Monday, February 21, 2011

Fashioned וייצר by the Hands of God.

The Torah Portion of Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:12 – 34:35 suggests another one of those interesting “jots and tittles” that are only found in the Hebrew text.  Remember that Yeshua said that these would not “pass from the law” until all scripture is fulfilled.

Matthew 5:18 For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the law until all is fulfilled.

We are reintroduced to an interesting Hebrew word in the Torah Portion in Exodus 32:1-6

Exodus 32:1-6 MKJV 1 And the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, and the people gathered themselves to Aaron. And they said to him, Up! Make us gods who shall go before us. For this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him. 2 And Aaron said to them, Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me. 3 And all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he took them from their hand, and fashioned it with an engraving tool. And he made it a molten calf. And they said, These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 5 And when Aaron saw, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD. 6 And they rose up early on the next day and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

Here I am going to focus on one Hebrew word in particular, ויצר “yatsar”.  It is translated as “fashioned” in the above passage

#3335 in the Strong’s Concordance, ויצר yatsar,  yaw-tsar'  Probably identical with 3334 (through the squeezing into shape); ((compare 3331)); to mold into a form; especially as a potter; figuratively, to determine (i.e. form a resolution):--X earthen, fashion, form, frame, make(-r), potter, purpose.

Remember that Jots and tittles are anomalies in the Hebrew text.  Anomalies are things such as misspelled words, letters that are larger or smaller than normal, letters written backwards or gaps in the text etc.  Each of these anomalies has a meaning and are deliberately placed in the text by the inspiration of God.  So in looking at this word ויצר yatsar we see an interesting anomaly in an added letter at a specific place in the Torah.

In Genesis 2:19 the same word is used at the creation of the animals.

Genesis 2:19 MKJV And out of the ground the LORD God formed (ויצר “yatsar”) every animal of the field and every fowl of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

But in the account of the creation of man in the same chapter there is a different spelling of the word ויצר

Genesis 2:7 MKJV And the LORD God formed (וייצר “yatsar”) man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

In this verse the word yatsar has an extra yood.  Two instead of one!  The natural question is what does this mean?  Why the extra letter when the creation of man is described? 

The letter yood in the ancient form of Hebrew was a picture of a human hand.  It literally meant hand, to work, a deed or to make.  One way to analyze the meaning of the extra yood is to view the creation of the animals as God using one hand in their creation and at the creation of man, God used both hands!

Beyond this simple observation of the possibility of God using both hands in the creation of man, the use of the double yood in verse 7 has a deeper meaning when we look at the numbers represented by the letters.  The yood is the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents the number ten.  Ten is one of the “perfect” numbers in scripture and ten specifically signifies the perfection of divine order.

The number ten is the completion of a round of numbers.  The Bible is replete with examples of the number ten representing a completed cycle.  Here are a few:

There are ten generations in the antediluvian age from Adam to Noah as well as ten generations from Peretz to David.  (see “These are the Generation: The Story of Redemption” in this blog, Oct. 2010)

There are ten commandments which represent the entirety of the commandments.

The “Lord’s Prayer” contains ten clauses. (Matthew 6:9-13)

There were ten plagues against Egypt (Exodus)

The promised land (Cannan) held ten nations and were given over to Abraham. (Genesis15:18-21)

The list of the significance of the number ten goes on and on.  (See Numbers in Scripture by E.W. Bullinger (public domain))

The double yood in Genesis 2:7 indicates two times ten or twenty.  When multiples are used in scripture the indication is, in many cases, an extra emphasis.  The double yood representing the number twenty is significant in its concentrated or doubled meaning.  But the number 20 holds another significance in that it is one short of twenty one.  Twenty one is three times seven and seven being the number of divine completion and spiritual perfection.  So the number twenty indicates something just short of spiritual perfection.

Twenty years Jacob waited to get possession of his wives and property. (Gen. 21)

Twenty years Israel waited for deliverance from Jabin’s oppression. (Judges 4:3)

Twenty years the Ark of the Covenant waited at Kirjath-jearim. (1 Sam. 7:2)

Twenty years Jerusalem waited between its capture and destruction, and for twenty years Jeremiah prophesied concerning it.

But the most important thing about the double yood and the number twenty in its representation of the short coming of man to achieve spiritual perfection, is that it also holds the promise of a coming Spiritual Perfecton.  In the examples of the number 20 above, at twenty one years Jacob did receive his wives and property, at twenty one years Israel was delivered from Jabin’s oppression and the Ark of the Covenant was rescued from Kirjath-jearim at twenty one years.  The use of the double yood in the spelling of “formed” (yatsar) in Genesis 2:7 is a prophesy indicating that man will fall short of the glory of God and yet the promise of eventual spiritual perfection will come.  Our redemption will be made perfect and complete as Rabbi Shaul pointed out in Romans.

Romans 3:23-24 MKJV for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Temple: Destroyed and Built by Fire

This last week we have witnessed extraordinary events in the Muslim Arab countries of the Middle East, especially those in Egypt, the single most populous of Arab countries.  Since the Camp David Accords of the late 70’s, (Carter administration) Egypt has been at peace with Israel and has even assisted Israel in many efforts to combat radical Islamic terrorism and stemming the flow of arms to Palestinian militants.  It has been an uneasy peace at times and ultimately cost the life of Egypt’s immediate past President Anwar Sadat.

As I have watched these events this week unfold and transform entire countries in mere hours, I can’t help but think of the prophets and what they have to say about these times in which we live.  There is a Jewish prayer that is recited on the 9th of Ave, Tisha B’Av, that speaks of a Jerusalem in ruin.  But this prayer also speaks of a hope in the rebuilding of Jerusalem and says in part:

“For you, HaShem destroyed the Temple in fire, and in fire you will rebuild it.”

God did not literally destroy the Temple with fire in a supernatural way, but allowed it to be destroyed by fire from man, such as a military action.  The word for “fire” in Hebrew is “aysh”.  Just as the word fire in English can mean both a fire as in a house fire and fire as in fire a gun, aysh has the same double meaning in Hebrew.  So both the 1st and 2nd Temples were destroyed by “fire” in the later sense.  This same Jewish prayer refers to a passage in Zachariah chapter 2 from the Stone Edition of the Tanach.

5. And I lifted my eyes, and I saw-and behold!-a man with a measuring line in his hand.   6 And I said, "Where are you going?" And he said to me, "To measure Jerusalem, to see how much is its breadth and how much [is] its length."   7 And behold, the angel who was speaking with me was coming forth, and another angel was coming forth toward him.   8 And he said to him, "Run, speak to this young man, saying: 'Jerusalem shall be inhabited like unwalled towns, because of the multitude of men and cattle therein.' "   9 But I will be for it-says the Lord-a wall of fire around, and for glory I will be in its midst.   10 Ho, ho! Flee from the land of the north, says the Lord; for I have spread you as the four corners of the heavens, says the Lord.   11 Ho, Zion! Flee, she who sits among the nation of Babylon.  12 For so said the Lord of Hosts: After glory, He sent me to the nations that plunder you, for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye.   13 For, behold! I raise My hand over them, and they shall be prey for those who serve them. And you shall know that the Lord of Hosts sent me.   14 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for, behold! I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord.   15 And many nations shall join the Lord on that day, and they shall be My people; and I will dwell in your midst and you shall know that the Lord of Hosts sent me to you.  16 And the Lord shall inherit Judah as His share on the Holy Land, and He shall again choose Jerusalem.  17 Silence all flesh from before the Lord, for He is aroused out of His holy habitation.

Aside from the deep prophetic significance in our day of the entire chapter, I was particularly drawn to verses 9 and 13.  Verse 9 speaks of a wall of fire around Jerusalem.  I am reminded of the Exodus when the Children of Israel are about to cross the Red Sea and the LORD stands between them and the Egyptian army as a wall of fire.  In verse 13 the subject is the nations who “plunder” (vs. 12) them.  It speaks of how these nations will be brought down.  The LORD will move against them by turning those whom they oppress against them.  In Egypt we have an oppressive dictatorship in the guise of a democracy which has “enslaved” their people for generations.  The government is now become “prey” for the people of Egypt.

As we watch the Arab world transform in the blink of an eye, we need to keep our Jewish brothers and sisters in prayer.  Pray for the land of Israel.  Pray that the hand of God will be upon them and protect them.  Pray that the LORD will be a wall of fire around them and the He will be in their midst.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be Blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart