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The Eved-Ivri Prophecies...
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Eved Ivri Prophecies

Further thoughts on Parashat Mishpatim

by John J. Parsons

A verse from our Torah portion this week (i.e., parashat Mishpatim) alludes to the future redemption of the Jewish people: "A Hebrew slave shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free - by grace [חִנָּם]" (Exod. 21:2). This of course refers to the law of release, or "Shemittah," when all debts were canceled and slaves were set free. Notice, however, that the gematria of the term eved ivri (עֶבֶד עִבְרִי), "Hebrew slave," is 358, which is the same value as that for nachash (נָחָשׁ), "snake," and mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ), "Messiah." Man's first sin was disobeying the Torah of the LORD in the garden and heeding the will of the nachash, an act that resulted in exile from Eden and slavery to sin. God promised to rescue man by the hand of Messiah, who would come to crush the rule of the serpent and establish God's rightful rule on earth (Gen. 3:15). This is a "dual aspect" prophecy, however, since the Messiah first came to deliver us from slavery to sin (first advent), and later will come to establish the Messianic Kingdom on earth (second advent).  Prophetically, Israel represents the eved ivri, who was sold into servitude for six years but was set free "by grace" on the seventh year. This fortells the 6,000 years before acharit hayamim, the prophesied "End of Days" and the great "Day of the LORD," when the sabbatical millennium, the 1000 year reign of King Messiah, will finally commence:


This outline is a matter of "the knowledge of God's mystery (μυστήριον), which is Messiah, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:2-3). "Among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away, but we impart a the wisdom of God hidden in a mystery, which God decreed before the ages for our glory" (1 Cor. 2:6-7).

The great prophet Jeremiah stated that the refusal of the people to release their Hebrew slaves ultimately resulted in the horror of the Babylonian exile: "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I myself made a covenant with your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, saying, 'At the end of seven years each of you must set free the fellow Hebrew who has been sold to you and has served you six years; you must set him free from your service.' But your fathers did not listen to me or incline their ears to me.... Therefore, thus says the LORD: You have not obeyed me by proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and to his neighbor; behold, I proclaim to you liberty to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine, declares the LORD. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth" (Jer. 34:13-14, 17).

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