Weekly Parashah (Bo)
Torah: Sh’mot (Ex.) 10:1-13:16
Haftarah: Yirmeyahu (Jer.) 46:13-28
Ketuvim: Luke 2:22-24; Yochanan (Jn.) 19:31-37; Acts 13:16-17; Rev. 8:6-9:12; 16:1-21; 1 Cor. 11:20-34; Luke 22:7-30
This week’s Parashah deals with the story of Passover and the mitzvah (commandment) of Passover. There is a clear connection between the mitzvah of Passover and the Mitzvah of T’fillin (Phylacteries) as expressed toward the end of this week’s parashah:
And it [Passover] shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand and for a memorial between your eyes… (Sh’mot 13:9)
A sign: This expression alludes to the custom of the Orientals, of burning in their right hand all kinds of marks with the ashes of henna, which gives an indelible color; and this is done even to this day. They were likewise accustomed to write all kinds of sayings, and frequently superstitious words, on slips or pieces of linen, which they wore as ornaments on their foreheads. Ex 13:16 12:14 Nu 15:39 De. 6:6, 8 11:18, 19 Pr. 1:9 3:21 6:20-23 Pr. 7:23 Song 8:6 Isa. 49:16 Jer 22:24 Mt 23:5
Sign Strong’s 226. ‘owth, oth; prob. from H225 (in the sense of appearing); a signal (lit. or fig.), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.:–mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.
And it [Passover] shall be for a token upon your hand, and for frontlets between your eyes… (Sh’mot 13:16)
These commandments parallel two passages from D’varim (Deut.): “And you shall bind them [mitzvot] for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the posts of your house and on your gates“ (D’varim 6:8-9).
“Therefore you shall lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they be as frontlets between your eyes” (D’varim 11:18).
“And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates” (D’varim 11:20.)
It is from the pa’shat (literal meaning) of these passages that we derive the mitzvot of the t’fillin and the mezuzah.
In order to literally fulfill these mitzvot we place scripture verses in boxes with straps. These are called t’fillin and are bound upon the forehead and hand with straps. Rabbinic Jews and presumably (Pharisees) inscribed the texts of Ex. 13:16; Deut. 6:4-9 (The Sh’ma), 11-18; 13-23 on a parchment placed inside the box.
An object, which seems to be a first century hand t’filla has been discovered and identified. It has the Ten Commandments inscribed on the stone and a slot cut in the stone for a strap to pass through. Wear marks on the stone reveal that it was held many times in a left hand.
Another box, called a mezuzah, is attached to the doorpost of Jewish homes. In this box there is parchment as well. This parchment has written on one side D’varim 6:4-9 & 11:13:21 and on the other side, a cryptogram for YHVH our Elohim is YHVH and “Shadai” short for El Shaddai. A mezuzah parchment was discovered at Qumran containing sentences from D’varim 10:1-11:1 demonstrating that the Essenes or at least the Qumran community used these sentences. According to the Semitist Dr. Cyrus Gordon, the Samaritans instead used the text of the Ten Commandments and inscribed them in stone.
Verse 14 states “This will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to Adonai; from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation.” This mandated festival was never abrogated. In the King James Bible, the word was changed to Easter which always falls on a Sunday. The true Passover always falls on the 14th day of Nissan on various days of the week. Passover also does not biblically represent the resurrection of Yahshua. This entire event foreshadows Yahshua’s sacrifice that was yet to occur. G-d’s not done. Verse 15 “For seven days you are to eat matzah (unleavened bread) – on the first day remove the leaven from your houses. We go all over our kitchen and anywhere else we keep food and look for food that contains any of the five grains that would cause flour to rise after 22 minutes when added to water. “For whoever eats hametz from the first to the seventh day is to be cut off from Israel. On the first and the seventh days, you are to have an assembly set aside for G-d. On these days no work is to be done, except what each must do to prepare food; you may only do that.” G-d emphasizes this regulation in verse 17, “You are to observe the festival of matzah, for on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you are to observe this day from generation to generation by a perpetual regulation. For a third time G-d says in verse 18, “From the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the twenty-first day, you are to eat matzah. During those seven days, no leaven is to be found in your houses. Whoever eats food with hametz in it is to be cut off from the community of Israel. – it doesn’t matter whether he is a foreigner or a citizen of the land. Eat nothing with hametz in it. Wherever you live, eat matzah.” It is clear we are to separate ourselves from sin. We may think for instance, that having a few crumbs of leavened bread won’t hurt anything. Or we may think that if we have leavened bread in the freezer, it’s ok, we just won’t open the package. But G-d uses the analogy of hametz in describing sin in our lives. Leaven puffs up the dough much as pride puffs us up. We cannot separate one little yeast grain from the rest. Once it is activated, it permeates the entire lump of dough. Such is the nature of sin. We may think we can handle temptation, but Yosef knew that to flirt with temptation is to face ultimate defeat (Gen. 39:12). If only Eve did not have the conversation with the serpent (Gen. 3:1-6). We are to clean our homes and our lives of leaven. G-d repeats this command twice more in verses 24 and 25.
