Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 15

Judges 17.1-13 gives us another picture of what happens when Israel does not follow the Torah and the first rise of idolatry after Joshua. There was a man from Ephraim (“fruitful”) whose name was Micah (“who is like Yehovah”). He tells his mother, who is a picture of Israel as a whole, that he had stolen 1100 pieces of silver from her. This was the same price given for the destruction of Samson the Danite, and it is the same amount for the destruction of his tribe later on. His mother had uttered a curse in her son’s hearing, but when she heard that her son had taken it, she blessed him. She curses the sin in others, but tolerated sin in her family.

He gave the silver back and his mother dedicated it all to the Lord for her son to make a graven image and a molten image. So, Micah had a shrine in his house for the consecrated idols and he made an ephod and had one of his sons serve as a priest. All of this was forbidden but everyone did what was right in his own eyes and there was no king in Israel.

There was a young man in Bethlehem (“house of bread”) who was from the family of Judah, who was a Levite, was staying there. He left Bethlehem to sojourn where he could, possibly because he was not receiving support from the people through the tithes, etc. He came to Ephraim and to Micah’s house and told him he was a Levite. Micah asks him to stay and teach him, and be a “priest” to him. He would pay him ten shekels a years, and provide clothing. This Levite is a type of the hireling religious “cleric” looking for a congregation who would support him.

So, the Levite agreed and was consecrated as a priest and lived in the house of Micah, a house of idols (not allowed by the Torah). Micah thinks that Yehovah will now prosper him because he has a Levite as a priest. This shows the influence of ignorance and superstition.

Judges 18.1-30 we have the Danites wanting more land due to overcrowding, so they send out scouts to search out the land for more space. They failed to take possession of their own inheritance, or they were too lazy and could not defend it (Josh 19.40-45; Judges 1.34-35, 5.17). There were five scouts (five is the number of responsibility), one from each family, and came to Ephraim and the house of Micah. When they came near to the house they recognized the voice of the LLevite. They asked “Who brought you here?”. They knew he was from Bethlehem. The Torah states he was to be at the Mishkan, not in his own “house of idols.” If we go to a congregation God has not ordained we are wrong no matter what is going on there. What you like there, or participate in, or what ministry they have given you has nothing to do with it.

So the scouts ask him to inquire of the Lord about their business and if it would be prosperous. The Levite tells them what they want to hear, and that they would be successful in their undertaking. So, the five men depart and come to Laish (“well-knit”) and saw how they were living. They lived like Sidonians (“fishery/hunting”) and were by themselves. They had no treaty with others for help if they were attacked. They came back to Zorah (“she was smitten with leprosy”) and Eshtaol (“I will be entreated”) and told the others what they saw.

As a result of their report, they went to capture with 600 men (the number of man) and came to Micah’s house with the household idols, and took them. The Levite just stood by and let them do it because he had no loyalty to Micah because he was a typical hireling. They asked him to come with them and be a priest to many. In other words, bigger is better to an apostate who is blind to the spiritual state of those he is going to serve. This all started because one man did not keep his place, and the evil spreads, and he was happy to hear this. He only cared about himself and his “career” rather than observe sound doctrine as found in the Torah. But Micah didn’t like what happened and assembled others to go after his idols. The Danites ask him, “What is the matter with you” and he tells them he doesn’t like the fact that they took his priest and his gods. This illustrates the contention between apostates in Rabbinic Judaism and Replacement Theology Christianity. These idols speak about the fact that the smith “labors” to make these idols in the same way apostates “labor” in producing false worship and false works.

The Danites told Micah to be quiet or he would die, along with his household. So, Micah went home because they were too strong for him. Replacement Theology Christianity has been too strong for the Rabbis in Judaism throughout history. Both groups are desolate without Messiah, too. They took what Micah and the priest had made and came to Laish and struck them and burned the city with fire because there was no one to deliver them (no allies). It was in the valley which is near Beth-rehob (“house of a street”) and they rebuilt the city and named it Dan. They then set up for themselves the graven image of Micah, and Jonathan (“Yehovah has given”), the son of Gershom (“stranger there”), the son of Manasseh (“to forget”), he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land by the Assyrians. This Jonathan seems to be the Levite Micah took into his house. The tribe of Dan has now openly adopted the image of Micah and idolatry is now established in the north. There was individual idolatry before this, but now it is official in a tribe. So, this whole thing started with a son who stole 1100 pieces of silver and it ends with an entire tribe given over to idolatry.

One of the lessons that we can glean from this whole story is that Micah probably had no idea how his individual idolatry would spread to an entire tribe. This idolatry would be in competition with the true worship of God in the Mishkan, located at Shiloh. We should learn that what we do, even though isolated at the time, can spread to others very, very quickly. Participating in Replacement Theology will spread to others, and who knows where that could lead. I’m sure Micah did not realize that his household idols would lead to the destruction of the ten tribes eventually.

Let’s go back to the phrase “the son of Manasseh” in Judges 18.30. In Hebrew it is “Ben Moshe” or “son of Moses.” It has a suspended Hebrew letter “nun” over the word “Moshe” as if it was “inserted” into the original name, making it Manasseh. Some scholars think it was done to spare Moses shame in that one of his descendants lead this idolatry. Others believe another Manasseh was intended, but that doesn’t explain the suspended letter “nun.” We know that Aaron’s grandson Pinchas was still alive so it is possible this Jonathan could have been the grandson of Moses (Judges 20.28) and that may be why the name “Moshe” was changed to “Manasseh” in this passage.

In Part 16 we will pick up in Judges 19.1-30.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 14

In Judges 16.5-31 we pick up in the story of Samson where we learn that the Philistine leaders came to Delilah and wanted her to entice Samson to find out where his great strength came from. They wanted to get rid of him and they would each pay her eleven hundred pieces of silver for the information. Silver is symbolic of redemption in the Scriptures. Delilah’s efforts to find the source of Samson’s strength portrays the efforts of the Jewish leaders to trap and get rid of Yeshua.

When Delilah asks Samson where his strength comes from, Samson says, “Bind me with seven fresh cords that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and like any other man.” Of course, he is lying to her because at this time he was guarding the secret of his strength. So the cords were brought to her and she bound him. When she said, “The Philistines are upon you” he snapped the cords as if they were nothing. The secret of his power had not been discovered, and this alludes to the parables that Yeshua spoke and that he cannot be “bound” by any power other than his own.

But Delilah persisted to press Samson about the source of his power, just like the Jewish leaders persisted in trying to trap and kill Yeshua. They did not believe he was the Messiah and so they wanted to know the source of his power, too. So, Samson tells her that if he is bound with new ropes which have not been used, then he will become weak. He deceives her a second time because when she told him the Philistines were coming, he broke those as well.

So, Delilah acts offended and accuses him of lying to her. So he says to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my hair with a the web and fasten it with a pin, then I shall become weak weak and be like any other man.” So, as he sleeps, Delilah took his hair and weaved it as he said and fastened it with the pin, but when he heard that the Philistines were coming, he pulled out the pin.

Now she she is really upset with him and says “How can you say ‘I love you’ when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is.” She appeals to his love for her. She kept pressing him about his strength until he started getting annoyed. So he places himself into her treacherous hands and tells her all that was in his heart, and he said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazarite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” Spiritually, because of his love for treacherous Israel, who was out to harm him, Yeshua placed himself into the hands of the Jewish leaders.

Delilah called for the Philistines once more and told them that he had told her all that was in his heart. So, they came and brought the money to her, just like the Jewish leaders did with Judas. She mad Samson sleep on her knees and called for another to come and shave his head. She began to afflict him and his strength left him and she called to Samson saying, “The Philistines are upon you” and he awoke from his sleep and thought he could go out and make himself free, but he did not know that the Lord had left him. Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes, and brought him to Gaza in bronze chains. Bronze speaks of judgment. Likewise, Yeshua came under the power of the enemy and they bound him and took him away. However, the hair on his head began to grow again and so did the spirit of Samson. This speaks of the promise of resurrection.

Now, the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a sacrifice in the temple of Dagon (“cultivator of natural abundance”) their god and have a great festival. This clearly alludes to when the Jewish rulers assembled for Passover sacrifice in the Temple in 30 AD when Yeshua was arrested. The Philistines said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands.” When the people saw this, they praised their god because they saw Samson as “the destroyer of our country.” The Jewish leaders also rejoiced at Passover because their enemy (Yeshua) had been captured and bound. They saw Yeshua as a destroyer of the country (John 11.47-52). Even some of the people rejoiced over Yeshua because they wanted the release of Barabbas over Yeshua.

So, the Philistines brought Samson out of prison so that he might amuse them, and they could mock him. So they called for Samson and he “entertained them.” They made him stand between two pillars, like Yeshua was put between two thieves. Yeshua’s crucifixion amused the Jewish rulers and people also, and he “entertained them.” Samson was led to the pillars by a nameless boy, who is a type of the Ruach Ha Kodesh who is the nameless servant who guided Yeshua to the cross. Samson asked the boy to let him feel the pillars, which means his arms were outstretched like Yeshua on the cross.

Now, the temple was full of two groups of people, the rulers and the people (men and women), about 3000 of them. At Yeshua’s crucifixion, the Jerusalem Temple was full of these two groups, too. They looked upon Samson just like they looked upon Yeshua. Then Samson called to Yehovah and asked him to “please remember me and please strengthen me one last time, O God, that I may be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” He then grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested. In like manner, Yeshua is the mediator between two opposites, God and man, heaven and earth.

Samson braced himself against them, the one on his right and the other on his left (like on the cross). He then says, “Let me die with the Philistines” and he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the leaders and all the people that were in it. This teaches the destruction of the house of Satan, which was accomplished by the death of Yeshua, and it also alludes to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple 40 years later. The victory over the Philistines was accomplished by the death of Samson, just like the victory over Satan was accomplished by the death of Yeshua.

Then his brothers and all his father’s household came down, took his body, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah (“she is smitten with leprosy”) and Eshtaol (“I will be entreated”) in the tomb of Manoah his father. In the same way, Yeshua’s brothers in the faith and “his Father’s household” came and buried him. He now “rests” with his Father in heaven and he has the ministry of being “entreated” as the mediator between God and man because man is afflicted with sin (leprosy).

The story of Samson is the tragic story of a man who wasted his ministry, but has renewed strength to destroy the enemies of the Lord on one hand, but it is also a picture of Yeshua and his successful ministry to destroy the power of our enemy on the other hand. Samson’s life was not a waste because it can instruct us on what not to do, but it is also a wonderful picture of the Messiah himself, and that aspect is often ignored or goes unnoticed. Hopefully, when we remember Samson, we can see him as a picture of Yeshua and not dwell on all the negative. He is a very intriguing figure.

In Part 15 we will pick up in Judges 17.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 13

Judges 15.1-20 gives us another prophetic picture in the life of Samson. In the time of the wheat harvest in the fall (speaks of the Birthpains and the coming of Yeshua during the fall festivals) Samson visited his wife and brings a young goat. This is alluding to Yeshua who gave himself as the Messiah to unbelieving Israel because he loved her. Samson learns that she has gone over to another man (Israel in apostasy) because the father thought he hated her. So, he offers Samson her sister. This is like Satan who offers Replacement Theology because they think God hates Israel and has rejected the Jewish people. Samson says he will be blameless in what he will do to the Philistines, just like Yeshua will be blameless when he executes judgment in the Birthpains. God will use Samson’s anger for his purposes.

Samson goes and catches three hundred foxes, but the word (“shual”) used there can also mean jackel, but we will use foxes here. These were unclean animals and allude to false prophets. He took torches (“lapidim”) and turned the foxes tail to tail (the tail alludes to false prophets-Isa 9.15) and the torch was put between the two tails. The number two speaks of witness, so this is a false witness. He set fire to the torches and releases the foxes into the standing grain (speaking of unused Word of God) and burns up the grain along with vineyards (ungathered grapes, alluding to the true teaching of the Torah and the Scriptures that was unused) and the groves (olive groves, alluding to the oil of the Ruach Ha Kodesh, or Holy Spirit, that has not enlightened them). This tells us that those that will be judged know nothing of the Scriptures.

The Philistines wanted to know who did this, and they found out it was Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to another. So, the Philistines came and burned her and her father with fire. This alludes to the fact that in the Birthpains the False Messiah will use Replacement Theology Christianity for awhile, but then will destroy it (Rev 17.16). Samson heard about this and came against the Philistines, and then lived in cleft of the rock of Etam (“cleft”).

Then the Philistines went up to Judah and spread out in Lehi (“cheek or jawbone”), a type of Golgotha (Mic 5.1). The men of Judah wanted to know why they came up against them, and the Philistines said they had come to get Samson and bind him and do to him what he did to them. So, the men from Judah bound Samson with ropes because they did not want any trouble from the Philistines, just like the Jews bound Yeshua because they did not want any trouble from the Romans (John 11.49-52). Yeshua was “bound” by his love for the Father and for sinful Israel.

When Samson came to Lehi (“cheek or jawbone”) the Philistines shouted, and the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) came upon Samson and he broke the ropes binding him. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey and killed 1000 Philistines with it. The jaw alludes to the strength of the tongue (Jam 3.3-12; Isa 30.20-21) and Samson using a jawbone to kill 1000 Philistines alludes to the fact that the teachings of God through Yeshua was used to defeat the enemy and bring in a new age (1000 alludes to an age), the “Yomot Ha Mashiach” or “Days of the Messiah.”

When he was done he threw the jawbone down (Yeshua said, “It is finished”) and he named the place Ramath-lehi (“high place of the jawbone” and a type of Golgotha) and he was thirsty (Yeshua became thirsty at the end of his victory at Golgotha-John 19.28). God split the hollow place that was in Lehi and water came out (just like it did with Moses in Num 20.8) and Samson was revived (Yeshua was resurrected).

Now we come to Judges 16.1-3 and we are going to continue with the picture God has given us in the story of Samson about the spiritual idolatry of unbelieving Israel. Again, Samson’s story, though tragic, was a picture of God, Messiah and Israel. Samson goes down to Gaza (“she was strong”) and visited a harlot (a picture of apostate Israel-Isa 1.21; Jer 2.20, Book of Hosea). The Gazites were told that Samson was there and plotted to kill him (some leaders of Israel plotted to kill Yeshua in Matt 26.1-5. They waited at the gate of the city, where the leaders would meet.

At midnight (when Messiah comes-Matt 25.6) Samson took hold of doors of the city and the two posts and pulled them up along with the bars (Jerusalem was destroyed after Israel rejected the Kingdom offer in the first century, and the Jewish leaders were destroyed also). He took the gates 48 miles to Hebron (“communion”), and Hebron is an idiom for heaven, and also called “Abraham’s Bosom.” Yeshua ascended to heaven and the eschatological congregation (the Kahal) began when the Ruach Ha Kodesh came in communion with the believer in Acts 2 as promised.

