Prologue to The Stirring

       Long before our Teachers wrote our history, the lands that surrounded the Mountain and the Sacred Forest were Těras. Těras extended north from the shores of the Emerald Ocean, past the Northern Marches into the High Mountains. With the Harbor River in the middle of the land, Těras went toward the rising sun to the Eastern Grasslands. On the other side of the River, it went to the setting sun past the lands that drain into the River Classe.

Kings and Messengers used the word from the Old Tongue to describe what happened here – Těras, which means wonder. The oldest of the Writings and the Eternal’s Letter talk about all the wonderful things the Eternal did for man and animals in those days. He allowed the Animals of the Forest and Believers of Těras to share a common voice. With that honor came the responsibility to protect and care for one another. We Talkers of Těras have shielded the Mountain and the Sacred Forest for many eons.

       Since they set pen to paper, Talkers moved from the Forest into the Valley and toward the setting sun. This fair land became Semeia, and the Eternal did mighty Signs there. Other Talkers traveled over the Northern Mountains and across the Emerald Ocean.

       Before the reigns of King Charles of Těras and Elton, King of Semeia, the descendants of the families who sailed from Těras returned from a land they called Cabul. The Kings granted them the Land of the Valley. So, because of the treaty they signed and their oath, these immigrants have lived peacefully between Těras and Semeia. In their days away from the Forest, they ceased being able to talk with the Animals because their knowledge and love of the Eternal waned. 

Through the years, Těras, especially the Forest, had become a haven for the Animals; people could still come to the Forest, but it was for the Animals. They especially welcomed two groups of people, even needed in the Sacred Forest: Messengers and Guardians. Messengers were commissioned by the Eternal, to encourage Talkers and Non-Talkers to follow Him. Messengers protected the spiritual, and the Guardians protected the physical. The Guardians are selected Talkers, human and animal, that defend the Forest from all enemies. 

Armies and Kings with Messengers and Guardians are important, but the Singing Sword is the tool that is the focus of the Power that guards Těras. The Eternal uses the Sword to choose its Bearer. For many years, it has not needed a Bearer because peace prevailed in the Land. So, the Singing Sword has been at rest in the Chapel of The Ages in Palace of the King of Těras. 

Recently, the Sword chose the second son of Charles, King of Těras. The second son, Marek, was just a boy when the Sword went to him. This strange happening occurred in a time of peace, with the boy being too young, by Law, to be Landgrave of North Těras, which by Custom and Law was his to rule when he reached the proper age.

Kingdom Wedding

Matthew 25:1 compares the Kingdom of Heaven to ten girls waiting for their wedding. This post continues the ideas in the Ten Virgins Who Woke Up by examining components of a Jewish wedding. Marriage and the Wedding are core to the Kingdom of God. It is the third thing that God provided to Adam in the Garden-a place to live, a way to support himself, and a wife (life is a given). Genesis 2:24 is the first explanation or commentary in the Bible. The verse explains the “why” for the first recorded words of any man: “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”. Yes, Adam spoke names of animals, but they are never listed. This shows the importance of marriage. Because this joining reflects how God wants us to relate to Him, is there any wonder why marriage between a man and a woman is being attacked? The serpent’s assault on the Kingdom in the Garden is intended to separate mankind from God and to tear apart the union of Man and Woman. What if Adam never ate the fruit? Eve was deceived, but sin entered when Adam followed his wife in eating the forbidden fruit. How would things look now if Adam followed God’s voice and instructions? Okay, back to the symbolism in a Jewish wedding. 

In Luke 2, Mary is betrothed to Joseph. This part of the wedding is the erusin and, according to custom, they are bound to each other. Joseph’s father paid the mohar or bride’s price to Mary’s father (Exodus 22:16). This money should follow Mary into the marriage, but the money or services belonged to Mary’s father. I am sure that the money became part of Joseph’s concern when he found out Mary was with child. Father God paid the mohar; Jesus came to earth and died for us to pay the price. Our erusin began when we choose to accept that payment of Jesus’ blood and the work of the cross.

