The Integrity of God’s Word

Parashat Vayechi (And He Lived)
Beresheet (Genesis) 47:28-50:26
Haftarah: I Kings 2:1-12

In this week’s Parashah, we find a touching account of Israel (Jacob) nearing his death and requesting his son Joseph to bury him in the Land of Promise:

When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, place your hand under my thigh now and make with me grace and truth: do not bury me in Egypt. And I will lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” And he said, “I will do as you have said.” And he said, “Swear to me.” So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed.
Genesis 47:29-31

In Genesis 49:29-33, we see Jacob extending his request to all his sons with some specific details:

Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is opposite Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah— the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth.” When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.”

Jacob understood the significance of the Land not only as a fulfillment of God's promises, but also as a sign of the everlasting covenant God made with Abraham, his grandfather. I believe this is the reason he asked Joseph to ensure he would be buried there. There is a beautiful prophetic picture here of where the children of Israel would live, and where His Kingdom would be established.

Nowadays, one can visit the Cave of the Patriarchs (“Machpelah”), the place where our forefathers and mothers, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah are buried. It is a very special place that I personally love to visit. It is an amazing fulfillment of Jacob’s request from thousands of years ago! Yet, when one goes to visit this unique place, one will see that the cave is split into two parts – Jewish and Muslim. Apart from a few days a year when the entire cave is open, only Jews and Muslims are allowed into the respective areas.

If one comes to the cave without knowing the biblical history, or in other words the historical truth of that place, one may get very confused and wonder to whom this place really belongs.

The sad reality is that many people around the world are confused when it comes to Israel and the Jewish people. This kind of confusion can happen when one leaves the foundational truth of the Word of God and/or chooses to change it.

I recently got a message from a dear friend, with a link to a post that was shared by an Arab Christian in Jordan, who shared a message given by a reverend from Bethlehem. The Jordanian man referred to the message as “…perhaps the most powerful, prophetic message any of us will ever hear on any Christmas.” In reality, what this man did was to politicize the Gospel and preach a false message. I will share a small quote from his message that was particularly disturbing to me: “Here in, our Bible is weaponized against us, our very own sacred texts. In our terminology in we speak of the empire. Here, we confront the theology of the empire. It is disguised for superiority, supremacy, chosenness and entitlement. It is sometimes given a nice cover using words like, mission, evangelism, fulfillment of prophecy, and spreading freedom and liberty. The theology of the empire becomes a powerful tool to mask oppression. It calls for us to go to Egypt or Jordan. Why not just the sea?”

When an ordinary person who does not know biblical truth nor historical facts reads or hears this false teaching, that person could easily be confused about what the truth really is. When people misuse the Bible, i.e., the living Word from the Living God, and spread false messages in His name to this world, they are the very false prophets that Yeshua warned us of (Matthew 24:11). When others like the Jordanian man who calls it the “most prophetic message” partake in spreading such lies, they are just as responsible as the false teachers because they in turn lead others astray. If one studies history, one will know that Israel has protected the Arab Christian population far more than the Palestinian Muslims have. When Bethlehem was under Israeli control, it was 87% Christian. Under Palestinian Muslim rule, the Christian population has dwindled to less than 12% due to persecution by groups such as Hamas. Yet, Israel is the evil empire oppressing the Arabs?

I am once again reminded of the importance of passing down God’s truth to our children. In our Haftarah portion, we read of King David’s wishes as his death drew near, which echo Jacob’s deathbed wishes:

As David’s time to die drew near, he commanded his son Solomon, saying, “I am going the way of all the earth. So be strong, and you become a man. And guard the post (charges) of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, so that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the LORD may fulfill His promise which He spoke regarding me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful about their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and all their soul, you shall not cut off a man on the throne of Israel.’”
I Kings 2:1-4

I believe King David’s words are still relevant for us today and are a clear warning for us, especially when he said “If your sons are careful about their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and all their soul you shall not cut off a man on the throne of Israel.” 

Are you confused about Israel and what is happening here? What sources are you using to know the truth, and upon which you formulate your understanding? Don’t forget our Messiah’s warning when He said, “And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people.” (Matthew 24:11)

Beware of false prophets and teachers, and don’t forget that each of us will give an account of Himself to God (Romans 14:12).

Shabbat Shalom,

Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

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One Comment on “The Integrity of God’s Word”

  1. There are so many voices, so many ideas, so many distractions, so many demands on our time…. I sometimes plead with God to be merciful and gracious to people. I don’t see how those who don’t have God’s word as a foundation can sort through it all to find the truth, even if they are searching for truth. And among those who claim to believe God’s word, there is a mishmash mess of teachings and ideas being promulgated. It is a disaster.

    May G-d grant discernment and wisdom to many in these dark days.

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