Temple Triennial Cycle - Commentaries
Sabbath Forty-seven (Feb 16, 2002)
(Then Moses departed),
commonly called Exodus 4:18 – 6:1 (*Divided
for seven Torah readers)
1 Amen* 18 Then Moses departed and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, "Please, let me go, that I may return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see if they are still alive." And Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace." 19 Now Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, "Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead." 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand. 21 And Yahweh said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says Yahweh, "Israel is My son, My first-born. 23 "So I said to you, 'Let My son go, that he may serve Me'; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your first-born."'"
2 Amen* 24 Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that Yahweh met him and sought to put him to death. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and threw it at Moses' feet, and she said, "You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me." 26 So He let him alone. At that time she said, "You are a bridegroom of blood "-- because of the circumcision. 27 Now Yahweh said to Aaron, "Go to meet Moses in the wilderness." So he went and met him at the mountain of God, and he kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of Yahweh with which He had sent him, and all the signs that He had commanded him to do.
3 Amen* 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the sons of Israel; 30 and Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses. He then performed the signs in the sight of the people. 31 So the people believed; and when they heard that Yahweh was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped. 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.'" 2 But Pharaoh said, "Who is Yahweh that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know Yahweh, and besides, I will not let Israel go." 3 Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword."
4 Amen* 4 But the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you draw the people away from their work? Get back to your labors!" 5 Again Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are now many, and you would have them cease from their labors!" 6 So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying, 7 "You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 "But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it. Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' 9 "Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it that they may pay no attention to false words."
5 Amen* 10 So the taskmasters of the people and their foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, "Thus says Pharaoh, 'I am not going to give you any straw. 11 'You go and get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it; but none of your labor will be reduced.'" 12 So the people scattered through all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 And the taskmasters pressed them, saying, "Complete your work quota, your daily amount, just as when you had straw." 14 Moreover, the foremen of the sons of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, "Why have you not completed your required amount either yesterday or today in making brick as previously?"
6 Amen* 15 Then the foremen of the sons of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, "Why do you deal this way with your servants? 16 "There is no straw given to your servants, yet they keep saying to us, 'Make bricks!' And behold, your servants are being beaten; but it is the fault of your own people." 17 But he said, "You are lazy, very lazy; therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to Yahweh.' 18 "So go now and work; for you shall be given no straw, yet you must deliver the quota of bricks." 19 And the foremen of the sons of Israel saw that they were in trouble because they were told, "You must not reduce your daily amount of bricks."
7 Amen* 20 When they left Pharaoh's presence, they met Moses and Aaron as they were waiting for them. 21 And they said to them, "May Yahweh look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh's sight and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us." 22 Then Moses returned to Yahweh and said, "O Lord, why hast Thou brought harm to this people? Why didst Thou ever send me? 23 "Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he has done harm to this people; and Thou hast not delivered Thy people at all." 6:1 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he shall let them go, and under compulsion he shall drive them out of his land."
"For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
1 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! 2 For Thou art the God of my strength; why hast Thou rejected me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling places. 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise Thee, O God, my God. 5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance, and my God.
26 "I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world." 27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 Yeshua therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him." 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. 31 Yeshua therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham's offspring, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You shall become free '?" 34 Yeshua answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 "And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 "If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. 37 "I know that you are Abraham's offspring; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 "I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father." 39 They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Yeshua said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 "But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 "You are doing the deeds of your father." They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." 42 Yeshua said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 "Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. 45 "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God." 48 The Jews answered and said to Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan andhave a demon?" 49 Yeshua answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 "But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death." 52 The Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word, he shall never taste of death.' 53 "Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?" 54 Yeshua answered, "If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, 'He is our God'; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and keep His word. 56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." 57 The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" 58 Yeshua said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Yeshua hid Himself, and went out of the Temple.
(V.18) Moses went to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, "Please, let me go, that I may return to my brethren who are in Egypt." After being sustained for many years through his father-in-law, it was appropriate for Moses to go to him and ask for leave. This has very practical guidance for us, though, ultimately, we need to obey God even if the world system does not give us leave.
(V.21) Yahweh said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”
Moses was to take care to perform all that Yahweh instructed. As an imperfect picture of Yeshua, Moses did not always fulfill that command (as in striking the rock for water). Yeshua did perfectly fulfill all that the Father instructed. We, as His followers, are to take care to fulfill all of His instruction; only through His Spirit can we even desire to do this, and being led by His Spirit requires that we first have received faith, which requires knowledge of His Word.
