Doers Of The Law Will Be Justified

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Does Romans really teach the law has been abolished? The answer is, emphatically no.

The problem that Christians have with Paul in Romans 6 and 7 is that Paul is talking about two laws, the law of God and the law of sin (Romans 7:25). In Romans 8:2, these two laws are referred to as the law of the Spirit and the law of sin and death. Christians can’t see these two laws clearly because they lack a solid foundation of Torah from a Hebraic perspective and because they have accepted incorrect teaching that has been passed down to them for many generations.

Let’s begin this discussion with Romans 2:9:  “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek.”  Is the opposite of this true?  It should be, but it sure hasn’t been my experience.  The law of YHVH defines what is good, righteous, and holy. It defines evil by telling us what to avoid.  If we don’t embrace the law of YHVH, we can expect tribulation and distress on a regular basis, especially as the end comes upon us. Of course, we can also expect this when we are surrounded by others who commit evil too.  It’s just how life can be.

Paul is really not presenting a new concept.  He’s presenting what Moses said in Deuteronomy 11:26-28. Basically, you will be blessed if you obey the commandments of YHVH your God, or you will be cursed if you disobey the commandments of YHVH your God.

When we think about our lives, we know that we have often given in to the sinful desires of the flesh.  Just as Messiah died and was raised from the dead, we are to put to death the deeds and desires of the flesh and walk in newness of life by the power of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

We are not to be slaves of sin but slaves of righteousness.  According to John 8:34, “if you commit sin, you are a slave of sin.”  Since we all sin from time to time, I think he is speaking more in terms of habitual sin.  In Romans 6:6, Paul said that our old man was crucified with Messiah so that the body of sin might be done away with; in other words, we should no longer be slaves of sin.  Sin came into the world through Adam; this resulted in death being spread to all men.  In a similar fashion, Messiah reversed that result through one act of righteousness. Previously, Adam’s sin led to the condemnation of many, but Messiah’s righteousness led to justification of many.

So what is justification? Justification is the action of declaring someone righteous in God’s sight.  It is a separate act from what the law does, and it takes place as a result of a few separate things (Romans 3:21-31).

First, there is an act of righteousness that comes through faith.  For Abraham, it was a faith that God would keep His promise that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heaven (Genesis 15:4-6).  That one act of belief was considered righteousness for Abraham. It was an act of faith that looked into the future, which he could not see with his own eyes.  For us, our act of faith is believing that God raised Yeshua from the dead (Romans 4:23-25). This is an act of faith that looks into the past, which we cannot see with our own eyes.

Second, there is an act of righteousness that comes by God’s grace as a gift.  This gift or act of righteousness is God’s free to us, but it was a costly gift from the Father.  It was the cost of redemption put forth by God; it was the blood of Yeshua given as a propitiation for our sin.

When we believe that God raised Yeshua from the dead, we are believing/trusting that we have been redeemed from the curse of the law of sin and death with the blood of Yeshua, which was given as a propitiation for our sin. Folks, this is not the end of the story as most Christians believe it to be.

These two acts of righteousness were performed by two different parties to draw us into an ancient covenant with one another.  I’m speaking of the covenant on Mount Sinai where YHVH gave the terms of the covenant to Moses to pass on to the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt.

We can see this displayed in the following chiasm:

Faith of Abraham: that YHVH would keep His promise of many descendants and give him land as an inheritance. Abraham killed and cut the offerings given for the covenant where God, as a smoking oven and burning torch walked between the cut parts (Genesis 15:4-21). 

God sending Moses to lead the people out of slavery and through the waters of the Red Sea to the other side.

A seh (animal from the sheep or the goats) was offered as Passover sacrifice for the Threshold Covenant.

**Covenant on Mount Sinai

Yeshua was offered as the Passover Lamb for the New Threshold Covenant. The terms of this covenant are the same as the original; these terms are to be written on our hearts.

God send Yeshua to lead people out of slavery to sin. They are to receive the baptism of repentance. They are to cross over/be raised from death to life.

Faith of believers: that God raised Yeshua from the dead so they could walk in newness of life. Believers must receive the free gift of God’s grace with which He redeemed us; this gift of grace was God offering His son, Yeshua as a propitiation for our sin by the hands of wicked men. Believers now stand in grace because they have been bought with a price.

In Romans 3:31, Paul himself said that the law is not abolished because of man’s faith in Yeshua. Indeed, Paul upheld the law of YHVH.  Not only that, Paul previously said, “all who have sinned under the law of YHVH will be judged by the law of YHVH (Romans 2:1).”

Now let me present two apparently conflicting statements Paul made:

  • “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified (Romans 2:13).”
  • “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).”

Which is it? Is Paul trying to confuse us?  Can both verses be correct? Yes, they can!  The problem is that these verses are often quoted out of context.  Paul has made statements with ellipses.  We must use the context of the text to insert words into the ellipses for it to all make sense.

In Romans 2, Paul is comparing and contrasting lawless, wicked people with lawful, righteous people. It’s a basic repeat of the warning Moses gave to the people long ago.  If you obey YHVH’s commands, you will have blessing and life.

We can restate Romans 2:13 by filling in Paul’s ellipses as: “For it is not the hearers of the law of YHVH who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law of YHVH who will be justified.”

In Romans 3, Paul is talking about those who are all under sin. They are disobedient to the law of YHVH. According to Moses, if you disobey YHVH’s laws, you’ll have cursing and death. This is also known as the law of sin, or the law of sin and death (because sin leads to death).

We can restate Romans 3:20 by filling in Paul’s ellipses as: “For by works of the law of sin no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law of YHVH comes knowledge of sin.”

We are not supposed to allow sin, as define by the law of YHVH, to reign in our lives.  We are not under the law of sin, but the law of grace.

Paul reminded his readers, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)”

Based on what Moses told the second generation that came out of Egypt, Romans 6:23 now makes sense when we clarify the word “sin” this way: “For the wages of sin (lawlessness) is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So what is the purpose of the law of YHVH? There are two purposes.  First, it was a tutor to teach us what is righteous and what is not (Galatians 3:24-25). In other words, it defines righteousness.  It was also to bring us to Messiah so we could be the seed of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:25 seems to indicate we are no longer under this tutor.  Is that correct?  I think this verse specifically applies more to Paul’s original readers in Galatia than to us. The reason I say that is because the Jews and many converted Gentiles were raised on the Torah. They knew it well.  For us, the opposite is often true. We either do not know it at all, or we don’t know it as well as we should. We can look at this concept in a reverse-chiastic fashion.

Torah brings people to Messiah.

**People are redeemed by the blood of Messiah and justified by faith in Messiah.

Those justified by faith in Messiah are brought to Torah so they can learn how to live righteously (walk in holiness).

Acts 15:19-21 supports this idea.  Originally, many Gentiles were turning to Messiah that had no knowledge of Torah.  The Jerusalem Council submitted a letter with a judgment to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.  These are the core teachings of Torah found in Leviticus. These things were the major things plaguing the Gentiles.  They could learn the rest of the Torah from what was being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.

Previously, we mentioned two acts of righteousness. The first was believing that God rose Yeshua from the dead. The second was God’s act of redeeming man with the blood of His son. A third act of righteousness would be man’s trusting in the act of God redeeming people from the curse of the law.  Acts of righteousness are not supposed to stop here.  There are many other acts of righteousness we are expected to do.  We can’t know what all of those are unless we study the Torah and begin doing them.

Why should we be concerned with Torah?  Didn’t Yeshua fulfill the law?  Actually, He did NOT fulfill ALL of it yet.  There is much prophecy to be fulfilled when He returns.  Does that shock you?  It shouldn’t.  Everything won’t be fulfilled until heaven and earth pass away.  Those who teach that the law has already been fulfilled or that it is not necessary to do it will be LEAST in the kingdom of God.  See Matthew 5:17-19 if you aren’t sure.

So why should we concerned with Torah? It’s because the final purpose of the law of YHVH is our holiness.  This is the fruit we are supposed to bear to God.  We are not to bear the fruit of wickedness.

Look at the following verses:

Romans 6:19:  “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”

Romans 6:21-23: “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? [My answer: Wickedness] For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Again, this is nothing new. Moses gave them same choice many years ago.

With this in mind, let’s look at Romans 7:4-6 with his ellipses filled in:  “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law (of sin and death) through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another — to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law (of sin and death) were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law (of sin and death), having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”

Now, we look at Torah, we can agree with Paul and say, “Therefore the law (of YHVH) is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good (Romans 7:12).”

So, if you thought the written law was abolished, you probably don’t even know what it teaches.  You need to be tutored in the written law of YHVH so you know what righteousness really is.  As you learn it, go and do it.

If you’ve taught others that the law of YHVH was abolished, repent; start teaching otherwise.

Do not allow yourself to set your mind on the flesh; that leads to death.  Set your mind on the Spirit; this leads to life and peace. Remember, a mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.  Submit to God’s law and live. This is what being led by the Spirit is all about (Romans 8:6-7, 13).

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Vengeance on the Midianites

Today we’ll see the significance of the vengeance on the Midianites that took place in Numbers 31 but before we do, let’s review some of the Scripture that precedes it. 

Numbers 27 reminds us that Moses could not lead the Israelites into the Promised Land because he didn’t trust the Lord or uphold His holiness before the people when he struck the rock to bring forth water instead of speaking to it.  Instead, the Lord told Moses to take Joshua the son of Nun and appoint him as leader over the community by laying hands on him, putting him in front of the High Priest and the whole community, commissioning him, and delegating authority to him so the people would obey him.

In Numbers 28, the Lord told Moses to order the people to bring the proper offerings at the proper times.  This included the daily offerings, the ones for the Sabbaths and the New Moons (at the first of each month), and those for the feasts of the Lord.  The people were also instructed to observe the feasts by having a holy convocation and by avoiding ordinary work.  These offerings were to be made in addition to the vows and voluntary offerings of the people.

One thing that we often overlook is the keeping of vows.  When vows are broken, guilt incurs.  If a girl makes a vow, it can be made null and void by her father; likewise the vow of a married woman can be made null and void by her husband he says he’s displeased with it when he first hears about it.  It is the man who bears the consequent guilt of the female’s unfulfilled vow.  If the father or husband doesn’t say anything, the girl or woman is obligated to keep her vow just as males are required to keep their vows.  Widow and divorcees are required to keep their vows as well. 

We must understand that the father and the husband represents Jesus who has borne the guilt of our broken vows as a husband or father does for his bride or child; however, His sacrifice is not a license to break our vows.  We should still take vows or promises seriously and not lightly.  Don’t ever promise anything you might not be able to keep because you will incur guilt.  Just think about how long term financial pledges are requested and made for church building programs and other things that are not always kept.  Some may have been broken for valid reasons such as a job loss or perhaps someone changed churches and stopped paying his pledge.  There is much guilt over these churches because pledges are not kept. 

Consider Ananias and Sapphira who did not keep their vow to give all of the proceeds of the sale of their land to the apostles.  They could have done what they wanted with the money but they must have promised to give all of it to the apostles.  Once the vow was made, they must have changed their mind concerning the amount of money to donate.  Since they lied to the Holy Spirit, their lives were cut short.  This happened after Christ’s ascension.  This should cause us to fear the Lord and it should keep us from lying to the Holy Spirit and to others.  Please understand that we are obligated to keep our pledges even though Jesus’ blood can cover our guilt.  If you’ve failed to honor a vow, you must do what it takes to fulfill it if possible. 

Now let’s turn our attention to Numbers 31.  After instructions for the fulfillment of vows, the Lord ordered Moses to gather an army in order to take vengeance on the Midianites.  The Lord told Moses that after this was accomplished, Moses would be gathered to his people.  Moses obeyed the Lord by ordering some of the men to be armed for war.  One thousand men from each tribe of Israel — a total of 12,000 men were sent with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, the holy articles, and the signal trumpets.  Every Midianite male was killed but the people of Israel took all the women and children captive.  All the Midianite cities were plundered and set on fire. The captives, animals, and booty were brought to Moses but he became angry when he found out the women had been permitted to live.  He immediately he ordered all the women who had known a man intimately to be killed since they were responsible for leading the people into idolatry and sexual immorality.  He also ordered all the male children to be killed.  Most likely this was so they wouldn’t grow up to take revenge on behalf of their families.  On the other hand, the virgins were to be kept alive for the Israelites.

Moses instructed whoever had killed someone or touched a corpse was to remain outside the camp and be purified on the 3rd and 7th days, including men and captives.  In addition, all garments and everything of wood had to be purified with water.  Anything made of metal had to be passed through the fire in order to purity it.  After this, the plunder was divided among those who fought in the battle and the rest of the congregation.  Those who went to war gave part of their portion to the High Priest to be offered as a heave offering to the Lord.

When we read Numbers 31, we may wonder why the command to bring proper offerings at proper times in Numbers 28-29 was made between Joshua being appointed as a leader in Numbers 27 and the orders to take vengeance on the Midianites in Numbers 31.  Contemplate this:  The spring feasts showed us the work of the Messiah during His first time on earth – Jesus died as our Passover Lamb, He offered Himself to the Father as Firstfruits from the dead, and the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the hearts of believers.  This correlates to the time of Moses death and the beginning of Joshua’s leadership. 

The time period that begins with Moses’ death is parallel with the period between Jesus’ death and His return.  We can expect Christ to fulfill the fall feasts when He returns – Jesus will come at the last trumpet, the wicked will be judged during the battle of Armageddon, and Jesus will dwell with His people. These feasts will be celebrated during the millennial reign of Christ too because what is foreshadowed in the feasts will not be fully completed until after the Great White throne judgment takes place and the New Jerusalem comes down (Col. 2:16-17; Matt. 5:17-18).  This time period can be associated with the leadership of Joshua that began before vengeance was taken on the Midianites.

During the time period between Jesus’ death (compared to Moses’) and Jesus’ return (associated with Joshua’s leadership), we are to be living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God.  We are to do this daily, each month, and in every season.  As we do so we should celebrate the feasts of the Lord because they represent a shadow of things to come.  In addition, we should not fail to meet together to worship the Lord and enjoy our Sabbath rests.

The command to take vengeance on the Midianites is also a picture of what takes place during the fall feasts.  Note that the Midianite women were guilty of harlotry and therefore share a similarity with Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots.  The Midianite women had to be destroyed because of their harlotry.  Likewise, Babylon the Great must be destroyed.  The Midianite virgins were joined with the Israelites.  In a similar manner, Gentile believers have been grafted into the olive tree of Israel.  They are part of the bride of Christ which is to blameless and pure.  Balaam the son of Beor was killed in addition to the kings of Midian (Evi, Rekem, Tzur, Hur, and Reva) along with the others who were slain.  This parallels the beast of Revelation and the 10 kings who will hand over their power and authority to him and go to war against the Lamb of God.  After the battle of Armageddon, the enemies of the Lord will be plundered, gifts will be offered to the Lord, and the wedding supper of the Lamb will take place.  Those who will be there will be pure and dressed in clean robes of righteousness just like the Israelites purified themselves and their clothing after the war with the Midianites.  Just as Moses was gathered to his people in death after the war with the Midianites, Jesus who now lives to intercede for us will be gathered together with His people forever. 

The reason we know all these things will take place because the Lord has promised us they will happen and He always keeps His vows.

Moses’ Cushite Wife

Numbers 12 begins with Miriam and Aaron criticizing Moses because of the Ethiopian (Cushite) woman he had married.  Many are troubled by this passage because in Exodus, the Bible says Moses had married a Midianite woman named Zipporah.  Some people assume that the Ethiopian and Zipporah were one and the same person but this is not the case.

The Targum Pseudo-Jonathan says, “And Miriam and Aharon spake against Mosheh words that were not becoming with respect to the Kushaitha whom the Kushaee had caused Mosheh to take when he had fled from Pharoh, but whom he had sent away because they had given him the queen of Kush, and he had sent her away. [JERUSALEM. And Miriam and Aharon spake against Mosheh about the Kushaitha whom he had taken. But observe, the Kushite wife was not Zipporah, the wife of Mosheh, but a certain Kushaitha, of a flesh different from every creature: whereas Zipporah, the wife of Mosheh, was of a comely form and beautiful countenance, and more abundant in good works than all the women of her age.] And they said, Hath the Lord spoken only with Mosheh, that he should be separated from the married life? Hath He not spoken with us also? And it was heard before the Lord. But the man Mosheh was more bowed down in his mind than all the children of men upon the face of the earth; neither cared he for their words.”[i]

The book of Jasher sheds more light on this subject by explaining that when Moses originally fled from Egypt after murdering an Egyptian there was a great war taking place between the children of Cush and the children of the east and Aram.  Apparently, the children of the east and Aram were rebelling against Kikianus, the king of Cush.  While Kikianus was at war, Balaam son of Beor convinced the Cushites to rebel against Kikianus when he returned home.  To do so, they built walls and ditches around their city and fortified it so no one could enter.  When Kikianus returned home and wasn’t allowed in, he and his army fought their own city for 9 years trying to get back in.

Because details are not mentioned in the Bible, many assume that Moses fled straight to Midian when he originally left Egypt but Jasher chapter 72 tells us something different.  At the beginning of the nine year period when Kikianus was trying to get back into his city, Moses had escaped from Egypt and joined Kikianus’ camp.  Moses was 18 years old when he left Egypt.  At the end of the nine year period, Kikianus died of a mortal disease and his men chose Moses to reign over them.

Jasher 72:36-37 says, “And they rose up and blew with trumpets and called out before him, and said, May the king live, may the king live!  37 And all the people and nobles swore unto him to give him for a wife Adoniah the queen, the Cushite, wife of Kikianus, and they made Moses king over them on that day.”

This is most likely the Cushite wife referred to in Numbers 12.  Jasher 73:2 tells us Moses reigned over Cush for 40 years beginning when he was twenty seven years old.  Under Moses’ leadership, the Cushite city was defeated and Moses reigned in that place while married to Adoniah.

Jasher 73:32-36 gives us specific information about their relationship:  “And Moses feared the Lord God of his fathers, so that he came not to her, nor did he turn his eyes to her.  33 For Moses remembered how Abraham had made his servant Eliezer swear, saying unto him, Thou shalt not take a woman from the daughters of Canaan for my son Isaac.  34 Also what Isaac did when Jacob had fled from his brother, when he commanded him, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan, nor make alliance with any of the children of Ham.  35 For the Lord our God gave Ham the son of Noah, and his children and all his seed, as slaves to the children of Shem and to the children of Japheth, and unto their seed after them for slaves, forever.  36 Therefore Moses turned not his heart nor his eyes to the wife of Kikianus all the days that he reigned over Cush.”  During Moses’ reign over the Cushites, he also fought against the children of Aram and the children of the east and brought them under subjection to the children of Cush.

So how did Moses come to leave these people so he could go to Midian?  Jasher 76:4-12 answers:  “And Adoniah the queen said before the king and the princes, What is this thing which you, the children of Cush, have done for this long time?  5 Surely you know that for forty years that this man has reigned over Cush he has not approached me, nor has he served the gods of the children of Cush.  6 Now therefore hear, O ye children of Cush, and let this man no more reign over you as he is not of our flesh.  7 Behold Menacrus my son is grown up, let him reign over you, for it is better for you to serve the son of your lord, than to serve a stranger, slave of the king of Egypt.  8 And all the people and nobles of the children of Cush heard the words which Adoniah the queen had spoken in their ears.  9 And all the people were preparing until the evening, and in the morning they rose up early and made Menacrus, son of Kikianus, king over them.  10 And all the children of Cush were afraid to stretch forth their hand against Moses, for the Lord was with Moses, and the children of Cush remembered the oath which they swore unto Moses, therefore they did no harm to him.  11 But the children of Cush gave many presents to Moses, and sent him from them with great honor.  12 So Moses went forth from the land of Cush, and went home and ceased to reign over Cush, and Moses was sixty-six years old when he went out of the land of Cush, for the thing was from the Lord, for the period had arrived which he had appointed in the days of old, to bring forth Israel from the affliction of the children of Ham.”

Shortly after Moses left the land of Cush, he went to Midian where the Biblical account continues the story of how Moses met and eventually married Zipporah.  The book of Jasher indicates this marriage did not take place right away.  It says Reuel (Jethro) did not believe Moses’ story about the Cushites so he imprisoned him for ten years in a pit.  During that time, Zipporah had pity on him and brought him bread and water until one day she convinced her father to release him.  Eventually, Reuel (Jethro) gave Zipporah to Moses to be his wife and even though Zipporah was a Midianite, the book of Jasher says she was as righteous as the daughters of Jacob (Jasher 78:8).

The Bible indicates Moses’ family left together for Egypt a short time after God spoke to Moses from the burning bush but it doesn’t say how or when Zipporah and her sons returned to her father.  According to the book of Jasher, Aaron met them while they were on the road to Egypt and told Moses to send her and Moses’ children back to her father (Jasher 79:17).  After the multitude was in the wilderness and prior to the giving of the 10 Commandments, Moses’ father-in-law brought Zipporah and her sons back to Moses (Ex. 18:6).  After this time, Zipporah is no longer mentioned in the Bible or the book of Jasher.  The only thing we know for sure is that Moses had a very close relationship to the Lord and he was responsible for leading this enormous multitude through the wilderness.

Miriam and Aaron were critical of Moses on account of the Cushite wife he had left and with whom he had never had sexual relations.  There is no indication they respected him for maintaining his sexual purity during that time.  As previously mentioned, the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan said, “…And they said, Hath the Lord spoken only with Mosheh, that he should be separated from the married life?”  The phrase, “And they said” seems to indicate a separate issue in their conversation.  It’s possible that even though Zipporah had rejoined him, Moses was avoiding sexual relations with her in order to be closer to the Lord.  This behavior may be similar to the suggestion Paul made in 1 Corinthiains 7:5:  “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

The Bible does not say if Moses divorced Zipporah after they were reunited or if he simply refrained from sexual relations for an extended length of time or for short intervals while he led the multitude in the wilderness.  We do not know if Moses and Zipporah mutually made this decision to be “separated from the married life.”  If they were not divorced and not having sexual relations, we don’t know how Miriam and Aaron found out about it.  You would have thought this would have been a private matter.  If it was not a mutual decision, it’s possible that Zipporah had complained to Miriam about it.  It’s obvious the Lord didn’t think it was any of their business.

As the conversation unfolds, it seems Miriam and Aaron considered themselves equal with Moses since the Lord had also prophesied through them and they believed there was no need for him to refrain from sexual relations or be “separated from the married life.”  It’s likely that Miriam and Aaron were not in the habit of separating themselves from their spouses except during the women’s monthly period (niddah – time of impurity).   Since the Lord was speaking to them in dreams and visions, they probably assumed there was no need for Moses to separate himself from Zipporah either.

The Lord had heard their conversation and demanded a meeting.  The Lord took the time to explain to them that He had a special relationship with Moses because He spoke with him face to face.  The Lord made it clear that they were on a lower level than Moses because like other prophets, He spoke to them only in dreams and visions.  For slandering Moses, Miriam was struck with leprosy.  After seeing her condition, Aaron turned to Moses asking for forgiveness.  In turn, Moses asked the Lord to heal her.  The Lord healed her immediately but she had to remain outside the camp for seven days similar to how any other healed leper had to stay outside their tent for seven days while being inside the camp (Lev. 14:8).

As we examine the information presented so far, a pattern emerges that we could not have seen if we only read the Bible.  You see, Moses did not consummate his marriage with his first wife, Adoniah because she and her people were idolaters.  She finally rejected him and he left with the riches of a king.  Adoniah represents the northern kingdom of Israel that rejected the Lord and was divorced for idolatry (Jer. 3:8 – spiritual adultery).  If the available version of the book of Jasher is a fraud and not actually the one mentioned in the Bible, it sure complements numerous patterns in the Bible quite well.

The original pattern continues as Moses went to the Gentiles in Midian, was imprisoned in a pit but raised out of it after 10 years, and eventually married Zipporah.  This part of the pattern depicts Jesus who was killed by the Romans outside of Jerusalem, buried in a tomb, and resurrected after 3 days.  Through the ministry of Peter, the Gentiles were brought into the new marriage covenant that was made at Jesus’ last supper.

When Moses was on his way back to Egypt, he sent Zipporah and his children back to his father-in-law but was later reunited with them.  This is comparable to Jesus returning to heaven to live with His Father while His bride remains separated from Him on earth until the Father says it’s time to return and gather His bride for the marriage supper of the Lamb.

We must remember that Moses was a type of Jesus.  Up until Aaron was consecrated as High Priest, Moses functioned in that manner.  After Aaron began his priestly ministry, Moses was still separated to the Lord but probably more in the capacities of a Nazirite, the Holy Spirit, a prophet, and/or a judge.  Although there is no mention of abstaining from products made from grapes, we see Moses has “separated himself” from Zipporah for an unspecified length of time in order to be devoted to the Lord and to lead the people through the wilderness.  While Jesus is at the right hand of the Father in heaven, it is the Holy Spirit who leads us through the wilderness of life as we live a life of separation from the world and devotion to the Lord.

As mentioned in another post, the Nazirite vow is a time of separation that represents the time in which Jesus is living in heaven and separated from His bride.  Its counterpart is the time of niddah or time when a woman is separated from her husband during her monthly time of impurity.   This represents her time on earth when she is physically separated from Jesus.  The time of Moses’ original separation from Zipporah is comparable to this period of separation when Jesus is separated from the Bride of Christ as well as the time of separation Miriam and Aaron were criticizing Moses for in Numbers 12.

When Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses, they did not know they were essentially criticizing the significance of this period of separation.  God responded by striking Miriam with leprosy.  When non-believers reject God’s plan of redemption and criticize the way believers live a life of consecration to God, they choose to remain leprous like Miriam who represented the spiritual walking dead.  All they need to do is repent so they can experience a new birth instead of remaining outside the camp where they will be separated from the community of faith forever.

Now let’s take this lesson to another level.  We should be careful what we think and say about others, especially if they are our spiritual leaders.

With that in mind, are you jealous of those who apparently have a greater following or ministry than you do?  Do you find fault with the personal lives of your leaders, their relationship with the Lord, or leadership abilities?  If so, could this cause the Lord to be angry with you?

How does God speak to you today?  Perhaps you don’t receive any dreams and visions and don’t believe God speaks to His children this way anymore.  Please do not speak poorly of those who claim to receive dreams and visions because the Bible says God will pour out His Spirit and speak to our sons and daughters in dreams and visions in the last days (Joel 2:28-29).

If you do believe God still speaks to His people through dreams and visions, are you jealous when someone receives more dreams and visions or prophecies than you do?  Does it bother you if your dreams and visions are only personal in nature and not for the larger corporate body of Christ?

Are you jealous or bitter when God imparts wisdom, discernment, and understanding to other believers who fast and/or spend more time in the Word than you do?

If you are, repent!  Develop a closer relationship with the Lord and perhaps the Holy Spirit will reveal mysteries to you too.  No matter what happens, you must accept the fact that no one experiences the exact same degree of closeness to the Lord.  Everyone’s relationship with the Lord is unique!  Be grateful for that and don’t let pride get in the way of things.

If the Lord teaches you great things, don’t be disappointed if others aren’t interested in what you have to share—especially if they are steeped in tradition.  Don’t be surprised if they don’t agree with you or if they fiercely oppose you.  Stay close to the Lord, obey Him, and enjoy your growing relationship in the Lord.  As you learn the mysteries of the Word of God, be careful not to throw your pearls before swine.  Trust that God will make sure that those who seek truth will find it!


[i] Targum Pseudo-Jonathan  http://targum.info/pj/pjnum8-13.htm 

 

The Tabernacle Part 1

After Jethro left Moses to return to his country, the people of Israel came to the Sinai Desert and set up camp in front of Mount Sinai.  It was here that God intended to marry His people Israel. 

Once the people were washed, sanctified, and had separated themselves for 3 days, God came and spoke the Ten Words or Ten Commandments to the people.  These words were the basis of the original marriage covenant that God had with His people.  The Jews and Christians identify the first two differently.  Here is a summary of what God said:

  1. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of slavery in Egypt.  (The idea here is that we need to know that the Lord really does exist and He is the one who brought His people out of Egypt.)
  2. You are not to have any other gods besides Me nor make images of anything in heaven, earth, or sea in order to worship them because I’m a jealous God and will punish the children of the sins of the parents to the 3rd and 4th generation.  I will show mercy (chesed) to 1000th generation of those who love me and obey my commandments.
  3. Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
  4. Remember the Sabbath (7th) day and keep it holy by refraining from work because it has been blessed and set aside for rest since the time of creation.
  5. Honor your parents so you’ll live long in the Promised Land.
  6. Do not murder.
  7. Do not commit adultery.
  8. Do not steal.
  9. Do not give false witness/evidence against your neighbor.
  10. Do not covet (desire) your neighbor’s things.

God gave His people additional rulings or judgments (mishpatim) to follow as well.

After the marriage covenant was agreed to by the people, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders went up the mountain where they saw God and ate and drank with Him.  They must not have been on the top of the mountain but somewhere on the slope because later God wanted Moses to come up higher.  After telling the men to stay until they returned, Moses and Joshua went higher upon the mountain.  Moses then met with God for 40 days and nights. 

The location of the men on the slope of Mount Sinai represented how all priests could enter into the Holy Place of the Tabernacle while only the High Priest could come into the Most Holy Place.  Even though Moses and Joshua were not actual High Priests, they were types of Jesus, our High Priest and therefore able to ascend higher on the mountain.  The rest of the people were waiting beyond the boundary at the base of the mountain. 

Once Moses was with Him on the mountaintop, God asked Moses to take up a collection from the people in order to make the Tabernacle.  According to Exodus 25:3-7, the contributions included:

  • gold, silver and bronze
  • blue, purple and scarlet thread.
  • fine linen, goat’s hair, dyed ram skins
  • acacia-wood
  • oil for the light
  • spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense
  • onyx stones and other stones for the ritual vest and breastplate.

At that time, God showed Moses a pattern for the Tabernacle and its furnishings which would allow God to dwell among His people.  The Tabernacle and the items associated with it were to be built according to the precise instructions and pattern God gave Moses because they were a copy of heavenly things. 

The Tabernacle was made of a total of ten linen (shesh) curtains that were 42 feet long and 6 feet wide [28 X 4 cubits].  They were woven with blue, purple, and scarlet thread.  In addition, cherubim were woven into them.  Two sets of five curtains were joined together at the edge of the outermost curtains which had 50 blue loops each.  Fifty gold fasteners held the loops of both sets of curtains together in order to form a single unit.

The curtains of the Tabernacle were held upright on posts which were 15 feet long X 2 ¼ feet wide [10 X 1.5 cubits].  Each post had 2 projections which were inserted into 2 silver sockets.  There were 20 posts overlaid with gold for the south side, 20 more for the north side, and 8 posts for the west (back) side – that’s 6 with 1 extra on each corner.  The extra post on each corner was joined with another post to form a single corner using a single ring on each end.  Five crossbars for each side (N, S, W) were overlaid with gold and mounted mid-way up on the posts through gold rings.

A linen curtain (veil) was made with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and cherubim woven into it.  This curtain divided the Holy and Most Holy Place and was hung below the fasteners on 4 posts using gold hooks.  These posts were made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold.  They stood in 4 silver sockets like the others.

The cherubim on the curtains should remind us of the ones placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden to prevent mankind from going back into the garden after Adam and Eve sinned.  As you imagine what the Tabernacle looked like, contemplate what the priests’ fellowship with God in the Tabernacle may have been like.

As you consider that, ponder the significance of the three main colors which were woven into the white linen. The colors of the Tabernacle fabric represent different things:

  • white > righteousness
  • blue > heaven; Holy Spirit
  • purple > royalty
  • scarlet > blood of atonement

Gold is one of the metals that are prevalent in the Tabernacle. It represents God’s kingdom and kingship.

Now let’s looks at the 3 coverings of the Tabernacle.

The first covering was made of eleven curtains of female goat (ez) hair.  Each curtain was 45 feet long and 6 feet wide [30 X 4 cubits].  This covering was composed of 1 set of five curtains and a 2nd set of six curtains with the sixth curtain folded double at the front.  One edge of each set of curtains had 50 blue loops on their outermost edge.  Bronze fasteners held the loops of both sets together to form a single unit.  The half curtain which remained hung over the back of the tabernacle.  The extra 18 inches [1 cubit] on each side hung over the bottom of the tabernacle.  The original covering made of female goat hair most likely represented the incarnate Christ who was born of a virgin woman.

The second covering was made of red dyed ram (ayil) skins and represented the blood atonement provided to God’s people by the blood of Christ. 

The third or final covering for the Tabernacle was made of tachash.  This Hebrew word is often translated as badger, sea cow, or porpoise in English; however, the Greek Septuagint uses the word huakinthinos which can be translated as jacinth or deep blue.  This led me to believe the final covering was made of ram skins which were dyed blue.  Since blue can represent the Holy Spirit, I believe the final covering represents the power of the Holy Spirit which came down on Jesus as a dove.

The Tabernacle was erected according to the pattern shown to Moses on the mountain.  Two things we should note about the Tabernacle are that:

  • All of the posts were set in silver sockets.  It is quite possible the silver shekels given as atonement money were used to make the silver sockets of the Tabernacle (Exodus 30:15).  Silver metal represents redemption.
  • Multiples of 5 are frequent in the sizes (when measured in cubits) of the Tabernacle and its furnishings.  Most Biblical scholars recognize that the number 5 represents grace.  Since this is the case, grace was not something new after Jesus’ resurrection but was present in the original pattern of the Tabernacle.

The Tabernacle was set up inside the courtyard.  The courtyard was a place where anyone could enter.  It was made of curtains of finely woven linen:

  • The south side was 150 feet [100 cubits] long and was supported on 20 posts in 20 bronze sockets. 
  • The north side was also 150 feet [100 cubits] long and was supported on 20 posts in 20 bronze sockets.
  • The west side (width of courtyard) was 75 feet [50 cubits] long and was supported on 10 posts in 10 bronze sockets.
  • The east side was also a total of 75 feet [50 cubits] long but was divided into two sides (with a gateway in between them) – each side was 22 ½ feet long [15 cubits] and had 3 posts and 3 sockets. 
  • The gate was 30 feet [20 cubits] long and had 4 posts and 4 sockets.  It was made of linen woven with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. 
  • Silver hooks and rings were used to hang the curtains on the posts.  The posts were banded with silver and stood in bronze sockets.

Biblical scholars agree that bronze represents judgment.  One day, everyone will come to God’s courtyard in order to approach God’s white throne, stand before the Lord, and be judged.  In the meantime, we should obey Colossians 2:6-7 which says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

In a way, these verses reveal that Jesus is the silver socket in which we stand by faith.

1 Thessalonians 3:8, 12-13 tells us, “For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord…. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 

If we desire a life of fellowship with the Lord now and eternal life later, we must trust in Jesus.  Only Jesus is able to make us stand blameless on the Day of Judgment.  This can only be accomplished because of the atonement He provided for us. 

Those who do not trust in Christ are not under the atonement covering of Christ.  They have not been redeemed.  They stand in the bronze sockets of the world which are outside the Tabernacle of Meeting. When the Day of Judgment comes, they will not stand and they will never be permitted to come into the eternal Promised Land.

Where do you stand?

Jethro Reunites Moses With His Family

In the beginning of Exodus 18, Jethro brought Zipporah and her sons to meet Moses after the defeat of the Amalekites.  Originally, Zipporah and the boys had been on their way to Egypt with Moses.  If you recall, one of their sons had been circumcised as they journeyed but at some point Jethro had taken them back.  Exodus 18:2 indicates Moses “had sent her back.”  This doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal in English.  Most people tend to think he sent her back because of a safety issue or because she and the boys would be in Moses’ way while he was in Egypt but the Hebrew word for the phrase “he had sent her back” raises a possibility we may not have considered before.  The Hebrew word is shilluach.  It means the dismissal of a wife as in divorce.  Whether it was a divorce or not, we know that at some point Zipporah and her sons returned to her father in Midian.  The book of Jasher suggests they were sent home when Aaron met them on the way to Egypt (Jasher 79:15-18); however, they were not reunited until after the defeat of the Amalekites.      

If we consider the possibility that Moses “sent away” his wife, we should examine its pattern for the future of Israel.  Even though God hates divorce, He divorced the Northern Kingdom of Israel and had them carried off by the Assyrians because of their idolatry, witchcraft, and soothsaying (2 Kings 17:16-18; Isaiah 50:1; Jer. 3:8).  That doesn’t mean God didn’t love His people.  He loved them but couldn’t tolerate their sin.  They failed to demonstrate their love for Him by obeying His commandments.  Once they were sent away, they were no longer His people but God still had a plan for them. 

As we probe the relationship of Zipporah and Moses, let’s not overlook their children.  God’s people are/will be like Moses’ children.  Moses’ first son was named Gershom because Moses was a stranger in a foreign land.  God’s people are currently strangers in foreign lands both physically and spiritually.  Many are scattered throughout the world but they are fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family (Eph. 2:19).  Moses’ second son was named Eliezer because God was Moses’ help and delivered him from the sword of Pharaoh after he had killed an Egyptian.  When Jesus returns to earth, He will help His people and deliver them from their enemies who desire to rid them from the earth. 

Just as Moses’ father-in-law brought Zipporah and her sons back to Moses, the Lord will bring the houses of Ephraim and Judah back from the four corners of the earth to Israel and they will be His people (Isaiah 11:12; Hosea 1:10).  As the names of Gershom and Eliezer have significance, the meanings of Ephraim (fruitful) and Judah (praise) seem to foreshadow Revelation 7:9-10 which says there will be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue who will cry out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 

As Exodus 18 continues, Moses bowed down to Jethro and kissed him.  For us, this appears to be an extravagant greeting.  As I wondered about this, I considered the meaning of the name Jethro or Yitro.  It means “his excellence.”  This is a title fit for a king.  With this in mind, it makes sense to give him such a greeting.  Imagine what it will be like after Jesus returns.  At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.  They will do this because He is King of kings, is most excellent, and is worthy to receive such an honor.

After greeting each other, Jethro and Moses entered the tent, shared what had been going on with each other, and visited together.  Moses was able to share with Jethro all the details of what had happened in Egypt, their exodus from there, and their travels to date.  Jethro, who had been a pagan priest up until that time finally realized that the Lord is greater than all the gods and made a burnt offering and other sacrifices to the Lord.  Aaron and the elders of Israel joined Moses and ate bread with Jethro before God.

In the future, Jesus will probably sit down with His two witnesses and the elders who usually sit on the 24 thrones and recount the details of the seals, trumpets, plagues, and the Battle of Armageddon.  They may discuss the resurrection of the saints and how Jesus healed the water that was made bitter by the third trumpet.  The wedding supper of the Lamb will take place.  All of this will certainly be a wonderful time.

The day after Moses, Aaron, and the elders ate with Jethro, Moses began to judge the people from morning until evening and help them know the statutes and laws of God.  Jethro saw how this would quickly wear Moses out considering the size of the multitude so he made a suggestion to ease this burden by spreading it among rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens and allowing them to judge the small things while bringing only the hard cases before Moses.

This will be similar to what will happen in the future.  According to Ezekiel 44, the Levitical priests who are the sons of Zadok will:

  • Minister before the Lord.
  • Offer sacrifices.
  • Teach God’s people the difference between the clean and unclean, and the holy and unholy.
  • Judge controversies according to God’s judgments.
  • Keep God’s laws, statutes in all His appointed meetings, and keep His Sabbaths holy.

This chapter does not specifically say but I assume that just as the priest used to consult the Urim and Thummim which were kept in the breastplate of judgment in the past, the priests will go to Jesus for difficult righteous judgments.  After all, He’s our High Priest, Prophet, and King.

The Defeat of the Amalekites

In Exodus 17, Moses brought forth water from a rock at Massah (testing) and Meribah (quarreling).   After that, Amalek came and fought with Israel at Refidim.  Scripture continues by telling us that Joshua led the Israelites into battle while Moses stood on top of the hill with the staff of God in his hand. 

At first Moses’ location may not seem too unusual considering he is an old man.  It seems only natural that the younger generation should go into battle.  The Scriptures also tell us that Aaron and Hur accompanied Moses up the hill and when Moses’ hand was raised up, Israel was winning but when he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 

This may seem to be an odd way to win a battle but our story continues to baffle us.  As time went on, it became more difficult for Moses to keep his hands raised.  Aaron and Hur took a stone and put it under Moses so he could sit on it.  Aaron and Hur stood on opposite sides of Moses to keep his hands steady until sunset.  As a result of this, Joshua was able to defeat the people of Amalek with the sword. 

After the Amalekites were defeated, the Lord told Moses to write a memorial of this event in a book.  The Lord continued by promising to utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.  Moses then built an altar and called its name, “The Lord Is My Banner” because the Lord swore to have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

As we’ve already mentioned, this appears to be a very strange historical event that resulted in victory.  Many would be quick to read past it looking for some other passage of Scripture to apply to their lives but the fact it was recorded was for a purpose.  I believe it was written to give God’s people snapshots of the future.

Ever since this battle took place, God intended for the Amalekites to be destroyed.  In Deuteronomy 25:17-19, Israel was commanded:   “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, 18 how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God. 19 Therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.”  NKJV

Even by Samuel’s day, King Saul said he had destroyed Amalek according to the command of the Lord but he had failed to properly obey Him by completely wiping them out.  Since Saul did not kill King Agag and the best of their animals, Samuel killed King Agag and told Saul that because of his disobedience, the Lord was going to hand him over to the Philistines (1 Sam. 15).  Despite this battle, a remnant of the Amalekites survives to this day.

We know this is true because Numbers 24:20 says, “Then he [Balaam] looked on Amalek, and he took up his oracle and said:  “Amalek was first among the nations, But shall be last until he perishes.”  NKJV

Many years after Balaam’s prophecy took place, Jesus was born and raised.  Toward the end of His ministry, the Jews hoped He would be their Messiah and King.  They wanted Him to throw off the power of the Romans but this was not God’s plan at the time.  Jesus was going to become what Moses, Aaron, and Hur pictured long ago as He died with His arms raised up on a wooden cross between two thieves.  At that time, a major spiritual battle was taking place.  Even though it was only the early afternoon, it became dark as if the sun had already gone down.   At the time of the evening sacrifice, Jesus died on the cross yet was victorious in the spiritual realm.  Jesus was quickly buried in a tomb that was cut from a rock before the first High Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.  Three days later, there was a great earthquake because an angel of the Lord had come down from heaven and rolled away the stone.  As the angel sat on this stone, he told the women who had come to anoint Jesus’ body to go in and see that Jesus’ body was gone because He had risen from the dead (Matt 28:1-7).

Now let’s fast forward to the future.  While Moses, Aaron, and Hur were a picture of what would eventually happen to Jesus, Joshua was a picture of what Jesus will do when He returns on the Day of the Lord.  As we look at that, it’s important to note what brings about Jesus’ return.

Psalms 83:1-8 says, “Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, And do not be still, O God! 2 For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head. 3 They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. 4 They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” 5 For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You: 6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; 7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 8 Assyria also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot.”  NKJV

As you can see, many nations plan to come against Israel in the last days.  On the Day of the Lord, Jesus, who is called Faithful and True will return on a white horse to judge and make war against them. He will literally be the Banner of Israel as He leads His armies who will be following Him on white horses.   A sharp sword will go out of His mouth to strike the nations.   Just as Joshua (also called Yeshua) defeated the Amalekites with the sword in Moses’ day, Yeshua (also called Jesus; also means salvation) will defeat all of Israel’s enemies including the Amalekites with His sword. 

Eventually, the Great White throne judgment will take place.  Books will be opened including the Book of Life.  The dead will be judged according to what they had done.  Anyone whose name had been blotted out of the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. 

Take the time to read Psalm 9 to see how David must have seen all of this coming long ago.  David encouraged everyone to sing praise to the Lord and to proclaim His deeds among the people.  He tells us:

  • The Avenger of Blood (Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer) remembers Israel’s enemies.
  • The names of Israel’s enemies will be blotted out forever.
  • The Avenger of Blood will execute judgment.
  • The wicked will return to hell. 

Praise His holy name!

Early Lessons in the Wilderness

Soon after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea (Sea of Suf), they had to begin learning to trust the Lord for their daily provisions.  Their first lesson was at Marah (bitter).  This place was so named because the water there was bitter.  After the people complained about the water quality, the Lord told Moses to put a tree in the water so it could be made sweet.  At that time, the Lord gave the people a statute and an ordinance and He tested them.  He told them if they were obedient, they would not experience the diseases of the Egyptians.  He then revealed Himself as the Lord who heals them.

Exodus doesn’t tell us what these commandments were but the Targum does:

“And there did the Word of the Lord appoint to him the ordinance of the Sabbath, and the statute of honouring father and mother, the judgments concerning wounds and bruises., and the punishments wherewith offenders are punished; and there he tried (them) with the tenth trial, and said, If you will truly hearken to the Word of the Lord your God, and do that which is right before Him, and will listen to His precepts and keep all His statutes, all those evil things that I laid upon the Mizraee I will not lay upon thee: but if thou wilt transgress against the word of the law, upon thee shall they be sent. If thou convert, I will remove them from thee; for I am the Lord thy Healer.”[1]

The healing of the water at Marah was a picture of Christ.  When Jesus died on a wooden cross, it fulfilled Isaiah 53:5 which says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”  NKJV 

The wooden tree Moses put into the water removed the bitterness and purified the water.  As a result of Jesus death on the cross, we can be purified and healed both physically and spiritually.  He will take away our heart of stone filled with bitterness, hatred, and evil desires and replace it with a heart of flesh so we can obey and serve the Lord with joy.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 says it this way, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”  NKJV 

The Israelites moved on and camped by the waters of Elim where there were 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees.  Then they traveled to the Wilderness of Sin between Elim and Sinai.  By that time, the people were so hungry they began complaining against Moses and Aaron.  They seemed to have forgotten the power with which the Lord had brought them out of Egypt.   At that point, the Lord promised Moses that He would provide meat (quail) in the evening and bread from heaven (manna) in the morning. 

The Lord gave commands regarding the collection of the manna.  By the way, the word manna comes from “man hu?” which means “what is it?”   The Israelites were instructed to collect an omer (approximately 2 quarts or liters) of manna per person per day but twice as much on the 6th day of the week.  They were not to allow any to remain until morning unless it was being held for the 7th day (Sabbath).  This meant the Israelites would have to rely on the Lord to provide for their needs each day. 

These instructions were not only to teach dependence on the Lord for daily sustenance but they were also a test to see if the people would obey the Lord’s law for the Sabbath or not.  It didn’t take long for them to fail the test.  Apparently, some people went looking for manna on the 7th day even though the portion for that day had already been given on the previous day.  Moses had to emphasize that the 7th day of the week (Saturday) had been given to them as a day of rest.  Moses told them not to collect manna or leave their place on the Sabbath.  This wasn’t a punishment.  The Sabbath was a gift of rest they were expected to enjoy.  This is something they would have to learn how to do because they were so accustomed to working all the time.

Do we fail tests God gives us too?  Do we always see His commands as hindrances in our lives?  Do we know how to rest on the Sabbath which is the 7th day of the week?  Maybe we’d be more cooperative if we understood the significance of it.

First Corinthians 10:1-5 says, “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”  NKJV

If we are Christians, we are under the Father’s grace.  We’ve passed through a sea of clean and unclean people in order to approach the Lord and have been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We eat the bread and wine of the marriage covenant which represents the body and blood of Christ each time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

Jesus is the Living Water and the Bread of Life that came down from heaven so we can be raised up to have eternal life with Him (John 4:10, 6:32-40, 7:38; Rev. 7:17).  If we do not partake of (accept) Jesus, the Bread of Life and Living Water, we cannot experience the future Sabbath God has planned for us (John 6:5; Heb. 4:1-3).  Please understand that those who ate manna, drank from the rock, and rested on the Sabbath in the wilderness practiced God’s plan or pattern for the future without realizing it. 

When we don’t properly observe the Sabbath, we’re attempting to change God’s pattern.  This is what the Antichrist will do when he attempts to change times and law (Dan. 7:25).  When we don’t properly observe the Sabbath, we’re unknowingly following the plan of the Antichrist.

Instead of following the Antichrist, we should seek shelter from the Rock or Horn of our Salvation and remember He’s our Deliverer, our Fortress, and Our Strength (Psalm 18:2-3).  Our Rock will take care of us and make sure we enjoy our coming Sabbath rest.  Put your trust in Him!


[1] Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Section XVI. Beshalach.   http://targum.info/pj/pjex13-17.htm