Saturday, January 9, 2016

Parasha Va'era

Va'era - I appeared
Sh'mot 6:2-9:35

As we all know, last week's Torah portion, Sh'mot, taught us about Yeshua. This week, with Va'era, we will continue to learn about Yeshua, while next week's portion, Bo, will mix things up and teach us about... Yeshua. Now some of you are thinking "But these Torah portions teach about Moshe, not Yeshua. What are you talking about? Can you not read? Have you been studying so much you can't tell the difference between Charlton Heston and Jim Caviezel?" That's OK. I understand your confusion and I'll try to set things straight.

Moshe was a type and shadow of Messiah. As a promised deliverer of Israel, he set the stage for the redemption plan of YHVH. Anyone who has heard me teach before knows that I frequently refer to YHVH's use of cycles. YHVH sets a pattern and then uses that same pattern repeatedly to accomplish His goals. The patterns do not change, they are simply expanded as needed to fit the situation. This is certainly true of Moshe and Yeshua. Let's compare the two.

  • The King (Pharaoh) ordered the death of all male children
  • Both escape death by going to Egypt
    • Moshe into the House of Egypt (Pharaoh's own household and government)
    • Yeshua from the land of Israel to Egypt
  • Both returned in time as a deliverer
  • Each spent time in the desert preparing for his role
    • Moshe spent 40 years in Midian
    • Yeshua spent 40 days in the desert
  • Both were rejected by Israelite leaders, despite proof from YHVH of their identity
  • Both brought deliverance through the sacrifice of the first-born
    • Moshe through the sacrifice of the first-born sons of Egypt
    • Yeshua through the sacrifice of himself, YHVH's first-born
These are just some high points to show the connection between these two important men. I could expand on this topic more, but we would be here all day (and night, and tomorrow, and most of next week.) I encourage you to study further into this connection to get a deeper understanding of how Moshe foretold the coming of Messiah and how Messiah duplicated the pattern set forth through Moshe.

Today, I would like to discuss another repeat of the pattern set forth in these Torah portions, the Greater Exodus still to come. As this Greater Exodus could very well involve some of us living today, it is important the we understand it. Just as YHVH gave Moshe a warning of what was to come in his day, we need to look for the warning signs of what is to come again.

There are parallels between the time of Moshe and the times in which we now live. In Va'era, YHVH tells Moshe that He "... did not make myself known to them by my name, YHVH." (Sh'mot 6:3) Anyone who has spent much time around the Messianic movement, or Hebrew Roots, or whatever name is en vogue this week, has seen someone arguing over the name of YHVH. Pronunciation, usage, etiquette. We get so hung up on the linguistics that we forget to look for an understanding of what He said. To know someone's name, in this context, refers to knowing the full meaning of the one who owns the name. Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov did not yet know the full extent of YHVH's power and might. They knew only what had been revealed to them in their time as needed to fulfill their part of His plan. In fact, they had not even seen the fulfillment of His promise to them to provide the land to them and their descendants forever. All three died without taking possession of the land.

Today, we are seeing a repeat of this. We are beginning to see YHVH's name being brought back into usage among people who have never done so before. Those of us who have been Messianic for a while are used to hearing His name used, but among the Christian church, such usage has been almost nonexistent. However, if you listen to Christian music today, you will hear His name proclaimed proudly in more songs than ever. It's not just Paul Wilbur and Mason Clover using His name in a song title anymore. However, just because they are using His name, doesn't mean that they have come into a full understanding of the meaning of that name. I think this is one of the biggest detriments of discarding the Torah as mainstream Christianity has done for so long. We were so concerned with removing His wrath and judgment (the Old Testament God) that we missed his power and might. We cannot understand YHVH if we selectively choose which parts of Him we will accept and study. He is wrath and judgment, mercy and grace, wisdom, compassion, and righteousness. He is love. He is unending, all powerful, and all knowing. These are not just words to describe Him, these are attributes that only begin to define Him in ways our finite minds can start to comprehend. This is what it means to know His name. I've been studying Torah for over 15 years and I have just begun to scratch the surface of His name. His name is His reputation. When a name is used, the hearer focuses on the reputation of the one who bears that name. That is what Moshe was to proclaim to Israel and what YHVH was building through His actions in Egypt. That is what it meant for all the nations to see and know that "I am YHVH." We are called to make His name known today. By doing so, we are to be a part of restoring His reputation as the true Elohim of Israel. He cannot be known as the Old Testament God of wrath, the God of the Jews, the New Testament God of Mercy and Grace, or the Christian God. He is all of the above and so much more. It is our responsibility to continue studying, learning, and TEACHING His name, His reputation, to all the world.

YHVH states four promises to Moshe in this Torah portion.
  1. I will free you...
  2. I will rescue you...
  3. I will redeem you...
  4. I will take you as my people...
    1. I will be your God
This is the same pattern (there's that word again) that YHVH will use at the end times to bring His people back together and into His Kingdom. Read those four promises again and think about what you know of His plan for His people in the latter days. Read the prophecies of Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, and Revelation. You will see these same promises restated in various ways through the descriptions of the actions He will take.

  1. I will free you...
    1. from bondage
    2. from sin
  2. I will rescue you...
    1. from Egypt
    2. from the world
  3. I will redeem you...
    1. bought at a price (the first-born of Egypt)
    2. bought at a price (the first-born of YHVH)
  4. I will take you as my people...
    1. the mixed multitude will become the Children of Israel
    2. the House of Judah and the House of Ephraim shall become one stick in His hand
  5. I will be your God
    1. One Elohim over One people in One land
That is just the start of what is available to learn in this week's Torah portion. I have only discussed the first seven verses of this portion. Imagine how much more you will learn as you study the entire Torah portion. Keep reading and studying and leave comments below on other things you have learned this week. Next year, we'll concentrate on a different set of verses in this portion and expand some more on His reputation.

He is YHVH!