Posts Tagged ‘I Am’

Parashah 14: Va’era (I appeared)

Exodus 6:2-9:35

“God spoke to Moshe; he said to him, ‘I am Adonai. I appeared to Avraham, Yitz’ak and Ya’akov as El Shaddai’” (Exodus 6:2-3).

Though Elohim appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He did not make Himself known to them by His name, yod-hey-vav-hey, as He did to Moshe.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Elohim only as El Shaddai.

In the previous parashah, Pharaoh asks, “Who is Adonai, that I should obey when he says to let Isra’el go?  I don’t know Adonai, and I also won’t let Isra’el go” (Exodus 5:2-3).  In this parashah and the next, Pharaoh and Egypt along with Moshe, Aaron, and the Hebrews will learn exactly who ‘I am’ is, the greatness of His power, and His faithfulness to the covenants He made with the patriarchs.

Deliverance for the Hebrews

There are four ways in which ‘I Am’ is going to deliver the Hebrews from Egypt.  These four ways are central to the Passover and the Pesach seder meal. These four ways of Adonai’s redemption from Egypt are a ‘shadow’ of Messiah Yeshua and our deliverance from sin and its enslavement.

“I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and rescue you from their oppression” (Exodus 6:6a).

The definition of ‘oppression’ is ‘cruel or unjust treatment.’ It is from the forced labor and cruel treatment of the Egyptians that Adonai will rescue the Hebrews.  Their physical deliverance is the most obvious, but there has also been spiritual oppression.

Under the command of Pharaoh to kill their infant boys, the Hebrews have endured the despicable act of murdering their newborn sons. This infanticide could be regarded as child sacrifices to another god –– Pharaoh.  They have been surrounded by a pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses. They have been immersed in Egypt’s culture of death, the dead traveling to the underworld, gods of the dead, and the religious ideology from the “Book of the Dead.”

• “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm” (Exodus 6:6b).

Though forced labor is difficult and the Hebrews need to be rescued, they also need to be redeemed.  Redemption means to regain the possession of something in exchange for payment.  Adonai is going to buy back the Hebrews so they can worship Him on His holy mountain. “The arm of the LORD” is found numerous times in Scripture.

“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear to dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1). 

“Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him” (Psalm 98:1).  

Selah
“Adonai is my light and my salvation [yeshua]” (Psalm 27:1). When the Israelites saw the ‘arm of Adonai’ work salvation for them in Egypt, they were seeing Yeshua. When Adonai’s ‘right hand’ worked salvation for Isra’el and the nations, the world saw it in the person of Yeshua.

• “I will take you as my people and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7).

Adonai is choosing Isra’el as His people, His treasured possession, His priesthood, His wife.  He wants a nation that will glorify Him, and His choice out of all the nations of the world is Isra’el.

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people” (Leviticus 26:12).

“For you are a people holy to Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6).

“For your Maker is your husband—Adonai Tzva’ot is his name— the Holy One of Isra’el is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth” (Isaiah 54:5).

• “I will bring you into the land I promised to Avraham, Yitz’ak, and Ya’akov and give it to you as your inheritance” (Exodus 6:8).

El Shaddai promised Abraham land for as far as he could see from east to west, north to south. This Land of Promise was on both sides of the Jordan River from the Euphrates to the Sinai Peninsula –– much larger than modern state of Isra’el. Each tribe descending from the sons of Isra’el received a land inheritance, though not in its complete fullness until Yeshua returns and the Millennial Kingdom begins.

Moshe told the Hebrews everything ‘I Am’ was going to do for them; however, they wouldn’t listen. Their oppression was so great that they were discouraged.

The Levitical Lineage of Moshe and Aaron

The genealogy of Moshe and Aaron is written so there is no confusion about the brothers who went before Pharaoh and led the Hebrews out of Egypt. Within the genealogy is the root of the Levite tribe where eventually the Levitical priesthood through Aaron comes.

Moshe as the Witness of ‘I Am’

“I have put you in the place of God to Pharaoh and Aharon your brother will be your prophet”
(Exodus 7:1). 

Moshe will be like Adonai to Pharaoh. Adonai is making Moshe like Yeshua in the sense that he is the mediator between Adonai and Egypt. Aaron will be his prophet; Aaron will speak for the ‘one like God’ to Pharaoh. The witness of ‘I Am’ begins.

Aaron places his staff onto the palace floor and it turns into a snake.  Pharaoh calls his magicians into his presence.  The magicians of Egypt turn their staffs into snakes.  ‘I Am’ isn’t finished showing who is the Sovereign Elohim; Aaron’s staff consumes the staffs of the magicians.

Though Pharaoh needs to be humbled before the Creator, Adonai is also strengthening the faith of Moshe and the Hebrews. They must learn that ‘I Am’ rules over the gods of Egypt. He begins with the snake goddess Wadjet who protected the land of Egypt. When Aaron’s staff swallows those of the magicians, ‘I Am’ proves that He alone is the One and only Elohim, higher in divine authority than Pharaoh and his snake goddess.

“Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as Adonai had said”
(Exodus 7:13).

Let the Judgments Begin

Ten plagues are going to come upon Egypt. Ten symbolizes the Creator’s divine power which is complete and perfect in judgment. His love and light will be experienced by the Hebrews. While Elohim is going to use the plagues to judge Egypt’s gods and goddesses, He will also use the plagues to heal the sons of Jacob from their centuries of suffering. He is the Deliverer who will transform them from slaves into a free and holy nation.

Ten is also the number of Isis and Osiris, the two supreme gods of Egypt. Osiris was believed to be sovereign over the Underworld and the Judge of the Dead; his sister and wife, Isis, ruled over nature.

With the first three judgments, everyone in Egypt will suffer the consequences of the plagues, including the Hebrews. With the next five, Goshen is spared in order that Adonai’s power is revealed and the Hebrews’ faith is strengthened. The Egyptians will suffer enormously because of Pharaoh’s hard heart while the Hebrews will receive Adonai’s mercy and compassion. With the final and tenth plague, every head of family, whether Egyptian or Hebrew, will have to make a decision about who Elohim is: Pharaoh or Adonai.

Blood, Blood, Blood – Plague 1

“Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you to say: ‘Let my people go, so that they can worship me in the desert.’ But until now you haven’t listened; so Adonai says, ‘This will let you know that I am Adonai: I will take the staff in my hand and strike the water in the river, and it will be turned into blood” (Exodus 7:16-17).

The judgment of the first plague is against Hapi, the Egyptian god of the Nile. Hapi had a beard with pendulous breasts and a large belly.  He was blue or green representing water.  In Lower Egypt, he was adorned with papyrus plants and attended by frogs.

Moshe is told to warn Pharaoh of the impending plague when he goes down to the river in the morning. Adonai wants Pharaoh to understand with whom he is dealing. But, Pharaoh doesn’t listen. Moshe takes his staff and reaches his hand out over the waters of Egypt, and they turn to blood.

Turning the water of the Nile River into blood was not only a judgment on the god of the Nile, but a sign to Egypt that ‘I Am’ controls their water supply, their lifeline. He also shows both the Hebrews and the Egyptians that Hapi is not capable of protecting Egypt’s water from the Creator of the Universe.

The Nile River is the source of life for Egypt.  When its water turns to blood, everything in the river died. The fish died, the river stank, and the Egyptians became thirsty.  All rivers, canals, ponds, reservoirs, wooden buckets, and stone jars had blood in them.  Even digging around the banks of the Nile did not produce fresh drinking water.   The account says that the Egyptian magicians were also able to turn the water into blood, but it is only ‘I Am’ who is able to turn the water of blood back into living water.

Pharaoh’s response: “He just turned and went back to his palace, without taking any of this to heart” (Exodus 7:23).

Frogs, Frogs, Frogs – Plague 2

“Go into Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Here is what Adonai says, “Let my people go, so that they can worship me.  If you refuse to let them go, I will strike all your territory with frogs””
(Exodus 7:26).

The judgment of the second plague is against Heket, the Egyptian goddess of fertility and renewal. Heket, a frog goddess, had a woman’s body with a frog head.  She was associated with the germination of corn after the Nile flooded. Frogs were a symbol of fertility in Egypt since millions of them were born after the annual flooding of the Nile that made the land fertile.

Seven days after the water turns to blood, Moshe goes to Pharaoh and gives him another warning.  Pharaoh still will not relent and allow the Hebrews to leave and worship Adonai. Moshe reaches out with his staff and frogs come up on the land. They enter the palace and go into bedrooms and onto the beds.  They are in the ovens and kneading bowls of the servants.  Frogs climb all over the people including the servants of Pharaoh.  To prove their power equal, the Egyptian magicians do the same thing.

Pharaoh’s response: “‘Intercede with Adonai to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let the people go and sacrifice to Adonai….’ But when Pharaoh saw that he had been given some relief, he made himself hardhearted and would not listen to them” (Exodus 8:11).

Lice, Lice, Lice – Plague 3

 “Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Say to Aharon, Reach out with your staff and strike the dust of the ground and it will become lice throughout all the land of Egypt’” (Exodus 8:12).

The judgment of the third plague is against Geb, the Egyptian god of the earth. The dust of the earth bringing forth lice was an affront to him.  As god of the earth, the ground formed his body and was called the ‘House of Geb.’  Represented by a man who wore a white crown with a goose, Geb was often portrayed lying on his side on the ground painted green with plants springing from his body.  This plague was an embarrassment to the Egyptians because they gave offerings Geb for the bounty of the soil.

This plague was sent on Egypt without warning.  ‘I Am’ told Moshe what instructions to give Aaron.  When the dust of the ground becomes lice throughout the whole land of Egypt, people and animals are infested and experience physical suffering. The magicians tried to produce lice, but they couldn’t and tell Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”

Pharaoh’s response: “But Pharaoh was made hardhearted, so that he didn’t listen to them, just as Adonai had said would happen” (Exodus 8:15).

With the completion of the first three plagues, Adonai has shown Pharaoh who He is.  The magicians even proclaim the judgments are the working of ‘I Am.’ However, knowing the truth isn’t always enough to change a person’s heart, and Pharaoh’s heart remained hard.

Selah
The magicians imitate the first two judgments and try to create lice. As blood, frogs, and lice plague Egypt from the hand of Elohim, the magicians are so arrogant they want to copy the judgments of Adonai inflicting more plagues on their own land and people.

Swarms, Swarms, Swarms – Plague 4

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Get up early in the morning, stand before Pharaoh when he goes out to the water and say to him, Here is what Adonai says, Let my people go, so that they can worship me.  Otherwise, if you won’t let my people go, I will send swarms of insects on you, your servants and your people and your houses. BUT I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people live–no swarms of insects will be there – so that you can realize that I am Adonai, right here in the land.  I will distinguish between my people and your people and this sign will happen tomorrow’” (Exodus 8:16-19). 

The judgment of the fourth plague is against Khepri, the Egyptian god of rebirth. In the original Hebrew, the fourth plague is arob or ‘swarm’ implying incessant buzzing or motion.  Kephri was the deified scarab or dung beetle. It is about the size of a nickel and lays its young in a ball of dung. It rolls the ball around until its young are born. More destructive than termites, the scarab has a mouth that can saw through wood and caused great distress for the Egyptians. Because the beetles were considered ‘little gods,’ they could not be killed.

‘I Am’ is going to judge Egypt, its land, and its people. However, He is now going to distinguish between the Egyptians and His people. The swarms of dung beetle ruined the whole land of Egypt except for Goshen where the sons of Jacob lived.

Pharaoh’s response: “Go, and sacrifice to your God here in the land” (Exodus 8:21).

Moshe explains that worshiping Adonai in Egypt would be inappropriate because their sacrifice of cattle would be an abomination to the Egyptians; they would want to stone the Hebrews. Moshe says they will go three days’ journey into the desert to worship Adonai as He commands them to do.

Pharaoh says, “I will let you go, so that you can sacrifice to Adonai your God in the desert. Only you are not to go very far away. Intercede on my behalf” (Exodus 8:24).

Moshe prays to Adonai and He answers Moshe’s prayer. The swarms leave and not a beetle remains.

Pharaoh’s response: “But this time, too, Pharaoh made himself stubborn and didn’t let the people go” (Exodus 8:28).

Cattle Disease, Cattle Disease, Cattle Disease – Plague 5

“Adonai says to Moshe, ‘Go to Pharaoh and tell him, “Here is what Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can worship me.  If you refuse to let them go and persist in holding on to them, the hand of Adonai is on your livestock in the field–on the horses, donkeys, camels, cattle and flocks–and will make them suffer a devastating illness.  But Adonai will distinguish between Egypt’s and Isra’el’s livestock – nothing belonging to the people of Isra’el will die”” (Exodus 9:1-4).

The judgment of the fifth plague is against Apis, the bull god and the cow-headed Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of love and protection. Apis was considered the intercessor between man and Osiris.  Their worship was so extensive that even the Hebrews had begun to worship them. It was Apis, the image of the golden calf, they dedicated to Elohim at the foot of Mount Sinai.  The disease that killed Egypt’s livestock also killed their sacred bulls and cows for their temple sacrifice taking away any hope of Osiris intervening between Egypt and Adonai.

Moshe warns Pharaoh of the impending judgment that will be against their sacred animals while keeping the Hebrews’ livestock alive.  With the disease that kills all of their livestock, ‘I Am’ shows Egypt that nothing can be protected from His judgments, except His people.   With this plague, He breaks Egypt’s religious pride and causes them to submit to His authority.

Pharaoh’s response: “Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the people of Isra’el had died.  Nevertheless, Pharaoh’s heart remained stubborn and he didn’t let the people go” (Exodus 9:7).

Boils, Boils, Boils – Plague 6

“Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, ‘Take handfuls of ashes from the kiln and throw it into the air before Pharaoh’s eyes.  They will turn into a fine dust all over the land of Egypt and become infected sores on men and animals in the land of Egypt’” (Exodus 9:8-9).

The judgment of the sixth plague is against Thoth, the ibis-headed Egyptian god of medicine and theology. This plague in Hebrew is called shechiyn or inflamed spots –– the root of the word for ‘burning.’ There was so much physical suffering with this judgment that the Egyptians called on this god to cure their pain; however, Thoth’s healing powers could not override the judgment of ‘I Am.’
Even the magicians cannot escape the skin disease and become so infected that they could not carry out the priestly duties. They were responsible for taking the ashes of human sacrifices and casting them into the air. Floating human ashes in the wind over the people of Egypt was considered a blessing. Now, the ash remains of human sacrifice burn the flesh of the Egyptians –– including their cats and dogs.

Pharaoh’s response: “But Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted so that he didn’t listen to them” (Exodus 9:12).

With the completion of the second set of three plagues,  Adonai reveals to the Egypt that He makes a distinction between souls: the sin-darkened stubborn souls of the Egyptians and the souls of His chosen people.  As ‘I Am’ reveals Himself to Pharaoh as Judge; He proves Himself the Protector of Isra’el.

Selah
The plagues have a two-fold purpose: to ‘smite Egypt’ and draw Elohim’s people closer.

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Get up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, “Here is what Adonai says; ‘Let my people go so that they can worship me.  For this time I will inflict my plagues on you, yourself, and on your officials and your people; so that you will realize that I am without equal in all the earth.  By now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with such severe plagues that you would have been wiped off the earth.  But it is for this very reason that I have kept you alive – to show you my power, and so that my name may resound throughout the whole earth”” (Exodus 9:13-16).  

The next three plagues prove Adonai’s power over the heavens as the Creator. There is no other god equal to him in the heavens above or the earth below. These judgments will be experienced not only by people of Egypt, but also by Pharaoh and everyone in his palace. Adonai could actually just wipe the Egyptians off the earth, but He wants His power and His Name to resound in Pharaoh’s ears and throughout the whole earth.

Hail, Hail, Hail – Plague 7

“I will cause a hailstorm so heavy that Egypt has had nothing like it from the day it was founded until now.  …Every human being and animal left in the field that hasn’t been brought home … will die. … Moshe reached out with his staff toward the sky, and Adonai sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth…. It hailed and fire flashed up with the hail…. But in the land of Goshen, where the people of Isra’el were, there was no hail” (Exodus 9:17-19).

The judgment of the seventh plague is against Nut, the Egyptian goddess of the sky and heavenly bodies. Depicted as wearing a dress covered with stars, her body arched over the sky protecting earth. She was given credit for bringing order out of chaos in the heavens. As the hail and fire beat the earth, she has no power to protect Egypt from the chaos coming from the skies.

Some Egyptians begin fearing ‘I Am’ and bring their slaves and whatever livestock remains into their homes for protection. The hail and the fire ruin the ripe barley and budding flax. Wheat and buckwheat are not affected because they are harvested later. This is the first time there is a season implied for a judgment. The barley is Aviv or ‘green ears’ which occurs in the springtime, while the wheat harvest occurs 50 days later. Both of these harvest cycles coincide with the Biblical holy days of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Feast of Weeks.

Pharaoh’s response: “Then Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aaron. ‘This time I have sinned,’ he said to them. ‘Adonai is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.  Pray to Adonai, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer’” (Exodus 9:27-28).

When the hail with fire stops, Pharaoh’s response:

“When Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail and thunder had ended, he sinned still more my making himself hardhearted, he and his servants.  Pharaoh was made hardhearted, and he didn’t let the people of Isra’el go” (Exodus 9:34).

Yeshua and the Plagues of Elohim

“Then I saw another sign in heaven, a great and wonderful one—seven angels with the seven plagues that are the final ones; because with them, God’s fury is finished…. After this I looked, and the sanctuary (that is, the Tent of Witness in heaven) was opened, and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean bright linen and had gold belts around their chests. One of the four living beings gave to the seven angels seven gold bowls filled with the fury of God, who lives forever and ever. Then the sanctuary was filled with smoke from God’s Sh’khinah, that is, from his power; and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels had accomplished their purpose” (Revelation 15:1-8).

The Seven Plagues of Elohim’s Fury
Plague on the earth: Ugly and painful sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image (Revelation 16:2).

“So it [the beast] opened its mouth in blasphemies against God to insult his name and his Sh’khinah, and those living in heaven; it was allowed to make war on God’s holy people and to defeat them; and it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. Everyone living on earth will worship it [the beast] except those whose names are written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb slaughtered before the world was founded” (Revelation 13:6-8).
Plague on the sea: The sea turned into blood like that of a dead person and every living thing in it died (Revelation 16:3).

Plague on the rivers and springs: All living water turned to blood (Revelation 16:4).

“O HaKadosh, the One who is and was, you are just in these judgments of yours. They poured out the blood of your people and your prophets, so you have made them drink blood. They deserve it!” (Revelation 16:5)

Plague of the sun: The sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were burned by the intense heat and cursed Elohim who had control over the plagues, but refused to repent from their sins and glorify Him (Revelation 16:8-9).

Plague on throne of the beast: The kingdom of the beast was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed Elohim because of their pains and sores, but did not turn from their sinful behavior (Revelation 16:10-11).

Plague on the Euphrates River: The river dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the east. Three ‘unclean’ spirits that looked like frogs came from the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. These frog-demons worked miracles and went out into the whole world preparing the kings of the nations to gather for war on the Day of Elohim in Har Megiddo (Revelation 16:12-16).

Plague on the air:  “A loud voice came out of the Temple from the throne, saying, “It is done!” There were flashes of lightning, voices and peals of thunder; and there was a massive earthquake, such as has never occurred since mankind has been on earth, so violent was the earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Bavel the Great and made her drink the wine from the cup of his raging fury. Every island fled, and no mountains were to be found. And huge seventy-pound hailstones fell on people from the sky. But the people cursed God for the plague of hail, that it was such a terrible plague” (Revelation 16:17-21).

©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, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

Parashah 13: Sh’mot (Names) – EXODUS

Exodus 1:1-6:1

“These are the names of the sons of Isra’el who came into Egypt with Ya’akov; each man came with his household…” (Exodus 1:1).

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Nafatli, Gad, and Asher entered into Egypt as a nation of 70 Hebrews. They joined Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Their descendants increased and they grew very powerful. Centuries later, a Pharaoh came to power who knew nothing about Joseph and his family. The fear of Isra’el –– anti-semitism –– begins.

This Pharaoh spoke to his people, “Look, the descendants of Isra’el  have become a people too numerous and powerful for us.  Come, let’s use wisdom in dealing with them.  Otherwise, they’ll continue to multiply; and in the event of war they might ally themselves with our enemies, fight against us and leave the land altogether” (Exodus 1:8-10).

These verses state that Pharaoh is using ‘wisdom’ or chokmah. Wisdom judges wisely and then follows the right course of action. Wisdom is the ability to see Elohim’s perspective in a situation. On the surface, Pharaoh’s wisdom seems foolish. He does not fear Elohim, which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7); and, true wisdom comes only from Elohim, from His mouth comes understanding (Proverbs 2:10). From the very start of this parashah, Elohim uses Pharaoh to begin to complete His plan of deliverance for the Hebrew people. Though concealed by Elohim, Pharaoh prophesies a blessing over the descendants of Jacob.  They will multiply and leave his land, but before that happens, Elohim will make war against him, his people, his land, and his gods.

Pharaoh’s prophetic words are grounded in fear. Fear is self-prophesying. Consider the words of Job: “For the thing I feared has overwhelmed me, what I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25). This will be the very same outcome for Pharaoh. His fears will become his worst nightmare.

“But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied and expanded, until the Egyptians came to dread the people of Isra’el” (Exodus 1:12).

Pithom (House of Turn) and Ra’amses (Begotten by Ra) were two cities built by the Hebrews who had become Egypt’s slaves; the Septuagint mentions Heliopolis (Sun City) as well.  These cities were known as Pharaoh’s ‘treasure cities.’

In 1863, excavators found the location for Pithom along the canal route connecting the Nile River to the Red Sea.  Its Arabian name was Patumos (Egyptian, Memphis) and its capital was Goshen where Isra’el had first settled. A group of granite statues representing Ra’amses II was found standing between two gods. A ruined temple and the remains of brick buildings with very thick walls and rectangular chambers with openings at the top, believed to have been granaries, were also uncovered. These discoveries confirm the Biblical account and point to Ra’amses II as the Pharaoh who oppressed Isra’el.

Ra’amses is a general name given to 11 Egyptian Pharaohs. It derives from the sun god Ra and means ‘the one who gave birth to him.’  Ra’amses II is also known as Ra’amses the Great and reigned during the 19th dynasty (650-600 BCE).  The early part of his reign focused on building cities, temples, and monuments.

The Midwives

It wasn’t enough to increase the oppression of the Hebrew people as slaves. Ra’amses tells the Hebrew midwives to kill every boy born to a Hebrew family; girls were allowed to live. The midwives fear Elohim and do not obey Pharaoh’s instructions and allow the boys to live. When Pharaoh demands a reason for their disobedience, they reply that Hebrew women are vigorous in childbirth and give birth before they arrive. Because of their willingness to disobey the death order and give every baby the right to life, Elohim prosper the midwives, and the Hebrews continue to multiply. This frustrates Pharaoh even more and he commands that every infant boy born be thrown into the Nile River –– not only by soldiers, but by the Hebrews’ friends and neighbors.

The midwives were commanded to perform post-birth abortions, killing a baby after it was born. Because Shifra and Pu’ah were God-fearing women, they became founders of their own families. 

Hebrew Word Pictures
Shiphrah or Shifrah – שפרה – shin, peh, resh, hey
– consume the source of the highest authority, behold

Puah or Pu’ah – פועה – peh, vav, ayin, hey
– the source of the binding, understand and behold
 

A Levite Family

About 320 years after Elohim tells Abraham that his descendants would be oppressed and enslaved in a foreign land for 400 years, a Levite family has a son. His mother hides him for three months.  After three months, she makes a papyrus basket, coats it with clay and tar, and puts the baby boy inside. She floats the basket in the Nile River among the reeds of the shoreline. His sister, Miryam, watches from a distance to make sure he is safe.

Pharaoh’s daughter comes to the river to bathe and spots the basket.  She has her slave girl retrieve it. She looks inside and finds the baby boy and is moved with pity, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children” (Exodus 2:6).

All male babies who descended from Abraham were to be circumcised when they were eight days old. This ‘sign’ in the flesh was evidence of their heritage in Abraham. In the movie, The Ten Commandments, a piece of cloth was placed in the basket to reveal the heritage of the baby, but in the Scriptures, Pharaoh’s daughter looks inside the basket and immediately knows, from his circumcision, the baby is Hebrew.

Miryam comes out of hiding and asks the Pharaoh’s daughter if she should find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby.  Pharaoh’s daughter tells her “Yes, Go.” Miryam brings her mother, Jochebed, who nurses her son until he is weaned.  The Scriptures say that Pharaoh’s daughter paid Jochebed for her services (Genesis 1:9). Once the boy is weaned, he is brought back to Pharaoh’s daughter. She names him Moshe meaning ‘pulled out’ because she had pulled him out of the river.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Moses (Drawn from the Water) or Moshe – משה – mem, shin, hey
– chaos consumed, behold

Moshe was nursed by his birth mother until he was weaned. According to most historical accounts, weaning took place anytime between 18 months and 5 years. Within this time period, Jochebed had sufficient time to teach her son about the Elohim of Isra’el and Moshe’s Hebrew heritage. These spiritual seeds take root in his soul and, 40 years later, they begin to sprout (Acts 7).

In Exodus 2:11, Moshe goes to visit his kinsmen.  The use of the word kinsmen means that he understood his heritage to be Hebrew. Even though he was raised in an Egyptian palace, he feels the need to be with his people. He watches them struggle as slaves. He watches the overseers treat his relatives with cruelty. When he witnesses an Egyptian overseer strike one of his Hebrew brothers, he can no longer handle the injustice. When no one is looking, he kills the Egyptian and hides the body in the sand.

The next day he witnesses two Hebrews fighting with each other.  He asks the one, “Why are you hitting your kinsman?”  The man responds, “Who appointed you ruler and judge over us?  Do you intend to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian?” (Exodus 2:14)

Though the words, “Who appointed you ruler and judge over us” frightens Moshe and brings a death sentence to his life in Egypt, his kinsman spoke prophetic words. They became the driving force for Moshe to leave Egypt, wander to Midian where he would meet the Elohim of the Hebrews face to face.

“This Moshe, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ is the very one whom God sent as both ruler and ransomer by means of the angel that appeared to him in the thorn bush. This man led them out, performing miracles and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years” (Acts 7:35-36).

In Midian, Moshe meets the seven daughters of the priest of Midian while sitting by a well.  They come to draw water for their father’s sheep, but other shepherds try to keep them away.  Moshe defends the women and then waters their sheep. He is invited into Reu’el’s (Friend of God) home and shares a meal with him in his tent. Reu’el gives his daughter Zipporah (Bird) to Moshe for a wife. She gives birth to a son named Gershom for Moshe said, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land” (Exodus 2:22).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Zipporah (ָ A Little Bird) or Tzipporah – צפורה – tzade, peh, vav, resh, hey
– draw near to the source of the binding, the highest authority, behold

Gershom (I had been a foreigner) or Gershom – גרשם – gimel, resh, shin, mem
– lift up the highest authority consuming chaos

Reu’el is also called Yitro or Jethro meaning ‘His Excellency’ and is not the name of Moshe’s father-in-law, but his title as a priest of Midian.  The meaning of a baby’s name, Yitro, defines the character and leadership of Yitro when Moshe brings Isra’el into the wilderness:

“People with this name [Yitro] tend to be orderly and dedicated to building their lives on a solid foundation of order and service. They value truth, justice, and discipline, and may be quick-tempered with those who do not. Their practical nature makes them good at managing and saving money, and at building things in the material world. Because of their focus on order and practicality, they may seem overly cautious and conservative at times.”

Hebrew Word Pictures
Jethro (His Excellence) or Yitro – יתרו – yod, tav, resh, vav
– finished work of the covenant, the highest authority binding

Reuel (Friend of God) or Re’u’el – רעואל – resh, ayin, vav, alef, lamed
– the highest authority understands the binding, the first strength of the shepherd

Holy Ground

“God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Avraham, Yitz’ak and Ya‘akov” (Exodus 2:24).

While Moshe is tending sheep in the desert, he comes to the mountain of Elohim known as Horeb. The ‘angel of Adonai’ appears to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush.  Moshe looks up and sees that though the bush was flaming with fire, it did not burn. He becomes curious and walks over to see why the bush has not burned up. He hears Elohim call his name from inside the bush, “Moshe, Moshe.”

Moshe answers, “Here I am” or “Hineni,” just like his forefather Abraham. Hineni means that Moshe is ready in the physical present to receive what will be spiritually imparted to him. Moshe is allowing himself to be prepared as the vessel that Elohim will use to judge the Egyptians.

“Don’t come any closer!  Take your sandals off, because the place where you are standing is holy ground.  I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’ak and the God of Ya’akov. Moshe covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God” (Exodus 3:5-6).

Elohim speaks to Moshe.  The voice of Elohim from the beginning of Creation, has always been Yeshua (John 1:1-14). As a flaming fire within a bush that doesn’t burn, Elohim speaks with Moshe.  He tells him to take off his sandals because the ground on which he is standing is holy. Moshe obeys. He doesn’t question the voice. He doesn’t make excuses. He removes his sandals.

Because of the contemporary view that Jesus is our friend and we can treat him as we would any of our friends, most who worship Elohim would never consider taking off their shoes when standing in a holy place. Though some may have a concept of the holiness of Elohim, there is generally little behavior that gives evidence to that concept. Holiness and being set-apart for Elohim has been diluted in a cultural religiosity with a loss of reverence for the Creator. Most in the modern church setting no longer think of Elohim as a devouring fire who commands us to “be holy as I am holy” and to worship Him with fear and awe (Hebrews 12:28, 2 Peter 1:16).

Moshe covers his face because he is afraid to look at Elohim.  He is completely humbled. Elohim continues to speak and tells Moshe that He has seen His people in slavery and has “come down to bring them up out of Egypt to a ‘land flowing with milk and honey’” (Exodus 3:8). Elohim reveals that Moshe is the one He is choosing to go to Egypt to lead the descendants of Isra’el out of their oppression.

Selah
Elohim says that like Yeshua has come down,
He will bring Isra’el up out of Egypt (Proverbs 30:4).

Moshe isn’t quite so sure about this calling on his life.   He wonders who he is that Elohim would call him.  Elohim reassures him that He will be with him and gives Moshe a ‘sign.’ Elohim will bring Isra’el back to the very mountain on which Moshe is standing, and they will worship Him on that mountain.

Moshe asks what to tell the people if they want to know who sent him to deliver them. It seems to Moshe that the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or the Elohim of Isra’el will not be enough to convince the Hebrews of the conversation he’s having on the mountain. Moshe wants something more finite.

My Memorial Name, Forever

“God said to Moshe, ‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],’ and added ‘Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: Ehyeh [I Will Be] has sent me to you.’ God said further to Moshe, ‘Say this to the people of Isra’el: Yod-Hey Vav-Hey, the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Ya’akov has sent me to you.  This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation’” (Exodus 3:14-16).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I Am that I Am)
אהיה אשׁר אהיה
alef, hey, yod, hey; alef, shin, resh; alef, hey, yod, hey

– the first strength, behold the finished work, revealed;
the first strength consumes the highest authority
first strength behold the finished work behold

(YHVH) – יהוה– yod-hey-vav-hey
– the finished work, behold, the binding, behold
– the hand behold, the nails behold

From the Hebrew rendering of the Name, Elohim’s essence given to Moshe is a simple phrase consisting of the relative pronoun asher stuck between two instances of the first person singular imperfect of the verb hayah, ‘to be.’ Ehyeh is usually translated “I will be.” Asher is a unique word. Imagine one word that can mean ‘that, what, when or where’ and that is the meaning of asher. With this understanding, the forever memorial name of Elohim given to Moshe has the meaning: “I will be that I will be; I will be what I will be; I will be where I will be; I will be when I will be.” From the Hebrew lettering for Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh comes the Hebrew, yod-hey-vav-hey referred to as the ‘Name of God.’

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is not a name, but a state of being, the essence of who Elohim is and an expression of His existence. He cannot give Moshe a finite name because Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is infinite and a difficult reality to comprehend. Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is telling Moshe, He can be whatever Moshe needs Him to be; whenever he needs Him to be, wherever he needs Him to be and so much more. No matter what happens in Egypt, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh will be present, seen, and available. Moshe is commanded to make His presence known to the Hebrews as it is His memorial name, to be remembered from generation to generation.

Selah
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the presence of Elohim can be the King of Salem, a visitor with Abraham, an angel who wrestles Jacob, the commander of Elohim’s army, a smoking pot, a fire in a bush, a dove, a whirlwind, a rock, a pillar of fire, a cloud or even parts of Himself –– His right hand, His finger which writes, and His mighty arm which saves. He can even become flesh in the body and person of Yeshua.

Over the millennia, the correct pronunciation of yod-hey-vav-hey disappeared. The Levitical priesthood took possession of the Name allowing only the high priest to use it on Yom Kippur. They were fearful the Name might be profaned among the nations so the people of Isra’el never heard it spoken. Within generations they forgot how to say it and ultimately use it. Today, ‘The Name’ or HaShem is used by most Jewish people.

Since Isra’el became a nation over 60 years ago, there has been movement by Messianic gentiles to begin re-using the memorial name. This is a fascinating move of the Spirit of Elohim in these last days. As Islam becomes more prevalent in the world, Muslims speak and murder in the name of their god quite boldly, but ‘The Name’ of the One True Living Elohim remains hidden under titles such as Lord, Adonai, HaShem or the generic, God. 

Unfortunately, those desiring to use the memorial name have split in every direction from the most probable utterance of yod-hey-vav-hey being Yahweh or Yahveh to some of the most nonsensical words, giving credence to the reason the Levites decided to keep the Name only in the mouths of those who would not profane it.

The memorial name forever –– yod-hey-vav-hey –– has been replaced in Bibles with LORD.  LORD is not the name of Elohim given to Moshe, it is a title. In the Complete Jewish Bible, the memorial name has been replaced with Adonai. In this book, I will use Adonai, HaShem, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, Hayah or ‘I Am’ when I refer to the memorial name. From my understanding, the memorial name Elohim is yod-hey-vav-hey and I will use that respectfully.

Signs for Moshe

“Then you will come, you and the leaders of Isra’el, before the king of Egypt; and you will tell him, ‘Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert; so that we can sacrifice to Adonai our God.’ I know that the king of Egypt will not let you leave unless he is forced to do so’” (Exodus 3:18-19).

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh tells Moshe to gather the leaders of Isra’el. He is to tell them the Elohim of their fathers appeared to him and has seen their oppression and will lead them out of their misery into a ‘land flowing with milk and honey.’ He is to tell them to go three days journey into the desert where they can sacrifice to Adonai their Elohim. He says the Hebrew leaders will do as he says, but Pharaoh will not let them go unless he is forced to free them (Exodus 3:16-19).

“But I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will do there. Moreover, I will make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that when you go, you won’t go empty-handed. You will plunder the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:20-22)

Moshe worries that the people will not listen to him and believe he is lying. Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh asks what is in his hand to which Moshe replies “a staff.” He tells him to throw his staff down onto the ground and it turns into a snake. Moshe recoils from it, but Adonai tells him to grab it by its tail. He does and it becomes his staff again.

As Moshe knew from growing up in Egypt, the snake was the symbol of Wadjet, an Egyptian goddess who controlled and protected the land.  The snake symbolized Pharaoh’s sovereignty, royalty, deity, and divine authority in Egypt.  The snake was so important that it became part of the headdress of the Pharaoh. By turning Moshe’s staff into a snake, Adonai proves He is the Sovereign Ruler over Egypt.  Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh alone is the only Elohim and His divine authority surpasses that of Pharaoh’s.

Adonai tells Moshe to put his hand into his coat. Moshe slips his hand into his coat and when he pulls it out, it is leprous. He put his hand back into his coat and when he pulls it out a second time, it is healed.

Leprosy was a punishment for pride and arrogance against Adonai. This ‘sign’ was given to Moshe as proof Elohim was going to judge and punish Pharaoh’s pride of through the meekest of men (Numbers 12:3). It was also evidence that Adonai knew and saw the murder of Hebrew babies thrown into the Nile, and He would judge Pharaoh for those innocent lives.

In spite of the powerful signs, Moshe makes another excuse. He says that he is a terrible speaker and his words come slowly. This seems ironic as his excuses come out of his mouth rather quickly! Yet, Moshe grew up a Hebrew in Pharaoh’s household. He had to learn to be humble and quiet so that no one would learn of his heritage. Adonai understands Moshe’s character and promises that He will go with him, teach him, and be his mouth.

Moshe finally expresses his true feelings. He doesn’t want to go to Egypt. Period.  He would rather Adonai send someone else. How often are we like Moshe when Elohim has something for us to do?  How often do we find other activities more important than being His hands and feet?   How often do we consider ourselves incapable and forget that when Elohim calls, He equips?

Each of us can be like those who were invited to the wedding feast but were full of excuses: marriage, fields, livestock. Because of the multitude of negative RSVP responses, others are invited to the feast and receive the reward of attending the wedding of the King’s son (Matthew 22). Or, we can be like the prophet Isaiah who heard the voice of Elohim and immediately responded, “Send me!” (Isaiah 6:7-8)

In the book of Esther, Mordecai reminds Hadassah, who has become Queen of Persia, that if she does not rise to the call of saving her people, then help will come from somewhere else, but she and her family will perish (Esther 4:14). When Elohim calls us to do His will, we either do it and receive the blessing or He will find someone else.

Adonai’s anger “blazed up.” From the way this is written, the fire within the burning bush must have burned higher, hotter, and maybe even singed Moshe’s beard and eyebrows. Still, Moshe remains Elohim’s choice and He offers a solution. Moshe’s brother, Aaron, has the ability to speak and will become his mouth. As a matter of face, Elohim says that Aaron is already on his way to meet his brother.

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh encourages Moshe by telling him that everyone who wanted him dead have died, and despite the miracles Moshe will be able to perform, Adonai will harden Pharaoh’s heart.  

Moshe returns home and asks Jethro to allow him to return to Egypt to see if his kinsmen are still alive. Jethro blesses him and tells him, “Go in peace.”  Moshe gathers his wife and two sons, and they leave Midian.

Circumcising the ‘Son of Abraham’

Circumcision was the sign of the covenant El Shaddai made with Abraham that required all male babies eight days old to be circumcised.  As a descendant of Abraham, Moshe’s Levite family circumcised him and he should have circumcised his son.  Adonai could not allow Moshe go into Egypt dishonoring the sign of the covenant; and He also wanted to reveal to Moshe a portion of His redemptive plan.

At a lodging place with his family, Moshe has another encounter with Adonai. This time, however, it is a confrontation that could have ended in death.   In order to end the situation, Zipporah takes immediate action.  Whether it was from the realization that they had disobeyed Adonai’s command or she just didn’t want death on her hands, Zipporah takes a flint knife and circumcises their firstborn son, Gershom.  She cuts off his foreskin and hurls the piece of bloody flesh at Moshe’s feet and says, “What a bloody bridegroom you are for me –– A bloody bridegroom because of this circumcision” (Exodus 4:25-26). While she judges Moshe’s Elohim, she is also prophesying.

“Then you are to tell Pharaoh: ‘Adonai says, “Isra’el is my firstborn son.  I have told you to let my son go in order to worship me, but you have refused to let him go. Well, then, I will kill your firstborn son!”” (Exodus 4:22-24) 

Zipporah and the Midianites were not included in the covenant given to Abraham, even though they descended from Abraham’s second wife Keturah.  From Zipporah’s reaction to the procedure, it is likely that she did not want her son circumcised and had stood against it.  She did not understand, until that moment,  the serious consequences of her unwillingness to have them enter the covenant of their father and his forefathers. 

The most common interpretation for when Zipporah circumcises her son say that Elohim was in a confrontation with  Moshe, and Zipporah saved his life by circumcising their son.  There are also those who suggest that it was Gershom who was going to die during the encounter.   As Gershom was a young man, not a small child, he could have been rebelling against the circumcision and needed to be held down through the strength of his father.  Zipporah performed circumcision with piece of flint and did the deed before her son would die.   Both are valid interpretations when the lives of the firstborn of Isra’el and the firstborn of Pharaoh will be in a spiritual struggle resolved only when the firstborn of Pharaoh dies and death passes over the firstborn of Isra’el.

‘Flint’ in Hebrew is challamish and is used along with the word tsur for ‘rock.’ Flint is a hard sedimentary rock that fractures from the core creating flakes or blades that have razor sharp edges. Flint knives, used by surgeons, are so sharp they can cut between cells rather than cut cells apart. Though Zipporah is disgusted by the act of circumcision, her sacrificial work is done with precision.

“As you come to him, the living stone, rejected by people but chosen by God and precious to him, you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be cohanim set apart for God to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to him through Yeshua the Messiah” (1 Peter 2:4-5).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Flint or challamish – חלמיש – chet, lamed, mem, yod, shin
– protect, urge forward, and consume the mighty finished work

Zipporah and her sons return home. They do not go to Egypt; they do not take part in Adonai’s Passover.  Anyone who did not put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost were cut off from Isra’el and their firstborn died. By circumcising Gershon, death would pass over Moshe’s firstborn even while Gershon lived in a foreign land.  Though Zipporah was a foreigner, being married to Moshe, a descendant of Abraham, it was necessary for her to enter the ‘blood covenant’ through the foreskin of her son.  For Moshe, it was a prophetic sign that Pharaoh would not relent and the death of the firstborn of Egypt was inevitable. 

Circumcision became the requirement for taking part in the Passover (Exodus 12:47-49). Those who weren’t circumcised could not share in the Passover lamb.  With the new covenant and circumcision of the heart, everyone whether Jew or foreigner may take part in the Passover memorial. It seems, however, that today Elohim has kept foreigners from the Passover because of uncircumcised and anti-semitic hearts.  In the coming Millennial Kingdom, Isra’el is chastised for allowing foreigners to enter the Millennial Temple without being circumcised in heart and flesh (Ezekiel 44:9).   In the Millennial Kingdom, the circumcision of flesh will be restored as the ‘sign’ of faith given to Abraham.

Moshe and Aaron Arrive in Egypt

Aaron goes to the desert and meets his brother. Moshe tells Aaron that Adonai has spoken to him. He shows him the signs to prove to the Hebrews that he and Aaron have received a calling from ‘I Am’ to deliver them from slavery.  When Moshe and Aaron arrive in Egypt, they call the Hebrew leaders together. Aaron tells them everything Adonai has promised while Moshe performs the signs as evidence for the people. The knowledge that Adonai has remembered them and wants to deliver them from bondage brings them to their knees in worship.

“The people believed; when they heard that Adonai had remembered the people of Isra’el and seen how they were oppressed, they bowed their heads and worshiped” (Exodus 4:31).

Let the Judgment Begin

“The God of Isra’el says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can celebrate a festival in the desert to honor me’” (Exodus 5:1).

In Hebrew, the word ‘festival’ is chag.  Chag Sameach or ‘Happy Holiday’ is the greeting used for Biblical festivals. Simply, Moshe asks Pharaoh to let the Israelites go for a three-day chag to the desert. Pharaoh refuses and calls the Hebrews lazy. He mocks them and their desire to sacrifice to Elohim.

Pharaoh doesn’t know Moshe’s Elohim. With great pride and arrogance he demands, “Who is Adonai, that I should obey Him?” Moshe and Aaron try to explain that Adonai is the Elohim of the Hebrews and, if Pharaoh doesn’t let the Hebrews leave, ‘I Am’ will strike Egypt with a plague or the sword.  Pharaoh’s heart is hard and refuses to let the Israelites go (Exodus 5:2-3).

Pharaoh orders the overseers to stop giving the Hebrew slaves straw for the bricks they make, while requiring the same number of bricks per day.  The Hebrew foremen are flogged when they do not keep up their daily quota of bricks.  The foremen judge Moshe and Aaron, “May Adonai look at you and judge accordingly, because you have made us utterly abhorrent in the view of Pharaoh and his servants, and you have put a sword in their hands to kill us!” (Exodus 5:21)

Egypt is an expression of a three-pronged denial of Adonai. Egypt denies His existence, His divine intervention in the lives of humanity, and His ability to change events on the earth.  Pharaoh’s heart reflects his nation’s view as the sovereign of Egypt. Moshe and Aaron are sent to Pharaoh to show him and the Egyptians that they have gone too far in their denial of human dignity given to humanity by the Creator Himself.

Yeshua, the ‘I Am’

“Yeshua answered, ‘I Am’ the bread which is life! Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever trusts in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

“Yeshua spoke to them again: ‘I Am’ the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life” (John 8:12).

“’I Am’ the gate; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).

“’I Am’ the good shepherd” (John 10:11).

“Yeshua said to her, ‘I Am’ the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25)

“Yeshua said, ‘I Am’ the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

“Yeshua said, ‘I Am’ the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing” (John 15:5).

©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, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.