Thought for the week

images/thoughtofweek.JPG

‘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.