Month 12:6, Week 1:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year:Day 5937:331 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 6 March 2014
Vision of the Golden Ring
Recovering from an Accute Health Attack
I am recovering after a severe stomach ulcer and muscle inflammation attack as I write this. In such times when you accutely feel your mortality, one is led to do a lot of soul-searching. I want to share some of my experiences in that process of the last 24 hours with you today.
The Enoch Project
For the last two weeks I have been doing intense research into the pseudepigraphical Book of Enoch that has pretty much put everything else on hold. The second part has simply grown and grown from a medium-size article into a small book as I have been forced to seriously re-evaluate a number of key theological assumptions. Even that study has had to be put on 'hold' in the light of what I experienced yesterday.
The Evangelical-Messianic Controversy
Before I share what Yahweh has shown me, I want to make some observations that I have been trying to reconcile with my overall perception of Elohim's (God's) heart and what the hierarchy of His values is concering us His children. There exists a regrettable continuing and widening rift these days between Evangelical Christians and Messianics. The controversy between them has caused no small amount of disputation over the relationship between grace (unmerited favour, undeserved loving-kindness) and commandment-keeping.
Some Personal Observations
I have observed the following things in believers:
Yahweh Sees the Whole of Us
- 1. Yahweh is no more or less involved in the personal lives of devout Evangelicals as He is with devout Messianics, or vice versa, provided they exercise real emunah (faith, trusting) in Him - He shows no respect of persons or denominations or theological schools;
- 2. There is a tendency on the part of many Messianics to be proud of their Torah-keeping and to look down on Evangelicals as unsaved heathen; and
- 3. There is a tendency on the part of many Evangelicals to be proud of their lawlessness and to regard Messianics as dastardly legalists overturning the grace of Elohim (God) and returning to the Old Covenant.
Of course it's more complex than this and there are as many variations on these themes as there are different believers. We tend to observe and judge people on the basis of what we see them saying and doing whereas Yahweh judges on the basis of far more - He judges us on every intention and desire of our heart so that when He 'sees' us, he does so seeing us as a whole person, viewing our struggles and imperfections (including the lack of grace we show and our failure to be obedient to Torah) foremost in terms of our emunah (faith, trusting) in Him. And we, naturally (because we are 'natural') cannot ever see the 'whole' of anyone, even our nearest and dearest, which is why we are warned most sternly to be ever so careful in judging others from the point-of-view of our fallible and restricted spiritual sight lest we receive a similar judgment ourselves. Better, says He, don't judge at all and treat others as better than yourself.
The Absence of Grace
Like I said, I have been minutely dissecting the 100+ chapters-long Book of Enoch to get into the minds, hearts and doctrinal controversies of its 1st century BC authors, and what I am discovering is not so much what is present as one might expect but what is conspicuously absent as one might not have expected of a work claiming inspiration from on high. And what is so very, very absent is anything on grace...as one might expect of Pharisee authors.
A Revelation in the Midst of the Pain
As I was struggling yesterday afternoon while wracked in intense pain, and as that pain and the need for divine comfort stripped away all but what was essential in trying to establish meaningful contact with Yahweh, I came to the point of realisation that what He wanted to tell me had nothing to do with my agenda of desiring healing and pain-relief but concerned something much more important for the welfare of my soul and for the blessing of those who are led by Him to follow the teachings He gives me. Indeed, after the worst was over, I realised, to my great surprise, that He had permitted all this pain because it was the only way He could get my attention to listen to His agenda for me. He used my stupidity in eating something I shouldn't have, when the warning signs were clear enough not to eat anything at all, to unstop a deaf ear.
What is Your Will?
From begging Him for this or that and not getting any answers, relief or apparent response, I quit asking for what I wanted and asked Him what He wanted. "Show me what it is that You want me to see, let me hear what You want me to hear," became my prayer and INSANTLY the heavens opened.
THE VISION AND THE VOICE
I saw a vision on one of my hands - I'm not sure which and it probably wasn't important anyway - and on my third or middle finger was a plain, thickish gold band ring like a traditional wedding ring. Within a second of this vision opening up, I heard His voice clearly say: "ROMANS" and I knew instantly He was referring to Paul's Epistle to the Romans. And that was it. End of communication. Short, succint, and to the point...one of Father's hallmarks!
Other Confirming Testimonies
I don't remember which Scripture it was now (though I think it may have been in Isaiah 6) but on one of my several emergency visits to the bathroom after this revelation, I opened a copy of the Bible which is always laying there and the verse that opened up was about "seeing" and "hearing" just as I had prayed to Him about. Whether is was on this initial visit, or a subsequent one, but still in considerable discomfort, I started re-reading Romans in one of my favourite and most readable (from a literary point-of-view) versions, the New English Bible (NEB). And though I couldn't read much, on account of my condition, what I did read fired me up. I began to see a 'higher' or 'overarching' perspective of Yahweh's intent for His people. And I began to understand what, over the past few months, this huge desire to dive deep into a study of Paul's writings has been all about, and why I have in particular been led to the brilliant Anglican theologian, N.T.Wright.
Meaning of the Middle Finger and Gold Ring
I ought, perhaps, to explain what the gold ring on the middle finger represents. The third or middle finger represents what Larry Wood calls the "all in all", the "systemic perspective that includes the integration of the thoughts from the various compartments of the soul as well as the consolidation of information from the environment. The middle finger, which is located in the middle of the hand symbolically combines the inputs from the various parts into a single, integrated whole" . And the key to this 'whole picture' of the Besorah (Gospel) and of everything cosmically as well as personally is, as Yahweh spoke to me, to be found in Paul's Epistle to the Romans. In other words, it's a key revelation for believers, the integrated perspective of, amongst other things, grace and Torah, and the heart of what we as Messianic-Evangelicals have been called to represent.
Into True Bridal Relationship
The gold wedding ring located on the third finger indicates that the fullness of the understanding to be obtained from Romans brings the talmid (disciple) into into wholeness of the true bridal relationship with the Bridegroom. To accomplish this, all dogmatic Evangelical and Messianic prejudices have to be set aside by allowing Yahweh to speak through Yah'shua (Jesus) through the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) through Paul (Sha'ul) to the Romans. And that is what I shall endeavour to do in the days ahead and report back my findings.
 Larry Wood, Hands in Scripture