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Two Daughters and the Number Twelve
Today's lesson is taken from Mark chapter 5 and concerns the health and life of two daughters presented in this text. One had an issue of blood for twelve years, whom Jesus referred to as "daughter" and the other, Jairus' twelve year old daughter who was initially ill, but had died before they arrived.
We will study the significance and the connection between these two "daughters" as well as take a look at the number twelve as it relates to the entire chapter as well as the one before it.
I hope to reveal the depth and insight that lies just beneath the surface of a casual read, of what seems like maybe just a really nice story about what Jesus did for two people. Our number study will show that it was much more powerful than a superficial understading.
I would like to first offer a word of caution as we study numbers in scripture. Let it be known that I do not ascribe to the practice of numerology in the sense of looking to numbers as a some mystical source of magic or fortunetelling in anyway shape or form. But it is obvious from scripture that God has, most certainly and practically, mathematically organized His Word in a way that can solidify the themes He is trying to convey in the text to us, and I have found them to be most useful as well as enriching to my understanding of the scriptures.
E.W. Bullinger has done a wonderful job in collecting many of the numerous biblical numerical instances and themes and his work is available free online with a simple search of his name.
A Little Bit About Hebrew
May I also share a little bit about the Hebrew language that will also be an assistant to our study of the number twelve for this lesson.
Hebrew, the language in which most of the Old Testament was written, was once a pictograph language. Each letter was symbolized by an image that assisted in understanding the concepts of words when the picture combinations were joined together. Most words only contained two or three letters which made this a simple way of keeping the meaning and concepts of words consistent.
The image method God designed for this language was genius as the images all centered around agriculture and biology which change vary little over the course of time. For instance the first letter of the Hebrew Aleph - Bet is aleph and it's pictograph is an ox symbolizing strength, leadership, and dependability. This is a very reliable pictograph in the sense that an ox hasn't changed in association with these concepts in the last 5000 years or so and so it is with the rest of them.
It is also a useful and worthy note to explain that there are numeric values to each letter that work in concert with the themes and concepts of words as well. The ancient Hebrew did not have a separate numbering system. It was the letters and numbers assigned to them that was the basis for counting and calculation. It was as simple as aleph the first letter was one until the 10th letter of the aleph-bet where counting went to tens and when that got to 100 at qoof it began at 100's finishing with tav at 400. Math was technically done with letters. This is also known as the Gematria (the numerical value of words).
What is simply amazing is that God designed His Word not only pictographically but confirmed the concepts mathematically. We know that the Romans too had and alphabetic numbering system but that system was not congruent nor had any relationship to the language itself.
With that being said I would like to look at the 12th letter of Hebrew aleph bet's pictograph as it concerns the twelve in our story to see if it lends us some wisdom to the purpose of this number in the account of these two females.
Lamed - Twelfth Letter
In light of our understanding of Hebrew, the lamed being the Twelfth letter of the Hebrew Alef-Bet can offer us a bit of revelation about the number twelve, that is a central theme to this study. It is of no coincidence that the woman with the issue of blood was noted to have been ill for twelve years and the little girl who died was twelve years old. There is nothing in scripture that is without significance. Within every detail is a lesson.
Lamed is a picture of a shepherds staff and symbolizes both teaching and authority. Both of these themes are relevant to all of the events in chapters four and five of Mark.
It is clearly categorized by the twelves in scripture that this number, being a picture of a shepherd staff indicates God's governing authority in the earth.
Twelve is the product of four times three. Four, as was exhaustively studied in part one of Monarch butterfly series, has to do with the kingdoms and processes of the physical created realm. Three concerns the kingdoms and realities of spiritual realm and it's operations. So we see that the number twelve is about God (Spirit - John 4:24) establishing His Kingdom in the earth as He instructed His twelve disciples to bring the kingdom of heaven to the earth in the prayer that He taught them.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven ~ Matthew 6:10
Bullinger makes these observations concerning God establishing His kingdom in the earth through mortal created men.
There were twelve patriarchs from Seth to Noah, twelve from Shem to Jacob, twelve sons of Israel, twelve judges, twelve apostles/disciples. Twelve persons in the Old Testament were anointed (spiritually empowered and appointed) as priests and or kings. Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, Ithamar, Saul, David, Absalom, Solomon, Jehu, Joash, and Jehoahaz. All human agents that God chose to work through in establishing His kingdom on earth.
Just a bonus note...It is also noted that Jesus was twelve years old when He stayed at the temple (place of teaching) rather than following Mary and Joseph home. This could indicate Christ's willingness at the age of accountability which a Bar Mitzva at 13 celebrated, to place Himself under the teaching and authority of His Father God that He would be truly governed by Him as an example to us.
Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” ~ Luke 2:49
The Lord rules supreme in heaven, greater than the roar of the ocean, more powerful than the waves of the sea. ~ Psalm 93:4
Exhibits of Authority Over Physical and Spiritual
How interesting that Mark chapter four, that contains the preluding events of our study in chapter 5, opens with Jesus teaching (Lamed -12) by parable and ends with a display of His authority (Lamed -12) over the raging storm encountered by His twelve disciples at sea.
They give evidence to this theme when they declare that...
“Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” ~ Mark 4:41
Mark 5 begins with another display of authority when Jesus and His disciples arrive at the other side of the lake they were headed to, after surviving the storm. When they arrived they were met by a man who was clearly possessed with an evil spiritual condition. Jesus once again displayed His authority when He commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. The evil spirits apparently recognized Jesus and His rightful rule as they beg Him to allow them to enter the nearby herd of swine rather then to be sent out into the wastelands.
Jesus gave them permission... ~ Mark 5:13
I am not sure what the pig thing was about but it certainly does display that Jesus was the authority, as was recognized by the evil legion of spirits who needed permission to do what they did.
The account of the storm shows Jesus legal rightful authority over created things and the account of the man with spirits shows His legal authority in the spirit realm.
Now that the number twelve has been established to reveal teaching and authority in the scriptures,we can see that in the account of both daughter's there is a lesson concerning Jesus authority over both physical and spiritual matters concerning sin/sickness and death. The two accounts prior to these two daughters laid the foundation for this.
The account we are studying begins in verse 21 of Mark chapter five and will exhibit what A.B Simpson wrote in his "Christ in the Bible" commentary in reference to these next two events and our topic combined.
"Every instant He is intensely occupied with the government of the universe and the care of His people"
Jesus came back from the other side of the sea after taking authority over the storm (natural) and the legion of demons (spiritual) to be met by a synagogue official named Jairus, who fell at the feet of Jesus begging Him to come to his house so that Jesus might touch and heal his daughter who was about to die.
Note that Jairus himself is a man of authority, being a synagogue official, who subjugates himself to a higher authority. His falling at the feet of Jesus is an extreme act of faith that Jesus has the power, permission, privilege, and authority to help him. Falling on ones face, in Biblical terms, is a posture of worship, as well as submission to one who was a superior, as in God, or a king (see Genesis 17:3, Joshua 5:14, II Samuel 9:6)
What is so relavent about understanding the authority of Jesus when it comes to faith?
King of Kings
I think our trouble might lie in our imaginations that God is a mystical magical sort of force that can just "poof" make something happen, which is to some degree true, as in nothing is too difficult for Him, (Mt. 19:6, Luke 1:37, Jeremiah 32:17) but what we miss is that God's "poof" always follows the laws and logic of how He designed all things to function, and our understanding and submission to Him in all things is a necessary element to faith.
When God the creator king of all the universe created earth and man, His purpose was to design a vassal kingdom that imaged the heavenly one in which He ruled. This created kingdom was only truly functional when operating in submission to the already set forth laws and principles founded in God's righteous ways.
Adam was the earth's first king and was given jurisdiction in this mandate given in Genesis
“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” ~ Genesis 1:28
Subdue (underfoot and into subjection) and have dominion (to rule and reign) in the above verse, are terms used of a governing king in his kingdom.
When Adam failed the submission to God test he essentially became subject to the kingdom he chose to obey forfeiting the rights and privileges of the first kingdom. It makes sense and seems only fair that God's kingdom rights and privileges are not functional in the hands of darkness nor are they operational outside of His domain.
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? ~ Romans 6:16
Subsequently this decision was an epi-gentic one that would disqualify any human stemming from Adam from the eligibility to rule. (seed came through the woman)
Dominion, authority and power from above, as it concerned man, had to come from a man who was qualified to exhibit the Kingdom because of His rightful connection with the heavenly kingdom. Jesus was the only one qualified to reconnect the authority of heaven enacted in the earth.
Jairus, a man well aware of religious legalities, knew that only a one who was righteous would be authorized to grant His request. So his faith, as exhibited, was in the fact that Christ, the righteous, was qualified and able to deliver.
