Beshalach - בשלח - "When he sent"
Torah: Exodus 13:17-17:16
Prophets: Judges 4:4-5:31
Gospel: Matthew 5
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, 25 clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.” 26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. 29 But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses. (Exodus 14:21-31)
From the very Beginning of the Torah portions we can clearly see the gospel message of God. When we read Genesis 3:15 we learned that there is a battle between evil and a Woman. This Woman and her seed would go against evil and its seed, eventually the Woman would produce the Seed that will ultimately defeat evil once and for all. Without that Seed there is no salvation, so from Genesis 3 we began our quest of seeking the Seed. Following the Seed took us through great men such as Enoch, Noah and Abraham. Once we get to Jacob our focus slightly shifts because now the woman was coming into play. When we reached the Torah portion of Vayetze, we saw the birth of Jacob's children, later on, Jacob's children become the nation of Israel. From Vayetze we see the conception of the "Woman." And now that Woman is about to be born.
This week's Torah portion is not just about Israel getting freed from Egypt. This week's Torah portion is about God's people being established. It is about God’s people being separated from the world; this week's Torah portion is about the birth of the Woman and her seed who will fight against evil. There is no mistaking the fact that one of the most important roles for the Woman will be producing The Seed who is Yeshua, but here is an interesting fact: Many people believe that death reigned from the time of Adam until the Cross, but I submit to you that death reigned from Adam until this Torah portion.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (Romans 5:12-14)
With Israel now freed from Egypt, the real battle between God's ways and evil will begin and the initial battlefield will be Canaan. The Canaanites were not just some people that God randomly chose to dispossess from their land. Although Egypt was the known world power at the time, everything that was pure evil in the eyes of God was all being practiced by the Canaanites. The Canaanites had become an abomination before God and all that He believes which is why Israel had to destroy and purge the world of them.
“When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you.“
Death reigned from Adam until Moses because through Moses Israel, the Woman, was established. It is through Moses that Israel, the Woman, learned God's ways which is the tool needed to overcome this world (1 John 5:4) and defeat the enemy. Israel learned what is good and what is evil in God's eyes through Moses. And through Moses, the whole word gained access to God's ways, which is just one of the great examples of how the world is blessed through the seed of Abraham. The establishment of Israel, the Woman, is extremely important because it is her purpose to fight against evil; her and her seed. Without Israel, the world would not know what it looks like to worship, love and fear God. Without Israel, the woman, we would not have gotten Yeshua who is The Seed that will ultimately rid the world of evil once and for all. The war between good and evil begins with Israel and will end with Israel, another example of how the world is blessed through the seed of Abraham.
Let us switch gears here.
Some people have a hard time accepting the idea that Israel is the Woman because Israel does not fit into their beliefs of end time prophecy. These same people would say something like, "The New Testament only talks about the Church, not Israel." This is something worth exploring. The word "Church" that we find in the New Testament part of our English Bibles is translated from the Greek word "Ekklēsia." However, this translation is a bit of a mystery. If you go to any dictionary that gives you the origin of words and you look up church you will not find ekklēsia as an origin word for church; instead you'll find something like the following which I found on www.dictionary.com
before 900; Middle English chir ( i ) che, Old English cir ( i ) ce Greek kyri ( a ) kón ( dôma ) the Lord's (house), neuter of kyriakós of the master, equivalent to kyri ( os ) master ( kŷr ( os ) power + -ios noun suffix) + -akos, variant of -ikos -ic; akin to Dutch kerk, German Kirche, Old Norse kirkja. See kirk.
At the time of the Apostles, there was a word that was commonly known and can be perfectly translated as church in the English language and that word was kyriakós which means "House of the Lord," but that word did not mean the same thing as ekklēsia at that time. The best translation for ekklēsia into English would be assembly or congregation (you actually see ekklēsia in the origin of the word congregation). There are no connections between ekklēsia and kyriakós other than they are both used for faith based reasons. Some people say that this is not important, but that is far from true. In the Bible, names are very important. Understanding that ekklēsia does not translate to church in English is all about understanding your identity as a believer in Yeshua.
When Luke, Paul, Peter and James were writing their parts of biblical history, throughout the known world at that time, ekklēsia was commonly connected to Israel and that started around 300 B.C. About 300 years before the times of the New Testament, many of Judah's people migrated into Rome and the scribes at that time thought it would be good to translate the scriptures. Because many of the Jewish people were speaking Greek as their first language they, for the first time, translated the Tanakh (Old Testament) into the Greek Language. That translation of the scriptures was called the Septuagint. The word ekklēsia is all throughout the Septuagint as the congregation or assembly of Israel. By the time Yeshua came and the Apostles were evangelizing the world, the word ekklēsia was as connected to Israel as the name Michael Jordan is connected to expensive shoes and basketball today.
Within first century Rome, kyriakós was commonly connected with pagan god temples. Please don't misunderstand me or take what I'm saying out of context: I'm not saying that churches are pagan, others may want to make that claim, but I chose to leave such things alone; however, we should be asking the question, "Why do most English translators translate ekklēsia as church?" The important point that I want you to take from this is the fact that when the Apostles were writing the New Testament letters and using the Greek word ekklēsia there was no mistaking that they were referring only to Israel at that time, not a new group of people that goes under the banner of "church." In Romans 11, Paul says that we are wild branches grafted into a tree, in Ephesians 2, he says that we are now a part of Israel through the blood of Yeshua. Even James' greeting gives us an indication that the apostles believed that everyone coming into the faith was a part of Israel returning from the world.
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. (James 1:1)
There is no disputing the fact that James' letter is directed to the believers and yet he greets them as the "twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad." Throughout history, Israel has lost most its people to the world. Most of Israel’s people in the northern kingdom was lost to Assyria. Most of Israel’s people from the southern kingdom never returned from Babylon. As tragic as it sounds, this is all part of God’s plan to restore the world.
From this Torah portion onward, Israel is God's set apart people and throughout the Bible, even despite all the sins that Israel will do, that will never change. Even when you get to the New Testament part of the Bible, Israel is still God's one and only elect group of people. When Yeshua returns for a bride, he's not coming for the church, He's coming for the ekklēsia, the congregation of Israel. When the New Jerusalem comes down from the sky, there will only be 12 gates for the tribes of Israel, there will not be a gate for the church. Where do you fit in all of this? That is a question you must seriously think about because when it is all said and done, you are either a part of Israel, the Woman and her seed, a part of God's elect people or you are not. Biblically, there are no other options.