In the previous parts of this series, we have examined three of the vital organs in the human body: the heart, the kidney(s), and the liver. This time, we're going to move away from the organs. We're going to look at the nose. Commonly overlooked, you will be amazed at the number of times the word "nose" actually appears in Scripture.
First, the definition. The word translated as "nose" in Hebrew is אַף (aph). It appears over 270 times in the Tanakh. But it isn't always translated as "nose." In fact, in most Bibles, over 200 of these occurrences are translated as "anger" or "angry." This is because the word aph is derived from the word אָנַף (anaph), a root verb meaning "to be angry."
Here are some examples:
Genesis 2:7 - 7Then YHWH Elohim formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Genesis 30:2 – 2 Then Jacob's anger burned against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in the place of Elohim, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"
In both verses above, the word for "nostrils" is actually the same as the word for "anger:" aph. Now this may seem funny to the cursory reader, but a bit of examination and critical thinking shows us why this actually makes perfect sense.
When you're angry, where do you tend to physically "feel" anger, aside from your upper chest? Generally in the nose. This is usually accompanied by a flaring of the nostrils. Further, there is in many creatures (human and animal) a tendency to snort and breathe heavily through the nostrils when angered. So the word to describe anger was used for "nose" given the association between the two. In fact, Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew lexicon gives this very definition for the root verb anaph: "to breathe heavily, snort, to show anger."
This association is further illustrated in the appeasement of anger. Consider the following:
20Then Noah built an altar to YHWH, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21And YHWH smelled the soothing aroma; and YHWH said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done." – Gen. 8:20-21
4‘He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. 5He shall slay the young bull before YHWH; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 6He shall then skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces. 7The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head and the suet over the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar. 9Its entrails, however, and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall offer up in smoke all of it on the altar for a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to YHWH. – Lev. 1:4-9
Both of these sections of Scripture, and many more (particularly throughout the Torah) illustrate for us that certain offerings are "soothing aromas." Now I believe this doesn't simply mean that Elohim likes the smell of a good barbecue (though that may be true as well). No, there is more to the significance of the nose and the aroma than simply that. But first, let's define what "soothing aroma" really means. This phrase of composed of two Hebrew words. They are:
- נִיח֫וֹחַ (nicho'ach); meaning "soothing, quieting, tranquilizing." It is derived from the verb נ֫וּחַ (nuach), meaning "to rest, to settle." It is the word used to describe the ark coming to "rest" atop Mt. Ararat in Gen. 8:4.
- רֵ֫יחַ (rei'ach); meaning "scent, odor, smell, aroma." It is related to ruach, which as most know, means "spirit, breath, wind." The relation being that scents are "breathed in" through the nose.
You see, sin angers the Most High. And rightfully so, as every sin is a breaking of one of His commandments (1 John 3:4). But when the offerings were made at the altar, their purpose was to appease the anger of YHWH through obedience. YHWH does not delight in anger, nor even in the death of the wicked.
Ezek. 18:23 - 23"Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Master YHWH, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?"
Mic. 7: 18-19 - 18Who is an Elohim like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. 19He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.
He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, nor does He remain angry forever. And part of this appeasement process is repentance, along with obedience. That was always the purpose of the sacrificial system. A sacrifice without repentance was worthless. Just like a faith in Yeshua without repentance from sin, is worthless. That was the entire message of John: repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. That is why He says:
Psa. 51:15 – 17 - 15O YHWH, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise. 16For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of Elohim are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O Elohim, You will not despise.
1 Sam. 15:22 - 22Samuel said, "Has YHWH as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of YHWH? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams."
The whole purpose of it all, is that obedience to YHWH to begin with, and having a broken and contrite (repentant) heart before YHWH is what He truly desires. Sacrifices are merely one of the ways of displaying and walking out our obedience. The praise of our lips, just as David mentioned above in Ps. 51, is in its own right a sacrifice.
Hos. 14:2 - Take with you words and return to YHWH; say to him, “Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, that we may present the bulls of our lips."
Bulls of our lips? That is, the sacrifices and offerings that we offer as praise.
Heb. 13:15-16 - 15Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to Elohim, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices Elohim is pleased.
Sacrifices of good, sharing, and praise please Him. And this, then, leads us to the most important piece of understanding here.
Eph. 5:2 - 2and walk in love, just as Messiah also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to Elohim as a soothing aroma.
Rom. 5:6-9 - 6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Messiah died for the wicked. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8But Elohim demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of Elohim through Him.
Through Messiah's offering up of Himself, His blood has saved us from the wrath (anger) of Elohim. Through this offering that He offered in Himself, Yeshua was a soothing aroma in the nostrils of YHWH.
So to conclude, just as anger is seated in the nose (as we see Hebraically from the very language itself), so too is the appeasement of anger. Obedience and the praise of our lips is a "soothing/tranquilizing aroma" that quells the anger of the Almighty. He desires obedience, not merely sacrifice. So let us offer the "bulls of our lips" and our obedience to His word, along with a contrite (broken, repentant) heart, and let us be a soothing aroma in the Assembly.
Just as Paul mentioned Epaphroditus in Philippians 4:18 as being a "soothing aroma" due to his love and work among the brethren, so we too should live in such a way that even when Elohim is angered, our own obedience is seen as a "soothing aroma" to calm the wrath of the Almighty. We saw this in Moses, who repeatedly stepped in between YHWH and the Children of Israel when Elohim sought to destroy them. We saw this in Yeshua, who gave His own life, so that His blood would be the offering to quell the anger of the Most High.
I pray this study has blessed you.
Be Berean. Shalom.