Sunday, February 7, 2016

Trust and Obedience

This week's Torah portion is Exodus 13:17 - 17:16.

Pharaoh had finally decided to let Moses and the Israelite people leave the land of Egypt! It took ten horrific plagues to convince Pharaoh, but they were free! However, shortly after starting out on their journey to the Promised Land, Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army after them. Eventually the Israelites encamped by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon. There was no way to move further and the Egyptians blocked them from behind.

Moses said to the people, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace (Exodus 14:13,14, KJV)."

Our powerful God then parted the sea and allowed the Israelites to pass through on dry ground. When the Egyptians attempted to follow, the sea returned to its normal course and drowned all the Egyptians. God had fought for His people and had kept His Word.

After witnessing such an amazing event, it seems impossible that the Israelites would ever doubt God again. Yet, they did. Three days after the parting of the sea, the people murmured against Moses because of a lack of drinkable water. God met their need and then said, "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee (Exodus 15:26, KJV)."

But even this second miracle did not keep the people from murmuring. About a month later they complained about their lack of food.

God said, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily (Exodus 16:4,5, KJV)."

Now the Israelites had a dependable source of food. Did they trust God? No. "And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, 'How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day (Exodus 16 27-29, KJV).'"

Even after all of God's care for His people they continued to complain and to disregard His laws.

But before we cast any disparaging comments on the Israelites' lack of trust and obedience, we need to ask ourselves about our own condition. If we have been saved by the grace of God through faith in Yeshua, God expects us to trust Him no matter what our circumstances may appear to be. He also expects us to obey His commands. He doesn't expect us to obey in order for us to be saved by them, but our obedience is the evidence that we have been saved. Are we obedient to the laws of God? If we are not, we must surely question our salvation.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Passover in the Millennial Kingdom

This week's Torah portion is Exodus 10:1-13:16.

In this week's portion we find the account of the Passover, the event, that in many ways, defines the Jewish people. God intended this to be so. He commanded that afterwards the Passover would be kept as a reminder of the event and the Jewish people have faithfully carried out God's command.

Exodus 12:42,47-50 (KJV)
42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

What is interesting to note is that it was not only Jewish people who kept the Passover, but any stranger that sojourned among the Israelites. This meant that all the mixed multitude (Exodus 12:38) that came out of Egypt and stayed with the Israelites were expected to keep the Passover. There was one stipulation, though, and that was that all the males had to be circumcised. It didn't matter if you were Jewish or not. The whole congregation was under the same law.

Since then Christianity has pretty much maintained that circumcision and the observance of the Passover are only obligations for the Jews. Yet, this poses a problem for Christians in the future if they want to participate in the Passover.

Ezekiel 44:9 (KJV)
9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.

Ezekiel is talking about a time future when the Temple will be rebuilt. Likely this is referring to the Millennial Kingdom that Yeshua will establish on the earth after His return. No uncircumcised man, Jewish or not, will be allowed into the Temple. This is where God will dwell again and believers will want to participate in that Temple worship. Being banned from entering would be devastating!

Ezekiel 45:21 (KJV)
21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.

Again, Ezekiel is referring to the Passover and when that will be observed in the Millennial Kingdom. As believers wouldn't we want to observe the Passover, too?

Even Paul seemed to be in agreement when he stated:

1 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV)
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Although Paul was comparing leavened bread with malice and wickedness, and unleavened bread with sincerity and truth, he wasn't telling them that the Passover was some spiritual allegory. He told them to observe the Passover IN THE CORRECT RIGHTEOUS MINDSET.

Circumcision and the Passover are not just for the Jews, but for all the believers who call upon the name of Yeshua.