Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #15: Bo (Go) Sh’mot (Exodus) 10:1-13:16
Haftarah: Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 46;13-28
B’rit Chadashah: Revelation 8:6-9,12; 16:1-21
The creation of something from nothing is described in detail in the book of Genesis. But the beginning of the year for humankind is defined in our Parashah in chapter 12:1 and forward: “ Adonai spoke to Moshe and Aharon in the land of Egypt; he said,’ You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you.’” The question is what month?” How do we know when the events described in this narrative occurred?
In Exodus 13:4 we read “ You are leaving today, in the month of Aviv.” We know on the 10th of the month (Aviv) each man took a lamb or kid for his family and kept it for four days until the 14th day of the month at which time it was to be slaughtered at dusk and eaten that night. This is in keeping with the biblical day which starts at sunset. This timing dictates matzah be eaten as commanded in 12: 8 because this timing would fall to the next day which is the 15th of Aviv or Nisan as the month is also called. The feast of Unleavened Bread starts after sunset on the 14th of Nisan, again consistent with G-d’s designated festivals.
Establishing the true beginning of the year is important because of mans’ intrusion into biblical timing. G-d’s talmidim (disciples) become aware as they learn that one of Hasatan’s objectives is to confuse people. Changing the times and seasons is one method that has proven very effective. For example, the Catholic Church claimed the authority to change the Sabbath to Sunday and the majority of Christians follow that arrogant move. On the other side of the isle, rabbinic Jews follow a calendar that was manipulated to meet various agendas of the ruling authority at the time.
Looking at discoveries from Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, a calendar was found that is based on 364 days. This is important because it divides into both 4 and 7, a symmetrical kind of calendar in which significant days fall on the same weekday every year ! This contrasts with the Gregorian calendar most commonly used today, which is 365.25 days with a leap year every four years, and the lunar calendar used by the rabbinic Jewish community today, which is influenced by many celestial observations and halachic decisions in the Oral Torah and the Talmud for example on such things as what to do when major events fall on Shabbat.
The Qumran calendar is consistent and appears to include the beliefs of the members of the community regarding perfection and holiness.
You may question the import of this information has today. If we want to follow the King’s Highway as we run the race to win the prize, we must follow the road signs as closely as possible. Just as it used to take time and effort to look at maps and lay out the best route to reach our destination rather than pushing a few buttons on our GPS and assuming it will guide us correctly, we must look at the map G-d has provided, His Torah, read it, study it, and follow it. We must resist attempts by the Adversary and his disciples who encourage us to take the path of least resistance and follow a route just because it is tradition or convenient. With this background information, we can now rest assured that the true biblical new year is Aviv/Nisan and continue our observance of the designated times of G-d.
For seven days we are commanded to eat matzah which starts on the 15th of Aviv/Nisan. This day starts the Feast of Unleavened Bread which lasts for seven days, taking us to the 21st of Aviv/Nisan. On the 15th around midnight, the people left with their dough wrapped and carried on their shoulders. There was no time for leavening so this fits in perfectly with G-d’s command that that the Pesach lamb was to be eaten with matzah (12:8).Because there are three designated Festivals running consecutively, I am going to jump to Leviticus 23 where we are introduced to another biblical complexity, when to celebrate the Feast of First Fruits. Starting at Leviticus Chapter 23:9-15 we read: “ Adonai said to Moshe, ‘ Tell the people of Israel, ‘After you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its ripe crops, you are to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the cohen. He is to wave the sheaf before Adonai, so that you will be accepted; the Cohen is to wave it on the day after the Shabbat. Then in verse 15 it reads : “ From the day after the day of rest- that is, from the day you bring the sheaf for waving- you are to count seven full weeks, until the day after the seventh week; you are to count 50 days; then you are to present a new grain offering to Adonai.”
The question in this case is to which Sabbath does this scripture refer? Pesach is a Sabbath, which according to the Dead Sea Scrolls would be on a Tuesday. The first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread that immediately follows Pesach is a Sabbath which would be a Wednesday, as is the seventh day of the same feast. This means there are three possibilities for when the Feast of First Fruits should be celebrated. According to the Essene calendar, this festival falls on the first day after the “regular Sabbath” which is on a Sunday (after the “day of rest” as it is written in Leviticus 23:15.
The analogy in this lesson introduced in our parashah in Sh’mot (Exodus) 12:1-34 and expounded upon in Leviticus 23 provides the information and validation needed to celebrate the first three Festivals of G-d with confidence that we observe them as close to the original calendar as possible in this current time in history. G-d honors a humble heart that seeks to please Him and follow His Torah. If there are any errors, may He correct us as He guides our path with His rod and staff, which comforts.
Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13-28
This haftarah compliments our parashah which describes the utter subjugation of Egypt with prophecy of another defeat that was to take place some 800 years later. Egypt was swept away by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar after a long competition for world domination. Jeremiah had another name for the king “ Nebuchadrezzer”, because of his eventual persecution and destruction of Israel. Jeremiah uses various similes describing Egypt’s hopelessness against Babylon, after making it clear that the reason for Babylon’s domination is because HaShem will buffet Egypt, rendering her haughtiness hopeless against the northern conqueror.
The good news at the end of the haftarah is that G-d assures that Jacob need not worry. His enemies will be destroyed although Jacob will be punished for past transgressions. His punishment will be done in a measured way. He will never be destroyed and when all his enemies are destroyed, he will survive, stronger than ever. The one condition is that Jacob is told to not fear but serve G-d because Israel’s destiny is dependent on service of G-d. If people who claim to be G-d’s servants truly submit to Him as their Master, they can feel secure that they will emerge triumphant. This “if-then” concept in our haftarah is consistent with the entirety of G-d’s Torah regarding our expected obedience out of love to G-d if we want to reach the finish line victorious.
Today we are going to look at Revelation 8:6-9:12; 16:1-21. Rev. 9:4 refers to “those who have not the seal of G-d on their foreheads…” This points us to Rev. 7 where the 144,000 are sealed with “the seal of the living Elohim”. In Rev. 14:1 we read that these 144,000 have “his [the Lamb’s] Father’s name written on their foreheads.” They are also described as “firstfruits unto G-d and to the Lamb” (Rev 14:4) (in Hebrew “firstfruits” and “firstborn” are the same word). Remember that Passover is to be a sign upon ones hand and forehead (Sh’mot 13:9, 16) and that at Passover the blood of the Lamb redeems the firstborn and protects them from the plague of the firstborn. The seal of the living G-d in Revelation is clearly connected to the mitzvot of Passover, the t’fillin and the mezuzah. This seems in Revelation to be contrasted with the “mark of the Beast” (Rev. 13:16-17; 14:9, 11; 20:4).
Now let us examine a related passage in Yechezk’el [Ezekiel] 9. Here YHVH sends and angelic being to set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof. Then He sends six beings with slaughter weapons to kill all of those that lack this mark. The being, which marked them then, goes before the throne of YHVH, takes fire and casts it down. This clearly parallels 7:1-8; 8:1-5. The question is: What are the “abominations” that the marked/sealed ones of Yechezk’el 9 are mourning about? The answer is found in the previous chapter.
Throughout Yechezk’el chapter eight we are told of various “abominations.” The first of these involves an “image of jealousy” (8:5-6). Scholars generally identify this as the idol of Astarte. Halley’s and Unger’s Bible Handbooks makes this identification. Astarte is also known as Ishtar and Easter. The next “abomination” involves men worshipping in the dark (8:7-12), and the next involved a woman “weeping for Tammuz” (8:13-14). Finally, we are shown men facing the east and worshipping the sun in the east (8:15-17). These images all point to observances in Christendom today. Roman Catholics commonly worship images of Mary whom they call “The Mother of God” (a title of the goddess Easter). There is a period of mourning for the dead deity (lent), a time in which altar candles are removed and the altar is dark, followed by rejoicing as his resurrection with a sunrise service. So, the ‘abominations” that those marked on their foreheads are mourning about involve the observance of Easter.
TAMMUZ (Tam’ muhz) -A Sumerian god of vegetation. The worship of Tammuz by women in Jerusalem was revealed as one of the abominations in Ezekiel (8:14-15). According to the pagan religion, Tammuz was betrayed by his lover, Ishtar, and as a result dies each autumn. The wilting of the vegetation at that time of year is seen as a sign of his death. This caused great mourning in the ancient world and was why the women in Jerusalem wept.
The English word “Easter” comes from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn. We can see this intentional mistranslation in the King James translation of the Bible. So, those with the seal of G-d are observing Passover and those that do not receive this seal are observing Easter, there is a clear relationship revealed in these passages as follows:
Passover-Seal of G-d T’fillin & Mezuzahs are literal manifestation of this seal; Easter-mark of the Beast( Time will tell what the actual mark is; whether it is physical, spiritual, or both.
In this new light let us reexamine our Torah passage.
And it [Passover] shall be a sign unto you upon your hand and for a memorial between your eyes… (Sh’mot 13:9)
And it [Passover] shall be a token upon your hand and for frontlets between your eyes…
The lesson to be learned is this: Passover is to be to us a memorial between our eyes, as a seal upon our foreheads and those with this seal should mourn because of the abomination of Easter and all it represents.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart