WORD STUDY – COULD NOT STAND – לאיכל
I Kings 8:11: “So that the priest could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house.”
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Clarke’s Third Law – Arthur C. Clarke
“Any sufficiently researched Christian theology is indistinguishable from Jewish mysticism.” A great man once said that.
If I use the word mysticism I would probably conjure up pictures of crystal balls and tarot cards. When we refer to Jewish mysticism or Jewish mystics, we need to be very careful in how we define our words. I heard a Jewish rabbi define a Jewish mystic as one who is simply seeking a deeper relationship with God. Based upon that definition, most Christians I meet would be considered Jewish mystics. Still when we say mystic we are thinking something supernatural outside the natural world. Well, also fits with our belief in God.
In I Kings we learn of a supernatural event, the priest could not stand when the cloud appeared and the room was filled with the glory of God. Now if that doesn’t smack of mysticism, I don’t know what does. I don ‘t see how a relationship with God can be expressed as any deeper here on earth as described in I Kings 8:11.
The word stand in Hebrew is ‘amad and could mean many, many things. It could mean to stand, but also opposed, confirm, appoint, remain, defend, stop, wait, stand firm and many other possible usages. One thing is certain, something physical happened to the priest when the cloud appeared and filled the house with the glory of God.
The word glory is kavod which comes from the word kavad which means a weight. Thus we tend to conclude that the glory of the Lord so weighted the priest down that they could not stand. But, the question needs to be asked: “Just what was this weight. A cloud is simply a gas which has little weight to it. This cloud had to be more than a gas to bring the priest to their knees or forced them on their faces.
There is another meaning to the word kavod glory that is rarely used. That is the word heart. I helped to pay my way through college working as a ventriloquist. I would often perform on a stage where a spot light was put on me. The auditorium was dark so I could not see the audience. Yet, I knew they were there. Even though I could not see the audience, the moment I stepped onto the stage, I could feel the audience. I could tell if they were a happy audience, ready to laugh or a quiet audience who would need some coaxing to laugh. I could also tell if it were a hostile audience or a friendly audience. The audience would not say a word, I could not see them, but I could feel them. We call this animal instincts. It is really scientific as thoughts are electrical impulses. Animals pick up these impulses more readily than humans but they cannot categorize them. Fear, anger hostility pretty much feel the same and if an animal picks up on fear it will interpret it as a threat. Love and happiness are very similar and an animal cannot tell the difference but knows it is positive good feeling and will be drawn to it. As a performer I would often introduce myself without my wooden friend, Ralphie. I would tell a few jokes or a story. I would use these few moments before the audience to decide what routine I would use as my routines were designed for different types of audiences. I had to trust what I felt to decide on the routine I would use.
If anyone has performed on a stage, they will understand this quiet communication with their audience. In truth, what the entertainer feels is the heart or the kavod glory or heart of the audience. Some even refer to it as a mystical feeling. It’s not, it is just electrical impulses being sent out. You would describe it as a heavy feeling or a light feeling. Sometimes I felt that heaviness of the audience such that I found it difficult to move across the stage.
The attitude of the audience would mix with my confidence or lack of confidence, my fears or lack of fears. This then manifested itself in my ability to move. The lighter the audience, the more animated I would be. This is what I believe the priest felt. They felt the heart or God, the attitude of God. His love was so powerful it brought the priest to their knees.
In essence what Arthur C Clark said in his third law is that magic is only science that has yet to be discovered. Along the same lines, Jewish mysticism is only theology that Christians have yet to explore. To be sure there is world of Jewish mysticism that I will not touch, maybe 90% of it. But there is some that I feel is very Biblically based, like a cloud that can descend upon you and weigh you down to your knees or your face. Mystics might call it some realm of cosmic energy. What I call it is the heart of God descending and his joy or grief or whatever emotion is coming from His heart is so powerful when mixed with your emotions, you may not be able to move or it hinders your movement. I believe we can feel both the pleasure of God and his displeasure. We call his displeasure a guilty conscience, but it is really a direct communication of God to our hearts. If scientist could identify it as electrical energy straight from God I think we could measure it. In a vacuum electrical energy travels at the speed of light and as a result can breach that barrier between the natural and supernatural world. Jesus is the light, the bridge to the supernatural world, another dimension. That is how God lives in us as His energy can pass through that time/space continuum and enter into us. The more we are in sync with that electrical impulse from God, the more we feel His pleasure. The more out of sync, the more we feel His displeasure.
No, I am not a mystic, I believe modern science and quantum physics confirm many things we call mystical. One day the Hadron Collider, CERN, will actually cause two particles to strike each other at the speed of light and the theory is that they may create a particle that will exist in two different places at the same time, what we call omnipresent. They will thus prove that God can be omnipresent, two places at the same time. Although I doubt most these scientist would like our take on that.
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