If we were to be transported back in time to the first century and were to study "Moses and the Prophets" as Jesus, the disciples, and the two men on the road to Emmaus did (Luke 24:27), what would we learn? What portraits of the Messiah would we find? Come… join our band of believers and study Scripture in the footsteps and pattern of our Lord and Savior.
The bedrock foundation of first-century studies included an annual reading of the Torah: Genesis through Deuteronomy. The passages that are studied this time of year are found in the book of Genesis chapters 32:3-36-43. The chapter and verse numbers that we use to identify passages of Scripture today did not exist in the days of the Master. Instead, they identified the weekly passages, known as a parashah (”portion”) by the first word or two of that passage. This week’s parashah is known as Vayishlach (pronounced vye eesh LOCK). This Hebrew word means “and he sent” as it is written in the beginning of our portion:
“Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.” - Genesis 32:3 (NASB)
In last week's parashah we found a picture of Messiah painted in Jacob's ladder. This week's parashah also involves Jacob. In the events of this parashah we see pictures of Messiah:
Jacob is returning after an extended absence from the land of Israel. So, too, Messiah will return to the land after an extended absence (John 14:3)
Jacob split his company into two camps. So, too, Messiah has two camps: Jew and Gentile who are one in Him. (Galatians 3:28)
Jacob sent his company forth ahead of him. So, too, Messiah has sent his followers ahead of him to "make disciples of all nations". (Matthew 28:19-20)
We also see Messiah clearly in the passage when Jacob wrestles with the "angel". In Genesis 32:30 Jacob states
"So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved."
Messiah repeatedly states (John 1:18, 5:37, 6:46) that "no one has seen G-d at any time". Yet Jacob names the location of his struggle Peniel [face of G-d]. Who was it Jacob saw? Messiah himself!
Here in parashah Vayishlach is a true portrait of Messiah.