Posts Tagged ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’

Revelation Chapter 11 – Two Witnesses

 “I was given a measuring rod like a stick and told, “Get up, and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count how many people are worshipping there! But the court outside the Temple, leave that out; don’t measure it; because it has been given to the Goyim, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months.”

Yochanan is told to measure the Temple and the altar. He is also told to count the number of people worshipping in the area.

Specific measurements for the Millennial Temple are given to the prophet Ezekiel. In chapter 42, he measures the thickness of the walls, the gates, the gate entrances, the guardrooms, the different dimensions of the courtyard from the north, south, east, and west, the sanctuary, and the Most Holy Place. In chapter 43, he is also given the dimensions of the altar.

Many people believe the sacrifices stopped when Yeshua died on the cross. This is not Biblically accurate. Many years after Yeshua’s resurrection, Sha’ul made a Nazarite vow that included an offering. This supports the truth that Sha’ul never spoke against the Torah, the Temple or the sacrifices of which he was accused by ‘false witnesses.’

“The next day Sha’ul took the men, purified himself along with them and entered the Temple to give notice of when the period of purification would be finished and the offering would have to be made for each of them” (Acts 21:26).

The sacrifices and offerings stopped when the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70. When any Temple is rebuilt, those offerings and sacrifices will resume and there will be people at the altar worshipping Elohim in this manner.

The courtyard outside of the Millennial Temple will not be measured because the goyim, the nations, will trample it for 3 1/2 years. Though the word goyim is translated into gentiles, the word can also mean pagans. The Hebrew word ‘trample’ is ramas and means ‘oppression.’ During the 42 months, the gentiles, will oppress the outer court. According to Webster’s Dictionary, oppress means to spiritually burden, to crush or burden by abuse of power or authority. In the second Temple, the outer court was where the women of Isra’el gathered. Though Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple is not the second temple, the outer court, whether it should be the gathering place for believing nations or women of Isra’el, will be an oppressive place and pagans will destroy it.

“Here is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘No foreigner, uncircumcised in both heart and flesh, is to enter my sanctuary — no foreigner living among the people of Isra’el” (Ezekiel 44:9).

“Also I will give power to my two witnesses; and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two menorahs standing before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to do them harm, fire comes out of their mouth and consumes their enemies — yes, if anyone tries to harm them, that is how he must die. They have the authority to shut up the sky, so that no rain falls during the period of their prophesying; also they have the authority to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.”

There are several thoughts as to who or what the two witnesses may be. Some believe it is the Jew and Gentile as One New Man witness, but I’m not sure how they dress in sackcloth. Others suggest the two witnesses cannot be individual people because it is not possible that two individuals can affect the whole world with such intensity in their life and death. I beg to differ on that idea because in our world today with all sorts of technology, a one world government, religion, and economic system, two people who breathe fire and turn water into blood can have an affect on the world. The two witnesses are described as ‘two olive trees’ and ‘two menorahs’ that stand before the Lord of the earth as explained to the prophet Zechariah in chapter 4.

He was asked by an angel what he saw while he saw a vision or had a dream. Zechariah responded that he saw a menorah with two olives trees next to it – one on each side. The angel explained the menorah and the olive trees refer to Zerubbabel who will put the capstone in place for the foundation of the Millennial Temple and who will also finish it. Those who see the day when the plumbline is in the hand of Zerubbabel will rejoice. He then says that the seven lamps on the menorah are the “eyes of Adonai that range about all over the earth” (Zechariah 4:7-10).

Zechariah asked about the two olive trees on the right and left of the menorah that poured gold-colored oil through two gold spouts. The angel told him:

Those are the two who have been anointed with oil; they are standing with the Lord of all the land” (Zechariah 4:14).

From Zechariah’s vision, it can be understood that these two witnesses are highly anointed people who have a direct spiritual connection to the “Lord of all the land.” Their power from yod hey vav hey includes fire coming from their mouths consuming their enemies. Whoever tries to harm them will die in the same way.

More specific details are given about these two witnesses. One is that they have power to stop rain during their days of prophesying; the other is they can turn water into blood and to strike the world with plagues whenever they desire.

Elijah during his tenure on earth had the power to stop rain from falling on Isra’el. This suggests that one of the witnesses may be Elijah. Scripture says it is appointed for a man to die once and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Elijah never died but was taken to heaven in a fiery chariot.

Moshe during his tenure on earth had the power to turn water into blood and to bring forth plagues upon Egypt. Moshe did die. He was buried somewhere in the land of Moab, but his grave was never revealed by God.

Both Moshe and Elijah were seen glorified with Yeshua by Kefa, Ya’akov, and Yochanan on the Mount of Transfiguration. At that time, the disciples believed that Yeshua was setting up his Millennial Kingdom and asked if they could put up sukkot or tents for the Feast of Tabernacles. Though they had a correct prophetic understanding, their timing was off. However, the fact that these two men appeared with Yeshua could suggest they are the two witnesses not only to the glory of Yeshua, but his two witnesses who prophesy about him for 1,260 days.

There is another possibility for the two witnesses. Translating the Hebrew from Zechariah 4:14, the words read, “these are two sons of fresh oil.” ‘Fresh oil’ was used to anoint high priests and kings. In Zechariah, the high priest is referred to is Yoshua while the prince/king is Zerubbabel.

Yoshua was the first high priest of the rebuilt Jerusalem after the Jewish exiles returned from Persia. This is not the same Yoshua who brought the children of Isra’el into the Promised Land. This Yoshua descended from the priestly lineage of Levi and Aaron. In Zechariah 3, he stands before Yeshua, the angel of Elohim, and the Accuser. He represents the filthiness of Isra’el their guilt that needed to be judged. Yeshua removes Yoshua’s dung-soiled clothes and replaces them with a clean turban and rich garments. A stone is placed before him representing ‘the Branch’ that has ‘seven eyes’ or is the seven-branched menorah. ‘Branch’ in Hebrew is netzer. From this word comes Nazareth, Yeshua of Nazareth and the word Nazarene.

Zerrubabel returned with Yoshua from Persia. His grandfather, Shealtiel, was the last king of Judah before the Jews were exiled. Zerubbabel became the first king of the re-established city of Jerusalem and the province of Judea. As a descendant of Judah, he was of the lineage of David and ultimately King Yeshua. The name Zerubbabel means ‘pressed out, like an olive, of Babel.’ A related root of Zerubbabel is netzer, the Branch. Haggai prophesies about ‘the Day’ when Zerubbabel will be Elohim’s ‘signet ring’ and his authority is ‘not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of yod hey vav hey.’

“When that day comes,’ says Adonai-Tzva’ot, ‘I will take you, Z’rubavel, my servant, the son of Sh’alti’el,’ says Adonai, ‘and wear you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says Adonai-Tzva’ot” (Haggai 2:23).

These two witnesses symbolizing the High-Priest King Messiah always occur together in Scripture. If they are the two witnesses during the first 3 1/2 years of Tribulation, they will be most likely be prophesying about the filthiness and guilt of Isra’el in the midst of a false Temple with the anti-messiah central to that worship and the false prophet who perform ‘miracles.’

“Who among you is left that saw this house in its former glory? And how does it look to you now? It seems like nothing to you, doesn’t it?” (Haggai 2:3).

“When they finish their witnessing, the beast coming up out of the Abyss will fight against them, overcome them and kill them; and their dead bodies will lie in the main street of the great city whose name, to reflect its spiritual condition, is “S’dom” and “Egypt” — the city where their Lord was executed on a stake. Some from the nations, tribes, languages and peoples see their bodies for three-and-a-half days and do not permit the corpses to be placed in a tomb. The people living in the Land rejoice over them, they celebrate and send each other gifts, because these two prophets tormented them so.”

When they finish giving their testimony, the beast comes up out of the Abyss and fights against them. He is given the power to overcome them and kill them. Their dead bodies will lie on the main street of Jerusalem. Because of the spiritual condition of Jerusalem, it is referred to as Sodom and Egypt.

Sodom was known for its blatant sin of sexual immorality, homosexuality in the days of Abraham. However, the prophet Ezekiel was told the crimes of Sodom included pride, gluttony, and arrogance. She and her ‘daughters’ were careless and complacent so they did nothing to help the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:49). This is the spiritual condition of Jerusalem: rampant homosexuality, pride, excess in eating and drinking, and an offensive display of superiority.

Their bodies lay in the street for 3 1/2 days and no one allows their bodies to be buried. Some from the tribes, nations, and tongues will see the dead bodies. The people of the Land of Isra’el will rejoice over them. They will celebrate and give each other gifts.

It is apparent from the reaction of the tribes and nations that these two witnesses did not preach a message of political correctness or social justice. They were more than an annoyance, they tormented the people. The Greek word for ‘torment’ in this verse means ‘torture’ or ‘vex with grievous pains.’ The people wanted these prophets dead. After 3 1/2 years, they are killed by the ‘beast’ that comes up from the Abyss, the deep void.

There are two places to dwell in Scripture. One can dwell in the Kingdom or on earth. Even before the Kingdom of Messiah comes, one can be a Kingdom dweller with a focus on the spiritual things of heaven walking in the Spirit. Earth-dwellers could be likened to flesh people whose focus is on the earth and what is happening with the earth.

It is the earth-dwellers who rejoice over the death of these two witnesses for Elohim. They will be so happy that they exchange gifts. Because these are ‘earth dwellers’ and not heavenly minded people, I have often thought that perhaps this celebration will happen around Christmastime when nations around the world send gifts to one another. As Isra’el continues to embrace ‘freedom of religion’ in the Land promised to Abraham, many religions with their idolatrous practices have the liberty to worship whatever gods they choose.

“But after the three-and-a-half days a breath of life from God entered them, they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then the two heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up into heaven in a cloud, while their enemies watched them. In that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were awestruck and gave glory to the God of heaven.”

After 3 1/2 days, the prophets of Elohim stand up. They are resurrected to life. This event brings great fear to those who witness breath of Elohim bringing these two back to life. A loud voice from to them and they go up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies watch.

This cloud is the cloud of the faithful who attain the resurrection. When Yeshua ascended into heaven, he was enveloped in a cloud. Only 40 days before at his resurrection, Matthew records that holy people were resurrected in Jerusalem. It is these resurrected men and women, the firstfruits of the resurrection, who attained the goal the ultimate goal of the resurrection of the dead (Philippians 3:11).

In the book of Hebrews, a great cloud of witnesses surrounds those who run the race for the ultimate prize. This is not a race for salvation, but a race for complete and final deliverance from death. They run knowing that there will be times of struggle, of discipline, but ultimately their faith run will bring them to the goal of the resurrection of the dead. It is this great cloud of faithful enveloping these two men bringing them into the glory of the Kingdom of Elohim.

“The second woe has passed; see, the third woe is coming quickly.”

The second revelation of despair and the torment from the two witnesses followed by their death and resurrection has passed. The Hebrew word for ‘woe’ is oy and means ‘an impassioned expression of grief and despair. For the earth-dwellers, a third revelation of despair is to come quickly.

The seventh angel sounded his shofar; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and his Messiah, and he will rule forever and ever!”

With the seventh messenger blowing his shofar, loud voices proclaim that the kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of Messiah. Years ago I heard someone say that the Tribulation is either the last 7 years of this world’s age or the beginning 7 years of Messiah’s reign when he has to cleanup the world before taking his seat of authority in Jerusalem. Because the Kingdom comes to Messiah before the third ‘woe,’ I tend to lean toward the idea that he’s judging the world in order to set up his reign.

“The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones in God’s presence fell on their faces and worshipped God, saying, “We thank you, Adonai, God of heaven’s armies, the One who is and was, that you have taken your power and have begun to rule.”

The twenty-four elders, the leaders of the priestly lineages outlined by King David, thank Elohim for taking power and beginning their rule over the earth. They thank the Elohim of heaven’s armies, the One who was and is and now has come.

“The Goyim raged. But now your rage has come, the time for the dead to be judged, the time for rewarding your servants the prophets and your holy people, those who stand in awe of your name, both small and great. It is also the time for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

The nations raged.

“Why are the nations in an uproar, the peoples grumbling in vain? The earth’s kings are taking positions, leaders conspiring together, against Adonai and his anointed. They cry, “Let’s break their fetters! Let’s throw off their chains!”

He who sits in heaven laughs; Adonai looks at them in derision. Then in his anger he rebukes them, terrifies them in his fury. “I myself have installed my king on Tziyon, my holy mountain” (Psalm 2:1-6).

Now it is time for the rage of Yeshua, the time to judge the dead and reward his servants the prophets and his holy people who stand in awe of his name. Proverbs 30:4 asks an important question: Do you know His name and the name of His son?

For many millennia, the name of Elohim, the yod hey vav hey, has remained a mystery. The priesthood decided that the name of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh should only be spoken on Yom Kippur and then only by the High Priest. Because of this decision, the pronounciation of the name of Elohim has been lost, twisted, created, and everything else. Yet, when yod hey vav hey gave His name to Moshe, He said it was ‘His Memorial Name FOREVER.’ How quickly ‘forever’ became ‘only for a certain length of time.’

Hebrew Word Pictures

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh – יהוה – Yahweh

Yod is a picture of a ‘closed hand’ and means ‘finished work.’

Hey is a picture of a ‘window’ and means ‘to reveal.’

Vav is a picture of a ‘nail’ and means ‘binding.’

Hey is a picture of a ‘window’ and means ‘to reveal.’

The name of Elohim: “the finished work reveals the binding revealed.”

The name of His Son has also been changed from the Hebrew name given to Miriam and Yosef to an Anglicized form of Latin that now is in English. The ‘name above all names’ has lost its Jewish identity, culture and nation. Standing in ‘awe of His name’ means to know His name and not some translated form.

Yeshua – ישוע

Yod is a picture of a ‘closed hand’ and means ‘finished work.’

Shin is a picture of a ‘tooth’ and means ‘consume.’

Vav is a picture of a ‘nail’ and means ‘binding.’

Ayin is a picture of an ‘eye’ and means ‘to see.’

Yeshua means ‘the finished work consumes the binding [nails], seen.”

Then the Temple of God in heaven was opened, and the Ark of the Covenant was seen in his Temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake and violent hail.”

When Moshe was given the design for the Tabernacle, especially the Golden Menorah, he was told to make it from what he saw on the mountain. This is because everything in the Tabernacle is a shadow of what is in heaven.

Now the Temple of Elohim in heaven opens up and the realities of the shadows are revealed (Colossians 2:16). . The Ark of the Covenant, considered the throne of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is revealed. Flashes of lighting, voices, thunder, violent hail and an earthquake accompanies the revelation of the Ark.

In Exodus when Elohim wanted to meet with the people, he descended on the mountain with thunder, lightning, smoke, and the sound of the shofar. This was only a glimpse at the heavenly realm and the throne of Elohim and it caused the people to tremble (Exodus 19:16, 20:15).

In the book of Job, the thundering of Elohim’s majestic voices sounds like a roar, like the roar of the Lion of Y’hudah. Lighting is released while his voice, Yeshua, is heard (Job 37:4).

“The lion has roared. Who will not fear? Adonai, God, has spoken. Who will not prophesy?” (Amos 3:8).

Chapter 12 – The Birth and The Dragon

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Parashah 4: Yayera (He appeared)

Parashah 4: Genesis 18:1-22:4

“Adonai appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre as he sat at the entrance to the tent during the heat of the day” (Genesis 18:1).

As Abraham sat under the oak tree by his tent in the middle of the day,  he looked up and saw three men.  He ran from his tent to meet them, prostrated himself on the ground and said, “My Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, please don’t leave your servant” (Genesis 18:2-3).   He offers the men bread, water to wash their feet,  and to rest under the shade of the oak tree.  He then tells Sarah to quickly make a feast – bread with butter and a calf prepared with curds.

Selah

Abraham served meat from a calf along with curds from milk to El Shaddai giving no indication that milk and meat should be prepared or eaten separately.

While eating the prepared foods, the one visitor tells Abraham that by the next year Sarah would give birth to a son.  Sarah  overhears the conversation and laughs to herself.  Though Sarah denies laughing, El Shaddai heard her.  The Hebrew word for ‘laugh’ is tzchet – one of my favorite Hebrew words.  From this word comes the name Yitz’ak which means ‘laughter.’ 

The Quercus calliprinos, the Palestine Oak, is native to the eastern Mediterranean region.  In Isra’el this tree is known as the Common Oak or elan matsuy. The fruit of an oak tree is an acorn and it contains only one seed.  Abraham is like the oak tree at Mamre where he met with El Shaddai.  From his one seed, Abraham will become the ‘father of nations’ though he will not live to see the fulfillment of the promise.  The prophet Isaiah speaks of the oak as a tree whose trunk remains alive even after its leaves fall off.  The planted ‘holy seed’ becomes its trunk.  The descendants of Yitz’ak or Isaac will grow into the trunk of Isra’el and “they will be called oaks of righteousness planted by Adonai, in which he takes pride” (Isaiah 6:12-13, 61:3).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Oak or terebinth (elah) – אלהalef, lamed, hey

– strength of the shepherd revealed

Sodom and Gomorrah

Two of the men leave Abraham for Sodom and Gomorrah, but one remains.  The one who remains is the yod-hey-vav-hey, El Shaddai.   Because of His divine essence, the ‘I AM,’ appears to Abraham as a person.

El Shaddai reveals His plans for the two cities had become very wicked.  Abraham challenges Hismercy and the two discuss the number of righteous people living in the cities compared to the wicked.  For how many righteous would El Shaddai relent on his judgment?  Fifty, forty, twenty?  Finally, El Shaddai yields to Abraham.  For the sake of 10 righteous, He will not destroy the cities.  Unfortunately, only Lot, his wife, and Lot’s two unmarried daughters don’t meet the criteria.

“For I have made myself known to him, so that he will give orders to his children and to his household after him to keep the way of Adonai and to do what is right and just, so that Adonai may bring about for Avraham what he has promised him” (Genesis 18:19).  

“I have made myself known”  implies that El Shaddai has revealed Himself to Abraham as Yeshua so that he can “keep the way of Adonai.”   The man conversing with Abraham is Yeshua before he becomes flesh.  Through His words, the person and character of Yeshua is disclosed to Abraham.

“Adonai said, “The outcry against S’dom and ‘Amora is so great and their sin so serious that I will now go down and see whether their deeds warrant the outcry that has reached me; if not, I will know” (Genesis 18:20-21).

The prophet Ezekiel describes the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah to be pride and gluttony.  The people no longer cared about the poor and had become complacent regarding those in need.  Along with these sins, they were arrogant against Elohim and committed disgusting acts (Ezekiel 16:49-50).  Isaiah elaborates on these acts saying their sins were blatantly done in the face of Elohim. They paraded their sin with no shame and no willingness to hide their perversions (Isaiah 3:9).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Disgusting or shoar – שער – shin, ayin, resh

– consumed with the eyes in the head

Perversion or iqqesh – עקש – ayin, koof, shin

see what is behind and consumes

Grievous or kabed – כבד – kaf, bet, dalet

open the house door

When the two men arrive in Sodom and Gomorrah, they are no longer men or anashim, but hamelakim or angelic messengers. The perversion of the men in Sodom and Gomorrah is so disgusting they solicit the angels of Elohim for sex.  They even reject the offer of Lot’s two virgin daughters!   The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is so grievous that Elohim has no other option except to destroy the cities.

Lot invites the angels into his home and makes them a meal that includes unleavened bread or matzah.  Leaven is often compared to sin so Lot, who lives in the midst of abominable sin, serves unleavened bread.  This could allude to his own sinless life in a culture of depravity or be prophetic to the sinless One, Yeshua,  who was going to deliver him from death.  Though the ‘appointed times’ have not yet been outlined, Lot and his family experienced a ‘passover’ and did not die in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

Yeshua tells his disciples that the world will be like Sodom and Gomorrah at the time of his coming (Luke 17:26-30).  Today, homosexuals, transgenders and lesbians cry for equality and acceptance.  They want to marry one another and raise children together.  Their perversion, if allowed to continue by Elohim, will mutate into pedophilia and even beastiality.   As with the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, these perverted people arrogantly parade in the streets of large cities and do not hide the disgusting practices.   Though the consciences of humanity may “know well enough God’s righteous decree that people who do such things deserve to die; they not only allow them to keep doing them, but they applaud [them]” (Romans 1:32).

Another great abomination that may have been happening in Sodom and Gomorrah is the influence of Nephilim who were still on the earth. Some of the Nephilim may have inhabited the area of Sodom and Gomorrah and acted in ways previous to the flood.  Ezekiel 16:48 says the sins of Sodom involved the daughters of Sodom who committed detestable acts.  Perhaps the daughters of Sodom were fornicating with Nephilim leaving human men in need of other men – so much so that the men didn’t even desire virgin women.

Elohim destroyed the earth once because of immoral behavior between angels and women, perhaps  these same unholy unions brought Him again to the point of wrath.

Because He had made a covenant never to destroy the earth by water, He poured out fire and brimstone on two cities that were morally out of control.

The angels have to pull Lot back into the house.  Then they shut the door.  Shutting a door is symbolic of an ending and a separation from what is on the other side of the door, permanently.  Even so, Lot dallies in the morning not wanting to leave the city.

The residents of the cities believe Lot has been judging them though there is no evidence that he is a bold evangelist or a prophetic voice.   It doesn’t appear he’s even that righteous though the life of a semi-righteous person in a depraved world can be convicting of sin.  From what is known about Lot, it wasn’t his righteousness that saved his family, but the intercession of his Uncle Abraham and the mercy of El Shaddai (Titus 3:5).  Lot may have perished with everyone else if the angels had not pulled him by the hand and removed him from the city.

“Flee for your life, don’t look back!

In the Hebrew, the phrase is “escape for your nephesh” meaning ‘escape for the sake of your souls.’  The command involved more than not looking back to see the destruction, it was to redeem the souls of Lot, his wife and his daughters from a life of slavery to sin.  Unfortunately, Lot’s wife looked back and lost her soul; she was turned into a pillar of salt.

Lot’s two daughters and sons-in-law did not leave the city because they didn’t believe Lot’s warning.  It is often taught that Lot’s wife looked back because of the loss of her family.  Though it may be one reason for her to look back, her nephesh was not the same at Lot’s.  She was a native Sodomite.

There is a midrash that discusses another possible reason why Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt.  In the Middle East, salt is a symbol of hospitality.  Sharing salt at a table requires peaceful fellowship between those sharing the salt.  Hospitality and sharing salt was not the code of law in Sodom, one of their grievous sins.  In the midrash it is suggested that Lot’s wife did not approve of Lot bringing guests into her home.  Then, he asked her to bring out the salt.  She had no salt in her home so she went door to door asking for salt which revealed to the citizens of Sodom that her husband had broken the code of law against hospitality.  It was this action that brought the men of the city to Lot’s door.  The midrash concludes that because she sinned with salt, she was punished with salt. Thus the pillars of salt that surround that area of the Dead Sea are a reminder to Lot’s wife and her lack of hospitality for the angels of God (Hebrews 13:2).

The midrash also explained why El Shaddai destroyed the cities by fire and brimstone.  It supports the idea that Nephilim or angelic beings were inhabiting the cities.   Angels, unlike humans who were created from the dust of the earth,  were created by fire.  As man returns to dust when he dies, the only way to destroy angels is with fire.  Perhaps turning around and seeing with human eyes angels being  consumed by burning sulfur would have a devastating effect on the human nefesh – so much so it turned human flesh into salt. 

Abraham woke up the next morning and saw the smoke rising.  He knew what had happened. There is no indication whether or not he knew if Lot had escaped or that he ever saw his nephew again.

Lot went up into mountains with his daughters.  One day they get him drunk so they can sleep with him.  They have been so morally compromised by the sin that had surrounded them, they didn’t consider what they did might be wrong.  It does seem strange they were unaware there were other people alive on earth including their great uncle, but they committed incest with their father and became pregnant. 

They gave birth to sons: Moab and Amon who become the fathers of two nations.    Ruth,  who becomes the grandmother of King David, was a Moabite, a descendant of Lot and his oldest daughter.  The Ammonites come from the union of Lot and his youngest daughter.  Amon is the capital of modern-day Jordan. 

A Promised Seed

At the exact time El Shaddai said, Sarah gives birth to a son who is named Yitz’ak.  She exclaims, “God has given me a good reason to laugh; now everyone who hears about it will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:6).  According to the sign of the covenant,  Abraham circumcises Isaac when he is eight days old.

As Isaac grows up, problems arise between him and his brother, Ishma’el,  that make it necessary for Abraham to send Ishma’el and Hagar away.   At a weaning party, when Isaac is between 4 and 5 years old, Ishma’el torments  his little brother.  The Hebrew word for ‘torment’ is matzchak and is rooted in ‘sexual encounter or fondling.’  Ishamael’s ‘playing’ with Isaac clearly upset Sarah.

Hagar leaves with her son and goes into the desert. While hiding under a tree dying, Hagar cries out to Elohim.  Ishma’el who is nearly 20 years old appears to be a spoiled young man who doesn’t appreciate nor take care of his own dying mother.  Elohim comes to Hagar and promises to make her son into a great nation and directs her to well where she and Ishma’el find water and are revived.

The Binding of Isaac – The Adekah

“Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Yitz’ak; and go to the land of Moriyah.  There you are to offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will point out to you” (Genesis 22:2).

This passage of Scripture is called the akedah or the ‘binding of Isaac.’  It describes the account of Abraham who is commanded by El Shaddai to sacrifice his only son.  The word ‘only’ in this passage is yachid  and means  ‘unique, only begotten.’  The word yachid also suggests the relationship between Abraham and his son was very close or echad.

Selah

Abraham had another son, but this son was not the ‘unique son’ El Shaddai called him to sacrifice.  In Islam, the story is recounted as the ‘binding of Ishma’el.’  From it comes the ‘Ein ul Adha’ and the killing of a lamb.   Though Ishma’el is not the ‘son of promise,’ the ‘binding’ and the substitute ‘lamb’ can be used to explain the substitute sacrifice of Yeshua made for the whole world, including Muslims.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Moriah (Teach) – מריה – mem, resh, yod, hey

mighty authority of the finished work revealed

Mount Moriah in Jerusalem has a long Biblical history.  Moriah comes from the Hebrew root moreh meaning ‘to teach.’  Moriah is where the threshing floor owned by Ornan the Jebusite was located; the place where Elohim appeared to King David (2 Chronicles 3:1).  On Mount Moriah, King Solomon built the first Temple. On the same mountain, in the Temple courts of the second Temple, Yeshua stood and proclaimed he is the Messiah and echad or ‘one’ with Elohim (John 10:10).  Mount Moriah is the location where El Shaddai  brought Abraham to teach him.

Selah

The original threshing floor and first and second Temples were south and east of the modern-day Temple Mount in the City of David.  The Temple Mount and Western Wall  may be the remains of a  first century Roman garrison.

According to Leviticus, a burnt offering is a free-will offering.  Abraham was not coerced by El Shaddai to get up early in the morning or forced to saddle a donkey, gather wood, and take his two servants with him to sacrifice his son.  Because Abraham trusts in the promises of El Shaddai, he obeys without hesitation.

Upon arriving at the mountain, Abraham leaves his servants at the bottom and ascends with Isaac who carries the wood.  While they walk towards their destination, Isaac wonders about the sacrifice.  Though he has been surrounded by pagan cultures that offer human sacrifice to Molech, this has not been his upbringing so he asks about the lamb.

“My father? I see the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7)

“Avraham replies, ‘God will provide Himself the lamb for the burnt offering’” (Genesis 22:8).

When they arrive at the summit, Abraham prepares an altar, sets the wood on top, binds his son and lays him on the altar.  Every step of the way, Isaac submits to his father’s will.  Whatever he has learned from his father’s life and instructions for the past 30 years, he completely trusts his father even as he raises a knife to kill him. 

An angel of El Shaddai calls to Abraham from heaven and says:

“Don’t lay a hand on the boy! Don’t do anything to him! For now I know that you are a man who fears God, because you have not withheld your son, your only son from me” (Genesis 22:12).

Selah

The Hebrew word for ‘boy’ is not yelad meaning ‘a young boy.’  It is nar meaning ‘a young man.’  Many depictions about the ‘binding of Issac’ show him as little boy, but he was more likely a young man between 30-33 years of age.

Abraham raises his eyes from his son and sees a ram caught in the thicket by its horns.  Abraham untangles the ram and offers it as a free-will offering, a substitute for Isaac. Abraham calls the place El Yireh or ‘Elohim will see to it’.

The word for ‘provide’ in Hebrew is yireh and contains the idea of something prophetic in distance future not in the near present.   Another rendering for yireh may be, “in the future there will be a lamb of Elohim.” This is an allusion to the same lamb shown to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that prophesied their deliverance from sin and death.

Selah

According to Romans 4:17 “Abraham is our father in God’s sight because he trusted God as the one who gives life to the dead and calls nonexistent things into existence.”

Was the ram in the thicket before Abraham saw it or did El Shaddai speak it into existence at that moment?  Was the ram the appearance of El Shaddai Himself?

El Yireh did not want Abraham’s son as an offering. He is not like the gods of this world.  Through the provisional ram that El Yireh provided, Abraham knew his sacrifice was accepted.

By faith Avraham, when God tested him, offered Yitz’ak as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Yitz’ak that your offspring will be reckoned.” Avraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Yitz’ak back from death” (Hebrews 11:17-19).

Some interpretations suggest the ram symbolizes the strength of Elohim’s lamb that would overcome death and be resurrected, the returning ram that would will trample underfoot the enemies of Elohim.  With this interpretation, Abraham was shown or taught about the two comings of Messiah: the substitute sacrificial lamb and a warrior ram.

From the account of the ram caught in the thicket, the shofar or the ram’s horn came about. The shofar is used to announce Elohim’s ‘appointed times.’

The angel of El Shaddai calls to Abraham a second time.   Abraham responds, “Here I am” or hineni.  The Hebrew word hineni is not just a response that Abraham is physically present, but that he is spiritually aware of all that is being shown to him on Moriah.

This parashah concludes with El Shaddai promising to bless Abraham because of his obedience.  He will increase his descendants and all nations of the earth will be blessed. 

“I have sworn by myself  that because you have done this, because you haven’t withheld your son, your only son, I will most certainly bless you; and I will most certainly increase your descendants to as many as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on the seashore … and by your descendants all nations of the earth will be blessed – because you obeyed my order” (Genesis 22:16-18).

For a beautiful short story of the ram, a child’s midrash, see Study Helps.

Yeshua and the Day of Judgment

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On that Day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’  Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

“When you enter someone’s household, say,‘Shalom aleikhem! [Peace upon you]’ If the home deserves it, let your shalom rest on it; if not, let your shalom return to you.  But if the people of a house or town will not welcome you or listen to you, leave it and shake its dust from your feet! Yes, I tell you, it will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the people of S’dom and ‘Amora than for that town!” (Matthew 10:12-15)

“Moreover, I tell you this: on the Day of Judgment people will have to give account for every careless word they have spoken; for by your own words you will be acquitted, and by your own words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36).

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world…. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:31-46).

“Those in Y’hudah must escape to the hills, those inside the city must get out, and those in the country must not enter it. For these are the days of vengeance, when everything that has been written in the Tanakh will come true. What a terrible time it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers! For there will be great distress in the Land and judgment on the people” (Luke 21:21-23).

“The Father does not judge anyone but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son as they honor the Father. Whoever fails to honor the Son is not honoring the Father who sent him. Yes, indeed! I tell you that whoever hears what I am saying and trusts the One who sent me has eternal life — that is, he will not come up for judgment but has already crossed over from death to life! …For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has given the Son life to have in himself. Also he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” (John 5:22-27)

“When he [the Counselor] comes, he will show that the world is wrong about sin, about righteousness and about judgment — about sin, in that people don’t put their trust in me [Yeshua]; about righteousness, in that I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; about judgment, in that the ruler of this world has been judged” (John 16:8-11).

“After these things, I heard what sounded like the roar of a huge crowd in heaven, shouting, ‘Halleluyah! The victory, the glory, the power of our God! For his judgments are true and just. He has judged the great whore who corrupted the earth with her whoring. He has taken vengeance on her who has the blood of his servants on her hands’” (Revelation 19:1-2).

Haftarah (Readings from the Prophets)

2 Kings 4:1-23

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

Luke 17:26-37

Romans 9:6-9

Hebrews 6:14-20

James 2:14-24

Midrash Vayeira: The Binding of Yeshua

Discuss the akedah, the ’binding of Isaac’ and its allusions to Yeshua: the unique son, including the wood, the fire, the binding, the free-will offering, the lamb and the ram.

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