Home Blog Page 43

Sh’mot (Names)

2

Torah Gemstones Sh’mot (Names) Exodus 1:1-6:1

Although Sh’mot is translated Exodus it really means “names”.  This week’s portion begins with the names of the children of Israel who entered Egypt with Jacob.  In addition, the names of the two midwives who saved the Hebrew nation are specifically mentioned.  Their names reflect the importance of their role in safeguarding the children of Israel, thus thwarting Pharoah’s decree to kill all the male Hebrew babies.  Their obedience made it possible for light to come into the darkness of Israel’s exile in Egypt and preserve the future of the nation.  It’s a pattern that is repeated over and over again right down to the story of the birth of Yeshua the Messiah. So the question remains “who are the midwives” and “how do they hold the key to Israel’s redemption”?

Up to this point, Pharoah was alarmed that the children of Israel had become a mighty nation within his own nation. The sages viewed this time spent in Egypt, including the period of slavery, as a pregnancy in which the nation of Israel was growing within the "womb" of another nation preparing to be born.  Even though Pharoah saw the children of Israel as outsiders he also recognized they were much too important to his economy to be permitted to leave.  He hoped the backbreaking labor he instituted would limit their high birthrate, but the more the children of Israel were tormented and oppressed by the state, the more they multiplied and grew.

The answer for the dilemma Pharaoh faced was infanticide.  This would not only stem their growth but would destroy the great rescuer and deliverer of the children of Israel, Moshe.  So Pharoah, a picture of the eternal enemy of the Jews in every generation, demanded the midwives kill the Hebrew male babies in order to exterminate “the seed” of all future generations. However, the midwives feared God instead of Pharoah and did not do what he asked; rather, they kept the baby boys alive.

In the opinion of the rabbis (Sotah 11b), the two midwives were actually Jochebed and Miriam, the mother and sister of Moshe.  Their main goal was to save Moshe, whom they recognized to be the “one” who would bring salvation and deliverance to Israel.  In addition, the rabbis in the Talmudic era, identified Moshe as the “suffering servant”.  So the redemption plan of God, revealed through the Kingdom of Heaven, would be manifested through the suffering servant.  The term, Chevlai Mashiach, or the “Birthpains of the Messiah”, reflected Moshe’s birth as well as the birth of the entire nation.  It was a birth that would be accompanied by great distress and suffering. In fact, the Kingdom of God was often described in Scripture as “breaking forth”, as a woman writhing in the pain of labor ready to deliver her children.  Therefore, the two midwives were all that was needed for the Kingdom to “break forth”.

The first midwife mentioned is Shifrah, from the root shafar, which means a bright and beautiful sight or sound.  You might recognize the word shofar or trumpet as a related word.  The sound of the ram’s horn is a beautiful sound that marks the beginning of the redemption.  Shifrah is usually translated “to swaddle” or “to clean the baby”.  So in terms of the Kingdom, how is one cleansed in a spiritual sense?

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word.”

If the letters of shafar are rearranged they form parash, which means to spread out or scatter.  Consider the seed is the word of God being scattered abroad in our hearts and to the four corners of the world.  In addition, parash is connected to parshah, the word used for the individual Torah portions.  Parshah really means the spreading out of an event or a word.  Perhaps the midwife Shifrah represents the Word of God sent to those who are in exile.

There is another connection between Shifrah and the cleansing nature of the Word of God.  Seraph is a related word which means “to burn” when speaking of spices in the Temple.

I saw Adonai sitting on a high lofty throne.  The hem of his robe filled the Temple.  Seraphim stood over him with 6 wings – two covering his face…crying out to each other Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts. The whole earth is filled with his glory.

                                                Isaiah 6:1

One of the Seraphim flew to me and in his hand was a coal; he had taken it with tongs from atop the altar.  He touched it to my mouth and said, “Behold this has touched your lips; your iniquity has gone away and your sin shall be atoned for”.    

                                                Isaiah 6:6,7

Again it is the Word of God that has the power to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The other midwife is Puah, whose name means brightness or a bright sound.  Note the similarity in meaning with Shifrah.  However, Puah is generally translated “to cry out to calm the mother”.  Rearranged it becomes yafah meaning pretty or beautiful, a word usually associated with Rachel, Rebekkah and Sarah who are pictures of the Holy Spirit.  If Puah means a cooing or calming down with a soothing voice, then consider the voice of the Holy Spirit with its calming and healing effect.  Perhaps Puah is a type or picture of the Spirit of God.

So the names of these two midwives quite possibly reveal who is truly responsible for protecting, preserving, and bringing forth new life, thereby expanding the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is the Word of God combined with the Spirit of God!

 

In Him you also, when you had heard the Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in Him, were marked with the sea of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of His glory.

                                                          Ephesians 1:13

Study to Show Yourself Approved Session 9

0

literarydev_thumb

This is the final video of the nine part study series. 
This last session focuses on literary tools and devices which are an essential component of the artistic nature of every language.  Learn to identify the devices that are unique to the Hebrew language.  The use of figurative language in the Bible brings a depth and intensity to the meaning.  It makes the language more engaging and exciting by adding the emotional element. This is the final ingredient that will add a richness to your studies.

 

 

Part 9

Part 9 - Audio

Imagery of the Fig Tree

10

fig_tree11Dr. Dye begins with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which the sages concluded was a fig tree. Rashi, she explains, made an interesting observation about the fall of Adam and Eve: “By the very thing by which they were disgraced were they restored”. Follow this rich symbolism and imagery throughout the Scriptures to see the meaning of why the fig tree was cursed by Yeshua.

 

 
Part 1

Part 1 - Audio


Part 2

Part 2 - Audio


Part 3

Part 3 - Audio


Part 4

Part 4 - Audio

V’yechi (and he lived)

2

Torah Gemstones:  V’yechi (and he lived) Genesis 47:28-50:26

V’yechi is the final Torah portion of the book of Beresheet (Genesis).  In this last chapter God brings us full circle from the time of Abraham’s entry into the land to a place called Sh’kem (shechem), to the death of Joseph in Egypt.  It is important to recognize the promise of the whole land was specifically given to Abraham at Sh’kem.  This place is a key to the unfolding of the redemption plan of God, which includes the resurrection of the dead and the ingathering of the exiles.  Therefore, the place the redemption begins is the place where both the bones of Yosef and the bones of Joshua Son of Nun are buried and that is Sh’kem.
Israel said to Joseph,  “I am giving to you sh’kem (Shechem) more than to your brothers…then Yosef took an oath from the sons of Israel, God will surely visit you and you are to carry my bones up from here. 
Genesis 48:25, 50:25

So what is the significance of Sh’kem?  The word in Hebrew is שכם and means shoulder or back.  The city was so named because it was built on the slope or shoulder of Mt Ebal.  Sh’kem is located in the hill country of the tribe of Ephraim in the very center of the land of Israel.  The town was considered one of the most important crossroads of central Israel even before the Israelites occupied Canaan.  Sh’kem later became the first capital city of the northern kingdom of Israel, when the northern and southern kingdoms divided in two.  It was the center of religious life for the ten northern tribes and functioned as an alternate sanctuary for the worship of God during time of Hoshea.

Not surprising are the many important Biblical events that took place here.  It was the first city Abraham came to from the East, and where he built an altar to the Lord.  Again, God confirmed His promise in this spot to give the land to Abraham and his seed.  Later Jacob came, with his whole family, to Sh’kem after he returned from Padan Aram.  Here Jacob, as Israel, also built an altar and named the place “God, the God of Israel” and then dug a well for his family and his herds.  Sometime later Jacob sent out his son Joseph, at the age of 17, from Hebron to Sh’kem to meet up with the all his brothers.  When Joseph arrived, however, his brothers had moved onto Dotan, the place they sold him into slavery.   At the time of the Exodus, the children of Israel left Egypt carrying Joseph’s bones that were to be buried in Sh’kem on the parcel of ground Jacob had bought for 100 pieces of silver from Hamor, the father of Sh’kem.

Moshe eventually brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt to the border of the land where they would cross over to Sh’kem to pronounce the blessings and curses of the Torah.  Half stood in front of Mt Gerizim and shouted blessings while the other half were in front of Mt Ebal shouting curses on those who were disobedient to the commandments of God.  On Mt Ebal Joshua built an altar to God and then on a pillar of stones he wrote a copy of the Torah.  At Sh’kem God confirmed his covenant with Joshua as he did with Abraham.
“Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Sh’kem, and called  for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God”
Josh. 24:1

At Sh’kem, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, caused the nation of Israel to divide.  This enabled Jeroboam to set up a new religious center for the northern Kingdom of Israel.  Jeroboam shouted: “To your tents, O Israel” and separated the ten  northern tribes from the southern kingdom of Judah
                    1 Kings 12:1,16     

Jeroboam changed the calendar and the appointed times and built an alternate altar and offering system that included the worship of a golden image of a bull.  This was same location Joshua had built an altar declaring Israel should worship God alone.  Israel could now worship in Sh’kem without having to cross over into Judah to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem.

After the Babylonian exile those who were excluded from the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem built an alternate site for worship on Mt Gerizim.  Of course there were ongoing tensions between the Jews and the Samaritans and between these two centers of worship with each claiming to be the sole heir of the Mosaic tradition. Finally under Yochanah Hyrcanus, who was part of the Hasmonean dynasty in Jerusalem, Sh’kem was destroyed and the Temple on Mt Gerizim burned.  This was the state of affairs when Yeshua spoke to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well near Sh’kem.  The clash remained over the true place of worship.

So what is the spiritual significance of Sh’kem?  Remember God promised Abraham the whole land of Israel from this specific location. It was supposed to signify the unity of Israel as they gathered together as one, just as they had when they received the Torah.  But instead of a place of unity, it became the place of division.   Remember this is where the brothers of Joseph separated from him and where Jeroboam separated from Judah.  The final redemption, starting with the ingathering of all the tribes of Israel, will begin here and it will signify the unity of the nation.

In fact we see elements of the redemption unfolding with the woman at the well, who represented Israel in exile among the nations.  Her husbands were all the empires from Assyria to Rome, who continually oppressed Israel because she joined herself to them as a wife in a relationship God called spiritual adultery.  But just as the woman at “Jacob’s well” received redemption along with living water from Yeshua the Messiah, so too the northern tribes will receive their redemption at the time of the Messiah’s return.

In conclusion we find two important references to the unfolding of the redemption and the connection to Yeshua’s shoulders or Sh’kem.  The following verses reveal the two comings of the Messiah.  First is the parable of the lost sheep from Luke.
“If one of you has 100 sheep and loses one of them doesn’t he leave the other 99 in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he does finds it, he joyfully hoists it onto his SHOULDERS. 
Luke 15:4

The 99 represent the House of Judah and the 1 represents the House of Israel, which takes us back to the woman at the well at Sh’kem who repented of her sins and received Yeshua.  This fulfilled his role as Messiah in his first coming to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Then in his second coming, at the time of the final redemption, there is another connection to His shoulders.  This is revealed in the following verse from Isaiah.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his SHOULDERS: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:5 (6)

V’yigash (and he Approached)

0

Torah Gemstones – V’yigash (and He approached) Genesis 44:18-47:27

 

This week’s portion continues the narrative of the story of Joseph.  We come to the final gathering together of all twelve brothers in Egypt followed by their return to the land of Israel to bring their father, Jacob, and the rest of the family back to Egypt.  Contained within this story is an interesting statement made by Jacob.

“And they told him saying, ‘Joseph is still alive’, and that he is ruler over all the land of Egypt; but his heart did not encounter this for he did not believe them.  When they related to him all the words that Joseph had spoken to them, and he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, then the spirit of Jacob their father was revived. And Israel said, ‘How great! My son Joseph still lives!  I shall go and see him before I die.”

One question we might ask is why Jacob’s spirit revived when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent.  In order to attempt to answer that, let’s take a closer look at the word used here for wagons, which is aglah (עגלה).  The root is גל (gal), which has a number of meanings.  You might recognize Galilee, Gilead, Golan, Gilgal or even Golgotha, all of which have the same root.  It means something round or, more importantly, for the purposes of this teaching, a second time around of an event.  One variation is “galgal”, which is the wheel of a chariot that goes around.  Another variation is “megillah” or scroll, like the scroll of Esther or Ruth.  In addition, gal is sometimes translated heaven, as in heaven rolling up like a scroll (Isaiah 34:4). Gal can also mean a whirlwind because the wind whips around in a circle.

Now we add the letter א (aleph) to גל (gal) to form the word גאל (ga’al), which means the bringing around of someone through a buying back or, more simply, “to redeem”.  It can also mean to restore to an original position.  You might recognize the term go’el, the kinsman redeemer, whose role it was to redeem or deliver a family member who was in slavery.  A related word geulah, is used for the redemption and points to three things: the redeeming of an individual from death, the redeeming of Israel from Egyptian bondage and the redeeming of the nation from exile.

If we substitute the letter ע (ayin) for the aleph we get עגל (agal), which also means round.  However, it is generally translated calf, bullock or heifer pointing to an animal circling around in play.  From this comes the word עגלה (ag’lah) for cart or wagon because the wheels of the cart go around.

There is also another interesting combination of these letters in the word ma’gal or circuit.  This word is used in Psalm 23 when speaking of ma’aglei Tzedek, or “paths of righteousness”.  The idea, then, is of a righteous one walking in the cycles of the Torah commandments.  So we can compare how a wagon wheel follows inside the ruts of the road with how one walks in the cycle of the Torah.  They both follow the same route time after time on a path that is well defined and easy to follow.

In the galut the Torah was both the anchor and the protective wall for survival, preserving unity. (Gen. R. 41:9)

All this leads to a very interesting dichotomy. The word for redemption, as we have seen, is “geulah” (גאולה), but if we remove the aleph, the word now becomes “golah” (גולה), meaning Exile.   Therefore, the concept of exile and redemption are connected words whereby exile transforms into redemption through the letter aleph.  Although an aleph refers to the head of an ox, the actual concept speaks of the strength and power of the head of the house.  This, of course, points to the father, which in this case is Jacob.  Therefore through the Father, Israel’s exile is transformed into their redemption.

This is the basis for the entire story of Joseph and the re-unification of the brothers who represented all the tribes of Israel.  Joseph is a wonderful type of the Messiah who was raised up as second in command over Egypt.  Egypt is a picture of the world and the place of exile for Israel.  It was the same place the brothers were gathered for the first redemption at the Passover of the Exodus.  In the second or final redemption, at the end of days, there will be a re-gathering in the exact same manner.  If you recall, gal means the second time around for an event.  So basically the redemption plan of God is a two-event process.  This is clearly revealed in the two comings of Yeshua the Messiah.  The progression includes the atonement for sin, the resurrection of the Messiah, the ingathering of those in the diaspora, the second coming of the Messiah and the final resurrection of the righteous dead.

Now back to the meaning of the wagon.  The use and export of wagons during this time in Egypt was forbidden and was considered a limited privilege granted only by the Pharoah himself.  Basically, no one was permitted to take a wagon out of the kingdom without his authority. (Talmud Berachot 4:4)

In addition, no cow was permitted to leave Egypt without her womb first being removed to ensure that she would not calve.  So both cows and wagons could not be exported from Egypt without the authorization of the Pharoah.  This is confirmed in the Torah portion.

What does this really mean?  Here is just one interpretation for your consideration.  Perhaps Jacob is a picture of our heavenly Father as represented by the sun in Joseph’s dream.  Rachel is a picture of the Holy Spirit and the stars are the twelve brothers who represent the heads of the tribes of Israel.  Joseph is, of course, a type of Yeshua the Messiah who will become ruler over the world, second only to the Father.  The final redemption will occur at the end of days and the hallmark of that redemption is the resurrection of the righteous dead.  This is what the sages call the “World to Come” (Olam Haba) that returns to the earth just as it was present in the garden before sin entered the world.

So when Jacob sees the wagons, he knows the redemption is complete and all things have been fulfilled.  Therefore, the Father knew “it was finished” as the wagons returned to the land of Israel, which is a picture of heaven.  Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which indicated the spiritual revival of the whole nation.  This was, of course, only a shadow of things to come.  It is said, “When the divine presence rests on Jacob – he is referred to as Israel.  His title points to spiritual nobility, grandeur and power”.

From the time of R. Akiva it became accepted belief that "in every place where Israel was exiled the Shekhinah was exiled with them".                                                          (Meg. 29a; Ta'an. 1:1)

Jacob’s spirit was revived when he saw the wagons, which represented the redemption and the resurrection.  He knew for sure his son, Joseph, was alive.  Jacob was now ready to return to Egypt to join Joseph with all the brothers.  At this time, he would eagerly go down to Egypt and settle there in exile for as long as God willed.  He took with him all his wealth and cattle for the long spiritual journey that would eventually take him and his progeny back to the land of Israel, which was a picture of heaven returning to earth.

As you continue in your studies, keep a sharp eye out for the revelation of the two-step redemption process.  This plan of God is woven into virtually every passage of Scripture.

Miketz (at the end)

0

Torah Gemstones – Miketz (at the end) Genesis 41:1-44:17

This week’s portion always falls on the Shabbat of Chanukah for the annual Torah portion cycle.  Certainly there are elements in the parshah, Miketz, that relate to Chanukah but there is also a very strong connection to Passover.  The first Passover, it would seem, was actually celebrated in Egypt with Joseph and his brothers and prepared the rest of the family of Israel for the second Passover at the time of the Exodus.  It seems to me this first Passover was a prophetic picture of the first redemption and the first coming of the Messiah, while the “second” Passover was a prophetic picture of the final redemption as revealed in the second coming of the Messiah.

Based on that understanding, Miketz contains many remarkable similarities to the Passover of the Exodus and even to the Passover celebrated by Yeshua with his Talmidim.  Joseph, a type of Messiah, was raised up as second in command in Egypt in the same way Moshe was raised up.  The brothers of Joseph were gathered together to participate in the first Passover in Egypt just as the entire nation joined Moshe in taking part in the second Passover also in Egypt.  However, many questions arise when considering the account of Passover here in Miketz.

What kind of famine were they experiencing in Israel if there was a seemingly bountiful harvest?  The reason for “going down” to Egypt was because of a famine.  But the sons of Jacob took the very best products of the land of Israel to Joseph in Egypt – resin gum, honey, pistachios, almonds etc, plus double the money the brothers originally took to Egypt.  How is it the land of Israel produced these things yet there was a famine?  How is it they were blessed with money double the amount they received from Joseph?  Perhaps the brothers are taking with them all the best of Eretz Israel in order to provide physically and spiritually for those who will be in exile in the future.  This is a pattern repeated over and over again.  In spiritual terms, the best the land had to offer was its Tzaddikim (Righteous ones), the Torah (Commandments) and the Avodah (Temple service). The exile of the Children of Israel to Egypt and their subsequent redemption and exodus are the paradigm of all exile and redemption, both physically and spiritually.

Why is Benjamin, the youngest son of Rachel and Jacob, the key to the restoration of the whole family?  Judah reminds Jacob, his Father, two times that the brothers were told by Joseph, a type of Messiah, “you will not see my face again unless your brother (Benjamin) is with you”. Perhaps this is because of the special status given to Benjamin by his father.  He was named Ben Oni, “son of my affliction”, by his mother as she lay dying in childbirth, but was re-named by Jacob, his father, “son of my right hand”.  He is yet another picture of Yeshua the Messiah in his two comings, and the agent of the redemption for the whole house of Israel.

Who was the guardian of Joseph’s house – the one in charge of everything Joseph had and who served the brothers at the entrance of the house?  Could he represent the High Priest?  Did the house represent the Temple? The High Priest was responsible for offering up the Passover offering.  He was in charge of everything that went on in the Temple and he served the people at the entrance to the Temple.

Why was Shim’on left behind in prison when the brothers returned to the land without Benjamin?  When the brothers confessed they didn’t know who had put the money back in their sacks, the guardian said,  “Peace be with you!  Do not fear.  Your God and the God of your father has given you a hidden treasure in your sacks.  Your money came to me” and then Scripture says “he brought out to them Shi’mon”.  Shim’on means “oil”, so perhaps he was a picture of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit was left behind in Egypt to prepare the way for the family when they returned for the second Passover.  Perhaps this is a picture of the Spirit being given to the nation after the redemption price was paid when the brothers returned the money.

Why was Benjamin’s meal portion five times larger than the rest of the brothers? Could it be because of the redemption of the firstborn, which is called the Pidyon Haben in Hebrew.  Granted, Benjamin was not physically the firstborn, but he did represent the firstborn of the redemption as we have just noted. The firstborn was redeemed with five silver coins given to the priest.  It was the father who offered the five silver coins for the boy.  Normally the duties of a priest fell to the eldest son of each family because God intended for the firstborn to be a priest who would be that family’s representative to the Holy Temple.  Did Moshe, as the priest from tribe of Levi, replace Joseph as the firstborn?  Did Benjamin replace Joseph as the firstborn? This mitzvah or commandment was to remind Israel of the Exodus from Egypt when God killed the firstborn of the Egyptians and spared them.

"Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine."

Why was Joseph’s special silver cup put back into the sack of BenjaminIt was the guardian of Joseph’s household that placed the goblet into the sack of Benjamin along with the rest of the money.  Could this be a picture of the cup of Elijah?   Consider Luke 22:20 where Yeshua says, “This cup that is poured out for you” or from I Corinthians, “This cup is the new covenant (at the time of Passover) effected by my blood; do this as you often as you drink it as a memorial to me.”  It was only Yeshua and Elijah that could drink from that cup.  Today the cup of Elijah is the 5th cup of wine during the Passover Seder.  The four cups correspond to the four "expressions of redemption" promised by God.  The fifth cup corresponds to the fifth expression of redemption, which comes in the following verse: "I will bring you to the Land.” This is an allusion to the future messianic redemption, which will be announced by Elijah.

There are all kinds of additional similarities between the meal Joseph’s brothers experienced and the Passover meal.  Here are just a few. Joseph instructed the guardian of the “house” (think Temple) to take the men inside, kill the animals, prepare the meat so they could dine with Joseph at noon (tsa’harayim), or literally afternoon.  Passover is the only festival that officially starts at “noon”, not in the evening, and the lamb itself was slain in the afternoon at 3:00pm.  The guardian of the “house” brought the men into the “house” and gave them water, for purification perhaps, and let them wash their feet as Yeshua washed the feet of his Talmidim. In addition the Firstborn was given the place of honor while the youngest sat in the last place just as it is was at the time of Yeshua.  Finally, the brothers ate separately from the Egyptians because the Egyptians, who were foreigners, were not circumcised as required by the Torah to partake in the Passover.

Hopefully all these amazing connections have served to whet your appetite for more and have encouraged you to go back into this story to examine even more details of the Passover.  From there I trust you will see a pattern emerge into an even bigger picture. Chag Sameach Chanukah!!

Study to Show Yourself Approved Session 8

0

Download the PDF Workbook for this series

This session covers the significance of the calendar and the Biblical Festivals and introduces the concept of the seven thousand year plan of God.  This may well be one of the most important areas in terms of research that I cover.  Most of Scripture contains elements of one kind or another dealing with these areas.  Check out this latest video to gain a better understanding of God' calendar and His appointed times.

 

Part 8

Part 8 - Audio

 

V’yashev (and he dwelled)

2

This week’s parshah points to numerous connections between the life of Joseph and the life of Yeshua, but something that stood out in particular is found in the very first verses.  It begins with a rather odd introduction,

“These are the descendants of Jacob - Joseph at the age of seventeen years was a shepherd with his brothers by the flock.” 

Joseph is the most beloved son of Jacob from among the eleven other sons and even from Reuben, the firstborn, the one destined for the birthright.  But Joseph is the firstborn of Rachel, Jacob’s beloved wife and the wife of promise.  She is a shadow, or type, of the Holy Spirit.  We are reminded in the first chapter of Acts to “wait for the Promise of the Father”, a reference to the coming of the immersion in the Holy Spirit.  The firstborn of Rachel and Jacob is Joseph, the first fruit of that union, and Yeshua is the first fruit of the union between the Spirit and our Heavenly Father.  In the same way Yeshua and the Father are One, so too Joseph and Jacob are one.  It is said of Joseph that his life and acts will reveal much of the hidden light of Messiah.”

So what then is the significance of the number seventeen? Not only is it used to reveal Joseph’s age here, but it is found later in Genesis when the children of Israel are in Egypt with Jacob.

So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly.  And Jacob dwelled in the land of Egypt seventeen years.  So the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years.

                                                             Genesis 47:27,28

Notice the substitution between the name of Israel and of Jacob, between Goshen and Egypt, and the connection to seventeen years.  Also interesting is that the sages decided to put a parshah break between these two passages.  Notice also both verses begin with the idea of “dwelling” which is the name of this week’s portion V’yeshev, “and he dwelled”.  There seems to be an emphasis on two separate and set apart time periods and a connection to the number seventeen and the Children of Israel.

Both Yeshua and Joseph are identified as shepherds but they are also pictures of a lamb led to slaughter. The gematria for the word sacrifice or zevach is seventeen.  The altar of burnt offering, described as the literal heart of the temple, had seventeen parts just as the human heart has seventeen parts.  Yeshua rose from the dead on the seventeenth of the first month and Haman, from the story of Esther who is the eternal enemy of the Jews, was defeated on the seventeenth of the first month.  Finally Joseph was seventeen when he set out to find his brothers who were shepherding the sheep in Shechem.  So what is the meaning of seventeen?  Perhaps the number represents the unity of the Spirit and the Torah as manifested in the life of Joseph and Yeshua the Messiah and in their relationship to the tribes of Israel.   In both cases, there seems to be an allusion to the first coming of Messiah as pictured in the pit or the grave, and to a second coming as both Yeshua and Joseph were raised up as King over the land second only to God.

The Holy Spirit is described as the seven-fold spirit in both Isaiah and Revelation, and the Torah is understood to be the ten utterances or commandments of God.  Both Yeshua and Joseph embodied the attributes of the Spirit as they walked in the commandments of God.  The number seventeen, composed of a seven and a ten, has some other interesting characteristics.  It is a triangular number where the first seventeen integers added together total 153. Also seventeen when multiplied by nine equals 153.  Nine is a number that represents truth in Hebrew thinking.  Now we have a combination of the Spirit, the Word, and truth all represented in 153.  This is also the numerical value of the name Betzalel, whose name means “in the image of God”, and who was the builder of the TabernacleBeni Elohim, or the Sons of God, also has the value of 153.  Remember the 153 fish that Peter and the disciples caught in the net after Yeshua had been resurrected from the dead!  In several journal articles on this topic, scholars have long connected the number seventeen in this way.

I have called by name Betzalel, the son of Uri (my light), the son of  Hur of the tribe of Judah.  And I have filled him with the Spirit of God (seven-fold Spirit) in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship.

                                                                                   Exodus 31:1

And Yeshua increased in wisdom and stature (in rising up) and in favor with God and men.

                                                                                   Luke 2:52

Ultimately, the number seventeen reveals the two comings of Yeshua the Messiah, the manifestation of the Spirit and the Torah in His life, and the completion of the Kingdom through His seed, the Sons of God.  As Sons of God, we are called to be a witness to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we walk in the commandments of God.  Those that are His walk by the Spirit and hold to the testimony of His word.

Two Ages: Olam Haba and Olam Hazeh (8 parts)

4

Have you ever wondered what Yeshua meant when he told his Talmidim, "I will be with you always even to the end of the age" or when his Talmidim said, "What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?"  These questions are answered in this eight part series called The Two Ages.  This is an in-depth teaching on the concept of the Olam Hazeh, this present age and the Olam  Haba, the future age to come.  This is one of the most important patterns in Scripture.  Understanding these concepts will unlock many passages that have perhaps seemed confusing.

 

 

Part 1

Part 1 -


Part 2

Part 2 -


Part 3

Part 3 -


Part 4

Part 4 -


Part 5

Part 5 -


Part 6

Part 6 -


Part 7

Part 7 -


Part 8

Part 8 -

Chanukah and the Tabernacle

0

Chanukah, the Feast of Dedication, is familiar to many of us and is based on a story from the book of Macabbees.   Some believe the Macabbees based the date for Chanukah, Kislev 25, on actual events.  However, it is more likely they chose the date based on the prophecies of Haggai, who identified Kislev 25 as the time of the completion for the construction and dedication of the Temple.  Of course today’s celebration includes lighting the Chanukah candles and reminds us of the priests lighting the menorah in the Temple.  Even more significant are Haggai’s prophecies that connect to Numbers chapter seven.  This chapter outlines the dedication of the altar and the offerings brought by the princes of Israel.  This particular chapter is the reading from the Torah for the Shabbat that falls during the week of Chanukah.  That is because on Kislev 25 the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was completed even though it was yet to be dedicated.  The actual dedication would take place the first day of the first month of the Biblical calendar.

“It was on the day Moshe finished raising up the Tabernacle that he anointed it and he sanctified it, and the altar and all its utensils he anointed them and he sanctified them.”

Numbers 7:1

The word “finished” is Kallot from the root Kallah and can mean a bride.  We see the same thing expressed in Genesis.

“The heavens and the earth were finished in all their array. On the seventh day God finished the work, which he made and he rested from all his work, which he had done."

Genesis 2:1,2

I would like to suggest that this concept of “finished” speaks of the fullness of the Messianic Kingdom and is connected to the marriage of the bride to the bridegroom.  That unity is related to Chanukah and hints at the consummation of the marriage with the two becoming one body.  The Tabernacle and the Temple are the picture of the unity of the house as seen in the marriage.  They are patterned after a physical body and represent the unity of the Messiah and his congregation on earth.  This is the underlying meaning of the completion, sanctification and dedication of the Mishkan.

Again, this is played out in Numbers chapter seven through the offerings made by the princes of the tribes of Israel on the day the Tabernacle and altar were anointed.  There is a “double” used here in the Hebrew language when speaking of the offerings of the princes.

“One prince (Nasi Echad) to each day, one prince (Nasi Echad) to each day, shall they bring their offering for the dedication of the altar.”

Numbers 7:11

These princes represented the unity of the tribes of Israel.  Their task was to elevate the nation in order to bring the people to a higher level of sanctity.  These were prominent men from the tribal families who stood out as the true leaders of Israel.  Together they brought their offerings on the day appointed by God.  Their offerings were identical, which indicated the tribes were equal in their relationship to the central Sanctuary.  This is the unity of the congregation of Israel.  The twelve princes further reflected a joint national goal of inaugurating the Tabernacle.

So why is there a Hebrew double when referring to the offering of the princes on the altar?  Perhaps this pointed to the two future Temples that would be built in Jerusalem where these offerings would continue.  Perhaps it also pointed to the two comings of Yeshua the Messiah who offered himself on the altar, in order to build the congregation and bring the complete unity of the body of Messiah.  This takes us back to the picture of the bride and the bridegroom being sanctified, dedicated, and becoming one body at the time of the Messianic Kingdom.

The sanctification of the individual parts of the sanctuary was accomplished only by the sanctification of the whole.  Each part, by itself, was incomplete and needed the other parts to be sanctified in order to complement one other.  It was said the whole could not do without its least important part.  So the Tabernacle became the place where the whole needed each part and each part needed the whole.  Then it was “finished”.

Ultimately what does this mean for the community today?  The answer can be found in the words of Rav Shaul from his letters to the Corinthians and to the Ephesians.

For just as the body is one but has many parts and all the parts of the body though many constitute one body so it is with the Messiah. 

Indeed many parts, yet just one body.

If one part suffers all parts suffer with it and if one part is honored, all the parts share its happiness.

Now you together constitute the body of the Messiah and individually you are parts of it. 

God has placed in the community apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, shepherds…their task is to equip God’s people for the work of the service that builds the body of Messiah.

 

I Corinthians 12, 20, 26, 27, 28

In union with him the whole building is held together and is growing into a holy temple in union with the Messiah.  Yes in union with him you yourselves are being built together into a spiritual dwelling place (tabernacle) for God.

Ephesians 2:21

The culmination of this entire concept of the Tabernacle being finished and the unity of the congregation expressed through the twelve princes is found in the first few verses in Numbers eight.  The commandment, originally discussed in Exodus, concerns the design of the seven-branched menorah.

Moshe heard the voice of “One” speaking to him from above the mercy seat. When you arrange the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.

                                      Numbers 8:1

The central shaft of the menorah was to bear the central light.  Then all seven lights were to shine toward the center of the menorah and unite into that one dominant light.  According to the Ramban, the kindling of this light alludes to a later menorah, that of the miracle of light of Chanukah”.  In addition, Yeshua the Messiah is a picture of that central shaft.  He declared, “I am the light of the world”.  Now the words of John in Revelation bring added meaning to the concept of the unity of the congregation.

Then I turned to see the voice that spoke to me.  And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands and in the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of Man. The seven menorahs, which you saw are the seven congregations.  

Rev 1:12,13,20.