Shabbat Bible Study for January 7, 2017
©2016 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 1 Sabbath 39
Genesis 41:38 – 42:17 – Isaiah 11:2-9 – Psalm 35 – Acts 7:1-19
Gen.41.38-45 – Last week we saw Paroh had 2 dreams and noone in his court who could interpret them. His chief butler heard the details, saw that Paroh was troubled and only then – 2 years after he was restored to his former position – did he remember Yoseph. So Yoseph is cleaned up and brought before Paroh where he interpreted the dreams and proposed a plan of action. Yoseph’s plan was for the good of all Egypt and its people, but Paroh, the conniving politician, saw a way to consolidate more power thereby. Remember that Yoseph is a tzadik. He is not after his own gain by the plan he proposed. However, Paroh is a wicked man and will take what Yoseph means for liberty and use it to further enslave his people by taking ALL power and property to himself. Can you tell that I’ve learned to distrust politicians and political government? On to today’s portion.
Why did Paroh ask if anyone else thought they could find another man ‘in whom the Spirit of Elohim is?’ The Chumash says that it was unlawful for the Paroh to elevate a slave over the Egyptians without his court’s approval and that was the reason that Paroh didn’t directly address Yoseph until he’d gotten agreement from his court. That seems reasonable to me. Then he promotes Yoseph over everyone but himself, effectively making him viceroy; in the American mindset, vice president; in the Navy mindset, the XO – which is the position he literally holds, executing the will of the CO. In the biblical mindset, Yoseph is like Y’hovah Yeshua, bringing into reality what Avinu planned out.
Paroh places his own signet ring on Yoseph’s hand (signifying authority to rule by decree), dresses him in fine linen (signifying right standing), adorns him with gold (signifying wealth and power) and then takes him out and has him parade around in PC2, akin to Air Force 2, the president’s backup ride. As they are parading around the capital city Paroh’s servants proclaim ‘Bow the knee’ before Yoseph and Paroh. Paroh is effectively introducing Yoseph to the people and them to Yoseph and his position.
When they get back inside the court, Paroh gives Yoseph his new name, Tzaphanath Paaneach – he who reveals what is hidden. The name change signifies the promotion. Yoseph has overcome his troubles that began when he ran his mouth to his brothers 13 years before by submitting himself to Y’hovah’s Spirit. When we overcome by the power of Y’hovah’s Spirit, we will also be given a new name:
2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of Y’hovah shall name. (Isaiah 62:2)
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth. (Revelation 2:17)
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and my new name. (Revelation 3:12)
That last verse tells us that we will have Y’hovah’s Name, the heavenly city’s Name and Yeshua’s new Name written on us. The new Name signifies authority, right standing and power, as we see in our portion. I take this to signify that overcomers will be viceroys in the Kingdom of Moshiach, as Yoseph was a viceroy in the Kingdom of Paroh.
The Chumash says the rabbis believe that Potiphar and Potiphera are one and the same person. So, why the name change? I think when Paroh saw the reason that Potiphar had prospered so much was because he had recognized Yoseph’s ability early on and that even in Yoseph’s ignominy he’d found a way to be profited by his presence, he also promoted Potiphar to the position of chief priest of the religion and signified his new authority by changing his name, as well. So we see in the flesh in this scene: politically, POTUS, VP and Speaker; militarily, the CO, the XO and the ChEng (Chief Engineer, shipboard) or OpsO (Operations Officer, aircraft squadron): and in the Spirit we see Avinu, Moshiach and Ruach. These are all analogies, and are not to be taken ‘woodenly’, but metaphorically, like a parable.
The promotion and change of name for Potiphera also raised his daughter to a position where she could be married to a high official and Paroh orders the marriage of Asenath to Yoseph, which also allies Yoseph to Potiphera and solidifies their relationship under Paroh. These 2 guys wield a LOT of power in the Kingdom. It puts me in mind of the request John and James made to Yeshua in Mk.10:
35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. 36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Yeshua said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Yeshua said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but for whom it is prepared.
