14 December 2010 (Sheshi/Bikkurim)|
Day #273, 5934 AM
The Two Salts
Understanding Life and Death
Continued from Part 3
We continue today with our examination of the importance of covenants, with whom we eat at table, and with the salt covenant. Four centuries ago, as today, the sea held billions of tons of salt, just as there are vast deposits of sub-terranean salt where seas once were. And yet salt was then as valuable as gold.
Salt, like water, is actually priceless. Salt, like water, holds a very special place in biblical symbolism. And salt, like water, defies logic. Salt is a blend of sodium and chlorine - the first a metal that is so unstable that it bursts into flame when it makes contact with water, and the second, a lethal gas. And when we swallow Sodium Chloride (NaCl) in the form of salt, it reacts to form deadly Hydrochloric Acid (HCl). And yet the human body contains large qualtities of salt - were you to extract it there would be enough to fill several shakers. It's involved in muscle contraction including our heartbeat. It is vital for nerve function and in the digestion of body-building protein. It regulates the exchange of water between our cells and surrounding body fluids which carries food in and wastes out. Without salt our bodies go into convulsions, paralysis and death. Salt, like water (which is 70% of our physical composition), may be said to be a vital component of life.
At one time in history salt was equal in value - weight for weight - with gold. The Roman statesman Cassiodirus therefore observed: "Some seek not gold, but there lives not a man who does not need salt". Rome's major highway was called the Via Salaria or 'Salt Road' because it was along this road the soldiers carried this precious cargo up the Tiber from the salt pans at Ostia. Those "worth their salt" were paid a salary. Indeed, that's where our English word 'salary' comes from - salt - for it was the money paid soldiers to buy salt. Does this not give extra dimension to the saying of our Master:
Just as the Illuminati have virtually monopolised gold and silver today, so the kings of Europe used to monopolise salt. You could be executed for smuggling salt back in those days - hard to believe, isn't it, when salt is today so cheaply bought off the supermarket shelf? It was the hated gabelle or 'Salt Tax' that sparked the French Revolution.
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men" (Matt.5:13, NKJV).
Accordingly salt has come to symbolise wisdom, wit, virility, hospitality and sanctity in different cultures. Bedouin will not attack a man whose salt they have eaten. In Slavic countries, bread and salt are gifts of welcome and signify lifelong health and happiness to bride and groom. And as we know, our forefathers sealed sacrifices under the Mosaic Covenant with salt. Roman Catholics place salt in the mouth at baptism and in their holy water because to them it represents purity and incorruptibility.
Many think the spilling of salt is unlucky and compensate with the superstition of throwing salt over their left shoulder. Leonardo da Vinci, knowing this, placed an overturned saltcellar in front of doomed Judas in his famous 'Last Supper' painting.
Salt, you see, has a deserved reputation as bringing of both life and death. Such is also the nature of divine covenants. If we are faithful to them, they bring us life just as sodium chloride does; if we are not, death is what results, just like metalic sodium and gaseous chlorine. It is no accident, therefore, that Yahweh purposefully commanded the use of salt in sacrifices
We no longer offer Levitical sacrifices but what salt symbolises remains vitally important, even in the New Covenant:
"Every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your Elohim (God) to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt" (Lev.2:13, NKJV).
Grace, or the unmerited favour (undeserved loving-kindness) we show others, is our seasoning from Messiah Yah'shua. Our speech - the way we talk to one another - is one of those good works that flows out of a mouth that belongs to a heart filled with this undeserved loving-kindness. Grace is the fruit of our covenant in Messiah lived out in daily life. Our speech, then, becomes the spiritual barometer of our heart-condition, making it extra important. Our spoken words can either be the savour that is sodium chloride or the poison that is metalic sodium and gaseous chlorine.
"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Col.4:6, NKJV).
And a final thought while we are on this subject - sodium chloride is a compound, an echad union of two elemental poisons but in ionised form. As elements they are destructive (poisoning water and the air), but as ions - positive sodium (Na+) and negative chloride (Cl-) they are life-giving. The elements, therefore, represent selfishness and egotism (male violent sodium and female suffocating chlorine) whereas the ionised compound represents a union of opposites as understood in the marriage covenant, or grace.
As salt makes human existence possible, so spiritual salt - grace flowing out of covenant - makes existence joyful. The salt, however, must be presented in its correct environment for if it is not - it becomes poisonous to our life. It becomes a reminded not to break the marriage covenant - whether with literal spouses or allegorically with the Heavenly Bridegroom, Yah'shua (Jesus). If we split it, we will only reap death. Preserve it in echad (oneness), which is the truth tavnith (pattern), and dissolve it in the water of life, and life is ours to be blessed by.
 Gordon Young, The Essence of Life: Salt (National Geographic, Vol.152, No.3, September 1977)
Comments from Readers
"With reading this, was struck (especially with the intimate connection between salt and covenant ) especially of its reflection on one level of marriage of how when the unity between Sodium (Na) and Chloride (Cl) is broken (what bonds them and makes them 'one-flesh' of NaCl) and a 'divorce' happens in the NaCl where they are separated, how what was good, beneficial, precious, needed, is broken, and the broken separated parts of that 'covenant' ~ the separate Na and Cl ~ in truth become unstable and dangerous (as I write this, thinking both of where as broken and hurting people they may then hurt others, but also, as Scripture testifies, the danger of the adultery being caused, and the severity of that).
"How much we need to be true to covenant in Yah's pattern ~ husbands loving their wives and wives loving (and honouring, respecting) their husbands! And to forgive by Yah's grace especially when this has not been the case, and to seek Elohim's grace and enabling to be true to our covenant and walk in His, and for Him to transform them. May our marriages be in tavnith (pattern), in Messiah, reflecting Yah'shua and His Bride, also truly be salt to the earth" (DP, South Africa, 21 December 2010).