“You shall not sow your field with mixed seed.” [Leviticus 19:19 (partial) NKJV]
And God also said:
“You shall not sow your vineyard with different kinds of seed, lest the yield of the seed which you have sown and the fruit of your vineyard be defiled.” [Deuteronomy 22:9]
Now, why do you think He said these things?
One thing I am certain of is that God never says anything needlessly or for fun. He had a clear purpose in giving these instructions to Moses to give to the people of Isra’el. Of course, there are all sorts of practical reasons for not sowing a field with different seeds, or not sowing a vineyard with different vines. We’ll come onto some of those things to illustrate what I mean shortly. I think God had another reason, other than a practical one, for instructing His people in such a manner.
If you are familiar with Torah, that is the first five books of the Bible, which we tend to call the Law, and which God gave to Moses over a period of forty years whilst Isra’el were wandering around in the desert, you will, I am sure, be aware that much of what was commanded was, in fact, pointing forward to the coming of Yeshua, God’s salvation. Every ritual, every instruction regarding the sacrificial system has some pointer to the future. This is also true of much of the rest of the Law too.
God is like this. He likes to reinforce His plan at every opportunity He can. Just take a look at Feast of the Passover, for example. In one way or another it all pointed to the person of Christ coming as a sacrifice as an atonement for the sins of the people. From the choosing of the unblemished lamb four days prior to Passover [see Exodus 12] (fulfilled when Yeshua rode triumphantly into Jerusalem); to the lamb being in the Temple courts for four days in order to be inspected for any spot or blemish (fulfilled by Yeshua in the days leading up to the crucifixion which He spent teaching in the Temple courts); to the lamb being sacrificed at 3pm (fulfilled by Yeshua when He gave up His life at the same time); to the blood being sprinkled in the Holy of Holies (fulfilled when the curtain was torn in two). In fact, you can select any of the seven commandment feasts and see Yeshua has either already fulfilled it or will fulfil it upon His return in glory to receive His kingdom. It is as if God has woven into the DNA of everything He ever said the full message of His plan for all to see. However, it would be fair to comment that some of the symbolic metaphors are slightly more subtle than others. Take the mixing of the seed for one.
So why would God say that you shouldn’t mix seed when sowing in a field? On the practical basis – say you had wheat and barley seeds and you had a field. If you decided to sow both together in the field and then harvest them together, once you had threshed the crop, you would be left with a pile of seed that is impossible to separate. In those days of which we speak, the agricultural cycle was vital to not only households for food but also to their economies. They would grow enough wheat or barley to get them through until the next harvest. The poorer people lived on a diet of bread. What surplus there was they would sell at market or trade for other items. As wheat was more difficult to grow and made better bread, and therefore more valuable, you would have trouble persuading anyone to buy or trade a sack full of wheat seeds if it was mixed with cheaper barley seeds.
And you would avoid sowing two types of vine in your vineyard for fear of cross-pollination. Each variety would be weakened by cross-pollination, which would devalue its worth. God warned the Hebrews that it would be defiled as a result. Of course, we know today that most wines are made from more than one type of grape – often there are a mixed of varieties. I am sure that some of these mixed varieties are enhanced in flavour. So, what was God really trying to teach His people?
Well, perhaps a more simple lesson than you might imagine. These instructions were given during the forty years in which the Hebrews wandered in the desert. As far as we know, because they never stayed too long in one place, they never planted fields or vineyards in the wilderness. They were instructions for when they entered the Promised Land. Not only were they to be practical advice about farming methods for the good of all, but they had a spiritual application too. They were given as warning to the Hebrews not to mix what God had already said to them with the pagan religions they would find across the Jordan. They were warnings not to marry into the bloodlines of the nations already living in Canaan. And, ultimately, God was warning them to only listen to Him, to never stray from what He taught them, to never listen to other gods, and to not be deceived.
I suspect you might be wondering exactly how a couple of obscure commandments relate to today’s modern church and the problems I touched upon in Part One of this series. Well, it is fairly straightforward really. God knew from the very creation of the world that Isra’el would be unfaithful to Him. He knew that they would mix the seed with other gods. He knew that they would take wives from amongst the pagan nations and defile the vine. And because He knew right back then, He formed His plan accordingly.
Now, before we go any further it would be prudent to make a qualifying remark about Isra’el and the church. Despite what many preachers would have you believe, the church hasn’t replaced Isra’el, and nor will she ever do so. It was through Isra’el that God chose to reveal Himself to the rest of humanity. He first revealed Himself to the Hebrew nation, even though He knew that they would be as an unfaithful wife to Him. He chose them. They didn’t choose Him. It has never been part of God’s plan to abandon the Hebrew people. They are still His main focus. Sadly, many in the church have some crazy idea that we have the monopoly on God; that He belongs to us, and that He has discarded Isra’el. That is simply not the case.
Isra’el remains the apple of God’s eye. His plan was always to redeem mankind from themselves. He chose to implement that plan through the Hebrew people, first by calling them out to be separate, and then by manifesting Himself to live among them. It was always part of His plan that Yeshua would be killed at the hands of His chosen people. This is in order that He might truly reveal Himself to them when He returns in glory and power to take up His kingdom. The only real difference between the church and Isra’el is that they are waiting for Him to come and the church is waiting for Him to come back.
Part of the trouble for today’s (and yesterday’s) church is that it has become obsessed with doctrinal theories. One of the most troubling is that of Replacement Theory which promotes the idea that the church has replaced Isra’el in both God’s affections and His plan. It is false teaching built upon the sands of futility. It is in its very nature anti-Semitic and, therefore, born not of God but of Satan. Replacement Theory is simply an example of the mixing of the seed. Satan has been using the same tactic right back since the garden. He has no new tricks. Back in the garden he deceived Eve by a very subtle twist of God’s word – what God had already said. He took the word of God and twisted it. He caused Eve to question whether God had even said it. And that is how he still works today. The subtle twists of Scripture confounds those not grounded in God’s word.
God hasn’t changed towards Isra’el. In fact, it is impossible for Him to change. He is the same today as He ever was and ever will be. That’s part of what makes Him God. His plan was devised before the very foundation of the world. Isra’el are the main focus of that plan. That the church was chosen by Him to carry forward His message to all mankind that salvation is available to all changes nothing. Every unfulfilled prophecy is centred upon Isra’el and her surrounding neighbours. The church wants to believe that it is all about her. Some of it is but always and only in the context of Isra’el returning to God to walk with Him as she once did.
Yeshua gave us (both the Hebrews to whom He first spoke, and then later to the church) the keys to understanding the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Perhaps the most important of all the keys was that of the Parable of the Sower. He tells us (in His explanation) that the seed which the farmer sows is the Word of God, and that the types of soil represent our hearts. That is the same today as it has ever been.
In the garden, God’s instruction to Adam and Eve came as the spoken word in the form of a spiritual seed. It fell on the good soil of their uncorrupted hearts and it was germinated and had started to grow. It was that young seedling which Satan pulled from the soil and discarded. In that moment when Eve doubted what God had already said and chose to believe what Satan was saying, the seed was mixed. The vine was cross-pollinated and became defiled. That defilement meant that death crept into the flesh of both Adam and Eve and that, as a result, all of the seeds that they produced were also corrupted. The history of mankind between that point and the first coming of Yeshua is the history of God speaking, the Hebrews listening – first to God and then to Satan, until the seeds of each were so mixed together that telling them apart was almost impossible. All of Satan’s attempts to corrupt what God had already said are imitations of the real thing. When you hear Satan’s message, it always sounds plausible.
It took Yeshua, born not of the corruptible seed of Adam, but of God’s pure seed, to become a man and show us that, as men, it is possible to hear God’s word and obey it. There is no coincidence that Yeshua’s choice to follow God’s instruction took place in another garden – in Gethsemane Yeshua reversed that mistake from Eden. He showed us The Way. He showed us how to live according to God’s plan.
Because of the atoning power of Yeshua’s blood we can be washed clean whenever we do wrong. Our sin is removed and we are made clean. Our repentant hearts become, once again, the perfect soil for God’s word to flourish in us. This free gift is available to us at anytime. It is only the seeds which Satan sows that can distract us and pollute our soil. Just as God urged Joshua to follow His words carefully with the promise that all would go well with him, He extends the very same promise to each of us. It really is that simple. It will only take us a lifetime to perfect it.
In the next part of this series we will look at some of the examples of how God’s seeds got mixed throughout history. It is important that we recognise that the key to the future is held in the past. If we want to find our way to living the life that God intended, we must draw on the examples He has given to us in the seeds He sowed amongst the nation of Isra’el. Only then will we be able to help them find their way back to right relationship with God. But before that we, the church, will need to reform, to allow Him to wash us clean and make our hearts into the right soil to receive His word once more.