Commentary on Parashat Va’eira

This Shabbat reading is from Exodus 6:2-8:35. The very first verse of this portion is a bit of a shock to most people who read the Bible carefully. In the book of Genesis, we find the Tetragrammaton (the four letters יהוה that comprise the name of God 165 times).

So, now we have the revelation that until this moment when Moses is about to tell Pharaoh “Let my people go” the only revelation that God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was of “God Almighty”. God clearly states that our forefathers did not know HIS names “Jehovah”. What can we learn from this statement that God reveals to Moses!

Revelation is progressive – God revealed HIS identity and HIS plan for humanity progressively – that is bit by bit – inch by inch. Yeshua himself states this very clearly:

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. – John 16:12

What are the implications of Progressive Revelation?

God does not tell us the end from the beginning. God speaks to us in human language – a language that we can understand. Our Jewish tradition states that Torah (God’s ultimate revelation the Law of Moses) speaks to us in human language and it is not in the sky – it is down here on Earth.

The implications are that it is given to us in a language that we can understand, but not only the language but also the content is geared for us to understand.

God’s commandments are reasonable and not difficult. Yeshua said it in a very clear way: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:29–30 NKJV)
“What we know today about God and the way HE works among men was not known in previous generations. Therefore, the apostle Paul said: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV)

And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them.” – Exodus 6:2–3 (NKJV)

The new revelation that God gives to Moses is the most amazing truth of the whole Bible. You see the Children of Israel before Moses were worshiping a God of power – a God that is in some ways not that much different from the gods of their neighbors. He was a personal God to the Fathers of the nation; He was a God who had relationship with the children of Abraham. God was a God of a people not a place and HE did not reside in a House (Temple) made by man’s hands. God went with the people; HE went with the individuals – like in the case of Jacob going north to Haran and stopping to sleep in Beth-EL. God reveled HIMSELF to Jacob in the dream as his personal guide and protector.

The first time that we see and hear of God being a national God is in the giving of the Torah in Mount Sinai. The answer that God gave Moses on Mount Sinai next to the burning bush was;

Ex. 3:14, “And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’”

There is a major change happening here. The change is from a personal God that goes with the family to a God of time a God who reveals himself in time and through time. The Word “I am” or “to be” is a time Word. This switch and new revelation is a major change in relations and of course of demands. From this moment on the God of Israel is dealing with a nation and has national demands of the people and of their leaders. From this point on Moses does not represent is family or his tribe. Moses is a national representative of God and HIS PEOPLE. The God that Moses serves is a God of history – history is a sequential set of connected events on a time line.

This is precisely the importance of this revelation and the significance of prophecy. Prophecy can only have a meaning if it is a proclamation of the one who controls time and events.

This ought to make it easier for us to understand the hardening of pharaoh’s heart. In the Hebrew it is clearly visible in the language. Pharaoh hardens the life of the Israelites with HARD LABOR and God HARDENED Pharaoh’s heart. There is here a classic “measure for measure.” As you already know Yeshua gave a very clear teaching on this issue: “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matt 7:2)

This is why the last revelation is the most authoritative one!

This article originally appeared as a part of The Jerusalem Prayer List by Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, January 26, 2017, and reposted with permission.