Why the Bones?

Written by Michael

December 19, 2023

In this weeks Annual Torah Portion – I examine the relevance of Joseph and his purpose fulfilled to Israel – and how this relates you and I as being grafted into the commonwealth (of Israel) – and the inherited promises of God through Abraham – not in some “prosperity teaching” model – but in a way that really places us in true understanding as Believers in the Jewish Messiah known as Yeshua/Jesus…Let’s look closely…

In Genesis 44:1 Joseph explained to Pharaoh that his dreams were actually warnings from God. Seven years of abundance and plenty were about to begin in Egypt, but they were to be followed by seven years of desperate famine. The solution was to lay up stores during the seven years of plenty so that there would be sufficient food in the coming years of famine. Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph’s wisdom that he made him a minister over Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Joseph oversaw the building of storehouses in which the abundant grain of Egypt’s seven years of plenty was stored. Now let us look at Messiah’s teachings…

Yeshua told his disciples to lay up treasures in heaven instead of on earth: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19–21)

In Judaism, a good deed , is called a mitzvah; and it literally means “commandment.” Every time we keep one of God’s commandments, it is a “good deed.” Therefore the word mitzvah has come to be associated with any act of goodness. This is taught in every form of Judaism – and is true even in the faith of a Believer in Jesus –Not pertaining as a sole means of salvation, but as the result of our life in Messiah emanating through our love for Him– and we are shown this in Revelation 20:1-15:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

This is also evident in Matthew 7:21-23, when Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Peter admonishes us in 1 Peter 2:15 by saying, “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the Apostle Paul tells us, “…in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Our opportunities to do mitzvot are limited to our lifetime here on earth. Yeshua teaches in Matthew 6 that our mitzvot are like money placed into a savings account in heaven. When we pass on into the next life, essentially we will be able to see a return on the mitzvot we have stored up in heaven… The world says, “You can’t take it with you.” However, we see that Yeshua teaches “You can take it with you”.

Back to the story…

Joseph encouraged all of Egypt to lay up stores and provisions for the lean years to come. So too we should be storing up our resources in heaven for the years to come. So how does this portion lead into the next and where we are today as a world?

In Genesis 44 – some key things happen (I encourage you to read through chapter 45) – we see a picture of a foretelling of the Messiah to come – and a prophetic revealing of Matthew 23:37-39 when Jesus says to the Religious leadership of Israel: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

  • Here – Joseph detains Benjamin – Have you ever asked the question “why”? There are dozens of orthodox rabbis who have professed Yeshua as Messiah secretly in Israel being restrained from releasing their faith until the Ruach/Spirit of the Lord releases them to do so. Most of the orthodox trace their lineage to Benjamin…
  • Benjamin was detained TO BRING THE FATHER (Abraham)TO THE KNOWN WORLD AT THE EXPENSE OF THE SON… to be there with family when the famine occurred…You and I will arise to be with our Father when His wrath is poured upon the earth…at the expense of the Son (Jesus) – from His death and resurrection.
  • What was deemed a Savior to the world would be revealed as Son to the Father – Joseph is a personified Messianic figure foreshadowing Yeshua’s 2nd return as Mashiach Ben David – Jesus has looked like a Gentile Savior to the world – Nations who do not know or understand the need for or the function of a Messiah – they do not even hardly use the term…but it will happen…when? – Matthew 23:37-39 tells us when Jesus says,“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

How does this pertain to Joseph being connected to the Messiah bringing Israel into an Ezekiel 37 picture of being revived to life?

Exodus 13:19 And MOSES TOOK THE BONES OF JOSEPH with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. JOSEPH’S BONES ARE BURIED IN SHECHEM (West Bank) When the children of Israel went into the promised land, they carried the bones of Joseph with them and buried his bones in Shechem (Nablus) in the West Bank (mountains of Israel).

In Joshua 24:1, 32 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to SHECHEM and called for the elders of Israel, and their heads, and their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God…Verse 32 And the BONES OF JOSEPH, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in SHECHEM, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

  • Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones is not simply any bones – but the bones of the House of Joseph COMING BACK to life!!! The picture here is how the Messiah leads His children like a flock – as a Good Shepherd and it is in His perfect will to see Israel come to Salvation.

The shepherd of Israel (Messiah) was prophesied to lead Joseph (the house of Joseph) like a flock. John Chapter 10 identifies Yeshua / Jesus as being the “Good Shepherd”.  In John 10:10, Messiah says: I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Psalm 80:1 {To the chief Musician upon Shoshannimeduth, A Psalm of Asaph.} Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock….

Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down amid the valley which was full of bones,  And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.  (Verse 9) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

Isn’t it interesting this is all in the Torah portion this week and next – all about Joseph – his revealing, and how Ezekiel needs to prophesy to dead bones so they can live according to the word of Yahweh? Joseph’s bones are the bones of Ezekiel – and they were transferred to Schechem (Currently the West Bank) where the Palestinians thought they burned these bones several years ago. God chose Joseph and His House to be the Shepherd model of the Good Shepherd who would lead Israel back to the Land

Back to the Joseph Story…

  • Genesis 45:3-14 – “Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. (connecting point-Exodus 20:18 – Israel is frightened at the presence at the base of Mt. Sinai) Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!  (connecting point 20:27 – Jesus calls Thomas closer to see His wounds and prove He is the one they had spent the last three and a half years with) And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years, there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me  (connecting point John 14:2)—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise, you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is I who am speaking to you. Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.” Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping.”

This is a foretelling of the result of the Matthew 23 proclamation by Yeshua to the leaders… What is happening is not what is going on!

Just like Jehoshaphat knew if He heeded the Word of the Lord – what was happening was going to bring Israel into a closer walk with God…and victory despite the prospective events of loss and defeat… Reminding us of the end of the story in 2 Chronicles 20 – God turned the hatred of three tribes against His Chosen to be turned again towards each other, which morphed into a greater form that caused all 3 groups to consume themselves…then Israel took the spoils.

In the same way, we are reminded of a future – when Messiah will do the same thing Joseph did for Israel in the land of Egypt – Protect and Preserve the people – and reveal His TRUE Identity as the coming Messiah of Israel and the nations who join in accord with her.

Shalom in this Holiday season; celebrating the advent of Jesus’ first coming – Part 2 is coming soon!

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