Parasha #15

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 Parashah #15: Bo (Go)

(Exodus 10:1 – 13:16)

Additional Readings:
Jer. 46:13-28; Luk. 2:22-24; Joh. 19:31-37; Act. 13:16-17; Rev. 8:6-9:12; 16:1-21

Previous parashah recap – we read of the first seven calamities that God inflicted upon Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery.

  • In this week’s Parashah, God sends the most devastating and final three plagues: locusts, darkness, and death of the firstborn.

  • After the final plague Pharaoh finally gives in, bringing to pass the Exodus of the Hebrews. But what was the purpose of the Ten Plagues? To pressure Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free? Perhaps, but God is fully capable of setting His people free without a king’s permission.

  • We see in this Parashah and the last, that God does not see the Egyptians simply as an enemy to be overcome; rather, He is committed to communicating something vital to them. In Exo. 12:12, He says “…I will execute judgement against all the gods of Egypt…” – remember that in a previous Parashah we talked about how pharaoh thought himself to be God. So the plagues demonstrated God’s supremacy and judgement over all the false gods of Egypt.

  • Exo. 5:2 – When Moses first asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, he responded that he didn’t know Adonai. The God of Israel wants everyone to know who He is. And He wanted to make sure that Pharaoh and all of Egypt knew Him too. He even told Pharaoh that He was sending the powerful plague of hail so that he would know there is none like Adonai in all the earth (Exo. 9:14).

  • In the end, Pharaoh did come to realise the power of the God of Israel. But God was not only concerned about the beliefs of the Egyptians. The Torah indicates that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to demonstrate His power to all the nations and the powerlessness of their false gods. God does not want to be known only to the one nation of Israel either, He wants His name to be proclaimed in every nation on earth (Exo. 9:16). And God certainly did make Himself known to Pharaoh through the final three plagues.

  • Plague of locusts – They devoured all the crops and vegetation of Egypt that remained after the hail (including all the seeds, according to the account of Josephus, so that Egypt would not quickly recover from the plagues). Even though locusts are driven by the wind, a plague of locusts can be so devastating that it cuts off the light of the sun and wipes out the food supply of the affected area. In the Book of Joel, this plague makes another appearance, ravaging the land. The Prophet Joel links it to sin and the Last Days, exhorting Israel to repent and return to the Lord. Locusts are also mentioned in the New Testament as one of the end-time plagues upon the earth (Rev. 9:3-4).

  • With the ninth plague of darkness, Adonai delivered a crushing blow to the worship of the Egyptian sun god, ‘Ra’, demonstrating the folly of believing in idols and mythical deities. Although the Egyptians were plunged into total darkness, the Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings in the land of Goshen. The LXX adds to the darkness of this plague, storms or hurricanes, no wonder the Egyptians stayed in bed for 3 days!

  • Today, there are so many reports of evil, and many are fearful of what may come upon us. Nevertheless, even when there is total, paralysing darkness with the rambling of mighty storms in the world, we can still have light in our dwellings, just as the Israelites had in Goshen. While everyone outside the shelter of God’s covenant live in ever deepening darkness, especially as the end of the age approaches, the light of Believers in Yeshua shines ever more brightly (Pro. 4:18). Sadly, far too many of us who have been set free from darkness to live in the light, wilfully stumble in the darkness of unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment. We must determine to let these go and walk in God’s holy Light.

  • Just as paralysing darkness fell on Egypt, many in the world will one day experience a great, devastating darkness (which is one of the end-time plagues) But even that will not convince the servants of Satan to repent and turn to the Maker of All (Rev. 16:10-11).

  • When Pharaoh still refused to repent and relent after the Plague of Darkness, God sent the tenth and most devastating plague — the Striking of the Firstborn of Egypt. Egypt’s king refused to let God’s firstborn (Israel) go, so God took Pharaoh’s firstborn and those of his loyal subjects.

  • It is time for us to stop cursing the darkness and instead, start living in the light. Instead of complaining, murmuring, and finding fault with the darkness of “Egypt” (the world), we should be all that God has made us to be, shining as lights in the midst of a dark and perverse generation (Php. 2:14–15). And if we think that we do not know the Word enough to be a bright light, we must remember that even the smallest of lights shine brilliantly in the darkest of places.

  • The Bible says that the wicked stumble in the darkness and do not even know what makes them trip (Pro. 4:19). When people are in complete darkness, they cannot perceive anything outside themselves. In this state of darkness, it is easy to live in a stingy and completely self-centered world. Often a symptom of this darkness is using people for self-benefit. But God’s presence in our lives promotes a kind of love that is giving, not self-seeking (1 Cor. 13:5). We need Yeshua, the Light of the World, to set us free from our own preoccupation with ourselves so that we may truly love our neighbour.

  • On that note it is important to change the culture we have, to put in place the fruits of righteousness, which are being expressed through the washing of each other’s feet (Jam. 5:7-16). Verses 7 to 15 hang on the verse 16 which is very badly translated; it reads as such in Greek:

    exomologeo (verb in the present, imperative of the second person of the plural) you confess/acknowledge;

    allelon (plural reciprocal noun, male gender) with one another/to one another/together/mutually/reciprocally;

    to (accusative, plural, neuter gender) the (it’s accusative and neutral so it can’t be “your” for the prior part was male);

    paraptoma (noun, accusative, plural, neuter gender) errors/transgressions/offences/sins/trespasses (the gender being neuter it means, in general, not specifically yours).

  • After the rest of the translation is correct.

  • So the proper rending is:

  • Confess with one another (the) offences and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

  • The ‘one another’ is to be in line with Moses example and what the NT gives us of the order of things:

    • based on Exo. 4:14, 28; 18:21 at a congregation or group level (for ministry matters), each person goes to their heads (deacons, and appointed leaders);

    • based on 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-23; 6:1; Col. 3:20; Num. 30:3-8 at a family level (for family matters), the wife goes to the husband, the children to either parent (it would be preferable to go to the father though);

    • based on Moses example of going to the Lord when he had no one else to go to; 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23-24 the husbands and single men go to Yeshua;

    • based on all above; Eph. 5:21; Num. 30:9 a family matter for an individual being a single female with no proper headship can be handed down as per congregation matters.

Also we can all be there for one another if need be in times of doubts as to whom to go to.

After confessing to one another, pray for one another, using the appropriate scriptures to bring understanding and relief, the whole based on specific forgiveness scriptures (Mat. 18:1-35, especially v.18-19; Joh. 20:21-23).

  • God will treat the nations (and individuals) as they have treated Israel! He acts on behalf of His people, and judgement will fall on the enemies of Israel.

  • Pharaoh remained unmoved, stubborn, and proud as the rest of the land suffered under God’s hand, but when God struck down his firstborn son, the hardness of his heart was broken. How tragic that it took the death of Pharaoh’s own child to bring him to the place of humility and submission where he was willing to let God’s people go.

May our hearts be soft toward the leading of the Holy Spirit so that God will never need to use increasingly painful disciplinary measures to break through our stubborn and wilful pride and bring us into a holy place before Him.

  • It’s important to note how God dealt personally with Pharaoh, for He will deal with every individual the same way in order to break our pride and stubbornness. And the longer we take to yield to the Lord, the more severe our personal trials will be; remembering that with Pharaoh, it ended with his own death – We know that the bible says the wages of sin is death; if we don’t turn away from our sin and are unwilling to completely yield to the Lord, death is in store for us – Also, we can see with the different plagues, that at times, Pharaoh yielded through fear, or put his own conditions on yielding to God, and that is clearly not acceptable to the Lord. So let’s think about what God is doing in our lives, repent, turn from our wrong ways and follow Him and His commandments whole heartedly! Not yielding out of fear but rather out of love for God and a desire to please Him. Our walk is not about casting out demons and devils, but about putting our lives straight; to be Holy, for our God is Holy.

  • Last week, we saw the spiritual significance of the first 7 plagues and how to use them on Pharaoh/the world system. Today, we have the last, and most powerful 3:

    1. Locusts – using the locusts against Pharaoh finishes removing all his resources, and therefore all that he can use against us. Furthermore, he cannot rebuild quickly;

    2. Darkness – with the plague of darkness we can cut Pharaoh and all his servants off from each other and force them to make mistakes, to stumble, and stop all activities;

    3. Death of the first born – finally with the last plague we can bring to an end what the kingdom of darkness is trying to birth, by exposing where the corruption originated from, and then we can unravel all the power of the enemy, bringing its attacks to naught.

  • To go back to the story, Moses prepared the people of Israel for this final judgement on Egypt by instructing them:

    • First to ask the Egyptians for their gold and silver (once before them leaving and a second time as they were leaving), by which Egypt found itself plundered. The Egyptians gave all what they were asked because the Lord made them favourably disposed towards the Hebrews (Exo. 11:3). So as we can see the Egyptian’s view of the Hebrews was completely different than the views held by Pharaoh and his officials towards them. And we see the same with the way Moses himself was viewed, which by the way corroborates Josephus’ account of Moses having been a mighty man of war who saved Egypt from Ethiopia (that’s why he was so liked).

    • Second to sacrifice a lamb and to put its blood on the tops and sides of their doors.

      It is interesting to note here than most of the translations are faulty about the animals chosen for sacrifice (Exo. 12:5). The wording is actually quite clear, the sacrificial young animal (proper translation of the Hebrew word seh) was to be either a lamb or a kid; both were acceptable, and I personally wonder if, beside pointing towards the coming of our Saviour, this didn’t point also to the fact that the kingdom of God is made of wheat and tares, the latter to be destroyed at the end of this age in judgement.

    • The blood of the Passover lamb was the sign that caused the judgement to “pass over” the Israelites, sparing them from suffering the wrath of God that fell upon the Egyptians.

      It is the same today with Yeshua’s sacrifice for us. As we keep ourselves under the New Covenant we have with our Lord, we will stand protected too (Rev. 12:10-11). The blood of our Saviour is what keeps us safe and makes us victorious.

  • Moses leads the children of Israel out of Egypt, and the Lord gives them the ordinances of the Passover. Thus the Lord did all He had promised; not one Word that the Lord had spoken was left unfulfilled. We may also trust in God’s faithfulness, power and mercy now, and in the days to come.

  • As believers in Christ we are to commemorate the Passover, since it foreshadows Yeshua the Messiah, the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed in order to spare us from God’s judgement and wrath poured on the world (that’s what salvation is about: Joh. 3:17; Rom. 13:11; 1 The. 5:8-9; Rev. 12:10). It is the first of the seven feasts of the Lord throughout the year. Each one of them represents an event concerning God, an event to be set in motion to bring His reign back on earth. Each one of these feasts is announced by the blowing of a trumpet and reminds us of an OT deed whilst pointing to a NT fulfilment. As we learn about their meaning in the OT and how they are fulfilled in the NT, we get the assurance that what is left to be fulfilled, will be so, and in the same fashion and fullness. It’s also a great way to teach our children about God’s plan.

  • In here we see that the young of a sheep or a goat without blemish had to be selected on the 10th of the first month to be sacrificed on the 14th. So the Hebrews had to go out through their herds to find the perfect sacrifice. Then they had to separate that one to be sacrificed on the afternoon of the 14th day of that month (3 and a half days after having chosen it). Jesus’ ministry on earth was 3 and a half years. He also was separated and led to be sacrificed. Like the sacrificial lamb, He was bled first, none of His bones were broken, and, after being completely roasted through fire (the trials of persecutions), at the end there was nothing of Him left (pointing to His resurrection).

  • We are told in this portion of the Torah about the redemption of the firstborn males (animals and sons) (Exo. 13:11-13). Because God spared the firstborn Hebrew sons from the 10th plague, we find in this Torah portion the command to consecrate or set apart for Him every firstborn male. That is what redeem means: to consecrate for God. This consecration had to be through paying a ransom price in order to be purified. However, the firstborn sons ended up worshipping the Golden Calf along with most of Israel, so they forfeited their right to serve God in the Temple. God, instead, gave that right to the tribe who did not worship the Calf — the Levites. But later on, even the Levites went into following idols. So Yeshua came to shed His blood as the ransomed price which redeemed all who would follow Him (Rev. 5:9). Therefore, what was meant for the firstborn of Israel then became available to any who come to Jesus. This means we are able to take over from the Levites and become a royal priesthood, just as the word says.

  • 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23 – We have been consecrated to God, for doing the works He has for us; not to continue in sin, and certainly not to do our own thing or what we want or think He wants us to do.

  • Before finishing we read that the time in Egypt was 430 years (Exo. 12:40-41). But this is not right, the NT teaches us that from Abraham to the departure of Egypt was 430 years (Gal. 3:16-17), and this is again corroborated by the LXX and Josephus. So all the time spent in bondage in Egypt, as rightfully stated by Josephus was of 215 years (Ant. of the Jews, Book 2, cha. 15, par. 2).

  • Exo. 13:9 – Let’s look at the binding of these commandments on our arms, hearts and heads. This is part of our corporate prayer and needs to be explained a bit: Tefillin (phylacteries) are a set of little black boxes containing Scriptures connected by straps. The boxes are worn on the forehead and arm, and straps are wound around the arm and fingers. This custom serves as a reminder to submit one’s head (thoughts), heart (feelings), and hands (actions) to the Lord.

    1. To place frontlets (tefillin) on the head (Deu. 6:8) – we are to renew our thought processes according to the commandments of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:2-3; Heb. 8:10; 10:16; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23);

    2. To tie frontlets (tefillin) on the arm (Deu. 6:8) – we are to show the Lord through all our actions; everything we do needs to be in accordance with the Torah of God. (Rom. 2:13; Jam. 1:22-25);

    3. To tie tassels (tzitzit) to the fringes of our garments (Num. 15:38) – the tassels are white, representing righteousness and the fruit of the Spirit; each tassel is bound by a blue strand, representing Yeshua and His love. (Mat. 9:20, 14:36; Mar. 6:56; Luk. 8:44; Mat. 23:5; Col. 3:10-16; Eph. 4:24; Rom. 13:14; 1 Pet. 3:4).

  • According to Scripture, in the last days, the anti-Christ will attempt to force all people to put his mark, rather than the Word of God, on their hand or foreheads, thereby usurping the mark of the rightful place of God in our lives (Rev. 13:16–17). Nevertheless, those who love God will resist evil and glorify His name till the end.

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