Tanak foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 8

From his first encounter with Pharaoh in Exo 5.1-3 to Exo 12.31, Moses has always said “three days” to Pharaoh, like the Lord told him to say. But, he has told the elders of Israel that they were going to Canaan (Exo 3.16-18). We have two stories and they both are accurate. We have to have the scenario where the three days are fulfilled and no more, and we are going to have the scenario where they are going to Canaan. One thing to keep in mind here is the Lord is hardening the heart of Pharaoh during this whole process. Moses has never told Pharaoh “Let my people go so that they can go to Canaan.” The “Ten Commandments” movies are all wrong about this, among other things.

We have Moses always saying “three days” and this becomes a very important point. Pharaoh will come after them within those three days. So, something has shown Pharaoh that they are leaving the land of Egypt, but we know that they crossed at the Gulf of Suez, not the Gulf of Aqaba. They could not reach the Gulf of Aqaba within three days.
Pharaoh is not going to let Israel go without a strong hand against him. God will “stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my miracles, which I will do in the midst of it, and after that he will let you go” (Exo 3.19-20). Pharaoh will die within those three days that he allows them to go. He pursues them into the Red Sea, and he drowns alongside his army (Psa 136.15). As a result, both scenarios presented in the Scriptures are correct. They went for three days, but Pharaoh died. So, his ownership over them was broken and they are now free to go on to Canaan.

In prophecy, this will be a picture of Yeshua and the False Messiah in the end. Have we sinned? What is the penalty? It is death. However, Satan is an executioner. Is he guilty? No, because we deserve it (the wages of sin is death). Has Yeshua sinned? No, so he did not deserve to die because he wasn’t guilty. So, the status of Satan changes from legal executioner to murderer from the beginning because of Yeshua. The children of Israel did not have a bond to the Egyptians. They only had a bond to Pharaoh. When Pharaoh dies in the sea, that bond was broken and Israel was free (Pharaoh’s heirs were dead, too).

There are popular videos still out there today about how Israel crossed the Gulf of Aqaba at a place called Nuweiba in the southeastern part of the Sinai Peninsula. The problem is, it is not consistent with what we have been reading from Exo 5.1-5 to Exo 12.41. It does not take into account the legal story of what was happening, and the three days. There are even those who claim to have found a land bridge there, with chariot wheels, horse and human bones found at the bottom around this crossing site. There is no proof whatsoever that these things are true, but people want something “dramatic” like “chariot wheels” being found in the Gulf of Aqaba, or Yeshua being slain at Gordon’s Calvary and his blood dripping down on the Ark of the Covenant that was buried in a cave below him. They want the huge “altar” at Jebel Al-Lawz to be the one where the golden calf stood. They want the sand formations near the Dead Sea to be the ruins of Sodom. They want the Shroud of Turin to be the burial cloth of Yeshua. They want the Virgin Mary appearing at Fatima, and at Lourdes, or even on a taco! People love these stories, but they destroy the real message found in the Scriptures. That is why we need to work and do our homework. We don’t need all the “fluff” because we have the true story, and that story is much deeper, richer and better.

Now, let’s talk about the two “signs” God gave Moses in Exo 4.1-17. Moses has a staff in his hand, or a rod. God chooses people who are not “qualified” because qualified people will do it “on their own” and they will take credit for any success. In these passages in Exo 4.1-17, Moses is trying to get out of what the Lord wants him to do. It is like Moses is saying, “Here I am Lord, send Aaron.” Moses wants to know what he is supposed to tell the people if they do not believe that the Lord sent him. When a person doesn’t have the credentials, or is not “qualified” and the people know it, they will know any success will be from the Lord. They key to the works of God is that he gets the credit, not the individual. Our biggest enemy is ourselves, and our ego. The “I” and self promotion is a killer. We learn that as children and we place ourselves in the center.

So, the Lord is going to give him several signs. He asks Moses in Exo 4.2, “What is that in your hand?” Moses says, “A staff.” The word for “staff” is “matai” and it is used interchangeably with the word “shevet” which means “tribes.” This because the leader of a tribe had a staff. In Exo 4.3-5, the Lord tells Moses to throw his staff on the ground and it becomes a “nachash” or a serpent. Nachash is the term for the serpent in Eden. Of course, Moses fled from it like we all would have. But then the Lord tells him to do something very strange, and dangerous. Generally, a staff would have some sort of head on it and a place for the hand. The head of the staff became the head of the serpent, and the tail of his staff the tail of the snake. He tells him to pick the serpent up by the tail. Now, in serpent handling class 101, anybody knows that you don’t pick up a serpent by the tail, you very carefully grab it by the head, not the tail.

For Moses to do this, he had to believe what God told him. He heard God, he believed God, and he acted. That is the essence of what faith is, action based on confidence in God, even if what the Lord says doesn’t make sense in the natural. There is a false concept out there called “blind faith.” But there is no such thing. The word for faith is “emunah” (it related to “amen”) and it is translated as “faith” but it really means confidence, based on the knowledge of God. Moses “knew” God, which is a more intimate knowledge than just “knowing.” He knew the voice of God and he had seen manifestations of God in the burning bush through an angel of the Lord. All of these experiences together allowed Moses to grab the serpent by the tail. The serpent became a staff again. Where it says that Moses “stretched out” his hand, it is the word “shelach” and is related to our word “shaliach” or sent one. Moses “sent out” his hand. This is a picture of the Messiah. The word for staff (matai or shevet) is a term for the Messiah. The staff became a nachash (cursed), but at the command of God, it became a staff again (speaks of the cross and eventual resurrection). This concept is taken further in something else that is being alluded to here.

Another picture of the Messiah is seen in Nun 21.8-9 with what is called the Bronze Serpent. It is called the “Nechushtan” in 2 Kings 18.4. The people were being bitten by fiery serpents in the wilderness, and to stop the plague of the bite of these serpents, the Lord tells Moses to make a “fiery (Hebrew “saraph”) serpent, or a “burning one.” This is a type of a “sent one” because this is where we get the word “Seraphim” from, a type of angel, or messenger (Isa 6.1). This “saraph” will be put on a pole, or standard. This is the word “nes” in Hebrew and this is also a term for the Messiah (Isa 11.10, 13.2, 18.3). Anyone who looks at the “saraph” on the standard will be saved from the “snake bite” (a type of sin).

So, Moses makes (or has made) a bronze nachash. This had to be done quickly because people were very sick and dead. So Moses tells the people that all they had to do is look at the nachash on a pole, and they would be healed. Now, when the people looked at it, all they saw was a nachash, the creature cursed in Gen 3. If they did, they were healed. Some may have said, “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. How can just looking at a nachash on a pole save me? I need a doctor!” If they did not act in faith, they died. But if they did, they were healed. Why? Because when the Lord looked at it, he saw the “saraph” or the “burning one.” He saw his messenger (Malak=angel=messenger), or his “shaliach” (sent one).

John 3.14-15 says that Yeshua was talking to Nicodemus, and Nicodemus was having a hard time with what Yeshua was saying about being born again and “life” just like those in the wilderness may have had a hard time about “life” by just looking at a nachash on a pole. Yeshua tells Nicodemus in John 3.14, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” In other words, he is telling Nicodemus, “Look upon me when I am crucified, and you will live.” Nicodemus must look to Yeshua when he is crucified to be healed from the snake bite of sin, just like the people had to look at the nachash on a pole in the wilderness in order to live.

The dynamic here is this, the Lord saw his Son, the “Saraph” and “shaliach” of God. All the people saw was a man cursed, hanging on a tree. How could that save them? By emunah, or confidence, in what God had said, that’s how. They had to “grasp the Nachash by the tail and live” but in reality, they were grasping the saraph, the angel of the Lord, the shaliach sent by God to deliver them from the snake bite of sin.

In Part 9, we will look at the second sign in Exo 4.6-8.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 7

In Exo 3.16, we have a very interesting phrase used that has prophetic implications and is even alluded to by Yeshua. The verse says, “Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has appeared to me, saying, I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.'” Where it says “concerned about you” in the NASB, and “I have surely visited you” in the KJV, is “pakod pakodti” in Hebrew. In Gen 50.24-25 it is used again and said two times. This alludes to the First Redemption, the Passover lamb and the Exodus, and Moses as the shaliach. In the Second Redemption, we have Yeshua as the Messiah in the first coming (Luke 1.68, 19.44) and then his coming at the end of the Birth Pains (tribulation). Yeshua is the shaliach “like unto Moses.”.

“Visit, visit” or “pakod” is said twice, and speaks of these two redemption’s, and the two comings of the Messiah. This is a very important eschatological term. When Yeshua says in Luke 19.44 “Because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” he is referring to this phrase “pakod pakodti” in Gen 50 and Exo 3. The word “visitation” in the Hebrew mindset means something specific. It hits you “upside the head” if you were a Hebrew listener in the First Century and you heard Yeshua say this.

In Exo 3.17 we also have a prophetic statement about who the Israelites were going to confront once they entered Canaan. These names also allude to the types of enemy we confront in our lives. They were going to confront the Canaanite (trafficker, merchant), the Hittite (terror), the Amorite (sayer, talker), the Perizzite (squatter), the Hivite (liver, life), the Jebusite (trodden down). These are the characteristics of those whom oppose us, and the Torah, as we come into “the promised land.” It is a land flowing with milk and honey, which is an idiom for a land that is uncultivated or devastated by war.

So, in Exo 3.16-18, we want you to notice that we have two scenarios in these passages. To the elders of Israel he is to tell them “We are going to Canaan” but to Pharaoh he is to tell him “Let us go a three days journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.” This is a key concept because it will narrow down where Israel crossed the Red Sea. Some say they crossed the Gulf of Aqaba, but that is impossible. They will have to cross the Red Sea by the third day, so keep that in mind.

Every time Moses goes to Pharaoh he tells him, and it was understood by Pharaoh, that it was for three days only (Exo 12.31- “as you have said”). He is doing it because the Lord specifically told Moses to tell Pharaoh that (three days) and he is the shaliach of God and must repeat exactly what “the principal” has told him to say. We know that God cannot lie, so both statements that he told the elders and Pharaoh must be true.

Moses tells the elders they are going to Canaan (Exo 3.16-17), but they will have to cross the sea because that is where the Lord led them. Pharaoh has spies all over the land, and especially to watch the Israelites. He knows they are not on their way back, so he goes out to meet them at the sea. If Pharaoh had not gone after them by the third day, then the Lord would have been a liar, but something happened and this will be developed later. But, Pharaoh broke his agreement and he died in the sea. Israel was now free to go on to Sinai first, then to Canaan.

The crossing of the sea cannot be in the Gulf of Aqaba, as some claim. On the contrary, it is in the nearer Gulf of Suez. They were at the sea in less than three days. They had Passover the 15th of Nisan, left after midnight (Exo 12.29-32; Deut 16.1) and they were at the sea on the 17th of Nisan, and passed through the sea early in the morning (Exo 14.20-24).

We are going to compare the First Redemption with the Second Redemption. We are going to examine Luke 19.18-44. In this passage, Yeshua is coming from Bethany (“house of affliction”) on the east side of the Mount of Olives. In Hebrew, “Beit Ani” (Bethany) alludes to the Messiah being the suffering servant, and Israel, for that matter. Beit Ani plays a role in Yeshua’s life and he stayed there many times (Matt 21.17). This is another example of why we should always examine the names and places given to us in the Scriptures because the Lord is trying to reveal things to us.

Now, you cannot see Jerusalem from there because the Mount of Olives was in the way. Luke 19.11 says that Yeshua approached and “saw the city and wept over it.” In Greek it means that he wept “convulsively.” In the Artscroll Machzor for Sukkot, p. 803-805, there is a prayer called the “Voice Proclaims.” This prayer contains many concepts, and one of the lines of this prayer says “He comes with his myriad bands, to stand upon the Mount of Olives, to stand and cry.” David did this in 2 Sam 15.30 and that is where the Jewish people get the idea that when the Messiah came he would do it, too. This concept had to come out of the Tanak.

The Garden of Gethsemane is usually translated “wine press.” However, a student of the New Testament in Jerusalem who studied under Dr. David Flusser said it should mean “the ascent of the olives” in Aramaic. It was mistranslated. In Jewish expectation, when the Messiah came, he would weep on the ascent of the Mount of Olives according to this prayer. But it was done by David first, right where Yeshua would do it a thousand years later. Does that mean he is the Messiah? No, but the actions of David is a type of the actions of the Messiah when he comes. We will have exactly the same thing between Moses and Yeshua.

In Exo 3.22 we have a concept that we touched on earlier and it has to do with the phrase “plunder the Egyptians.” The word in Hebrew for “plunder” is “natzaltem” and the root is “natzal.” It means to “save” or “deliver.” It is also used in Exo 12.36. In the Hertz Pentateuch and Haftorahs, p.217, there is a good commentary on this verse. This commentary says, “This rendering should be replaced by ‘you shall save the Egyptians’ (B. Jacob). Spoil the Egyptians (or strip Egypt) is an incorrect, nay impossible, rendering of the Heb. text. The root “natzal” is here translated spoil or strip, occurs 212 times in Scripture; and in 210 instances its meaning is admitted by all to be to snatch (from danger), to rescue (from a wild beast), to recover (property), also to plunder (booty). Its direct object is never the person or thing from whom the saving or the rescuing or the snatching has taken place, but always the person being rescued. The usual translation, both here and in 12.36, ‘you shall spoil the Egyptians’, is, therefore, unwarranted, for two reasons. It takes the persons from whom things are snatched as the direct object; and furthermore, it necessitates an entire reversal of the meaning of natzal from save to despoil! There is no justification for departing, in the verse, or in 12.36, from the rendering which is absolutely unchallenged in the 210 other places where it occurs. The words ‘v’natzaltem et Mitzraim’ can only be translated ‘and ye shall save the Egyptians’, i.e. clear the name, and vindicate the humanity, of the Egyptians. Bitter memories and associations would have clung to the word ‘Egyptians’ in the mind of the Israelites, as the hereditary enslavers and oppressors of Israel. A friendly parting, and generous gifts, however, would banish that feeling. The Israelites would come to see that the oppressors were Pharaoh and his courtiers, not the Egyptian people. They would be enabled thereby to carry out the command to be given to them forty years later, ‘You shall not abhor the Egyptian’ (Deut 23.8). It is for such reasons that the Israelite’s are bidden to ask their neighbors for these gifts, in order to ensure such a parting in friendship and goodwill, with its consequent clearing of the name, and vindication of the honor, of the Egyptian people (B.Jacob).”

Now, remember, except for the land belonging to the priests, Pharaoh owned everything, even Israel. It did not belong to the people. During the time of Joseph the people sold their land, their houses, their livestock, their possessions and finally themselves to Pharaoh in exchange for grain. With the death of Pharaoh, this ownership was broken (Gen 47.15-26). Exo 3.21-22 will actually tell you what “natzal” means. The Lord granted to Israel “favor” in the sight of the Egyptians. The word “natzal” is used to describe the “gathering” or the “catching away” of the believers and the resurrection in what is otherwise known as the “rapture.”. In the book Rosh Ha Shannah and the Messianic Kingdom to Come” there is a whole chapter devoted to it (p. 117-128).

In Part 8 we will pick up here.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 6

In Part 5, we looked at 40 direct references to Yeshua being the Shaliach of God. That does not include indirect references or derivatives of the word “sent.” The objective is to hear it the way his audience heard it, with their understandings, not the way we hear it today.

In Deut 18.15-17, we learn that the shaliach of the First Redemption was Moses. We know that the shaliach of the Second Redemption is Yeshua, based on the verses we just went over. In Exo 20.18-21, we have the word “thunderings” (kolot) and it means “voices.” The people said they wanted Moses to speak to them because these manifestations frightened them and they were afraid they were going to die (Deut 18.16). In other words, they did not want to be in the presence of God, it was too awesome. So, they told Moses to go and hear what the Lord had to say, and then come and tell us. They wanted a “mediator.”

When we go back to Deut 18.15-17, Moses is saying “you asked for this” and it is a good thing. Then we come to Deut 18.18-19. The Lord says “I will (future tense) raise up a prophet like you (Moses) and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And it shall come about that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.” That is the essence of what we read about with Yeshua in the Gospels. He was speaking the words the Father was giving him to speak.

There is a pattern to God’s warnings. The Lord will use recognized, certified by God prophets to convey his word (1 Sam 3.20; Exo 4.8-9). His words of warning are clear and plain, and signs are announced and explained in advance, not retroactively, or after the event happens (1 Kings 18.24-39; 1 Sam 12.17; Num 16.29-33). So-called prophets today will predict many things that do not happen, then after something happens (like 9/11 or another catastrophe) they say, “I saw this in a dream” and “God spoke to me about this long ago.” Everyone hails them as a prophet and they are on TV talking about what they saw after an event happened, and everyone thinks they are a prophet. That is not how the Lord does things, that is how man does it. See our teaching on “Are There True Prophets Today” on this site for more information on prophets today.

The following will be what is called “The Law of Agency” from the Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion” by Werblowsky and Wigoder, and it says, “Agent (Heb shaliach): The main point of the Jewish law of agency is expressed in the dictum ‘A person’s agent is regarded as the person himself’ (Ned.72b; Kidd. 41b). There fore any act committed by a duly appointed agent is regarded as having been committed by the principal, who therefore bears full responsibility for it with consequent complete absence of liability on the part of the agent. A number of results stem from this basic premise. The agent must be of the same legal status and standing as his principal. The appointment of a minor, imbecile, or deaf mute as an agent is invalid, as is any appointment by them (Bava Kamma 6.4). Similarly, the death of the principal automatically voids the agency. Betrothal or divorce by proxy is effected by appointing the proxy as an agent. The agent is regarded as acting in his principal’s interest and not to his detriment, and in any dispute as to whether the agent exceeded the terms of his agency this consideration is taken into account. The only exception to the plenipotentiary powers of the agent within the terms of his is the rule that ‘One cannot be an agent for a transgression’ (Kidd 42.b); the law of agency applies only to legal acts, and a person committing a crime as the agent of a principal is held responsible for his act.”

