Macedonian Ruins

Bein' a Berean

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The Potter’s Right is Our Mark (update 2024/06/03)

“…does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?”1

Two events are monumental in mankind's history: our rejection of God's design for our wellbeing (the fall into sin) and Jesus’ substitutional payment for the consequences of that event.

Much has been written about the latter. I’ve written this article to understand the effects of our rejection. 

There are a few verses about the fall in Genesis chapter three, but more supporting information is interspersed throughout the Bible. 

Like any puzzle, there are many pieces, and it is very likely each piece could fit with many others; however, to get the real, intended picture, these pieces only fit one way.

When we see that picture, we have a wonderful new understanding not only of sin but, more importantly, we learn new ways of overcoming it. The debt of sin was paid in full, but removing its effects from our day-to-day lives and relationships is a process. It’s called sanctification. It’s a cooperative process wherein we become aware of sin acting in us, confess that sin, and ask the Spirit of Holiness to remove it as we progressively resist sin and yield to His cleansing.

The word ‘sin’ in Greek is derived from the principle of ‘missing the mark.’ This comes from the visual picture of an archer hoping the arrow would hit its intended target and begs the question, “As God's creation, what is or was our intended target?” Any hope of hitting that target would naturally require that we know and can point to that target.

From the Beginning

It is written that in six literal days God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them.2

It would follow that the angels, the celestial beings, were also created within that time and, being that the angels are closely associated with the stars in the heavens, it could suggest they were created on the fourth day.

With man as the grand finale on the sixth day, the angels would have had the opportunity to participate in the last two days of creation.

Of particular interest to this topic are the archangels or cherubs, the names of some we are told in various sources are Michael, Gabriel, Helel, Raphael, and Uriel. These names all carry the suffix ‘el,’ meaning ‘of Elohim’ or ‘of God.’ Some of these names are more familiar than others as only the first three are mentioned in our commonly accepted canon of books. The others we find in the book of Enoch, which is mentioned in our Bible but not included.

The third archangel, named Helel, may have raised an eyebrow.

“How are you fallen from heaven, O Shining One [Helel], son of Dawn! How are you felled to earth, O vanquisher of nations!3

The translators decided to treat the Aramaic word, helel, as a word rather than the name 'Helel.' It became the ‘shining one,’ 'light bearer,' or, in the King James Version, ‘Lucifer.’ The names Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel mean ‘who is like God,’ ‘champion of God,’ ‘God has healed,’ and ‘God is my light,’ respectively; in each case, the words were treated as a name. Helel was Satan's name when he was 'of God.'.

Isaiah, in this section of text, describes what we believe is the account of the fall of Helel, who, in Ezekiel 28, is pictured as a thing of beauty:

“You were in Eden, the garden of God;

Every precious stone was your covering:

The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;

The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;

The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;

And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you.”

Helel’s fall is told to us in Ezekiel4:

“You were blameless in your ways 

From the day you were created 

Until unrighteousness was found in you.

By the abundance of your trade 

You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned;

Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God.

And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, 

From the midst of the stones of fire.

Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;

You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.

I cast you to the ground;”

Sin originated in Heaven.

After his fall, his name was no longer Helel. Now he is known as Satan, the devil, the serpent, Beelzebub, Deceiver, and others. His name no longer includes the suffix ‘el’ or ‘of God.’

How did this happen? Please permit me to speculate.

The First Fall

Imagine being that beautiful angelic being described above, and for a time (actually, in their domain, there is no time dimension), you were a spectacle to behold. You had the privilege of watching and perhaps participating in the creation process with YHVH. You heard the Creator say, “Let Us make man5 in our image,” as the grand finale of creation. Was the term, ‘Us,’ a reference to the Trinity or an invitation for the celestial beings to be involved in the creation of mankind? Either or both could be true.

The clincher is in the events that follow the creation of man.

In Hebrew 1:14 we read:

Are [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?6

God, the Potter, designed the angels to render service to man.

Imagine you are, Helel, this glamorous, radiant being, and you are told that your purpose, the reason you were created, was to serve these beings made of dirt.7

Is this where pride showed itself? Too proud to serve? Would that same unwillingness to serve be why a third of the angels were thrown to the earth with Helel? This scenario may also account for the intense hatred these fallen ones hold toward man. It would also account for their determination to destroy man physically and/or genetically.

The angels were designed for service. Moulded by the Potter for service. Was this the sin, the ‘Mark,’ that those fallen angels missed—an unwillingness to obey God by serving man?

The Chain Reaction

In Ezekiel’s text, we read that the fallen Helel was in “Eden, the garden of God.” There, motivated by hate, he selected the woman (not yet named Eve) as his intended victim of deception.9 

Why the woman? Perhaps there was an exploitable weakness he saw in her or her situation.

“But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God… took one of the man’s ribs and… made a woman and brought her to him.”10

God’s ultimate intention for us all involves service. Adam was created to serve the earth, the garden, and the animals. The woman, a creature of beauty in Adam’s eyes, was a gift from the Potter designed and created to be “a helper suitable for him.” 

Many women reading this would be vexed by this thought. Fruit of the fall?

Was the issue of serving the man the issue that the serpent exploited? Did she resent being a helper, opting instead to be like God?

Reverse Engineering

Working backwards from God’s pronouncements against fallen man and woman may give insights into factors leading to their disobedience and subsequent alienation from God and the loss of joy in life, expulsion from the garden, and the death sentence.

To the serpent:

“Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”11

Satan was forever reminded of his unwillingness to serve those made of dust by eating dust while on his belly. Utter humiliation for one who was once beautiful.

Also, the serpent’s destruction was to come through one born of a woman, one who proved willing to serve man regardless of cost—the man Jesus.

God’s Words To The Woman:

“To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.”12

If the wife’s exploitable weakness was her role as ‘helpmate’ to her husband, is it reflected in God’s declaration against the woman?

Many translations read, “Your desire will be for your husband…” Susan T. Foh13 points out that the Aramaic word translated as 'desire’ is unique and is used in only two other places where it implies ‘control.’ This view better complements the following statement: "He will dominate you.”

Speaking to Cain about Abel, the LORD uses this same Aramaic word for ’desire’ to mean ‘control’ as almost a mirror of His words to the woman:

“And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”14

In other words, "Sin desires to control you, Cain, but you must master it.”

Sin desired to control, to influence Cain into killing Abel, but Cain was warned to master, to overpower that desire.

We have the same principle regarding the woman, “Your desire [to control] shall be [toward] your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

There are many references in scripture to a wife's desire to dominate her husband.15 Wives are repeatedly instructed to master, to overpower, that desire—to give themselves in submission to their husbands. God wants wives to be aware of this fallen nature trait so that they, God and wife, can together overpower that desire and then experience the intended joy of hitting the mark. What are the consequences of missing the mark? No joy, peace, or abundant life—the byproducts of obedience.

We read in Paul’s letter to Timothy:

“the woman, because she was fully deceived, fell into transgression. But she will be delivered through childbearing if she continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control.”16

‘Delivered,’ here, is the Greek word sōzō, which carries the meaning, “heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.17

Does healing through childbirth represent the years of practice at self-sacrificing service, motivated by love, that wives develop when carrying, feeding, and nurturing children?

I wonder how many staunch feminists are barren, never having been ‘delivered’ or ‘healed’ of the desire to dominate through birthing a tiny, helpless baby. Is this what God meant to convey by these verses written in 1 Timothy?

God’s Words To The Adam:

“But to Adam he said, Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ the ground is cursed because of you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, but you will eat the grain of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.”18

Adam’s sin was that he obeyed his wife rather than God. As a result, he lost dominion over the earth, which he was to serve and care for. The earth would now rebel against him.

If we are slaves to one we obey, as Paul teaches, then does the fact that the woman obeyed the serpent and the man obeyed the woman reflect on society today?

“Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey”19

In His Steps

In Jesus, we have been given an example of hitting the mark. Paul wrote, 

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who though he existed in the form of God… emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant”20

We are to offer ourselves for service—as we were designed by the Potter. To do otherwise is to miss the mark.

Salvation does not negate our obligation to serve. Following our salvation, the empowering of the Holy Spirit gives us a new opportunity to finally fulfill God’s design for mankind—that we were created for service.

Service to each other:

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

To do otherwise is to miss the mark.

Wives in submission to their husbands:

“Wives, submit [yourselves in service] to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything…, and the wife must respect her husband.”21

To do otherwise is to miss the mark.

Husbands in service to their wives:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up [in service] for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a glorious church, without stain or wrinkle or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.”

“In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Indeed, no one ever hated his own body, but he [in service] nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. For we are members of His body.22

To do otherwise is to miss the mark.

The Essence of the Christian Life

“…but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.”23

The woman's desire to control and the physical advantage of the man is a recipe for strife and division, robbing us of the joy the Creator intended.

Serving is not an option in the Kingdom; it is the essential of a joy-filled life in the Kingdom. We show our love of God by our selfless obedience and serving others. Our hardhearted refusal to serve is the mark that we miss!

So, what are you aiming for tomorrow?

Endnotes:

‍ 1 Romans 9:21 (NASB)

‍ 2 Exodus 20:11, 23:12, 31:17 (NASB)

‍ 3 Isaiah 14:12 (Tanakh) 

‍ 4 Ezekiel 28:15-17 (NASB) 

‍ 5 ‘man’ being a term of species, created male and female genders per Genesis 1:27

‍ 6 Hebrews 1:14 (NASB)

‍ 7 Genesis 2:7 

‍ 8 Revelations 12:24

‍ 9 Genesis 3:1ff

‍ 10 Genesis 2:20-22 (BSB)

‍ 11 Genesis 3:14-15 (NASB)

‍ 12 Genesis 3:16 (NET)

‍ 13 "What is a Woman's Desire?", Susan T. Foh, The Westminster Theological Journal 37 (1974/75) 376-83, Copyright 1974/75.

‍ 14 Genesis 4:7 (NASB)

‍ 15 Titus 2:5; 1 Pet 3:1

‍ 16 1 Timothy 2:14-15 (NET)

‍ 17 Strong’s Dictionary

‍ 18 Genesis 3:17-19 (NET)

‍ 19 Romans 6:16 (NASB)

‍ 20 Philippians 2:5-7

‍ 21 Ephesians 5:21-24 (BSB)

‍ 22 Ephesians 5:25-30 (BSB)

‍ 23 Mark 10:43-44 (NASB)


© 2024, Steve Bydeley.

All publishing rights reserved. Permission is herewith granted to reprint this article for personal use and to link or refer to it; however, no commercial re-publishing of the material in this article is permitted without prior written consent.

Steven is the author of Fathered by God and with his wife Dianne, co-author of Dream Dreams and Dreams the Heal and Counsel. He has been a guest on the Miracle Channel, Trinity Television, and Crossroads Communication, and has taught internationally on various topics.

Without Prejudice. © 2024, Steven., house of bij de Leij., of man.

Hitting the Mark