit unto God.  We will be a people who continuously produce a righteous fruit before God for eternity… so long we remain in covenant with him.

Redemption–We shall be His Delight

Isaiah 62:4

4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

Look closely at the name Hephzibah…

2 Kings 21:1

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzi-bah.

In 2 Kings 21:1, we see that  Hephzibah is the name of Manasseh’s mother, King Hezekiah’s wife.  Translated directly from the original Hebrew, Hephzibah literally means, “My delight is in her.”

Here we see what is so truly beautiful about the plan of God’s own salvation.  

Remember that Deuteronomy explains that a man cannot remarry his divorced wife?  Why was it that he couldn’t remarry her?  Because she was defiled…she was unclean.

God does NOT violate his own law because those Jews who come to God through Jesus Christ are made clean and are released of all uncleanness.  God can rightfully reclaim his former bride through the church which has been raised up as the very bride of Christ.  

Isaiah 62:5

5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

And we all (including redeemed Israel) will be the delight of God as we were all intended.

Christians have entered into a new covenant with God through Jesus Christ.  Christ is the Groom, the husband of our hearts and the head of the Church.  We are fashioned as his very flesh and blood having been made of one flesh with him. 

The spirit of creation is joined to us and we will produce righteous fruit before our God forever and ever…

I pray that these things open your heart to receive him, that is our highest treasure. 

I pray in the tender and gracious name of our mighty savior, Yeshua, the Christ, Jesus.

Amen.

The Journey for Nine-Thousand

Eric Glasser– All Rights Reserved

In this study, we will be looking at 2 very important miracles and the journey taken to accomplish them.

In this lesson, we will follow Jesus on his journey as depicted in the book of Mark.

Geographical Markings for Site #1

Mark 6:1,3, 31 -32

1 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.

3  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert (deserted) place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

32 And they departed into a desert (deserted) place by ship privately.

We pick up the story just after Jesus arrives in “his own country”  the country of Galilee. 

Mark 6:7-10, 12

7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:

9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.

10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.

12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Jesus instructed his 12 apostles to spread out and preach in the surrounding villages in the area.  But why did he do this?  Jesus was responding to a situation involving unbelief…

Mark 6:2-3

2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?

3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

This did not STOP Jesus… rather he had his own disciples preach on his behalf to the surrounding villages and towns.

This is important… because it sets up a very special event.

Feeding 5000

Mark 6:34-44

34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:

36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.

37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?

38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.

39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.

40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.

42 And they did all eat, and were filled.

43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.

44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.

Jesus sending his Apostles to preach in the area of his own home generated a great deal of interest.  In fact we see that as Jesus and his apostles prepare to depart, nearly 5000 individuals had followed him into the desert wilderness.

What is explicitly important here is setting.   Consider where it is Jesus and his apostles are… 

Quick question:  Looking closely at this scene, what culture and faith would these people have identified with?

Keep this in mind.

Jesus and apostles begin in this region.

Geographic Point #2 

Mark 6:45

45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.

Here we see that the apostles were on their way toward Bethsaida…BUT….

Mark 6:47-28

47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

… Because of the wind… they were blown westward and ended up arriving ….

Mark 6:51 and 53

51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

53 And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.

… On the shores of the land of Gennesaret.

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This is important. Jesus and his disciples had been blown onto the same side of the Sea of Galilee (but slightly north) from where his miracle had been performed.  Word got around pretty quickly, and it wasn’t long before the people thronged him once again.

It was here in Genesaret that Jesus ran into trouble with the Pharisees.  It became clear that he would need to withdraw again.  

Geographic Point #3

Mark 7:24

24 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

Here we see Jesus’s intention to travel northward toward the area of Tyre and Sidon…

He had intended to remain hidden, but we see that he is housed by a Syrophonician woman and meets with her in her home.

Note:  Tyre and Sidon are in Syrophonician territory much further north.

Geographic Point #4

Mark 7:31

31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

Once Jesus departs the region of Tyer and Sidon in Syrophoenicia, he travels southward toward the Sea of Galilee once again.  It is clear that Jesus crosses the sea again… but heads south east into the country of Decapolis.

Matthew 8:28

28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

Luke 8:26-27

26And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

27And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

These three verses demonstrate the “Country of the Gergesenes” and “the Country of the Gadarenes” are both locations in coasts of Decapolis.  This region is VERY deep in gentile territory… occupied by Greeks, Romans and other occupants from the region.

Feeding the 4000

Mark 8:1-10

1 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,

2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.

8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

10 And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.

It is in Decapolis that we see Jesus perform his famous casting out of legion into the swine… and healing a deaf/mute.  But the most profound miracle happened just before Jesus completes his work and headed back across the Galilee.

Jesus broke bread and fed 4000 individuals.  This miracle has a very important significance… one that brings hope to all those who seek to know the sheer scope and intention of his earthly ministry.

The point of walking carefully through this journey was to point out something very interesting.

Where did we start?  We started in a small region in Galilee near Jesus’s home town.  There we were in the country of the Jews.  But where did we end up?  YES!  We ended up on the other side of the Sea of Galilee firmly planted in gentile territory.

On this journey… Jesus fed 9000 individuals.  5000 were of his own nation… and the other 4000 were those who were also in desperate need of a savior.

It is from this Journey that we learn that the message of Christ and his kindness was always intended to reach the gentile people.  Jesus Christ is not only the savior of the Jews… but the savior of us all!

May these things bring clarity to you…and glory to Jesus Christ.

I pray these things humbly, in the name of our mighty savior… Yeshua, the Christ, Jesus.

Amen.

Fountains, Milk, and The Consolation

Photo by Evgeniya369– All Rights Reserved

Fountains

Jeremiah 2:12-13

12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.

13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Here we see a reference to a fountain of living water.  In this verse we see that this is a description that God gives about himself.  A fountain is the principal source…the origin from which things flow.  In this case, living waters … or the waters of life… begin with God and flow outwardly toward all creation.

Notice that forsaking the fountain of living water is something with which we ought to be utterly astonished.  This should arouse a sense of fear and desolation in us.

John 7:38

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

In this verse, Jesus describes the reality where the followers shall have rivers of flowing water streaming forth from their bellies.  This language referencing belly here is (κοιλία–koilia)…it is the same word in Greek that is also used for womb.  

Jesus is describing the inner place wherein the spirit of God himself will begin to well-up and pour forth from within.  It describes in a single word, the righteousness and life that will be conceived, nurtured and delivered in the character of a believer.

MILK

Joel 3:18

18  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.

The prophet Joel describes a day where new wine and milk shall flow.  Jesus connects his blood to wine.  This gives us a hint that a new covenant will emerge.

But look at this additional statement: “the hills shall flow with milk.”  Milk is essential for nourishment and is intended to support the creature that has been recently birthed into existence.

Isaiah 55:1

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

This verse further describes how this precious milk will come without price or money… it is free…it is a gift.  

What is essential is that an individual must recognize their thirst…  They must be compelled (as infants are compelled) by their great need and desire for life-sustaining milk.

Consolation

Isaiah 66:9  KJV

9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:

11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.

12 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.

13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Here we see that from the womb of Israel God will not only bring forth righteousness, but will also bring forth the milk of her consolation.  AND we are invited to nourish ourselves in the abundance of THAT milk.  

Observe also, that even the gentiles will flow as a stream (as from a fountain above.)

Jeremiah 16:5-7

5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies. 

6 Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them: 

7 Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother.

We see during the trial upon Israel, Jeremiah describes a time where God has taken away his peace from among them.  There is no consolation…no comfort.  We see how incapable a man is to provide comfort to another on his own.

Job 15:11

11 Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?

If we pass over this too quickly we risk not considering this thought with any significant weight.

We must sincerely ask ourselves… “is the consolation of God a small thing to us?”  Is it a small thing to be comforted by the Most High?  

Does this have meaning for us in our own hearts?  Let us understand the meaning it had for one waiting in Israel…

Luke 2:25-32

25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

27And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Finally, we see Simeon.  He is an old man waiting for the consolation of Israel.  He was waiting for the one thing that would bring him peace.  And yet, it was not just his peace… but the peace intended for his entire nation …and the whole world.

O how he praised God when he took the child Jesus up into his arms.  He knew immediately that resting in his hands was the very peace he was promised.  It was so profound to him that he spoke the truth to God… crying out that he was now contented to enter into his rest and happily depart to a peaceful death.  

Christ is our consolation, our peace.  He is the new life unto which we are fed milk and sustained in righteousness.  It is in his life that we grow daily… being strengthened by the milk of the word.

It is Christ that forms within us fountains of living water and causes it to flow out of us and streams of kindness and generosity toward others.

May we all find our consolation in Christ Alone!

I pray these things in the mighty name of our Lord, Yeshua, the Christ Jesus.

Amen.

The Dead, The Lost and the Destroyed

As I was studying today, I became focused on the word LOST in scripture.  The word struck me with an unusual power and intensity.  The word used for Lost is very similar to the word for Death.  As is often the case, I found myself in hours of study hoping to understand the connection the LORD intended for me.

I pray that we will learn together what is needful and rightly intended by the Holy Spirit.  I pray this in the mighty Name of our LORD, Jesus Christ…. Amen.

After studying carefully, the following verses took on a more consequential and dire meaning.  

DEATH

Genesis 2:17

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Here we see the penalty for eating of the forbidden fruit.  God says IN THE DAY that Adam and Eve eat of it… they shall SURELY die.  We know that they did not cease to exist…they continued to have mortal existence…BUT on the day they ate… they were removed from the Garden and out of the presence of God.  We can understand therefore, that those who are separated from God…are those that are reckoned … DEAD.

Matthew 8:22 KJV

22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

Jesus distinguishes here between those who are physically dead (as a corpse) from those who are lifeless and destitute of the life and power of God.  Jesus’s remedy and advice to his followers is to: “Follow Me.”  We learn that it is only through Jesus Christ that we can ever have hope of accessing “life”.

Luke 9:60 KJV

60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

In this verse from Luke, the above thought is repeated.  Christ’s message is extended to include others in the message that actually offers access to the genuine life in connection to God.

John 3:16 KJV 

16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We see the motivation on the part of God here…  God loves the world… So much so that he gives that which is most precious of his own possession… the life of his Son, Jesus Christ.

Matthew 23:27-28

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Here we see a very accurate picture of a self perceived and personal righteousness.  It is as though it were a beautifully whitewashed tomb…a whited sepulcher.  But look carefully, inside is the rot and death of dead men’s bones.  

Remember that in Jewish culture, to even touch the bones or body of a dead person transferred the uncleanness to another.  They were REMOVED and separated from the people…and denied access to the temple.  This means that inside our perceived righteousness…lies our actual state.  It is one in which we can only infect others with rot and deterioration…all the while being distanced and unable to truly relate to others.  A more tragic implication is that while in this state…. We are denied access to our God.

The Lost

Jeremiah 50:6 KJV

6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.

In this verse, we see Jeremiah describe the people of Israel as LOST sheep.  The word lost in the verse describes not only wandering…but an inevitable death…to perish.  What is tragic, is that the Shepherds…(The leaders of Israel) have done this to the people.  

To have gone from Mountain to hill describes the descent from the high place to a place of lower status.  In ancient thought, the mountain was connected with a divine connection and nearness to God…but a hill describes a place much further away from the summit.  This verse describes fall… It describes intellectual and spiritual death… And what is the result?  They have forgotten the “resting place”.  The people have forgotten the place found in the security and confidence of  God.

