Israel's Dirty Little Secret
2 Samuel 11:14-12:22
1 Peter 2:13-20
Korach's new rebellion is not new, but a continuation of the evil report against
Yisrael (The Land of Yisrael), its Covenant, and its People, especially its leaders
. Because the discontent resides in the generation, not in the contrived "problem," the rebellions will continue to arise in the wilderness.
This phenomenon is present in every generation. Among us are those who, no matter how soundly and thoroughly they are proven wrong, persist in wrong thinking, and therefore, wrong arguments. They may be "saved," yet chained to old ways of thinking. It is a matter of time until they rebel against the holies. Seeing the holy within the natural requires spiritual, not physical vision. Faith, not logic.
Then Moses sent
, the sons of Eliab; but they said, "
We will not come up
enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, but you would also lord it over us?
, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor have you given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards.
out the eyes of
men? We will not come up
!" (Nu 16:12-14)
Look for the chiasm in the previous passage. A chiasm is a pattern of matching concepts. Arrange them until you find the axis, or central idea that interprets the surrounding statements. Here's the pattern:
C. Axis, or central idea, the essence
Now arrange the ideas:
We will not come up
you have brought us up out of a land flowing
with milk and
honey to have us die in the
C. you would also lord it over us
you have not brought us into a land flowing
and honey, nor have you given us an
fields and vineyards
Would you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up
Here are the Hebrew clues to the rebels' hidden accusation. Look how many times they use the root ALAH, which is a hint to resurrection, like the olah offering:
We will not come
you have brought us
out of a land
flowing with milk and
honey to have us die in
you would also lord it over
you have not brought us
flowing with milk
and honey, nor have you
fields and vineyards
A. Would you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up!" (
lo na- aleh
At one level, some of the words are true. Things don't "look" how the Israelites expected. Their image of Israel was formed from their image of Egypt, from the natural, physical world. Moses would have to put out the eyes of the rebels for them not to see the barren wilderness and death all around them!
This is the difficulty of faith. We have faith in the Word, but even that faith is exercised from past experience. It is based on things we have personally seen and experienced. When Adonai promises something better, and it turns out to be as much or more trouble than before, it is hard to "see" the advantages of the destination, Israel.
The rebels taunt Moses with an argument that is hard to refute...
Would you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up
We see what we see, Moses. You can't sell this lifeless real estate as a land flowing with milk and honey. You can't tell us that we're going to inherit fields and vineyards when we look around and see this day after day...
Think of the rebels' objections. They "came up" (
) from Egypt, or Abaddon,* hell, and passed over the Yam Suf. It was a kind of immersion.
That's one type of resurrection.
The rebels say that they are unable to attain the Land, unable to "come in" (Bo) and cross the
. The rebels say that Moses is unable to complete the full transaction of resurrection, for they say "lo na-aleh," we will not go up in the future. Their physical bodies cannot be resurrected to live in Eretz Yisrael. People are still dying. Their anger is like Naaman the leper's, for Korach can mean healthy bald, or it can mean leprous bald or baldness associated with mourning for a corpse.
with his horses and chariot
, and he stood at the door of Elisha's house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "
Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean
became furious...and he said, "Are not the
, the rivers of Damascus,
better than all the waters of Israel?
Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, "My father, if the prophet
had told you to do something great
, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?"
So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
(2 Ki 5:9-14)
The Jordan (Yarden)
descends through the Land of Israel from its headwaters in the Galilee. It is from the root YARAD, meaning to descend. The Yarden represents the glory of Heaven in
, a river flowing from the Throne down through Israel. The Yarden
is a muddy, small river. Not great
. Not compared to the great Euphrates or Tigris.
But only in the descending Song and Shout of
can Israel ascend in resurrection, flesh restored like that of a child's.
Just look at this muddy river. More like a stream, isn't it?
Yarden (Jordan) is
a river that comes down and must be crossed in order to fully activate the Covenant of Torah, the Tree of Life, and its blessings. The river is like Yeshua, who humbled himself in human flesh to shepherd Israel back into the Garden of Eden and who resurrected in order that they could fully enjoy the delights of Eden in restored human flesh full of his glory. This journey is for the humble, not the high. We descend before we ascend. Those who defy Godly authority have difficulty with the descending part; therefore, the ascending can look impossible. Divine authority is discerned with spiritual eyes.
The Covenant was renewed at the Yarden before crossing into the Land, prophesying of a Torah that was not "too high" to attain through Yeshua, the descending River of Eden, from Throne above to Garden below. The Torah is for the humble of heart, not the proud. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. Without humility, attaining Israel can look impossible. Then we start blaming people. Hmmm...
Perhaps the rebels acknowledge salvation, but even with salvation, there is an additional transformation: resurrection of the physical body.
In Jewish tradition, one enters the Kingdom of the Lower Garden as a little child. This is pictured in
"resurrection" in the
. His flesh is restored as a child's. The resurrection is a transformation from a temporary body to one which is flesh.
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, '
Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all
.' And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. (Mk 10:13-16)
In another passage,
statement is equally strong:
Truly I say to you,
unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven
. (Mt 18:3)
This humble faith is required to enter the Garden. Until we are made suspicious by lies about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, we believe what our fathers tell us. That makes us more reluctant to believe what our Father in Heaven tells us. Past experience can be the enemy of faith unless we humble ourselves and "convert" to young faith.
The rebels deny that Israel will inherit milk, honey, fields, and vineyards. Jewish tradition says that the four rivers of Eden flow with:
These products represent a return to Eden, and the rebels simply don't see it. Ironically, balsam, a shrub of the field, grows quite well in the Tzin Wilderness where the Israelites camped. The balsam plant in the picture below grows in the Tzin wilderness today.
The balsam trees have a specific context, the Garden of the bride:
"I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam."
Israel is a matter of vision. What do you see? Giant problems? Wars? Immorality? Crooked politicians? Closed doors? High ticket prices? Chaotic government?
Are you disappointed that
it's not a Land
lowing with milk
nd honey like
was speaking and teaching the people based on an ideal that they had not yet realized. Tithes from what fields, Moses? What trees? What vineyards? We're in a desert!
All we have is this Manna! All the good stuff is in Egypt, not here! Can't you see, Moses? At least in Egypt, we could indulge in normal food and things until we died. And now you're teaching us that when we go into Israel...which is impossible, by the way...we have have to start giving tithes and firstfruits and keeping these strenuous laws of ritual purity and...and...and then we STILL are going to die!
It's no coincidence that the Torah portion includes a reminder of the Levitical and priestly tithes. As long as we're all equals and holy, Moses, then why give to anyone else for service? Let's all just keep our own stuff and we'll all be happy Israelite priests!
The script hasn't changed much, has it?
Tradition says that when Israel said "We will do and we will hear" at Sinai, that they could have entered the Garden when they entered Israel, and immortality would be re-attained. Instead, they blew it with the Golden Calf. They didn't really get what the Land was all about, so they lost hope in Moses' return. And they lost a resurrection to the Garden.
Learning and practicing the Word is sufficient until we go in and are able to do all of it. It's not too high for us. Are we able to do that without giving an evil report of the Land? We must see beyond the natural Land of Israel to its importance of humbling us to receive Messiah Yeshua, the descending river of Israel.
Leprosy really only broke out on important people for their arrogance and wagging tongues.
There's something to think about. When the plagues of Revelation activate the tormenting boils, there might be a general media and social media collapse because John prophesies the plagues on the person of high position as well as the low.
had authority issues, and therefore, leprosy issues. He was furious, a sign of pride, and he rebelled against the authority of the prophet until his servants basically said, "What have you got to lose?"
wanted to be treated in a way that recognized his high position. Immersing in the dirty little Yarden was beneath him. Dirty little Israel. Naaman was from Aram, a high place. Beautiful. Militarily strong. Prosperous.
What Naaman needed to see was what humility could accomplish. Resurrection. It wasn't a matter of finding the cleanest river, but the humbling crossing place of the Yarden, the Messiah, and a renewal of Covenant. He needed to love the physical Land of Israel because of its spiritual significance. The Garden of resurrection hovers just above it.
Once healed like a child, Naaman
humbly asks if it is okay
to escort his king into a place of idol worship if he consciously rejects the idol. He doesn't ASSUME he knows. He doesn't post his opinion on Facebook. He seeks from a man who is just a man. An equal human being, but an anointed prophet.
Instead of despising the dirty, rocky Land of Israel,
said, "If not, please let your servant at least be given
two mules' load of earth
; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the LORD
." (2 Ki 5:17)
See the heart change? He adjusts his primary allegiance to the Land in spite of the place where he's planted. Those who love the Land often collect things like this:
Or do this:
Well, Naaman started it!
There is a parallel in Korach with an earlier leadership rebellion against Moses, but take note of his character in both cases:
"Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); and they said, "Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses?
Has He not spoken through us as well
?" And the LORD heard it. (
Now the man Moses was very humble
, more than any man who was on the face of the earth
.) (Nu 12:1-3)
assembled together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "You have gone far enough,
for all the congregation are holy, every one of them
, and the LORD is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD
When Moses heard this, he fell on his face
Humility is the thing we remember about Moses. Moses knew how to descend, so he was able to see that Israel could ascend. He saw life, not death. He saw cures, not sickness. He saw obedience, not inconvenience and self-indulgence.
modern believers like Korach doubt that Israel is a land flowing with milk and honey? Do they believe that the land where they live is instead their inheritance, and Messiah will one day "take me home" without any work of faith on their part?
In the meantime, they are free to defy authority, subvert it, or simply walk away when it takes away from the comforts of self-glorification.
Israelites have a high calling. A
n Israelite knows that residing in the four corners of the earth is a PUNISHMENT to make our hearts long for home. Israelites study and apply as much of the Torah Covenant as they can to prepare for the return and resurrection. They can feel their "skin" changing already to conform to the instructions of Garden life. The physical Land is not "beneath" them because they know Who is above them.
For an Israelite in heart, there will always be a longing for the Land, Jerusalem in particular. The sense of displacement will vary from mild to severe.
They will leave evidence of their love, and there is enough evidence to convict them of their faith. There love is revealed in passport stamps, social media, wall art, music, bookcases,
, volunteer activities, vacations, etc. You probably see the evidence even before you walk in an Israelite's house. There will be a mezuzah or a "Shalom" doormat. You know where their heart is. They know the secret of Israel and Jerusalem. They know resurrection. They believe in the anointed one who came down.
Three events had to occur before the Israelites accepted Aaron's authority and Moses' authority to ordain him. Two human beings no different from anyone else except by humility and Divine appointment.
The death of
and his assembly alive through the swallowing of the Pit
The death of the plague on those who rejected Aaron
The budding of Aaron's rod
The budding of the almonds in Aaron's rod echoed the almond blossoms on the golden menorah, a sign of both the Seven Spirits of Adonai and His seven appointed times of intimacy with Israel. What made the third event different from the first two? Life.
When Aaron's rod blossomed, Israel accepted him. The fruit proved his anointing for service.
Israel and Jerusalem "belong to those who make it bud and blossom, to those who make it live and grow."
Grow where you are, if you are an Israelite, prioritize. Jerusalem first. What you do here is to prepare for there. And there is a there there.
The Levitical tithes and the tithe of the tithe remind us that relationships of authority with human beings is not always on merit, but Divine choosing.
The physical Land of Israel is not on the merit of natural rocks and dirt, but on the merit of belief in the resurrection, the stamp of The Name on Jerusalem and the engraved tribes of Eden's stones. Physical Israel is the launching pad from which we "go up." Love her not because of what you see, but what the natural world can't see. You know her secret.
Don't wait until the whole family can go with you. Joshua and Caleb looked over the Land without their whole families, but their whole families did return with them forty years later! Do what you can do. Go one at a time. Sink your fingers into the dust and hold the rocks. Carry them back to your loved ones like a baton, and say, "We can do it. Who's next?"
the rivers of
we sat down and
we remembered Zion
in the midst of
For there our captors
our tormentors mirth, saying
Sing us one of the songs of Zion
How can we sing the LORD'S song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forgether skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy
. (Ps 137:1-6)
If we do not love Jerusalem, we do not deserve to use our tongues to speak of anything. If we do not love Jerusalem, then we do not deserve to do anything. She is our chief joy. She is first. Our tongues and our hands were created to guard and work the Garden. Sing of her and work for her even though it brings a tug of sadness. That's okay. That's your Jerusalem compass working properly. A natural compass points north. Your spiritual compass points toward Jerusalem.
In my travels, many people give me little tokens of appreciation. In one city, an elderly lady handed me a box. I could tell that she didn't have much. I didn't open the box until I arrived back home. Inside was a scrapbook. It was filled with pictures of Israel and Jerusalem cut out of magazines, brochures, and pamphlets. The pictures went back decades. What she gave me represented the faith of her life, a gift of unspeakable value. In this natural world, she had so little, but the Kingdom was already rich and clear in her heart. Talk about humbling. She gave me a glimpse of true greatness in the Kingdom, and I saw how pathetically muddy and near-sighted my own vision. If I do not savor every moment of my time in Israel, then I have not honored the gift of the faithful, noble woman who could only experience it in the Word and pictures. For now. She knows what hovers just above.
Leave evidence of your love everywhere. New Jerusalem will descend. She is for the humble of heart who have loved even her natural dust. Jerusalem never reveals her secrets to the proud. The Tzin Wilderness will one day be filled with lakes fed from a river that flows out of Jerusalem. Fishermen will spread their nets, and the milk, honey, vineyards, and fields will prosper for those who see it. It will once again be "like the Garden of the LORD." Prepare for it. Believe it.
*Refer to archived newsletter, "Don't You Know Egypt is Abaddon?"
Sukkot in Israel 2019
October 10-22, 2019
We still have room!
Ready to walk the paths that Yeshua walked in the Galilee, open your eyes in the Tzin where manna fell each morning, pray at the Kotel, walk in the Sukkot Parade of the Nations in Jerusalem, and gather in the desert sukkah for fellowship, teaching, praise, and worship in the evenings?
Dust off your passport and click on
SUKKOT IN ISRAEL
to read the itinerary. A $500 deposit will hold your place in a tour that is filling up. Our maximum number of participants is 40. Although every Israel tour requires a lot of walking, this one will be easier on the feet because of the open windows of leisure time built in it to honor the sabbaths of Sukkot. Many thanks to Kisha Gallagher for her hard work on the itinerary to bring together a tour that respects Adonai's holy days.
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