The Book of Exodus continues the history begun in Genesis. As
Yahweh Elohim had blessed Adam and Eve and commanded them to be fruitful and
increase, so He had blessed Noah and his sons (Gen. 9:1), Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob and his sons. As Genesis ends with the family of Jacob in
The seed of the Woman had been traced by the author through
Seth, Noah, Shem, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, concluding with the twelve
sons of Jacob, now designated by the author of Exodus as “the sons of
This nation was about to be taken out of a nation. The birth
pangs within the womb of
The death of Joseph and his brothers and all that generation (Ex.
1:6) signified the end of the patriarchal eon and the beginning of the Mosaic
Eon. A nation (
The Book of Exodus is thus the story of Moses and the exodus
of the sons of
Thus, the second book of the Torah presents an exodus out of
Egyptian bondage and an entrance into covenantal freedom. The arrival of Moses
marks the opening of a new eon in the history of the promised seed. Similarly,
the arrival of John the Baptist and Jesus would mark the opening of a new eon
which would complete the history of the promised seed. The Sinatic Covenant
breaths covenantal life into
The first man, Adam, was warned by Yahweh Elohim, “you are not to be eating from it, for in the day you eat from it, to die shall you be dying” (Gen. 2:17b CV). That is, the law of mortality, death, lying dormant within man became activated upon the eating of the forbidden fruit and initiated the process of death within man which would terminate in his return to the soil: “soil you are, and to soil are you returning” (Gen. 3:19 CV). This is, scripturally, the first death, “the common death of all humanity” (Num. CV).
The crucifixion death of Jesus represented the death of the
Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. Thus, it became necessary to be identified, baptized
into the death of Christ and share in His sufferings in order to escape being
harmed by the Second Death, the termination of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. With
the ministry of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, the old Sinatic/Mosaic
Covenant could only administer covenantal death. It no longer possessed the
authority to administer covenantal life. As the writer of Hebrews declares
concerning the old Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, “In
saying ‘new,’ he has made the former old. Now that which is growing old and
decrepit is near its disappearance” (Heb. CV). This period of decrepitness lasted about 40
years, from the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus to the destruction of
John the Baptist understood the condition of the
Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. It was old and about to become without power to impart
covenantal life. Its impending death assured him of the impending indignation. However,
before the death and resurrection of Jesus, this old covenant was rejuvenated
by Yahweh to restore
Thus, the sending and arrival of Moses is a shadow, a type of
the sending and arrival of Jesus, the substance, the antitype. The story of
Moses and the history of
After the death of Joseph and his brothers and all that
generation, the author of the Book of Exodus informs the reader that “a new king rose over
When Pharaoh’s daughter rescues the infant in the papyrus ark,
he is “lamenting” (Ex. 2:6 CV). This
lamentation becomes representative of the lamentation of his people. Moses
typifies the nation in the womb of Egyptian bondage. He becomes the archetype. Moses
is likened to Adam. Elohim had created Adam male and female. Adam was mankind. Elohim
created Eve out of Adam and presented her to Adam as his complement. Metaphorically,
The responsibility of Moses for his people is foreshadowed in the narration concerning his mediation on behalf of a fellow-Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian. Moses rescues the Hebrew by accidentally killing the Egyptian. But when he attempts mediation between two disputing Hebrews, he is rejected, “Who appointed you as foreman and judge over us? Are you meaning to kill me just as you killed the Egyptian?” (Ex. 2:14 CV). Already the author reveals the capricious character of the people. They will continue to question the authority of Moses given to him by Yahweh. At the slightest sign of trouble, the people turn against Moses and Yahweh, accusing Moses of attempting to kill them in the wilderness (Ex. 17:1-3). In spite of this rejection, Yahweh has chosen Moses to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage.
As a result of his mediation on behalf of his people, Moses is
forced to flee
Thus, salvation must always be understood within the context of election. Yahweh would save His people from their enemies. This is always in the context of the promises and the covenants. It is not the context of the ultimate destiny of each member of the human race.
Salvation concerns Yahweh’s deliverance of His people from the
attempts of their enemies to destroy them. When Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8 in 2
Corinthians 6:2b (CV) and declares, “Lo!
Now is a most acceptable era! Now is a day of salvation!” he is speaking
concerning the salvation of
For the next 40 years, Moses becomes a shepherd in the
The moaning and groaning of the people indicate the closeness
of delivery time.
This dual metaphor, Jacob/Israel in the womb of
Paul alludes to this dual metaphor based on Moses, the
Egyptian bondage, and the exodus out of
At the revelation of the sons of God in glory, these hard and
blind sons of
Paul declares this a warning to all those in Christ: “Now all this befalls them typically. Yet it was written for our admonition, to whom the consummations of the eons have attained” (1 Cor. 10:11 CV). Their salvation and expectation was to be experienced within the span of that current era, that current generation, the 40 years of their exodus out of the old Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, into the full glory of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant. This would entail entrance into the promised Celestial Jerusalem under the leadership of Christ at the consummation of His Parousia, as He had promised in John 14:2b-3, “for I am going to make ready a place for you. . . . I am coming again and I will be taking you along to myself, that where I am, you also may be.” Where has Christ been for the last 2,000 years? In the Celestial Realm! So has been His Church! The 40 years of exodus under the leadership of Jesus the Christ consisted of the faithful ones in Christ who were sharing in the sufferings of Christ during that current era of the proclamation of the Gospel by the Apostles. Paul concludes Romans 8:18-25 as follows: “Now, if we are expecting what we are not observing, we are awaiting it with endurance” (Rom. 8:25 CV). Did they wait in vain? Not according to Paul. And not according to the writer of Hebrews,
You should not, then, be casting away your boldness, which is having a great reward, for you have need of endurance that, doing the will of God, you should be requited with the promise. For still how very little, He Who is coming will be arriving and not delaying. (Hebrews 10:35-37 CV)
Disobedience and faithlessness on the part of the majority of this favored generation is to bring judgment on the faithless majority. But a minority of that generation remains faithful to the end, gaining entrance into and possession of the holy land. It would take a period of 40 years to complete the judgment and entrance into the land. But at the end of these 40 years, the faithful minority of the first generation and the faithful second generation enter into the land under the leadership of Joshua.
Moses is to be completely identified with the first generation
(Num. 11:11-12). He, like Adam in relation to Eve, shares in the death brought
about by the first generation. But unlike Adam, Moses intercedes on behalf of
the nation and gains a reprieve for the second generation coming out of
Moses is thus sent by Yahweh Elohim to lead His people out of
Yahweh commands Moses, “Now
go, I am sending you to Pharaoh. Bring forth My People, the sons of
Behold! When I am coming to the sons of
Yahweh responds, “I
shall come to be just as I am coming to be. . . . I-Shall-Come-to-Be has sent
me to you” (Ex. CV).
He continues, instructing Moses to tell the sons of
However, the name Yahweh
is to be associated with His covenant relationship to
Moses is finally assured concretely of the success of his
mission when Yahweh declares the people will believe, the king will be
hardened, Egypt will undergo powerful plagues, the sons of Israel will be
delivered, and the Egyptians will be despoiled (Ex. 3:18-22). Yahweh then
affirms that Moses will be an elohim to Pharaoh, and Aaron shall be Moses’
prophet (Ex. 7:1). Moses is equipped with a common shepherd’s rod. The golden
scepter of Pharaoh will not be able to match the wooden scepter of Yahweh
wielded by Moses. Pharaoh’s scepter will struggle against Yahweh’s scepter, but
in the end, Yahweh’s rod will put to shame the meager twig of Pharaoh’s
authority and power. The mere casting of Yahweh’s looming shadow will shrivel
the puny kingship of Pharaoh. Moses obeys Yahweh; he goes to
As Yahweh had declared, “Hence
the people believed; when they heard that Yahweh notices the sons of Israel and
that He sees their humiliation, then they bowed their heads and bowed
themselves down” (Ex. 4:31 CV). When Moses and Aaron stand in the presence
of Pharaoh and demand the release of the sons of
Pharaoh continues to harden his heart. He refuses to dismiss
When Pharaoh saw that there came to be an interval, he caused his heart to glory [Heb., make heavy, make weighty; to boast; kabed], and he hearkened not to them, . . . Yet Pharaoh gloried [boasted: kabed] in his heart, . . . he did not dismiss the people. (Exodus 8:15, 32 CV)
I Myself shall harden [qashah] the heart of Pharaoh . . . (Exodus 7:3 CV)
Yet Yahweh made the heart of Pharaoh steadfast [chazaq], so that he did not hearken to them . . . (Exodus 9:12 CV)
Yahweh said to Moses: Enter to Pharaoh, for I have made his heart glory [kabed] . . . (Exodus 10:1 CV)
Three Hebrew words referring to this hardening are used throughout this account:
Kabed (glory, glorying)
Qashah (hardened, hardening)
In Exodus 8:15, 32; 10:1 the Hebrew word kabed is used. This word means to be heavy, to make weighty, to boast, to glory. In 8:15 and 32, Pharaoh caused his heart to glory, thus refusing to dismiss the people. In 10:1, Yahweh claims to have “made his heart glory,” that is, make confident Pharaoh’s heart. In Exodus 7:3 the Hebrew word qashah is used. It means to be dense. Yahweh assures Moses that He will densen, harden Pharaoh’s heart. This is the only time the word qashah, to be dense, to harden, is used by the author in this account. Pharaoh gloried in his heart and Yahweh densened, hardened that glory, that boasting, that insolence. In Exodus 9:12 the Hebrew word chazaq is used. It means to fasten upon, to seize, to strengthen, thus to make steadfast. Yahweh made the heart of Pharaoh “steadfast.”
Pharaoh caused his heart to glory, to boast when he saw “there came to be an interval” (Ex. ). Thus, when Moses causes the
plague of frogs to cease, Pharaoh makes a choice. Instead of humbling himself
before the Elohim of the sons of
Thus, the account of the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh,
using these three words, runs as follows. In chapter 7, verse 3, of Exodus Yahweh
assures Moses, “I Myself shall harden
[qashah, first and only time used in
this account] the heart of Pharaoh and
increase My signs and My miracles in the
In 9:34, the author reports, “Now Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail and the thundering sounds had
halted, yet he continued to sin and made his heart glory [kabed], he and his servants” (CV). Again, because the plague ceases,
Pharaoh is encouraged in his heart to defy the command of this Hebrew elohim,
god. Consequently, in the following verse, the author explains, “So the heart of Pharaoh was steadfast [chazaq], and he did not dismiss the sons of Israel, just as Yahweh had spoken
by means of Moses” (CV). Pharaoh made his heart glory (kabed) due to the cessation of the plague. Thus, Yahweh’s halting
of the plagues, instead of continuing them to the complete destruction of
But Yahweh does not initiate Pharaoh’s glorying (kabed). Pharaoh initiates this for himself. Yahweh merely encourages, bolsters (kabed), then hardens, densifies, solidifies (chazaq, strengthen, make steadfast) this glorying by providing the very signs Pharaoh would interpret as being favorable to his remaining steadfast in his resistance to this elohim.
