The restoration of the covenant and the return of Yahweh’s
glory into the midst of the people reestablishes the holiness of the nation. The
Book of Leviticus takes up this theme of holiness. It is the central theme of
Leviticus, “Holy shall you become, for I
am holy, Yahweh your Elohim” (Lev. 19:2 CV). The nation, as a result of its
covenantal relationship to Yahweh, is already holy, that is, separated from the
nations for the purpose of being Yahweh’s peculiar, special people. As Yahweh
is holy, that is, having separated Himself apart from the nations in order to
be the Elohim only of
Holiness is not to be equated with moral purity or perfection. It is essentially being separated. Separation for the worship and service of Yahweh meant separation away from the idolatrous worship and service of the gods of the nations and separation to the Law of Yahweh, separation to obey that which is right in the eyes of Yahweh.
As Yahweh loves
Leviticus is, thus, Yahweh’s instruction manual for attaining
the goal of Exodus 19:5-6a: “Now, if you
shall hearken, yea hearken to My voice and observe My covenant then you will
become Mine, a special possession, above all the peoples, for Mine is all the
earth. As for you, you shall become Mine, a kingdom of priests and a holy
nation” (CV). As Yahweh’s holy nation,
There is none like the El of Yeshurun:
Riding the heavens as your Helper
And in His augustness,
The habitation of Elohim aforetime. . . .
Happy are you,
Who is like you?
A people saved by Yahweh,
The Shield of your Helper,
Who is also the Sword of your augustness!” (Deuteronomy 33:26-29a CV).
As Yahweh Elohim had “aforetime”
rode the heavens in relation to the nations, now He rode the heavens as
But such benefit to the nations is only possible if
All worship and service in
The covenantal health of the nation depended upon the faithful support of the Aaronic and Levitical priesthoods by the other tribes. The breakdown of the proper worship rituals associated with the Tabernacle would directly affect the covenantal health of the nation. The corruption of the Aaronic Priesthood would lead to the corruption of the Levitical Priesthood which would lead to the corruption of the nation’s covenantal status.
As the lungs of the body breathe the oxygen of life, so the
nation breathes the oxygen of the Ten Words of covenantal life. In these Ten
Words reside the vital breath of
Leviticus describes worship and service “under the elements of the world” (Gal. 4:3 CV). It describes a
system designed by Yahweh Elohim for
Leviticus begins this process of liberation by revealing
Yahweh’s sacrificial requirements. These sacrifices are not intended to appease
the wrath or disfavor of Yahweh. For Yahweh, according to the stipulations of
the covenant contract, is committed to bless
The author of Leviticus describes five kinds of sacrifices. The
first three are common to the nations who offered these sacrifices to appease
the anger of their gods or to gain favors from their gods.
The first three sacrifices described in Leviticus are the
burnt offering, the grain offering, and the peace offering. These three
offerings allowed access to Yahweh’s presence in the Tabernacle. They were not
concerned with sins but with the contaminated or polluted condition of all
humanity due to the death Adam brought into the race. This contamination or
pollution is labeled “The Law of Sin and
Death” by Paul (
Paul describes this law as follows:
For, when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, which were through this law [the law of Adam and the law of Moses], operated in our members to be bearing fruit to the death [the death that Adam brought in, Rom. 5:12]. . . . For we are aware that the law [Mosaic Law] is spiritual, yet I am fleshly, having been disposed of under the sin [the sin of Adam which brought in death]. . . . Yet now it is no longer I who am effecting it [the death that Adam brought in], but The Sin [The Law of Sin and Death brought in by Adam] making its home in me. . . . For I am gratified with the law of God [the Mosaic Law] as to the man within [the mind, the heart, the spirit], yet I am observing a different law in my members [The Law of Sin and Death, Rom. 8:2], warring with the law of my mind [the Mosaic Law, the Law of Yahweh], and leading me into captivity to The Law of Sin [which Adam brought in] which is in my members. What will rescue me out of this body of this Death?! Grace! I thank God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Consequently, then, I myself with the mind, indeed, am slaving for Yahweh’s law, yet with the flesh for Sin’s law [The Law of Sin and Death brought in by Adam]. Nothing, consequently, is now condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. Not according to flesh are they walking, but according to spirit, for the spirit’s Law of Life in Christ Jesus frees you from The Law of Sin and Death. For without power [disabled] is this law [The Law of Sin and Death]. In the sphere of the interest of this: It began to be weak through the flesh; Yahweh His own Son sending, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned The Sin [The Law of The Sin and The Death brought in by Adam] in the sphere of the flesh, in order that the just requirement [life] of The Law [the spirit’s Law of Life in Christ Jesus] may be fulfilled in us, the ones who are not walking in accord with flesh, but in accord with spirit. (Romans 7:5, 14, 17; 7:22-8:4 my translation)
The flesh refers to the body under the influence of an alien
power, force, law—The Law of Sin and Death which is the source
of the inclination, the propensity to produce sins, the distortion of the five
senses of the soul. Thus, the origination of man’s problem is traced back to
Adam, not Moses. The Mosaic Law makes
He who loves Yahweh’s Law and writes it in his heart serves
Yahweh and His law with his mind, actively choosing to suppress the
inclination, the propensity of the alien law within his members, while
committing the members of his body to the Law of Yahweh. Thus, a war between
two laws, The Law of Sin and Death and the Law of Yahweh, results. Only
This, however, does not mean the nations could not have a
similar experience. As the nations codified laws of proper moral behavior for
themselves, it became possible to experience a similar struggle. But the
nations did not have their sins counted up by Yahweh, since they were not
placed under the Law of Yahweh. Only under the Law of Yahweh could a person
commit transgression and become accountable to Yahweh for that transgression. Since
Yahweh had not placed the nations under His law (the Mosaic Covenant, the
Mosaic contract between Yahweh and
Because of this awareness of The Law of Sin by Israelites and the counting up of sin as transgression, the Mosaic Covenant, the Mosaic system, adds two original sacrificial offerings—the Sin Offering and the Guilt Offering. The purpose of the Sin Offering is to make a propitiatory-shelter for unintentional sins against the commandments, the statutes, the judgments, the instructions, and the testimonies of Yahweh (Lev. 4:1-31). The purpose of the Guilt Offering is to make reparation or restitution for an intentional or unintentional sin against man or Yahweh. This offering also requires a Sin Offering to provide a propitiatory-shelter for the sin committed. Reparation is based upon a determination of proper value plus an added fifth of the proper value. Thus, the Sin Offering and the Guilt Offering are clearly related. Both are provisions for dealing with transgressions which must continually be accounted for.
Under the Mosaic system, Yahweh’s compassion, mercy, and
kindness are revealed in the potency attributed to repentance. Yahweh
continually calls for
Yahweh declares of the wicked,
And when the wicked turns back from
his wickedness which he does
And is executing judgment and justice,
He [the wicked one] shall be keeping alive his soul.
And he is seeing and turning back from all his
transgressions which he did,
Verily he shall live. He shall not die. (Ezekiel 18:27-28 CV)
Repentance has the potency to deliver the wicked, the lawless, from covenantal death, covenantal curse. Repentance, consisting of turning back from one’s wickedness (remorse and confession) and executing judgment and justice (lawful behavior, making restitution), restores the lawless one to covenantal life, covenantal blessing, covenantal righteousness before Yahweh.
But the righteous one is also in danger. Yahweh declares,
Yet when the righteous turns back from his righteousness
And does iniquity according to all the abhorrences
which the wicked does,
Shall he do so and live?
All his righteous acts which he did
shall not be remembered;
In his offense with which he offends,
And in his sin with which he sins,
In them shall he die. (Ezekiel 18:24 CV)
This is what it means to keep the whole law! To keep the whole law one must be committed to lawfulness with all one’s heart, all one’s soul, and all one’s intensity, to the end. Keeping the whole law means being faithful to the end. It is not a matter of weighing one’s righteous acts against one’s wicked acts. One can fall short at any time, even at the end of one’s life or just prior to a warning of judgment and call to repentance by a prophet.
If one turns to lawless acts intentionally, one’s covenant
relationship to Yahweh is threatened. Repentance with the whole heart, soul,
and intensity is required to receive restoration to covenantal righteousness. Those
whose hearts are circumcised will repent when confronted by Yahweh’s Law in the
mouth of Yahweh’s priests, prophets, and faithful sons of
Keeping the law is not only possible, but also expectable. It could and should be kept! Yahweh’s compassion, mercy, and kindness through the potency of repentance make it most probable! There is no excuse for failure! To fail to keep the law is to have chosen to fail, to have hardened one’s heart to Yahweh’s compassionate, merciful, kind pleadings. Failure to keep the law is hatred of Yahweh, disrespect toward His love, His honor, and His glory.
Milgram (1991) further states,
I now have discovered that this principle was already known by the rabbis. ‘R. Simeon b. Lakish said: Great is repentance, which converts intentional sins into unintentional ones’ (B. Yoma 86b). The early rabbis show awareness of this principle in another context: the ritual of the Day of Atonement. They raise the question of how the high priest’s bull is capable of atoning for his deliberate sins, and they reply, ‘Because he has confessed his brazen and rebellious deeds it is as if they became as unintentional ones before him’ (Sipra, Ahare par. 2:4,6; cf. t. Yoma 2:1). Thus it is clear that the Tannaites attribute to repentance—strikingly, in a sacrificial ritual—the power to transform a presumptuous sin against God, punishable by death, into an act of inadvertence, expiable by sacrifice. (p. 373)
An example of the potency of repentance to transform an intentional sin against Yahweh, punishable by death, into an act of inadvertence is found in 2 Samuel 12:1-13. David has sinned intentionally against Yahweh by committing adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and by murdering Uriah. Nathan the prophet confronts David with these sins. David remorsefully repents, confessing, “I have sinned against Yahweh” (2 Sam. 12:13a CV). Nathan then reveals Yahweh’s judgment, “Now Yahweh, He has remitted your sin, you shall not die” (2 Sam. 12:13b CV).
In this case, Yahweh does not even require the Guilt Offering. It thus takes the
potency of repentance one notch higher. This is later referred to as “the sure mercies of David” (Isa. 55:3;
2 Chr. 6:42; Ps. 89:24; Acts 13:34;
The Guilt Offering would be made by Jesus on behalf of all those believing in Him. He would become their Guilt Offering. As a result, the Apostles of Jesus would be authorized to proclaim, “Repent and be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the pardon of your sins, and you shall be obtaining the gratuity of the holy spirit” (Acts 2:38 CV).
This sacrificial system is necessary since the Mosaic system
of law made it impossible not to sin. This is the meaning of Paul’s statement
concerning the law in Gal. 3:19: “On
behalf of the transgressions was it added, . . .” (CV). The law was added
to the promise with the precise function of providing a knowledge of sin. It
was to agitate The Law of Sin and Death
brought in by Adam, thus revealing the contaminated condition of humanity and
making the sons of
Any Israelite coming in contact with the carcass of those animals designated unclean becomes defiled: “Also you are defiling yourselves with these: (Everyone touching their carcass shall be unclean until the evening; everyone carrying some of their carcass shall rinse his garments and will be unclean until the evening.)” (Lev. 11:24-25 CV). Touching the carcass of a clean animal also makes one unclean (Lev. 11:39). To become unclean is sin, missing the mark of cleanness. Cleansing is thus necessitated, even if the contact is accidental. However, though sin is counted up, the law provides a way to deal with it so that one’s covenantal relationship with Yahweh is not broken. In the cases here mentioned, cleansing with water becomes the remedy for such uncleanness.
All such uncleanness excluded the unclean one from the
worshiping community, since anyone unclean is restricted from worship, being
denied access to the Tabernacle. Impurity, however, is not understood as mystic
taboo. It is meant to make clear the contaminated condition of humanity (the
operation of death within each person) before Yahweh. By restricting the
participation of the unclean from worship of Yahweh in the community assembly,
This is Yahweh’s doing. Yahweh constitutes this nation a
nation of sinners. The Law of Sin is
increased (Rom. 5:20), multiplied by the law. But the law not only constitutes,
makes, appoints the “many” sinners,
it is a guardian garrisoning the “many”
sinners within the beneficial confines of Yahweh’s covenant, guiding the “many” in the art of doing what is right
in the eyes of Yahweh, thereby becoming, in the long run, Yahweh’s escort to
the Christ (Gal. 3:23-24). In the short run, the “many” are taught what it means to be holy; they are taught to walk
in the righteous way of Yahweh. Yahweh’s commandments, statutes, and judgments
That the foregoing is the case with impurity is illustrated by the next example of impurity—purification relating to childbirth (Lev. 12:1-8). When a woman gives birth to a child, she becomes unclean:
When a woman conceives seed and bears a male then she will become unclean seven days; as the days of her menstrual period shall she be unclean. On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall dwell thirty-three days more in her cleansing bloodflows. She shall not touch anything holy, and she shall not come to the sanctuary until the days of her cleansing be full. And if she should bear a female, then she will be unclean two weeks, as during her period, and she shall dwell sixty-six days more in her cleansing bloodflows. (Leviticus 12:1b-5 CV)
Thus, a woman after bearing a child is automatically contagiously unclean for one or two weeks. Anyone or anything she touches during this period becomes unclean as well. After this initial period, the woman remains unclean in herself, but no longer an agent of pollution to other people. However, she continues to be contagious in relation to holy things. As such, she has to refrain from touching anything holy. Thus, for example, she cannot partake of meat from a peace offering, and she is restricted from participating in an assembly gathered for worship.
Even a woman’s menstrual blood makes her unclean seven days, and anyone touching her is unclean until the evening. Everything upon which she lies or sits during this period is unclean, and anyone who touches these unclean items becomes unclean until evening and must go through the cleansing ritual (Lev. 15:19-24).
Such uncleanness is sin, missing the mark. It becomes counted up, one becomes accountable for it, responsible for it, and so must go through the cleansing ritual to remain a faithful member of the covenantal community. Refusal to obey the required cleansing process is to become cut off from the community of faithful ones, one’s people. This meant being cut off from the promises, including the promises made to Abraham.
Skin diseases blotching the skin make the victim unclean. The defining factor is wholeness. If a skin disease covers the skin completely, resulting in no blotches, no mixture, the disease is not considered unclean. Clothes coming to have a mold become contagiously unclean. The same is true for houses. The Mosaic Law provided no means for curing or cleansing skin diseases. If one became unclean as a result of skin disease, one was placed outside the camp or apart from the clean until the skin disease either cleared up or was healed by Yahweh. Community exclusion in these cases did not cut one off from the future Abrahamic promise related to the Celestial Realm associated with the Celestial Jerusalem.
All such sin associated with uncleanness, pollution,
contamination, and mixture is a continual reminder to the sons of
Covenantal exclusion due to skin disease is not to be associated with the victim’s ultimate destiny. Such misfortune is not to be understood as the result of personal sin. It is not to be explained in terms of moral guilt. Such uncleanness is sin, but not moral guilt. Such a person is charged with cultic guilt due to the fact that he/she is responsible for bringing pollution within the covenant community. When the skin disease is removed, a Guilt Offering is required.
Such uncleanness results in loss of social and religious covenantal relationship and blessing, but does not lead to being cut off from one’s people. Such a person becomes unclean and removed from intimate community relationship, but is not excluded from community care. Such people become the required responsibility of the clean on behalf of the unclean. Here is an opportunity to manifest one’s love for one’s neighbor suffering innocent misfortune.
However, it must be emphasized that contact with the unclean causes contamination to the clean person making the contact. Such is sin, but not moral sin. Such sin did not cause exclusion from the covenant. One remains a member in righteous standing, as long as one remains obedient to the instructions of the law.
These samples establish the fact that the Mosaic Law increased
sin, taking it into account, and holding the sons of
In Leviticus, chapter 15, uncleanness due to various discharges of the body is described with instructions concerning the ritual process for cleansing. Genital diseases cause long-term uncleanness, while emission of semen by the male or menstrual flow by the female cause short-term uncleanness. The Hebrew word for body in this text is basar, meaning flesh. Discharges of the flesh cause uncleanness, impurity. Paul’s use of the term flesh to describe the body under the influence of the alien Law of Sin and Death most likely has its source in this Leviticus text.
Uncleanness, impurity comes from the discharges of the flesh. Such
uncleanness defiles the Tabernacle of Yahweh: “You will warn the sons of
Chapter 16 of Leviticus connects the theme of defilement,
uncleanness, impurity with the instructions concerning the Day of Propitiatory-Shelter
by first making reference to the uncommon deaths of Aaron’s two sons (Nadab and
Abihu). These two sons attempted to approach Yahweh with alien fire, that is,
unauthorized fire, thereby defiling themselves as well as the Sanctuary of
Yahweh. The judgment of Yahweh was instantaneous: “Hence fire came forth from before Yahweh and devoured them, and they
died before Yahweh” (Lev. 10:2 CV). Their burnt bodies were taken from the
presence of the
Once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, a sabbath
is proclaimed and a propitiatory-shelter is made for the sins of the nation as
a collective whole. This propitiatory-shelter provided cleansing for the
Only the Chief or High Priest (in this case, Aaron) could enter the Holy of Holies with the cleansing blood of the Sin Offering. The High Priest first makes a propitiatory-shelter for himself and his house. This meant a Sin Offering of a young bull. He then casts lots to determine which of the two goats would be sacrificed as a Sin Offering for the covenantal community and which would be sent into the wilderness, symbolically carrying the sins of the nation away from the presence of Yahweh. The blood of the Sin Offering is then sprinkled on and before the mercy seat (the seat of propitiatory-shelter covering the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies), on the tent of appointment, and the altar of burnt offering in the main courtyard. Finally,
When he has finished making a propitiatory shelter for
the holy place and the tent of appointment and the altar, he will bring near
the live hairy goat. Aaron will support his two hands on the head of the live
hairy goat, confess over it all the depravities of the sons of
Again, the purpose of these blood rituals is stated clearly in
verse 16: “Thus he will make a
propitiatory-shelter over the holy place because of the uncleannesses of the
The Day of Propitiatory-Shelter is declared to be
an eonian statute: in the seventh month on the tenth
day of the month you shall humble your souls, and no work at all shall you do .
. . For on this day shall one make a propitiatory shelter over you to cleanse
you from all your sins. Before Yahweh shall you be clean . . . This will come
to be for you as an eonian statute to make a propitiatory shelter over the sons
The duration of this statute is limited to the Mosaic Eon. The day is to be a solemn day in which the people “humble” their souls. This assembly of the nation will not be a joyous occasion. It will be an annual reminder of the contamination of both the nation and the human race as a result of the death brought in by Adam, upon which death all sinned, all missed the mark of uncontaminated life, all biologically inherited the alien Law of Sin and Death encoded in the members of the body of flesh.
In chapter 17 of Leviticus, Yahweh speaks to Moses concerning
the one place for sacrificial offerings. Yahweh instructs Moses to speak to
Aaron, his sons, and to all the sons of
The purpose of this statute is to avoid any possible sacrifice
to other elohim, other gods, “hairy goat
demons.” The sons of
This is in order that the sons of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they have been sacrificing on the surface of the field—that they bring them before Yahweh, to the priest at the opening of the tent of appointment, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to Yahweh. . . . No longer shall they sacrifice their sacrifices to hairy goat-demons after whom they have been prostituting. An eonian statute shall this become for them throughout their generations. (Leviticus 17:5-7 CV)
The wilderness had been associated with demons, and sacrifices
made in the wilderness had been made to these “hairy goat-demons.”
This statute is declared to be an “eonian statute” throughout their generations. It is not limited to
Closely related to the theme of sacrifice in relation to the worship and service of other elohim is the statute prohibiting the eating of blood. Again, the penalty for disobedience is being “cut off” (Lev. 17:14). Yahweh declares, “I will set My face against the soul eating blood, and I will cut him off from among his people, for the soul of the flesh, it is in the blood, and I Myself have assigned it to you to make a propitiatory shelter over your souls on the altar; for the blood, in the soul it makes a propitiatory shelter” (Lev. 17:10b-11 CV). Blood becomes holy because Yahweh assigns it the role of covering over sin.
The Hebrew text uses the word nephesh, meaning soul, to refer to the life of each Israelite. The author of Leviticus quotes Yahweh as stating the soul is in the blood. The word nephesh in Hebrew is always associated with the five senses. A concordant study of the usage of this word throughout the Hebrew Scriptures will support this conclusion.
In Genesis 2:7, Yahweh breathes into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, and the Hebrew text concludes Adam became “a living soul [nephesh].” In 1 Corinthians 15:45, Paul declares, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul” (CV), quoting from Genesis 2:7 and using the Greek word psuche, soul, as the equivalent of the Hebrew nephesh. In the very next verse (1 Cor. 15:46), Paul refers to the first humanity associated with Adam as soulish in contrast with the second humanity associated with Christ, which he designates as spiritual.
Adam at his creation, his formation, becomes soulish. The breath, the spirit breathed into his nostrils makes him a living soul. He now becomes a sentient being, the blood delivering the spirit to the members of his body making them sentient—see, hear, touch, taste, smell. The soulish man can die. For the soul is in the blood. The shedding of blood can result in death.
After Adam sins, The Law of Death is activated within him. He can now die without the shedding of his blood. Yahweh declares of Adam after his sin, “soil you are, and to soil are you returning” (Gen. 3:19 CV). In Leviticus 17:13b, Yahweh commands the hunter of game to “pour out its blood and cover it with soil” (CV), a reminder of the Sin and Death brought in by Adam.
The Law of Death operates within humans and results in a return to the soil out of which Adam was formed. The Law of Sin operates within the members of the body of humans, inciting the senses to commit sin (pushing the senses beyond their healthy application), including the taking of another person’s life (soul) by the shedding of that person’s blood. Thus, in the world in which The Law of Sin and Death operates, the threat of murder by means of the shedding of blood is in the hands of each individual human.
The Levitical law reminds all Israelites of the holiness of
life by assigning the blood as the means of providing a propitiatory-shelter (a
covering) over sin. It is thus a constant reminder of man’s contamination by
death and by sin. Man cannot affect The
Law of Death, but he can affect, control, repress, war against the input of
the operation of The Law of Sin. This
is precisely the function of the Law of Yahweh given to
Thus, the blood is associated with both life and death. Within
the living body it is life. Outside the body it is death. As a result, the
blood outside the body can be contaminating when contact is made with it, as
indicated in the case of menstrual blood. But it can also be an agent of
cleansing, as indicated in the usage of blood to ratify the Sinatic Covenant as
well as its usage to ceremonially cleanse the Tabernacle, the land, and the
The blood of a sacrificed animal also provides a propitiatory-shelter, a covering, over the sin or sins of the offerer. The animal is not a substitute for the offerer. The offerer, by laying his hands on the animal, identifies with the animal in order for the blood of the animal to be identified by Yahweh as on behalf of the offerer. The offerer remains under the verdict of death (that is, he is still dying as a result of The Law of Death operating in him), and his sin or sins are not removed, but covered, so that Yahweh can maintain a close relationship with the sinner; for sin (as well as death) makes one an enemy of Yahweh. As long as sin is covered over by sacrificial blood, the offerer is not counted, and, thus, not treated as an enemy, but a covenantal friend of Yahweh.
This applies to the sacrificial death of Jesus. His shed blood provides forgiveness of sins, but does not eradicate sins. His death is not substitutionary, for those believing in Him still die the death that they received from Adam. If Christ is their substitute, they would not have to die. Christ is not a substitute. He was the last (eschatos, 1 Cor. 15:45) Adam because His death satisfied the verdict of Yahweh over Adam’s sin, and, becoming the second Adam (1 Cor. 15:47), His life initiated a superseding verdict on behalf of all human beings—Death is no longer the last word; justification of Life is Yahweh’s new verdict on behalf of all human beings; all human beings will be raised out of the Death Adam brought in, into the Life Jesus Christ brought in (Rom. 5:12, 18); The Law of Sin and Death is in the process of being eradicated, replaced by The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. This new law has already rejuvenated the Ecclesia of Christ residing in the Celestial Realm with her Lord for the past 2,000 years and has been and will be rejuvenating the rest of humanity, excluding none, by the end of this (our own) present age.
As shown in Structure 10, which forms a simple introversion, the central member of the structure of the Book of Leviticus consists of chapters 18 to 20. The theme and the title can be set forth as “Yahweh’s Covenant—The Central Theme of Holiness: Be Ye holy For I Am Holy.”
A1 18:1-30 The Sons of
B 19:1-37 The Whole Congregation: Holy Shall You Become. For I Am Holy (Observe All My Statutes And All My Judgments)
The Sons of
The A members direct instruction to the sons of
They are specifically instructed, “According to the deeds of the
Those high officials responsible for the monitoring of
This is why the faithfulness of the sons of
The central member of the structure of chapters 18-20 (Structure
10, B 19:1-37) is directed to “the whole
congregation of the sons of
It is vital that these officials remain holy by faithfully observing all Yahweh’s statutes and judgments. For if their personal faithfulness is jeopardized, their judicial role is jeopardized. Personal unfaithfulness results in administrational unfaithfulness—judicial injustice. Such injustice will lead to national sickness, national disobedience leading to Yahweh’s implementation of covenantal curse, national judgment.
Thus, the importance of judicial justice in the higher and lower courts in the land can be appreciated. Chapter 18 takes up the theme of judicial justice in the higher courts, emphasizing Yahweh’s statutes. Chapter 20 takes up the theme of judicial justice in the higher courts, emphasizing Yahweh’s judgments. Chapter 19 treats the theme of judicial justice in the lower courts, emphasizing the essence of holiness: separation and wholeness.
Chapters 18 and 20 can be divided into three corresponding sections as presented in Structure 11.
C1 18:1-5 Instruction Directed to the Sons of
D1 18:6-25 Statutes Concerning Sexual Unions and Resulting Seed
E1 18:26-30 Purpose of the Statutes—A Holy Land
C2 20:1-2a Instruction Directed to the Sons of Israel
D2 20:2b-22 Judgments Concerning Sexual Unions and Resulting Seed
E2 20:23-27 Purpose of Judgments—A Holy People
Both chapters are directed to the sons of
The third section of Leviticus, chapter 18 (E1 of Structure 11), establishes the purpose of Yahweh’s statutes. His statutes make possible a holy land. The statutes of the nations polluted the land. Yahweh plans to remove these nations from the land. The text describes this as the land vomiting the people out due to their defilement (). Keeping Yahweh’s statutes results in a clean land. A clean land is a holy land, a land separated from the unclean, unholy lands of the nations, a land suitable for the dwelling of the presence of Yahweh.
The corresponding third section of Leviticus, chapter 20 (E2 of Structure 11), establishes the purpose of Yahweh’s judgments. His judgments make possible a holy people. The judgments of the nations, based upon their own statutes, polluted the people, making them unclean in Yahweh’s eyes and causing them to become an irritation to Him (20:23 CV). A holy land is dependent on a holy people. A holy people is dependent on holy statutes and holy judgments.
Thus, Leviticus 18:26 consists of a command directed to
Israelites and sojourners. The positive side of the command is to “observe My statutes and My judgments.” The
negative side of the command is not to do “any
of these abhorrences” of the men of the land. Chapter 18, verses 27-28,
declare the purpose of the command: purification of the land. The men of the
land, soon to be vomited out, committed abhorrences and made the land unclean. By
observing Yahweh’s statutes and judgments, the sons of
The command of Leviticus 18:26 is then restated in 18:30. Again,
it consists of a positive and a negative side. The sons of
Returning to the corresponding third section of chapter 20 (E2 of Structure 11, 20:23-27), a presentation of its literary structure (Structure 12) will prove beneficial to its exegesis.
E2 20:23-27 Purpose of the Judgments—A Holy People
c 20:23 Command: You shall not walk by the habitual statutes of the nations I am casting out.
d 20:24 Promise: You shall tenant their ground
I give it to you
I separate you from the peoples
e 20:25 Obligation: Make a separation between the clean and the unclean
d 20:26 Promise: You will become holy to me
I Yahweh am holy
I am separating you from the peoples to become Mine
c 20:27 Judgment: Death by stoning to any medium or wizard
Structure 12 begins with a command and ends with a judgment. The
Yahweh then promises
The central member, e
20:25 of Structure 12, presents
The center of the entire Book of Leviticus has now been reached. Structure 13 presents the literary structure of chapter 19, emphasizing judicial justice in the lower courts:
B 19:1-37 The Whole Congregation: Holy Shall You Become. For I Am Holy (Observe All My
Statutes And All My Judgments)
f1 19:1-2 To the Whole Congregation: Holy Shall You Become. For I Am Holy.
g1 19:3-10 Love Yahweh Your Elohim and Your Neighbor as Yourself
h1 19:11-18 Examples of Loving Yahweh and Neighbor
i 19:19 The Essence of Holiness: Separation and Wholeness
h2 19:20-31 Examples of Loving Yahweh and Neighbor
g2 19:32-36 Love Yahweh your Elohim and the Sojourner in the Land as Yourself
f2 19:37 To the Whole Congregation: You Will Observe and Do All My Judgments
Leviticus, chapter 19, as presented in Structure 13, is
addressed to the whole congregation of the sons of
The whole congregation is to become holy, separated, and committed to observing the laws of Elohim in its conduct and official judgments (f1 19:1-2, Structure 13). This is confirmed and emphasized in the corresponding closing member of Structure 13: “Hence you will observe all My statutes and all My judgments and do them: I am Yahweh” (f2 19:37 CV). Thus, they are to be holy because “I am holy, Yahweh your Elohim” (19:2 CV), and they are to observe faithfully all Yahweh’s statutes and judgments because Yahweh is supreme Ruler, King. Yahweh is sovereign. His statutes and judgments are the absolute standard by which justice shall prevail throughout the whole land.
The next member (g1 19:3-10) of Structure 13 reiterates
the royal law: Love Yahweh your Elohim and your neighbor as yourself. These
judges are to exemplify in their conduct and legal judgments the love of Yahweh
and love of their neighbor, their fellow men. Thus, each is to fear, respect,
honor his mother and father (v. 3), which is the fifth commandment of the Ten
Words spoken to all
The corresponding member (g2 19:32-36) of Structure
13 concerns itself with this same royal law, emphasizing the just treatment of
the sojourner in the land. He also is to be considered a neighbor and, so,
extended the same love as granted to an Israelite. These judges and the nation
are called upon to remember their own experience as sojourners in the
The third member (h1 19:11-18) of Structure 13 provides
examples of loving Yahweh and neighbor. Members of the whole congregation of
the sons of
Another example of loving Yahweh and neighbor is the refraining from extortion and pillage. Immediate payment of wages for work contracted also exemplifies love of Yahweh and neighbor. Wages withheld would be an injustice against the welfare of the laborer. It could be used to tyrannize, to enslave, to humble, to dishonor the worker. The blind and the deaf are not to be abused by taking advantage of their defect. Love of neighbor means honest, just treatment of those whose defects make them vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse. All judges are to render fair judgments. They are not to show favor to the rich and powerful, to those of reputation or high standing in the community: “In righteousness shall you judge your companion” (Lev. 19:15b CV). This also means not favoring unjustly the poor, the weak, the humble because of pity on the part of the judge. Slander against his neighbor leading to an unwarranted sentence of death (thus, murder, commandment number 6) is a sign of hatred of the neighbor. Thus, the opposite of loving one’s neighbor with all your heart, mind, and soul is hating “your brother in your heart” (19:17). Hence, this section concludes with the royal law, “You will love your associate as yourself: I am Yahweh” (19:18 CV). To be holy means to act, think, behave, judge in conformity with the character of Yahweh, which His statutes and judgments reveal.
The corresponding member (h2 19:20-31) of Structure 13 provides examples emphasizing the love of Yahweh. In this section Yahweh prohibits divination (eating on the mountain), sorcery (consulting clouds), worship of other elohim (body grooming, laceration, or tattooing connected with false worship), the prostituting of one’s daughter (cult prostitution). Against these idolatrous acts, Yahweh commands, “My sabbaths shall you observe, and My sanctuary shall you fear: I am Yahweh” (Num. 19:30 CV). Yahweh and only Yahweh will be worshiped and served. Only Yahweh’s sabbaths shall be observed. Only Yahweh’s sanctuary, the Tabernacle, will be the place where Yahweh will dwell in the midst of the people and where the people will offer sacrifices to Yahweh.
At the very heart of the Book of Leviticus, the central literary member (19:19, Structure 13) of the central literary member (19:1-37, Structure 10) of the central literary member of the book as a whole (18:1‑20:27, Structure 10) is verse 19 of chapter 19.
My statutes shall you observe: your beast you shall not cause to copulate dissimilarly; your field you shall not sow dissimilarly, and a garment dissimilarly made of lindsey-woolsey shall not come up on you. (CV)
This single verse contains and illustrates the essence of
holiness: Separation and Wholeness. Only
The second part of Leviticus 19:19 illustrates what Yahweh
means by separation, holiness. To be holy is to be separated to the worship and
service of only Yahweh. Such separation demands wholeness, no mixture, thus purity. This is illustrated in verse 19
by the prohibiting of mixed breeding, mixed sowing, and mixed weaving.
The first generation coming out of
A1 1:1-19 Introduction—Yahweh’s Command to Number the Sons of Israel:
In the wilderness of Sinai
In the tent of appointment
1st day, 2nd month, 2nd year
B1 1:20- 25:18 The Numbering of the First Generation coming out of Egypt
and preparation for entering the promised land—
B2 26:1-36:12 The Numbering of the Second Generation coming out of Egypt
and preparation for entering the promised land—
A2 36:13 Conclusion—Yahweh’s Instruction and Judgments:
By means of Moses
To the sons of
In the plains
In the tent of appointment
End of the 40th year of wandering
As presented in Structure 14, the introduction of the Book of
Numbers (A1 1:1-19) records Yahweh’s command to Moses to number the
whole congregation of the sons of Israel. This command is given to Moses in the
tent of appointment (the Tabernacle) in the wilderness of Sinai on the first
day of the second month of the second year of the departure of the people from
As shown in Structure 14, the third section of the Book of
Numbers (B2 26:1-36:12), in literary correspondence to the second
section, gives an accounting of the second numbering and preparation of the
nation for entrance into the Promised Land. The journeying is over. The first
generation is dead. The second generation is camped in
The journey from
Yahweh’s anger is aroused, and He sends fire among them in
judgment. The text indicates this fire “consumed
some among them and devoured the outmost part of the camp” (Num. 11:1b CV).
The “outmost part of the camp”
consisted of the mixed multitude described in Exodus 12:38: “Moreover a mixed multitude ascended with
Other members of this mixed multitude, this rabble residing in
the midst of the people, “lusted after
yearning; and again the sons of
It is in the midst of this situation that Moses in desperation cries out to Yahweh,
Why have You dealt evil to your servant? And why have I not found grace in Your eyes that You placed the load of all this people on me? Was I myself pregnant with all this people, or did I generate it, that You should say to me: Carry it in your bosom just as a foster-father carries a suckling child, to the ground about which You had sworn to their fathers? From where would I find flesh to give to all this people? For they are lamenting to me, saying: Do give us flesh and let us eat. I am not able, by myself alone, to bear all this people, for it is too heavy for me. So if thus You are doing to me, kill me, I pray, yea kill me. If I have found grace in Your eyes then do not let me see Your evil. (Numbers 11:11-15 CV)
Just prior to this outcry, in verse 10, “Moses heard the people lamenting . . . And the anger of Yahweh grew
exceedingly hot, and in the eyes of Moses it was evil” (CV). Moses
understood Yahweh’s anger meant the application of evil. Those contaminated by
this rebellious lust must be destroyed. The people as a whole were affected by
this disloyal attitude. They began to lament their departure from
Thus, Moses concludes he is a failure as a leader. The burden is too heavy to be borne by one man. He requests that Yahweh kill him rather than that he should see Yahweh’s evil against the people. In his distress, Moses fails to consider Yahweh’s capacity to provide and Yahweh’s compassionate and merciful use of evil.
Moses is fully aware of the injustice and ingratitude of the people’s lament. On the other hand, he can understand their desire for meat. The desire is not evil. The evil is their lustful attitude issuing into a lament revealing a lack of trust in Yahweh’s faithfulness and a lack of confidence in Yahweh’s love for them. Again, Yahweh is indirectly being accused of capriciousness, the essential characteristic of the gods of the nations.
However, the solution to the problem is essentially understood by Moses. The overwhelming stress of the situation has clouded his perception and conception due to his false, and thus evil, conclusion that he is to blame. Moses has not failed. He is not to be blamed for the people’s lament. Within his complaint to Yahweh, he reveals a knowledge which should have avoided the response emanating from his great distress. He declares, “Was I myself pregnant with all this people, or did I generate it . . .?” (Num. 11:12a CV). The obvious answer is No. Yahweh is responsible for this nation. This is no secret to Moses. He took upon himself that which belonged only to Yahweh—ultimate responsibility for the success of the mission. Having perceived the impossibility of one man bearing the overwhelming burden of the nation, Moses should have consulted with Yahweh, making the necessary request for help.
As it turns out, Yahweh’s response to Moses’ distressful
complaint provides the necessary relief to his overwhelming burden. Yahweh commands
Moses to choose 70 elders of
Two men of the 70, however, had remained in the camp. Yet, upon them also the spirit came to rest, and they also prophesied. Joshua challenges the right of these two men to share in the authority of Moses, supposedly because they had not appeared at the tent of appointment as the other 68 had obediently done. The response of Moses is most significant: “Art thou jealous for me? Oh would that all the people of Yahweh were prophets! Yea, let Yahweh put his spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:29 EB). He now realizes the full implication of Yahweh’s solution to the present problem. Truly, Yahweh alone is ultimately responsible for the nation and its purpose. The covenant made at Sinai (and its reestablishment after the failure committed with the golden calf) is temporary. It is not the ultimate means of fulfilling the promises made to Abram. It is a penultimate means.
The later prophets of
Yahweh’s application of evil in judgment of the people is not without compassion and mercy. He does provide food. A wind (Heb. = ruah, spirit, breath) from Yahweh drives an exceedingly large number of quails from the sea to the wilderness and deposits them at a distance around two sides of the camp. As the people have lamented contrary to the spirit (ruah) of Yahweh on Moses, so the wind (ruah) of Yahweh supplies the quails which will both destroy the evil ones (the one’s lusting after yearning, Num. 11:4), and mercifully compensate the ones deceptively seduced by the rabble and the ones who had remained faithful.
Gatherers are appointed to collect and prepare the quails for consumption. Yahweh had declared, “Unto a month of days shall you eat until it comes forth from your nostrils and becomes odious to you because you rejected Yahweh Who is among you and lamented before Him, . . .” (Num. 11:20 CV). The preparers spread the quails out to dry. However, those described as lusting after yearning (11:4) that is, craving impatiently, probably could not and did not take the time to preserve the quails by salting. These are the ones destroyed, killed by Yahweh, most likely as a result of food poisoning. These are the ones after whom the place is named, Kibroth Hattaavah, the grave of the craving, “for there they entombed the people, the lusters” (Num. 11:34 CV). The remainder of the people continued eating quail for a month, during which time quail became odious in their nostrils. Yahweh’s merciful judgment in their case is intended to correct and discipline.
Following the rebellion at Kibroth Hattaavah, Miriam and Aaron challenge the authority of Moses, saying, “Is it but only through Moses that Yahweh speaks? Does He not also speak through us?” (Num. 12:2a CV). After all, Yahweh had just recently diverted the spirit of Moses to be shared by the 70 elders. Has this not diminished his status? The answer is an emphatic No! The text immediately records, “And Yahweh heard” (Num. 12:2b). Yahweh Himself comes to the defense of Moses.
The writer then comments, “Now the man Moses was exceedingly humble, more than any human who was on the surface of the ground” (Num. 12:3 CV). The word “humble” in Hebrew refers to one who has achieved a mastery over himself. One who has harnessed his soul, his spirit, and his body. Moses had achieved this discipline, this meekness, “exceedingly,” more than any other living human being at that time. This mastery, this self-discipline, and control had been harnessed in the worship and service of Yahweh.
Moses is unique. His stature is unequaled in
As a result of the audacity of Miriam and Aaron, Yahweh orders, “Come forth, you three, to the tent of appointment” (Num. 12:4 CV). There, Yahweh humiliated them, castigatingly proclaiming,
If there were a prophet among you, I, Yahweh, in an appearance shall make Myself known to Him; in a dream shall I speak to him. Not so with My servant Moses. In My whole house he is faithful. Mouth to mouth am I speaking with him, and manifestly, not in enigmas, so that he looks at a representation of Yahweh. (Numbers 12:6-8a CV)
Yahweh speaks to Moses “mouth to mouth,” personally, not in enigmas, that is, not in puzzles, not cryptically, not in riddles, not obscurely, not ambiguously, not in dreams and visions. This allows Moses to speak authoritatively and intelligibly. Thus, the law is communicable. It can be taught and passed on from one generation to another. It is intelligible and obeyable.
The greatness of Moses is exceeded only by Jesus the Christ, as the writer of the Book of Hebrews contends. This writer, alluding to Numbers 12:7, argues that Jesus the Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses because a faithful son is greater than a faithful servant. Moses as an attendant was faithful in Yahweh’s house, but Jesus as a son was in the process of faithfully building, constructing the House of Yahweh (Heb. 3:1-6). Moses mediates Yahweh’s covenant with the blood of animals; Christ consecrates Yahweh’s New Covenant with His own blood. To believe into Moses for the eon unequivocably meant believing into Jesus the Christ. To believe Moses one must properly understand the teachings of Moses. To properly understand the teachings of Moses is to believe into Jesus. This is what John meant when he declared, “Because the law through Moses was given, the grace and the truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17 my translation). The Mosaic Covenant necessitated the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ. Therefore, to believe Moses is to understand the necessity of a new covenant and, at the appointed time, to recognize Jesus as the Christ. The Mosaic Law was to become an escort to Christ (Gal. ).
As the nation is encamped in the wilderness of Paran, Yahweh commands Moses, “Send some men [enosh = mortals = men of renown] ahead of you that they may explore the land of Canaan . . . One man, one each for the stock of his fathers, shall you send and everyone a prince among them” (Num. 13:2 CV). When the twelve chosen princes, one from each of the twelve tribes, return from this exploration, they report, “We came to the land to which you sent us, and indeed it is gushing with milk and honey, . . . Only that the people dwelling in the land are strong and the cities are defended and exceedingly great” (Num. -28 CV). Hearing this report, the people begin muttering against Moses. Caleb, one of the twelve princes sent out, then “quelled the muttering of the people against Moses and said: We should go up, yea up and tenant it, for we are able to prevail against it” (Num. CV). Joshua, another of the twelve princes sent out, agrees with Caleb. However, the remaining ten princes disagree, arguing, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are more courageous than we. . . . the land through which we passed to explore it, it is a land that is devouring its dwellers; it and all the people whom we saw in its midst were men [enosh = mortals = men of renown] of great measure. . . . And we became, in our eyes, like grasshoppers; so we became in their eyes” (Num. -33 CV).
This disparaging interpretation is the conclusion drawn by ten
faithless men of renown, princes, and leaders among the sons of
In response, Moses and Aaron prostrate themselves to Yahweh
before the whole assembly of the congregation of the sons of
They exhort the whole congregation to trust Yahweh. He is not
capricious. What He began doing on their behalf in
Yahweh will delight in
Yahweh responds, “How
long shall this people spurn Me? And how long shall you not believe in Me
despite all the signs which I have done among them? I shall smite them with the
plague and evict them, and I shall make you [Moses] into a greater and more substantial nation than they” (Num.
14:11-12 CV). Here is the same response Moses had heard on Mount Sinai in
The Egyptians have heard that You brought up this
people by Your vigor, from among them; and they have spoken to the dwellers of
this land; . . . If You put this people to death as one man, then the nations
who heard the report of You will say, saying: Because Yahweh was unable to
bring this people to the land which He had sworn to them, He slew them in the
wilderness. So now let, I pray, the vigor of Yahweh be great just as You have
spoken, saying: Yahweh, slow to anger and with much kindness and truth, bearing
with depravity and transgression and sin, yet He is not immediately making
innocent in order to make innocent, but is visiting the depravity of the
fathers on the sons, on the third and on the fourth generation. Pardon, I pray,
the depravity of this people according to the greatness of Your kindness just
as You bore with this people from
As Pharaoh and the Egyptians had spurned Yahweh’s signs, so,
This wise counsel given by Moses as advisor to Yahweh, King of Israel, is proudly honored. And again Moses has been put to the test by Yahweh the King, and his faithful counsel highly esteemed in the eyes of Yahweh. Is it any wonder that Yahweh would confidently, proudly declare of His servant Moses, “In my whole house he is faithful. Mouth to mouth am I speaking with him, and manifestly, not in enigmas, so that he looks at a representation of Yahweh” (Num. 12:7b-8a)?!
Yahweh announces to Moses, “I have pardoned them according to your word. Howbeit, as I am the living One, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Yahweh, all the men [enosh = mortals = men of renown] who were seeing My glory and My signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, . . . and they did not hearken to My voice, they assuredly shall not see the land about which I had sworn to their fathers! All who are spurning Me shall not see it” (Num. 14:20-23 CV). Caleb and Joshua are declared exceptions (Num. 14:38). Yahweh characterizes Caleb as possessing “another spirit . . . he is following fully after Me” (Num. 14:24 CV). Thus, Caleb demonstrates what it means to walk in spirit, walk in obedience—to love Yahweh with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your intensity (Deut. 6:5 CV). To Moses and Aaron, Yahweh further declares, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, . . .? Say to them: As I am the living One . . . just as you have spoken into My ears so shall I assuredly do to you. In this wilderness your corpses shall fall: all your mustered ones, all of your number, from twenty years old and upward, you who have murmured against Me, . . . save Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your little ones of whom you have said: They shall be taken as plunder, I will also bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. As for you, your corpses shall fall in this wilderness, and your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, and they will bear your prostitutions until your corpses are spent in the wilderness” (Num. 14:26-33 CV). This evil congregation consisted of all those counted up under the first numbering, all those 20 years old and upward, all those who murmured against Yahweh. Rejecting the land, they rejected Yahweh. Rejecting Yahweh, they rejected the promise sworn to their fathers. They would die in the wilderness over a period of 40 years.
As they had concluded Yahweh unable to protect the lives of their little ones, Yahweh announces these same little ones would triumphantly enter the land. However, because of the prostitutions (the various acts of unholiness) of the fathers, the sons would not enter the land until the end of the 40 years of judgment. During this period, their sons would occupy themselves as shepherds under the harsh conditions of the wilderness. Though the sons are not held responsible for the acts of their fathers, they will not escape the affect of the behavior of their fathers. The consequence of sin (missing the mark) affects the guilty and the innocent. Thus, the text alludes to Cain and Abel, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Mosaic Law responds with an emphatic YES!
The failure of the first generation coming out of
Such is the testimony of the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. In chapter 10, verse 11, Paul warns, “Now all these things befell them typically. Yet it was written for our admonition, to whom the consummations of the ages have attained” (my translation). If one is not faithful to the end, he will be disqualified to participate in the promise to Abraham concerning citizenship in the Celestial Jerusalem.
Paul testifies, “Now all
am I doing because of the evangel, that I may be becoming a joint participant
of it. Are you not aware that those racing in a stadium are, indeed, all
racing, yet one is obtaining the prize? Thus be racing that you may be grasping
it. . . . thus I am racing, . . . not as punching the air, but I am belaboring
my body and leading it unto slavery, lest somehow, when heralding to others, I
myself may become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:23-27 CV). All these faithful
ones are journeying as participants in an exodus out of the old covenant into
the new covenant—out of the Jerusalem below into the Jerusalem Above. Typically,
they are in the wilderness between
However, “But not in the
majority of them does God [Yahweh]
delight, for they were strewn along in the wilderness. Now these things became
types of us, for us not to be lusters after evil things, according as they also
lusted” (1 Cor. 10:5-6 CV). Not all entered the Promised Land. Not all were
faithful to the end. Failure to remain faithful to the end would result in
failure to enter into the promised
Paul and all the faithful saints (Messianic Jews) of the first century were members of the last generation of the string of generations living through the Mosaic Eon. This is why Paul could refer to members of his generation as those “to whom the consummations of the eons have attained” (1 Cor. 10:11 CV). The Law and the Prophets find their fulfillment, their completion, their telos in the generation of Jesus. This includes the consummation, end, telos (goal) of each of the ages prior to Moses, that is, the age of Adam, the age of Noah, the age of the Patriarchs.
Paul’s warning was to be taken seriously, because the time for
faithfulness and the opportunity for repentance were limited. This is typified
in the reaction of all the sons of
Thus, Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians, quoting Isaiah 49:8, “In a season acceptable I reply to you, And in a day of salvation I help you,” concludes, “Lo! Now is a most acceptable era! Lo! Now is a day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2 CV). The Mosaic Eon was ending. Its consummation was near. The faithful ones were very close to entering into the Celestial Jerusalem above. Their salvation was drawing near: “This, also, do, being aware of the era, that it is already the hour for us to be roused out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night progresses, yet the day is near” (Rom. 13:11-12a CV). What Jesus had begun was nearing its fulfillment, its telos, its goal: “And handed to Him [Jesus] was a scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and, opening the scroll, He found the place where it was written, ‘The spirit of the Lord is on Me, . . . He anoints Me to bring the evangel to the poor. . . . To herald an acceptable year of the Lord . . .’ And furling the scroll, . . . He is seated. . . . Now He begins to be saying to them that ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your ears’” (Lk. 4:17-21 CV).
The character of the people of the first generation coming out
It appears that On, son of Peleth, soon withdraws from this evil coalition. It may be due to the erection of a competing tabernacle. Korah appears to be seeking the High Priesthood of Aaron (Num. 16:10). The erection of another tabernacle directly confronting the Tabernacle designed and constructed under the instruction of Moses is a physical representation signifying the seriousness of the challenge. This group represents an alternative cultic community. The text of chapter 16 refers to the “tabernacle of Korah, Dathan and Abiram” (Num. 16:24, Heb. Text = tabernacle, singular, not tent). On is no longer mentioned. Dathan and Abiram associate themselves with the challenging high priest and the challenging tabernacle. They seek the civil authority represented by Moses.
Korah, Dathan, Abiram, On, and the 250 princes initiate a confrontation with Moses and Aaron. They argue that Yahweh is in the midst of the whole congregation; therefore, all the members of the congregation are holy. They accuse Moses and Aaron of exalting themselves over the assembly of Yahweh. The people have had enough of their leadership. A change is warranted. Moses instructs Korah and his whole congregation to prepare firepans with incense on them and be ready to present them before Yahweh on the following day. This was a basic and an exclusive prerogative of priests. If Korah’s congregation is holy, its offerings will be accepted. They will not experience the destruction that came upon Aaron’s two evil sons. Aaron also is instructed to provide from Yahweh’s Tabernacle a firepan to be set before Yahweh. The challenge would be settled by Yahweh. The outcome is already implied in the final words of Moses to Korah and his congregation, “Enough of you,” throwing in their faces the very charge they made against Moses and Aaron (Num. 16:7 CV).
Moses then rebukes Korah and his plan to obtain more
privileges for the Levites. He reminds Korah, a Levite, of the honor given to the
Levites by Yahweh. Yahweh separated them (made them holy) from the congregation
Later, Moses summons Dathan and Abiram to appear before him at the tent of appointment. Both men refuse to obey Moses. They accuse Moses of being a tyrant and a failure: “Is it a little thing that you brought us up from a land gushing with milk and honey to put us to death in the wilderness, and that you are making yourself a chief, yea a chief over us? Indeed, into a land gushing with milk and honey you did not bring us that you might give to us an allotment of field and vineyard. Are you picking out the eyes of these men? We shall not come up!” (Num. 16:13-14 CV). The accusation is that Moses made himself chief and had been successful in maintaining his position of power by blinding the people to his deceptive activities which have resulted in the ruin of the people. No longer would this be tolerated.
Moses becomes exceedingly angry. He knows he has not deceived the people; he has not personally prospered by indulging in bribes; he has not committed any evil against any man. He requests that Yahweh reject any approach present Dathan and Abiram may attempt to offer Yahweh. In effect, he is requesting they be cut off from among Yahweh’s people.
Following this refusal of the summons of Moses, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram erect an opposing tabernacle directly confronting the Mosaic Tabernacle. This will allow the opposing cult to meet Moses and Aaron at the tent of appointment without submitting to the authority of Moses and Aaron. In the morning, the two cultic assemblies gather before the tent of appointment as Moses had ordered, with an additional group supporting Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and representing other revolutionaries from among the tribes. The glory of Yahweh appears to this whole congregation. Yahweh commands Moses and Aaron saying, “Separate yourselves from the midst of this congregation so that I may finish them in a moment” (Num. 16:21 CV).
Moses and Aaron immediately fall on their faces, pleading with Yahweh, “El, Elohim of the spirits for all flesh, as for the one man [enosh = mortal = man of renown], he is sinning; but shall You be wrathful over the whole congregation?” (Num. 16:22 CV). Moses and Aaron address Yahweh as “El, Elohim of the spirits for all flesh,” acknowledging Yahweh as El, the Elohim responsible for the spirit of life energizing all human beings. He gives life (spirit), and He has the sovereign right of life and death over each human being. Thus, to walk in spirit is to walk in accord with El’s universal laws of life. This is possible and beneficial for all human beings. In this text, the word “flesh,” representing mankind, indicates the condition of all men as a result of Adam’s sin—the activation of The Law of Death now operating in all men. In verse 29 of this chapter, Moses refers to the operation of this law as “the common death of all humanity.”
Moses and Aaron acknowledge the right of Yahweh to take away life as He pleases. However, they request that He take only the life of the one man who is the originator of the sin which has deceived others into jeopardizing their own spirits. They intercede on behalf of those who have been seduced by those men whose hearts are in rebellion against Yahweh. Again, Yahweh harkens to Moses, “Speak to the congregation, saying: Move away from around the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan and Abiram” (Num. 16:23 CV).
Notice the word “tabernacle,” singular, is used, not tent. This tabernacle is designated as belonging to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram—the chief revolutionaries. Korah stands before this tabernacle, for he is challenging Aaron for the High Priesthood. Dathan and Abiram have removed their tents (along with their families) from the camp of the Reubenites, located south of the Mosaic Tabernacle, to the east side of the Mosaic Tabernacle (as is suitable for civic chiefs) directly behind the alternate cultic tabernacle before which Korah now stands. Behind the tents of Dathan and Abiram stand the additional supporting group, completing the number of this congregation. In front of Korah, at a short distance, are the 250 men prepared to offer incense to Yahweh in opposition to Moses and Aaron.
Moses and the 70 elders of
The intercession of Moses and Aaron on behalf of the majority of the rebellious congregation of Korah had avoided Yahweh’s intention of destroying them all. Yahweh, however, knows the character of this evil generation of faithless ones. He has known its character from the beginning. They are a stiffed-necked and rebellious people (Deut. 9:6-7). They had adapted themselves to many of the ways of the Egyptians. They had come to fear the capriciousness of the gods. As a result, they continually doubted the sincerity of Yahweh’s intentions and the integrity and meekness of Moses. This doubt, this stiff-neckedness, this rebellious character coiled up snake-like the following day in preparation for a second strike at Moses and Aaron.
The whole congregation of the sons of
Yahweh once again manifests His compassion, kindness, mercy, and the patience of His justified anger against a stiffed-necked, rebellious, unbelieving, evil generation of ingrates. This people clearly has not been chosen by Yahweh because of its own righteousness or merit. It has continually demonstrated a character no better than the nation from which it had been graciously delivered. In spite of this, Yahweh has a purpose, and that purpose will be fulfilled in the history of this nation.
Though Yahweh has rejected the first generation of the nation
Balak, dreading the evil potential of this people, attempts to
hire Balaam to curse it.
Balaam is a renowned seer famous for his gift of blessing and
cursing: “I know that whomever you bless
is being blessed and whomever you curse is accursed” (Num. 22:6b CV),
acknowledges Balak. Thus, he first sends a group consisting of elders from both
Balaam claims to have a working relationship with Yahweh. This should not be a surprise, for Melchizedek is said to be a priest of the Supreme El owner of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 14:18-19). Abram equates this Supreme El with Yahweh in his response to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:22 CV). Thus, the name, Yahweh, has been known in the ancient world of Abram.
The name, however, has not been associated with a covenant
relationship by any nation other than
Yahweh had then turned to Abram and promised to bless the
nations through his seed.
Balak sends another group more numerous and illustrious than
the first to persuade Balaam to curse
Apparently, Balaam’s heart is wavering in his commitment to speak
only Yahweh’s words. For as he journeys upon his donkey to
Balaam’s eyes are opened, and he sees the messenger of Yahweh with his drawn sword. The messenger asks Balaam, “On what grounds did you smite your jenny these three times?” (Num. 22:32a CV). He learns from the messenger how his donkey has acted on his behalf. In his ignorance, his blindness, he has unjustly mistreated his loyal servant. The heat of his anger had been unjustified, unlike the heat of Yahweh’s anger against Balaam. Yahweh, unlike Balaam, is neither ignorant nor blind. Yahweh sees through outward appearance into the heart. Balaam would have attempted to disobey Yahweh his Elohim, unlike his own donkey servant. He would have attempted disloyal behavior (see Isaiah 1:3).
Having now understood the behavior of his donkey, Balaam admits he is at fault in relation to the donkey and asks to be allowed to return home. At this point, he still has not understood the significance of the situation. He believes the thoughts of his heart have not been detected. He acts as though the only problem has been his going to Balak. He concludes that Yahweh must once again have changed His mind.
But the messenger of Yahweh commands, “Go with the men, yet only the word which I speak to you may you speak to him” (Num. 22:35a CV). The problem is not that Yahweh has changed His mind. The problem is the intent of Balaam’s heart! As Yahweh’s servant, he has to remain loyal to Yahweh’s voice. He is to obey Yahweh in executing His counsel. To disobey is to be slain by the sword of Yahweh. Balaam will not be allowed to curse this nation under any circumstances.
Balak will attempt to apply the stick to his back, but Balaam
will faithfully bless
Over the centuries of the Mosaic Age,
Balaam’s plan calls for the seductive use of the Midianite
women. The women are to seduce the men of
While the whole congregation at the opening of the tent of
appointment is still lamenting this rebellious act of prostitution, and while
Yahweh’s stroke continues (though less heatedly), a man of renown from among
the sons of Israel brings near to this holy assembly a Midianite woman. Phineas,
son of Eleazar chief priest, upon seeing this pollution of the holy assembly
and this potential threat to the Tabernacle itself, without hesitation takes up
a spear and slays the offending couple, making a propitiatory-shelter over the
Phineas had acted jealously in accord with the charge placed
upon the Levites shortly after the rebellion of Korah: “Yahweh said to Aaron: You and your sons and your father’s house with
you shall bear any depravity committed against the sanctuary, . . .” (Num.
18:1a CV). After Phineas’ faithful act, Yahweh declares to Moses, “Phineas . . . reversed My fury from the
Twenty-four thousand people had been struck down by this stroke sent by Yahweh. Shortly thereafter, the population of the first generation still living had dwindled down to one, Moses. Miriam and Aaron had already died. The chief priesthood had been transferred to Aaron’s son Eleazar. The transference of the authority and position of Moses and his death are now on the horizon.
The reversal of Yahweh’s fury by Phineas’ propitiatory-shelter
over the nation and the death of 24,000 people are immediately followed by the
account of Yahweh’s command for a second numbering of the people. This second
generation is old enough to remember the events in
These warriors of Yahweh “rallied against Midian just as Yahweh had instructed Moses, and they killed every male. . . . Also Balaam son of Beor they killed with the sword” (Num. 31:7-8 CV). However, among the loot they bring back to Moses and Eleazar are the women and their children. When Moses beholds these captives, his wrath is directed at the officers of the army. He reprimands them saying, “You have kept every female alive? Behold, they, by the word of Balaam, came to be for the sons of Israel the reason for a withdrawal from and an offense against Yahweh in the matter of Peor, so that the stroke came to be in the congregation of Yahweh” (Num. 31:15-16 CV). These women, in effect, had cursed Abraham’s seed. Yahweh’s curse is thus upon them. These officers, unlike their predecessors among the first generation, immediately respond to Moses’ rebuke by obeying his order. They had made a mistake, but not in rebellion against Yahweh. It was not a presumptuous mistake, but one due to ignorance. In response to the command of Moses, all the women having had intercourse with men are slain. All the male children are slain. The remaining females are kept as slaves. The second generation has been tried and proven faithful to Yahweh.
Towards the end of the fortieth year of wandering in the
wilderness, Moses is the last of his generation to remain alive. He and Aaron
had been disqualified from entering into the
Moses is told by Yahweh to take the budding rod of Aaron which
is in the Tabernacle and within the
Having taken the budding rod of Aaron, Moses is commanded to “Take the rod and assemble the congregation,
you and Aaron your brother; speak to the crag [cliff, not rock] before their eyes, and it will give its
water” (Num. 20:8a CV). Moses and Aaron assemble the people, but the spirit
of Moses is provoked. He cries out, “Hear,
I pray, you rebels! From this crag shall we bring forth water for you?” (Num.
20:10b CV). The extent of the obstinacy of his generation causes the meekest of
men to lose his self-control, his mastery over himself. His patience has been
exhausted. Forgetting the instruction of Yahweh, he smites the crag twice with
the holy rod of Aaron. Water bursts forth, but Yahweh is displeased with both
Moses and Aaron. Yahweh declares, “Because
you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me before the eyes of the sons of
The nation has been identified with Moses. Because of its sin against Yahweh’s covenant as a result of its worshiping the golden calf, it had been sentenced to death. The Sinatic Covenant, now becoming the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, then became a ministry of death for all the generations that were to follow. Moses, having interceded successfully on its behalf, is then identified with the destiny of this nation as represented by this first stiff-necked and rebellious generation. His spirit had been constantly tried by this generation. Through it all, he had remained faithful to Yahweh and the nation, interceding numerous times on its behalf and personally bearing the brunt of its rebellion on many occasions.
While encamped on the plains of Moab in the fortieth year of wandering, Moses testifies concerning this first evil generation: “When Yahweh heard the sound of your words, He was wrathful; and He swore saying: Assuredly no one among these mortals [men of renown], this evil generation, shall see the good land about which I had sworn to give to your fathers, . . . Moreover Yahweh showed Himself angered with me owing to you [this evil generation], saying: Not even you shall enter there” (Deut. 1:34-37 CV). Prior to the death of Moses, Yahweh explains, “you rebelled against My bidding [oracle] in the wilderness of Zin to sanctify Me at the waters before their eyes” (Num. 27:14b CV). The Psalmist declares concerning this failure of Moses,
They prompted wrath at the waters of Meribah,
And it was evil for Moses for their sake
Because they provoked his spirit,
And he talked rashly with his lips. (Psalms 106:32-33 CV)
Though Moses is faithful in all Yahweh’s house, this single failure is held against him by Yahweh, a failure provoked, caused, brought on, induced, produced, effected by the very people he has loved with all his heart, all his soul, all his intensity. It is this very love for his people which frustrates Moses into committing this failure. Moses (in accordance with Yahweh’s design) is to be a type of Christ as the obedient servant of Yahweh Who loves His Elohim and His people by bearing on His own shoulders the sin of His people and leading their exodus out from the old covenant into the new. Joshua is to be a type of Christ the faithful servant leading his people into the promised Celestial Jerusalem after conquering the enemy.
Prior to his ordered departure, Moses pleads with Yahweh to
allow him to enter the
As an individual, however, no greater prophet than Moses arose
The ineligibility of Moses to enter the land necessitates the
appointment of someone to replace him. Moses approaches Yahweh concerning the
choice of such a replacement: “May Yahweh
Elohim of the spirits for all flesh give supervision over the congregation to a
man who may go forth before them and enter before them, and who may bring them
forth and bring them in so that the congregation of Yahweh shall not become
like a flock for whom there is no shepherd” (Num. 27:16-17 CV). Yahweh
answers Moses’ concern by choosing Joshua “a
man in whom there is spirit” (Num. 27:18 CV), indicating Joshua is a man
whose heart is committed to the laws of Yahweh. He will continue to walk in
spirit, faithfully obeying the voice of Yahweh from his heart to the end of his
days. Moses is commanded to “support your
hands on him” (Num. 27:18 CV) in the presence of Eleazar the Chief Priest
and the whole congregation. This symbolic act transferred the prestige and
authority of Moses to Joshua, sanctifying his leadership and requiring the
obedience of the whole congregation. As Moses placed his hands upon Joshua, the
spirit of wisdom filled Joshua (Deut. 34:9). Yahweh had established His choice
of Joshua. The whole congregation of the sons of
The final instructions of Moses at
Moses first addresses the members of those generations who
personally saw the great trials, signs, and miracles performed by Yahweh in
The things being concealed are Yahweh our Elohim’s, yet the things being revealed are ours and our sons’ until the eon, so that we might keep all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29 CV)
For this instruction that I am enjoining on you today, it is neither too difficult for you, nor is it too far off. . . . For the word is exceedingly near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to obey it. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14 CV)
What has been concealed from the unfaithful and weak is the telos, the goal of the Mosaic Law as a
ministry of death. A mature understanding of the Law and the Prophets would
reveal this secret. Those possessing the spirit of Yahweh have access to this
concealed truth. For the nation as a whole, the Law of Moses, the covenant at
Sinai, and the covenant contracted in
During the course of
Moses proceeds to prophetically warn the nation, “Beware lest there may be among you a man or
woman or family or tribe whose heart today is turning around from being with
Yahweh our Elohim to go to serve the elohim of those nations; beware lest there
may be among you a root, being fruitful with poison and wormwood” (Deut.
29:18 CV). Though such individuals or groups be few in number, their potential for
spreading disastrous contamination is great. These individuals and groups must
be eliminated as early as possible. The metaphor “a root being fruitful with poison” conveys the rapid permeation of
contaminating evil throughout the covenantal body of
Moses declares, “Yahweh
shall not be willing to pardon him, because then Yahweh’s anger and His
jealousy shall smoke against that man, . . . Yahweh will wipe out his name from
under the heavens; . . .” (Deut. 29:20 CV). Yahweh’s judgment
against such an individual or group is to remove from the covenant the name of
such individuals, depriving them of the celestial life promised to Abraham and
to those faithful to the end. This meant being cut off from the people, cut off
from the hope of
Thus, the covenantal health and spiritual vitality of the nation is dependent on the health and vitality of each individual; “the satiated may be swept up with the thirsty” (Deut. 29:19b CV) is a metaphor meaning the green tree (the faithful members of the community as a whole) is in immediate danger of Yahweh’s judgment as a result of the evil heart and activity of the dry or parched tree (the unfaithful, rebellious individual or group).
This principle had been demonstrated during the 40 years in the wilderness. The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram threatened the entire covenantal community. The rebellious act of a leading member of the nation (the bringing of a Midianite woman into the vicinity of a holy assembly) increased the devastating stroke of Yahweh against the people. The stroke coming upon the nation had been caused by a group of men among the nation committing prostitution with Moabite women and sacrificing to their gods. The covenantal community as a whole is responsible to perform the necessary act or actions to remove the evil individual or individuals and his or their effect upon the community before the judgment of Yahweh destroys the whole nation.
It is this principle and metaphor that Jesus alludes to on his
way to crucifixion. Following Him is a multitude of people, including a group
of grieving women wailing over Him. Hearing them, Jesus turns toward them,
forewarning, “Daughters of
If these withered ones did this to a green, moist, healthy
tree, what will they be bringing upon themselves and the nation as a result of
their rebellious hearts?! Surely, Jesus foresaw the destruction of the city,
the temple, and the nation by the Romans as a result of the poisonous hearts of
these evil shepherds of Yahweh’s people. These withered branches would defy the
Moses also foresaw the unfaithfulness of a latter generation
The things being concealed are Yahweh our Elohim’s, yet the things being revealed are ours and our sons’ until the eon, so that we might keep all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29 CV)
The failure of a latter generation is revealed to
Moses immediately follows this prophetic revelation with words
of hope: “It will come to be, when all
these things come on you, . . . which I put before you, that you will recall
them to your heart among all the nations where Yahweh your Elohim will have
expelled you and that you will return again to Yahweh your Elohim and hearken
to His voice . . . Then Yahweh your Elohim will turn back your captivity and
show compassion to you; . . .” (Deut. 30:1-3a CV). He has foreseen the
Moses, continuing his prophetic address to the nation, calls
the heavens and the earth to testify against her. This metaphor of the heavens
and earth is meant to convey the covenantal commitment between Yahweh and
After assuring the nation that Yahweh, going before her, will
exterminate the nations in the land, he encourages all
Having encouraged his people and having confirmed the
leadership of Joshua, Moses “wrote this
law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, the carriers of the coffer of
the covenant of Yahweh, and to all the elders of
Yahweh Himself then confirms the prophetic declarations of Moses. He informs Moses that the day of his death is near and instructs him to call Joshua to the tent of appointment in order for Yahweh to instruct Joshua concerning his imminent role as shepherd and commander. At the tent of appointment, Yahweh testifies to Moses in the presence of Joshua, “Behold, you are about to lie with your fathers. Yet this people will rise and prostitute after the elohim of the foreigners of the land where they are entering to be among them; and they will forsake me and annul My covenant that I contracted with them. . . . I will forsake them and conceal My face from them, then they will come to be devoured, and many evils and distresses will find them. . . . for they will have turned around to other elohim” (Deut. 31:16-18 CV).
Moses, just prior to this testimony, had assured the people and Joshua that Yahweh would not forsake or neglect them. Thus, Yahweh’s testimony is against a latter day generation, just as Moses had already proclaimed. This is no secret. It is clearly revealed. It is meant to highlight the importance of freely choosing to obey the Law of Yahweh from the heart. For the nation as a whole would never make that choice until the coming of the seed of Abraham, Jesus, Who would build Yahweh a New House, a New Nation. Upon every member of that New Nation, Yahweh would pour out His spirit, as Moses had previously requested in response to Joshua’s concern over the two elders who had received Yahweh’s spirit while remaining in the camp (Num. 11:26-29).
The failure of the nation, throughout its history, to keep Yahweh’s covenant is a foregone conclusion. This failure is not a result of its inability to keep Yahweh’s Law. It is due to the nation’s rebellious and stiff-necked heart. This is confirmed by the fact that there would be a faithful remnant throughout the nation’s history of disobedience. This faithful remnant keeps Yahweh’s Law and obeys Him from the heart. This faithful remnant, like David, is not perfect, but its heart is faithful to the end. As Yahweh is later to declare David a man after His own heart, so He could make the same declaration concerning the faithful remnant suffering on His behalf throughout the generations of Israel. The fact of this failure necessitated Yahweh’s compassion, mercy, forgiveness, patience, and long-suffering. It necessitated the secret concealed from the nation until revealed in the last generation.
Prior to writing Yahweh’s song to
This testimony is Yahweh’s confirmation of the inexcusability
of the nation. The nation has been given every advantage over the nations. In spite
of these advantages,
The concealed significance indicates the covenant mediated by Moses’ intercession is a ministry of death. At the heart of the nation is the law of sin and death which had been activated as a result of the idolatrous worship at the foot of Sinai. It would culminate with the covenantal death of the nation at the end of the graciously extended life-span of the Mosaic Eon.
The scroll of the Law (Torah) written down by Moses is placed alongside the Ark of the Covenant. Its significance, unlike the stone tablets within the ark, is revealed, indicating directly to the nation, once again, its failure to keep Yahweh’s covenant. For the words written on this scroll had already been transgressed by the first generation, and the seed of disobedience had already been planted in the heart of the second generation as a result of its ancestral immersion in the ancient world of the gods.
Moses, upon this occasion, now testifies, “for I know your rebellion and your scruff of obstinacy. Behold in my day, while I am still with you alive, you have been rebellious against Yahweh, indeed how much more so after my death!” (Deut. 31:29). Here he is referring to the nation as a corporate whole. For even the innocent or righteous are affected by the guilty or unrighteous. The faithful also will suffer under the evil generated by the unlawful. The attitude and behavior of the first generation is accounted to the nation as a whole. Moses knows the rebellion and obstinacy displayed by the first generation will be even greater in the generations which follow after his death.
Moses continues, “For I know that after my death you shall bring ruin, yea ruin on yourselves; you will withdraw from the way that I enjoined on you, and the evil visitation will befall you in the latter days, for you shall do the thing that is evil in the eyes of Yahweh so as to provoke Him to vexation by the work of your hands” (Deut. 31:29-30 CV). While Moses is alive, his presence is beneficial in curbing the rebellious character of the nation, especially through his intercession. However, even with such curbing, the first generation continued to rebel and eventually died in the wilderness. The prestige, power, and authority of Moses could not completely contain the evil propensity of this generation.
Under Joshua’s leadership, the nation will, on the whole, remain faithful. But after Moses dies, he is aware that his influence will dwindle, and the nation will bring ruin upon itself in the “latter days.” Moses prophetically describes the nation as withdrawing from “the way.” He is referring to the law as Yahweh’s way of covenantal life for the nation. Those who walk in “the way” obey Yahweh’s Law from the heart. They are the faithful ones.
When Jesus refers to Himself as “The Way,” He is alluding to this statement of Moses (see Jn. 14:1-7). He is the personification of the law; He is the incarnation of the law; He is the law tabernacling in the midst of Yahweh’s holy nation. He is the Ark of the Covenant, for in Him are the tablets of the Ten Words. In Him are the life and the death of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant. Those who believe in Yahweh and believe in Him, by following Him are walking in The Way of covenantal life. The Way to the life of the New Covenant will lead through the death of the old covenant, meaning the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.
For Christ is the telos, the goal of the Law through which comes the new life, the righteousness of the New Covenant made available for all those believing into Him. To believe into Jesus the Christ is to be identified with both His death and His resurrection. In Christ, the believing one dies with Christ in the death of the old covenant, symbolically represented by the stone tablets within the Ark of the Covenant. The believing one, following Christ as “The Way,” lives with Christ in the life of the New Covenant, symbolically represented by the writing of the Law upon the fleshy tablet of the heart by the spirit of Yahweh/Christ.
The Law, the Ten Words, is no longer objectified on tablets of
stone, but subjectified on the living tablet of the heart. Thus, the believing
one, after the resurrection, knows intimately the meaning of the words of Jesus
to His disciples shortly before His crucifixion: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one is coming to the
Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6 CV). This is not a philosophical
statement. It is a covenantal statement understandable only within the context
of the covenantal relationship of Yahweh with
After the death of Moses, the nation is to bring ruin upon
itself in “the latter days” by
withdrawing from “the Way.” From the
perspective of Moses, the “latter days”
refer to the expulsion of the Northern Kingdom (
The writing prophets call the nation to repentance condemning
the nation for being actively involved in doing what Moses had described as “evil in the eyes of Yahweh.” These
prophets prophetically declare the fulfillment of “the evil visitation” which Moses announced would “befall you in the latter days.” This is
confirmed by the fact that Moses knew the nation would be guilty of worshiping
and serving foreign elohim. He had predicted the nation would provoke Yahweh’s
anger “by the work of your hands”
(Deut. 31:29b CV), a metaphor indicating the making and worshiping of idols. This
would be true of
The Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant is a terrestrial covenant. During
the course of its term,
Yet wisdom are we speaking among the mature, yet a wisdom not of this eon, neither of the chief men of this eon, who are being discarded, but we are speaking God’s wisdom in a secret, wisdom which has been concealed, which God designates before—before the eons, for our glory, . . . But, according as it is written, That which the eye did not perceive, and the ear did not hear, and to which the heart of man did not ascend—whatever God makes ready for those who are loving Him. Yet to us God reveals them through His spirit, for the spirit is searching all, even the depths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10 CV)
Yahweh had commanded Moses in the presence of Joshua to “write down for yourselves this song and teach
it to the sons of
Yahweh’s purpose is to make clear to this elect people that He has chosen them with a complete awareness of their unworthiness and of their unwillingness to obey His voice from their hearts and with their minds. They are a foolish people who proceed unintelligently in spite of the advantages Yahweh has graciously given them: “See! I have taught you statutes and judgments . . . And you must observe and obey them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the eyes of all the peoples who shall hear of all these statutes and will say: Surely this great nation is a people wise and understanding” (Deut. 4:5-6 CV).
Within the song, Yahweh lamentingly sings,
For they are a nation whose counsel is destructive,
And There is no understanding in them.
O that they were wise;
They would proceed intelligently in this . . .” (Deuteronomy 32:28-29a CV).
They are given access to wisdom and understanding and fail to actualize it as a nation in their behavior until after they are expelled from the land and sent into captivity among the nations. But even then they fall short of their potential!
Having written down the words of Yahweh’s song, Moses “spoke in the ears of the whole assembly of
Yahweh is the Master over Good and Evil. Evil is not to be equated with sin, and good is not to be equated with righteousness. Good and evil are tools to be used effectively in accomplishing a designed goal or purpose. When Adam ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the problem was not “good and evil.” His sin was disobedience, and that sin activated death. Good and evil became a problem for Adam and the race because both were incapable of effectively using, applying good and evil as effective means for producing righteousness. As a result, man’s determination and application of good and evil distorted his mind and his culture. Too often man’s determination and application of good destroys instead of builds, and his determination and application of evil destroys that which should not be destroyed. Thus, good and evil operate haphazardly in man’s constructions of morality and religion. Man continues to be unable to master, to transcend, good and evil.
Good is designed to build, edify, order. Evil is designed to
demolish, subvert, disorder. Each has its place, its purpose, its usefulness. To
transcend good and evil is to be able to master good and evil. Yahweh masters
good and evil and, in so doing, applies the use of both in the accomplishment
of His purposes. Out of
Structure 15 is a poetic structure of the song of Yahweh, which consists of a simple introversion:
A1 32:1-4 Introduction—The Monition of Moses: Give Ear O’ Heavens, Hear O Earth
[Yahweh’s faithfulness—Lyrical Showers of Blessing]
B 32:5-42 Yahweh’s Lamentation on Behalf of Israel—Vengeance and Vindication:
Yahweh shall Adjudicate His People and Show Himself Merciful
[I Am The Life for The Eon]
A2 32:43 Conclusion—The Monition of Moses: Jubilate O Heavens, Jubilate O Nations
[Yahweh’s Faithfulness—Propitiatory-shelter Provision of Salvation]
The song opens with a metaphor. The advantage of metaphors is that they increase our reach, steering us toward knowledge we do not yet have in our grasp. Metaphors overshoot the mark, giving the mark and our understanding of it room to move and grow. Thus, metaphors are able to convey more and richer cargo than definitive descriptions and definitions.
The song begins by treating “heavens” and “earth”
metaphorically. Earlier, “heavens”
and “earth” were used as metaphors
for Yahweh speaking on Mount Sinai and
The two metaphors, heavens and earth, can be poetically demonstrated by setting out the literary structural correspondence between 32:1, 43a, and 43c as set forth in Structure 16:
a1 32:1 The Heavens and the Earth: Called As Witnesses for Yahweh
O Heavens and
Let me speak and
The sayings of my mouth
a2 32:43a The Heavens: Called to Jubilate with Yahweh
Together with Him
a3 32:43c The Nations Called to Jubilate with Yahweh’s People
With His People
In “a1” of Structure 16, the heavens are called
upon to hear the sayings of Moses. In “a2”, the heavens are called
upon to jubilate together with Yahweh. In “a1”, the earth is called
upon to hear the sayings of Moses. However, in “a3” the nations, corresponding
to the earth in “a1”, are called upon to jubilate with Yahweh’s
The introductory verses of the Song of Yahweh (vs. 1-4) form a perfect literary alternation with the concluding verse (v. 43) as set forth in Structure 17.
a1 32:1 The Heavens And The Earth: Called as Witnesses for Yahweh
b1 32:2-4 The Monition of Moses: The Name of Yahweh I Am Proclaiming—
Just And Upright Is He
a2 32:43a The Heavens: Called to Jubilate With Yahweh
b2 32:43b The Monition of Moses: Worship Him All His Messengers
a3 32:43c The Nations: Called to Jubilate With Yahweh’s People
b3 32:43d The Monition of Moses: The Blood of His Servants He Shall Avenge—
A Propitiatory-Shelter Shall He Make
In “b1” 32:2-4 of Structure 17, Moses issues a
monition (a legal summons). This monition corresponds to “My Saying” which corresponds to “For The Name of Yahweh I Am Proclaiming” which corresponds to “The Rock” which corresponds to “The El.” Therefore, Moses’ legal
summons consists of his saying (v. 2) concerning the name of Yahweh (v. 3) Who
is metaphorically described as The Rock flawless in His contrivance (v. 4a) and
definitively defined as the El of faithfulness without iniquity (v. 4b). Here
is presented the Elohim of
Structure 18 shows the legal summons
of Moses (monition) as a refreshing message (saying) of encouragement to both
Israel and the nations. The agricultural imagery used to describe this message
equates it with an atmosphere of plush vegetation nurtured by a trickling rain
yielding a light, fragrant mist producing drizzling showers of fertility. The
imagery conjures up a paradisiacal garden of peace and bountifulness. The
source of this blessing being proclaimed by Moses is Yahweh. This legal summons
Therefore, the concluding monition (legal summons) of Moses
As Rain and
As Night Mist:
On Verdure, and
For The Name of Yahweh
Am I Proclaiming:
To Our Elohim!
Flawless is His Contrivance,
For All His Ways
Are Righteous Judgment.
And Without Iniquity;
Just and Upright is He.
b2 32:43b The Monition of Moses: Worship Him All His Messengers
All the Messengers of Elohim!
b3 32:43d The Monition of Moses: The Blood of His Servants He Shall Avenge
For The Blood of His Servants
Vengeance for His Foes
Make for the ground [land] of His People.
Yahweh shall avenge the shed blood of His faithful servants,
His messengers. He will return vengeance on His enemies who had shed the blood
of His messenger servants. Yahweh would, in the last days, the days of the last
generation, provide a propitiatory-shelter (atonement) for the land of His
people. That propitiatory-shelter would be provided by Jesus the Christ, the Son of David, the Son of
Yahweh (see Matt. -36).
It would secure the reception of the Abrahamic promise to all his faithful seed,
The lament of the Song of Yahweh begins with verse 5 and
concludes with verse 42 of Deuteronomy, chapter 32 (see Structure 15). This
central member of the poetic structure presents its own internal poetical
structure (see Structure 20). Its pattern is termed an extended alternation,
five “c” members followed by five “d” members. Each of the “c” members deals
with the contamination of the holy nation
c1 32:5 The Holy Nation Contaminated—Their Blemish: Perverse and Twisted Generation
d1 32:6-14 Yahweh’s Response—Faithfulness: Jacob is Yahweh’s Portion & Allotment
[Egypt, The Wilderness, and The Promised Land]
c2 32:15-18 The Holy Nation Contaminated—Their Blemish: Forgetfulness/Sacrificed to other elohim
d2 32:19-20a Yahweh’s Response—Faithfulness: Let Me Conceal My Face From Them
[Chastisement In The Land]
c3 32:20b The Holy Nation Contaminated—Their Blemish: Faithless & Wayward Generation
d3 32:21-27 Yahweh’s Response—Faithfulness: I Shall Cause Them Vexation With a Decadent Nation
[Military Defeat In The Land]
c4 32:28 The Holy Nation Contaminated—Their Blemish: Destructive Counsel & No Understanding
d4 32:29-30 Yahweh’s Response—Faithfulness: O That They Were Wise
[Lamentation In The Land]
c5 32:31-33 The Holy Nation Contaminated—The Blemish of Their Enemies: The Vine of Sodom and Grapes of Poison
d5 32:34-42 Yahweh’s Response—Faithfulness: Yahweh Shall Adjudicate His people
[Scattered Among The Nations]
In the first “c” member of Structure 20, Yahweh places Moses in the midst of the future generation. In this position, Moses prophetically envisions the state of the nation. He now sees through the eyes of Yahweh. He laments, “They have become corrupt . . . No longer are they His sons . . .” (Deut. 32:5a CV). He characterizes the nation as “A generation perverse and twisted” (Deut. 32:5b CV). Yahweh’s response (d1 32:6-14) is placed in the mouth of Moses (Structure 21):
Is this what you requite Yahweh,
You decadent and unwise people?
Is not He your Father
Who acquired you?
Made you and established you. (Deuteronomy 32:6 CV)
Yahweh, in His vexation with
At the birth of Cain, Eve had declared she had acquired a man
from Yahweh. Moses declares that Yahweh is the father of
This animosity within the nation is recognized in the Hebrew
and Greek Scriptures as animosity between the
seed of the Serpent/Adversary and the
seed of the Woman. Yahweh, from the very beginning in
From Adam’s sin through Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension, the Abelites had been Yahweh’s elect instrument. From Christ’s Parousia to the present, the Cainites have been Yahweh’s elect instrument. The Abelites have been operating in the Celestial Realm in cooperation with the Cainites who have been operating in the terrestrial realm.
In the end, the celestial and the terrestrial realms will be reconciled into one new whole. Cainite freedom, individuality, creativity, independence, determination, and ironic defiance and rebellion shall culminate in the transcendence of Good and Evil, the transcendence of all religion, and the final exaltation of humanity to the ultimate spiritual dimension intended by Yahweh Elohim from humanity’s inception in Genesis, chapter 1.
Moses, continuing to speak in response to his vision of this future generation, calls his own present generation to “Remember the days of the eon; Understand the years of generation after generation” (Deut. 32:7a CV). He refers his generation of Israelites to the past (from Adam to their own time) information and understanding available to them in the oral tradition of the past and in their Hebrew Scriptures revealed to Moses during the 40 years in the wilderness. The “days of the eon” refers to the pre-Mosaic Age. Moses suggests that the people of his generation ask their fathers and their elders about the time “When the Supreme [Elyon, Most High] gave the nations allotments” (Deut. 32:8a CV). They shall inform them that this occurred “When He parted the sons of Adam” (Deut. 32:8b CV). This, of course, is a reference to the post-flood era, the time of Noah and his three sons. During this period, Yahweh confuses the tongues of the race and divides the people into nations.
At this division, Yahweh “stationed
the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of El”
(Deut. 32:8c CV). He divides the peoples into nations and assigns each nation a
territory and a celestial El to monitor its development. An example of such an El
is given in the Book of Daniel when a celestial messenger is hindered from
visiting Daniel in the terrestrial realm of
More important for
This is meant to remind this future decadent and unwise
generation of the privileged position given to it by Yahweh Himself. Moses
expands this privileged position by reviewing the nation’s experience in
The c2 member of Structure 20, 32:15-18, describes another blemish contaminating the nation in the latter generation. It is when this future nation had become satiated with wealth and had enjoyed great peace and security that it “abandoned Eloah who had made him . . . disgraced the Rock of his salvation” (Deut. 32:15 CV), making Yahweh jealous by sacrificing to alien gods, to demons (32:16-17). This future generation will have forgotten the El travailing over it (32:18).
Moses reveals Yahweh’s response to this abandonment (d2 32:19-20a of Structure 20). He describes Yahweh’s lamenting vexation:
Yahweh saw and spurned them
Because of the vexation caused by His sons and daughters. (Deuteronomy 32:19 CV)
Moses then quotes Yahweh, “Let
Me conceal My face from them; I shall examine what their latter days are to be”
32:20a CV). By concealing His face from them, He is removing His sheltering
cloud of protection over them. He is closing His eyes to the operations of
The d3 member of Structure 20, 32:21-27, records Yahweh’s judgment of this future nation in the first person: “As for Me, I shall make them jealous with a non-people” (Deut. 32:21b CV). As Israel made Yahweh jealous with a non-El, so Yahweh would give them up to defeat at the hands of a non-people, a people not covenantally related to Yahweh, a people ignorant and unwise, a people worshiping and serving non-elohim, foreign gods.
I shall cause evils
to sweep over them;
I shall exhaust My arrows
among them . . . (Deut. 32:23 CV)
Concealed from the generations of
In spite of this judgment, Yahweh refuses to abandon
completely His people. He refuses to “eradicate
their remembrance from mortals [men of renown]” (Deut. 32:26b CV). His justice will not allow Him to forget or
overlook the character, the condition, and the conduct of the enemy He used to
execute judgment on
Though the northern kingdom (
During the Babylonian captivity,
The song of Yahweh is nearing its conclusion. Yahweh’s voice
is raised in triumph, “I, I am He, And
there is no other Elohim besides Me” (Deut. 32:39a CV). He alone puts to
death and He alone keeps alive. Metaphorically,
Moses had made it clear to the people that the Torah is
accessible. It is what Yahweh has revealed, and it is meant to be kept. The
people are capable of obeying Yahweh’s Law and are being held responsible for
its being kept. They are without excuse if they fail to obey Yahweh’s voice (Deut.
30:11-20). Now Moses makes it clear to the people that the Torah is also
powerful. He declares that all the words of Yahweh’s Law are not an empty word
for them. These words are Yahweh’s word of life. These words release and impart
the life of the covenant when obeyed. Within the capsules of these words is the
word, the energy of covenantal life. Moses states, concerning the power of this
word, “it means your life, and by this
word you may prolong your days on the ground where you are crossing over the
This is what the writer of the Gospel of John alludes to in verses 1-5 of chapter 1:
In a beginning [covenant at Sinai] was the word [the word of covenantal life spoken from the
The word of the Mosaic Law is Yahweh’s word of covenantal
life. This word, this life, is the light of the nation
When John the Baptist and Jesus arrive and manifest themselves to Israel, the light of Yahweh’s Law is shining, even though the nation is sitting in darkness: “The people sitting in darkness perceived a great light, And to those sitting in the province and shadow of death, light arises for them” (Matt. 4:16 CV, quoting Isa. 9:1-2). John the Baptist redirects this people, sitting in the darkness and death of their disobedience, to the Law of Moses, Yahweh’s word of life. The light is shining. The people cannot see this light because they are sitting in the shadow of darkness cast by The Adversary who has seduced the shepherds into distorting the law of covenantal life into the lie of covenantal death. Jesus is the word become flesh, the light manifesting perfectly the essence of the Law of the Mosaic Covenant and soon to be the light manifesting perfectly the essence of Yahweh revealed in the New Covenant releasing and imparting immortal life.
John the Baptist, whose name in Hebrew means Yahweh is gracious, is commissioned by Yahweh to redirect the nation to the legitimate Law of Yahweh, giving John the authority to restore the repentant ones to their covenantal rights and obligations as children of Yahweh: “There came to be a man commissioned by God, his name was John . . . to his own he came, and those who are his own accepted him not. Yet whoever obtained him, to them he gave the right to be making themselves children of God, to the ones believing into his name . . .” (Jn. 1:6-12 my translation). The name into which one is to believe in order to be restored to the life of the covenant is John, meaning Yahweh is gracious. This name was given to him by Yahweh Who instructed his father to name him John.
Such is the importance and significance of the ministry of
John. He is to return the people to the light of the Mosaic Law in order that
they might be prepared for the arrival of the Messiah, the anointed Son of
David, who would begin to build David a new house promised by Yahweh to David
in 2 Samuel 7:10-17. John is to encourage the people, as Moses is presently
Jesus the Messiah, like John the Baptist, has the authority and the power to resurrect the covenantally dead Israelites to covenantal life. This is the meaning of His declarations in John, chapter 5: “I am saying to you that he who is hearing My word and believing Him Who sends Me, has life eonian and is not coming into judging, but has proceeded out of death into life. Verily, verily, I am saying to you that coming is an hour, and now is, when the dead shall be hearing the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear shall be living. For even as the Father has life in Himself, thus to the Son also He gives to have life in Himself” (Jn. 5:24-26 CV). Jesus is speaking in the present tense. Those hearing His words and believing Yahweh Who sends Him have at that very moment “life eonian,” that is, the covenantal life of the Mosaic Covenant. Those remaining faithful to the words of Jesus to the end are escaping the impending judgment of Yahweh already proclaimed by John the Baptist. Those hearing the words of Jesus are covenantally dead, but, upon hearing and believing these words, then and there, proceed out of covenantal death into covenantal life.
Jesus cannot be referring here to the New Covenant He will establish after His death and resurrection. He can only be referring to the Mosaic Covenant. This is the context in which His words must be understood. “I am the Resurrection and the Life” is spoken in the present tense (Jn. 11:25). Lazarus is dead. Jesus tells Martha her brother will be rising. She answers that she is aware that her brother will be rising in the resurrection in the last day. To this He responds, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” He is presently the resurrection and the life. He is presently raising the covenantally dead to covenantal life. He physically raises Lazarus from the dead in order to establish His present authority and power to raise the covenantally dead to covenantal life. Lazarus is not raised from the dead to immortal life. The life restored to him is his present mortal life.
In John 8:12 Jesus declares, “I am the Light of the world. He who is following Me should under no
circumstances be walking in darkness, but will be having the light of life”
(CV). He is here proclaiming Himself the light of the world-order of
The light of this world had always been intended to be
reflected upon all nations.
Those then presently following Jesus are no longer walking in
the darkness of disobedient
The word of Jesus to His contemporaries is covenantal life.
The covenantally dead, hearing and believing the voice of Jesus the Son of
Yahweh, are at that moment, that hour resurrected to covenantal life, even as
the nation had been brought to covenantal life at Sinai by the hearing of the
voice of Yahweh. The Father has given the Son authority and power to raise the
covenantally dead to covenantal life, preparing these people to go through the
death of Jesus the Son into the resurrection life of the New Covenant. In this
is the hope of
Moses knows his death is near. It is time to bless the sons of
In verses 1-5 of Deuteronomy, chapter 33, Moses reviews the
significant events of
Moses next describes poetically Yahweh’s covenantal activity
All the holy ones [saints]
are in Your hand
are huddled at Your feet.
from Your words
About the law Moses enjoined on us, . . .
The tenancy [heritage] of the assembly of Jacob.
(Deuteronomy 33:3-4 CV)
The “holy ones” in
this context are the sons of
Finally, Moses recounts the inaugural activity of Yahweh in
The name “Yeshurun,”
Yahweh has not forsaken the peoples, the nations. In His
In the concluding verses of the farewell blessing given by Moses (Deut. 33:26-29), he relates the connection between Yahweh’s inauguration to kingship and His exaltation to augustness. Using poetic metaphor, Moses boasts,
There is none like the El of Yeshurun:
Riding the heavens as your helper
And in His augustness, the skies,
The habitation of Elohim aforetime. (Deuteronomy 33:26-27a CV)
Yahweh had ruled over the race as the one riding the clouds of the skies. Since His inauguration as King in Yeshurun, He is the Supreme El over the appointed Els of the nations. There is none like Him. The augustness of His majestic grandeur is incomparable, unparalleled, unmatched, and peerless in contrast to His appointed Els given authorization to supervise over the nations.
As the august El of Yeshurun, He rides the “heavens” as
As this elect, holy nation prepares to enter the land of promise, Moses poetically describes the arms of the El of Yeshurun as spread out underneath the nation as she spreads her new-born wings for flight against the enemy (Deut. 33:27 CV). The implied imagery describes Yahweh as a mother eagle spreading out her wings below the initial flight of her young one, protecting her young one from possible catastrophic accidents due to navigational inexperience. These spread-out protective arms are defined as “eonian,” indicating that such protective activity on the part of Yahweh would continue to be available through the entire duration of the Mosaic Eon.
Yahweh “shall drive out
the enemy from your presence” (Deut. 33:27b CV). He orders
Moses joyously exclaims, “Happy
Moses is entombed by Yahweh in a ravine in the country of
The record of Deuteronomy concludes with a literary epitaph concerning Moses,
No prophet arose again in Israel like Moses, whom Yahweh knew face to face; there was none like him in all the signs and the miracles which Yahweh sent him to do in the country of Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his servants and to all his country, and none like him in all the steadfast hand and in all the great and fear-inspiring deeds which Moses had done before the eyes of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:10-12 CV)
This would remain true until the coming of Jesus the Messiah.
As Moses is entombed by Yahweh on behalf of