The term “Mashiach” means “anointed one” or “empowered one.” It is where we get the word “Messiah” from. Without a doubt, Yeshua is the Messiah. However, we have numerous individuals who are a “Mashiach” in the Scriptures. The Kohen Ha Gadol, or High Priest, is a “mashiach” of God. A prophet is a “mashiach.” But, there is a difference between being “a” mashiach and being “the” mashiach. Likewise, there is a difference between being “a” shaliach and being “the” shaliach.

Now, how important is the term “shaliach?” We have words today that take down the meaning. For example, we don’t like the word “disciple” because it is a watered down word in English from the Hebrew “talmid.” We have denominations called “Disciples of Christ.” However, the Hebrew word “talmid” means a student. They were constantly learning and “moving forward” in what the Lord was showing them. They devoted, in many cases, their whole lives to this. They were very serious about it.

It is the same thing with the word shaliach, which is translated in English as “apostle.” Some say Yeshua was an “ambassador” of God in English. But the shaliach of God spoke the very words, the exact words, God gave him to speak, and these words would be required of him. Yeshua said over and over again, “I am the shaliach (sent one) from God.” The Angel of the Lord is manifesting himself before the people in many verses, and he is speaking, putting forth the exact words of the Lord, as if the Lord was right there saying them. That is why when you have the Angel of the Lord, several verses later it will say “And the Lord said.” It is a key term and one of the most important terms and concepts we have in the Scriptures, and it must be understood. The Lord sent out his “talmidim” as “shaliachim” and teaching his very words and the concepts associated with them. Yeshua taught the Torah, so did the shaliachim. They were to speak the words God gave them to speak. Many today have perverted what the shaliachim taught into what their denomination says or what replacement theology Christianity teaches. They have distorted what was actually being said.

Joseph, as we have seen, is presented as a shaliach in Gen 45.4-8. He is not “the” shaliach, but he is a type of “the shaliach.” He says it three times. Gideon was a shaliach in Judges 6.14. KIng Saul is a picture of the first Adam and a shaliach (1 Sam 15.18). Isaiah was a shaliach (Isa 6.8). Jeremiah was a shaliach in Jer 1.7 and we could go on and on.

In Exo 3.12, the Lord sends Moses and he is to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, and he was to bring the people “to this mountain.” The mountain is called “adamat kodesh” or holy ground, and it is only the second time in the Torah that “kodesh” is used. The first time it is used is when he called the Sabbath “sanctified.” When Moses goes up the mountain, the first thing he is told is to take off his sandals. God brought Israel out of Egypt for two reasons. He is going to give them the Torah and they will receive instructions for the Mishkan.

Now, the Shki’nah (Shekinah) is the presence of God. You will see that concept in the word “Mishkan” (shkan=shkinah). The know the mountain has a kedusha from Exo 3.5. When they leave Mount Sinai, the kedusha on the mountain (Exo 3.5) will go with them in the Mishkan. So, they will have “adamat kodesh” that will travel with them. So, we need to take a look at this concept.

In Exo 25.8-9 it says, “And let them construct a sanctuary (Hebrew “mikdash”=see the word “kodesh” in that word?) for me, that I may dwell within them (Hebrew “asooli midash shkanti b’tawcham”), according to all that I am going to show you, the pattern (Hebrew “tavnit” meaning “blueprint”) of the tabernacle (Mishkan) and the Pattern (tavnit/blueprint) of all its furniture, just so you shall construct them.” You will notice later, when he describes what to make, he starts with the Ark on the inside, moving outwards. This teaches us that the Lord will place the Torah within us, and on our heart, our “Ark” (Jer 31.31-34), from the inside. It also shows “his view” as he looks outward from the Holy of Holies as we approach him. It is his perspective.

Since the fall of man, we have lost the significance of what the concept of Kedusha means.. We cannot comprehend the depth of God. So, it was necessary for God to give them something that he could teach this concept from. The Lord does this through the Temple ceremonies and procedures. He shows what it was like in the Garden of Eden.
They will have the Mishkan till they cross into the land. Then, they will have a permanent Mishkan placed until they have the First Temple. The Temple is called the “Beit Ha Mikdash” meaning the “House of Kedusha.” So, the Lord tells them to go “to this mountain.” We have already said before that there are three “mountains of God.” They are Mount Sinai, Mount Moriah and Mount Tzion.

When you read about the calling of Jeremiah in Jer 1.4-10, you will see that what Jeremiah says to the Lord is very similar to what Moses said when he was sent at the burning bush. Jeremiah says “I don’t know how to speak” (1.6). The Lord tells him that he will break down nations like Moses did and that the Lord will “put my words in your mouth.” This takes us right back to the Law of Agency, similar to Isa 6.5-7. Isaiah couldn’t speak either because he was a man with unclean lips, but the Lord changed that. This is similar to Moses also.

The shaliach is one of the most used terms by Yeshua about himself that we have, and yet it is unseen, unappreciated and misunderstood. In Part 7 we will pick up here.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 5

In Exo 3.2-6 we have something in this passage that mentions “the angel of the Lord.” Then later in the passage it says “the Lord saw”, “God called” and “he said.” This is all being said by the same individual. To understand passages like this, we need to understand the concept of the “Shaliach” or “agent” who speaks the words of God and is regarded as the Lord speaking himself.

In the book “The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion” by Werblowsky and Wigoder, there is an article called “Agent (Hebrew Shaliach).” You can also get this article on the internet. The article says, “The main point of the Jewish Law of Agency is expressed in the dictum ‘A person’d agent is regarded as the person himself (Negarim 72b; Kiddushin 41b). Therefore, any act committed by a duly appointed agent is regarded as having been committed by the principal, who therefore bears full responsibility for it with consequent complete absence of liability on the part of the agent.”

Two other examples of the “angel of the Lord” and God speaking can be found in Gen 18.1-33 where the three angels appear before Abraham. The other is Gen 22.11-18 where an angel (shaliach) is speaking for the Lord. In our passage in Exo 3.2-6, the “angel of the Lord” is an example of the Law of the Agent. Does the Lord have a body? No, he is spirit. When he sends a “messenger” (Hebrew “malak” or angel) to the people, they are “the angel of the Lord.” The angel is the “agent” and the Lord is the “principal.” In other words, the angel is the shaliach and is regarded as the Lord himself. That is why it says of this angel, “the Lord said” and so on.

It goes on to say “I am the God of your fathers” in verse 6. But, it is the angel of the Lord in the burning bush who is speaking (verse 2). Moses answers, “Here I am” which is a very common expression in the Scriptures. In Gen 22.1 God calls to Abraham and Abraham says, “Here I am.” In Hebrew, the expression is “Hineini.” Frequently when the Lord calls to us and gives us a task, we say “What do you want.” But there is a vast difference between “what do you want” and “here I am.” Hineini means “I am here to do whatever you ask of me.”

There is a caution to this because very often people believe that they have heard from God and they go out and act before they have confirmed that they have really heard from the Lord. If God is speaking to you, he wants you to know he is speaking to you and he will confirm that he is speaking, so don’t act rashly.

The Lord, through the angel of the Lord, says in Exo 3.5, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place you are standing is holy ground.” This is only the second time in the Torah the word “holy” (kodesh) is used. The first time was in Gen 2.3 when he sanctifies the Sabbath. Many times they translated the word “chasid” (pious) as “holy” in English. However, there is a difference between the two words and they do not have the same meaning. The words in Hebrew in Exo 3.5 is “adamat kodesh” or “holy ground.” So, at this point, we have Mount Sinai as “holy ground.” That is a point we must remember because it will be important later.

In Exo 3.7-8, we have the Lord saying he will deliver the people from Egypt, and he will bring them into the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perrizite, the Girgashite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. It will be a “land flowing with milk and honey.” This expression means a land that is uncultivated or devastated by war, or both (Isa 7.12-25). When you look at the names of these people, we will see they are the characteristics of all the people we will encounter when we “come into the land” of faith and Torah in our spiritual walk. SO, let’s look at these names.

The Canaanite (Merchant, trafficker) alludes to those who are in the faith for money, to sell their books, tapes and CD’s for money. They will join a congregation if they think they can use it as a platform to sell insurance or get you to invest with them. The Hittite (terror) are those who try to get you to fear spiritually. The Amorite (sayer/talker) are those who are all talk and no action. They volunteer but don’t do anything. The Perizzite (rustic squatter) are those who think they are born again but really aren’t. They are just there in a group, squatting, and involved somewhat, but don’t understand anything. The Girgashite (stranger drawing near) anre like the Perizzite, they are just around, filling seats, but they don’t understand anything and don’t really try. The Hivite (liver) and those who tell others about “life” but aren’t born again themselves. The Jebusite (trodden down) are those who trod down upon the good things of the Lord, and were against peace in Jerusalem.

God tells Moses that he is going to send Moses as a “shaliach” (sent one, and this where the concept of “apostle” comes from) to Pharaoh (Exo 3.9-10). He will bring the people of the Lord out of Egypt. Joseph was the “suffering servant” but Moses will be the “conquering king role in the First Redemption. Yeshua, will fulfill both roles in the Second Redemption.

We have gone over the Jewish Law of Agency previously, but there are a few other concepts associated with this word. The Hebrew word “Shaliach” is related to the word “Shiloach” in Isa 8.6 and John 9.7. The word also means “Sent.” In Exo 3.12-15, he tells Moses that he is going to send him by using the words “sent you” and Moses responds with “sent me” three times. Six times in this chapter the Lord says he is sending Moses to the people.

Now, let’s touch on a few more things in Exo 3.14 with the term “I am that I am” in English. We have gone over this verse before, but this needs to be brought out. In Hebrew it is “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.” Ehyeh is the first person singular imperfect of “will be”, which is a first person derivative of YHVH. It is like the Lord saying, “My name is Ehyeh (I am). Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I am (ehyeh) has sent me to you.'” Now, the Hebrew word “hayah” means “existed” and is related to “ehyeh” as you can see. Asher can be “that”, “who”, “which” or “where” in Hebrew. So, this can mean “I will (ehyeh) be that I will be.” In other words, “I will be who I will be, I will be which I will be, I will be where I will be.” All of these are accurate (“The Greatest Truth Never Told”, goccuk321.blogspot, Internet; the article “I am that I am” in Wikipedia). In other words, he tells Moses that in the Egyptian Redemption he will be whatever, whichever, and wherever Moses needs him. He will be there.

Now, how does Yeshua often refer to himself? The most common expression is “I am the shaliach (sent one) from God”, so let’s look at some examples: John 3.17, 3.34, 4.34, 5.23, 5.24, 5.30, 5.36, 5.37, 5.38. John 6 is during Passover and he will be comparing himself to the shaliach of the First Redemption and Moses: John 6.29, 6.38, 6.39, 6.40, 6.44, 6.57). We have 15 references so far in John alone that Yeshua is the shaliach (agent) of God.

In the Hertz Pentateuch and Haftorahs on p. 214, we have a commentary on the expression “ehyeh asher ehyeh” in Exo 3.14. This relates to this concept of the “shaliach” or “sent one” in regards to Moses in the First Redemption. The commentary says, “I am that I am. Hebrew Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh-the self-existent and eternal God; a declaration of the unity and spirituality of the Divine Nature, the exact opposite of all forms of idolatry, human, animal, and celestial, that prevailed everywhere else. I am that I am is, however, not merely a philosophical phrase; the emphasis is on the active manifestation of the Divine existence’ the explanation of the Midrash. To the Israelites in bondage, the meaning would be, ‘Although he has not yet displayed his power towards you, he will do so; he is eternal and will certainly redeem you.’ Most moderns follow Rashi in rendering ‘I will be what I will be’; no words can sum up all that he will be to his people, but his everlasting faithfulness and unchanging mercy will more and more manifest themselves in the guidance of Israel. The answer which Moses receives in these words is thus equivalent to, ‘I shall save in the way that I shall save.’ It is to assure the Israelites of the fact of deliverance, but does not disclose the manner. It must suffice the Israelites to learn that ‘Ehyeh, I will be (with you), has sent me unto you.'”

The concept of the shaliach in the Book of John continues with the following: John 7.16, 18, 28, 32, 33; John 8: 8.16, 18, 26, 29, 42; John 9.4 and John 10.36; John 11.3, 42; John 12.44, 45, 49; John 13.20, 24; John 14.24; John 15.21; John 16.5; John 17.3, 18 and John 20.21. Now we have 40 direct references to Yeshua being the shaliach of God. That does not include the indirect references of derivatives of “sent.” The trick is to hear it the way the audience in the first century heard when he said, not the way we hear it today.

In Part 6, we will pick up here.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations- Concepts in Exodus-Part 4

We are going to look at several passages to glean more information. In Exo 3.1 and Exo 18.1 we learn that Yitro was “the” priest of Midian. In Num 10.29 we learn of Hobab, the son of Reuel, Moses’ father-in-law. In Judges 1.16 it says, “And the descendants of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law.” The Kenites are not going to be the Midianites. They are a separate people who worked in bronze. That is who Yitro was.

Judges 4.11 we learn of Heber the Kenite, who separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab (Num 10.29), Moses’ father-in-law, who were the posterity of Yitro, or Hobab. 1 Chr 2.55 says, “And the families of scribes who lived at Jabez were the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and the Sucathites. Those of the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab.” Rechab was a Kenite, the same people who descend from Yitro. We know that Yitro believes in the same God Moses does. In Jer 35.6-19 Jonadab, the son of Rechab, commanded that his sons do not drink wine, build a house, sow seed, plant vineyards or own one, but they were to live in tents.

We have Yitro, a Kenite, living in Madian-polis, but he is not a Midianite. He is a believer in the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They join themselves to Israel. When Saul goes out against the Amalekites, the Kenites are among the Amalekites. Saul tells them to depart, go down from among the Amalekites “lest I destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt. So, the Kenites departed (1 Sam 15.6).” We find that there are people called the Rechabites. They are Kenites who descend from Yitro. In addition, they were Torah observant but they have not become Jews, they remained as non-Jews. That is a very important thing to remember. In Jer 35.6-19, God compares himself to Jonadab and the people of Judah to the Rechabites. They obeyed the voice of their father Jonadab, but Judah didn’t listen to their father, God (Jer 35.16). We will look at this passage in Jer 35 later.

In Isa 11.1, we learn that the Messiah is the root of Jesse. In Isa 11.10, the non-Jews will seek and come to the Messiah. In Isa 11.11, it says that the Lord will again recover the the second time (the Second Redemption) the remnant of his people from various countries. Isa 11.12 goes on to say he will lift up a standard for the nations (like the the mixed multitude when they came out of Egypt). He will assemble the banished ones of Israel (the ten northern tribes), the dispersed of Judah (two southern tribes). SO, we have the same three groups here that were a part of the First Redemption. Israel, Judah and the non-Jews, or mixed multitude. He is alluding in these passages to what happened in the First Redemption, also called the Egyptian when talking about this Second, or Messianic, Redemption.

Now, there are many descendants of Israel among the nations today. The Tanak is full of passages about it being that way and God will regather them. But we don’t believe that every non-Jew that is observing the Sabbath, eating kosher and has a desire to follow the Torah is a descendant of the northern tribes. There are many flaws to this understanding of the Scriptures and it is seen in many “two house” theories that are out there today. They misunderstand the fact that we will have three groups in the redemption, and one of the groups is the believing non-Jews (Isa 11.12). We have the same three camps that we had in the redemption from Egypt. In the long run, it doesn’t matter that one believes they are from one of the tribes because no matter what group you are in, you will still follow the Torah.

So, let’s review a few things before we move on. We have established that Moses has fled to Midian, east of the Gulf of Aqaba. Yitro (Jethro) was “the” priest of the Lord, living in Madian-polis, 18 miles west of Mount Sinai (Jebel al-Lawz). This is the “back side” (achar) of the wilderness (Exo 3.1, 18.1-12). This city is known today as Al-Bad. Yitro is a Kenite (JUdges 1.16, 4.11). Mount Sinai is called by Josephus and Philo the “tallest mountain” in the region. The current name for this mountain is Jebel al Lawz, which means “almond mountain.” Mount Sinai is also called Horeb.

We have also seen that Yitro has several names. It is inferred in Exo 2.18 that his name is Reuel; we know it is Yitro in Exo 3.1, and it may have also been Hobab in Judges 4.11. Yitro will give Moses some very sound advice in Exo 18.13-27 on how to judge the people. They will set up court system based on a tier structure. This model is still used today among many nations, especially the United States justice system. We learn from Num 10.29-32 that Hobab is the brother-in-law of Moses, the son of Yitro. Judges 1.16 talks about the “descendants of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, were up from the city of Palms (Jericho).”

The Torah has told us about how bad the religion of Midian was. Yitro was the priest of the Lord in Midian, not a pagan priest. He knows the Lord and he knows how to offer appropriate korbanot (offerings) in Exo 18.9-12. The descendants of the Kenite Yitro went to live among the people of Israel. Judges 4.11-21 tells us the Heber was a Kenite and he had separated himself from the Kenites, the sons of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses. From this we learn that Yitro had a third name.

Heber has a wife, Jael, and she drives a yotaid (tent peg, nail) through the head of Sisera, a type of Satan and the false Messiah (Gen 3.15; Rev 13.3; Isa 22.15-25; Ezra 9.8; Hab 3.13; Psa 74.13.), is from Haroshet ha Goyim (“{work of the Gentiles”). This story is very messianic. He comes against Israel. Devorah will rally Israel. Her name comes from the word “davar” meaning “word” and she is the wife of a man named Lappidot, which mean “torch.” This alludes to the “torch” in Gen 15 17, a type of the Messiah. So we have Stan/false messiah coming against the Messiah and his bride. A man named Barak (“lightning”) comes and he routs Sisera and his army. Sisera runs and takes refuge in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. Sisera falls asleep and Jael drives a yotaid (a picture of the Messiah) through his head. Anyway, let’s get back to Yitro.

In 1 Chr 2.55 it says that the Kenite came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab. Rechab is going to be a Kenite, the same people that descend through Yitro. We know that Yitro believes in the God of Israel, but he is not Jewish. In Jer 35.1-19 we have the Rechabites, and they were non-Jews and Kenites, the same as Yitro. They came from Hammath (1 Chr 2.55). They came into Canaan with Israel and lived in tents (1 Sam 15.6, Jer 35.6-7). They were zealous for the Lord (2 Kings 10.15-23). God will use them as an example of obedience, and the Lord blessed the house of Jonadab. Some of them returned after the captivity (1 Chr 2.55). Benjamin Tudelensis is a Jew who traveled around 500 years ago. He said some were still in Israel as late as the 12th century A.D. (1100’s).

This will be a picture of the third group involved in Isa 11.12. They are the “erev rav” or “mixed multitude” of non-Jews who come to the Lord in the Second, or Messianic, Redemption (Isa 11.10-12). They will be blessed and enter into the “rest” (Isa 11.10), which is the Olam Haba ultimately. The third group (“erev rav” or mixed multitude) in the First, or Egyptian, Redemption, were a picture of this group. Many non-Jews today may not know if they are Jewish, but they do believe in Yeshua as Messiah and follow the Torah. If it turns out that when Messiah returns that they are from one of the tribes, then that’s a good thing, too. But, it really doesn’t matter in the long run as long as you are in the Kingdom of God. We should want to fulfill our role as a believer no matter state we find ourselves in (1 Cor 7.17-19). Our desire should be to walk in the ways of God as a Torah-based believer.

In Part 5 we will pick up in Exo 3.2-6 and discuss the concept of the angel of the Lord.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 3

In Part 2, we looked at the case for Jebel Musa in the Sinai Peninsula being the real Mount Sinai. Now we are going to present the case for Jabal Al Lawz (almond mountain) in northwest Saudi Arabia. First of all, we know that Midian is there and we are going to identify a city 20 miles east, where Yitro lived, and Jebel Al Lawz is in the area. Al Bad is Madian, and we will have more on this. We will also be able to show where Kadesh Barnea was, and this will differ from the traditional site also.

In Num 10.29-31, we have some evidence that proves Mount Sinai was in the land of Midian because Moses needed Hobab the Midianite (the brother-in-law of Moses) as an expert (local) scout. Hobab was familiar with the area, not the Sinai Peninsula. He visited and traveled that area, between Jebel Al Lawz and Ezion Geber, north to Edom.

When Moses saw the burning bush, he had gone to the “rear wilderness” of Midian. He went to the “achar” in Hebrew (behind side), which can also mean “west.” He went to the western end of the wilderness, where pasture lands begin and there was Jebel Al Lawz. Moses would have been on the eastern side of the mountain when he saw the burning bush. This was not part of the area that Yitro controlled in Midian. We will also be able to show where Moses, Miriam and Aaron are buried. So, with that introduction, we are going to go into all of this in more detail.

One of the problems is that good archaeological research has not been done at Jebel Al Lawz, so we cannot say for sure if that is the mountain, or if all the things found arranged around the mountain are legitimate. However, there are commentators before the fourth century that tells us where they thought it was, some as far back as 600 years before Helena. The Septuagint (LXX) translates the Hebrew word “Midian” as “Madian” or “Madiam” (both mean the same thing) and this will become important. The translators saw this as a specific city (“polis” in Greek), as in “Madian-polis”, rather than a land. This may have been a city/state at the time. So, we are going to have a city called “Madian” and the region of Madian is called Midian. We believe that it is possible that Yitro/Jethro lived in Madian in Midian, but he was not a Micianite. We will show you who we think he was.

In Exo 18.5 it says “then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness where he was camped at the mount of God.” The LXX says that Jethro, the priest of Madian, went out into the desert to meet Moses. The LXX translators believed that Jethro lived in a city called “Madiam.” He then had to go out of the city to meet Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai.

Ancient “Madian” has been found and it has been partially excavated and it lies near the city of Al-Bad, which is also called “Mughair Shuayb.” This area was inhabited during the 13-12 centuries B.C. when the Exodus occurred. There is an interesting point here. The Arabic name for this town has a name for Yitro in it (we will see this later). In the LXX, it says that the city of “Madian” had elders in it (Num 22.4).

Moses would have followed a trade route south to Midian. That trade route would have continued south along the east coast of the Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea) to Ophir and Sheba, etc. Jewish traders used this route also during the late fourth-early third centuries B.C. serving the Ptolemies and Alexandria, Egypt. Archaeology has found pottery and much evidence for Midian, and the city of Madian having a presence during the time of the Exodus, giving evidence for Jebel Al Lawz as the site of Mount Sinai. There is no such evidence or presence at Jebel Musa in the Sinai Peninsula.

What we are attempting to show is that Jebel Musa in the Sinai Peninsula was not even thought of as the site of Mount Sinai until the fourth century A.D. and Helena, the mother of Constantine. Mount Sinai was near the home of Yitro because he met Moses there, and Yitro lived in Madian, in Midian. After Moses married Zipporah, they made their home in Madian, or “Madian-polis” according to the LXX. Mount Sinai is nearby, about 18 miles east.

Philo was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher (25 BC to 50 AD) living in Alexandria, and he was a contemporary of Yeshua, and he tells us where the Jews thought Mount Sinai was. He said it was the “highest and most sacred of the mountains in its region.” Jebel Musa is the Sinai Peninsula is not the tallest, but Jebel Al Lawz, east of Madian, is the tallest mountain in the region. He places Sinai “east” of the Sinai Peninsula and south of the promised land, or northwest Arabia, near the city of Madian. Philo also used the terms “Arab” and “Arabia” and these terms were restricted to the land east of the Gulf of Aqaba, where Yitro and the Ishmaelites lived (“Philo of Alexandria and the Exodus Route: 50 A.D.”, Bible.CA, Internet, by Steve Rudd). Josephus also described Mount Sinai as the tallest mountain in the region.

Arabia was the Arabian peninsula, and the Jews in Alexandria prospered nicely from the trade that came from there, and from places as far east as India. This clearly shows that Jews during the time of Yeshua and Paul thought Mount Sinai was in Arabia. Another good source for information is an article in Bible Review, April 2000, called “Mount Sinai in Arabia?” by Allen Kerkeslager. Paul was in Arabia in Gal 1.17 and said Mount Sinai is in Arabia (Gal 4.25).

Arabia was considered to be east of the Jordan River and the Arabian Peninsula, and it would include south Jordan, coming down into what we call Saudi Arabia in the time of Paul. They would have considered Arabia to be east of the Gulf of Aqaba also. Paul may have gone into the wilderness for a word from the Lord, much like Moses and Elijah (two witnesses personifying the Torah and the Prophets), and went to Arabia. He may have gone so far as Mount Sinai, like the other two did.

When Israel came out of Egypt, they took the Derek Seir (Edom) trade route road to the north tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, where Rephidim was located. The Amalekites had come down from the Petra area and Edom and confronted Israel there (Exo 17). After the Amalekites were defeated, Israel would have turned south into northwest Arabia. Jebel Al Lawz is the tallest mountain in the region of Madian-polis.

So, we have Philo, Josephus and ancient chronologers all saying Sinai is in northwest Arabia. Origen, Eusebius and Jerome, who were living in the third to fifth centuries A.D., recorded that Mount Sinai was in Arabia. This belief survived in monasteries around Madian until the Moslem conquest in the seventh century A.D. Then it appears in Islamic writings. By the ninth century A.D., Madian had become identified in Moslem tradition as the home of Yitro. Jethro became identified with the pre-Islamic prophet Shiayb (mentioned earlier), whose name is preserved in the local name given to Al Bad, or ancient Madian, as “Mughair Shiayb.” So, this town has “their” name for Yitro in it (Shiayb).

Jebel Al Lawz was visible to travelers along the routes nearby. The blackened top was a testimony to the mountain burning at the presence of God (Exo 19.18), according to some Jewish travelers. This mountain is only about 18 miles from the ancient Madian, so it is a good candidate for being Mount Sinai in northwest Arabia. Even more in its favor is at 8500 feet, it is the highest peak in the area. The name “Jebel Al Lawz” means “almond mountain. Why is that significant? We know that Aaron had a rod that was almond (Num 17.1-12).

In Part 4, we are going to take a closer look at Yitro and see who he is, and we will see that he was not a Midianite, but a separate people who worked in bronze.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 2

Acts 7.23 says that Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. Josephus says he was a Prince of Egypt, a military leader who defeated the Nubians (Ethiopia) to the south, and he takes an Ethiopian wife. When he flees Egypt, she is left there but joins him later. Exodus 2.11-15 tells us about an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew, and Moses intervened and killed the Egyptian. When the matter becomes known, Moses fled and Pharaoh tries to kill him. The question is, who was this taskmaster? Why would Pharaoh care? Moses was a high royal official, it wouldn’t be the first time a royal official took out a lowly work crew foreman. Was this task master related or a friend to Pharaoh? We just don’t know. But, as a result, Moses fled to Midian.

Exo 2.16 introduces us to a character named Yitro (Jethro), meaning “abundance” and he is called “the” priest of Midian. He will also be called Hobab (Judges 4.11). In Exo 2.18 it says, “When they came to Reuel their father, he said, ‘Why have you come back so soon today?'” This does not necessarily mean that this was Yitro, but possibly the grandfather who are often called “father” in Scripture (Gen 28.13 and 32.10). Midian was a son of Ham (Gen 10.6). The common view was that Yitro was a Midianite, a priest of Midian. This leaves the person with the impression that he was some pagan priest. We know the Midianites were very pagan and their women were cultic prostitutes. Balaam tried to use them to curse Israel (Num 25.1-18) in the Baal-Peor incident. We have this impression he was not only a pagan, but a pagan of the worst kind. However, one of the things we are going to explore is “Who was Yitro?” He was not a Midianite, involved in the worship of Baal-Peor. He was “the” priest of Midian.

The classic view among most is that Mount Sinai is in the Sinai Peninsula, at the bottom. Look on any map, and we want to point out a few reference points. When looking at Egypt, there is a place in Middle Egypt that is a very green area in a colored photo, called the Faiyum. A city named Harawa was there and that is where Joseph was. We all know where Israel is. The Sinai Peninsula is the traditional sight of Mount Sinai, but we do not believe that is accurate. Then in southern Israel we have the Arabah, and the traditional sight of Kadesh Barnea, and we don’t believe that is accurate either and we will show why later in the teaching. To the east you have Edom, or Seir. To the south of Edom we have Wadi Rum, which we believe is the Kadesh Barnea mentioned in Scripture. South of Wadi Rum, we have Midian on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba are part of the Yom Suf, or Red Sea. Within Midian we have a place called Jabal Al Lawz, or “Almond Mountain.” We believe this may be the real Mount Sinai. We will present why shortly. Just to the southwest of Jabal Al Lawz is a city called Al Bad. Now, keep these areas in mind as we move through the teachings because you will need to know where they are.

There is a road called the Derek Seir, or the “way to Seir (Edom).” If you want to go from Egypt to Edom, or from Edom to Egypt, you took this road. It was a trade route, which is important to both areas. IN the area we have what is called the Dead Sea, which is really a lake. The Dead Sea is full of asphalt and this was used in Egypt for embalming, water proofing boats, light, lubricating chariots and cosmetics. In Gen 37.28 it says that Midianite traders pulled Joseph out of a pit, and sold him to Ishmaelite traders who took him to Egypt on the Derek Seir.

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah became rich in the “oil” business by using the asphalt (bitumen, tar) from the Valley of Siddim, which will later be called the Dead Sea. Gen 14.10 says that there were tar pits there. It was a plain at the time, but after the destruction of the cities of the plain, the ground collapsed, making a valley and it filled with water. The historian Tacitus described :floating oil” there and Josephus said the Romans called the area “Lake Asphaltus.” The Nabateans who lived in the Petra area would collect the oil and sold it to Egypt. The lake would catch fire on occasions, so it was called “the lake of fire.” We know from Exo 2.15 that Moses fled to Midian. Moses will be 40 years old when he flees to Egypt and he will stay in Midian for another 40 years. Moses will be 80 when the Lord sends him back to Egypt to deliver the people. There is no retirement when you work for the Lord.

As we mentioned earlier, we have several names for Yitro. Horeb is another name for Sinai and the region around the mountain. In Exo 3.1 it says, “Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Yitro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the montain of God.” The word for “back side” is “achar” and it can mean “west.” He was on the western end of where the desert stopped and he could pasture near the mountain. Moses sees a bush that is burning but it was not being consumed. So, he comes up the mountain and is met by the angel of the Lord who appeared to him in the burning bush (v 2). Then it says “the Lord saw” that Moses was coming and “God called” him from the midst of the bush. Now, how can an angel of the Lord (messenger) be in the bush, but it says “God saw” and “God called.” To understand this, we must be familiar with the concept of a “Shaliach.” The Lord says that the ground Moses is standing on is “adamat kodesh” or “holy ground.” This is only the second time in the Torah that we have the word “kodesh” or a derivative of it used. The first time was Gen 2.3 when talking about the Sabbath.

So, let’s talk about the traditional Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula, at the southern tip. This site is based on the mother of Emperor Constantine, Helena. She was no Bible scholar and she went on a “fact finding” tour to find “holy” sites and relics. The Roman Empire had been going through a period of instability and divisions for a long time. Constantine is an emperor in the western empire, and there was an emperor in the eastern empire. He will ally himself with the Christians who help him fight for control over the whole empire, and he defeats the other Roman emperor in the east. This allows Christianity to be considered a legal religion (it was illegal up to this point. Judaism was legal because it predated the Roman Empire and Julius Caesar made it legal. Christianity says it replaced Judaism, therefore was not seen as legal and that is why they were persecuted).

Constantine does not become a Christian, but his mother does. There are some scholars today that are outside of Catholic orthodoxy who say that her trip to the Holy Land was political. It was meant to solidify the Christian movement. It was influential in the success of Constantine. who wanted to bring all the different factions in the empire together. You had the pagans and the Christians, and the objective was to find a middle ground that would work. We have the beginning of “icons” and “relics” and in order to have these, you must find them.

After her trip, she comes back with the “true cross” and she also locates other sites, including Mount Sinai. She builds churches and shrines on any site she thinks was valid. In every location she identified, it can be proven that they are not authentic for various reasons. She identified the site of the crucifixion (CHurch of the Holy Sepulchre), the birth of “Jesus” (Church of the Nativity) and Mount Sinai, known as Jebel Musa (mountain of Moses). There is not enough room for Israel to camp around the traditional Mount Sinai, and there is no evidence of an Israeli presence that has ever been found there.

There seems to be some evidence before the time of Helena that put Mount Sinai in another location. Paul puts in Arabia (Gal 4.25) and and so does Josephus (Antiquities, ll, xii, 1; lll, v, l), and so does Philo (“Philo of Alexandria and the Exodus Route: 50 A.D.” by Steve Rudd). Only after the fourth century (Constantine and Helena) do we have any record of Mount Sinai being at the traditional site in the Sinai Peninsula. This site is not universally accepted. Harvard professor of Hebrew Frank Moore Cross says that Sinai is in the modern, northwest part of Arabia, south of Jordan (Bible Review, August, 1992).

In Part 3 we will talk about the case for Jabal Al Lawz (almond mountain) in northwest Saudi Arabia.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 1

We are going to look at concepts found in the second book of the Torah called “Shemot” (Names) or “Exodus.” To understand the Tanak, we must have a thorough understanding of the concept of what is called the Egyptian, or the First, Redemption. We are going to examine this from various angles to get a deeper understanding and learn how it applies the the Messianic, or Second, Redemption. We will spend a lot of time looking at the Book of Shemot (Exodus), but we are not going to go through the book verse by verse, but we are going to draw out many concepts, phrases and idioms that will not only help us to understand the book, but the Scriptures as well.

In the first two chapters of Exodus, we are about the time of the birth of Moses (Moshe). We have a listing of names (where the name of the book comes from) in Exo 1.1-4 of the “sons of Israel.” Exo 1.5 says that there were seventy people in total. Gen 46.8-27 gives us a list of those who went in with Jacob into Egypt. Notice in verse 13 we have “Iob” or Job (more on that later). Exo 12.40 says that the sojourn of the sons of Israel “who were in Egypt (at the time)” was 430 years. The wording here is curious. Where it says “who were in Egypt” makes one wonder if there were children of Israel outside of Egypt. There is a possibility that some of these eventually departed Egypt proper, before the time of slavery. We will look at an example.

The Egyptian kingdom was far reaching. Joseph was 37 when the famine began. He was 110 years old when he died, so that means he ruled in Egypt 80 years. He set up his family and their children as administrators of the livestock and other things eventually (Gen 47.6). Egypt was a hub for many trade routes and there were military outposts all over, and they reached as far as Aphek in Israel. They have found the Egyptian governor’s house there as an example. Aphek is where Israel lost the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines. Most people don’t think of Egypt reaching that far, but they did. They had a circle of influence that went to most of the known world.

The “Iob” or “Job” of Gen 46.13 went into Egypt with Jacob, the son of Issachar. It is possible that Job may have been made an administrator of Pharaoh’s business (Gen 47.6) and left Egypt. He goes to Edom, named after his uncle Esau, to an area known as “Uz” who was a descendant of Esau (Gen 36.10-43). This was the setting for the Book of Job. At any rate, Iob/Job left Egypt. The Book of Job is believed by many to be the oldest book of the Tanak, written after the flood and before the Exodus and the Torah. So, we may have a son of Israel (and his family) that is out of Egypt proper, while the sojourn of the sons of Israel “who were in Egypt” was still going on in the land of Egypt, before the Exodus.

Another thing we can glean from Gen 46.8-27 can be found in verse 11. We have Levi and he has three sons called Gershom, Kohath and Merari. Kohath has a son named Amram, and he has three children named Miriam, Aaron and Moses (Moshe). We have from the time of Moses, his grandfather was one of those who came into Egypt with Jacob. He was a contemporary with with Iob/Job. From the time Jacob enters into the land to the time of Moses brings them out, we have a period of about 210 years. Joseph is 30 when he begins to rule as viceroy/vizier, and he dies after 80 years of ruling at 110 years old.

In “Bereshit” by Mesorah Publications, we have a commentary on the Book of Genesis. On p. 527, we have the following commentary on Gen 15.13, where God gives Abraham a prophecy at the Covenant Between the Halves. The commentary says, “Abraham’s prophecy did not clarify when these four hundred years would begin and end. He was told that the total duration would extend for that period, but how long or where each part of the bondage would be.”

“It is quite clear, that the phrase four hundred years stands by itself, preceded as it is by Masoretic punctuation similar to the English semi-colon under the word “atam” (them). Accordingly, the ‘four hundred years’ refers to the period which ‘your offspring will be strangers’ and not to the servitude and affliction because, as explained above, only the sojourning extended four hundred years, from the birth of Isaac until the Exodus. The severity of the bondage-slavery and oppression in Egypt- began only later and lasted a much shorter time (Rashi as explained by R Yosef Kara; Mizrachi; and Pa’aneach Raza).”

“Therefore, as an aid is comprehension, Ramabam suggests that the verse be transposed and interpreted as if it read: ‘Your offspring shall be a stranger for four hundred years in a land not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them.’ Thus, although the period they would be strangers has been defined, the length of the period of servitude and affliction remains unspecified. Rashi clarifies the chronology.”

“The period of 400 years extends from Isaac’s birth until the Exodus. This total is arrived at because Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob was born (Gen 25.26); Jacob, as he himself stated (Gen 47.9), was 130 years old when he went down into Egypt, making a total of 190 years. They were actually in Egypt 210 years, making 400 years altogether. Rashi goes on to explain that the verse cannot intend to suggest that they were actually in Egypt for 400 years, For Kehath (Kohath), who accompanied Jacob to Egypt, lived 133 years (Exo 6.18); his son Amram lived 137 years (Exo 6.20), and Moses was 80 years old when the children of Israel left Egypt (Exo 7.7)-totaling 347 years. The actual figure, of course, is much less because their lifespans overlapped; the years that Kehath continued to live after Amram was born, and those that Amram lived after the birth of Moses must be deducted which will then yield the total of 210 years as above” (Bereshit, Mesorah Publications, p. 527).

We have the period of 430 years mentioned in Scripture (Exo 12.40; Gal 3.17), and that is broken down like this. From Gen 15 to Isaac is 25 years. From Isaac to Jacob is 60 years. Jacobs life was 147 years (Gen 47.25). From the death of Jacob to Joseph’s death was 55 years (Gen 37.2, 41.46, 50.22). From the death of Joseph to the Exodus (Exo 12.40) was 143 years. When Iob/Job left, he probably took his family (wife, children, grandchildren), so there was a community of the children of Israel in Edom, and this had to be after the time of Esau according to the names in the book. This makes it at least possible that there may have been other children of Israel who were not with the main population of those “who were in Egypt” (proper). The Exodus will not be a migration of “some” people in small groups.

In Exo 2.1-10 we have the account of the birth of Moses, the “Messiah Ben David” of the First Resurrection (Egyptian). One question people have asked is “How did Pharaoh’s daughter know he was Hebrew?” In the movie “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston, it tells us it was because of the blanket he was wrapped in. But Moses would have been circumcised, and that is how she knew. You will notice that there are no names in the first ten verses. That’s funny for being in a book called “Names.” But what the Lord is communicating here is we have a story of courage and doing the right thing, which will play an essential role in God’s plan here. The results of the work they did here is still being felt today.

You will notice that they knew who the mother of Moses was, and she nursed him and called his name “Moshe.” In the article called “Mosheh” in Wikipedia it says that it comes from an Egyptian root “MSY” which means “child of” and has been considered as a possible etymology. This was an abbreviation, with the name of a god left out. For example, there are many names of Egyptian Pharaohs and royalty with “Moshe” in it. Such names like Thutmoses (Thut created him); Ahmoses (Iah created him); Kamoses (Ka created him), Amenmoses (Amen created him) and Rameses (Ra created him) were all Pharaohs. In the case of Moses, the name of a god was omitted.

Abraham Yahuda, based on the spelling given in the Tanak, says that it combines “water” or “seed” and “pond, expanse of water.” This means that it carries the meaning “child of the Nile” or “the Nile created him” (MWSE). The Egyptian nature of the name of Moses has always been seen by Jewish scholars like Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. Philo linked “Moeses” to the Egyptian (Coptic) word for water, while Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews said that the second part of the name (eses) meant “those who are saved.

In Part 2 we will pick up with Exo 2.11-15.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Conclusion

Joseph needed to know he was not “out of the family” and that his father still loved him, and Judah came forward and told him the truth, what really happened. That gave Joseph the courage to ask Pharaoh to allow him to bury his father. In the same way, Israel needed to know that they were not “out” and they needed to know the Father in heaven still loved them. The messenger this time was Moses. He will come to the bikur (first-born) and tell them about their Father. Moses has talked with him and was told that he still loved them and knew of their pain (Exo 3.6-7). He was grieving over them, like Jacob did with Joseph.

When Israel heard this, they believed it (Exo 4.29-31). The elders of Israel heard what Moses said, but they still had questions. Why did their Father allow them to go to Egypt? But, they knew that they had not been “thrown out” of the family. They had not been “disowned” or “replaced.” The Father still loved them and wanted to be with them, and that meant everything.

Knowing this, they could make a very difficult choice. They would participate in an offering that would be offensive to the Egyptians called the Passover. They proclaimed their love for their Father, and this act was a commitment to him. They would put the blood of the lamb on their doors. They would also celebrate with him in the wilderness and follow him home to Canaan. God confirmed their status as first-born in Exo 4.22. This alludes to Jacob’s acceptance of Ephraim and Manasseh. Just as Jacob did with Ephraim and Manasseh, God claimed Israel as his own.

There are many similarities between Jacob’s burial and the Exodus, as we have seen already. In the same way, there are differences. How did the choices made by Pharaoh in Joseph’s day differ from the choices made by the Pharaoh in the time of Moses? Joseph’s Pharaoh created a precedent for how to deal with a child you thought was yours and he expresses a loyalty to another father? Joseph’s Pharaoh did what was right and we see how that turned out. What if the Pharaoh with Moses did the right thing and allowed Israel to show their loyalty to their Father, a Father he didn’t know? What would that have looked like? Well, first of all, they would have gone into the wilderness for three days and then returned back. When Moses made his request to allow Israel to go into the wilderness for three days, they were going out there for a worship service.

The idea of a creator God was foreign to Pharaoh. What if the Pharaoh with Moses asked for a sign? Well, Moses was given a sign. His staff became a serpent (Exo 7.9), and this sign would surely impress Pharaoh enough to let them go, right? No, Pharaoh’s magicians duplicated it, but Aaron’s rod devoured the other serpents. In reality, that was the sign. Now, what if Pharaoh looked at this with some unbiased logic and decided that the sign YHVH gave was proof that he was the Lord God? He would have realized that there are many powers, but there was one power that was over everyone, including himself. Had Pharaoh realized that, what would he have done? He would know that there was a creator, a God greater than himself, and it was to that God that Israel wanted to serve.

This revelation would have changed everything. He would have let them go. This God of Israel was the creator of all people, even Pharaoh and Egypt. Had Pharaoh understood this truth and all its implications, he would have wanted to be a part of it. He would have escorts with Israel to Canaan, just like Joseph’s Pharaoh did, his predecessor, centuries before. There would have been chariots and archers, a military honor guard. It would have been hard for a god-king like Pharaoh to acknowledge any “higher power” than himself, but it would not have been impossible. Joseph’s Pharaoh was not afraid to acknowledge this fact. He was being honest with himself, he knew he was powerless over the famine. He knew there was the God of Joseph and he was not afraid to let the Hebrews embrace the customs associated with this God. Joseph’s Pharaoh actually wanted to be a part of Jacob’s burial and wanted everyone to know it. It didn’t matter to him that the people of Jacob did things differently than the Egyptians.

Moses’s Pharaoh could have done that, there was a precedent for it, but he was unable to do it. Pride got in his way. He could not accept the fact that there was a God that was greater than he was. When Israel went into the wilderness, Pharaoh was against it, which is the opposite reaction to what Joseph’s Pharaoh felt. Egypt was not participating in this at all. They went into the wilderness alone. This departure was a mere glimpse into what could have been had Pharaoh acted like Joseph’s Pharaoh.

There could have been many nations watching in awe as Egypt showed respect to the God of Israel by escorting his people home, making sure they arrived safely. This should have happened in the time of Moses, but Israel left by themselves, no escorts, no chariots and horsemen, no archers and no army. Or was there? The Lord made sure the chariots and army were there. Remember we quoted Exo 14.17 where the Lord said, “And as for me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them, and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and horsemen.” However, the Lord was not going to be honored through their death, as some have believed and taught.

Pharaoh was stubborn and was not going along with the program like Joseph’s Pharaoh did. The word for stubborn is “kaved” and the word for “honor” is “ikavdah. As you can see, they have the same Hebrew root (kvd). Pharaoh’s stubbornness (kaved) would be turned to honor (ikavdah). God would strengthen Pharaoh’s heart by giving him the courage, after all he has seen and gone through with the ten plagues, to follow through with his stubbornness. God would use the pursuing army as his tool, for his own ends, not Pharaoh’s.

When God said he would be honored through Pharaoh and his army in Exo 14.17 and he means that Pharaoh thought his chariot force was there to pursue Israel and to bring them back, but that was not their purpose. The Lord was going to use those chariots as an “honor” guard, He was going to have a military escort for Israel as they left, one way or another. They would escort Israel to the waters edge. And the Canaanites would hear about it and look on in fear (Exo 14.14-15). Pharaoh had been shown the truth and he had seen God as the creator, and he turned away from him.

God wanted Egypt to understand this fact. He wanted Egypt to know that he was the Lord, but Pharaoh stood in the way. He wanted no part of that. So, it would be enough for Israel to understand this. It was Israel that would come to know him, and they would tell their children and grandchildren what they saw. But, as we all kn ow, Israel was stubborn, too. But that is for another study.

God was going to use Egypt either way. They could participate together with the Jewish people, as in the days of Joseph and his Pharaoh, or they would participate and be against them. Instead of one camp leaving, there were two (Gen 50.9; Exo 14.20). The choice for Egypt was whether they would be a willing participant, or unwilling. Either way, they were going.

This story will play out again in the future. The Torah is a book of boundaries and declarations, as well as a book of instruction. The Exodus is a guide, not only to what happened in the past, but to what will happen in the future. There is another exodus to come when Yeshua the Messiah returns. There will be a future procession of Jews and Gentiles who believe back to the land. There is coming a time when God will again gather the dispersed of his people Israel, Judah and the nations (Isa 12.11-12; 56.3-8). The last time there was a procession like this was when Israel left Egypt. In the future, it will be different. The Messiah has come in the Second Redemption, and the Kingdom of God is being set up, and it will be not only in the heart, but in the earth as well. Jer 16.14-15 says, “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all countries where he had banished them.'” For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.”

There will also be another “Pharaoh” called the False Messiah who will act like the Pharaoh in the time of Moses. He will pursue Israel into the wilderness and fail (Rev 12.1-17), and he will also meet a similar fate (Num 24.24; 2 Thes 2.8; Rev 19.20-21). He will think that he is also a god and will not submit to the creator God, and the Lord will come against him. It didn’t need to be that way, but one way or another, he will know that there is one God in heaven and the earth.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 25

The funeral of Jacob and the procession that accompanied it to Canaan is not the end of the story, but it will be related to something that will play out centuries later, something much bigger. We have a hint to this larger picture when the Torah describes an overlooked action, and that is the location of Goren Ha Atad (the threshing floor of Atad), which we have already mentioned (Gen 50.10). This was where the funeral procession stopped to mourn for Jacob before arriving in Hebron at the cave of Machpelah. This is where the Canaanites looked on in wonder at the level of mourning being seen by these Egyptians. They knew it was serious and named that place “Abel-mizraim” or “mourning of the Egyptians.” It tells us that Goren ha Atad is “beyond the Jordan.” Looking at the geography, this was on the east side of the Jordan. The procession started in Middle Egypt, at the Faiyum, and they were going to Hebron, just south of Jerusalem. These points are west of the Jordan. Why were they on the east side of the Jordan? That certainly wasn’t the direct route.

The shortest route from Egypt to Hebron is to head northeast on a straight line. If the procession went to Goren Ha Atad it means they went well out of their way. They would need to go on the Derek Seir (“the way to Seir” or Edom) that runs south of Canaan across the Sinai Peninsula, to the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. Then they would head north on the King’s Highway around the length of the Dead Sea then turn left at the Jordan, probably around Jericho. That is a long way to go.

Why go that way? Nobody really knows, but it does look an awful lot like another great procession that took a similar route to Canaan. Yes, that is the route Israel would take centuries later in what is called the Exodus. The Lord specifically had the people avoid the more direct route (Exo 13.17-18) to Canaan because they were on their way to Sinai. As a result, he led them into the southern wilderness, taking the Derek Seir across the Sinai Peninsula to the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, then they went down to Sinai. Eventually they left there and headed north from Wadi Rum (Kadesh Barnea), around the length of the Dead Sea, then hooked left and crossed the Jordan near Jericho. So, the route the burial procession of Jacob took is the same route that Israel took in the Exodus. Are there other similarities? We are going to look at few right now.

Besides the route the funeral procession took, we know that the children of Israel left behind their little children and their livestock in Goshen. Everyone else went with the funeral procession. In the Exodus story a few centuries later, the nation wanted to go into the wilderness to celebrate a festival to the Lord for three days. The issue of the children and the livestock came up again. The logistics of this was one of the final points of negotiation between Pharaoh and Moses (Exo 10.8-11). Pharaoh may have very well said, “Hey, the last time you guys left for a little trip you didn’t take your little children and livestock, why do you need them now? No, you can’t take them, you can leave them just like before.”

Another connection between Jacob’s funeral procession and the Exodus is how Pharaoh commands his chariots and archers to go with Joseph and the family. The only other time in the Torah that we hear of the chariots and archers is when Pharaoh pursues Israel to the Yom Suf (Red Sea). We have already mentioned that the Canaanites were looking on in wonder at this procession and they were amazed. The Exodus story tells us that the Canaanites heard of what happened to Egypt and were afraid of Israel (Exo 15.14-15). There seems to be a connection between Jacob’s funeral procession and the Exodus.

We don’t believe this is circumstantial, but part of the plan of God and in both stories. This is for our instruction. We are to look at both stories and learn the essence of what is really going on. Why the parallels? What is the Lord trying to teach us? Why are these stories connected in so many ways? Does this relate to the coming of the Messiah and his route to Jerusalem? A burial procession for a beloved father and the mass extraction of a whole nation from slavery are two entirely different things. To see the burial event for what it is, we need to stop looking at the Exodus and start looking at the Exodus that could have been.

The original hope for the Exodus can be found in what Moses told Pharaoh in Exo 5.1, where he says, “And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Let my people go (literally “send my people out”) that they may celebrate a feast to me in the wilderness.'” YHVH is the name of God, and that God has a relationship with a nation you are holding slaves. The Lord is expecting Pharaoh to allow them to leave. We all know what Pharaoh says. That is what happened, but what if Pharaoh said “Yes.” What if he acted differently?

Let’s say Pharaoh agreed to let them go, then the people could have gone into the wilderness for three days, celebrated a feast, and then return. YHVH was their “Father.” They would have gone into the desert in a great procession and honored their Father in the way he wanted to be honored. This is exactly what happened to Jacob. Once we see this aspect we can see the connection in the Exodus involving the route, the children and the livestock and the army of chariots that went with them.

Joseph would lead his family out of Egypt back to Canaan to serve his father, but there were things in the way. How would Pharaoh take the news? Joseph was like a son to him and how would he react to Joseph showing his loyalty to his biological father? His request to be buried in Canaan was unheard of and unusual, involving strange customs. Joseph really had to choose which father he was going to serve. He was the first born, the “bikur” of his family. On the other hand, he was the “bikur” of Egypt as well.

We have mentioned this before but we will go over it again. Joseph had believed that his father was somehow involved in what happened to him. He believed that it was possible that he was driven out of the family, or was he? It wasn’t clear to him. Somehow, Joseph needed to know that he was not out of the family and that his father loved him. Judah was the one who gave Joseph the truth, and that gave Joseph the courage to ask Pharaoh to allow him to have his father buried in Canaan. Jacob had shown Joseph that his status as “bikur” had not changed in the family.

Several centuries later another “bikur” would have some of the same issues Joseph had. But this “bikur” was not an individual, but the nation of Israel. They had a Father in heaven, and this Father was telling the bikur to leave Egypt, but there were things in the way. There was another father, too, called Pharaoh. Israel was like a child to the throne, but that father was no longer kind and understanding. He was evil and abusive. This Pharaoh did not want this child to leave his side. He did not like this child having another father to look to. That father didn’t even exist as far as Pharaoh was concerned. He certainly would not understand their customs and service to this father in the desert.

It all will come down to this, which father would this bikur serve? Would they put the blood of the lamb on their doors or not? By doing so, they were choosing their heavenly Father. They weren’t sure that their Father in heaven really loved them anyway. That father had a closer relationship with them when he was smaller in Canaan, but over the years that relationship was not so clear anymore. To choose this father, there was going to have to be an understanding. They needed to know that the Father in heaven really loved them and that they had not been disowned, ending up in enslaved. They needed someone to tell them that, just like Judah did. And that man was named Moses. He will come as the “bikur” and tell them the truth about their father.

We will pick up here in Part 26.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 24

The book of Genesis tells us that when Jacob was buried he was eulogized on the east bank of the Jordan called the threshing floor of Atad (Goren ha Atad). It means “the threshing floor surrounded by thorn bushes (50.10). The Canaanites of course were looking on. Now if we think back to these nations and who started them, we find that they were Canaan and Ishmael. What do they have in common? Both were “out of the family.” Canaan was the cursed grandson of Noah and driven out of the family, and we all know what happened to Ishmael. He was driven out by Abraham. Shem was the accepted son of Noah, and Isaac was a descendant of Shem and accepted by his father. Now the “accepted” generations of children gather at Jacob’s burial in the very presence of the unaccepted children. We will look at where this threshing floor was in Canaan because it is going to reveal something very interesting.

Jacob has died and Joseph weeps over his father (50.1). He gives orders to embalm him without speaking to Pharaoh (50.2). He just goes ahead with the standard procedure that is accorded to a member of the royal family. The duty to embalm Jacob falls to the “rofim” meaning “healers.” So the question is, what kind of “healing” could be done to a corpse? But we need to know something about Egyptian customs. They believed that the dead could be healed and they wanted to make sure the body did not decompose because the body still had things to do in the afterlife. So, they embalmed people with that in mind.

What that work was is alluded to in the Torah in Gen 50.3 where it says, “Now forty days were required for it; for such is the period of embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.” Forty days is a number used quite frequently in the Scriptures. It rained forty days and nights in the flood of Noah. Later, Moses spends forty days on Sinai. Yeshua spends forty days on the mount of temptation. So, forty is the number of transition and testing in the Scriptures.

In the flood, forty days and nights were a bridge from one world to the next. Moses and his forty days on Sinai alludes to the transition to a new world for Israel. Yeshua on the mountain at the beginning of his ministry conveys the same idea. For the Egyptians, embalming was to prepare someone for their transition and journey between two worlds. So, as a result, the “dead” could be healed if it was preserved. The “spirit” would ride the body to the next world.

The embalming period ends for Jacob, but the Egyptians continue to mourn for another thirty days, for a total of seventy days. Some commentators believe it was forty days for the embalming and seventy more for the mourning. Regardless, this was not Jacob’s family doing the mourning. It was a nations that mourned for him. His son Joseph had saved them and they knew it, so they considered Jacob as their own. However, we are going to have a contrast in customs here.

After the period of mourning is over, Egypt gets back to normal. But it is not “over.” Joseph has not told Pharaoh of his father’s request to be buried in Canaan. The mourning in Egypt was just that, Egyptian mourning. Joseph and the family had not yet even begun to honor Jacobs request. He wanted to be buried in the earth, the exact opposite of embalming. According to the religion of the Egyptians, a person enters the afterlife with his physical body. Embalming was meant to prevent it from turning to dust (Gen 3.19).

The Egyptians would be in shock to hear that Jacob’s body would be buried, and they considered him one of their royalty. They would think that the vehicle for the afterlife was being destroyed. Joseph was in “pickle” (no pun intended). He waited to tell Pharaoh of his plan, and that may come back to bite him. How does Joseph go about doing this in the first place. So, he approaches the people in the court of Pharaoh and he wants them to convey a message to Pharaoh (Gen 50.4). He outranks every one of them, yet he says, “If I have found favor in your sight, please speak to Pharaoh, saying” and it goes on with the request. Joseph has never had trouble talking to Pharaoh, but now he seems to be afraid to talk to him. Why didn’t Joseph say something before. They can’t just pretend that all the ceremony and the embalming didn’t happen. Pharaoh may take a look at all this and not understand what Joseph is doing and get very angry. Maybe Joseph didn’t want to be around when Pharaoh heard about his father’s request.

In Gen 50.5, we have Joseph’s request to Pharaoh. The first thing he mentions to Pharaoh is the oath he gave to his father. This puts this request in a little different light. It isn’t at the same level as a simple request, this was an oath that he gave to his father. Joseph also says that he will come back to Egypt after he has buries his father in Canaan. This is similar to what Moses said centuries later. As it will turn out, this will be the last time that Israel will set foot in Canaan until the time of Joshua. There will come a time when Israel will not have the option to leave.

Now it is up to Pharaoh, and he says “Yes.” He may have had mixed feelings about it but he says “Go and bury your father, as he made you swear” (50.6). He was not going to make Joseph violate his oath to his dying father. Joseph has the permission he needs and Pharaoh can walk away from this and handle other matters of state. It seems like we have come to the end of Joseph’s dealings with Pharaoh.

Gen 50.7 says, “Joseph went up to bury his father, and with him went all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household and all the elders of the land of Egypt.” As it turns out, Jacob’s procession just isn’t the family. It will include an escort from Egypt, and not just any escort. The people that will accompany the family will be the important people in Egypt like palace officials and leaders of the people. They could only have been sent by Pharaoh himself, to represent him and his wishes. One other group will be making the trip. We learn in Gen 50.9 that “chariots and horsemen” went along, a “very great company.” Why would they go along? Protection for the company would be one reason, but that can’t be the only reason. There was no military reason to send them. This was a funeral march, not an invasion. This was not a military invasion, but an honor guard and Pharaoh sent them as well. All of these were sent out with the family to Canaan. What sight that must have been. Instead of giving Joseph a problem with his request, Pharaoh seems to be endorsing it and wanting to be involved with it. There also has to be some sort of clearance with the other nations for such a huge procession to proceed, although Egypt and their holding spread quite far.

Now, there were a lot of colors and banners flying and a ceremonial procession to all of this. After all, this was a state sponsored funeral by one of the most powerful nations in the world. No wonder the Canaanites looked on in awe. An Egyptian funeral procession like this in Canaan was something that they have never seen before because you don’t have state funerals beyond your border. They must have had some questions. Why was a great “Egyptian figure” being buried by Hebrew customs? But, Pharaoh didn’t care about what other nations thought. If Jacob wanted a burial in Canaan, and that is what the family wanted, then that was what they were going to do.

The burial ceremonies and customs of the Hebrews were very different than the Egyptian ceremonies and customs. The Egyptians were not accustomed to doing it this way and wondered “Why a burial after embalming?” They must have been very uncomfortable doing this at times, but the Hebrews would show them what to do and they would follow. This burial procedure will have two prominent figures involved. Joseph risked everything to bury his father in Canaan. He could have lost power, prestige, status and his good relationship with Pharaoh.

The second figure is Pharaoh. He knew Joseph well enough to know that he was an honest man, saved Egypt through his God and was not in any way trying to do something he didn’t believe in. In some ways, that is all Pharaoh needed to know. He knew what kind of man Joseph was. He also did not impose Egyptian identity on Jacob. He allowed Jacob to be who he was, and so did the Egyptian people. He knew his home was Canaan and to want to be buries there was a reasonable request. They gave him great honor and a royal escort. Canaan was his home, and back home he would go. Pharaoh made that all possible.

Jacob’s funeral procession is not the end of the story, but the beginning. In Part 25 we will pick up here and show something much bigger. It will be a tale of two Pharaohs, and we will examine how this “Exodus” ties into the Egyptian Exodus several centuries later.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 23

After Jacob leaves, the brothers told Pharaoh they were sojourners in the land (47.4). But Joseph gives them ancestral holdings (47.11). The word for “possession” there is “achuzah” in Hebrew and it means “ancestral” possessions. It is the same word used in Num 32.32 when it describes Israels’ possession of Canaan. Joseph is giving this kind of possession to his family because he wants them to feel like they belong there. Not ice he makes the move after he hears his father talk to Pharaoh and how he has been a sojourner. Joseph wants his family near him (meaning of Goshen), but he wants them to feel like they belong there. So, they take possession of the land and they prosper.

In Gen 47.27 it says they took hold of they land they were given. It is a play on words in Hebrew with the word “achuzah” (ancestral land). Making Jacob and the family “holders” of land should be a good thing, but Jacob knows this is not the overall plan of God for the family. He knows at some point they will be going back to Canaan. There is going to be something that will come back to bite them in all this he fears. It is not known at this point how long they will be in Egypt and how they will get back to Canaan. Will the land be a snare? The family grows from seventy people to hundreds and eventually thousands. They became very wealthy in Egypt and the children are growing up in Egypt and have never laid eyes on Canaan. He fears that the ways of Egypt is all they will know know.

This is the background for Jacob’s talk with Joseph 17 years after he arrived in Egypt. As Jacob approaches death he has this talk and says what is needed. Now it is up to Joseph to do what he is going to do. Will he stay with Pharaoh as far as his loyalty, or keep his word to his father Jacob. Jacob does not want to be buried in Egypt, he wants Joseph to take an oath! Joseph, as we have seen, was like the first born son (bikur) to two men. He has a biological father, one who gave him life, and a “God” father, so to speak, who God brought into his life. There would be be no problems with this unless there comes a conflict of interest. It is at this point the interests of Pharaoh and Jacob take the fork in the road.

Now, who is Jacob to the Egyptians? He is the father of the man who saved all of them and that makes him important. When he dies, all of Egypt will mourn for him for 70 days, as if someone in the royal family had died. How would Pharaoh and the Egyptian people feel about Jacob being buried in Canaan? Are they going to be offended? This kind of thing just doesn’t happen, but Joseph swears to his father that he will make sure that he is buried in Canaan. The Midrash by Rashi from Sitrei Va’etchanan 31 and Sitrei Ha Azeinu 334 says that Jacob bowed toward the bed in gratitude in 47.31.

Jacob now realizes, at this moment, his son is righteous, after 17 years. Providing for his family did not put a strain on his relationship to Pharaoh, but a state funeral in Canaan would come at a price and Jacob knew it when he made Joseph swear to do it. This was not going to be easy. In reality, Joseph was choosing between Jacob and Pharaoh. It is like he is saying, “Look, my son, this place is called Egypt and it is nice and Pharaoh has been nothing but kind to us, but it isn’t our home, Canaan is. That is the land God will give to our people, not Egypt. That is our ancestral land, not Egypt.” The Israelites were not destined to be landowners in Egypt, their destiny lies in the land of Canaan. What Jacob wants to know is whether Joseph is on board with that or not. Are his affections towards another homeland? His answer to Jacob tells him that his son is on board with the destiny that lies in Canaan and with the family, and Jacob believes him.

In Gen 48.1-4, Joseph comes back later for another visit to his father and this time he brings his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob tells him about a promise God made to him about Canaan. God told Jacob that he would multiply his descendants and make him into a great multitude, giving him Canaan as ancestral holdings. In other words, Jacob is telling the “rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say. This is why he wants to be buried in Canaan. Jacob says that the two children of Joseph are “mine” in 48.5. Jacob is telling Joseph that he considers Ephraim and Manasseh as if they were his own sons. Now he will get even more specific and imply that this is more than a nice sentiment from a grandfather. He says, “And now your two sons, which were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine as Reuben and Simeon are.” Why would he say “who were born to you before I came to Egypt?” Joseph already knew that and he knew when they were born. Jacob is alluding to something else. He is acknowledging and redeeming something very painful in the life of Joseph, symbolized by the birth and the names of these two sons.

Who were these boys and what did their birth mean? They were born to Joseph at the height of his power, and when it seemed that Joseph was out of the family and making a new one. At the time he couldn’t go back and redo the past with a family that didn’t care and really didn’t exist to him anymore to him. Pharaoh had become a father to him now, even renaming Joseph and giving him a wife. That wife gave him those two sons, and they were named for the pain he had gone through. It is possible that these names bothered Jacob every time he said them, knowing why they were named that way. They represented Egypt before Jacob, before they both knew the truth. Jacob wanted Joseph to know that he had accepted Joseph’s children and that they were no longer symbols of Joseph’s pain and alienation. Jacob would hold them as dear to him as his own children. What is the implication of all this?

He was not just accepting them, he was giving them special status. He was making them on the same level as Reuben and Simeon and the others. In other words, they would become tribes with their own territory in Canaan. Israel’s tribes do not include Joseph because Ephraim and Manasseh were elevated to represent their father. Joseph will account for two tribes in Israel, but all the other brothers will only account for one. This alludes to the “double portion” that belongs to the “bikur” or first-born (Deut 21.16-17). Jacob was saying that Ephraim and Manasseh constituted an acknowledgment of the status of first-born upon Joseph. Joseph was not only the first-born as far as Jacob was concerned, but he acted like a first-born as Jacob was on his deathbed. Joseph advanced the family interest by taking care of the burial request of his father. He is on board with the destiny that God gave to his father and to the best interests of the family.

The final verses of Genesis (50.24-26) tell us about Joseph’s request concerning his burial. He says God will “redeem you” and this is a powerful word. Why would they need to be redeemed in this great land, with so many things going for them. Did he forget they were landowners! But, Joseph knew that his family and people will need to be redeemed at some point. Joseph and the family can’t leave right now, it has become a prison of success. However, in the future, that prison will be replaced by another prison. Jacob makes Joseph swear to bury him in Canaan, now Joseph makes his brothers swear to bury him there, even if it is many years later. His heart was with the destiny of his people according to the promises that God gave to his father.

In Part 24, we will pick with much more about the death and burial procession of Jacob, and how it will relate to the Exodus.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 22

Pharaoh will be doing things in a reverse pattern than what Jacob did. Pharaoh is going to be telling Joseph his dreams because he thought they were serious, Jacob rebuked Joseph about his dreams (Gen 37.10). Pharaoh asks Joseph to interpret his dreams and he does. Pharaoh believes what Joseph has to say gives Joseph a new job, a new name and a new wife. Only a father would give you a job in the family business, and a new name and a wife. Joseph was the favored son and “assistant” to Jacob in the family business and was given his name. He was too young for a wife but Jacob would have arranged that, too. Joseph’s leadership in the family was a point of contention in the family, with Pharaoh it wasn’t. Joseph was in charge of Pharaoh’s house (Gen 41.40).

We know that Joseph was not the oldest in the family, that was Reuben. But, he was the oldest of Rachel, the one Jacob loved, and so in Jacob’s mind he was the first born. He was born of the woman he loved and he treated him as first born. But in reality, so did Pharaoh. He was treated as the first born of Pharaoh, making him second only to Pharaoh. So, in a way, Joseph had two fathers. The question is, when Joseph gets elevated to vizier in Egypt, will he forget the God of his fathers? Will he forget his emotional ties to his family? We have some clues to this question when we look at the names of his children. His first born was Manasseh, and it means “to forget.” What Joseph is saying is that God has set him free from the past. His second born son is named Ephraim, and it means “to be fruitful.” This means that Joseph believes that he has been fruitful “in the land of oppression” (41.52). This tells us that he still regards Egypt as a land of oppression and a land of exile.

It is at this point in the story that his brothers show up for food (Gen 42), and they appear before Joseph. Jacob saw the caravans coming back to Canaan with food, so he sent ten of the sons down to Egypt. Benjamin stayed home. Joseph knows that the famine he predicted by the hand of God has reached Canaan. So, the past is right behind him after all. It is not buried. His “past” father has now confronted him, and his “present” father. He realizes he is bound by both because of the emotions he feels. It is like his past has caught up to him. The famous pitcher Satchel Paige once said, “Don’t look behind you, something may be gaining on you.” That is certainly the case here. So, he keeps at arms length from his brothers and he doesn’t tell them who he is at first and he may never tell them for all we know at this point. Remember, Joseph has his own idea of what happened to him. He believes his brothers sold him to Midianites and never said goodbye. He also thinks his father may have had a hand in it. Joseph is gong to find out what he originally thought was far from what really happened.

The brothers say they are sons of one man, the youngest being at home with the father, and the “other is no more.” Joseph accuses them of being spies and puts them in prison for three days. This is prophetic of Israel being “in prison” or the exile and on the third day the Lord will deliver them out (Hos 6.1-3). He releases them but keeps Shimon (Simeon). He tells them to bring the younger brother back, and he will verify their story. Joseph releases them with grain and as they go back, they feed the donkeys. They find out that the money they paid the grain with was put back into their sacks. They do not know what kind of thing God is doing to them (42.28).

They tell Jacob what happened and Jacob refuses to let Benjamin go back to Egypt. He doesn’t want to lose both sons of Rachel. In time, the famine is really worse and he has no choice but to send them back to Egypt for more grain, along with Benjamin. Joseph sees Benjamin again and later they are sent back to Canaan with grain. Joseph arranges to have a certain cup of his put into the sack of Benjamin. As they leave, they are stopped and the cup is found with Benjamin. It looks like he took it, and they are brought back to Joseph. Joseph says that Benjamin will be his slave, and the others can go.

In Gen 44.18 Judah approaches Joseph and he petitions Joseph to release Benjamin. Judah really lays out the full story to Joseph and he is appealing to him as a man, a father and a son, and not just to an Egyptian ruler. Joseph, for the first time, hears how attached Jacob is to Benjamin. He hears how their father Jacob never recovered from the loss of another son of Rachel many years ago. Joseph realizes that his father did not want to lose the last link he had to Rachel. Joseph hears that his father thought he was dead, and that he had been deceived into thinking that by the other brothers. He hears that his father never threw him out of the family and that his father has been mourning for him ever since.

It is at this point Joseph breaks down and cries. What he has thought is all wrong. He tells all the non-family members to leave the room. It is then that he reveals himself to them (Gen 45.3). He does it again in Gen 45.5 and he adds “your brother” to it. Judah drew near to Joseph, now Joseph draws near to them. He tells them in Gen 45.4-7 that you sold me to Egypt, meaning they had the primary responsibility concerning it because they should have never put him into the pit in the first place. But, it was really God who sent him there and it was for a reason. Needless to say, they are shocked at what they are hearing. Even more shocking is how patient he has been with them. They are told to go back to Canaan and to bring everyone to Egypt to be taken care of. So, they go back and tell Jacob the news.

Here is an interesting twist to what Joseph saw in his dream in Gen 37.8, where the brothers say, “Are you really going to rule over us?” Now they tell their father that Joseph rules over Egypt. They are beginning to realize the significance of that dream. It wan’t over them that Joseph would rule, it was over Egypt. Joseph’s dream was not talking about the present, but of the future. The family would be desperate for grain and Joseph would have the grain they needed. As in the dream, their sheaves would bow to his. The real meaning of the dream is that Joseph would have the chance to save the family through grain, and that he would rule over Egypt where the grain was.

