Joseph Herrin (03-07-2012)
Note: This post contains a very important message. Although the post starts slowly by laying some groundwork, do not be put off by this. Read it through to the end and I believe the Spirit will speak profound things to you.
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
When writing plays and poetry, a name may not be of critical importance, but when we are dealing with Yahweh and His revelation to man through the Scriptures or other modes of communication, there is great meaning in every detail. Names in the Bible are infused with meaning. That Yahweh intended His people to recognize this fact, and gain insight and understanding through the meaning of names, is readily demonstrated. Consider the following Scriptural examples.
When Yahweh first spoke through Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking Yahweh." So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And Yahweh said to him, "Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel." Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And Yahweh said to him, "Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by Yahweh their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen." When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. And Yahweh said, "Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God."
In this passage we find Yahweh giving the prophet Hosea specific instructions regarding the naming of his children. The firstborn son is named Jezreel. This was pronounced as Yiz-reh-ale. You may see a similarity in this pronunciation to the name Israel. This is intentional, for Jezreel represents Israel, yet there is a difference in the names. Israel is understood to mean “who prevails with God” (Genesis 32:28). Jezreel means “Seed of God.” Symbolically, Yahweh instructed Hosea to marry a harlot. Hosea was to raise up seed through the harlot, representing God’s act of raising up seed through the descendants of Abraham. God’s chosen people were no different than any others. They were called out of sin and the debauchery of the world to be wed unto Yahweh. Yet, the people God chose still had sinful hearts. They acted as a harlot in their affections. For a time they appeared to be content to dwell with Yahweh, even as Gomer was content to abide with Hosea. Yet, inevitably, their hearts would return to a pursuit of their harlotrous passions.
Yahweh instructed Hosea to name his firstborn son Jezreel. This was the name of the place in which Samaria, the capital city of Israel, was located. Israel was Yahweh’s firstborn among the nations. It was God’s intention to show forth a parallel through the actions of the prophet Hosea and His own actions in taking Israel to be His espoused people.
Yahweh told the prophet to give a specific name to his second born, a daughter, "Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel.” Lo-ruhamah means “not pitied; not having obtained mercy.” The prophet names his next son Lo-ammi at the command of Yahweh. This name means “not my people.”
It is obvious when we read such pointed examples that there are Biblical names that are intentionally infused with meaning by God. What, however, of other names in which we have no clearly articulated testimony that Yahweh chose the person’s name? There are many examples given of men and women with meaningful names where no command of God existed, but it is apparent that the names were understood to be purposeful. Following are a few of the many examples from Scripture.
And Leah became pregnant and bore a son and named him Reuben [See, a son!]; for she said, Because the Lord has seen my humiliation and affliction; now my husband will love me. [Leah] became pregnant again and bore a son and said, Because the Lord heard that I am despised, He has given me this son also; and she named him Simeon [God hears]. And she became pregnant again and bore a son and said, Now this time will my husband be a companion to me, for I have borne him three sons. Therefore he was named Levi [companion]. Again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, Now will I praise the Lord! So she called his name Judah [praise]; then [for a time] she ceased bearing.
And as her soul was departing, for she died, she called his name Ben-oni [son of my sorrow]; but his father called him Benjamin [son of the right hand].
Now when the time came for her to be delivered, behold, there were twins in her womb. And when she was in labor, one baby put out his hand; and the midwife took his hand and bound upon it a scarlet thread, saying, This baby was born first. But he drew back his hand, and behold, his brother was born first. And she said, What a breaking forth you have made for yourself! Therefore his name was called Perez [breaking forth]. And afterward his brother who had the scarlet thread on his hand was born and was named Zerah [scarlet].
I bet you thought Scarlet was the name of a woman in the movie Gone With the Wind. Before this name belonged to the character played by Vivien Leigh, it was the name of one of Judah’s sons born to Tamar. It is evident from these examples that the ancient people, like Yahweh, appointed names with great meaning to the children born to them. Following are a few more illustrative examples.
I Samuel 4:19-21
Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife, was pregnant and about to give birth; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was taken and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she kneeled down and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, "Do not be afraid, for you have given birth to a son." But she did not answer or pay attention. And she called the boy Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel," because the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband.
Ichabod means “The glory has departed.” This is a rather tragic name to bear during one’s lifetime, but Yahweh was apparently the source of the name’s inspiration. Following is another example of a person’s name speaking something profound.
I Samuel 25:25
“Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him...”
These words spoken by Abigail to David revealed that the name Nabal, meaning “senseless,” or “folly,” served as an apt description of the bearer’s character. Are such parallels merely coincidental? Is there a divine hand guiding such things? In the Bible, there is great evidence of a divine design in the names of individuals. The saint who would discern clearly the parables Yahweh has placed in His word will be benefitted to study name meanings and the lives of those to whom the names belong. Many insights and hidden truths can be uncovered through such a study.
Giving attention to names may very well reveal a divine presence in your own life. Perhaps your name was appointed to you with a purpose. Yahweh has revealed this to be true in my life. In 1999 God spoke to me and told me to begin using my first name (Joseph). Up until that time I had been known to all by my middle name (Bradley, or Brad). The Spirit told me that my first name was significant, and Yahweh wanted me to use it. It was at that same time that the Spirit began calling me into a ministry of writing. In obedience to God’s revelation I began signing my name as Joseph Herrin on all of my books and teachings. Since that time I have observed many parallels between my life and that of Joseph, the son of Jacob. This was clearly by God’s design.
There have been other names in my family that have borne great meaning. In September of 1986 my wife and I were eagerly anticipating the arrival of our firstborn. We knew that it was to be a boy due to sonograms that my wife had. We chose the name Joshua Caleb Herrin for our firstborn son. Tragically, complications arose, and our son died as he was being born. My wife was three weeks past her due date, and the child was fully developed, but his life was cut short.
At the funeral of our son, a man came up to me and shared the verse with me that states, “The firstborn male that opens the womb is holy unto God.” It was some years later that I learned the Hebrew name for the Savior was Yahshua, which brought into English is rendered as Joshua. The firstborn Son of God also had His life cut off prematurely.
“In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”
It is appointed to the disciples of Christ to experience many things that reveal to us the mind and heart of the Father and the Son. I wept bitterly for some time after the loss of my firstborn son. Let none suppose that our heavenly Father did not experience profound pain and sorrow at the death of His Son. The heavens were darkened. The Sun did not shine. The rocks split open and the earth quaked as the Son of God yielded up His life.
My infant son was innocent according to man’s judgment when he died. So too was the Son of God innocent when He died. In some measure Yahweh chose to let me experience the same grief He felt at the death of His Son. For a season I mourned my son. About six months later I came home from work and got in the shower to clean up when the Spirit spoke to me in a clarity I had only known one time prior to that occasion. The words still remain in my mind. The Spirit of God declared, “I have seen your sorrow, and I am going to restore your joy. I am going to give you a daughter and her name will be Kristin Noel.”
Upon hearing these words, I finished my shower and told my wife what God had spoken to me. A few weeks later my wife found that she was pregnant. Kristin Noel was born on December 29th, 1987. She has fulfilled the word of God, for she has brought me joy all her life. The apostle John stated, “I have no greater joy than to hear of my children walking in truth.” Yahweh knew that the same would bring great joy to my heart. Kristin, from the time of her youth, has had a heart for God, and has been deeply committed to pleasing Him.
My wife and I did not choose the name of our daughter. We had already decided that we would like to name a daughter Hannah Joy, but when God spoke to me my soulish choice gave way to the divine revelation. I knew God gives names with purpose, so I looked into the meaning of the name Kristin Noel. Kristin is a form of “Christian” and means “follower of Christ.” Noel is derived from the French language and means “new life.” How appropriate this name seemed after the death of our firstborn. Yahweh was bringing new life, and He was bringing it in double portion. My daughter was not only to be once born, but twice born. She was to be a recipient of that natural life of the first Adam, as well as a partaker of the life of Christ. Kristin Noel would be born, and then she would be born again.
There is great significance in names. Many Christians have discerned the divine providence in the name appointed to them. If you are one who has not discerned any particular divine hand, or deep spiritual meaning in your name, do not despair. An hour is coming when the overcomers in Christ will be given a new name.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.”
Names are powerful things. Not only do they serve as descriptors, or prophetic announcements, of a person, but they serve as a token of intimacy. It is common among family members, or close companions, to refer to one another by some pet name which serves as a term of endearment. Such names are for those who are intimate with one another. It would be presumptuous of one not intimately acquainted with another, who is not within some inner circle of fellowship, to speak to a person using the very personal name reserved for intimates. To do so would be a presumptuous act, a breach of protocol. The new name Yahshua will give to His overcomers will be such a name. It will be intimate, and private. It will be known only by the receiver and the giver. I am confident that this name will bear profound meaning. Receiving this name will be a great honor, and the name will be borne as one carries a priceless treasure.
We can get glimpses of the significance that Yahweh attaches to names as we study the pages of Scripture. Yahweh has created some men as vessels of honor, and others as vessels of dishonor. A name often reveals deep things about the person. Yahweh also uses names to reveal patterns between lives as bearers of the same name manifest a similar spirit, or perform similar actions. Consider the following examples.
In 2008 the Father released me from service at an inner city Rescue Mission and called me to return to full-time ministry teaching and writing. I spent some time seeking His face to understand what the nature of that ministry would be which He was calling me into. As I was waiting before Him one day, Yahweh began to reveal some parallels between the men in the Bible who bore the name Joseph. Through these details He began to inform me of the call on my life.
One pattern we see repeated in the lives of Joseph the son of Jacob, and Joseph of Arimathea, is that both were associated with preparing bodies for burial. In the Old Testament, the name associated with the people of God was Israel. Israel was the father of twelve sons and these sons became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. When Israel learned that his son Joseph was alive, Yahweh appeared to him and told him that his beloved son would be there at his death to care for him.
So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here I am." And He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes."
I have highlighted certain words in the passage above, for I want to bring out a parable. Israel was one man, but he became “a great nation” while in Egypt. When Joseph was present at his father’s death, being the one who would “close his eyes,” a parable was being acted out. Joseph was a great man in Egypt. Although he had entered Egypt as a slave, and was later a prisoner, Yahweh had elevated him to rule over the people of this great nation. When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt they had no such honor. It was also known that Joseph was chosen by his father to receive the right of the firstborn. It was therefore appointed to Joseph to oversee the burial and mourning of his father.
Then Joseph fell on his father's face, and wept over him and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Now forty days were required for it, for such is the period required for embalming.
Joseph prepared the body of his father Israel for burial. In so doing, he was acting out a larger parable of preparing the body of God’s people for their death and burial, for the people of God in the Old Testament were called “Israel.” We see this pattern repeated in the New Testament by another Joseph. When Jesus Christ/Yahshua the Messiah died, God had prepared a rich man named Joseph to prepare the body of His Son for burial.
And when evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Yahshua... and he granted the body to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
There are numerous parallels between these two Josephs. Both men had to go before a governmental ruler to get permission to bury a body. Joseph of Arimathea petitioned the Roman governor Pilate, and Joseph the son of Jacob petitioned Pharaoh.
And when the days of mourning for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, "If now I have found favor in your sight, please speak to Pharaoh, saying, ‘My father made me swear, saying, "Behold, I am about to die; in my grave which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me." Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.'" And Pharaoh said, "Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear."
Both men also buried a person who in a wider sense stood as a representation of the people of God. Even as Joseph buried Israel whose name became synonymous with God’s chosen people, so did Joseph of Arimathea take “THE BODY of Christ” and prepare it for burial and lay it in a tomb.
That day as the Father revealed these parallels to me, He made known that the ministry He had appointed to me would be the same. It was the Father’s will that I serve as one of His ministers to prepare “the body” of Christ for burial. My message and preaching since then has been that of the disciples’ cross. It is a message of proclaiming Christ’s invitation to “Come and die.” As I have written previously, the goal of the Christian life in this age is “to die before you die.” We must decrease, that Christ might increase. We must cut off our heads that we might take Christ as head. We must lay down our lives that we might take up the life of Christ. There can be no resurrection apart from a death taking place first, not the physical death of the body, but the laying down of one’s soul life.
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate... even his own life (psuche - soul), he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
"For whoever wishes to save his life (psuche - soul) will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
There are some who have told me that my message is too austere. They have suggested that I spend too much time focusing on a message of suffering, of self-denial, and crucifixion, but this is the message appointed to me to proclaim. It is unquestionably a difficult ministry to be tasked with, one that requires courage and determination, but one that is fulfilled out of a heart of love for those being prepared for burial.
There is another trait observed in the life of the Biblical Joseph’s that Yahweh disclosed to me. Joseph, the son of Jacob, was an interpreter of dreams. When others were met with messages in the form of parables that appeared in dreams, Joseph was given understanding of them. We see Joseph presenting his own dreams to his brothers and his father when he was a youth. Later we find him in Pharaoh’s prison house interpreting the dreams of the chief cupbearer and baker. Finally, we see Joseph called before Pharaoh and interpreting dreams for him.
I would draw particular attention to Joseph’s interpretations of Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph was used of Yahweh to preserve the lives of others. He was given understanding of the things to come, and he was given wisdom to know what to do to preserve many alive in a time of famine. In one place Joseph states that God has made him as a “father” to Pharaoh.
God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Fathers are seen as protectors and guardians. Similarly, we see the “father” of Yahshua, whose name is also Joseph, being given revelation of things to come, and the knowledge of what to do to preserve life, through dreams and messages from angels.
But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Yahshua, for He will save His people from their sins."
And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him." So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, "Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child's life are dead." So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazarene."
These two men, who both bore the same name, shared an unusual gift. They both were able to understand the mind of God through dreams. Pharaoh told his dreams to all the wise men in Egypt, but none could explain it. Joseph, however, was given understanding by Yahweh, and he was able to tell Pharaoh what was about to occur, and what should be done. These two Josephs not only understood what should be done, but they were both appointed by God to do what was needed to preserve a remnant alive in the earth.
Although I have never had a similar dream, nor do I often understand the meanings of the dreams of others, the Father has opened my eyes to discern things hidden to others. He has shown me the meaning of many parables in the Scriptures, and in the creation. These messages frequently have to do with understanding the hour we live in, those things which must shortly come to pass, and that which the people of God must do to prepare themselves.
For example, the Father opened my eyes to discern the spiritual meaning of what it is to be a firstborn son. It is the overcomers in Christ who alone will attain to the first resurrection from the dead. These will be the spiritual firstborn of Christ. These will have a preeminence of glory and authority exceeding that of the latter born sons. These things are explained in the book Christ in You - The Hope of Glory.
Yahweh has opened my eyes to discern the parable of the Israelites departing from bondage in Egypt, journeying through the wilderness, and waging war to take possession of the land of Canaan. He has made it known that His people in this hour must make a similar journey spiritually. They must be loosed from their bondage to sin. They must surrender to follow the Spirit wherever He leads as the Israelites followed the pillar of fire and cloud in the wilderness. The Spirit will assuredly lead Christ’s disciples through wilderness places to humble them. These disciples must then wage war to take possession of the land of their inheritance, for there are walled cities, strongholds, and giants in the land in which we dwell today, which is our flesh.
Yahweh has shown me the substance of Sabbath rest, and the spiritual nature of The Mark of the Beast, and how we must all overcome it. These things are shared in books bearing these names.
As Joseph stored up grain to feed the people in a time of famine, Yahweh has given me these truths as true food to feed those who are spiritually hungry in this hour. The purpose of this ministry is to preserve a remnant alive. It is a difficult ministry to perform, for Joseph in exchange for food required that the people surrender first their money, then their cattle, then their lands, and finally, their very lives unto Pharaoh in exchange for that which would sustain their lives.
Joseph gathered all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, "Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone." Then Joseph said, "Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone." So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year.
Then Joseph said to the people, "Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh; now, here is seed for you, and you may sow the land... So they said, "You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's slaves."
In like manner Yahweh has called me to proclaim the same message Christ and His apostles proclaimed. No man can be Christ’s disciple unless they give up all they possess, including their very lives, unto God.
Yahshua said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.”
“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his possessions.”
In an hour when the masses of Christendom are allured by a message of prosperity and ease that is devoid of the disciples’ cross, there are many detractors and few who will embrace the message of abandonment to be led of the Spirit of Christ in all things. Yet, I can say in truth, only those who are willing to PAY what God requires will receive that spiritual food needed to sustain life in this hour.
The Spirit is testifying that even as Babylon is arising in this hour, He must have a people destined for Zion who will make themselves exceedingly low. Yahweh has chosen the humble of this world. The path to life is a lowly one. Joseph “went down” to Egypt. The he was put in the dungeon of Pharaoh. He accepted that humble path Yahweh chose for him, and in God’s time He exalted Joseph. This is the path that ALL must follow who would sit with Christ on His throne. The humble will be exalted, while those who refuse to humble themselves will be abased by God.
People of God, I am not THE Joseph for this hour. I am only one of Yahweh’s servants appointed to prepare the body of Christ for burial. Nor did God choose me because I was more holy, or worthy than any other individual. Yahweh chooses to have mercy on whom He has mercy. He has not called many mighty, nor many wise, but has chosen the weak and foolish things of this world that no flesh might glory in His presence.
Each child of God has a path appointed to them to be walked. YOU were created for a purpose. Yahweh at times has shown forth this purpose by something that many view as inconsequential as a name. Yet, before God, names mean a great deal. Yahweh orders your steps. Your occupation, your education, your experiences, are all with a purpose. It is well that we discern that purpose. When I was only 25 years old I buried my firstborn son named Joshua. Now I am 50 years old and Yahweh has another with the same name for me to bury, even the body of Christ Yahshua.
What has Yahweh determined for you? What name do you bear? What calling is upon your life? Will you submit to that preparation process that you might enter into the ministry God has prepared for you? Joseph, the son of Jacob, would never have been chosen to serve beside the throne of Pharaoh unless he had first submitted to that humble path of preparation that God had chosen. Will you surrender to walk that path Yahweh has appointed to you? If you would one day receive a white stone with a new name written on it known only by you and Christ, you must follow wherever He would lead.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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