SoulBreaths

Combat Zone Series: Part 1—Your Soul

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

Soul Combat

 

Connected upward, yet pulled downward. 

That is the battle within your soul.

But it’s for a purpose. And it’s good.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

[Combat Zone is the foundational post for soul basics. The original article was created/posted in 2009, but for easier reading divided into four posts in 2020. Judaic scripture number references used.]

 

READING TIME: 3 MINUTES.

 

Italians might wish a newborn benvenuti alla lucewelcome to the light—but whenever I see a baby, one of my first thoughts is “Welcome to the battlefield.”

 

The dynamics have begun. Within that little body lies a great commission . . . its soul’s journey, purpose, identity.

 

It won’t be easy because the soul-body (a uniquely fused form, a matrix for physical/spiritual life) will engage in a no-holds-barred tug of war vs. resting in a holy balance.

 

I know that battle well. More than likely, you sense it too. It is, after all, the stuff within all of us residing on this side of heaven.

 

Some say that each of us is given a word . . . a word that keeps popping up through our lives. If that’s the case, my word is soul, which is intrinsically linked to my longtime subterranean awareness of God.

 

My earliest recollections of God’s presence, hearing Him on some level, and my deep desire to be with Him (and return to Him) started around age 4. I’d think of Him, spend time in quiet places outdoors seeking Him . . . and would sometimes lie across the bed in the afternoon for a nap, asking if I could go be with Him.

 

But every time I’d wake up from those hoping-to-be-with-God naps, there I was. Still here. I’d get sad and cry because He hadn’t taken me.

 

I believe that was my young soul reaching for what it instinctively hungered: Him.

 

But it’s been a long and

w

  i

n

  d

i

  n

g

soul road since then—with a hiatus or two (or more) from that earlier panting for Him.

 

A seriously real spiritual battle had pulled my soul in various directions. Trying to eclipse Him.

 

But then . . . He stepped in. And the deep-dive into the soul and Him began—again.

 

Here’s a look at what’s behind the scenes of your soul battle and mine.

 

 

WHAT’S WARRING WITHIN

 

Your soul is breathed from God. It holds the identity of what God made you to be in Him vs. the illusion that whispers to you from the world and other sources.

 

An unseen God and an unseen soul. Both real, tangible in a unique and mysterious way. Both hidden, yet sensed, felt, and evidenced in this physical world.

 

Your God-breathed soul is called upward to Him—but its visible vessel, the body, is made from the earth (dust to dust) and is tethered to this world.

 

Like in a theatrical production, both players (soul and body) move downstage. The power struggle begins. The soul’s battle-heavy glory work ignites.

 

And a cast of characters join in and muddle your soul story—many opponents on many soul-body battlefronts, spiritually and physically:

 

(1) the world—earthly, mundane, carnal, temporal pursuits

(2) your DNA

(3) outer impacts—cultural/environmental

(4) relationships—family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, congregant members, etc.

(5) life encounters/experiences

(6) your since-the-beginning-of-time adversary, satan

 

And let’s not forget free will . . . complete with your two-sided inclinations (good guy/not-so-good guy).

 

Now to the Hebrew for some insights, things that might be hidden otherwise. The drive toward doing/choosing/thinking things that are good before humanity and before God is called yetzer  hatov (yet-zer hah-tove, יֵצֶר טוב).

 

And the drive toward doing/choosing/thinking not-so-good things—a self-driven, world-tethered life—is called yetzer hara (yet-zer hah-rah, יֵצֶר הַרַע).

 

Yetzer means plan, create, produce—and hatov means the good while hara means the evil.

 

Humanity’s plan (way of thinking, choosing, thinking) is what got us in trouble to begin with—i.e. the Garden of Eden.

 

Repeatedly throughout scripture God warns us about our soul-body’s planning, thinking, choosing, doing. He says . . .

 

(1) our hearts (the seat of our emotions and thoughts) are deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9, 10)
(2) our most righteous acts are like filthy menstral rags before God’s holiness (Isaiah 64:6)
(3) our imaginings (rooted in our hearts) are evil from youth (Genesis 8:21b)
(4) none of us are righteous (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Psalm 53:3-4, Psalm 14:2-3), among many others.

 

So considering the state of our inclinations, soul-body dynamic, and outside forces, it doesn’t take much to stir up an inner battle that impacts your life with others and with God. Instead of doing what the soul-body matrix should be doing. Stirring up its entire being to love and serve Him.

 

What can you do? Plenty, actually. But let’s take it gently, get more understanding, and start with the nuances of the soul, at what the Hebrew reveals.

 

READ PART TWO NOW. COMBAT ZONE SERIES: PART 2—SOUL NUANCES

 

CREDITS: Canyon crevice photo by Joe Gardner on Unsplash.com

Combat Zone Series: Part 3—Rules of Engagement

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

Soul Combat

 

Connected upward, yet pulled downward. 

That is the battle within your soul.

But it’s for a purpose. And it’s good.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

[Combat Zone is the foundational post for soul basics. The original article was created/posted in 2009, but for easier reading divided into three posts in 2020. Judaic scripture number references used with Christian numbering in parentheses, when it’s different.]

 

SUGGEST READING PARTS 1 & 2 FIRST: COMBAT ZONE: PART 1—YOUR SOUL and COMBAT ZONE: PART 2—SOUL NUANCES

 

READING TIME: 8 MINUTES.

 

Symbiotic. That’s what some rabbis say about the soul-body matrix. You are a God-breathed soul with three nuances—breath, spirit/wind that rises/descends, and “rested” life force—clothed in a body that’s from the earth and tethered to this world.

 

Your soul is called upward, the body downward. And so the battle ensues, along with a host of other factors that complicate your soul story.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

 

The good news: In those firefly-like moments when the true light of God flows unhindered through your soul-breath, the entire soul-body matrix works in tandem, emanates His ways, becomes a menorah, a witness of His light to the world.

 

Actually, you, me, and the next guy are all called to be more than a menorah of light—we’re called to love and worship Him in truth and in spirit, becoming His menorah of true light, reflecting that great light of His Word to the world around us. Connecting . . . resting . . . gently listening, humbly serving, loving/honoring Him and others.

 

Proverbs 20:27 Man’s soul [nishmat, variant of Soul Nuance #1, neshama] is a lamp of ADONAI, which searches out all of the innermost parts.

 

To be honest, being a menorah of His light may sometimes—who are we kidding?—okay, may oftentimes feel like a TALL order. Depending on what’s going on in my world, that can feel more like a massively how-can-I-possibly-do-that order.

 

But here’s the deal: Sin (rebellion against God’s way of living/doing things) can, in time, erode the connection between your soul-breath and God.

 

That can cause your soul to disengage from the things of God and that Soul Nuance #3, the self-driven nefesh, to negatively attach itself, saddling up to the “flesh”—your rogue, world-driven body.

 

A little compromise here. An ignoring of God there. Toying with this. Hanging around that. In time, the flesh becomes so strong in its earthbound desires that it pulls your soul away from God’s ways so even doctrines of demons—guised as light, acceptable social mores at odds with God’s standards—can seep into your soul.

 

Darkening it, hardening it, and blinding your spiritual sight. A hostile takeover, indeed.

 

That’s why it’s so critical to learn the rules of engagement for the soul battle down here.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #1: HONOR YOUR KING, YOUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF

 

It’s our human default to lean on our own understanding and to even get caught up in the emotions and mindset of the world at large. But a good soldier needs to stand under his commander. This slight paraphrase of Isaiah 8: 12-14 helps draw some clear-thinking guidelines. I’ve fleshed out the meanings of “fear” and “awed” from the Hebrew for a better visual.

 

Don’t fear (be shaken, swept into conspiracies) what people fear (call conspiracies) nor give strength to it
or be awed (shaken terribly, oppressed) by what awes them.
Let G-d be the object of your awe (trembling holy fear) . . .
consecrate Him.
He alone is to be your sanctuary.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #2: FOLLOW YOUR COMMANDER’S LEAD

 

For this battle, your nefesh—that Soul Nuance known as the life force that can cling, negatively or positively—needs to obey orders. Clinging to God means His in front and you’re behind Him. That’s how you stay in position. This psalm leads the way, showing in the Hebrew what the nefesh is clinging to . . .

 

Psalm 63:2, 9 (1, 8) . O God, You are my God, I seek You. My soul [Soul Nuance nefesh] thirsts for You, in an arid and thirsty land, without water. My soul [nefesh] clings to your hind parts; Your righteous right hand upholds me.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #3: KEEP YOUR EYES RIGHTLY FOCUSED

 

You are battling on two main fronts—the spiritual world (your soul against the principalities and powers of the enemy) and the physical world. Like in any war, things shift, take on different patterns.

 

Do you know what you’re really seeing—or is it a delusion, a camouflage? There’s only one way to hold your position while waiting for intel about what’s really going on in a realm you can’t physically see or physically touch. Stay mindful, focused, in God’s presence.

 

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

 

What is unseen . . . is God. Yet you are called to fix your soul’s eyes on Him, the Eternal One, to see more clearly in the battles down here. To not lose heart.

 

Although the body (“outer man”) is decaying and warring, your inner essence, your soul’s nuances (breath from God/neshama, spirit/ruach, inner living substance/nefesh) is being renewed day by day in Him.

 

The next two scriptures reveal what your stance should be in battle . . . do what you He has ordered to the best of your ability, then STAND. Confidently, boldly in Him. Even (and especially) when the next order is to simply wait.

 

“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9.

 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore . . .”—Ephesians 6:10-14a.

 

God’s not asking you or me to stand on ceremony, get caught up in religious acts, or drown our souls in legalism. Not walking in the love of the ritual and religious laws—but a love for Him. (He gave the Law, but we’re not supposed to love the Law over Him—that’s idolatry).

 

What God wants is a restored relationship with Him, walking in His truth, His Word, and His love. And He’s made a clear, singular path of how to get there, which is the seventh rule of engagement.

 

Photo by Piotr Wilk on Unsplash

Be Prepared. In season and out of season.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #4: KNOW YOUR WEAPON

 

Go through basic training and refresher trainings with your weapon (the Word of God), just like a soldier needs to qualify for live-fire drills—and the real thing. And this battle you and I are in daily is always the real deal. So stay in His Word. It is life, it is renewing, it is Truth that will show you where to walk and help you not be derailed in your soul journey down here. Check out this insightful passage from the New Testament (the Soul Nuances are inserted to help connect the dots for you):

 

Hebrews 4:12. See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit [dividing where the Soul Nuances of neshama, ruach/spirit, and nefesh intersect] and where joints meet marrow [dividing where your vessel/body’s inner parts intersect], and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #5: KEEP COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN

 

This is soul-to-soul communication, yours and God’s. Report what’s going on, what you see, what you’ve done, what you need—and wait for God to respond and lead. Sometimes you aren’t to speak—just still your soul and listen.

 

Psalm 42:7, a downtrodden soul [Soul Nuance nefesh per the line prior] calls out to God: Deep [tehom, תְּהוֹם, subterranean waters of the soul] is calling to deep at the thunder of Your waterfalls; all Your surging rapids and waves are sweeping over me.

 

Photo by Phil Botha on Unsplash

Deep calls to deep at the thunder of His waterfalls

 

There, in the deep part of your soul, humbled and hungry to reach His soul’s deep, is where holy communication is sparked, where you discover yet another layer of who He is, what He is, where He’s moving, how He’s guiding you, what He’s saying to you for this season of your life. It’s where you’ll swim in the glorious waterfall that flows from His throne and releases . . .

 

revelations
prophecies
words of knowledge
wisdom
discernment & understanding
provisions
love
mercy & grace
long-suffering
His consuming fire

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #6: STAY ALERT, THE ENEMY IS ON THE PROWL

 

Actually, he’s always on the prowl with his wicked trickery, looking for more spiritually slumbering victims. So don’t get caught in so-called spirituality—as the term is used in the world today—that brashly proclaims there are “many ways to God.” You won’t find God’s truth in rote mantras, transcendental meditation, crystals, astrology, tarot cards, or trance-like states, and the rest of the “New” Age and one-world religious system. etc. Same goes for fashioning your version of God . . . that’s called idolatry.

 

Securing your position in Him is all about connecting with Him on His terms and His Word, not the world’s, not yours, not mine. God has made His terms clear from Genesis onward, revealing His holy character, His holy desires, His holy ways.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #7: SECURE YOUR POSITION

 

God says throughout His Word that humanity is disconnected from Him. The words and concept behind His “There are none righteous, no not one” occur in numerous scriptures, such as: Genesis 8:21b, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 59:1-2, Isaiah 64:6, Psalm 14: 2-3, Psalm 53: 3-4, Jeremiah 17:9-10, Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10, Romans 8:6, among others.

 

But God is love, merciful, and l-o-n-g-suffering. So He made a way to restore that relationship with Him. There were temporary measures at first—blood sacrifices that had to be repeated daily, annually.

 

But those were mere shadows of what was coming, the greatest gift . . . a one-time holy sacrifice. A doorway giving us access to the Father, to the King of Kings.

 

Fulfilling the soul’s journey begins with receiving the restoration gift from God: Jesus. From there, your soul grows and is transformed by letting your soul [neshama], its wind/spirit [ruach] rest [nafash/nefesh] within the fibers of His presence, His Word, His ways . . . being hidden in Him, where you’re surrendered. Total white-flag territory.

 

It’s where your soul-body matrix gets into sync,
working as a whole with God, bowing before Him.

 


God’s way of restoring relationship with Him:

“I am the Truth, the Life, the Way . . . no man comes to the Father except through me.”

— John 14:6. The Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name)


 

READ THIS FINAL COMBAT ZONE POST WITH A FILM NOIR BENT. COMBAT ZONE: PART 4—SOUL VIA A FILM NOIR LENS

 

SCRIPTURES: BE ENCOURAGED

 

Exodus 34:6 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.

 

Lamentations 3:22-23 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

 

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

Deuteronomy 6:5 & Matthew 22:37. You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

 

Matthew 11:29. [And Jesus/Yeshua said] Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

John 4:23-24. But the hour is coming—indeed, it’s here now—when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

 

CREDIT: Sniper Girl photo by Piotr Will on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Waterfall photo by Phil Botha on Unsplash.com

Resurrection Jewish Style Series: Part 1—What God Revealed

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

Empty tomb, garden near Golgatha

It’s real . . . with sneak peeks throughout the Bible to prove it.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 7 MINUTES.

 

Death. Is it a body decomposing into nothingness, trapped in a waiting-for-Godot moment—as Emily Dickinson portrays, rather derisively, in her “Alabaster Chambers” poem below? Or is it a future transition of the soul-body matrix into something far greater?

 

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—

Untouched by Morning

And untouched by Noon—

Lie the meek members of the Resurrection—

Rafter of Satin—and Roof of Stone!
—Emily Dickinson, original first stanza;
later published in her third version, posthumously, in 1890

 

You probably have your take on the resurrection matter. But opinions and poets aside . . . the real question is, what does God say? In His words, the Bible. After all, it’s His creation, His rules, His story. The gist of His resurrection event unfolds like this . . .

 

Death isn’t the end. It’s another beginning. The soul is eternal.

 

God said to Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. —Exodus 3:6, approximately 1446 BCE.

 

What was God saying?
I am the God of your father—not I was.
Your father’s soul is with Me. His soul is not dead.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have long past from this world,
and yet, their souls are alive.

I am their God.

But God doesn’t leave things suspended there, with the eternal soul separated from its earthly vessel (the body) . . . the design from the beginning was for us to enjoy an everlasting soul-body existence made holy unto Him.

 

That’s why an integral part of the what’s-ahead story is the soul-body reunion, coming at the end of days—called acharit ha-yamim in Hebrew, אחרית הימים—and orchestrated by the hand of God.

 

He’s been telling humanity about that for thousands of years—and He’s given ten sneak-peek accounts of it to make this seemingly preposterous resurrection notion understandable to us, recognizing it as a valid upcoming event.

 
kelly-sikkema-u8FRCb7FQDI-unsplash
 

THE 4-1-1 BRIEF

 

From scripture . . . some resurrection cues and actual resurrection accounts given to us over time.

 

1406 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Song of Moses about God’s might; Moses was the leader-deliverer of Israel from Egypt, God’s mouthpiece and humble prophet who spoke with God face to face.

See now that it is I!
I am the One, and there is no god like Me!
I cause death and make alive
[restore life back from the dead, per the Hebrew].
I strike, but I heal, and no one can rescue from My Hand!
—Deuteronomy 32:39

 

1100 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Hannah. Mother of the prophet Samuel and a faithful servant of the Lord; she prophetically said this after a mighty move of God that made her longtime barren womb fertile:

There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

The Lord brings death and makes alive
[restores the dead to life, per the Hebrew];
he brings down to the grave and raises up.

It is not by strength that one prevails;
those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
the Lord will judge from heaven;
the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.
—1 Samuel 2:2,6,10

 

1044 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. David. King of Israel, prophet, psalmist, a man after God’s own heart. His Davidic throne will seat the Messiah.

You will not abandon my soul to the grave;
You shall not allow your pious one to see the pit.
—Psalm 16:10

 

1000 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Also ascribed to King David.

You have shown me great
and severe troubles again;
you shall revive me
[restore to life from the dead, per the Hebrew]
and from the depths of the earth
You will raise me up again.
—Psalm 71:20

 

863 BCE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Elijah (Eliyahu, in Hebrew). Renowned, zealous prophet of Israel; under God’s power, Elijah resurrected a widow’s child. 1 Kings 17:10-14.

 

849 BCE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Elisha. Elijah’s disciple who carried on the mantle of Elijah’s prophetic work; Elisha resurrected a Shunammite’s child. 2 Kings 4:20-37.

 

812 BCE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Elisha’s tomb. Well after Elisha died and his body placed in a burial cave, some men buried a dead man’s body in that cave—but when the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man was resurrected. 2 Kings 13:20-21.

 

753 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue.  Hosea. A major prophet ministering in the Northern Kingdom of Israel; his life, a symbol in God’s hands demonstrating God’s unfathomable love for His unfaithful people.

He will revive us [restore the dead to life, per the Hebrew]
after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live in His sight.
—Hosea 6:2

 

725 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue.  Isaiah. A mighty prophet and a surrendered vessel in God’s hands for Israel, Messianic prophecies, and end-times events.

Your dead will live;
Their corpses will rise.
You who lie in the dust [are dead], awake and shout for joy,
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn,
And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.
—Isaiah 26:19

 

539 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Daniel. A courageously faithful prophet and dream interpreter of the Lord during the Babylonian captivity; a vehicle for God’s voice regarding many end-times prophecies.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth [the dead]
shall awake to everlasting life
and others to everlasting reproach and abhorrence.
—Daniel 12:2

 

28 CE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name). Renowned rabbi, prophet, and for those with ears to hear, Messiah.

For an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come forth;
those who have done good will come to a resurrection of life,
those who have done evil will come to a resurrection of judgment.
—John 5:28-29

 

28-33 CE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek accounts: six of them. Witnessed by many. John 11:1-44; Mark 5: 21-43; Luke 7:11-16; Matthew 27:50-53; Acts 9:36-41; Acts 29:7-12.

 

33 CE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Jesus (Yeshua).The most powerful and most unique resurrection event—even some Jewish scholars don’t deny it. Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1-13.

 

THAT BEGS THE QUESTION

 

Since resurrection is a futuristic event, what is our life down here about? There’s much to that answer—some discussed in this series and elsewhere on this blog. But for now, as one rabbinic source puts it . . .

 

This world is like a lobby before the World to Come;
prepare yourself in the lobby
so that you may enter the banquet hall.
—Rabbi Yaakov, Pirkei Avot 4:21

(Ethics of our Fathers, ethical/moral Torah teachings
from the Mishnaic 2nd century CE period)

 

Keep this in mind: There are no do-overs. No reincarnation to try it again. God’s word is pretty straightforward about that. That’s why what you do down here in the “lobby” is critical. Are you living according to His word, His roadmap—or your imagined version of that?

 
tingey-injury-law-firm-nSpj-Z12lX0-unsplash
 

HE SAID/THEY SAID 

 

God has graciously given us ten sneak peeks in the Bible to demonstrate His resurrection power. They are real stories about real people who breathed their last, were mourned, and were either entombed or on their way to that tomb—then were resurrected to demonstrate God’s power, compassion, and future promise. Ten accounts—of Jews and Gentiles—given to nudge our faith toward the main event up ahead.

 

But despite that, there have been various voices going against His grain.

 

Exhibit A. For Messianic Jews and evangelical Christians, God’s word and resurrection are the bedrock of their belief system. Orthodox Judaism also adheres to the resurrection teaching. In fact, the resurrection of the dead has been so entrenched in Jewish/biblical doctrine that it became the thirteenth principle of faith, as defined by The Rambam—Moses ben Maimonides, a renowned, 12th-century rabbinic scholar and philosopher.

 

Yet other Jewish sects—Reform, Conservative, Reconstruction, Renewal, Humanistic—stray from that biblical core truth (and most others) to one degree or another.

 

Eh, so what’s new? Exactly. Through the millennia, things may change but somehow remain the same. During the Second Temple period—1st century CE—the two major sects of the day argued it out.

 
 

Their Judaic counterpart—the Sadducees—pooh-poohed the soul’s eternal existence, the resurrection, angels, and spirits. One account of the Pharisees-Sadduccees disagreements before the Sanhedrin is recorded in Acts 23:1-10.

 

The Sadducees even tried to corner Jesus (Yeshua) on the subject of resurrection—a trap because they didn’t believe in it. So they gave him an afterlife scenario and asked for his viewpoint. It went like this:

 

On that same day some Sadducees
(who say there is no resurrection)
came to Jesus and questioned him, asking,
“Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children,
his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife,
and raise up children for his brother.’

“Now there were seven brothers with us;
and the first married and died,
and having no children left his wife to his brother;
so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh.
Last of all, the woman died.
In the resurrection, therefore,
whose wife of the seven will she be?
For they all had married her.”

But Jesus answered
and said to them,”You are mistaken,
not understanding the scriptures nor the power of God.
For in the resurrection
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but are like angels in heaven.
But regarding the resurrection of the dead,
have you not read what was spoken to you by God?
I am the God of Abraham,
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

When the crowds heard this,
they were astonished at his teaching.
—Matthew 22: 23-33

 
marija-zaric-wMybzaBOaSQ-unsplash
 

RESURRECTION: SNEAK PEEKS

 

Explore each account via the links below. These resurrected people went on to live again . . . but eventually had to die again and now await the resurrection occurring at the end of days.

 

That is, all except one.
The life giver . . . and life changer.

 

There’s more coming up about that singularly unique resurrection story in this series. But now . . . those real-life resurrection accounts.

 

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

Why A Bodily Resurrection

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 
 

CREDITS: Bible photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Gavel photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Roll the Drums photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash.com

 

RELATED RESOURCES

 

McFarland, Philip (2004), Hawthorne in Concord, New York: Grove Press, p. 149, ISBN 0-8021-1776-7.

Royot, Daniel (2002), “Poe’s humor”, in Hayes, Kevin J, The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, Cambridge University Press, pp. 61–2, ISBN 0-521-79727-6.

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13614-shulamite

http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/shunammite-midrash-and-aggadah

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Great-Woman-Shunem

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/107781/jewish/Ani-Maamin-I-Believe.htm

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/jewish-resurrection-of-the-dead/

 

Resurrection Jewish Style Series: Part 2a—Real-Life Accounts

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

Empty tomb, garden near Golgatha

Three resurrection accounts set the spiritual ball in motion.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 4 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POST IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed

 
 

The first three resurrection accounts are in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)—and are followed by seven more accounts in the New Testament (B’rit Chadashah).

 

They’re all bridge-crossing events of epic proportions, regardless of what part of the bridge you’re on . . . Judaic, Messianic Judaic, or Christian.

 

Each time, God peels back a piece of the spiritual dimension so we can evidence His power and catch a glimpse of the resurrection promise to come. Yep, resurrection is real, and it’s the main event up ahead.

 

#1. GENTILE WIDOW OF TZARFAT’S SON

[1 Kings 17:10-24]

 

Meager, drought-riddled times. The place was Tzarfat [Zarephath]—a Phoenician city between Sidon and Tyre in Lebanon.

 

The great prophet Elijah [Eliyahu] stood at the city gate where he saw a gentile widow gathering sticks. Perhaps hesitantly, he asked for a little cup of water, then later, for some bread. But she only had enough flour and oil to make a last meal for her son and herself before they starved to death.

 

Elijah instructed her not to fear but to bake him the bread—and then bake more for her and her son. The widow’s obedience was honored. The flour and oil never ran out during the drought. Then time passed and the widow’s son became ill. Increasingly ill. The boy stopped breathing and died. The favor of the Lord seemed to have vanished from the widow’s house.

 

Elijah took the dead boy from the mother’s lap, carried him upstairs to the prophet’s upper room, and laid the boy on the bed. Crying out to the Lord, questioning why this misery was put upon the widow, the prophet Elijah made a faith move. He stretched himself out on the child three times and pleaded for Adonai to allow the child’s soul to be returned to the body.

 

God’s compassion prevailed. Elijah carried the now-resurrected child back to his mother and said, “See? Your son is alive.”

 * * * 

 

#2. JEWISH SHUNAMMITE’S SON

[2 Kings 4:20-37]

 

Opening scene: The village of Shunem, north of Jezreel in the Tribe of Issachar’s land.

 

Elisha was a disciple and prophet-successor of the great prophet Elijah [Eliyahu]—as well as a frequent guest of a Jewish Shunammite, a woman of means and rank who prepared an upper room for his visits.

 

Rabbinic teachings speak highly of her hospitality, saying we all should bring a Torah scholar under our roofs, giving them nourishment and allowing them to partake of all that we possess. [Perek Zedakot 1]

 

To honor the Shunammite woman’s kindness, the Lord told Elisha that the childless woman would bear a son, even though her husband was old. A year later, she indeed gave birth to a son. But when the child was a bit older, he died. A woman of resolute, bold faith, she laid her dead child on the prophet’s bed in the upper room, shut the door, and went out. She asked her husband to send her a servant and a donkey so she could leave immediately to see the prophet Elisha.

 

Elisha wasted no time. He gave his staff to his servant Geichazi, ordering him to dress for action and go ahead to the woman’s house—but warned him not to stop or answer anyone and to lay his staff on the child’s face. The servant obeyed, but the child didn’t stir. No sound, no sign of life. Later on, Elisha arrived and went to the room, shut the door, and prayed to Adonai. Then he stretched himself out on the child, putting his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, his hands on the child’s hands.

 

As Elisha performed that prophetic action, the child’s flesh began to grow warm. The prophet went back downstairs, walked around the house for a bit, then went back up and once again stretched himself out on the child. The child sneezed seven times—then opened his eyes.

 

The prophet called for the Shunammite woman. When she arrived, Elisha said, “Pick up your son.” She fell at his feet, prostrated herself on the floor, then picked up her son and went out.

 

The soul connection to those seven sneezes? In Genesis 2:7, God blew into Adam’s nostrils the soul of life. Some used to posit that sneezing meant the soul was exiting from that same place it entered. Who knows, maybe the seven sneezes were “death” exiting so the new, resurrected breath of G-d could enter and revive the child.

 

* * *

 

#3. ELISHA’S TOMB—JEWISH MAN RESURRECTED

[2 Kings 13:20-21]

 

The prophet Elisha fell sick and died, his body placed in a burial cave. Time passed. Then one day, some men came to bury another man. But when they spotted their enemy—a Moab raiding party—coming near, they were so frightened, they just hurled the dead man’s body into Elisha’s burial cave. The moment the dead man’s body touched the bones of Elisha, the man’s body came to life . . . and the newly resurrected man stood on his feet.

 

So I’m thinking, if those guys were freaked out about the Moabites closing in, they probably totally lost it when that dead man was resurrected. Seriously.

 

READ THE NEXT POSTS IN THE SERIES
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d
The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven
Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection
Why A Bodily Resurrection

 

HAVE YOU READ THESE POSTS IN THE SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

Resurrection Jewish Style Series: Part 2b—Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

Empty tomb, garden near Golgatha

Seven more resurrection accounts nudge the spiritual ball further—much, much further.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 7 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts

 

Besides God’s three sneak-peek resurrection accounts in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)—He gave us seven more (in the New Testament) that take on even greater momentum.

 
 
 

And since even rabbis study the New Testament, let’s check out those accounts. Six are in this post . . . the seventh account deserves its own post.

 

Drum roll, please . . .

 

#1. JEWISH LAZARUSFOUR DAYS ENTOMBED

[John 11: 1-44]

 

Lazarus of Bethany and his two sisters—Miriam and Martha—were Jewish followers of Jesus [Yeshua] and close friends of the famed rabbi. One day, Lazarus fell sick. His sisters sent a message to Jesus to please come, knowing of his healing miracles. But Jesus opted to stay two more days where he was and prophetically said, “This sickness will not end in death . . . it is for God’s glory.”

 

The days passed and Jesus told his disciples that Lazarus was “asleep”—meaning he died. “I’m glad I wasn’t there so that you will come to have faith. Let’s go to him.”

 

By the time they arrived, Lazarus had been dead four days. That’s right—four days in the tomb. But Jesus nudged the sisters’ faith.

 

Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again.”
In true Jewish fashion, she answered, “I know that he’ll rise again at the Resurrection on the Last Day.”

 

But Jesus wasn’t referring to the end-of-days resurrection. He meant now. This is the part when it gets really, really good—and why this is one of the most dramatic resurrection accounts in the Bible. Adonai was about to reveal the resurrection-and-life power in Jesus as Messiah.

 

Jesus, the two Jewish sisters, the many Jewish mourners, and the Jewish disciples walk to the tomb. It was a cave with a large stone covering the tomb’s entrance.

 

“Take the stone away!” Jesus says.

But Martha warns him,
“By now his body must smell—it’s been four day since he died!”

Jesus answers,
“Didn’t I tell you that if you keep trusting,
you will see the glory of God?” 

 

So they remove the stone. Jesus looks upward and says, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know you always hear me, but I say this because of the crowd standing around, so that they may believe you have sent me.

 

Then Jesus called out. “Lazarus, come out!”
The man who had been dead came out.
His hands and fee wrapped in strips of linen
and his face covered with a cloth.
Jesus said, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

 

Unlike the prophets Elijah and Elisha who had to continue to pray over a body and stretch out over it, etc. before the body was resurrected, Jesus merely commanded life with the words and power of God—and it was done.

 

Not surprisingly, many of the Judeans who had come to visit the sisters and seen what Jesus had done believed in him as Messiah. But not all. Nope, some ran to the Pharisees and told them about the resurrection. Well, you can imagine how that went.

 

The head cohanim (priests) and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. They weren’t pleased and began plotting to not only kill Jesus but to do away with Lazarus as well, since it was because of his resurrection that large numbers of Judeans were leaving their leaders and putting their faith in Jesus as Messiah. (John 12: 9-10)

* * *

 

#2. JEWISH SYNAGOGUE LEADER’S DAUGHTER

[Mark 5:21-24, 35-43]

 

Jesus [Yeshua] had been ministering to a crowd of people near the Sea of Galilee—casting out demons, healing the sick, etc. A Jewish synagogue official named Ya’ir fell at the feet of Jesus, pleading desperately. “My little daughter is at the point of death. Please! Come and lay your hands on her so she will get well and live!”

 

Jesus agreed to go, the crowd of people pressing in on him on all sides. A woman touched the hem of his garment and was healed of her twelve-year bout of hemorrhaging. Then people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died. Why bother the rabbi any longer?”

 

Ignoring what they said, Jesus tells the synagogue official, “Don’t be afraid, just keep trusting.”

 

Jesus let his disciples Peter, James, and John follow him to the man’s home. At the house, there was great commotion—understandably. Weeping and wailing. “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead, she’s just asleep!” Jesus said. The people jeered at him, so he put them all outside, then took the child’s parents and his three disciples with him to the child.

 

Jesus took the twelve-year-old child by the hand and said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” At once, the girl got up and began walking around.

 

Everyone was amazed. Jesus told them to give her something to eat—and gave strict orders for them to say nothing about the event to anyone.

 

Yeah, I’m not so sure they obeyed that last request . . . especially since we’re still reading about it and telling the miraculous event 2,000 years later.

 

* * *

#3. JEWISH WIDOW OF NA’IM’S SON

[Luke 7:11-16]

 

Jesus, his twelve disciples, and a large crowd went to a lower-Galilee town called Na’im, just south of Mount Tabor within the boundaries of the Tribe of Issachar. As he approached the town gate, a dead Jewish man was being carried out for burial. Surrounded by a sizable crowd, the man’s mother—a widow with no other children—wept and walked with the others. A bleak future lay before her.

 

When Jesus saw her, he felt compassion for her and said, “Don’t cry.” Then he came close and touched the coffin—the pallbearers stopped.

 

Jesus said,” Young man, I say to you, Get up!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him to his mother.

 

They were filled with awe and gave glory to God. The report about Jesus spread throughout all Judah and the surrounding countryside.

 

* * *

 

#4. MANY JEWS RAISED SIMULTANEOUSLY

[Matthew 27:50-53]

 

Right after Jesus breathed his last on the crucifixion stake, the earth shook, rocks split, and tombs were opened. After Jesus was resurrected, many bodies of the righteous were raised and appeared in the Holy City to many. When the centurion and his fellow soldiers who had been guarding the tomb of Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”

 

* * *

 

#5. TABITHA, A MESSIANIC JEW & WIDOW

[Acts 9:36-41]

 

This resurrected record happened well after Jesus had been crucified, buried, resurrected, and forty days later, ascended into heaven.

 

The Messianic community was being built up in Judah, the Galilee, and Samaria. Their numbers, multiplying. A beloved woman named Tabitha—Dorcas in Greek—lived in the Mediterranean port city Joppa, about 30 miles south of Caesarea. A believer in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah, she was esteemed for her tireless charitable work making clothes for the poor, widows, and others.

 

In time, Tabitha grew ill and died. After washing her, they laid her in a room upstairs.

 

The Messianic believers heard that Peter—a well-known disciple of Jesus—was in nearby Lydda and sent for him to come without delay. When he arrived, all the widows were standing around Tabitha’s body, sobbing and showing Peter all the dresses and coats she had made for people.

 

Peter put them outside, knelt down, and prayed.
As a Jewish believer in Jesus as Messiah, he was indwelt with the power of the Holy Spirit and had learned how to step into that heaven-earth soul connection to hear God’s voice and know what He was doing, what He was saying, how He was leading.

 

In obedience to God’s voice, Peter turned to the body, he said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.

 

He offered his hand and helped her to her feet, then called the believers and widows, presenting Tabitha to them alive. Many people put their trust in Jesus as Messiah because of what God had done for Tabitha.

 

* * *

 

#6. EUTYCHUS, GENTILE

[Acts 20:7-12]

 

Pharisee Saul Paulus had a Damascene encounter with the ascended Jesus—and thereafter became a believer in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. He traveled extensively to spread the truth of the Messiah—often amid great persecution.

 

At one point in his travels, Saul Paulus spent five days in Troas, an ancient Greek city on the Aegean Sea, near Turkey’s northern tip. He taught and ministered to followers of the Messiah. On the first day of the week, he gathered with believers to break bread. Since he was going to leave the following day, he prolonged his message until midnight.

 

There were many oil lamps burning in the upstairs room where they were meeting. A young man named Eutychus was sitting on the window sill. As Saul Paulus continued teaching, the young man eventually grew sound asleep and fell from the third-story window.

 

When they picked him up from the ground, he was dead. But Saul went down, threw himself onto him, put his arms around him. His faith went into action. Saul said, “Don’t be upset, he’s alive!”

 

Then Paul went back upstairs, broke the bread and shared it with everyone. He continued teaching until daylight—with everyone greatly relieved the boy was brought back to life.

 

* * *

 

READ THE NEXT POST IN THE SERIES
The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven
Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection
Why A Bodily Resurrection

 

HAVE YOU READ THESE POSTS IN THE SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

Resurrection Jewish Style: Part 3—The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

Rolled stone from tomb

The resurrection event that shifted the world and eternity in one mighty move—on both sides of the Judaic-Messianic bridge: Jesus of Nazereth.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 8 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

 

This resurrection event—factual, real, historic—was heaven thunderbolting our earthly dimension. Victorious over death’s grip . . . physically and spiritually.  For your soul and everyone who ever lived.

 

Unlike the other resurrected people mentioned in the Bible, Jesus didn’t have to die a second time. He conquered death.

 

JESUS (YESHUA): JEWISH MESSIAH
THE LEAD-UP 

 

It was prophesied. He was to suffer. You may even know the Isaiah 53 Messianic prophecy, given 700 years before it was fulfilled. The same prophecy rabbinic sages knew . . .

 

The arm of the Lord (his salvation power, Messiah) would be wounded (pierced) for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities . . . upon him was the punishment that brought us peace . . . by his wounds, his scourging, we are healed.

 

It is the glorious and unimaginable plan of God. His Messiah, holy and blameless, yet oppressed and afflicted.

 

And us, Jew and Gentile—both fractured, like those shattered tablets of Moses, yet made whole in Him. Him, our Messiah, the one sent by God.

 

Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name) became the way for us—the only way—to bridge an eternal relationship with the eternal God.

 

Jesus/Yeshua was a Tzadik, a righteous person. Fulfiller of the Law and Messianic prophecies. Teacher. Healer. Miracle worker. God’s Truth manifested on earth . . . the Light of heaven piercing humanity’s darkness.

 

In sync with what Isaiah 35:5-6 said about the Messiah, Jesus made the blind see, the deaf hear, the mute speak . . . and he cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, delivered people from demonic possession—and raised the dead.

 

John, an early disciple of Jesus/Yeshua says in the last line of his gospel account: Jesus also did many other things. If all of them were to be written one by one, I suppose that the whole world couldn’t contain the books that would be written. —John 21:25

 

Many Pharisees, even some members of the Sanhedrin, and multitudes of Jewish lay people and others witnessed these fulfillments, recognizing and believing that Jesus was (and is) the Jewish Messiah, the Son of God.

 

But other Jewish authorities didn’t . . .

 

 

COUNTERPOINT

 

The proverbial pot of the Jewish authorities brewed to a feisty, rolling boil. The top three reasons why . . .

 

Reason #1: Truth Spoken. Many of the Jewish authorities of the day flowed in pride and religiosity and burdened the people with added laws and demands. Jesus, the voice of God, called them out on it—many times.

 

At one point he referenced Isaiah, saying he’d prophesied right about them:

 

And the Lord said:
“Because this people has come near;
with their mouth and with their lips they honor Me,
but their heart they draw far away from Me,
and their fear [reverence] of Me
has become precepts of people
[doctrines of human origin].”
—Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8-9

 

Jesus also called them “blind leaders of the blind” ( Matthew 15:14) and
said they appeared righteous on the outside but were full of hypocrisy and wickedness on the inside. Like whitewashed tombs—appearing clean but dead within.

 

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses;
therefore all that they tell you, do and observe,
but do not do according to their deeds;
for they say things and do not do them.

They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders,
but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them.

But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men;
for they broaden their tefillin (phylacteries)
and lengthen their tzitziyot (garment tassels)
.

They love the place of honor at banquets
and the chief seats in the synagogues,
they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces
and to be called rabbi by others
.”
Matthew 23:2-7

 

Reason #2: Rome. The throngs of people in the street following Jesus . . . the hot debates erupting among the crowds about whether or not Jesus was the Messiah . . . the Pharisees butting up against Jesus and his followers . . . were all catching the unwanted attention of Rome—who demanded obedience, not revolt, from their conquered population.

 

The last thing the Sanhedrin wanted was their prestigious religious perch rocked.

 

Reason #3: Miracles. There was no stopping the movement of God. Everywhere Jesus walked, he said what the Lord told him to say, did what he saw the Father doing, and prayed what the Father prayed.

 

Healings resulted. But the tipping point happened when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead—because Lazarus had been in the tomb four days.

 

In fact, the chief priests wanted to kill Lazarus just as much as they wanted to kill Jesus since even more Jews were now believing Jesus was the Messiah.

 

So they forged a plan. One that dovetailed into Messianic prophecy.

 

Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees
convened a council and were saying,
“What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs.
If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him,
and the Romans will come and take away both our place
and our nation
.”

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year,
said to them, “You know nothing at all,
nor do you take into account that
it is expedient for you that one man die for the people,
and that the whole nation not perish.”

Now he did not say this on his own initiative,
but being high priest that year,
he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not for the nation only,
but in order that He might also gather together into one
the children of God who are scattered abroad.

 

So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.
—John 11:47-53

 
tom-barrett-7FNOH-qSxMI-unsplash
 

THE CRUCIFIXION

 

It was a holy journey of love . . . paved with treachery. Jesus was taken in the night to stand before the High Priest Caiphus and the Sanhedrin.

 

He was struck by a soldier, later blindfolded and mocked, spat on. By morning, he was marched to Pontius Pilate, handed over to Herod, and afterward brought back to Pilate, where he was flogged.

 

The Roman flagrum:
a short whip with several heavy leather thongs—
with two small balls of lead attached near each end.

 

The “heavy whip is brought down with full force” repeatedly
across the shoulders, back, and legs.

The whip cuts through the skin,
then deep into subcutaneous tissues,
eventually spurting arterial bleeding.

The skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons . . .
an unrecognizable mass of bleeding tissue.

[Roman whipping information from the Dr. C. Truman Davis article
“A Physician’s View of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ”]

 

Per John 19:2-3 and Matthew 27:28-32: The governor’s soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes, put a purple robe on him, twisted thorn branches into a crown and placed it on his head—causing tremendous bleeding—and put a stick in his right hand, kneeling before him mockingly saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!”

 

They spit on him and used the stick to beat him about his head. When they were done, they took off the robe—which would have been painful, tearing against his many wounds—then put his own clothes back on him and led him away in his extremely fragile state through Jerusalem to a place called Gulgotha [the Skull], outside of the city.

 

Roman soldiers drove iron nails through Jesus’ wrists and feet. Pilate ordered a sign be posted on the cross in three languages, Hebrew, Latin, Greek: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

 

I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and My tongue clings to My jaws;
You have brought Me to the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded Me;
the assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
—Psalm 22:14-17,
prophetically written by King David about the Messiah’s death

 

It was Friday, a day of preparation for the Shabbat [Sabbath]—a special one because it was Passover week. The Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies remaining on the crucifixion stake passed sundown—Jesus’ body and those of the two criminals crucified on other side of him.

 

So they asked Pilate to hasten the deaths of the three men by breaking their legs. The soldiers first broke the legs of the men on either side of Jesus, but when they went to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead.

 

One soldier took his sword and pierced Jesus’ side. Immediately, blood and water poured out. He died without one of his bones broken, fulfilling Psalm 34.

 

Joseph of Arimathea—a Jew, a man of means, a respected member of the council, and a follower of Jesus—asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Pilate granted him permission.

 

Joseph and another Jew, Nicodemus—a Pharisee, member of the Sanhedrin, and follower of Jesus (John 3)—took the body, wrapped it in linen sheets with the myrrh-and-aloes spices, in accordance with Judean burial practice, and placed the body in a new tomb (previously purchased by Joseph of Arimathea for himself), located in a nearby garden.

 

Afterward, a huge stone locked the entrance—and Pilate placed soldiers to guard the tomb, worried about the stories of Jesus’ promised resurrection.

 

jon-tyson-XmMsdtiGSfo-unsplash

 

GLORIOUS RESURRECTION

 

Early on the first day of the week—Sunday—when it was still dark, Miriam from Magdala along with Miriam (the mother of James), and Salome went to the tomb in hopes of someone to roll the stone away so they could anoint the body with spices. [Mark 16]

 

But the stone was already rolled away.

 

Miriam Magdala ran to tell the disciples Peter and John, who immediately went to the tomb and saw that it was empty. Not understanding, they returned home, perplexed. Miriam stood outside the tomb crying, then bent down to peer in the tomb.

 

Two angels sat where the body of Jesus had been—one at the head and one at the feet. 
Reminds me of the two angels facing one another on top of the Arc of the Covenant.

 

“Why are you crying?” the angels asked Miriam.

“They took my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him,” she cried.

Just then, she turned and saw Jesus standing there.

 

In the evening of the same day—the first day of the week—the disciples were gathered behind a locked door, fearful of the Judeans.

 

Jesus appeared, stood in the middle, and said, “Peace be upon you!”
He showed them his hands and his pierced side.

 

Throughout the next forty days, he appeared to many people, per convincing proofs, and spoke of things regarding the Kingdom of God. He appeared to  . . .

 

(1) several women immediately afterward (Miriam Magdala, Miriam, Salome, Joanna)

(2) Simon Peter

(3) his disciples at various times (e.g. in an upper room and at the Sea of Galilee and on a mountain in the Galil)

(4) two disciples on the Emmaus Road

(5) his half-brother, James

(6) over 500 people at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:6)

 

While he was blessing the disciples, Jesus ascended into heaven, returning back to the Father. His followers evidenced him being taken up into a cloud (Acts 1).

 

His ascension was witnessed by his disciples: Simon (Kefa/Peter), Andrew, John, Ya’akov ben Zavdi (James, son of Zebedee), Philip, Bartholomew (Nathanael, Bar-Talmai), T’oma (Thomas), Mattityahu (Matthew), Ya’akov bar-Halfai (James, son of Alphaeus), Simon the Zealot, and Taddai (Thaddeus, also known as Judas—not Iscariot, but the son of James).

 

Right afterward, two men clad in white robes said to his followers:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?
This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven,
will so come back just as you saw Him go into heaven.”

 

And there’s so much more to that story . . . coming in a future series.

 
franck-v-0La7MwJhSyo-unsplash
 

BACK TO YOU

question for you . . .

 

The Messianic prophecies in the Bible (108 minimal, some classify 300 or more) point in just one direction—Jesus (Yeshua).

 

The chance of fulfilling just 16 [of the minimal 108 Messianic prophecies] is 1 in 1045. Accidentally fulfilling the prophecies is “beyond the realm of possibility,” per Lamb and Lion Ministries’ website.

 

Multitudes of people in the first century CE, from Jewish leaders and lay people to Gentiles, recognized Jesus as the Jewish Messiah sent from God.

 

But others considered the miracles and said he must be John the Baptist (who had been beheaded much earlier per Herod’s orders) or one of the ancient prophets, Elijah or Jeremiah.

 

And then there’s you . . .

 

Jesus asks you the same
soul-transforming question
that he asked his disciples

(Matthew 16:13-17):
But who do you say I am?

 

* * *

 

READ THE NEXT POST IN THE SERIES

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

Why A Bodily Resurrection

 

HAVE YOU READ THESE EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 

RELATED RESOURCE

Here’s more in English/Hebrew about Isaiah 53 at One for Israel Ministry

 

CREDIT: Blue/Red Chairs photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Storm-light clouds photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Good News photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Arrow photo by Franck V. on Unsplash.com

 

Resurrection Jewish Style Series: Part 4—Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

Rolled stone from tomb

The resurrection event that changed everything—on both sides of the Judaic-Messianic bridge. What an orthodox rabbi and Jewish scholars have to say about the resurrection of Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name).

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 7 MINUTES.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d
The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

 

The world’s history has long encompassed extremes—light and darkness, goodness and evil, sagacity and folly, hope and discouragement . . . and the ultimate dichotomy, death and resurrection.

 

It’s the stuff authors love to write about, carefully mirroring our up-down, soul-body matrix existence in their art, which sometimes is reflected back into life. Remember the seesaw duality of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities?

 


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness . . .
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness


 

Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us in our fractured state. We will rise from the abyss of death.

 

But in sync with life’s duality, even the resurrection event is good news/bad news. There will be a resurrection to everlasting life for the righteous . . . and a resurrection to judgment for the others. (Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29.)

 

This is serious business. So God gave us ten resurrection accounts—seriously, count them—to encourage us, to help us see our lives down here via a more heavenly lens. (See prior posts in this series.)

 

And yet, all those resurrection accounts beg the question.

Since resurrection is an obvious biblical teaching,
then why do some people give
an acknowledging nod
to many of those accounts . . .

but discount 
one resurrection in particular?
Namely, the historical resurrection of 
Jesus.

 

Well, one modern-day orthodox rabbi didn’t.
Nor did some other Jewish biblical scholars and rabbis.

 

note: stock photo, not Rabbi Lapide

 

MEET RABBI PINCHAS LAPIDE
author, Jewish scholar, theologian specializing in the New Testament

 

An Orthodox rabbi, Lapide had a real bridge-crossing view. He even wrote a book in 1979 about it: “The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective.” It made quite a stir back then, even garnering attention in Time magazine’s religion section.

 

Lapide (1922-1997) and his scholarly process were all about rediscovering the Jewish aspects of early Christianity. After all, Jesus (Yeshua) and his followers were Jews.

 

Lapide’s convincing Judaic arguments in favor of Jesus’ resurrection as a historic event are worth examining.

 

I mean, rabbis, some of the Sanhedrin, and Pharisees—not to mention multitudes of Jews—recognized in the first century CE that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah. So when a modern-day rabbi studies the totality of the scriptures and supports Jesus’ resurrection, it’s a red-letter moment.

 

Per Lapide, the “Hebrew Bible knows of the translation of Enoch (Genesis 5:24), a transfiguration (Saul: I Samuel 10:6), an ascension (Elijah: 2 Kings 2:11) and three resurrections [which God] carried out through the hands of His prophets.”

 

Namely: I Kings 7: 17-24; 2 Kings 4:18-21, 32-37; 2 Kings 13:20-21.

 

Not a single case was met with unbelief in Israel, per Lapide.
Nope, not one.

 

The hope and belief in resurrection were so ingrained in Judaic thinking, it became part of the daily prayer from renowned 12th-century rabbinic scholar, Moses ben Maimonides and his Thirteen Articles of Faith:

 

Lapide also commented that postbiblical literature gives reports of several miraculous healings, multiplication of bread, diversion of a flood, victory over demons, rainfall after prayer, etc.

 

So the historic resurrection of Jesus
wasn’t a bizarre, non-Jewish event.
And it wasn’t so-called magic or a scheme.
It was real.
From the hand of Adonai, God Himself.
In fact, over the 40-day period following his resurrection,
Jesus appeared to his disciples, others, and over 500 people at once.

 

In addition to Lapide’s scientific analysis of Jesus’ resurrection—which includes support for the genuineness of Saul Paulus’ Damascene experience—he mentioned two other points as further support:

 

(1) God permitted the women to be the first to witness and give testimony of that resurrection—when they held no value in the culture.

 

(2) Many  Jewish believers were willing to die defending their belief in Jesus’ resurrection.

 

Per Rabbi Pinchas Lapide:
Without the Sinai experience—no Judaism.
Without the Easter [Passover/Crucifixion/Resurrection] experience—no Christianity.
Both were Jewish faith experiences whose radiating power . . .
were meant for the world of nations.
For inscrutable reasons, the resurrection faith of Golgotha was necessary to carry the message of Sinai into the world.

 
marija-zaric-ZcXEmpelsoU-unsplash
 

THREE FINE POINTS

 

Point #1. Messiahship. Now I don’t agree with Lapide’s initial inference that Jesus (Yeshua) is only the messiah for the Gentiles (Goyim)—but Lapid did say that in Jesus’ parousia (second coming) he would manifest himself as Israel’s Messiah.

 

To clarify that . . . the prophet Zechariah says that what actually happens at the second coming is this: Israel’s spiritual eyes are open, the veil is removed, so they can see Jesus (Yeshua) for who he is and always has been, the Jewish Messiah of the world.

 

I will pour out on the house of David
and on those living in Jerusalem
a spirit of grace and prayer;
and they will look to me, whom they pierced.
They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son;
they will be in bitterness on his behalf
like the bitterness for a firstborn son.
—Zechariah 12:10

 

There is one Messiah—per scriptures—sent by God
for the Jew first and then for the Gentile.
And Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies, over 100.
Including the Messiah’s initial coming for spiritual redemption,
which will be followed by the final physical redemption,
ushering in the Messianic Age.

 

Point #2. Probability factor. The scientific probability of Jesus (Yeshua) fulfilling the many messianic prophecies is mind-boggling. As Lion and Lamb Ministry aptly states on their site, referencing the noted work of now-deceased mathematics/astronomy university chair Peter Stoner:

 

“The chances of fulfilling 16 [of the 108 prophecies]  is 1 in 1045.
When you get to a total of 48 [prophecies fulfilled],
the odds increase to 1 in 10157.

Accidental fulfillment of these prophecies is
simply beyond the realm of possibility.”

 

Point #3. Lapide and the hotly debated three-days-in-the-tomb issue. Even Christians battle out the calculations. [An easy method to me—without gagging on a calculations gnat—is using our Judaic/biblical view that a day is measured sundown to sundown: (1st “day”) Friday daylight buried before Shabbat began; (2nd day) Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, still in the tomb; (3rd “day”) Saturday sundown to Sunday morning, arose on that third day.]

 

But Lapide gives a compelling Judaic response: It’s not a literal expression in the Hebrew Bible.

 

Stick with me for a moment and hear him out . . .

 

Lapide says, for those with ears biblically educated, that three-days-in-the-tomb expression used in various scriptures refers to the clear evidence of God’s mercy and grace that is revealed after two days of affliction and death by way of redemption.

 

  • Genesis 22:4. On the third day, Abraham lifted his eyes . . . [before the Akedah, the binding of Isaac]
  • Exodus 19: 16. On the morning of the third day, there was thunder . . . [before God’s Sinai appearance]
  • Genesis 42:18. On the third day, Joseph said to them . . . [before releasing his brothers—except one—to return to Canaan]
  • Jonah 1:17. Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days . . . [before he was saved]
  • Esther 5:1. On the third day, Esther put on her royal robes . . . [Israel saved after bitter affliction]
  • Hosea 6:2. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up . . . [before He comes like the spring rain to water their souls ]

 
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JESUS  & JEWISH BIBLICAL SCHOLARS 

 

Per Lapide, the Pentecost testimony of the apostles—claiming the crucified Jesus had risen—proved a big pain you know where for the Sadducees. But for the Pharisees or the majority of Jews, it was a “problem seriously to be investigated.” They knew a resurrection was “entirely in the realm of the possible (Sanhedrin 90b).”

 

And also per Lapide’s book (pages 137-138, 142), the spiritual heirs of those Pharisees—today’s Jewish rabbis and biblical scholars—have commented on the matter from different angles.

 

  • Maimonides—renowned rabbinic authority. “All these matters which refer to Jesus of Nazareth . . . only served to make the way free for the King Messiah and to prepare the whole world for the worship of God with a united heart, as it is written: Yea, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord (Zeph. 3:9). In this way, the messianic hope, the Torah, and the commandments have become a widespread heritage of faith—among the inhabitants of the far islands and among many nations, uncircumcised in heart and flesh.”
  • Rabbi Samuel Hirsch—pioneer of the Jewish Reform movement. “In order that Jesus’ power of hope and greatness of soul should not end with his death, God has raised in the group of his disciples the idea that he rose from death and continues living. Indeed, He continues living in all those who want to be true Jews.”
  • Rabbi Leo Baeck—author of The Essence of Judaism. “They [disciples of Jesus] were seeking the Messiah, the son of David, the promised one, and they found and beheld him in Jesus. His disciples in Israel believed in him even beyond his death so that it became to them an existential certainty that he—as the prophet foretold—had risen from the dead on the third day.”
  • Rabbi Samuel Sandmel—prolific author, theologian, an authority on Jewish-Christian relations. “Only a Jew whose unique combination of qualities was extraordinary could have been thought by other Jews to have been accorded a special resurrection.”
  • J. Carmel—Israeli teacher/author, who says he regrets the Gospels aren’t at home in the framework of Jewish literature. “If the prophet Elijah has ridden a fiery chariot into heaven, why should not Jesus rise and go to heaven?”

 

READ THE NEXT POST IN THE SERIES

Why A Bodily Resurrection

 

HAVE YOU READ THESE EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

 

Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 

CREDIT: Western Wall photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Bridging the Distance photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Lion photo by Jeff Rodgers on Unsplash.com

Resurrection Jewish Style: Part 5—Why A Bodily Resurrection?

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 months ago ]

picture from pinkpigart.co.uk

Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale shadows our soul-body journey. But what’s that got to do with needing a resurrection? A few things, as it turns out.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 8 MINUTES.
HAVE YOU READ THE FIRST POSTS IN THIS SERIES?
What God Revealed
Real-Life Accounts
Real-Life Accounts Cont’d
The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven
Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

 

Shakespeare’s plays often navigate spiritual waters. The Winter’s Tale is no exception. The tragicomedy travels the barrenness, brokenness, and blackened leaves of our wintry lives and moves to a spring-like moment.

 
 

It’s a light nod to God’s promised latter rain in the Bible. This rainy season—as Judaic scholars call it—is resurrection, where your soul-body enters an everlasting fruitfulness.

 

But we don’t all have the same resurrection ending. The soul and body are reunited in resurrection, then face litigation in God’s court, are judged, and subsequently step into one of two places: everlasting life (for the righteous) or everlasting contempt (for the unrighteous), per Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29, among other scriptures.

 

Per scripture, certain things impact that judgment . . . but simply said, it centers on what the soul-body did down here in light of God’s ways—and more to the point, what it did regarding one act of God in particular.

 

Before we get to that, let’s look at some plausible reasons why there’s even a need for resurrection.

 

 

CUES FROM THE BARD

 

In Act 1, Scene 2 of The Winter’s Tale, Polixenes—King of Bohemia—describes his childhood relationship with Sicily’s King Leontes as being like twins, buddy buddies, innocents.

 

That is, until life happens and they’re cast out of their Garden-of-Eden-esque existence and into the Sicilian King’s irrational rampage, where he goes all Othello on his alleged “slippery wife” (Hermiones) and her alleged lover, Polixenes, the king’s friend.

 

The king is wrong. Like really wrong. For the sake of the plot—not unlike our own soul stories—the king and some others choose anything but the humble, righteous path.

 

The tale bulges with jealousies, accusations, misjudgments, malicious lies, for-the-better-good lies, over-the-top emotional reactions, bitterness, relationship splits, disloyalty, paranoia, tyranny, expulsions, broken hearts, death, and more.

 

Along the way, Shakespeare exposes familiar elements of the soul’s journey—its rise, decline, fall, redemptive resurrection (Queen Hermiones is brought back to life after being dead sixteen years).

 

He even turns the physical tables of the atmosphere to mirror the inner soul rumblings of his characters—Sicily’s Mediterranean warmth and light are shrouded in a wintry gloom.

 

Veiled, fractured souls.
Adrift.
Out of sync with God’s ways.
Self-focused. Earthly tethered.
Becoming a wintry heart of darkness.

 

Enter two reasons for an end-of-days resurrection . . .

 

(1) accountability—of what the soul-body matrix has done, said, thought along its earthly journey.

 

(2) divine reconstruction of the soul-body—so it no longer is earthbound/self-focused but raised, recalibrated, made new so those deemed righteous can move with the give-receive love flow of heaven.

 

Let me explain . . .

 
zdenek-machacek-_QG2C0q6J-s-unsplash
 

EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR

journeying between weight and responsibility

 

Okay, so you’re not exactly like Shakespeare’s Antigonus, the king’s advisor who teeters between loyalty to the crown and loyalty to truth, makes concessions to protect, and then is chased off stage by a bear and killed.

 

But believe it or not, bears and their presumed Shakespearean connotation have their place in your soul experience and its aftermath, your future resurrection.

 

The word bear appears about twelve times in the play—where a person bears the onus for their actions and their related guilt. And, yeah, the fierce “bearish” beast appears in the midst of it all.

 

How bear/bearing translates to the soul’s journey and end-of-days accountability goes like this—on both sides of the Judaic-Messianic bridge:

 

Bearing your soul—transparent before your Creator, God.
Bearing the weight of your actions—good and not so good.
Bearing the scrutiny of others and our internal self.
Bearing the hardships and testings along life’s journey.
Bearing the responsibility for what you’ve said, done, thought, written, shared, taught, imposed, desired, touched, took, gave, blessed, cursed, healed, harmed, lifted up, brought down.
Bearing the yoke of Heaven (surrendered to God, His word, His covenant—your identity is in Him).
Bearing the final outcome of it all—with your soul’s work salted by His holy fire, tested by His holiness, so the work is either reduced to ash and stubble or glorified in Him.

 

For God shall bring every deed (every action, work)
into litigation (for His judgment),
everything that is concealed,
whether it be good or whether it be evil.
—Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) 12:14

 

And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it.
The earth and sky fled from his presence,
but they found no place to hide.
I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne.
And the books were opened, including the Book of Life.
And the dead were judged according to what they had done . . .
And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life
was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20: 11, 12, 15

 

Both the soul and the body face their shared judgment: Both are accountable for the life journey. So they are reunited in a new way at the end of days—for a resurrection to righteousness or to punishment.

 

Their embattled soul-body relationship and fractured state lead to the second reason why we need a bodily resurrection . . .

 
nienke-broeksema-UdTV56iEjIw-unsplash
 

SHORT VERSION: SOUL-BODY DILEMMA

the need for a re-alliance

 

Your soul—with its various nuances—is knitted (so to speak) to your body while in the womb. Together, your soul and body embark on a journey and specific life work . . . a work that ignites your soul-body refinement.

 

“The spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
Job 33:4

 

And the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,
and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life,
and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:7

 

Yes, God’s breath is in you. He breathed into you from deep within Himself. How profound and amazing is that? He’s that close to you, day by day, hour by hour, soul-breath by soul-breath.

 

Per the Hebrew in scripture, there are three nuances of the soul. The one translated as life force/self (nefesh) is enmeshed with the body and makes a way for the soul to join the body in a human experience while in this worldly dimension.

 

The job of the God-breathed soul is upward: Elevating the soul-body relationship from glory to glory, for a spiritually fruitful life. Surrendering to the will of God, accepting the yoke of heaven.

 

But that presents challenges. Big ones. The body—from dust to dust—is tethered to the things of this world. It came from the earth and is drawn to earthly things. (You can learn more later about the nuances of the soul in The Combat Zone series.)

 

The push-pull is on. And if the soul follows the body’s earth-minded drives vs. the call upward, the soul-body matrix can become . . .

 

Flooded with spiritual darkness, doctrines of demons.

Strictly a receptor—receiving for self, with no capacity for authentic giving.

Compelled by the things of this world.

Defiant, resisting the yoke of heaven.

Dissonant, clashing with God Himself.

 

In other words, a ravaged, war-scarred vessel whose soul-body partnership is in disrepair.

 

For a resurrection to righteousness,
it will need a reconstruction worthy of God’s presence.

Raised. Recalibrated. Renewed.

 

The corruptible body must return to the dust
and be raised in a glorified body—not constructed from the dust,
not tethered to this earthly realm and ways.
It must work in tandem with a soul that has been tested and tried,
and is in alignment with God.

 

Now about your having a resurrection to righteousness vs. a resurrection to contempt . . .

 
geetanjal-khanna-8CwoHpZe3qE-unsplash
 

HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS CAN BE YOURS

not deserved, yet given—a love not of this world

 

The Lord can come to you like the rain—a glory rain, the true latter rain (resurrection to righteousness) after the barrenness, brokenness, and blackened leaves of the soul’s winter tale.

 

A rain that heralds in the spring, hope, vegetation, new beginnings for you and all those who have lived and died in Him.

 

After two days, he will revive us;
on the third day, he will raise us up;
and we will live in his presence.
And let us know, let us strive to know the LORD:
 like the dawn whose going forth is sure,
and He will come to us like the rain,
like the latter rain  which satisfies the earth.
Hosea 6:2-3

 

But in the winter tale of your soul, there can be lot of swerving here and there. And it can get complicated by a treacherous spiritual battle going on within you and around you.

 

Then there’s trying to do good. Human good. Well meaning but falling way short of God’s holiness and His righteousness.

 

He actually says our deeds—which we’re judged on and linked to our thoughts and words—are stained before Him. They’re like soiled rags from menstrual flux, per the Hebrew.

 

And we all have become like one unclean,
and our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment
[soiled menstrual rag],
and we all have withered like a leaf,
and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.
Isaiah 64:5 (6)

 

So if your soul can become spiritually barren, holding on to the decayed, withered leaves of your wintry tale . . .

 

And if your best deeds, thoughts, words are like filthy menstrual rags compared to God’s holy standard . . .

 

Then how can you or anyone stand before God’s judgment seat—and receive a resurrection to righteousness?

 
ashton-mullins-j1HU-Oll7KI-unsplash
 

GOD MADE IT POSSIBLE

his truth, his life, his way
 

The veil that covered your wintry, fractured soul can be gone. Death, gone. His breath can bring your soul-body to life—again.

 

On this mountain he [the Lord God of Hosts] will destroy
the veil which covers the face of all peoples,
the veil enshrouding all the nations.

 

He will swallow up death forever.
Adonai Elohim will wipe away
the tears from every face . . .
Isaiah 25:6-8 excerpts

 

Despite the fractured stated of humanity, God made a way for your receiving a resurrection to righteousness—and avoiding a resurrection of punishment.

 

But it’s your choice.

 

If you receive His way, your deeds are still judged—but through the blood sacrifice of the Messiah, His Son, Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name).

 

He took on those filthy-ragged deeds/sins (mentioned in Isaiah 64) at the cross so his act of love could wipe your slate clean. When you receive Jesus as Messiah, God’s holy righteousness is imparted to you.

 

Accepting what God has done through the Messiah doesn’t mean you get to live your life willy nilly . . . it means putting on that precious gift and the responsibilities that go with it.

 

Not the manmade yoke of religiosity and compounded burdens—but the gentle yoke of the Messiah.

 

The yoke of heaven that is easy, light, profound. Loving God, walking upright in His ways, letting Him become your identity.

 

Yet through it all, mindful that you’re made of dust and fractured. But standing on His wholeness. Steeped in His strength and faithfulness. Submerged in a holy, grace-empowered process in Him.

 

Jesus is the only way to God for Jews and Gentiles. He is the Living Torah, the fulfillment of the Law, the Redeemer, the Holy Lamb of God who died for your sins, mine, and the world’s.

 

When you have a bodily resurrection in the Messiah,
winter and the soul-body war are over.

 

The KING has conquered death.

 

The body and soul become like a wheel within a wheel.

 

The receiver-driven body is dead, corrupted, disintegrated.
The resurrected body is glorified, incorruptible.
A giver and a receiver. Harmonious with God.
Donning the yoke of heaven.

 

The body is reunited with its now-refined soul,
made holy in and with Him.
All things are made new.

 

Existing as one in holy tandem,
giving and receiving in a sanctified way.
Without self-gratification or self-adoration.

 

Raised in His image.
Mirroring His circular, love-funneled nature.
A soul-body matrix, tested, tried, submerged, empowered
by and through His Truth, Life, Way, Word.

 

In Him . . .
The latter rain is the greatest glory.
The latter rain is His gift to you, a glorified bodily resurrection.

 
 

HAVE YOU READ THESE POSTS IN THE SERIES?

What God Revealed

Real-Life Accounts

Real-Life Accounts Cont’d

The Resurrection Thunderbolt From Heaven

Rabbi Scholars Defend Jesus’ Resurrection

Why A Bodily Resurrection

 

Resurrection series created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016

 

CREDIT: Tree Archway in Snow, Edinburgh (Source: pinkpigart.co.uk)

CREDIT: Shakespeare by Jessica Pamp on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Bear Running by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: It’s Your Breath by Nienke Broeksema on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: Hand Catching Rain by Geetanjal Khanna on Unsplash.com

CREDIT: White Crown by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash.com

 

RELATED RESOURCES

 

http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/treatises/1913cr.htm
In the shadow of the ladder, Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/281644/jewish/The-Resurrection-of-the-Dead.htm

http://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/380651/jewish/Levels-of-Soul-Consciousness.htm

http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/Path-of-the-Soul-1-Discovering-Mussar.html (Maimonides character traits)

R.. Sproul:
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/dark-night-soul/

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2002-02-28/features/0202280319_1_bear-center-stage-shakespeare

 

Soul Remodeling Series: Soul Arrow—Moses

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 years ago ]

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

MOSES (MOSHE)
fugitive prince turned bride guardian—who almost missed his calling

 

©SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

Before you begin—click this pop-up for a recap of the Soul Arrow series.

 

READING TIME: 6 MINUTES.

 

Ever since my younger years—later elementary school and decades forward—God has used Moses as a teacher and an example to awaken and stir my soul’s DNA (Judaic roots), guiding it into deeper understanding of God’s Word and His relationship with His people, His world.

 

Moses was a surrendered soul, truly in love with his God. But with all he was allowed to do under God’s hand, he was still a man.

 

Egypt proved a blessing for the twelve tribes of Israel during the famine years when Joseph held a high position. Then the shift emerged and Israel experienced over 400 years of oppressive enslavement.

 

But God’s precision timing was about to unfold—not only Moses’s soul, but also for Israel’s.
 

God begins by separating Moses from the common—his birth tribe and his adopted, privileged position in Egypt—for a series of deconstructing-reconstructing encounters—meetups with God to beat all others.

 

God’s lightning revelations flashed through Moses’s soul
time and time again.
Moses was humbled at the burning bush,
silenced at the sight of God’s glory,
illuminated at God’s giving of the Torah.

 

It was a process of discovering who he was in God.

 

Lightning cracked when Moses first encountered the Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. His response was a natural one. He brought down the Egyptian to help raise up that slave.

 

Moses’ destiny burst forth for a moment, like a firefly flash . . . a hint of what was to come, what would be birthed . . . a foretaste of the servant redeemer that his soul was meant to be.

 

From that major lightning crack across the sky at the burning bush, his soul’s relationship with the living God rose to such a magnitude that the flashes of lightning became his new norm.

 

He had more of these lightning moments once totally surrendered to God.

 

Times on the mountain, glory times in the tent. It all was part and parcel of what it would mean—for him and us—to flow in God’s presence, spirit, and the prophetic.

 
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BUT MOSES ALMOST MISSED IT

 

Torah scholar/commentator/author Avivah Zornberg gave some insight about “The Transformation of Pharoah, Moses, and God,” during an interview she gave to OnBeing.com’s Krista Tippet.

 

Moses argued with God for seven days no less when he was first called to lead Israel. His thinking was rooted in earthly, physical standards, not in a heavenly perspective.

 

Internal resistance was stirring in his soul.

 

Psychologically, Zornberg says, Moses—like Pharoah and the Hebrews—has an unwillingness to open himself to an alternative reality.

 

He blames it on his speech—in the Hebrew the wording is heavy (kaved, kah-vehd,כָּבֵד). Moses says he’s got a heavy/impeding mouth and heavy/impeding tongue: כְבַד-פֶּה וּכְבַד לָשׁוֹן. Clearly, a negative connotation.

 

There’s another word association, per Zornberg.

 

The Hebrew word for heavy (kaved) is the same word used to describe Pharoah’s hardness of heart during the ten plagues—with the negative connotation of being closed in/off, impervious, resistant.

 

[Note: Kaved is not kavod—ka-vohd (כָּבוד) means glory or honor. Same shoresh (root), so there’s a link. Yet, as we’re seeing, kaved often reflects a negative usage; kavod, a positive one.]

 

Was the heavy (kaved) tongue of Moses also closed off, resistant to God?

 

Moses, per Zornberg, appears willing to forego the whole opportunity to redeem Israel, seeing himself as not the right person for the job. He does recognize, she posits, that an “operation” of sorts is needed—since Moses is like a babe in need of a circumcision and refers to himself as a man of uncircumcised lips.

 

However, this “heaviness,” an inability to open up to God and His word—psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, or otherwise—appears to go well beyond Moses, Israel’s exodus years, and Pharoah.

 

The Cambridge Bible commentary states the “closed in” or “impervious to good impressions” wording in regards to a “heavy, uncircumcised heart” appears elsewhere in the Tanach: Leviticus 26:41, Jeremiah 9:25(26), and Ezekiel 44:7,9.

 

The wording also is used similarly when speaking of the ear, in Jeremiah 6:10, revealing that the nation heard imperfectly.

 

I dare say this “heaviness” is a human condition. One that only a spiritual surgery in God’s wilderness venues can heal. Turning a no into a . . . teetering if-you-say-so.

 

REDUCED SMALLER - iStock_000009489613XLarge

 

QUESTIONABLE BRIDE—REDEEMING BRIDE GUARDIAN

 

Fortunately for us, Moses surrendered to God’s soul deconstructing-reconstructing process and embraced his soul’s calling—as Israel’s leader, intercessor, shepherd, bride guardian.

 

So much so that the Torah’s final words in Deuteronomy (Devarim) 34 say that “no prophet in Israel has since arose whom God knew face to face” and that Moses “evoked great terror before the eyes of all Israel.”

 

Rabbinic commentary says this great terror is none other than Moses’ shattering of the first set of tablets—which is linked to a midrash that goes something like this.

 

So there was a king, a bride-to-be, and her maidservants. The king heads out of town on some business, putting the maidservants in care of his bride. But their character was lacking, big time. They engaged in harlotry, consequently smudging the betrothed bride’s character.

 

Well, that pushed the king’s anger into overdrive. To the point where he wanted his betrothed killed and out of his life. Clean and tidy.

 

But the bride’s guardian was quick on his feet. As soon as he learned of the king’s intentions, he swooped in and destroyed the marriage contract: “Even if she was found wanting, she wasn’t your wife yet. So . . .  all’s good. She’s not accountable to the contract.”

 

Presto, there was no need to kill her. That appeased the king, which was a good thing because he later discovered his bride’s behavior really hadn’t been awry—just her maidservants’.

 

At that, the bride’s guardian stepped in and suggested the king write a new marriage contract. The king agrees. “Fine. But since you tore up the first one, you provide the paper and I’ll write it in my own hand.”

 

kelly-sikkema-E8H76nY1v6Q-unsplash

 

SOUND FAMILIAR?

 
Israel is found wanting—though not all of them. Moses protects her covenant with God by destroying the first marriage agreement, the first set of tablets that God had carved and written on. Then when God is willing to redo the marriage contract, He has Moses co-labor with him by carving out the tablets that God will write on.

 

But the Ramban—Nachmanides, a Spanish Sephardic rabbi and noted medieval Jewish scholar—adds another component. He says Moses had a temper, i.e. killing the Egyptian and striking the rock incidents. So it wasn’t all about his acting as defender of the bride.

 

I tend to merge the two thoughts. When you have a critical position that has to be assigned to someone—maybe a person who will handle significant aspects of your business or oversee your health directive or your will—you need to choose someone who won’t be intimidated in making tough, wise decisions. Someone who can do that in a split moment, if needed.

 

That’s why I think God chose Moses. Yes, he had passion, a temper even. For Moses, when something was wrong, it was wrong. He acted on it. The excessive actions of the Egyptian, the excessive rebellion of Israel at the rock.

 

In his talmudic commentary Shabbat 87a, French medieval rabbi Rashi played with the reading of “ashur” (meaning “that” or “which”) for “ishur” (meaning “affirm” or “praise”) to basically suggest that when it comes to the shattered tablets, it’s as if God thanked or praised Moses for his actions.[1]

 

Was God saying this? “Thank you, bride guardian, for having the passion, wisdom, boldness, and courage to make the hard decision when needed to defend Israel and allow me to still make covenant with her via a new contract.”

 

Quite possibly.

 

One thing’s for certain. Through all his soul’s wilderness travails with Israel and within himself, Moses humbly steadies the course at all costs—relinquishing any rights to a personal life or family legacy . . . God’s people became his legacy.

 

Read all the Soul Arrow stories:

 

I’ve had my God- designed wilderness journeys to deconstruct-reconstruct my soul. How about you? These posts can shed some light and encouragement: Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 1 and Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 2.

 

[1] Rashi’s comment per an article called “The Marriage Contract,” appearing on www.meaningfullife.com

CREDIT: Arrow photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

CREDIT: Blurred Arrow Target photo by Ricardo Arce on Unsplash

CREDIT:Broken Heart photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

Article created August 17, 2015.

Soul Remodeling: Soul Arrow—Jeremiah

By SoulBreaths Author [ 4 years ago ]

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

JEREMIAH (YIRMEYAHU)

Running with Horses

accidental prophet—cohen (priest) turned vessel of holyfire

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

Before you begin—click this pop-up for a recap of the Soul Arrow series.

 

READING TIME: 11 MINUTES.

 

Personally, I love the 1998 Lux Vid film Jeremiah, directed/written by Harry Winer and starring Patrick Dempsey as the weeping prophet. Yes, it weaves in a non-Biblical, yet quite plausible, plot line here and there—but it also breathes life into Jeremiah’s soul story.

 

Dempsey hits the right emotional notes, delivering a spiritually encouraging performance—equally matched by the rest of the cast. If you haven’t guessed, I watch it often.

 

Jeremiah’s real story begins with God awakening the soon-to-be prophet’s soul, pronouncing his destiny. There would be no discussion, no fiery bush, no staff-turned-snake demonstrations as Adonai had done with Moses. It would begin with a stirring, voiced in the womb.

 


Heaven and I wept together,

And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine.

—The Hound Of Heaven, Francis Thompson


 

Born in Anatot—a town given to the tribe of Benjamin, per Joshua 21, about three miles northeast of Jerusalem by way of the Mount of Olives—Jeremiah’s call-to-action probably occurred sometime before he was 25 or 30 . . . old enough to marry, but not yet beginning his rightful cohen (priestly) duties as son of the High Priest, Hilkiah.

 

Then the L-rd reached out His hand
and touched my mouth and said to me,
“Now I have put my words in your mouth.
Today, I have placed you over nations and kingdoms
to uproot and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish,
to build and to plant.”
—Jeremiah 1:9

 

A soul-focused interpretation of what God was saying?

 

There, Jeremiah. It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s done. What your soul will grow into and what it will do for Me are already accomplished in the spiritual realm . . . I have spoken and My words are quick to perform. With the breath of My word, all that is—and will be—has been brought forth. It is accomplished in the interwoven crevices of your unseen soul, arming you with the sinew for the task, and manifested in the natural at My appointed time and place.

 

Jeremiah was going to be strategically placed in God’s archery bow with various tensions—dark moments taking him to near death—drawing him further back so he could be launched higher, for the sake of God’s mercy, love, covenant with His people.

 

In fact, God’s orchestrated deconstruction/reconstruction soul process in Jeremiah would mirror the work He eventually would do in the soul of the wayward Southern Kingdom of Judah—deconstruction (captivity) and reconstruction (redemption, restoration).

 

Jeremiah would be the prophetic voice of God to Judah . . .
still a Cohen (ritual priest) standing in for Judah
before the Lord,the Hound of Heaven,
the One whose relentless love would chase Judah into captivity
for a national deconstruction-reconstruction process.

 

Back story: Around 755 BCE, Amos and Hosea prophesied to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, who had long meshed their Judaism with paganism. Israel ignored the warnings and landed in the middle of God’s divine discipline: Assyrian captivity, 721 BCE after a three-year seige. But Judah was not so quick to learn from the idolatrous falterings of its fellow tribesmen.

 

And so, along came God’s love call. Jeremiah.

 

For twenty years, Jeremiah sounded the alarm of the impending seventy-year Babylonian captivity—gradual, in waves, beginning around 605 BCE, taking princes (like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah) for positions, then toward the end, deporting the poorest of the poor Judeans as slaves. He also encouraged them, prophesying about Judah’s restoration . . . and a new covenant in the future, where Torah would be written on our hearts.

 

photo by Eddie & Carolina Stigson on Unsplash

 

LIKE MOSES, FEELING UNREADY

 

Jeremiah’s calling was not going to be easy. He pretty much knew that going in. What was up ahead—a lonely soul experience with twists, turns, and chasmic drops—would break off any hardness and self-focus to uncover the soul’s holy hiddenness.

 

By God’s further command, there would be no wife. And no children. And no living his priestly heritage. No normality on any level. Only risks and danger—on the wings of a prophetic calling that would voice sorrow, pain, surrender, exile, and the promise of a future redemption for Judah, a nation whose “soul” was under the power of its earthbound vessel . . . unwilling, prideful, rebellious, delusional.

 

But you [Jeremiah], dress for action, stand up,
and tell them everything I order you to say.
Don’t break down or I will break you down in front of them.
For today, I have made you into a fortified city, a pillar of iron,
a wall of bronze against the whole land—against the kings of Judah,
against its princes, against its cohanim [priests],
and the people of the land.
They [Judah] will fight against you, but will not overcome you,
for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the LORD.
—Jeremiah 1:17-19

 

Jeremiah’s knee-jerk reaction? Like Moses, he thought God should look elsewhere.  His “I’m only a young man” response—the word is na’ar (נַעַר) in the Hebrew—reveals Jeremiah’s take on his lack of abilities and readiness.

 

A na’ar is a young man, defined by age (teen through twenties) or of marriageable age, and sometimes, rabbinically defined as not yet ready to fulfill his duties/position. (As an aside, 17-year-old Joseph in Genesis 37:2 was called a na’ar.)

 

Based on Jeremiah’s writings regarding his prophetic calling spanning five kings, his birth is set around 655 BCE. His prophetic calling began in the thirteenth year of King Josiah’s reign—putting him around age 25 – 29, as mentioned earlier in this post.

 

Jeremiah 1:6-7

 וָאֹמַר, אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה, הִנֵּה לֹא-יָדַעְתִּי, דַּבֵּר:  כִּי-נַעַר

אָנֹכִי. 

And I said, “You are my LORD, ADONAI, here I am (or alas/behold), I  don’t know a thing because I am a young man.

 

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלַי, אַל-תֹּאמַר נַעַר אָנֹכִי:  כִּי עַל-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר

שְׁלָחֲךָ, תֵּלֵךְ, וְאֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוְּךָ, תְּדַבֵּר.

And the LORD said to me, you shall not say I am a young man: because wherever I send you, you will go and all that I command you, you will say.

 

In the natural, I get why Jeremiah tried to excuse himself. To a young man who had yet to spread his wings, the call must have seemed like a galaxy beyond his skill set.

 

You can almost hear him logically deduce it like this: At least a man trained in spiritual matters, matured, married, and long observant in his priestly duties would be far better suited to attempt the task.

 

Jeremiah may have studied Torah,
but he had yet to swim in God’s deep, secret place.

He may have been a cohen,
but he had yet to personally know the dunamis (power) of God.

It was never about Jeremiah’s strength, knowledge,
bloodline, or abilities.

It was—and always is—about God and His strength,
plan, power, abilities.

 

God never goes for the obvious. Or the best suited, smartest, most educated, strongest. Remember how God reduced Gideon’s army of 32,000 down to a mere 300—and then gave Israel a mighty victory over the Midianites?

 

God will do what He will do . . . will be what He will be. His name and character are one and the same.

 
priscilla-du-preez-0X_xuOr_xbY-unsplash
 

HE IS: THE INEFFABLE HOLY NAME

יהוה

 

The bottom-line issue at this point is Jeremiah’s soul-body matrix. It’s out of sync.

 

His spiritual eyesight is off. His soul, confused. Human viewpoint/human standards vs. God’s heavenly perspective and power.

 

But God’s words are stirring a fire in Jeremiah’s soul.

 

The soul deconstruction/reconstruction process is in motion, beginning to part the Red Sea (so to speak) inside Jeremiah’s soul. God peels away the common—cultural mindsets, religiosities, human expectations, spiritual compromises, so Jeremiah can go on that à la Avraham wilderness-call journey to see with God’s perspective of what is good and right.

 

The famed “lech lecha” (לֶךְ-לְךָ) call . . . meaning go to yourself, for yourself, into yourself . . . and submerge into God’s secret place, His holy, murmuring deep . . . will change everything for Jeremiah—and the nation.

 

Because this isn’t a mission designed for a single man. God is working in Jeremiah’s soul for his own edification—and through Jeremiah’s soul, making him an instrument in His hands.

 

An instrument that would see what God sees, feel what God feels, and experience in the physical what Judah is doing to God in the spiritual. Soul to soul.

 

Two realms begin to clash—with Jeremiah as both the scapegoat of Judah’s contempt for God’s ways and the conduit for God’s convictions, discipline, and hope.

 

Jeremiah is becoming God’s prophetic lightning rod.

 

He attracts the fiery anger of Judah . . . while being consumed by God’s righteous, fiery words. Within those blasts of light, Judah’s soul condition is exposed.

 

There’s no place to hide. No place to run. There’s only surrender.

 

Ironically, it’s a bit of a replay. Previously, God had commanded Hosea to marry a harlot—a portrayal of God’s relationship to the adulterous Northern Kingdom. In that deconstruction process, Hosea’s soul touched the holy, the uncommon, and lived out God’s experiences with his bride, Israel: betrayal, sorrow, longing, calling for her return to righteousness.

 

photo: ancientresource.com

 

TWO SIDES OF SAME COIN

 

Moses had led God’s nation out of captivity—toward a promise—and for forty years dealt with their rebellion, grumblings, faithlessness, and near mutinies. And yet, he’d interceded for the people and pleaded with God to not take His presence from the nation.

 

Jeremiah prophesies for forty years to Judah’s deaf ears and stoney hearts, nearly dying by their hands . . . is beaten, put in stocks, flogged, mocked, imprisoned. And yet, he stands by them as they move toward their destined seventy-year Babylonian captivity—and waits, encouraged because of God’s promise of their return to Jerusalem and the Land.

 


I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years—

My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.

My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,


Have puffed and burst as sun-sta
rts on a stream.

—The Hound Of Heaven, Francis Thompson


 

And Jeremiah—like Moses in his soul-remodeling journey—undergoes layers of God’sdeconstruction/reconstruction process . . . slowly experiencing a holy, softening transformation where the sensitivities of the Father’s heart are infused into his own.

 

At times he feels sad, angery, appalled, or is overcome with grace, mercy, and hope. But at other times, he feels abandoned by God, then empowered by His presence. Don’t know about you, but that flip-flop of emotions sounds way too familiar.

 

I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me . . . so the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long.—Jeremiah 20:7b, 8b

 

But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. —Jeremiah 20:11a

 

It’s always a matter of who’s on first—your soul surrendered to God
or your earth-focused vessel partnered up with a darkened soul.
Therein is the battle within the battle.

 

Jeremiah learns that. The wilderness journey and the battle humble him. Knock the wind out of him along the way. The timing. The disappointments. The rage. The angst. The depression.

 

Tensions roll over him in every form, on every front. He once walked among the privileged, a cohen. Then he becomes an outcast.

 

But he can’t, won’t stop. Why? Because he knows his calling. He has surrendered to His king. Accepts and bears the yoke of the kingdom of heaven—עֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם.

 

photo by Michael Anfang on Unsplash

 

RUNNING WITH HORSES

 

High calling or not, Jeremiah still faces moments of exhaustion and wanting out. His soul can’t take much more. He is boxed in on all sides—sometimes, literally.

 

And yet . . . the yoke of heaven continues to move him forward.

 

If I say, “I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name,” His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.—Jeremiah 20:9

 

Atmospheres are challenged when God’s words flow through Jeremiah. But the cost is high. Extremely high.

 

If you’ve run with the footmen and they’ve exhausted you,
then how will you compete against horses?
You may feel secure in a land of peace,
but how will you do in the Yarden’s thick brush?
—Jeremiah 12:5

 

What is God conveying to Jeremiah? If you can’t keep up with the easier battle campaigns on the ground (footmen) when things aren’t that intense, how will you handle the thick of war?

 

A slightly closer look via the Hebrew fleshes it out . . .

 

כִּי אֶת-רַגְלִים רַצְתָּה וַיַּלְאוּךָ,

If you’re running/as in “rushing” (רַצְתָּה) with soldiers/footmen and they’re tiring you out (וַיַּלְאוּךָ)

וְאֵיךְ תְּתַחֲרֶה אֶת-הַסּוּסִים;

then how will you vie for/rival against (תְּתַחֲרֶה) horses [symbolic of army strength, an animal used for war times]

וּבְאֶרֶץ שָׁלוֹם אַתָּה בוֹטֵחַ, וְאֵיךְ

and in the land of peace you confidently trust in (or feel secure in), then how

תַּעֲשֶׂה בִּגְאוֹן הַיַּרְדֵּן.

will you do in the thicket (or raging/swelling or magnificence) of the Jordan?

 

In its glory days, the Jordan—which means “descender”—had umpteen curves with varying widths, from 75 feet to 200 feet. Many rapids and falls were along its course, which usually had a rapid, strong current.*

 

Sounds similar to a soul wilderness journey to me.
Being called down into His murmuring deep, descending into a place with rugged terrain and raging waters . . . an uncommon place where God alone is your road map.

 

Along his destined journey, Jeremiah learns how to focus on what God is doing—not what He’s removing during that soul wilderness process.

 

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? When God places any of us in a pressurized soul situation, we see what’s missing. What’s been taken away, diminished, lost.

 

We mourn for what was—and wonder when, if ever, we will return to some state of our previous “normal.”

 

We long for release and hope for a new normal—the promise of something within that immerses us into His holiness and transforms us so we aren’t even a shadow of our former selves.

 
edgar-hernandez-D2jfHCj7T-o-unsplash
 

PUTTING IT INTO PERSPECTIVE

 

Life isn’t easy. And trials of any magnitude are disturbing. But the point is . . . are you first seeking God and believing His Word, following His leading, and getting covered in prayer from trusted believers in Him—or is your soul dial set for auto-tilt?

 

You know, your spiritual compass hitting a “10” on the frustration richter scale.

 

Believe me, I’ve been there and can get there in no time, if I’m not staying in His flow.

 

That’s why Jeremiah 12:5 is special to me. God used it often to encourage me during one of my extremely difficult wilderness journeys.

 

When I didn’t think I could take another step, another hit, another disappointment—newly widowed, family issues, uncertainties on so many levels—He’d given me a vision . . . allowing me to see and hear the stampeding hooves of mighty horses.

 

Would I run with them or fall to the side? If these spiritual battles—in times of relative national peace with challenges common to humanity—would get me down, how would I ever finish the race against tougher enemies?

 

And what would I do in times of more difficult hardships or even persecution?

 

My soul knew the answer. It had to keep pushing forward in Him and with Him. But I had no strength on my own. Throughout that five-year process (and counting), I had to take it step by step, soul breath by soul breath.

 

I’m in process, learning to rest on this truth in Jeremiah 20:11 . . .
God is with me like a mighty warrior.

 

Read all the Soul Arrow stories:

 

I’ve had my God- designed wilderness journeys to deconstruct-reconstruct my soul. How about you? These posts can shed some light and encouragement: Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 1 and Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 2.

 

*Stats on Jordan from biblehub.com

 

CREDIT: Arrow photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

CREDIT: Horse photo by Michael Anfange on Unsplash

CREDIT: Desert photo by Eddie and Carolina Stigson on Unsplash

CREDIT: Ancient coin photo from ancientresource.com

CREDIT: Perfect Love photo by Priscilla DuPreez on Unsplash

CREDIT: Girl Looking Out photo by Edgar Hernandez on Unsplash

Article created July 28, 2015.

Soul Stilling: Three Hours Of Silence

By SoulBreaths Author [ 5 years ago ]

Under your tallit, Adonai, I will find refuge.

Come up to the mountain and stay there.” (Exodus 24:12)

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.
[Expanded from a 2009 post about Feasting within the Fast; revised January 2015.]

 

READING TIME: 7 MINUTES.

 

Soul whispering . . . that’s what I desire. Swimming in G-d’s murmuring deep. Speaking soul to soul. Listening for His stilled, small voice.

 

That means going higher to go deeper—not pitching my tent in the lower mountain places. A change in the physical moves the spiritual . . . and a shift in the spiritual births breakthrough in the physical. One vehicle for that: fasting.

 

But that’s fasting as He leads. That way it’s not about struggling, striving, wavering.

 

It can be done on many levels, many ways. A step away from food or certain foods, from daily living activities, from passions or distractions—replaced by time with Him, acts of mercy, prophetic intercession in the heavens that will set the captive free.

 

The deeper you press into heaven and His presence, the more the things bound to this natural realm dissipate. Revelation and movement within the heaven-and-earth connection during a fast often eclipses physical hunger. Your “food” is now spiritual . . . satisfying . . . energizing. Not of this world, yet co-existing within your physical world.

 

Fasting also helps realign your soul matrix. Your nefesh—the lower part of your soul that naturally gravitates to the things of this world—takes a back seat. The neshama, higher component of your soul’s matrix attached to G-d, is widened. It becomes a funnel for His whispers, His illuminations of the Word, and His revelations.

 

Your soul awakens and is released from nefesh’s gravitational pull . . . then ushered into His dark cloud of Glory. Everything around you may feel surreal. But in actuality, it was never more real. You are “seeing” with spiritual eyes and “hearing” with spiritual ears.

 

It’s there that you can enter the King’s realm . . . where His royal authority, unmeasurable majesty, untouchable holiness and unseen power are high, lifted up. You fall to your knees, overcome by His glory. Your soul trembles under the weight of His power . . . His love . . . His kingship.

 

Obedience seems to be no longer an option, but a soul-throbbing, unquenchable desire.
Earthly food and thoughts fade. During a deep-work fast,
you taste the real manna from heaven, the bread of the Almighty.

 

DIVINE ACCESS

 

I cherish the works and teachings G-d is instilling in my soul these days. But I also honor works He did in the past because they form the roots of what is happening within my soul today. Like this story . . .

 

The L-rd took three of my friends and me on a joint spiritual journey back in 2009—a year filled with “bridging” lessons that, personally speaking, catapulted my walk into new directions on many levels.

 

It all started by hanging out at His well with these three friends who desired to go deeper. We each came from slightly different spiritual backgrounds and approaches, but honored G-d and His Word. Judaic/messianic thought was respected. 

 

We agreed to meet regularly via phone for prayer and subsequent G-d-called fasts. The actual parameters of each fast differed and intensified per the individual intercessor—but the leading of the “when” and the “how long” always fell in absolute unison.

 

The L-rd had impressed on me that the various things He had me fasting from would last more than an appointed number of days . . . it would become my way of life going forward.

 

Throughout that first year, we ascended from group prayer time to a higher level of intercession and onto prophetic intercession, visions or words given, hearing His voice of what to say or do (or not) as we spiritually swam in His murmuring deep.

 

The bottom line lesson—obedience is birthed out of love for Him.

 

OBEDIENCE: THREE HOURS OF SILENCE

 

G-d kept fine tuning our ears and heart. On May 25, 2009, we entered our regular time for intercession via phone. But there was nothing “regular” about this special G-d encounter.

 

Simultaneously while on the phone—without any of us discussing it or sharing what we were experiencing—we each entered a stillness. No words. His Spirit fell over us to silence us and command us not to speak. We had learned from prior group experiences to hear and heed. And now we were taking the test. Would we obey . . . even if it made no sense in the natural?

 

Yep, with His grace, we would.

 

Three to three-and-a half hours later . . . He lifted the silence.
Amazing. We had sat in absolute silence on the phone in obedience.
None of us knowing what the other intercessory partners were thinking or doing.
All we had was our personal command for silence before Him.

 

THE MOSES MOUNTAIN

 

We also had to learn how to come up to the mountain and stay there  so we could walk in His healing and power—and not pitch our tents in the “low” places, walking in the damage of our souls. Love was rising and we had to make a conscious effort to choose love actions—toward our G-d, our King of Glory, our family, friends and those we encounter.

 

Adonai said to Moses (Moshe), “Come up to me on the mountain, and stay there. I will give you the stone tablets with the Torah and the mitzvot I have written on them, so that you can teach them. Moses (Moshe) got up, also Joshua( Y’hoshua) his assistant; and Moshe went up onto the mountain of God.  To the leaders he said, “Stay here for us, until we come back to you.”—Exodus 24:12-14*

 

BRIDGING SCRIPTURES & UNDERSTANDING

 

G-d’s take-away love lesson? Be still. Wait. He is King. Yes, we have access to His Holy throne room—but understand the seriousness of His Lordship. He is King and—as in ancient days of earthly kingships—we can speak when He, the King, directs. And in that time  of silently waiting for His “nod” to speak, we must rest attentively to hear His voice within our souls.

 

Psalm 62:6*. My soul, wait in silence for God alone, because my hope comes from him.

 

Judges 3:19*. The king commanded silence, and all his attendants withdrew.

 

Luke 11:28. But Yeshua said, “Far more blessed are those who hear the word of G-d and obey it!”

 

* Hebrew Bible reference numbers.

NOTE: Expanded from a 2009 post about Feasting within the Fast; revised January 2015.

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