Visible And Invisible
By Julia Blum June 17, 2021No comments
The Long-Awaited Meeting
We continue our journey through this gripping and passionate Bible story: the story of Joseph and his brothers. The day has finally come, the long-awaited moment has arrived when Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt and stand before him – the ten brothers who had nearly murdered him but took enough pity on him to sell him instead. Have you ever contemplated the fact that, even though many years have passed and so many things have happened to Joseph, the reconciliation of the brothers is still the main point of this narrative? Joseph is Viceroy of Egypt, with a brilliant career and a wonderful family of his own, yet the meeting with his brothers is still extremely important to him! Doesn’t this indicate that it is extremely important to God, first of all? We saw something similar in Jacob’s story: Jacob had spent twenty years in exile – so many things had happened and changed in his life – and yet his meeting and reconciliation with his twin brother Esau were so important in God’s eyes that God came to Jacob right before this meeting! Yes, the most important encounter in Jacob’s life, the one that defined his name and destiny and the name and destiny of the whole people – Penuel – happened right before his meeting with Esau (and undoubtedly changed this meeting from how it could have gone, to the amazing story we actually have in the Bible). Something about the reconciliation of brothers is vitally important in God’s eyes: we can clearly see it from Jacob’s life, and even more clearly, we can see it from Joseph’s story!
So, the brothers came. They bowed before Joseph, the Viceroy of Egypt, exactly as it was foretold by his dreams – and he recognized them. However, they did not realize that this Egyptian Viceroy was the brother they had sold some twenty-two years earlier: And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth. .Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them.
Of course, this story is amazing even in translation, however, when we read it in Hebrew, we discover something almost incredible: The verb for ‘he recognized them’ (וַיַּכִּרֵם), and the verb for ‘he acted as a stranger to them’ (וַיִּתְנַכֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם), are derived from the same root! Can you imagine? These two actions, not only very different but in a sense completely opposite – “to recognize” and “to disguise” – are expressed with verbs coming from the very same root. It is impossible to translate, and almost impossible to even explain.
This is an exceptionally beautiful example of how multifaceted the Hebrew language is, and how profound His Word is. Biblical Hebrew is primarily a verbal language, and the verbs are derived from three-consonant roots that comprise the “essence” of a word’s meaning. Most of the verbs in Hebrew are formed from a root by changing vowels and adding different prefixes and suffixes, thus forming different stems. Depending on their stem (binyan), verbs derived from the same root can have very different meanings, as we see here in our text. Nevertheless, being derived from the very same root, they all have something in common—they all relate to the very same “essence”.
Back to our story – yes, Joseph made himself a stranger, and yes, he was unrecognizable, and yet, out of his disguise, this amazing root of recognition touches the hearts of the brothers with something painfully familiar. No wonder, from the very first meeting with this Egyptian Viceroy, they knew it was all about their long-ago sold brother, even though there seemed to be no connection at all between the stories. The Spirit of God is touching their hearts, and their hearts are burning, even though their eyes could not recognize their own brother – and this whole incredible dynamic is reflected in those two Hebrew verbs, opposite in meaning but derived from the same root: hikir – hitnaker.
We read that Joseph spoke roughly to them, accusing them of being spies and coming to see the nakedness of the land. We must admit that this accusation, as well as what follows, is devoid of any logic, and there is no rational explanation for what we are witnessing. At first glance, all that Joseph says lacks any hint of comprehensibility. Why does he suddenly accuse them of spying? Why does he say to them, in this manner you shall be tested, and this is how it will be seen whether there is any truth in you: bring your brother that is presently not with you. If he is already accusing them, then what could the connection be between the brother left at home and the accusation leveled against them?
But, starting from this moment, an invisible Hand is stealthily getting closer to that deep, dark, and shameful stain that the brothers had concealed all these years, not only from others but from themselves as well. It is as if a game of hot-and-cold begins here – from now on, each scene, each step taken in this story fills their hearts with progressively greater confusion and fright; with each succeeding event, they feel the invisible hand getting “warmer,” slowly but surely nearing that secret, buried spot in their hearts. As unexpected as this accusation might have sounded to them with its subsequent demand to bring their younger brother, it did not appear unreasonable to them. Then they said to one another, ‘We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.’
Note that they don’t mention God yet; they have yet to understand that none other than the Almighty Himself has made them participants in this game. We still hear impersonal and passive verb forms: this distress has come upon us, and his blood is now required of us (דמו נדרש). They still credit what is happening to the whims and ruthlessness of the Egyptian governor, and consequently to nothing more than an unlucky turn of events, and yet… in their deep inner recesses, a curious spiritual connection between what is happening to them and that long-ago story is already beginning to be revealed…
 Gen, 42:6-7
The Ministry of Natural Blood
Blood in the natural realm is the fluid of life that courses through an animal or a human’s body. After the flood, God expressly and solemnly prohibited man’s use of animal blood for food and drink, although Noah was instructed to use everything else, freely, for food. The Jewish Law also expressly and solemnly forbade the eating and drinking of blood. One reason for this prohibition was that the blood was appropriated by God and held sacred by Him as a covering for sin and as a cleansing power for sin. The Jewish shadows and types abound with the use of blood. The way blood was to be employed was stated in minute detail in Jewish Laws. In the New Testament, the Book of Hebrews sharply and strikingly contrasts the blood that was used as types and shadows in the Old Testament with Christ’s Blood that was shed on the Cross.
By studying some facts about natural blood, one gains a better understanding of the Blood which Christ shed on the Cross. Blood is the “liquid flesh” that circulates by means of the heart through the veins and arteries in the bodies of men and animals. The blood is the vital Principle of Life, and it provides the seat for the soul (nephesh) of man’s terrestrial body. (The term (nephesh) is explained in chapter two.) Therefore, God considers the shedding of blood, the taking away of life in an unlawful manner, as murder. When man unlawfully sacrifices the life or soul of another, in the eyes of the LORD God, the murderer has to assume the responsibility for his act. The miraculous river of “liquid flesh” (which is filled with hormones, vitamins, salts, minerals, sugars, fats, and proteins) rushes faithfully through the body, carrying vital oxygen to the other flesh of the body, feeding and nourishing the body with its rich supply of life. The body’s fragile internal balance depends upon the faithful ebb and flow of the river of “liquid flesh” called blood. In the wonder-working river of “liquid flesh” is the power of healing for the body. As soon as wounds are inflicted in the body, the blood begins to heal, mend, and renew the parts that have been injured. Using the blood’s silvery threads of fibrin to preserve the body, the nephesh soul commands the blood to clot when the body has sustained a cut or abrasion that has caused the bleeding. In the river of “liquid flesh,” God has placed sufficient white cells to act as “little soldiers” to protect the body. In their orderly arrangement, the white cells are able to wage war against the entrance of all microbial enemies. The little “white soldiers” have power to discover, diagnosticate, and devastate millions of deadly microorganisms. To the powerful river of life, called blood, God has given the awesome responsibility and monumental ministry of performing its vital and specific duties of sustaining life. The river of “liquid flesh” or tissues is filled with diverse solid cells, each of which is appointed specific duties by the nephesh soul. The appointed daily list of duties for the blood is absolutely astounding. Daily, it supplies the vital gas and oxygen to each one of the other sixty trillion cells that are in the human body. The river of “liquid flesh” is the conveyer of food, wastes, and hormones that are necessary in maintaining the body’s health. After a person eats, for instance, his river of liquid life rushes to the stomach to help digest food. Then, it also rushes to the lungs to assist the lungs in times of exertion. In times of emotional embarrassment, the blood rushes to the face to help the head because it temporarily has been disconcerted. When the body has been overheated, the river of liquid life rushes to cool it. When the body has been subjected to the danger of freezing, the river of “liquid flesh” rushes to warm it. After this river of liquid life has delivered oxygen to the tissues, the blood becomes red, the carbon dioxide waste which gives the blood a bluish colour having been carried away. The red blood cell, the trusty, energetic servant that carries oxygen and food to the cells, is said to make seventy-five thousand trips between the lungs and the body tissues in four months. After the red cell has sacrificed its life, totally dying in order to give life to the body, it is “gobbled up” by a white cell which breaks it down into a new raw material. Then, the white cell “spits out” what remains of the sacrificed red cell so that the new raw material can be used in the manufacture of more red cells. Therefore, although the sacrificed red cell dies, the end result is that it lives again. These are only a few vital facts about the blood in the natural realm. But, it is plain to see that the existence, the cleansing, the feeding, and the defense of the natural body depend upon this wonder-working river of “liquid flesh” or tissue. Likewise, in the spiritual realm, the existence, cleansing, feeding, and defense of the spiritual man is dependent upon the precious Resurrected Blood of Jesus Christ. Natural blood was sacred to God because it was a shadow and type of the Spiritual Blood of Christ. The Blood of Christ Jesus makes atonement by virtue of the Nephesh Soul of Christ Jesus. In the Old Testament, animal blood (which was the vehicle of the nephesh soul) atoned for sin because the animal soul was offered on God’s Altar as a substitute for man’s nephesh soul. In the New Testament, Christ’s Sacrifice of His Nephesh Soul and His shed Blood have superseded the animal sacrifices offered in the Old Testament. Because blood is the very root of all life in both the natural and spiritual realms, the Blood is God’s Provision for sin. It takes Life or Blood to overcome death and sin. Even before mankind sinned in the Garden of Eden, God in His Foreknowledge provided the Blood Atonement, preparing it from the foundation of the world. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you (I Peter 1:18-20).
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The corruptible things of this world cannot redeem a corruptible, immortal soul. The Blood of Jesus Christ was God’s great Provision for sin from the foundation of the world. It is possible to perceive the priceless worth of man’s soul by discerning the priceless, precious, Infinite Substance that God used to redeem man’s soul — the Blood of Christ Jesus. The Hebrew word for blood is dawm, meaning to spring up, well forth, a life fluid. Man constantly probes the mysteries of natural blood, and he has discovered many secrets about this marvelous river of “liquid flesh.” Likewise, the child of God continually discovers the secrets of the Life-giving Power of the Blood of Jesus Christ as he studies God’s Word and prays. By the time the student of God’s Word has completed the entire study of the full Stature of Truth about the Blood, he will discover many glorious secrets about God’s Relationship to the Blood of Christ, to the blood of animals, and to the blood of man.