Month 10:29, Week 4:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5937:295 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Wednesday 29 January 2014
Crusader or Full of Grace?
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be upon us all this day. As the precipice of collapse looms closer and closer, and with it the huge changes I have spoken to you about over the years, so it behooves us to make sure that we know just what our gender rôles should be in the Kingdom so that we can operate together as echad (one).
Theodore Shoebat and Militant Christianity Examined
The other day a brother asked me to take a look at a teaching video  by Theodore 'Ted' Shoebat, son of the famous Palestinian (now American) Christian apologist Walid Shoebat and formerly of the Muslim Brotherhood. Shoebat, Jr. calls himself a 'militant Christian' and is an admirer of the Templars, the Crusades, the former Byzantine Empire, Zionism, and the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church who alone, he says, is sufficiently militant to defeat Islam. Though there is much I could say about his 'crusaderism', we will confine ourselves today to his view on the rôle of Mary and the Christian/Messianic woman.
Mary, Ja'el, Judith, Esther and Eve
In the video, he claims that Mary (Miriam), the mother of Yah'shua (Jesus), has been viewed wrongly by Christians and is to be seen as a warrior-woman alongside Ja'el (who killed Sisera), Judith (who killed Holofernes), Esther (who indirectly was responsible for the execution of Haman and his sons by her pagan husband, King Ahasuerus), and mother Eve herself who generations later would produce a descendant in Mary who would in turn give birth to Yah'shua (Jesus) who at the Cross defeated Satan. At His first coming He came as a gentle Lamb and at the Second Coming will militantly destroy all His enemies as the Messianic Warrior King. What do we, in fact, learn from the typology and is it right to view the Virgin as some kind of militant 'warrior queen' as Shoebat claims?
The Song of Mary or Magnificat
Two millennia ago, following the announcement by the malak (angel) that she has become pregnant supernaturally with the promised Messiah, Mary sings a song of praise to Yahweh:
"My soul magnifies Yahweh, and my ruach (spirit) has rejoiced in Elohim (God) my Deliverer (Saviour). For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and qodesh (holy) is His Name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever" (Luke 1:46-55, NKJV).
Having declared how "blessed" she is because of this calling, she goes on to exalt the mighty Name of the Father, Yahweh, prophesying of that which was to come. According to Shoebat, Mary is linked to military warfare against evil, against Satan and his followers because she describes Yahweh as an Elohim (God) of war that ends wars, unlike the gods of plunder, pillaging, rapaciousness that is the deity in the Koran or of other pagan religions. The Elohim (God) of the Bible brings war for the sake of peace, harmony, fairness and civilisation.
Ja'el Blessed Too
This cannot, of course, be disputed, for Yahweh is unquestionably a Warrior and for the reasons Shoebat asserts. But is it right to link Mary to Ja'el, in the Song of Deborah, simply because Ja'el is "blessed" like Mary? Let's take a look at that song and the event it describes:
An Outrage Against Oriental Hospitality and Morality
"Most blessed among women is Ja'el, the wife of Heber the Kenite; blessed is she among women in tents. He (Sisera) asked for water, she gave milk; she brought out cream in a lordly bowl. She stretched her hand to the tent peg, her right hand to the workmen's hammer; she pounded Sisera, she pierced his head, she split and struck through his temple. At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still; at her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell dead.
"The mother of Sisera looked through the window, and cried out through the lattice, 'Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarries the clatter of his chariots?' Her wisest ladies answered her, Yes, she answered herself, 'Are they not finding and dividing the spoil: to every man a girl or two; for Sisera, plunder of dyed garments, plunder of garments embroidered and dyed, two pieces of dyed embroidery for the neck of the looter?'
"Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Yahweh! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength" (Judg.5:24-31, NKJV).
There aren't many women who would be capable of hammering a nail into a man's forehead to kill him. She was a Kenite, a Midianite tribe (Num.10:29; Jdg.1:16; 4:11) which supported both sides in the conflict, as Poles did in the First World War either supporting the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) or the Allies (Britian, France and Russia) in the hope that which ever was the victor would give them independence. The Canaanite general, Sisera, who led Jabin the Hazorite's army, was, in any case, a defeated enemy on the run. Ja'el invited him into her tent, assured him of protection, and gave him food and a mantle for covering - the basic courtesies demanded of Oriental hospitality. He specifically enlisted her aid in evading his pursuers, and lay down to sleep. What then happened, as we just read, was as much an outrage against the ethics of her own time as against ours today. The terrible deed done, Ja'el stood guilty of violating the mitzvot (commandments) governing hospitality, falsehood, treachery and murder. What were her motives? Quite clearly, she hoped, by her dastardly deed, that her prudence, as a foreigner, would win her favour amongst the Israelites.
Mary and Ja'el Poles Apart
To compare this vile, unethical behaviour of Ja'el to the Virgin Mary is quite simply monstrous. Though the military victory proved a turning point in the Israelites' deliverance from oppression, and Ja'el's action was immortalised in the Song of Deborah (Judg.5:24-27), it at the same time underlines Ja'el's baseness. Why, then, is this dark deed recorded in the memorial to triumph in a righteous war of liberation, the subject of holy rejoicing? And why, in Judges 5:6, are these days named after this treacherous woman?
The Degenerate Age of the Judges
"In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Ja'el, the highways were deserted, and the travelers walked along the byways" (Judg.5:6, NKJV).
After the death of Joshua there was a period of disorganisation, tribal discord, apostacy and moral and spiritual degeneracy. At the end of the Book of Judges, we are told that "in those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit" (Judg.21:25, NIV). There was little love of either Yahweh or His Torah.
The Danger of Simplistic Comparsions
Every age must be judged on its own spiritual merits. Every age has different admixtures of light and darkness. Israel was herself no exception. And the period of the Judges was, by and large, a dark time when lawlessness prevailed and people pretty much did as they liked. When oppression came in the form of invaders, there would be a period of repentance followed by another cycle backsliding into spiritual darkness. That Ja'el's action should be included as an historical marker or a memorial of an event such as this is understandable. Miriam, the sister of Moses, in her own song also recorded events, such as the drowning of Pharaoh's army. Deborah simply imitated the cultural practice. Was Yahweh the instrument of Israelite victory? Beyond any doubt. Does that mean that the spiritual quality of Israelite life in Deborah's day was particularly high or impressive? Not according to the biblical record. Can we compare the spirituality of Ja'el with the Virgin Mary? Not in a thousand years!
A Character Description of Mary
Twenty years ago I wrote this about Mary:
A World of Difference
"Mary is, for the Messianic Evangelical woman, a model of obedience and surrender. In responding the way she did to the malakh (angel) Gabriel we see the principle of perfect submission in operation (Luke 1:26-38). She is a model prophetess, being filled with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), as is so plain from the wonderful Magnificat (Luke 1:39-56). As a descendant of King David and of royal blood, she was a lady of dignity, meeting emergencies and receiving the honour that came from ordinary shepherds as befitting a queen (Luke 2:8-20). She took pride in the power of Elohim (God) in her Son (John 2:1-12). At the foot of the cross we are shown a picture of a mother's deep, deep love, watching the agonies of her Son.
"No woman ever had such high and holy secrets in her heart and life. She bore herself in a worthy way as the chief mother of the human race, the New Covenant 'Eve'. She took her place alongside the eleven apostles after the ascension of Yah'shua (Jesus) in the upper room where "they all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Yah'shua (Jesus), and with His brothers"" (Acts 1:13-14, NIV). 
Of course, Mary was not perfect or 'immaculate' as the Catholics claim, which is why she made the usual sinners' offerings at the temple (Luke 2:21-24; cp. Lev.12:6-8). But in terms of character and holiness, there was a universe of difference between her and Ja'el. They were as different as Yah'shua (Jesus) and Barabbas who one might say was the spiritual descendant of Ja'el and the Hasmoneans.
The Eve Connection
Shoebat is quite right in making the link between Mary and mother Eve but forgets that neither of these two qodesh (holy, set-apart) women had blood on their hands, or were involved in violence, or had deceit and treachery in their hearts. Yes, Eve sinned, as doubtless did Mary, but the category of their sinning was altogether different from that of Ja'el. Yahweh said of Eve, and looking forward to Mary and Yah'shua (Jesus) millennia down the line:
Types of Eve and Her Three Sons
"And I will put enmity (hostility) between you (the serpent/Satan) and the woman, and between your (the serpent's/Satan's) seed (followers) and her Seed (Yah'shua/Jesus & His talmidim/disciples); he (the Seed, Yah'shua/Jesus) shall bruise (shuf) (crush - Latin Vulgate, RSTNE, ISRV, OJB, JB; strike - Moff.) your (the serpent/Satan) head, and you (the serpent/Satan) shall bruise (shuf) (crush - ISRV; strike - OJB, JB, Moff.) His (Yah'shua's/Jesus' & His talmidim/disciples') heel" (Gen.3:15, NKJV).
Here Eve is a type of Mary-to-come and Eve's sons, Abel (who was murdered by Cain) and Seth (who replaced Abel as the firsborn heir), were types of the Messiah-to-come. Cain, who was the firstborn son-turned-murderer, was a type of Heylel (Lucifer, Satan), the presiding malak (angel) turned rebel and murderer. Satan hates both Eve and Mary-to-come because he knows she shall be instrumental in his defeat. In giving birth to Messiah, Mary becomes indirectly instrumental in the bruising, striking or crushing warrior-fashion of the head of the serpent, Satan.
Is Sisera a Type of Satan?
Shoebat asks us to accept that as Mary is instrumental in killing the serpent (Satan) in giving birth to Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) so Ja'el is instrumental in symbolically liberating the Israelites from the Canannites by killing the tyrant Sisera, by 'bruising/striking/crushing' his head (he being the 'head' of the army of the Canaanites for Jabin) and helping her son Barak (a Messianic type or symbol) in the war against the Canaanites:
Proving Who is in Control
"And then, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, 'Come, I will show you the man whom you seek.' And when he went into her tent, there lay Sisera, dead with the peg in his temple.
"So on that day Elohim (God) subdued Jabin king of Canaan in the presence of the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan" (Judg.4:22-24, NKJV).
So, yes, Yahweh used an opportunistic woman of low moral character, Ja'el, to make a point - that He is the one in control. It therefore becomes right to celebrate the event in song, as Deborah did, not to honour Ja'el but the Elohim (God) who manoevered her, in spite of her dark heart, to serve the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Judith Parallel
Shoebat also compares Mary to Judith in the apocryphal Book of Judith (to be found in all Catholic Bibles and one or two Protestant ones like the NEB), a character of unknown historicity claiming to be of the tribe of Simeon, and who in many ways is a synthesis of Ja'el and Deborah in a single person. She deceives as well as Ja'el, pretending to be a defector to Nebuchadnezzar, and using sexual guile, got Assyrian General Holofernes drunk, and then decapitated him with a scimitar while he was asleep. Taking the head to the Israelite camp, the Assyrians panic and flee, pursued by the Israelites who destroy them.
The Doubtful Historicity of Judith
It is hard to know whether this story is fact or fiction as it never found its way into the Jewish or Protestant canons. It was not found amongst the oldest Tanakh (Old Testament) known, the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). Like a number of fake documents written long after the purported events, it was probably written to support of the Hasmonean dynasty (to which the early rabbinate was opposed), just as the Books of the Maccabbees were written to bolster the Pharisees which they used to promote their corrupt festival of Hanukkah. Interestingly, since this is Shoebat's next comparison, I should add here that not only was the Book of Esther wholly absent from the Qumran Tanakah (Old Testament) that was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls but that its characters - both Gentile and Judahite - are driven by the basest motives of pride, greed and cruelty, marking the book's morality out as the epitome of unredeemed humanity. The book was likely not written earlier than 150 BC after the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, contains no mention of Elohim (God) or of religion, and contains no noble character. Everything is driven by self-interest.
To conclude the Judith examination, I do not think that we need to compare this brash, seductive and blood-stained woman with Mary either, more so as there is a high likelihood that she was a piece of Hasmonean fiction created to idealise their ideal of violent revolution that survives day in the nationalistic and violence-soaked festivals of Hanukkah and Purim.
So was Benjamite Queen Esther a type of Mary? Esther does not directly kill the anti-Messiah (antichrist) type that is the Agite Haman but is nonetheless instrumental through her pagan husband, King Ahasuerus, who listens to his wife, and has Haman and all his sons hanged. This redacted account, wholly absent from then oldest Tanakh (old Testament) we know of (the DSS), poses more questions than it answers and the fact it is in the Masorte canon does not, in my view, give it any authority . There are many who believe it is a novel with no historical basis. It is pretty clear that the author's purpose was to provide an historical origin and justification for the nationalistic feast of Purim which the exiled Jews living in Babylon had adoped as a secular carnival. The more-than-'coincidental' links between its characters and Babylonian deities in conflict with Elamite counterparts (Mordechai/Marduk, Esther/Ishtar, Haman/Humman, Vashti/Mashti) I have discussed elsewhere. My point is that making a comparison between Esther and Mary is as pointless as making the similar one between Judith and Esther. This leaves only Ja'el and Eve to make any comparisons with.
Men as Warriors
There is no doubt that there has been war on earth and in heaven ever since Lucifer's rebellion and that Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, Yah'shua (Jesus) as the conquering Lion of the House of Judah, and true believers are all warriors in one form or another, whether in the taking up of arms to wage holy war, in self-defence, or in prayer. It is very much the mandate of men to be the defenders and warriors of their families, including their wives and children.
When Men Fail to Defend
When men fail, then women must themselves stand in what is for them an unnatural rôle. When men failed in the past, the woman Deborah had to fill in the gap, and Yahweh used less-than-godly women like Ja'el to accomplish a godly end. When part of Judah failed to return to the Promised Land but rather chose to remain in Persia, Yahweh had to raise up a woman with fighting spirit like Esther to deliver her people through marrying a non-believer, thus compromising a Torah mitzvah (commandment) which forbids marrying outside the covenant (assuming, of course, the account is authentic).
Gender Rôle Reversal to Meet Emergencies
When we fail to do what is right, emet (truth) is compromised and gender rôles are occasionally reversed for the greater good. Ja'el, the almost certainly ficticious Judith, and the possibly ficticious Esther are examples of the compromising situations women find themselves in when men fail to do what they are supposed to.
Was Mary a Warrior?
So what shall we say of Shoebat's claim that Mary was a warrior and we too should be warriors like the ancient Byzantines and Crusaders? There is most certainly a prophetic connection between the several women and Mary but on a purely typological level concerning events rather than the women's respective spiritual qualities or personalities. This does not in any way, therefore, make Mary an Amazonian-type 'warrior' like Ja'el or Judith.
The Story of the Old Woman
Yahweh uses whom He will, the good and the evil, in achieving His ends, including Ja'el-types, as this story of an old woman of faith illustrates so beautifully:
Mary a Rôle Model for Everyone
"A very poor woman called a Christian radio station asking for help. A bad, evil man who was listening to this radio program decided to make something out of it. He got her address, called his secretary and ordered her to buy food and take to the woman with the following instruction: 'when the woman asks who sent the food, tell her that its from the devil.'
"When she arrived, the woman was so happy and she started putting the food inside. The Secretary asked her, 'don't you want to know who sent the food??' The woman answered. 'No , it doesn't matter, because when YAHWEH orders, even the devil
obeys.' The secretary broke into tears."
Mary, sinner though she was like the rest of humanity, stands apart from all of these other women - the real and the ficticious - because of her purity. As proven by the way she received the news of her calling, she was receptive, co-operative, and surrendered. This attitude of receptivity is a woman's pre-eminent gift to the home, to the messianic community and to society as a whole. And it is ultimately decisive for a man to have an encounter with Elohim (God), for from whom else will he learned surrenderedness and gentleness except from a virtuous mother or wife? Mary is therefore a rôle model for the believing wife and mother, mirroring the virtues of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), and an example for both genders in their search to commune with Yahweh - we will not do so with a blood-stained sword in our hand. It is through Mary's that men become gentlemen. Mary incarnated the ideal wife of Proverbs 31:10-31 and then brought that excellent spirit to its fullness by virtue of Yahweh's grace that filled her and guided her life.
Do any of these attributes in any way describe the classically understood sense of the word 'warrior'? Was she even remotely an 'Amazon' like Ja'el and Judith? Absolutely not, even though she nurtured the just and noble Warrior of warriors, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) whom men are to emulate too. It is this balance which makes us strong and kind, like our paired Y and X chromosomes, and not like the brauny, all-Y arrogant macho-men of the world, or the all-X nancy boys. We are to be warriors and gentlemen and it is only by the example of grace shown by mothers and wives that we can be!
As Mary brought forth the Messiah, so mothers in submission to, and in partnership with, their husbands, are to reveal the true sons of Elohim (God) by raising them in ahavah (love), in divine tavnith (pattern) and all emunah (truth) and send them forth into the world as Messiah's Gentleman Warriors. No easy task but the noblest one of all. Amen.
"For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of Elohim (God)" (Rom.8:19, NKJV).
 Theodore Shoebat, The Virgin Mary Is Involved In Warfare
 The New Covenant and the Virgin Mary
 See Purim 2007: False Paradigms and Looking Ahead. For more important sermons on Purim please see, Purim 2010: The Leaven of Babylon, Purim 2011: Vengeance is Yahweh's and Purim Exposed:
Cannibalistic Festival of Hate, Self-Reliance & Revenge
Comments from Readers
 "The spirit of Esau will always seek to live alongside believers" (SP, Ireland, 29 January 2014)