The Most Important End-Time Prophecy in the Bible

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, that’s a rather ambitious title. But I think it’s true. I think that there’s a particular prophecy that ultimately answers all of the arguments of both preterism and supercessionism. It also stands as a stark warning to the Church.

To set understand why this particular prophecy is so important, first you have to understand the context of the Curse of the Law, which I’ve spent quite some time going over. To reiterate briefly, the Curse of the Law that Paul talks about in Galatians 3 is not, contrary to popular conception, the curse that comes from “seeking to be justified by yielding obedience to the Law – whether the moral law, or the ceremonial law” (Barnes’ Notes to Gal. 3:10). Rather, Paul’s concern is that many Gentile converts were being convinced that they needed to be circumcised into the covenant of Moses (as we explain here).

However, the covenant of Moses, as laid out in the book of Deuteronomy, had been broken some seven hundred years earlier, and like all covenants at the time it was written, it had very specific punishments, a curse, that would befall those who broke it. This curse specifies two distinct exiles: The first would be to a single nation (Assyria for the northern kingdom, Babylon for Judah), while in the second,

the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, which you have not known, you nor your fathers, even wood and stone. Among these nations you shall find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of your foot: but the LORD will give you there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and pining of soul; and your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you shall fear night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. (Deu. 28:64-66)

This cannot refer to the Babylonian exile (cf. Jer. 29:5-7), but does describe perfectly the Galut of the last two thousand years.

R0UR328.pngThe problem with preterism and supercessionism is that they stop the story there: The Jews are cursed and punished, and all of their promises were given to the Church. Therefore, if a Jew wishes to be saved, he must leave the Jews and become a Christian. This is a false gospel, as we’ve said before, resulting in a Judenrein Christianity. But, as it turns out, it’s also just plain bad exegesis.

The preterist, who believes that most or all prophecy points towards the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 CE does have a certain amount of evidence on his side. After all, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t believe it. They point out that as you go through the hundreds of quotes from and allusions to the Old Testament in Revelation, you find that most of them point you to the punishment of Israel for her sins. I’ve thought about quoting some examples, but it’s not really necessary–because I agree with them!

That may surprise you. How can I agree with those who think Revelation is a prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction and still believe it’s primarily about the last few years before and during a future Second Coming?

The answer is, to bring us back to the title of this post, because of the Most Important End-Times Prophecy in the Bible. Which isn’t in Revelation, or Daniel, or Isaiah, or anywhere you might think.

It’s in the Torah:

It shall happen, when all these things have come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where the LORD your God has driven you, and shall return to the LORD your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; that then the LORD your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where the LORD your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will the LORD your God gather you, and from there he will bring you back: and the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.

The LORD your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live. The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. (Deu. 30:1-7)

We’ll demonstrate that the curse has already either begun to come to an end or has ended already in the next post. For now, let’s look at the last two verses.

Shoah PitIt might be tempting to think that all of the things outlined above must happen in the space of a day, or a few days, but that’s not the way the prophets understood them. To take just two examples: Ezekiel’s “Vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones” (ch. 37) describes Israel’s return happening in phases: First, Israel would be reduced to “dry bones” (which took place horrifyingly literally during the Holocaust). The bones rise and form healthy bodies, “but there was no Spirit in them” (v. 8). Only after Israel is brought back “into the Land of Israel” (v. 12) will Hashem put his Spirit in the people (v. 14a), which of course is what circumcises the heart (Rom. 2:29, Php. 3:3).

After this, “I will place you on your own land” (v. 14b). This may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t. In verse 12, Israel is “brought” (heiveyti, from bo, “come”) to the Land, but it isn’t until after the Spirit is given that Israel is “placed” there. The word “placed” is hinachti, from yanach, used to describe Noah’s ark resting permanently at last on Ararat after its voyage (Gen. 8:4) or the jar of mana being placed in the Tabernacle as a permanent testimony (Exo. 16:33f). In other words, the return from the exile would begin before the giving of the Spirit, but Israel would not be placed securely in the Land until after the Spirit.

This sequence is precisely what we see in Zechariah’s prophecy. First, Jerusalem would be reestablished, but would be attacked by the nations (12:1-3). Then they would see the one “whom they have pierced” coming on the clouds and mourn (Zec. 12:8-14, Rev. 1:7). Then a purifying “fountain” would be opened up for the house of David and Jerusalem (Zec. 13) and only after this and the final battle would Israel be secure in the Land (ch. 14).

Zechariah makes it clear that there would be a significant period of time between the return from exile to the Second Coming and circumcision of Israel’s hearts by the Spirit. And so we’ve seen it in the restoration of Israel in our own time.

This means that we are living in an extraordinary prophetic time. It also means that we need to heed the warning of the last line of the prophecy: “The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.”

As we noted before, when the preterist points out that most of Revelation’s allusions point to the punishment of Israel, they’re absolutely right. However, that doesn’t negate at all the futurist interpretation, because Moses told us over three thousand years ago that all of those punishments would be revisited on Israel’s enemies. That’s what the Day of the Lord is all about.

We see a prelude of the final Day of the Lord in the punishment of Israel’s enemies in the sixth century BCE: When the Babylonians arose to conquer Judah and carry the Jews into exile, they also conquered and destroyed the empires of the Assyrians and the Egyptians, the kingdoms of Moab, Ammon, and Edom (the latter also being destroyed by the Nabataean Arabs), and the remaining city-states of the Phoenicians and Canaanites. None of these nations ever recovered their former glory and independence, and many of them disappeared entirely into the sands of the deserts.

The final Day of the Lord, on the other hand, will be distinct in which Israel will be saved, not destroyed or exiled, while no nation will be allowed to take credit for the fall of her enemies in the way the Babylonians did in the 6th century:

The lofty looks of man will be brought low, the haughtiness of men will be bowed down, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. (Isa. 2:11, 17)

“For, behold, in those days,
and in that time,
when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,

I will gather all nations,
and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat;
and I will execute judgment on them there for my people,
and for my heritage, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations.
They have divided my land. . .

The LORD will roar from Zion,
and thunder from Jerusalem;
and the heavens and the earth will shake;
but the LORD will be a refuge to his people,
and a stronghold to the children of Israel. (Joel 3:1-2, 16)

Shalu shalom Yrushalam; yishlayu ohavayik.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love her will prosper.
–Psalm 122:6

Iron Show Archives and a Possible YouTube venture

LIVE-IRON-63-mp3-image-290x160A quick update for those who listen to Johnny, Matthew Miller, and me rocking out on The Iron Show: We have (apparently) a new archive location where you can find the latest shows: .

We’ve been working our way through the book of Judges (Shoftim) together, discovering all sorts of Messianic archetypes and demonstrations of spiritual warfare. Since the new job is taking so much of my time, it’s my chief outlet for teaching these days (though I still update here when I get a chance).

I’m also considering posting some stuff to a YouTube channel I set up a long time ago and then never did anything with. It’ll basically be a screencast, letting me show you what I’m referring to in the original languages, how to do searches, and so on. If anyone has any experience with such a venture, I’d appreciate your insight.


Interview with Dr. Michael Heiser

LIVE-IRON-63-mp3-image-290x160Just to let everyone know, Johnny McMahon of the Iron Show has managed to score an interview with Dr. Heiser about his new book. Iron Johnny has asked me to ask the theological questions, so I’ll be in on the conversation to this Thursday (10/29) at 10pm EST.

Hopefully I’ll be able to do more that squee in fanboyish glee for a solid hour.


Book Review: The Unseen Realm, by Dr. Michael S. Heiser

417i-jxItJL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This is a post I’ve literally wanted to write for years, ever since I was first introduced to Dr. Michael Heiser’s work on his first A View From the Bunker interview with Derek Gilbert. I’ve spent the last six years gleefully stalking the good Doctor, reading everything that he’s published online (particularly on, several lectures that were uploaded to Youtube, his podcast series on The Naked Bible, an e-book or two, and both of his novels (which really need their own reviews on this website. Short version–go read them. Right now). I check his website,, for updates daily, and am always saddened when there isn’t one.

In many ways, reading The Unseen Realm was almost like reviewing old material for me. That’s not because I was ahead of the curve, but because of the aforementioned stalking of its author. I’ve actually written a few articles here that grew from seeds planted by either something from the good Doctor himself or from an article or book that he pointed me towards, like Where is Satan in the Old Testament or The Day Israel Conquered Hell. The experience of reading all of his work collated together was by no means lessened by the “spoilers,” but I suspect that many readers discovering him for the first time will be shocked, amazed, and/or appalled by The Unseen Realm.

I say “appalled” because there’s something in here to shock and/or offend just about everybody. That’s fair enough, because Dr. Heiser describes how he himself was shocked when he was first challenged by a friend to read Psalm 82 in the original Hebrew rather than through a translation that tries to soften it. Here’s the first verse in the NASB (normally my go-to translation): “God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers.” 

Now here it is in the ESV, which doesn’t attempt to protect you from what the Hebrew words actually mean: “God  has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of  the gods he  holds judgment.”

Dr. Heiser describes the effect of realizing just what this passage was saying had on him:

How was it possible that I’d never seen that before? I’d read through the Bible seven or eight times. I’d been to seminary. I’d studied Hebrew. I’d taught for five years at a Bible college.

What did this do to my theology? I’d always thought–and had taught my students–that any other “gods” referenced in the Bible were just idols. As easy and comfortable as that explanation was, it didn’t make sense here. The God of Israel isn’t part of a group of idols. But I couldn’t picture him running around with other real gods, either. This was the Bible, not Greek mythology. But there it was in black and white. The text had me by the throat, and I couldn’t shake free. (p. 9, Nook version)

The result was a couple of decades of research leading to an outstanding book pulling all of the threads together.

While The Unseen Realm certainly connects with the concept of “spiritual warfare” and is going to be the first in the trilogy of books I use to teach on the subject from here on out (the other two being Dr. Ed Murphy’s Handbook On Spiritual Warfare and George Otis’ The Twilight Labyrinth), it’s far more holistic than that. The real core issue that Dr. Heiser tackles head-on in this book is what does it mean to be a child of God? Since the Bible repeatedly affirms that we who put our faith in the Messiah Yeshua are made children of God even now, but with a greater glory yet to come, that question turns out to be perhaps the most important in Scripture.

We would have some slight differences in how we would diagram out the relationships.
We would have some slight differences in how we would diagram out the relationships.

Along the way, Dr. Heiser tackles what the Bible says about other heavenly beings (elohim, or “gods”) who dwell with, but are distinct from and less than, the Most High; about the original creation and the relationship of Adam and Even to their Father; about the disinheriting of the nations and the election of Israel; about the uniqueness of Yeshua’s Sonship (tackling the relationship of the Father and the Son from a different angle than most) and how the Messiah set about reversing all of the prior falls and failures; and about the ultimate destiny of the Ekklesia. It is an amazing journey that will change the way you look at Scripture and let you tie together and understand so many “difficult” passages of Scripture that have troubled so many through the centuries.

The short, short version, which hardly does the topic justice: Before the creation of mankind, Hashem already had a family of “sons of God,” divine beings who ruled with him just as a king’s court rules with the king. While these divine beings are sometimes called elohim (“gods”), they are still created beings, far inferior to the Eternal Creator who indeed created them, though they inhabit the same realm. Hashem determined to create the earth and to create Man as another member of his family–unique in that mankind could reproduce and thus pass on the Image of God to our children.

However, as we all know, the serpent tempted mankind into sin and thus marred our ability to be proper “imagers” of the Most High. Moreover, mankind continued to sin until Hashem disinherited the nations, retaining only the nation of Israel for himself. Israel too fell into sin, so Hashem sent his unique Son, Yeshua, to reverse the effects of all of the sins of all of his children and to enable those who believed in him to once again be sons of the living God regardless of nationality. His ultimate purpose is to defeat evil for all time and to rule creation with his many children ruling as vice-regents with him.

Nor does Dr. Heiser just toss out his opinion based on his own personal reading of the text. No, he delves deep into the cutting-edge of Biblical scholarship–so deep, in fact, that he ended up creating a supplementary site,, just to contain the extra sources and information that would have bogged down the main book too much. More than that, he’s currently working on a full bibliography of every scholarly book, dissertation, monograph, and article ever written that connects to the Divine Council paradigmThat is dedication to one’s scholarship.

That’s not to say that either the book or the author are perfect, of course. I find Dr. Heiser’s comments to the effect that Israel had a built-in obsolescence to completely miss the mark. (Did I become obsolete when my parents added a couple of younger brothers to the family?) I don’t think he gives the rabbis their due when it comes to Scriptural interpretation. (My review of Rabbi Shapira’s Return of the Kosher Pig and the book itself will illustrate why.) I disagree with his casual use of the Tetragrammaton. (The Apostles didn’t write it for us in Greek letters, so I don’t see any Scriptural warrant for writing it in English.) And on the whole, while I appreciate his affirmation of Scriptural inspiration and authority, I think he’s too ready to dismiss the “jots and tittles” of Scripture as simply being the products of a more primitive time.

Because, you know, only a primitive, unscientific people would ever say the sun "rises" or "sets," right?
Because, you know, only a primitive, unscientific people would ever say the sun “rises” or “sets,” right?

That last point is possibly the most troublesome from the perspective of this review, because it points towards an inconsistency in his methodology. On the one hand, he would argue that we shouldn’t worry too much about what the Bible says about physical cosmology, for example, because, after all, these were pre-scientific people. Okay let’s grant that. Why not apply it in the same way to their perceptions of “the gods”? That is, should we take their perceptions of real spiritual entities given power over the nations any more seriously than their perceptions of the sky being a metallic dome held up by the “pillars” of the highest mountains? That is, after all, what more liberal scholars would (and have, and do) argue.

Maybe God just wasn’t bothering to argue with their misconceptions of other gods based on the polytheism of their neighbors or their errant belief that mental illness is caused by demons because all the Most High cared about was bringing them to believe in himself rather than (falsely) deified nature or tutelary (place guardian) gods.

It’s a logical flaw that amounts to special pleading. It bugs me more than our other differences in opinion because it’s one that can potentially be exploited by Dr. Heiser’s secular critics.

Have fun listening!
Have fun listening!

But despite the flaws, I still consider Dr. Heiser’s work to be required reading for everyone who wants to really understand their Bible. I don’t have to completely agree with someone in order to learn from them. Actually, how can I learn from someone I already completely agree with? And Dr. Heiser is someone who I’ve learned a lot from, both in The Unseen Realm and in his other work, like the aforementioned Naked Bible Podcast.

Shalom, and good reading!

The Latter Stars

Milky WayThis post will be a bit late for the subject matter, but I wanted to get the ball rolling on a project that I’ve had in mind for some time: providing some commentary on the Parsha, the weekly Torah portions read in the synagogue. Where I’ve failed in that task before is in trying to provide a complete commentary. Instead, I’m going to just zoom in on some little oddity in the text that fascinates me or something from my personal Bible notes that I’d like to share. Since I missed getting this up in time for the first week following Simchat Torah, when the Torah scroll is rewound to the beginning of Genesis and the Parsha cycle begins again, you’ll be getting some doubled-up entries while I get caught up.

One of the most troublesome passages in the Bible from a scientific standpoint is the fourth day of creation:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for  signs and for  seasons,  and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God  made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. (Genesis 1:14-16)

At first glance, these verses seem to contradict literally everything we know about the formation of the universe–knowledge that we have by direct observation via powerful telescopes thanks to the fact that light has a finite speed. The fact that we can even see our own galaxy means that the universe is far older than the 6,000 – 10,000 years young-earth creationists believe the Bible teaches. And, indeed, it is evident that the oldest stars we can see are far older than our own planet. The author of Genesis, it would seem, got it completely wrong?

Or did he?

It turns out that it isn’t necessary to toss out either the creation account of Genesis or the scientific data. We simply have to do some careful exegesis of the original Hebrew text.

Let’s start with the phrase, “let there be.” The verb translated by these three words is y’hi, the imperfect form of the word hayah, which simply means, “to be, is.” The word does not imply in any way that the subject simply didn’t exist before. For example, we read in Ruth 2:19 that when Naomi saw how well Ruth had been taken care of, she said, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be (y’hi) the man who took notice of you.” Obviously Naomi isn’t saying that blessing never existed before, or even that Boaz, a wealthy landowner, had never been blessed before. In the same way, the use of y’hi or hayah in the Genesis creation account doesn’t imply that no light existed anywhere in the universe before the first day or that the sun, moon, and stars did not exist until day four.

“Oh, but Michael,” you’re now saying, “you’re just twisting what the Bible plainly says to make it fit modern science.”

Really? Why then did the ancient Jewish sages, who lived long before modern astronomy, say the same thing?

But the Sages say: It [the original light of the first day of creation] is identical with the luminaries; for they were created on the first day, but they were not hung up [in the firmament] till the fourth day. (b.Hag. 12a)

They were created on the first day, and on the fourth day, He commanded them to be suspended in the sky, and likewise, all the creations of heaven and earth were created on the first day, and each one was fixed in its proper place on the day that was decreed upon it. That is why it is written:“with the heavens (אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם) to include their products,”and with the earth (וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ),” to include its products. — [Gen. Rabbah 1:14] (Rashi to Gen. 1:14)

Genesis 1:16 states that God “made” the sun, moon, and stars. The word “made” is the Hebrew ya’as, the imperfect form of the verb asah, which simply means to make, manufacture, or do something. The perfect form of a word usually indicates simple past action while the imperfect form can be used for the future tense, the future subjunctive (“this might happen”), as a narrative device to move the story along, or to indicate past completed action. The reason why the rabbis state that the luminaries already existed is because they read “God made” as “God had made,” as allowed by the imperfect form of the word.

6858831-storm-clouds-wallpaperWhat does it mean that the “luminaries . . . were not hung up” until the fourth day of creation? It means that they were not visible in the sky before that point. Job 38:9 describes the creation of the primordial ocean that we see in Genesis 1:2, “when I made clouds its garment and  thick darkness its swaddling band.” That is, the light and the sun, moon, and stars already existed, but they were blocked out by the thick clouds that enshrouded the earth until God “commanded the morning . . . and caused the dawn to know its place” (Job 38:12), “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day” (Gen. 1:5).

But it gets better. It turns out that the Bible teaches that the sun, moon, and stars that we can see with our naked eyes (the only ones the Biblical authors knew) were not the first sun, moon, and stars (and by extension, planets, comets, and asteroids, since these were also called “stars” by the ancients) that God ever created.

We’ve already noted that the word for “made” is ya’as, imperfect form of asah. This is distinct from the word translated “created” elsewhere in the passage, bara’. To quote the Theological Wordboook of the Old Testament,

“The root bara’ denotes the concept of ‘initiating something new’ in a number of passages. In Isa 41:20 it is used of the changes that will take place in the Restoration when God effects that which is new and different. It is used of the creation of new things (hadashot) in Isa 48:6-7 and with the creation of the new heavens and the new earth (Isa 65:17). Marvels never seen before are described by this word (Ex 34:10), and Jeremiah uses the term of a fundamental change that will take place in the natural order (Jer 31:22).” (Harris, Wordbook, “bara,” p. 127)

Bara’ therefore has the connotation of the creation of something completely new, something the likes of which has never been seen before, while asah means to manufacture something in the likeness of something that already exists. This is why only God is ascribed the ability to bara’, to “create” in the Bible: Men are very inventive, and were made so by our Creator, but everything we make is modeled in some way, shape, or form on that which already exists in the universe.

634799990580092453-creation-fifth-day-sea-creatures-and-birdsWe can see the difference between the two words by comparing Scripture to Scripture. On the fifth day of creation, we read, “So God created (bara’)the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:21).

In contrast, on the sixth day we are told, “And God made (asah) the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:25). On the fifth day, God created complex animal life for the first time, while on the sixth day he made more of them.

hyperstar_by_pan_pksIn the same way, the stars we can see with our naked eyes are all second- or third-generation stars. The first generation of stars God used to create the elements necessary for life:

For one, these stars provided the universe with its first source of elements heavier than beryllium. While conditions early on in the big bang were not appropriate for the generation of the heavier elements, such elements could easily be generated at the cores of massive stars and then later expelled into the surrounding universe when these stars explode as supernovae.” (

One of these days, someone needs to write a new creation psalm with the line, “You make stars your forges and craft all the worlds.”



“The Complete Tanach With Rashi’s Commentary – English Translation with Rashi’s Commentary.” The Complete Tanach with Rashi’s Commentary. Web. 18 Oct. 2015. <;

“Halakhah.Com.” Babylonian Talmud Online in English. Web. 18 Oct. 2015. <;

Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980. Print.

“A Resource For Research on the Most Distant Galaxies.” A Resource for Research on the Most Distant Galaxies. Web. 18 Oct. 2015. <;

Messiah in Exodus

Apparently people like it when I publish what amounts to raw notes. Actually, that makes sense: I’m more to the point, the notes are easy to scan, and they serve as a jumping-off point for one’s own studies. So, that being the case, here’s a follow-up to Messiah in Genesis.

On the many Messianic prophecies embedded in Passover, see here.

mosesThe principle (human) figure of the book of Exodus is, of course, Moses. Moses (Heb. Moshe, “to pull out”; Egyptian Mu- (“water”) Ses (“came up”) is the most distinctly messianic figure in the Bible other than Yeshua, surpassing even David and Joseph in the number of connections he has to the Messiah. Moses serves as a ruler to Israel, a lawgiver, an intermediary with God (beyond even what Aaron, the high priest, could accomplish), and the ultimate example of a prophet. The end of his life left a void in Israel that only the Messiah could fill:

Deu 18:15-19 – The LORD your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him. This is according to all that you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, “Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I not die.” The LORD said to me, “They have well said that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. It shall happen, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (This is directly quoted by Peter in Acts 3:22-24.)

Num 12:6-8 – He said, “Hear now my words. If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known to him in a vision. I will speak with him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so. He is faithful in all my house. With him I will speak mouth to mouth, even plainly, and not in riddles; and he shall see the LORD’s form. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moses?” (See Heb. 3:1-6.)

The Torah ends with these words:

Deu 34:10-12There has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all the mighty hand, and in all the great terror, which Moses worked in the sight of all Israel.

The life of Moses prefigures the life of Yeshua:

  • Moses was raised in a royal household; Yeshua was born to the noble house of David
  • Both Moses and Yeshua had to flee early in life from a king who wanted to kill them; ironically, Moses fled from Egypt, while Yeshua fled to Egypt. (In this case, Yeshua’s life more closely reflected the history of all Israel; see Mat. 2:15 and Hos. 11:1.)
  • Both were initially popular due to the signs they performed (Exo. 4:29-31) but later rejected by the leaders of Israel out of fear for their Gentile overlords (Exo. 5:21; John 11:48).
  • Through Moses, Hashem cast down the gods of Egypt (Exo. 12:12, 15:11); through Yeshua, Hashem cast out the gods (demons) infesting his people and the world.
    • Both attacks on the dark spiritual realm are described as “the finger of God” (Exo. 8:19; Luke 11:20; cf. Exo. 31:18).
  • Moses stretched his hand out against the sky, and three days of darkness fell (Exo. 10:21-22); when Yeshua’s two hands were stretched out on the cross, darkness fell for three hours (Mat. 27:25; cf. Rev. 16:10).
  • To bring them out of Egypt, Moses “baptized” the people in the Sea of Suf (Exo. 14; 1Co. 10:2); to bring us out of the world-system, Yeshua immerses his people in water, fire, and the Spirit (Luke 3:16; 1Pt. 3:21).
  • Moses struck the rock to bring forth the water the people needed to live; to give his people the “living water,” the Holy Spirit, Yeshua was struck (John 7:38-39; 1Co. 10:4).
  • Moses gave the people mana, which sustained their bodies for a time; Yeshua is the Bread of Life, who sustains us, body and soul, forever (John 6:48-51).
  • Both inaugurated a new covenant with the blood of a sacrifice (Exo. 24; Luke 22:20; Heb. 9:18-20).
  • Moses taught the twelve tribes; Yeshua taught the twelve disciples. Moses appointed 70 elders (the Sanhedrin; Exo. 24:1, 9-10); Yeshua appointed 70 messengers (Luke 10). See here for more details.
  • Moses asked that his life be blotted out to atone for Israel’s sin (Exo. 32:32); Yeshua’s life really was blotted out to atone for the sins of Israel and the whole world!
  • Moses ascended into the mountain so that God could dwell among Israel (Exo. 24:18; 34:1-9); Yeshua ascended into heaven so that the Spirit of God could dwell in his faithful (Acts 1:9; John 16:5-15).

    Jabal al Lawz, aka Mt. Sinai
    Jabal al Lawz, aka Mt. Sinai
  • Moses ascended to see the pattern of heaven (Exo. 29:5, 40); Yeshua ascended to enter the reality behind the pattern (Rev. 4-5).
  • Moses built a tabernacle so that God could dwell among his people (Exo. 25:8, 29:45-46); Yeshua is the temple of God (John 2:19) who died so that Hashem–in the form of his Holy Spirit–could dwell in us (1Co. 3:16, 2Co. 6:16).
  • Moses saw the form of the Eternal One (Num.12:8), but not completely (Exo. 34:1-9); Yeshua was the only one who has seen the Eternal completely, because he came forth from God (John 6:46).
  • Moses for a time removed the tent of meeting from the camp due to Israel’s sin (Exo. 33:7-11); Yeshua for a time removed the Assembly (Church) from the midst of Israel due to Israel’s sin. However, both continued to intercede for Israel until the nation would be forgiven (Exo. 33:12-17; Rom. 11).

As for the ceremonies introduced in Exodus, they are all described in more detail in Leviticus, so we’ll pick up there.


Messiah in Genesis

A reader of the old Hebrewroot page expressed concern about losing an article that I wrote back in the day called, well, “Messiah in Genesis.” In the interest of preserving my old work (even if it looks more like a few notes than a finished article), I’m reposting it here. Obviously, it crosses over significantly with Ben Joseph and His Brothers and Messiah, Son of Joseph, but there are a few details here that I’m not sure are already on the blog.

Seeking Messiah in the Torah

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALuke 24:27 – Beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, He explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Luke 24:44-45 – [Yeshua] said to them, “This is what I told you, while I was still with you, that all things which are written in the Torah of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, concerning me must be fulfilled.”  Then He opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures.

John 1:45 – Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found Him, of whom Moses in the Torah, and the Prophets, wrote: Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

John 5:45-47 – “Don’t think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope.  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.  But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Where is He?

Genesis 3:15 – The Seed of the Woman

Genesis 49:10 – Judah’s rule and tribal identity will not pass away until Shiloh comes.

Deuteronomy 18:18 – The prophet like Moses

Look For Pattern, Not Just Prediction

Western view of time – a straight line (timeline), prophecy is prediction-and-fulfillment

Eastern view of time – a circle, no beginning or end, no ultimate purpose to history

Biblical view of time – a spiral, with a beginning and end, but with a repeated pattern

The pattern of history is revealed in the Torah.

What the prophets were destined to prophesy in subsequent generations they received from Mount Sinai. . .  Moses gave utterance to all the words of the other prophets as well as his own, and whoever prophesied only gave expression to the essence of Moses’ prophecy.  (Sh’mot [Exodus] Midrash Rabbah 28:6, 42:8)

[Yeshua] said to them, “Therefore, every scribe (Torah-teacher) who has been made a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings out of his treasure new and old things.” (Mat. 13:52)

Levels of Interpretation (PaRDeS = “Paradise”)

P’shat – “To make a road,” the plain meaning, our road in the wilderness

Remez – A “hint” of a deeper meaning

Drash – To “dig,” the homiletic meaning, reading back into the text, often told as stories

Sod – The “secret” or mystical meaning, kabbalah

See The Way of Paradise for more information.

The Story of Genesis

Abraham and Isaac

Abraham = “Father of a Multitude”

  • Gen. 22:18 – “In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed . . .“

o       Gal 3:16 – “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn’t say, ‘To seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘To your seed,’ which is Messiah.”

  • “Seed” in Hebrew (zera) is a collective noun; no plural form.  Paul is making a midrash

Isaac = “Laughter”

  • A miraculous birth

o       Jacob, Joseph, Samson, Samuel, John the Immerser – and Yeshua

  • Oppressed by the would-be heir, Ishmael, who is removed by his father

o       Yeshua was threatened by the Herods, the would-be rulers of Judea

The Bindings of Isaac (The Akkedat Yitzchak – Genesis 22)
  • Abraham told to sacrifice Isaac as a test

o       “Your only son, whom you love . . .” (v. 2)

  • Takes Isaac to Moriah (v. 2), three days away (v. 4)

o       Yeshua also sacrificed on Mt. Moriah, possibly on the same spot.

akedah2By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son; even he to whom it was said, “In Isaac will your seed be called;” concluding that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead. (Heb. 11:17-19)

  • A Hint:  “God will provide Himself the Lamb . . .” (v. 7)

o       God provided a ram for Abraham (v. 13)—He provided the Lamb later

  • Isaac bound

o       Isaac was a grown man, likely 37 years old at this point

o       He did not resist, but submitted to his father’s will – “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

  • God called off the sacrifice
  • A Hint:  “Abraham called the name of that place Adonai-Yireh (‘The Lord Will Provide’ or ‘The Lord Will Be Seen’). As it is said to this day, “On the Lord’s mountain, He will be provided.” (v. 14)

cropped-picture12.jpgSaid R. Abbahu, “Why do we blow a ram’s horn?  Said the holy one, blessed be he, ‘Blow a ram’s horn before me so that I will remember in your favor the binding of Isaac, the son of Abraham, and will credit [that act] to you, as though you bound yourselves [before me, willing to offer yourselves as a sacrifice].’”  (b. Rosh Hashanah 16a)

The Lord will see this ‘akedah to forgive Israel every year and rescue them from trouble; so that it will be said, “On this day” in all coming generations, “on the mountain of the Lord is seen” the ashes of Yitzchak heaped up and serving for atonement. (Rashi)

  • Gen 22:19 – So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba. Abraham lived at Beersheba.

o       Isaac “disappears” from the Biblical record

o       Yeshua “disappears” from view after His Resurrection

  • Isaac only reappears when his father’s trusted servant (Eliezer, “God of Help,” Gen. 15:2) brings him a bride from outside the Land

o       Yeshua will only reappear when the Holy Spirit brings Him a Bride from among all the nations (Mat. 24:14, Rev. 7:1-7).


  • The son of Isaac (a Messianic type) and the father of Joseph (also a Messianic type)

o       Isa 11:1 – A shoot will come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots will bear fruit.

o       Rev 22:16 – “I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star.”

  • Heb. Ya’akov = “He grasps the heel,” a metaphor for “the supplanter”
  • Was prophesied to rule over his elder brother (Gen. 25:23)
  • Buys Esau’s birthright from him (“So Esau despised his birthright” Gen. 25:34), and later tricked his father into giving him the firstborn’s blessing

o       He tried to gain by human effort that which God had already promised him

o       Rom 9:31 – But Israel, following after a law of righteousness, didn’t arrive at the law of righteousness. Why? Because they didn’t seek it by faith, but as it were by works of the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone; even as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense; and no one who believes in him will be disappointed.”

  • As a result of his deception, he had to flee the Land to escape Esau’s wrath

o       As a result of trying to gain the Messianic kingdom by force, the Jews were driven out of the land by the Romans

  • Jacob lives among the Gentiles, where his father-in-law Laban tries to cheat him by changing the terms of his wages ten times, but he nevertheless prospers.  Finally, Jacob leaves to escape Laban’s anger.

o       The Jews were forbidden to own land in much of Europe, so they cultivated the intellect, becoming doctors and lawyers and loaning money to Europe’s rulers—only to be kicked out of every land where they went whenever the local rulers owed them too much.

  • Jacob does not leave completely righteous; Rachel steals her father’s idols and brings them with her

o       The Jews have not escaped being Gentilized, but even when returning to the Land have brought pagan and atheistic ways with us

  • Jacob returns to the land, but is greatly afraid when Esau is coming up to meet him

o       The Jews have returned to the Land, but live in fear of the Gentiles around them.

  • When his brother comes up against him in an armed company, Jacob first sends gifts to placate him, divides his people so that at least some will escape, and then spends the night wrestling with God, dislocating his hip.  God changes his name to Israel (“Prince of God” and “Wrestles with God”).

o       The Jews are seeing the Gentiles coming against them.

o       They have tried to placate the Arabs with gifts of land – “Land for Peace”

o       Israel wrestles with Yeshua

  • Hos 12:-4 – In the womb he took his brother by the heel; and in his manhood he contended with God.  Indeed, he struggled with the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication to him. He found him at Bethel, and there he spoke with us.

o       Israel has received a permanent limp – the Holocaust (Shoah)

o       The day is coming when they will seize Him and refuse to let go until He blesses them, and on that they, the Jews will truly become Israel.

  • God brings about a change in Esau so that the two brothers live in peace, Esau departing from the Land and establishing Edom

Joseph and Ben Joseph

Joseph is so much a picture of the Messiah that the Talmud twice refers to a Mashiach ben Yoseph, a suffering servant who would die for the sake of the nation and who would appear either just before or alongside the Mashiach ben David, the conquering King.  We know from the Dead Sea Scrolls that there were several theories in the 1st Century that there would be more than one Anointed; it seems quite possible that the Mashiach ben Yoseph idea was around in Yeshua’s time, perhaps being referenced in Luke 3:23, which states that Yeshua was “being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph”–a bit of a pun engaged by the good Doctor.

Rejection of His Brothers

Joseph’s first parallel to the Messiah is in his relationship to Isaac:  Isaac, another type of Messiah, was born before Jacob/Israel and indeed gave birth to him, and Joseph was born to Jacob in turn.  This prefigures that Yeshua would be both the Root and the Branch of David (Isa. 11:1, 10; Rev. 22:16).  Secondly, as did many other figures in Israel’s history, both Isaac and Joseph were the products of a miraculous conception, a barren womb being opened.  The Holy One one-upped that miracle with the Virgin Birth.

Joseph’s next parallel to Yeshua is in the relationship with his brothers.  Why did Joseph’s brothers hate him?  Because he was the favored son of Israel (and had the gift, the amazing techonocolored dreamcoat, to prove it; Gen. 37:3), was prophesied to rule over them and even his father despite his low rank in the birth order (vv. 7-8), and because he gave a bad report about them (v. 2).  Why did Israel’s 1st Century leaders hate Yeshua?  Because He was the favored Son of God and Israel (and had the gifts to prove it, arousing their envy), because He was prophesied to rule over them—and even His father David (Psa. 110:1, Mat. 22:42ff)—and they didn’t think this hick from Galilee had the right (“Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee” [John 7:52]), and because instead of siding with them, He brought a bad report, exposing their hidden sins (Mat. 5-7 and 23).

When Joseph went to look into his brothers and found them goofing off yet again (hanging out in Dothan instead of tending the flocks), that’s when they decided to do away with him (Gen. 37:13ff).  It was when Yeshua cleared out the Temple courts the second time that the plans to get rid of Him kicked into high gear (Mat. 21:12ff, cf. John 2:13ff).  Judah was the one who got the bright idea to sell Joseph (Gen. 37:28).  Judah/Judas was the one who sold Yeshua, and Judah/Judea handed Him over to the Gentiles (Mat. 26:15).  Both were stripped of their clothes (Gen. 37:23, John 19:24).  Rabbinic tradition has it that Joseph kept his brothers in prison for three days because he was kept in the cistern for three days (based on Gen. 42:17). It’s interesting that there’s a whole theme in Scripture of life from death being granted on the third day (the third day of creation, the Akkedat Yitzchak, Jonah, Esther, etc.).

Joseph was falsely accused before Potiphar, the official representative of the then-ruling empire (Gen. 39:13ff).  Potiphar essentially washed his hands of someone that he knew to be innocent to save his own honor.  Yeshua was falsely accused before Caesar’s representative Pilate, who also washed his hands of an innocent man (Mat. 26:60).  Both were mourned by Israel (Gen. 37:33f, Luke 23:55).

Salvation of the Gentiles

Through his trust and obedience even in the midst of unjust shame and suffering, as well as through his wisdom and gifting to correctly interpret prophecy, Joseph was raised to the right hand of Pharaoh (Gen. 41:39).  He was given all of Pharaoh’s authority–only in regards to the throne itself was Pharaoh Joseph’s superior.  Through His trust and obedience even in the midst of unjust shame and suffering, as well as through his wisdom and gifting to correctly interpret all Scripture, Yeshua was raised to the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).  All judgment is given to the Son (John 5:22, 27), yet the Father is still the Father.

Through his wisdom, Joseph fed the entire Gentile world bread in the midst of a great famine (Gen. 41:57).  Through His wisdom, Yeshua feeds the entire Gentile world the Bread of Life (Mark 6:44, John 6:33ff), which is the Word of God (cf. Deu. 8:3, Psa. 119:103, Eze. 3:3, Amos 8:11, Mat. 16:12 and 26:26).  Joseph gave to all who came to him, accepting their goods, livestock, lands, and finally their very lives in return for food–and everything they gave him he made them stewards over for Pharaoh.  Yeshua gives His Bread to all who come unto Him, gradually accepting our goods, livestock, lands, and finally our very lives–and everything we give unto Him He makes us stewards over for the King of Eternity.

Joseph and His Brothers

joseph and his brothersJoseph fed the entire Gentile world the Bread of Life (so to speak) before his brothers came to him.  This is the first prophecy of Gentile inclusion in God’s Kingdom, corresponding with other prophecies that first the Gentiles would come to the Root of Jesse and be called by the Holy Name, and only after that would Israel be restored (cf. Isa. 11:10ff, Amos 9:11f).

When Joseph’s brothers come to buy bread, they don’t recognize him (Gen. 42:7)!  Why not?  Because he was dressed in Egyptians clothes, with his head and beard shaved in Egyptian fashion, and speaking to them in Egyptian through an interpreter.  Why haven’t Yeshua’s brothers recognized Him for two millennia?  Once again, because we have dressed Him up as a Gentile, given Him a Gentile haircut, and He speaks to His brothers in Gentile language (Greek).  Look through the whole corpus of Christian art and try to find a portrait of Yeshua that shows Him with a long, uncut beard, a head covering of some sort, tefillin (phylacteries), or tzitzit (tassels) on His cloak.  Only a few old Eastern Orthodox works get it right.  More to the point, look at how most Christian commentators exaggerate to cartoonish proportions the differences between Yeshua and the rabbis, never noticing the similarities in teaching, teaching styles (e.g., parables), gathering disciples, emotional makeup (Yeshua was clearly no stoic), etc.  Small wonder His brother’s can’t recognize Him!

When Joseph is faced with his brothers, he falsely accuses them, throws them into prison, and binds Simeon before their eyes and takes him away, requiring that they bring him Benjamin if they wish to see his face again (Gen. 42:9ff).  In the same way, the Church has in Jesus’ name falsely accused the Jews, thrown them into prison, and taken away from the Jewish people, binding Jews who wished to follow the King of the Jews from being among their brothers.  (See here for some examples.)  Sadly, the Church went even further: Joseph never tortured or slew any of his brothers, but the Church has done so to the brothers of Yeshua!

(Note: Here, I am obviously referring to the visible, cultural institution of the Church, comprised of both wheat and tares.  Even so, unless the beneficiaries of the Protestant Reformation wish to repudiate Martin Luther, author of The Jews and Their Lies, as not being truly saved, one cannot simply escape corporate responsibility by saying, “Well, real Christians wouldn’t do any of that.”)

But notice here that even in testing his brothers with persecution, Joseph still gives them the Bread of Life they need to live.  In fact, he does so freely, giving back the silver that they try to pay him with.  Why?  Because his brothers already belong to him, whether they know it or not.  Is Yeshua less generous than Joseph?  And if He is as generous, in what sense has He fed the Jewish people who didn’t recognize Him?

Also let us note that Joseph seats his brothers in birth order to show that he knows them, much to their amazement and consternation (Gen. 43:33).  Today in Judaism, there are increasing numbers of scholars who are studying the NT and discovering how well Yeshua knows them.  Indeed, He is increasingly becoming known as a Jew of the Jews and a rabbi ahead of His time.  It’s not where my people need to be, but the momentum is clearly in the right direction.

Now we come to Benjamin, whose significance in this type is so often overlooked.  What does he represent in this tale?  Let us consider his attributes:

  • He is the brother of the same mother as Joseph
  • His birth brought about the death of his mother.  For this she named him, “Son of My Sorrow,” but his father Israel would rename him, “Son of the Right Hand.”
  • He was not involved in the betrayal of Joseph; he and Joseph obviously loved each other very much
  • He disappears from the narrative, only being mentioned while “off-screen” until the very end
  • Israel will not let him go forth with his brothers, fearing to lose him as he lost Joseph and Simeon
  • Joseph weeps when he sees Benjamin among his brothers again
  • While Joseph feeds all the brothers, he gives Benjamin five times as much
  • Finally, Benjamin is “outed” by the possession of Joseph’s silver cup

I propose that Benjamin represents the remnant of Jewish believers, Messianic Jews if you will, that Paul assures us the Eternal One always reserves for Himself in Romans 11.  Like Benjamin, the faithful remnant were born at the time of the death of their mother, Jerusalem (which dwells in Benjamin’s territory).  We are the sons of sorrow and the sons of the Right Hand, Yeshua Himself.  Like Benjamin, the remnant has always loved Yeshua and vice-versa.  Like Benjamin, the remnant has virtually disappeared from the narrative of history, being mentioned only by our enemies when they try to suppress us.  Like Benjamin, Israel has not allowed us to be seen among our brothers, and for the same reason: Fear that like Simeon, we will be carried away by the Gentiles, assimilated and lost to a Christian culture.  And like Benjamin, we are ultimately “outed” by the discovery of our Lord’s Cup in our hands.

Benjamin receives five times as much food as his brothers (Gen. 43:44).  We have already established that food, bread in particular, is a type of the life-giving sustenance of the Word of God.  It’s interesting that in Israel, it is becoming well known that the Messianics are ardent students of the Scriptures.  In fact, if you want to know if you are talking to a Messianic, there is a simple test:  Ask a question about the Law.  A traditional Jew will answer from his rabbi or the Talmud; a Messianic will answer from the Scriptures, as our Great Rabbi has taught us.

Notice also that only when Benjamin is among his brothers is Simeon returned to them.  Simeon, we believe, represents those Jews who were converted to Christianity, bound by law in front of their brethren to no longer live as Jews, and taken away.  With the advent of Messianic Judaism, many in the world have become aware that they are descended from Jewish converts to Christianity, and are seeking to know what that means as far as their personal identity goes.  Many are even returning to Judaism, both Messianic and traditional, to return to their roots.

When Benjamin is caught with Joseph’s cup, the brothers face a decision-point:  Do they let him be carried away by the Gentiles as Simeon was, or do they protect him as a brother at their own risk.  Today, as more and more Jews declare themselves for Yeshua, Judah/Judaism faces the same decision:  Do they reject the Messianics and force them out of the community to be assimilated by Gentile Christianity, or do they embrace us as brothers, even at the risk that they believe such inclusion could bring to Judaism?

Believe it or not, Israel is starting to come to the same decision as Judah.  Among an increasing number of rabbis, there is no longer any question whether born Jews who identify as and live as Jews should be counted as part of the community.  The resistance now is to Jews who have converted to Christianity and no longer keep the Torah at all and how to handle our proselytes.  (This is why many Messianics completely reject the label of “Christian,” which is virtually synonymous with “Gentile.”)

When Judah embraced and protected Benjamin as his brother, Joseph revealed himself at last for who he is.  Likewise, as we see Judah embracing Messianic Jews, we see another sign that our Lord is soon to return.

The more I study the Torah, the more I see the truth of what the Midrash Rabbah says of it:  “What the prophets were destined to prophesy in subsequent generations they received from Mount Sinai. . .  Moses gave utterance to all the words of the other prophets as well as his own, and whoever prophesied only gave expression to the essence of Moses’ prophecy” (Exo.R. 28:6, 42:8).