Ye shall reap if ye faint not!

Genesis 45:5, 7, 8, Elohim sent me. Joseph was sold into slavery at age 17, was freed from prison and made ruler of Egypt at age 30. After that, seven years of plenty followed, and then two years of famine had passed by the time he was reunited with is brothers. Only after 22 years in Egypt did Joseph finally figure out Elohim’s grand and wonderful plan for his life, and how it involved the saving of his family.

Had Joseph lost faith along the way, become embittered over his multiple misfortunes, and turned away from Elohim, the nation of Israel may have never been preserved.

Keeping one’s eyes on Elohim, and refusing to lose faith during the dark times of one’s life can yield some amazingly triumphant outcomes, as we learn from the life of Joseph.

 

Joseph’s Faith—An Encouraging Example!

Genesis 41:9–10, The chief butler spoke. Here the chief butler is recounting the events to Pharaoh of how he ended up in prison as if Pharaoh weren’t aware of these facts. It is quite possible that this was a new Pharaoh, and the Pharaoh who had put the butler in prison was now dead. If so, then this new Pharaoh was very young, since in Genesis 45:8 Joseph, who by now would have been at least in his late 30s, refers to himself as “a father to Pharaoh.”

YHVH’s timing is perfect. Do you have the trust in YHVH to believe that for your life? Had the chief butler remembered Joseph prior to this how would things have been different for Joseph? Would he have had the chance to interpret Pharaoh’s dream? Would he have returned to Canaan? How would the history of the nation of Israel been different? Would YHVH’s purposes have been fulfilled?

Genesis 41:16, Elohim. By this time, Joseph had endured multiple false accusations, murder attempts, enslavement and imprisonment. A man of lesser spiritual stature than Joseph might have lost his faith in Elohim along the way.

In this verse, what is the evidence that he hadn’t given up hope in his Heavenly Father, and that he had not lost sight of the dreams and promises that YHVH had made to him many years earlier?

As a form of witnessing, do you give honor to YHVH whenever you can—even to strangers as Joseph did? The fact that Joseph was able to proclaim his faith in front of one of the most powerful monarchs of his day is evidence of his strong and abiding faith in and fear of YHVH even in spite of years of mistreatment and false accusations.

Joseph is a powerful and encouraging example to the down-trodden of the world who have been persecuted for the their faith. It is possible to maintain faith in YHVH even in spite of dire circumstances, even as Joseph did.

 

On Celebrating Birthdays Including Christmas

Genesis 40:20, Pharaoh’s birthday. The is the first of three references to birthdays in the Bible. The second one is to Job’s children who were killed on, presumably, one of their birthdays (Job 1:4, 18–19).The third reference to King Herod, who had John the Baptist beheaded on his birthday (Matt 14:6–12). Because of the fact that birthdays are associated with calamity in the Bible, some people refuse to celebrate birthdays, even though there is no direct or indirect prohibition against honoring a loved one once a year on the day of their birth. 

Though I respect a person’s right to disagree with me on this issue, it is the opinion of this writer that celebrating birthdays is neither inherently evil nor a pagan thing to do. It is merely honoring and respecting a loved one on the day marking their debut into this world. What’s evil about that? “Oh, it’s a pride thing,” someone might respond. If so, then answer me this: How is honoring and showing love by telling someone that you’re glad they were born “a pride thing”?  And if it’s pride, then Continue reading

 

Midianite or Edomite slaver traders? Does the Bible contradict itself?

Genesis 37:25, 27, 28, 36, Ishmaelites….Midianites. To whom did Joseph’s brothers sell him: to the Ishmaelites or the Midianites? Some disparagers of the Bible view this passage as proof that Scripture contradicts itself and cannot be trusted divinely inspired. So what’s really going on here?

Likely the traders this story were in a caravan comprised of different tribes or ethnics groups (e.g. Ishmaelites and Midianites), as Adam Clarke suggests in his commentary, and were traveling together for safety. That two nationalities would unite in their journey to Egypt is not far-fetched, since the land of Midian and Edom (the country of Ishmael) were contiguous—the former was located south of the latter. The Midianites would have had to travel northward toward Edom to get around the Gulf of Aqaba in order to traverse the Sinai Peninsula en route to Egypt. Therefore, it’s not inconceivable that these two groups of traders could have converged and joined together in their trek to Egypt.

Keil and Delitzsch in their commentaries point out these people-groups were referred to in ancient cultures as Arabs due to the geographical proximity of their two countries and were easily confounded by outsiders not only due to their close association socially and culturally, but due to their resemblance, and due to the fact that they shared a common ancestry from Abraham.

The seeming discrepancies in this story in no way proves that this narrative derives from the convergence of two separate oral traditions that were later written down as some modern biblical scholars suggest (e.g. The Language and Imagery in the Old Testament, pp. 38–39, by J.C.L. Gibson).

Once again, the truth of the Bible triumphs over its critics. HalleluYah!

 

Yeshua the Messiah Prophesied in the Life of Joseph

Genesis 37–41 The Life of Joseph—A Foreshadow of Messiah Ben (Son of) Yosef

The spirit of Antimessiah (Antichrist) is on a dramatic rise in our day. It is even rampant among those who are returning to the Hebraic, Torah-centric roots of the Christian faith where some people are losing their faith in Yeshua the Messiah. A few are even converting to Rabbinic Judaism, which denies the messiahship and deity of Yeshua and the divine inspiration of the Testimony of Yeshua. Some of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of a few of the modern-day descendants of the non-believing Pharisees (i.e. the Rabbinic Jews), who use clever arguments to beguile unstable and unlearned souls into humanistic reasoning devoid of a living faith in Yeshua their Savior and the Redeemer of man. Because of a spiritual blindness that Scripture prophesied would come upon the Jews producing a hardness of heart toward Yeshua the Messiah, unbelieving Jews ignore the numerous prophetic shadow-pictures pointing to Yeshua the Messiah contained in their own Tanakh.

May the following study strengthen your faith in Yeshua the Messiah, in his divine origination in the very heart, mind and essence of Elohim, and in the fact that he was foreordained to come to this earth to reconcile sinful man to his Heavenly Father through his self-sacrifice on the cross. All this was prophesied long ago in the Tanakh. The ancient Jewish sages speak of a messianic figure coming called Messiah son of Joseph (Mashiach ben Yosef), the Suffering Servant, whose life and ministry would parallel that of Joseph, yet Continue reading

 

Genesis 42–46 Two Brothers and the Two Houses of Israel in End-Time Prophecy (Pt 2)

To read part one of this post, go to https://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2017/12/12/genesis-42-46/

Judah Approaches Joseph (Gen 44:18)

Judah came near to Joseph was willing to lay down his life for his younger brother (Gen 44:18–34). This is another prophetic picture of the future Messiah who would come to this earth in willingness to give his life as a ransom to save his brothers. The Scriptures call Yeshua the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Rev 5:5) who initiated the process in seeking to save his brothers who were spiritually lost (Rom 5:8; Luke 19:10; Matt 18:11; ), and who Yeshua referred to as the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:6; 15:24).

Joseph Had to Reveal Himself (Gen 45)

The brothers didn’t recognize Joseph because he resembled an Egyptian; he had to reveal himself to them. Today, Christians (the descendants of Joseph according to Gen 48:16, 18 and Rom 9:24–27 and the descendants of Abraham according Eph 2:11–19; Gal 3:7, 14, 28, 29), are revealing themselves to their brother Judah through several ways:

  • Through donating money to Jewish relief agencies.
  • Through Christian tourism of Israel.
  • Through Christian interfaith organizations (Bridges for Peace, Christians United for Israel, Christian Friends of Israel, etc.).
  • Through the Messianic Jewish Movement
  • Through the Messianic Israel Movement.
  • Through America’s (and Britain’s) military, political and economic support of the nation of Israel.

Two Messiahs in One Story

Judah and his brothers didn’t recognize Joseph; he had to reveal himself to them (Gen 45:1–4). They were “blinded” to Joseph’s identity. Most of Judah has spiritual blindness to this day (Rom 11:25). They are largely blind to Yeshua the Messiah, son of Joseph, and to the fact that Christians (many of whom are the descendants of Abraham through Joseph) are their long lost brothers. So in our story, Judah plays a dual role: that of spiritually blind Judah and that of the Messiah, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. His former role is prophetically emblematic of the Jewish nation including the modern Jews who have been largely blind to their Messiah (the Son of Joseph), and in the latter role as Yeshua the Messiah who was willing to lay down his life to save his brothers.

Even as Judah was a prophetic antetype of the Jewish people and the Jewish Messiah, likewise Joseph also fulfilled an antetypical role of the Messiah. He too was the spiritual father of his people—Ephraim and Manasseh—the dominate tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel who went into apostasy and become as “lost sheep” among the nations of the world (Hos 7:8; 8:8; Ezek 34:16 and numerous other scriptures). Therefore, Joseph prophetically represents the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” and the Messiah who would come and seek out those sheep.

The Jewish sages have seen a prophetic picture of the coming Messiah Son of Joseph (Mashiach ben Yosef), the Suffering Servant in the story of Joseph. They have written about the Suffering Servant Messiah figure, who they felt would be a descendant of Ephraim and who would come to redeem the lost sheep or exiles of the house of Israel in preparation for a second Messiah to come. They refer to him as the Conquering King or the Messiah the Son of David (Mashiach ben David). Although I have found no instances where they also identify Judah with the coming Messiah, it is not hard to see some allusions to this in the interplay between Joseph and Judah. Let’s note what the sages write about Joseph as well as the descendants of his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Notice the striking similarities between modern Christians and those the Jewish sages viewed would be the followers of Messiah Son of Joseph?

What kind of blessing was this prediction that one day [Jacob’s] descendants—the Ten Tribes—would be scattered among the nations? R. Munk explains: while it is true that the dispersion was caused by the unfaithfulness and sinfulness of Ephraim’s descendants (Hos 7:8ff), Jacob’s blessing was not in vain for “they will return to God” and will have their share in the world to come ([Talmud] Sanhedrin 110b). And R. Eliezer adds: ‘Even the darkness in which the Ten Tribes were lost will one day become as radiant as the day’ (according to the version of Avos d’Rabbi Nosson 36). And in the perspective of history, did not these exiled children of the Patriarchs enlighten the nations among whom they were scattered? They did so by teaching their conquerors the fundamental ideas of the knowledge and love of God, ideals they had never forsaken. Hence they too have a messianic vocation and their Messiah the … Messiah son of Joseph (Succah 52a), also called Messiah son of Ephraim (Targum Yonasan on Exodus 40:11), will play an essential role in humanity’s redemption, for he will be the precursor of the … Messiah Son of David…. (emphasis added, note bolded part).

The Family of Israel Is Finally Reunited/Regathered (Gen 46:1–7)

These verses recount the move of Jacob and his family to Egypt where they were reunited with Joseph and his family. This event prophetically foreshadows a time in the future that the Jewish sages call the final redemption, which is to occur at the coming of Messiah Son of David as he comes to establish the Messianic Era (Millennium). The sages teach that an aspect of that final redemption includes the reunification of the two houses of Israel into one kingdom under Messiah Son of David, which is prophesied in Ezekiel 37:15–28. Interestingly, from antiquity, the Jewish sages have chosen Ezekiel’s prophecy as the corresponding scripture passage from the biblical prophets (called the Haftorah) which, in their understanding, best correlates to the Torah portion (parashah) that includes Genesis 46. These sages understood that the events recorded here in the lives of the patriarchs are indications of future events that would occur in the lives of their descendants.

The final redemption or regathering and then the reuniting of Judah and Ephraim at Messiah’s return is mentioned numerous times in the Scriptures (e.g., Hos 5:15–6:4; 1:11; Acts 3:21; Ezek 37:25). This will be a supernatural work of the Spirit of Elohim (Ezek 36:19–32).

Life in the Land of Goshen (Gen 46:34)

After the reunification of the divided family, the Israelites settled in Goshen, which was in the Nile River delta area and was, and to this day is, the prime farm land of Egypt. It was a veritable promised land compared to the arid regions of Canaan.

Prophetically, could Israel’s settling in Goshen after being reconciled and reunited be a spiritual shadow picture of the Millennium? I believe so.

The Jewish sages have long taught that history for the people of Israel is continually repeating itself in cyclical patterns as YHVH accomplishes his purposes among his people over and over again. He is continually endeavoring to reveal his plan of redemption and reconciliation to those who have eyes to see. He is continually reaching out the loving hand of redemption to the next generations of Israelites. This cycle, like a wheel that keeps turning around and around, will turn one more time in the last days in what the sages refer to as the final regathering of the exiles or the final redemption of Israel. This will involve not only the resurrection of the dead, but the reuniting of the divided kingdom of Israel, the regathering of the Israelite scattered exiles back to the land of Israel, and the coming of the Messiah who will set up his reign over this earth called the Messianic Era. This is even better known in Christians circles as the Millennium. The Jewish sages have taught this for thousands of years—and still teach it—because they had read and believed what the biblical prophets have written in this regard.

Conclusion

I believe that the story of the reuniting of Joseph with his brothers a prophetic antetype speaking to the future reunification and redemption of the two houses of Israel with the Messiah as the initiator and focal point of this redemptive process. This process began to occur at the first coming of Yeshua and will culminate at his second coming and it involves the regathering of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This process will climax at the end of the age where the children of Israel will be regathered and reunited to worship YHVH in spirit and in truth (John 4:23) under the rulership of King Yeshua the Messiah, Son of Joseph/David (Ezek 37:15–28) during the one-thousand-year-long Millennium.

 

Joseph, Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin in End Times Prophecy

Here are a few of my thoughts on who Joseph, Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin represent in end times Bible prophecy.

In studying the Jewish sages of old, I am amazed at how prescient they were about end time events. They gained this understanding often as they studied the lives of notable biblical characters.The sages had the strong sense that history would repeat itself— often again and again for the people of Elohim. This they observed in the cyclical patterns of Israel’s own history where YHVH gave them the truth, they remained faithful to it for a while, and turned from it, were punished and then returned to Elohim only to have the cycle repeat itself again and again.

As I have studied their method of predicting the future based on past events in Israel’s history, this has led me to some of my own speculations, which I present to you below.

Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh Antetypical of Christianity

Joseph’s wife was the daughter of an Egyptian priest. Jospeh married into the religious system of Egypt. He is a picture of Christian church, which has married itself to Babylon by syncretizing itself with certain pagan traditions and belief systems. Joseph is a picture of the end time lukewarm church. Ephraim and Manasseh were products of the union of Joseph (an Israelite) and Potifera (an Egyptian). Though they were Israelite, they were genetically a mixture of both Israelite and Egyptian blood. In fact, they resembled Egypt so much that Jacob, when blessing them, didn’t even recognize who they were. They were strangers to him. Though they were spiritual mulattos, their spiritual destiny was to identify wholly with their Israelite heritage, which would necessitate their renunciation of their Egyptian ties. In the end times, YHVH is calling Christians to renounce the pagan ties they have through their association with the harlot church system and to come completely out of spiritual system of Babylon, which is a mixture of biblical truth with pagan traditions and traditions of men the make of non-effect the word of Elohim.

Benjamin Is Antetypical of the End-Time Bride of Yeshua

Benjamin was the “son of my [Jacob’s] right hand.” He was Jacob’s youngest and most beloved son (after Joseph’s departure). Judah was willing to lay down his life for his youngest brother. Because of the love Judah had for Benjamin, the descendants of both tribes never separated, and the tribe of Benjamin stayed permanently identified with the tribe of Judah. Even Paul, the Jew and an apostle to the Gentiles, was from the tribe of Benjamin.

In the end times, Christians are like Joseph and his two sons. Most Christians take after Manasseh, which means “forgetful” in that they have forgotten the Torah. Those Christians who love Yeshua and keep his (Torah) commandments take after Ephraim, which means “doubly fruitful” in that they have both Yeshua and the Torah. Judah is both a picture of the Jews and of Messiah Yeshua, while Benjamin could also be a picture of the remnant of Torah-keeping believers who have permanently attached themselves to their Hebrew roots, to the Torah, to Yeshua and who have no involvement with the spiritual Babylon.

Joseph Is a Type of the American Government

Joseph became ruler of Egypt. In the end times, America, which is the largest Christian nation and hence contains the largest number of Joseph’s descendants (through Ephraim), is the leader of spiritual Babylon. In Egypt there were seven years of plenty, then seven years of famine. Egypt was the greatest nation of the world at the time. When the world (and Egypt) fell on hard times economically due to famine, Joseph turned Egypt into a socialistic state. This he accomplished through the Egyptian government’s purchase of all the means of production, the land and by indebting the world to it and by turning its own people into serfs working for the government. Is this same scenario happening in America? We have had our years of prosperity, and now we are entering into seven lean years where the government’s answer to these problems is to socialize this nation at a rapidly expanding rate including the nationalizing, in part, of more and more of the private business sector.

 

Genesis 42–46 Two Brothers and the Two Houses of Israel in End-Time Prophecy (Pt 1)

Biblical Types and Antetypes

A major key to understanding biblical prophecy is to recognize the relationship between antetypes and types in the Scriptures. This means that an event or a series of events occurred once, was recorded in the Scriptures, and then at a later time a similitude of the event repeats itself, but with different characters and scene.

An antetype is a type or pattern of something that occurs before the actual event occurs (sometimes incorrectly referred to as an antitype, which means opposite rather than before). In other words, the first event predicts or points prophetically to the future event. This is a way for the Creator to give clues and hints about future events that will come to pass. Those who are ardent students of his Word and those “who have (spiritual) ears to hear” will pick up on these clues and be able to have a sense of what the Creator is going to do at some future date. In this way, those who diligently seek him are rewarded with understanding or “inside information” about what he is planning to do in the future. At the same time, his divine plans and purposes will be obscured from those who don’t have a diligent heart to seek him and his truth, and who could possibly misuse the truth, if they were to discover it, for selfish purposes if they were to learn it.

Similarly, the Gospels record that Yeshua explained deep spiritual truths via parables not to make the meaning clear to the general public, but rather to obscure it. His teachings were meant to be understood only by those whom he had called that they might know the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom of Elohim (Matt 13:10–11; Luke 8:9–10).

For thousands of years, the prophets of the Bible, as well as biblical students, scholars and sages have understood the concept of antetypes and types and it has helped them to understand Bible prophecy and future events.

Biblical antetypes are identified in three ways. First, the Scriptures themselves identify events as being ante­typical. Examples would be:

  • The life of Moses pointed to Yeshua (Deut 18:15–19; Heb 3:3–6).
  • The serpent on the pole pointed to Yeshua’s crucifixion (John 3:14).
  • The rock from which the Israelites drank prefigures Yeshua (1 Cor 10:4).
  • The manna the Israelites ate prefigures the Word of Elohim or flesh of Yeshua (John 6:32, 48–51).
  • Aaron as the high priest was antetypical of Yeshua’s high priesthood (Heb 5, 7 and 8).
  • The sacrificial system pointed to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross (Heb 9 and 10).
  • Jonah in the whale is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s death and resurrection (Matt 12:40).
  • Melchizedek was an antetype of Yeshua (Heb 7).
  • The first exodus (or redemption of Israel out of Egypt) was prototypical of a second exodus or redemption of Israel out of the world in the end times (Isa 11:11; Jer 23:7–8).

The Jewish sages from antiquity have also identified antetypes. Examples would be: Continue reading