Beginning in Judges 16.4 we have another picture in the life of Samson. Samson loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, meaning “a choice vine” and immediately we have an allusion to Israel (Isa 5.1-7). Her name was Delilah, meaning “languishing” and she will be a picture of Israel who was “weak” and “languishing” in unbelief. This will continue the same theme of unbelieving Israel involved in spiritual harlotry, and we will pick up with the story of Samson, Delilah, his capture and how his death is a picture of the crucifixion and how it brought final victory in Part 14.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 12

In Judges 14.1-20 we have the story of Samson desiring a wife from among the Philistines. This story has a deeper meaning than what many will give in their commentaries on this chapter. They will be very critical about Samson but we are going to see that this will be a picture of Yeshua who marries apostate Israel, and there is more to this story than meets the eye. Samson goes to Timnah (“allotted portion”) and finds a woman, like Yeshua came to the woman Israel and found his “allotted” talmidim (apostles). Samson wants her as a wife, like Yeshua desired to take a remnant as his wife from apostate Israel. Samson says, “she looks good to me” but his parents object saying, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”

Matt 9.11-13 tells us that there were objections to some of Yeshua’s converts, too. Some were tax collectors, harlots and plain sinners, but the Lord saw them as righteous in the Kingdom of God and “good in his eyes” (John 1.47-51). However, Judges 14.4 tells us that his parents did not know that this was of the Lord, for “he was seeking an occasion against the Philistines.” In other words, it was the will of God that a way should be opened to judge the Philistines for what they were doing. They were ruling over Israel in the same way the Pharisees from Beit Shammai ruled over Israel through their rulings in the Sanhedrin, like the 18 Edicts, in Yeshua’s day and the Lord took issue with them in Matt 23.

When Samson went down to Timnah alone a lion came roaring towards him. Yeshua came to the “allotted portion” seeking his people, and this lion alludes to Satan who “prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5.8). The Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) came upon Samson and he defeated the lion with nothing in his hands. Yeshua has defeated Satan by the power of the Ruach Ha Kodesh alone, with no weapons but his obedience to Yehovah and the Torah.

So Samson continues to Timnah and he talks with the woman and she looked right in his eyes. He returned later (resurrection) to take the woman in marriage, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion and there was a swarm (“edah” meaning “congregation or assembly”) of bees, and honey was in the body of the lion. He ate some and brought the honey to his parents, but did not tell them that he scraped the honey out of the lion’s carcass. Only a small remnant will enjoy the “honey” of the Lord’s word (Psa 119.103).

Eschatologically, after Yeshua resurrected he sent the Ruach Ha Kodesh on Shavuot, called Yom Kahal or “the day of the assembly” (Deut 18.16). Shavuot is the betrothal of the bride to Yeshua. Honey is eaten at this festival which speaks of the sweetness of the Torah and the word of the Lord which was given on that day. Israel did not know that Yeshua had killed the lion.

Then Samson’s father went down to the woman and Samson made a feast there, and this alludes to the wedding feast of the Messiah in the presence of his Father. When the people of Timnah saw him, they brought thirty companions to be assigned to the groom. These men allude to the people who saw the miracles of Yeshua, but would later betray and reject him, as these men will.

Then Samson proposes a riddle to his companions. They were to give him the answer within seven days of the feast. If they got the right answer, he would give them thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. The wraps were undergarments (what God can see) and the number thirty is the number of resurrection, maturity and service (Gen 41.46; 2 Sam 5.4; Luke 3.23; Num 20.29; Deut 34.8; Num 4.1-3; Exo 21.32; Zech 11.12-13; Matt 2615). Linen represents righteousness and the changes of clothes were outer garments and the righteousness that can be seen by men. Man will need a “change of clothes” to reign with the bridegroom in the Messianic Kingdom because we must be “born again” (John 3.3; 1 Cor 15.50-53). If they were unable to solve the riddle, then they were to give Samson thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. Failure will result in spiritual losses as well.

So, Samson gives them the riddle, but they could not tell the riddle after three days. The riddle alludes to the riddle of the Messiah, the mysteries of the Basar (gospel, good news) and Yeshua’s resurrection after three days. Unbelievers at the time did not understand the basar of the kingdom of God or what happened to Yeshua in the resurrection after three days. They could not explain the riddle. Yeshua defeated the lion and honey came forth, which is the fulfillment of bible prophecy concerning the Messiah (Luke 24.27) and his enemies didn’t get it.

On the seventh day (alludes to the Lord’s Day, the Atid Lavo or Millenium) they came to Samson’s wife and they wanted her to entice Samson for the answer. Their animosity towards Samson now extended to his wife. This also teaches us that the unbeliever will not understand the Scriptures concerning Yeshua and their animosity towards God will extend to his bride (John 15.18-21). She tries to get the answer for them in Judges 14.16-17, and he finally tells her. Now, Samson loved her but she was still a Philistine. It’s the same with Israel. She didn’t know the riddle and Israel doesn’t understand the riddle of the Messiah. But, what is the riddle of the Messiah you may wonder? Let’s explain that.

Our thoughts are like trees in a secret garden. On each tree there are leaves which are words, and these words are blown by the winds which utter their meanings. Here is the riddle. We are thinking of someone in history who left an indelible mark on mankind. Without a biological miracle on the womb of his mother, his birth would have been impossible. As an infant he was called the son of God. He was taken to Egypt to preserve life. He returned to the land of Israel and was hated by those around him, despised and rejected by men. He was hated so much that he was executed by the Romans. On the third day he was raised up and finally, he will never die again.

Now, some of you who are reading this are thinking of Yeshua, but that is not who we have in mind. Yeshua brought Israel’s meaning to its fullest depth, but we were referring to Israel. Without a biological miracle in the womb of Sarah, Isaac would have never been born. As an infant Israel was called the son of God (Exo 4.22-23; Hos 11.1). Israel was taken to Egypt to preserve life (Gen 43.1-3, 45.7). Israel returned to the land and was hated by those around him (Canaanites, Ammonites, Moabites, Amalekites, Edomites, Perizzites, Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites). He was hated so greatly he was executed by the Romans in 70 AD, but on the third day he will be raised up (Hos 5.11-15, 6.1-3; Ezek 37.1-28). The riddle of the Messiah teaches us to look further.

Samson’s wife weeps before him and he tells her the answer to the riddle, but she betrays him and she told the sons of her people the answer. How different things would have been had she told Samson of their plot against him. How different things would have been if Israel trusted in Yeshua and stopped the plot against him instead of betraying him (Matt 26.1-5). So, the men came to Samson (v 18) before the sun went down and told him the answer. Samson knew his wife had betrayed him and says, “If you had not plowed with my heifer you would not have found out my riddle.”

Then the Ruach Ha Kodesh came upon Samson and he went down to Ashkelon, which means “fire of infamy” and a type of God’s judgment, and killed thirty of them and took their spoil (stripped of their self-righteousness). He gave their clothes to those who told the riddle’s answer. Now, these were Philistine clothes, not Israeli, and this means that their self-righteousness was increased. His anger burned (God was angry with Israel) and he went “up” to his father’s house, like Yeshua did after he left self-righteous Israel (Hos 5.15 through 63; John 14.1-3; Acts 1.9; Rev 12.5). Samson’s wife was given to his friend, which alludes to the fact that Israel rejected Yeshua and she was given over to apostasy and Rabbinic Judaism (another husband). Keep in mind that the Philistines are a picture of the unbeliever as we move through the story of Samson.

In Part 13, we will pick up in Judges 15.1-20.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 11

Judges 12.1-15 tells us about a quarrel between Yiftach and the Ephraimites. The tribe got together and probably was able to muster about 50,000 men (they will lose 42,000). They crossed over the Jordan to the land near Mount Hermon where Yiftach lived and they wanted to know why they were not summoned to help against the Ammonites, very similar to what happened with Gideon. They even threatened to burn his house down. Yiftach told them that there was strife between the Gileadites and Ammon because of a land dispute, and Yiftach says he did call them but they would not help. So, he proceeded without them and defeated the Ammonites. Instead of being grateful the Ephraimites were resentful. We sometimes want the credit without doing the job, too, which was similar to Judges 8.1. It seems this tribe had problem with this attitude.

As a result, Yiftach gathered the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim and defeated them. It seems they could talk a good fight but couldn’t fight a good fight. Yiftach and Gilead took the fords of the river Jordan. If someone attempted to cross over they would ask them to say “Shibbolet.” Yiftach knew that they spoke the same language but Ephraim had trouble saying the “sh” sound because of regional dialects. If their speech gave them away, they were seized and killed at the Jordan. We should not think that this technique is strange because we can do this very thing today by listening to the “shibbolets” of Torah. When someone talks about keeping the Torah we can learn something about them. Do they talk about how much they love bacon? Do they talk about how much they love Christmas, or working on the Sabbath? Do they say they are “free from the law.” Their speech will “give them away” as to whether they know the Lord or not (1 John 2.3-4).

In all, 42,000 Ephraimites were killed. This alludes to the last 42 months of the birth-pains when many will be slain for the same reason. This also alludes to something spiritual. When we “cross over” death (Jordan) what answer will we give to the question, “Is your testimony of Yeshua and do you keep the commandments” (Rev 12.17)? Yiftach judged Israel six years, and then he died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead. Then Izban (“illustrious or splendid”) of Bethlehem (“house of bread”) judged Israel after him. He had 30 sons and thirty daughters, which was quite a contrast to Yiftach who only had one daughter. Ibzan judged Israel for seven years, which alludes to perfection and completion.

Now, Elon (“might”) the Zebulonite (“dwelling”) judged Israel for ten years. Ten speaks of God’s judgment and government. After him came Abdon (“servant, working one”) the son of Hillel (“praise”) and he judged Israel for eight years, which speaks of a new beginning. He had forty sons (“testing”) and thirty grandsons (“resurrection”) who rode around on colts. In Scripture, a “colt” speaks of the new birth, while a donkey speaks of the old nature. Riding a colt speaks of having control of the new nature.

Now we come to one of the most important judges of Israel in Scripture, the story of Shimshon Ben Manoach, or Samson the son of Manoach, which covers Judges 13.1 through 16.31. Samson means “sunshine” and Manoach means “rest.” We will see that Samson is a picture of the Messiah in his strengths, and mankind in his weaknesses So, lets begin in Judges 13.1-25.

The sad cycle of evil starts again in Israel and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines (“wallowers”-2 Pet 2.22-symbolic of apostasy) for forty (“testing”) years. This was probably a gradual slide through the years and that is what apostasy does in congregations today. There was a man who lived in Zorah (“she was smitten with leprosy” which alludes to Israel in sin) of the family of the Danites (“judge”) whose name was Manoach (“rest”). His wife was barren and had borne no children, and the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman. This story is very similar to Joseph and Miriam (Luke 1.31). This was no ordinary angel but this was the second person of the Godhead on a mission (Gen 22.11; Judges 2.1-5, 6.11-24). He tells her that she will conceive and bear a son (Gen 3.15).

Now, this son came with special instructions. She was not to eat anything that comes from the vine, drink wine or eat any unclean thing. Her son was to be lifelong Nazarite (Judges 13.5) and devoted to God. He was not to cut his hair, drink no wine or eat grape products and avoid having any contact with the dead (Num 6.1-21). Now, taking a Nazarite vow was not unusual but taking one from the womb was very rare. She came to her husband and told him the story. Not knowing he was the angel of the Lord, she calls him a “man of God.” Manoach will not realize it right away either (v 21). Their son would deliver Israel from the Philistines (v 4-5). So, Manoach asks for confirmation in Judges 13.8, and the angel comes again to his wife and she was in the field. This alludes to Israel in “the world” waiting for the coming of the Messiah, but Manoach was not with her so she ran to get Manoach. He asks the angel if he was the same man who had spoken to his wife, and he says “I am.

He asks the angel about the boy and his mode of life and vocation. Being a Nazarite from birth, he sensed that he would have a special calling. Then the angel went over all the special instructions. Manoach then wants the angel stay while he prepared a kid for him, showing his hospitality. But the angel said he would not eat with him, but if they prepared a Korban Minchah and a Korban Olah and offered it to Yehovah he would stay. Manoach didn’t know this was an angel either (v 16). Spiritually, unbelieving Israel can have no communion with God until Yeshua is accepted. Israel is also ignorant of the fact that Yeshua is the angel of the Lord, but will eventually have that revealed to them.

Then Manoach says, “What is your name?” Jacob did the same thing in Gen 32.29 The angel asks, “Why do you ask my name, seeing that it is hidden?” (meaning incomprehensible). This alludes to Exo 6.3; Rev 19.12; Isa 30.27; Isa 9.6; Rev 21.20; Psa 119.18, 129). So, Manoach took the kid with a grain offering and offered it on the rock to Yehovah, and he performed wonders while Manoach and his wife looked on (bringing fire out of the rock). Flames went up from the altar toward heaven and the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. When they saw this they fell on their faces. This alludes to Yeshua ascending to heaven in Acts 1.9 and being received in a cloud after he had been offered on the “rock” (Golgotha).

Manoach now realizes that that this was no “man of God” but an angel of the Lord and they have seen God, and he feared for their lives. But his wife, being less fearful, said if the Lord wanted to kill them he would not have made the promises he did and accepted their korban. Spiritually, this tells that if God wanted to harm us after showing us our sin we would have never been shown grace and mercy. Justice has been served and we can be assured that the Lord will not kill us and we also await his promises to us. Yeshua is our Korban Olah and Korban Minchah and he has been accepted and why he ascended to heaven in Acts 1.9-11.

So, his wife gave birth to a son and named his Shimshon meaning “sunshine” because of the shining countenance of the angel, and his job of leading Israel out of darkness. This alludes to the Messiah in Psa 19.4-5; Mal 4.2; Gen 32.31; Isa 30.26; Judges 5.31; Psa 84.11; Hab 3.4; Isa 59.19; Luke 1.78; Matt 17.1-2).

The Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan (“camp of Dan”), between Zorah (“she was smitten with leprosy”) and Eshtaol (“petition”). This alludes to the fact that Yehovah will be sought out by those who are stirred by the Spirit and judge themselves and repent of leprosy (Zorah/zara’at).

We will pick up in Judges 14.1-20 in Part 12.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 10

Judges 11.1-40 gives us the account of Yiftach (“he will open”) and his character, and of the elders who will call him to be a leader against the Ammonites. We will also deal with his controversial vow in Judges 11.31. Yiftach was from Gilead (where Elijah was from) and a valiant warrior. He was the son of a harlot and Gilead (“heap of witness”) his father.

Gilead’s wife bore him sons and she will be a type of unbelieving Israel, and when they got older they drove Yiftach out, and Joseph and Yeshua were rejected by their brethren (Gen 37.1-36; Mark 3.21; John 5.43, 7.5, 8.41). They told Yiftach that he will not have an inheritance in “our father’s house” and this is exactly what happened to Joseph and Yeshua. So, Yiftach fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob (“good”). The exact place is not known but it seems it was not far from Ammon because they hired soldiers from there (2 Sam 10.6). Tov alludes to the “good land” and place the believers are in. The poor and downtrodden gathered themselves to Yiftach because they had no hope, so they joined him. This what happened with Yeshua (Matt 15.22; Mark 2.15; Luke 7.39, 15.1).

When the sons of Ammon (“seed of the people”) came to fight against Israel, it alludes to the coming Birth-pains. The elders of Gilead went to Yiftach in the land of Tov and asked him to join them as their chief against the Ammonites. Of course Yiftach asks them, “Did you not hate me and drive me from my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?” They accept him as their head and Yiftach goes with them. In the same way, Israel will call upon Yeshua in the birth-pains but before Yeshua can deliver them, they must accept him (Ezek 39.22; Hos 5.15; Matt 23.39).

Yiftach sends messengers to the king of Ammon and asks them what the problem is. Why do they want a war? Ammon answered and said that when Israel came up from Egypt they took their land, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and the Jordan. They wanted those lands returned. This is much like the argument today with the Arabs and Palestinians. Yiftach again sent messengers denying their charge and giving the true story of what happened, and how Yehovah himself gave Israel the land that was in question (Judges 11.14-27). But the king of Ammon disregarded the message from Yiftach. Now, Israel was forbidden to make war on Ammon in Deut 2.19, however, they could defend themselves.

Then the Ruach ha Kodesh came upon Yiftach and he passed through Gilead (“heap of witness”-Golgotha) and Manasseh (“to forget”), then he passed through Mizpah (“watchtower”) and on to to take on the sons of Ammon (“seed of the people”). In the same way, we don’t need to cling to the “old rugged cross” but move on, forgetting our past. Only then can we be watchful enough to take on the “seed of the people” in the world when they come, and they will come.

Now we come to one of the most controversial sections of Scripture, but not so much once we understand what really happened. Yiftach makes a vow and says, “If you will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it will be that whatever comes out the of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” We will come back to this verse later.

So, Yiftach crossed over and defeated Ammon, which is what Yeshua will do to his enemies, and when he returns, his daughter came out of the doors of the house to meet him. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have made me very low (depressed) and you are among those who trouble me; for I have given my word to Yehovah and I cannot take it back.” So she answers, “My father, you have given your word to Yehovah; do to me as you have said, since Yehovah has avenged you of your enemies, the sons of Ammon.” She went on to say, “Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may go to the mountains and weep because of my virginity, I and my companions.”

Then Yiftach said, “Go.” So, he sent her away for two months and she left with her friends and wept on the mountains because she was going to remain a virgin. At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow which he had made, and she had no relations with a man. Thus it became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate (“l’tanot” meaning “celebrate”) the daughter of Yiftach the Gileadite four days in the year. By sending her to the service of the Mishkan, it shows just how serious Yiftach and his daughter took the vow.

As we have said, this is one of the most misunderstood portions of Scripture in the Tanak, Gospels and Epistles. So, let’s break this down and take a look at what is being communicated here. Yiftach did not offer his daughter as burnt offering (Korban Olah) and here is why. First of all, it says in Judges 11.31, “it shall be the Lord’s and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” In Hebrew, the “and” in that verse can mean “or” meaning, “it shall be the Lord’s or I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” He did not offer her as a burnt offering because that would violate the Torah in Lev 20.2-3.

In the Mishkan we know that women participated in the construction of many items (Exo 35.25-26), and there were certain women who dedicated themselves to service there (Exo 38.8; 1 Sam 2.22). Samuel was dedicated to the Lord to serve there in 1 Sam 1.22-28 and in Luke 2.37 we learn of Anna who never left the Temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayer. Yiftach dedicated her to serve in the Mishkan as a “spiritual olah” who was totally dedicated to Yehovah, with her own free will and given with joy. These people never married and remained totally focused on Yehovah.

In the Torah you cannot sacrifice a person. The misunderstanding comes from a translation of the Hebrew letter “vav” as “and” and not “or.” BY using “or” it changes the whole meaning. Secondly, you cannot offer a korban to God something that was not permitted, like a deer, camel or especially a person. Third, sacrificing children was an abomination to Yehovah (Lev 20.1-3). Fourth, there is no precedent for such a thing anyway.

Fifth, no father by his own authority could put an offending child to death (Deut 21.18-21), much less an innocent one. Sixth, we have have already gone over the class of women who were devoted to Yehovah, the Mishkan and later the Temple services. Seven, the word in Judges 11.40 for “lament” in KJV and “commemorate” in NASB is “l’tanot” in Hebrew and it means “to celebrate.” Eight, Yiftach’s sorrow is due to the fact that he will have no descendants (Judges 11.34-36) because she was his only child. And in conclusion, it is possible she could have been redeemed from his vow by money based on Lev 27.1-5. So, she was not killed as a Korban Olah, but there are those who believe she was, and that is based on the lack of a Torah-based understanding of the Scriptures.

We will pick up in Judges 12.1-15 in Part 11.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 9

Judges 10.1-18 tells us about two judges and how during their days Israel enjoyed peace. After they died, however, Israel turns against God again and were oppressed by their enemies for 18 years. The Ammonites invade and Israel confesses their sins and and the chapter ends with Israel preparing for battle. These judges will be picture of Yeshua.

After Abimelech died a man named Tola arose. His name is very prophetic and alludes to worm that secretes a red dye called “tolat shanni” that is used in the Mishkan. Psalm 22 is called the crucifixion psalm, and in Psa 22.6 it says, “But I am a worm (tola) and not a man, a reproach of men, and despised by the people.” This has clear allusions to Yeshua who was despised and placed on the cross. The female tola worm attaches itself to a tree and makes a hard shell. She cannot be detached from the tree without killing her. This worm lays her eggs under her shell and when the eggs hatch, they stay under that shell. The mother’s body gives protection and food.

After a few days the young ones are able to take care of themselves, and the mother dies. She oozes a scarlet red dye which stains the tree and her young ones, and they are red for the rest of their lives. After three days the dead mother’s body loses her scarlet color and turns into a white wax which falls to the ground. It is this red dye that is used to create the “tolat shanni” color that was used in the Mishkan and garments. So, in this psalm, it says, “I am a worm (tola)” and alludes to that fact that Yeshua is alluding to this worm and he has attached himself to a tree and gave up his life so that we be washed in his blood and “though your sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow (Isa 1.18).” Now, Tola was the son of Puah (“utterance/speech”), the son of Dodo (“his beloved”). He was from the tribe of Issachar (“my hiring”). He ruled for 23 years and died and was buried in Shamir (“to keep/guard”) in Ephraim (“fruitful”). Yeshua died as the first fruits (1 Cor 15.20) and he keeps us (Shamir) by his word or utterance, and we are his beloved.

After that Jair (“he will enlighten”) the Gileadite (“heap of witness”) arose and judged Israel for 22 years. Yeshua will enlighten us by his word and he died on Golgotha, the heap of witness. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Jair died and was buried in Kamon, meaning “to rise up” and this alludes to the resurrection of not only the Messiah, but our resurrection, too. Clearly, these two judges allude to Yeshua.

But the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of Yehovah and served the Baals (“Master”) and the Ashtaroth (“mind readers”) the gods of the Syria (“elevated”), the gods of Sidon (“hunter/fisher”), the gods of Moab (“seed of the father”), the gods of the sons of Ammon (“seed of the people”) and the gods of the Philistines (“wallower”). The spiritual battle we fight is one of the mind and our enemy (the False Messiah is the “seed of the his father” the serpent-Gen 3.15) is hunting for those who will follow him from the world who think they have replaced Israel with the false doctrines of Replacement Theology Christianity (2 Pet 2.22) and other false religions.

As a result, Yehovah gave them over to the Philistines and Ammon and they crushed for 18 years. After the Lord had dealt with them, Israel cried out to Yehovah after the consequences of their sin came upon their own heads. Their cry seemed a little empty and the Lord told them that their hearts were not in a good place even thought they said the right words. After the Lord reminded them of all the good he had done for them he told them to call upon the gods they had been worshiping to help them. They answered and said, “Do to us whatever seems good to you; only please deliver us this day.”

It seems that Israel finally came to the place where where they totally surrendered to Yehovah and wanted to be delivered from the hands of men and into the hands of God, however he saw fit to deal with them. They showed the Lord evidence of the truth of their teshuvah (repentance) and that their humiliation was for real by putting away the foreign gods from among them and served Yehovah. As a result, it says that “his soul could bear the misery of Israel no longer.” This is stated in this way for us to understand that God decided to stop afflicting Israel and that he had good will towards them.

Ammon had crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim (10.9), and then crossed back over the Jordan and camped in Gilead on the east side. Israel gathered together and camped in Mizpah (“watchtower”) in the territory of Manasseh (“to forget”). Although the forces had been gathered, there was no “man” to command them against the Ammonites. To encourage someone to come forth, they said that the man who does come forward shall be the judge or governor over all the people of Gilead (where Elijah was from).

God will always raise up a person to carry out the work that needs to be done. This is a clear set up for the rise of Yiftach (Jephtah) meaning “he will open” in the next chapter. He will be a picture of Yeshua who will open up the way of salvation for his people. There will also be allusions to the story of Joseph in who Yiftaach was and what he did, so we will look for that. A great work needed to be done and God prepared the Messiah to come and to accomplish that great work. The story of Yiftach will be very similar to the story of Joseph and Yeshua.

For example, Israel was looking for man to lead them, a Messiah (anointed one) to come and deliver them, much like Israel was during the first century. Yiftach was rejected by his brothers and driven out, gathered around him the undesirables and social misfits. He tells the king of the Ammonites that no one will take away what the Lord has given (Judges 11.21-27; John 10.28). We will touch on all of this and more in Part 10.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 8

Judges 9.1-57 will give us insight into a character named Abimelech, but it will also give us insight into the Birth-pains, the False Messiah and the apostasy. As we have said before, these stories not only have a literal sense (Peshat) value but they they will have prophetic implications in the Sowd (hidden, secret) level. This chapter tells us about the crafty and cruel ways of Abimelech (“my father is king”), who is a type of the False Messiah. Abimelech is not the clear successor to his father and he had 70 other brothers (Judges 8.30, 9.5,18). In addition, a hereditary system of governing had not been established in Israel yet.

Abimelech went to Shechem (“shoulder”) to his mother’s relatives and he spoke with them about having one leader (himself) or 70 (all the sons of Gideon). The leaders heard these words and were inclined to follow Abimelech. They gave him 70 pieces of silver from the house of Baal-berith (“master of the covenant” and the false god of Apostate Christianity). His promotion was financial, religious and political. The False Messiah will get his power from the consent of unbelievers from the financial arena, Replacement Theology Christianity (RTC) and political leaders.

He went to his father’s house and killed all his brothers on one stone (the False Messiah will persecute his Jewish brethren who have faith in the living stone Yeshua-Rev 12.17). But Yotham (“Yehovah is perfect”) escaped and hid himself. He represents a small remnant who will escape the False Messiah during the Birth-pains. The men of Shechem and Beth-millo (“house of the earth” who represent the unbelieving Jew and Gentile in the world) assembled and made Abimelech king by the oak (represents the “tree” or crucifix which is the Abomination of Desolation in this case).

Yotham will be a type of the two witnesses and the 144,000 who will speak against the False Messiah. He goes to the top of Mount Gerizim (“cutting off”) near Shechem and he gives them a parable. He says that once the trees (Israel) went to anoint a king to reign over them, but the olive tree (Gideon, a good man) refused. Then the trees said to the fig tree (one of Gideon’s sons or another good man) to reign over them, but said no. Then they went to the vine (another symbol of a useful or good man) and asked it to reign over them, but the vine said no. Israel will not rule over the nations until it accepts Yeshua.

Finally the trees (Israel) went to the bramble (a useless fruitless tree) and asked it to reign over them. This Abimelech (or the False Messiah). The bramble says, “If in truth you are anointing me as king, come and take refuge in my shade.” This was a false promise because a bramble is too low to cast a shadow. This is just like the empty promises of the False Messiah. The bramble says, “But if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon (the leaders and rulers).”

Yotham then says that if they have dealt in truth and integrity in making Abimelech king and have dealt well with Gideon and his house, then be happy with Abimelech and let him rejoice in you. But Gideon risked his life and delivered them from Midian, and they have risen up against his house and killed seventy men on one stone. But if they have not been dealing in truth and integrity, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume the men of Shechem and Beth-millo, and let fire come out from of Shechem and from Beth-millo and consume Abimelech. This alludes to the False Messiah consuming the False Kahal of “church” of Apostate Christianity. Yotham escaped and fled and went to Beer (“well”- which is symbolic of the word of God). At the halfway point of the Birth-pains believers will flee from the False Messiah (Isa 16.1-5; Rev 12.1-17).

Abimelech ruled over Israel three years, and the False Messiah rule rule over Israel for three and a half years. Then Yehovah sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the people, just like the last three and a half years of the Birth-pains when many will turn against the False Messiah. As a result, there was war and the men of Shechem turn against Abimelech and try to ambush him, but he finds out. The men of Shechem have a festival and they curse Abimelech. Zebul (“exalted”), the ruler of the city, sent messengers to to Abimelech and said that Gaal (“loathing”) has stirred up the city against him.

So Abimelech and his men arose by night (a type of spiritual darkness of the world under the False Messiah) and had 400 men waiting in ambush. When Gaal came to the city gate, Abimelech and his people rushed against him from the hills, and Gaal went out to meet him and many fell dead at the entrance to the city. The next day the people went out to the field and Abimelech rose up and went out against them. Abimelech fought against the city all that day and captured the city and destroyed it. The leaders of Shechem heard of this and entered the inner chamber of the temple of El-berith (“God of the covenant”). Abimelech was told about this and he and his men cut down branches and set the temple on fire, along with the tower of Shechem. About a thousand men and women died. The utter destruction of Shechem is a type of the utter destruction of apostate Christianity and the seizure of its wealth.

Then Abimelech went to Thebez (“whiteness”) and camped against it. There was a strong tower (a citadel with walls) in the center of the city (this alludes to the Messiah) and the people of the city went into it for safety. Abimelech came to it and fought against it and tried to burn the entrance with fire. But a certain woman threw a millstone on Abimelech’s head and killed him, crushing his skull. This is like what happened to Sisera in Judges 4.21. This is a type of the destruction of the False Messiah by the stone (Gen 3.15, 28.18, 49.24; 1 Sam 17.4;, Hab 3.13; 1 Cor 10.4).

Abimelech called to his armor bearer and said, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest it be said of me, ‘A woman slew him.'” So he pierced him through, and he died. The sword is a picture of the word of God that comes against the False Messiah (Rev 19.11-16). When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each departed and went home. There is a concept in the Scriptures called “midah kneged midah” which means “measure for measure.” God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father, in killing his seventy brothers. God also returned all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Yotham the son of Gideon came upon them. This chapter is not only telling us about a literal historical event (Peshat), but it is telling us about eschatological concepts concerning the False Messiah and the Birth-pains.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 7

Judges 8.1-35 tells us about how the Ephraimites started complaining about not being sent to fight the Midianites. Gideon tells them that he only blew a few trumpets, broke pitchers and held torches, but the Lord did it all and sent the Midianites against one another. Gideon didn’t lose a man. He may have started the fight (“vintage of Abiezer”) but the Ephraimites “gleaned” by killing the two leaders (v 2). God gave Oreb and Zeev into their hands (v 3). Spiritually, we may be called on after a battle has begun. We may be part of the end of the battle, but we should not complain about that. We should be content with our own role.

