July 19, 2014

Brothers You Have Not Known

This week the portion in Isaiah is Isaiah 61-62. This section has stuck out to me for several years. I find it interesting to correlate this with the portion we read in Exodus 37-38.

On the surface, it seems like these two sections have nothing to do with each other. But after mulling it over, I realized that they really have a lot of comparisons. As the tabernacle is being crafted and built, so is the rebuilding of a nation. Both with the purpose of showing YHWH's light to the nations. Both so that He may once again dwell among His people. Both are made by man under the guidance and direction of YHWH. Both are a process, sometimes pretty, but mostly taking a lot of work and effort to melt down what was, in order to form it into something usable and pure; like clay in the potter's hand, it's worked into the pieces needed to make a complete building of a whole, united nation.

The thought came to me, when reading Isaiah 61:7, that this is that second time. A nation built in a day- this is now. The people took possession, and are struggling to keep it a second time. But those who are YHWH's and dwell there, are immensely blessed, even in times of trouble. It is dangerous, as it was in the time of Joshua. It is slow, as it also took many years for the armies of Israel to dis-inhabit the people who had taken it. It will certainly be hard. But it will also be blessed, as YHWH commanded and it was done.

I also have spent a little extra time on Isaiah 61:5 this week. "And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigners be your plowmen and vinedressers."

Beautiful. But does it mean simply those of other nations, pagan peoples, or brothers you have not known? I looked it up.

"Stranger" is Strong's H2114, "zoor", which means to turn aside (for lodging), to be a foreigner, strange, etc. In my Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible (by Jeff Benner), it is AHLB 1158-J(v), and here it states briefly, "one who is scattered abroad." More completely, the root word definition says, "The pictograph (zayin) represents the harvest. The (resh) is the picture of the head of a man. Combined these mean 'harvest of heads'. After the grain has been harvested and the heads of grain have been broken open, the heads are thrown into the wind where the chaff is blown away and the seed falls to the ground where they can be gathered."

This calls up Psalm 1:4, in which the righteous are planted by a river of life, but the wicked are "blown away like chaff."

"Foreigner" here, is Strong's H5236, "nekar", which simply says, "foreign, a foreigner." It is from H5234, "nekor", which gives this a little more depth. It says, "to look intently at, hence (with recognition implied) to acknowledge, be acquainted with, care for, respect, revere, or (with suspicion implied) to disregard, ignore, be strange toward, reject, resign, dissimilate." The AHLB 2406(N) definition is "Foreign- an unknown person, place, or thing."

The two terms both loosely mean stranger, but seemingly different from "goyim" meaning "heathen" which is specifically used in the following verse. This suggests that the passage may be speaking of those grafted into Israel, scattered among the nations. As in, they are strangers, because while not pagan, they are not someone you know, or have ever heard of.

This also brings to mind John 4, where Yahshua tells the disciples that the fields of the world are white for harvest, but that the laborers are few. And that you reap what you sow. He had just met with the Samaritan woman at the well, and this discussion was after she had gone to get her townspeople to hear Yahshua speak. The Samaritans -at this time, anyway- were open to hearing truth, but were not recognized by the leadership of the Jews in Jerusalem as friends or brothers in faith. In my mind, they are a representative group, in this parable, of all believers across the globe. We may very few of us get anything right, but many are striving to seek after YHWH, whether they are accepted by men, or not.

This theme is carried to Acts 25-26, where Paul is defending his testimony before Agrippa. He tells of meeting Yahshua on the way to Damascus, and being called to this purpose, that the fields of the nation be gathered.

Verses 16-18, "But rise up, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you a servant and a witness both of what you saw and of those which I shall reveal to you, delivering your from the people, and the nations, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and the authority of Satan to Elohim, in order for them to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are set-apart by belief in me."

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