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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

“NAPHTALI”

“And Bilhah, Rachel’s maid, conceived again and bare Jacob a second son” (Gen. 30:7).

We have no record concerning the elation that Rachel must have felt once she had a child that she called her own. Anyone who has experienced the anticipation of an impending birth and then realized the joy of the arrival of a newborn can well imagine the atmosphere in Jacob’s tent when Rachel held Dan in her arms and bore him upon her knees. What a relief to her mind as this huge burden was lifted from her soul. God had finally judged her worthy of a child and had, through her handmaid, blessed her. He knew the pain in her heart and the confusion in her mind. He had heard her cry and, acknowledging her feelings of shame and reproach, granted her the desire of her heart and it was not enough.

It is hard to imagine that had Rachel been satisfied with the result of her endeavours she would have sanctioned these continued physical encounters between Jacob and Bilhah. Even though it was her idea that this combination was the means to the end of her having a child to call her own and she had told Jacob to treat the servant woman as a wife, Rachel never intended that the handmaid should replace her as Jacob’s beloved. Jacob and Bilhah continued to have a sexual relationship which resulted in the conception of a second child.

The natural instinct for motherhood still existed in Rachel and the manifestation of one surrogate child did not satisfy this instinct because she had not had the experience. What she needed, and we know this because it came to pass at the appropriate time as ordained of old, was to be able to say to Jacob, ‘I am with child’. She knew nothing of the physiological and psychological changes that needed to take place in her body undetected by anyone else but herself. She did not know those private moments when she knew something was different but could not ask or tell anyone for fear that it was a false alarm or a serious problem with her. She had not experienced those days, weeks and first months when, hoping for the blessing, she waited in silence. She did not watch as her body changed shape, her moods and appetite changed from moment to moment. She did not feel the little life growing within her as he moved and matured into the baby that would come forth. But most of all, she did not experience the pain and hardship of the labour it took to bring forth the child.

What she thought she needed was just a child and the birth of Dan did not satisfy this need because she had no experience. The position as the first chosen wife, the privilege of being the Beloved and the child in her arms are vain dreams without the experience. Many call themselves by the name of Jehovah. They have the right words and even go through the motions but the have no root and have not experienced the indwelling of the Spirit within. Without the experience, “this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouths and honoureth me with their lips but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8).

Rachel had been convinced that she needed to take matters into her own hands to solve the problem of her bareness. The apparent success of this maneuver persuaded her that there was now a way for her to even the score in the competition with her sister and prove who was the better wife to Jacob. (I say apparent because it was indeed no success as the problem only deepened and intensified.) The scripture gives indication of this deep seated conflict in the pronouncement at the birth of the second child.

“With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister and I have prevailed

This perceived competition emanates from the false premise of her needing to secure and maintain Jacob’s love. Through the logic of a corrupt mind it escalated into the erroneous conclusion that her condition was because of her sister. No where in the record is there any indication of any physical altercations, verbal confrontations or inferred animosities between them, at this time, yet Rachel calls this to be a ‘great wrestling’. And not just a one time confrontation either, these were ‘great’ wrestlings. Her adversary was not the God of all creation who has set the times of the inhabitations for all of Adams descendant, the one who had created her and fashioned her body exactly as He determined to be good and the one who causes the fertility, conception and forming of the bones in the womb, no sir, her inveterate foe was her sister. What had Leah done? As stated before, her involvement with Laban’s deception is unknown. Her subjugation to Jacob as her husband and lord is evident yet he loved her not. So the only thing left is her fertility which she had no control over any more than Rachel had control over her infertility. Never the less there existed, at least in Rachel’s mind, a great conflict.

This was not just a normal sibling rivalry or an example of trying to keep pace with her sister’s accomplishments; this was a wrestling of such magnitude that she had concluded it to be a divine conflict. It was an enormous all inclusive contention, exceedingly complicated and vigorous, that captivated her mind and consumed her soul. It was of such magnitude that it was a confrontation of the gods (‘great’ - Heb. ‘Elohim’). Rachel had been touched in the very core of her soul with the magnitude of this engagement and to her the end was justified by the means and when she felt that she had moved God to make her the winner, she consented that those same means should continue to be employed. She had overcome all the perceived hatred and competition and had not only won the day but she had prevailed over her opponent. Like the mythological stories of old and the false doctrine of the worshipers of the power of the flesh, Rachel concluded that God had taken notice of her efforts and had rewarded her diligence. That is a god who is a respecter of persons and a rewarder of actions, not the Sovereign God who rules and commands.

And how had Rachel prevailed? She was rejoicing because she had prevailed over her sister a second time through a carefully constructed set of perverse ideas and cunning deception. The facts in her mind, as she thought she understood them (her barrenness, her sister’s fruitfulness and Jacob’s love) were twisted together, being interwoven with natural logic. She was well accomplished in treachery, craftiness and deceit. This linear logic, myopic vision and all consuming obsession had made her pathological; (‘governed by compulsion, the irrational impulse to perform some act’). Thus the word which was inspired by the Holy Spirit to be written for our learning (Rom. 15:4) is the word ‘pathal’ (to struggle, twist or wrestle; to be crooked; deal treacherously; to be crafty with deceit). How appropriately does Rachel name this child, ‘Naphtali’, my strife, my craftiness, my deceitfulness, my wrestling.

Here was a woman who had the love and devotion of her husband. A love she did nothing to obtain or earn and one that she could not diminish or extinguish in any way. He had given her many tokens of this affection as a reminder that his love was hers and hers alone and yet her surety, of these affections was not based upon this most precious yet intangible proof. She needed something she could see, something she could hold as a token that she could parade about and wherein she could boast. She became fixated upon that which could be seen and attempted to prove her worthiness by the works of her hands. The trial and tribulation that she had been given by the hand of God was to walk after the flesh and live by sight. This is idolatry.

The natural man is of the earth and therefore his security, his desire and his contentment is in the things of this earth. That which he can decipher and discern is according to the natural senses which he has been given (sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing) and he remains ignorant to anything that can not be discerned accordingly. He expends enormous efforts to discover the ‘proof’ of a matter or the ‘logical explanation’ for all the mysteries of the universe and would rather live and die on a theory or conjecture rather than accept something by faith. Rachel, after the nature of Adam, could not find peace, comfort and satisfaction in the fact of the love of her husband which he had demonstrated to her on many occasions was true. The natural demonstration of his worthiness through his lineage, strength, faithfulness and wisdom were insufficient to cause the eyes of the flesh to see his love. No matter how many times he told her that he loved her, the ‘fact’ was that Leah was having children and being blessed of the Lord and Rachel was not. Therefore she had arrived at the conclusion, based upon conjecture, that Jacob did not love her for if he did, he would have given her a child.

A common misconception, when judged by the barometer of human logic, is the equating of tangible possessions with the blessings from above and the troubles of life with the judgment of God. Most religious groups conclude that God is showing forth His approval for their ‘labours of love’ by the number of participants in ‘ministries’ of man, the number of converts from the ‘evangelical outreach programs’ and the abundance of wealth in the treasuries. Every man-made religious institution throughout the ages has judged their success by these standards and the more ‘successful’ they become (the more followers they have and proselytites they make) the more they flourish in approval and acceptance of the world. Not so many years ago, this storehouse of prestige and influence was exploited for political gain and it continues today, even though, “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). The Pharisees would encompass sea and land to make one convert to prove that their Holiness was accepted before God, “and when he was made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matt. 23:15).

Building upon this flaccid foundation of impropriety and arrogance, the participants are indoctrinated in the imperative nature of the programs for God, the church and themselves. They are shown the statistics of the previous years that demonstrate the increase of the numbers of ‘souls snatched from hell fire’ as incentive to continue the work. They are told that if one perishes because of your neglect or tardiness, his blood shall be required at your hand. This fear and spiritual paranoia is the night warden for when no one is around to remind the workers of their responsibilities. The learned and more spiritual leaders, who after years of conditioning by hard labour in the ‘harvest fields’ of the world and are oftimes the beneficiaries of the accumulated wealth, are now the task masters of the vineyard. They lay the whip of duty faith hard upon their backs and daily increase the required tally. These ‘labourers of the vineyards’ are led about as beasts of burdens driven on by the proverbial ‘carrot’ of promises hanging before them. They are tantalized by the wishful dreams and promises of future ‘crowns and rewards’ which shall be presented to them by a grateful god for the work they have done in promoting and sustaining His kingdom. Then shall they praise their god by casting these hard earned trinkets at his feet and thus procure his eternal gratitude.

The best method for securing peak efficiency out of these diminutive drones is a healthy dose of competition. This is normally accomplished by concealing a mild dose of ‘hemlock’ in the cool waters they drink to quench their thirst. It is disguised as a reminder to all ‘good and faithful servant’ here on earth of the blood that shall be required of them if they do not ‘maintain’ these good works. Then shall there be showers of blessings from on high for when the church community is ‘zealous’ of good works they shall be rewarded from heaven by having their basket of blessings well shaken and packed down to overflowing. Good stewardship is therefore not the ‘good works’ that the true child of grace has been created in Christ Jesus unto, but an all consuming obsession with an outward demonstration in attempt to prove their faith.

If one of these ‘babes’ intimates that the work has been finished in Christ Jesus, then he is accused of being slothful. To think to presume that ALL the work has been completed as foretold in the law and the prophets, by one greater than all, is to neglect an imposed duty to the master and is tantamount to treason against the cross. And should the Word be preached, by some ignorant backwoods preacher who has no formal education, no letters of accommodations after his name and a congregation of two or three, that true good works have been ordained of old in Christ Jesus, assigned unto His chosen people and are being performed daily in complete accordance with the will of God, then are the anathemas of the pious pundits sounded forth against the minister of the gospel of glad tidings of great joy.

Rachel’s hope chest had only one gem and that wasn’t really hers. Her barrenness had left her far behind in the numbers game, her prospects were dim, her hopes were fading and her options were limited. Therefore she dealt treacherously with her sister and she believed God had rewarded her with a second son, Naphtali. But there can be no mistake, God does not reward people for actions especially one that is based on idolatry.

Idolatry is the same as covetousness. Both are founded in the inability of the flesh to be content with such as has been given and the insatiable desire for that which it does not have. Idolatry is the worship of things seen and the desire for those things is covetousness. Covetousness is the desire for that which gives pleasure or the acquisition of possessions; the turning aside after, lusting after or longing for that which is outside the realm of control. Rachel saw the thing that her heart desired more than life itself and was irrationally overcome with the tenacity and zeal to obtain what had not been given unto her. With this goal in mind, the manner in which it was to be obtained did not matter. The prize must be secured at any and all cost. There was no care taken in consideration of any modesty, honesty or virtue as there existed no rules for engagement. In short there was no care or consideration for her sister, Leah, no respect for the will of God and no contentment for the love of Jacob. The primary objective was hedonism (self gratification), with a side order of the pride of life for a false sensation of self worth.

“From whence cometh wars and fighting among you? Come they not hence of your lusts that war in your members?” (James 4:1).

Criticism and condemnation for Rachel is completely unwarranted here since she is an example for our learning specifically about the nature of Adam. Her doubts, fears and anxieties are common to all descendants of the garden and are inherent to that which was formed from the dust of the earth. Adam is driven by that which is seen and constantly strives for that which he does not have. This is contrary to the nature of the inner man whose affections are set on things from above (Col. 3:2) and thus they strive one with the other. The natural man is drawn away by these lusts because that is how he was created by the wise and master builder who, according to the good counsel of His will and the power of His strength created all things ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31). These God given desires draw man after the things of the land and when these natural lusts have conceived they bring forth sin and sin when it has finished it’s assigned course brings forth death (Jam. 1:15). This is the manner in which God manifests the inability of Adam to measure up to the standard of the Holiness of God. This is the decree of God’s creation which is common to all for, “every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed” (1:15). This law of the members of Adam wars against the law of the quickened mind enlightened by the Spirit within and brings the child of grace, living in hope of glory, into captivity to the law of sin which dwells in Edom. Thus the creature within groans and travails in pain waiting for the deliverance and the manifestation of the sons of God.

True love and contentment is not natural or instinctive to the inhabitants of the land. They have not the ability to love another in the manner in which the law of God commands. Even in the natural marital relationship, true love to the extent that the husband would love his wife as himself, is foreign and to intimate that Adam would sacrifice himself for another is absurd (Roms. 5:7). The true love of the Father for the Son is because they are One. The Father does not love the Son because of His obedience and achievements and the Son does not love the Father because of what He has given Him or what His inheritance may be. The joy that was laid before the Son was the glory that He had with the Father before the world began and the eternal covenant of love for His seed. This everlasting love is not contingent upon anything other than the Oneness of the Godhead, having His seed and His Bride in Him. The Anointed came forth to redeem His people, who had become partakers of flesh and blood and had been found guilty before God in the transgression of Adam, from the Law, fulfill that Law in righteousness, deliver His elect from the wrath of God, raise up His Bride together with Him, build His house, His church, upon that Rock, the Elect corner stone rejected of man, and to glorify a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an Holy nation and peculiar people (I Peter 2:9), in Himself unto the Father because of this amazing love.

“Of Naphtali; Ahira the son of Enan” (Num. 1:15).

Naphtali is another son of Jacob that remains an enigma throughout his childhood. Nothing is recorded about his interaction with the other brothers and sister and nothing is said about who he marries, but here the scripture records that the son of Naphtali is the renowned prince of the household. God had instructed Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, that there should be one man from each tribe who was to be designated as the head of that household. Ahira was set forth and assembled together with the other princes of the nation of Israel as the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers and heads of thousands in Israel; “And they assembled together on the first of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of their names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls” (Num. 1:18). This numbering was for the purpose of establishing the strength of, “all that were able to go forth to war in Israel” (1:45) and to set forth that the chosen people of God went down into Egypt twelve sons of one man and came out a mighty nation, six hundred and three thousand, five hundred and fifty strong.

Naphtali and his family were numbered at fifty three thousand, four hundred and this man was their famous leader. Unto him it was also assigned the responsibility of representing the family in the donation of the gifts to the sanctuary (Num.7:78). He occupied the position as the emissary to the sanctuary of the sin and peace offering before the Lord. He stood at the head of the host as the standard bearer for the household of Naphtali as he took his place, directly behind the house of Dan, in the procession of Israel. These were quite honourable and prestigious positions bestowed upon a man of whom nothing else is known save this; Ahira’s name means “my brother (kinsman) is evil” and he is the son of Enan which means “having eyes”.

This near kinsman of Naphtali was not an evil man because he had two properly functioning eyes but rather his iniquity is demonstrated through his eyes. He was fashioned, in Adam, to be evil from the beginning, being of the earth, and his eyes, being an essential component of how he was created, nourish and support that wickedness through the lust of the eyes. Everything this man did was confined to the linear plain of reference of the things that are of this world and all that he experiences is evaluated by what he can see. So it is with all the seed of Adam.

This point of reference permits him to judge himself in comparison to others, evaluate his place in the station of life and justify his condition. It dismisses those less fortunate than himself as inconsequential and demands that he distance himself from those that are unprofitable to him. He then evaluates those who are more or less equal to him, in his station of life so that he can arrogantly establish his own righteousness, saying, “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week and I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:11). Finally he gazes upon the affluent and prosperous as his standard of excellence to strive for in the work of his own hand. He is a self made man who loves his creator as he proudly announces, “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for thee for years, take thine ease, eat drink and be merry” (Luke 12:17). He is a man after the nature of Esau whose home is of the earth, his appetite is satisfied with the provisions of the land and his eyes are comforted in his natural surroundings. But he is akin to a conflict and stands as the chief of the host and standard bearer of the family.

If his family were all one in thought, word and deed, being all evil, then there would be harmony and peace. There would be no struggle or discord as every member of the family would speak the same thing, have the same goals and expectations and enjoy each others company. They would have the comfort and joy of this world and walk together being agreed (Amos 3:3). They would be unified in purpose, harmonious in conduct and their eyes would be singular. No treachery, no deceit or conflicts would arise as the beasts of the field would live in peace. But such is not the case.

This evil man has a brother or kinsman who has been divided of God (Jehzeel), is defended (Guni), fitly framed or set as a foundation (Jezer) and has had a recompense paid for him (Shillem) (Gen. 46:24 the meaning of the sons of Naphtali). This kinsman is not of the dust of the earth and has been given eyes to see that which cannot be seen by his wicked brother. These two are diametrically opposed to each other. One has a vision of glory and the peace that is not of this world while the other dwells in the dust of the earth. Never shall the two capitulate nor yield as the son of Adam cannot receive the things of the spiritual and that which is born from above has no need for, desire in or inheritance of the things of this world. Therefore they are as incompatible as Jacob and his kinsman Esau. They have struggled together from the beginning and remain as separated as these they were from their mother’s womb. They are two nations in the womb and two manner of separated people (Gen. 25:23) who each became a mighty nation. Yet the elder was made week and the things of this world could not sustain him as he became servant to the younger. All of Esau’s cunningness and natural ability could not assist or comfort him, so also it is with this evil brother who, though he remains contrary to his kinsman who delights after the Law of God yet shall he wax old like a garment and fade away.

Although Ahira is positioned at the front of the host of the family he is not in command of the nation or the tribe. He stands second in order behind the judge (Dan) in the placement of the inheritance and is in subservience to his movements. The judge stands between the ‘struggle’ (Naphtali) and the nations of the north (Assyria, the rod of the anger of God and the staff of His indignation {Is. 10:5}) and this ‘wrestling’ precedes the blessing (Asher). This order is not by accident or in any form random. God set them in this order to demonstrate the precision of His design in the lives of His elect family while they are in the world. The evil brother, (Ahira), having eyes to see the wind and the waves, the treasures and allurements of this world, is led about or follows after under the tutelage of the judge, who continually shows him that which is required to be Holy and acceptable before God and, at the same time, condemns him in this revelation for his failure to hit the mark. The judge is the schoolmaster, as he represents the Law, to bring the one who is experiencing this contradiction of sin against himself to the answer for and the deliverance from the body of corruption and the peace that passes all understanding, Christ Jesus. These two together, the judge and the conflict, in proper order dwell next to and with the blessing (Asher) of the dwelling (Zebulun) of the child of grace in an earthen vessel.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took thereof and did eat and gave also to her husband with her and he did eat” (Gen. 3:6)

The first temptation which God sent to man by the hand of the serpent was one of sight. He did not send the most subtle of His creation to man to argue logic or reason or to his wife to engage in a theological debate. Satan approached the weaker vessel with questions about what God had said and doubts about what He meant. Then he deceived her with the false promise that to eat the fruit would make her equal with God and procure to her eternal life. Notice well that Eve did not succumb to his treachery but rather when she, having eyes to see, saw the tree and the potential benefits which she thought she needed, she took and ate. She was not content with who she was, how God had created her or the station she was assigned and therefore she desired what she had not been given of the Creator. Herein was she deceived and was in transgression (I Tim. 2:13). Her earthly nature, which she received in the creation in Adam, coveted that which was pleasant to the eyes and not having the knowledge of good and evil she took the fruit and did eat. When she gave the fruit to her husband, being with her and unable to stop her or to dissuade her from the words of the serpent or the desires of the flesh, he followed that same nature, since they were bone of bone and flesh of flesh, and did take and eat, and their eyes were opened.

They had begun in communion with God, face to face, having eyes to see all of creation, to look upon the serpent and admire the ‘Tree of Life’ and the ‘Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’ and to desire the fruit of the ladder above the eternal life of the former, Adam and Eve were blind to the fact that they were both naked and neither of them was ashamed. When they took and ate, being tempted without the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened to their need for a covering before God and yet they were blind to their own guilt. Eve blamed the serpent, Adam blamed Eve and then God but neither acknowledged their responsibility and guilt before God. This is the blindness that the Elect Servant of Jehovah was sent forth to remove from all His people in all nations, “I Jehovah have called thee in righteousness and will hold thine hand and will keep thee and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles: to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners from the prisons and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (Is. 42:6).

When John the Baptist was imprisoned, he questioned whether Jesus was the Christ and he sent his disciples to Him to enquire of Him. John was expecting a triumphant Messiah who would put down all earthly powers and set up His kingdom on earth, just like the modern theology of the end times is taught today. Jesus, whose kingdom is not of this world, told the disciples of John, “Go thy way and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and to the poor the gospel is preached and blessed is whosoever shall not be offended in Me” (Luke 7:22). When Jesus came to the man who was blind from birth and healed him, the man rejoiced saying, “Whether this man be a sinner or not I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind now I see” (John 9:25). To this Jesus said, “for judgment I am come in to this world, that they which see not might see and they that see might be made blind” (9:39). The Pharisees hearing these words, for they were intended for them to hear, objected and asked “Are we blind?” They had eyes to see and understand the law after the natural understanding and therefore they perceived themselves righteous and whole. Yet Jesus told them that because they had eyes to see and had concluded themselves righteous having no evidence of the Spirit within, they were akin to Ahira son of Enan, and their sin remained.

This is the inherent characteristic of all those who have been fashioned from the dust of the earth. Their logic is flawed; their reasoning temporal and their desires are carnal. They live for the pleasures of the flesh and are governed by the lust of the eyes. Adam’s first act after his eyes were opened was to go about to establish his own righteousness by protecting himself and his wife from God with the leaves of the fig tree. Such was the nature of the first child born, Cain. He brought the fruit of the ground as an offering to the Lord because, in his eyes, this was acceptable. He could not see the truth but rather, having eyes to see only the things of the existence in ‘terra firma’, he brought an offering after his kind. Even when God confronted him with his guilt, he was ignorant, or blind, of all but what pertained to that which could be seen.

When the Messenger with the trumpet of the Everlasting gospel, fulfilled all that the Father had given Him to do and all that had been written of Him in the Law and the Prophets, gave the present evil generation signs and wonders in the heavens and performed miracles in their sight, they, having eyes to see the things of this world and because they were none of His, being evil they could not see the truth. He even said that the works which He had done, which they had seen with the natural eye, were done to remove any cloak for their sin for they had both seen and hated the Father, “that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, ‘They hate me without a cause’” (John 15:24).

Those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life, which dwell upon the earth, have eyes to see the wonders of the beast and are deceived, is it any wonder then that the signs of the truth which Messiah gave to the religious people of the world cannot be seen? “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him. Neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14) Unless a nature that is not of this world, that is to say not of this creation, is set in opposition to this carnal instinct, these cursed children that cannot cease from sin shall continue, having eyes full of adultery, following the ways of the first parents.

The second child that was born to Adam and Eve was undoubtedly brought forth to maturity with the same educational and moral values as was Cain yet this one had an understanding of that was quite different from the firstborn. He was not blind, as his brother was, for his eyes had been opened to the fact that the only sacrifice acceptable unto God was one of the blood of the firstling of the flock. When God had respect for Able’s offering and no respect for the fruits of the land which Cain had brought, Cain’s furious passion was ignited and his appearance changed. This hatred by the evil brother against the righteous brother is the result of two men who did that which was right in their own eyes. It is not two different ways of doing the same thing and God did not have respect for Able’s offering because his was better looking, better tasting or better prepared. Quite the opposite! A bouquet of flowers or a spread of fresh fruits and vegetables would have been a much more pleasant presentation than a bloody sacrifice of a slaughtered lamb. Able did not only bring a burnt offering with the sweet savour of cooked meat, “he also brought of the firstling of his flock and the fat thereof” (Gen. 4:4). His freshly butchered animal from his flock, with his blood spilt upon the dust of the earth, represented the Messiah who stood as a Lamb slain, by the hand of God, in compliance with His Holy Law from the foundation of the world, as the recompense for the sin of His people. He brought forth the type of the only thing that could be accepted by God for sin. Although the Law of Moses had not yet been set to stone and presented to the nation of Israel, the Law of God is as eternal as He is and whatsoever violates that Law is sin. God having respect to the type demonstrated that He had already not only accepted the anti-type but was the One who had ordained the need for the sacrifice, the manner in which it was to be presented and the application and results thereof. Able, ‘the breath or breathing’, represents the life which is from above and his offering was one of the cessation of life in the shedding of blood, “for the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). Cain, ‘the possessor’, represents the corruption and death of this world and the works of his hands. His offering was of the life which could be produced from the dust of the earth and therefore was unacceptable before the Mercy seat of God.

Notice well the treachery of Cain as he talked with his brother alone in the field waiting for the opportune moment that he would strike and kill him. He did not attempt to rectify his situation with God anymore than Rachel besought God for a remedy for her barrenness. No record is given that she ever presented her petition before God but rather she dealt treacherously against her sister until finally her desires had been obtained.

“Naphtali is a hind let loose; he giveth goodly words” (Gen. 49:21)

As stated before there is no record given of the man Naphtali as he grew and matured but here in the final words of Jacob before he died in Egypt, is the prophecy about this son. “And Jacob called unto his sons and said; Gather yourselves together that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days” (49:1). Naphtali was undisciplined and as free as a deer upon the hillside. He had departed from his first habitation and had been sent away for his power, wealth and prominence. He does not represent a timid shy deer in the woods that was frightened by every noise or movement. He represents the stag deer that stood tall in his position as the leader and defender of his herd. His experiences had taught him wisdom and he was confident in his endeavours. Therefore “he giveth goodly words”. His advice was sound and his words were life. He had endured the conflicts with his brothers and their families through the years because of his nature and his station of life. These experiences had made him one that can identify with the trials and hardships of life and one whose counsel was sought after for he was not a novice.

Herein Naphtali stands as a type of Messiah. Not after his humanity which is mortal, week and corrupt for, after the flesh, the pride of life seeks the preeminence in all things, to lord over the weak and oppress the strangers. According to this experience and nature, the only words he can speak are after the unbridled wisdom of man. These great swelling words are for the itching ears of the children of destruction and they cannot feed the soul that hungers and thirsts after righteousness.

The Beloved Anointed of God, however, stands like a stag deer (hind) in prominence and beauty (roe) (Song 2:9) because of His faithfulness and obedience which Adam could not accomplish (Roms. 5:18). He is the only One who, being fashioned in the likeness of sinful flesh yet without sin, could have endured all the feelings of the infirmities of His children and has experienced every trial and tribulation (Heb. 4:15). What He has endured, having been accepted of God, has made Him complete, or ‘a man of full age’, so that He stands as the captain or chief of the salvation of His elect (Heb. 2:10). He is not of this world yet He has power over all flesh and He stands exalted upon the division of this world, the mountain of Bether, ‘the exalted cleft’.

“And the sons of Naphtali; Jehzeel and Guni and Jezer and Shillem” (Gen. 46:24)

Naphtali had a son named ‘Jazeel’ whose name means ‘divided of God’ or ‘whom God has divided’. He represents all that God has put a division between or has divided asunder. When God created the heaven, He divided them from the earth. He divided the light from the dark, the dry land from the seas and every living thing ‘after his kind’. But before the world was formed or the foundations thereof laid, He had purposed in Himself (since He could find no greater) to divide the creation of man, formed from the dust of the earth, into a specified number of vessels afore prepared unto glory and the greater number of vessels outfitted for destruction. He fashioned these two tabernacles from the same lump of clay to be the dwelling place of “two manner of people”. The first was the seed of the blessing which should be born from above and serve Him as His generation. The other manner of people were of their father the devil, the prince of the air and the god of this world, and have been created and reserved unto the day of wrath. These two were separated from womb of creation by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God and His elect Servant, stands as the prominent champion of His Beloved upon the cleft of the mountain or the height of this division (mountain of Bether).

This cleft in the mountain is a fixed aperture which cannot be altered or transverse in any way. Those on the one side may not pass to the other and the other may not aid or assist the former. On the one side is the place reserved for the wicked. This is a place of torment and pain. It is a place where the fire is never quenched and the agony is never relieved. The other side is a place of peace and rest. Here those afore ordained to be there for all eternity, have ceased from all labours and are at peace in ‘Abraham’s bosom’. Between these two eternal abodes there is a “great gulf fixed so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass to us from thence” (Luke 16:26). This is the mount of division and the Lord of glory stands upon it. No one earns either of the positions on either side of that gulf for they have been assigned before the world began and neither could change sides though there are many who, once there, would desire to cross. All of the law and the prophets, all the signs and the wonders and all the pleading and prayers of the just cannot convert one from one side to the other. All the efforts of man cannot change that great gulf for it is fixed and sure.

“Make haste my beloved and be thou like a roe or to a young hard upon the mountains of spices” (Song 8:14).

Here He is the One exalted above all others that at the mention of the name of the salvation of Jehovah, every knee should bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord and this exaltation is upon the pinnacle of the sweet savor of Jehovah. These “mountain of spices” are an ‘exalted sweet savour’ before the Lord. This is the continual sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise which is offered unto Him, in Spirit and truth, by the redeemed of Jehovah. It has been granted unto the children of the Elect Lady to be arrayed in fine linen clean and white, which is, His imputed righteousness and she shall proclaim His name throughout all eternity. They live in this world in frail mortal shells but they are not of this world and they have overcome this world by faith. This victory has not been won of themselves or by the works of the hands of flesh. Nor is it a victory that they hope to win in some future day when an earthly kingdom is established. They are more than conquerors because He has gone forth upon the white horse, with the Word proceeding from His mouth (Rev. 6:2). He has conquered His enemies and subdued all things under His feet and they live by the faith of Him who loved them and gave Himself for them; “Now thanks be unto God which always causes us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved and in them that perish: to the one the savour of death unto death and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (II Cor. 2:14).

He has the honour and glory (roe) because He has won Himself the victory and all His enemies are under His footstool; “Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all things in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him. But now we see not yet all things put under Him” (Heb. 2:8).

He stands having the preeminence over all things, being the Head of the body, the church, and the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. He was raised by the working of the mighty power of God and is seated at His right hand because He alone was worthy to open the seals. And being found faithful, not as Moses who was faithful over all the household but as the wise master builder of the house whose name is Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11), He is seated “far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named not only in this world but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:20). He has power and authority over all flesh being the very image of God and equal with God and He is the head over all the church which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.

He looms above the mountains of spices, the sweet savour before the throne of God, because He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is her Beloved and all His desire is upon her. He has redeemed her back to Himself, forgiven her sin in Adam, cleansed the earthen vessel she inhabits making it acceptable for her and He has set His seal upon her that all may know that she belongs to Him; “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost in you which ye have of God and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19).

Naphtali may have been a man whose counsel was sought after and his words profitable but because his wisdom was carnal and temporal he spoke the things of this world. His counsel may have contained pertinent information about the affairs of the day and profitable financial or political advice and have been based upon the experiences of his life but all the wisdom of his words were restricted to the limitations of his habitation. Adam compares natural things to natural things. He defines, comprehends and experiences all things in the confines of his mortality and corruption. The only ‘goodly words’ which he can speak are the result of a subjective evaluation of ignorance and speculation.

When the Spirit of the Most High dwells within a chosen vessel, these earthly matters are seen as temporary and transitory. They are esteemed as unimportant, worthless, corrupt and repulsive when compared to the High calling in Christ Jesus: “Yea doubtless and I count all things loss for the Excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffer the loss of all things and do count them dung that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:8). They are revealed as being the strange tongue of a foreign land for they speak of subjects and concepts that do not please the Spirit. They are not the words of life wherein the Spirit, that inner man born from above, delights.

During His earthly habitation, Jesus spoke of many things and to many people. His words were not His own as He said, “I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him” (John 8:26). He spoke of peace, love, mercy and judgment but He was more than just a mouth piece or a good speaker. He is the eternal Word that became flesh and dwelt among man. He is the Word of God and every word that He uttered from His vocal cords was the commandment of God from the mouth of God. This Word was not flattering to man as He has no respect of person and, being God and not man He cannot lie, He spoke nothing but the truth. He became a partaker of flesh and blood, as the second Adam, that He might, being made like unto His brethren, deliver them from the condemnation of death into the glorious liberty of truth. He did not become incarnate to make brethren or to proselytize and increase His numbers. His mission was to sound forth the trumpet of the everlasting gospel of truth and life to His chosen people. “Truly, truly I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live” (Jn. 5:25). His work appeased the wrath of God, His righteousness was imputed unto His people but at His command they lived; “Son of man can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord thou knowest” (Ezk. 37:3).

This gospel is the good tidings of great joy because it is the power of God unto deliverance. The preaching of the gospel is the proclamation of Messiah as He is the Word of God, “by which ye have believed” (I Cor. 15:2). This Word is not transmitted from Adam to Adam by natural means of speech or print, since the natural man cannot understand the Word. This precious communication is conveyed through the communion of the Spirit, who speaks not His own words but when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, “He will guide you into all truth for He shall not speak of Himself but whatsoever He shall hear, shall he speak and He will show you things to come” (John16:13). This communication is with they which are born from above, from faith to faith comparing spiritual things with spiritual things with words that are not lawful for a man to utter (II Cor. 12:4). The mouth of the Lord speaks by the Spirit of Holiness to the children of the Israel of our God, the sons of God, all speaking the language of the King, communicating the words of eternal life.

The natural man and the world are deaf to this song of deliverance. Only those whose names have been “written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) and have gotten the victory over the beast (Rev. 15:2) have the right and the ability to properly praise His name; “And he said, Go and tell this people, Hear indeed but understand not and see indeed but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat and make their ears heavy and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and convert and be healed” (Is. 6:9). After their carnal nature, the proclamation of the precious truth of deliverance is foolishness unto them that perish and because their foolish hearts have been darkened, they stop their ears and care not to hear the truth.

But that same truth, proclaimed the same way, being mixed with faith, which is the evidence of the presence of the Spirit within being born from above, is the testimony of the deliverance of Jehovah. And when the child of grace hears that sweet sound of the trumpet of deliverance he rejoices in the worthiness of the Lamb, the justice and truth of His ways and His great and marvelous works.

Once again the sweet and beautiful doctrine of the eternal unity of the children and the Godhead, for as the Father, the Son and the Spirit are one, so, the children are one with the Father, the Word and the Spirit. They abide together in and with each other of necessity because they are one. The Word, that was in the beginning with God and is God, dwells in His fullness in a child born from above and not only causes him to ‘hunger and thirst after righteousness’ but He satiates his soul being that bread of life and living water; “The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul:” (Prov. 13:25).

“Hear O Israel, Jehovah our God Jehovah is One” (Deut. 6:4)

The Godhead cannot be divided. They do not have separate identities, agendas or purposes. They are not schizophrenic, have different wills or methods of operations. They do not delegate to one another and they are not one because they all agree. There is One Lord and He is Father, Word and Spirit. The Son, who is the Word incarnate, spoke not his own words but as the Father gave to Him so He spake. So also the children do not speak their own words but speak the words given to them by the Holy Spirit. “And when they bring you unto the synagogues and unto the magistrates and powers, take not thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say” (Luke 12:11). “The preparation of the heart in man and the answer of the tongue are of Jehovah” (Prov. 16:1).

These ‘goodly words’ from the mouth of God come from the fullness of the experience of Messiah as the risen and glorified Son of God/Son of Man as one. They continue from generation to generation as the glad tidings of great joy to those whom He has delivered. They are not just words to be spoken and heard for they are the life and immortality of His people; “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). By the mouth of Jehovah, His children live and move and have their being. At the mouth of Jehovah they keep His commandments in the love of God and love one another (Num. 9:23). They hear His voice and follow Him. Another man’s voice they can not hear and will not follow; “Lord to whom should we go, thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). They love Him because He first loved them and drew them unto Himself, by His right hand and His Holy arm. When it pleases Him, in the fullness of time, He reveals the family heritage and eternal lineage, “Beloved now are we the sons of God” (I John 3:2).

Naphtali represents the deceit and corruption of man and the treachery of his ways. He manifests, in type, the warfare between the natures of Adam and the seed of the blessing because they are contrary one to another. The elder, Adam, despising the younger and constantly trying to suppress that still small voice of the inner man who delights after the law of God, is in servitude to the younger child of promise. Yet this new creature, which is in Christ Jesus, has been made subject to the worthlessness of the flesh and the conflict within. (Here again we see the land of Shinar, those two rivers flowing side by side.) While the new man inhabits this tabernacle of clay, he groans and travails within waiting the end of the time of this habitation for then shall be the final deliverance and the adoption, when the body shall be made like the Son of God. Yet as long as these trials and tribulations endure, he shall walk by the faith of the Son of God (Hab. 2:4) looking unto Jesus who has endured the same warfare and has gotten Himself the victory (I Cor. 15:57).

Then shall it be revealed who are the true sons of God for they, who have been baptized into the death of Christ and raised again unto newness of life shall be delivered from the bondage of this corruption. They who have endured to the end shall stand before the throne, adorn in fine linens pure and white, which is the righteousness of the saints (Rev. 19:8), to sing His praises forevermore. It shall not be a time of admirations, awards or promotions based upon accomplishments of obedience but it shall be the eternal rest for those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s book from the foundation of the world for their warfare has ended.

Though now these children are scattered throughout this foreign land and wander as strangers in the wilderness dwelling in booths, they look for that city whose light is the glory of God and of the Lamb, “And the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it” (Rev. 21:24). They have their affections set on the things from above (Col 3:2) for they have not forgotten Jerusalem (Ps. 137:5), the mother of us all (Gal. 4:26), that Holy City of our God (Ps. 48:8), whose builder and maker is Jehovah. Though now they see through a glass darkly, when the race is done and this hide is torn away, then shall they see, with untrammeled eyes, the beauty of His Holiness, the Majesty of His power and, with all saints, shall completely comprehend “what is the breadth, and length, the depth and the height; and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” (Eph. 3:18). Then shall the lame man be made like the hart (Is. 35:6) and he shall leap upon the mountain (Zion), for, “when He shall appear, we shall be like Him” (I John 3:2).

As the Spirit enables we shall continue..

Your servant in Christ,
Chet
May 19, 2011

Banner Of Hope
Volume 5, No. 2