Gideon pursues Zebah (“korban/sacrifice”) and Zalmunna (“shadow denied”), kings of Midian, on the east side of the Jordan. They had 15,000 men and Gideon became weary. He asks for provisions from the city of Sukkot and Penuel but they would not help. This was discouraging to Gideon and the people made excuses. The two kings had not been captured yet and they didn’t think Gideon could win with his little army. They feared that Zebah and Zalmunna would come back and punish them if they heard they had helped Gideon. So, Gideon said that when he captured these two kings, he was coming back for them. He knew he was going to win the peace.

Once they two kings had been captured, Gideon returned from battle by the ascent of Heres (rising of the sun). He captured a youth from Sukkot and questioned him, and the youth wrote down for him the princes of Sukkot and its 77 elders. God also keeps a record of what the believer and unbeliever has done. He brings the two kings with him to show them. He took briars from the wilderness and disciplined the elders of Sukkot, and then tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city as he had said he would do (8.9,17).

He then said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?” This is a type of the persecution of the believers. Tabor means “You will purge” alluding to the fact that the birth pains will purge those who persecuted the true believers (Rev 12.13-17). Apparently they had killed Gideon’s brothers and he wanted this known before he dealt with them (8.19). They answered, “They were like you, each one resembling the son of a king.” Spiritually, this alludes to the fact that we are like Messiah and this is our standing before God. He then took the crescent ornaments which were on their camels necks and killed Zebah and Zalmunna. These were replicas of the moon and alludes to the fact that the religion of the unbeliever will not save them either.

Then the men of Israel wanted Gideon to rule over them as a king, not just a judge, but Gideon refused and said that the Lord rules over them already. This request would be granted in the days of Samuel. He did ask for an earing from each of them from their spoils of war, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian and the chains that were on the camels necks. This amounted to a great deal of gold (about 50 pounds), and Gideon then made it all into an ephod and placed it in his city of Ophel (dustiness). Gilgal, and later Shiloh, were the designated cities of worship selected by God in Ephraim, and this was a departure. All Israel played the harlot with it there, so it became a snare to the household of Gideon. He assumed the role of a religious leader and he lead Israel into idolatry. It is not known why Gideon did this, but he may have done it to set up an alternative place of worship to compete with the tribe that gave him trouble in the battle against the Midianites (8.1-3).

All of these items were associated with the enemy and it was mixed together with the true worship of God. Man has set up a carnal replacement theology in place of the Torah. Great religious art can impress us but it is not necessarily godly. Gideon may have been sincere but sincerity is not to be our measure for the truth. Despite the idolatry, God’s grace still blessed them and Midian was subdued. Peace is always the outcome when contention and strife (Midian) are subdued. The land was undisturbed for 40 years (time of testing) and Gideon went to live in his own house. He may have provided a physical security but he did a lot of spiritual damage.

Gideon had 70 sons (God has many sons, 70 is a number of completion) because he had many wives. The Torah does not expressly prohibit polygamy but it does show that these relationships usually end up with bitter consequences. He also had a concubine in Shechem, meaning “shoulder/strength.” She had a house there or lived with her father and Gideon would visit there when he went to Shechem as a judge. This symbolizes the strength of the false kahal (assembly) that can even be seen today. They had a son named Abimelech (my father is king) and alludes to the fact that Gideon may have been trying to set up a hereditary leadership system. Could the name have been chosen to indicate that his son was to be the leader after he was gone (which they did in Judges 9.6)?

Gideon died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. But as soon as he was dead, the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals and made Baal-berith (master of the covenant) their god. He handled adversity better than he handled success because his reputation and riches brought him down eventually. His influence was strong as long as he was alive, and this is like the first century. As long as the people who knew Yeshua were alive (Peter, Matthew, James, etc) their influence was strong, but when they passed away the faith departed from the Torah into Rabbinic Judaism and Apostate Christianity.

Israel did not remember the Lord their God who had delivered them so many times in the past. How did they do that? They neglected the Torah, failed to pray and assemble together to hear the true word of God taught. They also failed to show kindness to the household of Gideon in accordance with all the good he had done for Israel. They showed ingratitude to the instrument of their deliverance.

We will pick up here in Part 8.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 6

Judges 7.1-25 tells us the story about Gideon’s army gathered out of several tribes. This is going to test Gideon’s faith because the Midianites already out numbered the army of Gideon, and now the Lord is going to send home more. Yehovah said Gideon’s army was “too many for me” meaning the Lord did not want Israel to think they won the coming battle on their own power so he is going to send some of them home. So, those who were fearful could depart, and 22,000 departed. The remaining number was still too many so he gives them another instruction, and that brought the army down to 300.

The word “Midian” means contention and strife and that is what they are doing to Israel. 22,000 depart before the battle because they feared man rather than God (Matt 13.20-21). Those that were left were told to go down to the water to be tested. Those that knelt down and drank water with their tongues were sent home and those that scooped the water with their hands to the mouth were allowed to stay. That brought the number to 300 for the army. Now, the mouth alludes to our testimony and the water is the word of God by which they were tested. This also shows that just because someone “kneels” to the word does not mean their hearts were “bowed” to obey it. Putting your hand (works/service) to your mouth (testimony) is what the Lord is looking for.

The number 300 is an interesting number. It is the numerical value of the letter “Shin” in Hebrew and it is the one letter God uses as his “signature.” This letter can be seen on the topography of Jerusalem and the number is used throughout the Scriptures (Gen 5.22, 6.15, 45.22; Judges 15.4; 1 Chr 11.11; Mark 14.1-5). Jerusalem sits within the letter shin made by the Hinnom, Tyropean and Kidron Valley. Yehovah put his name there (Deut 12.11) and this letter can also be seen on a Mezuzah.

The letter carries the meaning of “teeth, to consume or destroy.” For more information on this letter we recommend that a study be done on the Hebrew Alphabet. This letter also alludes to another concept. All the soldiers drank the water of the word, but not all of them were called to a “public ministry.” The ones called took their provisions and their trumpets (also speaking of testimony) into their hands (work/service) and got ready.

That night (darkness is when God reveals his will) they went down to the Midianite (strife) camp. If Gideon was afraid he was told to go with Purah (meaning “fruitful branch”) “your servant.” He is a type of the Ruach Ha Kodesh who is called alongside of us to help in our warfare. So he went to down with Purah to listen to what the outposts were saying.

The Midianites were allied with the Amalekites and the “sons of the east.” They were numerous and they filled the valley like “sand on the seashore” and this idiom relates to the “earthly, natural” state, and it is the opposite of “the stars in heaven” which relates to the spiritual state. Gideon overhears a man talking to his friend about a dream (v 13). The dream related how a loaf of barley (Gideon as a humble nobody) came tumbling into the camp of Midian and it struck the tent and tore it down. They interpreted the dream as meaning God had given the camp of Midian into the hands of Gideon (cutter down), the son of Joash (fire of Yehovah), the man of Israel (he retains God). When Gideon heard the account of this dream, he bowed in worship. His heart is assured and he has grasped emunah (faith/confidence) instead of fear.

So Gideon divides his 300 men into three companies, with Gideon leading one group. Three is the number of resurrection and only those who are born again can render God any service. He gave them trumpets (a testimony) and empty pitchers (earthenware vessels are a type of the believer) and torches (“lapidim” is a term for the Messiah). This alludes to the believer (the empty pitcher) being indwelt by the Messiah (torches/fire) and given a testimony (trumpets). They were to follow Gideon (like we follow Messiah) and they were to do what he does (1 Cor 11.1-2). They were to come to the outskirts of the Midianite camp (we are to be separate from the world). When he blows the trumpet, everyone was to blow the their trumpets and say, “A sword for Yehovah and for Gideon.” The sword is a picture of the word of God and it is what God gives us to “cut down” (Gideon) or convict sinners and raise them up.

So, Gideon had 100 men with him and they came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the “middle watch” (which was about 10 pm to 2 am) while they slept (1 Thes 5.1). At the right time they blew their trumpets (preached the word of their testimony) and smashed their pitchers (we must be broken for God to use us). The torches were in their left hand, and the trumpets were in their right hand. The left side of the Temple is south, the direction of faith. The right side is north, the direction of the intellect. On the left side of the Mishkan we have the light of the Menorah and on the right side we have the bread of the faces (the word/testimony). So, the torch in the left hand means a life of faith and action, and the trumpet in the right hand means a life that is led by the Ruaach Ha Kodesh. They shouted “A sword for Yehovah and for Gideon” and each stood in his place around the camp and the enemy ran out as they fled.

The Lord set the sword of the enemy against one another and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah (house of the acacia) toward Zerah (bound), as far as Abel-meholah (stream of the dance) by Tabbath (goodness). Others were summoned to chase the enemy from Naphtali, Asher and Manasseh. Ephraim was summoned to take the waters, fords and passages of the Jordan before them to hinder the escape of the Midianites as far as Beth-arabah and the Jordan, and they did. Ephraim also captured the two leaders of Midian, who are a picture of Satan and the False Messiah. Oreb (raven) was killed at the rock of Oreb, and Zeev (wolf) was killed at the wine press of Zeeb. Their heads were brought to Gideon, alluding to the defeat of Satan and the seed of the serpent in Gen 3.15. The true nature of the Midianites are pictured in the names of their leaders. The rock alludes to Messiah, the rock of offense to those who stumble (1 Pet 2.8), and the wine press alludes to the wine press of God’s judgment in Isa 63.1-6; Rev 14.14-20, 19.15.

In Part 7 we will pick up in Judges 8.1-35 and we will see that all is not well with some of the tribes after this victory.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 5

Now we come to the call of Gideon in Judges 6.11-40. The angel of the Lord (messenger of Yehovah) came and sat under an oak that was in Ophrah (“dustiness”) which belonged to Joash (“fire of God”). This is a theophany, God appearing to man in human form, but it is not an incarnation. Since no man has seen God (the Father) and the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) is spirit by nature, this is the Son (Yeshua). Gideon (“the cutter down” and his name alludes to the Messiah who will cut down Satan-Isa 14) was the son of Joash and he was beating the barley wheat in the winepress. The angel appears to Gideon and says, “Yehovah is with you, O valiant warrior.” That’s why he is a valiant warrior.

Then Gideon says if the Lord is with them, where are all the miracles that he has heard about. Didn’t he bring up the people from Egypt and now abandoned them to the Midianites? He thought the problem was with the Lord, not the people or even him. The truth is, God has never forsaken Israel. Yehovah says that Gideon was to go in this your strength (that God was with him) and deliver Israel because he has sent him. But Gideon doesn’t know how he will do it. His family is small in Manasseh (to forget) and he is the youngest in his father’s house. This alludes to how we should forget our past because it will hinder us if God calls us. We should confess our poverty and “littleness” (his family was nothing). God will be with Gideon and he will be with us which assures us of victory.

So Gideon says if he has found favor, then show him a sign that this angel is really Yehovah. He wanted the messenger to stay until Gideon could come back with an offering and lay it before the angel, and the angel said he would remain. This is proof that this angel was Yehovah. A regular angel does not accept worship. SO Gideon went in and prepared unleavend bread (matzah), and this speaks of the sinless body of Yeshua. He put meat in a basket (the Lord’s body) and broth (the Lord’s blood) and brought them to the angel under the oak (a type of the cross). Life begins at the cross and then worship and service follow.

The angel told him to take the meat (sin offering-2 Cor 5.21) and unleavened bread (Yeshua was sinless) and lay them on a rock (the rock is Messiah and the foundation rock of our faith and security, it also picture Golgotha) and then pout out the broth (Yeshua was “poured out”-Psa 22.14; Isa 53). Then angel took his staff (the word of God) and touched the meat and unleavened bread and fire sprang up from the rock (speaks if the impulse of the Holy Spirit and how Yeshua offered himself-Heb 9.14). Gideon realized it was Yehovah and said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” And Yehovah said to him, “Peace be with you, do not fear, you shall not die.” We have peace through Yeshua. Then Gideon built an altar there and named it “Yehovah is peace.”

That same night the Lord said to him that he was to take his father’s bull and another bull seven years old (been fatted for that long) and pull down the altar of Baal which belonged to his father. He was also to cut down the Asherah that was beside it. Then he was to build an altar to Yehovah on top of the rock where fire came forth. This rock is the foundation on which everything rests and is a clear picture of Yeshua. He was to take the second bull and offer a Korban Olah (burnt offering) with the wood of the Asherah that was cut down. Gideon had to set his own house in order.

So Gideon took ten men (the number of judgement) and did what the Lord had commanded, but he did it by night. He used discretion and obeyed despite his fear. In the morning, the men of the city saw that the altar of Baal was torn down, including the Asherah. They wanted to know who did it and they found out Gideon did it. Then the men of the city went to Joash so that he would turn over his son. Yeshua risked death and the men of the city wanted his death, too. But Joash told them that Baal can defend himself, why do you need to defend him. If he is a god, let him contend for himself. So, on that day Joash named his son “Jerubaal” or “may Baal defend” meaning Baal should defend his own altar and contend against the one who did it.

Then the Midianites (“contention”) and Amalekites (“people who lick”) and the sons of the east (used for people who are evil and away from God) assembled themselves and camped in Jezreel (“God will sow”). It was harvest time and they were getting ready to raid the crops and steal what they could. So the Spirit came upon Gideon and he blew a shofar and the Abiezerites (“Father of help”) were called to follow him (32,000 men-Judges 7.3). He also sent messengers to Manasseh (“to forget”), Asher (“happy”), Zebulon (“to dwell”) and Naphtali (“my wrestling”).

Then Gideon asked the Lord that since he is going to deliver Israel through Gideon, he was going to put out a fleece (any covering speaks of righteousness good or bad. This one is of a lamb and this speaks of Messiah’s righteousness). If there was dew on the fleece only and it was dry on the ground, then he will know that God will deliver Israel. The next morning he squeezed the fleece and a bowl full of water was filled. Dew is a type of teaching (Deut 32.1-2) and Messiah is full of teaching and it is available to all (bowl is full).

Then Gideon again said to the Lord that he wanted another sign. He did not want the Lord to be angry because he said if the Lord did the first sign he would know, hut he goes against that and wants confirmation. Now he wants the fleece to be dry and the ground wet with dew, and God did so that night. Spiritually, Israel is the flock of the Lord and they were “dry” in 70 AD when the Romans came and destroyed the land, city and Temple (Luke 23.28-31). Life (water) was available to the world (Matt 28.19-20; Acts 11.28,34-35).

