Genesis 1:20-23, Yom Chamishi: Into the Swarm
[This is the fifth in a series about Creation week, specifically, how each day corresponds to the progress men and women make as they exercise their salvations, showing that the fruitfulness of the physical earth is God’s foreshadowing of spiritual success.]
On Yom Echad– the First Day- I learned God’s Word is the true light, and how to separate it from “darkness”, which is everything that attempts to overcome the truth.
On Yom Sheni– the Second Day- I learned that I have excesses like the earth had excess water. God not only “circumcises” my excess but teaches me how to rely on Heaven, like the earth relies on heaven.
On Yom Shlishi– the Third Day- I learned that there is a distinction between Israel (the Kingdom of God)- and “the nations”. In my new home of Israel, I discover faith produces good works of fruitfulness.
On Yom Revi’i– the Fourth Day- I learned that the temporary lights of Torah are the key to experiencing God on his time, and preparing me for more difficult days to come.
Yom Chamishi- Into the Swarm
“God said, “Let the waters abound with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the sky.” God created the large sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.” (Genesis 1:20-23)
Yom Chamishi-Day Five- is self explanatory. God made all living things in the water and all things that fly [Note: the word for “bird” (Heb. owph) is the same for insects (i.e. Lev. 11:20)]. However, in order to understand what is being said prophetically as it corresponds to the process of salvation, we turn to the Hebrew:
1. w’yomer elohim yish’r’tzu hamayim sheretz nephesh chayah… [“and said God, “Let swarm the waters swarm of living being…”]. The emphasis of this thought is sheretz (to swarm), indicating God made alluvial animals by school, pack, and population. The differing forms of sheretz stresses the “herd mentality” is woven into the DNA of all water dwellers. Prophetically speaking, “the earth” (haaretz) is symbolic of the “Land of Israel”, which by default makes water-the picture of instability (Gen 49:4)- home to human “living beings” [nephesh chayah is the same language used for Adam; Gen 2:7] in the Gentile nations (everyone not of Israel). Given that post-Messiah Israel is actually the Kingdom of God (Matt 8:11, Eph 2:11-12), God is saying the nations outside the Kingdom of God are unstable as water, and “go with the flow” in “the herd mentality”.
2. w’owph y’uwpheph al-haaretz al-panay r’qiya hashamayim … [“and flier let fly over the earth against [the] face of [the] division of the sky…”]. Just like sheretz of water, this thought emphasizes uwph (flying) in the sky. Fliers are an interesting sort. Unlike their alluvial counterparts, fliers were formed from dry ground (ref. Gen 2:19). However, fliers do not stay “grounded” as it is in their DNA to fly away. What’s interesting is the use of the prefix -al before haaretz and panay (face). The preposition –b is not used here, as this would have denoted “in, among, within”, but instead -al is used to denote their natural state of “flightiness” is somewhere in between haaretz and the face of shamayim. Given that haaretz represents “The Land of Israel” and shamayim represents “Heaven (the throne of God-Matt 5:34)” God is saying fliers by nature do not belong to either; furthermore, the language is written as a prophetic allegory: fliers are unfavorably “against God’s face”. These are those who cannot make up their mind, who fly away from the Kingdom of God, even those working on behalf of the prince and the power of the air as sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2). This is why fliers are viewed as working for ha-shatan (“The Accuser”, “satan”) in parables, i.e. “birds of the air” who steal the Word of God like seed (Mark 4:4,15). I personally believe this comparison to encompass the Pharisees and Saduccees who stole the Word (compare Matt 13:22, John 7:45-52), rejected Messiah Yeshua, and flew in the lofty praises of men more than those of God (John 12:43).
3. w’yib’ra elohim… [“and created God…”]. In a previous post I proposed that bara (to create) is a word chosen on purpose, hinting at a ‘new house of the Master’ (from bet-resh-alef), symbolic of the engagement-type covenant of salvation. This is further portrayed by the ‘et’ (the Alef-Tav, “the First and the Last”) attached to bara’s direct objects, alluding to YHVH attaching Himself to his creation. This is why at the prophetic level I understand all direct objects of bara to be covenantal targets of Elohim, which in this case would be “swarmers” and “fliers”. While the language PREceding bara speaks of their inherent natures (herd mentality/flying away), the language PROceeding bara changes, with extra descriptors hinting at how God sees “swarmers and fliers” (the Gentiles and unbelieving Jews) as invitees to a ‘new house’ engagement attached to the Alef-Tav.
This then is how Yom Chimishi relates to the timeline of salvation: Days 1-4 rooted a believer in truth, humility, kindnesses, and Torah, but on Day 5, God draws our attention and compassion to the “swarms” outside the Kingdom, and to those who have flown the coop.
