Posts Tagged ‘Sabbath’

Parashah 37: Shlach l’kah (Send on your behalf)

Numbers 13:1-15:41

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Send men on your behalf to reconnoiter the land of Kena‘an, which I am giving to the people of Isra’el. From each ancestral tribe send someone who is a leader in his tribe’” (Numbers 13:1-2).

The Twelve Spies

From the Pa’ran Desert, Moshe sent 12 men as spies into Canaan with the instructions to go to the Negev desert and up into the hills to see what the Land of Promise is like. They were to observe if the Canaanites were few or many, strong or weak. They were to make note if the land was good or bad, fertile or unproductive, and whether there were trees for wood. They were to search out the cities to see if they were fortified or would be easily taken. And, if they had the courage, they were to bring some of the fruit of the land.

The men chosen were: Shamua, Tribe of Reuben; Shaphat, Tribe of Simeon; Kalev (Caleb), Tribe of Judah; Yigal, Tribe of Issachar; Y’hoshua (Joshua), Tribe of Ephraim; Palti, Tribe of Benjaimin; Gadiel, Tribe of Zebulun; Gadi, Tribe of Joseph (Manasseh); Ammi’el, Tribe of Dan; Stur, Tribe of Asher, Nachbi, Tribe of Naftalii; and Ge’u’el, Tribe of Gad.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Reuben (See)
Shamua (Name) – שמיע – shin, mem, yod, ayin
– consume the mighty finished work, see

Simeon (Hear)
Shafat (Decide) – שפט – shin, peh, tet
– consume the source of the twisting

Judah (Praise)
Kalev (Heart) – כלב – kaf, lamed, bet
– what is behind, urges forward the house

Issachar (Reward)
Yig’al (Redeem) – יגאל – yod, gimel, alef, lamed
– finished work lifts up the first strength urging forward

Efrayim (Fruitful)
Hoshea or Y’hoshua (Salvation)  – הושע – hey, vav, shin, ayin
– reveal the binding consumed, understand

Benjamin (Son of My People)
Palti (My Deliverer) – פלטי – peh, lamed, vav, yod
– source urges forward the binding of the finished work

Zebulun (Prince)
Gadi’el (God of My Troops) – גדיאל – gimel, dalet, yod, alef, lamed
– lift up the pathway, the finished work of the first strength, urging forward

Yosef (Adding)
Gadi (My Good Fortune) – גדי – gimel, dalet, yod
– lift up the pathway, the finished work

Dan (Judge)
Ammi’el (God of My People) – עמיאל – ayin, mem, yod, alef, lamed
– see the mighty finished work of the first strength urging forward

Asher (Happy)
Setur (Hidden) – סתור – samech, tav, vav, resh
– support the covenant sign of binding the highest authority

Naftali (My Struggle)
Nachbi (Refuge) – נחבי – nun, chet, bet, yod
– life protects the house of the finished work

Gad (Fortune)
Ge’u’el (God is Exalted) – גאואל – gimel, alef, vav, alef, lamed
– lift up the first strength binding, the first strength urges forward

The spies left during the season when the first grapes would ripen (July/August). They searched out the Land from the Tzin Desert to Rechov near the entrance to Hamat. From the Negev, they arrived at Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai, Talmai, and the Anakim lived. In the Eshkol Valley (Cluster), they cut off a branch bearing one cluster of grapes that had to be carried on a pole between two of them. They also took pomegranates and figs.

The Tzin Desert was in the southern area of the Promised Land where the Amalekites lived. Rechov (Street) was west of the Jordan River where the Canaanites lived. Hamat (Fortress), near Damascus, Syria, was as far north as the spies traveled. Hebron (To Join) is in the Judean Hills about 19 miles south of Jerusalem. This is the area that Abraham settled and where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah are buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Forty days later, the spies returned to the Pa’ran Desert in Kadesh (Holy) from their expedition. The whole community gathered so the 12 men could show them the fruit of the land and tell them what they had seen.

“We entered the land where you sent us, and indeed it does flow with milk and honey – here is its fruit! However the people living in the land are fierce, and the cities are fortified, and very large. Moreover, we saw the ‘Anakim there. Amalek lives in the area of the Negev; the Hitti, the Y’vusi and the Emori live in the hills; and the Kena’ani live by the sea and along the Yarden” (Numbers 13:27-29).

Kalev wanted to immediately go in and take the Land. There was no doubt in his mind that the Israelite armies could conquer the people. However, the other men who went on the mission had another view of the inhabitants. They were giants! And, the land devoured its people.

“All the people we saw there were giant! We saw the N’filim, the descendants of ‘Anak, who was from the N’filim; to ourselves we looked like grasshoppers by comparison, and we looked that way to them too!” (Numbers 13:32-33)

Giants Among Grasshoppers

While on their reconnaissance mission, the spies encountered giants. The first explanation I ever heard about these ‘giants’ was that they weren’t real people. The Israelites were so afraid of going into battle against an unknown enemy that their fear made the people seem gigantic. However, with the size of the grape cluster and the testimony of the spies, there were gigantic people in the land, and because of their large size, the spies felt like grasshoppers.

‘Men of great stature’ in the Hebrew text is Nephilim. These ‘men of great stature,’ the Anakim, descended from Anak who descended from Arba (Joshua 5:13). Arba founded a city named Kiriath Arba, south of Canaan near Edom and Moab. In Genesis 9:25, Canaan was cursed by Noach because his father had exposed Noach’s nakedness as he slept off a drunken state. Some believe that Ham’s wife, and therefore Canaan, carried the Nephilim gene which is how they (the descendants of Canaan) were on the earth ‘after the flood.’

Og, the King of Bashan, was a giant descended from Repha along with Ishbi-Benob, Saph and a man with 12 fingers and 12 toes. Og’s bed was 14-feet long and 6-feet wide. Eventually Joshua expels the Nephilim from the land except for a remnant that took refuge in Gaza and Ashdod. Goliath, the Philistine that David encountered, was a descendant of the Anakim who had brothers. Amalek was the son of Eliphaz, the grandson of Esau.  The descendants of Amalek were known as the Amalekites and have always been the enemies of Isra’el (Deuteronomy 3:11, 2 Joshua 11:22, 2 Samuel 21:15-22).

According to the Book of Enoch, the Nephilim devoured the land by consuming its plants, animals, and even human life. Devouring the land was part of the report given by the spies suggesting their concern was not oversized fear, but actual giants.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Giant or Nephilim – נפלים – nun, peh, lamed, yod, mem
– life source urges forward the finished work mighty

Anakim – ענקים – ayin, nun, kof, yod, mem
– see life, what is behind the finished work mighty

Amalek – עמלק – ayin, mem, lamed, kof
– see the chaos urging forward what is in the past

“Y’hoshua the son of Nun and Kalev the son of Y’funeh, from the detachment that had reconnoitered the land, tore their clothes and said to the whole community of Isra’el, ‘The land we passed through in order to spy it out is an outstandingly good land! If Adonai is pleased with us, then he will bring us into this land and give it to us — a land flowing with milk and honey. Just don’t rebel against Adonai. And don’t be afraid of the people living in the land — we’ll eat them up! Their defense has been taken away from them, and Adonai is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!’”(Numbers 14:6-9)

Because of the Nephilim and the fear emanated by ten of the spies, the Israelites wanted to return to Egypt; however, Caleb and Joshua tried to encourage them.   They saw the ‘land flowing with milk and honey,’ a land of abundance. If they didn’t rebel against Adonai, He would give them victory over their enemies. Their plea didn’t affect the faithless hearts of the Israelites and they demanded Caleb and Joshua be stoned to death!

Elohim became so angry that He wanted to destroy the entire nation and make from Moshe an even greater nation. Again, Moshe intercedes for the people and for Adonai’s reputation among the Egyptians and the pagan nations around them. He pleads with Adonai to forgive His people according to the ‘greatness of His grace.’ The Hebrew word for ‘grace’ is chesed and is also translated as ‘lovingkindness.’ Chesed is found throughout the Torah and the prophets 193 times showing that Adonai is loving, kind, merciful, full of grace Elohim to His people. This stifles the heresy that Adonai is a mean, judgmental Elohim in the Old Testament.

“So now, please, let Adonai’s power be as great as when you said, ‘Adonai is slow to anger, rich in grace, forgiving offenses and crimes; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents’ offenses to be experienced by their children and even by the third and fourth generations.’ Please! Forgive the offense of this people according to the greatness of your grace, just as you have borne with this people from Egypt until now” (Numbers 14:17-19).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Grace (Favor) or chen – חן – chet, nun
– protect life

Lovingkindness or chesed – חסד – chet, samech, dalet
– protect and support the pathway

Forgive or salach – סלח – samech, lamed, chet
– support urging forward protection

The first time ‘forgive’ is used in the Hebrew Scriptures is when Abraham pleads for the righteous living in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Unfortunately, there were not enough righteous people, and their sin was so grievous that Elohim destroyed them. They were never given an opportunity to repent. The next time ‘forgive’ is occurs is when Pharaoh becomes overwhelmed with the plagues and feigns repentance only to harden his heart again. When the children of Isra’el sin against ‘I Am’ with the golden calf, Moshe pleads with Him to ‘forgive’ their sin. Moshe pleads again with Adonai to ‘forgive’ His people so that His Name is not profaned among the nations.

“Adonai answered, ‘I have forgiven, as you have asked. But as sure as I live, and that the whole earth is filled with the glory of Adonai, none of the people who saw my glory and the signs I did in Egypt and in the desert, yet tested me these ten times and did not listen to my voice, will see the land I swore to their ancestors! None of those who treated me with contempt will see it. But my servant Kalev, because he had a different Spirit with him and has fully followed me — him I will bring into the land he entered, and it will belong to his descendants’” (Numbers 14:20-24).

Adonai forgives.

Though Elohim forgives the Israelites, there are consequences to their sin and rebellion. His justice must prevail or they would consider Him a ‘pushover.’ They will wander in the desert 40 years, one year for each day the spies were in the Promised Land.   Adults over 20 who saw His glory and deliverance from Egypt would die in the wilderness.  Their children, however, would live to enter the Promised Land. The ten spies whose fearful hearts led the people into rebellion immediately died in a plague.   Caleb and Joshua who had stood firm in their faith were the only two who left Egypt who would enter the Promised Land.

“Your carcasses will fall in this desert! Every single one of you who were included in the census over the age of twenty, you who have complained against me, will certainly not enter the land … except for Kalev the son of Y’funeh and Y’hoshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would be taken as booty — them I will bring in. They will know the land you have rejected. But you, your carcasses will fall in this desert; and your children will wander about in the desert for forty years bearing the consequences of your prostitutions until the desert eats up your carcasses. It will be a year for every day you spent reconnoitering the land that you will bear the consequences of your offenses — forty days, forty years. Then you will know what it means to oppose me! I, Adonai, have spoken.’ I will certainly do this to this whole evil community who have assembled together against me — they will be destroyed in this desert and die there’” (Numbers 14:29-35).

When faced with the consequences of their sin, the Israelites had remorse. The New International Version says, “They mourned bitterly.”  Rather than admitting their faithlessness and repenting, they devise a ‘fig-leaf’ way to correct the situation.

The next morning a group of Israelites decided they would go to the high country and fight the Amalekites and the Canaanites. Moshe warns them that Elohim wouldn’t be with them because He had already decided their fate. They become presumptuous in the face of Elohim and go to the hill country without Moshe or the Ark of the Covenant. The Amalekites and Canaanites descend upon them and push them all the way back to Hormah.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Remorse or chartah – חרטה – chet, resh, tet, hey
– protect highest authority’s twisting, behold

Presumptuous or zed – זד – zayin, dalet
– divide the pathway

The rebellion of a few fearful men led an entire nation into rebellion and transformed a ten-day journey into a 40-year trek through the wilderness. The hope of entering the Promised Land was denied those who had been delivered from Egypt and given to their children. Caleb and Joshua will enter the Land, but the rest of their peers will die along the way.

Moshe changes Hoshea’s name to Y’hoshua in Numbers 13:15. Though Hoshea means ‘help and salvation of Elohim,’ Y’hoshua is attached to the name of Adonai from where that salvation comes.  Changing Joshua’s name becomes prophetic to Yeshua, the salvation of Isra’el.

Y’hoshua is from the Tribe of Ephraim; and Kalev meaning ‘heart’ is from the Tribe of Judah. The faithfulness of these two men brings Isra’el into the Promised Land as one nation under their leadership. After the death of King Solomon, Isra’el divides into the House of Isra’el (Ephraim) and the House of Judah.   These two kingdoms remain divided today and many wait for the prophecy of Ezekiel to be fulfilled. Even the disciples hoped for the restoration of Isra’el when Judah and Ephraim come together as two sticks in the hand of Elohim as they were in the days of Kalev and Y’hoshua –– a united nation with ‘a heart for the salvation of Adonai.’

“The word of the Lord came to me:  ‘Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him. Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.’”

“When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand. Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.  I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Isra’el. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms’” (Ezekiel 37:15-22).

One Torah for Isra’el and the Foreigner

“For this community there will be the same law for you as for the foreigner living with you; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations; the foreigner is to be treated the same way before Adonai as yourselves. The same Torah and standard of judgment will apply to both you and the foreigner living with you” (Numbers 15:14-16).

“You are to have one law for whoever it is that does something wrong by mistake” (Numbers 15:29).

Elohim knew that Isra’el, along with the foreigners who joined with her, would continue to ‘fall short of the mark’ and sin, not always intentionally, but through a loss of knowledge. He wanted His children to have a vision of hope for entering the Promised Land. He gave them regulations for burnt offerings, sacrifices for fulfilling a vow, a voluntary offering, and His ‘appointed times.’ Every citizen of Isra’el or foreigner who wanted to draw near to Adonai were to follow the same regulations.


“But an individual who does something wrong intentionally, whether a citizen or a foreigner, is blaspheming Adonai. That person will be cut off from his people. Because he has had contempt for the word of Adonai and has disobeyed his command, that person will be cut off completely; his offense will remain with him” (Numbers 15:30-31).

The definition of ‘blasphemy’ is ‘the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.’ Blasphemy occurs when an individual, whether from Isra’el or a foreigner, intentionally breaks a command showing contempt for Adonai’s word. It also includes insulting and showing lack of reverence for Him and His sacred commandments.

Some will argue about the ‘end’ of certain commandments. They not only blaspheme the Word of Adonai with their arguments, but mock the righteous who continue to obey the commandments. My family has been mocked by Christians when we say we eat according to Elohim’s dietary instructions. Bacon is flaunted in our faces in such a way that could only be described as blasphemous. This intentional sin carries a severe consequence: to be cut off from the people of Isra’el, and, in essence, they are.

In this post-modern world, even some ‘faith-based’ movies are blasphemous. Many films have been produced that entice believers into the theater because the title or trailer that includes some Biblical names or concepts. Once in the theater, the ‘father of lies’ builds on the great deception and many believers subtly fall away from Truth into a humanistic world view that blasphemes Adonai.

Sabbath Sabbath Sabbath

Adonai is serious about the Sabbath. First, the Israelites learned He was their Provider when He gave them manna. They learned that His instructions were to be followed or their manna would become worm infested. They learned about the importance of remembering the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments. They were no longer slaves and were not to work like slaves, but cease their work as Elohim did. In the moed’im, Sabbath became the first ‘appointed time.’ Whenever Adonai gives Moshe regulations, there is one more command about Sabbath, because forgetting it blasphemes Adonai.

A man is stoned to death outside the camp by the entire community of Isra’el for gathering wood on the Sabbath.  Regulation: Do not gather wood on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:36).

Tzizit – Tassels

“Speak to the people of Isra’el, instructing them to make, through all their generations, tzitziyot on the corners of their garments, and to put with the tzitzit on each corner a blue thread. It is to be a tzitzit for you to look at and thereby remember all of Adonai’s mitzvot and obey them, so that you won’t go around wherever your own heart and eyes lead you to prostitute yourselves; but it will help you remember and obey all my mitzvot and be holy for your God. I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt in order to be your God. I am Adonai your God” (Numbers 15:38-41).

Next to this Scripture, I had written shomer mitzvot which means ‘guardian of the commandments.’ The purpose for wearing tzizit was to help the Israelites remember to guard all of Adonai’s commands. He wanted them to have a physical reminder of His commandments on their garments so they would not go wherever their heart led them and prostitute themselves to other gods. By obeying this mitzvah, they would live as Kingdom servants of ‘I Am.’

The blue thread reminded them the commands came from Adonai Himself, from the realm of heaven where He dwells. According to the Talmud, the blue for the thread is techelet that came from a sea invertebrate called the chillazon and looked like a fish. Its body and blood were the color of the sea and it buried itself in the sand and rose to the surface of the sea once every 70 years making the dye rare and very expensive.

The Torah Observant and Hebrew Roots movements teach that everyone, men and women, should wear tzizit based on the verse ‘one Torah for the citizen and the foreigner.’ The Hebrew rendering of Israelites, however, is ben Isra’el or ‘sons of Isra’el.’ Ben is inclusive of all men of Isra’el whether they are fathers, sons, grandsons or nephews, but does not include women. Jewish law says that women should not wear tzizit because it would be like wearing the clothing of the opposite gender. Also, gentiles are not to wear them either. This command was specifically given to the men of Isra’el so they would ‘guard the commandments’ and be a light to the nations around them. This instruction enabled them to do it. Today, it is easy to recognize an observant Jewish man as they still wear tzizit.

As gentiles join the Commonwealth of Isra’el, they need to be respectful of a community that existed long before they entered it.  Thousands of years of rabbinical study and midrash have been documented regarding this subject before any of us came into the faith of our father Abraham –– who did not wear tzizit.  

From a spiritual aspect, the purpose for the tzizit was to remember the commandments. With the institution of the new covenant, the Ruach haKodesh writes the commandments on our hearts. It is the Ruach haKodesh that convicts us of sin and guides us into all Truth. The faithful who walk according to the Ruach haKodesh should not need a physical reminder on their garments of the commandments, whether Jew or gentile, male or female.

Sha’ul spoke directly to the gentiles when he said they were remain in the condition in which they were called (1 Corinthians 7:20). This means that gentiles should not try to be something they are not –– Israelite Jews. This borders on coveting a lineage and creates an identity crisis in the Body of Messiah. Though believing gentiles become part of the Commonwealth of Isra’el, their DNA does not change.

Just as Jewish followers of Yeshua along with the nations have different callings, so do men and women. Sha’ul explains this difference between men and women and their respective roles in the Body of Messiah. Women need a ‘sign of authority’ and it is the head covering or veil, not multicolored tzizit hanging from their purses (1 Corinthians 11). Our unity in uniqueness is the witness to the world that both the Jew and gentile, male and female, worship the Elohim of Isra’el together.

From personal experience from visiting Orthodox Jewish synagogues and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, it is enough witness to discuss Yeshua as Messiah as a gentile who keeps the Shabbat, celebrates Pesach and eats according Levitical dietary regulations. Tzizit on me, a gentile woman, would not have been merely a stumbling block, it would have been offensive and put a dividing wall between us instead of breaking one down. It was a powerful testimony of Messiah Yeshua that I had the commandments written on my heart as promised in the new covenant, more than if I had worn tzizit.

Yeshua and Blasphemy

“Those who are not with me are against me, and those who do not gather with me are scattering. Because of this, I tell you that people will be forgiven any sin and blasphemy, but blaspheming the Ruach haKodesh will not be forgiven. One can say something against the Son of Man and be forgiven; but whoever keeps on speaking against the Ruach haKodesh will never be forgiven, neither in the ‘olam hazeh’ [this world] nor in the ‘olam haba” [world to come] (Matthew 12:31-32).

“Yes! I tell you that people will be forgiven all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; however, someone who blasphemes against the Ruach haKodesh never has forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin.” For they had been saying, “He has an unclean spirit in him” (Mark 3:28-30).

“When Yeshua saw their trust, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The Torah-teachers and the P’rushim began thinking, ‘Who is this fellow that speaks such blasphemies? Who can forgive sin except God?’ But Yeshua, knowing what they were thinking, answered, ‘Why are you turning over such thoughts in your hearts?’” (Luke 5:20-22)

“The Judeans replied, ‘We are not stoning you for any good deed, but for blasphemy — because you, who are only a man, are making yourself out to be God.’ Yeshua answered them, ‘Isn’t it written in your Torah, I have said, You people are Elohim? If he called ‘elohim’ the people to whom the word of Elohim was addressed (and the Tanakh cannot be broken), then are you telling the one whom the Father set apart as holy and sent into the world, ‘You are committing blasphemy,’ just because I said, ‘I am a son of Elohim?’” (John 10:33-36)

“It [the beast] was given a mouth speaking arrogant blasphemies; and it was given authority to act for forty-two months. So it opened its mouth in blasphemies against God to insult his name and his Sh’khinah, and those living in heaven; it was allowed to make war on God’s holy people and to defeat them; and it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” (Revelation 13:5-7).

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, Study Helps, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

Parashah 21: Ki Tissa (When you take)

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 Adonai, 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 children of Isra’el left Egypt two years earlier. This census, which included not only the original Hebrews, but also the Egyptians who left with them, counted all males over 20 years of age. Each man had to pay ½ shekel based on the sanctuary standard when they registered as a citizen of Isra’el. It was considered atonement money and served as a reminder to the Israelites that Adonai 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).

The Bronze Laver, filled with water, was put between the entrance to the Holy Place and the Altar of Sacrifice.  Part of being ‘Kadosh l’Adonai’ included physical cleanliness (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.

“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). 

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 and were not to be used on an individual’s body, though Aaron and his sons were anointed with this oil as part of their consecration. If anyone used the oil improperly, they would be cut off from Isra’el. The oil was used to anoint the Mishkan, the Ark of the Covenant, 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.

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

“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 finely ground and put in front of the Ark of the Covenant. This holy incense was not to be duplicated as it was also ‘Kadosh l’Adonai.’  

The Chosen Craftsmen

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

Betzal’el has the Hebrew root of tzalem which means ‘image’ and el which means ‘God.’ Betzal’el means in ‘the image of Elohim.’ As the one given the Ruach haKodesh in order to make the dwelling place of Elohim, he is an allusion to the coming mediator between Elohim and mankind, Yeshua.

