First podcast. Would like your comments or any ideas it stirs up. The beginnings of God’s love story…It’s a peek into how He made us and what we’re looking for as women.
Recently I was introduced to a rather long article by Wayne Grudem on the meaning of the Greek word κεφαλη (kephale), which means “head”, in the instances when it doesn’t refer to someone’s actual head. This might sound terribly boring (I will footnote the more technical aspects below the cut) but it has a lot of relevance for any discussion of women in the Bible since there are two oft-quoted verses that state that men or husbands are the heads of their wives (1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:23). Besides this, there are two additional useful things this article can remind us of.
The first thing I would like to do is invite you to read the article, or at least from page 10 of the PDF on. It’s long and so if you decide not to read it I understand but you’re going to have to trust…
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Look under God’s Love Story for a study that helps to define how God sees the true intimate love relationship between man and woman. I will write a series after it that will begin in Genesis 1 and demonstrate how God set the pattern on how to LOVE INTIMATELY and that His Son, Yeshua, will also demonstrate and that we. as spiritual men and women, have possibly been ignorant of by following our cultural understanding of how a “marriage” should be. It is my conviction that those who have a desire to seek may find answers to the question of why those of us who claim to be spiritual are struggling as the world does with divorce, broken relationships, and unnecessary suffering.\
John 15:13: Greater LOVE has no man than this, that to lay down his life for a friend.
Woman was created to be loved, not lusted after and Men were created to be the ones to Love her. Man was created to be trusted, but women are finding that an impossible endeavor because of so many broken relationships. Women lay down their bodies hoping to find a special love from one man, however, prior experiences make it challenging for the “right” one who comes later in their lives and so women continue to lay down their hearts and rise up only to be broken again. Unfortunately, men pay a price in this too and the women they meet are not able to receive love and so the cycle continues. Who pays?
In the end, God pays. His love is not made full in this cycle of pain. Disillusioned, we either adapt to the status quo or end up lonely, alone, and ignorant to the fact that God’s desire for love was greater. He wanted more for all of us. He still does.
So join me as I take this journey of love. It is not a journey meant to point the finger at any particular gender. The enemy of both spiritual men and women is still ever present. If we keep that in mind, perhaps, we can learn to love greater than we have before. God made us physical, emotional, intellectual, sexual and spiritual beings with a choice. Let us see if we are making our own choices or following the crowd of victims in the endless cycle of pain.
I remember growing up and watching the Dating Game. Three bachelors/bachelorettes and some selective questions in which they determine which one they will go on a date with. Like the popular songster show, The Voice, you don’t get to see who you are listening to and that made it half the fun.
Sometimes we are better off not knowing what someone looks like, but then how do we know it’s really that someone? With new shows like Catfish, I am amazed anyone trusts talking with someone they can’t really see or hear. It never ceases to perplex me as to why someone pretends to be someone they aren’t to get even, or because they are lonely or bored. The heartbreak of severed relationships is hard enough today without all the complications. Virtual reality shows pop up almost daily from cooking to celebrities and a sneak peek into people’s lives as if we don’t have any of our own.
Before you critique. I watch many of the Next Food Network Star programs and Catfish, Restaurant Stakeouts and Mystery Diners and if they are true at all, it’s a sad state that we have so many people looking out for themselves but not for one another.
I thought that’s what most people were looking for…someone that made them feel like they mattered.
According to studies I’m seeing out there, 2 out of 3 people believe in a soul mate, but are we really willing to wait for them? There was a clip form a movie called, Timer. which asks this same question? In the movie, there’s a watch attached to you that tells you when you will meet your soul mate and even alarms when you first look into their eyes. What if the watch told you that you missed your mate? Now what? And so, I pose a question. If God told you the one you are with isn’t your soul mate, what do you do? And if he tells you that your soul mate is a close friend of yours and you’re both married? Yikes, scary territory. It might make us rethink our views on why people divorce, perhaps or why we accept the jokes comedians tell about men and women, wives and husbands and why we all identify so with the humor when on the inside, we know a truth no one talks about. Possibly?
In Hebrew, a bashert is the concept of a soul mate. This is supposed to be some divinely created being that is your counterpart in every way. They are like you in so many ways that seeing one is like viewing the mirror image of the other. I’ve heard the belief that the moment you bond in marriage, you become bashert. I’m not saying that isn’t true, but I think it’s a little more challenging than that.
Based on the divorce statistics today, the religious sector is divorcing at a higher rate than those who don’t claim to be religious. Open any tabloid or watch any television reality show and you will witness the sad state of getting the perfect dress, the perfect couple, who are blindly in love and within weeks or months, they can’t stand to look at or be in the same room with the one they married or ‘hooked up ‘ with just a short time ago.
One question I’ve asked a few young people and some older married couples that claim a religious background is, “Did you ask God before you got married, if this was the one?”; “Did He answer?”. I attended many types of churches and taught in some of them, sang in many of them, and observed in all of them that many young couples entering into marriage talk about how they prayed for God to send them their mate. Parents speak of years of praying for the prospective mates for their children, but none tell me the aftermath. “So when a prospective mate shows up and seems to fit all the criteria they were praying for, did they go to God and ask confirmation?” The repeated answer is, “No, I never thought about it like that”.
I was a homeschooler for 14 years, and we were always praying for our children and their spiritual and eventual walk with their mate in life.
When I inquired of newly engaged couples as to why they were getting married they answered that they felt it was about time. Wow, now that sounds romantic. I definitely want a guy to tell me he asked me to marry him because it was about time. Really? Others told me they did ask God and prayed with their prospective mate, but when I asked their mate, separately, the answer was different. They hadn’t prayed about that and had not received an answer. Some said they got a feeling…hmm. What feeling?
So for those of us who believe in soul mates being possible? Other than a list of all the person’s attributes, did you go a step further and ask if this is the ONE?! Did God answer?
Does it not say what God has joined together let no man put asunder, in regard to the holiest of unions? But does anybody really ask God? Do we assume because we fall in love with the one we marry that God approves. I’m not saying He doesn’t but perhaps, it isn’t His best for you if He doesn’t answer or are we afraid of the answer?
Well, today I will help my 22 year-old son fill out divorce papers to begin the process of separating. Personally, I’ve been here before and my heart breaks for him. He still loves her and doesn’t see how it can mean so much to one person and nothing to another. He keeps asking, “Mom, how do you stop loving someone you’ve known for 15 years?” I don’t have answers for that really. Time will teach him what real love is, I pray.
So let me end by asking you to entertain a few thoughts. If a marriage lasts a long time, does that make it real love? Because you share someone’s last name, does that make them your true love? Are we perhaps guilty of treating a marriage license with artistic license and painting it how we want others to see it when behind the scenes, it’s not as pretty as we pretend it is? I am not an advocate of divorce, but I do believe if you love someone then we shouldn’t be afraid of the answers we might find if we look a little deeper in the heart. Some feel safe under the cover of a ring and a contract, but love is not about possession. Truly, can we love another enough to leave if they aren’t fulfilled within the relationship? Can we also stay if we realize that they are not the perfect mate we hoped for but we love them enough to not threaten their existence as they see it?
Love should be a measure of giving and receiving, but I have found it is usually a teeter totter of one giving and one taking. That’s what we call mutual gratification. Can we be honest and ask ourselves if we are really giving back because we want to keep the tally even or because we truly want to give love to the one who gives us love so unconditionally? I believe there are many couples out there who love from the love the Father has given them, but there are just as many who claim love like an adornment of rings, contracts and years and end up like the children’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes–naked and ashamed. In the beginning, it was not this way. I hope to discuss this more in the next few weeks.
So ask some questions and tell me what you find; Inquiring minds want to know.
I will be sharing the writings of my partner in this writing who passed away 4 weeks ago. I hope it will add further understanding of the topics I will discuss in the future and give a ‘man’s’ perspective. Rick was a brilliant man and scholar and so I offer his writings to those who may find a better perspective or perhaps, even some challenging questions to ponder and grow. So here goes…
THE MYSTERY OF INTIMACY: A theological and philosophical perspective
October 17, 2012 by Rick Mittelstedt
IS PERFECTED LOVE POSSIBLE BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN?
In 1 Corinthians 11 the Apostle Paul speaks of a divine order of intimate love between יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים the Creator, the Messiah or Anointed Man, and every spiritual man [Ish] and spiritual woman [Ishah] within the ecclesia. This divine order of intimacy cannot be experienced by mere natural men or women of the world. This spiritual and supernatural intimate love defines the flow of the anointing or character of the Elohim through those men and women who have been “called out” to make up His ecclesia. Intimate love is possible, but only through divine insight and revelation.
In 1 Corinthians 11:3 the Apostle Paul writes:
It is my will that you come to an understanding [of the divine order of intimacy], that the source [head] of intimate love for every man is the Messiah or Anointed Man, and man is the source [head] of intimate love for woman, and the source[head] of intimate love of the Messiah is God the Father.
This statement contains the mystery of intimacy. An intimate love that the Elohim commanded, that woman were created to receive and that all men desperately need to learn to give.