In Part 6 we will pick up in Judges 7.1-25 with more prophetic pictures.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 4

Judges 5.1-31 is a song of praise for the victory over Jabin and the Canaanites on the day the victory was won. This chapter also foreshadows the victory and work of the the Messiah. It is also a song of the future like the Song of Moses in Exo 15. Israel was in a miserable state (5.6) until Deborah and Barak went out to meet Sisera. In the same way, Israel will be in a miserable state before Yeshua comes. He will come from Edom and Seir and the earth will move (5.4) like at Sinai (5.5), and as seen in Isa 63.1-6; Deut 33.2; Isa 42.10-13 and Hab 3.3-13. The False Messiah will be defeated as Yeshua destroys his attempt to control Israel. We need to thank the Lord (Luke 7.36-50).

The word “leaders” in 5.2 means literally “for the loosing of the locks of hair” and they led Israel, obedient like the Nazarite who let their hair grow, and the people volunteered to be God’s instruments. In 5.4 it says they came out of Edom and Seir and this alludes to the concept that they came out of the wilderness. Edom means “red” and he is a picture of the first-born, the flesh as opposed to the spirit. Only when we come out of the flesh can we see God’s power.

We learn that in the days of Shamgar (“here a stranger”) the highways were deserted because there were so many thieves and robbers and this traveling hard (5.6). Shamgar didn’t do much to deliver the people. This alludes to the fact that spiritually the “commerce” of the Lord’s business is the Torah and it was empty. Not a shield or spear was seen among the forty thousand in Israel (5.8) because they confiscated the weapons (gun control), and this alludes to the scarcity of the word of God. Our enemy does not want us to to use the armor God has given us (Eph 6.12-18).

Then Deborah arose because she was willing to be used and she wanted the Kingdom of the Lord to be victorious. After the battle, the good news (basar/gospel) of the victory was to be spread throughout all the villages (Matt 5.15-16). Then she praised the tribes that helped in the battle like Ephraim, the half-tribe of Manasseh on the west side, Benjamin, Zebulon, Issachar and Naphtali. But not every tribe was helpful and “sat among the sheepfolds.” Reuben, the half-tribe of Manasseh on the east side, Dan and Asher did not join in.

We learn in 5.20-22 that this battle was fought “from the heavens” (Josh 10.12-13) because God sent rain that made the Canaanite chariots useless. The city of Meroz (“refuge, a place to hide”) was of no help and it was cursed (v 23). Then Jael is praised for killing Sisera. Ordinarily, the traditional laws of hospitality protected a guest in your home (Lot, Abraham, etc) but here she is blessed because she obeyed the Lord instead of obeying her traditions and customs. Sisera, a type of Satan and the False Messiah, was killed by a woman and Deborah wanted everyone to know it (Gen 3.15).

Deborah then talks about the plight of the surviving family of Sisera. Every death has consequences and Deborah celebrates the consequences of Sisera’s death. His mother is looking for him after the battle (5.28-30) and he has not returned, and too much time has gone by, but she still holds out hope in his return with a fatal optimism. This alludes to those who are involved in Replacement Theology (the mother of harlots) and the disappointment that awaits the harlot and her children. Her fatal optimism causes her and those who follow her to despise the wisdom of God found in the Torah. Their efforts to replace Israel will have the same result that Sisera experienced when he tried to replace Israel.

She makes excuses as to why Sisera delays (5.30) but she is ignorant of her son’s fate. Spiritually, this is the fate of all who trust in the wisdom of the world. She thinks that her son is taking the garments off his enemies (5.30) and that is why he has delayed, but this speaks of the self-righteousness (the garments) that an unbeliever trusts in. In the end there is death. In Judges 5.31 it says, “Let all thine enemies perish, O Lord; but let those who love him (the Messiah) be like the rising of the sun in its might” (Mal 4.2; Psa 19.4-5; Gen 32.31). We shall be like him (1 John 3.2; Isa 30.26).

In Judges 6.1-40 we have the story of how Israel departed from the Lord again and how God raised up the Midianites (“contention/strife”) against them and the call of Gideon. They prevailed against Israel and Israel made dens and caves as strongholds (strife brings us to the level of animals). It also says that Israel was deprived of food because the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites (people who lick) and the sons of the east (east is the direction away from God and used for anyone opposed to God). They would camp (contention and strife will ‘camp’ with us, too) against Israel and they would destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza (“she was strong” and sin will carry us away from our food) and leave nothing in Israel as well as no sheep (speaks of submission), ox (service is hindered by strife) or donkey (old nature).

They would come up with their livestock and their tents like locusts with many camels (a camel speaks of the body that goes through the spiritual desert for his master) and they were innumerable (Satan and the world has an abundance of spiritual things to lure us out of obedience and distract us. These things may not be evil in and of themselves). So Israel was in a desperate state and they cried out to the Lord, and he sent a prophet to them and he called them to remember what the Lord has done and said that it was the Lord who had brought them out of Egypt and slavery and gave them the land. He also dispossessed their enemies before them. This prophet also said that they were not to fear the gods of the Amorites (“sayers, professors”), but they disobeyed the Lord. This was the sin that this prophet was sent to Israel to reprove them for, and to bring them into a sense of what they had done.

In Part 5 we will pick up in Judges 6.11-40 and how the angel of the Lord (Yeshua) appears to Gideon and gives him a commission to deliver Israel.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 3

As we have mentioned before, this chapter tells us about the pagan nations left in Israel and how they were used to test Israel. There were the five (number of responsibility) lords of the Philistines (“wallowers”..alluding to wallowing in the mire like pigs-2 Pet 2.22) and all the Canaanites (traffickers..in the things of God). There were the Sidonians (“hunters/fishers” and alludes to hunting men’s souls) and the Hivites (“livers”..but had no life) who lived in Mount Lebanon (white) from Mount Baal-hermon (“banned”) as far as Lebo-hamath (“enclosre of wrath”). The Canaanites included the Hittites (“terror”) and Amorites (“sayers”), the Parizzites (“squaters”) anf the Jebusites (“trodden down”). Israel began to intermarry with them and they began to worship the Baals and Asheroth. So, the Lord became angry and sold them into the hands of Cushanrishathaim (“blackness of double wicked”..he is a type of Satan) king of Mesopotamia. Israel served him for eight years. This alludes to what Paul did in 1 Cor 5.5 when he turned a person over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh.

In Judges 3.9-14 we have the first deliverer of Israel named Othniel (“God is might”) and he is a type of Yeshua and the son-in-law of the Caleb. The Ruach Ha Kodesh came upon him and he judged Israel He went out to war and he defeated Cushanrishathaim and prevailed. Yeshua is our deliverer and we will prevail over Satan. But Israel began to sin again, so the Lord raised up Eglon (“calf”) the king of Moab (“from father”) against Israel and he gathered Ammon (“people”) and Amalek (“People that lick, People of the fire god”) with him and they defeated Israel, and possessed Jericho. Amalek will never be at peace with Israel (Num 13.29; Judges 6.3). Israel served them for eighteen years before they cried out to God.

Then the Lord raised up Ehud (“I will give thanks”) and he will be another picture of Yeshua. He is from Benjamin (son of the right hand/last days) and he was left-handed. Israel would send tribute to Eglon through him. Eglon (“calf”) was prepared for the slaughter like a fatted calf. Ehud had a two-edged sword (the Word of God-Heb 4.12) and he bound it to his right leg (the right speaks of power and alludes to his walk in the Torah) and told the king he had a secret message for him. Not expecting him to be left-handed, Ehud took the sword (the Word of God) from his right thigh (right side speaks of power) and thrust it into Eglon’s belly (Satan is slain with the Word). It was a deadly blow, and Ehud went out of the room, shut the doors and locked them. On Yom Kippur there is a ceremony called Neilah (closing) and it is the shutting of the door of repentance. The gates of repentance are opened on Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shanah). When Yeshua returns on Yom Kippur the door will be shut on Satan and the unbeliever as well.

Ehud escaped to Seirah (“hairy she-goat”) and when he arrived he blew the horn in the mountain country of Ephraim (fruitful). Yeshua will have a great shofar blown when he returns (Matt 24.29-31). Ehud tells the people to follow him because the Lord has given the Moabites into their hands. They went down to the fords of the Jordan opposite Moab and did not let anyone cross over. This alludes to the fact that we should not let the flesh cross over. They struck down ten thousand (number of judgment) Moabites who were valiant men. With Moab subdued, the land was undisturbed for for eighty (new beginning) years. After him came Shamgar (“a stranger here”) the son of Anath (“answer, eye, fountain”) who struck down six (number of man) hundred Philistines (“wallowers”) with an ox-goad (type of the Torah) and he saved Israel. God can use anything to serve his purpose, like a shepherd’s staff or a sling shot.

Judges 4.1-24 is one of the most prophetic chapters in the Bible. The cycle of disobedience, then oppression and then calling on the Lord happens again. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin (“he understands”- a type of Satan) the king of Canaan (merchant, trafficker) who reigned in Hazor (“village, trumpet, enclosure”) and the commander of his army was Sisera (“meditation, keen, swift”) and he is a picture of the False Messiah in this story. He lived in Harosheth-hagoyim (“work of the nations”-this is in the north so this alludes to worldly wisdom and intelligence). Israel cried out to God because Sisera had nine hundred chariots and he oppressed Israel for twenty years.

Now there was a woman named Deborah (“congregation” and the root for her name is “davar” meaning “the word”) who was a prophetess and she would sit under a palm tree (the tree of righteousness) between Ramah (height) and Bethel (house of God) and judge the people. She summoned Barak (“lightning”-he will attack Sisera from the east-Matt 24.27) and the son of Abinoam (“father of pleasantness”) from Kedesh-naphtali (“sanctuary of my wrestling”). She said that the Lord has said “Go and march to Mount Tabor (“you will purge) and take with you ten (number of judgment) thousand men from Naphtali (“my wrestling”) and from Zebulon (“to dwell”). The Lord will draw out Sisera with his chariots and his army to the river Kishon (“ensnared” as if by human wisdom) and the Lord will give Sisera into his hands.

Barak said that if Deborah went with him then he would go, but he won’t go if she doesn’t go with him. So, she agreed to go but the victory will not be his, for the Lord will sell Sisera (a type of Satan and the False Messiah) into the hands “of a woman.” She is a picture of the Kahal, the eschatological congregation of Yeshua who believe in him. The power of Satan and the False Messiah will not prevail against us (Gen 3.15; Matt 16.18). So Barak had his ten thousand men and he went up with Deborah.

Now Heber (“companion”) the Kenite (“a smith”) had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab (“beloved”) the father-in-law of Moses. This is a third name for Yitro (Jethro). He had camped as far away as as the oak of Zaanannim (“wanderings”) which is near Kedesh (sanctuary). Unbelievers wander close to the sanctuary even today. They told Sisera that Barak had gone to Mount Tabor, so Sisera summons his men and chariots. Deborah tells Barak that the Lord has given Sisera into his hand and that Yehovah was with him. The armies meet and the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army. He attacked from the east. Sisera got off his chariot because it got stuck in the muddy terrain because it was springtime and rainy and he ran away on foot. Barak pursued the army and chariots as far as Harosheth-hagoyim and the army of Sisera fell by the sword and none was left. The enemy is not to be spared.

Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael (mountain goat). The word is in the masculine and it alludes to the goat on Yom Kippur when Yeshua comes and the False Messiah falls. She is the wife of Heber. There was peace between Jabin and the house of Heber. Jael went out to meet him and he followed her into the tent and she covered him with a rug. He asked for some water and she gave him milk, alluding to the Word of God. He told her to stand in the doorway, and if anyone came say that there is nobody here, and she agreed.

But Jael took a tent peg called a “yotaid’ in Hebrew. She took a hammer in her hand and drove the tent peg through his temple and it went right through his head because he was asleep, and he died. Now, this alludes to Gen 3.15 where it says the seed of the woman shall crush the head of Satan and the False Messiah. The tent peg (“yotaid”) is a picture of the Messiah (Rev 13.3; Exo 27.19, 35.18; Ezra 9.8; Isa 22.15-25; Hab 3.13; Num 24.17). The hammer is also a picture of the Messiah (Jer 23.29) and the heroes at Chanukah who defeated the enemies of God were called “Maccabees” which is related to the word for “hammer” (makav). So the Lord subdued Jabin on that day and Israel came upon Jabin until they destroyed him.

So we have a clear picture of the return of Yeshua here. The armies if the nations (Sisera lived in Harosheth-hagoyim or “work of the nations”) will attack Israel and the Lord by his word (Deborah) will raise up the Messiah (Barak meaning “lightning”) who will attack the False Messiah from the east (Matt 24.29-31) and defeat him. The Messiah (the tent peg and hammer) will crush the head of Satan (Gen 3.15) and he will be subdued in the end. Sisera (the false Messiah) was dead and his boss Jabin (Satan) was subdued (Rev 20.1-10).

In Part 4 we will pick up in Judges 5.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 2

Judges 2.1-23 gives us the story of an angel of the Lord who appears to Israel and rebukes them for their disobedience. This angel came from Gilgal (the place he was last seen in Josh 5.13) to Bochin (weeping) and this speaks of their failures and disobedience. Gilgal is a type of the cross and Bochin represents the apostasy the faith has been in since then (2000 years). This angel is clearly a manifestation of Yeshua before his incarnation. A “theophaby” is different than an incarnation and this is one of the many examples of this in Scripture. This angel (messenger) never says “Thus says the Lord” but speaks on his own authority.

Because of this disobedience the Lord did not drive the Canaanites out before them but left them as “thorns in your sides.” Paul uses this term in 2 Cor 12.1-10 to describe an adversary and those who abused him. After hearing this, Israel named the place they were in Bochin (weeping) and sacrificed there, but this was an empty ritual. There is no sign at this point they were ready to obey the Lord.

Judges 2.6-9 and the account of Joshua is not connected to the above account in v 1-5 but refers back to a meeting before Joshua died and when he divided the land (Josh 24.28). This is repeated here to show how far they had fallen since the days of Joshua when they obeyed the Lord. Joshua died at the age of 110 and they buried him in Timnath-heres meaning “portion of the sun” and was formerly Tinath-serah (extra portion). The generation that went into the wilderness died and there arose another generation that did not know the Lord or the great works he had done for Israel. This was due to a lack of proper teaching and this prepared them for accepting false teaching.

Judges 2.11-23 tells us that ignorance produces evil and Israel began worshiping the Baals and the Ashtaroth and they forsook the Lord. They had failed to destroy the Canaanites and now they are learning their ways. Of course the Lord was angry about this and he turned them over into the hands of their enemies. Wherever they went the Lord was against them. Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of their enemies, proving that even now the Lord is merciful. But they did not listen to the judges, and this foreshadows the world not listening and the rejection of Yeshua.

But the Lord had compassion on them and raised up judges and they will be a picture of Yeshua. But as a judge died, the people would turn again to corruption and acted worse than before. This is no different today and the Lord is no less compassionate. They would worship other gods and they did not turn away from their evil practices. They refused the Torah of the Lord and it was not done out of ignorance. His anger will be in proportion to their sin. The Lord will no longer drive out the nations before them that were left when Joshua died. This was in order to test Israel by them whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it or not (He will test their response). This refutes any idea that Israel’s victories were accomplished by their own strength.

In Judges 3.1-31 we are going to pick up some important concepts. In Judges 3.1-2 we learn an important concept related to spiritual warfare. The Lord left the the Canaanite nations to test Israel as we know, but this was also to teach the next generation who had not experienced any of the battles in Canaan about warfare. So, let’s touch on some concepts in spiritual warfare because it is one of the concepts in Judges.

The study of war is called the “Moreshet Karav” or the “heritage of war.” How do we fight spiritual battles? Look at what Israel did. Much of what passes for “spiritual warfare” today is not spiritual warfare. Warfare is the imposition of one’s will over another. What is the will of God? It is that we follow the Torah. What does the enemy try to do? Stop us from obeying the will of God, or the Torah. He will try to get you away from it by using various techniques. He want us to be lawless (anomos in Greek= “no Torah) like he is.

But here is they key to spiritual warfare. Following the Torah is how we fight spiritual warfare! Num 4.3 says, “From thirty years and upward, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service (the word is “tzava” and means warfare) to do the work in the tent of meeting.” The priests were working in the Mishkan and the Temple and this was seen as spiritual warfare. This word for warfare is also used in Num 4.23 and 4.30 also.

We need to know the Lord (Jer 9.23-24) not fight battles. This word for know is “yada” and this is an intimate knowledge (Gen 4.1; Jer 31.34; Hos 2.18-20; Hos 4.6; Matt 7.21-23) because we have discerned the truth and this gives us the capacity to know the Lord. The heart of God is for us to know him, but how? With our reason, logic and intellect. Feelings can deceive us. Yada (to know intimately) is the opposite of anomos (lawless). 1 John 2.3-4 tells us that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and does not keep the commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him.

What people do not realize is that we are in a war just as real as what we have been reading about in Joshua and Judges. We must “consider our ways” (Hag 1.7). Are we wasting time in our lives or are we building the house of God? We do this by studying the Scriptures to know the Lord. Every piece of truth we learn is like a brick in our wall. Do we want to be a wall or a door (Song 8.9? Do we want to be strong or weak?

Some think that studying spiritual warfare is a waste of time, but it is not something that you can just sit down and learn quickly. But warfare applies to every believer because we are in a war whether you want to be or not. Ecc 9.14-16 likens us to a city and it can be delivered by wisdom. Matt 13.45-46 and Job 28.18 speak about wisdom and how valuable it is. This wisdom can only come through the Scriptures, with the Torah as a foundation for our walls. If you want to have a sturdy wall and a protected city, you must understand the Law and the Prophets, and then build on that. John 5.39-47 says that the Jewish people did not believe what Moses wrote, and as a result did not believe in Yeshua because Moses wrote about him. As a result, if they don’t believe Moses they will not believe Yeshua.

When studying spiritual warfare we must look at the ancient battles that the Jews fought and apply what God has shown to our own spiritual battles. We also need to study the coming of the Messiah in the context of these battles that we will read about in the Scriptures because many of them will happen again. We also need to open up a better understanding of any passage that we will come across in our study of Tanak Foundations. Israel failed to keep moving forward and got into a lot of trouble with their enemies as we have already seen in Judges 2. We must build our walls and city (us).

If we have not progressed much over the years the enemy is going to hit us. We are going to see that exact thing in Judges as we move through, as well as the rest of the Tanak. The Lord will allow us to be attacked to teach us how to fight in spiritual warfare as we have seen in Judges 3.1-2. Everyone is either just coming into a battle, fighting a battle or coming out of a battle.

The Lord is a warrior and called “Adonai Tzavaot” in Hebrew meaning “Lord of the Armies.” If we don’t start learning about warfare we will be making a huge mistake. There are different fortifications, weapons, tactics and strategies that need to be examined. Warfare developed over the centuries from throwing rocks, to shields, to bows and arrows, to tanks, missiles and supersonic jets. Spiritually it will be the same with us. At first, we don’t know much about warfare. We win some battles but we need to progress in our knowledge of God and the Scriptures because the enemy won’t be throwing rocks after awhile. His attacks against us will get more sophisticated, so we better get with the program. We need to learn the Torah and the Prophets. There are those who say they believe but do not know the Torah and follow some other belief system. They think they are alright but they have been captured for a long time and think they are free. Then they get offended because you don’t believe in the same thing they do.

There is always a price to pay in spiritual warfare. Don’t ever think that there will be no casualties when you fight battles and stand up for the Lord. We may lose our family, friends, health through stress, jobs, finances and other things. We will be our biggest enemy, like the saying goes, “We have found the enemy, and he is us.” There are no “formulas” or repeated prayers (like the Prayer of Jabez hype a few years ago) to overcome the enemy. As you study the biblical battles, the Lord had Israel do different things all the time. The technique was never the same. Sometimes they marched around a city and the walls fell (Joshua at Jericho) and sometimes they had siege warfare (David at Rabbah).

Another concept to remember is don’t think the war is over because you won a battle. Why? Because we just got stronger and improved our weapons and the enemy will counter that. What we think are “weapons” are not really weapons at all, but “magic” in place of real weapons. Using “holy anointing oil” or “water from the Jordan” from some TV preacher is just magic. The “name it claim it” and “confessing things into existence” crowd like in the Faith Movement is just a false teaching from the enemy. Don’t waste your time in it. They are throwing rocks when they think they are shooting bullets. Everything in spiritual warfare must come from God (Lam 3.37). You can’t make God “jump through your hoops” like a circus lion. Remember, he is the Lord of the Armies” and Commander-in-chief.

We must see ourselves like a city with walls. When the enemy comes, and he will, there are certain things you must have in place to keep his battering ram away from your walls. He will try to penetrate us. We must mature in spiritual warfare and we can’t have a knife with an enemy who is shooting bullets. Don’t ever underestimate the enemy. We must develop our understanding of spiritual warfare and apply those concepts. So, as we move through Judges and the Tanak we will be picking up important lessons that we can apply to our own spiritual warfare. If you would like a detailed study in spiritual warfare, go to the teaching called “The Spiritual Warrior” and “The Spiritual Sniper” on this website.

In Part 3 will pick up with Judges 3.3-31.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 1

We begin our overview of the book of Judges with several concepts right off. The judges were to be like Moses and their job was to judge the people. Messiah will be presented as judge and deliverer in the various judges we will look at. We are not going to go over every story but we will select certain stories to get to the heart of the matter. Again, we will not be going verse by verse but we are going to look at certain phrases, idioms and concepts that will help us understand the book and help us in our own lives.

Like many books in the Tanak, the author is not mentioned. According to ancient Jewish sources the author was Samuel the prophet. It describes the time after the death of Joshua and up to the end of the life of Samson and was probably written at the beginning of the reign of Saul. The period of the judges lasted some 340 years and once Joshua died there was no standing “office” of national leadership. There was no king, president or prime minister, only Yehovah. God would raise up a leader to meet certain needs at certain times and then these people would go back into their previous lives again. These leaders were not elected and they did not rise to these positions because of a succession, like with Moses to Joshua. They were empowered by the Lord to do certain things and the people knew who they were and respected them.

When the Scriptures use the term “judges” it doesn’t mean they sat in a court and decided cases. The Hebrew word “shaphat” carries the idea of a mighty leader or warrior. People today want to teach and tell people what they think the Scriptures say, but they don’t want to put in the hours and years it takes. They don’t do their homework. These judges knew the Lord and they knew the Torah and that was a basic prerequisite to their ministries.

A basic overview of Judges looks like this. Judges 1.10-37 talks about Israel’s failures and apostasy, and they even served the Baalim and the Asherot (3.7). Judges 3.8 to 16.31 tells us about seven periods of oppression and deliverance. Judges 17.1 to 21.25 tells us about the idolatry and continued moral decline of Israel.

In Judges 1.1-10 we learn that Joshua has died. He “potentially” conquered the land but now it was up to the individual tribes to finish the job. In the same way, Yeshua died and potentially gave us the victory but we must engage in spiritual warfare and take it for ourselves and overcome through him. Israel inquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim about who will go up first to fight against the Canaanites (merchants, traffickers symbolizing the world and the flesh). After Joshua’s death, this period was seen as a “dark age” for Israel and things were confusing. But we will also see how Yehovah comes during these times and rescues the people. We will also find out a disturbing fact about man in this book. Man would fall back into disobedience and idolatry right after being rescued and the whole cycle would repeat.

Here they do the right thing by asking the Lord about what to do. With Joshua gone they must develop a new trust in the Lord because they did not have a human leader to go to. In the same way, our resolve fails at times but we can go to the Lord for direction. The Lord says that Judah (praise) should go up first and they ask the tribe of Simeon (hear/obey) to go with them. This is a wise thing to do and it symbolizes what the body of Messiah should do. Each part of the body should help out the other.

In Judges 1.8 we learn that Judah fought against the lower part (eastern) of Jerusalem and captured it. In Josh 15.63 it says they could not take it because of Abraham’s treaty with Abimelech and the Philistines. However, after these descendants of Abimelech died after the time of Joshua Judah was able to conquer it portion of the city. The western part of the city belonged to Benjamin and this was inhabited by the Hittite descendants of Ephron who also made a covenant with Abraham when he bought the cave at Machpelah (Gen 21). As a result, they could not drive them out in Judges 1.21. This teaches something about covenants. Abraham had a treaty with Abimelech and Ephron. Even thought God gave this area around Jerusalem to Israel, they had to honor the previous covenants. This teaches the concept about keeping our word.

They defeated the Canaanites and Perizzites (squaters) at Bezek (lightning) and their king Adoni-bezek (Lord of the lightning and a type of Satan) fled and they caught him. They cut off his his thumbs and big toes, brought him to Jerusalem and he died. Now, having a name like “Lord of the lightning” sounds terrifying but he was defeated anyway. His punishment might seem cruel but he did the same thing to seventy kings previously so now it is happening to him (Judges 1.7). This punishment also made Adonai-bezek worthless as a warrior so he wasn’t going to come back and give Israel trouble. Judges 1.8-20 tells us about Judah’s victories in the south. Israel conquers Hebron (communion) and it was given to Caleb and his family (Josh 15.13-19).

The descendants of the Kenite Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, went up from Jericho (city of palms) with the sons of Judah to the wilderness of Judah in the south of Arad (wild ass) and is west of the Dead Sea. Judah and Simeon struck Zephad (watch tower) and destroyed it, so it was renamed Hormah (banned, broken rock). Judah took Gaza (strong city), Ashkelon (fire of infamy) and Ekron (barreness) to the west but could not take the valley because the inhabitants had iron chariots. This had more to do with the attitude of Judah than the Canaanite strategy in war. Chariots had not been a problem before (Exo 14.7-29; Josh 11.1-8; 1 Kings 20.21). Their attitude should have reflected what was written in Psa 20.7, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of Yehovah our God.”

We have an interesting concept on prayer in Judges 1.13-15. Achsah (anklet) is the daughter of Caleb (dog) and she asks for a blessing. She thought about what she wanted and had a definite request and then went to her father. She also asked for help with her request by asking her husband to ask her father for a field. She had a definite relationship with her father and she was humble. She actually asked for exactly what she wanted because he had given her things in the past. She received what she asked for i n abundance and was not criticized by her father for asking.

As we have said before, the tribes did not have total success in defeating the Canaanites. This would lead to trouble in the future and these nations that survived would become like thorns in their sides and their gods became a snare (Judges 2.1-3). This teaches us that we cannot fool around with those around us who are not believers. They will be a snare to us sooner or later unless we defeat them. This concept is seen in Judges 1.27 where Manasseh (to forget) failed to take the city of Beth-shean (house of tranquility). Spiritually, by not forgetting the past we may fail to make the spiritual progress we need. Looking back like Lot’s wife will hinder us.

Judges 1.29 tells us that Ephraim (fruitful) failed to drive out the Canaanites in Gezer (portion cut off) and were diminished in their fruitfulness In Judges 1.30 Zebulon (to dwell) compromises with the Canaanites and puts them under forced labor and in Judges 1.31 Asher (happy) failed to take full possession of their inheritance. Naphtali (sweetness) puts the Canaanites under tribute and Dan (judge) did not take their land fully either. The Amorites (talkers) pushed Dan into the mountains and did not let them come down and this should never happen to believers. However, when the tribe of Joseph got stronger they became forced labor. This alludes to the fact that Messiah will prevail in the end despite all our failures.

As we can see, instead of doing what God said with their enemies and completely drive them out they compromise, doing what they think is best. We should never treat our spiritual enemies this way. We don’t need to hate them to defeat them. Now the enemies of God have a defined border within the promised land. Israel was satisfied with a lot less than what God had for them and this should never be our attitude as a believer. Judges 1.36 tells us that the Amorite kingdom went from the ascent of Akrabbim (scorpions), from Sela (Petra meaning “rock”) and upward. This alludes to the fact that Satan’s kingdom of scorpions also stops at “the rock” (Messiah).

In Part 2 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Conclusion

In Josh 23.1-16 we learn that Joshua is advanced in years, being 110 at the time. He enjoyed the land for awhile but now it was time to address the people through their elders, heads, judges and officers, to exhort them to follow the Lord in the future if they want to be successful. But Yeshua enjoys endless life and this point is brought out in Heb 7.16. Joshua exhorts the people to follow the Lord in total obedience. He tells them about what God has done and does not brag about his own success.

The Canaanites have not been totally cut off. God has broken the back of these nations but now it will be up to the individual nations to finish the job. The rest will be gradually driven out to teach warfare to those who had not experienced the previous wars in Canaan (Judges 3.1-2). To expel the Canaanites quickly would have left the land desolate. This is a concept in our own life. The Lord has given us an inheritance (Eph 1.3) and we have a part to play in possessing our inheritance. God does not totally deliver us from things in our life all at once. It would be too hard for us, so it is done gradually so that we can learn spiritual warfare.

But, Joshua does tell them to observe the commandments that are written (no oral law), to avoid the idolatry of the nations (v 3-7) and to avoid intermarriage and associate with them (v 17). If they do, the Lord will not drive these nations out from before them and they will succeed. These nations will be a “snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes.” A snare is bondage, a trap means to be cut off from the blessing, a whip is chastisement and thorns in the eyes is losing sight spiritually as well as physically (v 13). He tells them that not one word God has spoken has failed, and that applies to believers today (Eph 3.20). However, just as he blesses obedience he will also punish disobedience (v 14.16).

In Josh 24.1-33 we have his farewell address and an account of Joshua’s death. He gathered all the tribes together to Shechem and this is not the same assembly as in Josh 23. Shechem means “shoulder” and this denotes strength. He then gives a historical review of Israel’s history and what the Lord has done for them (v 2.13). He reminds them of their ancestry and how they were involved in idolatry (Terah and Nahor). It’s good to remind ourselves of God’s grace in removing us from our idolatrous practices, too.

He goes on to talk about Esau (type mo unbeliever) and Jacob (type of believer) and how Esau was given Mount Seir but Jacob was taken to Egypt. This teaches that earthly blessings are worthless without the Lord. Then the Lord brought them out of Egypt and were pursued by the army of Egypt. When the Lord brings us out of bondage we will be pursued by the Lord also. He put darkness between the Egyptians and Israel just like he puts darkness between the unbeliever and believer today, in our lives. He covered the Egyptians with the sea , which is a symbol of the wicked (Isa 57.20). In the Birth-pains, nations will rise against Israel, and each other, and come against the False Messiah (Pharaoh) but he will be covered up in defeat.

But the Lord was with them and he brought them into the land of the Amorite (sayer) and they fought with them. Israel took possession of their land and God destroyed them. Then he recounts the story of Balak (destroyer) the king of Moab (seed of the father) and how he tried to stop Israel through Balaam. People will join forces to try and stop us also. They then crossed the Jordan (death) and came to Jericho meaning the “city of palms” and this speaks of righteousness. But in Canaanite hands it speaks of self-righteousness. This is our first fight, too.

Then Israel fought against the Amorites (“sayers, talkers”), the Perizzite (“rustic squaters” or the earthly man occupied with only earthly things), the Canaanites (“merchants, traffickers” peddling the word of God for money), the Hittite (“terror” in spiritual ways), the Girgashites (“stranger drawing near” or the unconverted mingling with the converted), the Hivites (“livers” or those who portray themselves as born again) and the Jebusites (“trodden down” or those who trample on the things of God). In our “Canaan” we will encounter these same enemies.

Then they wrote these words in the Book of the Law (Instruction, guidance) of God written by Moses which was with them because it was put beside the Ark (Deut 31.26). He took a large stone (type pf the risen Messiah) and set it up under the oak (the oak of Moreh by Jewish tradition, the same oak that Jacob hid the idols in Gen 35.4) that was by the sanctuary of God. This does not mean that the Mishkan was brought to Shechem, but the Ark was there. Abraham and Jacob had put up an altar and this area was regarded as a holy place, and place with a kedusha on it. The word for “sanctuary” here is “mikdash” and it means “kedusha” and the Lord’s presence was there.

Josh 24.27 says something very interesting. Joshua says, “This stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which he spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, lest you deny your God.” So, let’s look at some concepts related to”the stone.” Notice it says, “for it (the stone) has heard.” The concept of the stone is alluding to the Messiah. In Gen 28.18 Jacob took a stone and anointed it after he rested on it. Messiah means “anointed.” In Gen 49.24 it says, “From there is the Shepherd, the stone of Israel.” The word for stone in Hebrew is “even” and it is spelled with an aleph, bet and nun. The first two letters (aleph, bet) spell “Av” meaning father. The last two letters (bet, nun) spell “ben” meaning son. The father and son are one in this word stone.

In Exo 17.6 we learn that Moses struck a rock and living water came out and saved the people from thirst. In Num 20.8 Moses was to speak to another rock so that it would bring forth water, but he struck the rock in disobedience. The stories teach that the Messiah was struck once (died) in order to bring life. We don’t need to crucify him over and over again. Moses just needed to speak to the rock to be saved from thirst, but he struck the rock ruining the picture God had set up. As a result, Moses could not go into the promised land. In Matt 21.42 is says that whoever falls on “this stone” that the builders rejected (Yeshua as Messiah) will be broken (humbled in repentance-John 12.44-50)), but on whomever if falls will scatter them like dust. In 1 Cor 10.4 we learn that the people drank from a spiritual rock and the “rock was Messiah.”

In Josh 24.29-31 we are told about the death of Joshua. Everyone’s service comes to an end in this world. He was 110 years old. He was buried in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-serah (extra portion) in the mountain country of Ephraim, which was his city. Josh 24.32-33 tells us that they buried the bones of Joseph in Shechem, in a field. This doesn’t mean they did this at the same time as Joshua but probably as soon as the tribe of Ephraim got possession of the place and found rest.

There is a piece of ground that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver. It became the inheritance of the children of Joseph as a gift. There are three pieces of ground that are contested today by the Arabs, and all three pieces of ground are documented in the Bible as belonging to Israel. They are the cave at Machpelah, the tomb of Joseph and the Temple Mount.

We are then told about the death of Eleazar, the son of Aaron. We have seen that Joshua is a type of Yeshua as the “warrior Messiah” who brings his people into the promises, but he died. We also have seen Eleazar as the High Priest serving the spiritual needs of his people, but he dies. But this is not so with Yeshua. We have a warrior-priest who lives on in the Olam Haba and is the captain of our warfare, deliverance and salvation.

The book of Joshua is a sequel to the five books of Moses. We have seen Messiah ass the Creator and seed of the woman in Genesis, We have seen his as the redeemer and Passover lamb in Exodus. He is the high priest who atones in Leviticus. He is the presence of God, the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night who leads Israel through the wilderness (the world) in Numbers and the prophet like Moses who is to come in Deuteronomy. In our next study we will see him as the judge and deliverer in Judges.

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Tanak Foundations- Concepts in Joshua-Part 14

Josh 22.1-9 begins to deal with the two tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh who came over from the east side of the Jordan to assist the other tribes in their battles against the Canaanites. Now that the war with the Canaanites has ended, Joshua commends them for their obedience to Moses, to himself and to God. He dismisses them to go back to their inheritance across the Jordan and tells them to follow the Lord and to worship him only.

Remember, these tribes on the east side of the Jordan symbolize the believer living in the world. They crossed the Jordan and back (two times) and they live in the world, but not of the world. When Joshua calls them to come before him it is a picture of the Judgment Seat of Messiah. It will go well with us when we appear before Yeshua to be commended like this at the end of our warfare. They kept all that Moses had directed them (Torah) and gave selfless service. Now they can enjoy their rest because they were true to Joshua and defeated their enemies. They returned to their tents, symbolic of a pilgrim in this world. They were encouraged to be fervent in their Torah observance and to walk in everything that God told them to do. Their purpose was to serve the Lord with all their heart (desires).

They were blessed by Joshua (we will be blessed by Yeshua) and they went to their tents (symbolizing their lives as pilgrims in this life). The tribe of Manasseh served on both sides of the river, which symbolizes our “dual” existence on both sides of the “river.” So, one half of the tribe was on the east side of the Jordan, and the other half was on the west side (approaching God). The position eastward is by faith in everyday affairs of life, westward is our faith to enjoy the blessings we have in Messiah. Again, the idea of returning to their tents was to remind them that they were just “passing through” this life. They returned with their livestock (speaking of worship), the silver (redemption), gold (deity of God), bronze (judgment), iron (strength in God-2 Cor 12.9) and with many clothes (speaks of righteousness). They were to divide the spoil with their brothers meaning we are to share our spiritual riches.

So the sons of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned home and departed from the sons of Israel at Shiloh (peace bringer) in Canaan (traffickers) and went to the land of Gilead (heap of witness) and they possessed their inheritance, according to the word of Yehovah through Moses. Spiritually, only those in the Messiah (the peace bringer) can return to the world and not live like they formally did. They were going to be among the traffickers in spiritual things but we are to remember the cross (Gilead)

Josh 22.10-34 gives an interesting story. It says that when they came to the region of the Jordan which is in the land of Canaan these tribes built an altar by the Jordan, a large altar in appearance. This was forbidden and it seemed like they were committing a similar offense that Nadab and Abihu did (Lev 10.1-20). So the other tribes gathered at Shiloh where the Mishkan and the true altar was. We know that God judged Nadab and Abihu and and he did not need to teach that lesson again. The recompense for that act was reserved for the Day of Judgment. It is the same concept in Acts 5 with Ananias and Sapphira.

When the sons of Israel heard about it they consulted the Lord to see if they should go to war. While Joshua lived, it seems they still had a zeal for God and his ways. They sent Pinchas (mouth of pity) the son of Eleazar (God is my helper) the high priest to them, along with ten (number of God’s government and order). Pinchas had already shown his zeal in Num 25.7). They came to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh and told them they have committed a sin (v 13-20). Didn’t they learn anything from the Baal-Peor and Achan incident? Reuben, Gad and Manasseh gave their answer in in Josh 22.21-29.

They believed in Yehovah and he knows the intentions of what they were doing. They were not turning away from the Lord or going to offer korbanot on this altar. They did it because in time the descendants of the other tribes in Canaan may say they were aliens and strangers from Israel and the Torah because they lived on the east side of the Jordan, a foreign land. They said the Jordan separated them so they could be perceived as different. So, they thought about it and discussed what they could do to convey to the others their solidarity, and to prevent apostasy. They decided to built the altar as a witness between them and the other tribes, not to moffer korbanot on it.

When Pinchas and the others heard their words it pleased them. They were not only relieved that they were not going into apostasy, but that they were taking these steps to preserve the common faith of Israel and the Torah. As a result, they returned back into Canaan and brought their words to the rest of the children of Israel, and decided not to go to war against them. The eastern tribes called the altar “Witness” (“Ed” in Hebrew) because it is a witness between these tribes that Yehovah is God.

In Deut 6.4 we have what is called the “Shema” (meaning to hear/obey). In Hebrew, the last letter of the word “Shema” is the letter “ayin” (eye, see, perceive) and it is enlarged. The last word of the Shema is “echad” and it has a “dalet” (door, path) as the last letter and it is also enlarged. If you put these two letters together it spells “ed” or “witness” in Hebrew. This teaches us that that the only true witness is the one that is divinely inspired and is consistent with his Torah.

Now, there is no question that they were sincere in building this altar but God did not tell them to do it. He already took care of the issue of apostasy and the common faith by telling all the people, no matter what side of the Jordan they were on, to come up to the Mishkan (and eventually the Temple) three times a year for the festivals of Unleavended Bread, Shavuot and Sukkot (Exo 23.14-17; Deut 16.16). Simple obedience to God’s word is all that is needed against any supposed apostasy. If their coming together for these festivals three times a year would not accomplish this, how would their false altar do it? Maybe they weren’t planning on coming three times a year and this altar was to show “good intentions?” But intentions will never replace deeds (Jam 2.26).

We will pick up in Josh 23 in Part 15.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 13

Josh 21.1-45 tells us about the claim of the Levites for cities to live in once the land was divided to the tribes and everyone knew what cities belonged to them. The Levites had to live somewhere because they did not have a portion of land given to them because the Lord said he would be their inheritance (Josh 13.14, 13.33). So, cities were given to them according to their three main family divisions.

Yehovah gave Israel all the land which he had promised to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. The Levites were “sprinkled” all through the land. There was never going to be a “state of Levi” but every tribe was to have the Levitical influence of this tribe among them. That is why believers are “sprinkled” all through the world instead of having one nation. He gave them rest on every side and the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one promise of God failed or did not come to pass.

These chapters tell us that God is concerned with the spiritual, but he is also concerned with the physical as well. The concept of “lots” (purim) in the Scriptures is a main theme. Lots were cast daily in the Temple, on Yom Kippur, for a replacement for Judas (Acts 1.26) and for Yeshua’s garments. The land was allotted to the tribes by lot (Josh 14.1-2). What does that tell us?

If a tribe got good land you could say, “Hey, look what the Lord gave us as an inheritance.” If you got a desert and mountains you could say, “Hey, look what the Lord gave us, there must be a blessing in it.” This teaches several messages. Why is it God calls one person to teach the Torah and not another? Why is it one person is born into a rich land like America and another is born into a poor country? Sometimes we ask ourselves why that is, but it is like a “lot” and it seems random but it isn’t. There is a plan of God involved.

We are told in the Torah that Israel was not to “trade” their land with others (Num 36.7-9). If Israel cannot transfer their inheritance from the tribe to tribe, what makes Israel think they can do it today with non-Jews like the Arabs or Palestinians? So, let’s look at Josh 21 and see what else the Lord has to teach us.

The heads of the households of the Levites and are like gifted spiritual leaders and they approached Eleazar the High Priest (like Yeshua our High Priest) and Joshua the son of Nun (Yeshua as our captain) in Shiloh (peace bringer-there is peace in God’s presence) and they brought their issue of inheritance to him, and the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance (believers need to support their leaders). Then they cast a lot and it came out for Kohath (obedience, gathering). The sons of Aaron received thirteen (the number of blessing and governed) cities from Judah (praise) and from Simeonites (to hear/obey) and from Benjamin (son of the last days/right hand), meaning, where there is praise and obedience we’ll see Messiah.

The rest of Kohath received ten cities (number of judgment) by lot from Ephraim (fruitful), Dan (judge) and the half-tribe of Manasseh (to forget) meaning leaders should be fruitful and wise in judgment and forget the past. The sons of Gershom (stranger there) received thirteen cities (blessing) from the families of Issachar (my hiring), Asher (happy) and the half-tribe of Naphtali (I will wrestle) and the half-tribe of Manasseh (to forget) meaning service to God makes us happy and we will forget the past (Phil 3.13-14).

The sons of Merari (bitterness) received twelve cities (number of teaching) from Reuben (see, a son), Gad (to cut) and from Zebulon (dwelling) meaning Yeshua’s bitter death where he was “cut off” as the son of man from the land of the living gives us a dwelling place with God. The sons of Israel also gave pasture lands with these cities meaning God provides for our temporal needs as well.

The names of these cities was Hebron (communion) in the mountain country of Judah (praise. We have commununion with God in the kingdom and we will praise him. The fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb (dog) as a possession. To the priests they gave Hebron, a city of refuge, and Libnah (whiteness). Communion and whiteness are linked. They also gave Jattir (excellent) and Eshtemoa (I will be heard), Holon (anguished), Debir (word), Ain (eye), Juttah (I will be turned aside= Satan) and Beth-shemesh (house of the sun…believers are a “house of the sun) a total of nine cities (resurrection). From Benjamin they gave Gibeon (hill town), Geba (hill), Anatoth (affliction), Almon (concealment). These names allude to the fact that we hear the excellent story of the anguished Messiah in the word of God and see him. Then Satan is turned aside and we make a place for the sun (Messiah) where we are raised up and concealed from the affliction of the birth-pains.

Ephraim (fruitful) gave Shechem (shoulder) and Gezer (a portion is cut off). Our place in Yeshua is cut off from the world (Rom 8.28). They also received Kibzaim (let the people arise) and Beth-horon (cavernous house), four cities (number of testing). From Dan (judge) they received Elteke (God is dread), Gibbethon (lofty…our ground in Yeshua), Aijalon (potruding, Gath-rimmon (winepress of pomegranates), four cities (testing). We are on the Lord’s shoulders and he carries us, and our portion in the world has been cut off in Yeshua. So we can arise from our graves and have been judged because we have a fear of God and are on lofty ground where we stick out in the world teaching the Torah. The half-tribe of Manasseh (forget) gave Taanach (she will afflict you) and Gath-rimmon (winepress of pomegrnates), two cities (witness) The world and false kahal will persecute us as we teach Torah.

To the sons of Gershom (stranger there) from the half-tribe of Manasseh they gave Golan (circle) in Bashan (shame), a city of refuge. They also gave Be-eshterah (in her flock), two cities (witness). We were a stranger and encircled in shame but now we are in the flock (Kahal= assembly) of God. From Issachar (my hiring) they gave Kishion (hardening), Daberath (you spoke), Jarmuth (heights), En-gannim (fountained gardens), four cities (testing). Our hearts were hardened but God spoke and lifted on high where we are washed by the word of God. The tribe of Asher (happy) gave Mishal (parables), Abdon (servant), Helkath (portion, field) and Rehob (open space= safety and salvation), four cities (testing). God was happy to speak in parables and tea h us the mysteries of hus word to give us a portion in his salvation.

From Naphtali (I will wrestle) they gave Kedesh (sanctuary) in Galilee (circle) which was a city of refuge. They also gave Hammoth-dor (habitation) and Kartan (city), three cities (resurrection). We wrestled with the Lord but he has given us sanctuary and encircled us and given us a habitation in the city of the New Jerusalem.

Zebulon (dwelling) gave Merari (bitterness) Jokneam (let the people acquire), Kartah (city), Dimnah (dung heap) and Nahalal (strength), four cities (testing). We dwelt in bitterness but the people acquired a city, leaving our fleshly works on the dung heap, thus acquiring strength. The tribe of Reuben (see a son) gave Bezer (fortress) and Jahaz (trodden down place), Kedemoth (antiquity/beginning) and Mephaath (place of radiance), four cities (testing). The son Yeshua has given us a strong place where we thresh out the word of glory from antiquity (Eph 1.4).

The tribe of Gad gave Ramoth (heights) in Gilead (heap of testimony), another city of refuge, and Mahanaim (two camps), Heshbon (human reason) and Jazer (let him help), four cities (testing). God in heaven has given his testimony and watches over us in heaven and earth and human reason plays a part in how God helps.

Altogether, the sons of Israel gave forty-eight cities (the factor is “four” meaning government is a test of obedience). God is concerned with our physical needs (the pasture lands around the cities) as well as our spiritual needs. The Lord gave them rest on every side and all their enemies into their hand. However, that doesn’t mean they were all dead. It is the same way spiritually. Our spiritual warfare isn’t over just because we are believers because our enemies will try to oppress us and retake our spiritual possessions and inheritances.

In Part 14 we will pick up in Josh 22.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 12

Joshua 20.1-9 is a chapter that deals with the renewal of the order to appoint six cities of refuge for those who have committed manslaughter (Num 35.6-34). They can flee there and have protection from the avenger of blood until the death of the High Priest. This only applies to one involved in manslaughter. This does not apply to a murderer. But there is another aspect to this that is a picture of the unbeliever. A sinner has boundaries and he can’t leave. He is separated from his family because of unbelief and if he died before he heard of the death of the High Priest, he never went home. His life was destroyed because he never heard about the death of the High Priest. That is what happens to a sinner who never gets to leave that life because he has never heard about the death of Yeshua the High Priest. The concept of the cities of refuge is very eschatological.

Psa 46.1 says that the Lord is our refuge, a very present help in times of trouble, or in other words, a city of refuge. Heb 6.18-20 says that we have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope before us. This hope is an anchor to the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast. We have entered within the veil where Yeshua has entered before us. He is our High Priest forever according to the order (by God’s word) of Melchizedek (Psa 110.4). So, lets look at the phrase “according to the order of Melchizedek.” The word “order” is the word “davar” meaning “word” or “speak.” A priest speaks the word to God on behalf of the people, and vice versa. Paul has a midrash on this concept in Heb 4.12 through 7.28. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek so his priesthood supersedes the priesthood of Levi because he was in the loins of Abraham. As a result, the priesthood of Yeshua is after Melchizedek by God’s word. It comes with an oath that Aaron never had and Yeshua will never die, but Aaron and all the priests did. Yeshua is the only direct descendant and link to the heavenly Temple and the Olam Haba. As a result, his priesthood supersedes the Levitical priesthood.

In the Mishkan, there were six boards on the western wall in the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies). So, Heb 6.18-20 relates to our salvation. Besides the six cities of refuge, the Mishkan was a seventh place to seek refuge. Heb 6.18-20 tells us to “flee inside the veil” for refuge into God’s presence. Are we guilty of manslaughter with Yeshua? The avenger of blood will take us out and slay us if we reject Yeshua deliberately. His blood is on our hands. The person who has faith in God’s word accepts the offer of refuge in Yeshua, even though his sin caused his death and is guilty of manslaughter, not realizing the end result. Consequently, he is allowed to stay in the place of refuge as long as the High Priest lives. Since Yeshua will never die, that means he is safe forever (Heb 7.24; John 3.18).

The cities of refuge are not jails or detention centers, and they were in reach of anyone that needed help, open to all. They were environments in which the reckless person became aware that careless actions have consequences. The person was constantly under the influence of his neighbors the Levites. They would observe the Levite, pray with the Levite, learn and teach others. They would see what caring for others really was. The influence of the Levites would have a tremendous impact on the one finding refuge. The goal was to mold a new person whose activities were kinder and more careful. They were the “signs” that clearly marked the way to God and the Messiah.

Josh 20.7-9 tells us about the cities set apart. On the west side (the direction of the heavenly, spiritual side) of the Jordan (death) They set apart Kedesh (sanctuary) in Galilee (circle) in the mountain country of Naphtali (my wrestling) and Shechem (shoulder) in Ephraim (fruitfulness) and Hebron (communion) in the mountain country of Judah (praise). These names teach us that we killed Yeshua because of our sins. However, we return (repent) while a sanctuary (Kedesh) is found by the circle (Galilee) of days (life) and its wrestlings (Naphtali). Yeshua puts us on his shoulders (Shechem) to the kingdom and the Olam Haba (the mountain country) with our fruits (Ephraim), where we have communion (Hebron) and praise (Judah) with God.

The other three cities were beyond the Jordan east (the direction of the earthly, practical side) of Jericho (fragrance) and they designated Bezer (fortress) in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben (see, a son), and Ramoth (heights) in Gilead (heap of testimony) from the tribe of Gad (invader, troop), and Golan (enclosed) in Bashan (fruitful) from the tribe of Manasseh (to forget). These names teach us that we are enclosed (Golan) in the fruits of sin (Bashan) and spiritually dead. Satan is an invader (Gad) and tries to get us to forget our state (Manasseh) because sin refuses to call itself sin, and being a sinner makes it hard to see ourselves as sinners. But then we see Yeshua as the Messiah (Reuben) and the heavenly (Ramoth) plan of the cross (Gilead) and he causes us to forget our past (Phil 3.13-14) and we are a sweet fragrance (Jericho) to God and he is our fortress (Bezer).

In Part 13 we will pick up in Joshua 21 and the cities and common lands appointed for the Levites. They did not have land set aside for them like the other tribes, but they had to live somewhere. So each tribe gave certain cities and common lands surrounding those cities. God was the inheritance of the Levites (Josh 13.14, 13.33).

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 11

We pick up in Josh 19.1-51 with the account of the lots given to the six remaining tribes. In Josh 19.1-9 we have the allotment to the tribe of Simeon (hear/obey). Judah (praise) and Simeon (hear/obey) are connected in this portion and Simeon’s blessing is connected to Judah’s in Deut 33.7, fulfilling Jacob’s prophecy in Gen 49.7. This is the second lot (number of witness) and we learn that Simeon’s inheritance is in the midst of Judah’s because the inheritance of Judah was too large (v 9). This tells us that praise and obedience go together. We are going to give the meaning of the names in this chapter to gain insight into the mesdages being conveyed.

They had as their inheritance Beersheba (well of the oath-the beginning of the faith of Abraham) and Moladah (birth), Hazar-shual (enclosure of the jackal= our old nature can only be penned up-Rom 6.6), Balah (growing up), Ezem (strength), Eltolad (may God cause you to forget), Bethul (separate), Hormath (destruction), Ziklag (enveloped in grief-John 16.33), Beth-marcaboth (house of the chariot= don’t put your trust in them), Hazar-susah (mare enclosure), Beth-lebaoth (house of the lioness) and Sharuhen (dwelling of kindness/grace), thirteen cities (a positive number in Hebrew thought).

Then we have Ain (eye or fountain), Rimmon (pomegranate), Ether (prayer/ask), Ashan (smoke), a total of four cities (number of testing). They also received all the villages which were around these cities as far as Baalath-beer (city of the well), Ramath (height= we have the high ground in Messiah). This was the inheritance of Simeon.

Josh 19.10-16 tells us about the third lot (number of resurrection) and the inheritance given to Zebulon (dwell). Their territory went as far as Sarid (survivor, a remnant). The border went up to the west (approaching God) and to Maralah (shaking, trembling), and touched Dabbesheth (hump of a camel…a camel speaks of service to God) and reached to the brook that is before Jokneam (people will be purchased). Putting these names together means the remnant will approach God and dwell with fear and trembling and serve God as a people who have been purchased.

Then it turned from Sarid (survivor, remnant) to the east (direction of away from God) toward the sunrise as far as the border of Chisloth-tabor (hope of the heaped up) and it proceeded to Daberah (pasture of his word) and up to Japhia (natural light). From there it continued eastward toward the sunrise to Gath-hepher (winepress) to Eth-kazin (judge now) and proceeded to Rimmon (pomegranate= symbolic kingship and authority of the Messiah) which stretches to Neah (a shaking). And the border circled around it on the north to Hannathon (gift of grace) and ended at the valley of Iphtahel (God will open). Included also were Kattah (little) and Nahalal (pasture) and Shimron (guardian) and Idala (memorial of God) and Bethlehem (bread of God, a total of twelve cities (number of teaching). This was the inheritance of Zebulon.

The fourth lot in Josh 19.17-23 (the number of testing) fell to Issachar (my hiring) and their territory was to Jezreel (sown of God) and included Cheslulloth (stupidities) and Shunem (double rest) and Hapharaim (two shames) and Shion (ruin) and Anaharath (groaning of fear), and Rabbith (multitude) and Kishion (hardness) and Ebez (I will make white) and Remeth (elevation) and En-gannin (spring of gardens) and En-haddah (fountain of joy-John 15.1-11; Jer 17.13) and Beth-pazzez (house of dispersion). And the border reached to Tabor (you will purge-Heb 12.5-11) and Shahazzumah (toward the heights) and Beth-shemesh (house of the sun), and their border ended at the Jordan (descender/death), sixteen (the number of love) cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of Issachar.

The fifth lot (the number of responsibility) in Josh 19.24-31 fell to Asher (happy, meaning those who fulfill their responsibility are happy). Their territory was Helkath (possession) and Hali (jewel or pierced thing) and Beten (belly, womb) and Achshaph (sorcery-Gal 3.1) and Allammelech (oath of a king) and Amad (to stand) and Mishal (parables); and it reached to Carmel (fruitful field) on the west and to Shihor-libnath (shiny black and white). And it turned toward the east to Beth-dagon (house of dagon), and reached to Zebulon (exaltation) and to the valley of Jiphtah-el (God opens) northward (direction of the intellect) to Beth-emek (house of the valley) and Neiel (moved by God); then it proceeded on north to Cabul (as nothing), and Ebron (alliance) and Rehob (broad) and Hammon (sunny) and Kanah (place of reeds), as far as Great Sidon (fishery). And the border turned to Ramah (heights) and to the fortified city of Tyre (rock); then the border turned to Hosah (refuge), and it eneded by the sea (multitudes of unconverted humanity) by the region of Achzib (I will lie). Included also were Ummah (he was associated) and Aphek (riverbed) and Rehob (broad), twenty-two (number of witness) cities and villages were allotted to Asher.

The sixth lot (the number of man, weakness, sin) in Josh 19.32-39 fell to the sons of Naphtali (my struggle). Their border was from Heleph (change), from the oak in Zaanannim (wandering) and Adami-neker (ruddy soil) and Jabneel (God will build) as far as Lakkum (rising up-2 Cor 4.14) and it ended at the Jordan (descender/death). Then the border turned westward (towards God) to Aznoth-tabor (balance of purification) and proceeded from there to Hukkok (engraver, scribe) and it reached to Zebulon (to dwell) on the south (direction of faith) and it touched Asher (happy) on the west (direction of approaching God), and to Judah (praise) at the Jordan toward the east. This alludes to the fact that as we move towards God and we have a balance between the Torah and the prophets the law is engraved on our hearts and we will dwell and be happy as we approach God and be a praise to him, meaning death to the world.

And the fortified cities were Ziddim (sides), Zer (straight) and Hammath (hot place or corrupt world), Rakkath (thin, green, shore) and Chinnereth (harps) and Adamah (red, earth) and Ramah (height) and Hazor (village, enclosure) and Kedesh (sanctuary) and Edrei (good pasture) and En-hazor (fountain of the village) and Yiron (fearful) and Migdal-el (tower of God), Horem (banned) and Beth-anath (house of affliction) and Beth-shemesh (house of the sun); nineteen (number of God’s perfect order) cities with their villages. This was the inheritance of Naphtali (my struggle).

The seventh (number of completion) lot in Josh 19.40-48 fell to Dan (judge) and their territory was Zorah (she was smitten with leprosy) and Eshtoal (I will be asked-Jam 3.17) and Ir-shemesh (city of the sun) and Shaalabbin (jackel of discipline) and Aijalon (deer field) and Ithlah (he will hang=Yeshua hung) and Elon (mighty oak=the cross) and Timnah (portion is there) and Ekron (uproot) and Eltekeh (God is its fear) and Gibbethon (lofty) and Baalath (mistress) and Jehud (he will be praised) and Bene-berak (sons of lightning) and Gath-rimmon (wine press of pomegranates) and Me-jarkon (waters of green=alluding to life) and Rakkon (emaciation) with the territory over against Joppa (beautiful). The territory of Dan proceeded beyond them. This speaks of the fact that their lot was too small and we go beyond the boundaries set by God in judging others, too. They went up and fought with Leshem (precious stone) to the north and captured it. This speaks of judging others by our own human intellect.

In Josh 19. 49-51 we learn that when they finished apportioning the land, the sons of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua, alluding to the inheritance that Yeshua has. The Lord gave him the city of Timnath-serah (extra portion) in the mountain country (a mountain signifies a kingdom) of Ephraim (fruitfulness). Yeshua receives a kingdom that will be fruitful (Dan 7.13-14) and we will inherit also. These are the inheritances which Eleazar (God helps) the priest (by the Urim v’ Thummim) and Joshua (Yeshua) the son of Nun (life) and the heads of the households of the tribes of Israel distributed by lot in Shiloh (peace bringer) before the Lord (at the Mishkan), at the doorway of the tent of meeting (Ohel Moed). Our peace bringer is at the doorway of the Mishkan (his presence and dwelling) and our inheritance awaits, too.

In Part 12 we will pick up in Josh 20.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament