Bible Ministries International
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Bible Ministries International

Bible Studies

A series of verse by verse studies by Gunther von Harringa Sr

Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

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Hebrews 4 - Part 13

July 31, 2022

Good afternoon and welcome to BMI’s Sunday Online Fellowship. Thank you for joining us, and shall we ask God’s blessing upon our time together…Before I begin I would like to make you aware of another ministry avenue that BMI is embarking upon, Lord willing. This will be Hebrews 4 - Part 13, and today’s date is July 31, 2022. I’ll read Hebrews 4:1-12,

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. {2} For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it]. {3} For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. {4} For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. {5} And in this [place] again, If they shall enter into my rest. {6} Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: {7} Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. {8} For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. {9} There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. {10} For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. {11} Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. {12} For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents  of the heart.

We are down to Hebrews 4 verse 10, in our ongoing examination of this wonderful book, but every book of the Bible is wonderful because it's Divine Author is indeed Wonderful - Who is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ -  as Isaiah 9:6 so beautifully states:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

We have already considered the main words in this verse in some of our earlier studies, but before we proceed to verse 11, I would like to reiterate the two Biblical principles that verse 10 encapsulates. I’ll read it again:

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his.

  1. The child of God, who by God’s grace, has entered into God’s salvation rest, has by definition, ceased from trying to gain access into Heaven by his good works. He recognizes all too well that even his best works are so tainted by sin that God views them as filthy rags, according to Isaiah 64:6-7,

But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. {7} And [there is] none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities

  1. Secondly, God equates ceasing from one’s own works as God did from His Work of Creation which lasted 6 days.  He then rested on the 7th day (Saturday). By this precedent, God instituted the 7th day Sabbath rest to make the point that no physical work was to be performed on that day. That directive underscored the spiritual reality that mankind was NOT to work for salvation at all. This was dramatically underscored by the man that picked up a few sticks on the Sabbath in the Numbers 15:32-36 account:

And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. {33} And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. {34} And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. {35} And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. {36} And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses. 

The crux of this narrative emphasizes that even the tiniest bit of human effort for redemption was enough to condemn a person to death and annihilation. The Sabbath rest is further developed in Exodus 31:12-17,

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {13} Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you. {14} Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it [is] holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. {15} Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth [any] work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. {16} Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant. {17} It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

What is very interesting is what follows immediately after this incident of the unnamed man who picked up a few sticks, in Numbers 15:37-41,

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {38} Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: {39} And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: {40} That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. {41} I [am] the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I [am] the LORD your God.  

This description of the ribband of blue and its significance reminds us of the woman with an issue of blood in Mark 9: 20-22,

And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment: {21} For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. {22} But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

The touching of the hem (symbolizing God’s commandments) along with the Master’s garment (which represents the robe of Christ’s righteousness) is tantamount to handling the Word of God during the “day” of salvation, as 1 John 1:1 maintains:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  

This would be akin to placing oneself in the environment of hearing the Word of God, and this woman was in the very presence of the Savior, as Romans 10:17 stipulates:

So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

In other words, one who has been born from above by God’s mercy is totally reliant on the Work and Faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who had secured the salvation of all within the Body or Bride of Christ at …the foundation of the world, as Revelation 13:8-10 affirms,

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [Satan], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. {9} If any man have an ear, let him hear. {10} He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

As a matter of fact, none of these individuals had even been created yet at… the foundation of the world, as we learn from Psalm 139:15-16,

 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, [and] curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. {16} Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all [my members] were written, [which] in continuance were fashioned, when [as yet there was] none of them.

With that reminder, let’s move on to verse 11, which declares: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 

At first blush, this statement appears to contradict the fact that one is not to work for salvation, and yet this passage is saying, Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest… So how can we reconcile these two seemingly opposite truths? I’ll give you the answer, and then explain the Scriptural reasoning behind it. As is so often the case in the Bible, both assertions are Biblically valid. We can begin our investigation by considering the term, Let us labour… as we have already discussed the two expressions, to enter and rest. 

One of the traps that people fall into when they see this Greek word “labour” is to immediately assume that it signifies “work,” because “labour” implies “working” in English. But the Bible was not written in English…it was written in Hebrew/Aramaic [which was the first alphabet and language that all other alphabets (not writing systems) such as Egyptian hieroglyphics stem from], including Greek. It’s extremely important, and I can’t stress this enough, that God not only created the first alphabet and Hebrew language, along with grammar, vowel pointings, and cantillation marks (by a series of symbols that are both grammatical, musical, and spiritual at the same time) and serve to divide each and every verse into syllables in addition to confirming the spiritual thrust of the verse) in these original languages. In this manner. God defines His own terms, assigns spiritual meanings to them, while hiding this information until the proper time and season for it to be revealed, which is explained by a verse such as Proverbs 25:2, in which the two expressions, a thing and a matter are the same word in Hebrew, dabar, which is predominantly translated as word.    

[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing [dabar:H1697/TWOT* 399a]: but the honour of kings [the elect] [is] to search out a matter. [dabar:H1697/TWOT* 399a]

Let Us Labour [spoudazo:G4704]

With that in mind, let’s see how God defines this verb, let us labour or spoudazo (spoo-dad’-zo), by its usage in the other 10 places in which it is found: 

Verse 10 of Galatians 2:9-10 translates this Old English expression as I was forward  or I was eager (which is how Jay P. Green renders it): And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we [should go] unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.{10} Only [they would] that we should remember the poor; the same which I  [spoudazo:G4704] [G0] also was forward [spoudazo:G4704] to do.

Verse 3 of Ephesians 4:1-3 expresses this as endeavoring (which Green translates again as being eager) I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, {2} With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;{3} Endeavouring [spoudazo:G4704] to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Verse 17 of 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 likewise includes this as endeavoured or were eager (Green): But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured [spoudazo:G4704] the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. {18} Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. {19} For what [is] our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? [Are] not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? {20} For ye are our glory and joy.

However in 2 Timothy 2:15 this word presents as study or be eager (Green): Study [spoudazo:G4704] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

In fact in 2 Timothy 4:9 and 21 we find this term Do thy diligence or Make haste (Green):  Do thy diligence [spoudazo:G4704] to come shortly unto me: ... {21} Do thy diligence [spoudazo:G4704] to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.

Incidentally, our word has two other root words that it stems from and are primarily translated as the noun, diligence (spoude:G4710) and the verb, make haste (speudo:G4692)

In verse 12 of Titus 3:3-8 and 12 this is expressed as be diligent or hasten (Green); I’m including the prior verses as they clearly show the relationship between no man-made works in order to achieve salvation versus the works that God does through His elect after salvation, as He works in them… to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13). This same contrast is also highlighted in Ephesians 2:8-10,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast. {10} For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  

Titus 3:3-8 and 12 proclaim: For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another. {4} But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, {5} Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; {6} Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; {7} That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. {8} [This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men… {12} When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent [spoudazo:G4704] to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.

2 Peter 1:10 and 15 include these terms as give diligence (or be diligent - Green), along with I will endeavour (or be diligent - Green): Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence [spoudazo:G4704] to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: ... {15} Moreover I will endeavour [spoudazo:G4704] that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

Similarly, verse 14 of 2 Peter 3:10-18 also translates this word as be diligent: 

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. {11} [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, {12} Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? {13} Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. {14} Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent [spoudazo:G4704] that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. {15} And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; {16} As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. {17} Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. {18} But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Now we can turn our attention to the next two phrases in verse 11, since we have already considered the term unbelief  back in Hebrews 4:6, so I won’t go over that material again. I’ll read verse 11 one more time:

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 

So let’s concentrate on the words, any man and fall, then, Lord willing, we can look at the term, example. These first two expressions emerge in the following three citations:

Any Man [tis:G5100] Fall [pipto:G4098]

In Acts 20:7-12 we read about a historical parable that took place in Troas, which today would be located on the northwest coast of Turkey. This occurred at the end of Paul’s seven day stay on Sunday in that bustling port city, as he was going to depart the following day. (Keep in mind that the seven churches spoken of in Revelation 2 and 3 were all located in what we now refer to as Turkey.) These two terms are translated in verse 9 as a certain along with and fell down:  

And upon the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. {8} And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. {9}And there sat in a window a certain [tis:G5100] young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down [pipto:G4098] from the third loft, and was taken up dead. {10} And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing [him] said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. {11} When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. {12} And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.

The second entry in which these two words surface is in verse 8 of 1 Corinthians 10:1-14, in which these are included as some and fell. This portion of Scripture is a powerful admonition for us today and curiously has cropped up in our study of the book of Hebrews a number of times already, attesting to its great relevance, not only throughout history, but especially in our present “day” of judgment that began on May 21, 2011. One of the reasons for this is the spiritual similarity between the crossing of the Red Sea (aka, The Sea of the End), [and the events that transpired over the next 40 years, as this passage alludes to] which typified the salvation of all God’s elect, and the fulfillment of the Great Commission to reach the nations of the elect on May 21, 2011. 

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; {2} And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; {3} And did all eat the same spiritual meat; {4} And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. {5} But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. {6} Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. {7} Neither be ye idolaters, as [were] some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. {8} Neither let us commit fornication, as some [tis:G5100] of them committed, and fell [pipto:G4098] in one day three and twenty thousand. {9} Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. {10} Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. {11} Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. {12} Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. {13} There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. {14{ Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

James 5:7-12 is another exhortation that God’s elect are to obey wholeheartedly. The context involves the early rain that began on the Day of Pentecost on May 22, 33 AD, as God instituted the New Testament church age, and the latter rain (which began on September 7, 1994 and ended on May 21, 2011) during which God in tandem with His elect people sought every means possible to reach the nations of the elect with the Gospel, one last time before He closed the door to salvation om May, 21, 2011. In verse 12 these terms are rendered as by any and ye fall. Notice too, the infinite patience that God exemplified until the “day” of Judgment commenced, and which God’s people are to emulate in our present situation.  From May 21, 2011 forward God’s wrath would be poured out, as He is judging this world, and in the process, systematically dividing Satan’s kingdom. Concurrently He has given a New Commission to His saints which is …to feed God’s sheep… as John 21:15-17 commands:  

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. {8} Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. {9} Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. {10} Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example [hypodeigma:G5262] of suffering affliction, and of patience. {11} Behold, we count them happy [“blessed”] which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. {12} But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any [tis:G5100] other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall [pipto:G4098] into condemnation.

The last word that we want to examine in verse 11 we actually just read in James 5:10 as it is translated there for an example. However, I don’t believe we have enough time today to do that term justice, so let’s wait until our next study, Lord willing. Please stay tuned for the remainder of our Hymn Sing next.

Hebrews 4 - Part 14

August 7, 2022

Good afternoon and welcome to BMI’s Sunday Online Fellowship. Thank you for joining us, and shall we ask God’s blessing upon our time together…Before I begin I would like to make you aware of another ministry avenue that BMI is embarking upon, Lord willing. This will be Hebrews 4 - Part 14, and today’s date is August 7, 2022. I’ll read Hebrews 4:1-12,

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. {2} For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it]. {3} For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. {4} For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. {5} And in this [place] again, If they shall enter into my rest. {6} Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: {7} Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. {8} For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. {9} There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. {10} For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. {11} Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. {12} For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents  of the heart.

We are down to the last two terms in verse 11 that we have not addressed, namely same and example: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. And this warning is just as applicable today as it has ever been, because unbelief is the natural state of man. Belief or Faith is not only One of the Savior’s many glorious Titles, but He is the very essence of Faith, which He imparted to His elect people, according to His Divine will, as we read in Ephesians 1:3-14,

Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: {4} According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: {5} Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, {6} To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. {7} In whom we have redemption through his blood [aka His Life], the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; {8} Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; {9} Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: {10} That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: {11} In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: {12} That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. {13} In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, {14} Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Same [autos:G846] Example [hupodeigma:G5262] [hoo-PAH-dieg-mah]

The two expressions, same and example only appear together again in Hebrews 9:23, in which they are translated as patterns and themselves:

[It was] therefore necessary that the patterns [hupodeigma:G5262] of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves [autos:G846]  with better sacrifices than these. 

I think I’ll wait to discuss Hebrews 9:23 until we get there, Lord willing, as it is in the middle of a complicated discourse that covers a number of very significant doctrines. Instead let’s consider the root word for the noun patterns (hupodeigma:G5262) [hoo-PAH-dieg-mah] which is the verb form, (hupodeiknumi:G5263) [hoopah-DIKE-know-me] found in six citations, and rendered as a form of either show, warn, or forewarn. So we recognize that this Greek word, example or pattern denotes both a warning as well as a model to follow: 

Shew/Warn/Forewarn [hupodeiknumi:G5263] [hoopah-DIKE-know-me]

Verse 7 of Matthew 3:7-12 (and the parallel passage in Luke 3:7) records this word as hath warned in John the Baptist’s pointed question to the Pharisees and Sadducees: But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned [hupodeiknumi:G5263] you to flee from the wrath to come? {8} Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: {9} And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. {10} And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. {11} I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire: {12} Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Verse 7 of Luke 6:46-49 translates this term as  I will shew; please note the use of the noun  foundation and the verb founded, which is a different but similar expression to the one used in Revelation 13:8 [as …the Lamb slain from the foundation (katabole:G2602) of the world…]:  

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?{47} Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew [hupodeiknumi:G5263] you to whom he is like: {48} He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation [themelios:G2310] on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded [themelioo:G2311] upon a rock. {49} But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation [themelios:G2310] built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

The next entry in verse 5 of  Luke 12:4-5 is expressed as I will forewarn:  And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. {5} But I will forewarn [hupodeiknumi:G5263] you whom ye shall fear: Fear him [God], which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell [i.e., the grave and annihilation]; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. [God]

Verse 16 of Acts 9:1-21 includes this term as will shew. This chapter outlines the conversion of the Apostle Paul, a devout but sincerely misled Pharisee, who became a pattern of God’s elect, and is a tremendous example of God’s irresistible grace in drawing whomever He desires to serve Him, fueled by an intense desire to do God’s will at any cost. 

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, {2} And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. {3} And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: {4} And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? {5} And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. {6} And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. {7} And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. {8} And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus.{9} And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. {10} And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord. {11} And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, {12} And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight. {13} Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: {14} And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. {15} But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:{16} For I will shew [hupodeiknumi:G5263] him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. {17} And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. {18} And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. {19} And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. {20} And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. {21} But all that heard [him] were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

The thrust of  verse 16, For I will shew [hupodeiknumi:G5263] him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake, is not intended to be a retaliation against Paul for his misplaced zeal in attacking and harming God’s saints, but again as a tableau or illustration of the life of the child of God. This goes along with another Biblical axiom that is hardly ever mentioned in so called Christian circles, namely the role of suffering in the life of a Christian, as presented in Philippians 1:29,

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 

Paul, under divine inspiration, also emphasizes this in Colossians 1:24, which God’s elect on earth at this time are demonstrating as they suffer on earth as His Body - like the Lord Himself had to endure while in the flesh:  

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: 

However the end result of all suffering is to build up the child of God spiritually as the following Scriptures affirm:

Hebrews 12:6-7 and 11 maintain: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. {7} If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? ... {11} Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 

1 Peter 1:6-7 likewise declares: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: {7} That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

And Malachi 3:3 records: And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

2 Timothy 2:20-21 reveal: But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. {21} If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, [and] prepared unto every good work.

