Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Dimensional Plane of Practicality

They came to Beit-Tzaidah and some people brought him a blind man and begged Yeshua to touch him. Taking the blind man's hand, he led him outside the town. He spit in his eyes, put his hands on him and asked him, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see men, as trees, walking." Once more Yeshua put his hands on the blind man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Yeshua sent him home, saying, "Don't go into the village."(Mark 8:22-26)

If you have ever read 'Out of the Silent Planet' by C. S. Lewis, you'll remember when Ransom meets with Oyarsa the eldila. In order to be "seen" by Ransom, Oyarsas' shape, or form, goes through certain manifestations, almost killing Ransom, until a suitable shape/form that can be perceived, conceived, viewed, by Ransom, with comprehension and without danger, is achieved. In the story, Ransom states that this is maybe why angels are always depicted in "flight"; angels are actually "moving" in order to be seen in our dimensional plane.

I have always thought of that meeting between Ransom and the Oyarsa of that planet when reading this account in Mark of a healing presumably "gone wrong." Were the eyes of this blind man opened to a dimensional plane coexisting invisibly with ours? Did Yeshua error, needing to touch him twice? I don't know... I do know this: Contextually, if you consider what the disciples had been experiencing for the last few days, you'll read that they were experiencing a convergence of dimensional planes themselves. Let me explain.

At the top of Mark 6 we find Yeshua back in His home town of Natzeret with his disciples. On the sabbath day He goes and teaches in the synagogue and "many who heard him were astounded. They asked, 'Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom he has been given? What are these miracles worked through him? Isn't he just the carpenter? the son of Miryam? the brother of Ya`akov and Yosi and Y'hudah and Shim`on? Aren't his sisters here with us?' And they took offense at him."

The Dimensional Plane of Practicality
I propose that a convergence of dimensional planes occurred that day in the synagogue of Natzeret. His townspeople could not grasp the fact that this common, everyday man, a carpenter's son, a man they knew from childhood was a wise miracle worker. And because of that, they were offended by Him. I say a convergence of dimensional planes because the "plane" or "dimension" that His townspeople functioned from couldn't comprehend or accept that it was their Yeshua that was teaching them with wisdom, power and authority.

The reason is quite simple -- and let me state here that I am just an average guy myself. I've never been to seminary. I haven't a doctorate or master's in theology or biblical studies, etc., etc. I am simply a man that pursues hard after God, that's all. Even still, I'm amazed how something this "simple" causes so many to walk not only outside of the mandates, mysteries and precepts of God, but how something so simple causes so many to be offended by Him. Howbeit, this is a crucial point to understand. Their dimensional plane of understanding and comprehension was based on the practical. This plane/dimension of practicality, that we all function from, completely contradicts and opposes "...on earth as it is in heaven." This is why they couldn't and didn't believe. This is why man has historically struggled with the basic concept of intimacy with Abba, obedience to Abba and stewardship towards Abba. His dimensional plane isn't our dimensional plane, and until we live outside of our known "plane of practicality" we will always miss Him. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares ADONAI. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9) And because of this, many of us choose not to believe. We choose to doubt and we choose to be offended by the things of God. (By "believe" I don't mean "believing" for salvation, unless of course it applies. By this I mean there is so much more to believe Him for after salvation). Take this simple concept of functioning from a "plane of practicality" as the biggest hindrance in our lives and let's use it as a key to unlock the mysteries of God as the disciples had to do.

Back to the Synagogue in Natzeret
Yeshua said to them, "The only place people don't respect a prophet is in his home town, among his own relatives, and in his own house." As a result, he could do no miracles there other than lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their unbelief. Then he taught throughout the surrounding towns and villages.

When we choose to function from a dimension of practicality (unbelief) we not only miss Him, we render Him powerless in our situation. The Children of Israel in the wilderness is a great example of this (1 Corinthians 10:1-12), but that's for another time.

Go: Preach Repentance, Cast Out Demons, Heal the Sick
Yeshua summoned the Twelve and started sending them out in pairs, giving them authority over evil and unclean spirits. He instructed them, "Take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave as a testimony against them." They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

More "convergence". Power and authority over evil and unclean spirits. Power and authority over sickness. Traveling without food, money, extra clothes. Is any of this "practical"? I know many who believe that a lifestyle defined by these things is ridiculous. Sad...

The Feeding of the 5000
Those who had been sent out rejoined Yeshua and reported to him all that they had done and taught. There were so many people coming and going that they couldn't even take time to eat, so he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a place where we can be alone, and you can get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.

The disciples had an agenda that day: Rest and relaxation with their beloved Rabbi. I use the word "agenda" because the plan was for them to be in "...a place where we can be alone, and you can get some rest." Ministering to the crowds wasn't in the plan. A major convergence between the dimensions of heaven and earth was about to take place. Something would happen that would quicken the need for the disciples to do away with their own "plane of practicality". Take a look.

When Yeshua came ashore, he saw a huge crowd. Filled with compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, he began teaching them many things. By this time, the hour was late. The talmidim came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's getting late. Send the people away, so that they can go and buy food for themselves in the farms and towns around here." But he answered them, "Give them something to eat, yourselves!" They replied, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?" Some of you reading may say, "How else were they suppose to respond?" The disciples' response was practical. Instead, let's put ourselves in this scenario with what we "know" to be true and we'll see that even though weknow, oftentimes we still choose to function from our plane of practicality.

We "know" that when Yeshua speaks, it will be done. It will come to pass. What differentiates us from all other religions and belief systems is that we serve a risen Saviour. We serve a God that isn't a man that he would lie. An Abba that will gives us bread when we ask and not a rock -- fish and not a snake. Every self respecting Christian would agree to this, yet I am constantly hearing from believers that they respond in the very same way the disciples did when told to feed the multitude. Yeshua speaks, and they look at how many zeros they have in their bank account. They determine that what He's saying to them isn't practical or else they decide it's not Him speaking at all -- both responses go hand in hand. Others of us are offended by what He may be asking... and we all know that practically speaking, God would never ask or require of us anything impractical or anything that would offend...

Here's a basic run down of how it usually works:

  1. Yeshua speaks: This is a good start. It means that He's your shepherd and you're His sheep and you know His voice. An important first step

  2. We usually begin the practical process of disqualification: no money, lack of skills, giftings, etc.

  3. He speaks again: asking us what it is we do have to work with. What are our resources? Again, it's crucial for you to be in a place to hear that question. It's almost more important then Step One because this is where about 80% of you stop moving forward

  4. Our response: We'll always be able to come up with a resource if we really look

  5. He then asks us for the resource: He takes it from us, blesses it, consecrates it and then gives it back to us and tells us to do what He originally told us to do in the first place

  6. The Lesson: Once we will to do His will, He provides the resources necessary to accomplish His will
Here's the example from Mark 6:37-44

  1. But he answered them, "Give them something to eat, yourselves!"

  2. They replied, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"

  3. He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and check."

  4. When they had found out, they said, "Five. And two fish."

  5. Then he ordered all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. They sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, and, looking up toward heaven, made a b'rakhah. Next he broke up the loaves and began giving them to the talmidim to distribute. He also divided up the two fish among them all

  6. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces and fish. Those who ate the loaves numbered five thousand men not counting women and children

So what happened here?

The Chameleon Like Ability to Create Something Out of Nothing
Obviously, a huge convergence of dimensional planes -- an example of the power of heaven on earth -- just occurred. Remember, we're talking about the convergences the disciples experienced leading up to the blind man in Beit-Tzaidah.

The disciples had just received authority and power over evil and unclean spirits and all manner of sickness. They had just come back from driving out "...many demons" and anointing "...many sick people with oil and heal[ing] them." Essentially, Yeshua was asking these men early on in their relationship to function in and from a deeper level of understanding of scriptural teaching.

For the sake of argument, to some extent, these men would have known and might have possibly been raised on the Teachings of Moses (Torah), The Prophets (Nevi'im) and the Old Testament (Tanakh) in general. Now Yeshua was challenging them to actually function in the realm and dimensional plane He Himself functioned from simply because they should have known that it was in their power to do so. I make this potentially bold statement for the following two reasons:
They would have known what scripture stated about them as Hebrews
Rabbi was already functioning from that realm and dimensional plane
As Israeli men, they would have known about the promises, covenants, blessings and favor over their lives as taught in scripture. Of course, reading and believing these things is another thing entirely and the same holds true for us today. They were having an identity crisis. We're having an identity crisis. The second reason is the Rabbi/disciple relationship. Rabbis hand pick their disciples. They choose disciples in whom they feel they can successfully duplicate themselves. The goal of a rabbi is to raise up disciples that will surpass them; the sign of a good rabbi. They knew this. They also knew that what Rabbi does, we can do too.

With this in mind, they surely would have known about Deuteronomy 8:11-18:
"Be careful not to forget ADONAI your God by not obeying his mitzvot, rulings and regulations that I am giving you today. Otherwise, after you have eaten and are satisfied, built fine houses and lived in them, and increased your herds, flocks, silver, gold and everything else you own, you will become proud-hearted. Forgetting ADONAI your God - who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves; who led you through the vast and fearsome desert, with its poisonous snakes, scorpions and waterless, thirsty ground; who brought water out of flint rock for you; who fed you in the desert with manna, unknown to your ancestors; all the while humbling and testing you in order to do you good in the end - you will think to yourself, 'My own power and the strength of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.' No, you are to remember ADONAI your God, because it is he who is giving you the power to get wealth, in order to confirm his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as is happening even today.

I want to focus on a part of verse 18:
" are to remember ADONAI your God, because it is he who is giving you the power to get wealth..." and then let's focus on the words "power" and "get". The Hebrew word for power is "koach" (Strongs 03581): a small reptile, a kind of lizard, chameleon. The Hebrew word for get or make is "`asah" (Strongs 06213): to act, act with effect, to create, to create from nothing. This word "`asah" is also used in Genesis 1:26: And God said, Let us make man in our image...

Deuteronomy 8:18 is basically saying " are to remember ADONAI your God, because it is he who is giving you the power, "koach", the chameleon like ability to get, make, "`asah", create out of nothing, to work with the substance of creation, wealth..."

Chameleons have the ability to adapt to any condition, any situation, any environment, any economy, any climate and create the necessary resources that are conducive to their own success. This is why Isaac is able to go to the land of famine and reap 100 fold from the famine infested land as well as increase in flocks and herds, etc. (Genesis 26). Because of his covenant relationship, Isaac was able to create the necessary resources conducive to his own success. This is also an example of how this "chameleon-like ability" of spiritual authority and power is transferable. Another example of transference can be found in Genesis 24.

The chameleon-like ability to work with the substance of creation to make something out of nothing is powerful. It also can't be manipulated. This spiritual authority requires one to be functioning deeply in three basic areas of personal relationship with Abba through the blood covenant of Yeshua via an interactive relationship with the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit): extreme intimacy - extreme obedience - extreme stewardship. We must be confident in our identity as far as knowing who we are (Intimacy); a Royal Priesthood (a people with a kingly and priestly anointing) believing who we are (Obedience); Joint Heirs and functioning as Sons and Daughters of the Living God (Stewardship). This is how we'll walk in the spiritual authority expected and desired of us by our Father.

Yeshua knew who He was. He knew that Abraham had been blessed by a King and a Priest; Malki-Tzedek, king of Shalem, and cohen (priest) of El 'Elyon (God Most High) (Genesis 14:8, Hebrews 7:1). He knew that He was from the same order; "You are a cohen forever, to be compared with Malki-Tzedek." (Hebrews 5:6, 10, 6:20, 7:17). He knew that this line would culminate in Him and that He would birth a hybrid: a Royal Priesthood -- you and I (1 Peter 2:9). In this, Yeshua was challenging the disciples and they were going to have to pick up the pace, as we will soon see. We will also see how we're going to have to pick up the pace.

Welcome to Chameleon Church!

Storms and Ghosts
Immediately, Yeshua made his talmidim get into the boat and go on ahead of him toward the other side of the lake, toward Beit-Tzaidah, while he sent the crowds away. After he had left them, he went into the hills to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, a considerable distance from land and he was by himself, on land. He saw the talmidim were having difficulty rowing, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against them; so at around four o'clock in the morning he came toward them, walking on the lake! He meant to come alongside them; but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and let out a shriek; for they had all seen him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Stop being afraid!" He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves; on the contrary, their hearts had been made hardened. (Mark 6:45-52)

The talmidim (disciples) are having a bit of a rough day. It was suppose to be a day of rest and relaxation. Instead they are forced to think impractically and function in a dimension foreign to them and participate in a massive display of heaven on earth. Then, instead of having alone time with Yeshua, he orders them into the boat and across the lake without Him, where they find themselves struggling in a storm. Now, a ghost is approaching them, walking on the water (you see, they hadn't seen Rabbi walk on water before -- now...if Rabbi can walk on water, so can I, (Matthew 14:28-33) but that also is for another time).

Remember when I mentioned that the talmidim were going to have to pick up the pace? They saw what looked like a ghost and shrieked and were astounded by this display of authority over nature. Hadn't Yeshua spoken? Wasn't it going to come to pass simply because he had spoken it? Why didn't they believe that he would meet them on the other side? It's simple, actually. The reality of his words were trumped by the practicality of storms and ghosts! The text says "They were completely astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves; on the contrary, their hearts had been made hardened." They didn't believe or understand about the loaves. It wasn't practical. It was super-natural. A convergence of dimensional planes had occured and they couldn't wrap their brains around it, so they functioned from fear, doubt and unbelief, causing their hearts to become hardened to the reality of what they were experiencing.

Remember why the Children of Israel were forced to die in the wilderness? Fear, doubt and unbelief. Fear, doubt and unbelief causes us to walk in the practical - leaving us impotent (lacking power or ability, utterly unable to do something, without force or effectiveness) in the mandate to bring heaven to earth and to walk in our spiritual authority. It causes the heart to be hardened. They (we) had better understand about the loaves and do so quickly.

Practicality and the Religious Spirit
The Pharisees and some of the Torah-teachers who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Yeshua and saw that some of his talmidim ate with ritually unclean hands, that is, unwashed hands. (For the Pharisees, and indeed all the Judeans holding fast to the Tradition of the Elders, do not eat unless they have given their hands a ceremonial washing. Also, when they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they have rinsed their hands up to the wrist. They also adhere to many other traditions, such as washing cups, pots and bronze vessels.) So the Pharisees and Torah-teachers asked Yeshua, "Why don't your talmidim live in accordance with the Tradition of the Elders, but instead eat with ritually unclean hands?" Yeshua answered them, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is useless, because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.' You depart from the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. Indeed," he said to them: "you have made a fine art of departing from God's command in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is korban' (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus, you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down! And you do many things like that." Then Yeshua called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand this! There is nothing outside a person which, by going into him, can make him unclean. Rather, it is the things that come out of a person which make a person unclean!"

So much of what we have been taught to believe as sound Christian doctrines are man-made rules and traditions that have been handed down for the last 1700 years. Unfortunately, many of them are based on the anti-Semitic traditions established by gentiles 300 years after Yeshua. Non-Jewish traditions you won't find in scripture and that were never practiced or taught by Yeshua or any of his disciples. These are gentile and pagan-based traditions that have a form of godliness but deny the Power of the Ruach HaKodesh (2 Timothy 3:5). Today, so much of Christianity is a social structure that is powerless, politically correct and tolerance based, severed from the House and people of Israel. Once we regain our identity, that Christianity is a Jewish-based religion, to the House of Israel first and then the gentile, we can begin to take the steps necessary for us, His church, to ready herself and become the blameless and spotless bride. (Revelation 19:7)

When Yeshua had left the people and entered the house, his talmidim asked him about the parable. He replied to them, "So you too are without understanding? Don't you see that nothing going into a person from outside can make him unclean? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and it passes out into the latrine." It is what comes out of a person," he went on, "that makes him unclean. For from within, out of a person's heart, come forth wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, arrogance, foolishness... All these wicked things come from within, and they make a person unclean."

Now the talmidim are receiving the understanding Yeshua apparently expected them to already have grasped. It is rather elementary, isn't it? They would soon leave and make their way to Tyre, unable to make their presence unknown. A Greek women whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit would come and fall at His feet where He stressed the importance that Israel be fed first before "...tossing the bread to the dogs". Her reply that "...even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs", showed her understanding and place and that would prompt the deliverance of her daughter. They would leave Tyre, through Sidon, down to Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis where they would bring Him a deaf and mute man to heal.

Round Two
It was during that time that another large crowd gathered, and they had nothing to eat. Yeshua called his talmidim to him and said to them, "I feel sorry for these people, because they have been with me three days, and now they have nothing to eat. If I send them off to their homes hungry, they will collapse on the way; some of them have come a long distance."

(Doesn't this sound like a setup? Deja vu anyone?)

His talmidim said to him, "How can anyone find enough bread to satisfy these people in a remote place like this?" (You've got to be kidding...)

"How many loaves do you have?" Yeshua asked them. They answered, "Seven." He then told the crowd to sit down on the ground, took the seven loaves, made a b'rakhah, broke the loaves, and gave them to his talmidim to serve to the people. They also had a few small fish; making a b'rakhah over them he also ordered his talmidim to distribute them. The people ate their fill and were satisfied. Afterward, the talmidim picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand men were present. After sending them away, Yeshua got into the boat with his talmidim and went off to the district of Dalmanuta. The Pharisees came and began arguing with Yeshua; they wanted him to give them a sign from Heaven, because they were out to trap him. With a sigh that came straight from his heart, he said, "Why does this generation want a sign? I tell you the truth! No sign will be given to this generation!" With that, he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other side of the lake. Now the talmidim had forgotten to bring bread and had with them in the boat only one loaf. So when Yeshua said to them, "Watch out! Guard yourselves from the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod," they thought he had said it because they had no bread. Aware of their discussion, Yeshua asked them: "Why are you talking with each other about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" "Twelve," they answered him. "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" "Seven," they answered. He said to them, "And you still don't understand?"

Can't you almost hear the frustration in Yeshua's voice? How could they not understand? The talmidim had received authority and power over evil and unclean spirits and all manner of sickness. They had testimonies of going throughout the region driving out demons and anointing sick people with oil and healing them. They had directly participated in the feeding of over 5000 with just five loaves and two fishes. They had seen Rabbi and Peter walking on water. They witnessed nature submit to Yeshua's authority. They had received insight into the falsehood of traditional doctrines. An evil spirit would leave a Greek child without Yeshua's need to even be present. They would hear of their role of seniority as Jews over gentiles when it came to the things of Abba. A deaf and mute man would be healed by Yeshua, emphasizing the model even more. And to make matters worst, they would seemingly be "set up" in the feeding of another throng of over 4000 with seven loaves and a few small fish. Yet, Yeshua would still have to chastise them for their inability to see, hear or understand.

What challenges keep you from seeing? Why, having ears, can you not hear? After all that the Father has revealed to you, do you still not understand?

What's In a Name?
We started this "Day in the Life" of the disciples so that you could see the many examples of convergence of dimensional planes they had experienced leading up to the blind man in Beit-Tzaidah... After asking rhetorically "And you still don't understand?", they came to Beit-Tzaidah and some people brought him a blind man and begged Yeshua to touch him. Taking the blind man's hand, he led him outside the town. He spit in his eyes, put his hands on him and asked him, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see men, as trees, walking." Once more Yeshua put his hands on the blind man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Yeshua sent him home, saying, "Don't go into the village."

I contemplated ending with that last line but since this isn't a foreign film and we expect resolve... The text continues:

Yeshua and his talmidim went on to the towns of Caesarea Philippi. On the way, he asked his talmidim, "Who do people say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah." Then Yeshua warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and the Torah-teachers, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke very plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But, turning around and looking at his talmidim, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said, "For your thinking is from a human perspective, not from God's perspective!"

There it is. The dimensional plane of practicality and it's root: "Your thinking is from a human perspective, not from God's perspective!"

Then Yeshua called the crowd and his talmidim to him and told them, "If anyone wants to come after me, let him say 'No' to himself, take up his execution stake, and keep following me. For whoever wants to save his own life will destroy it, but whoever destroys his life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will save it. Indeed, what will it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? What could a person give in exchange for his life? For if someone is ashamed of me and of what I say in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels.

That's what Men As Trees Walking means. The convergence of heaven on earth. The paradigm shift between the dimensional plane of practicality and the higher dimensional plane of the Father's heart for His people. That's what we desire.

Men As Trees Walking means equipping others into the same testimony as the blind man of Beit-Tzaidah: "Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly." (Mark 8:25)