Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 88

Moses puts the truth out there in Exo 5.1. The creator God Yehovah is telling Pharaoh to let his people go because he wants to celebrate with them. Yehovah is God’s name and he is the creator. He expects Egypt and Pharaoh to comply and let them go. The idea of a “celebration” means that this God has a relationship with the Hebrews, which Pharaoh does not understand in his polytheistic view.

Pharaoh, as we know, rejects this command by saying in Exo 5.2, “Who is Yehovah that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go. I do not know Yehovah, and what’s more, I will not let Israel go.” This God Yehovah wants a relationship with his people and Pharaoh has no concept of this. In his mind, you appease or sacrifice to a god, but you don’t have a celebration with them.

Pharaoh has never heard of Yehovah in his pantheon of gods, so he dismisses Moses. However, now he has heard of Yehovah and his theological education has begun. As a result, Moses now teaches Pharaoh with a little more information, in ways Pharaoh will understand. Moses says in Exo 5.3, “The God (El/power) of the Hebrews happened upon us. Let us go, please, for three days in the wilderness and sacrifice to our God, otherwise, he might hurt us with pestilence or with the sword.”

Rabbi Fohrman makes a point by saying this speech was like telling Pharaoh that Moses wants to make things easier for him to understand. In other words, it is like saying, “Forget about the name Yehovah for a second because it was confusing. Let’s agree that this God who sent me to you is an El (power). You know about “powers.” And for a moment, forget what I said about a relationship between this God and the Hebrews, who he also calls Israel. Let’s stick with the name Hebrews for a second. And forget about this idea of a celebration. Let’s just say we are really concerned about our El, our power. Our El might get angry with us if we don’t go into the wilderness for three days to sacrifice to it. You can understand that, can’t you? This El might strike us if we don’t obey. You know what that is like, right? Like if your sun god got angry. All we are asking for, Pharaoh, is a little religious freedom to appease our God in the same way you would appease your gods.”

Now Pharaoh can understand this request. The God of the Hebrews isn’t so different after all. So, Pharaoh says in Exo 5.4-5, “But the king of Egypt said to them, ‘Moses and Aaron, why do you draw the people away from their work? Get back to your labors.'” He goes on to say that the people are many and Moses wants to have the people to cease from their labors? Pharaoh understands exactly what Moses is saying now.

Everyone serves a god, and Israel is afraid of their God and they must appease him, and Pharaoh understands that concept. But he rejects the second statement because the people are being told that they might get a few days off. So, Pharaoh is going to make them work harder. He thinks they fear their God more than they fear him, a god on earth. So far, Pharaoh and Egypt is not coming to the realization that the God of the Hebrews called Yehovah was the creator God, the one true God. That would have been the easy way. His education will have to continue the hard way.

Pharaoh will contend with a God he has never heard of, nor does he even think he is real, but that truth is coming down the track right at Pharaoh. Egypt and the wealth of that nation was obtained, in part, because they had slaves. Egypt will now taste some of the bitterness it has inflicted on Israel. Pharaoh will be educated in the knowledge that there is a one, true creator God and he will also learn that he is a Father who cares for his children.

We have gone over the palace scene with the staff of Aaron and the serpents, so we will not go over that again now. However, when Pharaoh’s magicians duplicated this sign, “the heart of Pharaoh was strengthened and he did not listen to Moses and Aaron” (Exo 7.13). This is the phrase “Chazak ha Lev.” He encouraged himself into thinking his people can counter whatever Moses does. Exo 7.14 says, “And Yehovah said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn (heavy); he refused to let the people go.'” This verse tells us the phrase “Kaved ha Lev” means that Pharaoh hardened his heart, or made his heart stubborn. Pharaoh may think of himself as a man of courage and strength, but God sees it as being stubborn.

Exo 7.12 says, “And the staff of Aaron swallowed all the other staffs.” What a palace scene that must have been! But, what does it mean? Pharaoh could have deduced that his polytheistic views are vain. This could have shown Pharaoh that there is one God, Yehovah, who rules and is the creator. But Pharaoh misses the point, and that is why God tells Moses what he did in Exo 7.14.

He is not strengthening himself for a battle between “powers.” He is being stubborn. He does not want to see the truth, he is hardening himself to it. The phrases “Chazak ha Lev” and “Kaved ha Lev” are going to be all through these passages dealing with Pharaoh and Moses.

We know that the Nile will turn to blood, and the Egyptian are forced to dig wells for drinking water. What does Pharaoh do? His magicians tell him they can do that, too. Using their magical arts, they turn water into blood. Then Pharaoh’s heart was strengthened (Chazak ha Lev) and he did not listen to Moses and Aaron. Pharaoh looked for courage to stay in the fight with this God. Pharaoh thinks his magicians are better than the tricks Moses is pulling, so he thinks if he just holds out all of this will end. This brings us to the plague of frogs. This is the plague where Moses got into it with Pharaoh about when Pharaoh would like Moses to stop the frogs.

Exo 8.9 says, “And Moses said to Pharaoh, ‘The honor is yours to tell me when I shall entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile.'” This is letting Pharaoh control the time. So, Pharaoh says, “Tomorrow.” Now, this is a strange answer. Why put up with the frogs for another 24 hours? It is because he wants to see if Moses can turn off the frogs on Pharaoh’s precise schedule. So, Moses goes along with it, but then he says, “May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like Yehovah God.” Why was it important to test the ability of Moses to stop a plague according to a precise time? Moses is making a statement here.

He is showing Pharaoh that precision is God’s trademark. Everything is under his power and control. His plagues are all linked and he does what he wants, when he wants. And, he is even letting Pharaoh pick the time. This is the first time Pharaoh thinks he is up against something, or someone, he has not seen before. This is no magic trick. he begins to think that there might be a power that can be that precise in this world. That is something he doesn’t see in his polytheistic pantheon of Egyptian gods.

Of course, Pharaoh will go back on his word to let Israel go after this plague. Its says in Exo 8.15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart his heart” (Chazak ha Lev). He looked for courage to continue. Pharaoh is beginning to see with the frogs that he is dealing with more than a “power.” He begins to see that this God is in control. Had Pharaoh not been so stubborn, he could have abandoned this whole “war” right then and there. But, he won’t do it and keeps on “fighting” despite the evidence. He is no longer fighting Moses or his God, but reality has become his enemy now.

This is what happens when we talk with people and show them exactly what the Word of God says about Yeshua and Torah observance, and they get stubborn about it. We need to remember that at that moment, we stop being the enemy, and their real enemy is now reality itself.

We will pick up here with the next plague in Part 89.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 87

If the leader of the most powerful nation in the world at the time could come to the conclusion that there is one God, it would be a moment in history that confirmed the truth of monotheism. And, the name of that God is Yehovah, the God of the Hebrews. That would have been a game changer. The only impediment to this was Pharaoh. This will not be the time to get into the concept of free will versus election, but here is the problem and some questions.

For those who believe in free will, how can God morally justify the taking away of the free will of Pharaoh? Why would the Lord want the sanction of Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go into the wilderness, then harden his heart to make him say “No” once he decides to say “Yes.” We are going to look into these questions and see how Pharaoh could have ruined God’s plans.

Egypt cannot be forced into accepting the fact that there is one God, it must be a genuine move on their part. God does not have to “cheat” to get what he wants. If Pharaoh has free choice, could anyone predict what he is going to do? What if Pharaoh doesn’t go along with what God wants? Pharaoh could use his free will to thwart his plan. Humans are weak and this could influence Pharaoh to give in, not because he recognizes the Lord, but because of fear and stress.

The Exodus story could have ended by a Pharaoh that added Yehovah to his pantheon of Gods. If Pharaoh wants to give up because he is beaten and lacks the courage to go on, the Lord could choose to give Pharaoh the courage to keep going, to keep fighting. If Pharaoh ever gave up, it would not be because he thought he was wrong, but because he was beaten. There are some teachers and commentators who believe this is a possible scenario here.

If the Lord “strengthens” Pharaoh’s heart to continue as the Hebrew word suggests, does that mean God has violated Pharaoh’s free will? Is it advancing his free will? Did Pharaoh have free will to begin with? All of these questions come up as one studies the Exodus story. If anyone has played sports, they know that there are times when players give up because it is too tough to play on. They want to quit. But then a coach comes along, or another player, and gives a “pep talk” and this talk encourages the players to play on. In some cases, this talk resulted in a victory. One of the most famous pep talks was by Knute Rockne, the football coach of Notre Dame from 1918 to 1930, called “Win one for the Gipper.”

Rabbi Fohrman brings up God’s stance towards Pharaoh in giving him strength to keep going through the plagues that were devastating. The Lord stance is he would tell Pharaoh to “not let expediency decide this conflict between us. Let’s decide this on principle. If throughout this struggle you ever want to quit and give in to principle, if you ever lose confidence in your position, if you ever come to the conclusion that I am in fact the creator of the universe and that you are just a man who is duty bound to release my people, I will gladly accept your surrender and call off this conflict. However, if you have not changed your mind about any of this and you will to keep going with this conflict between us, then we will. But if you want to quit merely because you are afraid, don’t worry, I will give you the strength to keep going and see your vision through to the end. You be the one to decide.”

Pharaoh is going to change his mind many times during this ordeal. The Torah does not use the same word for this change of mind. There will be several words that will be used in the Hebrew that one will not pick up on when reading this in any other language. One of the words comes from the Hebrew root “KVD (kof, beit, dalet) and the other from the Hebrew root ChZK (chet, zayin, kof). These would be understood as “Kabed ha Lev” (heavy heart) and “Chazek ha Lev” (strengthen the heart). Strength of heart sounds like something good because a person sees his vision through to the end. It is the acquisition of courage. This term will be used when the Lord changes the mind of Pharaoh to give him courage to continue in what he believes in deep in his heart (Exo 4.21, 7.13, 8.17, 9.12, 10.20, 10.27, 11.10, 14.4). We will go over the plagues and see where the Lord strengthens the heart of Pharaoh. But, we also know that Pharaoh will be stubborn and does things without thinking. The phrase for that is “Kaved ha Lev” and it means “heavy or stubborn heart.”

Pharaoh will get so stubborn that no matter what God does to show him the evidence of his error, he will not budge and will go headlong into situations that will not be good. He will not admit the truth. Pharaoh wasn’t going to admit that there was ever another god who was the creator of all things and also all powerful. Pharaoh doesn’t want to change his theology, he wants it to remain the same. He was a god to his people and whatever he said or wanted was the last word on the subject. We know that gods fought other gods for supremacy, so as a god, he will fight this other god named Yehovah and he intends to win.

Pharaoh did not hold on to Israel just because of the economy, it was a battle to hold on to what he thought of himself, a god. He wasn’t going to admit that there was a one, true creator God who opposed him. He would have to humble himself and realize who he really was, a mere man. The Lord’s plan doesn’t rest entirely on showing a sign that proves he is the one, true God. This can fail and go bad very quickly. The Lord must do something else and we will deal with this as we move through the plagues.

The story of the Ten Plagues is one of the most well known stories of the Torah, but it is also a negotiation. Pharaoh will change his mind, illustrated by the phrase “Chazek ha Lev” and “Kaved ha Lev.” These terms means the “strengthening and the hardening of the heart.” In Exo 7.5 it says, “And Egypt shall come to know that I am the Yehovah, when I stretch out my hand upon Egypt.” Now, when did Egypt begin to “know” who Yehovah was?

It started when Moses gave his two statements to Pharaoh in Exo 5.1 and 5.3, which we have touched on previously. Yehovah wants Pharaoh to let the people go out into the wilderness for three days so that they can celebrate. Pharaoh rejects that request, then Moses says, “The God of the Hebrews happened upon us. Please let us go a three days journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or the sword.” Moses uses language in 5.3 that sounds like he is fearful.

These two statements show two different ideas of God. Looking at what we have gone over about monotheism and polytheism, the first statement of Moses in 5.1 reveals who the Lord really is. In his second statement, he presents the Lord on the polytheistic view relating to “power.” So, Pharaoh and Egypt have just started their theological training and “going to school” right away to learn who Yehovah really is. Moses puts the truth right out there in 5.1. The creator God Yehovah is telling you to let his people go because he has a relationship with them and wants to celebrate with them. Pharaoh will not understand this kind of thing because of his polytheistic views. So, in Exo 5.3, Moses gives Pharaoh information in ways he could understand, according to his polytheistic view of the “gods.”

In Part 88 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 86

If we were the Lord, what would we do to set the captive Hebrews free? In addition, how would we reveal ourselves as the true creator of the universe? Well, first of all, we would fight an idea with another idea. If the Lord can show the Egyptians that there is a real creator, a real God, and he is the same God of the Hebrews, good things should begin to follow. God has introduced himself and if he can show the Egyptians and Pharaoh that he doesn’t like what they are doing to his people, then there is a moral decision that needs to be made. Israel is smaller, weaker and helpless. Egypt is a bully. Pharaoh needs to recognize that the God of the Hebrews is not happy with what he is doing and that he has all-power and the creator of the things that the Egyptians can only worship out of fear. If Pharaoh could recognize that fact, it would put a stop to the slavery.

Rabbi Fohrman says this sounds easy but will this tactic work? What will God do to reveal himself. The Egyptians were not “godless” because they recognized many gods and powers, but they thought there were many powers not just one. For the Lord to have a demonstration of his power to the Egyptians would not have been that unusual to them.

How does the Lord convince the Egyptians and Pharaoh that there is just one creator God, not many. Would we give Moses some “miracle working power” to show them? But Egypt had “magicians” and they have seen their gods do “tricks” before. What if we told Pharaoh (remember we are in the Lord’s place here) that a large city would be destroyed if he refuses to comply, would that be proof? No, they would just say the sun god or some other god did it. How about any other cataclysm? No, they would just say some other god did it because that god or gods was upset with them. So, if we were the Lord, how could we reveal ourselves? How could we control events in such a way as to convince Pharaoh and the people that we were the one, true creator God?

There must be some things we could do. We could come right out and say who we are, and that Moses was our messenger. If Pharaoh doesn’t believe, then we could give him a sign that he can’t explain way. This sign would prove that we are the one, true God. This sign would have to be one that the magicians could not duplicate. If Pharaoh was honest, he would have to come to the conclusion that the God of the Hebrews was God.
Well, in fact, this is what the Lord tried to do but Pharaoh and Egypt were not being honest. Had things been acknowledged, everything would have gone much easier on the the land, the people and the animals.

Another thing we could do is to teach Pharaoh and the nation some other way. This brings us to the plagues. One plague would not do it, but ten should. One plague leading to another, then another. This would show dominion over the various “powers” that the Egyptians worshiped, including Pharaoh. The creator God having dominion over the natural order of things and the powers could show everyone that the God of the Hebrews was the one, true God.

So, we know that the Nile turned to blood. At first, the Egyptians don’t think the creator God struck them, they think the river god was angry. But, the next plague comes and now you have frogs everywhere. Now they think the river god has gone in with the frog god, but then another plague hits and now there is a conspiracy of many gods against them. Insects are everywhere and they have teamed up against them. At some point an intelligent person will realize there is something else going on here. As the plagues hit, wave after wave, the evidence begins to mount up that this is not a conspiracy of many gods, but there is one God, the God of the Hebrews, controlling this. His spokesman Moses has predicted every one of these plagues.

The reality is, it is not the amount of plagues, or how different they were, that gets the attention. It is how these plagues came about. There is an intelligent being and design behind all this. There was a precision to it, not just a “power.” We have touched on the fact that this precision impressed Pharaoh, not the power. He has seen floods, catastrophes, plagues and storms before. It is the precision of all this that stands out to him. Could Moses really “turn off” a catastrophe at the exact time and show “control?”

Did the plagues distinguish between the Hebrews and the Egyptians? The question of precision versus power is one of the most overlooked concepts in any comparison between paganism and monotheism. Paganism, as far as the gods are concerned, is like ten people fighting over control of a jet plane. There is a lot of power but no control or precision. Everything is unpredictable at best. Paganism shows lots of power, but no control. Nobody knows when something will start, how bad it will be, where it will go and for how long. Nobody who believes in polytheism could predict with precision what will happen.

It was for this reason that Pharaoh was impressed. It was the precision of the whole thing. Very uncharacteristic of his gods. No pagan god turned off his power at the precise moment of your choosing, but Moses could. Pharaoh didn’t know this God. This God had control over nature, and he could control it any way he wanted to, with precision. This God didn’t share his power with any god Pharaoh knew of. He had absolute power and there was no other God that could be compared to him. It was like all the other “powers” and “gods” were powerless over this God, so why even bother with these lesser powers? This included the belief that Pharaoh was a god. This God was making Pharaoh look bad in front of the whole nation, and that was the biggest shock of all to Pharaoh. His very status as a god-king in Egypt was being confronted by the God of the Hebrews, and Pharaoh was embarrassed. He would need to make some changes, but the question is, would he? Could he be intellectually honest enough to realize he wasn’t a god? That is a pretty big role to give up.

There is another way God could introduced himself to a pagan nation. Have two “opposing” powers working in conjunction with each other at the same time. We not only have a series of plagues coming on the land, but they have been predicted exactly by God, whose name is Yehovah, through prophets named Moses and Aaron. Now, what could be done to convince a skeptic to turn away from his polytheistic beliefs? The Lord comes up with a good one with the plague of the hail. This will really confuse the pagan beliefs of the Egyptians. This hail was not like any hail that the Egyptians have ever seen. Exo 9.24 says, “And there was hail, and fire encased inside the hail.” The other plagues were unique on their own, but this one was completely opposed to each other, fire and ice. What would a skeptic think of that?

Are these plagues really the work of an alliance of gods? Was the fire god joining forces with the ice god? In paganism, this was unheard of because these gods destroy each other by contact. This would not make any sense in the mind of a polytheist. This only makes sense when another God controls fire and ice, and that God was the God of the Hebrews. So, it can be clearly seen that there are ways in these plagues that Yehovah could introduce himself to everyone.

Fohrman brings out the the fact that the Exodus story had two goals. It was to free the Hebrews so they could worship Yehovah and serve him. BUt, the Lord wanted to do that in a way that educates Pharaoh of the nature of the force he is opposing. This God is not one God among many, he is the one, true creator God among no other gods. If the leader of the most powerful nation in the world could come to the conclusion that there is one God, and his name is Yehovah, it would be a moment in history that would show that monotheism is the truth, and polytheism is false. The only problem to this was Pharaoh, and we will pick up here in Part 87.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 85

We are going to take a look at the difference between Monotheism and Polytheism and this will give us some insight into why Pharaoh acted the way he did. Monotheism is believed to be a belief in one God by many, and Polytheism is the belief in many gods. That seems to be the biggest difference between the two systems. However, numbers are only part of the equation.

The difference between the two systems are not how many gods, but the quality. How does each system answer the spiritual questions of life? Each system has a “logic” to it. We will start with polytheism and this belief system goes back to ancient history and the basis for this system is “fear.” This belief states that man is alone in the universe and he has seen some very powerful forces at work. Tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, snowstorms and the like can destroy a house in seconds. Too much rain can ruin crops and heat can dry up the crops and vineyards. The land can be devastated after such storms. Earthquakes can not only shake the ground, but your confidence.

Nature is all around and they didn’t know what was going to happen, so man must have some control over all this, but how? Today, we can turn on the Weather Channel or look on our phones to find out about the weather. It is somewhat predictable. Technology has taken the guess work out of what the weather is doing, but anciently that was not the case. How could man understand what was happening? They had to come up with an answer to these “powers” so they could “deal” with them. So, Paganism was the answer. In the pagan mind, there is no creator of the universe. Heaven was made up of competing powers who interacted with humans, and not always to their benefit. These “powers” would send tragedies to torment people because they didn’t care about mankind. But, that didn’t stop mankind in trying to cut some deal with the powers.

None of the powers were “all powerful” and they often “competed” with each other. Rain was powerful, but it could not control the heat of the sun. Weather was always changing and that was evidence in the pagan mind that there was a constant battle going on between these powers. One day would win, the next day wind would win, then heat and so on. Every one of these so called “powers” had their own realm. What mankind needed to do was to look over the environment and decide who they were going to worship. If they lived on the coast and they fished for a living, they would worship the fish god. If they lived in a desert, they worshiped the rain god. If they lived by a river, they worshiped the sun god, not a rain god. So, the first thing a pagan would do was “pick a god.”

The second thing they would do is try to appease that god. These gods were not all powerful and they had “needs.” They could be manipulated and “bought off.” Give the god something it needs. They had to “get the attention” of the god about the dry crops. So, this brings up “sacrifices.” The better the sacrifice, the more the god would see that the person was serious. The more outrageous the sacrifice, the more they would get the attention of a god that didn’t really care. This eventually led to child sacrifice. Now the Torah forbids such things because offerings in the Torah has nothing to do with “bribing” or getting the Lord’s attention. To explain this, we need to look at Monotheism.

Monotheism obviously rejects the idea of multiple gods. It says that there is one God who created everything. Mankind still lived in a world with rain, snow, wind, drought and all the other weather. There was no need to “bribe” this God because there was only one. He is the one to see because there was nobody else. What could you possibly him because he has no needs. How does one worship this God? Belief in a creator God does open up other reasons to worship him.

If the universe just “happened” in a “big bang” and everything is just a random grouping of matter that came together by chance, then that means nothing around us has any meaning. There was no “intent” of a creator and we just go through life the best we can, enjoying what we can and taking what we can. We do not have a relationship with a creator if it is all random.

However, if the universe is not something that is random and just “happened” then that changes everything. There is a logic and a well thought out structure to everything. The universe exists because there was a being that created it. Every person in that creation has a purpose and is part of that plan. Humans have life because there is a creator who desired it to be that way. Some may “fear” this being and be concerned with themselves, but that also means there are many other reasons why a human might want to have a relationship with this being. Some may even reach out to this being because thankfulness, even if that being has no need for that thankfulness.

So, that brings us up to the situation in Exodus. Why was it so important for the Lord that the world know that he was Yehovah, the creator God? Why was it important for Pharaoh to know that? It was about bringing into the world the awareness of what being “spiritual” was. It wasn’t about God’s ego, or getting rid of all the false “powers” or gods in Egypt. It was about being thankful and showing love, mercy and morality to a world that had not seen that before. It was about showing man that there was a one, true creator God that existed, and a God who cared for his people.

There had to be a transition from understanding God as all powerful to a loving Father who cared about his children. He wanted to show his children who he really was, not what they thought he was (El Shaddai). He wanted them to know him. That is what is going on in the Exodus story. This was how God was going to introduce himself to all mankind. The truth is, there is only one God. How was he going to accomplish this? What he did was so awesome that a whole nation would still be taking about it 3500 years later.

The Lord was not only going to set a whole captive nation free, but he was also going to establish the fact that he was the one, true creator God for all mankind. The Lord alludes to this in Exo 7.5 where he says that he is going to show the Egyptians who he was, not just Israel, and that his name was Yehovah.

There was a television show about a drug manufacturer who could make a 99.9 % pure drug, and it was very popular. The people knew he went by the name “Heisenberg.” Nobody ever saw him, but one time he came to negotiate a distribution deal with some new clients. They knew the reputation, but didn’t know who the guy was that was negotiating with them. But Heisenberg said, “You know who I am. Now, say my name.” It was important for him for the people he was negotiating with to connect that name with the product he was producing. It is basically the same thing in the Exodus story. It was important for the Lord for the people to connect what he was going to do in Egypt with his name. It was Yehovah that was bringing all this about. Yehovah was going to teach them to “Say my name.”

Egypt and Pharaoh were the ones God chose to reveal himself to, but why? Egypt was the dominant power at the time and they had numerous gods. If the Lord was going to introduce himself as the creator God, Egypt was a good place to start. If Egypt ever accepted the one, true God it would have reverberated throughout the known world. But, God had to convince Pharaoh he was not a “god” just like all the other gods.

The Exodus had two purposes. First, the Lord wanted to set Israel free from bondage because they were his children. Second, he wanted everyone to know that the power behind it all was the true creator God of the universe. This brings us to Pharaoh. The above two reasons were related, but why did Pharaoh do the things he did?

At one time, Israel prospered and even became numerous in Egypt, and Egypt was even saved through this people. But eventually, a Pharaoh came along and believed they were doing “too well.” They began to think about a scenario that said “What if one of our enemies came along? Who would Israel side with? What if they decided to take over?” So, Egypt decided to enslave Israel, and began killing their male children. Pharaoh was king and he could do whatever he wanted. The civil rights of an enslaved people was of no interest to him. He had the power to do whatever he wanted. He was a true pagan leader. In polytheism, the gods don’t tell others to act morally. Their relationship is based on power. In paganism, the gods constantly fight and the stronger one wins. For a pagan, this was an example of how the world should function. For Pharaoh to enslave Israel, it was no different than a pagan god getting what it wants, using his power to get it.

Now, if we were the Lord, what would we do to release the Israelites, and at the same time reveal yourself as the one, true creator God of the universe? In Part 86, we will pick up here and see how the Lord was going to do just that.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 84

God wants to deliver Israel and Moses wants to know God’s name. He tells Moses he is using a “new” name that reveals a new aspect of who he is, and it hasn’t been revealed until now. That name is Yehovah (YHVH). So, let’s look at what the Lord is trying to get across here. He said he appeared to the ancestors of Moses as El Shaddai, but now he will be known as Yehovah. So, the question is, what does El Shaddai and Yehovah mean? Let’s look at these names as just words first of all.

El is a shortened form of the word “Elohim.” God told Moses this is how he revealed himself previously to people. So, what does “El” or “Elohim” mean? In Gen 31.29 it says, “I have it within my power to do harm to you.” That is what Lavan told Jacob. In this verse, “el” is the word for “power.” That is what “El” or “Elohim” basically means when it is used as a divine name or title. This gives us something to go on when we look at the first commandment where it says, “You shall not have allegiance to any other gods before me.” That seems like it is saying that we should not believe in polytheism and that we are to look to “one” God. This implies that there are other gods, but what other gods are there?

This contradiction goes away when we go back and look at the Hebrew where it says we are not to have an allegiance to “any other Elohim before me.” We have seen that the definition for “elohim” is “powers” so this commandment means that we are not to have any other “powers” before the Lord. There are great “powers” in the universe that people worship. The sun is “powerful” and without it life would not exist on earth but we cannot worship the sun. El relates to God as powerful, and so God is the power (El) of the Jewish people (and all believers), and they are to have allegiance only to him. Moses tells Pharaoh in Exo 5.3 that he is the one that the Hebrews give power to, but other “powers” can exist.

El or Elohim can describe God but it does describe God as having no rivals. It is more of a general description than a name. God has told Moses that he was known as El Shaddai in the past, but what does that mean? Shaddai is not used in Hebrew except for a name of God. In reality, “shaddai” isn’t even a word but it is a contraction of several words. It basically means “enough.” The rabbis saw the name from “mi she’amar le’ olamo dai” or “the one who said to his world ‘enough.'” God has shown himself to be a very significant “power” in the past as “El Shaddai” and he showed “great power” at the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. But what does that have to do with Moses right now?

Power is an attribute of God but it is not who he is. What he is getting ready to tell Moses here is who he really is. The Lord is going to let his absolute power loose on Egypt in the coming ten plagues, but that kind of power is not who he is (El Shaddai). God makes use of power but that is not the essence of who he is. Yehovah is who he is.

Yehovah consists of the Hebrew letters “Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey” (Y-H-V-H) and if those letters were a word, what would it mean? In order to see what it means, we must look at certain words using combinations of these letters Rabbi Fohrman makes some interesting points here. If you look at the last three letters (H-V-H) it is the Hebrew word meaning “to exist.” Three out of the four letters (H-Y-H) spells the word for “was.” The entire Y-H-V-H is very close to the word “will be” (Y-H-Y-H). So, the name of God (Y-H-V-H) is almost the same as the Hebrew words for “was, present, future.”

Take those words for existing in the past, present and the future and overlay them. For example, in Hebrew, take the H-Y-H and lay H-V-H on top of that and the Y disappears into the V. Take that unified word and overlay Y-H-Y-H on top and you will have Y-H-V-H. This name denotes more than just “I was, I am and I will be.” It tells us something totally different. That concept doesn’t exist in the physical world. Rabbi Fohrman says, “who experiences time like that. You would have to be outside our world.”

Humans experience time like a tunnel, or like a linear line. We go through it on a path. The only way to experience time simultaneously is to be outside our “tunnel.” That is what the name Yehovah is telling us. He can do that because he created time. He exists outside of the physical aspects of creation that he created. Rabbi Fohrman gives another example on how to understand this concept.

People have always asked the question “Where is God?” In other words, if God exists, why don’t we see more of him? This is similar to the “little hat” and the “little shoe” wondering where “Parker” is. Everybody knows about the game of Monopoly. The “little hat” and the “little shoe” are tokens in that game, made by Parker Brothers. As the little hat passes a hotel on the game board, he asks the little shoe, “Do you believe in Parker?” The little shoe looks at the little hat with a confused look. The little hat says, “Look over there. It says ‘Made by Parker Brothers.’ So, do you believe in Parker?” The little shoe says, “Well, I guess I do. What about you?” The little hat says, “Well, I have been around here for a long time. I pass “Go” and I get two hundred dollars. I have been on every avenue and I have seen it all. I have even been to jail, but I have never seen Parker. So, I don’t believe in Parker, I am a Parker atheist.”

Now, if we overheard this conversation, what would you say to little hat? Would we say, “Little Hat, you have been looking for Parker in all the wrong places. Parker doesn’t live on the board, he created the board. The maker of a system doesn’t live inside that system. As a creator, you can interact with the system you made and you can even make the rules on how it functions. The creator can dictate how each piece will function. A creator can do all that, but he doesn’t live on the board. It is not his natural habitat. The board is the system he created on which the created pieces function, not the creator.” Is that what we would have told Little Hat?

Of course this is a metaphor. The board is the universe and when we look around we don’t see God the creator. We are looking in the wrong place. He is not human and the universe was made for humans, not God. The concepts of space, time, light, mass and energy is for man. God is not “aloof” or cut off from his creation. He can and has many times come in and interacted with it. That is what he is about to do in Egypt with the plagues. There are rules for mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology. The earth is not the natural habitat for God and that is why Israel is commanded to make a “Mikdash” for him in Exo 25.8-9. That is why the Lord is called “Ha Makom” or “The Place.”

The Lord says in the past he revealed himself as a powerful force (El), and sometimes as a a most powerful force (El Shaddai). But now he is going to tell everyone who he really is” Yehovah, the one who is “out of this world.” At the burning bush, God revealed himself as “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” as we have discussed (Exo 3.14). But he is outside of the physical universe so how can we understand him. We can’t touch or see him.

The Lord said that we can’t define him but he did say he was the God of Israel’s forefathers. He had a relationship with others, so he can have other relationships. As the Egyptian Redemption was about to begin, there was something that was about to be revealed. They would come to know God as Yehovah (Y-H-V-H), the creator of the universe who lives outside of it.

Now, God has always been the creator but this was going to be demonstrated in ways that had never been seen or done before. When God got done, there would be no doubt as to who he was. Why is it important to the Lord to be known this way? He had no competition. To answer this question we will need to look at the difference between Monotheism and Polytheism. Knowing this difference will have a major impact on our understanding of what the Lord was trying to accomplish in Egypt, with Pharaoh, and the Exodus.

We will pick up here in Part 85.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 83

Did Moses have a plan? Let’s look at what Moses said in Exo 5.1 and Exo 5.3. Exo 5.1 says, “And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says Yehovah, the God of Israel, let my people go, that they may celebrate a feast to me in the wilderness.'” In Exo 5.3 it says, “Then they said, ‘The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.'”

The first thing Moses said seems confident, and the second seems weak. The responses differ in many ways. From the name used to describe the Israelites (Israel; Hebrews), to the consequences that could happen if Israel doesn’t go into the desert.

Moses shows the Lord as talking directly to Egypt when he tells them to let them go. Then Moses shows the Lord as not speaking directly to Egypt, or anyone. Instead, Moses tells Pharaoh that God “appeared upon us” which is a phrase that something unplanned happened. By what Moses said, it doesn’t seem that the Lord spoke directly to Israel. The request to “go” comes from the people, not the Lord. The KJV and the NASB use “met us” and this makes better sense.

Then we have a “celebration” in 5.1 and a “sacrifice” in 5.3. In 5.1 there aren’t any consequences for not going, and in 5.3 there are some consequences. How do these differences come into meaning? Is there a “tavnit” (blueprint, pattern) that could give us some insight? The two statements of Moses give us two pictures of God. The God of 5.1 is a God who wants to be with his people, to celebrate. He talks directly to his people and tells them what he wants. He calls them “my people” showing closeness.

The God of 5.3 seems very different. The people are called “Hebrews” which seems distant. It is not very clear what he wants but they better go and give korbanot or this God will make them pay. The word “celebrate” is not used. Why does Moses present God like that? Why does he show a God that seems close, and then a God who is rather vindictive? There is one other difference between 5.1 and 5.3 and this is a mystery. In 5.1, Moses spoke of God using the name Yehovah. In 5.3 he does not use that name. Moses says, “the God of the Hebrews.” Is this on purpose? Does Moses really think this will work? Moses thinks it will because 5.3 is how Pharaoh and the believers in polytheism relate to their gods in Egypt. Maybe he can reach Pharaoh by relating to how he thinks of his gods. But we will have more on this later, and the difference between monotheism and polytheism.

Pharaoh has another agenda in this fight with God, and it wasn’t over the slaves. The Lord is using ten plagues rather than just working a great miracle on the Egyptians. He wants Pharaoh to say yes (only to change it to no later). Does the Lord have another agenda? Then we come to Moses, and we have to ask whether or not he had another agenda. Do these three characters know something that we haven’t seen yet?

The key to all this can be found in the names Moses uses in 5.1 and 5.3. God appeared to Moses and remember he discussed his name. Anyone who has read the Scriptures knows that there are many names by which the Lord is called. There is one, then another, and after awhile you don’t even notice the name changes. God doesn’t make a big deal about all these name changes. Where does God correct anyone about what name or title they use? Never! But, a it turns out, God does care about his names. It matters to him as we shall soon see. It may be the only place in the Scriptures where he wants to make sure everyone is using the right name. There are several things in Exodus that the Lord makes sure we know his name. One time is at the burning bush. He went into this topic with Moses at length. Another time is right before the ten plagues begin.

So, Moses has made two requests to Pharaoh, and they seem to be opposite of each other in tone and content. Pharaoh has ignored the first request, and Israel must work harder than before. The Lord tells Moses that he has not done anything yet, but he is now. The next thing he tells Moses is about his names. Exo 6.2-3 says, “And God spoke to Moses and said to him; I am Yehovah. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, but my name Yehovah I did not make known to them.”

At first, this seems like a strange statement. This is a critical moment because everything has gone wrong as far as Moses was concerned. The Lord assures Moses he hasn’t seen anything yet. What he is going to do to Egypt has never been seen before. Moses could not even imagine it. But before he does anything, the Lord goes into a theological discussion about names! It is like God says, “Oh, by the way, have I ever talked with you about these names? I happen to have one that has never been revealed before, not to anyone. Not even Abraham, Isaac or Jacob.” It seems this conversation is a bit out of place.

We are on the verge of a whole nation being judged, devastated and destroyed and the Lord wants to talk about his name. The Lord seems to be revealing a new name here, but this name is not new at all. It is used with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So, in what way is it new? Why tells Moses now? God had an opportunity to discuss all this at the burning bush when they were talking about his name (Exo 3.13-15).

You would think this would have been the perfect time to discuss his name, but that is not what happened. He tells Moses, “I will be what I will be. Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: I will be has sent me to you.” What kind of answer is that? What kind of name is “ehyeh asher ehyeh” (I will be what I will be)? Then the conversation gets even stranger. After saying he wants to be known as “I will be” the Lord says something different. In Exo 3.15 he says, “And God further said to Moses, ‘Thus shall you say to the children of Israel: Yehovah, the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and God of Jacob-sent me to you. That is my name forever, and this is my remembrance from generation to generation.'” This seems confusing, we wonder how Moses felt at this point.

First God says “My name is Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.” Then he says in the next verse it is “Yehovah.” Back in 3.13, Moses wants to understand God’s name before he accepts his role as shaliach. Then just before the ten plagues begin, the Lord wants to introduce himself through his name Yehovah. This was not only to Moses, but to Egypt and the whole world. These names really are important because of what is going to happen. The Lord wants everyone to know his name, his memorial name. To give someone or something a name gives it identity.

In Part 84 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 82

Let’s go back to see where we are so far. God decides that he is going to play the long game to release Israel by using ten plagues over several months instead of a simple miracle. The Lord seems to be interested in obtaining Pharaoh’s consent to letting Israel go for three days into the wilderness, but then he isn’t interested in his consent and makes him say “No.” This is not the way most of us would have done this. If God’s actions are hard to explain, Pharaoh’s actions are hard to explain also. So, let’s take a look at Pharaoh and his position and see what he did.

Pharaoh’s actions through this narrative gives us some understanding about what he was doing. Pharaoh has been studied for centuries and many people have seen some of his behaviors as contrary to what they would have expected. Just before the last plague, Moses tells Pharaoh what was going to happen. He says, “Thus says the Lord: At about midnight, I shall go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the first born in Egypt shall die” (Exo 11.4-5).

In the Talmud (Berekot 4a) it says that scholars and rabbis were interested in this verse. Why does it say “about midnight?” Why not say the exact time? In Exo 12.29 it says “it happened at midnight.” The question that came up was, “Why wasn’t Moses exact, but later it says at midnight?” The rabbis taught that God knew when it was going to happen but Pharaoh didn’t. They discussed the fact that what if the “timekeepers” in Pharaoh’s court were a little “off.” Pharaoh would have called Moses a “liar” saying, “You said midnight and that didn’t happen.” Maybe Moses was vague for a reason. Could that happen? Sure it could, just look at what happens today. You have a politician the press doesn’t like, and he says something that doesn’t happen exactly like he said, they will say he was lying.

It is the same thing here, and the rabbis really believe that is why Moses said “about midnight.” They had good reason to believe that Pharaoh would have reacted that way. Pharaoh reacted to the second plague of frogs by asking Moses to take them away (Exo 8.4). Moses then lets Pharaoh pick the time (Exo 8.5) and Pharaoh says “Tomorrow.” Now, the frogs were everywhere so why would Pharaoh wait that long to get rid of them? Rabbi Fohrman says he was waiting to see of Moses really can stop the plague of frogs so he says “tomorrow.” As a result, Moses says “Whatever you want” but you are going to realize that there is no other like the Lord, our God” (Exo 8.6).

Thinking about this, it would seem that Moses and Pharaoh are on the same page here. Moses lets Pharaoh pick the time and Pharaoh accepts, and then Moses tells Pharaoh that this will show Pharaoh that there is none like the Lord. Now, you may be asking, “Why would the timing of frogs according to what Pharaoh said prove the power of Yehovah?” It’s like stopping the plague is more impressive than the plague itself. However, Moses knows how Pharaoh will see it. The power of the plague is less impressive to Pharaoh than whether Moses can turn off the frogs. Timing seems to be an issue with Pharaoh.

This is just one example of some of the strange behavior by Pharaoh. This isn’t how we would have reacted if we were in his place. Let’s look at another example in the fifth plague where the cattle and livestock are struck. Pharaoh has another reaction that is hard to understand.

If we were a king and we have been fighting a guy like Moses over this issue of the slaves being set free for three days to go into the wilderness to worship their God, how would we have reacted? We are sitting on our throne when we hear that there is a plague that has struck the livestock in our kingdom. We don’t know why at first, and nobody else knows why either. If we are prudent and have a coherent thought process, we would want an immediate damage report. We would want to know just how bad it is, who was hurt, how many animals were hurt or killed. But this Pharaoh doesn’t do any of that. Exo 9.7 says that Pharaoh sent some people to check out the animals belonging to Israel, and finds out that none of them died.

He doesn’t even bother to assess the damage to Egypt’s animals, and doesn’t want a damage report. But he does do an assessment on Israel and their livestock. With the frogs, Moses and Pharaoh argue about the exact time, but now, Pharaoh’s concern is not about his dying animals, but how certain areas were affected and how others were not. He is interested in how “surgical” this strike was. That’s why the rabbis saw that Moses preferred to say “about midnight.” Pharaoh was an exacting man and any discrepancy in what Moses said would catch the focus of Pharaoh. Pharaoh is one of those guys who obsesses about things. He doesn’t seem to be impressed with the sheer power of a plague, he is interested in the timing and how precise everything is. That is what impresses Pharaoh.

What we have in this story is a battle of wills. Maybe he is not going against God over the release of the slaves alone, but he was going to battle with God over something for which timing and precision counts for more than power, but what could that be? We have seen in the Exodus story how God and Pharaoh do things that we might not expect. But what about the third character in our story, Moses? Did he act in ways that are hard for us to explain, or in ways that we would not have acted?

Let’s go back to the very beginning. Pharaoh is sitting on his throne conducting everyday Pharaoh business. He has ambassadors coming to him, questions to answer, papers to sign and other things. All of a sudden two guys show up to see him and they look like shepherds. They come before him and make a demand on Pharaoh and they say, “Thus says Yehovah, the God of Israel, send my people out and let them rejoice before me in the desert” (Exo 5.1). Moses is standing there looking at Pharaoh and he must be wondering what Pharaoh is going to say next. Then Pharaoh says, “Who is Yehovah that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go. I do not know Yehovah, and what’s more, I will not let Israel go” (Exo 5.2). Pharaoh is being very clear here. If we were Moses, what would we have said?

Pharaoh really doesn’t know the God of Moses and Israel, and he isn’t interested in letting Israel go. Moses has two things that he could do. He could accept what Pharaoh has said, turn around, go home and ask the Lord what to do. He is the one who sent him anyway, and Moses did what he was asked to do, so to check with him would be appropriate. He could say, “I came, I told him, and that’s that.” Now it was up to the Lord to respond. Moses could have done that. But he didn’t.

The other thing he could do is the exact opposite. Instead of leaving, he could tell Pharaoh he doesn’t understand who Yehovah is. This God is not one you want to anger. If Pharaoh doesn’t let Israel go, he may devastate Egypt, the people and the land. But that is not what Moses said. He says, “The God of the Hebrews happened upon us. Let us go, please, for three days in the desert and sacrifice to our God; otherwise, he might hurt us with pestilence and the sword” (Exo 5.3).

Does Moses think that by telling Pharaoh that they were “scared” of what God might do to them if they don’t go out to worship him was really going to motivate Pharaoh to change his mind here? Why would anyone react in their favor to this approach? Pharaoh didn’t know Yehovah and why would he care what he did?

Well, as it turns out, Pharaoh doesn’t care about what Yehovah might do to them and Pharaoh accuses Moses and Aaron of distracting the people with all this talk about going into the wilderness (Exo 5.4-5). He tells them both to get out of his court and he immediately doubles the workload of the Israelites (Exo 5.6-9). Pharaoh accuses the people of being lazy and they must have too much time on their hands to think about getting a few days off (Exo 5.17-18). Why would Moses say what he said to Pharaoh in the first place? Pharaoh said “No” very clearly. Now, if Moses had gone to God and God told him to say what he said in v.3, then that’s fine. But why say it when you had no chance of succeeding?

In Part 83 we will pick up here to see whether Moses had a plan here by examining Exo 5.1 and Exo 5.3.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 81

Now we are going to go back and look at the story of the Exodus from a different perspective, one that many have not really gone into. This different look will not only tell us what really happened but it will also tell us about the future. We are going to use concepts from a book by Rabbi David Fohrman called “The Exodus You Almost Passed Over.” That is a great title because we almost passed over what was really going on in the Torah. This portion of study will not only help us understand more concepts in Exodus, but it will help us in our understanding of the Messiah and the Second Redemption.

There are three important figures in the Exodus story and we are going to look at all three. They are the Lord, Moses and Pharaoh. We are going to look at what they did, how they interacted and see what we may have done different if we were in their place. Fohrman takes these three characters and plays a “What if” game. What if we were in the same position these characters were? What decisions would we have made compared to what they decided? So, first, let’s start with the Lord.

What would we have done if we were the Lotd and we had to take a whole nation out of a land of very mean slave holders, and take them to a land they have never seen before? How would we do that? We have ultimate power to do anything we want. Would we have used ten plagues? How about something quicker? Why go through all those plagues and just start at number ten (First Born)? That may have worked right away and all the other suffering could have been avoided. We might be able to do it without any plagues at all, after all, we have all power.

Why not just blind the Egyptians and then Israel could have just walked out, taking what they needed as they left. Why not just transport them all to Canaan in the “twinkling of an eye?” It’s not like we can’t do it, we can do anything. We could “freeze” the Egyptians and make it to where they couldn’t move. If we look at the ninth plague (darkness) it was an unnatural black darkness that only affected the Egyptians. The Jewish people could see and they had plenty of light. They had an opportunity to go right there. They had a chance to make a run for the border.

Why didn’t they go? The Egyptians may have tried to stop them but God could have put up a protective shield like on Star Trek and nothing could have harmed them. Arrows and spears would have bounced off, chariots couldn’t even get close. In a way, that was done in the real Exodus story. The Torah tells us that God used a pillar of cloud and fire as a barrier between the Egyptians and the Israelites. In reality, all of these were used to some extent in this story.

God decided to use a longer process with ten different plagues. But why do it that way? Was the Lord trying to be dramatic? Why didn’t the Lord use different alternatives to remove the people quickly? Because the Lord didn’t do that tells us he had a different agenda that we have not really seen yet. We believe that the Lord had a larger plan in mind because there are other issues related to this story, not just the release of Israel.

For example, why did the Lord tell Moses to make a request to Pharaoh to have a religious holiday? Why did he only ask for three days? Why did the Lord tell Moses to tell the elders they were going to Canaan? When Moses first came to Pharaoh he says “please” when asking him to send the Israelites out of Egypt (Exo 5.3). Saying it that way makes us look weak and on the inside, you knew that you were really going to Canaan. Would we have felt dishonest? God has all power so why go through this little word game. Remember, Moses is a shaliach who must speak the exact words of the one who sent him (God). Did Moses think to himself, “Why are we going through all this? Why not just blast the Egyptians and get us out of here?” But Moses had to say exactly what the Lord told him to say, even if he didn’t understand why.

Now, in the movies, Moses deals with Pharaoh in a very different way than what the Scriptures portray. Moses is tough, stern and very demanding in the movies. The word “please” never comes out of his mouth, and here is why. It is because it is not the way we would expect Almighty God to act to an earthly ruler in the movies. But Moses says, “The God of the Hebrews has called to us; let us go, please, for three days in the wilderness to sacrifice to him, lest he strike us with the sword or with pestilence” (Exo 5.3).

We will find out later that Moses had to ask for a three day holiday because these three days will play a major role in this story. That brings us to a another question. Why was Moses asking Pharaoh for permission to do anything? God is all-powerful and Pharaoh is just a man who was very, very limited. Moses is going to negotiate with Pharaoh for permission. Why was it so important to get Pharaoh’s permission to begin with? Moses must show patience as Pharaoh says “Yes” and then he says “No.” Then Pharaoh gives up some things the next time. It is a long, drawn out negotiation. These plagues probably took months to play out.

For an example of this negotiation, we know that wild animals are unleashed on the land. They go everywhere and Pharaoh tells Moses that he will let them go for three days, but can they stay local instead of going out into the wilderness (Exo 8.21). Moses rejects that counter offer because he tells them that when the Egyptians see what Israel would sacrifice, it would offend them (8.22). Pharaoh says he understands and says he thinks it would better of them to leave for three days. But, he says they are to make sure they don’t go too far away (8.24).

All these negotiations seem unnecessary because Moses represents the God who created the universe. Why would the Lord have to negotiate at all with a man whose life is in his hands to begin with? God didn’t need Pharaohs’s approval but for some reason Israel isn’t going anywhere until Pharaoh gives his permission. Why is that necessary? Why is God asking for a three day holiday? Why not seven, or ten, or four? And then why is he telling Moses to tell the elders of Israel that they were headed for Canaan? That sounds like the Lord is being dishonest here, but is he? Whatever is going on here, the Lord has another agenda than just freeing the slaves. Did he really need Pharaoh to agree with his demands?

Whenever we read the story of the Exodus story, we will notice a “tavnit” or pattern. A plague will hit Egypt and Pharaoh will call for Moses. Pharaoh wants Moses to withdraw the plague. Moses will counter and say if Pharaoh agrees to let the people go, the plague will stop. Pharaoh agrees, the plague stops, and then Pharaoh goes back to his old ways and will not let them go. Then this whole cycle begins again.

We will notice something else that happens during these plagues. Sometimes Pharaoh changes his own mind, and sometimes God gets involved and changes his mind for him. The English word used in these instances is the word “hardened” (Exo 9.12) We will look at the words used in these verses that have been translated as “hardened” and we will see something very interesting. Some say that there is an issue with the Lord “violating” the “free will” of Pharaoh. If he did, how can God hold Pharaoh at fault for not letting the people go? Did God deprive Pharaoh of his “free will” in the plagues? If he did, how could the Lord bring other plagues?

Many Bible scholars, both Hebrew and Christian, have seen this and have debated about it. Can God “change” Pharaoh’s mind and still hold him accountable for what happens? God is sending Moses to Pharaoh repeatedly to negotiate. We are going to see that Pharaoh says yes to the three days and he isn’t going to change his mind, then God gets involved and leads Pharaoh to say “No.” He wants Pharaoh to say “Yes” at the beginning of the plagues, then later when Pharaoh has had enough and wants to let them go, God won’t let him but encourages him to keep going. God’s decision to “harden” Pharaoh’s heart doesn’t make sense when we look at this as mere men. Instead of releasing Israel, he hardens Pharaoh’s heart to not let them go just yet. When we look at the words for “harden” in Hebrew we will see this process.

If the Lord wanted this all along (to turn Pharaoh’s “yes” into a “no”) then why bother asking Pharaoh to begin with? He was already saying “no” at the beginning. Why have him say “no” then send plagues to get him to say “yes”, then harden his heart to say “no” again in order to strengthen him to keep going? Does the Lord really care about Pharaoh’s “free will” or not. If he does, why change his mind and his answers while all along asking for his consent?

In Part 82 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 80

In Exo 38.21-31 we an accounting of the the materials used to build the Mishkan. Why is this here? Moses was a “non-profit” prophet. People will say if someone was in charge of all that gold, silver and materials that Moses was rich. From these verses we learn the extent to which he accounted for everything he was given. This is a lesson for any public official or minister. We should avoid any appearance of greed, coveting, and accumulation of wealth off of the gifts that were given by the people. This anticipates accusations and it also speaks of taking a spiritual inventory. It is sad to see that many so-called “ministers” don’t follow the example of Moses here.

Exo 40.1-16 is the last chapter in Exodus and it tells us how the Mishkan was set up after everything was built. It starts with the Ark (40.2-3) and it ends with the priest (40.31). But coming to the Lord is just the opposite. Many commands in the Torah are not written in detail (work, kosher, etc). But the Torah does list in detail the construction of the Mishkan (16 chapters).

There are things we must know and this is a pattern for a believer. God assembled us as his “body” or Mishkan. We are the individual threads of the Mishkan and the stones of the Temple. God assembled the Mishkan from the inside out in Exo 40. The first thing we encounter is the Kohen (priest) at the paroket (veil) in front. Then we encounter the Mizbe’ach Olah (Altar of Burnt Offering). From there we have the Shulchan Lechem Ha Pannin (Table of the bread of the Faces alludes to provision and the Word)), the Menorah (light and understanding, and the Mizbe’ach Shell Zahav (Golden Altar of Incense or prayer). Then we have another paroket (veil) and then the Aron Brit (Ark of the Covenant) with God’s commandments.

However, coming to the Lord is the opposite. We come from the outside in. However, many stop at the Golden Altar of Incense. They do not go beyond the veil to the Ark of the Covenant and the commandments. They have a problem with what is down there in that “box.” They have a problem with that “bond servant” business because they are “free.” They say, “All I need is Jesus (the priest).” Or they say, “All I need is out there at the door, or on the altar.” They want the mercy but they don’t want what is down there in that box.

But, the “new covenant” of Jer 31.31-34 says that the Lord is going to write his Torah on our hearts What is in that box is going to be written on the “ark” of our heart. Are we following the blueprint (tavnit) he appointed to approach him? How does a believer today react when he encounters the symbols of the Mishkan or Temple? Will we follow God’s blueprint given to Moses? Many Christians say that following the the blueprint is “legalism” but God calls it obedience.

If we do follow God’s pattern, and when things don’t go right, here is what we can do. Ask yourself how your Mishkan/Temple is set up. We need to make sure things are set up according to the the blueprint. Is everything in place and functioning? We should ask, “Have I got a fire on my altar? Is there bread on the table (studying the word)? In my Menorah (light and understanding) trimmed to make sure all the lamps are burning and giving the proper light? Does my Golden Altar have incense (prayer)? Are the commandments in my heart (Ark)?” This is the pattern we should be following. Like the kohanim did daily, we need to check all these things out to make sure they are functioning correctly. If they are, then we can move into spiritual warfare.

Many people have problems because they have not set up their faith according to the blueprint God gave to Moses. Many just stop at the Bronze Altar which is a type of the cross. They are still clinging to the “old rugged cross” and have not moved forward to what the Lord has for them. They have no light and understanding (Menorah), they do not study the Word of God daily (Table of the Bread of the faces) and they do not pray (Altar of Incense). And most of all, they do not have the commandments of God in their heart (Ark). This makes them very vulnerable to false teaching and deception.

We are not to be in darkness and we are shown here in these verses how to set up the Mishkan/Temple of God. Then like threads and stones that have been properly made, we fit right in with our brothers and sisters to make a habitation of God and a “House of Kedusha.” But when we are not constructed properly there is a problem. We will not fit in with those who are following the the blueprint the Lord gave. That is why there are so many different denominations. They aren’t following the blueprint and they have made up one of their own. They construct a god after their own image. The next denomination doesn’t like the god of the other denomination, so they construct another god in their image, and on and on it goes. The basic reason for all of this is they are not constructed according to the pattern God gave in the Torah, especially when it comes down to what is down in that Ark, the commandments.

If we profess to be a believer, go back and ask yourself if all these things are in place. Are they present in your life. Have we encountered the true priest (Yeshua? Have we come to the altar (cross)? Do we have bread on our table (the Word of God understood correctly)? Is our Menorah properly lit and functioning (do we have light, understanding, discernment, knowledge and insight)? Are we praying at the Altar of Incense? Another thing to remember is these things were checked two times a day during the morning and afternoon Tamid. Are we coming before Yehovah and praying during the hours of prayer two times a day? Check these things out everyday even if everything is going well in our life, and especially when it isn’t. Maybe there is no light on your Menorah, or no bread on the table. Maybe you stopped praying and laying incense on your Golden Altar. If you have, then make the adjustments and get going again.

We are going to go back to the first few chapters in Exodus again and we are going to look at the story of the Exodus from a different perspective. We are going to go over things that we have not seen or gone over before and it will give us deeper insight into what really happened in the First Redemption (Egyptian). We are going to look at the dynamics between Pharaoh and Moses in a deeper way. By understanding this, we will also get insight into the future Second Redemption (Messianic).

We are going to use the book by David Fohrman called “The Exodus You Almost Passed Over” as a source and we think it is a book that everyone should have in their library. This book is a great help because we almost did “pass over” what was really happening in the Torah. We are going to look at the three most important figures in this story: God, Moses and Pharaoh. So we will pick up here in Part 81.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 79

We have said before that this altar was where the Lord does business. There is an outer altar and an inner altar, and a third altar called the Miphkad altar (more on that later). But, we are going to deal with the two main altars where we do business with God. The outer altar deals with the things of the world, sin, service to others and so on. The inner altar is where we deal with the inner things of God and service to God.

Israel has said the Shema so many times that they have lost the meaning of “Echad” which is a composite unity, not “absolute one.” If Israel and the non-Jews are ever going to understand the person of God, they need to understand the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We must follow the “tavnit” (blueprint) and it will explain it all. Yeshua came to set up the Mishkan in the hearts of the people so that he could take his place with the Father and the Holy Spirit. We can enter into that sanctuary and have the Advocate and the Comforter working with us. We all want to get beyond the veil and it is real simple.

Once beyond the veil, what is in the box? What is in there? We have the two tablets, the Word of God, the Torah. We say, “If only God would speak to me, then everything will be alright.” But he does speak to us through the Tanak, the Gospels and Epistles. That is why the Messiah is called the Word of God and the Mediator. He brings us to the “Kipporet” or “Mercy Seat.” But what does that mean? It means we didn’t get what we deserved and we got what we didn’t deserve. We got unmerited favor. So, let’s get back to looking at the Mishkan and all that went into it. Remember, the Mishkan and the Temple were seen as a miniature Eden and an extension of Mount Sinai.

In Exo 28.1-3 we learn that God has given the Spirit of Wisdom to certain “skillful” or “wise hearted” individuals. The Torah implies that the work must be done with the heart. Having “skill” or “wisdom” was not enough. The priestly garments have been discussed before in Exo 28, but here are a few points. Clothes are associated with sin and its aftermath. God finished his exposition of the consequences of sin and he clothed Adam and Chava (Gen 3.21).

In Rev 7.3 we will be clothes with white garments associated with righteousness. In Hebrew thought, the garments of the High Priest teach us about sin. The Tunic alludes to the shedding of human blood (Gen 37; Isa 63). The Trousers allude to the sexual sins (Exo 28.42). The Turban alludes to the sin of pride (Psa 83.2). The belt alludes to the heart of impure thoughts. It wrapped around the High Priest from just under his arms to his mid-section. The Breastplate alludes to the sin of injustice (Exo 28.15) and the Ephod alludes to the sin of idolatry (Hos 3.4). The Robe alluded to the evil tongue. It had bells that tinkled when he walked. The Head Plate alludes to the sin of shamelessness (Jer 3.3; Rev 13). Garments can force us to focus on who we really are, and with whom we identify.

As the fear of heaven changes, so will our garments. The word for clothing in “beged.” The word for “traitor” has the same letters. Clothes have a dual concept. They can disguise a traitor or they can trace the wearer back to God. The “garments of God” metaphorically is a concept that says God wears the world like a garment, just as a garment covers (“olam” means world and it has the same root as “elim” meaning hidden).

In Exo 29.38-46 we have the “Tamid” (continual) service, and this will also be mentioned later in Num 28. The purpose for the Mishkan and the priesthood was this service in particular. The people brought their korbanot between the morning tamid (9 am) and the afternoon tamid (3 pm). The morning tamid started the daily worship.

In Exo 29.39 we read “the one lamb” and this lamb was different that all the others. Beginnings are important. The Tamid was fundamentally independent. The failure to bring one of them would in no way reduce the obligation or ability to bring the other one. However, there was one exception, the first Korban Tamid. If the priest failed to bring “the” lamb, he would not be allowed to bring an offering. This lamb was different. How is it like Yeshua? The first tamid lamb had to be perfect and done in the correct manner.

In Exo 30.1 we come to the Golden Altar of Incense. It was not mentioned earlier, but it is now. It is mentioned now because Aaron is High Priest. Smells can be powerful and can come on a person against his will. Smells can warn us, so we need to be alert and perceptive. So, is there a connection between the Golden Altar of Incense and Aaron as a leader? Any leader must have certain qualities. First, they must be able to influence people far away. Their reach should be powerful enough to motivate. Then they must be alert, perceptive and knowing which direction to go.

As we have seen, everything in the Mishkan had to be beautiful. It was the “House of Kedusha” and people are imperfect and those with a bad nature would have less respect and be distracted by imperfection. They would be annoyed by blemished kohanim (priests). The beauty of the Mishkan, and later the Temple, reminds us of the Architect.

In Exo 30.12 the Lord wants them to take a census of those who can go to war, for a “ransom” or covering as a potential life taker. This census was for the army. It wasn’t to see how big the army was, God already knew that and he doesn’t need an army anyway. This was to show life had value, even the life of an enemy. In Israel, when a suicide bomber kills himself there are volunteers that will gather the body for burial, with respect. They are in God’s hands and there is no point in disrespecting the dead.

In Exo 35, Moses assembles the congregation, the material for the Mishkan and the hearts of those who would contribute (v 21). We meet Oholiab and Bezalel in Exo 35.30-35. Bezalel (shadow of God) was from Judah, the most honored tribe. Oholiab (Father is my tent) was from Dan, the tribe that brought dishonor. These two taught that our pedigree means nothing to God for him to use us. He accepts our gifts, talents and contributions no matter where we come from. A good leader can see all the parts and see how they can be used. But it is the Lord who comes in and fills them with his gifts so they can perform his work.

Now, what was the purpose of the Exodus? It was so that we may know God as redeemer and savior. God gave the Torah because he is God and we are mere men. He needed to each and guide us once we have been delivered. Notice a very important point in the Exodus story that is applicable in our spiritual exodus. Notice he saved them first, then he takes them to Sinai for the Torah. He saves us first, then he takes us to Sinai for the Torah. The Torah was never for salvation, or it would have been the Torah first, then they would have been delivered.

The question is this, “Is there a God of Israel?” If there is, then his commandments stand. And if they stand they should be obeyed. But if you can “reshape” God’s identity, then you can “reshape” his commands. It all comes down to “Whose commands do we follow?” It is not a question of whether a person believes, it is what they believe. It is not a question of whether a person obeys, it is what they obey. People don’t like certain commandments so they reshape God into one who doesn’t like those certain commandments. People will make God into their own image and eventually he does not resemble what he has said about himself. So in reality, they have a different God. God hasn’t changed (Mal 3.6), but the people in Rabbinic Judaism, Replacement Theology Christianity or in many other religions have changed him into what they want. We need to see the Lord for who he really is and for what he has said about himself, his commandments and his will. We have already said that God gave a command to build the Mishkan for him (Exo 25.8-9). But that also means in our lives. Yeshua is not in conflict with the Torah.

We will pick up here in Part 80.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 78

We have talked about the Mishkan extensively in other teachings, but we are going to touch on a few other things found in Exo 25 through 27. These chapters will be telling us about the Mishkan and we have mentioned before that the Mishkan was seen as a miniature Garden of Eden. In addition, the Mishkan, and later the Temple, was seen as an extension of Mount Sinai (more on that later). It was where God taught the people about the concept of Kedusha.

When Adam was created he had a kedusha, but after he sinned he lost it. Eventually this concept was lost among men. At Mount Sinai, this concept was reintroduced to Moses and then transferred to the Mishkan once it was built. Anything pertaining to man’s fall is excluded at Sinai and in the Mishkan/Temple.

Exo 25.1-9 talks about a contribution (“Terumah”) that the people were to give for the building of the Mishkan. Where did the gold, silver and materials come from? It came from the Egyptians when they left (Exo 3.22; 12.35-36). The Lord said, “Take a contribution” not “give an offering.” The Sanctuary was where the spiritual and the physical met, God and man. But, we should not focus on the external.

If you take the Hebrew letter “mem” out of the word “terumah” you have the word “Torah” in Hebrew. The numerical value is 40, alluding to the 40 days and nights Moses was on Sinai. 40 is the number of testing. Studying and obeying the Torah is a “terumah” or an elevated contribution to the Lord, and we can contribute to the construction of our Mishkan (the body of Messiah) where the Shekinah can dwell (1 Cor 619-20; 1 Cor 12.27; Jer 7.4; Mal 3.1; 1 Pet 2.4-10). When the Lord spoke from a mountain, it was so powerful that it went right to the heart. There will be no need for a Mishkan or a Temple eventually (Jer 31.31-34; Rev 21.22). But, Israel went into idolatry very soon after this instruction about the Mishkan at the incident of the Golden Calf.

The word “Mishkan” is an interesting word. In Exo 25.8-9 God said they were to make a “sanctuary.” The word in Hebrew is “Mikdash” which means “kedusha.” They were to make a “tabernacle” or a Mishkan so that “I may dwell within them.” In Hebrew, it is “Asooli mikdash v’shkanti b’tawcham.” You can see the relationship in Hebrew between the word “shkanti” (I will dwell), “mishkan” (tabernacle) and “shekinah” (dwelling presence). All come from the same Hebrew root “shkn.”

The Lord was not only going to build a sanctuary, he was going to build a sanctuary within the people. It was more important for the Lord to make his presence in our hearts as a body than it was to make a sanctuary of cloth, metal and stone. Yeshua came to raise up the tabernacle in all of us. We have gone over this before in earlier teachings.

The Mishkan was made to be a “house of Kedusha.” When the people traveled, they could not take Mount Sinai with them, so the Mishkan was built so they could take the kedusha that was on Mount Sinai with them. The Mishkan had symbols that tell us what God is doing for us. What is deep inside us? What does God find? Would he find the Torah/commandments in our Ark/heart?

Adam had a kedusha about him. This kedusha involved the Shekinah (presence of God), the Kivod (glory of God) and the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit-the power of God). Yeshua is the second Adam and he came to restore all of this back to mankind. There was that moment when the Shekinah, Kivod and Ruach Ha Kodesh came into the Mishkan or the Temple. The altar was “fired up” and the other manifestations were sensed and known. It is the same with the body of Messiah.

The Lord came to the Mishkan because it was a benefit to Israel, and it is the same with his body. Why would the Lord want to be with any of us? Why does he persist with us? These manifestations appeared at Mount Sinai, and later the Mishkan and the Temple. In Acts 2 they came upon the body of Messiah gathered at the Temple on Shavuot. That is because the Lord wants to be with us. What would happen if the richest person in the world came to stay with us? He would probably see we needed something and would meet that need. It is to our own benefit that he came to be with us.

Since we are talking about a contribution to the Lord, how do we give? Well, there is tithing but we can’t do biblical tithing today because there is no Temple, priesthood, holy things and we don’t live in the land. Tithing cannot be done today. Tithing involved agriculture, not money. They tithed if they lived off the land of Israel, and the tithe was given to the Levites or taken to the Temple. So, tithing cannot be done, but biblical giving can be, so let’s talk about that.

There is a concept called “secret giving.” There was a special room in the Temple where people came in and either gave or took money. Nobody knew what the person did but they believed God would reward the person in his own way. So, we can vive secretly. There is another level of giving and that is when you give all you have. We see this in the story of the “Widow’s Mite” (Mark 12.43). She gave everything, the rich young ruler didn’t (Mark 10.21).

There were other levels of giving like the “corners of the field.” A person that left extra on the corners was considered as having a “good eye” (generous) and it was giving. The person that left very little at the corners was said to have an “evil eye” (stingy). Then there was the “gleanings” like Boaz did for Ruth, and alms and so on.

This terumah is given from their abundance. It was not a secret, not a command and not all they had. The word terumah is similar to “Teruah” if you remove the Hebrew letter “mem.” The teruah is a trumpet blast. Yeshua makes a play on words in Matt 6.2 by saying, “Do not sound a trumpet (teruah) when you give alms.” There were receptacles in the Temple shaped like trumpets. How does that apply? Some people give and expect “special consideration” from the speaker, or minister. Maybe they expect that minister to spend more time with them due to his gift, or they would have a plaque or brick laid somewhere with their name on it. But our response should be to let the Lord do what he is going to do and to give graciously and be content.

God built the Mishkan from the inside out. He started with the Ark, then the Table of Bread, Menorah and the sanctuary to house them. Then came the veil, the bronze altar and the partitions, tents and courts. These things we would expect to find in a Temple. However, some things are missing on the list. We don’t see the Golden Altar.

The Golden Altar of Incense relates to our prayers, so the Father sees us flanked by the Menorah (light/understanding) and the Table of Bread (provision, the Word). When we pray, we know that a thing can be established with two witnesses. Each one aids us in what we pray. We pray with light and understanding and with what is in line with the Word of God. The greatest day in the life of a priest was to be chosen to go into the Heichal and put incense on the Golden Altar. The whole nation waited for this moment in the daily Temple service. To do this, you had to be chosen by lot (Luke 1.9), and you could only do this one time in your life. It was as close as they would come to the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim and the Ark.

Spiritually, we get to put incense (prayer) on our Golden Altar. The veil (paroket) teaches us that there is a partition to and a mystery to our faith. It is to teach us we need to know the Lord more and to not get to the point that we have the Lord all figured out. There is that part in our walk that says we must do things his way. There are hidden things he knows about and we don’t, so we need to follow him. We can never be snug about this. The veil being torn tells us that there is a deeper revelation coming.

We will pick up here in Part 79.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 77

Many “nuggets” of the Torah can be found in Exo 20 through 24. We are going to discuss the “essence” or “spirit” of the Torah. We know about the Ten Commandments, but what else can be found in this section? In Exo 21.1 it says “Set before them” and this tells us that there is a dedication to teaching. The word “Chinuch” there means “education” and it comes from the same root as “Chanuch” meaning “dedication.” The festival of Chanukah comes from this. In Exo 21.1-14 we have the Law of the Bond Servant which is a picture of our relationship with the Lord. In Exo 21.5 we have what happens to a child if they strike a parent. It was the death penalty, but there seems to be no record of this ever being carried out. In Exo 21.16 we have the laws about kidnapping and 21.17 deals with the “cursing” of parents. Both had the death penalty.

How many people have told you that the Torah isn’t relevant and will point to these verses? Let’s understand one thing, nobody does this. Some parents won’t even raise there voice to a rebellious child let alone turn him over to the courts. This is the age when everybody gets a participation trophy and there us no such thing as a bad child. We don’t do this today because we don’t live in the land where Torah law is enforced and we don’t have the judicial system set up by the Torah by the Lord. This includes Israel.

In Exo 21.20-21 we have the laws about treating servants different than a freeman. What is the essence of the Torah? What is the point? Many of these things are not being done today. We have civil laws, tort laws and compensation laws, but there is a key to the Torah. It is not the conditions in these cases posed here that is important, it is the results. These scenarios are relevant to the times they lived in, but the truth of the commandment (the essence/spirit) of the law still remains. We should try to restore balance and fairness in all our dealings.

For instance, a sin against one’s parents is greater that a sin against another person. A premeditated theft pays double because restitution is added to the theft. A widow or orphan who can’t take care of themselves is taken into consideration as opposed to a man who can take care of himself. There are many, many more things like this in the Torah.

Now, what was Yeshua’s view of the Torah? He believed every letter had meaning and will remain exactly as it has been written. Many people today believe that this isn’t true and the Torah is irrelevant (Matt 5.17-48). Is Yeshua teaching something contrary to what Moses taught? No, he clearly said he did not come to replace the Torah, but he came to give it meaning (fulfill).

Our own misunderstanding of these commandments is based on our own ignorance, it is not the commandments themselves. Matthew Chapters 5-7 explain what Moses meant, and they also show us that we cannot live like this. If you tried to keep everything Yeshua is saying there it would destroy us. The Torah guides us to conviction once we know that we sin. Yeshua is destroying the self-righteousness of his listeners here. This is done in order for them to listen about true righteousness by faith through grace. They will realize they can’t possibly walk in all that Yeshua is saying in their own strength and righteousness because they sin. They will realize they need a redeemer and he is letting them know what it would be like to stand before the Lord in their own works righteousness, a system that existed in their time (Rom 9.30-33).

So, the verses in Exo 21 about bond servants and slaves are a picture of us. We should do things in this manner so that we can be servants (sons) of our Father in heaven. We should not look to others for our reward, but to our Master. Don’t look for others to confirm you, look to our master. Don’t be concerned whether something is fair to you, be concerned about what the Master decides. If our brother is a servant also, then things should go well proving ourselves as a son/servant,too. We will get our reward from the Master, not the world. That is why there is a difference between freemen and servants in the Torah. A servant gets his due from his master, nobody else.

What are we supposed to be learning in the Torah? We are to love the Lord and do good to one another, don’t do damage. A civilization works when the people agree to obey the law. When we don’t, the place goes into chaos. Law enforcement comes to take these people out of society so it can work. Likewise, we must all agree to obey the Lord. If we don’t agree, we don’t complete one another. We must “cling” to the Lord (Exo 21.5). We come to the point where we cling to our master for the reason of love. We don’t want to leave so we choose to stay and be a servant.

Our spiritual debt has been paid and we are free to go with no more penalty. What will we do with our freedom? We choose to be a servant of God, not because of debt (that has been paid), but for love. We serve the Lord by walking in his Torah/commandments. Now, when a servant chooses to stay with his Master, a few things happen. They bring the servant to the doorpost and they pierce his ear with an awl. Likewise, we go to the doorpost of a congregation to hear the Word of the Lord, which should include the Torah. Where was the blood of the lamb placed at the first Passover? On the doorpost. Our spiritual “hearing” is related to the blood of the lamb.

We do not look to men for our reward. We don’t need to make other truth systems and justice systems ours. Yeshua told us about what Moses taught. We need to love, obey and cling to the Lord and we can do that by walking in the commandments as they apply to us. Our choice is we can be freemen, walking in our own righteousness and get our reward now, or we can be bond servants and get our reward when he returns (Isa 62.11; Rev 22.12). It is “Here now, but not yet” and we know it to be true, even though we don’t see it now.

Yeshua tells us to be a good servant and he is alluding to these verses in Exodus. He tells we need to be just in our dealings and listen to other views and bend our hearts towards others. This is what servants do. In the Kingdom of God, not everyone is equal (horizontal). The kingdom is “vertical.” There will be those who are called “great” and those who will be called “least” (Matt 5.19).

Now, here is the lesson and we should be encouraged. There are times we are all servants, bending over backwards. We shouldn’t say “Nobody sees me” or “I never get any pats on the back” or tells us “Good job.” Just go and serve, do what God has called you to do. The Lord sees us and we will get our reward, be assured of that. We all take the extra time and effort for our families, friends and congregation. Keep going when nobody is looking. Be encouraged and don’t get weary. The real essence of what the commandments are about are still valid today. We may not have oxen running into oxen, but we have cars running into cars. We don’t have rooftops where people sleep and eat to stay cool, but we have cracked sidewalks. Fix them so nobody gets hurt. So, if necessary, pay the damages.

If the Torah is “no more” then the principles are “no more.” Then man needs to make other laws, and now we have a separation of the spiritual with the civil. But, if the Torah is our guide, then there is no separation between the spiritual and the civil because everything we do comes from the essence of the Torah. It doesn’t matter if the civil law doesn’t “see us do something, or “let’s us off the hook.” We must give an account to the Lord, we are not freemen. All of this is about the maturing process.

In Part 78 we will pick up here.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 76

We have a breakdown in faith in Exo 20.18-21. The people were to come up to the mountain when they heard the shofar, and Moses drew near but the people stood “afar off.” What made Moses draw near? It is the concept of faith in action. He knew the Lord, he had been on the mountain before (Da’at/knowledge). He had love for the Lord (Ahav) and the Lord told him to come up (Mitzvot/commnaments). All three components of faith were in action in Moses, but the people did not do this. They had never met the Lord and didn’t really “know” him, they had not learned to “love” him as yet and they disobeyed the “command” to draw near, a breakdown in faith.
When it came time to draw near they didn’t do it because they saw all the manifestations in 20.18. They “trembled” and “stood at a distance.” They wanted Moses to go up and hear the Lord, then tell them what he said. They did not want the Lord to speak directly to them.

In Exo 20.22-26 we have the command about an altar. It was to be made of “uncut stone” because it was not to be a work of man (Deut 27.6). The word for “uncut” is “shelemot” and the root is “shelem” meaning “peace.” The altar was associated with “peace” because that is what it did, it brought peace. It was where you would go when you wanted to do business with the Lord. The altar was to be made with stones that God had made (uncut). No iron tools were to be used on it. The altar was made to extend life and iron is sometimes used to make weapons which shorten life.

God uses altars to measure our hearts, like in the case of Cain and Abel, and in Rev 11.1. Altars are used to draw near to the Lord, and that is why the offerings were called “Korbanot” (draw near) not sacrifices. God is going to cut a covenant here at Sinai, and that will include a covenant meal with the Lord. The Temple was seen as a continuation of the covenant at Sinai and the korbanot were covenant meals with the Lord. This aspect of the korbanot is not taught outside of Judaism. For more information on this go to the book “The Temple: Its Symbolism and Meaning Then and Now” by Joshua Berman.

Altars can reveal God’s plan. Abraham had altars and these became locations where we have God’s promises to Abraham (Gen 12.1-3, 6-8, 13.18, 15.6-11, 22.9). The altar foreshadowed God’s plan for Yeshua and how it would “the four corners” of the earth. The altar is a witness. Isaac had enemies because his altars reminded God’s enemies of the promise and blessings to Abraham.

Altars set relationship examples. Jacob built one at Shechem (Gen 33.18-20). Shechem was going to be a part of the plan of God. It had an affect on Joseph’s life and became his burial place in the land. It is where Israel heard all the Torah which Moses had written. Not one word was left out. There is no hint of an “oral” Torah in addition to what was written (Josh 8.30-35).

Jacob built an altar at Bethel (another name for Jerusalem-Gen 28.19, 35.6-7) expressing thanksgiving and praise, which becomes the dominant purpose for altars as taught in the Torah. For example, the Korban Shelem is the only korban that is eaten by the offerer, and it is called the “peace offering.” Altars are patterned after the altar in heaven. They were uncut stones, no steps (a ramp), like a table (Lev 3.16). It has a kedusha and we are not to speak against this altar.

The blood is a covering for sin (Lev 17.11) and it must have a daily korban (continual) korban of a lamb upon it, morning and evening (Num 28.3-4) called the “Tamid.” Why does the Torah have these instructions. It is because it was to impress upon us that the altar belongs to God, it is his rules, his requirements and his business with us. The altar was his place in his house (Deut 12.11). But there is another aspect to it.

There is a primary aspect of the Temple that is not taught very often and that is the Temple was a place to rededicate to the covenant at Sinai. One of the primary words that appears in the korbanot sections in the Scriptures is the word “zevach” and it is a synonym for korban. It basically means a feast centered around meat. When covenants were cut between two parties, a feast was prepared (Gen 26.28-30, 31.44-46, 31.54). The Temple was a focal point to remember the covenant between God and Israel.The korban or zevach was a feast that included bread and wine (Num 15.1-14).

This brings us to the question “Does God eat?” We see in the Scriptures that the korbanot were described as “God’s bread” and we see statements like “a pleasing aroma to the Lord.” When the Torah describes this aspect of God’s “senses” it means that the korban/zevach is a shared meal; man literally and God figuratively by using anthropomorphisms. The korbanot were celebratory feasts. We see this concept in relation to the covenant at Sinai in Exo 24.3-11. Israel agrees to the terms of the covenant and they celebrate with a meal. That is the concept when offering korbanot/zevachim in the Temple.

We also have the concept of the “salt covenant” in Lev 2.13 and Num 18.19. This covenant is discussed in 2 Chr 13.4-4. The Torah commands that salt be sprinkled on every korban as the “salt of the covenant with God.” Salt symbolizes the everlasting nature of God’s promises and it is a preservative. The Korban Shelem is offered and the owner partakes of the meat and shares it with others, while God considers it “food” and a “pleasing aroma.” Then we have the concept of the “breaking bread” with the Lechem ha Panim in Lev 24.8 (the 12 loaves on the golden table in the Heichal), and in the various bread offerings. Wine was to accompany the korbanot as well. What we have is this. The korbanot in the Temple is ripe with feast imagery and “eating” is the most “holy” facet of worship that there is in the Scriptures, in remembrance of the covenant at Sinai.

Coming into the Temple you had to deal with the altar. Religious people consider the korbanot more important than the altar, but Yeshua would disagree with that. He said that the altar “sanctified” (gave it a kedusha) the korban (Matt 23.18-20). But, religious people will kill a lamb or buy a leg of lamb at Passover and think they are being obedient without ant altar at all. What does the altar have to do with God’s plan?

An altar is coming in Jerusalem and God will measure the people (Rev 11.1). The test is who will stand with the Lord and Yeshua and the Torah and who will not (Rev 12.17). The Lord is the rightful owner of the earth. God owns anything that touches the altar. The False Messiah will oppose this altar because it is God’s ownership mark. The False Messiah wants to steal the earth and everything in it. Many will join with him against this altar, not understanding it is a test.

Exo 21.1 through 24.18 teaches us about ethics and that man has been created in the image of God. There are around fifty-three separate laws here, giving the full range of social laws about slaves, servants, manslaughter, personal injury, damages, the three main pilgrim festivals, custodianship, the occult and money, etc.

Now, do the laws concerning the city we live in, the county, the state or nation nullify our faith? Do the civil laws nullify our faith? Do the criminal laws nullify our faith? Do the traffic laws nullify our faith? So, if man’s laws cannot nullify our faith, how can God’s laws? If we break God’s laws will we be in trouble with the Lord? Yes, so the laws are connected to our faith. Our behavior towards God and our neighbor is connected to our faith. That makes the Torah a “good thing” because it reveals what pleases God. It teaches, it instructs, it informs and it guides. Does the Torah nullify God’s promises? The answer is “No!”

These verses in Exo 21 through 24 deal with social justice in the land. These laws sort things out and Israel had to have laws in a civilized society. The bottom line of these commands is “Do good to one another, don’t do harm. By this they will know that you know me” (John 13.34). The Lord has given the Ten Commandments and Moses recounts what the Lord said we should do because the people did not want to hear God’s voice directly after that. Three times in Exo 24.4-8 they say they, “We will do all that the Lord has spoken.” In less than forty days they will build the Golden Calf, so what happened?

Some say they were eager at first, but made mistakes. They had no knowledge. But others say they were not whole-hearted. Both are bad positions to be in. A good attitude without knowledge doesn’t help us a whole lot. It won’t carry us through. Persistence and steadfastness is what we need. The Rabbis have said that God was always trying to get the people to “hear” when speaks to them. Moses repeated what God said and even wrote it down. But to hear is not the end of it. Hearing means obeying (Jam 1.22).

In Part 77 we will pick up here with some of the “nuggets” of the Torah.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 75

Exo 17.1-7 is a clear case of “What have you done for me lately?” Israel has seen and experienced great miracles and they ask “Is the Lord among us or not?” They were in fear and thinking like slaves. They were in “new territory” and didn’t know how to act. He did wonders among them and he wasn’t going to abandon them. We need to remember this, too, when we take a new job or have a new family or business. We need to recognize that fear and know that God is still with us.

In Exo 17.8-15 we have the story of how Amalek attacked Israel at Rephidim (meaning “lax”). They chose warriors to go out against them and Moses would station himself on top of “the” hill. Aaron and Hur would go with him. Now, Moses had a staff in his hand. This was the same staff that was used in the judgments in Egypt would now be used in a different way. So, it came about that when Moses held his hands up that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hands down, Amalek prevailed.

Amalek is a picture of Satan and the False Messiah, a perpetual enemy. Aaron and Hur took a rock and put it under Moses and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur then supported the hands of Moses standing on either side of him. This would continue till sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and the battle was won. The Lord told Moses to write this in a book as memorial and recite it to Joshua that God would utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.

We have a picture in this story. Amalek is our enemy, and Moses is the shaliach sent from God in the First Redemption. The staff was held up over the head of Moses with two hands, like a crucifixion. The name Aaron means “light bringer” and Hur means “white and liberty.” The staff was a sign to God to bring his power down. It wasn’t for the warriors to see because in the heat of battle they couldn’t see him anyway. This is a picture of the crucifixion of Yeshua and how it relates to the defeat of Satan and the False Messiah. Interestingly enough, the crucifix will be the Abomination of Desolation that will be set up. The False Messiah will cause many to worship him using this idol (Rev 13.9-18), and this story with Moses alludes to his defeat by the crucifixion! So, let’s move to the Torah portion called “Yitro” or “Jethro” which goes from Exo 18.1 through Exo 20.23. We are going to pick up a few more concepts.

In this portion we have the story of Yitro (Jethro). We have discussed him previously, but there are a few more things we can learn here. He joins the Jewish people after hearing about what happened in Egypt. That news spread quickly through the ancient “internet” which was the trading caravans along the trade routes. He is wise enough to recognize only God could have done that. He “hears” with his heart and responds. James 1.22-25 tells us to be “doers of the Word, not just hearers only.”

We will also learn the concept of “Delegation” from this Torah portion. Moses could not judge the people alone, there were too many people and too many cases. So, able men were selected to help him. If a case was too hard to decide at the lower level, it came to Moses. This concept is the foundation of every judicial system from then on. This was at the advice of Yitro.

This also teaches us about our span of control, or what we can handle. By having lower courts and higher courts, Moses could provide the availability of justice for everyone, and they didn’t have to wait for long periods of time to see him.

In Exo 19.2 it says that Israel “camped” in front of Mount Sinai. The word “camped” is singular, which shows a united “Kahal” or assembly. They were in the wilderness, and a wilderness speaks of emptiness and humility, things that are essential if we are to hear the words of God.

When the time came for the Lord to give the Ten Commandments, there were “thunderings” (voices) and “lightning” and a very loud trumpet. The people, including Moses, trembled. The people were not prepared for God to speak to all of them from that mountain. God answered with “voices” (plural) in Hebrew (Heb 12.19). In Hebrew thought, it is believed that God spoke the commandments in the seventy languages of the world, or in “tongues.”

This is an interesting point because in Acts 2 we have the festival of Shavuot, the day day God spoke in these tongues and gave the Torah. The Lord sent the Ruach Ha Kodesh upon believers and they spoke in the languages of the world, or in tongues (Acts 2.8-11). The tongues (thunderings) was accompanied by wind and fire, the same manifestations seen at Sinai. Shavuot is called “the First Trump” because of the trumpet blown, and because this festival was seen as a betrothal (Jer 2.2). Now the Torah would be written on their hearts, not on stone.

When we look at the commandments, we notice something interesting. The first commandment talks about no other gods. And commandment six tells us that we are not to murder a person who is made in God’s image. The second commandment relates to commandment seven, worshiping other gods is like adultery. Commandment three relates to commandment eight, names are ownership marks. Commandment four relates to commandment nine, observing the Sabbath gives a true witness, not a false one. Commandment five relates to commandment ten, one who covets will bear children who will curse their parents, not honor them, and they will covet the possessions of their possessions.

These commandments speak of balance. The first five speak of loving the Lord, and the last five speak of loving your neighbor. The Torah teaches us that there is one truth, not based on what works for you. God wanted to restore “balance” and normalcy to any given situation, according to how he sees it, so he gave us the Torah.

The commandments were also seen as a betrothal covenant called the “Shitre Erusin.” If you agreed to “marry” this God, here is how you would live out your life with him. In Jer 31.31-34 it says that God will make a “new (renewed) covenant” with the House of Israel and Judah. In verse 33 it says the Torah will be “written on your heart.” That is one of the evidences that a person is born again.

Can you take the name of the Lord in vain, or with emptiness, or uselessly? That isn’t written in the “new testament.” How do you know about that command? It is written on our heart from the Torah. It is the Torah (law) that is written on our hearts (Jer 31.33). He is going to write these commandments on our hearts, not a different set of commandments according to Replacement Theology Christianity or Rabbinic Judaism. It was Satan who said “Has God really said?” They are the Ten Commandments, not any less. Israel could not bear to hear the voice of the Lord, so they told Moses to hear from God himself, and then tell them, and they would hear and obey (Exo 20.19).

What we are talking about is the written Torah (Law). The rabbis say the space between the words is the “Oral Law.” They also say we should make fences around the commandments, but that is religion, not God’s word. The Oral Law is now written down, and some follow it as if God said those things. They have added to and detracted from the Torah, something the Lord said not to do (Deut 4.2). Replacement Theology Christianity has done the same thing with their traditions. For more information on the Oral Law versus the Written Law, go to the teaching “A Case Against A Divinely Inspired Oral Law” on this website.

The Jewish people are experts at this. When all is said and done, they were preferring the Oral Law over the Written Law (Isa 29.13) and they still do. Israel hasn’t followed Moses for thousands of years. Yeshua said it was the Torah that bore witness of who he was, not the Oral Law (Psa 40.7; John 5.39-47). What happened was the “fences” around the Torah commands moved out and out and soon protected the fences themselves, and left out the actual commandment. Religious people always lose the point. What is the difference between legalism and keeping the commandments? Legalism is keeping man’s law and the other is keeping God’s law. So, the question is, “Whose commandments are written on your heart?” Think about it?

In Part 76 we will pick up here and show that we will have a breakdown in faith in Exo 20.18-21. Remember, biblical faith consists of three elements. We have Ahav, the love of God; we have Da’at, the knowledge of God based on his word and experience; and we have Mitzvot, the commandments of God. All of these must be operating at one time to have biblical faith, which is “Emunah” in Hebrew. This word is related to the word “amen” and it means “confidence/action.” With most people, when all is said and done, there is more “said than done.” That is not biblical faith.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 74

The Birth-pains of the Messiah (Tribulation) will last 2520 days, or seven biblical years. At the mid-point of the birth-pains (Nisan 10) the False Messiah will come to Jerusalem and the Abomination of Desolation will be set-up. He will declare himself to be the Messiah (“Jesus”) and God himself (2 Thes 2.4). When this happens, Rev 12.5-17 says that the believers in Yeshua (Israel now believes) will flee to the wilderness and this is the same wilderness we have been looking at. How did Israel come to believe in Yeshua?

Three years into the birth-pains, between Rosh Ha Shanna and Yom Kippur, Russia will invade Israel and be defeated. Israel will believe that Yeshua is the Messiah as a result because the Two Witnesses and the 144,000 have been preaching for three years about what was going to happen, and the people believe after they see what happens to Russia.

Within six months the False Messiah makes a move to destroy the rest of Russia and conquers them. This brings us up to Nisan 10 of the fourth year of the birth-pains and the exact half-way point. The False Messiah declares himself to be God and Messiah “Jesus” according to the model in Replacement Theology Christianity, but Israel has already accepted Yeshua six months earlier so they will know he is not the Messiah.

They will flee from him into the Jordanian/Moabite/Edomite wilderness that stretches from Pella in the north, south to the Arnon and Zered Valley, to biblical Kadesh Barnea (Wadi Rum), then south to Mount Sinai. What does this have to do with what will happen? The phrase “two wings of a great eagle” in Rev 12.14 was used before. It was used in the Exodus out of Egypt and the trip to Sinai (Exo 19.4). Israel will be in this wilderness for 1260 days. We are told in Isa 16.1-5 they are going to “Sela” which means “rock” and this happens to be the capital city of Edom and possibly an early name for Petra. We are told they are going to the Arnon Valley (Isa 16.2) and we know where that is. We know where they are going. Remember, God told Moses to bring the people to Sinai in order to serve him.

Isa 63.1-6 says, “Now who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing color from Bozrah.” There is blood on the garments like one who has been treading in a wine press. Rev 14.14-20 describes the same thing, along with Gen 49.11-12. Who is this who comes from Bozrah? Isa 42.10-16 tells us that the wilderness and its cities will lift up their voices and “let the inhabitants of Sela sing aloud.” Now we are in the Petra area, like in Isa 16.1-5.

Deut 33.2 says, “The Lord came from Sinai and dawned on them from Seir (Edom).” People think that this is talking about the past, during the time of Moses, but it is also talking about the future. Messiah is coming from the east and Judges 5.4-5 tells us the Lord went out of Seir, and marched from Edom. The mountains quaked at the presence of the Lord, even Mount Sinai.

Hab 3.3-15 shows us that the Lord comes from Teman and the Holy One from Mount Paran. It goes on to describe what happens. These places are where Sinai is located and he is invading with his troops. His radiance is like the sunlight. Messiah is advancing from the east (Oba 6-9; Ezek 25.12-14; Lam 4.21; Jer 40.40-47; Isa 63.1; Isa 42.10-13; Deut 33.1-2; Judges 5.4-5; Matt 24.27-31).

In Rev 14.20 it says that the blood outside of the city of Jerusalem went for a distance of 200 miles. This could have several meanings. This means the bloodshed (like a wine press) when Yeshua comes will cover the whole land of Israel (approx. 200 miles long), or it refers to the distance from Wadi Rum to Jerusalem. The False Messiah has sent his army after the Jewish people when they fled from him into this wilderness (Rev 12.15-17)but he cannot touch them. Yeshua will come back to Mount Sinai on Rosh Ha Shanna at the end of the birth-pains. He will march for 10 days along the same route Moses took, picking up those who have fled three and a half years earlier and have been waiting for him.

He will arrive in Jerusalem out of the southeast on Tishri 10, Yom Kippur. Here are some other verses to look at concerning his coming (Jer 49.19-22; Zeph 1.7-9; Zeph 2.8-11; Hos 13.15; Ezek 25.1-14; Mic 2.12-13; Zech 14.3-5). He arrives in Jerusalem on Yom Kippur (Matt 24.27-31; Isa 27.12-13; Mic 5.4; Joel 2.15-16; Song 8.5). Rev 19.19-21, Jer 19.1-5 and Matt 25.31-46 tells us what will happen after he arrives. This is a very quick overview of the Exodus and how it applies to the future coming of Yeshua.

Now, let’s go back to Exo 16 to see what other concepts we can pick up. When we get done with this very brief survey of the Exodus, we are going to look at the dynamics between Pharaoh and Moses, the plagues and the Passover at a different angle than what we have been talking about.

In Exo 16.13-36 we are introduced to the “manna” which is from the word “man-hu” which means “what is it?” God will give just enough manna for each day, just as he provides for us each day. The problem with Israel here is they still thought like slaves. They didn’t know how to act as free men and women. The truth is, we don’t either. We go back and forth to Egypt in our hearts and actions all the time.

We see in Exo 16.22-29 that the Sabbath was observed before Sinai, and manna is connected to it. First, this is how we know when the Sabbath is because there was no manna on the seventh day and Israel has been keeping track ever since. Manna is also a picture of Yeshua, the “bread out of heaven.” Likewise, the Sabbath is also a picture of Yeshua because we find out rest in him.

Manna is also connected to our thoughts. If our hearts are thankful, it was good. If it isn’t thankful, it tastes like “nothing” and we complain. Here is the lesson: Don’t go through life saying “what is it?” On the contrary, we need to challenge life with “is it what?” What we put into it is what we get out of it. We can approach life tasting and seeing the bread of life (Torah), or we can taste and see nothing, and complain.

These verses, especially verses 22-23, are used by some to say that cooking was not allowed on the Sabbath. The Hebrew word for Sabbath is “Shabbat” meaning “to cease.” We are to cease working at our occupation or gainful employment on certain days. There is nothing in the Scriptures that says we cannot cook on any Sabbath. There are no clear restrictions about it.

If we cook, and our job is cooking, then we shouldn’t cook. What we are “ceasing” is gainful employment because in the “spiritual” our “rest” has nothing to do with “works” to “gain” salvation. Cooking our own food is not an occupation through which we earn money. Now, what about Exo 16.23? The NASB says, “Then he (Moses) said to them, ‘This is what the Lord meant (to say). Tomorrow is a Sabbath observance, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over (to cook on the Sabbath) put aside to be kept till morning (of the Sabbath, it isn’t going to spoil like it does on the other days-Exo 16.20).'” Notice that it doesn’t say bake all of it so you don’t have to bake or boil it on the Sabbath. It is bake what you want, and what is left (what isn’t cooked) will keep for the Sabbath day. They were being allowed to keep extra, whereas on other days of the week they were not allowed to keep extra (16.19) because it would spoil.

So, in other words, they were not to gather it on the Sabbath, but will get twice as much on the sixth day. This is like today. Get enough by Friday so that it is not necessary to buy food on Saturday. It n ever says that we can’t cook on the Sabbath.

Exo 12.16 confirms this where it says, “And on the first day there shall be a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.” This verse seems to be confirming that nobody goes to work on a high holy day (Shabbaton), but you can cook what needs to be prepared. This view may anger some, but truth is truth. We don’t believe that the Torah is burdensome and we need to evaluate any verse related to this. We are not to “add to or detract from” the Torah (Deut 4.2). Many people have added to the Torah, but few take away. what is usually added is almost always restrictions, not positive things to do. What happens is the “body of law” which is almost always “oral” becomes larger that what God said in the first place.

We will pick up Exo 17.1-7 in Part 75.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 73

A whole generation of millions were brought to Kadesh Barnea to die. Where are all the bodies? They haven’t found them because Kadesh Barnea is not in the Sinai Peninsula. The scholars and the historians are looking in the wrong places. Kadesh Barnea is south of Edom. When you loo at the fact that Israel left the Faiyum, crossed the Gulf of Suez, then took the Derek Seir to the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba (Eilat on a current map), encountered the Amalekites who were based in Petra, then down to Midian and Sinai, you will see that the traditional site of Kadesh Barnea doesn’t work.

Kadesh Barnea is south of Edom and north of Mount Sinai, in the vicinity of the Red Sea. They were also near a highway called the “King’s Highway” (Num 21.22). They would travel north, east of the King’s Highway. The King’s Highway starts at Wadi Rum and then went north. It was a trade route that Moses wanted to take, but Sihom the king of the Amorites would not let him. He came to battle Israel (Num 21.23) and was defeated.

Wadi rum is a huge area and this is Kadesh Barnea, or the “Holy Desert of Wandering.” It fits all the descriptions. Deut 8.15-16 speaks of Wadi Rum. It was famous for serpents, vipers and scorpions. It is where the Bronze Serpent incident happened in Num 21.6-9. Lawrence of Arabia said the Beduin had a remedy for snakenite. They bound a plaster of snake-skin on the would, and read the Koran over the victim till he died (“Lawrence of Arabia” By R. H. Kiernan). Horned vipers (“fiery serpents”) are all over the area, and scorpions. You can go to the Internet and search “Wadi Rum” to see pictures of what this area looks like. This is where Israel was.

In Judges 11.13, the king of the sons of the Amorites accused Israel of taking away their land when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and the Jordan; therefore they wanted this area back peacefully. Jepthah told him Israel didn’t take the land, he says they came up from Egypt and Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and then came to Kadesh Barnea. However, the king of Edom would not let them pass through, neither did the king of Moab, so they returned to Kadesh Barnea. This tells us that Kadesh Barnea is near the Red Sea. Kadesh Barnea (Wadi Rum) is a very large area and it could easily accommodate two million people.

In Num 20.1 we learn of the death of Miriam at Kadesh Barnea (Wadi Rum). Josephus tells us in Antiquities, Book 4, Chapter 4, Paragraph 6, about her death, “Then it was that Miriam, the sister of Moses, came to her end, having completed her fortieth year since she left Egypt, on the first day of the lunar month Xanthicus (Nisan). They then made a public funeral for her, at great expense. She was buried upon a certain mountain, which they call Sin; and when they had mourned for her thirty days, Moses purified the people after this manner: he brought a heifer that had never been used to the plough or to husbandry, that was complete in all its parts and entirely of a red color, at a little distance from the camp, into a place perfectly clean. This heifer was slain by the high priest, and her blood sprinkled with his finger seven times before the tabernacle of God; after this, the entire heifer was burnt in that state together with its skin and entrails; and they threw cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet wool, into the midst of the fire; then a clean man gathered all her ashes together, and laid them in a place perfectly clean.” Miriam’s burial place is near Petra, the old Arabian capital city, and Aaron is buried not far off.

So, Miriam dies as they are leaving Kadesh Barnea and they have the Ashes of the Red Heifer ceremony. In Num 20.22 they set out from Kadesh Barnea and they come to the borders of Edom and then to Mount Hor (Deut 2.3-6, 28-29). In Num 20.24-29 we have the death of Aaron. This was also described by Josephus and Antiquities, Book 4, Chapter 4, Paragraph 7, “Now when this purification, which their leader made upon the mourning of his sister, as it has been now described, was over, he caused the army to remove and to march through the wilderness and through Arabia; and when he came to a place which the Arabians esteem their metropolis, which was formerly called Arce, but is now the name of Petra, at this place, which was encompassed with high mountains, Aaron went up one of them in the sight of the whole army, Moses having before told him that he was to die, for this place was over-against them. He put off his pontifical garments, and delivered them to Eleazar his son, to whom the high priesthood belonged, because he was the elder brother; and died while the multitude looked upon him. He died in the same year wherein he lost his sister, having lived in all a hundred and twenty-three years. He died on the first day of that lunar month which is called by the Athenians Heca tombeon, by the Macedonians Lous, but by the Hebrews Abba.”

Aaron dies at Petra, on a nearby mountain. Petra goes on for ten miles at least. Mount Hor is there and that is where he died (Num 20.27-28). From there they head north along the King’s Highway and in Num 21.12 they camp in the Zered Valley. In Num 21.13 they come to the Arnon Valley, then to Mount Nebo. In Num 21.25 they come to Heshbon, then to Jericho (Num 22.1).

Now, why is all this important? We know Messiah will come from the “east” but all this seems to be south of Jerusalem. However, “east” in the Bible lokks like this. If you draw a straight line north to south through Jerusalem, it goes straight to Mount Sinai (Jebel Al Lawz). Everything east of that line is considered east. That would include the areas that we have just been discussing.

People interpret the Bible using western thought, not Hebraic thought. We need to interpret the Scriptures using their train of thinking. That means Wadi Rum, Petra, the Zered Valley, the Arnon Valley, Mount Nebo, Heshbon and Jericho are east. When Yeshua comes “like lightning from the east” we think “due east.” However, that is not necessarily the case. He will not be coming from “due east” but from the “southeast” (like the Azazel bridge). Isa 63.1 says the Messiah will come from Edom (east).

The Jabbok Valley relates to prophecy. Jacob came there and that is where Peniel, Sukkot and Mahanaim is. David builds a fortress there and fled from Absalom to go there. We also have a place called Pella there. Believers in Yeshua fled there when the Romans came (Luke 19, Luke 21). It was near Pella that Elijah was hidden for 1260 days (time, times and a half a time, three and a half months, 42 months) during the famine.

From 132-135 A. D. during the Bar Kochba revolt against Rome, believers in Yeshua left the army and went to Pella. They left the army because Bar Kochba was declared the Messiah and these believers were not going to fight for a false Messiah, so they would not support him. In Part 74 we will discuss why all of this is important and why this fits into prophecy and why the Exodus is important to understand, and how knowing that will help us understand how all of this will apply in the future.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 72

Jebel Al-Lawz means “almond mountain” and that is very significant. Aaron’s rod was almond, and the almond is called the first fruits of spring, or the “awakening fruit.” Jebel Al-Lawz fits the biblical description for Mount Sinai in several ways. It is east of the Gulf of Aqaba and south of Edom. It is about 15 miles east from the town of Jethro called Al-Bad, It is in Midian and the tallest peak in the area. Now, the evidence presented in books for this mountain being Sinai is not evidence. You can’t prove it because get in there with archaeologists to check things out, but it is possible.

Sinai is called the “mountain of God” and Israel was taken out of Egypt so that they could come to this mountain to worship God (Exo 3.12). We know that the rod of Moses becomes a serpent in Exo 4.1-3. This rod was used in miracles. In Num 17.1-6 we have the story of Aaron’s rod. This rod comes back to like and sprouts almonds. Messiah was a dead branch that came back to like. Aaron’s rod was an almond branch. Was it taken from this mountain? The almond is called the “resurrection tree” in Israel. As seen in Jer 1.12-13, it is the first tree to bring forth fruit in the spring

Israel will stay at Sinai for 11 months, to the 20th of Iyar. It is calculated that Moses went up the mountain the second time on Elul 1 and came back down after 40 days and nights on Tishri 10, later to be the day for Yom Kippur. The Mishkan will be built at Sinai. There are verses that we will establish later that says Messiah will return to Mount Sinai first and then march to Jerusalem to stand on the Mount of Olives on Yom Kippur.

From Sinai they were to go north to Canaan, but they disobeyed the Lord and caused a 38 year stay at a place called Kadesh Barnea. When they leave Kadesh Barnea after 38 years they will travel north to Mount Hor, where Aaron dies. Then they will trek through the Zered Valley and the Arnon Valley to Heshbon, then to Mount Nebo, down the Heshbon Valley and cross the Jordan to Jericho.

The word Sinai is taken from the Babylonian moon god “Sin” and Horeb is thought to mean “glowing heat” which is a reference to the sun. Sinai and Horeb would be the mountain of the moon and the sun. Now, the sun is a picture of the Messiah in Mal 4.2, Gen 32.24-31 and Psa 19.4-6. The “light” of the sun gives “life.” The moon is a lesser light and speaks of the believer. It has no light of its own but reflects the light of the sun to be seen. The New Moon Festival (Rosh Chodesh) is a festival that relates to women. The name is feminine and it is called the “Festival of the Born Again.”

Now, if Sinai is called the “Mountain of the Moon” and Horeb is the “Mountain of the Sun” then this speaks of the Messiah and his bride. We know that they went on to Kadesh Barnea, which means “holy desert of wandering.” If Kadesh Barnea is where the historians say it is, where are all the bodies of that generation that died off there? We will have 600,000 at least and probably more. None have ever been found and that is because they are looking in the wrong place. We believe Kadesh Barnea is a place called “Wadi Rum.” Many Hollywood movies have been filmed there, like “Lawrence of Arabia” for instance. Wadi Rum means “Valley of the Moon” and if Mount Sinai means “Mountain of the Moon” and they stayed at Kadesh Barnea (“Holy Desert of Wandering”), and that is a place called Wadi Rum (“Valley of the Moon”) today, we have a picture.

We have all sorts of concepts speaking of marriage, covenant and wedding all through this. God gives the commandments at Sinai and the instruction for the Mishkan. Moses went into a supernatural environment for 40 days and nights with no food or water. He comes back down with the tablets, and breaks them because of the Golden Calf. He goes back up the mountain on Elul 1 and comes back down the second time on Tishri 10, 40 days and nights later. We have a blueprint of what Yeshua will do.

They build a Mishkan and ceremonies are given. The Kivod, Shekinah and the Ruach Ha Kodesh come. Priests are set apart and festivals are given. A government is set up with a court system. The fullness of the Torah is given and it applies to everyone if they were going to serve this God.

The Lord said to come to this mountain to worship. We know that God created time, the environment we live in. It has a beginning and an end (Gen 1). We have a 6000 year period called the “Olam Ha Zeh” and it means “This Present Age.” Then there will be a 1000 year period called the “Atid Lavo” which means “Future or Coming Age.” After that we enter into the “Olam Haba” or the “World to Come.” In reality, the Olam Haba preexisted time and everything will be going back to that state after the 7000 year plan of God is over. Time in Hebrew thought is understood as circular, a cycle, not linear. In reality, it not “back to the future” but we are going “forward to the past.”

Why did the Lord put such emphasis on coming to Mount Sinai in the wilderness? Why didn’t he just bring them into the land and go to Mount Zion or Mount Moriah? What difference does it make of Israel was afraid of the Philistines (Exo 13.17-18)? The Lord just defeated the Egyptians. The reason is, they had to go to Sinai because that is where they were going to receive the Torah and instructions for the Mishkan before they went into the land. Does the Lord do anything without a plan?

We have said before that there are three mountains of God. We have Mount Sinai/Horeb in Exo 3, we have Mount Moriah in Isa 2 and we have Mount Zion in Jer 31. We must come to Sinai after we are delivered because there is a process. The Torah at Sinai was not for salvation because they were already delivered. It was for their instruction after they have been delivered by the blood of the lamb. Spiritually, it should be the same for us.

We are going to see that Messiah will come to Mount Sinai first when he comes at the end of the Birth-pains, then he will go to Petra, then the Zered and Arnon Valley, and then cross the Jordan around Jericho and arrive in Jerusalem. These are the very footsteps of Moses, the shaliach of the Egyptian (or first) Redemption. Yeshua is the shaliach of the Messianic (or second) Redemption and will follow in the footsteps of Moses as he takes the land. All of this will be pointed out without a reasonable doubt later. This will not be a case of Jewish tradition or midrashim, but Scripture upon Scripture.

So, why Mount Sinai? False teaching has robbed us of all the things God gave for our instruction. Everything that happened before will happen again, there is nothing new under the sun and that goes for prophecy as well (Ecc 1.8-9, 3.15). So, let’s take a look at Wadi Rum.

Deut 1.1-46 tells us that they came to Kadesh Barnea (holy desert of wandering) and scouts were sent out. They brought back a bad report and because of their unbelief, they would not be going into Canaan just yet. In Deut 2.1-5 it says they circled Mount Seir “for many days” which was for 38 years (Deut 2.14). They moved often because they needed firewood and there were sanitary needs for millions, and other reasons. Then he says in Deut 2.3 that they have “circled this mountain long enough.” He tells them to “turn north.” So, we know Kadesh Barnea is south of Edom and Canaan.

In Num 20.1, we have the death of Miriam at Kadesh Barnea. In Num 20.8-13, Moses strikes the rock when he was only to speak to it to get water. In Num 20.14, Moses sends a message to the king of Edom from Kadesh Barnea. In Num 20.16 to says that Kadesh Barnea is a “town on the edge of your border.” So, Kadesh Barnea is south of Edom. Why is there another site that is not anywhere near this seen as Kadesh Barnea? They found a piece of pottery with “Kadesh” on it! They excavated the site, but it was only a small city, not one with millions of people. No graves before the time of Solomon were found there. Where are all the bodies?

In Part 73 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 71

Israel will pass through the “midst” of the sea. The Hebrew word for “deep” in Exo 15.5,8 is “tehomot” meaning “subterranean deep, very deep.” Exo 15.8 says the waters were “piled up” like a wall, and the “tehomot” (deeps) were congealed. In Exo 15.10 it says that Pharaoh and his army “sank like lead in the mighty waters.” The Gulf of Suez certainly fits the description for very deep waters.

We have discussed the southern theory, or the traditional route, of the Exodus and it doesn’t work. There is no way they could get to a crossing site in the Gulf of Aqaba in less than three days from the Faiyum, or anyplace else in Egypt. So, we are going to talk about the “Middle Route.”\

Go to a map and you will see the Arabian Peninsula and it is a very big land mass. On a biblical map, you will see Midian running across the eastern shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. Moses fled there in Exo 2.11-15, and keeps the flocks of Yitro (Jethro) and he comes to Sinai, the tallest mountain in the area according to Philo and Josephus.

In Exo 3.1 it says that while he was pasturing the flock of Yitro, Moses came to Horeb, the “mountain of God.” It says this was the “back side” of the desert (Hebrew “achar”). This also means “west” or “edge, end” and it also alludes to a “future time” called the “acharit yamim” or “last days.” In other words, Moses came to a place on the western end of the desert or wilderness. Both meanings can apply. He took some sheep to where Sinai was to graze. This rules out going all the way to the Sinai Peninsula to the traditional site of Mount Sinai. Moses took his sheep to the edge of the desert.

We learn in Exo 17 that Israel is attacked by the Amalekites at Rephidim. The word “Rephidim” comes from the root “rapha” meaning “lax or slack.” This area is at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, near modern Eilat today. The people complain about water, and the Lord has Moses strike a rock at Horeb (Sinai), and water comes out. So, this tells us they were close to Sinai at Rephidim where they were camping (17.1).

Josephus tells us in Antiquities of the Jews, Book 3, Chapter 2, Paragraph 1, that the reputation of the Hebrews spread everywhere. Among those who have heard of them were the inhabitants of Petra called the Amalekites. So, the Amalekites were just north of Midian. Arabia did not denote the whole peninsula between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf in the First Century, but only east and south of Israel, east of the Gulf of Aqaba. This area was settled by the Nabateans with their capital as Petra, exactly where the Amalekites were.

Israel crosses the sea and they take the Derek Seir (the Way to Edom) that went across the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, to the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. To know where Sinai is, we must know where Midian is. We must totally discard the traditional Mount Sinai “discovered” by Helena in 325 A.D. We know that Moses was tending sheep and went to Sinai. He was not going all the way to the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula to do that. We know that the Amalekites were located at Petra and fought Israel before they reached Sinai. They wanted to crush Israel before they got any stronger.

They hear that Israel is coming on the Derek Seir, the main road. They have heard the reports about what happened in Egypt. From their capital in Petra and the area, they set out to confront Israel and go to battle with them near Sinai, but where is Sinai? In Gal 1.17 it says, “nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who where apostles before me; but I went to Arabia and returned once more to Damascus.” In the First Century, this area was seen as the habitation of the Nabateans, with Petra as capital. He possibly went to Sinai. In Gal 4.25 it says, “Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem; for she is is slavery with her children.”

This “Sinai in Arabia” is referring to the area immediately to the east of the Gulf of Aqaba. Therefore, Sinai is in an area known as Midian in Arabia. As Israel is moving east, they pass the Amalekites who lived in Petra in Edom. As a result, it cannot be in the Sinai Peninsula. Seir is the same thing as “Edom” and “Uz” (Job 1.1), so let’s talk about that.

Job 1.1 says “There was a man who lived in Uz, whose name was Iyov (Job).” Lam 4.21 says, “Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, who dwells in the land of Uz.” Job 4.1 tells tells us “that there was a man called Eliphaz the Temanite.” Gen 36.1-11 tells us that Esau is Edom and he has a son named Eliphaz (v 10) and Eliphaz has a son named Teman (v 11). The Eliphaz in Job 4.1 was probably the son of Teman in Gen 36.11, Esau’s grandson. So, we have identified Midian, and Seir is Edom, Esau and Uz.

Let’s look at some passages as to where Mount Sinai is. In Deut 33.2 it says that the coming of the Lord is from Sinai, and it dawned on them from Seir (Edom).” Hab 3.3 says, “God comes from Teman (Uz, Edom) and the Holy One from Mount Paran (around Sinai).” Now we have another term, Mount Paran.

Judges 5.4-5 says that the Lord went out from Seir (Edom, Uz) and marched from Edom. The earth quaked, the heavens dripped and the clouds dripped water. The mountains quaked at the presence of the Lord, “this Sinai at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.” So, Mount Sinai must be around the border of Edom and Midian.

In Gen 46.13 we have the sons of Issachar listed. In Gen 46.11 we have the sons of Levi given as Gershom, Kohath and Merari. The sons of Issachar have “Iyov” (Job) listed, and he was the first cousin to Kohath. The sons of Iyov (Job) were second cousins to Moses (Kohath has Amram, the father of Moses). This indicates a very short period, and the Middle East is beginning to “shrink.” The stories in the Torah fit the genealogy.

Exo 12.40-41 tells us it was 430 years from Gen 15 and the Covenant between the Halves. It also implies that there were descendants to Israel in other parts of the world, where it says, “the sojourning of the sons of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt (at the time), was four hundred and thirty years.” This implies that there were Hebrews elsewhere, with the majority in Egypt. Iyov (Job) left Egypt and settled in Edom sometime before the Exodus. The timing of the book of Job is around the time of the Exodus. In verse 41 to says “to the very day” that the people went out, but to what day? We know it was Nisan 15 when the children of Israel went out. That means the Covenant between the Halves in Gen 15, where God told Abraham about what was going to happen in v 13-16, was Nisan 15 (“to the very day”).

In Exo 19, Israel arrives at Mount Sinai and it was Sivan 3. They get ready for three days (19.10-11). This tells us how many days it took to get from the Faiyum in Egypt to Mount Sinai, and it looks like this. On Nisan 14 they kill the Passover lamb. On Nisan 15 they eat the Passover in a hurry, and leave after midnight. They go less than three days, as agreed, into the wilderness and come up to the Red Sea on Nisan 17. Pharaoh has pursued them and God opens the the sea and Israel crosses the Gulf of Suez.

From Nisan 17 to Sivan 6 is 50 days and God comes down on Mount Sinai and speaks the Ten Commandments in the hearing of all the people. This day will be known as Shavuot. So, we have Passover on Nisan 14, Unleavened Bread on Nisan 15, Yom Ha Bikkurim (First Fruits) on Nisan 17 and Shavuot. Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Shavuot will relate to the coming of the Messiah in both comings.

What do we know about Mount Sinai so far? We know it was not where people say it is and we know it is east of the Gulf of Aqaba, and east of Midian, south of Edom. The mountain is not in the Sinai Peninsula, the traditional site. Josephus said in Antiquities of the Jews that Sinai was the highest peak in the area and good for pasturing. George Foot-Moore, an archaeologist, believed that a mountain called Jebel Al-Lawz could be it but wasn’t sure. It may be in southern Edom which was Midian at one time till they pushed south. Edom is Seir and it had wooded mountains. It is barren now because the Ottoman Turks had a law taxing people with trees, so they cut the trees down.

In Part 71 we will pick up here with Jebel Al-Lawz.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 70

In Exo 13.19 it says, “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear saying, ‘God shall surely take care of you and you shall carry my bones from here with you.'” The KJV uses the the term “visit you” for “take care of you.” This is related to what Joseph said in Gen 50.25 and to what Yeshua said in Luke 19.40-41.

In Hebrew this terms is “pakod yifkod” or “visit, visit.” Joseph is saying in Gen 50.25, and repeated in Exo 13.19, that God will “visit, visit” you. This alludes to the First and Second Redemption, and the two comings of the Messiah. The First Redemption that we are discussing now will teach us about the Second Redemption and the coming of the Messiah.

In Gen 50.26, Joseph is buried and put into a “coffin.” In Hebrew, the word is “b’aron” or into an ark (box). This is a receiving container in which his remains were kept. So, they took an “ark” (aron) or receiving container with Joseph’s remains together, leaving no doubt they were leaving to go back into the land. A simple thief would have robbed the aron, and left everything. They would have never taken the whole thing.

We know that Joseph was in the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and they used “royal mausoleums” or “mortuary temples” in burials. That is what they found at Harawa. The Pharaohs preferred that over burial in a pyramid. The temple at Harawa had twelve chambers. Is it possible that these were for the twelve brothers of Joseph?

Now we are going to look at the crossing of the Red Sea. Moses journeys from Harawa (Succos/Sukkot) and Pharaohs hears that they have taken the remains of Joseph (Exo 14.5-8). He knew they were leaving because Joseph’s tomb was empty, the whole box is gone. In the Jewish writings, the prime minister of Egypt is referred to as Joseph of Ramah. Ramah means “seat of idolatry.” In Greek, it is Arimathea. In other words, the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea was empty!

In the book “Coming Out of Egypt: The Journey Out of Idolatry Begins”, Vol 1, P.422< by K. C. Stricker, it says, "An interesting parallel is that Yeshua is placed in the tomb of Joseph of Ramah (Arimathea in Greek). Ramah, the city of Joseph, means 'seat of idolatry in Hebrew. As noted, Moses had also gone to the tomb of another Joseph on the 15th, to receive Joseph's body: thereby leaving his tomb empty. Joseph of Egypt, the seat of idolatry, had been an excellent picture of the coming of the Messiah by all that had happened in his life: he was hated by his brothers, cast into a pit, sold as a slave, falsely accused, committed to the dungeon; but, through the Spirit of God, raised to be ruler in Egypt second only to Pharaoh. He was sent by God to preserve life, during the famine of death. In latter years, he revealed himself to his brothers, who all this time had thought him to be the ruler of the Gentiles, rather than one of their own brethren." So, as we have said, Joseph's bones were in a huge and very heavy "aron" or "box." The word "aron" has special meaning in Scripture. The Ark of the Covenant is also an "aron." So, that means in the wilderness the children of Israel had two "arons" with them. Why did they take the huge "box" with them? First, it was to fulfill their word to Joseph and secondly, to prove they took him and it wasn't some robber. After they had his remains, they set out east to the western prong of the Red Sea called the Gulf of Suez now, but back then it was just the Red Sea. (Yom Suf). They will cross the Gulf of Suez, and take a road that was at the other side to the northeast that links to the Derek Seir (the Way to Edom). They will go east on that road to Ezion-geber (Eilat) at the northern tip of the eastern prong of the Red Sea called the Gulf of Aqaba. It is in this area that they will encounter the Amalekites (Exo 17). From there they will go southeast, down into the northwestern part of Saudi Arabia to Mount Sinai, which was 18 miles east of a place called Madian-polis (Al-Bad today). The traditional route can't be the right route, and some of the new theories proposed by Ron Wyatt, Bob Cornuke and many others can't be it either. The traditional site of Mount Sinai is in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula, and it was "found" by the mother of Constantine, Helena, and she was no bible scholar. This site has campgrounds for several million people and it does not fit the timeline. So, Israel was to go for three days into the wilderness, not forever like in the movies. The delegation that retrieved the bones of Joseph met up with everyone else at a designated point going towards the Gulf of Suez. Josephus says they crossed at a very hard place to navigate through. Pharaoh will pursue them, and Israel will cross the Gulf of Suez early in the morning of the 17th of Nisan (Exo 14.21-24). Num 33.1-8 says it was three days, then they crossed the sea. They went from Rameses to Sukkot (Succos/Harawa in the Faiyum), then to Etham, and then to Pi-Hahirot. They cross the sea at Pi-Hahirot on the third day (17th of Nisan). Pharaoh pursues them into the sea, and he, along with his army, perishes. Now, Israel was possessed by the Egyptian Pharaohs, and Pharaoh is a picture of Satan and the False Messiah. The Pharaohs had an emblem of a serpent on their crown ("nachash"-Gen 3.1). Israel will be redeemed from Pharaoh. So, we have the 10th of Nisan when the lamb was selected for the Passover (Exo 12). On the 14th of Nisan that lamb is killed "between the evenings" or about three o'clock in the afternoon. They will depart from Egypt after midnight on the 15th of Nisan, while it was still dark (Deut 16.1), and they are up against the sea on the 17th of Nisan, three days later. They cross the sea and are resurrected on the other side on the 17th, and Pharaoh is cut off. Now, go ahead 1500 years or so to 30 A. D. Yeshua rides into Jerusalem in what religious men call the "Triumphant Entry." This is Nisan 10 and the Passover lambs have been selected. The lamb is examined to see if there is any blemish, and Yeshua and his teachings are examined and they find no blemish in him. On the 14th of Nisan the lambs are slain "between the evenings" and Yeshua is crucified at the same time they are killing the lambs in the temple, and dies "between the evenings." Three days later (Nisan 17) Yeshua rises from the dead at the same time Israel came out of the watery grave of the Red Sea. Satan (Pharaoh) is cut off and we are now on our way to the Promised Land (Olam Haba). But, we need to stop at Mount Sinai first. And we have the tomb of another Joseph that is empty. The story of Yeshua matches the Exodus In Part 71 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 69

In Gen 46.11 we learn that Jacob had a son Named Levi, and he had three sons named Gershom, Kohath and Merari. Kohath would have a son named Amram, and Amram had two sons named Aaron and Moses. This will help us date the Exodus (Gen 15.12-16). We believe the Exodus occurred around 1441 B.C. In 1 Kings 6.1 it says that they began to build the Temple 480 years after the Exodus. We know this was 961 B.C. and the reign of Solomon. Add 480 to 961 and you have 1441 B.C. This is also supported by Judges 11.26.

But scholars say this can’t be true because the Exodus occurred during the reign of Rameses and the Israelites built the city of Rameses. However, we have seen that 210 years before this they called the whole land of Egypt Rameses.

So, the Exodus occurred in 1441 B.C. and Israel was in Egypt for 210 years, bringing us to 1651 B.C. when Jacob enters. Add 9 years (seven good years and 2 years into the famine) and you have 1660 B.C. when Joseph begins to reign. Add 13 years (Joseph was 17 when sold into Egypt and 30 when he began to reign) and you have 1673 B.C. when Joseph was sold.

Scholars have been looking in the wrong century and in the wrong place for a Jewish presence in Egypt. As a result, we need to be looking in Egypt around 1786 B.C. to 1552 B.C., in Middle Egypt, not Lower Egypt. We need to look at the Faiyum.

In the Faiyum there is a canal connecting a lake with the Nile River. This canal is man-made and nit is called the “Bahr Yusuf” or the “River of Joseph.” You can go to the internet and see pictures of this canal. There is a place called “El-lisht” and it was the capital of the Pharaoh at the time. The Faiyum had water for planting, helped by the canal, and it made the area very fertile. It had two prongs and it was made during the reign of a Pharaoh named Amenemhat III.

In the area of the Faiyum there is a lake that occupied one-fifth more area than it does now. It has “shrunk” since the lake was drained. As a result, it left behind “good soil.” Joseph reaps the harvest for seven years from this area and this shows the wisdom of God. The canal also had “locks” so water could be controlled going in and going out of the lake.

A huge warehouse system was also found. This “warehouse” had 3000 rooms in it and it was called “The Maze.” It was built around 1750 B.C. This is evidence of Joseph in the Faiyum because the archaeologists have been looking for evidence in the wrong places and at the wrong dates.

Now, the Bahr Yusuf, or the River of Joseph, had two prongs to it, as we have said. The lake could be drained, leaving behind good soil for planting, and this soil was used during the seven good years before the famine. The grain was floated down the canal to the granaries next to the Nile we have just discussed. A city called Harawa is located on the River of Joseph. It is here that this huge granary was located with the 3000 rooms. The historian Herodotus wrote about the granary and said, “its greatness surpasses even the temples.” Now, this area was called “Succos” in Greek, and if we recall at the time of the Exodus, they had to go to Sukkot (Succos) to retrieve the bones of Joseph (Exo 13.19-20).

This evidence seems to point to this area as the place where Joseph was, and where Jacob came when he came into the Egypt two years into the famine. We have the River of Joseph, the Faiyum called “Succos”, a lake that was used for planting extra crops and a huge granary found where grain was stored and could be sold during the famine. From this spot, the grain could be shipped up and down the Nile for distribution during the famine.

Egyptian history is divided into three parts. We have the Old Kingdom, famous for the pyramids used for burials. Then we have the Middle Kingdom when they didn’t build pyramids for burial, they built mortuary temples for that purpose. Then we have the New Kingdom when pyramids are again used in burials. During the Middle Kingdom, the sarcophagus was placed inside a temple for all to see. During the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom, how could you know if the sarcophagus was inside a pyramid because it was placed very deep inside? Joseph came into the land during the Middle Kingdom. Israel will leave Egypt and the New Kingdom began.

There was an ancient people called the Hyksos. They were a semitic people and the name means “foreign rulers.” They came into the land about the time of Joseph’s death and were expelled from Egypt about 1550 B.C. There are others who believe that the Hyksos were the Amalekites who invaded Egypt shortly after the Exodus, taking advantage of the massive chaos there. These invading Amalekites (Hyksos/foreign rulers) may have crossed paths with the departing Israelites after Israel camped at Rephidim (Exo 17). The city of Avaris was the Hyksos center. They have also found a place called “Tel Ha Yehudim” or the “Mound of the Jews” just north of the Faiyum. There was a camp located there that was rectangular (515 meters by 490 meters). It is not an Egyptian fort.

Let’s get back to the Exodus. We have seen that there is evidence of a Jewish presence in Egypt before the Exodus. They were asking Pharaoh to let them go into the wilderness for three days, not to be totally set free as you see in the movies. It was just for three days. That is what the Lord told Moses to say to Pharaoh, but Pharaoh refuses, which brings us up to the final plague, the killing of the first born.

Pharaoh killed God’s first born (Exo 4.12-13), now Egypt will lose theirs. The Passover is instituted and we all know what happened. Pharaoh relents, and Egypt is devastated. In Deut 16.1 it says they departed at night on the 15th of Nisan. They go to Succos (Sukkot) to retrieve the bones of Joseph and in Exo 13.17 it says that God did not lead them by the way of the Philistines. They left Goshen and Middle Egypt across east to the sea. Remember, Pharaoh is only letting them go for three days (we will get into that detail later).

The tomb of Joseph was in a mortuary temple which allowed people to see where his sarcophagus was and to take it. It was not buried deep within a pyramid. We know this because it was the Middle Kingdom and you knew that the sarcophagus was gone because it was in a mortuary temple. Joseph’s remains were placed in a stone “ark” (Gen 50.26). If you were going to “steal” something from the burial spot, you would not take the whole stone box. However, Moses did when they took the remains of Joseph, and that is why Pharaoh thought they were fleeing the land. Spiritually, how does the enemy know we are going to the “promised land?” ANother tomb of Joseph is empty. There is a midrash that said there was a sign in the tomb of Joseph that said, “When you see that this tomb is empty, then know we have gone to the promise land.” Yeshua left a sign, too. It was the “sign of Jonah.”

Let’s look at the location of Sukkot in Exo 13.20. We know that Goshen and Rameses are synonymous terms. There was a city in Goshen called Rameses. Amenemhat III was probably the Pharaoh of Joseph. The Faiyum was a fertile area called “Succos” in Greek and it had a lake that was used by Joseph during the seven good years to grow food. The River of Joseph is the name of the canal from the lake to the Nile River. This lake could be drained and used for planting. These canals could also be used for irrigation.

Joseph can float the grain down the canals to Harawa and the huge granaries there. The word “Harawa” means “fellowship” and it is similar to the Hebrew “Chavurah” which also means “fellowship.” We have said that the historian Herodotus (500 B.C.) said the granaries, also called the “Maze” and the “Labyrinth” surpassed the pyramids. It had 12 roofed courts and 3000 rooms, courts and columns. We believe that the Faiyum is “Succos” and “Sukkot.” Israel will journey from Sukkot and will camp at Etham (Exo 13.20).

In Part 70, we will pick up in Exo 13.19 with the phrase “and take care of you” and develop out the concept alluded to in that phrase and how it relates to the First (Egyptian) and Second (Messianic) Redemption. Then we will continue with the Exodus.

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