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11

Beginning with last week's Parashah Sh'mot,  verse 21 of Sh'mot Chapter 4, we were introduced to the concept of what is known as a "hardened heart." There are Three Hebrew root words that describe the english word "harden," and we see all of them used randomly throughout various passages of Scripture.
1rst there is: Kashah  קשה meaning to stiffen, make hard or stubborn
2nd there is: Chazak  חזק  meaning to be strong, be hardened, obstinate
3rd there is: Kaveid  כבד  to be heavy (neg.) as burdened, or afflicted. To be heavy (positively) as to lift up or glorify.

We read in Sh'mot (Exodus) Chapter 4:21; ADONAI said to Moshe, "When you get back to Egypt, make sure that you do before Pharaoh every one of the wonders I have enabled you to do. Nevertheless, I am going to make him hardhearted, and he will refuse to let the people go. 

Making him hardhearted or stubborn, does not mean that ADONAI made Pharaoh sinful on purpose. For G-d to make it impossible for a man to obey Him, and then punish him for his disobedience, would be both unjust and contrary to the fundemental belief in Freedom of the Will. We are "free-lance" moral agents, and as we found out in Gan Edan, people were born with a free will in that we can choose between right and wrong. However, the right choices are not always made, and consequences follow.

In Sh'mot, the phrase most often translated as; "Hardhearted," occursnineteen times, between Ch.4 and Ch. 14; nine times it is said that Pharaoh was responsible for the hardness of his heart; and ten times the hardening of Pharaoh's heart is ascribed to ADONAI. Consequently there seems to be two sides to this hardening.

When the Divine command came to Pharaoh, "Let My people go," he responds by not listening and not letting the prople go. Each repetition of Pharaoh's persistent obstinacy made it less likely that he would eventually listen to the word of ADONAI. We see the law of conscience in action here; every time the voice of conscience is disobeyed, it becomes dull and feeble, and the heart grows harder. When confronted by a direct command of G-d, man cannot stand neutral in G-d's Presence. He either obeys the Divine command, and it becomes a blessing to him; or he defies G-d, and the command becomes a curse to him.
 

According to Scripture in the V'ahavta,"....you are to love ADONAI your G-d with all your heart." (D'varim 6:5) In this we see the heart as the center of our Spiritual activity. The heart is also home to our personal lives, and a we are given certain designations according to our hearts. In M'lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 3:9-12, When Shlomo was made King he asks ADONAI for an understanding heart, able to administer justice to G-d's people, and to discern between good and bad. G-d responds by giving him a wise and understanding heart.

In Tehillim 24:3 it states: "Who may go up to the mountain of ADONAI? Who can stand in His Holy Place? Those with clean hands and pure hearts, who don't make vanities the purpose of their lives."

When David was chosen to lead the Children of Yisra'el it states in Tehillim 78:72, that he did so with an "upright heart." There are of course many other heart designations in Scripture, but this gives us the idea of what G-d expects from us.

The heart is also is a testimony to the way believers conduct their lives. Romans 2:15 says that; "....the conduct the Torah dictates is written in their hearts." But, in B'resheet 8:21 ADONAI speaking says: "....the imaginings of a person's heart, are evil from his youth;" and it is because of this, that contamination of life and character sets in. As a result of this, the heart needs to be changed. Tehillim 51 states: "Create in me a clean heart, G-d" and speaking to Yisra'el ADONAI states in Yechezk'el 36:26; "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh."

The process of salvation begins in the heart by believing in G-d's saving power, repenting and being obedient to His commands, while rejecting Him and his laws brings hardness of heart. In Sh'mot Ch 5:2 Pharaoh says: "Who is ADONAI that I should obey Him....I don't know ADONAI..."From this we saw a hardness of heart evolve only to end in destruction. We need to not only know ADONAI, but we must be obedient in that knowledge.

Hardness of heart evidences itself by taking a light view of sin, which includes partial acknowledgement and confession of it, along with it is pride, conceit, ingratitude, lack of concern about the Word of G-d. What this accomplishes then, is compromise of faith, the stifling of spiritual convictions, shunning reproof (take blame), and just general ignorance of Divine things.

Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 3:12-19 states:  Watch out, brothers, so that there will not be in any one of you an evil heart lacking trust, which could lead you to apostatize from the living God! 13 Instead, keep exhorting each other every day, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you will become hardened by the deceit of sin. 14 For we have become sharers in the Messiah, provided, however, that we hold firmly to the conviction we began with, right through until the goal is reached. 15 Now where it says, "Today, if you hear God's voice, don't harden your hearts, as you did in the Bitter Quarrel," 16 who were the people who, after they heard, quarreled so bitterly? All those whom Moshe brought out of Egypt. 17 And with whom was God disgusted for forty years? Those who sinned - yes, they fell dead in the Wilderness! 18 And to whom was it that he swore that they would not enter his rest? Those who were disobedient. 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of lack of trust.

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 Sh'mot (Exodus) Parashah 13 Minimize

Yisra'el's War in the Gaza is not an incursion levied against a people that identify themselves as Palestinians, but rather it is a defensive operative levied against the Spirit of Amalek. Rabbi Sha'ul's words to the Messianic Community in Ephesus explains clearly in Ch. 6:12 stating: "For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm." CJB 

Parashah 13, Sh'mot (Exodus)
Sh'mot 1:1~6:1* 21 Tevet 5769*1/17/09

 A      With the closing of Sefer B'resheet we have in part bid a final fare- well to the great Patriarchs and Matriarchs. While we leave their stories behind as recorded on the Divinely Inspired pages of Scripture, the spirits of these G-D~fearing forebearers will carry on even to this day as their in- fluence and participation in the Covenants that G-D made with them con- tinue to be walked out.

This weeks parashah Sh'mot, brings us into a whole new era of change, with a whole new cast of performers. G-D is going to raise up for Himself a redeemer from this nation of Hebrews housed within a nation of Egyptians, to deliver His people from oppression and slavery leading them to their own Promised Land. Unlike the Covenant of promise that G-D made with the patriarchs concerning future descendants, this G-D appointed redeemer of the Hebrews would begin a present fulfillment of these promises. The Patriarchs knew G-D as a Covenant maker and now He expresses Himself to this new generation as a covenant keeper.                          

Read B'resheet (Genesis) 17:1~6 pg 15; 28:1~4 pg 29; 35:9~12 pg 38; 48:1~4 pg  55                     

When Ya'akov's (Yisra'el's) family settled in Mitzrayim, they were but a small nation of seventy descendants. However, after the demise of this generation, the nation grows. Up until this weeks parashah, we read that all of G-D's promises concerning the phenomenal multiplying of the Hebrew people were in a future tense. However in today's parashah, Pharaoh perceives this Hebrew Nation, rapidly growing in numbers in his midst as a present threat, and declares war against them on the "battle- field of their fruitfulness."                    

Read Sh'mot (Exodus) Ch 1:5~14 pg 60

 B   So one of the terms of G-D's covenant with the patriarchs has now become manifest in the fruitfulness of the Hebrew people, and to counter the effects of this covenant in that it might come to fruition, there arises a new Pharaoh in Egypt that refuses to recognize that the great accomplish- ments that Yosef had procured for the land were any longer valid. 

The lean years of famine had passed now and the state of economics were such that the business of agriculture and livestock had been restored to the land, so to continue operating under the rules of a Hebrew, a people who had now become a threat to his power, was no longer acceptable.
                                                                                                                           
                                 
I don't think that this was just some kind of a jealous power struggle that this new King was experiencing, because he could have presented some terms and conditions to the Hebrews in an effort to make them allies with him, thus becoming a greater and stronger nation, but he didn't. What he proposes to the Hebrews was physical oppression in form fueled by a spirit of hatred with the hopes of interfering with G-D's covenant and annihilating the Hebrew people.
By killing all of the male Hebrew babies there would be an ethical cleansing of sort, with the hopes that the women would assimilate into Egyptian culture and any further threat of this race would be eliminated. I refer to this spirit as the Spirit of Amalek 

Read Sh'mot (Exodus 1:15~22                                                         

C  
The Meaning of the name Amalek: The term may be divided into amal - to toil, and the letter kuf, with the meaning 'ejection of the life-spirit' e.g. katal - to kill with removal of life-spirit. So Amalek means 'becoming dispirited (losing the spirit to live) as a result of hard labour and continuous toil'. Amalek represents intellectual doubt, the kind that erodes one's sense of belief that G-D has total authority and is running the world. The Hebrew word Amalek (in gematria) has the numeric value of 240, which is equal to the Hebrew word safek, which means doubt. 

Amalekites were a tribe or consolidated tribes that were located in the area of the Sinai penninsula. They were in existence already in the time of Avraham (B'resh 14:7) and were referred to in Bil'am's prophecy as; "First among nations" (B'mid 24:20) or in other words, "the leading force of evil." The Amalekites are never mentioned as having been on friendly conditions with Yisra'el, but instead the references to them are always in terms of warfare. Just as Yisra'el was called as a leading force of good, Amalek is considered to be the leading force of evil. As a result, the struggle becomes the eternal struggle of good versus evil in this world.The first attack of Amalek against Yisra'el takes place following the Reed Sea miracle.       

 Read Sh'mot (Exodus) 17:8~16 pg 79 

As we mentioned earlier, The Spirit of Amalek has one chief goal and objective, and that is to make G-D out to be a liar by interfering with His covenants to His people in an effort to invalidate them. So now, as we read, ADONAI Himself will take on Amalek generation after generation and will eventually completely blot out this name from under heaven. In Sh'mu'el Alef Ch 15 King Sha'ul is ordered by ADONAI to attack the Amalekites and completely destry them. He attacks and spares the Amalekite King Agag. Because of this disobedience, Sha'ul loses the King- ship. In Ch 27 King David attacks the Amalekites and crushes them. About 300 yrs later, in Divrei Hayamim Alef (I Chron. 4) King Hizkiyahu (Hezekiah) destroys a remant of the Amalekites once again in battle.

 Seemingly disappearing from the pages of history as a nation, the spirit of Amalek resurfaces about 200 yrs later in the account of Esther through an actual descendant of Agag (King of Amalek) with the name of Haman. Once again this spirit attempted to destroy the Hebrew people in an effort to interfere with the covenant of G-D and render it invalid. Quiet or at least subtle for almost 300 yrs, finds the spirit of Amalek rising up again to interfere with G-D's covenant concerning His people and invalidate it. It expresses itself through the Syrian Greek ruler Antiochus IV who tries to force the Hebrew people into an assimilation of hellenism, forsaking the Laws of ADONAI G-D. Because it is a spiritual bat- tle the words of the prophet echo the victory as: "It's not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says ADONAI Tzva'ot."

 Because Amalek is a spirit, it does not tire easily. Another 170 yrs pass and another covenant of promise that G-D had made with his people through the prophets starts to unfold in its fulfillment, only to be menaced once again by the invalidating spirit of Amalek. This too, speaks of One who is appointed and called by G-D out of Egypt like Moshe to redeem His people. Read Mattityahu (Matthew) 2:1~16 pg 1224

 

D  In 70 CE, Rome destroys the Temple over 1 million Jews are killed

135 CE Hadrian kills 500,000 Jews banning them from Yisra'el and renaming the Land Palestine.

527-1012 CE Medieval period, forced conversions or death and expulsion

1073~1492 Middle Ages period of the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition

1516~1719 CE Reformation period Luther's anti~semitic book "Against the Jews and their lies", First ghettos established, literally thousands killed in Poland and Ukraine, blood libel charges come out in France

1768~1877 CE Enlightenment period Nicholas I called the Russian Haman considers the Jews to be parasites on society seeks to destroy them, Anti~semitism rises in the United States during the Civil War

1878~1945 Modern era Pogroms in Europe, "Protocal of the Elders of Zion" written against the Jews because of Russia's structural problems, Henry Ford publishes the same work in America under the title: "The International Jew" WW I, WW II, and....The Holocaust

1948 G-D says to Amalek; "Enough for Now" and Yisra'el becomes a State again

1950~present Post modern era brings the spirit of Amalek through a consolidated organization of Arab countries vowing to "Push Yisra'el into the Sea," and to "Wipe her from off of the face of the Map." And most current is the spirit of Amalek making the same threats to eradicate the Jewish people and the Jewish Nation through the guise of a terrorist cell that is so aptly named: Chamas which means destruction or to destroy.

 Revelation Ch 12 shows us four distinct areas of attack that Ha- Satan will pursue. A study in and of itself, let's look at the highlites. Turn to Revelation 12 pg 1543 The first area of attack is against the very person of Messiah Read vs 1~6 

The 2nd area of attack is against the power and authority of Messiah because the war moves from the earth up to the throne of heaven, but Mikha'el our Messiah's General archangel whose area of responsibility is the Jewish people, blocks the attack. Read vs 7~9

 The third area of attack is against the people who have given their lives to Messiah as martyrs for the sake of the Beseuras HaGeulah. But they too defeat HaSatan, because of the blood of the Lamb. And when the Adversary is hurled out of heaven, he once again becomes pursuant to the destruction of the Jewish people on earth. Read vs 10~16

 The final attack comes against against the believers, the natural branch believers and those grafted in who proclaim and bear witness to Yeshua. Read vs 17

If HaSatan can destroy the Jewish people before they can repent and trust in Messiah as a Nation, Messiah will not return, and the Adversary will be free to continue to prowl like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour. We are the "rest of her children, and I believe that we have work to do. The greatest act of Amalek anti~semitism is not sharing the Beseuras HaGeulah with our Jewish brothers and sisters.

G-D is involved always with the fate of His people, their victories are His and their enemies are His as well. As you may have perceived, the spirit of Amalek is none other than the great dragon HaSatan deceiver of the world and manifest in and through the lives of those that share a common desire to make G-D out to be a liar. Ephesians 6:12 explains: "We are not struggling against human beings....but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm." E  The Book of Revelation explains to us with two important reasons why HaSatan has been trying to destroy the Jewish people since the Book of B'resheet. The first reason is to; undermine and make invalid G-D promises to His people as we've stated previously. The second reason is to stop the return or Second Coming of Messiah Yeshua, which among other things ushers in the eventual demise of the Adversary. 

Gut Shabbes! Rav Chovel

    
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