Poor, Blind, and Naked: From the Garden of Eden to Laodicea – Part 2

Complimentary Story
March 2023

(Part 2 of this series)

In Part 1 of this study, I examined the issues from the perspective of what happened in the Garden.  I concluded that portion with this observation: They were now poor in spirit, blind in eye and naked in body, but newly able to testify to the grace of YHWH for covering them while yet in sorrow.

   (In case you missed it, this is the first picture of an innocent animal losing its life in order to cover the sin of human beings; a foreshadowing of our Messiah.) Then I began to address the Exodus story, which we are told was an ensample for the benefit of us today:

   “And when Moses saw that the people [were] naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto [their] shame among their enemies.”
(Exodus 32:25 KJV).

   “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1Corinthians 10:11 KJV).

   I noted that it is possible that our Elohim is only able to give us what WE expect.

   That experience, which is an admonishment for us today, came when Moses saw what the people, under Aaron’s leadership, had done while he was on the mountain.

   Other translations use the phrase, were “uncovered”  or “unrestrained.” Please see: Shepherds Need to know the Bibilical Definition of “Unrestrained/Nakedness.” I would also refer the interested reader to the “Shepherds series” for greater in-depth study covering the concepts of leadership, vision and crafty.

   When we discussed this article in the SAM teleconference February, 2023, the participants added a few more examples that came to their minds!  This may now be Part 2 of at least 3 to further explore the ground BETWEEN Eden and Laodicea before we arrive at the current/end times relevance and admonishment for us today.

   In a thematic study, the image of being poor, having a lack of vision, and nakedness that emerges in this comparison is directly relevant to us in the end of days, as represented by the Laodicean 7th and final assembly. We are warned of being poor, blind, and naked and not even knowing it!  (Revelation 3:17). So it would seem it is wise to pay attention to as many examples of this as we see before we conclude with the Laodicean message.

   Recall from the first article regarding being “poor” that this doesn’t always have to do with material things, but generally refers to a lacking in the spirit. Yet, “blessed are those who are poor in spirit” does not mean that the natural man is blessed in his ignorance of spiritual things; but rather may be more accurately translated as “humble” in spirit. 

   Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “blind” can refer to physical blindness or a “dulling of spiritual perception” in leadership, per Vine’s.  I saw the connection between what happened when Moshe saw that Aaron had left the people naked or unrestrained with what Solomon had to say on similar matters.

   “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained but happy is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29: 18 NASB).

   We could paraphrase it as: Where there is no vision, the people are “uncovered,” “out of control,” “made naked” but happy is he who keeps the law.

   This concept of vision includes physical sight but is also a reference to the vision of leaders who can perceive beyond what is seen in the physical as “light penetrating the darkness.” The concept of this referring to leaders has to do with “being in front” when looking at the Paleo-Hebrew.

   It seems to be that the condition of being poor in spirit and lacking in vision leads to being made naked, or being unrestrained. Leaders who don’t, won’t, or can’t lead will bring their people to ruin by leaving them uncovered and vulnerable to their enemies.

   Deborah and Barak provide an interesting example. Now Deborah (meaning “bee” and “to proceed in order” as well as being a symbol for Israel) a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. She sent for Barak (meaning “lightening” and “sudden flash of lightening”) son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor.  I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”

   Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but ( im in Hebrew: straightforward meaning-conjunction)  if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” “Certainly I will go    (yalach, halach yahlach in Hebrew, with a connotation of “walking along with” or perhaps “carrying along”)    with you,” said Deborah. “But (KJV has “not withstanding” — from a different Hebrew word than above “but,”  epes; meaning “end, cessation” as in “ends of the earth”) because of the course  (derek  in Hebrew:  path, way, journey) you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”  (Judges 4:4-10 NIV).

   In Poor, Blind and Naked thematic language, Deborah was none of those things but it seems there is a question with Barak. She had good spiritual perception and vision, and spoke in her authority to Barak, the one who was to carry it out. As a result, the people had leadership with vision, and were not without direction or restraint and the enemy was routed and the land had rest for 40 years so they were not left naked either.

   Barak was obedient and DID carry it out, even though he understood from her that he would get no praise/glory from doing so.  Was this simply a prophetic statement of fact or because he chose the path of not trusting God to deliver the enemy to him and instead wanted Deborah to come along? Did his vision include seeing her as an oracle of God...like Aaron being the mouth to speak and Moshe being as God to him? Or are many commentators correct when they see it as a failure on his part? One even has said that it was a reflection on ALL men of that day, poor in spirit and unwilling to fight. I would take exception to this as he DID take the 10,000 men he was directed to lead! It is no small task to lead 10,000 men, and we do see that Barak is listed in Hebrews 11, the Hall of Fame! I do tend to think that this interpretation is a modern cultural overlay, reading INTO the text, rather than drawing from it. Together they seem to have celebrated and rejoiced. There is no indication that I can see of an adversarial attitude between Deborah and Barak. 

   Side Note: Another connection came to our Elder Janell Schroeder as we are examining the question of Barak wouldn’t “get credit.” It also appears this may be a picture of Messiah, the Ultimate Deliverer who doesn’t leave us poor, blind or naked, who was delivered by Mary, without the hand of a man, just as Jael accomplished this deliverance without the hand of a man. Truly HE is the Deliverer who is our Hope in each situation and no human being gets the credit!  

   Moving on to 1 Samuel, in chapters 1-4 we see the story of Samuel’s birth and dedication to service to the LORD. The following are brief excerpts of the relevant story.

   “Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting….  He said to them, ‘Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people?”

   “Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the LORD and with men….”

   [Directed to Eli]  “Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?’ …This will be the sign to you which will come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: on the same day both of them will die. But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.”    (1 Samuel 2:22-23, 26, 29, 34-35).

   “Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.

   “It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.”…. Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail.  All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD.”   (1 Samuel 3:1-4, 19-20).

   “Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were set so that he could not see.  The man said to Eli, ‘I am the one who came from the battle line. Indeed, I escaped from the battle line today.’ And he said, ‘How did things go, my son?’  Then the one who brought the news replied, ‘Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken.’ …She said, ‘The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God was taken.’”    (1 Samuel 4: 15-17, 22).

   Eli had been Chief Priest for many years. Since the spirit didn’t speak often in those days, it is fair to conclude he was poor in spirit, in more than one way. It is mentioned that his eyes were progressively worse, from dim to not seeing at all. Thematically, this refers to both physical and spiritual sight, as you will see the story bears out. Although he was trusted enough to raise up Samuel, he did not effectively discipline his own sons but apparently shared in their greed, since he is included in the fatness comment. As a result of this lack of vision, the people were not covered either and were vulnerable/naked.  They thought that taking the material object, the Ark itself into the battle was some kind of magic talisman that would ensure their victory! Instead,  its capture spelled their defeat and death. The lack of vision and leadership “out front” led to the people being made vulnerable to their enemy or made naked.

   The young Samuel was recognized as a prophet who did have vision, and was willing to lead while under the covering of the Most High God. 

   In the next part we will examine Samuel’s interactions with Saul, particularly when he failed to obey the Word of the LORD through Samuel, and lost the favor of God. Was he also poor, blind and left the people naked?  And then to Laodicea and our admonitions for today.

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