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The opening sentence in this week’s Torah Portion (Parashat Bo) is very significant and in may ways overlooked according to the church today, א וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה בֹּא אֶל-פַּרְעֹה כִּי-אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת-לִבּוֹ וְאֶת-לֵב עֲבָדָיו לְמַעַן שִׁתִי אֹתֹתַי אֵלֶּה בְּקִרְבּוֹ: 10:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, (NASB) Notice how the Lord God of Israel speaks to Moshe saying הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת-לִבּוֹ “I have glorified (hardened) his heart” using the word הִכְבַּדְתִּי. This is very important because today, we are living in an age where man is taught to think good, high, and wonderful thoughts about himself. Within Christianity in America today, there is a “watered down” form of teaching where all one has to do is “say” one believes in Jesus in one’s heart, where repentance and turning from sin are de-emphasized and seldom mentioned. This is what has and is being taught in the grace movement today. The result of this teaching that is coupled to the absence of repentance, has created an unholy theology which has produced children which do not exhibit the characteristics of God as we know according to the history in the pages of the Scriptures. The children of this new teaching permits and promotes a warped form of godliness, and preaches deceiving, dangerous, and damnable false doctrines. The watered down grace movement is sweeping through churches today rather than the biblical teaching to seek the righteousness of God through repentance. This new grace doctrine leads one to a self-seeking desire to worship at the altar of self. The apostle Paul warned us that one of the characteristics of the last days would be that “men will be lovers of their own selves” (2 Timothy 3:2). In addition to this, there is a de-emphasis on the importance of reading and rereading the Scriptures each year (and daily). What has happened is most today have been taught a theology and are unable to read the scriptures outside of the theologies they have been taught. Theology is all that is being taught in churches today and the outcome of this is all one needs to do is believe the theology and thus reading and rereading the scriptures goes to the wayside in leu of Sunday morning preaching. The context of the Lord hardening the heart of Pharaoh and his people is very significant as it is related to these things, and paralleled to Matthew 22 where Yeshua speaks and teaches on the kingdom of God illustrated as a wedding banquet saying “22:11 ‘But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 22:12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 22:13 ‘Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 22:14 ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’(NASB)” The most significant passage here is 22:14 saying “many are called but few are chosen.” We are called to seek His righteousness which is related to the cloths that we are to wear as God’s People (see Revelation 19:8) but few choose today to actually do so. Many so-called fundamental or evangelical churches and preachers today have fallen into the trap of teaching this mushy grace movement stuff where Churches and preachers alike are abandoning their God called purpose of upholding the Word of God as a way of life for God’s people (Romans 3:31) His ways that are revealed to us in the commandments according to the Torah. In the sight of a holy God, we are called to seek His holiness. The missing message in modern-day preaching is the Biblical doctrine of repentance, where a sinner is convinced and convicted of his exceeding sinfulness and lost condition. This was the attitude which was missing from Pharaoh and his people. As a result, we are told the Lord God of Israel הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת-לִבּוֹ “glorified (hardened) his heart,” suggesting that the Lord God Almighty helped to facilitate the strengthening of pride in Pharaoh’s life. Do you think the Lord still does this today and possibly with his people? Note that the hardening in part was to show forth the power of God. The neglect (absence) of a repentant heart is connected to the self glorification of our own hearts. This week’s Torah portion causes us to consider the attitudes of our hearts in relation to the themes of the power of God (the right hand), and the future expectation of the Lord sending His deliverer (Mashiach) and of redemption. Is there forgiveness of sins and salvation without repentance? Let’s discuss this further in this week’s study.

 

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