Month 2:17, Week 3:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year 5935:047 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 20 May 2011
The Tavnith Touchstone
Separating Set-Apartness From Adultery
Continued from Part 4
When it comes to accurate Bible translation, I am quite a stickler because so much emet (truth) is lost when man seeks to interpret and insert what he thinks the text ought to be. Today I am mostly using the New American Standard Bible (NASB) because nearly all other versions mutilate this text, including the following:
"You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward Elohim (God)? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Elohim (God)" (James 4:4, NASB).
Apart from the NASB the only traslations in my collection that get it right, albeit in expanded form, are the following:
"You adulterers and adulteresses..." (KJV, NKJV, ISRV, RSTNE, Newbury);
"Adulterers..." (OJB, HRV);
"You adulterous people..." (NIV);
"You false, unfaithful creatures..." (NEB);
"You unfaithful people..." (GNB);
"...you apostates..." (Berkley);
"Wanton creatures..." (Moffat);
"Unfaithful creatures..." (RSV);
"You rennegades..." (S&G);
"You have broken all your vows..." (Barclay)
"You adulterous people..." (ESV)
Now you may think I am nit-picking but I assure you the true rendition is vital if we are to understand emet-tavnith or truth-patterns in Scripture. The Greek word moikalis (Strongs 3428) only means an adulteress, being the feminine form of moichos, an adulterer. So let us repeat the correct form here as I expound sacred tavnith (pattern) in this fourth chapter of the epistle of James (Ya'akov):
"Adulteresses..." (NASB, Benjamin Wilson, MRC);
"You are like an unfaithful wife who loves her husband's enemies" (LB);
"You are [like] unfaithful wives!" (JNT & JBP);
"You are as unfaithful and adulterous wives..."; (JB)
"You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with thre world] and breaking your marriage vow to Elohim (God)!" (Amp.V).
In the same way that professed believers who make friends with the tavnith (pattern) of the world are enemies of Yahweh, so a wife who befriends any other kind of derech (way) or tavnith (pattern) of chayim (life) that is not her husband's, makes herself an adulteress and is hostile to her husband. When she wishes to befriend, emulate or install any tavnith (pattern) in her life or home and into their relationship that is not her husband's, she makes herself an enemy to her husband if he is himself adhering to the Word of Elohim (God). This is because the relationship between Messiah and the Messianic Community (Church) is modelled on the human marriage relationship, which is an eternal tavnith (pattern), so that whatever is established by Torah and Scripture generally for the relationship between Yah'shua (Jesus) and believers, also applies to the husband-wife relationship. This is known by us as Holy Echad Marriage.
"You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward Elohim (God)? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world [and it's tavnith] makes himself an enemy of Elohim (God)" (James 4:4, NASB).
When Yah'shua (Jesus) tells us, His metaphorical bride, that He is "the derech (way), the emet (truth) and the chayim (life)" (Jn.14:6), He is also setting a precendent in the marriage relationship. When a woman marries a man, then if she is walking in Yah'shua (Jesus), and Yah'shua (Jesus) - and not her own flesh-desires - has given her to the man of His choice, then she must walk in the derech (way), the emet (truth) and the chayim (life) that her husband walks in. How can Yah'shua otherwise graft her into the branch that is her husband and make her fruitful? And if she does not want to walk in her husband's derech (way), emet (truth) and chayim, even as he strives to walk the Derech (Way), the Emet (Truth) and the Chayim (Life) of his Master, but rather wishes him to walk in hers, or some other way, then she is setting herself up as his head and committing adultery. She becomes an adulteress just as we do as believers when we set up a Gospel that varies in any way to the one revealed in Scripture.
Does this mean that the husband is perfect like Messiah? We all know that he is not because he is ever changing as he is repenting. But that is not even the point in the context of James 4: if the woman belongs to him - if she is ordained by Yahweh to marry a particular man at a particular point in time (and this is a revelation on Yahweh's timing), then it is both because she came from him (as Eve came from Adam) and he is her home, origin and foundation. The timing of Yahweh - the 'yes' or permission to marry at a particular point in time - is given because she can now safely walk in his tavnith-chayim (pattern of life) even if it is still being progressively refined and perfected. It means that it is safe for her to submit to him in all things that do not require her to break the mitzvot (commandments), as Scripture demands, since this is the moment that Yahweh ordained them to be brought together. And because this is His timing, she is safe to submit to him in everything and let go.
All those seeking Yahweh's will in marriage need only know the answers - and indeed must know the answers - to only two questions if they are to happily live in tavnith:
Knowing the answer to the first does not automatically mean the second question is answered. Both questions are as critically important as each other because if the timing is wrong and woman may not be able to submit to her husband's way and pattern, because the timing for successful grafting has not yet arrived. Thus a woman in a marriage ordained by Yahweh but entered into ahead of time can find herself committing spiritual adultery by refusing to walk in her husband's way. This can result because either of the two are unprepared.
- 1. Is this my eternal companion?
- 2. Is this the right time to marry?
It is the same in our relatiomnship with Yahweh. We are all, by default, called to be the Bride of Yah'shua (Jesus) - everyone is called without exception so we do not need to ask the first question. Of course, Yahweh knows who of the called are chosen and who are not (Mt.10:16; 22:14) because He knows in advance the choices we will make given our free will to accept or reject Him. There is a time and a season when a man or woman is most ready to receive the salvation message - try to force someone to become a believer before their time and the relationship will not gel - the conversion will be a pretense and with no authentic new birth the journey as a 'believer' will always come to an unhappy ending. Yahweh forces no one but sadly there are over-zealous Christians and Messianics who sometimes try to force unbelievers into the faith. This monstrous intrustion into free agency Yahweh hates because someone forced against their will can leave bitter and resentful and be difficult to convince for real.
This allegorical call to marriage is no different from the human one when it comes to timing and only Yahweh knows when the correct time is. Jacob was made to wait for Rachel until the timing was right - Yahweh had plans for the patriarch involving Leah and the creation of a 12-Tribed Nation that he knew nothing about. Thus if a woman enters a marriage covenant unwilling to totally yield to her husband's order of tavnith, she will end up becoming a spiritual adulteress, which is no different from living a religion under false pretenses. The correct timing ensures that she will be able to recongise and submit to her husband because he has a sufficiently strong foundation of emet to bear her safely.
Between the passage we studied yesterday and today's there are many other linking keys to these revealed thoughts of the presiding apostle and first patriarch of the Messianic Community (Church). In verse 3 he explains, therefore, why believers "ask and do not receive". It is because they want chayim (life) for "wrong motives", being out of tavnith (pattern) with their Heavenly Husband, because they want to "spend [the things they ask for] on their own pleasures" and not according to the Master's pleasure. The life, power, energy and "Ruach (Spirit) which He has made to dwell in us" (v.5), He says, He "jealously desires"! What he has put in us as the Bride He wants returned as a fruitful investment for Him - it isn't for our own pleasures, in the same way that the Sabbath is not for "finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words" (Isa.58:13, NKJV).
Do you see the tavnith or pattern here? This is quite crucial for a Sukkot marriage - for one who is actually the Messianic Bride and not a lawless one belonging to the second resurrection. Yah'shua (Jesus) demands that we live for Him, making our pleasures His pleasure so that He can present us to His Father and ours at the last day. Exactly the same tavnith (pattern) obtains in a true believer's marriage, for the same way that a husband wants the chayim (life) or ruach (spirit) which he has put into his wife to be returned to him as a fruit-increase, he lives to present to Messiah. The wife is not making an independent presentation to Yah'shua (Jesus) bypassing her husband any more than we are making an independent presentation to Yahweh bypassing Yah'shua (Jesus).
So many miss this essential emet (truth) and commit spiritual adultery. A wife who is using her husband for her own pleasures and not his is a thief and an adulteress, consuming her husband on her lusts instead of being fruitful for him, in his ways and tavnith (pattern), so that he can make a return for, and brings glory to, Yah'shua (Jesus), even as Yah'shua (Jesus) makes a return for, and brings glory to, Yahweh the Father. This is the only way acknowledged in Scripture, and the world system and its tavnith absolutely hates it! That is why we, as the Bride, can in no way become friends with the world without becoming enemies of Yahweh.
What of the husband? How can he come out of tavnith (pattern) and end up a spiritual adultereress (as he is in a 'female', subjective position to Messiah) himself? By consuming his wife's fruitfulness for himself and his own glory - such a man wants to give no return to Yah'shua (Jesus) for the Cross!
The breakdown of divine tavnith (pattern) in Christian marriage is the direct result of the failure to observe one principle:
Pride is the destroying force of all tavnith and echad. Pride wants it for him- or herself. Pride wants the fruits for him- or herself instead of presenting it back to Yahweh or her husband, respectively, to whom it belongs in Yahweh's eyes. Accordingly, James went on to say:
"Elohim (God) is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (v.6).
Then we have shalom (peace) and simcha (joy). Furthermore:
"Submit to Elohim [and husband]. Resist the devil [Satan and ways that are not of husband's tavnith] and he will flee from you [freeing you to become one in proper tavnith (pattern), emet (truth) and chayim (life)]" (v.7).
This simple key, anathema to the flesh but deliverance for the ruach (spirit), like everything that takes you from the world into the heavenly realm, requires emunah (faith) and therefore great risk. This is equally true for the uniplural Bride of Messiah and for brides of husbands. This implementation of this does require the answering of an important question:
"Draw near to Elohim [husband], [present yourself] and He will draw near to you [receiving you]. Clease your hands [your actions, deeds], you sinners [breakers of Torah-tavnith], and purify your levim (hearts) [by walking in Yahweh's/husband's derech (way), emet (truth) and chayim (life)], you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep [when you are out of the tavnith of your Elohim or husband]; let your laughter [that comes from walking in tavnith] be turned to mourning [for breaking divine tavnith and therefore echad, for then the fullness of ahavah (love) flowing and multiplying into fruitfulness is cut short], and your simcha (joy) into gloom [for this derech (way) of rebellion against divine tavnith is a dead-end]. Humble [prostrate] yourself in the presence of the Master (Lord) [Yah'shua/husband] and He will exalt you" (vv.8-10).
Many fear to become believers because they have been taught a wrong picture about God through atheism and false religion, for the promise is given, and is absolutely trustworthy, that Yahweh exalts those who give themselves to Him in the Messiah. Similarly, many women have been taught a false picture through feminism, the quest for 'independence' and mental patterning after false secular gender rôles, that sinful men are incapable of assuming the heavy responsibility for this divine tavnith rôle Yahweh has given to them. However - and this is an equally important promise - a believing man in Yah'shua (Jesus) with a tov shem (good name) will always exalt a surrendered, submitted wife, lifting her even above himself, just as believers are commanded to treat each other as better than themselves in imitation of Yah'shua (Jesus) the Bridegroom.
"If i do this, as commanded, surrendering everything, will I be exalted as a queen or just abandoned as a worthless nobody?"
Most women want to be lifted or exalted these days as some sort of right, and without surrender, often offering the excuse (sometimes) that they will surrender after they have been exalted. That never happens, always results in false headship and leads to disintegration of the eternal marriage bond.
What is the reason that women do this? Because they fear to be trampled on or used as a door mat by a bad man, an egotistical man. And this is yet another reason why she needs to know, by revelation from Yahweh, who her Elohim-appointed husband is and when she is to be married, so that she may safely yield control of her life to him in the complete assurance that he will be assuming headship to bring glory to Yahweh. For a tov (good) husband will not exalt a spiritual adulteress. He will resist her and wait for her, as Yahweh waits for us, to come to Him in proper tavnith - humble, with pride crushed, drawing near, purifying levim (hearts), and so ending all the double-mindedness that leads to instability of character :
Moreover, a man who expects this kind of surrender from his wife but will not give everything to Yahweh first, is himself an adulteress and unworthy of such surrender. Indeed, he must be so submitted to, and lost in, Yahweh himself that he won't be able to find His wife otherwise. Without this mutual surrender to Yahweh beforehand, they'll never find one another, never know the right time to marry, and come with all kinds of wrong expectations of each other based on the philosophies of men.
"But let him ask in emunah (faith), with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Master; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:6-8, NKJV).
There is therefore much preparation in the years of pre-marital celibacy to be enjoined if the couple are to avoid the catastrophic errors of falling in love with the wrong people and ending up with disasterous or half-dead relationships. Recall that James, in the chapter we are studying, says that right behaviour in tavnith (pattern) is contingent not just upon submitting to Yahweh in an existenial sense but upon submitting to His Torah or law too. There is a Law just as there is a law-Giver - there is a husband's law just as there is a husband. We are not to come to Yahweh demanding that we re-write His Law to our own tastes or liking, anymore than a wife is to marry a man and expect to re-write his. It is the responsibility of the man to establish the correct tavnith (pattern) to the best of his ability, grawing in chesed (grace) and emet (truth) day by day, adjusting the rudder of his bayit (house) as a the helmsman of a ship turns the rudder to correct his course. We trust in the captains of ships we sail under, and the planes we fly in, however imperfect they may be, knowing that they are qualified for, serious about and responsible for their passengers. We get on board, relax, and let them get on with their jobs. This is how we, the Bride, are to rely on Yah'shua (Jesus) to steer the ship of our life and how the wife is to rely on her husband to steer his bayit (house) in the proper tavnith (pattern).
I view my own calling as a husband with the greatest of sobriety. It has taken me years and years to find the actual biblical tavnith after many experiments based on limited udnerstanding and not a few mistakes. We must all search for the true tavnith (pattern), present it to our heads, and ask them to consult Yahweh about it and to implement it if it is from Him. I myself have received most of the revelation on this for myself, going back to Scripture and filtering out all the erroneous cultural and religious habits and prejudices that have been handed down to us. Yahweh so beautifully summarised the truth of what I have been talking about in a vision about five months ago, capping (as it were) a long search during which He had been progressively unfolding these truths, which I now reproduce for you again:
Like something very, very concentrated indeed, there have been many key visions from Yahweh in my life and this is one of them. When unpacked, they reveal layer upon layer of expansive and seemingly never-ending emet (truth). But like so many eternal truths, I expect the majority of believers to reject it. This is, in any case, for the remnant, who wish to walk with Yah'shua (Jesus) in everything, who wish to own nothing of themselves but to submit themselves to the fullness of His Holy Order. These are principles, moreover (or at least some of them) that have been horribly abused in the past by unscrupulous and wicked men and which have, as a result, deservedly acquired such a nasty reputation that they are almost taboo today. To overcome such prejudice therefore requires some considerable courage these days, the "restoration of all things" not, in any case, being for the faint-hearted (Ac.3:1):
"In the vision a husband and a wife faced one another in a desert. The wife prostrated herself on the ground before her husband in complete submission to him (1 Pet.3:1). As she did so, a road appeared under her body and extended under the feet of her husband and behind him into the distance. The moment the road appeared, her husband turned round and prostrated himself before Yahweh, his wife directly behind him where she remained motionless. I saw the road continuing to extend in a straight line towards a very large hill or obstacle. When it reached the foot of the hill, the hill split in two so that the road did not need to ascend but remained on the level. Then the vision ended."
May you search for and find the tavnith touchstone that brings all together in echad. Amen.
"But for the fearful (timid, faithless, cowardly), and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part (shall be) in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death" (Rev.21:8, ASV).