Disclaimer: I am not a Biblical scholar. All my posts and comments are opinions and thoughts formulated through my current understanding of the Bible. I strive to speak of things that can be validated through Biblical Scriptures, and when I'm merely speculating, I make sure to note it. My views can be flawed, and I thus welcome any constructive perspectives and criticisms!
Monday, October 27, 2014
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
GOD GIVES MOSES THE CIVIL LAW FOR ISRAEL (Exodus 21-23)
The civil law is also called, “the Book of the Covenant” (Exodus 24:7).
God has chosen the Israelites as His people, forming a covenant with this people. He therefore has set them aside to live as how His people should live, to set an example for the rest of the world. How would the Israelites know how to live as God’s people should live? By the Book of the Covenant.
God holds us accountable to live by His Word
When we do not fulfill our task, we will be evaluated by God, we will have to answer to God. This may sounds like a lot of pressure, but we should keep the following in mind:
1. God doesn’t compare our accomplishments with other people’s accomplishments. He knows how many talents He has given to each one of us, and He expects us to do the best we can do from it (Matthew 25:14-30).
2. God will never give us more than what we can handle.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Therefore, when we are called by God, we have every confidence that we will succeed. The process is never easy, but God has given us enough to succeed, and He expects nothing but the best from us. This is why God’s people should be more accountable than others – Because we answer to a God who has given us everything to succeed!
God’s laws teach us how to live in civil harmony
God protects those who cannot protect themselves (servants & women) (Exodus 21:1-11)
God protects against violence (Exodus 21:12-27)
God protects against abuse of animals (Exodus 21:28-36)
God protects against malicious sabotage against a person’s property (Exodus 22:1-15)
When we know we have done something wrong, we should always make it right – even if the person isn’t aware that we did something wrong to him. We should never think that just because we can get away with it, we can pretend nothing happened and move on. Why? We answer to an all-knowing, all-seeing God. We may be able to pull a “quick one” over other people, but there is no hiding from God. When we stand in front of God, we will each be held accountable for our own actions – The only way we can stand with our heads held up high is if we are honest with ourselves and if we live honestly by God’s Word.
God protects social responsibilities (Exodus 22:16-31)
- Do not take advantage of women, especially young virgins
- No sexual relations with animals
- No worshiping of false gods
- No mistreating strangers
- Do not take advantage the weak, including the widows, the children, and the poor.
- Do not curse our leaders
- Offer God our first fruits
God instructs us to live with justice (Exodus 23:1-9)
- Do not lie to pervert justice
- Do not follow evil
- Do not show partiality based on how people look – That is, everyone, rich or poor, deserves true justice
- Always do the right thing, even if no one is watching, even for our enemies – Even our enemies deserve true justice!
- Do not take bribes to pervert justice
- Do not take advantage of strangers
God instructs us to keep His Sabbaths (Exodus 23:10-13)
The point of keeping the Sabbath isn’t to turn it into a ritual but that we should always remember to keep our hearts on God.
The following feasts of Israel speak of Jesus (Exodus 23:14-19)
1. Feast of Unleavened Bread – Jesus is sinless, and His blood washed us of our sins.
2. Feast of the First Fruits – Jesus is risen. He is our First Fruits, as the first of us to be risen to eternity.
3. Feast of Tabernacle – Jesus is our bridegroom. We will one day be joined to Him and enjoy a great meal, the marriage supper of the Lamb!
God promises to bring Israel to victory
I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.
And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.
Exodus 23:28, 30
And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you… Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.
And I will set your bounds from the Red Sea to the sea, Philistia, and from the desert to the River.
Israel needs to remain faithful to God
Exodus 23: 22
But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars.
So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water.
You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me.
ISRAEL COMMITS TO THEIR CONVENANT WITH GOD (Exodus 24)
As the only mediator of the Old Covenant, Moses alone could approach God directly. Why? Because our sin keeps us apart from God. In our sinful state, if we were to stand in the presence of God, we would immediately burn away in judgment because God’s perfect being burns through all sin. This was why before Jesus, only the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies to communicate with God – And they could only enter AFTER they had followed the ceremonial preparations and washings dictated by God. If the whole process was not done to God’s standards, the High Priest would be immediately struck dead.
Jesus’ blood changed all this. Because Jesus is the only perfect man, only His blood could once and for all wash us clean of our sins. When we accept Jesus as our savior, we can now stand in God’s presence, because instead of seeing our sin, God now sees the blood of Jesus, who has perfectly atoned us of our sin! Hence, with Jesus’ coming, He has become the mediator of the New Covenant. He is the only way to God, because only Jesus’ blood can completely wash away our sins, because only Jesus can be the perfect sacrificial Lamb.
For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
We were redeemed with the blood of Christ, the perfect man, our God! To know that we are redeemed by God Himself, we ought to have a lot of confidence in God’s love for us and our relationship with Him.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
The LORD said to Moses, "I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, 'At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God."
