Parashat 4 Portion 18 Ber 21:1-14 1Samuel 2:21-28 Matt 1:18-25

Gen 21:1  And יהוה visited Sarah as He had said, and יהוה did for Sarah as He had spoken.
      Gen 21:2  So Sarah conceived and bore Aḇraham a son in his old age, at the appointed time of which Elohim had spoken to him.
      Gen 21:3  And Aḇraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Yitsḥaq.
      Gen 21:4  And Aḇraham circumcised his son Yitsḥaq when he was eight days old, as Elohim had commanded him.

     Note the amazing similarities of the birth of these two miracle children.

       Luk 1:26  And in the sixth month(of Elizabeth's pregnancy) the messenger Gaḇri’ĕl was sent by Elohim to a city of Galil named Natsareth,
       Luk 1:27  to a maiden engaged to a man whose name was Yosĕph, of the house of Dawiḏ. And the maiden’s name was Miryam.
       Luk 1:28  And the messenger, coming to her, said, “Greetings, favoured one, the Master is with you. Blessed are you among women!”
       Luk 1:29  But she was greatly disturbed at his word, and wondered what kind of greeting this was.
       Luk 1:30  And the messenger said to her, “Do not be afraid, Miryam, for you have found favour with Elohim.
Luk 1:31  “And see, you shall conceive in your womb, and shall give birth to a Son, and call His Name יהושע.1 Footnote: 1Mt. 1:21.
Luk 1:32  “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And יהוה Elohim shall give Him the throne of His father Dawiḏ.
Luk 1:33  “And He shall reign over the house of Yaʽaqoḇ forever, and there shall be no end to His reign.”1 Footnote: 1Verses 32 and 33 confirm the prophecies Ps. 2, Ps. 89:14-34, Isa. 9:7, Isa. 16:5, Jer. 23:3-6, Jer. 30:9, Ezek. 37:24, Dan. 2:44, Dan. 7:18-27, Mic. 5:2-4, Acts 1:6-7, Rev. 11:15.
Luk 1:34  And Miryam said to the messenger, “How shall this be, since I do not know a man?”
Luk 1:35  And the messenger answering, said to her, “The Set-apart Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you. And for that reason the Set-apart One born of you shall be called: Son of Elohim.
Luk 1:36  “And see, Elisheḇa your relative, she has also conceived a son in her old age. And this is now the sixth month to her who was called barren,
Luk 1:37  because with Elohim no matter shall be impossible.”
Luk 1:38  And Miryam said, “See the female servant of יהוה! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the messenger went away from her.

Scriptural Dates for Messiah's Conception and Birth

The Conception of Yochanan the Immerser/ Luke 1:5-25
When the messenger, Gabriel, appeared to Zacharias as he was ministering in the Temple, it was during the ministration of Abiyah (also spelled Abia or Abijah). This order of priests ministered in the Temple the eighth week of the Hebrew year according to the ordinance of 1 Chronicles 24:10 (and according to the Talmud).  The eighth week transverses the last week of the Second Hebrew month (also called Iyar since Babylonian captivity) and the first week of the Third Hebrew month (also called Sivan since Babylonian captivity), which culminates at Shavuot (called Pentecoste in Greek). This is the anchor point for discovering the exact time of Messiah's birth. The messenger promised Zacharias that his prayer had been answered, and when he went home to his wife Elizabeth she conceived, it seems almost immediately. This puts the conception of Yochanan the Immerser very near the time of the Feast of  Shavuot, in the second week of theThird Hebrew month (Sivan).

II. The Conception of Yahshua / Luke 1:26-55
Then, after the sixth month of Elizabeth' s pregnancy the messenger Gabriel appeared to Mary. Gabriel told Mary about Elizabeth, saying "she who was called barren is six months pregnant," This would be the last of the ninth Hebrew month called Kislev at the time of Chanukah. There are 27 weeks between the end of discourse of Abiyah (Abia or Abijah in translations) and the start of the feast of Chanukah (meaning Dedication), which is celebrated eight days, from Kislev 25 to Tevet 2.
Miryam accepts the word of the messenger concerning the conception of Messiah in her, and she immediately rushes from Nazareth to the home of Elizabeth and Zacharias in the Judean mountains close to Jerusalem, about a three days journey from Nazareth. Mary was probably going there to celebrate Chanukah and to help Elishevah (Elizabeth) with her pregnancy, as well as to talk to Elishevah about the messenger's visitation.
Upon Miryam's greeting to Elishevah, Elishevah responds to Miryam, calling her "the mother of my Master". This demonstrates that Miryam was already pregnant with Yahshua. Thus, Yahshua was conceived at the time of Chanukah, the time where a miracle took place and also the time when Yahshua years later was speaking during Chanukah(Yoch 10:22) about the miracles that He was doing in His Father’s Name that bears witness of Him. (Yoch 10:25  יהושע answered them, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s Name, they bear witness concerning Me.)

Sometimes the time of Chanukah (which starts on the 25th of the Ninth Hebrew month) falls close to Christmas which is in the Gregorian 12th month and corresponds with the Ninth Hebrew month. The apostate Roman church of medieval times combined the pagan winter solstice in late December with the 25th of Kislev (Chanukah) to create Christmas (Christ's Mass) on December 25. Supposedly, this was to celebrate Yahshua's birth (which was of course not at all during this time- Yahshua was only yet conceived during this Ninth Herbew month) but actually this whole mixture of Christ’s Mass is a mixture of celebration of the pagan deities trying to mix in the Constantinian Christianity Greek Jesus too.
Yahshua is shown celebrating Chanukah in John 10:22,23. It is at this celebration that He declares "I and My Father are One" [John 10:30], which testifies to His Divine origin in His conception. It also reinforces Chanukah as the time of His conception.

Historically, then, it is more accurate to celebrate Yahshua entering the world through conception at Chanukah rather than to be part of an abomination that celebrate His birth at Christmas. As we shall show, Christmas is not the birthday of Yahshua. (In fact, Christmas is an invention resulting from religious compromise with pagan tradition.)

IlI.The Birth of Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist)/Luke1:56-80
Miryam (Mary) stayed with Elishevah (Elizabeth) for three months, which was until the birth of Yochanan the Immerser. Since a full pregnancy term is 41 weeks, and 27 weeks makes up the first six months (two trimesters), which is exactly the time from the discourse of Abiyah (Abia or Abijah) to Chanukah, that leaves 14 weeks to accomplish the last trimester and bring the pregnancy to full term. There are exactly 14 weeks from Chanukah to Passover (Nisan 14-22). Therefore, Yochanan the Immerser was born at Pesach/Passover. He was circumcised on the eighth day, which would be the last day of the Pesach week/Feast of Unleavened Bread. Gabriel had said that Yochanan would "go forth" in the strength and power of Eliyahu [Luke 1:17]. Jewish teaching was that Eliyahu would come again at Passover (this is still a tradition of Judaism today).

IV.The Birth of Yahshua/Luke 2
In the First Hebrew Month of Aviv (also called Nisan since Babylonian exile), when Yochanan the Immerser was born, is the first month of the Hebrew year. As we have shown, Miryam conceived six months after Elishevah conceived, which means Yahshua's birth would have to come six months after Yochanan's birth, during the seventh Hebrew month Ethanim (also called Tishri since Babylonian Exile). Since we know that Yochanan was born at Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread, we learn the time of Yahshua's birth by counting six Hebrew months from Passover. This comes to the time of Yom Teruah. Some believe it may also have been during Sukkot. (Yom Teruah is on the first day of the Seventh Month and Sukkot is 15 days later. Both have significance symbolic meanings that make sense for the fact that Yahshua could have been born on one of these Feast days. )
 End quote.

Gen 21:5  And Aḇraham was one hundred years old when his son Yitsḥaq was born to him.
Gen 21:6  And Sarah said, “Elohim has made me laugh, and everyone who hears of it laughs with me.”
Gen 21:7  And she said, “Who would have said to Aḇraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Gen 21:8  And the child grew and was weaned, and Aḇraham made a great feast on the day that Yitsḥaq was weaned.

It is known according to the Talmud that “a mother is considered a “meineket,” or nursing mother, until her child reaches 24 months. Even if a baby has weaned, he or she can return to nurse at any time until the age of two. Between the ages of two and four years, or five if the baby is unhealthy, a child who has weaned for longer than 72 hours may not return to the breast, and age five is considered the upper limit for nursing in Jewish law.” Our modern day western culture of both parents working has put an end to long periods of breast feeding. Some experts believe that children suffer possible psychological harm if breast feeding is stopped too soon or a child is never breast fed.

It was therefore a significant event when the baby was weaned from mommy’s milk. When this event occurred it was accompanied by a great celebration. (Please note there were no birthday parties then, only coming of age of maturity parties- years since birth were counted though.) The  Hebrew word for weaned is “gamal” the same word used for “mature”. It is interesting that this same Hebrew word also means “camel” -  these animals were known to store great amounts of water so that they could travel far distances without been nourished along the way. This teaches us that our spiritual journey here on earth is a long journey that requires the maturity of endurance.

Gen 21:9  And Sarah saw the son of Haḡar the Mitsrite, whom she had borne to Aḇraham, mocking.
Gen 21:10  So she said to Aḇraham, “Drive out this female servant and her son, for the son of this female servant shall not inherit with my son, with Yitsḥaq.”

The word “mocking” in Hebrew is “metzachek” and appears as a “piel participle” verb. The basic “pa al” form of the verb is “tzchak” means “to laugh” The “Piel” or more intense verb form means “to mock” or treat with contempt. This is what Yishmael was doing to Yitzchak. This continues to this day. It continues amongst many so called believers in Yahshua. It continues when we refuse to acknowledge the Hebrew context and all its implications on Yahshua. We do this by refusing to follow his example of keeping Sabbath, studying and teaching the Torah and most of all leading those whom his Father has given him to enjoy the same kind of relationship with the Father that he enjoys.

Gen 21:11  And the matter was very evil in the eyes of Aḇraham because of his son.
Gen 21:12  But Elohim said to Aḇraham, “Let it not be evil in your eyes because of the boy and because of your female servant. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice, for in Yitsḥaq your seed is called.
Gen 21:13  “And of the son of the female servant I also make a nation, because he is your seed.”
Gen 21:14  And Aḇraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, which he gave to Haḡar, putting it on her shoulder, also the boy, and sent her away. And she left and wandered in the Wilderness of Be’ĕrsheḇa.
Gen 21:15  And the water in the skin was used up, and she placed the boy under one of the shrubs.
Gen 21:16  And she went and sat down about a bowshot away, for she said, “Let me not see the death of the boy.” And she sat opposite him, and lifted her voice and wept.
Gen 21:17  And Elohim heard the voice of the boy, and the messenger of Elohim called to Haḡar from the heavens, and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Haḡar? Do not fear, for Elohim has heard the voice of the boy where he is.
Gen 21:18  “Arise, lift up the boy and hold him with your hand, for I make a great nation of him.”
Gen 21:19  And Elohim opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.
Gen 21:20  And Elohim was with the boy, and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
Gen 21:21  And he dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran, (near present day Mecca)and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Mitsrayim.

Avraham would not have chosen a wife for his son from Mitzraim/Egypt.

Verses 11-21 present a challenge to the mind of believers, especially modern day believers – See Rom 9. The Church has grappled with this problem and formulated the doctrine of Election.
How does one really understand this dilemma?

Whether we like or not we must face this issue. Listen to the words of Shaul on this matter:

1Co 11:16  If, however, anyone seems to be contentious, we do not have such a habit, nor do the assemblies of Elohim.
1Co 11:17  And in declaring this I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse.
1Co 11:18  For in the first place, I hear that when you come together as an assembly, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.
1Co 11:19  For there have to be factions even among you, so that the approved ones might be revealed among you.

When YHVH chooses someone, that someone will inevitably find themselves at odds with the established ideas of the majority of religious people around them.
This can also be dangerous because this is how dangerous religious sects have often formed as a result of “breaking away” from the “establishment.”

For believers in the true Torah teaching Messiah who have themselves at odds with the established churches, must ask themselves what are the characteristics of a dangerous religious sect?
Church organizations have provided many helpful guidelines in this regard. However many of these guidelines are more descriptive of their own organizations that display the same signs of being sectarian and extremely dangerous for genuine truth seeking believers.

Here follows a list from a well know church organization.

A dangerous religious sect will do the following:

1. Opposing critical thinking
2. Isolating members and penalizing them for leaving
3. Emphasizing special doctrines outside scripture
4. Seeking inappropriate loyalty to their leaders
5. Dishonoring the family unit
6. Crossing Biblical boundaries of behavior (versus sexual purity and personal ownership)
7. Separation from the Church

Let us midrash on these issues.