The mattan are the gifts given to the bride by the groom over and above the mohar. This thought is overwhelming! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and with Him are the gifts. Charis is the Greek word used for the gifts of the Spirit and for grace. Are you picking what part of the mattan you want and fits in your BOX, or are you taking all the Gift? 

For the next parts of the wedding, I will list and explain as I see them and how they fit into the Kingdom.

  1. In the erusin, the groom is to prepare a place for the bride to live (John 14:2+3). Search in Bible Gateway for-prepare a place. The results are interesting. https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=prepare+a+place&resultspp=100&version=NIV
  2. The bride (and the groom) are to wash in a mikveh. This is a spiritual preparation. A mikveh is a pool of living (moving) water. I will equate the washing to baptism, but there are many types and reasons for washing in Jewish customs. 
  3. Nissuin is the wedding, and a part of this is a colorful parade. This procession is in the parable of the Ten Virgins. The Bride was never sure when the groom would come, so they had to be ready. The Father of the groom decided the exact time for the procession. Jesus said this in Matthew 24:36. I did not find this in my current research, but I believe the nissuin was two parades, one going to get the Bride and one going home. If that is the case, I would like to call the Palm Sunday ride into Jerusalem the first parade and the second parade is yet to happen.
  4. The chappah is what the Bride stands under, and that symbolizes the marriage chamber. May I offer the tongues of fire when they settled above the disciples’ heads on the Day of Pentecost as the chappah? They represent the glory of Heaven as first seen on Mount Sinai
  5. The Bride has responsibilities and duties during the erusin. Her price has been paid, and she is now married (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The free.messianicbible.com site uses the Parable of the Virgins as its focus, so I am good with that. Again, I don’t have sources, but many of the things they say I have heard/read in other places. The bride had to be ready and part of that was a lamp filled with oil. She was to be concerned about her clothing and ornaments. She needed to be listening for the shofar (the trump) that will announce the groom’s coming. In our current customs, the bride and her family are busy doing all the work for the perfect day. That is not what it looked like in the first century. The groom handled the marriage feast.

Another post will focus on verses in the Bible about this topic. They are surprising. Psalm 45, which is labeled a wedding song, will provide a new twist on Kingdom, weddings, and brides. 

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/465162/jewish/The-Jewish-Marriage-Ceremony.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com

myjewishlearning .com

jfedgmw.org

free.messianicbible.com

I apologize about the URL for the last three websites. All deal with ancient Jewish wedding practices. Facebook is creating links that I did not wish to have in my post.

Ten Virgins Who Woke Up

The parable of the Ten Virgins caught my eye because they woke up from sleeping while they were waiting for their bridegroom. The term woke has become a popular phrase to identify yourself with a particular ideology, almost theology. It is important for believing Christians to take notice of the two groups that woke up in this parable.

Matthew 25:1+2 has the Wise Five and the Foolish Five as part of the kingdom of heaven. In our modern context of Woke, that adds a layer to the story that only God could have seen. But the story was told to first-century Jews and for us. Because the groups had different responses and actions after they woke up from a period of sleep or inaction would have more meaning for Jesus’ audience. 

The setting of when and where this story was told is part of the prophetic importance that I usually miss. The immediate setting is the Temple just before Jesus’ final Passover. But placing it in the metanarrative of the Gospels cannot be lost in the parable’s study. This Passover is about forty months from when Jesus went to the Jordan to be baptized by John, Matthew 3:13. The exact time is not recorded, but after Jesus’ first miracle, He goes to Passover, John 2:13.

Jesus was at the Jordan when he started His triumphal march to Jerusalem. This concluded with the parade we call Palm Sunday. (See on His Way to Jerusalem and #2, and The Triumphal Enter.) The Sermon from the Temple occurs on Tuesday of Holy Week. The Kingdom and His return become the chief topic and the watchfulness that the believers in God should have is highlighted. When Jesus tells this parable, it is to reinforce and add to several vignettes about the End of the Age. Jesus frames this parable with why He is teaching it: Matthew 25:1 and 25:13. Verse 1 says (my paraphrase) Then the kingdom will be like ten virgins. Then the kingdom, or at that time, refers to 24:36-51. This is echoed in verse 13 when it says, watch or stay alert because you do not know. 

The Kingdom is the object of the lesson, and everything will need to be viewed considering it. But this teaching is being used to explain 24: 36-51. Then, as now, people had/have different views of what God’s kingdom should look like. We want to think we know the mind of God, but our personal desires, doctrinal leanings, and political hopes might not be what God has in mind. Please, be careful of putting God in YOUR box.

Like it or not, all ten girls represent the kingdom, vs 1. You can argue the metaphors all day long and there are many things that have been said, but the ends time will be like those virgins. (This is stirring me to focus again on the kingdom.) All started with a call or invitation from the bridegroom, all brought their own lamps; all of them fell asleep, all woke up and tended their faltering lamps; and all wanted to go with the bridegroom. The first five are foolish (moros Strong’s G3474) because they take part in senseless wickedness. The wise (phronimos Strong’s G5429) five are considerate, thoughtful, prudent, and discreet. Leaders of the kingdom, that sounds like the people need your help.   

Woke Up-the virgins all responded to the call that their Desire was near and they had to go meet Him. The Foolish Five demanded oil from the wise. They were denied. So, in the middle of the night, they went and woke up those who sold oil. Does that sound familiar? The Wise Five left and went to wait for the groom. The refusing to share, by the Wise Ones, will need further musing, but that is a radical thought. Believers, that sounds like saying NO is an acceptable answer when pressured by those who choose to be foolish. The foolish left and got: I never knew you, when they knocked on the door. THOUGHT-How would this story look if they had just stayed with the Wise Five.

The term in this story for woke is ēgerthēsan. It occurs twice in the New Testament. Here in Matthew 25:7 and then in 27:52. Chapter 27 is telling about the dead who rose to life and went back into Jerusalem.   

https://biblehub.com/greek/e_gerthe_san_1453.htm

For just a moment, compare the two stories-sleeping, waking, and going. Another story about sleeping and waking in Matthew that is connected to Holy Week is the Big Three falling asleep while waiting/praying with Jesus. Again, many connections there are hard to dismiss.

Telling on myself. This post was growing out of control, so I pruned it. Parables of the kingdom and other discussions about the kingdom will be coming. The ten virgins who woke up still have many worthy points in it that need talking about.

Lean

My post “Lean” is a glimpse at this Biblical concept. There will be attempts at humor associated with this post, I hope. I pray my wit will not hinder my attempts to improve the use of lean. Since I am writing this the Oxford Dictionary might not agree that this is sarcasm, which is normally spoken. I personally do not see it as satire because I will not build a story around it. Even though it is written it does not fit a lampoon because I do not want anyone vexed. This is my first test with this post, so we will call it a written satire without a lot of severity. With that resolved, I will now lean in or lean on my subject of lean. (The NIV and KJV are close on the number of times they use the term lean.)

Genesis 41:19 is the story of Pharaoh who woke up because of a dream where lean cows and heads of grain ate up the fat ones. His trusted advisors could not give him the skinny on the dream. So, he called for Joseph. The KJV uses the term lean fleshed, in 2021 that might be viewed as something favorable.  

Jacob leans on his staff in Genesis 47:31 to bless his boys. After reading the Complete (CJB) and Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) and several other scholarly works, it seems he leaned but not on his staff. The first Latin translations did not let the absences of vowels deter them. A better interpretation is he bowed his head on his bed, or at the head of his bed. The man was 147 years old; he did not need to stand up to bless his family.

Samson, in his last minutes of life, likewise did some leaning. He leaned in or leaned on the pillars of Dagon’s Temple to bring it down-Judges 16:26. Because his act brought the house down we can go with lean in.

Leaning in while playing sports frequently gets you called for a penalty. Well, at least in basketball when you are blocking someone. Tackling in football (American) is leaning in. Leaning in while batting in baseball may get you hit with the ball. 

King Saul died while leaning on his spear-2 Samuel 1:6. Finally, I could get a lean on into the conversion. 

The reason for this post is the buzz words-lean in. There is one preacher who seems to want you to lean in during every one of his messages. Not that he uses it wrong, but after thirteen sermons it gets a little old. By the fourteenth time, the expression is no longer fresh. Where did I get my figures? I made them up! Things are always more impressive if you spout numbers. Just hope no one asks you to document your facts. But, then you could say, “Well, everyone knows that.” That always seems to work for politicians, as long as they can change the topic right away. 

In Psalm 62:3, a leaning wall is a metaphor for a man not doing well in life. Walls can lean for a variety of reasons. But getting pushed on repeatedly or fatigue seems valid for this case. So, this metaphor may have been for Jeduthun. He was a prominent official and worship leader in David’s kingdom. If you are the person leaning into someone, know that it will take a toll on them.

Proverbs 3:5 underscores the importance of trusting the Lord and do not lean on yourself. To understand this metaphor better, try to lean on your own body. Okay, that is strange if you just tried it. Leaning on your own arm is done, but the arm should be on something. We need something or someone else to lean on. After that, you are on your own.

The disciple John had the right idea in John 13:25. He leaned on Jesus to ask a question. All the disciples wanted to know the name of who would betray Jesus. (The alternative accounts are in Matthew 26:21, Mark 14:18, and Luke 22:21.) The other disciples did not get an answer because they were not close enough to Jesus to lean back on Him. Judas may have been that close because he dipped his bread into Jesus’ bowl. Luke records a dispute among the disciples during the dinner. I will always think Judas started that. It is an excellent diversion tactic. 

 Anapipto is the word used by John when he leaned back on Jesus. In Strong’s, it is #377 in Greek. Use this to learn more-https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/anapipto

My point is you can lean into someone or something and never touch them. You will hear better because you have come closer to the source. But when you lean on someone, must make contact or you will just fall.

There is a Greek word that all of this leaning made me think of-charatoo. Now, this concept has nothing to do with leaning in or on. The root of this word is charis or grace. Charatoo is used twice in the Bible: in Luke when Gabriel talked to Mary and in Ephesians 1:6. Both refer to grace surrounding the person. I can see Jesus putting His arm around John, surrounding him with His presence when John leaned on Him.

We will go back to the overuse of fashionable terms. I traded out words in these phrases, since I am older, the word in parentheses is what I removed. 

  • Lean (right) on, bro
  • Keep on leaning (trucking)
  • Leaning (standing) tall
  • Stop, look and lean (listen)
  • Lean (waste) not want not

Well, that sounded better in my head than on paper. The point is, don’t lean too often on popular idioms to make your point, because people may lean away from you instead of leaning into you. 

The image is from the Brooklyn Museum https://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/tis-last-supper/

Woke Up

Woke Up is a consideration of seven individuals who woke up in the Bible. I arranged these into three categories. I used the NIV Bible for this study. The reason for this is the term woke is not in the KJV. You will find awoke, awake, arise, and several other terms. Matthew 25:7 is the parable that started my study. Those virgins that woke up supplied many insights about the Kingdom of God

Several Greek terms are translated woke in the NIV and have various definitions and are applied in a variety of ways. I will look at some of the Greek terms. MOUNCE Reverse Interlinear Bible helped me with my Greek; I need it. This is not an exhaustive review of everybody who slept in the Bible or those who rose or got up.

WOKE UP FROM DREAMS THAT OFFERED GUIDANCE  

Genesis 41:4 starts the story of Pharaoh and his dreams about cows and wheat. He woke up three times at the start of this narrative. When he woke up in the morning, his dreams troubled him and no one produced an answer about the meanings of the dreams. I have to imagine that his counselors offered ideas. Their explanations did not appease the dreamer. God had definite plans for these birthday dreams of Pharaoh, so only a God-inspired answer would do.

Two years earlier the Chief Cupbearer also woke up with a dream that troubled him. Joseph, a convict, helped the fellow out with a God-answer. God caused/allowed these dreams to raise Joseph up. Please remember that Joseph paid a severe price to interpret those dreams. 

Joseph also woke up that morning. It would be a sure bet that his bed was not as nice or smelled as good as Pharaoh’s. Joseph woke up every morning believing in God and that there was something better in his future. Remember, Joseph also woke up from his own dreams and held fast to the God of Abraham.  

Pharaoh woke up and realized his dreams were important. God graciously informed him about an issue that he could not see at that moment. The mercy of God saved the land of Egypt and helped Joseph, Israel/Jacob, and his family.

Matthew 1:24 is another story of waking up and realizing you heard God. Joseph woke up from a dream and took Mary to be his wife. That was a rough night’s sleep for the man. But Joseph heard God, so he accepted the dream to bring Mary home without questioning it. This confidence in God and His messages directed Joseph several times for the safety of his family.

Joseph and Pharaoh shared one thing in common. Once they realized God gave them those dreams, they acted on the message they received.

WOKE UP AND CALLED TO ACTION 

Matthew 8:25, Mark 4, and Luke 8 feature a sleeping Jesus and nervous disciples. This story takes place early in Jesus’s ministry. He has just started teaching about His Kingdom and training the Disciples. In a short time period, Jesus has gone from the Mountain and the Sermon to healing a leper and the Centurion’s servant, restoring Peter’s mother-in-law to health, and healing the people of Capernaum. He deserved to be tired and asleep in the boat. The disciples had no peace in the boat because they did not know the Man in the boat. The disciples called Him Lord, but did they believe He was Lord of all Creation?

Jesus woke, got up, and rebuked the storm. He then rebuked the disciples. So, was he a Master Teacher or grumpy Jesus, you judge. The Greek word for woke is egeirō, Strong’s #1453. This is a well-used word with many uses or definitions, it means to raise up or cause to arise.

Psalm 74:22 Arise O Lord and defend your cause. Did this story fulfill this verse? 

Act 12:7 has a sleeping Peter waking up by a slap on the side from an angel. He escaped guards, cell doors, strong gates, and a mean ruler. While he walked out of the fort, he imagined all of this being a dream. Maybe he woke up twice: in the jail and out on the street. Peter had grown in his faith because of the miracles worked by his hands, but this was too much for a sleepy Peter. This supernatural encounter woke Peter up to the reality of Jesus’ protection over his life and angels.

Acts 16:27 Paul’s guard woke up because of an earthquake. He drew the wrong conclusion and his sword. Waking up is hard when events are going bad. It took a friendly word from Paul and Silas and proof of God’s love to wake him and his entire family up to salvation in Jesus. 

Frightened disciples, an angel with an attitude, or an earthquake; God will use anything to wake you up when you have to act for Him.

WOKE UP TO THE PROPHETIC

Zechariah 4:1 has an angel waking Zechariah up during a string of visions/dreams. This series of dreams starts in 1:8 and finishes with chapter six. Many of these themes we see repeated in Revelations. This waking up takes place in between a vision for Jeshua/Joshua (the high priest) and Zerubbabel (a descendent of Jesus and the governor of Judah). 
Joshua and Zerubbabel build the Second Temple. Zechariah’s visions and preaching will help get this finished. Jesus and Revelations are all over these visions and words from the Lord in these first six chapters.

His being woken up by the angel makes me reflect on Peter. The line between our reality and angels may be thinner than we realize. Both men encounter angels that appear to have been in both realities.

Matthew 25:7 is the story of the ten virgins or young girls. The wise five woke up and prepared to complete their season of waiting to follow the bridegroom into the feast. The foolish five harassed sleeping business owners to get what they lacked. They never made it into the marriage. Jesus is love, but He is also righteous. 

In biblehub.com, I noted an interesting fact. The term woke in this story is ēgerthēsan. It occurs twice in the New Testament; they are Matthew 25:7 and again in 27:52. Chapter 27 is telling about the dead who rose to life and went back into Jerusalem.   

https://biblehub.com/greek/e_gerthe_san_1453.htm

After musing on 25:7 I did a second post to keep this one short. 
As a retired teacher, I feel a study should answer your initial question and reveal new items for future inquiry. This investigation did both. I guess you might say I woke up during the parable.