Seven: Rest, Holiness, & Restoration

Parashat Mikeitz (From the End)
Beresheet (Genesis) 41:1-44:17
Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
Shabbat Hanukkah

This week we have a special reading from the Haftarah because Shabbat falls during the Feast of Hanukkah (also known as the Feast of Dedication).

The number seven plays an important role in both the Parashah and Haftarah portions. The number seven in God’s Word relates to both rest, holiness, and in my opinion, restoration. In the Parashah, we read about Pharoah’s dreams of the seven healthy cows and the seven bony cows, as well as the seven healthy years of grain and the seven unhealthy years of grain. As we know, Pharoah sought an interpretation of the dreams, which resulted in Joseph’s release from jail because he interpreted them, leading to him becoming Pharoah’s righthand person.

Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams indicated that seven good years would be followed by seven bad years, and the nation would need to stockpile the crops from the abundant years to prepare for the bad years. Although Joseph was not considered a prophet in his day, he understood that it was God who provided the interpretaion: 

And Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do.”
Genesis 41:25

I believe that this is a key verse since it clearly shows that God was the one doing all of this, and as we know from the rest of the story, it was to fulfill His plan of redemption for Joseph, his family, and later on, for the entire people of Israel.

In our Haftarah portion we also find the number seven and, once again, we see the significance of the number seven in rest, holiness, and redemption to the people of Israel:

‘Now listen, Joshua, you high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a sign: for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch. For behold, the stone that I have put before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I am going to engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the LORD of armies, ‘and I will remove the guilt of that land in one day. On that day,’ declares the LORD of armies, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.’”
Zechariah 3:8–10

Chapter three of Zechariah speaks of the sanctification of the of the High Priest, and we see that Satan was there to accuse him (Zechariah 3:1). In Zechariah 3:8, it is written that God will bring in His servant a “branch”, which refers to the Messiah, who will remove the guilt (iniquity) from the Land. The striking image of the stone and the seven eyes brings us to Revelation 5:5–10:

And one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to be able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation.You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.”

In this passage, we see the incredible connection between the final work of our High Priest, Messiah Yeshua, who will stand against the lies of the accuser and will make us all as a kingdom of priests cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

In closing, the same God that revealed the secrets to Joseph, is the same God that revealed the secret or the mystery of the world to us, His followers. Let’s follow the footsteps of the Maccabees who stood for God and rededicated the Temple back to God. Let’s remember our call to shine His light and illuminate the darkness.

Shabbat Shalom and a blessed Hanukkah!

Shabbat Shalom,

Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

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