Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Parashah 15: Bo (Go)

Exodus 10:1-13:16

“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, so that you can tell your son and grandson about what I did to Egypt and about my signs that I demonstrated among them, and so that you will all know that I am Adonai.’ Moshe and Aharon went in to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Here is what Adonai, God of the Hebrews, says: How much longer will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so that they can worship me’” (Exodus 10:1-3).

This parashah is entitled Bo.  In Hebrew, bo has two meanings: ‘Go’ and ‘Come.’  As Adonai continues to judge Egypt, He is bringing Pharaoh to the point where he tells the Hebrews to ‘Go’ while also preparing the Israelites to ‘Come’ to Him.   This parashah describes the last three judgments on Egypt and ends with Passover.

Locusts, Locusts, Locusts – Plague 8

“Moshe and Aharon went into Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Here is what Adonai God of the Hebrews says, How much longer will you refuse to submit to me?  Let my people go, so that they can worship me.  Otherwise, if you refuse to let my people go, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory.  One won’t be able to see the ground, so completely will the locusts cover it.  They will eat anything that you still have that escaped the hail, including every tree you have growing in the field.  They will fill your houses and those of your servants and all the Egyptians’” (Exodus 10:3-6).

The judgment of the seventh plague is against three of Egypt’s gods: Set, Anubis, and Osiris. Set, the god of storms and disorder was depicted as an animal with a curved snout, long, rectangular ears, a forked tail, and dog-like body.  He held a scepter which set him apart as a ruler over Egypt, except that he had no power over the eastern wind that brought locusts and disorder to the land.

Anubis,  the jackal-headed god associated with death and embalming, weighed the heart of a deceased person using an ostrich feather to determine its place in the afterlife.  He also protected the fields.  Under his watch, every fruit tree along with its fruit was devoured.  His power had been quenched by ‘I Am.’   Anubis’ authority over the ‘heart’ of man was challenged by the ability of ‘I Am’ to harden Pharaoh’s heart.  Pharaoh’s servants, not Anubis, began to weigh their leader’s heart and found it lacking when it came to the lives of his people and his nation.

Osiris, the central figure in the ‘Order of the Morning Star,’ was the god of the afterlife, underworld, and the dead.  He was depicted with green skin, a beard, and legs partially wrapped like a mummy.   He wore a crown with two large ostrich feathers and held a crook and flail.  With no green thing left in Egypt, it became clear that Osiris had been defeated by ‘I Am.’ 

The day after the plague of hail and fire, Pharaoh learns that locusts will cover his land.  There will be so many locusts that they will eat what the hail and fire have not destroyed. They will fill the houses from Pharaoh’s palace to the poorest Egyptian.  With the prospect of this plague, Pharaoh’s servants begin to rebel against him.

“Let the people go and worship Adonai their God.  Don’t you understand yet that Egypt is being destroyed?” (Exodus 10:7)  

Pharaoh considers what his servants say and calls Moshe and Aaron.  He tells them they may go worship Adonai; however, he wants to know who is actually leaving with them.  Moshe explains that the Hebrews will take everyone, their young and old, their sons and daughters, and their flocks and herds.

Pharaoh’s response: “Adonai will certainly be with you if I ever let you go with your children.  It’s clear that you are up to no good. Nothing doing!  Just the men among you may go and worship Adonai” (Exodus 10:10-11).

The plague arrives by an east wind that blows on Egypt all day and night.  In the morning, the locusts invade more severely than ever before or would ever again.  They completely cover the ground so that it looks black.  They eat every plant growing from the ground and all the fruit on the trees left by hail.  Nothing green remains, not a tree nor a plant in the fields in the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh’s response: ”I have sinned against Adonai your God and against you.  Now, therefore, please forgive my sin just this once; and intercede with Adonai your God, so that he will at least take away from me this deadly plague!” (Exodus 10:17)

Pharaoh calls Moshe and Aaron and confesses he has sinned against Adonai. He asks Moshe to intercede for him as his gods have no power. ‘I Am’ reverses the wind and it blows from the west so forcefully that it drives the locusts into the Mediterranean Sea –– not one locust remained on Egyptian soil.

“But Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he didn’t let the people of Isra’el go” (Exodus 10:20).

Darkness, Darkness, Darkness – Plague 9

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Reach out your hand toward the sky, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness so thick it can be felt!’” (Exodus 10:21)

The judgment of the eighth plague is against Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun. He was depicted as a man with the head of a hawk and had a sun disc or halo over his head with a coiled serpent. It is from Ra that catholicism puts halos or shooting rays of the sun on the heads of their saint-gods. Ra was worshiped by the Egyptians as the supreme creator.

Adonai proves the sun god is no match for the deep darkness in the souls of the Egyptians. They spend three days and three nights in the tomb of death’s abyss of darkness.

Pharaoh receives no warning for this judgment. As soon as Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, ‘I Am’ tells Moshe to reach out his hand to the sky.  A darkness that could be felt covers the entire land of Egypt for three days. It is so dark that the Egyptians couldn’t see anything. No one could go anywhere for three days.  In Goshen, however, all of the Hebrews had light in their homes.

Pharaoh’s response: “Go, worship Adonai, only leave your flocks and herds behind – take your children with you” (Exodus 10:24).

Pharaoh permits the Hebrews to leave and take their children with them; however, they must leave their flocks and herds behind.  This is not a sufficient response for Moshe who reminds Pharaoh that in order to worship Adonai they will need their animals for sacrifice.

Pharaoh responds prophetically, not realizing that his own words will return to him.

“But Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he would not let them go.  Pharaoh said to them, ‘Get away from me!  And you have better not see my face again, because the day you see my face, you will die!’” (Exodus 10:27-28)

Moshe answers: “Well spoken!  I will see your face no more!” (Exodus 10:29)

Death of the Firstborn – Plague 10

“Moshe said, ‘Here is what Adonai says: About midnight I will go out into Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl at the hand mill, and all the firstborn of the livestock. There will be a horrendous wailing throughout all the land of Egypt — there has never been another like it, and there never will be again. But not even a dog’s growl will be heard against any of the people of Isra’el, neither against people nor against animals. In this way you will realize that Adonai distinguishes between Egyptians and Isra’el. All your servants will come down to me, will prostrate themselves before me and say, Get out! — You and all the people who follow you!’ and after that, I will go out!’ And he went out from Pharaoh in the heat of anger’” (Exodus 11:4-8)

The tenth and final judgment is against Pharaoh, the god-king of Egypt. He is given a prophetic warning about what is going to happen to his land, his people, and his own family. From the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the slave girl to the firstborn of all the livestock, all the firstborn in Egypt will die.

To understand the seriousness of the final plague, it is important understand the hierarchy in Egypt. The firstborn had absolute power within the family unit. Pharaoh was the firstborn of a firstborn who was the firstborn of a firstborn and so on, and through this birthright, he came into power. The judgment against the firstborn was a judgment against a cultural system where the oldest ruled over the youngest and the lower class needed slaves to control and dominate.

Selah
Moshe leaves Pharaoh’s presence “hot with anger.”

The Destroyer

The focus switches from Pharaoh and Egypt to Adonai’s people.  Moshe and Aaron are no longer messengers to Pharaoh, but prophets to the Hebrews. Through them Adonai prepares His people for His Passover and their deliverance from Egypt. He begins by sanctifying time.

“You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you” (Exodus 12:1).

Beginning with the new moon, Adonai’s calendar would begin. There are some who teach the timing of this new moon coincides with the barley being ripe or aviv; however, all of the barley had been destroyed in Egypt and would not have been a credible marker. Along with the moon, Elohim set the stars in the heavens to mark His mo’edim. As an agricultural community, the Hebrews would have understood the new month began with the first new moon when the proper spring constellations were in place. Once the new month was established, they could begin counting the days, sunset to sunset, until the tenth day of the month.

“Speak to all the assembly of Isra’el and say, ‘On the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb or kid for his family, one per household — except that if the household is too small for a whole lamb or kid, then he and his next-door neighbor should share one, dividing it in proportion to the number of people eating it’” (Exodus 12:3-4).

Each family is to take a lamb from their flock and keep the animal until the fourteenth day of the month when the entire community will slaughter it at dusk. They are to take some of the blood and smear it with hyssop on the sides and top of the door frame at the entrance to the house where the family would eat the lamb. It is to be roasted in the fire and served with matzah (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs). Nothing is to remain until morning; leftovers are to be burned up (Exodus 4:6-10).

ח

By smearing blood on the two sides of the door and the top of the door frame, they created the Hebrew letter chet. The Hebrew Word Picture is a ‘fence’ and symbolizes ‘protection in the inner chamber.’ Chet is also the first letter in the word chaim meaning ‘life.’

Hebrew Word Pictures
Life or chai – חי – chet, yod
– protect the finished work

“Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:9).

Hyssop, sometimes translated as oregano, is a Biblical herb that is part of the mint family. It is used for cleansing holy places and objects.  It comes from the Hebrew word ezob which means ‘holy herb.‘ Moshe uses hyssop to sprinkle the ‘blood of the covenant’ on the book of Torah (Exodus 24:8). Hyssop is used to bring vinegar to Yeshua’s mouth when he is on the cross (John 19:29). Today, hyssop grows wild between the stones on the Western Wall in Jerusalem. This same herb is used to spread the lamb’s blood on the doorposts and lintel of individual Hebrew homes, symbolizing a cleansing from all the filth and defilement they encountered while slaves in Egypt.

The Hebrews are also told how to eat the meal and what to wear. They are to have their belt fastened, shoes on their feet, and their staff in hand. They are to eat the meal quickly.

“For that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and animals, and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt.  I am Adonai.  The blood will serve you as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over you–when I strike the land of Egypt, the death blow will not strike you” (Exodus 10:12-13).

In the movie, The Ten Commandments, the ‘angel of death‘ passes over Egypt.  However, Adonai is the one going to execute the judgment of death.  It won’t be an angel, but the Destroyer or mashkhit. This is not a person, but an attribute of Adonai’s power and the essence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. It is actually a verb form, not a noun, and means ‘that which causes destruction.’ Mashkhit is also used for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as in reference to the “lion who would destroy the nations” (Jeremiah 4:7). When the mashkhit sees the blood on the house, ‘that which causes destruction’ will pass over that house because it has the ‘fence’ of blood protection.

There are several reasons for Adonai’s Pesach. He wants to once and for all time judge the gods of Egypt and prove their impotence.   He wants to reveal His power over life and death to the Hebrews so they will trust Him as their Deliverer. And, He wants a memorial for their children who would ask questions about the meal and pass on His great deliverance to the next generation.

“When your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this ceremony? Say, ‘It is the sacrifice of Adonai’s Pesach because Adonai passed over the houses of the people of Isra’el in Egypt, when he killed the Egyptians but spared our houses. The people bowed their heads and worshiped.  Then the people of Isra’el went and did as Adonai had commanded Moshe and Aaron–that is what they did” (Exodus 12:26-28). 

“On that day you are to tell your son, ‘It is because of what Adonai did for me when I left Egypt. Moreover it will serve as a sign on your hand and as a reminder between your eyes, so that Adonai’s Torah may be on your lips, because with a strong hand Adonai brought you out of Egypt.  Therefore, you are to observe this regulation at its proper time, year after year’” (Exodus 13:8-11).

The traditional Passover meal was developed to ensure the authenticity of the memorial celebration. Within the haggadah (Telling) booklet, a child asks four questions about the night and why it’s different from all other nights.  The father answers each question by explaining what Adonai did when He delivered their ancestors out of Egypt. Each of the items on the seder (Order) plate are a sensory reminder of the events for the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Adonai’s Pesach was about more than just delivering the Hebrews from a culture of death. It was about redemption, buying back His treasured possession from Egypt.  Though the sign of the blood kept the firstborn of the Hebrews alive, the Pesach ended the prophecy –– to the exact day –– given to Abraham of Elohim delivering his descendants from oppression and slavery and bringing them back to the Land of Promise.

At midnight on the 14th day of the month, by the light of the full moon, mashkhit kills all the firstborn of Egypt –– from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon to the firstborn of the livestock.  Pharaoh is awakened by horrendous wailing as every house in Egypt has a family member die, including Pharaoh’s firstborn son, his heir. Reeling from the cloud of death, the Egyptians want the Hebrews out of their land as quickly as possible.  They don’t want Adonai to kill them too.

Pharaoh’s response: “Bo.”

“Up and leave my people, both you and the people of Isra’el; and go, serve Adonai as you said.  Take both your flocks and your herds, as you said; and get out of here!  But bless me, too!”
(Exodus 12:31-32)

Blessings are only bestowed upon the obedient, and Pharaoh has not been obedient. He does not admit his sin nor does he repent. He has hardened his heart against Adonai. He has not listened to the cries of his own people or the wisdom of his servants. He has not accepted his humanity in presence of the Adonai. He has not willingly submitted to Adonai’s command to let His people go. Only because of his sorrow at the loss of his firstborn, he relents. However, soon after the Hebrews leave Egypt, he is arrogantly chasing them down.  He has cursed Abraham’s children and has brought the curse upon himself, his family, and his nation. 

The First Mo’ed – Pesach

“This Pesach will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to Adonai from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation” (Exodus 12:14).

The Hebrews have hope for the first time in centuries.  They have been given a calendar created by Adonai Himself.   On this calendar,  two dates are circled: one for bringing an animal into their house and another for slaughtering and eating it.  Though the Pesach will be a one-time deliverance from Egypt, it will be remembered annually.  They aren’t going to remain as slaves or be destroyed by Pharaoh; they will become and remain for all time, through all their generations, Adonai’s chosen people, the nation of Isra’el (Jeremiah 33:19-22). 

“This is the regulation for the Pesach lamb; no foreigner [non-Jew] is to eat it.  But if anyone has a slave he bought for money, when you have circumcised him, he may eat it.  Neither a traveler nor a hired servant may eat it.  It is to be eaten in one house.  You are not to take any of the meat outside the house , and you are not to break any of its bones.  The whole community of Isra’el is to keep it.  If a foreigner staying with you wants to observe Adonai’s Pesach, all his males must be circumcised.  Then he may take part and observe it; he will be like a citizen of the land.  But not uncircumcised person is to eat it.  The same teaching is to apply equally to the citizen and to the foreigner living among you” (Exodus 12:43-49).

Adonai gives Pesach instructions for foreigners who desire to take part in the memorial, as many Egyptians have become god-fearers through the judgments. Any foreigner living among the Hebrews must become a citizen of Isra’el through circumcision of the flesh.   No uncircumcised person may take part in Pesach, even uncircumcised Hebrews.

According to Adonai, circumcision and the faith it symbolizes is necessary for becoming a citizen of Isra’el. This wasn’t about converting to Judaism as Judaism didn’t exist at this time. It wasn’t about a conversion process as was the problem in Galatia. Circumcision in Egypt allowed the foreigner to take part in Adonai’s mo’ed with His chosen people, as one adopted into His family. For Adonai, circumcision is not a religious act,  it is a sign of joining the faith covenant He made with Abraham. ‘Signs’ are very important to Adonai; the ‘sign’ of the lamb’s blood on the doorpost and lintel made the difference between life and death.

Yeshua and Pesach

On the night of Judas’ betrayal, Yeshua celebrates a Pesach seder with his disciples.   The evening begins as every seder does with a memorial to the Hebrews’ deliverance from Egypt.  However, as his seder progresses, Yeshua uses two of the cups of wine and the matzah to renew the marriage covenant that had been broken by the Israelites in the wilderness. The disciples share the first cup of wine, the Cup of Sanctification, setting them apart as Yeshua’s betrothed bride.  As with every Jewish marriage betrothal, there is a bride price. Yeshua takes the second cup of wine, the Cup of Redemption and a piece of matzah and explains the payment for his bride will be his broken body and blood –– his very life (Luke 22:17-20).

With anti-semitism infiltrating the community of believers in the first centuries, the Pesach seder was reduced to ‘communion.’   It is no longer used to teach children about Adonai’s deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery.  It has even lost the fullness of what Yeshua offered those who would trust in Him: a betrothal,  a bride price, and the marriage feast in the coming Kingdom. To understand the prophetic vision of Pesach, it is important to keep it as Adonai commanded, whether an Israelite or a foreigner.  It was to be a perpetual memorial throughout all the generations of Isra’el –– not just until the Messiah came.

Sha’ul, the apostle to the foreigners to the covenant, tells the Corinthians, a gentile congregation, to “celebrate the Pesach seder” (1 Corinthians 5:8). It is the way followers of Yeshua remember his death until he comes again, not that his death ended the celebration. A proper and complete Pesach seder celebrated in truth as a memorial to Yeshua’s work on the cross will unveil the eyes of the Jewish people and renew their covenant relationship with HaShem.

“Get rid of the old chametz [leaven], so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the [Pesach] Seder not with leftover chametz [leaven], the chametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). 

The Second Mo’ed – Matzah

“You are to observe the festival of matzah, for on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you are to observe this day from generation to generation by a perpetual regulation” (Exodus 12:17-18).

Pesach is bound to Matzah (Unleavened Bread) through the exodus from Egypt.  Both memorials include the removal of chametz from the house and eating bread without leaven. Chametz literally means ‘soured dough.’  In ancient times, leavening was done through a starter dough called chamtez.  Some of this starter dough or ‘soured dough’ was mixed with flour creating a leavened dough. Leavening a loaf of bread with ‘soured dough’ is a process that takes about 24 hours. The Hebrews didn’t have that much time so Matzah would remind them how quickly they left Egypt. During the seven days of Matzah, the Israelites were to eat only unleavened bread.  

By removing the chametz from their homes, the Israelites were literally throwing away the ‘lump of dough’ and had to eat unleavened bread for seven days until a new started could be created ((1 Corinthians 5:7).

“They baked matzah loaves from the dough they had brought out of Egypt, since it was unleavened; because they had been driven out of Egypt without time to prepare supplies for themselves” (Exodus 12:39).

Like Pesach, Matzah is a perpetual regulation to be celebrated from generation to generation because it is the memorial to the exact day the Hebrews were set free from Egyptian slavery.  Matzah marked the end of the prophecy that Abraham’s descendants would be oppressed and enslaved for four generations. It is also the exact day, 400 years later, of Isaac’s ‘weaning’ and the start of the oppression suffered beginning with Ishmael and Esau. Through the blessing of Adonai, the nation of 70 that entered Egypt had grown to 600,000 men, not including women and children.

“All the people of Isra’el did just as Adonai had ordered Moshe and Aharon. On that very day, Adonai brought the people of Isra’el out of the land of Egypt by their divisions” (Exodus 12:50-51).

Pidyon Ha-ben – Redemption of the Firstborn

“Set aside for me all the firstborn.  Whatever is firstborn from the womb among the people of Isra’el, both of humans and of animals belongs to me…. When Adonai brings you into the land of Canaan, and gives it to you, you are to set apart for Adonai everything that is first from the womb.  Every firstborn male animal will belong to Adonai.  Every firstborn from a donkey, you are to redeem with a lamb, but if you choose not to redeem it, you must break its neck.  But from people, you are to redeem every firstborn son” (Exodus 13:1,11-13).

Because Adonai protected the firstborn of the Hebrews, they became His possession and needed to be redeemed back to their families.  Firstborn sons of the Hebrews were redeemed with a lamb. In the wilderness, Adonai takes possession of the Tribe of Levi in place of the Israelites’ firstborn sons. The difference between the number of Israelite firstborns and the Levites were ‘bought back’ for five shekels of silver each (Numbers 3:40-51).

“With a strong hand Adonai brought us out of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.  When Pharaoh was unwilling to let us go, Adonai killed all the firstborn males in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of humans and the firstborn of animals.  That is why I sacrifice to Adonai any male that is first from the womb of an animal, but all the firstborn of my sons, I redeem.  This will serve as a sign on your hand and at the front of a headband around your forehead that with a strong hand Adonai brought us out of Egypt” (Exodus 13:14-16).

Yeshua, the Firstborn

“He will call to me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock of my salvation.’ I will give him the position of firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. I will keep my grace for him forever, and in my covenant be faithful with him” (Psalm 89:27-29).

“When the time came for their purification according to the Torah of Moshe, they took him up to Yerushalayim to present him to Adonai (as it is written in the Torah of Adonai, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to Adonai’) and also to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the Torah of Adonai” (Luke 2:22-24).

“Grace and shalom to you from the One who is, who was and who is coming; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; and from Yeshua the Messiah, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the earth’s kings” (Revelation 1:5).

“Also he [Yeshua] is head of the Body, the Messianic Community — he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might hold first place in everything. For it pleased God to have his full being live in his Son and through his Son to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace through him, through having his Son shed his blood by being executed on a stake” (Colossians 1:18-20).

©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.

Salvation – Hebrew: Yeshua

ישוע

“ADONAI  is my light and salvation (yeshua); whom do I need to fear?” (Psalm 27:1, CJB).

The Hebrew word for ‘salvation’ is yeshua. ‘Salvation’ is found 158 times in the New American Standard Bible, both testaments. In the Complete Jewish Bible, ‘salvation’ as ‘yeshua’ is found 1181 times, both testaments. The Savior’s name and his purpose are one in the same. Yesha, the Hebrew root of yeshuah, signifies that which God will do on man’s behalf or that which has already been done by God for man.

Hebrew Word Pictures

י Yod – A Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ע Ayin – An Eye means ‘see’ or ‘understand.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for yeshua: finished work destroys the binding, understand.

“For Your salvation [Yeshua] I wait, O Lord” (Genesis 49:18).

“”He [Adonai] saw that there was no one, was amazed that no one interceded. Therefore his own arm brought him salvation [Yeshua], and his [yeshua] own righteousness sustained him” (Isaiah 59:16, CJB).

“His glory is great through Your salvation [Yeshua], Splendor and majesty You place upon him” (Psalm 21:5).

“I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation [Yeshua]; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:10).

“Oh, that the salvation [Yeshua] of Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores His captive people, Let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad” (Psalm 53:6).

The Greek word for ‘salvation’ is solteria, but that is not the name given to Joseph for the Son conceived by the Holy Spirit.

“But while he [Joseph] was thinking about this, an angel of Adonai appeared to him a dream and said, “Yosef, son of David, do not be afraid to take Miryam [Mary] home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit].  She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua [which means Adonai saves] because he will save (yasa) his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20) Complete Jewish Bible

“You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation (Yeshua) comes from the Jews” (John 4:22).

“Therefore God raised him [Yeshua] to the highest place and gave him the name above every name; that in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow – in heaven, on earth and under the earth – and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua (salvation), because through Messiah Yeshua (salvation) the law of the Spirit of life set me from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2, NIV).

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation (Yeshua) and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

©2011 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

When was Jesus born?

“For to us a child is born,  to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace  there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty  will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Sukkah

Most Christians acknowledge that Jesus was not born on December 25 in the middle of winter. Yet few realize that his birth is outlined in the Bible if they could unravel some of the clues given to them in the gospels that refer back to the Hebrew Scriptures. The account of the ‘reason for the season’ begins in the book of Luke chapter 1 when Zechariah was in the Temple burning incense to God. The time of his Temple service is the key to understanding when of the birth of his son, John, took place as well as the birth of Jesus (Yeshua).

1.  Zechariah is a Levite priest in of the lineage of Abijah, a descendant of Aaron (Luke 1:5, Numbers 3:2).

“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron” (Luke 1:5).

2. All Levitical priests, including Zechariah, were required by God to serve in the Temple during Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavuot), and Tabernacles (Sukkot) as well as two weeks extra per year according to their family lineage (Deuteronomy 16:16).

“Three times a year all your men must appear before YHVH your God at the place he will  choose:  at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) and the Feast of Tabernacles” (Deuteronomy 16:16).

3.  Abjiah was eighth in line for Temple duties. This means that as a descendant of Abijah,  Zechariah is eighth in line for his Temple duties (1 Chronicles 24:10).

“With the help of Zadok, David separated them [the descendants of Aaron] into divisions for their appointed order of ministering. The first lot fell to Jehoiarib…the eighth to Abijah. This was their appointed order of ministering when they entered the Temple of  the LORD according to the regulations prescribed for them” (Numbers 1:1-19).

4. Zechariah serves in the Temple during the week of Passover and Unleavened Bread  as part of his required Temple service.

The Biblical calendar is not the same as the Julian/Gregorian calendar we use today. Passover comes in March/April, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) in June, the Feast of Tabernacles in September/October. The Scriptures utilize a Biblical calendar beginning with the first month in spring at the time of Passover (Exodus 12:2).

Zechariah would have served in the spring for Passover/Unleavened Bread. After Passover, he would have returned home until his lineage service began –– eight weeks or about 50 days later.

5.  Zechariah returns to the Temple for his two week duties as part of the lineage of Abijah.  This would have fallen in mid-June during the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot (Pentecost). 

Altar of Incense

6.   An angel of Adonai appears to Zechariah while he is at the Altar of Incense.

As a descendant of Aaron, he would have ministered in the Most Holy Place. It is at the Altar of Incense that intercessory prayer is made by the priesthood. The angel of Adonai met Zechariah at this specific place and time. He told him he was going to have a son who he was to name John. Because of his unbelief, Zechariah is made mute by the angel until the time of his son’s birth.

“Your prayers have been heard.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John”  (Luke 1:13).

7.   Zechariah returns home after his Temple service. He and Elizabeth conceive a child.  Elizabeth remains in seclusion for five months.

“When his time of service was completed, he returned home.  After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion” (Luke 1:23-24).

8.  One month later, “When Elizabeth was in her sixth month,” the angel Gabriel visits Mary (Luke 1:26).

Angel Visits Mary

Some people question whether this was the sixth month of the year or the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. With the wording of Elizabeth being in seclusion for five months and then”in the sixth month,” it suggests that the months are contiguous and based on Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Also, the angel tells Mary, “Even Elizabeth your relative is in her fifth month,” giving witness to the timing of the angel’s visit (Luke 1:36).

9.  Mary conceives a child by the Holy Spirit and immediately goes to visit Elizabeth.

“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth” (Luke 1:39).

Elizabeth’s baby leaps in her womb

When Mary greets her cousin, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaps. According to the time period given for Elizabeth’s seclusion, was probably the first contact she had with another woman, and maybe even the first time she felt the movement of her child. It is apparent that her unborn son knew the blessing of the Spirit of God on Mary. The meeting of these two pregnant women had such profound significance that Luke recorded it with the details. Elizabeth’s baby leaps for joy in the womb recognizing the newly conceived Messiah of Israel.

“As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy”  (Luke 1:44).

mid-to-late December. The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah occurs at this time as a memorial to the re-dedication of the Temple after it was defiled by the Greeks. It is also known as the Festival of Lights because the Menorah was once again lit after the desecration. It was during Hanukkah, the days of dedication, that the Spirit of God came upon Mary and she conceived Immanuel, God with us, the Light of the World.

Mary’s song in Luke 1:46-55 not only has prophetic significance about her baby, but is a powerful declaration of humble ‘dedication‘ regarding the ‘light of the world.’

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name” (Verses 46-49).

10. Mary stays with Elizabeth for about three months.

“Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son” (Luke 1:56-57).

Mary returns to Nazareth very close to the time Elizabeth would deliver her baby. The timing for the birth of Elizabeth’s baby would be mid-March/April or near Passover. 

11.  On the eighth day after the baby’s birth, he is circumcised and named.

Continuing with the Biblical timeline, Zechariah’s son would have been born right before Passover. This means that Zechariah would have gone to the Temple for his regular service at Passover. At that time, he names his son, John, in the presence of astonished people. This is the first time he has spoken since the angel visited him months before at the Altar of Incense on Shavuot nine months earlier.

“At that moment, his power of speech returned, and his first words were a b’rakhah [blessing] to God” (Luke 1:64).

12. From the information given about the conceptions and pregnancies of Mary and Elizabeth, it can be calculated that John and Yeshua are born six months apart.

Six months after Passover in the spring (March/April) would be the fall (September/October), the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles also falls approximately nine months after Hanukkah in December.

Because of the Roman census being taken by Caesar Augustus, Bethlehem was bustling with Jews from everywhere in Israel. All native born Israelites, specifically men, were required to live in booths or sukkot for the week of the Feast of Tabernacles. Women (and children) who were with their husbands filled all of the inns to capacity.

“Live in booths (sukkot) for seven days:  All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt” (Leviticus 23:42).

13. Mary gives birth to a baby boy in a stable and lays him in a manger.

Under these crowded conditions, Joseph and Mary are given a ‘temporary dwelling,’ called a stable in most Bible translations, and Mary gives birth to her son. The baby was placed in a cattle feeding trough (Luke 2:4-7).

“And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger (sukkah)” (Luke 2:6).

Yeshua in a Sukkah

According to the command in Leviticus 23, the Israelites were to live in a sukkah for seven days. Consistent with the rabbinical definition of a ‘temporary dwelling’ or sukkah, a stable would have been an acceptable dwelling. Because of the timing of Yeshua’s birth during the Feast of Tabernacles, many believe that it was not a literal stable, but a sukkah. The Greek word for ‘manger’ in Luke 2:7 is phatne and can mean ‘cattle stall’ or sukkoth like Jacob built for his livestock (Genesis 33:17). The Hebrew word for ‘manger’ is the singular sukkah.

Using this information along with the established timeline, Yeshua would have been born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and would have lived with his parents in the sukkah for the first seven days of his life, until he was circumcised and named on the eighth day. Whatever the ‘temporary dwelling’ accommodations, Joseph fulfilled God’s requirement to live in a sukkah during the Feast of Tabernacles as did Yeshua, the firstborn son of God.

14.   The angels rejoice because “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14, Luke 2:8-14).

The Greek word for ‘dwelling’ in this verse is skenoo and means ‘spread his tent’ among us. As a sukkah or ‘booth’ is a temporary dwelling like a tent, this verse could read, “The Word became flesh and ‘spread his tent’ among us” making a direct connection to Yeshua being born at the Feast of Tabernacles.

15.  On the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests in the Temple wave large branches of several different species of trees  in the Temple.

Palm, Willow, Erog, Myrtle

These branches are called lulavs and represent the different nations of the world. Hundreds of priests waving large branches from the willow, the palm and the myrtle, would have created an enormous sound like a ‘rushing wind’ as they walked toward the Temple. In Hebrew, the word for God’s Spirit is ruach and means ‘breath.’ As the priests were waving these tree branches, they were unaware of the birth of Yeshua. They had no idea that the salvation of Israel, through the ‘breath’ of God and a humble woman, had come to live in a little baby.

“So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month celebrate a festival to the LORD for seven days. On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD  your God for seven days” (Leviticus 23:39-41).

16. There are shepherds in the hills outside of Jerusalem  (Luke 2:8-15).

“As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem” (Micah 4:8).

Tower of the Flock

The shepherds in the hills near Bethlehem, a short distance from Jerusalem, were special shepherds. They camped at the Migdal Eder and raised the sheep for the Temple sacrifices. According to the prophecy in Micah, the Jewish people believed that the Messiah would be revealed at the Migdal Eder, ‘the tower of the flock.’

At the time of Yeshua’ birth, there was an actual military watchtower above the hills that was used to protect Bethlehem. This tower was also used by the shepherds to guard the Temple sheep from robbers. It was from these sheep that the Passover lambs were chosen. When the angels came announcing the ‘good news’ to all the world, these shepherds would have completely understood the meaning because they were at the exact location for the prophecy of Messiah’s birth to be fulfilled.

17.  Eight days later, it is time for the baby’s circumcision and naming (Luke 2:21).

Eight days after a son’s birth, the father would take the child to be circumcised and named as the mother would still be in her days of purification after childbirth. Joseph takes his infant son to the nearest Levite priest in Bethlehem to be circumcised and names him, Yeshua, as he was commanded by the angel.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘the LORD saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21-22).

Rejoicing in the Torah – Simchat Torah

The Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated for seven days. The following day, the eighth day, there is a special celebration called Simchat Torah which means ‘Rejoicing in the Torah.’ As Yeshua is circumcised and being named by his father, crowds were in the Temple courts dancing, singing, and rejoicing in the Torah. Without their knowledge, a short distance away in Bethlehem, the living Torah had just been named ‘salvation.’

“On the eighth day, when it came time to circumcise him, he was named Yeshua, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived” (Luke 2:21).

18.   Mary’s purification is complete.

“When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest a year-old lamb, and a young pigeon or dove. He shall offer them before the LORD, and she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves” (Leviticus 12:6-8).

Redemption of the Firstborn

Forty days after Yeshua’s birth, Mary’s days of purification were completed. She and Joseph take Yeshua to the Temple for the ‘Redemption of the Firstborn’ according to the Torah command in Leviticus 12:8. At this time, they offered the required sacrifice of doves.

“When the time of her purification according to the Torah of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written)” (Luke 2:22).

There were two prophets in the Temple who expected the Word to become flesh and the salvation of Israel to be revealed. Simeon spoke prophecies over Yeshua in the presence of his parents, while Anna, a widow, overheard and saw what was happening and began thanking God and speaking about Yeshua to everyone who was waiting for the redemption of Israel.

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout… There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher” (Luke 2:25,36).

19. At this time, a sign appears in the heavens (Matthew 2:1-2).

Every kingdom in the known world at that time had astronomers who studied and understood the signs in the heavens. Each culture, but more specifically the Jewish culture, looked to the heavens for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Constellations, planets, and stars moved to tell God’s story as well as to set His ‘appointed times.’ Other Middle Eastern cultures studied the Hebrew concepts and understood their connection to the people of Israel.

Astronomers from the east (probably from what is modern-day Iraq/Iran) saw the ‘sign’ in the heavens and began their journey toward Jerusalem to honor and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Hebrew word ‘star’ in this verse is kokhav and is used in Numbers 24:17 with the scepter from Jacob –– all terminology for stars and planets that are ‘signs in the heavens.’

20.  The magi or wise men arrive in Bethlehem.

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:9).

By the time the wise men arrive in Bethlehem, Yeshua is no longer an infant wrapped in cloths and lying in a sukkah. He is nearly two years old and living in a house. It is at his home with his parents that he receives the gifts of the wise men.

This is the Biblical outline for the conception, birth, and early life of Yeshua. According to the information written in the Torah, Prophets, and Gospels, Yeshua was born in the ‘season of our rejoicing,’ on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles in a sukkah. The shepherds at the Migdal Eder heard the angelic hosts proclaim ‘peace on earth among people of goodwill.’ They went immediately to see the ‘Lamb of God’ in Bethlehem. At that moment, wise men from the east saw a ‘star’ and began traveling to Bethlehem to greet the ‘newborn king.’ While all Israel rejoiced in the Torah, the living Torah was circumcised and named Salvation –– Yeshua.

©1997 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 article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.