Only in Exodus 10:1-2 does the author use the word kabed, glory, as being caused by Yahweh: “Enter to Pharaoh, for I have made his heart glory [kabed] and the hearts of his servants that I may set these My signs among them, and that you may relate in the ears of your son, and your son’s son, that which I set in action in Egypt, and My signs which I placed among them, that you will know that I am Yahweh” (CV). This text declares that Yahweh made Pharaoh’s heart glory. This is true. But only after Pharaoh had initiated this glorying for himself. Yahweh merely continues to encourage Pharaoh in his glorying by appropriately fueling the fire of his own initiated glorying, thereby making Pharaoh’s heart continue in its own initiated glorying.
What is Yahweh’s purpose in bolstering, supporting, encouraging Pharaoh’s heart, in making his heart glory, in making him steadfast in his resistance? In Exodus 7:3-5, the reader is informed,
And I Myself shall harden [kabed, bolster, support, encourage] the heart of Pharaoh and
increase My signs and My miracles in the
Yahweh had intended to increase His “signs” and His “miracles”
The plagues are signs indicating that Pharaoh and his sacred
scribes are incapable of maintaining this harmony in the presence of the
activity of the Elohim of the Hebrews. The sacred scribes have recourse to
magic, the art of producing effects with the assistance of supernatural beings
or by a mastery of secret forces in nature. This is a secret art performed only
by those initiated into the secrets of the occult power: sorcery, necromancy,
conjuration, enchantment. The Law of Moses, established at
The religious beliefs and practices of the nations came about
as a result of their abandonment of the true and living Elohim responsible for
the creation of the heavens and the earth. Now, the true and living Elohim is
once again revealing Himself as Yahweh (I-Shall-Come-to-Be-Just-As-I-Am-Coming-to-Be)
the Elohim of the sons of
The work of Moses and Aaron is not the result of recourse to
magic. They have not been initiated into the secret occult arts. Their work
overpowers and nullifies the work of the Egyptian sacred scribes. Thus, not
only does their work consist of “signs,”
but also “miracles.” These miracles
are the work of Yahweh Elohim demonstrating His power over the forces of nature.
This power is not the result of the skill of Moses and Aaron in the various
arts of occult manipulation. The work of Moses and Aaron is qualitatively
different from the work of the sacred scribes. The elohim of the Egyptians are
clearly demonstrated to be helpless in the presence of the true and living
Elohim Who acts in the course of historical events on behalf of His people. Here
is the only Elohim Who can hear, see, smell, taste, touch, walk, and talk in
the midst of His people and in the midst of the
Thus, Yahweh purposed to bring forth His people from the
The “signs” and “miracles” became a wake-up call to both
Egyptians and the sons of
For at this time I am sending all My strokes onto your heart and your servants and your people in order that you shall know that there is no one such as Me in the entire earth. For by now I could have put forth My hand and smitten you and your people with the plague so that you were suppressed from the land. Howbeit, for this sake I keep you standing, in order to make you see My vigor, and that My name may be related in the entire earth. (CV)
The Egyptians need to become aware of the fact that there is
no other god such as Yahweh Elohim. These strokes are judgments against their
error, their ignorance. However, they are not meant to destroy
In addition, these signs and miracles will once again
reintroduce Yahweh’s name (I-Shall-Come-to-Be-Just-As-I-Am-Coming-to-Be:
uncapricious, steadfastly righteous, unmanipulable) throughout the earth. At
The final reference to Yahweh’s purpose in bolstering
Pharaoh’s heart is found in Exodus 10:1‑2:“Yahweh said to Moses: Enter to Pharaoh, for I have made his heart glory
and the hearts of his servants that I may set these My signs among them, and
that you may relate in the ears of your son, and your son’s son, that which I
set in action in Egypt, and My signs which I placed among them, that you will
know that I am Yahweh” (CV). Pharaoh had caused his heart to glory (to be
lifted up and bolstered in its exaltation). Yahweh confirmed his glorying,
providing the necessary encouragement. This allowed Yahweh to set and increase
His signs among the Egyptians. Moses is here informed that these signs would be
passed down from generation to generation of the sons of
And I, behold Me making the heart of the Egyptians steadfast that they may enter after them; for I shall be glorified over Pharaoh and over his army, over his chariots and over his horsemen. Then the Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I am glorified over Pharaoh, over his chariots and over his horsemen. (CV)
The sons of
However, on the basis of the foregoing conclusion, the theme of Pharaoh’s bolstering must now be analyzed from the point of view of the theme of election. The bolstering of Pharaoh’s heart is not meant to convey the personal destiny of Pharaoh for eternity. The text is not concerned with Pharaoh’s personal salvation or damnation. Pharaoh’s hardening is to be understood in the context of Yahweh’s elective purpose. Neither Pharaoh nor his people are chosen ones. The elect of Yahweh are those related to the promised seed of Abraham. To apply the salvation of Yahweh’s elect ones to the human race as a whole is to ignore the limited context of election. The elect seed is chosen by Yahweh to be an instrument by which Yahweh is to bless the nations and channel justification of life (Rom. ), immortality (1 Tim. ) into the human race. To be a member of the elect seed of promise does not guarantee salvation, nor does being a member of the non-elect guarantee destruction. Salvation and destruction apply only to the elect seed. It is impossible for a non-elect person to partake of either covenantal salvation or covenantal destruction.
This election of
Not only was Isaac Abraham’s elect seed, he, in addition, walked faithfully to the end in the faithful footsteps of Abraham his biological and covenantal father. Isaac, thus, is accounted by Yahweh as a qualified child of Abraham. The unfaithful biologically-elect children are disqualified, and, thus, not accounted by Yahweh as children of the Promise.
Isaac, however, had two sons (twins) by Rebecca. But before either was born and before either could put into practice anything good or bad, Yahweh chose Jacob as the promised seed while rejecting Esau. Why? “that the purpose of God may be remaining as a choice, not out of acts, but of Him Who is calling, . . .” (Rom. 9:11 CV). Esau is rejected not because of anything he did, or did not do, or will. He was not rejected because he was evil or inferior in some way. On the other hand, Jacob was chosen, favored, loved not because of anything he did or did not do or will. He was not chosen because he was good or superior to Esau.
Yahweh’s elective purpose is based solely on His choice. Though Esau is excluded from Yahweh’s elect promise, he is not destroyed or cursed. In fact, he is blessed by Yahweh with great wealth:
And taking is Esau his wives and his sons and his daughters and all the souls of his household, and all his cattle and all his beasts and all his acquisitions, and all that he got in the land of Canaan, and going is he from the land of Canaan, from the face of Jacob, his brother, for their possession had become too great for them to dwell together, and the land of their sojourning could not sustain them, in view of the multitude of their cattle. (Genesis 36:6-7 CV modified)
Esau removes himself from
Paul then quotes in Romans 9:13 the prophet Malachi, “Jacob I love, yet Esau I hate” (cf. Mal. 1:2-3). This is referring to the elective purpose of Yahweh. Jacob is favored by Yahweh, yet Esau is unfavored. This is Yahweh’s sovereign choice. Paul then anticipates an objection, “What, then, shall we be declaring? Not that there is injustice with God? May it not be coming to that!” (Rom. CV). Is Yahweh unjust? Does He not reward the good and punish the evil? How can He love Jacob yet hate Esau even before either is born or either performs good or evil? Paul’s answer can only be understood against the background of the theme of election. The issue here is not the eternal destiny of each individual human being. The issue is the choice of Yahweh in determining who should be used as the instruments implementing His purposes.
Paul firmly declares that Yahweh is just. He confirms this by quoting Yahweh’s words to Moses after the nation had broken the covenant by worshiping the golden calf. Moses had intervened on behalf of the nation. Yahweh had accepted this intervention. He would not destroy the nation, though the nation warranted such destruction from the point of view of the covenantal stipulations. Yahweh declares, “I shall be merciful to whomever I may be merciful, and I shall be pitying whomever I may be pitying” (Rom. 9:15 CV). In this situation, He chose to be merciful to the nation as a collective whole, but He chose to destroy in the wilderness over a period of 40 years the first generation of those 20 and above. The only exceptions were Joshua and Caleb.
Even Moses, who found grace in Yahweh’s eyes, was not shown mercy in his request to be allowed entrance into the Promised Land. Moses was to die in the wilderness outside the Promised Land along with the first generation destroyed during the 40-year wandering. Yahweh identified Moses with that first generation. He was held responsible for the behavior of the nation. He and the nation were one. He, like Adam, ate the forbidden fruit that the first generation had partaken of earlier. His mediation saved, delivered the nation from immediate destruction, but was unable to save the first generation. Thus, he, like Adam, though not deceived, out of love for that generation also tasted the bitterness of the forbidden fruit which that generation had already digested (cf. Deut. 32:48-51; Ps. 106:32-33; Num. 20:10-12; Deut. 4:21; 1:37).
The first generation was not shown mercy. They died in the wilderness. Moses was not shown mercy. He died in the wilderness. The first generation forfeited the promise of the land. Moses, having been identified with the people of Yahweh, was denied entrance into the Promised Land.
But Moses was shown mercy after his death outside the land when his body was resurrected, and he was allowed entrance into the Celestial Realm (Jude vs. 9-10). Later, in the first century, he, along with Elijah, enters the Promised Land (the terrestrial realm) to confer with Jesus concerning His impending exodus (Lk. 9:30-31 CV). Moses had been denied an allotment in the Promised Land, but he was shown mercy in relation to the hope of the Celestial Allotment (Heb. 11:39-40). He was accounted by Yahweh a child of the Celestial Promise. He was accounted a member of the faithful seed of Abraham. He was accounted faithful. He was accounted as one walking in the faithfulness of Abraham. Therefore, though he, like many others, was called to participate in Yahweh’s election, he lost the terrestrial promise. He was a member of the elect according to Yahweh’s calling. But election does not guarantee participation in the promise; it does not guarantee salvation. Reception of the promised allotment comes by faithfulness to the end. Salvation from the Mosaic Covenant and to the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant is achieved by faithfulness to the end. However, if not called into the election, there is no possibility of participating in the promised allotment, the salvation provided by Yahweh. Such is the case of Ishmael and Esau. Neither one is called by Yahweh. Therefore, neither one could be faithful or unfaithful. Neither one could participate in salvation and neither one could be cut off from salvation. Neither one is called into the election of Yahweh.
Paul therefore concludes, “Consequently,
then, it is not of him who is willing, nor of him who is racing, but of God,
the Merciful” (Rom. 9:16 CV). He next illustrates this principle by
pointing to Pharaoh during the time of the exodus out of
Paul uses the Greek word egeiro,
meaning to awake from sleep or drowsiness. The writer of Exodus explains this
by informing the reader that “a new king
Again, Paul draws a conclusion, “Consequently, then, to whom He will, He is merciful, yet whom He will,
he is hardening” (Rom. 9:18 CV). Yahweh is not unjust. He is the Creator
and is working out His purpose which has as its goal the welfare of His entire
creation. What man has the wisdom and understanding to be qualified to question
God?! “That which is molded, will not
protest to the molder, ‘Why do you make me thus?’ Or has not the potter the
right over the clay, out of the same kneading to make one vessel, indeed, for
honor, yet one for dishonor?” (
To understand Paul’s argument, one needs to properly grasp the implication of his reference to “the same kneading” (Rom. 9:21). This reference alludes to the theme expounded in Romans, chapter 5:12-21. In this chapter, Paul treats the subject of the common death of all humanity and its relation to the sin of the one man Adam.
Therefore, even as through one man the sin entered into the world, and through this sin the death, and thus this death passed through into all mankind, upon which all sinned . . . (Romans 5:12 my translation)
Paul draws his understanding of “the death” from Moses,
Should these die the common death of all humanity and should the visitation of all humanity be visited on them, then Yahweh has not sent me. (Numbers 16:29 CV)
Moses is referring to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. These men had challenged the authority of Moses and Yahweh. Moses declares that if they die the death common to all men, Yahweh had not sent him. This death is the death brought into the world of humanity by Adam. The three men who have spurned Yahweh are destroyed, being swallowed up alive by the ground upon which they stood. Thus, their death is not the death common to all humanity. Through Adam’s sin, the death common to all humanity comes into the world. The Law of Death is thus genetically passed on to all those generated by Adam through Eve. From that point in time, every individual born is born to die the common death. It is upon this death principle, activated in each person from birth, that all men sinned, that is, missed the mark of life. All are condemned to die, not because of any sin each may commit, but because of that law of death, operating within each person, which has been activated in the very process of birth. The race is thus contaminated with death.
This is the meaning of Paul’s phrase “the same kneading” (Rom. 9:21). All humanity, the race, is viewed as one contaminated lump of clay. Since the whole lump or kneading of clay is contaminated, marred by death, Yahweh is not unjust in making one vessel to honor and another to dishonor. For all vessels formed from this lump of clay are marred, contaminated. The molding of some vessels for honor and some for dishonor is designed by Yahweh to bring about the purification of the whole lump, the whole kneading, the whole race.
The purification demands the removal of the contamination—death. It also demands the addition of a new and superior life—immortal life. This is precisely what Paul had already declared to have been accomplished by Christ: “So then as through one deviation into all men into condemnation, so also through one righteous alignment into all men into justification of life” (Rom. 5:18 my translation).
These two verdicts are the verdicts of God in relation to the acts of two individual men, Adam and Christ. The verdict in relation to Adam’s act activated death affecting all men. The verdict in relation to Christ’s act activated life affecting all men. The verdict of death and life is independent of the choice or act of any individual other than these two men—Adam and Christ.
Thus, Paul understood God’s verdict in relation to each of these two men to be one of HIS elective choice. He chose to condemn all men to death through the one deviation of Adam, even as He chose to justify all men into life through the one righteous alignment of Christ (Jesus, crucified, had aligned His will with the will of the Father, see Jn. 10:17-18). These two verdicts were elective. God elected all men, apart from each one’s willing or racing (Rom. 9:16 CV), to be affected by the verdict handed down in each of the two cases.
However, the LIFE activated by Christ on behalf of all men is immortal life. Through Christ’s righteous alignment with His Father’s will, mankind, including every individual member of the race, is in the process of transcending the first humanity represented by Adam, the soulish man, by becoming after death (the common death of all humanity) a member of the second (deuteros), new humanity represented by Christ, the spiritual man (see 1 Cor. 15:45-49 CV). Paul continues his argument in defense of God’s justness by stating,
Now if God, wanting to display His indignation and to make His powerful doings known, carried, with much patience, the vessels of indignation, adapted for destruction, it is that He should also be making known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He makes ready before for glory—us, whom He calls also, not only out of the Jews, but out of the nations also. (Romans 9:22-24 CV)
On the basis of this passage, many have concluded that God predestined the vessels of indignation to destruction and predestined the vessels of mercy to glory. This conclusion is based on translating the word “adapted” in the passive voice. However, this need not be the case. The passive and middle voice form of the word katartismena (adapted or having been prepared) is the same. If translated in the middle voice, perfect tense, this participle (a verb form used as an adjective) would be translated having adapted or prepared themselves. God, then, would not be the one having adapted or prepared these vessels for destruction.
The middle voice indicates that the vessels were the ones having adapted or prepared themselves. The action of the participle is not achieved by God but by the vessels themselves. The vessels of indignation have prepared or adapted themselves for destruction on the basis of their rejection of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant and continued reliance on the old covenant, which no longer could provide covenantal life. The old covenant was in the process of destruction. Those who continued to put their trust in that covenant (unbelieving Jews) had adapted or prepared themselves for destruction. They had made a choice for themselves, and that choice identified them with the old covenant. The destruction of the old covenant meant their own destruction, that is, covenantal death, loss of the Celestial Promise given to Abraham and those accounted as his children.
In verse 22, the infinitive “to display” is another example of a verbal having the same form for the passive and middle voice. However, in this case, the translators have identified the verb form as being in the middle voice. They understand the infinitive to be modifying the noun God and that God acted on His own behalf. Thus, God, wanting to display on His own behalf, wanting to display His indignation for His own glory, “carried” or endured with much patience or longsuffering these vessels of indignation.
But the time had now arrived for the manifestation of His
judgment on these vessels. The vessels referred to are the unfaithful children
of Abraham, his children according to the flesh, who had been opposing God from
the beginning of the Mosaic Eon. Yahweh Elohim had not destroyed the nation,
had not annulled the covenant, due to the intercession of Moses. Even after the
Babylonian captivity, Yahweh had restored the
Why had Yahweh “carried” or endured with much patience or longsuffering these vessels of indignation? In order “that He should also be making known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, . . .” (Rom. 9:23a CV). Who are these vessels of mercy? “us, whom He calls also, not only out of the Jews, but out of the nations also” (Rom. 9:24 CV). Yahweh endured with much longsuffering the vessels of indignation in order to maintain the existence of the nation in His faithfulness to the intercession of Moses. This nation had been identified with Yahweh and His glory. The nation needed to survive in order for Yahweh to fulfill all the promises He made in the Law and the Prophets. These promises would be received and manifested by a holy nation, a kingdom of priests reflecting Yahweh’s glory (Ex. 19:5-6).
Such a nation was being called out, formed, built, generated, created by Yahweh through Jesus the Christ and His Apostles. It consisted of all those at that time being called by Yahweh through the Gospel of Christ. But it necessitated faithfulness to the end. Thus, the vessels of indignation had adapted themselves to destruction by their own choice. However, the vessels of mercy, having been mercifully called by Yahweh to glory, were in the process of adapting themselves, through the resurrection power of the spirit of God and Christ, to this glory. It was their own choice or decision to faithfully follow and serve Christ to the end of the age according to the stipulations of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant. The end of the Mosaic Eon was near. It was promised to occur in the lifetime of that generation. This promise did not fail fulfillment.
Yahweh’s elective purpose required both calling and faithfulness.
If one was not called, one had no opportunity of being faithful. Many were
called, few chosen. The chosen few are those among the called who remain
faithful to the end. The holy writings never declare all are called. There is a distinction between the “many” and the “all” (Rom. 5:12-19). This
distinction is based on Yahweh Elohim’s elective purpose for the seed of the Woman, the seed of Abraham,
the seed of Isaac, the seed of Jacob, the nation
Returning to the text of Exodus, Pharaoh’s hardened (glorified,
exalted) and steadfast heart continues to resist Yahweh’s command through nine
mighty plagues. However, after the tenth and final plague, the death of the firstborn
males, Pharaoh completely capitulates: “Hence
Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron by night and said: Rise! Go forth from
the midst of my people, you indeed and the sons of
The death of the firstborn ones in
The instruction concerning the Passover feast is given to
Moses by Yahweh.
The Mosaic Covenant appointed the tribe of Levi and the house of Aaron in the place of the firstborn ones. The firstborn ones are set aside at this time to await the establishment of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant by Jesus the Christ. Under this New Covenant, the firstborn ones would be set apart for Yahweh. They would make up the Israel of Yahweh, the ecclesia Jesus came to build. They would share in the blessings of Jesus the Christ as firstborn ones, becoming metaphorical members of His Body, and thus being designated “the ecclesia of the firstborn ones” (Heb. 12:23 CV). Christ calls all the faithful ones to share in His firstborn privileges and responsibilities. This is why they needed to be washed in His blood, the blood of Jesus as their Passover lamb, separating them to Yahweh’s service. They became the holy ones under the jurisdiction of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, the ecclesia of the firstborn ones: “For our Passover also, Christ, was sacrificed for our sakes so that we may be keeping the festival, not with old leaven, nor yet with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but with unleavened sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7b-8 CV).
The judgment against the firstborn males in
This Passover ceremony is the first statute given to
The Passover death of the firstborn males in
Wherefore say to the sons of
Yahweh is acting as Kinsman Redeemer to the promised seed of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He bought back the freedom of the sons of
Redemption is by means of a Kinsman Redeemer. In this case,
Yahweh is the Kinsman Redeemer, and the redemption is related to the death of
the firstborn males and the blood of the Passover lamb. The only negotiable
price acceptable to Pharaoh and the gods of the Egyptians is the death of the
firstborn males. Yahweh pays this price. Pharaoh and the Egyptian elohim
release the sons of
However, the blood of the Passover lamb is a sign shielding
the firstborn males of the sons of
This redemption price is paid to Yahweh, Elohim of the Mosaic Covenant. All those sons of Israel identified with the death of Jesus the Christ are redeemed, released, reclaimed from the service of the Mosaic Covenant in order to serve Yahweh, Elohim of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant established and mediated by Jesus the Christ, even as Yahweh had redeemed, released, reclaimed the sons of Israel from the service of Pharaoh and the Egyptian gods in order for them to serve Him under the Mosaic Covenant.
These sons of
However, since these faithful ones are still in the realm or
world of the existing, though decrepit with old age, Mosaic Covenant (now the
enemy, like Pharaoh and the Egyptian gods), they need the cleansing, protective
power of the blood of their Passover lamb, Christ Jesus, in order to cleanse
them from their sins. This would only be necessary until the death, the
termination of the Mosaic Covenant, the end of the Mosaic Age. For though these
faithful sons of
Thus, these firstborn ones do not need to be ransomed. For they are chosen to serve Yahweh under the reign of Jesus Christ, son of David. No longer would the tribe of Levi and the house of Aaron be sanctified to serve Yahweh. Their service had been annulled, terminated by the establishment of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant.
The faithful firstborn ones identified with Christ’s death and resurrection are counted as holy and sanctioned to serve Yahweh according to the stipulations of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant. This meant they were to discharge the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. This they would do until the end of the Mosaic Eon, which would occur in their own generation. During that period, they would complete their mission, their service, at which time they would enter their Celestial hope. Their salvation will have been completed.
Having established that Yahweh first redeemed the sons of
Yahweh’s salvation is to be distinguished from His redemption.
Redemption buys back
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
For He visits and makes a redemption for His people,
And rouses a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David, . . .
Salvation from our enemies . . . (Luke 1:68-71a CV my emphasis).
Note, redemption is provided first for
On the whole, salvation, as used in the Hebrew and Greek
Scriptures, is associated with the elect purpose of Yahweh for
The Israel of Yahweh experienced the salvation of Yahweh
during the course of her faithful walk in obedience to the command of Yahweh
stipulated in the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant. This course took place during
the 40 years of trial beginning with the ministry of John the Baptist and the
ministry of Jesus, culminating in the destruction of
The New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant people of Yahweh had not feared the army of the enemy. This people stood firm and beheld the salvation of Yahweh. During the 40 years of trial, the power of the enemy of Yahweh’s people was in the process of being disabled. The faithful ones, having been redeemed, were participating in Yahweh’s salvation by faithfully walking in the overwhelming power of Yahweh in Christ. The enemy at every turn was being disabled by the work of Yahweh’s spirit on behalf of Yahweh’s people.
Thus, the Church (Ecclesia) of Christ, His Body, His Bride, stood still in faithfulness and beheld the salvation of Yahweh empowering her to carry out His service to His glory and praise. The reward for such faithful service was entrance into the celestial city promised to Abraham and his faithful seed. This salvation and reward belonged only to the faithful elect, beginning with Abel and concluding with the faithful ones of the last generation of the first century, those experiencing the end of the Mosaic Eon, the end, termination, goal of the Mosaic Covenant.
This termination of the Mosaic Age and Covenant is substantiated by the description of the Passover as an eonian statute, “When I see the blood I will pass over you. . . . Hence this day will become for you a memorial day, and you will celebrate it as a celebration to Yahweh. Throughout your generations shall you celebrate it as an eonian statute” (Ex. 12:13b-14 CV). This is repeated in 12:17b, “And you will observe this day throughout your generations as an eonian statute” (CV). The Passover is understood to be an eonian statute, that is, a statute in effect only for the duration of the Mosaic Eon (age).
generations” indicates a limited number of generations, each one followed
by another until the last generation is reached. This last generation would be
alive to experience the end of the Mosaic Eon, the termination of the Mosaic
Covenant, which would mean the time of the fulfillment of the Law and the
The phrase “throughout your generations” is used many times in the Book of Exodus. That Aaron and his sons were to serve in the tabernacle is described as “an eonian statute throughout your generations . . .” (Ex. 27:21 CV). That they were to wash their hands and feet whenever they entered the tabernacle is said to be “an eonian statute, for him and his seed throughout their generations” (Ex. 30:21 CV). The holy oil used to anoint Aaron and his sons is to be effective “throughout your generations” (Ex. 30:31 CV).
The Sabbath is “a sign
between Me and you throughout your generations . . . an eonian covenant
throughout their generations, . . . a sign for the eon, . . .” (Ex. 31:12, 16-17
CV). The Sabbath is not an eternal
covenant. It is a temporal covenant limited to the Mosaic Age during which the
Mosaic Covenant is in effect. The Sabbath is given to
As a sign, the Sabbath is associated with the seven-day
creation of Genesis, chapter 1 (Ex. 31:15). That creation is described as “In a beginning Elohim created the heavens
and the earth” (Gen. 1:1 CV modified). The eonian covenant established at
That the creation of
When Moses ascended to the mountain, the cloud covered
the mountain, and the glory of Yahweh tabernacled over
The reference to “six
days” and “the seventh day”
indicates a new creation, a new eon in which Yahweh is to be only
Even the Aaronic priesthood is designated an eonian priesthood: “Then you will gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, . . . that the priesthood comes to be theirs for an eonian statute . . .” (Ex. 29:9 CV). Aaron and his sons were to be anointed to serve as priests: “their anointing is to bestow on them an eonian priesthood throughout their generations” (Ex. 40:15b CV). Thus, eonian priesthood is also associated with the phrase “throughout their generations.” This, again, is referring to the generations extending over the duration of the Mosaic Age. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews in the Greek Scriptures makes it clear that at the time of his writing, the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood was no longer effectual, beneficial (Heb. 7:11-19 CV). This would indicate at that time the nearness of the end of the Mosaic Eon and that the present generation of the writer is the last generation of the procession of the generations making up the “throughout their generations.”
Finally, the word eon is associated with the ministry of Moses. After the nation hears the voice of Yahweh speaking the Ten Words of the covenant and the instructions Yahweh gives to Moses, the people as a corporate man respond, “All that Yahweh speaks we shall do” (Ex. 19:8 CV). Upon receiving Moses’ report of the response of the people, Yahweh declares to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud in order that the people shall hear when I speak with you, and, moreover, in you shall they believe for the eon” (Ex. 19:9 CV). The people are identified with Moses. The nation is to believe in Moses.
The words of Moses have divine authority. When Moses speaks, the people hear the word of Yahweh. They are to obey the words of Moses. For the words of Moses are the words of Yahweh. Moses is given a divine ministry, and it is to last for the eon. If the nation desires covenantal life, it will have to obey, hear, believe the words of Moses. But before one can obey the words of Moses, one must believe in Moses the one appointed by Yahweh, sent by Yahweh, and the one authorized by Yahweh to speak His word. Thus, the Mosaic Covenant requires faith in Moses. Justification under the law is by faith. To believe in Moses is to keep his word, his instructions. For he received his word, his instructions, directly from Yahweh. For Yahweh spoke to Moses “face to face” (Ex. 33:11).
The writer of the Book of Hebrews alludes to this authority and identity of Moses when comparing and contrasting the ministry of Moses and the ministry of Jesus the Messiah.
Whence, holy brethren, partners of a celestial calling, consider the Apostle and Chief Priest of our advocation, Jesus, the One Who is faithful to Him [Yahweh] the One Who appointed Him [Jesus], as Moses also was appointed in His [Yahweh’s] whole house. (Hebrews 3:1-2 my translation)
The writer continues by stating that Jesus is worthy of more
glory than Moses since Moses was faithful in Yahweh’s whole house (
As the people belonging to Yahweh’s house during the Mosaic Eon had to believe in Moses, so also the people belonging to Yahweh’s contemporary house during the last years of the Mosaic Eon (the Ecclesia, the new Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh) had to believe in Jesus the Christ (Heb. 3:3-6). The author then identifies the current members of the house of Yahweh ruled over by Christ, the Son, “Whose house we are, that is, if we should be retaining the boldness and the glorying of the expectation confirmed unto the consummation” (Heb. 3:6b CV). The “we” refers to all the ones (Jew first, Gentiles also) then believing in Christ and attempting to remain faithful to Him to the end, the consummation of the Mosaic Eon and the Mosaic Covenant.
Jesus declares, “For
this is the will of My Father, that everyone who is beholding the Son and
believing into Him may have life eonian, and I shall be raising it [His
Body, the Church, the Israel of Yahweh]
in the last day” (Jn. 6:40 CV modified). The Apostle John again quotes
Jesus as declaring, “Believe in God and
believe in Me” (Jn. 14:1 CV). Jesus also compares Himself with Moses, “For if you believed Moses, you would
believe Me, for he writes concerning Me. Now if you are not believing his
writings, how shall you be believing My declarations?” (Jn. 5:46-47 CV).
Jesus, in His answer to the question, “What may we be doing that we may be working the works of God?” proclaims that His authority and ministry superseding that of Moses comes from God (Jn. 6:28 CV). He declares, “This is the work of God, in order that you may be believing in that One Whom He commissions” (Jn. 6:29 my translation). As Yahweh called and prepared Moses for his ministry, so also Jesus is called and prepared by Yahweh. Jesus is the manifestation of Yahweh’s work in the midst of His people. Jesus has been commissioned by Yahweh. He has been assigned a ministry in which the people are to believe in Him as they had believed in Moses.
Under the Mosaic Covenant, the people were to be identified with Moses. Under the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, the people are to be identified with Jesus. That Jesus’ ministry and covenant were to supersede the Mosaic ministry and covenant is confirmed by the fact that to believe Moses necessitated the believing in Jesus the Christ. For Moses wrote concerning the Christ to come:
A Prophet shall I raise up to them from among their brothers, like you [Moses], and I will put My words in His mouth, and He will speak to them all that I shall instruct Him. Yet it will come to be that the man who should not hearken to My words that the Prophet shall speak in My name, I Myself shall require his blood from him. (Deuteronomy 18:18-19 CV)
This is precisely how this text is interpreted when, after Jesus multiplies the bread and fish, the men participating in this event conclude, “This truly is the Prophet Who is coming into this world-order” (Jn. 6:14 my translation). The “world-order” referred to is the Hebraic world-order, the order established at Sinai; thus, the Mosaic world-order in which Israel is given supremacy over the nations (the new heavens and the new earth created at Sinai) by virtue of her close relationship to Yahweh (the Mosaic Covenant, including Yahweh’s statutes and judgments, His gift only to Israel).
To believe Moses is covenantal life. To disbelieve Moses is covenantal death (Deut. 30:19-20). To believe Jesus is covenantal life (Jn. 6:40, 47, 51; 8:12; 11:24-26). To disbelieve Jesus is covenantal death (see Jn. 8:24; 3:36). Jesus Himself is the work of Yahweh. The goal of that work is the redemption of His people, the deliverance of His people from the curse of the law (the Second Death—the death, termination, goal of the Mosaic Covenant) to the life of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant (the resurrection, the life, the fulfilling of the Law and the Prophets, the initiation of this New Covenant). Yahweh, thus, is requiring the people to believe Jesus and to faithfully keep His words to the end of the Mosaic Eon. Such faithfulness meant life in the age to come, entrance into the celestial hope of all the elect faithful ones beginning with Abel (see Hebrews, chapter 11).
After the Egyptian army is destroyed in the sea, the text
concludes, “Thus Yahweh saved
In this song, the people praise Yahweh. He is described as “august,” thus, a great king, manifestly
majestic (Ex. 15:1). He is exalted as a “Man
of war” (Ex. 15:2-3). The enemy is presented as seeking
They sing confidently of Yahweh’s planting them “in the mount of Your allotment” (Ex. 15:17
CV), referring to the
This conception of the land as Yahweh’s sanctuary implies
The song concludes with a crescendo glorifying Yahweh as the
Elohim Who “shall reign for the eon and
further” (Ex. 15:18 CV). A new age had begun. Yahweh would reign over
Immediately following the journey from the sea to the
wilderness of Shur, the text records, “Then
the people grumbled” (Ex. 15:24 CV). The waters of Marah are bitter. The
people are unable to drink the water. They grumble against Moses. Yahweh instructs
Moses as to how to rectify the problem. The waters are sweetened. The author of
Exodus explains that this event occurred in order for Yahweh to probe the sons
Yahweh corrects the problem and issues a warning: “If you shall hearken, . . . to the voice of
Yahweh your Elohim and do what is upright in His eyes, and give ear to His
instructions and observe all His statutes, then all the illnesses which I
placed on the Egyptians I shall not place on you, for I am Yahweh your Healer”
(Ex. 15:26 CV). This promise to
But already the capricious character of the sons of
During their extended residence in
The character of the sons of
With their backs to the sea and the army of Pharaoh facing
them, the sons of
At the sea, Yahweh had once again revealed His mighty hand against
the Egyptians on behalf of His people. The enemy had been destroyed
miraculously. Yet, shortly after this incredible demonstration, the whole
congregation grumbled against Moses and Aaron, complaining of a lack of food, “you have brought us forth to this
wilderness to put this entire assembly to death with famine” (Ex. 16:3b
CV). Moses responds to this accusation by declaring, “Not against us are your grumblings, but rather against Yahweh”
(Ex. 16:8b CV). The glory of Yahweh then appears to Moses. Yahweh announces, “I have heard the grumblings of the sons of
In all this, the sons of
Do not say in your heart when Yahweh your Elohim thrusts them out from before you, saying: Because of my own righteousness Yahweh brings me in to tenant this land. Rather it is because of the wickedness of these nations . . . Know then that it is not because of your own righteousness that Yahweh your Elohim is giving to you this good land to tenant it, for you are a stiff-necked people. (Deuteronomy 9:4-6 CV)
Later, during this same period, Yahweh commands Moses,
And now, write down for yourselves this song and teach
it to the sons of
The first generation of the sons of
The shaping of this common block of stone begins at
The Ten Words are the stipulations of the contract made
between Yahweh and the sons of
However, these representatives of the new man, the new nation, understood their mortal condition before the living Elohim. For all humanity participated in the common death activated by Adam. Therefore, individual members of the nation could not remain too long in the holy presence of Yahweh Elohim because of this mortal condition. Death was operating in each of them, the common death of all humanity, biological death, “for soil you are, and to soil are you returning” (Gen. 3:19 CV).
Thus, these leaders request that Moses become the mediator of this covenant between Yahweh and the national man:
This day WE have seen that Elohim speaks to the interest of THE MAN and HE lives. Yet now, why should WE die? For this great fire shall devour us. If we are continuing to hear the voice of Yahweh our Elohim any further, then we will die. . . . As for you, go near and hear all that Yahweh our Elohim says. Then you shall speak to us all that Yahweh our Elohim shall speak to you, and we will hearken and obey. (Deuteronomy 5:24b-27 my translation)
Yahweh responds to these conclusions:
I have heard the sound of the words of this people that they have spoken to you. They have done well in all they have spoken. O that their heart might become this way with them: to fear Me and to observe all My instructions all the days, that it might be well with them and with their sons for the eon. (Deuteronomy 5:28b‑29 CV)
Yahweh endorses the conclusions drawn by these representative
leaders, conclusions drawn from the experience of the nation at the footstool
of Yahweh’s throne residing on the summit of
These leaders spoke of “THE
man,” “HE lives,” referring to the nation as a collective man. They also
spoke of “why should WE die?” “This great
fire shall devour US” (my emphasis),
“If WE are continuing to hear the voice of Yahweh . . . any further, . . . WE
will die” (my emphasis), referring to the individual members of the
collective man, members properly fearing, respecting the holiness of Yahweh in
relation to their unclean bodies polluted by death, mortality. Such physical,
biological mortality could not long endure the holy fire of Yahweh’s presence. This
judgment was confirmed by Yahweh. The sons of
As a result, Yahweh’s appointment of Moses as mediator of the
covenant is affirmed by
The covenant is thereby ratified by the sprinkling of the
blood of the sacrificed bulls upon the people. The New Davidic/Abrahamic
Covenant mediated by Jesus the Christ
is also ratified by a sprinkling of blood, a metaphorical sprinkling of the
blood of Jesus the Christ upon the
ratifying community (Heb. 12:24; Rev. 7:14). After completing this blood
ritual, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 of the elders of
Some have interpreted this to mean they saw Elohim in a vision. But the text does not describe the scene as such. There is nothing here to indicate this is to be understood in any other way than literally. They see and they perceive, and He, Yahweh Elohim, “put not forth His hand” to destroy them. This text indicates that in spite of the fact the people at Sinai “were not seeing a physical representation . . .” (Deut. 4:12 CV), the Elohim of Israel could be seen. He did have an image, a form. That image revealed feet and hands.
This could be interpreted metaphorically. But Genesis, chapter 1, describes man as being created in the image of Elohim. Therefore, it can be concluded that Yahweh Elohim has a physical form which became the model used in the creation of man. Though the nation as a whole is not allowed to see and perceive that physical form, a select group is favored with this physical audience. The fact that the text declares Yahweh’s hand is not put forth or raised with the intention of destroying them because of this intimate audience, indicates this seeing and perceiving is not a vision.
The testimony of John 1:18 does not contradict a literal understanding of this text. As a matter of fact, it corroborates such an understanding, “God no one has ever seen” (Jn. 1:18a CV). The Greek word translated “seen” is horeo, meaning to stare at intently, to discern clearly. It conveys the idea of seeing through the surface to the depth of something. It is contrasted with the Greek word blepo, meaning to see the exterior, the outward form or appearance.
The writer of the Gospel of John chose not to use the word blepo. If he wished to convey the mere seeing of an outward, exterior form or appearance, this word was available to him. He chose horeo because it conveyed his intended meaning. John 1:18 closes with the following words: “The only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He unfolds Him” (Jn. 1:18b CV). The writer is referring to Jesus the Son Who is said to unfold, unveil, reveal the inward, interior character of God the Father. The words and activities of Jesus unfold the exterior (the surface) in order to give access to the interior (the depth) of God’s character. Jesus exposed the depth of Yahweh Elohim’s love, mercy, and faithfulness to humanity. No one up to that time had penetrated into the depth of God’s character. What God had revealed in the past had been merely surface compared to the depth He was revealing in and through Jesus.
Thus, these selectmen of the Book of Exodus see and perceive the Elohim of Israel. They do not “stare intently into the depth of Yahweh Elohim.” They see and perceive His outward form, even as Moses is later to see and perceive Yahweh’s literal backside through which Yahweh chooses to reveal His glory to Moses. In the scene with the selectmen, Yahweh does not reveal His glory. He is still hidden. Yet, in Yahweh’s presence, they “ate and drank.” This is alluded to in the gospels. Jesus assembles His disciples. It is the evening before the Passover. They, like the selectmen of Exodus, chapter 24:9-11, also “eat and drink” in the presence of Jesus. They also participate in a ritual ratification of a covenant:
Now at their eating, Jesus, taking the bread, and, blessing, breaks it, and, giving to the disciples, said, “Take, eat. This is My body.” And taking the cup and giving thanks, He gives it to them, saying, “Drink of it all, for this is My blood of the new covenant, that is shed for many for the pardon of sins. . . .” (Matthew 26:26-28 CV)
In this New Covenant, Yahweh, the Elohim of the sons of
With the establishment of the Mosaic Covenant,
As Yahweh Elohim placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, giving him
His instruction, so He gives
Thus, covenantally, metaphorically, Yahweh restores to
As a result of this covenant relationship, Yahweh is
contractually bound to bless
Yahweh entered into no such covenant with any nation before or
after His entrance into this covenant at
Yahweh our Elohim, He contracted a covenant with us at Horeb. Not with our fathers did Yahweh contract this covenant, but with us, us, these here today, all of us who are alive. Face to face Yahweh spoke with you at the mount from the midst of the fire . . . (Deuteronomy 5:2-4 CV)
The Mosaic Covenant was not made with Abraham, Isaac, or
Jacob. These three fathers were never under the stipulations of the Sinatic
Covenant. Only the sons of
Thus, the Mosaic Covenant is temporary. It of necessity would have to be terminated in order to be completely fulfilled. In response to the request of the heads and elders of the tribes of Israel that Moses mediate the stipulations of the covenant, Yahweh declares, “O that their heart might become this way with them: to fear Me and to observe all My instructions all the days, that it might be well with them and with their sons for the eon” (Deut. 5:29 CV). The covenant is to last “for the eon.” At the end of the Mosaic Eon, the Law and the Prophets would be fulfilled. The covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, each of whom was not under the Mosaic Covenant, would remain valid after the termination of the Mosaic Covenant.
In the contracting of the Sinatic Covenant, Yahweh spoke to
This is the righteousness referred to by Paul in his letter to the Philippians. He repudiated this righteousness which is based on the faithfulness of Moses in favor of the New Covenant righteousness which was from God and based upon the faithfulness of Christ. Paul counted as refuse the righteousness of the Mosaic Covenant in order to gain Christ and be found “in Him, not having MY righteousness [the righteousness of the Sinatic Covenant], which is out of law, but that which is through the faithfulness of Christ, . . . conforming to His death, . . .” (Phil. 3:9-10 CV modified). The crucifixion death of Christ was the termination, the death of the Mosaic Covenant as a means of covenantal life and covenantal righteousness.
Under the New Covenant established by Christ’s death and resurrection, Yahweh wrote His law upon the fleshly hearts of His covenanted partners. Under the Mosaic Covenant, Yahweh wrote His law upon two stone tablets. His covenantal partners were required to transfer that law from the stone tablets to their own hearts, causing the law to come alive and inspire obedience.
But under the New Covenant in Christ, the two stone tablets were superseded by the faithfulness of Christ Whose spirit wrote the Law of Yahweh “on the fleshly tablets of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:3 CV). The members of the New Covenant Community were not required to write Yahweh’s Law on their hearts, since this was done for them by Yahweh’s spirit poured out upon them. This distinguished the old covenant from the New Covenant, fulfilling the words of the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; . . .” (Jer. 31:33 KJV); “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh” (Ezk. 11:19 KJV).
As Yahweh spoke “face to
face” (metaphorically) with Moses, so He spoke “face to face” (metaphorically, covenantally) at Mount Sinai with
The people had entered into a covenant relation with Yahweh. Moses
had read the scroll of the covenant for all to hear. The people had agreed, “All that Yahweh has spoken we shall do and
hearken to” (Ex. 24:7b CV). Moses is then commanded to ascend the mountain
to Yahweh, Who declares, “I shall give to
you the stone tablets, the law and the instructions which I wrote to direct
them” (Ex. 24:12b CV). Moses ascends the mountain. The cloud covers the
mountain and the glory of Yahweh tabernacles over
However, when Moses fails to descend the mountain within their conception of a reasonable time, the people assemble against Aaron and demand that he make them “elohim who shall go before us, for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we know not what has become of him” (Ex. 32:1b CV). Moses had mediated Yahweh’s guidance among the people. His presence represented a tangible sign of Yahweh’s presence in the midst of the people. His absence causes the people to seek an image representing Yahweh as a replacement of Moses.
The people fear their mediator has been destroyed by Yahweh. If this be the case, it is deduced that Yahweh is displeased with such a human mediator. Yahweh, thus, like the gods of the nations, must desire a more appropriate image, such as a golden calf. The people do not attempt to replace Yahweh as their Elohim; they seek to replace Moses with an image more acceptable to their Elohim.
The people demand that Aaron make them a golden calf. This golden calf is to take the place of Moses as a concrete embodiment of Yahweh’s presence around which the people can assemble. Thus, the people have misconceived the role of Moses. They have made of Moses an idol, an image representing Yahweh. The absence and assumed destruction of this image, this idol, demanded a new approach, a more conventional image. Consequently, the first two words of the covenant are disobeyed, revealing the inclination of the people to worship through the medium of idols. Before Moses can return with the two stone tablets of the covenant, the people have broken the covenant.
This covenant, which had been a covenant of life, had become a covenant of death. The Ten Words of this covenant which had breathed into the nation’s nostrils the breath of covenantal life becomes the instrument through which covenantal death would descend upon the nation. Yahweh’s giving of covenantal life has now been forfeited. The covenantal terms demand covenantal death. Yahweh declares to Moses,
Go! Go down, for your people whom you brought up from
Yahweh’s anger is hot against the nation. He seeks to destroy her and offers to make Moses into a great nation in her place (Ex. 32:10).
Moses immediately intercedes on behalf of the nation. He correctly perceives (as a result of Yahweh’s recent instructions) his relation to the nation as analogous to Adam’s relation to Eve. Adam had been given headship over Eve. He was responsible for her welfare. She was bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh. She was named woman, for she had been taken out of man, out of Adam.
Yahweh, speaking to Moses, calls the nation “your people.” He identifies Moses as
the one who brought this nation up from the
Moses, like Adam, is held responsible for his complement. However, unlike Adam, Moses intercedes on behalf of his complement. Moses, like Adam, is not seduced by his complement (1 Tim. 2:14 CV). Moses does not join his complement in breaking the covenant. Adam, unlike Moses, participates in his complement’s breaking of the covenant, though he is not seduced as she is. Adam does not perceive the possibility of interceding on behalf of Eve. He simply understands she must die. He perceives no other alternative but to join her.
Moses understands better. He is aware of the failure of Adam. He
has an understanding of Yahweh’s character and Yahweh’s faithfulness. He has
had access to Yahweh’s promises to the fathers. Moses, therefore, intercedes on
Why should the Egyptians speak, saying: For evil He
brings them forth to kill them in the mountains and to finish them off the
surface of the ground? Turn back from the heat of Your anger and show mercy
concerning the evil to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and
Moses grasps the full reality of both his relationship to
Yahweh has declared
Consequently, Moses succeeds in his intercession on behalf of
This restoration brought about the restoration of covenantal life for the nation. The nation is not destroyed. The verdict of death is to be extended over a period of time. That time is designated as the Mosaic Eon. As the verdict over Adam activated the Law of Death as a process operating through a period of time and terminating in the grave, so also the verdict over Israel’s covenantal failure activated the law of covenantal death as a process operating through the history of Israel and terminating in the covenantal grave of the nation—the death and burial of Jesus the Christ.
Thus, the Sinatic Covenant entered into at Sinai, which had been a ministry of life, became, as a result of the nation’s worship of the golden calf, the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, a ministry of death. The nation remains covenantally alive before Yahweh, but the operation of death has already begun. Its termination, its goal—the covenantal death of the nation—became a foregone conclusion. Thus, the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant would not simply be superseded. It would be terminated through the experience of death—a national, covenantal, religious death. This death would be attributed to the just judgment of Yahweh.
Moses descends the mountain with the two tablets of the
covenant. These tablets are described as “the
handiwork of Elohim; . . . the writing of Elohim, chiseled on the tablets”
(Ex. 32:16 CV), another indication that this covenant is understood to be a new
creation analogous to the creation of Genesis, chapter 1. When Moses beholds
the calf and hears the choruses, he responds as Yahweh had responded. His anger
grows hot. He flings the tablets from his hands, breaking them on the rocks
below. The covenant has been broken. The people stand under the judgment of
Yahweh. As Aaron had “flung” the gold
into the fire, thereby producing the golden calf (Ex. 32:24), so also Moses “flung” the tablets, thereby officially
annulling the covenant (Ex. 32:19 CV). The people have sinned against Yahweh
their Elohim. Moses immediately burns the golden calf, pulverizing and casting
it on the surface of the water, which he makes the sons of
Due to the breaking of the covenant and the loyal execution of the sons of the Serpent (the kindred of Cain) by the sons of Levi, Yahweh sets aside the priestly function of the firstborn males, replacing them with the tribe of Levi. Thus, the priestly function of the tribe of Levi is associated with the broken covenant. The priesthood of the firstborn ones is set aside until the establishment of a New Covenant by Jesus the Christ.
Moses, before returning to Yahweh, says to the people, “You have sinned a great sin, and now I am going up to Yahweh. Perhaps I may make a propitiatory shelter about your sin” (Ex. 32:30). Yahweh had already agreed to spare the nation from total physical destruction. But He had not indicated a renewal or restoration of the covenant. This second intercession of Moses deals with the sin of the people. The sons of the Serpent have been executed. Many of the people who had been deceived by these enemies within the camp had sinned, but in ignorance. They had been deceived or seduced. In spite of this, the nation had broken the covenant and had lost its covenantal relationship with Yahweh. Moses understands the necessity of restoring this covenantal relationship. He now proceeds to intercede on the nation’s behalf a second time.
In the presence of Yahweh, Moses intercedes, “this people has sinned a great sin, and they made for themselves an elohim of gold. And now, if You should bear their sin, bear it. Yet if not, wipe me, I pray, from Your scroll which You have written” (Ex. 32:31-32 CV). Moses acknowledges the sin of the people. On their own merit they do not deserve Yahweh’s bearing of their sin. Moses requests that Yahweh bear the sin of the people. He is not asking Yahweh to wipe the slate clean, to simply forget their sin. He is requesting that Yahweh withhold immediate punishment, carry the debit on the books, refrain from immediate foreclosure. The nation is clearly without excuse. But the verdict of death can be spread out over a period of time on the basis of the loyal remnant, of which Moses himself is a representative.
This situation is analogous to that of Adam and Eve. Adam had remained faithful to Yahweh. Eve had been deceived and had become unfaithful. She ate of the forbidden fruit. The verdict over her was death. This she deserved. But she had not been in rebellion against Yahweh. She had been seduced into believing a lie. Adam should have interceded on her behalf. But he perceived no way out. He simply believed Yahweh’s word. So, in love, he also ate, taking upon himself the very death which she had already brought upon herself.
Moses has remained faithful. Unlike Adam, however, he understands the mercy and compassion of Yahweh. He perceives the possibility of intercession. He requests the withholding of immediate, total punishment. If this is not acceptable to Yahweh, he is willing to give up his right to the allotment of the land and even his life in exchange for this mercy on behalf of the nation. This is similar to Adam’s attitude. Adam was willing to share in the death that Eve brought upon herself, though he could not perceive a way to accomplish this without becoming unfaithful himself. So he ate and became unfaithful.
Moses remains faithful and is willing to be wiped from Yahweh’s scroll. This scroll is not associated with Moses’ eternal destiny. It is a scroll upon which is recorded the names of Yahweh’s covenanted people. So long as each person is faithful, his or her name will remain on the scroll. Those individuals whose names are written on the scroll maintain their right to the promised allotment of the land and the blessings of Yahweh promised in the covenant made at Sinai. Each unfaithful one will have his name removed, erased, wiped from the scroll. Thus, Moses is willing to forfeit his covenantal rights in order to provide Yahweh with a means of propitiatory-shelter, that is, a covering of the sins of the people resulting in the restoration of the broken covenant.
Yahweh rejects the plea of Moses to remove his name from the scroll. Yahweh will only remove the names of those who sin against Him. He agrees to postpone punishment. The nation will be allowed to enter the land. He will send His messenger before them and will drive out the nations in the land. But He promises a day of visitation in which He will punish those deserving such judgment (Ex. 32:34). He gives the people a reprieve, during which time they will be given an opportunity to prove themselves genuinely repentant and, thus, faithful. For those who are found continuously unfaithful, He will exact their lives. For they will have manifested their true character as kinsmen of Cain. In all this, however, Yahweh has not agreed to restore the covenant. A reprieve has been granted, but not an absolution. Yahweh will winnow the wheat from the chaff. The chaff will be destroyed.
Though a reprieve has been granted, Yahweh tells Moses, “For I shall not go up among you, for you
are a stiff-necked people, lest I should finish you on the way” (Ex. 33:3b
CV). Hearing this evil word, the people mourn. Yahweh had also instructed Moses
saying, “take down your ornaments off you
that I may know what I should do to you” (Ex. 33:5b CV). The text then
records, “So the sons of
Thereupon, Moses removes his tent of office from the midst of the camp. He sets it up outside the camp and calls it the tent of appointment. Yahweh is no longer in the midst of the people. The camp has been polluted. The people could only seek Yahweh outside the camp. “It came to be as Moses entered the tent that the cloud column descended and stood at the portal of the tent, and He spoke with Moses. When all the people saw the cloud column standing at the portal of the tent, all the people rose and bowed themselves down, each man at the portal of his tent. So Yahweh spoke to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his associate” (Ex. 33:9-11a CV).
Moses proceeds to intercede once again. At stake is the
presence of Yahweh. Yahweh has declared He will not go up among the people. Moses
is going to loyally question this decision. Yahweh has declared He knows Moses
by name and that Moses has found grace in His eyes. If so, argues Moses, “Let me know your way” (Ex. 33:13 CV). Yahweh’s
“way” is the way of the covenant and
the way of His presence. His honor and glory are bound up with His covenantal
relationship to the fathers and to the sons of
consists of His presence and His covenant relationship. It is in reference to
this passage that Jesus declares, “I am
the way and the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6 CV). Jesus is not speaking
philosophically or theologically. He is speaking the language of election, the
language of covenant, the language of Yahweh’s presence. He is speaking
covenantally! For Jesus is proclaiming that Yahweh’s glory, Yahweh’s presence
is tabernacling in Him. Yahweh’s covenant with
Moses, having advocated only what Yahweh had declared, succeeds in his intercession. In response, Yahweh does not imply, but declares, “this matter of which you have spoken I shall do, . . .” (Ex. 33:17 CV). Moses then requests that Yahweh show him His glory. Yahweh answers in the affirmative, “I shall pass all My goodness before you and proclaim My name, Yahweh, before you; I will be gracious to whom I am being gracious and will have compassion for whom I am having compassion” (Ex. 33:19b CV). Yahweh’s glory is identified with His goodness and associated with His name, Yahweh, which means I shall become what I shall become. Yahweh cannot be manipulated. He is sovereign. What He shall become and what He shall do are determined by His will alone. His goodness alludes to Genesis, chapter 1. That which Yahweh Elohim created was declared “good.” It was good in terms of Elohim’s purpose for that which was created. Here, Yahweh’s “goodness” is the manifestation of His glory as related to the purpose of His created nation, the human, the national man, who is declared good.
“Goodness” associated with Yahweh’s name is demonstrated in His determination as to whom He will be gracious and as to whom He will have compassion. His grace and His compassion will be directed at His elect, His covenant partners in accord with His purpose to manifest His glory and His honor—His faithfulness to His word. Thus, He chooses to be gracious to the people of His covenant who are characterized as a stiff-necked people, and He chooses to have compassion on the nation which has sinned against Him by breaking His covenant.
However, before manifesting the goodness of His glory to
Moses, Yahweh warns, “You cannot see My
face, for the human shall not see me and live” (Ex. 33:20 my translation). Yahweh
is here referring to the nation, the human, the man created and vivified at
Sinai by the covenantal breath of life—the Ten Words. Death has contaminated
the nation because of the worship of the golden calf. This death affects Moses,
as a member of the collective whole, for the nation consists of Moses, its
head, and the people—his complement. Yahweh created the nation male and female,
Earlier, Moses, Aaron and his sons, and the 70 elders, saw Yahweh and did not die. This is another illustration of Yahweh’s graciousness and compassion. He does make exceptions to His rules. All humans are contaminated by the death Adam brought into the race and are thus subject to the destruction which follows extended exposure to Yahweh’s glory. But Yahweh makes exceptions (for example, the nation at Sinai). Enoch is an exception to the rule “for soil you are and to soil are you returning” (Gen. 3:19 CV). Moses will later become an exception to the rule of death. He dies, is returned to the soil, but is resurrected before the eon of resurrection arrives (Jude v. 9; Matt. 17:3; Lk. 9:28-36).
After beholding the veiled glory of Yahweh while residing in
the fissure of the rock and shielded by Yahweh’s palm from the passing of His
full glory, Moses is commanded to “Carve
for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on the
tablets the words which came to be on the first tablets which you broke”
(Ex. 34:1 CV). The covenant is about to be reestablished, restored. Yahweh’s
presence would once again reside, dwell in the midst of the people, in the
midst of the camp.
Thus, the Mosaic Covenant had become a ministry of death. It
necessitated the covenantal death of the nation. But this covenantal death
necessitated a covenantal resurrection of the nation if the promises to the
fathers were to be fulfilled. This is what Jesus referred to when He said to
Nicodemus, “If anyone should not be begotten
anew, he can not perceive the
You are a teacher of
Nicodemus and the teachers of
Paul takes up the theme of the veil of Moses in his second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 3. In this chapter, Paul alludes to the breaking of the Sinatic Covenant, referring to its restoration as a result of the intercession of Moses as “the ministry of this death” (v. 7 my translation), “the ministry of this condemnation” (v. 9 my translation). The sign of this restoration is the necessity of the veil over Moses’ face.
The glory of Yahweh had been revealed on the heights of
The first intercession of Moses succeeded in avoiding Yahweh’s hot anger. It succeeded in sparing the seduced people while judging the rebellious kindred of Cain, the instigators of the forbidden idolatry. The second intercession of Moses succeeded in regaining the promise of the land and Yahweh’s pledge to drive out its inhabitants. The third and final intercession of Moses succeeded in restoring the covenant and securing Yahweh’s presence among the people.
However, this presence would no longer be continuous and open. It would be veiled in the Tabernacle and come periodically as a theophany within or at the opening of the Tabernacle. However, during the interval in which the Tabernacle was being constructed, the glory of Yahweh’s presence would be mediated on the face of Moses.
The restored nation had been despoiled of her glory by Yahweh
After Moses’ third intercession, Yahweh instructs him to carve
two stone tablets. Moses is then instructed to return to the summit of
Yahweh descends in a cloud and stations Himself with Moses. Moses then calls out the name of Yahweh. Yahweh, passing by before the face of Moses, responds with the following proclamation:
Yahweh, Yahweh El, Who is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and with much kindness and truth, preserving kindness to thousands, bearing with depravity, transgression and sin, yet He is not immediately making innocent in order to make innocent, but visiting the depravity of the fathers on the sons and on the son’s sons, on the third and on the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6-7 CV)
This proclamation of Yahweh reveals His mercy and His compassion, but also His just judgment upon those who refuse to repent and submit to His rule. This proclamation indicates that Yahweh’s mercy and compassion will be limited. His mercy and compassion allow for a period of repentance during which the nation will have the opportunity to turn back to serving Him.
However, after three or four generations of continued depravity (see also Ex. 20:5), Yahweh will visit the nation in judgment, ending the period of His extended mercy and compassion. Yahweh will not account the depraved, the ungodly, the lawless, the unfaithful ones as justified ones. Justification before Yahweh is always on the basis of faith/faithfulness. He will make or declare innocent only those who submit to His rule, only those who love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength, only those who love His law and seek to obey it.
Thus, Yahweh in His mercy and compassion restores His covenant
Moses remains on the summit with Yahweh for 40 days and 40
nights, during which time he writes down the instruction of Yahweh for His
restored people. At the end of this period, Moses descends having the two
tablets of stone which he had earlier carved out of the base of
Upon Moses’ return to the people, however, “the skin of his face gleamed because of His [Yahweh’s] speaking to him” (Ex. 34:29b CV). At this time, Moses becomes the mediator of the restored covenant and the mediator of the glory of Yahweh associated with this restored covenant. This glory needed to be mediated because of the idolatry of the people. No longer were the people able to bear the revelation of Yahweh’s glory directly. For this glory, unmediated, would destroy them because of the national transgression.
Again, the text reveals Yahweh’s mercy and compassion. He will
bear for the eon this transgression, this sin, at the end of which the restored
covenant would be terminated in the covenantal death of the faithful nation (in
Christ’s death) and the covenantal destruction of the holy city, the Temple,
and the unfaithful nation according to the flesh, the children of the
Adversary, the kinsmen of Cain. Though
It is important to emphasize that the restoration of the covenant, the restoration of the glory of Yahweh’s presence in the midst of His people is based upon Yahweh’s identification with Moses who has been chosen to receive Yahweh’s favor as Moses testifies, “Yet You have said: I know you by name, and moreover you have found grace in My eyes” (Ex. 33:12 CV). This same Moses is innocent of the sin of idolatry. He remains faithful and remains graced, favored of Yahweh.
On the basis of his faithfulness and his favored position before Yahweh, Moses prayerfully requests that Yahweh remember that “this nation is your people” (Ex. 33:13 CV). He requests that the presence of Yahweh’s glory continue to lead the people. If this presence is denied, Moses declares, “do not bring us up hence” (Ex. 33:15 CV).
When Yahweh agrees to restore the covenant, He declares to
Moses, “I contract with YOU a covenant
Paul alludes to Eve being bound to the law of the man Adam in
Romans 7:1-3. This passage is an example of double entendre. Paul declares, “The law is exercising lordship over the man
for as long a time as he is living” (Rom. 7:1 my translation). The definite
article is used with the word “man.” Paul
is alluding to a specific man. In relation to the race, he alludes to Adam and The Law of Sin and Death associated with
Paul continues, “For the under-man woman to the interest of the living man is bound, and continues bound, to the interest of law. But if might die the man, she is fully released, and continues released, from the law of the man” (Rom. 7:2 my translation). Here Paul refers to the “under-man woman.” He is alluding to Eve under the authority and headship of Adam and the race generated through Eve by Adam, which race is bound to The Law of Sin and Death passed through to all members of the race by the generative process of conception and birth. This is first stated by Paul in Romans 5:12, “as through one man the sin into the world-order entered, and through the sin the death, and thus into all men the death came through, upon the interest of which all sinned” (Rom. 5:12 my translation).
Paul also is alluding to
According to Paul in Romans 5:13-14, “for until law sin was being produced in the world-order, but sin is not put to account there not being law. But reigned the death from Adam to Moses, even upon the ones sinning not upon the likeness of the transgression of Adam . . .” (my translation). From Adam to Moses death reigned and continued to reign over humanity. All men die, each returns to the soil. But at the coming of Moses with his law, sin begins to reign, because the law counts up transgressions. Only those under the Mosaic Law could sin upon the likeness of Adam’s transgression, for, “where no law is, neither is there transgression” (Rom. 4:15b CV).
Thus, as long as Moses is covenantally/metaphorically alive,
Consequently, then, the man [Adam/Moses] being alive, an adulteress she [Eve/Israel] shall be designated [by the law of the man, Adam/Moses] if she might be to the interest of another man of a different kind [Christ Jesus]. But if might die the man [Adam/Moses], she [Eve/Israel] is free from the law [of the man, Adam/Moses]. So that [the man Adam/Moses, being dead and the law of the man Adam/Moses, not exercising lordship] she [Eve/Israel] is not to be an adulteress though she is being to the interest of another man of a different kind [Christ Jesus]. So that, my brethren, [because of the law of another man of a different kind, Christ Jesus] you also were put to death to the interest of the law [of the man Adam/Moses], through the body of the Christ into your becoming to the interest of another of a different kind [the Christ], Who out from among dead ones was roused in order that we now might bring forth fruit to the interest of God [Yahweh]. (Romans 7:3-4 my translation)
Returning to the theme of Exodus, chapter 34, Moses descends
the mountain with the restored tablets of the covenant and with the glory of
the presence and the covenant of Yahweh reflected on his face. The text records
the response upon beholding Moses: “Then
Aaron and all the sons of
Once again, their fear is a sign of the proper fear before the
glory of Yahweh’s presence. Moses mediates that glory.
Thus, as long as the Mosaic Covenant remains in effect,
Whereas, under the original covenant at Sinai, Yahweh spoke to
Israel face to face (Deut. 5:4), now, under the restored covenant, Yahweh
speaks only to Moses face to face. In Moses the nation receives Yahweh’s grace,
Yahweh’s favor, Yahweh’s restored covenant, Yahweh’s presence. Because of the
faithfulness of Moses, the nation participates with Moses in the grace, the
favor, extended to him by Yahweh. As Yahweh exalts Moses, so in Moses He exalts
When Moses descends the mountain, the skin of his face gleaming with the glory of Yahweh, he returns to the people bearing the two new stone tablets engraved with the Ten Words of the covenant. The original stone tablets had been flung down by Moses and broken. These stone tablets were “the handiwork of Elohim” (Ex. 32:16 CV). Yahweh had carved them out of the mountain and chiseled into them, with His own finger, the Ten Words of the covenant (Ex. 31:18; 32:16 CV). But the restored stone tablets had not been the “handiwork” of Yahweh. Moses had been commanded, “Carve for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on the tablets the words which came to be on the first tablets which you broke” (Ex. 34:1 CV).
The first stone tablets represented a covenantal ministry of
life. The national man had encountered Yahweh “face to face” (Deut. 5:4) and he lived (Deut. 5:24). He had been
directly favored, graced by Yahweh. He had been graciously granted the
privilege of beholding with his eyes and hearing with his ears the glory of
Yahweh. The stone tablets were heavenly. They were carved out of the
mountainous height of
However, due to the transgression of idolatry caused by the
worship of the golden calf, the curse of covenantal death had already come upon
the nation. Covenantal death had been activated. The nation had been taken and
formed out of the nations and would be returned to the nations at the end of
the eon. As the verdict regarding Adam’s transgression had been “for soil you are, and to soil are you
returning” (Gen. 3:19 CV), so also the verdict regarding
The restored tablets of stone, in contrast to the original
stone tablets, are earthly. They are carved by Moses out of rock located at the
Thus, the original Sinatic Covenant was not meant to deal with
the death Adam brought into the world of humanity. It was a covenant that
graciously allowed a nation of sinners to enjoy what was denied to all other
nations—a relatively close relationship with Yahweh. This relationship granted
The Hebrew word for law, torah,
comes from the root yara, meaning,
figuratively, to point out as if aiming the finger, thus, to teach (Strong’s Exhaustive
Concordance, compact ed., S.V. 8451 . . . torah;
3384 . . . yara). The Ten Words
of Yahweh’s covenant with Israel were engraved with the “finger” of Yahweh, thus, pointing out to Israel what was right in
the eyes of Yahweh. The Ten Words were the
way of Yahweh initiating
Thus, this covenant never necessitated perfection, sinlessness. It was made with and for sinners. It was meant to be obeyed and it could be obeyed (Deut. 30:11-18). The vital requirement was “love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your intensity” (Deut. 6:5 CV), “For the word is exceedingly near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to obey it. . . . to love Yahweh your Elohim, to walk in his ways and to observe His instructions, His statutes and His judgments, . . .” (Deut. 30:14-16 CV).
The faithful Israelite believed in Moses and in his heart
loved Yahweh’s Law. To love Yahweh’s Law was to be lawful. To hate Yahweh’s Law
was to be lawless. David broke Yahweh’s Law, but David was not lawless. He was
always a lawful Israelite. He always acknowledged Yahweh’s Law, especially when
it confronted him with his sins. On such occasions, David manifested his
lawfulness, his love of Yahweh by submitting to the judgment of Yahweh’s Law: “Thus saith the Lord God of
Yahweh distinguishes between lawfulness and lawlessness by looking at the heart, “for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7 KJV), “The decadent one says in his heart, There is no Elohim . . . Have they no knowledge, all those contrivers of lawlessness, Who are devouring My people as they would devour bread? They do not call upon Yahweh” (Ps. 14:1-4 CV). The Israelite according to the flesh, the one not accounted Abraham’s child, is the one who says in his heart, “There is no Elohim.” This one is accounted lawless. His trust is not in Yahweh. He does not believe in Moses. He is disloyal, even though in outward appearance and confession he acts and talks like one who is lawful, one who loves Yahweh’s Law.
The faithful, lawful ones write Yahweh’s words on their
hearts. They lovingly seek to keep, obey, hearken to Yahweh’s voice, even
though they may fail to keep the words due to unavoidable circumstances or due
to temporary subjection to the distorted desires of the flesh. Keeping the
whole law did not mean perfection, sinlessness. It meant loving Yahweh with all
your heart, with all your soul, with all your intensity, which meant writing
Yahweh’s Law on your heart. The disposition resulting from such a heart sought
to keep the whole law. Such is its goal. Thus, the faithful ones are
characterized by lawful behavior generated out of Yahweh’s Law written on their
hearts. The unfaithful ones are characterized by lawlessness, lawless behavior
generated out of a heart which declares “There
is no Elohim,” a heart upon which Yahweh’s Law has not been written. Thus,
the law could be fulfilled and was fulfilled by many in
However, such righteousness could neither provide the justification of life to triumph over the condemnation of death brought in by Adam’s sin, nor provide the justification by faith required to receive the Celestial Allotment promised to the children of Abraham. Faith in Moses meant obedience to Yahweh’s Law, which righteousness brought the terrestrial blessings of the Mosaic Covenant. The faithfulness of Moses achieved the restoration of the Sinatic Covenant.
But, the faithfulness of Jesus the Christ achieved the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, the telos, end or goal of the law (covenantal/natural death), and the establishment of a new covenant which triumphed over both the condemnation of death brought in by Adam and the condemnation of death brought in by Israel’s idolatrous transgression. The faithfulness of Jesus the Christ provided the believer in Jesus the Christ the required righteousness of the New Covenant necessary to attain the Celestial Allotment promised to the children of Abraham. Those faithful ones under the Mosaic Covenant before the ministry of Jesus who were accounted Abraham’s children were accounted in Christ even as Abraham was accounted in Christ. The members of the faithful, elect seed of the Woman prior to Abraham and the covenant of circumcision (Abel through Abram) also were accounted in Christ even as Abram.
Faith in Christ meant freedom from the Mosaic Covenant
(contract), thus, freedom from the curse of the law, but not freedom from the
keeping of the law. In Christ, the law was written on the hearts of the Messianic
faithful ones by the spirit of Christ, the spirit of Yahweh (according to
Jeremiah 31:31-34), thus empowering those in Christ to keep the law in an era
of great affliction and persecution on behalf of the righteousness of the
kingdom. These faithful ones kept the law, not as those under the law, but as
those under the grace of Yahweh established by the New Covenant (
Slavery under the reign of Sin was not a negative feature of the law (see Chapter 24, section titled The Reign of Sin). It was a positive feature because it provided both a knowledge of sin and the means of dealing with such sin so as to remain in faithful covenantal fellowship with Yahweh. It was an advantage the Israelites had over the nations. It was one aspect of having been drawn near to Yahweh. However, it implied the status of a minor, not adult son (see Gal. 4:1-7, especially CV, NGEINT).
As long as
The establishment of the New Covenant declared
Under the New Covenant, the faithful believers in Christ were
no longer slaves under the reign of Sin. Under the New Covenant sin was not
being counted up. Thus, Sin could no longer reign. Instead, grace reigned
through righteousness—the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 5:21). But this was the
case only if one remained under grace. If a circumcised Messianic turned back
to the Mosaic Covenant for life, he would once again be under law and, thus,
under the curse of the law. His sins would be counted up, and he would die in
his sins. Sin would once again reign in his mortal body. The righteousness of
the law could not deliver him from the curse of the law. If an uncircumcised
Messianic turned to the law by undergoing circumcision, he would be cut off
from Christ and the righteousness of Christ and come under the curse of the
law. His sins also would be counted up, and Sin would begin to reign in his
mortal body. He would no longer be under grace but under law. In Christ there
was no condemnation; outside Christ there was only condemnation. Any member of
the elect community outside Christ was in Adam, therefore under the curse of
the law brought about by the transgression of
At the restoration of the covenant entered into at Sinai,
Yahweh declares to Moses that He is “compassionate
and gracious, slow to anger and with much kindness and truth, preserving
kindness to thousands, bearing with depravity, transgression and sin, . . .”
(Ex. 34:6b-7a CV). This He demonstrates by bearing with
The nation transgressed by worshiping the golden calf. But the
nation is made up of many individual members. Each member participating either
directly or indirectly in the worship of the golden calf transgressed the
covenant. From this perspective, the one transgression of the nation consists
of many individual transgressions, each being after the likeness of Adam’s
transgression. As such, each member of the nation is identified with Adam
typologically (Rom. 5:14b). Each is therefore considered by Paul “in Adam”: “For even as, in Adam, all are
dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified” (1 Cor. 15:22 CV). All
those under the Mosaic Law are considered “in
Adam.” As such, they are dying covenantally due to the curse of the law. But
here again is a case of double entendre. Not only are they dying under the
covenantal death brought about by the transgression of the nation at Sinai, but
they are also dying the common death of humanity brought about by the
transgression of Adam in
Under the Mosaic Covenant the law was engraved in stone tablets.
The faithful Israelite was required to write that law upon the tablet of his
heart. When this was done, his heart was accounted by Yahweh as circumcised. Moses
directs each Israelite to “place these my
words upon your heart and upon your soul, . . .” (Deut. 11:18a CV). The
prophet Ezekiel, instructing the sons of
The soul that is sinning, it shall die.
The son shall not bear the depravity of the father,
And the father shall not bear the depravity of the son. (Ezk. 18:20a CV).
The sons of
The sons of
Return and turn away from all your transgressions,
And your depravity shall not become a stumbling block to you.
Fling off from you all your transgressions in which you transgress,
And make for yourself a new heart and a new spirit.
Why then will you die,
For I am not delighting in the death of him who dies . . .
Hence reverse yourselves and live! (Ezekiel 18:30b-32 CV)
This plea is legitimate. Yahweh indicates that these
disobedient sons of
Since Yahweh had written the law, the Ten Words, on tablets of
stone, the individual Israelite had the responsibility of transferring those
words to his own heart. Thus, the Mosaic Covenant implied a distance between
Yahweh and His people. The covenant stood objectively over
In 2 Cor. 3:1-18, Paul argues that the old covenant is a ministry of death in contrast to the New Covenant which is a ministry of life. The old covenant had been written on stone tablets, but the New Covenant is written on the fleshly tablets of the heart. The spirit of Yahweh sent by His Son writes the law on the hearts of the believers in Jesus the Christ in contrast to the metaphoric finger of Yahweh writing His Law on stone tablets. The New Covenant is subjective. It transforms the believer internally. The spirit of Yahweh vivifies, makes alive, both covenantally and bodily. The community of faithful Messianics itself becomes the living covenant. The distance between Yahweh and His people has now been reduced and would be eliminated altogether when the ministry of the New Covenant was completed.
The Mosaic Covenant had also been written down in ink on scrolls. These scrolls became the holy scriptures. The New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant is written in spirit on the hearts of human beings, turning the members of the covenantal community into living scrolls of holy scripture.
In accord with Exodus chapters 32-34, Paul declares the letter
of the Mosaic Covenant is killing. The old covenant is in its last days. It is
decrepit and dying and, so, can no longer give covenantal life. The curse of
the law is presently coming upon
Paul then contrasts the glory of the old covenant with the
glory of the New Covenant. The old covenant still manifests the glory of
Yahweh. That glory has not been either abolished or decreased. It is still
operating, but its operative manifestation is killing, bringing about the death
of the covenant; and with that death, the covenantal life of the nation is
nullified. The curse of the law is about to destroy the nation and its system
of worship centered in
The telos of the glory of Yahweh associated with the Mosaic Covenant is death. In contrast, the glory of Yahweh associated with the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant is bringing life, and its telos is covenantal/national/biological life. When Moses descended the mountain, his face reflected the glory of Yahweh. The people could not look intently into his face for any great length of time because Yahweh’s glory would destroy them due to the transgression of idolatry (2 Cor. 3:13). Therefore, Moses placed a veil over his face so the telos of the glory of Yahweh associated with the Mosaic Covenant would not be prematurely reached. When he spoke Yahweh’s words to the people, the veil significantly reduced the manifestation of Yahweh’s glory, thereby protecting the people from its potential destruction and implying its ultimate telos, death. The glory hidden by the veil of Moses would diminish and would no longer be reflected on the face of Moses when that glory of Yahweh would later enter the newly constructed Tabernacle, to be veiled behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies.
The ministers of the New Covenant established by Jesus the Christ have no need to veil their
faces. The glory of Yahweh associated with this New Covenant delivers life, not
death. Thus, this glory exceeds the glory of the old covenant. Paul declares,
However, once turning back to Yahweh by receiving Jesus as the Christ, the veil will be lifted. She will be able to read intelligently the words of Moses and come into a spiritual understanding of the Gospel of Christ as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. Only the spirit of Christ can accomplish this transformation.
It is therefore no surprise, according to Paul, that the glory
of Yahweh revealed in the Gospel of Christ is hidden from the blinded minds of
When Yahweh’s instruction concerning the Aaronic Priesthood
and the Tabernacle had been carried out by the sons of
In order for this to take place, the tabernacle had to be set up. Yahweh commands Moses, “On the first day of the month, in month one, you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of appointment” (Ex. 40:2 CV). This included the anointing of the Tabernacle and all that was in it with the special anointing oil. Having completed the service of the Tabernacle, Aaron and his sons are brought near to the portal of the tent of appointment where they are washed, clothed with the holy garments tailored specifically for only them, and anointed with the holy oil. They are to serve as priests for the duration of the Mosaic Eon: “their anointing is to bestow on them an eonian priesthood throughout their generations” (Ex. 40:15b CV).
In the first month of the second year since the people had
gone forth from
When Moses had finished all the work and the cloud covered the tent of appointment, then the glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle, so that Moses was unable to enter into the tent of appointment, for the cloud tabernacled on it, and the glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle. (Exodus 40:33b-35 CV)
The glory of Yahweh now fills the Tabernacle. No longer would Yahweh’s glory be reflected on the face of Moses. No longer would Moses have to veil his face while speaking to the people. No longer would the tent of appointment be needed as the place for Yahweh’s presence. Yahweh’s glory is now in the midst of His people, veiled behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies.
The Aaronic Priesthood would now begin its service to Yahweh in association with the Tabernacle. Moses’ priestly service is now to be shared with Aaron. The covenant has been restored, and only Aaron the High Priest is permitted ritual entrance into the Holy of Holies, and this only once a year during the Day of Propitiatory-Shelter.
The nation is now covenantally ready to journey from Sinai to