Expounding the Torah

Did Moses speak in tongues? Tradition says that Moses spoke the words of the book of Deuteronomy in the seventy languages of humanity.

Portion Summary

Devarim (דברים) is both the title for the last book from the scroll of the Torah and the title of the first Torah portion therein. Devarim means “words.” The English-speaking world calls this book Deuteronomy. The Hebrew title for the book comes from the opening phrase of the book: “These are the words (devarim) which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness” (Deuteronomy 1:1).

One ancient name for the book of Deuteronomy is Mishnah HaTorah (משנה תורה), which means “repetition of the Torah.” This is similar to the Greek Septuagint name Deuteronomos, which means “second law.” The English name Deuteronomy is derived from Deuteronomos.

The book of Deuteronomy is dominated by Moses’ farewell address to the children of Israel as he urges them to remain faithful to the covenant and prepares them for entering Canaan. During the course of the book, Moses reviews the story of the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the trip to the Promised Land, reiterates several laws of Torah and introduces new laws. The book seems to follow the general pattern of an ancient Near Eastern covenant treaty document.

As we study the first week’s reading from the book of Exodus, the children of Israel are assembled on the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho.

Special Shabbat Reading

Special readings are applicable this Shabbat.

  • Shabbat Chazon (שבת חזון | Vision)
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27

Shabbat Chazon (“Sabbath [of] vision” שבת חזון) takes its name from the Haftarah that is read on the Shabbat immediately prior to the mournful fast of Tisha B’Av, from the words of rebuke and doom coming from Isaiah in the Book of Isaiah 1:1-27. It is also referred to as the Black Sabbath due to its status as the saddest Shabbat of the year (as opposed to the White Sabbath, Shabbat Shuvah, immediately precededing Yom Kippur).

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Devarim (דברים | Words)
  • Torah: Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27
  • Gospel: Matthew 24:1-22

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Deuteronomy 1:1 | Events at Horeb Recalled
    • Deuteronomy 1:9 | Appointment of Tribal Leaders
    • Deuteronomy 1:19 | Israel’s Refusal to Enter the Land
    • Deuteronomy 1:34 | The Penalty for Israel’s Rebellion
    • Deuteronomy 1:46 | The Desert Years
    • Deuteronomy 2:26 | Defeat of King Sihon
    • Deuteronomy 3:1 | Defeat of King Og
  • PROPHETS
    • Isaiah 1:1 | Introduction
    • Isaiah 1:2 | The Wickedness of Judah
    • Isaiah 1:21 | The Degenerate City

Portion Summary

Devarim (דברים) is both the title for the last book from the scroll of the Torah and the title of the first Torah portion therein. Devarim means “words.” The English-speaking world calls this book Deuteronomy. The Hebrew title for the book comes from the opening phrase of the book: “These are the words (devarim) which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness” (Deuteronomy 1:1).

One ancient name for the book of Deuteronomy is Mishnah HaTorah (משנה תורה), which means “repetition of the Torah.” This is similar to the Greek Septuagint name Deuteronomos, which means “second law.” The English name Deuteronomy is derived from Deuteronomos.

The book of Deuteronomy is dominated by Moses’ farewell address to the children of Israel as he urges them to remain faithful to the covenant and prepares them for entering Canaan. During the course of the book, Moses reviews the story of the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the trip to the Promised Land, reiterates several laws of Torah and introduces new laws. The book seems to follow the general pattern of an ancient Near Eastern covenant treaty document.

As we study the first week’s reading from the book of Exodus, the children of Israel are assembled on the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho.


The book of Deuteronomy opens, “These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah” (Deuteronomy 1:1). Those words preface more than thirty chapters of Moses continuously talking. The sages puzzled over this. How did the man who was slow of speech become so eloquent? Just a few verses later, it says, “Moses undertook to expound this Torah.” According to Jewish tradition, Moses expounded the Torah in the seventy languages. The Midrash Tanchuma takes up the discussion.

Come and see! When the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, “Go and I will send you to Pharaoh,” Moses said, “Woe! You are giving over the mission to me? I am not a man of words.” He said, “There are seventy languages known in Pharaoh’s court, so that if anyone comes from a foreign country, they can speak to him in his language. I am going as your apostle, and they will question me, and I will tell them that I am an apostle of the Almighty, and it will be obvious to them that I do not know how to converse with them. Will they not mock me and say, ‘Look, the apostle of the Creator of the universe who created all the tongues! He is unable to comprehend or answer.’” This is what Moses meant when he said, “Woe, I am not a man of words.” … forty years after the exodus from Egypt, however, he expounded the Torah in seventy languages, as it says, “He explained this Torah.” (Midrash Tanchuma, Devarim 2)

According to this story, Moses felt unqualified to serve as an apostle of Hashem because he could not speak in all seventy languages. After the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai (i.e., Shavuot) Moses no longer suffered with that impediment. He demonstrated to the people of Israel that he could now teach Torah in all seventy languages.

We should be able to see the connection to our apostles who spoke the good news in all languages on the day of Shavuot. On that day that they became apostles of the Almighty and His risen Son, they received the gift of languages.

The seventy tongues represent the seventy mother-languages spoken by all humanity. The presentation of the Torah in every language alludes to the universal quality of the revelation of God through the Torah of Moses. Just as Moses is said to have expounded the Torah to Israel in every language, likewise, the disciples proclaimed the good news of Yeshua on Shavuot in every language.

Expounding the Torah is a job for every disciple. In the same way that it is incumbent upon us to spread the gospel in every place and at every time, it is also incumbent upon us to teach the Torah. After all the Torah is very much a part of the gospel, and the message of the gospel is quite meaningless without the Torah. Therefore, we are all called to emulate Yeshua, our teacher, who dedicated His life to proclaiming the gospel and teaching the ways of Torah.

When properly presented, the Torah should be an avenue to Messiah. It should be a central part of the good news of the kingdom and the call for repentance in the name of our Master. One who undertakes to teach the Torah to others is like one imbued with the Holy Spirit on the day of Shavuot. (Click to Source)

 

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Torah Commentary – Pinchas”Phineas” – Zeal In The Camp – SCRIPTURES FOR July 27, 2019

Torah Commentary
Pinchas”Phineas”
Numbers 25:10-30:1
1 Kings 18:46-19:21
2 Timothy 1-4; Titus 1-3; Philemon 1
Zeal In The Camp
Reading about the Hebrews and their journey through the wilderness  has taken on so much meaning in the past few years. With each passing year it becomes more and more special to read about their lives. It is not that the accounts of their lives become more exciting, but as His Day approaches, reading about the lives of the Hebrews causes me to sit back and allow my own thoughts to wander. I think about how different their walk was from ours today, but with the differences come so many striking similarities. Their walk was different because times have changed, but it was so simular because people do not change.
This week we read about people who no matter the blessings of The Almighty in their lives desired the quick passing pleasure of sin rather than the righteousness of their Creator. We read about one man who took the bull by the horns and made a difference. If you look between the lines we also see the masses called the majority who just sat and watched as spectators on a sideline.
The main character in the opening words of this weeks Torah is a man named Pinchas. He came on the scene rather quickly last week and became the hero of the day to stop a plague which was sweeping through the people because of sin in the camp. His heroic efforts cause him to not only take a place in recorded history, but also brings him and his family into a promotion promised not only for the lifetime of Phichas, but forever.
What was it that brought about the blessing Pinchas would walk in? It is boiled down to one word, zeal. But what exactly is zeal?
Webster defines zeal as “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” Zeal is something which is easy to define, but rather hard to teach. Fact is, I do not think you can teach zeal. You can teach emotions and hype which last about as long as the passing pleasure of sin, but zeal is another matter. I have come to the conclusion after years of teaching that there is no way to teach zeal. Zeal can not be taught, zeal must be caught!
Pinchas did not get his zeal from a book. We are not told where Pinchas got his zeal from. It could have been directly from Moses himself. Or maybe it was Joshua? There is an interesting thought. Maybe there is more to the man Joshua than we know up to this point. So far all we know about him is that he stuck pretty close to Moses most of the time. He was no doubt addicted to the presence of Elohim, for when Moses left the Tabernacle, Joshua would stay behind. What was Joshua doing with his time during a normal day though? Maybe he was passing on a zeal he had not been taught, but rather had caught from his time in the presence of Moses and of course Elohim Himself. If this is so, it sure paid off not only in the life of Pinchas, but in the lives of many Hebrews that infamous day.
This of course brings us to a question. How is our zealousness today? Do we have the kind of zealous pursuit of HaShem that causes others around us to sit up and take notice? Do we have a zealousness that is affecting other people around us? Are we ever zealous enough about Him for people to notice?
A zealous lifestyle will cause you to do things others are not willing to do. Zealousness will cause you to step out of a crowd like Pinchas or a Judas Maccabee. It will cause you to do things others are just not willing to do. Zealousness will cause you to be different from the crowd. Zealousness will cause you to be admired by some, but not accepted by most. Zealousness will cause you to be misunderstood most of the time. Zealousness will cause you to loose many friends, but in the end have the greatest influence on people. Above all, zealousness for Him will cause Him to be zealous over you. Personally I can not think of a better reason to desire to catch this wonderful trait of His the scripture calls zealous. (Click to Source)
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Nostalgia for the Familiar – June 22, 2019

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך | When you set up)
  • Torah: Numbers 8:1-12:15
  • Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:14-21

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Summary

The third reading from the book of Numbers and the thirty-sixth reading from the Torah is called Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך), a word that literally means “When you ascend.” It comes from the first verse of the portion, which could literally be translated as “When you ascend the lamps” (Numbers 8:2), a reference to the fact that the priest had to step up to clean and light the lamps of the menorah. This portion is jam-packed, telling the story of the consecration of the Levites, the first Passover in the wilderness, the silver trumpets, the cloud of glory, the departure from Sinai, the grumbling in the wilderness, the first Sanhedrin and the punishment of Miriam.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Numbers 8:1 | The Seven Lamps
    • Numbers 8:5 | Consecration and Service of the Levites
    • Numbers 9:1 | The Passover at Sinai
    • Numbers 9:15 | The Cloud and the Fire
    • Numbers 10:1 | The Silver Trumpets
    • Numbers 10:11 | Departure from Sinai
    • Numbers 11:1 | Complaining in the Desert
    • Numbers 11:16 | The Seventy Elders
    • Numbers 11:31 | The Quails
    • Numbers 12:1 | Aaron and Miriam Jealous of Moses
  • PROPHETS
    • Zec 2:6 Interlude: | An Appeal to the Exiles
    • Zec 3:1 Fourth Vision: | Joshua and Satan
    • Zec 4:1 Fifth Vision: | The Lampstand and Olive Trees

Portion Summary

The third reading from the book of Numbers and the thirty-sixth reading from the Torah is called Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך), a word that literally means “When you ascend.” It comes from the first verse of the portion, which could literally be translated as “When you ascend the lamps” (Numbers 8:2), a reference to the fact that the priest had to step up to clean and light the lamps of the menorah. This portion is jam-packed, telling the story of the consecration of the Levites, the first Passover in the wilderness, the silver trumpets, the cloud of glory, the departure from Sinai, the grumbling in the wilderness, the first Sanhedrin and the punishment of Miriam.


In Numbers 11:4-9, nostalgia for the food of Egypt sweeps over the camp of Israel. “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” (Numbers 11:5-6)

The same often happens to us after we take on a life of discipleship. For a while, it is fresh, new and exciting. It is invigorating, and each day is filled with new discovery. But after a period of time, the novelty wears off. We begin to miss the old vices and entertainments. We begin to feel nostalgic for ways of life that we have turned our backs on. When this happens (and it is normal that it does) we must press on all the harder in pursuit of our righteous Savior. It is normal for the heart to yearn for straying, but it is not normal to stray after the heart. We know better. If we will only press on, we will discover further joys, greater depths and new thrills in the pursuit of God.

Believers who begin to keep the commandments of God come from a variety of denominational and religious backgrounds. Typically, when they do, they commit to a life of Torah which they pursue with a proselyte’s zeal.

Everything changes. Your calendar, your holidays, your day of worship, your friends, your rhythm of life, the places you go, your style of worship, the entertainment you watch—everything is different—even the food you eat. It is normal to, at a certain point, long for some of the old things you have left behind. Believers in the Torah movement often feel bewildered by the strangeness of the new world they have entered. They reflect back on the simpler days when a Sunday morning worship service was nearly the full extent of their expression of faith. They long for the simplicity they once knew. “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic…” (Numbers 11:5) But the manna on which we now feed is the one who has descended from heaven. He is the bread of life, and He beckons us to eat of Him alone, and to follow Him alone. This is the way to life. (Click to Source)

Torah Reading – Aharei Mot – One New Man Bible – May 3, 2019

Leviticus 16:1 – 18:30

Day of Atonement Service

16.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD* and died; 2. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron your brother, so at all times he does not come into the Holy Place within the veil before the cover, which is on the Ark, so he does not die: for I shall appear in the cloud upon the cover. 3. Thus will Aaron come into the Holy Place with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4. He will put on the holy linen tunic and he will have the linen breeches upon his flesh and will be girded with a linen belt and he will be attired with the linen turban. These are holy garments, therefore he will immerse his flesh in water and so put them on. 5. And he will take from the congregation of the children of Israel two he goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering. 6. And Aaron will offer his bull of the sin offering, which is for himself and make atonement for himself and for his house. 7.And he will take the two goats and present them before the LORD* at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 8. And Aaron will cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for the LORD* and the other lot for Azazel. 9. And Aaron will bring the goat upon which the LORD’s* lot fell and offer him for a sin offering. 10. But the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel will be presented alive before the LORD* to make atonement with him and to let him go for Azazel into the wilderness.

11. And Aaron will bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and will make atonement for himself and for his house, and will kill the bull of the sin offering which is for himself. 12. And he will take a fire-pan full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD* and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small and bring it within the veil, (Rev. 8:5) 13. and he will put the incense upon the fire before the LORD*, so the cloud of the incense may cover the cover that is over the Testimony, so he will not die 14. and he will take of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger upon the east side of the cover, and he will sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times in front of the cover. 15. Then he will kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull and sprinkle it on the cover and in front of the cover. 16. And he will make atonement for the Holy Place because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins, and so he will do for the Tent of Meeting, and because of the One Who remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17. And no one will be in the Tent of Meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his household and for the whole congregation of Israel. 18. And he will go out to the altar that is before the LORD* and make atonement for it and will take from the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19. And he will sprinkle some of the blood upon it with his finger seven times and cleanse it and sanctify it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

16:20. “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he will bring the live goat, 21. and Aaron will lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat and will send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a fit man. 22. And the goat will bear upon itself all their iniquities to a land not inhabited, and he will let the goat go in the wilderness. 23. And Aaron will come into the Tent of Meeting and will put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and will leave them there, 24. and he will immerse his flesh in water in a Holy Place and put on his garments and come out, and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people. 25. And he will burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar. 26. And he who lets the goat for Azazel go will wash his clothes and immerse his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. 27. And the bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, will one carry forth outside the camp, and they will burn their skins and their flesh and their dung in fire. 28. And he who burns them will wash his clothes and immerse his flesh in water, and afterward he will come into the camp.

16:29. “And this will be a statute forever for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month you will afflict your souls and do no work at all, whether it is one of your own country or a stranger that lives among you, 30. for on that day the priest will make atonement for you, to cleanse you so you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD*. 31. It will be a Sabbath of rest for you and you will afflict your souls, by a statute forever. 32. And the priest whom he will anoint, and whom he will consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, will make the atonement, and will put on the linen clothes, the holy garments, 33. and he will make atonement for the holy Sanctuary and he will make atonement for the Tent of Meeting and for the altar, and he will make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the congregation. 34. And this will be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year.”

And he, Aaron, did as the LORD* commanded Moses.

Instructions for Preparing Meat

17.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 2. “Speak to Aaron and to his sons and to all the children of Israel and say to them, This is the thing which the LORD* has commanded saying,

17:3. “Any man whatsoever of the House of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp 4. and does not bring it to the door of the Tent of Meeting to offer an offering to the LORD* before the Tabernacle of the LORD*; blood will be imputed to that man. He has shed blood and that man will be cut off from among his people 5. to the end that the children of Israel may bring their offerings, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them to the LORD*, to the door of the Tent of Meeting, to the priest and offer them for a peace offering to the LORD*. 6. And the priest will sprinkle the blood on the altar of the LORD* at the door of the Tent of Meeting, and burn the fat for a sweet savor to the LORD*. 7. And they will no longer offer their offerings to evil spirits, after whom they have gone astray. This will be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.

17:8. “And you will say to them, Whatever man there is of the House of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among you that offers a burnt offering or feast offering, 9. and does not bring it to the door of the Tent of Meeting to offer it to the LORD*, even that man will be cut off from among his people.

17:10. “And whatever man there is of the House of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among you, who eats any manner of blood, I shall even set My face against that one (Acts 15:20) who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for your lives on the altar, for it is the blood that makes atonement for a life. (Heb. 9:7) 12. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, No one of you will eat blood, neither will any stranger that lives among you eat blood.

17:13. “And whatever man there is of the children of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among you, who hunts and catches any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he will even pour out its blood and cover it with dust. 14. For it is the life of all flesh; its blood is for its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, You will eat the blood of no manner of flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood: whoever eats it will be cut off. 15. And everyone who eats that which died of itself, or that which was torn by beasts, whether it is one of your own country or a stranger, he will both wash his clothes and immerse himself in water and be unclean until the evening, then he will be clean. 16.But if he does not wash them or immerse his flesh, then he will bear his iniquity.”

Do Not Stray!

18.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses, saying, 2. “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them,

“I am the LORD* your God. 3. You will not do after the doings of the land of Egypt in which you dwelled, and after the doings of the land of Canaan where I bring you, you will not do. Neither will you walk in their ordinances. 4. You will do My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them, I AM the LORD* your God. 5. You will therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does he will live in them. I AM the LORD*. (Rom. 10:5, Gal. 3:12)

18:6. “None of you will approach anyone that is near of kin to him, to uncover nakedness. I AM the LORD*!

18:7. “The nakedness of your father or the nakedness of your mother, you will not uncover. She is your mother, you will not uncover her nakedness.

18:8. “The nakedness of your father’s wife you will not uncover. It is your father’s nakedness. (Gen. 9:22)

18:9. “The nakedness of your sister, the daughter of your father, or daughter of your mother, whether she is born at home or born abroad, their nakedness you will not uncover.

18:l0. “The nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, their nakedness you will not uncover, for theirs is your own nakedness.

18:11. “The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of your father, she is your sister, you will not uncover her nakedness.

18:12. “You will not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister: she is your father’s near kinswoman.

18:13. “You will not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s near kinswoman.

18:14. “You will not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother, you will not approach his wife: she is your aunt.

18:15. “You will not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law: she is your son’s wife, you will not uncover her nakedness.

18:16. “You will not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife: it is your brother’s nakedness.

18:17. “You will not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither will you take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness, for they are her near kinswomen: it is incest.

18:18. “Neither will you take a wife together with her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her lifetime.

18:19. “Also you will not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.

18:20. “Moreover you will not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her. 21.And you will not let any of your seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither will you profane the name of your God. I AM the LORD*!

18:22. “You will not lie with a male as with a woman: it is an abomination.

18:23. “Neither will you lie with any beast to defile yourself with it. Neither will any woman stand before a beast to lie down with it: it is perversion.

18:24. “Do not defile yourselves in any of these things, for the nations that I cast out before you are defiled in all these, 25. and the land is defiled: therefore I visit its iniquity upon it and the land itself vomits out its inhabitants. 26. You will therefore keep My statutes and My judgments and neither your home born nor any stranger that lives among you will commit any of these abominations. 27.For all these abominations the men of the land that were before you have done and the land has become defiled. 28. So the land will not vomit you out also, when you defile it, like it vomited out the nations that were before you. 29. For whoever will commit any of these abominations, even those who commit them will be cut off from among their people. 30. Therefore you will keep My ordinance, so you will not commit any of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them. I AM the LORD* your God!” (Click to Source)

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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)

Torah Commentary – Vayechi (He Lived) – Enjoying the Fruit – SCRIPTURES FOR December 30, 2017

Living Torah Commentary

Vayechi (He Lived)

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Genesis 47:28-50:26
1Kings 2:1-12
Hebrews 11:21-22
1Peter 1:3-9; 2:11-17
Enjoying the Fruit
Ya’akov is 130 years old when he arrives in Egypt. The following 17 years will be a gift in which he will be able to enjoy the fruit of his life, his family. During this time he will watch his boys mature, marry and bring forth children. Possibly the most joy he will have is spending time with the sons of Yosef. His appreciation and thanksgiving for them had to be very special.
Ya’akov knows his days are numbered and begins one of the greatest honors a father can give, blessing his children. He begins not with his sons, but rather his two grandsons, Efrayim and M’nasheh. It makes me wonder if these two, now young adults, were concerned about what would become of them after Ya’akov died. Had they been told the story of how Yosef was treated and wondered if they would be fully accepted after his death? Any doubts as to their place in the family were laid to rest as Ya’akov changed their family status from grandsons to sons. Efrayim and M’nasheh were not to feel like second class citizens in the family of Israel. May we receive this message in our day.
The teaching of the blessings is so rich, not only for them, but for us as the first words of the blessings tell us he was speaking more to a family living at the end of time than in their time. For those who would like to dig further into these blessings there are four messages I recorded some years ago called “The Twelve Tribes.” The mp3 downloads are available at http://www.joinedtohashem.org/audio-series.html.
When Ya’akov finishes the blessings the verse says he breathed his last and was gathered to his people. I find these words rich. For Ya’akov, death was as natural as life. In fact, most of his life had been a struggle; his death was one of the easiest steps he took. What a contrast to most people’s lives today. Ya’akov may have taught his family as much in his death as he did in his life. This is a great lesson to ponder.
The last request of Ya’akov was regarding his burial. He did not leave his wishes to chance or for his family to discuss. He made sure his wishes were known. This is another good lesson to ponder. For Ya’akov, his last words proved that for him, you may take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can never take Israel out of the man of covenant.
A couple more points. First is concerning the sons and their suspicion of Yosef. Though the 17 years Yaakov was alive, the sons of Yaakov never really accepted that Yosef had fully forgiven them, it is evident through their last recorded words prior to the death of Yosef that this had been a topic of conversation.  Just how many sons were still alive to bring forth these words? Yosef was one of the youngest. Had the suspicions of possible retribution been passed to their sons? We do not know the details, but there is something for us to consider.
Yosef is again a type and shadow of Messiah son of Yosef. Let me ask you this, “When it comes to your life and trusting our sins to be forgiven, do we fully trust or have doubts?” Is there a haunting thought in the back of your mind that there was that one thing you are just not sure has been forgiven?  Take a look at Psalm 103:12. Notice the verse does not say north and south. Why? For if he removed sins from north to south they could be found again. Think of it regarding the sphere of the earth. From south you can only go so far north till you find it and vice versa. East and west never meet. Allowing His forgiveness of ALL THINGS is a very freeing day. The story of Yosef allows us to walk in that forgiveness.
The end of the days of Yosef approach as we come to the end of Genesis. What are his last instructions? Don’t leave my bones in Egypt! Though his life has been one of great honor and prosperity in Egypt, he learned and walked in the example of his father, “You can take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can’t take Israel out of the man of covenant”.
Let us live that lesson well! (Click to Source)

 

Torah Reading – V’yigash – He approached – “Positioning for Restoration” – 19 December, 2017

V’yigash – He approached

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Genesis 44:18-47:27
Ezekiel 37:15-28

“Positioning for Restoration”


by Mark Huey

This week in V’yigash, the sons of Jacob/Israel finally experience a restoration of their familial relationship, after years of being estranged from their brother Joseph. For the past two Torah readings (V’yeishev: Genesis 37:1-40:23; Mikkeitz: Genesis 41:1-44:17) the emphasis has been principally on the trials of Joseph and his brothers, as the melodrama of their interactions is recorded. However, perceptible behind the scenes of these trying circumstances is the sovereign hand of the Almighty—who executed His faithful plans for His people, despite some of the decisions of the principal actors at this stage in history. After all, the Holy One had issued eternal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their progeny, and He was simply using these events to accomplish His purposes in His perfect timing.

Up until our own time in the Twenty-First Century, as we have witnessed a tumultuous Twentieth Century with two world wars, the advent of the atomic bomb, the Holocaust, and the rebirth of the State of Israel—this Torah reading asks us questions about the restoration of Israel, which ultimately requires us to place ourselves in the complete control of an Eternal God. The associated Haftarah for V’yigash, Ezekiel 37:15-28, speaks of a greater restoration of Israel, which we have yet to see completed. Yet, the events covered in the readings assigned with V’yigash, and its prophetic foreshadowings or prophetic pronouncements, surely have to be realized before the Second Coming of the Messiah (cf. Acts 3:21).

In recent readings, we have witnessed the selling of Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders, and his cruel and unsure journey from a mere slave to a forgotten prisoner to the pinnacle of power as ruler over Egypt during a regional famine. We have seen the ten brothers sojourn to Egypt in search of food, and return to their father Israel with Simeon still held in captivity by the Egyptians. When the famine persisted, the need to return to Egypt to secure some grain presented itself with a major complication. The need to take Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob/Israel, was a requirement for gaining a return audience with the demanding Egyptian overseer. This was something that the doting Jacob initially refused to let happen, because of his fear of losing the second and only remaining son of his beloved Rachel. However over the course of time, the contrast between Joseph’s faith in the Holy One, and the brothers’ apparent lack of faith, was changing—as Judah, in particular, was highlighted with a softening conscience and tender heart toward his father Jacob/Israel. In the previous Mikkeitz portion from last week, Judah self-sacrificially secured the permission of Jacob/Israel to take the beloved Benjamin to Egypt to secure the release of Simeon, and get some grain, by offering himself as a surety for the safe return of Benjamin (Genesis 43:9).

From this willingness to essentially sacrifice himself and take blame, Judah had come a considerable way in his personal journey from a conniving brother, who originally suggested to his brothers that they sell Joseph to some traders rather than kill him (Genesis 37:27). Remember how Judah was the one brother who left the family fold to marry a Canaanite woman, with all of the attendant problems with his first three sons. Then, Judah unknowingly impregnated his daughter-in-law with twins, realizing that she was more righteous than he (Genesis 38). Of course, the Lord was using all of these circumstances to work on the heart of Judah, who was destined to not only be one of the leaders of his generation, but also be a significant ancestor of Yeshua the Messiah. God does work in mysterious ways, and reading about the interactions with the sons of Jacob/Israel confirms this concept. As would be described by Isaiah centuries later:

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it’” (Isaiah 55:8-11).

Note that in these profound words from Isaiah, where he proclaimed the ways and thoughts of God as being so much higher and greater than human thought—there is the affirmation that God’s word will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish all that He desires it to accomplish. We may safely conclude that the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and even to Joseph through his dreams, are going to eventually come to pass according to God’s will.

As we more closely into this week’s Torah reading, keep in mind that the Holy One was accomplishing His purposes for this generation of Israelites, who just happened to be the immediate descendants of Jacob/Israel. Keep in mind that there are many Messianic attributes being portrayed by both Joseph and Judah. These two sons, destined to be the leaders of their generation, were establishing a foundation for varied manifestations of conflict between their descendants down through the ages. Also be quite aware of how the restoration of Israel prophecies, seen in the Haftarah (Ezekiel 37:15-28), will be fulfilled in the Lord’s timing. God’s Word does not return void without accomplishing His desires. His people just have to patiently wait, and go about advancing His Kingdom’s objectives as participants in the restoration process!

Judah Offers His Life

If you will recall, in the closing verses of Mikkeitz from last week, Benjamin had been implicated as the purported thief of Joseph’s choice goblet. This generated serious problems for the brothers, as the return of Benjamin to their father was one of their main objectives, given Jacob’s warning about leaving him behind. So as V’yigash begins, the aforementioned Judah entered into a lengthy detailed verbal defense of Benjamin, with the still-concealed Joseph. At the end of his soliloquy, Judah offered his own life for the life of Benjamin, perhaps foreshadowing the Messiah’s giving of His life to save sinful humanity:

“Then Judah approached him, and said, ‘Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, “Have you a father or a brother?” We said to my lord, “We have an old father and a little child of his old age. Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.” Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me that I may set my eyes on him.” But we said to my lord, “The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.” You said to your servants, however, “Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.” Thus it came about when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. Our father said, “Go back, buy us a little food.” But we said, “We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.” Your servant my father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two sons; and the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces, and I have not seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.” Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow. For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, “If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.” Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me—for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?’” (Genesis 44:18-34).

In this eloquent and heartfelt recital of the various conversations Judah had with Jacob/Israel, regarding Benjamin and Judah’s pledge to lay down his life for Benjamin, Joseph was obviously moved to great emotion.

Joseph Reveals Himself

Now, in what has to be one of the most incredibly moving testimonies found in the Bible. Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. After listening to Judah’s words, and having discerned that Judah was seriously concerned about the welfare of not only Benjamin, but most especially their father Jacob—Joseph was so overwhelmed with emotion that he ordered all of the Egyptians out of the room, and he wept loudly before his brothers. Can you imagine what they must have been thinking, as they witnessed the person with absolute power over their lives, begin to break down emotionally? Without giving the brothers much time to process what they were watching, Joseph turned to them and proclaimed to them that he was Joseph, whom the brothers believed was probably dead by this time:

“Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, ‘Have everyone go out from me.’ So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come closer to me.’ And they came closer. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph, ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished.”’ Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you. Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.’ Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him” (Genesis 45:1-15).

God is not only the One who forms hearts, but He is also the most accomplished heart surgeon when it comes to turning hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Apparently, all of the machinations from the multi-colored tunic, to the placement of Joseph’s wine goblet in Benjamin’s satchel, have all been used by the Almighty to get the attention of the brothers—who must have been awestruck with the realization that the Egyptian viceroy was their brother Joseph. However, the evidence of God’s providential hand upon all of these circumstances did not get overlooked by Joseph. Somehow, through the haze of confusion over how he had been treated by his brothers years earlier, any possible thoughts of revenge, and the time spent thinking about how he was going to approach his brothers, Joseph discerned that the Almighty had put all of these circumstances in motion to preserve the family of Jacob/Israel.

After revealing his true identity, Joseph responded to Judah and his brothers, by interjecting that God was ultimately responsible for all of the circumstances that had transpired since he was sold into slavery. This is an incredible testimony of forgiveness, and the ability to view the trials and tribulations of life from God’s perspective! Naturally, one can see how Joseph is often considered to possess various Messianic qualities, because he was used to physically save Israel. Being rejected by His people, He is the very agency by which they are to be delivered.

The Blessing of Pharaoh

As the narrative continues, the blessings upon the sons of Jacob/Israel do not end. Once the Egyptian Pharaoh heard that Joseph had long lost family living in Canaan, he offered to relocate them to the choicest land in Egypt. Obviously the favor of the Pharaoh toward Joseph was so great, that the common Egyptian aversion toward sheepherders did not keep Pharaoh from his generosity (Genesis 46:34). Take notice in this passage of the amount of wealth and goods sent to Jacob, to convince him that Joseph was alive and prospering in Egypt:

“Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh’s house that Joseph’s brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Say to your brothers, “Do this: load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan, and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.” Now you are ordered, “Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come. Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.”’ Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. To each of them he gave changes of garments, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments. To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and sustenance for his father on the journey. So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, ‘Do not quarrel on the journey.’ Then they went up from Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. They told him, saying, ‘Joseph is still alive, and indeed he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.’ But he was stunned, for he did not believe them. When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Then Israel said, ‘It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die’” (Genesis 45:16-28).

There is no recorded description of how the brothers told Jacob about selling their brother Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders. But, one has to assume that the truth did come out in their conversations with Jacob/Israel. Yet, the good news that Joseph was still alive, allowed Jacob to absolve his other sons of their transgressions. For surely, the aged Jacob having heard that Joseph understood that he had been sent to Egypt to save the whole family, must have made sense. After all, Jacob had been through some tough times himself, and he had seen the Lord’s hand on many of the circumstances of his life. Plus, Jacob had experienced multiple encounters with the Holy One over the years.

Perhaps having the opportunity to be reunited with Joseph was the only way that the Lord could get Jacob to even consider leaving Canaan—because Jacob/Israel knew that it was the land of Canaan that was promised to Abraham and Isaac.

Jacob Hears from God

Leaving the Promised Land might jeopardize God’s plan to give it to the descendants of the Patriarchs. What was Jacob to do?

This was a tough predicament for Jacob/Israel to contend with, at this late stage in his life (Genesis 47:9). On his way to Egypt, Jacob arrived in Beersheba, at a place he was very familiar with (Genesis 28:10). It was here that his father Isaac had dug wells and made a covenant with Abimelech (Genesis 26:23-33). So Jacob, knowing that departing Canaan was a difficult move to consider, arrived in Beersheba and offered up sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac—perhaps even on the same altars built years earlier by his ancestors. In God’s mercy to Jacob that night, the Lord spoke to him in visions, giving him the reassurance that going to Egypt was the right thing to be doing with his family. God assured him that He would bring Jacob back to the Land of Promise, but only after Joseph had witnessed his death:

“So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes.’ Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him: his sons and his grandsons with him, his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt” (Genesis 46:1-7).

For the balance of V’yigash, some of the details about the individuals, who migrated and how they were treated by their Egyptian hosts, are recorded (Genesis 46:8-34). However, the introduction of Israel to the Pharaoh is interesting, because at the ripe old age of 130 years, this Hebrew actually blessed the Egyptian ruler twice during their encounter. The favor of the Lord was certainly upon Jacob/Israel and his family, as they were treated with mutual respect, despite the Egyptian disdain for sheepherders:

“Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, ‘My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.’ He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, ‘What is your occupation?’ So they said to Pharaoh, ‘Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.’ They said to Pharaoh, ‘We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.’Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, ‘How many years have you lived?’ So Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.’ And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from his presence. So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones” (Genesis 47:1-12).

God’s Faithfulness to Restore Israel

As we prepare to come to the end of the Book of Genesis, and the testimonies about the Patriarchs of Israel, one overwhelming thought comes to my mind. This is the undeniable fact that from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to the sons of Jacob/Israel—the Holy One will accomplish His intentions. Despite any limited human frailties, or any attempts of the enemy of our souls, to thwart God’s plans—His will for civilization will be achieved. Over and over, we can read about how the Almighty intervened at just the right time with a speaking appearance, or a word or a dream or a vision, so that the family chosen by Him would stay on course to achieve their mission. For surely, there is an understanding that despite whatever challenges, as Yeshua the Messiah would explain to His Disciples, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). The Psalmist and the Apostle Paul also affirm,

“The LORD is for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6).

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31).

In the case of the sons of Jacob/Israel, the God of Creation had a plan that He was executing, according to His perfect timing. On a much grander scale for the distant future, God is ultimately going to be restored to all people who take refuge in Him at the End of the Age. In the interim, whether it is individual reunions between one person and a loving Creator as salvation is understood and received, or whether it is restoration among families and friends through the power of forgiveness and love, or whether it is the ultimate restoration that Ezekiel foresaw between the House of Judah and the House of Israel/Ephraim—be rest assured that God is very much blessed when restoration occurs. We see emotional glimpses of it when Joseph hugged and wept with his brothers. We see it again when the aged Jacob greeted Joseph after years of separation. Hopefully, you have experienced some restoration in your own life, which will allow you to identify with what you have been studying.

Let us all be about the Father’s business of making restoration, in love, to all who call upon the name of Yeshua (Jesus). It is a part of the plan for the Creation. May we make it a part of our lifestyle as His representatives, sent to love others into the Kingdom! (Click to Source)

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