Parashat Mikeitz (From the End)
Beresheet (Genesis) 41:1–44:17
Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14–4:7
In this week’s reading, there is a special reading from the Haftara because Shabbat (the Sabbath day) falls during the Feast of Chanukah (also known as the Feast of Dedication).
The number seven plays an important role in both the Parasha and Haftara portions. The number seven in God’s Word relates to both rest and holiness. In the Parasha, we read about Pharoah’s dreams of the seven healthy cows and the seven bony cows, as well as the seven healthy ears of grain and the seven unhealthy ears of grain. As we know, Pharoah sought an interpretation of the dreams, which ended up in Joseph being released 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.”
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 the Haftara we read of yet another dream, where the number seven again plays a key role:
Then the angel who had been speaking with me returned and woke me, like a person who is awakened from his sleep.And he said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it; also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side.” Then I said to the angel who was speaking with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?” So the angel who was speaking with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of armies. ‘What are you, you great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring out the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”
As we can see from these verses, there is a question regarding the symbols in the dream - the seven-branched menorah (lampstand) and the two olive trees. In my opinion, they carry with them important prophetic elements. I see a direct connection between the seven-branched menorah in Zechariah's dream to the seven menorahs that are found in the Book of John’s Vision (the Book of Revelation):
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And after turning I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and wrapped around the chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.His feet were like burnished bronze when it has been heated to a glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.
Regarding the two olive trees, I believe we see them again in Revelation 11:2–5, in particular when John has a vision of the two witnesses:
“Leave out the courtyard which is outside the temple and do not measure it, because it has been given to the nations; and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; and so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.
In the same way that Joseph is a mirror image of Him who was to come — the Messiah — so is the prophecy from Zechariah, which points to Yeshua being the top stone. The truth of God’s Word will happen, and it will not by might nor by power but by the move of the Holy Spirit, which will bring everything to completion.
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