Psalms 119:176 KJV

176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

This verse describes an Individual who has become like a lost sheep.  There is a particular sensation in a person who becomes aware of how far they’ve strayed from the comfort and protection of his God.  

What we see following in this verse… is a plea to God.  His one request is that someone would come to seek him…(the lost servant).

Luke 19:10 KJV

10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Who comes seeking then?  It is the “Son of Man” who comes to heed the plea of the lost sheep from above.  Yes… it is Jesus Christ who comes as an answer to the prayer cried by King David from the Psalm above.

Luke 15:24 KJV

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

In the parable of the prodigal son, we see that the life squandered in debauchery and sin was the life lost.  It is in this story that we can see how clearly the word “LOST” and the word “DEATH” are so uniquely connected and equated.  To be lost is to be dead… and to be found is to be alive again.

A FEW Saved

Luke 13:23-27 KJV

23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,

24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

It is in this verse we must turn our hearts to a place of sobriety.  The reality is that so few will truly be saved.  Many may perceive themselves to be in proper standing with God.  They might have perceived themselves to be among those who ate and drank in the presence of Christ…

But what does Christ actually say to them?  I know not whence ye are…(I don’t know where you came from?)  Depart from me ye workers of iniquity.  Sadly, this describes a person who thinks they are safely in the fold of Christ…but is actually rejected as a true follower.  What distinguishes a person who THINKS they are saved from a person who actually isn’t?

Matthew 7:20-23

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

This verse is very similar to the above verse in Luke… But it has some important key differences.  First  it shows the many will rely on their works… prophecy…casting out devils…MANY WONDERFUL WORKS…

And yet, it is not works which save (even if those works are in the name of Jesus)…but …RELATIONSHIP…  Jesus says:  I never KNEW you.  And how will we know that you have a genuine relationship with Jesus?  By their fruits ye shall know them.  A person who truly knows and loves Jesus bears the “fruits of the spirit.”

Destruction

Matthew 10:28-29 KJV

28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Look at the sheer depth of this verse.  We see that we are to not fear the death of the body… it is of such lesser consequence.  But we are to fear the destruction of our Soul and Body in Hell (Gehenna).

The word sparrow here actually describes any small bird… and the small bird that was valued was the turtledove which was used for sacrifice at the temple.  The birds were often bought in pairs. But…the bird which had its body broken and blood sprinkled on the altar fell because God ordained it to be so… 

Jesus is saying that our earthly bodies are inconsequential.  The life of the bird did great good in the service of its temple duty… (where in its death much was accomplished.)  In the same way, we are not to fear the death of our bodies because often in our mortal death…great work is accomplished.

Matthew 8:25-26 KJV

25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

The men cried out because they thought the storm was going to cause them to die.  Jesus rebuked them for having such little faith.  Again, they were concerned about the death of their mortal bodies…WHILE BEING in the presence of the one who saves…

It can often feel like our savior is sleeping… it can often feel as though God is silent.  But when the storms of life are present we are to have great faith that our God is still with us…even in the midst of the trial.

2 Peter 2:21 KJV

21  For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.

Read this carefully.  It is better to NOT have known the way of righteousness… than to have known the truth and then turned away from it.  

To have known the truth and turned away is  to REJECT the way of Christ…and return to the world.  This describes a GREATER death on the part of the former believer.  And why is this?  Because it is a death that is intentional.  Whereas, others are distant from God because they have not known the truth… these HAVE come to know the truth and thereafter preferred their autonomy apart from Christ.

2 John 1:8 KJV

8  Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.

We see this warning provided a second time in this verse from second John.  We can begin walking with Christ and accomplish much… but the possibility of losing these things is very real.  We must urgently press forward in our relationship with Christ every day.

1st Corinthians 1:18

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

We see that God himself will destroy the wisdom of the wise…and “bring to nothing” the understanding of the prudent.  This is a stark warning to us who THINK we know the truth and yet are not in relationship with that which that actually saves us.

Observe how the wisdom and understanding that is destined for destruction are framed as wisdom that exists OUTSIDE the understanding of tremendous value of the Cross of Christ.

2nd Thessalonians 2:7-10

 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Finally, we see the destruction of all things which are not gathered together safely beneath the sovereignty of Christ.  We see that things will be consumed….and HOW will they be consumed?  1st they are consumed with the spirit of his mouth… the words which are spoken.  And 2nd, with the brightness of his coming.  Those who could not tolerate the words… will not be able to tolerate the presence of the one who spoke the word.

And why would these things be?  Because they “RECEIVED NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH”.

These scriptures have touched me very deeply.  We have much to do to examine ourselves in light of them.  My hope is that we may all sit before them in spirit and in truth.  

May the Spirit cause us to consider these verses with sobriety and cause us to fall beneath the sovereignty of Christ who is stationed above us in righteousness.  It is the will of God that we accept these things by faith… and that by faith in Jesus Christ that we shall be fixed in eternal life.

May we all come to see the far surpassing beauty and value of Christ…as is the Father’s will.

I pray these things in the mighty and sovereign name of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Amen.

Vocabulary Notes:

Apollymi

Stongs g622– From the Greek Ἀπόλλυμι–

apollymi:  1. (v. i.) To be destroyed; to pass away; to become nothing; to be lost; to die; hence, to wither; to waste away.

2. (v. t.) To cause perish.

Strong, James. The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Red letter ed. Thomas Nelson, 2010
  • to destroy
  • to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin
  • render useless
  • to kill
  • to declare that one must be put to death
  • metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell
  • to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed
  • to destroy
  • to lose (or be lost)

Nekros

Strong’s G3498– From the Greek νεκρός

nekros –destitute of life, without life, inanimate

Strong, James. The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Red letter ed. Thomas Nelson, 2010
  • one that has breathed his last, lifeless
  • deceased, departed, one whose soul is in heaven or hell
  • Metaph. spiritually dead
  • destitute of a life that recognises and is devoted to God, because given up to trespasses and sins
  • inactive as respects doing right
  • destitute of force or power, inactive, inoperative

Abad

Strongs h6 — From the Hebrew אָבַד

‘Āḇaḏ  1. perish, vanish, go astray, be destroyed

Strong, James. The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Red letter ed. Thomas Nelson, 2010
  • perish, die, be exterminated
  • perish, vanish (fig.)
  • be lost, strayed
  • to destroy, kill, cause to perish, to give up (as lost), exterminate
  • to blot out, do away with, cause to vanish, (fig.)
  • cause to stray, lose
  • to destroy, put to death
  • of divine judgment

Mooth

Strongs H4191 — From the Hebrew מוּת

mûṯ 1. to die, kill, have one executed

Strong, James. The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Red letter ed. Thomas Nelson, 2010
  • to die
  • to die (as penalty), be put to death
  • to die, perish (of a nation)
  • to die prematurely (by neglect of wise moral conduct)
  • (Polel) to kill, put to death, dispatch
  • (Hiphil) to kill, put to death
  • (Hophal)  to be killed, be put to death
  • to die prematurely

Holy Blood and the Victory of Christ

As I was studying, I was compelled to research blood and the symbolism associated with its use.

God Hears the Voice of Blood

Genesis 4:10 KJV

10  And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

In this verse we see that the Lord God LISTENS to the blood which is spilled out by his creation.  The Blood itself cries out to God as a witness.  In this case, blood is a witness to Cain’s sin against Abel and God.

Life is in the Blood

Leviticus 17:11 KJV

11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

In this verse we find out that LIFE is in the blood.  It is that very life in the blood that makes atonement for a soul.  This is important moving forward.

Romans 5:12 KJV

12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

We see here that though blood is connected to life, sin is connected to death.  Also, we learn that all men are under the influence of sin and death.

1 John 5:17 KJV

17  All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

This verse further refines the idea that sin and unrighteousness are inextricably connected to death.

Romans 6:23 KJV

23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We can see that it is the life of Jesus Christ that is adequate payment for sin… AND where is the life of the individual found?  That’s right… in the blood.

Blood as a Seal for Covenant

Genesis 15:8-10

8 And he (Abram) said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

9 And he (God) said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

Here we see the Abrahamic Covenant sealed with the blood of animals.  The heifer, shegoat, ram, turtledove and pigeon are used here as blood sacrifices that seal the promise between God and Abram.

Exodus 24:6-8

6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

We see that blood was used to seal the covenant between God and Israel when they received the Book of the Covenant, the ten commandments and the Law at Mount Sinai.

Luke 22:19-20

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

At the Last supper, Jesus gives bread (which is divided like the animals between Abram and God) and wine which is in the similitude of his own blood which will be shed upon the cross.  These symbols are intended to seal the new covenant when his blood is ACTUALLY shed upon the Cross the following morning.

John 6:53-56 KJV

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 

55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 

56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Finally, the New covenant was sealed with the Blood of Christ. Christ’s followers are invited to DRINK IN the blood of Christ… This is symbolic of receiving INTO the body of believer, the very LIFE that is found in the blood of Christ.  This also means that we (as partakers) are established by the blood of Christ into the NEW covenant through HIS blood.

Provisions made in Blood

Exodus 12:5,13, and 22-23 KJV

5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

13And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 

23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

The first provision made for men in blood was during the Passover.  We see that God’s judgment (as a plague of death upon the firstborn sons in Egypt) would PASS OVER households who had the blood of a lamb painted upon the lintel and doorposts of the house.  First notice that it was the blood of a LAMB that was necessary for the “destroyer” to passover.  
We can further understand how this would become a prototype of salvation– where those whose hearts bear the blood of Jesus Christ will have the “destroying angel of death” pass over them.  This is important to consider because we know that those who are found in sin and are NOT in Christ will not escape the judgement (destroyer).

Ephesians 1:6-7 KJV

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

In this verse we see that we are made acceptable “IN THE BELOVED”.  And it is in the beloved that we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD.

Colossians 1:14 KJV

14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Again, we see that it is through the BLOOD of Christ that we have forgiveness of sins.  This redemption is not possible with out Blood and the perfect LIFE contained therein.

Blood and the Priestly Ordinance

Hebrews 9:21-22 KJV

21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

We see here that all things requiring purging (through the LAW) were purged THROUGH Blood.  In fact, it was through the shedding of Blood that remission was granted for priestly duties.

Under the terms of the old covenant, Priests used animal blood to sanctify themselves the temple, and the temple instruments (including the utensils, the altar and “vessels of the ministry”).

Hebrews 9:11-14

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

We can see here how Christ, by his OWN blood (he being perfect), is able to stand before God as our HIGH priest.  Christ works on our behalf to serve the LIVING GOD from our dead works because HIS blood surpasses the cleansing power of animal blood.

1 John 5:6-8 KJV

6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

We see the holy trinity that bears record (witness) to the work done on our behalf.  In heaven it is the FATHER, THE WORD and the HOLY SPIRIT.  And yet in earth the spirit, the water and the blood agree in one accord to our salvation worked in and through Christ.  Christ, being fully human, has the testimony of Water, Spirit and blood to satisfy all the demands required of him on Earth.

The Blood as a Heavenly Victory

Revelations 12:10-11

10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Finally, we see here Christ defeats evil and destroys the dominion of the “accuser” through his blood.  It is his own blood that will restore balance to the heavens and solidify victory for the Father against Satan and all those who fell with him.

Blood and life are essential themes which help us to understand the role of Christ as a sacrifice for sin. It is in the blood of Jesus Christ that salvation is procured for us, it is in his blood that we are healed. Jesus’s death was necessary because HIS life was unleashed on earth and cried out with the voice of freedom from the dusts of the Earth.

Jesus’s blood causes the destroying power of sin to pass over us, and it is his blood that confirms the covenant we have as members of the body of Christ. Christ intercedes and serves God on our behalf as our High-priest because it is his own blood that sanctifies all things which are needful in the temple of our heart.  We are invited to receive and drink deeply the blood of Christ…as it is in this act that we receive his perfect life into ourselves and are found in union with Christ in us.

May we all choose to be partakers of this most precious gift!

In the mighty name of Jesus Christ….Amen!

A Live Coal and the Fire of God

God is a consuming Fire

Hebrews 12:28-29

28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

29 For our God is a consuming fire.

We see that these verses describe our God and his Kingdom as a CONSUMING fire… a fire that consumes sin and iniquity.

What are some distinct things we can say about fire?

  • Fire Consumes
  • Fire Cleanses
  • Fire Refines
  • Fire Spreads.

A Blackened Coal

Lamentations 4:8 KJV

8  Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

Here we see the description of a blackened coal… a coal that is NOT alive and burning with Fire.  Coal here is a reference to mortal man who has become blackened by sin.  The man looks sickly and his bones are withered.

Coal in the Throne Room of God 

Isaiah 6:2

2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

Seraphim are the attending angels of the throne of God.  We will see that it is a seraphim which approaches Isaiah in his vision.

Remember that the coal from lamentations 4:8 was descriptive of man.

Note: Previously these beings are seen declaring the holiness of God…And so we can conclude that this is a most precious and HOLY decision coming directly from the throne of God.

But let’s look closer…

Isaiah 6:6 KJV

6  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

From the vision of Isaiah, we see a LIVE coal.  Notice the place from which the coal is taken… Yes, The Altar.  Remember that the Altar is the place where sacrifices are performed.  Visually, this suggests that the coal was a flaming coal (A live coal) that was taken from the place of sacrifice. 

This implies that the coal was provided by heavenly beings under precise direction from the throne of God.

Putting all of this together, we can see that Isaiah’s lips were cleansed and his iniquity was purged by a “live coal”… The semblance of a mortal man who had been set afire on the altar of sacrifice and who possesses the ability to remove Isaiah’s Iniquity.  We are speaking of he who removes iniquity and sin through sacrifice…the Christ Jesus.

Baptism of Fire

 Luke 3:16

16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

John the Baptist is speaking of Christ who comes to baptize the whole person with fire.  This is similarly descriptive language on the part of John to Isaiah’s account of a coal of fire that came to cleanse unclean LIPS with a fire.

Fire in the Temple of God

Leviticus 6:12-13

12 And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.

13 The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.

We see the holy mandate for the Fire on the altar in the Temple of God.  It is a fire that is ever-burning and is NEVER to be extinguished.  It represents the heart on fire and fully yielded to God.  

Moreover, it also points to the eternal sanctity of the Fire of God…and the work it accomplishes in the work of sacrifice.  This means that Christ, when he was consumed by the wrath of God (on the Cross), is a once and for all sacrifice that has eternal and lasting effect for those to whom it was made a benefit.

1 Corinthians Chapter 3

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

A man, when he works the volition of his own will, is working things which will be burned up.  This is true of so many Christians who have turned to God through Jesus Christ…and so much of their former life has little value or significance any longer.  It is a type of loss and yet a loss to our benefit because we are saved when our former life is burned away.

We are to remember that we ARE as the temple of God and because of Christ, his spirit dwells within us.  However, we are warned that to defile a temple by returning to our former works requires actions that will cause us to pollute ourselves (we being the temple of God.)  This person will lose themselves and step away from the life that was found in Christ.  This describes a tragic self-destruction.

Christ has Come to Cast Fire Upon the Earth

Luke 12:49 NASB

49  I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled.

Finally, we see that Christ himself came to set a fire upon the earth.  The fire is intended to spread, consume, cleanse and refine the people whose hearts are turned toward God.  Christ is the live coal and the flame which removes sin.  His words try us, refine us and transform us into the very image of righteousness.  And when we are transformed, we are lit aflame in our passions for the most High God!  

May it be so in the Eternal Name of Jesus Christ!

Amen.

The Drink Offering and the Pouring Out of Our Heart

Offerings and sacrifices made to God were intended to be personally valuable.  Indeed, the term sacrifice itself means to give up something of value that would otherwise be treasured by the giver.

As I was studying, I became particularly interested in the drink offering.

Importance of Wine

Genesis 27:28 KJV

28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:

Wine itself was considered to be great blessings from God.  It was made from the abundance and provision of God’s own giving.

Deuteronomy 11:14 KJVS

14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn,  and thy wine, and thine oil.

We see that wine was a staple resource connected to life.  Wine was evidence of God’s favor and provision.

Libation- Pouring Out Wine

Vocabulary Note: Libation– a pouring out of wine or other liquid in honor of a deity.

Genesis 35:14 KJV

14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.

Here we see the very moment that Jacob dedicated his life to God and was thereafter forever intentional about his devotion and action.

Jacob takes a valuable commodity and pours it out in honor before God.

The Drink as a Heartfelt Offering

Joel 2:13-14

13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 

14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?

Here we see the attitude that is required for a person who offers an offering to the LORD.  A heart rent and fully opened before the most High God.

Joel 1:9 KJV

9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD’S ministers, mourn.

Reading closely, we can observe that removal of the drink offering is connected with spiritual mourning.  That means that we can also understand that an active and acceptable drink offering is connected with spiritual joy and rejoicing.

The Drink as Righteousness

Romans 14:17

17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Here we see that the foundations of the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink …but righteousness.  That means that the drink offering Christians are to pour out NOW before the lord is Righteousness. 

The Drink as Life

Philippians 2:17, NASB

17  But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.

Here we read that Paul is contended to have his LIFE poured out as a drink offering as a function of sacrifice and service.  It is in the pouring out of his life that he is made to rejoice.

John 6:54-56 KJV

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Finally, we can see that Christ himself describes blood and life as drink.  From this, we can understand that Christians invited to pour out THEIR life and drink in the life of Christ which is the life (drink) he poured out for OUR sakes.

Studying the drink offering helps me to understand that even from times of old, the habit of libation (that is the pouring out of drink before God) was an ancient rehearsal for a person pouring out their own life as righteousness.  It was descriptive of a person emptying themselves before God in order to receive Joy and live in intimacy.  

Under the terms of the new covenant, we pour out OUR lives as a drink offering in service and love toward others, while drinking into the life of Christ through his blood and life.

May we all be willing to pour out our lives as a drink offering before God and receive a drink (In Christ) which shall quench our thirst and supply every needful thing beneath the glory and righteousness of God.

The Creation of Man, The Death, and The New Creature

As I was reading, I felt prompted to consider the creation of man.  I was also inspired to view this creation as having function and purpose (After all, any worthwhile creation has purpose consistent with its creation… for example one would not create a chair if they didn’t desire to sit.)  I was told that I should read and learn the purpose of God’s choice to create man.

Creation:

Genesis 1:27-28

27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Here we see that God created man in his OWN image.  This implies that we are endowed with features and characteristics that are reflections of God’s own features and characteristics.  As I narrowed my focus, I could see that free-will, or rather (sentience and reason) specifically, are features and characteristics of God that are profoundly unique among God’s other creations.

28  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

We are shown how males and females (created in the image of God) were commanded to be fruitful and multiply.  Also, mankind was given dominion over other creatures created by God.  This points to another characteristic feature (image) of God that is reflected in man.…dominion.

Genesis 2:15

15  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Here I am prompted to observe the actions of the Lord God.  The word “TO” is a word that expresses intent.  We see the new creation (man) being placed into the garden to dress it and keep it…

Vocabulary Note 1: the word “dress” Strong’s H5647: abad (aw-bad) comes from the Hebrew word meaning to till or cultivate but also means to work or to serve…and in special circumstances…this word can be translated to mean worship.

Vocabulary Note 2: the word “keep” Strong’s H8104: shamar (shaw-mar) comes from the Hebrew word meaning to guard or to take charge of… or to watch (as a watchman or ward.)

Genesis 2:19-20

19  And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

In this verse we see Adam at work with God in partnership to name every animal.  This is an important verse because it shows an aspect of the partnership and relationship God had intended for his creation. It also shows the degree to which God provided mankind dominion over God’s own creations.

Command:

Genesis 2:16-17

16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 

Here we see the LORD God set up the first commandment by pointing out the abundant blessings that he provides to his creation.  (Positive–  Admonitive)

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

The spirit shows me that this first command is given as a negative imperative:  “Thou shalt NOT eat of” the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Also, we can observe the penalty for deliberately choosing to ignore the Father’s command.  We are shown very clearly that the outcome would assuredly be death.  (We will look into further into the idea of death later…)

Man’s Decision:

Genesis 3:6-7

6  And when the woman SAW that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she TOOK of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

This verse shows the clear free-will decision-making process.  This verse is carefully composed to reveal how mankind is often led to sin.  

  • 1st Eve Saw (Physical senses)
  • 2nd Eve REASONED that is was pleasant and desirable (Decision-making processes conducted by the inner-man.)
  • 3rd Eve ACTED (took)  (Outward manifestation through action in the world)

I am shown how humanity is often deceived and frequently led into sin.  We receive information through our senses, construct a conscious inner rational and then enact our choices into the world.

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

This verse communicates that the eyes of knowledge were opened in Adam and Eve….  BUT their first observation (having been endued with the power of knowledge of good and evil) was that they were in an uncomfortable state of nakedness (evil.)  Also, it is clear that Adam and Eve set out to cover themselves… We can see this action in ourselves when we are motivated by shame, guilt and/or grief.  This implies that the desire to cover themselves was man’s first attempt to cover his sin… AND that sin itself was the unique characteristic that was perceived as nakedness.

Genesis 3:9-10

9  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 

God calls out to Adam… This implies that Adam has found himself in a position where he was outside God’s presence… The spirit shows me that it wasn’t that God couldn’t see Adam… BUT that Adam had found himself in a state HE was unfamiliar with.  When God calls to Adam, its to ask ADAM where HE has found HIMSELF!?  This immediately implies separation and disconnection.

10  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Here we see the effect of breaking the first commandment…Adam admits that he perceives nakedness…BUT not only nakedness… but SHAME associated with nakedness.  The spirit shows me how that originally, Adam and Eve were clothed in the righteousness of God.  They had no way to perceive themselves as naked.  I am shown how the effects of death had already begun to manifest as a perception of nakedness which revealed evidence that Man had injured his relationship with his creator.  Adam was inclined to hide himself because the poison of shame had entered his being and tore him from the righteousness he had in his Father.

Genesis 3:11-12

11  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 

In this verse, we can observe that God is very purposeful in asking a question to which he already knows the answer… this implies that God intends to remind Adam of his commandment and then to convict his conscience.  We begin to see the justice of God as he holds his creation accountable for answering the question… BUT we can see that this line of questioning actually sets up an opportunity to demonstrate the downward direction and nature of Man’s death.

12  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

ANNNND Here it is… We see that rather than admitting his fault and taking responsibility for his own actions before God– Adam immediately shifts blame and redirects the focus of his sin onto his wife.  This implies that DEATH not only injures the relationship between Mankind and his creator, but it also creates a toxic selfishness that destroys a man’s ability to relate outwardly toward others.  

Death… is the birth of selfishness…

Death and Curses:

Genesis 3:17-19

17  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

The spirit compels me to observe a couple of important thoughts in verse 17.  First, the verse points out a relational truth: God alone is our highest authority.  Even though a covenant relationship is honored between a man and a woman, God makes it clear here that HE and HIS words are to take precedence above and beyond the wishes and words of the spouse.  Second, the ground (also land) is cursed. The spirit draws a distinction here between death (as the separation from God’s presence) and the cursed ground as a loss of immortality and the transition to a temporary mortal existence.

18  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

The spirit explains that there are layers of meaning built into the “thorns” imagery:  

  • First, thorns and thistles grow in a desolate place…And so we are given a vividly stark contrast between the lush and hospitable Garden (God’s Presence) and the arid and desolate wilderness OUTSIDE the direct presence of God.
  • Second, thorns and thistles are metaphors for difficulty and strife.  Man was destined to live in a fallen place where he would have to contend with circumstances and individuals that would prick and poke at his resolve.
  • Third, thorns and thistles would literally grow as man was trying to sustain himself through agricultural efforts.

19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

The final aspect of the curse describes the sheer amount of work and toil needed to sustain mortal life and that mankind would have to work in this way… laboring for food… until he withered away and returned to the dust from whence he came.   

The Prophecy:

Genesis 3:15

15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This verse is a prophecy and a promise.  Speaking to the serpent here, God explains that the Seed of the Woman (Some unknown Victor) would be raised up and would bruise his head… AND that in so doing the serpent would successfully bruise his heel.  I am shown how this is the first prophetic description of a Messianic personality that would rise to destroy the serpent.

I was also inclined to carefully consider the meaning of HEAD and HEEL.

  • Head: the most important part of an animal.  The head is the seat of intellect and reason, the governing seat of the body.  To bruise (destroy) the head would be a destruction to the effectual power of this entity and would require the body to work differently after the injury.
  • Heel:  The lowest possible part of the body.  Certainly, this is not unimportant, as poison can enter in from the wound and destroy the man and his body.  Further, the heel is connected to the foot which implies the walk or the journey is impaired.

Tying this all together, this verse prophecies that a messianic victor would rise to bruise the head (the intellectual work of the adversary) while the adversary would destroy his body and attack the walk (the journey) of the follower.

The First and Last Adam

1st Corinthians 15:47-46

45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Here we see a mystery revealed:  That as we have our earthly nature in Adam, being ourselves a living soul.  Christ (the last Adam) was made a quickening spirit (this is why Christ had to depart (So he could send the HOLY spirit to us.)

46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

Here we see the order of things fallen:  A man on Earth is first born of his mother and is a natural man whose nature is the flesh.   We see that thereafter a man can later be borne of the spirit.  (Remember though, that Adam was created first in the presence of God… and thus man’s first nature WAS spiritual.)

Ephesians 5:29-32

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Here Paul draws an allusion to the relational creature which is made one flesh through Christ.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Here Paul formally demonstrates that those joined together in a marital covenant are like those joined to the BODY of Christ.

1st Corinthians 6:17

17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

Here we see that he who is joined to Christ is made of one spirit in him.

The BLOOD:

Leviticus 17:11

11  For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

This verse shows that God, through the law required blood to cover sin… AND that it was specifically the LIFE in that blood that covered sin… (remember that sin is equated with nakedness and death.)  We are learning that only LIFE itself can cover sin and death.

Hebrews 9:22

9  And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

We see again that the LAW (Old Covenant) required blood and life to remove sin.

Ephesians 1:7

7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Here we see that it is CHRIST’S blood that contains LIFE… and that LIFE is present in the blood he shed to remove (forgive) our sin.  I am reminded that all of this is done as a powerful and loving act of grace.

Vocabulary note:  Grace:  Receiving something that is undeserved.

Hebrews 9:14

14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Here we see how the blood of Christ restores life to the soul through the repairing of dead works…interesting choice of words “dead works” … and these which accompany a troubled conscience…are filled with earthly shame, guilt, and grief.

The New Creature:

Isaiah 43:19

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

This verse is a prophecy from the great prophet Isaiah that declares that the LORD will do a NEW thing …AND that he will bring order to the wilderness and water to the desert.  This prophecy directly describes a repair given to the “cursed ground” which is as a wilderness and a desert on which mankind would have to labor and toil as he journeyed.

Galatians 2:20

20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Here we see a scripture that points to a new life IN PLACE of the old.  It explains that when we are bound with Christ, our old nature is put to death and that a spiritual space is created for Christ to enter in, dwell and LIVE through us.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This verse is even more clear.  We can see once again that a man is invited to live in Christ.  This man is described as a new creature, one characteristically different from the man born of the flesh whose nature is fashioned of sin and death.  Rather, the man is remade in the image and likeness of the LIVING Christ.

Ephesians 2:10

10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Here we see that the process of redemption is another act of creation… that God himself is recreating man in a perfected image through Christ…  This creation is capable of surrender…walking in good works that are more aligned with his original purpose (a righteous dominion designed to cultivate and protect God’s own creation) through the repairing of our divine nature and our eternal relationship with himself.

John 5:24

24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Finally, we receive the words of the Savior himself as he declares that those who believe on HIM have everlasting life… AND that this belief (in faith) causes the man to pass from death into life.

In summary, the spirit has guided me to understand that God created man for partnership and dominion.  Mankind was created reflecting key attributes of God, including free will, relationship and dominion.  Our job was to multiply, cultivate and protect the creation of God and we were created fully clothed in righteousness–capable of unimpeded intimacy and worship. 