Yochanan and Yacov were requesting the kind of power in Yeshua’s Kingdom that Yoseph and Potiphera had in Egypt, and Yeshua says it’s not HIS power to give, but Avinu’s. Yacov was perhaps the first of the 12 to be martyred (Acts 12). Yochanan was the last to die, but the one who arguably suffered most at the hands of Rome. In Mk.10 and Mat.20, they were seeking power in the flesh. Neither got any of that here, but they will certainly be the bikkurim and zachanim, firstborn and elders, of their ‘tribes’, as it were. These are respected positions, but more about service than power. Yoseph was always about service, and I think he taught that to Potiphera in his 13 years of service to him. It is even possible that Potiphera had recognized Yoseph’s Elohim as the only true Elohim, for the difference in his name is the same as the difference in Avraham’s – the addition of a ‘hey’, signifying, perhaps, the presence of Ruach in his life? Coincidence? Perhaps, but I don’t believe in coincidence. Q&C
Vv.46-54 – Jono Vandor and I were talking about this about 6 years ago and we spoke of Asenath. A listener commented on Asenath and brought the following info to my attention. In Egyptian her name means ‘belonging to Neith’, Neith being the Egyptian goddess Isis, or Ephesus’ Diana, or Babylon’s Ishtar. But in Hebrew it means ‘under a thorn bush’. It is proposed by the rabbis, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, that she is actually the daughter of Dinah by Shechem’s taking her [rape] in ch.34. The brothers didn’t want this reminder of their sister’s defiling, so Yacov placed Asenath ‘under a thorn bush’ (blackberry), from whence an angel picked her up and took her to Egypt and Potiphar, the eunuch, and his wife to raise in anticipation of Yoseph. Another rabbinic idea is that she was taken to Egypt and left at the outer wall of the city where Potiphar heard her crying and went out to investigate the noise. When he saw the baby, he took her in to raise her as his own. Either way, this is also a convenient explanation of a seeming contradiction in ch.46, where Torah SAYS Yacov came down to Egypt with 70 of his descendants, but only 66 are listed as making the journey. Adding Yoseph and his sons brings the total to only 69. If Asenath was Dinah’s daughter, it solves 2 problems for us and the rabbis – 1) the 70th descendant of Yisrael is already in the land with Yoseph and 2) Yoseph doesn’t marry an Egyptian pagan, but his niece and Ephraim and Menashe are not ½ Egyptian and 1/2 Israelite. If Asenath was NOT a descendant of Yisrael, she is the only NON-Yisraelite mentioned in ch.46 (v.20). If Asenath knew her real ancestry was Hebrew, this would also give credence to the idea that it was she who told the true story to Potiphar that kept Yoseph’s head in place and gave Potiphar the ability to keep Yoseph where he could help him prosper and be promoted. Potiphar was Lord High Executioner and was therefore in charge of the prison system, so Yoseph’s character and servant’s heart would still bring Potiphar profit.
Yoseph starts putting his plan to save Egypt (and his own family) into effect, and the storehouses are filled until they are ready to burst, so an entire city is built for storing the grain and I think it is called Succoth. Interesting, eh? When Israel leaves Egypt, they journey to Succoth to get Yoseph’s bones before they take it on the lam (Ex.13.19-20). During the 7 years of plenty Yoseph’s sons are born, Menashe and Ephraim. It is interesting that Yoseph was fruitful as the land was fruitful, but when the drought came he stopped having children. The drought was general, not just in Egypt, but Egypt was prepared for it, while everyone else just kept on living as usual. When Y’hovah sends judgment on his people he gives them time to prepare, as he gave Yoseph in Egypt. When we were here in 2007, I made the statement that America was near the end of our years of plenty and the dearth would be coming soon. Well, just at Succoth time in 2008, the housing bubble burst in America, taking the world’s economy into a nose-dive. I speculated in 2011 about what that MAY portend for the world;
IF THAT signaled the beginning of 7 years of Yacov’s trouble, sometime around Pesach time 2012 we can expect Anti-Messiah to be revealed and sometime around Yom Kippur/Succoth 2015 Messiah to set foot on the Mount of Olives. This coincides with blood moons in 2014/2015 that revolve around the Feasts of Y’hovah in the 1st and 7th months. There’s an article on World Net Daily about it from 2008 that quotes Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries. Here’s the URL: http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=63076 .
We know now, in 2017, that the anti-Messiah was not revealed in 2012 or 2015. The “IF” didn’t happen. Q&C
Vv.55-42.17 – Notice that when the Egyptian people started to get hungry they cried out to Paroh, who sloughed it off to Yoseph. He had come to realize, as the jailer had, that he could take an extended vacation if he wanted, because Yoseph was there [3 weeks in the Bahama’s? Why not? Yoseph has my back]. So Yoseph fed the people, but not for free. I suspect the Egyptians got their own back cheaper than foreigners did, but that isn’t certain. It IS certain that Egypt owned ALL the land of its enemies very soon after the drought began. I think that was Paroh’s plan from the minute he heard Yoseph speak of preparation for the calamity that was about to hit. It wasn’t but 3-4 years before Paroh owned the whole nation of Egypt. AND he was able to say it was Yoseph who stole all their money and property. Nice – NOT! Having all the food in the known world, Paroh was able to gather in all its wealth, to be in preparation for Israel’s Exodus [exile] to Egypt 8-9 years before his arrival.
Ch.42 – It has now been 20-21 years since Yehudah sold Yoseph into Egypt. Yoseph’s brothers don’t recognize him – he was a youth when he left and now he was viceroy of Paroh – but he knows them. They bow with their faces to the ground in fulfillment of his dream in ch.37. They are obviously nervous and know that this guy can do nasty things to their bodies if he desires, and they start doing what most folks do when in the presence of authority and uncertain of their position – they experience diarrhea at the mouth. It’s very hard in the situation they were in NOT to just keep giving up more information than the authority wants – and to talk their way into trouble. When authority asks for information, give them what they ask for and nothing more. An answer of ‘I don’t know’ when you DON’T KNOW really will suffice. An answer of ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will suffice most of the time. The more you blabber, the more he’ll have to use against you. Be respectful and succinct. If they make unfounded accusations, as Yoseph is doing to his bro’s, make a denial and then shut up. The pressure is coming from 2 directions on Yo’s bro’s though. They NEED food, so they are trying to appease this guy the best they can. So, Yoseph makes his demands known – 9 of you stay behind and one go and bring your brother (my brother, my mother’s son) and you can then trade freely with us. Show me your brother, as you claimed, and I’ll know you are true men. So for 3 days he put them in the jail that HE’d been in for at least 2 and as many as 10 years. When he brought them out after 3 days (does that sound familiar?) he’d have more to say to them. Be sure to come back next week for My impression of Paul Harvey’s “the REST of the story”. Don’t you LOVE cliff-hangers? Q&C
Is.11.2-9 – The 7 Spirits of Elohim are delineated in v.2. They are referred to in Rev.;
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; (Revelation 1:4)
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of Elohim, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (Revelation 3:1)
And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim. (Revelation 4:5)
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim sent forth into all the earth. (Revelation 5:6)
The menorah in the Kadosh place represents the 7 Spirits of Y’hovah, as is illustrated in Rev.4.5. If you reference the Tree of Sefirot you’ll see all of these Spirits of El Shaddai. The next few verses illustrate how the Spirits of Elohim work in and through us. The Spirit of understanding (Ima) works in those of us who fear Y’hovah and that understanding will help us to NOT judge by our fleshly senses, but by HIS Spirit. The Spirit of Knowledge is a combination of understanding and wisdom. Knowledge with wisdom = understanding and knowledge with understanding = wisdom. But knowledge alone makes one haughty.
Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. [1Cor.8.1]
The Spirit of counsel = the mercy of Elohim, while the Spirit of Might = his severity. Paul speaks of the ‘goodness and severity’ of Elohim in Rom.11.22 in his discourse on Israel/Yisrael and the grafting in of both Ephraim and Yehudah. His merciful wisdom has let Ephraim come back to him, while his severity has exiled those who KNOW his truth, but do not understand it. They can be grafted back in as was Ephraim. But their knowledge is ‘puffing them up’. They need to temper their knowledge with wisdom and understanding of all that Tanakh has to say to them. As we exercise in the 7 Spirits of Y’hovah, we prepare ourselves for our places as viceroys in his Kingdom and beyond into eternity.
