9.1. And it happened on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. 2. And he said to Aaron, “Take for yourself a young calf for a sin offering and a ram without blemish for a burnt offering and offer them before the LORD*. 3. And to the children of Israel you will speak saying, Take for yourselves a he goat for a sin offering and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering, 4. also a bull and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD* and a grain offering mixed with oil, for today the LORD* will appear to you.”
9:5. And they brought what Moses commanded before the Tent of Meeting and the whole congregation drew near and stood before the LORD*. 6. And Moses said, “This is the thing that the LORD* commanded that you should do and the glory of the LORD* will appear to you.”
9:7. And Moses said to Aaron, “Go to the altar and offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people: and offer the offering of the people and make atonement for them, as the LORD* commanded.” 8. Aaron therefore went to the altar and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. 9. And the sons of Aaron brought the blood to him and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it on the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar, 10. but the fat, the kidneys, and the lobe above the liver of the sin offering, he burned upon the altar, as the LORD* commanded Moses. 11. And the flesh and the hide he burned with fire outside the camp. 12. And he slew the burnt offering and Aaron’s sons presented the blood to him, which he sprinkled all around on the altar. 13. And they presented the burnt offering to him, with the pieces of it and the head, and he burned them on the altar. 14. And he washed the innards and the legs and burned them on the burnt offering on the altar.
9:15. And he brought the people’s offering and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it and offered it for sin, as for the first. 16. And he brought the burnt offering and offered it according to the manner. 17. And he brought the grain offering and took a handful of it and burned it on the altar, besides the morning’s burnt offering. 18. He also slew the bull and the ram for an offering of peace offering, which was for the people. And Aaron’s sons presented the blood to him, which he sprinkled all around on the altar, 19. and the fat of the bull and the ram, the rump and that which covered the innards, the kidneys, and the lobe above the liver. 20. And they put the fat on the breasts and he burned the fat on the altar. 21. And Aaron waved the breasts and the right shoulder for a wave offering before the LORD*, as Moses commanded. 22. Then Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offering.
The LORD’s* Appearance
9:23. And Moses and Aaron went in the Tent of Meeting, and came out and blessed the people, then the glory of the LORD* appeared to all the people. 24. And a fire came out from before the LORD* and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar and all the people saw it, and they shouted and fell on their faces.
10.1. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each of them took his fire-pan and put fire in it and put incense on it, and offered strange fire before the LORD*, which He commanded them not to do. 2. And fire went out from the LORD* and devoured them, and they died before the LORD*. 3. Then Moses said to Aaron, This is what the LORD* said, saying, “I shall be sanctified through those who come near Me, and I shall be honored before all the people.” And Aaron held his peace.
10:4. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel and said to them, “Come near, carry your brothers out of the camp from in front of the Sanctuary.” 5. So they went near and carried them in their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said.
10:6. And Moses said to Aaron and to Elazar and to Itamar, his sons, “Do not uncover your heads or tear your clothes, lest you die and lest wrath come upon all the people, but let your brothers, the whole House of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD* has kindled. 7. And you will not go out from the door of the Tent of Meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the LORD* is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses.
10:8. And the LORD* spoke to Aaron saying, 9. “Do not drink wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, lest you die! It will be a statute forever throughout your generations, 10. so you can put a difference between holy and unholy and between unclean and clean 11. and so you can teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD* has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”
10:12. And Moses spoke to Aaron and to Elazar and Itamar, his sons that were left, “Take the grain offering that remains of the offerings of the LORD* made by fire and eat it without leaven beside the altar, for it is most holy, 13. and you will eat it in the Holy Place, because it is your share and your sons’ share of the offerings of the LORD* made by fire, for so I am commanded. 14. And the breast of the wave offering and heave leg you will eat in a clean place; you, your sons and your daughters with you, for they are your share and your sons’ share, given from the offerings of peace offering of the children of Israel. 15. They will bring the heave leg and the wave breast with the offerings made by fire of the fat, to wave it for a wave offering before the LORD*, and it will be yours and your sons’ with you, by a statute forever, as the LORD* has commanded.”
10:16. And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering and, behold, it had already been burned; and he was angry with Elazar and Itamar, the sons of Aaron who were left alive saying, 17. Why have you not eaten the sin offering in the Holy Place, seeing it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD*? 18. Behold, its blood was not brought in within the Holy Place. You should indeed have eaten it in the Holy Place, as I commanded.”
10:19. And Aaron said to Moses, “See, they have today offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD* and such things have befallen me, and if I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been accepted in the LORD’s* sight?” 20. And Moses listened and it was well pleasing in his sight.
Clean and Unclean Animals Listed
11.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying to them, 2. “Speak to the children of Israel saying, These are the animals which you will eat among all the animals that are on the earth. 3. You will eat whatever among the animals divides its hoof and is cloven footed and brings up the cud. 4. Nevertheless you will not eat these that bring up the cud or those that divide the hoof: the camel, because it brings up the cud, but does not divide the hoof; it is unclean to you. 5.And the rock badger, because it brings up the cud, but does not divide the hoof; it is unclean to you. 6. And the hare, because it brings up the cud, but does not divide the hoof; it is unclean to you. 7. And the swine, though it divides the hoof and is cloven footed, yet it does not bring up the cud; it is unclean to you. 8. You will not eat their flesh, and you will not touch their carcass; they are unclean to you.”
11:9. And Aaron said, “You will eat of all that are in the waters: whatever has fins and scales in the waters, in the seas and in the rivers, those you will eat. 10. And all that do not have fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters and of any living thing that is in the waters, they will be an abomination to you. 11. They will be even an abomination to you; you will not eat of their flesh, but you will have their carcasses in abomination. 12. Whatever has no fins or no scales in the waters, that will be an abomination to you.
11:13. “And these are those which you will have in abomination among the fowls: they will not be eaten, they are an abomination; the eagle, the vulture, the osprey, 14. the kite, the falcon after its kind, 15. every raven after its kind, 16. the ostrich, the falcon, the seagull, the hawk after its kind, 17. the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18. the swan, the pelican, the fish hawk, 19. the stork, the heron after its kind, the lapwing, and the bat.
11:20. “All winged swarming things that creep, going upon all four, will be an abomination to you. 21. Yet you may eat these of every flying creeping thing that goes upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth, 22.even these of them you may eat; the locust after its kind, the bald locust after its kind, the beetle after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind. 23. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, will be an abomination to you.
11:24. “And for these you will be unclean: whoever touches their carcass will be unclean until the evening. 25. And whoever bears anything of their carcass will wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening. 26.The carcasses of every beast that divides the hoof and is neither cloven footed, nor chews the cud, are unclean to you: everyone who touches them will be unclean. 27. And whatever goes upon its paws among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean to you: whoever touches their carcass will be unclean until the evening. 28. And he who bears their carcass will wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening: they are unclean to you.
11:29. “These also will be unclean to you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, the mouse, the tortoise after its kind, 30. the ferret, the chameleon, the lizard, the snail, and the mole. 31. These are unclean to you among all that creep: whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean until the evening. 32. And upon whatever any of them when they are dead, does fall, it will be unclean, whether it is any vessel of wood or raiment or skin or sack, whatever vessel it is, in which any work is done, it must be put into water and it will be unclean until the evening, so it will be cleansed. 33. And every earthen vessel into which any of them falls, whatever is in it will be unclean and you will break it. 34. Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which water comes will be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every vessel will be unclean. 35. And everything whereupon any part of their carcass falls will be unclean, whether it is oven, or ranges for pots, they will be broken down, they are unclean, and will be unclean to you. 36.Nevertheless a fountain or pit, in which there is plenty of water, will be clean, but that which touches their carcass will be unclean. 37. And if any part of their carcass falls upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it will be clean. 38. But if any water is put on the seed and any part of their carcass falls on it, it will be unclean to you.
11:39. “And if any beast of which you may eat dies, he that touches its carcass will be unclean until the evening. 40. And he that eats of its carcass will wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening, he also who bears its carcass will wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening. 41. And every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth will be an abomination; it will not be eaten. 42. Whatever goes upon the belly and whatever goes upon all four or whatever has more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, you will not eat them, for they are an abomination. 43. You will not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creeps, neither will you make yourselves unclean with them, that you would be defiled thereby. 44. For I AM the LORD* your God! You will therefore sanctify yourselves and you will be holy, for I AM holy. Neither will you defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. 45. For I AM the LORD* Who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You will therefore be holy, for I AM holy! (1 Pe. 1:16)
11:46. “This is the teaching for the beasts and for the fowl and for every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps upon the earth, 47. to make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.” (Click to Source)
He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. Psalm 147
Kindness and Compassion in the Tempest
The Plague of Hail is what precipitated this whole series on the Ten Plagues. I am so thankful to have spent the time learning the faith lessons embedded within the pages addressing the plagues of Egypt. On the last two plague animal disease and boils there was not allot of commentary. Why does the Bible deem it necessary to narrate the devastation? If the Plagues were merely to save the Hebrews one plague could have achieved that outcome. Some believe that the plagues were punitive. In the Plague of Hail we actually see the kindness of God shining forth through the raging tempest. Their purpose was to be an unequivocal demonstration of God’s power. For this reason, the plagues became progressively stronger. These faith lessons were teaching Egypt the fallacy of idolatry and the reality of the Creator was the purpose in each successive wave of plague.
Moses never used the pressure of the plagues to obtain concessions from Pharaoh. The plagues’ purpose was to teach Egypt knowledge of God. Moses always removed the plague upon Pharaoh’s request, and Moses did not hold out on removing the plague until Pharaoh conceded to Moses’ requests. Moses wished that Egypt recognized God through wisdom, not coercion. What a faith lessons for us! How often do we attempt to extract an end goal through pressuring someone through the storms in their life? God, Moses and Aaron do not use the tactics that will become manifest in the beast system, Anti-Christ, and False Prophet instead kindness and compassion are exemplified especially in this Plague of Hail.
Pharaoh vacillated in an emotional state as the plagues unfolded-stressful pressure from each plague, to repent of his sin, to be a man of his word, but each time Pharaoh conceded to obstinacy.
Moses directs Pharaoh to an analog: God is the source of both nature, and man: God has been compassionate to you, (flexible crops) but at a certain point, this kindness will no longer be extended. When sin is matured, (stiff crops) there is no turning back, and you will snap as do stiff crops.”
This was Moses’ message to Pharaoh. Man sins by nature, and therefore, God affords man opportunities to correct his ways. But once sin captivates the whole personality and values of any given man or people, God will destroy that person or people. This plague was a warning to Pharaoh – in the form of an analogy.
Man feels he may sin and repent later, but there may not be a later. The opportunity to repent is a Divine gift, and must be seized when presented, lest we lose the chance. There is a point of no return. This is an extremely timely message as we wade deeper into the events of the Revelation and prophecy.
We learn of the compassion of God on His creations: on mankind. God allows man time to exert his free will to bring himself in line with truth. “Those who He loves, God rebukes”. The plagues were an attempt to remove Egypt’s false ideas, enabling them to embrace God’s absolute truths.
As the lashes of judgment are felt upon our backs let us remember that this is God’s kindness and compassion towards us. We are firmly in the hand of God’s iron crucible that will burn away the dross of our lives as He prepares us for eternity with Him.
Verse 16 clearly states that, I have let you Pharaoh endure so that you might see My strength and glory. As we are beset with the troubles of prophecy coming to pass let us see His strength and glory in those dark hours.
Stretch our your Hand Heavenward
Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. Exodus 9:23
Our Plague of Hail takes place ‘Eth’ was Memphis in the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. ‘Eth’ has Messianic implications that one can find in the original Hebrew including the first sentence of the Bible. It means the Beginning and the End, Aleph and Tav, Alpha and Omega.
Stretch your hand towards heaven (firmament not heaven literally)…
He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones And their herds to bolts of lightning. Psalm 78:48
The Egyptians ignored the warning for the cattle be brought in from the field to a place of shelter. Once warned the decree was extended; hail would come down also upon man and beast in the field. The Hebrew text indicates that more than one kind of hail would be active against them.
In many of the plagues God had Aaron stretch forth his hand, but in this Plague of Hail God instructed Moses to stretch forth his hand.
Extend your hand to heaven, unleash My power… Here is yet another faith lesson for us! At the bidding of the Lord we must extend our hand, as He directs and extends His hand. Through that connection the very powers of creation can be released. We need to remember this in the days to come.
God commanded Moshe to arise early to confront Pharaoh at his place of worship, the Nile. The plague of hail was the first plague, of the third group of plagues in Egypt. This third group included plagues taking effect in the heavens or air: hail, locusts (via the wind), and darkness. Previously God addressed the god’s of the waters and the gods of the lands. God wished to demonstrate His omnipotence in all areas of the universe.
The Egyptian gods of the heavens were mocked by the inability to stop the raging hail sent by the true God of the heavens. Thus, Nut-the sky goddess, Isis-the goddess of life, and Seth-the protector of the crops were affected.” It appears as though the Eternal One was going toe-to-toe with demonic powers and principalities in His plan of redemption for the Hebrew people.
By subjugating all the forces in nature God demonstrated how totally useless the forces of nature were in defense of those who believed in them.
Pharaoh’s heels were dug in and he still believe other gods controlled the earth and him at times so this time I will send all My plagues so that you will know that there is none like Me in all the earth.
Because you still exalt yourself above My people….You (Pharaoh) are growing haughty in your heart against letting the Hebrews go. Therefore, at this time- precise hour- I will cause a heavy hail such as had not been seen in Egypt.
As we meander through the verses on the Plague of Hail we should be reminded that in the Old Testament the punishment for idolatry was stoning. How can an entire idolatrous nation be stoned simultaneously? Through a Plague of Hail.
Plagues against the Heart
The bible describes this Plague of Hail sent by God as a direct result of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, which had prevented him from obeying God.
For this time I will send all my wonders to your heart, and in your servants and in your people, in order that you shall know that there is none like Me in all the land.Exodus 9:14
This plague was an educational tool. Some Egyptians did fear God through His education via the plagues. But those who did not give heart to the matter is to teach us that there are none that didn’t fear, but only those who deny reality. Didn’t give heart, means that in order to oppose God’s absolute truths, they had to shut their hearts and mindsfrom any investigation. It is not the absence of fear, but a more primary block: they denied any investigation into the plagues.
God warned Pharaoh that He was about to send all My plagues against your heart.
This Plague of Hail is a wonder, is a supernatural event, all subsequent plagues – commencing with this hail – will have new effect. That those who fear God and His Word will be protected while those who do not fear God and His Word will be harmed.
The Lord sent thunder and hail …Moshe having informed Pharaoh that tomorrow at this time I will cause…to rain down, was specified by a line on the wall. Naturally, the Egyptians would carefully attend to the exact instant of the arrival of the plague so that they could discredit him.
The Laws of Nature dictate that it takes a few moments for hail to leave the clouds and to reach the ground, even as, it also takes time for thunder to be heard below and for lightning to be seen the instant it leaves its origin.
Thunder is produced first at intersection before electrical discharge. Lightning is always registered by the visual sense before the aural sense is triggered. Lag times would be exploited by the Egyptians because neither thunder, nor hail, will reach the ground at a set time.
Here a great miracle took place! Within the same instant of thunder and hail leaving the clouds, Legend says, that they arrived below with lightning-like speed, so that instead of the natural pattern, whereby the lightning is detected before the thunder-here the thunder, since it was produced first and observed prior to the lightning.
The usual lag time between the speed of light and the speed of sound was suspended. Consequently, the verse says, the Lord sent the hail. It does not say that the Lordcaused the hail to rain down i.e. to rain down naturally, since it did not travel as natural rain. By affecting this miracle God provided for the arrival, first of all, of the thunder and hail; and only then did then a fire passed down upon the earth i.e. the fire of lightning.
It was however, necessary to invoke this great wonder only during the initial moments, in order to assure Moshe’s prediction. It would not have been possible for the thunder and the hail to move at their natural velocities and yet arrive in time. Subsequent to these initial moments, then, the verse accents the thundering and the hail reaching the ground naturally. Once the miraculous intervention had come to an end the Lord caused hail to rain down upon the land of Egypt. It came down naturally, with a time delay that accorded with the laws of gravity and the laws of motion.
Components of Hail
Within this plague are embedded many components: huge hailstones, fire burning within each stone v 24, deafening thunder, flaming lightning v 23, Psalm105:23, and heavy rainstorms. Any one of these would be considered a plague.
In the Bible all is sometimes used to mean most or a great amount. It can also refer too many of the components of this plague that are mentioned above. In a normal year, each, in-and-of-itself would be considered a plague.
God begins to drill down that He alone is Master of the four foundational elements:
Thunder represents air,
Hail represents water,
Flames are the fire,
Ground is the earth.
God reverses the order to show His mastery over the world. This plague unites all the elements to demonstrate that there is no one like Me in the land. The Egyptians were forced to witness that the forces of nature that they believed were their defense, were useless to all those who believed in them.
This is a compound miracle. It is not the typical nature of fire to shoot downward but to rise. Fire and water are opposites but here they join to serve God, functioning in unison.
Hastily Assemble the Remnant
Send therefore hastily (haez) means to flee or gather V 19
The Plague of Livestock disease only killed the cattle in the field.Exodus 9:3 Those in shelters did not perish, but in accordance with God’s Will, He allowed a remnant to escape here and also referenced in Ezekiel 9:8. God warns them to gather the livestock into a fortified location (haez-strong) against the elements. Pharaoh was warned that while this plague was meant to strike outdoor plants and vegetation (grass of the field), any man or cattle in the field at the time would be stricken by hail. God’s mercy is great, Therefore, He instruct sinners in the way Psalm 25:8 We often attribute to the strong men advising humanity of their coming actions when they are but mere clay in the hand of the Master to Whom we really should be ascribe these warning to God’s great mercy of instructional warning.
We see that from the beginning God promises with subtle hints of a remnant. At least in this account, that remnant is hastily assembled.
Perfect Supernatural Storm
“Behold, about this time tomorrow, I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. “Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die.”‘” The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses… Exodus 9:18-33
The Legends of the Jews describe the supernatural super-storm:
Your fathers and grandfathers have never seen the likes of it. Because the hail was not in a natural order, nothing like this has ever occurred before. From before the inception of Egypt as a nation, because of the sins of the fathers, surely there was no reason for such hail to come.
The hail was very strange because of the absence of precipitation in Egypt. There are other places in the world that naturally hails. The world had never seen the likes of such a plague and certainly not in Egypt where this kind of meteorological phenomenon was totally unknown. At the time of the Plague of Hail dew was about the only precipitation that rains upon Egypt. V18
and the fire went earthward…In Egypt, where there is hardly any precipitation, this hail signified a major change in the environment. It proved to the Egyptians just this mere signal from above, could jeopardize Egypt’s existence. Initially, the announcement predicted only hail. However, the plague also featured a flaming fire amid the hail. This unusual and dramatic lightning in the midst of the hail further emphasized the cosmic significance of the event. V23
Typically, fire and water do not mix. Commentaries vary on this flaming fiery hail. One says, the hail was transparent and filled with fire, like a pomegranate whose seeds are visible within. Thus, the fire appeared as a source and generator of the rain and hail. While another, compares the hail to a lamp with a flame burning above the layers of the water and oil. Here, the water is but a support for the oil which feeds the fire. V24
Alternatively, it can mean My plagues, as in, this last set of three plagues: hail, locusts, darkness. The word all encompassing catastrophic and long-term effects on the climate, food supply, and atmosphere of Egypt that brought about these last three plagues. These changes caused the Egyptians to become sick, some with heart disease, and weakened them for a long time after this plague indicating that it did have a cosmic element such as what we will see revisited upon the earth during the Grand Solar Minimum.
Meanwhile, a simultaneous major natural disaster more than 400 miles away, is now also thought to be an aggravating complexity, amplifying the plagues of hail, locusts and darkness to Egypt.
One of the biggest volcanic eruptions in human history occurred when Thera, a volcano that was part of the Mediterranean islands of Santorini, just north of Crete, exploded around 3,500 year ago, spewing billions of tons of volcanic ash into the atmosphere at this same time.
Not to denigrate the wonders of God but to illuminate how the Laws of Nature may have worked in tandem with God’s wonders, Nadine von Blohm, from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in Germany, has been conducting experiments on how hailstorms form and believes that the volcanic ash could have clashed with thunderstorms above Egypt to produce dramatic hail storms.
God Smites with New Species
When one is in the middle of instructional judgment it is difficult to contemplate upon the goodness of God. God loves His creation. God pitied the Egyptians and their cattle and yet they did not take His mercy to heart. V 25
And hail struck…the hail smote. From the ancient pages of the text and legends we discover that during the first few moments there had ensured a new species of hail that was propagated at the speed of lightning, followed by normally moving hail that took a definite time interval to reach the ground.
Had there been only this normal type of hail, many human lives would have been saved, since the people would have taken cover in caves or behind boulders or in tents as soon as they saw the tell-tale lightning bolts that usually precede the onset of thunder and rain and hail. But the initial onslaught was anything but normal hail.
Only in our day and time can we appreciate the words a new species of hail. We live in a day and age where engineers are tearing apart God’s creation and engineering it into a new species. The following is an excerpt from a government document that has since been purged from the internet. First let us peek at a few of the Bibliography notations which are very informative:
Fred Hoyle, N.C. Wickramasinghe: Diseases from Space. J.M. Dent, 1979.
Chandra Wickramasinghe: Cosmic dragons: life and death on our planet. 2001
Ruprecht Jaenicke: “Abundance of cellular material and proteins in the atmosphere“.
WD Hamilton and TM Lenton: “Spora and Gaia: how microbes fly with their clouds“. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 1998
Ruprecht Jaenicke, Sabine Matthias-Maser and Sabrine Bruber: “Omnipresence of biological material in the atmosphere”. Environ. Chem, 2007
Most Active Ice Nucleators are Biological!
The most active ice nucleators are biological in origin, declare Christner, et al. in their paper recently published in Science(February 29, 2008). “This is important because the formation of ice in clouds is required for snow and most rainfall. Dust and soot particles can serve as ice nuclei, but biological ice nuclei are capable of catalyzing freezing at much warmer temperatures”, the researchers explain. In other words, a mechanism exists whereby snowflakes and other precipitation can form when cloud temperatures in the troposphere are relatively warm. What do Christner, et al., mean by “biological”?
By “biological” Christner, et al., mean “proteins or protenaceous compounds“. (11-13)
Three schools of thought exist on the origin of biological ice-nucleators in the troposphere. The first school, exemplified by researcher David Sands, theorizes that biological ice nucleators originate on Earth as part of what he calls the “bio-precipitation cycle”, i.e., biological ice nucleators are carried up from the Earth. “Bacteria form little groups on the surface of plants. Wind then sweeps the bacteria into the atmosphere, and ice crystals form around them. Water clumps on to the crystals, making them bigger and bigger. The ice crystals turn into rain and fall to the ground. When precipitation occurs, then, the bacteria have the opportunity to make it back down to the ground. If even one bacterium lands on a plant, it can multiply and form groups, thus causing the cycle to repeat to itself.” Sands adds, “We think if (the bacteria) couldn’t cause ice to form, they couldn’t get back down to the ground. As long as it rains, the bacteria grow”.
Schnell and Vali also belong to the first school of thought. In the early and mid-1970s, they noted, “Much of the natural ice nuclei found at the earth’s surface may be of biogenic origin, and the abundance of these nuclei was found to have a clear correlation with climate. Some tentative values were also given for the efflux of nuclei from the surface to the air. Data were presented which point to regional variations in the concentrations of atmospheric ice nuclei with the pattern of variation paralleling the availability of nuclei at the surface. The correlation between these two patterns suggests that perhaps a dominant fraction of natural atmospheric ice nuclei originates from biological materials”.
The second school of thought exemplified by Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe is that biological ice-nucleator bacteria and other biologic entities in the troposphere and stratosphere come from space. Wickramasinghe notes, “Interstellar dust grains populate the vast open spaces between stars of the Milky Way, showing up as a cosmic fog, dense enough in many directions to blot out the light of distant stars. Remarkably these dust grains can be shown to be of a size that would be typical for a bacterium, a micrometer, or less”. In addition, he notes, cometary organic molecules arrive [to Earth] plentifully, at an average rate of several tones per day and that investigators have confirmed the existence of microorganisms in the stratosphere. The bacteria, viruses and other organisms reach the troposphere from the stratosphere through a process of sedimentation, he conjectures.
The third school of thought relating to the microbiology of the atmosphere suggests the existence of at least two contemporaneous populations of organisms. One population consists of common Earth bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are carried on a relatively regular basis by phenomena such as blue lightning and fire-associated storms into the atmosphere. The second population consists of bacteria that are of non-terrestrial origin (from space).
Some Implications of Biometeorology
The role of microorganisms in meteorological phenomena and in atmospheric processes has implications for human and veterinary medicine, agriculture, and the effect of the biosphere on climate change. For example, in human, animal, and plant medicine, bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the bioprecipitation cycle may be pathogens that use the cycle to disperse from one place to another. Interestingly, Sir James Murray, MD, published on November 24, 1847, his observations on the potato murrain (fungus) that caused the potato crop failure in Ireland in 1847. He attributed the potato crop failure to electrical agency and excess moisture in the air and clouds. “During the last season,” he wrote, “the clouds were charged with excessive electricity, and yet there was little or no thunder to draw off that excess form the atmosphere. In the damp and variable autumn this surcharge of electrical matter was attracted by the moist, succulent, and pointed leaves of the potato”.
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe are ardent proponents of the theory that diseases that infect humans, animals, and plants originate in space, including the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003. Some of their ideas follow below:
“The injection from space of evolved microorganisms that have well-attested terrestrial affinities raises the possibility that pathogenic bacteria and viruses might also be introduced. The annals of medical history detail many examples of plagues and pestilences that can be attributed to space incident microbes in this way. New epidemic diseases have a record of abrupt entrances from time to time, and equally abrupt retreats. The patterns of spread of these disease, as charted by historians, are often difficult to explain simply on the basis of endemic infective agents. Historical epidemics such as the plague of Athens and the plague of Justinian come to mind.”
“In more recent times the influenza pandemic of 1917-1918 bears all the hallmarks of a space incident component: ‘The influenza pandemic of 1918 occurred in three waves. The first appeared in the winter and spring of 1917-1918. The lethal second wave involved almost the entire world over a very short time. Its epidemiologic behavior was most unusual. Although person-to-person spread occurred in local areas, the disease appeared on the same day in widely separated parts of the world on the one hand, but, on the other, took days to weeks to spread relatively short distances.”
“Also well documented is that, in the winter of 1918, the disease appeared suddenly in the frozen wastes of Alaska, in villages that had been isolated for several months. Mathematical modeling of epidemics such as the one described invariably involves the ad hoc introduction of many unproven hypotheses—for example, that of the superspreader. In situations where proven infectivity is limited only to close contact, a superspreader is someone who can, on occasion, simultaneously infect a large number of susceptible individuals, thus causing the sporadic emergence of new clusters of disease. The recognition of a possible vertical input of external origin in conspicuously missing in such explanations.” (18-22)
“With respect to the SARS outbreak, a prima facie case for a possible space incidence can already be made. First, the virus is unexpectedly novel, and appeared without warning in mainland China. A small amount of the culprit virus introduced into the stratosphere could make a first tentative fall out East of the great mountain range of the Himalayas, where the stratosphere is thinnest, followed by sporadic deposits in neighboring areas. If the virus is only minimally infective, as it seems to be, the subsequent course of its global progress will depend on stratospheric transport and mixing, leading to a fall out continuing seasonally over a few years. Although all reasonable attempts to contain the infective spread of SARS should be continued, we should remain vigilant for the appearance of new foci (unconnected with infective contacts or with China) almost anywhere on the planet. New cases might continue to appear until the stratospheric supply of the causative agent becomes exhausted.”
There was hail…Although the rain and hail now continued to come down at a normal velocity, requiring a definite span of time to reach the ground, while the associated fire-possibly ionized particles or ball lightning, moved at greater speed, and should therefore have reached the ground ahead of the hail, the narrative stresses to the contrary. That there was fire flashing amidst the hail and this phenomenal blend of hail and fire came down at the speed of hail, both arriving simultaneously.
Lightning…Just imagine the worse lightning storm that you have witnessed-fire flashing, striking the ground, streaming to the ground, See Psalms 78:48, 105:52, 148:8.
Flashing…This fiery hail includes: fire darting, fire jumping, deadly fire, self-contained fire (fire that grasped itself. The fire was self-contained within the hailstorm otherwise it would have caused the hail to melt), fire holding itself or in essence cleaving to hail, lightning flashes in quick succession, incessant fire, mass of fire, forked lightning, some say this hail included a meteor shower. The imagery is very similar to the vision of the Divine Chariot that is flashing fire and brilliance surrounding it in Ezekiel 1:4. In the Plague of Hail the fire within the hailstones and sparks radiated from it and shone.
Supernatural, God’s thunder. At the command the supernatural thunder of God ceased but reappeared at Mount Sinai at the giving of the Torah. V9:28
The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. Revelation 8:7
Mingled, very grievous hail such as the likes had never been seen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. Mingled, in this context means catching hold of itself like a chain, which I find extremely provocative as the hybrid Blockchain comes online in an arid environment similar to Egypt. Coincidence? V24
When a subject noun is repeated in Scripture such as: ‘hail, hail’ it does not mean the same thing. Oftentimes, it refers to two distinct and different things, in this case hail.
In my research on Geo-Engineering a Biblical Approach I discovered that Legend has it that the hailstones were 100 pounds in size traveling at lightning-speed carries enormous power, impacting like bullets propelled out of the barrel of a gun, which are lethal no matter how small they happen to be. These pellets of hail therefore killed instantaneously, any man or beast they happened to strike. Hail falling at a normal speed is not dangerous enough to cause a great loss of human life.
What does it mean that the fire was flaming within the hail? Specifically, was it flaming within each hailstone, or was it flaming within the hailstorm as a whole (so between the pieces of hail)?
One commentator notes it was “a miracle within a miracle: the fire and the hail mixed
Malbim understands that it was flaming (fireballs) within the storm as a whole.
Saadya Gaon who renders meant “inside of” b’soch does mean “inside of” and the only question is whether the fire was inside the individual hailstones or inside of the hailstorm. Looking at Psalm 105:the word can either mean ‘inside of’ or ‘among’.
Midrashic interpretation was that each hailstone had fire within it.
R’ Aryeh Kaplan translates instead as “hailstorm”, and one other tweak: “fire” means lightning. We thus have a phenomenon that ever-so-slightly bends the laws of nature, rather than breaks them.
Others say: sounds like it’s clinging to the hail which sounds like it’s within (or at least touching) hailstones rather than just within the hailstorm.
Accordingly, the verse records that the hail struck throughout the land of Egypt…both man and beast, referring to the hail that struck immediately. It was followed by the natural hail which smote every grass and broke every tree in the field, the verse conveying that while that hail was sufficiently forceful to affect the vegetation, it could not kill living creatures.
Ipuwer Papyrus Account
The Ipuwer Papyrus is an ancient document that provides a possible independent record of the ten plagues in Egypt. It describes a great disaster that took place in ancient Egypt. The oldest copy dates to around 1400 BC, placing it close to the time of the Exodus (circa 1446 BC). The Ipuwer Papyrus is the sole surviving manuscript of an ancient Egyptian poem officially designated as Papyrus Leiden I-344. The poem is known as “The Admonitions of Ipuwer.” A new edition is available now entitled “The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All.” Dutchman Giovanni Anastasi purchased the Ipuwer Papyrus in 1828, and it is now housed in Leiden, the Netherlands, at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden.
The seventh plague (hail and fire). This hail was unlike any that had been seen before. It was accompanied by a fire which ran along the ground, and everything left out in the open was devastated by the hail and fire. Again, the children of Israel were miraculously protected, and no hail damaged anything in their lands.
The Ipuwer Papyrus says, “Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire” (2:10). “Lower Egypt weeps. . . . The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish” (10:3–6).
“Forsooth, grain has perished on every side” (6:3). “Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax” (5:12).
Plague of Hail Continues
Tomorrow we will finish the account of the Plague of Hail and compare it to prophetic climatic events on earth and the heavenlies. Until then, be blessed. (Click to Source)
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Last year I was given the honor of speaking at the “Trail of Tears” in Tennessee. It was there that I began to see the Tabernacle as the protocol for entering into the Creator’s presence. That revelation has affected the way I look at these chapters of Sh’mot in numerous ways. For someone who has taught on the Tabernacle for many years I have received a new appreciation. With that being said, I have to admit something. As much as I love the revelation of the Tabernacle, the garments of Aaron bog me down a bit. It is not that I see this as unimportant in any way, but I have not taken the time to delve into this like I have the Tabernacle.
Now that I have put myself out there as a target of lack of study on this topic, allow me to expound on what I do see. First of all, Aaron and his sons were not to approach in any old way. They were not to go to their closet the morning of their duty unto Yah and select anything off the rack that looked comfortable. No matter how their week or day was going, they were to “put on” the garments of righteousness before they began. Let’s stop right there for a moment. Before I go any further, I am not suggesting that we go back to the days of three piece suits and ties. I totally agree with a friend who said that he doubted the sanity of whoever came up with the idea of putting something around the neck of a man that would cut off even more oxygen to his brain. But just how do we come before Him? I had to face this myself as recent as last night.
Kathy and I had been out and came home just about dark. I came in and changed my shirt for a Carhartt t-shirt that I had been wearing that day while working on my truck. It had a few paint spots and an extra hole or two. You know the real comfortable ones! I knew it was the night of the New Moon so we went out on the porch. I looked up, saw the moon, sounded the shofar and we sang the shema. We then came back inside to give thanks for the previous month and say our blessings. Before I began to read from the siddur Kathy said, “So you dressed up for the occasion?” I did not say anything, but I have to admit when she said those words I knew she was not speaking on her own. I will still be leaving my ties in the closet, but next month they will have the company of my comfortable Carhartts.
Another part of the garments which really speaks to me are the names and representation of all the tribes upon his shoulders and the breastplate. When Aaron walked into the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle, he was not walking alone, but was carrying the “Whole House of Israel” with him. As he entered, Israel entered. Consider this in light of the numerous verses which reveal Yeshua as sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. The picture Aaron presented is revealed in Ephesians 2:6, as the whole house of Israel is presently seated with and in Messiah in unity before the Father. May the natural house follow suit and line up with the spiritual house!
The above picture brings in the word intercession. In Sh’mot 30 we are given just five verses concerning the Altar of Incense. As we consider its function we see it as a place of intercession and worship. It is a place of mysterious beauty as we can imagine the smoke transcending not only the Holy Place, the Holy of Holies and the courtyard, but reaching into each tent in the camp. This teaches us that intercession, whether it is His for us or ours for others, has no boundaries. It can reach to the most hidden cracks of a life.
One more point to ponder concerning the Altar of Incense. Remember that the Earthly Realm Tabernacle is a mirror of the Spiritual Realm Tabernacle. Take a moment to read Revelation 8:1-5. Yes, your prayers, your worship, your intercession are pictured here as incense which one day will be poured upon the altar. Those prayers you have been praying, but have not seen answered. Maybe they are just being stored for the right day and time! (Click to Source)
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Exodus 18:1-20:23 Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6[6-7] (A); 6:1-13 (S)
by Mark Huey
The trials and tribulations of Ancient Israel’s deliverance from Egypt continue in this week’s Torah reading, with particular emphasis on the Ten Commandments that are received while the people were encamped at Mount Sinai. After observing the many miracles performed by God to free them from the bondage of Egyptian slavery—including the ten plagues, the cloud and pillar of fire, the parting of the Red Sea, the destruction of the Egyptian army, making bitter water potable, provision of manna and quail, providing water from a rock, and defeating the Amalekites—the Israelites were definitely in awe of the power of their God. By experiencing and witnessing these visible, and in many respects, tangible acts of punishment, provision, and protection—Israel was prepared to do whatever the Lord declared, before even knowing what He was going to require. Accordingly, one might conclude that the people were finally at a point where they exhibited a “blind faith,” willing to follow the instruction of the Lord regardless of the outcome.
Before the dramatic encounter with the Almighty, where the Ten Commandments would be issued, we are told about the wisdom imparted to Moses by his father-in-law Jethro. The importance of establishing a reasonable way to judge circumstances within the camp of Israel was proposed by Jethro. Jethro recognized that the people were relying solely on the judgment of Moses to resolve disputes. With thousands of people, and all of the problems that might ensue from human interaction, it was obvious to Jethro that Moses needed to delegate some responsibility to other leaders. These would be individuals who feared God, knew the truth, and hated dishonest gain:
“It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening. Now when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?’ Moses said to his father-in-law, ‘Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.’ Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.’ So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. They judged the people at all times; the difficult dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor dispute they themselves would judge. Then Moses bade his father-in-law farewell, and he went his way into his own land” (Exodus 18:13-27).
From the insertion of this encounter with Jethro, juxtaposed between the first few months of the deliverance from Egypt and the reception of the Decalogue, it is reasonable to conclude that God was concerned about an orderly means for Ancient Israel to govern itself. God is not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). What is seen here in Yitro would later be integrated into many different judicial systems throughout the world. Note that Jethro still advised Moses to remain Israel’s representative before God, with the admonition to teach the statutes and laws of God. Moses did not relinquish his role as a mediator before the Holy One, but he did not need to have to be burdened with every single issue that might have arisen among the people.
Preparing to Receive the Decalogue
After the departure of Jethro, our Torah portion turns to one of the most incredible events ever recorded in human history. The Creator God descended from Heaven and spoke the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel gathered at the base of Mount Sinai. But before this dramatic encounter occurred, the Lord had some extraordinary words for Moses to communicate to them:
“Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel’” (Exodus 19:3-6).
Here the Almighty summoned Moses to the mountain to hear this declaration, so that he would share it with Israel. In some opening remarks, God reminded Moses about what He had done to the Egyptians, and how He personally protected the Israelites during their deliverance from slavery and along the path they were traversing. Obviously, there was no need for the Ancient Israelites to take any credit for being at a place of relative safety from their enemies.
There are then some incredible words, which should bring both comfort and awe to each of us who read or hear these words today. In order to be regarded as God’s possession among all the peoples, and be considered a kingdom of priests and a holy nation—Israel was to obey Him. While on the surface, obeying God might sound somewhat doable, especially given anticipated blessings—but what we obviously discover from the remainder of too much of the Torah and Tanakh is that Israel inevitably failed over and over to obey. However, at this particular time in the history of Israel, given the preponderance of recent miracles and deliverance from enemies, and what could be considered a “blind faith,” the Israelites collectively responded to this proposition with a resounding affirmation:
“All the people answered together and said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do!’And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.’ Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD also said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, “Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.” When the ram’s horn [shofar, CJB] sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.’ So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. He said to the people, ‘Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman’” (Exodus 19:8-15).
Whether this positive response to do all that the Lord would speak, even before He had spoken it—from all the people of Israel—was a reflection of their awe for what the Lord had just done, or whether it was really just enthusiasm being caught up in the moment, the fact is there was a genuine desire of the Ancient Israelites to obey the Lord. Their response must have pleased Him. Yet, immediately following this the Lord began to relay to Moses some warnings about what was to be expected when He would descend upon Mount Sinai. The Lord wanted His people to hear His voice, but He knew that a certain amount of personal consecration was required in order to be prepared to hear Him speak.
Instruction came forth so that, for a three-day period, the people would consecrate themselves through washings and separation from sexual contact. A prohibition about even touching the mountain was included, to keep the people from defiling it before the Holy One descended. Eventually a blast from a ram’s horn would signal that they could approach the base of the mountain, but still not touch it. God was very concerned about protecting the people from their over zealousness to approach the mountain. When God did finally descend to Mount Sinai, it was accompanied with great thunder and lightning:
“So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, ‘Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, or else the LORD will break out against them.’ Moses said to the LORD, ‘The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, “Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.”’ Then the LORD said to him, ‘Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, or He will break forth upon them.’ So Moses went down to the people and told them” (Exodus 19:16-25).
This must have been an awesome sight to behold. After three days of being consecrated for the event, Israelites were gathered by Moses at the base of the mountain, as it turned ominously dark. A cloud descended, accompanied by thunder, lightning, and a trembling quake of the whole mountain. Then as the trumpet sounded, the Lord actually responded to the warning signal by thundering back, and calling Moses to join Him at the top of the mountain. It is difficult to imagine what this must have been like—despite a few attempts by motion pictures like The Ten Commandments or Prince of Egypt to try to portray it.
If you have ever been in a hurricane, coupled with an earthquake, while a tornado is raging by, with lightning lighting up the sky, as you gazed upon a fire blasting volcanic like smoke in the distance—perhaps you could envision this scene, sort of. If nothing else, the fear of the Lord would be an overwhelming emotion, because there would be so much out of your control, that you can only stand there in utter terror. And yet, as these types of natural phenomena are described in Yitro, Moses ascended the mountain to receive the Ten Words. The final warning regarding the priests kept them from touching the mountain, but there was one exception made for Aaron. So, the scene was set for Israel to receive the Word of the Lord from Mount Sinai.
The Decalogue is Spoken
The Holy One spoke forth the Ten Commandments, or the Ten Words, heard by all. These instructions are regarded as perhaps the most important and influential of Divine ordinances, with a resonating effect on all of humankind—most especially those of both Judaism and Christianity:
“Then God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:1-17).
Here, with an entire generation of Israelites to witness and hear, the Lord God proclaimed these Ten Words, which have become foundational building blocks and parameters for living life in a manner that loves Him and neighbor. In the first four commandments, the focus seen is on human relationships with God, and how He wants to be worshipped and followed. The last six commandments deal primarily with human interactions with others, and how God wants us to treat our fellow human beings. Without going into great detail about the specifics of each of these words, when men or women faithfully apply these words to their daily walk with the Lord, they will inevitably be adhering to what Yeshua defined as the greatest commandments in the Torah:
“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And He said to him, ‘“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND” [Deuteronomy 6:5]. ‘This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF” [Leviticus 18:5]. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 22:35-40).
A Change of Mind
The Israelites had pledged, rather blindly we may say, to do all that the Lord had spoken—without even knowing what He was going to say (Exodus 19:8). They probably liked the idea of having this awesome God, who had delivered them from the Egyptians through a series of miracles, and helped defeat the dreaded Amalekites, speak to them. He was the God who was going to make them great, after all. But Israel’s initial response, to obey all that the Lord spoke, was perhaps being reevaluated by some, as they heard His commandments reverberating from the mountaintop.
After the Ten Words had been declared, we find a terrified people, who had just witnessed an incredible event as the voice of the Lord literally permeated their beings. Despite complying with the request to maintain a distance from the base of the mountain, the visible, audible, and tangible realities of the Creator God speaking directly to them must have been overwhelming—because they declared that if they heard God speak to them, they would die. We quickly discover that after hearing the Ten Words, the Israelites impulsively requested Moses to maintain his intermediary position, as their point of contact with the Holy One:
“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.’ So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves. You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it. And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it”’” (Exodus 20:18-26).
Moses listened to the requests of the Israelites, and responded with an explanation for why the Lord had allowed them to hear His audible voice. Apparently, this unique encounter by the Holy One, with His chosen people, was to test them. The Lord wanted the people to fear Him with a reverence that would help them avoid sin, and be genuine in following His instructions. By hearing His commands in this dramatic fashion, the Israelites were so awestruck, that they immediately asked Moses to be their mediator before God.
Without hesitation, Moses approached God in the thick of the cloud, while the Israelites stood at a distance. Some final instructions were given to Moses that deal specifically with avoiding making idols of precious metals and constructing a proper altar with uncut stones for various sacrifices. Moses did not exhibit any of the trepidation of the Lord, because by this point in time Moses had endured so much intimacy with the Lord, that he realized his position as a mediator for the people was secure.
What about the blind faith declarations of the Israelites a few days earlier? Had this close encounter with the Holy One changed their minds, as they had decided it would be better to let an intermediary act as a go-between with the Holy One?
It is difficult with certainty to determine what made the Ancient Israelites want a mediator, rather than have direct communication from the Almighty. Perhaps it was simply a fear of physical life, because of the dangers posed by wandering too close to the mountain or the difficulty of being in the presence of holiness. On the other hand, is it possible that the pure vocal declaration of the Ten Commandments from the Holy One of Israel, reverberated with such a strong chord in their hearts, that there was literally a physical manifestation experiencing heart palpitations and other threatening actions?
The significance of the giving of the Ten Commandments has allowed me to realize that this formal delivery to Ancient Israel—may just well be a codification of a wide number of instructions that have already been impressed onto the human conscience/mind/heart, as all people are made in God’s image. In his letter to the Romans, Paul mentioned how the nations can do things of God’s Torah, even if they do not formally have God’s Torah:
“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Messiah Yeshua” (Romans 2:14-16).
Every person, in some form or fashion, is going to be held accountable for keeping or violating God’s Law.
When you consider the giving of the Ten Commandments, are you at all complying with them? When you think about breaking an ordinance etched in stone with God’s finger, do you at all think about the scene of fire and smoke in which it was given to Ancient Israel? Even if you do not think about disregarding or disobeying any of Ten Commandments, are you ever caught minimally obeying them?
While you are considering this week’s Torah portion, try placing yourself at the base of Mount Sinai, and imagine the Ten Words of God coming forth from a fire-belching, smoking, and trembling mountain top. Pray through each of the commands, reading them out loud so that you hear them (cf. Romans 10:17), and ascertain just where you presently may be in your heart of hearts when it comes to following them.
Will you discover that there is another god in your life, or that an idol is taking up your time? Will you find that you have been profaning the name of the Lord in some of your thoughts or statements? Could you be approaching the Sabbath in ways that need improvement? Have you ever dishonored your parents or your ancestors? Have you been harboring some thoughts about murder, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, or coveting something—which needs to be confessed and terminated?
Remember that the Ancient Israelites, who seemingly through a “blind faith,” initially had great intentions to do all that the Holy One spoke. But when the Lord did speak the Ten Commandments, the people rapidly turned to Moses because of their mortal fear, rather than press into the voice of God for their own benefit. Thankfully today, with the benefit of the arrival of Yeshua the Messiah onto the scene of history, all people can know that the penalty for breaking the instructions given to Moses and Ancient Israel has been remitted by His sacrifice! We simply have to acknowledge His sacrifice by faith, and receive permanent atonement and forgiveness for our violation of the Father’s commandments. Additionally, rather than being mortally afraid of the bellowing voice of the Holy One, those who are in Yeshua have the privilege of listening to the quiet still voice of the Spirit, as they seek Him in prayer, supplication, and worship.
I consider it a great blessing to be a part of the redeemed in Messiah, having the opportunity to learn more and more about my Creator and His ways, by studying the Torah. The Holy One still desires a people for His own possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). May we each be found faithful to be a part of this company of Believers! (Click to Source)
Judges 4:4-5:31 (A); 5:1-31 (S)
“Freedom Faith Tests”
by Mark Huey
Some of the details, about the miraculous deliverance of Ancient Israel from Egyptian servitude, are recorded in this week’s Torah portion, B’shalach. It includes particular attention to the ongoing struggles that the liberated nation will have to endure, as the Lord desired His chosen people to replace the burdens of slavery to other people, with a wholehearted dependence upon Him. However, as recorded in this parashah, what God wanted for Israel regarding its principal mission—to be a light, illuminating the existence and blessings available to all from the One True Creator God to humankind at large (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6)—would not come without considerable reorientation of priorities. After all, the propensity of the carnal nature, primarily focused upon self interests and self-preservation, is now released from the oppression of physical bondage to make choices about not only what to do and think, but also who or what to worship and serve. With the goal of the Holy One to possess a holy nation of priests, which will faithfully follow His ways (Exodus 19:5-6), a testing of faith commences, as perceived freedom unleashes the free will of human beings to make choices.
In our Torah reading, the incredible contrast between faithfully following the presence of God in the pillar of fire and cloud—after a phenomenal deliverance with the inclination to simply survive—actually begins with a mention of Joseph’s deathbed desire (Genesis 50:24-25), to have his remains taken back to Canaan rather than be interred in Egypt. Such was the example established and fostered by Joseph, that for the forty-year sojourn of Ancient Israel in the wilderness, the bones of Joseph were finally laid to rest in the plot of land purchased by Jacob in Shechem, shortly after the Israelites ultimately came into the Promised Land (Joshua 24:32). While much can be said about the faith of Joseph, who was used by God to preserve the nascent nation, the fact that he only had vivid dreams early in his life to primarily draw upon for faith—versus the visible appearance of God’s presence in a pillar of fire and cloud for the liberated Israelites to witness—is a stark reminder that God alone will dispense, to different individuals, a certain measure of faith (Romans 12:3). As B’shalach records,
“Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, ‘The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.’ Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you.’ Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (Exodus 13:17-22).
From the onset of our reading, everyone of us should consider the critical admonitions found in the opening statements of the Epistle of James, as the half-brother of the Lord described the unique relationship between joy, trials, wisdom, and faith:
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:2-8).
It should be noted that after the initial encampment at Succoth (Exodus 12:7), Moses then followed the cloud and relocated the people to the wilderness at Etham (Exodus 13:20), before being told to reestablish camp at Baal-zephon, where they were hemmed in by the sea. It was here, between Migdol and the sea, that the Lord was going to execute a dramatic judgment on the furious Egyptians—who now were up in arms, in hot pursuit, with horses and chariots bearing down on the relatively defenseless Israelites. With their escape restricted by the seemingly impenetrable sea, the frightened Israelites immediately and perhaps justifiably—because of the dire, life-threatening circumstances—began to complain to Moses. But the Lord had a plan to show His power and majesty, not only to the mortified Israelites, but to all who would eventually learn about His defeat of the mighty Egyptian Pharaoh:
“Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, “They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.” Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.’ And they did so. When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people, and they said, ‘What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?’ So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him; and he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly. Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, ‘Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, “Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians”? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’ But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen’” (Exodus 14:1-18).
This incredible miracle of deliverance, ably dramatized with some cinematic license in the 1956 classic film, The Ten Commandments, is now described in gruesome detail. So for those who have perhaps been conditioned by such a portrayal of the events, upon reading the following account, one can only imagine how this might affect the minds and hearts of those who witnessed and participated in the Exodus in person:
“The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. At the morning watch, the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from Israel, for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians.’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.’ So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained. But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses” (Exodus 14:19-31).
One would think that this extraordinary miracle would be received with the awe and fear of the Lord, and a great respect for Moses, as recorded. This resulted in Moses’ effusive song of praise and worship—which gave all glory to the Lord for His actions of salvation—and should be read for not only its wonderful description of the events, but how it will be, in the future, sung by the saints as a reminder of the power and glory of the Majesty on High (Revelation 15:3). So many other encouraging songs are derived from these words, but note that as a result of this disaster for the Egyptian army, the other powers of the region were to be terrified:
“Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said, ‘I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him. The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is His name.Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; and the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deeps cover them; they went down into the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You; You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff. At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up, the flowing waters stood up like a heap; the deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; My desire shall be gratified against them; I will draw out my sword, my hand will destroy them.” You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders? You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them. In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation. The peoples have heard, they tremble; anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; the leaders of Moab, trembling grips them; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them; by the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone; until Your people pass over, O LORD, until the people pass over whom You have purchased. You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, the place, O LORD, which You have made for Your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. The LORD shall reign forever and ever.’ For the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea on them, but the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea. Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. Miriam answered them, ‘Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea’” (Exodus 15:1-21).
Nevertheless, despite the horse and the riders consumed by the waves of the sea, the march toward Canaan continued in the wilderness of Shur, with an immediate need for water for the people and their livestock. This caused a physical crisis that elicited some more grumbling from the Israelites—because the basic need for survival was being tested—and the natural inclination, regardless of the recent events—took precedence in the hearts of the delivered people:
“Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. And He said, ‘If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.’ Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters” (Exodus 15:22-27).
After the water came forth to alleviate the need for hydrated sustenance, Moses noted the testing, by stating the demand upon the Israelites to heed the voice of the Lord, to do what was right in His sight, give ear to His commandments, and keep His statutes.
Needless to say, with the provision of water at Elim, the congregation of Israel continued to complain, because the memories of Egypt and the relatively available foodstuffs that they were accustomed to, were no longer at hand. Complaints became rampant, but once again the Lord was testing Israel with hunger pains, in order to execute another miracle that came in the form of manna from Heaven and an abundant supply of quail in the evening. But the test was not necessarily consuming the manna and quail, but instead, perhaps, in the confidence that was required to follow the direction of the Lord to gather manna for only six days, taking a Sabbath rest on the seventh day—a pattern that would require belief and adherence to His commands:
“Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The sons of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.’ So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, ‘At evening you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, for He hears your grumblings against the LORD; and what are we, that you grumble against us?’ Moses said, ‘This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD.’ Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, “Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your grumblings.”’ It came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God.”’ So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground. When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. This is what the LORD has commanded, “Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.”’ The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat. Moses said to them, ‘Let no man leave any of it until morning.’ But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them” (Exodus 16:1-20).
Suffice it to say, the Lord heard the grumbling complaints, and made provision. As the people gathered the manna on the appropriate mornings, it is noted that such daily bread was to be eaten each day, or it would become foul and inedible. In a sign that He was personally interested in the minute details of everyone receiving the proper amount—everyone, regardless of the amount they gathered—had just enough to be satisfied. But once again, we see that the main focus was on God’s people having faith to observe His Sabbath, rather than simply receiving provision:
“They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt. Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, ‘This is what the LORD meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.’ So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it” (Exodus 16:21-24).
The pattern, of taking a Sabbath rest, is an integral part of developing faith in the Holy One of Israel, and it was the primary reason that the Almighty used this basic example to compel the Ancient Israelites to trust in Him for His provision. As is noted in the following excerpt, despite some period of adjustment to the way the manna was to be gathered and consumed, it is notable that for the forty-year sojourn, the Lord provided manna to His people. For, perhaps just as Abraham had to be tested centuries earlier when the Lord provided a ram as a substitute for the sacrificial offering of Isaac (Genesis 22:4), the Israelites needed to learn that their God was the Provider in all things, including basic nutrition:
“Moses said, ‘Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.’ It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.’ So the people rested on the seventh day. The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey. Then Moses said, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded, “Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.”’ Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.’ As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony, to be kept. The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. (Now an omer is a tenth of an ephah.)” (Exodus 16:25-36).
As B’shalach prepares to close, with Israel relocating to the wilderness of Sin and the encampment at Rephidim, the challenge of a lack of water, once again surfaced. Naturally, this generated resentment and quarreling with Moses, because, despite the previous provisions, and the witness of the pillar of fire and cloud, a lack of faith continued. This time, the Lord instructed Moses to strike at the rock at Horeb, which resulted in a gushing forth of water, slaking the parched lips of the Israelites. But once again, the people were found to be establishing a pattern of grumbling, complaining, and even quarrelling to the point of threatening the life of Moses. The lack of faith in the presence and provision of the Holy One, was becoming quite troubling:
“Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water that we may drink.’ And Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?’ But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, ‘Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me.’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.’ And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, ‘Is the LORD among us, or not?’” (Exodus 17:1-7).
Finally, with the incomprehensible question looming as to whether the Lord was among Israel, He allowed for yet another example of His love for His people as the dreaded Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:2-3) threatened to destroy them militarily. Given the precise instructions on how Moses was to station himself on the top of the hill, with his hands and staff extended to prevail over the warring Amalekites, his personal need to have assistance from Aaron and Hur was noted, as faithful Joshua led the counterattack:
“Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.’ Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ Moses built an altar and named it The LORD is My Banner; and he said, ‘The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation’” (Exodus 17:8-16).
It is here in these concluding remarks, that a key, identifying title for the Holy One is mentioned. ADONAI nissi reminded not only the Israelites then—but Messiah followers today—that He is indeed a powerful banner of victory over His own people. Furthermore is the reminder that the descendants of Esau, through Amalek’s line (Genesis 36:12), would be perpetually at war with the saints down through the generations, despite the command to eliminate them given in this memorial account.
As our Torah reading closes, there is a stark reminder that the Almighty has and will continue to use tests to challenge the faith and perseverance of those who have ostensibly been freed from the bondage of sin, but may still be struggling with the inclinations of the flesh. May each of us learn from what we have read, and by faith be able to overcome the trials and tests of life, in order to accomplish all of the good works that the Father has foreordained for each and everyone of His chosen children.
13:17. And it was, when Pharaoh had sent the people out, that God did not lead them through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near, for God said, “Perhaps the people will change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” 18. But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Reed Sea, and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt. 19. And Moses took Joseph’s bones with him, for he had strictly sworn the children of Israel saying, “God will surely visit you and you will carry up my bones away from here with you.” 20. And they took their journey from Sukkot and camped in Itam, at the edge of the wilderness. 21. And the LORD* went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, to go by day and night. 22. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, or the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
Crossing the Reed Sea
14.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 2. “Speak to the children of Israel, to turn and camp before Pi Hakhirot, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-Zephon: camp by the sea before it. 3. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are entangled in the land, the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4. And I shall harden Pharaoh’s heart so he will follow after them, and I shall be honored by Pharaoh and by his entire army, so the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD*.” And they did so.
14:5. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6. And he made his chariot ready and took his people with him. 7. And he took six hundred chosen chariots and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 8. And the LORD* strengthened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued after the children of Israel, and the children of Israel went out with a high hand. 9. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi Hakhirot, before Baal Zephon.
14:10. And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them, and they were greatly afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD*. 11. And they said to Moses, “Have you taken us away to die in the wilderness because there were no graves in Egypt? Why have you dealt like this with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 12. Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt saying, Let us alone, so we can serve the Egyptians? For it is better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” 13. And Moses said to the people, “Do not be in awe! Stand still! See the salvation of the LORD*, (2 Chr.20:17) which He will show you today, for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will see them again no more forever.
14. The LORD* will fight for you, and you will hold your peace.” (Deut. 1:30, 3:22)
14:15. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Why are you crying to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward, 16. and lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the children of Israel will go through the midst of the sea on dry ground. 17. And I AM, behold, I shall strengthen the hearts of the Egyptians and they will follow them and I shall get honor for Myself from Pharaoh, and from his whole army, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18. And the Egyptians will know that I AM the LORD*, when I have gotten honor for Myself from Pharaoh on his chariots and his horsemen.”
14:19. And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them, and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face and stood behind them. 20. And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these so that the one did not come near the other all night. 21. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD* caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23. And the Egyptians pursued and went in after them to the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24. And it was, that in the morning watch the LORD* looked at the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and caused confusion with the army of the Egyptians, 25. and took off their chariot wheels, so they drove them heavily so that the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD* is fighting for them against the Egyptians.”
14:26. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so the waters will come again upon the Egyptians, their chariots, and their horsemen.”
27. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared. And the Egyptians fled against it and the LORD* overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28. And the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and the entire army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. There remained not so much as one of them. 29. But the children of Israel walked on dry land in the midst of the sea and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 30. Thus the LORD* saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore. 31. And Israel saw that great work which the LORD* did upon the Egyptians and the people revered the LORD* and believed the LORD* and his servant Moses.
15.1. Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD* (Rev. 15:3) and spoke, saying: “I shall sing to the LORD*, for He has triumphed gloriously, He has thrown the horse and his rider into the sea. 2. A strong song and melody for the LORD* has become my salvation. This is my God and I shall praise Him; the God of my father and I will exalt Him! 3. The LORD* is a Man of War! The LORD* is His name. 4. He has cast Pharaoh’s chariots and his army into the sea, his chosen captains also are drowned in the Reed Sea. 5. The depths have covered them, they sank to the bottom like a stone. 6. Your right hand, LORD*, has become glorious in power. Your right hand, LORD*, has dashed the enemy in pieces. 7. And in the greatness of Your excellency You have overthrown those who rose up against You. You sent forth Your wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 8. And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as a heap, the depths were solidified in the heart of the sea. 9. The enemy said, ‘I shall pursue, I shall overtake, I shall divide the plunder. My lust will be satisfied upon them. I shall draw my sword, my hand will destroy them.’ 10. You did blow with your wind, the sea covered them: they sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11. Who is like You, LORD*, among the gods?! Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?! (Ps. 71:19) 12. You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13. You in Your loving kindness have led out the people that You have redeemed. You have guided them in Your strength to Your Holy Habitation. 14. The people will hear and be in awe. Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. 15. Then the chiefs of Edom will be amazed. Trembling will take hold of the mighty men of Moab. All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. 16. Fear and terror will fall on them. By the greatness of Your arm they will be as still as a stone, until Your people cross over, LORD*, until the people You have purchased cross over. 17. You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, the place, LORD*, You have made for Yourself to dwell in, the Sanctuary, O Lord, Your hands have established. 18. The LORD* will reign forever and ever. (Rev. 11:15) 19. For the horse of Pharaoh went into the sea with his chariots and with his horsemen, and again the LORD* brought the waters of the sea upon them, but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.”
15:20. And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances. 21. And Miriam sang to them, “Sing to the LORD*, for He has triumphed gloriously. He has thrown the horse and his rider into the sea.”
15:22. So Moses brought Israel from the Reed Sea and they went out into the wilderness of Shur and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.
23. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24. And the people murmured against Moses saying, “What will we drink?” 25. And he cried to the LORD*, and the LORD* showed him a tree and he cast it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet. He made a statute and an ordinance there for them and there he proved to them 26. and said, “If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD* your God and will do that which is right in His sight and will give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I shall put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians, for I AM the LORD* Who heals you.”
15:27. And they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there by the waters. 16.1. And they took their journey from Elim, and the entire congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing from the land of Egypt.
After Victory, Complaining
16:2. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3. And the children of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD* in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full. For you have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
16:4. Then the LORD* said to Moses, “Look, I shall rain bread from heaven for you, and the people will go out and gather a day’s portion each day, so I can test them, whether or not they will walk in My Torah (Teaching). 5. And it will be that on the sixth day they will prepare what they bring in, and it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” 6. And Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening, then you will know that the LORD* has brought you out from the land of Egypt. 7. And in the morning, then you will see the glory of the LORD*, for He heard your murmurings against the LORD*, and what are we that you murmur against us?” 8. Then Moses said, “This will be, when the LORD* gives you flesh to eat in the evening and bread to the full in the morning, for the LORD* heard your murmurings which you murmur against Him and what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD*.”
16:9. And Moses spoke to Aaron, “Say to the entire congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD*, for He has heard your murmurings!” 10. And it happened as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel that they looked toward the wilderness and, behold, the glory of the LORD* appeared in the cloud.
The LORD* Provides
16:11. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 12. “Ihave heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them saying, ‘At evening you will eat flesh and in the morning you will be filled with bread, and you will know that I AM the LORD* your God.’” 13. And it was that at evening the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. 14. And when the dew that lay evaporated, behold, upon the face of the wilderness something fine and scaly, as fine as the hoar frost on the ground. 15. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “Man-hu?” They did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD* has given you to eat. (John 6:31) 16. This is that which the LORD* has commanded, Each man gather it according to his eating, an omer for each person, according to the number of your persons: take for each person in his tent.”
16:17. The children of Israel did so and gathered; somemore, some less. 18. And when they measured it with an omer, the one who gathered much had nothing left over and the one who gathered little had no lack. (2 Cor. 8:15) Each person gathered according to his eating.
16:19. And Moses said, “Let no man leave any till morning.” 20. Nevertheless they did not listen to Moses, but some of them left of it until the morning and it bred worms and stank, and Moses was very angry with them. 21. And they gathered it every morning, each man according to his eating, and it melted when the sun grew hot. 22. And it was, on the sixth day they gathered a double portion, two omers for one person, and all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses. 23. And he said to them, “This is what the LORD* has said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath to the LORD*: bake that which you will bake today, and boil what you will boil, and that which remains over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.” 24. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses said. And it did not stink, neither was there any worm in it 25. and Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD*, today you will not find it in the field. 26. Six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, in it there will be none.”
16:27. And it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather and they found none. 28. And the LORD* said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My Torah (Teaching)? 29. See, for the LORD* has given you the Sabbath, therefore He gives you the bread for two days on the sixth day. Each person stay in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30. And the people rested on the seventh day. 31. And the House of Israel called the name of it Man. And it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
16:32. And Moses said, “This is the thing that the LORD* commands. Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations, so they can see the bread with which I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out from the land of Egypt.” 33. And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a pot and put an omer full of man(na) in it, and lay it up before the LORD*, to be kept for your generations.” 34. So Aaron laid it up as the LORD* commanded Moses, to be kept before the Testimony. 35. And the children of Israel ate man(na) for forty years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate man(na) until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan. 36. Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.
Strike the Rock for Water
17.1. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, by their travels, according to the commandment of the LORD* and pitched in Refidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2. Therefore the people contended with Moses and said, “Give us water so we can drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why argue with me? Why do you tempt the LORD*?” 3. And the people were thirsty for water there, and the people murmured against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?”
17:4. And Moses cried to the LORD* saying, “What will I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Go on before the people and take the elders of Israel with you, and your staff with which you struck the river. Take it in your hand and go. 6. Behold, I shall stand in front of you there on the rock in Horeb and you will strike the rock, and there water will come out of it, so the people can drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7. And he called the name of the place Massah (Test) and Meribah (Contention), because of the chiding of the children of Israel and because they tempted the LORD* by saying, “Is the LORD* among us or not?”
Aaron and Hur Hold up Moses’ Hands
17:8. Then Amalek came and fought with Israel in Refidim. 9. And Moses said to Joshua (Y’hoshea), “Choose men from among us and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I shall stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10. So Joshua did as Moses told him and fought with Amalek, and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11. And it happened, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12. But Moses’ hands were heavy so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side and the other on the other side, and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13. And Joshua weakened Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
17:14. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Write this in a book for a memorial and repeat it in the ears of Joshua, for I shall utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” 15. And Moses built an altar and called the name of it Adonai-Nissi, The LORD* is My Miracle. 16. For he said, “Because the LORD* has sworn that the LORD* will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Click to Source)
It is too easy for us to scan through Torah portions that have become familiar to us. I challenge you to slow down and consider the people who are living these recorded days then bring the words forward to our day and our lives. Take for instance the four “I Wills” of Exodus 6:6-8. These are words we speak of every Passover, but have we really considered them?
Here are the four promises. “I will free you, I will take you as my people, I will bring you into the Land and I will give you your inheritance”. For the Hebrews, they did not listen to those words because they were discouraged due to slavery. Are we not listening to them because we are prosperous? Ouch!
Let’s look at the promises one by one for ourselves. I am going to ask some questions regarding the promises. Pray about what they mean to you and how you might answer them.
“I will free you.” – Free us from what? We are free, aren’t we? Are we?
“I will take you as my people.” – We are already His people, right? Can we truly be His people while living in exile?
“I will bring you into the Land”- How do we define “the Land”? Interesting that for some this is actually a question.
“I will give you your inheritance.” – Do we know what our inheritance is? Hint. Look at Deuteronomy 33:4 for one. Look at “I will” number three for the other.
How is our longing to walk in the “I Wills” or are these words only spoken at Passover with no meaning. Is it similar to saying “Next Year in Jerusalem”?
The balance of this Torah portion will be devoted to the dialogue of Moshe and Aaron with Pharaoh as well as the plagues. What are these plagues about? Are they really judgments on the Egyptians for making the Hebrews into slaves? At one level the answer is yes, but let’s look at it from a different angle. Are the plagues more about the Hebrews seeing what life in Egypt really was? Is the fall of Egypt as the world power more about ripping their love of Egypt away so they could realize Egypt as exile and not home? How does that speak to us? Just how many plagues would it take for you to pack your bags and not “Move to Beverly” or “Head west young man”, but to leave everything behind and head east to home?
One more thing, in Exodus 9:16 Moshe is told to tell Pharaoh that the only reason he has been kept alive is to show forth the power of the Almighty and make His name resound through the earth. As Moshe was heading to the palace to deliver the message, did he stop and think that these words were not only for the Pharaoh, but were for him? Moshe’s parents could have followed the orders of the Pharaoh and put him to death. He could have been eaten by a croc in the Nile River. He could have been put into slavery instead of raised in the palace. He could have been put to death after he killed an Egyptian. He could have died of thirst, starvation or a rattlesnake bite in the desert. Moshe was alive. His life had been spared and protected. Why? For the same reason as Pharaoh, to show forth the power of Yah and make His name resound on the earth.
Any idea where I am going next? Think about it. What about you and me? Through the years I have had the honor of sitting down and getting to know many of you. You have told me about some of your past and I have shared with you some of mine. A theme has arisen many times in conversations when we look back and see how many times our lives were protected and spared by the Almighty. I wonder how many times He spared us and we did not know it? Why were we kept alive? Why were we called to the walk we are on? Is it not for the same reason Pharaoh was kept alive, the same reason Moshe was kept alive? Humbling isn’t it. Guess it just proves one more time that life really is not about us, but it is truly about Him. (Click to Source)
We come to the infamous account of Korach this week. You have to admit that with all that has happened in the camp since Israel left Egypt, events which clearly showed Moshe as the leader, this was a pretty gutsy move made by Korach. Well, maybe gutsy is not the right word to use here. How about just plain dumb?
Imagine the looks on the faces of those who stood in rebellion as the ground under their feet began to shake. Maybe a gentle rumble preceded the earth splitting in two before swallowing the mass group of “position seekers”. This is an incredible display from Yah confirming His seal of leadership on Moshe…As most of you know, I love the quote by John Wayne, “It’s hard to stop stupid!” I wonder if Mr. Wayne might have come up with that quote after reading this week’s Torah portion. Probably not, but it sure fits.
In Chapter 17 we read that it was the very next day after the Korach incident when stupid re-entered the camp. Consider the scene. The ground may have still been separated in the very spot where Korach and his bands had once stood. Even with the evidence of judgment still smoking in front of them, the people rebelled with complaints against Moshe.
What is the theme we are seeing? We find it by reviewing the previous portion where Miriam and Aharon spoke against Moshe . Rebellion is at the heart of their actions. Pride goes before a fall. We see rebellion against Moshe, the Torah and Yah’s direction for them.
In our walk, we must begin to look at Torah, Yeshua and walking in His principles as a package. It is all or nothing, not multiple choice. Most of us are accustomed to going to a restaurant and ordering from a menu. We find the combination which is close to our desires. If one item isn’t appetizing we ask the server if we can make a few changes like substituting onion rings for the fries. Is this our mindset regarding Kingdom living? In their day it was “Hold the manna, we will take a large order of quail!” What are we trying to substitute? (Click to Article)
One of the most dependable features of our Creator is that He is a God of order and consistency, who can be relied upon to perform His Word without fail. Lamentably, most of fallen humanity disregards this fact. But even more tragic is the sad testimony that many who claim a relationship with Him are not always aware of His immutable nature. Thankfully, the Almighty is cognizant that humans have a fallen nature and various limitations. He has made provisions within His sovereign rule, to guarantee that His Word is performed:
“For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we arebutdust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the LORD, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; bless the LORD, O my soul!” (Psalm 103:14-22).
Did you notice how the Psalmist reminds us that the key, to receiving God’s blessings and lovingkindness, is having a healthy fear of Him? A good part of such fear is trembling at the Word of the Lord, and understanding that once God has declared something, He is obligated to follow through because of His righteousness to complete it. Once a person is able to incorporate this reality into his or her heart, and respond in obedience to His will, the perplexities of life should hopefully become more manageable. By submitting and surrendering to what He has lovingly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, faithful Believers have the privilege of exercising their trust in the Lord, by taking action and completing the good works that they were created to perform. The Apostle Paul summarizes it very nicely:
“For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshuafor good works,which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
This week’s Torah portion,Korach, details the tragic consequences of a group of Ancient Israelites who did not take the decree of the Lord seriously. The infamous Korah is the instigator of a rebellion against the chosen leadership of the fledgling nation of Israel, as the people painstakingly make their way from the bondage of Egypt to a Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. By the time of this incident, many other examples of disobedience have already occurred. The cry for lack of meat is dealt with by God sending an abundance of quail, only to be accompanied by a severe plague which takes the lives of many doubters (Numbers 12:31-35). The incredible challenge of Miriam and Aaron, to Moses’ leadership, is shown to be a visible reminder that even the closest relatives should not question the anointing of God’s chosen (Numbers 12). Next, the ten unbelieving spies inject their doubting poison into the camp (Numbers 13). The attempt to return to the favor of the Lord is unsuccessful, as He uses the Amalekites and Canaanites to execute His judgment on the remorseful doubters (Numbers 14:41-45). Finally, the vivid example of one individual gathering wood on the Sabbath is handled in a dramatic fashion, as the congregation of Israel is required to stone him in order to learn the lessons of defiant disobedience (Numbers 15:29-36).
These recorded events establish a backdrop for the ultimate challenge to Moses’ anointed leadership by Korah and his associates, distant cousins of Levi and Reuben. Korah was not satisfied with the Divine privilege he had received to minister before God in the Tabernacle (Numbers 16:8-10), and perhaps Dathan and Abiram were wondering why they too had not received recognition for being the descendants of the firstborn son of Jacob. Whatever their motivations were, the consequences of their actions against God’s chosen are a reminder to us today that these fleshly-inspired, or perhaps even demonic rebellions, are not only going to happen—but should be expectedandanticipated by those who have been called into leadership positions in the Body of Messiah.
Whether it is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life (1 John 2:16) motivating rebellion, the fact remains from Biblical and historical accounts, that rebellion is present in the hearts of people. Having the knowledge of good and evil embedded in hearts of stone, the natural inclination is often to become a god unto oneself. In so doing, men and women will find themselves susceptible to the wiles of the Devil, and as the Prophet Samuel stated several centuries later to King Saul, the insidious poison of divination germinates seeds of rebellion in the human heart:
“Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,andto heed than the fat of rams.For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you frombeingking” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
Korah and his ilk were no different than the many more, who down through the ages have taken the Word of the Lord lightly—or worse—viewed it with disdain and total rejection. Consider the character analysis that is portrayed in this week’s reading. Is it the character of Korah that is revealing—or the reaction of Moses to the challenge to his role—which inspiresyou?Consider the fact that we are given a great example of how leaders should react when various Korahs, Miriams, or even unruly mobs attack one’s God-ordained position and responsibility:
“When Moses heardthis, he fell on his face”(Numbers 16:4).
Where else can a man or woman of God find solace and direction from an omnipotent Creator, who allows insurrections to occur? For those who can identify with Moses, on whatever level, his example should be taken to serious heart. Crying out to our Maker for His solution to the problems of life is ouronlychoice when we are put in dire straights! When we do this, then in His mercy God should give us the guidance we need to handle whatever the challenge might be.
The solution for Korah’s rebellion was a graphic one. The Lord miraculously swallowed up Korah’s family into Sheol (Numbers 16:30-34), and fire burned the other dissatisfied rebels (Numbers 16:35). Additionally, a plague is sent into the camp, killing many other Israelites, who might have identified with the inclinations of the insurgents (Numbers 16:41-50). Ultimately, the Lord decided to show the sign of the budding rod to the people who had rebelled, or at least questioned, the leadership of Moses and Aaron (Numbers 17:1-13). This budding rod, a tangible reminder of His authority being placed upon these specific Levites, not only convinced the doubting masses, but eventually received the honor of being placed next to the Ark of the Covenant:
“Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna,and Aaron’s rod which budded,and the tables of the covenant; and above itwerethe cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail” (Hebrews 9:3-5).
This placement of the rod signified not only the special leadership role of Aaron and his Levitical descendants, but also their proximity and closeness to the tangible relics of God’s interaction with Israel as the chosen nation to be a light to the world (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6). As Believers in Messiah Yeshua, we have each been anointed by God and have been given a great calling to share Him with all we encounter. We not only have a great responsibility to learn His Word, but let the Word have its way in our lives.
A great example of someone who understood the call of serving God is the Prophet Samuel, the last judge of Ancient Israel. He was chosen to anoint the first king of Israel, in spite of his disappointment about the people rejecting the Lord as their Sovereign King:
“But you have today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses;yet you have said, ‘No, but set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your clans” (1 Samuel 10:19).
When it came time to submit to the permitted will of the people as directed by God, Samuel returned to the pattern that had been first established by Joshua when the twelve tribes first came into the Promised Land:
“Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.’ So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly” (1 Samuel 11:14-15).
You should remember that it was at Gilgal that Joshua and the twelve tribes made a significant covenant with the Lord, as they faithfully circumcised the men of Israel, despite the immediate danger of enemy attack from the existing nations occupying the land of Canaan:
“Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho. Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. He said to the sons of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, “What are these stones?” then you shall inform your children, saying, “Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.” For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed;that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”’ Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites whowerebeyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites whowereby the sea, heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed,that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.At that time the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Make for yourself flint knives and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.’ So Joshua made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt. For all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation,that is, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished because they did not listen to the voice of the LORD, to whom the LORD had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Joshua 4:9-5:6).
The Lord allowed the Israelites to enter into a faithful covenant as they painfully circumcised themselves upon entering the Promised Land. Samuel knew the significance of what occurred at Gilgal, and that through the other reported signs, which included the crossing of the Red Sea and the Jordan River on dry land, that the nations at large would take notice. By returning to Gilgal to anoint and install King Saul, another significant sign was being made to not only the Ancient Israelites, but to all in the vicinity who rejected the Sovereign Creator God. By making the connection, Samuel exercised great wisdom as he knew that the patterns of the Lord were consistent and true:
“Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.’ So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal.There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly”(1 Samuel 11:14-15).
Samuel exercised extremely good leadership as he was led to return to the patterns of his predecessors Joshua and Moses. Samuel was old and gray (1 Samuel 12:2), knowing that his days were numbered, and he like Moses was not a man who was beholden to any other except God. In his final recorded soliloquy, Samuel exhorted the people to return once again to the Instruction of God, as he knew that only in obedience to God would they find the joy and peace that they desired. It was not in an Earthly king that mimicked the ways of the other nations that the Israelites would find peace and security. Because Samuel was charged with executing the will of the Lord, he relented and shared these profound words of encouragement:
“Then Samuel said to the people, ‘It is the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. So now, take your stand, that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous acts of the LORD which He did for you and your fathers. When Jacob went into Egypt and your fathers cried out to the LORD, then the LORD sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. But they forgot the LORD their God, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. They cried out to the LORD and said, “We have sinned because we have forsaken the LORD and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.” Then the LORD sent Jerubbaal and Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security. When you saw that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon came against you, you said to me, “No, but a king shall reign over us,” although the LORD your Godwasyour king. Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the LORD has set a king over you. If you will fear the LORD and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the LORD, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God. If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you,as it wasagainst your fathers. Even now, take your stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes. Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call to the LORD, that He may send thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the LORD by asking for yourselves a king.’ So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. Then all the people said to Samuel, ‘Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, so that we may not die, for we have added to all our sinsthisevil by asking for ourselves a king.’ Samuel said to the people,‘Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.You must not turn aside, forthen you would goafter futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away” (1 Samuel 12:6-25).
Can you sense the passion in Samuel’s pleas? As he recalled the relatively brief history of Israel and noted the continuing pattern of disobedience, he reminded the people of the requirement to fear the Lord. It isonlythrough a reverent fear of God and His Word that any of us have an inkling of a chance of survival, in any generation from Adam to the present. Of course, the Holy One has always shown signs to not only His people, but to the whole world, so that all will know that He is sovereign. Whether it is drying up seas or rivers, or sending rain at the appropriate times, He is in the habit of confirming with visible signs that are evident, and endorsing His chosen leaders with readily identifiable markers.
But brothers and sisters be warned! The enemy of our souls is also in the business of mimicking various signs and wonders, as an attempt to thwart the Divine will of God. We are warned incessantly about the false signs and wonders that have come, are coming, and will come in the Last Days to test not only Believers,but lead many astray into judgment.Even Yeshua Himself warns us of those coming, who are going to lead many into apostasy and despair:
“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24, NRSV).
The Apostle Paul further elaborates on this in his communication with the Believers at Thessalonica:
“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).
Here is an amplification that should surely generate the fear of the Lord in anyone who truly believes that He says what He means. Notice that the reason why people are deceived, is because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. This is critical because without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit operating through a circumcised heart of flesh, those who have simply decided to lead a moral life are not able to discern the difference between a true sign from God and a deceiving sign from the Devil. The key is to be born from above, so that a healthy fear of the Lord is what motivates a person to seek Him with all of the heart, mind, soul and strength.
Perhaps the most sobering thing we see here is that the “strong delusion” (KJV/RSV) or “powerful delusion” (NIV) comes from God Himself. He will be the One who sends it upon the whole world. It will be the ultimate test as to whether someone truly believes upon the Lord Yeshua the Messiah, or not.
If you have a propensity to operate in the spirit of Korah, Miriam, the ten spies, or if you simply want to gather some sticks, or just generallydo your own thing—are you in a rather uncertain place in your walk with God? For a season, you might get away with disobedience and obstinance, because our Heavenly Father is longsuffering and full of a compassion that no human has the capacity to demonstrate. But eventually, because His Word requires it, He is going to have to execute some form of judgment, or at least penalties. When this happens, where will you stand?I would note for you that you need not wait for the final judgment of humanity to wait for your personal judgment.
I pray this week that you will be seeking God with all of your heart, falling on your face when desperate circumstances arise, and crying out to Him for understanding. I hope that you will learn to embrace the fear of the Lord with every ounce of your being.
Our Heavenly Father is raising up Messianic leaders who have some important work to do in the days ahead. Will they follow the examples found in the Torah, and indeed all of Scripture? Will we have men and women who truly follow God and serve the community of faith? Will we have those who show mercy like the benevolent Creator we serve? Truly, my friends, we have much to consider from this week’s Torah portion.
I have heard it said so many times that the Hebrews “Wandered” in the wilderness. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In Chapter Nine of this Torah portion it speaks of the Cloud which covered the Tabernacle. We read that as long as the Cloud stayed over the Tabernacle the peoples were to remain camped and as the Cloud moved, they were to move. I would not call being guided by a Cloud of His Glory simply ‘wandering’. I would refer to it as being “guided by His hand.” But what about us today? Are our lives guided at that same level? My answer is yes. The only difference between them and us is in their day they could see the Cloud with physical eyes. Today? For those who desire, we see the Cloud with spiritual eyes. He is still in the guiding business.
Of course, there are times in our lives in which we wonder if we are seeing very well, times we are looking for the cloud, but it seems more like a fog. What are we to do in those times? The answer is maybe too simple; trust and keep walking.
Go back to the first verses of the Torah portion. It speaks about the Menorah and a concept I have taught on many times. The Menorah was to be placed in the Tabernacle in such a way that the light would shine forward. Message here; one I lived out recently.
This past weekend I went to Amarillo, TX to teach on the Tabernacle. Due to the fact I take the representation of the Tabernacle with me, I could not fly, but had to drive. 2508 miles in 5 days! It was a great time in Amarillo, but the last miles of the drive were a bit brutal. It had been lightly raining off and on most of the day so I had to keep a real watch for all the crazies on the road. I finally made it to the last leg of the trip, which is over a mountain pass. That is where the clouds I had seen in the distance now became a fog, which enveloped me. What was I to do? Pull over and stop? Absolutely not! My destination was too close. I slowed down a bit, made sure my lights were on and kept going. A few miles later I broke out of the fog and into some of the most beautiful mountain scenery I had ever seen.
What is my point? Many people I speak to believe themselves to be in a fog today. What is fog? It is a cloud which has come to our level. Maybe what you think is a fog today is really His Cloud, which has come to your level. Keep walking and see where it takes you.
One of the major points of this portion is found at the beginning of Chapter 11. It says they were complaining about their hardships. Really now? They are free people who have been given the Torah, Yah’s presence in their midst, an unlimited supply of fresh water to drink and bread which appears ever morning for their enjoyment. Besides that, they are walking in total health and their clothing and shoes are not wearing out. I am just not feeling the hardship going on here and apparently neither is The Almighty! To add further insult to injury they turn their minds back to the fish, cucumbers, melons, etc they ate in Egypt and say, “It cost us nothing!” Hold the bus here! Now how much are they paying for the free medical care, extended wear clothing, water and manna? I don’t read anywhere that they were being charged.
We could of course point our fingers at them all day on this one. Especially since none of us have ever uttered a word of unmerited complaint in our lives…?