The Clarion, Sept. 2023
It’s amazing how fast time goes. It seems like it was just yesterday that the year began, and now we will be entering into Autumn. Soon the holiday season will be upon us. Psalm 90 which is a prayer of Moses says this, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God. You return man to the dust and say, “Return, you children of men. For a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a night watch in the night time. You carry them away as with a flood; they are as a dream, like renewed grass in the morning: In the morning it flourishes and grows up; in the evening it fades and withers…The years of our life are seventy, and if by reason of strength eighty; yet their length is toil and sorrow, for they soon end, and we fly away…So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” Yes, it is a sobering thought, but it teaches us to appreciate life.
Ephesians 5:13-16 says, “But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.” So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
Colossians 4:2-6, “Continue in prayer, and be watchful with thanksgiving, while praying also for us, that God would open to us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Messiah, for which I am also in chains, that I may reveal it clearly, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, wisely using the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer everyone.”
As we see the time go by, and our lives are fleeting, we need to consider not only our length of days, but our opportunities to advance the kingdom. It’s time for us to be saving up our treasures in heaven and not on this earth.
Egypt: The Patriarchs Part 3
We have been looking closely into the relationship between Egypt and Israel. We stopped last month with Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, and so we want to continue looking at this story. I think you will find it very interesting.
Genesis 41:33-37 tells us what Joseph’s plan would be to bring the people through the famine. “So now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and appoint him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him take a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt as a tax in the seven years of abundance. Then have them collect all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and have them guard it. Let the food be used as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.” Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants.”’
We know that the Holy Spirit is the giver of wisdom, knowledge, understanding and discernment.
Isaiah 11:2 says, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD.”
We find in Acts 6:3, that the apostles also needed to choose wise men. “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.” Genesis 41:38-44 continues to say, “Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom there is a divine spirit?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. You shall be in charge of my house, and all my people shall be obedient to you; only regarding the throne will I be greater than you.” Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “See, I have placed you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen, and put the gold necklace around his neck. And he had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed ahead of him, “Bow the knee!” And he placed him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
It is believed that the Pharaoh who would have made Joseph second over Egypt would have been the Pharaoh Sesostris I. So we see here that Joseph was elevated to second-in-command and all Egypt bowed down before him. We see this in the Esther story with Haman
Esther 3:1-2 says, “After these events King Ahasuerus honored Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and promoted him and established his authority over all the officials who were with him. All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded regarding him.”
When reading the Scriptures on Joseph we can only conclude that God had His hand on Joseph’s life. Every event, good or bad, was all directed by God to prepare Joseph for a time like this. We see the same thing with Queen Esther and you will find that to be true with anyone who walks with God. Genesis 41:45 continues to say, “Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.
Scholars have tried to determine the meaning of this name. The best they came up with was “revealer of hidden things,” but others say it means, “sustainer of life,” which is more in line with his mission. What is interesting is that Pharoah gives Joseph Asenath for his wife. You see that enath ending of her name is in his. Asenath means “she who belongs to Neith (goddess).” So who was this Asenath and who was her father Potiphera, priest of On? The city of On was northwest of Cairo. It was a cultic center of the sun-god Re (Jeremiah 43:13). The city had outstanding architectural features with columns and colonnades. Potiphera’s name means “He whom RE has given.’ The Father, being a priest, would have had the title, “Greatest of seers.” So Joseph would have married into elite Egyptian nobility. We know that it was common to have your name changed when in a foreign land, Daniel was changed to Belteshazzar, Hananiah to Shadrach, Mishael to Meshach, and Azariah to Abed-nego. Esther was changed from Hadassah. Gen 41:50-52 says, “Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh; “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all of my father’s household.” And he named the second Ephraim; “For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” We know that Joseph was a godly man and he would have raised his children with the belief that there was only One True God. If this was not true Jacob would not have included these children in his blessing. Genesis 48:5-6a says, “Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. But your children that you have fathered after them shall be yours.”
Genesis 41: 53-57 goes on to say, “When the seven years of plenty which had taken place in the land of Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said, then there was famine in all the lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. So when all the land of Egypt suffered famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, you shall do.” When the famine was spread over the entire face of the earth, then Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians; and the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Then the people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.”
Wait! Did we just read that Joseph sold them their own grain? Was that what he told Pharaoh in the beginning when he told him the plan? They already gave the gain as a tax and now they have to buy their own grain back? I can see charging the people who came from other places, but not the people who already gave of their own crop. We will continue to look into this as we go. Now let’s continue with the story. In Genesis 42:1-5 we see that Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy some food. Genesis 42: 6-9 says, “Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the one who sold grain to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he disguised himself to them and spoke to them harshly. He said to them, “Where have you come from?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land.”
Let’s look at these dreams of Joseph.
Genesis 37:5-8 tells us about Joseph’s 1st dream. “Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have had; for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf stood up and also remained standing; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.” Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.” Genesis 37: 9-11 goes on to tell us his 2nd dream, “ Then he had yet another dream, and informed his brothers of it, and said, “Behold, I have had yet another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” He also told it to his father as well as to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Am I and your mother and your brothers actually going to come to bow down to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.”
Next month we are going to bring all this together and unravel the Joseph story
Kids Corner: THE TABERNACLE
T M L S O E S I L C N L P W A H
H E X A B T H E A R K I A T L O
E R W C E I E P M D T T N E T L
H C X R L B E O P V A F S N A Y
O Y H I L U P L S Z B N A C R O
L S I F S L O E T U E C A O O F
Y E G I S L I S A C R L R M F H
P A H C H S T K N u N O O M S O
L T P E O S F I D r A U N A L L
A J R S W H F Z K t C D S N A I
C O I U B O H V E a L T S D U E
E V E C R V I J B i E I T M G S
Q I S A E E M A N N A O A E H S
O I T O A L A V E R P I F N T O
W L C N D S v e i l Z L F T E R
A N G E L W I N G S I H Q S R P
Aaron’s staff Altar of Incense Altar of Slaughter Angel wings Bells Bulls Cloud Curtain High Priest Holy of Holies Lampstand Laver
Manna Mercy Seat Oil Pans Poles Sacrifices Sheep Shovels
Showbread Tabernacle Ten commandments The Ark The Holy Place Veil
Hebrew Corner: Stephen the First Martyr.
Acts 6: 8-12, “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. But they were unable to cope with his wisdom and the Spirit by whom he was speaking. Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away, and brought him before the Council.”
The Apostle Paul was a member of the Synagogue of the Freedmen. These men were mainly freed slaves or prisoners of Rome, and after they were freed settled in Jerusalem. Stephen was put on trial because he spoke out about Yeshua being the Messiah. Many false witnesses spoke out against Stephen. Stephen was not against the Temple, nor the Torah, nor Judaism. Stephen went through the whole history of the Patriarchs and Moses, and yet, they could not see that he was not speaking to them about anything different than what they believed. It seems that the more he spoke the more they grew angry. Then he said this in Acts 7: 51-53, “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, and you have now become betrayers and murderers of Him; you who received the Law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
So many people today do not receive the truth, because they are not taught the truth. According to statistics, we have many pastors today who do not even believe, let alone live, by what they are preaching, and when you speak to them about the Scriptures, they too, get angry. These men did not believe Stephen, and they dragged him out of the courtroom and stoned him. It was like in the old west when people thought you were guilty they took the law into their own hands and hung you. One witness pushed him over the precipice, and another threw a heavy boulder on his chest. This is what their anger and hatred did to Stephen. Acts 7:59-60 says, “They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Yeshua receive my spirit!” Then he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.”
As Saul of Tarsus stood holding their cloaks Stephen died in the arms of the Messiah. The first of many who would die for the truth of the Gospel.