3.1.2 Oil: The Holy Spirit
Volume 3: Living Symbols—Chapter 1.2
Oil: The Holy Spirit
When the Israelite slaves left Egypt, it was a surprise to virtually everybody. The exodus hadn’t been their idea, and it certainly wasn’t brought about by anything they had done (like going on strike or fomenting revolution against the Pharaoh). Rather, it was all Yahweh’s doing, from determining the timing, to recruiting Israel’s unlikely and reluctant “leadership,” to performing a series of awesome and unsolicited miracles. The Israelites had been living their settled, miserable lives in the only world they had known for the past four centuries. They were in no position (or mood) to instigate anything. But by the time Yahweh was through messing with Egypt, it was clear that His people were leaving, and they weren’t coming back. They took everything they owned with them, from their household belongings to the parting “gifts” the terrified Egyptians had practically thrown at them on their way out.
But (as with our lives as believers) even though they weren’t able to save themselves from anything, God did invite them to joyfully participate in their newfound freedom. “Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, ‘This is the thing that Yahweh has commanded. Take from among you a contribution to Yahweh. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring Yahweh’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze; blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen; goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, and goatskins; acacia wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, and onyx stones and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece.’” (Exodus 35:4-9) It would transpire (though they didn’t know it yet) that everything Yahweh asked for would be used in the construction or service of the symbol-rich tabernacle of meeting—the place where Yahweh would meet with Israel over the next half a millennium.
Leaving the world for Yahweh isn’t a case of “Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.” The “contribution” was entirely voluntary. (The “commandment” was that Moses should make the request of the people, but only the “generous of heart” were expected to donate their stuff.) At this point, they thought they were headed straight for the promised land; only Yahweh knew that their rebellious attitude would result in forty years of wandering in the trackless desert. The point is that those who were not generous, those who didn’t have a heart of worship for the God who had just rescued them, were thereby “sentenced” to lugging around their heavy possessions themselves—until they died of sheer exhaustion. But those who gave liberally out of a generous, thankful heart would get to sit back and watch the Levites do the heavy lifting. The irony is enough to make your sciatica kick in.
The list is by no means comprehensive. But it does include one commodity that would be used several different ways in the worship at the sanctuary, a commodity that was as ubiquitous as wheat and barley had been during the years in Egypt. This, of course, is olive oil, a staple of the Mediterranean diet since the dawn of history. Thus we read, “When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to Yahweh, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it.” (Leviticus 2:1) Adding oil to flour was the normal procedure in this culture. The instruction goes on to state that whatever form the grain offering took—loaves, wafers, “pancakes” made on a griddle, or bread cooked in a pan (as we’d make cornbread)—the flour was always to be accompanied with oil. Folks would normally have baked their bread with oil anyway, but God is making a point: He is investing olive oil with symbolic significance, just as He had grain.
We’ve noted how the Israelites weren’t really in a position to make offerings of “fine flour” (grain with the husks removed) in the wilderness, since the only staple “grain” that was available to them was manna. They couldn’t stop and plant a field of wheat and wait until it was ready to be harvested, because they had to be ready to follow the pillar of cloud to a new location at a moment’s notice. It’s even worse with olive oil, of course: olive trees take years to mature. They had brought enough oil with them for the purposes Yahweh had specified—the anointing oil and fuel for the menorah—but the normal grain offerings, requiring large amounts of olive oil, were deferred until they had entered the promised land: “When you have come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving to you, and you make an offering by fire to Yahweh, a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering or in your appointed feasts, to make a sweet aroma to Yahweh, from the herd or the flock, then he who presents his offering to Yahweh shall bring a grain offering of one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of oil; and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering you shall prepare with the burnt offering or the sacrifice, for each lamb.” (Numbers 15:2-5) Yahweh does not ask of us that which is beyond our ability to give. In fact, He never asks us to “give” anything except for a portion of that which He has given us first.
This instruction is fairly peppered with symbols, all of which we’ll explore in detail eventually. In the meantime, using my not-so-secret decoder ring—the Torah Code—the prophetic message here reads something like this: “The eternal life we are given as children of Yahweh was bought for us through the total sacrifice of His Messiah as He endured judgment in our place. It is therefore appropriate and desirable that we remember and memorialize what our God has done for us by leading lives that honor Him. We can do this by being thankful, keeping our word, loving God by caring for our brothers and sisters, recognizing the Source of our provision, being filled with Yahweh’s Spirit, and remaining forever cognizant of the Life that was poured out in order that we might live.” Or something like that.
The relative amounts of fine flour and oil listed here give us even more information. If the grain represents God’s provision, namely Yahshua the Messiah, and oil (as we shall soon establish) is Yahweh’s Spirit, then it is apparent that God’s Spirit wasn’t merely “applied” or poured out upon Him, but was rather “mixed” throughout His very being, shaping His character and providing His power. Since a “hin” is about a gallon and a half (making the specified quarter of a hin about one and a half quarts—1.2 liters), we should observe that the fine flour was positively goopy with oil—permeated, saturated, wet with it. In other words, Yahshua wasn’t just influenced by the Holy Spirit; He oozed the Spirit’s presence and power from every pore. But consider this: the same Spirit dwells within every believer today. So why isn’t our walk as flawless and effective as Yahshua’s was? Maybe it’s a lubrication problem—there’s not enough “oil” in our lives.
Where did I get the rather counterintuitive idea that olive oil is a symbol for the Spirit of God? As I’ve said, Yahweh takes His symbols very seriously, and when one is as fundamental to our understanding as this one is, Yahweh often goes out of His way to explain it. So the prophet Zechariah was given a vision: “And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, ‘What do you see?’ I said, ‘I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.’ And I said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ I said, ‘No, my lord.’ Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of Yahweh to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says Yahweh of hosts.’” (Zechariah 4:1-6)
The immediate message to Zerubbabel (the leader of the returning Jewish exiles, not to mention being an ancestor of Yahshua) was that he would succeed in rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple—and not through political pressure or force of arms, either, but through the will of God’s Spirit. “Then the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent me [the angel] to you [Zechariah]. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.’” (Zechariah 4:8-10) Zerubbabel is (obviously) a prophetic stand-in for Yahshua the Messiah here. The “day of small things” is a reference to the modest scale of the second temple in comparison to Solomon’s former magnificent edifice. The people had forgotten (if they ever knew) that the temple wasn’t merely a building, but was actually a picture of the redemption of mankind wrought by Yahweh—something that would be achieved through Yahshua. The prophetic point is that Yahshua’s authority (represented by Zerubbabel’s “plumb line”) would be established through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through military conquest (as the messianic hopefuls of Yahshua’s day expected). It’s perfectly clear, in hindsight.
Zechariah, of course, didn’t understand a word of it, so he pushed the angel for clarification: “‘What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?’ And a second time I answered and said to him, ‘What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the golden oil is poured out?’ He said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ I said, ‘No, my lord.’ Then he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones who stand by the lord of the whole earth.’” (Zechariah 4:11-14) Like virtually every other prophet of Yahweh, Zack was being given more information than he’d bargained for. The olive trees are the source of the oil (which he has just been told represents the Spirit of Yahweh). I would surmise, then, based on what we’ve already observed about the Messiah, that the two trees are symbolic of the two “natures” of the Messiah’s mission—i.e., His two advents, the first as our redeeming sacrifice and the second as our glorified reigning king, both of which are achieved in the power of Yahweh’s Spirit alone.
But this is where the whole thing goes sideways, if you don’t stay on your toes. Though the “olive trees” are Yahshua, the two branches extending from them are something else. In the original Hebrew, they’re not “anointed ones,” but anointed sons—beni yitshar (not Mashiyach, as might have been expected)—literally, “sons of olive oil,” which, as we now know, implies being “born of the Spirit.” (Is the lesson of John 3 ringing any bells here?) To learn who these particular “sons of the Spirit” are, we need to visit the book of Revelation. “And I [a mighty angel who was talking to John] will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the lord of the earth.” (Revelation 11:3-4)
Who, then, is “the lord (adonay) of the whole earth”? Surprisingly, it isn’t Yahshua (at this particular moment in time). It’s the one commonly known as the Antichrist: “And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months…. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. Authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.” (Revelation 13:5, 7-8) For three and a half horrible years, this “beast from the sea” will de facto be the “lord of the whole earth.”
So why are the two witnesses, these “anointed sons,” standing by him? I’m afraid this too is a bit of a mistranslation. The Hebrew phrase is amad al. Amad means to stand, remain, endure, or take one’s stand. One of the word’s nuances, I believe, nails it: amad can mean to accuse: formally, to stand bringing an accusation in a legal setting. And al means against, over, upon, or above. Read the whole description of what these two men do, in Revelation 11. The two witnesses, these sons of the Spirit, are seen standing against the Antichrist. They’re the ants at his picnic, pronouncing judgment upon the beast and his kingdom and calling for plagues of “biblical proportions” upon the whole unrepentant world. These plagues, if I’m not mistaken, are to be administered by the angels of the seven “bowl” judgments of Revelation 16, which will be poured out upon the earth during the Antichrist’s forty-two month reign of terror.
Lest we forget what got us started on this little scriptural odyssey, we were trying to figure out what olive oil meant. And here, at the end of the trail, we find that it’s what we were told at the very beginning of the journey: goodness won’t prevail through might or power—neither by political pressure or force of arms brought to bear against the powers of evil in the world. (So much for the “Onward Christian Soldier” mentality.) It will be achieved, in the end, by the Spirit of Yahweh alone—the precious golden oil emanating from the olive trees of Messiah’s dual nature, servant and king.
It bears mention that just because something is used as a symbol in God’s word, its corresponding physical reality isn’t thereby rendered meaningless. Yahweh’s enduring interest in our souls doesn’t negate His care for our mortal bodies, which, after all, are the vehicles in which our eternal choices must be made. So, for example, there is a whole chapter (Leviticus 11) telling what animals are okay to eat, and which ones aren’t. Science has verified that the things on the “forbidden” list are, without exception, toxic in comparison to those that are approved. By instructing us about what (and what not) to eat, God was doing two things: telling us how to keep our bodies healthy, and teaching us to be discerning about what we put into our souls. So since olive oil is clearly recruited as one of Yahweh’s symbols, and is also approved for food (and indeed, is a mandated part of the priests’ diet), we would expect to find that God specified something healthful for us. But is this the case?
Technically, the only difference between oils and fats is that oils are liquid at room temperature, while fats are solids. Aren’t fats (triglycerides, fatty acids, unsaponifiable lipids—horrors!) supposed to be bad for us? Well, maybe. Today, we have a dizzying variety of foods from which to choose, including oils from a wide variety of plants—corn, peanut, soybean, coconut, safflower, rapeseed (canola), palm, cottonseed, sesame seed, sunflower—nuts, seeds, melons, gourds, and scores of other sources, animal, vegetable, and mineral. So how does olive oil stack up? Was God wrong to make it such a big part of the Hebrew diet? In a word, no. Living Without Magazine reports: “An abundance of polyphenols, monounsaturated fat and vitamin E makes olive oil one of the heart-healthiest options in the oil department. An impressive 75 percent of calories come from monounsaturated fat, which confers heart protection by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. The polyphenols in olive oil—its potent antioxidant plant compounds—have been shown to reduce bone loss, improve cholesterol levels, decrease blood pressure, stymie the spread of cancerous cells, reduce inflammation and prevent the bunching together of blood platelets which protects against stroke and heart attacks. Portuguese researchers found that one major antioxidant in olive oil called DHPEA-EDA is particularly effective in protecting red blood cells from oxidative damage by menacing free radicals.” Did we really need to look it up, or could we merely have taken Yahweh’s word for it?
Besides being nutritious, olive oil was an essential commodity in everyday life in Israel, making it a ready metaphor for a whole range of roles the Spirit of God performs in the believer’s experience. (1) Olive oil was flammable and burned cleanly, making it an ideal source of light (read: truth). (2) Olive oil was readily available, and the trees could live and produce for centuries—there are olive trees in Jerusalem that are said to be two thousand years old. (3) The olive trees of Canaan were a “gift” from God to the invading Israelites, but one that could be received only upon their entrance into the land. So Yahweh told Joshua’s generation, “I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.” (Joshua 24:13) The symbols tell us, then, that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God: there’s nothing we can do to “earn it.” Further, the Spirit is a reality only within the believer’s life—It is not available (or even discernible) outside it. (4) Olive oil was also useful as an ointment, an aid in healing and restoration. It was said to be part of the mugging victim’s “cure” under the care of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:34), and James recommended its use (in conjunction with prayer) in the healing of illnesses (James 5:14; see also Mark 6:13). The lesson, of course, is that the Holy Spirit is responsible for our restoration, renewal, and healing. If we’ll but look for it, we’ll always find a consistent parallel between the scriptural symbol and its spiritual reality.
The “dark side” of all these spiritual benefits is also revealed through the physical symbol. Olive oil is extracted from the fruit by beating and crushing it. We are reminded that the Holy Spirit was made available to us through the painful process predicted by Isaiah: “He [Yahshua the Messiah] was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
There is more than meets the eye in this vignette describing the hours prior to the Messiah’s crucifixion: “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me.’” (Matthew 26:36-38) The Garden of Gethsemane is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives, just east of the Temple Mount. “Gethsemane” is derived from two Aramaic words. A gath is a press, used for crushing grapes or olives; Shemen means fat or oil (such as olive oil), a medication or unguent, or “fatness” (in the traditional sense, a state of well being or prosperity). Gethsemane, then, is the place Yahshua went to get squeezed on our behalf—crushed as in an olive press, releasing the Spirit for our benefit. As Yahshua Himself explained, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7) And lest you think I’m being overly dramatic, remember this: “And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)
It’s horribly ironic: in agony over his own sin, David had pleaded, “Take not Your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:11) But in agony over our sin, Yahshua subjected Himself to the very thing that had so terrified David—separation from the Holy Spirit in the crushing pressure of Gethsemane, the oil press. It was on our behalf that He hung on the cross praying, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46) It was a rhetorical question (not to mention a fulfillment of the crucifixion prophecy of Psalm 22). He knew why: the Father turned His back on His only begotten Son out of compassion for us, His adopted children. There can be no greater love.
David said of Yahweh, his “Shepherd,” “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5) Anointing one’s head with olive oil seems like a strange practice to us today, but historically it was a sign of consecration, dedication, or blessing. It was often used to denote special recognition, or to confer honor, favor, responsibility, or authority upon the anointed. Anointing with oil was seen as a pleasing, gratifying act: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there Yahweh has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” (Psalm 133:1-3) If eternal life is this closely associated with anointing with oil, we should pay close attention to what the Word has to say about it.
The oil used to anoint the priests of Israel was to be a special formulation, the instructions for which are so detailed and specific, we should (by now) be alerted that there’s a symbol tsunami headed our way: “Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, 250, and 250 of aromatic cane, and 500 of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.…” The formula began with a hin (about 1.5 gallons) of olive oil, indicative of Yahweh’s Spirit. But what were these other ingredients?
Myrrh is a resinous gum or oil from balsam or other trees with an oily bark. It is fragrant and slightly bitter, hence the name, mor, from a Hebrew root meaning bitterness—a reminder of the Messiah’s sorrows endured on our behalf. (A shekel, by the way, was a little over a third of an ounce, so five hundred shekels would be about ten pounds.) Cinnamon (Hebrew qinamown) is the familiar fragrant bark we still use as a spice to this day. Its use as an aphrodisiac (along with myrrh) is suggested in Proverbs 7:17, reminding us that we are the bride of Christ: there is an emotional—even hormonal—component to our relationship with Yahweh’s Messiah. It’s not all business. The “sweet-smelling cane” is qaneh, an aromatic reed, but one also used as a standard of measure, normally six cubits (about nine feet). Yahshua’s human moral perfection is sweet indeed, but it’s also the standard by which we are all measured—and we all fall short. The last ingredient was cassia (qidah), a fragrant plant ingredient used in making perfumes and oils. It’s the “fragrant oil” spoken of in Matthew 26:12 and Luke 23:56—something used to anoint and prepare the Messiah for His burial—both before and after He gave Himself up to be crucified. The anointing-oil mixture, then, is a pungent description of Yahshua the Messiah, whose Spirit-filled life was the essence of love, the standard of holiness, and sweet salvation for us, achieved through Yahshua’s bitter suffering.
The entire sanctuary and all of its furnishings were to be anointed with this symbol-saturated brew: “With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony, and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils and the basin and its stand. You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy.” It bears repeating: “holy” means set apart for Yahweh’s honor and purpose. Whatever meaning or significance was implied by the esoteric ingredients we examined above was thus extended to the entire tabernacle. God was saying as clearly as He possibly could that the tabernacle and everything within it were a picture—a parable—of His plan for our redemption, centered in the life and work of His Messiah. We’ll address these items in due time. For now, just note that “Whatever touches them will become holy….” That is a stunning revelation, if you stop to think about it: anyone who comes into intimate contact with what the tabernacle and its appurtenances signify—God’s plan for the redemption of mankind—will become set apart from the world in order to honor the One who brought it all to pass: Yahweh. Just remember this: you can’t enter the tabernacle without first encountering the altar of sacrifice and the laver of cleansing.
Who, then, was authorized to “touch” the holy things? There was only one class of people in Israel who could legally do this: the priests. Therefore, God told Moses, “You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may serve Me as priests.” As always, we must keep the symbol distinct from the reality it reflects. God is not saying that only priests (defined as male descendants of Aaron) could be saved or be made holy. He’s saying, rather, that these priests represent those who are saved—male or female, Jew or gentile, anyone who “touches,” who proactively embraces, Yahweh’s solution to our estrangement. “And you shall say to the people of Israel, [itself a metaphorical microcosm of fallen mankind], ‘This shall be My holy anointing oil throughout your generations….’” In other words, whatever the anointing oil represented signified a truth that would be valid as long as mankind walked the earth. This wasn’t just a “Jewish” thing, one intended to remain in force only as long as the theocratic assembly lasted. It was forever.
“It shall not be poured on the body of an ordinary person, and you shall make no other like it in composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.” (Exodus 30:23-33) Finally, Yahweh instructs that the anointing oil—representing Yahshua the Messiah, you’ll recall—is not to be substituted, counterfeited, or misapplied. There is only one way to God: the way God Himself has provided. Yahweh is being brutally blunt here: whoever proposes that there is some other means by which man might ascend to God other than Yahshua the Messiah—and especially if he “anoints” a gullible and unsuspecting soul with his bogus brew—in effect dedicating and consecrating him to a lie—that person will die, in the spiritual, permanent, tormented-in-hell sense.
The Torah speaks at length about ordaining priests by anointing them with this special blend of olive oil. But no such instruction was given concerning the coronation of kings, for the simple reason that human royalty was never intended to be part of theocratic Israel’s culture. Yahweh alone was to be their king, and any human leaders God appointed (e.g. Moses, Joshua, or Samuel) were characterized as “servants” or “judges,” not monarchs. Yahweh knew, of course, that Israel would eventually want a king, but He characterized this desire as their rejection of His leadership. And yet, to certify His selection of Israel’s first kings, God instructed His prophet to anoint the chosen man with oil. (See, for example, I Samuel 16:1, 12-13.) Seeing the future Messiah latent in the historical King David, the Psalmist reports, “I [Yahweh] have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to David My servant: ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’ …I have found David, My servant. With My holy oil I have anointed him, so that My hand shall be established with him; My arm also shall strengthen him.” (Psalm 89:3-4, 20) Yahweh’s anointing of David, then, was a dress rehearsal for the coming of the Messiah, the Anointed One.
For Christians who seldom venture west of the New Testament (you know—flipping pages to the left, into the Torah, Psalms, and Prophets) it may come as a shock that the concept of “Messiah”—Mashiyach ,Yahweh’s Anointed One—is mentioned very sparingly in the Hebrew scriptures. After all, the Greek equivalent, “Christ” (Christos) is ubiquitous in the New Covenant scriptures (though it’s never actually spelled out in any of the pre-Constantinan manuscripts, but is rather presented as one of the so-called nomina sacra—abbreviations or code-placeholders for key words, in this case ΧΣ, written with a line over the top). That being said, those few overt Hebrew references to the Mashiyach (in the sense of the coming anointed Savior-King) are incredibly significant.
Scripture’s first reference to “the anointed one” in a role other than that of the anointed priest is this prophecy: “The adversaries of Yahweh shall be broken to pieces; against them He will thunder in heaven. Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth; He will give strength to His King and exalt the power of His Anointed.” (I Samuel 2:10) What’s remarkable here is who said it, and when. This is from the song of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, as she dedicated her young son to Yahweh’s service. At the time, Israel had never had a king ruling over them: it was an unheard of concept. In fact, Samuel himself would one day anoint Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David, the latter being the prototype and precursor of the Messiah to whom his mother had referred. Note that Yahweh is prophesied to accomplish through the coming Messiah things far beyond what David did—or Yahshua, for that matter. The prophecy of a powerful reigning King anointed by Yahweh is a reference to Yahshua’s second advent, something yet in our future.
This is made crystal clear in a Psalm revealing the identity of the Messiah as the Son of God: “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 Yahweh and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst Their bonds apart and cast away Their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.” Yahweh and His Anointed (Yahshua) are seen here in perfect sync, yet differentiated by their roles or functions: Yahweh “sits in the heavens.” That is, He is holy, set apart—above all the silly noise the nations are making. On the other hand, “the Lord” (Hebrew: Adonay) is by definition the One who exercises personal authority among men (see Matthew 28:18), the Anointed King, Yahshua—the One on whose shoulders the government rests (Isaiah 9:6). But because Yahweh and His Anointed are actually one person (John 10:30, 14:7), they are heard speaking with one voice: “Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘As for Me, I have set My King on Zion, My holy hill.’ I will tell of the decree: Yahweh said to Me, ‘You are My Son; today I have begotten You.’” (Psalm 2:1-7) People who think the Messiah—Yahshua—is somehow less than God incarnate should find this Psalm fatal to their theory. In the end, you can’t hold onto both truth and delusion. You’re going to have to give up one or the other.
Amazingly, we were even told when the Messiah would appear. Daniel was told, “Seventy weeks [literally, sevens] are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.” That is, the destiny of Israel—including the revelation of the identity of Yahweh’s Messiah—would be fulfilled in 490 of some “time unit.” These are never called “years” in scripture, but “time, times, and half a time” (i.e., three and a half “times”) are equated with both “42 months” and “1,260 days.” In other words, it appears that “a time” equals 360 days—sort of a schematic “year,” twelve 30-day months. “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.”(Daniel 9:24-26)
Sixty-nine “sevens” of these 360-day “times” (in other words, 483 “times”) works out to 173,880 days—between a well defined “starting gun” and the appearance of the Messiah. Based on the record of Nehemiah 2, the clock began ticking in the month of Nisan, 444 B.C. If the first day of the month is implied, 173,880 days brings us to Nisan 10 (Monday, March 28), 33 A.D., the very day the Torah commands that the Passover lamb be brought into the household (Exodus 12:3)—coincidentally (choke, cough) the very day Yahshua of Nazareth entered Jerusalem to the adulation of the throng singing Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of Yahweh! On Friday of that same week, Yahshua was crucified for our sins and laid in a borrowed tomb, “cut off, but not for Himself.” And don’t forget, He was “anointed” with cassia, one of the ingredients of the priestly anointing oil, both before and after His death. Coincidence? Not likely.
Olive oil was also the sole source of artificial light in ancient homes, the only way to dispel the darkness when the sun or moon weren’t visible. Oil lamps are strewn across the archeological landscape like leaves on the forest floor: they’re everywhere you look. Some are intricate and beautifully decorated, but all you really need is a simple open ceramic bowl with a notch or pinch to hold a wick. Many of them had handles, so you could carry them around to light your way as we would a flashlight. Not surprisingly then, oil lamps are alluded to in scripture to praise Yahweh for His guidance. For example: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Or, “For You are my lamp, O Yahweh, and my God lightens my darkness.” (II Samuel 22:29) Since we now know that the olive oil fuel in these lamps is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, the metaphor has come full circle: that which contains the oil—the lamp—is the Word: the Messiah Himself.
It would have been strange, then, if God had not made oil in lamps a part of His tabernacle vocabulary. “You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before Yahweh. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.” (Exodus 27:20-21; cf. Leviticus 24:1-4) The symbols tell the story: Aaron and his sons (the priesthood, representing all believers) are to keep the lampstand supplied with olive oil (God’s Spirit), so that light (spiritual truth) may always shine forth in the presence of God’s people. The lampstand stood against the south interior wall of the tabernacle; its lamps were focused forward, toward the north—toward the table of showbread, highlighting God’s constant provision.
What, then, did the lampstand (or menorah) signify? The menorah was made to God’s exacting design, and we should not be surprised to learn that every specification meant something significant: “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece.” Unity is being stressed. All of the menorah’s “parts” were to be one unit—made inseparable through the way it was fashioned—by being hammered or beaten, i.e., subjected to adversity. “And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side….” Here we see scripture’s ubiquitous “six-plus-one” pattern, but with a twist. The One, that is, the center “stalk” of the lampstand, represents the Messiah. But there are three “branches” protruding from the right, and three from the left, all depending upon the center stalk for support. These two “groupings” attached to the Messiah are, I have concluded, believing Israel and the true church (or more properly, the ekklesia—the “called out” of Christ). Neither can stand without the center support, and neither is more important than the other. In fact, the menorah would be decidedly unbalanced without both sides present. And yet, the two sides are separate and distinct, having but one thing in common: the center lampstand. All seven “parts” are responsible for shining forth God’s light.
Even the ornamentation tells us something: “Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand.” The almond tree blossoms very early in the year—as early as January or February. This explains its name in Hebrew: saqed—the waker. The almond is thus a natural metaphor for resurrection. “On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand….” These “ornamental knobs” or calyxes represent the part of the plant that forms the outer floral envelope, protecting the developing bud. God’s designs in nature mimic His designs in the spiritual realm. The lesson: we are protected, whether we realize it or not.
“Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold….” Note that because we’re attached to the Messiah, we’re all going to get “hammered” together—the result being unity through mutual adversity. It’s hilariously ironic: even though we agree on very little (because of our common propensity to ignore Yahweh and His Word) Jews and Christians are invariably lumped together by Yahweh’s enemies in an equal-opportunity hate-fest. Ask any Muslim, secular humanist, socialist or outright communist: they can’t decide who they hate more, Christians or Jews. They don’t even know why.
“You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” (Exodus 25:31-40) The seven lamps (read: complete or perfect truth) are the whole point, of course. Neither Israel’s take nor Christianity’s will stand by itself, but they both stand and shine when they’re joined to and supported by the Messiah. Sadly, this is not exactly reality today. Neither Israel nor the church (in the broadest sense) is “attached” in any meaningful or universal way to the Messiah. But the Menorah is a Millennial metaphor: it reveals what will be when Yahshua assumes the throne of Earth. Both the restored Jewish remnant and the real followers of Christ will stand side by side with their Messiah. We are not the same, but we are equally blessed.
Yahshua’s disciples fell into both groups, of course. So He told them how to shine His light before an unbelieving world: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) Note that the light is “in the house.” It is not our job to light up the whole world, but rather to invite those who are outside into the house, so that they might become enlightened. That being said, the light of God’s love cannot easily be missed by people looking through the windows into the house. If our light is shining, the world will have a clear choice to make—either consider it an invitation to come in and enjoy the same light and truth God’s children do, or use the light to target us with paranoid slander launched from their foxholes in the shadows.
If the absence of light is darkness, and if olive oil—the fuel in our lamps—represents the Spirit of God, then we should pay attention to those times in scripture when we are told of the ramifications of having (or using) no oil. For instance, Yahshua once told this parable: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps….” The “bridegroom” is obviously symbolic of the Messiah, the One for whom everyone is waiting. The procedure for a wedding in this culture was that the groom and his friends would arrive at an undisclosed hour at the home of the bride and her parents, they’d have a big wedding feast (lasting for several days), and then they’d all escort the bride in festive procession back to the groom’s—now the newlywed couple’s—home. This is all a pretty fair representation of what we’re told of the coming rapture: we’re all standing around in anticipation of Yahshua’s promised arrival. We don’t know when He’s coming, but we know that He is, because of His love for His bride. (Normally, of course, the one seen anticipating the coming of the bridegroom would have been the bride—the church. But Christ wished to point out the dichotomy between those who “had oil” and those who did not, so the “bridesmaids” were recruited to play this role in the parable.)
“As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him….’” To the casual observer, all ten virgins looked just the same: they all said they were looking forward to the coming of the bridegroom—the Messiah. They all carried “lamps” with them, that is, they were all equipped to receive and utilize the Holy Spirit. If I’m not mistaken, I believe that this capacity is universal in Adam’s race—the “breath of God,” or neshamah (spoken of in Genesis 2:7) that, when indwelled with the Spirit of Yahweh, makes us “living souls.” And, perhaps surprisingly, all ten of the bridesmaids dozed off as they waited for the bridegroom to show up. Even the most well-prepared among us lose focus sometimes. The only difference between the two groups was that the wise virgins had brought olive oil with them, and the foolish had not—that is, some had Yahweh’s Spirit, and some didn’t. (As it’s stated in John 3, they were “born only of water.”) This is obviously a characterization of the visible church—some of which is Spirit-led and eternally alive (even if we’re not as alert as we’re supposed to be), and some of which isn’t really alive at all in the spiritual sense—they have no oil.
“Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:1-13) This is a poignant description of the difference between the assemblies of Philadelphia and Laodicea, addressed by Yahshua in Revelation 3. The church at Philadelphia will be “kept out of the hour of trial that is to come upon the whole earth,” because they’re ready, supplied with the “oil” of the Holy Spirit, when the bridegroom-Messiah comes. But those of Laodicea will not. They will not be admitted to the wedding feast (the “marriage supper of the Lamb,” Revelation 19:9)—something the Philadelphians will be enjoying in heaven as the Tribulation rages on earth.
Is all hope lost, then, for the “foolish virgins” of Laodicea? Amazingly, no. They still have an opportunity to have a relationship with the bridegroom—but not until the wedding feast is over. While the doors are shut, they are left outside to fend for themselves. But during that time, while their Philadelphian sisters are attending the feast, an invitation is extended to them: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:18-20) That’s the rough symbolic equivalent of “going to the dealers and buying oil for yourself.” Those who do will find that life is still possible, even though they’ve missed the party. But I must stress that “oil” procured under these circumstances (in the middle of the night, after the party has already begun) is expensive. Most of the Laodiceans, I’m afraid, will pay for it with their mortal lives. Still, it’s well worth the price in the long run—our mortal lives weren’t built to last anyway. Remember, Laodicea is counted among the seven called-out assemblies Yahshua addressed in Revelation 2 and 3. Although He finds their religious pretensions lukewarm and disgusting, and although none of them will be “born from above” in Yahweh’s Spirit until after the rapture, I find it incredibly encouraging that their painful plight isn’t permanent or irreversible. Even after the “doors are shut,” they may still go out and “buy oil” for their lamps. Judging by Revelation’s statistics concerning their martyrdom, it’s apparent that multitudes of them will open the door and receive the Messiah—before it really is too late.
As we have seen, olive oil was a normal component of the sacrifices and offerings described in the Torah. But there are a few exceptions to the rule. The first is in the “fine print” concerning the trespass offering—the asham. The asham was virtually identical to the chata’t, or sin offering in most respects. (Whereas the chata’t was meant to cover our sins, our unintentional lapses in behavior, the asham covered our mistakes or trespasses, our offenses in holiness.) What you’d bring for a trespass offering was based on what you could afford—either a female lamb or goat, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons were to be offered. If you were too poor even for that, you were to bring a tenth of an ephah (about two quarts) of fine flour; but unlike the regular minha, no oil or frankincense was to be added: “But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it, nor shall he put frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering.” (Leviticus 5:11)
I find it touching that in Yahweh’s economy, being poor is no impediment to attaining forgiveness: no one in Israel would have found this an onerous financial burden. But why, we must ask ourselves, was no oil or frankincense to be included? The key seems to lie in the fact that there was no blood being shed—no innocent life was being sacrificed to atone for the poor man’s lapse in holiness. This form of the asham thankfully acknowledges Yahweh’s provision of perfect forgiveness. (Note that “fine flour” was to be used, i.e., no worthless, extraneous chaff was to be present.) But since no living sacrifice was made, no statement concerning the Spirit of Yahweh (symbolized by oil) was appropriate; nor would frankincense—symbolizing purity through sacrifice. There was no sacrifice. Here, in the tiniest of details, Yahweh was reminding us that attaining purity through the Spirit of God is possible only through the blood sacrifice of His Messiah. There is no other way. When Yahshua said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16) the underlying premise was that God’s “giving” of His Son was as a blood sacrifice. He was the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
One more obscure Torah precept (one I mentioned previously) specifies the absence of oil: “Then the man shall bring his wife to the priest and bring the offering required of her, a tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance.” (Numbers 5:15) This comes in the middle of one of the most esoteric (some would say, goofy) passages in the entire Torah. Numbers 5:11-31 describes the process whereby a jealous husband who suspects his wife of infidelity can drag her off to the priest and make her go through a strange ritual (including the grain offering described here) in order to determine her guilt or innocence. To the casual reader, the whole thing may sound sort of like medieval townsfolk throwing a suspected witch in the river. (If she sinks, she’s innocent, but if she floats, she must be guilty, so you can fish her out and burn her at the stake.) Manmade religion at its worst. This is nothing of the sort, I assure you. It’s another of God’s prophetic dress rehearsals.
In a nutshell, the woman is made to drink water that’s mixed with some dust from the floor of the tabernacle and swear that she’s innocent. If she is guiltless, then she is “free, and may conceive children.” But if she’s guilty of adultery, “her belly will swell and her thigh will rot.” Very colorful. Obviously, the husband would be a fool to put his wife through this if he weren’t absolutely certain she was cheating on him (and was willing to let her suffer the horrible consequences of her sin). After all, if she was innocent (and he was just being a paranoid control freak), she would never willingly share his bed again. The bond of mutual trust and respect would be gone forever. In other words, this procedure promises to reveal the truth, but it’s never to the husband’s benefit. He loses either way.
There is no scriptural record of this precept ever being used. That’s not all that unusual, of course, but it does beg the question: why was the precept recorded in scripture? Does it, perhaps, have prophetic relevance, like so much of the Torah? I believe it does. You see, in 1033, a great earthquake shook Jerusalem. One result was that the Spring of Gihon (the sole source of water for the old city, located in the shadow of the temple mount) turned septic—poisonous—and this condition persisted for forty years. This was taken as a bad omen by the Rabbis at the Jerusalem Academy, who subsequently left town and set up shop in Damascus. The Islamic overlords then raised taxes for all non-Muslims, driving out the last remaining Jewish farmers and tradesmen. But there were also ramifications for Christendom. The year 1033 saw a great surge in Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem, since precisely one millennium had passed since Yahshua’s passion. But the Catholic pilgrims, like the departing Jews, found the waters of Gihon (now literally mingled with the dust of the sanctuary) “bitter.”
Yahweh has described Himself as “a jealous God” (Exodus 20:6). Through the events of 1033, He flatly stated that both Israel and the Church had been unfaithful to Him—they had joined themselves to false gods in a spiritually adulterous liaison. So the curse of Numbers 5 had come to pass, exactly as we had been warned. Not only did the Jews’ “belly swell and thigh rot” (so to speak), but the prophecy concerning the Church of Thyatira had come about as well: “Indeed, I will cast her [the false prophetess “Jezebel,” who had seduced the Church into idolatry] into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.” (Revelation 2:22) 1033 was characterized by spiritual adultery on the part of both Yahweh’s “wife” Israel and Yahshua’s “bride,” the Church. If anything could have illustrated our desperate need for redemption and restoration, this was it.
But there’s something else, if I may digress for a moment. 1033 marked the beginning of the sixth millennium since the fall of Adam made our redemption necessary. The fact that something prophetically momentous took place at this very time should make us sit up and take notice. After all, the other “millennial mile markers”—the fall, the flood, the almost-sacrifice of Isaac, the building of Solomon’s temple, and the passion of the Messiah—were all incredibly significant events in Yahweh’s plan of redemption, and they were all spaced at precise one-thousand year intervals, as far as we can determine. If we correlate this evidence with the scripturally ubiquitous six-plus-one “Sabbath week” pattern established by Yahweh (for reasons He never overtly explained), and with the mathematical formula (stated in both Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8) that with God, one “day” is as a thousand years, we (or at least, I) arrive at a startling conclusion: the next millennial milestone—the seventh—is right around the corner: 2033.
What can we expect to happen then? John describes it: “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years…. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4-6) If I’m right about any of this, Christ’s Millennial Kingdom will begin in 2033—after an unprecedented seven-year period of God’s wrath poured out upon the earth. And if I may put forth another “theory,” the Millennium will commence on the seventh and last of Yahweh’s “holy convocations,” the Feast of Tabernacles—October 8 that year. I’m not “guessing,” by the way; I’m merely observing what God said and drawing what to me are obvious conclusions. Feel free to draw conclusions of your own, but remember that Yahweh does nothing on a pointless whim. He told us this stuff for a reason. Why, if not to help us remain watchful?
Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, back in Numbers 5 (the prophetic ritual played out in 1033), trying to figure out why the barley flour “offering of jealousy” was to have no olive oil added to it. Now that we know how the scenario played out, it’s relatively easy to see: those being identified as adulterous (i.e., idolatrous) were not indwelled with Yahweh’s Spirit. Though they were part of biological Israel or part of a religious organization that called itself the church, they were not “born from above” in God’s Spirit. Olive oil, then, would have sent the wrong symbolic message. The adulterous wife/bride of a God who makes no secret of His jealous nature was being allowed to suffer the just punishment for her sins. But make no mistake: this was not something Yahweh took pleasure in. Why couldn’t we just remain faithful? Would it have been so hard?
Luke records the story of Christ’s literal anointing, and it’s precisely the opposite of what we might have expected. It wasn’t performed by the High Priest, or an influential rabbi, or even by John the Baptist, but by a broken, repentant sinner. “One of the Pharisees asked [Yahshua] to eat with him, and He went into the Pharisee’s house and took His place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet and anointed them with the ointment.” (Luke 7:36-38) Although the word translated “sinner” (hamartolos) technically just denotes “one who has erred, one who has missed the mark of perfection” (making it applicable to everybody), the connotation was that the sins of this woman had characterized and dominated her life; they had made her an outcast from “polite society.” Envision a known “crack ho” showing up at your typical uptight Sunday church service, and you’ll have a picture of the effect she had on those in attendance—except, of course, for Yahshua.
The woman had no concept of propriety. All she knew was that, confronted with the holiness of this Man, she was a sinner before God, in need of salvation. Her guilt consumed her, and she saw in Christ the redemption she so desperately sought. So she did the only thing she could think of to demonstrate her contrition and repentance. Though she probably didn’t know the Torah’s requirements from a hole in the ground, she instinctively did precisely what was required on the Day of Atonement: anah—meaning both affliction of the soul (hence the tears) and a proper response to God’s offer of forgiveness, answering the proposition set before her: what will you do about your sin?
But in the context of our present subject, it’s not the woman’s response that’s so revealing, but the Pharisee’s failure to respond. Yahshua pointed out to the Pharisee, Simon, that it’s only natural for those who have been forgiven many debts to demonstrate their appreciation with a commensurate outward display of love and gratitude. The problem was that Simon didn’t recognize or admit his own need for forgiveness before God. Being a Pharisee, he was blameless (in his own eyes), and proud of it. So Yahshua pointed out Simon’s fatal flaw: no oil. “You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much.” (Luke 7:46-47) The Pharisee’s reaction to Yahshua had been ambivalence, tempered with curiosity. Oh, sure, he wanted the fifteen minutes of fame that inviting the intriguing young rabbi to lunch could gain him. But he saw Yahshua as a colleague, a peer, an equal. To Simon, Yahshua was not the Anointed One—certainly not his Messiah. But the repentant woman (who recognized Yahshua as—at the very least—a prophet from God) had anointed Yahshua with oil and tears. For her faith, she had been forgiven of her sins. Simon, not so much.
In the present world, this dichotomy is universal: we are either made alive by Yahweh’s Spirit dwelling within us, or we are not. We are either using the “olive oil” of the Holy Spirit in the lamps of our existence, or we’re dwelling in darkness. But God has informed us in the clearest possible terms that there will come a day when every son of Adam, every daughter of Eve, will have made their choices—to live in Yahweh’s light or to perish in the shadows. When that day comes, every soul who ever lived will experience the eternal consequences of the choices they made in mortal flesh, for this world—itself a mere symbol of the eternal state that awaits Yahweh’s children—is becoming obsolete, like a road sign we’re passing on the highway.
Look at it this way: in the past century or two, we have become utterly dependent on our energy sources, but they all have fatal flaws. Coal is plentiful, but dirty. Petroleum lies mainly under the control of Muslims and madmen. “Green” energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal are laughably inefficient. Biofuels compromise our ability to feed ourselves. Nuclear power is a high-stakes gamble: ideal—until something goes wrong. But all of this will be obsolete when God’s children at last inhabit the new heavens and new earth as immortal souls empowered solely by the Spirit of Yahweh—the humble “olive oil” of divine metaphor. John describes the scene: “And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5) In that day, the symbol will have been totally eclipsed by the awesome reality about which it was designed to teach us.
But lost humanity, without God’s living fuel, will at last have come to know the true meaning of the term “energy crisis.”
(First published 2014)