Paul says that it is his personal will that all would know or obtain an understanding of this divine order of intimacy.
Yet few women and men ever experience this intimate love in their lives and thus never fulfill the purpose of their existence. The love relationship between man and woman never reaches its possible perfection. Men are frustrated and women remain unfulfilled or worse abused, neglected or dominated.
Many religious traditions have used this statement to justify man’s dominance and authority over woman. But nothing could be further from the truth and all that do insure that the intimacy that the Elohim commanded remains hidden.
Paul declares the interrelationship of this divine order and hints at the responsibility within it when he writes:
The head of intimate love for all men is the Anointed Man or the Messiah.
The word “kephale” is usually translated “head’ and is interpreted by many religious traditions to refer to the authority or dominance the Messiah has over men. However, the same religious men do not submit to that authority or acknowledge the Messiah’s right to express his will over themselves. At the same time they are more than eager to exercise authority and dominance over woman. The word “kephale” is primarily used in ancient literature to denote what is first or foremost in position. Like the mouth of a river that is the source of its course. In like manner the head of the body is prominent in the body because of its position and responsibility. In this position it is the source of life for the body. Here Paul is not emphasizing the idea of authority at all, but rather position and responsibility. The Messiah bore the responsibility in his life, through his words and actions, to be an example of what men should be and can be in their words and deeds. In this capacity or position, he is the source of the Father’s intimate love and anointing available to all men. Of course this idea is expressed clearly in other Pauline passages, most notably Ephesians 1:22f, 4:15, 5:23; Colossians 1:18-20; and 2:19.
In Ephesians, Paul emphasizes that the same anointing the Messiah experienced is available to men and women who have formed an intimate spiritual union with him. This is most often expressed by the term ‘en christo’ or ‘in the anointing” and is found 27 times in Ephesians alone. Those who form a spiritual union with the spirit of Messiah are known as the ecclesia or “called out ones.” They are called out to be the object of his intimate love.
In 1:22 the Anointed Man is again called the “kephale” or head of the ecclesia which is expressed as “his own body.” This is an expression that is often repeated to define the intimate relationship of love between spiritual men [Ish] and spiritual women [Ishah] within the ecclesia. In his position as the “head” it is the Messiah’s responsibility to be the source of intimate love between himself and his body or bride, which is to be “the fullness or completion of him.” But the bride can never be the fullness or completion of him, without him assuming the position and responsibility of being the source of intimate love for her.
This fullness or completion expresses the intimate love between the Messiah, the head, and his own body or bride, the ecclesia. In 4:15 this intimacy is expressed clearly, “This is a spoken truth, we all [as ecclesia, men and woman alike] are to mature in love just like him.” The goal is that his body or bride reaches the maturity of love found in her source, or head, the Messiah. The ultimate expression of this maturity is the intimate love the Messiah himself received from God the Father. This flow of intimate love from God the Father to Messiah, from Messiah to spiritual men, and from spiritual men to woman is exactly what the Apostle Paul so desperately desires to reveal in 1 Corinthians 11:3. The purpose and ultimate aim of this giving and receiving has remained a mystery for far too long. In fact, the Apostle declares in 5:32: “this is a MEGA MYSTERY.” As a result the relationship between man and woman has failed to become what God the Father intended it to be from the beginning because it remains a mega mystery.
When Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 11:3
that man is the head[or source of intimate love] for woman,
he is not declaring that men have authority or dominance over woman, rather he is expressing the same responsibility man has to be the source of intimate love for his own body, woman, as the Messiah has to his body, the ecclesia. This is precisely what is written in Ephesians 5:23.
“For the husband is the head for his wife, in the same way as the Messiah is the head for the ecclesia, for he is her deliverer.”
This brief passage 5:23-33, reinforces no less than four times the position and responsibility of spiritual men to step up and be the source of intimate love to their spiritual counterpart, their “ishah” or woman. Spiritual men alone are in the position to deliver woman from the historical cruelty of religious and cultural dominance.
In 1 Corinthians 11, the Apostle reveals something long hidden from the religious world of all faiths in all places at all times. Few women, and even fewer men, have ever understood the importance of the creation of woman and the significance of her role in the redemptive plan of the living God. In most cultures throughout history, she has be relegated as an object of lust and seen primarily as the vehicle of procreation. Women have been limited to a life of cleaning, cooking and bearing children. Yet, when one studies the ancient texts a different picture emerges. She was to be not only the bearer of life, but of redemptive life. She was to be the object of the intimate love of God the Father, the Messiah and spiritual men. Yet it is these same ancient texts, which have been misunderstood and misused to subjugate woman into a life of submissiveness and silence. The writings of religious men throughout history are rife with words that impede the will of God the Father. They are pawns of malevolence in the cosmic struggle between good and evil.
