Have you ever wrestled with your desire to do something that deep down you know you shouldn’t? “Conversion” sometimes get so spiritualized that what’s actually happening to you gets lost. The important transformation to the “new creation” is the theme of the Torah section וישלח Vayishlach (“he sent,” Gen. 32:3–36:43).
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:51 NASB)
That rather cryptic comment from Natan’el wrapped up Who the Mashiakh would be and the Anointed One’s role in a neat package.
“Under the fig tree,” “true son of Israel,” “Son of Man,” ladder between Heaven and Earth: These are symbols a student of “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” like Natan’el would have known.
The Torah reading (parashah) ויצא Vayetze or Vayetzei (“he went out,” Gen. 28:10–32:2) covers the dream of Ya’akob’s ladder, Ya’akov‘s seven-year wait to marry Rakhel, Laban’s double-dealing to marry off his oldest daughter, a sister battle over fertility and the origins of the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. Sprinkled through these accounts are prophetic breadcrumbs leading to Continue reading Parashat Vayetze (ויצא): Genesis 28:10–32:2
At first glance, the trustworthiness troubles of Abraham, his son Yitzkhak (Isaac) and grandson Ya’akov (Jacob) can be disturbing, considering they are pillars of faith in the Kingdom of God. How can we forget Ya’akov’s “red, red stuff” deal for the birthright his brother, Esau?
Rather than a descent into “truthiness,” their legacy for the commonwealth of Israel is growth from faith-fickle to faithful. In this week’s Torah portion (תולדות Toldot, “generations,” Gen. 25:19–28:9), we follow Ya’akov’s journey to becoming a “new man,” renamed Israel (“struggles with God” or “rules with God”). That “rebirth,” pictured via Ya’akov’s dream of a ladder between Earth and Heaven, is why Yeshua (Jesus) likened that ladder to Himself (John 1:43–50).
It’s all too easy in today’s crave-the-cutting-edge lifestyle to forget who got us to where we are today. Abraham is called “father of us all” because his trust in God is the model for saving faith in God’s Son, Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ) (Rom. 4:16–5:2). In this week’s Torah portion, חיי שרה Chayei Sarah (“Sarah’s life,” Gen. 23:1–25:18), we learn how important Abraham’s wife Sarah is in The Way from our old way of life to our new one in Mashiakh.
One of the Creator’s names is YHWH Yireh (Jehovah Jirah), translated as “the LORD sees” or “the LORD is seen.” And one of the key times Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus Christ) is foreseen is Abraham’s near-sacrifice of is “one and only son.” The mercy and sacrifice of God is on full display in this week’s Torah portion, וַיֵּרָא Vayera (“he appeared,” Gen. 18:1–22:24).
Apostle Paul called Abraham the “father of us all,” those born in Israel and those who have faith like his (Rom. 4:16). In this week’s Torah passage, לֶךְ-לְךָ Lech Lecha (Lekh Lekha) (“go forth,” Genesis 12:1-17:27), we see Abraham’s first move of faith in leaving his homeland for some unknown destination Heaven was leading him toward. His response is an inspiration to us all.
Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus) and His apostle Shimon Kefa (Simon Peter) pointed to “the days of Noah” as important for believers to fully understand to be prepared for life now and for the “coming of the Son of Man.”
”For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matt. 24:37)
“… God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.” (1Pet. 3:20)
This week’s Torah section, נֹחַ Noach (“Noah,” Genesis 6:9-11:32), helps us catch the meaning of the enigmatic phrase “one taken and the other left” (Matt. 24:40-41; Luke 17:34-35).