CATHY INSTALLMENT #30

Chapter Eighteen (continued)

“It is pretty awesome. But then, being God, We’re up to the challenge. Now back to the topic at hand – the feedings themselves. Not only is the miracle an ordered one, but it is very simple to understand. Specifically, during the distribution each loaf of bread became whole after it was broken and passed from one participant to another. In this process, the breaking of the bread quite openly symbolizes Jesus’ act on the cross, and its restoration, being of God rather than leaven, speaks of His regenerative power.”

“Is that all there is to it – the loaves, after being broken, became whole again?”

“In a sense, yes. That’s the entirety of the miraculous part of the feedings. But the patterns are important too. The first pattern you must understand is the arrangement of the men being fed in companies, which is spelled out for you in Mark 6:39 and 40:

“’And [Jesus] commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.’

“The most basic company arrangement is the account in 2 Kings 4 of the company of a hundred being fed by twenty loaves. That description evokes the image of a company being represented by a rectangle of twenty columns by five rows deep. That will be one of two fundamental patterns for all the feeding events. But we note in Mark 6 that there also are companies of half that size, or fifty, which, in line with the pattern of a hundred, consist of rectangles of ten columns by five rows deep. In all the information I’ll give you next, you are to keep in mind these two patterns: one hundred in a company arranged twenty by five, and fifty in a company arranged ten by five. Always visualize the companies with a long side facing you and the short sides of five on the left and right sides from your perspective. These companies, as I’ve described them, will be the basic building blocks of larger patterns.”

She paused to let Earl absorb the images of the companies. “Okay,” She said presently. Let’s first consider the larger pattern involved in the feeding of the five thousand. What we’ll do is stack up seventeen companies of a hundred, and make up four similar stacks of seventeen companies of fifty. The stack of hundreds we’ll place in the center, and put two stacks of fifties side-by-side on each side of the stack of hundreds. What that gives us is a very large rectangle of five companies wide, or four companies of fifty plus one company of a hundred, by seventeen companies deep. Do the math, Earl,” She commanded.

“Okay. The number of people deep doesn’t depend on the company size. It’s five times seventeen, or, um, eighty five. Then as far as the number across goes, it’s twenty plus ten times four, or forty – sixty in all. Let me see – 85 times 60 is, ah, fifty-one hundred. There were fifty one hundred people in all.”

“Very good!” She exclaimed. But do you see a problem with that number?’

“Well, it isn’t exactly five thousand, but it’s pretty close. Besides, the numbers were given in the accounts with the word ‘about’.”

“Earl, Earl,” She said sadly. “Do you really think that’s the way We operate? Like in Junior High woodshop? Or ‘government work’? No. The numbers are intended to be exact. What are you going to do about it?”

“Gee, then I guess I’d have to remove a company of a hundred.”

“Okay, but then the rectangle isn’t perfect. What are you going to do about that?”

“Replace it, I guess. . .OH! Ohmygosh! Yes! I’d replace it with Elisha’s company of a hundred!”

Her broad grin told him that he’d come up with the answer. He was awed by the precision of the pattern, and of how Jesus had integrated His feeding with Elisha’s out of the Old Testament. “What next?” he asked Her.

“Now for the fun part. If you have the pattern of companies fixed in your mind, visualize the five loaves as being distributed one to a frontmost company, to the first man in the front of the company, to your right as you face him. He does three things: first he breaks the loaf and gives it to the next man to his right, who does the same to the man on his right, and so on, until each of the frontmost men in each of the frontmost companies have received a loaf; second, our first man breaks the half-loaf that he retained, which in the meantime has become whole again, and gives half to the man directly behind him; finally, our man eats the loaf remaining in his hand. Each of the frontmost people does the same thing: breaks the loaf again, gives a loaf to the man behind him and eats the loaf still in his hand. Now all the men behind the frontmost row will just break the loaves they receive from the men in front of them, pass a loaf to the men to their rear and eat the loaves that remain. In this way, the bread propagates to the rear of the columns, where the rearmost fragments from each column are collected in baskets. I said before that each basket has five loaves. How many columns are there in all? You have already given Me the number.”

“As I recall, it’s sixty columns.”

“Yes. So how many baskets are needed at five loaves per basket?”

“Sixty divided by five. That’s. . .why, that’s twelve baskets! Golly, Wisdom, that’s incredible!”

“I thought you’d enjoy that. If you’re ready to tackle the feeding of the four thousand, let’s proceed. But let me save you a few thousand hours of trying on your own. First, continue to visualize the companies with the long side to the front and the short sides to the sides. I’ll just tell you that you can’t come up with an arrangement of companies with that visualization that will permit you to distribute seven loaves to the frontmost companies and end up with seven baskets at the rear. You have to do something different than with the feeding of the five thousand. This event will require that all the companies will be of fifty, with eleven columns of companies each stacked seven companies deep. Do the math again.”

“Okay. Five deep per company times seven companies is thirty-five deep. Ten wide per company times eleven companies wide is one hundred ten. Let’s see, that’s. . . thirty eight fifty. Four thousand is one hundred fifty men too many.”

“So?”

Earl thought for a moment. “I guess we’d have to do something else with the hundred and fifty to preserve a perfect rectangle.”

“You’re right. Just keep that extra hundred fifty in your head for now, and let’s have fun again with the rectangle of thirty eight fifty. This time, instead of handing out the initial seven loaves to the front, they’ll be handed to the column of men to your rightmost as you face them, one to the man in each rightmost company who is both frontmost and rightmost. The pattern’s essentially the same as with the five thousand, just rotated ninety degrees. The loaves will propagate rearward within each company and after that to the left, and will be collected into baskets from the leftmost man in each row. So instead of proceeding from column to column, the collection will be made from ends of the thirty five rows. How many baskets will be needed for the collection at five loaves per basket?”

“Well, that would be seven times five, or thirty five rows divided by five, which comes out to, gee, seven baskets.”

“Now do you understand how five thousand can be fed from five loaves and yield twelve baskets, while four thousand can be fed from seven loaves and yield seven baskets?”

“I do, Wisdom. It’s amazing – purely a matter of geometry.”

“Good. Now, finally let’s consider Peter’s feeding of three thousand according to Acts 2:41. The pattern is generally the same as with the five thousand, but with three stacks of companies of a hundred side-by-side, each stack being ten companies deep. As you can figure out for yourself, this produces a rectangle of sixty people wide, like with the feeding of the five thousand, and fifty deep. Sixty times fifty, of course, is three thousand. Now, Earl, what can be done with these three rectangles: the composite of the five thousand plus Elisha’s one hundred, the four thousand less a hundred fifty that we’ll get to later, and Peter’s three thousand?”

“Well, we can stack them up together, like we stacked the companies. I’m doing it in my mind, but it doesn’t amount to much.”

“Did you preserve the sequence of five thousand first or bottom, four thousand next, and three thousand at the top?”

“Yes, but. . .”

“Did you preserve the rotation of the four thousand men ninety degrees from the orientation of the other two events?”

“No, but I don’t see. . .Ohmygosh! I get a cross, Wisdom! Is that right?”

“Yes. Now, as to the hundred fifty that were left over from the four thousand. What was hung on the cross?”

“I guess the inscription.”

“Right. The Titulus. In three languages, as recorded in Luke 23:38:

“’And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.’

“Oh, my,” was all that Earl could say.

“Yes,” She agreed. “Each of the three fifties that were left over represented the superscription in one of the three languages.”

Earl was awed to silence. “It is this understanding of Scripture which will bring the Jews to their Messiah,” She told him. “Partly through you. Specifically, through you to a man, a Jew, whom you’ll be meeting under very different circumstances than you enjoy at the present time. His name is Jacob and listen carefully, for now I’m going to give you an important introduction to him.”

“He must be a significant person.”

“In his own mind. But that’s not the real problem, and it’ll be taken care of in a different way. He’s down on Christianity and Christians, which is what the introduction will soften. Remember the issue about My nature that your postings were all about?”

“How could I possibly forget that? Convincing other Christians of your female gender, actually that you possessed a working gender at all, was a very tall order.”

“Yes, and you did good, even though most Christians still stubbornly refuse to accept it, preferring their own traditions over Scripture. Anyway, you’ll be approaching Jacob with a proof of My gender that he’ll find most difficult to reject.

“I posted several very good reasons for attributing to You a female gender. After all, they really came from You. I suppose that You’d like me to go back and refresh my memory of them.”

“No, that won’t be necessary. There’s one reason that you haven’t addressed yet, and it’s the most appropriate for a Jewish audience.”

“I thought I’d covered all the bases.”

“You know Scripture pretty well for a layperson, but your knowledge isn’t perfect, Earl. There’s certainly more in the Word about Me and My gender than you’re aware of. The picture I want to give you now is a perception of a facet of God that is uniquely familiar to the Jews. It’s called the Glory of God, and in the Hebrew tongue it’s called the Shekinah. The word ‘Shekinah’ is grammatically feminine, as you can verify for yourself by looking up the word on the Internet. The account of this glory begins in Exodus 40:34 through 38 at the dedication of the Tabernacle:

“’Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys; but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.’

“There was a second occasion, very similar to this first, during the dedication of Solomon’s Temple several centuries later. This temple also was filled with the Glory of the Lord upon its dedication. The Scriptural account is given in 1 Kings 8:6-11:

“’And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread forth their two wings of the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and its staves above. And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the inner sanctuary, but they were not seen outside; and there they are unto this day. There was nothing in the ark except the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the Glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.’

“So here we have two occasions where the Glory of the Lord – the female Shekinah – indwelt the temple of the Lord. What does that remind you of, Earl?”

“Well, as far as ‘indwelling’ goes, I usually associate that with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit on Christians, the Body of believers.”

“Good. And what do Christians represent?”

“The Body of Christ. The Bride of Christ.”

“And something else, another way of looking at the Bride of Christ. I’ll give you a hint from the New Testament, two Scriptural passages, specifically 1 Corinthians 3:16 and Ephesians 2:19 through 22:

“’Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?’

“’Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.’”

“Of course, Wisdom! Then You’re saying that in indwelling the temples, You – the Holy Spirit – were foreshadowing Your indwelling of believers, the Temple of God made without hands.”

“Yes. And that’s precisely what you’re going to tell Jacob when the time comes.”

“It’s getting complicated. First the feedings and now the Shekinah. How can I possibly remember it all?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be with you to put it back in your mind. I love you. ‘Bye for now.”

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