Dr. Blake Bextine with the Defense Advanced Research Projects agency (DARPA, https://www.darpa.mil/program/insect-allies) reports researchers thinking of ways to protect the U.S. crop ecosystem in the event of natural and engineered threats to the home grown U.S food supply. Threats such as pathogens, drought, flooding, and frost. The objective these researchers are attempting to achieve is to use genetically modified insects, which are scalable and readily deployable (using gene-editing techniques like CRISPR), to spread viruses to make America’s crops more resilient. For example, if a soybean or corn field were hit with drought conditions, or exposed to a pathogen, gene-modified insects could be released that carry genetically modified virus to slow the corn plant’s growth rate to allow the plant to survive. The journal science (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6410/35) reports some concerns that the project could easily be exploited as a biological weapon. One of the major concerns are insects being used as a vector to spread disease is a classical form of bio-weapon. Dr. Bextine argues that the research is geared toward delivering positive traits to plants, genetically modifying them, which some have pointed out poses a potential problem in and of itself. It is reported that four U.S. colleges (Boyce Thompson Institute, Penn State University, Ohio State University, and the University of Texas at Austin) have received funding to carry out the research. Dr. Bextine told the Washington Post that the project recently achieved its first milestone describing how testing proved it is possible to use an aphid (a minute bug that feeds by sucking sap from plants) to infect a stalk of corn with a designer virus that caused fluorescence.
The Spiritual insight that I was reminded of was related to Yeshua’s words on sheep in wolves clothing! (Matthew 7:15) A wolf in sheep’s clothing is an idiom of Biblical origin used to describe those playing a role contrary to their real character with whom contact is dangerous, particularly false teachers. Much later, the idiom has been applied by zoologists to varying kinds of predatory behaviour. These are important points as this pertains to the nature of the one who goes in a deceptive manner to kill and destroy. Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars 12:1 states the following:
Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars 12:1
אַל יַעֲלֶה עַל הַלֵּב שֶׁבִּימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ יִבָּטֵל דּבָר מִמִּנְהָגוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם. אוֹ יִהְיֶה שָׁם חִדּוּשׁ בְּמַעֲשֵׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית. אֶלָּא עוֹלָם כְּמִנְהָגוֹ נוֹהֵג. וְזֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בִּישַׁעְיָה (ישעיה יא, ו) “וְגָר זְאֵב עִם כֶּבֶשׂ וְנָמֵר עִם גְּדִי יִרְבָּץ” מָשָׁל וְחִידָה. עִנְיַן הַדָּבָר שֶׁיִּהְיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל יוֹשְׁבִין לָבֶטַח עִם רִשְׁעֵי עַכּוּ”ם הַמְשׁוּלִים כִּזְאֵב וְנָמֵר. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיה ה, ו) “זְאֵב עֲרָבוֹת יְשָׁדְדֵם וְנָמֵר שֹׁקֵד עַל עָרֵיהֶם”. וְיַחְזְרוּ כֻּלָּם לְדַת הָאֱמֶת. וְלֹא יִגְזְלוּ וְלֹא יַשְׁחִיתוּ. אֶלָּא יֹאכְלוּ דָּבָר הַמֻּתָּר בְּנַחַת עִם יִשְׂרָאֵל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה יא, ז) “וְאַרְיֵה כַּבָּקָר יֹאכַל תֶּבֶן”. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בְּאֵלּוּ הַדְּבָרִים בְּעִנְיַן הַמָּשִׁיחַ הֵם מְשָׁלִים. וּבִימוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ יִוָּדַע לַכּל לְאֵי זֶה דָּבָר הָיָה מָשָׁל. וּמָה עִנְיָן רָמְזוּ בָּהֶן:
It should not occur to you that during the days of the Messiah a single thing from the “ways of the world” will be canceled nor will there be something novel in the Creation. Rather, the world will continue in its customary way. Now, that which is said in Isaiah, “And the wolf will live with the sheep and the leopard shall lie down with the kid” (Isaiah 11:6) is a parable and riddle. The substance of the matter is that Israel will dwell in safety with the wicked of the world who are compared to wolves and tigers, as it says, “a wolf of the deserts spoil them, a leopard watches over their cities” (Jeremiah 5:6). But, they will all return to the true religion and they will not steal and not destroy. Rather, they will eat of the permissible foods comfortably like Israel, as it says, “and the lion will eat straw as does the ox” (Isaiah 11:7). And so similar matters written about the Messiah are parables. In the days of the King Messiah everyone will understand these parables and to what these matters were compared and to what was hinted.
Here Maimonides Mishneh Torah is speaking concerning the days of the King Messiah asking about the ways of the world saying their sinful ways will not be canceled. The biblical reference to the nations as wolves is in the context of being deceived by idolatry and to serve the Lord God the way the nations serve their gods. These things are derived from the Torah command according to Devarim / Deuteronomy 12:28-13:4.
Devarim / Deuteronomy 12:28-13:4
12:28 ‘Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. 12:29 ‘When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 12:30 beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ 12:31 ‘You shall not behave thus toward the Lord your God, for every abominable act which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. 12:32 ‘Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. 13:1 ‘If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 13:2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 13:4 ‘You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. (NASB, כח שְׁמֹר וְשָׁמַעְתָּ אֵת כָּל-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּךָּ לְמַעַן יִיטַב לְךָ וּלְבָנֶיךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ עַד-עוֹלָם כִּי תַעֲשֶֹה הַטּוֹב וְהַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ: ס [שלישי] כט כִּי-יַכְרִית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת-הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לָרֶשֶׁת אוֹתָם מִפָּנֶיךָ וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֹתָם וְיָשַׁבְתָּ בְּאַרְצָם: ל הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן-תִּנָּקֵשׁ אַחֲרֵיהֶם אַחֲרֵי הִשָּׁמְדָם מִפָּנֶיךָ וּפֶן-תִּדְרשׁ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם לֵאמֹר אֵיכָה יַעַבְדוּ הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה אֶת-אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וְאֶעֱשֶֹה-כֵּן גַּם-אָנִי: לא לֹא-תַעֲשֶֹה כֵן לַיהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי כָל-תּוֹעֲבַת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר שָֹנֵא עָשֹוּ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם כִּי גַם אֶת-בְּנֵיהֶם וְאֶת-בְּנֹתֵיהֶם יִשְֹרְפוּ בָאֵשׁ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם: יג:א אֵת כָּל-הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם אֹתוֹ תִשְׁמְרוּ לַעֲשֹוֹת לֹא-תֹסֵף עָלָיו וְלֹא תִגְרַע מִמֶּנּוּ: פ ב כִּי-יָקוּם בְּקִרְבְּךָ נָבִיא אוֹ חֹלֵם חֲלוֹם וְנָתַן אֵלֶיךָ אוֹת אוֹ מוֹפֵת: ג וּבָא הָאוֹת וְהַמּוֹפֵת אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר אֵלֶיךָ לֵאמֹר נֵלְכָה אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יְדַעְתָּם וְנָעָבְדֵם: ד לֹא תִשְׁמַע אֶל-דִּבְרֵי הַנָּבִיא הַהוּא אוֹ אֶל-חוֹלֵם הַחֲלוֹם הַהוּא כִּי מְנַסֶּה יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶתְכֶם לָדַעַת הֲיִשְׁכֶם אֹהֲבִים אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בְּכָל-לְבַבְכֶם וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁכֶם:)
What we are being taught here in the Torah text is how Moshe intended to warn God’s people against the errors that man is apt to make when he sees with his own eyes the wicked being destroyed. Moshe is using very stringent language to describe how we are to guard against the lure of idolatry. In the Torah, were Israel to tolerate the idolatry of many nations for many years, they too would be ensnared to do the same or to take and prostitute the way of God to serving God the way the nations served their gods. Note what the text states, 12:30 beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ (ל הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן-תִּנָּקֵשׁ אַחֲרֵיהֶם אַחֲרֵי הִשָּׁמְדָם מִפָּנֶיךָ וּפֶן-תִּדְרשׁ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם לֵאמֹר אֵיכָה יַעַבְדוּ הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה אֶת-אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וְאֶעֱשֶֹה-כֵּן גַּם-אָנִי:) Moshe wrote פֶּן-תִּנָּקֵשׁ אַחֲרֵיהֶם “lest you be ensnared after them” after they are destroyed. The sequence of events here seems reversed. Why would the Israelites be ensnared after the nations had been wiped out? Wouldn’t the danger be greater if the people had remained? The fate of the nations is due to their idolatry, their deities could not save them. Rashi’s comment concerning these verses is that after God has wiped out these nations we are to reflect about the sins which caused them to be wiped out and to be careful not to commit a similar sin so that we would not meet the same fate. Note in the Hebrew text the way the verse is written, the Torah writes both פֶּן-תִּנָּקֵשׁ and then פֶן-תִּדְרשׁ “lest you are ensnared” and “lest you inquire” (תדרש << דרש). The way the Torah is written, Moshe defines each of these things as being independent of one another. Moshe also wrote, 12:32 ‘Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. (א אֵת כָּל-הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם אֹתוֹ תִשְׁמְרוּ לַעֲשֹוֹת לֹא-תֹסֵף עָלָיו וְלֹא תִגְרַע מִמֶּנּוּ:) Taking and changing the words of the Torah (לֹא תִגְרַע, “do not subtract from the laws of the Torah” as well as לֹא-תֹסֵף “do not add to them?”) to allow for such actions whether consciously or unconsciously. The danger of idolatry, the ways of the nations, and the allure and subtle deception is connected to adding/subtracting from the Word of God. Whether one believes it or not, he who participates with the nations is adding and taking away from God’s Word in his/her life! The prohibition on idolatry enters into the equation of wolves in sheeps clothing as the way of the nations have a subtle deception upon the soul of the one who entertains the thoughts and actions we see in this world (under what circumstances do you think this might happen? i.e. television). The kind of content one receives from the television is the portrayal of dysfunctional people and families, the normalizing of this dysfunctional behavior, and the mocking of biblical values. Moshe rightly wrote one of the greatest threats to Israel was the way the nations served their gods. The reason is by the way in which the deception enters into the minds and hearts of men (i.e. פֶּן-תִּנָּקֵשׁ and then פֶן-תִּדְרשׁ “lest you are ensnared” and “lest you inquire”). This is one of the greatest threats to society today, and it isn’t air pollution, water pollution, or the use of plastics. The greatest threat today is “mind pollution.” Through the instrument of the internet and television the masses are taught and controlled. This is why the news media and the tech giants are so adamant against alternative news and why they went on and on about “russian collusion” because they know how much societies and cultures are influenced by television. It is a fact that “fake news” has the capability of deceiving many, controlling effectively, and effortlessly the masses and this is why some news agencies continue to frequently promote fake news! The wolves that come in sheep’s clothing wreak havoc and devastation through brainwashing that is released upon humanity. Take for example the militant sodomites who have effectively infiltrated all major media, television, and movies, and have popularized LGBT as normal. These are the obvious attempts of the evil one to capture the youth of our nation and the world, and we can see the end results today of פֶּן-תִּנָּקֵשׁ and פֶן-תִּדְרשׁ , the ensnaring and inquiring of the way of the nations. These things are like the scientific research describing how testing proved it is possible to use an aphid to infect a stalk of corn with a designer virus. The parallel of gene-modifying insects, one would have no idea what is taking place upon the environment because it is subtle in the virus modification of the plants. The scientific concerns about this type of research are rightly justifiable in the danger and ease of exploiting this technology as a bio-weapon. From as far back as we read here in the Torah (1400 BCE) we see a description and warning from God (Devarim / Deuteronomy 12-13) of the weapons of warfare of the spiritual realm that is a present day reality 3,419 years later. We are in a battle for our lives, and this is a serious topic because every day the forces are darkness are working to destroy our minds, our lives, our relationships, and our walk with God! This is why the Torah absolutely must be a part of our daily lives! This is why the moral fiber of society is so greatly deteriorating because men and women of faith have walked away from the Torah command. Take this as an example, the word of God tells us that whoremongers, adulterers, thieves, and drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9) If those who profess faith in Yeshua the Messiah are constantly in front of the TV, watching and enjoying these sins, as committed by the actors, the viewers themselves are bringing these defiled things into their homes, into their lives, and into their hearts. If one looks upon these things and enjoys them, being a partaker of mens’ sins, the Lord said they will become like their idols. (Tehilllim / Psalms 115:8 and 135:18) A more sobering thought, what will become of such people who make these things a daily part of their lives through television in regards to “inheriting the kingdom of heaven?” Can you see why Moshe wrote such a stern warning for each and every one of us? We should heed God’s word as Moshe wrote, 12:28 ‘Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever… This is why the Torah is so important for our lives today! This is also why we need God’s Spirit within to help us to overcome the sin of being ensnared and inquiring of the way of the nations. In Yeshua the Messiah, we can be free from these things! However, remember one important point, our faith in Yeshua does not supersede our disregarding God’s commands! We are not given the freedom to disregard the Torah command simply because we have faith in Yeshua. The Torah and the Gospel Message tell us that we are actually empowered to walk according to the Spirit in the Torah command. The Lord God of Israel will help us to live for Him! This is the gospel message, as Paul spoke before the Areopagus Acts 17:28 ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’…