GOD SPEAKS TO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL THROUGH MOSES AND AARON (Exodus 19)
You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
The Mosaic covenant: God forms a covenant with the Israelites through Moses
To receive God’s blessing and inherit the earth as priests and a holy nation, the Israelites needed to remain faithful to God and obey God’s voice.
The people accepted God’s call and promised to do all that He has commanded. God then came to Moses in a thick cloud, to show the Israelites that Moses was the chosen one through whom God would speak.
GOD GIVES MOSES THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (Exodus 20:1-17)
The Law was given AFTER God took His people out of bondage, AFTER He begun a personal relationship with them. Only having done these two things, did God then give the Israelites the Law, allowing them to become servants of God. This follows the ancient way of servant hood. The king or leader would redeem a group of people, and they would abide by his rules because they would become his servants. Thus, the purpose of the Law was NOT to show what we can do to receive salvation. Instead, the purpose of the Law was to illustrate that by LIVING it, we can come to understand how our lives are better, therefore creating a thirst in the world for God.
The first four commandments apply to the people’s relationship with God
God first identified Himself to the Israelites as their God, who brought them out of Egypt, out of bondage.
1st Commandment: We should have no other gods before God.
Worshiping any gods other than God is idolatry. Such gods include, obviously, gods of all religions* and further includes anything object we place above God, such as career, wealth, social status, etc.
* When we treat God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as a religious figure rather than understand God and His works as the Absolute Truth, then we have not truly recognized God as God Almighty but merely view Him as any other religious god.
2nd Commandment: We should not make for ourselves a carved image in the form of anything in heaven or on earth.
This is closely tied to the 1st Commandment, where God is making it clear that idol worship is a major sin.
Why is the concept of idolatry so important that God spends the first 2 Commandments drilling this into our head? Because only God of the Bible is the Truth, supported by not just His Word alone but also historical, archeological, scientific findings. All other gods are mere creations of man and offer nothing more than man’s imagination. How can there be true salvation or understanding of life through creations of the created? If we don’t start off following the one and only Truth, we would be led astray. If we want to end right, then we have got to start right – and that begins with following the one true God.
3rd Commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Most people take this commandment to mean that we shall not use “swear word.” While the Bible does teach us that we need to be cautious about what we say (James 3), because words have power and oftentimes reflect our inner state of being (cf. Ephesians 4:29, Matthew 15:18, Proverbs 12:18, etc.), this commandment goes beyond just our choice of words. As Dr. Chuck Missler of the Koinonia Institute likes to put it, this commandment is more about our “ambassadorship.”
2 Corinthians 5:20
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
In other words, as followers of Christ, we represent Him as we live our lives. Everything we do or say directly reflects Him and how deep our relationship with Him is. When non-believers watch us, and they walk away thinking, “I don’t see a difference between having Christ in their lives,” we really need to take that to heart.
We squeeze oranges and expect orange juice. We squeeze lemons and expect lemonade. We squeeze Christians and ought to get Christ! So, fellow brothers and sisters, be fitting ambassadors for Christ!
4th Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
We are taught to set aside at least once every 7 days and devote it to God. The point is to always remember our relationship with God, to make sure that no matter how crazy life gets, we always come back to God and reset, to maintain the most important relationship in life – our relationship with God! I have learned that as long as my personal relationship with God is in great health, then everything else in life just fall smoothly into place.
The last six commandments apply to the people’s relationships with other people
5th Commandment: Honor our father and our mother.
6th Commandment: We should not murder.
7th Commandment: We should not commit adultery.
Unfaithfulness of our spirit is idolatry. Unfaithfulness of our flesh is adultery. Throughout the Bible, Israel’s idolatry has been compared to that of adultery (e.g., Isaiah 57).
8th Commandment: We should not steal.
9th Commandment: We should not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Jesus was crucified because of false witnesses. No matter how much we dislike a person, it is never Christ-like to “lie” to get what we want or to give them what they “deserve.” God is the ultimate Judge who will right all wrongs (Romans 12:19) – because we are not perfectly righteous, we cannot fairly right a wrong and therefore need to leave that in the hands of God!
10th Commandment: We should not covet our neighbor’s house, wife, servant, ox, donkey, or anything that belongs to our neighbors.
Do not covet. God gave each one of us what He expects us to use to succeed. He does not give us more and expect less or give us less and expect more – Instead, He expects us to abide in His will and use what He has given to each of us to do good works (Matthew 25:14-30). So, focus on what He has given us and be grateful, be fruitful! What He has given to others, be happy for them and encourage them with their walk in Christ faithfully with all that they have been given as well!
THE PEOPLE BECAME AFRAID OF GOD (Exodus 20:18-26)
At this point, the Israelites were still in bondage by the traditions of Egypt. The epitome of this was when they made the golden calf (Exodus 32) – Moses was gone for 40 days; they didn't know if he was still alive, and they needed food and water… so, instead of remaining faithful in God and trust His provision, they decided to create religion and bow to a man-made idol, thinking that would bring them food and water. Sounds ridiculous – but oh how easily we fall into such a way of thinking!
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
The Israelites were afraid of the manifestations of God, in a manner shared by Adam after he ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Before eating the fruit, Adam had not noticed he was naked because his full attention was placed on God and God alone. However, after eating the frust, the first thing he noticed was himself.
Similarly, that was exactly what was happening with the Israelites. The people noticed only themselves but not God. Even when they tried to acknowledge God, they approached God with presuppositions – God must be approached a certain way, songs must be sang a certain way, etc.
The Israelites had always known about God, but they had not yet developed a personal relationship with God as Moses had. They had no idea how to approach God and were frightened by God's manifestations. Instead of learning how to become closer to God through Moses, they chose to hide instead. They hid from God. And instead of trusting God, they relied heavily on their own thinking of who God is and how God should be approached.
Adam ate from the Tree and received carnal knowledge. And his knowledge of the flesh prevented him from fellowship with the God that he loved! Adam had the wrong knowledge. When we approach God with the wrong knowledge, based not on the Scripture but man-made traditions, we too will not be able to fellowship with God!
When we are in the flesh, we are not with God. Our desires of the flesh blocks us from interacting with God. When we are in the spirit with God, we do not focus on the flesh. Israelites and Gentiles alike, we all need to realize that when we worship, it is all about God. Our full attention should be place on God – not on ourselves and how we appear to other people or how other people appear to us!
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
We hinder ourselves when we tie ourselves down with traditions. We stay at the base of the mountain like the Israelites did when God wants us to be at the top of the mountain with Him! We hide from Mount Sinai when we are afraid of His presence because of our bondages – bondages created by our fleshly desires for the world. When we are in His presence, the earthly enters the eternal. Lusts of the flesh and all shackles fall away because we have been drawn into the presence of God, because our focus is on Him, not ourselves.
Let our fear of the Lord keep us from sinning
The Israelites’ fear was of the flesh – the fear of death. This is not the fear we should have toward God. Instead, the fear of God we should have should be that out of reverent respect, respect that comes from the understanding that because God is so great, He deserves our reverence.
Fleshly fear can cripple a person, stopping us from doing the great things that God may have in His heart for us to do.
Reverent fear is healthy – It allows us to view and respect God in His Sovereignty, which would allow us to abide in His Will with no hindrance and therefore truly bathe in His blessings.
Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.
God is alive and living, not to be represented by objects. Why? Because we humans have the tendency to idolize objects, and God does not want us to turn to false worship.
We need to realize that our God is a LIVING God. He is all-powerful, not limited at all by our own small minds but limitless to even beyond our imagination. We should not boil God down to images or statues, because our God is not confined by location or by structure. We can worship Him anytime, anywhere, because God is so big, He is able to remain connected with us no matter where we are.
When we objectify God, we shrink our view of His greatness down to that object. We start to believe God is limited (for example, “I must carry Him in my purse when I travel so that I can remain close to Him,” or, “I can’t wait to visit Jerusalem, so that I can be closer to God,” or, “Oh my, His statue is dusty. Let me clean it up so that God looks great.”) – God is NOT limited! We don’t need to carry Him anywhere or clean Him up or “help” him out in any way! He is the One who gives! And so, our view of God must be of God is His COMPLETE sovereignty, and we must be careful that we do not limit our view of Him because of our own inadequacies!
Sunday, October 12, 2014
The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”
GOD MAKES BITTER WATERS SWEET (Exodus 15:22-15:27)
It took only 3 days before the Israelites started grumbling and complaining. Moses, like all good men of prayer, took his prayer to God and sought help.
As long as the Israelites followed the following commandments, the Israelites will remain favorable in God’s sight (Exodus 15:26):
1. Diligenetly heed the voice of God
2. Do what is right in His sight
3. Listen to His commandments
4. Keep all His statues
This event was a picture of how Jesus (represented by the tree) could make anything bitter within us sweet. We can choose to be bitter in life because of all the wrongs that have happened. But compared to all the things we have wronged God, God still chose to love us and leave that bitterness. When we are in Christ, we, too, should allow Christ to sweeten the bitterness of our lives.
GOD PROVIDES MANNA (Exodus 16)
The Israelites would rather trade in eternal life and freedom for comfort in the flesh for a short period of time. No pain, no gain. Do we really think we can obtain perfection without first fighting through all the imperfections? The Israelites did not see the ultimate goal of their salvation. Instead, they were so focused on how much more they were suffering that they just kept complaining, wanting to go back to their old lives. Were their old lives that much better? They were under horrible slavery and were horribly abused – sure, they had food – and isn’t it sad that for just the food (and it’s not even good food!), they would much rather give up the freedom to go right back into slavery? Instead of figuring out how to gather food in the wilderness – They didn’t want to do any of that work – they just wanted Moses to figure it out and do it for them. In other words, they behaved like babies who didn’t want to help, who just wanted to be served.
