“I would never have known the meaning of covetousness unless the Torah/Law said “you shall not covet”.”
There are seven “Heavens”, or ‘levels’ of Heaven. Sha’ul said that ‘a man’ he knew went to the ‘third heaven’, though he could not know if it happened in body or out of body.
There are seven colors in the rain bow. They are: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
I remember years ago teaching about the idea of spiritually progressing: moving מִכָּבוֹד לְכָבוֹד , “from one glory to another glory”.
So this morning, very, very early, I awoke. Instead of getting up, I laid still for a while, praying. And I was meditating on the idea of “shalom,” of getting to a place where my shalom is ‘secure,’ that it cannot be rattled by this world.
In our Torah study, we just reviewed the fact that Yeshua, when ‘tested’, drove away the temptation and the tempter by citing the Scriptures, and specifically, the book of “D’varim”, or Deuteronomy. So, as I’m lying there, I know that a big part of having ‘shalom’ comes from being distanced from the three things that “HaSatan” is called in the passage about Yeshua’s temptation/testing: הַמְקַטְרֵג and מְנַסֶּה , and הַשָּׂטָן. The first word is “ha’mekatreg”, for ‘accuser’, and the second is “‘m’naseh”, for ‘tempter’. The last is the more common moniker, “HaSatan”, or “Satan”, which means ‘adversary’. Given that Yeshua used “The Words”, which is the meaning of the Hebrew name of the book of Deuteronomy, to fend off this ‘adversary’, I began to reason that ‘shalom’ must be a pursuit through “The Word,” somehow.
It’s hard to recount exactly my thought process, but I thought about moving from glory to glory, about getting ‘closer to God’ in this earth, about improving who I am as a person, and the idea of those seven levels came to mind. Then I remembered teaching that the Rainbow can basically be viewed as traversing those seven ‘levels’. There was a great deal that went into that lesson so many years ago, to ‘set up’ the connection of the rainbow to the pursuit of God, which I do not want to take time to do here. But, it was connected to the powers of the “Ru’akh,” or the Power/Breath, or Spirit of God, the seven of them which are seen in Isaiah 11:2, and alluded to in Revelation 4, connected to the rainbow and the Menorah there.
So, I started contemplating the ‘path of life’, which is another way the Torah is explained in Scripture, as being a spiritual ‘journey’ on earth, begun after coming to know Messiah. He is the “Anointed One,” and the symbol of His Congregation is the Menorah [Revelation 1-4]. Seven Lamps. Seven “Spirits”. And the goal is to get to where He stands.
So, if “The Words” are important, then certainly the “Ten Words”, which most call the Ten Commandments, must be very important.
And then it dawned on me: there is a pattern in learning those. When our children were little, we used to help them learn the Ten Words by this phrase: “thou thou thou remember honor”, where each of those words were the first word in each of the first five commandments. And of course, the last five all began with ‘you will not’, or ‘thou shalt not’. And also long ago I taught about the reverse order of those Ten Words, and how that order is the direction in which one should endeavor to conquer them.
What I mean is this: the last ‘command’ is summarized by most as “lo takhmod”, “לֹא תַחְמֹד”, or ‘you will not covet’. It goes on, of course, and gives a summary statement about what not to ‘covet’, and the end of the matter is basically “anything”/כֹּל. It is this idea that brought me to Romans 7:7, cited above.
“I would never have known the meaning of covetousness unless the Torah/Law said “you shall not covet”.”
חִמּוּד / khimud is the word ‘covetousness’ above, and gets properly translated there as ‘lust’ in other translations. It is the same derivative as the word ‘takhmod’ in “you will not covet”.
Khimud, or ‘covetousness/lust’ is far more than we permit ourselves to think when we hear the command; most of us think only about ‘things’, specifically the ones mentioned in the command, ‘wife, servants, donkey,’ and we do not think about other ‘things’. But, Sha’ul/Paul is writing about something very important when he reminded his readers about lust:
“What shall we say then? Is the Torah sin? What profanity! I would not have learned the significance of sin except by means of the Torah.” And that is what I have been contemplating now for days: the significance of sin. All sin. The little ones we don’t even contemplate, especially. And I submit that khimud חִמּוּד is the root of most of them. But, I began to walk my way up the steps of the Ten Words as I lay in my bed meditating, counting to seven:
• לֹא תַחְמֹד
• לֹא תַעֲנֶה
• לֹא תִגְנֹב
• לֹא תִנְאָף
• לֹא תִרְצָח
• כַּבֵּד אֶת
• זָכוֹר אֶת
And right there it ‘dawned’ on me: The seventh one from the bottom is “Zakhor Et Yom HaShabbat”…
Today is His “Day of Rest”, which is literally what “Yom Shabbat” means, and we say “Shabbat Shalom” customarily as a greeting. There are only three ‘Words’ left in the Ten, and they are all about יהוה . “You will not take the Name יהוה in vain,” “You will not make graven images and bow down and worship them”, and “I am יהוה , you will have no other gods before me”.
And it all started with “you will not ‘covet'”.
If we want to get to God, and have HIS Shalom on this earth, we walk through the PERFECT MAN, Yeshua, who was able to quell ‘khimud’, in every way, not receiving anything that the adversary, tempter, false accuser offered Him.
Yeshua set the example. He conquered ‘khimud’, even when it applied to His most basic NEEDS! He was HUNGRY and THIRSTY, after not having eaten or drank, and He did so BY HIS WORD. Specifically, everything Yeshua quoted BACK to the adversary was out of “D’varim”, The Words, which, by the way, also contains the “Ten D’varim” in their ‘second telling’. They are first cited in Exodus 20, and repeated in Deuteronomy 5.
I was so excited to see that the Sabbath was the SEVENTH Word from the bottom, given that I was contemplating the pursuit of Shalom. We are headed for a Sabbath, as Paul explains in the Book of Hebrews:
3But we who have trusted will enter into rest, as He said, “As I have sworn in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest;” for behold, the works of Elohim were from the very foundation of the world. 4For He said concerning Shabbat, [ שַּׁבָּת ] “Elohim rested [ וַיִּשְׁבֹּת ] on the seventh day from all His works.” …… 9Therefore, for the people of Elohim, doing Shabbat remains. 10For he who has entered into His rest also has ceased from his own works, as Elohim did from His.
‘Rest’ is the idea behind Sabbath. Sabbath is the Seventh Day. One can see in the verse above that “God rested” is yishbot, and could literally be ‘He sabbathed’, if one looks closely at the two words in brackets for ‘rested’ and ‘sabbath’. The number ‘seven’ means ‘complete’. We see that when God CREATED the Sabbath by blessing the SEVENTH DAY, back when He created the world:
2And on the seventh day, Elohim finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. 3And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it He rested [ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת ] from all His work, which Elohim, in creating, had made. ~ Genesis 2
כִּי הַבָּא אֶל מְנוּחָתוֹ גַּם הוּא שָׁבַת מִמְּלַאכְתּוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר הָאֱלֹהִים מִשֶּׁלּוֹ.
“For the one who comes into His Rest he also SABBATHS from His work as did God.”
The Sabbath is seen as a verb in these passages. And it is the destination of conquering SIN, so that we may enter into His Rest. And at the TOP of the Ten Words, is יהוה , the ONLY God, who is the object of our affection.
Covetousness, ‘lust’, is the cause of most of our sin. It is the root.
And Yeshua’s brother Ya’akov, James, understood this:
1From where do conflicts and quarrels among you come? Is it not from the lusts that war in your members? 2You covet and do not obtain; you kill and envy, but you cannot possess; you strive and fight, yet you have nothing, because you do not ask. 3You ask and you do not receive because you do not ask sincerely; you ask that you may satisfy your lusts. 4O you adulterers! Do you not know that the love for worldly things is enmity with Elohim? Whoever, therefore, esteems worldly things is the enemy of Elohim. 5Or do you think that the scripture says in vain, “HaRu’akh that dwells in us is provoked by jealousy?” 6But Adoneinu has given us abundant grace. Therefore he said, “Elohim humbles the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, therefore, to Elohim. Resist HaSatan, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to Elohim, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, O you sinners! And purify your hearts, O you of doubtful mind! 9Humble yourselves and mourn; let your laughter be turned to weeping and your joy to sorrow. 10Humble yourselves before יהוה and He will lift you up. ~ chapter 4
He will lift you up to the next “glory”, closer to His throne. There are seven ‘heavens’, or ‘levels of heaven’ in scripture, per ancient Jewish thought. Sha’ul/Paul, a former Rabbi, says he saw the ‘third heaven’.
Those seven heavens are called:
• Vilon (וילון)
• Raki’a (רקיע)
• Shekhakim (שחקים)
• Zebul (זבול)
• Ma’on (מעון)
• Makhon (מכון)
• Aravot (ערבות)
They are all in scripture, in various books, mostly D’varim/Deuteronomy, the Psalms, and Isaiah. At the top is the very Throne Room. These purportedly were seen mimicked in The Temple, where the ‘third heaven’ would have been The Court of Israel. There would be four more ‘ascents’ to get to the Throne, represented by the Ark of the Covenant, over which the “Keruvim” stand. There is also a concept of three more ‘heavens’, to make a total of TEN, where the top Three would be the very throne itself. One sees this imagery in the Ten Words, bottom to top.
So, in order to progress, in order not to stagnate, one must indeed conquer ‘lusts’.
24And those who belong to Mashi’akh have executed their flesh with all its weaknesses and passions. 25Let us therefore live in HaRu’akh, and surrender to HaRu’akh. 26Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.
I recently saw a conversation on social media from believers, saying they do not sin. Oy! Why were these “NT Letters” written, if they all were not written to deal with SIN among believers!
If one is struggling with:
• sex [male/female, male/male, female/female, it’s all wrong, apart from male/female marriage]
All of them are rooted in khimud/covetousness/lust. It is a foul spirit, and it grips the ‘flesh,’ or our ‘human nature’. We who believe are SUPPOSED to be free of these things, but many times, we are not. We are, in fact, trapped in them. I personally conclude that conquering ‘khimud’ is what is accomplished when Paul said,
“I die daily” ~ 1 Cor 15:31
20I am executed with Mashi’akh; henceforth it is not I who live, but Mashi’akh who lives in me; and the life which now I live in the flesh I live by absolute trust in Ben HaElohim, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ~ Galatians 2
10And if Mashi’akh is within you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is alive because of tzedaka [righteousness]. 11And if The Breath of Him who raised Our Master Yeshua The Messiah from the dead dwells within you, so He who raised Yeshua The Messiah from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies by His Breath that dwells within you. 12Therefore, my brethren, we are not indebted to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13For if you live after the flesh, you will die; but if you, through HaRu’akh [Spirit/Breath], subdue the deeds of the body, you shall live. ~ Romans 8
It is so simple. Die.
Dying is hard to do. Certainly, physical death for one who is ‘aware’ is something 99.999% of people are going to resist. Our flesh, however, our human nature, resists being put aside for higher pursuits. But, it really is a matter of dying; I think this is one reason Yeshua gave us the Passover as a picture of His Death, in which we are all supposed to participate. Daily.
You cannot conquer those base sins on your own. You will not. But, HE can conquer them DAILY, by LIVING IN YOU, when you DIE to human nature. You can’t put down the cigarettes, the pot, the beer, the whisky, the porn, the jealousy, the anger, the bitterness, the hatred, IN YOUR OWN POWER….
You. Must. Die.
Lust is the problem. “Khimud”/ חִמּוּד . Turn off your ‘luster’. There is great Shalom ahead, and a Shabbat!