~1500: Moses onward
Precept: The law of Moses is for all followers of YHVH’s Savior Melchizedek
“they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden…And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:8-9)
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” (Deuteronomy 34:10)
Moses is repeatedly called the man of God, where “man” is translated from the Hebrew word “ish“. As was analyzed in the post Kings Dominion, the word “Ish” is used to express the identical nature of Woman as a clone from Adam. When Moses is defined by the same word, it must be that he also is identified with the first Adam, the first son of God who walked and talked with God. In other words, he is Adam’s heir to the royal priesthood of Melchizedek.
Genesis wraps up the Melchizedekian lineage with Melchizedek Joseph’s death, and the next book in the series opens with the extraordinary, some say literally incredible, account of Moses’ role as YHVH’s Chosen Deliverer.
“And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.” (Genesis 50:24)
“God called…Moses, Moses…I am the God of thy father…Abraham…The LORD God of the Hebrews.” (Exodus 1:1,3)
The main character in Exodus continues to be, as he was in Genesis, Melchizedek over God’s Hebrew nation, as detailed in the post The Order of Melchizedek. When we check out Moses’ activities to verify this expectation, we find that Moses was absolutely God’s representative / vicar / priest, not only to the nation of Israel, but to the nations of the world covered by Egypt’s empire.
And the LORD said,
- I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt…
- I am come down to deliver them…
- I will send THEE unto Pharaoh,
- that THOU mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt…
- THOU shalt be to him instead of God. (Exodus 3:5-10, 4:16)
Moses is also explicitly stated to be the king in Jeshurun, i.e. in the era of the Upright Ones of the eternal God. Kingship is, after all, a given, in an era and culture when lawgivers / rulers were always kings. The Greeks introduced the concept of democracy, and the Romans the concept of republican government much later.
“Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together…There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.“ (Deuteronomy 33:4-5, 26-27)
It is unfortunate that in our era the Bible is viewed as a record of inscrutable “Acts of God” like the vague umbrella clause written into insurance policies. The reality is that God interacts with humans, like good parents with children and teachers with students, in speech and concepts understood by them.
The Law of Moses is a good example.
Sometimes I think Sunday School is one of the worst experiences we can give our children. The dumbed down and sanitized “stories” can become permanently corrupted and lose their impact when the kids grow up into adults. What image comes to your mind when you think of Moses leading thousands of families into the wilderness? I’m betting it’s not this.
Most refugee camps do not have sufficient food to provide to their populations… The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recommends that each refugee receive more than 2,100 calories per day, but often camps fall short of this standard…caloric intake is further reduced as refugees tend to sell food rations for other non-food goods. Moreover, it is not only the quantity of food that is insufficient. The lack of food variety, fruits, and vegetables causes many refugees to suffer from deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, which can lead to a variety of diseases…
The UNHCR estimates that more than half of the refugee camps in the world are unable to provide the recommended daily water minimum of 20 liters of water per person per day…lack of clean water is correlated with the presence of diseases such as diarrhea and cholera…
The provision of adequate sanitation services is crucial to prevent communicable diseases and epidemics…still 30% of refugee camps do not have adequate waste disposal services or latrines…
Housing in refugee camps is often overcrowded…poorly ventilated, overcrowded, and have no chimney…Malaria poses a huge threat…where refugees live en masse in close quarters, without windo screens or solid doors…infecting 200 million every year…Poor housing also is correlated with an increased presence of rodents, which causes an increased incidence of Lassa fever in West African countries.
Life in the overcrowded migrant camps on Greek islands “has dramatically worsened” in the past year, with thousands of refugees fighting to meet their most basic needs, Europe’s top human rights official warned on Thursday.
“It is an explosive situation,” the official, Dunja Mijatovic, the human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe, said after going to several camps. For many people in the camps, she said, “this has become a struggle for survival.”
As of 2015, it was estimated that over 21 million people in the world were living in refugee
situations arising from several ongoing conflict situations which are continually displacing
people from their states of origin. Of these 21 million refugees, a majority are hosted in third
world or developing countries, presenting various problems…challenges such as terrorism and insecurity, nationalism, xenophobia and intolerance, have brought forth legitimate questions and fears regarding the protection of refugees. Other protection challenges such as protracted refugee situations and mass influxes remain constant…the issue of protection of refugees, in the background of continued conflict remains a
cause for concern in many countries.
One of the foremost questions now in the realm of refugee protection is the question of
creating mechanisms that better protect refugees while equitably distributing the responsibility
to care for them, with the ultimate aim of creating durable solutions to refugee situations…
The primary sources of international refugee law are the [United Nations] Convention Relating to the
Status of Refugees of 1951…with the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. The most commonly accepted definition of the term ‘refugee’ is…that a refugee is any person who “is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” The 1951 Convention is lauded as containing a system of protection to those in need by providing protection to those who no longer have it from their countries of origin.
Are we Americans so insulated from the world at war that we don’t immediately grasp that the top priority for the nine million refugees Moses led out of Egypt is a system of government providing the basic necessities of life and protection from internal and external harm?
Leadership in the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth
By using the hermeneutical approach to studying Exodus, we find that Melchizedek Moses was tasked with establishing a government to oversee the welfare of all the nationals who trusted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to save them from bondage, resulting in the formation of the nation of Israel as a governing body.
The highest authority in any form of government, ancient and modern, is the person or group that passes judgment, not just on guilt or innocence, but on what course of action out of available options is to be taken by the people within that sphere of influence. Why do you think the place where a king exercises his power is called his court? Why do you think a judge’s decision is called ruling? Even in the American system designed to distribute power as evenly as possible over three branches of government, it is the “Supreme Court’s power of judicial review, by which it determines the constitutionality of executive and legislative acts,” that maintains greatest power in the judge.
The exercise of power in the kingdom of heaven and earth is no different. God is the Supreme Judge of the whole earth, but he doesn’t act alone. The entire court system is in place, his divine council of spirit beings in heaven as well as humans on earth.
“God standeth in the congregation / assembly of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked…I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.” (Psalm 82)
The post on The King Is Dead reveals how the first (hu)man Adam took it upon himself to defend his partner who was caught red-handed breaking the law. By sharing guilt he reduced his partner’s death sentence – isolation from all living beings – to a life sentence with companionship and a family. By this demonstration of his love even to death he proved his likeness to his merciful father God and was honored with the assignment / anointing as Melchizedek: prophet-priest-king of the kingdom of heaven and earth. (Read post on Melchizedek if this isn’t making sense.) An Order of Mediators advocating for truth and justice balanced with mercy, between humans and the ultimate Supreme Court Judge served in this intercessory role before, during and after Judaism was in full swing.
The acclaimed historians Will and Ariel Durant begin their massive multivolume account of human history with this concept in Volume One, Chapter One, paragraph one of The Story of Civilization.
CIVILIZATION is social order…Four elements constitute it: economic provision, political organization, moral traditions, and the pursuit of knowledge and the arts. It begins where chaos and insecurity end. For when fear is overcome, curiosity and constructiveness are free, and man passes by natural impulse towards the understanding and embellishment of life…
Certain factors condition civilization, and may encourage or impede it. First, geological conditions…Rain is necessary; for water is the medium of life, more important even than the light of the sun…If the soil is fertile in food or minerals, if rivers offer an easy avenue of exchange, if the coast-line is indented with natural harbors for a commercial fleet, if, above all, a nation lies on the highroad of the world’s trade… then geography… smiles upon civilization, and nourishes it.
The Promised Land, as described in the previous eponymous post, was such a land. Highly desired by all the early nations who fought each other for possession, it was given to YHVH’s people as long as they used it for his purposes of redeeming the world.
Economic conditions are more important...if it remains in the hunting stage, if it depends for its existence upon the precarious fortunes of the chase, it will never quite pass from barbarism to civilization…The first form of culture is agriculture. It is when man settles down to till the soil and lay up provisions for the uncertain future that he finds time and reason to be civilized. Within that little circle of security— a reliable supply of water and food— he builds…he invents productive tools, and domesticates the dog, the ass, the pig, at last himself. He learns to work with regularity and order, maintains a longer tenure of life, and transmits more completely than before the mental and moral heritage of his race…
These physical and biological conditions are only prerequisites to civilization; they do not constitute or generate it…There must be political order, even if it be so near to chaos as in Renaissance Florence or Rome; men must feel, by and large, that they need not look for death or taxes at every turn. There must be some unity of language to serve as a medium of mental exchange. Through church, or family, or school, or otherwise, there must be a unifying moral code, some rules of the game of life acknowledged even by those who violate them, and giving to conduct some order and regularity, some direction and stimulus. Perhaps there must also be some unity of basic belief, some faith, supernatural or utopian, that lifts morality from calculation to devotion, and gives life nobility and significance despite our mortal brevity. And finally there must be education [Emphases added.] — some technique, however primitive, for the transmission of culture. Whether through imitation, initiation or instruction, whether through father or mother, teacher or priest, the lore and heritage of the tribe— its language and knowledge, its morals and manners, its technology and arts— must be handed down to the young, as the very instrument through which they are turned from animals into men.
The disappearance of these conditions— sometimes of even one of them —may destroy a civilization…
We find all the requisites of civilization included with the establishment of YHVH’s nation of Israel:
- political law and order for safety from danger within and without,
- Hebrew language unifying the mixed multitude that joined the Hebrew exodus from Egypt and steadily amalgamated into Israel, as per YHVH’s plan to reunite the nations of the world under his rule,
- a moral code,
- and education for the perpetuation of YHVH’s civilization in an interdependent web of society under YHVH’s leadership.
“And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
Moses commanded us a law / constitution, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together…(Deuteronomy 33)
This is not some complex legal document that God devised on his own. There is good reason for its similarity to Hammurabi’s Code that has nothing to do with Moses plagiarizing Hammurabi. It is written in the format known and used by the people of the time.
- The Pre-Ceremony Actions
- The Selection of the Covenant Representatives and the Cutting
of the Covenant Sacrifice
- The Exchange of Robes, Belts, and Weapons
- The Walk unto Death
- The Pronouncement of Blessings and Curses
- The Seal of the Covenant Mark
- The Exchange of Names
- The Covenant Meal
- Before enacting the covenant, the two parties would discuss the terms, conditions, the promises of blessing, and the warning of curses, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the treaty. In the case of large groups like nations, a covenant representative was chosen on behalf of each party to assess whether the personal sacrifices demanded by the pact was worth it. At Mount Sinai Moses represented God, and the elders of the people represented the millions of people.
- To start the ceremony, the representatives would sacrifice an animal, cutting it down the middle from head to tail. As on any butcher, they would be splattered with blood. (Seriously, you’ve got to stop visualizing the Bible in Sunday School cartoons and see humans as God sees us.)
- Intrinsic to most covenants was the concept that the parties – individuals or groups – were sharing benefits, i.e. they no longer wanted live independently but as one. In lieu of a signed and notarized document, the representatives would exchange a token symbolizing a new social position, new character, and new authority. The exchange of weapons symbolizes a political alliance, the responsibility and the power to defeat each each other’s enemies. At Mount Sinai, the most powerful weapon was given, by God alone, in the form of his words, by which he creates and destroys anything in the universe. Two tablets of stone were not needed to fit all the writing. One was a copy for God and the other a copy for the people.
- The two representatives would look to heaven and make a vow to fulfill their obligations or die. After this step, there was no way out. Ironically, resting on the Sabbath day is the first mention of death as a consequence of breaking the Mosaic covenant. This rest from one’s own work is explained later as proof of one’s faith in God’s promise to provide, rather than dependence on one’s own efforts, therefore does indeed have a foundational spiritual aspect.
- Then each would speak into existence the terms of the covenant – the blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. The blessings would often include abundant harvests, prosperity, good health, and numerous children. Curses would often include retaliation by the injured party, destruction, disease, poverty, famine, and defeat at the hands of their enemies, invoking their national deity(s) to bring about the blessings and cursings.
- If the agreement was a blood covenant, pagans would seal the covenant by drink wine commingled with the blood from each representative from cutting. Often they would also take a dark substance and rub it into the cut to create a tattoo, a public reminder that the two were now covenant partners. The Mosaic law prohibited drinking blood, cutting, or making marks; therefore, biblical covenants were often sealed with wine, the blood of grapes, This knowledge of ancient customs should help us understand any number of biblical accounts: circumcision as a mark of the covenant of stewardship over the territory God designated for himself, Abraham’s covenantal sacrifice ceremony, and Jesus’ sealing with his disciples of the new covenant in his blood, soon to be shed in sacrifice, by a cup of wine. Can we stop thinking of the Israelites as the bad guys that ran the poor Canaanites out of town? That’s just sheer prejudice against the Bible. Don’t you appreciate a law and order government protecting you from the Pagans?
- Exactly as in marriage, the covenant partners would next share their names to establish that that the two became one and now share personality, character, reputation, essence, and authority. This is recognized in the common practice of taking the name and character of one’s deity as one’s e.g. Yeshua = YHVH is salvation, or Sennacherib = the moon god Sin replaced my brothers (with me). With this information, the change in names of both Abram to Abr-ah-am and Sarai to Sar-ah by adding “ah” has a deeper meaning than just the translation, it added an element of YHVH’s name to indicate covenantal union. Don’t overlook the fact that YHVH also took on the name of his partner as part of the terms of the covenant, from henceforth being known to all the nations as the God of Israel.
- And lastly, the covenant was celebrated with a feast including bread and wine representing the body and blood of the covenant partners. As the new partners ate and drank they made their concluding declaration to live as one in their vows to live for each other. From this point forward, the two parties and all who they represented were viewed as one inseparable individual.
- This sheds a lot of light on Paul’s remonstration about divisions in the church at Corinth and his teaching in this context about the meaning of the Lord’s supper.
In less than six weeks of verbally agreeing to the covenant, but before it was finalized, the people broke virtually every single one of the Ten Commandments. Under the terms agreed to so far, the people were subject to annihilation.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt….Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.” (Exodus 32:7-10)
Notice the unity, the shared identity and authority that still exists between God and his alter ego Moses. And Moses acts on that.
And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand…And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables…And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.” (Exodus 32:15-19)
By literally breaking the tokens of the covenant that the people had figuratively broken, Moses reset the covenant making process. But he didn’t toss out the Ten Commandments with the stone fragments. That’s because the Ten Commandments are the indispensable basis for any stable, conflict-free society.
As those 10 utterances were memorialized and universalized, they provided a code of conduct that honored family, protected life, secured property, defined boundaries, enhanced trust and thereby secured the foundation for cohesive and productive social interaction. The Ten Commandments launched into human history the hypothesis that a society could be peacefully ordered under a rule of generally applicable laws rather than the forceful whim of autocrats.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” (Exodus 34:1)
Then Moses negotiated terms of a new covenant / new testament with God. He starts by acknowledging God’s right-ness in carrying out a select purge of those who had corrupted themselves with false gods. He thereby saves the entire nation who was guilty of something. Maybe they didn’t take part in the corruption as did Aaron – Aaron! – but they didn’t stop it either. Moses’ limited response to the people’s sin gave the people the opportunity to rethink, repent, reform, and demonstrate their loyalty to God, as did Aaron and his clan.
“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD‘s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.” (Exodus 32:26-28)
The Levites dealt with the sin of “commission” of idol worship. Then in acknowledgement of the sin of “omission”, Moses offered himself as atonement for the sin of the rest of the people. Think of it like a judge sentencing a married couple, one of whom actively abused their child while the other passively allowed it.
“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”
Wow. Has Moses taken on the LORD’s attributes or what?
“The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty;” (Exodus 34:6-7)
The problem with Moses’ offer, of course, was that he was carrying the guilt of his own previous sin including murder and disobedience to God. He would pay his own death sentence, so couldn’t pay anyone else’s debt.
Then YHVH doesn’t return to setting out the new covenant details, but drops back to the original, very basic, contract with Abraham’s seed.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart [from the covenant making process at Sinai], and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: And I will send an angel before thee…for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way. And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned:
And here is where Moses really kicks into gear as the role model of the peerless advocate, the schoolmaster showing the way to walking in perfection. If the people went against the monsters in the land of Canaan without God’s supernatural empowerment they would certainly be destroyed.
And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp...as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses...face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.
And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.” (Exodus 33)
And God resumes negotiating a second Mosaic covenant.
Refer back to the practice of making a covenant. Any agreement between two people(s), to this day, must take into account the cultural values of each party. In ancient cultures any covenant required acknowledging and accepting the oversight and therefore worship of the gods of each party. Having his status lowered to that of minor gods was anathema to YHVH, the God of gods.
In antiquity, each ethnic group (nation) had its own pantheon [hierarchy of gods], which may or may not have overlapped with that of neighbouring groups. Many of these religions had…national gods, who were considered responsible for the safety and well-being of the nation and of its people…alongside the personal gods…who took a special interest in an individual’s personal well-being…the family gods associated with the care of a clan or profession, as well as gods associated with specific situations or the protection thereof (fertility, health, war, contracts and so on)…
Many of the individual ethnic groups also considered itself the progeny of its national gods. For example, in the region that is now Yemen, the Sabaeans, the Minaeans and the Himyar each perceived themselves to be the children of respectively Almaqah, Wadd and Shamash. Similarly, in Canaan, Milcom held that role for the Ammonites, while Chemosh did so for Moab…
Yahweh’s function as a national god had previously automatically equated him with other national gods. [Emphasis added.]
We need to understand that monotheism is a radical break from the norm. The following description of Rome’s absorption of conquered gods and practices reflects the standards of all the empires.
While ruthless in usurping political and economic power from conquered peoples, the Romans were nonetheless scrupulous in protecting and even participating in most traditional religious beliefs and practices…
Furthermore, as the Romans conquered their vast empire they not only respected and honored the gods of the newly conquered lands but often brought these foreign beliefs and practices with them back to Rome… From the Roman perspective foreign gods were simply different manifestations, with different names, of the standard Roman gods.
Thus, Jupiter, the head of the Roman gods, was not only the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, but also of the Egyptian Amon-Re and the Syrian Bel (Baal)…The result of this was widespread syncretism, with conquered peoples adopting Roman beliefs and practices while the Romans themselves adopted the beliefs and practices of those peoples. As a consequence, in the name of religious tolerance and respect for all ancient traditions, the religious makeup of the Roman Mediterranean was radically transformed to the point that the Roman from the second century BC would not have been able to recognize the Roman religion of the third century AD as his own.
The failure of YHVH’s chosen represent him as the unique God of gods over all the nations of the earth required a re-negotiated new Mosaic covenant. And the first thing YHVH addresses is the 1st Commandment – thou shalt have no other gods before me. This is the foundation of any covenant with YHVH.
And he / the LORD said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest…
But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.” (Exodus 34)
The failure of YHVH’s chosen representatives to accurately represent him as the unique God of gods over all the nations of the world demanding more – not less – from the people.
“And [the first time] the LORD said unto Moses,
- Come up to me into the mount…
- and I will give thee tables of stone. (Exodus 24:12)
[The second time] the LORD said unto me,
- Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first,
- and come up unto me into the mount,” (Deuteronomy 10:1)
The second time around, Moses didn’t negotiate a reduced sentence as he did the first time the people broke the covenant. The demands of the new covenant are stiffer!
“And the LORD said unto Moses…let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the LORD his God…Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. And the Lord repented of the evil…And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book…in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.” (Exodus 32:9-34)
And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people...on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister: And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan…And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse…And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman… And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. Cursed be…Cursed be…Cursed be…Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb…That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God…
The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven…and cast them into another land, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 29) “And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other” (Deuteronomy 28:64)
I think we can all empathize with the unwillingness of Moses’ Hebrew people to share the burden of government with him. How many of us are willing to serve a few hours a week on so much as a PTA committee, or a few days on a jury? Consider what Moses was asking them to do. Become full time priests! Consume all one’s waking hours in service to God! And if everyone in the kingdom were priests, who needed their intercession? Why, their competitors, adversaries, enemies. That would seriously cut into the quality of life.
But Moses forged on. When, as the text clearly states but has been glossed over in the various religions’ application of this passage to their paradigm, the Melchizedekian priests within the multiethnic Hebrew nation rejected election to government in God’s kingdom, God, through Moses, simply gave it to another nation deserving of it. He did not exterminate the Hebrew nation just as he did not exterminate the Jewish nation when they rejected Jesus as Priest-King.
Follow the patterns of history. As on wallpaper they repeat and reveal what came before and what comes after.
“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom [rulership] of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits [productivity] thereof.“ (Matthew 21:43)
And here is when the nation of Israel comes into its own, as God’s elect. As a tight-knit royal family with a generations-long heritage of personal relationship and experience with YHVH and proven partnership with him in action, it’s just common sense that the Israelites would be elected to positions of responsibility in the new government.
“What advantage then hath the Jew? …chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:1-2)
The nation of Israel became a specialized offshoot of the existing and ongoing Hebrew Nation. Its function was to detail and exemplify specifically, what it means to “walk before me and be thou perfect” as stated by YHVH to Abraham.
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added”
Added! To what? An existing covenant! And that is detailed as the passage continues:
“because of transgressions, till the seed / Melchizedek should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator…Is the law then against the [pre-existing] promises of God? God forbid: for…the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of YHVH’s Promised Savior / Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe…Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Melchizedek / Christ, that we might be justified by faith.“ (Galatians 3:19-24)
What the law of Moses does is detail the functions of government leaders and requirements of citizenship in God’s – not our! – concept of a holy nation.
We can understand this by comparison to the American founders’ constitution / charter / formation / organization / written law establishing the republican system of the United States of America.
The Constitution of the United States contains a preamble and seven articles that describe the way the government is structured and how it operates. The first three articles establish the three branches of government and their powers: Legislative (Congress), Executive (office of the President,) and Judicial (Federal court system). A system of checks and balances prevents any one of these separate powers from becoming dominant. Articles four through seven describe the relationship of the states to the Federal Government, establish the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and define the amendment and ratification processes.
The Code of Hammurabi is a contemporaneous example of the constituting (verb) of one nation under god providing liberty and justice to all citizens through the rule of law publicly available therefore, therefore able to be appealed to for justice, in a written Constitution (noun). The laws are written in the same “if…then” format as the law of Moses, providing punishments for breaking the laws. It also declares, like the law of Moses, to have been given directly to the human ruler by the god.
When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi…then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak;
The United States Supreme Court building honors historic lawgivers in a frieze, where you can see Hammurabi preceding Moses in the lineup.
With this background in mind, take a fresh look at Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Or maybe a first look. We will find the exact same purpose of the law and even many of the same laws and principles, giving rise to claims that Moses never met God on Mount Sinai but simply plagiarized the earlier Code of Hammurabi. If we grant that all humans share the same needs for security, and that concrete idioms like “eye for an eye” are easier for uneducated citizens to understand that abstract terms like “equitable” so are generally useful for communication, we won’t jump to false conclusions about the source of the Mosaic code.
We can also see the same essential similarities between the American Constitution and the Israelite, but I don’t think anyone accuses the writers of that document of plagiarizing the Bible. Hmmm.
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land [as a reposistory allowing interaction with hyperdimensionals], to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your [protecting and providing] God [not them]…
- If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
- Then I will… give you rain in due season…and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
- And I will give peace in the land…and none shall make you afraid: and
- I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
- I will…make you fruitful / productive, and
- multiply you, and
- establish / make permanent my covenant with you…
- set my tabernacle dwelling place among you…And
- I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people
- But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, orif your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague…and
- ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you.
- when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and
- ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
- And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary to me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins...
- And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and…your daughters
- I will bring the land into desolation…And
- I will scatter you among the heathen, and
- they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.
- If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me…if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
- Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob,
- and also my covenant with Isaac,
- and also my covenant with Abraham…and
- I will remember the land...when they be in the land of their enemies…
- I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD
“Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.” (Exodus 18:25-26)”If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment…being matters of controversy within thy gates: then…thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment…and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee…thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee…And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.” (Deuteronomy 17:8-12)
- These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses. (Leviticus 26)
- “Thou shalt…set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren…
- thou mayest not set a stranger over thee…
- he shall not multiply horses [excessive military expenditures] to himself,
- Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away:
- neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold [burdensome taxation]…
- he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites…he shall read therein all the days of his life…to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren [true representative government]” (Deuteronomy 17:15-20)
Notice that the Constitution of the United States serves the general welfare of its constituents only. No caring about the rest of the world.
Hammurabi’s and Moses’ constitutions have more in common with each other than with the American. They both explicitly claim that their purpose is “to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land.” The difference is – and this is huge – “The Law of Moses provided justice, but it also dealt with spiritual laws and personal and national holiness. As a result, the Mosaic Law dealt with the cause of crime, not just its effects.”
In his book Highlights of Archaeology in Bible Lands, Fred Wight writes, “The Mosaic Law gives strong emphasis to the recognition of sin as being the cause of the downfall of a nation. Such a thought is entirely lacking in Hammurabi’s Code. . . . The great fundamental principle of the laws of God in the Hebrew Bible may be summed up in the words: ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy’ [Leviticus 11:45]. Such a principle as this was utterly unknown to the Babylonians as seen in their law code.”
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal / flesh, controlled by physical desires for pleasure and comfort, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow /agree with not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. [think going on then breaking a diet, drinking, drugging, sexual immorality…] If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin [nature] that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law immutable condition of nature], that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:12-25)
Hammurabi or the Supreme Court of the United States or any other leader can’t simply declare that such and such action is right or wrong and it be so. Like defying laws of physics, breaking laws of human nature will inevitably lead to destruction.
“After nearly thirty years, the data suggest that abortion has been anything but good for the United States.” The economic consequences alone are that abortion (the modern clinically withdrawn manner of child sacrifice)
- reduced the size of the economy,
- undercut one main cause of the American economy’s current dynamism: innovation,
- reduced the standard of living of the average America household
- is single-handedly responsible for anticipated imbalances in the Social Security retirement system,
- is perhaps the single largest American economic event of the past century, more significant than the Great Depression or the Second World War.
Had abortion remained illegal, the American population would
- be significantly larger
- contain a larger share of intact marriages and two-parent families
- have higher average living standards.
“…the analysis warns that if it continues unchecked, legal abortion will progressively erode both America’s relative economic importance and her average absolute standard of living.”
Lebanon’s destruction at the hands of its power hungry government leaders is a prime example of the natural course of unchecked power.
The nation’s leaders mismanaged the economy for decades with a Ponzi-like scheme whisking away the hard-earned money of Lebanese people from banks to keep the government afloat, pay off public debts, and line the pockets of those in charge. The troubled policy screeched to a halt after the country’s banks simply ran out of money last year — meaning Lebanese workers lost savings they’d stored in accounts…
And the big explosion that rocked Beirut [August 4, 2020], likely set off by 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a port warehouse for six years, showed how Lebanon’s leadership didn’t bother to remove a dangerous substance despite plenty of time and ample warning.
Decades of corruption and financial engineering that had led to stark inequality drove Lebanese into the streets in their hundreds of thousands in October. Life since then has gotten exponentially worse. The people have faced near economic collapse, a pandemic and the third-largest nonnuclear explosion in the world, which killed almost 160 people…Up to 300,000 were made homeless, and countless businesses are in ruins, in a country where so many already struggled to make ends meet…
Several thousand protesters marched through the destroyed areas of the city Saturday, with rubble piled on either side…By the time the security forces had forced all of the protesters off the streets in the early hours of Sunday, over 700 had been injured, according to figures from the Lebanese Red Cross and the Islamic Emergency and Relief Corps…A researcher for Human Rights Watch reported seeing government forces firing tear gas directly at people’s heads,
firing rubber bullets at their upper bodies…an NBC News journalist witnessed men in army uniforms viciously beating protesters, journalists and human rights workers throughout the night…Live ammunition was fired into the air near Parliament, scattering young, unarmed and terrifies protesters – it was unclear whether the army or the Internal Security Force fired the shots.
Those who felts they had nothing to lose stood their ground in resilience and continued to clash with the security forces.
“They have started a war,” several protesters said in response to the government’s violent crackdown.
Contrast with the oversight and restrictions placed on leaders in God’s kingdom.
“Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.
And the priest’s custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice…the priest took for himself… unto all the Israelites that came thither. And if any man said unto him [objected to improper sacrifice] then he would answer him…give it me…and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD…
And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him… Wherefore… honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?…them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm...all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them. And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.”(I Samuel 2:12-36)
“And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.” (I Samuel 13:13-14)
“And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” (Acts 13:22)
Here we see the sharp contrast between cursing the unrighteousness and blessing the righteous. As described in previous posts, the continuity of a man’s life through a dynasty of heirs is a form of eternal life. This applies to Melchizedek Jesus , “son of Melchizedek David, son of Melchizedek Abraham the Hebrew.” (Matthew 1:1).
“…say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee…to be ruler over my people, over Israel…And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels…and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever…And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.“ (II Samuel 7:1-17)
Both Hammurabi’s and Moses’ codes also share the same claim to further the welfare, not just of one nation, but “for all of mankind”. By now we should recognize that Hammurabi’s Constitutional government is the Antichrist’s, competing with God’s Messiah / Christ rule over all creation. And to compete, his is so right-sounding that it disarms even people who claim to be Christ-ones.
The difference between the two codes – and this is a big one – lies in
- the proof provided in the past of the enduring power of Moses’ God to enforce his law, therefore
- certainty of future punishment for all mankind who abhor his judgments and
- certainty of future freedom for all mankind who follow his judgments.
As much as irreligious people like to fault the laws of Moses, objectively speaking the Mosaic Covenant provides well for the quality of life of its subjects. There is one day out of seven free from labor as opposed to the Egyptian one day out of ten, as well as one full year out of seven, redistribution of resources to those unable to provide for themselves via a low ~22% income tax,, and periodic elimination of debt.
“At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD‘s release.” (Deuteronomy 15:1-2)
“ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family…if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand…According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it…Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 25:10-17)
The presumption here is not that loans are made to exploit commercial opportunity, but rather to avert disaster. Indeed the Mosaic law encourages such lending: 7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him what he needs. (Deut. 15: 7-8, NIV)
Thus in regulating intra-community debt, the Mosaic tradition imposes a structure of obligation that constrains the lender as much as the borrower. Debt, indentured servitude, and the alienation of land are viewed as the result of misfortune, with the result that creditors acquire an obligation not only to lend but also to remit debts periodically in the interest of justice…the obligations of the strong towards the weak…have been a central feature of Jewish belief since ancient times. Permanent bondage of debt or servitude were not to be countenanced within the tribes of Israel, in covenant with the God they believed had delivered them from slavery in Egypt.
Compare the assurances of debt relief in the Mosaic Covenant with the Mesopotamian reactionary debt release practices during crises.
In Hammurabi’s time…The peasantry was provided with land…tools, draught animals, livestock, and water for irrigation, so that they could grow food…they had to pay to the State as rent…When the harvest was poor, they accumulated debts. If peasants were unable to pay off their debts, they could also find themselves reduced to the condition of serfs or slaves…members of their family being made slaves. In order to ensure social peace and stability, and especially to prevent peasants’ living conditions from deteriorating, the authorities periodically cancelled all debt and restored peasants’ rights.”
“historians have identified with certainty about thirty general debt cancellations in Mesopotamia from 2400 to 1400 BC…
No further act of debt cancellation has been found for the period after 1400 BC; inequality increased and intensified. Land was taken over by big private land-owners and debt enslavement became commonplace. A large part of the population migrated north-west towards Canaan, with incursions into Egypt, which displeased the Pharaohs.
The ensuing centuries…have evidence of violent social struggles between creditors and debtors.”
The Mosaic Covenant provides greater benefits to its subjects than its contemporary rival, Hammurabi’s Laws.
the Covenant protects the disenfranchised members of society, regardless of their place or rank in society, while the Code of Hammurabi is interested only in the free men classand gives special protection to the middle and higher social classes of Babylon. This is seen in the laws of the Code as the awilu are given special status and protection but the lower classes, the wardu (slaves) and the mushkenu (free person of low estate) have no such protection. That makes the lowest classes of the Babylonian society significantly more liable. While biblical law sees human life as more valuable than material possession, the Code treated significant material loss as sometimes worthy of death (Code of Hammurabi, p 338). Conversely, God requires a life for a life, but the Laws of Hammurabi may only require financial compensation, and the life of a slave might only bring a fine…
The superiority of God’s Laws is that obedience (and holiness) is the desired outcome, so that a relationship with God is made possible, but the Law of Hammurabi’s goal is for longevity of the king and prosperity for the nation, regardless of who gets hurt. For example, the death penalty for theft (Hammurabi) seems extremely harsh as compared to the Covenant which required restitution. The death penalty for thievery in Babylon seems to indicate that the nation valued goods over human life, while the Covenant valued people over things, not requiring a thief to die. Another example was when anyone caused a pregnant woman’s child to die. The Book of the Covenant required a life for a life while the Code required they pay a fine. This Code clearly indicates a lesser value on human life Covenant. God sees the sanctity of life…the Code does not.