Thursday, December 18, 2014

Miketz: "At the end"

Did I mention how much I enjoy repetitive studies in the Torah?  The faithful Lord said He declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).  I find most prophecy, and all clarification of prophecy, to be sitting right in the Torah.  The Messianic writings in the end of the Book are all declared in the beginning.  I am ever amazed at how much.  No matter how much our flesh rises to declare we want no part of Torah to the keeping of it, the fact remains that whatever you believe has to have a foundation for why you believe it...you must even have a foundation for why you believe Messiah is who He says He, and the foundation for that belief is the Torah.  

We believe Him because everything the Torah says...He is.  In fact, it is this refusal to discern what is stated at the end with what was already declared at the beginning that gives us many denominations today.  There are so many interpretations to Paul's letters, and each one has formed their own set of beliefs based upon such newer writings.  The faith that believes in One unchanging God even backs Paul's letters by Torah, and understands that new revelations by any of the apostles and prophets were simply messages already in the Torah, at a typological, analogical, or hidden level.  For this purpose, we will explore some of those in this parsha.

The story of Joseph itself tells us the end is declared at the beginning.  When Genesis started focusing on this man, it started with a set of his dreams wherein the end (that we are studying this week) is declared well before they even happen, at the beginning of his story.  Now we are coming to that end, and herein we also see so many declarations of the later-coming Messiah and even what is to be of our end.  Just as Joseph said to Pharaoh, "Elohim has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do," in Genesis 41:25, so He has declared to the whole world so that none are without excuse (Romans 1) on the things that will come to pass.
And Yoseph was the governor over the land, he was the one who sold to all the people of the land.  And Yoseph's brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth.  And Yoseph saw his brothers and recognised them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke to them harshly, and said to them, "Where do you come from?"  And they said, "From the land of Kena'an to buy food."  So Yoseph recognised his brothers, but they did not recognise him.  -- Genesis 42:6-8
You know, one can immediately say this is likened unto Messiah and the mass of His Jewish brethren of His time.  They knew Him not.  They were looking for a Rachel, but was sent a Leah.  They were looking for Solomon's glory, but before them was one uncomely.  Oh, but how He knew them!  I would like to otherwise say I am more focused upon how the brethren can be paralleled to most Christians.  Likewise, they look for something glorious.  Most of the Christians are looking for what looks like a Greek god, not a Jewish Messiah.  Shakespeare says a rose by any other name would still smell so sweet, but at the same time a dandelion is not a rose.  I fear most have their eye set upon Hollywood Jesus with His dark blonde hair and white skin, who is not the mitzvot-keeping, Tallit-wearing Jewish man.

He spoke harshly with them.  So it is with all of us.  At some point of time, we all have had to come face to face with the harsh reality of who we are (treacherous sinners), who He is, before reconciliation can come to pass.  The Word is truly a two-edged sword and though it is as a honeycomb, it only is when spoken to a hungry soul wherein every bitter truth is even sweet (Proverbs 27:7).
"Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you are kept in prison.  So let your words be proven to see whether there is any truth in you, or else, by the life of Pharaoh, you are spies."  -- Genesis 42:16
So Messiah says the same to Christian followers...get your brother.  Specifically this is to mean natural Israel.  I am telling you, dressing their Messiah up as a foreign god with a foreign god's birthday and a foreign god's ways are NOT a way to get your brother.  Israel knows better than to taint the Holy One with pagan gods.  They paid for this before and they will not do it again.  It is a stumbling block when we take their Messiah and Bridegroom, put the identities of a false god upon Him, and say they should gladly accept this.  Nor is it a way to get this brother when we say God's Law is done away with and they should likewise walk in this lawlessness.  That would be ridiculous for them to commit that mistake again!  It is just as ridiculous to say you don't have to follow God's law but it doesn't make you lawless; or that God is the same evermore and unchanging, one, but His law has changed.  Confused!  
And they said to each other, "Truly, we are guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the distress of his life when he pleaded with us, yet we did not listen, that is why this distress has come upon us." ... And he turned himself away from them and wept, but came back to them and spoke with them.  And he took Shim'on from them and bound him before their eyes.  -- Genesis 42:21 & 24
We are the cruel ones.  We are the ones who deal falsely with the Lord, though He pleads otherwise.  We are the ones who do away with Him (and His Word), and we are the ones who did not listen to His voice.  He is the one who is moved with a weeping compassion for us.
'And bring your youngest brother to me, then I know that you are not spies, but that you are trustworthy -- I give your brother to you, and you move about in the land.'"  -- Genesis 42:34
Are you trustworthy?  You have been given the oracles of God in the Torah and the fulfillment thereof in the Messianic writings.  Are you trustworthy with the truth in its wholeness?  Of a certainty, our fathers were not.  If you are a Catholic or a claimer of any of the Reformation, you will do well to be honest and say that each sector had something they were not trustworthy with, diluted and perverted the truth, or willingly sat back and allowed it to be so for the sake of false peace.  We need to handle God's "new" testament in a way that does not blaspheme His "old" -- since He is one and unchanging.  In this, guarding His Word, are we trustworthy.  If we are trustworthy in this manner, would we not be bringing His natural-branch brethren to Him?
But the scarcity of food was severe in the land.  And it came to be, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought from Mitsrayim, that their father said to them, "Go back, buy us a little food."  But Yehudah spoke to him, saying, "The man vehemently warned us, saying, "You do not see my face unless your brother is with you.'"  "If you let our brother go with us, we go down and buy food.  But if you do not let him go, we do not go down, because the man said to us, 'You do not see my face unless your brother is with you.'"  -- Genesis 43:1-5
 Did you catch that they just left Simeon there in Egypt and didn't go back to get him until running out of food forced them to go back?  See, they didn't come back to Joseph to meet his conditions nor in selflessness for their brother Simeon, but they actually only came back for themselves.  It is like Messiah says in John 6 -- you just want Him for His bread and fish.  People want Him for what He can give them, not for what they can give Him.  If He gave you nothing, but required everything, would you come?  I think we can answer for the 9 brothers.  Is this true worship and obeisance, and is this true salvation?  God deserves us in full.  It is we who do not deserve any portion of Him.  It is His humility, mercy, and deep compassion for us that He gives to us at all, yet we find it so hard to give Him anything and only want to meet with Him when we want something, like the passage above.
"With whomever of your servants it is found -- he shall die and we shall become my master's slaves as well."  And he said, "Now also let it be according to your words:  he with whom it is found becomes my slave, and you are innocent."  -- Genesis 44:9-10
Flash forward.  Joseph sends the brothers away and has his cup placed in Benjamin's sack.  He sends one of his servants after them to search and call out the brother who has the cup, demanding that brother be his (Joseph's) slave.  The brothers commend death to the one who has the cup, saying they would also be Joseph's slave if the cup be found on any of them.  The man corrects the brothers saying only the person with whom is found the cup is to be Joseph's slave.  Joseph himself says it again when they realize the cup is found with Benjamin and they plea to be stand-in.
But he said, "Far be it from me to do this.  The man in whose hand the cup was found, he becomes my slave.  And you, go up in peace to your father."  -- Genesis 44:17
When having His Passover Seder with His disciples, Messiah drank of a cup and passed it around.  If you study Jewish weddings, you will note that this was a betrothal -- Messiah was Jewish, after all.  In the betrothal process, a sign of a covenant entered was the bridegroom drinking of a cup and offering of the same to the bride.  Later in the ceremony, the cup is traditionally crushed.  For a physical marriage, the best reasoning I have heard is this is to symbolize there is no more cup for another to enter this covenant.  The covenant is sealed and closed.  With a broken cup, no other can enter it.  I have to believe this portion of Joseph's story holds the same cup-covenant meaning.  If we have likened Joseph to Messiah and Benjamin to Israel, then we will further say that cup of Messiah is given to Israel.  Messiah's bride is Israel.  The Lord's command for marriages is that they are to be one flesh, and equally yoked.  Therefore, obeying His own Word, Messiah's bride is not Greek-thinker, but as He is:  a Hebrew.  This is why a Gentile does not create a new way because we are Gentiles, but rather we must be grafted in to Israel, a Hebrew, to have this bridal claim.

With this being said, back to the verse.  It speaks of death and slavery for the one who holds Joseph's cup.  The truth is...with whom is found the cup, the same both dies and is a slave.  Is that not our whole New Testament teaching in a nutshell?  Die daily.  Serve God.


N...

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

VaYishlach: "And he sent"

I had fully intended to blog last week's readings, but before I knew it the week came to an end.  I wanted to do so to show an even bigger picture of the correlation between Jacob and our Messiah.  In a nutshell, both left their father's house to labor for a bride, and then turned around and brought the bride back home.  In this week's New Testament readings we are reminded again that the Torah and prophets speak of Messiah.  That truth only becomes more true each time I read through the Torah and prophets, if that is even possible.  

This week I want to talk about how the parsha begins (Genesis 32:3 - Genesis 36:43) telling us that Jacob sent messengers to Edom (Esau) of his coming, and then sent gifts with his coming.  Did you notice that when he actually did come to his brother, it was with humility as he bowed seven times before him?  

We know that Esau was also called Edom, which means red.  We first hear of this nickname back when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob over a bowl of red lentil soup, but even earlier Esau's birth records that he came out red.  The name seemed to belong to him.  What you may also know is that Edom and Adam are of the same root.  Adam is named after the dirt he was formed of, such dirt as clay that is...red.  Edom is that Adam that sold his rights for food.

So you see, though not all things of Jacob we can parallel to Messiah, but in this thing of this parsha we can:  Messiah did also send messengers to Adam (that is, man) of His coming, sent gifts with His coming (like healing and deliverance), and humbled Himself in His coming to such land of Adam.

Of course believers do not have a problem accepting that the Torah and prophets are about Messiah.  The problem exists if there is anything else to the Law, which would put validity to guarding it today.  To defend the Law I actually want to venture outside of the Law into this week's New Testament readings:
Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.  And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.  -- I John 3:4-5
We know that sin is breaking of the Law, therefore as the Scripture says it is lawlessnes.  Matthew 1:21 tells us that Messiah would be born of a maiden and He would be named (in meaning) YHWH saves because He will save His people from their sins.  We are not just talking about being saved from the curse/consequence of the Law, also known as the law of sin and death, but being also saved from the sin that lead to curse and consequence of that death.  The passage above tells us the same thing -- He came take away our sins.  He shows us how to walk above lawlessness into lawfulness.  As Paul says, we do not continue in lawlessness, that is Torahlessness, that grace may abound.

The last verse ends by saying that in Him there is no sin.  This is vital to the payment of our sin.  In the history of war drafts, there was a time when someone could take your place; however, someone who was already in the draft could not take your place, only one free from it.  Only someone sinless can take your place in sin's payment.  Therefore God is the only Savior.  There is no other.
For the saving Gift of Elohim has appeared to all men, instructing us to renounce wickedness and worldly lusts, and to live sensibly, righteously, and reverently in the present age, looking for the blessed expectation and esteemed appearance of the great Elohim and our Savior Yehoshua Messiah, who gave Himself for us, to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people, His own possession, ardent for good works.  -- Titus 2:11-14
The passage starts by mentioning a saving gift that is instruction to basically live in the Law, as it says we are redeemed from having lived outside of the Law.  We are to be, as it says, ardent for good works.  Who and what defines good works?  The Scriptures themselves identify that there are 2 things that are good:  God and the Law (being holy, just, and good).  These are essentially one as the Word is God (John 1:1), which of course means the Torah is as forever as He is.  In my defense of Torah, I will not deny that Torah is order.  Law and order are not just titles of a TV program, but these go hand in hand.  God is a God of order, a God of law.  We are redeemed from the lawlessness of our nature to abolish that same Law once again?  God forbid!  We are redeemed from our lawlessness that we are found ardent for it.  It is a sad representation of the power of the Holy Spirit that the church unknowingly caves to the flesh in our doing away with our Lord's own law, the very law He saved us to be restored unto.

Jacob wished to be restored unto relationship with his brother, and sent messengers, gifts, and came himself to do so.  This restoration to God's ways (most inclusive of Torah) is why messengers, spiritual and saving gifts, and even Himself...He sent.

N...

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Toldot: "Generations"/"Family History"

The parsha always comes right on time.  I am merely 2 years into following this (Judaic) "Bible-in-a-year" layout, and I mean I can say it is inspired.  How is it that so many believers can agree that the same few chapters in the same week, with differing circumstances each person finds themselves in, speaks precise direction, edification, and comfort they seek?

This week is entitled after family history and generations.  It starts with the generations of Abraham through Yitshaq/Isaac.  As you know, the generation he contributed was Ya'akob/Jacob and Esaw -- 2 totally different types of people.  I have been reflecting on this truth with my own family history.  There are so many dimensions to this:  So many of us find 2 totally different types of people in our family; so many of us find 2 totally different types of people within just one person in our family; and our family history versus what we make of ourselves, plus the soul/spirit battle, has me saying that all of us can almost always find 2 totally different types of people within our own selves.  

Before I get into family history from the Torah, let's touch a bit on the Lord's family history as told by Him in the Malachi readings for this week.  I've scarcely met anybody who wouldn't want to be in His family -- the issue these days is so many that want to be in His family do not understand what kind of family He calls for.  Some of these below are an example of the mass that He is offered:
"A son esteems his father, and a servant his master.  And if I am the Father, where is My esteem?  And if I am a Master, where is My fear?"  said YHWH of hosts to you priests who despise My Name.  -- Malachi 1:6a
I don't know a single parent who doesn't demand esteem from their children, obedience and service from their servant, yet how many who actually call Him "Father" give Him the same they demand?  Is it as if we have elevated ourselves above the Almighty to ensure we are treated better than what we are willing to treat Him?
"But you asked, 'In what way have we despised your Name?'  You are presenting defiled food on My altar.  But you asked, 'In what way have we defiled You?'  Because you say, 'The table of YHWH is despicable.'  -- Malachi 1:6b-7
First of all, we must understand Hebrew idioms.  In Romans 11:9, there is a quote from David (he spoke in Psalm 69:22) that says, "Let their table become for a snare, and for a trap, and for a stumbling-block..."  The meaning of the idiom is exposed in the context of the Romans and Psalm passages -- the "table" is traditions.  The heritage (Torah) of the Lord, His ways (which are His traditions, again Torah) have been despised in His own "family's" eyes.  This wasn't just an issue with Israel, who He's saying here did not follow His Torah for their own "table"/traditions, but too many New Testament believers have likewise forsaken His Torah for their own traditions, claiming the forefathers sanctified them.  Take heed lest you worship the forefathers instead.
"And when you present the blind as a slaughtering, is it not evil?  And when you present the lame and the sick, is it not evil?  Bring it then to your governor!  Would he be pleased with you?  Would he accept you favourably?" said YWHW of hosts.  -- Malachi 1:8
From what we read in the Torah, you had to first take care of your stuff before you came to God's house.  You had to set your sin in order and cleanse yourself.  It is embarrassing in this New Age that so many people come to God in all their sin, their club-wear, their fornicating partner strapped to their arm, etc.  God says, "Bring that to your governor!" I didn't meet Rick Scott when I lived in Florida, but I did write him a few letters.  I will tell you then when I went my governor (in letter), I gave him my best grammar and research.  I had prepared myself, as any one person would.  You see celebrities at these premieres, and people outside of the rope probably looking their best because they don't want to be passed by, and don't have that same mentality towards Holy God.  I mean, we prepare ourselves to meet the football team and can't do the same for the Creator!  Get out of here with that!
"And you said, 'Oh, what weariness!' and you sneered at it," said YHWH of hosts.  -- Malachi 1:13a
This is talking about His table and His food, the portion (inheritance, Torah) for His family.  It is so dead on it's scary.  Try telling the "family" that is looking at Jesus like He is a Greek god that you have sat at the Lord's table (Torah) and eaten of its food, and see if "Oh, what weariness!" won't be the reaction you hear.  The rebukes here are not of God's own festivals and holy days, ways of worship (sacrifice) that He Himself set, but the violation of the standard of them.  It is people trying to do church their way, instead of His.  The rebuke is not in the offering, but in the offering of the blind instead of the spotless.  The rebuke isn't in festivals, it is in changing them in layout and nowadays changing them also in day.

So how the rebuke applies to the reader of today is quite the same, actually.  There are those who want a Savior but no Lord, and those that want a Lord to conform to their Greek minds rather than conforming theirs to His Hebraic one.  To these, (lawlessness, Torah-lessness), the Bible does not tell us He knew, but in fact says that He tells these to depart from Him for He never knew them.  Family?  More like strangers.

This parsha came in the right time because these past few days I have been reflecting on my own family history, and the strangers within.  Within me lies my biological family history and then my spiritual family history.  These two come together and it's Ya'aqob and Esaw in one womb. 

The Lord said 2 different people would be born of Ribqah/Rebekah.  Of course this immediate interpretation is that two separate human beings were within her, but these are also 2 totally different types of people.  Certainly, within her womb she held the carnal man and the spiritual man at the same time.

Esaw (meaning hairy) was named so because he was born hairy.  He was later called Edom (meaning red), which we first hear in this portion (Genesis 25:30) when he sells his birthright for some red stew.  It rightly fit though since he was also born "red."  Studying this word, you see that it is the same root as Adam, who was named after the clay of the earth, which was red.  This is Adam, the carnal man.

Ya'qob simply means heel grabber, because he grabbed his brother's heel upon exiting the womb.  It immediately makes me think of the prophecy of the Messiah crushing the serpent's head while the serpent bruises His heel.  Here's a man in his infancy holding onto the heel.  Symbolically, I think there's a connection and it may be a stretch to say he represents those who hold onto not just the power of Messiah, but the pain of the brotherhood with Him.  He is a man who dwelt in tents (Genesis 25:27) -- which is a phrase, when connected in all its uses, means the same in each.  It is a phrase given to the spiritual man.  

We all have a family history.  For many of us, there is the life of the world in our family's past that got implanted in us and it daily meets our call in the Spirit to be transformed and live otherwise.  Even if raised by God-fearing parents, we still are the generations of Adam, which means we have a not-so impressive family history.  By God's wisdom, the redeemed can say it happened for our good that we have our past.  Some things that are going on right now had me play a deep revisit into my family history.  I am seeing what has passed down to me in traits and ways, and I am also seeing the pain, dysfunction, and mistakes.  I have accepted it, and even embrace it.  Without it, I would not have known a Savior, a Comforter, Healer, Physician, Father, Bridegroom, and I wouldn't have so badly knew that I need Him as Lord.  I have a choice of seeing a priceless relationship with the Lord being built when I revisit my family history, and how I have been called to be in the family whose builder and maker is the Lord.  Within my family is certainly my family, but that also includes the Lord.  Within me there is a war -- like the twins that warred within Ribqah.  I am still carnal man, which will not cease until this body is put away; but within me is also the spiritual man, renewed and risen above the carnal by the power of the Spirit within.

 N...

*Disclosure:  With the exception of Scripture and quotations, the information on this site is meant to be viewed solely on this site.  Any reference of its contribution is not to be parted with the reference of this site, nor without reference to its contributor.  The information is, kindly, made public, and expected to be cited properly.    

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cheyei Sarah: "Life of Sarah"

The reading entitled after the life of Sarah actually starts with the end of Sarah.  This reading covers chapters 23-25 of Genesis in the Torah; I Kings 1:1-31 in the Haftorah; and Matthew 2:1-23, 8:19-22, 27:3-10, Luke 9:57-62, and I Corinthians 15:50-57 in the Brit Chadashah.

Chapter 23 starts off with Abraham, who we last heard was in Be'ersheba, coming to mourn for his wife who died in the city that became Hebron.  I find it intriguing that after Abraham went to offer Isaac, he removed himself to Be'ersheba where we last heard Hagar dwelt, while Sarah remained.  What in the world caused this separation, where this aged couple dwelt apart from one another?  I've heard it suggested that Sarah was not too thrilled with the offering of Isaac.  I am not sure if that is true, but know that parents do find ways to place their children between them -- especially if that child was a miracle child, the only child.  In my house, Brant's and my time to spend with one another is taken up by the children, but one thing that we have realized about each other is that we are the only physical thing God allows each of us to keep until death.  Parents would do well to treat each other as if they are the only thing they get to keep.  Yet you find a couple here in Scripture who didn't even spend dying days together.  How sad.  These children will grow and become someone else's, but my beloved is mine and I am his.

If we have followed the age of Sarah and Abraham when they begat Isaac, then we know chapter 22 (when Abraham offered Isaac) places Isaac at 37, making Sarah one hundred and twenty seven.  Chapter 23 says that is the age she was when she died.  She died that year.  Abraham spends that whole chapter mourning for her, preparing to bury her, and burying her.  Chapter 24 puts Isaac at 40 years old, gaining a wife he took into his mother's tent.  It has been well-suggested that Abraham then mourned for his wife for 3 years.  Nevertheless, he said it right when he sought for a burial site to bury his dead from his presence.  The dead are dead.  We move on.  

Chapter 24 is the heart of the parsha, wherein Abraham, saying he is old (implying too old to do it himself) makes his servant take an oath to go to the land of his people and take a wife for Isaac there.  At this time, though Canaan is promised to Abraham, the perverted people are not yet removed from thence.  Isaac must procreate because there is a promise that needs to be fulfilled.  God states His will and His way will come to pass, but it does call for human responsibility in requiring action from us.  God is going to make a mighty nation, but that calls for the action of Isaac to marry and procreate.
"What if the woman refuses to follow me to this land?  Do I then take your son back to the land from which you came?"  And Abraham said to him, "Beware lest you take my son back there!"  -- Genesis 24:5-6
 First of all, think about this for a second.  He is asking a woman to trust a stranger and follow him away from her family to a strange land to marry an even stranger person (someone she has never met nor talked to).  How many would just do that?  Seriously.  The ways of this world are completely backwards from the Lord's.  I married my husband after 3.5 months.  I'm pretty sure that there were people who thought I was marrying a stranger.  This story of Rebekah inspired me so much in my own wedding that in the invitations I included the verse from this story when Rebekah is asked if she will go and she says she will.
"YHWH, Elohim of the shamayim, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my relatives, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, 'To your seed I give this land,' He sends His messenger before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there."  -- Genesis 24:7
I love how he simply puts it -- yes the situation appears to be impossible, but it is God's problem.  If it is God's doing, no one can doubt it and no one can say anything against it.  Which is why Rebekah's brother and father couldn't give a good or bad response to the servant's bidding of Rebekah, because the situation seemed impossible but God make it possible.  Who will contend with the Lord and speak against His will?  This is why I personally like impossible situations -- when they turn out, there is no doubting the work of the Lord.  I tell you what, when Isaac and Rebekah got into arguments, which I'm sure they did considering they had twin rival sons and they each favored the other, they could not ever doubt if they were the right spouse for each other by how God so strategically placed them together.  That is the foundation all marriages need -- knowing it was built by the Lord.
And the servant took ten of his master's camels and left, for all his master's goods were in his hand.  And he arose and went to Aram Naharayim, to the city of Nahor.  -- Genesis 24:10
Well look at this!  The Lord brings him right to his master's brother's city.  I am so amazed at the perfect plan of God to place the right people in your life at the right time and place you in the right places at the right time.  I have a dear friend I met on an online Christian group that someone invited me into, while I was living in Germany and she living in Florida.  We friended each other outside of the group soon thereafter, when we came to see how similar our lives had been -- she was older and it seemed all that happened in my life, happened in hers, so then she gave me relative advice in my struggles.  Years later I found myself living in the opposite side of Florida from her, and on my way to my cousin's in Miami, she offered her place as a mid-point rest from Pensacola to Miami.  We chuckled in our light-heartedness at the Lord's doing -- two of the same paths, in two different generations, who met each other while while living in two separate countries, sitting at the same dinner table!  

Verses 11-21 is how Rebekah came to be the chosen bride.  The servant asks God to speedily make the bride known.  When I started getting to know my husband, I boldly asked God to speedily make it known if this was His choosing.  I didn't and still don't think that God wants us wasting valuable time, nor spending exclusive time with [what would be] someone else's spouse!  He answered the servant quickly, and He answered me quickly.  There was a sign wherein the servant would know the bride -- if the woman who draws water, who he asks for water, gives him water and waters the 10 camels as well, this is the woman.  These women had to walk to the spring for their water, draw it and walk, and walk back.  It says after she drew it, he asked her.  Be honest -- most who go walking for their water, having drawn it, and on their way back, would not give some random stranger their water.  This servant had other men with him.  Wouldn't your first thought be, "Why won't any of these men get the water?" Especially in the feminism revolt of the day, most women would think, "How dare these men treat me like I am some slave to fetch them water!"  Think about the camels!  They can go up to 3 months without water.  Can you imagine how thirsty they could be and how many times she had to draw water to their fill?  There is no doubt -- of a certainty this man knows this is the woman.
And it came to be, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a golden nose ring weighing half a sheqel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten sheqels of gold...  -- Genesis 24:22
The jewelry is very important here.  I once watched a show on an Indian wedding, the bride wore this nose ring with a chain tied to some part of her wardrobe.  She looked like she was chained, owned property.  The bracelets thrown on each wrist -- what other does this remind you of than shackles in a bondage?  This is very unlike the world's view on marriage today, but marriage in the Bible is a bond.  This is because marriage to the Lord is so, and the physical marriage is to exemplify this, even in the bondage.  Romans 6-7 make it perfectly clear that you are either a slave to God or a slave to sin, depending on which you marry.  For the Lord who served you and still serves you, this should not be an offensive statement to those who truly are married to Him.  There is nothing but rightness for those who serve one another in marriage, remembering its bonds.
And Ribqah had a brother whose name was Laban, and Laban ran out to the man, to the fountain.  And it came to be when he saw the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister's wrists, and when he heard the words of his sister Ribqah, saying, "Thus the man spoke with me," that he went to the man and saw him standing by the camels at the fountain.  -- Genesis 24:29-30
Even Laban knows that marriage is a bond, as he sees his sister now in jewelry of bonds wondering where is the man who has claimed her for marriage. 
"And now, if you are going to show kindness and truth to my master, let me know, and if not, let me know, so that I turn to the right or to the left."  And Laban answered -- Bethu'el too -- and said, "The matter comes from YHWH, we are not able to speak to you either evil or good."  -- Genesis 24:49-50
In other words, God has spoken.  Who is any one of us to speak against it (complain)?  Who are we to think that we need to confirm God's words?  We can neither speak good nor bad about the counsel of the Lord, but simply humble ourselves to His bidding.
And he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night.  When they arose in the morning he said, "Let me go to my master."  But her brother and her mother said, "Let the young woman stay with us a few days, at least ten, then you go."  And he said to them, "Do not delay me, since YHWH has prospered my way.  Let me go so that I go to my master."  And they said, "Let us call the young woman and ask her."  So they called Ribqah and said to her, "Are you going with this man?"  And she said, "I shall go." -- Genesis 24:54-58
If God has shown and provided the way, who will linger and loiter?  This is again very much against today's society of marriage that chooses to first act like you are married so that we can know each other and then decide to get married.  Clearly it is not about having enough money to get married, as acting like you are married includes a new home for cohabitation, and all the expenses that includes.  These instead wait to get to know each other.  Look at these two -- they didn't know each other, but they knew the Lord and the Lord made His decision and provided the way.  If God provided the funds to get married, provided the person to marry, then get married.  If any one of those don't fit, then don't be like the devil the thief and steal what belongs to someone else.

"Do not delay me," was followed by Rebekah's decision to go and not turn back, for even just ten days.  This week's parsha was all about moving forward for me, and not looking back.  Years ago when my brother was a heroin-addict, right before he found out he was going to be a father, I had a dream he was in a house wherein a tiger dwelt.  A little girl was bonded (leashed) to it, on the patio outside of the sliding glass door.  The tiger was after her, and my brother was too high to do anything.  The glass wasn't providing enough protection and the tiger was about to come through it to the girl.  I grabbed her and ran away from the house.  I was prepared to leave my brother to the tiger he chose to dwell with.  With my face forward, holding the girl as the tiger chased, I called my brother with one shout of his name, and he came out of the other side of the house instantly sober.  The tiger didn't seem to want me, but wanted the girl I held onto and my brother who now ran beside me.  So then I handed my brother the girl, while I would wrestle the tiger, and told him to run and not look back.  The last I saw before I awoke was that he ran, holding that little girl, and didn't look back.  Months later he found out that baby would be a girl and when she came to be, he instantly became sober and my innocent niece is free from the bonds of drugs in her life.  

Abraham buried his wife and moved on with his life.  He remarries in chapter twenty five.  God took Abraham out of his father's house and warned not to bring his son back from whence God took them.  Rebekah, having said she would go, chose not to look back at her family, but move forward.  If God takes you out of Egypt, you are never to return to that place (Deuteronomy 17:16).  There are too many trying to go back, even for the sake of family.  Don't take my word or typologies -- the Messiah Himself said to the man who wanted to follow Him but turn back to say good bye to his family first (our reading in Luke 9:57-62), "No one, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the reign of Elohim."  

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Vayera: "He Appeared"

The more I think I know, the more I realize I don't know.  That is the way it is, isn't it?  It isn't merely just the more I come to know the more I realize I hadn't known, but there is this humbling factor that comes into play that it isn't our knowledge of God that saves us but it is simply and majestically God who saves us.

Don't get me wrong -- Biblically speaking, knowledge of God should be the desire of all, and surely we can understand that God doesn't want to dwell with people who have no interest in getting to know Him.  I have a friend who opened her house to a couple, the male of them showing no interest in conversation or even courtesy.  It bothered her enough to mention it to me, and we can all understand.  It makes us downright uncomfortable in our own home if someone were to come in it, let alone stay for a while, let alone that while be eternity, and they have no interest in us...may not even like us, be against some of the things that are our very character, against the rules of our house, etc.  Yet some people are under the assumption they will make it to the Lord's house under these pretenses.  Most of us would refuse entry of that person into our home.  It is our home, the place we should most be able to be ourselvse with those who love us dwelling within, and for some reason some don't understand how God could be this way with His house in eternity.

There are a few things in this parsha that leave me acknowledging that first sentence, and some of these things tie into the very character of God.  I am ever the student, even when being the teacher.  This week, these were the things we contemplated:
"I am going down now to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me, and if not, I know."  -- Genesis 18:21
YHWH lets Abraham know He is about to destroy Sedom and Amorah, a matter He thought of concealing to Abraham.  I could only gather that He thought to conceal it because (as we read in the end of the chapter) for some reason God is deeply tied to intercessory prayer of His righteous.  The fact that we can even have relationship with Him is because of the intercessory prayer of our Master Yehoshua.  In Ezekiel 22:30 He says He searched for a man to stand the gap between Him and the land that He would not destroy it, but He found no such man.  I hope I am not being too forward in saying that I believe His own righteousness wanted dearly to destroy that land and conceal it from Abraham, who had the ability to stand the gap; but His tendermercies and Covenant allowed for Abraham to stand the gap and Lot be blessed with his own life through him.  Ultimately, God delights in His own mercy.  If He finds nothing else to delight in, He will find it in His own mercy.  Daily, daily, daily that is my hope.  It is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

God's delight in mercy and intercessory prayer is well-known, but the part of that passage that leaves me with more to study is in the verse above, when He says He is going to go down to see if things are as the outcry that came to Him.  This reminds me of the beginning of the book, first when God walked in the midst of the garden calling Adam as if He didn't know Adam sinned, and the second is when He came to Cain and said that Abel's blood was crying out from the ground.  What a mystery that this earth and the things in it, especially the human blood wherein there is borrowed life, cries out to Him! The mystery as well is how He mentions physically showing up to see...when He's already there, right?  God is Spirit -- He is indeed already there.  Yet, in mentioning physical appearance, it almost implies that He isn't there.  He can be somewhere and yet not be somewhere.  I am still piecing it together with other likened cases, like the accounts of Adam and Cain, as mentioned.
But he urged them strongly, and they turned in to him and came into his house.  And he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.  -- Genesis 19:3
The 2 messengers have arrived in Sedom, wanting to spend the night in the open square and here is Lot urging them to come into his house instead.  I hadn't noticed this any other time I read Genesis, but look at what they ate.  It was unleavened bread.  Doesn't it remind you of the exodus of Israel from Egypt?  They too ate unleavened bread from the first Passover the night before they left Egypt.  Here is a precursor to that, Lot having his unleavened bread before the exodus of Sedom.
Then they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, and they wearied themselves to find the door.  -- Genesis 19:11
Isn't that the truth!  There is a whole lot of irrational stupidity in this world, and sometimes you wonder why it is so hard to go with the rational truth, but what can we say -- they of this world are blind and cannot find the door.  One thing that I am still learning is that He makes them this way -- Isaiah 6:10; Matthew 13:15; John 12:40; Acts 28:27 -- and yet He is right.  I've seen people become calloused over God not removing the calloused hearts of the heathen.  It is important that in saying "God wouldn't do that" (intentionally allow a creation of someone who would never be free of spiritual blindess nor would ever find the Door), that we aren't setting ourselves up to deny or judge the very character of God.  Once again, we don't share our houses with people that deny, suppress, or judge us.  A child thinks he knows better than his parent, and expresses it in the parent's own house, and what do you think the parent's reaction will be?
And Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, "Get up, get out of this place, for YHWH is going to destroy this city!"  But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be as one joking.  -- Genesis 19:14
First of all, didn't Lot tell the men of the city that his daughters hadn't known a man when he offered them, and now they are married?  Secondly, this is the same stuff we are seeing today.  People say with their mouth that the end it coming, but their actions tell us it is a joke to them.
 And when morning dawned, the messengers urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city."  And while he loitered, the men took hold of his hand...  -- Genesis 19:15-16a
Even Lot appears to think this is a joking matter.  How many would loiter if they see the volcano explode and rain sulphur and fire?  There would be a scramble to get out of this city, and yet when God rains sulphur and fire from heaven there's some loitering involved.  That is what is wrong in today's world -- there is no fear of God and no belief in the real God who is very holy and therefore brings judgment accordingly.
"Hurry, escape there.  For I am unable to do any deed until you arrive there."  So the name of the city was called Tso'ar.  -- Genesis 19:22
When compassion of the Lord falls upon us, we are spared from His wrath and judgment.  He doesn't change, and so this is the same every time.  Israel was spared the plagues, and so will be His elect in the end days.  However let us also keep in mind that though these were spared, they were not pulled out of the world, nor did they have to be pulled out of the world in order for God to spare them.

In this part of the story, He is telling Lot to escape to the mountains and Lot is saying he can't make it up there and is asking to remain in Tso'ar.  He pleads that surely it is a small matter.  It appears the Lord had intended to destroy that city as well (v. 21).  Though the Lord grants this, there are too many people these days that want God's compassion and deliverance their way.  There are some who want to hold onto something that He wants to destroy, saying to themselves that it is only a small matter that they have it.  After these things, Lot does end up going into the mountains where his daughters commit incest with him to form the Moabites and Ammonites.  Though Ruth came of Moab, the incest to start Moab was evil.  Perhaps it was something they saw in Sedom or in Tso'ar, God wanting to destroy it as well.  This is why this earth cannot be saved.  It will be destroyed.  You save a part of it, and evil will find a way to continue.
So she said to Abraham, "Drive out this female servant and her son, for the son of this female servant shall not inherit with my son, with Yitshaq." ... But Elohim said to Abraham, "Let it not be evil in your eyes because of the boy and because of your female servant.  Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice, for in Yitshaq your seed is called."  -- Genesis 21:10, 12
In Ezra (chapter 10) we read about Israel having angered the Lord in taking strange wives and having  children born through them.  They made a covenant with God to put away the wives and those children, implying that by this the wrath of God had turned away from them.  First, we need to understand that not only are homosexual marriages not marriages in God's eyes, but there are still heterosexual marriages that aren't as well.  I've heard one too many pastors counseling a repentant sinner who rebelled in fornicating with someone of the world to continue sinning by marrying that person.  This isn't a ticket for all uequally yoked to get a divorce -- read Paul in I Corinthians 7, which corresponds with those like Ruth who chose to stay and did not threaten the believer's continuance in faith.  Here, God is allowing for the putting away of a strange lover and the child raised in the stranger's ways.  Sometimes, God's holiness actually demands this (Ezra).  Some of us cannot understand this, nor know God to be this way.

I know that I know Him, but I also know that I don't want to say God wouldn't do something that He would do or has already done.  I wouldn't want to share a house with a spouse who is constantly telling me I am not who I really am, making up a fantasy of a wife who doesn't really exist.  That's not the way to live, and definitely not the way to live eternally.  It is therefore better that I say I want to know Him and I presume to say that is what eternity is for -- for those who really want to know Him.  After all, how long would it take you to truly know an eternal Being?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lech Lecha: "Go Forth Yourself"

Father Abraham had many sons and many sons had father Abraham and I am one of them and so are you, so let's just praise the Lord.  Right hand... 
Do you remember this song?  When I was first introduced to Protestant religion, I was a youth visiting my Dad in Virginia where his family and he attended a southern Baptist church.  It was summer and VBS was the highlight therein, wherein I learned many songs if not at VBS then in junior church.  This song invited me to the Abrahamic Covenant, a place where believers (Jew and Gentile alike) met covenant with God.  It claimed that all believers had the same father of faith and he was Abraham.  

Now religion played a war on me throughout the years thereafter but I finally got into a straight path in the Way, though I hadn't really thought of the Abrahamic Covenant much.  It was until a few years afterwards while I was reading through the book of Romans and about halfway through I noticed much of the things that Paul was referencing came in direct line with the Abrahamic Covenant and the promises therein.  I saw the Abrahamic Covenant like a hidden thread throughout, and the promises were given to Messiah and His seeds.  It was then that I came to see that all covenants we see in the Bible are really one and the one covenant really starts to be revealed through what we know as the Abrahamic.  Though there are covenants previous to the Abrahamic (Adamic and Noahic), and each one uncovering a bit more of the one true covenant, it really takes a revelatory turning point with Abraham.  This is the beginning of a calling out of a certain people.  Through Romans and the church's claims to promise, I came to see, as it says in Romans itself about being grafted in, that those that claim the promises of the [Abrahamic] Covenant must be found in the [Abrahamic] Covenant, and they join themselves to the people called out (grafted in, see chapter 11).  I later came to understand that when Gentiles came into covenant with God it did not start with what we know as the New Covenant, it started with Abraham.  I came to this point slowly by first realizing that Caleb's identity (Caleb who alone with Joshua came to lead Israel into the land of promise) revealed that Gentiles entered covenant at least as far back as Caleb's time and then backtracked to this Covenant we read about this week, and that Gentiles didn't bring to pass a different Covenant because of their identity but that their identity was conformed to God's "Hebrew" way.  

Before I lose the reader on the value and deity of Christ, I will say He is most certainly needed because, having fallen out of Covenant, He alone can restore us to it.  Paul somewhat speaks of this Torah mystery in Romans, but I'll simply state it as this:  If you are unfaithful to your spouse you are in the curse of adultery.  Your spouse can remarry as the victim, but you are cursed to the bond of your marriage, though put away and divorced.  The only way you are free to remarry is if/when your spouse dies.  He came for the lost sheep of Israel, those put away.  So then as their Husband and the one to whom we have all committed adultery against (having worshipped other than Him), He must die to release us, and release us to remarry Him.  Therefore, the Covenant is not new, but renewed.  This, on top of God aforetime saying He requires blood for life, and the punishment and payment of offenses being equal to the victim, so that God can only pay back God with God -- the wisdom of God in the salvation plan has many items that need to be addressed and all are covered by Him.  He is our Y'shua, our salvation.  I bring up the perspective through adultery according to Torah because we it quickly removes this whole Old Covenant vs New Covenant concept.  Back to the Abrahamic Covenant...
And YHWH said to Abram, "Go yourself out of your land, from your relatives and from your father's house, to a land which I show you.  And I shall make you a great nation, and bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing!  And I shall bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you.  And in you all the clans of the earth shall be blessed."  So Abram left, as YHWH had commanded him, and Lot went with him.  And Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.  And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they gathered, and the beings whom they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Kena'an.  And they came to the land of Kena'an.  -- Genesis 12:1-5
So we can see that when God gave Abraham the covenant, it wasn't just with his actual blood, but he took with him non-relatives that became a part of his household.

The Covenant itself has 3 points, which we just read and which truly are given to Messiah and claimed (if even just spiritually for those dispensational believers) by those who believe in Him.  What I want to discuss is requirements of the Covenant.  The first demand of this Covenant is that Abraham is to go to a land that the Lord would show him.  It was not revealed to him at that moment where he would go.  Such faith.  Clearly, the first demand to enter Covenant with God is that we would walk by faith.  This is true universally and in all time, not just a New Testament concept, whereas the Old Testament required law-abidance.  To target this once and for all, we can see via Hebrews 11 all those faith-walkers mentioned are Old Testament saints, and that those who love him will keep His law -- just as those who love their spouses will keep the law of their marriages.
After these events the word of YHWH came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your reward is exceedingly great."  -- Genesis 15:1
Another requirement of this Covenant is the presence of the Lord, God revealed in your life.  That verse is most otherwise translated not as God simply saying Abram has a reward but that Abram's reward is God.  I once heard someone say that it doesn't matter if you claim to be saved if you do not have a real testimony of God's deliverance and presence in your life.  To confirm, the Bible does give accounts of times when people professed with their mouths the Lord God and yet His presence was not among them due to apostasy.  
"And no longer is your name called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, because I shall make you a father of many nations. ... And Elohim said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, do you not call name Sarai, for Sarah is her name."  -- Genesis 17:5, 15
Speaking of God's presence and Abraham being the revelatory point of the one Covenant, notice the name change.  Both of these names had the Hebrew hey added to them, which refers to revelation and Divine presence.  The presence of the Lord is to be in your life.  As a fruit inspector, this is what we all look for in each other, and what the world is looking for as their motivation to faith.
"This is My covenant which you guard between Me and you, and your seed after you:  Every male child among you is to be circumcised.  And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.  And a son of eight days is circumcised by you, every male in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with silver from any foreigner who is not of your seed."  -- Genesis 17:10-12
This Covenant requires a physical sign of a spiritual truth.  Surely if the world and the things therein speak of His glory and His kingdom (Matthew 13), then your whole life should be a physical example of a spiritual truth -- your relationship with your parents, relationship with your children, relationship with your spouse, your decisions in your doings and non-doings (Deuteronomy 6:6-9), your trials.  The heart circumcised brings the soul into Covenant (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Romans 2:29) and God, being consistent, wants a physical sign of the spiritual truth and in this matter it comes via physical circumcision.   

What we also see in the above passage is a confirmation of non-relatives of Abraham entering the Covenant (Gentiles entering).  Yes it says those that are bought and therefore brought into Abraham's house, and we may argue if we are like these servants and slaves that were bought by a man like Abraham.  To be listed as a purchased slave of Abraham and his Jewish descendants might offend many, even the Church.  However, if these Covenant promises are ultimately given to Messiah then you have to believe that you are one of those foreigners bought by Him to enter the Covenant, and you are a slave of His if not a slave to your own sin.  If you do not believe you have been bought, nor are willing to be His servant added unto His house, then it makes sense you wouldn't follow the Covenant because you are not a part of it.

Not only does the physical circumcision of natural and purchased sons tell of a spiritual truth, but even the numbers in the above passage also tell of a spiritual truth.  I mentioned last week, in regards to the 120 years in Genesis 6:3, that I believe in the literal giving of 120 years to man until the Flood, and that this also means a literal 120 Jubilees given to man, which equals 6,000 years.  I reminded the reader of Scripture's saying of the Lord's time and tarrying as one day as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day, so then 6,000 years is as 6 days.  I then reminded the reader of the 6 days in one week, the 7th being the set-apart to the Lord, so that after our 6 days (6 millenniums, 120 Jubilees) we commence the 7th millennium (7th "day" which is set-apart to the Lord) as the Lord's Day and literal millennial reign.  So this week I will share my thoughts on the number 8, which falls after last week's thoughts on the number 7 and the 7th millennium.  Eight means "new beginnings."  After 7 is 8 and after the 7th millennium (the millennial reign) we have the old done away with and the new heaven and new earth, and that surely is a new beginning.  The point on this is, there is a reason why God said circumcise the sons on the eighth day.  Not only is this thought to be the time when blood-clotting makes circumcision a safer practice, but it symbolizes a new beginning.  We know that when we come to Messiah the old has done away with, behold, all things are become new.
And it came to be when Abram was ninety-nine years old, that YHWH appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am El Shaddai -- walk before Me and be perfect."  -- Genesis 17:1
So we have come to the final requirement I will mention.  It is to walk perfect.  I understand that many will say this is the difference between the Old Testament and the New, but I will remind you that our Lord Messiah Himself said the same thing in Matthew 5:48 -- which leaves us asking what does it mean to walk perfect?  Through the Strong's we see this is the Hebrew tamiym, that it means to be undefiled and without blemish.
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.  -- Psalm 119:1 KJV
And the same verse in The Scriptures:
Blessed are the perfect in the way, Who walk in the Torah of YHWH!
So then Messiah tells us, Matthew 5:48, to be undefiled (that is, to walk in Torah, His Word) even as our heavenly Father does.

Another verse about being perfected and undefiled:
But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him.  By this we know that we are in Him.  -- I John 2:5
Reminder, the Word that existed at this point was Torah.  From the beginning, God has commanded man to "guard."  You see this command living through to one of the last books of the Bible, in our I John verse above, through the last chapter of Revelation, and it started with Adam in Genesis two.  It is a faithful command through all time, and it is a command that is most given in the Abrahamic Covenant -- the command to walk perfect, which is to guard to keep and obey the Word.
And Elohim said to Abraham, "As for you, guard My covenant, you and your seed after you throughout their generations."  -- Genesis 17:1
I started with the first requirement, which is faith; and I end with the final, obedience -- which is keeping God's Word (law, "Torah") because as the book of James tells us, "faith without works is dead."


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Friday, October 24, 2014

Noach/Noah

He rescued Lot, a righteous man deeply troubled by the shameless immorality of the wicked.  (For that righteous man, while living among them, was tormented in his righteous soul day after day by lawless deeds he saw and heard.)  -- 2 Peter 2:7-8 TLV
I read this yesterday as I concluded this week's study with the Brit Chadashah reading.  I was so relieved.  I briefly wrote about a passage last week and in truth the passage was a very real struggle of mine I have been coming to Brant about.  The passage was when Adam and Eve ate of the tree and their eyes were open to know good and evil.  I shared Brant's suggested meaning, likening the prefall mind to a sheltered child who never watched TV nor saw the evils of the world and the fallen mind to the mind of today -- the mind that knows of what evils exist and is often brought to envision these by the news, and by those who are bringing awareness for activism and charity.  Don't get me wrong, I am not against awareness.  I am actually for it, but let us be truthful with ourselves and realize that it doesn't only bring about ministries and aides, but it shows us what men are capable of and that knowledge is torturous.

I hope I don't have Elijah-syndrome with this.  I don't think that I do, especially when I read a passage that says a man before me (Lot) was troubled with the immorality his eyes saw and his soul was tortured with the deeds he saw and heard.  Both my soul and my mind (being visionary) are tortured with the evil of this world that I see, don't even see but merely read, and hear.  My struggle is that, considering the torture of it, my mind is blemished.  No, I know I don't Elijah-syndrome, I am simply fallen man that as open eyes to the knowledge of evil whose soul has been made righteous and by which I am both blessed with the open eyes to see the good (namely, the Lord who alone is good) in this world and tortured to see the evil (even if I don't literally see it, but being brought to the knowledge of it imprints the image in my mind).  Actually, if I wasn't tormented, like I now complain, then I'd be worried my soul was not made righteous but that in it dwells the desire of the same evil.
Therefore the Lord certainly knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and how to keep the unrighteous being punished until the Day of Judgment--especially those who follow after the flesh in its unclean desires and who despises the Lord's authority.  -- 2 Peter 2:9-10 TLV
The Lord will keep such ones, like Lot and Noah, from trials.  What is a trial?   It is a time of testing, waiting, growing, killing, amongst other things.  We can look at the men referenced in this reading to get a better idea of a trial and with Lot we know that a trial can be likened to judgment because some trials definitely lead to them.  Actually with both, trials led to judgment.  Let's take a look at the days of Noah as it pertains to trials, which is our Torah reading this week.

In Genesis 6:1-8 we read that man's thoughts and heart's intentions were only wicked continually and God decided to wipe out the earth, sparing Noah and his family.  He was going to do this in 120 years, as some interpret that passage; and though trials have a number, that number is not 120, but forty.  We get this from this story, the story of Israel in the wilderness, the Acts period before the temple destruction, etc., which all equated to the number forty and were all times of trial.  In the Hebrew, numbers have meanings as do letters (which also have numbers).  This is important for us to understand in study and in interpreting signs, especially in things like dreams.  I am amazed at what God says through them when I get the meaning of things from the Hebrew mindset and His likenings in the Word.

So forty is the time given for trial, and here is where that number plays in this reading:
And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.  -- Genesis 7:12 
So here we uncover the purpose of trial, because 40 here is for purging.  The purpose of our trials, and for all trials we read of in the Bible (the judgment in Lot's dwelling, Israel in the wilderness, the Acts period) is for ...purging.  Sometimes the purging is within, sometimes the purging is the land (city, country, earth).

By the way, my assumption is that 120 is the days given to man, because that is literally what God said when He spoke the number.  I am one who does interpret that God gave man life on the earth for a literal 120 years before the Flood and that He gives man 120 Jubilee years on this earth, which is 6,000 years.  If God created the earth in 6 days and set-apart the seventh for Himself and if one day is as a thousand years (Psalm 90:4), then man has 6 millenniums and the 7th is set-apart for the Lord as the Day of the Lord in His 1 day/1 millennial earthly reign.

 I want to look at one more thing in the Torah reading, a word that is spoken over and over:  water.  Speaking of dream interpretations, water makes it in mine quite often.  I know we can all relate.  In interpretation, I use God's Word as the interpreter.  With water, I most often use the the water sources at the end of Ezekiel to determine.  In that passage, water is found in different ways, and the Word tells you the meaning of each body of water.  The meaning of water depends on the water source.  You have the stream (the Word), the river (the Spirit), the seas/oceans (the nations).  We also read about water in this week's Torah portion:
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of the heavens were opened.  And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.  -- Genesis 7:11-12
And the waters were mighty and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters.  -- Genesis 7:18
The waters became mighty, fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.  -- Genesis 7:20
And the waters were mighty on the earth, one hundred and fifty days.  -- Genesis 7:24
One of the biggest revelations to me on the meaning of water is through the Hebrew letter mem.  It comes in open and closed form.  It is often referenced to a womb, closed belonging to a virgin/womb that hasn't experienced childbirth.  As with any childbirth experience, when it opens water gushes forward (ruptured membranes).  Therefore the closed mem is closed waters.  Open mem is opened waters.  Now reconsider the verses above in Genesis 7:11-12 notice how the waters were closed in the heavens and then the heavens opened and they gushed forward.  It sort of reminds us of the meaning behind the mem doesn't it?  Mem also refers to chaos, because gushing waters are chaos, whereas contained waters are not.  Looking back we can see that the gushing waters of the Flood were chaos to the earth -- things shifted, life ended.  We can also see that the Flood that came from the open heavens was as one large ocean in the world.  Remember that the ocean is given for the nations, and the nations are nothing short of chaos.

Before we returned to the States I had a series of water dreams.  They were all turbulent oceanic waters (chaos) and quite frightening, but one thing I am thankful for is that my family and I were atop the waters in a boat and ship.  I believe the Lord was reassuring me on my family's position in Him during these times, especially coming back to this disorderly/chaotic nation.  God is well able, friends, in these days liken unto Noah's, to rise us above the chaos, above the waters, sustained in His ark.
And Elohim remembered Noah, and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark.  And Elohim made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.  -- Genesis 8:1
What is wind other than ruach/spirit?  With that thought, go back to Genesis 1:2 -- "And the earth came to be formless and empty. and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters..." The passages are quite alike.  The Spirit moves over the waters and what happens?  Life happens.  The end is likened unto the days of Noah and its goal is likened unto the beginning.  In that case, I am comforted in knowing that no matter the evil and chaos and the death it brings, God will remember me, move over me, and raise me into newness of life when the purging is complete...free of the chaos of these days.    

 N...

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