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.