Posts tagged “Heaven

Genesis 2:14 — Was Eden a forerunner of the “New Jerusalem”?

“A river went out from Eden to irrigate the garden; and from there it was scattered, and became the source of four headwaters. The name of the first is Pishon: it flows through the whole land of Chavilah. The name of the second river is Gihon. It is the same river that flows through the whole land of Kush. The name of the third river is Chiddekel. This is the one which flows in front of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.” (Genesis 2:14)

It is impossible to pinpoint the locations of the Pishon and Gihon Rivers with absolute certainty. In order to propose a theory on these locations, I assume the following:

1) As I previously proposed, the original water source of Eden was scattered (not “parted”) in accordance with the common meaning of the Hebrew word yiPared. The four rivers mentioned in Genesis 2:14 became four new “heads” after the Great Flood. There are other references to the pre-Flood world from a post-Flood perspective throughout Genesis 2, including Genesis 2’s introductory sentences.

2) I assume there was both a greater region of Eden, and a lesser “Garden in Eden”. I assume the four rivers which came from a now-defunct original source filled the greater region of Eden, which would make Eden a fairly sizable place.

3) I condone the scholarship of Farouk El-Baz and James Sauer, the former of whom discovered the now-defunct river system of the Wadi al-Batin and Wadi Al-Rummah, and the latter of whom argued for this ancient river as the Pishon. This river, which flows through Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, passes through a land in which is found gold, gemstones (including onyx), and indigenous trees having bedolach (gum resin). Additionally, it fits the geographic disposition described in Genesis 25:18 and 1 Samuel 15:7, as both sources cite a “Chavilah” situated between Egypt and ancient Assyria (modern-day Iraq). This area corresponds to modern-day Kuwait.

4) I also agree with Juris Zarins’s conclusions associating Iran’s Karun River with the Gihon. There are two “Kush” families mentioned in Scripture; one is in Ethiopia and the other is in Mesopotamia – where lived the Kassites, who originated from the ancient civilization of Elam. Associations with Ethiopian “Kushites” lead many to associate the Gihon with the Nile; however, the Nile is far removed from the Tigris and Euphrates, while the Karun empties into the Euphrates delta. Additionally, known communities of dispersed Jews still live beyond the Karun, which matches descriptions in Isaiah 18:1-7 and Zephaniah 3:10. Therefore, the “Kush” described by these verses must lie between Israel and Persia, the latter being the known site of the Babylonian Diaspora. Even today, the cities of Hamadan and Susa both lie “beyond the Karun” with respect to Israel, and host the shrines of Esther and Daniel, respectively. When all the facts are weighed, the Mesopotamian “Kush” – the Kassites – is the only civilization which had a dynasty in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates, and was situated between modern-day Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

If these assumptions are correct, I imagine that Eden was a sizable place filled with rivers – perhaps a delta teeming with life, as each of the four rivers previously identified still have several tributaries feeding them. In fact, the three extant rivers comprise the lush “Fertile Crescent” as it’s known today. This area is still filled with gold, gemstones, trees which produce aromatic resin, and edible fruit. This area, at least at one time, also contained fertile soil from nearby volcanic activity.

Interestingly, the distance between the head of the Pishon (Kuwait River?) – located near Medina, Saudi Arabia – and the head of the Karun – located in Bakhtiari Province, Iran – is only about 950 miles. The distance from the northernmost head of the Euphrates – near Erzurum, Turkey – to the southernmost tips of the Karun or Kuwait Rivers is just shy of 1,100 miles (no matter which waypoint is used).

Even if I assume the borders of Eden lay at the northernmost points of the Euphrates in Turkey, the Eastern and southernmost points of the Wadi-al-Rummah in Arabia, and at the westernmost point of the Karun River in Iran – the entire area could lie within a 1,200 mile square wall. In actuality, the entire Fertile Crescent, stretching from the Eastern Persian Gulf to West of the Nile, could fit into a 1,400 mile square, perhaps looking something like this:

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

What’s interesting is that the above photo was a 1,400 mile scale not of the distance around Eden or the Fertile Crescent, but of “New Jerusalem”- as measured in Revelation 21:16. This 1,400 mile-scale is a conservative estimate, as other interpretations determine a 1,500-mile measurement!

The eerie thing to me is the similarities in descriptions of Eden and the New Jerusalem. Both areas contain gold, gemstones including “onyx”, rivers, trees of life, new names, trees for food, and most importantly, the Presence of the One True God. If that were not enough, both areas seem to be comparable in size, at least when assuming the boundaries of Eden’s four rivers.

This may all be my vivid imagination at play, but I like to believe that the description of New Jerusalem is a picture of a type of ‘Second Eden’ – perhaps larger than the first, but nevertheless a Paradise with plenty of room. Perhaps what God is saying through His word is that His Paradise is a place where everyone can have a spot on the river, surrounded by resins smelling like frankincense and myrrh, a perfect climate, with fruiting trees and fellowship among all peoples.

This past year (2014-2015) has seemingly been the exact opposite of this promise: There is no healing of the nations, though there have been plenty of riots among the races! There is no new titles given to anyone, though plenty have their good reputations tarnished! I don’t read about perfect climates anymore, although today I read news about heat waves and floods claiming many lives! I only read about gold and gemstones when they’re robbed or sold swindled, so I don’t know about you, but going home to a Second Eden sounds pretty good right about now!

So be it! King Yeshua, maranatha! (O Lord, Come!)♦


Genesis 2:1-3, Yom Shabbat: Out With the Old, In With the New

[This is the last 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 separated God’s Word 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.”
On Yom Shlishi – the Third Day – I accepted that Israel (the Kingdom of God)- differs from “the nations”. In 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.
On Yom Chamishi- the Fifth Day– I brought the message of Good News to the nations, and sought that which is lost.
On Yom Shishi Part 1-the Sixth Day– I resigned myself to oversee the Kingdom in the twilight of my life, because I have lived it, and seen everything.
On Yom Shishi Part 2-I am resurrected to be a part of Messiah Yeshua’s kingdom when the government will be upon His shoulder.

Yom Shebebee – The Great Enduring Sabbath  

The heavens, the earth, and all their vast array were finished. On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work of creation which he had done. (Genesis 2:1-3)

At the literal level, this clearly says that God “rested”. But does it make sense at the literal level? Does God actually “rest” like I would relax in a hammock? Yeshua didn’t think so:

“Yeshua answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.”” (John 5:17) In context, Yeshua said this on Yom Shabbat (The Sabbath Day), when challenged by religious fanatics who thought that all things – including the healing of a blind man – should cease on Yom Shabbat. This tradition was eventually recorded in the Talmud, as it instructs to say to a sick person: “”It is Sabbath; we dare not lament: healing will soon come; celebrate your Sabbath in peace” (Shabbat 12a).”” The Jews also believed that God Himself ceased from working on the Sabbath, “evidenced” by His cessation of providing manna on the seventh day (Mekilta 104 a,b). In other words, Yeshua demonstrated the foolishness of thinking God does nothing on Yom Shabbat. In fact, Yeshua proved that God never ceases to work for man, if not especially on Yom Shabbat (“Shouldn’t this woman be healed on the Sabbath?” – Luke 13:16). This was the reason 75% of Yeshua’s miracles occurred on Yom Shabbat; it was and is a day set-apart for men.

So in returning to the text of Genesis, does it literally say “God rested”? Yes, the word is “wayish’bot (And He rested)”. However, it says He rested… from all His work which He HAD done. This “work” is creation; He had accomplished our earth and interstellar neighborhood in six days (though He could be celebrating the finishing of the whole Universe – who knows?). By the time He “rested”, God had fixed and forgotten everything that was bad from the beginning of the week (when “the earth was tohu v’bohu”), and remembered everything “good” (‘God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good’).

God passed from acts of creation to preservation (ref. 2 Peter 3:7). His next “work”, as Yeshua has shown, was to preside and guide over men. Some He would judge for honor, and others He would judge for shame. But He utterly completed the first work (creation), before passing to the second (judgment).

Therefore, God rested not of necessity, but for example. He exemplified a day to be appreciated by all mankind. He “blessed” it (again using the mysterious ‘Alef-Tav’) and set it apart for men, as Yeshua said: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27).” By setting the Seventh Day apart, He promised men a day He would visit mankind. By sanctifying it after a finished work, God demonstrates the former things (the heavens) are complete; He is focused on new things (judging men for honor or shame).

The Coming Great Shabbat

When we look at Yom Shabbat prophetically, we see a continuation of the prophetic patterns of the Sixth Day, which underscores a man’s future Resurrection in the Kingdom of God. I judge this period will endure one thousand years (see Revelation 20:4-6). But following this period – what then? Is there a “Shabbat” marking the end of one thing and the beginning a new thing?

“I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works… They were judged, each one according to his works.” (Revelation 20:12-14)

“Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

One day, God will resign judging the works of men. Just as in the Beginning – when God rested from His works of creation, God will finish presiding over the works of men, because works of men will come to an end. A man’s works lead to pain, mourning, and death, but in the “Seventh Day” there will be an end to all judgment, and a new beginning of life, joy, and peace. In that day, men and women will forget how to cry, because everything before a Sabbath worthy of remembrance is remembered, but everything useless will be forgotten.

In Closing

With this pattern in mind, we have an example of how to live this life week-to-week. If our week begins with something useless, let’s fix it by the Sabbath that we may rest when all things are good. Let us then forget the unprofitable things, and begin anew. This has been the order of things since the beginning of mankind, and shall be that way until time ceases to be. May our lives reflect this wonderful truth!

Genesis 1:26-31, Yom Shishi Part 2: After the Resurrection

[This is the seventh 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 separated God’s Word 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.”
On Yom Shlishi – the Third Day – I accepted that Israel (the Kingdom of God)- differs from “the nations”. In 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.
On Yom Chamishi– the Fifth Day- I brought the message of Good News to the nations, and sought that which is lost.
On Yom Shishi Part 1-the Sixth Day- I resigned myself to oversee the Kingdom in the twilight of my life, because I have lived it, and seen everything.

Yom Shishi Part 2- Man’s Judgment and Our Resurrection

God said, “Let’s make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food. To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food;” and it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, a sixth day. (Genesis 1:26-31)

At the literal level, this text describes a culminating event, one in which God presents the earth as a gift to His most precious creation- human beings. Everything built over the previous week had been waiting for the climax of humanity to maleh (“fill”) the earth. The implication is that God from the Beginning wanted a full earth to attract as many men as possible into His Kingdom. In other words, God commanded mankind to fill the earth; Yeshua commanded to make disciples of a full earth (Matt 28:19, Mk 16:15). The latter does not happen without the former.

On a somber note, “mankind” has traditionally resisted every blessing God has given. He taught us to be fruitful and multiply; we made harems and killed each other in the days before the Ark (Gen. 6:1-5). He told us to fill the earth; we dug in our heels at Bavel (Gen. 11:4). He taught us to subjugate animals and make them work for us; we subjugated ourselves to Nimrod and conquerors like him, who made men work like animals (Gen. 10:8-10; 1 Sam 8:11-17). Finally, instead of taking dominion, the “likeness of God” made images of fish, birds, of every animal; we prostrated ourselves before them (Deut 4:17-18). God has always wanted mankind to prosper in multiplication and using the earth to his advantage, but He never wanted man to fear the earth (i.e. “climate change”) or use it to entrap other humans for whom it was created, such as placing patents on “green things”. I’m not saying God is against inventions and patents, but… patents on plants?!!

So, if mankind resisted the mandate to prosper with dominion, does that make God a liar? Of course not! Mankind will certainly have dominion over the earth, it’s just that God didn’t disclose the costs… in the Beginning. Over time, Torah, Prophets, and Psalms all reveal a Kingdom of God with power – led by a King with a governing class upon his shoulder (Isa 9:6). Through the eyes of the prophetic, the text can be understood as being fulfilled… after our resurrection.

Therefore, the prophetic reading of this Genesis text also forecasts a culminating event – the fulfillment of our salvation in Messiah Yeshua. The foreshadowing of our realizations, confusions, adjustments, maturing, labors, and making disciples hidden in Genesis’s first week ends with the redemption of our souls, when the Kingdom of God takes “dominion” (Heb. radah) over the entire earth. Let’s consider:

God uses the word bara three times to create mankind, which is a hint at God’s desire for a covenant (bara a picture of “new house of the Lord”); the stress of bara in verse 27 seems to hammer this notion into the text and indicates the completion of God’s covenant in the resurrection. Also stressed is the text that God “created man in His image, in His image He created them, male and female created He them.” Therefore, it stands to reason if God created man in His image (actually one man, Adam), and man was created male and female at the same time (the female was within Adam according to later chapters of Scripture) – then God was hinting His nature is also male and female at the same time! In the resurrection, males and females will be total equals just as Messiah taught us (Matt 22:30), and we will be one again as in the original image of God.

As demonstrated above, we generally resisted every mandate of man in the natural sense. In the prophetic sense of forecasting the resurrection, we will too have dominion with the King of all the Earth, Messiah Yeshua. We will rule and reign with Him and comprise His government when His kingdom extends to the “ends of the earth”. We will have dominion over the following survivors (see Zech. 14:16) who fall into one of these prophetic biblical patterns:

  1. Fish of the sea: Men of the Gentile nations (See Yom Chamishi).
  2. Birds of the sky: Persecutors and Enemies of the Kingdom of God (See Yom Chamishi).
  3. Animal: The humbled and wanting to learn (See Yom Shishi Part 1).
  4. Moving over the Earth: Those who learn enough to be sent out (See Yom Shishi Part 1).

Lastly, once again the whole earth is charged to find sustenance in green things, and fruit trees, and everything that sustains the earth. This is actually a prophetic hint that we learned earlier in the week on Yom Shlishi. The green trees are indicative of good works, and those sealed of YHVH. What God is saying is that the whole earth will look to the redeemed of YHVH that time for life-sustaining “food”, which is of course the way of YHVH.

The green things at the culmination of every working day – while God is still working – indicates that of all the experiences we have in this life, it’s what we learn on Day Three that lasts longer than time itself. This is the day when our “green” appears, which I identify as good works of love, tenderness, joy, fellowship, kindnesses, charity – basically everything we call “fruit of the Spirit”. There will be a day when the temporal nature of Torah fades away, but the works of love therein – demonstrated plainly in Messiah Yeshua’s life (“whatsoever you would have men do for you, this do, for this is the Law and the Prophets”) – these will be needed most of all. After the resurrection, the nations will have been defeated, ashamed, and bewildered. This will be the time to show the same love shown us by Almighty God. However, if we cannot love one another in this life, and bless our enemies also, we may not be around to express it in the next life. This is what I believe God shows us everywhere in His Scriptures, starting here on Page One, “In the Beginning.”

Genesis 1:6-8, Yom Sheni: Cutting off the Excess

[This is the second in a series about Creation week, specifically, how each day corresponds to progress men and women as they work out their salvations. Almighty God could have made everything in a brief instant, but instead chose to create our heavens and earth by a deliberate, methodical process. These posts will hopefully show that fruitfulness brought to the physical earth is a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate plan to bring men to the same.]

On Yom Echad– the First Day- I learned that God’s Word is the light of truth, and I learned how to separate truth from “darkness”- everything that tries to overcome truth.

Yom Sheni: The Second Day

And said God, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide a space between waters from waters.” And made God the firmament, and divided a space between the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament; and it was so. God called the firmament “heaven”. And were evening and were morning, the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8, Hebrew Interlinear)

The Hebrew words for water and heaven are mayim and shamayim, respectively. I have already written why “heaven” is not the best translation for shamayim, but even for my green sense of Hebrew it’s easy to see how these terms are familial to “water”, one representing the waters above (shamayim, likely a compound of sham, “there is” and mayim, hence “water is there”) and the other below. The first thing God purposefully made was a “firmament” (Heb. raqiyah) to divide the mayim. (Note: the light of Genesis 1:2-5 appeared; it was not created; God already knew its name as it seems to be eternal).

Cheating ahead to other pre-flood portions of Genesis (i.e. 2:5 and 7:11), it appears that the raqiyah enabled a terrarium “in the beginning” as this initial atmosphere did not rain, yet nevertheless contained water. After the Great Flood, God said He would “bring clouds upon the earth” (9:14)… so the present shamayim also contains water, remaining true to its “water-is-there” name. I suppose the point is, man has always relied on shamayim for life-sustaining water. God promises “water is there” and named the raqiyah appropriately. Yet, where does mayim-from-the-shamayim originate? In both pre-Flood and post-Flood worlds, water is taken from the earth. Put in a different way, I can say God relieved the earth of its excess water… the earth had a circumcision!

God would multiply other wonders in the shamayim. He also placed the sun, moon, and stars in this raqiyah (Gen. 1:16), and allowed birds to fly within the raqiyah (Gen 1:20). All these wonders defy gravity, arguably the greatest creation of Yom Sheni. Though not explicitly stated, it’s implied that God created the gravitational field which suspends heavenly bodies, and restrains earthly bodies. It occurs to me that the making of the raqiyah on Day Two doesn’t just separate mayim from mayim, it’s the framework for separating ALL things that belong in shamayim from all things belonging to Earth.

Therefore, the physical lessons garnered from Yom Sheni are two: First, Earth’s excess water was removed to be returned in a process beyond Earth’s control; second, while some things do belong in the shamayim, human beings are grounded to the earth by gravity.

Do I have “Excess?”

Spiritually speaking, however, what do I learn on my Yom Sheni? What spiritual lesson is God teaching by dividing excess mayim from the Earth, and forming shamayim?

The Scriptures do indicate a “painful” time following salvation that accomplishes two main feats, which I think are metaphorically similar to what physically occurred on Yom Sheni. First, a man learns of his excess. He becomes “born again” on Day One but “circumcised” on Day Two, and it is painful- oh so very painful. Secondly, at the same time his up and down limitations are realized (For example, there are things ascribed to heaven above, and things ascribed to the earth beneath – John 3:12). These two realizations bring about the main objective of our post-salvation “Day Two”: humility. If excess water stays on the physical earth in the beginning, dry land could never appear, and therefore any chance for life would literally be drowned. Likewise, if I am not circumcised from the excesses of my life, I too will drown, and I won’t ever rely on shamayim for “rain”. Therefore, I must lose from my excesses to experience spiritual rain from “Heaven”.

I’ve written before that in biblical symbolism, large masses of water (i.e. the Deep, or “great waters”) represent masses of people, with both good and bad connotations. However, water falling from heaven is always a favorable biblical symbol. Rain represents revelation (Isa. 55:10-11) and good teaching (Deut. 32:2). Rain accompanies righteousness (Isa. 45:8, Hos. 10:12, Psa. 84:6) and the presence of God (Hos. 6:3). Perhaps this is all encompassed by saying rain from shamayim symbolizes God giving back to man (Psa. 68:9-10, Psa. 72:6). [Note: the opposite is also true. The drought of Eliyahu (Elijah), and general lack of rain is paralleled with rebellion (Jer. 3:3), stinginess (Mal. 3:8-10), and oppression (Isa. 5:6, Amos 4:7)]

Basically, the spiritual phase of Yom Sheni is the process of making the Deep not-so-deep. After a man “sees the light” he is still deep in Gentile ways of thinking, and begins the next phase of working out his salvation. This can be a painful process where God takes his excess “water” into “heaven”, that He might one day “rain” on his new creation blessings, revelation, and varieties of spiritual gifts. The process is designed to teach humility and reliance on God. Men therefore learn spiritual evaporation – how to evaporate excess to receive showers of blessing:

  • He might have excess lands or possessions. He offers it to leadership in God’s Kingdom (Matt. 19:16-26; Acts 4:32-37).
  • He might have excess pride and suffers for a while. He learns humility and submits to his elders. He learns to give his time (draws near) to God that God may “rain” (draw near) on him (1 Peter 5:5-10, James 4:7-10). He learns to give his life to get life.
  • He might have excess anxiety in thinking like a water-en-masse Gentile, i.e. ‘What will we eat?’ He learns to first seek God’s righteousness (Matt. 6:31-33). He must become not-so-deep.

Heaven’s Hierarchy

Aside from exiting Gentile/pagan thinking (“excess”), this is also the time to understand Heaven’s hierarchy. Given Yeshua taught “Heaven” is God’s throne (i.e. Matt. 5:24, 23:22), prophetic visions also instruct on this hierarchy:

“Over the head of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse (raqiyah), like an awesome crystal to look at, stretched out over their heads above. Under the expanse, their wings were straight, one toward the other. Each one had two which covered on this side, and each one had two which covered their bodies on that side. When they went, I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of an army. When they stood, they let down their wings. There was a voice above the expanse that was over their heads. When they stood, they let down their wings. Above the expanse (raqiyah) that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone. On the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above.” (Ezekiel 1:22-26, emphasis mine)

During the phase of Yom Sheni, men learn there is a spiritual raqiyah that separates YHVH’s throne from men. They learn is it not yet time to dwell with the Most High, and begin to understand their limitations on the earth. However, they also learn how to join fellow believers. They learn that to be successful in the Kingdom of God – where they are grounded beneath the greater Shamayim – they must work together as One Body. They move by the command of God from Heaven, and echo His words like the noise of an army – as a great mass of water people, yet with one voice. Yes, the four living creatures are the kiddushim from the four faces of the Earth- North, south, east, and west. At times they are bold-faced as lions, compassionate as eagles, or have burdens like oxen, yet when YHVH speaks, the kingdom stands still to minister to Him, and sabbaths their wings. After God refreshes them, the Kingdom moves again, continuing the evaporation-to-rain spiritual principle.

Ezekiel describes a “wheel” accompanying the four living creatures (the kiddushim) wherever they go:

“When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them. Then the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Wherever the spirit was to go, they went. The spirit was to go there. The wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. (Ezekiel 1:19-20)

The wheels represent the “vehicle” making all things happen on the earth. Men may be separate from the full Glory of God, but they can experience what makes everything under heaven work – the Divine Presence (aka the Spirit of God)! Without the Presence it is impossible to move in one direction corporately, and impossible to hear the voice of God. This “vehicle” was demonstrated on Shavuot (Pentecost), when the Divine Presence put wheels on the body of 120 believers and caused them to move. YHVH spoke from heaven, and made them move like the voice of the Almighty (Acts 2:1-4). This is ultimately how God wants to administer His kingdom, as unity of believers and moves of the Spirit go hand-in-hand (or should I say, wing-to-wing?).

Newcomers must learn how to be in one accord and also to walk in the Divine Presence. Contrary to popular belief, an identity cannot be solely formed in an individual (“personal relationship”, “what God can do for you/me”, prosperity goose-pile, etc.) but in the identity of the whole kiddushim. It requires a time of perspective to learn lessons not taught in the Gentile world:

  • They must learn how to love his brothers and sisters in Messiah (John 15:17, Gal. 5:13, 1 Pet 1:22).
  • They must learn how to gather in one accord, for to be divisive is to hinder the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:10, 3:1-4, Jude 1:16-22).
  • They must learn that neglect of the poor, widows, and orphans is not unity (Acts 6:1, James 1:27, 1 Tim. 5:8).
  • They must learn to pray in one accord and for each other (Eph. 6:18, James 5:16).

Disciple to Decipher

Young men and women in YHVH should have help through this phase, because it is an unfamiliar, sometimes overwhelming process. After all, circumcision hurts! I believe this is probably why God doesn’t call anything on Yom Sheni “good” like the rest of Creation week. This separation process isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. This aid, though, is supposed to come in the form of discipleship – the same way Yeshua taught the original twelve shlichim (apostles).

Discipleship was a fixture of God’s kingdom even before Yeshua appeared. The prophets of old taught Israel’s tribal elders who in turn taught their divisions, who taught their captains, and so forth, eventually making it to fathers teaching their children. I know this mentorship style is nearly extinct, but elders are supposed to teach disciples how to lose their excesses and experience heaven’s hierarchy in the Spirit and unity. The truth is, God desires shepherds to feed his “sheep”, the favor Yeshua asked of Shimon Keefa (ref. Yochanan 21:15-19). Keefa not only did this, but like the rest of apostles, exhorted the elders to not forsake discipleship, to lead the teachings, fellowship meals, and prayer (Acts 2:42-45, 1 Pet. 5:1-4, Tit. 1:7-9).

Without discipleship it is difficult to lose the excess of Gentile-thinking, and to learn the hierarchy of heaven. If men and women endure this trying time, they will mature in the Kingdom, and God will lead them to the next phase: Yom Shelishi (the Third Day), when God makes something appear that was always present, but never realized: dry land. I’ll talk about the physical and spiritual implications of this in my next phase.♦