Perez: Standing in the BREACH/GAP

BREACH/GAP: Peretz/Perez. Masculine noun. (Strong’s 6556)

Root: פֶרֶץ

Sounds like: peh’retz

I used to live in York, England. It’s a beautiful city and maintains much of it’s mediveal architecture. You can still walk along the medieval walls that surround the city. Ancient and medieval cities were often hemmed in by walls. It was their top defense mechanism. If there was a gap in the wall it placed everyone at risk. A breach in the wall meant the enemies could saunter through.

Job used this imagery of a breach to describe his fear:

Job 30:13-17

“They break up my path, they profit from my destruction; no one restrains them. As through a wide breach [k-peretz] they come, amid the tempest they roll on. Terrors are turned against me; they pursue my honour as the wind, and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.

And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have seized me. At night it pierces my bones within me, and my gnawing pains take no rest.”

Job felt exposed to his enemies; no one restrained them or held them back from attacking him. There’s no safety behind a wall with gaps in it.

A Gap in the Wall

If there was a breach in the wall it was the leader’s job to stand in the gap and protect the people. In the case of the early Hebrew people, prophets were these leaders:

Ezekiel 13:3-5

‘Thus says the Lord YHWH, “Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins. You have not gone up into the breaches [ba-p’ra’tzot], nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of YHWH.”

With no one willing to stand in the breach, the walls would collapse:

Isaiah 30:12-13

Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,

“Since you have rejected this word and have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them, therefore this iniquity will be to you like a breach [k-peretz] about to fall, a bulge in a high wall, whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant.”

But where humans have failed, God would prevail. Although Jerusalem would fall, YHWH promised to restore the booth of David:

Amos 9:11-14

“In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches [pir’zehen]; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,” declares YHWH who does this.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares YHWH, “when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved.

Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit.”

Repairer of the Breach

YHWH promised that some day, a portion of the Jewish people would return to the ruined Jerusalem to repair, restore and rebuild YHWH’s city.

Isaiah 58:11-12

“And YHWH will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach [goder peretz], the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”

After many years in captivity Nehemiah would return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, but YHWH had a bigger promise to deliver. He didn’t just want to restore the city of YHWH, He wanted to restore the people of YHWH!

YHWH Looked for someone to stand in the gap, but found no one:

Ezekiel 22:29-31

“The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice. I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap [ba-peretz] before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord YHWH.

Interesting that YHWH looked for someone to say to Him, “we are worthy to be saved”, but He found no one. God showed He was willing to change his plans for those who asked for it.

Before the time of Ezekiel, Moses was one of those humans who  stood in the breach before God. 

Exodus 32:11-14

Then Moses entreated YHWH his God, and said, “O YHWH, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” So YHWH changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

Essentially Moses stood in the breach- the break between God and His people- and laid out the reasons why YHWH should put a stop to his plans of destruction, and why they were worthy to be saved. Abraham argued that they were worthy because of the covenant promises that God gave them during the time of Abraham, and YHWH agreed.

The Psalmist recalled back to these events and saw Moses as one that stood in the breach; he was like a bandage in the break between YHWH and humans:

Psalm 106:21-23

They [the Hebrew people] forgot God their Saviour, who had done great things in Egypt, wonders in the land of Ham and awesome things by the Red Sea.

Therefore He said that He would destroy them, had not Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach [ba-peretz] before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them.

Moses stood in the breach, but it was a temporary fix. There needed to be One final person who would stand in the gap, and close it.

joao-silva-L9P9KJMooTw-unsplash
Photo by Joao Silva (unsplash.com)

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a big fan of genealogy, and I’m probably one of the few who love all the “begat” passages in the Bible. The genealogies of Yeshua (Jesus) are particularly interesting. 

Matthew 1:1-3

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram.

And on and on it goes. What’s interesting is that one of Yeshua’s human ancestors was named Breach (Perez). Here is the interesting story of Perez’s birth: 

Genesis 38:27-30

It came about at the time she [Tamar] was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez. Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah.

Perez broke through and took what was seemingly meant to be the right of his brother. It was through the line of Perez, not Zerah (who name meant to rise/dawn/come forth) that Yeshua came forth to be the salvation of earth.

Zerah, with the scarlet thread wrapped around his wrist, did not live up to his name. He was not the seed that would rise up to save humanity, nor did he live up to the fact that he was meant to be the firstborn. Ultimately, the descendants of Zerah were wiped out because Zerah’s great grandson, Achan, robbed YHWH’s treasury (Joshua 7: 16-26).

Zerah was like a false first born; someone who reached for the task but never got there. Perez broke through and became the ancestor of the true First Born, the seed who would save humanity… the Messiah.

And so Yeshua (Jesus) became the One who would stand in the breach and face YHWH on behalf of humanity. 

Yeshua Stands in the Gap

Earlier we read this passage:

Ezekiel 22:30

YHWH: “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap [ba-peretz] before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

YHWH found no man, so he sent a part of Himself to be the true human to save humanity. Where did Yeshua stand in the breach?… the cross.

This idea of building up walls and repairing the gaps was addressed by Yeshua when he made this claim:

John 2:18-22

The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

With their blinders on, the people misunderstood what Yeshua (Jesus) was saying. It wasn’t the actual temple he was referring to, it was his body. He was telling the story his impending execution. 

But it was this statement, misunderstood by the people, which would condemn him and send him to the cross:

Matthew 26:59-66

Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’”

The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of Heaven”.  

Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!”

Yeshua’s body would stand in the breach for everyone, absorbing their sins, and sending iniquity to the grave. During that horrific time on the cross God turned away from the Messiah, and let him bear the full weight of human sin and corruption. It was Yeshua’s darkest moment:

Mark 15:34

At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”

YHWH turned away from the scene because He had to… He had to let Yeshua stand in the gap and drink the cup he was meant to drink (Matthew 20:21-23). But the living God could not be taken down by death. He would defeat death and rise again.

In the Gospel of John, the first time Yeshua appeared to a large group of His disciples after the crucifixion He materialized in a room where all the doors were shut. There was no breach He could come through, He just appeared and said these words: “Peace be with you”

John 20:19-22

So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

The Jewish concept of peace, means complete, full circle, life as it was meant to be. Yeshua had completed the task and by standing in the gap between YHWH and humans, He turned the breach into a door through which we can enter and stand face to face with out Creator. By standing in the breach Yeshua (Jesus) became the door to eternal life.  

John 10:9-10

I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Once upon a time YHWH looked for a human to say to Him, “we are worthy to be saved”… but eventually He had to tell them Himself. And He did that by sending His beloved Son, the Messiah, to stand in the gap and be the One to say, “you are worthy!”

Next week: Seed

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