Puzzling Passages Made Plain: Holy Ground

John 4:19-21 “Sir,” the woman [at the well] replied, “I see that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”

Today, this fact is taken for granted. Before Yahshua’s sacrifice, this was not always so.

Naaman’s Request

2 Kings 5:15-19 Then Naaman returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before Elisha. And Naaman said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so, accept now a present from your servant.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And Naaman urged Elisha to take it, but Elisha refused.

Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but YHWH. In this matter may YHWH pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, YHWH pardon your servant in this matter.”

Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.”

Why did Naaman ask for a bunch of dirt? Why did Elisha agree to it?

There was an ancient belief that a god had ownership over a part of the Earth. Naaman wanted to take earth, consecrated by Yah’s presence in Elisha, so that YHWH would be with him. Further proof is in Scripture.

Nonbelievers Serve YHWH

2 Kings 17:24-33 And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. And at the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear YHWH. Therefore, YHWH sent lions among them, which killed some of them.

So, the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law (customs) of the god of the land. Therefore, He has sent lions among them, and behold, they are killing them, because they do not know the law (customs) of the god of the land.”

Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there, and let him go and dwell there and teach them the law (customs) of the god of the land.”

So, one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel and taught them how they should fear (respect) YHWH.

But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived. The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.

They also feared (respected) YHWH and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. So, they feared (respected) YHWH but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.

The foreigners who took over understood the ancient custom of serving the god of the land if they wanted to live there peacefully. Even though Israel had been put away by Yah for serving other gods along with Him, these people were doing the exact same thing. The difference being that Israel, the people, were His, as was the land.

Yah Uses This Belief

Just as Yah took the threshold covenant and reworked it for His purposes, He consecrated pieces of the Earth. Remember, these events happened prior to Yahshua’s blood cleansing all of creation.

Genesis 28:10-22 (ESV) Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!

And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am YHWH, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely YHWH is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel (House of YHWH), but the name of the city was Luz (Light) at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

Exodus 3:5 “Do not come closer,” He said [to Moses]. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

A Piece of the Tabernacle

When Adam and Eve sinned, the whole of creation on Earth became corrupted, or common. Everything comes from dirt; therefore, things were also consecrated. The Tabernacle (and later, the Temple) and its contents had been consecrated for Father Yah’s connection to the Earth among the Israelites. Being away from the Tabernacle while on the run, David had no way to communicate with YHWH until he remembered something:

1 Samuel 23:6 When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand.

1 Samuel 23:9-13 (HCSB) When David realized that Saul was planning to harm him, he told Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod!”

Then David said, “YHWH, God of Israel, Your servant has heard that Saul intends to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me. Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down as Your servant has heard? YHWH, God of Israel, please tell Your servant.”

YHWH answered, “He will come down.”

Then David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?”

“They will,” YHWH responded.

So, David and his men, numbering about 600, left Keilah at once and moved from place to place. When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he called off the expedition.

After David and his men lost their families and belongings to raiders, some of the men wanted to stone David.

1 Samuel 30:78 David said to Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.”

So, Abiathar brought it to him.

And David asked YHWH, “Should I pursue these raiders? Will I overtake them?”

YHWH replied to him, “Pursue them, for you will certainly overtake them and rescue the people.”

Torah stated the holy garments were to stay in the Holy Place (inner court) to avoid transferring holiness to people. (Ezekiel 44:19, Ezekiel 42:14, Leviticus 16:23). Along with David and his men eating the Bread of the Presence of YHWH (the priests’ showbread) (1 Samuel 21:6, Matthew 12:4, Mark 2:26, Luke 6:4), Yah demonstrated His ultimate and final authority (Mark 2:28), and that Torah helps transition us to His Will and Plan, not dominate our lives (Mark 2:27, Colossians 2:16, Romans 14:5, Romans 14:17).

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