Elohim gave Betzal’el a helper named Oholi’av from the Tribe of Dan.  Oholi in Hebrew means ‘tent’ and av means ‘father.’ Oholi’av means ‘tent of the father.’ The ‘tent of the father’ (Tabernacle) is the helper of Isra’el to see the ‘image of Elohim.’

Hebrew Word Pictures
Betzalel or B’tzal’el – צלם – tzade, lamed, mem
– pull toward and urge forward the mighty

Oholiab or Oholi’av – אהליאב – alef, hey, lamed, yod, alef, bet
– first strength revealed, urging forward the finished work of the first house

All the craftsmen who worked with Betzal’el and Oholi’av 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 called to make the Menorah HaTahor or the ‘Pure Menorah.’  Though some translations call it the ‘golden Menorah,’ the original Hebrew uses ‘pure’ as it was the only object Adonai actually showed Moshe 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, Adonai reminds His people about His Shabbat and its observance. His people are to follow His example by working 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 Adonai. It becomes not only a ‘remember’ commandment, but now it is a ‘sign’ between Him and the people of Isra’el, forever.

“When he 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 Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, every command that is part of the testimony was written by Adonai.  From the Ten Commandments to the orders for the Tabernacle, to the garments for the priests, to the prescribed ways for anointing, to counting the people, and the regulations for Shabbat, everything was written by Adonai.

Signs, Signs, Signs

‘Signs’ have a significant purpose in Elohim’s creation, calendar, covenants and Kingdom. Adonai created the sun, moon, and stars as ‘signs’ to mark the days, months, and seasons for His ‘appointed times’ (Genesis 1:14).   Adonai 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).  The ‘sign’ of Messiah is that a virgin would give birth to a son and name him Immanu’el (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, they would not have seen Yeshua.  Living in Isra’el with one’s children is a ‘sign’ and symbol that Adonai dwells on Mount Tziyon (Isaiah 8:18).  Yeshua gave the ‘sign’ of Jonah for being in the grave three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40). He gave ‘signs’ for the ‘end of the age’ in Matthew 24.   A woman’s head covering is a ‘sign’ of authority to pray and prophesy (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 Adonai and His people.  It’s the evidence between those who love Him, serve Him, and obey Him have join themselves to Adonai (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 Adonai 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 he make gods for them.  In spite of all that Aaron had experienced and watched Adonai perform for Isra’el in Egypt, 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 het ha’eggel or 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 recently seen destroyed in Egypt. They went even further and claimed 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 Adonai” (Exodus 32:5).

The word ‘feast’ in this passage is not mo’ed, but chag meaning ‘holiday.’  As Adonai’s mo’edim had not yet been given to Isra’el, they created their own holiday, mixing the profane calf with the worship of the ‘I Am,’ also known as ’The Sin of the Calf.’

Syncretism is when two religions merge together.  This happens when one group of religious people (or person) assimilates so deeply with another religious system, the religions blend together until neither recognizes their own religion because it has been defiled or 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 Elohim.

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, drank living water from the ‘rock,’ and watched their enemies be defeated.  They had heard the voice of Adonai from the mountain and watched Him descend in fire and smoke.  Yet, they turn their back on their intercessor, choose a man who is more favorable to their present whims, and begin to worship a familiar spirit in a way they believe honors Elohim.

Syncretism is what Constantine advanced in 300 CE when he blended the Roman Saturnalia with the birth of Yeshua, the Greek mythology of Ishtar and Tammuz with the resurrection of Messiah, and the Egyptian Venerable day of the Sun-god with the Biblical Sabbath. Each of these holidays have a golden-calf root that has been dedicated to Elohim. It is syncretism: Egypt, Greece, and Rome merging with the worship of Adonai that birthed a religious system that is known today as Christianity.

Early the next morning, the Israelites get up, make burnt offerings, and present peace offerings to the calf.  Then, they sit down to eat and drink. They indulge in sexually immoral activities. Only a little research into the roots of church holidays, one will find that sexual immorality is central to each one. Many will justify these holidays by claiming “that’s not why I celebrate them.”  The Israelites would have made the same claim.  Their man-made holiday with its golden calf was right in their own eyes,  but they took no time to consider what is holy, pure and right in the eyes of Adonai.

The Anger of Adonai

“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, worshiped 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 Adonai. 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 Adonai brings chaos and destroys His revelation.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Stiff-necked is three Hebrew words or am k’she oref – עם–פשה–ערף
ayin, mem – peh,shin, hey – ayin, resh peh
– understand chaos – the mouth consumes revealed –
understand the highest authority and source

Adonai is so angry with the behavior of the Israelites that He wants to destroy them and start over with Moshe.  Moshe pleads with Adonai to relent from His anger; for if He destroys the people He delivered from Egypt, the Egyptians will consider His intentions evil. Moshe reminds Him of His 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. Adonai relents with Moshe’s intercession and changes His mind about destroying His chosen people (Exodus 32:11-14).

Why do we think that Elohim 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 at the cost of His own Son?

“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 32:15-16).

The Faithfulness of Levi

Joshua waited faithfully for Moshe’s return and is rewarded when Moshe takes him to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp.  Joshua is allowed inside the Tent of Meeting with Moshe and never leaves (Exodus 33:11). Joshua’s faith is strengthened through his personal encounters with Adonai. When he enters the land of the giants, he knows faith in Adonai is all he needs; and his faith allows him to become one of only two people who left Egypt to enter the Promised Land.

Joshua and Moshe hear noise in the camp and Joshua thinks it is the “sound of war” while Moshe says it’s singing.  Why do two men hearing the same noise of the same crowd perceive two different sounds?

Isra’el has already faced war and perhaps to Joshua the sound is reminiscent to a war cry. Perhaps his ears are being fine-tuned to recognize the cry of war as he eventually becomes the warrior leader who takes Isra’el into the Promised Land.

Moshe hears singing.  The Hebrew word for ‘singing’ in this verse is ana and means ‘answer, testify, afflict, oppress or humble.’ It can even mean ‘sing’ in the sense of the earth and heaven responding to each other.

Both men perceive there is a war happening in the camp. Joshua hears the sound of a physical war; Moshe hears the sound of spiritual war. He hears the battle between the ‘god of this world’ enticing the people into idolatry and he hears Adonai in the heavens responding back with the command to judge the people. To Moshe, this noise sounds like 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.

“What did these people do to you to make you lead them into such a terrible sin?” (Exodus 32:21)

Moshe asks Aaron an excellent question.  He has been  Moshe’s right hand man and spokesman in front of Pharaoh.  He has witnessed the judgments against the gods of Egypt. He has walked on dry ground through the Red Sea. What would make this man chosen by Adonai cave to the whims of the people? 

Aaron takes no responsibility for his actions; his justifications for the sin are weak. He tells Moshe not to be angry and then blames the people and their determination to do evil. He rationalizes that because Moshe had been gone so long on the mountain, they could make a god so he collected all their gold. His story becomes completely preposterous when he claims that the calf just popped out of the fire (Exodus 32:22-24).

I can almost hear Moshe’s thoughts: “Really Aaron?  I shouldn’t be angry? Adonai was angry and I interceded because I didn’t want Him to destroy these people and you with them!  Really Aaron?  Because the people are so faithless and bent on evil, you not only joined 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 40 days and nights on the mountain with Adonai while He wrote with His own hand His instructions for creating His holy nation?  Yes, Aaron, the people are out of control and because of you, our enemies will ridicule us.”

Moshe stood at the entrance to 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 commanded 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!” (Exodus 32:27)

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 Adonai.   Their willingness to do what Moshe commanded 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 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 Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. He begs Him to “blot me out of your book which you have written” if you cannot forgive them. Adonai responds, “Those who have sinned against me are the ones I will blot out of my book” (Exodus 32:33).  

Moshe asks for his name to be ‘blotted out’ of ‘the book.’ His request implies that names can be blotted out. There are several references in Scripture of names being blotted out or not even inscribed in ‘books.’ The most descriptive verses are found in Daniel and Revelation. Daniel details a scene in a courtroom where there are thrones, and the Ancient One takes his seat.  The description of the Ancient One’s clothing and hair are the glorified Yeshua.  Millions upon millions of people stand before his Throne 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, 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).

Adonai 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 drinking water contaminated with the ashes from the golden cafe made the people vomit (Revelation 3:16). 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 their sin affected Adonai.  He used the plague to make them understand the gold from Egypt was not to be used for casting idols, but for making Adonai’s dwelling place –– the Tabernacle.

The Short Journey Begins

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

When Adonai 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 because they desire His presence. When Adonai 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.

Adah or Ornaments
There are several different references to adah or ‘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, crescent ornaments hung around the camels’ necks of Zebah and Zalmunna implying these Arabian ornaments depicted the moon god, Allah.   The prophet Isaiah speaks of the ornaments that dangle from the ankles of the women of Tziyon who strut along haughty and flirty (Isaiah 3:16). These ornaments all involve idolatry.

The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah also describe ornaments, not as idols, but 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 Adonai says, “Keep the ornaments off for a while” for reasons other than mourning their idolatries (Exodus 33:5).  Perhaps He wants the Israelites keep their ornaments off because He is reconsidering them as His wife.  They had gone whoring after other gods which defiled His marriage covenant before He even gave it to them. Until He could decide their fate, they were not worthy of being His wife and adorning themselves with bridal ornaments.

Panim el Panim – Face to Face

“Adonai 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 Adonai, they had to go a long distance from the camp.  Whenever Moshe would head out to the Tent of Meeting to meet with Adonai, every man would stand at his tent door and watch until he had gone into the Tent of Meeting.  After he 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 Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh would speak with Moshe, as a man speaks to his friend.  In the Tent of Meeting, Adonai was able reveal Himself as the One who would become salvation for all the world.

An interesting aspect of ‘face’ or panim is that it is in the plural suggesting that a man, and even Adonai, 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. Through facial expressions Moshe and Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh 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” (Exodus 33:13).

Adonai responds.

“Set your mind at rest – my presence will go with you after all” (Exodus 33:14).  

It is important the presence of Adonai go with Isra’el as they travel.  It is a sign to the nations that they have found favor in the sight of ‘I Am.’  Moshe points out that it is the presence of Adonai that distinguishes Isra’el from all other nations on the earth.

“Yes, many peoples and powerful nations will come to consult Adonai-Tzva’ot in Yerushalayim and to ask Adonai’s favor. Adonai-Tzva’ot says, ‘When that time comes, ten men will take hold — speaking all the languages of the nations — will grab hold of the cloak [tzizit] of a Jew and say, ‘We want to go with you, because we have heard that God is with you”’” (Zechariah 8:22-23).

During the Millennial Kingdom, the favor of Adonai will continue to be on the nation of Isra’el and the Jewish people who have been His chosen people for millennia. Many god-fearers in the nations will want to join with Isra’el so they can know the favor of Adonai. It will be like the years of Isra’el wandering in the wilderness when all nations around them knew and understood the grace of Elohim was with them, only it will be the entire world.

Moshe continues.

“I beg you to show me your glory!” 

Adonai 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” (Exodus 33:19-23).

Moshe stood on holy ground at the burning bush in the presence of Adonai and heard Him 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 memorial name pronounced.

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

“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 speaks to Adonai face to face, yet is not allowed to see His face.

The Marriage Covenant with Isra’el

Adonai 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 Adonai only wrote 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 Adonai also wrote the second tablets.

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

“Adonai passed before him and proclaimed: ‘YOD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! yod-hey-vav-hey 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 Adonai by bowing his head to the ground and prostrating himself.  He asks Adonai to go with the Israelites even though they are stiff-necked and continue to sin.  Moshe still wants them to be Adonai’s treasured possession.

Adonai’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, Adonai, 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 covenant will be witnessed through ‘signs and wonders’ that Adonai 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 must be to observe whatever He orders them to do.

“Adonai [yod-hey-vav-hey] – whose very name is Jealous – is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14).

Other Gods
Adonai 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 of Isra’el is full of archaeological digs that prove the extinction of the Emorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perrizites, Hivites and Jebusites, idolatry abounds because of 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 is controlled by Muslims. There are loudspeakers on every Islamic mosque in the Land of Isra’el that blast the call to Muslim prayer several times a day. The Dome of the Rock sits on what is considered the Temple’s foundation. Adonai is a jealous Elohim and He will eventually destroy all of these high places with their altars, standing stones, and metal statues along with the worship of other gods. He must cleanse His Land of Promise 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 man-made 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, a 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, according to Rashi, 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 commands a moral sensitivity to the animal.   After all, a baby goat gets its life from its mother’s milk so cooking it in that same milk would be cruel and immoral.  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 the Ugarite text. The word ‘cook’ is more likely ‘slaughter’ and refers to a ‘sacrifice’ and not 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 Adonai. ‘Boiling a kid in milk’ was part of Canaanite sacrificial rituals.  This specific regulation was about idolatry, not a reason for developing kashrut. 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 holidays and merging worship of Adonai with the ways of the nations around them, He gives His people prophetic ‘appointed times’ that are detailed in Leviticus 23. These mo’edim will unite them as a nation, set them apart from all other nations, and give them a vision 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, all Israelite men were to appear before Adonai. Moshe is given specific instructions regarding the sacrifices and offerings for each of the ‘appointed times.’

Regulations for Sacrifices and Pesach or Passover
Blood is not to be offered with leavened bread.  Every communion (wine and bread) I have ever done 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 memorial ceremony.

Regulations for Matzah or Unleavened Bread
For seven days during the month of Aviv, unleavened bread is to be eaten because it was in that month that the Israelites were delivered from Egypt. Aviv is a reference to an ear of corn or newly ripened grain. The first month of the Biblical year begins in the spring with Aviv.

Regulations for HaBikkurim or Firstfruits
The firstfruits of the womb belong to Adonai. The firstfruits of livestock, cattle and flocks, all males belong to Him. Each is redeemed with a lamb. On the fifteenth day of Aviv, 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 Adonai.

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 and harvesting crops has only a small window of time to be accomplished.  Even so, Adonai commands His people to cease their work on Shabbat during these specific times. They are no longer slaves and 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.

Regulations for Sukkot or Festival of Ingathering
This ‘appointed time’ is to be celebrated at the end of the year after the harvest or ingathering has been completed.

The Ketubah

A ketubah is a written marriage contract similar to the marriage vows two people make to one another, only these vows are legally binding. The husband and wife have individual responsibilities in the marriage covenant that are outlined in the ketubah.   One ketubah that I found listed hundreds of responsibilities for the wife while the husband was only required to provide shoes for the children.  Though it seems one-sided, putting shoes on a child meant that the father worked hard providing every need for his family –– even to covering his children’s feet!

On the mountain, Adonai presents His marriage ketubah to Isra’el in the form of His commandments. He writes out His part of the ketubah called Torah on tablets of stone. Moshe is also commanded to write down the terms for His Wife, Isra’el (Jeremiah 31:32). When Isra’el said, “Everything Adonai says we will do,” the ketubah legally went into effect.

The Veil

Moshe came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the marriage covenant, the ketubah.  He didn’t realize his face glowed from being in the presence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. The Israelites, including Aaron, were afraid to approach him until he called to them.  From that day forward, whenever Moshe spoke with the people, he would put a veil over his face, but in the presence of Adonai 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.  The Ruach haKodesh is what gives life to a believer and it seems they are missing it (John 6:63).

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

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

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 who are not ready are left outside when the bridegroom shuts the door. Oil in this parable is symbolic of the Ruach haKodesh.   All ten were bridesmaids, but for the five that did not have the Ruach, Yeshua came like a thief in the night leaving them behind.

The works of the people in Sardis are incomplete in Yeshua’s sight.  This implies these believers have the lamp of the Word, but no spiritual activity.  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 a spotted wedding gown.

“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 to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

There are some followers of Yeshua in Sardis who have not soiled their bridal gowns. They will walk with him clothed in white because they are worthy of his reward.  Those who have victory over complacency will receive white robes.  Those in Sardis who have spotted gowns and do not overcome complacency will be blotted out of the Book of Life. Though they had 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 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! The overcomer will stand before the Throne of Adonai on the final Day of Atonement when 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).

2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

Parashah 18: Mishpatim (Rulings)

Exodus 21:1-24:18

“These are the rulings you are to present to them …” (Exodus 21:1).

The Ten Commandments did not complete the instructions of Adonai. He continued to reveal His Torah with His mishpatim or rulings. Mishpat  is a Hebrew noun which means ‘judgment or rights.’ Mishpat deals with the act of sitting as a judge and rendering a verdict so that judicial issues are properly executed.

These rulings give more specifics for how Adonai’s people were to judge cases involving slavery, murder, personal attacks with people or animals, stealing, witchcraft, foreigners, and other gods.  These judgments detail how we are to “love God and our neighbor as ourselves.”

Hebrew Word Pictures
Rulings (Law) or mishpatim – משפטים – mem, shin, peh, tet, yod, mem
– chaos consumed by the mouth, twisting the mighty finished work

Hebrew slaves
The Hebrew word for ‘slave’ comes from the verb avod and means ‘to work.’ The noun ‘slave’ is avodah suggesting ‘hard labor.’ When avod is used for those who work for another in Isra’el, it means ‘to serve.’   With a slight change in a vowel point, avod becomes eved and means ‘servant.’  Servanthood was considered a mark of humility.

Slavery in Isra’el was not like slavery as the world defines. In Isra’el a servant was bought for money, but was not ‘enslaved’ like the Hebrews in Egypt.

A Hebrew servant worked 6 years for his master, but in the seventh year, he was given his freedom. If he began work as a single man, he was to leave single.  If he began work as a married man, his family would leave with him.  If the slave married and had children while working the 6 years, the wife and children remained the master’s possession unless the servant desired to stay with his wife and children.  The master would then take the servant to the doorpost of his home and pierce his ear with an awl. The servant would remain a servant for the rest of his life.

A daughter sold into slavery was not allowed to be set free.  If she marries her master and he decides she no longer pleases him, her freedom may be purchased, though not by a foreigner, as she has already been defiled.  If the master has her marry his son, she is to be treated like a daughter. If the son marries another woman, the first wife is to be given food, clothing, and marital rights.  If the master fails to provide these three necessities, she is to be given her freedom.

Sometimes it was necessary to hire oneself out as a servant in order to live. Once hired, the servant became the property of the master. Though the rules for marriage and leaving behind a wife and children seem harsh, it may have been the best option for a male servant who had to return to a life of poverty.

There are examples of servanthood in Scripture. Jacob worked 7 years for Leah and seven more for Rachel.  Though he was not sold into servanthood, his father-in-law treated him as a servant for 14 years.  This is why Jacob wanted to create his own flocks and leave with his family.  If Laban had his way, Jacob would have remained serving him forever.

Another example of servanthood is Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian servant, who had a child with Abraham. When Abraham no longer wanted Hagar and his son in his camp, he sent them away with provisions.

“The word came to Jeremiah from Adonai after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves. Everyone was to free their Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Hebrew in bondage.  So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free.  But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again” (Jeremiah 34:8-11).

Attacks and murder
No sentence of death was arbitrary. Each case was heard by a judge, with a minimum of two witnesses, before there could be a guilty verdict. It was important that the witnesses were not false nor took bribes because a sentence would be executed and a guilty verdict had serious consequences.

If one person attacks another and a death occurs, the murderer must be put to death.  If the killing was not premeditated, but accidental, then Adonai provided a place for the murderer to flee.  However, if someone kills another after deliberate planning, they are to be put to death.

This is the same command given to Noach in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds human blood by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.”  There is a great controversy over capital punishment because humanity has forgotten they are made in the image of Adonai and each human life has value.

Kidnappers are to be put to death.  It doesn’t matter if the victim has been sold or is still held by the kidnapper; the kidnapper is to die. Children who attack their parents are to be put to death, and whoever curses his father or mother must also die.

If two people fight and one person is injured, being confined to bed, and then recovers and is able to walk around (even with a cane), the attacker will be free of liability. He must still compensate the victim time loss and take responsibility for his care until recovery is complete. The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is an example of this mishpat. It was not the priest or the Levite who obeyed instruction, but a Samaritan, a foreigner, who took care of the man beaten by robbers.

If two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is injured so that her unborn child dies, the man must be fined.  He must pay the amount set by the woman’s husband and confirmed by the judge.  The amount is determined by a judge so the husband doesn’t set an amount too low –– the unborn child has great value in the eyes of Adonai. If any harm happens to the woman after the baby dies, then it is commanded life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise” (Exodus 21:23-24). The ‘eye for eye’ judgment was restitution for an unborn baby and the woman who had lost her baby, not a command for more cruelty.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I [Yeshua] tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42).

Yeshua does not the mishpatim; he expounds on them.  Restitution and compensation does not suddenly become obsolete because of Yeshua’s words. He includes forgiveness and mercy, the character of his Father to the rulings.   “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth” was another way to express compensation for a wrong committed that needed justice, but needed to be followed by forgiveness. Yeshua teaches that there is more than just the outward expression of these mishpatim, there is a heart condition that needs to be resolved so that anger and bitterness would not grow among the people.

A master is to be punished for any slave who is beaten with a stick so that he or she dies. If the slave lives for a couple of days, the master is not punished since the slave is his property. If a master hits his slave’s eye and destroys it, he must let the slave go free in compensation for the eye.  If a tooth of a slave’s mouth is knocked out, the slave is to be set free as compensation for the tooth.

According to Adonai, human life is more valuable than an animal. If an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox is to be stoned.  The owner of the ox has no further liability after the animal has been put to death. If the ox has the habit of goring people and the owner was warned, but did not confine it so that it kept killing, then the ox and the owner are to be killed.  If a ransom is offered for the owner, the death penalty will be commuted.  If the ox gores a son or daughter, the same rules are to be followed.  If the ox gores a slave, the owner is to give the master 12 ounces of silver, and the ox is to be killed.

If one person’s ox hurts someone else’s ox so that it dies, the live ox is to be sold and the revenue divided between the two owners. The dead animal is also to be divided. If the ox was known to be in the habit of goring, the owner is to pay ox for ox, and the dead animal is his responsibility.  The compensation is five times for an ox and four times for a sheep.

If an uncovered cistern or well causes the death of an animal, the owner of the well must compensate the owner of the animal, but the dead animal is his.

The word ‘gore’ means ‘blood that has been shed as a result of violence.’ If someone is gored and they don’t die, the animal is to be put to death. Change the word ‘ox’ in the rulings to a ‘dog.’

One of the Ten Commandments is to not bear false testimony against a neighbor. More specifically, do not repeat false rumors (or even true ones). This is known as lashon hara or ‘a wicked tongue.’

Do not join hands with the wicked by offering perjured testimony. Do not follow the crowd when it does what is wrong. Do not allow the popular view to sway you into offering testimony for any cause if the effect is to pervert justice (Exodus 23:2).

Keep away from fraud, and do not cause the death of the innocent and righteous; for Adonai will not justify the wicked. You are not to receive a bribe for it blinds the sight and subverts the righteous. Do not favor a person’s lawsuit just because he is poor and do not deny anyone justice who is poor.

A thief must make restitution.  If he has nothing, then he is to be sold to make restitution for the loss from the theft.  If what he stole is found in his possession, he is to pay double whether it is an ox, donkey, or sheep. If a thief is caught breaking into a person’s home and is beaten to death, it is not murder unless it happens after sunrise. 

If a person trusts a neighbor with personal property and it is stolen, then the thief must pay double.  If the thief is not found, then the neighbor must state before Adonai that he did not steal the property.   If there is a dispute over ownership of property, whether it’s an ox, donkey, sheep, clothing or any missing property, where one person says, “This is mine,” both parties are to come before Adonai; the one He condemns must pay the other double.

If an animal gets loose and grazes in someone else’s field, the owner is to make restitution from the best produce of his own field or vineyard.

If someone is looking after a neighbor’s property, a donkey, ox, sheep or any animal, and it dies, is injured or disappears, then the neighbor’s oath before Adonai that he has not stolen the property will settle the matter. The owner is to accept the oath without any restitution.  However, if the property was stolen from the neighbor, he must make restitution to the owner.   If there is evidence the animal was torn to pieces, then no restitution is required.

If someone borrows an animal from their neighbor and it gets injured or dies with the owner not present, he must make restitution.  If the owner was present, he does not need to make restitution.  If the owner hired it out, the loss is covered by the hiring fee.

If you see your enemy’s ox or donkey straying, you must return it to him.  If you see an animal that belongs to someone who hates you lying down helpless under its load, do not pass him by, but help him free it.

Our family has had some of these issues with our neighbor’s cows. They break our fences, graze in our front yard leaving huge divots, and break sprinkler heads because of their weight. Though we have tried to work peacefully with our neighbor, he has no desire to fix our damaged property. Though the district justice says we can file a small claim in court and receive restitution, we know our neighbor will never comply. Over the years, we have let him know when his cows were on the road or on the railroad tracks. He is always grateful, but never willing to pay restitution for damages done on our property.

If a fire is started and spreads to thorns so that stacked grain, standing grain or a field is destroyed, the person who started the fire must make restitution.  This is the reason for an investigation into the cause of a wildfire. The person who starts it must make restitution for damage and loss of property.

Adonai’s people are not to charge interest when a poor person borrows money.  If a neighbor’s coat is taken as a down payment (collateral), it is to be returned to him at sundown because it is his only garment.

Immoral Behavior
A virgin, not engaged to be married, who is seduced by a man must pay a bride price and take the girl as his wife.  If her father refuses the man, he must pay a sum equivalent to the bride price for virgins.

Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death. This is known as beastiality and is becoming more common in our world. In Europe, there are beast sex parlors. Not only is this unhealthy for humans, it is cruel to the animals.

Sorcery uses the occult practices to control forces in the spiritual realm. Adonai commands that witches along with sorceresses be put to death.

Because the Israelites are to be Adonai’s treasured possession, they are not to eat meat torn by wild animals in the countryside. It is only good for feeding dogs.

“Do not boil a young animal in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 23:19).

This command has been used to develop kashrut and the man-made kosher regulation that milk and meat are not to be eaten together. Abraham served meat with curds to the three angels, one of them being Adonai, proving this is not the foundation for the command.

Maimonides suggested that this type of ‘cooking’ was used in pagan worship. Archaeological findings in 1929 supported his theory. “In the Canaanite ritual, the milk in which the kid was cooked symbolized the milk that newly born gods were given when suckled by the pagan goddesses Athirst and Rahmay. The cooking of a goat in milk was forbidden in the Bible because it symbolizes the suckling [by the pagan goddesses} of the newborn gods!”

Six days were for work, but the seventh day was for rest so that animals, servants, and the visiting foreigner might be refreshed. The Sabbath was not only for the Israelites to rest, but also for the guests in their home. Even animals were to be given a day of rest; they did not work on the Sabbath.

Six years seeds were to be sown, but the seventh year, the land was to rest and lie fallow. The same was to be done with the olive grove and vineyards. Plant and harvest for six years, but give trees and vineyards rest in the seventh year. This is called sh’mittah or the Sabbath year. This command was given so the land could be refreshed. The poor were given the corners of the fields and the gleanings of the fields for six years; on the seventh year, they could harvest whatever continued to grow.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Shemita (Release) – שמיטה – shin, mem, yod, tet, hey
– consume chaos finished work twisting revealed

Other gods
Anyone who sacrificed to any god other than Adonai was to be completely destroyed.  The Israelites were not to invoke the names of other gods or even speak their names. This is the epitome of idolatry –– sacrificing to other gods. The Israelites were not to worship the gods of the Emorites, Hittites, Perrizites, Canaanites, Hivites or Jebusites nor follow their practices.  They were to demolish all idols and standing stones. They were not to make covenants with their enemies or their gods so that Isra’el would remain faithful to Adonai.

Because Isra’el had been foreigners in Egypt, they were not to oppress a foreigner; they understood how it felt to be oppressed (Exodus 23:9). Widows and orphans (the fatherless) held a special place in Adonai’s heart. If they were abused and He heard their cry, His anger would burn against the Israelites, and He would kill them with the sword making their own wives widows and their children fatherless.

Pilgrimages to Jerusalem

There were three ‘appointed times’ when the men of Isra’el were to appear before Adonai: Pesach in first month of the year followed by Shavuot 50 days later. The third gathering was to be at Sukkot in the seventh month.

During the festival of Matzah, unleavened bread was to be eaten for seven days. On Shavuot, the firstfruits of barley were to be brought to the House of Adonai. At the end of the year, at the ingathering, the final harvest was to be presented to Adonai.

The Messenger of Adonai

Adonai sent an angel to guard His people and to bring them to the place He had prepared.  They were to listen to what the angel said and not rebel against him. He would not forgive any wrongdoings since Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’s name resides in him. If they listen to what the angel says and do everything he tells them, then Adonai will be an enemy to their enemies.

The Hebrew word for ‘angel’ is malak and means ‘messenger.’ This is the same ‘angel’ who acted as the Destroyer in Egypt. This is the same ‘angel’ that moved from the front of the children of Isra’el to their rear in order to protect them from the Egyptian army. This ‘angel’ is not a separate entity from Adonai, but does His will, in this case, teaching His commands to the Israelites in the wilderness. This ‘angel’ also has the authority to forgive. According to Malachi 3:1, this ‘angel’ is the ‘“messenger of the covenant.” The Israelites must listen to what the ‘angel’ says and do everything he says because he has the name Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh making the angel Adonai.

Yeshua is the Word that was with Elohim in the beginning at creation, and he is Elohim (John 1:1-2). He is the voice of Elohim and teacher of Torah to the Israelites. He has the authority to forgive sins and do the works of Elohim (Matthew 9:5-6, John 10:25,30). The ‘angel’ they see and the words they hear are the essence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh in Yeshua.

Deliverance to Holiness

There are blessings for obeying the mishpatim and curses for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28).  Until Adonai gave Isra’el His commandments and rulings, they had only taken the first step in the salvation process –– justification. They had put their faith in the blood of the lamb. They had been delivered from the idols of Egypt. They were immersed as they walked on dry land through the Red Sea.

Isra’el did nothing of themselves to be redeemed from Egypt nor did they earn it by being good people. Grace and mercy is the character of Adonai in the old testament as well as the new. Faith in the blood the lamb, victory over death, forgiveness of sins, and immersion in water are found in both testaments.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Grace (Kindness and Favor) or chen – חן – chet, nun
– protects life

Mercy (Compassion) or rachum – רחום – resh, chet, vav, mem
– highest authority protects and binds chaos

Sanctify (Consecrated, Holy) or kadosh – קדש – kof, dalet, shin
– what is behind the consuming pathway

Faith (Agreement) or emunah – אמונח – alef, mem, vav, nun, hey
– first strength binds chaos and protects life

‘Holiness’ or becoming set-apart to Elohim is the second step of the salvation process –– sanctification. The Israelites were led to Mount Sinai to meet with Adonai. They washed their clothes and prepared themselves to stand in His presence. At the foot of Mount Sinai, the children of Isra’el, along with the Egyptians who exited Egypt with them, were united and transformed into the nation of Isra’el through the instructions of Adonai .

With their obedience to Adonai’s Torah, they would be different from every other nation. They were to keep His Sabbath, His ‘appointed times,’ and follow His dietary regulations. They were to treat their personal property, slaves and animals with dignity. If they served other gods and assimilated into the cultures around them, they would no longer be recognized as His chosen people and would lose His blessing. If they obeyed Torah, Adonai would bless their food and water.  If they listened to His instructions, He would take away their sicknesses.

Yeshua turned water into wine and multiplied fives loaves and two fish in order to feed a multitude. Yeshua healed those who were sick, lame, and leprous. What if Yeshua had rebelled against his Father’s commands? Would the water have changed into wine? Would the loaves and fishes have been multiplied to feed 5000? Yeshua says that if we trust in him, we will not only do the works he did, but even greater ones. Are we doing the same miraculous things, or because we have been taught to disobey Adonai’s mitzvot are we impotent?

The blessing for Israelite women who obey Adonai’s instructions is birthing children. They will not miscarry or be barren. For the promise of descendants to Abraham to be fulfilled, women have to have babies. Through Adonai’s mercy, not all babies born in Egypt were murdered and lived to form a huge nation. Women are still women regardless of nationality and the regulations for niddah and childbirth still have value.

The promise for Israelite children who honor their parents is long life. Long life meant eternal in the Garden of Eden. After sin entered the world, the human life span was reduced to less than 1000 years.   After Noach, the life span was reduced even more. Psalm 90 says a man’s days are 70 to 80 years.  To enjoy the fullness of those years, children must honor their parents; the children of Adonai must obey their His Torah in order to receive long life.

“And everyone who has this hope in him continues purifying himself, since God is pure. Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah — indeed, sin is violation of Torah. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. So no one who remains united with him continues sinning; everyone who does continue sinning has neither seen him nor known him. Children, don’t let anyone deceive you — it is the person that keeps on doing what is right who is righteous, just as God is righteous. The person who keeps on sinning is from the Adversary, because from the very beginning the Adversary has kept on sinning. It was for this very reason that the Son of God appeared, to destroy these doings of the Adversary. No one who has God as his Father keeps on sinning, because the seed planted by God remains in him. That is, he cannot continue sinning, because he has God as his Father. Here is how one can distinguish clearly between God’s children and those of the Adversary: everyone who does not continue doing what is right is not from God” (1 John 3:3-10).


“I will send terror of me ahead of you, throwing into confusion all the people to whom you come; and I will make all your enemies turn their backs on you. I will send hornets ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites” (Exodus 23:27-28).

‘Hornet’ in Hebrew is tzirah and means ‘stinging.’  The Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites will be driven out from the Promised Land by a stinging bug creating ‘terror.’ This ‘terror’ will throw the nations into confusion. In Isra’el, there are four species of hornets bearing a resemblance to the common wasp, but larger in size.  It is an extremely fierce and ravenous insect especially in a hot climate.  Its sting is dangerous and they attack human beings in a very furious manner. A swarm of hornets drives cattle and horses to madness and has even caused the death of the animals.

Spelled almost like hornet is tzarat meaning ‘to smite.‘   The town of Zorah in Joshua 19:41 may mean ‘town of hornets.’  In Isaiah 7:18, the fly and the bee are symbolic to the armies of Egypt and Assyria.  It could be interpreted that the hornet is symbolic of Adonai fighting for Isra’el as He did when He caused confusion within the Egyptian army (Exodus 24:14).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Hornet (Stinging) or tzirah – צרעה – tzade, resh, ayin, hey
– pull toward to the highest authority, understand and behold

National Boundaries
The nations will be driven out of the Promised Land by Adonai through terror. He will do it slowly so the land won’t become desolate or abundant with wild animals. He will drive out the nations until the Isra’el is large enough to take possession of the Land. The boundaries of the Land of Promise are much larger than the modern state of Isra’el. The true boundaries stretch from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to the desert all the way to the Euphrates River. As the Israelites enter the Promised Land, they are to displace the nations so as not to sin against Adonai by worshiping their gods or making a covenant with them.

The Book of the Covenant

Moshe wrote down all the words of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.  He built and altar at the base of the mountain and set up 12 large stones to represent the 12 Tribes of Isra’el.  Young men collected burnt offerings and peace offerings from the people. Moshe took half the blood and put it in basins; the other half he splashed against the altar. He took the book of the covenant and read it aloud so that all the people could hear. But, before they even heard the words of the covenant, the Israelites responded, “Everything that Adonai has spoken, we will do and obey” (Exodus 24:7).

 “Moshe took the blood of the animals, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which Adonai has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Exodus 24:8).

This is the third covenant Elohim makes. The first covenant was with Noach, the second with Abraham, the third is with the nation of Isra’el. It includes Adonai’s instructions and was instituted with the sprinkling of blood –– “the blood of the covenant.” For the nation of Isra’el, this is their covenant because they had never been in a covenant relationship with Adonai before. The covenant with Isra’el doesn’t negate the first two covenants, but builds on them.

Moshe, Aaron, Nadav, Avihu and Isra’el’s leaders go up on the mountain to meet with the Elohim of Isra’el. Like the 70 palm trees at Elim, there are 70 men who meet with Elohim. Seventy is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter ayin meaning ‘to see.’ On the mountain, the 70 leaders are given a glimpse of the heavenly realm where Adonai sits on His Throne. While Moshe approaches the presence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the others prostrate themselves at a distance.

Under Adonai’s feet is a pavement like sapphire, clear as the sky.  The Hebrew word lebenah means ‘bricks’ or ‘pavement’ and only occurs this one time in Scripture. ‘Sapphire’ is Greek for lapis lazuli, a deep blue semi-precious stone known for its intense color.  The prophet Ezekiel describes the Throne of Adonai as being lapis lazuli (Ezekiel 1:26-28). One of the fringes of the tzizit is blue like the sea and the sky representing the ‘pavement’ and the Throne of Adonai (Numbers 15:38). Adonai does not reach out His hand against these men, instead they ‘see’ Him while they eat and drink, symbolizing a fellowship meal between the priestly leaders and Elohim.

The glory of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh hovered over Mount Sinai in a cloud for six days. To the Israelites, it looked like a raging fire on the top of the mountain.  On the seventh day Adonai called to Moshe from the cloud and he left his brother and the 70 leaders and entered the cloud where he remained 40 days and nights.  With the glory appearing like a raging fire on the top of the mountain, the Israelites feared that Moshe had been consumed by it. When Moshe did not return from the cloud, Aaron and the 70 men left the mountain for the camp. After Moshe had been gone for 40 days and 40 nights, the Israelites were sure he had died.

During his time in the cloud, Adonai gave Moshe the stone tablets on which He wrote Torah. He gave Moshe all of His commandments so he could teach the Israelites how worship Him and live holy lives honor Him.

Yeshua and the Mitzvot

Yeshua spent 40 days and 40 nights on a wilderness mountain. During his time of testing, he quoted from Torah to silence the Adversary. He tempted Yeshua to worship him, create bread for his hunger, and test the angels of his Father. Yeshua understood “man doesn’t live on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of his Father” (Matthew 4:1-11).

“One of them who was a Torah expert asked a sh’eilah to trap him: ‘Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important?’ He told him, ‘You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot” (Matthew 22:34-40).

Sh’eilah is the Hebrew word for ‘question.’ When used in this context, it means asking questions about Torah and halacha, expecting someone with authority to answer. Halacha means ‘to go’ and was the legally accepted way to live out a Torah command.

“So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on [the Rock]. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the winds blew and beat against that house, but it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on [the Rock]. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand” Matthew 7:24-26).

“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Messiah [Yeshua] does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

Parashah 16: B’shallach (After he had let go)

Exodus 13:17-17:16

“After Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not guide them to the highway that goes through the land of the P’lishtim, because it was close by …” (Exodus 13:17).

Pharaoh allowed the Hebrews to leave Egypt, but their journey had only just begun. Though they were fully armed from plundering the Egyptians, Elohim didn’t want them to become fearful and return to Egypt if the Philistines attacked. He led them on a route by the Yam Suf or the Red Sea. They traveled from Sukkoth to Etam at the edge of the desert.  Sukkoth is the same place where Jacob stayed after he met with Esau and put up ‘temporary shelters’ for himself, his family, and their livestock. As Joseph requested before he died, Moshe had his bones to be taken to the Promised Land.

The Cloud and Fire

“He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. They asked, and he brought them quail; he fed them well with the bread of heaven.  He opened the Rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a river in the desert” (Psalm 105:39-41).

Adonai went ahead of His people in a cloud during the day and in a column of fire through the night, enabling them to travel both day and night.  The cloud shaded them from the desert sun and the fire kept them warm when the desert temperatures dropped. Neither the cloud nor the fire moved from in front of the people.

They set up camp in front of Pi Hahiroth between Migdol and the Red Sea, in front of Ba’al Tz’fon.  Elohim had them set up camp in this precarious place because it would make them appear as if they had lost their way and wandered aimlessly.

Pi Hahiroth means ‘mouth of water’ and faced Mount Tiran.  It is located at the point of the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea.   Ba’al Tz’fon means ‘lord of the north’ and was located on Mount Tiran, north of Pi Hahiroth.    Migdol means ‘watchtower’ and was centered between Pi Hahiroth and Ba’al Tz’fon close to the Red Sea. 

Pharaoh comes out of shock from the death of his son and remembers his slaves were set free and his cities are no longer being built. He hears the Hebrews are lost in the desert and Adonai hardens Pharaoh’s heart for the last time so that He would win glory to Himself at the expense of Pharaoh and his entire army.  He wanted the Hebrews to finally realize that He is Adonai Elohim.

Pharaoh prepares 600 chariots along with their commanders.  Adonai made Pharaoh so hard-hearted that he pursues the Hebrews with ‘a high hand.’ Some translations use the words ‘confidently,’ ‘proudly’ or ‘deliberately with assurance’ for ‘a high hand.’ The Hebrew words b’yad ramah suggest rebellion against authority. B’yad ramah is used in 1 Kings 11:26 to describe how Jeroboam rebelled against his father, King Solomon. 

The Egyptians chase after the Hebrews with their horses and chariots, their cavalry and army and approach them as they camp by the sea. The Hebrews see the approaching Egyptian armies and, already forgetting Adonai’s deliverance, cry out to Moshe.

“Was it because there weren’t enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we’ll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians’ slaves than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:11-12)

Moshe responded, “Stop being fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how Adonai is going to save you.  He will do it today – today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again!  Adonai will do battle for you.  Just calm yourselves down!” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Moshe’s faith had grown exponentially. The Spirit of Adonai flowed through him making him an earthen vessel with omnipotent power.  He was sure of what he hoped for and certain of what he didn’t see because he had witnessed the power of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh many times before (Hebrews 11:1).

Adonai tells Moshe to lift up his staff, reach his hand out over the sea, and divide it. When Moshe raised his staff to divide the waters of the Red Sea, the angel of Adonai who had been in front of the camp moved to the back. The cloud did the same until it stood between the Egyptian army and the Hebrews. One could not come near the other all night long.

A strong eastern wind begins to blow and the Red Sea separates, leaving not mud, but dry land. A million Hebrews, men women and children, walk across the sea on dry ground with walls of water on their right and left.  Their journey lasts throughout the night.   The Egyptians continue to pursue them, even following them into the sea.

Just before sunrise, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh looks out at the Egyptian army “through the column of fire and the cloud” and they panic. Adonai causes the wheels of their chariots to break off and they can barely move in the mud.

Moshe reaches out his staff a second time over the sea and the water rushes back on the Egyptians and the entire military force drowns in the sea. When the Hebrews see what Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh had done against the Egyptians, they feared Him and put their trust in His servant, Moshe.

They sing a song to Adonai and the prophetess Miryam, the sister of Aaron and Moshe, takes a tambourine in her hand and all the women dance and sing, “I will sing to Adonai, for he is highly exalted: The horse and its rider he threw in the sea” (Exodus 15:1, 20).

The Hebrew shir is the word for ‘sing.’ It is in the future tense yashir, and according to some interpretations, Isra’el not only sang for their immediate deliverance, but prophesied about the Messianic Era. Because there is a nuance of ‘repetition,’ there is a midrash that discusses how Moshe sang a line and the people repeated it or responded with “I will sing to Adonai.”

“Our ancestors in Egypt failed to grasp the meaning of your wonders. They didn’t keep in mind your great deeds of grace but rebelled at the sea, at the Sea of Suf. Yet he saved them for his own name’s sake, to make known his mighty power. He rebuked the Sea of Suf, and it dried up; he led them through its depths as through a desert. He saved them from hostile hands, redeemed them from the power of the foe. The water closed over their adversaries; not one of them was left. Then they believed his words, and they sang his praise” (Psalm 106:7-11).

Shirat HaYam – The Song of the Sea

Highlighting the main idea in each section in the “Song of the Sea” reveals ‘I Am’ to His chosen people and mankind as Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, Yeshua (salvation), yad yamin (the right hand), ruach (wind), gibbor (warrior), tsur (rock) and the mishkan (dwelling place).

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh – yod-hey-vav-hey
“Sing to yod-hey-vav-hey, for he is highly exalted! The horse and its rider he threw in the sea” (Exodus 15:1)

This is the first time the children Isra’el corporately acknowledge yod-hey-vav-hey as their Elohim.

Yeshua – Salvation
“Yah is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (verse 2).

In this verse Yah, a shortened form of yod-hey-vav-hey, (Yahweh), has become their yeshua.  For the Hebrews, yod-hey-vav-hey and His salvation (yeshua) are echad (one).

Gibbor – Warrior
“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is a warrior; yod-hey-vav-hey is his name” (Exodus 15:3).

Adonai fought the enemy for His people.  After their deliverance from the Egyptians,  they declare to the nations around them who has protected and defended them.
Though Yeshua is considered a compassionate, merciful Savior, he is also a warrior.  He is not just any warrior, he is Commander in Chief of the armies of Adonai (Joshua 5:14-15).  He judges, makes war and strikes down nations –– beginning with Egypt (Revelation 19:11-16).

Yad Yamin – Right Hand
“Your right hand, yod-hey-vav-hey, is sublimely powerful; your right hand, yod-hey-vav-hey, shatters the foe” (verses 6-7).

Adonai is Spirit. He does not have literal arms and legs. This unique part of Adonai shows He is omnipotent or all powerful. Whenever Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh shows His divine power and intervenes in the matters of mankind, He uses His right hand. When He reaches out His right hand and holy arm to deliver His people, it is a revelation of Yeshua.

“Sing a new song to Adonai, because he has done wonders. His right hand, his holy arm have won him victory” (Psalm 98:1).

“Adonai has bared his holy arm in the sight of every nation, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation [yeshua] of our God” (Isaiah 52:10).

Ruach – Wind
“With a blast from your nostrils the waters piled up – the waters stood up like a wall…. You blew with your wind and the sea covered them, they sank like lead in the mighty waters” (verses 8, 10).

The wind piled up the waters for the Hebrews and then relented covering the Egyptians.  The Hebrew word for ‘blast’ and ‘wind’ is ruach.

The Ruach Elohim is Adonai’s very breath, the part of His life-giving essence. The Hebrews acknowledge that His Ruach blew from His nostrils and piled up the waters like a wall. When He blew from His nostrils a second time, and the waters covered their enemies.

Tzur – Rock
“The depths of the sea became firm ground” (verse 8).

Verse eight in the Orthodox Jewish Bible says, “And the tehomot were congealed in the lev yam (heart of the sea).” Tehemot means ‘springs which oozed up from the deep.’  Just dividing the waters didn’t make the sea bottom become firm, dry ground or charabah. There were oozing springs that left mucky mud.  The word for ‘firm ground’ in most translations is ‘congealed’ meaning ‘to change from a soft or fluid state into a rigid or solid state.’ Adonai congealed the oozing springs from the deep into solid rock.

Adonai is called the Rock of Isra’el (Genesis 49:24). He is a Rock of refuge and the horn or stronghold of salvation (Psalm 18:2). Adonai is the Rock of our salvation (Psalm 91:1). There is a cornerstone, a firm foundation stone that is laid in Tziyon (Zion) prophesying Yeshua (Isaiah 28:16 ). On the Rock of Yeshua, the Hebrews walked on the floor of the Red Sea from one side to the other.

When the Ruach Elohim blew a second time, ‘the springs of the deep’ returned to their original state and the Egyptian armies got stuck in the mud. The sea swallowed them along with their horses and chariots. Because Pharaoh and the Egyptians did not heed the word of Adonai, the rock became sinking sand.

“So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on bedrock. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the winds blew and beat against that house, but it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the wind blew and beat against that house, and it collapsed — and its collapse was horrendous!” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Mishkan – The Dwelling Place
“In your love, you led the people you redeemed; in your strength, you guided them to your holy abode. You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain which is your heritage, the place, Adonai, that you made your abode, the sanctuary, Adonai, which your hands established” (verses 13, 17).

Adonai is leading His people to the foot of the mountain where He first called Moshe. At this mountain, He will give them Torah, His instructions, and create the nation of Isra’el.  The Torah will include instructions for making His ‘dwelling place’ or Mishkan where Adonai will live the middle of Isra’el’s camp while they travel around the wilderness. After they enter the Promised Land, Adonai’s Temple will be established on Mount Tziyon in Jerusalem (Psalm 48:12); the Millennial Temple of Messiah will also be on the same mountain as Yeshua is the ‘dwelling place’ of the Ruach Elohim (Isaiah 2:1-3).

“Yeshua answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.’  The Judeans said, ‘It took 46 years to build this Temple, and you’re going to raise it in three days?’ But the “temple” he had spoken of was his body” (John 2:19-21).

The Nations

“The nations have heard and they tremble; anguish takes hold of those living in Philistia, then the chiefs of Edom are dismayed, trepidation seizes the heads of Moab,  all those living in Canaan are melted away. Terror and dread fall on them; by the might of your arm they are still as stone until your people pass over, Adonai, till the people you purchased pass over” (Exodus 15:14-16).

The terror of judgment that Egypt experienced firsthand caused the nations around them to fear the Hebrews. They heard about the Egyptian armies being killed in the Red Sea and they stood ‘still as stone’ until the Hebrews passed by their lands. No nation wanted to go to war with the people who Adonai defends.

Rafa-El – The Healer

Three days after the deliverance through the Red Sea, the Hebrews arrive in the Desert of Shur.  It is believed this desert is part of the Arabian desert on the northeastern border of Egypt. This is the same wilderness area the ‘angel of Adonai’ found Hagar when she ran away from Sarah.

Two events occur that involve water, a necessity in a desert. In between the two events, Adonai tells His people to pay attention to His commands and observe His laws.

Bitter Water
“They couldn’t drink the water because it was bitter. Moshe cried to Adonai, and Adonai showed him a certain piece of wood, which, when he threw it into the water, made the water taste good, sweet, drinkable” (Exodus 15:23, 25).

The word for ‘bitter’ in Hebrew is marah. From marah comes the name Miryam (Mary). The Hebrew word for ‘wood’ is etz and means ‘tree.’ Adonai shows Moshe a piece of wood or a part of a tree with no specific name. There are several interpretations for the meaning of the ‘tree.’ Some suggest it is symbolic of the cross on which Yeshua died.  Others suggest it is mankind, “For man is the tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19).   Adam and Eve were given a choice between two trees, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. They had to choose between obedience to Adonai’s command or rebellion; they to choose between life or death. In Judaism, the etz represents the Tree of Life or Torah (Genesis 2:9 and Revelation 22:19).

Adonai tells His people that they must do what is right and pay attention to His commands. At the bitter waters, Adonai reveals an important aspect of His character that is conditional. If the children of Isra’el obey Him, then He will be their Rafa-el, Healer. The waters at marah need healing and only He can do it.

Torah directs us to Adonai, gives us wisdom, and reveals salvation. More importantly, the Torah holds the living water for our spiritual thirst. Though the cross is a nice symbol for the tree, it removes the significance of Rafa-el giving healed water to His people at marah quenching a spiritual thirst. The etz of obeying His commandments transforms undrinkable bitter water into sweet living water.

“If you will listen intently to the voice of Adonai your God, do what He considers right, pay attention to his commands and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, because I am Adonai your Healer” (Exodus 15:26).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Marah (Bitter) – מרה – mem, resh, hey
– chaos highest authority, revealed

Etz (Tree) – עץ – ayin, tzade
– understand and pull toward

Mathoq (Sweet) – מתוק – mem, tav, vav, kof
– mighty covenant, what is behind the binding

Spring Water
“They came to Eilim [Elim], where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and camped there by the water” (Exodus 15:27).

After they leave marah, they camp at Elim which means ‘ram’ or ‘strong.’ Elim is an oasis possibly in the region south of the Suez Canal in the Egyptian delta, but also could be in Saudi Arabia. The Hebrew word for ‘springs’ is ayin, the same word ‘eye’ meaning ‘to see or understand.’ Ayin is the 16th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents the number 70.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Elim (Ram, Strong) – אילם – alef, yod, lamed, mem
– first strength finished work mighty urging forward

Spring (Eye) or Ayin – עין – ayin, yod, nun
– understand the finished work of life

Palm or Tamar – תמר – tav, mem, resh
– the mighty covenant of the highest authority

Jacob left Canaan and went down into Egypt with his 12 sons and their families.  This small nation consisted of 70 people. Over 400 years later, more than one million children of Isra’el camp in an oasis in the desert, an oasis that remains to this day.  Each tribe receives water from their own spring and puts up their tents in the shade of the 70 trees. This passage is evidence of El Shaddai’s promise to Abraham for many descendants who would be preserved after being enslaved in a foreign nation. At the springs of Elim, the Hebrews are refreshed, strengthened and encouraged after being tested.

The Hebrew word for ‘palm’ is tamar.  Palm trees symbolize those with great faith, who planted by water, bring refreshment to weary souls (Psalm 92:12-13). Tamar, who had sons with Judah, was considered righteous because of her behavior. Her womb flourished with twins, one of whom began the ‘scarlet thread’ blood lineage of Yeshua.

Adonai Yireh – The Provider

“I have heard the grumblings of the people of Isra’el.  Say to them: At dusk you will be eating meat, and in the morning you will have your fill of bread.  Then you will realize that I am Adonai your God” (Exodus 16:4-5).

One month after leaving Egypt and being refreshed under the trees at Elim, the Hebrews kevetch or whine again. They miss their pots boiling with meat and wish Adonai had killed them while they were still slaves. They grumble against Moshe and Aaron and accuse them of starving everyone.

“Here, I will cause bread to rain down from heaven to you.  The people are to go out and gather a day’s ration every day.  But this I will test whether they will observe my Torah or not.  On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, it will turn out to be twice as much as they gather on the other days” (Exodus 16:4-5).

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh appears in glory from the cloud.  He responds to the grumbling with another test because He wants them to trust Him as Provider.   He promises to rain bread down from heaven on them each day, but on the sixth day He will miraculously transform one day’s rations into two.  He also promises them meat.

In the evening, quail appear and cover the camp while in the morning there is a layer of dew around the camp.  When the dew evaporated, there is a fine flaky substance on the ground.  They call it man hu or ‘What is it?’

“Yeshua answered, ‘I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world’” (John 6:48-51).

The Shabbat – The Sabbath Day

Moshe told them man hu or manna is the bread ‘I Am’ has provided as food. It appeared as fine as frost on the ground, white like coriander seed, and tasted like honey cakes.  Each man was to gather according to his appetite, two quarts per person for everyone in his tent.  The Hebrews followed Moshe’s instructions and no one had too much or too little. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much or four quarts per person. According to Adonai’s instructions, two quarts of manna was collected and put in a jar to be kept for future generations to see the bread that He fed them in the wilderness.  The Israelites ate manna until they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land 40 years later.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Manna (What is it?) or Man hu – מן הו– mem, nun, hey, vav
– mighty life, reveal the binding

“This is what Adonai has said, ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai.  Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning; Because tomorrow is the Shabbat for Adonai, you won’t find any in the field.  Gather it six days, but the seventh day is Shabbat–on that day there won’t be any’” (Exodus 16:23-25).

Up until this time, the Hebrews did not keep the Sabbath day.  As slaves they labored every day in Egypt with no time for rest. After their hasty exodus from Egypt and their travels through the Red Sea, they had no time or place to rest.  Adonai now provides them with more than just food; He gives them rest.

Still, there were those who did not obey His command.  Some kept the daily manna until the next morning and it turned to worms.  Others went out on the Sabbath to gather manna and there was none.

“How long will you refuse to observe my rulings and teachings?  Look, Adonai has given you the Shabbat.  This is why He is providing bread for two days on the sixth day.  Each of you, stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.  So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 16:28-30).

According to Hebrews 4, the Sabbath still remains.  Yet, there are those like the Hebrews who refuse to obey Adonai’s instruction. They don’t believe their manna will turn to worms (Isaiah 66:24). They work and gather and gather and work and never enter His rest.

The Rock

“He split a rock, and water gushed out, flowing as a river over the dry ground, for he remembered his promise to his servant Abraham” (Psalm 105:41).

The Hebrews leave the Desert of Sin and travel only a short distance until they quarrel again because there is no water.  They demand that Moshe give them water and accuse him of trying to kill their children and livestock.  This place is named Massah and Merivah, the place of testing and quarreling.

“Go on ahead of the people … take your staff in your hand, the one you used to strike the river; and go.  I will stand in front of you there on the rock in Horev.  You are to strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so the people can drink” (Exodus 17:5-7).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Massah (Testing) – מסה – mem, samech, hey
– mighty support protect

Merivah (Quareling) – מריבה – mem, resh, yod, bet, hey
– chaos of highest authority, finished work of the family, reveal

Horev (Mountain) – חרב – chet, resh, bet
– protect the highest authority of the house

Tzur (Rock) – צור – tzade, vav, resh
– pull toward to the binding of the highest authority

Mount Horev is the ‘inner room’ where Moshe met Adonai in the burning bush and received His memorial name, yod-hey-vav-hey. It is at Mount Horev where Adonai pours out His living water.

Adonai tells Moshe to go to a specific ‘Rock’ that he will know because Adonai will “stand in front of you on the rock.”  Moshe is to strike the ‘Rock’ with his staff. When he follows Adonai’s instruction, the ‘Rock’ split open and water gushes out fresh water for the Hebrews to drink.

“For, brothers, I don’t want you to miss the significance of what happened to our fathers. All of them were guided by the pillar of cloud, and they all passed through the sea, and in connection with the cloud and with the sea they all immersed themselves into Moshe, also they all ate the same food from the Spirit, and they all drank the same drink from the Spirit — for they drank from a Spirit-sent Rock which followed them, and that Rock was the Messiah” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

Sha’ul gives three significant facts about the ‘Rock’ in 1 Corinthians 10:4. Sha’ul uses Torah to state his case which is not merely based on tradition. First, it followed the Israelites. According to Jewish tradition, the ‘Rock’ was a literal rock, like a well and full of holes like a sieve, from which the water trickled and then shot up to the sky. The ‘Rock’ was the size of a large round vessel, surging and gurgling upward as from the mouth of this little flask, rising with them up onto the mountains and down with them into the valleys. Wherever the children of Isra’el would camp, it made camp with them on a high place, opposite the entry of the Tent of Meeting. It is believed that when Isra’el sang “Spring up, oh well! Sing to the well,” they were referring to the ‘Rock’ (Numbers 21:17).

The early church fathers rejected the idea of a literal rock because the concept came from Jewish tradition. However, several times in Torah, Moshe personifies the ‘Rock.’ From his personal experience and perspective, the ‘Rock’ was literal and it followed the Israelites.

“The Rock! His work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A trustworthy God who does no wrong, He is righteous and straight” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

“After all, how can one chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to rout, unless their Rock sells them to their enemies, unless Adonai hands them over?” (Deuteronomy 32:30)

The ‘Rock’ speaks to King David and makes a covenant with him. “The God of Isra’el spoke; the Rock of Isra’el said to me …” (2 Samuel 23:3). Isaiah speaks of the ‘Rock’ being eternal, “Trust in Adonai forever, because in Yah Adonai, is a Rock of Ages” (Isaiah 26:4). When Moshe asks to meet with Adonai face to face, he is told to stand in the crevice of the ‘Rock’ until the glory of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh passes by (Exodus 33:20-22).

Second, according to Sha’ul, the ‘Rock’ gave the Israelites spiritual drink. The water from the ‘Rock’ was not bitter water turned sweet or even a spring like those at Elim. This water was living water, brought forth by an act of Adonai that would quench the spiritual thirst of the children of Isra’el. Moshe struck the ‘Rock’ in the sight of the leaders, proving again that it was a literal rock. The ‘Rock’ can be spiritualized, but when Moshe hits the ‘Rock,’ why is it taught that the ‘Rock’ is Yeshua and he was only to be beaten once?

Third, according to Sha’ul, the ‘Rock’ is Messiah. The ‘Rock’ is Yeshua. This is why when Moshe hits the ‘Rock’ the second time, it is understood to be Yeshua. Yeshua is the ‘Rock’ which the builders rejected, but became the cornerstone of a spiritual Temple (1 Peter 2:7, Ephesians 2:19-22). He is a tested stone, a ‘Rock’ over which Isra’el will stumble (Isaiah 8:14).

“The very Rock that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone! This has come from Adonai, and in our eyes it is amazing” (Psalm 118:2-3).

El Nissi – The Banner

At Refid’im (Merivah), the Amalekites attack the children of Isra’el.  Moshe tells Joshua to choose men to go into battle.   In the morning when the fighting begins, Moshe along with Aaron and Hur, climb to the top of the hill with the staff of Adonai.

Moshe is 80 years old and continues to lead the children of Isra’el; however, he cannot actively participate in battles and be killed. As their leader, he is responsible to keep the fighting men focused on their job –– defeating the Amalekites.   He shows his leadership by using the staff that divided the Red Sea reminding the men of Adonai’s victory over the Egyptians and to trust ‘I Am’ will also win this battle for them.

By holding up his arms, Moshe symbolically offers a priestly blessing over the Hebrew armies. When his hands are raised with the staff, the children of Isra’el prevail against their enemy. When he gets tired and his arms slowly drop, the army begins to lose the battle. He discerns that when his hands are up, the children of Isra’el win so when he gets tired, Aaron and Hur step in, find a rock for him to sit on, and hold up his hands so that his arms remain raised until sunset. When the Hebrew army looks up to the hill, they see Aaron and Hur remaining faithful to Moshe who trusts Adonai to defeat the Amalekites.

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Write this in a book to be remembered, and tell it to Y’hoshua [Joshua]: I will completely blot out any memory of the Amalekites from under heaven’” (Exodus 17:14).

Moshe builds an altar and calls it yod-hey-vav-hey Nissi, (Adonai is my Banner). This is another attribute of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh who has now revealed Himself as the Rafa (Healer), Yireh (Provider) and now, Nissi (Banner) of Isra’el.

Yeshua and Laodicea
Revelation 3:14-22

In the message to the congregation of Laodicea, Yeshua reveals himself as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, Ruler of God’s creation.” 

The Laodicean congregation was lukewarm, neither hot or cold, and Yeshua wanted to vomit them out of his mouth. To be hot means to be close to the fire of Elohim’s holiness.  To be hot means you are always seeking His presence, His ways, His life, His truth. To be cold means to be far away from Him and His presence.   Cold is a complete indifference to His commands, precepts, and statutes.  To be cold is to be a pagan from the nations, a foreigner, separate from Elohim, His people, His teachings, “without God, without hope in this world” (Ephesians 2:12).

Mixing hot and cold creates lukewarm. Lukewarm is a mixture of the holy hotness of Adonai and the profane coldness of the world exemplified with the golden calf.   Though the children of Isra’el had the right intention, their  worship was detestable to Adonai because it mixed the holy and the pagan.  Aaron rationalized their abominations, but it was still not acceptable to Adonai (Exodus 32).

The Laodicean congregation believed they were rich and had need of nothing, yet Yeshua saw them as poor, pitiful, blind and naked.   He tells them to buy gold refined by fire because they need a hot refining fire to remove the ugly dross and scum in their lives.

The Laodiceans believed they had the righteousness of Messiah, but will be ashamed when they are seen as naked. Man-made fig leaves do not cover their naked bodies any more than they covered Adam and Eve.   They also need eye salve because they have been blinded to their mixture of holy and pagan practices. They perceive themselves as holy, but have fallen into the great deception where the pure milk of the Word has been polluted with false god worship. They believe they are hot while they commit spiritual adultery and are sickening lukewarm (2 Corinthians 11:2-4).

The Laodiceans are so complacent, Yeshua tells them to “exert yourselves and turn from your sins!” ‘Exert’ means to put forth some serious physical action. The Laodiceans do not need to hear a message of ‘rest in me because you are saved;’ they need a ‘put forth some effort because you need to repent’ message. Yeshua loves this congregation which is why he rebukes them so harshly. He wants to heat them up and refine them so they aren’t vomit in his mouth.

Laodicea was situated on the Lycus River in the Roman province of Asia and was the meeting place for the Council of Laodicea in 360 CE.  It was at this council that many anti-semitic doctrines were established for the church and are still part of Christian theology today.

The Council of Laodicea and the Sabbath

“Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day.”

This canon by the council directly contradicts the Fourth Commandment given in Exodus 20:8-10.  Judaizing has nothing to do with obeying Elohim’s commandments.  Judaizing is the theology that requires a gentile believer in Messiah to convert to Judaism through ritual circumcision. Keeping the Sabbath has nothing to do with Judaism, but is an expression of faith in Yeshua through obedience to the commandments of Adonai.  This deliberate twisting of Judaizing has kept the church from obeying a Biblical commandment. It has also kept the church from provoking the Jewish people to jealousy.

“Rather [they should] honour the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, rest then as Christians.”

It becomes clear that those in Laodicea knew the ‘Lord’s Day’ was not the Sabbath. They obviously did not heed the warning given by Yeshua because their edicts have created a lukewarm church that mixes the holy ‘Sabbath’ and the profane ‘Sunday.’

This is a serious edict because the Sabbath is the memorial to creation and a vision of eternity. According to Yeshua’s message to Laodicea, he is ruler over creation, and as the ‘Amen,’ he has the final ‘so be it’ regarding the Sabbath. The decisions made at Laodicea nullified the command of Adonai.  Yeshua is the ‘faithful and true witness’ and, without his ‘witness,’ the ‘Lord’s Day’ is not Biblical truth nor faithful to Adonai’s command.

Yeshua stands at the door of the Laodicean congregation and knocks.  He wants someone to open the door so he can come in and eat with them.  If they open the door, there will be table fellowship and a Feast of Adonai! ‘Door’ in Hebrew is dalet and represents the Fourth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Yeshua desires to fellowship with the faithful who are willing to open the dalet of the Biblical Sabbath.

The reward for the overcomer in Laodicea is to sit with Yeshua on his Throne.  The action of sitting after a victory is an allusion to rest and cessation of work.  This is the meaning and purpose of Sabbath –– ceasing work and resting. 

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