Welcome to Parasha Miketz (At the End), this week’s Torah Portion.
Because this Shabbat (Sabbath) falls during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah, it is called “Shabbat Hanukkah”.
Miketz (At the End)
· Genesis 41:1–44:17
· Zechariah 2:10–4:7
· I Kings 3:15-4:1
· Romans 10:1-13
“And it came to pass at the end of [miketz] two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed a dream: and, behold, he stood by the river.” (Genesis 41:1)
In last week’s study, Joseph’s brothers became jealous of him, plotting against him because his father favored him above his other sons and because his prophetic dreams revealed his own grand destiny.
So they threw Joseph into a pit and then sold him into slavery. While serving honorably as a slave, Joseph was falsely accused and sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
In this week’s reading, Joseph is finally about to come to the end of his many trials and enter into his grand destiny. In fact, the name of the Parasha, Miketz, found in the opening verse of this week’s Torah reading, hints at this since this Hebrew word means ‘at the end of’.
Joseph is brought out of the darkness of an Egyptian dungeon to interpret the strange dreams of the Pharaoh. In just one day, Joseph is promoted from prison to palace, and his life was suddenly transformed from darkness to light.
A Light in the Darkness
Because Miketz coincides with Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights this year, this week’s portion includes a special Haftarah (Prophetic reading) about the prophet Zechariah’s vision of a grand Menorah. He says,
“He asked me, 'What do you see?' I answered, 'I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.'” (Zechariah 4:2–3)
Two olive trees feed this grand Menorah with oil. And since trees in Scripture often represent people, these two trees are seen by some to represent the Two Witnesses.
Zechariah promises that the darkness that comes from our sin, which separates us from YEHOVAH, will be supernaturally lifted in a single day by HIS Righteous Branch.
“I am going to bring MY Servant, the Branch. … and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.” (Zechariah 3:8–9)
We saw this prophecy fulfilled when in a single day, the sacrifice of YESHUA took away the sins of the world:
"We have an advocate with the FATHER, YESHUA HAMASHIACH the Righteous; and HE is the atoning Sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." (John 2:1–2)
YEHOVAH also speaks of the supernatural working of the RUACH HAKODESH (HOLY SPIRIT) to accomplish the LORD’s plans, such as the building of the Second Temple by Zerubbabel:
“This is the word of YEHOVAH to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by MY SPIRIT,' says YEHOVAH Almighty.'" (Zechariah 4:6)
In the Holy Sanctuary, the light of the Menorah became a symbol of YEHOVAH’s Divine Presence.
During this time of year, when the winter nights are the longest, we sense our need for light more intensely.
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote of a “GREAT LIGHT” that would one day come to lift people out of the gloomy darkness:
“Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed … The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:1–2)
Who is this “great light” of which Isaiah prophesied? The Light would come in the form of a child, who would eventually rule the nations in righteousness and justice, seated on the throne of HIS father, for all eternity.
“For unto us a CHILD is born, unto us a SON is given; and the government will be upon HIS shoulder and HIS name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty GOD, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of HIS government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over HIS kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice, from that time forward, even forever.” (Isaiah 9:6–7)
YESHUA HAMASHIACH – the Anointed One said, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows ME will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Light of the World
Hanukkah is a celebration of light.
This joyous festival commemorated the salvation of the Jewish people from the oppression of the Greeks who ruled the Jewish people from 332–164 BC.
It was both a physical salvation and a spiritual one, since the Jews were not only rescued from persecution, but also liberated from an enforced Hellenized (Greek) religious system and culture.
They fought for freedom to worship the One True GOD, to keep HIS commandments, and to observe the festivals as written in the Torah.
WE honor the liberation of the Holy Temple, our body, and its rededication to YEHOVAH by celebrating the Festival of Dedication / Hanukkah.
Did YESHUA celebrate Hanukkah? The only reference in Scripture to Hanukkah is found in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament), and it indicates that HE more than likely kept the festival.
The Gospel of John reveals that YESHUA walked in the courts of the Temple during Hanukkah:
“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And YESHUA walked in the Temple, in Solomon’s porch.” (John 10:22–23)
While HE was there, some asked HIM directly if HE were the MESSIAH.
YESHUA pointed to the works HE had done as proof, but explained that they did not believe in HIM because they were not HIS Sheep.
In this week’s Brit Chadashah portion, YESHUA HAMASHIACH proclaimed HIS mission as one of healing the brokenhearted and setting captives free.
The verses HE cited came directly out of the book of the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah.
“So HE came to Nazareth, where HE had been brought up. And as HIS custom was, HE went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And HE was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when HE had opened the book, HE found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of YEHOVAH is upon ME, because HE has anointed ME to preach the gospel to the poor; HE has sent ME to heal the brokenhearted; To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of YEHOVAH.” (Luke 4:16–19; see also Isaiah 61:1)
YESHUA and Yosef (Joseph)
Many parallels can be drawn between YESHUA and Joseph.
At the time of Joseph’s release from prison into the service of Pharaoh he was 30 years old, just as YEHOVAH was 30 when he began HIS public ministry in the service of the King.
Also, Joseph's appearance and personality had been so changed during his time in Egypt that his brothers no longer recognized him.
They stood right in front of Joseph, seeking the salvation from their famine that only he could provide, and yet they had no idea he was their brother.
Likewise, YESHUA’s Jewish brothers and sisters today hold in front of them the Scriptures that reveal who HE is, and yet they are unable to recognize HIM as their Jewish MESSIAH.
One reason for this modern-day blindness is the way YESHUA has been portrayed by Christians over the centuries: He seems to have ceased being the observant Jew who faithfully kept the commandments of YEHOVAH in the Torah and has, instead, been labeled as the Gentiles’ “god.”
YESHUA’s identity has been so changed that the great majority of Jewish people cannot fathom that this “Jesus” could possibly be the Jewish MASHIACH (MESSIAH) for whom they have been waiting, longing and praying for over 3,000 years.
Nevertheless, the Prophet Zechariah told us that one day, all the Jewish people will recognize Him:
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on ME, on HIM whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for HIM, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over HIM, as one weeps over a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)
Today, thousands of YESHUA’s brothers and sisters are coming to understand who HE truly is; they are known as Messianic Jews and their search for the MESSIAH of the Scriptures has ended.
These “restored Jews,” as some call them restored back into the olive tree of Romans 11, are steadily gaining recognition as a legitimate sect of Judaism in Israel and around the world.
"In HIM was life, and that life was the light of all mankind." (John 1:4)
HAPPY HANUKKAH AND SHABBAT SHALOM FROM TORAH KEEPER!