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Passover: Redemption and Salvation

For this week there is a special Parasha reading. This is due to the fact that Shabbat falls during the Feast of Pesach (Passover). The reading, although it deals with events following the aftermath of the egel hazahav (golden calf) incident, also contains instructions on the observance of the Feast of Unleavened bread as well as various other commandments. However what I would like to focus my commentary on for this Parasha is the following verse: Shemot {33:17} HaSHEM (G-d) said to Moshe, "I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name."

What did G-d mean when He said to Moshe (Moses) that He knew him by name? Surely G-d knows everyone's name after all He is all knowing! We have all heard the expression, "I know him/her by name." This, in a discussion, would indicate having knowledge of someone's name but not really knowing them personally. Well from the context of this weeks reading and what took place in prior verses, we can understand this reference of "I know you by name" not to refer to just a cursory knowledge but rather, to indicate that Moshe had a personal relationship with G-d. It tells us that God knew that Moshe had a heart that sought after Him and He acknowledged that by this statement, "I know you by name." It means that Moshe was redeemed; he had the assurance of eternal life in the olam habah (world to come).

The Feast of Pesach is all about redemption. All the Scriptures relating to this Feast tell us about the redemption of bnei Yisrael (children of Israel) from slavery in Mitzryim (Egypt) to freedom in the land of promise (Israel). Redemption and salvation are the cornerstones of Pesach. It is the redemption/salvation message that are contained in the four "I will" promises of G-d relating to the Exodus in:

Shemot {6:6} Therefore tell the Bnei Yisrael, 'I am HaSHEM, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Mizrayim, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great mishpatim: {6:7} and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a G-D; and you shall know that I am HaSHEM your G-D, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Mizrayim.

Within the physical observance of Pesach we also find all the elements of the life, death and resurrection of Mashiach (Messiah) Yeshua, pointing to Him, as our Pesach Lamb, our agent of redemption and salvation.

Pesach is in fact a picture of our slavery and bondage to sin (Mitzrayim) and G-d sending us a deliver (Yeshua) that shows us the way to the land of promise (salvation and eternal life with G-d in heaven).

For G-d to say specifically that he knew Moshe by name, especially after the egel hazahav incident, clearly indicates to us that as a "First Covenant" saint, Moshe was saved; he was securely in G-d's camp.

Therefore for G-d to know you "by name" I think it is safe to say you would need to reflect the character of Moshe. He was obedient, steadfast and uncompromising to the word of G-d. He was loyal to the task G-d assigned to him and saw it through despite the murmurings, accusations and acts of rebellion perpetrated against him. He was humble, in fact G-d called him the humblest man on earth; this in the face of G-d offering to create a whole new nation through him. Would you have refused such and offer?

G-d knows who are His and who are not His and He clearly calls those who are His by name, He has told us so:

Yochanan (John) {10.1} Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. {10.2} But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. {10.3} To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.

Pesach is all about redemption and salvation; it is also about G-d knowing you by Name.

Rabbi Jack (Ya'acov) Farber


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