Now back to the connection between the mitzvot of Passover, that of the t’fillin, and the mezuzah. Sh’mot 13:9, 16 refers directly to Passover. The Passover involved placing the blood of the Passover lamb on the doorpost as a sign to redeem the firstborn. In like manner the Pa’shat (literal meaning) of Sh’mot 13:9, 16; D’varim 6:8-9; 11:18, 20 involves placing the t’fillin upon the hand and forehead and the mezuzah upon the doorpost.
At this point, let’s look at one of the readings from the B’rit Chadashah (Rev. 8:6-9:12; 16:1-21). Rev 9:4 refers to those which have not the seal of G-d on their foreheads…” This points us to Rev 7 where the 144,000 are sealed with “the seal of the living Elohim”. In Rev. 14:1 we read that these 144,000 have “his [the Lamb’s] Father’s name written on their foreheads.” They are also described as firstfruits unto G-d and to the Lamb” (Rev 14:4) (in Hebrew “firstfruits” and “firstborn” are the same word). Remember that Passover is to be a sign upon ones hand and forehead (Sh’mot 13:9, 16) and that at Passover the blood of the Lamb redeems the firstborn and protects them from the plague of the firstborn. The seal of the living G-d in Revelation is clearly connected to the mitzvot of Passover, the t’fillin and the mezuzah. This seems in Revelation to be contrasted with the “mark of the Beast” (Rev. 13:16-17; 14:9, 11; 20:4).
Now let us examine a related passage in Yechezk’el [Ezekiel] 9. Here YHVH sends and angelic being to set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof.” Then He sends six beings with slaughter weapons to kill all of those that lack this mark. The being, which marked them then, goes before the throne of YHVH, takes fire and casts it down. This clearly parallels 7:1-8; 8:1-5. The question is: What are the “abominations” that the marked/sealed ones of Yechezk’el 9 are mourning about? The answer is found in the previous chapter.
Throughout Yechezk’el chapter eight we are told of various “abominations.” The first of these involves an “image of jealousy” (8:5-6). Scholars generally identify this as the idol of Astarte (both Halley’s and Unger’s Bible Handbooks makes this identification). Astarte is also known as Ishtar and Easter. The next “abomination” involves men worshiping in the dark (8:7-12), and the next involved a woman “weeping for Tammuz” (8:13-14). Finally, we are shown men facing the east and worshiping the sun in the east (8:15-17). These images all point to observances in Christendom today. Roman Catholics commonly worship images of Mary whom they call “The Mother of God” (a title of the goddess Easter). There is a period of mourning for the dead deity (lent), a time in which altar candles are removed and the altar is dark, followed by rejoicing as his resurrection with a sunrise service. So the ‘abominations” that those marked on their foreheads are mourning about involve the observance of Easter.
TAMMUZ (Tam’ muhz) -A Sumerian god of vegetation. The worship of Tammuz by women in Jerusalem was revealed as one of the abominations in Ezekiel (8:14-15). According to the pagan religion, Tammuz was betrayed by his lover, Ishtar, and as a result dies each autumn. The wilting of the vegetation at that time of year is seen as a sign of his death. This caused great mourning in the ancient world, and was why the women in Jerusalem wept.
The English word “Easter” comes from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn. We can see this intentional mistranslation in the King James translation of the Bible. So, those with the seal of G-d are observing Passover and those that do not receive this seal are observing Easter, there is a clear relationship revealed in these passages as follows:
Passover-Seal of G-d T’fillin & Mezzuzot are literal manifestation of this seal; Easter-mark of the Beast
Now, in this new light let us reexamine our Torah passage.
And it [Passover] shall be a sign unto you upon your hand and for a memorial between your eyes… (Sh’mot 13:9)
And it [Passover] shall be a token upon your hand and for frontlets between your eyes…
The lesson to be learned is this: Passover is to be to us a memorial between our eyes, as a seal upon our foreheads and those with this seal should mourn because of the abomination of Easter.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart