Blessings and Curses--Part 3
Jul 10, 2008
In Genesis 12:3, the Hebrew word for "bless" is barak. It is the usual word in Scripture for blessing. However, it also has a strange secondary meaning, because it also means "curse." It is used this way in Job 1:10, 11, where Satan says about Job,
" (10) Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (11) But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely CURSE Thee to Thy face."
The same is said in Job 2:5, and then in 2:9, after Job was feeling miserable, his wife told him, "CURSE God and die."
In all these cases, the word "curse" is from the Hebrew word barak, which is also the usual word for "bless."
In the New Testament, James 3:10 relates this word to the unruly tongue, from which spring both blessings and cursings:
"From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way."
There is a deeper truth in all of this. When man curses, it is malicious and is the opposite of blessing. But when God curses, it is simply an alternative route to ultimate blessing. The judgments of the law are God's curses, but the purpose of judgment is correction--in order to be blessed. This is the entire spirit of the law, when understood by the mind of Christ.
Judgment is not evil. Evil is when there is no judgment at all. Lack of judgment, correction, and discipline is evidence of illegitimacy (Heb. 12:8). Because of the Great White Throne judgment and the "lake of fire," we can say that in the end God will have no illegitimate children. He loves them enough to correct them and save them so as by "fire."
This principle is shown by Noah's curse upon Canaan in Gen. 9:25-27. Canaan was "cursed" to be a servant of Shem and a servant of the God of Shem. I showed in Secrets of Time how this curse was fulfilled 2 x 414 years later when Joshua led Israel into Canaan and brought judgment upon the Canaanites. In fact, it was specifically the Gibeonites who fulfilled Noah's curse, because they made a treaty with Joshua, submitting to him and to the descendants of Shem. Their "curse" was to serve the Lord God of Shem in the tabernacle (Joshua 9:27).
Because Shem himself had been the King of Salem and had ruled under the title of King of Righteousness (Melchizedek), it shows that the Gibeonites were now serving the Lord God of Shem. In fact, they actually became a type of the Melchizedek Order, serving the true Melchizedek (Jesus Christ) in the Temple of God.
In other words, God's "curse" upon Canaan was turned into a blessing through the story of the Gibeonites. Did God hate Canaanites? Hardly. He made the Gibeonites a type of the overcomers serving Melchizedek. It is a perfect example of how God's curses are actually a blessing in the long run. The only significant difference between a blessing and a curse (coming from God) is that a blessing is more immediate, while a curse is a disciplinary detour to an ultimate blessing.
There are people who are deathly afraid of the judgments of God. This has caused some to run from God. It has caused others to react the other way by denying that God will judge anyone at all. In both cases, the people do not understand the mind of God. Certainly, they do not understand the purpose of divine judgment. They see it as evil and each reacts in a different way to their misperception.
The plagues on Egypt are another interesting type of divine judgment. Each was a plague upon a different god of Egypt, beginning with the Nile itself. All the water was turned to blood, and Exodus 7:21 says, "the blood was through all the land of Egypt." Terrible, you say. Yes, of course, but look beyond the type into the antitype. The types of the Old Testament are usually full of violence and death, but their antitypes in the New Testament are full of life and hope.
The first "plague" on Egypt spoke of the blood of Jesus Christ covering "Egypt," which is a type of the world. It speaks of the restoration of all things by means of divine judgment (correction). The curse of God is a temporary negative to bring about a permanent positive blessing.
The same holds true when the people crucified Jesus, saying in Matthew 27:25, "His blood be upon us and on our children." In one sense they were cursing themselves. In the bigger picture, however, they were merely placing themselves under the disciplinary judgments of the divine law in order that the blood of Jesus Christ might cover their sin. Their own curse will ultimately be turned into a blessing. But the path to that blessing has been difficult and bitter for them, and it is about to get worse before it gets better.
While we certainly ought to understand the sovereignty of God and know the divine plan, we should also see that God uses the vessels of dishonor to judge each other. It is not the job description of overcomers to mistreat those whom God is disciplining and buffeting. Those who feel as though it is their "Christian duty" to help God in judging the Jews simply do not know the mind of Christ. We are indeed called to judge, as Paul tells us--but not in that way. We are to judge only by the mind and will of Christ, not by the flesh or by appearances. The key is knowing that God's judgments are remedial and are designed to provide correction and blessing in the long run. They are rooted and grounded in love, for God is love, and all that He does is an expression of who He is.
One of the most basic reasons for divine judgment is to overthrow carnal pride. This is the key toward training a ruler in the Kingdom of God. It is all too easy for a ruler to become prideful of his position, so God often trains a ruler by hardships, prison, and wilderness training. This is what He did with Joseph and David. No doubt they thought at first that they had done something to displease God. Next they thought God was mistreating them. But ultimately, when they understood the Plan, they came into agreement with it and could praise God for it.
It is difficult to make someone "chosen" without triggering pride in the carnal mind of man. For this reason, God brought Israel into bondage in Egypt for a long time. It was to show them what NOT to do and how NOT to rule over others. God constantly told them later that they were not to oppress foreigners, because they should have known what that was like, having themselves been oppressed as foreigners in Egypt.
Years later, God divorced and cast off the house of Israel, stripping them of their Birthright name, Israel. In part, He did this to teach them by experience what it was like to be a non-Israelite. They forgot their father's house and lost their identity. They came to assume that they were mere "gentiles." God was casting down pride in one's "chosenness." When one has lived as non-chosen for a long time, one can begin to understand how other non-Israelites feel. Only then can the authority of being "chosen" be used to set creation free, instead of using them as servants. This is the mind of Christ.
In a way, the Jews have not enjoyed this same advantage, for they never lost the feeling of being a chosen people. Those who converted to Judaism over the centuries took on that same carnal pride. It has borne bitter fruit in the past century with the rise of Zionism, an ideology based upon the idea that certain people are chosen to rule and enslave the world. Zionism's goal is to bless Jews at the expense of all others. It is certainly not a Christ-like ideology and will never bring forth the fruit of the Spirit that God requires of His Elect.
Jesus set the great example. Let us put on His mind and be like Him.
This is the third part of a series titled "Blessings and Curses." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones