CHILD: yeled, masculine noun (Strong’s 3206); yaldah, feminine noun, (Strong’s 3207).
Sounds like: yeh’led, yal’daw
On November 20th Canada recognizes National Child Day. The date was chosen based on the adoption of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959, and the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989. We recognize the value and importance of our world’s children and we cherish them, as we ought to.
Children’s rights have come a long way since the days of the Tanakh. The Bible gives a clear view of horrific cultural practises on children. Although many critics cite these passages of abuse towards children as proof of a malevolent Hebrew God, truth be told nothing could be farther from the truth. These practises were cultural, but not the culture of the Hebrew people. This was the culture of the surrounding pagan tribes. Child sacrifice to the gods was a pagan custom. And in the one instance of child rape it was a non-Hebrew man, Shechem the Hivite who raped the Hebrew girl-child [ha-yaldah], Dinah (Genesis 34:1-7).
YHWH never endorsed the abuse of children, in fact, it is just the opposite. YHWH set up a clear precedent: children were to be protected. This was a radical step away from the practises of other Ancient Near East religions.
YHWH was very clear on how much He detested child sacrifice. This was found repeatedly throughout the scripture: Leviticus 18:21, Leviticus 20:2-3, Deuteronomy 12:31, Deuteronomy 18:9-12, 2 Kings 3:27, 2 Kings 16:3, 2 Kings 17:17-18, 2 Kings 21:6, 2 Chronicles 28:3, Jeremiah 19:5-8, Jeremiah 32:35, Ezekiel 20:26, Ezekiel 23:37, and the following…
“For the sons of Judah have done that which is evil in My sight,” declares YHWH, “they have set their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it. They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind.”
This was so deplorable that God couldn’t even fathom it. It never entered His mind that humans would be so despicable, but they were.
“Therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares YHWH, “when it will no longer be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of the Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth because there is no other place. The dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth; and no one will frighten them away.”
The blog posting on Sheol, dated 27 October 2019, addressed this evil practise of child sacrifice. Here’s an excerpt:
[God hated child sacrifice. It was hell flourishing on earth. Death, chaos and destruction were what the Adversary loved and what YHWH despised. And so this perversion of creation, where death feeds life (dead bodies become food), meant that the land became polluted and turned to ruin and rot. This was as far from the Garden of Eden you could get.
Gei ben Hinnom was where children were sacrificed into a fire to appease the foreign god Molech. It was a place of death, fire and torment, but not of the guilty. It was fire, and torment, and death of the innocent. It was deplorable to God, and so he renamed the place the Valley of Slaughter.
What becomes really interesting is that Yeshua used the word Geenna, strategically, in a few conversations:
Mark 9:35-37, 42-48
Sitting down, He [Jesus] called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me…
…Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell [ten geennan], into the unquenchable fire, (where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched). If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell [ten geennan], (where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched). If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell [ten geennan], where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”
The valley of Ginnom was almost exclusively referred to (in the Tanakh) as the place where children were sacrificed to Molech. It’s fascinating that in the Gospel account of Mark, Yeshua started his diatribe about hell (or the Valley of Ginnom) with a child in his arms. He was not just speaking words, He was making the point visually.
Essentially Yeshua was saying: sacrifice yourself, before you sacrifice one of My children! And if you are a child of YHWH, it’s better to do these drastic measures than be thrown to the place where the gods of evil sacrificed children; the place that YHWH called the Valley of Slaughter, where people become a meal to birds and beast, in a perverted and polluted land].
The Psalmist also made mention of this horrific practise of child sacrifice, but he reminded his readers that YHWH would not turn His back on the covenant He made with His people. Their evil deeds were in line with the pagan nations and so YHWH allowed the pagan nations to swallow them up, but it would not be forever. YHWH, in His lovingkindness would bring His people back home to Him:
But they mingled with the nations and learned their practices, and served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with the blood.
Thus they became unclean in their practices, and played the harlot in their deeds. Therefore the anger of YHWH was kindled against His people and He abhorred His inheritance. Then He gave them into the hand of the nations, and those who hated them ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were subdued under their power.
Many times He would deliver them; they, however, were rebellious in their counsel, and so sank down in their iniquity. Nevertheless He looked upon their distress when He heard their cry; and He remembered His covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.
This God of the Hebrews hated child sacrifice. It was the epitome of everything wrong… the twisted celebration of chaos and death. But even though humans had sunk so low, YHWH would not abandon them. He would find a way to redeem them and save them from the Valley of Slaughter that awaited them.
To show just how much He cared for children, YHWH radically announced that His plan for salvation would be fulfilled by a child. Humanity would be saved by YHWH’s Anointed One, and He would not arrive as a great warrior king, He would arrive as a child:
For a child [yeled] will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
YHWH would send His Son, His precious child, to right the wrong that humanity started way back in the Garden of Eden. Agur, a writer of Proverbs, addressed the connection between YHWH and His Son, and called on his readers to recognize the relationship:
Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in His hands? Who has bound up the waters in His cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is the name of His Son—surely you know!
YHWH loved His child, just as He loves all His children. Children are special to Him, unlike the gods of the Ancient Near East (Ba’al, Molech, Ashtarot) who saw them as commodities. But YHWH’s people fell to the lure of idol worship and their children suffered for it.
Children as Pawns
Children were often used as pawns, caught in the middle of legal battles or political agendas. One of the more famous stories about children was Solomon’s judgement on the famous “Whose Child is This?” case.
Two women claimed that a child was their own. One of the mothers had accidentally suffocated their child in the night. To replace the loss, they stole the child of another mother. Solomon was left to figure out which mother was the true mother of the child.
1 Kings 3:24-27
The king said, “Get me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. The king said, “Divide the living child [et ha-yeled] in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.”
Then the woman whose child (son) was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child [et ha-yalud ha-chai], and by no means kill him.”
But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!”
Then the king said, “Give the first woman the living child [et ha-yalud ha-chai], and by no means kill him. She is his mother.”
Not infrequently, children were used as political pawns. The prophet Joel spoke of the many nations dominating over Israel, and the horrors that accompanied it.
“They have also cast lots for My people, traded the boy-child [ha-yeled] for a harlot and sold the girl-child [w-ha-yaldah] for wine that they may drink.”
Children were also commodities in tribal warfare. The mass killing of an enemy’s children (primarily boy-children) was a form of genocide maintenance. The Pharaoh of Egypt commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill all the baby boys (Exodus 1:15-22) as a way to control the Hebrew slave population. The Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, blatantly disregarded the command, but it was not enough to shut down Pharaoh’s evil plan. Without the midwives support, he then commanded the people themselves to throw their newborn sons into the Nile.
This was the story that preceded Moses’ arrival as a saved Hebrew child in a basket. The Egyptian princess found the little Moses and raised him as her own according to Egyptian customs and education.
A call for the mass killing of children was also part of Yeshua’s childhood. The Judean king Herod (a puppet king for Rome) knew the prophecies about a child king who would be YHWH’s Messiah (Anointed One). Fearing he would lose his power as king, Herod did not hesitate in his efforts to destroy this Messiah-child:
Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah;
For out of you shall come forth a Ruler
who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”
After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way…
In awe of what they saw, the Magi fell to the ground and worshipped this little child. These kings bowed down to a little boy and pledged their allegiance with praise and treasures.
Herod did not succeed in His first plan to kill the boy-king. Instead of trickery, he turned to an old stand-by, reminiscent of Egypt’s evilness: mass child slaughter.
Matthew 2:4-12, 16-23
…Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah [31:15-20] the prophet was fulfilled:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
And she refused to be comforted,
Because they were no more.”
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, “Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.”
So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Murdering children for political advantage was horrific and yet, it seems, not very effective. From the Egyptian child-slaughter rose the revolutionary survivor-leader, Moses; and from Herod’s call to slaughter the children, Yeshua rose to be the most radical, influential, game-changer on the planet.
Children of War
War, not surprisingly, also had a profoundly negative effect on children. War often led directly to famine, and cannibalism was also a horrific product of war. The victims of cannibalism fell primarily to the children (see Leviticus 26:29, Deuteronomy 28:53, 2 Kings 6:26-29, Ezekiel 5:10). This terrible outcome of war happened to the Hebrew people as they unsuccessfully fought against the Babylonians. The famine was so severe that killing a child was done in compassion to alleviate their suffering:
Better are those slain with the sword than those slain with hunger; for they pine away, being stricken for lack of the fruits of the field. The hands of compassionate women boiled their own children [yal’dehen]; they became food for them because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
Children of war were orphaned, sent into slavery (2 Kings 4:1), or they were left to die, defenceless and destitute. YHWH, in response, continually put the needs of the orphan, along with widows, high on His list of priorities:
Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan [shif’tu yatohm], plead for the widow.”
Job lamented at the injustice of it all. Those who loved and respected YHWH seemed to be the ones who suffered the most. In contrast, the wicked seemed to thrive. Even the children of the wicked appeared to be happy and playful:
“Why do the wicked still live, continue on, also become very powerful? Their descendants are established with them in their sight, and their offspring before their eyes, their houses are safe from fear, and the rod of God is not on them.
His ox mates without fail; his cow calves and does not abort. They send forth their little ones like the flock, and their children [w-yal’dehem] skip about. They sing to the timbrel and harp and rejoice at the sound of the flute. They spend their days in prosperity, and suddenly they go down to Sheol.”
How could it be that YHWH followers were victims of injustice, their children suffering the worst of fates, whereas the children of their oppressors skipped about worry free. That seemed overwhelmingly unfair to Job.
But YHWH promised that the children of His people would joyously play in the streets once again:
Zechariah 8:3-5, 7-8
Thus says YHWH, “I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of YHWH of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.”
Thus says YHWH of hosts, “Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age. And the streets of the city will be filled with boy children and girl children [y’ladim w-yi’ladoht] playing in its streets.”
…Thus says YHWH of hosts, “Behold, I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; and I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.”
Miracles & Children
Some of the most striking miracles in the Tanakh involved children. Elijah came to the aid of the Phoenician woman from Zarephath when her young son was struck with an illness and died.
1 Kings 17:20-24
He [Eijah] called to YHWH and said, “O YHWH my God, have You also brought calamity to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?”
Then he stretched himself upon the child [ha-yeled] three times, and called to YHWH and said, “O YHWH my God, I pray You, let this child’s life [child’s soul: nefesh ha-yeled] return to him.”
YHWH heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child [nefesh ha-yeled] returned to him and he revived. Elijah took the child [et ha-yeled] and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.”
Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of YHWH in your mouth is truth.”
The prophet Elisha had a similar story, when he saved the Shunammite’s son:
2 Kings 4:32-37
When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed. So he entered and shut the door behind them both and prayed to YHWH.
And he went up and lay on the child [ha-yeled], and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child [ha-yaled] became warm. Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes.
He called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.”
So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Take up your son.”
Then she went in and fell at his feet and bowed herself to the ground, and she took up her son and went out.
These two Old Testament stories of raising children up from the dead have similar comparative stories in the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament):
Mark 5:22-24, 35-43
One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him [Jesus], fell at His feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.” And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him.
…While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?”
But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James.
They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.”
They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was.
Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).
Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat.
In another instance, a man in the crowd who had gathered around Yeshua came to Him with his possessed son and asked for healing, saying to Jesus…
“If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”
And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up.
Notice that after both of these miracles Jesus took them by the hand and told them to get up. This action (holding the hand and rising up) was also reflected in a well known story in Genesis.
Hagar, Abraham’s concubine, almost lost her child to dehydration and exposure. Abraham, spurred on by the insistence of his wife, sent Hagar, and their son Ismael, out into the wilderness with a bit of bread and a container of water. When the water ran out, Hagar cried in agony over her son’s imminent death:
When the water in the skin was used up, she [Hagar] left the boy-child [ha-yeled] under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away, for she said, “Do not let me see the boy-child die [b-moht ha-yeled].” And she sat opposite him, and lifted up her voice and wept.
God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink.
Hagar and Ishmael’s story was gut-wrenching. For all the parents who have experienced the agony of watching their children die, Hagar’s torment would be relatable. Could there be anything worse than watching your child die before you.
Although Hagar’s young son was saved, David was not so fortunate. He lost his seven day old son (2 Samuel 12) to sickness. Jeroboam, king of Israel, also lost his child due to an unnamed sickness (1 Kings 14).
YHWH Himself, would relate to David, Jeroboam, and Hagar’s experience. He would watch His beloved Son suffer on the cross. When He stepped in and saved Ishmael, He knew that He would one day step back and allow His son to bear the weight of the cross in order to sacrificially save humanity.
YHWH also knew His plan for salvation when He stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. Abraham showed that he was willing to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, under the direction of YHWH, but it was never YHWH’s desire. He didn’t want the child Isaac to be sacrificed. He was not like the pagan gods of the neighbouring tribes. YHWH, Himself, would provide the sacrifice:
He [the angel of YHWH] said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place YHWH Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of YHWH it will be provided.”
Human sacrifice was deplorable to God. He would provide the sacrifice through His Son, because only He could conquer death, rise up from it and save us all.
The Gift of Children
Although children seemed like commodities, especially under pagan influences, in the Hebrew culture they were treasured.
Behold, children [sons] are a gift of YHWH, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children [sons] of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Many barren women yearned for children. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah’s wife, Hannah and Elizabeth were all barren but YHWH interceded and blessed them with the gift of a child.
Manoah’s wife, who would become the mother of Samson, was visited by the angel of YHWH. Her story had a very familiar feel to it and has often been compared to Mary’s conception story:
There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children [w-lo yaladah]. Then the angel of YHWH appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children [w-lo yaladt], but you shall conceive and give birth to a son.”
The Child, Yeshua
Much like Manoah’s wife, Mary was visited by an angel who announced her upcoming motherhood:
And coming in, he [the angel Gabriel] said to her, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Childhood stories are relatively rare in the Bible, but Luke and Matthew considered it important to share the remarkable story because it fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that a “child would be born” and He would be humanity’s Saviour. This Good News (gospel) was announced to the humble shepherds:
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is the Lord, Messiah. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
This little baby was a sign and the shepherds wasted no time in seeking Him out:
So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
The baby wrapped in clothes and lying in the manger was a “sign”… and those who knew their scriptures would recall something that Isaiah had said seven hundred years earlier:
Behold, I and the children [w-ha-y’ladim] whom YHWH has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from YHWH of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.
Yeshua and Children
Yeshua’s life as a child was threatened by Herod and, as a newborn, he had to escape with his parents to Egypt. With such a rough start to his young life it shouldn’t be surprising that He had so much kindness and compassion for little children:
Matthew 18:1-6 (see also Luke 9:46-48)
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
The apostle Paul remembered what it was like to be a child (1 Corinthians 13:11) but when he grew older he “did away with childish things”. That was right and good, but there were certain aspects of childhood that Yeshua encouraged us to hold onto: the innocence, the wonder, and the humility.
Yeshua made it very clear that children were a priority; they deserved respect and attention:
Mark 10:13-16 (see also Luke 18:15-17)
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.
But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
These were the children of God, just as the adults were the children of God; age made no difference. In fact, it would do the adults a lot of good to be a little more childlike in their faith and wonderment.
Yeshua, the Son of God
YHWH’s promise to David, that his throne would reign eternally, came to fruition through Yeshua (Jesus). He was the promised Messiah, the Son of God. Even before humans recognized Him as divine, the Satan (ha-Satan) called Him “Son of God” (Matthew 4:6). The demons called Yeshua “Son of God” (Matthew 8:29).
Yeshua consistently called God “My Father” and He understood who His family was:
While He [Jesus] was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.”
But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
When He was sent to trial to receive the verdict of death, Yeshua also announced whose child He was:
When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, “If You are the Messiah, tell us.”
But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?”
And He said to them, “Yes, I am.”
Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”
And so they hung Him as a blasphemer and a liar. They placed their own iniquities on Him and killed the Son of God.
Whose Child are You?
Yeshua said that if we do not receive the Kingdom of God like a child, with innocence and curiosity, then we would not enter the Kingdom at all. We are the children of YHWH but we need to claim it. Do we choose to be the children of God or are we children of Rebellion?
The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; and devout men are taken away, while no one understands. for the righteous man is taken away from evil, he enters into peace; they rest in their beds, each one who walked in his upright way.
But come here, you sons of a sorceress, offspring of an adulterer and a prostitute. Against whom do you jest? Against whom do you open wide your mouth and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of rebellion [yil’de pesha], offspring of deceit [zera shaqer], who inflame yourselves among the oaks, under every luxuriant tree, who slaughter the children [ha-y’ladim] in the ravines, under the clefts of the crags?
Children of Rebellion/Deceit/Evil slaughtered children. It was a crooked and perverse lifestyle. The father of Lies (John 8:44) was not a comforting father. His focus was death and chaos, which makes for a monumentally terrible parent.
But YHWH was a very different kind of parent. He was a parent of life and order, comfort and peace:
For thus says YHWH, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
John also wrote about the distinction between God’s children and the children of the Evil One:
1 John 3:1, 10-11, 18
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him…
…By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…
…Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
Paul also wrote about being the beauty of being the adopted Children of God:
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Messiah, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
As the heirs of YHWH we have much to look forward to! But we also have a great responsibility. As YHWH’s children we are to be the shining lights that this world needs.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world…
YHWH has great hope in us. We carry the flame to make this world a brighter, kinder, more loving place. We are His image-bearers, His representations on this planet. Let’s do our very best to be the children of God we were made to be. If the question arises, Whose child is this?… May it be clear: I am a Child of God.
Next week: trouble
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