“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have made him and his servants hardhearted, so that I can demonstrate these signs of mine among them.”
- Exodus 10:1, CJB
Parashah 15 (BO or “go”) in Exodus 10:1-13:16 details for us the last three of the ten plagues which Adonai visited upon Egypt. Of them, a swarm of locusts destroys Egypt’s crops and then a think, palpable darkness enveloped the nation bring both terror and as a reminder of the spiritual darkness that was Egypt’s reality of a people apart from God’s grace and mercy. In conclusion, the final plaque occurred at the stroke of midnight on the 15th of Nisan, with the death of Egypt’s firstborn.
With the death of the firstborn, we find Pharaoh’s final resistance to the will of God being broken as he drove the children of Israel from his land. As a result, God’s people were forced to leave so quickly, that the dough of their bread had no time to rise, and on the first Pesach (as with today) they could ate only unleavened bread.
Within this Parashah, the first mitzvah given by God to the Children of Israel was to create a biblical calendar, based on Rosh Chodesh (the monthly rebirth of the moon, or “new moon”) and then instructs them to bring to Him a Passover (Pesach) offering consisting of a lamb or kid goat that would be slaughtered for their redemption before the Lord! From this sacrifice, the blood of the “lamb” was sprinkled on the doorposts of every Israelite home, so that when Adonai (pesach) passed over their homes their firstborn would be spared, while those who knew not Adonai and His commands suffered the greatest horror and judgement!
For us as a believer’s in Yeshua, Parashah Bo holds special significance when considering His sacrifice for us as the pure, spotless lamb. (1 Kefa/Peter 1:19) Such reminds of the love of God displayed in the Akedah, or “Binding of Isaac” (Genesis 22) wherein the rabbis offer a Midrash that the blood of the Passover lamb symbolized the sacrifice of Isaac, in making atonement for Israel. Continuing, our Sages note that Adonai remembered Isaac and when He saw the blood of the lamb from the thicket, and the merit of Isaac’s “self-sacrifice,” He decided to spare the blood marked homes from the wrath upon the first born. Although this is only a midrash intended to place our attention in a specified direction, it nevertheless points to the truths of the B’rit Chadashah by means of teshuat olamim (or, everlasting covenant where we read in Hebrews 9:12 we read of Yeshua that,
“he entered the Holiest Place once and for all [and] He entered not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood, thus setting people free forever.”
From this passage, we see that the eternal sacrifice of Yeshua was fully prefigured both in Parashah Bo and in the Akedah in the Book of Genesis. Therefore, as we apply the blood of the lamb (as upon the door posts of Israelite homes) upon our hearts and lives, then we are delivered and made free in Messiah forever!
- Rabbi Mark Rantz
January 23, 2021 | 10th of Sh;vat, 5781
“God spoke to Moshe; he said to him, ‘I AM Adonai. I appeared to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya’akov as El Shaddai, although I did not make myself known to them by my name, Adonai]". Shemot (Exodus) 6:2-3, CJB
Parashah 14 (Va’era) is translated from the Hebrew as “I appeared” and in Exodus 6:2-9:35 details both our Exodus motif and the measures Adonai took to deliver the Children of Israel from their bondage of slavery in a foreign land. In the beginning of this Parashah, its name Va’era sets our tone, where it is translated, “He appeared!” As an expression of great Covenantal Love, at the beginning of our Torah reading, In 6:2-3 God declares that although He had revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and made eternal promises to them - it was nevertheless as fulfillment that God alone would reveal Himself by His name Adonai! Such an introduction denotes intimacy and deep Covenantal Love. Not only would God’s people be delivered, but they would be rescued by the God who is known by Name and through four, powerful expressions of redemption. First, the Children of Israel would be freed from their enslavement in Egypt and secondly - Adonai Himself would alone redeem them. Next, Adonai would soon call them alone from among the nations as his own chosen people and inheritance and finally, in fulfillment He would fulfill His promise and bring them all the Land He had promised to their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!
These Four Expressions of Redemption is often referred to by theologians as the Four “I Will’s” of the Exodus and for us as believers in Yeshua - this imagery and fulfillment holds even greater significance when we consider our own redemption and the price that was paid to purchase it. In this, the events of the historical exodus are as much a matter of biblical record and revelation from the Tanakh, but also as mentioned at the beginning, a motif for our own redemption and deliverance.
Thus, in Yeshua, through great Intimacy and Covenantal Love - we have been freed from our slavery to sin and the curse of death. Secondly, it is Messiah alone who has redeemed us through His shed blood - because it is Adonai alone, in Yeshua who has once and for all, bought our redemption. Third, in Messiah Yeshua alone, God has made us His Elect and has called us all from amongst all the nations and peoples of the earth and we have now become the Lord’s inheritance. And finally, as with the Children of Israel were bought to Canaan as promised to their Patriarch’s (and to this day and forever, Eretz Yisrael stands), so Yeshua has Promised that He has now gone to His Father’s Kingdom to prepare a place for us and has Assured us that He soon will return for us and forever we will be with the Lord!
In this, dear friends, the Exodus is not simply an event in human history as recorded in the Torah or even a powerful Feast commanded in Scripture, but with it is a constant reality in our lives each and every day! Yeshua has promised that nothing could ever separate us from His loving, faithful hands and the reality of the Exodus is our ever-present reality where God reveals Himself to us by Name and provides us with a Hope and Redemption that can never be taken away!
Blessings in Yeshua,
- Rabbi Mark Rantz
January 16, 2021 | 3rd of Sh'vat, 5781
“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph.”
- Shemot (Exodus) 1:8, JPS
With chilling detail, the above verse reminds of the constant struggle of anti-Semitism which we all face as Jews, and as like-minded Gentile believers. In the last number of Parashiot, Adonai raises up Joseph to the second most prominent position of leadership in Egypt and by doing so, blessing and honor is given to Adonai as the only true God, and where His chosen people are also honored. Yet as we come to Parashah Shemot, we are immediately confronted with how circumstances can so easily change when people choose the path of intolerance, prejudice and a hate for God’s chosen people. In this, Exod. 1:8 speaks volumes by indicating how this “new king” of Egypt had neither been taught, nor was willing to learn the lessons of the past concern Israel and the God of Joseph! Per Rashi (Sotah 11a, Exod. Rabbah 1:8) there are two possible views of this passage where one Sage indicates that Pharaoh at the latter end of Genesis had died, or of a second Sage, that it was just that the first Pharaoh’s policies and beneficial graces toward the Jewish people had radically changed back to a spirit of oppression, as he saw the Hebrews increase in both number and influence.
Regardless, this is for us as a Midrash, reminding that in every generation, the nations can so easily turn against us because we are chosen and aligned with the One and Only True God! Yet, in considering these truths, the will of God is not that we slip into despair or fear of what might be - but instead to know that He is always faithful and He will never leave or forsake us, where Deut. 31:6 reminds, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them., for Adonai your God goes with you, He will never leave you or forsake you.” With this friends, we are assured with confidence that no matter what 2021 might hold for us, God in Yeshua our Messiah is always with us and in every circumstance we can fully and completely rest in Him! Yes, of every generation there are those who rise up against us, but Every Moment of Every Day the Lord is watching over us and is our Hope and Salvation.
- Rabbi Mark Rantz
Shabbat - January 9, 2021 | 25th to Tevet, 5781
At the beginning of Parashah Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26) we find our Patriarch Ya’akov (Jacob) living the final 17-years of his life in Mitzra’im (Egypt), away from the promised and of Canaan. Before his death, he asks his son Joseph to not allow his body to be buried in a foreign land … in the land of “slavery,” but instead he pleads. carry my body back home to be buried in the Holy Land. At this setting, he blesses Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and by doing so they are elevated to the status of his own sons as progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel and as God’s Chosen People! As was promised to Abraham and Isaac, now we find Jacob extending the blessings of God to those who will now out distance him and proclaim God’s Word after he’s gone!
This is comparable to Rav Sha’ul (Paul), who near the end of his life declared,
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith [and] All that awaits me now is the crown of righteousness which the Lord, ‘the Righteous Judge,’ will award to on that Day….” (2 Timothy 4:7-8a, CJB)
Therefore, form this weeks Torah reading, our Patriarch knows that not only does the rewards of Adonai soon await him, but that he is assured that God has been faithful in every generation and that He will continue to fulfill all He has promised! This is an assurance to us today as well, knowing that in every generation - Adonai has been and will continue to be faithful to the Nation and People of Israel, the Apple of His eye!
We today are further reminded that in our generation, despite the visceral attacks which fly against God’s people, the Lord has never forsaken Israel and that He will always protect and be with His Messianic Community, Yeshua has never broken a single promise and His covenant stands forever!
Dear friends, from these promises we can REST this Shabbat in the Goodness of God, knowing that He alone is Good and His Mercy Endures Forever! Rejoice in the Lord - Beit Hallel! Rest in the Lord O Servants of Adonai and Sing His Praises all you Peoples -
We serve a God who is Faithful and True and He is for us and never against us!
Rabbi Mark Rantz
Beit Hallel Messianic Congregation
Shabbat, January 2, 2021, 18th of Tevet, 5781
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