The exodus experience
Recently I was meditating on how central the “baptism” experience is to New Covenant faith (Acts 2:38 -“Repent and be immersed everyone of you…”). It seemed as central as … as … and then it hit me: as central as crossing the Red Sea was for the people of ancient Israel. Immersion in water is not a foreign Gentile ritual, but a symbolic experience rooted in the Exodus from Egypt.
This viewpoint is essential to understanding the teachings of Yeshua and the disciples. They saw the Torah (Law of Moses) as a model of what is to happen in the life of each believer. What happened to Israel nationally is supposed to happen to us individually. What happened to Israel historically is to happen to us spiritually.
This is parallel to the rabbinic concept that each time a Jewish family eats the Passover, they are to see themselves as re-enacting the exodus, being delivered from Egypt themselves. It is also parallel to the Kabbalah (Jewish mystical) concept that all Jewish souls were present at the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai.
Over 40 years ago, I started doing “Messiah in the Passover” demonstrations as a young believer in full time “Messianic” ministry. We would show all the parallels in the traditional Passover seder to the Last Supper of Yeshua. However the New Covenant writings take the idea much deeper.
Israel had not only to apply the blood, they also had to cross the waters of the Red Sea (Yam Suf). There is a play on words here as the Hebrew also means the “Sea of the End”. As essential to the exodus is the parting of the Red Sea, so is it essential for everyone to pass through his own “waters of exodus” through the baptism.
Through these waters, we “exit” our old life. We are separated from the influence of sinful “Egyptian” society; we are separated from our past, separated from our identity as slaves. Our demonic oppressors are crushed in a moment by the waters of immersion. We experience our own exodus into freedom.
At Mt. Sinai, Israel received the Law on tablets of stone. At Mt. Golgoleth we are to receive the Law on the tablets of our hearts. That IS the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:33 – “For THIS IS the covenant I will cut with the house of Israel… I will give My Torah within them and on their hearts I will write it.“) As the old generation died out in the wilderness, so is our “old nature” to die as we walk with the Lord.
We are to drink spiritual water from the rock (I Corinthians 10); we are to eat the revelatory manna from heaven (John 6); we are to follow the cloud of the Holy Spirit (Numbers 9). As Israel was 40 years in the wilderness, so Yeshua fasted 40 days in the desert (Matthew 4). As Israel went down to Egypt, so did Yeshua go to Egypt as a baby (Matthew 2:15).
As Israel also passed through the waters of the Jordan, so are we to receive our second baptism, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5 – “For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit in not many days.“) As Israel possessed the Promised Land, so are we to possess the earth, possess the promises. (Interestingly, the name “Canaan” comes from the Hebrew root word for “submission”.) We are to drive out evil powers and principalities, as Israel drove out the evil giants of the land.
The universal pattern of the Torah is re-enacted in our lives, as we believe in the blood of the Lamb, cross through the waters of separation, and receive the instruction of God’s word. To God, the Law and the Gospels are part of the same plan and the same purpose. When you see the unity of the two parts, the whole body of scripture is more understandable.
Through Yeshua, we enter into the revelatory meaning of the Torah; by faith, we live out the spiritual experience of the Exodus.
This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, March 12, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
Mysteries in the Word
Parashat Tazria (She conceives)
Vayikra (Leviticus) 12:1–13:8
This week’s portion opens with an interesting yet mysterious ritual, which is actually the entire 12th chapter of Leviticus:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘When a woman gives birth and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean for seven days, as in the days of her menstruation she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall remain in the blood of her purification for thirty-three days; she shall not touch any consecrated thing, nor enter the sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean for two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall remain in the blood of her purification for sixty-six days. And when the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting, a one year old lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. ‘Then he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, whether a male or a female. ‘But if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”
This is a difficult and mysterious text, which has left many commentators and teachers a bit baffled. The mystery in this portion of Scripture is connected to the time of purification after the birth of a male (40 days), whereas the purification time after the birth of a female is double that – 80 days. While I do not want to try to offer an explanation as to why God required double the amount of time for purification after the birth of a female child, I do want to focus on how it connects to the Hebrew word, “תַזְרִ֔יעַ” (tazria). In Leviticus 12, the word “תזריע” tazria is mistranslated in the English as “gives birth”. In reality, the most precise translation of this word is “to conceive a seed”. The root word here is “zera”, which literally means “seed”.
When the word “seed” is mentioned in the Scriptures, we should recognize that it carries with it a prophetic element, pointing to both Messiah and Israel as a nation.
We also find it in Genesis 1:11, which specifically pertains to vegetation: “Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth’; and it was so.” We see that the purpose here is to bear fruit, be plentiful, and to be a blessing.
Speaking about producing fruit and being a blessing, God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:2–3:
And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
And later again in Genesis 12:7:
And the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your seed I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.
While the ultimate seed of blessing is the Messiah, we can also find a deep connection between the seed, the land and the blessing, which is always connected to Israel. That is the reason that in our portion it is also written, “And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised,” which is a sign that the baby boy has joined the people of Israel:
This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.
God’s promise to Abraham is very present in our Scripture portion for this week, even though we may not be able to immediately recognize it! As we dig deep into the Word, we find some amazing treasures, don’t we?
I would like to close with one last thought from our portion. As I mentioned before, the purity period for a woman who gave birth was either 40 or 80 days. The number 40 symbolizes transition in the Scriptures, which is a reflection of the incredible journey a woman takes when she brings another life into the world. Once again, we see amazing continuity and connection in God’s Word!
Dig deep into His Word, ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and you will find some amazing insights and treasures!
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
Mark’s proclamation hidden in plain sight
At the very beginning of the book of Mark, we read of a number of miracles that Yeshua (Jesus) performed. One of those was the cleansing of the man with Tza-arat (the leper). The following verses tell of the event:
Mark 1:40 A man with tza’arat comes to Him, begging Him and falling on his knees, saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Yeshua stretched out His hand and touched him. He said, “I am willing. Be cleansed.” 42 Immediately, the tza’arat left him, and he was cleansed. 43 Yeshua sent him away at once, sternly warning him. 44 He said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go show yourself to the kohen. Then, for your cleansing, offer what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Leprosy in the Bible is viewed as a result of sin and not simply a disease. As we recall in the book of Numbers 12 when Miriam speaks out sinfully against Moses and is struck with tza-arat. The understanding of tza-arat being caused by sin is why when this man came to Yeshua. He was asking to be made clean and not asking to be healed. This is also why when Yeshua touched him, He proclaimed that the man was cleansed.
To often in our hurried reading of the Scriptures we don’t notice what words were used in the text, and in missing these word choices we also miss some of the most powerful messages in the text. In this case, when we miss the use of the word “clean,” instead of “healed,” we miss our introduction into the priesthood of Yeshua, and we are blinded to the depth of this miracle. In order to fully understand the cleansing of the man with Tza-arat, we have to turn back in our Bibles to the book of Leviticus chapter 14 where Israel is provided the commandments concerning the purification or cleansing of one with tza-arat. In these five verses in Mark, we are introduced to Yeshua as a priest in the order of Melechizedek. Because only a priest can pronounce someone with tza-arat clean. When we miss the word choice used in these verses we miss the entire message of Mark chapter 1. Mark purposefully introduces his readers to Yeshua as Messiah, by revealing examples of Yeshua fulfilling the 6 prophesied roles of the Messiah.
In Mark 1:1-8 Yeshua is revealed as a Prophet.
In Mark 1:8-13 Yeshua is revealed as the Son of G-D.
In Mark 1:14-20 Yeshua is revealed as one like Moses a delivering leader.
In Mark 1:21-28 Yeshua is revealed as King of All with complete authority.
In Mark 1:29-39 Yeshua is revealed as our Healer.
In Mark 1:40-45 Yeshua is revealed as our Priest.
In the very first chapter, Mark establishes the Messiahship of Yeshua by provided examples of Yeshua fulfilling every role required for Him to be the Messiah. Yet because most readers today don’t pay attention to the words in the text most do not understand how powerful Mark’s first chapter really is.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, God Has No Plan "B", and his most recent book Galatians in Context.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
Revelation 1:7 destroys Replacement Theology
Replacement theology or Supersessionism teaches that the New Covenant, through Jesus, supersedes the Old Covenant, which was made exclusively with the Jewish people. The Church is the new Israel. God’s covenant to Israel, despite being reaffirmed over and over again in the Old and New Covenant, is now null and void, according their beliefs. The Jews broke that covenant and God is finished with them forever.
Individual Jews can find salvation in Jesus, but God’s plans for Israel (as a nation) have been replaced by His plan for the church. All the promises of blessing to Israel in the Old Covenant now belong to the church.
However, there is a little passage in the first chapter of Revelation that throws a monkey wrench into replacement theology:
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen. (Rev. 1:7)
These are John’s opening words to the seven churches of Asia. This was written at a time when there was much deeper unity than today. You could simply write to the Church at Ephesus and know that all believers in Ephesus would be included.
In speaking of the coming of Yeshua, John draws upon the words of the Hebrew prophets, Daniel and Zechariah. First, he quotes Daniel:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Dan. 7:13-14)
For those who embrace replacement theology, this first reference to the Hebrew prophets is not so problematic. Even if God has rejected Israel in favor of the Church, Yeshua is still coming back in the clouds. But the second reference, in Zechariah, clearly points to Jewish people in Jerusalem recognizing Yeshua.
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look onme, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zech. 12:10)
This is extremely close to John’s words.
- Every eye will see him. / They will look on me.
- Even those who pierced Him. / The one they have pierced (John uses the same Greek word for pierced as he uses when quoting Zech. 12:10 in John 19:37).
- And all peoples on earth will mourn because of him. / They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.
All Earth or All Israel?
You might say, “But it says all the peoples on earth, not just Israel.” Maybe, but some scholars interpret the Greek differently. In Greek, it literally says, not peoples on earth, but tribes of the land.Dr. David Stern, editor of the Complete Jewish Bible translates it this way: “all the tribes of the Land will mourn him.”
He concludes, as do other scholars, that the word “Land” used here is specific to the “Land of Israel”. In Hebrew, we often refer to Israel as simply, Ha’aretz—the Land. In fact, this phrase is used even more commonly than the name Israel. If I want to ask a friend if he is in the country, it would be just as natural, if not more so, for me to say, Ata b’aretz? Are you in the Land? That would be more natural than asking if someone was in Israel.
Of course this lines up with Romans 11:26 which prophesies a national revival in Israel, “and this, all Israel will be saved,” after “the fullness of Gentiles.” (v. 25) Without going too deep in end-times prophecy, some think the fullness of Gentiles is the end of the world domination by the nations under the antichrist, while others, like me, see it as the Gospel touching every nation—something, according to Matthew 24:14, that must happen before Yeshua returns. Both theories put this massive Jewish revival just before, or even at, Yeshua’s return.
John is quoting Zechariah, saying that at the coming of Yeshua, those who pierced him in the Land of Israel will mourn over this fact and it will lead to national revival (see Zech. 13:1). Also, while it is possible that every eye around the world would supernaturally see Yeshua coming, it is a fact that the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Zech. 12:10a) will see Him as He returns specifically to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:3-4) just east of the city.
At the very least, it has a double meaning, as prophecy often does, of the Jewish people seeing and receiving Him, as well as people all over the world.
John and the Hebrew Prophets
From this verse, we can conclude that John affirms the prophecies of the Hebrew prophets:
- He comes in the clouds.
- The people of Jerusalem will see Him.
- They will mourn over their past rejection of Him.
- He returns to physical, national Israel.
- They receive him (as Yeshua says in Matt. 23:39 as they say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”).
This refutes replacement theology, which has no place for the end-time revival in Israel that the prophets predicted over and over (because replacement theology has no place for Israel at all!). You would think that both the fact that Israel has been restored as a nation (as the prophets said) and that Jewish people are turning to Yeshua more and more (as the prophets said) would cause those who believe that God is finished with Israel to rethink their position. We pray that they do.
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, April 4, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
”This is what YHVH says: As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance I gave my people Israel, I will uproot them from their lands and I will uproot the people of Judah from among them…” – *Jeremiah 12:14-17
From our home in the mountains of Judah we hear the rumble of the long-range missile strike from Gaza. Then there is nothing left of the Islamic hatred but a twisted tangle of metal and the smoldering ruins of an Israeli home on the Mediterranean coastal plain where a family of seven were asleep. By some kind of miracle the family was able to scramble to their shelter and were not killed, though they sustained injures, and their dogs were killed.
But I must correct myself, as the Islamic hatred remains fully intact from Gaza to Lebanon to Syria all the way across the Fertile Crescent to Iran, who regularly declares their intent of wiping the one Jewish state from the world map.
But the surreal part of all this is that there is no media coverage until Israel responds to the missile attacks in defense of its civilian population, and then the world, including that august body called the UN, savagely condemns Israel for “war crimes”. The Israeli air force proceeded a nighttime strike on Hamas centers of weapons manufacturing and empty offices of the Hamas leadership, and that not before “knocking” first, dropping small charges to warn any within to exit. There were no reported casualties.
Never mind that Israel fourteen years earlier completely withdrew from Gaza in a “land for peace” experiment. The land was given, but instead of peace in return the land was used for launching regular missile strikes into Israeli civilian population centers. Then Israel set up closure and control of the Gaza sea port to prevent shipments of Iranian high-end missiles and weaponry to be delivered.
Now for one year the Gaza population has been rioting weekly and throwing their children against the border fence of Israel, sending fire on kites into Israeli farms and forests, destroying thousands of acres of the Holy Land they so much “love.” It is what they have declared their “right of return”. But the young people being wounded and killed by the army defending our borders do not remember when that border was open to them to come into Israel to work and shop- until they began their campaign of suicide of bombing Israeli buses, restaurants and places of entertainment. After which Israel decided to close the border.
But facts of history are lost in the fog of propaganda and rhetoric. And few have bothered to read the very charter of the ruling Hamas organization, which declares its irredentist position of never recognizing the State of Israel, and their intent of reclaiming all of “Palestine” as their own. And fewer yet have read their motivating text, the Quran, that sanctifies the Jihad- holy war- against the infidels as their duty in this lovely world in which we all live.
*“…But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as YHVH lives’ -even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal- then they will be established among my people. But if that nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares YHVH”.
Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.