7 Tevet 5783

Taken from Ranebi’s message on December 23, 201

Are Yeshua ben Yosef and Jesus Christ the same?

To listen to the recorded message:https://youtu.be/DshQhLvRdE

Vayigash is a very important Parashah in Bereshit. It is the culmination of the encounter of the two main brothers, Joseph and Judah with their other brothers and their father Jacob. We had travelled with Jacob through his journey, running away from his home in Canaan, then running away again from his father-in-law, Lavan with his eleven children and four wives, and returning to Canaan with them. We read how he favored Joseph and separated him from his other brothers by awarding him a special coat, thus creating the situation where they wanted to kill Joseph. He fell from the highest position with his father, to the lowest in Egypt and was then placed once again into the highest position next to the Pharaoh. In that process Joseph had assimilated to culture of the Gentiles but only externally. Whoever saw him did not recognize him as a Hebrew, not from his dress, his demeanor, nor his language. Pharaoh, as Joseph’s adopted father, was considered to be a god and so Joseph was looked upon as the “son of god”. This idea didn’t begin with the Greek or Roman empire, where god has a son who also becomes god. It’s a very old understanding. Even his name was changed and although he was no longer considered to be an Israelite, he never forgot who he was.

Here we read that Joseph, who represented the Gentile world approached Judah, who represented Israel, i.e., Jacob.  These two giants were leaders in their own right. Judah demonstrated that he was “responsible” in spite of his many mistakes. One of the beautiful things about the Torah is that it teaches us that our heroes are humans who can commit sin, but because the Creator “yikra – called” them for a special role, they could proceed, in spite of their humanity.  Israel not only means one who struggles with the Creator but one who needs to have that calling.

We will see two leaders who, although were not equal in power and authority according to human understanding, were equal in the sight of the Creator. He does not make exception of people, rather He gives us roles in which we are to function.  Judah had a discussion with Joseph who had not yet revealed himself to his brothers and who was quite harsh with them as a direct result of their treatment of him in the past.  Although 22 years had passed, Joseph still felt the pain of what they had done to him. Perhaps he wanted revenge even though he was now the most powerful figure in Egypt beside Pharaoh. We know that something happened because during all that time, he never searched for his father. He held Shimon first; he and Levi were the two brothers who were the fighters and who suggested that they kill him. Reuben and later Judah intervened and spared his life.

Now Joseph would hold Benjamin as hostage but Judah had made a promise to his father Jacob that he would be responsible for him at any cost.  Without knowing who Joseph was, Judah told him the story of what had happened. Judah understood that the brothers knew what they had done wrong and that they were sorry but they couldn’t tell their father the truth. Judah was well established with a family but now he would make the sacrifice of his life by offering to give up his own life for Benjamin, the son of Rachel the beloved wife of his father even though his own mother was Leah. Seeing that the brothers were united in their repentance is what changed Joseph’s mind so he was finally able to let go his desire of revenge, healing the pain of the past. This message is for today.

It is a projection of what will happen in the future.  Israel can only take her place at the top when the people recognize their wrongdoings and return united to the Creator. This has still not happened. The Haftarah portion, Ezekiel 37:15 – 28 speaks of the two branches which will one day unite, Joseph (represented by Ephraim) and Judah. In Judaism, the idea of the Mashiach has  slowly been developed over time by our sages. It is a development of spiritual truths which are not directly written about in the Scriptures and so we need to delve into them to discover our own understanding. The end time ideas came about in the apocalyptical writings referring to the total redemption of the world. A hero would emerge possibly as a composite of a king, and a priest; he might come from any of the tribes but most likely from the tribe of Judah or Joseph. They took the idea from this portion in which Joseph represents the suffering, the servant Messiah and Judah, the conquering Messiah  but it appears to be the opposite when we see Judah bowing before Joseph, even calling him my lord, repeating to him, “your servants”.  Judah is not yet above Joseph here where Judah, the conquering Davidic Messiah doesn’t recognize Joseph the suffering Messiah.

When would Joseph finally get recognized?  He knew who his brothers were but they did not know him. Joseph was not recognized by them for several reasons: he was cleaned shaven like the Gentiles, he wore foreign garments, spoke to them in a foreign language through an interpreter, even though he understood every word they were saying.

Compare Yeshua the Messiah with Jesus Christ today. They are not the same. One is an historical personality while the other is a theological invention. How can the descendants of Judah recognize Jesus Christ as being their brother when he doesn’t speak their language, when he dresses so differently and when people worship him as a god? In contrast, Jews cling to “Shema Israel, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad” – Hear O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is ONE. There are not three gods; there is only One. This is our contention and the reason we cannot worship him as a god in the same way that Joseph’s brothers who recognized his authority and bowed to that position, could never have worshipped him as a god. They knew that he was a mere human being.

I believe that we are approaching the day when my people, Israel, will discover the true Yeshua, both historically and as the messenger of the Creator, who was chosen to bring them back to written Torah so that we could fulfil our calling of being, “Ohr l’goyim” – light to the nations, as we were meant to do from the beginning; to disseminate the Torah to all the nations and to bring them under the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

What is happening right now? Has this encounter between Judah and Joseph happened yet?  This has not yet happened. One day the people of Israel will open their eyes to the true Yeshua, not the concocted, artificial Jesus who had been made into a god.  The rabbi’s spiteful behavior trying to destroy the true Yeshua in reaction against the paganism of Christianity, will change. Both sides will see their mistakes because both sides are believing the wrong things. All their many arguments and teachings won’t open anyone’s eyes because only the Bore Olam – the Creator can remove spiritual blindness.

When I was young, I was proud to say that I was an atheist but just because I didn’t believe in the Creator doesn’t mean that He doesn’t exist. We don’t have the capability of making anything true, only the Creator can tell us what Truth is. Belief doesn’t change a thing.  The Creator knows what we believe but He doesn’t choose us for our beliefs; he chooses us for who we are.  That was the case with both Joseph and Judah.  With all their shortcomings, they were men of integrity. He saw their hearts. Our prophet Jeremiah told us that only the Creator knows the heart of men and He tests them. Our religious beliefs, dogmas, or doctrines do not save us. He comes to us and we respond to Him; that allows us to have a relationship with Him.

When Messiah Yeshua said, “you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free” he was saying, “you shall know the Creator, the Bore Olam and He frees you of all from your religious ideas, superstitions, and beliefs that have no value and you are returning to Me to have a personal, intimate relationship with Me.”

Finally, Joseph cried out to his brothers – “Ani Yosef”, I am Joseph, your brother the one who you sold. Then he told them, “Do not worry for what you meant for evil, the Creator used for good,” in order to preserve their lives.  He understood in that moment what the Creator had done with him.

Consider this midrash, this application for today.

One country, the United States of America represents Christianity. They look at Jesus Christ in their own way, but one day they will find the true Yeshua. For now, they have been the only ones who stands for Israel; I am sad to say that not even Canada does. The European Countries boast about their hatred toward Israel. The world hates Israel. Why? I watched a documentary where two Arabs said that the only country in the world where they can live free is in Israel.  Why doesn’t the UN mention that? Why are 80% of the UN injunctions are against Israel?  What about North Korea, the Middle Eastern countries, Turkey, in Latin America, like Venezuela, who all attack Israel. They need to look at themselves instead of hating Israel.

This is the encounter between Judah and Joseph.  All the Jewish people are part of Israel but not all of Israel are part of the Jewish people. That may sound confusing.  Jewish people come from the tribe of Judah, the kingdom of the South. The Northern Kingdom literally disappeared but many remained and assimilated into the South. The idea of the ten lost tribes is not true. Many stayed in the Southern Kingdom and the rest assimilated into the surrounding nations.  What is the haftarah this week teaching us? That the Creator will bring His people back from all over the world one day.  Being part of Israel has nothing to do with having the DNA or the bloodline of the ancient people but it has to do with having a true relationship with and being called by the God of Israel. Just as He called Abram, He is calling people from all over the world, both Jew and Gentile. Abram was not a Jew; he was a Gentile. This is depicted by Joshua and Caleb, the only two men of that first generation to leave Egypt and enter the Promised Land, Joshua was Israelite and Caleb was Gentile, a Kenizzite. Caleb means dog in Hebrew, the most faithful friend of man. Don’t concern yourself with being Jewish; concern yourself with what is in your heart.

This teaching will come to fruition sooner or later.  Judah and his brothers finally came to together as one after Joseph revealed himself to them. It is my desire that Yeshua will be revealed to my people Israel as well as the Gentile world to see him for who he is, not what he was made to be. Yeshua was our prophet, our messenger, our teacher, not the Jesus Christ of Christianity and now we will see how the stage is being set for the understanding that we have today about these two men, Joseph representing the suffering Messiah and Judah, the conquering Messiah.

Shabbat Shalom