10 Shevat, 5781 / January 23, 2021
By Eric Meiri
This Week’s Readings:
Torah: Exodus 10:1-13:6
Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13-28
Brit Chadashah: Revelation 7:9-17
What comes to mind, or what feelings do you experience when you hear the phrase: “covered by the blood of the Lamb”? For committed and faithful Christians, it evokes comfort and joy. For Messianic Jews, perhaps similar but mixed feelings. For an indifferent secular individual, probably confusion and concern. For many Jews, likely disdain and aversion. I don’t have any significant memories of how I would have reacted to this phrase before becoming a believer in Yeshua, but I know that I would have considered it an entirely Christian phrase, with no connection to anything Jewish. Many Christians may also think similarly, unaware of its connection to the Tanakh. This phrase represents one of the strongest points of connection between Jewish and Christian theologies, and yet it magnifies how much each community has become avoidant and unaware of the other. The phrase has certainly developed into a cornerstone of Christian culture with its mentioning being one of the requirements of contemporary Christian songwriting. And the majority Jewish response has been to steer clear of any use of the words “covered” and “blood” and “Lamb”, especially within the same sentence. But thankfully, as Messianic Jews, we have an opportunity to build a bridge across this wide gap and reclaim the Jewishness of a most important and powerful phrase.
The Torah Portion takes us through the final of the Ten Plagues, with the conclusion of “Death”. Despite that this plague was only upon the death of the firstborn sons and cattle, such a death plague has tremendous impact on society. It is said that ADONAI Himself was to go into the land and carry out this death. Unlike with the previous plagues, protection upon Bnei-Yisrael was not assumed. An act of obedience was required: a sacrifice of a choice lamb, and the application of the lamb’s blood to the doorposts of their house. Everyone in the home would be “covered by the blood of the Lamb”, exercising their faith that they would be protected from death. What a great example of faith and obedience going hand-in-hand.
The Haftarah Portion refers to another destruction that would come upon Egypt, this time in the form of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Unfortunately, this king of Babylon also represents a destruction of the Temple, and the diaspora of the Jewish people as a result of our disobedience. But G-d promises hope. Beyond this “discipline” of destruction, sadness, and scattering that Israel would experience, ADONAI declares to Israel that “I am with you. I will make a full end of all the nations… but I will not make a full end of you... I will not utterly destroy you” (Jer 46:28). This “full end” hints at a future judgement of all nations. Another plague of death. But G-d is merciful, and just like before, He will give us a way to exercise our faith and obedience to be protected from this final plague.
The Brit Chadashah Portion shows us that those who will come out of the great tribulation will have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of G-d, and they serve Him day and night in His Temple. The One seated on the throne will shelter them” (Rev 7:14-157). Now that’s the home I want to be sheltered in as the final plague comes upon the earth. I believe it is coming, and I have faith that the G-d of Israel will protect us from it.
But how are we to exercise our faith here through action? Where do I find a seven-horned Lamb with seven eyes whose blood will somehow turn a robe white? Obviously no simple and straightforward act of obedience is being described here. So how do we cover ourselves in the blood of the Lamb? It will be no simple and straightforward act of faith either. This faith must be bold, and able to move mountains. This faith must endure and be strengthened so that when the evil spiritual forces mount an attack on this physical realm, and we come face-to-face with Death, we will declare: Shema Yisrael, ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad. Yeshua, Hu Ha’Mashiach, Hu Adon Ha’Col. I pray that on this day when that final plague comes, we will all show our faith by speaking these words in obedience to G-d, which will cover us in the blood of the Lamb.