Hebrew Roots/Torah observance/Yitro
.Yitro - Jethro Shemot/Exodus Chapters18-20 Isaiah 6:1-6, 9:5-6; I Peter 2:9-10 & I Peter 1:22
Jethro (Yitro), Moshe' father-in-law comes to meet with Moshe bringing his wife and sons to him. Midian was a son of Abraham by his wife Keturah, whom he married after Sarah died and therefore he was a descendant of Abraham and he was a recognised priest of Midian. Exodus 18:1-18
The Targum of Johnathan says, "I, thy father‑in‑law Jethro, have come to thee to be a proselyte; and if thou wilt not receive me on my own account, receive me for the sake of thy wife and of her two sons who are with her. And Mosheh came forth from under the cloud of glory to meet his father‑in‑law, and did obeisance, and kissed him and made him a proselyte; and they asked of each other's welfare, and came to the tabernacle, the house of instruction." (Section XV11)
Moshe then began to tell him all that Yahweh had done for them, of which he had heard some news in knowing of Moshe' return, and which had initially prompted him to come to him. The mighty power of Yahweh and His deliverance of His people had convinced Jethro "And Jethro rejoiced over all the good which Yahweh had done unto Israel, and that He had given them manna, and the well, and that he had saved them from the hand of the Mizraee. (Egyptians) And Jethro said, Blessed be the Name of Yahweh who hath saved you from the hand of the Mizraee, and from the hand of Pharaoh, and hath saved the people from under the tyranny of the Mizraee. Now have I known that Yahweh is stronger than all gods; for by the very thing by which the Mizraee wickedly would have punished Israel by (drowning them in) the sea, upon themselves came the punishment, in being punished in the sea. And Jethro took burnt offerings and holy sacrifices before Yahweh, and Aharon and all the elders of Israel. came to eat bread with the father‑in‑law of Mosheh before Yahweh; and Mosheh stood and ministered before them. (Targum Johnathan Section XV11)
The Book of Jasher tells us that Yitro knew Yahweh from that day forward and that he stayed with them "many days" (Book of Jasher 82: 5)
Although Parshat Yitro glosses over the intricacies of Moshe's parting with his father-in-law, the Torah details their dialogue in Beha'alotcha Numbers 10:29-32) On his way to the land of Yisrael, Moshe confronts his father-in-lawYitro and implores him: "...come with us, and we will be good to you, for Yahweh has spoken of bringing good on Yisrael." Yitro declines. "I will not go; but to my land and my family I will go - "
He has become a believer in the God of Yisrael. but not a partaker in the inheritance of the land.
The name Yitro is a title refering to a princely excellence and superiority and it can be used in the form "His Excellency". The name, itself, means he who conquers and reigns with Yahweh as a prince. Yitro is said to be both a prince and priest of the land of Midian. Moshe had the lead role in Yahweh’ plan to bring the Children of Israel into Canaan, but Yahweh placed men of wisdom around him; men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, and one of these was Yitro.
It is said in Shemot 2:18, that the priest of Midian whose daughter Moshe married was Reuel. Reuel and Yitro are one in the same. Reuel means friend of Yahweh or Elohim. It was used to describe the man. The title Reuel was given as a description of what kind of man the father-in-law of Moshe was. Not many men in the bible were given the honor of being called a friend of God.
In the book of Numbers, chapter 10 verse 29, he is referred to by the name of Hobab, which means beloved one, as in his designation as father-in-law to Moshe, and the name Raguel refers to Yitro’ title, which also means friend of God, see also Judges 4:11 for comparison. So, we see a picture of this man that suggests he is a friend of God while yet at the same time is a beloved father-in-law to Moshe. His deep devotion and reverence to Yahweh leaps from the pages of the bible. The name Yitro means excellence, and it refers also to his character; Raguel and Reuel describe both his princely and priestly position in Midian and before Yahweh as a friend.
As well as the name of Yitro referring to excellence, Yahweh also used him as a messenger. The elders that were appointed by Moshe would later become known as the San Hedrin. Yahweh spoke to Yitro to speak to Moshe regarding this matter. It is of importance to note that the recommendations of Yitro became established as the Biblical model, and is the basis for divine leadership in the assemblies of God today. See the qualifications of an elder Titus 1:5-9; I Timothy 3:2; 3:4 & 3:12; II Timothy 2:2; Acts 14:23; Ephesians 5:18.
Moshe had become work oriented. As a committed, determined, hard worker, he gave himself completely to the people and it had become a 24/7 job. He was a one man show, attempting to meet every need. Moshe was overwhelmed with the work-load. In addition to presenting himself before Yahweh to lead the flock, he had a wife and family. Sometimes, we become so busy that we become ineffective in our own day-to-day lives. We become so pre-occupied trying to work out the strategies and salvation of Yahweh’ people here on earth until we are of no Heavenly use. When we think we're indispensable, and we try to do everything ourselves, we are unable to give quality time to all of our obligations and we expend ourselves. Whereas by delegating the workload there is a spiritual multiplication which is the key to resolving a situation that no one else can fulfill.
The First Judges of Israel Shemot 18:19-23
"Now heed my voice, I shall advise you, and may Yahweh be with you. You be a representative to Yahweh, and you convey the matters to Yahweh. You shall teach them ordinances and laws, and shall show them the path wherein they must walk, and the work they must do. Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be that every great matter they shall bring unto you, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for yourself and they shall bear the burden with you. If you shall do this thing, and Yahweh commands you so, then you shall be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace."
At the Mount
This is the mount where Moses first had his encounter with Yahweh and his commission to lead the people out of Egypt. These are the hills that he traversed during his time of exile from Egypt. Exodus 3: 1 The scripture says that they came to Sinai on the same day that they left Egypt in the third month, having travelled exactly two months, that is on the first day of the third month.. (19:1-2)
The Targum Johnathan tells us that Moses went up the mountain on the second day to meet with Yahweh and brought back to them the terms of the covenant and on the fourth day instructed them to prepare themselves for three days and sanctify themselves to meet with Him. Exodus 19:3-9 - cited in Targum of Johnathan in X1X Now on the third month on the sixth day, the Book of Jasher tells us (to which the Targum of Johnathan agrees), Yahweh appears on the mount and gives them the covenant. (82: 6)
You Shall be unto Me a Kingdom of Priests!
The Children of Israel could see a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Picture a cloud that extended vertically as a pillar and reaches up (like a tornado funnel) and touches down and makes landfall. This incredible site was with the Children of Israel for forty years as a great funnel reaching from the heavens to the ground day and night. Imagine this demonstration of His power and glory of Yahweh moving before them on a daily basis. This was the redemptive power of Yahweh being displayed so that the world may know His name and His Eternal Sovereignty.
The problem was that they became familiar with His Presence with them, ceased to reverence Him and treated this awesome manifestation of His Presence as something common or ordinary. By so doing they became complacent in their spiritual walk and allowed their flesh to dominate their behaviour. They were called to be priests that were mediators between their God and the people of the world. The ten commands were given to give them the blueprint to have His glory so manifest in their lives that the world would see the image of the Father.
"Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be peculiar treasure unto me above all people for all the earth is mine: And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a Holy nation. " Exodus 19:5-6 Notice that in Chapter 19:24, the 'priests' mentioned would be the firstborn of the tribal groups as Yahweh has not yet appointed the Levitical priesthood. These functioned as priests in sacrificial duties until they were replaced by the Aaronic priests. This is the original Adamic priesthood. (The JPS Torah Commentary op. cit. p107)
"For you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of Yahweh: which had not obtained mercy, but now have mercy." I Peter 2:9-10
After the preparation time was complete, He manifested Himself with an awesome display of power. Moshe brought "the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the ‘nether’ part of the mount."
The mountain was completely in smoke because Yahweh had descended upon it in fire, and the whole mountain quaked at His presence (19:18-20) The people were afraid to hear more direct words from God so they asked Moshe to go up and speak with God and relay to them His covenant. Today, People are no different. They do not want to hear from God. If they did, they might have to do what He tells them.
Research done by Archaeologists in present-day Saudi Arabia at Jebel Musa (Moses mountain - called so by the locals) has shown the whole top of the mountain to be burnt still today. Those exploring the area have also found the markers which were placed by Moshe to keep the children of Israel from coming up the mount. Not even the priests were allowed to come up on the mount.
In the Revelation at Sinai, Yahweh encounters the people of Israel in the arena of history, yet gives them the Torah, which is eternal and outside of history, for the principles given to us here are but an expression of how man created in His image and likeness should live. They are for all people of all time who would honour their creator.
Most people agree that the moral code of living embodied in these principles is relevant in all societies of mankind. Those without these standards for living in their inter-personal relationships deteriorate as a society. Yet, the first through to the fourth commandment is put aside as unimportant in a humanistic world where man and his needs and purposes are foremost.
If we truly obey the first commandment to LOVE Him with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength, then the other three will flow out from that. If you truly love Yahweh, then you will have no other 'gods' - i.e. idols (things which you worship) in your life -- and, you will not speak the name of One you love carelessly or irreverently. Nor will it be difficult to set aside one day of a week to give to the One Who is your all in all.
The Image of God
When Yahweh said, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (20:3), the issue was the priorities of their life and what they worshiped - what controlled their heart - i.e. not to allow anything else take hold of their heart that they should worship it. The principle behind this is that - not only is Yahweh the only God, but He does not want to be vying for our attention with any other gods we may be worshiping. In that era man's inclination was to worship tangible things. Now the 'gods' we worship in the modern world are more subtle and sometimes intangible, such as gods of possessions, pleasure, relaxation, sports, entertainment or even education. What He saying is that He requires all our attention, all our efforts and He will not share us with anyone or anything.
In revealing Himself to Israel, He was not concerned that they would not recognize Him as God but that they would just add Him to the already 1200 existing gods of Mitzrayim. That is the danger for us also, of having God plus our work, God plus our pleasures, God plus our possessions whatever they are - etc., etc..
In the next command He says "You shall not make yourself a carved image -- any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.." (20:4) Whatever has our attention - whatever 'image" we are beholding, that thing will possess our hearts. The likeness of the Father has now been manifest in His Son Yeshua. Yeshua is the true image of God, so much so that He said, "When you see Me, you have seen the Father." (John 14:9)
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of Yahweh is there is liberty. But we with unveiled face, (unlike those under the old dispensation through Moshe) beholding as in a mirror the glory of Yahweh, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of Yahweh" 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
The Ruach HaKodesh in us (the Spirit of Yahweh) is what transforms us to become like Him. We become His image here on earth liberating us from the bondage to the things of this world when our eyes are beholding His image, Yeshua the Messiah and not the things of this world.
Yeshua's life illustrates true liberation from the things of this world. From the beginning of his time on Earth, He was threatened by oppression. He began life with the stigma of illegitimacy, He was born in a stable, and then, since His life was in danger, His family spent His early years moving from place to place. Later He was misunderstood by His own family, friends, and authorities. He endured great temptations, had to avoid attempts on His life, was unjustly arrested and sentenced to a most cruel death. Yet in all these things Yeshua was free because He kept His eyes on the Father and worshipped Him alone. As He Himself said, He fulfilled the law - the ten commands. (Matt. 5:17)
In every hardship, God was with him. There was never a sense that His life was not under the loving control of His Father in Heaven. No one was ever able to manipulate Him. While living a simple and poor life, not only did he have every need met, He was always able to give to others. In the end not even death could hold him, for on the third day He rose to life. The reason Yeshua could live a life of freedom was because he possessed in Himself the moral and spiritual qualities that were part of the original human design and which are spelt out for us in the ten commands. The Ten Commandments, while providing us with a great moral standard, help us to see how morally weak we actually are. It is this moral bankruptcy that is the main cause of our bondage. The first step to freedom is found in accepting that we all fall short of God's standards for living.
Whatever could be said about freedom from life's oppression, the greatest freedom we experience is internally. To possess peace in the midst of chaos, hope in despair, joy when grieving, and confidence when facing failure, is true freedom. To be generous in spite of poverty, to bring blessing when cursed, healing even while in pain, and so on, are the fruit of that freedom.
He overcame in every situation and His victory is ours through the indwelling Spirit - the Ruach Ha Kodesh.
Setting Aside the 4th Command
The fourth commandment is to "Remember the Shabbat to keep it holy". Six days we are to work and do all our creative activity; but the seventh day is Shabbat to Yahweh, our God; in it we are not do any creative activity, nor any of our household or those employed by us. Because in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. (20:8-11).
The fourth commandment is the one particularly which modern believers wish to set aside. The humanistic approach to religion sees God as One who serves man and meets his needs, whereas Yahweh calls us to lay down our lives and serve Him - to deny ourselves, take up our 'Cross' and follow Him. Keeping the Sabbath involves laying aside all our agendas, our plans and purposes and instead consecrating the day for fellowship with Him. It is a day to come into His rest and cease from all of our own (and others) works and instead give Him the place of honour and worship that is due to Him.
The importance of keeping Shabbat is cited here as being that Yahweh created all things in six days and then He rested. Keeping Shabbat gives recognition o the fact that He is the Creator and Sustainer of all and that we are dependant upon Him. He also has set the example and established it as a divine ordinance for us to follow. In that sense it has never been man's ordinance, it originated with the Almighty. It is as fixed as the weekly pattern that He set in place at the beginning in the days of the week, therefore not being a man's ordinance, it is not liable to be changed by man.
The Sabbath in Type
The Kesef Mezukak (super-commentary to Ramban by R. Avraham Lieblein) explains that in connection to Shabbat in Bereishit 2:3, Ramban elucidates that the six days of creation hint at the six thousand-year duration of world history, based on Tehillim 90:4: “For a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past.” The seventh millennium will be the purifying desolation of the Messianic era: it will be wholly a Shabbat and will bring rest for life everlasting. (See Sanhedrin 97a, Avodah Zara 9a and Ramban’s comments to Vayikra 23:36.) In this case, “Because six days Yahweh made” means, literally, that Yahweh made a "six-day" ? that is to say, a six-millennium-world.
The Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo (c. 20 BCE-c. 50 CE) writes, in "Allegorical Interpretation" (1.2): It would be correct to say that the world was not made in time, but that time was formed by means of the world, for it was heaven’s movement that was the index of the nature of time. In other words, time is a property of the universe that Yahweh created.
The scripture says, "Someone who disregard the Torah of Moses is put to death without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses. Think how much much worse will be the punishment deserved by someone who has trampled under foot the Son of God; who has treated as something common the blood of the covenant which made him holy, and who has insulted the Spirit, giver of God's grace" Hebrews 10:28-29 (David Stern's Complete Jewish Bible)
The Torah of Moses sets out all of God's principles which has not been set aside but fulfilled in Yeshua's life which is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit. When we set aside, or disregard His principles we are actually annulling the work of His crucifixion in our life purchased by His precious blood. By so doing we are cut off from our inheritance just as Israel was cut off from physical Israel in the natural. These included idolatry and moral issues - Leviticus 20: 1-26; 18 :29; 7:22-27; Keeping the feasts - Exodus 12:15-19; and the keeping of the Sabbath - Exodus 31:14; Numbers 15:30-31 says that if a person sins presumptuously through "despising the word of Yahweh and has broken His commandments", he shall be cut off from his people. We despise His word when we set it at naught and disregard it.
The same principle applies in the new covenant, compare - 1 Corinthians 5: 9-12; 6: 9-11 and Galatians 5:19-21
The Manifestation of Yahweh
The sages report the tradition handed down the passage of time, that when the words of Yahweh were spoken tongues of fire danced through the whole assembly of Israel passing from head to head so that each one heard the voice and words of Yahweh without Moshe needing to speak as an intermediatory. This is derived from the understanding of the Hebrew words which have been translated as "thunder and lightning" which literally translated mean "voices" and "torches".
So the voice of Yahweh passed through the camp and was seen as 'torches' of fire passing through and among them. This is what caused them such awesome fear and parallels what took place at 'Pentecost' (Shavuot) after the resurrection of Yeshua. There again at the inauguration of the new covenant Yahweh came and spoke to His people. Acts 2: 4; 7-11
Yahweh came personally to speak to His Beloved Israel the terms of the marriage contract that she was entering into with Him. A prospective groom speaks personally and intimately with his bride-to-be, heart to heart. So with Yahweh, He came and spoke to her personally the terms of His marriage covenant with her. He told her that she would be His prized possession and that she would be a kingdom of priests unto Him, a holy, set-apart people that H e would delight in.
As all Jewish weddings do, it began with a 'mikveh', a ceremonial washing by immersion in preparation for the wedding to come. In traditional Jewish thought, a ritual immersion bath, known as a mikveh precedes the actual marriage ceremony. In this ritual, the bride immersed herself completely into a pool of water, symbolically cleansing all impurities. She then came up out of the water to meet her husband. The journey of the people through the waters of the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea) serves as the symbol of the mikveh in Jewish thought.
In modern Jewish weddings, this canopy, called a chuppah is the large prayer shawl (tallit) owned by the groom. They met for the ceremony under the 'chupah' created by the cloud upon the mountain and there they entered into vows upon the terms of the wedding 'ketubah' (contract - the terms of agreement of the marriage) which certified the union. This was the ten words spoken to His Bride from the Cloud and accepted by her. Exodus 31:13 tells us that the wedding ring, the sign of their betrothal is the Sabbath. He then went about making preparations for them to dwell together in the Tabernacle of meeting - the Mishkan.
In a marriage relationship, we do not consider it a burden to serve our partner, but a joy. So we also obey and serve Him out of love and find it a joy to do so. Through the knowledge of His love for us, responding to that love by doing what pleases Him, is a pleasure and a privilege. No request of His, will ever be a burden or inconvenient as long as we are motivated by our love for Him. A son or daughter of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, should always manifest this fruit in their lives.
The Revelation of the Shekinah Glory Isaiah 6: 1-13 ; 7: 1-6 ; 9: 5,6
This portion is chosen where Isaiah is commissioned by a revelation of Yahweh's glory and the people's sinfulness, to go and speak to them and bring forth a remnant who will serve Him. The people had forgotten Him and broken their marriage covenant with Him and were going to incur His judgment.
Yahweh is looking for a holy seed which will remain after His purifying work which will be of the original 'stock' which He planted - the Rod of the root of Jesse. Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be. Isaiah 11: 1-11
Only a revelation of His glory and majesty will bring us to a recognition of our true state before Him and to recognise the need of cleansing from our defiled human fallen state so that we may come to holiness of life and separation from sin. We need a cleansing touch from the altar to purge and cleanse us from all defilement of the flesh in order to serve Him in true holiness.
Many are drawn to the likeness of the world - the idols of fame, financial prosperity and pleasure, to just name a few. God's goal is that we be conformed to His likeness, which is an internal, spiritual likeness in our lives that reflects the image of God. He is looking for spiritual obedience from us.
Each time that we decide not to speak and live the Word of Yahweh in season and out of season, the glory departs from us. Let us invite Yahweh’ glory to lead us so that our enemies will flee before us as the Torah goes forth from Tzion. We need more than a mere mist of glory from Yahweh today, we need to have Him speak to us in the thick cloud. Let us return in obedience to His Excellence.