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Exodus 34:1-35:3, New Tablets

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Helen, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Aug 29, 2001
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    This time the Lord had Moses chisel the stone tablets. Then God Himself again wrote what was on the first tablets. When the Lord ordered Moses to come back up the mountain with the chiseled stones, no one and no animal was allowed near the mountain.

    And it is on this second trip up the mountain the Lord answers Moses’ request to see Him. In line with what was said in the previous study, the ‘name’ of God given Moses is the character of God. God proclaims, as He passes Moses, ”The LORD [YHWH], the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God [elohim], slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

    Punishing? Here the KJV is again clearer when it uses the term “visits the iniquity of” – in other words, the sins of the fathers affect the children and the children’s children for several generations. The verb used there is paqad which means to oversee, to take charge of or to charge. The indication of the phrase is that the sins of the fathers cause their children problems for a number of generations. “Punish” is not a good choice for the translated word, there, for it not only does not go with the original context, but it is contradicted by what God says through Ezekiel in Ezekiel 18. Contradictions mean the interpreters went astray, not that God did!

    After God identifies His character to Moses, Moses asks for forgiveness for the Israelites. God promises to do wonders through them, and then repeats some of the commands which will be very necessary for them to remember when they reach the promised land. Idolatry of all sorts is to be totally destroyed and the Israelites are not to take part in it or intermarry with those who practice it. In verses 15 and 16, God warns what will happen if they do interact with pagans.

    God commands them to remember what we today call the Passover, but which is referred to here as the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

    Repeated is the fact that the firstborn is His, and that the firstborn sons must be redeemed. This is going to be an important picture to help them understand the Christ later.

    The Sabbath commandment is repeated.

    The Feast of Weeks is commanded. God then ties the three commanded feasts with His giving of the Promised Land to them.

    Blood and yeast are not to be part of the same sacrifice. This is also an important picture. Yeast is generally a picture of sin. The blood was looking forward to the shedding of Christ’s blood. Christ had no sin in Him, and the blood sacrifice must also not be contaminated with any yeast product.

    I have never heard a sermon about this, but Moses relates that he was forty days and nights again with the Lord on the mountain and that he ate no bread and drank no water during that time. Assuming ‘bread’ is meaning all physical food and ‘water’ all physical drink, this was indeed a miracle.

    It is in this chapter we learn what was on the tablets. The Ten Commandments. These are considered “the words of the Covenant.”

    And then the King James tells us Moses face ‘shone’ when he came down from the mountain, and the NIV tells us his face was ‘radiant.’ The word used here in the Hebrew is a strange one, used only four times in the Bible. Three times are here and the fourth is in Psalms 69:31, where it is translated as ‘horns.’ The word does mean something projecting from the head, be it crown or horn – or radiance. It was the Hebrew use of this word which gave rise to some of the Medieval paintings of Moses showing a horn coming from his head! That is the way the Latin Vulgate translates it.

    Most commentators indicate that Moses, unawares, was now reflecting God’s glory, and that is why he veiled his face when around the Israelites.

    Chapter 35 opens with Moses repeating to the Israelites God’s commands concerning keeping the Sabbath. The death penalty is prescribed for anyone breaking the Sabbath. In verse three we read the extra “Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” In other words, all food preparation was to be done the day before.

    These instructions are followed immediately by instructions for the gathering of materials for the Tabernacle. The close proximity of these two pronouncements indicates, again, how seriously the Lord wanted the Israelites to understand that keeping the Sabbath was.
  2. kingnothing

    kingnothing Guest

    hey helen
    i have some questions about this passage,in 34:1 it says that God will write ,but later in 34:27 it says that moses wrote.
    the other thing is why christians don't keep the sabbath anymore.?
    thk u
  3. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Aug 29, 2001
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    Hi King,

    In any covenant, two copies of the agreement would be made; one for each party. Thus, God wrote out the stipulations of the covenant on the first and Moses on the second.

    First, God spoke the "Ten Words" or the "Ten Commandments" -- that is, the Covenant. That is recorded in Exodus 20:1. Moses evidently wrote down these words himself, for we see in Exodus 24:7, that "he took the Book of the Covenant" and read it to the people.

    At this point the Israelites all agree to obey 'everything the Lord has said; we will obey."

    After this is the sprinkling of blood, making it a blood covenant (Exodus 24:8).

    Then comes the covenant meal with the elders in verse 11 of chapter 24. It is only after this agreement, sprinkling of blood, and meal that the Lord gives the first stone tablets to Moses. There would have been two sets, or two tablets, both engraved by the Lord. This was standard practice for any legal agreement, and still is: both parties get a copy of it. This is the first time Moses stays up on the mountain for forty days and nights (Exodus 24:18).

    For the next chapters we read what God said to Moses regarding the Tabernacle, the Ark, and the furnishings.

    Then we come back to the people. This is now chapter 32, and this is when the people make the golden calf, or bull, claiming this was the god who brought them out of Egypt. Even though God knows what is going on, and warns Moses, Moses is so furious when he sees for himself that he smashes the stone tablets. That is plural, meaning both copies. The covenant is broken already.

    Moses then attempts to offer himself as atonement for the people. This is now chapter 33. God restores the covenant but this time Moses has to write out his own copy. God writes His, and my presumption is that Moses copied it on his tablet. Thus, Exodus 34:29 tells us that Moses came down from the mountain with "the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands."

    I hope that helps there.

    Now, regarding Sabbath. The Jewish, or traditional Sabbath is Saturday. However the Sabbath is the ONE commandment which is altered in the New Testament, and for a very interesting reason: Jesus fulfilled the law for us. This does not mean the law is no longer applicable, but that Christians (those who are honestly in Christ, and Christ in them) will not be judged BY the law, but are rather under the mercy of God because of Christ.

    The fourth commandment is the Sabbath commandment. It is a bridge commandment: the first three have to do with man's relationship with God and the last six with man's relationship with man (generic, including women!).

    Jesus HIMSELF is the Bridge between God and man. As we read in the New Testament, in Matthew 12, Jesus tells the Pharisees, "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." This was at approximately the same time as the words He had spoken: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

    So, first of all, when a person is in Christ, the person gradually learns what Christ meant. It is a gradual thing, because we are used to worrying and fussing and planning and being frustrated and then getting up and trying again....and again...and again...

    You probably know the feeling. But what I and many others have learned is that we don't need to do that. In Christ we have peace and rest in our spirits when we learn to trust His leading and care. It doesn't come easily to most, for we are trained to be able to 'take care of ourselves' and make our own decisions based on our own logic. This is not bad except when Christ wants us to do something else! But when we learn to keep our eyes on Him and trust and follow Him, then there truly is a rest and peace inside because we are given the strength, energy, and wisdom to do exactly what He is asking of us.

    In this sense, then -- in the deepest way -- our Sabbath is permanent.

    But we are still living in bodies which get tired and need a rest that God has ordered us to take, once a week. But Paul mentioned in his letter to the Colossians (Colossians 2:16) that what particular day was kept as a Sabbath rest was not something for others to judge. The presumption is made there, however, that SOME day each week will be a rest day and holy to God -- in other words, not simply a day to exchange work for sports or other work or whatever. Most Christians have ended up choosing Sunday. Many, however, prefer Saturday, in keeping with Jewish tradition. Many pastors actually keep a quiet personal Sabbath on Mondays, because for them the weekend is pretty solid work! Many churches have services on Wednesday evening, and for those who work on the weekends, Wednesday then becomes their personal Sabbath.

    However there is no set 'law' regarding it. Since the words of God are for our benefit, however, it is foolish to ignore taking a Sabbath rest. The Ten Commandments still stand, whether or not we are judged by them. They were instituted for our benefit and they remain for our benefit. The Sabbath rest is definitely for our benefit! Therefore, although we are not judged by it, it should be kept -- it is still important.

    All that said, the sad thing is that so many Christians really do not keep any Sabbath on a regular basis. For this reason we, as a population, tend to have the same stress-related problems as the rest of the world. In that way, we have lost our witness to the world.

    It can be hard to obey when we think, "I've GOT to get this done... and then there's that project...and then there's this request..." We feel so pressured. But God would not have had to issue ten commandments if these were things we did naturally! One does not have to command a person to eat or sleep, right? But we have to be commanded to worship God only, to be faithful to one's spouse, to not murder or lie -- because, whether we like it or not, these things comes naturally to human nature.

    The Sabbath, being a commandment, can be seen in this light as not being in accord with our natures. It had to be commanded.

    And you are right, it does seem to be the commandment most Christians break most often. That is a sad thing.

    Thank you for your questions. It helps clarify things in my mind, too!
  4. kingnothing

    kingnothing Guest

    I only asked about the sabbath to get to this point: while we can find verses that justify something minor like keeping the sabbath,why can't we use many verses ,like do not resist evil with evil and many other verses about mercy,to justify the abolishment of the death penalty,which is in my view,much more important than the sabbath.
    And that's what Jesus said too.
  5. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Aug 29, 2001
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    God didn't consider keeping the Sabbath a minor point, first of all. It is the MOST repeated commandment in the Bible.

    And whether or not we like the death penalty, it is a commandment based on the fact that we are created in the image of God. One does not do purposeful violence to that image. That is another theme that runs through the Bible.

    The verses you mention about not resisting evil, and reacting with mercy are all to the individual, not to the culture or society. It is never up to the individual to exact justice for any wrongdoing he feels has been done him. But it is imperative for a culture to keep order and establish justice. God has given us one firm order regarding that justice in any culture at any time: capital punishment for murder. Whether or not we 'like' it, that is His command. In another thread, I believe, it was asked if we in America have considered life imprisonment. That is, in fact, the most common punishment for murder here. The result? A violent prison population and a tremendous tax drain on the rest of us. God knows what He is doing...

    [ October 10, 2002, 08:19 PM: Message edited by: Helen ]
  6. kingnothing

    kingnothing Guest

    JEsus was the first one who broke the sabbath rule! and he was the one emphasizing that a human being is more important than the sabbath.
    Christians are so selective when it comes to the law,do you cover your head inside the church?
    do you stone your kid if he said smth wrong to you?
    And why you don't ask death penalty for adulturers too?.............
  7. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Aug 29, 2001
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    Did He break it? Or did He break the Pharisees' concept of it?

    Yes, and He also said the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. It is a gift from God to us, and one we should not abuse.

    Many do. Others understand that the covered head was a symbol of submission and therefore indicative of the attitude of the heart. Whichever way a person decides to go on this issue, the crux of it is the matter of the heart and its position before God.

    First of all, regarding a 'kid' saying 'wrong' to a parent, please see the study on Exodus 21 to see what was really being said, because it is not that!

    Secondly, the death penalty for the two above-mentioned crimes was commanded for the theocratic state of early Israel and is not commanded for any other culture in the world.

    If you want to understand what the Bible is saying, you need to read it first...
  8. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Oct 10, 2001
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