JUST COOL YOUR HEELS
An excerpt from CG Workbook Five Vol. IV: Pinchas
Pinchas is translated as "bronze mouth," which may or may not be flattering. As with most things, the contranym (a word that is its own opposite) is apparent with a little thought. The contraction of pi, which means the mouth (peh), with nachash, which means both bronze and a snake, produces Pinchas. On the negative side, a snake can be a deceiver and one who tries to usurp authority from human beings, and therefore from Elohim. On the positive side, bronze was one of the three metals the Israelites brought for use in constructing the Tent of Meeting, from the bronze laver to the brazen altar to the bronze sockets and pegs that held the structure together. There was even a wave offering of bronze, representing resurrection. (Exodus 39:29)
On the negative side, the fiery serpents (seraphim) bit the Israelites who rebelled in the wilderness. The great dragon of Revelation works in concert with the Beast. On the positive side, the seraphim are around the Throne, and the bronze serpent was the focal point to heal the Israelites. Yeshua compares himself as the Word to that bronze serpent being lifted up. Unless the Word is elevated over the nefesh of a man, healing cannot occur.
It is apparent that any "thing's" (davar = word or thing) goodness or evil resides with the choices man makes relative to that Word. Choose evil in disobedience, and the Davar manifests as judgment. Love and obey the Davar Elohim, and the Davar manifests as goodness, blessing, life, peace, and joy. Choose to exalt the serpent as the most cunning of the beasts, and live in judgment. Choose to submit to the Holy One surrounded by fiery seraphim, and enjoy the benefits of the fiery bronze serpent who heals and gives hope by revealing error in its mirror.
That is one of the benefits of bronze. There were women who served at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting (Exodus 38:8), and they donated mirrors to line the bronze laver, so as the priests washed their hands, they could reflect on how well the will of Adonai was being done in them as it is in Heaven. Although the specific duties of the serving women is not given in the text, their location at the doorway suggests working under an authority of Yeshua, who is both the Door and the Gate.
Doors in Scripture represent spiritual authority (see CG Workbook One). Bronze has a reflective quality that forces a human to examine his hands, his heart, and even his whole image as it relates to the perfection of Yeshua. Since the essence of a woman is to be an ezer kenegdo (Helper Against/Opposite Him), her innate ability to critique behavior according to the accepted standard of the Torah is a parable of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) at work, washing in the water (see CG Workbook Four: the Scarlet Harlot and the Crimson Thread).
This was how the bronze serpent became the agent of healing in the wilderness; it forced the rebels to examine themselves and their sin so that they would repent. Later when the thing became an object of worship, it became idolatrous, for no longer did it provoke self-examination. The thing is not Messiah himself, but a parable to teach about the necessity of repentance for sin so that Messiah may heal the afflictions of sin. Bronze, even literally, has us pegged. It drives home Truth like a nail.
Pinchas pegged Zimri and Cozbi in order to preserve the sanctity of the Tent of Meeting, and therefore the People of Israel. It must have been difficult for the elders, priests, and Levites to watch the sexual immorality and idol worship that broke out in the Camp. After so many miracles and judgments, they must have asked themselves, we are still reduced to this behavior? Have our kinsman learned nothing? Have they no remorse? The leaders sit around and weep in despair! All, that is, except for Pinchas. Not in our Father's House, Pinchas vows. Not in our Camp. Not in the holy spaces. Not in the inner places closest to the Testimony.
It is those who violate the more intimate relationships of trust who hurt the most: "Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." (Psalm 41:9) The idolatrous adulterers and fornicators daily had eaten the Bread of Heaven and drank miraculous water, but they lifted up their hot heels against the Holy One who gave them that Bread and water, yielding their heels to the Beast of the nefesh. The nefesh (soul: appetites, emotions, desires, intellect) is symbolized by the heel in Scripture. This is why Jacob is born clinging to Esau's heel, the place of the Red One's vulnerability. Esau's hunger and sexual appetites were a stumbling block as well as his self-serving intellect.
In a move that could have been construed as usurping Moses' authority, Pinchas, the brass mouth and bronze peg of the Mishkan, takes up a spear and nails the most brazen offenders. This is zeal for the House of Adonai. Was it good zeal? Zeal according to knowledge? (Romans 10:2)
Let's draw a today, right now, this second, transformational life lesson from this Torah portion. Look around social media, websites, blogs, teaching DVDs and video streams among Messianic/Hebraic Roots adherents. What stands out? Zeal for their cause. In every case, I'm sure that the teacher or blogger or poster is 100% convinced of the truth of their daily doctrine. Every imaginable anti-Torah system is attacked with zeal, and sadly, even other Torah-keepers. Because they interpret or practice the commandments differently, they are pierced with zealous words. Nail after nail is driven with words. I repeat, is this zeal according to knowledge?
A peg in the Mishkan was driven to hold the structure of the Tabernacle together, not to destroy the Israelites worshiping there. Pinchas' zeal was directed against blatant, willful, and proud violation of the express written Word. It was not directed against someone who questioned HOW to live out that Word. Questions of HOW arose all the time in the wilderness journey, and they were eventually answered with the help of appointed judges and Moses. For instance,
Can a woman inherit?
What if I am unclean for Passover?
Their counsel held the Israelites together outside the Land. It was the question of IF one should keep the Word that was answered with the zeal of mortal judgment. The Holy One in His anger challenges Job's comforters in Job 38:2:
"Who is this that darkens counsel with words without knowledge?"
Job's so-called friends became his adversaries when they simply took turns pointing out how he was a failure and deserved his punishment. Counsel is etzah, but it must be rendered with daat, or knowledge. Knowledge (daat) is beyond wisdom and understanding. It is a sacrificial love, a relationship based on intimate experience. When Adam "knew" his wife, she conceived. It is becoming one with the person. In the case of Job's counselors, they merely rendered counsel without experiencing his suffering or even bothering to render aid.
What if Job's friends had offered to treat his wounds, pray with him, or simply sat in painful silence with him while he grieved the loss of everything he held dear and let him pour out his heart? Their hearts were not breaking for Job; their hearts were lifted up in pride that someone who had attained such heights of esteem and spirituality had been cut down. They could now look down on him, gloat, and blame Job for his own loss. Their words were dark counsel without a shred of empathetic knowledge. Like Jonah who sat outside of Nineveh and hoped for its destruction in spite of his three-day experience with virtual death, Job's friends were not transformed by their faith.
Their words were information, not spiritual transformation. Zeal, but not according to knowledge. Their dark counsel was zeal according to self-righteousness and a sense of superiority. Their zeal broke apart the tabernacle of Job's body and soul; it did not connect the spiritual with the physical needs. How haughty. How arrogant. How NOT like the zeal of Pinchas, who knew how to identify and attack a true enemy of HaShem at the gate.
Pinchas and the women who serve at the door of the Mishkan are our mirrors of the spiritual Word. As the judgment season of the fall feasts approaches, they invite us to look into the Word and be transformed into zealous self-examiners and judicious defenders of our faith. Are we driven by the hot heel of our own intellectual pride, or a humble desire to strengthen those who are grieving and suffering within the Body of Messiah?
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