4. et-hataniynim hagadolim… [“(alef-tav) great monsters?”] “tanniynim” is not easily translated-being anything from crocodiles to dinosaurs- but at a minimum is associated with monster-like beasts who are feared in both land and sea (Psa 44:19, Job 7:12). Associated with Leviathan (Isa 27:1), tanniynim labels rulers like Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh as great oppressors (Jer 51:34, Ezk 29:3). At the prophetic level, this means God will send some of us as apostles and prophets to tanniynim, as these men were confronted by the likes of Moshe, Daniyel, and Rav Shaul (Paul) before us. Though this seems impossible, the Word of God indicates that even the fiercest tanniyn can be tamed (Psa 148:7, Isa 43:19-20).
5. w’et kol nefesh hachayah harameset asher shartzu hamayim l’miynehem… [“and (alef-tav) every being of the life of the movement which swarm of the water by kind”]. This time, the alef-tav is attached to the literal words “every being of the life of the movement”. This is significant because these words kol (each and every) and ramas (to move) are indicators of individuality; in fact, the ability to “move” just might be the ultimate mark of life (ref. Gen 1:30). In other words, though the nature of their kind is “to swarm”, God sees each of them as individuals with potential to live, move, and possess his being apart from the swarm. To facilitate this offer, we must become “fishers of men” and drag our catch onto “the haaretz” -the Kingdom of God.
6. w’et kol owph kanaph l’miynehu… [“and (alef-tav) every bird of wing by kind”…] While kol again describes the individuality of every bird, the kanaph (wing) is the real hint of this thought. Throughout the Scriptures, a kanaph is not just a wing of a bird, it also describes a garment from which hung tzitziyot, tassels worn by faithful, commandment-keeping men of Israel (Num 15:38, Mal 4:2). When the woman with the unrestrained flow and others grabbed the hem of Yeshua’s garment, she was actually grabbing the tzitzit of His kanaph (Matt 9:20). So God envisions “birds” (unbelieving Jews) as potential obedient commandment keepers; therefore, we are called to demonstrate our faith to win them back to the Kingdom, that “the birds of the air might nest in our branches” (Matt. 13:32).
7. w’y’barekh otam elohim l’mor… [“and did bless them elohim saying…”] Keeping true to theme, we have another b-r word further alluding to a “new house” engagement, as barak (blessing) alludes to “new house of an open hand” (bet-resh-kaf, the letter kaf is shaped like a palm and means the same). In short, the two main verbs describing God’s actions on Yom Chamishi are bara then barekh. It’s almost as if God would say to the nations and unbelieving Jews, “I the Master, build a new house; I offer this new house with an open hand.”
8. P’ru w’r’bu w’mil’u et hamayim b’hayamim… [“be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas…”] At the literal level, this of course is about reproduction, but at the metaphorical level lay all sorts of mysteries. First, poetic phrases like these are indications that Genesis 1 is greater than a historical account; they are an invitation to dig deeper. Secondly, these rhyming words give the “swarms” a path of life. First, God commands them to parah (be fruitful), a prerequisite for rabah (to multiply), which FINALLY leads to milay (to fill). If we look back prophetically at the Creation Week, this was the same progression that we walked, as we were transformed to bear fruit of good works from Yom Echad up to Yom Shlishi, followed by an abundance (an equal translation of rabah) of knowledge and joy on Yom Revii (in fact, rabah is the root of revii!). On Yom Chamishi, we fill the earth by spreading the Good News and make disciples. In other words, we offer them the same new beginning offered to us on Yom Echad, (the day of salvation). By implication, the seas (hayamim) are empty-tohu w’bohu-and need to be filled, a process which begins with the nations’ repentance unto good works.
9. w’owph yirev b’aaretz. [“and flier, let it multiply in the earth”.] As noted previously in pre-bara language, the “flier” was one to fly away from the haaretz (symbolic of the Land of Israel). After bara, God uses the -b preposition and telegraphs his desire for the flier to be in, within, and among haaretz (Israel). Therefore, our charge is to broadcast God’s desire to the ones who flew away: ‘God wants you back in the Kingdom; this is where you belong.’
Any man or woman who increases in YHVH will truly know God, and while these are joyous times, eventually God will direct His followers to have compassion on the nations. Some of us may face Leviathan, some of us will be successful fishers of men. Some of us may seek and save that who is lost, following in the footsteps of Messiah Yeshua. Whatever the case, Yom Chamishi is the time when we become the open invitation of God to fill the emptiness of the nations in God’s “new house”, and to help the lost find rest in King Messiah’s Israel. ◊