Shalom Fellow Israelite,
In last week’s letter, “Drawing Close”, I mentioned that we would take a look at what Paul meant by his following plea: “…by the name of our Master Yeshua the Messiah, [I would] that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). Since we obviously are not going to speak the same thing (all of the time), and divisions are almost inevitable, what would Paul have been referring to? In this chapter the apostle is highlighting the centrality of Yeshua “and Him crucified” and the power and wisdom of the cross, as there was a need to address the brethren’s various allegiances that were causing strife and division. Some were calling themselves after Paul, others after Apollos or Cephas (v. 12), while today we could add a host of pastors, rabbis, teachers, prophets and leaders of organizations. This is why we have 4 or 5 different dates for celebrating the same feast, the proponents of each claiming their ‘rightness’, while often judging others for not following their particular interpretation. But never mind… We are all vulnerable to thinking that we are right and others are wrong, as the power and nature of sin are still working in and through our flesh.
Paul’s response to the Corinthians’ discord and disputation was very direct: “Has Messiah been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you immersed into the name of Paul?” (v. 13). He then goes on to explain about Messiah and His crucifixion. Paul was most likely asking them to have the “same mind” and “speak the same thing” in relationship to what the Father did in and through Yeshua’s suffering and death. Paul then uses the concept of immersion to explain an unseen judicial spiritual act, so that the cross of Messiah would not be made void, of non-effect or empty (v. 17) through different interpretations. Thus, being immersed into Messiah is not referring to being water baptized by someone, but it is YHVH’s immersing of the defiled life of Adam’s humanity into the flesh of His Son while he hung, in a state of dying, on the execution stake. “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach” (Colossians 1:21, emphasis mine. See also Romans 6:3-4; Corinthians 5:14-16). ”But of Him [Elohim] you are in Messiah Yeshua” (1 Corinthians 1:30a) “therefore no flesh may boast” (v. 29). To reinforce this truth, Paul states, when writing to the Galatians: "I have been crucified with Messiah; and it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me” (2:20), and again to the Colossians: “For you died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in Elohim” (3:3). We could not experience this reality had we not been partakers of that ‘mikva’ on the 14th day of Aviv (YHVH’s Pesach) two thousand years ago. The work was done then, but it is only now that we have awakened, through faith, to this truth, by YHVH’s Spirit.
We can actually conjecture at what moment in the dying of Yeshua this ‘mikva’ took place. Because of the Father’s holiness, when the corrupted life of Adam was submerged into the flesh life of His Son, He (the Father) had to put a veil between Yeshua’s nefesh (body-soul) and His (the Father’s) indwelling Spirit: “Elohim was in Messiah reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). In His humanity, being in the flesh, Yeshua experienced this agonizing separation and cried out: “Eli, Eli, why have you forsaken me?!” (Mathew 27:46).
Yeshua’s blood flowing down His flesh body, from the top of his head to the bottom of His feet, was what YHVH required in order to cleanse and purge the life of Adam, so that he could be redeemed and brought back to a relationship with his Heavenly Father and Creator. Because the life of Adam was put into Yeshua’s flesh body, the former went into death with Yeshua. In other words, when Yeshua died so did Adam. Therefore “our old man was crucified with Him that the body of sin might be done away with” (Romans 6:6). Understanding this is of utmost importance, because it makes all the difference in our relationship to one another and to sin, as well as to Satan’s kingdom. This is why the wisdom of Elohim is revealed in the word of the execution stake, as it says: “…but we preach Messiah crucified… to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Messiah the power of Elohim and the wisdom of Elohim” (1 Corinthians 1: 23-24). This was the solution that Paul brought to the Corinthians and it is always the answer to strife, contention, and the taking of offence at the least of disagreements.
A precursor to this ‘mikva’ is found in Jeremiah 17:13, which says: “O YHVH, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You shall be ashamed. Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken YHVH, the fountain of living waters”. “Hope” here is not the usual “tikva”, but rather, “mikva”, as the root for the verb ‘gathering of water’ (see Gen. 1:9) is k.v.h. So we see that our immersion in YHVH is where our hope lies. This is confirmed by the second part of the verse which calls Him, “the fountain of living water”. And if we glance back to verses 7&8, the picture becomes even clearer: "Blessed is the man who trusts in YHVH, and whose trust is YHVH. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
The only way that we will bear the “fruit of the Spirit” is when our roots are in that mikva of the dying and death of Messiah Yeshua, because in Him is “the fountain of living water”. Yeshua said that these living waters would flow forth from our innermost parts as well. “…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:13-14).