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Ox pulling a plow a perspective on 5781

Seneca’s Perspective on 5781

Spread the word!

Last week on Healing in the Hebrew Months, Leah posted a breakdown of how people who share prophetic words for the new year consider the numbers in what they say is coming and why it’s important for us to test those words for ourselves. If you missed that, you can read it here.

It’s a good idea to listen to God yourself about the coming year, before you read what everyone else is posting about it, and her post is a good primer on how to do that. If you have already done that or you are not going to, here’s my perspective on 5781.

Amos and a Year of Pressing

For the year of 5781, I (Seneca) am pulling a lot from the book of Amos. I’m also looking at the decade of Pey פ (the 80) which started Sept 2019, and the aleph (the 1). If you’ve followed my writings on the Hebrew months at all either through the book Healing in the Hebrew Months: Prophetic Strategies Hidden in the Tribes, Constellations, Gates and Gems, or the Times and Seasons box club, you may have noticed that I like the intersections of things. Where the symbolism comes in layers, goes circular, and confirms the elements. That’s what I’m going to do here.

5781 as a Strongs number only comes up in Amos 2:13 as the word uwq: to pack, be pressed. “Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves” (KJV). In context, it means God has had enough.

The book of Amos was directed toward people in arrogance, self-righteousness, greed and idolatry who were failing at justice and treating others well. Neglect of God’s Word, idolatry, pagan worship, greed, corrupted leadership, and oppression of the poor were a few of the things Amos called them out on. Amos may have been the original champion of social justice.

Put a pin in that for a minute. Let’s backtrack to Pey פ. Pey’s פ pictograph is a mouth. By extension, we can also relate it to words, expression, speech, and breath. Our decade of the mouth is already off to a roaring start. It follows the Ayin ע decade, which was all about sight. We should observe first and then offer our verbal insight. The letter Pey פ has both a medial form פ and a sofit form ף. The medial form is said to be bent in humility and suggestive of a closed mouth. The sofit form is said to be open and upright.

Then we have Aleph א. The silent letter and number 1. The silence of Aleph א along with the medial form of Pey פ could be an indicator that we should be very slow to speak. There are a lot of noisy people right now. If you only speak up after you have a well-considered viewpoint, you’ll rise above the din. Amos 5:13 (NASB) “Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time.”

The Ox

Aleph א is the picture of an ox. The ox ploughs the ground (earthly work) and prepares for the new season. It’s a symbol of strength, humility and burden-bearing. Did you know Amos also means load or burden? (Flashback to God being pressed under the weight of Israel’s corruption.) 

The aleph א has also been described as a point above, a point below, and a line connecting them. In the classical Hebrew script Keta Ashurit, Aleph is two yods י and a vav ו. This script is from Jesus’ time, not Moses if you get the significance. Aleph’s gematria is one, but yod + yod + vav = YHVH. (26)  This feels like a direct line, connection with heaven as we work on practical earthly matters.

And we may have to do some work. That’s what the ox is all about. We can get overly spiritual and not do the logical things that need to be done. Praying about it isn’t always enough. I’m not talking about praying when you can’t act, or when you don’t know what to do, I’m talking about the malaise of prayer in lieu of doing what you can and should.

In my Healing in the Hebrew Months book, the months under the ox banner are Nisan, Iyar, and Sivan. The spring of next year might be particularly relevant for us in this department.

There are even a couple ox references in Amos if you know what you’re looking for:

“Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,  just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.” Amos 5:14-15 (NIV)

How is that about the ox? Each of the tribes has a flag with symbols on it. Joseph’s tribe was split into Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim’s flag had the picture of an ox; Manasseh’s had a wild ox. The above scripture is the good advice for getting through the times. Then there’s a promise at the end for those who heed the above advice. “The reaper will be overtaken by the plowman” Amos 9:13. (Remember the ox does the ploughing.)

The Harvest

The rest of the verse goes “and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills” (Amos 9:13 NIV).  So, in trying to wrap our heads around how that’s going to work, we have such a harvest that gathering goes until it’s time to plant again, and grapes ripening as people plant them. And we have all the agricultural seasons happening in sync. Gonna get busy! And to top it all off, rivers of wine.

This looks like an outpouring, and a harvest of souls. Compare to John 4:35 (NLT)You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.” Could this be the work hinted at for this year?  When I started, I looked up the word uwq. Google told me it meant Universal Work Queue. Not the Hebrew meaning I was out for, but fitting after I unpacked it all.

Going back to Amos 2:13, if we take it out of the context of God being fed up with injustice and reframe the “cart being pressed under the sheaves” under the redemptive side assuming we “seek God and live, hate evil and love good” the burden of the sheaves could mean this huge harvest. God could have gotten that point across in a myriad of ways. Why would he have expressed his frustration in that form? Could it be to give us a little clue for this year?

If the out of context part concerns you, consider that Paul frequently cited Old Testament passages, re-engineering the context to reveal the light of Jesus in each one. Likewise, Jesus also pulled scripture out of context and reshaped the meaning for his message. They probably would have gotten kicked out of seminary, but it was good enough to be canonized. 

5781 Action Steps:

  1. Give Amos a read. It’s got a lot going on that looks like our current circumstances. You’ll probably see a lot that I missed.
  2. Ask God about your role in the harvest, and what that should look like for you. There is not much worse in the evangelism field than someone who is driven by religious pressure and performance. It’s crucial to be operating in grace as well as in your design, and that will look different for everyone. Amos describes diverse roles.
  3. Seek wisdom before you speak on controversial or important matters and do it from a well informed (observe first) viewpoint. (Pun intended.)

So that was my take on this year’s numbers. What is your perspective on 5781? 

Seneca Schurbon

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