Parashah 16: B’shallach (After he had let go)

Parashah 16: Exodus 13:17-17:16

“After Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not guide them to the highway that goes through the land of the P’lishtim, because it was close by …” (Exodus 13:17).

Pharaoh let the Israelites leave Egypt, but their journey had only just begun.  Though they were fully armed from plundering the Egyptians, Elohim didn’t want them to become fearful and return to Egypt if the Philistines attacked. He led them on a route by the Yam Suf or the Red Sea.  The Israelites traveled from Sukkoth to Etam at the edge of the desert.  Sukkoth is the same place that Jacob stayed after he met with Esau and put up ‘temporary shelters’ for himself, his family and their livestock.   And, as Joseph requested before he died, Moshe had his bones that were to be taken to the Promised Land.    

The Cloud and Fire

“He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. They asked, and he brought them quail; he fed them well with the bread of heaven.  He opened the Rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a river in the desert” (Psalm 105:39-41).

Elohim went ahead of His people in a cloud during the day and at night in a column of fire, enabling them to travel both day and night.  The cloud shaded them from the desert sun and the fire kept them warm when the desert temperatures dropped. Neither the cloud nor the fire moved from in front of the people.

They set up camp in front of Pi Hahiroth between Migdol and the Red Sea, in front of Ba’al  Tz’fonElohim had them set up camp in this precarious place because it would make them look as if they had lost their way and were wandering aimlessly.

Pi Hahiroth means ‘mouth of water’ and faced Mount Tiran.  It is located at the point of the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea.   Ba’al Tz’fon means ‘lord of the north’ and was located on Mount Tiran, north of Pi Hahiroth.    Migdol means ‘watchtower’ and was centered between Pi Hahiroth and Ba’al Tz’fon close to the Red Sea. 

Pharaoh came out of shock from the death of his son and remembers his slaves were set free and his cities are no longer being built.  He hears that the Israelites are lost in the desert and Elohim hardens his heart for the last time so that He would win glory to Himself at the expense of Pharaoh and his entire army.  He wanted the Egyptians to finally realize that He is Yahweh Elohim.

Pharaoh prepared his 600 chariots along with their commanders.  Elohim made Pharaoh so hard-hearted that he pursued the people of Isra’el with ‘a high hand.’

Some translations use ‘confidently,’ ‘proudly’ or ‘deliberately with assurance’ for “a high hand.” The Hebrew words b’yad ramah suggest rebellion against authority.   B’yad ramah is used in 1 Kings 11:26 to describe how Jeroboam rebelled against his father, King Solomon. 

The Egyptians chased after the Israelites with their horses and chariots, their cavalry and army and approached them as they camped by the sea. The Israelites saw the approaching Egyptian armies and forget Yahweh’s miracles and cry out to Moshe.

“Was it because there weren’t enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we’ll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians’ slaves than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:11-12)

Moshe responded: “Stop being fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how Adonai is going to save you.  He will do it today–today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again!  Adonai will do battle for you.  Just calm yourselves down!” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Moshe’s faith had grown exponentially. The Spirit of Elohim flowed through him making him an earthen vessel with omnipotent power.  He was sure of what he hoped for and certain of what he didn’t see because he had witnessed the power of Yahweh many times before (Hebrews 11:1).

Yahweh told Moshe to lift up his staff, reach his hand out over the sea and divide it.   When Moshe raised his staff to divide the waters of the Red Sea, the angel who had been in front of the camp moved to the back. The cloud did the same until it stood between the Egyptian army and the children of Isra’el.   One could not come near the other all night long.

A strong easterly wind began to blow and the Red Sea separated, leaving not mud, but dry land.   Millions of Israelites, men women and children, walked across the sea on dry ground with walls of water on their right and left.  Their journey lasted throughout the night.   The Egyptians continued to pursue them, even following them into the sea. 

Just before sunrise, Yahweh looked out at the Egyptian army “through the column of fire and the cloud” and they panicked.  He caused the wheels of their chariots to break off and they could barely move.

Moshe reached out his staff a second time over the sea and the water rushed back on the Egyptians and the entire military force drowned in the sea.  When the children of Isra’el saw what Yahweh had done against the Egyptians, they feared Himand put their trust in His servant, Moshe. 

They sang a song to Yahweh and the prophetess Miryam, the sister of Aaron and Moshe, took a tambourine in her hand and all the women danced and sang, “I will sing to Adonai, for he is highly exalted: The horse and its rider he threw in the sea” (Exodus 15:1, 20).

The Hebrew shir is the word for ‘sing.’  It is in the future tense yashir, and according to some interpretations of the verb tense, Isra’el not only sang for their immediate deliverance, but prophesied about the Messianic era.  Because there is a nuance of ‘repetition,’ there is a midrash regarding how Moshe sang a line and the Israelites repeated it or responded with “I will sing to Adonai.”

“Our ancestors in Egypt failed to grasp the meaning of your wonders. They didn’t keep in mind your great deeds of grace but rebelled at the sea, at the Sea of Suf. Yet he saved them for his own name’s sake, to make known his mighty power. He rebuked the Sea of Suf, and it dried up; he led them through its depths as through a desert. He saved them from hostile hands, redeemed them from the power of the foe. The water closed over their adversaries; not one of them was left. Then they believed his words, and they sang his praise.” (Psalm 106:7-11)

Shirat HaYam–The Song of the Sea

Highlighting the main idea in each section in the ‘Song of the Sea’ reveals ‘I AM’ to His chosen people and mankind as Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, Yeshua (salvation), yad yamin (the right hand), ruach (wind), gibbor (warrior), tsur (rock) and the mishkan (dwelling place).

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh – Yahweh

“Sing to Yahweh, for he is highly exalted! The horse and its rider he threw in the sea” (Exodus 15:1)

This is the first time the children Isra’el corporately acknowledge Yahweh as their Elohim.

Yeshua – Salvation

“Yah is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (verse 2).

In this verse Yah, a shortened form of Yahweh, has become their yeshua.  For the Israelites, Yahweh and His salvation (yeshua) are echad or ‘one.’

Gibbor – Warrior

“Yahweh is a warrior; Yahweh is his name” (Exodus 15:3).

Yahweh fought the enemy for His people.  After their deliverance from the Egyptians,  they declare to the nations around them who has protected and defended them.

Though Yeshua is considered the compassionate, merciful Savior,  he is also a warrior.  He is not just a warrior, he is Commander in Chief of the armies of Elohim (Joshua 5:14-15).  He judges, makes war and strikes down nations – beginning with Egypt (Revelation 19:11-16).

Yad Yamin – Right Hand

“Your right hand, Yahweh, is sublimely powerful; your right hand, Yahweh, shatters the foe” (verse 6-7).

Elohim is Spirit.  He does not have literal arms and legs.  This unique part of Elohim shows He is omnipotent or all powerful.  Whenever Yahweh shows His divine power and intervenes in the matters of mankind, He uses His right hand.  WhenHe reaches out His right hand and holy arm to deliver His people, it is a revelation of Yeshua.

“Sing a new song to Adonai, because he has done wonders. His right hand, his holy arm have won him victory” (Psalm 98:1).

“Adonai has bared his holy arm in the sight of every nation, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation [yeshua] of our God” (Isaiah 52:10).

Ruach – Wind

“With a blast from your nostrils the waters piled up–the waters stood up like a wall…. You blew with your wind and the sea covered them, they sank like lead in the mighty waters” (verses 8, 10).

The wind piled up the waters for the Israelites and then relented covering the Egyptians.  The Hebrew word for ‘blast’ and ‘wind’ is ruach.

The Ruach Elohim is Yahweh’s very breath, the part of His life-giving essence.  The Israelites acknowledge that His Ruach blew from His nostrils and piled up the waters like a wall.  He blew again His breath from His nostrils and the waters covered their enemies.

Tzur – Rock

“The depths of the sea became firm ground” (verse 8). 

Verse 8 in the Orthodox Jewish Bible says, “And the tehomot were congealed in the lev yam (heart of the sea).”  Tehemot means “springs which oozed up from the deep.”  Just dividing the waters didn’t make the sea bottom become firm, dry ground or charabah. There were oozing springs that left mucky mud.  The word for ‘firm ground’ in most translations is ‘congealed’ meaning ‘to change from a soft or fluid state into a rigid or solid state.’ Elohim congealed the oozing springs from the deep into a solid state like rock.

El Shaddai is also called the Rock of Isra’el (Genesis 49:24). Yahweh is a Rock of refuge and the horn or stronghold of salvation (Psalm 18:2).   Yahweh isthe Rock of our salvation (Psalm 91:1). There is a cornerstone, a firm foundation stone, that is laid in Tzion prophesying Yeshua (Isaiah 28:16 ). On the Rock of Yeshua, the children of Isra’el walked on the floor of the Red Sea from one side to the other.

When the Ruach Elohim blew a second time, ‘the springs of the deep’ returned to their original state and the Egyptians armies got stuck in the mud.  The sea swallowed them along with their horses and chariots.  Because Pharaoh and the Egyptians did not heed the word of Elohim, the rock became sinking sand.

“So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on bedrock. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the winds blew and beat against that house, but it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the wind blew and beat against that house, and it collapsed — and its collapse was horrendous!” (Matthew 7:24-27)

The Dwelling Place

“In your love, you led the people you redeemed; in your strength, you guided them to your holy abode…. You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain which is your heritage, the place, Yahweh, that you made your abode, the sanctuary, Yahweh, which your hands established” (verses 13, 17).

Yahweh is leading his people to the foot of the mountain where He first called Moshe.  At this mountain, He will give them Torah, His instructions, and create the nation of Isra’el.  The Torah will include instructions for making His ‘dwelling place’ or Tabernacle where Yahweh will live the middle of Isra’el’s camp while they travel around the wilderness.  After they enter the Promised Land, Yahweh’s Temple will be established on Mount Tzion in Jerusalem (Psalm 48:12); the Millennial Temple of Messiah will also be on the same mountain as Yeshua is the ‘dwelling place’ of the Ruach Elohim (Isaiah 2:1-3).

“Yeshua answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”  The Judeans said, ‘It took 46 years to build this Temple, and you’re going to raise it in three days?  But the “temple” he had spoken of was his body’” (John 2:19-21).

The Nations

“The nations have heard and they tremble; anguish takes hold of those living in Philistia, then the chiefs of Edom are dismayed, trepidation seizes the heads of Moab,  all those living in Canaan are melted away. Terror and dread fall on them; by the might of your arm they are still as stone until your people pass over, Adonai, till the people you purchased pass over” (Exodus 15:14-16).

The terror of judgment that Egypt experienced firsthand caused the nations around them to fear and tremble.  They heard about the Egyptian armies being killed in the Red Sea and they stood ‘still as stone’ until the Israelites passed by their lands.  No nation wanted to go to war with the people who the ‘I AM’ defends.

Rafa-El – The Healer

Three days after the deliverance from the Red Sea, the Israelites arrive in the Desert of Shur.  It is believed this desert is part of the Arabian desert on the northeastern border of Egypt.  This is the same wilderness area the angel of Elohim found Hagar when she ran away from Sarah.

Two events occur that involve water, a necessity in a desert. In between the two events, Elohim tells the Israelites to pay attention to His commands and observe His laws.

Bitter Water

“They couldn’t drink the water because it was bitter…. Moshe cried to Adonai, and Adonai showed him a certain piece of wood, which, when he threw it into the water, made the water taste good, sweet, drinkable” (Exodus 15:25).

The word for ‘bitter’ in Hebrew is marah. From marah comes the name Miryam (Mary).   The Hebrew word for ‘wood’ is etz and means ‘tree.’   Yahweh shows Moshe a piece of wood or a part of a tree with no specific name.  There are several interpretations for the meaning of the ‘tree.’ Some suggest it is symbolic of the cross on which Yeshua died.  Others suggest it is mankind, “For man is the tree of the field”(Deuteronomy 20:19).   Adam and Eve were given a choice between two trees, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life.   They had to choose between obedience to Elohim’s command or rebellion; they had a choice between life or death.  In Judaism, the etz represents the Tree of Life or Torah (Genesis 2:9 and Revelation 22:19). 

Elohim tells His people they must do what is right and pay attention to His commands.  At the bitter waters,  Yahweh reveals an important aspect of His character that is conditional.  If the children of Isra’el obey Him, then He will be their Rafa-el, Healer.  The waters at marah needs healing and only Hecan do it.

Torah directs us to Elohim, gives us wisdom and reveals salvation.  More importantly, the Torah holds the living water for our spiritual thirst.  Though the cross is a nice symbol for the tree, it removes the significance of Rafa-el giving healed water to His people at marah quenching a spiritual thirst.   The etz of obeying His commandments transforms the undrinkable bitter water into sweet living water. 

“If you will listen intently to the voice of Adonai your God, do what He considers right, pay attention to his commands and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, because I am Adonai your Healer” (Exodus 15:26).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Marah (Bitter) – מרה – mem, resh, hey

water is the head revealed

Etz (Tree) – עץ – ayin, tazdik

understand righteousness

Mathoq (Sweet) – מתוק – mem, tav, vav, koof

chaos, the sign of being bound to what is behind

Spring Water

“They came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and camped there by the water” (Exodus 15:27).

After they leave marah, they camp at Elim which means ‘ram’ or ‘strong.’  Elim is an oasis in the region south of the Suez Canal in the Egyptian delta.  The Hebrew word for ‘springs’ is ayin, the same word ‘eye’ meaning ‘to see or understand.’ Ayin is the 16th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents the number 70.

Jacob left Canaan and went down into Egypt with his twelve sons and their families.  This small nation consisted of 70 people.  Over 400 years later, more than two million Israelites camp in an oasis in the desert, an oasis that remains to this day.  Each tribe receives water from their own spring and puts up their tents in the shade of the 70 trees.  This passage is evidence of El Shaddai’s promise to Abraham for many descendants who would be preserved after being enslaved in a foreign nation.  At the springs of Elim, Isra’el is refreshed, strengthened and encouraged after the test at the waters of marah.

The Hebrew word for ‘palm’ is tamar.  Palm trees symbolize those with great faith, who planted by water, bring refreshment to weary souls (Psalm 92:12-13).  Tamar, who had sons with Judah, was considered righteous because of her behavior.   Her womb flourished with twins, one of whom began the ‘scarlet’ blood lineage of Yeshua.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Elim (Ram, Strong) – אילם – alef, yod, lamed, mem

the first, finished work of the shepherd’s water

Spring (Eye) or Ayin – עין – ayin, yod, noon

see the finished work of life

Palm or Tamar – תמרtav, mem, resh

the sign of water from the head

Yahweh Yireh – The Provider

“I have heard the grumblings of the people of Isra’el.  Say to them: ‘At dusk you will be eating meat, and in the morning you will have your fill of bread.  Then you will realize that I am Adonai your God’” (Exodus 16:4-5).

One month after leaving Egypt and being refreshed under the trees at Elim,  the Israelites whine or kevetch again. They miss their pots boiling with meat and wish Elohim had killed them while they were still slaves. They grumble against Moshe and Aaron and accuse them of starving the people.

“Here, I will cause bread to rain down from heaven to you.  The people are to go out and gather a day’s ration every day.  But this I will test whether they will observe my Torah or not.  On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, it will turn out to be twice as much as they gather on the other days” (Exodus 16:4-5).

Yahweh appears in glory from the cloud.  He responds to their grumbling with another test because He desires them to trust Him as Provider.   He promises to rain bread down from heaven on them each day, but on the sixth day He will miraculously transform one day’s rations into two.  He also promises them meat.

In the evening, quail appear and cover the camp while in the morning there is a layer of dew around the camp.  When the dew evaporated, there was a fine flaky substance on the ground.  They called it man hu or ‘what is it?’

“Yeshua answered … ‘I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world’” (John 6:48-51).

The Shabbat – The Sabbath Day

Moshe told them man hu is the bread that ‘I AM’ has provided as food. The people called the food manna.  It appeared as fine as frost on the ground, white like coriander seed and tasted like honey cakes.  Each man was to gather according to his appetite, two quarts per person for everyone in his tent.  The children of Isra’el followed Moshe’s instructions and no one had too much or too little. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much or four quarts per person.  According to Yahweh’s instructions, two quarts of manna was collected and put in a jar to be kept for future generations to see the bread that He fed them in the wilderness.  The Israelites ate manna until they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land forty years later.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Manna (What is it?) or Man hu – מן הו– mem, noon, hey, vav

water of life, behold the binding

“This is what Adonai has said, ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai.  Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning…. Because tomorrow is the Shabbat for Adonai, you won’t find any in the field.  Gather it six days, but the seventh day is Shabbat–on that day there won’t be any” (Exodus 16:21-26).

Up until this time, the Israelites did not keep the Sabbath day.  As slaves they labored every day in Egypt with no time for rest. After their hasty exodus from Egypt and their travels through the Red Sea, they had no time or place to rest.  Elohim now provides them with more than just food, He gives them rest.

Still, there were those who did not obey His commands.  Some kept the daily manna until the next morning and it turned to worms.  Others went out on the Sabbath to gather manna and there was none. 

“How long will you refuse to observe my rulings and teachings?  Look, Adonai has given you the Shabbat.  This is why He is providing bread for two days on the sixth day.  Each of you, stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.  So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 16:28-30).

According to Hebrews 4, the Sabbath day still remains.  Yet, there are those like the Israelites who refuse to obey Elohim’s instruction.  They don’t believe their manna will turn to worms (Isaiah 66:24). They work and gather and gather and work and never enter His rest.

The Rock

“He split a rock, and water gushed out, flowing as a river over the dry ground, for he remembered his promise to his servant Abraham” (Psalm 105:41).

The Israelites leave the Desert of Sin and travel only a short distance until they quarrel again because there is no water.  They demand that Moshe give them water and accuse him of trying to kill their children and livestock.  This place was named Massah and Merivah, the place of testing and quarreling.

“Go on ahead of the people … take your staff in your hand, the one you used to strike the river; and go.  I will stand in front of you there on the rock in Horev.  You are to strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so the people can drink” (Exodus 17:5-7).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Massah (Testing) – מסה – mem, samech, hey

water props to reveal

Merivah (Quareling) – מריבה – mem, resh, yod, bet, hey

water heads finished work of the house revealed

Horev (Mountain) – חרב – chet, resh, bet

inner room of the head of the house

Tzur (Rock) – צור – tzadik, vav, resh

harvest bound to the highest person

Mount Horev is the ‘inner room’ where Moshe met Elohim in the burning bush and received His memorial name, yod-hey-vav-hey. It is at the ‘rock’ at Mount Horevwhere ‘I AM’ pours out His living water.

Yahweh tells Moshe to go to a specific ‘rock’ that he will know because Hewill “stand in front of you on the rock.”  Moshe is to strike the ‘rock’ with his staff that was used to judge Egypt.  When he followed Yahweh’s instruction, the ‘rock’ split open and water gushed out of it – fresh water for the Israelites to drink.

For, brothers, I don’t want you to miss the significance of what happened to our fathers. All of them were guided by the pillar of cloud, and they all passed through the sea, and in connection with the cloud and with the sea they all immersed themselves into Moshe, also they all ate the same food from the Spirit, and they all drank the same drink from the Spirit — for they drank from a Spirit-sent Rock which followed them, and that Rock was the Messiah” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

Sha’ul gives three significant facts about the ‘rock.’  First, it followed the Israelites.  According to Jewish tradition, the ‘rock’ was a literal rock, like a well and full of holes like a sieve from which the water trickled and then shot up to the sky.  The ‘rock’ was the size of a large round vessel, surging and gurgling upward, as from the mouth of this little flask, rising with them up onto the mountains and down with them into the valleys. Wherever the Israelites would camp, it made camp with them on a high place, opposite the entry of the Tent of Meeting.  It is believed that when Isra’el sang “Spring up, oh well! Sing to the well,” they were referring to the ‘rock’” (Numbers 21:17).

The early church fathers rejected the idea of a literal rock because it comes from Jewish tradition. However, several times in Torah, Moshe personifies the ‘rock’.  From his perspective, the ‘rock’ was literal and it followed the Israelites.

The Rock! His work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A trustworthy God who does no wrong, He is righteous and straight” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

“After all, how can one chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to rout, unless their Rock sells them to their enemies, unless Adonai hands them over?” (Deuteronomy 32:30)

The ‘rock’ speaks to King David and makes a covenant with him.  “The God of Isra’el spoke; the Rock of Isra’el said to me …” (2 Samuel 23:3).   Isaiah speaks of the ‘rock’ being eternal “Trust in Adonai forever, because in Yah Adonai, is a Rock of Ages” (Isaiah 26:4).   When Moshe asks to meet with Yahweh face to face, he is told to ‘stand in the crevice of the ‘rock’ until the glory of Elohim passed by (Exodus 33:20-22).

Second, the ‘rock’ gave the Israelites spiritual drink.  The water from the ‘rock’ was not bitter water turned sweet or even a spring like those at Elim.  This water was living water, brought forth by an act of Elohim that would quench the spiritual thirst of the Israelites. Moshe struck the ‘rock’ in the sight of the leaders of Isra’el, proving again that it was a literal rock.   The ‘rock’ can be spiritualized, but when Moshe hits the ‘rock’, why is it understood the ‘rock’ is Messiah and he is only to be beaten once?  Sha’ul uses Torah to state this case which is not merely a tradition.

Third, the ‘rock’ was Messiah.  The ‘rock’ is Yeshua.  This is the reason when Moshe hits the ‘rock’ the second time, it is understood to be Yeshua.   Yeshua is the ‘rock’ which the builders rejected, but became the cornerstone of a spiritual Temple (1 Peter 2:7, Ephesians 2:19-22).   He is a tested stone, a ‘rock’ over which Isra’el will stumble (Isaiah 8:14). 

“The very Rock that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone! This has come from Adonai, and in our eyes it is amazing” (Psalm 118:2-3).

El Nissi

At Refid’im (Merivah), the Amalekites attack Isra’el.  Moshe tells Joshua to choose men to go into battle.   In the morning when the fighting begins, Moshe along with Aaron and Hur climb to the top of the hill with the staff of Elohim.

Moshe is 80 years old and leads the nation of Isra’el.  He cannot actively participate in battles and possibly be killed.  However, as a leader, he is responsible to keep the fighting men focused on their job – defeat the Amalekites.   He shows his leadership by using the staff that divided the Red Sea reminding the men of Yahweh’s victory over the Egyptians and to trust that He will also win this battle for them. 

Holding up his arms Moshe is symbolically offering a priestly blessing over the Israelite armies. When his hands are raised with the staff, Isra’el prevails against their enemy. When he gets tired and his arms slowly drop, the Israelite army begins to lose the battle.  He sees that when his hands are up, the Israelites win so when he gets tired, Aaron and Hur step in, find a rock for him to sit on and hold up his hands so that his arms remain raised until sunset.  When the armies of Isra’el look up to the hill, they see Aaron and Hur remaining faithful to Moshe who trusts Yahweh to defeat the Amalekites.

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Write this in a book to be remembered, and tell it to Y’hoshua: I will completely blot out any memory of the Amalekites from under heaven’” (Exodus 17:14).

Moshe builds an altar and calls it Yahweh Nissi, (Elohim is my Banner).  This is another attribute of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh who has revealed Himself as the Rafa (Healer), Yireh (Provider) and the Nissi (Banner) of Isra’el.

Yeshua, Sabbath and Laodicea

Revelation 3:14-22

In the message to the congregation of Laodicea, Yeshua reveals himself as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, Ruler of God’s creation.” 

The Laodicean congregation was lukewarm, neither hot or cold, and Yeshua wanted to vomit them out of his mouth.  To be hot means to be close to the fire of Elohim’s holiness.  To be hot means you are always seeking His presence, His ways, His life, His truth.   To be cold means to be far away from Him and His presence.   Cold is a complete indifference to His commands, precepts, and statutes.  To be cold is to be a pagan from the nations, a foreigner, separate from Elohim, His people, His teachings, “without God, without hope in this world” (Ephesians 2:12).

Mixing the hot and cold creates lukewarm. Lukewarm is a mixture of the holy hotness of Yahweh and the profane coldness of the world exemplified with the golden calf.   Though the Israelites had the right intentions, their  worship was detestable to Elohim because it mixed the holy and the pagan.  Aaron rationalized their abominations, but it was still not acceptable to Elohim (Exodus 32).

The Laodicean congregation believed they were rich and had need of nothing, yet Yeshua saw them as poor, pitiful, blind and naked.   He tells them to buy gold refined by fire because they needed a hot refining fire to remove the ugly dross and scum in their lives.

The Laodiceans believed they had the righteousness of Messiah, but will be ashamed when they are seen as naked. Manmade fig leaves do not cover their naked bodies any more than they covered Adam and Eve.   They also need eye salve because they have been blinded to their mixture of holy and pagan practices.  They perceive themselves as holy, but have fallen into the great deception where the pure milk of the Word has been mixed with false god worship. They believe they are hot while they commit spiritual adultery and are sickening lukewarm (2 Corinthians 11:2-4).

The Laodiceans are so complacent, Yeshua tells them to “exert yourselves and turn from your sins!” ‘Exert’ means to put forth some serious physical action. The Laodiceans do not hear a message of ‘rest in me,’ because they need a ‘put forth some effort because you need to repent message.’   Yeshua loves this congregation which is why he is rebuking them so harshly.  He wants to heat them up and refine them so they aren’t vomit in his mouth.

Laodicea was situated on the Lycus River in the Roman province of Asia and was the meeting place for the Council of Laodicea about 360 CE.  It was at this council when many anti-semitic doctrines were established for the church that are still part of Christian theology today.

The Council of Laodicea

“Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day.”

This canon by the council directly contradicts the Fourth Commandment given in Exodus 20:8-10.  Judaizing has nothing to do with obeying Elohim’s commandments.  Judaizing is the ideology that required a gentile believer in Messiah to convert to Judaism through ritual circumcision in order to keep the Sabbath.  Keeping the Sabbath has nothing to do with Judaism, but is an expression of faith in Yeshua through obedience to the commandments of Elohim.  This deliberate twisting of the meaning of Judaizing has kept the church from obeying a Biblical commandment.  It has also kept the church from provoking the Jewish people to jealousy so they will put their faith in own Messiah.

“Rather [they should] honour the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, rest then as Christians.”

It becomes clear that those in Laodicea knew the ‘Lord’s Day’ was not the Sabbath.  They obviously did not heed the warning given by Yeshua because their edicts have created a lukewarm church where there is a mixing of the holy ‘Sabbath’ and the profane ‘Sunday’.

This is a serious edict because the Sabbath is the memorial to creation and a vision of eternity.  According to Yeshua’s message to Laodicea, he is ruler over creation and as the ‘Amen,’ he has the final ‘so be it’ regarding the Sabbath.  The decisions made at Laodicea nullified the command of Elohim and are not ‘faithful and true.’  Yeshua is the ‘faithful and true witness’ and without his ‘witness,’  the ‘Lord’s Day’ belief is not Biblical truth nor faithful to Elohim’s command.

Yeshua stands at the door of the Laodicean congregation and knocks.  He wants someone to open the door so he can come in and eat with them.  If they open the door, there will be table fellowship and a Feast of Yahweh!   ‘Door’ in Hebrew is  dalet and represents the Fourth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”  Yeshua desires to fellowship with the faithful who are willing to open the dalet of the ‘true’ Sabbath.

The reward for the overcomer in Laodicea is to sit with Yeshua on his throne.  The action of sitting after a victory is an allusion to rest and cessation of work.  This is the meaning of Sabbath – ceasing work and resting. 

Haftarah (Readings of the Prophets)

Judges 5:1-31

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

John 6:25-35

John 4:13-14

John 7:37-38

Revelation 15:1-4

Midrash B’Shallach:  King Saul’s Disobedience

King Saul disobeyed Elohim’s command to completely destroy the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15, Esther 3).  Discuss the results of his disobedience to himself and the future of Isra’el.

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion or the complete Torah cycle, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

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