The God Who created all and rules over all, said beforehand that He would harden the Pharaohs heart, to disobey. Note that God stated this before any action on the Pharaohs part. Afterward, the Pharaoh said he had neither knowledge of nor faith in Yahweh, nor any inclination to obey in any case. The Apostle Paul used this particular case as an example of how God grants faith by grace (unmerited favor), and hardens whom He will (Romans 9:14-22), without regard for any good or evil done by the recipient.
(V.24) Part of God’s requirement upon Moses was that his own son should be under the Covenant – indicated by circumcision on the eighth day. Moses was traveling at God’s command, and circumcision can be delayed for life’s sake, such as during travel. However, when the family was resting at a lodge, there was no excuse for delay, and God made an issue of Moses’ default. Moses’ wife, Zipporah, performed the circumcision to save Moses’ life. It seems hard for most Christians today to understand the importance God places upon observance of His ordinances – the commandments that signify our relationship to God, that teach us spiritual truths. Here we have a great example: God’s ordinances are not subject to our judgments of what is important! Zipporah referred to Moses as a “bridegroom of blood”, which seems to fit Yeshua’s position: the Bridegroom of the Covenant.
(V.29-31) Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the sons of Israel; and Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses. He then performed the signs in the sight of the people. So the people believed; and when they heard that Yahweh was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped. This is reminiscent of Yeshua’s time on earth 1300 years later: He spoke God’s words at the Temple and in synagogues; He performed miracles before multitudes of people – to show that He was indeed the Messiah. There were a chosen few who recognized His concern for them, and they bowed low and worshipped. Yeshua said therefore to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life” (John 6:67-68).
(V.5:1) Moses and Aaron came to the Pharaoh, saying, “Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go’ ”. After the Pharaoh said that he did not know Yahweh, nor would he obey Him, Moses referred to God as “The God of the Hebrews” (v.3). If the Pharaoh would not recognize Yahweh as the God, at least he should respect Him as God of the Hebrews. The request, “Please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword”, amounts to a warning, in respectful language, that Egypt would be in danger: “fall upon us” is meant for Egypt.
Moses was sent to deliver God’s people, but when life got harder for the people, they complained about Moses’ actions.
Yeshua was sent to deliver us from “Egypt”, the world of sin. But, if life here doesn’t become immediately easier, we often complain about God’s ways, or doubt His messenger, as the people did Moses. Life commonly gets harder when we become believers, because we are struggling against the world. The world expects us to live for things like pleasure and money. Sabbath-keeping is made extremely difficult by the world and its expectations of us: weddings and funerals are held on Sabbath, stores have their sales on Sabbath, etc. We may be called derogatory names by those who resent our manner of life, sometimes because we make them feel guilty, sometimes just because we are different. Too often, we just don’t want to be different – often in areas such as language and dress and entertainment.
David says (Psalm 43), “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; . . . Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me”.
Isaiah (v.55:12) fortells us, “For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Moses was sent, as a prophetic type of Yeshua, to deliver God’s people. Through Moses, God’s people were delivered from slavery in Egypt. While this pictured spiritual deliverance, those without faith were still slaves to sin. Of Yeshua’s deliverance, it is said (John 8:36), “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Yeshua goes on to describe (in keeping with the beginning of today’s Torah portion – Exodus 4:21), “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:47). Note that, Yeshua does not say, “You are not of God because you do not hear God’s words”; we are not at liberty to reverse the order of cause and effect. God rules all of His creation; we do not control God.
Several times a day I am made to consider: Elohim, the Creator who judges His creation, is Yahweh, the Eternal who is gracious to provide for our needs, and that in order for us to serve Him, not ourselves! “Blessed are You, Yahweh Eloheinu, Ruler of the Universe . . .” He is blessed, because He provides for us sustenance, so that we can bless Him!
(John 8:.58) Yeshua said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” In last weeks Torah portion (Exodus 3:14), God told Moses that He was the “I Am”. Because Yeshua identified Himself with God, some Jews sought to stone Him. This does not leave much room for doubt about the proper interpretation of Yeshua’s statement.
Sabbath Forty-eight (Feb 23, 2002)
Shemot (Names): Yahweh - Vaera (Yahweh appeared), commonly called Exodus 6:2 – 7:7 (*Divided for seven Torah readers)
1 Amen* 2 God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am Yahweh; 3 and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Yahweh, I did not make Myself known to them. 4 "And I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. 5 "And furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant.
2 Amen* 6 "Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, 'I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 'Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 'And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am Yahweh.'"
3 Amen* 9 So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage. 10 Now Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 11 "Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land." 12 But Moses spoke before Yahweh, saying, "Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?"
4 Amen* 13 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
14 These are the heads of their fathers' households. The sons of Reuben, Israel's first-born: Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. 15 And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon. 16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon and Kohath and Merari; and the length of Levi's life was one hundred and thirty-seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families. 18 And the sons of Kohath: Amram and Izhar and Hebron and Uzziel; and the length of Kohath's life was one hundred and thirty-three years. 19 And the sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. 20 And Amram married his father's sister Jochebed, and she bore him Aaron and Moses; and the length of Amram's life was one hundred and thirty-seven years. 21 And the sons of Izhar: Korah and Nepheg and Zichri. 22 And the sons of Uzziel: Mishael and Elzaphan and Sithri. 23 And Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 24 And the sons of Korah: Assir and Elkanah and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. 25 And Aaron's son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' households of the Levites according to their families.
26 It was the same Aaron and Moses to whom Yahweh said, "Bring out the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts." 27 They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the sons of Israel from Egypt; it was the same Moses and Aaron.
5 Amen* 28 Now it came about on the day when Yahweh spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 that Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "I am Yahweh; speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you." 30 But Moses said before Yahweh, "Behold, I am unskilled in speech; how then will Pharaoh listen to me?"
6 Amen* 7:1 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 "You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land. 3 "But I will harden Pharaoh's heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.
7 Amen* 4 "When Pharaoh will not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt, and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments. 5 "And the Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst." 6 So Moses and Aaron did it; as Yahweh commanded them, thus they did. 7 And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Ezekiel 28:25 – 29:21
25 'Thus says Yahweh God, "When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and shall make known My holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob. 26 "And they will live in it securely; and they will build houses, plant vineyards, and live securely, when I execute judgments upon all who scorn them round about them. Then they will know that I am Yahweh their God."'"
29:1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth of the month, the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 2 "Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. 3 "Speak and say, 'Thus says Yahweh God, "Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great monster that lies in the midst of his rivers, that has said, 'My Nile is mine, and I myself have made it.' 4 "And I shall put hooks in your jaws, and I shall make the fish of your rivers cling to your scales. And I shall bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, and all the fish of your rivers will cling to your scales. 5 "And I shall abandon you to the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers; you will fall on the open field; you will not be brought together or gathered. I have given you for food to the beasts of the earth and to the birds of the sky. 6 "Then all the inhabitants of Egypt will know that I am Yahweh, because they have been only a staff made of reed to the house of Israel. 7 "When they took hold of you with the hand, you broke and tore all their hands; and when they leaned on you, you broke and made all their loins quake." 8 'Therefore, thus says Yahweh God, "Behold, I shall bring upon you a sword, and I shall cut off from you man and beast. 9 "And the land of Egypt will become a desolation and waste. Then they will know that I am Yahweh. Because you said, 'The Nile is mine, and I have made it,' 10 therefore, behold, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene and even to the border of Ethiopia. 11 "A man's foot will not pass through it, and the foot of a beast will not pass through it, and it will not be inhabited for forty years. 12 "So I shall make the land of Egypt a desolation in the midst of desolated lands. And her cities, in the midst of cities that are laid waste, will be desolate forty years; and I shall scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among the lands." 13 'For thus says Yahweh God, "At the end of forty years I shall gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. 14 "And I shall turn the fortunes of Egypt and shall make them return to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin; and there they will be a lowly kingdom. 15 "It will be the lowest of the kingdoms; and it will never again lift itself up above the nations. And I shall make them so small that they will not rule over the nations. 16 "And it will never again be the confidence of the house of Israel, bringing to mind the iniquity of their having turned to Egypt. Then they will know that I am Yahweh God."'" 17 Now in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 18 "Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder was rubbed bare. But he and his army had no wages from Tyre for the labor that he had performed against it." 19 Therefore, thus says Yahweh God, "Behold, I shall give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. And he will carry off her wealth, and capture her spoil and seize her plunder; and it will be wages for his army. 20 "I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor which he performed, because they acted for Me," declares Yahweh God. 21 "On that day I shall make a horn sprout for the house of Israel, and I shall open your mouth in their midst. Then they will know that I am Yahweh."
"I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.
Psalm 44 For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. (A Maskil is a contemplative poem.)
1 O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, the work that Thou didst in their days, in the days of old. 2 Thou with Thine own hand didst drive out the nations; then Thou didst plant them; Thou didst afflict the peoples, then Thou didst spread them abroad. 3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land; and their own arm did not save them; but Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy presence, for Thou didst favor them. 4 Thou art my King, O God; command victories for Jacob. 5 Through Thee we will push back our adversaries; through Thy name we will trample down those who rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, nor will my sword save me. 7 But Thou hast saved us from our adversaries, and Thou hast put to shame those who hate us. 8 In God we have boasted all day long, and we will give thanks to Thy name forever. Selah. 9 Yet Thou hast rejected us and brought us to dishonor, and dost not go out with our armies. 10 Thou dost cause us to turn back from the adversary; and those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves. 11 Thou dost give us as sheep to be eaten, and hast scattered us among the nations. 12 Thou dost sell Thy people cheaply, and hast not profited by their sale. 13 Thou dost make us a reproach to our neighbors, a scoffing and a derision to those around us. 14 Thou dost make us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples. 15 All day long my dishonor is before me, and my humiliation has overwhelmed me, 16 Because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles, because of the presence of the enemy and the avenger. 17 All this has come upon us, but we have not forgotten Thee, and we have not dealt falsely with Thy covenant. 18 Our heart has not turned back, and our steps have not deviated from Thy way, 19 yet Thou hast crushed us in a place of jackals, and covered us with the shadow of death. 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God, or extended our hands to a strange god; 21 would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. 22 But for Thy sake we are killed all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 23 Arouse Thyself, why dost Thou sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever. 24 Why dost Thou hide Thy face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul has sunk down into the dust; our body cleaves to the earth. 26 Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Thy lovingkindness.
III John 1-8
1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. 2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I was very glad when brethren came and bore witness to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. 5 Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; 6 and they bear witness to your love before the church; and you will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8 Therefore we ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers with the truth.
7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: 8 'I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My Name. 9 'Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie-- behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 'Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. 11 'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown. 12 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the Name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 13 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
And I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Name and the Name of His Father written on their foreheads.
“I am Yahweh; and I appeared . . .”
One might readily discern from today’s portion that Yahweh is making a strong point about His Name.
“Yahweh” is used sixteen times in the Torah portion, and twelve times in the Haftarah – Ezekiel portion, with once more in the verse of Isaiah. It is never used in Psalm 44, but twice “Thy Name” is used, and once “Adonai” (v.23) – which, according to The Institute for Scripture Research (The Scriptures, 1998), was originally “Yahweh”. We have chosen Apostolic portions that continue the theme to the New World.
(V.2-3) God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh; and I appeared to Abraham (Gen 17:1), Isaac (Gen 28:3), and Jacob (Gen 35:11), as El Shaddai (God Almighty), but by My name, Yahweh (The Eternal), I did not make Myself known to them.” Earlier in the Torah, we noted that “Elohim” is used when referring to the Creator who judges His creation, and “Yahweh” is used when referring to Him as The Eternal in His attribute of Grace/Mercy. But, it was Moses who wrote Genesis, and here we learn that God was not known to the earlier patriarchs as “Yahweh”, even though Moses used that Name throughout the accounts of their lives.
God also said (Exodus 3:15), “This is My Name forever, and this is My Memorial-Name to all generations.” He didn’t say, “As long as you remember how to pronounce it exactly as it was first said”. He didn’t say, “It’s okay to change My Word and substitute a word of different meaning” (such as Adonai/Lord, Hashem/The Name, etc.). He did allow contractions of His Name: “halleluyah” is hallel (praise) to Yah (Yahweh); “Yeshua” is Yah is shua (salvation). He did say, “You shall not take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain” (Exodus 20:7). He will not give the glory of His Name to any other god (Isaiah 42:8). [There are limited grammatical possibilities that The Name was, in its original fullness, longer, such as Ya-hu-weh’ – accented on last syllable.]
When Abraham took Isaac to Mt. Moriah to offer him, he said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you" (Genesis 22:5). Note that Abraham said that they were going to “worship”. And he said that they were going to return, though he was going to offer Isaac.
Remember that for Abraham’s first 56 years, Noah was still alive: Abraham’s world was very young, and it was most significant for him that God was the Creator that had the power to do anything He said. It is almost inconceivable to us that a father would be willing to sacrifice his son, especially one that he had awaited for much of his life, was the miraculous and only son of his beloved wife, and one to whom God had promised a great future. Tradition tells us that Sarah died upon hearing of this (Sarah’s life is no longer spoken of in the passage). We often hear of the great miracle of a ram being caught in a thicket by its horns – its strongest asset. And we often hear of Abraham’s faith, as though he was great of himself. But the greatest miracle here was that the Almighty gave Abraham faith to “worship” according to divine design!
My definition of a miracle is, since God controls everything, a situation where God does the unusual or unexpected. God usually causes apples to fall “down”, so we say there is a “law of gravity”; if we saw an apple fall “up”, we would call it a miracle. God usually causes water pour from higher into lower places, so when God caused a dry path in the midst of the Sea, it was called a miracle.
Today, we see people all around us inventing their ways to worship that “seem good” to them. We see churches with “worship teams” leading the singing of extra-biblical songs, starting with the misconception that worship means singing. Worship is more basically doing and learning what God says: Bible teachers, in word and deed, should be seen as the main “worship” leaders. When anyone desires to “worship” as God designed according to His Word, I call it a miracle! It is unusual, unexpected, and “unnatural”.
Now, 400 years after Abraham, Moses is on the scene. God is preparing to redeem a Bride for Messiah. He is remembering – that is preparing to fulfill – His ancient promise to Abraham concerning Isaac’s descendants. Now is the time for His people to know Him as Yahweh – The Eternal who remembers, who is gracious/merciful to His chosen. Now that His chosen are identified, they shall henceforth forever worship the Eternal Gracious One by His Name, Yahweh.
(V.6-8) This paragraph is
known as the Passover Covenant. It is the basis of the four cups of the Passover
seder: (1) the cup of sanctification or blessing, (2) the cup of deliverance,
(3) the cup of redemption, and (4) the cup of completion/glorification.
(1) “I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians,
(2) and I will deliver you from their bondage.
(3) I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
(4) Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am Yahweh.”
(V.7:3) “But I will harden Pharaoh's heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.” In chapter seven, God sends Moses and Aaron to confront the Pharaoh, but says that He will harden the Pharaoh’s heart – and why: He will show signs and wonders, culminating in the death of Egypt’s firstborn. Then, not only God’s chosen people, but all Egypt will know that Yahweh is God! This was but a taste of the final fulfillment: at the end of the age, not only believers, but all the world will know that Yahweh is God! He rules over all for eternity! This is the message of Ezekiel 28.
In Psalm 44 we read, “In Thy name we will trample down those who rise up against us” and “we will give thanks to Thy name forever. Selah.” Therefore we say, “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God …”.
This is the time to learn true worship! Those who will not learn early, are destined to learn too late that Yahweh has sent a redeemer, and will not share His glory with any other.
In III John, we read of those who were walking in truth, who “went out for the sake of The Name” to the gentiles, taking nothing from them.
In Revelation 3 we read that “he who overcomes” will have the Name of God written on him. Then, in Revelation 14, we read of the 144,000 Hebrew missionaries, that they will have “(Yeshua’s) Name and the Name of His Father written on their foreheads.”
In a couple of days, we start the month of preparation for the Passover seder. God has instructed us to worship in the Festivals, from Unleavened Bread to the Eighth Day Assembly, portraying redemption to glorification through Yeshua. We have no authority to make something else out of them, other than what His Word says. We cannot change “Yahweh’s Feast” (the Passover seder) to a “Lord’s Supper” consisting of two small elements: we are instructed to portray the whole Feast of “remembrance of Him”. We cannot change “You shall dwell in sukkot for seven days” (Leviticus 23:42) to “hold a conference”: we are instructed to “experience” the past to learn for the future. We cannot change “the blood of the Covenant” – grape juice/wine (Exodus 24:8, Matthew 24:28) to “water” or “whatever is handy”: God gave punishments for those who messed-up His pictures. By these Festivals we and the world are ultimately to understand that “Yahweh is God”, and “Yahweh is our Salvation” (meaning of Yeshua). We cannot change “the only name under heaven . . . by which you must be saved” (Acts 4:12) to “God would not be so unfair as to deny someone who sincerely tries his best”: He is sovereign: none of us “sincerely” seek God on our own (Psalm 14:2-3).
Sabbath Forty-nine (March 2, 2002)
Shemot (Names): Ki Y’daber (When he speaks), commonly called Exodus 7:8 – 8:19 (8:15 in Hebrew Bibles) (*Divided for seven Torah readers)
1 Amen* 8 Now Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 9 "When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, 'Work a miracle,' then you shall say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.'" 10 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as Yahweh had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. 12 For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.
2 Amen* 13 Yet Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as Yahweh had said. 14 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go. 15 "Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent. 16 "And you will say to him, 'Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now."
3 Amen* 17 'Thus says Yahweh, "By this you shall know that I am Yahweh: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it shall be turned to blood. 18 "And the fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul; and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile."'" 19 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'" 20 So Moses and Aaron did even as Yahweh had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. 21 And the fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt.
4 Amen* 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as Yahweh had said. 23 Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this. 24 So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile. 25 And seven days passed after Yahweh had struck the Nile.
5 Amen* 8:1 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says Yahweh, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 "But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs. 3 "And the Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls. 4 "So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants."'" 5 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.'" 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
6 Amen* 7 And the magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt. 8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Entreat Yahweh that He remove the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to Yahweh." 9 And Moses said to Pharaoh, "The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile?" 10 Then he said, "Tomorrow." So he said, "May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like Yahweh our God. 11 "And the frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile."
7 Amen* 12 Then Moses
and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to Yahweh concerning the frogs
which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh. 13 And Yahweh did according to the word of
Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields. 14 So
they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that
there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as Yahweh
16 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.'" 17 And they did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt. 18 And the magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as Yahweh had said.
"They have also cast lots for My people, traded a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine that they may drink.
Psalm 45 For the choir director; according to the Shoshannim. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love.
1 My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 Thou art fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured upon Thy lips; therefore God has blessed Thee forever. 3 Gird Thy sword on Thy thigh, O Mighty One, in Thy splendor and Thy majesty! 4 And in Thy majesty ride on victoriously, for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let Thy right hand teach Thee awesome things. 5 Thine arrows are sharp; the peoples fall under Thee; Thine arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies. 6 Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. 7 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee with the oil of joy above Thy fellows. 8 All Thy garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made Thee glad. 9 Kings' daughters are among Thy noble ladies; at Thy right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. 10 Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear; forget your people and your father's house; 11 then the King will desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. 12 And the daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; the rich among the people will entreat your favor. 13 The King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold. 14 She will be led to the King in embroidered work; the virgins, her companions who follow her, will be brought to Thee. 15 They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; they will enter into the King's palace. 16 In place of your fathers will be your sons; you shall make them princes in all the earth. 17 I will cause Thy name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the peoples will give Thee thanks forever and ever.
4 And the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying, "Righteous art Thou, who art and who wast, O Holy One, because Thou didst judge these things; 6 for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink. They deserve it." 7 And I heard the altar saying, "Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments."
8 And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory.
10 And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, 11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.
12 And the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east. 13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 15 ("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.") 16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called HarMaggedon.
Note on Ex 7:7
Gen 15:13 notes 400 years. Isaac lived 180 years, AM 2048-2228. Kohath (born in Canaan and went to Egypt) lived 133 years (Ex 6:18), AM 2235-2368. His son Amram lived 137 years (Ex 6:20), 2255-2392. Moses lived from 2368 to the exodus at 2448, when he was 80 years old (Ex 7:7). Thus the computation that the 400 years began with the birth of Isaac: from the birth of Isaac in AM 2048 to the exodus in 2448 was 400 years. (per Seder Olam)
Psalm 45: “Shoshannim” – lillies, symbolic of a bride, figurative of a lover’s lips. “A Song of Love” – concerning the Messiah and His Bride, as she is being delivered from Egyptian bondage.
(Ex 7:12) “But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.” This prefigured the Red Sea swallowing up Egypt’s armies.
(Ex 7:14 – 12:36) The Ten Plagues
The first three plagues showed the existence of Yahweh (v.7:17). The next three plagues showed that Yahweh ruled over all things (v.8:18). The last three plagues showed Yahweh’s omnipotence – more powerful than any other (v.9:14). The tenth was the promised (Ex 4:21-23) death of the firstborn. In each group of three plagues, the first two were preceded by warnings to the Pharaoh, but after two “witnesses”, the third came without warning as a judgment. The first warning of each group came at the Nile River, and the second warning of each group came at the Pharaoh’s palace: he claimed mastery over the River, and the palace was his seat of authority; God used these two places to warn him of his arrogance. (from R. Bachya)
(V.21-25) Only the Egyptians were plagued by their water turning to blood; when the Pharaoh had his magicians copy the plague, they had to get water from the Hebrews’ area (or possibly from new wells). After seven days, the blood turned back to water.
[Traditionally, it is taught that each plague lasted seven days, except when the Pharaoh asked Moses for relief; and each plague occurred in a succeeding month.]
The Pharaoh apparently only asked for relief from those plagues that were life threatening (frogs, wild beasts, hail, locusts, and death of the firstborn – of which the Pharaoh was one). (Or HaChaim)
(V.8:8-11) The Pharaoh may have suspected that Moses was but a superior magician, who could determine when a plague would naturally end: so he asked Moses to pray immediately that the plague of frogs would cease at a specific time – the next day. He was willing to endure the frogs longer to test this God of Moses.
(V.16-19) When the magicians could not copy the plague of lice, they said, “This is the finger of Elohim.” They acknowledged a God of creation, but not Yahweh, the One Eternal.
Sabbath Fifty (March 9, 2002)
Shemot (Names): Hash’kem baboker (Rise up early in the morning), commonly called Exodus 8:20 – 9:35 (8:16 - 9:35 in Hebrew Bibles) (*Divided for seven Torah readers)
1 Amen* 20 Now Yahweh said to Moses, "Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he comes out to the water, and say to him, 'Thus says Yahweh, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 21 "For if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of insects on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of insects, and also the ground on which they dwell. 22 "But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there, in order that you may know that I, Yahweh, am in the midst of the land. 23 "And I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall occur."'" 24 Then Yahweh did so. And there came great swarms of insects into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of insects in all the land of Egypt. 25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God within the land."
2 Amen* 26 But Moses said, "It is not right to do so, for we shall sacrifice to Yahweh our God what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us? 27 "We must go a three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to Yahweh our God as He commands us." 28 And Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to Yahweh your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me." 29 Then Moses said, "Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to Yahweh that the swarms of insects may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to Yahweh." 30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to Yahweh. 31 And Yahweh did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
3 Amen* 9:1 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, 'Thus says Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 "For if you refuse to let them go, and continue to hold them, 3 behold, the hand of Yahweh will come with a very severe pestilence on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks. 4 "But Yahweh will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing will die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel."'" 5 And Yahweh set a definite time, saying, "Tomorrow Yahweh will do this thing in the land." 6 So Yahweh did this thing on the morrow, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died. 7 And Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
4 Amen* 8 Then Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, "Take for yourselves handfuls of soot from a kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 "And it will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt." 10 So they took soot from a kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians. 12 And Yahweh hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not listen to them, just as Yahweh had spoken to Moses.
5 Amen* 13 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 14 "For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. 15 "For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. 16 "But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. 17 "Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go. 18 "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. 19 "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."'" 20 The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of Yahweh made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses; 21 but he who paid no regard to the word of Yahweh left his servants and his livestock in the field.
6 Amen* 22 Now Yahweh said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that hail may fall on all the land of Egypt, on man and on beast and on every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt." 23 And Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and Yahweh sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And Yahweh rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24 So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 And the hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, there was no hail. 27 Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time; Yahweh is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones. 28 "Make supplication to Yahweh, for there has been enough of God's thunder and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer."
7 Amen* 29 And Moses said to him, "As soon as I go out of the city, I will spread out my hands to Yahweh; the thunder will cease, and there will be hail no longer, that you may know that the earth is Yahweh's. 30 "But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear Yahweh God." 31 (Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they ripen late.) 33 So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to Yahweh; and the thunder and the hail ceased, and rain no longer poured on the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 And Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as Yahweh had spoken through Moses.
But pelican and hedgehog shall possess it, and owl and raven shall dwell in it; and He shall stretch over it the line of desolation and the plumb line of emptiness.
Psalm 46 For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song.
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. 6 The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. 7 Yahweh of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. 8 Come, behold the works of Yahweh, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. 9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. 10 "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 11 Yahweh of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Revelation 8:1 – 9:6
1 And when He broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God; and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. 5 And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them. 7 And 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. 8 And the second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood; 9 and a third of the creatures, which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed. 10 And the third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters; 11 and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter. 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way. 13 And I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe, to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"
9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. 3 And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. 6 And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die and death flees from them.
Psalm 45: Alamoth – Soprano voices of young women.
God’s weakness is greater than man’s strength (1 Corinthians 1:25). The weapons one uses for battle reveals how great one perceives the threat. Thus, for a powerful enemy, the most lethal weapons are chosen. What an insult to the mighty Pharaoh that Yahweh chose such weak weapons at the beginning of the “conflict.” Against Pharaoh’s armies, spears, swords, arrows and chariots, Yahweh attacks with gnats and flies. In fact, powerful Egypt could have ceased with any one of Yahweh’s plagues. This is not a battle of atrician. Yahweh is not selecting various weapons to weaken Egypt. It is more like a cat toying with a mouse before the death blow. Since Yahweh reveals Himself in His words and actions (whether in grace or judgment), we are priveledged to study Yahweh’s revelations as he toys with Pharaoh.
All rebellious creatures find beauty and comfort with things that God finds detestable. Conversely, rebellious creatures also find detestable those things that God sees as good. The position of the rebellious creature is to do the opposite of the creator when ever possible. The Egyptians not only worshipped many things other than Yahweh but, they chose to worship the more detestable things of Yahweh’s creation (flies, beetles). In poetic justice, Yahweh’s plagues brings Egypt’s objects of worship against them. It becomes more difficult to worship the beetle god when the beetle is forced to obey Yahweh.
We too can fall victim to such rebelliousness. Perhaps we’re not worshipping beetles, but are there things in this world that we value to such a degree that it begins to compete with our value of Yahweh? Do we love some other thing as much as (or more) than Yahweh? Having been saved from spiritual Egypt, are we still clinging to past idols? “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21).”
Flies usually appear to fly in random and disorganized patterns. But, by Yahweh’s command, the flies organize and target Egypt. The Torah is hinting at the fact that just as Yahweh controls the flies’ organized attack of Egypt, so too does Yahweh control the seemingly disorganized and random organization of flies we’re used to. We can extrapolate this and think of everything in creation we perceive as being random. Everything has been commanded by Yahweh. Imagine the terror of unbelieving man in the last days when so many “random” events organize and attack with unity and precision (Wild beasts, rising seas, severe wheather, earthquakes, plagues, wars, scorching sun). Imagine their dreadful realization that Yahweh not only exists, but that He has always been controlling his creation (though hiding His presence in His “random” patterns).
The idea of “knowledge” in Hebrew thought is not meant to convey trivia obtained from reading a book. “Knowledge” is something to be experienced and thus, “known.” All peoples will have knowledge of Yahweh and will be divided according to that knowledge. At this moment, there are souls in Hell who have knowledge (experience) of Yahweh’s judgment and there are souls in Heaven who have knowledge (experience) of Yahweh’s grace. There is a baptism of judgment and a baptism of grace. Pharaoh’s Egypt was to be given the knowledge (experience) not of Yahweh’s grace, but of His judgment. Conversely, God’s people were given the knowledge (experience) not of Yahweh’s judgment, but His Grace. This is the distinction between the two. One group has knowledge of God’s judgment while the other group has knowledge of God’s grace. Both groups ultimately have knowledge of Yahweh
Pharaoh’s continued changing of his mind is indicative of most hardened unbelievers. The word of Yahweh is easily ignored until things start to go wrong. Then, after expressing a token pledge of obedience if God reverses the problem, they go right back to their world of random events. “God didn’t really save me from that problem…it would have gone away eventually.” How often does God communicate His greatness to hardened unbelievers through overnight disasters, only to be rationalized as a random event after the dust settles. Is not Yahweh still toying with the eternally unfaithful (whoever they may be)? To what end? To make known the riches of His glory to his objects of grace. Because Israel was able to witness what a bad relationship with Yahweh could be like (through Pharaoh), it ought to have produced a greater sense of awe when Yahweh granted a good relationship with Israel. In the future, the glory of witnessing the New Jerusalem will be heightened upon viewing the depths of the Lake of Fire.
God’s wrath doesn’t come immediately. This delay further promotes a false sense of security among unbelievers. Pharaoh was given a day to wait for each warned plague. In the same way, unbelievers seemingly go unpunished---even when their actions are grossly wicked. We are tempted to think Yahweh does not judge evil---that a wicked lifestyle prospers. Yahweh is patient, even with His objects of wrath.
Faith without works is dead (James). Most of the miraculous plagues were followed by Moses’ obedient works (raised hands, throwing soot into the air, speaking to pharaoh beforehand). Of course, Moses’ obedient works was founded upon His faith in Yahweh.
Yahweh commands Moses many times to “get up early and confront Pharaoh.” Yahweh wants Pharaoh to know of Moses’ warnings for as long as possible until their fulfillment “on the next day.” In the same way, unbelieving scoffers will be given plenty of time to know Yeshua is returning. But, they will perceive Yahweh’s patience as evidence that Yahweh doesn’t even exist. Pharaoh must have continually hoped Moses was simply a great magician and that the God of the Israelites didn’t really exist.
Yahweh has already declared that He is the cause of Pharaoh’s hardened heart. Yahweh states that Pharaoh’s power was designed all along for his downfall. What is occurring is by Yahweh’s design and implementation. But, God’s sovereignty is not an excuse for a creatures sin. If the author writes that a certain character will do evil and be punished, that is what occurs in his story. Here, the sovereign author (Yahweh) has written a narrative and included Himself as one of the characters (condemning the actions of Pharaoh). It’s like a Hitchcock movie, in which the director also has a camio appearance. God is not only the author or playwrite, He is also a character or actor in His predetermined work. This is how two seemingly incompatible statments relate---Yahweh’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart verses Pharaoh hardening his own heart.
Shalom in Yeshua,
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