In my last post on ‘the story of our lives’, we looked at the significance of Abraham’s purchase from the children of Heth according to Genesis 23. In this article I look at the land bought and how it affects our daily living.
I further examine a few issues identified by the traditional interpretation of John 3:16 and the salvation of the gentiles.
The story narrated in Genesis 23 highlights Abraham’s redemption of Shem’s land that was earlier lost to the Canaanites. It also prophetically speaks of the future redemption of the divorced bride Israel (Matthew 15:24).
That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field. – Genesis 23:9
The cave is strategically located at the end of the field; it is a place of burial or death. This is not coincidental; we must pass through the field before we get to the cave just as we must pass through this world and life before we get to the grave.
When the Scriptures talk about a field or a land, it is talking about our world and pathway in this life.
In Matthew 13, the Messiah speaks a parable of tares to the disciples. A man sowed good seed, and while he slept, the enemy sowed bad ones that bore fruits that grew along with the fruits from the good seed. The man forbade his servants from separating them until harvest time. Yashayah then gives the interpretation of the parable as follows.
The field is the WORLD; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. – Mathew 13:38-43
The field is the world
The field is the world; it has all kinds of seeds growing on it, both good and the bad. In this life, there will always be a mix of good people and bad people each bearing their corresponding fruit. The children of the Most High are the good seed and they will bear fruits of righteousness. The Israelites will be the salt of the earth and the light of the world bringing a great light to the people that sit in darkness. They will show mercy, justice and fairness to all. Oppression of the weak, widow or orphan will not exist among them. They will be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect.
The devil also recruits into his family and raises children of his own to spread oppression, terror and pain in this world. They will cheat, steal, kill and destroy wherever they go. They will be covetous, arrogant, greedy, malicious, revelers, delighting in evil and constantly devicing all kinds of mischief.
Two seeds growing side by side
The reapers or angels are not allowed to separate the good from the bad until the harvest at the end. Though the bad seed competes with and threatens to choke the good ones, it is too risky to remove them (Matthew 13:29). The tares were spared only because it was necessary to avoid harming the good seed just as evil men are spared in order to avoid harming the children of the kingdom. The good seed are still young and vulnerable. They haven’t grown into the strong immovable plants with deep roots and shaking the soil could destroy them. So the safe thing to do is to allow them to continue to grow alongside the bad seed (children of wrath/Heth).
For anyone who has asked or been asked the question about why such a powerful God allows evil to continue in the world when He could easily stop it? Here is your answer, because he does not want even the weakest of His children to get hurt in the chaos that would ensue.
Wrath to come
The book of Revelation talks about the wrath of the Almighty to come and the Bible describes how the heart of men will fail and how all would be consumed if not for His mercy in shortening those days. Besides, the creator already destroyed the earth once sparing only Noah and his family. It was a mild surface cleansing at the time; He removed the bad branches without removing the tree from its root. He destroyed the evil men without destroying Satan.
But as long as the enemy is free, he will continue to sow tares. As long as the devil can still roam to and fro, there will be stealing, killing and destroying on the earth. When the harvest comes at the end of time, the axe will be laid to the root of the tree and the enemy will be cast into the lake of fire. Only then will pain and sorrow cease and peace will reign on earth.
It is comforting to know that our Father will ignore evil for the sake of his children (Acts 17:30). The next time you see evil men doing well and arrogantly showing off, do not despise them, rather pity them and remember that they are doing well only because of the love and Grace of the Most High on your life. Perhaps you are shocked at my use of the word only? Consider what happens in the last days. His wrath is poured out on the world and ushers in what some describe as the great tribulation. The only reason the world is not fully in chaos yet is because of the good seed still growing here. Because true Israel is not yet fully ‘woke’. The boy king has not yet fully attained manhood. The time however is almost here.
We are loved
We are so blessed to have someone who loves us so much and will willingly sacrifice so much for us. He has got our backs and we are safe. We should ask ourselves, If the Almighty can sacrifice His Messiach, allow evil men to continue prospering for our sake, what then will He not do for us? Romans 8:35 asks who shall separate us from the Love of Yashayah/Yashua? Will tribulations? Distress? Persecution? Famine? Nakedness? Peril? Sword? Nothing can stand in our way that our Father will not give us victory over. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. There is nothing in the past, present or future that can overcome us because our Elohim loves us and is with us.
A land redeemed
Having established the significance of the field in Scriptures, we can now understand the symbolic meaning of Abraham buying the field from the sons of Heth with current money. It prophetically speaks of our redeemer buying our freedom. He died that we might have life and victory in this world. 3 John 1:2 says: beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. It is the plan of the Most High for us to prosper in this life, if it were not so, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would not be as prosperous as they were.
You will eat the labor of your hands, you will be happy and it shall be well with you (Psalm 128:2). When you have eaten and are full, you will bless the creator for the wonderful land/life He has given you (Deuteronomy 8:10). He is the one who gives the increase from which we eat. Job 32 says that if we turn to our maker and put away sin, we will lay up gold as dust and as the stones of a brook. The Most High will be our defense and we shall store up plenty of silver.
Note however in 3 John 1:2 that ‘godly’ prosperity comes AS your soul prospers. There are several ways to get rich, even satan promises wealth (Matthew 4:8-9). But our Father’s way will not come at the expense of our soul. Furthermore, prosperity is not just about money, but also you spirit and mind being uplifted. It isn’t just about profitability, but also success, comfort, ease, security and wellbeing.
Only one land is bought
Abraham had his sights set on one piece of land only. It wasn’t the best piece of land because the sons of Heth already chose those as their own burial places. It was the kind of place Ephron was willing to give away for free. Abraham wasn’t looking for the most beautiful piece of land, but an ideal one. A land he could tend and keep to reflect his values. He was looking for a place where he could rest his feet
The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. – Isaiah 60:13
Out of all the families of the earth, The Almighty chose Israel to bear his glory
You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. – Amos 3:2
He could have chosen the mighty hunter Esau, or the powerful Egyptians, but He didn’t. Unfortunately, to whom much is given, much is expected. Therefore true Israel is punished severely for doing the same things the heathen did.
Thou only have I called
For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. – Deuteronomy 7:6
Out of all the nations on the earth, the Most High chose only one people – the Israelites. They were not the largest, strongest or best (Deuteronomy 7:7). He chose us out of love, he set his sight on us. Just as a groom sets his eyes and love on one bride, so has He set us as the apple of His eyes.
The Church today claims that believers have replaced Israel, that the church is now the apple of His eyes. Yet Scriptures says that a Law giver will not depart from Judah (Genesis 49:10) and Israel will judge the nations (Isaiah 2:1-5).
The Ark of His covenant
When I read scriptures and see the creator’s doings in the life of Israel, I can’t stop asking why? Why does He care and sacrificed so much? Why is He so patient and merciful? He is longsuffering with our sins, yet quick to forgive when we repent. Why?
Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the whch when a man hath found, he hideth and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. – Mathew 13:44
We have seen in the parable of the tares earlier that the field is the world. Now we see another parable about a field with a treasure hid in it, probably buried. This treasure was there either because someone hid it in the field or it probably grew from inside the field. Hidden treasures are often in the form of stones or rocks that need cutting/mining to access its value.
Isaiah 28:16 described the Messiah as a tried and precious corner stone upon which the foundation of Zion shall be built. He is the stone that the builders rejected, that became the chief of the corner (Psalm 118:22).
The revelation of the Messiah is the foundation upon which the house will be built. He is the treasure in the field that the man stumbled upon.
How do I know this?
Philippians 2:7 states that even though he was in the form of the creator, he made himself of no reputation and took on the form of man. He took on humanity and he was not ashamed to be one with us. Though sinless, he died for our sins that we may live by his righteousness. He reconciled the divorced bride Israel to the Most High.
His life is considered so valuable, that the Father puts all the hope of the nation in him. He pours everything into His redemptive work just as the man in the parable sold everything to buy the land. Note, the man bought a piece of land, not the whole world.
The problem with John 3:16
John 3:16 says that God loved the world so much that He gave his son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. This verse seems to directly contradict the words of Yashayah Himself
But he answered and said, I am not sent BUT UNTO the lost sheep of the house of Israel. – Matthew 15:24
Besides, the laws of the kinsman redeemer are only applicable to biological relatives. Applying the redeemer rule to the person or property of a non relative is unlawful.
Now therein lies the problem. If the Most High penalized Israel severely for breaking the Laws, would He now be breaking them too?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe the gentiles can be grafted in to Israel. I don’t however believe it started in the ‘New’ Testament. So what do I mean by this? Remember Rahab? Ruth? Did you know that there were Edomites in king Saul’s army? Did you know that Kenites served in the Temple? None of these were Israelites, but they were part of the kingdom and lineage of the Messiach. Did you know the name Ruth means grafted or welded? Consider what Ruth said to Naomi:
If this is not being grafted in, then I do not know what is. There has always been a provision for non-Israelites to be grafted into the kingdom.
An alternate view of John 3:16
The Greek word translated into world in this verse is Kosmos (Strong’s G2889).
Strong’s Definitions of G2889: κόσμος kósmos, kos’-mos; probably from the base of G2865; orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication, the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively (morally)):—adorning, world.
If you follow through and look at the root source in G2865, everything unravels.
It is to care for, take care of, provide for
Taking up or carrying away in order to care for and preserve
To carry away, bear off
To carry, bear, bring to, to carry away for one’s self, to carry off what is one’s own, to bring back
It is to receive, obtain: the promised blessing
To receive what was PREVIOUSLY ONE’S OWN, to get back, receive back, recover
Receiving back sounds like redemption of ‘what was previously owned’ to me and brings John 3:16 in agreement with Matthew 15:24.
Abraham ‘redeemed’ the land from the sons of Heth (terror)
When Abraham bought the field and cave, he was buying back the land that had previously been given to Shem and his descendants (Jubilees 9:12-24). That land had been forcibly occupied by the Canaanites. In Essence Abraham was redeeming the land promised to his bloodline.
If you think this is far fetched, consider how much Abraham paid for the real estate.
And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, FOUR HUNDRED shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. – Genesis 23:16
400 is associated with redemption
This examples runs through scripture. The Israelites would go into captivity, and after 400 years of affliction, they will be free (Genesis 15:13-14).
Israel fought a brutal civil war in which the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out. To prevent their extinction, the other tribes agreed to give them 400 virgins from Jabesh gilead so Benjamin doesn’t become extinct (Judges 21).
To redeem his birthright, Esau pursued Jacob with 400 men (Genesis 32:6).
400 men in debt, distress and discontented came to David for deliverance (1 Samuel 22:2)
400 men were freed from Theudas’s cult when he was slain (Acts 5:36).
I’m sure by now you can see the picture I’m painting here. So Abraham redeemed the land from the sons of terror with 400 pieces of silver.
The way I see it, it is like Abraham who paid current money for the field (promised land). When we receive the Messiah or believe on his name we will receive the divine ability and grace to become obedient sons of the Father AGAIN (John 1:12). The divorced bride (Israel) was restored at the cost of the blood of the Messiah. The entire value of salvation, the remission of sins and the reward of eternal redemption is all tied to the price paid for the land.
Power from within
During his ministry on earth, among many things, Yashayah healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, delivered the oppressed and opened the eyes of the blind. Remarkably, everything he did, he did as a man empowered by the Spirit. The Scriptures make it clear that everything He was in this world was by the working of the Spirit. He was conceived (Matthew 1:20), anointed (Acts 10:38), led (Luke 4:1, Luke 2:27) and raised from the dead (Romans 8:11) by the Spirit.
Why is this important to us? Every work and miracle he did can be reproduced (except His sacrifice for sin) in this life by anyone walking in the truth. His disciples were commissioned to heal, deliver the oppressed, raise the dead, perform miracles and demonstrate the power of the Most High in this world (Mathew 10:1, 8, Acts 5:16, 1Corinthians 2:4). He knows what is in us, and assured that we would not fail in this task. In this life, we will face difficulties, but we will always prevail because He did so. We will surpass the physical works that He did in this world, because we are His ambassadors to the world and we are backed by the power of the Almighty.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. – John 14:12
This passage reveals a similarity with the Spirit’s second mission of reproving the world seen in my previous post here; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father… (John 16:10).
It suggests that the greater works that we do is as a result of the Spirit working in us. We are part of the Father’s family and are one with him, for he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (1Corinthians 6:17). If we are one in spirit, then it makes sense that we are in him (1Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 3:3), and he is in us (John 14:7, 1Corinthians 6:19). 1Corinthians 3:16 says that we are the temple of the Most High because the Spirit lives in us and He will jealously guard the tabernacle of His Spirit. Anything that defiles or harms this temple, The Most High will destroy.
Everything we are is in Him
This is the key to everything we are in this life. Whatever good we do or become in this world, we will achieve only by the grace of the Most High given to us through this union. Why is this grace available? It is because we are the Tabernacle of his Spirit, an ark for his presence. It is His covenant with Abraham and the presence of the Spirit in us that He guards so jealously and protects with every available resource. Just as the glory of the Almighty covered the Ark of the Covenant, so shall his glory cover us for we bear His covenant in our genes.
Whenever the Ark of the Covenant was with Israel, their enemies could not defeat them and the Jordan parted before them (Joshua 3:15-16). So shall we overcome the adversary of our soul and every door before us in life will be opened. Every obstacle that stands in our way shall be removed.
As Moses was safe in an Ark of bulrushes when Pharaoh slaughtered all the male children of Israel (Exodus 2:3), so shall we be safe from the storms of this heathen world in Him. As the nation was blessed and the city prospered when the Ark of the Covenant rested, so shall our life be blessed by the manifestation of His glory in us.
A suffering world
The Scriptures say: For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19). The world needs us for deliverance even if it does not know it yet. We have a duty and responsibility to travail in the place of prayer not simply for our families, but for the nations, governments and the world that we live in. If we do nothing, the world will degenerate and self-destruct. We are the salt of the earth; we preserve it, preventing it from rotting away.
A need for righteous men
There is a dire need for us to be involved in every area of human endeavor including economics, finance, science, engineering and government. Imagine what it would be like if wall street had been run by godly men, we probably would not have had the 2008 market crash. Proverbs 29:2 states that when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
The world is indeed a better place when righteous men are in places of authority, for they will rule with fairness, justice and a clear conscience. We may not all become rulers or leaders in our areas of specialties, but we can all fill the prayer void. We need to get right with our Father and stand in the gap lifting our people up to the Most High for salvation. Through our prayers, we can bridge the gaping cleft between our people and our maker.
When Solomon built the temple, the Almighty appeared to him by night and made him a promise:
And the Lord …… said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2Chronicles 7:12-14).
The meek will inherit the earth
Are we suffering from drought or famine (physical or spiritual)? Do diseases or pestilences afflict us? Are we groaning under the yoke of sorrows, bondage and pain? Are we called by the name of the creator? If so, then it is time for us to humble ourselves before the Most High, repent and turn from our sinful ways and pray till we receive an outpouring from Heaven.
We need to pray more often for our community and nation. Many times we only pray for our country in times of crisis, we need to include it daily into our schedule. The Bible describes how Daniel opened his windows towards Jerusalem and prayed three times a day. He constantly had the city in his thoughts and prayers. He looked towards Jerusalem every time he stood before the ancient of days. We need to hunger and pray more for His righteousness and Kingdom to be established in our lives and our city.
Let the light shine
I once joined the Christian prayer group at my campus years ago, I was stunned at how much praying the group did. I learnt to pray daily for the nation, the church and many people I had never met nor was likely ever to meet, and what an experience it was. Instinctively, I paid more attention to the news and made mental notes of issues that needed the Almighty’s intervention. I learnt to listen to people when they talk, to hear the prayer points they were too shy or embarrassed to tell anyone. Most importantly, It taught me that the fastest way to growth in faith was not to concentrate on what the Most High was doing in my life but rather work to help others find Him.
He who waters
The Scriptures say that he who waters will be watered. A simple way to paraphrase that is this: go bless someone and your blessing will find you. It is the law of increase; you will receive best after you have given. Remember Joseph, he had a dream, but his dream did not get fulfilled until the Most High used him to fulfill the dreams of others. Even Rebecca gave water first to the servant and his camels before the Creator gave her a husband (Genesis 24:19).
We are like rivers, we receive water from the stream, and we empty ourselves into the larger sea; that way we stay fresh. If we continue to receive and never give out, the water slowly evaporates and the salt remains. We become like the Dead Sea, too salty to support any life form.
We really have no excuse to be idle; there will always be someone who needs uplifting or encouragement; someone who needs prayers.
Every inch of the field becomes a possession
There was a day I was praying for a couple that was in a relationship and suddenly I felt a red flag go up in my heart so I stopped and prayed to understand what was going on. The Most High told me to pray for the relationship to end, a request I found somewhat scary. Eventually I prayed and proclaimed that the bond holding them together contrary to the Most High’s will to be broken.
Two days later I met someone who mentioned in passing that the couple had split the previous day. They had apparently been having problems in the relationship and did not have the strength to end it until then. Naturally I never told a soul about my prayers and I am glad to say that today they each found their ‘soul-mate’ and are married with kids, just not with each other. This couple was in trouble and did not know what to do; they needed help and strength from the Father to make the right decision. The Father needed someone to stand and lift them up to Him in prayer for strength.
No need to fear death
On another occasion, I was suddenly awakened from my sleep and very conscious of the spirit of death. I was very tired because I had only slept an hour when He woke me up, but I knew it was urgent. I knew someone was in a very bad situation that was not the Creator’s will for his or her life. There was a very heavy presence of death; the only problem was I did not know of whom. So I rebuked the spirit of death and prayed for the person.
Several days later, I met a friend who told me that her sister in London had a very traumatic surgery. She suffered heavy blood loss the very night I was praying. She told me that a second person had been awoken who also started praying that night. The Most High saw this sister’s urgent need and called people to minister to her and lift her arm up as Aaron and Hur lifted the hand of Moses in the heat of battle (Exodus 17:12). The Almighty sees you and your situation; he knows your need and what you lack. You will not pass through this life alone, He will walk beside you and carry you if need be. He will cause men to bless you and minister to your needs. He will cause people you have never met to stand in the gap for you that you may find your feet.
The Father seeks intercessors
I write these experiences to encourage you to trust the Most High and to spend time praying for others. If we commit ourselves to doing so, He will rely on and use us more. If you have ever yearned to be used by the master and to hear his voice, I urge you to set aside time to listen and be still in His presence daily. The more you pray for others, the more prayer points He will give you. He is ever looking for someone to stand in the gap to intercede on behalf of others. When he does find someone, he is glad.
I used to get up at 4:30 am to pray so I kept a clock by my bedside that I could easily see when I woke up. There was one night I woke up very tired so I tried to get back to sleep. I turned around instinctively and looked at the clock by my bedside and it indicated exactly 4:30 am so I got up and started my prayers. Later when I prepared to go to the shower I realized that the clock was not in the room. I was a student at the time and my roommate had taken the clock to the next room while he studied the night before.
The clock was still there as at the time I went to shower. The Most High had shown me the clock in the next room just to get me up to pray on time. That is how much He values our time of fellowship and prayer with him. He hears us when we pray even though it may appear otherwise.
He hears us
There was a time in my life years ago when I was so frustrated with how my life was progressing. I was being persecuted, and my finances were chaotic. My friends did not fare much better and I seriously doubted if my maker was listening to my prayers. So I made a list of thirty-two mostly specific prayer points on various issues and prayed for them a few times.
I totally forgot about them for about two weeks until I came across the list again accidentally. I went down the list and realized that nearly all the prayers had been answered. The few exceptions were the non-specific prayer points that I could not tell if they were answered or not. Saying that I was excited would be an understatement; not only were my prayers answered, but more importantly, I knew he was watching me closely. Every detail of my life was important enough to get his attention.
Open the doors to your Elohim
No matter what we are going through, we should not shut Him out. When things are tough for us, that is the best time to open the doors wide to Him. He is always knocking at the door, let Him in and He will reveal the absolute majesty of his power in your life. You are a priceless gem, lively stones (1 Peter 2:5), a treasure hid in this world and a vessel of immeasurable value.
The Most High will go to great length to keep you and nurture you. Only be willing, only be obedient and the glory of the Most High will overshadow you. His hand rests on you, his peace will abide with you, and no storm will be strong enough to shipwreck your destiny. No persecution will ever be tough enough to cause your heart to fail. You will run and not be weary, you will soar like an eagle, and no weapon formed against you will work. Why? Because you bear the mark of his covenant, the tabernacle of his presence. The Almighty is with you.