This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Vayigash is taken from Genesis 44;18-47:27. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he dives into the story of Joseph and his brothers, as it reaches its climax! Joseph’s hidden identity is about to be revealed as Elohim’s plan for His people unfolds!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Parashah Torah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Vayigash - Genesis 44;18-47:27
In this Torah portion let’s ask the question, “Who is Judah?” We understand the prophetic nature found in the story of Joseph, especially in this latter portion of Genesis. The future leadership of the nation of Israel is prophesied before the fact. Joseph is a type of Messiah and his sons Ephraim and Manasseh will become leaders of the Northern Kingdom, Judah will be the dominant tribe in the south. Through Judah, Elohim will preserve a remnant to complete His purpose of redemption. We know that Yeshua is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah.”
The story of Joseph and his brothers reaches its climax. Joseph’s hidden identity is about to be revealed as Elohim’s plan for His people unfolds. Benjamin has come to Egypt, assuring Joseph that his father Jacob would also come. Before Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, he tests them. Years prior, the brothers rejected Joseph and hurt their father, Jacob, who spent the next 20 years mourning for Joseph. The test involves the youngest brother, Benjamin and a hidden cup that Joseph placed in the grain and consequence of imprisonment.
Genesis 44:17, “Benjamin shall be my slave, and as for you, go up in peace to your father.” Judah was faced with the ultimate test of leadership. Benjamin had been set-up but found guilty of stealing Joseph’s cup and was destined to be thrown into prison for the rest of his life.
At this, Judah steps out from among his brothers, for he has promised his father that he will bring Benjamin home safely, and offers himself in place of Benjamin. Unknowingly, Judah passes the test, “Then Judah drew near to him and said; “Please my lord, pray let your servant speak a word in my lord’s hearing, and do not let your anger burn against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh! He asks to take his brothers place in prison, to take the punishment. Judah is willing to lay down his life for the sake of his father and his brothers. Judah took up his cross! This was the ultimate test of leadership that Judah passed and became the unquestionable leader of the clan. If Joseph is a sign of Messiah and his brothers are a sign of Israel, who is Judah? He is a sign of a believing remnant within Israel, interceding for the whole. He is a sign of all who are willing to make real sacrifices for the restoration of Israel. Judah is a sign and example for all of us!
Judah was a father, husband, brother, and a man with attachments, duties, responsibilities, whose only desire at that point was to get food and return home to secure his family’s life. He wanted to help his own family live through this famine without circumstance. However, he now faced a challenge, a horrific decision. In a way, he is faced with a “Garden of Gethsemane” moment, his will or Elohim’s will, his life or the life of others…which will he choose? So, he turns his back on his own desires, wants and dreams and puts himself into Joseph’s hands as a slave for life, surrendering all that he knows, for the sake of his brother. Not my will, but your will be done!
All of this is simply too much for Joseph! He cannot bear to hear that grief upon grief would be added to his father, so, he decides to reveal his true identity. He commands all the Egyptians to leave the room, and he is left alone with his brothers. Joseph, the “Savior”, will take the veil away and they will see him as he truly is. Joseph speaks to them in Hebrew, weeping so loudly that those outside the room could hear him. These were tears of overwhelming joy at his freedom to reveal himself. He says, “Ani Yoseph,” “I am Joseph.” Because Judah drew near to Joseph, Joseph drew near to his brothers. Judah is a sign of the one who surrenders his will not for his own purpose, but on behalf of another. Judah is a sign of our calling as followers of Messiah to remain in solidarity with all Israel as we draw near to Yeshua, anticipating the day when the rest of the sons will draw near to Messiah as well. Judah’s actions are recognized by his father through a later prophecy concerning him in Genesis 49:8-10, “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down to you, Judah as a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up, he crouches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him ? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
When we consider these verses, they point to the conquering, victorious King that would descend from Judah’s lineage. This Lion, of course, is Yeshua HaMashiach, Emmanuel in human form. We see some prophetic truths proclaimed by Jacob in Genesis 49, four reasons to uncover Yeshua as the Lion:
1. “Your brothers will praise you” – You will acknowledge the Lion of Judah’s Lordship. Phil. 2:9-11 says, “There Elohim exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Yeshua is Messiah, to the glory of Yah the Father.” We know that Yeshua is our Adonai! When we recognize this now, we can willingly bow and acknowledge Him as Adonai of all and most importantly Adonai of our life.
2. “Your Hand will be on the neck of your enemies”- You acknowledge the Lion of Judah’s victory. I Cor. 15:24-26, says, “Then the end will come, when he hands over the Kingdom of Elohim the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he has put everything under his feet.” Yeshua will destroy all His enemies, even Satan who knows he is on borrowed time because his defeat is imminent. However, the greatest enemy we face is the reality of sin and death. Our sin interrupted our relationship with Elohim and our death meant eternal separation and punishment for our sin. Yeshua conquered both of these enemies on our behalf. Our Lion has given us victory over sin and has removed the penalty of death and replaced it with the promise and hope of eternal life. We are victorious today! We have power over sin!
3. “The Scepter will not depart from Judah” --You acknowledge the Lion’s eternal rule. Revelation 11:15, says, “The 7th angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Adonai and of his Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever.” Halleluyah, His Kingdom will reign forever! No matter how challenging life gets and regardless of the struggles or persecutions we may experience, we are on the winning side. We get the benefits of His Kingdom for all eternity, so don’t be discouraged, no matter how bad it may feel or get, it is only for a little while. Our Lion is coming soon and He will reign forever!
4. “He will wash His garments in wine, His robes in the blood of grapes:” – You acknowledge His shed blood for the forgiveness of our sins. I Peter 1:18-19, says, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Yeshua, a lamb without blemish or defect.” Even though Yeshua is our Lion He was also the Lamb that was slain for us. The Lion is the Lion because He was the suffering lamb. He has redeemed us by the shedding of His blood and became the sin sacrifice for all of us.
Just as Judah stepped in to save Benjamin, Yeshua has stepped in and took our place for our sin. He has bought us by His blood, forgiven us of our sins, reconciled us back to the Father and because of that, we walk in victory! The great Lion of the tribe of Judah conquered by becoming a Lamb.
You will never truly understand His position as the Lion of Judah, until you understand Him as the Lamb that was slain. If you misunderstand His purpose in being the Lamb, then you will misunderstand His position in being the Lion. It’s the suffering Yeshua that shows the way to the conquering Yeshua! It was His Lamb-like surrender which goes against the norms that positioned Him to become the True Lion of the tribe of Judah!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha!
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Have a blessed Sabbath. Let the Lion roar in your life! See you in 2023 but better yet, see you at altar!
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