Jairus gives us a great example that postitions us as subjects of the King who alone is righteous and able to grant our petitions.
The ruler of the synagogue knew that he, nor anyone else he knew, had power, right, or rule over this situation with his daughter. What he did know was that Jesus did.
The other powerful act of worship that Jairus exhibits is revealed in Matthew's gospel account, that portrays Jesus as a king. When Jairus makes his appeal to the "King of Kings" it is recorded...
"...a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” ~ Matthew 9:18
To prostrate ourselves before the "King of Kings" and petition Him for our need is considered an act of worship.
We might wonder why God can't just know what we need and just do it. But the Bible seems to illustrate for us in so many different ways that there is a kingdom protocol that doesn't demand a ritual but an expression of a need in a way that knows He is the only one who can do anything about it.
Woman With the Issue
As Jesus set off, through a pressing crowd, to go with Jairus they were interrupted by a woman who had bled for twelve years and had suffered many treatments by all of the authorities of medicine, for which she had spent all of her money, and was made even worse.
The fact that she is bleeding made her ceremonially unclean and not allowed to touch anyone let alone a holy man and images for us what sin does in making us unclean and isolating us from God and others.
And when a woman hath an issue -- blood is her issue in her flesh -- seven days she is in her separation, and any one who is coming against her is unclean till the evening ~ Leviticus 15:19 (Young's Literal Translation)
Sin is an issue of blood (the woman presented) because the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) (presented in the little girl who died) and as it is with sin, there is no human cure, and human help can sometimes do more damage than good.
The Hem of His Garment
In her desperation she reached in through the crowd to touch the hem of His garment as Matthew reported to his Jewish audience. This hem is, in some commentaries, thought to have been the tassels of His garment and associated Him, as in being in covenant with God. The tassels were a reminder to those who were in covenant with Him to remember their loyalty to God by obeying Gods righteous rules, that entitled them to the blessings of God.
“Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God ~ Numbers 15:38-40
Both this woman and Jairus, knew that Jesus' righteousness qualified Him to be the only One who could bring forth these heavenly kingdom provisions of the covenant.
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings (the tassels of the garment). You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. ~ Malachi 4:2
John Gill makes this similar connection when he writes
It (person of faith) lays hold on the robe of Christ's righteousness, and the garments of his salvation; or, in other words, thus reasons with himself: though I am such a vile, sinful, ...yet surely in the Lord there is righteousness and strength, if I can but by faith lay hold thereon; though it be but in a weak way, only by a touch and in a trembling manner; I shall be justified from all things, I could not be justified by all the works of righteousness I have been doing, and that evidentially and comfortably; and therefore I will venture and draw nigh unto him, and though he slay me I will trust in him; I will throw off my own filthy rags of righteousness; I will make mention of, and lay hold on his righteousness, and that only; he shall be my salvation. And such an one finds, as this woman afterwards did, a perfect cure, cleansing from all sin, a free and full forgiveness of it, and complete justification from it.
The first two miracles of the storm and demons, as discussed earlier in this article demonstrate Christs authority. The two daughters demonstrate His right to do so in the earth.
All four stories combined give us four arenas over which Christ has authority (Nature, spirit, sin/sickness and death). The number four tells us that God is establishing something in the Physical realm. More on the number four and the created realm can be read at "The Monarch Butterfly Part One"
Jesus Calls Her "Daughter"
Another significant and tender note, worth mentioning, concerning this woman, is that Jesus calls her daughter. She is the only woman whom He calls this. On the surface, this is quite endearing, in that, to be called daughter in the Bible, is considered to be the apple of ones eye, as in something preciously cherished and therefore guarded. It also alludes to such a close relationship that we can see our reflection in another's eye.
A deeper look at this draws a lesson about Jesus' focus on her faith.
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. ~ Mark 5:34
She had already sought all whom she had considered qualified and able to heal her, described in the text as physicians, or authorities of medicine could we say. By going to Jesus she exhibits her extreme faith that she believes both His right and power to heal her.
Although the text does not specifically say this, some commentaries suggest that this woman may have very well been a Gentile and thereby not entitled to the blessings of the covenant, recall what Jesus told another Gentile woman.
“Let the children (Israel-covenant ones) be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs (gentiles).” ~ Mark 7:27
She represents the Gentiles who had no relationship with God and were thereby entitled to nothing of the things of God. Yet just like the woman referred to as a dog, she became qualified through her faith in Jesus Christ and He granted her the blessing.
How does this relate to a faith/legal perspective and being called daughter? Recall God's promise to Abraham of many descendants (sons and daughters).
I will multiply your descendants as the stars (gematria 3 -spirit) of the heaven (those who come to God by faith) and as the sand (gematria 4 -natural) which is on the seashore (Physical descendants); ~ Genesis 22:17
How did Abraham become privy to this blessing?
Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. ~ Romans 4:3
What specifically was Abraham's faith in that qualified him?
“My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” ~ Genesis 22:8
How did Abraham exhibit this faith?
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said,“In Isaac your seed shall be called,”concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead ~ Hebrews 11:17-19
How is that applied to us?
only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham ~ Galatians 3:7
Who and what is our faith in?
God's one and only Son who died for us! Just like Abraham.
Many of us are familiar with the song "Father Abraham" that is sung by little children in Sunday school. The song declares that "Father Abraham" had many sons and goes on to sing that "I am one of them and so are you" I always ask my Sunday school kids, "what does it mean to be one of Abrahams sons"? and the answer I am hoping to get. is "we are Abraham's sons and heirs according to the promise when we believe God as Abraham did" Could this be what Jesus is referring to when Jesus calls her daughter in the making much of her faith?
One last note on the woman with the issue, why did Jesus call her out? I do believe that it is a message to us that a blessing isn't really a blessing without Jesus. Maybe we find a way to get what we want or think we need in life but if it's without acknowledgement of the source what is the point? He sincerely wanted her to know Him!
he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber ~ John 10:1
Some final observations, that in both of our examples we saw that desperation can be a prelude to faith in Christ our one and only hope of salvation as did the both the woman with the issue of blood and the synagogue ruler.
he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him ~ Hebrews 11:6
The phrase (diligently seek) in the above verse means to require as a necessity. To demand. It implies an extremely strong intentional search. It is a faith like Jacob's who wrestled all night with the angel of the Lord and declared...
“I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
As a synagogue ruler the man in our lesson could have faced a huge loss of reputation for seeking Jesus, considering the attitude of the religious rulers at the time. The woman risked possible punishment for putting others at risk for her uncleanness. Both had one thing in mind..they needed to get to Jesus.
In the case of the woman a couple of end notes as well is that her faith was seeded by "hearing about Jesus"
faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:17
She gives us such a beautiful example of how faith works. Matthew tell us that she kept saying to herself "If I just touch His garments" What if she said, "it's no use" I've tried that before", "It's too hard", Maybe I'll just go to another doctor"
...When we are in that place of need and desperation do our thoughts turn to desperately pressing in and determining to find and believe in the righteousness, authority and power of Jesus and touching the covenant promises He secured for us, as our one and only focus. What is it that we think and say to ourselves and who is it that we listen too? The encouragement is to press through the thoughts that "crowd" out and distract our faith.
Jairus gives us lesson as to another necessary element of faith and that is humility. Humility had to be involved in that he was a religious ruler and could have entitled himself to be more deservedly entitled to a miracle than the questionable woman who was unclean and didn't even ask. Can you imagine this unclean possibly gentile woman coming to steal a blessing from Jesus and here he is a following the rules. There was no room for entitlement. He could not afford for pride to destroy what he knew as his only source and chance of hope. He had to totally trust Jesus when He said.
"Don't be afraid, only believe"
Is Jesus our only source of chance and hope that we are willing to lay down all pride rights and entitlements for.
Both the woman and the girl are unnamed possibly letting us know that ...
“whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. ~ Romans 10:13
Lastly, concerning the lesson part of this writing, why did Jesus allow this interruption when something so desperate as possible death was waiting in the wings? If we look at the spiritual componant of this story it might image for us that the issue of blood (sin) had to be dealt with before there could be a resurrection. Whether seemingly right religious ruler or random sinful gentile all must have the issue of sin dealt with.
The One Who Was, And Is, And Is To Come
I conclude with a bonus revelation concerning this account. God is so wonderful, in that, His word was, is,and is to come. It has been suggested by some that the little girl is Israel, and the gentile woman is the church. As God saves the whosever's (gentiles) who will come, Israel dies (diaspora) but when the issue of blood is dealt with on behalf of all mankind who would receive she is raised to life once again. This has already occurred in the natural as the nation was raised from the dead in 1948. I do believe it to be a prophetic event displaying what God will do in the spiritual.
May His kingdom come and His will be done in all!
© 2015 Tamarajo