Monday, February 19, 2018

Exodus 34:1-9 comments: Moses pleads for the Israelites to God

34:1 ¶  And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. 3  And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. 4  And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.

God will repeat the writing of the commandments on two tables of stone. Moses was to come up early and alone to the summit of Mount Sinai to receive those tables of stone. Everyone else was to stay away from the base of the mountain and no one was to come on the mountain except Moses. Moses is told to be ready in the morning. There is something to be considered about the morning. Will the church be called out, translated in Biblical terms or raptured in popular parlance, in the morning? Do a word search on the morning. Here are two prominent examples.

Psalm 30:5  For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalm 130:6  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

    34:5 ¶  And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7  Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 8  And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9  And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

Jehovah God descends in a cloud and stands with Moses on Mount Sinai. He declares His intentions, His attributes, including His mercy. What He declares for the Israelites in this circumstance is important for us to realize. Verse 7 is a statement of reality in a world under judgment, not a command for the Hebrews to perform. Note the following;

Micah 7:18  Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

Deuteronomy 24:16  The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

There have been heathen cultures in history that punished entire clans for the crimes of one person and executed entire families for the sins of one of their members. An analysis of those cultures in history is not necessary here but it is not what God had in mind.

But in our reality, in a world under judgment, the sins committed by one generation have a ripple effect on future generations. It became fashionable, for instance, in 1960s America for people to cohabit without any commitment for life, making something that God had given us, sexual union with a mate, something no more significant than relieving oneself by the side of the road. Then, in the next generation there was a great increase in illegitimacy, abandoned children, and a demand for legal abortions which became a constitutional right in 1973 with Roe versus Wade. This was compounded in the next generation. By the 1990s there were millions of children living in poverty in single parent homes, often but not always due to choices made casually without consideration for future generations, and up to now, since 1973, more than 50 million babies have been executed before they could see the light of day. Truly, iniquity is visited on the third and fourth generations. Society is less stable than it could be and people are far more dependent upon government programs for help than they would have been if they had not bathed in this iniquity. Men, women, and children suffer untold psychological problems and are consigned to economic struggle because of these choices, in desperate need of the mind to appeal to God’s mercy, acknowledging Him as their sovereign and Lord in obedience. Of course, the trouble today is that we do not repent of sin so much as we try to justify it or make it not such a big deal further making the consequences for the guilty and the innocent worse.

Every time a so-called conservative Christian commits fornication with a live-in partner or even just a “significant other” with whom they have not made a life-long commitment they run the risk of bringing damage on the next few generations. It is simply the way life is, the lasting consequence of sin. Many a Christian has started a family in iniquity and suffered horribly because although God would forgive their sin they do not even seek repentance in their heart for it. You cannot start a family on the wrong note, refuse to repent in your heart of your sin against God and innocent children, and expect everything to turn out well.

Who are you to declare your sin as no big deal and demand that God forgive you and bless you without repentance? I wonder how many Christian men have married Christian women to “make it right” and yet never repented of the sin they were making it right for and yet expected God to remove any issues from their path to a happy, fulfilled future with their family.

Here in verse 8 is a physical act of worship.
Genesis 42:6  And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
Bowing oneself to the earth is one of the postures of reverence and worship.
Sometimes people bow their head to worship God.
Genesis 24:26  And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.
Sometimes to the earth.
Genesis 24:52  And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth.
Even falling down and grabbing the feet of the person worshipped.
Matthew 28:9  And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
Sometimes they kneeled.
Psalm 95:6  O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
So, it is that there are different postures of acknowledging someone as superior. We Americans are taught to bow to no one as superior so we have a hard time acknowledging God’s power over our lives in a real, tangible way. Americans lack the awe for anything other than something like a fireworks display or a huge bomb going off. Our shallowness of culture does get in the way of our understanding of who God is and of His power over our lives. The weakness of other cultures was that for centuries they acknowledged a king, tsar, or emperor as being God’s agent on earth and were in fear and awe of him but still not seeing, because of the propaganda their government controlled them with, that it was God who controlled every heartbeat and breath and God, not their king, who could save or destroy in an instant. Only God is worthy of our awe and reverence, our worship.
Psalm 33:8  Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
Hebrews 12:28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
The brothers in Genesis 42:6 came to the Egyptian official, mightiest in the land under the Pharaoh himself, their brother Joseph whom they did not recognize, to plead for food to buy. They were showing their inferior position and his power over their lives. This is a beautiful image of how we should come to Christ. Let Him lift us up.
James 4:10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
1Peter 5:6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Moses worships the Lord and pleads for his people, acting as a mediator between God and man as a type of Christ.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Exodus 33:12-23 comments: the appearance of God

33:12 ¶  And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. 13  Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. 14  And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 15  And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16  For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. 17  And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18  And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19  And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 20  And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21  And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22  And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23  And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Moses pleads with God to tell him who is to be Moses’ helper and heir to his ministry and to show him God’s plan. He throws in a plea to consider that the Hebrews are God’s people.

In this passage we see that a nation in the Bible is not like a modern nation-state, the likes of which only came into being in the last five hundred years. A nation is a people of like ethnicity. The word nation in Hebrew is goy, which has become a Jewish name for a non-Jew. In the New Testament the word nation is translated from ethnos from which we get ethnic. The United States of America is not a nation in the Biblical sense. It is a republic composed of many nations and apart from Native Americans living on their own territory or an Italian neighborhood in New York or Cajuns in a Louisiana bayou we are mixed and mingled in different locations.

God answers Moses’ plea that His presence will go with Moses. Moses is then, in type, like Christ, a mediator between God and the people of God. God’s presence is His angel.

Isaiah 63:9  In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

Moses insists that the mark of God’s hand in the Israelites existence is His presence and God promises to go with Moses. Moses has found grace in God’s sight. Thee and thou, which along with thine, the singular you, had fallen out of usage by the time of the King James Version of the Bible except for intimate terms, like in, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The singular you, or thou, began to be used for social inferiors and then completely died out except for religious uses and in some dialects of rural England where it has even become “tha.”

Bringing the singular you, thou, back was a great way of distinguishing when a speaker meant an individual or a group of people. As an example, who is Jesus talking to here, and when is He referring to just Peter or making a reference to all of the apostles;

Luke 22:31  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Moses asks God to show him God’s own glory. Jesus showed chosen disciples His glory inasmuch as they could bear it.

Mark 9:2  And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

Here, Moses is not permitted to see God’s face and is protected from the effects of God’s glory  in His appearance. God’s glory must be very powerful on an individual to look upon…

Ezekiel 3:23  Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face.

…so much so that people thought they were going to die when they saw the angel of His presence.

Exodus 20:18 ¶  And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20  And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21  And the people stood afar off, and
Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

Judges 6:22  And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face. 23  And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.

Judges 13:20  For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. 21  But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. 22  And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.

23  But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.

No one has seen God the Father, who is a Spirit, as in the words invisible and incorporeal.

John 1:18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word by which all things were created, reveals Him. In a manner of speaking, He is the body of God that can be seen.

Hebrews 1:3a  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person…

John 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

The phrase, the Son of God, represents Christ coming in the authority of God the Father as a king’s son would come in the authority of the king as the heir of the king. The Word has to do with how He spoke the universe into existence and how He maintains or sustains it.

John1:1 ¶  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2  The same was in the beginning with God. 3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Colossians 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

It seems clear that when people in the Old Testament saw God, as an appearance, or an angel, they were seeing the preincarnate Christ. This was also true after the resurrection when Paul spoke with Him.

Acts 27:23  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Exodus 33:7-11 comments: without the camp

33:7 ¶  And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. 8  And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. 9  And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. 10  And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. 11  And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

Here is defined, in verse 7, what without the camp means. It is outside of the camp and in this context far from the camp. This is significant as it is commonly understood that Jesus’ place of crucifixion was outside of the walls of Jerusalem. The place where mankind’s sins were taken on by the God who created mankind was without the camp.

So, the Tabernacle where God met with the Israelites is apart from the camp. This is in contrast to God walking among them, in the camp, a circumstance not permitted by their stubbornness. This points out to us that God abhors sin and will not have it in His presence.

Isaiah 59:2  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Habbakuk 1:12 ¶  Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction. 13a  Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…

The Israelites had passed on a powerful blessing only to be restored by Christ. We Christians do not go to church only to “meet with God” like the Israelites had to go outside of the camp, a type of the physical body, to do. We meet with God every day in prayer, Bible reading and study, and in our day-to-day experience of His reality for us. The Israelites forsook that relationship. Many Christians refrain from that closeness to God and prefer ritual and ceremony to “experience the divine.”

Many conservative Christians are what I call “Super-Bowl Christians” who cannot feel close to God without an emotionally charged injection of preaching, which is not a bad thing, but when it is the only way you feed on God’s word it is like a sugar-high or a drug, you keep wanting a replay of that emotional high. God wants to walk in your camp so to speak, for His Spirit to commune with your spirit. Evangelistic meetings are great and Sunday services are very important but if you only eat once, two, three, or even four times a week you will be a very malnourished individual, prone to sickness and death.

So, it is with a Christian. Feed on God’s word every day and speak to Him in prayer often and let Him speak to you through His word as often. “Walk” with God from daybreak to daybreak every day.

It is not a preacher’s responsibility to resave you every Sunday. He shouldn’t have to start from scratch every Sunday to give you baby formula because you have not fed yourself at other times. Christians should be growing and learning in their experience with the church, being encouraged, provoked, and moved forward, not being brought back from near death from malnutrition every Sunday.

Verse 11 can be viewed in two ways. It can be figurative, underscoring the close relationship and communication that God and Moses had. It can also be literal with Moses meeting with the preincarnate Christ, who is the physical body and appearance of the Godhead, an English term referring to God’s nature or essence in the unity of the three parts of God.

First, understand that the image is the appearance, physical presence of something. Image equals likeness.

Genesis 1:26a  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…

Exodus 20:4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above…

Christ is that image.

2Corinthians 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Colossians 1:15a  Who is the image of the invisible God…

Hebrews 1:3a  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person…

Either way, there is an intimacy, a friendship, revealed here between God and Moses. Later it will be said;

Numbers 12:3  (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

Moses was meek towards God, not men, in that he humbled himself before his God. Remember, we’re talking about someone leading a huge number of people, very unruly people.

In this passage it is said that Moses has that kind of relationship with God that Jesus’ wanted His disciples to have with Him.

John 15:15  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Joshua is a radical who didn’t leave the tabernacle. This is indicative of his character.

Joshua 1:8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Joshua 24:15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

He is a type of Jesus and his work parallels, perhaps, what Jesus will do when He returns. In the following passage the Holy Spirit, through Luke, inserts Jesus for Joshua in English.

Acts 7:45  Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Exodus 33:1-6 comments: God's rebuke

33:1 ¶  And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: 2  And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: 3  Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way. 4  And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments. 5  For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. 6  And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.

Remember what God said to Abraham.

Genesis 15:12 ¶  And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13  And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15  And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

Apparently, God has now had just about enough of the Canaanites nonsense with their idolatry, sexual perversion as a facet of religious expression, and all sorts of other garbage. When will He have had enough of your country’s excesses? He judged the countries of Europe on World War One’s battlefields and in the great influenza epidemic afterwards that killed more people than in all of the battles of what they called at the time, “The Great War.”

A land flowing with milk and honey is a reference to the fertility and produce of Canaan. We do not think of the land that Israel occupies now as being fertile and lush. Israel may have once been covered with great forests that were cut down for iron production. And although there is a diverse meteorology and ecology in Israel from the snows of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights to the reforestation after the Ottoman Empire cut down most of the remaining forests to make railways in the 19th century it is believed that the climate was much milder in the tenth century BC. We know, as only those who believe the Bible can know, that the earth has been drying out since the great Flood of Noah’s time. We would expect it to be a more fertile place then than now.

Numbers 13:23  And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.

God is going to drive out the Canaanites from before the Hebrews. Here is one of those great and sad turning points in the Bible, where God, who already knew what would happen announces something He is going to do other than what He truly desires to do.

In Genesis we had man and woman over creation, as stewards, a royal family with dominion over the works of God’s hand.

Genesis 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

But, we know how that turned out.

Genesis 3:24  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Later, with God showing that it was His perfect will to rule over the Israelites as their king it was His permissive will which was expressed due to their wicked stubbornness. Kings, royalty, aristocracy, and, in fact, all human government without God, over His people was the result.

1Samuel 8:7  And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

Now, here, while God’s perfect will would have been to walk among the Israelites, to dwell with them, to go in and go out of their camp and go with them to their wars against the child-sacrificing, temple-prostitute patronizing, Canaanites He expresses a change of plan. He will drive out the Canaanites before them by His angel. But, the benefit of having God in the camp, outside of the tabernacle, they will not know.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this passage in Exodus, noted, God would have brought them under the yoke of his law, and into the bond of his covenant, but their necks were too stiff to bow to them. God would have cured them of their corrupt and crooked dispositions, and have set them straight; but they were wilful and obstinate, and hated to be reformed, and would not have God to reign over them.” 

What He promises later was something they could have had but their stubborn willfulness rejected.

Jeremiah 31:31  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This will only be accomplished now when God comes to live as a man, pays the price for our sin, and then rises from the dead for our justification. The immense blessing that was offered and available to the Israelites is rejected by their own behavior. Man cannot save himself. He can’t even allow himself to be saved. It is God who does the work. But, here, the Israelites have lost a great blessing. God knew this would happen but that doesn’t make it any less a sad catastrophe.

As an application God wants to walk with the Christian. God speaking to you through His word and you speaking to Him in prayer, waiting on Him and obeying Him, as He guides you every day and directs your path, is God’s perfect will. But so many who call themselves Christians prefer to push God into a ritual they observe on a certain day, memorized prayers they make at mealtime and bedtime, joyful hope at a wedding or birth of a baby, or tearful hope at a funeral. But, they would rather not have God walk with them in their midst. Their stubborn willfulness will not permit it.

The Israelites, as commanded, put off the jewelry that they had used in their pagan worship. This is an act of repentance. As John the Baptist demanded of the Jews of his day, and I am quoting these two verses to make a side note about how the Bible defines words by substituting them for the words that define them in different quotes;

Matthew 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Luke 3:8a  Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance,…

See how meet is worthy. Hopefully, that will help you understand this verse better.

Genesis 2:18  And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

But, back to the passage. The Israelites have obeyed, for now.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Exodus 32:30-35 comments: the book

32:30 ¶  And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. 31  And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 32  Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin — ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. 34  Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. 35  And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Moses tells the people that he will make an atonement for their sin of idolatry. The word peradventure has to do with perhaps or possibly, that type of meaning in context, the word being connected with a sort of, “who knows?” type of sentiment.

Moses, to make his argument before God, offers to be damned in their place. Look at this verse from Revelation;

Revelation 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Christ promises not to blot a person’s name out of the Book of Life. Either the following verses mean the people referred to can lose their salvation as God knows who will choose Him by His foreknowledge as noted in 1Peter 1:2 since the foundation of the world as per Ephesians 1:4;

Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

…or all human beings’ names are in the book when their soul was created, based on God’s foreknowledge and if we reject Him our name is removed. The latter seems more likely to me as when we are saved we are said to be sealed and the Holy Spirit is given to us as a deposit, earnest money, so to speak.

2Corinthians 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

So, it would be more consistent to believe that God’s Book of Life contains all human beings’ names and when we die physically the name is either left there or taken out based on what we have done regarding Christ…

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

With regard to eternal life God deals with us as individuals.

He then refers to His Angel, His presence, His physical appearance.

Isaiah 63:9  In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

Judges 2:1 ¶  And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

Acts 27:23  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

Galatians 4:14  And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

It is Christ who leads them, the visible image of the invisible God. Remember, that God the Father, the soul and seat of self-identity and will of the Godhead, is a spirit being who is not visible to us.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

And no man has seen Him.

John 1:18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

1Timothy 6:16  Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

But, Christ is His visible image.

An image means looks like, the appearance of, the physical aspect that can be seen.

Genesis 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

Deuteronomy 4:16  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,

And Christ is that of God, He is the body of the Godhead.

Hebrews 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

2Corinthians 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2Corinthians 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Colossians 1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Exodus 32:21-29 comments: a reckoning

    32:21 ¶  And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? 22  And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. 23  For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 24  And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. 25  And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) 26  Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 27  And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. 28  And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. 29  For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.

Aaron acts like Adam did when confronted by God. He blames others.

Genesis 3:12  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Aaron’s lie is so outrageous, then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf, you wonder why he was not struck dead at that moment. But, apparently, as David was not terminated for his murder of Uriah by proxy, if God has a plan for someone to carry out they will be allowed to live even if they have to drag the consequences of their sin along with them like a piece of heavy concrete on a chain.
Verse 25 shows us that the people are naked. Naked is a word we have that means not having any clothing on.

1Samuel 19:24  And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?

Job 1:21  And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

So, it is interesting how many preachers insist that in the following verse it is not possible that Peter was working naked around a bunch of other fishermen.

John 21:7  Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

Conservative Christians tend to read back 20th century sensibilities into history. However, as has been said before, in this case in Exodus there is another implication that is disturbing but in keeping with ancient religion, revealed in verse 6 of this chapter.

In verse 26 Moses divides those who would remain faithful to the God who created them and led them out of Egypt from those who would continue in the heathen practices of ancient religion. Three thousand paid with their lives for the pagan, carnal practices they enjoyed while Moses was away.

If you read 27, 28, & 29 in context it appears that Moses made his call to the tribe from which the priests, the Levites who were to ensure the worship of God, came and this call was made regardless of familial relationship. Father went against son, and brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor and friend against friend. This may have, based on this context, been a way to cleanse the priesthood of idolaters. It also indicates that perhaps not all of the children of Israel participated in the pagan worship and the leadership was held accountable.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Exodus 32:7-14 comments: repent and turn

32:7 ¶  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8  They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 9  And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 10  Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. 11  And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12  Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13  Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14  And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

God tells Moses to stand back while He destroys the Hebrews for their idolatry. This gives Moses the chance to argue that to do such a thing would go against God’s glory. It would not glorify Him in the sight of the Egyptians. It would even appear that this destruction was the very reason He led them out of Egypt and would justify the Egyptians rather than Himself. After all, no one would think what the Hebrews were doing was amiss, now would they, in the religious conditions of that world?

In verse 12 there is the definition of repent used here. It is to turn from something. This, then, in context is the definition of repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people in verse 14. He turned from this. This is in keeping with a doctrine found in the Bible that God does not repent as in ‘change His mind.’ As God’s foreknowledge covers every event as if it has already happened we must look to the context for understanding. In the next two verses repent is linked with lie, the point being that God can be trusted for the promises He made, and will not turn from them.

Numbers 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

1Samuel 15:29  And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

Here are other verses where repent means to turn from something as in the passage studied, to stop doing it or not do it, by comparing the contrast in the verse in which the words repent and turn are used.

Jeremiah 4:28  For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

Jeremiah 18:8  If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

Jeremiah 26:3  If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.

Ezekiel 14:6  Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

Ezekiel 18:30  Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

Jonah 3:9  Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

Acts 26:20  But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Sometimes, someone’s behavior can compel you to turn from what you are permitting or doing. For instance, a child you have given a privilege to disobeys in a way that compels you to punish them or to revoke the privilege. In that case their behavior repenteth you. And, in Genesis 6:6,7 that behavior that compelled Him in something He already knew was going to happen grieved Him.

Clearly then, to repent of your sins is to turn from them. For the Christian repentance also suggests being sorry for your sins and for who you are, a sinner. As Paul noted;

2Corinthians 7:9  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

It has been said that when Jesus preached the following verses He was stating first that those who realized they were spiritually bankrupt and mourned for sin were blessed, as are those who humble themselves before God and hunger for His righteousness, as are those who extend God’s mercy to others, keep themselves from sin as best as they can with the right attitude, preach God’s peace with mankind, and are persecuted for it;

Matthew 5:3 ¶  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

It is doubtful many modern Christians literally mourn for their sin against God and others. Repentance is not a casual thing or just a change of mind.

But, in this context repent is simply to turn from what was stated to be done.

In verse 13 the promise that God made to the patriarchs is restated. An immense number of physical descendants is to come through the Hebrews, a physical promise for physical descendants that has not yet been completely fulfilled.

Genesis 24:60  And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.