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 fact that this week’s parashah occurs in the first month of the Gregorian calendar provides a wonderful example of how far man has fallen from G-d’s sequence for the months of the year including the timing of significant biblical holy days. Establishing the true beginning of the year is important because of the Adversary’s and man’s intrusion into biblical timing. G-d’s talmidim (disciples) become aware as they learned that one of Hasatan’s objectives is to confuse people. Changing the times and seasons is one method that has proven very effective. A few examples include the Catholic Church claiming the authority to change the Sabbath to Sunday which includes many Christian denominations regardless of biblical proof to the contrary. 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. It is easy to think of days honoring specific events in history that have been changed for the convenience of man.
At 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 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 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. With G-d’s directive to establish the first month of the year as Aviv, also called Nissan, and the Essene calendar, we can rest assured we are starting the true biblical year according to G-d’s designation.
The import of the previous explanation concerning the importance of doing our best to discern the correct days and times of Adonai is this: if we want to follow G-d’s Torah as we run the race to win the prize, we must learn to 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 which may include friends and neighbors 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 (Ex. 12:15). This day which starts after Pesach at sundown is 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.
One final comment before we move on to the Haftarah concerning G-d’s continual intervention in our lives. This parashah is replete with events leading up to and including the Exodus that describe how G-d uses not only His own people to accomplish His will, but also uses our enemies. We must remember that Pharaoh hardened his heart throughout the plagues and judgements exercising his free-will given by G-d to all humans. Pharaoh’s selfishness and disregard for his own people is described as Exodus 10:7 describes “… don’t you understand yet that Egypt is being destroyed?” In Chapter 11 verse 3 we read “Adonai made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people [Israelites]. Moreover, Moshe was regarded by Pharaoh’s servants and the people as a very great man in the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh’s hardness of heart against the G-d of Israel is implied in Chapter 10 verses 16-17 where he refers to G-d as “your G-d” yet he asks Moshe for a blessing when he finally relented and allowed them to leave. Furthermore, his lack of belief that the G-d of Israel is the one true G-d, Pharaoh asks Moshe for forgiveness only asking that Moshe intercede on his behalf to have G-d remove the locusts.
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. According to an article posted on January 7,2024 by Israel 365, the real enemy and conqueror of the United States will be the Ukraine which the author of the article believes will be occupied by Russia.
“Indeed, Russia has been identified as the ‘threat from the north” by other
prophecies as well. When describing the participants of the pre -Messiah
War of Gog and Magog, Ezekiel warns of “the chief prince of Meshech and
Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2 (http://theisraelbible.com/bible/Ezekiel-38/#verse_2)). In
Hebrew, the word ‘chief’ is rosh, which is similar to the word ‘Russia’ and has
been interpreted by many to refer to Russia (https//israel365news.com/351665/mystic-rabbis-century-old-prediction-russia-to-invade-israel-in-gog-magog-war-fm-opens-door-to-make-it-a-reality/).
The prophecy was originally made by Rabbi Elijah of Vilna ( https://israel365news.com/344855/russia-just-invaded-ukraine-this-iconic-rabbi-predicted-it-will-bring-the-messiah/)also known as the Vilna Gaon), a Jewish scholar form the 18th century who is well known for his contributions in understanding the Messianic process….
The announcement of the Messianic revelation, originally publicized by Rabbi Lazer Brody, stated, “When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard. And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople [today’s Istanbul], you should put on your Shabbat clothes and don’t take them off, because it means that the Messiah is about to come any minute.”
The good news at the end of the haftarah is that G-d assures that Jacob(Israel) 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.
Reading 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 one’s 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 tefillin 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 Tefillin & 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…
Passover is to be 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. Furthermore, according to history and prophecy in G-d’s Torah, things are going to get much harder for believers as we plummet towards the Messiah’s return. We must learn to “read” and follow the “road signs” G-d provides for us in His Torah. He will see His people through to victory in the future just as he delivered the obedient Israelites out of spiritual and physical Egypt. Then as now, we must be at the ready to follow Him quickly, perhaps in an “eat and run “scenario. Only time will tell.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart