Friday, April 10, 2020

A Three Days’ Journey

 At this point, on the second day of the Feast of Matzot, the 16th day of Aviv (Nisan), we are looking toward the first day of the coming week, the 18th, which is signified by the Hebrew letters yod and chet, that if read backwards make up the word “chai”, meaning “alive” or “living”. This is also the day on which, according to VaYikra (Leviticus) 23:10-11, the Beginning (re’sheet, imprecisely translated “first fruits”) of the Omer (barley) is to be waved “before YHVH for your/our acceptance”.  In the most amazing way this was fulfilled by Yeshua, when He rose from the dead on the first day after the Shabbat, following 3 nights and 3 days ‘in the grave’, and presented Himself before the Father as the Beginning – Resheet - of  those who have fallen asleep (1st Cor. 15:20).

From one very scant, but significant, reference we know that one thing that Yeshua did, during what is in our world of time and space a 3 day period, was to go and “preach to the spirits in prison who formerly were disobedient…” (1st Peter 3:19-20). We cannot imagine how He did that, and what exactly the results were, but we do know that He was resurrected 3 days later.

Against this backdrop, if we revert back to the time of the Exodus, to our ancestors’ emergence from slavery (on the 15th of the month) with their belongings, we see them traveling from Rameses to Succoth (Ex. 12:37), where they picked up Joseph’s bones (13:19, 20). Next, we are told that they camped at “Etham at the edge of the wilderness”, which would have been the next day. Immediately after, on the 17th, they camped “before Pi Hairoth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea” (14:2). So now we are on the 3rd day of Israel’s journey from Egypt toward the spot where they would cross the Reed Sea dry shod. Like Yeshua, the Children of Israel’s journey toward this most significant next ‘station’ was one that took 3 days.

Yeshua’s victory over the enemy, started by succumbing to the death on the cross, and continued in a 3 day course culminating in His resurrection. Israel’s 3 days journey to the shores of the Reed Sea was also of some significance, particularly so is the last stop where YHVH Himself commanded them to camp. Why? Let’s take a closer look at the names of the places mentioned, and notice also YHVH’s further order to the Israelites to, “camp before” and “opposite” a particular site. Pi Hahiroth, the camping site where they were to stay, reads in Hebrew Pi Ha-chirot, which with a simple vowel change may be pronounced Pi Ha-Cherut – meaning the “mouth/opening of liberty”! This “opening of/to liberty” is located right in front of Baal of Zephon, which in Hebrew is read Tzfon, or with a slight change of vowels, Tzafon, meaning north. Baal literally means “owner”.

Where is Mount Zion, the City of the Great King said to be? “On the sides of the north” (ref. Ps. 48:2 emphasis added).  Where is it that Lucifer – Hillel ben Shachar – desires to take his place? “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of El: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (Is. 14:13 emphasis added).  Psalm 23 declares: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (v. 5), and it seems that YHVH did just that for His people. In fact, a little later on we read that, “the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon” (Ex. 14:9). Within a short time (not before some terror-filled moments) Israel saw “the salvation of YHVH”, when they “went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground….” (14:22), while their enemies drowned.

You know the rest of the story, one that turned out to be a glorious victory over the enemy, a victory which none other that YHVH Himself could accomplish; a victory that also projected into a future that was to see the defiant archenemy, who dared to try and dethrone the Almighty, having to bow down and face the “opening” for freedom and liberty when Yeshua “led captivity captive” (Eph. 4:8). This will ultimately result in creation being “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of Elohim” (Romans 8:21).

Shabbat Shalom and Hag Same’ach,
Ephraim and Rimona

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