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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Apr 2010, 11:11 am

The Four Cups of Passover

What do the four cups of Passover symbolize?

The four cups refer to the four stages in the redemption process:

1. "I will take you out from the burdens of the yoke of Egypt"Â ~ Ending bondage.

2. "I will rescue you from your slavery"~ Coming out of Egypt.

3. "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm: This refers to the wondrous miracles YHVH wrought against the Egyptians.

4. "I will take you to Me for a nation." The greatest aspect of Redemption is when God brings us near Him, thereby granting us spiritual redemption as well.

The Rabbis make a connection between the four cups and the four times Pharaoh's cup is mentioned in the book of Exodus, (when Joseph and Pharaoh's chief wine steward were imprisoned together in Egypt.) Pharaoh's cups, they tell us, are an allusion to Israel's slavery. It is as if God was saying to Joseph, "Your people's slavery begins as the 'cup' is put into Pharaoh's hand. In the end, the cup will be taken from him, your people will be redeemed and they will subsequently thank the Lord by drinking four times from the Cup representing their Salvation. "

The four cups of wine are also likened to the four kingdoms that followed Egypt in enslaving Israel. Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome were synonymous with treachery against the people of Israel. Consequently, YHVH will exact retribution from them with four different measures of punishment.

The Rabbis say that the four cups symbolize four worlds: the world we live in, the days of Messiah, the period of revival (resurrection) of the dead, and the World to Come ~ Eternal Life.

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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Apr 2010, 2:03 pm

Promises

A recurring theme throughout the plagues was Pharaoh's consent during each plague to let Israel go, and his change of heart as soon as the plague ended. Whenever he felt like he was in danger, Pharaoh asked Moses to pray to YHVH to remove the plague. However, when his suffering was alleviated, he reverted to his wicked ways and refused to let Israel go.

This reaction is not uncommon. Very often, when we need Divine assistance, we resolve to improve ourselves in some way. Unfortunately, we often neglect to follow through on our promises when the danger passes. Let us remember that the reason we needed assistance in the first place was because YHVH wanted us to pray to him and improve our ways. Failure to keep our commitments may cause us to be put in danger once again.

What promises and commitments have you made when you were in a time of need? Did you fulfill them or were they forgotten as the pain subsided?


"He who hardens his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Proverbs 29:1

Pharaoh's heart became harder and harder each times he refused to heed the voice of God. This sin is not unique to Pharaoh or to the children of Israel in Bible time.

As we recall Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage we must ask ourselves: to what are we still enslaved? Our own responses to this question may become quite revealing.

The Positive Side

"Yahveh said to Moses, Now you will see what I shall do to Pharaoh." Exodus 6:1

Moses was sent to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelite slaves leave Egypt, but Pharaoh responded by refusing to let the people go and increasing their work load. Moses returned to YHVH and complained that the situation became worse than before. God's responce was: "now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh."

The Rabbis tell us that originally, Israel’️s slavery was to last 400 years. However, God decided to move up the time of redemption and take them out 190 years earlier. In order to do this without contradicting the original plan, He caused Pharaoh to increase the work. This way 400 years of labor will be done in 210 years. Therefore, YHVH told Moses, don't complain about the work, for now the redemption process is accelerated. If the redemption had to wait another 190 years you would not be able to witness the great redemption. Here God was comforting Moses by saying "now you will see the great redemption."

The lesson - Events that may seem to be tragic and destructive are ultimately seen and appreciated as being positive.

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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Apr 2010, 12:24 pm

Passover ~ March 30 - April 6, 2010€ ¦
Pharaoh's Heart € ¦

"I will harden Pharaoh's heart and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt."€ ¦ Exodus 7:3

Did YHVH harden Pharaoh's heart as He declared he would before the Plagues started?

Although€ ¦ God said that He would harden Pharaoh's heart he did not actually do so until after the sixth plague.

"Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this."€ ¦ Exodus 7:23

"When Pharaoh saw that the hail ceased, he sinned yet more and hardened his heart, he and his servants."€ ¦ Exodus 9:34

"YHVH hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he harkened not unto them, as YHVH had spoken unto Moses."€ ¦ Exodus 9:12

In the first five plagues, Pharaoh hardened his heart and in the final plagues Yahveh hardened Pharaoh's heart.€ ¦ The latter implies that Pharaoh had no free choice in the later plagues.€ ¦ He could not have released the Israelites even if he wanted to.€ ¦ How does this justify the further plagues and suffering for not releasing the Israelites?

YHVH actually deprived Pharaoh of free choice after the sixth plague by hardening his heart.€ ¦ That was because his level of corruption was of such a degree that God's only purpose in keeping him alive was to use him as a means of demonstrating His Power and His Might (Exodus 7:5) and the folly of relying on sorcery and idolatry.€ ¦ Yahveh's hardening Pharaoh's heart meant that He gave Pharaoh more strength to absorb the suffering of the plagues.€ ¦ Were he to repent, it would not be because of the pain but out of sincere and true repentance and in the spirit of acknowledging that YHVH Elohim is the Righteous and that he and his people were the wicked.€ ¦ (Exodus 9:27)


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Post  Admin on Sat 03 Apr 2010, 10:39 am

Passover ~ March 30 - April 6, 2010
Guarding The Matzah
"And you shall safeguard the matzah." Exodus 12:17
The Israelites in Egypt were commanded to bake matzahs (unleavened bread) and eat it in a hurry and with readiness. To "safeguard the matzah" meant to be careful to bake it correctly, lest any delay or moisture would cause the dough to become leavened. When it is prepared quickly it is matzah, (unleavened) but if it is delayed it becomes regular bread - Leavened.
The same applies to the commandments - delayed obedience is like leaven.The Bible equates leaven with sin. The Israelites in Egypt were spiritually weak, therefore even a slight delay in their obedience could have rendered their redemption impossible.
Hence the call to "guard yourself" and not become leavened.
Allow God to do the work of taking you out of your personal bondages.
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Post  Admin on Wed 31 Mar 2010, 4:12 pm

Passover ~ March 30 - April 6, 2010
Free To Choose
"I have hardened his (Pharaoh's) heart in order to execute My miracles within him." Exodus 10:1
Many people raise the question: If YHVH rendered Pharaoh unable to learn from experience, why did He then punish him for refusing to release the Israelites?
The answer lies in an understanding of free will. Many believe that circumstances can so affect people that they have no freedom of choice but the Torah rejects this idea. While circumstances may impact upon a person, no one is ever deprived of freedom of choice. We are always responsible for our actions.
The about-to-be-liberated Israelites were told that YHVH will indeed harden Pharaoh's heart and put great pressure upon him, but that will not deprive him of freedom of choice and he will be held responsible for his behavior. In preparation for their liberation and ultimate acceptance of the Torah, Israel must always remember that they too will be responsible for their actions.
You have free will - Whatever your circumstances may be, you will always have freedom of choice to do good or evil.

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