Overcoming is a Hebrew Thing

It’s easy for most to see the connection between the cross in Jerusalem and the original events of Pesach (Passover) way back in Egypt.  If you missed that somehow, here’s an entire page of articles trying to make that perfectly clear.   What’s less clear to many is that the New Testament chronology continues to map over the themes and subtle prophecies in Exodus from that point forward.  The redemption and freedom we are gifted due to the Blood of the Lamb (both in Exodus and in the Gospels) is only the pre-requisite to the rest of the story.  We are freed in our hearts and minds, certainly, but we aren’t out of Egypt quite yet.  If we quit just after Pesach in either narrative, we have don’t really have a gospel…we have a dead Lamb of God, a house full of slaves, and a tomb blocked by a stone.

The news only really gets good when the Hebrews walk out of Egypt and when Messiah walks out of the grave.  Both events line up both thematically and on the timeline by design.  One hint of this connection is in Exodus 13:19.  Here we see the fulfilment of promise and prophecy as our Hebrew ancestors take Joseph’s bones with them on their way out.  The original seed of Abraham, the original beloved son, the original savior of his people, the proto-type of a man betrayed by a brother and left for dead in a pit—that Joseph.  He’s finally freed from Egypt, never to return–if we were reading the bible with our Hebrew glasses on, none of this would require any explanation as to how just this one verse foretells Yeshua’s resurrection.  Both Hebrew heroes left empty tombs in their wake.

If you’ll accept that one example for now, I want to focus on the thematic lesson to be learned from both miracles, as YHWH connected the two for a purpose.  

Back in Egypt, our freshly redeemed people instantly hit an obstacle and suddenly the freedom they were promised seems like a bait-and-switch.  (Ask Peter.  I’m sure he felt the same way for three days and nights.)  For newbies, this is not an unreasonable reaction, but when you read the Exodus 14 account, it’s clear that YHWH has lead them to this dead-end on purpose!   Furthermore, He re-hardens Pharaoh’s heart to really put them in a pinch.  The people suddenly stop their Exodus, simply because their eyes don’t see a way.  What was Yah’s response?  Exodus 14:15, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to move forward!”  Obstacles like seas, graves, and stones only exist for YHWH’s glory. 

The bigger the obstacle… the bigger the miracle… the more glory due to YHWH.   This is how he uses us to magnify His name.

Here’s another old-testament parallel worth pondering:

An angel with a flaming sword was set as guard over the garden and the Tree of Life.  No access to the Tree of Life equals death.  Similarly, the guards placed over Yeshua’s tomb were put there to make sure that the dead stayed dead.  When that stone rolled away, when those guards fell down as if they were dead, it was the most POWERFUL object lesson YHWH could come up with to show us the eventual removal of that curse.  I say eventual, because we obviously still temporarily die, but Messiah proved that our fear of death is immature and overblown.  In Galatians 3:13, Paul tells us that Messiah became a curse for us. The curse that was removed by the death and resurrection of Yeshua was not “pain in childbirth”, it was not “hard work and weeds”, and it certainly wasn’t “the Law of Moses!” The curse was that obstacle to the Tree of Life. 

The bigger the obstacle…the bigger the miracle…the more glory due to YHWH.   This is how He uses us to magnify His name.

Let’s move far forward:  

In Revelation 20, John tells us that during the Millennial Kingdom, Satan is bound, there are no weapons allowed in the Kingdom, all is well and right in the world.  But after those 1000 years, Satan is released “for a little while” to deceive the nations and to once again create chaos, disorder, and evil.  Why?  To continue the pattern that was established at the garden, at the sea, and at Yeshua’s tomb.  YHWH intentionally creates one final obstacle to the Tree of Life.  (Even the timing of this final defeat of death is calibrated to the thematic timing of the Day of First Fruits–it occurs on the day after the Sabbath rest.)

The bigger the obstacle…the bigger the miracle…the more glory due to YHWH.  This is the last obstacle humanity will face, and YHWH’s name couldn’t get more magnified!  (Could it?)

In all of these examples, it’s the same lesson YHWH intends for us to embrace each year on the Day of First Fruits, as we look ahead to Shavuot.  He’s done the ONE thing for us that we just couldn’t do for ourselves–freed us from slavery.  He’s given us a Sabbath to rest and reset, but even that is now behind us.  At dawn, on this day number one, we face the future knowing that the promised land is anywhere but here, and that our arrival is only guaranteed if we move forward

This Feast of Weeks, these next 7 sets of 7 days, Yah will provide 7 Sabbaths of rest and refreshment.  However, the non-Sabbaths, every one of them, are still Holy–still set-apart to Him.  These are not business-as-usual days.  We need to remember that we are entering into a transformative process as we move forward on the Day of The First Fruits, and “He that begins a good work in us will carry it out to completion.” Philippians 1:6.

Besides the Red Sea, an obstacle worth singing about, our ancestors also have seven more major obstacles ahead of them.  It turns out there is one barrier per week of this seven week celebration, as our namesakes move forward from Egypt to Sinai.   

· In Exodus 15, they had to overcome bitterness. YHWH provides healing.

· In Exodus 16, they had to overcome hunger.  YHWH provided manna.

· Early in Exodus 17, they had to overcome thirst. YHWH provided water from a rock.

· Later in Exodus 17, they had to overcome Amalek. YHWH provided miraculous victory.

· In Exodus 18, they had to overcome chaos in their own community. YHWH provided wisdom, council, and structure. 

· In Exodus 19, they had to overcome complacency and the fear of man. YHWH began to provide them with His Word.

· In Exodus 23, they had to overcome a lack of vision.  YHWH provided a promise, a future, a goal, and a hope for those who would overcome.

It is these same spiritual principles and challenges to our own faith that we are called to embrace each Feast of Weeks (and every week thereafter).  This is what “working out our salvation” looks like from a Hebrew point of view.  Each and every Shavuot season, He reteaches us these lessons of overcoming, and we inevitably get better at moving forward in YHWH’s cadence–obstacles be damned.  If death can’t stop a Hebrew, what can?

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