Macedonian Ruins

Bein' a Berean

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The Potter’s Right is Our Mark

“…does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?”1

Two events are monumental in the history of mankind—the fall into sin and Jesus’ substitutional payment for that fall.

Much has been written about the latter. I’ve written this article to try to understand our fall into sin. 

We have a few verses written about the fall in Genesis chapter three but more supporting information is interspersed throughout the Bible. 

Like any puzzle there are many pieces, very likely each piece could fit with many others, however, to get the real, intended, picture these pieces only fit one way.

When we see that picture we have a wonderful new understanding not only of sin, but more importantly, we learn new ways of overcoming sin. The debt of sin was paid in full but the process of removing its effects from our day-to-day lives and relationships is a process. It’s called sanctification. It’s a cooperative process wherein we become aware of an aspect, confess we carry that sin, and ask the Spirit of Holiness to remove it as we progressively yield it for cleansing.

We’ve often been told that the word ‘sin’ in Greek is derived from the principle of ‘missing the mark.’ This comes from the visual picture of an archer hoping the arrow would hit its intended target. This begs the question, “What is or was our intended target?” Any hope of now hitting that target would naturally require that we know and point to that target.

From the Beginning

It is written that in six literal days God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them.2

That being true it would follow that the angels, the celestial beings, were also created within that time.

I would also suggest that the angels, being closely associated with the stars in the heavens would have been created with the stars—on the fourth day.

With man as the grand finale on the sixth day, the angels would have had the opportunity to participate in the last two days of creation.

Of particular interest to this topic are the archangels or cherubs, the names of some we are told in various sources are Michael, Gabriel, Helel, Raphael, and Uriel. These names all carry the suffix ‘el,’ meaning ‘of Elohim’ or ‘of God.’ Some of these names are more familiar than others as only the first three are mentioned in our commonly accepted canon of books. The others we find in the book of Enoch which is mentioned in our Bible, but not included.

The third archangel, named Helel, may have raised an eyebrow.

“How are you fallen from heaven, O Shining One [Helel], son of Dawn! How are you felled to earth, O vanquisher of nations!3

Helel is the Hebrew word/name, found in Isaiah, but there it is translated as a ‘shining one’ or in the King James Version as, ‘Lucifer’. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel mean ‘who is like God’, ‘champion of God’, ‘God has healed’, and ‘God is my light’ respectively.

Isaiah, in this section of text, describes what we believe is the account of the fall of Helel, who, in Ezekiel 28, is pictured as a thing of beauty:

“You were in Eden, the garden of God;

Every precious stone was your covering:

The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;

The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;

The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;

And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you.”

Helel’s fall is told to us in Ezekiel4:

“You were blameless in your ways 

From the day you were created 

Until unrighteousness was found in you.

By the abundance of your trade 

You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned;

Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God.

And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, 

From the midst of the stones of fire.

Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;

You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.

I cast you to the ground;”

Sin originated in Heaven.

After his fall, his name was no longer Helel. Now he is known as Satan, the devil, the serpent, Beelzebub, Deceiver, and others. No longer ‘el’ or ‘of God.’

How did this happen? Permit me to speculate.

The First Fall

Imagine being that beautiful angelic being, and for a time (actually, in their domain there is no time dimension), you were a spectacle to behold. You had the privilege of watching and perhaps participating in the creation process with YHVH. You hear Him say, “Let Us make man5 in our image,” as the grand finale of creation. Was the term, ‘Us,’ a reference to the Trinity or an invitation to the celestial beings to be involved in that creation process? Either or both could be true.

The clincher is in the account that, sometime later, follows the creation of man.

In Hebrew 1:14 we read:

Are [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?6

God, the Potter, designed the angels to serve man.

Imagine you are, Helel, this glamorous, radiant, being, and you are told that your purpose, the reason you were created, was to serve these beings made of the dust of the ground.7

Is this where pride showed itself? Too proud to serve? Would that same unwillingness to serve, be the reason that a third of the angels8 were thrown to the earth with Helel? This scenario would also account for the intense hatred these fallen ones hold for man. It would also account for their determination to destroy man physically and/or genetically.

The privilege of serving. Molded, by the Potter, for service. Was the ‘Mark’ that was missed their willingness to serve man?

The Chain Reaction

We read in Ezekiel’s text that Helel was in “Eden, the garden of God.” There he selected the woman (not yet named Eve), as his intended victim of deception9 motivated by hate.

Why the woman? Perhaps there was an exploitable weakness he saw in her.

“But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God… took one of the man’s ribs and… made a woman and brought her to him.”10

God’s ultimate intention involves service. Adam was created to serve the earth, the garden, and the animals. The woman, a creature of beauty in Adam’s eyes and a gift from God was created to be “a helper suitable for him.”

She was created/moulded, by the Potter, to be a ‘helper.’ Was this issue of serving the weakness that the serpent exploited? No longer a helper for man but a god to be served?

Reverse Engineering

Working backwards from God’s pronouncements against the man and the woman may give insights into factors leading to their disobedience and subsequent alienation from God, loss of joy in life, expulsion from the garden, and death sentence.

To the serpent:

“Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”11

He was forever to be reminded of his unwillingness to serve those made of dust. As punishment, for the duration of his existence, he would eat dust while on his belly. Utter humiliation for one who was once beautiful.

Also, the serpent’s destruction was to come through one born of a woman, one who proved willing to serve man regardless of cost—the man Jesus.

God’s Words To The Woman:

“To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.”12

If the wife’s exploitable weakness was her role as ‘helpmate’ to her husband, is it reflected in God’s declaration against the woman?

Many translations read, “Your desire will be for your husband…” Susan T. Foh13 points out that the Aramaic word translated, 'desire’ is unique, and is used in only two other places where it implies ‘control.’ This view better complements the statement that follows, “he will dominate you.”

Speaking to Cain about Abel the LORD uses this same Aramaic word for, ’desire,’ to mean ‘control’ as almost a mirror of His words to the woman:

“And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”14

It reads as “sin desires to control you, Cain, but you must master it.”

Sin desired to control, to influence Cain into killing Abel, but Cain was warned to master, to overpower that desire.

‍ We have the same principle regarding the woman, “Your desire [to control] shall be [toward] your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

There are many references in scripture, to a wife's desire to dominate her husband.15 Wives are repeatedly instructed to master that desire—to submit themselves to their husbands. God wants wives to be aware of this fallen nature trait so that they, God and wife, can master that desire and experience His intended joy.

We read in Paul’s letter to Timothy:

“the woman, because she was fully deceived, fell into transgression. But she will be delivered through childbearing, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control.”16

‘Delivered,’ here, is the Greek word sōzō which carries the meaning, “heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.17

Does healing through childbirth represent the years of practice at self-sacrificing service, motivated by love, that wives develop when carrying, feeding, and nurturing children?

I wonder how many staunch feminists are barren, never having been ‘delivered,’ or ‘healed,’ of the desire to dominate through birthing a tiny, helpless baby. Is this what God meant to convey to us through these verses written in 1 Timothy?

God’s Words To The Adam:

“But to Adam he said, Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ the ground is cursed because of you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, but you will eat the grain of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.”18

Adam’s sin was that he obeyed his wife rather than God. As a result, he lost dominion over the earth, which he was to serve and care for. The earth would now rebel against him.

If we are slaves to one we obey as Paul teaches, then does the fact that the woman obeyed the serpent and the man obeyed the woman reflect on society today?

“Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey”19

In His Steps

In Jesus, we have been given an example of hitting the mark. Paul wrote, 

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who though he existed in the form of God… emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant”20

We are to offer ourselves for service—as we were designed by the Potter. To do otherwise is to miss the mark.

Salvation does not negate our obligation for service. Being empowered by the Holy Spirit, as a result of salvation, gives us a renewed opportunity to finally fulfill God’s design—that we were created for service.

Service to each other:

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

To do otherwise is to miss the mark.

Wives in submission to their husbands:

“Wives, submit [yourselves in service] to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything…, and the wife must respect her husband.”21

To do otherwise is to miss the mark.

Husbands in service to their wives:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up [in service] for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a glorious church, without stain or wrinkle or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.”

“In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Indeed, no one ever hated his own body, but he [in service] nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. For we are members of His body.22

To do otherwise is to miss the mark.

The Essence of the Christian Life

“…but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.”23

The woman's desire to control and the physical advantage of the man is a recipe for strife and division robbing us of the joy the Creator intended

Serving is not an option in the Kingdom, it is the essence of life in the Kingdom. Showing our love of God by our selfless obedience and serving others. Our hardhearted refusal to serve is the mark that we miss!

So, what are you aiming for tomorrow?

Endnotes:

‍ 1 Romans 9:21 (NASB)

‍ 2 Exodus 20:11, 23:12, 31:17 (NASB)

‍ 3 Isaiah 14:12 (Tanakh) 

‍ 4 Ezekiel 28:15-17 (NASB) 

‍ 5 ‘man’ being a term of species, created male and female genders per Genesis 1:27

‍ 6 Hebrews 1:14 (NASB)

‍ 7 Genesis 2:7 

‍ 8 Revelations 12:24

‍ 9 Genesis 3:1ff

‍ 10 Genesis 2:20-22 (BSB)

‍ 11 Genesis 3:14-15 (NASB)

‍ 12 Genesis 3:16 (NET)

‍ 13 "What is a Woman's Desire?", Susan T. Foh, The Westminster Theological Journal 37 (1974/75) 376-83, Copyright 1974/75.

‍ 14 Genesis 4:7 (NASB)

‍ 15 Titus 2:5; 1 Pet 3:1

‍ 16 1 Timothy 2:14-15 (NET)

‍ 17 Strong’s Dictionary

‍ 18 Genesis 3:17-19 (NET)

‍ 19 Romans 6:16 (NASB)

‍ 20 Philippians 2:5-7

‍ 21 Ephesians 5:21-24 (BSB)

‍ 22 Ephesians 5:25-30 (BSB)

‍ 23 Mark 10:43-44 (NASB)


© 2024, Steve Bydeley.

All publishing rights reserved. Permission is herewith granted to reprint this article for personal use and to link or refer to it; however, no commercial re-publishing of the material in this article is permitted without prior written consent.

Steven is the author of Fathered by God and with his wife Dianne, co-author of Dream Dreams and Dreams the Heal and Counsel. He has been a guest on the Miracle Channel, Trinity Television, and Crossroads Communication, and has taught internationally on various topics.

Without Prejudice. © 2024, Steven., house of bij de Leij., of man.

Hitting the Mark