Man fell because of disobedience. The formation of the self-will (the ego) triggered the death of mankind.  We learn that death is the state of disconnection with God and that every human being is now born outside the direct presence of God.  Mankind lost his immortality and was driven from the Garden onto the “Cursed Ground.”  The ground became the very wilderness where we would labor for ourselves and our mortal life.

Nonetheless, because of God’s great love, a prophesied Messianiac victor would be raised up from out of the very state of death to conquer the adversary by receiving a blow to the heel and letting free-flowing blood become an offering for sin.

Those who believe and are sincere (surrendering the pleasures of life in the flesh) would pass back from a state of earthly death to a state of spiritual and everlasting life.  Such is the will and love of the most high God!

Amen.

The Leper, the Turtle Doves and the Blood of Christ

The spirit pricked me with a verse which prompted a study to understand the hidden teaching in the story of the man who was healed of leprosy.

Foreknowledge:

Leper:

  • Leper’s are individuals who are afflicted with the disease of uncleanness.   Also they were considered ceremonially unclean and unworthy to exist living among their people and family.
  • The Hebrew word sara’at is a ritualistic term denoting uncleanness or defilement and covered a range of conditions that could affect people, or clothing, or even a wall.

On people, the conditions described could include boils, carbuncles, fungus infections, infections complicating a burn, impetigo, favus of the scalp, scabies, patchy eczema, phagedenic ulcer, and impetigo or vitiligo.

There is no evidence that the diseases described as “leprosy” in the Old Testament had any relationship to modern leprosy.

The Ceremonially unclean are those that are fallen away from the people in such a way that they were made to live apart from their loved ones… (a representation of the fallen state of the human condition.)

Turtle-Dove (Latin): turtur

The turtle-dove is a bird of passage. It appears in Judea early in the spring, when the leaves are coming out, the flowers opening, and every thing looking lovely and beautiful.

  • Turtle-Doves are birds of passage (migratory) indicates transition
  • Turtle-Doves are birds of the spring. This indicates their connection with newness of life and rebirth.
  • Turtle-Doves are birds which mate for life and are monogamous.

The LEPER

Matthew 8:2-4

2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Note how prior to the healing the leper worshiped and believed upon Jesus…

3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

  • 1st Jesus Commanded the Leper to “Tell No Man.”
    • Men are of “The World” and are themselves unclean… they would surely would deny or explain the gift away. They would be subject to skepticism and doubt.
  • Shew thyself unto the priest.
    • I was told that the intent here was for Jesus to proclaim his divinity through the leper’s testimony to the priest. The priest would perform the (releasing) ordinance which paralleled Jesus’s mission and purpose on earth.
      • NOTE: The priest would know and understand the full significance of the miracle.

Luke 17:11-19

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

Here we see the ten men who cried out for MERCY. Jesus heard them ALL.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

Again, Jesus admonishes the cleansed to testify unto the priest.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

This is significant. The spirit explains that many will call out for MERCY… But only 10% will glorify God for his grace. The rest desire the comforts of mercy for their own gain.

16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

The lowly Samaritan who was already an outcast because of cultural differences… was the only to recognize the true significance of the miracle. *More than leprosy was healed here.*

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

Jesus makes a point to demonstrate that the JEWS (the chosen people) would not return to glorify God.

Those who know…(or THINK they know) will be first to deny the cleansing power of Jesus Christ. (those who have ears to hear….)

18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

The stranger lived outside the gates of the holy city all his life… he could understand the entirety of his cleansing.

19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Finally it was faith that offered power to the miracle. The cleansing happened BECAUSE he cried out and had FAITH that he would be cleansed.

NOTE: The Samaritans were pagan half-Jews who did not have a priest to GO HOME TO… The cleansing here was not a declaration in the same sense as in the JEWS who were to go before their priest… For the Samaritan, this was his conversion.

The Gift Moses Commanded

…shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony …

Leviticus 14:5-7 (KJV)

5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water.

  • The earthen vessel is in similitude of the carnal vessel (the body of sin and flesh).
  • The running water is pointing to the waters of life and the cleansing power of baptism.

6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:

7And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

  • A pair of turtledoves are dipped into the purifying blood. One bird is sacrificed for its blood and blood is sprinkled onto the leper and remaining living bird. Afterward the living bird is set loose into the open field for his freedom.
    • Note: Remember that the holy spirit came as a dove (of which the turtle dove is a type) condescended and rested upon Jesus after his baptism… This could mean symbolically that loosing the bird is synonymous with setting the spirit free.
      • Additional note: the term “open field” here is in parallel to the “good ground” spoken of by Jesus in the Parable of the Sower where the seed should fall into good ground and bear much fruit.
  • Turtle Doves are monogamous– meaning they mate for life. The ceremony here is a symbolic telling of how love binds us together. The ritual performed throughout the ages was a demonstration that one dove would be killed and sacrificed while the other would be set free…
    • This is a direct corollary to the fact that Jesus (when he is bound by love to us) would die for us…and his blood would literally set us free… We and JESUS are the DOVES.

Turtledoves used to finalize Mary’s Cleansing and sanctify Jesus unto the LORD.

Luke 2:22-24

22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

Here the spirit caused me to notice: how blood was required to complete Mary’s cleansing. The Blood was required to sanctifying birth (or in our case) a rebirth: to make a life holy unto the LORD.

AGAIN this law was used to show that it was through blood that we were are sanctified and made HOLY unto our lord… AND this was precisely how JESUS was made holy unto GOD during HIS own consecration.

In the same way, we must also be consecrated by blood in order to be made holy unto God.

Finally, let us marvel at how completely the scriptures point to Christ and how authentically Jesus’s work pointed to his ultimate sacrifice. This was all intended to cleanse us of disease and allow us to fly free. To those of us who choose healing…we walk in newness of life.

Amen.