Chris JosephsonUp-Heavals

(The best guide for seeking Biblical truth is to compare Scripture with Scripture on the same theme, because the Bible is its own best commentary. In articles, such as this one, I do not strive for a thorough treatise, but rather to give thought for further study – and hopefully food for sermons and lectures.)

One usually connects the word upheaval with disaster, trauma, even destruction. And there are plenty of these up-heavals in our world today. The earth is moving – even seeming to totter. We were shocked and rocked at the Columbia disaster. We’re still reeling from the Twin Towers’ Fall. While some cry because of stock market loses, others are starving; and the greatest upheaval recently is the Iraq War and its repercussions.

But consider the word broken down: UP-HEAV-al heaving upward — like in a HEAV-enly direction? In this connection, let’s consider some heave offering Scriptures and bring an application to our day.

In Exodus 29:27, mentioned specifically is the shoulder of the heave offering , “You shall sanctify…the shoulder of the heave offering….”

Please hang on to that word shoulder to the end of this article.

“Then it shall be that, when you eat the bread of the land, you shall offer up a heave offering unto the LORD” (Numbers 15:19).

“…the heave offering of the threshing floor shall you heave it” (Leviticus 15:20).

Now we see a connection between threshing and heaving!

Until the industrial revolution, grain was threshed by hand – heaving it up and letting the wind blow away the husks and hulls that were necessary until the grain matured.

“And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you as though it were the corn of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress….” The verse goes on to say that the best of gifts, and the hallowed part, shall be offered in the heave offering. (Numbers 18:27,29)

In II Samuel 24 and I Chronicles 21 is the record of David purchasing the threshing floor, the future place for the Temple to be built, that his son, Solomon, accomplished: “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (II Chronicles 3:1).

Threshing Purpose

Jeremiah’s prophecy has application to both his day and ours: “For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing-floor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come” (Jeremiah 51:33).

Babylon? How many Bible bells does that word ring in your brain?

But notice that threshing is not a bad thing!

Without the winnowing and threshing of grain there would be no bread.

If the grain stayed in the husks and hulls, it would die – and so would people.

When the threshing is worldwide, does it mean there is NO good in the peoples of the earth? Is THAT the why of judgment?

No, the “threshing” is to remove the inedible and to bring forth nourishment, without which all would be without life.

Red Flag Warning

Twisting of this doctrine of threshing and purging has produced religious wars, such as the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Third Reich, “ethnic cleansing”. In the Life Vs. Death battle we must always hold to the truth that “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [efforts of the flesh], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” The Apostle Paul goes on to pinpoint the targets of this war, “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:3-5).

What is obedience to Christ? He is the embodiment of the Love of God, and said, “By this shall all know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

Lost sheep cannot be found but by the loving acts of the shepherd.

Crumbling Man-Erected Walls

The theme of crumbling walls is illustrated in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream interrupted by Daniel: “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).

I understand “the stone” to be the Rock of Truth, centered in Jerusalem. “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3). A rock of offense – the social tone of the world is against Jerusalem and her people. Why? The forces of evil are against the Word of Life, the covenant of love and peace. The Bible teaches God’s choice for the Center for Truth is Jerusalem, so that “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14 with Isaiah 2:3 and Micah 4:2).

Isaiah goes on to say, the purpose for up-heaval is to bring life and healing: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” – repeating this last phrase again (Isaiah 11:9).

“…Babylon [symbolic of evil] is fallen, is fallen [repeated for emphasis!]; and all the graven images of her gods [all greedy materialism and controlling powers] he hath broken unto the ground. O my threshing, and the corn of my floor that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you” (Isaiah 21:9,10).

“Fear not, thou worm Jacob [He is not saying Jacob is just a lowly worm; the symbol provokes the question: What does an earth worm do? It is in the earth bringing oxygen and nutrition to the soil to produce food!], and you men of Israel; I will help you, says the LORD, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make you a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth [the teeth of Truth]: you shall thresh the mountains [kingdoms exploiting their peoples] and beat them small and shall make the hills [smaller exploiting nations] as chaff. Thou shall fan them and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them….” (Isa. 41:14-16).

The Truth of God and His universal love cannot be destroyed. All attempts to do so, fail, for Truth always rises again. God’s Truth is His Love – genuine and ever-abiding. The Apostle Paul said it, “Love never fails.”

Again, Isaiah gives purpose to the fanning, the wind, the whirlwind, etc. “When the poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers … fountains … make the wilderness a pool of water … will plant in the wilderness [trees] … that they may see and know, consider and understand together that the hand of the LORD has done this and the Holy One of Israel has created it” (Isaiah 41:17-20).

The “food” of Truth that will come from removing all that is false will reveal the ineffable God of love, the God of Israel declared in His Book.

Now, let us go back to that thought in the beginning about “the shoulder”. We have seen that God’s purpose is world-wide, and the Prophet Zephaniah gives further insight: “…that they [all peoples] may all call upon the Name of the LORD to serve him with one consent.” The Hebrew which is translated “one consent” here is “one shoulder.” The Stone’s edition says “with a united resolve” (Zephaniah 3:9). Let us put our shoulder [as one] to the side of Truth and push and pull together!

Oh, God of Truth, deliver us from cowardice that shrinks from new Truth, from the laziness that is content with half-truth. And from the arrogance that thinks it knows all Truth (source unknown). -