Did Elohim Create Evil?

What or who is the source of evil on the earth? Is it God (YHVH Elohim), the devil or something else? This is a legitimate and honest question since so much evil exists all around us. If YHVH Elohim is the Creator of everything, then does this mean that he also created evil? If so, then how can this be, since the Bible reveals that YHVH is all good, loving, holy, righteous and sinless and perfect? If not, then who or what is the source of evil? It is important to understand the source and origin of evil, for the answer reflects either positively or negatively on the innate character of Elohim and the validity of the Bible, which promotes itself as the inspired Word of Elohim.

The answers to the question of who created evil seem like an unanswerable conundrums to many people. In attempt to resolve this issue, too many people have thrown up their hands in frustration only to become agnostics or even atheists. In reality, the answer is quite simple, and no one’s faith needs to be shaken much less obliterated as we will discover below. Frankly, to answer this seeming perplexing question, it is necessary to stop thinking like finite humans, start thinking outside the paradigmatic box of our physical earthly existence and understand the concept of evil from a biblical, heavenly and logical perspective. It is then that the answer as to the source and origin of evil neatly reveals itself as we are about to discover below. 

The belief that YHVH Elohim created evil is often based on a single passage in the Bible. In Isaiah 45:7 we read, 

“I [YHVH speaking] form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I, YHVH, do all these things.” (KJV, emphasis added)

Based on this verse, some people believe that all the evil that occurs in the world is YHVH’s fault. The stickler, however, is this: If he is the creator of evil, how can everything about him and all that he does also be good?  Because of the belief that YHVH created everything including evil, some people have refused to serve and obey YHVH and questioned or even rejected his Truth as found in the Bible. After all, they reason, how can we believe much less serve a God who claims to be good, yet who is also the creator and purveyor of evil? These are valid considerations that need addressing.

In addressing this issue, let’s first ask a simple question. What does the Bible mean when YHVH says, “I create evil,”? For a better understanding of this seeming enigmatic phrase in Isaiah, let us look at how some other English Bibles translate this same verse. As we are about to discover, there is not a unanimous consensus among Bible translators as to the exact meaning of the biblical Hebrew word for evil. We will soon see that the biblical definition of evil is perhaps broader than at first thought. This alone can change one’s perspective dramatically regarding one’s understanding of the concept of evil. Perhaps our perspective is limited resulting in our coming to wrong conclusions.

I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity [Heb. ra]; I, the LORD, do all these things.’ (NKJV, emphasis added)

I form the light and create the darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster [Heb. ra]; I the LORD, do all these things. (NIV, emphasis added)

I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity [Heb. ra], I am the LORD, who does all these things. (ESV, emphasis added)

I form light, I create darkness; I make well-being, I create woe [Heb. ra]; I, ADONAI, do all these things. (CJB, emphasis added)

Based on how other Bibles translate the Hebrew word for evil, this begs an important question. What is the biblical Hebrew word for evil and what is its definition in light of the fact that different Bibles translate the Hebrew word for evil so differently? The Hebrew word in question is ra or ra’ah It is the generic Hebrew word meaning “evil”, but, as we see below, it can mean much more than “evil” (as quoted from the Online Bible Deluxe Software Program): 

  •  1a) bad, disagreeable, malignant
  •  1b) bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery)
  •  1c) evil, displeasing
  •  1d) bad (of its kind – land, water, etc)
  •  1e) bad (of value)
  •  1f) worse than, worst (comparison)
  •  1g) sad, unhappy
  •  1h) evil (hurtful)
  •  1i) bad, unkind (vicious in disposition)
  •  1j) bad, evil, wicked (ethically)
  •  1j1) in general, of persons, of thoughts
  •  1j2) deeds, actions n m
  • 2) evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity
  •  2a) evil, distress, adversity
  •  2b) evil, injury, wrong
  •  2c) evil (ethical) n f
  • 3) evil, misery, distress, injury
  •  3a) evil, misery, distress
  •  3b) evil, injury, wrong
  •  3c) evil (ethical)

As we can see, “evil” is only one of the many and varied definitions of the Hebrew word ra, which can also mean “distress, adversity, unhappiness and sadness” among other things. 

Now in light of the broader meaning of the word ra, let us ask a couple of questions and briefly explore the concept of evil. For example, can “bad” things happen to people that end up being good for the person in the end? Similarly, are there things that on the surface appear to be bad, injurious and hurtful, but in reality are for our own safety and protection? Absolutely yes to both questions. Perhaps you have never thought of bad or “evil” in this way, but it, nevertheless, is within the definition of biblical word for evil. Keep these points in mind as we proceed in our discussion and expand our understanding of the concept of bad and evil .

Let’s continue to broaden our understanding of the Hebrew word ra. According to The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, the primary definition of Hebrew word ra is “the lack of quality or inferior quality of something or someone and is thus unable to meet standards of value or function beneficially.” The word can connote “moral deficiencies” and is contrasted to the Hebrew word tov which is the generic word meaning “good”. The TWOT goes on to note that Elohim [as the Just Judge of the universe] acts with painful punishment against evil or ra against people who refuse to repent of their wicked, evil or sinful actions. If he failed to take such action against evil, then evil would take over the earth and universe. Do you think this is impossible or that this has never happened before? If so, go read what Scripture says about Satan and the angelic rebellion that occurred before the creation of humans (see Isa 14:12–17; Ezek 28). It happened once and it can happen again.

Let’s now explore another ramification concerning the concept of evil and its source and origin. Is YHVH the creator of evil in a direct sense, or is he merely the creator of the spiritual machinery that set up the laws of cause-and-effect such that evil consequences are the result of wrong choices that people make? That is, when people break YHVH’s laws, evil (in the sense of punishment) befalls them as a result of their actions and the resulting consequences that they bring on themselves. I believe that the answer to this question is yes. Even as blessings and goodness are reaped by those who follow his laws, so curses come upon those who disobey YHVH. You reap what you sow. One is the cause of either the evil or the blessings that comes upon them per the choices they make. As we go along in this study, we shall see that the Bible reveals that people bring evil upon themselves by their wrong choices. So yes,  YHVH created the laws and along with consequences, good or bad, that will fall on people based on their obedience or disobedience to his laws. In this sense, his Torah-laws that, in reality, or neutral. What humans do vis-à-vis these laws based on the choices they make and their subsequent actions will determine the consequences they will experience whether good or evil, blessings or curses, life or death, rewards or punishment, victory or calamity. This is akin, on the physical level to the law of gravity, which is in itself neutral. It is a blessing in that it keeps people from floating into outer space and to their ultimate death. However, at the same gravity becomes a curse if one jumps off a cliff or a tall building. Whether the law of gravity is a blessing or a curse is based on the choices that one makes.

Continue reading
 

Congregation Elim Online Shabbat Fellowship Invite

Nathan Lawrence, along with co-leader Donna Nash (from North Carolina), is hosting a regular online Shabbat gathering via Zoom. If you are interested in joining the group, please send me a request at natanl@earthlink.net. To date, we have been meeting continuously since November 2021.

This online gathering is only open to those who are serious about living in accordance with YHVH’s written Torah, and who are believers in and lovers of Yeshua the Messiah, the Living Torah. 

If you make a request to join the group, please share with Nathan your personal testimony of your salvation (how you came to faith in Yeshua the Messiah) and a statement about your basic biblically-based beliefs. Nathan may then ask you a few questions follow-up questions via email or by phone if clarifications are necessary. 

To date, we have a wonderfully geographically eclectic group of polite and respectful folks from all over the U.S. and several foreign countries as well. Nathan (and sometimes Donna and others) gives a Bible teaching, and there is plenty of questions and answers as well as discussions where folks share their edifying insights on various biblical topics as led by the Spirit of Elohim. We also pray for one another and sometimes even have a little praise and worship.

Shalom.

 

Been gone…am back now

Cozumel, Mexico

To escape the frigid winter US West Coast rainy season, Sandi and I just took a little cruise into the Gulf of Mexico—our first such trip since before COVID hit us like a tidal wave. We were privileged to briefly visit three countries: Cozumel, Mexico; Raotan, Honduras and Belize City, Belize (formerly British Honduras).

The internet connection on the high seas was choppy and intermittent to say the least, but we’re now back home safely, and so please enjoy several pictures that I took of our adventures.

At each stop, we explored the animal and plant life as well as learned a little bit about the local culture and history. During days on the seas, we read, sat on our stateroom balcony and enjoyed the sunrises, sunsets, the moonlight on the waves, the glorious cloud formations and the azure blue green waves themselves. Like a living gigantic amovie screen before us, we can watch these scenes for hours as the ship glides silently through the waters.

I spent a lot of time reading the Bible, a Bible book and a book on trees. Trees and the Bible are my two passions, which is why I refer to myself in the business world as the Treevangelist. Sandi and I also took a lot of pictures. We both have our own cameras. I mostly shoot video and she mostly shoots still photos. We then put our photos and movies together and I share videos of our trips on my YouTube channel. Also, we each of our own binoculars handy, so we can get a close up view of distant objects.

When we’re not doing these things on cruises, we enjoy the fine, onboard dining. I’m proud to say that I only gained two pounds and Sandi stayed even weight wise. When cruising, I usually gain five to eight pounds.

One thing we don’t do when we go on cruises: we didn’t gamble at the ship’s casino, we didn’t go swimming any of the ship’s several pools and hot tubs (I don’t like swimming in dirty water—it’s unkosher to me), we didn’t hang out in the bars or involve ourselves in any other playtime activities on the ship. Frankly, these type of things interest neither of us. We just hang out, enjoy our time together, relax and geek out as much as possible on YHVH’s creation and other things that pertain to the upward spiritual walk.

Now for some photo highlights. Please enjoy.

Curious iguanas in Honduras.
Macaws are common all over that part of Central America.
Their gorgeous plum manages makes up for the ungodly, almost blood-curdling squawking sound that they make.
We encountered this curious, smiling iguana in Cozumel, Mexico while eating lunch overlooking the beach. Apparently it smelled Sandi’s chicken fajita meal and was hoping a tidbit would fall his way. He hung out at my feet the whole time. Very entertaining. I’m not a reptile guy, but this lizard was cute and seemed to be happily smiling the whole time. I refrained from picking him up and petting him.
This was either a sunrise or a sunset over the Gulf of Mexico—don’t remember which. Photo taken from our stateroom balcony.
A glorious sunset.
A Belizian crocodile lounging lazily along the river bank.
Mayan ruins in Belize.
An oil drilling ship in the Gulf of Mexico.
The waves looking down from our ship balcony.
Of course, a trip to Central America wouldn’t be complete without some flower pictures.
Feast you eyes on this colorful plant.
Of course, no trip would be complete without a beach scene.
Back in the US, Nathan at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
 

Are YOU ready?

Genesis 47:13–26, The economic results of famine. Severe food shortages likely brought on by drought resulted in the Egyptian people becoming dependent on the government for food and survival. This is because the people had failed to prepare for such an event. 

Because of famine resulting in people starving, the Egyptian government was able to step in and literally take control of the people’s lives, their land and material possessions. The government then collectivized them by moving them into cities where it could “take care of” or control the people. In the process, the government became the master and the people became its serfs, if not slaves. 

This all happened in large part because during prosperous times the people failed to make preparations for hard times and thus became unwitting victims of natural circumstances and their own careless lifestyles. 

The more a person prepares for hard times such as famine, natural disasters or economic collapse, and the closer they are to the land thus giving them the ability to raise their own food, the less dependent upon the state they will be, the more freedom they will have, and the less likely the government will be able to control their lives. Spiritual freedom is tied to physical independence as well. 

In Revelation 13, the Bible prophesies a time coming when the end times Babylon the Great New World Order world ruling economic, political and religious system will exclude earth’s inhabitants from being able to buy and sell food and other life-sustaining essentials unless they take a subcutaneous “mark” on their bodies famously called “the mark of the beast.” 

Most people will take this mark resulting in their eternal spiritual damnation, while a few people will refuse to take it. 

Hunger and privation, whether man-caused or naturally occurring, can be the means by which an evil governmental system can control its people simply because humans will do and accept virtually anything to feed their starving bodies. 

The more Elohim’s saints do now to prepare, especially spiritually, but also physically, for the horrifically hard times the Bible prophesies will occur globally in the end times, the more likely they will be not to deny their faith and to survive the end times spiritually intact and ready to meet King Yeshua the Messiah in the air as his glorified, triumphant bride!

Genesis 47:15, The money has failed. This was a collapse of Egypt’s economic system brought on by a widespread famine.  When there is no food to buy, money is worthless, since people cannot eat money. The people were now totally dependent upon the government for their survival, and were willing to sell themselves into bond servitude or slavery to the government just to eat. The Bible in the Book of Revelation indicates that widespread famine will occur in the last days prior to the second coming of Yeshua. We read,

When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Rev 6:5–6)

Sometime after this, the mark of the beast will be forced on earth’s population (Rev 13:16–17), where no one will be able to buy or sell anything, including food, without this biometric mark. Since the Bible prophesies that a famine will encompass the whole earth in those days, it seems unlikely that this will be the result of a global drought. More likely, this famine will be bought on due to failed economic policies, disease pandemics, war, fuel shortages  and supply chain issues. We have already begun seeing the harbingers of this in recent times. This is all the more reason for YHVH’s people who are not ignorant of the times and seasons in which they are living (1 Thess 5:1–11) to prepare themselves most importantly spiritually but also physically. 

YHVH went ahead of Jacob and his family and placed them in the grass-covered, well-watered land of Goshen located in the Nile River delta area of northern Egypt where they were likely somewhat isolated from the famine. Similarly, during the hard times of the end days, YHVH promises to protect his saints as well (Rev 12:14).

Genesis 47:21, Moved them into the cities. Collectivization of a nation’s people into cities has often been the goal of oppressive governments. This was true in ancient times and is true today, and will be the case in the end times as the Bible prophesies.

For example, Marxist economic philosophy has always been about collectivizing people under government control by taking control of manufacturing, housing, education and health care and placing it in the hands of the government, or the elites of the ruling party. This idea is put out or sold to the people as a form of security where a nanny state, big government will take care of you from cradle to grave. The problem is that in so doing, one gives up their personal freedom, independence and civil liberties in exchange for security. Since the government now has management over a collectivized population, it can, to one degree or another (at least in pure communist society), control where you go, what you do, where you work, when and what you eat, how you spend your money, how your are educated, whether you receive health care or not, and what you think and say. 

Such a system may not be completely the place in many Western nations yet, but what student of history cannot see us moving in that direction? Who cannot see the trajectory of the social, political and economic path that we have been on in the last 60 to 100 or more years as little by little or freedoms and social liberties are being slowly eroded away in favor of more big government control—for people’s good and well-being, of course. 

Needless to say, big government never wants an independent populace that is self-sufficient, can feed itself, educate and think for itself, express its own ideas and speak freely, travel freely, or defend itself (against government tyranny and over-reach). Such is the enemy of big-government control and the wealthy elite who control the politicians.

The control and collectivization of people along with big government control is the end times world-ruling system that we see in place just before Yeshua’s return as prophesied in Revelation chapters 13, 17 and 18. 

 

On the difficulties of being married to a (sold-out) minister of Elohim

Genesis 22:19; 23:2, Abraham dwelt at Beersheba…Sarah died in…Hebron. At this point, Abraham and Sarah lived in two separate towns some 26 miles apart. Why was this? The Scriptures doesn’t say, so we can only speculate. Perhaps the trial of Abraham’s faith in the previous chapter where YHVH asked him to sacrifice Isaac and Abraham’s compliance to do so put such a strain on their marriage that they separated. Perhaps the idea that YHVH would ask Abraham to sacrifice their only son was so hard for Sarah to believe that she questioned whether Abraham had even heard correctly from YHVH about this. Whatever the case, following YHVH can be tough on marriages and families as Yeshua notes in Matthew 10:34–39. Sometimes families split as a result. Abraham wasn’t unique in his situation.

Ministry is tough on marriages. Often YHVH has his servants perform difficult if not nearly impossible tasks requiring superhuman faith and obedience. In a marriage, it is not uncommon for one person to be more committed to serving YHVH than the other. This difference can result in a differential between the two parties resulting in a split or divergence of commitments, viewpoints, levels of faith and devotion to YHVH. In light of the fact that some ministry assignments are dangerous or can bring on severe trials, persecution or tribulation, sometimes this may be too much for the weaker, less committed party to bear, and there is a separation in the marriage.

In Exodus 4:24–26, in all likelihood, Zipporah and Moses split up over YHVH’s request to circumcise their two sons, for we never hear of Zipporah again, except that Moses had sent her away (Exod 18:2). Some Bible scholars take this mean that he put her away or divorced her (likely because of her refusal to follow him onto the mission field). Later, we find Moses remarrying a Cushite woman (who was likely black; Num 12:1).

David had to leave his first wife Michal, the daughter of Saul, because she despised him for dancing before YHVH’s ark of the covenant (2 Sam 6:14–16, 23).

The situation with the prophet Hosea is notable, as well, in this regard. YHVH required him to marry a wife of harlotry as part of his spiritual walk, so that he would better understand the experience of YHVH who was married to the adulterous nation of Israel. Hosea didn’t even know whether the children born to his wife were his own, or those of another man, yet he was to love her unconditionally anyway.

In the apostolic era, we hear virtually nothing about the wives of the apostles. This in no way indicates that their marriages were troubled, but one can only wonder given the rigors of the spiritual assignment YHVH had given them.

Paul is a case in point. He was likely married, since it would have been uncommon for someone of his spiritual stature to not to have been married in the Hebraic culture in which he lived, yet no mention of his wife is made. At the same time, he mentions a thorn in the flesh to buffet him and to keep him humble (2 Cor 12:7). On can only wonder if this isn’t a reference to a difficult marriage situation. Perhaps his wife became antagonistic at his conversion to Yeshua resulting in his leaving the prestigious and affluent life of the religious elite of his day, and counting his past life as dung (Phil 3:8). This may have been too much for her to bear.

The sad story of Methodist founder John Wesley’s marriage

From an article in Christianity Today (https://www.christiantoday.com/article/the-sad-story-of-methodist-founder-john-wesleys-marriage/129376.htm) on 24 May 2018


May 24th marks the day an Anglican priest named John Wesley had a spiritual experience that changed his life, and arguably transformed the church. It’s a truly ‘heart-warming’ day that celebrates the power of conversion and Wesley’s fervent Methodist legacy, but many don’t know a more sombre side to Wesley’s life: his tense and allegedly violent relationship with his wife.

The day is also known as Aldersgate Day, named after the part of London where Wesley had his strange spiritual experience. An Anglican minister, Wesley was a fervent priest but had increasingly been overcome by melancholy and doubt.

On the morning of May 24, 1738, he opened his Bible to read the words: ‘There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be partakers of the divine nature.’ Later that day he attended a church service in Aldersagte, where he heard a reading from Reformer Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to Romans.

Then, in Wesley’s words: ‘While he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.’

Inspired with assurance, John went on with his brother Charles to pioneer the radical movement of Methodism, spreading evangelical revival across the country and the world. But John’s fervent faith also caused profound problems for his marriage in later life: he is believed to have suffered domestic abuse from his wife.

As Lex Loizides explains for Church History Review, Wesley’s marriage to Molly Vazeille in 1751 didn’t begin as a  romance, and had filled his brother Charles Wesley with dread.

The dread was appropriate, because in just a few years the couple would be locked in tense conflict. Wesley was increasingly distant from his wife due to his preaching itinerary, while Molly – wrongly – suspected infidelity and struggled with Wesley’s frequent correspondence with other women. Since she was left at home for weeks at a time, but was allowed to open Welsey’s post, she saw letters from many of her husband’s admirers.

She grew antagonistic to Wesley, wrote critical letters and spied on him, accused him of adultery and gave Wesley’s enemies material with which to slander him.

As Lex Loizides explains for Church History Review, Wesley’s marriage to Molly Vazeille in 1751 didn’t begin as a  romance, and had filled his brother Charles Wesley with dread.

The dread was appropriate, because in just a few years the couple would be locked in tense conflict. Wesley was increasingly distant from his wife due to his preaching itinerary, while Molly – wrongly – suspected infidelity and struggled with Wesley’s frequent correspondence with other women. Since she was left at home for weeks at a time, but was allowed to open Welsey’s post, she saw letters from many of her husband’s admirers.

She grew antagonistic to Wesley, wrote critical letters and spied on him, accused him of adultery and gave Wesley’s enemies material with which to slander him.

Wesley wasn’t particularly charitable either, and once sent an unflinching message demanding Molly be content and submit: ‘Know me and know yourself. Suspect me no more, asperse me no more, provoke me no more: do not any longer contend for mastery…be content to be a private insignificant person, known and loved by God and me.’

Content she did not become. John Hampson of Manchester wrote that he ‘once entered a room unannounced to find Molly dragging her husband across the floor by his hair’. But John could be violent with his words, once writing: ‘If you were buried just now, or if you had never lived, what loss would it be to the cause of God?’

After years of conflict, Molly eventually left her husband and didn’t return, in 1771. Wesley famously wrote in his journal, in his only comment on his marriage: ‘I did not forsake her, I did not dismiss her, I will not recall her.’

It’s a sad story that shows neither of the couple in a good light. It may shock that the preacher was the victim of domestic violence, but it might be argued that he was ambitious and unkind in hoping for a happy marriage and contented wife, when he was never at home and perhaps temperamentally unsuited for marriage anyway.

Wesley’s marriage is a reminder that even ‘spiritual heroes’ and are vulnerable to profound personal unhappiness. Marriage is a serious matter, and as the liturgy reminds us, is not to be taken lightly.

 

On Finding Godly Spouses for Our Children

Genesis 34:1, Dinah…went out. The lure of friendship with the world is a powerful one. Youth are especially vulnerable to the attractions of the world, since it offers things that are new and exciting. But this is not always for their ultimate good as Dinah soon and sadly discovered. 

Dinah’s being drawn to friends among the heathen is what caused this whole sorry affair between the sons of Jacob and the inhabitants of Shechem resulting in Dinah’s kidnapping and rape and the massacre of the Shechemites. James the apostle warns us, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with Elohim? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of Elohim” (Jas 4:4). Similarly, John states, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15–16). The lure of the world’s acceptance is a dangerous one that leads one down a slippery slope spiritually as Paul opines. “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor 15:33). Elsewhere, Paul warns the young Timothy to “Flee youthful lusts” (2 Tim 2:22). If the enticements of the world weren’t such a difficult temptation to resist, then he wouldn’t have urged young people to flee them! 

Furthermore, YHVH, our loving Heavenly Father wouldn’t be urging his people to come out of the world (Rev 18:4; 2 Cor 6:14–17). Moreover, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, and who knew something about the alluring power of sexual and lustful enticements, dedicates the first seven chapters of the book of Proverbs to warning against it. He urges young people to follow the path of wisdom, truth and the fear of Elohim by fleeing the ways of the perverse woman—a metaphor for evil in its every form. 

The problem is that most young people feel they are powerful enough to resist the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil—that they’re an exception to the rule and immune. Sadly, this is pride based on naiveté. As the Scriptures teach us, pride comes before a fall, which results in shame (Prov 16:18; 11:2). “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov 14:12; 16:25). “He who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12). Dinah would have been better off had she heeded this advice. 

So how could Jacob have protected his children from worldly influences? After a certain point when young people become adults, this is no longer possible; they have to figure things out for themselves and to make their own choices one way or the other. Until then, parents can somewhat shield their children from the evil influences of the world within the protective confines of the family structure, even as they are inoculating them against the world’s ungodly mores by laying under them a strong, biblically-based spiritual foundation of Truth. After that, however, the young and tender plants have to leave the protective greenhouse of the family and face the exposure of the outside elements—the wind, cold, rain, ice, snow as well as competition from other plants, where they will either stand firm against these adverse forces, or will, to one degree or another, succumb to them.

It is a particular and difficult problem for young people who are raised in godly families to find godly spouses. If they are not part of a spiritual community where the “fishing” is good, then they are forced to go searching for marriage prospects in the world around them. This is a potentially dangerous proposition and a gamble at best. This was likely the case with Dinah, and it turned out badly for her. For this reason, both Abraham and Isaac insisted that their children NOT seek marriage partners from among the Canaanites around them. They went to great lengths to find godly spouses for their children. Jacob would have been well-advised to do the same. Perhaps, however, this was not an option for him after his difficult experience with Laban and the vow he had just made with his uncle at Mizpeh not to cross the Jordan River en route to Babylonia. It seems that this would have precluded Jacob from seeking wives for his children elsewhere, leaving them no choice but seek such among the local heathen populace. Evidently, Dinah’s brothers intermarried with the local girls, which may have contributed to the Israelites’ eventual apostasy and enslavement in Egypt.

Whatever the case, it is not easy for anyone to remain faithful to Elohim in this evil world. If it is difficult for parents to resist the forceful currents of spiritual declension short of divine intervention and empowerment, then how much more so for their children after them?! Many godly people have been asking this same question for a long time as we read in the Gospels,

And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:26–27)

Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Luke 13:23–24, emphasis added


Genesis 34:9, Make marriages with us. After the Dinah and Shechem incident, the local Canaanites wanted to intermarry with Jacob’s children and steal their inheritance (Gen 34:23). It is the desire of worldly people to pollute and desecrate YHVH’s set-apart people. The world isn’t content to live and let live—to leave the saints alone. It pollutes and destroys everything it touches wants by pulling those of a higher spiritual level down to its low spiritual level. Jacob and his sons, however, remained firm and refused to assimilate with the Canaanites. 

Had Jacob succumbed to the alluring offers of the devil, he would have lost his spiritual standing with Elohim as well as his future, promised and covenantal inheritance. 

The devil offered Jacob the small reward of temporary peace and prosperity by making assimilating alliances with the heathens in exchange for Jacob’s birthright. Esau made this mistake years earlier, and Jacob knew better than to fall for the enemy’s lies. 

The devil tempted Yeshua in the same way after his forty day fast in Matthew chapter four. Satan promised Yeshua temporal and immediate fame, glory and prosperity if he would submit to him. To do so, Yeshua would have forfeited his future higher glory. Instead Yeshua chose the better reward of the delayed gratification that his Father offered him as opposed to the instant carnal gratification the devil offered. 

We too must follow the example of Jacob and Yeshua and resist the enemy’s overtures that appeal to our base carnal nature. Instead, we must aggressively fight off the enemy who wants to steal and destroy our inheritance and kill us in the process. 

No good can come from intermarrying literally or spiritually with the heathen! 

Be not deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits. (1 Cor 15:33)

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with Elohim? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of Elohim. (Jas 4:4)

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Messiah with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of Elohim with idols? for ye are the temple of the living Elohim; as Elohim hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (1 Cor 6:15–18)