Intro to Exodus – This fascinating and miraculous book gives specific details about the mass exit of the young nation of Israel into the Promised Land of Canaan. Modern sceptics have claimed this never happened because there is no archeological evidence in Egypt of Jews living there. In a recent book and movie by Tim Mahoney called “Patterns of Evidence,” however, there is revealed much evidence of Jewish life in Goshen, many infant remains found, a quick disappearance of those people, and a good chance of a tomb being that of Joseph along with 11 other tombs for his brothers. This seeming contradiction is explained by Mahoney as the secular researchers’ timeline of the “supposed” exodus being off by a couple hundred years. He demonstrates that if archeologists would view evidence dug from deeper digs and be willing to slide back the time of the exodus in Egyptian history, there is an alignment of several pieces of evidence.

Exodus 1:

1-7: Jacob’s household was 70 people at this point. As time passed while in Egypt, Joseph and all his 11 brothers died, but their descendants continued to multiply greatly.

8-11: A new king took over in Egypt who did not know Joseph, so he had no regard for the growing nation within the land of Goshen. He did fear them, however. So he assigned tough taskmasters over them and they labored hard building things for Pharaoh, Pithom, and Rameses.

12-14: The more harsh the Egyptians treated the Israelis, the more they prospered. The fear of the Jews increased among the Egyptians who were in power.

15-16: Plot #1 = the King commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill every Jewish male baby but allow females to live.

17: Application for Today: The Hebrew midwives feared (revered) God more than man and kings so they did not kill the Jewish male babies. If only abortion doctors had this within them! What is morally right is more important than what is legal (or dictated by man).

18-21: The king demanded an answer from the midwives about why they did not do what he said. They claimed the Hebrew moms were so vigorous, much more than the Egyptian women, that they delivered their babies before they had a chance to be next to them. This seems to me like a lame explanation that may have been a lie, but apparently the king believed it possibly because the Hebrews were definitely prospering more than Egyptians. In any case, God protected these good women and blessed them with households of their own.

22: Plot #2 = The Pharaoh commanded all his people to take every male Jewish baby and throw him into the Nile River, but keep daughters alive.

Note: This plot sets the stage for the supernatural protection and care for Moses when he was born.

Exodus 2: The Context = Due to the increasing prosperity of the Israelis while in Goshen in Egypt, the Egyptian authorities were fearing a Jewish takeover. Hence, the Pharaoh, who never knew Joseph, commanded his people to kill every Jewish male baby born. God begins to set an exciting stage to reveal Himself to the world.

1-3: From the tribe of Levi a male was born, but his mom hid him in a wicker basket and water-proofed it then launched it with the baby inside into the reeds of the Nile River.

4-10: The baby’s sister stood at a distance to see what would become of her brother. The Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and knew it was a Hebrew, but felt compassion for it and took the basket. Then the wise sister jumps into the scene and offers to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed. So the baby’s actual mother shows up to Pharaoh’s daughter and takes the baby to nurse it, and she even gets paid to do it! That sister would make an excellent agent. After the baby was weaned and grew up a bit, the mom returned him to Pharaoh’s daughter who named him Moses.

11-12: Much time has now passed and Moses is an adult who has been raised in the royalty of Egypt. But one day he ventured out and saw his people and how oppressed they were by Pharaoh’s harshness. He even saw an Egyptian beating one of his Hebrew brethren. This made him so angry that he checked to see if anyone was looking and then killed the assailant and hid him in the sand. Note: Jacob did prophesy concerning Levi (Moses’ ancestor) that there existed an anger and self-will problem (Genesis 49:5-7).

13-14: The next day Moses finds two Hebrews fighting and rebukes them. They turned on him saying he had no authority over them and sarcastically wondered if he would kill them as he did the Egyptian. This frightened Moses because he now realized that the word somehow got out about him killing that Egyptian.

15-22: Pharaoh found out and tried to kill Moses, but he had fled to the land of Midian. There, Moses helped some women who were being disrespected by some men. The women were surprised that an Egyptian helped them. Moses went to their place and met their father who gave one of his daughters to Moses. They had a son together whose name was Gershom.

23-25: After many days the king of Egypt died, but the Hebrew oppression continued and God was paying close attention to their bondage. God has great plans to reveal to the earth who He is, and He will milk the situation to the nth degree to make Himself known.

Exodus 3:

1-6: While tending some sheep for his father-in-law Jethro, Moses came to Mt. Horeb and sees a bush burning but not being consumed. So he investigates further and comes close to the bush. God calls Moses by name from the midst of the bush and warns him to not come closer and to remove his sandals because this is on holy ground. When God identified Himself, Moses was afraid to look so he hid his face. Note: I think God considered this ground holy only because He happened to be there at that time. I do not think it was holy ground before or after His presence because He alone is Holy. Just a guess.

7-10: God tells Moses that He has seen the oppression of the Jews and will deliver them to a land “flowing with milk and honey.” This land was inhabited by 6 groups of people, none of whom were righteous. God tells Moses that He will send him to Pharaoh so that he can bring out his people from Egypt.

11-12: Moses balks saying he is a nobody, but God says He will be with him and when he succeeds, he shall bring the people to worship at this same mountain.

Application for Today: Do not consider yourself to be a “nobody” for you are the apple of God’s eye because you have responded to His Son (Psalms 2:12), and you now have supernatural ability to succeed where He wants you to succeed.

13-14: Moses asks God for His name. God says, “I AM WHO I AM.” God further says to tell the Jews that “I AM” has sent Moses to them. Note: This name of God actually means “self-existent one” or “one that has no beginning.” It contains an eternal concept of “I am that I am that I am that I am, etc.” When Jesus said to the Jews “before Abraham was born I AM” in John 8:58, the Jews knew what He was claiming to be God in the flesh! That’s why they wanted to kill Him ASAP. The Hebrew name for God is “YHWH.” The original Hebrew Bible writers wrote in tetragram, that is, leaving out all vowels. The ancient Jews also were so afraid to say (or even write) the name of God that they never did. They thought they would be guilty of using His name in vain. So no scholar today actually knows for sure what vowels belonged in “YHWH.” So they guessed this: “Yahweh,” and pronounce it as “Ya-way” with the accent on the first syllable. Translated into English it becomes “Jehovah.” Most Bibles, except the one that the Jehovah’s Witnesses use, render this word as “LORD.” The Jehovah Witnesses render it “Jehovah” because they believe their primary responsibility is to make known the name of God. The irony is that, again, no one knows if it is 100% accurate. I guess I’ll just simply stick with Jesus Christ, I know I cannot miss out on anything with Him and I have the Father if I have Jesus (1 John 2:23).

15-17: God tells Moses what to say to the Jews: 1) identify His name, and 2) He will set them free from their bondage to Egypt and lead them into a land that is good.

18-22: God tells Moses that the Jews will listen to him and therefore he is to take this request to Pharaoh, even though Pharaoh will say “no.” God knows he will say “okay” only under great compulsion, so God promises Moses that He will perform many great miracles to set them free. God would also grant favor to the Jewish exodus from Egypt by letting them take much wealth with them.

Note: I’m sure this all sounded like a great deal to those Jews, but they had no idea what was in store for them because of their lack of faith and constant complaining.

Exodus 4:

1-9: Moses balks, and disbelieves again as he questions whether or not the Egyptian officials would actually believe that God had appeared to him and spoke the message. So God turns Moses’ staff into a live snake then back to a staff when Moses grabs its tail. Then his hand became instantly leprous then instantly normal. God said if these two signs do not convince them, then Moses was to take some water from the Nile and pour it on their ground, and it would become blood.

10-12: Moses again has a problem. He doesn’t think he is a good enough speaker. God, however, says all he needs is to have God in him doing the work (speaking).

Application for Today: When God says we can do something, believe it and act accordingly (Philippians 4:13).

13-17: Moses still balks and wants another person to help him. God becomes angry with Moses’ reluctance to trust in Him only, so He agrees to incorporate Moses’ brother Aaron who speaks well. Furthermore, Aaron would become Moses’ speaker to the Jewish people throughout the adventures to come. God tells Moses to take up that staff which God will use to perform miraculous things.

18-20: Moses gets permission from Jethro to return to Egypt in order to check on his brethren. Then God speaks to Moses again and tells him to depart because his former enemies are dead. So Moses took his wife and his sons on donkey-back and returned to Egypt.

21: God reveals to Moses that the signs that He will perform will not work on Pharaoh because God would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will refuse Moses’ request to let his people go. Note: I think that God knew that this particular Pharaoh started out with a bad heart, so God hardened it further so that He could perform His many signs to many people.

22-23: God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh that Israel (the Jewish people) is His son, His first-born and to let him go so that he can serve God. If he refuses, Pharaoh’s first-born son would die.

24-26: This is a difficult passage and a bit bizarre on the surface. On the way to Egypt, God comes to kill Moses because his son (Gershom?) was not circumcised. Suddenly Gershom’s mom, Zipporah, circumcises the boy and seems disgusted with Moses. As a result, God let Moses live.

My opinion: Back in Genesis Chapter 17, God instituted his first covenant with the first Jew, Abraham…and it was circumcision. This symbolized what God was trying to do with His people – to separate them from the ungodly in order to set an example for the heathen nations to follow. It also was what He would do for people’s hearts in the New Covenant. So this was extremely important to God and for His people to follow. For some reason, Moses did not bother or neglected this for his son. Therefore, God could not use a man for such a leadership role if he would not do essential things.

Later, we will see that God refused to let Moses enter the promised land because he hit a rock with a wrong attitude. People who have great revelation are held to greater accountability (James 3:1). Why was his wife Zipporah disgusted? Not sure. Maybe she thought the “custom” was gross and wrong, and therefore it disgusted her. But how she knew what to do at that perilous moment is beyond me. Maybe they previously had a “family argument” over it and she won. Now, even though it still grossed her out, she realized it was what God demands. Or, perhaps she was angry that he neglected such an important God-ordained procedure. Again, just my opinion which can easily be flawed. As I stated in an earlier session, some African cultures circumcise their females which is barbaric and evil. I would call it mutilation, not circumcision. Satan often perverts what God does or says and sometimes succeeds in giving it a “bad name” to society.

Health Note: Male circumcision is viewed by many doctors as an hygienic good move. The glans (tip of the penis) can be kept much cleaner (freer of bacteria). The Smegma bacillus and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can more easily grow in uncircumcised males and can cause cervical cancer in women. HPV is now the leading cause of cervical cancer. Jewish women, who often marry circumcised men, have a low rate of this kind of cancer. Also, on the 8th day of life, prothrombin and Vitamin K levels soar, then gradually decrease over the years. They assist in blood clotting. So the best time in life to get cut is the 8th day of life!

27-31: God arranges a meeting between Aaron and Moses. Moses tells Aaron everything that God had said. They assemble the people together and Aaron speaks all of God’s words to them. He even performed the signs in front of them so they now believed that God was behind them resulting in their worship to the real God.

Exodus 5:

1-23: Moses and Aaron meet with Pharaoh and demand that the Jews be allowed to leave, but Pharaoh did not know God nor did he want to lose a large work force. So his response was not only “no,” but he made the work more difficult on the Jews. The Jewish foreman complained to Moses who in turn complained to God. Not a nice start.

Exodus 6:

1-9: God speaks many repetitious things to Moses and tells him to pass them on to his people, including the great miracles that He would perform on their behalf. The people were not impressed. All they could see was their plight and bondage.

Application for Today: Often we look upon our own situations and circumstances with the same attitude as these early Jews – head down and wallowing in unbelief. We must look up to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Many times God changes situations after our hearts have been changed by our faith.

10-13: God says again to Moses to go to Pharaoh, but Moses complains that if the sons of Israel didn’t listen to him then surely Pharaoh will not also. God insists and Moses and Aaron now have their orders.

14-30: All the sons of the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel) are listed.

Exodus 7:

1-14: Moses was 80 and Aaron was 83 years old when they talked to Pharaoh. God lets Moses know that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that all of Egypt will know by whose hand the Jews are eventually set free. God tells Aaron and Moses to throw down the staff when Pharaoh demands a sign. They did and it became a living serpent. But Pharaoh called in his magicians and they did the same with their staffs, but Aaron’s snake swallowed up the others. Pharaoh still refused to let the Jews go.

Note: I’m not sure if the magicians’ sign was a mere slight of hand or something supernatural. If slight of hand, it seems rather sophisticated for that era. No big deal with today’s standards of tricks. However, the Egyptians did associate heavily with snakes and should have known a lot about them. There is a kind of snake that stiffens when grabbed behind the head, and therefore could resemble a staff temporarily. So there may not have been something beyond natural talent going on here. Not sure if it could be determined either way today. The overriding point is that God’s “team” had more power than the devil (or the fakers). For more information:

15-25: God tells Moses to go down to the Nile River in the morning and meet Pharaoh, and tell him you will touch the river with your staff and it will turn to blood if he does not let the people go. All fish will die and there will be no drinking water. Aaron was told to spread his staff over streams, rivers, pools, reservoirs to become blood as well. They did it, and all came to pass. But the magicians duplicated the sign so Pharaoh remained unchanged. All Egyptians dug for water over the next 7 days. Pharaoh was not concerned…..yet.

Exodus 8: Note: The first plague was causing the Nile to become foul. Keep in mind that the Nile was worshiped by the Egyptians.

1-7: The Egyptians also worshiped frogs. I’ve wondered if God thought with tongue-in-cheek here toward the Egyptians…”so you like frogs?” God, via Moses and Aaron, caused millions of frogs to come up out of all the waters in Egypt so that they permeated households. But the magicians did the same (how?).

8-15: Pharaoh promises to let the people go if Moses gets rid of all the frogs except the ones in the Nile. After they were destroyed, Pharaoh hardened his heart again and went back on his word.

16-19: Consequently, God changes dust of this earth into gnats (lice, fleas?) and they took over Egypt. Egyptians worshiped the god of earth Geb, so this was another insult to their false system of religion. Interestingly, the magicians finally could not duplicate a sign. I do not know why their power stopped here, but the main point is that it did.

Application for Today: Satan can make things appear like a good or godly thing initially, but over time evil will reveal its ugly head.

20-24: Due to Pharaoh’s hardness of heart, the next plague was swarming insects. These insects were most likely scarab beetles. They were also worshiped by the Egyptians. God would not allow any insect swarm into the land of Goshen in order to protect His people and to provide yet another sign to Pharaoh and the Egyptians that He alone is God.

25-32: Pharaoh tries to cut a deal with Moses. He offers to allow the Jews to sacrifice to their God but in the land of Goshen. Moses refuses because God ordered them to go out from that land, and Egyptians would take up a severe offense over the sacrifice to this “foreign god.” Moses said they must travel for 3 days into the wilderness to sacrifice. Pharaoh agrees to let them go and has Moses promise that he will pray for him so that the swarming ceases in Egypt. Moses agrees, but sternly warns Pharaoh to not be deceitful again. Moses keeps his word and God frees Egypt from the swarms, but Pharaoh reneges again.

Application for Today: How many times do we as believers make deals with God only to not hold up our end of the bargain when things turn in our favor? This is why God never entrusts Himself to man for He knows what is in us (John 2:24-25).

Exodus 9:

1-7: With Pharaoh’s heart still hardened against the Jews, God destroyed all of Egypt’s livestock while preserving the Israeli’s animals. Even when Pharaoh discovered that the Jews’ livestock was untouched by this pestilence, he remained against the Jews leaving his land. Once again God uses what the Egyptians worship. They had many gods for animals. One of their big ones was Apis, the bull god. All the “sacred” bulls in the temples died. It is believed that the Jews were stained by these gods. Later in the wilderness when they formed an idol to worship, it was Apis. This is the main reason God wanted His people to physically be separated from heathens, at least for a period of time so that He could establish Truth in them. If they mingled with pagans, they would backslide into evil customs and beliefs.

8-12: Next, God tells Moses to fetch soot and throw it into the air. When he did, boils and sores broke out upon all the Egyptians and beasts not included in the last plague of death. Even the magicians could not stand up before Moses because they also had the painful boils. Pharaoh remained unchanged.

Note: Among the gods to which cures would have been ascribed were Thoth, the Ibis-headed god of intelligence and medical learning, and Apis, Serapis and Imhotep. It was the magicians’ custom to take the ashes of human sacrifices and cast them into the air. Borne by the wind over the milling populace, they were viewed as a blessing. God was really taking Egypt, which represented the ways of this world, to task with their misguided worship.

13-21: God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh that He could have killed him by now but spared him and the Egyptians so they could know the real and only God. Because of his refusal to heed the Word of the Lord, heavy hail will pour down upon Egypt. If he wanted to live, he must remain inside the house. One of Pharaoh’s servants revered God and he made sure all his family and animals remained inside their house in order to survive what was coming. Some others had no regard for God’s Word and did not seek shelter.

22-26: Fiery hail, thunder, and possibly lightning all struck Egypt and destroyed unprotected people, animals, plants, and trees. It was the worst storm in Egyptian history. Where was Shu, the wind god? And Nut, the sky goddess? Where was Horus, the hawk-headed sky god of upper Egypt? Meanwhile…all was well in Goshen!

27: Pharaoh finally confesses that he and the Egyptians are the evil ones and the LORD is righteous. Pharaoh promises to let the people go if Moses asks God to stop the hail and thunder. Moses says all will stop when he gets out of the city, but he discerned that neither Pharaoh nor his people really feared the true God yet.

28-35: Since the storm had stopped as Moses said it would, and since there was some surviving wheat, Pharaoh turned against God and His people AGAIN.

Exodus 10:

1-7: God continues to make a mockery of the Egyptian way of life. The 8th plague was the locusts who ate everything that the hail left. It was the worst locust attack in Egyptian history. Where was Nepri, the grain god? Where was Ermutet, goddess of childbirth and crops? Where was Anubis, the jackal-headed guardian of the fields? And where was Osiris who was their agricultural god? Now even Pharaoh’s servants start strongly suggesting that he let the Jews go.

8-20: Pharaoh agrees to let only the men go but not their families. This was not acceptable to Moses. God caused an east wind to blow in the locusts. With every green plant gone, Pharaoh confesses his sin to Moses and promises once again to relent and let the people go. So God caused a west wind to blow every locust into the Red Sea, but He continued to harden the heart of Pharaoh.

21-23: God now sends a thick darkness over all of Egypt for three days. Light, however, shined faithfully into Goshen. The Egyptian darkness was so thick that people could not even see each other so they stayed in their houses all three days. Where was Ra, god of the sun? Ra and Aten (the sun’s disc) were worshiped with the ankh, a symbol of life from the sun, as almost a sort of trinity. Where was Horus, the god of the sunrise? Or Tem, the god of the sunset? Or Shu, the god of light?

24-29: Pharaoh is ready to deal again with Moses. He offers to let him go with families but to leave the animals behind. Moses refuses for he knew what God wanted. Pharaoh gets so disgusted with Moses that he orders him to leave never to see his face again or Moses would die. Prophetically, Moses concurs that he will never see Pharaoh again.

Application for Today: Most people do not worship those above mentioned Egyptian gods, but many turn to vain ideas and wayward activities in their search for truth or direction. The Truth, however, is the same today as it was in Moses’ day. There is only one God, and there is no one besides Him. For New Covenant times, His name is Jesus Christ (1 John 2:23).

Exodus 11 – What or Who Will We Serve?

1-3: God tells Moses there will be one more plague resulting in Pharaoh finally releasing His people. God also wanted them to leave with much wealth as well as livestock, so they were to ask the Egyptians for gold and silver. God gave them favor with the Egyptians and they received much wealth for their trip.

4-6: Moses tells Pharaoh that the first born in all of Egypt will die, even among the cattle. Note: this chapter must continue recording the dialogue between Moses and Pharaoh from the last chapter because once Moses leaves the presence of Pharaoh, he will not see him again face-to-face.

7: Moses further tells Pharaoh that nothing will harm the Jews nor their animals so that the Jews will understand the huge difference between Egypt and Israel in the eyes of God.

Feedback Question:

Adam S – What are your thoughts on Egypt? What does the Bible tell us?

Dave – Biblically, Egypt is a symbol of “this world” complete with worshiping false gods and embracing worldly ways. The Jews were supposed to rise above all that to show other nations what this life is really about. There are two kingdoms: God’s and this temporary world. People who are alive must choose which one to serve. There is no neutral position on this most important issue. God allowed the Jews to be held captive by this land so that He could reveal to the world that He is a deliverer. Moses became a type of Christ. Today, we Christians were once held captive by this sinful world (“Egypt”), but now have been brought out of it by Jesus.

9-10: Moses finishes by saying that Pharaoh’s servants will bow to him (Moses) and demand that his people go. Moses would leave after all the people leave. Then Moses stormed out of Pharaoh’s presence in anger. God then reveals to Moses that Pharaoh’s heart is still hardened in order to multiply His wonders in Egypt. Before the last plague occurs, Pharaoh refuses to let God’s people leave.

Note: Finally the stage is set for God to reveal to people of earth what Jesus Christ would accomplish as the “Passover Lamb” many years later.

Exodus 12 – It’s All About Jesus

1-11: God tells Moses and Aaron that this month shall be the beginning of months of each year for them. On the 10th day of this month, God says for each family to take a young male lamb without any blemish (physically perfect) and keep it separate from the others until the 14th day. Then sacrifice it at twilight and take its blood and put it on the doorposts and the lintel (overhead crossbeam) on each of the houses where the sacrificed lamb is eaten. That night, they are to roast (not boil nor eat it raw) and eat the lamb in haste with unleavened bread and bitter herbs dressed in certain garb. No leftovers are to be consumed the next day but rather they are to be burned.

12-13: God reveals to Moses and Aaron that He will go through all of Egypt and kill every first-born child and first-born beast of each household that does not have the blood of the lamb on its doorposts and lintel. He promises to pass over (not bring death) if He sees the blood. He will also execute judgments against all of the gods of Egypt. Comment: It is comforting to know that God does see all evil and will judge it. It frees us from the burden of doing it (Hebrews 10:30, Deut. 32:35).

14-20: God ordains two permanent, memorial ordinances among His people: Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Passover Symbolism = Jesus becomes the “lamb without blemish” and His blood spares us from the “Second Death” described in Revelation (the Lake of Fire). What God reveals and accomplished physically in the Old Covenant, He fulfills spiritually in the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 15:46). Taking Communion today recognizes the symbolic significance and truth of the original Passover.

Unleavened Bread Symbolism = This type of bread is made easier and faster than having to add leaven and wait for the rise (the natural). The Jewish people needed to know that their impending deliverance was going to be so fast that only God could do it. It was not the result of human plotting or conniving. Salvation in NT times is similar – it can occur in a twinkling of an eye and it is all God’s doing (the spiritual). The process of leavening in OT times had a leftover from the past. Specifically, women would remove a little bit of dough that already had leaven working in it, then they stuffed it into the next batch of dough in order to speed up the the process (the natural). When we become born-again in Christ, we are a new creature and old things have passed away. All the leaven is gone (the spiritual) – 1 Corinthians 5:17. In addition, when leaven is first introduced, the bread does not immediately change in outward appearance including color (the natural). When we get saved, we still look the same outwardly, but the eternal seed has been planted and it will grow (the spiritual) – Philippians 1:6. In summation, dough without leaven represents haste, a break with the past, powerlessness, and a lack of labor.

21-30: Moses relays all God’s words to the people and they obeyed. All first-born in Egypt die.

When the History Channel tried to explain all these plagues in “scientific terms” (naturalistic, not supernatural), they conveniently left out the fact that all of them stopped at the borders of Goshen, including first-born deaths. I’d like to see them try to explain this in naturalistic terms. The channel also neglected to say that first-born deaths also included animals. This helped their propaganda because they came up with a naturalistic cause ONLY for the death of first-born humans. People who do not read the Bible are easily fooled by these types of TV programs.

31-32: Pharaoh, in fear and grief and anger, finally tells Moses that night to go with all his people and animals. He still asks for a blessing from Moses for himself…just a tad self-centered here. There is no mention of a blessing request from Moses on Pharaoh’s behalf.

33-36: The Jews were pressured by the Egyptians to leave IN HASTE because they thought more would die if they stayed longer. The Jews also got (they did not steal) lots of articles of gold and silver from the Egyptians, so they virtually plundered them. God wanted them to have this wealth.

37-41: When Israel left Egypt it had 600,000 men on foot (with women and children the total had to be well over a million). They left so abruptly (actually driven out) that the women had no time to make leavened bread nor to bring provisions (food) with them. They had lived in Egypt for 430 years, and left exactly at this time’s end (to the day).

42-45: Some Passover rules – no foreigner, traveler, uncircumcised (v48), or hired servant could eat it, but any slave who has been bought and circumcised could.

I think this may be telling us that some people today who come to church should not take part in communion. Certainly ALL people should be welcomed into a church service (unless they have been excommunicated for unrepentant sin and would be a stain on the reputation of Christ – this should be rare though). For communion, however, people need to be part of God’s Kingdom (truly saved) just like in OT times they had to be firmly linked to the Jewish people. Regarding our children…I think it is wise to withhold communion until they have made a commitment to Jesus and have been baptized by immersion into water. If we allow just anyone to take part in this, it defeats its purpose and greatly loses its meaning. Just like the original Passover was supposed to remind the Jews of their deliverance (“salvation”) – that was not a result of anything THEY did, so too is the Christian communion sacrament. Jesus wants us to remember His sufferings and sacrifice that led to our deliverance. I realize churches may differ with me on this, but it does represent my interpretation of what communion is about. I certainly do not think that the act of communion partaking alone has the power or the authority to forgive a person’s sins. That comes from real faith in the heart that results in some sort of good works, that is, visible fruit of real salvation (James 2:21-26). Here is where religious people fall short of what God is about. They think that ritual alone is all that’s needed. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day thought the same. Their heart remain unchanged. Obeying rituals can be achieved by anyone, even the unsaved .

Why could a purchased circumcised slave be allowed to eat the Passover meal? In the NT times, God purchases us with a great price (1 Corinthians 6:20) and we become circumcised in heart (Romans 2:28-29). In other words, we qualify for His Eternal Kingdom. In the natural, that slave perfectly represented what God was going to accomplish in the spiritual realm many years later.

46-51: No bone could be broken in the sacrificial lamb (natural). Jesus could not have any bone broken or He could not be the fulfillment of God’s promised Messiah (spiritual). This is why the Roman soldiers did not break His legs (in order to hasten death) although they did break the legs on the other two being crucified with Him. Jesus had already died. Unknowingly, these pagan soldiers fulfilled extremely important prophecy.

Many historians that reject Biblical claims assert that they see no evidence of Joseph and the Jews living in Egypt.  According to the film “Patterns of Evidence” (2015), directed by Tim Mahoney, there is solid proof that other historians had their timeline wrong, and once that adjustment is made, evidence emerges for the Biblical account in Exodus.

Exodus 13 – Another Stage Being Set

1-10: God orders Moses to sanctify to Him every first-born male of man and beast. Moses reminds the people of their great deliverance. They leave Egypt on a certain day of the month called Abib. They are to remember that date and each year eat unleavened bread for 7 days starting with that first day of Abib accompanied with telling their children about God’s mighty hand of deliverance from the bondage in Egypt. On the 7th day, they are to feast.

11-13: When they enter the promised land, they are to devote the first males born of men and animals to the Lord.

14-16: More reminders for the Jews to tell their children about their ordeal. This is extremely important to God because He knows how history is easily forgotten within a generation or two, let alone fifty.

17-18: As they left, God did not allow them to go the direct route because they would have to go through Philistine country. Philistines did not like Jews and God thought His people may lose heart if they saw war so quickly after leaving Egypt. So He led them around into the wilderness by way of the Red Sea.

19: Moses takes along the bones of Joseph fulfilling a promise.

20-22: The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to give them light. This way, they could keep traveling at night. God is setting up yet another grand stage for the world to see who He is.

Exodus 14 – The Red Sea Crossing, Miracle or Just Natural Science?

1-4: God wanted Pharaoh to think that the Israelis were wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, so He told Moses to go back to a place by the Red Sea. Three specific names of towns are named here, but scholars are not sure about their locations. God then tells Moses that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart again so that he will pursue the Israelis so that He can once again show the world who He is.

5-12: Pharaoh organizes 600 special chariots along with many others and takes off after God’s people with a big army. With horses, horsemen, chariots, and officers, Pharaoh catches up with them as they encamped against the Red Sea. The Jews see the approaching horde and panic. They bitterly complain to Moses.

13-14: But Moses says to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” What a statement of faith!

15-18: God tells Moses to get the people moving forward (to the sea) and to stretch out his staff over the sea in order to divide it, then the people will go forth on dry land. God also says He would harden the hearts of the pursuers so that they would also come into the midst of the divided sea after the people. Note: This “hardening” makes sense to me because if I was a soldier and saw the sea split open, I would be too afraid to enter, especially considering all of the previous plagues upon Egypt. Something supernatural would have to occur to result in those guys pursuing the Jews under those conditions.

19-20: The pillar cloud then moves behind the Jews and stands as a barrier between them and the army. Surprisingly, it also provided light at night so the army could not harm God’s people. This also makes sense because organizing a million people with all their animals to move quickly to the other side would take a while.

21-22: Now Moses stretches out his hand over the sea. God creates a strong east wind that lasted the whole night and it dried the land at the bottom of the sea and the waters were divided. As the Jews traveled through the escape route, they had “walls of water” on both sides of them.  This phrase casts serious doubt on the theory that the wind alone caused the water to simply recede from that crossing spot. Receding water does not form walls. Even if the wind alone did it, the timing was so prefect that the supernatural element can never be eliminated by “better scientific understanding.” So even if doubters prove that some natural thing caused this event, the timing of it should indicate something beyond the natural was at work. It is THIS aspect of this event that skeptics should be focusing on but they don’t (see 2 Timothy 3:7).

23-25: The army follows after, but God confuses them the next morning while still amidst the split waters and causes the chariot wheels to swerve (come lose, get stuck, delay?). The army panics with fear and agrees to stop pursuing the Jews and heads for safety.

26-28: God tells Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea again which causes the sea to collapse and drown every soldier.

Question: If God was doing all these supernatural miracles, why would He bother to have Moses move his hand in order to move the sea? I think it was because He wanted the people to recognize that Moses was of God and that they would fear (respect) and believe more strongly that the true God was moving and speaking through him. If so, it only worked for a little while…but in that little while, the people did escape to safety and now had a chance to multiply themselves.

29-31: This repeats the fact that “walls of water” were on each of their sides and they were on dry land all the way. Final result? The people feared God and believed in the Lord, and that Moses was indeed His servant. This is good.

Controversy: People want to know where all this excitement happened. Unfortunately, no one can say for sure. The traditional theory places the split sea at the northern tip of the Gulf of Suez which is very close to Egypt. Biblical scholars have located three possibilities. The Red Sea is Y-shaped. In Moses’ day, the entire body of water was probably called the Red Sea. Today, the upper right (northeast) portion is called the Gulf of Aqaba, while the upper left (northwest) is called the Gulf of Suez.

In the Suez portion there is marshland with many reeds. Rather than stating “the Red Sea,” some scholars think a more proper interpretation is “The Sea of Reeds” or the “Reed Sea.” I believe there are two problems with this: 1) today the water levels are shallow so an army could not drown there, and if it was deep in Moses’ day, then there would be no reeds, 2) these scholars tend to be liberal and often seek to dismiss any supernatural account by reinterpreting the language usage. I think the emphasis on “walls of water on both sides” is saying that the water division was caused by more than wind. Maybe God’s purpose of the wind was to simply dry the land so that the Jews would have good footing. They had to move quickly remember. If so, however, I can’t help but wonder why God just didn’t supernaturally cause the bottom of the sea to be dry. He seems to be mixing the natural with the supernatural here, and I’m not sure why. Maybe to give people an option to doubt to see who really believes in Him?

Renate R – The magicians convinced Pharaoh that they could do some of what Moses did. They believed their gods could compete with what Moses did. God showed them (the Egyptians and the Israelites) the folly in this idea; and that these other gods that they turn to, do not exist. Pillar of fire, smoke; water, land, wind. It seems to me like the Lord was demonstrating that He not only controls the sea, but also the wind. …That all of the elements are His, and He alone has the power to control them. He will use them for His plans and purposes. The dry land was used both to rescue the Israelites and to judge the Egyptians.

Dave – This is good commentary because heathen peoples often thought that natural elements were gods rather than thinking there was only One God who is above all that He created. Thanks for responding.

An Interesting Site Possibility: In more recent times, another possible site of the Red Sea crossing has caught the attention of some, but not all Biblical archaeologists. It is over at the Gulf of Aqaba (northeast fork of the Red Sea). On the west side of this “fork,” is a town called Nuweibi. Next to it is a huge wadi (delta) that was formed from the river that runs through the mountainous area west of it. It has been reported that there is a huge “land bridge” under water connecting to the Saudi Arabian side of the fork (7 miles away). This would make geological sense as it would simply be an extension of the wadi into the sea. The deepest part of the Gulf of Aqaba is about one mile. Near Nuweibi it’s about 2,200 feet deep, except at this formation which is only 800 feet down from the water’s surface. The wadi is just big enough to hold a million people, and they would be trapped by the mountains. If an army was chasing them through the river valley, the only escape would be to the sea.

Some researchers claim to have found chariot wheels 200 feet deep in this area. In 1978, Ron Wyatt’s group even has pics on the Internet. Ron has since died, but while alive he also claimed to have found the Ark of the Covenant, Mt. Sinai, the rock that Moses split for water, and a whole lot of other things from Biblical times, including Noah’s Ark. If all true, Mr. Wyatt makes Indiana Jones look like an amateur. His organization refuses to show the Ark of the Covenant to anyone (hmm…I wonder why), and it’s hard to believe that just one man could have discovered relics of this magnitude. However, I’ve heard Wyatt speak, and he was a humble man that believed in Jesus strongly. Over time, other men have found Wyatt’s claims to be tenable. So I do like this theory the best, especially considering what they have found across that sea in Saudi Arabia! But you can research all that if you are interested.

Question: But shouldn’t there be bone remains from the Egyptian army men and horses as well as chariot remains? Probably not according to my understanding of salt water action over a long time. Considering the action of decay, sea creatures, and salt concentration, these remains would not last too long. They found no human remains on the Titanic, for example. I can’t help wonder if God purposely hides these types of things from people so that they will come to Him by faith and not by what they see. That all said, however, coral needs something to grow on. So we would not find wheels and axles per se, but should find coral growth forming the shape of axles attached to wheels…and that is what has been found.

Exodus 15 – Be Careful How We Judge

1-21: Moses and the men of Israel sing a wonderful praise and worship song to the Lord. Worship is praise for who He is and praise is for what He has done. This song did both. It may have been the first time in human history that such a number of people did this together. Verse 8 describes the water when it was pulled back as “standing up like a heap” and they were “congealed.” To me, this describes the “walls of water on both sides of the Jews” as they crossed over. Therefore, I conclude once again that it took more than an extra strong wind to move that water in such a way.

22-25: Moses leads the people away from the Red Sea on a 3-day journey, then they ran out of water. When they found some at Marah, it was “bitter” (not fit for drinking). So rather than praying to that God they just exalted, they instead grumbled at Moses. This reveals a huge problem within the hearts of these early Jews. Fortunately, Moses cried out to the Lord and the Lord showed him a certain tree, then God told him to throw it into the water. The water became “sweet” (drinkable). This was a test from God. Moses passed, the people flunked.

Insight: Before we judge these people too harshly, have we ever worshiped and praised God in church only to return home and do or say or think something wrong? If so, perhaps we are just as guilty as these others, especially considering all the Scripture we have access to and have read over the years. Those people had none! We need to be careful how we judge others.

26-27: God proclaims that if they heed His voice and obey His commandments and statutes, He would not put any of the diseases that He placed onto the Egyptians. Therefore, He revealed Himself as their healer. The people then came to a place called Elim which had 12 springs of water and 70 date palms, so they camped there.

Exodus 16: Passing Tests Now Helps in Eternity

1: They leave Elim and come to the Wilderness of Sin (for years experts put this in the Sinai Peninsula, however, I think it had to be in Saudi Arabia). This was about a month-and-a-half from when they left Egypt.

2-9: The whole congregation complained to Moses about their hunger. Moses makes it clear to the people that their complaint is not against him but against the Lord. He tells the people that God will provide enough food for each day, and on the 6th day there will be enough for two days, so they will not have to work on the Day of Rest. God was testing the children of young Israel.

10-18: God’s glory cloud creeps toward them from the wilderness and God gives them meat (quail) in the evening and bread in the morning. The bread actually formed from the evaporated dew and was flaky. Each person had just enough for one day.

19-20: Moses ordered that no man should leave food until morning, but some did and it became full of maggots and was foul. These people were failing God’s test. He wanted to them to demonstrate their total belief and trust in Him and His Word to them. They just wouldn’t do it. Even Moses starts to get ticked off by their lack of faith and lack of obedience.

21: Morning after morning the people ate just enough and, if they tried to save some for later, it melted in the heat of the sun. So God was trying to teach them that they could trust His Word.

22-26: Moses instructs the people to gather twice as much on the 6th day in order to keep the 7th day separate (God would not feed them on the day of rest). The extra food gathered would not spoil the 7th day. Keep in mind that the Ten Commandments have not yet been revealed to the people. So this seems to me like a trial run to determine who His people really are.

27-30: Sure enough, on that 7th day, some people just had to go out there and search for more food, but of course there was none. The Lord rebukes Moses and made sure that the people would rest on the 7th day.

31-36: The people call the bread “manna.” God tells them to keep a small portion of it as a reminder for future generations about how God provided for His people. The children of Israel would eat manna for 40 years while wandering around in the Wilderness (still trying to learn from God’s tests).

Application for Today: God will test us as well. He tries to get us to trust in Him for all things, and to do things His way, rather than our way. Why? Among probably multiple reasons is that He has great desires and plans for us in eternity, but we need many changes wrought within us before we can do what He wants us to do in the hereafter.

Exodus 17:

1-7: They continue their trek as the Lord commands their direction. When they ran out of water, they complained to Moses. Their complaint took on a bitter tone which frightened Moses. Moses seeks the Lord and God tells him to take his staff and strike a rock at Horeb in order to bring forth water. There had to have been much water streaming out from the rock because there was probably over a million people along with all the livestock needing hydration. Deuteronomy 8:15 further describes this rock as flint. Flint is a sedimentary rock and is a form of quartz. It is known for splitting. There is a large split rock in Saudi Arabia that sure looks like the one Moses struck, plus several other clues indicating that’s where it all happened.

8-13: Then the Amalekites attack the Jews. They were a nomadic tribe that would always oppose the Jews. Moses assigns Joshua to organize the troops and go out into battle. Moses went to the top of a hill where he could be seen. When his staff was lifted up, the Jews prevailed in battle. When he tired and lowered his staff, the Amalekites would start to prevail. So Aaron and a man named Hur supported the arms and staff of Moses until the sun set, and the Jews won.

14-16: God proclaims that He will blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Moses realizes that the battle against the Amalekites would go on for generations.

Historical Note: Years later King Saul devastated the Amalekites, then King David destroyed them forever.

We can see the consistent resistance rearing up against God’s plan for a people to be devoted to Him. This resistance continues to this day against both Jews and Christians. Also, 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 relates to us what we should learn from these experiences in Exodus. It would be a good read for us at this point in the study.

Exodus 18:

1-12: Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, hears all that happened and came from Midian for a visit bringing along Moses’ two sons and his wife Zipporah. Jethro rejoices and came to know the true God through Moses’ testimony, so they all sacrificed to the Lord together.

13-23: Moses began to sit before the people as they come to him with problems and he judged for them. But this lasts all day and Jethro deems it too much for Moses alone to handle. Jethro offers good advice. Moses would appoint honest men to be judges over the people, and there would be judges under these, and more under those. Hence, the people could settle their problems via the judge system rather than over burdening Moses with every little matter. Moses, in turn, would take big matters before the Lord Himself and bring back God’s laws and counsels to the people. In this way, Moses would be able to endure life better.

This format is followed in churches today. The Pastor has “bishops” or “elders” under him to help teach and advise the congregations. If a matter becomes quite important, then the people can go right to the pastor for help. Delegating authority must be done prayerfully because the proper people need to be selected. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, it outlines the qualifications for such important people in the Body of Christ. The qualifications for “deacons,” who are caretakers of the physical aspects of a church, are listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13.

24-27: Moses heeds Jethro’s advice and puts it all into practice. He can now be more focused on God. This seemed to set the stage and prepare Moses to face God on Mt. Sinai in order to receive the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 19 – Why God Does Not Show His Face to Us

1-6: The Jews were now camped by a mountain in the wilderness of Sinai. Moses goes up to the mountain and God tells him to tell the people again about how He miraculously delivered them out of Egypt. If they obey His voice, they would be His possession among all the people of earth. They would be a kingdom of priests and be a holy nation.

I believe one purpose of the Jewish Nation was to reveal God’s identity and righteousness to all other nations, so that they too would want to worship the One, True Creator and do what is morally right so God could bless them. I guess he had to start somewhere and somehow. This is the time and place He chose to do it. Despite the unfaithfulness and immorality of the Jews over the centuries, God still succeeded in making Himself known to the world.

7-13: Moses delivers the message and all the people agree with it. God tells Moses that He will appear in a thick cloud so that the people can hear when God speaks with him. God did this because He wanted the people to know that God was really acting via Moses. Then God tells Moses to have the people wash their clothes by the 3rd day and consecrate themselves to the Lord. Moses also had to set bounds so that the people would not touch the mountain where God Himself was going to be. If they touched it, they would be struck dead. When they heard a ram’s horn blow, they were to come to the mountain but not be on it. I think this reveals the Holiness of God and the sinfulness of humans, and the necessity of constant separation. Sin causes this between man and God. It is easy for people to lose this aspect of God, so I think God was revealing yet another truth about Him that is important for people to know, but not because He’s on some ego trip. We know from the Cross that God is not proud. This revelation is for their sake and ours. After all, the first step in wisdom is to have an awesome respect for the Lord (Proverbs 9:10).

14-20: The people obey and they become ready for the 3rd day. In the morning of the 3rd day, there was thunder and lightning along with the thick cloud upon the mountain. Then a loud trumpet sounded. All this frightened the people greatly. Fire and ascending smoke covered the mountain while shaking its foundations. When the trumpet sound got louder, Moses spoke to God and He answered with thunder (or a voice). Then God called Moses up to the top of the mountain.

21-25: God gives a final warning to Moses about making sure that all the people stay away from touching the mountain and that all the priests should be specially consecrated for Him. Moses delivers the message. Many skeptics today say if God is so real then why doesn’t He come down and show Himself to us! This chapter reveals why. They have no idea what they are demanding.

So out of all these “in person” encounters with God, Moses was not permitted to see God’s face. This was for Moses’ protection. Later in Exodus 33:20 it is revealed that Moses would die if he saw God’s face. We must always remember that our sin separates us from the One and ONLY, Holy, and Perfect Creator. But, in light of Exodus 33:20, I’ve often wondered why Adam and Eve did not die when “facing” God after they sinned?? I know people say Adam died spiritually and that physical death BEGAN to swing into slow action and, perhaps more importantly, God showed mercy by sacrificing an animal and covering Adam with its skin (a foretaste of Jesus’ sacrifice). Perhaps God was not revealing all His perfect glory at this time when He WALKED WITH His first two humans??

Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments. When originally given, God did not reveal their true purpose until New Covenant times (see end comment).

1-3: NUMBER 1 = Only God is to be worshiped, no idols allowed. Today, it is my understanding that an idol is anything that is more important to us than God. It could be anything. It is not limited to statues or golden calves. It could be something that is not evil in and by itself, but if is more important to us than God, it will trip us. Things like hobbies, TV, sports, friends, even family can be idols. How can loving family more than God be so bad? The truth is that we can love our families the best if we love God first. God knows that idols will prevent Him from doing great things through us. When our priorities are out of kilter, we are not willing to serve God in various ways. This commandment is not revealing a self-centered, egotistical god, rather One that knows that a loving relationship is always the best.

3-6: NUMBER 2 = Do not make any graven images (statues) to bow before. God equates this with hating Him. He reveals that He is a jealous God and will visit the iniquity of the fathers who hate Him on their children and the 3rd and 4th generations. Many Christians think this may account for some genetic diseases, but we must be careful not to rush to judgment. Alcoholism, for example, tends to run in families, some people think there is a genetic link to it. While researchers have not yet proven a direct genetic link, there certainly may be evidence for a genetic predisposition toward alcoholism based on family history. One can argue nature vs. nurture until the cows come home, but in light of this Scripture, God reveals that when parents do not follow Him, their children more likely will not, and each generation’s behavior tends to worsen. So this verse may reflect this truth rather than God punishing offspring for sins of their parents. The opposite is also true – if we love Him and obey Him, He promises loving kindness to thousands more.

I think we have genetic diseases (mutations) because sin entered the world and goofed up lots of things that God made perfectly. So, for example, I do not believe that God sends diabetes onto a child of a dad who sinned a lot or failed to raise him as a believer. Granted, there are other consequences. In Ezekiel 18:20, however, it says, “The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”

7: NUMBER 3 = Do not take the name of the LORD in vain. This means we are not to say His name unless we are actually talking about Him. Before I knew Him, I used to say “Jesus” all the time and not be talking about Him. Sometimes I would say His name when angry…and I still was not talking about Him. Later, as a Christian JV soccer coach for a local public high school, I would explain to my players why it bothered me if they yelled the name of “Jesus” during practices. I just told them how much that name meant to me, and it would hurt me deeply if they would do that. To ease the awkward tension, I then said, “Instead, yell ‘Buddha’ because he never did anything for you.” And they did…with some giggling. I loved it. I’m not sure if I bent the rule of separation of church and state that day, but no one complained…..except the varsity soccer coach one year later. But now he too is a born-again Christian and is doing great seed-planting in the soccer players at the professional level in the Rochester, New York area. One of my players at that time said that was the first seed of Truth God planted in his heart. He is now a pastor who loves Jesus and people (great family too). It’s fun to see how God works over several years.

8-11: NUMBER 4 = Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. He reminds us that He worked 6 days and rested on the 7th so we should too. No work, even for a visitor from out of town.

Controversy: Does it matter which day we treat as the Sabbath today? The Seventh Day Adventist Church believes it must be Saturday because that is the original day of Sabbath for the Jews. This is true. In fact, for the orthodox Jews, it is from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. The early Christians would congregate on Sundays because that was when Jesus rose from the dead, and they met on that day to celebrate the resurrection. Some claim that the Roman Catholic church changed the Sabbath to Saturday, but they deny that. The Seventh-Day Adventists say it did. So who is right? Since Jesus clarified the meaning of this commandment by emphasizing the point that it was made for man’s benefit, I think that we should rest every 7th day no matter what day it may fall on. Now since most churches meet on Sundays, that would be a logical choice. I do, however, respect the Adventists because they want to honor God by their rule. Colossians 2:16-17 and Romans 14 can help us with this controversy.

12: NUMBER 5 = Honor mom and dad. Interestingly, obedience to this one promises a longer life.

13: NUMBER 6 = Do not kill. “Murder” is a better word than “kill.”

14: NUMBER 7 = Do not commit adultery. Faithfulness is an extremely important thing to God. So is marriage because it reflects the relationship between His Son Jesus Christ and the Body of Christ. He wants us to be most intimate with Him and this ability can be reflected when we stay true to our spouses.

15: NUMBER 8 = Do not steal. This sin reflects a heart that refuses to trust God for the things that are needed. He promises to supply us with food, shelter, and clothing if we seek and put His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).

16: NUMBER 9 = Do not lie. Trust and credibility are essential in solid relationships.

17: NUMBER 10 = Do not covet our neighbor’s house or wife (husband) or things belonging to others. When we serve the god of materialism and therefore get plagued with the spirit of dissatisfaction and lust for more, we cannot have a relationship with God.

18-19: The people were so afraid of all the thunder and lightning flashes that they begged Moses to speak with God rather than having them hear Him. They feared they would die if they kept experiencing this.

20-21: Moses tells them to not be afraid because God is simply testing them so they would fear Him and not sin. But they still stood back at a distance while Moses walked toward the cloud.

22-23: God again tells Moses to affirm to the people that He has truly spoken and that they should not make idols of silver or gold.

24-26: God gives Moses instructions on how to build an altar to Him for proper sacrificing. The stones for an altar were to be uncut stones. If they would use any of their man-made tools on the stones, it would profane the altar. I think what God means is that human effort while immersed in a sinful state, should not be part of sacrificing before the Lord. It’s difficult for us in our sinful, darkened state to know what holiness really is like. I think God was trying to give us some idea here. Also, I don’t think God wanted something left over for centuries where future people would marvel at what man has made (i.e. Pyramids, ancient altars from other cultures). He also forbade the use of steps so their nakedness would not be exposed. Exposure of private parts during an ascent to an altar was a regular practice of the pagan rituals by the Canaanites, so this rule is probably a reaction to what pagans were doing at that time.

The 10 C’s are perhaps the only religious doctrines put forth that are impossible to obey. The NT Book of Galatians (3:24) reveals that their purpose was to lead us to Christ (helping us to realize that we, in our sinful (imperfect) state cannot obey them perfectly and therefore need redemption from Someone greater than ourselves that have obeyed them all). Hence, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life…no one gets to the Father but through Him. John 14:6.

Exodus 21-31:  Considering the type of content found in the next several chapters, I have decided to briefly describe their contents. This may disappoint some of you, and I do apologize for that. To be honest, there are many rules and ordinances that are difficult to explain in light of today’s culture. In addition, it would be difficult for me to explain any personal applications for today. I believe that this aspect of my commentary needs to be a consistent piece. So what follows is a very quick synopsis of Chapters 21-31.

While on Mt. Sinai and just after receiving the Ten Commandments, God reveals to Moses many laws coupled with severe punishments for disobedience. Some make excellent sense to me and should be applied more often to our modern legal system. Restitution, for example, meant that whatever was stolen or damaged under certain conditions, the guilty person had to pay back to the victim MORE than what was lost, damaged, or stolen. This holds more justice and, I think, serves as a better deterrent to further crime than jail time (it also would save tax payer money). The criminals in these cases did not go to jail, but were simply required to pay back more. Today, too many criminals resort back to crime once released from jail.

Although God sent repeated promises to bless the nation of young Israel if they obeyed Him, they did not. One outstanding promise was to prevent enemies from attacking them (23:27). Their obstinate, disobedient behavior repeatedly angered God. God decided that none but two of the original people who left with Moses from Egypt would be allowed into the promised land, not even Moses got in (due to a serious mistake). Moses would be permitted to see it from a distance, but he would not enter physically. Joshua and Caleb were the two who would go over and do the job at hand. They had the faith that was necessary.

Specific instructions were given for the making of the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle. There have been books written about how each facet of this Tabernacle somehow represented Jesus Christ. It is quite amazing.

Exodus 32 – Moses, A Christ-Type

1-6: Because Moses was taking so long to return from the mountain, the people grew restless and talked Aaron into making a golden calf to worship. So the people contributed various golden jewelry and it was melted down. The next day they “partied.”

7-8: God tells Moses of the people’s rebellion and sends him back.

9-10: A great deal offered to Moses – God pronounces judgment by calling the people obstinate (stiff-necked). He then tells Moses that He will destroy all the people but would make Moses a great nation.

11-14: Despite all the grumbling these people did to Moses in the wilderness, Moses does not take God’s deal. This was amazing! How many leaders would do this? Moses pleads with God to spare them using some quick, good thinking. Moses was afraid that if God destroyed them all, then Egypt would think that God brought them out of their captivity just to kill them. This would not make God look good to the world that He was trying to impress. Moses further reminded God what God would repeatedly say in the past – that He had made a promise to Abraham’s offspring. I guess this clinched it. God withheld His wrath and spared the obstinate people, at least for a while.

The concept that a mere man (with all respect to Moses) could use reasoning to change the mind of God is really something to me. It is something that I would not predict. God does tell us to come to Him and reason together, however (Isaiah 1:18). But all this was more than just changing God’s mind as you will see in the comment below.

15-20: So Moses comes down to the people and Joshua greets him. Joshua must have been apart from the people while Moses was with God because Joshua tells Moses that he hears the sound of war from the people. But Moses recognized that the sound was something else (not good either). When Moses saw the revelry and debauchery, he was enraged and threw down the two tablets that God Himself etched in His Commandments so that the tablets were shattered (ouch!). Then Moses totally destroyed the calf idol.

21-29: Moses was furious with Aaron who allowed this to occur. Aaron offered only a lame excuse in his defense. The people were out of control at this point. Then Moses shouted to the people to come to him if they were on God’s side. All the Levites (priestly line) promptly went to him. Moses orders them to kill about 3,000 men and they do.

30-35: Then Moses goes back to God and intercedes for the rest of the people and offers to forfeit his own life if that’s what it would take for God to forgive them. God says He will blot out of his Book (Book of Life?) all that sinned against Him, but would not kill them at this time. He tells Moses to lead the people where His angel dictates. He also sent a plague and smote the sinners as a judgment.

Moses is clearly acting as a deliverer and intercessor on behalf of an unworthy people. He is a Christ-type because Jesus delivered unworthy sinners to salvation and stands in the gap between God and man and continually intercedes on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25). What transpired in above verses 11-14 could actually be quite close to the spiritual conversation between God the Father and God the Son. This also parallels Luke 13:6-9 (I urge you read this, it’s awesome; it’s another amazing insight into Jesus’ claim to be IN the Old Testament Scriptures!).

Exodus 33 – As Close as a Man Can Get to God

1-6: God tells Moses to travel toward the promised land and that God would drive out the heathen populations living there so that the Israelis could settle there. But God also added that He would not go there among them because He knew He would destroy all of them because they were so obstinate. When the people heard this news, they lamented. God told them to remove all their jewelry before they traveled so they did.

7-11: Moses had a tent set up outside the camp. He would go into the tent and the cloud would descend on the tent. This was God coming to Moses and they would talk. This time Moses returned from the tent but Joshua stayed behind in the tent. Since Joshua was chosen by God to be one of the two original Jews to enter the promised land, maybe this close proximity to the tent gave Joshua faith and courage.

12-14: Moses asks God to make His ways known more clearly for him, and to be with him. We all need to have this desire to know God more. God promises to do so and also give Moses rest. “Rest” may be referring to his impending death.

15-16: Moses, who was probably still worried about God saying He would not be in their midst as they go toward the promised land, says if God isn’t going to be with him, then he did not want things to proceed. Moses knows that the only way that things will work out is if God comes too.

Application for Today: We must include Jesus in all we do and be guided by the Holy Spirit. We are not to act independently of Him (John 15:4-7).

17-23: God promises Moses that He will go with him and give him favor. Moses, still yearning to know God more, asks to be shown God’s glory. God agrees to reveal more of Himself to Moses. He says that all His goodness (glory) shall pass before him, but Moses could not see God’s face, lest he die. No man can see God’s face and live. God positions Moses on a rock, and as He passed by Moses, He put him into the cleft of the rock and covered him with His hand until He had passed completely by. Why put Moses into a cleft? Perhaps so he could not move which could put him in danger. When God took His hand away from Moses, Moses could see only God’s back, not His face. This is quite the experience! No other human other than Jesus Christ had such an intimate meeting with the Great I Am.

So out of all these “in person” encounters with God, Moses was not permitted to see God’s face. This was for Moses’ protection. Later in Exodus 33:20 it is revealed that Moses would die if he saw God’s face. We must always remember that our sin separates us from the One and ONLY, Holy, and Perfect Creator. But, in light of Exodus 33:20, I’ve often wondered why Adam and Eve did not die when “facing” God after they sinned?? I know people say Adam died spiritually and that physical death BEGAN to swing into slow action and, perhaps more importantly, God showed mercy by sacrificing an animal and covering Adam with its skin (a foretaste of Jesus’ sacrifice). Perhaps God was not revealing all His perfect glory at this time when He WALKED WITH His first two humans??

Exodus 34 – Interracial Marriages?

1 -5: Since Moses broke the tablets containing God’s Ten Commandments, God had the procedure done over again with Moses. It’s odd that God did not rebuke or punish Moses for such a destructive act to something so valuable. God simply mentioned that he broke them. God warns Moses again not to allow any animal or person to be on the mountain where He and Moses would talk.

6-7: God describes Himself: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and truth, keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving sin, yet still punished the guilty by “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” This last quote is difficult to understand. Some Christians believe that curses due to sin, especially occult involvement, can be handed down to children and that believers need to be set free from them. Whether or not this is an accurate meaning for this verse, there is a lot to be said about believers having sin strongholds in their lives that need powerful prayers to be set free. Ezekiel Chapter 18, however, states that children of sinners do not bear the punishment of their father’s sin, that is, each is responsible for their own sin. Therefore, perhaps a better interpretation is that when parents hate God, their children will also hate Him and behavior worsens with each generation.

God makes the point to Moses about how abundant his mercy is. He has enough mercy for all of Israel. But He will judge the unrepentant sinner that passes on his non-moral disobedient lifestyle to his children. As He promises keeping mercy for thousands, but not always pardoning the guilty (Exodus 34:7). This is in the context of Israel and their relationship to God. Some believers think it is not about curses. His promise to the nation of Israel is that if one passes their sin down from each generation (training their children in idolatry and disobedience), God will not let His mercy continue and He will stop having mercy and bring punishment. Those who teach what is against Him and His commands will have their children’s children acquire the practice from their parents and be punished for it because God will not allow this to continue with the people he is training as a nation to obey his commandments. They were instructed: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Whatever the correct meaning is, we believers must be alert to the effect of sin and run to the only authority that can stop it – Jesus.

8-16: Moses again pleads with God to be in their midst, and God says He will and will continue to work miracles on their behalf, although it will be a scary experience for them. God promises to drive out pagan tribes and nations before them. He warns Moses not to make any agreements with those people because the Jews will begin to sin like the heathens. They are to tear down the idols and places of demonic worship and worship only Him. They are not to intermarry at this time of their development because it will cause them to sin more. I do not think this verse can be used to indicate that God opposes mixed racial marriages. The context emphasizes the timing of such a command and the moral difference between the two “culture camps,” not genetic races. For today, no matter what racial heritages are involved, the only question is are both people living for the Lord in spirit and truth. If so, that marriage is good. When the NT says we are not supposed to be “unequally yoked” in 2 Corinthians 6:14, it means we should not be a close partner to those who live apart from the grace and knowledge of God. We are not to be coupled with people who are living immoral lives. It has nothing to do with mixed racial marriages. See Acts 17:26 (KJV).

17-28: God reveals more rules and reviews ones already given. God outlines special celebrations such as the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Weeks. He promises that if enemies attack on those days, He will enlarge their borders and no one would covet their land. Great promise! Moses neither ate nor drank for 40 days and nights while recording all that God told him, including the second copy of the Ten Commandments. It would seem that the Book of Genesis was dictated to Him by God at this time.

29-35: Now when Moses came down from being with God on the mountain, his face shone so brightly that he had to put a veil over it when facing the people. I think this was to give the people a good idea about how Holy God is and that Moses is their anointed, appointed leader.

Exodus 35-40 – God tells Moses to have those who were willing to bring gold, jewelry and other valuables and give them to the Lord. These were to be used by skilled workers to make the Tabernacle, the altars, the Ark of the Covenant, and other things. All things made were based on very specific design instructions from God Himself. It is interesting to me that God did not demand the valuables, but rather wanted only the people who were willing to give. Ultimately, God was willing to give up His Son (Himself) for sinners, so scoffers are dead wrong when they judge God as being a taker or one craving to be #1. When it comes to giving money, God seems to be rather consistent – He loves a cheerful giver.

Moses organized some extremely skilled craftsmen. Metals were also used. Inner and outer courts of the Tabernacle had to be made. The Ark had to be veiled and was in the inner most room. In addition, priestly garments had to be made in certain ways. Finally, all these constructions had to be portable because God would lead them from one place to another on His time schedule. Lots of work, and lots of procedures and rules.