Deborah Pt 3: A Type of Christ’s Bride
Judges 4:4 – And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
There is a remarkable amount of information hidden in this one verse that has much to reveal to us about the Church of the end times. The fact that Deborah was the wife of Lapidoth is the key that places her typically as the bride of Christ in the end times.
There are more appearances of our Lord in the Old Testament than many would assume. Some are more obvious such as the appearance of the three men (the trinity) to Abraham in Genesis 18:2, “And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground.” Other Old Testament appearances are more subtle. Later in this article we will examine every scripture that relates to Lapidoth, and there we will find that he is without a doubt a type of Christ. But first, let’s take a thorough look at just who Deborah is. If she is a type of the Bride, then there is much about her we need to know. Her life can be an example to those of us looking forward to being the Bride of Christ in these end times.
Earlier we discussed the fact that in Deborah’s day God’s people were enmeshed in idolatry. In spite of this God still loved them and longed for their hearts to be turned back to Him. Out of His deep love for them, He allowed them to be greatly oppressed by their enemies until they realized their need for Him. Then in His mercy He raised up Deborah as a leader over Israel.
It will be the same today. As many in the church come to recognize their own bondage to sin as a result of their idolatry, they will be crying out to the Lord. Some already are and don’t know how to come out of their slavery or where to turn for help because even their leaders are enslaved. God’s answer is the same today as it was eons ago—He has a Deborah. This Deborah is a company of people whose hearts are totally devoted to Jesus—a people who have been willing to die to everything of this world in order to have Christ. They will come forth (or perhaps some are even now emerging) with a ministry of power that will astound the sleeping church and awaken her to embrace her Lord with a new fervency that will set her free and bring her forth to join this great company of deliverers.
There can be no idolatry amongst this group of anointed ministers. All they desire and all they have must be given over to Jesus until He is their All in All. They will know full well what it means to love Jesus more than father, mother, sister, brother, children, husband, wife, etc. They will have taken up their cross and denied themselves everything in order to follow their Lord wherever He leads.
The idea of forsaking all things for Jesus may sound frightening to some people but in losing all things for Him we actually gain everything. We lose that which is temporal and gain eternal blessings that will never be taken from us. We don’t have to die and go to heaven to receive these eternal blessings because wherever Jesus is, we can experience glimpses of what heaven will be…and we can experience far more of Jesus now than most people would suppose. Each time we die to self, more of Christ is formed in us, and we are able to be closer to Him.
In contemplating what it means to give up all for Christ, one would think Jesus would not ask us to give up our spouse, but I had to give up my husband for Jesus! I’m still married to him and I love him more than ever, but I had to give him up for Jesus in my heart. I didn’t just pray a prayer in order to do this. God arranged a set of circumstances in which I just knew my husband was going to die. I cried and sobbed until I heard God’s still small voice saying in my heart, “He’s mine. Give him to Me.” At the same time He gave me a scripture assuring me that my husband would live and not be harmed. I knew immediately that God was calling me to the cross in my marriage because I loved my husband more than I loved Jesus. I wasn’t aware of this until I faced this situation. After God spoke this to me, even though I knew my husband would live, I felt a physical pain deep in my chest, a feeling I had had before when my dad passed away several years prior to this. I knew God was at work setting me free from an idol that separated me from Him. Death on the cross, even though spiritual, may sometimes actually be felt as physical pain. Crucifixion is a painful death but the resurrection life that follows makes it all worthwhile.
This is the way God works in our lives. When we are seeking Him, He will lovingly allow adverse circumstances to arise to show us what is really in our hearts. We must learn that the things going on around us are mere reflections of the realities that lie buried in our hearts unknown to us. We have a tendency to blame others for our predicaments when all along God is just trying to show us our own heart.
My husband and I have learned to ask three questions whenever adversity comes our way. These questions are: Where is God? What is He doing? How am I responding? Invariably God is doing a work in us through the outward circumstances we face.
The most recent adverse situation in which I had to ask those questions occurred this past month. I have worn glasses since I was ten years old (a very long time!). I am near-sighted, with astigmatism and a little far-sightedness thrown in for good measure! The last day of March I realized the sore places on my nose caused by the pressure of my glasses had become so red and swollen that I could no longer wear my glasses. The Lord clearly indicated I should get contact lenses. I immediately made an appoint to order them and discovered there was now a completely new contact lens on the market that would be just right for my eyes. (I have previously tried contacts of all kinds but nothing worked for me.) To make a long story short, the contacts, due to great demand, were several weeks late in arriving, the sides of my nose remained sore and swollen, and I (who can’t see the big E on the chart) went 35 days without being able to see much beyond my own nose! It was quite a trial!
As I asked the three questions, “Where is God? What is He doing, and How am I responding?” this is what I learned. I knew I was soon to make my first trip to a church in another city to make a presentation about satanic ritual abuse to a group of people who had never heard of it but were interested in deliverance. (To my mind, deliverance should not be taught apart from an explanation of satanic ritual abuse because many people seeking deliverance are satanically ritually abused but may not know it.) This trial was God’s preparation in which my weakness enabled him to fill me with His power so that I could enter new territory and displace the enemy. The Church is so ignorant and fearful of satanic ritual abuse that only God’s power will be able to open her eyes to see what is going on around her and recognize the severely abused that are in her midst.
Thirty-five days of extremely blurred vision (I couldn’t even drive a car!) caused me to be more dependent on Jesus. He took more territory in me as my frustration, impatience and independence went up in smoke and His life was more fully formed in me. God encouraged me with a few dreams during this time.
When we arrived at the church where I would be speaking, the pastor’s wife said to me, “This afternoon I took a little nap and fell into a deep sleep and had the strangest dream. In my dream I could hear people talking and I could speak, but I couldn’t open my eyes!”
I believe she was representative of the people in her church whose eyes were closed to the reality of satanic ritual abuse. The presentation went off very smoothly. People were receptive, interested, asked a lot of good questions and bought several of my books. God had gone before me and prepared the way. I entered that church with the power of God to open blind eyes. The whole thing was God’s through and through. After the presentation I was able to wear my glasses and when I arrived home the contact lenses were in.
As I pondered what had taken place at the church, an experience of a few years back came to mind…something I had never understood that now made sense. Four or five years prior to that time I led a workshop on satanic ritual abuse at the national convention of the North American Association of Christian Social Workers. As soon as I finished teaching this workshop, a man spoke out loudly saying, “I am offended that you say a Christian can have a demon.” As I tried to explain to him, others started speaking out either agreeing with him or defending my position. The whole thing ended on a sour note, and my dear satanically ritually abused friend who had made the trip with me was crushed that someone had said she was not a Christian.
Although God had clearly indicated I was to lead this workshop and I thought I made an excellent presentation, I did not have the power and authority to carry it off. I often wondered why God had me go through that when I never saw any fruit come from it. I understood later that I needed that experience so I would recognize and appreciate His power and authority when I was not challenged. God is so faithful to protect me from myself! How easy it is for me to believe something went well because of my own effort, cleverness, and ability.
I tell this story here as an example of the way God works in our lives. God allowed me to experience the 35 days of blurred vision and the uncomfortable workshop situation to prepare me to minister but also to make sure I would understand that the ministry is His. No matter where I go or what I do in ministry, I must always know that I can do nothing but He can do all things even through me.
It’s not easy to learn what Jesus knew when He said, “I can of My own self do nothing (John 5:30). My teaching is not Mine (John 7:16). “The words that I say, I speak not from Myself (John 14:10). “The word which ye hear is not Mine” (John 14:24). “I receive not glory from men (John 5:41). “I am come not to do Mine own will” (John 6:38). These same understandings will be deeply implanted in the hearts and minds of God’s Deborahs whom He is preparing to minister in these end times.
Deborah was a woman who knew what it was to forsake all things for the sake of having Christ. We know this because of several things the scriptures reveal here in Judges 4 and 5, the only places in the Bible where Deborah is mentioned. The first thing we notice is her name. The name “Deborah” means “bee, in the sense of its orderly motion.” Since biblical names often indicate something about the character of the person who bears that name, we can assume that she had her life in order. In other words, she walked in maturity with Christ. A study of the life and habits of the honeybee reveals a highly organized system of life wherein each bee has a certain function and all work together to insure the continued life of the hive and the production of honey.
A life that is in order has established priorities such that Jesus comes first in all things. No late night TV and lying in bed till day fully dawns for God’s Deborahs! She is up before the sun seeking God in prayer, Bible study and deep devotion. She asks God to establish her day such that His plans for her are uppermost on her “To Do” list. The more yielded she becomes, the more her daily activities center in Him until each day is fully devoted to His service. Rather than this being a burden, her joy abounds more and more until there are times she feels she may burst if one more blessing comes her way, and still God continues to pour out His Spirit upon her. What abundant life and joy unspeakable await those who will willingly lay down their lives for Jesus!
There is more we can learn about Deborah from the bee. Bees have an interesting way of communicating. When a bee finds a good source for nectar, he returns to the hive and moves his body in a certain way that indicates to the other bees the direction to go to find the flowers. His actions tell the other bees where to find the source of bee-life—nectar. In a similar way, Deborah’s life is lived before others in a way that reveals the sweetness of Christ. Those who are seeking Him can follow her example and find more of Jesus developed in their own lives. Deborah could say even as Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
The next thing we learn is that she was a prophetess. The definition of a prophetess is “an inspired woman” from a root word meaning “to speak by inspiration.” We tend to think of a prophet or prophetess as being someone who speaks words of prophecy over the lives of others. This is true, but another way to look at this is that all her words are spoken by inspiration of Christ. She is so One with Christ that her very words are His words even in the simple daily transactions that comprise our lives. One such as Deborah could walk into the butcher store, smile sweetly and say, “May I please have a pound of bologna and half a pound of Swiss cheese,” and the butcher would feel his spirits lifted in some inexplicable way. This is because the presence of Jesus is with her wherever she goes. People sense this sweetness and it brightens their day. Deborah, of course, is unaware of this as she goes about her day blessing others just by the Presence that comes with her.
Deborah, due to her close walk with Jesus, is able to see prophetically into the society of her day. The Lord is able to share deep concerns of His heart with her as a husband would share with his trusted wife. She is so one with Him that she would not speak about the things He shows her unless He so directs. Like Mary, she ponders these things in her heart and lifts them before the Lord in prayer.
We know from Deborah’s story that she was a strong leader who possessed an authority that could only come from God. Men followed her direction, and Barak refused to go into battle without her. We will see there is more to this than meets the eye later in our study, but for now we recognize that when Deborah spoke, people acted and victory ensued. This is anointing! No one could do what she did without God’s anointing and God’s specific directions. Deborah knew the voice of the Lord and immediately obeyed when she heard. God was willing to entrust her with his authority and power because He knew her heart was completely His.
When the victory was won, she gave all the glory to God as she and Barak sang, “Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel…!” (Jud 5:2). There was no concern that Deborah would succumb to pride and take the glory of victory for herself, for she was a worshiper…one who was used to singing praises to God and giving all the glory to Him. Worship and humility will be hallmarks of these leaders in God’s purified church of the end times.
Deborah was not afraid to call attention to another woman’s accomplishments as she exclaimed, “Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.” Jael is the one who finally killed their greatest enemy. (The spiritual counterparts for Jael and Sisera will be seen later in our study.) How many in the Church today are willing to quietly serve the Lord without expecting recognition or praise but can graciously draw attention to the accomplishments of others? Only those who walk in humility will enter into the depths of spiritual revelation and experience God has for His people of the end times, for God is calling us to be like Jesus, the most humble person who ever lived.
Another important characteristic about Deborah is she was a mother. Judges 5:7 tells us, “The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.” As we apply this verse to our present generation, we can view it first outwardly and then inwardly. Outwardly there is a great need for spiritual mothers (and fathers) in the Church today. With over half the marriages in American ending in divorce, in the Church as well as in the world, many persons have failed to form a healthy identity. When families fall apart, children suffer. Broken homes produce broken people who don’t have the wholeness within themselves to be able to nurture their own children.
It is in the nurturing arms of our mother that we first learn we are valuable human beings. As mother holds her babe in her arms, the baby looks into her eyes and senses that “I am.” It was God who first said, “I AM.” He is the ultimate nurturer. We find who we are as we look into the eyes of God with our own spiritual eyes and see His love for us, a love so great it cannot be expressed in mere words. Spiritual mothers help us find this intimacy with God, an intimacy that helps us find our identity in Him. Wholeness comes as we slowly learn who we are in Christ. Those who learn this first can help nurture others into this wholeness.
If we view Judges 5:7 inwardly, we will see a whole different perspective of Deborah’s motherhood. To see this we must examine this entire verse word for word, “The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.”
There is no Hebrew word here for “inhabitants” so the first word is actually “villages” (perazown in Hebrew) which means “leadership” or “rule.” Inwardly this verse is saying that rule or leadership ceased within this person. In other words, this person was lacking the internal discipline and structure necessary for spiritual growth. A look at the literal Hebrew meaning of “ceased,” (chadal) shows the definition as “to be flabby,” “to be lacking or idle.” In Old Testament type, Israel represents a Christian, so we see here a condition that exists inwardly in many Christians today. Their ability to rule over their own self has become flabby. Without the quality of discipline, we cannot grow spiritually. We cannot come into “the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” if we lack discipline. The basic disciplines of the faith such as prayer, study of the Word, fasting, etc. are necessary to lead us into the depth of relationship with Christ necessary to be His bride. It requires discipline to walk in obedience to the commands of Jesus. Many Christians mistakenly think they are part of the Bride of Christ because of the period of time in which they live but are actually only children because they have not the maturity to be a bride.
Deborah, that desire to be God’s bride, must arise within us as our mother to lead us to the disciplines necessary to walk in the obedience that leads to maturity. In most societies, present and past, it has been the woman’s responsibility to train and nurture the children. Father has been off fighting wars, hunting for game or earning a living. Mother teaches the children to make their bed, clean up their room, eat all their vegetables, etc. Without the desire to be mature in Christ we will lack the disciplines necessary to grow into full stature in Christ. Deborah, whose name means “the bee” from a root word meaning “in the sense of orderly motion” must arise within us to lead us into battle against the inward enemy of our own flesh (Sisera) that we might enter into the great things God has for His people in these end times.
The Wife of Lapidoth
One of the most fascinating things the scripture tells us about Deborah is that she was the wife of Lapidoth. A thorough study of this man’s name will reveal that he is a type of Christ, thus making Deborah the Bride of Christ and placing her typically into our present age as we await the return of Christ for His Beloved.
This verse in Judges is the only place in Scripture where this name appears, so the only way we can find information about him is by researching the meaning of his name. First we learn that “Lapidoth” is the feminine plural form of the word lappiyd which has the following definition from Strong: “lappiyd is from an unused root probably meaning to shine; a flambeau, lamp or flame:–(fire-) brand, (burning) lamp, lightning, torch.” So “Lapidoth” and lappiyd have the same meaning with the only difference being that “Lapidoth” is feminine and plural. Now we have to ask the question, Why would a man’s name be feminine and why would it be plural since he is the only one? We will answer this question after we find out more about Lapidoth’s spiritual identity.
There is much about “Lapidoth” that indicates he is a type of Christ. Since his name means the same as “lappiyd” we can examine every place in Scripture where “lappiyd” is used to see if it is consistent with our theory that he is a type of Christ. Lappiyd was the burning lamp that passed between the animal parts when God made a covenant with Abraham in Gen 15. It is the word for “lightnings” that appeared when God manifested on the smoking mountain at Mt Sinai (Exo 20:18). Lappiyd was the lamp within the pitchers held by the men of Gideon’s army, and we know it was only by God’s power that they defeated the Midianites.
When Samson defeated the Philistines by tying the foxes’ tails together with the firebrand (lappiyd) in between, Israel supernaturally defeated their enemies again. Lappiyd is seen as salvation in Isaiah 62:1, ” For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp (lappiyd) that burneth. Christ is our salvation and He is like a lamp.
Lappiyd appears in the Ezekiel’s four living creatures as a manifestation of God, “As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps (lappiyd): it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning (baraq)” (Ezek. 1:13).
A vision of Christ appears to Daniel and his eyes are described as being like lamps of fire. “His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps (lappiyd) of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude” (Dan. 10:6)
By now there should be sufficient scriptural evidence to verify that spiritually Deborah’s husband is indeed a type of Jesus Christ thereby making her the bride of Christ and placing her in type in the end times. This revelation is especially exciting because it leads us to believe there must surely be secrets about the end times hidden within these two chapters about Deborah. As we continue our study of these chapters, God will reveal many valuable things to us to assist us in the days ahead as we anticipate facing the Antichrist and at the same time entering into depths of relationship with Jesus Christ never before experienced by human beings on earth. As close as the apostles were to Jesus, they were still not as close as a bride. The relationship of husband and wife is closer than any other relationship known to human beings, and we will experience that level of closeness with Jesus as we press on into His fullness in these exciting end times. Deborah will reveal to us how to overcome the hindrances that separate us from Jesus and place limitations on our ability to access all His promises for us.
Jesus promised we would do greater things than He did! He said we could ask anything in His name and He would do it! There are many promises we have yet to walk in because of our own sinful nature and because it has not been time for these things to come to pass. But that Day is now upon us and we are to enter fully into His kingdom. Deborah will show us the way as we learn how she and Barak annihilated the enemies of Israel. We will find that typically, we face the same enemies.
Now we can answer the question concerning why a man’s name, Lapidoth, would be feminine and plural. When Christ and His bride are joined in marriage, we will become one with Him but we will still be two persons. Christ will be manifested to the people of the earth in His bride—feminine.
In our next article we will learn more about what it meant for Deborah to live “under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim.”