Shabbat Shalom friends and family, and welcome to this week’s “Parasha Va’era“. In this week’s parasha, what I like to say is, this is where Yahweh establishes Himself as the great “I AM”. He will do this again in the very near future with His people, the body of believers in Mashiach Yeshua.
Let me explain what I mean by that. You see, for the past few weeks now, we have been discussing how it is that Yahweh has been forming our ancestors into a nation while simultaneously using His creation to bring Himself glory. Therefore, when we stop and realize that Yahweh is our King. Because Yeshua is our King and Mashiach, and Yeshua is the manifestation of Yahweh.
Therefore, when kings go forth conquering, claiming territories, and building nations for themselves, all kings must do what they need to do in order to firmly establish themselves as the righteous rulers of their nations. And for Yahweh the King of all creation, what better way is there to do that and bring Himself glory than by sending off His people Yisrael to be slaves into what was known at the time as the most powerful empire? And then He Himself, come down and deliver them out slavery from that powerful empire! And thus displaying His great power, and authority, and His magnificent wonder!
You see, Yahweh does not like proud hearts and that rule of thumb applies to both the individual and the nation as well. As we will see, there are many parallels for today with those of us in the body of Mashiach. And for many of us today, we find ourselves slaves or captives of the most powerful empire to have existed, which is Rome.
While Rome is technically an empire of the past, when we look at the sort of cultural and political influence it has on the world today, there is no doubt that it has shaped the way we live our lives. The very fact that we have constitutional republic with a voting system in place and the plethora of languages that we speak today that are derived from Latin and western values and traditions, specifically that are shaped and are derived from a Greco-Roman culture. It is telling that even though ancient Rome has collapsed, its influence still lives on spiritually, and many of us are still slaves to this spiritual Rome. And we do not even realize it. Even many practices in the near and far east have similar Babylonian influences and Rome is a derivative of Babylon.
Yahweh is an all-powerful Elohim and He uses nations like these to bring Himself glory and establish His authority over all the earth. Because in the natural, powerful nations like these seem unstoppable and mankind is stubborn and sinful and always chooses to rebel against Yahweh just because they seem so unstoppable. They make themselves a proud nation who shake their fists towards Elohim.
However, nations like these are no match for Yahweh. The earliest example of this is the tower of Bavel (Babel). Mankind tried to establish for themselves an all-powerful empire on the earth and tried to defy Yahweh’s commands. Yahweh scattered them all over the face of the earth and mankind stood no chance to defy Elohim All Mighty. Just as Yahweh did the same with Mitsrayim (Egypt.) Because they too, became a proud nation that worshipped many foreign elohim, He would do the same with spiritual Babylon.
44 “And in the days of these kings the Elohim of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”
As we study Yahweh’s word and we go through this parasha and the next one, have you ever wondered to yourself why Yahweh struck Mitsrayim with 10 specific plagues? And what each one represents? If you would like to know more, please join me as we study Yahweh’s word. Where we will learn about why Yahweh decided to tear down Mitsrayim with 10 specific plagues. And how by doing so, Yahweh established Himself as the one true Elohim.
As we begin in our Torah portion, two things that stand out to me right away are first, Moshe had a really special and personal relationship with Yahweh. And to me this foreshadows exactly how the Mashiach would be with Yahweh. Yahweh tells Moshe that when He revealed Himself to Avraham, Yitzak, and Ya’akov, He did not give them His name, His personal name. He simply referred to Himself as Elohim Almighty. A very important lesson we must take away from this is that He gave us His name for a reason. His name is Yahweh and if we continue to use the incorrect names such as LORD, God, Adonai, HaShem when addressing Him, that is pretty disrespectful. And we end up violating the third commandment which is to not take His name in vain.
I understand that there are many heated debates about what the tetragrammaton name of YHWH means. Some have debated that it means Yehovah, Yahuah, and a few other names, but the majority of scholars would agree that it means, “Yahweh”. If you would like to study more about this, please visit our website and there you will find a great study done on this particular subject “The Set-apart Names” by Norman Willis.
In addition to using the proper name, I understand there are many of us who find this as new information. At first, it may be difficult to break the habit of using the other names that we grew up using. However, whether it is due to ignorance or plain out rebellion, when we misuse His name, it is a violation of His commandments.
He gave us His name so that we can use it to bless others; so that others may know of the goodness and blessings of our Elohim, and we can properly give Yahweh credit and not give credit to some false name.
Giving credit to another name besides the name that He gave us would be similar to a parent who is working hard to provide for and raise their family, and yet your children continue to give credit elsewhere. Now that is a tolerable offense when your children are very young and brand new to this world, but when they have grown and matured and still continue to give credit elsewhere, it is bound to upset you.
Imagine how upsetting it is for Yahweh. We are sinful beings that inevitably fail each other. But Yahweh is eternal and is always good and just in all that He does. So to give credit to another name or to not address Him properly by His name is like a slap in the face to Yahweh.
The second thing that stands out to me initially in this parasha, is that Yahweh reminds Moshe of the covenant He made with His forefathers. This is something to really make sure we hold onto in the back of our minds. In this parasha, we will not be diving into this too much, but it will be something we discuss in future parashiot. In the same way that Moshe was still a part of that covenant with Avraham, Yitzak, and Ya’akov, we too who are in the body of Yeshua are a part of the covenant that Yahweh made with Moshe and all our ancestors that came out of Mitsrayim. So keep that in mind as we progress through this parasha series.
Next in our parasha, we see that Yahweh tells Moshe, that He will take them as His people, and He will be their Elohim. And that they shall know that He is Yahweh their Elohim by the way He delivers them from their slavery.
Last week we mentioned at the end of the parasha that the people were groaning against Moshe and against Aharon. And Moshe went into prayer to seek Yahweh, why he was selected, and why things were happening the way that they were.
So here is Yahweh simply answering Moshe’s prayer and that is good enough for Moshe. Yet, when he went to speak to his brothers, the children of Yisrael, they did not heed him because of the anguish of their spirits and because of cruel bondage.
What it means to not “heed” is to not listen to, or even notice the person speaking; to completely disregard anything that they were saying to you.
How many of us behave this way when we experience discomfort, and our lives are not what we would like them to be? Oftentimes, we do not go into prayer to Yahweh as our immediate go-to response to trials just as the children of Yisrael did not. Then, when someone comes along to speak the word of Yahweh into our lives and because we are not focused on having that personal relationship with the Father, we cannot hear what they have to say. Because we are too focused on our own problems. We are too focused on our own suffering. Yet, it is in the midst of our suffering that we must learn to conquer our flesh so that we can properly hear the leading and guiding of Yahweh’s voice given through the Set-Apart Spirit.
Shaul says in Romim 8:18,
Romim (Romans) 8:18
18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
What Shaul said here applies both to our ancestors then and for us today. Yes, we all suffer. And yes, we all go through trials and valleys. But all of that pales in comparison to what Yahweh can do for us. What He will do for us. All that pales in comparison to who Yahweh is. True freedom is found in our liberation from sin. It does not matter if we are rich and have all the amenities and pleasurable things in life if we cannot even conquer our own sin. As long as we have a personal relationship with the Father and with the Son, He will provide everything we need, and we will never be lacking.
As we get to chapter 7 of Shemote, this is where we start reading about the plagues that Yahweh brings upon Mitsrayim. The reason why Yahweh chose 10 specific plagues to bring down Mitsrayim was because He was going to war with their false elohim; with their false gods. Yahweh was using a powerful nation like Mitsrayim to prove a point. At the time, they were the most powerful nation, and they placed their trust in these false elohim made of stone and wood. Now here is Yahweh who declares Himself King and proves it by destroying and crushing any notion that their false elohim had any power. All this will eventually tie into the 10 commandments that Yahweh gave us. In the same way that Yahweh tore down all the false elohim and idols in Mitsrayim, He does the same with us today by tearing down all the false elohim and false idols in our lives.
In our modern culture today, we may not seem like we are a polytheistic culture. In one sense we are not, but in another sense we very much are. Many of our modern cultural practices are rooted in pagan origins. They are rooted in Babylon and Mitsrayim is also a derivative of Babylon. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, these all revolve around pagan worship practices of the worshiping of the moon, the stars, the sun, the earth, fertility, and many more things, but worst of all, the worshipping of ourselves.
All we have done today is slap a Christian label on them and try to fool ourselves into thinking that we are becoming more Christ-like by doing so. And this could not be further from the truth of what Scripture actually says.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:31
31 “You shall not worship Yahweh your Elohim in that way; for every abomination to Yahweh which He hates they have done to their elohim; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their elohim.”
Now typically today we do not sacrifice children to Molech anymore, at least not that I am aware of in that way. But many countries still support abortion as a legal medical practice. Tell me what is the difference between Molech and abortion? In supposed Christian nations, this practice is legalized. How does that even make sense? This is why Yahweh attacked Mitsrayim the way that He did.
With Yahweh’s first plague upon Mitsrayim, He turns the waters into blood. This is a shot at the Mitsrite false god Hapi. Hapi was a false god who in the eyes of the Mitsrites caused an annual flooding of the Nile that would help water their fields and provide growth and food. Thus, the water helped provide fertile soil. Hapi was thought of as a god of fertility and life. Yahweh counters this by turning the Nile into the blood.
This is why Yahweh said in verse 17 and 18 of Shemote,
Shemote (Exodus) 7:17-18
17 “Thus says Yahweh: “By this you shall know that I am Yahweh. Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood.
18 And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will loathe to drink the water of the river.”
And in verse 21, it says,
Shemote (Exodus) 7:21
21 “The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.”
And so with this single act of turning the water into blood and killing all the life that was in the Nile, Yahweh single handedly, right then and there, proved that He was more powerful than Hapi and the Mitsrites lost their main source of water.
With Yahweh’s second plague, He sends a horde of frogs upon the people of Mitsrayim. That is because one of the false elohim that they worshiped was Heqet, and Heqet was thought of as a goddess of fertility. Because of the annual flooding of the Nile, and how the frogs would come up onto the land because of that. Naturally, the goddess Heqet was in the form of a frog for Mitsrites. But since Yahweh sent them in the droves in mass amounts that caused an annoyance for the Mitsrites, Pharaoh backed down and begged that Yahweh would cause them to rescind. I am sure Pharaoh and his magicians tried to pray to Heqet to cause the frogs to rescind back to the waters, but Heqet, Pharaoh, and the Mitsrites were powerless against Yahweh.
Shemote chapter 8 says,
Shemote (Exodus) 8:13-15
13 “So Yahweh did according to the word of Moses. And the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courtyards, and out of the fields.
14 They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank.
15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as Yahweh had said.”
With this powerful display, Yahweh again proved His dominance over the goddess Heqet and Pharaoh. Yet, he still hardened his heart towards Yahweh.
With Yahweh’s third plague over Mitsrayim, He sends gnats from the dust of the earth. In ancient Mitsrayim, the false elohim Geb was thought to have controlled the earth and that his laughter caused earthquakes, and that he himself allowed crops to grow. From the very dust where you would plant crops and receive food from, Moshe and Aharon struck the dust of the land, and Yahweh caused gnats to come forth from that and plague the Mitsrites.
Shemote (EXodus) 8:18-19
18 Now the magicians so worked with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not. So there were lice on man and beast.
19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of Elohim.” But Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as Yahweh had said.”
Yahweh was making a fool of Pharaoh and every other false elohim by this point and this leads us to our fourth plague.
In the fourth plague that Yahweh put on Mitsrayim, He does so in the form of insects. I know your translation may say flies, but in the Hebrew, it actually does not give a specific word for flies or even insects for that matter. The reason I think insects is a better translation is because up to this point, Yahweh has been going to war with all the false elohim of the Mitsrites, and the false elohim that pertains to insects is Khepri. In the eyes of the Mitsrites, he was supposed to represent creation and the renewal of life.
Shemote (Exodus) 8:24
24 “And Yahweh did so. Thick swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh, into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt. The land was corrupted because of the swarms of flies.”
Here is Yahweh again proving His power and authority and that He is the creator of life. He can renew or destroy. And the false elohim Khepri is no match for Him. Yahweh even told Pharaoh that He would make a distinction between His people in the land of Goshen and the Mitsrites when He sends this plague, that Pharaoh may know that He is Yahweh in the midst of his land. Yet, Pharaoh only continued to harden his heart.
In the fifth plague, Yahweh strikes the cattle and livestock of the Mitsrites with a severe pestilence that kills them. In ancient Mitsrayim, the goddess Hathor was often depicted in the form of a cow, and in ancient Mitsrayim, cows were venerated as symbols for motherhood and nourishment. Yahweh shut all of that down when He killed the Mitsrites cattle and livestock with pestilence. Yet, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart.
For the sixth plague, Yahweh caused all the Mitsrites to receive festering boils. Boils that were so bad, not even Pharoah’s magicians could stand before him. This was shot at the false goddess Isis. In ancient Mitsrayim, she was thought to have had magical healing powers that miraculously heal people of their sickness and she was thought to be more clever than the million false elohim. Yahweh proved yet again, there is no one greater than Him. Yet, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart.
With the seventh and final plague of this parasha, we really see the gloves begin to come off with Yahweh. He says to Pharaoh,
Shemote (Exodus) 9:14
14 “For at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.”
Shemote (Exodus) 9:16
16 “But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”
Yahweh is no longer messing around here. He is serious about bringing down Pharaoh, and Pharaoh’s people are beginning to take notice. They actually begin to fear Yahweh and not Pharaoh himself. This is key for next weeks’ parasha.
Shemote (Exodus) 9:18-21
18 “Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now.
19 Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die.
20 He who feared the word of Yahweh among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses.
21 But he who did not regard the word of Yahweh left his servants and his livestock in the field.”
Shemote (Exodus) 9:25-26
25 “And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field.
26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.”
With this plague, Yahweh was proving his power and authority over the goddess Nut. In ancient Mitsrayim, she was supposed to be goddess over the heavens or the sky, the stars, and the cosmos. Yet here she was no match for Yahweh. I am sure Pharaoh and the Mitsrites who did not regard the word of Yahweh thought they were going to be protected by Nut and they were dead wrong, literally.
Yet even after this, Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let Yahweh’s people go. The bigger picture here behind the plagues is that Yahweh is demonstrating to everyone, including our ancestors, who He is and what He likes and does not like. He is demonstrating that He is all powerful and that we need to only look to Him for guidance and counsel. He is demonstrating and proving to everyone that He is the great I AM. He is Yahweh the creator of Heaven and earth, and there is none like Him.
When He tears down the idols and false elohim in our lives, He is firmly establishing Himself as the King of Kings. When He tears down these idols and false elohim in our lives and calls us to action, we can either be like Moshe, or we can be like Pharaoh and harden our hearts. The choice is ours.