Ten Plagues: The Exodus with Great Balls of Fire

POSTED : CELESTE B., DATE : 

 

 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.

He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.

He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?

He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.  Psalm 147

Kindness and Compassion in the Tempest

The Plague of Hail is what precipitated this whole series on the Ten Plagues.  I am so thankful to have spent the time learning the faith lessons embedded within the pages addressing the plagues of Egypt.  On the last two plague animal disease and boils there was not allot of commentary.  Why does the Bible deem it necessary to narrate the devastation? If the Plagues were merely to save the Hebrews one plague could have achieved that outcome.   Some believe that the plagues were punitive.  In the Plague of Hail we actually see the kindness of God shining forth through the raging tempest. Their purpose was to be an unequivocal demonstration of God’s power. For this reason, the plagues became progressively stronger. These faith lessons were teaching Egypt the fallacy of idolatry and the reality of the Creator was the purpose in each successive wave of plague.

Moses never used the pressure of the plagues to obtain concessions from Pharaoh. The plagues’ purpose was to teach Egypt knowledge of God. Moses always removed the plague upon Pharaoh’s request, and Moses did not hold out on removing the plague until Pharaoh conceded to Moses’ requests. Moses wished that Egypt recognized God through wisdom, not coercion. What a faith lessons for us!  How often do we attempt to extract an end goal through pressuring someone through the storms in their life?  God, Moses and Aaron do not use the tactics that will become manifest in the beast system, Anti-Christ, and False Prophet instead kindness and compassion are exemplified especially in this Plague of Hail.

Pharaoh vacillated in an emotional state as the plagues unfolded-stressful pressure from each plague, to repent of his sin, to be a man of his word, but each time Pharaoh conceded to obstinacy.

Moses directs Pharaoh to an analog: God is the source of both nature, and man: God has been compassionate to you, (flexible crops) but at a certain point, this kindness will no longer be extended.  When sin is matured, (stiff crops) there is no turning back, and you will snap as do stiff crops.”

This was Moses’ message to Pharaoh. Man sins by nature, and therefore, God affords man opportunities to correct his ways. But once sin captivates the whole personality and values of any given man or people, God will destroy that person or people. This plague was a warning to Pharaoh – in the form of an analogy.

Man feels he may sin and repent later, but there may not be a later. The opportunity to repent is a Divine gift, and must be seized when presented, lest we lose the chance. There is a point of no return. This is an extremely timely message as we wade deeper into the events of the Revelation and prophecy. 

We learn of the compassion of God on His creations: on mankind. God allows man time to exert his free will to bring himself in line with truth. “Those who He loves, God rebukes”. The plagues were an attempt to remove Egypt’s false ideas, enabling them to embrace God’s absolute truths.

As the lashes of judgment are felt upon our backs let us remember that this is God’s kindness and compassion towards us.  We are firmly in the hand of God’s iron crucible that will burn away the dross of our lives as He prepares us for eternity with Him.

Verse 16 clearly states that, I have let you Pharaoh endure so that you might see My strength and glory.  As we are beset with the troubles of prophecy coming to pass let us see His strength and glory in those dark hours.

Stretch our your Hand Heavenward

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.  Exodus 9:23

Our Plague of Hail takes place ‘Eth’ was Memphis in the 18th Dynasty of Egypt.  Eth’ has Messianic implications that one can find in the original Hebrew including the first sentence of the Bible.  It means the Beginning and the End, Aleph and Tav, Alpha and Omega.

Stretch your hand towards heaven (firmament not heaven literally)…

He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones And their herds to bolts of lightning.  Psalm 78:48

The Egyptians ignored the warning for the cattle be brought in from the field to a place of shelter.  Once warned the decree was extended; hail would come down also upon man and beast in the field.  The Hebrew text indicates that more than one kind of hail would be active against them.

In many of the plagues God had Aaron stretch forth his hand, but in this Plague of Hail God instructed Moses to stretch forth his hand.

Extend your hand to heaven, unleash My power…  Here is yet another faith lesson for us!  At the bidding of the Lord we must extend our hand, as He directs and extends His hand.  Through that connection the very powers of creation can be released.  We need to remember this in the days to come.

Confrontation

God commanded Moshe to arise early to confront Pharaoh at his place of worship, the Nile. The plague of hail was the first plague, of the third group of plagues in Egypt. This third group included plagues taking effect in the heavens or air: hail, locusts (via the wind), and darkness. Previously God addressed the god’s of the waters and the gods of the lands.  God wished to demonstrate His omnipotence in all areas of the universe.

The Egyptian gods of the heavens were mocked by the inability to stop the raging hail sent by the true God of the heavens. Thus, Nut-the sky goddessIsis-the goddess of life, and Seth-the protector of the crops were affected.” It appears as though the Eternal One was going toe-to-toe with demonic powers and principalities in His plan of redemption for the Hebrew people.

By subjugating all the forces in nature God demonstrated how totally useless the forces of nature were in defense of those who believed in them.

Pharaoh’s heels were dug in and he still believe other gods controlled the earth and him at times so this time I will send all My plagues so that you will know that there is none like Me in all the earth. 

Because you still exalt yourself above My people….You (Pharaoh) are growing haughty in your heart against letting the Hebrews go.  Therefore, at this time- precise hour- I will cause a heavy hail such as had not been seen in Egypt.

As we meander through the verses on the Plague of Hail we should be reminded that in the Old Testament the punishment for idolatry was stoning.  How can an entire idolatrous nation be stoned simultaneously?  Through a Plague of Hail.

Plagues against the Heart

The bible describes this Plague of Hail sent by God as a direct result of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, which had prevented him from obeying God.

For this time I will send all my wonders to your heart, and in your servants and in your people, in order that you shall know that there is none like Me in all the land.  Exodus 9:14

This plague was an educational tool. Some Egyptians did fear God through His education via the plagues. But those who did not give heart to the matter is to teach us that there are none that didn’t fear, but only those who deny realityDidn’t give heart, means that in order to oppose God’s absolute truths, they had to shut their hearts and mindsfrom any investigation. It is not the absence of fear, but a more primary block: they denied any investigation into the plagues.

God warned Pharaoh that He was about to send all My plagues against your heart.

This Plague of Hail is a wonder, is a supernatural event, all subsequent plagues – commencing with this hail – will have new effect. That those who fear God and His Word will be protected while those who do not fear God and His Word will be harmed. 

Snare

The Lord sent thunder and hail …Moshe having informed Pharaoh that tomorrow at this time I will causeto rain down, was specified by a line on the wall.  Naturally, the Egyptians would carefully attend to the exact instant of the arrival of the plague so that they could discredit him.

The Laws of Nature dictate that it takes a few moments for hail to leave the clouds and to reach the ground, even as, it also takes time for thunder to be heard below and for lightning to be seen the instant it leaves its origin.

Thunder is produced first at intersection before electrical discharge.  Lightning is always registered by the visual sense before the aural sense is triggered.   Lag times would be exploited by the Egyptians because neither thunder, nor hail, will reach the ground at a set time.

Here a great miracle took place!  Within the same instant of thunder and hail leaving the clouds, Legend says, that they arrived below with lightning-like speed, so that instead of the natural pattern, whereby the lightning is detected before the thunder-here the thunder, since it was produced first and observed prior to the lightning.

The usual lag time between the speed of light and the speed of sound was suspended.  Consequently, the verse says, the Lord sent the hail.  It does not say that the Lord caused the hail to rain down i.e. to rain down naturally, since it did not travel as natural rain.  By affecting this miracle God provided for the arrival, first of all, of the thunder and hail; and only then did then a fire passed down upon the earth i.e. the fire of lightning.

It was however, necessary to invoke this great wonder only during the initial moments, in order to assure Moshe’s prediction.  It would not have been possible for the thunder and the hail to move at their natural velocities and yet arrive in time.  Subsequent to these initial moments, then, the verse accents the thundering and the hail reaching the ground naturally. Once the miraculous intervention had come to an end the Lord caused hail to rain down upon the land of Egypt. It came down naturally, with a time delay that accorded with the laws of gravity and the laws of motion.

Components of Hail

Within this plague are embedded many components:  huge hailstones, fire burning within each stone v 24, deafening thunder, flaming lightning v 23Psalm 105:23, and heavy rainstorms.  Any one of these would be considered a plague. 

In the Bible all is sometimes used to mean most or a great amount.  It can also refer too many of the components of this plague that are mentioned above.  In a normal year, each, in-and-of-itself would be considered a plague.

God begins to drill down that He alone is Master of the four foundational elements:

  • Thunder represents air,
  • Hail represents water,
  • Flames are the fire,
  • Ground is the earth.

God reverses the order to show His mastery over the world.  This plague unites all the elements to demonstrate that there is no one like Me in the land.  The Egyptians were forced to witness that the forces of nature that they believed were their defense, were useless to all those who believed in them. 

This is a compound miracle.  It is not the typical nature of fire to shoot downward but to rise.  Fire and water are opposites but here they join to serve God, functioning in unison.   

Hastily Assemble the Remnant

Send therefore hastily (haez) means to flee or gather V 19

The Plague of Livestock disease only killed the cattle in the field. Exodus 9:3 Those in shelters did not perish, but in accordance with God’s Will, He allowed a remnant to escape here and also referenced in Ezekiel 9:8.  God warns them to gather the livestock into a fortified location (haez-strong) against the elements.  Pharaoh was warned that while this plague was meant to strike outdoor plants and vegetation (grass of the field), any man or cattle in the field at the time would be stricken by hail.  God’s mercy is great, Therefore, He instruct sinners in the way Psalm 25:8  We often attribute to the strong men advising humanity of their coming actions when they are but mere clay in the hand of the Master to Whom we really should be ascribe these warning to God’s great mercy of instructional warning.

We see that from the beginning God promises with subtle hints of a remnant.  At least in this account, that remnant is hastily assembled.

Perfect Supernatural Storm


“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…    Exodus 9:18-33

The Legends of the Jews describe the supernatural super-storm:

Your fathers and grandfathers have never seen the likes of it. Because the hail was not in a natural order, nothing like this has ever occurred before.  From before the inception of Egypt as a nation, because of the sins of the fathers, surely there was no reason for such hail to come.

The hail was very strange because of the absence of precipitation in Egypt.  There are other places in the world that naturally hails.  The world had never seen the likes of such a plague and certainly not in Egypt where this kind of meteorological phenomenon was totally unknown.  At the time of the Plague of Hail dew was about the only precipitation that rains upon Egypt.  V18

and the fire went earthward…In Egypt, where there is hardly any precipitation, this hail signified a major change in the environment.  It proved to the Egyptians just this mere signal from above, could jeopardize Egypt’s existence.  Initially, the announcement predicted only hail.  However, the plague also featured a flaming fire amid the hail.  This unusual and dramatic lightning in the midst of the hail further emphasized the cosmic significance of the event.  V23 

Typically, fire and water do not mix.  Commentaries vary on this flaming fiery hail.    One says, the hail was transparent and filled with fire, like a pomegranate whose seeds are visible within.  Thus, the fire appeared as a source and generator of the rain and hail.  While another, compares the hail to a lamp with a flame burning above the layers of the water and oil.  Here, the water is but a support for the oil which feeds the fire.  V24

Alternatively, it can mean My plagues, as in, this last set of three plagues: hail, locusts, darkness.  The word all encompassing catastrophic and long-term effects on the climate, food supply, and atmosphere of Egypt that brought about these last three plagues.  These changes caused the Egyptians to become sick, some with heart disease, and weakened them for a long time after this plague indicating that it did have a cosmic element such as what we will see revisited upon the earth during the Grand Solar Minimum.

Meanwhile, a simultaneous major natural disaster more than 400 miles away, is now also thought to be an aggravating complexity, amplifying the plagues of hail, locusts and darkness to Egypt.

One of the biggest volcanic eruptions in human history occurred when Thera, a volcano that was part of the Mediterranean islands of Santorini, just north of Crete, exploded around 3,500 year ago, spewing billions of tons of volcanic ash into the atmosphere at this same time.

Not to denigrate the wonders of God but to illuminate how the Laws of Nature may have worked in tandem with God’s wonders, Nadine von Blohm, from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in Germany, has been conducting experiments on how hailstorms form and believes that the volcanic ash could have clashed with thunderstorms above Egypt to produce dramatic hail storms.

God Smites with New Species

When one is in the middle of instructional judgment it is difficult to contemplate upon the goodness of God.  God loves His creation.  God pitied the Egyptians and their cattle and yet they did not take His mercy to heart.   V 25

And hail struck…the hail smote.  From the ancient pages of the text and legends we discover that during the first few moments there had ensured a new species of hail that was propagated at the speed of lightning, followed by normally moving hail that took a definite time interval to reach the ground.

Had there been only this normal type of hail, many human lives would have been saved, since the people would have taken cover in caves or behind boulders or in tents as soon as they saw the tell-tale lightning bolts that usually precede the onset of thunder and rain and hail. But the initial onslaught was anything but normal hail.

Only in our day and time can we appreciate the words a new species of hail.  We live in a day and age where engineers are tearing apart God’s creation and engineering it into a new species.  The following is an excerpt from a government document that has since been purged from the internet.  First let us peek at a few of the Bibliography notations which are very informative:

Fred Hoyle, N.C. Wickramasinghe: Diseases from Space. J.M. Dent, 1979.

Chandra Wickramasinghe: Cosmic dragons: life and death on our planet. 2001

Ruprecht Jaenicke: “Abundance of cellular material and proteins in the atmosphere“.

WD Hamilton and TM Lenton: “Spora and Gaia: how microbes fly with their clouds“. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 1998

Ruprecht Jaenicke, Sabine Matthias-Maser and Sabrine Bruber: “Omnipresence of biological material in the atmosphere”Environ. Chem, 2007

Most Active Ice Nucleators are Biological!

The most active ice nucleators are biological in origin, declare Christner, et al. in their paper recently published in Science(February 29, 2008). “This is important because the formation of ice in clouds is required for snow and most rainfall. Dust and soot particles can serve as ice nuclei, but biological ice nuclei are capable of catalyzing freezing at much warmer temperatures”, the researchers explain. In other words, a mechanism exists whereby snowflakes and other precipitation can form when cloud temperatures in the troposphere are relatively warm. What do Christner, et al., mean by “biological”?

By “biological” Christner, et al., mean “proteins or protenaceous compounds“. (11-13)

Three schools of thought exist on the origin of biological ice-nucleators in the troposphere. The first school, exemplified by researcher David Sands, theorizes that biological ice nucleators originate on Earth as part of what he calls the “bio-precipitation cycle”, i.e., biological ice nucleators are carried up from the Earth. “Bacteria form little groups on the surface of plants. Wind then sweeps the bacteria into the atmosphere, and ice crystals form around them. Water clumps on to the crystals, making them bigger and bigger. The ice crystals turn into rain and fall to the ground. When precipitation occurs, then, the bacteria have the opportunity to make it back down to the ground. If even one bacterium lands on a plant, it can multiply and form groups, thus causing the cycle to repeat to itself.” Sands adds, “We think if (the bacteria) couldn’t cause ice to form, they couldn’t get back down to the ground. As long as it rains, the bacteria grow”.

Schnell and Vali also belong to the first school of thought. In the early and mid-1970s, they noted, “Much of the natural ice nuclei found at the earth’s surface may be of biogenic origin, and the abundance of these nuclei was found to have a clear correlation with climate. Some tentative values were also given for the efflux of nuclei from the surface to the air.  Data were presented which point to regional variations in the concentrations of atmospheric ice nuclei with the pattern of variation paralleling the availability of nuclei at the surface. The correlation between these two patterns suggests that perhaps a dominant fraction of natural atmospheric ice nuclei originates from biological materials”.

The second school of thought exemplified by Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe is that biological ice-nucleator bacteria and other biologic entities in the troposphere and stratosphere come from space. Wickramasinghe notes, “Interstellar dust grains populate the vast open spaces between stars of the Milky Way, showing up as a cosmic fog, dense enough in many directions to blot out the light of distant stars. Remarkably these dust grains can be shown to be of a size that would be typical for a bacterium, a micrometer, or less”.   In addition, he notes, cometary organic molecules arrive [to Earth] plentifully, at an average rate of several tones per day and that investigators have confirmed the existence of microorganisms in the stratosphere. The bacteria, viruses and other organisms reach the troposphere from the stratosphere through a process of sedimentation, he conjectures.

The third school of thought relating to the microbiology of the atmosphere suggests the existence of at least two contemporaneous populations of organisms. One population consists of common Earth bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are carried on a relatively regular basis by phenomena such as blue lightning and fire-associated storms into the atmosphere. The second population consists of bacteria that are of non-terrestrial origin (from space).

Some Implications of Biometeorology

The role of microorganisms in meteorological phenomena and in atmospheric processes has implications for human and veterinary medicine, agriculture, and the effect of the biosphere on climate change. For example, in human, animal, and plant medicine, bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the bioprecipitation cycle may be pathogens that use the cycle to disperse from one place to another. Interestingly, Sir James Murray, MD, published on November 24, 1847, his observations on the potato murrain (fungus) that caused the potato crop failure in Ireland in 1847. He attributed the potato crop failure to electrical agency and excess moisture in the air and clouds. “During the last season,” he wrote, “the clouds were charged with excessive electricity, and yet there was little or no thunder to draw off that excess form the atmosphere. In the damp and variable autumn this surcharge of electrical matter was attracted by the moist, succulent, and pointed leaves of the potato”.

Hoyle and Wickramasinghe are ardent proponents of the theory that diseases that infect humans, animals, and plants originate in space, including the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003. Some of their ideas follow below:

The injection from space of evolved microorganisms that have well-attested terrestrial affinities raises the possibility that pathogenic bacteria and viruses might also be introduced. The annals of medical history detail many examples of plagues and pestilences that can be attributed to space incident microbes in this way. New epidemic diseases have a record of abrupt entrances from time to time, and equally abrupt retreats. The patterns of spread of these disease, as charted by historians, are often difficult to explain simply on the basis of endemic infective agents. Historical epidemics such as the plague of Athens and the plague of Justinian come to mind.”

“In more recent times the influenza pandemic of 1917-1918 bears all the hallmarks of a space incident component: ‘The influenza pandemic of 1918 occurred in three waves. The first appeared in the winter and spring of 1917-1918.  The lethal second wave involved almost the entire world over a very short time.  Its epidemiologic behavior was most unusual. Although person-to-person spread occurred in local areas, the disease appeared on the same day in widely separated parts of the world on the one hand, but, on the other, took days to weeks to spread relatively short distances.”

“Also well documented is that, in the winter of 1918, the disease appeared suddenly in the frozen wastes of Alaska, in villages that had been isolated for several months. Mathematical modeling of epidemics such as the one described invariably involves the ad hoc introduction of many unproven hypotheses—for example, that of the superspreader. In situations where proven infectivity is limited only to close contact, a superspreader is someone who can, on occasion, simultaneously infect a large number of susceptible individuals, thus causing the sporadic emergence of new clusters of disease. The recognition of a possible vertical input of external origin in conspicuously missing in such explanations.” (18-22)

“With respect to the SARS outbreak, a prima facie case for a possible space incidence can already be made. First, the virus is unexpectedly novel, and appeared without warning in mainland China. A small amount of the culprit virus introduced into the stratosphere could make a first tentative fall out East of the great mountain range of the Himalayas, where the stratosphere is thinnest, followed by sporadic deposits in neighboring areas. If the virus is only minimally infective, as it seems to be, the subsequent course of its global progress will depend on stratospheric transport and mixing, leading to a fall out continuing seasonally over a few years. Although all reasonable attempts to contain the infective spread of SARS should be continued, we should remain vigilant for the appearance of new foci (unconnected with infective contacts or with China) almost anywhere on the planet. New cases might continue to appear until the stratospheric supply of the causative agent becomes exhausted.”

Supernatural Hail

There was hail…Although the rain and hail now continued to come down at a normal velocity, requiring a definite span of time to reach the ground, while the associated fire-possibly ionized particles or ball lightning, moved at greater speed, and should therefore have reached the ground ahead of the hail, the narrative stresses to the contrary.  That there was fire flashing amidst the hail and this phenomenal blend of hail and fire came down at the speed of hail, both arriving simultaneously.

Lightning…Just imagine the worse lightning storm that you have witnessed-fire flashing, striking the ground, streaming to the ground,  See Psalms 78:48105:52148:8.

Flashing…This fiery hail includes: fire darting, fire jumping, deadly fire, self-contained fire (fire that grasped itself.  The fire was self-contained within the hailstorm otherwise it would have caused the hail to melt), fire holding itself or in essence cleaving to hail, lightning flashes in quick succession, incessant fire, mass of fire, forked lightning, some say this hail included a meteor shower.  The imagery is very similar to the vision of the Divine Chariot that is flashing fire and brilliance surrounding it in Ezekiel 1:4.  In the Plague of Hail the fire within the hailstones and sparks radiated from it and shone.

Supernatural, God’s thunder. At the command the supernatural thunder of God ceased but reappeared at Mount Sinai at the giving of the Torah.  V9:28

The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.  Revelation 8:7

Mingled, very grievous hail such as the likes had never been seen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.  Mingled, in this context means catching hold of itself like a chain, which I find extremely provocative as the hybrid Blockchain comes online in an arid environment similar to Egypt.  Coincidence?  V24

When a subject noun is repeated in Scripture such as: ‘hail, hail’ it does not mean the same thing. Oftentimes, it refers to two distinct and different things, in this case hail. 

In my research on Geo-Engineering a Biblical Approach I discovered that Legend has it that the hailstones were 100 pounds in size traveling at lightning-speed carries enormous power, impacting like bullets propelled out of the barrel of a gun, which are lethal no matter how small they happen to be.  These pellets of hail therefore killed instantaneously, any man or beast they happened to strike.  Hail falling at a normal speed is not dangerous enough to cause a great loss of human life.

What does it mean that the fire was flaming within the hail? Specifically, was it flaming within each hailstone, or was it flaming within the hailstorm as a whole (so between the pieces of hail)?

One commentator notes it was “a miracle within a miracle: the fire and the hail mixed

Malbim understands that it was flaming (fireballs) within the storm as a whole.

Saadya Gaon who renders meant “inside of” b’soch does mean “inside of” and the only question is whether the fire was inside the individual hailstones or inside of the hailstorm. Looking at Psalm 105:the word can either mean ‘inside of’ or ‘among’.

Midrashic interpretation was that each hailstone had fire within it.

R’ Aryeh Kaplan translates instead as “hailstorm”, and one other tweak: “fire” means lightning. We thus have a phenomenon that ever-so-slightly bends the laws of nature, rather than breaks them.

Others say:  sounds like it’s clinging to the hail which sounds like it’s within (or at least touching) hailstones rather than just within the hailstorm.

Accordingly, the verse records that the hail struck throughout the land of Egyptboth man and beast, referring to the hail that struck immediately.  It was followed by the natural hail which smote every grass and broke every tree in the field, the verse conveying that while that hail was sufficiently forceful to affect the vegetation, it could not kill living creatures.

Ipuwer Papyrus Account

The Ipuwer Papyrus is an ancient document that provides a possible independent record of the ten plagues in Egypt. It describes a great disaster that took place in ancient Egypt. The oldest copy dates to around 1400 BC, placing it close to the time of the Exodus (circa 1446 BC). The Ipuwer Papyrus is the sole surviving manuscript of an ancient Egyptian poem officially designated as Papyrus Leiden I-344. The poem is known as “The Admonitions of Ipuwer.” A new edition is available now entitled “The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All.” Dutchman Giovanni Anastasi purchased the Ipuwer Papyrus in 1828, and it is now housed in Leiden, the Netherlands, at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden.

The seventh plague (hail and fire). This hail was unlike any that had been seen before. It was accompanied by a fire which ran along the ground, and everything left out in the open was devastated by the hail and fire. Again, the children of Israel were miraculously protected, and no hail damaged anything in their lands.

The Ipuwer Papyrus says, “Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire” (2:10). “Lower Egypt weeps. . . . The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish” (10:3–6).

“Forsooth, grain has perished on every side” (6:3). “Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax” (5:12).

Plague of Hail Continues

Tomorrow we will finish the account of the Plague of Hail and compare it to prophetic climatic events on earth and the heavenlies.  Until then, be blessed.  (Click to Source)

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Torah Commentary – T’ruma (Contribution) – That They May be One – SCRIPTURES FOR February 17, 2017

Torah Commentary – T’ruma (Contribution)

jesus-jw

Exodus 25:1 – 27:19
1Kings 5:26 – 6:13
Hebrews 8:1-6; 9:23-24; 10:1
That They May be One
The building of the Tabernacle begins with the receiving of an offering. This in itself is interesting as it had not been many days since the Hebrews left the abject poverty of slavery to amazing riches from the plunder of their neighbors. At some point, they must have wondered just why they had all of this stuff. More on that thought in a bit.
Moshe calls for the people to give, they gave. He called for the people to work, they worked. The next chapters of Sh’mot will give the instructions of turning their acquired “stuff” into a dwelling place for the Almighty to reside in their midst. The thought of that sends my imagination in a multitude of directions.
The next few chapters are filled with great detail. For many people it is easy to get lost in these details and forget about the message. This is especially true when we look at the words in English where we see the word “and” used over and over. In English we are likely to eventually read the verse and not even see that little “and” as it is used so many times. Doing this will cause us to miss one of the most important messages of the Tabernacle.
To look at the verses in Hebrew we would not see the word and, but rather the letter vav. This letter brings forth an amazing message. The letter vav is likened to and even translated at times as a hook. It is what connects the Tabernacle together and makes it echad or one. Simply put, the Tabernacle is not to be looked at as separate pieces which are joined together to become one house, but rather as a single house consisting of joining pieces. Yep, go back over that one a few times. Let me say it a bit different. The Tabernacle is a single revelation of Yah dwelling in our midst through joining revelations. This is the Hebrew way of looking at the Tabernacle.
What is the revelation of the Tabernacle? It is a journey of redemption upon the altar leading us to His Word upon the laver, His Light through the Menorah, His provision and our sustenance in the Shewbread, His intercession leading us to worship at the altar of incense. We conclude with the purpose of it all, to stand in awe before Him as redeemed and free people.
What if we were to look at the Tabernacle through a Greek mindset? To do this we would first change the word “and” into the word “but.” Hebrew mindset joins all things into one, while Greek thinking separates and partitions everything. Consider the difference between thoughts, joining vs. separating! For now there is a greater message to look at.
Think about what it would have been like to stand before Moshe and hear his call for an offering. You and your family, until recent days, have only known a life of slavery. As far back as you can remember life has been a struggle of getting by day to day. Your earliest memories were those of long days of work, never quite enough food to go around. You haven’t allowed yourself to imagine what it would be to have anything more than “almost” enough for you and your family. This has all changed now. For the first time in your life your belly is full. Your children do not have hunger pains. Your thirst is totally quenched by this unending flow of water from a rock. You even took the first day off that you have ever had and called it Shabbat. To top all this off, you have a wagon full of gold, silver, cloth and other items you haven’t had time to sort through. All of this stuff your neighbors had given you before leaving Egypt. But then there is this guy Moshe standing in front of you asking for an offering. What do you do?
I can imagine the questions which would go through a person’s mind at a time like this. Such things as “How long will this trip take, where are we going, will there be work when I get there, what is the price of housing, new clothes for the children, education, retirement  and by the way, just what is this Moshe guy going to use this stuff for in the first place?” The list would go on and on as you would stand looking at Moshe questioning the stuff, Moshe, the stuff.
How do I know this? It is the same reaction we have today when we are given provision and a choice of what to do with it.
This past weekend I was in Tulsa OK. I was sitting talking to a friend and he reached in his wallet to show me a small picture he had found which had great meaning to him. When he opened his wallet he saw a five dollar bill. He pulled it out of his wallet and said, “How did that get there, I didn’t have any money with me.” Without hesitation or the batting of an eye, he handed it to another friend in the room and said, “I guess it was placed there to give to you.” My other friend’s reaction was to hand the money to me and say, “Bless Israel!” I did not react at the moment, but the scene keeps going over in my mind. Here were two people when given an unexpected blessing just gave it away as though it was not theirs in the first place. I am humbled and challenged by these two men.
What do we do when confronted with unexpected blessings? Do we already have a list in our heads of where they would go? Is that list more about blessing ourselves or blessing others? I know. I have gone to meddling. Truth is I am making myself as uncomfortable as I am probably making you!!
Consider as we read through the next few weeks in Sh’mot. Every connecting item in the Tabernacle was given by an individual or family. When they looked upon it in the end, could many of them see the item they had given? Could the sight of their item next to their neighbors help them to understand not only was the Tabernacle to be looked upon as a single message, but Israel as a people were to be looked upon as a single message as well? Dwell on that one for a while as you keep putting off reading the “ands”. (Click to Source)
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TorahScope – Torah Reading – Mishpatim -Rulings – “Faithfully Do” – 4 February, 2018

Mishpatim – Rulings

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Exodus 21:1-24:18
Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26

“Faithfully Do”


by Mark Huey

Last week, our Torah reading Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23[26]) centered on the dramatic events surrounding the appearance of the Almighty Creator God at Mount Sinai, as He conveyed the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel through His servant Moses. The original recipients of these foundational building blocks of faith were primed for embracing them, after they witnessed and participated in their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. So magnificent were the miracles and display of God’s power, that even before Moses went up on the mountain, the Ancient Israelites unanimously proclaimed a desire to faithfully do whatever He would proclaim:

“And all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do!’ And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I shall come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe in you forever.’ Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD” (Exodus 19:8-9).

After given the opportunity to hear the voice of the Lord proclaim His Instruction to the multitude stationed at the base of Mount Sinai, we find that the Israelites were terrified about their physical survival. So, they implored Moses to maintain his role as an intermediary between the Lord and them:

“And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.’ And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin” (Exodus 20:18-20).

Moses calmed the fears of the Israelites, by telling them that God’s display of His power was designed to test them, and so that they would fear Him and avoid any sin that would displease Him. However, the Lord did not give His people just the Ten Commandments, without some specific details about how one could make these directions an integral part of their walk and relationship with Him. So without leaving the recipients in the dark, Moses added some more actions, which should be avoided and/or taken, in order to please the Lord:

“So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves. You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it. And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it”’” (Exodus 20:21-26).

Making idols of gold and silver was strictly forbidden, but the requirement to build an altar of uncut stones in order to present sacrifices is also witnessed here. From the giving of the Decalogue, God was very concerned about the Ancient Israelites falling into the pattern of many other people groups, who had a tendency to make physical tokens of gods out of gold and silver. Perhaps this was a forewarning about the infamous “golden calf incident” that was forthcoming (Exodus 32), so that there would be no excuses for deviant behavior. On the other hand, by describing the details of the construction of altars, the Lord was definitely reminding His chosen people from the very onset of their desert sojourn, that He desired to be worshipped at places and in ways that are not profaned.

With these reminders, Mishpatim or “Rulings,” largely deals with a selection of ordinances, which in many respects, adds details to how God wanted the Ancient Israelites to behave appropriately to His calling them into holiness (Exodus 19:6). Our Torah reading details about how people should interact with one another, given the challenges that ensue from the imperfections of our world. Surprisingly, perhaps, Mishpatim ends with a desire by the Ancient Israelites to be faithful to perform all the words that the Lord had spoken:

“Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!’” (Exodus 24:3).

With what appears to be another unanimous declaration that the people of Israel will do all of which the Lord had spoken, let us take a look at some of those very words.

A Covetous Overlay

The Ten Commandments undeniably have formed much of the basis for judicial and legal systems throughout the Judeo-Christian world. It can be argued that following the Sinai theophany of God delivering the Ten Words to Ancient Israel, that many of the instructions and regulations that are witnessed in the Torah thereafter, are somehow based upon the Ten Commandments. After delineating the Ten Words, adding a warning about making idols and describing proper altar worship, we should see how Mishpatim goes into great detail, further defining the rights and responsibilities of individuals when issues of life erupt. Much of this could be said to amplify what was communicated by the Tenth Commandment, the prohibition against coveting:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17).

The sin of covetousness in one’s heart is perhaps one of the most insidious offenses detailed in the Holy Scriptures—because it can be one of the most difficult to detect, and can be the seed of deceit that instigates other sins. Surely, sinful acts committed against fellow humans—such as murder, adultery, stealing, and bearing false witness, as forbidden in the Decalogue—are conceived when a person covets something that another has (James 1:13-15), be it life, a spouse, property, or position in the community. Additionally, it might be said that when one covets his or her own self or personhood, by becoming a god unto oneself or by idolizing oneself, one is exposed to be a violator of the immutable Law of the only One God. By acknowledging that there is a Supreme Being who desires worship, this should impose some limits and restraints on people who would be otherwise inclined by their own willful actions. Alas, though, when confronted with God’s Torah, many people know instinctively that they must obey—but they choose to instead reject it. When speaking of the person who struggles with the power of sin, Paul referenced the Tenth Commandment prohibition against covetousness:

“What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COVET’ [Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21]. But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead” (Romans 7:7-8).

As we turn to Mishpatim this week, its ordinances break down to a discussion of civil and criminal matters in Exodus 21:2-22:6, humanitarian considerations in Exodus 22:17-23:19, and warnings against assimilation into paganism in Exodus 23:20-33. I would ask you to try filtering these instructions through a fuller appreciation of what coveting entails. Even if someone were able to follow each of these ordinances to the presumed letter, there will likely be the nagging problem that people will still inevitably stumble over some covetous thoughts, which will convict us of our need for a Savior and His redeeming work. James the Just, half-brother of Yeshua the Messiah, starkly reminds us,

“For whoever keeps the whole Torah but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10, TLV).

Slavery Defined

Mishpatim, perhaps ironically to some Bible readers, actually begins with God giving instructions to Ancient Israel on how to handle slavery. What makes this a bit odd—other than slaves being some of the lowliest of human beings on the social ladder—is that these directions were given to a group of people who had just been delivered from slavery themselves. Is this at all a bit strange to you? If you have thought that a group of former slaves being told that this is how they were to regulate their own slaves, appears a bit out of place in a Holy Bible ultimately authored by the God of Freedom—then you are not alone. The best answer, that conservative Jewish and Christian scholars can often provide, is that Hebrew slavery in the Tanakh largely pertained to economic status, and was significantly subversive to other Ancient Near Eastern forms of slavery, where masters or slaveowners were literally able to do whatever they wanted with the people whom they owned. Here, in the opening of Mishpatim, we clearly read that this was not the case in Ancient Israel. Limitations were placed upon the status of an eved:

“Now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them: If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently” (Exodus 21:1-6).

As you read this small piece of instruction on slavery in Ancient Israel, note how the Lord was especially concerned about the relationship of the slaveowner and the slave. The slave was someone entirely reliant upon the owner—implying that he was someone destitute, who really had no other place to go for sustenance and basic needs. One of the expectations of the owner was to actually provide the slave with a wife with whom he could have children. While to many moderns, the concept of slavery is something that is rightfully repugnant—what we have to consider is the difference between slavery in Israel versus slavery among Israel’s neighbors. Israelite slavery may be regarded as being decisively “liberal.” The Torah’s instruction regarding slavery was greatly different when compared to many of the other law codes of the era, and it decisively laid the foundation back to the human equality that was lost in Eden, but which has been restored in Messiah Yeshua (cf. Galatians 3:28; Colossians 2:11).

A Civil Society

The balance of Mishpatim summarizes a variety of mundane circumstances that occur in practically every society. God foresaw a wide degree of challenges, which would plague a civilization, where people lived and interacted in relative proximity to one another. The Lord detailed a list of instructions that specified actions to be taken when various incidents arose. These included, but were not limited to, how to handle capital offenses ranging from murder to kidnapping, striking or cursing parents, physical abuse, controlling livestock, stealing, maintaining proper boundaries, borrowing implements and lending money practices, proper restitution claims, protecting innocent young women, prohibitions about bearing false witness, avoidance of bribes, and not oppressing strangers (Exodus 21:12-36). By assigning punishments that discourage harmful behavior or establishing guidelines that check greedy inclinations, these Torah commands were designed to mold Israel into God’s desired kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:5-6).

Parents Considered

While volumes of commentaries and legal briefs have been written to deal with the different ordinances encounters in Mishpatim, the instruction to apply capital punishment to a person who strikes or curses parents, is something particularly difficult to encounter. Although we later find a repetition of this in Deuteronomy 21:19-21, there is no recorded evidence that it was ever actually practiced in the Holy Scriptures. However, to reflect back on the Decalogue, note how the Fifth Commandment is one of the instructions that offers its adherents a blessing if properly followed:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you” (Exodus 20:12).

The Fifth Commandment was reiterated by the Apostle Paul in his instruction to Believers in Asia Minor, urging children to honor their parents:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH [Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16]” (Ephesians 6:1-3).

Obviously, the family unit is a key unit of any ordered society. If families are found to be disintegrating, due to children not respecting their parents, further disrespect for civil and communal authority can devolve into blatant civil disobedience—resulting in societal deterioration.

Faithfully Do

When encountering Mishpatim, it can take a student of the Torah down many paths—as the variety of subjects to study or meditate upon range from Hebrew slavery to not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk (Exodus 23:19). As you can imagine, there are many things one can consider during this week of examination. However, it is beneficial to once again recognize that even after these ordinances were given to the Ancient Israelites in the Thirteenth Century B.C.E., there was a universal acceptance by the people to strive to perform all that the Lord had spoken. Accordingly, Moses wrote down those words, and then at the foot of Mount Sinai after the offering of many sacrifices, he took blood, and sprinkled it on the altar, and then on the people who agreed to obey the words of the Lord:

“Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!’ Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!’ So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words’” (Exodus 24:3-8; cf. Hebrews 9:19-22).

How should we approach Mishpatim? Our Torah reading undeniably demands that God’s people live in a different manner than those of the world at large, offering care and concern for other people. That those who are privileged should offer relief and mercy for the destitute is absolutely imperative to consider. Our Torah reading also forces Messianic readers today to exhibit considerable trust and reliance in our Eternal Creator, as we strive to understand His mind in interacting with ancient people with widely different values than our own—and as Twenty-First Century Messianics seek to adequately evaluate the trajectory of Holy Scripture. The faith to be exhibited in understanding the instructions given in Mishpatim, as I must personally confess (and I am sure I speak for many other Messianics), is significant. (Click to Source)

Weekly Torah Portion – One New Man Bible – Yitro (Jethro) – Feb 2, 2018

Yitro (Jethro)

10-commandments

18.1. When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, that the LORD* had brought Israel out of Egypt, 2. then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after Moses had sent her back, 3. and her two sons, of whom the name of the one was Gershom, for he said, “I have been an alien in a strange land,” 4. and the name of the other was Eliezer, “For the God of my father was my help and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”

18:5. And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness, where he camped at the mountain of God 6. and he said to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, come to you with your wife and her two sons with her.”

18:7. And Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and paid homage and kissed him. And they asked each other of their welfare, and they came into the tent. 8.And Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD* had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the travail that had come upon them on the way, and how the LORD* delivered them. 9. And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD* had done for Israel, whom He had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.

18:10. And Jethro said, “Blessed be the LORD*, Who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh, Who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11. Now I know that the LORD* is greater than all gods, for in the thing in which they, Egyptians, acted presumptuously against them, Israel.” 12. And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, and Aaron and all the elders of Israel came with Moses’ father-in-law to eat a meal before God.

18:13. And it happened the next day that Moses sat to judge the people and the people stood by Moses from the morning to the evening. 14. And when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do only you yourself sit and all the people stand by you from morning to evening?” 15. And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people came to me to inquire of God. 16. When they have a matter, they come to me and I judge between one and another and I make known the statutes of God and His Teachings.”

Jethro Gives Sound Advice

18:17. And Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18. You will surely wear away, both you and this people that is with you, for this thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to perform it yourself alone. 19. Listen now to my voice! I shall give you counsel and God will be with you. You are an agent for the people to God, so you can bring the causes to God. 20. And you will teach them ordinances and Torah (Teaching) and will show them the Way in which they must walk and the work that they must do. 21. Moreover you will provide out of all the people able men, such as revere God, men of truth, hating unjust gain, and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22. And let them judge the people at all seasons. And it will be, every great matter they will bring to you, but every small matter they will judge, so it will be easier for you, yourself, and they will bear the burden with you. 23. If you will do this thing and God commands you so, then you will be able to endure and all the people will also go to their place in peace.”

18:24. So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 26. And they judged the people at all seasons, bringing the hard cases to Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

18:27. And Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way into his own land.

Torah (Teaching) Given

19.1. In the third month, after the children of Israel had gone forth out of the land of Egypt, that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2. For they had left Refidim and had come to the desert of Sinai and pitched in the wilderness. And Israel camped there before the mountain. 3. And Moses went up to God. And the LORD* called to him out of the mountain saying, “Thus will you say to the House of Jacob and tell the children of Israel. 4. You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you will be a peculiar treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine. 6. And you will be a kingdom of priests to Me and a holy nation. (Isa. 61:6, 1 Pe. 2:5, Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6. See Ezek. 20:37) These are the words which you will speak to the children of Israel.”

19:7. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people and laid before them all these words which the LORD* commanded him. 8. And all the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD* has spoken we will do.”

And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD*. 9. And the LORD* said to Moses, “See, I AM coming to you in a thick cloud, so the people can hear when I speak with you and believe you forever.” And Moses told the words of the people to the LORD*. 10. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow and let them wash their clothes 11. and be ready on the third day, for the third day the LORD* will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12. And you will set bounds for the people all around saying, Take heed for yourselves, do not go on the mountain or touch its border. Whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death: 13. there will not a hand touch it, but he will surely be stoned or shot through, whether it is beast or man it will not live. When the horn sounds long, they will come to the mountain.”

19:14. And Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people and they washed their clothes.15. And he said to the people, “Be ready by the third day: do not come near a woman.”

19:16. And it was on the third day in the morning that there were thunders and lightnings (Rev. 4:5) and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and the sound of the shofar was exceedingly loud, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17.And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God and they stood at the base of the mountain. 18. And Mount Sinai was altogether in smoke, because the LORD* descended upon it in fire and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. (Rev. 9:2; 11:19) 19. And when the sound of the shofar sounded long and grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him audibly. 20. And the LORD* came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain and the LORD* called Moses up to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. (Rev. 4:1)

19:21. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Go down, charge the people lest they break through to the LORD* to gaze and many of them perish. 22. And let the priests also who come near to the LORD* sanctify themselves lest the LORD* break forth upon them.”

19:23. And Moses said to the LORD*, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You charged us saying, Set bounds about the mountain and sanctify it.”

19:24. And the LORD* said to him, “Go! Get yourself down! Then you will come up, you and Aaron with you, but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD*, lest He break forth upon them.” 25. So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them.

Ten Statements

20.1. And God spoke all these words saying, 2. “I AM the LORD* your God Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3. You will have no other gods before Me. 4. You will not make any graven image for yourself, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5. You will not bow down yourself to them, or serve them, for I AM the LORD* your God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, 6. and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

20:7. “You will not take the name of the LORD* your God in vain, for the LORD* will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

20:8. “Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy. 9. You will labor six days and do all your work, 10. but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD* your God, you will not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your manservant or your maidservant or your cattle or your stranger who is within your gates. 11. For in six days the LORD* made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them and He rested the seventh day, therefore the LORD* blessed the Sabbath and sanctified it. (Rev. 10:6; 14:7)

20:12. “Honor your father and your mother, so your days will be long upon the land which the LORD* your God gives you. (Matt. 15:4, Eph. 6:3)

20:13 “You will not murder. You will not commit adultery. You will not steal. You will not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Matt. 5:21,27)

20:14. “You will not covet your neighbor’s house, you will not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Rom. 7:7; 13:9)

20:15. And all the people saw the thunderings and the lightnings, and the noise of the shofar, and the mountain smoking. And when the people saw it, they stood afar off. 16. And they said to Moses, “Speak with us and we will hear, but do not let God speak with us, lest we die.” 17. And Moses said to the people. “Do not be in awe! God has come to prove you, and that His awe may be before your faces, so that you will not sin.” 18. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

20:19. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Say this to the children of Israel; You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 20. You will not make images with Me, gods of silver, neither will you make gods of gold for yourselves. 21. You will make an altar of earth for Me and will sacrifice your burnt offerings on it, your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In all places where I record My name I shall come to you and I shall bless you. 22. And if you will make Me an altar of stone, you will not build it of hewn stone, for if you lift up your tool upon it, you have polluted it. 23. Neither will you go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be discovered on it.”  (Click to Source)

(Exodus 18:1- 20:23) One New Man Bible translated by William Morford

Torah Reading – TorahScope – Outreach Israel Ministries – Yitro – Jethro – “Blind Faith” – 28 January, 2018

Yitro – Jethro

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Exodus 18:1-20:23[26]
Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6[6-7] (A); 6:1-13 (S)

“Blind Faith”


by Mark Huey

The trials and tribulations of Ancient Israel’s deliverance from Egypt continue in this week’s Torah reading, with particular emphasis on the Ten Commandments that are received while the people were encamped at Mount Sinai. After observing the many miracles performed by God to free them from the bondage of Egyptian slavery—including the ten plagues, the cloud and pillar of fire, the parting of the Red Sea, the destruction of the Egyptian army, making bitter water potable, provision of manna and quail, providing water from a rock, and defeating the Amalekites—the Israelites were definitely in awe of the power of their God. By experiencing and witnessing these visible, and in many respects, tangible acts of punishment, provision, and protection—Israel was prepared to do whatever the Lord declared, before even knowing what He was going to require. Accordingly, one might conclude that the people were finally at a point where they exhibited a “blind faith,” willing to follow the instruction of the Lord regardless of the outcome.

Jethro’s Counsel

Before the dramatic encounter with the Almighty, where the Ten Commandments would be issued, we are told about the wisdom imparted to Moses by his father-in-law Jethro. The importance of establishing a reasonable way to judge circumstances within the camp of Israel was proposed by Jethro. Jethro recognized that the people were relying solely on the judgment of Moses to resolve disputes. With thousands of people, and all of the problems that might ensue from human interaction, it was obvious to Jethro that Moses needed to delegate some responsibility to other leaders. These would be individuals who feared God, knew the truth, and hated dishonest gain:

“It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening. Now when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?’ Moses said to his father-in-law, ‘Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.’ Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.’ So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. They judged the people at all times; the difficult dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor dispute they themselves would judge. Then Moses bade his father-in-law farewell, and he went his way into his own land” (Exodus 18:13-27).

From the insertion of this encounter with Jethro, juxtaposed between the first few months of the deliverance from Egypt and the reception of the Decalogue, it is reasonable to conclude that God was concerned about an orderly means for Ancient Israel to govern itself. God is not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). What is seen here in Yitro would later be integrated into many different judicial systems throughout the world. Note that Jethro still advised Moses to remain Israel’s representative before God, with the admonition to teach the statutes and laws of God. Moses did not relinquish his role as a mediator before the Holy One, but he did not need to have to be burdened with every single issue that might have arisen among the people.

 Preparing to Receive the Decalogue

After the departure of Jethro, our Torah portion turns to one of the most incredible events ever recorded in human history. The Creator God descended from Heaven and spoke the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel gathered at the base of Mount Sinai. But before this dramatic encounter occurred, the Lord had some extraordinary words for Moses to communicate to them:

“Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel’” (Exodus 19:3-6).

Here the Almighty summoned Moses to the mountain to hear this declaration, so that he would share it with Israel. In some opening remarks, God reminded Moses about what He had done to the Egyptians, and how He personally protected the Israelites during their deliverance from slavery and along the path they were traversing. Obviously, there was no need for the Ancient Israelites to take any credit for being at a place of relative safety from their enemies.

There are then some incredible words, which should bring both comfort and awe to each of us who read or hear these words today. In order to be regarded as God’s possession among all the peoples, and be considered a kingdom of priests and a holy nation—Israel was to obey Him. While on the surface, obeying God might sound somewhat doable, especially given anticipated blessings—but what we obviously discover from the remainder of too much of the Torah and Tanakh is that Israel inevitably failed over and over to obey. However, at this particular time in the history of Israel, given the preponderance of recent miracles and deliverance from enemies, and what could be considered a “blind faith,” the Israelites collectively responded to this proposition with a resounding affirmation:

“All the people answered together and said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do!’And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.’ Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD also said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, “Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.” When the ram’s horn [shofar, CJB] sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.’ So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. He said to the people, ‘Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman’” (Exodus 19:8-15).

Whether this positive response to do all that the Lord would speak, even before He had spoken it—from all the people of Israel—was a reflection of their awe for what the Lord had just done, or whether it was really just enthusiasm being caught up in the moment, the fact is there was a genuine desire of the Ancient Israelites to obey the Lord. Their response must have pleased Him. Yet, immediately following this the Lord began to relay to Moses some warnings about what was to be expected when He would descend upon Mount Sinai. The Lord wanted His people to hear His voice, but He knew that a certain amount of personal consecration was required in order to be prepared to hear Him speak.

Instruction came forth so that, for a three-day period, the people would consecrate themselves through washings and separation from sexual contact. A prohibition about even touching the mountain was included, to keep the people from defiling it before the Holy One descended. Eventually a blast from a ram’s horn would signal that they could approach the base of the mountain, but still not touch it. God was very concerned about protecting the people from their over zealousness to approach the mountain. When God did finally descend to Mount Sinai, it was accompanied with great thunder and lightning:

“So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, ‘Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, or else the LORD will break out against them.’ Moses said to the LORD, ‘The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, “Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.”’ Then the LORD said to him, ‘Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, or He will break forth upon them.’ So Moses went down to the people and told them” (Exodus 19:16-25).

This must have been an awesome sight to behold. After three days of being consecrated for the event, Israelites were gathered by Moses at the base of the mountain, as it turned ominously dark. A cloud descended, accompanied by thunder, lightning, and a trembling quake of the whole mountain. Then as the trumpet sounded, the Lord actually responded to the warning signal by thundering back, and calling Moses to join Him at the top of the mountain. It is difficult to imagine what this must have been like—despite a few attempts by motion pictures like The Ten Commandments or Prince of Egypt to try to portray it.

If you have ever been in a hurricane, coupled with an earthquake, while a tornado is raging by, with lightning lighting up the sky, as you gazed upon a fire blasting volcanic like smoke in the distance—perhaps you could envision this scene, sort of. If nothing else, the fear of the Lord would be an overwhelming emotion, because there would be so much out of your control, that you can only stand there in utter terror. And yet, as these types of natural phenomena are described in Yitro, Moses ascended the mountain to receive the Ten Words. The final warning regarding the priests kept them from touching the mountain, but there was one exception made for Aaron. So, the scene was set for Israel to receive the Word of the Lord from Mount Sinai.

The Decalogue is Spoken

The Holy One spoke forth the Ten Commandments, or the Ten Words, heard by all. These instructions are regarded as perhaps the most important and influential of Divine ordinances, with a resonating effect on all of humankind—most especially those of both Judaism and Christianity:

“Then God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:1-17).

Here, with an entire generation of Israelites to witness and hear, the Lord God proclaimed these Ten Words, which have become foundational building blocks and parameters for living life in a manner that loves Him and neighbor. In the first four commandments, the focus seen is on human relationships with God, and how He wants to be worshipped and followed. The last six commandments deal primarily with human interactions with others, and how God wants us to treat our fellow human beings. Without going into great detail about the specifics of each of these words, when men or women faithfully apply these words to their daily walk with the Lord, they will inevitably be adhering to what Yeshua defined as the greatest commandments in the Torah:

“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And He said to him, ‘“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND” [Deuteronomy 6:5]. ‘This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF” [Leviticus 18:5]. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 22:35-40).

A Change of Mind

The Israelites had pledged, rather blindly we may say, to do all that the Lord had spoken—without even knowing what He was going to say (Exodus 19:8). They probably liked the idea of having this awesome God, who had delivered them from the Egyptians through a series of miracles, and helped defeat the dreaded Amalekites, speak to them. He was the God who was going to make them great, after all. But Israel’s initial response, to obey all that the Lord spoke, was perhaps being reevaluated by some, as they heard His commandments reverberating from the mountaintop.

After the Ten Words had been declared, we find a terrified people, who had just witnessed an incredible event as the voice of the Lord literally permeated their beings. Despite complying with the request to maintain a distance from the base of the mountain, the visible, audible, and tangible realities of the Creator God speaking directly to them must have been overwhelming—because they declared that if they heard God speak to them, they would die. We quickly discover that after hearing the Ten Words, the Israelites impulsively requested Moses to maintain his intermediary position, as their point of contact with the Holy One:

“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.’ So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves. You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it. And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it”’” (Exodus 20:18-26).

Moses listened to the requests of the Israelites, and responded with an explanation for why the Lord had allowed them to hear His audible voice. Apparently, this unique encounter by the Holy One, with His chosen people, was to test them. The Lord wanted the people to fear Him with a reverence that would help them avoid sin, and be genuine in following His instructions. By hearing His commands in this dramatic fashion, the Israelites were so awestruck, that they immediately asked Moses to be their mediator before God.

Without hesitation, Moses approached God in the thick of the cloud, while the Israelites stood at a distance. Some final instructions were given to Moses that deal specifically with avoiding making idols of precious metals and constructing a proper altar with uncut stones for various sacrifices. Moses did not exhibit any of the trepidation of the Lord, because by this point in time Moses had endured so much intimacy with the Lord, that he realized his position as a mediator for the people was secure.

What about the blind faith declarations of the Israelites a few days earlier? Had this close encounter with the Holy One changed their minds, as they had decided it would be better to let an intermediary act as a go-between with the Holy One?

Blind Faith

It is difficult with certainty to determine what made the Ancient Israelites want a mediator, rather than have direct communication from the Almighty. Perhaps it was simply a fear of physical life, because of the dangers posed by wandering too close to the mountain or the difficulty of being in the presence of holiness. On the other hand, is it possible that the pure vocal declaration of the Ten Commandments from the Holy One of Israel, reverberated with such a strong chord in their hearts, that there was literally a physical manifestation experiencing heart palpitations and other threatening actions?

The significance of the giving of the Ten Commandments has allowed me to realize that this formal delivery to Ancient Israel—may just well be a codification of a wide number of instructions that have already been impressed onto the human conscience/mind/heart, as all people are made in God’s image. In his letter to the Romans, Paul mentioned how the nations can do things of God’s Torah, even if they do not formally have God’s Torah:

“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Messiah Yeshua” (Romans 2:14-16).

Every person, in some form or fashion, is going to be held accountable for keeping or violating God’s Law.

When you consider the giving of the Ten Commandments, are you at all complying with them? When you think about breaking an ordinance etched in stone with God’s finger, do you at all think about the scene of fire and smoke in which it was given to Ancient Israel? Even if you do not think about disregarding or disobeying any of Ten Commandments, are you ever caught minimally obeying them?

While you are considering this week’s Torah portion, try placing yourself at the base of Mount Sinai, and imagine the Ten Words of God coming forth from a fire-belching, smoking, and trembling mountain top. Pray through each of the commands, reading them out loud so that you hear them (cf. Romans 10:17), and ascertain just where you presently may be in your heart of hearts when it comes to following them.

Will you discover that there is another god in your life, or that an idol is taking up your time? Will you find that you have been profaning the name of the Lord in some of your thoughts or statements? Could you be approaching the Sabbath in ways that need improvement? Have you ever dishonored your parents or your ancestors? Have you been harboring some thoughts about murder, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, or coveting something—which needs to be confessed and terminated?

Remember that the Ancient Israelites, who seemingly through a “blind faith,” initially had great intentions to do all that the Holy One spoke. But when the Lord did speak the Ten Commandments, the people rapidly turned to Moses because of their mortal fear, rather than press into the voice of God for their own benefit. Thankfully today, with the benefit of the arrival of Yeshua the Messiah onto the scene of history, all people can know that the penalty for breaking the instructions given to Moses and Ancient Israel has been remitted by His sacrifice! We simply have to acknowledge His sacrifice by faith, and receive permanent atonement and forgiveness for our violation of the Father’s commandments. Additionally, rather than being mortally afraid of the bellowing voice of the Holy One, those who are in Yeshua have the privilege of listening to the quiet still voice of the Spirit, as they seek Him in prayer, supplication, and worship.

I consider it a great blessing to be a part of the redeemed in Messiah, having the opportunity to learn more and more about my Creator and His ways, by studying the Torah. The Holy One still desires a people for His own possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). May we each be found faithful to be a part of this company of Believers! (Click to Source)

G-d’s goodness overcomes all

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Throughout the Bible there are many places where, as believers, we read the text and immediately grieve in our hearts. One of the saddest dialogs is found in the book of Exodus, yet this same dialog takes place today and, unfortunately, too often we respond in exactly the same way without realizing what we are saying and doing.

In Exodus chapter 6:6-9, we find one of the most powerful promises Scripture contains.

Therefore say to Bnei-Yisrael: I am Adonai, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you to Myself as a people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am Adonai your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. So I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, and give it to you as an inheritance. I am Adonai.” Moses spoke this way to Bnei-Yisrael, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and cruel bondage.

According to verse 9, when Moses spoke these words to the Children of Israel, they did not listen to him because of their spiritual and physical condition. They looked at themselves and their circumstance and then judged G-D’s ability to fulfill His promises based upon their situation. Here, we see the Creator of the Universe reminding His people that He still loved them and remembered them and was going to redeem them and fulfill His promises. Yet, because the Children of Israel based G-D’s power and sovereignty on their current state of affairs, knowing how bad their spiritual and physical conditions were, they could not believe that G-D’s good could overcome their bad.

Reading these verses today, I know that some of you are in difficult circumstances right now. You know the promises G-D made and the redemption that was brought to you in Messiah Yeshua. You know who G-D is and can quote John 3:16, Romans 8:28, and Romans 9:9, as well as many other verses filled with promises from G-D by memory. Yet, you are looking at your situation in the same way that the Children of Israel viewed theirs. You may not be proclaiming your response vocally as the Children of Israel did to Moses, but your response is heard by G-D just as loudly. You are allowing your heart to believe that your problems, your Egypt, is more powerful than G-D’s promises.

So, let me remind you today that when G-D said these words to Moses to speak to the Children of Israel, they were at the lowest point in their lives physically and spiritually. Yet, none of their predicaments kept G-D from promising them that He would deliver them, He would restore their relationship with Him, and that He would bring them to the land of prosperity.

With this in mind, please remember this absolute truth: Your bad, no matter how large it appears to your heart and mind, will never, ever become larger or more powerful than G-D’s good. (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – B’Shallach (After he had let go) – The Manna of His Faithfulness – SCRIPTURES FOR January 27, 2017

Torah Commentary

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B’Shallach (After he had let go)
Exodus 13:17-17:16
Judges 4:4-5:31
John 6:25-35; 19:31-37
Revelation 15:1-4
The Manna of His Faithfulness
Have you ever thought what it was like to be in the caravan of Hebrews leaving Egypt? What conversations took place amongst this group of sleep deprived people? Were they celebrating the faithfulness of Yah displayed before them in the last months? Did they recognize the mighty hand and outstretched arm Who freed them? Was the conversation about the unmerited favor the Almighty had shown and how amazing His works had been on their behalf? Or were they looking at the road Moshe was leading them on and raising complaint to the longer path he selected? Were they backseat drivers giving him directions to turn and go through the land of the Philistine for the shortcut to the “Promised Land”?
Having lived a few years now and being in ministry for over twenty years, I think I can answer the above questions with a bit of accuracy. If Will Rodgers is right in saying, “people change, but not much”, the Hebrews were doing a pretty good job of forgetting about the miracles of their past leading them to second guess the path to their future. Sound familiar?
We can read the reason the Hebrews were not allowed to go the easy way Home, was because they would not have made it. They would have cracked under the pressure of war. As I meted last week, it was the journey which would prepare them for their destination, not the other way around. The steps before them would be about testing their hearts, proving them and weeding out those who refused to bring their inner man out of Egypt.
This week we see a theme which will plague the Hebrews for the next forty years, “Let’s go back to Egypt, the way is too hard, Yah cannot deliver us out of this one, why did we not just remain as slaves in Egypt.” This theme will cause the vast majority to die in the wilderness and never set eyes on the promise. Are we doing much better?
With that question in mind, consider the following statements. “I sure miss the music we used to have in church”, “I miss the fellowship”, “I miss decorating for the holidays”, “I miss …you fill in the blank. Any of those statements sound familiar?
Truth is that there were some things about Egypt that were good memories for the Hebrews the same as there were things about our past experiences which were good. Their problem, as well as ours is that as time goes on people tend to remember the good of the past and forget the pain. The Hebrews forgot the slavery and only remembered the good produce. We can fall into the same traps, but this is the wrong thought process for people of covenant. It should not have mattered how good or bad life was in Egypt. When it was time to go home, it was time to go home. Our thoughts need to be the same. Wars, earthquakes, financial ruin and political upheaval do not need to occur to turn our hearts toward home. It should only take His whisper of “It’s time.”
My question is this. Are we hearing His whisper today? Are your spiritual ears tuned to hear the whisper if it is spoken? Which direction is the door of your inner man’s tent facing, Egypt or the Promised Land? Are we today celebrating the miracles happening around us which point to deliverance or further entrenching ourselves in Egypt? What will happen the day our deliverance comes and we find ourselves walking away to find out we are not being allowed to walk the easy path we desired, but rather the difficult road for our own good? How about when we are brought to the edge of a sea of impossible passage, where will we turn?
Please allow me to give some help for all the above questions. How easy will it be to leave? This depends on how deeply you are entrenched in Egypt today. How much will you complain about the journey then? More than likely you will complain about as much or maybe a bit more than you complain about it today. Will you leave celebrating the miracles of redemption or whining and complaining at each step? To quote a statement from past teachings, “You will perform like you train.” In other words, if you baby yourself spiritually, emotionally and physically today, that will be the life you have chosen for your future.
Is there a key to “making it” and not coming up a step short of His promise? I think so. The key is found in Exodus 16:32. In this verse the Hebrew people are told to store two quarts of manna. Keep in mind that manna dissolved in the evening, but these two quarts would remain. (I wonder where these two quarts are today.) They were to place this manna before their eyes as a reminder of His daily faithfulness to them. How do we keep our inner man walking forward toward His promises without complaining or testing Him? Find your manna of His faithfulness in your life. Find a way to put that manna in front of you. Talk about your manna. Share the story of your manna with others, especially your family. Allow the manna of His faithfulness in your past to become what propels you into His faithfulness of your future! (Click to Source)

 

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

Torah Commentary
Va’era (I appeared)

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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)

 

Torah Commentary – Vezot ha’Bracha – “And this is the blessing” – SCRIPTURES FOR October 14, 2017

Vezot ha’Bracha
“And this is the blessing”
Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Joshua 1:1-18

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The Baton Passes On
This Shabbat’s readings mark the end of the Torah cycle. The scriptures we will read are maybe the most bittersweet of all the Torah. Moses finishes his message of Deuteronomy by speaking a blessing over the people he has led for the past forty years. I would imagine that as the words are coming to a close, each one becomes harder to speak than the last. He knows that in a very short time his life will end. Moses has run his race, but has been stopped just short of what he thought his finish line would be. He stands looking into a land he will never enter.
On the surface nothing seems fair. Moses deserves to go in. He made one mistake and it cost him dearly. The Hebrews made many mistakes, but they would soon be enjoying a land they did not deserve. Nothing seems to make sense here. Is there possibly something else to the message of Moses that makes it clearer? Let’s consider it.
When we think of Moses, we think of Torah. In fact, it is called the Torah of Moses. Moses would pass the baton of Torah to a man whose name is Joshua. At least that is his English name. In Hebrew, his name would be very close to the name of Messiah, Yeshua. After the death of Moses, Joshua would receive orders to never allow the Torah of Moses to depart from him. He was to meditate on it day and night. He would also meet a man who was referred to as the Captain of The Army of Yah.   I believe the scripture is very clear through the actions of Joshua that this man was indeed the Messiah, Yeshua. It would be after Joshua’s acceptance of the challenge and revelation of this man that he indeed would enter into the Promised Land with the Hebrews. It would be as he continued in the orders and revelation that he would lead the Hebrews to possess what had been promised to them many years earlier.
So what is the message to us today? Could it be that Yah is telling us that Torah alone will not lead us into the fullness of Yah’s promises? Could it be that simply going through Torah year after year will only bring us to the shore of our own Jordan, but never allow us to cross over? Could it be that we are being told through this account to, with a firm grasp of Torah in our heart, move on? We are to look for a person whose name is similar to the successor of Moses, who will lead us on? A man who not only is the Captain of the army of Yah, but in fact is the embodiment of the Torah?
The message that I see as I look at the complete account is this; Torah alone will not lead us into the fullness of His promises, nor will we ever be allowed to enter in without Torah. It will be as we firmly grasp the Living and the Written Torah, never allowing ourselves to lose focus of the two as one, that we will enter in.
As a final thought leading into our new Torah Cycle I would like to share a quote from Barry Phillips. Please read Psalm 40:7 first for the full meaning. “Torah reveals the Redeemer while in itself offering no redemption.” You may need some time to let that one soak in. (Click to Site)

 

Shabbat Shalom! – Weekly Torah Readings: Vayalekh – Deuteronomy – Sep 22, 2017

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Vayelekh

Moses’ Farewell

31.1. And Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. 2. And he said to them, “I am a hundred twenty years old this day. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the LORD* has said to me, ‘You will not go over this Jordan.’ 3. The LORD* your God, He is crossing over before you, He will destroy these nations from before you and you will possess them. Joshua is crossing over before you, as the LORD* has said. 4. And the LORD* will do to them as He did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites whom He destroyed, and to their land. 5. And the LORD* will give them up before your face, so you can do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you. 6. Be strong! Be of good courage! Do not be in awe! Do not be terrified of them! The LORD* your God, it is He Who is going with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

31:7. And Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong! Be of good courage! For you must go with this people to the land which the LORD* has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you will cause them to inherit it.8. And the LORD*, it is He Who does go before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not be in awe! Do not be dismayed!”

31:9. And Moses wrote this teaching and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi who bore the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD* and to all the elders of Israel. 10. And Moses commanded them saying, “At the end of seven years, in the appointed time of the year of release, in the Feast of Sukkot 11. when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD* your God in the place which He will choose, you will read this Torah before all Israel in their hearing. 12. Gather the people together; men, women, children, and your stranger that is within your gates, so they can hear and so they will learn and revere the LORD* your God, and observe to do all the words of this teaching, 13. and so their children, who have not known anything, may hear and learn to revere the LORD* your God, as long as you live in the land where you are crossing over the Jordan to possess it.”

31:14. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Behold, your days are approaching when you must die. Call Joshua and present yourselves in the Tent of Meeting, so I can give him a charge.” And Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the Tent of Meeting. 15. And the LORD* appeared in the Tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood over the door of the Tent.

Faithlessness Coming

31:16. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Behold, you will sleep with your fathers, and this people will rise up and go astray after the gods of the strangers of the land, where they are going to be among them and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. 17. Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day and I shall forsake them and I shall hide My face from them, and they will be devoured and many evils and troubles will befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ 18. And I AM will surely hide My face in that day for all the evils which they will have wrought, in that they have turned to other gods. 19. Now therefore write this song for yourselves and teach it to the children of Israel. Put it in their mouths, so this song will be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. 20. For when I have brought them into the land, which I swore to their fathers, that flows with milk and honey and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then will they turn to other gods and serve them and provoke Me and break My covenant. 21. And it will be, when many evils and troubles befall them, that this song will testify against them as a witness, for it will not be forgotten out of the mouths of their descendants. I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.”

Moses Writes the Song of the Lord

31:22. And Moses wrote down this song the same day and taught it to the children of Israel. 23. And he commanded Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong! Be of good courage! For you will bring the children of Israel into the land which I swore to them and the I AM will be with you.”

31:24. And it was when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this Torah in a scroll, until they were finished, 25.that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD* saying, 26. “Take this scroll of the Torah and put it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD* your God, so it will be there as a witness against you. 27. For I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. Behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, you have been rebellious against the LORD*, and how much more after my death? 28. Gather to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, so I can speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29. For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the Way which I have commanded you and evil will befall you in the latter days because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD*, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”

31:30. And Moses spoke the words of this song in the ears of the whole congregation of Israel, until they were finished. (Click to Site)