Articles Tagged ‘‘Parsha’ of the Week - Emet Ministries’

‘Parsha Bo’ - Let My people go

The ‘parsha’ (‘Torah’ portion) this week, ‘Parsha Bo’ (‘Come’), is found in Exodus 10:1 – 13:16 and is the fifteenth weekly ‘Torah’ portion in the annual Jewish cycle of ‘Torah’ reading; the corresponding ‘haftorah’ (reading of the prophets) is found in Jeremiah 46:13-28.

“Come in to Pharaoh” says G-d to Moses in the opening verse of ‘Parsha Bo’ “for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.” (Exodus 10:1-2)

‘Parsha Bo’ describes the last three plagues on Egypt, the first ‘Pesach’ (Passover) and the beginning of the Exodus.

Seven plagues have failed to convince Pharaoh to accede to Moses' demand in G-d’s name, “Let My people go so that they may serve Me.” Time and again, while in the throes of a devastating plague, Pharaoh promised to let the Hebrews go, only to renege the moment the affliction had been removed, rejecting Moses’ request and expelling Moses and Aaron from his presence.

The eighth plague with which Moses threatened the Egyptians was the plague of locusts which Moses warned would cover the face of the earth and would eat the residue of that which remained from the hail. Moses held his rod over the land and G-d drove an east wind to bring locusts to invade all the land.
Pharaoh then summoned Moses and Aaron, asked forgiveness, and asked them to plead with G-d to remove the locusts. Moses did so, and G-d brought a west wind to lift the locusts into the Sea of Reeds.
However, G-d hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.

G-d then instructed Moses to hold his arm toward the sky to bring darkness upon the land, and Moses did so; however, the Israelites enjoyed light – this was the ninth plague.
Pharaoh summoned Moses and told him to go, leaving only the Israelites’ flocks and herds behind. However, Moses insisted that none of the Israelites’ livestock be left behind, for they needed them to sacrifice to G-d.
But G-d hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he expelled Moses saying: “for on the day you see my face again, you shall die”. 

G-d then told Moses that He would bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt and that after this plague, Pharaoh would let them go from Egypt, driving them out.

G-d told Moses to tell the Israelites that everyone must ask from their neighbour articles of silver and gold before they departed from Egypt. ‘Parsha Bo’ tells us that G-d gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians.
G-d then told Moses that at about midnight He would go out into Egypt and that all the firstborn in the land of Egypt would die; from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the female servants, as well as all the firstborn of the animals.

G-d told Moses and Aaron to mark that month as the first month of the year. He then told them to instruct the Israelites in the laws of Passover, and the Israelites obeyed.
G-d then conveyed to Moses and Aaron a series of ‘mitzvot’ (divine commandments) in preparation for their Exodus from Egypt.
The first ‘mitzvah’ was to set the Jewish calendar in accordance with the monthly birth of the new moon, and to regard the month of the Exodus as “the head of the months.”
The second ‘mitzvah’ was to bring a “Passover offering” to G-d while still in the land of Egypt: Exodus 12:3-6: “On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.”

G-d commanded them to take the lamb’s blood and put it on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost of the houses in which they ate it. They were to eat the meat that night, roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs.
G-d said that He would pass through the land of Egypt that night and would smite all the firstborn in the land, both man and beast. However, G-d would pass over all the houses that had the blood sign on the doorposts and lintels and the plague would not destroy them.

And it happened in the middle of the night, G-d struck down all the firstborn in Egypt. Pharaoh arose in the night to a loud cry in Egypt, summoned Moses and Aaron, and told them to take the Israelites and go.
The Israelites took their dough before it was leavened, the silver, gold and clothing from the Egyptians, and left the land of Goshen for Sukkoth.

About six hundred thousand Israelite men - besides women and children - journeyed from Egypt. A mixed multitude of people also went with them as well as flocks, herds and much cattle.
They then baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought out of Egypt, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay. Also, they did not have much time to provide provision for themselves.
Moses told the people to remember that day, the day in which they came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand G-d had brought them out of Egypt. Moses also told them not to eat any leavened bread.

Our ‘parsha’ ends with the Children of Israel being commanded to consecrate all the firstborn and to observe the anniversary of the Exodus each year by removing all leaven from their possession for seven days, eating ‘matzah’ and telling the story of their redemption to their children.
They were also commanded to wear ‘tefillin’ (phylacteries) on their arms and heads as a reminder of the Exodus and their resultant commitment to G-d.

In this week's ‘Torah’ reading, we read of the devastation of the Egyptian nation through the final three plagues.
In ’Haftorah Bo’, found in Jeremiah 46:13-28, we read of the punishment G-d visited upon Egypt centuries later through the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. G-d reveals Egypt's fate to Jeremiah, and the prophet then goes on to describe Egypt's helplessness and the destruction that it would incur at the hands of the Babylonians.

The ‘haftorah’ ends with G-d’s assurance to the Jewish people not to fear; for though they too would be punished and exiled, ultimately they would be redeemed: Jeremiah 46:27-28: “But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, and do not be dismayed, O Israel! For behold, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; No one shall make him afraid. Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,” says the LORD, “For I am with you; for I will make a complete end of all the nations to which I have driven you””

‘Parsha Bo’ describes the last three plagues on Egypt, the first ‘Pesach’ (Passover) and the beginning of the Exodus. It also shows the fulfillment of the second of the sixteen Redemptive Prophecies concerning the Jewish people and Israel that will usher in the return of the ‘Mashiach’ (Messiah), Yeshua - Their deliverance with wealth from Egypt: Genesis 15:14: “and also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward shall they come out with great possessions.”

However, what is most remarkable about ‘Parsha Bo’, is that this ‘parsha’ is symbolic of Yeshua; and Exodus chapter twelve prophesies the coming Redeemer of Israel and mankind – the perfect, sacrificial Lamb of G-d, Yeshua.

In Exodus 12:3-5 we read: “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year.’ ”
Here we see an amazing symbolism pointing directly to Yeshua, the perfect, sinless Lamb of G-d who is without blemish.
 
Verses 6-7 goes on to say: “Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.”
This is symbolic of Yeshua’s blood sacrifice and His crucifixion; the blood on the lintels and two doorposts are symbolic of the cross.

We read in verses 12-13: “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
Here we see how the blood sacrifice atoned for the sins of Israel, and when G-d punished Egypt, He passed over the Jewish homes because of the blood of the unblemished lamb.
And the Blood of Yeshua, the sinless Lamb of G-d who is without blemish, atones for our sins today – both of Jews and Gentiles.

However the Blood of Yeshua goes even further.
Leviticus 17:11 tells us that the only way to the forgiveness of sin and eternal life in heaven is through the sacrificial system and the shedding of blood - “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
However, because the Temple has been destroyed and there is no more sacrificial system, there is no shedding of blood; how, then, does one make atonement for one’s soul?
The answer is: You can’t!

Only through Yeshua and His shed blood can one’s sins be forgiven and one’s soul be atoned for – or redeemed – Ephesians 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” … And Yeshua shed every last drop of His blood to make atonement for mankind’s soul.

Exodus 12:21-23 declares: “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.””

To my Jewish brethren; the same G-d, who told our ancestors to paint lamb’s blood on the doorposts and lintel of their houses is extending an invitation to you to ‘paint the doorposts and lintel of your heart’ with the Blood of the Jewish Messiah, the Jewish Redeemer, the Jewish Saviour, Yeshua.

Will you do this? Will you commit your life to Yeshua, who lovingly and faithfully endured the cross for you and for me, accepting Him as your Messiah? Or, like Pharaoh, will you harden your heart to G-d’s invitation and pass up on it?

To my Jewish brethren, G-d told Pharaoh to “LET MY PEOPLE GO”. Now G-d is telling sin and eternal death to “LET MY PEOPLE GO”.
Pharaoh had a choice and you have a choice. You can grab onto the Jewish ‘Mashiach’, Yeshua, and His promise of the forgiveness of sin and eternal life; or you can hold on to sin and a hopeless eternity.

Accept G-d’s gift of the forgiveness of sin, salvation and everlasting life in heaven. All you need to do is confess your sins, repent of them and ask Yeshua to come into your life as your Messiah.
And you can do this by praying the Salvation Prayer at the end of this article.

We love you.

Shalom.

Scripture of the week: Exodus 12:1-51

SALVATION PRAYER

Thank you Yeshua for Your love for me.
Thank you for giving up Your life on the cross for me and for taking my sins upon Yourself.
I confess that I have sinned.
I repent of my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.
I invite You to come into my life as my Messiah, my Saviour.
By Your grace I will serve You all the remaining years of my life.

Parsha Miketz

G-d’s way is the only way

Genesis 41:15-16: “And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.””

The ‘parsha’ (‘Torah’ portion) this week, ‘Parsha Mikeitz’ (at the end), is found in Genesis 41:1 – 44:17 and is the tenth weekly ‘Torah’ portion in the annual Jewish cycle of ‘Torah’ reading; the corresponding ‘haftorah’ (reading of the prophets) is found in 1 Kings 3:15 – 4:1.

Thirteen years after Joseph's dreams got him sold into slavery, and two years after his interpretation of the chief butler and chief baker's dreams failed to get him out of prison, the saga of Joseph is moved along by another pair of dreams - those dreamt by Pharaoh the king of Egypt.

‘Parsha Mikeitz’ tells us that Pharaoh was troubled by his dreams and he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt and told them his dreams; but none could interpret it. Then the chief butler remembered the young Hebrew slave who so accurately interpreted his and the chief baker's dreams, so Joseph was summoned from the dungeon to the palace.

Pharaoh told Joseph that he had had two dreams that none could interpret and he had heard that Joseph could interpret dreams. Joseph answered Pharaoh that he would not be able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, but that his G-d would give Pharaoh the interpretation.
Pharaoh then told Joseph his dreams, and Joseph told him that the two dreams were one - a prediction of what G-d was about to do. The seven fat cattle and the seven good ears of corn symbolized seven years of plenty; and the seven lean cattle and the seven empty ears of corn symbolized seven years of famine that would consume the seven years of plenty. The dream was repeated because G-d had determined this and He would shortly bring it to pass.

Joseph then recommended that Pharaoh appoint over Egypt a wise and understanding man to oversee the collection and storage of the surplus food that would be produced in the seven years of plenty for use during the years of famine.
Pharaoh told Joseph that, because G-d had shown him this and that there was none as understanding and wise as Joseph, Joseph would rule over all Egypt and only Pharaoh would be greater than Joseph.

Pharaoh renamed Joseph ‘Zaphenath-paneah’ (Decipherer of Secrets) and gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, the priest of On, to be his wife. She bore him two sons, Menasseh and Ephraim.
Joseph was thirty years old when he oversaw the implementation of his plan, so that when the years of famine commenced and there was hunger in all the lands in the region, in all of Egypt there was bread. All countries came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain because the famine was so severe in all the earth.

The Land of Canaan was also afflicted by the famine. Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt and he sent his ten sons to Egypt to purchase grain. However, Jacob kept Benjamin behind so that no harm might befall him. Joseph's brothers came to buy grain from Joseph and bowed down to him with their faces to the earth. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.
Joseph, remembering his dreams, spoke roughly with them and accused them of being spies. But they said that they were not spies, but upright men come to buy food; ten sons of a man who had twelve sons, lost one, and kept one behind. Joseph told them that to prove their story, they would have to send one of them to fetch their brother, and he imprisoned them for three days.

On the third day, Joseph told his brothers that because he feared G-d, he would allow them to prove themselves by letting one of them be bound in prison while the others carried grain to their houses and brought their youngest brother to Egypt.
They said to one another that surely they were guilty concerning their brother, and so now this distress had come upon them. Reuben reminded his brothers that he had told them not to sin against Joseph but they had not listened. They did not realize that Joseph understood them, for he had used an interpreter. Joseph then turned aside and wept.
When Joseph returned, he bound Simeon and commanded that their vessels be filled with grain and that their money be put back into their sacks.

They departed, and on the way back to Canaan, one of the brothers opened his sack and found his money and this greatly alarmed the brothers; especially that when they reached their home, they all found their money in their sacks.
They then told Jacob all that had happened, and Jacob accused them of bereaving him of his children - first Joseph and now Simeon. Jacob told them that he would not allow them to take Benjamin away.
Reuben answered that Jacob could kill his two sons if he failed to bring Benjamin back; but Jacob insisted that Benjamin would not go down with them, for Joseph was dead and only he was left. Jacob told them that if harm befell Benjamin, it would be the death of him.

The famine continued, and Jacob told the brothers to buy more grain. But Judah reminded Jacob that the man had warned them that they would not be able to see him unless Benjamin came with them. Judah then asked Jacob to send Benjamin with him, so that they could go and the family could live. Judah said that he would serve as surety for Benjamin. 
Relenting, Jacob directed them to take a present for the man; double money in case the return of their payment was an oversight. Jacob and his sons then prayed that G-d might show them mercy before the man and that he might release Simeon and Benjamin to them.
The brothers then journeyed to Egypt with Benjamin.

The brothers went to Joseph, and when he saw Benjamin with them, in contrast to their prior experience, a most genial reception awaits them in Egypt. Joseph had left instructions that they be honoured with an invitation to his home for the noonday meal; Simeon was restored to them and they were told by the manager of Joseph's household not to worry about the money they found in their sacks as he reassured them that he had their money and that their G-d had placed the money in their sacks.

When Joseph arrived at the house, they brought their present and bowed down to him. Joseph then asked after their welfare and that of their father.
Joseph saw Benjamin and asked them whether this was their youngest brother of whom they had spoken; he then prayed that G-d would be gracious to Benjamin. Joseph left hastily for his chamber and wept, washed his face, returned, and called for the servants to serve the meal.
Joseph sat by himself and the brothers sat by themselves according to their age – and they marveled at this. Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of his brothers’.

Joseph directed the steward to fill the men's sacks with as much food as they could carry, put every man's money in his sack and put Joseph’s silver goblet in Benjamin’s sack.
At dawn, the brothers were sent away; but when they had not yet gone far from the city, Joseph directed his steward to overtake them and ask them why they had rewarded evil for good and taken Joseph’s silver goblet. They then said that the one with whom the goblet was found would die, and the brothers would become slaves.
The steward agreed, but said that the one with whom it was found would be a slave and the others would go free.
Hastily, every man opened his sack - starting with the eldest, and they found the goblet in Benjamin's sack. The brothers tore their clothes, loaded their donkeys, and returned to the city.
Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house and fell before him on the ground and Joseph confronted them with their deed. Judah said that they would all be  Joseph’s slaves, but Joseph insisted that only the man in whose sack the goblet was found would be his slave, and the others could go in peace to their father.

‘Parsha Mekeitz’ concludes with this test of the brothers' loyalty.

’Haftorah Mikeitz’, found in 1 Kings 3:15 – 4:1, opens with the words “And Solomon awoke, and behold it was a dream” echoing this week's Torah portion which opens with Pharaoh's dreams.
Though not included in the ‘haftorah’, in this dream G-d granted King Solomon his legendary wisdom.

The ‘haftorah’ relates a famous episode that made all of Israel aware of their new monarch's keen intellect.
Two harlots approached King Solomon to adjudicate their dispute. They lived together in the same house, and each had given birth to an infant. One night, one of the infants was accidentally crushed to death by her mother, and one woman accused the other of switching infants in order to have a live baby. Each woman claimed that the live child was theirs and the deceased child was the others.
King Solomon asked that a sword be brought and ordered that the child be cut in half with each woman receiving one half. At this point, the mother of the living child exhorted the king to give the child to the other woman so that he may live, while the other woman said, “Let it be neither mine nor yours, divide!”
The king then ruled that the living child be given to the first mother as she was his mother.

There are a number of lessons that one can learn from this week’s ‘parsha’; however, I want to focus on one lesson: G-d exalts His chosen…if they are humble.

In last week’s ‘parsha’, ‘Vayeishev’, we are introduced to Joseph who is a precocious, spoiled lad. 
He knew that he was the favourite son and he lauded this over his brothers. On top of that, he related two dreams to his brothers, as well as to Jacob, in which they ‘bowed down’ to him.

Through this act of pride and foolishness, Joseph was sold into slavery by his angry brothers, and eventually landed in jail – even though he was innocent of his accusation.
After thirteen years of slavery and imprisonment, Joseph still had not learnt his lesson, quickly interpreting the chief butler and chief baker’s dreams. When the interpretation proved to be correct, he asked the Chief Butler to “remember him to Pharaoh”; However, Joseph was not ready for his calling…he still needed to learn humility.
It was only two years later that he had learnt humility; we see this when Joseph is asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Here we see that, for the first time, Joseph acknowledges that he cannot interpret apart from G-d: ““It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.””.

It’s at this point of humility that Joseph is exalted and made Viceroy of Egypt – thus fulfilling his G-d given destiny.
We see the principle of humility in James 4:10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”  1 Peter 5:6 takes this even further: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time”
And this is exactly what happened in Joseph’s case; he finally humbled himself before Almighty G-d and, at the appropriate time, G-d exalted him.

How about you?
Do you trust in your own ability? Do you ‘make a plan’? Do you conduct your life according to the Frank Sinatra song “I’ll do it my way” or do you trust in G-d and His ability? You see, that’s the only way to truly succeed.
Just like Joseph, each of you has a G-d given destiny; and if you humble yourself and allow G-d to direct your path, in his perfect time, he will lift you up into your destiny.
Or you can fumble and stumble your way through life…

I know that there are many extremely wealthy and successful people out there who ‘did it their way’; however, how happy are they? When one looks at the amount of divorces, drug addictions, family breakups, tragedies and drug-related deaths that befall the rich and the famous, their lives, in fact, are complete failures.
Some say that humility is a sign of weakness; not according to G-d. In Matthew 23:12, Yeshua declares: “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

In fact, Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, is the perfect example of humility. He humbled Himself, allowed Himself to be cruelly tortured and then allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross where he hung naked in the sight of all because of His love for humanity. He allowed this to happen to Himself so that your sins and the sins of mankind could be forgiven and eternal life be granted to those who put their faith in Him and believe in His death and resurrection…this is G-d’s free gift for both Jews and Gentiles.

How happy are you right now? If you died today, do you know where you will go for eternity?
If religion has not helped you to total fulfilment or perhaps you just don’t believe in G-d; if your life is unfulfilled or even a mess, why not humble yourself and commit your life to the One who gives total fulfilment and the guarantee of the forgiveness of sin and eternal life in heaven. I am talking about the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.
Will you accept G-d’s gift of the forgiveness of sin and everlasting life in heaven? All you need to do is confess your sins and repent of them and ask Yeshua to come into your life as your L-rd and Saviour.
And you can do this by praying the Prayer of Salvation found at the end of this article.

So, are you going to “do it my way” or will you do it G-d’s way.
Some say that Christianity is a crutch. You will find that most of the time, the lives of those who say this are in a mess. Not only this, but they are usually unhappy and bitter people.
As for me, Yeshua is my crutch…and, oh, what a blessed life my wife and I lead - completely fulfilled; in our calling; working for the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; knowing that our sins are forgiven and totally assured of our eternal future.

In conclusion, allow me to name some people who “did it their way” – James Dean, Marilyn Munroe, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse…Sadly, their way did not succeed; G-d’s way ALWAYS succeeds.

We love you.

Shalom.

Scripture of the week: Philippians 2:5-8: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

SALVATION PRAYER

Thank you Yeshua for Your love for me.
Thank you for giving up Your life on the cross for me and for taking my sins upon Yourself.
I confess that I have sinned.
I repent of my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.
I invite You to come into my life as my Messiah, my Saviour.
By Your grace I will serve You all the remaining years of my life.