Every year the observant Jews read what is called the Torah Portion or "parashah." (The five Books of Moses) The first five books of the Bible are divided into 54 sections to be read over the course of one Jewish year. The cycle begins the day after the completion of the fall feasts. It is called Simchat Torah or Rejoicing in the Law, and on this day, the final Torah readings take place.
The custom of reading Torah started at the time of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. In the book of Nehemiah, we are told that Ezra the Scribe wanted to ensure that the Israelites would not go astray. This is what led to the beginning of the weekly system for all Jews to read Torah. My Jewish calendar has the Torah Portion for each week printed on the Sabbath day. The reading on the second week after the Hamas attack on Israel is Genesis 6:9 through 11:32. It encompasses the story of Noah and the flood.
As one who follows the Jewish feasts and monthly festivals, I am fascinated by the way the Scripture readings correspond with them. But nothing could have surprised me more than the way last week's readings about Noah and the corruptness of those around him could have been talking about what is happening in Israel today. I listened to a recent teaching by Rabbi Jason Sobel, a messianic rabbi who appears on the TBN channel. His teaching entitled "Unlocking Hidden Connections in Scripture” was so enlightening. He points out how the Torah Portion from last week not only spoke of events from 2,500 years before Christ, but also of today.
In Rabbi Sobel’s teaching, the key to unlocking our comprehension of God’s Word was through knowing the original Hebrew. The Rabbi read Genesis 6:11. "The earth was corrupt before God; the earth was filled with violence." (The Complete Jewish Study Bible) Genesis 6:13 is a more detailed explanation of what is about to happen. "God said to Noah, 'The end of all living beings has come before me, for because of them the earth is filled with violence. I will destroy them along with the earth.'" (The Complete Jewish Bible) What is intriguing about these two verses is that the Hebrew translation for the word "violence" is Hamas. Hamas has several meanings that include violence, lawlessness, and an anti-Christ spirit. We can see the timelines of God’s Word for today.
The Torah reading is also meaningful to those who connect it with the eighth month on the Jewish calendar. We are in that month, called Cheshvan, right now. The number eight signifies revelation and new beginnings. The Great Flood began on Cheshvan 17 and ended the following year on Cheshvan 27. Rabbi Sobel teaches that the flood was like a ritual bath or mikvah for the world.
I believe that God wants to cleanse the earth again. How this will happen is a mystery; however, we see in Genesis 6 that Hamas grieves the Lord. God's intention for His people is that they live in peace and fellowship with Him and one another. Violence/Hamas has poked the “apple of God’s eye.” The Israelis are in the forefront of a battle for their lives, but God is not unaware. Let us pray for the destruction of Hamas through God's intervention, a cleansing of all people, and a spirit of the fear of the Lord to fall upon us. Our awesome God is holy and tells us to be holy as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:15) He knows the details of every part of our lives and gives us signs, through His Word, which are meant to show us how engaged He is with our lives. Peace can only come to the world as those who live in it trust their lives to our Messiah.
Joan E. Mathias