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What’s in a name?

‘Naphtali’ II

“Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel; of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among the . . . Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi” (Num. 13:1 & 14).

The children of Israel had been delivered by the mighty hand of God from the tyranny and oppression of Pharaoh and the bondage of Egypt. They were miraculously led dry-shod across the Red Sea. They saw the magnificent displays of God’s power and authority over all things as He provided water from the Rock and bread from heaven (Manna) for them in the wilderness of Sinai. Then just three months after being liberated, they witnessed the presence of Jehovah in His ‘Shekhinah’ glory, coming to rest on Mt. Sinai, where He delivered unto them His Law and re-affirmed the promise that He had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Six hundred thousand people were encamped at the base of the Mt. Sinai where they saw the all-consuming fire engulf the mountain top where God met with Moses and instructed him in His Law in the types and patterns of heavenly things. Moses then delivered these commandments to the people, after returning from being in the presence of Jehovah, and the construction of the tabernacle with all its furniture, the order of the priesthood and the pageantry of the ceremonies, began according to the Spirit of wisdom that God imputed unto His selected servants (Ex. 36:1). The mighty hand of God imputed wisdom where there was none and made the people willing and able in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3). This was a slow and arduous labour for these people in the wilderness without tools or supplies. They could not buy any of the materials for God had brought them to a place where there were no stores. They could not trade with any inhabitants of the land or merchants that were in the area because God had led them into a secluded place and had isolated them unto Himself. Yet one year after the departure from Egypt, the tabernacle was complete. It was set up and fully functional in the first day of the first month one year after being delivered and the second Passover was observed (Ex. 40:1).

They had the testimony of the Sovereign God from the time that He sent forth His word of promise to Abram that His people would be strangers in a land that was not theirs yet they would be delivered (Gen. 15:13-16). They were eye witnesses to the fulfillment of this promise as God began to bring the plagues against the house of Pharaoh and the land of Egypt. They experienced His mercy through the long night of the Passover as they heard the cries from the people of the land. They saw the pillar of fire and the cloud lead them, protect them and defend them into the wilderness and across the Sea. They stood on the banks of the sea and observed the vengeance of the Lord as He destroyed Pharaoh’s army and the dead bodies washed up on the shore. And they rejoiced in the love of God for His people as He led them until they came to that mountain where the glory of God abode.

This same glory, with all His power and might moved from the mountain to the completed tabernacle as he demonstrated His approval for the work that had been performed. There the glory of God abode in the Holy of Holies, behind the veil and upon the mercy seat, meeting there with Aaron as the law was observed and kept in obedience to His will. Then two years after they were come out of Egypt, in the fourteenth day of the first month, between the evenings, they observed the Passover in the shadow of the mount.

The entire nation abode there, every man in his assigned place at the foot of Mt. Sinai, where they were constantly taught God’s Holy Law in types and foreshadows. They lived and worshipped the God of heaven in peace and simplicity. They had heard the sound of the trumpet, they had seen the fire as it engulfed the mountain, they had felt the earth quake, they saw Moses’ face shine with the glory each time he came down from being in the presence of God and they watched as the tabernacle of the testimony shewed forth “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). They had no other duties or pressing appointments to occupy their time and no distractions to draw them away from the provision of the Manna and water by the hand of God. There was nothing to divert their attention away from the constant demonstration of the majesty and might of God’s marvelous ways.

Now in the twentieth day of the second month of that second year, (Num. 10:11), after God had commanded and enabled the fashioning of two trumpets (10:1) the trumpets sounded as God ascended from off the tabernacle. The signal had been given that the tabernacle was to be disassembled with exacting precision in the precise order that God shewed unto Aaron so that it could be moved. The tapestries were folded, the poles and stakes removed, furniture was born by the staves upon the shoulders of the Levites and the children of the nation of Israel moved as one man at the commandment of Jehovah.

“And they departed from the mount of the Lord three days journey and the ark of the covenant of the
Lord went before them in the three days journey to search out a resting place for them” (Numb. 10:33)

There must have been great anticipation felt by each member of the nation as they readied themselves for the trip to the land which God had promised them. The greatest military armada could not compare with the efficiency of this move. Six hundred thousand people moved as one man because the Word of God spoke, the power of God moved and the purpose of God was fulfilled. He made His people willing and able in the day of His power.

How great a procession this must have been and what wondrous anticipation there was throughout the camp. They had been delivered, their God had met with them and told them He would lead them, guide them and make them victorious and now they were marching onward to a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex. 3:17). But at the end of the three day excursion, in which 600,000 plus people had packed up their belongings (which were not many) and had been uprooted from dwelling in the same place for two years, the cloud, the Ark and the assembly came to a halt. The designated place had been reached and a rest was in order.

So what was missing? Had not God revealed Himself to these people through a plethora of signs and wonders which He performed for them in plain view? Was not the proof of His sovereignty and power clearly set forth? The whole nation saw the cloud ascend from off the tabernacle, they heard the sounding of the trumpets and they obeyed the commandment. They traveled under the protective leadership of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night for three days and nights. The cloud blocked out the harsh sun light of the desert sun. The pillar of fire overcame the darkness and provided light all through the night. These people walked for three straight days and when the Spirit halted the excursion and stopped over the place where they were to rest, the people complained and it displeased Jehovah (11:1).

Assemble together all the wisdom of man with all of his science, “falsely called”, and try to explain how such an excellent display of the authority and grace of a loving God could not turn the hearts of these people to trust in the hand of Jehovah. Let the doctors of divinity and the great theologians expound on how such a rich and vivid history of the promises given unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, religiously passed down through the ages from generation to generation, could not persuade the minds of these pilgrims to have faith in the providence of the Almighty. Why were they not satisfied with the leadership of the Holy Ghost in the cloud and pillar? Why were they complaining before Jehovah? What caused this contention and unrest in the camp?

The cumulative strong reasoning of humanisms, hedonisms and sophistries, throughout all the ages, will present the explanation of Adam as they tell how the ‘free will’ of man overpowered the purpose and decree of Almighty Jehovah by choosing not to accept His ways. Listen and hear the bleating of the goats and hirelings of modern religion as they explain how the God, who had ripped His people out of the strong man’s house with a mighty arm like an eagle, parted the sea and defeated the army, was now helpless before the very people He had delivered. Is it possible that the God of the universe was now subservient to the depraved nature of man and could not do as He pleased lest He violate his ‘free will’? Is the hand of the King shortened by the pleasures and vices of man?

No, a million times over No! The Lord God Almighty sits upon His throne in heaven and rules over the inhabitants of this world causing them to perform that which He has decreed from old as He intended and designed. The gospel was clearly manifested before the entire house of Israel in all His glory and strength, “but the word preached unto them did not profit them, not being (inter)mixed with faith in them that heard” (Heb. 4:2). Nothing more could be done, no other institutions of man could assist in the matter. Moses could not plead with them to behave or amend their ways before God. Aaron could not demonstrate the ministration of condemnation of the Law to frighten them into submission. Not one word of persuasion could have been spoken that would have prevented these people from being dissatisfied with the events of the day and complaining before the Lord about what He was doing, “. . . Judge I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard; what could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? (Is. 5:4).

The people who complained, being called Israel after the circumcision of the flesh and “who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost and have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:4) had not the Spirit of God dwelling within. They could not walk by faith, trusting in God, because they had not been born of incorruptible seed and the everlasting love of the Father was not upon them. They were bastards in the camp of Israel and therefore they despised leadership of the Spirit and the chastisement of the Lord. They had not been given faith, which is a gift of God and the evidence of the Spirit within, by which the true child believes, walks and lives. Therefore, being carnally minded men, of the seed of the serpent and inhabitants of earthen vessels outfitted for destruction, they could not receive the things of the Spirit nor trust in the hand of God.

These ‘brute beasts’ who were ‘made to be taken and destroyed’ (II Pt. 2:12) were full of sorrow and discontentment, therefore they murmured in themselves, supposing that the God of the universe could not hear them. They had no concept of the fact that “the Word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). These “murmurers and complainers, walking after their own lusts and their mouth speaking great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage” (Jude 16) never imagined that the One who had created them, not only knows, hears and sees all but that He had ordained the very thoughts in their heads, the wickedness in their hearts and the complaint that they murmured against Him, according to the ‘good pleasure of His will’. Therefore, “the Lord heard and His anger was kindled and the fire of Jehovah (that same fire which consumed the mountain) burnt among them and consumed in the uttermost parts (between the borders) of the camp” (Num. 11:1).

Surely this was a sufficient display of the all inclusive nature and awe-inspiring power and justice of God to keep these people in check and to stop the mouths of the malcontents. After a demonstration of the wrath of God like this, the logic of man would conclude, doubtlessly, that there would be reverence and obedience, but quite the contrary was personified.

“And the men that were scorched with the great heat blasphemed the name of God which had
power over these plagues and they repented not to give Him glory” (Rev. 16:9)

Rather than being horrified at the magnitude of the power of God and falling prostrate before Him to petition Him for mercy and rather than being humbled at all encompassing knowledge and wisdom of God, the mixed multitude (mixed being of the natural and true Israel) fell lusting after meat to eat (Num. 11:4). God had provided them with the water that came from the Rock (and that Rock was the Anointed). “Man did eat angels’ food” (Ps. 78:25) and in his ignorance he called it, Manna. The clothes that they wore did not and would not wear out or fade and the shoes they wore would retain their use. Yet they, this mixed multitude which was among the congregation, remembered the fish, the cucumbers, melons, leaks and garlick they did eat ‘freely’ of while they were in captivity in Egypt and their ‘soul was dried away’ (Num. 11:6).

Again we ask, if one has been born from above of that seed that should serve Him and be called the generation of Jesus Christ and the indwelling Spirit of God has set their affections on the things from above, and they long for that city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God and they grow tired and are wearied by the vanity of this world, can they despise the daily bread which came down from above which is the Bread of Life? (John6:33) Can Emmanuel God, having His habitation with man in the vessels afore prepared unto glory, deny Himself by loathing the Bread? Does not the child pray earnestly to the Father for that very measure of daily bread that sustains his life and satiates his soul? Then who are these who are full of sorrow and murmur in their hearts at the provisions of God demanding something better?

This is not intended to infer that the natural man, who lusts and desires after the things of this world, is satisfied with the grace of God or walks by the faith of the Son of God. Quite the contrary! The natural man is sustained by the things of nature, after his kind, and is a common denominator to both the just and the wicked. Yet one has been outfitted for destruction and the other is good soil properly prepared to receive the seed. But the natural man is contrary to the Spirit within and all that He provides to the poor wayfaring stranger as he travels through the valley of Achor (trouble). The things of grace are unpalatable to the natural man and loathsome to the wicked but to the child of grace they are life and health, “a feast of fat things, a feast of wine upon the lees, of fat things full of marrow of wine and lees well refined” (Is. 25:6). Even when the child is ignorant in the flesh of the presence of the Spirit, he still hungers and thirst after righteousness and delights in the Law of God after the inward man. The child cannot deny his parentage anymore than the Father could deny the Son or the Spirit.

This lusting after meat was heard by God and Moses and the anger of Jehovah was greatly kindled, Moses was also displeased. He asked God why he had afflicted His servant like this and why His servant had fallen out of favour in His sight. Why had God burdened him with this stiff-necked, rebellious and ungrateful people?

God heard the lamentations of Moses and separated seventy elders of Israel, upon whom He imputes the same Spirit that was in Moses, to bare this burden. He then proclaims that the people shall have meat and on the morrow God sent forth a wind and brought quail from the sea and let it fall on the camp. He gave the people the desires of their heart for a whole month and “while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of Jehovah was kindled against the people and Jehovah smote the people with a very great plague” (11:33). Once again Jehovah made a public display of His righteous judgment by His holy arm and His right hand, “and he called the name of that place Kib-roth-hat-a-vah (the grave of desire) because there they buried the people that lusted”

“The people journeyed from Kib-roth-hat-ta-a-vah unto Ha-ze-roth and abode in Ha-ze-roth” (Num. 11:35)

The people then traveled from this testimony of both the Spirit of Jehovah causing men to prophesy and demonstration of the wrath of God, leaving behind those freshly dug graves, to ‘Hazeroth’ (a settlement or encampment) where they again pitched tents and rested. It should be noted that the root word from whence “Hazeroth” {pronounced ‘Chatzeroth’} is formed is ‘Chatzar’ which means ‘the sound of the trumpet’. The trumpets were fashioned for the purpose of being sounded to assemble the elders of the nation of Israel, to alert them of danger and to announce the moving of the tabernacle (Num. 10:1-10). Here then is the place where the children of Israel stopped and rested which was also at ‘the encampment of the sound of the trumpet’. The children of Israel lived, moved and dwelled by the sound of the trumpet, which is the voice of God (Ex. 19:16). Not just any trumpet though and not intended for all to hear. The true Israel of God, being that ‘treasure hidden in the field’, had ears to hear the sure sound of that certain trumpet of the glad tidings of great joy. They heard the proclamation of the power of God unto deliverance and, having eyes to see, they beheld their God. They abode in Him and He tabernacled with them for His name is called Immanuel; “Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be with them, their God” (Rev. 21:3). The Spirit of God had brought His remnant according to election by the Word to a place of rest in the Word for the glory of the Word.

At this location, Miriam and Aaron withstood Moses because he had married an Ethiopian woman (nothing new under the sun!). This again brought a display of the anger of God as the cloud was taken from off the tabernacle and Miriam was made leprous. Aaron entreats Moses for the foolishness of their sin, Moses entreats the Lord and Miriam, after being excluded from the camp for seven days, is cleansed and returned to the company. From this obvious testimony to the might and jealousy of God for His elect, they traveled to an ‘uninhabited place of beauty’, the wilderness of Paran (12:16).

Now, surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses from the exodus from Egypt to the borders of the Promised Land, God instructs Moses to “send thou men that they may search the land of Canaan which I give unto the children of Israel”. Once again God did not leave it up to the voice of the people, the winners of some lottery or election or the attributes of man as He instructs Moses that each man that is sent forth must be a person who has been established as a leader. He must possess the attributes of a chief of his people, a prince over the household or a captain who leads by example with courage and renown. These were not people who could persuade with enticing words or convince with the logic of the flesh. They were not politicians with hidden agendas, business men driven by success or entrepreneurs in search of wealth and fame. Each family that they represented esteemed them worthy of this position and expected these ‘heads of the children if Israel’ to act with the best interests of the nation at heart.

“And Moses by the commandment of Jehovah sent from the wilderness of Paran,
all those men, heads of the children of Israel” (Num. 13:3)

Moses commissions each captain and the company as a whole to enter the land and reconnoiter the strengths of the people that dwelled therein, the cities in which they dwelt, “whether in tents or in strong holds”, if the land was “lean or fat” and “whether there be wood therein or not” (Num. 13:18f). The instructions were for the spies to discern whether the nation of Israel could defeat the people of the land, be sustained by the fruit of the land and build themselves places to live. This is the same nation that had by the hand of God defeated the Egyptian army at the Red Sea, had been blessed with water from the Rock and the Bread of life and whose dwelling place was promised to them and prepared for them by God (Deut. 6:10). The spies were sent forth to evaluate the land of Canaan, not according to the faith once delivered unto the fathers, but with the natural eye of fearful, weak and foolish Adam.

They entered the land from the south and headed into the mountains. They searched the uninhabited flat land unto the broad places going toward the fortress (“wilderness of Zin unto Rehob as men come to Hamath”). They ascended by the southern route, a ‘parched area’, and came upon a strong people that were bound (chained – ‘Anak’) together by an association (‘Hebron’) being joined as a family with nobility and wealth. (Ahiman – ‘gift of my brother’; Sheshai – ‘noble or whitish’ {appearance of righteousness} and Talmai – ‘furrowed or plowed land’ {signifying wealth and prosperity}.) This family association had been established seven years before the place of departure (Zoan) from Egypt (13:22). The spies did not engage these people and there is no record of any communication between them but when the spies came to the river they found the bounty of the land. Here the clusters (Eshcol) of grapes were so enormous that it required two men with staves on their shoulders to carry them. They also brought back pomegranates and figs.

Consider the fact that these people had not seen fresh fruit for many years. They had eaten fish, leeks, onions and garlick in Egypt. They also had a gourd which was very hard and difficult to cook called a cucumber and a type of melon but there is no record of any fresh fruit like what was found by the river of clusters. They had not been stationary long enough in the wilderness to plant any vineyards so the wine they used in the ceremonies of the tabernacle must have been brought from Egypt. The only reference they had of pomegranates was as part of the pattern given in the mount for they were represented in the furniture of the tabernacle (Ex. 28:33) and with the exception of the legends passed on to them by their fathers, there is no record these children of Israel had ever seen a fig tree or it’s fruit. So when these twelve noble men came upon these wonders of the earth may we infer that they not only looked upon the fruit and saw that it was good for meat but they also sampled the wares and tasted of the sweetness of the land? What profit would there be to returning laden with this sumptuous fare that could not be eaten because it was unpalatable to the taste or poisonous to the body? None in the least! This was a very profitable journey of forty days and the bounty that they brought back was sufficient evidence of the fertility of the land that produced such delicacies that would satiate the children. This truly was a land flowing with milk and honey (13:27).

Yet again with so great a cloud of witnesses of the truth of God’s Word, the validity of His promise and the blessings that awaited them, ten of the spies dissuaded the nation of Israel with fear and doubts because of the children of the ‘chain’ or ‘bondage’ (Anak) the children of ‘fear’ and ‘terror’ (Heth – Hittites), the children of the ‘thrashing place’ or ‘trodden under foot’ (Jebusites) and the children of ‘prominence’ (Amorites). At the words of these leaders and heads of the families the hearts of the people were filled with fear, they wept that night and again murmured against Moses, Aaron and Jehovah.

Was this because they did not have enough faith to trust God? Or had the wicked heart and ‘free will’ of man overpowered the will of the Spirit and the promise of God to give these people the land? Had the whole nation of Israel lost this temporal blessing because of the disobedience of the ten witnesses? Why was the testimony of these renowned men so tainted with discord and shame? Had not Jehovah just delivered this people from the house of the bondage of the strong man with power and might (Ps. 78:12)? Did He not command His servant Moses to proclaim to a frightened mass huddled in the trap between the wilderness and the Sea saying, “Stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah” (Ex. 14:13)? Did God not promise Abraham that He would protect him and his people after him from all his enemies (Gen. 13 & 15) and give them this very land? So, why was this false witness, which was brought back to the nation, delivered to Moses Aaron and the congregation believed by the people?

“Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi” (11:14)

The tribe of Naphtali chose a man as its leader to send forth as a spy into the land whose name was Nahbi. He was the son of Vophsi and although nothing else is recorded about either the father or his son, the Spirit has provided yet another beautiful demonstration of the sovereignty of God over all things. Nahbi means ‘hidden’ and so it was that when this captain entered the land as the emissary of the chosen people of God something was hidden from him. Surely it was not the bounty or the beauty of the land as the evidence was quite overwhelming and delicious. The strength, prominence and prosperity of the people of the land was not hid from his eyes as he reported to the council that, “all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature” and “we were in our own sight as grasshoppers and so we were in their sight” (Num. 13:32). So from a natural point of view, Nahbi saw the increase and wealth of the land.

His father’s name, Vophsi, means that very same thing, wealth and increase and when the two meanings are joined in the context of this account, it appears to present the fact that God had hidden the true wealth of the true Promised land from the eyes of natural man. “For since the beginning of the world it is not heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, beside thee Jehovah who works for him who waits for Him” (Is. 64:4).

What a magnificent testimony of God against every attempt by man, with all his intuition, institutions and ingenuity, to prove God to the natural man so as to convert him into a spiritual being. Again we ask; what more could have been done by God to reveal His will to this assembly? How could He have better demonstrated His love for them, shown them His justice, power and sovereignty that could have caused them to return with the proper report and convince the people to trust the hand of Jehovah? The answer is quite clear, NOTHING. The predestination of all things by the sovereign God had before ordained that these events should have fallen out exactly as they did. It was not the proper time for Israel to possess the land. They had not yet arrived at the proper location where God had ordained that they should cross the Jordan and enter the land. God was not yet finished with the lessons and preparation He had established for them to experience and thus His people were not yet ready to enter. There were people that He was not pleased with who must needs die (fall in the wilderness) before the nation was ready to enter. There were wonders and signs that, of necessity, must be demonstrated to the nation as she wandered through the barren land. Moses had not yet struck the Rock in type and foreshadow of the righteous justice of the law striking the Anointed of God with the fullness of wrath. But most importantly and all inclusively, it was not God’s will for them to enter the land. Therefore, to a people wrestling with treachery, deceit, lust and the wilderness, God hid the wealth of the land from their eyes and gave them a testimony that caused them to doubt and fear.

“And the prince of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel the son of Ammihud” (Num. 34:28)

Now, almost forty years later, at the appointed time, God reveals to Moses that the nation was to leave the wilderness that had sustained them and cross over the Jordan into the Promised land. The time had come of age, the exact number and type of people had been assembled and the precise location had been arrived at for the inheritance of the land. During the forty years since the spies reported the fortitude of the land, God had removed those with whom He was not pleased and replaced them with children not born in bondage. He had led them about the wilderness and protected them as He prepared them to accomplish that which He had ordained. When the nation came out of Egypt, they were strong, by reason of their manual labour at the hands of the task masters, they were anxious to find a place of their own and they were ignorant of God and His ways. Therefore He led them about, in a manner that appeared to resemble wandering in the eyes of man, until the people were made ready and willing, in the day of His power. Gone was their physical strength of back and hands, their anxiety and impatience and most of all gone was the memory of the bondage in Egypt. What was left was a new generation that had been born in the wilderness and had lived at the hand of God.

Moses is instructed to assemble one prince from each tribe to divide the Promised Land by inheritance. The princes of old could not see the glory of God because their eyes were blinded just as the eyes of the nation were at the time when Christ walked the earth and as it is today; “for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament, which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart” (II Cor. 3:14). The first prince of the house of the struggle, being representative of the first born in Adam, did not have the Spirit of God dwelling within. The evidence of this is demonstrated in that he, Nahbi, did not believe the Word of God, he did not trust in the promise and power of God and he did not walk by the faith of God. This did not disqualify him as the child of God, as if once he was but he lost his standing due to disobedience, but rather it manifested that he never was of the household of the elect. Therefore he fell in the wilderness in the purging of the nation by the hand of the Master Refiner.

Now at the end of forty years, the time had come for God to manifest the second prince of the house of the wrestling. This was the leader of this family that was afore prepared to be suitable by the hand of God for the entrance into the land. Pedahel was set forth as the new chief of the children of Naphtali. The first witness was given the assignment of fear and doubt but Pedahel had been ‘preserved of God’ (or ‘he whom God preserved’) for this assignment of entering into the rest. He was the son of the ‘glory and honour of my people {nation}’ (Ammihud), the captain of the tribe of the conflict (Naphtali) and a representative of the nation of ‘he who has power with God’ (Israel) as they possessed their inheritance.

Each tribe was assigned a portion of the land as the inheritance of the Lord. God had afore ordained the location of each tribe to inherit, the order in which they would inherit the land and the adversaries that they would encounter in their conquest of the land. Before entering the land, God gave Moses a prophetic statement about the tribe of Naphtali and the assignment of their destination.

“And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour and full with the blessing of Jehovah,
possess thou the west and the south” (Deut. 33:23)

The house of this wrestling and conflict was not designated as a house of punishment and judgment as most modern religious rhetoric portrays. God had not set this people apart as His whipping boy to bare the punishment for the disobedience of the nation of Israel. He manifestly declares, before any good or any evil has been performed by any of the house of Naphtali, that they were satiated with the favour of Jehovah. In other words, each child of grace, being accepted in the Beloved, is satisfied with the acceptance of Jehovah in the conflict to which they were born of the flesh. The elements of this statement cannot be substituted or amended. If one has been born from above then the Spirit dwells with the afore prepared earthen vessel. Since the Spirit of the Most High cannot sin, there exists a conflict between the purity of the seed which has been born from above and the body of this death. This dichotomous existence has been assigned by Sovereign will of God and this subjection of the creature to the vanity of the flesh (Rom. 8:20) is for good to those who are called according to His purpose (8:28). It manifests the sinfulness of the flesh and the Holiness of God and everyone who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb has been blessed by the will of Jehovah to be ‘filled up’ with this conflict and content for that it is the will of God. Therefore it is given unto each and every member of the Israel of our God, that Israel that is not of the circumcision of the flesh, to wage the war within while being hated of all men for His name sake. This is the testimony of Jesus Christ (Luke21:17) and although it is not pleasurable to the flesh, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17). This testimony is unto all the Elect Lady and her children and is not based upon performance or accomplishments. It is not of this world and not of those things which are temporal. They are “according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be Holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:5). Herein, according to the riches of His grace, He has blessed us with all Spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, imputed unto us His faith to believe, preserved us in Himself and blessed us, “in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29). There are no short cuts through the struggle, no by-passes around the difficulties and no substitutes for the trials and tribulations. This was the word of Jehovah BEFORE they crossed the Jordon River into the land.

The assigned area that God had set for His children in conflict was the west and the south. The west signifies the ‘roaring sea’ with all its opposing currents and tides. It encompasses each and every force that propels that wave across the sea. It includes all the influences that shape and form the wave, the course it travels, pre-determined destination where it should be stopped and speed at which it accomplishes its assignment. Without exception, the perpetual decree of God, which has set the sands of the sea as the boundary thereof that it cannot pass over, has ordained that, “though the waves thereof toss themselves yet they cannot prevail and though they roar, yet can they not pass over” (Jer. 5:22). The boundary of the west has been set by the One who controls the wind and the seas and this is amazing to man (Mark4:41).

The sea also represents every nation, kindred, tribe and tongue of man. The ‘roaring’ of this sea is the confusion of the counterfeit religion of the land of Shinar. The natural man has itching ears that cannot hear the truth and God has provided an ample supply of teachers with enticing words and the wisdom of the flesh that meets the needs of Adam. They argue logic and reason, mysticism and speculation, all in the name of science for the purpose of explaining reality. They begin with the premise that there is no God. With this foolishness as the design for their building they then begin to construct this edifice upon the dust of the earth and the sands of the sea. They have discarded the Rock and the Headstone as being unsuitable for their intentions and have cast it out of the camp as dung. They have employed the arm of the flesh to perform the labours and have selected dry dead timbers for the framework. Many opinions and ‘points of view’ add to this confusion as natural man seeks the advice of the aged and learned scholars of the humanists, hedonists and mystics. This is the border upon which the land of the warfare inhabits and where the house of the redeemed dwell.

God also established the boundary to the south for the tribe of Naphtali. This is the area of light and warmth. It is not the light of nature, being the sun, the moon and the stars or natural wisdom and understanding, even though, “that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed unto them. Since the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Rather, this light is the Light of the World. It is that Word that was in the beginning with God and was God, who became flesh and dwelt among His people (John1:14). He is the Light and Life of all man (1:10), even though men love the darkness because their deeds are evil (3:19). This is the light of the house of Jehovah that is that city set upon the hill that has foundations whose builder and maker is God. The same city that Abram went out from the land of the Ur of the Chaldeans seeking, though he knew not where he went, yet he sought a city that had no sun, no moon and no starts because the light thereof is the “glory of God and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23).

The inheritance of the child of grace, while he inhabits this vessel of clay, is beset by the confusion and contention of the land of Shinar and the glory of the Light and Life within. As with all inheritances, no one can earn or procured the right, privilege or benefits of the family. It cannot be petitioned for or sought after by diligence or duty and it is certainly cannot be obtained by any conduct or intent of Adam. It is a privilege bestowed upon those of the household of the elect because they are of the ‘festival gathering of the called out assembly of the first born’ (Heb. 12:23). The eternal seed, born from above by the will of the Father through the sanctification of the Spirit produces a child of God, “Beloved now are we the sons of God” (I John3:2). These children of the King have a royal kingship and priesthood because they are of the King of Kings. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16).

So here in type, before any crusades or reconnaissance excursions could be executed, whereby heroes might be made, God, through the mouth of His prophet Moses, calling those things which had not yet happened as though they had already been (Is. 46:10), declares to the tribe of Naphtali, that they shall be filled with the blessings of Jehovah and satisfied in His favour as they endure the contradiction of the sin of this world against the Holiness of Christ in you, which is the hope of Glory.

“The sixth lot came to the children of Naphtali according to their families” (Josh. 19:32).

For some unexplained reason, seven tribes did not go forth and take possession of the land of their inheritance and one of these tribes was the house of Naphtali. Joshua commands them to send out three men from each tribe to search out the land and “describe the land in seven parts and bring hither to me” (Josh. 18:6). When this recon mission was concluded, “Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions (18:10). (God had not called on man to set His house in order; He assigned that task to Joshua, ‘Jehovah’s salvation’.)

The territory or limitations (coasts) of the land, that had been designated for Naphtali to inherit was in exchange (Cheleph) for the bondage of Pharaoh and the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. It proceeded from and had its beginning in the mighty (oak) tree (Allon) unto the border of that which descended from above (Jordan). It had been built by God (Jahneel) for the purpose of the taking down or the removing (Zaanannim) of the man of the earth (Adoni) to reveal the socket or setting (Nekeb) where God had placed His most precious jewel, the living stone hewn from that Great Rock. The entire area was set apart as a fortification for those pilgrims who were in need of a rest stop along the way (Lakum). This is where the children of conflict would dwell as they sojourned upon the earth. They were situated in the shadow of the judge (Dan), as they endured the treachery and deceit of the man of this world, and were bordered by and granted contentment (Asher) in their exalted habitation (Zebulun). (Josh. 19:33f).

This in no wise is meant to infer that they were all happy in their struggle or that they rejoiced in being constantly under the watch of the judge. Each time the judge brought forth the truth of the commandment of God, the wrestling child is taught by the Spirit within, that they, after the flesh, cannot keep the commandment and are worthy of the judgment. This reminds the pilgrim that while in the tabernacle of this dwelling, he is a stranger in a foreign land wherein there is no water of Life. As such a stranger, he finds that the waters of this world are bitter to him and the food of the fields cannot satisfy his needs. He hungers and thirsts after the water from that Rock, which is Messiah, and that Bread which came down from heaven, which is the body of the Anointed. He is also granted by the grace of God to be content with such things as have been granted unto him and to see the sufficiency of the hand of God which supplies his daily needs. The purpose of God in this taking down of the man of the earth is to reveal the treasure within. As the child of grace grows in the grace and knowledge of His will the Spirit reveals that which is of this earth and that which is from above. He guides all of His chosen generation in truth and teaches them the beauty and splendor of that house which is fitly framed together as she grows “unto an Holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2:12). He gives them a peace which exceeds all the understanding of man and contentment in the sufficiency of the evils of the day and the grace of God.

This territory also has another boundary to the westward side in the area of that roaring sea. The inhabitants of this valley of trouble have ears to hear the destruction and eyes to see the imminent demise of this world as appointed by the lawgiver. They are not ignorant to the lies, although from time to time they find themselves listening to them and may be deceived by them, yet shall they know the truth (John 8:32). They are tempted to become entangled with the affairs of those angry waves and oftimes they are given to think that they can oppose them and alter their course. Frequently they find themselves embroiled in confrontations with the indigenous inhabitants of the land over fables and endless genealogies which gender to confusion rather than the edification of their fellow travelers. Although they strive daily to remove these waves from the land of inheritance, it has been ordained of God that they cannot drive off those of the house of the sun worshippers (Beth-shemesh) or the inhabitants of the house of affliction (Beth-anath). These dwell among the zealous people of the low lands (Canaanites-Judges 1:33) and are the inhabitants of this world. They are in the world and of the world therefore they sit as children in the market place calling for the child of the King to come and sing and dance with them (Matt. 11:16). They remain safe and secure in the vanity of this world and are tributaries to the children of the conflict as they remind them that the tabernacle of this dwelling is temporal and shall soon be dissolved.

Within the borders of this land are nineteen fenced cities and their villages for the protection and sanctuary of the fellow members of the tribe. These were not houses and fortifications which were built by the hands of the inheritors. They had not been constructed out of the wisdom of the nation of Israel or the cunningness of man. God had prepared these ‘strong holds of excitement’ in the allotted area long before the children crossed the Jordan and began their conquest of the land. These ‘fortifications of anguish’ began at the ‘house of the rising sun’ (Beth-shemesh) and encompassed the length of the territory to ‘the house of affliction’ (Beth-anath). They were as diversified as the nature of the house of Naphtali and exemplified the wrestling within. Some were as peaceful as the sound of harps (Chimmereth) beside (Zidolim) the warm baths (Hammath) of the shore (Rakkath). Others were goodly pastures (Edrei) where the sacred flower of God (Migdalel) flourished in the hallowed place (Kedesh). Still others were not peaceful because they represented those things of the earth (Adamah). These demonstrated the vexation of affliction (Zer) where the confusing sound of trumpets (Erhazor), the sight of fortified high places (Ramah) and lofty castles (Hazor) were a dreadful and terrible thing that fostered fear (Iron). These cities of contrast represent the two contrary natures of the elect seed, one of the flesh and one of the Spirit, as he dwells in the earthen vessel.

This is the inheritance of the redeemed of the Lord until the appointed time when the habitation of this dwelling is concluded. It began in the eternal Godhead and it is secured by the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood (I Pt. 1:2). The surety of the inheritance is the satisfaction of the Father with the finished work of the Son which was demonstrated in the resurrection of Christ from the dead and it is ultimately realized when the fully matured spiritual man departs this tabernacle of dust, to inhabit that house not made with hands which is eternal in the heavens (II Cor. 5:1). During the time of this habitation, the Spirit reveals the wretchedness of man, the presence of that carnal law in the members and the delight for the Law of God after the inner man. He also reveals the fear, dread and affliction of Adam and the inability of the flesh. This is Naphtali.

“The Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you
cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses” (Josh. 20:1)

The nation was to set apart six cities within its borders, as places of refuge where the accused may find sanctuary. They appointed three on the west side of the Jordan and three on the east side. The first was Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali. This ‘consecrated place encircled the exalted struggle’ and was a place where the justice was enacted swiftly upon the guilty and peace was bestowed upon the righteous. In type both sides of the two edged sword were demonstrated in this place as judgment was enacted in perfect harmony with the Law of God. Only those ‘joined’ (Levi) unto Jehovah had the right, ability and privilege of properly discern the Law and adjudicating justice. Since the sons of Levi were of nature men after the corruption of Adam and the passions of the flesh, true justice could not be enacted for they looked “unto the earth and behold trouble, darkness, dimness of anguish and driven to darkness. Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as in her first vexation when at first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun (the habitation) and the land of Naphtali (the wrestling) and afterward did more grievously afflict by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the heathen. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Is. 8:22-9:2).

Here, to this ‘district’ (Galilee) of the habitation of wrestling, came the one true High Priest, not after the order of Aaron or after a covenant of blood of bulls and goats. He is indeed ‘joined’ unto the Father for “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30). He is that ‘hallowed place’ (Kedesh), that sanctuary, where His people, being guilty in Adam wherein “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) find justice. He is that Light that shined forth to every kindred, nation, tribe and tongue as the propitiation for the sin of His chosen as they dwell in the land of the warfare. He came, as it is written in the volume of the book, to do the will of God (Heb. 10:7), “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet” (Matt. 4:14) and He dwelt in a ‘guarded place’ called Nazareth. He is the holy city of refuge for His elect people. He perfectly adjudicated the Law of God in righteous vengeance upon the wicked, with the refiner’s fire upon the remnant of Edom and He rode that white horse of Justice going forth conquering and to conquer. He satisfied the demands of that same law when He, who knew no sin, became the sin of His people and drank the cup of the wrath of God. His ‘exalted habitation’ (Zebulun) was in the land of the wrestling (Naphtali). He was holy and without blame, before the Father in love, being tempted IN ALL POINTS like unto as we are, yet without sin. He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities because He has endured the contradiction of sin against Himself and He has overcome. It is because of His faithfulness to the covenant will of the Father that His people are delivered and have peace with God and SINCE He has overcome the world, so shall they, by His faith.

Your servant in Christ,
July 2011

Banner of Hope
Volume 5, No. 3