PRAYER & TEACHING NEWSLETTER - May 2016
Shalom from Mt. Carmel, Israel! This month, we will continue in our series on the life of Joseph as a type and shadow of our Messiah Yeshua. I believe it is no coincidence that we are talking about Joseph, who represents the suffering Messiah, and we have just passed through remembering the Holocaust and Israel's Day of Remembrance for all our fallen in re-born Israel's short 68-year history. It is a clear reminder to me that Yeshua chose to suffer as He knew His brothers would suffer throughout the millennia of history. Joseph's life is not solely a mirror reflection of Yeshua's first coming, but it is a prophetic picture of what will happen when He returns as the Jewish King who desperately wants to reveal Himself to His Jewish brethren!
Joseph: Shadows of Yeshua (Part 3)
In Part 1 of “Shadows of Yeshua” (Newsletter – March 2016) we began to discuss the similarities in Joseph’s life to Yeshua’s suffering. We noted how the Jewish sages saw Joseph as being a prophecy about Messiah. In fact, they gave Him the title of Moshiach ben Yosef (Messiah, son of Joseph) to reflect that He would be the suffering servant of the LORD as described in Isaiah 53.
In Part 2 (Newsletter - April 2016) , we find our hero to have risen to the office of Prime Minister of Egypt. All of his brothers have come to Egypt looking for food -- except for Benjamin. They are brought before Joseph, but they do not recognize him. Joseph cleverly orchestrates a ruse, so that Benjamin will have to return with the brothers. They have to leave their brother Shimon in prison, and after many months, they return -- with Benjamin. The twelve brothers are finally reunited, but Joseph is not yet ready to reveal himself. He sets them up for one final test. With his identity still concealed He is eager to see how they react under duress when the consequences involve Benjamin. Have they changed since they cruelly turned him over to Gentiles, sold him into slavery, and broke their father's heart. Will they break his father's heart again? This is the simple, contextual story on the surface.
In this month's teaching, we will show you there is a very important remez (linguistic clue) that this story is not simply about Joseph and his brothers. There is more of a back story, which is a prophetic shadow of what will happen to the entire nation of Israel in the last days.
The Descent of Judah
As we begin Part 3, our story of Joseph is “interrupted” for an interesting narrative describing what happens to Judah shortly after they sold Joseph. It was at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and turned away toward an Adullamite man whose name was Hirah. (Genesis 38:1)
Judah ends up marrying a Canaanite woman, which was forbidden to them as descendants of Abraham. When the Torah says, “he went down” and “turned away” there is another remez that this is speaking of his spiritual descent. His wife conceives two sons which both die because they did evil in the sight of the LORD, leaving his daughter-in-law, Tamar, a widow. Judah further disobeys the Torah’s laws on Levirate marriage and does not give his third son as a husband for Tamar so that she can have a son and carry on the family legacy. She dresses herself up as a prostitute, Judah sleeps with her, she becomes pregnant, and he becomes a victim of a ruse, just as years before, Judah had deceived his father by a ruse when he lied about Joseph being sold to a caravan of Ishmaelites.
Here is what Rashi writes:
“This narrative [Genesis 38] interrupts the story of Joseph to teach how Judah’s brothers lowered him in esteem because of the incident with Joseph, for when they saw their father’s intense grief, they blamed Judah for it. “You told us to sell him,” they charged. “Had you advised us to send him back to Father, we would have listened!” As a result of their disenchantment with him, Judah moved away from the family and settled in Adullam, where he became the business partner of Hirah.”
Back to the story of Joseph, it appears that when Judah admits to the “sin of your servants” he has come to the realization that everything that has befallen him is a result of the sin he committed against Joseph, and he admits they deserve the punishment of slavery. But Joseph corrects him saying only Benjamin will be his slave and the rest of the brothers may return to their father. Judah recalls the vivid memories of the intense grief Jacob suffered at the loss of Joseph, and he begins to explain what will happen if they do not return home with Benjamin. He tells the story to Joseph, as if reminding him of their plight. It appears as if Judah is going to explain why they should be freed, but in reality, Judah’s words focus on what leaving Benjamin behind will do to their father. Look at what Judah says:
“And now, if I come to your servant my father and the youth (Benjamin) is not with us – since his soul is bound up with his soul – it will happen that when he sees the youth is missing he will die, and your servants will have brought down the hoariness of your servant our father in sorrow to the grave. For your servant took responsibility for the youth from my father saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you then I will have sinned to my father for all time.’ Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the youth, as a servant to my lord, and let the youth go up with his brothers. For how can I go up to my father if the youth is not with me, lest I see the evil that will befall my father!” (Genesis 44:30-34)
From this, we can see that Judah has changed, and he takes full responsibility by offering himself as the slave! It is this declaration of repentance from Judah that brings Joseph to tears. He can conceal his identity no longer!
“Now Joseph could not restrain himself in the presence of all who stood before him, so he called out, ‘Remove everyone from before me!’ Thus no one remained with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers…’I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?…Come close to me, if you please…I am Joseph your brother – it is me, whom you sold into Egypt.’” (Genesis 45:3-4)
The brothers are reunited at long last. Not only are they reunited, but they are restored and reconciled.
Now, as we have already mentioned, it does not take a great leap to discern that there is another, even greater story, being told in parallel. Our hint lies in Genesis 43:6, 8, and 11 when the Torah changes from speaking of Jacob to Israel. Actually, the first time this happens is in Genesis 37:12-13, and we will see the end time story actually began there. The name change from speaking of Jacob to Israel tells us that this story is not only the story of Jacob and his sons, but one that involves all of Israel as a nation. If we can, for a moment, believe this relates to the end times, we will understand that this story has very important prophetic implications for us. Let’s take a look at the “cast of characters” in our story and who they represent.
Jacob: the Father in Heaven
Joseph: the rejected son, Yeshua
Benjamin: the brother who never rejected his brother/the Messianic Jews
Silver cup: redemption (salvation), which is found with Benjamin, the Messianic Jews
Judah: the known Jews today
Egypt: the Gentile world and the Diaspora
The 7 year famine: Daniel’s 70th week and the Great Tribulation
If we remember, it is when the brothers are all united together that things begin to change. It was when Shimon (hearing) joined them that they began to understand. But let’s go back further in our story for a moment to pull our prophetic allegory into focus.
Jacob [the Father in Heaven] sends his beloved son, Joseph [Yeshua] to Dothan [the earth] to check on his flocks [the Jewish people]. The brothers [the corrupt Sadducean leadership] devise a wicked plan to kill Joseph [Yeshua] because of their jealousy. They grab him [place Yeshua under arrest] throw him into a pit [took him to the cistern under Caiphas’ house]. The brothers sell him into slavery [Roman government]. At the hands of his brothers, Joseph [Yeshua] is separated [now, nearly 2000 years] from his brothers and Jacob [Heavenly Father] and the brothers believed him to be dead. A famine [Daniel’s 70th week] comes to the Land of Israel. The brothers come to Egypt [the world] to get their needs met during the long separation, but they receive harsh treatment and are accused as spies. They meet Joseph who appears in every way to be Egyptian [Christianity has stripped away Yeshua’s Jewishness and has presented Him as a Gentile, not a Jew] and so the brothers [the Jews] don’t recognize him. Great trial and testing come to the brothers [the Great Tribulation]. In the meantime, Benjamin [the Messianic Jews] was never involved in the deception and never rejected his brother Joseph [Yeshua]. He becomes very close to Jacob and becomes the favored son. Meanwhile, back in Egypt [the world] the brothers [the Jews] are having a hard time. Finally, they are forced to bring Benjamin before Joseph. By this action, they are forced to recognize the value and importance of their brother Benjamin [the Messianic Jews] as beloved by their father Jacob [the Heavenly Father] and they want no harm to come to him. Remember, it is Judah who said to Israel, “I will personally guarantee him; of my own hand you can demand him. If I do not bring him back to you and stand him before you, then I will have sinned to you for all time.” They do not want to sin against their father Jacob [Heavenly Father] for all time. Shimon [hearing], who was in prison, joins them all before Joseph [Yeshua]. It is when Judah [the Jews] repents and recognizes that all these difficult things have come upon them because they have sinned against their father and because of what they did to Joseph [Yeshua]. At the same time, when Judah [the Jews] understands how important Benjamin [the Messianic Jews] is to Jacob [Heavenly Father] and that the redemption is with him, it is then that Joseph [Yeshua] removes his Egyptian clothing and reveals himself as their dead brother come back to life!
“Ani Yeshua…I am Yeshua, your brother…come close to me.” The brothers are dumbfounded and they
they will look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they will mourn for Me as one mourns for an only child, and be embittered over him like the embitterment over a [dead] firstborn son.” (Zechariah 12:10).
And so we see Yeshua will not return and reveal Himself until at least three things happen:
- The Father removes the blindness of the Jews that He Himself mysteriously ordained in order to bring redemption to the Gentiles (see Romans 11:8-10 which is quoting Deuteronomy 29:4, Isaiah 29:10 and Psalm 69:22-23)
- The Jews recognize that the “silver cup” is with the Messianic Jews, whom they have persecuted and rejected
- They repent for selling Yeshua to the Gentiles, and for breaking their Father’s heart by rejecting the Living Torah,Yeshua, who is their brother
Yeshua will reveal Himself as their long lost brother, who they believed to be dead, but is now alive! Oh, what a glorious day that will be for all of us. This is what we need to be praying for! This will bring about the restoration of all of Yeshua’s brothers, Jew and Gentile alike, the final redemption and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom! Hallelujah! May He come quickly, and in our days!
Coming Next Month: the Role of the Gentiles in reuniting Yeshua with His brothers
Prayer Points - May 2016
- We are in the season of counting the omer, preparing for the last spring feast, Shavuot, which takes place on June 12. This is the time of spiritual reflection, when we desire to remove character flaws and purify our hearts to prepare for the Matan HaTorah, the Giving of the Torah to Israel. We who know Yeshua realize that the entire scene on Mt. Sinai was actually a wedding ceremony. The cloud resting on the top of the mountain represented the wedding canopy, under which the King of the Universe took Israel as His bride. In fact in Leviticus 19:1-2, the LORD says "Be holy as I am holy." It is actually in the future tense: You will be holy as I am holy. It's a long explanation, but in the Hebrew, the word "Kodeshim tihiyu" -- "you will be holy" is code for "kiddushin tihiyu" which means "you will be married!" There is no other relationship on the earth which more perfectly represents the true meaning of holiness -- what God desires between Him and His people -- than marriage between a man and woman. Please pray for the Jewish people, that this Shavuot they will have a revelation of their Husband who loves them and longs to be married to them. Pray for revelation from the Ruach HaKodesh that they missed their Messiah, and the only way back to Hashem and what He has prommised them that is only possible through their Messiah Yeshua! " I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you...With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble... I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband...I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Jeremiah 31)
- Also pray for our believing Jewish brethren who are feverishly working to introduce their Jewish brothers to the Messiah through various media and technology. Pray that we will all be a true reflection of our Messiah, His kindness, His goodness, His patience and grace toward those we serve. Please pray that we will walk in humility, unity and love for one another. Some believers are persecuted in terrible ways for their beliefs. Pray for strength and the love of Yeshua to permeate every fibre of their being, and that they will return good for evil. "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back." (Luke 6:27-30)
Our God will most certainly bless you for standing in the gap for the Jewish people, lifting these precious souls before our King! May you be filled with the joy of Yeshua during your own journey to holiness, and may you be continually reminded that your King is waiting to be married to you! Every act of obedience to His commandments brings us closer to that day!
*Bless Israel Network is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Ministry affiliated with A.C.T. Intl.*
Blessings in Messiah
Daniel & Devorah