Sermons Series 3:98, 16 June 2007
The Perfect Storm
The 10 Plagues & Life's Breaking-Points
In 1991 the American fishing boat Andrea Gail heads out of Gloucester, Massachusetts on a fateful expedition to catch swordfish. Lured by the prospect of a lucrative catch and pursued by a storm whose proportions get bigger and bigger all the time, a fateful decision is made: they gamble their lives on a choice between saving their skins and saving their catch. In the end they lose both. I am sure many of you saw the movie made seven years ago depicting this event. The size of the waves is terrifying. The helplessness of the crew in the face of the irresistible force of the elements illustrates the folly of human arrogance, the belief that in our own strength we can 'handle anything'. And if there is one thing this movie teaches us it is that it is better to 'break' ourselves voluntarily and have a chance for new life instead of letting life break us at a possible and highly risky point of no return.
For me, the Perfect Storm is a metaphor describing the point at which a man or a woman reaches the 'end' of him- or herself in a futile attempt to manage and control everything around, whether people, things or events, either for own gain or to protect self from real or imagined dangers. I think I can more or less guarantee from personal experience alone, not to mention the witness of Scripture, that a person who lives without faith - a person who is self-righteous - a person who is self-sufficient - will at some point be permitted by Yahweh to face his or her 'perfect storm' that will either break him down into repentance or completely crush him as the crew of the Andrea Gail was. For every person, that 'perfect storm' will be unique and unpredictable. But is it necessary to even come as far as this 'perfect storm'? The answer is, no. It is not. If we are humble and contrite, living for Yahweh and not for ourselves, we do not need to meet the full fury of our 'last appointment' with life and death. We do not have to go as far as the penultimate step that Judas walked to get ourselves right with Yahweh. We don't have to take it to the edge of life itself - into that twilight zone between heaven and hell - we can be sensible and choose right long before being forced to make the final choice - a choice everyone is forced to make in this life: for heaven or hell.
There is something that fatefully attracts us to disaster stories, I think. The producer of The Perfect Storm also created Das Boot, the true story about a German U-Boat in the Second World War. In this long movie we share in the lives of the crew, their adventures, their exploits, their amazing struggle to survive in a hopeless situation, and we are relieved when they finally get home. But like Peterson's fishing boat movie, the end is not what we want to see. The U-Boat is attacked and sunk, and most of its crew killed, as is returns triumphantly to its home base in France. And even though we may be outraged at unhappy endings such as this - because we all want a 'happily ever after' conclusion to every story - we are at least forced to deal with one important reality: namely, that if we try to overcome by psychic willpower and not the spirit, and if we serve the wrong cause, no amount of heroism, valour or courage will vindicate us. The crew of the U-Boat was on the wrong side and the crew of the Andrea Gail valued dollars more than their own lives and the happiness of their families.
We, too, in our prideful stupidity, will often sacrifice ourselves with great determination because we would rather maintain an image than surrender to the truth. When we choose that path, and especially if we claim to belong to Yahweh, then our Father in Heaven will bring us to our individual breaking-points and take us - if we insist - into the very eye of the perfect storm which will either make us or finish us for eternity. Moreover, it has to be realised, that this is not so much Yahweh 'doing' anything to us - it is not He who is necessarily throwing the elements of fear and terror at us that force us into the light of truth to make a final choice - those elements, like a savings account gaining monthly interest, are simply the accumulated dark forces that we have invited in and entertained by our refusal to choose right and repent along the Way. Those dark forces, invited into the temple of the body by stubborn pride and unwillingness to change direction, bring to pass only one result: condemnation.
"Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping" (2 Peter 2:3, NIV).
Or to put it simply, you can't sin with impunity and expect to get away with it indefinitely. It may seem as though you can. The people Noah witnessed to for a century remained stubbornly unrepentant when nothing happened decade after decade. But in the end, what happened to them? They are buried in a watery grave so deep that they will probably never be unearthed. You may believe the lie, 'once saved, always saved', or its numerous variations, 'once forgiven, always forgiven', but if you do, a rude awakening will suddenly descend upon you when the Perfect Storm comes crashing through the front door of your life.
The Ten Plagues of Egypt
As you know, I have been giving some thought to the Ten Plagues of Egypt recently and specifically I have been wondering if there was a reason for the particular plagues themselves. Why plagues of gnats and frogs? Yahweh could have chosen any number of different calamities, but we know that nothing He does is without purpose or profound meaning. We may deceive ourselves into thinking otherwise, to soothe a troubled conscience, and because we don't want His judgement to be too specific or too detailed -- we would rather maintain a comfortable distance and repent at a distance, but repentance is not complete - repentance is not properly done - until we are in the eye of the storm of our sinning and can actually see what we've done. Intellectualisation of sin makes for comfortable distance but that isn't want Yahweh wants. Yes, He wants us to think things though, but there can be no cleansing and restoration of the life stolen by demonic powers until we have got into the life-reality of the sinning that brought those dark forces in in the first place. Each of the ten plagues were 'perfect storms' deliberately calculated by Yahweh to send a message to Pharaoh, to Egypt, and to anyone of any race, religion or culture who dares to defy Him and set themselves above the Creator. And that message is this: you don't mess around with the Architect of the whole Cosmos just like you don't mess around in tiny fishing boats with the elements of nature.
Now just because the going seems to be good for you, just because your circumstances seem to be peaceful and undisturbing, even in the midst of serious potential trouble, doesn't mean that a 'perfect storm' isn't heading right towards you. There will have been signs. Little squalls in your relationships with people, unresolved issues that you've managed to parry a while in the mistaken belief that they won't return. You get comfortable thinking they won't return, and you certainly don't believe they'll return bigger than the last time.
After each plague and each sense of defeat and helplessness, Pharaoh saw that 'normality' had returned and assumed that the trouble was at an end. So we, like Pharaoh, stick it out for another round, congratulating ourselves that we survived the first storms and arrogantly supposing that we can survive anything that life throws at us because we survived all that went before. And instead of understanding that Yahweh is actually purposefully permitting these storms to get us to react and wake up, we start marking them down as accidents or freaks of life, which ironically insurance people call 'acts of God'.
When Yahweh originally showed me the Three Waves vision, in which we hopped over the first wave easily enough, and then, with great effort, just managed to jump the second one, it was to point out that the first two waves were warnings of what was to come the third time round and to do something concretely about it. The meaning wasn't that we should just 'stay put' and 'take what came' - the idea was to get out of there! If you're in a coastal resort and you hear in the news that a tsunami is on the way, what do you do? Sit around and wait for it? If you do you might get some first signs of stormy weather which don't seem too bad, and because they're not as bad as what has been predicted, you assume that the early warning system got it wrong and that the worst has already passed. There is some discomfort but we don't feel seriously enough threatened by the opening acts of the storm to do anything really concrete. So we stick it out.
I mentioned that the 'perfect storm' is, in fact, Yahweh's condemnation of sin. Well, if you take no steps to get away from it, that's exactly what it is. It's 'perfect' because it's just. I believe the ten plagues of Egypt depict the ten storms that Yahweh permits to buffet us because they depict ten areas of life in which we commonly rebel. Understanding what they are does require a little knowledge of the religion of the ancient Egyptians because the plagues were specifically levelled against their demonic gods and the provisions they supposedly brought to the Egyptian people. The order of the plagues is also, I believe, noteworthy. And whilst Yahweh will specifically target areas where we are idolatrous and not surrendered to Him, there is nonetheless a progression for those who will defy Him to the bitter end.
1. The Nile Turned to Blood. The turning of a waterway into blood, thus killing off the fishes, might seem very special until you realise that the River Nile was what really defined Egyptian life physically. Without it their country would have been an uninhabitable desert. It was, understandably, considered by them to be the source of all life, at least on the material plane, and so all their gods were connected to it in some way. In striking the river and turning it to blood - which you will also remember is biblically the source of life to the human body - Yahweh was declaring that He, and He alone, was, and is, the source of all Life, and not just an African river. We read in the Book of Revelation:
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month" (Rev.22:1-2, NIV).
If you think that you have control over any aspect of living then Yahweh is telling you through this plague that you are under a major delusion. You may delude yourself for 70 odd years until the moment of death comes when. In the spiritual reality beyond earthly existence, you are confronted with ultimate reality. Then the awfulness of your arrogance and presumption is laid bare before you. Yahweh declares that He has dominion over all life, from the flow of the blood in your circulatory system, to your job and the people in your life. In this first plague Yahweh commenced the process of shattering illusion. You don't have as much control as you think. In fact, as we work our way through the ten plagues, you will discover that you don't have any control at all.
2. The Plague of Frogs. Why frogs? What's so special about them? They may not mean much to us but to the Egyptians they were viewed as divine, like so many creatures were. These people had evidently watched them spawning and had been impressed by how prodigiously they had multiplied, so they became a symbol of fertility much as rabbits are to us in our Western culture. In fact, just like some endangered species in our countries, frogs were protected by Egyptian law and it was illegal to kill them, much as cows are protected in Hindu cultures. One of the gods who ruled over frogs was Isis whom I am sure you've heard of. Yahweh compares frogs to evil spirits, the ones John saw coming out of the mouth of the end-time dragon that performed miracles (Rev.16:13). Whatever 'powers' you may experience in life, Yahweh declares that He has power over these too. Just because people continue to raise up children doesn't necessarily mean Yahweh's is declaring them righteous. David specifically mentions that "their [Egyptian] land teemed with frogs, which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers" (Ps.105:30, NIV). They may have thought themselves possessed to great sexual prowess in the bedroom but the invasion of the frogs there too proved Yahweh's point that even sexuality belongs to Him.
3. The Plague of Gnats. Summer is here and the mosquitoes and gnats are everywhere making a nuisance of themselves. The Egyptian demon-god Seth was the guardian of the land's pagan priests who were very engaged in outer ritual purity. In sending gnats against these religious 'paragons of virtue' Yahweh demonstrated that it was spiritual purity that counted the most, not physically, as this 'upper crust' of society were afflicted as sorely by the gnats as everyone else was. Here Yahweh exposes the outer forms of behaviour like formalism and religiosity that are used to conceal what's really going on inside us. The fake smiles, the pretended kindness and friendship, all that is presented as real when it is not, is exposed eventually. The gnats rip down the masks of pretension as Yahweh makes us squirm within to expose people whose outer behaviour does not square up with what's actually going on inside. This is also an attack also on the kind of religion that is little more than a performance.
Plagues for All. I want you to especially note that these first three plagues affected everyone, including the Hebrews! As we'll see in a minute, the remaining seven were only for the Egyptians. And that makes perfect sense because do not even those who know the true Elohim also forget from time to time from whence life comes? And didn't they keep on raising up children through good and bad times, through times of both faithfulness and national apostasy? And whilst Yahweh can, and does, block fertility from time to time (as He did with Sarah, Rachel and Hannah), he causes fertility in the whole human race just as He lets the sun shine on the righteous as well as the wicked. And finally, He warns His people not to get 'religious' in the bad sense of the word. Well, of course, as we know, that's exactly what they did centuries later, to the point that Yahweh condemned their outward observance of Torah because their hearts were so corrupt and hypocritical. (These scriptures have been abused by lawless Christians to claim Yahweh hated His own Torah).
4. The Plague of Flies. At this point, we see a separation between Yahweh's people and all the rest. The flies were not directed against the Hebrews, only the Egyptians. Just as Beelzebub or the 'lord of the Flies' (literally 'lord of the high house') was the god of the Canaanites whom they would conquer in the next generation, so Ekron was the parallel Egyptian 'lord of the flies'. You may remember that one of the important Philistine cities was likewise called Ekron and that they worshipped this demon there. Beelzebub is second in command to Satan in Milton's Lost Paradise and is referred to as 'price of devils' by Yah'shua (Mt.12:24). The fact that the flies afflict only the Egyptians shows a clear contrast between the two deities and the two peoples. These people are raw idolaters and they worship beings whose value is no better than the irritating and unhygienic fly. So it is so with all false religion. The division is what makes Yahweh's people 'set-apart', 'separate' or 'holy'. We need to know who we are worshipping and to ensure that our lifestyle proves it by our strict adherence to Torah and our distinctiveness from the world in our lifestyle and behaviour.
5. The Disease of the Livestock. Again, only Egyptian livestock were affected by this plague. The very animals that Yahweh commanded the Hebrews to sacrifice the Egyptians worshipped and so refused to sacrifice. Thus they worshipped Apis, the bull-god, which the rebellious Hebrews made and idol of in the wilderness of Sinai, along with other false deities like Ptah and Hathor. Pharaoh worshipped Apis. This was the first plague to seriously affect Egyptian wealth.
6. The Plague of Boils. Yahweh's next assault, after Egyptian wealth, is Egyptian health. His wrath is specifically directed against the deities Serapis and Imhotep. In all cultures body sores were viewed as punishment for sin and a call to repentance so the spiritual implications of this plague would not have been missed by the Egyptians. Doubtless there was a national 'repentance' typified by performing the prescribed rituals of their religion. When the plague subsided, they would have concluded that their gods had answered their prayers. Similarly, Yahweh punishes sin by allowing unbelievers to suffer from numerous illnesses. Some make recovery due to interventionist medicine, sometimes the body's own natural resources are enough to effect the recovery, and when these have occurred amongst religious people, they will credit their own gods for the miracle. Yet these natural processes are gifts of the true Elohim, Yahweh, anyway.
7. Hail from Heaven. The hail storm that Yahweh unleashed on Egypt destroyed the flax crops which was used for making priestly linen to demonstrate that the recovery from the boils in the previous plague was not on account of the intercession of the Egyptians' priests and their religious faith. Yahweh wants to make it quite clear that all healing is by Him ultimately.
8. The Plague of Locusts. The failure of the pagan priests to intercede for the people was the result of this plague. First the wealth and then the health of the nation is snatched away, and the false gods responsible for both discredited, and now the nation's food is destroyed, mocking the pagan gods of agriculture. The devastation of the Egyptian countryside led to famine - a famine not only of the literal bread staple but also, symbolically, of spiritual bread, that is truth. Their pagan religion, its gods and its priests, are demonstrated time and time again to be fraudulent.
9. Darkness. When the land was covered in darkness for three whole days, the demon god Re, Amun-Re or Thoth, of whom Pharaoh was a representative, was also mocked, for Re was the Egyptian sun-god. With no sun at all, no time calculations could not be observed, returning the country to the chaos of the world at its inception as far as Egypt was concerned. The Elohim who declared, "Let there be light" (Gen.1:3) also declared, "Let there be no light". Yahweh is demonstrating His absolute power over everything, including the sun, the first of the creations that most pagans turn to worship.
10. Death of the Firstborn. In this final act of the Drama depicting True Sovereignty, Yahweh declares Himself to be master over both life and death. This sign is specifically directed at the younger generation, boys yet too young to be fathers. This is a judgement also over Pharaoh's evil decree ordering the abortion of all new-born Hebrew males. This is divine justice on the adults who are responsible, and specifically the Pharaoh whom the people idolatrously worshipped as the incarnation of God. The fathers should have been their son's covering but were not because of their wickedness. The fathers' failure to be what Yahweh ordained them to be exposed their sons to the destroyer.
These terrible plagues are supposed to break but not destroy. Yahweh did not wish to destroy the nation of Egypt. He created it and loves its people. The purpose of these plagues is not to exterminate a people or eradicate a nation but to make cracks in the walls of unbelief that, left unchecked, become thicker and more resistant to reformation over time. This is an act of mercy for the Egyptians too. Egypt has served righteous ends in Yahweh's plan in history. It has given sanctuary to Yahweh's people, including the Saviour of mankind fleeing from Jewish tyranny under Herod. Egypt became the centre of a vibrant Christianity until it apostatised and was overrun by the Muslims. And Scripture says that it will yet, along with another traditional rival and enemy of Israel, Assyria, become righteous and its people will, during the Millennium, come up to Jerusalem to honour Yahweh's feasts. Yahweh does not hate Egypt or Egyptians. He loves both. He hates sin. Though I myself am a Messianic Israelite, I love Egypt and have long been fascinated by it. It's paganism aside, it was a wonderful civilisation. And we Josephites have an Egyptian ancestor in the person of the daughter of the high priest of On, Asenath. As the ruling tribe of Israel, we have a special interest in things Egyptian. There must have been a reason why Israel's deliverer, Moses, was specifically ordained to be brought up in the learning of the Egyptians. No doubt we will learn more of this important connection in time. So I do want to say on behalf of our tribe, that we love the Egyptians! I am just sorry that historically we have imitated so many of their false ways and made ourselves no better than their ancestors.
The sin of Egypt was terrible and great. It was intolerable. It could not be allowed to continue. Pharaoh rejected a message that could have made him and his people a coheir in salvation. Certainly a lot of Egyptians went with the Israelites into the wilderness and became coheirs. They were a "mixed multitude" (Ex.12:38). So it would not surprise me to learn that there is a lot of Egyptian blood in those of Israelite descent, and not just through Asenath. At any rate, they repented, at least in the beginning. But Pharaoh did not. And since we have a sin-nature every bit as rebellious and stubborn as his, we need to be reminded of both the cost of rebellion against the Creator and how, in His loving concern for us, he punishes us to deliver us. Yahweh warns:
"Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant. It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern" (Isa.30:12-14, NIV).
Have you ever seen a high wall collapse? When it collapses, it collapses completely. When a clay pot is smashed, there is nothing recoverable left. The destruction is complete. The fact that our lives have not collapsed so completely, even if we have been plagued by heart-rending difficulties, does not mean that that total collapse won't come if we fail to fully repent. When the first cracks appear in a wall of a house, it's a warning. It could mean that there's something wrong with the foundations. It could mean there is subsidence. And the longer we delay repentance, the greater gamble we are taking, because when the whole wall comes down, it is sudden and irreversible. When a soul refuses to properly rely on Yahweh in everything, he is allowing cracks to appear in the armour of his soul that Satan will eventually prise open. Many years may pass but the proverbial 'Assyrian' may suddenly be at your door.
One of my biblical heroines is Hannah, the mother of Samuel, a godly woman full of the Ruach haQodesh. Have you ever read her song? Reading it, and not knowing its authorship, you would probably conclude that it was written by an Elijah or an Ezekiel. It is quite amazing. And it's not at all what you would expect to find in a modern praise song which is absorbed with the glory of self in Yahweh's real or imagined presence. I'm going to share that song with you now and I'd especially like the sisters to note its content. You can compare it with the shorter Song of Miriam (Ex.15:20-21) if you like because there are similarities, and the Song of a later Miriam or Mary, the mother of Yah'shua. So here is the Song of Hannah after she discovered she was pregnant. Please notice her focus throughout:
"My heart rejoices in Yahweh; in Yahweh my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in Your deliverance. There is no one holy like Yahweh; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our Elohim. Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for Yahweh is an Elohim who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed. The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. Yahweh brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up. Yahweh sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honour. For the foundations of the earth are Yahweh's; upon them He has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose Yahweh will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of His anointed" (1 Sam.2:1-10, NIV).
What an amazing pregnancy song! I could base a whole sermon on this alone. What a fantastic woman! How different from your average wishy-washy Western Christian who has become so absorbed in selfish love that he has forgotten the basis of true love, which is Torah and the Israelite nation. Hannah begins by praising Yahweh and then by blessing her Sovereign or what this version calls 'king'. However, there was no monarchy at this time. This was in the time of the Judges. It was Hannah's son Samuel who would anoint the first King of Israel. So who was the King here? Yah'shua, of course. This is a Messianic prophecy. But like all Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, there is always an earthly equivalent, possibly the Judge at the time, or the head of the tribe of Ephraim, or even her own husband.
The words of this prayer are, as one commentator notes, from "an elevated and enlarged heart". Hannah isn't even focussing on her child though she had every reason to gush over this wonderful gift from heaven. But her focus is not on the finite but the infinite. There will be other Samuels but there will only ever be one Yahweh-Elohim! So what does Hannah do? She celebrates the four supreme virtues of Elohim, which are the things that the Ruach-filled person seeks for with unremitting passion: (1) Unspotted Purity; (2) Almighty Power; (3) Unsearchable Wisdom; and (4) Unerring Justice. She doesn't mention love once! Why? Because these things ARE love! Love is expressed as divine purity, power, wisdom and justice. And it's the fourth of these I particularly want to alight on for a moment in connection with our theme today - unerring justice. Hannah, under the impress of the Ruach, says:
"Those who oppose Yahweh will be shattered" (v.10).
Now what do you suppose the retort of your modern wishy-washy Christian would be if you stood up in a contemporary church, claimed a prophetic word from Yahweh and repeated those words? I would hazard a guess that amongst the various charges that would be levelled against you would be that you were 'unloving'. And once they learned that this passage was from the Old Testament, they would probably excuse themselves with the usual lawless lies that all this sort of stuff has been "nailed to the cross" or "done away with". You don't need me to tell you that this would be rank blasphemy. And if you think that Hannah came from a 'harsh' era and was moved by a 'harsh spirit', read Mary's Magnificat, would you? It's the same Ruach that inspired Yah'shua's mother who also spoke of Yahweh's justice in similar terms. This is what she sang:
"My soul glorifies Yahweh and my spirit rejoices in Elohim my Saviour, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy (set-apart) is His Name (Yahweh). His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as He said to our fathers" (Luke 1:46-55, NIV).
Mary concludes her song with Abraham and the patriarchs just as Hannah concludes with the Messianic Sovereign. Not a word about her baby either, the Saviour of the world. The Ruach always leads you away from self-centred love and into praise of El Elyon, the Most High, and His Torah from which comes His justice.
Now Hannah said: "Those who oppose (or contend or fight) with Yahweh will be shattered". We need to look more closely at that. This contention, this opposition, this fighting includes all forms of the same - legal, verbal or physical. What Hannah is saying here is that because she had earlier fought Yahweh, He shattered her! She was sterile, she was mocked by her carnal, sister-wife, and everything looked bleak. So what did Yahweh do? He broke her down. He shattered her. He gave her her 'perfect storm' and brought her to a place of repentance and humility so that she stopped fighting Him. When she turned back to Him and submitted to His will for her life, what happened? He healed her and fulfilled her righteous desires. My guess was that she was waiting for Peninah, her husband's other wife, to be nicer to her. Peninah had been cruel. She had been nasty. The Scripture says that Peninah had deliberately tried to provoke and irritate her. Peninah deliberately made herself a rival. I doubt Peninah ever reformed. There is no mention that she did. But Hannah certainly did by changing her focus. She gave herself wholeheartedly to Yahweh, along with all her problems and bitterness, and trusted in His providence. And she did that by making a vow - by promising Him her son if Yahweh would enable her to get pregnant (1 Sam.1:1ff). She died to self and let Yahweh handle her life for her.
Now nobody in their right minds would want a home full of jealousy and strife. The difference between Sarah and Hannah, though, was that Hannah sought a spiritual solution to her problem and Sarah a physical one. Sarah threw out her rival but Hannah threw out her own self. Sarah got a son, Isaac, who had sons of mixed blessing - Jacob and Esau. Hannah had a son, Samuel, who seemingly was without fault. Samuel had sons who became Israelites judges (1 Sam.8:1). Hannah, like her husband Elkanah, was an Ephraimite. Sarah had to contend with the carnal Egyptian Hagar but Hannah had Egyptian in her that was of a different sort, possibly even Hyksos who were Semites that once ruled Egypt. I say this not to belittle Sarah who was truly a great woman whose virtues of submissiveness and obedience to her husband Christian women are commanded to imitate (1 Pet.3:6) - as the men are to look to Abraham, the father of the faithful, so the women are to look to Sarah (Is.51:2). But Hannah has another quality that is extraordinary and desirable both for the sisters as well as the Body collectively as an allegorical wife of Yahweh: she allowed Yahweh to take her to the end of herself and shower her with what she had always wanted.
When anyone has self-centred sin in their lives, Yahweh makes this disturbing promise:
"I will cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and shall drink water by measure and with dread, that they may lack bread and water, and be dismayed with one another, and waste away because of their iniquity" (Ezek.4:16-17, NKJV).
Though this is a literal prophecy, the spiritual meaning is plain with the aid of a little knowledge of Hebrew. The words "supply of bread" actually render a Hebrew word shabar which literally means "staff of bread" but its also a word which means "shattered heart" (Spiros Zodhiates, Lexical Aids to the Old Testament, #7378). So it will not surprise you to learn that the word which is translated "collapse", as in the collapse of the wall we spoke of earlier, come from the same root, implying a violent shattering of the heart - an experience so crushing that the afflicted individual no longer has the will to carry on living.
Yahweh used Peninah to bring Hannah to the point of that 'violent shattering', to the place where life became unbearable and, driven by desperation, this woman of Elohim decided to stop resisting in the flesh and fully surrender to Yahweh. It would not surprise me if she went through some equivalent of the 'ten plagues'. It wouldn't surprise me if she was a female Job of sorts. And it would not surprise me at all if all those who make the decision to pursue the first resurrection have to go through the same trials to be purged. The Israelites only went through three plagues but as a nation they were to go through them all, one way or another, later on in history when they fell away from Yahweh and Torah altogether.
Yahweh is in the business - if we will let Him - of breaking down the walls of sin around our hearts, erected because of sinning. And like Joshua and the nation of Israelites, He will march around it silently for 'seven days', and then on the seventh day go around seven times, blast His shofar and shout. When that happens, and the walls fall, things will change dramatically. The 'King of Jericho' is a demon who wants to keep you in bondage through lies. But he is not invincible. But once that wall has fallen, Yahweh gives a warning and causes Joshua to put the nation under an oath never to rebuild the city again (Josh.6:26-27).
Brethren and sisters, once that wall of idolatry and defiance has been broken down supernaturally, you had better not erect it again, otherwise Yahweh will curse you! Because to do so is to worship Satan and that is mockery. Let Yahweh shatter your idolatrous dreams. Don't cling on to them. And so long as you do, He will resist you. If we refuse to turn to Him, or only turn to Him half-heartedly, or worse, if we rebuild our broken idols with similar ones, the results, like the Ten Plagues, will be devastating. The least that will happen is that your generational sin will pass to your children, but even more damaging will be the heartache caused by rejection of Yahweh, because this can lead to direct harming of our own children, even leading to their spiritual or physical deaths. Yahweh did not repeat the warnings about shattered walls for nothing - we are never to rebuild the walls of sin after He has torn them down. That's what Yah'shua warned the woman caught in adultery not to do when stood on the brink of death and hell and He said to her - "Go and sin no more" (Jn.8:11, NIV) - and to the thief whom He healed at the Pool of Bethesda - "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you" (Jn.5:14, NKJV).
Yahweh does not want us to be mastered by anything but Him and when He brings us to our unique breaking points it is solely for this purpose. What or who is your master or mistress? Only you know what these are, and don't think you're an exception, because you're not - everyone is mastered by something ungodly, and the purpose of the Third Wave is to smash them down, or allow Him to take you back where you were before, because otherwise Satan will trample us down. Once you have surrendered absolutely to Yahweh, and then conditionally within the parameters of Torah to your husband or father, Yahweh will build a wall of protection around your hearts (which are your gardens) and He will expect you to remain within their protection and, if you are under headship, to place your gardens within the gardens of your heads or protectors. Then you will have Paradise (Lk.23:43; 2 Cor.12:4; Rev.2:7), a word which you will recall means 'a walled garden' - the Garden of Yahweh surrounded by the hedge of Torah.
Yahweh demands that His walls be erected - walls of righteous protection - in whatever heart He is invited to dwell. He wants boundaries in our lives - clear, unambiguous boundaries strictly defined by the mitzvot or commandments. Paul talks about this kind of protection when he says:
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Elohim's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will" (Rom.12:1-2, NIV).
To understand the disasters in your life and to appreciate that Yahweh has a righteous purpose for them, requires spiritual vision - but you will only acquire this spiritual vision within those walls. Outside them you'll just be guessing what's going on because the walls are our points of references. Outside them you'll start building more carnal walls, walls which will have to be shattered - again. Get these walls of righteousness built before disaster strikes again! Submit to Torah as Yah'shua did by trusting in Him. Yah'shua was broken on the Cross - for us. Praise Yahweh we don't have to atone for our follies! We just have to let Him break us and then fall fully surrendered into His arms. Amen.
Catherine S. Boyle, Hungry Souls (New Look Press, Chester, VA, 2007, pp.131-141).
|Glossary of MLT Hebraic, Greek and English Terms |
For other terms and full details please see the Micropedia
AGlossary Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved
Adon(ai) = Master, a pagan fertility god, Adonis; used by many Messianics but not MLT
(a)eon(ian) = 7 dispensation- or age-long time periods, not forever (see le-olam-va-ed)
Alef-Tav = Alpha-Omega, A-Z, first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet = Yah'shua
Amen = truly, let it be so, written Amein by some Messianics
Apocrypha = Hebraic Scriptures not a part of the Protestant canon (e.g. Baruch)
Anti-Messiah = Hebraic term for the end-time Antichrist or anyone opposed to the Messiah
antinomian = lawless Christian who disregards all or part of Torah/commandments
Ashkenazi Jew = East European Jew descended from the Turkic-Japhethite Khazars
Assembly = church, congregation, ekklesia, community, fellowship, koinonia, gathering
Azazel = the Yom Kippur scapegoat
Baal, Ba'al = any other master than Yahweh, usually demonic in MLT terminology
Bachor(im) = firstborn son(s)
Bar/Bat Mitzvah = Son/Daughter of Commandment, covenant to obey Torah at age 12
being = soul, the whole person (spirit and body), e.g. "my whole being"
Beit, bet, beth = house, e.g. Beit Yisrael (House of Israel), Beth Lechem (House of Bread)
Beit haMikdash = Yahweh's Temple in Yerushalayim
B'rit Chadashah = the New Covenant; B'rit Chadashah Scriptures = New Testament
B'rit Milah = circumcision - abolished in the B'rit Chadashah, replaced by Mikvah
canon = authoritative Scripture (Heb. qaneh, Gk. kanŰn = measuring instrument)
Catechumen = a serious, covenanted investigator seeking Mikvah or Baptism in MLT
Chag haMatzah = Feast of Unleavened Bread, second of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Chavurat Bekorot = MLT's Priesthood Order, Holy Order and Assembly of the Firstborn
Cohen = priest; Cohen Gadol = High Priest (also spelled Kohen)
Council of Yah's elohim = the heavenly Assembly of the Firstborn or Chavurat Bekorot
demon = fallen malek or angel in rebellion against Yahweh (Heb. shad; see l-Shaddai)
derech = the Way, Path or Road - Yah'shua and the Gospel are the Way
Drash = moral or homiletic interpretation of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Echad = One, Union of two or more in one (as opposed to Yachid) - see Elohim
Echad Godhead Doctrine = Father Yahweh, Son Yah'shua and Sevenfold Ruach (Mother)
Êl, Eloah, Elah = God the Father, Yahweh
Êl-Elyon = Most High God, Yahweh
Êl-Shaddai = Master/Lord over all shads or demons
Elohim = God, the Godhead (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), lit. 'Mighty One(s)', 'Ruler(s)'
elohim = Israelite judges, rulers, angels or gods (false deities, idols, demons)
emunah = faith, actively trusting, clinging or adhering to (especially Yahweh or Yah'shua)
emet = truth, Yah'shua is the Emet
Ephraimite = descendant of the patriarch Ephraim and head of Messsianic Israel
Feasts of Yahweh = the 7 annual Moedim (Pesach, Chag haMatzah, Yom haBikkurim, Shavu'ot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot)
Gan-Eden = Garden of Eden, Paradise and state of the purified heart in Messiah
goy(im) = nation(s), Israelites or gentiles not born in or converted to the Covenant
hallelu-Yah = praise Yah(weh)!
Heylel = proper name of Satan or haSatan = the Adversary, the devil
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Hochmah = Wisdom, title of the 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
IDL = International Date Line, false man-made time division in Pacific Ocean
IDL Zone = Area between the true Divine Date Line (Lake Van/Eden) and the false one
Israeli = citizen of the modern Edomite-Khazar Republic of Israel (not Biblical Israel)
Israelite = citizen of biblical state of Israel or a modern follower of the Messiah
Jew = post-biblical term describing descendants of Edomite and Khazar converts to Judaism
Johannine = pertaining to the Apostle Yochanan (e.g. Gospel of John)
Josephite = descendant of the patriarch Joseph, the head of Messianic Israel
Judahite = a person in direct descent from the patriarch Judah, forefather of the Messiah
Judaism = a Talmudic-based religion rejecting Yah'shua the Messiah
Judean = a citizen of the Kingdom or Province of Judah until the 2nd Century diaspora
Kadosh la Yahweh = set-apart or dedicated to Yahweh, 'Holiness to the Lord', MLT motto
Karaites = Jews (from 700 AD) who reject the Talmud and accept only the Tanakh
kashrut = keeping kosher, food laws of Yahweh and correspinding lifestyle
Ketuvim = Writings or Hagiographa of the Tanakh
Khazar = a Turkic convert to Judaism ~700 AD forming the Ashkenazi Jewish community
kosher = clean foods authorised by Yahweh for human consumption
Lashon Hara = evil-speaking, gossip or slander
legalism = false route to salvation through works (self-salvation)
le-olam-va-ed = dispensation- or age-long, aeonian, not eternal, forever or for eternity
Lev = heart, as in Lev-Tsiyon = heart of Zion
Lev-Tsiyon = Heart of the Fortress [of Yahweh], Hebrew name of MLT's founder
Master = Lord, Sir, Adon(ai) - (one in authority, a ruler - a king, husband, prophet, judge)
Malak(im) = Angel(s), heavenly supernatural messenger(s)
manna = wafers of honey, bread from heaven (lit. 'what is this?')
matzah = unleavened bread, see Chag haMatzah
Menorah = 7-armed candlearbra = the 7 annual Moedim and 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
Messiah = Christ; Anti-Messiah = Antichrist
Messianic Community = Body of Christ, sum total of all true believers; all true fellowships
Messianic Israel = all who worship Yahweh, trust in Yah'shua, obey Torah and overcome
Messianic Jew = Messianic convert from Judaism still clinging to Talmudic traditions
Midrash = aggadic interpretation of scripture vi‚ Drash, a scriptural discussion
Mikvah = baptism by immersion of convert into Yah'shua or of wife into husband
Mishpachah = family: nuclear, congregational, tribal or the whole of Messianic Israel
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon = family of the heart of the fortress [of Yahweh]
Mishpat = right-ruling or judgement
mitzvah/mitzvot = commandment(s)
moed(im) = appointment(s) of Yahweh, 7 Annual Feasts, Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh
Nefilim, Nephilim = giant offspring of materialised demons and human women
Nevi'im = prophetic writings of the Old Testament or Tanakh
New Birth = spiritual conversion in the Ruach haRishon, being 'born again' with new heart
Nidah = a woman's menstruation period during which no intercourse is permitted
Olive Branch = collection of revelations, prophecies and visions published by MLT
Paraclete = Comforter, Advocate (NEB), Counsellor, Ruach haQodesh (Gk. paraklÍtos)
PaRDeS = method of textual interpretation (homiletics) - see P'shat, Remez, Drash, Sod
Patriarch = a father who is head of his family, clan or tribe (lit. 'father-ruler')
Pentateuch = first five books of the Tanakh (Genesis-Deuteronomy), also called Torah
peribolaion = headcovering worn by daughters/wives in submission to fathers/husbands
Pesach = Passover, first of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Peshitta = an Aramaic version of the Bible
Prototrinitarianism = early, simplified MLT formulation of the Echad Godhead Doctrine
Prush(im) = Pharisee(s)
Pseudepigrapha = Non-canonical Hebrew writings additional to the Apocrypha
P'shat = literal, contextual, philological, exoteric, outer meaning of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Qadosh Qadoshim = Holy of Holies, most sacred set-apart room of the Beit haMikdash
Qodesh, Kodesh = set-apart, holy (see Ruach haQodesh)
Rabbi = Teacher, term used by Messianic Jews and some Messianic Israelites = Pastor
Refuge, the 12 Cities of = divinely protected MLT fortresses during the 7-year Tribulation
Remez = hint or allegorical level of Hebraic understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Rosh Chodesh = monthly New Moon appointment of Yahweh
ruach = spirit of a person (lit.'breath')
Ruach Elohim = Spirit of God (the Spirit of the collective Godhead or Elohim)
Ruach haChamashee = 5th Ruach presides over Yom Teruah and Yom Chamashee
Ruach haQodesh = the Sevenfold Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (lit. 'Set-Apart Breath')
Ruach haRevee = 4th Ruach presides over Shavu'ot, Yom Revee and Bar Mitzvah
Ruach haRishon = 1st Ruach presides over Pesach, Yom Rishon and the New Birth
Ruach haShanee = 2nd Ruach presides over Chag haMatzah and Yom Shanee
Ruach haSheshi = 6th Ruach presides over Yom Kippur and Yom Sheshi
Ruach haShleshi = 3rd Ruach presides over Yom haBikkurim, Yom Shleshi and Mikvah
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Satan = rebel archangel Heylel, father of lies, devil, chief demon (lit.'Adversary')
Sephardic Jew = West European Jew of mixed blood containing many Judahites
Septuagint = Greek translation of the Tanakh, LXX
Shegal haShabbat = 7th Ruach (Sabbath Queen) presides over Sukkot and Yom Shabbat
Shekinah = Divine Presence and Glory of Yahweh-Elohim
Set-apart = holy, sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, separated (to and by Yahweh)
Shabbat-Shabbaton = High Sabbath (e.g. Yom Kippur)
Shalom = heavenly peace, standard Hebraic greeting invoking Yahweh's peace
Shamash(im) = servant(s), deacon(s), attendant(s)
Shavu'ot = Pentecost or Weeks, fourth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Sheol = grave or pit, euphamism for Hades or hell - also see Tartarus
shofar = ram's horn, blown during Yahweh's Moedim
simcha = joy, keynote of Sukkot
Sod = mystical, anagogic, inner or esoteric understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Sukkot = Tabernacles or Booths, seventh of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Synagogue = Greek word used by Jews and Messianics (but not MLT) for a meeting house
talmid(a) = male/female disciple or student
Talmud = scriptures, teachings and commentaries belonging to non-Messianic Judaism
Tanakh = acronym for Old Testament Scriptures - Torah, Nevi'im & Ketuvim
Tartarus = place of imprisonment under the earth for rebellious angels and Nephilim
teshuvah = repentance, remorse and contrition leading back to Torah obedience
Torah = Yahweh's teachings or Law; New Covenant Torah includes Yah'shua's teachings
Tribulation, the Great = the final 7 years of the present aeon when Anti-Messiah rules
Trinity = Catholic Godhead formula - see Echad Godhead Doctrine and Prototrinitarianism
Tsiyon = Zion, a fortress, a name of Jerusalem and a prominent hill
Tzitzit/Tizitziyot = tassel(s) worn by men in remembrance of Torah
Universalism = salvation of all at the cosmic Yovel, with different rewards and punishments
Yachid = one, single person or item, as opposed to Echad (many in one, unity)
Yah'shua the Messiah = Jesus Christ (the Son)
Yahudah = Judah - see Judahite
Yahweh, Yah, YHWH = the true Name of our Heavenly Father, also carried by Yah'shua
Yahweh-Elohim = LORD God (the Father, Yahweh as Head of the Godhead or Elohim)
Yahweh haQatan = the sent Yahweh = Yah(weh)'shua, Malak of Yahweh's Presence
Yam Suf = Sea of Reeds, the true Israelite Exodus water crossing, not the Red Sea
Yarden = Jordan River (lit. 'meanderer')
Yerushalayim = Jerusalem
Yisrael = Israel (lit. 'ruling with l') = true believers under the New Covenant
Yom Chamashee = 5th day of the week (Thursday, Friday in IDL Zone)
Yom Din, Yom haDin = (the) Day of Judgement
Yom haBikkurim = Feast of Firstfruits, third of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Revee = 4th day of the week (Wednesday, Thursday in IDL Zone)
Yom Rishon = 1st day of the week (Sunday, Monday in IDL Zone)
Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement, sixth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Shabbat = 7th day of the week and Sabbath Rest (Saturday, Sunday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shanee = 2nd day of the week (Monday, Tuesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Sheshi = 6th day of the week (Friday, Saturday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shleshi = 3rd day of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Teruah = Day of Trumpets, fifth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yosef = Joseph - see Josephite
Yovel = Jubilee or Year of Jubilee
Zaqen(im) = elder(s) of an assembly or congregation, or senior members of a community
ZoŽ Life = Greek term for spiritual life in the Messiah
Commonly Used MLT Abbreviations
For additional abbreviations and explanations,
please see the Micropedia
Amp.V(er). = Amplified Version of the Bible
Aram. = Aramaic
AV = Authorised Version of the Bible - see KJV
BCAY = B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh - see NCCG
BoA = Books of Abraham (e.g. 1Abr., 2Abr., etc.)
cp, cf = compare with
CB(Q) = Chavurat Bekorot
CEV = Contemporary English Version of the Bible
ch. = chapter
CJB = Complete Jewish Bible
CLNT = Concordant Literal New Testament
CYe = Council of Yah's elohim
Eng. = English
ff. = and onwards/forwards
fn = footnote
Gk. = Greek
GNB = Good News Bible - see TEV
Heb. = Hebrew, Hebraic
HEM = Holy Echad Marriage, eternal marriage
HO = Holy Order - see Chavurat Bekorot
HOC = Holy Order Collection of revelations - see OB
HRV = Hebraic-Roots Version of the Bible
ibid. = ibidem (lit. 'in the same place'), referring to a book previously cited
ICJC = Independent Church of Jesus Christ, earlier name of NCCF
ISRV = Institute for Scripture Research Version of the Bible
JB = Jerusalem Bible
JBP/Phillips = J.B.Phillips translation of the New Testament
JNT = Jewish New Testament
KJV = King James Version of the Bible - see AV
LB = Living Bible
lit. = literally or literature
LXX = Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon
Moff. = Moffatt translation of the Bible
MRC = Messianic Renewed Covenant Version of the NT
MS(S) = Manuscript(s)
NASB, NASV = New American Standard Bible/Version
NC&C = New Covenants & Commandments - see OB
NCCF = New Covenant Christian Fellowship, earlier name of NCCG
NCCG = New Covenant Church of God, earlier name of MLT - see BCAY
NCP = New Covenant Press, publishing arm of MLT
NCW = New Covenant Witness, MLT magazine
NEB = New English Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible
NKJV = New King James Version of the Bible
Nor. = Norwegian
NT = New Testament, B'rit Chadashah
NWT = New World Translation of the Bible, unreliable Jehovah's Witness version
OB = Olive Branch - see NC&C
op.cit. = opere citato (lit. in the work cited)
OT = Old Testament, Tanakh
p(p). = page(s)
pl. = plural - see s.
PWNC = Prophetic Words of the New Covenant, revelation cataloging system - see OB
QED = quod erat demonstrandum (lit. which was shown to be proved)
RCF = Restoration Christian Fellowship, earlier name of ICJC
RhQ = Ruach haQodesh, Holy Spirit
RSTNE = Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition of the Bible
RSV = Revised Standard Version of the Bible
RV = Revised Version of the Bible
s. = singular - see pl.
S&G = Smith & Goodspeed Version of the Bible
TEV = Today's English Version of the Bible - see GNB
Vulg. = Biblia Vulgata, Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible
WEB = World English Bible
This page was first created on 11 June 2007
Last updated on 11 June 2007
Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved