Acts 2:2 & 3
And suddenly there came an echoing sound out of heaven as of wind borne along violently. And it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues that had the appearance of fire, these tongues being distributed among them, and one of these tongues took up a position upon each of them. (Wuest's Expanded Translation)
Here in Acts 2:3 we have the picture of what it means to be blessed.
Do you find that confusing?
Let me explain. The Hebrew word picture behind the word blessed is: fire on the head.
Unfortunately, most of our religious education has defined being blessed from a predominantly material or circumstantial point of view.
However, I would like to suggest that being blessed, from a Hebrew/Biblical point of view is to recognise and acknowledge the work of Holy Spirit in and around our lives regardless of the circumstances.
Maybe this understanding of being blessed is the secret of the persecuted and martyred believers.
1 Chronicles 16:34
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
The word picture behind the phrase "O give thanks" is: a deed done that opens the door of humility, selflessness and self denial to the breath of God, divine revelation and His light.
On the site in Bethlehem, that is believed to be the birthplace of Yeshua, stands the Church of the Nativity. You enter the Church of the Nativity via what is known as the door of humility. You can see from the above picture why it bears that name.
When we see this link between thanks and the birth of Yeshua we realise that to give thanks is to focus on the goodness of Yahweh.
1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Also, it highlights to us the fact that thanks is not just words but rather actions. Perhaps this will help bring new light to the following scripture:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
September 30 and October 1 2019 mark the celebration of Rosh Hashanah or the head of the Jewish Year.
The coming New Year on the Jewish calendar is 5780.
In Hebrew the numerical system is deeply entwined in the function of the Hebrew alphabet; with each number being linked to a letter.
Hence, if we look at the number 5780, from a Hebrew perspective, this is the meaning we see: right hand power (of God) to reveal the covenant of consuming fire, breathing, speaking, bringing into reality words of life.
What we have been experiencing increasingly over recent years is the escalation of the "war of words". Media and especially social media have perpetuated this "war of words" which we now accept as the norm.
So, what does the year 5780 mean in the context of this ever increasing "war of words"?
In this year, nothing will be of greater importance than the words spoken by the Body of Christ here on earth. This year offers the opportunity for the words of life to take the ascendancy and ultimately the victory in this "war of words".
However, for this to occur our words must be an accurate, uncompromising reflection of He who is the right hand power of God: Yeshua.
Our words must be an accurate, uncompromising reflection of the covenantal nature of our LORD.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
From time to time I find myself doing some cleaning at one of the local Primary Schools.
Last week I was doing this from Monday to Friday. I have to admit that it had been quite a long time since I had vacuumed for 3 hours straight each day for 5 days. Nevertheless, I was surprised by how saw my hands and my shoulders were as the week went on.
It was only on the Friday that I realised what I had been doing or more accurately, what I had forgotten.
You see the vacuum cleaner I use has what is called a powerhead, this means that there is a motor that specifically drives the cleaning brushes and provides a measure of self propulsion to the vacuum cleaner head.
Having forgotten this fact I had spent 4 days trying to provide propulsion to the vacuum cleaner using my hands and shoulders. The result was pain, disturbed sleep because my hands woke me in the night aching and frustration at my plight.
So, when this realisation came to me on the Friday I allowed the powerhead to do the work rather than over exerting my own muscles.
This incident drew my thoughts back to John 15.
How often I forget that Yeshua the True Vine is the ultimate "POWERHEAD", He has all the resources necessary for me to be an abundantly fruitful branch. Yet, I endure pain and frustration at my own plight rather than simply drawing on the power of His life.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
If I desire to be the revelation of an abundantly fruitful branch in the hands of Yah, the first thing I must embrace is being pruned.
To be pruned is to be cleansed.
The Hebrew understanding of "clean" is expressed extremely well in the Scripture Psalm 51:7:
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
If we take the three words purge, hyssop and clean and look at their words pictures this is what we see: fence the snakes strength, by taking a decision (to obey), revealing redemption with the strength to cut off (prune) and add to the floor plan (abundant fruit).
There is also another interesting element to the letters of the word clean in Hebrew: Tet, Hey and Reysh. In Hebrew the word mountain is Hey, Reysh which gives us another word picture for clean: surrounds the mountain.
Where do we see this picture in Scripture?
At Mount Sinai when the people of Israel surrounded the mountain and heard the words of God, the Torah was given!!!
Exodus 24:12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law (torah) and commandments (mitzvah) which I have written, that you may teach them.”
The word torah literally means instruction. Here the word pictures are earth shattering!!! They are: what comes from the man nailed to the cross and what helps point out the target of life.
Mitzvah (commandment) literally means code of wisdom and the word picture is womb of motivation to obey is strong.
When a branch in the natural is pruned it is forced to draw more upon the resources of the vine which results in more abundant fruitfulness.
Likewise, spiritual pruning causes us to draw more deeply on the life of the man nailed to the cross (the True Vine) in order for us to fulfill the target of life, which is to be an abundantly fruitful branch in the right hand of revelation of the nail revealed.
Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
The word picture for breath is: what comes from the Life of the Name.
This is extremely interesting when you set it beside the following verse:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The word praise in Psalm 150 has three letters in Hebrew: Hey, Lamed, Lamed.
Hey has the picture akin to a first time Dad bursting out of the delivery room with his hands in the air shouting "Its a boy! Its a boy". In that act he is revealing to the wider population that he is now the father of a brand new son.
Lamed has the picture akin to the shepherds rod or staff or a king's scepter. There are many aspects to this picture, but on this occasion I want to draw your attention to the rod of Aaron.
Numbers 17:8 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.
I believe there is also a connection here between Elohim's words in Genesis 1:28 and Aaron's' rod.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The rod or scepter were also symbols of authority in Hebrew culture and we see this element operating in the words "subdue" and dominion" in the above Scripture.
You are a rod in the hand of Elohim (the powerful Judge or the powerful door to life).
In Hebrew culture the role of a judge was primarily to protect the people, whereas in our culture we think of judges in terms of dealing out punishment.
There is another interesting connection between the word picture for breath and the name LORD.
In Hebrew the name LORD has four letters: Yod Hey Vav Hey. If you repeat this word over and over in Hebrew you will find that it parallels the natural act of breathing!!!
Don't take my word for it, you can try it.
The word picture behind LORD is: the right hand power of revelation is the nail revealed.
With all of this in mind Psalm 150:6 can read as:
Let everything that has, what comes from the Life of the Name, be a revelation of an abundantly fruitful branch (staff) in the right hand of revelation of the nail revealed.
Does this sound to you like John 15 summed up in one verse?
I invite you to meditate on this amazing verse!!!
[[David's Psalm of praise.]] I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
The word picture here is: covenant revealed by the tongue.
One way to view the psalms of David is as guideposts along his journey towards becoming a man after God's own heart, or to put it another way, a man of the covenant.
Each guidepost revealed to David and to God exactly where he was in his journey.
So, I encourage you to verbalise your praise so you can listen and discover where you are on your journey to becoming a woman or a man after God's own heart and a man or a woman of covenant.
Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.
The picture behind the word groaned is: separated from the strength of life.
For some reason as I contemplated this word my mind kept thinking of a person who is on their deathbed. The strength of life is slowly deserting them. They are unconscious, unable to communicate yet what emanates from them is not words but deep groans.
Because this communication is nonverbal you cannot be sure who or what the groans are directed towards.
Yet, in the case of the children of Israel we know that God heard these groans and He responded by ultimately delivering them from their life crushing bondage.
If the burdens of life are weighing you down and all you feel capable of is groaning, go right ahead, God is listening and He will respond.
In my distress I called upon the LORD,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
The word picture for cried is: "taking that which is devouring you on the inside and joining it to an outward expression".
I attempted to write this blog back on 25 April 2019, but I just could not quite get my head around it, let alone express it in words.
Over recent weeks I have found myself living this word, as things with my work situation have unravelled there has been this growing cry building up inside of me. I spent two days with the constant desire to just burst into tears.
When that which was devouring me inside was joined to an outward expression what came out was simply deep sobbing and as I sobbed I knew this was prayer!!!
He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.
The word picture for "pray" as we find it in Job 33:26 is: to see the person of the cross.
It is fascinating to find this word in the book of Job which in itself is the account of a man (Job) becoming a person of the cross (death).
Everything Job has dies or is destroyed at the hand of the enemy (satan).
Yet, at the end of it all this is Jobs summary of his experience of what it is to "pray":
You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”
Could it be that the foundation of what it means to "pray" involves a death to all our preconceived understanding of who God is and how He should act.
Perhaps when we willingly become a person of the cross in prayer we then see more clearly the person of Yeshua on the Cross.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.