In sum, the Israelites whined and were unappreciative of all that God had done for them. Like the new Jewish Christians who wanted to go back to their old ways described in the Book of Hebrew, so, too, did these Israelites who wanted to go back to their old ways when they hit hard times.
Complaining despite of evidence of God’s provision, grace, and love is a great disservice to God. When we complain under these circumstances, we are misrepresenting God. Non-Christians would see that our God can't even keep us happy, and why would anyone who want a god like that? Do not misrepresent God. Do not be ungrateful. Do not complain selfishly. Pray for guidance and insight as to why we might be going through a trial and how we might walk through it with the support and love of God.
There is a bigger point to be made here: We are NEVER to go back to our ways of sin! It is of course much easier to live in sin than to walk in the light. As Christ’s followers, we need to continue to head in the direction of light, not shrink back into the shadows of evil!
And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt.
He hears your complaints against the LORD.
Your complaints are not against us but against the LORD.
Every complaint we make, we make against God—and He hears it all. The Israelites hated their lives in the Wilderness so bad, they wished that God would have killed them in Egypt instead of rescuing them out of Egypt! They weren’t just complaining. They were selfishly ungrateful! Let us not follow in such footsteps.
So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”
“Manna” is the Hebrew word for “What is it?” And to this day, the bread that rained from Heaven, provided by God, is called Manna. Manna was provided everyday for the entire 40 years the Israelites spent in the Wilderness.
God teaches us obedience in faith through His provisions
This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: “Let every man gather it according to each one’s need… He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
Each person was responsible for gathering his own portion. Each man had a choice. If they chose to not believe and refused to eat, they could. They would starve because of their hardened hearts. Similarly, we could starve ourselves spiritually by refusing Jesus, and be condemned to Hell.
Additionally, God is teaching us to rely on him EVERY day, EVERY meal. We are here because of the miracles of God. These are all daily blessings from God.
On the sixth day, twice the amount of bread will be provided. On the seventh day, there would be no raining of bread. The Israelites must trust the Lord on this day, that God’s provision is ENOUGH.
Some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank.”
Moses told the Israelites to gather according to each one’s needs and to not leave any until morning. However, some people still tried to “save” some, “just in case” God’s provision wasn’t enough.
We all do this, don’t we? We are reluctant to let go of control, and when we’re asked to put 100% of our faith in God, we’re still looking for ways to make sure we can hold on to even the tiniest bit of control. This is a faith issue. This is us saying, “God, I know you provide, but I just don’t trust You enough to continue to provide, so I must take some control of the situation. You know, just in case.”
Through the provision of Manna, God teaches us two things:
1. Our faith in Him and in His provision is a day-by-day commitment. God will always give us enough for the day. And the next day, He will renew us and again, provide enough for us to live through that day.
2. We cannot live off of yesterday's fellowship with Jesus! When the Israelites tried to save the Manna from the previous day, the Manna started to rot and stink. Similarly, we cannot think that our fellowship with God today will be enough to last us through the week or whenever the next time we have the time to fellowship with God. God renews us daily, and our souls need to be renewed daily to stay strong in the corrupted world that we reside in. The longer we wait until our next fellowship with God, the more our rotten and wormy souls start to stink, the more the sins of our flesh become apparent.
Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.”
Through this, God was teaching the Israelites about the Sabbath. On the day of the Sabbath, no work was to be done, because it was to be a day where we focus 100% on God, to remember how He has blessed us and rescued us out of the bondage of sin. And although no work was to be done, we need not to work about food or shelter, because God will provide – God will ALWAYS provide. And so here, God is teaching us that as long as we place our trust in Him and to rely completely on Him, He will provide.
Jesus is the Bread of Life
Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Manna is a type of Jesus, as He referred to himself as the Bread of Life. Jesus, too, is the Bread from Heaven--Jesus is our daily provision for our spiritual sustenance! Manna went out to a group of rebellious people, just as Jesus was sent out to a rebellious world.
GOD PROVIDES WATER (Exodus 17:1-7)
It didn’t take long before the Israelites complained again to Moses—This time, they accused him of bringing them out of Egypt to kill them with thirst.
This was a very ungrateful group of people. The Israelites thought nothing of the grace that God had shown them, the amount of work Moses and Aaron had to endure to take them out of cruel bondage. All the could see was luxury of their lives, and when things didn’t go their way, they complained, showing no gratitude at all for the miracles that had been done to provide them with a better life.
As we walk through this life, we need to recognize that we live in a fallen and corrupted world. Things will not go our way, especially if we are determined to walk as God’s people. Why? Because Satan is the ruler of this world, and he will do what he can to discourage our walk in Christ (1 John 5:19)! We therefore will be thrown into tribulations, and we will have tears of sorrow and pain. However, Jesus has come and restored our relationship in God, and we have a future where God will wipe away all our tears (Revelation 21:4). Before this future becomes a reality, God must first take care of Satan. This plan of redemption – not just of the human kind but of the whole world – has been in motion for thousands of years (Genesis, Daniel, Revelation) and will one day be complete. Until then, the pain and struggle we are experiencing are the result of living righteously in a dark world of evil. When we face hardship, understand the above so that we can be encouraged and look forward to our eternity with God. God is NOT the cause of our hardship. He loves us as the greatest Father of all and wants nothing but happiness and joy for us!
Jesus is our Rock
God instructed Moses to strike to the water, so that water would flow out of it for the people to drink.
The Rock is a picture of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10). As Moses struck the Rock for water, so, too, was Jesus struck dead on the Cross for us, his blood (and water) flowing out, cleansing us of our sins.
The stricken rock therefore represents our stricken Messiah. Moses striking the rock is a picture of Jesus' crucifixion. Upon striking the rock, water flowed out, representing the out flow of the Holy Spirit, just as the Holy Spirit is our thirst quencher in the desert of life!
At a later time point, the Israelites would need water again, and God would instruct Moses to speak to the rock (instead of striking it). However, Moses, because he was angry with the Israelites for their disobedience, would strike it instead, ruining the picture God had intended (Number 20:7-11).
Why did God instruct Moses to speak to the rock instead of striking the second time? By speaking to the rock for water, it was a picture showing Jesus only had to die once on the Cross for us. After His death, we only have to ask (speak), and we shall receive. Jesus did not need to die again and again to redeem us. His death was complete once and for all.
GOD DEFEATS AMALEKITES (Exodus 17:8-16)
Up to now, God had fought on their behalf. Next, God will fight through them, guiding them through the battles. This represents growth, that they are now mature enough to start taking on things themselves. Similarly, when we take that next step and choose to be baptized in the Lord (receiving the Holy Spirit), we are then prepared to receive battle.
Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amlekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
Holding up the staff symbolizes our complete faith in God – It shows that we know when we enter any battle, it is God who fights for us, not us fighting by our might. Holding up our hands represents prayer – Even though Moses didn’t physically fight the Amlekites, Moses was interceding for his people through prayer. Prayer is our best offensive weapon against the enemies of God!
Despite knowing the above, we still must also physically fight the battle – to show that our actions reflect our faith. God will give us the power and the strength, but we still have to do the work. That is, we can’t just say, “We believe,” and then just sit on our butts expecting God to do everything else for us.
In sum, the battle of Amalekites represents our battle against the flesh. (The Amalekites were the descendants of Esau, and they represented people of the flesh. Esau was a man of the flesh, giving up his birthright for a mere bowl of stew.) In order for us in our walk conquer lust of the flesh, yes, we have to physically fight it, but we fight it through prayer!
What’s the takeaway? If we have accepted Jesus as our King, our LORD, and have chosen to follow Him, then ACT LIKE IT.
JETHRO OFFERS MOSES GREAT ADVICE (Exodus 18)
When Jethro heard of Moses’ journey to bring His people out of Egypt, he rejoiced and praised God (Exodus 18:9). Upon hearing of Moses’ responsibilities and workload, Jethro share his concerns:
1. Moses was doing too much by himself. The amount of work would wear him out.
2. A leader cannot be an effective leader if he is bogged down by administrative tasks.
Jethro thus advised Moses that he should teach people the way of God and appoint leaders to guide tens, hundreds, or thousands of people. This way, Moses could delegate administrative tasks to good leaders, which would free Moses up to focus on carrying out God’s vision. The men selected to be leaders should be able men who feared God, who were truthful and had no desire to covet worldly possessions for themselves (Exodus 18:21).
One of the greatest blessings in life is to have great men of God as friends and advisors! Jethro certainly was that kind of a man for Moses.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Bible study with Dr. Chuck Missler
DAY FOUR (Genesis 1:14-19)
And God said, "Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day.
These verses speak of formation of the sun, moon, stars, planets… essentially, the entire universe as we know it. Hence, the following are the major topics associated with verses Genesis 1:14-19 that will be discussed:
· The Nebular Hypothesis
· The Stars and Planets
· Signs in the Heavens
· The “Appointed Times”
THE NEBULAR HYPOTHESIS
In simple terms, the Nebular Hypothesis states that the sun is the origin of the solar system.
General History of Nature and Theory of the Heavens, Immanuel Kant, 1755
“Some four billion years ago, the sun had ejected a tail, or a filament, of material that cooled and collected and thus formed the planets…“
About 21 years earlier, Emanuel Swedenborg said the same thing (in Latin) in Prodromus Philosophiae Retiocinantis de Infinito et Cause Creationis, 1734.
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)
Emanuel Swedenborg was a mining engineer with a wide range of interests who also claimed to have psychic powers. He claimed confirmation of his Nebular Hypothesis from séances with men on Jupiter, Saturn and places more distant. Or, more likely, Swedenborg got his ideas during his visit with Edmund Halley at Cambridge about 20 years earlier. (Halley was famous for his predictions regarding the comet that still bears his name.)
Pierre Simon Laplace (1749- 1827) lent his endorsement to Kant’s theory but without checking the mathematical validations he was capable of providing. Thus, the Nebular Hypothesis gained widespread respectability despite serious mathematical flaws. Subsequent writers have continued to develop variations of this view even though increasing difficulties render it rather doubtful.
Problems with the hypothesis
The sun contains 99.86% of all the mass of the solar system. Yet the sun contains only 1.9% of the angular momentum, while the other planets contain 98.1% -- If the sun was truly the origin, the percentages would be the other way around! This fact was known in the time of Laplace a century ago, yet it was ignored to promote this hypothesis. There is still no plausible explanation that would support a solar origin of the planets.
James Jeans (1877-1946) pointed out that the outer planets are far larger than the inner ones. Jupiter is 5,750 times as massive as mercury, 2,958 times as massive as Mars, etc. This fact also conflicts with current theories.
There are three pairs of rapid-spin rates among our planets, each within 3% of each other: Earth and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and Neptune and Uranus. Why? Earth and Mars have virtually identical spin axis tilts (about 23.5°). Why? From angular momentum and orbital calculations, it would seem that three pairs of these planets might have been brought here from elsewhere.
Why does Mars have 93% of its craters in one hemisphere and only 7% in the other? This suggests that over 80% of the craters occurred within a single half-hour!
All of the above facts above directly oppose the Nebular Hypothesis.
THE STARS AND PLANETS
All spiral galaxies have similar twists. But, the laws of physics tell us that the galaxies farthest away from us had to release their light long before the closer galaxies. The farther galaxies also did not have as much time to rotate and twist their arms. Thus, the closer galaxies should have the most twist – But they don’t. This suggests that all the galaxies must have formed all at the same time. If the speed of light was a million times faster in the past, that would account for their twist being so similar. The scientific data therefore better support God (or, for the non-believers, a “force”) creating the whole universe instantaneously than through billions of years “trial and error.”
The Planet Mars
Mars is the 4th major planet from the Sun and was named after the Roman god of War. Most of the early civilizations were terrified of it, to the point of even worshiping it. It is the Baal of the Old Testament (e.g., 2 Kings 23:5).
First, consider the following facts:
· All ancient calendars are based on 360-day years.
· All ancient calendars changed to 365-day years after 701 B.C.
· Mars was worshiped by ancient cultures
Near Pass-By Hypothesis
Earth and Mars were originally on resonant orbits. Every 108 years, the two planets would have a near pass-by. This hypothesis proposes that this near pass-by would allow energy transfer between the two planets, as the two planets’ orbits equilibrate to the same frequency. These near pass-bys could account for the catastrophic events recorded in history. And in 701 B.C., the energy transfer was complete, leading to the stabilized orbits of the two planets known today.
Early Telescope Technology
1610: Galileo discovered 4 moons of Jupiter and Saturn’s rings
1781: Hershel discovered Uranus
1787: Hershel discovered 2 moons of Uranus
1789: Hershel discovered more moons of Uranus
1846: Laverrier discovered Neptune and its one moon
1877: Asaph Hall discovered 2 moons of Mars (Deimos & Phobos)
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) in 1726 wrote Gulliver’s Travels, (“Voyage to Laputa”) and details the size, revolutions, and orbits of the 2 moons of Mars... 151 years before they were discovered by Asaph Hall! How could have Swift known? If the near pass-by hypothesis holds true, then thousands of years ago, during one of those cyclic near pass-bys, people from Earth can see Mars (and its two moons) by the naked eye! And because these near-bys often resulted in catastrophic events, people feared it to the point of worshiping it. Those who study it therefore were able to describe the details of their observations. Whether be it religious or scientific pursuits of near pass-bys of Mars, these details were documented in short stories that Swift used for inspiration of his works.
The long day of Joshua: The Battle of Beth-Horon
Kings confederated under “Adonai-Zedek,” the king of Jerusalem. They were defeated with “stones of fire” from heaven. Joshua asked God for the sun to stand still to allow them more time to finish rout – and indeed, the sun and the moon stood still, giving them an extended day to overcome their enemies.
How could the sun stand still?
There were 1/3 of million men at Beth-Horon on Oct 25, 1404 B.C. Mars was on a polar pass at 70,000 miles and appeared to rise 50 times the size of Moon, with severe earthquakes and land tides. There was a polar shift of 5 degrees, allowing the “day” to be lengthened. Meteors (“stones of fire”) followed 2-3 hours later, at 30,000 mph. This catastrophic event is documented in other ancient legends and folklore (for example, The Long Night of China).
This is not the first (nor the last) example where we see how Biblical events can be explained via scientific findings. While non-believers can easily use these science-based details to wave away God as the center of the miracle, it is worthy to pose the question, how is it not a God-directed miracle that all the Israelites were spared during this massive catastrophe?
A little more about Joshua
The South (Joshua 10): The Southern Campaign was triggered by the treaty he made with the city of Gibeon. Five local kings went to war against Gibeon for its defection to the Israelites at The Battle of Beth Horon; Joshua conquered all their cities (except Jerusalem) using speedy marches and surprise attacks.
The North (Joshua 11): The collapse of the south to Joshua spurred the powerful King Jabin of Hazor to assemble a large army for war. Again Joshua’s shock tactics demolished the enemy. These quick victories had to be followed up by a slower guerilla war, rooting out pockets of resistance (Joshua 11:18).
The books Joshua vs. Revelation
· Yehoshua is a variant of Yeshua
· Both are about a military commander dispossessing the usurpers
· Both speak of a 7 year campaign against 7 (of an original 10) nations
· The Torah was ignored at Jericho: (Sabbath was ignored; Levites were involved in the war)
o Joshua first sent in “Two Witnesses”
o Seven Trumpet events were preceded by “Silence in heaven for a half hour”
· Enemies confederate under a leader in Jerusalem (Adoni-Zedek, “Lord of Righteousness”)
· Ultimately, the enemies are defeated with hailstones and fire from heaven, with signs in the Sun, Moon, etc.
· Great kings of those times hide in caves (“Rocks fall on us…”)
SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: THE MAZZAROTH
The Mazzaroth (Zodiac) are signs of God’s plan of redemption (Job 38:12). All the stars have a name (Ps 147:4; Isa 40:26). The Jews refer the signs in the Heavens as the Mazzaroth, or “zodiac,” which derived from the word, “Sodi,” or “the Way.”
Canst thou bind the influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
These star relationships are the only visible eye constellations in direct gravitational bondage – How did Job know that? Stars are signs in the heavens from God – We just need to know how to read it.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Signs of the Zodiac (with their decans)
· Virgo, the Virgin: Coma, the Infant, the Desired One; Centaurus, the dart piercing a victim; and, Bootes, the Great Shepherd and Harvester.
· Libra: Crux, the Cross; Lupus or Victim, pierced to death; and Corona, the Crown.
· Scorpio: Serpens, the Serpent; Ophiuchus, wrestling with the Serpent; and Hercules, the Mighty Man.
· Sagittarius: Lyra, an Eagle holding a lyre; Ara, the Altar; and Draco, the Dragon, the old Serpent.
· Capricornus: Sagitta, the Arrow; Aquila, the Eagle; and Delphinus, the Dolphin.
· Aquarius: Picus Australis, the Southern Fish; Pegasus, the Winged Horse; and Cygnus, the Swan.
· Pisces: The Band; Andromeda, a woman in chains; and Cepheus, a Crowned King.
· Aries: Cassiopeia, a woman enthroned; Cetus, the Sea-Monster, bound by the lamb; and Perseus, armed and mighty man.
· Taurus: Orion, a glorious Prince; Eridanus, Orion’s River; and Auriga, the Shepherd.
· Gemini: Lepus, the Hare (or Serpent); Canis Major, Sirius, the Great Dog; and Canis Minor, Procyon, the 2nd Dog.
· Cancer: Ursa Minor, the Lesser Sheepfold; Ursa Major, the Greater Sheepfold; and Argo, the Ship.
· Leo: Hydra, the Fleeing Serpent; Crater, the Cup (of Wrath); and Corvus, the Raven, Bird of Doom.
Astronomers will say that ancient cultures recognize the horoscopes and stories based on their constellation. Cassiopeia is a W. There is no way people are just going to see that and say, “Wow, I see a woman sitting in her throne!” Instead, the constellation is a pneumonic for listing all the stars in the order of brightness. And when the stars are correctly ordered according to their brightness, the story they tell is then revealed. To delve into the details of why each constellation tells a certain story takes hours of research, which I will skip here. Instead, I will list below the summarizing message of the story (which is closely associated with their respective decans), starting with Virgo, the brightest star.
The Seed of the Woman
The Desire of Nations
The Man of Double Nature in humiliation
The Exalted Shepherd and Harvester
The Price to be paid
The Cross to be endured
The Victim slain
The Crown Purchased
The Serpent’s coils
The Struggle with the Enemy
The toiling Vanquisher of evil
The Doubled-natured One triumphing
He gladdens the Heavens
He builds fires of punishment
He casts down the Dragon
Life out of Death
The Arrow of God
Pierced and failing
Springing up again in abundant life
Life-waters from on high
Drinking in the heavenly food
Carrying the Good News
Bearing aloft the Cross over the Earth
Multiplication of Redeemer’s People
Upheld and governed by the Lamb
The intended Bride bound and exposed
The Bridegroom exalted
The Lamb found worthy
The Bride released and making ready
The Breaker triumphing
The invincible Ruler come
The sublime Vanquisher
The River of Judgment
The all-ruling Shepherd
The Marriage of the Lamb
The Enemy trodden down
The Prince coming in Glory
His princely following
The Possession secured
Lesser fold: the Church of the first born
Greater fold: Israel
Safe folding into a Everlasting Kingdom
The King rending
The Serpent fleeing
The Bowl of Wrath upon him
His carcass devoured
THE APPOINTED TIMES (Leviticus 23)
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be fore signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.
“Seasons” = The Hebrew word for “the appointed times”
The Heptadic Calendar
The Week of Days = Shabbat
The Week of Weeks = Shavout
The Week of Months = The Religious Year
The Week of Years = The Sabbatical Year
Seven Weeks + 1 = The Jubilee Year, where all land reverts to its owners; all slaves go free; all debts forgiven; it is “the time of the restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21)
+ 7 days of Passover (including its related feast days)
+ 1 Shavout, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
+ 1 Yom Teruah, Feast of Trumpets
+ 1 Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement
+ 7 days of Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles
+ 1 Shimini Atzeret, 8th Day of Assembly
The Appointed Times
At an interval of 70, as an equidistant letter sequence, statistical expectation dictates that in the 78,064 letters of Genesis, the Hebrew word for “the appointed times” should appear at least 5 times. However, it appears only once in Genesis, centered on Genesis 1:14. The odds of this happening by random chance is estimated to be greater than 70,000,000 to one! Coincidence? Chance? If we think it’s impossible that by some random chance, our clothes coming out of a tumbling dryer one day would be all folded, why the heck would we think these odds could happen by chance?
The Feasts of Israel
Each feast represents a prophetic event fulfilled by the Messiah; each feast is an example of an appointed time.
The Spring Feasts (1st Month: Nisan)
· Passover – Jesus’ death, dying as our sacrificial Lamb
· Feast of Unleavened Bread – Jesus’ shed blood, with His sinlessness covering our sins
· Feast of First Fruits – Jesus’ resurrection, the first of us to be resurrected to eternity
The Middle Feast
· Feast of Weeks or Pentecost or Shavout – Jesus’ Bride, the Church
The above events have all been fulfilled by Jesus. The events below have yet to be fulfilled, so no one can say for certain whether it will be fulfilled one way versus another. However, given God’s consistency throughout the Bible, the following events can be reasonably assumed:
The Fall Feasts (7th Month: Tishri)
· Feast of Trumpets – Rapture of Jesus’ Bride
· Yom Kippur – Jesus’ 2nd coming
· Feast of Tabernacles – Wedding Supper of the Lamb
Feast of First Fruits – An example of an appointed time
The morrow after the sabbath after Passover…
The morning of the ultimate “First Fruits” is what we celebrate as Easter Sunday. The question at hand is, when did the flood of Noah end?
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
The seventh month was the month of Nisan. Jesus was resurrected on the 17th day of Nisan. That is, God gave us new life through Christ on the anniversary of God giving earth its new life!
The Mystery of Enoch
The oldest prophecy in the Bible is attributed to Enoch, whose prophecy concerned the second coming of Christ! Enoch was born on Shavout and raptured prior to the flood judgment—on his birthday. The Church was born on Shavout – Will the Church be raptured on this anniversary, prior to the Tribulation? This brings the curious question of will the Jewish “clock” restart on the same feast day that it was stopped?
1) What is the “Nebular Hypothesis” and what are its major defects?
2) How does the “twist” of spiral galaxies suggest a “young” universe?
3) List the 70 “appointed times” on the Hebrew calendar. In what way were the Feasts of Israel prophetic?
4) What is the significance of the Ark of Noah coming to rest on the 17th day of the 7th month?
5) How could there have been a “long day” in Joshua’s time while still maintaining the rotation of the earth?
6) What does Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels have to do with our views of planetary motion?
7) What do the signs of the Mazzeroth (Zodiac) imply concerning the history of man’s view of the heavens?
8) Is it possible that the creation of the earth preceded the rest of the universe?
9) In what ways is the Book of Joshua an anticipatory model of the Book of Revelation?
10) Complile a list of scientific enigmas emerging from the Book of Job.
11) In what ways does the Mazzeroth portray God’s plan of redemption?