Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jericho: the Heart (part 5 of 8)

The City of Palm Trees

An interesting definitional term or phrase for Jericho was “the city of palm trees,” (first called that in Deuteronomy 34:3) because not only was the city surrounded by the tallest and highest walls (which were manmade and thus a false/artificial protection against invasion; indeed, “Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” [Psalm 127:1, NKJV]), but it also abounded with palm trees (note: the date palm is the palm tree of the Bible and it grows dates—not coconuts—like the tropical palm tree).

Also, some Rabbinical sources claim that the date palm tree is the tree of life mentioned in context with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis.  Though this is uncertain, a noteworthy attribute of the date palm is its complete edibility or usefulness.  From the highest leaves and branches down to the roots, every bit of the date palm tree is either edible or useful to mankind.

The Hebrew word for a date palm means “erect” and came to represent a righteous woman.  They were said to resemble a woman standing; “Your stature is like that of a palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit.  I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.’”—SOS 7:7-8.  An erect or righteous woman, who can find?  She nurtures and provides for her household; she is fruitful.

Thus the date palm closely symbolizes the heart; she is not easily won and is fragile all the while—but it is absolutely necessary that she be won from the heart so as to motivate and inflame any worthy cause.  She is, indeed, at the center of all causes; she is the motherload, the milk and originator of the manchild.

Additionally, date palms grow in hot and arid climates and are an indicator (an oasis locator) of essential water; she is a diviner of life and represents the very spring of fertility and blessing that her roots draw from.  Hardly inferior to honey for sweetness, the processed date fruit this palm tree produces is a very desirable commodity.

Thus, the date palm appears to best represent femininity and mother love and care.  She is like the woman at the well; she is not the well herself, but a pointer to the well of life.  In Elim, a resting place for the children of Israel as they were leaving Egypt, they found twelve wells and seventy palm trees.  It was the seventy palm trees (elders or evangelists) that drew people to the twelve wells (tribal leaders or apostles).

Likewise, the lady at the well, and all womanly influence and grace (the bride of Christ) ought to point us to the well of life (Christ, the Apostle of our Faith).  Once the insatiable thirst is quenched (salvation), all the mothering palms are used to nurture and feed the newborn’s growing hunger.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Jericho: the Heart (part 4 of 8)

Thomas Bromley [1629-1691) wrote about all the places Israel stopped at in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land; in “The JOURNEYS of the Children of Israel, as in their Names and Historical Passages, they Comprise the Great and Gradual Work of Redemption” he says this about the last stop before entering Canaan:

The last Station of Israel here enumerated, is fix’d in the Plains of Moab.  They descended to it from the Mountains of Abarim, intimating further Humiliation in bearing the Cross, and submitting to Chastisements.  Moab signifies of the Father.  The Plains of Moab are the Plains of the Father, importing, that the spiritual Travellers are yet in the Father’s Work, not wholly out of that Dispensation, whilst under Moses or the Prophetick Light of the Law, yet leading to the Son.  By the Father’s Dispensation, I mean the first in the Order of Regeneration, exprest John6.44.  No Man can come to me, except the Father that hath sent me draw him.  As Israel was yet under Moses, whose Name Moshe signifies Drawing, or a Drawer, who had drawn the People out of Egypt, was now preparing them to submit to Joshua, as their chief Leader:  So all this was done in a Type, representing the Light of the Father, in the first Dispensation, drawing us to the Son, figured by Joshua.

Also, just before entering Canaan, just before the mantle of authority passed from Moses (the Sinai or Wilderness light [Law] and manna) to Joshua (the Promised Land light [gospel] and the cleansed produce [symbolically no longer cursed with thorns and thistles]),

The Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places; and you shall take possession of the land and live in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it.  You shall inherit the land by lot according to your families; to the larger you shall give more inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give less inheritance. Wherever the lot falls to anyone, that shall be his. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers.  But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live.  And as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you.’”  (Numbers 33:50-56, NASB).

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jericho: the Heart (part 3 of 8)

Indeed, the first and primary battle is the battle for the heart, the adulterous heart of harlotry, our Rahab-like heart, the battle for that which is the most fortified (the tallest and thickest walls surrounded Jericho); win someone’s heart and you win every subsequent battle, lose it, and you lose everything.  The capture of Jericho is about capturing the heart, and capturing the heart is about capturing the entire person (their mind, will, and emotion [their entire soul] as represented by the entire Promised Land).

It starts out in harlotry, in bondage, in worldliness, in Egypt (another name for Rahab) and ends in the fidelity of marriage between man and God (spirit to Spirit), having been cleansed by the power of the blood of Christ, and restored or placed back into a full inheritance in the lineage of Christ.

Most genuinely spiritual Christians know that the Promised Land represents their beings, and more specifically, their souls.  The spirit is utterly saved via the insertion of the Seed of Christ into it causing a bond no less strict than a marriage bond; the body of death, our mortal flesh, is already condemned, dead, and only animated temporarily now here on earth until we are given our immortal bodies in heaven; between the live spirit and our dead body is our suspended-between-life-and-death soul.

The soul is ground zero, the zenith location of the war between flesh and spirit; until we, by the Spirit, eliminate all the “ites” and giants, darkness and falsehood, carnality and sin, resident there in the soul, our Promise Land or Eden remains overcome with the weeds of yesteryear, the false-hope-flowers of indulgence, and the multitudinous lies of many devils.

So we peak or even culminate all things at the battle of Jericho; when it is conquered, it is finished, like as Jesus is the peak or culmination of all things when He declares “it is finished” from the cross.  But this is a positional truth, not an experiential one; we MUST work out our salvation into actualities; we have a part in manifesting Christ in our mortal flesh.  

The first mention of Jericho in Scripture is found in Numbers 22:1 (Amplified Bible): “The Israelites journeyed and encamped in the plains of Moab, on the east side of the Jordan [River] at Jericho.”  From the east comes enlightenment, either from God or wrong sources; the plains of Moab are the pastures of carnal Christianity; the Jordan River, which means “descending,” dumps into the lowest-lying spot on terra-firma, into the Dead Sea (where nothing can live).

Thus we see that its first mention is closely related to Moab, flesh, the false enlightenment of strange fire, and a cesspool-like death stench.  Again this negative sketch keeps accentuating the deceitfulness and dirtiness of the human heart before redemption.

It is noteworthy that even contemporary news about Jericho speaks of the heart and heart cleansing.  Daniel Treiman, writing for the JTA, a Jewish newspaper, wrote an article September 30, 2013 entitled “Downcast in Jericho, then and now.”  It was twenty years ago, according to Treiman, that Israel handed the city of Jericho over to the Palestinians.

The Palestinians [the land of wanderers, or of those who roll in the dust] were unhappy then and now because of economic problems and Israeli military forces too near and around the city.  Also, anger was still polluting the hearts of both sides because of past indiscretions; indeed, also according to Treiman, “Two decades on, we’re still waiting for a final agreement [concerning land control], and for HEARTS TO BE CLEANSED” (emphasis mine).

The Palestinians supposedly have the literal Philistines as ancestors (but it seems they have all died out); but symbolically at least, they still do.  They are those who often fought with Israel and Judah, who even once captured the ark of the covenant; they are a back-flowing or backfilling force, an inverted stream of life (thus a stream of death like a backed-up sewer line) polluting the heart with the Adamic nature or carnality.  They are why the heart needs perpetual cleansing, because the carnal mind (or heart) is enmity with God.