The Clarion, Dec. 2023

Volume 4, Issue 12        www.judeochristianclarion.com              December  2023 


Welcome

There is a poem called “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Christina Rossetti. The first two verses says this, In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; 

snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;

heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.

In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Even though December begins the season of Winter, when night is at its darkest point, there are still many things that we can find to be thankful for. Maybe that is why Thanksgiving comes right before this time.  Even though Messiah was not born in December, we celebrate the Season of Light of Christmas and Hannukah. Yeshua is the Light to the World and as the world grows darker with  the increase of lawlessness, our lives must be light for we are the children of light as 1 Thessalonians 5:5 tells us,  “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:8 continues saying, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of our hope of salvation.” 

So let us end the year with our light shining, and in so doing, fulfilling Isaiah 9:2,

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”

God bless your Holiday Season, not with worldly blessing, but with the Light of His love shining upon you.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”  Numbers 6:24-26


Egypt: Moses in Midian Part 6 

Last month we read that Moses, this “good” child, became the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter. Exodus 2:11-14 goes on to tell us this, Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his fellow Hebrews and looked at their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his fellow Hebrews.  So he looked this way and that, and when he saw that there was no one around, he struck and killed the Egyptian, and hid his body in the sand.  Now he went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, “Why are you striking your companion?”  But he said, “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Surely the matter has become known! When Pharaoh heard about this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.”

 Did we not see this with Abraham’s servant? Genesis 24: 11-14,  “He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water when it was evening, the time when women go out to draw water.  And he said, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.  Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water;  now may it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’—may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”

We also saw that Jacob met Rachel by the well in Genesis 29:1-3,9, “Then Jacob set out on his journey, and went to the land of the people of the east.  He looked, and saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, because they watered the flocks from that well. Now the stone on the mouth of the well was large.  When all the flocks were gathered there, they would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well.   ‘While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess.”

Hebrews 11: 25-27 says, “It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be treated as the grandson of the king, but chose to share ill-treatment with God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He thought that it was better to suffer for the promised Messiah  than to own all the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking forward to the great reward that God would give him.  And it was because he trusted God that he left the land of Egypt and wasn’t afraid of the king’s anger.”

Moses knew his heritage and he chose his people over the people of Egypt. This did not just happen, No! Moses had a calling from God, just like Joseph. Joseph told his brother this in Genesis 50:19-20, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place?  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.”

This was so for Moses, for he too saved a people, but first Moses had to leave Egypt for a while.  The writer of Hebrews knew that Moses did not know about the sufferings of Messiah, but he did, and he likened Moses to the Messiah.

Exodus 2:16-22 continues. “Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.  Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock.  When they came to their father Reuel, he said, “Why have you come back so soon today?” They said, “An Egyptian saved us from the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew water for us and watered the flock.” So he said to his daughters, “Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat.”  And Moses was willing to live with the man. And he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses.  Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.”

So let’s look at this closer.  Midian was east of the Jordan River. The Midianites were descended from Midian, a son of Abraham through his concubine Keturah (Genesis 25:1-6). Remember it was the Midianites who pulled Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt. In the book of Judges it seems to support the idea that the Midianites merged with Israel, especially the Kenites. The Kenites were the descendants of Jethro, the Midianite priest. According to Judges 1:16, The descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, the Kenite, went up from the City of Palms (Jericho) with the men of Judah to live among the people of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad. Later, the wife of a man named Heber the Kenite played a major role in the Israelite victory commemorated in the “Song of Deborah.” Heber’s wife Jael lured the Canaanite commander Sisera into her tent and assassinated him in his sleep. The Bible preserves a lengthy poem describing the event, which declares: “Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women” (Judges 5:24). Later, when King Saul is commanded by God to destroy the Amalekites, among whom some of the Kenites dwell, the Kenites are spared by being given a warning to move away from the Amalekites before the slaughter begins (1 Samuel 15:6).

 So now that we know about the Midianites let’s consider Moses. Like Joseph, Moses also dressed and looked like an Egyptian, and he also spoke their language, and like Joseph, Moses married a girl whose father was a priest. Reuel’s name means “friend of God” and when he took in Moses, he surely was a friend of God. But there seems to be  a conflict in Scriptures for in one place they call him Reuel (Exodus 2) and in another place they call him Jethro (Exodus 18:1-18) and still in another place they call him Hobab (Judges 4:11). Some believe that Reuel was the grandfather to the girls, and that Hobab was Reuel’s son. 

According to Rabbi Dovid  Rosenfeld, there are also those who suggest that Reuel was not Moses’s father-in-law but his grandfather-in-law, Jethro’s father – as implied by “Hobab son of Reuel” of Numbers 10:29. Although when Moses first arrived and helped water the family flocks the Torah states that the girls returned to “Reuel their father,” that might be because young children will often call their grandfather “abba” which is father (Sifri Numbers 10:29). 

Exodus 2:23-25, “Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage ascended to God.  So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.”

Because this took place in the Prehistoric Era, it is hard to determine the timeline of all of these events. Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg, a Senior Fellow at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, published an article in the Jerusalem Post in 2015 suggesting that the Hebrews were enslaved for a wave of building projects instituted by Akhenaten, an iconoclastic but unpopular ruler. Upon his death, the crown passed to his son-in-law Tutankhaten, later called Tutankhamun. In about 1325 BCE Tutankhamun was forcibly succeeded by his general Horemheb. This also fits in well with the fall of the walls of Jericho, which its British excavator Kathleen Kenyon placed during the fourteenth century BCE. David Rohl‘s 1995 A Test of Time revised Egyptian history by shortening the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt by almost 300 years. As a result, the synchronisms with the Biblical narrative results in the Second Intermediate Period when King Dedumose II, who died in 1690 BCE, as the pharaoh of the Exodus. 

Whomever he was, this Pharaoh died and God is about to send Moses back to Egypt.

Next month we will continue with the story of Moses.


Podcast: Encouraging Moments  8

Today so many people are discouraged and feel helpless because of the state of our economy. All over the world there are famines and drought, a lack of food and water. But God sees all and knows all and He is in control of all things. Here are a few Scriptures to encourage you.

“But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not fear; you are more valuable than a great number of sparrows.” Luke 12:7

“Consider the ravens, that they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!” Luke 12:24

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

“ My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Messiah Yeshua.” Philippians 4:19

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,  to Him be the glory in the church and in Messiah Yeshua to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” 

Ephesians 3:20-21

A Thread

Our life is but a thread— a thread held together by  FAITH: faith in the Lord that He will see us through our strife and pain.

Our life is but a thread— a thread held together by  TRUST: trust in the Lord that He will take care of our needs.

Our life is but a thread— a thread held together by  HOPE: hope in the Lord that He will always be with us.

Sandiegram/Storms/copyright 2010

Father, we pray for those who are in need.  You see that the cost of everything is rising today, food, rent, fuel, everything. We ask that you meet people’s needs, and give them a financial blessing in their lives, and Father, we also ask for those who have no one they can call a friend to talk to, send them a friend today, and Father don’t forget those who are in need of shelter. We know that you are our Shelter, but today make a way for them to have a permanent place they can call home. We thank you Father, as Psalm 73:26 says My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” 


Hebrew Corner:                   The Martyrs

                                                   Matthew

Matthew, who was one of the twelve disciples, a Galilean, who may have been a Syrian, was also one of  the four  Evangelists, so he is also known as Matthew the Evangelist. We read about the calling of Matthew in his gospel. Many people do not believe that Matthew wrote this gospel because he does not claim to be an eye witness. The tradition that the author was the disciple Matthew begins with the early Christian bishop Papias of Hierapolis (c. AD 60–163), who is cited by the Church historian Eusebius (AD 260–340), as follows: “Matthew collected the oracles about Jesus) in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.” On the surface, this has been taken to imply that Matthew’s gospel itself was written in Hebrew or Aramaic by the apostle Matthew and later translated into Greek, by the Apostle James, but no one knows for sure. Matthew 9:9-13, “As Yeshua went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” He told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Yeshua was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Yeshua said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:13-14 tells it a little differently, “Once again Yeshua went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to Him, and He began to teach them.  As He walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me,” Yeshua told him, and Levi got up and followed Him.”

Matthew was sitting by the customs house in Capernaum when Yeshua called him into His company. Assuming that the identification of Matthew with Levi is correct, Matthew (probably meaning “Yahweh’s Gift”) would appear to be the Greek name of Levi (called by Mark “Levi the son of Alphaeus”), who had been employed as a tax collector in the service of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee. Countries evangelized by Matthew,  almost always mention Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea (not Ethiopia in Africa), and some Persia and the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and Syria. He suffered Martyrdom in 60 CE, but it is not known if he was stoned, burned or beheaded. One thing is for sure, that God can use any one, a fisherman, or a sinful tax collector, either educated like Paul or a simple laborer, God can take even a broken vessel, and remold it, and shape it  into a vessel of honor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *