Have you ever been studying the Bible and come upon two seemingly unrelated passages or events, and suddenly, as if a lightbulb flashed in front of you, those unrelated events connected in a unique and powerful way? Like most of you reading this, I have a Bible study habit. I try to read every day from both the Tanakh (Old Testament) and Brit Chadasha (New Testament). I find that often when I read from both, I will find chapters or events that are connected by the events within them. For instance, the story of the Exodus from Egypt and the sacrificed lamb connects directly to the Crucifixion of Yeshua, the Lamb of G-D, who offered Himself on Passover.
There are other times when my readings do not seem to be related to each other at all. When they are unrelated, or at least seem that way, I don’t purposely dig trying to find something because I know that the Bible is made up of a web of unrelated and related verses that, as a whole, tell the story of creation and redemption and that is enough of a connection for me, even if I don’t see any further connections between two chapters from two different parts of the Holy Scriptures.
Other times, when I begin to read the text, I enter the text without expecting the chapters to be related in any way, and suddenly, a portion of the Word of G-D opens up in front of me and the beauty of the literary tapestry that G-D wove for us comes into view. This happened recently when I was reading about two completely different Biblical events. The first event was the narrative that details Pharaoh’s dreams in Genesis 41:1-8:
Now at the end of two whole years, Pharaoh was dreaming. Behold, there he was standing by the Nile. 2 Then behold, there were seven cows, good-looking and beefy, and they grazed in the reeds. 3 Then behold, there were seven other cows coming up after them from the Nile, ugly and emaciated, and they stood beside the cows at the edge of the Nile. 4 Then the ugly emaciated cows ate the seven good-looking beefy cows—and Pharaoh woke up. 5 Then he slept and dreamed a second time: behold, there were seven ears of corn coming up on one stalk, plump and good. 6 Then behold, there were seven ears of corn, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouting up after them. 7Then the seven thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven plump and full ears of corn. Then Pharaoh woke up—it was a dream. 8 But in the morning he was disturbed in his spirit. So he sent and called for the fortune-telling priests of Egypt and all its wise men and Pharaoh told them his dream. But no one could interpret them for Pharaoh.
The second event was John’s telling of Yeshua’ teaching at the Temple during Hanukkah in John 10:22-27:
Then came Hanukkah; it was winter in Jerusalem. 23 Yeshua was walking in the Temple around Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 Then the Judean leaders surrounded Him, saying, “How long will You hold us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us outright!” 25 Yeshua answered them, “I told you, but you don’t believe! The works I do in My Father’s name testify concerning Me. 26 But you don’t believe, because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me.
I know that the plain text of these two events is unrelated; the first is a part of the Exodus in Egypt story, while the second takes place during the Hanukkah season in Jerusalem. Yet, within both of these stories, G-D provides a revelation to the leaders, and even though the understanding of the revelation is right before their eyes, they cannot see it.
In Pharaoh’s case, G-D provided a dream about seven fat, healthy cows and skinny, sickly cows. Then the skinny cows ate the fat cows. This dream was followed by seven full and bountiful corn stalks and seven thin corn stalks. The thin stalks ate the bountiful stalks. It should not have been very difficult for Pharaoh to consider the message that these dreams were giving – after all, both cows and corn were dietary staples of Egypt.
So, the bad consuming the good should have been simple to deduce. The seven couldn’t be days, months, or even weeks because the cycle of corn from planting to harvesting to replanting takes a year. So, we must think to ourselves: if the interpretation was so easily understood with simple reasoning, why couldn’t Pharaoh and his fortune-telling priests of Egypt and all its wise men not understand the message of the dream?
I believe the reason Pharaoh couldn’t see the clear revelation provided by G-D in the dream is the same reason that the Judean leaders could not accept the revelation of who Yeshua was on that Hanukkah day at the Temple, even though Yeshua plainly and clearly told them that He was the Messiah.
It was because both the Pharaoh and the Judean leaders had allowed their understanding to be filtered through their positions of power. Pharaoh couldn’t interpret the dreams because he simply couldn’t see the dreams as G-D’s way of miraculously providing salvation from the coming catastrophe. Likewise, the Judean leaders could not receive the revelation of Yeshua as Messiah because they could not see that He was G-D’s way of miraculously providing salvation from the coming catastrophe.
They both had become blinded by their own positions, their own traditions, their own desires, their own understandings, and their own interpretation of their nations’ futures. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves in the same place as the Pharaoh and the Judean leaders. We will allow our own traditions, desires, understandings, and interpretations blind us to G-D’s true revelations. In the case of Pharaoh, he humbled himself and accepted the accurate interpretation. In the case of the Judean leaders, they were blinded to the light of Messiah while He stood right in front of them. The question for us today is: when we get challenged by a revelation from G-D, will we respond like Pharaoh, or the Judean leaders?