|2011 A.D.: 6th Day Series: The Human Skin|
|Written by Dan Curry|
|Sunday, 04 December 2011|
2011 A.D.: 6th Day Series: The Human Skin
No picture on this one.
Our skin is our heaviest 'organ', and an important one. We all have probably been taught in school of the many necessary functions that skin performs for our bodies. But, is it supposed to remind us of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Does it perform a symbolic function as well as a practical biological one?
Well, you can draw an analogy where one ought not to be as easily as where one was meant to be. But, with that as a given, it is true that you can make comparisons between our skin and heavenly things which seem to work. Here are some:
Jesus is the center subject of the Bible we Christians mostly believe. The Old Testament, taken from the Jewish Torah and their prophets and their books of Wisdom, while speaking of many earthly and heavenly matters to the Israelites, also held a great many allusions to Jesus. Only, since He had not yet come upon the scene, it would not have been clearly apparent to the Israelites exactly what was alluded to. Even so, their wiser heads realized that there was a 'person' who's coming the scriptures seemed to point to. They eventually began to call that person the Messiah. They expected Him to come from Bethlehem Ephratha, just outside of Bethleham. And He would be great...a great spiritual leader - a 'great light'. They gathered that much and more from the scriptures.
So, Jesus was alluded to, we Christians believe, even in the Old Testament scriptures. Concerning skin, consider this: once, at the inception of their nation when they had just fled Egypt after the plagues, when God had just made them His special, peculiar people, the ancient Israelites worshipped not in a stone built temple but in a portable temple called the Tabernacle. It was a sort of tent. It's parts were carried along with them as they wandered in the desert for 40 years after leaving Egypt at the time of the Exodus. God had commanded them concerning how to build the tabernacle with great specificity. He wanted it to be constructed exactly as he told them.
God led them in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night in those 40 years. When God moved, they packed up their tents and belongings and the tabernacle, and followed Him. When God stopped, they set up their tabernacle and their tents and camped, resting and living. Their God dwelt inside of a tent (sometimes), and they also dwelt in tents. To an ancient Israelite, the idea of God's people dwelling in tents, being protected by the tent, sheltered by these portable coverings, would have been totally easy to grasp. It's how they lived!
In some places in the scriptures, it tells us that our body, our human body, is an earthly 'tabernacle.' We live inside our fleshly body, covered by our fleshly skin, for all of our days here on Earth.
What was the 'skin' of the tabernacle made of? Well, part of the 'envelope' of the tabernacle was composed of curtains of 'goat hair'. "Make curtains of goat hair for the tabernacle - eleven altogether." Exodus 26:7 Jesus was for us a 'scape goat'. He took the blame for ourselves onto Himself, so that we might regain access to the Holy Father's kingdom in heaven...access that our sins had disqualified us for. So, maybe there is some typology going on there: by goat hair curtains one gained access to the inner portions of the tabernacle; by a 'scape goat' we are allowed a chance to rejoin - regain access, so to speak - to the kingdom of heaven.
Then, consider Exodus 26:14, where God is giving instructions about how to construct the outer covering (roof, etc.) of the tabernacle. "Make for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of other durable leather." NIV
Lamb skins dyed red? The color red is very connotative of blood, and for us Christian humans, living in our human tabernacle, we say that we are 'covered' by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who is Jesus, who died a bloody death of crucifixion to atone for us. Red bloody lamb skin? Jesus..the crucified 'lamb of God'? Isn't there a resemblance?
And the 'durable leather' covering on top of that? Some translations say that the outermost covering (this 'durable leather' covering) was of badger skins. That is a creature that can go beneath the surface of the Earth for a few days, then re-ascend, alive! That is a picture of Jesus in a way, isn't it? He descended into hell for three days, but re-emerged....alive! The earth could not hold Him because the Devil could not hold Him! Jesus had not sinned. And He was the Son of the Almighty, in the flesh.
Other translators decided that the hides of sea cows was meant by the word referring to the outermost covering. Israel does have a lot of beach front, and perhaps in those days, 3,500 years ago, sea cows may have frolicked in the waters there. With the Holy Spirit of God often being symbolized by water, and with Jesus walking like no other ever had in the power of the Holy Spirit, the sea cow also could be an apt analogy for our Lord Jesus Christ. Weren't cows a commonly prescribed sin sacrifice in Mosaic law, and wasn't Jesus a sin sacrifice? A 'Cow' (sin sacrifice) that dwelt in the 'Sea' (water/Holy Spirit.) It could be an apt analogy, and an apt outer covering for a tabernacle that was one day to call Jesus to mind when Christians considered its odd and very specific construction.
So, I have been making the point that we Christians are told that Jesus provided our covering of righteousness. And we are told that we humans live in an earthly 'tabernacle', which is our bodies, and our bodies as we know are covered with skin. And just as we believe that Jesus will provide our heavenly 'covering' or garment of righteousness to hide our shame and to protect us, so it also seems true that the ancient Israelite's tabernacle, their mobile temple, was covered with things that pointed to Jesus Christ.
Secondly, consider, concerning our skin, that it replaces itself about every 27 days. The sources I found used that number - 27 days - as the time that it takes our human skin to under go a process called keratinization - or skin renewal...skin replacement. Well, the New Testament has 27 Books, and the New Testament is about Jesus. And Jesus renews us, and is our covering, just as skin renews itself, and is our covering. Skin is the physical covering of this human tabernacle that we live in. And Jesus is called the Word, and the Lamb of God, and the Scape Goat. The New Testament, with it's 27 books, full of the Holy Spirit's words about God and Jesus, explains our covenant with Jesus. And Jesus makes us into a new man when we confess our sins, repent, become baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, then take up our own cross and follow Jesus as our King, Lord beneath the Father, and our Savior, living as He told us to live, doing His will on Earth, and telling others of what Jesus has done for them.
When we look at a man or a woman, we see their skin. It renews every 27 days. So, we actually see a whole new skin every 27 days. Our spiritual covering...Jesus...makes us into a whole new man after 27 Books (if we allow it - if we cooperate) and it is a spiritually renewed man.
Third, consider this: if the renewed man sins slightly the blood shed for that man by Jesus can restore the damage done to the covering. If a physical man scratches his skin, the blood inside of him wells out and forms a scab, and the small amount of damage is soon restored and healed. It is good that the scab forms, or we would eventually bleed to death even from a small wound. It is true that the life is in the blood in both cases. Spiritual life for the Christian that sins slightly....it is covered by the Lord's blood. Physical life for the man that gets the small cut? It is filled by our bodies blood, which then hardens to staunch the further flow of blood.
Fourth, isn't the skin what nourishes the hair, the hairs that we all grow? In the English, hairs sounds quite a lot like heirs, and Christians are all heirs of God through Christ, the scriptures tell us. God, who foresaw all things, including the development of language, might have wanted heirs to sound like hairs, to associate the two. That's completely speculation, of course. Hairs, though you might not initially think so, can be related to men in several ways - to Christians as well as perhaps non-Christians! Consider this passage from Ezekiel:
1 “Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. 2 When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. 3 But take a few hairs and tuck them away in the folds of your garment. 4 Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to all Israel.
5 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6 Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.
7 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not even[a] conformed to the standards of the nations around you.
8 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. 9 Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again. 10 Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds. 11 Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will shave you; I will not look on you with pity or spare you. 12 A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.
13 “Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath on them, they will know that I the LORD have spoken in my zeal.
You can see how God relates men to hairs in this instance, right? So, does hair have very many characteristics of mankind, of Christians?
Well, a hair is nourished by unseen blood. At it's root, beneath the skin in the bottom of the hair follicle, each hair has it's individual blood supply, just as each Christian is individually nourished by Jesus, made alive by our Lord. Yet a hair is also dead! It is alive within the covering of the skin (and skin, at least as discussed above, is like Christ.) So each hair is 'alive in Christ' - alive in the skin - just as each Christian is alive in Christ. But the hair that is outside the skin, visible to the world, is dead material. And in keeping with that, we Christians are told to consider ourselves dead to the world, but alive in and through Christ. Yet hair can be somewhat beautiful, though dead, just as we learn through the scriptures that Jesus' followers, His Chruch, His bride, is beautiful in His eyes.
Fifth, if you persecute the many Christians (the 'hairs', in this analogy) they just grow back. The church never grows so fast as when persecuted, it is said. That is because we arise from an unseen source, just as hairs do! If you cut off hairs, they just grow back.
Sixth, hair is made of keratin (as are horns and fingernails and toe nails) and the origin of that word according to the sources I referenced is the word 'cerat' which refers to the word horn in an ancient language. (like the 'cera' in triceratops, the three horned dinosaur, right?) And men, leaders at least, are frequently referred to as horns in the Bible's scriptures. God will say through His prophets that He will 'raise up a horn' to aid His people when they are obedient, or punish them (a foreign king) when the Israelites were disobedient to God until His patience was exceeded. The 'horns' on the beasts in Revelation are kings. There are quite a number of examples in scripture where this symbolism is used where a horn is a king or leader.
Even Jesus is referred to as such a horn, in Luke 1:67-75, by John the Baptist's father, also named Zechariah, who was a Levite priest. And remember, Christians are commissioned to lead people to Christ, so we are leaders in that sense. Also, we are to live in imitation of Christ, to be like little (though vastly lesser) imitations of Christ the Lord. So, if Jesus can be likened to a horn, then Christians can be likened to lesser horns, and hair is, again, made of Keratin, a word that derives from a word for 'horn'. Here's that passsage:
67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
Seventh, each hair can be 'erected', or raised up, by the erector pili muscle that attaches to it near it's base, under the outer surface of the skin. Just as Jesus was raised up, our skin can 'raise up' our tens of thousands of hairs at certain times. Jesus was raised up, and hairs can be raised up too, and in history, many Christians have been martyred for Jesus. Part of the time they were actually crucified as Jesus was, though more commonly they were killed in other ways. In times of danger, hairs may stand up. In times of danger, Christ's followers may be crucified. But, just as you can't kill a hair by cutting it off, so too with a Christian!
Eigth, hairs have twin lobed sebaceous glands which produce an oily substance called sebum, or 'seb'. Sebaceous glands are a two lobed gland, one lobe higher than the other, which cling close to the shaft of the hair and excrete this oil onto the base of the hair. Therefore, each hair is annointed with oil, and can apply it to whatever it touches! Hopefully, Christians are annointed with the Holy Spirit and oil is used to symbolize the Holy Spirit in the scripture at times. And Jesus Himself was obviously very greatly annointed by the Holy Spirit.
Ninth, hairs grow more numerously in certain areas, just as Christians are associated with certain areas. The areas on our bodies from which new life originates (Jesus is the source of ever lasting life, new life, for mankind, through the Father's will) have much hair. Also, the area symbolizing the government of our body, our head, has a great congregation of hair. And on a man (according to the Apostle Paul, only men should speak in church) there is hair around our mouth, the part of us from which speech eminates.
Tenth, hair on the head can be wound together into braids and are stronger together than alone. There were 7 churches that Jesus gave messages to in the Book of Revelation. There were 7 braids on Samson's head - Samson was the great strong man from the tribe of Dan. The tribe of Dan was one of the two places that ended up, centuries after Samson, having a bronze bull to worship (it was in the city of Dan) instead of the God that they ought to have had. Bethel was the other town. It was because of Jereboam, the leader of the 10 tribes after Israel's civil war. He wanted the 10 tribes to not reconnect with the temple and with Yahweh, which was in Jerusalem, so he built them golden bulls to worship.
Here's food for thought: the city of Dan was one place there was a bull. The tribe of Dan named may places after their founder, Israel's son Dan. There was one town called Manaheh-dan (camp of Dan). And there is presently a 'golden' bull - the Wall Street bull - in Manhatten. Manhatten...Manaheh-dan. Sound alikes? The origin of the word Manhatten is contested, but one possibility is that it means 'place of drunkenness' in a Native American language from a tribe once living there. Both the ancient bulls of Israel and the present day bull of Wall Street have something to do with keeping men's focus off of God, wouldn't you say?
Samson's braids were visible evidence of his commitment and connection to God.
When Delilah, Samson's wicked and betraying love interest from a foreign people, managed to cut off those seven braids, then Samson was also cut off from the source of his strength. Samson was from the tribe of Dan. The city of Dan was famous for its metallic bull, and the bull was famous as a symbol of rebellion against God, and being led away from God.
Uncle Sam. 'Sam'-son. The metal bull. The wall street bull. Led away from God. Addicted to greed. The removal of the 7 braids voided Samson's protection from God. The cutting off of the 7 churches? What will happen to 'Samson' when 'Samson' is no longer connected to God by the church?
