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 infantilized and lose their impact when the kids grow up into adults.
What images come to your mind when you think of Moses leading 9 million refugees into the wilderness?
As of 2015, it was estimated that over 21 million people in the world were living in refugee situations…a majority are hosted in third world or developing countries, presenting…challenges such as terrorism and insecurity, nationalism, xenophobia and intolerance…the issue of protection of refugees, in the background of continued conflict remains a cause for concern in many countries…
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…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.
Most refugee camps do not have sufficient food to provide to their populations…caloric intake is further reduced as refugees tend to sell food rations for other non-food goods. Moreover…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…
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…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…Malaria poses a huge threat…without window screens or solid doors…infecting 200 million every year…increased presence of rodents, which causes an increased incidence of Lassa fever in West African countries.
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.
There must be political order…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…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 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 — 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.
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 law and order providing the basic necessities of life and protection from internal and external harm?
The law of Moses is not so unique a legal document. 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 as a covenant between a people and their gods, or in their unique case, their God (detailed in the post Government: Covenant vs Contract).
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
“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.” (Deuteronomy 33)
The immediate failure of YHVH’s chosen nation to represent him as the unique God of gods ended the covenant before it was ratified.
“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 / joined themselves with hyperdimensionals; [read Seed of the Serpent if you don’t get the diagnostic meaning of “corrupt”] 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…
Put some life into God’s verbatim report! He is outraged and spitting it out! You can best believe Moses was mirroring God’s response when he stormed down the mountain.
And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing…Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
Basically, Moses destroyed the covenant between these people and YHVH before they were completely wiped out under the terms of the covenant.
“And when Moses saw that the people were naked”
Given the invariably sexual aspects of pagan practices to invite, empower and express the gods through human bodies, those who had engaged in the pagan rituals were undoubtedly actually sprawled out naked and exhausted if not actually hung over the next morning from the revelry.
But mainly the term naked means unprotected from any source of danger, like the men at Shechem.
(for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
The enemies of those flipping sides to pagan gods were not the Egyptians who had been thoroughly defeated and weren’t following them, and not the Canaanites who were no-where in the vicinity of this desert. They were the Hebrews who stayed faithful to Fighter God.
This perspective is articulated by Moses’ first words when he saw the hot mess in the camp.
“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp [so no-one could get out], and said, Who is on the LORD‘s side? let him come unto me.” (Exodus 32)
Only the Levites – Moses’ tribe – stood up for their leader, which is to say, stood on the LORD’s side. While the 11 other tribes and who knows how many millions of heathen taggers-on just stood by.
“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 there’s the reason the vast majority chose not to get involved. The people who had switched allegiance from union under a single authority to a confederation of promised self-rule were their relatives, friends, and neighbors.
Why did brothers fight on opposite sides of the Civil War?
The American Civil War is the bloodiest conflict in which the United States has ever engaged. More than 600,000 American soldiers lost their lives in four years [source: Library of Congress] at a time when the total U.S. population was around 34,000,000 [source: U.S. Census]. This is proportional to about 5.2 million Americans dying in a four-year period beginning in 2008.
No one — no matter how prestigious — was exempt from the divisiveness of the Civil War…First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln had six close relatives who fought for the Confederacy. Three died in battle [source: NNDB]…
the oft-used term to describe the Civil War, the “Brothers’ War” [source: PBS]…
While the U.S. has suffered the strife of a civil war only once, other countries have seen their citizens engage in ongoing battles over religious and political divisions…
Many of these tensions have been ongoing for millennia...In A.D. 661, 29 years after the prophet Mohammed’s death, a dispute over whom was the rightful leader of Islam led to…Islam splitting into two opposing sects — Sunnis and Shiites…centuries of violence…
In 1990, long-held hatred between the African nation of Rwanda’s Tutsi and Hutu populations resulted in…the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and the Hutus who sympathized with them [source: CIA]…
It takes deep conviction to choose ideology over family.
“And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses…Consecrate / set apart yourselves today to the LORD.” (Exodus 32)
“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” (Jude, verse 5)
“and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.” (Exodus 32)
Out of an estimate of a total of 9 million people. Compared to the American Civil War, that’s a very small percentage. And as a preventive measure to maintain unity under Levite authority for roughly 1.3 thousand years from Moses to Christianity, compared to the number of deaths in the roughly equivalent 1.3 thousand years of Muslim internecine warfare from Mohammed unto now, a very small price to pay indeed.
The zealous Levites – as Hebrews in the land of Canaan – had proven themselves fearless in the face of overwhelming odds before. No surprise that they did so again – as Hebrews at Mount Sinai. So no surprise that the LORD chose / anointed them as the representatives of Fighter God, and turned Jacob’s curse into a blessing.
“The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 18)
“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)
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.
Then, as Melchizedek, Moses himself initiated the 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.
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.” (Exodus 32)
Wow. Has Moses developed YHVH’s Savior’s attributes or what?
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.
“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 giants 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.
In antiquity, each ethnic group (nation) had its own…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…
And [Moses] said unto him…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 Moses proves what a top Melchizedek can do right here.
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest…(Exodus 33)
But God is no pushover. This time he demanded more from both Moses.
“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 very first thing God addresses is an expansion on the first commandment, a prophylactic measure to prevent harm.
And he / the LORD said, Behold, I make a covenant…Observe thou that which I command thee this day…lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest…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:” (Exodus 34)
The second time around, Moses didn’t wait for God to unleash his wrath on recalcitrant sinners. He wrote a stiff sentence into the covenant.
“And Moses charged the people…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.
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 hall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deuteronomy 29)
Many sincerely devout Jews were mistaken in thinking that the law of Moses was the means of salvation. Tragically, many devout Christians also misunderstand the system of law that Moses established.
The answer is set in stone by Moses when he refers to the intended sacrifice by the Israelites as the abomination of the Egyptians.
“And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. And Moses said, It is not meet so to do;
- for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God:
- lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?” (Ex 8:25-26)
What is Moses saying here?
One scholarly source interprets the abomination as the act of sacrificing an animal that was sacred to Egyptians.
However, the biblical text states that the abomination is the animal itself. This was a lamb.
Bear in mind that “lamb” does not define a cute poodle-y little thing you can cuddle in your arms. The official term “lamb” defines a male sheep in the first year, which for sheep is up to full grown.
For the Hebrews, the sheep represented and temporarily substituted for the Lamb of God, the son of God born from the seed of the woman, promised to all humanity since the beginning of time.
“And the angel said unto her…behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son…Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:30-36)
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith…a body hast thou prepared me…By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Yahweh’s Consecrated Savior / Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:1-10)
For the Egyptians, their rival god was Khnum, one of the principal and oldest gods of Egypt, worshipped as the creator and sustainer of the life of mankind.
Pop quiz. Who is this god imitating? The Lamb of God! This makes him…the antithesis of The Promised One / Messiah / Christ, AKA antichrist, one of the many different cultural representations of the seed of the serpent.
This was not an abstract notion. This was very solidly achieved through the hybridization of a god impregnating a woman, secretly carried through the Flood in recessive genes. Hybridization was also achieved through demon possession by a god’s spirit.
“The unholy spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the hyper dimensional being shall overshadow thee: therefore also that unholy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the son of a god.” (Luke 1:30-36)
Moses is frankly acknowledging that the Egyptians, like many other groups, find the Israelite’s God an abomination in the pure definition of the creation of hybridization between god and man.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (I Timothy 2:5-6)
There was, and remains, an ongoing battle for humanity between God and Satan.