Monday, March 7, 2016

Every Shepherd is an Abomination to the Egyptians

When Jacob/Israel came to Joseph in Egypt, he and seventy souls, it was advised by Joseph that they tell Pharaoh, when asked about their occupation, that they tend cattle (livestock) rather than tend sheep (shepherding), because “EVERY SHEPHERD IS AN ABOMINATION TO THE EGYPTIANS” (Genesis 46:34 NKJV).

When we realize that behind the etymology of the word “Egypt/Egyptian” is the human soul or self in ascendency, the soul/self or ego as divinity, we also realize why Israel (the new creation spirit) and her gentle occupation of shepherding is such an abomination to the fierce taskmaster Egyptian ego (the uplifted god of the soul/self).  Might is right in Egypt (where ego predominates), therefore Israel (the spirit), gently caring for timid, passive, blind and weak sheep is an abhorrent occupation—even a waste of time—to the haughty Egyptian mind, will and emotion aspect of man not fully delivered of her harsh over-lording inclination.

It was only after God took the children of Israel through the wilderness for the expressed purpose of humbling and testing them—to know what was in their heart and to see whether they would keep His commandments or not—that He took the second generation of Israelites across the Jordan into the Promised Land by way of Gilgal.  The first generation died in the wilderness (representing those called but not chosen; those merely soulish people who make themselves unworthy of spiritual perfection/maturation by not humbling their souls to the point of destroying an enlarged appetite for Egyptian culture).  Those who look back and become pillars of salt rather than those who look forward and become pillars in the house of God are the type I speak of.

“And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, ‘Who shall give us flesh to eat?’  We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: but now OUR SOUL IS DRIED AWAY [emphasis mine]: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes” (Numbers 11:4-6 KJV).  It is God who dries our soul away, not to kill us literally, but to kill overinflated appetites that, left unchecked, eventually DO kill us literally.  The second generation, however, crosses the descending river of death (the Jordan River)—and through HUMILITY, arrives at Gilgal.  There, the SECOND GENERATION (representing those born of the SECOND ADAM) are circumcised, and the reproach of Egypt is rolled away—and off of them—like a stone covering a tomb of death resurrected! 

Those who mock meekness, tears, repentance, humility, gentleness, kindness and ultimately love, are those whose worldview is seen through the dirty and fractured lens of their souls rather than through the clean and whole-white-light perspective of God resident in their spirits.  Egypt (the uplifted ego) dies at Gilgal while Christ (His Spirit married to our spirit) resurrects in the same place it vacates by the same operation; the circumcision at Gilgal is at the same time the removal of the soul in ascendency and the removal of the stone away from the entombed resurrection power of Christ.  The effect of this operation unleashes the revelation of the new creation, the soul now subjugated to the spirit of man married to Christ’s Spirit.  The gentle and lowly heart reign of the resurrected Christ is begun simultaneously as the reproach of Egypt is rolled away to reveal the reproach of Christ in its stead.

The idea of “reproach” is an interesting idea, and perhaps its significance is not immediately discernable; ultimately we are instructed to “go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13), but note the first usage of the word “reproach” in Scripture: “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.  And she conceived and bore a son, and said, ‘God has taken away my REPROACH [emphasis mine].’  So she called his name Joseph, and said, ‘The Lord shall add to me another son’” (Genesis 3:22-24 NKJV).  Both the concept of a new birth and adding a second son to her lineage are expressed in context with its first usage.
Basically the word reproach means “disgrace,” and dis-grace simply means “one fallen from grace.”  Rachel’s barrenness, however, was a disgrace so intrinsically tied to her nature that when she finally bore Joseph and prophesied Ben-oni, it took both her painful death and Jacob’s veto powers to overrule her dying declaration, “Ben-oni,” in favor of Jacob’s decree, “Benjamin,” to make sense of her role in the formation of Israel.  “And as her soul was departing, (for she died), she named him Ben-oni (son of my sorrow); but his father called him Benjamin (son of the right hand).  So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem)” (Genesis 35:18-19 AMP).  Alas!  Too many die in sorrow before they reach even a baby-Savior-lying-in-a-manger understanding.  When grace even for grace, and fullness rather than barrenness (“For of his [Jesus Christ’s] fullness have all we received, and GRACE FOR GRACE [emphasis mine]”—John 1:16 KJV) is available, why do we still fail, not only to be relieved from the “burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:6), but also to flourish in Israel?  I would suggest that the reason lies in our utter lack of understanding His ways.

Spiritual ascension is simultaneously achieved by natural declension.  We must die to live, become blind to see, mourn to be comforted, humble ourselves to be exalted, and many other dichotomous expressions of truth that speaks to the inevitable condition—the prerequisite condition—that makes resurrection life necessary: death!  Only resurrection life is eternal life (an utter transfiguring of natural life to supernatural life).  The soul in ascendency (the Egyptian reproach) must be transfigured (remade through a death and resurrection process) into the spirit/Spirit in ascendency (the Christ reproach).  The new Head of our humanity is Jesus Christ, our lowly and meek—yet also great—Shepherd of our souls.  When our soul is delivered from the heavy burden of an Egyptian TASK-master into the gentle and tender-loving care of our true Master, our soul REALLY begins to reach its fullness of purpose and contentment.  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls].  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.  For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne” (Matthew 11:28-30 AMPC).

And this is God’s plan, to remove the fierce, overbearing and delusional leadership bent of the ego uplifted inside our soul and to reorient her to a gentle, lowly and rightful position in subjection to our new creation spirit, not to squash or hinder our soul ultimately, but to remake her after the image and example of our Great Shepherd (who teaches us to empty ourselves rather than exalt ourselves).  This is, of course, an abomination to any Egyptian residue inside us left uncrucified.  Thus, instead of agreeing with God from the heart (which is comprised of the conscience aspect of our spirit and the mind aspect of our soul), we fight Him and call it the devil!  Doubtless, the devil comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but in whose hand is the devil but a puppet being manipulated to express God’s will?  Job was blameless insofar as he understood God and His requirements, but until he was tested, until he was stripped of his self-righteousness (his soul reliance), he was only half the man God intended him to be; once drained of all that self-reliance, however, he was doubly blessed (to the depth of his spirit in union with God inclusive of his soul, rather than merely to the depth of his soul).  Regeneration and spiritual life is therefore both lower and higher than soul life, going deeper in understanding and higher in authority simultaneously.  In spiritual reality, indulgence, which tends to fatten flesh, slims soul.  “They [the first generation Israelite] soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.  And he gave them their request; BUT SENT LEANNESS INTO THEIR SOUL [emphasis mine]” (Psalm 106:13:15 KJV).

“By faith Moses, WHEN HE BECAME OF AGE [emphasis mine], refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27 NKJV).  It is high time (noon time) in the day of realization concerning our responsibility to grow up into manhood.  “Since Christ suffered and underwent pain, you must have the same attitude he did; you must be ready to suffer, too.  For remember, when your body suffers, sin loses its power, and you won’t be spending the rest of your life chasing after evil desires but will be anxious to do the will of God.  You have had enough in the past of the evil things the godless enjoy—sex sin, lust, getting drunk, wild parties, drinking bouts, and the worship of idols, and other terrible sins” (1 Peter 4:1-3 TLB).

When Jacob died, his request to be removed from Egypt to the Promised Land, was symbolic of what all of us should do now: die to ourselves (draining ourselves of all Egyptian influence) and thereby placing ourselves back into our pre-Edenic constitution excepting one added element, the divine nature of Jesus Christ.  In the telling of the story of Jacob’s death, the writer of the account speaks of a great funeral for Jacob at a place called “the threshing floor of Atad.”

“Now when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, ‘This is a grievous mourning for the Egyptians.’ Therefore it was named Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan” (Genesis 50:11 NASB).

There is much revelatory illumination in this single verse.  “The inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites” are of course transitory, their land having been promised to Jacob/Israel forever.  Canaanites are “traffickers” or “merchandizers,” those busybody-types which sew multiplicity and discord perpetually.  If Egypt represents self as king, the Canaanite represents self as currency in the Egyptian kingdom of the world.  To the Canaanite eye, this “grievous mourning” is both ostentatious and foolish, just as “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV).  “The threshing floor of Atad” means “the threshing floor of the thorn” and it prefigures the operation of the cross in relationship to the curse.  The first Adam (Jacob)—cursed in his present constitution—is sewn natural, and the second Adam (Israel)—blessed in hope by the deposit of a guaranty of performance by God to raise us up with Christ—is raised spiritual.  Indeed, “The resurrection of the sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body...the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit...the first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly...flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 47-50 KJV).

This second part—resurrection reality—cannot be seen by the Canaanite eye; its eye is blurry and undiscerning for want of stillness and direction of focus (it only looks to self and therefore has no time or inclination to look to the Lord to be saved).  “Abel-Mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan” means “grievous mourning of the Egyptians,” but more precisely, “grievous mourning of the two distresses beyond the downward flow of life into death.”  Though it is clear that “It is appointed unto man once to die” (Hebrews 9:27 KJV), it is also clear that “He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death” (Revelation 2:11 NASB).  Thus, the duplicitous nature of the soul in ascendency in the being of an Egyptian Christian (where the spirit/Spirit is king, but where a usurping soul yet lives) causes him to DOUBLY DIE; his “grievous” mourning is hopeless both now and in the future.  As the apostle explained it, “For [godly] sorrow that is in accord with the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but worldly sorrow [the hopeless sorrow of those who do not believe] produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10 AMP).

It is undeniable that the first generation Israelite never had the reproach of Egypt removed; consequently, they died in the wilderness grievously uplifted, full of themselves, with no Promised Land in their future.  And these first generation Israelites exist today, those DOUBLY DEAD Egyptian Christians (those born dead in Adam [one death], who came alive in Christ, but then died again [second death] before the image of Christ finished imprinting them).  Yet this common sort populates pulpits and pews everywhere today, and because of the blindness pride creates, they feign to teach second generation Israelites the truth!  Indeed, “These men are hidden reefs [elements of great danger to others] in your love feasts when they feast together with you without fear, looking after [only] themselves; [they are like] clouds without water, swept along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, DOUBLY DEAD [emphasis mine], uprooted and lifeless; wild waves of the sea, flinging up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of deep darkness has been reserved forever” (Jude 12-13 AMP).

Of course, when the second generation Israelite crossed “the downward flow of life into death” (the Jordan River) it rolled all the way back to Adam, thereby breaking the covenant with death that held them in hard bondage to their Adamic nature.  “The waters which were flowing down from above stopped and rose up in one mass a great distance away at Adam...those [waters] flowing downward toward the...Salt Sea (the DEAD Sea), were completely cut off” (Joshua 3:16 AMP).  The Red Sea is representative of natural birth; the Jordan is representative of supernatural birth.  All experience the first birth, but alas, only a few GENUINELY experience the second birth.  Each birth has an inception as well as an exception.  Just as many never reach manhood in the first, many never reach manhood in the second.  Mature sons are God’s idea and ideal.  “He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).  I agree with Matthew Poole’s assessment of this verse, “It is a promise to perseverance, especially to such perseverance as is joined with fortitude. He that shall not be tempted to apostasy through the afflictions of the gospel, but shall patiently and courageously endure all the sufferings which shall follow the profession of the gospel, shall be saved.”

“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again.  Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding.  Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.  You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.  For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God.  It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.  When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing.  But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.  Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation” (Hebrews 6:1-9 NLT).

To reiterate, at its root, the meaning of Egypt is “the soul in ascendency.”  Those of His people who are enemies of the cross of Christ (the only means by which to deflate the soul's tendency to “puff up”) resist the Holy Spirit and by that mean habit make themselves apostate.  The lowly and gentle spirit/Spirit in us must rule over our Egyptian TENDENCY toward ASCENDENCY; the cross of Christ, which no doubt eviscerates the soul’s visceral life, must be embraced rather than shunned if we are to press past the delusional light of our own making into the pure and perfect light of “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17 KJV).  As my Facebook friend and minister Michael Scott Sr. has so eloquently put it, “Legalistic religion provides a playground where the ego can play with the same toys it did in carnality and deceive the mind that a real move and change has taken place.  Only in the Light of real oneness with the Father though the revelation of the indwelling Christ is territory apprehended where the ego no longer has a controlling say in the soul.”

“Now may the God of peace [the source of serenity and spiritual well-being] who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, THE GREAT SHEPHERD [emphasis mine] of the sheep, through the blood that sealed and ratified the eternal covenant, equip you with every good thing to carry out His will and strengthen you [MAKING YOU COMPLETE AND PERFECT AS YOU OUGHT TO BE—emphasis mine], accomplishing in us that which is pleasing in His sight” (Hebrews 13:20-21 AMP).