Why Was the Bible Written?

TODAY’S READING: ROMANS 15-16

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 15:4-6

Many Christians believe that Bible was written to give us the word of God. Therefore, because the Bible is the word of God, we should believe and obey it, every single jot and tittle of it, literally.

Where do Christians get this idea?

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-16)

These Christians believe that the Bible should be taken literally because it was breathed out by God. Therefore, if we want righteousness, which generally means perfect moral behavior to these Christians, then we should literally believe and obey the Bible because it teaches, reproves, corrects, trains you in righteousness.

But, is that why the Bible was written?

My answer is absolutely not.

First, 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all scripture is theopneustos. This is the only time that the word is used in the Bible. And, it is believed that Paul coined this term himself. Theo means God, and pneustos comes from the word pneuma, which means spirit, breath, or wind.

Therefore, Paul could be saying that “all scripture breathed out by God” or “all scripture is God breathed.” In this way, all scripture comes by God’s breath or God’s Spirit. As a student of the Old Testament, Paul would know that God’s spirit was also God’s breath. The Hebrew word ru’ah was used for both.

However, Paul could also be saying “all God-breathed scripture.” If we translated it this way, then we come away with a slightly different understanding in English. This would imply that there is scripture, but there is also God-breathed scripture. In other words, there is an understanding of scripture, but there is another understanding of scripture when God breathes his Spirit into it.

This latter idea, that there are different understandings of Scripture, fits exactly with what Paul says in 2 Corinthians. There, Paul says that there is a literal understanding of scripture by the letter that leads to death and there is an understanding of scripture by the Spirit, a God-breathed understanding, that leads to life. The Spiritual understanding of scripture comes because Christ’s crucifixion, his suffering, tore the veil that blinded us to this true Spiritual meaning of scripture.

Further, Paul uses two key words – faith and righteousness – that help us understand what he means by God-breathed scripture. Over the last week, I have written about the meaning of faith and righteousness in “What Is Faith?” and “What Is the Righteousness of God and Its Effect?

The key to understanding both words is to know the one thing that Jesus said all scripture spoke about. Twice in Luke 24, Jesus says that the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, that is all scripture, spoke about one thing – that the Christ should suffer and rise from the dead three days later so that repentance and the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed to all nations.

For 40 days, from his resurrection to his ascension, Jesus taught the disciples the necessity of his suffering and rising from the dead. He told them this was what all scripture was about. But, to do this, Jesus had to interpret and translate the scriptures for them. In other words, the necessity of his suffering and rising from the dead was not the obvious literal meaning.

Further, Jesus told his disciples the night before he died that he would ask his Father to “give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” (John 14:16)

This “Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-14)

So, the Holy Spirit was given to us to be with us forever. The Holy Spirit teaches all things and brings to our remembrance what Jesus said. Jesus said it was necessary that he suffer and rise from the dead for repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Because Jesus spoke these words, the Holy Spirit speaks these words since the Holy Spirit only speaks what Jesus speaks.

Therefore, God-breathed scripture, Spirit-filled scripture, is all about the necessity of Christ suffering and rising from the dead for repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Remember, this cannot be understood literally from the scriptures themselves as Jesus had to interpret, translate, and open our minds to them. The Holy Spirit, through God-breathed scripture, does exactly the same thing.

While the meaning and understanding of theopneustos is contested, Paul says something very similar in Romans 15:4-6.

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Just like in 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul says that the things written were written for our instruction.

In 2 Timothy 3:14-16, Paul used the words faith and righteousness to speak of the necessity of Christ suffering and rising from the dead.

In Romans 15:4-6, Paul uses the word endurance instead of faith and righteousness to imply suffering. Endurance means the ability to withstand hardship or adversity, the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.

The very meaning of the word endurance implies that suffering is involved. In fact, earlier in Romans, Paul says links suffering and endurance. Romans 5:3 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that sufferings produces endurance.”

According to Romans 15:4, one way scripture instructs us is through suffering.

Also, Paul says that another way scripture instructs us is through encouragement. The Greek word for encouragement is paraklesis. It also means comfort and exhortation.

When Jesus said the Father would send us a helper, a comforter, he said the Father would send us a parakletos. The Holy Spirit brings the encouragement of the scripture to us. He is the helper, the comforter, the exhorter of the scriptures.

But, what does the Holy Spirit say?

Exactly what Jesus said.

It was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead for repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

And, it cannot be emphasized enough, this meaning of the scriptures had to be interpreted and translated to us. Our minds had to be opened to it. It is not the literal, obvious, plain meaning of the scriptures.

In the very next verse, verse 5, Paul calls God the God of endurance and encouragement. God is the God of suffering that produces life for repentance and forgiveness of sins. As this God, he grants, or gives, you “to live in such harmony with one another.”

The phrase “to live in such harmony” is “to auto phronein” in the Greek. The word auto means his. And, the word phronein means think, set one’s mind on, to be minded.

Paul is saying that God of endurance and encouragement, the God that suffers to give life, is giving us his mind. We are to have God’s mind toward one another. We are to think like God towards another.

How does God think towards us?

It was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead.

God suffers for us, his enemies, to bring us life.

God gives us his mind “according to Christ Jesus.”

God gives us his mind, which is the mind of Christ. And, the mind of Christ was to glorify God. In John 17:1-4, Jesus said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given me authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”

Why did God give us his mind to suffer to bring forth life, which is the same mind that Jesus had?

“That together you may with one voice glorify God.”

The Greek word for together is homothymadon. Homo means the same. And, thymadon comes from the word thymos, which means passion (as if breathing hard).

Breathing?

Like God breathed?

God gives us the mind of suffering to bring life so that we can have the same passion as Christ to glorify God.

It was in his hour, his crucifixion, the necessity of his suffering, which led to his rising from the dead, that Jesus glorified God.

We are to have this same passion so that we can all glorify God together in one voice.

Or, present your bodies a living sacrifice as Paul says in Romans 12:1.

Look how similar this is to what Paul says in Philippians 1:29-2:8.

“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe [that is have faith] in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. So if there is any encouragement [paraklesis] in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy be being of the same mind [to auto hina phronete], having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

The Bible was written for our instruction. It was God-breathed, inspired, so that we would know what God was really saying.

God was really saying that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead for repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

But, this is not the literal meaning of scripture. The true meaning of scripture can only come to you if Jesus translates and interprets scripture for you. He has to open your mind to this meaning.

And, Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit forever to teach us and tell us exactly what Jesus taught the disciples. It is the Holy Spirit’s interpretation and translation of the scriptures that makes them God-breathed.

This non-literal, Holy Spirit filled meaning is how the scriptures “are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”

This non-literal, Holy Spirit filled meaning is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

This non-literal, Holy Spirit filled meaning causes us to know it is suffering for our enemies that leads to life for us and our enemies.

The literal meaning of scripture just produces death.

Nahum of Elkosh – The Comfort of the Snare

TODAY’S READING: NAHUM

“Behold, I am against you, declares the Lord of hosts, and will lift up your skirts over your face; and I will make nations look at your nakedness and kingdoms at your shame. I will throw filth at you and treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle. And all who look at you will shrink from you and say, ‘Wasted is Nineveh; who will grieve for her?’ Where shall I seek comforters for you?” – Nahum 3:5-7

The book of Nahum is an oracle or burden of Nineveh. It is a writing of the vision or revelation of Nahum of Elkosh. Nahum’s vision seems to be filled with God’s anger and wrath being poured out in full force on Nineveh. Just read how the vision starts.

“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps his wrath for his enemies…Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.” – Nahum 1:2, 6

Nahum sees God pouring out such wrath and violence upon Nineveh that it will be made a spectacle for all to see, which is what we see in Nahum 3:5-7 above. Nineveh will be thoroughly shamed through the lifting up of its skirts over its face so that all can see its nakedness.

But, this making Nineveh a spectacle, this public shaming of Nineveh, actually points to the truth of Jesus in Nahum. And, this public shaming of Israel’s oppressor actually reveals God’s non-violent defeat of the principalities and powers through Jesus.

Colossians 2:15 says, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” A more literal translation would be “by triumphing over them in it.” It is the cross.

Jesus Christ reveals that all of the anger, wrath, fury, vengeance, and violence that Nahum sees God pouring out like fire upon Nineveh is in actual fact Jesus bearing the sin of the world on the cross. And, its by bearing the sin of the world and absorbing all its evil, wickedness, and violence yet pleading for the forgiveness of all that Jesus put the principalities and powers and all mankind to an open shame. Perhaps this is why the book of Nahum is said to be an oracle, or burden, of Nineveh.

The truth of the cross of Christ as the act that made Nineveh a spectacle and brought about its public shaming is further revealed in the meaning of Nahum of Elkosh.

Nahum is a shortened form of Nehemiah. The name Nahum means comfort, compassion, full of comfort, or consolation. Jesus is our comfort and compassion (the Holy Spirit was “another” helper or comforter that Jesus would send after he died).

So, in the meaning of the name Nahum we have the answer to the question – “Who will grieve for her? Where shall I seek comforters for you?” – that would be asked by all who shrunk back at Nineveh’s public shaming.

Elkosh most likely means God my bow. But, Elkosh is likely a derivative of two Hebrew words that both mean to lay a bait, to lure, to snare. So, we could think of the meaning of Elkosh as the bait, lure, or snare of God.

Speaking of the Lord of hosts, Isaiah 8:14-15 says, “And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

Isaiah 28:13 says, “And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” This scripture doesn’t mean what almost every preacher says it means – the method we should use to study the Bible. Read my post “Precept upon Precept or a Precious Cornerstone” to see the real meaning of this verse and why it is said to be snare.

Jeremiah 50:24 says, “I set a snare for you and you were taken, O Babylon, and you did know it; you were found and caught, because you opposed the Lord.”

How did Babylon not know that a snare had been laid for it? How did Satan and all the fallen principalities and powers recognize Jesus as the Son of God but not know that Jesus would defeat their power of death through his own death?

Because Jesus’s death, his crucifixion, the cross, was a trap and a snare, a cunning plan that God always had in place.

1 Corinthians 2:6-8 says, “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Jesus on the cross was a trap and snare to lure evil, wickedness, violence and death out so that it could be defeated. It was God’s secret and hidden wisdom that created this plan before the foundation of the world. In verse 10, Paul says that “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.”

It is in this secret and hidden wisdom that the Spirit inspired scripture. It’s not the plain meaning or surface meaning that reveals the truth of God, who God is, in the Bible. No, who God is, particularly in the Old Testament, is only found by plumbing the depths of scripture. The meaning must come through a revelation, a vision, of the Holy Spirit. Hence, the first verse of the book of Nahum.

If we could just take the plain, straightforward reading of the Old Testament, then we would be able to understand it with our natural mind. But, Paul says that this is not possible.

1 Corinthians 2:10-16 says, “For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”

Without Jesus, without the mind of Christ, without the Holy Spirit, the Bible is completely intelligible. Therefore, truth comes from Jesus, his mind in our mind, the Holy Spirit. Then, and only then, is the Bible worth anything to us. Jesus must come first.

And, when Jesus comes first, we realize that God does not make a spectacle of or shame anyone by pouring out his anger and wrath in violence on them. No, God does it through the cross.

He dies. God lets you kill him. Then he forgives you.

Jesus is the comfort of the snare that was laid.

The Inspiration of Scripture – What Is It? How Does It Work?

TODAY’S READING: JUDGES 4-5

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16

What does it mean that scripture is inspired, or breathed out, by God?

TYPICAL BELIEFS ABOUT THE INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE

Some Christians take the inspiration of scripture to mean that God literally told word for word the people who wrote the Bible exactly what to write.

Some Christians take the inspiration of scripture to mean that God literally caused all of the events in the Bible to happen exactly as they are recorded.

These Christians believe that this type of inspiration of scripture is necessary in order for us to be taught, reproved, corrected, and trained by it. They also believe this is the method of inspiration because “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20) Therefore, if the inspiration is not literal and exactly as God wanted, then we are interpreting the scripture according to our own interpretation.

“INSPIRATION” BY THE LETTER IS DEAD

If we take the inspiration of scripture to be literal and exact, then we will learn that God commits genocide, rapes women, mass murders children, causes the earth to swallow people, etc. If we take the inspiration of scripture to be literal and exact, then in today’s reading we would be taught that it was is a noble act to drive a tent peg through the temple of our enemy in order to kill him.

The problem with the literal inspiration of scripture is that it creates numerous conflicts with Jesus in the gospels. But, John 1:17-18 says, “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” As the only one who has seen the Father, Jesus was able to do and say only and exactly what the Father does and says.

So, if the literal inspiration of scripture leads to numerous conflicts with the character of the Father as revealed by Jesus, then we know that believe in the literal inspiration of scripture is wrong.

In 2 Corinthians 3, when Paul speaks of the Old Testament he says that it was a letter written “with ink” and “on tablets of stone.” But, “the letter kills.” Paul says that the ministry of the letter was a “ministry of death, carved in letters on stone.” Not only was the ministry of the letter in the Old Testament one of death, Paul also called it a “ministry of condemnation.”

So, Paul says that the literal inspiration of scripture kills you. Believing in the literal inspiration of scripture by the letter kills you. The literal inspiration of scripture will condemn you.

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul says that the literal inspiration of scripture is the result of a veil. The veil keeps us blinded to what the inspiration of scripture truly is and what we are to truly learn from it.

WHAT IS INSPIRATION?

Perhaps we need to look at the meaning of inspiration.

  1. a divine influence or action on a person believe to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation
  2. the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions
  3. the act of influencing or suggesting opinions

The literal, dead letter inspiration of scripture kills, condemns, and commands. But, this is not inspiration. Instead of commanding, true inspiration influences someone to received revelation.

Revelation is not something readily apparent. Rather, revelation is something that beneath the surface that an agent of inspiration brings to light.

The literal, dead letter inspiration of scripture kills. In other words, it stops movement. But, true inspiration moves the intellect and emotions. True inspiration causes the mind and heart to move to a higher place.

The literal, dead letter inspiration of scripture says there is one exact way to interpret scripture. But, true inspiration influences and suggests. True inspiration creates possibilities, many possibilities instead of one and only one possibility

INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

In the same passage of scripture where Paul tells us that the literal, dead letter inspiration of scripture kills and is a ministry of death and condemnation, Paul reveals what the true inspiration of scripture is.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul says that we are a letter. Instead of dead letters in a book written with ink, we are a letter written “with the Spirit of the living God…on tablets of human hearts.” This is the ministry of the new covenant, a ministry “of the Spirit” and “the Spirit gives life.” This ministry is a “ministry of righteousness.”

The scripture is truly inspired by the Spirit because he brings life to it. The Spirit inspires the creative possibilities of scripture to communicate sacred revelation, to move our minds and hearts toward God, and to influence us and suggest to us with majesty and splendor of the Father.

This type of inspiration is absolutely necessary because God is infinite. There is no way to pin down an infinite God with one literal, dead letter inspiration of scripture.

True inspiration of scripture comes through Jesus Christ because his death and resurrection removes the veil that causes us to read the scriptures with a literal, dead letter interpretation.

True inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit enlivening the scripture with truth, meaning, and possibilities we would never see on our own. This is the very meaning of revelation. I can understand dead letters with my own intellect. But, I need the Holy Spirit to reveal truth in my heart.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, “But when on turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

THE INSPIRATION OF JUDGES 4

If you haven’t read it today, then get out a Bible and read Judges 4. I want the literal story to be fresh in your mind. Then with the literal, dead letter story in your mind, I want to show you the story with the inspiration of the Spirit. I won’t necessarily come to any conclusions along the way or at the end. My goals is to breathe in possibilities to the scripture. You can use those possibilities as inspiration “for profitable teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

THE INSPIRATION OF JABIN

The name Jabin comes from two Hebrew words. One means to understand or see, to pay attention, consider, teach, or examine. The other means to build, to develop buildings, or to rebuild. The name means something like he perceives or he will understand.

The name Canaanite comes from the Hebrew word kana. Kana means to have to submit, to be humbled, to humble oneself, to humble somebody. The Canaanites eventually came to be known as merchants and traders. Merchants are not viewed favorably in scripture as they oppress and get rich off of people.

The name Hazor means fence or enclosure.

Kings are powers that vying with God for the throne of our hearts. Therefore, Jabin represents the power that tries to fence or enclose our hearts with that we can understand and build ourselves as merchants and traders. In this way we humble ourselves to the material things of this world instead of God.

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

An inspiration of Jabin is that this is our attempt to serve God and money. Another inspiration of Jabin is our attempt to rule through economic power.

THE INSPIRATION OF SISERA

The name Sisera is likely the combination of two Hebrew words. One is the word for horse. The other is the word meaning to see or look.

Horses speak to military power in the Bible. Therefore, the inspiration of Sisera is the looking to military power for strength and protection.

Sisera was the commander of Jabin’s army. Every economic power throughout history shows that economic power uses military power to maintain its empire, its fence or enclosure.

The name Harosheth-hagoyim means “carving of the nations” of “silencing of the Gentiles.” This is where Sisera lived, where he abided.

An inspiration here is that economic power and military seek to divide that nations of the world for their own personal benefit.

Sisera oppressed Israel with 900 chariots of iron for 20 years. What is an inspiration of this?

The number speaks to finality. It also is linked judgment in the prophets. The number 100 symbolizes the child of promise. Like horses, chariots represented military strength. Iron represents hardness, strength, affliction, severity, captivity, bondage, and destruction power. Daniel 2:20 says that iron breaks to pieces everything. The number 20 represents a period of judgment. In fact, there are a couple of times in scripture where the number nine is connected with the number with the theme of judgment.

An inspiration here is the people of God are oppressed military and economic power that attempts to carve up the nations by bringing a final judgment on the child promise the affliction of sever military strength and destructive power.

Psalm 2:1-3 says, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.'”

THE INSPIRATION OF DEBORAH

But, Deborah is judging Israel during the oppression.

The name Deborah is the Hebrew word for bee or wasp. The name Deborah likely comes from the Hebrew word for speak.

Bees produce honey, which was the sweetener in the ancient near east. A number of scriptures (including Psalm 19:10, Psalm 119:103, and Ezekiel 3:3) says that God’s words are sweeter than honey.

The name Lappidoth comes from the Hebrew word meaning flame or torch. Deborah was the wife of the Lappidoth. Alternatively, the translation could say that Deborah was a woman of Lappidoth. Deborah was the wife of woman of flames.

Deborah sat under a palm tree. Palm trees were all over the tabernacle and temple between the cherubims. The palm tree could be a symbol of the tree of life.

This palm tree was between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim. Ramah means a high place. Bethel means the house of God. Eprhaim means fruitfulness.

An inspiration of Deborah is God’s people being ruled by the word of life, Jesus Christ, that sets them on fire. The lives of God’s people are hidden in Jesus as we are seated with him in high heavenly places. In this sense, perhaps we could think of Deborah as the church.

THE INSPIRATION OF BARAK

Barak means lightning.

Abinoam means “the father is pleasantness” or “my father is delight.”

Kedesh-naphtali means something like the sacred place of my wrestling.

Tabor means purifying or declaring.

There are many instances in the scripture were lightning is used in a reference to Jesus. And, Barak, who’s name means lightning, is the son of the father who is pleasantness or the father who is delight. This son who is named lightning dwells in the sacred place of wrestling, which could be thought of as God’s presence, his holy temple.

An inspiration of Barak is that he is a picture of Jesus. As a picture of Jesus, he gathers men from Mount Tabor. He comes from the mountain, or kingdom, of cleansing.

Barak brings 10,000 men from Naphtali and Zebulun. The number 10 represents the completeness of order. The number 1,000 speaks to the bridal price or the price of innocence for a woman. Naphtali means my wrestling and Zebulun means lofty place, dwelling, wished-for habitation.

So, an inspiration for Barak is that he is a picture of Jesus, who has a father that is pleasant and a delight, that comes the kingdom of cleansing, our wished-for habitation, with the price for his bride to make her innocent.

THE INSPIRATION OF JAEL

Jael means mountain goat. It comes from the root word meaning to profit or benefit. It also comes from the root word meaning to ascend, to lead up, to lead out, to bring up, to cause to rise.

Jael was the wife of Heber the Kenite. Heber means to ally oneself, to couple together. And, Kenite derives from the name Cain, which means to get, acquire, or create. Kenite means buyers, and the Kenites were part of the Canaanites. But, Heber, and hence Jael, had separated from the Kenites and the Canaanites.

An inspiration for Jael is the person who was once part of the world of Jabin and Sisera, involved in the economic of military powers and ways of the world, but has separated from them.

AN INSPIRATION OF THE STORY

How do these characters all fit together? What is the inspiration of their story?

Notice that Barak routed Sisera with the edge of the sword. This is another allusion to Barak as Jesus since Jesus is the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. Barak destroyed the chariots, the military power of Jabin, the economic power. He also destroyed carving up of the nations done by this army. Therefore, like Jesus, he created a people from every nation, tribe, people, and language.

While Barak routed the powers, Sisera fled away on foot. Jael met Sisera and told him to turn aside into her tent. He asks for water, but Jael feeds him milk. Milk is often associated with basics of the word of God, the gospel.

Jael ends up driving a tent peg through his temple into the ground. There are several instances where we see Jesus as the tent peg in scripture. Also, there are numerous instances where we see that violence of the wicked, Sisera in this case, comes back on their own head.

The tent peg could be though of as the cross. It was put through Sisera’s head. This is interesting because had to go into the ground at Golgatha, the place of the skull, in order for Jesus to be crucified on it. But, since it is Jael, and not Barak, that applies the figurative cross, I think this speaks to the idea we have to crucify ourselves daily, crucify our flesh and its desires, and crucify ourselves to the world and the world to us. Remember, Jael had separated from the Kenites and the Canaanites as well as their economic and military power. It was after Jael applied the cross to Sisera that Jabin was subdued and ultimately destroyed.

We have to remember that our enemies are spiritual, not carnal and internal, not external. In this sense, the inspiration of Judges four seems to be picking up our own cross and denying ourselves so that we crucify the lust for money and power within ourselves. Then we can love as Jesus loves.