There are two other accounts regarding Paul’s conversion that are equally interesting as we learn more about this man that God used so mightily as the Apostle of the Gentiles, and was the human instrument to pen a large portion of the New Testament, which he attributed exclusively to the grace of God as both 1 Corinthians 15:10 and Colossians 1:29 confirm, and which each child of God would eagerly testify to be true in their own life as well:

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which [was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

This also underscores an important Biblical principle with regard to Bible study, which is to find all the places in which a particular word, or phrase, or as in this case, an event - the conversion of Paul - because God hides different aspects of truth in each narrative, and looking at each of them one sees not only the “big picture,” as it were, but also the clarification of certain details within the account. 

A case in point with regard to this Biblical principle is the matter of baptism that we find in Acts 9:18, And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.  When one reads this superficially or in the historical context, it is easy to assume that after Paul’s physical eyesight was restored, he was baptized in water. I’ll return to this matter after I read  the first account is in Acts 22:1-16, which takes place in Jerusalem, as Paul was rescued by a Roman chief captain [a man who was in charge of 1000 men (or 10 centurions); a centurion ws over 100 men] from a crowd of angry Jews who wanted to kill him, and Paul asked him to speak to the crowd: 

Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence [which I make] now unto you. {2} (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) {3} I am verily a man [which am] a Jew, born in Tarsus, [a city] in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, [and] taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. {4} And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. {5} As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. {6} And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. {7} And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? {8} And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. {9} And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. {10} And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. {11} And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. {12} And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt [there], {13} Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. {14} And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. {15} For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. {16} And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.  

In verse 16 of Acts 22 God links the washing away of sins with baptism. This is why Mr. Camping wrote that excellent book, Baptism - The Washing Away Of Our Sins to explain the true meaning of the term baptism.

The second account of Paul’s conversion is found in Acts 26:1-29, in which Paul testifies in front of King Agrippa:

Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: {2} I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: {3} Especially [because I know] thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. {4} My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; {5} Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. {6} And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: {7} Unto which [promise] our twelve tribes, instantly serving [God] day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. {8} Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? {9} I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. {10} Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against [them]. {11} And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled [them] to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted [them] even unto strange cities. {12}  Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, {13} At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. {14} And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. {15} And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. {16} But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; {17} Delivering thee from the people, and [from] the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, {18} To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. {19} Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: {20} But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. {21} For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill [me]. {22} Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: {23} That Christ should suffer, [and] that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. {24} And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. {25} But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. {26} For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. {27} King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. {28} Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. {29} And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

Please note the phrase in verse 28… Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. On the surface this appears to be saying that Paul almost persuaded Agrippa to become saved…but failed. This underscores another significant Biblical principle for Bible study, namely, one has to go to the original languages in order to discover what is really being stated, as English like any other language is a translation, and all translations, however faithful they may be, have errors. Jay P. Green in his Literal Version (KJ3) renders this verse in the following manner, giving this verse an entirely different nuance:

And Agrippa said to Paul, In [but] a little do you persuade me to become a Christian!

The last passage in which this term, warn/forewarn/shew (G5263) emerges, is in verse 35 of Acts 20:17-35, in which it is expressed as I have shewed, which is Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesians elders, and is a warning of what they could expect to happen in their midst spiritually, which is a veiled reference to God’s judgment beginning at His own house first according to 1 Peter 4:17 (and many other verses, chapters and historical parables that affirm this). This again underscores yet a third Biblical principle for Bible study, which is to search for the spiritual meaning of any given passage, which is the most difficult “layer” to ascertain: 

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. {18} And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, {19} Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: {20} [And] how I kept back nothing that was profitable [unto you], but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, {21} Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. {22} And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: {23} Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. {24} But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. {25} And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. {26} Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I [am] pure from the blood of all [men]. {27} For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. {28} Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. {29} For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. {30} Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. {31} Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. {3} And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. {33} I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. {34} Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

Let’s stop here. Lord willing, in our next study we will proceed to verse 12, a most significant proclamation, 

For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents  of the heart.

Please stay tuned for the remainder of our Hymn Sing.

 “Sticks” - Part 1 

      August 14, 2022

Good afternoon and welcome to BMI’s Sunday Online Fellowship. Thank you for joining us, and shall we ask God’s blessing upon our time together…Before we begin today’s study I do want to let you know that today at 5 PM (Pacific time)/

8 PM (Eastern) we will be starting BMI’s first Spanish Question & Answer Program, which will last 30 minutes. I will be reading the Bible in Spanish until we get a question, and we will continue using this format, until there are no more lags in the questions, by God’s grace. We will also be offering this program during the week at the same time (Monday - Friday) and again we covet your prayers for this new ministry opportunity. As I mentioned last Sunday, today, I’m going to start a new series on the word “sticks,” and in so doing we will take a little break from the Hebrews series, once we finish this new one. I’m not sure how long this series will be, nor does it matter, so we will leave that in God’s hands. We understand that wherever we go in the Bible, it is always an adventure into the Truth, as God is speaking directly to each of us individually. As we begin to investigate this new body of information we want to keep in mind the words of Psalm 119:18,

  Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. 

The reason I chose to do this was a result of some questions I received during our English Q & A, with regards to this important topic, which as we will see spans the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Those questions centered around Numbers 15 and the man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath, as well as Ezekiel 37, where the two sticks …shall become one. We will be exploring these unique passages in the upcoming weeks, so today will be more of an overview of this specific “word-family.”  

Two Roots Are In View In This “Word-Family”  

The sticks  “word-family” includes two shoresh or roots that are spelled identically, except for the vowel pointings:

TWOT 1669 He shutteth [`atsaw:H6095]  עָצָה 

This first shoresh is translated he shutteth, and is TWOT 1669, and corresponds to H6095. It is only found in verse 30 of Proverbs 16:27-30, which is key in this case, as it is speaking about the wicked, as noted from the terms, An ungodly manA froward manA violent man. 

An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips [there is] as a burning fire. {28} A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. {29} A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way [that is] not good. {30} He shutteth [TWOT 1669/`atsaw:H6095] his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

A what does this man do? Please note the emphasis on the eyes and the lips which in this example are being used for evil. The Savior commented in Matthew 15:18-19 how man’s sin nature finds expression in his thoughts, words, and actions: 

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. {19} For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

The shutting of the eyes spiritually is man’s natural state, as he does not understand spiritual matters; as a result, he cannot speak of them according to the Word of God. This is the very opposite for God’s elect, whose eyes, ears, and heart God has opened, by His mercy, so they can perceive the rich spiritual treasures that God has hidden in the Bible, as we read earlier from Psalm 119:18, keeping in mind the affirmation found in John 3:27,

John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

So keep this nuance of shutting one’s eyes in mind. 

The second shoresh, as I stated, is identically spelled to the first one with the exception of the vowel pointing. It has two derivatives, 1670a and 1670b. I will discuss the latter first because it only surfaces in one other Scripture which is Jeremiah 6:6. 

TWOT 1670b Trees [`etsah:H6097]  עֵצָה

Jeremiah 6 like most of the chapters in the book of Jeremiah is focused on God’s judgment beginning at His own house first as 1 Peter 4:17 asserts, 

For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?

In Jeremiah 6:6 we read the following denunciation by Almighty God regarding His corporate people that He was married to, and who typify the end-time churches and denominations that fell under God’s wrath worldwide and without exception, whom He abandoned forever:

For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees [TWOT 1670b/`etsah:G6097], and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this [is] the city to be visited; she [is] wholly oppression in the midst of her.

We now want to spend the rest of this study and any other future ones discussing the second derivative which occurs 328 times in the Old Testament, predominantly as tree, wood, and timber, and to a lesser degree as stick, gallows, staff, stock, branches, helve, planks, and stalks. (spell) As you can see, this is another expression that is quite pregnant with spiritual implications that we will be considering, which is why one must never rely upon the English translation (or any other language for that matter) of a word in the original languages. One must go back to the original languages that God breathed out of His mouth to see how God defines His words, letters, the shapes of the letters, sentence structure, grammar, vowel pointings and accents which are actual words that can be searched out, and denote spiritual/grammatical/and musical connotations. 

TWOT 1670a Tree [`ets:H6086]  עֵץ

The second derivative is TWOT 1670a (and corresponds to H6086). I mentioned in the introduction that the word tree is found throughout the Word of God. Beginning in Genesis, we note that two trees were part of  the first “test” that mankind (represented by Adam and Eve) was confronted with in Genesis 2:9, 16-17 and Genesis 3:22-24, 

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of knowledge of good and evil. ... {16} And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  of the garden thou mayest freely eat: {17} But of the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die… {3:22} And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of life, and eat, and live for ever: {23} Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.... {24} So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of life.

We can also go to the book of Revelation, and we see The Tree of Life again in these next three references, in which the two expressions, tree and of life surface in Greek:

Tree [xulon:G3586] Of Life [zoe:G2222]

Revelation 2:7 presents this warning, He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree [xulon:G3586] of life [zoe:G2222], which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Notice how the verse ends by saying that the tree of life…is in the midst of the paradise of God. This has a dual application as it can refer to the pristine state of the Garden of Eden (prior to man’s fall into sin) as well as to what will take place in Eternity future for God’s redeemed Bride, as Revelation 22:2 and 14 reveal:

 

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree [xulon:G3586] of life [zoe:G2222], which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations. ... {14} Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree [xulon:G3586] of life [zoe:G2222], and may enter in through the gates into the city.

So we see that the Tree of Life shows up at the Beginning [Christ - Revelation 21:6; 22:13] as well as the End [Christ - Revelation 21:6; 22:13] of Holy Writ, and we recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed The Tree of Life. But does the Bible substantiate that claim, and if so, in what way, and with which verses?

The Tree Of Life Is Also The Tree Of Death

Both elements - Life and Death - are part of this tree. Let’s turn to another part of the Bible in which this comes into very clear focus, as God stipulates what should happen if a person be found worthy of death in Deuteronomy 21:22-23, on which our Hebrew word emerges again twice:

And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]: {23} His body shall not remain all night upon the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] , but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.  

This theme of death began in the Garden of Eden with mankind’s fall into sin as we read earlier in Genesis 2:17,

But of the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die

The expression, thou shalt surely die literally means: dying thou shalt die. Did Adam and Eve die immediately? No. Was Satan correct when he told Eve that she would not die? No. He lied as he is the father of lies. (John 8:44). They died spiritually - in their souls - that day. Then many hundreds of years later they would die physically, which is the lot of most human beings, as Romans 6:23 maintains:

For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

But I want us to go back to Deuteronomy 21:22-23 for a minute and read that passage again:

And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]: {23} His body shall not remain all night upon the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] , but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.  

Was the Lord Jesus Christ worthy of death? Absolutely! Because he was the bearing the sins of His elect Body, and atoned for them at…the foundation of the world, when they had not even been created yet, according to 2 Corinthians 5:21,

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

In Galatians 3:13 we discover a commentary on Deuteronomy 21:22-23, in which the Greek word for tree surfaces again:

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: [xulon:G3586] 

Verse 24 of 1 Peter 2:21-25 also speaks to this issue of Christ having to bear the sins of His elect people only - not in 33 AD - but at…the foundation of the world, as the Lamb slain: 

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: {22} Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: {23} Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: {24} Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree [xulon:G3586], that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. {25} For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Someone might pose the question: “Where’s the tree at the foundation of the world?” Remember that to be hanged on a tree signifies to be cursed of God. Was Christ cursed of God? Indeed He was in order to be the sacrificial Lamb for His Bride, which is True, Divine Love that our puny minds cannot fathom. 

Verse 18 of Proverbs 3:13-19 links the tree of life to Wisdom which appears in verses 13 and 19, and personifies the Lord Jesus Christ:  

Happy [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the man [that] getteth understanding. {14} For the merchandise of it [is] better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. {15} She [is] more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. {16} Length of days [is] in her right hand; [and] in her left hand riches and honour. {17} Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness, and all her paths [are] peace. {18} She [is] a tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy [is every one] that retaineth her. {19} The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

1 Corinthians 1:24 and 30 corroborate this truth of Christ as the Wisdom (and Power) of God: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. ... {30} But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 

Another usage of the term tree is found in the context of warfare as God gives this instruction in Deuteronomy 20:19-20, 

When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of the field [is] man's [life]) to employ [them] in the siege: {20} Only the trees [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  which thou knowest that they [be] not trees [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued. 

Jay P. Green renders verse 19 this way:

When you shall lay siege to a city many days, to fight against it, to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees in order to force an axe against them. For you shall eat of them, and you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field a man, that it should be used by you to lay siege?

The principle of the tree of the field [is] man’s [life] can be understood both physically as well as parabolically by the fact that Christ is the Tree of Life.

Here are some more illustrations of this Hebrew word for tree. [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  

In verse 14 we find this term rendered wood in Genesis 6:11-22, referring to Noah’s Ark, another magnificent portrayal of salvation, which was covered with pitch within and without, and the verb form has to do with atonement, and the noun form with ransom, again underscoring the sacrifice of the Redeemer at …the foundation of the world: 

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. {12} And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. {13} And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. {14} Make thee an ark of gopher wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. {15} And this [is the fashion] which thou shalt make it [of]: The length of the ark [shall be] three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. {16} A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; [with] lower, second, and third [stories] shalt thou make it. {17} And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die. {18} But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. {19} And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every [sort] shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep [them] alive with thee; they shall be male and female. {20} Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every [sort] shall come unto thee, to keep [them] alive. {21} And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather [it] to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. {22{ Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Another important milestone with regard to this word, tree or wood, as it relates to salvation, is seen in the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22:1-14 in which this expression, wood, crops up in verses 3, 6, 7, and 9 five times (and the number “5” can illustrate either salvation or judgment):

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, [here] I [am]. {2} And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. {3} And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. {4} Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. {5} And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. {6} And Abraham took the wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of the burnt offering, and laid [it] upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. {7} And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here [am] I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]: but where [is] the lamb for a burnt offering? {8} And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. {9} And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] {10} And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. {11} And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here [am] I. {12} And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me. {13} And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind [him] a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 

{14} And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said [to] this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

I think we’ll stop here today. This overview is no longer than I anticipated, so we will pick this up in our next study, Lord willing, and then be able to hone in on the examples I mentioned in Numbers 15 and Ezekiel 37. Please stay tuned for the remainder of our Hymn Sing. 

 “Sticks” - Part 2 

   August 21, 2022

Good afternoon and welcome to BMI’s Sunday Online Fellowship. Thank you for joining us, and shall we ask God’s blessing upon our time together…This will be “Sticks” - Part 2, and today’s date is August 21, 2022. We are continuing our overview of the subject of sticks, which is TWOT 1670a, and corresponds to H6086. As I mentioned last Sunday, this derivative is found  328 times in the Old Testament, predominantly as tree, wood, and timber, and to a lesser degree as stick, gallows, staff, stock, branches, helve, planks, and stalks. (spell) Without a doubt, this expression is quite pregnant with spiritual implications that we will be considering, which is why one must never rely upon the English translation (or any other language for that matter) of a word. Instead, one must go back to the original languages that God breathed out of His mouth to see how God defines His words, letters, the shapes of the letters, sentence structure, grammar, vowel pointings and accents which are actual words that can be searched out, and denote spiritual/grammatical/and musical connotations. 