As we said before, Joseph tells them to rush back to Canaan and to bring his father back to him. Once in Egypt, he would be able to care for them all (Gen 45.10-11). He could have let them stay in Canaan and sent wagons of grain and provisions to them, but Joseph wants them to be close to him. They will settle in Goshen, meaning “near.” Is it a name that Joseph gave the area because he wanted his family “near” him? Did the name already exist? We don’t know, but the word Goshen is very near to the words Joseph spoke to his brothers in Gen 45.4, where he says “Geshu Na” or draw near. We know that Joseph cannot leave Egypt because the nations depends on him to administer the grain and lead during the famine. In a way, Joseph escaped prison but he is is another prison, the prisoner of what God called him to do.

Jacob must leave Canaan, but before he does he stops in Beersheva, meaning the “well of seven/oaths.” He is not sure that he should be leaving. Remember he was told years before that he would be given Canaan and that he would have many descendants. That was what he thought his destiny was, live in Canaan and have many children (Gen 37.1-2). Now he is going to Egypt when he is older, and he may never go back. God is fulfilling his promise but not in the way Jacob thought. So, at Beersheva he offers peace offerings to the Lord. These are thanksgiving offerings also and Jacob must do these with the right attitude, an elevated state of mind. They were part of a communal meal. You are bringing something into remembrance before the Lord. In this case, Gen 15 where the Lord told Abraham that the people would serve another nation and be oppressed, but would come out of there with great possessions. As a result, he has a dream from the Lord that tells him not to be afraid to go into Egypt. He will make his descendants into a great nation there, not in Canaan (46.3).

Joseph introduces his father to Pharaoh, and Jacob made quite an impression. He blessed Pharaoh, and Pharaoh asks him how old he was. Jacob replies that he is 130 years old, and small and disappointing have been the years, and he has not lived as long as his fathers (46.9). Jacob doesn’t give Pharaoh the impression that he is very happy here. Why would he tell Pharaoh all that anyway? Pharaoh is only trying to make conversation and trying to be polite. He even compliments him for having lived so long. Something else is going on in the mind of Jacob, but what is it? We know he has not lived out his dreams, or how he thought his life would go (sound familiar?) He says he is still a sojourner, like his fathers were. Wasn’t he supposed to settle in Canaan and build a nation? He may have felt like a failure because by doing that they nearly starved. He knows that the Lord wants him to be there but is this where he is going to end up? Will he lead them back to Canaan with great possessions? It must have seemed overwhelming and disappointing to him, and Pharaoh certainly would not have known all the “baggage” Jacob was carrying. All of this was on his mind as he talked with Pharaoh.

In Part 23, we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 21

Gen 50. 1-26 gives us a brief account of what happened after Jacob’s death. He was embalmed because he was to be taken to Canaan, and it was the Egyptian way of dealing with important figures. This speaks of the “preservation” of Israel in Egypt until it was time to leave. It also speaks of the preservation of Israel in the world (Egypt). It took forty days to embalm and there was another 30 days of mourning.

Jacob is taken back to Canaan and they observed seven more days of mourning. The Canaanites saw the mourning and named the place ‘Abel-Mizraim” which means “the mourning of Egypt.” Then Jacob was buried in Hebron at the cave called Machpelah. Joseph returns to Egypt as he promised (50.5), along with his brothers. The brothers still had a guilty conscience and wondered whether Joseph would come after them now that their father was dead. There is no evidence that Jacob even knew what they really did to Joseph, but they send a message saying that their father wanted Joseph to forgive them for what they did.

Now, this was not true but it shows that they don’t trust Joseph even after 17 years. Joseph weeps because they still don’t trust him, but his brothers come in person and they fell down before him and said, “We are your servants.” This will be like when Israel, and us, wonder if the Lord still holds our transgressions against us when we stand before him. But Joseph says it is not up to him to execute vengeance. They meant evil to him, but God was in control and it was all part of his plan for good, in order to bring about this present deliverance and to preserve many. So he tells them not to be afraid and that he will provide for them.

Joseph stayed in Egypt and lived to be 110 years old. That means he ruled in Egypt for 80 years. He tells his brothers sometime before his death that God will surely “take care of you.” In Hebrew it is “Pakod Yifkod” or “visit, visit.” It is twice in Hebrew, but you won’t see it in English. This alludes to the Egyptian Redemption, or the First Redemption, and the Messianic or Second Redemption. Luke 1.68 and Luke 19.44 speak of this first “visitation.” Pakod Yifkod is said again in 50.25 and it also means “visit, visit.” The last word in Genesis is “Egypt” and this is a transition to what awaits Israel in the Book of Exodus, called “Shemot” (Names).

Now, that is the basic story that everyone goes over when they read the Torah, but we are going to look at the same story of Joseph at a deeper level and how it relates to the Exodus from Egypt. We are going to use as a source for this material a book called “The Exodus You Almost Passed Over” by David Fohrman and we recommend any of his books. There is more to this story than meets the eye and we are going to take a look at the “the rest of the story.” Joseph’s story takes up 14 chapters of Genesis so the Lord is telling us something. He is telling us there is a lot to know and to see here. So, let’s begin to look at the rest of the story.

In the story of the Exodus, the Lord tells Moses that Pharaoh will notice their path in the desert and come after them (Exo 14.3). Then he says that he will “strengthen the heart of Pharaoh and he will chase after you” (Exo 14.4). The Hebrew phrase “strength of heart” is “chizuk ha lev” and it is a synonym for courage. Pharaoh is going to regret the fact that he let Israel go into the wilderness for three days, and now it looks like they may have left for good (Joseph’s tomb is empty). He will see how exposed Israel will be in the desert as they move towards the Gulf of Suez, and he will see this as an opportunity to get them back. So, the Lord will “strengthen” his heart to follow through with that desire. He does this in the face of all the destruction, suffering and losses he has seen and gone through in Egypt. He is going to go after them with his army anyway.

The second part of Exo 14.4 says “and I will be honored through Pharaoh and his army.” Why is it said that way? Is he speaking of the honor that will come to the Lord after Pharaoh and his army is destroyed? We don’t think so. God doesn’t rejoice over any judgment that takes place when it could have been avoided. In order to understand this verse we must look at other pieces of the puzzle. When the pieces are put together, we will see the whole picture.

To do that we need to look at the Exodus as one end, and see Israel before the Exodus and the story of Joseph and the death of Jacob and his burial as the other end, a front and back door if you will. There is so much meaning in this final story of Genesis that is just not taught, and that is why we are going to bring it out here. It is essential and full of concepts that will illuminate our hearts for the rest of Scripture, especially when we know that Joseph is one of the main types for the Messiah.

The story of the burial of Jacob seems pretty straight forward as we have just seen, or is it? It seems pretty simple, but in reality, it was full of stress, drama and intrigue. A clue to how important this story is can be seen in Gen 50.7-8, where it says, “So Joseph went up to bury his father, and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of the household and all the elders of the land of Egypt and all the household of Joseph and his brothers and his father’s household; they left only their little ones and their flocks and their herds in the land of Goshen.”

Why would we care about who is watching the kids and the animals? We have several strange stories in the Exodus story, beginning here. We have God being honored through Pharaoh on one end, and where the kids were on the other. However, we are going to see just how important this information is as we move along in this teaching. We are going to look at the Exodus that actually was by looking at the Exodus as it might have been.

Jacob is eventually buried in Canaan, but it just didn’t happen, It was negotiated between Jacob and Joseph. The context for this negotiation took place 17 years after Jacob came to Egypt (Gen 47.28-31). Jacob calls for Joseph and tells him that he wants to be buried with his fathers. Joseph replies, “I shall do as you have said (Gen 47.30). Jacob then says, “Swear to me (that you will do it)” in Gen 47.31. Why would he question his loyal son? Didn’t Jacob trust him? Joseph takes an oath and then it says that Jacob “bows toward the head of the bed” (Gen 47.31. The word for “bed” is “mitah” and it can mean “legacy” or “children.” One interpretation of this says that Jacob bowed out of thanks because his “bed” or “legacy” was complete.

Joseph had spent nine years as an Egyptian official by the time his brothers arrive for food. Why didn’t he ever tell his father what had happened to him? Why didn’t he ever send him a message like, “Hey Dad, I’m alright and a ruler in Egypt. Will see you soon!” It is not like that would have been impossible. He was one of the most powerful people in the world. He can’t send a delegation to his father in Canaan? Have you ever asked yourself that? Well, the reason is Joseph had no idea what happened to him either. He had to wonder if his father had something to do with it. We know that Joseph is taken out of the pit and sold. Even the brothers never really knew what happened to him. So, to explain his disappearance, they take a goat and kill it, dip his multi-colored coat in the blood and showed it to Jacob. He sees the coat and the blood and surmises he has been killed. The brothers showed him what they wanted him to see. Jacob has been deceived by his sons, and he has the bloody coat. Meanwhile, Joseph is in a caravan on his way to Egypt and doesn’t know what happened. He doesn’t know his father has been tricked. If you were in Joseph’s place, how would you have interpreted these events?

Let’s replay what happened about this sale of Joseph and see how Joseph may have seen it. He is thinking “I was 17 and there was tension in the family about my dreams. Then my father sends me on this trip to Shechem to check on my brothers and the flocks. Why did he do that, and send me alone? He knows it is dangerous and he also knew they were jealous of me. I didn’t feel safe out there with them alone. When I get there they grab me and put me in a pit, and after a time, I am being taken out of the pit by Midianites and sold to Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt. I am going to be a slave. My brothers weren’t even around to say goodbye. They must have really hated me. How could they do that to me? And did my father know of all of this? Is he behind me being put out of the family?” What Joseph doesn’t know is that his father was deceived into believing that he was dead. Joseph may have believed he was thrown out of the family and it isn’t like it hasn’t happened before with his relatives. Sarah had Ishmael expelled. His grandmother Rebecca (Rivka) favored Jacob, and “poof” his uncle Esau is out. Even he was favored over the first-born Reuben, and he was out.

Joseph had a lot of time to think about all of this. Once in Egypt, someone new came into his life. Joseph found himself taken out of the pit of prison and placed in the very presence of Pharaoh. Pharaoh has been having some dreams and he was unable to sleep because they really bothered him. He believed they meant something but nobody could give him a satisfying answer. He needed these dreams interpreted and he hears about how his cupbearer had his dreams interpreted correctly by Joseph when he was being held in prison, so he sends for Joseph and pulls him out of prison (Gen 39.20). In Gen 41.14 the Torah uses the Hebrew word “bor” or “pit” for dungeon. Joseph must have thought that “this has happened before to me.” These events will be happening in reverse. Pharaoh “sent for Joseph” and takes him out of the pit (41.14). Before, Joseph was “sent away” (Gen 37.13) and put into a pit. The first part of Josephs’s story is going to be redeemed. But it doesn’t stop there.

In Part 22 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 20

Joseph has secured the land of Goshen for his family and their livestock. Shepherds were abhorred by the Egyptians so this area would be away from the general population. Egypt was agricultural and raised crops like melons, vegetables, grain and cattle. Sheep do not mix well with these endeavors. Shepherding was profitable and healthy. It also minimizes association with the neighboring idolaters who worshiped sheep. Being alone, the shepherds could safeguard their religious and spiritual heritage. They also learned to care for another creature and you had to depend on God because it was an unstable business. It was physically less exhaustive than agriculture.

So, Jacob settles in Goshen as a reward for what Joseph did and they “settle” but not permanently. Jacob blesses Pharaoh because the earthly is subject to the heavenly, and Jacob makes quite an impression on Pharaoh. Jacob says that he is a sojourner in this world. His answer to Pharaoh in Gen 47.9 is 33 words in Hebrew. Isaac, his father, lived for 180 years and Jacob will live 147 years, 33 short of Isaac. The numerical value for “live” is 33 and Yeshua was 33 years old when he died. Jacob found “life” in Egypt and so can we, even surrounded by unbelief. We can prosper if we follow the Lord.

As the famine proceeded, Egypt gained great wealth. This wealth will be what Israel takes with them when they depart in the Exodus (Gen 15.11). When the people spent all their money, they came to Joseph for food. They had exchanged everything for food. Now Joseph tells them to give up their livestock for food, and they agreed. When that food was gone, they had nothing left but their bodies and their lands. So they said “Buy us and our lands” and we will be slaves (tenants) to Pharaoh. Joseph bought the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. This was all part of God’s plan. Joseph moved them to the cities in Egypt because they had no claim on their land now. He didn’t buy them as slaves but as tenants and “aliens, just like Israel was. Joseph buys all the land for Pharaoh except the land of the priests.

Joseph tells them that he has paid for them and their land. In exchange, he gives them their seed to plant when the time comes. As a result, one-fifth will go to Pharaoh from their produce and they can keep the rest. They agreed because their lives were spared. Israel, on the other hand, bought their own land and owned their own property (47.27). But later this will be reversed (Exo 1.11). This agreement was still in place at the time of Moses (47.26).

In a Torah scroll there are nine spaces between on Parsha (Torah portion) and the next one. But, between Gen 47. 27 and 28 there is only one space. The parsha teaches what will happen to Israel in the latter days with the nations “closing in.” In this case, Egypt will be “closing in” on Israel. Jacob calls Joseph to him and makes him promise with an oath that he will carry him out of Egypt and to bury him in Hebron, at the cave of Machpelah. In Gen 48 Joseph is told that his father is sick. In verse two we see that the name of Jacob and Israel is used. Jacob alludes to the earthly, fleshly aspect. Israel alludes to the heavenly, spiritual aspect in his life. When he sees Joseph come in, he goes from the flesh (Jacob) to the spiritual (Israel) and will prophesy. He “adopts” Joseph’s two sons Ehpraim and Manesseh and they will become tribes.

Jacob goes to bless the two boys and he puts his right hand on Ephraim (the younger) and his left hand on Manasseh (the oldest), forming an “X” or the ancient letter “Tav.” This letter means “covenant, cross, to seal, sign or finished.” The “aleph-tav” is symbolic of God and it means “head (aleph) of the covenant (tav)” for instance. When Joseph saw this, it displeased him and he tries to correct his father, but Jacob said “I know” and said the younger brother shall be greater than the older brother. He said his descendants shall become the “fullness of the nations” or Gentiles. The Hebrew term is “M’loh ha Goyim” and it means a handful that fills, a multitude. This will be Jews who will be among the Gentiles when Messiah comes, too many to number. Paul refers to this concept in Rom 9.25-26 and 11.25-26. When he says “until the fullness of the Gentiles (nations) has come in” he is not referring to Gentiles being saved. He is talking about Jews believing and coming back into the land in a Second Redemption from the exile, after Messiah returns. This term comes from Gen 48.19. Jacob tells Joseph that he is giving him “one shoulder more than your brothers” and this will play out literally because Joseph was given the city of Shechem, meaning “shoulder”, which was in the territory of Ephraim. Later in this teaching, we are going to look at the story of what happened to Joseph in more detail.

In Gen 49, we have a very eschatological chapter and Jacob summons his sons and he is going to tell them what will “befall you in the days to come.” The term “days to come” is “Acharit Yamim” and it is the same as “B’Yamim” (in the days) and it means “when the Messiah comes” (Jer 23.5, 33.15, 50.4). He wants them to hear what will happen to their posterity and family. He wants them to “Shema” or hear, and this implies “to obey.” So he begins with Reuben. This was not an honor to go first here, but a reproach. He was first born but would not have that blessing, and this is a reminder. He is called “unstable” as water and he lost his status as first born because he “went up to your father’s bed” in Gen 35.22 with Bilhah (1 Chr 5.1). Then he goes to Simeon and Levi. They are brothers in many ways and they are violent. Jacob does not want to enter into their counsel (sowd) or their assembly (kahal). In their anger they slew a man (Hamor, the king of Shechem) and maimed an ox (Joseph), and cursed be their anger. Levi was dispersed all over the land and Simeon did not have a portion in the land of Canaan, but their inheritance was out of the portion given to Judah (Josh 19.1; Deut 33.7; 2 Sam 19.43).

Judah will be praised (Gen 29.35) and he will subdue his enemies (alludes to David and Messiah). Kings will come from him. He was compared to a young lion, strong and courageous. After he has defeated his enemies, it goes into the mountains and lives in peace (1 Kings 4.24-25). Who will rouse him? After Messiah defeats his enemies, who can provoke him. The kingship will not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver (literally “inscribing pen”), until Shiloh (Messiah) comes. Shiloh means “peace bringer” or “a gift to him” and it alludes to peace in the Messianic Kingdom, and it is related to the word “Shalom.” Unto him (Shiloh/Messiah) will be the obedience of the peoples (non-Jews). He ties his foal (a donkey is a kingly animal) to the vine (Israel-Isa 5.2; Jer 7.2; Matt 21.35) and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine. He washes his garments in wine (speaks of abundance of teaching) and his robe in the blood of grapes. Judah had an abundance of grapes in his territory. This also alludes to teaching and defeating his enemies (Isa 63, Rev 19.11-13). His eyes are red with wine and this alludes to the Messiah being full of teaching, and his teeth are whiter that milk speaks of pure doctrine (1 Pet 2.2) of his teaching.

Zebulon will dwell near the Sea of Galilee and his border will be unto Sidon (Phoenicia). His territory will be a haven for ships and have good ports. Issachar is a strong one, able to carry burdens. They were skillful in prophecy and eschatology (1 Chr 12.32). His territory was between Zebulon and Dan (between the sheepfolds) and his land was a good resting place. He will bear the ploughing, sowing and reaping and pay more in tribute than the others so they could stay at home and attend the fields when the others went to war.

Dan will have some who share in the government. Being at the extreme north end of the land, they will need to be a “serpent in the way” (wise). They will need to be crafty to defend themselves against the invaders that come from the north. He had a subtle disposition. It is believed that the False Messiah will come from this tribe. For more information on this see the teaching “The Greatest Delusion Ever Told” on this site. Jacob pauses at this point and says, “For they salvation (Hebrew “Yeshua”) I wait, O Lord” before proceeding.

Gad will be on the east side of the Jordan and he will also be exposed to invaders. They will conquer the invaders and return by the same roads and tracks they came from. Asher will have plenty of food out of their own land. There was a valley there that would be called “the fat valley” (Deut 33.24). He yielded food fit for kings (i Kings 4.16). Naphtali is as a doe (swift but fearful before going to war). They helped Deborah and gave good words in song and disposition, and were lovers of liberty. They were courteous and kind.

Joseph’s blessing will be very Messianic. Joseph will be fruitful and his two sons will be tribes. His “branches” (Hebrew “daughters”) run over the wall and this refers to the cities of Ephraim and Manasseh which are sometimes called “daughters.” We will also have allusions to the suffering servant Messiah Ben Joseph. Archers (his brothers) bitterly attacked him and shot at him. This alludes to the Messiah because he was persecuted by his brothers. His bow (his virtues) remained strong and his arms were agile, so he held his ground and did not weaken. From there (from God who sent Joseph) is the Shepherd (to feed his father’s family) and the Stone (a name for the Messiah). He was sent ahead to shepherd his people. This was only temporary because Judah will take his place. God will help him and bless him with the blessings of heaven above (the sun, moon, stars, rain, dew, wind, etc). There will also be blessings from the deep, like fountains and springs of water. The blessings of the breasts and womb means there will be an increase in children and livestock. Jacob’s blessings were greater and more abundant than Abraham’s or Isaac’s. These blessings will continue on the head of Joseph and on the head who was separate from his brothers, as Yeshua was (Heb 7.26). He had a kedusha.

Benjamin shall be as a ravenous wolf, and this alludes to the fact that a wolf is brave and has fortitude, very warlike (Judges 20.15). Saul was from Benjamin and had many victories (1 Sam 14.47). Mordechai and Esther were from Benjamin. At the beginning of Israel’s history (“in the morning”) and at the end of Israel’s history (“in the evening”) the spoil of God’s enemies will be divided among his people.

These are the blessings to the sons and these prophecies apply to the tribes, not individuals. These blessings were according to the blessings appointed to them by God. Jacob charges them all to bury him in Canaan, in Hebron, at the cave of Machpelah. After this, Jacob “drew his feet” (his earthly walk was over) and he passed away.

In Part 21, we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 19

The brothers have come before Joseph, who they do not recognize, to buy food. Joseph knows who they are and can overhear everything they are saying, and he turns away and weeps. When he returns, he takes Shimon (“to hear”) prisoner. This alludes to the fact that Israel must “hear” and obey before deliverance can come (Matt 13.10-17). Joseph gives orders to fill their bags with grain and to give back the money they paid for the grain, plus other provisions. The brothers leave and when they go to feed the donkeys, they find the money for the grain in their sacks. Their hearts sank with fear, and they knew that the Lord was dealing with them. They made it home and told their Father what happened, but he wasn’t going to send Benjamin back.

Well, the famine was not getting any better and they were running out of food again, so Jacob had no choice but to send Benjamin back with the other sons to Egypt for more food. In a similar way, God will require Israel to “confess” and bring “Benjamin” as evidence of their faith. The land will be devastated by the birth-pains and they will have to admit they have “another brother” named Yeshua. Joseph and Benjamin together are a picture of the Messiah. Joseph sees Benjamin and arranges a banquet at the house of Benjamin. They think that Joseph may arrest them there for not paying for the previous provisions of grain. They explain the situation to the steward that they had the money and wanted to pay for the previous grain, but the steward explains that it was their God who gave the money back to them and to not be afraid.

They brought Shimon out and he was healthy and safe, and the brothers had a present for Joseph at his “coming at noon.” The word “coming” there is written full with a vav (beit, vav and aleph) and not the usual beit, aleph. This alludes to the “full” second coming of the Messiah to Israel. Now, all eleven brothers bow to Joseph fulfilling the first dream in Gen 37.7. For the banquet, they were seated according to their birth order and birthright, with the oldest on the left and the youngest on the right, and all the brothers wondered how anyone knew this and were very puzzled. Joseph say by himself, and the Egyptians ate by themselves.

Gen 44 reveals to us the final test Joseph had of his brothers. Joseph tells the steward to fill their sacks and to put each man’s money in his sack. He puts his cup into the bag of Benjamin to make it look like he was stealing it. After they leave he has them followed and at a certain point they are stopped, and the bags are searched and they find Joseph’s cup in the bag of Benjamin. They return to the city and come before Joseph. Judah and the other brothers fall down before Joseph and they say, “God has found out the iniquity of they servants” (44.16). Joseph says they can go but Benjamin must stay. What would have happened had the brothers accepted this and saved themselves? Joseph would have revealed himself right away and only Jacob and Benjamin would have been invited to Egypt. It would have showed that the brothers had not changed. But, Judah does approach Joseph, and this is what Israel will do in the birth-pains (Ezek 39.22). He begins to explain what happened to Joseph. He tells Joseph that if Benjamin does not return, after losing Joseph, it would kill their father for sure. He offers to stay in the place of Benjamin to be punished. For the first time, Joseph realizes his father didn’t kick him out of the family and the brothers regret what they did. In fact, they didn’t even know what happened to him. He, and that he is still the “bikur” or the first-born. He knows his father does love him and misses him and was not a part of some plot to get him out of the family.

This brings us to the anatomy of a problem. In life, resentments will rise up and people decide to be resentful. The n an action results and damage is done. The problem worsens and it touches everyone, even others we don’t know. God knows about the problem we have and he will do something. The solution to every problem is where the problem is, it is in the problem. If it is with a person, go to that person. Someone has to be like Judah and give up his “life.” The solution to the problem will be found when you discover God’s purpose in it. Solved problems will produce great blessings and benefit. Judah is a different man and, and like Moses in Exo 32.2, says “blot out my name.” He dies to himself. His self-sacrifice had consequences on Jewish history. Benjamin remained loyal to Judah when the ten northern tribes seceded, and they survived to the point that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob now bear his name “Yehudim” or “Jews” from “Yehudah” or “Judah.”

Gen 45 tells us that Joseph could not contain himself. He tells everyone to get out of the room. He knows the brothers have changed and for the first time he has heard what happened. Even Joseph didn’t know what had really happened until he heard what they said. They are devoted to Jacob and Benjamin. Joseph says, “Ani Yosef” or “I am Joseph” and the brothers are shocked, and he tells them to come and get a closer look. He tells them that God has sent him (as a shaliach) to go before them to preserve life and a remnant by a great deliverance. He tells them that it wasn’t them who sent him to Egypt but the Lord. He says that he wants them to go back to their father and bring him back to Egypt. This is a picture of the reconciliation Yeshua will have with his brothers Israel. He was also sent ahead as a shaliach to preserve life.

Joseph says they can live in Goshen, known as the “land of lights” and a picture of the Messianic Kingdom. Sukkot is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom and is called the “festival of lights.” Joseph falls on Benjamin’s neck. In Hebrew it says “necks” and it means both sides. This symbolizes the fact that the Mishkan would be in Joseph’s territory in Shiloh, and the Temple would be in Benjamin’s territory.

There are still five years remaining in the famine, so they took wagons for Jacob and the family to ride in when they came to Egypt, with all their flocks and family belongings. When they arrive, they tell Jacob about all that had happened, of course he was stunned and did not believe them. But they pressed on, and when he saw all the wagons arriving, he realized that it was true and began to rejoice.

Gen 46 deals with Israel’s descent into Egypt. They stop in Beersheva where Abraham lived and where Isaac was born. Jacob offers sacrifices there, which were “shelemim” or “peace offerings.” This is the first time these are mentioned. Noah, Abraham and Isaac offered an Olah, a burnt offering. This tells us that these were known before the Torah was given, and we have had a chata (sin offering) with Abel, an Olah (burnt offering) with Noah, Abraham and Isaac, and now we have the Shelem (peace offering) with Jacob. Shelemim must be offered with an elevated state of mind and thanksgiving, and it is done for our benefit because it would be part of a communal meal. The individual is bring something into remembrance, and in this case what God had promised in Gen 15 to Abraham and about the period of servitude in Egypt. He also gives thanks that Joseph is still alive. He is apprehensive at this point as to whether he is doing the right thing. God reassures him that he has permission to go to Egypt.

We also have a list of those who came with Jacob. We have a very interesting name in verse 13 with the name of “Iyov” or “Job.” Job was a son of Issachar and he is the one who would write the Book of Job, and he would leave Egypt before the Exodus. Eliaphaz is Esau’s son (Gen 36.8-11, 40-42) and he has a son named Teman. So, these names are all related to Esau. Job 4.1 has to be written after Esau because Teman already existed here. In Lam 4.21, the land of Edom is the same as Uz, and Uz is also mentioned in Job 1.1. In short, Job left Egypt prior to Exo 12.40. Jacob is a contemporary of Jacob, and their sons were contemporary with each other. They lived in areas named after the family, and Job came to those areas.

Here is a possibility. Egypt at the time was made up of “nomes” or “counties.” These were ruled by warlords. They supported the Pharaoh, or maybe not. This changed during the reign of Amenemhat III, Joseph’s Pharaoh. All the nomes came under a centralized government under Pharaoh. How? They ran out of food due to the famine. In order to receive food from Joseph and the royal treasurers, they had to swear allegiance to Amenemhat III. We learn in Gen 47 that the family arrives in Egypt and all the land is at their disposal. Pharaoh appoints capable men to be administrators and to manage the royal flocks and herds (Gen 47.6). It is possible that Job was eventually appointed as an administrator and he ruled in the land where the book of Job took place. He certainly was related to those who lived there. God is at work here.

In Part 20 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 18

We are going to take a look into when and where Joseph was at this time. There is evidence of the presence of Joseph in Egypt, and his people, but people are making a big mistake when looking evidence. He was 17 when he was sold and 30 when he began to rule. There were seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. The brothers arrive at the end of the second year of the famine (Gen 45.11). Jacob is 130 when he arrives (Gen 47.9). There is a place called “El-Lisht” in the Faiyum in Middle Egypt and that is where Joseph was and where Pharaoh ruled. Egypt is called “Ramases” at this point (Gen 47.11) and Goshen (“Land of Lights”) is called Ramases by Josephus. There will be 210 years between the arrival of Jacob and the Exodus. This means that we can narrow down the Pharoah of the Exodus. Tradition says that Ramases was the Pharaoh 1200 B.C so Jacob came in 1410 B.C. However the land was already called Ramases. Exo 2.11 says that Israel built two cities, Pithom and Ramases.

Now, Ramases means “Ra delivers” and this name was used before the Pharaoh by that name ever came along. So, the Exodus did not have to occur in 1200 B.C. The Philistines, Edomites and Moabites were not established till 1200 B.C. There is a stela called the Stela of Meranaphtah and it says that he conquered Israel, and he may have been Ramases II by historians, so how could he be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. In Gen 46.11, we have Jacob, Levi, Kohath enter the land. Kohath has Amram and Amram has Moses. We believe the Exodus was in 1441 B.C. 1 Kings 6.1 says that they began to build the Temple 480 years after the Exodus. That was 961 B.C. and 961 plus 480 gives us 1441 B.C.

The scholars say that can’t be true because the Exodus occurred during the reign of Ramases because the Jews built a city called Ramases, but 210 years before this the whole land was called Ramases. So, lets look at the time line. Joseph is sold in 1673 and there will be 13 years till he is ruling in Egypt (1660 B.C.). We have seven years of plenty and 2 years into the famine the brothers arrive (9 years), followed by Jacob (1651 B.C.). Joseph is 39 years old. They spend 210 years in the land till the Exodus (1441 B.C.).

The scholars are looking in the wrong century and the wrong places for evidence of a Jewish presence. We need to be looking in Middle Egypt, not Lower Egypt, for Joseph and the Jewish people. That area in Middle Egypt is called the Faiyum. There is a man-made canal connecting the lake there with the Nile River and it is called the “Bahr Yosef” or the “River of Joseph.” You can go on the Internet and see pictures of this canal. El-Lisht was the capital and the area had water for planting because of the canal, which also had locks. There were two prongs to this canal and it was made during the seven years of plenty to enhance the land by Joseph. The lake there occupied one-fifth more area than it does now because it has shrunk. The lake could be drained and the soil was good for planting. Joseph reaps the harvest for seven years.

A huge warehouse and granary has been found at a city called Harawa on the River of Joseph, near the Nile River. This complex had over 3000 rooms in it and it has been called “The Maze.” It was built around 1760 B.C. This is clear evidence for the presence of Joseph in the Faiyum because the archaeologists have been looking in the wrong place and had the wrong dates. The River of Joseph had two prongs to it and the lake could be drained for planting in good soil. Then the locks could be opened again, allowing the lake to fill up again with water from the Nile. The lake was used for planting extra food for the seven years of planting, utilizing the locks to regulate the water levels.

Harawa is on the River of Joseph and the granary was located there. There were 3000 rooms as we have said, and the historian Herodotus wrote about it and said, “Its greatness surpasses even the temples.” In Greek, this area was called “Succos.” If you recall in the Exodus, they had to go to a place called Sukkot (Succos) to retrieve the remains of Joseph (Exo 13.19). The evidence seems to point to this area as where Joseph was and where Jacob came. We have the River of Joseph; the Faiyum also being called Succos (Sukkot); a lake that was used for planting extra grain; a huge granary found there where the grain was stored during the years of plenty. The people had to come to Joseph to buy food (Gen 42.6) so the granary was in Harawa, so that was where Joseph was.

In Gen 42.1-38 we learn that Jacob sees the caravans with grain from Egypt and the famine has affected Canaan, too. This alludes to the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” This was about two years into the famine (Gen 45.11) and this famine will be used by the Lord for the “tribes” to be reconciled to Joseph. The Birth-pains of the Messiah will be the process used by God to reconcile the tribes to Yeshua. Jacob sends ten of his sons (a number representing a congregation) to Egypt to buy grain. They came before Joseph in the Faiyum, at Harawa, and bowed down to him. This will fulfill part of his dream in Gen 37.6-9. Part of the dream had to do with sheaves of grain bowing down to him.

Joseph recognizes them, but they did not recognize him. He is 39 years old now and it has been 22 years. He was the last person they expected to see and he looked very different. They saw him as a Gentile ruler, just like people see Yeshua today. They do not see him as a Jewish rabbi with a beard and tzitzit. There is a story about a rabbi and a Christian minister and the Christian says, “What are you Jews going to do when Jesus returns and he is the Messiah?” The rabbi responded by saying, “What are you Christians going to do when the Messiah returns and he is a rabbi?” Joseph remembered his dreams and said, “You are spies!” They must have aroused some suspicion
or this would not have seemed plausible to those standing. They were the last people in the world he ever expected to see again and he was emotionally connected again to them and what he thought they did to him. He needs to test them.

The brothers denied the charge saying, “We are all sons of one man.” This alludes to what the people said to Yeshua in John 8.39-41 when they said, “We are sons of Abraham.” They said that they were honest men, just like the people said in Yeshua’s day, but they failed to confess their sin. Joseph accuses them again, and they answer by saying that there were twelve brothers in all, one is in Canaan and the other is no more. This alludes to the fact that Israel today is separated from “Joseph and Benjamin” who are types of the Messiah. It seems they still don’t know what really happened to Joseph. But we know he is alive. Israel thinks Yeshua is dead, but he isn’t.

Joseph tells them they are “spies.” Until Israel confesses, there can be no blessing. Joseph puts them in prison for three days. Israel has been “put in prison” in sense for two days, but in the third day they will be “released” (Hos 5.15 through 6.3). Joseph tells them that one brother will be left behind while the others go back to get the one other brother (Benjamin) in Canaan and brings him back. This will verify their story. So, Joseph and Benjamin (Messiah) must be together before Israel can be one.

They said to one another that “truly we are guilty” concerning Joseph because they saw the distress of Joseph’s soul when he pleaded with them, but they would not listen. So, they believe this distress has come upon them by the hand of God. The Birth-pains of the Messiah is also called the “time of Jacob’s trouble” or distress in Jer 30.4-7. These birth-pains that will afflict Israel will be linked to the treatment of their “younger brother” Yeshua.

Reuben says “I told you so” but Joseph could overhear what they were saying, and he turned away and wept. Remember, and we will deal with this in detail later, that the brothers don’t know what happened to Joseph, and Joseph didn’t know what happened to him either. He does know this. He told the family about his dreams, then his Dad sends him on a dangerous journey alone to check on the brothers and flocks. When he finds his brothers and arrives, they put him into a pit. He is taken out by the Midianites, and sold to Ishmaelites and taken to Egypt. As far as Joseph is concerned, he thought his father disowned him and sent him on a dangerous journey and he ends up being put into a pit and sold. He knows the family was mad at him about his dreams and possibly kicked out of the family. It is not like it hasn’t happened before. Ishmael was driven out by Abraham, Jacob was chosen over Esau and Esau driven out. He was chosen over Reuben. Joseph thinks his brothers sold him, and his father may have been behind it, and they never even said goodbye. But the truth is different than what Joseph thinks, and his brothers, and the truth will all come out later.

In Part 19, we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 17

We are going to pick up with the story of Joseph again and the revelation of Messiah in Gen 39.1-23. Joseph becomes successful in Potiphar’s house, but the wife of Potiphar tries to seduce Joseph, and Joseph refused her. Of course, this made her very angry and she brings up false charges against Joseph to get back at him, accusing him of being a Hebrew, appealing to Egyptian prejudice. We will see this term “Hebrew” used again in this way in Gen 41.12. Potiphar must have had some doubts about this because he did not put Joseph to death, but put him in jail. Joseph again gains favor, this time with the chief jailer.

In Gen 40.1-23 we have another dream episode that has messianic implications, this time involving the cupbearer and the baker of the Pharaoh. They offended the Pharaoh and he was furious. The cupbearer and the baker had a dream but they could not find the meaning. Joseph noticed they were depressed, and Joseph asked them what was wrong. They told him about their dreams but they had no interpretation. Joseph said that interpretations belong to God (Job 33.14-17,29), and to tell him what they dreamed.

The cupbearer said there was a vine with three branches and as it budded its blossoms came out and produced grapes. He then took Pharoaoh’s cup and took grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, then gave the cup to Pharaoh. Joseph told him that the interpretation was this. The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift up the cupbearer’s head and restore him to his previous office. Joseph then asked him to keep him in mind and make a kind reference to Pharaoh about him, saying he was innocent of the charges he is in prison for.

When the chief baker saw that Joseph had interpreted the cupbearer’s dream favorably, he wanted Joseph to inteerpret his dream. The baker said he saw three baskets of white bread on his head. The top basket contained all sorts of baked food, and birds were eating them out of the basket on his head. Joseph tells him that within three days Pharaoh will lift up his head from him, and hang him on a tree, and the birds will eat his flesh.

So, it came about on the third day it was Pharaoh’s birthday and he had a feast. He restored the cupbearer to his previous position, but he hanged the baker just as Joseph had predicted. However, the cupbearer forgot all about Joseph. In this story we have tremendous picture of Yeshua. In Luke 13.22, Yeshua said, “I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I will reach my goal.” Joseph is a picture of the Messiah and he is in the prison (the cross). The cupbearer is the repentant thief on the cross, and the baker is the unrepentant thief. The repentant thief was brought before the throne of God (Pharaoh), the unrepentant thief was not. This also alludes to the two goats on Yom Kippur. One goat is called “L’YHVH” and the other goat is “L’Azazel.” The L’YHVH goat and the blood is brought before the Lord, the L’Azazel goat is taken to the wilderness and is a picture of Satan/False Messiah. We also see this alluded to when Yeshua stood before Pilate along with Barabbas.

Gen 41.1-57 tells us that two years later Pharaoh has a dream. This alludes to 2000 years when Yeshua was hidden, like Joseph was (Hos 5.15 through 6.3). The Pharaoh here is Amenemhat III. The phrase “At the end of two years” also alludes to the “end” eschatologically (Matt 24.3, 6). Pharaoh’s ultimate end is seen in the prophecies about the False Messiah. For more information on this, go to the teaching “The Greatest Deception Ever Told” on this site. In his dream, Pharaoh sees seven fat and seven sleek cows grazing, then seven others came up that were ugly and gaunt. They stood on the bank of the Nile River. The seven ugly and gaunt cows ate the seven sleek and fat cows. Pharaoh awoke and was very disturbed, but he fell asleep again and had a second dream (Job 33.14-17, 29). There were seven ears of corn that came up on a single stalk, plump and healthy. Then seven more ears came up after them that were thin and scorched by the east wind. The seven thin ears swallowed up the seven plump ears.

Pharaoh is very troubled by these dreams, and none of the magicians or wise men could interpret the meaning. It was then that the cupbearer told Pharaoh about the dreams that he and the baker had and how a “Hebrew youth” was able to give a correct interpretation of them. Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and brought him out of the dungeon. The cupbearer used two disparaging terms about Joseph in these passages. The first one was “Hebrew youth.” The Hebrews were foreigners and detested by the Egyptians (Gen 43.32). When he used “youth” he is saying that he is ignorant and unfit for service. The cupbearer feared that if Joseph achieved a position above him, he may avenge himself on the cupbearer for letting two years go by (40.23).

Joseph is brought before Pharaoh and he tells him that it is not in him by some magical power to interpet dreams, but God will give him an answer. Pharaoh tells Joseph the dreams and Joseph tells him that God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will be seven years of abundance, followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh had a repeating dream because the “matter is determined by God and he will quickly bring it about” (Job 33.14-17, 29). He then tells Pharaoh that he must find someone and set him over the land. That individual must be honest, wise and discerning. Then that parson must appoint overseers to exact one-fifth of the produce of the land during the seven years of abundance and store it away. They should gather all the food and guard it, as a reserve. Then and only then will Egypt be saved. After hearing this, he agreed with the plan Joseph put forward.

In Pharaoh’s mind, since God has informed Joseph of all this, he seems like the man for the job. As a result, he appoints Joseph over everything and everyone, except Pharaoh himself. The people shall do homage to Joseph, and only in the throne will Pharaoh be greater than Joseph. Pharaoh took off his ring and put it on the finger of Joseph and clothed him with fine linen and put a gold necklace around his neck. He then has Joseph ride in his second chariot and they proclaimed before him, “Bow the knee!” Joseph was set over the land. The Talmud says in Rosh Ha Shannah 105 this happened on Tishri 1, a Rosh Ha Shannah. In these passages we see allusions to the five aspects of the coronation of a Judean king with the investiture (v 42); anointing (v 38); acclamation (v 43); enthronement (v 43) and homage (v 40).

This is a clear picture of the coronation of Yeshua as king on Rosh Ha Shannah, right after the believers have been caught up to heaven in the Natzal, before the seven year Birth-pains begin (pictured by the seven years of famine). Joseph is given a “bride”, and Yeshua will be given a bride. Joseph is the “shaliach” or sent one, agent, of Pharaoh to preserve life, a type of the Father (Pharaoh is a type of father to Joseph, as we will see later in this teaching). Yeshua is the shaliach or “sent one” of the Father to preserve life. Joseph is even “adopted” in a sense by Pharaoh and is given a new name “Zaphenath-Paneah” which means “food man of life” according to Egyptologists (Hertz “Pentateuch and Haftorahs”, p. 158). The importance of this change of name is that it will help conceal who Joseph is at first when his brothers come for food.

Joseph is about 30 years old when he is appointed a ruler in Egypt, the start of his “ministry” if you will. Yeshua was about 30 years old when he began his ministry. It is the age when priests began their service to the Lord (Num 4.3). After seven years of plenty, the food was stored up and the seven year famine began. People came to but grain from many areas, They were told to go to Joseph and to do whatever he tells them.

In Part 18, we will look at where Joseph was at this time and where Jacob came, and how he was able to store grain and distribute it to the land before we move on with the rest of the story. Archeology has found many sites that confirm this story and we will look at some of them. Knowing these areas will also play a role in understanding what happens in the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Genesis tells us how Israel got into Egypt, and Exodus will tell the story of how they got out. In our study of the Concepts in Exodus, we will deal with this information again in more detail.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 16

In Gen 37.1 through 50.26 we are going to tell the story of Joseph, one of the most interesting pictures of the Messiah we have in the Scriptures. He will be a picture of the suffering servant and the redemption. We will also look at what happened to him in a more detailed way later in this teaching, such as the concept of the two fathers; the procession to Canaan after Jacob dies being a picture of the Exodus with Moses; why didn’t Joseph let his family know he was safe after all those years, and many other questions.

Joseph was 17 years old and pasturing his father’s flocks with his brothers. He will be a type of the “Good Shepherd.” He brought back a “bad report” about his brothers, which alludes to the evil conduct of Yeshua’s “brothers.” Jacob loved Joseph more than the others because of his mother Rachel, and his disposition was different. Onkelos in his Targum says he was the “son of wisdom, a wise son before his years.” He made a multi-colored cloak that marked his as “head of the tribes” at Jacob’s death and his brothers hated him for that, which is one of the traits Jacob noticed in them.

Joseph has a dream and he told his brothers. They were binding wheat sheaves in the field. Joseph’s sheave stood erect and the sheaves of his brothers bowed down to Joseph’s sheave. His brothers said, “Are you actually going to rule over us?” And they hated him even more. Later, he has a second dream (Job 33.14-17, 29). The sun (Jacob) and the moon (Rachel) and 11 stars were bowing down before him (alluded to in Rev 12.1) Even his father questioned him about this dream, and his brothers were really jealous and hateful now. However, Jacob kept this dream in his heart and didn’t outright dismiss it totally.

Later, the brothers were shepherding their fathers flock (Messiah’s flock). Jacob sends him to Shechem, and Joseph says “I will go.” This was a very dangerous trip for a 17 year old boy to go on by himself. This alludes to Yeshua being sent to check oh the flock of his father, the flock of Israel, in the First Century. Joseph was sent from Hebron as the “shaliach” (sent one, agent-John 3.16-17; 1 John 4.10; Matt 15.24). Hebron was seen as a type of heaven, and it means “communion.” Yeshua left “communion” with the Father in heaven to check on the flock of his father, which was the people of Israel.

As he was looking for them (because they had moved from Shechem), a man found him wandering around. Joseph told the man he was looking for his brothers and the flocks. The man said they had moved to Dothan, which means “law or decree.” This teaches us that when Yeshua came, he was looking for his brothers and how the “shepherds” in Yeshua’s day had moved from the Torah to the Oral Law of the Rabbis, man’s decrees that were found in the 18 Edicts of Shammai.

Joseph found them and they mocked him. The brothers wanted to kill him, but Reuben interceded and said “No.” He suggested they put him into a pit because he wanted to rescue him later. They stripped him of his multi-colored coat (like Yeshua) and put him into the pit (like Yeshua). The ate a meal, like the leaders in Yeshua’s day ate Passover. They looked and saw a caravan from afar of Ishmaelites (long distance traders) coming down the road from Gilead to Egypt. Judah suggested that it would be better to sell him (37.26-27). Judah is a type of Judas, bearing the same name, who sold Yeshua. The brothers agreed not to kill him, but to sell him to the Ishmaelites.

As they were discussing this, Midianite traders (the local guys) passed by the pit and heard Joseph, and pulled him out. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. This alludes to how the priests of Caiaphas (Midianites) sold Yeshua to the Romans (the Ishmaelites). All along, the brothers never knew this was going on. Reuben returns to the pit to get Joseph out of the pit and finds that he was not there, and he told the others. So, they took Josephs tunic of many colors and slaughtered a male goat and dipped the tunic in the blood. They still don’t know what really happened at this point. All they knew was he was last seen in the pit. They show Jacob the coat and lead him to believe that Joseph was killed by wild beasts. Meanwhile, the Ishmaelites take Joseph to Egypt. Joseph doesn’t know what is happening. Did his brothers sell him to these traders without even a goodbye? Did his father send him on this journey to get him out of the family? It had been done before by Abraham to Ishmael, whose descendants these were, and Jacob was favored over Esau, and even Joseph was favored over Reuben. Was he being disowned by his own family?

The Ishmaelites arrive in Egypt and sell Joseph to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer of the Bodyguard (meaning “executioners” or “watch”). The KJV and the NASB says the “Midianites” sold him and that is because they were the ones who took him out of the pit and started this whole scenario, but the literal meaning is obviously the Ishmaelites.

In Gen 38 1-30 we have another story interjected into the story of Joseph, but it has messianic implications. Judah has several sons who died, and they had no heirs. Tamar was married to both sons, and was promised another son of Judah named Shelah when he came of age. She wasn’t going to wait that long for an heir, so she devises a plot to have children by Judah. She poses as a prostitute, and Judah has relations with her, not knowing it was Tamar. Three months later Tamar is found to be pregnant, and Judah accuses her of being a harlot. She is sentenced to death. However, she is able to prove that Judah is the father, and Judah realizes that she did what she did because he would not give his son Shelah to raise heirs for his dead sons.

From Gen 38.27-30 we have a picture of the redemption. Tamar learns that she is going to have twins, and as she is giving birth, one puts out his hand and the midwife took a scarlet thread and put it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” But, he drew his hand back and his brother broke through the birth canal, and the midwife said, “What a breach you have made for yourself.” As a result, that child was named “Poretz” or “Perez” in English Bibles, which means “breach maker.” Afterward, his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand, and he was called “Zerah” which is a form of “Zeroah” meaning “arm” (a term for Messiah-Isa 53.1).

So, eschatologically, what is this saying? Adam’s sin caused a “breach.” This also alludes to the “voice” of Isa 40.3, which is Elijah and Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Baptist), who were the ones who came before Messiah and removed the stones and made a “breach” (Micah 2.12-13; Isa 62.10-12). The first Adam caused a breach (sin), but the second Adam came and brought redemption (the scarlet thread). The name Zerah is related to the word Zeroah, as we have said. So, a breach was made by Adam and the Messiah came with his blood (scarlet thread). The “Poretz” comes first (the breach maker) and makes a path for the coming of the Zerah (Zeroah/Messiah).

In Part 17, we will pick up in Gen 39 with the story of Joseph.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 15

We are going to deal with some concepts found in the festivals of Rosh Ha Shannah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in a portion of Scripture from Gen 31.1 to 33.17. This will allude to the seven year birth-pains that Israel will go through prior to the coming of the Messiah on Yom Kippur.

Jacob (will be renamed Israel in this portion) hears that Laban’s sons think that he has stolen what belongs to them. He sees that their attitude towards him has shifted to one of animosity. But we know that it was the Lord who blessed Jacob and that is what is going to happen during the birth-pains. The world (Laban/sons) has always accused the Jews of “having all the money” and they cheated their way to prosperity, and in the process were “robbing us.”

The Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land” (31.3). The Jews will begin to return to Israel after Rosh Ha Shannah, year 6001 (Micah 4.10; Jer 50.8, 16, 28, 51.6, 9, 45, 50). The Natzal has occurred and they are told to leave “Babylon” (USA) before destruction comes. Jacob tells the family they are leaving and that they are returning back to the land. The word “return” is an idiom for Rosh Ha Shannah. Laban hears that they have left and begins to follow them and eventually catches up to them. Jacob says he has been with him 20 years (2000 years) and Laban (the world) has cheated him at least ten times (31.41). The word Laban backwards spells “Nabal” in Hebrew and it means a “Rasha, wicked fool” (1 Sam 25.25) They eventually agree to make a covenant that they will not pass a heap of stones they have set up to do harm to one another.

After this incident, they move on and camp at a place called Machanaim, meaning “two camps.” This is 400 yards from Peniel and it is in the Valley of Sukkot where David fled to from Absalom (2 Sam 17.24). This alludes to the fact that we have “two camps” in our lives, too (2 Kings 6.17). He knows that eventually he will have to confront Esau, so he has a plan and sends him a message. He learns that Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men. He prays to the Lord and reminds him of what he promised and that he told him to come back to the land. He selects a present for Esau of many animals from his flock which included 200 female goats and 20 male goats, 200 ewes and 20 rams, 30 milking camels their colts, 40 cows and ten bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 male donkeys. Each drove was to be separate when they take it to Esau. He believed that the arrival of these gifts would appease the anger of Esau.

Then Jacob “arose” (another term for Rosh Ha Shannah) and he comes to the ford of the Jabbok River, which means “emptied out.” Jacob is just that, emptied out, and Israel will be emptied out during the birth-pains before they confront “the man.” Jacob sends his family across the Jabbok and he is temporarily left alone. A man confronts him and he wrestles with him. This alludes to the “time of Jacobs trouble” when Israel will struggle with God in the form of a man. They are still wrestling today until “daybreak.” The Lord is going to show Jacob his weakness until it “dawns on him.” The “man” touches Jacob’s hip, dislocating it, and Jacob has a “different walk.” The “man” changes Jacob’s name to Israel because he wrestled with God and has prevailed. Jacob lived up to his name in Gen 25.26.

Jacob names the place “Peniel” which means “I have seen God face to face.” Face to face is an idiom for Yom Kippur. He has wrestled with God “in the form of a man” and this alludes to Yeshua. Israel has wrestled with him now for 2000 years, but on a Yom Kippur that “wrestling” will end when Russia is destroyed and Israel believes that the Lord has done it, and that Yeshua is the Messiah (Isa 10.12; Ezek 39.22). They will leave that encounter with a different walk also. So far, we have had allusions to Rosh Ha Shannah and Yom Kippur in the story of how Israel/Jacob returned back to the land, but there is more.

After this, Jacob looks and sees Esau coming. He divides his family in groups between Leah, Rachel and the two maids Zilpah and Bilhah. He put the maids and their children in front, Leah and her children next, followed by Rachel and Joseph. Jacob went ahead of them and met Esau. Esau ran to meet him and kissed him. The word “kissed him” him in Hebrew has dots over the letters, which is telling the reader to “beware, take notice.” After they reconcile (Yom Kippur term), Esau doesn’t want all the gifts Jacob has sent. But Jacob says he wants him to have them because “I see your face as one sees the face of God.” This is another allusion to Yom Kippur. Esau believes that Jacob is coming to him at Seir, and wants to escort him there. But Jacob is being led of the Lord, and knows that he is going elsewhere because he is to go back to the land. We must never let family ties deter us from where the Lord wants us to go. So, he tells Esau to go ahead, and Jacob has other plans. Now we come to Sukkot.

Jacob journeys to a place called Sukkot, where he builds a house and “booths” (Sukkot) for his livestock. He then moves on and comes to Shechem, meaning “shoulder.” This is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom where we have the allusion to Sukkot and where the “government will rest on his shoulders” (Isa 9.6-7). So, we have allusions to the three festivals of Rosh Ha Shannah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in this story of how Jacob returns back to the land.

In Gen 35.16-22 we have the account of the birth of Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand” or “son of the last days.” Rachel has severe birth pains, but manages to give birth to Benjamin. She wanted to name him “Ben Oni” meaning “son of the birth pains” but Jacob names him “Benjamin.” This alludes to the two comings of Messiah, who is the son of the birth pains and the last days. Joseph will be a picture of the first coming of the Messiah as suffering servant, and Benjamin is a picture of the second coming. Rachel dies on the way to Ephrath, or Bethlehem (35.19). Jacob erects a pillar at her grave site. This is very near a place called Migdal Eder meaning “tower of the flock” where Yeshua will be born (Micah 4.18, 5.2).

In Part 16, we will begin to tell the story of Joseph from Gen 37.1 to Gen 50.26. This will be one of the most important pictures of the Messiah in the Scriptures, and another picture of Israel’s rejection of the the Messiah Ben Joseph and eventual redemption. We will start with the basic story, and then we will look into Joseph and what happened to him at a deeper level.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament