Desire Of My Soul

Flashes of Lightning: God the Restorer & 1 Samuel 3 (2023—The Call)


The world may be swirling in every direction, but God’s plan, purpose, mercies, and faithfulness will prevail. ALWAYS. Here are the words and scriptures that unfolded before and within me at the stroke of 2023’s entrance and shortly thereafter.


“I will take my stand at my watch post and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what He will say to me.” —Habakkuk 2:1


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WATCHWORD GIVEN: January 1, 2023, 12:01 am through God’s appointed third watch (midnight to 3 am).


As midnight released 2023, my soul began to grieve for the state of the world.


The coldness, self-centeredness, vanity, violence, ethnic divisions, deepened darkness, escalation of Christian persecutions and persecutions of all kinds.


The false religions and lies about God’s Word and our Messiah Jesus, and the twisted mindset and reversals in global culture that have wormed their way into the souls of humanity on every level—calling good evil and evil good.


And the sins stirring within each of us. Sins that we gloss over, accept, and daily commit before Him, our holy, powerful God.


I thought: Lord, if you hadn’t written yourself into our human story . . . where would we be? You alone are our hope, our salvation, the very life breath of our soul.


An image flashed, leading me upward. Over the next three hours, I would experience a message with moving parts:


(1) various scriptures

(2) interwoven teachings

(3) a holy-fire vision (regarding our 2023 Call)

(4) a dream with 1 Samuel 3 prominent, a dream He’d first given me in mid-November and then brought forward during this special third-watch prayer time.





Random worship softly played in my room, then one word rose within me.




In Hebrew, Eli Shuv (אֶלְיָשִׁיב, My God Restores). This is who God is. This is what He will show Himself to be in 2023 as we humble ourselves before Him and call out, surrendered to His glorious, supreme being.


“Shuv” (שוב) is the Hebrew root found in teshuva (teh-shoo-vah), a critical word during the High Holy Days—the Judaic Days of Awe beginning with honey-kissed Rosh Hashanah (Head or First of the Year) and ending with the somber Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur—calling us to turn back from our offenses and return to God for restoration.


It’s also the beginning step to God’s ABC ROADMAP TO HEAVEN. His redemption plan from the beginning through Yeshua (Jesus), the Messiah.


That first word He’d impressed on me—RESTORER—and 1 Samuel 3 (from that dream I mentioned earlier) are hinged, forming the crux of this 2023 word. (And I couldn’t help but think how this “restorer” had already begun its unfolding with Bibi Netanyahu being restored as Israel’s Prime Minister.)


I’ll get to that I Samuel 3 scripture shortly, but keep reading because the following scriptures link everything together.


Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV). In the latter part of 2022, God had laid the groundwork for these moving parts and in the third watch of January 1, 2023, he brought those parts forward. This psalm was among them, confirming His words, confirming Himself on an even deeper level than before as the mighty, compassionate RESTORER.


The One we need as 2023 unfolds.


The LORD is my SHEPHERD (tending to me, pasturing me).


I shall not want (He’ll tend to my needs, my soul won’t be lacking).


He makes me (causes me to) lie down in green pastures (refreshed).


He LEADS ME (leads me to a watering-place or station that He’s ordained for me and causes me to rest there), beside STILL waters (rest, quietness, refreshment).


He RESTORES (refreshes, repairs, returns to a better condition) my soul.






I then was reminded of the spiritually moving scene at the end of The Chosen’s Season 3/Episode 2. The disciples were being sent out two by two to teach what Jesus had taught them and to heal the sick and cast out demons.


Gulp. The disciples were shocked, scared, baffled, and felt totally inept. Rightly so. And yet . . . although the mission—and its timing—made no sense to them, they chose to trust their Messiah and stand as one with Him and each other.


Locking arms, they prayed Psalm 3, the psalm of David when he was fleeing his son Absalom . . .


O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah


But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah


I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.


Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.


Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people!

Psalm 3 (ESV)



Ezekiel 34 targets Israel and is a Messianic promise as well (verses 23-24)


I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.


I will seek the lost, and I will bring back [אָשִׁ֔יב, restore, return] the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak . . .


and the fat (stout, robust, rich) and the strong I will destroy; I will pasture it with justice.





Sometime during the night of November 17/early morning November 18, 2022, the Lord gave me a dream. There were different elements to the dream, but here’s the critical part to share with you—a scripture that was on a board in front of a congregation: 1 Samuel 3.


As God brought the scripture and dream again to mind in those wee hours of January 1, 2023, I had to ask: Is there a link between RESTORER and this 1 Samuel 3 dream? Plenty, as it turns out.


For the foundation, I was led to an older teaching from East Hill Baptist in the UK that highlighted 1 Samuel 3. (I’d never heard of that church prior.)


Then God stirred my inner waters from that point, knitting all the moving parts (RESTORER, scriptures, dream, vision, etc.) together. It went something like this . . .


LAMP OF GOD. As the light was physically waning in the temple of the LORD, where the ark was, the WORD of GOD was also waning among the people and the priests—i.e. Eli’s sons. As you might recall, even Eli hadn’t taken a hard line with them.


There was no word or vision from our Lord. No ear open to hear, no heart willing to receive, no one surrendered.


Until God called Samuel.

THE CALL OF GOD. In 1 Samuel 3:1, Samuel was ministering to the Lord under the tutelage of Eli. Per the Hebrew text, at that point, Samuel was a na’ar, a young man or lad, defined by age (teen through twenties) or of marriageable age, and sometimes, rabbinically defined as not yet ready to fulfill his duties/position.


Side note: You can read about another na’ar in my Soul Remodeling Series: A Wilderness Call [Jeremiah] Actually, Isaac, Joseph, Samuel, and Jeremiah were all called na’ar, not yeled (boy, child).


Still growing in things of the Lord, Samuel at first (or even the second or third time) didn’t recognize the Lord’s voice. But then he got it, saying “Here I am” (ready to serve), and from there obeyed the Lord regardless of the cost, speaking what God said to speak, doing what He said to do.


I like East Hill’s application of this chapter (my paraphrase about that in the paragraph below):


God calls us again and again until He gets our attention. He’ll call when we least expect it—any year, in any circumstance, at anytime, at any age. Remember that Caleb [who “wholly followed the LORD” per Joshua 14:14] had a new call at 85 years old to take up the high mountains of Israel. God will stir something within us, allowing situations to call us into something more.


My precious fellow believers in Messiah, this is where we are. A New Year, a new calling, regardless of circumstance or age.


There’s work to do and a way for us to be and walk before the LORD. Wholly surrendered, carriers of His Presence. That begins and ends with . . .


WORD OF GOD. Verse 19 tells us that Samuel “grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” The LORD revealed Himself to Samuel by the “word of the LORD.”


THE VISION. Fire flashed before me at this point in my third-watch prayer time. It started at the center, then spread out in every direction like a huge circle. That fire is God’s holy fire of Truth, His Word, in us. It’s not meant to be contained. It must be released.


No matter the cultural mindset, oppositions, persecutions, or the enemy’s divisive tactics . . . we must carry the LORD’s words to others: His truth, His redemption plan, His love for the lost, His love for Israel, His love for fellow believers in Jesus, and our testimonies of what He’s done for us: His faithfulness, mercies, goodness, holiness, and might.


It’s our souls breathing Him in and exhaling Him out onto an increasingly dark, troubled, stubborn, dying world.


In this late hour, like never before, we are to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:10-14)—standing against the tide of secular lies and mindsets countering God’s way. Standing unafraid, boldly calling sin for what it is . . . rebellion against our most holy God.


Silence is no longer an option. Not to worry. We can do this together in Him. Psalm 3 reminds us: The LORD is a shield about us, our glory, the lifter of our heads, our Sustainer. We will not fear.


So let’s turn from (shuv) the world noise/distractions and from any self-focused, lethargic living to walking how Jesus walked: spending time alone with the Father, saying/doing as led to glorify our LORD, continually lifting the Lamp of God high for all to see and know.


A holy fire that cannot and will not go out.


Then we will stand and watch as our king, the great RESTORER, the loving Shepherd, refreshes, repairs, restores, and heals our souls, bringing us to pastures of spiritual rest—as well as restoring the souls of those we’ve lifted His lamp to.


May the whole world know of His glory and truth and bow before the majesty of our King.


Behold—hinnêh, הִנֵּה—He is doing something new. May you and I lock arms and humbly answer the call like Samuel: Hineni . . . Here I am.




Lighthouse by Michael Krahn on

Person kicking back with boombox by Eric Nopanen on

Man looking up at starry sky by Greg Rakozy on


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Running Deep: Tightrope Walker

Come up to the mountain and stay there. God said that to Moses. But what does that mean for you and me? A lot, as it happens. Like listening, obeying, waiting . . . and possibly some spiritual tightrope-walking to boot.


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Sswimming in God’s murmuring deep . . . that’s the real desire. Speaking with Him soul to soul. Listening for our Redeemer’s stilled, small voice.


But I’ll be honest—there’s a cost. A wrestling within. An off-the-grid trek. Taking you beyond your version of things to a place guaranteed to ruffle your comfy feathers.


When His voice calls you to go higher so you can go deeper, it’s not about pitching your tent in the lower mountain places. Because a change in the physical moves the spiritual . . . and a shift in the spiritual births breakthrough in the physical.

Soaking in His presence is the launching pad: separating time (marking it as holy, set apart for Him) , moving away from the world’s noisy, pushy, self-focused gravitational pull, so you can drink in God’s ways, and then drink in, drink in, and drink in even more.


Here’s a quick story of what my friends and I experienced via a surprising God-move that caused us to wrestle through the process as it took us individually to new territory in Him.





The Lord had led three of my friends and me on a joint spiritual journey a ways back—in a year filled with steeped-in-His-presence lessons that, personally speaking, catapulted my walk into new directions on many levels.


It all started with our hanging out at His well (in prayer, seeking His face, desiring to go deeper). Although we had different backgrounds and approaches, we were one in Messiah, Jesus, honoring God and His Word.


We had agreed to meet weekly via phone for prayer and subsequent God-called fasts. The actual parameters of each fast differed and intensified per the individual intercessor—but the leading of the “when” and the “how long” always fell in absolute unison.


The Lord had impressed on me that parts of my fast would last more than an appointed number of days—they would become integral to my way of life going forward.


Throughout that first year, we had ascended from group prayer time to a higher level of God-led intercession and onto prophetic intercession, visions or words given, hearing His voice of what to say or do (or not) as we spiritually swam in His murmuring deep.


Adonai said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain

and wait there . . . Then Moses went up the mountain,

and the cloud covered the mountain. —Exodus 24:12-15


Key point: Trust God to steady your walk on those faith-led high wire paths. Listen to Him—obedience is birthed out of love for Him . . . and forges a closer relationship with Him.





On May 25, 2009, we’d entered our regular time for intercession via phone. But there was nothing typical about this special God encounter.


We started with worship and praise as individually led.


But then . . . without any of us discussing it or sharing what we were experiencing at that moment, we simultaneously entered a stillness.


Not a word voiced.


His Spirit had fallen over us, silenced us, and impressed on us individually not to speak.


My soul, wait in silence for God alone,

because my hope comes from him.Psalm 62:5(6).


We’d learned from prior group experiences to hear and heed. And now we were taking a mini test.


Would we obey even if we felt the need in the natural to speak or explain? I have to tell you, despite prior learning to follow His lead, my mind still had moments of wondering . . .


Am I the only one hearing this? (Nope, as it turned out.)

Did my phone drop the call? (Not in the least.)

Should I explain what He’s directing me to do? (Nope again . . . this was a faith test for each of us.)


Despite each question I wrestled with in the natural, my soul was at peace with the stillness, marveling at it and sensing things from Him through it. And He assured me, impressing on me to not be concerned about explaining things to the others but to remain silent, still, and wait.


At one point, the Lord highlighted my dog, a sweet-but-feisty English Cocker (Avigail) who was lying calmly at my feet through it all. God was affirming His lesson . . . just relax, trustfully wait, rest in Him, something like the restful devotion my dog was giving me.


At first, I wrestled against natural inclinations and waited (and then waited even more), humbled by His His divine royalty, powerful presence, authority, and love.


Three to three-and-a half hours later . . . He lifted the silence.




We all had remained on the phone in obedient stillness, not knowing what our intercessory partners were thinking, doing, or if they had hung up or given up.


All we had was our personal command for silence before Him. The wrestling through it all was similar, but the lessons may have been different.


Why three plus hours? Don’t know. But what I can share is two things.


We had transitioned into a whole new level.

No longer pitching our tent in the low places.

We were learning (by His grace) to go farther up the mountain.

Closer to Him, deeper in Him, trusting the climb.

Trusting the silence, the unexplainable, the waiting . . .

Obediently resting in His Presence,

in His holy bridal chamber.


HE alone is KING . . . the GREAT I AM.

HE always WAS and always WILL BE.




After the Lord had broken the silence, my intercessory partners immediately asked, “What was that?” and started sharing the experiences and wrestlings they’d had during the wait.


Here’s what God had imparted to me during those hours and what I basically had shared with them:


He is King. K-I-N-G. Yes, we have access to His Holy throne room through our Messiah—but He wanted to take us to another level of His Lordship, majestic royalty . . . not move in presumption.


Similar to ancient days of earthly kingships, He wanted us to bow to His Lordship and obey . . . speaking only when He, the King, directed. And in that time of silently waiting for His nod to speak, we were to rest attentively to hear His voice within our souls.


How does that roll? Well, if you’re willing to surrender to His lead to get your spiritual ears recalibrated, there will be times when He’ll direct you to sit before Him and learn by just being in His Presence.


Other times, He’ll direct you to only worship Him—no prayer lists, not even a deeper-level intercession. But what songs would He like to hear—something honest and spontaneous from your soul, a melody from His heart to yours, or a worship song you often sing?


Or He may not want songs or soulful melodies but instead desire praise and thanksgiving. Or He could lead you into intercession where you’ll speak His Words, often praying from scripture, doing battle on behalf of others, world events, things to come according to what He is showing you.


There will be times for prayer lists/requests/concerns, but He just might want you to set all that aside, trusting that He knows the list, and instead go higher on the mountain, spending that time solely loving on Him.



Woman with backpack facing wilderness mountains by Jason Blackeye on

Feet on a tightrope photo by Barguti on iStock (Stock photo ID:158772733)

Whisper photo by Kristina Flour on


[Expanded from a 2009 post about Feasting within the Fast; re-published 2022.]

To Know: Bible Copyright Permissions


The permissions below are for certain scriptures used in a blog post—noted by their Bible translation acronym. This list is a work in progress.

Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Stacked Bibles by Tim Wildsmith on

Betrayal Within: Moldy Soul Series


Stay tuned for upcoming post: Betrayal. It’s not just what’s done to us. It’s what we do on cloaked and not-so-cloaked levels to others. To ourselves. To God. The betrayal swimming within and without—whenever an action, word, or soul-thought crushes trust and taints spiritual and moral standards.


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Betrayal starts small and then grows invasively. In the heart. In the thoughts and intents of our mind. In the soul. Our moldy soul.


The Betrayal Within series starts by mirroring my earlier Moldy Soul posts (2008-2009, later expanded)—exploring the makings of a moldy soul with some rabbinic thought woven in and searching how that rose to the surface and dismantled certain biblical relationships. Situations and their aftermath mirrored in our lives today.


This revised series turns up the volume a bit on the moldy-soul narrative and digs into full-on betrayal. Its seeds. Its growth. Its cunning. Its nemesis.


Within us, our families/friends—and our relationship with God.




Photo Credit:

Mirrored girl photo by Bekah-Russom (bekah-russom-Y8QTiWuzYSs) on

God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 1]


What happens when two trees, humanity, and a serpent meet up in God’s Garden of Desire (a.k.a. Garden of Eden)? Relationships explode.


[This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.]


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Some say there’s only one reliable way to find out about any relationship: test it to destruction.

There just might be a bit of that in play with this next segment from God’s epic true story (the Bible)—so much so that it seeps down to many levels. Even to you and me today.


Join me on an excavation of sorts, where I’ll use my story editor’s lens to examine a few gnawing questions and various layers of Genesis 2 and 3.



Part 1. introduce five story elements before we tour the setting—Gan Eden, Garden of Eden

Part 2. venture onward to Eden’s two highly analyzed trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

Part 3. survey key characters

Part 4. sieve through the storyline and conflict as well as any symbolism and unfolding impact—prophetic and otherwise




SETTING: Garden of Eden. In the exposition (introduction) of any story and also in its critical scenes, the setting often reflects a character’s condition or the polar opposite to underscore the struggle: emotional, spiritual, psychological, physical, circumstantial.


That’s true in God’s narrative where the setting mirrors the co-protagonists’ spiritual predicament. God created humanity for His glory, in His image, to worship Him, honor Him, and enjoy relationship with Him. [Isaiah 43:7 (ESV), Isaiah 43:21 (ESV), Psalm 29:2 (ESV), Revelation 5:13 (ESV), among many, many others.]


Here’s the however part: Adam and Eve are surrounded by a gift—the sensory delights of the Garden of Eden—but are about to confront three elements in that garden: the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and a serpent. All will expose a whole other level of sensory delight hidden within their souls.


CO-PROTAGONISTS: Adam and Eve. Not the heroes we’d expect. They fail and set off a tidal wave of repercussions. But then, not all protagonists win, succeed, overcome.


A well-told story is built on unmet desire and what a protagonist goes through to attain it (or not). Every choice moves the story in one direction or another. This story is propelled by Adam/Eve satisfying the self-desire within.


SUPPORTING CAST: God, as deuteragonist—the second most important character in this story segment—and the antagonist (serpent/satan).


A story’s cast of characters and their individual story threads can add depth when revealing the good, the bad, the indifferent, along with quirks, strengths, weaknesses, etc. A straightforward telling, warts and all.


These real-life beings—deuteragonist and antagonist—couldn’t be more diametrically opposed: our holy, righteous, omnipotent, majestic-in-splendor God and a beguiling, perhaps enticing-to-the eyes serpent whose body is host for the real antagonist, satan, the insidious enemy of God who aids and abets the co-protagonists into committing a significant crime of willful rebellion and disobedience.


TENSION: The co-protagonists’ self-desire had been there, perhaps stirring quietly, subtly, in their souls, undetected, unacknowledged. But now it’s on the rise.


And it’s fueled by the conflict-agitator serpent/satan who is well acquainted with revolt against the Most High God. The physical and sensual delights of the Garden of Desire and the inner me-focus converge.


Adam and Eve reach a free-will choice: Surrender to it or their Creator. Eat or not eat the forbidden fruit. Choose which desire, which voice, they’ll listen to . . . their own, the serpent’s, or God’s.


That underlying dynamic slithers into the crevices of Adam’s and Eve’s souls, pushing the story forward. And in this case, the narrative goes far beyond a chapter in Genesis. Its elements are witnessed throughout the Torah (first five biblical books) and the complete Bible—and will be repeated until the final hour of this age.


CLIMATIC SHIFT: That first bite of a forbidden fruit. It changes everything and everyone going forward.


Things go south fast . . . but there’s an interesting character decision (God’s) that lays the prophetic groundwork for yet another plot twist—one that (surprisingly?) lands us on the others side of His bridge into New Testament territory.




Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 1b]





Tree near water by Nitish Kadam on

God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 1b]


God sets the stage . . . a Garden of Desire. That’s before two trees, humanity, and a serpent meet up.


[This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.]


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The beguiling action begins somewhere in the garden, located within Eden—whose name is associated with the Hebrew root for delight, pleasure (עדנה), per Hebrew University.


The root is found in Psalm 36:8 “rivers of delight” and also in Genesis 18:12 when Sarah laughed about the notion she’d become pregnant in her old age, “Am I to have pleasure?”.


Living up to its name, the entire garden is a place brimming with desire, God’s good kind, appeasing the senses: sight, taste, smell, hearing, feeling. The delight is a relationship with God. The pleasure is all that He lovingly created for humanity’s enjoyment—the vibrant colors, lush foliage, fragrant scents, tantalizing food, calming rivers, amazing animals. But really, the good desire is following His will, surrendering to His majestic kingship.


But God honors work and initially gives Adam the job of tending the garden creation. Not by the sweat of his brow. Not battling pest infestation or finagling with irrigation equipment. There’s no Dust Bowl potential or tornadoes to outrun.


Instead, the mist rising from the earth waters the entire surface as four rivers (Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, Euphrates) sprawl and converge, submerge and appear elsewhere . . . where the land glistens with gems (gold, crystal, and onyx).


And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and there he put the man whom he had formed.
And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree
that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.
The tree of life was in the midst of the garden,
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:8-10





We presume from the story’s opening that it’s still daytime. But the time right after Adam’s disobedience is said to be nearing the tenth hour. That’s when they heard the sound (קוֹל, qol) of God walking in the garden to the wind of the day (לְר֣וּחַ הַיּ֑וֹם,l’ruach hay yom)—the literal Hebrew phrase that some scholars tie to a particular time of day.


Among them is Rashi, a noted 11th century French rabbi and Talmudic commentator who suggests it means “toward the way, the direction of the sun.” As in “later in the day as the sun sets.” Hence, the tenth hour.


[Side note: Others link the Hebrew to God’s stormy presence, but we’ll address that in an upcoming Trees, Serpent, Lies post.]


The tenth hour is intriguing from a setting/character perspective—and a soul perspective. The timing is within the last two hours before sunset. Let’s dig a bit . . .

First consider that the Hebrew word for morning—boker—has this Hebraic shoresh (root meaning): order, able to be discerned.

Now factor in the Hebrew word for evening—erev—whose root meaning is chaos, disorder, when things aren’t so clear, not so discernible.


How does that play into the setting-story line?


Our co-protagonists’ souls are about to transition from one state to the other, from daylight to evening. From a place of order and harmony to a state of disruption, confusion, disorder.


They’re edging away from a level of knowing and walking in good desire for a place of self-desire and naked truth . . . a truth that is anything but completely naked, clear, or discernible.




As the curtain rises on Genesis 3‘s setting, Adam isn’t there—at least, not right off. (Keep in mind that in God’s storytelling, a lot can happen—not overtly revealed—between paragraphs, sentences, words.) It can appear purposeful on many counts as we’ll see.


Later, when Adam is mentioned, the Hebrew indicates (per rabbinic thought) that time has passed between his wife’s encounter with the serpent and her handing him the fruit (hence it’s then noted that he’s “with her”).


Seems to me, if he’d been there from the beginning of the whole serpent/Eve chitchat, he’d have added his two cents or stepped in one way or another. And that would mean he too had been beguiled by the serpent.


But that doesn’t necessarily fit the narrative.


In fact, a pharisee (Saul Paulus) during the first century temple period wrote this about the duo: Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.


Adam obeyed his wife’s lead (handing him the fruit to eat as well) vs the Lord’s.


So it’s plausible—and seemingly does fit the narrative—that Adam is nearby, tending his work while his helpmate, Eve, is elsewhere.


And it’s that elsewhere garden location that stirs the pot in this setting. She’s presumably alone, possibly in the midst of the garden, hanging out near the forbidden tree, primed for seduction as the story begins.



READ THIS NEXT. God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 2]




Garden tree photo by nitish-kadam on

God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 2]


It’s go-time. God’s creation is in testing mode. But how do two trees impact the human soul’s condition?


[This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.]


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HIGHLY SUGGEST READING FIRST: God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 1]






Two trees in the midst of the garden. Meticulously placed‚ set apart from the others, yet growing among them. Resounding in their stillness, their purpose, both trees are about to take centerstage in humanity’s impending soul battle.


That’s the soul battle of our earthly story back at the beginning with co-protagonists Adam and Eve . . . and the one going on right now. In you. In me. Around us. The connection is undeniable. It’s embedded in the fiber of every decision, every word, every action we make.


It’s either self-desire or God-driven desire. Surrendering at His altar or bowing to the altar of self.


You can feel it, right? The convergence of the two within and around you? The struggle of choice between the holy (God’s thoughts, ways, commands) and the profane/mundane, the world’s mindset.


There are reasons why these two garden trees demand our attention. First, trees apparently mean something to God. He poetically carries the tree-image throughout His storytelling. He uses it in the Garden of Eden (spiritual global impact) but later likens people (Deuteronomy 20:19), Israel, and our soul condition to trees—good and not so good.




1. fig tree, referring to Israel’s spiritual condition (Hosea 9:10 ESV)

2. green olive tree or well-planted tree that bears fruit/never withers, regarding a wise/righteous person who trusts in the Lord (Psalm 52:8 and Psalm 1:1-3 and Jeremiah 17:7-8, all ESV).

3. oak tree of righteousness, strong, enduring, withstanding life’s struggles, and a planting of the Lord for His glory. (Isaiah 61:3 ESV).

4. towering tree, warning Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in a dream about a massive tree (world ruler) who would be cut down, leaves stripped, fruit scattered. Sadly, it was Nebby himself. (Daniel 4 ESV)).


An orthodox Judaic teaching puts it something like this: we’re like trees, rooted in our past/our ancestral history, canopied (like foliage) by our life choices/life story, bearing fruit (children, good works to help others, community) with more seeds going forth to bear new trees.

Nicely put. But there’s another application. Another tree God used. Arguably, the most significant tree . . . one directly linked to God’s two Garden of Eden trees and one that will bring us once again to the garden with the Lord’s promised Millennial Kingdom.


We’ll get to that eternity-shifting tree and how it fits into this Genesis 3 story in the last post of this Trees, Serpent, Lies series.


For now . . .





Both trees “control the state of the world,” according to Gershom Scholem, who is often regarded as the “most important Jewish historian of the 20th century.” He was a Zionist, a preeminent scholar of Jewish mysticism (i.e., Kabbalism), and a prolific author on Judaic/Israeli political, social, and cultural issues.


Although I’m not a Kabbalist, I have a particular interest in parts of Scholem’s commentary (as noted below with my bold typeface inserted for emphasis)—because they tangentially strike at the core and intent of this post . . . regarding what lies beneath and within the two-trees story and beneath and within our souls.


Scholem made these four observations:

(1) “Standing in the center of Paradise and representing higher order of things, the trees control a great deal more than just existence in the Garden of Eden.”


(2) “The Tree of Life represents the pure, unbroken power of the holy.”


(3) “Since the Fall of Adam, the world is no longer ruled by the Tree of Life as it had been in the beginning, but the Tree of Knowledge.”


(4) “Since the Fall of Adam, since the time when the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge was eaten, the world is ruled by the mystery of this second tree in which both good and evil have their place. Hence, under the rule of this Tree, the world contains differentiated spheres: the holy and the profane, the pure and the impure, the permitted and the forbidden, the living and the dead, the divine and the demonic.”




Because whatever generation, whatever scenario, whatever temptation, whatever point on God’s prophetic time clock, it always comes down to the same struggle, wrestling with the repercussions of the Tree of Knowledge debacle, causing us to individually face the question, Which tree are we eating from and what “fruit” are we bearing/spreading?


Now step closer to the Promise (Tree of Life) and God’s Love Test (Tree of Knowledge).


READ THIS NEXT. God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 2b].



Targum Onkelos commentary (Genesis 2:9) on
Gershom Scholem commentary from his book, The Messianic Idea in Judaism: And Other Essays on Jewish Spirituality, as listed on
Gershom Scholem biography: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Oxford Bibliographies.
Tree as man: Chabad articles


Tree near river by Nitish Kadam on

God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 2b]

It’s go-time—Part 2b. Two trees in the Trees, Serpent, Lies series. The Promise (Tree of Life) and God’s Love Test (Tree of Knowledge). Who knew two trees could play such a big part in the human soul’s condition?


[This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.]


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HIGHLY SUGGEST READING FIRST: God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 1] and God’s Story Lens: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 2a]






T wo garden trees—one with a promise, the other with a command. Their impact on the soul? Humongous. Here’s how.





Admittedly, it’s usually that other tree that gets much of the press. That’s because our co-protagonists’ fruit-eating episode birthed a chasmic rift in the God-creation continuum, ripping through physical and spiritual realms.


So in our Garden-of-Eden plot line, the Tree of Life may seem to have a minor role. And yet, it is an enduring, indelible, and powerful thread—symbolically and otherwise—throughout God’s story line.

It’s unclear what the tree was like and, even more curious, why Adam and Eve didn’t eat from the Tree of Life—there was no hands-off command for it. But it turns out, it’s a good thing.


Because whatever spiritual condition you’re in when you eat from the Tree of Life—you’re eternally locked into that condition. You could say that our co-protagonists dodged a bullet. A fatal one.


It also explains why God kicked humanity out of the garden and stationed powerful Cherubim (Keruvim) and a flaming sword to guard the way to the Tree of Life from any future attempts.


For now, that is.


(1). Tree of Life and the rabbinic correlation. The Torah (first five books of the Bible) is like the Tree of Life because it lays the ground rules of how to grow your roots deep in His stream, how to interact, manage, lead, bless, build, grow, sustain, step back, spiritually walk and be with others (in our own tribes and outside them) and with our holy God.


(2). Tree of Life and spiritual fruit. Both Proverbs 3:18 and Proverbs 11:30 say that the fruit of the righteous is a Tree of Life, bringing happiness to the soul. The Hebrew says it like this: Etz chaim see l’machazikim bah—she is a tree of life to those who grasp her.


(3). Tree of Life and God’s desires. Proverbs 13:12 says that when we hope in God again, His righteous desires will spring up within us and become a Tree of Life.


(4). Tree of Life and the future blessed hope. For those on the Judaic side of the bridge, you might not know these scripture references that help tie it all together: Revelation 2:7 and Revelation 22:2.


They’re from the last book of the Bible and focus on the end of days (aḥarit ha-yamim, אחרית הימים) and speak of the Messiah (God’s Redemptive Plan, His Salvation, Jesus/Yeshua).


“Those walking with God and His Salvation

will eat from the Tree of Life,

which is in the midst of His garden Paradise . . .

and it will bear twelve fruits,

each tree yielding its fruit every month—its leaves, the healing of the nations.

Those obeying the LORD will have the right to the Tree of Life

and may enter the gates of His holy city.”

—Revelation 2:7 and Revelation 22:2

POMEGRANATE - tal-surasky-u5FA6z5n89U-unsplash



It’s the same story then as now. The thing we can’t (or shouldn’t) have is the one that catches the eye, captures the soul, and drives the soul to hunger, fixating on the wrong choice.


The Tree of Knowledge. A test, indeed. Nothing capricious or superficial about it. It’s God striking deep—way down to the truth-core of His free-will creation. Even the angels had to decide: follow the one, true God or hop on the rebellion train and follow its instigator/leader, Lucifer/satan.


God already knew their decisions—the angelic realm’s and humanity’s. He knew, as always, even before He created them what was in their hearts, their souls. The test is so the truth of their inner condition is exposed and the reality from God’s righteous perspective is brought forth, revealing the dichotomy so they would know as well.


Remember, when it came to creating the world, God did it for the sake of redemption. Redemption to show His mercy and grace. Redemption to show His holiness. Redemption that involves humanity realizing, knowing Him, and seeking His face, appreciating the giver and sustainer of life, God.



The word “knowledge” in the Hebrew is da’at. But what is this knowledge, anyway? Rabbinic thought varies. Some say it’s . . .


— an academic or intellectual understanding

— an experiential understanding of good/evil [per Aleph Beta’s insightful Rabbi David Fohrman]

— a transformational awareness [per Maimonides, the Rambam, famed medieval philosopher/Torah scholar]

— a Tree of Desire [per translations by the Ramban, citing other biblical references—the Ramban (Nachmanides) was a medieval rabbi/scholar]





Years ago I heard a Torah teaching on this—possibly Rabbi Schweiger from Pardes Institute in Jerusalem—about how humanity wasn’t ready for the knowledge from that tree. They lacked the maturity to understand what that da’at/knowledge would present to us.


In my mind, that could mean being introduced to a world where the veil was removed. Making the Tree of Knowledge an unmasking, a ripping away of childlike innocence and awakening what’s hidden in the crevices of the human soul or what’s been simmering just under the surface.


In other words, a step into the abyss of self-desire—culminating in millennia of collateral damage to boot. Self-fixation, outright rebellion, desire of every kind and on every level, a betrayal of God’s love and gift of life.


Because that level of desire only produces one thing: death, spiritually and otherwise.


The soul had been moving about on a different level prior. Innocent, seemingly clean, set apart. Neither the tree nor the fruit had mysterious properties. The test—eating/disobeying or withholding/obeying—unlocked what was already within.


Adam and Eve’s unmasking caused them to see and enter another dimension of da’at (knowledge).


A dimension that stripped them from the idyllic, realizing their physical nakedness but not yet comprehending their spiritual nakedness which will hunger for self-desire at the cost of a relationship with the living God—and with anyone and everything else.




It’s a troubling example, but it demonstrates what may have been happening soul-wise to Adam and Eve.


Being robbed of innocence is disquieting on many levels. The serpent—a.k.a. satan—didn’t (doesn’t) care. He had (has) his own agenda. Robbing, stealing, destroying are his everyday strategy tools.


Think for a moment of the chilling news stories you hear. Child abuse, rape, children’s drug use.


In each case, a soul was violated or seduced, the veil of some kind of innocence violently torn away, forcing a new da’at (knowledge) of another, seamier dimension of life that they didn’t ever need to know or experience.


And it was something their souls certainly weren’t capable of understanding—as if anyone could or should. The underbelly of someone else’s self-desire invading, disrupting another soul.


Adam and Eve’s began with grooming—satan’s.


In those prior scenarios, the harmed souls were victims, eclipsed by the profane. And, yes, Adam and Eve had a choice. But their inherent propensity for disobedience—evidenced by fractured humanity even now—had been masked until the test came to expose it.


The results of satan’s cunning seduction of Eve were no different soul-wise than those disturbing abuse examples mentioned above. What Adam and Eve used to see and walk in via their previous level of da’at (knowledge)—their innocent lens—vanished in an instant.


Satan’s suggestive voice resonated with their inner voice, the one that had been under the radar. The one that was subtly stirring deep within.


But as it stirred stronger, they surrendered to it. Self-will. Self-desire. Self-focus.


God and His desire and commands were in their soul’s rearview mirror. Rebellion had raised its ugly head. The bridge broken. The God-humanity relationship tested to near destruction.


You and I would have made the same choice. It’s as if our nature had to eat from that tree. We had to cross the line . . . so we could ultimately embrace with unending gratitude what God has waiting for us—His Redemption Plan, the gift prepared before the world was brought forth because He knew what our struggle would be.


Now Genesis 3 tells the rest of the story, and we’ll head there. But first we need a closer look at our co-protagonists and the supporting cast.


UPCOMING POST: God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies [Part 3]



Targum Onkelos commentary (Genesis 2:9) on
Gershom Scholem commentary from his book, The Messianic Idea in Judaism: And Other Essays on Jewish Spirituality, as listed on
Gershom Scholem biography: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Oxford Bibliographies.
Tree as man: Chabad articles


Pomegranate tree by Tal Suraskon

Flashes of Lightning: Standing Watch [2022 word—Wait, His Love Raining, Unity, Stand Firm]


Expectant hope from waiting on Him, that’s the 2022 image the Lord impressed on me during prayer right after midnight on New Year’s Eve. Let’s unpack the words He set before me—wait, His love raining down, unity, stand firm.


“I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what He will say to me.” —Habakkuk 2:1


© &. All rights reserved.




WATCHWORD GIVEN: January 1, 2022, 12:01 am through the third watch.


Wait. That particular word from the Lord (given in addition to three others) is still reverberating in my soul. He later gave me a clearly spiritual dream to underscore the word’s importance. Here’s how it rolled . . .


The quick backstory: For years, I’ve had—and continue to have—a New Year’s Eve midnight-rendezvous with the Lord. It’s become a time when He kindly reveals watchwords and images for the upcoming year and often leads me into some level of intercession.


The midnight hour appears throughout scripture. In Judaic terms, midnight is the convergence of two forces. One force—gevurah, meaning strength, linked to justice—gives way to another force—chesed, lovingkindness that is demonstrated in God’s rock-solid faithfulness, devotion, mercy, and grace, per His rightfully self-proclaimed character traits in Exodus 34:6-7.


God harmonizes gevurah and chesed. The wise psalm-writer Ethan the Ezrahite wrote in Psalm 89:14: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.


And as God would have it: His 2022 watchword “wait” mirrors this midnight push-pull convergence.



WAIT . . . LONG FOR . . . HIM


Here’s the thing: Waiting flows both ways. God’s and ours.


Isaiah reveals that God is waiting with His graciousness, mercies, justice . . . and that we have a need (and a certain way) to wait on Him and spark His action. The red text below gives hints from the Hebrew.


Therefore, the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of JUSTICE;
blessed are all those who WAIT
[piercing through the wait with longing]
for him.
—Isaiah 30:18




Hang on to that—we’ll come back around to it in a sec.


So on that 2021-2022 New Year’s Eve, I had asked God, “But what about 2022?”


He said, “WAIT.”


The word stood clear before me . . . and then I saw an eagle—more specifically, it was the eagle’s wings that drew my attention. I sensed myself riding on them, but whoosh! I had wings like the eagle, rising upward, flying in loops, having fun.


Immediately following that, I sensed Him counseling me, depositing a scripture within my soul in a new—and exhilarating—way . . . a scripture you may very well be familiar with.


But they who wait
[faithfully, obediently, doggedly,
diligently, with expectant hope]

for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
—Isaiah 40:31


He impressed on me this view of what waiting is and what it does . . .


Waiting is totally resting in Him, soaking in His presence.

Waiting is surrendering to His timing, His kingship.

Waiting is faithfully staying in His Word, drenched by it.

Waiting is going the distance, not fainting, not impatiently.

Waiting is a strengthening process that renews, restores, refreshes, redirects the soul.

Waiting is a tool to help the soul soar higher, go farther.

Waiting is longingly waiting for Him . . . which moves His love even more.

Waiting is when His desires become yours—and shalom floods your soul, healing and answers arrive with joy.


These lyrics—from the song “Nothing Else” by Cody Carnes, Hank Bentley, and Jessie Early—capture the longing outcome of the waiting process.


And I love, love, love Rick Pino’s version . . . his Davidic-worshipful heart embodies the soul’s cry for more of our King.


I’m caught up in Your presence
I just want to sit here at Your feet
I’m caught up in this holy moment
I never want to leave
Oh, I’m not here for blessings
Jesus, You don’t owe me anything
More than anything that You can do
I just want You . . . Nothing else




We’ve all been shaken in one way or another—2020 and 2021 brought an avalanche of shifts. Many levels, many ways. But despite what you’re going through, 2022’s word shows the hope stirring within God, ready to be poured out on us and through us.


Maybe your personal world has been interrupted. The loss of something, anything—health, job/finances, relationships, loyalty, fidelity, faith, etc.—crashed into your life space and “normal” is fading in the rearview mirror.


You’re overwhelmed, no longer in control. No vision before you, no clue of anything around you. Your faith, foggy . . . you’re walking on jello, consumed with your situation. Your soul aches.


You feel like you’re in mourning. And you are—but not just for the specific loss you experienced. You’re mourning the loss of what you thought your life was going to be. What you had imagined, planned, desired, expected God (or others) to do.


And now: shock, pain/guilt, anger, depression (self-hate/anger turned inward) and loneliness, the stages of the mourning process have stepped in.


But with God, so has the rising-up stage when your soul is being refined, strengthened, refocused in His holy waiting room to walk in a new version of your life, faithfully held in His hands.


That’s why it’s critical in 2022 for you, me, and all believers to wait . . . to man the post He’s assigned us individually for service and follow His lead.


No leaning on our own understanding of how long “wait” is or should be. No taking things upon ourselves, even for a short bit, or doing something else to fill in the wait gap.


The Lord gave me a dream to underscore that. The gist of it is at the end of this post.





The Lord showed me the word LOVE, large and with a sense of it raining down . . .

casting out fear

demolishing the enemy’s lies

strengthening faith

soaking our souls with His Love

teaching, instructing, guiding us




Two other words were put before me on New Year’s eve—and they both play into the “wait” watchword.

UNITY. An army of believers in Messiah working and marching globally as one, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder. In step, in faith, in love for Him and one another.

I prayed: Lord, the enemy is revving up. The battle is raging and darkness is growing, spreading out deep and wide to every sector, every nation.


What do we do, Lord?


I saw this . . .




Then, Lord, give us your heart on the matter . . . your words coming ALIVE within our souls . . . emanating out to those around us . . . let us not be business as usual again.


The LORD . . . He is God.

No other. Ever.

There is nothing apart from God.





The gist of it is this: In the dream, I’m “preparing food” for visitors (representing actual people I’ve been ministering the Gospel to). But the main course was missing, and I was waiting for someone (a person from my life representing heaven/God’s direction) to bring the item.


My visitors were fine with waiting. In time, I wasn’t. I couldn’t believe I was this unprepared. I mean having people over and not having the main course food even in your kitchen—let alone not cooked, ready to serve—was crazy.


So we waited some more . . . and when I offered the appetizer and salad that was ready, they pleasantly said they’d wait.

Well, I waited with them, chatted, but inside I was getting even more antsy. Where was my person with the main food so I could finish it and serve these guests? Turns out, the person finally returned—but without my entrée item.


Perfect. And so we waited and waited while the heavenly-messenger person left on the shopping mission—again.


You have to know this is coming: I couldn’t wait anymore and left my guests to see what the holdup was and to get the food item myself, if needed.

Problem: When I returned, the guests were gone, the kitchen/dining area cleaned up, everything put away. I was bewildered—both in the dream and afterward when I woke up.

After seeking the Lord, I realized the dream underscores the WAIT 2022 message.


TAKEAWAY: As long as I was waiting on the Lord, my guests (to whom I was to minister to) were happily willing to wait. But when I left my post—even for a short time to see why it was taking so long and if I could handle it myself or some other way—the guests left.


Obediently waiting at my post is critical to my place in God’s army, my relationship with Him. Probably like you, my soul longs to be part of His eternal work down here . . . and to finish well.


Lord, help our souls to hear, love, obey you the way your majesty deserves to be loved and honored.


Photo Credit: Lighthouse by Michael Krahn on

Photo Credit: Eagle waiting by Nathan Anderson on

Photo Credit: Heart-like Parachute by Nick Fewings on

Photo Credit: Empty plate by Debby Hudson-Pomy on

God’s Story Threads: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 1]

Genesis 1. God, the master storyteller of truth that your soul needs. From a beginning of beginnings of beginnings to a particular love-fueled purpose behind His creation story: redemption.


This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.


© (.com & .org) & All rights reserved.






Like any good story, it’s best to start at the beginning. The beginning moment that will lead to or expose a protagonist’s unmet desire. But with God’s masterful nonfiction storytelling, it’s not always that simple.


The sheer epic size and generational expanse of His story (the Bible) may appear to be a maximal approach. But in reality, it’s minimalistic, razor-focused on a single, eternally driven thread.


We read about what was, what is, and what is to come. But the exactness of time remains hidden. He talks of times yet defies time, because He created time and exists beyond this physical dimension . . . despite intersecting and embodying it.


Through it all, He is the ever-present, omniscient “character” in His unfolding story.


As we take our first steps along God’s story arc . . .


1. Part 1: We’ll explore the intent behind God’s creation process, particularly the “for the sake of” link that leads us to even more.


2. Part 2: We’ll peer into God’s intro line using a more wide-angled lens, like when a film moves in for an intimate closeup. And there’s an optional sidebar post to pause and consider His many unfolding “beginnings” examples.


3. Part 3a and Part 3b: We’ll continue the story dig and consider some compelling connections between the Genesis 1 in the Tanakh (Jewish Bible/”Old Testament”) and the New Testament.




It’s God’s opening line that gets us, capturing, enticing, pulling us. Those famous first words beg to be unraveled.


We sense that they’re the gateway to something immeasurably higher, deeper, beyond ourselves.


Rashi, the famed biblical and Talmudic commentator from the Middle Ages, said that those initial [Hebrew] words of Genesis scream for explanation. (Okay, my word choice, but he did say it “calls aloud” for explanation.)


Homiletically—per commentary notes in the Stone Edition of The Chumash (an orthodox commentary on the first five books of the Bible)—the first word of this creation process b’reshit can be stated as . . .


“The world was created for the sake of [for the things that are called] beginnings.”


Stone’s commentary equates that to “God brought the world into being for the sake of things that are of such basic importance that the Torah calls them reishit (ראשית), meaning first or beginning.”


That is, the world was created for the sake of bringing forth Torah (the Law).


But that for-the-sake-of-the-Law beginning unleashes two other critical “beginnings”:


(1) The Law reveals the basics, the reflections, of what is good in God’s eyes while exposing the beginnings of humanity’s self-desired nature .


A desire that from the get-go will fall short of His righteousness, His holiness—and launch a devastating spiritual rift, a broken bridge, between God and humanity. Because nothing is the same after the Garden of Eden rebellion.


(2) But even before the creation process, the impending God-humanity chasm would ache for restoration and grace .


So in those beginnings within beginnings, God brings forth another for-the-sake-of layer that trumps all others.


An indescribable love-move created for the sake of something eternally driven.


The world was created for REDEMPTION—hands down, God’s foundational story thread throughout the Bible. The undeniable link between His two intrinsic story lines, the Judaic and the Messianic/Christian.
Genesis and Revelation. The first and the last books of the Bible. Everything happening in between echoes their prime story line. But Revelation isn’t the end of God’s story . . . it actually lifts the veil on yet another of God’s future beginnings.





God created (ex nihilo) this dimension—this beginning of beginnings—with a WORD. Per rabbinical teaching, the WORD God spoke in the creative process performed the creation.


It begins with God’s unrivaled, unimaginable might and presence hovering over the “astonishingly empty with darkness.”


The initial focus is an earth that is “desolate and void” (Hebrew tohu va-vohu, תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ) with darkness on the “face of the murmuring deep,” a “wonder and astonishment”—that would leave us aghast at the sheer emptiness (bohu) of it , per author Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (The Murmuring Deep, quoting Rashi and author Stephen Frosh).


GOD’S BOUNDLESS POWER—reflected in the peals of thunder, lightning flashes, and deep rumblings around His throne (“the life source of the universe” as Dr. Ed Hindson once called it)—and the immeasurable weight of His glory move over the chaotic, the tehom, Hebrew for depths, subterranean waters, and even suggesting a deep soul-to-soul groaning.


It possibly is what Zornberg’s book suggests: God is cutting through the chaotic, the deep murmuring—the “primal noise“—to form a “creative silence,” a clearing for His creation WORD to come forth.


We witness a similar process when all of creation groans under the chaotic darkness birthed from sin.


At the appointed time, God again arises, His presence again hovering but now over the soul’s darkness, its chaos, its captivity, breaking through with redemption—His Word—silencing our noisy, subterranean murmuring, our aching soul—deep calling unto deep—tehom to tehom, תְּהֽוֹם־אֶל־תְּה֣וֹם ק֖וֹרֵא (Psalm 42).


But what or who is that WORD?

Explore more in this Beginnings series, delving beneath Genesis 1:1 and the what/who WORD question.


READ THIS NEXT: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 2]



(1) The Stone Edition Chumash, the ArtScroll, Series, published by Messiah Publications, ltd, September 2005 edition, Parashas Bereishis/Genesis, p 3


(3) The Murmuring Deep, Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg. Schocken Books, New York, 2009.

(4) Moshe Weinfeld quote:


PHOTO CREDITS for this three-part Beginnings series:

Clouds/Light by Marcus Dall Col on

Steam Punk Minister w/Bible by Nathan Bingle on

Steps with child by Jukan Tateisi on

Follow the Line on asphalt photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on

Woman in jeans with Bible by Priscilla Du Preez on


God’s Story Threads: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 2]


God’s unfolding story thread. Genesis 1:1 is usually translated “In the beginning, God created.” But is it saying something more? Walk this way . . .


This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.


© (.com & .org) & All rights reserved.


HIGHLY SUGGEST FIRST READING: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 1]




Discussions—heated or otherwise—span the ages regarding the Genesis 1:1 wording, which is often translated “In the beginning, God created.” But considering a point of Hebraic grammar, is that what it’s really saying—and how does any of that fit into God’s redemption-focused story thread?


Some scholars and/or grammarians say those first words aren’t exactly as traditionally translated. There’s no “the” in the Hebrew text. So they translate with a one-word shift: “In a beginning.”


A stirring literal translation on a gazillion levels. And how that ups the game on God’s story line. This in-a-beginning view has been discussed many times over the years at Torah study tables—and always sets my mind spinning in a thrilling, isn’t-God-amazing way.


Three other views help us branch that concept even further . . .





Stephen Rayburn points out in his 2009 “D’var Torah: Bereshit” article, that Rashi (esteemed medieval rabbi/Talmudic commentator) regarded the word b’reshit as a statement not about “the absolute beginning of everything” but when “God turned His attention to our own world.”


Now add a point of biblical consistency—discussed in this two-minute Genesis 1:1 Hebrew grammar note—the construct in Genesis 1:1 (needing a noun) would be translated . . .


“In the (or a) beginning of God’s creating.”


And lastly, factor in this intriguing view from Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser . . .


Back in October 2011, Reb Jeff wrote in his blog post (“Bereshit: In the Beginning of What?”) a more illustrative translation based on the grammatical analysis and infusing spiritual innuendos of timelessness.


He says the “world never stopped being created” since it “has a beginning, but it is a beginning that has never ceased.”


Goldwasser’s Genesis 1:1 translation goes like this:


“In the beginning of the beginning that is always beginning, G-d created the creation that is still [beginning and creating].”


The Creator is always creating. He “rested” from His earth project but never really stopped creating—everything He creates is in a forward, unfolding, beginning-within-a-beginning motion. Contracting, reaching down, extending out . . . beginning anew.


God IS the beginning.

The One who has NO beginning.


Yet WITHIN HIM is the beginning within a beginning within a beginning that is unfolding and still beginning and creating.


Simply complex, right? In light of creation alone, we’re talking about the mind-bending, humanly incomprehensible dunamis power of our holy God.




What was going on with these beginnings within beginnings . . . when there was absolutely no beginning because God has no beginning and no end?


We know He birthed creation with a WORD. Scripture confirms it. Even rabbinic teaching says that the WORD God spoke in the creative process did the creation.


I couldn’t agree more.


In fact, it’s the apex—the critical story thread—linking God’s beginnings within beginnings and the reveal of the redemptive gift to humanity.


So let’s climb that summit to discover what has been waiting there for us all along.


READ THIS NEXT: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 3].



Read quick examples of God’s many beginnings, those in the past, those in the works now, and those on the horizon.

Side Bar [Many Beginnings]


PHOTO CREDITS for this Beginnings series:

Cloud/Light by Marcus Dall Col on

Steam Punk Minister w/Bible by Nathan Bingle on

Steps with child by Jukan Tateisi on

Follow the Line on asphalt photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on

Woman in jeans with Bible by Priscilla Du Preez on


God’s Story Threads: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 3]


Continuing the story dig. After reading Parts 1 and 2 of this “beginning within a beginning” blog series, jump into this Part 3—walking the bridge from Genesis 1:1 to its (perhaps) surprising messianic connection.


This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.


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SUGGEST READING THIS FIRST: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 1] and Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 2]




From page one of the Bible, God is on the move. His love revealed. He speaks forth creation for the sake of His redemption story . . . for a humanity yet to be created.


A humanity who will rebel against His ways, refuse to surrender to Him, and recant their promises to Him.


And yet, His mercies endure forever. His love, the motivating factor in all that He does.


With a WORD, God created His story, this dimension, space, order, time, this beginning within a beginning. This beginning that is unfolding, contracting, stretching out and beginning again. Our sovereign God who loves to create . . . who desires to continually bring forth new things in line with His purpose and holy desire.


Rabbinic teaching says that the WORD God spoke did the actual creation. That same Jewish sentiment echoes throughout the pages of the New Testament—with the rest of the story revealed.


Because this WORD came forth from WITHIN God, embodying and performing both the creative process and the world’s REDEMPTIVE process.


By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;

he puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;

let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!

For he spoke, and it came to be;

he commanded, and it stood firm.

Psalm 33:6-9


By faith we understand that the universe was created

by the word of God,

so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

—Hebrews 11:3


But who or what is this WORD that “came from the Father”? And since creation is part and parcel of God’s redemption story, what part does this WORD play?


Let’s continue strolling both sides of the bridge to discover God’s mystery and riches in the WORD, in the one whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.





Just so we’re clear. We’re not talking about some mere vocabulary word used in the creation process—or even some everyday Joe who was a decent guy who God used down here to do the redemption part of the work.


Uh-uh. We’re talking about God Himself bringing forth from within Himself—the essence of Himself manifested in the WORD.


Therefore, the WORD is and was and always will be one with the Father.


So much so, that when the WORD would later come forth from the Father and manifest down here in the flesh for the sake of humanity’s redemption, he’d be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9).


BACK IN THE LATE 90s/EARLY 2000s . . . I was still struggling at times to better understand the Father and Messiah (Jesus) relationship. Uniquely One, but yet . . .


So one day, I’d asked my friend’s Greek husband to give me the 4-1-1 on John 8:42—translating the scripture from the Greek since the original language of the New Testament was written in Koine Greek.


He said it read that Jesus “came up out of the Father” . . . and that it was similarly written in John 16.


Ah! The fog was clearing for me. That image changed so much for me.


It took time, but it began to unravel some of the mystery hidden within the WORD, the Messiah—one that interestingly mirrored rabbinic thinking about the WORD doing the creation.


It also furthered the understanding of God creating the world for the sake of redemption.


The Hebrew in Psalm 2 and in numerous Judaic messianic-related passages underscored the New Testament’s factual accounts of the WORD that dwelt among us.


The Messiah was with and in God eternally—had come up out of Him—was one with the Father yet distinct in person, and was brought forth by the Father from within God Himself for the sake of the world, for the sake of God’s redemption story.


Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father,

you would love me,

for I came out from God and I am here.

I came not of my own accord, but he [God] sent me.”

—John 8:42


[Jesus said]: “For the Father Himself loves you,

because you have loved me

and have believed that I came out from God

and have come into the world,

and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

—John 16:27


Not only is Jesus the WORD that came out of the Father and was with Him in creation . . . but God’s glory was fully on the Messiah—before, then, and now.





The dots are connecting. What was written came forth, evidenced in the Messiah, the one who is also called . . .


a great light—no end to his kingdom (Isaiah 9)


the son given—the Son of God (Isaiah 9, Psalm 2)


having righteousness as the belt of his waist—and faithfulness the belt of his loins (Isaiah 11)


the healer of the blind, the mute, the lame—and the one cleansing lepers, raising the dead, and preaching the good news of heaven (Isaiah 35, Isaiah 61:1-2, Matthew 11, Luke 4:16-19, Luke 7:20-23)


the promised King, Messiah—bringing salvation, righteousness, humbly riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9)


the reflection of the Father—the exact imprint of His nature (Hebrews 1:1-3, John 14:9)


the Word that became flesh—and dwelt among us (John 1)


Faithful and True, The Word of God, and be clothed in a robe dipped in blood symbolic of the redemption completed (Revelation 19:11b, 13)

I will tell of the decree:

The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;

today I have begotten you [brought forth, per Hebrew]*

Psalm 2:7

*Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon’s meaning for “begotten”

Long ago, at many times and in many ways,

God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,

whom he appointed the heir of all things,

through whom also he created the world.

He is the radiance of the glory of God

and the exact imprint of his nature,

and he upholds the universe

by the WORD of his power.

Hebrews 1:1-3


We’ll explore this more and other God-nuggets throughout this unfolding bridge series and witness how the narrative, promises, and fulfillment of both the Judaic and Messianic/Christian sides are mirrored. A wondrous plan of God.


READ THIS NEXT: God’s Story Threads: Trees, Serpent, Lies.



PHOTO CREDITS for this Beginnings series:

Clouds light by Marco Dallco on

Steam Punk Minister with Bible by Nathan Bingle on

Steps with child by Jukan Tateisi on

Follow the Line on asphalt photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on

Woman in jeans with Bible by Priscilla Du Preez on


Journey on