Parashah 21: Ki Tissa (When you take)

Parashah 21: Exodus 30:11-34:35

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘When you take a census of the people of Isra’el and register them, each upon registration, is to pay a ransom for his life to God, to avoid any breakout of plague among them during the time of census” (Exodus 30:11-12).

This is the first census taken since the Israelites left Egypt two years earlier.  Though the Hebrew nation left Egypt, there were also many Egyptians who had seen the power of Elohim and joined the exodus.  The census counted all males over 20 years of age and each had to pay ½ shekel based on the sanctuary standard.  The money paid by each man when they registered as a citizen of Isra’el was considered atonement money and served as a reminder to the Israelites that Yahweh atones for their lives.  The money collected was used for service in the Mishkan.

Bronze Laver

“You are to make a basin of bronze, with a base of bronze, for washing” (Exodus 30:17).

Bronze Laver

“So he [Yeshua] rose from the table, removed his outer garments and wrapped a towel around his waist.  Then he poured some water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples and wipe them off with the towel wrapped around him” (John 13:4-5). 

The Bronze Laver, filled with water,  was to put between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar of Sacrifice.  Part of being “Holy to Yahweh” was to be physically clean (Psalm 24:4).  Before administering a burnt offering, the priests were to wash their hands and feet.  After offering an animal sacrifice, their hands and feet would become stained with blood so they washed again before entering the Holy Place.

Anointing Oil

“Take the best spices – 500 shekels of myrrh, half this amount (250 shekels) of aromatic cinnamon, 250 shekels of aromatic cane, 500 shekels of cassia (use the sanctuary standard) and one gallon of olive oil – and make them into a holy anointing oil” (Exodus 30:22-25).

These spices were blended like a perfume into an anointing oil.  It was not to be used on a person’s body.  If anyone used it improperly, they would be cut off from Isra’el.  The oil was to be used to anoint the Mishkan, the Ark of the Testimony, the Table of Presence and all its utensils, the Altar of Incense, the Altar of Sacrifice and its utensils, and the Bronze Laver.  After being anointed, the objects would become holy and whoever touched them would become holy.  Aaron and his sons were also anointed with this oil as part of their consecration.

The anointing oil was to be used throughout all the generations of Isra’el, but was not to be replicated.  The quantities given were enormous, however, to last throughout all the generations of Isra’el would have to be a miracle.  This oil no longer exists and according to the command, it is not to be replicated; therefore, nothing being created for the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem will be ‘Holy to Yahweh’. 

“Take aromatic plant substances – balsam resin, sweet onycha root and bitter galbanum gum – along with frankincense all in equal quantities” (Exodus 30:34-35).

These plant oils were also blended as a perfume and salted.  Some were to be finely ground and put in front of the Ark of the Covenant.  This holy incense was not to be duplicated as it was also “Holy to Yahweh.”  

The Chosen Craftsmen

B’tzal’el or Betzalel from the Tribe of Judah was chosen by Elohim as the lead craftsman.  He filled him with His Ruach – wisdom, understanding, and knowledge concerning every kind of artistry.  He is a master of design in gold, silver, bronze, cutting precious stones, woodcarving and every other craft.

“Bezalel” has the Hebrew root of tzalem which means ‘image’ and el which means ‘God’ meaning in ‘the image of Elohim.’ As the one given the Ruach Elohim in order to make the dwelling place of Yahweh and all of its furniture, he becomes a type and shadow of the mediator between Elohim and mankind, Yeshua

Hebrew Word Pictures

Betzalel or B’tzal’elצלם – tzadik, lamed, mem

the drawing toward of the mighty shepherd

Oholiab or Oholi’av – אהליאבalef, hey, lamed, yod, alef, bet

the first reveals shepherd, the finished work of the first house

Yahweh gives Bezalel an assistant named Oholi’av or Oholiab from the tribe of Dan.  Oholi in Hebrew means ‘tent’ and av means ‘father.’   As the assistant to the ‘image of Elohim,’  he is the ‘tent of the father.’  The Tabernacle, the ‘tent of the father,’ is the assistant to help Isra’el see the ‘image of Elohim,’ Yeshua

All the craftsmen who worked with Bezalel and Oholiab were given wisdom to make the altars, the laver the table, the utensils, the incense, the anointing oil, and the garments for the priesthood.   Specifically,  they were to make the menorah, Menorah haTahor or the ‘pure menorah.’   Though some translations call it the ‘gold menorah,’  the original Hebrew uses pure menorah” as it is only object Moshe actually saw on the mountain. Its purity is unique from the golden articles made for the rest of the Tabernacle. 

Sabbath – Shabbat

“You are to observe my Shabbats: for this is a sign between me and you through all your generations; so that you will know that I am Adonai, who sets you apart for me.  Therefore you are to keep my Shabbat, because it is set apart for you.  Everyone who treats it as ordinary must be put to death; whoever does any work on it is to be cut off from his people…. It is a sign between me and the people of Isra’el forever, for in six days God made  heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and rested” (Exodus 31:12-13, 16-17).

Once again, Yahweh reminds His people about His Shabbat and its observance.  His people are to follow His example by working for six days and completely resting on the seventh.  It is to be a day set apart from the other six days.  They are to rest, not work, or they will be cut off from their people.  It is to be observed throughout their generations forever.  The importance of the Shabbat cannot be emphasized enough by Elohim.  It becomes not only a ‘remember’ commandment, but now He says it is a ‘sign’ between Him and the people of Isra’el forever.

“When he [Yahweh] had finished speaking with Moshe on Mount Sinai, Adonai gave him the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). 

Not only were the Ten Commandments written on the tablets of stone by the finger of Elohim, it seems that every command that is part of the testimony is written by Yahweh.  From the Ten Commandments to the orders for the Tabernacle to the garments for the priests to the prescribed ways for anointing, counting the people, to the Shabbat were also written by the finger of Elohim.

Signs, Signs, Signs

Signs are important and have significant purpose in Elohim’s creation, calendar, covenants, and Kingdom.  The sun, moon and stars are signs to mark the days, months and seasons of Elohim’s ‘appointed times’ (Genesis 1:14).   Elohim placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign that He would never destroy the earth by water again.   When He saw the sign, He would be reminded of his covenant with Noach (Genesis 9:16).   Circumcision was a sign of the covenant El Shaddai made with Abraham (Genesis 17:10-11).   The blood on the doorposts in Egypt was a sign for the Destroyer to pass over that house leaving the firstborn of Isra’el alive (Exodus 12:23).  Had the Israelites not used the sign, their firstborn would have died. The sign to recognize Messiah is that a virgin would give birth to a son and name him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).   The sign for the shepherds was a baby wrapped in cloths and laying in a manger (Luke 2:12).  Had they gone to any other baby born that night, it would not have been Yeshua.  Living in Isra’el with one’s children is a sign and symbol that Yahweh dwells on Mount Tzion (Isaiah 8:18).  Yeshua gave signs for the end times in Matthew 24.   A woman’s head covering is a sign of authority to pray and prophesy because of the angels (1 Corinthians 11:2-10).  The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens and all those who pierced him will mourn (Zechariah 12:10).

Shabbat is also a sign, a sign between Yahweh and His people.  It’s a sign between Him and those who love Him, serve Him and obey Him and join themselves to Him (Ezekiel 20:12, 19-20).

“And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:6-7).

The Sin of the Calf

“Get busy; and make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Moshe, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt – we don’t know what has become of him” (Exodus 32:1).

Moshe’s meeting with Yahweh on the mountain took a long time and the Israelites grew weary of waiting for him.  They weren’t even sure he would return.  They go to Aaron and demand that he make gods for them.  In spite of all that Aaron had experienced and watched Yahweh perform for Isra’el, he relents to their pleas.  He tells them to strip off their gold earrings and bring them to him.

He melts everything down and shapes it into a calf or het ha’eggel or ‘The Sin of the Calf.’  In Egypt, Apis was the calf deity considered the intercessor between the Egyptians and an all-powerful god.  Since Moshe wasn’t there to be their intercessor, they reverted back to the worship of a god they had only recently seen destroyed in Egypt.  They went even further and claimed that the golden calf was the god who brought them up out of Egypt (Exodus 32:4).  Seeing the calf and hearing the people claim allegiance to the calf,  Aaron built an altar in front of it and proclaimed, “Tomorrow is to be a feast for Yahweh” (Exodus 32:5).

The word ‘feast’ in this passage is not mo’ed, but chag meaning ‘holiday.’  As Yahweh’s mo’edim had not yet been given to Isra’el, they created their own holiday, mixing the profane calf with the great ‘I Am.’

Syncretism is when two religions merge together.  This happens when one group of people or person assimilates so deeply with another their religions blend together until neither side recognizes that their own worship has been perverted.   This is what the sin of the calf symbolizes, not only because it is referred to as the god that brought the Israelites out of Egypt, but because it was merged into the worship of Yahweh.

When we read the account of the golden calf or watch the debauchery around the golden calf in a movie like “The Ten Commandments,” we probably wonder how they could do such a thing.  They had just been delivered from Egypt through the Red Sea, fed manna and living water and watched their enemies be defeated.  They had heard the voice of Elohim from the mountain and watched Him descend in fire and smoke.  Yet, they are rebellious people who turn their back on their intercessor,  choose one that is more favorable to their whims and begin to worship a familiar spirit in a way they believe honors the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Syncretism is what Constantine advanced in 300 C.E. when he blended the Roman Saturnalia with the birth of Yeshua, the Greek Ishtar and Tammuz with the Resurrection of Messiah, and the Egyptian Venerable day of the sun-god Ra with the Biblical Sabbath.  Each of these holidays have a golden calf root that have been dedicated to Elohim.  It is the syncretism of Egypt, Greece and Rome merging with the worship of the Elohim of Isra’el that birthed a religious system known today as Christianity.

Early the next morning the Israelites got up and made burnt offerings and presented peace offerings.  Afterwards  they sat down to eat and drink; they indulged in immoral revelry.    If one researches the roots of the church holidays, revelry is central to the celebration.  Many will still justify these holidays by claiming ‘that’s not why I celebrate them.’  The Israelites would have claimed the same.   Their manmade holiday with its golden calf was right in their own eyes,  but they did not consider what is holy, pure and right in the eyes of Yahweh.

The Anger of Yahweh

“Adonai says to Moshe, ‘Go down!  Hurry!  Your people, whom you brought up form the land of Egypt, have become corrupt! So quickly they have turned aside from the way I ordered them to follow!  They have cast a metal statue of a calf, worshipped it, sacrificed to it and said, ‘Isra’el! Here is your god who brought you up from the land of Egypt!  … I have been watching these people; and you can see how stiff-necked they are.  Now leave me alone so that my anger can blaze against them, and I can put an end to them!  I will make a great nation out of you instead!”  (Exodus 32:7-10)

Just like in the Garden of Eden, nothing escapes the eyes of Elohim. He watches His people and sees they are stiff-necked.  The neck is considered the pathway from the head to the heart and being ‘stiff-necked’ implies that a person is incapable of moving his head to listen to their guides.  Being stiff-necked toward the commands of Yahweh brings chaos and destroys the revelation of El Elyon.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Stiff-necked is three Hebrew words or am k’she oref    עםפשהערף

ayin, mem – peh,shin, hey – ayin, resh peh

understand chaos – the mouth consumes revealed – understand the head mouth

Yahweh is so angry with the behavior of the Israelites that he tells Moshe that He’s just going to destroy them and start over with him.  Moshe pleads with Yahweh to relent.  If He destroys the people He delivered from Egypt, the Egyptians will consider His intentions evil.  He also made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to make their descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and to give them the Promised Land.  Yahweh relents with Moshe’s pleas and changes His mind about destroying His people (Exodus 32:11-14).

Why do we think that Yahweh who is the same, yesterday and forever, doesn’t get angry with our syncretism and assimilation with other gods?  Isn’t he still a jealous Elohim?  Doesn’t He desire pure worship from those He has delivered from sin and death?

“Rather you are to demolish their altars, smash their standing-stones and cut down their sacred poles; because you are not to bow down to any other god; since Adonai – whose very name is Jealous – is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:13-14).

Moshe goes down the mountain with the “two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets inscribed on both sides, on the front and on the back.  The tablets were the work of God; and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets” (Exodus 32:15).

The Faithfulness of Levi

Joshua waited faithfully for Moshe’s return.  This faithfulness is rewarded when Moshe takes him to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp.  Joshua was allowed inside the Tent of Meeting with Moshe and never left (Exodus 33:11).   Joshua’s faith was strengthened through his personal experience with Elohim.  When he enters the land of the giants, he knew that faith in Yahweh was all he needed and became one of only two people who left Egypt that entered the Promised Land. 

Joshua and Moshe can hear the noise in the camp and Joshua thinks it is the ‘sound of war’ while Moshe says it’s singing.  Why do two men listening to the noise of the same crowd noise perceive two different sounds?  They have already faced war and perhaps the sound is reminiscent to a war cry.   Joshua eventually becomes a warrior leader who takes Isra’el into the Promised Land. Perhaps his ears are tuned to recognize war cries.

Moshe, however,  hears singing.  The Hebrew word for ‘singing’  in this verse is ana and can mean ‘answer, testify, afflict, oppress, or humble.’  It can even mean ‘sing’ in the sense of the earth and heaven responding to each other.  Using both men’s perceptions, there really is a war going on – a spiritual war. Isra’el is being tested during Moshe’s stay on the mountain. The men and women of Isra’el are being oppressed and worship another god.   Yahweh in His heavenly realm hears the sound on earth desires to respond to the revelry on earth with destruction.  There is ‘singing.’

When Moshe arrives at the camp and sees what is happening, he throws down the stone tablets and they shatter at the base of the mountain.  He seizes the golden calf, melts it in the fire, grounds it to powder and scatters it on the water.  He makes the Israelites drink the polluted water.  After  Moshe does all of this, he asks his brother, “What did these people do to you to make you lead them into such a terrible sin?” (Exodus 32:21)

Moshe asks a good question.  Aaron had been  Moshe’s right hand man and spokesman in front of Pharaoh.  He had witnessed the judgments against the gods of Egypt.  What would make the chosen high priest of Elohim listen to the whims of the people? 

Aaron took no responsibility for his actions.  He told Moshe not to be so angry, then he blames the people and their determination to do evil.   He rationalized that because Moshe had been so long, they could make a god, so he collected all the gold.   Then, he makes it sound as if the calf just popped out of the fire (Exodus 32:21-24).

I can almost hear Moshe’s thought process. “Really Aaron?  I shouldn’t be angry?  Yahweh was angry and I interceded for you because I didn’t want Him to destroy these people.  Really Aaron?  Because the people are so faithless and bent on evil, you not only joined with them, but helped them?  Really Aaron? You threw some gold into a fire and a calf just miraculously appeared?  Really Aaron?  Did I just spend forty days and nights on the mountain with Yahweh while He wrote with His own hand His commandments for His holy people?  Yes, Aaron, the people are out of control and thanks to you, our enemies will ridicule us.”

After Aaron’s weak justification for his actions, Moshe didn’t acknowledge his response.  He stood at the entrance of the camp and shouted, “Whoever is for Adonai come to me!” (Exodus 32:26)

All of the descendants of Levi, Moshe’s own tribal family members, assembled around  him.  With righteous judgment, Moshe commands them, “Each of you, put his sword on his side and go up and down the camp from gate to gate; and every man is to kill his own family members, his own friends and his own neighbor!”

The Levites did as Moshe ordered them and three thousand people died. Because they went against their own sons and families, the Levites were set apart for Yahweh.   Their willingness to do what Moshe said brought an eternal blessing on the Tribe of Levi.

Judgment: Books and Plagues

“The next day Moshe said to the people, ‘You have committed a terrible sin. Now I will go up to Adonai; maybe I will be able to atone for your sin’” (Exodus 32:30).

Moshe interceded for the lives of a nation of people while on the mountain and returns to the same mountain to atone for their sins.  He is so serious about atoning for the sins of Isra’el that he is willing to lose his own favor with Yahweh. He begs Him to “blot me out of your book which you have written” if you cannot forgive them.  With righteous justice, Yahweh responds to Moshe, “Those who have sinned against me are the ones I will blot out of my book” (Exodus 32:33).  

There are several references to books and names being blotted out or not even written in.   The most descriptive verses are found in Daniel and Revelation.  Daniel describes the scene of a courtroom where there are thrones and the Ancient One takes his seat.  The description of the Ancient One’s clothing, hair and throne are the glorified Yeshua.  Millions upon millions of people stand before him as books are opened. 

“As I watched, thrones were set in place; and the Ancient One took his seat. His clothing was white as snow, the hair on his head was like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, with wheels of burning fire. A stream of fire flowed from his presence; thousands and thousands ministered to him, millions and millions stood before him. Then the court was convened, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10).

According to John’s Revelation, at the last judgment of the Great White Throne, books will be opened that have recorded what everyone has done in their life.  The dead from the sea and the grave will be judged by what is written in these books.  There is also the Book of Life.  Those whose names are written in this book will not experience the second death in the lake of fire.

Next I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done.  The sea gave up the dead in it; and Death and Sh’ol gave up the dead in them; and they were judged, each according to what he had done. Then Death and Sh’ol were hurled into the lake of fire. This is the second death — the lake of fire. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).  

Moshe asks for his name to be ‘blotted out’ of the book if that is what is needed to atone for Isra’el.  His request implies that names can be blotted out.  From the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, such a request has eternal consequence.

Yahweh took action against the Israelites and struck them with a plague.  There is nothing specific written about the plague except that the people were afflicted.  Yeshua will vomit out of his mouth those who mix the holy and the profane, so it seems possible that drinking living water contaminated with the ashes from the golden cafe made the people vomit.   They had become lukewarm and the living water, the precious commodity that came from the Rock, was mixed with the profanity of their sin.  Moshe made the Israelites ingest the contaminated water so they would physically understand how sick their sin made Yahweh.  He used the plague to make them understand that the gold from Egypt was not to be used for creating idols, but for making His Tabernacle.

Selah

The sin of mixing the holy and the profane is just as nauseating to Elohim today as it was 4000 years ago.

The Short Journey Begins

Yahweh now tells Moshe to being the journey toward the Promised Land.  He promises to send His angel in front of them to drive out their enemies, but He will not go with them.   Their stiff-necked ways may make Him want to destroy them so He keeps His distance for their own protection.  When the people hear this ‘bad news’ they mourn the loss of Yahweh’s presence and remove their adah or ‘ornaments.’   

When Yahweh came to speak with them at the base of Mount Sinai, they wanted Him to remain at a distance and speak through Moshe.   Now that they have sinned against Him and He remains distant, they mourn.  They mourn because they desire Yahweh’s presence, His grace to their nation. When Yahweh tells them to remove their ornaments, they obey Him for the first time showing a sincere desire to turn back to Him, to repent of their sin.

Ornaments or adah

There are many different references to ‘ornaments’ in Scripture.  Ornaments are the earrings and foreign gods in Jacob’s house (Genesis 35:1-4).  Ornaments are part of the plundered gold jewelry – brooches, earrings, rings, and ornaments (Exodus 35).   In Judges 8:21, there were crescent ornaments around the camels’ necks of Zebah and Zalmunna implying that these ornaments were Arab and depicted the moon god,  Allah.   The prophet Isaiah speaks of the ornaments that dangle from the ankles of  the women of Tzion who strut along haughty and flirty.  These references all involve idolatry when describing ornaments (Isaiah 3:16).   

The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah also describe ornaments as bridal accessories.

“Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride” (Isaiah 49:18).

“Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32)).  

Perhaps Yahweh says, “Keep them off for a while” for reasons other than mourning their idolatries.   Perhaps He wants the Israelites keep their ornaments off because they have broken their marriage covenant with Him.  They were no longer His precious bride, but a woman who had gone whoring after other gods.  Until He could decide their fate, they were not worthy of being His bride and adorning herself with bridal ornaments.

Panim el Panim – Face to Face

“Yahweh would speak to Moshe face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11).

“I no longer call you slaves, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is about; but I have called you friends, because everything I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

The Tent of Meeting was pitched outside the Israelite camp.  In fact, it was ‘far away’ from the camp.  If anyone wanted to consult with Elohim, they had to go far away from the camp.  Whenever Moshe would head out to the Tent of Meeting to meet with Yahweh, every man would stand at his tent door and watch until Moshe had gone into the Tent of Meeting.  After Moshe entered the Tent of Meeting, the column of cloud would descend and station itself at the entrance. When the people saw the column of cloud, they would prostrate themselves at their tent doors.

Some of the first Hebrew words I remember hearing were panim el panim or ‘face to face.’  This is how Yahweh would speak with Moshe,  as a man speaks to his friend.  In the Tent of Meeting, Yahweh was able reveal himself, the One who would become salvation for all the world.

One of the interesting aspects of panim or ‘face’ is that it is plural suggesting that a man and even Elohim have many ‘faces’ or ‘facial expressions.’  A person can have a downcast face or a face of delight.  He can have a lifted countenance and smile or a red face of anger.  He can have a furrowed brow of disgust or confusion.  This is how Moshe and Yahweh communicated panim el panim.

Moshe speaks.

“You have said, ‘I know you by name,’ and ‘You have found favor in my sight.’  Now, please if it is really the case that I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways; so that I will understand you and continue finding favor in your sight.  Moreover, keep on seeing this nation as your people.”

Yahweh responds.

“Set your mind at rest – my presence will go with you after all.” 

It is important that the presence of Elohim goes with Isra’el as they travel.  It is a sign to the nations that Moshe and the Israelites have found favor in the sight of Elohim.  Moshe points out that it is the presence of Yahweh with them that distinguishes them from all other nations.

During the Millennial Kingdom, the presence of Yahweh will still be on the nation of Isra’el and the Jewish people who have guarded Torah for centuries.   The nations of the world will see it and want to join with them so they can know the presence of Elohim (Zechariah 8:22-23).   It will be like the years of Isra’el wandering in the wilderness when all nations knew and understood the presence of Yahweh was with them, only better.

Moshe continues.

“I beg you to show me your glory!” 

Yahweh agrees.

“I will cause all my goodness to pass before you, and in your presence I will pronounce the name yod-hey-vav-hey.  Moreover I show favor to whomever I will, and I display mercy to whomever I will.  But my face you cannot see, because a human being cannot look at me and remain alive.  Here, is a place near me; stand on the rock.  When my glory passes by, I will put you inside a crevice in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove my hand, and you will see my back, but my face is not to be seen.” 

Moshe stood on holy ground at the burning bush in the presence of Elohim and heard Yahweh speak His memorial name Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.  Moshe is the only one who heard it and knew it. Now Moshe is going to be allowed to see the Shekinah and again hear the name Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh pronounced. 

“For it is the God who once said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has made his light shine in our hearts, the light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of the Messiah Yeshua” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Moshe was told to hide in a crevice of a rock for protection.  Yahweh was going to cover him with His hand until He passed by.  He would then remove His hand and Moshe would only see His back.  Being covered by the hand of Elohim alludes to Yeshua who is the ‘right hand of salvation’ that Yahweh uses to save His people (Psalm 60:7, 108:7). Being covered by Yahweh’s hand implies Moshe saw Yeshua.  

Selah is the modern-day Petra and known for being a formidable rock fortress.  It is located next to the Wadi Musa which means “Valley of Moses” and is the traditional place for where Moshe struck the rock.  Petra is full of crevices and looking at photos to the entrance of Petra, it would seem that a crevice the size found in Petra would be perfect to protect Moshe from seeing the face of Yahweh and dying. 

Selah

Moshe speaks to Yahweh face to face, yet is not allowed to see His face.

What is the difference between the two ‘faces’ of Yahweh?

The Marriage Covenant with Isra’el

Yahweh tells Moshe to cut two more tablets of stone like the first ones. He would inscribe the same words on the tablets as the first ones.  I was taught that Yahweh only wrote on the first tablets.  How the second tablets were written remained a mystery (maybe Moshe took notes) becoming another way of keeping believers from realizing the significance of the tablets of stone.  The truth, found in Exodus 34:1, says that Yahweh also wrote the second tablets.

Moshe did as he was told and went up the mountain a third time.  Yahweh descends in a cloud and stands with him. Yahweh proclaims His name in Moshe’s presence along with His eternal character.

Adonai passed before him and proclaimed: “YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth;  showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents’ offenses to be experienced by their children and grandchildren, and even by the third and fourth generations.”(Exodus 34:5-7).

Moshe’s response:

He humbles himself before the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh by bowing his head to the ground and prostrating himself.  He asks that Yahweh go with the Israelites even though they are stiff-necked and continue to sin.  Moshe still wants them to be Yahweh’s treasured possession.

Yahweh’s response:

“Here, I am making a covenant; in front of all your people I will do wonders such have not been created anywhere on earth or in any nation.  All the people around you will see the work of Adonai.  What I am going to do through you will be awesome.  Observe what I Am ordering you today” (Exodus 34:10-11).

With the second set of stone tablets, Yahweh, the great and compassionate Elohim, who shows grace to generations, forgives sins, and allows the consequences of guilt to be experienced by the progeny to the third generation, makes a covenant with Isra’el through Moshe.  This is the third covenant and will be witnessed through the ‘signs’ and wonders that Yahweh will perform for the nation of Isra’el, wonders which “have not been created anywhere on earth or in any nation.” Isra’el’s response to the covenant is to ‘observe what Yahweh orders.’

“Yahweh – whose very name is Jealous – is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14).

Other Gods

Yahweh will drive out the enemies of Isra’el before them.  The Israelites are not to make any covenants with the people in the lands where they are going so they won’t be ensnared with their gods and go astray within their own borders.  They are to demolish the altars of the foreign gods, smash all standing stones, and cut down sacred poles in order to remove the temptation to worship other gods.  They are not to offer sacrifices to other gods, share in sacrificial meals or give their sons to foreign daughters who will prostitute themselves to their own gods. They are not to cast metal gods. 

The modern-day state of Isra’el does not adhere to this part of the covenant.  Though the Land is full of archaeological digs that prove the extinction of the Emorites, Canannites, Hittites, Perrizites, Hivites and Yebusites, idolatry abounds with Isra’el’s acceptance of all religious systems.  There is the Baha’i Temple on Mount Carmel, the same place where Elijah stood against the gods of Jezebel.  There are the numerous catholic churches ‘protecting’ Biblical landmarks likes Peter’s house in Capernaum, the supposed place of Yeshua’s crucifixion in the Old City of Jerusalem and what is believed to be Miryam’s home in Nazareth.  There are the loudspeakers on every Islamic mosque in the Land that blast the call to Muslim prayer several times a day as well as the Dome of the Rock sitting on what is considered the Temple foundation.  Yahweh is a jealous Elohim and He will eventually destroy all of these high places with their altars, standing stones, metal statues and worship of other gods.  He must cleanse His Land and restore the city of Jerusalem before He is able to live among His people again.

“You are not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 34:26).

From this one command, a whole slew of dietary or manmade kasrut regulations have been developed.  Kasrut includes kosher certifications and dietary limitations on certain food combinations.  From this one verse, kashrut has come to mean that milk and meat should not be cooked together. Thus, the cheeseburger is not kashrut.  Subsequently rules for double cooking and eating utensils have evolved – one set for cooking meat and one for cooking dairy. 

Rashi reasoned that the verse did not mean ‘all meat’ and dairy, but only those mammals that produced milk.  In other words, chickens do not produce milk, therefore, their meat can be eaten with cheese or dairy products.  So, enjoy your delicious chicken divan!

The verse, however, specifically refers to goats and their kids.  On the surface, boiling or cooking a young goat in its mother’s milk seems unnatural and command a moral sensitivity to an animal.   After all, a baby goat gets its life from its mother’s milk so cooking it in that same milk would be cruel.  Deuteronomy 22:6 gives a comparative perspective in regard to baby birds and their mothers, “If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young.”  Even Leviticus 22:8 speaks of kindness to animals when it comes to slaughtering them, “Do not slaughter a cow or a sheep and its young on the same day.”

Ugarit was an ancient port city in northern Syria.  Ugarit had close ties with the Hittites and the Canaanites.  Stone tablets discovered in the early 1900s shed some light on this regulation.  First, the word ‘mother’ is not in Ugarite text.  The word ‘cook’ is more likely ‘slaughter’ and refers to a ‘sacrifice’ and not to cooking in a kitchen.  The actual translated text from the stone says, “Over the fire seven times the sacrificers slaughter a kid in milk.”

Two of the Biblical references about cooking a kid in its mother’s milk are not found with the dietary commands, but with warnings about idolatry and how to worship Elohim. ‘Boiling a kid in milk’ was part of Canaanite sacrificial rituals.  This specific regulations was about idolatry, not a means for developing kashrut. So, take a big bite of that cheeseburger and enjoy it – except in Isra’el where kashrut is the always the kosher way to eat!

The “Appointed Times”

In order to keep the Israelites from filling their need for celebrations and merging with the ways of the nations around them,  Yahweh gives His people prophetic holy days, detailed in Leviticus 23.  These holy days will unite them as a people, set them apart from all other nations and give them a vision of hope for the coming Seed of deliverance.  For each of the major three ‘appointed times’: Passover with Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits, Feast of Weeks and Feast of Tabernacles or the Ingathering, all Israelite men were to appear before Yahweh.  At this time, Yahweh gives Moshe specific regulations regarding the sacrifices and offerings for each of the ‘appointed times.’   

Regulations for Sacrifices and Pesach

Blood is not to be offered with leavened bread.  None of the Passover sacrifice is to be left until morning.

Every communion I have ever experienced in church had leavened bread unless it was a weird flaky wafer. Because the church fathers removed  ‘communion’ from its root of Passover, no one realizes that leavened bread defiles the whole ceremony.

Regulations for Matzah or Unleavened Bread

For seven days during the first month,  Abib, unleavened bread is to be eaten because it was in that month that the Israelites were delivered from Egypt.  Abib or Aviv is a reference to an ear of corn or newly ripened grain.  The first month of the Biblical year begins around this time.

Regulations for HaBikkurim or Firstfruits

The firstfruits of the womb belong to Yahweh.  The firstfruits of livestock, cattle and flocks, all males belong to Yahweh.  Each is to be redeemed with a lamb.   On day 15 of Abib, the barley harvest would begin by gathering a sheaf of grain. The Israelites were to bring the best firstfruits, the best sheaf of grain, from the Land into the house of Yahweh.

Regulations for Shabbat or Sabbath

The Israelites were to work six days, but rest on the seventh, even during the plowing and harvest seasons.   Living in an agricultural  area, I have learned that planting seeds in the spring and harvest time, whether summer or fall,  has only a small window of time to be accomplished.  Even so, Elohim commands His people to cease their work on Shabbat during these specific times.  They are no longer slaves; they are not to work seven days a week.

Regulations for Shavuot or Feast of Weeks

This is the first time this ‘appointed time’ is mentioned. It is a time of celebrating the first-gathered sheaves of the wheat harvest after the barley harvest has been completed.  It is also the memorial to the giving of Torah on Mount Sinai.

Regulations for Sukkot or Festival of Ingathering

This ‘appointed time’  is to be celebrated at the end of the year’s harvest in the fall. 

The Ketubah

A ketubah is a written marriage contract or covenant like the marriage vows that two people make to one another and are legally binding.   The groom/husband and bride/wife each have responsibilities in a written ketubah.   One ketubah that I found listed 100s of responsibilities for the wife while the husband was only required to provide shoes for the children.  Though it seems comical, putting shoes on a child meant that the father worked hard providing every need for his family including shoes!

On the mountain, Yahweh presents His marriage ketubah to Isra’el in the form of His commandments to Moshe.   He writes out His part of the ketubah called Torah on tablets of stone.  Moshe is also commanded to write down the terms for the bride, Isra’el. When Isra’el said,  “Everything Yahweh says we will do,” the ketubah went into effect.

The Veil

Moshe comes down from the mountain with the two tablets of the marriage covenant, the ketubah.  He doesn’t realize that his face glows from being in the presence of Yahweh. The Israelites, including Aaron, are afraid to approach him until he calls to them.  Moshe speaks to Aaron and the leaders of Isra’el and tells them everything that Yahweh told him on the mountain.  From that day forward, whenever Moshe spoke with the people, he would put a veil over his face, but in the presence of Yahweh in the Tent of Meeting, he would remove it.

Yeshua and Sardis

Revelation 3:1-6

Yeshua reveals himself to Sardis as the one who “has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars.”  The seven stars are the seven angels watching over the congregations and with these words he proves that he is the one sending the message. The sevenfold Ruach Elohim is “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fearing Adonai – he will be inspired by fearing Adonai” (Isaiah 11:1-2).

Sardis was an important city of the Persian Empire, modern-day Iraq.  It had a strong military presence and was on the major highway leading from the interior of the Aegean coast to the fertile plains of Mesopotamia.

The congregation in Sardis has a reputation of being alive, but is really dead.  Yeshua tells them to strengthen what little they still have or it will die too.  What gives life to a believer is the Ruach Elohim; thus it seems they are missing that which gives life (John 6:63).

Yeshua emphatically tells Sardis to “Wake Up!”  The believers in Sardis are sleep-walking and are unaware of their complacency.  If they don’t WAKE UP,  Yeshua will come like a thief and they will miss the moment.

In Matthew 25 Yeshua tells the parable of the ten bridesmaids.  The bridegroom takes a long time to arrive and they all fall asleep.  Only five of them, when they hear the voice of the bridegroom, have oil in their lamps and go with him into the wedding banquet.  The other five are not ready and are left outside when the bridegroom shuts the door.  Oil in this parable is symbolic of the Ruach Elohim.   All ten were bridesmaids, but for the five that did not have the oil of the RuachYeshua came like a thief in the night leaving them behind.

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

The works of the people in Sardis are incomplete in Elohim’s sight.  This implies that these believers have lamps, but no oil; the Word, but no actions.  They have forgotten what they received and heard and no longer obey the gospel message. The result is spiritual deadness.  Yeshua compares their incomplete works to soiled clothing or spotted wedding gowns.

There are followers of Yeshua in Sardis who have not soiled their gowns. They will walk with him clothed in white because they are worthy of his reward.  Those who have victory over their complacency will receive white robes.  To everyone who overcomes in Sardis, their name will never be blotted out of the Book of Life and they will be personally acknowledged by Yeshua before his Father.

Being ‘blotted out’ of the Book of Life challenges ‘eternal security.’  Those in Sardis who have spotted gowns will be blotted out of the Book of Life.  Though they had one been written in the book, their names are ‘blotted out’ and  they spend eternity outside the gates of the New Jerusalem in the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of  their teeth–the place of greatest regret (Luke 13:28).

Sardis was not a living body in spite of its reputation.  It was dead and needed to WAKE UP or lose their eternal reward.  The overcomer will be able to stand before the throne of Elohim on the final Day of Atonement when the books are opened to find his name written in the Book of Life.   Yeshua will call him by name and introduce him to his Father saying, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21-24).

“I saw no Temple in the city … the gates will will never close, they stay open all day because night will not exist there, and the honor and splendor of the nations will be brought into it.  Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:22-27).

Sardis could describe the Israelites.  They have quickly forgotten what they have heard and received. They didn’t obey Elohim and turn from sin.  Their spiritual clothes became ‘soiled’ and they were no longer worthy to be Elohim’s chosen people, even to the point that He wants to destroy them.   From the admonishing words of Yeshua to the people in Sardis,  names can be blotted out of the Book of Life.  This is a serious consequence for having sinful soiled clothes. 

“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14).

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

Haftarah (Readings of the Prophets)

1 Kings 18:1-39

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Acts 7:35-8:1

Midrash Ki Tissa: The Oil of Anointing

Discuss the oil in these passages Psalm 45:7, Matthew 25:8-9, Hebrews 1:9 and James 5:14 in the context of the perfumed sacred oil.

©2014 Tent Stake Ministries

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