February 3, 2010

An Early Convert

As our family has been studying Scripture, we have been writing our findings down in a book, so that we won't forget what the Father has been showing us through our reading. You don't truly realize how much Yahweh is teaching you until you start to write it down! :-)
A few weeks ago, while reading the Torah portion, we noted that when Moses fled into the wilderness, he married into the "tribe" of Midian. His father-in-law was a "priest of Midian." (Ex. 2:15-21) Okay, so we looked up the Midianites. Who were they, what did they believe, where did they live?

Here is what we found:

- The Midianites were decendants of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25:1-2).

- The Midianites were a nomadic tribe, living off of the land and goods of the others around them- hence the fight over the well in Exodus 2:17.

- The Midianites worshipped the Moon, among other pagan gods. This was an early form of Islam- it just didn't have that name, perse, until Mohammed came along.

- The Midianites often aligned themselves with the Moabites and the Ishmaelites. This was often in battle against the Israelites, but also in trade or in war against other peoples.

The point I would like to specifically focus on here is Midianite moon worship- Islam, if you will. Besides our research on Midian, something that leads us to believe that Reuel/Jethro was a priest of Islam is when Moses and Zipporah are at the inn in Exodus 4:20-26.

Exo 4:24-26 "And it came to be on the way, in the lodging place, that יהוה met him and sought to kill him. And Tsipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and threw it at Mosheh’s feet, and said, 'You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me!' So He(YHWH) let him go. Then she said, 'You are a bridegroom of blood,' because of the circumcision."

It isn't clear here whether it was Moses or his son Yahweh sought to kill. But in either case, this is the only time in Scripture where a woman circumcises anyone.

In the attitude portrayed by the wording, Zipporah was angry and in rebellion. It seems like, when she threw the foreskin at Moses' feet, she was saying "Here! Fine, have it your way!" We speculated that, if Zipporah was in fact from an Islamic family, that she may have refused to circumcise her son on the eighth day, as Torah requires, so that she could follow the Islamic tradition of having the boy circumcised when he turned 13.

We noticed that Scripture never specifically says whether Zipporah left the religion of her father to follow her husband. As a family, we likened her to Rachel, who carried away the gods of her father; who seems to add Yahweh to her list of gods- instead of leaving her other gods to follow Yahweh only (Gen. 31:19). If these things are true of Zipporah, it would seem to fit into our Islam theory.


All of that to tell what Jethro believed before he became a follower of Yahweh... :-) Bear with me, read the rest of the story, and you'll know what I mean. :-)

After the children of Israel came out of Egypt they went through a few chapters-worth of wilderness, and then camped at a place called Rephidim. Here they complained some more and fought and defeated the Amalekites.

Exo 17:15-16 "And Mosheh built an altar and called its name, יהוה Nissi, for he said, 'Because a hand is on the throne of Yah, יהוה is to fight against Amalĕq, from generation to generation.'"

After this the Israelites camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai (Ex. 18:5). Reuel/Jethro, Moses' father-in-law hears of the things Yahweh did for the Israelites in Egypt, and comes to bring Zipporah, Gershom, and Eliezer to Moses.

{Apparently, Moses had sent his wife and children back home, while he went away to do battle with Pharoah. (Ex. 4:20&29, 18:1-6) Seeing Zipporah's actions at the inn makes us realize that this was probably a life-saving decision on Moses' part. This also meant that he had one less thing to worry about once he got to Egypt- his family was safe and he could get on with his work.}

I'll let Torah relate the next part of the story. Take it one verse at a time...

Exo 18:8 "And Mosheh told his father-in-law all that יהוה had done to Pharaoh and to the Mitsrites for Yisra’ĕl’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them on the way, and how יהוה had delivered them."

Exo 18:9 "And Yithro rejoiced for all the good which יהוה had done for Yisra’ĕl, whom He had delivered out of the hand of the Mitsrites."

Exo 18:10-11 "And Yithro said, 'Blessed be יהוה, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Mitsrites and out of the hand of Pharaoh, and who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Mitsrites.'"

Exo 18:11 "'Now I know that יהוה is greater than all the mighty ones, indeed in the matter in which they acted proudly, above them.'

Exo 18:12 "Then Yithro, the father-in-law of Mosheh, brought a burnt offering and other slaughterings unto Elohim. And Aharon came with all the elders of Yisra’ĕl to eat bread with the father-in-law of Mosheh before Elohim."

When Jethro heard of all that Yahweh had done in the land of Egypt, he knew that Yahweh is Elohim. All he did was hear the news and listen to the account of Moses. He wasn't even there! And yet he believed! He immediately brought sacrifices to Yahweh and began learning Yahweh's Torah.

Jethro came to Moses as a friend, father-in-law, and pagan priest. He went home as Moses' friend, father-in-law, brother of the promise of Yeshua, and as a priest of Yahweh!

If that is the reaction of a man who only heard of what Yahweh had done, what must have been the response of the Egyptians who saw what Yahweh had done?

Scripture says in several places that there was a mixed multitude that went up with Israel. I wonder just how many people were in that mix?

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