THE SANDALS AND THE STAFF
(ALONG WITH YAHSHUA SPITTING)
CONT., page 6
Let us now proceed to our consideration of the second of the two subject items - the staff. And once again, in order for us to understand this apparent discrepancy in Yahshua's message to the twelve as recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, one must first understand the meaning and significance of the staff. You will recall that in Matthew, Yahshua instructed His disciples not to take a staff; in Mark, to the contrary He said to take a staff; and in Luke, once again they were instructed not to take a staff. Let us now see what that staff represents.
The staff bears the symbolism of directing the course of others - whether they are sheep, goats, or people. It is similar (if not nearly synonymous) to the rod or the scepter. Frequently, the words "staff" or "rod" found in the Bible are actually translated from the identical Hebrew word. The staff/rod was and is the tool of a shepherd, a governor, or a king - one who had the power to exercise authority. Moses had a staff to lead the Israelites; Aaron had a budding staff to affirm his priesthood; Jacob crossed the Jordan with a staff (Genesis 32:10); and Judah ended up giving his staff to his daughter-in-law, Tamar (who bore Perez and Zerah - Genesis 38:18f). While the staff might appear attractive, in that one might possess authority, in the hands of anyone other than Yahshua that staff ends up biting like a snake. Moses cast his staff down before the burning bush and it became a serpent, from which Moses fled (Exodus 4:1-5). Moses would have done well to have kept away from that staff; but unfortunately he had to have it in his work. It was Moses' staff of authority that was used to strike the rock (of Yahshua - 1 Corinthians 10:4) the first time. But the use of that staff was troublesome in the end. With it once again Moses disobediently struck a rock (Yahshua) twice in order to bring forth water, causing Moses to be excluded from entering the promised land (Numbers 20:8-13). In the end, Moses' rod bit like a snake.
Prophecy concerning the tribe of Dan reveals that he would "judge (or, govern) his people." But the problem with that staff of judging is seen in the remainder of his prophecy - "Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backward" (Genesis 49:16-18). The staff of judging or governing in the hand of any man other than Yahshua Himself becomes a serpent and causes the rider to fall backward, even as Moses experienced.
Jonathan, though having carried out a valiant and mighty deed by defeating twenty Philistines, in the end received the death sentence because "he put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth" (1 Samuel 14:27). Though he was unaware of his offense; even still, the violation of his father's edict stood, and he later died with him in battle and never became king in his father's place. His staff too, used to obtain the honey, bit like a serpent in the end. While Moses' use of the staff caused him to not enter into the "land of milk and honey;" similarly, Jonathan's use of his staff in obtaining honey caused him to fail in the end.
Likewise, we see the failure of Elisha's servant Gehazi. Though he possessed Elisha's staff, and even obediently laid it on the face of the Shunammite woman's dead son, his efforts were unsuccessful. He returned to Elisha and declared - "The lad has not awakened" (2 Kings 4:29-31). It was not long after that Gehazi also "falls backward," as he could not pass up the riches of Naaman which Elisha rejected. The staff bit like a serpent and Gehazi (Christianity) got leprosy - 2 Kings 5:15-27.
Another example of the hazard of that staff is a warning from 2 Kings 18:21. Though Rabshakeh was fatally wrong in his timing for the overthrow of Jerusalem, he did declare to Hezekiah one truth - "Now behold, you rely on the staff of this crushed reed, even on Egypt; on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him." Who is it that you immediately think of whose hands were pierced? And who was it that was taken to Egypt to flee from Herod in order to escape harm (Matthew 2:13-15)? Though we cannot elaborate here, we find that what happened with Christ, happens to the body of Christ, or Christianity. (See THE ISSUE for further evidence of this.) The body of Christ leans upon the staff of the world, and that act seals their crucifixion death.
And one final quote here before we move on. Is it not significant to this study on the staff and the church when we find unique statements such as the following from Jacob - "for with my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies" (Genesis 32:10)? The cause for his division into two companies at the Jordan is equally revealing. His strategy was simple - if the first company was attacked and perished, then the second company would be able to escape alive (verse 8). This point in and of itself seems to bear little meaning, other than strategy. But in light of what we have been learning concerning the staff, and in light of other staff related examples we will briefly point out, these two companies - one sent out that might perish, and one to follow so that it might escape - bear great truth. Let us look at these related examples.
Moses equally took up his staff, and the Israelites were divided into two companies - those who died in the wilderness and those who entered into the promise land. The former perished and the latter escaped. Judah gave his staff unknowingly to his daughter-in-law, and he became two companies - three sons who died, and twin sons who would live to bear his name. The former perished and the latter escaped. Jonathan used his staff to obtain the honey and he likewise became two - the next ruling son of a king who died before becoming king, and his son Mephibosheth who ascended alive to the home of his beloved friend, David, who became king. Again, the former perished and the latter escaped alive.
Do you not see here the parallel with Mark Christianity that was told to take the staff? Mark Christianity took the staff, and equally it became two companies - those who likewise have perished in the wilderness without entering into the promised land, and those who in the end escape and enter in alive. These are the two companies seen by Zechariah - the olive tree company and the lampstand company. These are the Remnant who enter into the promised land, and Christianity that perishes in the wilderness. "For with my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies." The staff which Christianity bears has the decided affect of dividing into two - one vast company that perishes, and one that escapes death.
One can clearly see the hazard and even the final ill consequence of bearing that staff. Therefore, to the two Remnants per Matthew and Luke, Yahshua warns - "DO NOT TAKE A STAFF." Though the sandals are not available to the second Remnant, the staff of ruling over and judging people is always available. Therefore He warns the second Remnant not to take it up. What is the venom in that serpent's fangs? What gives it its power to kill? It is this law - As you judge, so you will be judged. When you go around judging people (even when you are right!) and carrying out actions against them to their exclusion, harm, or correction, that same judgment will come back on you. Any man in a position of authority over others has to bear that staff. This is the hazard of being a shepherd or pastor. The staff a man takes up for the "care" of his flock will in the end bite him like a serpent, and the rider is thrown backwards.
This is what happens to Christianity. Evidenced by the message of Yahshua in Mark, Christianity is instructed to "take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff." The staff of shepherding and ruling has been in the hands of Christianity for 2,000 years, and it bites like a serpent and they are thrown backwards. Christianity does not enter into the promised land, but for 2,000 years its people have died in the wilderness. According to Zechariah 13:8, they are "cut off and perish." In other words, they die without entering into the promised land. He who has the power of death, that is Satan (Lit. of Hebrews 2:14) the serpent, stings his venomous death. And, in accordance with the teachings of Christianity concerning the Sabbath - that it is the first day of the week and not the seventh - they will thus not enter into Yahshua's seventh day Millennial rest, but will labor in the flesh until their acclaimed first day Sabbath. What they have taught for nearly 2,000 years, they will get - their delayed or first day rest.
Frankly, there is only ONE who has the right to bear the staff, the only One who is both perfect in judgment and has the authority to cleanse sins - the Good Shepherd Christ Yahshua. In Genesis 49:10 we read - "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes" or "until He comes to whom it belongs." For now the staff has been taken up by the Mark church, the body of Christ, in order to rule over the flock. Even as the sceptor or staff belongs to Christ, so that right has obligated the body of Christ to take up that staff. And even as that staff pierced the hands of Christ, so it has limewise pierced the hands of the body of Christ, and they too have died. They are the ones who likewise have the sandals, or the responsibility to bring forth the godly ones in the kingdom, thus obtaining the staff as well. Yahshua has given them the temporary right to try to rule; but oh that venomous staff! It is proven that there is truly only ONE who can perfectly bear that staff, the one who came under the law and fulfilled it without error. There is only ONE "to whom it belongs," who can use the rod and the staff to "comfort me" - Yahweh who is our Shepherd (Psalm 23).
Continue to the final page of Sandals And Staff for the CONCLUSION
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