Begin an authentic relationship with the Lord

Harem Dancers by Fabio Fabbi

This is not a normal teaching from your normal church.  Some experiences cannot be shared by the congregation.

This blog is not for the immature or new believer. It is for the believer who sits up one days and says “I want more, in my relationship with God. I want to be closer to my God, my King, my Redeemer, and my Beloved.”

The Song of Songs teaches that we are all in God’s harem.  We are all brides of Messiah, individually. For purposes of the blog I have substituted Harem where one would normally write congregation, church, or believers. The great love poem was left for us to understand that the  relationship with out Lord is to be as intimate as any passionate encounter.

Ephraim is my Firstborn

ephraimThere is a lot of odd teachings about Ephraim out there. They all center around this group or that group or Christians in general being Ephraim. Why would anyone of Gentile decent want to be of Israel. They are under God’s judgment. Is it not enough to be adopted into the Family of God? His love is for the individual who will follow Him, not some group that must have the right parentage.

With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born. Jer. 31:9

The tribe of Ephraim had gone astray from God, was no more worthy to be called a son, a first-born son and as such is to be given the double portion.

The same reason that was given for their release out of Egypt is given for their release out of Babylon; they are free-born and therefore must not be enslaved. They are born to God and therefore must not be the servants of men.

However the odd thing here is that Ephraim was not taken by Babylon but rather Assyria. They were relocated with the rest of the Ten Northern Tribes in Persia, now called Iran. (See Also: The Ten Lost Tribes)

In pure birth order Ephraim is the last born of the tribes, as he is Joseph’s second son.

The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Gen. 41:52

At the time of the blessing of the tribes Judah/Israel gives Ephraim the blessing of the firstborn.

13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. 14 And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it upon the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand upon the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the first-born. Gen. 48:13-14

So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying, ‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh”; and thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. Gen. 48:20

The Curse of rebuilding Jericho

The city of Jericho from the ruins of the old walls

The city of Jericho from the ruins of the old walls

A little known passage about Jericho.

Joshua laid an oath upon them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD be the man that rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.  At the cost of his first-born shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.” Josh. 6:26 

And yes someone over 400 years later did rebuild Jericho.

In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho; he laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his first-born, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. 1Kings 16:34

The Law of the Firstborn

We see a great deal of strife thought out the book of Genesis in the family dynamic of the chosen family of God. For various reasons the firstborn is rejected.

Issac and Ishmael

And Abraham said to God, “O that Ishmael might live in thy sight!” Gen. 17:18

Jacob and Esau

Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your first-born. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that you may bless me.” Gen. 27:19

And you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my first-born son, Ex. 4:22

Jacob’s Sons

This is interesting for it is exactly what happened with Jacob’s children. However it was not because of how Jacob felt about them but rather because of their rash actions. Reuben the first born slept with his father’s concubine which lost him the right of the firstborn. Next came Simeon and Levi who for the sake of their sister Dinah killed all the males of Shechem. So the scepter passed to Judah.

 3 Reuben, you are my first-born, my might, and the first fruits of my strength, pre-eminent in pride and pre-eminent in power.  4 Unstable as water, you shall not have pre-eminence because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it — you went up to my couch!  5 Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords.  6 O my soul, come not into their council; O my spirit, be not joined to their company; for in their anger they slay men, and in their wantonness they hamstring oxen.  7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.  8 Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you.  9 Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lioness; who dares rouse him up?  10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.  11 Binding his foal to the vine and his ass’s colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes;  12 his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. Gen 49:3-12

Manasseh and Ephraim

Joseph called the name of the first-born Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” Gen. 41:51 

3 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him.  14 And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it upon the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand upon the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the first-born.  15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has led me all my life long to this day,  16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and in them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Gen. 48:13-16

The Law of the Firstborn

We don’t find out what all these special rights are until Deuteronomy.

. . . 16 then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the first-born in preference to the son of the disliked, who is the first-born, 17 but he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the disliked, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the first issue of his strength; the right of the first-born is his. Deut. 21:16-17

No matter what a father feels about his children’s mother the rights of the firstborn are not to be abridged.

Who are the First Born?

In our culture we no longer honor firstborns the way they did in agrarian societies. In the culture of the Bible the firstborn was given a double portion of the inheritance. Part of his double portion was that all the father’s land usually came to the firstborn undivided. With this extra wealth came extra responsibilities, for the firstborn was responsible for his widowed mother and any unwed sisters. This is why we see at the cross Messiah handing the responsibility for His mother’s care to John. It was probably not because he felt his brothers were unworthy but rather His knowledge that John would live longer.

There are several passages concerning firstborns in the Bible. Over the next few weeks we will look at all of them. There are the firstborn of Egypt, the first born of Israel, the Levite who become the firstborn, the curse on the firstborn of any who would rebuild Jericho, our Messiah is the firstborn of the dead, and last of all the congregation is the assembly of firstborn.

First and Foremost the Firstborn is one who must be Redeemed

Egypt’s Firstborn a type of Israel’s Firstborns

For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD slew all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both the first-born of man and the first-born of cattle. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all the males that first open the womb; but all the first-born of my sons I redeem.’ Ex. 13:15

Because the Lord had taken the firstborn of Egypt He now requires the service of the firstborn of Israel. These firstborn were to be consecrated to the Lord as priests. However things are changed after the tabernacle is built. In Numbers 3-4 the Levites and their cattle replace all the firstborns of the other tribes, and those of the other tribes are redeemed and no longer must serve the Lord and his temple.

And you shall take the Levites for me — I am the LORD — instead of all the first-born among the people of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the people of Israel.” Num. 3:41

Every time a newborn came into a family this law is reemphasized as five shekels were to be paid to the high priest.

FYI: A shekel is not a coin but rather a unit of measure. Coins don’t come into existence until just prior to Alexander the Great. Five ancient shekels amount to just about 100 grams of pure silver. This fluctuates to modern currencies see Silver Gram Price Calculator
Joseph – Rachel’s firstborn son, was sold by his brothers for twenty silver pieces, the equivalent of five shekels. This established that the standard “price” for a (firstborn) human is five shekels, which are given to the priest to redeem the child.

The changing of the law is troublesome because God never changes.

But thou art the same, and thy years will never end.” Heb. 1:12b

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Heb. 13:8

What must be remembered is that He is not changing the need for redemption but rather who will provide the required sacrifice. The change in the law of the redemption of the firstborn is a type for the change in the law of the insufficient sacrifice of the blood of goats and bulls to the one sufficient sacrifice of His own Son.

. . . he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. Heb. 9:12

For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Heb. 10:4

Jezreel is The Valley of Decision

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14 

The valley of decision is not a literal place, just as Armageddon is not literal (see the Battle of Armageddon). The valley of Jezreel in Israel represents a state of mind or rather the nations religious beliefs.

At the western end of the valley of Jezreel stands Mount Carmel where Elijah called down fire from heaven [1Kings 18]. This is where Elijah had challenged the priest of Baal to a kind of duel between his God and theirs.

Aerial view of Tel Megiddo by AVRAM GRAICER

Aerial view of Tel Megiddo by AVRAM GRAICER

The sight was chosen to make Elijah’s point. If you stand on top of mount Carmel and look east toward Mount Tabor you would have seen the city of Megiddo on the north side of the valley and the city of Jezreel on the south.  Megiddo means “the place of cutting”.  The priests of Baal had come from city of Megiddo for that is where their cult center was. Cutting themselves was a central part in the worship of Baal.

 

Jezreel- 24 December 2005, picture by Ori~

Jezreel- 24 December 2005, picture by Ori~

Whereas Jezreel mean “God sows”.   This is what Elijah was referring to,

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. 1Kings 18:21 

Make your choice, which city do you belong to?

At the time of Elijah these two cities no longer stood in contrast to each other. Ahab and Jezebel lived in and had corrupted Jezreel. For which they and their children paid a terrible price. Not one survived.

” He said,  “Take them alive.” And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two persons, and he spared none of them. 2 Kings 10:1-14 

The lesson or principle here is that we are to have nothing further to do with the false church. The false preachers, priests, and teachers who have compromised with paganism from the beginning.

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues. Rev. 18:4   

This is what happens to those who conspire against God and His purposes, and those who associate themselves with them. Like the kinsmen of Ahaziah the neighboring kingdom, you should have nothing to do with the apostates. [2 Kings 10]

But God is able to restore us to a right relationship with Him. But we must stop the Baal and Ashtaroth worship.  We must stop mixing the pagan with the divine. Stop standing in the middle of the valley, get yourself into Jezreel.

 “And in that day, says the LORD, I will answer the heavens and they shall answer the earth;  and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel;  and I will sow him for myself in the land. And I will have pity on Not pitied, and I will say to Not my people,  ‘You are my people’; and he shall say ‘Thou art my God.’” Hos. 2:21-23

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; Eph. 6:14

For a complete understanding of what is Babylon see: The Two Babylons, or The Papal Worship Proved to be The Worship of Nimrod and His Wife by Alexander Hislop.

Renew or Repair your Mind

The Greek word for renew is anakainosis, it means to make new, to renew, to repair so that it is superior.Amerling, Friedrich Von (1803-1887) -The Oriental

True ladies of the Harem renew their minds. It is our work.

In the letter to the Gentile churches believers are called on to renew their minds, spirits, and knowledge.

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom. 12:2

. . . he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5

. . . and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Col. 3:10

. . . and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, Eph. 4:23

The Hebrew equivalent in the Old Testament is chadash, and is most often used in the cleansing of the temple. The temple was constantly being corrupted by pagan idols and practices. Just as our temples of the Holy Spirit are continually subject to the temptation of these same pagan concepts.

Then Samuel said to the people,  “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingdom.” 1Sam. 11:14

When Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the LORD. 2Chr. 15:8 

After this Joash decided to restore the house of the LORD. 2Chr. 24:4

It is the Spirit of God that is the agent of renewal.

. . . thou dost renew thy witnesses against me, and increase thy vexation toward me; thou dost bring fresh hosts against me. Job 10:17

When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground. Psa. 104:30

Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old! Lam. 5:21

We must return to learning Messiah and the only way to do that is to read the Bible.

17   Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;  18 they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart;  19 they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness.  20 You did not so learn Christ! —  21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus.  22 Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts,  23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  24 and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph. 4:17-24

Piety

Where have all the pious people gone? As a child I remember old people in the church deeply grieved about how the young people were no longer respectful of God. The way we treated Him like a buddy and friend rather than the Judge and Righteous King He is.

I must say it is even worse now as the next generation is more profane than the sailors when I was a child. Piety as a word has all but disappeared in our post-modern language. Piety is presented as a negative word for as long as I can remember. It represented one who was so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good, or too religious.

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Matt. 6:1

And when Peter saw it he addressed the people, “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk?” Acts 3:12 

When we consider that the Greek word for pious is dikaiosun and that it is most often translated as righteousness, we get a new perspective on what is meant.

But seek first his kingdom and his piousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Matt. 6:33

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for piousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matt. 5:6 

We should seek and thirst for a pious life. Rather than the earthly life that is before us.

The crazy thing is that most of those who fain piety, don’t believe it when they see it is others. However a sinner knows it when they see it.

For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him. Matt. 21:32 

The world must be convinced of piousness, because Messiah is not physically here to do the convincing.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.  8 And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and piousness and judgment:  9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;  10 concerning piousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more;  11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:7-11

We need to get our pious on.

And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,  35 but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is pious is acceptable to him. Acts 10:34   

Now go back through the verses because dikaiosun can also mean just/justice.