Hairs have their life from 'the covering.' Our skin is that covering, but the skin is like Christ in many ways. People are likened to hairs in the Bible at times. Hairs, bound together in a braid, are tougher and able to withstand more. The church holds Christians that join together and are tougher for it, able to withstand more because of it. When the braids were removed, Samson, who had always assumed that his strength would never abandon him, found that it had. He was easily overcome by his enemies. When the Church is removed from Earth, or no longer connecting humanity to God, defeat will come quickly and unexpectantly to humanity, just as defeat came quickly and unexpectantly to Samson. Samson, once taken hostage, was then used to destroy grain, and as we know from the Bible, grain symblizes both people and the word of God. When Samson's connection to God was cut off, he was taken hostage by his enemies, and used to 'grind grain.'
Is there a connection between Samson and his seven braids, and Uncle Sam and his connection, from his earliest days, with the Church? The Churches that Jesus spoke to in Revelation were 7 in number. Will a USA, stripped of God, seperated from the Church that was once an integral part of it from America's birth just as the braids of a Nazarite were an integral part of Samson since birth, be taken hostage by it's enemies either physically or by unholy political obligations, be used to destroy 'grain'....as in Christians? Or as in 'the word'? Remember, it was Samson's head that lay in Delilah's lap, just as it is America's head (our government) that is involved in this betrayal of Christ that the rest of the nation largely knows is so wicked. The American government is making out like it is serving it's citizens as it works to seperate us from Jesus. But it is serving Delilah, who does not love, but only wishes to betray.
Anyway, oops!!....back to the skin and it's hairs.
11) As for the pits beneath our arms, how should we interprete those? They are 'pits', as we came to know them in English, and in scripture the 'pit' denotes what people call Hell, and it's true that many men will be thrown in Hell. But also, when Moses was leading the people, there once was a battle between the Israelites and an enemy people. As long as Moses stood and held his arms up, as if in victory, there was victory, but when Moses got tired and lowered his arms, they were defeated. So, others came over to Moses and held his arms up for him. And maybe if hairs are men, and skin is Christ, maybe that could be what's going on there! Maybe we are the hairs that hold up Jesus' arms in victory as the years, decades, and centuries roll by. But all is speculation, and since pits tend to smell pretty bad, maybe the first answer was better anyway!
12th) Our head, compared to the rest of our body, is somewhat like Heaven is compared to Earth...in a few ways, at least. It is high above us. It governs us. Messages about needs go from the body to the brain, just as commands go from the brain to the body. Prayers about our needs as humans go from Earth to God, just as commands for us come down to us from heaven, right? So, there is a sort of comparison that can be made there: the human head is to the human body like Heaven is to Earth. So, do you remember when manna fell from heaven to the Earth, and the Israelites ate it for 40 years as they followed God in the Sinai? It was bread from heaven! It was real, but it also foreshadowed how we would read the Bible (the word of God and the Bread of Life) as we Christians followed God and Jesus and the Spirit through the centuries, or at least I think it was a foreshadowing.
***Odd thought: maybe dandruff, falling from our head down onto our chest and shoulders is an strange little reminder of that! I know that idea is out there a little, but hey....maybe it is! Because if the skin is our covering and our covering is Christ Jesus, then pieces of 'Jesus' coming down from the heavens to Earth is like manna when it fell, sustaining the people. Jesus said 'This is my body...' as He broke bread and handed it out to His Apostles. Manna was like little seeds of coriander, the scripture says. Daily intake of Jesus' words...reading the Bible daily...is like a daily dose of seed, of bread, of Jesus. Dandruff falls from above as manna once fell.***
Still, I don't think I'll start eating it.
Now isn't that food for thought? Skin, our physical body's great outer covering, has some things in common with Jesus and His work; it has aspects and features in common with Jesus, our great spiritual covering. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by a Father that foresaw it all, and provided the answer to it all from the earliest days. All things I think, when properly understood, will be one day seen clearly to be in praise of God in form, function, or feature.
We Christians have so many people that we need to tell about such things...there are so many people still unreached, even in the midst of Christian lands. The Gospel truths are the big remedy. The Bible was specially written using words that God had foreseen would have evocative power. The words themselves do a great part of the work of reaching a non-believer. But the words must be borne to the non-believer by someone with conviction and faith. Jesus trusted us to do that. This website has many things that may strengthen a believer, or pique someone's curiosity to look into Christianity, etc. It holds items that can be great supplementary tools for outreach. But, the great and powerful thing is the Gospel...the teachings of Jesus. It was designed by Heaven! Christian love and the Gospel, affirmed by mighty miracles here and there....it is the recipe that turned the world upside down. And it still must be!
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 May 2013 )|
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