Posts Tagged ‘rafa-el’

Parashah 27: Tzaria (She conceives)

Leviticus 12:1-13:59
(In a regular year, read with Parashah 28; in a leap year read separately.)

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Tell the people of Isra’el: If a woman conceives …” (Leviticus 12:1-2).

This parashah begins with Adonai’s instructions for women after they have babies, thus the title, ‘she conceives.’ The regulations covered miscarriage and stillbirths as many conceived babies that did not make it to term or were born lifeless. These instructions protected a woman’s body after childbirth so that her womb would heal and she could conceive again.

Today many women give birth and, as soon as possible, return to the rat race of life. After my first child, I rushed back into life after the first week; after my second child, I wanted to set the record and was in church only several days after giving birth. Though my doctor told me that it would be approximately six weeks until my body had returned to normal, it didn’t stop me (or any other new mothers I knew) from trying to prove we were ‘super women.’

Then, my life changed. Over the next several years I experienced numerous miscarriages and a molar pregnancy that turned malignant.  During those trying times, I studied Torah and learned that Adonai had regulations for me and my body after childbirth, instructions that even my doctor had acknowledged. Many women will claim we no longer have to follow these instructions, but that is saying the Word is no longer valid because women and childbirth have somehow evolved. My heart was convicted by what I read and I decided the next time I had a child, I would do exactly as Adonai outlined.

“If a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy, she will be unclean for seven days with the same uncleanness as niddah, when she is having her menstrual period” (Leviticus 12:2).

Niddah is the Hebrew word describing the seven days when a woman is ‘unclean’ during her period and has not completed a mikveh or ritual bath. ‘Unclean’ means being ‘in a state of ritual impurity.’ These seven days are also known as tumah which refers to the period of time when sexual relations between a husband and wife are not to occur. Being ‘ritually impure’ or ‘unclean’ does not mean a woman is in a sinful state or inferior.  It is quite the opposite.  Scripture emphasizes the holiness inherent in a woman’s cycle to create and nurture a new life within her womb.  When as woman is ‘ritually impure,’ it only means she is incapable of conceiving a child.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Menses or niddah – נדה – nun, dalet, hey
– life pathway revealed

Ritually Impure or tumah – יומה – yod, vav, mem, hey
– finished work of the mighty binding, revealed

Ritual Bath or mikveh – מקווה – mem, kof, vav, vav, hey
– what is behind the mighty sign of the covenant, revealed

Niddah is different from zivah or an unnatural flow of blood. This was the condition of the woman in Mark chapter 8 who grabbed hold of Yeshua’s tzizit in order to be healed.   Niddah is a natural impurity necessary for the creation of human life while zivah is unnatural and has different regulations. Specific to niddah, a woman would mikveh or have a cleansing bath at the end of her menstrual cycle as a sign that she was ‘clean’ and capable of conceiving a child.   This is what Batsheva (Bathsheba) was doing when King David saw her bathing on her rooftop and why she conceived a child so quickly. Her body was ready to conceive.

After having a baby boy, a woman is ritually impure for seven days. Purification from blood requires a mikveh or ‘ritual bath.’  The word mikveh has been translated to ‘baptism’ with the idea of a ‘once and done’ immersion; however, in the Bible, a mikveh was done often and for many  different reasons. 

“She is to wait an additional thirty-three days to be purified from her blood; she is not to touch any holy thing or come into the sanctuary until the time of her purification is over” (Leviticus 12:4).

The new mother is to wait another 33 days until she is purified from blood and ready to conceive again. The complete time of purification for a son was 40 days or six weeks; the number of days my doctor said it would take for my body to return to ‘normal.‘   It seems that science supports Adonai’s instructions!

During a woman’s time of ritual impurity, she is not to touch any holy thing or come into the sanctuary until the time of her purification is over (something I strived to do).  On the eighth day, when a baby boy is circumcised, the father presents the child to the priest because the mother is still not purified from blood. This is why Joseph took Yeshua to the Temple for his b’rit milah. Miryam was still in her days of purification. Today, baby boys are circumcised before they come home from the hospital. They are given an injection so their blood will coagulate. This is what happened with my first son. However, when a baby boy is circumcised on the eighth day, the baby begins to naturally produce the hormone for blood clotting and does not need this injection.

Staying away from the sanctuary, a woman would not come in contact with anything holy. Over the centuries, man-made rules, some even based on Torah, became more of a burden for both men and women, especially married couples. During the time of niddah, a woman was not to sleep in the same bed as her husband, use the same blankets or even touch her husband. Strict Orthodox Jewish men and women do not pass objects to each other, flirt with one another or watch each other undress. There are even some sects who have separate chairs so that a man will not use the same furniture as a woman during her time of niddah. Some Orthodox men do not shake a woman’s hand because he is never sure if she is ‘ritually unclean’ and it’s impolite to ask.

If a woman gives birth to a daughter, she is ritually impure for two weeks as in her time of niddah. Sixty-six days later or 11 ½ weeks, she is purified from blood. The difference between the son and daughter is because a baby girl carries a higher degree of holiness due to her own biological capability of conceiving children. Not only did the woman need a longer time of purification from blood, but she purified her daughter too.

After the days of a woman’s purification were complete, she was to bring a lamb in its first year as a burnt offering and a young pigeon or dove as a sin offering to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle. If a woman was too poor for a lamb, doves or pigeons would be accepted as the offering.

“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).

My third child was a boy. My husband and I made the decision to follow the instructions for childbirth. We waited for his circumcision until he was eight days old. He did not have a hormone injection as we knew it was already in his body. The name of our doctor was Cohen, so a Jewish priest actually circumcised our son on the eighth day. At that time, we publicly named our son, Jacob. I stayed at home with him, not leaving for church or even grocery shopping, for the next 33 days. I allowed my body to cleanse and purify itself for six weeks.

The blessings I received during that time were very different from my first two children. Not being in public places, I had no worries about my son getting sick or being stressed. Nursing was more relaxed and my son established a daily routine that worked for both of us. I had a happy and contented baby and created a bond with him that was and still remains unique. When I finally took him out into the world, he was ready to meet people and I was aware of how he expressed his needs.

As for the mikveh, I still had some way to go in my sanctification process. I decided with my next child, I would do the purification mikveh. Unfortunately, circumstances in our lives at the time of my second daughter’s birth did not allow it. Our house was for sale and it sold on the day she was born. We were given six weeks to pack and move as the new owner wanted to occupy it as soon as possible. Though I did all that I could to maintain a quiet home for my baby girl, packing and moving was not conducive to allowing my body to heal nor bond with my daughter the way I desired. All the blessings that I received with my son, I did experience with my daughter. However, at my time of purification for a girl, 11 weeks later, I was cleansing my new house from an infestation of insects. In the process, I found the remains of a bird that had died in the chimney. I started a fire in the fireplace and burned it up. Perhaps that was Adonai’s intervention for my desire to purify myself and present a purification offering!

Tzara’at

“The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are what make a man unclean” (Matthew 15:18-20).

The Hebrew word tzara’at is translated as ‘leprosy,’ but it is not what would be considered leprosy today. Tzara’at describes a skin condition that includes swelling and whitish red spots on the torso.  Tzara’at and metzorah, the word for ‘leper,’ have the same Hebrew root. The rabbis believed tzara’at which literally means ‘one who spreads slander’ was a physical manifestation of a person’s spiritual condition or a supernatural discipline. In other words, tzara’at is brought on by sins like lying, false vows, pride, and slander.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Tzara’at (Skin Infection) – צרעת – tzade, resh, ayin, tav
– pull toward to the highest authority, understand the sign

Metzorah (One Diseased) – מצרע – mem, tzade, resh, ayin
– pull toward the chaos, the highest authority see

Lashon harah (Evil Tongue) – לשון הרה – lamed, shin, vav, nun – hey, resh hey
– urge forward and consume the binding of life
– behold the highest authority revealed

Aaron and Miryam, Moshe’s brother and sister, were afflicted with tzara’at because they slandered their brother’s Ethiopian wife, and became arrogant over Moshe as leader of Isra’el. They felt they were just as important as their brother because they also heard Elohim speak. In Hebrew, this is called lashon hara or an ‘evil tongue’ and includes gossip and backbiting as well as slander. Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh burned with anger against them, came down in a column of cloud, and stood at the entrance to the Mishkan.

“Listen to what I say: when there is a prophet among you, I, Adonai, make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. But it isn’t that way with my servant Moshe. He is the only one who is faithful in my entire household. With him I speak face to face and clearly, not in riddles he sees the image of Adonai. So why weren’t you afraid to criticize my servant Moshe?” (Leviticus 12:6-8)

When the cloud lifted from above the Mishkan, Miryam had tzara’at as white as snow. Aaron looked at his sister and immediately understood that they had acted with lashon hara. Moshe cried to Adonai and Miryam was healed. However, she was sent out of the camp for seven days, not because she was contagious, but because she needed to be alone and meditate on her sin and the Rapha-El – the Healer.

Adonai does not take lashon hara lightly because our words edify or tear down an individual or a leader.   In the case of Moshe, the chosen leader of Elohim’s people, lashon hara could not be tolerated because gossip and slander spread like a disease.

“An ungodly man digs up evil, and his lips is a scorching fire.  A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:27-28).

Selah
The Sack Full of Feathers

A woman repeated a story (gossip) about a neighbor. Within a few days everyone in the community knew the story. The person she talked about heard what had been said about her and she was sorry. Later, the woman who had spread the story learned that it was not true. She was very sorry and went to a wise rabbi and asked what she could do to repair the damage.

After giving this some thought, the rabbi said to her, “Go home, get one of your feather pillows, and bring it back to me.” Surprised by the rabbi’s response, the woman followed his advice and went home to get a feather pillow and brought it to the rabbi.

“Now,” said the rabbi, “open the pillow and pull out all the feathers.” Confused, the woman did what she was told to do.

After a few minutes, the rabbi said, “Now, I want you to find every one of the feathers and put them back into the pillow.”

“That’s impossible,” said the woman, almost in tears. “The window is open and the wind has scattered them all over the room and blown many feathers outside. I can’t possibly find them all.”

“Yes,” said the rabbi. “And that is what happens when you gossip or tell a story about someone else. Once you talk about someone, the words fly from one person’s mouth to another, just like these feathers flew in the wind. Once you say them, you can never take them back.”

Where’s the Doctor?

Among the people of Isra’el there were no doctors. Allopathic medicine through drug use was condemned by Adonai as sorcery; natural remedies from plants and essential oils were used for some illnesses (Isaiah 6:1, Ezekiel 16:9, James 5:14). Though Luke was a doctor, there is no record of him treating any patients, and Yeshua never sent anyone to Luke or any other doctor for healing.

Diagnosing disease, especially skin disease, was the responsibility of the priests because only a priest could declare someone ‘clean’ or healed from their ‘uncleanness.’ When presented with a skin issue, a bright spot on their skin, the priests isolated the individual for observation until they could determine whether or not it was an infectious disease or the individual was ‘clean.’  

This was a traumatic event as the individual had to live outside the camp in isolation. They had to wear torn clothes or filthy rags,  have unbound hair, and cover their upper lip while crying out to anyone they may see, “Unclean, unclean…” (Leviticus 13:45). This is probably what Miryam had to do at the sudden appearance of tzara’at. She was publicly marked by her sin and had to declare that she was ‘unclean’ and needed to repent. Only after Miryam’s seven-day isolation had been completed was she allowed back into camp allowing Isra’el to move.

When people get sick today, rather than isolate themselves, they continue to congregate at work or other social events and infect others.   Epidemics begin this way, but Elohim’s regulations minimized the spreading of disease.

This list of skin conditions and sores the priests had to observe is quite long and involved, but basically the priest asked four questions to determine whether the skin issue was ‘clean’ or ‘unclean.’ Was the skin color red or white? Was there swelling? What was the color of the hair in the sore? Was it a scab or a blemish?

For example, if an individual had a sore that appeared to go deep into the skin and the hair had turned white, the infection was tzara’at and the person was ‘unclean.’ If the bright spot on the skin was white, but did not appear to go deep into the skin and its hair had not turned white, the person was isolated for seven days. After the seven days, the sore was reexamined. If the sore had not changed, the person was isolated for another seven days. If after 14 days of isolation, the sore had faded and did not spread, it was considered a scab. The individual would be ‘clean’ and was required to wash his clothes. If the scab spread after being declared ‘clean,’ the sore would have to be examined again. If the priest determined the sore had spread, it was considered a skin disease.

If a person had a sore and the priest saw it was white and inflamed with swelling on the flesh and the hair had turned white, it was considered a chronic skin condition. The individual was declared ‘unclean,’ but not isolated because it was not going to spread.

If a skin condition broke out all over a person’s body from head to toe, the priest was to examine him. If the tzara’at covered the entire body and turned white, the individual was considered ‘clean.’ If one day, the flesh appeared inflamed, the individual was declared ‘unclean’ with a skin infection.

Boils, Burns, Sores and Rashes

Boils or eruptions, shechin, that had healed needed to be inspected by the priest to determine if a skin disease had broken out in the boil. If it spread, the individual was ‘unclean,’ if it didn’t, it was considered a scar from the boil.

A burn caused by a fire that became a bright spot, reddish-white or white was examined by a priest to determine if a skin infection had made the individual ‘unclean.’  If the burned area became faded and was not lower than the skin around it, the individual was isolated for seven days to make sure there was no infection that could spread. If the area remained faded, it was considered a scar from the burn.

If a sore was on the head or in the beard of a man, it had to be observed by the priest. Yellow was a sign of puss, an infection, and the man would be isolated for seven days.  If the infection had not spread and was no longer yellow, the man would shave and be isolated for seven more days.  If the infection had not spread, the priest would declare the man ‘clean.’  The man washed his clothes and had a time of purification. If, after the time of purification, the crusted area spread, with or without pus, the man was declared ‘unclean.’  If there was a black hair in the crusted area, it was considered healed and the person was ‘clean.’

Dull white spots on the skin were considered a rash and the individual was ‘clean.’ If a man’s hair fell from his scalp or the front part of his forehead, his baldness was considered ‘clean.’ If the man developed a sore on his head that was reddish-white and swollen, it was a skin disease and the man was considered ‘unclean.’

From some of the descriptions of skin diseases, it is possible to recognize chicken pox (raised sores turning to scabs), measles (a rash) and rubella (red blotches that turn the hair white). Whether or not these exact diseases existed in the days of Moshe, they could become an epidemic unlike a raised and itchy mosquito bite, a pimple, heat rash or blisters from walking miles in the wilderness.

According to Adonai’s regulations, tzara’at can affect clothing with a red or greenish stain whether it is wool, linen or leather. If a garment had such a stain, it was taken to the priest who would isolate the garment for seven days.  After seven days, if the stain had spread, the garment was to be completely burned.  If it had not spread, the garment was washed and isolated for seven more days.   If the stain remained, it was rotten material and was burned.   If the stain faded after being washed, then the stain was torn out of the garment.  If it completely disappeared after being washed, it was washed again in order to be determined ‘clean.’

Hebrew Word Pictures
Baheres (Bright spot) – בהרת – bet, hey, resh, tav
– family reveals the highest authority sign
Spiritual root: the attempt to exonerate oneself by speaking against another,
to clarify or rationalize a behavior that was sinful

Sapachas (Swelling): – ספחס – samech, peh, chet, samech
– support the source and protect, support
Spiritual root: joining a group of people who speak against others

Seeth (Rising spot in the skin, scab) – שאת – shin, alef, tav
– consume the first strength sign
Spiritual root: speaking against others in order to raise one’s own stature

A Humble Man

“Now this man Moshe was very humble, more so than anyone on earth” (Numbers 12:3).

The Hebrew word anav means ‘humble or meek.’ Meek is defined as quiet, gentle, and submissive. This is how Adonai describes Moshe.

Moshe had grown up in Egypt in Pharaoh’s palace. From the evidence of the new Pharaoh’s character when Moshe returned to Egypt, he was arrogant over the Elohim of Isra’el and the Hebrew people. It was from this 40-year Egyptian lifestyle that Moshe ran and ended up in Midian. During the next 40 years, he lived with the family of the priest of Midian putting his royal past behind and learning to be a shepherd.

When Adonai called to him from the burning bush, Moshe prostrated himself and took off his shoes as he stood on holy ground. Whether or not he knew of Elohim from his father-in-law or had childhood memories from his mother is not known, but he understood protocol in the presence of holiness and submitted to Elohim’s command.

Called from shepherding sheep to lead the enslaved sheep of Isra’el from Egypt, Moshe made excuses, not because of pride, but because he understood he was not a leader of men, but a man who herded sheep. With Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’s promise to be with him, he returned to Egypt and encouraged the Hebrews to trust in Adonai. In front of Pharaoh, he remained resolute and spoke only the words that Adonai told him. Throughout the judgments on Egypt, his faith never wavered and he remained submissive to Adonai. His respect for Elohim brought him to anger when Pharaoh’s hardened heart initiated the death of the firstborn of Egypt.

