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A number of you have seen a connection between Hagar and Haggard and wondered if there is anything to this. Years ago, I would have thought the connection was ridiculous, but I have seen such "coincidences" many times over the years. One Bible passage that comes to mind illustrating this kind of phonetic link is Matt. 2:23,
"and came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazarene."
If you check the Old Testament, you will find no reference to the city of Nazareth, unless it appears by another name. Even so, there is no messianic prophecy about Him being a Nazarene from Nazareth. So how did Matthew connect Nazareth to Jesus' residence?
It is a "play on words," a pun, showing a phonetic prophecy. The Hebrew word netzer (or netser) means a branch or shoot from a plant. Isaiah 11:1 says, "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch [netzer] from his roots will bear fruit." Dr. Bullinger's notes on this verse read, "Nothing to do with Nazareth," but he refers the reader to Matt. 2:23, where Matthew says it has everything to do with Nazareth.
We know that Isaiah 11:1 and 2 is a messianic prophecy, not only because the ancient rabbis said so, but also because if you take every seventh Hebrew letter in that passage and add up their numeric values, they total 888, which is the numeric value of Iesous, the Greek form of the name Jesus.
A netzer is a branch. Jesus is the branch from the stump of Jesse and David. Therefore, the fact that He became known as Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of the phonetic prophecy that He would be called a "Netzer-ene." If this sounds like we are stretching things, take note that I am only explaining Matthew's words, not my own. Because I accept the Bible as divinely inspired, this passage opened my eyes to a new way of looking at place names as prophecies.
For instance, in 1985 the Lord gave me a word in passing, "when you leave Egypt. . . ." I had little idea what that meant, until He moved us to Memphis, Tennessee for two years. Memphis is a city in Egypt (Hosea 9:6), and, in fact, the two cities are "sister cities." Memphis is part of a large tract of land along the Mississippi River that reminded people in past centuries of the Nile River and Egypt. Thus, we see Cairo, Illinois, as well as Egypt, Arkansas and other places.
Our stay in Memphis from 1987-1989 was highly prophetic to us, and through it, God showed us many things and taught us by demonstration the things I needed to know before He would allow me to return to the ministry in late 1990.
I also took note that Washington State was spiritually connected to Washington D.C., and that when President Clinton took office on January 20, 1993, a record-setting wind storm hit the Seattle, Washington area. I knew it was an evil wind (spirit) that had arrived in Washington D.C. On the same day, the Jack-in-the-Box restaurants in Seattle were unknowingly serving meat contaminated with e-coli, which made hundreds sick all around Seattle. Two actually died.
Most people, of course, thought all of this was merely coincidental. Few made the spiritual connection between Washington State and Washington D.C. The fact is, there is no logical connection between these events. Of course, there was no logical connection between the tree and the bitter water being made sweet in Moses' day either (Ex. 15:25). And certainly, no scientifically minded person would believe that an iron axe head would float if the prophet put a stick into the river (2 Kings 6:6).
This is what I call "the logic of the Cross." It is spiritual logic, and it is quite different from natural (soulish, mental) logic. The tree in Moses' day represented the Cross, which heals the heart of bitterness. The stick of Elisha again represented the Cross, which saves the "iron," one of the four metals of the Babylonian succession of empires.
In the story of the battle of Jericho, all of the gold, silver, brass, and iron were devoted to the treasury of the Lord (Joshua 6:19). In this story, Jericho is a prophetic type of Babylon in the future. The gold, silver, brass, and iron are the four metals of Babylon found in Dan. 2:32, 33. They represent the people or citizens of Babylon, and the fall of Jericho speaks of the conversion of these people to Christ. They are all to go into the treasury of the House of God.
Those who disagree with Christ's policy are like Achan, who wanted to bury some of the silver (people) in the ground, essentially stealing from God's treasury (Joshua 7:11). All of this speaks prophetically of the Restoration of All Things, which I covered in my weblogs this past September.
Getting back to the subject at hand, spiritual logic is different from mental logic, and it operates on an entirely different plane. Thus, to make the connection between Netzer and Nazareth, or between Hagar and Haggard is a stretch to the natural mind, but not to the spirit. Learning such connections is part of our spiritual training, so that we may know the signs of the times.
I am not here to judge Pastor Haggard, of course. He has already judged himself by writing a letter to the Church he had pastored. It was read to them last Sunday. The AOL news says,
" 'The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem,' Haggard wrote. 'I am a deceiver and a liar. There's a part of my life that is so repulsive that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life'. . .
"In his letter, Haggard said 'the accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from the ministry'."
Paul lays down the principle of judgment in 1 Cor. 11:31, "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."
It would have been best, of course, if Haggard had stayed out of the pulpit until he was healed of his problem. But since he did not, God worked to expose him so that he would be forced to find healing. (The news reports say that James Dobson will be counseling him.) His confession is a bit tardy, but better late than never. Now that he has judged himself, he can begin the road to recovery.
Meanwhile, however, the prophetic sign has come to pass that the bondwoman (Hagar) has been cast out. One account said that Haggard and his family have left town. If we can extract the prophetic meaning out of all the raw emotion of the situation itself, we have here a spiritual sign of the bondwoman and her son being cast out, so that the son of the free woman may bring healing to both the bondwoman and the rest of humanity.
This whole affair is heart-wrenching for those who are close to the situation, but the prophetic meaning is actually very positive. It suggests that the manifestation of the sons of God is drawing closer. And the fact that all of this has occurred in conjunction with the time of Noah's entry into the ark and the start of the flood (Nov. 2-8) emphasizes its importance as a sign of the times.