Vv.6-8 show the difference between the world as we see it today and the world as it will be in the Kingdom and in the New Creation. All the animals that are dangerous today will be harmless in the Kingdom and the olam haba, the world to come. They will be present, but will not be the fearful things they are today. Wolves, leopards, bears, lions, and poisonous reptiles will not be a danger to even the young and innocent children and other innocent creatures of the earth. There will be no death [Rev.21.4] and no curse [Rev.22.3a] in the New Creation. All those critters will be there, but they will be harmless. In v.9, the ‘they’ are all those critters that are a source of worry today. But in THAT day, they will not be because the knowledge of Y’hovah will be all pervasive. Q&C
Ps.35 – Y’hovah was Yoseph’s buckler, shield and fortress while in Egypt, and his trust in Y’hovah delivered him through hardship and exile to his position of viceroy, and the fulfillment of the dreams he’d had in ch.37. As Yoseph was raised up in a day from mere servant in Potiphar’s jail to vice-regent of the most powerful nation on the earth, he understood that all that had happened to him over the last 13 years was meant for the good of the WORLD, as well as Yisrael’s little band of Hebrews. He SAW what it was that Y’hovah had planned and that he could not see until he GOT there. His mouthing off to his elder bro’s, his sale into Egypt, Potiphar’s wife’s horniness, his time in slam and his gift for interpretation of dreams had all “work(ed) together for good to those who love Elohim and are called according to his purpose.” He didn’t even know when he spoke to his bros about their bowing down to him, that he was answering Y’hovah’s call. Neither, usually, do we when we do some of the STUPIDEST stuff (like cutting down a big tree). But if we trust Y’hovah to deliver us, and leave it to him to do, we’ll be amazed at what he’ll do to protect us and to prosper our way.
Ps.35 is mostly imprecations – David calling his ways to mind and then asking Y’hovah to judge and punish those who work against Yah’s plans and ways. Here are a few phrases, just grabbed at random;
“3 stop against them that persecute me”; “15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew not; they did tear, and ceased not: 16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth. 17 Y’hovah, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.”; “5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of Y’hovah chase. 6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of Y’hovah persecute them.”
It isn’t pretty when we leave them to Y’hovah and then ask his destruction to be on them. But sometimes it is necessary. When they keep sniping and trying to destroy you, you have little choice but to call Y’hovah’s wrath down on them. Now, that is not to say that you can just call down his wrath on your enemies. If you perceive someone as your enemy and they are not or have done nothing to deserve your animosity and you call Yah’s wrath down, that is a false witness. Remember what happens when a false witness is found out. Here’s what our attitude is to be:
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. 14 I behaved myself as though my friend brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth his mother.
That is to be our attitude until they demonstrate that they want our destruction. Our imprecations should be with a hope of their repentance and reconciliation. Q&C
Acts.7.1-19 – This is from our midrash of about a month or so ago:
Stephen was rehearsing the history of Israel, and he made a few mistakes in it, but that helps to establish the bona fides of the account. If Luke was fabricating this story, he’d have made sure to cross his ‘T’s and dot his ‘I’s. The fact that we witness a couple of mistakes, well one actually, in Stephen’s monologue tells me that Luke is telling the story as it happened. Mistake #1 is that Jacob was buried in Shechem, when he was really buried in Hevron and Machpelah on land that Avraham bought. Mistake #2 is that Stephen says that Avraham bought the land from Hamor, father of Shechem, when Yacov bought that land. I think Stephen just got the land involved in his story wrong, a simple human mistake. The Ruach was not inspiring Stephen’s memory, but Luke’s account of it. OR, Stephen was using midrash to show that Yacov’s sons had conquered the Canaanites long before they entered the land to possess it and that when he bought the property it was a foreshadowing of Israel occupying kol haAretz, the whole land, as Y’hovah had prophesied to Avraham.
There is a remez, a hint, here. When Stephen talks of Yoseph revealing himself to his brethren the 2nd time they came to Egypt (v.13), it hints at Yoseph (Ephraim/10-Israel) being revealed to his Yehudi brethren (2-Israel) at Mashiach’s (2nd) coming as benDavid. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study