Torah Commentary – Va’era (I appeared) – His Promise – SCRIPTURES FOR January 13, 2017

Torah Commentary
Va’era (I appeared)

jesus-jew-2

Exodus 6:2-9:35
Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
Romans 9:14-17
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
His Promise
It is too easy for us to scan through Torah portions that have become familiar to us. I challenge you to slow down and consider the people who are living these recorded days then bring the words forward to our day and our lives. Take for instance the four “I Wills” of Exodus 6:6-8. These are words we speak of every Passover, but have we really considered them?

Here are the four promises. “I will free you, I will take you as my people, I will bring you into the Land and I will give you your inheritance”. For the Hebrews, they did not listen to those words because they were discouraged due to slavery. Are we not listening to them because we are prosperous? Ouch!

Let’s look at the promises one by one for ourselves. I am going to ask some questions regarding the promises. Pray about what they mean to you and how you might answer them.
“I will free you.” – Free us from what? We are free, aren’t we? Are we?
“I will take you as my people.” – We are already His people, right? Can we truly be His people while living in exile?
“I will bring you into the Land”- How do we define “the Land”? Interesting that for some this is actually a question.
“I will give you your inheritance.” – Do we know what our inheritance is? Hint. Look at Deuteronomy 33:4 for one. Look at “I will” number three for the other.
How is our longing to walk in the “I Wills” or are these words only spoken at Passover with no meaning. Is it similar to saying “Next Year in Jerusalem”?
The balance of this Torah portion will be devoted to the dialogue of Moshe and Aaron with Pharaoh as well as the plagues. What are these plagues about? Are they really judgments on the Egyptians for making the Hebrews into slaves? At one level the answer is yes, but let’s look at it from a different angle. Are the plagues more about the Hebrews seeing what life in Egypt really was? Is the fall of Egypt as the world power more about ripping their love of Egypt away so they could realize Egypt as exile and not home? How does that speak to us? Just how many plagues would it take for you to pack your bags and not “Move to Beverly” or “Head west young man”, but to leave everything behind and head east to home?
One more thing, in Exodus 9:16 Moshe is told to tell Pharaoh that the only reason he has been kept alive is to show forth the power of the Almighty and make His name resound through the earth. As Moshe was heading to the palace to deliver the message, did he stop and think that these words were not only for the Pharaoh, but were for him? Moshe’s parents could have followed the orders of the Pharaoh and put him to death. He could have been eaten by a croc in the Nile River. He could have been put into slavery instead of raised in the palace. He could have been put to death after he killed an Egyptian. He could have died of thirst, starvation or a rattlesnake bite in the desert. Moshe was alive. His life had been spared and protected. Why? For the same reason as Pharaoh, to show forth the power of Yah and make His name resound on the earth.
Any idea where I am going next? Think about it. What about you and me? Through the years I have had the honor of sitting down and getting to know many of you. You have told me about some of your past and I have shared with you some of mine. A theme has arisen many times in conversations when we look back and see how many times our lives were protected and spared by the Almighty. I wonder how many times He spared us and we did not know it? Why were we kept alive? Why were we called to the walk we are on? Is it not for the same reason Pharaoh was kept alive, the same reason Moshe was kept alive? Humbling isn’t it. Guess it just proves one more time that life really is not about us, but it is truly about Him.  (Click to Source)

 

V’eira – I appeared – “Appearance Promises Executed” – 7 January, 2018

V’eira

I appeared

jesus-in-the-synagogue

Exodus 6:2-9:35
Ezekiel 28:25-29:21

“Appearance Promises Executed”


by Mark Huey

This week’s parashah begins with a reminder that the Creator God appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that He made—among many declarations—certain promises regarding their descendants’ eventual deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Hence, the narrative of the Book of Exodus now summarizes the first seven plagues, which resulted from a hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, after he would not adhere to Moses’ plea to release the Israelites. While these plagues and judgments are well known by those who annually commemorate the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread, there are some profound spiritual principles revealed to those now indwelt by the presence of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 14:16-17). Recognizing and acknowledging this understanding, is essential to maturing in one’s walk with the Messiah of Israel. After all, by faith, every child of God needs to believe that the Almighty Creator God not only appeared to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in ancient days—but that He alone is committed to fulfill His promises, as recorded from Genesis to Revelation. Hopefully with this fuller appreciation in mind, the testimonial witness of what occurred millennia ago—coupled with an additional judgment on Egypt prophesied in the Ezekiel 28:25-29:21 Haftarah reading—Believers’ faith should soar, knowing that the Father will ultimately execute and accomplish all that He has declared.

As is God’s widescale pattern for the history of the world, He utilizes various nations, key figures, or normal individuals to rebuke, chastise, or ultimately judge His own. After all, the vocational calling upon Israel to be a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6), has had serious repercussions down through the ages—especially when there has been a deviation into following the ways of the world, the flesh, and the Devil (1 John 2:5-18; Ephesians 2:3; 6:11-12; 1 Peter 2:11). Throughout Holy Scripture, Egypt will be remembered as the one power which subjugated the emerging nation of Israel, to the humble state of human bondage—and which was humiliated via the judgments and plagues of the Lord. So as our Torah reading commences, we see how God spoke to Moses and affirmed His promises, noting that He has heard the groans of His people, guaranteeing that He will set His people free:

“God spoke further to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them. I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD.”’ So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage” (Exodus 6:2-9).

Notice that despite this profound declaration by Moses, the Israelites were still not convinced, because of their despondency resulting from cruel bondage. Even though the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were well known and now reiterated by Moses’ statements—the reality of constant physical oppression was impeding belief in the words spoken. This is a reminder today—to even those indwelt with the Spirit of God—that even when belief in the Word of God is strong, the trials of life can be overwhelming, and bring doubt and despair into the mind. At such times, the plea for a “sign” to confirm that God is present in the trial or tribulation, can usher forth from the heart of still the most ardent Believer.

With further encouragement from the Lord, the text records some biographical information (Exodus 6:10-30) about the Israelites. Following this, we encounter that the task to speak to Pharaoh, and make demands for Pharaoh to release Israel from its slave status, is too much for the inarticulate Moses (Exodus 6:30). The Lord replied with a description of the roles that Moses and Aaron would have before Pharaoh, whose heart will harden intermittently throughout the judgments about to begin:

“They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the sons of Israel from Egypt; it was the same Moses and Aaron. Now it came about on the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, that the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘I am the LORD; speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you.’ But Moses said before the LORD, ‘Behold, I am unskilled in speech; how then will Pharaoh listen to me?’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.’ So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh” (Exodus 6:26-7:7).

Here is another reminder that the Holy One does not necessarily require those possessing mellifluous speaking ability, to communicate what is on His heart. Spiritually speaking, God has foreordained each individual to take on roles and responsibilities in His Kingdom’s work. The key to fulfilling these vocations is to be exactly what He has called a person to be, and not strive to focus attention on one’s mortal self to the people of the world, but to perform the assignments with His leading. Let God be God, and simply be thankful that He has, at the very least, called many into His chosen family for His purposes (Romans 8:28).

Our Torah reading continues, with some final instructions from the Lord on what Aaron was to do with his staff, when Pharaoh would ask for a sign. It is notable that what might appear to be a “miracle” by some, was indeed a counterfeit conjured up by the Egyptian sorcerers and magicians’ arts. In this instance, the magicians were able to turn their staffs into serpents, and with their secret arts were also able to turn water into blood:

“Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, “Work a miracle,” then you shall say to Aaron, “Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.”’ So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent. You shall say to him, “The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now.’ Thus says the LORD, ‘By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned to blood. The fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul, and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile.’”’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, “Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.”’ So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. The fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt. But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this. So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile. Seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile” (Exodus 7:8-25).

For the children of God living today, a profound spiritual principle is revealed that needs to be taken seriously—because of the widely commonplace, carnal inclination, for people to demand a “sign” for verification of God’s hand upon a matter (cf. John 2:18; 6:30). There is one significant warning given by Yeshua the Messiah about what has and will be occurring, as the End of the Age approaches:

For false Messiahs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

An even more explicit admonition is offered by the Apostle Paul, as he had to offer some words of clarity to the Thessalonicans, who were confused about the return of the Messiah:

“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

This sobering assessment definitely applies today, to those who are seeking truth and knowledge of the Holy One—because in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 is a certain warning that a great apostasy or falling away from the faith, is just a matter of time! All Messiah followers should be forewarned, and not let things that appear to be “miracles” or supernatural “signs” lead them astray to follow after the ones who appear to be orchestrating the signs. After all, a part of the Lord’s plan to test people with false prophets, is found in Deuteronomy ch. 13:

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 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,’ 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. 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. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

The people of God have been warned, as they will be tested, and they are to purge the evil from their midst. If we take the warning of Deuteronomy 13:1-5 seriously, perhaps much of the confusion, strife, division, and even despair that tends to disrupt today’s Messianic community, could be minimized. But lamentably, not enough people take this command seriously, and continue to seek signs, want their ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:3-4), or simply will not discontinue listening to false teachers and false prophets. This needs to change!

Returning to our Torah portion, we see that the Egyptian magicians were able to imitate the plague of frogs—and as is noted, despite the wretched stench—Pharaoh hardened his heart to the demands of Moses and Aaron:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs. The Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls. So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants.’”’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, “Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.”’ So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. The magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Entreat the LORD that He remove the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD.’ Moses said to Pharaoh, ‘The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile?’ Then he said, ‘Tomorrow.’ So he said, ‘May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. The frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.’ Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh. The LORD did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields. So they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul. But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said” (Exodus 8:1-15).

Finally, however, the fourth plague consisting of a creative act, befuddled the Egyptian magicians. They proclaimed, in frustration, that even with their secret arts, they were unable to duplicate the plague of insects:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, “Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.”’ They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt. The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.’ But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. Now the LORD said to Moses, ‘Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he comes out to the water, and say to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of insects on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of insects, and also the ground on which they dwellBut on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land. I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will occur.’”’ Then the LORD did so. And there came great swarms of insects into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of insects in all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.’ But Moses said, ‘It is not right to do so, for we will sacrifice to the LORD our God what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us? We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He commands us.’ Pharaoh said, ‘I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me.’ Then Moses said, ‘Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the LORD that the swarms of insects may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.’ So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD. The LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained. But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go” (Exodus 8:16-32).

The plague of insects notably did not afflict the Israelites residing in Goshen. The great division between how the Lord separated His judgments between those who were directly opposed to Him, versus those who were His own, was witnessed. While this can be comforting to many who know that judgment is inevitable, it should prompt each of us to the place where we know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that we are His children and His alone. Without the faithful realization and belief that the Lord can and will protect His people during times of trial and tribulation, a spirit of fear will predominate and have people return to various carnal patterns of relying upon their own machinations for survival—or worse, resort to following the advice of false teachers, false prophets, and other misguided souls.

V’eira concludes with Exodus 9 describing the plagues of pestilence killing the livestock, a pestilence that induced boils and sores on the Egyptians, and finally a raining of hail that utterly ruined the crops of the Egyptians. But through it all, note that God continued to prevent the judgments to directly affect the Israelites:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them, behold, the hand of the LORD will come with a very severe pestilence on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks. But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing will die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel.’”’ The LORD set a definite time, saying, ‘Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.’ So the LORD did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died.Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Take for yourselves handfuls of soot from a kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt.’ So they took soot from a kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast. The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians. And the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go. Behold, about this time tomorrow, I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety. Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die.’”’ The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses; but he who paid no regard to the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field. Now the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that hail may fall on all the land of Egypt, on man and on beast and on every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.’ Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, there was no hail. Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘I have sinned this time; the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones. Make supplication to the LORD, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.’ Moses said to him, ‘As soon as I go out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease and there will be hail no longer, that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s. But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.’ (Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they ripen late.) So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to the LORD; and the thunder and the hail ceased, and rain no longer poured on the earth. But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses” (Exodus 9:1-35).

As this parashah concludes with the description of each of these plagues which harmed the Egyptians, but averted direct harm to Israel—there is the reminder that whenever the immediate damage was mitigated, the tendency for Pharaoh to harden his heart returned in full force. This is a reminder that those opposed to the Holy One of Israel will continually refuse to acquiesce and admit that there is a Creator God, who is ultimately in control of the affairs of humanity. Such is the hardness of heart by people, toward even the most vivid demonstrations of God’s involvement in the creative order. History will repeat itself. At some future time, when the Great Tribulation begins, there will be an horrific war raging against the saints, as more fully described in Revelation ch. 13:

“And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?’ There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six” (Revelation 13:1-18).

There is a solution for God’s people to overcome the inevitable “beast system”—whose arrival has been prophesied, and whose emergence is only a matter of time. The solution can be found in the emerging Messianic community of faith, among people who are ardently attempting to become and will persevere as the end-time saints, who will have a testimony of Yeshua and obey His commandments:

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.’ And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Yeshua” (Revelation 12:10-17; cf. 14:12).

While many are concerned about the future war against God’s people enacted by the antimessiah/antichrist—war against the saints is present and raging even now. The beginning stages of the grand apostasy against the Holy Scriptures, the gospel of salvation, and even the Creator Himself have already begun! We each need to make sure to employ the full armor of God, as Paul originally detailed to the Believers in Asia Minor:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH [Isaiah 11:5], and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS [Isaiah 59:17], and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE [Isaiah 52:7]; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION [Isaiah 59:17], and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17).

Whether we look back to the example of the Ancient Israelites who were delivered from the oppression of slavery by the Lord’s hand using judgments upon their Egyptian overlords—or we look forward to the Great Tribulation and how to overcome the actions of the antimessiah and the beast system—it is personally most beneficial to remain in the here and now, and utilize the knowledge received from studying the Scriptures, to attain victory over the daily, evil influences. After all, each day has enough trouble of its own, and the command from Yeshua is very precise without equivocation:

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34).

Inevitably, according to the Holy Scriptures, the Second Coming will take place, and Yeshua the Messiah will be present among us to fulfill all of the promises which have been spoken and written about down through the ages. We do not know if those living today, or their children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren, will be the end-time saints who must content with another set of plagues and judgments that are to befall the wicked. Only time will tell. So in the meanwhile, brothers and sisters, be about the Father’s business! (Click to Source)

Weekly Torah Readings: Va-era – One New Man Bible – Jan 12, 2018

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Va-era

6:2. And God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I AM the LORD*! 3. And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob by My name El Shaddai (God Almighty), but I was not known to them by My name LORD*. 4. And I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers. 5. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians are keeping in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.”

Origin of Communion

6:6. “Therefore say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM the LORD*, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rescue, deliver, you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments  7. and I will take you to Myself for a people, and I shall be God to you and you will know that I AM the LORD* your God, Who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8. And I shall bring you into the land, concerning which I lifted up My hand to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and I shall give it to you for a heritage. I AM the LORD*!’”

6:9. And Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses because of lack of spirit, and the hard labor.

6:10. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 11. “Come in! Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to send the children of Israel out of his land.” 12. And Moses spoke before the LORD* saying, “See, the children of Israel have not listened to me, so how will Pharaoh listen to me? I am of uncircumcised, sealed, lips.” 13. And the LORD* spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

6:14. These are the heads of their fathers’ houses: The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. 15. And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakhin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon. 16. And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were a hundred thirty-seven years. 17.The sons of Gershon; Libni and Shimi, according to their families. 18. And the sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath were a hundred thirty-three years. 19. And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their generations.

6:20. And Amram took Jochebed (Yokheved), his father’s sister, for his wife and she bore him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were a hundred thirty-seven years. 21. And the sons of Izhar; Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. 22.And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23. And Aaron took for himself Elisheva, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahshon, for his wife and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Elazar, and Itamar. 24. And the sons of Korah; Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these are the families of the Korahites. 25. And Elazar, Aaron’s son, took for himself one of the daughters of Putiel for his wife and she bore Phineas. These are the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families. 26. These are the families of Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD* said, “Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts.” 27. These are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are Moses and Aaron. 28. And it came to pass on the day when the LORD* spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,

6:29. That the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, “I AM the LORD*! Tell everything that I say to you to Pharaoh king of Egypt.”30. And Moses said before the LORD*, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised, sealed, lips, how will Pharaoh listen to me?”

Moses Prepares for Pharaoh

7.1. And the LORD* said to Moses, “See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be your prophet.2. You will speak all that I command you and Aaron your brother will speak to Pharaoh, so he will send the children of Israel out of his land. 3. And I shall harden Pharaoh’s heart and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. 4.But Pharaoh will not pay attention to you, so that I can lay My hand upon Egypt and bring out My armies, My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. 5. And the Egyptians will know that I AM the LORD*, when I stretch forth My hand over Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”

7:6. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD* commanded them, so they did. 7. And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

7:8. And the LORD* spoke to Moses and to Aaron saying, 9. “When Pharaoh speaks to you saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourself!’ Then you will say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it before Pharaoh.’ It will become  a serpent.” 10. And Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and they did as the LORD* had commanded and Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers. Now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12. For each man cast down his staff and they became serpents, but Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13. And He hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he did not pay attention to them, as the LORD* had said.

7:14. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened. He refuses to send the people out. 15. Go to Pharaoh in the morning. Then, when he goes out to the water, you will stand by the river’s bank to meet him and you will take the staff which was turned to a serpent in your hand. 16. And you will say to him, ‘The LORD* God of the Hebrews has sent me to you saying, Send My people away! So they can serve Me in the wilderness. And behold, till now you would not listen. 17. Thus says the LORD*, By this you will know that I AM the LORD*! Behold, I shall strike the waters in the river with the staff that is in my hand, and they will be turned to blood.    (Rev. 11:6) 18. And the fish that are in the river will die and the river will stink and the Egyptians will not be able to drink the water of the river.’”

The Plagues Begin

7:19. And the LORD* spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff! Stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, so they will become blood, (Rev. 8:8) and there will be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.’” 20. (1st)And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD* commanded and he lifted up the staff and struck the waters in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 21. And the fish in the river died and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river, and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.  (Rev. 16:3) 22. And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments and Pharaoh’s heart was strengthened, and he did not listen to Moses and Aaron, as the LORD* had said. 23. And Pharaoh turned and went into his house and he did not pay attention to this either.  24. And all the Egyptians dug round about the river for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the river. 25. And seven days were fulfilled, after the LORD* had smitten the river. (Rev. 16:4)

7:26. And the LORD* spoke to Moses, “Come to Pharaoh! Say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD*, Send My people away! So they can serve Me! 27. And if you refuse to send them, behold, I AM will plague all your borders with frogs. 28. And the river will bring forth frogs abundantly, which will go up and come into your house, into your bedchamber, upon your bed, into the house of your servants, upon your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading-troughs. 29. And the frogs will come upon you, upon your people, and upon all your servants.’”

Frogs

8.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, Stretch forth your hand with your staff over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.” 2. (2NDAnd Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 3. And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.

8:4. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Plead with the LORD*, so He will take the frogs away from me and from my people and I shall send the people out, so they can sacrifice to the LORD*.” 5. And Moses said to Pharaoh, “Glorify yourself over me! When will I plead for you, for your servants, and for your people, to destroy the frogs from you and your houses, so they may just remain in the river?” 6. And he said, “Tomorrow.” And he said, “It will be according to your word so you will know that there is no one like the LORD* our God, 7. and the frogs will depart from you, from your houses, from your servants, and from your people. They will remain only in the river.” 8. And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh and Moses cried to the LORD* because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. 9. And the LORD* did according to the word of Moses and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields.10. And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 11. But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he strengthened his heart, and paid no attention to them, as the LORD* had said.

Lice

8:12. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the land, so there will be lice throughout all the land of Egypt.”      13. (3rd) And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and it became lice upon man and upon beast. All the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 14. And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not. So there were lice upon man and upon beast. 15. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was strengthened and he did not listen to them, as the LORD* had said.

8:16. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh. Behold, he comes out to the water here and say to him, “Thus says the LORD*, Send My people away! So they can serve Me! 17. Or else, if you will not send My people away, behold, I shall send swarms of flies upon you, upon your servants, upon your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians and also the ground that they are on will be full of swarms of flies. 18. And I shall sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, so no swarms of flies will be there, so you will know that I AM the LORD* in the midst of the earth. 19. And I shall put a division between My people and your people. This sign will happen tomorrow.”

Flies

8:20. (4th) And the LORD* did so and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt. The land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies. 21. And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron and said, “Go! Sacrifice to your God in the land.”

8:22. And Moses said, “It is not right to do that, for our sacrifice to the LORD* our God will be an abomination for the Egyptians, so we will sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?  23. We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD* our God, as He will command us.” 24. And Pharaoh said, “I shall send you, so you can sacrifice to the LORD* your God in the wilderness, only you will not go very far away. Plead on my behalf!”

8:25. And Moses said, “See, I am going out from you and I shall plead with the LORD* that the swarms of flies will depart from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people, tomorrow, but Do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not sending the people to sacrifice to the LORD*! 26. And Moses went out from Pharaoh and pled with the LORD*. 27.And the LORD* did according to the word of Moses and He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. 28. And Pharaoh strengthened his heart at this time too, he did not send the people out.

Send My People Away

9.1. Then the LORD* said to Moses, “Come in to Pharaoh! Tell him, ‘Thus says the LORD* God of the Hebrews, Send My people away! So they can serve Me!

2. For if you refuse to send them out and will still hold them, 3. behold, the hand of the LORD* is upon your cattle that are in the field, upon the horses, upon the donkeys, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there will be a very severe plague. 4. And the LORD* will separate between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt and nothing will die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.’” 5. And the LORD* appointed a set time saying, “Tomorrow the LORD* will do this thing in the land.”

Plague on Animals

9:6. (5thAnd the LORD* did that thing on the next day and all the cattle of Egypt died, but not one of the cattle of the children of Israel died. 7. And Pharaoh sent and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was strengthened and he did not send the people out.

9:8. And the LORD* said to Moses and to Aaron, “Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes of the furnace and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. 9. And it will become small dust in the whole land of Egypt and will be a boil breaking forth with boils upon man and upon beast throughout all the land of Egypt.”

Boils and Blisters

9:10. (6thAnd they took kiln ashes and stood before Pharaoh and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven, and it became boils and blisters bursting forth upon man and upon beast. (Rev. 16:2) 11. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians. 12. And the LORD* strengthened the heart of Pharaoh and he paid no attention to them, as the LORD* had told Moses.

9:13. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD* God of the Hebrews, Send My people away! So they can serve Me! 14. For I shall at this time send all My plagues upon your heart, upon your servants, and upon your people, so you will know that there is no one like Me. 15. For now I shall stretch out My hand, so I can strike you and your people with pestilence and you will be cut off from the earth. 16.And for this I have raised you up, in order to show you My power and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth. (Rom. 9:17)

9:17. “Do you still exalt yourself against My people, so that you will not send them out? 18. Behold, tomorrow about this time I shall cause it to rain a very severe hail, such as has not been in Egypt since its foundation even until now. 19.Therefore send now, gather your cattle and all that you have in the field, for every man and animal that is found in the field, and will not be brought home, the hail will come down upon them and they will die.” 20. He who feared the word of the LORD* among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses 21. and he who did not regard the word of the LORD* left his servants and his cattle in the field.

9:22. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Stretch forth your hand toward heaven, so there will be hail in the whole land of Egypt, upon man, upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.”

Hail

9:23. (7th) And Moses stretched forth his staff toward heaven and the LORD* sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground, and the LORD* rained hail upon the land of Egypt. 24. So there was hail, and fire was flaming up amidst the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25. And the hail struck throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field. (Rev. 8:7) 26. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.

9:27. And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time: the LORD* is righteous and I and my people are wicked. 28. Plead with the LORD*, for it is enough, that there will be no more mighty thunderings and hail, and I shall send you out and you will stay no longer.”

9:29. And Moses said to him, “As soon as I leave the city, I shall spread abroad my hands to the LORD*, the thunders will cease, neither will there be any more hail, so you will know how that the earth is the LORD’s*. 30. But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet revere the LORD* God.” 31. And the flax and the barley were smitten, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bloom. 32. But the wheat and the rye were not smitten, for they had not grown up.

9:33. And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and spread his hands abroad to the LORD*, and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. 34. And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders had ceased, he sinned yet more and strengthened his heart, he and his servants. 35. And the heart of Pharaoh was strengthened, and he would not send the children of Israel out, as the LORD* had spoken by Moses. (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Sh’mot (Names) – His Ways – January 6, 2017

Torah Commentary
Sh’mot (Names)
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Exodus 1:1-6:1
Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23
Matthew 22:23-33; 41-46
Acts 3:12-15
Hebrew 11:23-26

His Ways

Just a few days ago we entered into the Gregorian year of 2018. The thought of that seems a bit strange. You may even be one who would say you never imagined how this world system could possibly have lasted this long. I can relate.
Truth is, we are here and with the new year a verse keeps being brought to my mind. Isaiah 55:8 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” That verse makes more sense to me with each passing day.
The Hebrews in Egypt must have had thoughts concerning this not yet recorded concept. For those who had been keeping up with history, they must have been shaking their heads with unbelief. How could they have gone from the great honor of their recent ancestors to slavery in exile? What happened through these short years?
Maybe a clue to this question is found in Exodus 1:23. In the verse it is recorded that the Hebrews cried out, but it does not say they cried out to HaShem. It just says they were crying. Is it possible they had given up on the promises they had been given through their ancestor Abraham so many years earlier? Is it in the forgetting of the promises they had forgotten who they were and Whom they belonged to? Had they been so long in exile they had given up? Are those words mirroring some of our thoughts today?
Truth is, whether His family is in Egypt or anywhere else called exile His thoughts and ways are not going to line up with ours. His thoughts and ways are to bring forth a greater work than ours would ever accomplish.
Now they may think they are forgotten, but we know they are not, because we have the benefit of being able to read the rest of the story and we know the outcome. With this we can sit back and be experts at telling them what they should have done while all the while dealing with the same faith failures they went through. Think of it this way. What if a book is being written about our exile which others will one day be able to read. They could be experts to!
Now they may have thought they were forgotten, but truth is there were great works being done which were way beyond their thoughts. The first work was being done in them. In Egypt Yah was growing His family to numbers Abraham would probably never imagined. In the growing of the family numerically, it does appear that they forgot to grow spiritually. Not pointing fingers, just a floating thought to ponder. The other work being done was about a shepherd being prepared to lead them. Without that shepherd they would not have even made it to the sea much less into the wilderness and for some the Promise Land.
In the past years there has been much talk and teaching about what is referred to as the Greater Exodus. Verses used for this teaching are in Jeremiah 23. Why have these verses not happened? Why are we still in exile? Why are we not in Israel? Is it possible that not only are we not ready, but the shepherds spoken of in the first of the chapter are still on their own backsides of deserts being prepared for the day.
What should we take away from this Torah portion? Let us not forget who we are. Not forgetting Whom we belong to. We need to remember the verse in Habakkuk 2:3 used to explain that every promise He has made will come to pass and though from our vantage point it may seem the promises are delayed, from His vantage point, they are right on time.
In the end, just as a remnant of Hebrews were able to grasp that His thoughts and ways would bring forth a greater work than their thoughts and ways could ever do, let us pray for and wait patiently in our day.  (Click to Source)

Israel’s Pivotal Role in God’s Prophetic Timetable

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The U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel came exactly 500 years after the Reformation (1517) and 100 years after the Balfour Declaration (1917). The Balfour declaration came at the end of World War I and stated that Great Britain wanted to establish a Jewish homeland in ancient Judea.

His Majesty’s government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

In addition, the Trump declaration came exactly 50 years after Jerusalem was reunited (1967) during the Six-Day War. While we do not know when the actual Jubilee year should be, it is amazing that these four historical and prophetic events came on the 50th year.

Is this what Yeshua meant when He responded to His disciples (after they asked about the restoration of Israel) “It is not for you to know the times or the dates, which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Acts 1:7). It would appear that God has a set timing for Zion’s restoration, and we are witnessing it in real time.

Sadly, many Bible teachers teach that the disciples were slow of mind in asking this question. John Calvin said of the disciples’ inquiry, “This question has as many problems as it has words.” But Yeshua did not respond as Calvin. He understood that this was the obvious question for any student of the bible.

The disciples were familiar with passages such as Zechariah 14:8-9, which says, “On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the Dead Sea and the other half to the Mediterranean Sea. This will happen for the summer as well as the winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. In that day it will be—”The Lord is one,” and His name is one.”

Or maybe they were thinking of Jeremiah 30:18, “I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city will be built upon her own heap, and the palace will remain in its rightful place.”

Yes, it was the most obvious question to ask. Each jump in Israel’s restoration brings us closer to the Millennial age, when the Messiah will return (Rev. 19:11 and following) and fight for Israel (Zech. 14:3-4) and set up His international kingdom in Jerusalem. (Click to Source)

US gives Israel go-ahead to take out powerful Iranian general

Kuwaiti report: US gives Israel go-ahead to kill powerful Iranian general

Newspaper says Washington and Jerusalem have overcome the differences that saw Americans tipping off Tehran about Israeli attempt to kill Qassem Soleimani 3 years ago

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US intelligence agencies have given Israel the green light to assassinate the senior Iranian responsible for coordinating military activity on behalf of the Islamic Republic in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida.

For the past 20 years or so, Qassem Soleimani has commanded the Quds Force — the branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards responsible for military and clandestine operations outside of the Islamic Republic.

Soleimani is a key figure in efforts to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad and to enable him to retake cities and towns from rebel groups during his country’s ongoing civil war. He is also responsible for providing military aid to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza — both of which are committed to the destruction of Israel — as well as to Shia and Kurdish groups in Iraq.

Thursday’s report by al-Jarida, which has been known to publish improbable-sounding stories about Israel, was widely picked up by Israeli media.

There was no immediate reaction to the report from Jerusalem or Washington.

Three years ago, Israel came close to assassinating Soleimani near Damascus, al-Jarida quoted unnamed source as saying, but the Americans tipped off the Iranians against the background of intense disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem.

That was during the Obama administration, which, according to reports at the time, was so focused on securing the 2015 Iran nuclear accord that it chose to overlook and even obstruct efforts to clamp down on Iranian-backed terror organizations.

It’s not clear if the reported tip-off was related to efforts to secure the Iran deal.

Today, the Trump and Netanyahu administrations see eye to eye on Iran. Just four days ago, the two countries signed a joint memorandum of understanding laying the groundwork for full cooperation to deal with Iran’s nuclear drive, its missile programs and its other threatening activities, an Israeli TV report said recently.

The source was quoted by the paper as saying that Soleimani’s assassination would serve both countries’ interests and that US authorities have given Israel the go-ahead to carry it out. (Click to Source)

2018: A New Chapter Begins

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Happy New Year to all of our wonderful readers.  I have been admittedly quiet the last few weeks, but for good reason: I have welcomed a new child into the world and she has decided to keep me up at night – every night!

We will continue to follow the headlines and present new research in 2018 and there is a lot of ground to cover.  What if 2017 was the last complete Gregorian year before Tribulation events begin to unfold?  All of the incredible numbers, patterns, and signs in 2017 were heralding events that may soon be fulfilled.  The heavenly signs around Jesus’ first coming didn’t happen all at once and what they heralded took time to occur.  There was an announcement, conception, pregnancy, birth, journey of magi, and presentation of the Child in the Temple.  The whole course of events took at least a year and, at least to me, the heavenly signs in 2017 still seem utterly convincing and undeniable.

One of the biggest dates on the near horizon is the actual 70th anniversary of the nation of Israel, which is only mere months away.  Considering the transition from 2017 to 2018, it occurs to me that ‘7’ is the number of spiritual perfection and completion, but ‘8’ is the number of resurrection and new beginnings.  Let’s not forget that all of the incredible “coincidences” last year were God-orchestrated and were reminders that the present age’s clock is ticking.  We will still be in the biblical year that witnessed the Revelation 12 Sign until March or April 2018 and on the Jewish civil calendar (and possibly Jubilee calendar) we are in the same year until next Fall.

At the same time, radical change is unfolding in the Middle East, culminating with Fatah and Hamas reconciliation, the collapse of the ISIS caliphate, the world’s vote to divide Jerusalem, Trump’s Jerusalem decision in response, the Saudi Arabian regime change, revolution in Iran, and dominoes now starting to fall: after Trump’s embassy announcement Guatemala quickly followed suit and rumor is building that some 10 other nations, including Honduras, are considering making the same move.  This may very well be the build up towards Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount in 2018 and what shortly follows next – the Third Temple.

Maranatha! (Click to Source)

Evans Mobilizing 31M Followers to Influence World Leaders to Move Their Embassies to Jerusalem

An evangelical leader in Israel is hoping to build momentum for more nations to move their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem.

Mike Evans is the founder of the Friends of Zion Museum and one of President Trump’s biggest cheerleaders.

Evans latest tribute to Trump is a New Year’s Day wish in the form of a four-story digital banner on the facade of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center.  It reads “Thank You, President Trump. You’re making Israel Greater.”

He’s planning a ‘royal welcome’ for Vice President Mike Pence when he arrives in mid-January with over 110 billboards, buses, and even camels.

Perhaps more importantly, Evan is mobilizing his 31 million followers to influence world leaders to stand with Israel and the Jewish people and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The objective is to have as many other states join Guatemala’s Evangelical President Morales and follow President Trump’s declaration and move their Embassies to Jerusalem.

Evans pledged that every world leader that says “yes” would receive the Friend of Zion Award.

He recognized Trump’s declaration by presenting him with the Friends of Zion Award during a ceremony in the Oval Office with Vice President Pence and faith leaders representing over 150 million Christians globally.

Evans also initiated a campaign to blanket the city with more than 100 banners that read ‘God Bless Trump.’

The campaign includes a giant banner that reads “God Bless Trump From Jerusalem, DC (David’s Capital) to Washington, DC.”

The campaign began on December 6th when Trump made his historic announcement that he was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would begin the process of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, as mandated in the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.

Since then, the banner has appeared on billboards, buses, and even camels.

“We believe what he (Trump) did is going to bring the blessing of God on our own country America,” Evans told CBN News.

“President Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem will secure his place in history as the first American president to take that step since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948,” Evans said.

Evans and other evangelical leaders have hailed Trump as a modern-day Cyrus, the Persian King in the Bible who helped the Jewish people return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile.

He believes that for hundreds of millions of Evangelical Christians around the globe, Trump is an answer to prayer.  He compares President Trump’s declaration Jerusalem to the 1917 Balfour Declaration that called for a homeland for the Jewish people and President Truman’s acceptance of Israel into the family of nations in 1948.

Evans wrote, “No president in history has ever built such an alliance for the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and no president has courageously stood up for the State of Israel on the global stage as President Trump.”

He founded the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem to tell the stories and history of Christian Zionists who helped the Jewish people throughout history and especially before the founding of the modern state of Israel. (Click to Source)

GOG AND MAGOG WATCH: Turkey and Russia sign deal on supply of S-400 missiles

Turkey, Russia sign deal on supply of S-400 missiles

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey and Russia on Friday signed an accord for Moscow to supply Ankara with S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries, Turkish authorities said, finalizing a deal set to deepen military ties between NATO member Turkey and the Kremlin.

Russian S-400 Triumph medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile systems drive during the Victory Day parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

The S-400 deal, reportedly worth some $2.5 billion and in the works for more than a year, has worried the West because the system cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture.

As part of NATO’s collective defense pledge, the allies integrate their ships, planes and weapons systems to make them work together, as well as sharing command across the alliance.

The accord is the latest in a series of moves by Ankara to boost its defense capabilities as it faces threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants at home and conflicts across its borders in Syria and Iraq.

In a statement late on Friday, Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) said that Moscow would supply the S-400 missile batteries to Ankara in an initial delivery planned for the first quarter of 2020.

On Wednesday, Sergei Chemezov, head of the Russian state conglomerate Rostec, told the Kommersant daily that Russia would supply Turkey with four batteries of S-400s under the deal.

However, the SSM said Turkey would buy two S-400 batteries from Russia under the agreement, with one being optional, and added the systems would be used and managed “independently” by Turkish personnel, rather than Russian advisors.

It said the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) would have full control over the systems, and added that the accord signed earlier on Friday included clauses on cooperation for technologic gains and joint development.

Turkey’s purchase of the systems has unnerved NATO member countries, who are already wary of Moscow’s military presence in the Middle East, as the system is incompatible with the alliance’s systems.

NATO officials have warned Turkey about unspecified consequences of purchasing the S-400, but Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said ties with NATO remain strong.

Chezmezov said Moscow was expected to begin the first deliveries in March 2020 and that Turkey was the first NATO member state to acquire the advanced S-400 missile system.

Earlier on Friday, Turkish newspapers cited Erdogan as saying Turkey would borrow in the Russian currency in a loan deal under the accord.

BORROWING “IN RUBLES”

“We will not borrow in dollars in this loan, we will borrow in rubles,” Hurriyet newspaper quoted Erdogan as telling reporters on his plane, returning from a trip to Africa.

According to Chemezov, Turkey would pay 45 percent of the cost of the agreement up front, with Russia providing loans to cover the remaining 55 percent.

The Russian Finance Ministry will finance a deal from the state treasury, while Russian banks will take part solely in the transfer of funds in the deal, a Russian banking source said.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara deteriorated sharply in 2015 after Turkey shot down a Russian air force jet that it said had crossed into Turkish airspace, but they have since repaired ties despite having backed different sides in the Syrian war.

They are now cooperating on Syrian peace efforts as well as projects in the defense industry and energy sectors.

While pushing ahead with the S-400 project, Ankara has sought to secure defense deals with other countries as well.

In November, Turkey signed a letter of intent with France and Italy to strengthen cooperation on joint defense projects. As a first step, the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium and Turkish companies will look into a system based on the SAMP-T missile systems.

Turkey has also invested heavily in the development of its domestic defense industry, with projects encompassing areas including combat helicopters, tanks, drones and warships. (Click to Source)

Torah Reading – V’yechi – He lived – “Blessing Israel” – 25 December, 2017

V’yechi

He lived

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Genesis 47:28-50:26
1 Kings 2:1-12

“Blessing Israel”


by Mark Huey

This week, the final parashah for the Book of Genesis is studied, as the period of the Patriarchs and details about the unique family chosen by God to receive His faithful blessings, finally comes to a dramatic close. Here in Genesis’ last three chapters, the similar dying requests of both Jacob/Israel and Joseph, to be buried in the Promised Land, may be said to simply “bookend” the specific blessings that Jacob bestowed upon his immediate progeny. Apparently, belief in the promises of God for the descendants of Abraham and Isaac, for them to multiply and reside in Canaan, was genuine for Jacob and Joseph—or the preferences to be buried among their relatives would not have been a priority. Additionally, the desire to pass on to future generations, some of the blessings received, was of paramount importance to Jacob/Israel. So as we study V’yechi, it is important to consider how we can individually follow the practices and examples of our forebearers in faith—by not only believing in God’s promises, but also in passing God’s blessings down to our own future generations.

V’yechi begins after Jacob and his entourage had relocated to Egypt, to avoid the ravages of the regional famine. His family was well received by the ruling Pharaoh, and they were living in the choice land of Goshen, tending to their herds. The name of our Torah reading comes from its opening verse, where it is recorded that Jacob lived in the land of Egypt. In V’yechi, Jacob/Israel’s time to die was drawing near. He called upon his favored son Joseph, to faithfully return him to the land of his fathers, knowing that Joseph had the authority to make this happen:

“Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years. When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, ‘Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt, but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.’ And he said, ‘I will do as you have said.’ He said, ‘Swear to me.’ So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed” (Genesis 47:28-31).

Blessing Manasseh and Ephraim

While being returned to the burial grounds of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah was important to Jacob, the desire of Joseph to have his own sons receive the blessing of their grandfather was most crucial to him. Joseph knew the power of blessings from his ancestors. After all, there is an indication that he attempted to retain some connectivity to his forebearers when he significantly named his sons Manasseh and Ephraim, despite their mother being an Egyptian:

“Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’ He named the second Ephraim, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction’” (Genesis 41:51-52).

Consequently, upon learning that his father Jacob/Israel was sick and about to die, Joseph took his two sons to his father, to seek his blessing upon his sons. But more than receive just a blessing, Jacob/Israel literally adopted them into his family, giving them equal status with their uncles and Joseph. However, another interesting thing occurred when the nearly blind Jacob/Israel went to place his hands upon the heads of Manasseh and Ephraim. He actually crossed his arms, and placed his right hand of blessing upon the head of the younger Ephraim, and his left hand upon the elder Manasseh. This did not go unnoticed by Joseph, who pointed it out to his father. Yet, the Lord ordained these blessings, as Jacob/Israel was simply following the leading of His Holy Spirit:

“Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, ‘Behold, your father is sick.’ So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him. When it was told to Jacob, ‘Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,’ Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed. Then Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and He said to me, “Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.” Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. But your offspring that have been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance. Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).’ When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, ‘Who are these?’ Joseph said to his father, ‘They are my sons, whom God has given me here.’ So he said, ‘Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.’ Now the eyes of Israel were so dim from age that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them. Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.’ Then Joseph took them from his knees, and bowed with his face to the ground. Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him. But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn. He blessed Joseph, and said, ‘The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and may my name live on in them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.’ When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.’ But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.’ He blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying, “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!”’ Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers. I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow’” (Genesis 48:1-22).

There is something extremely powerful about acknowledging the blessings of any of our predecessors, which was something certainly true for Jacob/Israel and Joseph in ancient times. However, the irony that the younger would be greater than the older must have taken Jacob back to the time when he was in a similar predicament with his older twin brother Esau. He probably recalled the blessings of Isaac, and the fact that once the blessing was uttered and bestowed upon him, it could not be rescinded (Genesis 27:33). Ephraim received the more powerful blessing of his grandfather. Despite a momentary startlement with the disposition of the blessings, Joseph did not protest but simply accepted and embraced the blessings as they were uttered.

Israel Blesses His Sons

In Genesis 49, we see a selection of text that is devoted to relating all of Jacob/Israel’s blessings, to his natural born sons. The prophetic picture of this aged patriarch, proclaiming the blessings and/or prophecies over his sons, is a majestic scene for each of us to contemplate. Imagine your own father or mother, speaking insightful words such as these. Or, perhaps imagine yourself—at sometime in the distant future—declaring words like these to your own children. After decades of watching his sons mature, Israel’s ability to speak prophetically into their lives was set. Without going into the specific statements about each of the sons, note the greater amount of explicit details regarding the future of Judah and Joseph, the two sons who rose to prominence in their generation:

“Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, ‘Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come. Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; And listen to Israel your father. Reuben, you are my firstborn; my might and the beginning of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch. Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are implements of violence. Let my soul not enter into their council; let not my glory be united with their assembly; because in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they lamed oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; he washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are dull from wine, and his teeth white from milk. Zebulun will dwell at the seashore; and he shall be a haven for ships, and his flank shall be toward Sidon. Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the sheepfolds. When he saw that a resting place was good and that the land was pleasant, he bowed his shoulder to bear burdens, and became a slave at forced labor. Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider falls backward. For Your salvation I wait, O LORD. As for Gad, raiders shall raid him, but he will raid at their heels. As for Asher, his food shall be rich, and he will yield royal dainties. Naphtali is a doe let loose, he gives beautiful words. Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall. The archers bitterly attacked him, and shot at him and harassed him; but his bow remained firm, and his arms were agile, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), from the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers. Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, and in the evening he divides the spoil.’ All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him” (Genesis 49:1-28).

Much speculation has been compiled, which has been devoted to analyzing these final words of Jacob/Israel directed toward his sons. In fact, when one couples the blessings of Israel found in Genesis 49, with the blessings of Moses to the tribes of Israel found in Deuteronomy 33, one can discern that these great servants of God were given a glimpse of the future—regarding some destiny of the descendants of Israel. Particular attention to the blessings or prophecies uttered toward Judah and Joseph, indicate that these tribes which bear their names would surely have prominence, as can certainly be seen in the Historical Books of the Tanakh.

In the case of Judah, a definite ancestor of Yeshua the Messiah, there appears a statement that the tribe Judah and/or his descendants was going to be in a position of leadership or prominence, at least somehow until His arrival (Genesis 49:10). Yeshua, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, after all, is the quintessential Jew (Revelation 5:5). For Believers in Him, that there is Messianic expectation interwoven into Jacob/Israel’s blessings in Genesis 49, means that we have to exhibit much confidence that all of his pronouncements have been coming to pass over the centuries.

Joseph’s Insight

After the death of Jacob/Israel, the sons of Israel had a genuine fear that Joseph might then take revenge on them, for their heinous acts toward Joseph years earlier. It is here, where we witness a definite contrast between the faith of Joseph and his brothers. Despite seventeen years of living in Goshen, the brothers were still concerned that Joseph might be harboring a grudge toward them. But, Joseph was not only sincere in his actions toward his family, but most critically, he truly understood the circumstances of his extraordinary life from God’s perspective:

“Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.’ So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt” (Genesis 50:18-26).

Joseph was not only used by the Almighty to save his family during the regional famine, but he was also able to see the hand of God upon the incidents that led him to be in the position to save his family. This is a great lesson for each of us to consider when we are disappointed with some of life’s inevitable challenges. When things do not necessarily go as we hoped or expected—but they inadvertently take a turn for what might have seemed the worse at the time—are we able to recognize that God is still sovereign? Can we have enough trust in the Lord to understand that what happens in our lives is a part of His will for each of us? Joseph certainly did, and perhaps, his own brothers might have learned the same life lesson.

Faith and Blessing

So what can we glean from the concluding Torah portion from the Book of Genesis, regarding faith and the power of blessings? We need to each recognize that the Holy One is truly faithful to His chosen vessels. Despite the circumstances of life that might seem difficult, God is faithfully accomplishing His will. If we, as limited mortal humans, could better understand things from His perspective—then we would have the wisdom and discernment to see His fingerprints on all that occurs in life, whether good or bad.

For a reflection back on much of Genesis, we can look and compare the lives of Jacob/Israel and Joseph, and note how each one learned to be faithful to God in very different ways. We can recall how at relatively young ages, they each had encounters with the Almighty through dreams or visions. Yet, we can also see from their personalities that the level of faith was not the same throughout their lives. Still, when the end of their lives came, their faith was quite strong, and they each wanted the blessing of burial in the Promise Land along with their relatives. They each wanted God’s blessings to be passed on to their progeny.

Jacob/Israel and Joseph knew the power of blessings. They not only desired the blessings of their elders, but they also gladly participated in extending blessings to their descendants. For modern-day followers of the Messiah, these examples are something to emulate. However, in order to even want to extend blessings, we each must have faith in the ultimate Provider of blessings. The two go together hand in hand. After all, the Almighty chooses human vessels to extend His blessings to others, but He requires faith as one of the critical ingredients to not only give blessings but also receive them. So, let each of us seek more faith—so that in being blessed with it, we will in turn be able to pass on the blessings we have received from the Lord! (Click to Source)