As we began looking at this expression we noted that it spans the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In Genesis, two trees were in view: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as well as the Tree of Life (Who is the Savior); the latter, in turn, continues into eternity future. We learned that the Tree of Life is also the Tree of Death. The Bible substantiates the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ became cursed (by hanging on a tree or Cross) for His elect people at …the foundation of the world; additionally Wisdom (personified by Christ) is also likened to a Tree of Life. This word appears in many of the outstanding Biblical accounts such as the wood to build Noah’s ark or the wood upon which Abraham laid his only begotten son, Isaac. So with some of those examples in mind, let’s see where the Word of God will lead us today, as we investigate some of the other places where this word surfaces.

TWOT 1670a Tree [`ets:H6086]  עֵץ

Let’s begin by going to Exodus 25, in which this term, wood,  is found in verses 5, 10, 13, 23, and  28. The Tabernacle like its successor, the Temple, both exemplify the Atonement that Christ made on behalf of His elect people. Perhaps one day BMI can do an in-depth series on all the wonderful spiritual truths that are contained in each of these most significant structures, but for now our focus will be limited to Chapter 25 (even though there are other chapters that concentrate on the various pieces of furniture and other elements found within the Tabernacle). I’ll read verses 5, 10, 13, 23, and 28, 

And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] , ... {10} And they shall make an ark [of] shittim wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] : two cubits and a half [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. ... {13} And thou shalt make staves [of] shittim wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] ,  and overlay them with gold. ... {23} Thou shalt also make a table [of] shittim wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] : two cubits [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. ... {28} And thou shalt make the staves [of] shittim wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.

Another reference is found after the tremendous miracle of the crossing of the Red Sea (which signifies the Sea of the End!), and immediately the Israelites are confronted with a test - they had no water to drink - as verse 22 of Exodus 15:22-26 records; this word is rendered him a tree in verse 25: 

So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. {23} And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they [were] bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. {24} And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? {25} And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], [which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, {26} And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I [am] the LORD that healeth thee.  

Joshua 9 is a chapter that focuses on the Gibeonites (who typify God’s elect) and their successful attempt to deceive Israel by pretending that they were from a far country. As a result of this the Israelites made them hewers of wood (which is our word) and drawers of water, as we learn from Joshua 9:21, 23 and 27,

And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them. … {23} Now therefore ye [are] cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] and drawers of water for the house of my God…{27} And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.

The Gibeonites had to have heard God’s commandment in Deuteronomy 20:11-12 and 15-16, which prompted them to take the course of action that they did, in spite of the fact that they did so deceitfully: 

When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. {11} And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, [that] all the people [that is] found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. {12} And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: ... 

 {15} Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities [which are] very far off from thee, which [are] not of the cities of these nations. {16} But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee [for] an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

Additionally, Joshua 11:19 informs us that the Gibeonites were the only nation in the land of Canaan that sued for peace: There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all [other] they took in battle.

Earlier in today’s study, I mentioned that wood was involved in the building of both the Tabernacle and Temple, and water can represent the cool, clear Water of Life that God employed during the very long “day” of salvation. Being a hewer of wood, and drawer of water typifies the Great Commission that the elect took part in. Whenever God applied His salvation (that he had secured at… the foundation of the world) to one of the elect at some point during their physical lifetime, the Temple grew, until it was finally completed on May 21, 2011, as the last “living stone” so to speak was placed within that glorious, holy, eternal Temple that is the Body of Christ. This is beautifully highlighted in Ephesians 5:26-27 as God likens earthly  marriage (that He instituted) to His Role as Husband of the Bride of Christ:  

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, {27} That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

With regards to wood in the building of this spiritual Temple, Haggai 1:8 declares: Go up to the mountain, and bring wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.

This is also picked up in verse 22 of Isaiah 65 and expressed as, of a tree, against the backdrop of the New Heavens and New Earth which is what the Bride of Christ can look forward to now:

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. {18} But be ye glad and rejoice for ever [in that] which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. {19} And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. {20} There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner [being] an hundred years old shall be accursed. {21} And they shall build houses, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. {22} They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] [are] the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. {23} They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. {24} And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. {25} The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust [shall be] the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

We also want to keep in mind that the conquest of the land of Canaan spiritually points to the Great Commission. One of the other passages in which our word is translated, them with the stalks, appears in verse 6 of  Joshua 2:6-11, as Rahab was moved by God to hide the two spies. Once again, we note how powerfully God used word of mouth in those days, as He did with the Gibeonites too:  

But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. {7} And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut 

the gate. {8} And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; {9} And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. {10} For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that [were] on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. {11} And as soon as we had heard [these things], our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he [is] God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Fast forwarding to the time of David and the plague that killed 70,000 Israelites we discover that God commanded David through the prophet Gad, that David was to build an altar in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite and offer sacrifices on that altar so that the plague would be stopped. David did that and bought the threshing-floor from Ornan the Jebusite. Our word  crops up in a statement that Ornan makes to King David in verse 23 of  1 Chronicles 21:22-29 as for wood:

Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of [this] threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people. {23} And Ornan said unto David, Take [it] to thee, and let my lord the king do [that which is] good in his eyes: lo, I give [thee] the oxen [also] for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. {24} And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take [that] which [is] thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. {25} So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. {26} And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. {27} And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. {28} At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. {29} For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, [were] at that season in the high place at Gibeon.

That altar was the precise location of the foundation of the Temple (along with where Abraham sacrificed Isaac looking back in time; and where Christ hung on the Cross in 33 AD)  which David prepared for mightily, but God gave that task to his son, Solomon according to 2 Chronicles 3:1,

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where [the LORD] appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

With regards to David’s preparation for this magnificent Temple, verse 2 of  1 Chronicles 29:1-5 maintains: 

 

Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, [is yet] young and tender, and the work [is] great: for the palace [is] not for man, but for the LORD God. {2} Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for [things to be made] of gold, and the silver for [things] of silver, and the brass for [things] of brass, the iron for [things] of iron, and wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  for [things] of wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]; onyx stones, and [stones] to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. {3} Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, [which] I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, {4} [Even] three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses [withal]: {5} The gold for [things] of gold, and the silver for [things] of silver, and for all manner of work [to be made] by the hands of artificers. And who [then] is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?

The Bible also indicates that besides being a musician in his own right, King David commissioned (under divine inspiration) the various elements of worship that included male and female singers, and various instruments of music (which he also had had made) and the roles that the priests and Levites played in the worship service. This was a huge undertaking during the co- regency of David and Solomon, and the sheer magnitude of what was involved is set forth in 1 Chronicles 23:3-6,

Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. {4} Of which, twenty and four thousand [were] to set forward the work of the house of the LORD; and six thousand [were] officers and judges: {5} Moreover four thousand [were] porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, [said David], to praise [therewith]. {6} And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, [namely], Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

The subject of worship is such an enormous topic in Scripture that it would warrant its own separate study in order to adequately cover all the details and facets that the Word of God addresses, not just on earth, as you might imagine, but think of what it will be like in Heaven forever. I will just mention one passage found in 2 Samuel 6:5, which chronicles the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem:   

And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of [instruments made of] fir wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

By the way, this was the same occasion where we find David dancing before Jehovah with all his might in 2 Samuel 6:14-15, which was quite a stumbling block for one of his wives, Michal, the daughter of King Saul: 

And David danced before the LORD with all [his] might; and David [was] girded with a linen ephod. {15} So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet

Now we come to the actual construction of the Temple under the direction of Solomon, according to 1 Kings 6:10, 15, 23, and 31-34, in which our word appears as either timber, wood, or tree: 

And [then] he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house [with] timber [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of cedar. ... {15} And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the cieling: [and] he covered [them] on the inside with wood [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. ... {23} And within the oracle he made two cherubims [of] olive tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086],  [each] ten cubits high. ... 

{31} And for the entering of the oracle he made doors [of] olive tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]: the lintel [and] side posts [were] a fifth part [of the wall]. {32} The two doors also [were of] olive tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid [them] with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees. {33} So also made he for the door of the temple posts [of] olive tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086],  a fourth part [of the wall]. {34} And the two doors [were of] fir tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]: the two leaves of the one door [were] folding, and the two leaves of the other door [were] folding.

