Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who Is This Messenger?


 
This week's Torah portion has been exceptionally interesting to me, especially Exodus 23:20-23 (ISR):  

See, I am sending a Messenger before you to guard you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have preparedBe on guard before Him and obey His voice. Do not rebel against Him, for He is not going to pardon your transgression, for My Name is in Him.  But if you diligently obey His voice and shall do all that I speak, then I shall be an enemy to your enemies and a distress to those who distress you. For My Messenger shall go before you and shall bring you in to the Amorites and the Ḥittites and the Perizzites and the Kena‛anites and the Ḥiwwites and the Yeḇusites, and I shall cut them off. (emphasis mine)


I kept wondering, is this Messenger Yeshua?

Here are some verses that make me think the Messenger might be Yeshua: 
  • John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in Elohim, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many staying places. And if not, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you might be too.
  • John 14:15 If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.
  • John 14:21 He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.
  • John 15:10 If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love.
  • John 15:14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
  • Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, see, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And see, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I did delight. Hear Him!”
  • Deuteronomy 18:15-18  YHVH your Elohim shall raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brothers. Listen to Him, according to all you asked of יהוה your Elohim in Ḥorĕḇ in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of יהוה my Elohim, nor let me see this great fire any more, lest I die.’  And יהוה said to me, ‘What they have spoken is good. I shall raise up for them a Prophet like you out of the midst of their brothers. And I shall put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be, the man who does not listen to My Words which He speaks in My Name, I require it of him.
  • John 5:43-47 I have come in My Father’s Name and you do not receive Me, if another comes in his own name, him you would receive. How are you able to believe, when you are receiving esteem from one another, and the esteem that is from the only Elohim you do not seek? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Mosheh, in whom you have set your expectation. For if you believed Mosheh, you would have believed Me, since he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings,how shall you believe My words?
  • John 10:25-30 Yeshua answered them, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s Name, they bear witness concerning Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them everlasting life, and they shall by no means ever perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one."  (emphasis in all verses mine) 

I could only come up with one reason why the Messenger in the Exodus 23 passage might not be Yeshua: In most other verses where the Messenger mentioned is often considered to be Yeshua, the phrase "Messenger of YHVH" (or more commonly "Angel of the LORD") is used.  In Exodus 23:20, it is simply "a Messenger" that is mentioned.  However, in Exodus 23:23, "My Messenger" is used.  SO, could that mean it is the "Messenger of YHVH"?

IF this Messenger in Exodus 23 IS referring to Yeshua, THEN, in my opinion, that brings much more clarity as well as consistency when reading Yeshua's words

  • "If you love Me, you shall guard My commands."(John 14:15)  
  • "He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him."  (John 14:21) 
  • "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My Words, has one who judges him: the Word that I have spoken shall judge him in the last day. Because I spoke not from Myself, but the Father who sent Me has given Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, as the Father has said to Me, so I speak.”  (John 12:48-50)
 As I was considering the Exodus verses, I initially thought, "Well, it says that the Messenger 'will NOT pardon your transgression', and we are pardoned when we confess and repent of our sins (I John 1:9) because Yeshua paid our penalty for transgressing the Father's Torah. So maybe the Messenger is NOT Yeshua." But then after looking for more confirmation in the Bible, the verses in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 (see above) and in John 12 (see above) seemed to address that very issue.  This is also addressed in Hebrews 10:
  
Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins, but some fearsome anticipation of judgment, and a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents. Anyone who has disregarded the Torah of Mosheh dies without compassion on the witness of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think shall he deserve who has trampled the Son of Elohim underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was set apart as common, and insulted the Spirit of favour? For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance is Mine, I shall repay, says יהוה.” And again, “יהוה shall judge His people.” It is fearsome to fall into the hands of the living Elohim.


Deliberate sin is NOT pardoned! 


I don't know about you, but I find it exciting to think that Yeshua could be the Messenger referred to in Exodus 23:20-23!  This also brings more clarity (to me) when I consider that according to Hebrews 4:1-2, the Gospel (aka Good News) was preached to the Israelites

 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

Let me see if I can bring all of this together:  In Exodus 23, YHVH told the Israelites that He would send a Messenger before them and lead them to a place He prepared for them.  This Messenger was to be heard and obeyed, because this Messenger was going to speak what YHVH commanded.  Obedience was a must, because the Messenger would not pardon disobedience (aka intentional sin).  This Messenger came in the Name (authority) of YHVH.
 
Yeshua said that He would be going before His followers to prepare a place for them.  Yeshua stated over and over that those who love Him would hear and obey His commandments, which were the same commandments given by the Father. Yeshua also stated that whoever did not receive His words would be judged by His Word (which was given to Moses).  In addition, Yeshua came in the Name (authority) of the Father.  

So, who is this Messenger?