Watch: Pararash Vayetze: Jews & Gentiles, United in Yeshua!
B’reisheet (Genesis) 28:10-32:2, Hoshea (Hosea) 12-14, Mattityahu (Matthew) 3-4
Shalom and welcome to this week’s “Parasha Vayetze”. In this week’s parasha, we will discover and see how one man’s life is a representation of the two houses of Israel and how they pertain to the faith today. As we study Ya’akov’s life, the choices he made as an individual, and how his wives also made choices that still affect us today, we can see how their lives are representations of the greater overall narrative of Scripture.
If you would like to learn more about how Ya’akov (whose name would eventually go on to become Israel) and how his marriage to two sisters (Rahel (Rahel) and Leah) are representations of the two houses (spoken of in Yehezqel and numerous other places in Scripture), and if you would like to learn how the story of the prodigal son is really a story about these two houses, then please join me as we study Yahweh’s word.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 28:12-14
12 “Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of Elohim were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, Yahweh stood above it and said: “I am Yahweh Elohim of Abraham your father and the Elohim of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed”.
If we notice, Yahweh made the same type of promise to Abraham as well as Yitzhak.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 12:1-3
1 “Now Yahweh had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”.”
And in B’reisheet 22:15-18 we read,
B’reisheet (Genesis) 22:15-18
15 “Then the Angel of Yahweh called to Abraham a second time out of heaven,
16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says Yahweh, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son –
17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice”.”
When we look at the same promise made to Yitzhak in B’reisheet 26:4, we read,
B’reisheet (Genesis) 26:4
4 “And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”
When Yahweh is declaring this promise to Ya’akov, Ya’akov may not fully understand what Yahweh means when He says this. Yahweh was prophesing about how he (meaning Ya’akov) would go on to wrestle with Him and have his name changed to Israel and go on to Father 12 children that would then become known as the 12 tribes of Israel.
Hoshea 12 verses 3 and 4 says, “He [meaning Ya’akov] took his brother by the heel in the womb, and in his strength he struggled with Elohim. Yes, he struggled with the Messenger and prevailed; he wept, and sought favor from Him. He found Him in Bethel, and there He spoke to us”.
Hoshea (Hosea) 12:3-4
3 “He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and in his strength he struggled with Elohim.
4 Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from Him. He found Him in Bethel, and there He spoke to us”.
So when we look at Ya’akov’s marriage to Rahel, it is a representation of the House of Ephraim and his marriage to Leah is a representation of the House of Judah. Rahel gave birth to Joseph. And Joseph is the father of Ephraim and Manasseh. Leah gave birth to Judah. And if we study the dynamics of Ya’akov’s marriage to Leah (the elder) and Rahel (the younger), we will see how Ephraim and Judah relate to the parable of the prodigal son.
We will also see that the Mashiach comes from the tribe of Judah, and it is through Yeshua HaMashiach that all the families of the earth are blessed because Yeshua is the offspring or of the seed of Abraham, Yitzak and Ya’akov. It is only through Yeshua’s blood sacrifice that we are blessed.
If we break down the dynamics of Ya’akov’s marriage to Leah and Rahel, we find some pretty interesting parallels. For example, in B’reisheet 29:17 we read, “Leah’s eyes were delicate (or soft), but Rahel was beautiful of form and appearance”.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 29:17
17 “Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rahel was beautiful of form and appearance.”
So by implication, it would seem that Leah was not unattractive, but she was just not as desirable when compared to Rahel. Therefore, Ya’akov showed favoritism with Rahel over Leah. If we apply this to us today and our understanding of the true version of Yeshua compared to the desired version of Yeshua (also known as Jesus), we see that the true version of Yeshua is very much like Leah in this example. Whereas the desired version (which is Jesus) is very much like Rahel.
The true version of Yeshua is both the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world and is also the Lion of Judah. The true version of Yeshua (who shows love and compassion to all while at the same time has standards and expects us to love Him back by keeping His and His Father’s commandments) seems less desirable when compared to Jesus (who teaches that the Torah has been done away with and we are at liberty to live however we would like).
The true version of Yeshua who brought and taught us the original faith which is a sect of Judaism (known as the Nazarene sect) is less desirable than Jesus who came and taught Christianity.
There are many different parallels with Leah and Rahel when compared to Yeshua and when compared to the faith.
In Yeshayahu chapter 53 verses 2 and 3 (when speaking about Yeshua) it says, “He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Which is very similar to Leah when it comes to her relationship with Ya’akov.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 53:2-3
2 “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
When we look at what B’reisheet chapter 29 verses 31 and 32 say, we can see that Leah was a woman who was deeply afflicted because her husband had no love for her. In the same way that Yeshua was deeply afflicted because His own creation did not love Him. In the same way that Leah and Rahel, two sisters who were envious of each other and in constant tension with one another, we see the same thing play out with the two houses of Israel after the reign of Shelomoh. Where 10 tribes formed their own kingdom in the north (the tribe of Ephraim being the lead tribe symbolic of Ya’akov’s marriage to Rahel) and with two tribes in the South (with Judah being the lead tribe symbolic of Jacob’s marriage to Leah).
As we break down the parable of the prodigal son and we read through it, we will see how Leah is representative of Judah and our Jewish brethren, and we will see how Rahel is representative of Ephraim and our Christian brethren.
In Luqa 15:11-32 we read,
Luqa (Luke) 15:11-13
11 “Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.
12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.
13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.”
When we take a look at this, the Northern Kingdom of Israel (also known as Ephraim) was divided from the southern Kingdom of Judah for various reasons. Eventually, the Northern Kingdom wandered off into idolatry and making changes to Yahweh’s Torah which eventually led to them being kicked out of the land. They were captured by the Assyrians and then taken away to a foreign land because of their refusal to repent. It is in Assyria where they began to live in a prodigal way by forgetting their Israelite identity.
Further evidence that supports this idea is found in Hosea chapter 13 verses 1 and 2.
Hoshea (Hosea) 13:1-2
1 “When Ephraim spoke, trembling, He exalted himself in Israel; But when he offended through Baal worship, he died.
2 Now they sin more and more, and have made for themselves molded images, idols of their silver, according to their skill; All of it is the work of craftsmen. They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!”.”
Let us look at what Rahel did when they were fleeing from Labon and how it is symbolic of Ephraim and their idolatry. In B’reisheet 31 verse 19, it says that “Rahel stole the household idols that were her father’s”.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 31:19
19 “Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rahel had stolen the household idols that were her father’s.”
The attitude from Rahel here seems like that of a spoiled and arrogant child similar to the attitude of Ephraim spoken of in Hosea. What reason would Rahel have in order to steal her father’s idols? What reason would Ephraim have in order to worship Ba’al and make idols for themselves if not for a spoiled and arrogant attitude?
We continue into the parable.
Luqa (Luke) 15:14-19
14 “But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.
15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!’
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,
19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants”.”
With this little bit here, and if we have the eyes to see it, the Northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians. Then the Assyrians by the Persians, the Persians by the Greeks, the Greeks by the Romans. All throughout history, nations have taken turns conquering each other, taking their captives, and dispersing them among all the territories in their Kingdom. By the time we get to Yeshua’s Ministry and beyond that to the present day, the captives of the House of Israel are lost and scattered all over the world. In the north, south, east, and west. They have mingled into all the families of the world and thus have become like the Gentiles or the goyim.
Yeshua’s Ministry was to bring back the lost sheep of the House of Israel spoken of in Mattityahu chapter 10 verse 6 and in Mattityahu chapter 15 verse 24. Yeshua’s Ministry is to withdraw the members of the House of Israel out of the nations of the goyim and bring them back to His Father’s house. The famine spoken of in this parable is referring to the famine that Christianity has left because again Christianity appears to be more desirable than Nazarene Judaism and this is why the prodigal son (Ephraim) wandered off to a far country and began to live in a prodigal way and joined himself to Christianity in hopes of filling his stomach with the pods of food for the swine.
Today, many people would gladly fill their stomachs with the pods of food that Christianity offers, but it just cannot satisfy because it is not the full truth. It is only the full truth of Yahweh that satisfies. It is only the full truth of Yeshua HaMashiach that can satisfy. This is why the Hebrew Roots (or the Ephraimite Movement) has become as popular as it is now. People are lacking spiritual food and are desperately hungry. They are seeking to return to their Father’s house.
As we continue on in the parable we read,
Luqa (Luke) 15:20
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.”
When we look at this from the perspective from Ephraim (or even us today), Yahweh has compassion on us. He loves us dearly. So that even while we are a great way off in Christianity, He runs out to meet us, to love us, and lead us back to His home.
I myself have come to know and have a relationship with Yahweh and Yeshua through Christianity. Yahweh had compassion on me because I did not stay in Christianity. But instead, Yahweh has led me back home to the original faith (Nazarene Judaism).
Luqa (Luke) 15:21-24
21 “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.
22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;
24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”
With this, we can see that the prodigal son has not totally been refined but is still welcomed into his father’s house. Just like we may not be completely refined, but Yahweh still welcomes us home. A prodigal son will still have to learn (or re-learn) the ways of his father’s house just as we still have to learn or relearn how to keep Yahweh’s Torah and eventually go back home to the land.
We can also see how this relates to Salvation. When we first come to the realization that we need repentance that leads to Salvation, our Father in heaven has sacrificed the lamb. When we finally realize that and accept it (just as the younger son did in this parable) we then can rejoice, be merry, and be welcomed home and reconciled back to Him. For we were dead and now we are alive again.
As we continue on in the parable, we will start reading about the older son. And we will see how the older son is representative of Judah.
Luqa (Luke) 15:25-28
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.”
Again, we can see how this parable relates to Judah in various ways. First, we can see the type of resentment that is here with the older brother. And Judah is indeed the Elder of Ephraim just like Leah is the elder of Rahel.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 30:14-15
14 “Now Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rahel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?””
Notice the sort of resentment and bitterness that Leah has toward her own sister. Is this not the same sort of resentment and bitterness that the elder brother had towards the younger brother in this parable? And is this not the same sort of resentment and bitterness that our Jewish brethren have towards us who are in Christianity and those who have come from Christianity? It is not necessarily Jews as a whole. But in the eyes of the rabbis, a believer in Yeshua, regardless of the details of their faith, are considered Christian. The rabbis today are versions of the Pharisees and the Pharisees hated Yeshua.
We continue to read on.
Luqa (Luke) 15:28-30
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.
29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.”
The resentment that the elder son had for the younger son is what took place in the first century during Yeshua’s Ministry. The elder son in this parable had the same resentment that Leah had for Rahel. The same resentment that Joseph’s brother had for him. And the same resentment that the rabbis have for the believers of Yeshua.
Luqa (Luke) 15:31-32
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found’.”
What the rabbis failed to realize is that Yahweh has always been with them. He has always been with the Jewish people and everything that belongs to Him is theirs as well. But they refuse to humble themselves and acknowledge themselves as sinners as well. They desire to exalt themselves instead of rejoicing with their father Yahweh over their brother who was once lost and is now found, who is dead but is alive again.
Judah is still the elder and Ephraim is still loved. This is why the gospel (or the good news) is first to be told to the Jew, and then the Gentile.
In the parable of the prodigal son, the attitude of the eldest son should have been one of rejoicing with his father that his younger brother had returned home safe and sound. The elder brother should have done what he could to help mentor his younger brother in the house of their father. Ideally, the gospel should first go to the Jew and then the Gentile so that the Jew can better mentor the Gentile in matters of faith.
In the parable, we notice that the father pleads with the eldest son very much in the same way the Yahweh pleads with our Jewish brothers and sisters to return to Him and accept Yeshua as their King and Mashiach. The Jews as a whole may reject Yeshua, but Yahweh has not rejected them. He stands by them faithfully, but it is only those that believe in Yeshua as the Mashiach that will be saved amongst our brothers and sisters in Judah.
The message for both Jews and Gentiles that we can take away from the parable of the prodigal son is that we need to unite and stop with this bitter resentment that exists between both Jews and returning Gentile Ephraimites. We each have our own problems. We have our own shame. We each have our own guilt and we all are responsible for our own sins. But we are one big family in Yeshua. Both sides have their own idea about who and what Yeshua is, but there can only be one truth about who He actually is.
Both Orthodox Judaism and Christianity do not have it correct. Because the elder brother (Judah) needs to stop thinking of himself so arrogantly and the younger more spoiled brother (Ephraim) needs to not think of himself as so special.
As Scripture says, “Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if Elohim did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.”
Romin (Romans) 11:20-21
20 “Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.
21 For if Elohim did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.”
So brothers and sisters in Yeshua, regardless of what house you belong to (whether that be Judah or Ephraim), we are a family and we need to come together as one united body in Yeshua Hamashiach.