After the Israelites left Egypt, Moshe continued to be steadfast in his responsibility to bring the Hebrews to the mountain and worship Adonai. He willingly became the mediator between Isra’el and Elohim though he wanted the people to see and understand the compassion and faithfulness of their Deliverer. In righteous anger, with the humility of a man who could not comprehend why the Israelites would sin against Adonai, he destroyed the first stone tablets. When Adonai’s anger was about to destroy the nation, Moshe interceded for their lives, not for their sake, but for the sake of the name of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. Moshe embraced Adonai’s instructions and passed them onto Isra’el with faithfulness. Through his leadership, the Tabernacle was perfectly made, so perfectly the glory of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh descended and made His dwelling with His chosen people.

Moshe was an example of a true prophet, serving and honoring Adonai. He was given the privilege of speaking with Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh panim el panim unlike any other prophet before or since. It is to Moshe that Yeshua is compared so when Aaron and Miryam lashon hara this meek, humble man of faith, they were judged with tzara’at.

Yeshua, the Rafa-El

“But to you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings; and you will break out leaping, like calves released from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).

The allusion in Malachi is to the Messiah, the ‘sun of righteousness.’ Wearing a talit or ‘prayer shawl,’ it would appear as if he had kanap or ‘wings’ when he raised or lowered his arms. By touching the tassels or tzizit on the four corners of his talit, one would receive healing.

“Among them was a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years and had suffered a great deal under many physicians. She had spent her life savings; yet instead of improving, she had grown worse. She had heard about Yeshua, so she came up behind him in the crowd and touched the tzizit on his robe; for she said, ‘If I touch even his clothes, I will be healed.’ Instantly the hemorrhaging stopped, and she felt in her body that she had been healed from the disease. At the same time, Yeshua, aware that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His talmidim responded, ‘You see the people pressing in on you; and still you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ But he kept looking around to see who had done it. The woman, frightened and trembling, because she knew what had happened to her, came and fell down in front of him and told him the whole truth; confessed in front of everyone why she had touched him. ‘Courage daughter,’ he said to her, ‘your trust has healed you. Go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Matthew 9:20, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48).

After 12 years of living in isolation due to an issue of blood, this woman went into a crowd and reached out in faith to touch the only One who could heal her body and save her from the humiliation of living as an outcast. In the process, she touched other people inadvertently and made them all ‘unclean.’ In Luke’s account, she is forced to publicly confess her ‘unclean’ state and how she had been immediately healed. In Matthew’s account, Yeshua commends her courage and sends her away saying, “My daughter, your trust has saved you; go in shalom.”

“Once, when Yeshua was in one of the towns, there came a man completely covered with tzara‘at. On seeing Yeshua, he fell on his face and begged him, ‘Sir, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Yeshua reached out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing! Be cleansed!’ Immediately the tzara‘at left him. Then Yeshua warned him not to tell anyone. ‘Instead, as a testimony to the people, go straight to the cohen and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moshe commanded’” (Luke 5:12-16).

“On his way to Yerushalayim, Yeshua passed along the border country between Shomron [Samaria] and the Galil. As he entered one of the villages, ten men afflicted with tzara‘at met him. They stood at a distance and called out, ‘Yeshua! Rabbi! Have pity on us!’ On seeing them, he said, ‘Go and let the cohanim examine you!’ And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, as soon as he noticed that he had been healed, returned shouting praises to God, and fell on his face at Yeshua’s feet to thank him. Now he was from Shomron. Yeshua said, ‘Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found coming back to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And to the man from Shomron he said, ‘Get up, you may go; your trust has saved you’” (Luke 11:17-19).

Selah
Yeshua followed Torah by telling the ‘cleansed’ men to go to the priest. The only man who returned is from Samaria, a foreigner.

In Matthew 9:5, Yeshua asks, “Tell me, which is easier to say, ’Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up and walk’?” showing that sin in the heart does cause illness, disease and even handicaps. True healing, not the management of disease, comes only through the power of Adonai.

As the royal priesthood, it is important to read the Scriptures and analyze disease and illness through a spiritual lens. We are instructed to go to an elder, not a medical doctor, for prayer and anointing. Most ‘elders’ do not understand the spiritual roots of disease so they can’t deal wit the iniquity in the heart. To learn more about healing illness in the body by discovering their spiritual roots, read A More Excellent Way by Henry J. Wright.

©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, Study Helps, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

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

Exodus 13:17-17:16

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

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

The Cloud and Fire

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

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

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

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

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

Pharaoh prepares 600 chariots along with their commanders.  Adonai made Pharaoh so hard-hearted that he pursues the Hebrews with ‘a high hand.’ Some translations use the words ‘confidently,’ ‘proudly’ or ‘deliberately with assurance’ for ‘a high hand.’ The Hebrew words b’yad ramah suggest rebellion against authority. B’yad ramah is used in 1 Kings 11:26 to describe how Jeroboam rebelled against his father, King Solomon. 

The Egyptians chase after the Hebrews with their horses and chariots, their cavalry and army and approach them as they camp by the sea. The Hebrews see the approaching Egyptian armies and, already forgetting Adonai’s deliverance, cry out to Moshe.

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

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

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

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

A strong eastern wind begins to blow and the Red Sea separates, leaving not mud, but dry land. A million Hebrews, men women and children, walk across the sea on dry ground with walls of water on their right and left.  Their journey lasts throughout the night.   The Egyptians continue to pursue them, even following them into the sea.

Just before sunrise, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh looks out at the Egyptian army “through the column of fire and the cloud” and they panic. Adonai causes the wheels of their chariots to break off and they can barely move in the mud.

Moshe reaches out his staff a second time over the sea and the water rushes back on the Egyptians and the entire military force drowns in the sea. When the Hebrews see what Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh had done against the Egyptians, they feared Him and put their trust in His servant, Moshe.

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

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

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

Shirat HaYam – The Song of the Sea

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

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh – yod-hey-vav-hey
“Sing to yod-hey-vav-hey, for he is highly exalted! The horse and its rider he threw in the sea” (Exodus 15:1)

This is the first time the children Isra’el corporately acknowledge yod-hey-vav-hey as their Elohim.

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

In this verse Yah, a shortened form of yod-hey-vav-hey, (Yahweh), has become their yeshua.  For the Hebrews, yod-hey-vav-hey and His salvation (yeshua) are echad (one).

Gibbor – Warrior
“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is a warrior; yod-hey-vav-hey is his name” (Exodus 15:3).

Adonai fought the enemy for His people.  After their deliverance from the Egyptians,  they declare to the nations around them who has protected and defended them.
Though Yeshua is considered a compassionate, merciful Savior, he is also a warrior.  He is not just any warrior, he is Commander in Chief of the armies of Adonai (Joshua 5:14-15).  He judges, makes war and strikes down nations –– beginning with Egypt (Revelation 19:11-16).

Yad Yamin – Right Hand
“Your right hand, yod-hey-vav-hey, is sublimely powerful; your right hand, yod-hey-vav-hey, shatters the foe” (verses 6-7).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Nations

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

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

Rafa-El – The Healer

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

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

Bitter Water
“They couldn’t drink the water because it was bitter. Moshe cried to Adonai, and Adonai showed him a certain piece of wood, which, when he threw it into the water, made the water taste good, sweet, drinkable” (Exodus 15:23, 25).

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

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

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

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

Hebrew Word Pictures
Marah (Bitter) – מרה – mem, resh, hey
– chaos highest authority, revealed

Etz (Tree) – עץ – ayin, tzade
– understand and pull toward

Mathoq (Sweet) – מתוק – mem, tav, vav, kof
– mighty covenant, what is behind the binding

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

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

Hebrew Word Pictures
Elim (Ram, Strong) – אילם – alef, yod, lamed, mem
– first strength finished work mighty urging forward

Spring (Eye) or Ayin – עין – ayin, yod, nun
– understand the finished work of life

Palm or Tamar – תמר – tav, mem, resh
– the mighty covenant of the highest authority

Jacob left Canaan and went down into Egypt with his 12 sons and their families.  This small nation consisted of 70 people. Over 400 years later, more than one million children of Isra’el camp in an oasis in the desert, an oasis that remains to this day.  Each tribe receives water from their own spring and puts up their tents in the shade of the 70 trees. This passage is evidence of El Shaddai’s promise to Abraham for many descendants who would be preserved after being enslaved in a foreign nation. At the springs of Elim, the Hebrews are refreshed, strengthened and encouraged after being tested.

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

Adonai Yireh – The Provider

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Shabbat – The Sabbath Day

Moshe told them man hu or manna is the bread ‘I Am’ has provided as food. It appeared as fine as frost on the ground, white like coriander seed, and tasted like honey cakes.  Each man was to gather according to his appetite, two quarts per person for everyone in his tent.  The Hebrews followed Moshe’s instructions and no one had too much or too little. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much or four quarts per person. According to Adonai’s instructions, two quarts of manna was collected and put in a jar to be kept for future generations to see the bread that He fed them in the wilderness.  The Israelites ate manna until they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land 40 years later.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Manna (What is it?) or Man hu – מן הו– mem, nun, hey, vav
– mighty life, reveal the binding

“This is what Adonai has said, ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai.  Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning; Because tomorrow is the Shabbat for Adonai, you won’t find any in the field.  Gather it six days, but the seventh day is Shabbat–on that day there won’t be any’” (Exodus 16:23-25).

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

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

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

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

The Rock

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

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

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

Hebrew Word Pictures
Massah (Testing) – מסה – mem, samech, hey
– mighty support protect

Merivah (Quareling) – מריבה – mem, resh, yod, bet, hey
– chaos of highest authority, finished work of the family, reveal

Horev (Mountain) – חרב – chet, resh, bet
– protect the highest authority of the house

Tzur (Rock) – צור – tzade, vav, resh
– pull toward to the binding of the highest authority

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

Adonai tells Moshe to go to a specific ‘Rock’ that he will know because Adonai will “stand in front of you on the rock.”  Moshe is to strike the ‘Rock’ with his staff. When he follows Adonai’s instruction, the ‘Rock’ split open and water gushes out fresh water for the Hebrews to drink.

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

Sha’ul gives three significant facts about the ‘Rock’ in 1 Corinthians 10:4. Sha’ul uses Torah to state his case which is not merely based on tradition. First, it followed the Israelites. According to Jewish tradition, the ‘Rock’ was a literal rock, like a well and full of holes like a sieve, from which the water trickled and then shot up to the sky. The ‘Rock’ was the size of a large round vessel, surging and gurgling upward as from the mouth of this little flask, rising with them up onto the mountains and down with them into the valleys. Wherever the children of Isra’el would camp, it made camp with them on a high place, opposite the entry of the Tent of Meeting. It is believed that when Isra’el sang “Spring up, oh well! Sing to the well,” they were referring to the ‘Rock’ (Numbers 21:17).

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

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

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

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

Second, according to Sha’ul, the ‘Rock’ gave the Israelites spiritual drink. The water from the ‘Rock’ was not bitter water turned sweet or even a spring like those at Elim. This water was living water, brought forth by an act of Adonai that would quench the spiritual thirst of the children of Isra’el. Moshe struck the ‘Rock’ in the sight of the leaders, proving again that it was a literal rock. The ‘Rock’ can be spiritualized, but when Moshe hits the ‘Rock,’ why is it taught that the ‘Rock’ is Yeshua and he was only to be beaten once?

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

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

El Nissi – The Banner

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

Moshe is 80 years old and continues to lead the children of Isra’el; however, he cannot actively participate in battles and be killed. As their leader, he is responsible to keep the fighting men focused on their job –– defeating the Amalekites.   He shows his leadership by using the staff that divided the Red Sea reminding the men of Adonai’s victory over the Egyptians and to trust ‘I Am’ will also win this battle for them.

By holding up his arms, Moshe symbolically offers a priestly blessing over the Hebrew armies. When his hands are raised with the staff, the children of Isra’el prevail against their enemy. When he gets tired and his arms slowly drop, the army begins to lose the battle. He discerns that when his hands are up, the children of Isra’el win so when he gets tired, Aaron and Hur step in, find a rock for him to sit on, and hold up his hands so that his arms remain raised until sunset. When the Hebrew army looks up to the hill, they see Aaron and Hur remaining faithful to Moshe who trusts Adonai to defeat the Amalekites.

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

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

Yeshua and Laodicea
Revelation 3:14-22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Council of Laodicea and the Sabbath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©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.