Month 5:29, Week 4:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5936:147 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 16 August 2012
The Sabbath Principle
Peace & Refreshment for Yah's Own
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el!
"And on the Yom haShibi'i (seventh day) Elohim (God) ended (kalah, accomplished) His work which He had done ('asah, made), and He ceased (shabbat, caused to rest) on the Yom haShibi'i (seventh day) from all His work which He had done ('asah, made)" (Gen.2:1-2, NKJV),
Today's passage of Scripture is the very first time the word shabbat is used not as a noun but as a verb, and here means 'to cease' or 'bring to an end'. It does not mean 'rest' in the sense that we rest in order to recouperate our energy for obviously Yahweh, who is immortal and totally self-sufficient, has no need of this kind of resting. He is no human workman who needs a break. In its simplest form, the word shabbat, from which we get our English word 'sabbath', means to cease creative activity. Centuries later, when the shabbat was re-instituted under Moses and the Ten Commandments restored to Yahweh's people who had been in apostacy, Yahweh's said:
In this account the word shabbat (to cease) is replaced by a new word, nuwach meaning to 'settle down' or 'be quiet' and later on He says:
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim (God). In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested (nuwach, settle down) [on], be quiet) the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Ex.20:8-11, NKJV).
How interesting! In this text nuwach (to settle down) is not used but the original shabbat is resumed but with an addendum - He was naphash or 'refreshed', literally, He was breathed on!
"It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested (shabbat) and was refreshed (naphash, to breathe, to be breathed upon)" (Ex.31:17, NKJV).
But who could possibly breathe upon the El Elyon, the Most High? Who breathed on Yahweh to refresh Him? And indeed, how can the Omnipotent One need 'refreshing'? There is only one possible answer, of course, and it can only be understood when the identity of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is known, more literally translated as the 'Qodesh Breath' or 'Holy, Set-Apart Breath'. This is none other than the Heavenly Mother breathing on the Heavenly Father, bringing Him refreshment after His creative activity!
I hope that in thinking about these fascinating passages that a whole constellation of thoughts have by now rushed into your head. For one thing, they tell us that though Elohim (God) has no need of anything or anyone for existence, that within the Elohimhead (Godhead) there is a created need or dependency of one member of the Elohimhead (Godhead) upon the other, a dependency that would be built into man himself when the Two created Adam and Eve in Their image. The same idea is conveyed in another fascinating picture involving Messiah and His allegorical human Bride:
What was the effect of having the Ruach (Spirit) breathed by Yah'shua (Jesus) on these first talmidim (disciples)? Shalom or peace! The Ruach (Spirit), our Heavenly Mother, brings shalom (peace), rest and refreshing not just to Her children but also to Her Husband! Rightly, the Shabbat or Sabbath is viewed as Her day - a day on which She primarily ministers - bringing these same things to us who properly use the day. It is what Eve brought to Adam and to her children. The primary function or rôle of a wife and mother is to bring peace, rest and refreshing. And husbands and children are dependent on that for their well-being, even the Almighty One above.
"Then, the same day at evening, being Yom haRishon (the first day) of the week, when the doors were shut where the talmidim (disciples) were assembled, for fear of the Judeans, Yah'shua (Jesus) came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Shalom (peace) be with you.' Now when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the talmidim (disciples) were glad when they saw the Master. So Yah'shua (Jesus) said to them again, 'Shalom (peace) to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)'" (John 20:19-22, NKJV).
This brings an interesting dimension of emet (truth) into the creative process. Yahweh the Eternal Father brought the universe into existence through His Davar or Logos, the Word, which is His Son, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), and after He was done, He was refreshed by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), our Heavenly Mother. This means that though His Son was the agent that He was not simply sitting around passively watching on idly while Yah'shua (Jesus) did all the 'work'! It means that He was somehow active, connected and involved. Additionally, we know that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) was involved in the creation process too for we find that She was active from Day #1:
I am sure some of you have noticed three words in particular that are associated with the Heavenly Mother and how similar in sound they are: raqaph (hovering), ruach (breath) and nuwach (rest). Note also the similarity between naphash (refresh) and nephesh meaning psychic energy or soul. That is because the spirit is essentially a 'male' element where as the psyche is 'female' in their relationship one to the other. Likewise, in relationship to the belem or physical body, the psyche is 'male' and the body is 'female' by virtue of the toqefim (authorities) and positioning of each.
"In the beginning Elohim (God) created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void (tohu vavohu); and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) was hovering (raqaph, fluttering, shaking, moving) over the face of the waters" (Gen.1:1-2, NKJV).
However, I digress somewhat. I wished for the most part merely to point out the feminine part of the creation equation and how essential it is to chayim (life) and thus to authentic spiritual living. This is the way that Yahweh built the feminine both for Himself in the Elohimhead (Godhead) and in marriage (or 'Familyhead'). And the feminine is the essence of shabbat (sabbath) which is why the Sabbath Day is sometimes known amongst the Jews as Shegal haShabbat or the 'Sabbath Queen'. This is to be contrasted with Rosh Chodesh which is male and patriarchal; for as Rosh Chodesh is the Head of the Moon and start of the month, so the Husband and Father is Head of His Wife and Children, respectively.
Those of you familiar with the Aramaic versions of the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament) will know that the word for Elohim (God) throughout is Eloah, the female form of El (God). Why? Because the New Covenant in Messiah is about bringing redeemed sinners into inner Sabbath Rest, which is a female function, as well as refreshment. As the Tanakh (Old Testament) is male so the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament) are female, and the one is not without the other. As the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament) brings Torah or the Tanakh (Old Testament) to completion, so the woman beings the man to completion, filling in, as it were, the 'gap' left by the removed 'rib', created in order to give the woman existence in her own right. In that rôle she finds her own meaning, calling, purpose, completeness and shalom (peace), because in 'filling the gap' she is both returning home as well as fulfilling the measure of her creation. As she flutters over the waters of the earth in the first day of Creation, so she 'flutters' over her husband bringing him rest and refreshment, and likewise 'flutters' over her children, bringing them the same. This is the essence of female principle. Thus Paul would write:
Is this not what the Creation Calendar teaches too? There can be no reckoning of the sabbaths without the new moon, the four sabbaths always being on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th days of the month; likewise there can be no following new moon without the completed cycle of four sabbaths, just as Jacob was incomplete without his four wives Rachel, Leah, Zilpah and Bilhah. This is the earthly lunar cycle, the rhythm we are called to live and not the false Roman or Talmudic ones which distort the original meaning and tavnith (pattern) they convey.
"Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Master. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from Elohim (God)" (1 Cor.11:10-12, NKJV).
Though this kind of sacred tavnith (pattern) will be unfamiliar to most of you, it is essential in understanding what true sabbath rest and refreshing is all about. We must not confuse the Hebrew Shabbat or Sabbath with the Babylonian Sabbatum or Sabbath, which represents all false sabbaths. For one thing, the Babylonians had a 5-day week and the days designated sabbatum were not days of cessation from labour, work sometimes being performed in Babylonian society over a period of several days without any interruption every seventh day. Whatever the Babylonian sabbatum was, it was not the Hebrew shabbat but a corruption thereof. The Whore of Babylon has her own 'sabbatum's which mislead the children of men, causing them to live by false patterns which disconnect them from the living Elohim (God).
The Ten Commandments make it plain that the Sabbath belongs to Yahweh in the same way that the four monthly sabbaths belong to Rosh Chodesh, the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) belongs to the Father, and as a wife belongs to her husband. It is her belonging through this ownership that gives her this sabbath rest, and because of this shalom (peace) she in turn is able to refresh her husband in his rest or ceasing, something he cannot do alone after he has entered marriage covenants, because that is what Yahweh expects of him. Whereas dependency on her head is the default state of the female, being as this is the way she was created, dependency on the part of a man on his wife is something that has to be chosen rather than being the default in the same way that the Father, after taking the Mother out of Himself, chose to have this sabbath dependency on her and then programmed it into all male-female relationships in creation. A woman may deny this rôle and live an artificial one of self-dependency, defying the created order, and reap the consequences of frustration and anchorlessness, trapped 'between a pillar and a post'. Or a man may refuse to become dependent on his sabbath rest (on a human level) from his wife and likewise experience frustration and incompleteness.
The chief reason there is, and always has been, war between the sexes, which we regrettably and often shamelessly make light of in our jokes at the expense of one gender or another, is because the human race is in denial about this created tavnith (order). Attempts to reinvent gender and gender rôles leads only to social unrest and misery as we see in our own secular society today, not to mention the churches... which is why divorce rates in the churches are pretty much the same as in the world, because both follow the same broken tavnith (pattern).
There is much else hidden in the Sabbath Principle that I will attempt to elucidate further but first we need to consider some important related principles. So I wish to briefly pause to consider the Virgin Birth which shows some interesting truths about male-female relationships in the Elohimhead (Godhead). Let us examine the dual operating principle of conception (in this case, a supernatural one not unlike the new birth spiritually) in which we see the separate rôles of the two divine genders:
Here the Ruach (Spirit), who is responsible for the formation of the conception of Yah'shua (Jesus) without human intervention, "come[s] upon" Mary, operating on her substance by direct action. Where is El Elyon the Most High, in this process? He "overshadow[s]", meaning that He provides an impermeable, protecting covering which no unclean thing - material or spiritual - can slip past, rather like the sterilsed and sealed-off environment of an operating theatre to preclude infection of the patient undergoing surgery. In scripture this covering is often liken to a 'tent', a 'mishkan' (tabernacle) or a temple, for into this qodesh (set-apart, holy) space no unclean thing can enter, of which the Christian/Messianic home is supposed to be a shadow. This, also, is the rôle of the husband in the marriage relationship. When a wife fully yields or submits to a husband's toqef (authority), he automatically provides a tent of covering for his wife, and indeed for his chidlren also, so that when the enemy tries to assault them, they must first come to him and try to get past him. Accordingly a husband and father must live a consecrated life to Yahweh for the sake of his family in order to be a spiritual protection for them in the invisible as well as also, of course, being a physical protection and provider in the natural dimension.
"The Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) will come upon you (Mary), and the gevurah (power) of El Elyon (the Highest, Yahweh) will overshadow you" (Luke 1:35, NKJV)
It follows that if each human 'sabbath queen' is to be able to perform her divinely assigned rôle and functions she must remain under that covering. If she chooses to move outside it, she exposes herself to the full force of the enemy along with any children who out of instinct (if they are younger particularly) will naturally follow her. A woman under proper covering by freely yielding to patriarchal toqef (authority) as is required of the marriage covenant is safe and need never fear so long as her husband is himself yielded to Messiah, even as Messiah is yielded to the Heavenly Father.
At some point in his life, usually when he is old or dying, a father must pass familial toqef (authority) to his firstborn son to whom is given both the toqef (authority) and the material means (a double inheritance) to take care of the family after he has departed. You will recall Yah'shua (Jesus) giving this toqef (authority) to the apostle John as He died on the cross, putting His mother Mary into the apostle's care. Not all firstborn sons meet the requirements, of course, because they are not properly submitted to Yahweh, as was true of Abraham's boys - Ishmael the elder and Isaac, and Isaac's boys - Esau the elder and Jacob. In both cases the elder sons failed to live up to Yahweh's standards and their fathers passed them over and gave toqef (authority) to the younger sons, Isaac and Jacob. When Jacob's eldest, Reuben, likewise failed the test, treacherously murdering the inhabitants of Shechem, his firstborn rights were transferred to the much younger Joseph who became the victim of the ungodly jealousy of his elder brothers and was sold into slavery once it had been decided not to actually murder him. Finally, we recall Joseph himself passing the firstborn rights to his younger son Ephraim over the elder, Manasseh, for reasons that are not given. I mention this to remind fathers in particular to pass on the firstborn blessing and inheritance rights to the one whom Yahweh directs and not necessarily because of the flesh, even though ideally it should be the firstborn of the flesh who receives these responsibilities.
The same or similar tavnith (pattern) is employed by the Elohimhead (Godhead), the tavnith (pattern) in human affairs being a reflection or image of this spiritual blueprint. Of course, Yahweh does not die as we mortals do, so this is a higher order principle of which the human tavnith (pattern) is but a shadow. We recall how, though Yahweh is the Creator, a significant rôle was assigned to His Son:
"To me (Paul), who am less than the least of all the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones), this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Messiah, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in Elohim (God) who created all things through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ); to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of Elohim (God) might be made known by the messianic community (church) to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) our Master, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through emunah (faith) in Him" (Eph.3:8-12, NKJV)
Not only does the Ruach (Spirit) or Mother refresh the Father (as a familial spouse) after His creative labour (and presumably during its subsequent continuing maintenance) by breathing on Him, but all submitted and Torah-obedient mankind is 'breathed on' by Yahweh through Her each Shabbat (Sabbath) too, refreshing us, recharging us, and strengthening us. But this can only happen when we cease (shabbat) our weekly labour, when we cease our inner and outer striving, and so allow the Ruach (Spirit) to hover or raqaph over our waters - the unsettled feelings of our lev (heart) - to flutter, shake, or move over our being, like a dove cooling the exhausted soul with her wings to bring calm and order to any chaos that may have accumulated over the week. But this can only happen when we cease our strivings and let go of control to Yahweh - and release those areas of self-sovereignty that we may have taken back from Him over the course of a week because we did not trust Him to take care of our best interests. It takes the soothing cooing of the Divine Dove - the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) - like the soft words of a wife and mother, to persuade us to once again relinquish any toqef (authority) we may have seized from Him and give it back to Him because we believed the lies of the enemy that He could not somehow take care of us in our predicaments.
"He [Yah'shua/Jesus] is the image of the [presently] invisible [to us mortals] Elohim (God), the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the messianic community (church), who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence" (Col.1:15-18, NKJV).
It is perhaps an astonishing thing to consider that not only the Father but also the Son is in need of this Divine Feminine. It is perhaps hard for us to grasp too that Yahweh would impose self-limitation on Himself so that the Ruach (Spirit) could fulfil this self-inflicted need. But is this such an alien concept when you consider that Yahweh has in any case imposed limitations on Himself by binding Himself to His own laws? Self-limitation is not only something that Elohim (God) expects of us but He has Himself set the example by limiting Himself. And, of course, the Enemy is ever out to get Him to break His own self-limiting laws and so overthrow Him. But He will not do so. Can we, in our turn, reasonably complain against His commanding us to impose self-limitation on ourselves? To not allow ourselves to be provoked when others are being nasty to us? To be patient, extending grace, when all we want to do is execute what we perceive to be righteous judgment and punishment because of some perceived sin done against us? But why even this need for self-limitation? Why did Yahweh even create Female out of Himself and so impose Self-limitation which never existed before?
Well, here we are asking ourselves a very deep philosophical question! The answer is simple: total self-sufficiency spells total loneliness. Adam knew it in Eden and was allowed to experience it presumably in the same way that His Heavenly Father had experienced it long before there was a Divine Mother or a Son. And it's true - we just can't bear to be alone. Even when we convince ourselves we can 'manage' to be alone, we are actually lying to ourselves, because to do so we have to shut down an essential part of our being. Yet herein is the dilemma: in order not to be alone there has to be self-limitation and dependence on others. You can't have both.
I do not wish to take this too far because we are entering a mystical realm which we are unlikely to ever comprehend fully, at least not in mortality. But there are, I believe, sufficient clues in Scripture to justify the conclusions I have come to today, and for which I feel a special anointing because it has lifted a huge cloud off me personally. The Sabbath exists in response to Divine (and therefore also human) Self-Limitation - it is there to bring completion, satisfaction, rest and a sense of well-being.
The incarnation of Elohim (God) as the Son is perhaps the biggest example of self-limitation - the infinite Creator being reduced to a mere man. And we know the reason He did so - and there is only one - "who for the simcha (joy) that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame" (Heb.12:2, NKJV). He did it for the simcha (joy) set before Him - the joy of our redemption, our character development, our own restored wholeness through emunah (faith) in and obedience to, Him, and ultimately the satisfaction of the Father with whom He is echad (one).
Only by all of us submitting, ceasing and resting to the toqefim (authorities) placed above us (whether divine or human) can we ever hope to understand the benefit of being self-limiting. Yahweh did it, so can we. I have to tell you I had a terrible struggle completing this sermon, to the point of becoming desperate enough to quit everything, and only when I realised these things was shalom (peace) restored to me. Understanding and accepting this Sabbath Principle - allowing another to complete you, through voluntary Self-Limitation in the tavnith (pattern) whose example was set by Yahweh Himself, can we ever come to this place of freedom. Every sabbath day, every new moon day, and every feast day is given to us to bring us into this wholeness one step closer by being given the opportunity to cease our futile striving for independence from Yahweh, from husbands, from parents, and from any divinely-appointed toqef (authority), yes, even including governments within the sphere of toqef (authority) that is granted them!
This is not as hard as the flesh would have you believe - Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
The emet (truth) is, the burden becomes heavy, the yoke becomes oppressive, and all shalom (peace) departs from us precisely when we try to do it on our own, unsurrendered, unyielded, and independent. Then we are outside Yahweh's Garden - His Paradise - forever looking at the gate longingly (because instinctively we know we need to be there) but refusing to go in because of the fear we have of losing control of our lives. Then, on the outside, the enemy relentlessly attacks us, giving us no reprieve, no rest, no simcha (joy) and we are left to resist both Satan and Yahweh, an impossible task! For outside that Garden we are unowned and are therefore orphans - uncovered, unprotected - for the Garden of Yahweh is the Temple, the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, the Tent of Covering, our safety and home. To belong means to be completely owned and surrendered - husbands to Yah'shua (Jesus), wives to husbands, children to parents (until they are of age whence obedience becomes honouring). This is divine tavnith (pattern) and lies at the heart of the Sabbath Principle.
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in lev (heart), and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt.11:29-30, NKJV).
Another time remind me to speak to you of oxen and heiffers, and of bulls and cows. Even these are to receive a sabbath rest because they are types of us. Much is said about them in Torah. If we keep covenant - and especially our Shavu'ot covenant to be meticulously obedient to Torah, resting on the foundation of our rebirth in Messiah obtained at Yom haBikkurim, we will have the rest that comes from ceasing to strive for ahavah (love) and self-worth because only then - when the Ruach (Spirit) is fluttering over us like a mother, can we then know the extraordinarily depth and breadth of the ahavah (love) that Yahweh has for us. And when does this happen? Every time we enter the spirit of the Sabbath, whether on the actual day or at any time. Only then can we be still enough from the commotions of our thoughts and feelings, and the tiredness of our flesh, to know that Yahweh is truly Elohim (God):
"Be still, and know that I am Elohim (God)" (Ps.46:10, NKJV).
"Be still, for the day is qodesh (holy, set-apart)" (Neh.8:11, NKJV).
"Shalom (peace), be still!" (Mark 4:39, NKJV).