Posts Tagged ‘Names’

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.

What’s in a Name? My Children

I’ve always had an interest in names and meanings of names.  When my husband and I named our children, we focused on Biblical names and the verses given to us regarding their names.   It was not until our youngest was about 12 that I saw a pattern in how we named our children.

Jesse, the Stump of Faith

Jesse was our firstborn son.  My husband chose Jesse’s name from Isaiah 11:1-2, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, from his roots a branch will bear fruit.”   For his middle name we had combined the names of our fathers, Dennis and Harold, to create Harden.  When I was about six months pregnant, we had an experience that showed us that we would have our son, Jesse Harden.   While on a little excursion in Estes Park, Colorado, we saw on the marquis of the Holiday Inn, “Congratulations Jesse and Hardin”.

Josiah, Faithful to the Torah

Josi, our daughter, was our second child.  We liked the name Jacob for a son, but we had no name for a daughter.  One Sunday while sitting in church, I was flipping through my Bible.  I began reading in 2 Kings 22-23 about King Josiah.  I wrote the name Josiah on a piece of paper, crossed out the ‘ah’ so that only Josi was written.  I showed it to my husband and he nodded.  In that moment, we chose the name for our daughter – Josi.  Several months later we had a baby girl.  Her middle name was Leigh after her two grandmothers–Leanore and Bonnie Lee.

Jacob, the Grafting into Israel

Several years after Josi’s birth, I was sitting in the dark in a rocking chair and the Lord spoke to my heart.  He said, “You are going to have a son and you will name him Jacob.”  My response back was that I was not even pregnant.  When I found out several weeks later that I was expecting, I knew that I was having a son and his name was Jacob.  The hardest part of naming our son Jacob was that my sister had a son after Josi was born and named him Jacob.  I was not sure about having two Jacobs in the same family.

When Jacob was born, we were still somewhat unsure about the same two names in the family so we gave my sister the final decision. We called our son Sweet Baby J and played with other names that were derived from Jacob – Jamis, James etc.  We were content with not naming him immediately because we had decided to circumcise him on the eighth day of his life and name him at that time.  My sister finally said she really didn’t care if her son and ours had the same name because we lived 1500 miles apart.  We circumcised our son and gave him the name Jacob after my grandfather.  His middle name, Perry, was the name of my husband’s grandfather.

Jemima, Our Inheritance

Our final child, a daughter, received the name Jemima.  Soon after Jesse was born I learned of the name Jemima from a very strange experience at a cookie exchange.  Each of the women at the party had the name of a Biblical woman put on her back.  She was to ask the other women questions about the person on her back until she could guess the name.  Well, no one knew the person on my back so my questions were futile.  I lost the game, but learned the name Jemima from the book of Job.

Jemima was one of Job’s daughters who received an inheritance along with her brothers and sisters.   “The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch.  Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers”  (Job 42:14).  It was my desire to name each of our subsequent children Jemima if it was a girl, but my husband was reluctant as he had visions of  pancake syrup and Aunt Jemima.  When I told him I was pregnant, he said that if it was a girl, we would name her Jemima.  He had changed his mind after seeing the Disney movie, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” with the little blonde girl’s name being Jemimah!  I knew I would be having a daughter and she would be Jemima.

A Faith Walk

Without ever having an ultrasound to reveal girl or boy babies, the LORD gave us names that allowed us to know our children from before birth because He knew them before the foundations of the world.  Each of the names He gave us had perfect timing and significance to our walk of faith.

From the stump of Jesse a shoot came forth:  our family.    From the root of that stump, there would be spiritual fruit.  We didn’t know at the time we named our son, but if the root is holy so are the branches” (Romans 11:16).  Fruit from a holy root receives life from living water and would become a significant foundational factor in our walk of faith.

King Josiah, born from the House of David, was eight years old when he became King of Judah.  He was a good King and restored the Torah back to the people.  He tore down the Asherah poles and everything else that defiled the land that made the LORD angry.  He got rid of all the mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols that were in Judah and Jerusalem.    He brought back the celebration of Passover.  “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance to the Torah of Moses” (2 Kings 23:25).

It was soon after the birth of Josi that we realized we needed to get rid of all of those celebrations and doctrinal idols that were not found in the Bible – the unholy roots.  We had to remove other gods and Asherah poles. When Josi was 20 months old, we were grafted-into the Biblical roots of our faith and celebrated our first Passover with Jewish people who believed in Jesus.   We spent the next few years returning to the LORD and being restored to the Torah given to Moses.

Several miscarriages and a molar pregnancy followed the birth of my first two healthy children.   I liken this time to being in the wilderness when the LORD  brought me closer to him and made me walk by faith when I had no understanding of the circumstances.   By the time I heard the LORD’s voice in the rocking chair, our Biblical faith was firmly established in the Holy One of Israel.  We were celebrating the Feasts of the LORD and understanding the depth of Yeshua’s Jewishness –  he was born a Jew, lived life as a Jew, died a Jew and rose from the dead as a Jew and will return to Jerusalem as the King of the Jews. We had rid our walk of foreign celebrations rooted in other gods and idolatry.  Four years after our first Passover experience and a walk in the wilderness we had a very different Biblical faith.   From the twelve sons of Jacob, the nation of Israel was born.  Over a four-year span of time,  we drank living water from the root of the Olive Tree and became part of the commonwealth of Israel.  Into this faith,  Jacob was born.

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Sing for joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations.  Make your praises heard, and say, ‘the LORD save your people the remnant of Israel’” (Jeremiah 31:7).

After another miscarriage, we had Jemima.   Jemima took a long time to arrive – from soon after the birth of Jesse until 10 years later.    Yet she arrived.   As I was being wheeled out of the hospital after her birth, an elderly woman stopped us.  She looked at my precious newborn daughter and asked her name.  I said, “It’s Jemima.”  I will never forget her response.  “Oh, you named her after one of Job’s daughters!”  I couldn’t believe my ears.   She knew of Job and his daughters?!  What incredible confirmation from the Lord regarding our daughter’s name.  We gave her the middle name Mae after her two great-grandmothers – Effie Mae and Arrie Mae.    As Jemima received an inheritance along with her two sisters and brothers, our daughter became the symbol of our future inheritance.

“But on Mt. Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance” (Obadiah 1:17).  

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed of the Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

Jesse, Josi, Jacob, Jemima.  Roots, Restoration, Citizenship, Inheritance.  What an incredible way our Father revealed to us His plan for our walk of faith in the Messiah of Israel!

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.