Gen. 8:15 -9:17 Parashah 7, triennial cycle – Be fruitful and multiply

Gen. 8:17 Bring out every living thing of all flesh that is with you – birds, livestock, creatures that crawl on the earth – and they will spread over the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.

Gen. 9:1 God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”

Gen. 9:7 But you, be fruitful and multiply, spread out over the earth and multiply on it.

Three times in this section God instructs Noah, his sons, and the animals to be fruitful and multiply. What does this mean? Doesn’t to be fruitful mean to increase and multiply?  How can we be fruitful and what is the connection with increase?

One of the words translated as “fruitful” in Hebrew is “parah” פרח, Strong’s #6509. The word means “to bear fruit”. The ancient Hebrew pictographic letters symbolize an open head and a mouth, meaning open the head, symbolic of crushing the head of a grain of wheat to reveal the nut inside. [Benner, Jeff, Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible, #1388] Related words are bull, break, decorations, crush and winepress.

The word “multiply” in Hebrew is “rabaw” רבח, Strong’s #7235. The word means to “increase”. The ancient Hebrew pictographic letters symbolize a head and a tent, meaning head of family, symbolic of a representative with authority, abundance of, or increase in, numbers, strength or authority. [Benner, Jeff, Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible, #1439] Related words are master, much, increase, ambush or struggle, encourage, pride, strive and strife.

In John chapter 12, Yeshua said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I assure you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. The one who loves his life will lose it and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” John 12: 23-26.

Yeshua illustrates the meaning of being fruitful by visualizing a grain of wheat falling to the ground, dying and producing a good crop. In order to bear fruit, the outer shell must be crushed to reveal the life within the wheat. He immediately relates the wheat to people who want to follow Him. The crushing of the wheat in our lives is done through the process of serving Him as He obeys the Father.

In Colossians 2, verses 6 and 7, we are exhorted: “Therefore as you have received Messiah Yeshua the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  If we walk with Yeshua, we are with Him, following Him. Being with Him and serving Him results in good roots and being built up in Him. The visible result is thankfulness.

Being fruitful leads to increase. Paul criticized some in Colossians 2, verse 19: “He doesn’t hold on to the head from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth (increase) from God.”  If we are rooted and grounded in Him, established in the faith, demonstrating thankfulness, we are connected to the body and God brings the increase.

Paul continues in chapter 3 with teaching on how to walk in Him: “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another, and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all, put on love, the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to whom you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.” Col. 3:12-15.

There are obstacles to being fruitful. The kingdom of God and the word of God may be compared to seed. Matt. 13:24. In Matthew chapter 13, Yeshua told the parable of the sower:

Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he was sowing, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up.  Others fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much soil, and they sprang up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. Still others fell on good ground, and produced a crop: some 100, some 60, and some 30 times [what was sown]. Anyone who has ears should listen!” Matt. 13:3-9.

He explained the parable:

“You, then, listen to the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but is short-lived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times [what was sown].” Matt. 13:18-23.

If we hear the word and don’t seek understanding of the word, the enemy snatches it away. The word, the seed, never takes root. Some seed does take root, but the roots are not deep. We may hear and understand the word, even receive it with joy, but since we harbor unthankfulness, the root is short. If we do not walk with Him, serve Him and display thankfulness, we are not well rooted and grounded in Yeshua. Thus the word and the kingdom of God does not produce good fruit when the time of persecution or pressure comes. Other times we let the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Yeshua told us to be anxious for nothing, not worrying about food, drink or clothing. Luke 12:22-32. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34. He immediately follows this warning with a call to service:  “Be ready for service and have your lamps lit.” Luke 12:35. If we die to self, being the crushed grain, we will display the fruit of thankfulness and be anxious for nothing. After all, what does a dead body have need of food, drink and attire? If we allow the desires of this life to distract and divert us from walking with Him, or allow the worries of the world to choke out the word, we will not be fruitful and there will not be increase.

Increase –  the abundance of numbers, strength or authority – is granted by God as a result of fruitfulness. The crushing of the grain or the pressing of the grapes leads to fruitfulness. The word “winepress” is related to fruitfulness. In the parable of the vineyard owner, we see that there is a connection to authority.

Matt. 21:33-46:

“Listen  to another parable: There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and went away. When the grape harvest drew near, he sent his slaves to the farmers to collect his fruit. But the farmers took his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Again, he sent other slaves, more than the first group, and they did the same to them. Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance! So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?”

“He will completely destroy those terrible men,” they told Him, “and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his produce at the harvest.”

Yeshua said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its fruit. Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder!”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they knew He was speaking about them. Although they were looking for a way to arrest Him, they feared the crowds, because they regarded Him as a prophet.

Yeshua linked the fruitfulness of the nation to the kingdom of God. The chief priests and Pharisees knew this parable was about them. The issue was who would obey God’s authority? The tenants did not honor the authority of the owner, the Pharisees did not honor the Son sent in the Father’s name. Good fruit leads to an in increase in numbers, strength or authority, all of which are gifts from God, and all are designed to increase His kingdom.

Isa. 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

This verse is not about earthly governments – it is about the ever-spreading and growing authority of God in the earth as a result of the good fruit of the followers of Yeshua. As we follow Him, as we produce good fruit, His authority in the earth grows and will never end. To the degree that we hold on to our life, let the pressures and deceptive charms of the world stifle the production of good fruit, we will also hold back the kingdom of God and reduce our rewards in the life to come.

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