Shabbat Shalom everyone and welcome to this week’s “Parasha Vayechi”. In this parasha, we will see what becomes of Yisrael and his children and how Yahweh has had this plan to bring forth a nation from Avraham and his offspring, and all that takes place in order to make this happen. We will also see how it is those of us in the faith today that are also a part of this plan.
Last week in “Parasha Vayigash”, we left off with Yisrael and all his house being brought to Mitsrayim and how it is that when they were living there, they found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh and began to multiply greatly. Yoseph was a huge help in this being that he was sent forth ahead by Elohim to lay down the foundation for his family to come in and live there in Mitsrayim. Yahweh would then use this time to mold them into a Set-Apart nation for Himself.
In a lot of ways, this relates to us and our walk of faith today. If we stop and think about it for a moment we will see how Yahweh is using us as individuals (specifically as part of the greater overall body of Mashiach) to spread the good news and build His Son a global Kingdom, a Set-Apart nation for Himself. And we will see that we are very similar to Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) who paved the way for Mashiach to come and establish His ministry on His first visit. And now we are tasked with the Great Commission which paves the way for Yeshua’s second coming.
Yeshua said in Mattiyahu (Matthew) chapter 28,
Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:19-20
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in My name,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
Just as it took time, and there were phases that Yahweh used to build Avraham into a nation, He is doing the same thing with us, the body of Mashiach. He is taking us from the nations where we currently live, and He is breaking us of our worldly habits, and transforming us into millennial Yisrael. Just as Yahweh took Avraham and his family from his home in the land of the Chaldeans. And supported them and carried them across the various places of Kana’an, Mitsrayim, and others. And broke them of their worldly habits. And multiplied them into Yisrael and his 12 children, who then went on to become a united 12 tribes and then Set-Apart nation of Yisrael with its own kingdom. Yahweh is doing the same with us. Just as Yoseph was given a dream of the future, we too have been given the same dream.
Yahweh says in Jeremiah (Yirmeyahu) chapter 3,
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 3:12-15
12 “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says Yahweh; I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says Yahweh; ‘I will not remain angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against Yahweh your Elohim, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice,’ says Yahweh.
14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says Yahweh; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Tzion.
15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
This Vision of the future that was given to the prophet Yirmeyahu is for us in the body of Mashiach today. This vision of the future is called the Great Commission. Because if we notice, the whole reason why we are blessed with what we are blessed with, it is because Yahweh extends His hand of mercy and forgiveness towards us. He chooses to love us despite our iniquities.
This is why Romans (Romim) chapter 5 in verse 8 says,
Romim (Romans) 5:8
8 “But Elohim demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Mashiach died for us.”
We begin in this parasha with Scripture telling us that Yisrael had lived in the land of Mitsrayim for seventeen years and then it came time for him to die. Something that seemed interesting to me was that Yisrael had Yoseph for seventeen years before he was sold as a slave. And then when they are reunited, Yisrael had Yoseph and his grandsons for seventeen years and then it came time for him to die. I am not sure if there is any real significance to this, but I found it to be quite interesting.
I would imagine that the last seventeen years that Yisrael spent with his son and grandsons was a sweeter time and a time that he cherished deeply. Typically, adversity and challenges bring people together. Difficult times cut out all the nonsense and force people to focus on what is really important.
I really think the reason why Yoseph, Yehudah, and Yisrael went through all that they had gone through was to strengthen their faith, but also to strengthen the family bond through love.
How many of us have gone through trials with others by our side, and we form a deeper bond having gone through the affliction together? When times get hard and we realize we cannot do it on our own, we look to others for help and to lean on for support. This is why Galatim (Galatians) 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law or torah of Mashaich [Messiah]”
Galatim (Galatians) 6:2
2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Mashiach [Messiah].”
We see among other places in Scripture that we are commanded to be a family and to support one another. If Yisrael and his children were to be a nation, then they had to put an end to all the bickering, the fighting, and the selfishness they had going on amongst each other.
It is evident that when Yoseph was sold into slavery, that whole ordeal was difficult for everyone, and it was an emotional experience. Yet, through the power of love and forgiveness, the family was restored and brought together and even stronger than before. This is what it means to fulfill the torah or law of Mashiach.
This is also why Yeshua said in Matthew (Mattiyahu) chapter 22, “You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the torah and the prophets”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 22:37-40
37 “Yeshua said to him, “‘You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
This could not be more true because a nation is only made up of its families. So if a nation has weak and broken families, then the overall nation is broken and weak. There is no way that Yisrael and his children could ever hope to someday be a multitude of people if they could not even get along as a family. If they could not even learn to love Yahweh more than anything, and to love each other as themselves.
This is why I believe Yoseph’s action to forgive was such a powerful and pivotal moment for him and his family. Had he chosen not to, then there likely would not have been a future nation of Yisrael and a future King of Yisrael.
Please do not get me wrong, we know that Yahweh is totally and completely Sovereign, and that He is always in control. He never breaks His promises. With this, we know that His will will always be done. I mention this because we all have a choice on how we participate in Yahweh’s plans for our lives. We either submit to His will or He allows us to live our life according to our will and suffer the consequences. The choice is always ours.
This is the same for us today in the body of Mashiach. We first have to come together as a united body of Mashiach. And then we get to inherit the millennial Kingdom in the same way that our ancestors went on to inherit the promised land.
We first as individuals must learn to love Yahweh more than anything and to seek His perfect will for our lives. And then we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves in order to become an organized and structured body of believers. Just as Yisrael and his 12 children were believers in Elohim, but were disorganized, lived chaotically, and were seeking to accomplish their own will and not Yahweh’s perfect will for their lives. Yahweh used affliction and adversity to bring them all together, and to cause repentance. He used affliction and adversity to humble them. Yahweh will do the same thing with us.
This is why eventually all believers will have to go through the tribulation. This is also why Yisrael reminds Yospeh of the promise that Elohim made to him.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 48:4
4 “and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.”
Yisrael reminded Yoseph of this so that he and his brothers would not forget to put Yahweh and His will over their own. So that way they would remain a bonded group of believers through the years that they would live in Mitsrayim. If this gift of the promised land is an everlasting possession for Yisrael and his children, this promise is extended to not only our Jewish brothers and sisters, but to all of us as well in the body of Mashiach. This is why it is so important to understand where we come from and what our ancestry is, despite whatever our genetic makeup is.
Yeshua said in Matthew (Mattiyahu) chapter 15,
Mattityahu (Matthew) 15:24
24 “But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
The lost sheep that Yeshua is referring to here are the gentiles (or the goyim) who used to belong to the nation of Yisrael in one way, shape or form, and then rebelled against Him. This thought lines up perfectly with what Yirmeyahu says. This is all part of Yahweh’s plan and has always been a part of his plan for taking Avraham and making his descendants as numerous as the stars of the heaven.
This is why Yahweh told Avraham back in B’reisheet 12:3,
B’reisheet (Genesis) 12:3
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.”
Although we might be considered gentiles who used to be Hebrews who have wandered away from the faith (or even just plain ole gentiles), when we come to know the true faith in Mashiach Yeshua, then we are set free from the bondages of sin which is what led our ancestors astray. And now we are grafted back into the family of Yisrael. We are no longer called gentiles but children of Yisrael, children of the Most High.
Yoseph is considered the patriarch of the house of Yisrael being that his children Ephraim and Manasseh went on to be a part of his inheritance. Ephraim went on to become the main tribe leading the House of Yisrael in the North, with Yehudah (Judah) in the South. With this information in mind and when we examine Yisrael’s blessing over Ephraim and Manasseh, we see that the blessing was given to Yoseph but extended to his offspring as if Ephraim and Manasseh were grafted into the family.
If we remember, Ephraim and Manasseh were mixed. They were both Egyptian and Hebrew. Because of Yoseph’s faithfulness and because of Yisrael’s love for Yoseph and his children, we see that Yisrael adopts them into the family. All of this is very similar to how we as gentiles are mixed (most likely with Avraham’s genetics and the genetics of the rest of the world), and are grafted back in because of Yeshua’s faithfulness and Yahweh’s love for His Son. Just as Ephraim and Manasseh had a father who was Hebrew, we too have a father who was Hebrew (Avraham). Just as they had a mother who was Egyptian, we too have a mother just like this. And that is to mean our gentile background, which is supposed to represent a spiritual Egypt (or spiritual Mitsrayim).
And as we will see in future parashiot how and why Elohim calls the children out of Egypt, He tells us the same thing in Yirmeyahu chapter 51 in verse 45.
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 51:45
45 “My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of Yahweh.”
And the disclaimer, please do not misconstrue what I am saying. None of this is really about a particular race or a certain line of genetics. I say all this to help connect the dots in Scripture and how Yahweh used Avraham to bless all the families of the earth, through both aspects (the spiritual side, and the genetic side as well).
B’reisheet (Genesis) 48:15-16 says,
B’reisheet (Genesis) 48:15-16
15 “And he blessed Yoseph, and said: “Elohim, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the Elohim who has fed me all my life long to this day,
16 The Messenger who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
If we notice with Yisrael’s blessing, it is very telling of what is going on with us in the body of Mashiach. Just as Yisrael was redeemed from all of the evil by the Messenger (Angel) of Yahweh, we know this is a reference to Yeshua because it is only by His sacrifice that we can be redeemed from all evil which is sin.
Secondly, Yisrael asks the Messenger of Yahweh to bless the lads and make them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. This multitude is supposed to represent us, the body of Mashiach, because it is by Yeshua’s Spirit that we are blessed to have grown into a multitude in the earth. We have Avraham and Yitzak’s name upon us because our forefathers are Avraham, Yitzak, and Yisrael. They are where our faith originates from.
When we look at Christianity, I call it the most popular version of the faith today currently, which would make the body of Mashiach the multitude in the midst of the earth. We are a great multitude and Nazarene Israel is a break off from that multitude.
However, just as Yisrael and his children were a loose federation of 12 sons who fought and bickered with each other when they entered into Mitsrayim, we too are a loose federation of believers who have not come together under a single, unified, clean doctrine. Right now, we are currently living amongst the nations of the world or also known as Babylon, which is a type of spiritual Mitsrayim. In the same way that Yahweh brought organization and structure to Yisrael and his 12 children while they were living in Mitsrayim, He is doing the same with us as believers.
Right now we have Messianics, Christians, Nazarenes, and thousands of different denominations that fit within those 3 categories. Yahweh will use our time living amongst the nations of the world to conform us and bring organization and structure to us in order to transform us into millennial Yisrael.
It is not necessarily supper important about the name that we call ourselves. It is more about the unification that we have where we are coming together and doing everything that Scripture tells us to do. This is why it is so important to come together and unify as believers. So that for starters, the devil does not pick us apart and conquer us. But more importantly, so that we can fulfill the Great Commission and subdue the whole earth so that when Yeshua comes back, we are ready to be received as His bride.
In this way, just as Yoseph was sent ahead of his brothers to pave the way for his family to be received coming into Mitsrayim, I look at Christianity to be the same type of precursor to pave the way for the world to receive Mashiach and His teachings, which is what we are seeking to do with Nazarene Israel.
And Yisrael said to Yoseph,
B’reisheet (Genesis) 48:22
22 “Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.”
This is why, in my opinion, Christians, Messianics and Nazarenes have been as blessed as they are comparatively to our Jewish brothers and sisters. This is also why I think that Yisrael blessed Ephraim and Manasseh saying, “May Elohim make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh”.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 48:20
20 “So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will bless, saying, ‘May Elohim make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!’ ” And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.”
Being that Yoseph’s children in one sense are spiritually supposed to represent believers in Mashiach. If the goal is to bring everyone in submission to Yeshua, and make disciples in all nations, then it would make sense why Yisrael blessed Yoseph’s children the way that he did.
Then, on the flip side to that, if we look at Yehudah’s blessing, we notice that Yisrael says, “The scepter shall not depart from Yehudah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”
B’reisheet (Genesis) 49:10
10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”
This a reference to HaMashiach Yeshua. Shiloh is thought of as a Messianic title and a reference to the Mashiach (Messiah).
The portion of the lawgiver and the scepter is supposed to represent the authority of the Kingship and how Yeshua would descend from a line of Kings through the tribe of Yehudah, which we know is through the line of David. And thus because He is a King through the line of David, He is the Mashiach and the obedience of the people belong to Him. This obedience of the people are the people of Israel and Yehudah.
Right now (at the time of this writing), many of Yisrael’s children are scattered amongst the people of the nations. This is why Yeshua told his disciples to go forth and fulfill the Great Commission, so that then they could re-gather and find all of Yisrael’s lost and scattered children.
When we examine how Yehudah is the Kingship tribe and that they are the tribe that gives instruction and order and sets Halacha (which quite literally translates to mean, the way to walk), this pairs up quite nicely and speaks to what Yeshua said in the Great Commission. Which was to teach everyone to observe all things that He has commanded.
It also pairs up quite nicely when He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me”.
Yochanan (John) 14:6
6 “Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
If we are willing to see how it is that the story of Yoseph and his brothers is a story of how Yahweh is using them to bring about an ordered nation, we can see how as believers in Mashiach, we too are a part of this plan. The greater picture here is that the plan is accomplished through love and forgiveness. We must have love first and foremost for Yahweh our Elohim. And then we must have love and forgiveness for our neighbor. The way that forgiveness and love really is the key in all of this is demonstrated right here in this parasha with Yoseph’s response to his brothers.
We notice in chapter 50 that after Yisrael dies, Yoseph’s brothers are afraid that he would hate them and would seek vengeance on them for the evil that they committed. However, Yoseph comforts his brothers by saying,
B’reisheet (Genesis) 50:19-21
19 “Yoseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of Elohim?
20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but Elohim meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
And here we are brothers and sisters, just as the nation of Yisrael started off with Avraham and his small family, then went through all that they went through to become the Set-Apart nation after they left Mitsrayim. We are where Yoseph and his brothers are at. We wandered about in Christianity and now more and more of our brothers and sister’s eyes are being opened to the truth in Scripture regarding our identity as Hebrews.
That is why there are beak-offs from Christianity. Right now we are really a bunch of scattered believers in Mashiach. And so, just as Yoseph and his brothers were a scattered group of 12 believers until they were brought to Mitsrayim and molded into a nation, this is our time as we are being molded into the Set-apart nation of millennial Yisrael.
However, how many of us are going to answer Yeshua’s call? Which is to lay down our lives in this world, to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow after Him? If we are all being led by the same Spirit, then there would not be all this division amongst the body. This is why I say, love, forgiveness, mercy, and compassion is at the heart of it all.
Who has a better example to follow in this matter if not Yeshua’s example? Yahweh is trying to transform us from Christians, Messianics, and other denominations outside the original faith to become millennial Yisrael. Let us all humble ourselves and let the Spirit of Yeshua unite us through love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness, just as Yoseph and his brothers did.