“As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power….”
“And a man will choose…any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman…Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die”
“And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleased God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.”
As a result of such theological prejudice against woman, a perverted authoritative view has developed in the thinking of men and accepted in the minds of woman concerning the divine order between God the Father, the Messiah and men and women. The picture most often accepted is a medieval feudal system of dominance, control and authority. That God the Father Lords it over the Messiah and Messiah lords it over men and men lord themselves over woman. Here woman is at the bottom of some militaristic command structure, with no recourse but to listen and obey or pay the consequences.
Messiah. Anointed man
This is not in any way what the Apostle Paul is expressing in 1 Corinthians 11:3. What Paul is revealing is a mystery hidden through time. This is not a chain of command but an interdependent relationship. And woman is not at the bottom of some feudal system in servitude, but rather the ultimate object of all that God the Father, Messiah and spiritual men are to give, intimate love. Why? Cause the woman is the life bearer, the life giver, and ultimately, in fulfillment of what God the Father spoke in Genesis 3:15, it is her seed that brought redemptive life to the cosmos, not the seed of Adam. It is “the seed of woman” that crushes the head of the one who introduced death and destruction to the cosmos.
In great error, a view has emerged from the beginning that has all but eliminated the will of God the Father, to establish a course of relationship where his own intimate love flows freely, unhindered from himself through his creation and then to return to him. Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 11:3 should not be represented by a vertical authoritative configuration. Paul is not suggesting that at all. He views this connection as a horizontal flow of the Creator’s intimate love.
God the Father, Messiah, Anointed Man and Women
In this view, the Messiah is both a receiver of his Father’s love and a giver of it to all mankind. Spiritual men too, are both a receiver of the Messiah’s love and a giver of it to his spiritual counterpart, woman. What about woman? Is she merely the final receptor of God’s love through man? No. She is not merely at the end of an interdependent relationship, but is uniquely created to hold the most important position of all. It is true, it is the weakest of positions, because she is somewhat dependent upon the flow of God’s anointing and love through man, but at the same time it is the most important position.
‘For the spiritual man [ish] is to live with his spiritual woman [ishah] in this understanding: although she is in a weaker position, yet she is ishah and the Ish is to grant her honor as an equal heir of the Father’s faithfulness of life so that their[God, Man and Woman] communion will not be hindered.’ 1 Peter 3:7
Despite the fact she appears to be at the end of this movement of intimate love, she alone, like the Father, is able to bear and give life. In this capacity she becomes the reflection of the glory of the Father she has received through man. Without her it is impossible for the Father to ever be fully glorified in heaven and earth.
God the Father, Messiah, Anointed Man, & Women
This is exactly the principle that the Apostle is addressing in 1 Corinthians 11:7, 8, 9 alluding to the creation of Adam and Chava in Genesis, when he writes:
“For a man is not obligated to have his head covered, since he initiates the image and glory of God the Father, BUT woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man, for INDEED, man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.”
Obviously man was created for God’s sake. But what is this need man has? That the Father saw it necessary to create woman for his sake? Of course Adam was alone and had no one like himself. But Chava is more than a mere physical companion. She was to be the very spiritual manifestation of whatever anointing he received from God the Father. Why? So that the flow of intimate love, the instruction of his very character, might be received by the Adam then given to the woman, then through the woman back to the man and ultimately back to God the Father from which it originated. Why? So God the Father can be fully glorified in all of his creation. The Apostle expresses this completion of intimate love by saying: “That every individual member of the whole is filled with fullness.”
What emerges is interdependency between God the Father, anointed man [Ish] and his spiritual counterpart [ishah] woman. In this interdependency receiving and giving are integral actions of the flow of the intimate love that originates in God the Father. Without it the flow is hindered and every part of the whole is not filled with the love of the Father, and consequently he is not glorified throughout creation. By subjugating woman into a life of submission and silence, man finds himself literally working hand in hand with the one who diminished the glory of God in the Garden of Eden, the CORRUPTOR.
Why? What is it that hinders or impedes this flow of intimate love? It is primarily ignorance. But it is also the inability of man to receive revelation concerning his role in this interdependency. Man is in a greater position than woman. Not in the sense of domination or authority, but rather in responsibility. For the most part, man has never lived up to his position or his responsibility. Both of which are clearly demonstrated in the words and deeds of Y’shua the Messiah concerning his own bride. But for the rest of the sons of Adam, they have failed to become both receiver and giver of the intimate love of the Father. Without supernatural revelation Man cannot fully appreciate his role as a receiver, or the bride of Messiah. Such a man cannot then turn to the woman and fully appreciate her as receiver. Man must first see himself as the feminine [ishah] of his husband, the anointed man, Messiah, before there can be any hope of him being the husband of a woman. In his rebellion, man cannot see this truth or understand the mega mystery of intimate love the Apostle describes in Ephesians 5:23-33. The consequence of this ignorance and rebellion is that men can never fully relate to the needs of a woman. They have difficulty in understanding why woman are never fully satisfied physically or spiritually. They are at a loss of why the marriage relationship is so frustrating and miserable.
Are women completely innocent in this rebellion against the flow of the intimate love of God? No. For women have failed to seek out and find the truth of intimate love. They have become complacent with the status quo. They have accepted the lie of their inferiority. They willingly in most situations place the noose of domination and cruel authority over their own precious necks. They help perpetuate their own servitude by raising their own children to accept what they have endured from the beginning.
To correct this great injustice against God the Father and woman, the concept of spiritual man [ish] and spiritual woman [ishah] must be explained. The responsibility and position of both in the love relationship must be understood. The flow of intimate love between the two must become experiential knowledge.
Have you ever contemplated the Garden of Eden scenario and wondered what was really going on there? The serpent must have been present as Adam was naming the animals but he doesn’t show himself until God fashions a woman from a part taken from within Adam. And many ask why does he approach the woman and not the man? I have seen most answers that the woman is more susceptible to tempTation and so he approaches her and will eventually bring down the man also. I challenge that though. God took extra effort to be personal and detailed in His creation of Chava (Eve). She is originally created to be an ‘ezer kenegdo’. In Hebrew, this means a helper suitable or counter to Adam. The two are connected interdependently. In today’s religious world and in the secular, however, we find women burdened with the responsibility of childbearing, housekeeping, physically fit, perfectly beautiful (of course, plastic surgery, botox and endless years of dieting, binging, purging, and exercise), career-minded, or homeschooling mother playing the teeter totter of balance between spirituality and practical matters and ending in an endless heap of weariness. I do not believe this is what God intended. She was created as an equal, able to face enemies as one unit and yet knowing that the man beside her has his ear to one who will teach him to love the way God loves; an ear to his Ish (spiritual source) and able to protect, nurture, heal, restore, and assist in the growth of the Isha (spiritual woman). Look in the next few posts to come for further details about what defines a spiritual man and a spiritual woman.
We will see how God prepared the couple for this battle; How the enemy knew how to intervene and perhaps how the couple fell apart amidst this enemy in their midst. We have only to look into the world and see how marriages and relationships fail to see the clues to what originated in the Garden of Eden. What is your perfect man? What is every woman looking for and every man hoping to be? Why don’t we see this kind of love and this kind of couple today?
I always wondered what the true meaning of being bathed in the Word encompassed and I believe I’m beginning to understand it. There are many libraries filled with books and hospitals or counseling sessions overpacked with clients that remember the power of a bad word; Some include the power of a good word in changing a person’s life, but I believe the foundation all begins in the basic relationship that begins a family and extends itself into the world.
As a new believer I thought that bathed in the Word was me drowning myself in the Word of God and succeeding in giving an appropriate word to someone else in time of need; but truly, it is simpler than that and perhaps goes unnoticed. I think the Father sets the example in creation by attending to every detail and as the Word reiterates that He, Yeshua, sustains all, upholds all of creation. The word of a spiritual man is intended to surround and sanctify an environment for a spiritual woman to grow, to trust, and to learn about love. In return, a spiritual woman gives a good word to build up and invest in the spirit of the one who has given her life by his word and the keeping of his word.
In the Word, a spiritual man is commanded to love a woman as Christ loves the church and as his own body. Doesn’t seem too hard except that the spiritual man must have already received that love from Christ in order to give it to her. He must truly love her from head to toe and declare it. When was the last time, your man kissed your feet and it wasn’t because he wanted sex with you, but because he just adores you…your soul, your spirit, YOU!
Some would say that’s for young love or going too far, but I suggest that we don’t go far enough because we fear ridicule or judgement or we don’t know the love of Christ and therefore can’t really give anymore than what we already do. We are stretched between responsibilities we have taken on in the world for the ones we love and truly taking the time to find out who they are and how to love them. Is it possible to sit down believers and face the mirror of Christ and see if we are doing as He did? Do we love like He loves? Hate what He hates; or do we make excuses for our failures, imperfections, weariness and give up the challenge of pressing toward the higher calling in Christ…to lay down our life for love?