Why so much emphasis on wood, timber, and especially olive trees spiritually? The Tree of Life is in view and olive trees are associated with olive oil, which is a beautiful word picture of the Holy Spirit Who gave the pattern of the Temple and its furnishings to David, who in turned passed it on to Solomon as 1 Chronicles 28:11-20 amazingly discloses:

Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern [tabniyth:H8403/TWOT 255d] of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, {12} And the pattern [tabniyth:H8403/TWOT 255d] of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: {13} Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD. {14} [He gave] of gold by weight for [things] of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; [silver also] for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service: {15} Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, [both] for the candlestick, and [also] for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick. {16} And by weight [he gave] gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and [likewise] silver for the tables of silver: {17} Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basons [he gave gold] by weight for every bason; and [likewise silver] by weight for every bason of silver: {18} And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern [tabniyth:H8403/TWOT 255d] of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out [their wings], and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD. {19} All [this, said David], the LORD made me understand in writing by [his] hand upon me, [even] all the works of this pattern. [tabniyth:H8403/TWOT 255d] {20} And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do [it]: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, [even] my God, [will be] with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. 

As a matter of fact this same word,  pattern, also emerges in connection with Moses and the Tabernacle in Exodus 25:9 and 40, According to all that I shew thee, [after] the pattern [tabniyth:H8403/TWOT 255d] of the tabernacle, and the pattern [tabniyth:H8403/TWOT 255d] of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make [it]. ... {40} And look that thou make [them] after their pattern [tabniyth:H8403/TWOT 255d], which was shewed thee in the mount.

There is also a “word-bridge” to the New Testament through this expression in  Hebrews 8:5, in which it is employed as pattern: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, [that] thou make all things according to the pattern [typos:G5179] shewed to thee in the mount.

This Greek word, pattern is typos [two-pahs] and stems from the verb tupto [G5180] [toop-toe], which curiously is translated smite or beat, as these next citations reveals:

Smite [tupto:G5180]

Mark 15:19 records: And they smote [tupto:G5180] him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing [their] knees worshipped him.

Matthew 24:49 teaches: And shall begin to smite [tupto:G5180] [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

This also appears as smote with respect to the parable of the publican and Pharisee in Luke 18:13, And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote [tupto:G5180] upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Let’s stop here. Lord willing, we will continue our overview of this term in our next study. Please stay tuned for the remainder of our Hymn Sing next.

 “Sticks” - Part 3 

   August 28, 2022

Good afternoon and welcome to BMI’s Sunday Online Fellowship. Thank you for joining us, and shall we ask God’s blessing upon our time together…This will be “Sticks” - Part 3, and today’s date is August 28, 2022. We are continuing our overview of the subject of sticks, which is TWOT 1670a, and corresponds to H6086. As I mentioned previously, this derivative is found  328 times in the Old Testament, predominantly as tree, wood, and timber, and to a lesser degree as stick, gallows, staff, stock, branches, helve, planks, and stalks. (spell) Without a doubt, this expression is quite pregnant with spiritual implications that we have been considering, which is why one must never rely upon the English translation (or any other language for that matter) of a word. Instead, one must go back to the original languages that God breathed out of His mouth to see how God defines His words, letters, the shapes of the letters, sentence structure, grammar, vowel pointings and accents which are actual words that can be searched out, and denote spiritual/grammatical/and musical connotations. 

TWOT 1670a Tree [`ets:H6086]  עֵץ

Verses 20 and 27 of Jeremiah 2:11-28 render this expression as tree and to a stock respectively, in which God underscores that His judgment would begin at His own house first:

Hath a nation changed [their] gods, which [are] yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for [that which] doth not profit. {12} Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. {13} For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. {14} [Is] Israel a servant? [is] he a homeborn [slave]? why is he spoiled? {15} The young lions roared upon him, [and] yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. {16} Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. {17} Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way? {18} And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? {19} Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that [it is] an evil [thing] and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear [is] not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts. {20} For of old time I have broken thy yoke, [and] burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] thou wanderest, playing the harlot. {21} Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? {22} For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, [yet] thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD. {23} How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: [thou art] a swift dromedary traversing her ways; {24} A wild ass used to the wilderness, [that] snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her. {25} Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go. {26} As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, {27} Saying to a stock [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], Thou [art] my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned [their] back unto me, and not [their] face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. {28} But where [are] thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for [according to] the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.

Verse 8 of Jeremiah 10:1-16 translates this term as the stock while showing the distinction between false gods and The One True Living God of the Bible, Who is the Creator, Sustainer, Savior and Judge of this universe and every other universe He created by His Holy Word; notice too how God defines the stock as …a doctrine of vanities as God warns Israel to not fall into the same spiritual snare that overtakes the non-elect:   

Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: {2} Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. {3} For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. {4} They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. {5} They [are] upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also [is it] in them to do good. {6} Forasmuch as [there is] none like unto thee, O LORD; thou [art] great, and thy name [is] great in might. {7} Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise [men] of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, [there is] none like unto thee. {8} But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] [is] a doctrine of vanities. {9} Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple [is] their clothing: they [are] all the work of cunning [men]. {10} But the LORD [is] the true God, he [is] the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. {11} Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, [even] they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. {12} He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. {13} When he uttereth his voice, [there is] a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. {14} Every man is brutish in [his] knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image [is] falsehood, and [there is] no breath in them. {15} They [are] vanity, [and] the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. {16} The portion of Jacob [is] not like them: for he [is] the former of all [things]; and Israel [is] the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts [is] his name.

Our expression tree figures prominently in the book of Esther with regards to Haman (who represents Satan and spiritually prefigures His demise in our present “day” of judgment), in verses 9-10 of  Esther 7:1-10, in which it is rendered as the gallows:

So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. {2} And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What [is] thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what [is] thy request? and it shall be performed, [even] to the half of the kingdom. {3} Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: {4} For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage. {5} Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? {6} And Esther said, The adversary and enemy [is] this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. {7} And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath [went] into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. {8} Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther [was]. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face. {9} And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]   fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. {10} So they hanged Haman on the gallows [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.

The gallows also ties into the Biblical principle that one who is hanged on a tree is cursed, according to verse 23 of Deuteronomy 21:22-23 as well as Galatians 3:13, which we touched upon in Part 1:

And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: {23} His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.

Taking a closer look at the context of Galatians 3:13 we see that it pinpoints the difference between salvation by works (which leads to death and destruction versus salvation by the Faith of Christ (which results in eternal life): 

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? {2} This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? {3} Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? {4} Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if [it be] yet in vain. {5} He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, [doeth he it] by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? {6} Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. {7} Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. {8} And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed. {9} So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. {10} For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. {11} But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith. {12} And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. {13} Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: {14} That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

In order to secure the salvation of the Bride of Christ, the Savior had to become cursed at… the foundation of the world as He became defiled with all the collective sins of His Bride, and then had to die and be annihilated on their behalf. This is called propitiation, which is a word that indicates making a sacrifice in order to appease God’s wrath, which is precisely what Christ did at …the foundation of the world. In actuality this is the term expressed by the mercy seat - the location of the golden lid which covered the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, which the High Priest entered once a year on the Day of Atonement (the 10th day of the 7th month) to make atonement for his sins as well as for the people. This particular Hebrew “word-family” denotes several nuances: covering for sin, ransom, pitch (which covered both the interior and exterior of Noah’s Ark) and atonement. The Day of Atonement in 7 BC (the Jubilee year in which Christ was born) landed on October 1, 7 BC, according to Mr. Camping’s research. He concluded circumstantially that the Lord Jesus was born on the Day of Atonement, as He is the very essence of the Jubile, which has to do with “setting the captives free.” BMI is looking into this more closely, as we are working on a 2022 Children’s Christmas Program, titled the The Treasure of the Lamb Slain, in which we will explore the nuances in both the Old and New Testaments related to the Day of Atonement as well as the elect’s response in song to such glad tidings according to the Bible’s musical score in the Psalms.  

Getting back to our word, tree. In Part 1 this word emerged in Deuteronomy 20:19-20, in the context of warfare:

When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of the field [is] man's [life]) to employ [them] in the siege: {20} Only the trees [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  which thou knowest that they [be] not trees [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks

In the Bible, man is compared to a tree, as one discovers, for example, from verse 3 of  Psalm 1:1-3,

Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {2} But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. {3} And he shall be like a tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The expression, of a tree, found in verse 7 of  Job 14:7-9 is an interesting one indeed: For there is hope of a tree [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. {8} Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; {9} [Yet] through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

This relationship between mankind and trees also crops up in the New Testament, in the “two-stage” healing of a blind man, which I believe is the only miracle of its kind, to emphasize this truth in verse 24 of Mark 8:22-25,

And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. {23} And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. {24} And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees [dendron:G1186], walking. {25} After that he put [his] hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

In the introduction to this new series, I mentioned that the reason I chose to work on this topic was a result of some questions I received during our English Q & A. Those questions centered around Numbers 15 and the man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath, as well as Ezekiel 37, where the two sticks …shall become one.  

There are five accounts in which this term sticks is specifically employed. I will list these just so you can see where they are located. At this point I’m not sure whether I will investigate each of these, or in the order in which they are listed. At the very minimum, I will be concentrating on Numbers 15 as well as Ezekiel 37 in the weeks to follow to try to discover the spiritual significance that God has hidden in these passages, as the LORD enables me to understand it: 

Numbers 15:32-36 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] upon the sabbath day. {33} And they that found him gathering sticks [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. {34} And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. {35} And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. {36} And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

1 Kings 17:9-16 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which [belongeth] to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. {10} So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman [was] there gathering of sticks [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. {11} And as she was going to fetch [it], he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. {12} And she said, [As] the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I [am] gathering two sticks [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. {13} And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go [and] do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring [it] unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. {14} For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day [that] the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. {15} And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat [many] days. {16} [And] the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.

2 Kings 6:1-7 And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. {2} Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let  us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. {3} And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. {4} So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. {5} But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. {6} And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], and cast [it] in thither; and the iron did swim. {7} Therefore said he, Take [it] up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.  

Lamentations 4:1-12  How is the gold become dim! [how] is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street. {2} The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! {3} Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people [is become] cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. {4} The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, [and] no man breaketh [it] unto them. {5} They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills. {6} For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her. {7} Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing [was] of sapphire: {8} Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] {9} [They that be] slain with the sword are better than [they that be] slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for [want of] the fruits of the field. {10} The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people. {11} The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof. {12} The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 37:16-20 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086], and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086],  and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]  of Ephraim, and [for] all the house of Israel his companions: {17} And join them one to another into one stick [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086]; and they shall become one in thine hand. {18} And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou [meanest] by these? {19} Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] of Joseph, which [is] in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, [even] with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086],  and they shall be one in mine hand. {20} And the sticks [TWOT 1670a/`ets:H6086] whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.

This concludes today’s study.Please stay tuned for the remainder of our Hymn Sing next.

 “Sticks” - Part 4 

     September 4, 2022

Good afternoon and welcome to BMI’s Sunday Online Fellowship. Thank you for joining us, and shall we ask God’s blessing upon our time together…This will be “Sticks” - Part 4, and today’s date is September 4, 2022. We are continuing our examination of the subject of sticks, which is TWOT 1670a, and corresponds to H6086. I mentioned in Part 1 that this specific “word-family” contains two identically spelled shoresh (or roots): 

TWOT 1669 He shutteth [`atsaw:H6095]  עָצָה

We discovered that the  first one was only found in verse 30 of Proverbs 16:27-30, which speaks about the wicked:

An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips [there is] as a burning fire. {28} A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. {29} A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way [that is] not good. {30} He shutteth [TWOT 1669/`atsaw:H6095] his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

I mentioned that the nuance of shutting one’s eyes was important to keep in mind.

The second shoresh, as I stated, is identically spelled to the first one with the exception of the vowel pointing. It has two derivatives, 1670a and 1670b. I will discuss the latter first because it only surfaces in one other Scripture which is Jeremiah 6:6. 

TWOT 1670b Trees [`etsah:G6097]  עֵצָה

In Jeremiah 6:6 we read the following denunciation by Almighty God regarding His corporate people that He was married to, and who typify the end-time churches and denominations that fell under God’s wrath worldwide and without exception, whom He abandoned forever:

For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees [TWOT 1670b/`etsah:G6097], and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this [is] the city to be visited; she [is] wholly oppression in the midst of her.

In sum these two truths reveal:

  1. The wicked whose eyes are shut in order to devise wicked plans and carry them out.

  1. God’s wrath was poured out on His corporate people during the Great Tribulation by means of trees that were hewn down in order to attack His formerly divine institution. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these verses before we choose one of the five accounts that were listed at the close of last Sunday’s study. Since there are only two verses in view, I would not want us to miss anything of spiritual value, without investigating these further, starting with Proverbs 16:30,

He shutteth [TWOT 1669/`atsaw:H6095] his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

For starters, we recognize that proverbs are essentially parables. What that signifies is that they are full of spiritual truth. What spiritual truths can we glean from Proverbs 16:30? Let’s find out, if God might be pleased to give us a little bit of understanding, because without His intervention, and comparing spiritual with spiritual, we are incapable of knowing even that which might appear to be very straightforward and basic. A good example of this is found in Luke 18:31-34,

Then he took [unto him] the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. {32} For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: {33} And they shall scourge [him], and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. {34} And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

What is so very remarkable about this passage is that Christ was speaking to them quite factually, predicting what was about to happen shortly in the historical setting. In spite of that, in verse 34, three verbs are inserted to show the disciples’ total lack of understanding. This is telling us something exceedingly important: unless God reveals His Word to the understanding of His people (as He did indeed, after His resurrection to the disciples), we are like those who are physically blind or deaf, and incapable of hearing or seeing spiritual realities. 

A Closer Look At Proverbs 16:30 

With that in mind let’s take a closer look at Proverbs 16:30, which speaks of the wicked, or non-elect:

 He shutteth [TWOT 1669/`atsaw:H6095] his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

The Hebrew word for eyes is `ayin and is also the “letter word” for the 19th letter of the Hebrew alphabet - עַ - as noted in Psalm 119:123, by the word, Mine eyes, as one of the 8 verses under that heading, AYIN: 

Mine eyes [`ayin:H5869/TWOT 1612a, 1613]  fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.

You might recall that in Hebrew (and only in Hebrew) each of those 8 verses found under each of the alphabet letters in Psalm 119 begin with that very letter. 

You can see this for instance in Jay P. Green’s Interlinear Bible in verses 121-128 under the AYIN section. These are the English words that begin with the letter Ayin in Hebrew:

*Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT)

121…have I done…122…be surety…123…my eyes…124…deal…125…Your servant…126…[it is] time…127… Therefore…128…Therefore

His Eyes [`ayin:H5869/TWOT 1612a, 1613] 

The word for eyes (or `ayin) has the same sound as eyes, so it’s easy to remember. It includes a number of different shades of meaning such as: fountain, well,  sight, seem, colour, face, pleased (with H3190 or with H3474), presence, displeased (with H3415), before, conceit, think,  and in 66 other miscellaneous ways!  This is why Hebrew is not only a verbal language denoting action, but it is very “pregnant” with spiritual connotations. Ayin is found over 800 times in the Old Testament so I’ll just mention a few of its references in relation to Proverbs 16:30,

Job 11:20 acknowledges the fate of the wicked: But the eyes [`ayin:H5869/TWOT 1612a, 1613] of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope [shall be as] the giving up of the ghost.

And Isaiah 44:18 declares: They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes [`ayin:H5869/TWOT 1612a, 1613], that they cannot see; [and] their hearts, that they cannot understand.

Isaiah 6:10 decrees:  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes [`ayin:H5869/TWOT 1612a, 1613];  lest they see with their eyes [`ayin:H5869/TWOT 1612a, 1613], and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Isaiah 29:10 also reveals:  For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes [`ayin:H5869/TWOT 1612a, 1613]: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. {11} And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men] deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it [is] sealed: {12} And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. {13} Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: {14} Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.

Devise [chashab:H2603/TWOT 767]

The next term that we want to consider is the word devise, as the wicked plots out his sinful schemes. Again this is a term that is ripe with spiritual nuances, and is expressed in the following ways:  count, devise, think, imagine, cunning, reckon, purpose, esteem, account, impute, forecast, regard, workman, conceived, and in 6 other miscellaneous ways. These next citations illustrate some of the ways that God employs this word which has a lot to do with sinful thinking. And that reminds us of another proverb in Proverbs 23:7a having to do with one’s thoughts:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he

This also links to what the Messiah taught in Mark 7:20-23 concerning the heart or mind:

And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. {21} For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, {22} Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: {23} All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.    

This expression, devise, is also used in connection with Haman, who represents Satan as he comes against the people of God to try to destroy them, which has been his objective from the beginning as He attacks God’s saints as well as Christ Himself during His earthly sojourn. The Savior pinpoints Satan’s character in John 8:44, as He speaks to the religious leaders of his day (and to those of our day as well):

Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

In Esther 8:3 and 9:24-25 we learn how Haman attempts to fulfill what he has conjured up in his wicked mind, in which this word is again translated as devised: 

And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised  [chashab:H2603/TWOT 767] against the Jews… {9:24} Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised [chashab:H2603/TWOT 767]  against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that [is], the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; {25} But when [Esther] came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised [chashab:H2603/TWOT 767] against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

Psalm 10:2 likewise affirms, and renders this term as they have imagined:  The wicked in [his] pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. [chashab:H2603/TWOT 767]  

Psalm 36:4 similarly concurs: He deviseth [chashab:H2603/TWOT 767] mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way [that is] not good; he abhorreth not evil.

Micah 2:1 likewise states: Woe to them that devise [chashab:H2603/TWOT 767] iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.

Froward Things [tahpukah:H8419/YWOT 512f]

The wicked person contrives froward things. How do we understand this Old English word? It is generally expressed as some form of froward and perverse things, as these next Scriptures exemplify:

Deuteronomy 32:20 asserts: And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end [shall be]: for they [are] a very froward [tahpukah:H8419/YWOT 512f] generation, children in whom [is] no faith.

Proverbs 2:12 adds: To deliver thee from the way of the evil [man], from the man that speaketh froward things [tahpukah:H8419/YWOT 512f];

And Proverbs 6:14 states: Frowardness [tahpukah:H8419/YWOT 512f][is] in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.

Verse 33 of Proverbs 23:29-35 records the effects of physical drunkenness and typifies spiritual inebriation by the wine of a false gospel: 

Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? {30} They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. {31} Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, [when] it moveth itself aright. {32} At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. {33} Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. [tahpukah:H8419/YWOT 512f] {34} Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. {35} They have stricken me, [shalt thou say, and] I was not sick; they have beaten me, [and] I felt [it] not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

Let’s read Proverbs 16:30 again:  He shutteth [TWOT 1669/`atsaw:H6095] his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

We must take note that what emerges from the minds of men eventually comes out of their mouths, and in turn, culminates in one’s actions. In parallel fashion, James 1:14-15 explains the “cycle” of sin in one’s life experience:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. {15} Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 

By contrast, the same is true for the child of God, as God works in his heart or soul to think about the Truth…then to speak about the Truth…and then to express that Truth by obedient actions. This is borne out in Matthew 13:23 in the parable of the Sower, with respect to the seed (the Word of God) that fell upon the good ground (the souls of God’s elect) and bore fruit:

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

We can now turn our attention to the last half of Proverbs 16:30 … moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

Moving [qarats:H7169/TWOT 2075] His Lips [saphah:H8193/TWOT 2278a]

These two expressions, moving and his lips only appear together in Proverbs 10:10, in which they are translated as He that winketh and but a prating respectively: 

He that winketh [qarats:H7169/TWOT 2075] with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating [saphah:H8193/TWOT 2278a] fool shall fall.

The last phrase in Proverbs 16:30 is …he bringeth evil to pass. These two words are found in 9 other references, and we will just consider a few of them:

He Bringeth [ra`:H7451/TWOT 2191a, c]  Evil [kalah:H3615/TWOT 982-984] To Pass [ra`:H7451/TWOT 2191a, c]

Esther 7:7 is another passage in which Haman (as a type of Satan) is in view again: And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath [went] into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil [kalah:H3615/TWOT 982-984]  determined [ra`:H7451/TWOT 2191a, c] against him by the king. 

In Psalm 71:13 these are rendered as consumed and my hurt: Let them be confounded [and] consumed [kalah:H3615/TWOT 982-984] that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered [with] reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt. [ra`:H7451/TWOT 2191a, c]

However in Jeremiah 44:27, these appear as them for evil and there be an end as God pronounces His judgment upon His corporate people:  Behold, I will watch over them for evil [kalah:H3615/TWOT 982-984], and not for good: and all the men of Judah that [are] in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end [kalah:H3615/TWOT 982-984] of them.

A Closer Look At Jeremiah 6:6

Let’s now take a closer look at Jeremiah 6:6 which is the second root in this particular “word-family” and only surfaces in this one citation that has to do with God’s judgment against His own house first:

For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees [TWOT 1670b/`etsah:G6097], and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this [is] the city to be visited; she [is] wholly oppression in the midst of her.

Hew Ye Down [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048]

The expression hew ye down is also translated in these ways:  cut off, make, cut down, cut, faildestroy, want, covenanted, hew, and in 9 other miscellaneous ways as these next illustrations reveal:

Genesis 9:11 expresses this word as be cut off: And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048]

 any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

Verse 8 of Zechariah 13:7-9 records: Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. {8} And it shall come to pass, [that] in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048]

 [and] die; but the third shall be left therein. {9} And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It [is] my people: and they shall say, The LORD [is] my God.

Curiously, this term is used positively a number of times in connection with the Gibeonites (who represent God’s elect) as they sued for peace with the Israelites in Joshua 9:6-7, 11, 15-16, and 23. This word is rendered you be freed in verse 23, but in all the other verses it is translated as either make or made:  

And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048] ye a league with us. {7} And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048] a league with you? ... {11} Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We [are] your servants: therefore now make [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048]

 ye a league with us. ... {15} And Joshua made peace with them, and made [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048] a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. {16} And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048]

 a league with them, that they heard that they [were] their neighbours, and [that] they dwelt among them. ... {23} Now therefore ye [are] cursed, and there shall none of you be freed [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048]

 from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.

In Jeremiah 7:28 God once again repeats His punishment upon His own house first: But thou shalt say unto them, This [is] a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048] from their mouth.

Verse 7 of 1 Kings 9:6-9 is a warning that God gave to Solomon: [But] if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments [and] my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: {7} Then will I cut off [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048] Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: {8} And at this house, [which] is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house? {9} And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.

Psalm 12:3 employs this as shall cut off in which the word for lips is the identical term used in Proverbs 16:30, The LORD shall cut off [karath:H3772/TWOT 1048] all flattering lips, [and] the tongue that speaketh proud things:

Let’s stop here. Lord willing, we will continue our investigation of Jeremiah 6:6 in our next study.