PARASHAH: “VaYERA” (and he appeared)
GENESIS 18:1-22:24………………2 KINGS 4:1-37……………. MATT 8:1-9:38
YHVH appears to Abraham at his tent, yet it also says that “three” men appeared to him. He addresses them as LORD (YHVH), how is that? One can only wonder. Could one of them be YHVH incarnate and the other two ministering angels? Could all three be a representation of ELOHIM? “Av” (father) “Ben” (son) and “Ruach HaKodesh” (Holy Spirit)? This could open up into a lengthy discussion. All we know is that Abraham receives them with great hospitality. They eat and then they bless. This is pretty much how it works even today. We receive blessings from HaShem, but many times, we bless others, help others, and blessings follow.
Abram addresses the “the men” (Shelosh anashim) as “Adonai”. In one Hebrew-English translation, the word “lords’ is used, yet in another, the word; “Lord” is used. But in both translations, the word “Adonai” is used, which is “Master” and it is one of the names of G-d. The “men” are indeed “G-d” walking and talking with Abram.
Abraham shows hospitality to these “men” in that he prepares for them 4 items of food; “water, bread, milk, and meat.” It is a great mitzvah to show love and hospitality to others that are outside of your family. Blessed are the foster parents and those parents who adopt unwanted children from other homes and bring them into their own homes as their “adopted children” just as Adonai has adopted “all believers” into HIS family through our faith in Yeshua. In that way, ALL believers are; “B’nei Elohim” (sons of God)
Adonai repays Abraham’s kindness to those “three men”. Not only does He grant Abraham and Sarah a son ; “Yitzchak” but generations down the line, He provides “water” in the desert through the “ROCK” that was split, He provides “Bread” (manna) in the desert, and of course, the cattle of the Israelites produced “milk and meat”. In another level, we see “Yeshua” all of these. Yeshua is the “Living Water” the “Bread of Life” and the Torah is our “Milk and meat”. I guess we can say that all believers start out by digesting the “milk’ of the Word, the easy stuff to understand, and when we mature, we can digest the “meat” the more difficult stuff to understand.
Can we bless “Adonai?” We know that He blesses us in many ways and forms, but how do we “Bless” YHVH? “Baruch” (bless) comes from the word “Berek” which means “knee”. When we “bow” the knee in praise and worship, we are, in fact, “blessing” Adonai. We come to pray, asking for “this and that” but do we just come and thank HIM for just who He is?
He announces the birth of “Yitzchak” yet Sarah laughs in disbelief “within herself” not even out loud, or, just barely audible, yet YHVH hears her and asks “why did Sarah laugh? Yeah, but thou didst laugh” Can anything be hidden from the LORD? Even inside us, HE KNOWS what is going on inside us, within the heart, within our minds, HE KNOWS ALL THINGS, even the “not so kosher” things. Something to think about the next time we think we are alone. We really are NOT alone.
Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorra, yet there were not even ten righteous residents of Sodom. Had Abraham asked; “Will you not spare Sodom for only ONE righteous person?” what do you think that the LORD would have answered? Maybe YES? If that had been so, then, perhaps Lot and his family might have never left the city! Lot was still considered a “Tzadik” a righteous person, yet he was living in a sinful and totally corrupt city. That is a dangerous position to be in, to be comfortable in a place where you have no business to be in! or participate in activities that the lost world does. “by the skin of their teeth” one might say, the angel drags Lot, his wife, and two daughters out of there before the judgment of destruction begins.
However, we can think back to when the scripture says that “Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom”. He wasn’t there yet, he was close, but then, he was INSIDE Sodom. He even bought a house, perhaps even started a business. We read that he was “at the gates of Sodom” when he invited the angels to come spend the night with him and his family. Those that we at the “gates” of the city, were “greeters’ sort of saying, perhaps “tour guides” maybe Lot was involved with politics. We can only guess; The Torah doesn’t go into detail about Lot’s life inside Sodom.
We know that before, he had much cattle. What happened to his cattle? Did he sell the cattle in order to buy the house? What happened to his tents? Traded it all for a life of “excitement?” inside the city? We must say that when families moved to places or into neighborhoods that are corrupt, one might expect that the families also can suffer under corruption.
It isn’t easy to maintain one’s testimony in a pagan society or job place, but it isn’t impossible. Lot was considered “righteous” in the New Covenant, yet his family suffered. When the angels led Lot and his family (wife and two daughters) out of the city, they were told not to “look back” yet we remember that Lot’s wife DID look, and behold, she became a pillar of salt. She longed for her lifestyle in corrupt Sodom.
On the other hand, Lot’s daughters had sex with him and produced two sons; Moab and Ammon. The capital city Amman, in Jordan is named after “Ammon” and the Moabites were also a corrupt, idol worshiping people. But God has his hand in ALL situations. Remember that “Ruth” was a Moabitess, yet she became a “Y’hudit” became part of God’s people and Ruth is in the genealogy of Messiah Yeshua. Adonai can make a negative situation or decision and do something with it, something wonderful.
One thing we remember from Parashah “Noach” The Torah says that “Noah was righteous in HIS generation” Does that mean that if he were living in the time of Abraham, be might not have been considered so righteous? If yes, why? Did Noah plead for the lost world before the flood? Did he ask YHVH to save the world IF there could be found a handful of righteous people? We don’t know why transpired during the 120 years that it took Noach to build the ark. Did he preach to the people? Did he warn them of the coming judgment?
In the book of Enoch, we know that Enoch warned the giants of impending judgment. In Noah’s case, the Torah is silent. We do see that Abraham pleads for the innocent people in Sodom. We know that there were probably infants and very young kids that were innocent. Sad to say that they too were destroyed, however, they are in heaven today because they died as innocent creations.
The command of the angel to Lot and his family was “don’t look back” yet Lot’s wife DID look back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Does it really matter what YHVH turned her into? Might as well have been a loaf of bread, a donut, a fudge brownie, a…that fact of the matter is that she DID turn and looked back. This is meaningful, indicating that she “longed” for that life of Sodom. She might have thought, “I’ll take one last look and…ZAP…instant saltine cracker. Perhaps she gazed on the very “essence” of YHVH in destruction mode.
If one goes to the ruins of Sodom today, one can still find little Sulphur balls embedded in the ruins. When lighted, they emit a bluish flame. Imagine that after all these years, remnants of God’s judgment are still there. We also read about the birth of “Yitzchak” and later the separation of “Ishmael” and “Yitzchak”. We see a separation between the “chosen” and the “world”, but also, we see today the “wheat” and the “tares” growing together, not to say that all the Arabs are evil, there are many born-again Arabs who are the descendants of Ishmael, those who love the LORD. But for the most part, the Arab world and Israel are enemies.
We come to the last part, the final test, “Take your son, your ONLY son who you love, and offer him as a sacrifice” Now God didn’t say “Sacrifice him” only “offer him as a sacrifice” Today, we offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” before YHVH to do his perfect will, and to serve him. Abraham was willing to bring the knife down on his only son Isaac, yet the LORD did not allow him to do so, as it was a test to see his obedience, and to see if he was willing to follow through with “sacrificing and spilling Isaac’s blood”.
When we read this account, we see symbolism. The “donkey” that took Father and Son to Mt Moriah, the donkey that took Yeshua to Jerusalem, later to be led to Mt. Calvary. The wood that was laid on Isaac’s back, compared to the cross beam that was laid on Yeshua’s back, or Yeshua’s back that was laid on that crossbeam The altar of stone which Abraham build compared to Calvary’s hill which is pretty much made of stone, made by our heavenly Father. The fire which was in Abraham’s hands could symbolism the fiery judgment that Yeshua took on our behalf.
Isaac symbolizes ALL of us. Yet when Abraham was ordered to take him off the altar, so we were “replaced” by Yeshua. Isaac was replaced by the ram which was caught in the thicket. The “ram” is “Yeshua” the ram’s horns were caught in the thicket, and around the head of our Mashiach was a crown of thorns.
Isaac could not be the sacrifice for sin because he, like all of us, was born in sin. The ram took Isaac’s as Yeshua took our place. In some translations, there are some interesting words spoken by Abraham. “God will provide himself as a lamb” other translations read; “God will provide for himself a lamb” I like the first one since it explains what God did, He came down and became the sacrificial lamb, in our place. What Abraham said was prophetic
God was not willing that anyone should perish, but for ALL to have eternal life. He was not willing that Abraham should give up his only son, but God was willing to give HIS unique SON, Yeshua for the payment of our sin, one time and forever. Yeshua is both; “echad” (unity of ONE) and “Yachid” (unique, only, one of a kind)
Yeshua was willing and did undergo the “fires” of our sins, up there on that cross for a few hours, and thus made the “new covenant” that through his death and sacrifice, we might be saved. One might say symbolically a “covenant of fire” (brit esh) When we read the word “B’reisheet” (in the beginning) we can see those words, “brit esh” in the middle, just rearrange the letters around. Since “the beginning” YHVH had this in mind, to pay for our sin debt, with HIS blood.
2 KINGS 4:1-37
Here, Elisha Ha Navi (the Prophet) ministers to a Shunamite woman, as some prophets had a public ministry, Elisha had more of a private ministry, ministering to individuals more than to the general public as a whole. Yeshua did both, he ministered to the sick, the hurting, the poor, and also preached to the public in synagogues.
The first case involves a Shunamite woman whose husband (now dead) was one of the “B’nei HaNeviim” (sons of the Prophets). It wasn’t that he was a biological son of one of the prophets, but a Torah student of the “School of the prophets”. Today we have Bible institutes, back then, you had the “schools of the prophets” The prophets who were called by G-d instructed those interested in learning in the Words of God written in the Torah, from Adam and Eve up to those present times. Guess you could say kind of “history classes” and lessons to be learned from those “histories”.
The Shunamite woman tells or “cries out” (Tza-a-kah) to Elisha and tells him her problem. The Hebrew word “Tza-a-kah” denotes a “cry for legal assistance” similar to “Tzedakah’ (charity) . Her husband owed money to a creditor, now dead, the debt was not cancelled, it was still effective. In those days, if one could not pay a debt, a son or daughter could be taken as a slave or servant and “work off the debt” So, Elisha tests the woman’s faith by the following words;
“What can I do for you? What do you have in the house?”
In this case, the Shunamite woman needed a financial miracle. She had only on pot of olive oil. The woman asked for pots from her neighbors, then, received the oil, in abundance. Many times, when we look for miracles, we extend a blessing to another, and then, we receive from God, it just works that way at times. In the case of the Shunamite woman, just a little bit of olive oil in a pot went a long way.
We can look at this in another way from the derashic level. We are all “Vessels” or “pots” in the service of Adonai. The oil can symbolize the Holy Spirit. We can ask for more oil, and more oil will be given. We work together to further the Kingdom of God, we are like, many vessels with oil, all working the further the Kingdom, through our diverse spiritual gifts. When we work together, miracles can happen, healings take place, debts get paid, all through the power of Adonai, we are just “his faithful vessels with oil.”
The other case involved another woman and her husband from the same place called Shunem. The husband and wife offered Elisha a meal and a place to stay when he visited. That was a great mitzvah. The couple was blessed with a child. One blessing often brings on another. Yet the child perhaps had a heat-stroke and died. Because scripture says that the boy went out to the field and cried out; “my head, my head”
Elisha and his servant are called and they come to the family’s aid. Elisha places his staff on the boy’s face, then he places his own body on the boy’s body, and the boy is resurrected. We might ask why that procedure? What is the meaning of the staff on the face? The body of the prophet on top of the body of the dead boy? One can only guess. One thing is that a “Staff” (Mateh) symbolizes authority. The face is part of the head, and it was in the head that the ailment occurred, be it a heat-stroke or cerebral hemorrhage, or a blood clot.
Elisha represented Adonai, so it was like Adonai bringing the boy back to life, but in the body of Elisha. Did not Peter and Paul do the same thing? They brought back the dead to life as well. When Elisha’s body was spread out on top of the boy’s, it could also symbolize our Messiah Yeshua’s spread out body on Calvary’s cross. His death meant our life. In this case, Elisha perhaps “Breathed” into the boy’s mouth since his “mouth was on the boy’s mouth, his eyes on the boy’s eyes.
As Elohim “breathed the breath of life” (Neshmat chayiim) into the body of Adam, the Shunamite’s son was also “filled with life again” The son sneezed “seven times” “7” is the perfect number.
The Talmid Matityahu (Matthew) writes about different themes. One of the themes is that of prayer; “DO not pray/repeat vain repetitions” We often wonder what does this mean?
Many people memorize prayers and “recite them” over and over again. It becomes routine, and the danger in this is that one can pray “like a machine” and really not understand nor meditate on the meaning of the prayer itself. Then, the prayer becomes just plain words. A parrot can learn to speak, repeat things, but it doesn’t understand what it is saying. Are we like parrots? or souls created in the image of Elohim?
In Judaism, there are many prayers that are part of the prayer books. It isn’t bad to learn them and repeat them, only “understand” what the words mean and how they relate of our God. Then, when we pray the morning and evening prayers, we can meditate on what these words are really saying, so that they do not become just “vain repetitions”.
Here we have the LORD’s prayer. It is not meant to be something we just memorize and repeat like we do many times with prayers. This prayer is something to meditate on, and let the meaning penetrate our souls.
“Aveinu BaShamayim” “Our father who is in the heavens” Who has the right to call God, “Our Father” but only those who are members of his family. All of humanity is God’s “creation” and he is humanity’s “creator” but only to born-again believers, he is “Father”
“Kadosh Shmo” (sanctified be his name) HIS name is YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) which comes from HAVAYA (to exist) he is “Haya” (past) “Hoveh” (present) and “Yiyah” (future). And his name is indeed “Kadosh” (Holy). Contrary to popular belief, the Torah does not prohibit one from using it, on the contrary, the Word of God says “Call upon the NAME of the LORD!”
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” The “kingdom of Heaven” is HIS activity on earth, so, it is already here. It has been here since Genesis 1:1. It is here and manifests itself in the midst of his believers, churches, synagogues, congregations, bible study groups, etc. There is a “coming” political kingdom and a literal “New Jerusalem” which will appear on earth someday in the future, and what a time that will be.
“Give our bread continually”. Our “daily bread” does not consist only of literal food, but ALL of our basic needs. YHVH is a loving God and many times gives us even our “wants”. He will do this “continually”, I have seen this many time in my life when I just “think” of things I need, all of a sudden, I get them, many times for free.
“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” Many times, we commit sins against God, and yes, we want Him to forgive us, but what about people who have committed offenses against us? Are we holding grudges against them? If so, how then can we expect forgiveness for our sins? Our sins against our Holy God are greater. We must learn to forgive those around us. At times, it is hard, but it is a “command!” when it can’t come from the flesh, it must come from the spirit.
“Do not lead us into the power of temptation, but keep us from all evil…amen” What is the “power” of temptation? It is succumbing to the power of HaSatan. Remember that just because we are “b’nei Melech” (children of the King) does not mean that we are free from being tempted. Everyone on this earth has been tempted, even our LORD and Messiah. This is part of testing, we can be tempted, but that does not mean that we will give in to the temptation and commit sin. It is OUR choice, the very last word is “Amen” which comes from “Amun” which is “to say something that is true” so, when we say “amen” it is “so be it, as it is truth from God” (this was taken from a Primitive Hebrew text, as the first “LORD’s prayer was written in Hebrew) there is also an Aramaic rendition of the LORD’s prayer, look it up on “YouTube”
2 PETER 2:4-11
Kefa (Peter) reminds the reader that just as we serve a God of love and forgiveness, the same God, Adonai-Elohim-Yeshuah, is a God of wrath and vengeance, a jealous God. A God who punishes the unrepentant wicked. He gives the examples of the fallen angels who went into human women, thus caused mutant genetic offspring and “Giants” They are in hell today, as all the wicked souls that did not repent.
We all like to listen to messages involving God’s love, but do not care to listen to the “hell, fire, and brimstone” messages, such a message was preached on July 7th, 1741 by Jonathan Edwards, and thus brought revival to New England.
Our Heavenly Father is a Father of love, and reaches out to all who will listen, but by no means is an “arm-twister” He will not force anyone to come to Him. We can accept or reject; the choice is ours.
Rabbi Ben Avraham
For those who like to discuss and debate theology. This is a forum for people who enjoy strong and lively debate with people who may not be likeminded. Participants are requested to always treat other opinions with respect.
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