Ekev: The Rain of Messiah
The Rain of Messiah.
Just thought I’d post a real quick Torah nugget as I’m getting ready to study Torah Portion Ekev.
Let’s get right into it;
Take a look at Deuteronomy 11:22 (I’m assuming you’ve read the portion!), because this verse is problematic.
Deuteronomy 11:22 (The Scriptures)
22 ‘For if you diligently guard all these commands which I command you, to do it, to love יהוה your Elohim, to walk in all His ways, and to cling to Him…
…Intrigued, you ask…how is this problematic?
Well, the sages ask, how do you ‘cling’ to a God that is an ‘all consuming fire’?
Surely this is impossible?
The sages answer their own question. They state that in order to ‘cling’ to our God, that we are to be like Him, but that in doing this, that we are to find ourselves a teacher, who is like God, and that we are to emulate Him. Through this, man is able to achieve a sort of unity with God and in turn is able to ‘cling to Him’, and as the verse states, walk in His ways.
The teacher we are to follow, from the perspective of Deuteronomy, is Moses, who spoke to God face to face, and was not consumed. Obviously though, this teacher is also Messiah Yeshua.
And I’ll just quickly interject that this concept of ‘emulating’, or even ‘copying’, a teacher is what the Bible calls ‘discipleship’. In Hebraic thought, students would attempt to emulate their teacher in all things and in essence, attempt to be a ‘carbon copy’ of their teacher. So if Moses is a ‘carbon copy’ of God, and we ‘copy’ Moses, then we, in a way, are being like God, through our copying of the teacher. It’s with this in mind that Paul is able to say, ‘be imitators of me…’, because Paul, as a disciple of Yeshua, is a ‘copy’ of Yeshua, and so on.
Back to Deuteronomy.
The ultimate teacher, the one whom allows us to truly ‘cling’ to God, is actually alluded to in Deuteronomy 11:14;
Deuteronomy 11:14 (The Scriptures)
14 then I shall give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, and you shall gather in your grain, and your new wine, and your oil.
Which, on the p’shat (literal) level of interpretation, means exactly what it says. So, as part of following God (keeping Torah), Israel will receive literal rain. This reflects the fact that Israel, unlike Egypt which has the Nile, is completely reliant on rain, and therefore, God.
But there is a play on words here which is quite awesome.
The early rain mentioned here, in the Hebrew is Yoreh. Yoreh (early rain), has the verbal root of ‘yarah’ which means to ‘teach’ and ‘to instruct’. Yarah, is the root of the word Torah.
This is fun, because Yoreh therefore, has the double meaning of ‘teacher’. So Israel will be given a teacher…
Going further with this we find ourselves in Joel 2:23 which also mentions the early and latter rains;
Joel 2:23 (NKJV)
23 Be glad then, you children of Zion,
And rejoice in the Lord your God;
For He has given you the former rain faithfully,
And He will cause the rain to come down for you—
The former rain,
And the latter rain in the first month.
But understanding the double meaning of ‘Yoreh’, means that Joel 2:22 can be rendered as;
Joel 2:23 (The Scriptures)
23 And you children of Tsiyon, be glad and rejoice in יהוה your Elohim, for He shall give you the Teacher of Righteousness, and cause the rain to come down for you, the former rain and the latter rain, as before.
We also see this understanding in the Targum Yonata (an Aramaic paraphrase to the Bible), which renders Joel 2:23 as;
Children of Tsiyon, be glad and rejoice in the Word of the Lord your God! For He has given you back your teacher in righteousness, and he sends down rain to you, an early rain in its time, and the late rain in the month of Nisan.
Rashi, who is the most prominent Torah Scholar of modern Judaism (he’s actually a medieval Rabbi but his words are still revered), concludes;
‘this may be a reference to Mashiach who will teach the entire world the proper way of serving Hashem.’
And it is. The early rains and latter rains mentioned in our Torah portion speak of the Messiah who we know to be Yeshua. The early rain and the latter rain further speak of His two comings.
This concept of the rains being prophetic and speaking of Messiah is found elsewhere in Scripture too;
Hosea 6:3 (The Scriptures)
3 ‘So let us know, let us pursue to know יהוה. His going forth is as certain as the morning. And He comes to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth.’
Psalm 72:6 (The Scriptures)
6 Let Him come down like rain upon the mown grass,
Like showers, watering the earth.
And to conclude, and I know I’m probably repeating myself, I’ll quote the guys at First Fruits of Zion;
‘Just as rain descends from heaven, so too, Messiah. Just as the rain comes in two distinct seasons, so too, Messiah. Just as the rain brings life and prosperity to the land of Israel, so too, Messiah. May God send us His rain speedily, soon, and in our lifetimes.’