Introduction

In Part 1 and Part 2, we have talked about the first and second mistake of Aaron. He did not rebuke the Israelites when they wanted to build the golden calf. He had also built the golden calf for them.
We have also drawn lessons from his mistakes and talks about the potential golden calves that we have in our modern world.

Now let us consider his second mistakes

3rd Mistake  : He built an Altar And Declare A Feast To An Idol

“So when Aaron saw it, he built
  an altar before it. And Aaron
  made a proclamation and said,
  “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.”

  Then they rose early on the next
  day, offered burnt offerings, and
  brought peace offerings; and the
  people sat down to eat and drink, 
  and rose up to play.” – Moses (Ex 32:5-6)

Aaron built and altar and declared a feast. By doing so he had corrupted his service before the Lord. This corruption can be viewed from many aspect.

1. Aaron was the high priest of God, now he became a high priest of the calf
2. While God is creating priestly garment for him, he is busy building the calf
3. He lowered to Almighty God into a image of a calf

All these tell us his foolishness and his erroneous attitude. He was suppose to teach the truth of God but now he is teaching an impure truth. How can you equate the worshipping of the calf as keeping a feast to the Lord. He had went against God personally by declaring this feast.

He knelt down before a calf, and yet he think he is being zealous for God. He even went ahead and called the calf, the Lord who brought them out of Egypt. He is corrupt in his service and he is unaware of it. This is the worst form of corruption for one to be in.

For if Aaron is aware of his mistake he will have a chance to repent and turn back. But the worst form of corruption is when we are unaware of our mistake. That will turn us from bad to worst.  By building the altar and declaring the feast to the Lord. He had turn his  unintentional sin into a sinning wilfully against the Lord

Aaron did not initiate the work to build the golden calf, it was the children of Israel who wanted it. Aaron created the calf out of compulsion and in a moment of weakness. But by legalising the worship Aaron had sin against God directly.

There is a chinese Idiom that illustrate this perfectly.

(gū xī yǎng jiān)

There was a man who was born in the year of the rat. As the result he likes rat. So he instructed his family not to kill the rats in the house at the same time he forbid them to drive the pest out of the house. As the result the rats started to do as they please, they stole rice and other food from the kitchen.

When the man saw it, he was worried that the rat had nothing to eat. So he deliberately left food all around the house. So more and more rats appeared in the neighbourhood. As the result everyone is affected by it. 

Aaron had allowed evil to continue and he had allowed it to grow even stronger.

4th Mistake : He Denies Responsibility, Refuses To Confess 

Aaron 3rd mistake is recorded in Ex 32:21-24

Moses: “What did this people do to you
                 that you have brought so great 
                 a sin upon them?”

Aaron  : “Do not let the anger of my lord 
                  become hot. You know the people,
                  that they are set on evil. 
                  For they said to me, ‘Make us gods 
                  that shall go before us; as for this
                  Moses, the man who brought us out
                 of the land of Egypt, we do not know
                 what has become of him.’

When Moses confronted Aaron, he denied the responsibility of his mistake. He refuse to admit his wrong and this could be seen clearly in this dialog. Aaron blame it on the people, and he pointed out the fact that they are evil. This is something Moses knew.

Moses had experienced many of their attack and their comment. But that doesn’t justify the creation of the calf. Aaron is trying to say that he is afraid of going against those who are bent on sinning. He is afraid that they might attack him so he did it to protect himself.

It appears as if Aaron was force to commit the sin out of fear. Moses rebuke him for he is a leader who lack the moral principle. He is just like a police officer who refuse to help the weak when they are bullied. He just stood in the corner and lament “There’s nothing I can do, he is evil, allow it to continue, better you get hurt instead of me”

Nipping Sin In The Bud

Isn’t it their work to maintain order in society? Isn’t it their duty to protect the citizens, uphold the law and preserve the peace? That is why Moses rebuked him. Aaron fault lies in the fact that he is the leader who did not correct the mistake of the people. Instead of stopping them, he took part in the sin and brought even more sin upon them.

When the people demanded the calf, that sin was in the mind and has not became a reality. This is just like us having the urge to punch someone and we will not get arrested for it. For we had not taken action to assault the other party. There is still chance to change our mind and correct our thinking.

In the same way, if Aaron were to correct the thinking of the people, and rebuke them, the sin would have stopped. But instead he turn their thinking into reality. If he would have stop them the story would have changed greatly.

But instead, Aaron did not, he was afraid of offending them. As the result he choose to offend God, that makes him an unfaithful servant.

Turning Sin Into A Miracle

Aaron went one step ahead to defend himself that is illogical and funny . Let us compare 2 verses side by side

Actual Account Aaron Narrative
And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.(Ex 32:2) And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ “

So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.  (Ex 32:3) So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire,
And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. (Ex 32:4) and this calf came out. 
(Ex 32:24)

Aaron made the creation of the calf sound miraculous. He told them to take off their earrings, he threw it into the fire and the calf just miraculously appear.  How could gold rings burn into a golden calf?

If we compared the truth from Aarons narrative we will know that the calf did not appear miraculously. He need to cut a mould, pour the molten gold into it, to provide the basic shape, and then they will have to engrave it, polish it and make it shiny and pretty.

Aaron had taken part in the construction of the calf. He mystify the event to make it look like a miracle from God. This brought his sin further. For he had now pushed the blame onto God. Saying that it is Gods will for the calf to appear. The fact that the calf so miraculously appear tell us the will of God is working . It becomes a sign that God had allowed it.

He may be able to lawyer his way out before Moses. But he cannot escape from that sin before God.

Conclusion So Far

We have look at the 3rd mistake of Aaron. How he brought sin upon himself by declaring the feast to the Lord and calling the calf the Lord. We learnt that Aaron ought to have stood up against Israel and prevented them from sinning.

The 4th mistake is a warning not to mystify our sins to justify it. Aaron turn the construction of the calf into a miraculous event. By doing so he had indicated that God had a had in allowing it to happen.

In the series, we have explored quite a number of areas of the Old Testament

1. The Fall Feast (Part 1)
2. Pauls Explanation Of Col 2 (Part 2)
3. Day Of Atonement (Part 3)
4. Feast Of The Tabernacles (Part 4)
5. Clean And Unclean Meat (Part 5 , Part 6)

Introduction

For the next few post I would be talking about the roles of priest under the Mosaic Covenant

“Aaron shall burn on it sweet
  incense every morning; when
  he tends the lamps, he shall burn
  incense on it. And when Aaron lights
  the lamps at twilight, he shall burn
  incense on it, a perpetual incense
  before the Lord throughout your
  generations.”- YHWH (Ex 30:7-9)

Under the Mosaic Covenant, Priest ought to burn incense before God daily. It had to be burnt every morning and evening.   We understand from Part 3 that when Jesus came in the flesh, he came to establish the spiritual temple of the new Covenant. In this new temple. there is no longer need to burn incense within it.

The Other Meaning Of Incense

But both in the Old Testament and New Testament, there is another definition of incense.

“Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”-David (Ps 141:2)

“Now when He had taken the scroll,
  the four living creatures and the
  twenty-four elders fell down before
  the Lamb, each having a harp, and
  golden bowls full of incense, which
  are the prayers of the saints.”-John (Rev 5 : 8)

Throughout the old testament and the new testament, incense is often used to represent prayers. God wanted his priest to burn incense for him day and night. This tells us how much God esteem our prayers.

“And you shall beat some of it very fine,
  and put some of it before the Testimony
  in the tabernacle of meeting where I will
  meet with you. It shall be most holy to
  you”-YHWH (Ex 30:36)

From here we know that incense is something holy to the Lord. His priest is suppose to burn it whenever they are in his presence.

Today many Christian feels that they only need to pray when they have a request to bring before God. So when there are not request, there is no longer a need for prayer. But Prayers ought to be our meeting with God, it is our chance to worship him. God wanted man to approach him through prayer. For Jesus says, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”

Christian sometimes forget that the main purpose of coming to church is to meet God. In the past whenever Abraham travelled to a location, he would erect an altar to worship God. It is a testimony of how Abraham esteem praying and worshipping God daily. He had made God his priority and as the result God had esteemed Abraham as well. That is why God called Abraham his friend.

Today Christians are chosen by God just like Abraham. But is our relationship close to God? Do we regard God as something good to have but can do without? Gods attitude toward us is the same as our attitude towards him.

That is why prayer is an essential aspect of our faith that we cannot regret. Prayer is just like a thermometer of our faith, it indicate our closest with God. Today as spiritual priest in the spiritual temple of the messiah let us not neglect our prayers to God. 

In the Torah God gave Moses the composition of the incense.

“Take sweet spices, stacte
  and onycha and galbanum,
  and pure frankincense with
  these sweet spices; there
  shall be equal amounts of
  each.”-YHWH (Ex 30:34)

There are four materials, which are spices, onycha, galbanum and frankincense. They must be equal amount of each. These are 4 components of prayers that we must not neglect.

Stacte : A Type of Gum From The Tree Bark

Stacte is a type of gum that is extracted by cutting the bark of the tree. As you collect Stacte, it will look as if the plant was bleeding. While Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane. his prayer is just like Stacte, and the bible describes that as earnestness.

“And being in agony, He prayed
  more earnestly. Then His sweat
  became like great drops of blood
  falling down to the ground.” Luke(Lk 22:44)

Blood flows faster than water, it is an indication that Jesus is perspiring greatly. But there is something we ought to take note of, for Jesus was captured on a cold month, for Jn 18:18 tell us that it was cold when Jesus was captured. For Peter need to enter the courtyard for fire, that was when the people confronted him.

It is usually difficult to perspire in cold weather, yet Jesus is perspiring as if he is bleeding, can we see the earnestness in that? Sometimes Christians are unable to grasp what it mean to be earnest in prayer. Will we pray till our sweat becomes like drop of blood?

This is the example of Jesus, his sweat is like blood, that is a sign of his earnestness, that is a prayer that God delights in.

 Onycha : A Type Of Seashell ‘

The biblical onycha cannot be fully identified today. But it is often believed to be a type of shell that must be pounded to extract fragrance. This type of pounding is often a reminder of submission. For the material need to break itself down in order to give fragrance.

In the same way, the prayer of Jesus at Gethsemane is one with Onycha  for he pleaded with God to take away his bitter cup. But in that prayer we see Jesus breaking himself down to submit to God. That is why in every prayer he said  “Not my will but yours be done”

Prayer is not about telling God what we want and desire. We need to submit to God as well. we must be like Onycha, a shell that is willing to be pounded for fragrance.

Today if God does not accede to our request, are we willing to break ourselves down?  Are we willing to put aside our preference and submit to God?  This is something we need to consider, as our prayers often carries our desire and our will. We need to be willing to change and submit to God. We need to let go of our preference and desire , then the will of God will be done.

Galbanum : A Medicinal Sap That Chases Snakes Away

Galbanum is a type of sap that i different from Stacte. It had sulphuric content that could repel snakes and pest. It is used as a medicine as well. The prayers of Jesus is just like that, it could heal the pain of others. It can even cast the demons away. It is not done for his own sake, but to help those who are around him.

Is our prayer filled with Galbanum? Do we often pray for ourselves or do we pray for others?

“Therefore I exhort first of
  all that supplications, prayers,
  intercessions, and giving of
  thanks be made for all men,
 
for kings and all who are in
  authority, that we may lead a
  quiet and peaceable life in all
  godliness and reverence.””- Paul (1 Tim 2:1-2)

There are many Christians who knows how to pray, but they do not pray for others. Even if they do, they will only pray for their family and friends. Our prayers are often selfish, focus only in our own matters.

But Paul tells us to pray for all man, yet we reason among ourselves and ask “why is it important? How do we pray for them? How would we know if our prayers are effectives?” that is why our prayers are so pragmatic and we often pray only for ourselves

Why did Paul encourage us to pray for everyone? For God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth. Very often even when we pray for our loved ones, our prayers tend to focus only on the things on earth. We ask for healing, and help for the people around us.  

Praying For The Salvation of others

That is why we do not feel obligated to pay for others. for we do not even know what to say.

But those who knew the will of God will pray according to his will. For God wants all men to be saved. He did not want us to focus only on our worldly problems. That is why Christians ought to pray for the salvation of others. We need to pray for ourselves, at the same time pray for others to be saved.

On the basic level we can ask God to guide them to his truth. For only knowledge of the truth brings about salvation. This applies to both believers and unbelievers, for there are many who thinks they know the truth, but they in fact understand it partially only. They may be right in some aspect but wrong in many.

The Holy Spirit is here to do an important work, he is here to guide people into the truth.  We need to know his will and to pray for others to receive the truth. That is what the church need, let us not just pray for ourselves.  let us follow the word of Jesus. Let us seek his kingdom and righteousness. The kingdom of God is the church, let us pray for her development. For righteousness will only come when man obey the word of God.

We may not be able to expound scriptures, quote it to exhort and encourage people, but we can at least pray for the people and pray for our truth seekers. For God will heed our prayers and do his will. For he desire all men to be saved.

Frankincense : Holy And Fragrant Prayer

Frankincense is a famous tree sap that would give off fragrance when burnt. It remind us that prayers ought to be holy and fragrant. Sometimes our prayers can become either holy or fragrant. But God is only please with prayers that are both holy and fragrant.

That is why Paul tell us not to give in to wrath but instead lift up holy hands in Prayer (1 Tim 2:8 ) . Likewise James remind us to draw near to God and he will draw near to us.

But what does it mean to draw near to God?

"Draw near to God and He
  will draw near to you. Cleanse
  your hands, you sinners; and
  purify your hearts, you
  double-minded. “ – James (Jas 4:8 )

This is a good definition of Drawing near to God. For if we want our prayers  to be holy and fragrant we need to keep our hands clean and our hearts purified. We must not be double minded. If we could do this, will God not accept our prayers?

But if our hands and heart are not clean. why should God listen to us?

Salt : To be added to the mixture of Incense

We had just taken a look at the 4 component of prayers. Let us pay attention to another detail

“You shall make of these an incense,
  a compound according to the art of
  the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy” – YHWH (Ex 30:35)

God had instructed the children of Israel to add salt to their incense. Salt is a form of preservative, that is why adding salt into our relationship with God holds a significance. It is a reminder that our relationship with God and our prayer must not change. That is very important

For many Christians today change after following God for  awhile. They start their Christian journey with zeal for they understand the truth and they came to church regularly. They may have receive the Holy Spirit and had personal experience with God.  They may start their journey zealous and will serve God in various ministry.

But sadly, their faith is not added with salt, after a while, it starts to change. At the same time, his prayer starts to change as well. They may even doubt if they have receive the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of their faith, they were happy and faithful. But over time his testimony changes, and we can all see it.

Did the truth of God change? Or had the Christian changed? Is his initial faith wrong? Or is his current state of unbelief correct? Christians who come to church for a long time will see many who had come and left the church. Sometimes they leave not because the truth of God is no good.  But the fact is, they have changed and no longer follow the word of God. Worst still when they turn their unbelief into testimonies against the church.

That is why we need to add salt into our covenant with God. Even more so we need to add salt to our prayer. Is our prayer as zealous as before? Do we continue to believe in God as we pray? Or have we subtlety started to doubt within us? We need to add salt into our prayer, we need our prayers to be unchanging and steadfast.

A Faith That Is Unchanging Is  Not Built On Emotion and Rationale

A Christian love, emotion and thinking may not be bad all the time. But if we rely on our emotion and rationale as basis for faith one day it will change eventually. The fact is that we learn of God not through our emotion, thinking or feeling. It was the truth of God and the gospel of salvation that move us.  It is the almighty power of God that saves us, that is why we believe in the gospel and we are saved because of faith.

The truth of God never change, that is why we need to prevent ourselves from changing. If our faith is built only on human emotion, one day the emotion will fade.  At that point of time, are we still able to believe in him?

There are many Christians who were in church for many years, but now they no longer have the same feeling towards God. Perhaps in the past they are convince through examining the scriptures, their research convinced them for a while. But as time past, they feel that their research were incorrect.

The human mind is never absolute, it is ever changing, that is why we need to use the bible to examine our thoughts.  We need to compare our thinking against it and see if we are right or wrong. We need to examine our train of thoughts to see if they are aligned to the scriptures or not. If our direction is wrong, let us correct ourselves and adjust our thinking to the scriptures.

Today there are many Christians who read the scriptures choosing to like certain portion of it. They choose only to believe in the verses they like and they disregard everything that they did not like. But our scriptures is meant to be the word of God that saves. It is the light to our path and it guides us to the right path.

We need to allow the scriptures to be our light to guide us instead of judging the light. We need to renew and readjust our hearts to follow the word of God. Instead of correcting the word of God, let us correct our wrong thinking. By doing so we will have added salt into our covenant. 

Only then can our faith be unchanging and steadfast. It is a pity that many in the word today build their faith upon their own thinking and emotion that is why their faith is every changing just like their thinking and emotion.  Only by building faith on the truth can we have a faith that is unchanging, only then can we have true faith.

Concluding Thoughts For Now

Let our prayers be one that had the 4 components in equal amount. Let our prayers be season with salt. Most importantly, let us not season it with vinegar. For many murmur and whine against God and accuse God of doing nothing to help them.

They question God for being unfair and bias worst still they doubt the love of God. WE know that God wanted his priest to burn incense daily, both in the morning and at night. Let our prayer be filled with the 4 materials prescribe by God. Let us learn to season our prayers with salt.

Let us go to Jesus and allow him to teach us about prayer

In our previous post. We looked into 2 mistakes of Aaron

1st Mistake :  He did not rebuke Israel When they Sinned
2nd Mistake:  He built the golden calf

We have looked deeper into the golden calf and we have understood the significance of having the golden calf in our lives. 

Today if we are not vigilant in our service. We can create invisible Idols for ourselves. Jesus mentioned 2 types of Idols that could destroy our spiritual lives.

Mammon

“No one can serve two masters; for
  either he will hate the one and love
  the other, or else he will be loyal to
  the one and despise the other. You
  cannot serve God and mammon” – Jesus (Matt 6:24)

Money could become our idol and many will worship it. Many Christians will betray Christ for the sake of Money. That is when  money becomes their master and they are willing to betray friends and family for the sake of it. That is when we read of court cases where people sue their relatives and friends for money. What is worst is when one betray their souls for the sake of money.

That is why the bible tells us not to long for riches or be covetous. For that longing will lead us to use underhanded means to achieve riches. That is why we need to use wealth carefully and not allow money to rule over us. For it will lead us away from the truth and be ensnared by riches.

To idolise Someone Or To Become an Idol

There is another idol mentioned by Jesus

“Therefore, when you do a charitable deed,
  do not sound a trumpet before you as the
  hypocrites do in the synagogues and in
  the streets, that they may have glory from
  men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have
  their reward.

  And when you pray, you shall not be like the
  hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in
  the synagogues and on the corners of the streets,
  that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say
  to you, they have their reward.” – Jesus (Matt 6:2,5)

It is a good thing to do charity and perform charitable deeds. But one should never do it for the sake of getting praises and glory from men. For if we do so we create for ourselves an invisible Idol. On the worst scenario we made ourselves into an idol for others to worship.

Men had the tendency to worship an idol, someone whom they regard as great.  When there is no one greater than us, we would become an idol for others to worship.

These are 2 attitude that is against the teaching of God.  A man ought to fear God and not worship others. He must not allow himself to become an idol and an object of worship. He must have the heart to worship God and to give God the glory

The Example Of Jesus

For Jesus once taught us to worship God and to serve him only. Therefore whenever we idolize others in our service and to allow ourselves to become an idol. We have created an unseen idol and have went against God. We need to learn from the example of Jesus

“I do not receive honor from men.” – Jesus (Jn 5:41)

When Jesus performed the miracle to feed the 5000. (Read about it here Part 1, Part 2

There were many in Israel that idolized him, they wanted to give Jesus the highest honour and to force him to become their king..Jesus did not want glory from man but he was unable to stop them from idolising him. Therefore he refused them, he departed from them and he retreated to the mountain to pray.

The words  “I do not receive honor from men.” should be our motto in life as well. We cannot control the reaction of the others but we can control how we react to it. We can choose not to receive honour from man.

Let us not deceive ourselves saying that we are unable to do anything about it. Let us not deceive ourselves and think that the honour was a blessing from God. For if we glorify ourselves, we cannot give God the glory.

It is a contradiction and people who believe in God will always glorify God. For without God we are nothing. We have nothing to boast about and we have no reason to receive any glory.

That is why we must not idolize people or to make ourselves an object of worship.

The Example of Paul

Once Paul performed a miracle and healed a lame man. His action stirred the city. It stirred the city so much that they brought a calf to sacrifice to Paul. They even brought him flowers. How did Paul react to it?

Paul did not enjoy the moment and just be quiet.  Instead he tore his clothes and ran away crying out

“Men, why are you doing these
  things? We also are men with the same
  nature as you, and preach to you that you
  should turn from these useless things
to the living God, who made the heaven,
  the earth, the sea, and all things that are
  in them”- Paul (Acts 14:15-16)

In those day tearing of clothes is an expression of grieve, for how could these people do this that are against the word of God? Paul did not condone their actions or receive their worship, he instead reprimanded them and gave the glory to God.

A man who is faithful to God will never worship man nor will he accept worship from men. They will be careful when they serve God. They will not allow themselves to become an idol. Many workers o f god were not vigilant and they fell from faith. They ended up seeking man’s applause, praise and glory. For the sake of those they are even prepared to go against the teaching of God. 

Why Golden Calf and Not Some Other Animal?

Now lets take a step back and consider, why did the Israelites choose a golden calf? There are many other animals on earth, why not a lion?

A Lion is the king of the jungle, he will never be subjected to man. Perhaps the people are influenced by the Egyptians. The Egyptians are an agricultural society, to them, grain and herd are symbols of fertility. The ox is an important tool and a great help to the farmer. What is best about it is that he will only listen to your orders, and will not instruct you to do anything. He will not complain if you are a bad master

That is probably why they choose a calf to represent God. They wanted a God that can help them to do what they cannot do, but they did not want a God that will rule over their lives and they need to obey him. They wanted to make a god for themselves. Even though they called him the Lord, but their relationship with him is corrupted. He is no longer the Lord of their heart. they do not need to obey him or follow his instruction,

Today there are many Christians who claim to worship God, they called Jesus their Lord, but is he truly their Lord? They have made a golden calf in place of God, they wanted a God that will obey them.

Christians And The Bronze Bull Of Wall Street

On 29th Oct 2006, there was an incident of the golden calf in wall street. There was a lady Pastor who called for a day of prayer for the worlds economy. They choose the day of Oct 29 as Oct 29 1929 was the date of US Stock market crash that led to the great depression.

She claims that the Lord move her and told her that it will happen again. So she made a proclamation to pray for the word economy , he gathered Christians before the bronze bull of wall street to pray. They chose to pray at wall street as it is the financial centre.  They choose to pray at the bronze bull for it is a representation of a bullish market.

So they gathered before the bronze bull to pray and sing hymns. They told God that they did not want a bull or bear market, but they want lion market. For Jesus is the lion of Judah and he will not let the stock market crash.

As we are doing this, are we worshipping the golden calf? Are we turning people away from God?

 Jeroboam’s Golden Calf

But history tell us that it is away repeating itself. Aaron builds a golden calf, later on in time there was 2 other golden calf constructed. they are created 500 years later after the kingdom of Israel broke away from the Kingdom of Judah.

The first king of Israel, Jeroboam, constructed 2 golden calves. They are recorded in 1 Kings 12:25-33. The two calves are found in Bethel and Dan, in the northern end and the southern end of his kingdom. When he finished them he made the same proclamation

“It is too much for you to
  go up to Jerusalem. Here
  are your gods, O Israel,
  which brought you up
  from the land of Egypt!”- Jeroboam (1 King 12:28)

He did not want the Israelites to go to Jerusalem to worship God, they only need to stay within his kingdom and worship the calves. They are representative of God. Didn’t he know about the history of Aaron and the golden calf? Why did they allow history to repeat itself.

they do so for they feel their hidden agenda is more important. In order to achieve their motives to be independent form Israel, they are willing to go against God. They pretend to say that they have not forgotten God, for the calf is called the Lord , he is the one who brought them out from Egypt.

Perhaps they feel that their motives are right, it is out of a good will. They have not change their faith for they still believe in the Lord God. But they are in fact deceiving themselves, thinking that they have done nothing wrong.

They claim to have faith in God but they did not want to go down to Jerusalem for worship. Today there are people who think that as long as you believe in God, it doesn’t matter how you worship him. They believe they are obeying the word of God even if they worship at home away from church.

But God had instructed us to gather an worship. Unless we are not Christians and we do not believe in the word of Jesus. Than we do not need to follow it. There are many who are not careful in serving God. They wanted to achieve their own agenda and they ended up making golden calves for others to follow.

Let us not rejoice when the calf is destroyed. For the next golden calf will come, let us not be alarm by it. For history will always repeat itself. there will be new golden calves that will appear. WE need to know who our real master is, we need to consider if Jesus is still our Lord.

If you believe in him, you will listen to him. You will choose to follow Jesus and not anyone else.  Let us not follow the world or emulate it.

Conclusion

So far we have look at the mistake of Aaron building the golden calf. WE knew that his first mistake is not to rebuke Israel for sin then we look at the 2 idols that could potentially destroy our faith. finally we look at the reason why man create idols for themselves. We are also aware that History will repeat itself.

We will continue our study on the next part. 

Notes From Previous Post

In our previous section we have covered .

1. God’s definition of Clean Animals
      a. Split or Cloven Hooves
      b. Chew the cud 
      c. Have fin and scales
     d. Had joint legs that could leap into the air

We have also examined the fact that most “Scientific research” only demonstrate what is wrong with unclean animals, they seldom talk about how clean animals is superior to the unclean animals in those aspect.  That is because even science find it hard to justify the superiority of clean animals over unclean animals in terms of food safety.  

While it is good to back our belief with scientific proof,  what will happen if there are scientific experiments  that proves that unclean animals are healthier and better than clean animals? Will we change our belief and start to doubt the word of God because of that?  Will we start to criticise the word of God as arcane and unscientific? We speak as if God determined clean and unclean animals base on those scientific reason when in actual fact he merely distinguish them by their physical anatomy.

That is why it is not a good idea to supplement the word of God with our 1001 scientific experiments. For God had not spoken those words. Men are not suppose to add to the word of God just like men are not allowed to subtract from the word of God.

Introduction

In this section, we will cover what the bible tells us about clean and unclean animals. We will look look at this all the way from creation to the time of Noah, to the establishment of the Mosaic covenant. 

We would cover how the Mosaic covenant requires Israel to remain separated and Holy onto the Lord. Then we would discussed how the sacrifice of Christ fulfilled the requirements of the Law of Moses and how through his blood, cleanses both Israelites and gentiles, removing the separation between them.

We would look at these by dispelling many of the popular misconception about clean and unclean food

Misconception 1 :  The Mosaic Dietary Law By Worshipper of God Since Creation

The fact is that the rule of clean and unclean animals exist at the time of creation. In those days, human beings were not allowed to eat meat. For God had given the following command to Adam and all animals that are on earth

“See, I have given you every herb that
  yields seed which is on the face of all
  the earth, and every tree whose fruit
  yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

  Also, to every beast of the earth, to
  every bird of the air, and to everything
  that creeps on the earth, in which there
  is
life, I have given every green herb for
  food”-YHWH (Gen 1:29-30 )

According to Genesis, the pre-flood world was a vegetarian world.  Men and animals were to eat the herbs as food. The only killing that was allowed is for sacrifice. That is probably the reason why Abel kept sheep in the first place.  The Sheep are not meant as food but rather as sacrifices and the source of clothes.

The mention of clean and unclean animals existed during the time of Noah’s flood. During the flood God sent 7 pairs of clean animals and 1 pair of unclean animals into the ark. (Gen 7:1-2) At that point of time the rule of clean and unclean animals were all defined. Even though men was not allowed to eat any form of meat.

After the flood. God allowed men to eat meat.

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
 
And the fear of you and the dread of you
  shall be on every beast of the earth, on
  every bird of the air, on all that move on
  the earth, and on all the fish of the sea.
  They are given into your hand.  Every
  moving thing that lives shall be food for
  you. I have given you all things, even
  as the green herbs. But you shall not
  eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood”-YHWH (Gen 9:1-4)

That is the dietary rule that was kept by the patriarchs all the way to the time of the Mosaic law.

The Mosaic Covenant Is A Covenant Of Separation

The rule of eating clean and unclean animals was given by God to Israel. When God called Israel out of Egypt. For God called Israel to be holy and consecrated for him.

“I am the Lord your God, who has
  separated you from the peoples.
  You shall therefore distinguish
  between clean animals and unclean,
  between unclean birds and clean,
  and you shall not make yourselves
  abominable by beast or by bird, or
  by any kind of living thing that creeps
  on the ground, which I have separated
  from you as unclean. 
  And you shall be holy to Me, for I the
  Lord am holy, and have separated you
   from the peoples, that you should be
  Mine"-YHWH (Lev 20:24-26)

The Mosaic covenant  required the follows of the covenant must be separated from the people of the world. They are to be different from the people the world. When Balak called  Balaam to curse the children of Israel. God spoke through Balaam. He described his chosen people as

“For from the top of the rocks I see him,
  And from the hills I behold him;
  There! A people dwelling alone,
  Not reckoning itself among the
  nations.”-Balaam (Num 23:9)

God gave Israel the Law to eat clean and unclean animals to remind Israel to separate between clean and uncleanness.  This separation is seen throughout the old testament. Israelites are separated from other Hebrew tribes such as Moabites, Ammonites, Edomite, Ishmaelite . Out of which the tribe of Levi is separated from the 12 tribes of Israel to serve God. And out of Levi the house of Aaron is separated to be able to come into Gods presence.

In the old testament, the Tabernacle  is separated from the camp, with Levites encamping around it. Within the tabernacle there is a separation between the outer courts, Holy place and the Holies of Holies where God dwells. Israel could come to the outer courts to make sacrifices. Only the Levites are permitted in the Holy place, and the High priest is permitted to enter the Holies of Holies once a year.

In the Mosaic Covenant, God is separated from the people. He descended onto Mount Sinai and men were not allowed to draw near to him. Only Moses and the 70 elders manage to enter to the foot of the mountain. Only Moses is permitted to enter into the presence of God.

God Wanted To Draw Near To Men

When God descended onto Mount Sinai he spoke to Israel and told them the ten commandments. But the people were terrified of him. Moses had to tell them to stay away from the mountain. They told Moses.

“You speak with us, and
  we will hear; but let not
  God speak with us, lest
  we die.”- Israel (Ex 20:19)

God knew the weakness of Israel, so he made Moses a promise

“What they have spoken is good.
 
I will raise up for them a Prophet
  like you from among their brethren,
  and will put My words in His mouth,
  and He shall speak to them all that I
  command Him. And it shall be that
  whoever will not hear My words,
  which He speaks in My name, I will
  require it of him” – YHWH (Deut 18: 17-19)

God promise that he will raise a prophet like Moses among the people. This is one of the earliest prophecy concerning Jesus. Throughout the old testament, God made it very clear that he would want the gentiles to seek him

Amos 9:11-12 : was quoted by the disciples in Acts 15. Here God said that when the tent of David is raised up. The Gentiles will be able to call on to the name of God.

Micah 4:1-2 : Tells us that many nations will be able to enter the mountain of the Lord. They will be able to go up and learn the ways of the Lord.

All these verse tells us that eventually, when the Messiah comes, he will bring salvations over to the gentiles . Ezekiel in his temple vision saw that from the side of the altar comes living water, and it had the ability to heal all nations. It had the power to heal the waters of the dead sea. Many believe that the dead sea became what it is due to the judgement of God on Sodom and Gomorrah.

For Lot describes that area around Sodom and Gomorrah to be like the garden of God.  (Gen 13:10)

IT tells us that the stream from Ezekiel’s temple, flowing from the right side of the altar of sacrifice. Was able to heal the nations.  Prophet Zechariah tells us that when the day of the Lord comes there is living waters that will flow from Jerusalem to the eastern sea and western sea. In those days, all nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship. God will allow every pot in his house to be cleanse. Even the horses will be engraved with the words “holiness to the Lord."  (Zech 13: 8-9, 18-21)

This is a very strong image, as "Holiness to the Lord” is the words engraved on the garments of the high priest. The horse is an unclean animal. But now the unclean animal is given the status of the priest.

Peter Vision, Christ Fulfilment 

Now we know that Christ had died for all men in the gospel. But this message was not that well understood at the initial stage of the history of the Church. At the very beginning in Acts 2 the church is mainly made up of Jews who believe in Jesus.

In Acts 6 there was a mention of Hellenist (Acts 6:1) they are still Jews, except they speak greek.

Later on in Acts 8, Samaria was converted. Then the Samaritans are starting to join the church. Samaritans are half Jews. In the past Jews will not associate themselves with Samaritan as they felt they are pure Jews, therefore they remain separated from them.

Throughout this process. We see the walls of Separation that was the theme of the Mosaic Covenant being broken. But the most significant  break come s in Acts 10. That is when God allowed Cornelius to be saved. 

In that vision, God use the law of Separation from the Mosaic law as the theme to teach Peter. There God allowed Peter to see unclean animals where he was instructed to kill and eat. But Peter refuse as these are unclean. But God told him

“What God has cleansed you
  must not call common.”- Jesus (Acts 10:15)

Peter was wondering what this meant. But later on when he saw that the gentiles received the Holy Spirit just like the Jews. He realised that God had no longer separated the gentiles from the Jews . He said it clearly when he explained his reason to baptise the gentiles.

“Then I remembered the word
  of the Lord, how He said, ‘John
  indeed baptized with water,
  but you shall be baptized with
  the Holy Spirit.’

  If therefore God gave them the
  same gift as He gave us when we
  believed on the Lord Jesus Christ,
  who was I that I could withstand God?” – Peter (Acts 11:16-17)

Peter continue to talk about this in the Jerusalem council

“So God, who knows the heart,
  acknowledged them by giving
  them the Holy Spirit, just as
  He did to us, and made no
  distinction between us and
  them, purifying their hearts
  by faith.”- Peter (Acts 15:8-9)

From here we see how Jesus death fulfilled all the prophecies of the prophet.

The Conflict Of Peter And Paul

Paul wrote about the incident in Antioch between Peter and Paul in Gal 2:11-21.  Peter was initially sitting and eating with the gentiles. He was practicing Christ teaching of the removal of separation. but later on when there were Jewish Christians that came from James, he separated himself from the Gentiles and sat with the Jews

Paul spoke out against Peter, reminding him that he should not compel gentiles to live like Jews. For Peter saw it first hand how God had justified gentiles who do not practice the Mosaic covenant.

Conclusion

All these verse tell us that at the death of Christ there is no longer a separation between Jews and Gentiles. They tell us that faith in Christ justifies, and the spirit of God can now live in a gentile who do not follow the Mosaic Covenant just as he can dwell in a Jew who strictly kept the Mosaic Covenant.

It tell us that through the death of Christ there was indeed a fountain that can clean uncleanness, a the same time. In this new temple of the Messiah which is the church, the horses can indeed receive the tag Holiness to the Lord and there are no Canaanites in the house of the Lord.

Most importantly it tells us that God did not make separation between Jews and Gentiles anymore,  the Gentiles who knew nothing of the Mosaic Covenant could be part of the promises of God through the death of Jesus.

Therefore, there is no need for the dietary rules to be kept, for the separation is no longer necessary. It doesn’t matter if one follows it or not.

Today if one choose to follow the Jewish dietary law as a lifestyle choice. He is at liberty to do so, but he need to understand that what he does had no effect on his salvation. For the death of the Messiah also created a world similar to the post flood world. God allowed all men to eat animals, but blood is forbidden.

While the Jewish dietary law may be good for health,let us all understood its true significance, how it separates the people of God from the gentiles. LEt us understand that in the eyes of God, it doesn’t matter if you eat clean or unclean animals. But in this kingdom of the messiah. Let us focus on true sin and true uncleanness. Let us prevent them from robbing us of salvation.

May God guide all of us to understand his will.

Introduction

The Lord once appeared before Moses and said this

“I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac,
  and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord
 
I was not known to them.” – YHWH  (Ex 6:2-3)

Over here God told Moses that their forefathers do not know his name. But interestingly the word LORD appeared many times throughout the book of Genesis. We understand that man had began calling on the name of the Lord.  (Gen 4:26) . We also read of Abraham naming his altar after the Lord

“And Abraham called the name of the place,
  The-Lord-Will-Provide; (YHWH-Yireh) as it is
  said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord
  it shall be provided.”- Moses (Gen 22:14)

So did God make a mistake? Has he told a lie before Moses? How did Abraham name the place so when he did not know the name of the Lord?

God had not spoken wrongly, Genesis was written by Moses. Some rabbis who compiled the Babylonian Talmud claims that God narrated the story of Genesis to Moses. Even till today the debates rages challenging the authorship of the Pentateuch.

I am not  a bible scholar nor am I an expert in Hebrew literature. But I believe that it was Moses who wrote the first 5 books of Moses. All along in history these 5 books were known as the law of Moses. Perhaps he may get some scribes to help him. But I choose to believe that God had inspired Moses to write the first 5 books. God may have indeed narrated the story to Moses on the mountain or he may have moved Moses to pen down the common history of the Israelites. It really does not matter to me.

I believe that when Moses penned the stories in Genesis, he used the name of God in them. He wanted Israel to know that the God who brought them out of Egypt, was the same God that appeared to their forefathers.

Gen 6 records the self introduction made by God to Moses. God wanted Moses to tell Israel what kind of God he is. He did it so that Israel could re-establish their faith to God. Let us examine this self-introduction in greater details.

Pt 1: I am God Almighty  (El Shaddai)

In Ex 6:3, God said that he is God Almighty.  This is a name that carries in important message. It tell us that if God set up to do something. He will accomplish it. There is nothing on earth that could stop and disrupt of the will of God, not even the Pharaoh of Egypt. 

When Moses came came before the Pharaoh and told the Pharaoh to let Israel to go. The Pharaoh treated it as a joke.  He accused the Israelites for being idle with nothing to do. In response he increased  their labour and they have to make bricks without straw.  This lead to the murmuring of Israel.

“May the Lord look on you
  and judge you! You have
  made us obnoxious to
  Pharaoh and his officials
  and have put a sword in
  their hand to kill us.”- Israelites (Ex 5:21)

But God answered

“Now you will see what I will
  do to Pharaoh: Because of my
  mighty hand he will let them go;
  because of my mighty hand
  he will drive them out of his
  country.”- YHWH (Ex 6:1)

God told Moses that with a strong hand the Pharaoh will get them go. Perhaps at that point of time Israel can only see the hand of the Pharaoh oppressing them and stopping them from leaving. But God is God almighty. Israel eventually saw the great hands of deliverance from God.

We read of how God parted the red sea, saving Israel from the armies of the Pharaoh. We read of how the armies of Egypt perished within the waves of the red sea. We need to continue to place our trust in God. For he is God almighty. 

Today there are people who think that God is not omnipotent. They said that there are things God wanted to do but he cannot complete. They claim that God wanted all men to be saved, but in the end not all men were saved. Let us look at these deeper.

Pt 1.1: God will act according to his own will

Was God unable to save man? Or was man unwilling to be saved by God? These are 2 different matter.  God will that all men to be saved, but he will not force men to accept his salvation.  He will save whoever who is willing to believe in him and follow him.

God will act according to his own will, that is something we ought to understand. For men often thinks that they are smarter than God. They wanted to teach him what he ought to do. They question God “Why are you silent? Why don’t you do this or that? isn’t that a better arrangement?”

“Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
  Or as His counsellor has taught Him?
  With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,
  And taught Him in the path of justice?
  Who taught Him knowledge,
  And showed Him the way of understanding?”-Isaiah (Is 40:13-14)

We often like to tell God what to do, what is worst is when we accuse God of doing wrong and not being just. We speak as if we are wiser than God. That was the mistake committed by the Israelites

They saw God sending Moses to them, but they saw his deliverance brought about hardship. They question among themselves “If God is God Almighty, why did they Pharaoh defy him again and again?”

So they asked God “How long will you wait? How long shall we continue believing?” They have forgotten that he is God Almighty, he had his will, he knows what to do. He does not need us to teach him what to do, or to be his strategist and advisor.

Pt 1.2: Our Response To God Almightiness

Today if we  understand that God is God almighty, our obedience to him will be absolute. We will not dare question God or want him to follow our instruction. We will wait on the Lord and pray for his will to be done. We will not ask God to act according to our wishes.

For we know he is God almighty and he knows what is the best action to take. That is the main message why God introduced himself as God almighty and we must believe in him.

God said he is God almighty, let us not use his almightiness only in life on earth. Today many Christians ask God to help them in their lives on earth. They ask God to heal them, to cast out demons, to guide them in their marriage. I do not deny that these are manifestation of Gods power, but Gods power is more than these.  It is not just here to perform these.

Even if we are healed today we will fall sick again. This is inevitable. Gods power is meant to establish faith. Let us take a look of this closer.

Pt 1.3: Gods Power In Creation And Resurrection

In Mat 22:23-29: Here we read about the Sadducees who do not believe in the resurrection.  They have a good reason to explain why there is no resurrection, they often use these reason in their debates and no one could stand against them. That is why they felt they are right and they brought their argument before Jesus.

They thought Jesus could not answer, but Jesus told them simply that they did not understand scriptures or the power of God. For if they knew it, resurrection is not something impossible.

Likewise some Christians ask “How would those who died in battle come back to life? What if they are swallowed up by a fish? Or blown to Smithereens? how will they resurrect?” those who think like this did not understand the power of God. If they know God, they will know that it is something easy for him. For he had created the world out of nothing. We need to know he is God almighty and he can do it.

Let us consider one more example 

“Then Mary said to the angel, “How can
  this be, since I do not know a man?”

  And the angel answered and said to her,
  “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
  and the power of the Highest will
  overshadow you; therefore, also, that
  Holy One who is to be born will be
  called the Son of God. “ – Luke (Lk 1:34-35)

Even today, for a virgin to have a child is a joke, there are many who find it hard to believe. That is why we are not surprised that Mary find it hard to believed.  This is beyond human comprehension. But the angel gave her an answer. That is when Mary remembered  that God is God almighty. That is why she believed and submitted to the word of God.

“Behold the maidservant of the Lord!
  Let it be to me according to your word.”- Mary (Lk 1:38)

If we know God is God almighty, we will be able to resolve many bible difficulties. Even though we are unable to rationalise everything, but God is God almighty. We need to re-establish our faith towards God.  Then we will not doubt God.

Pt 1.4 Do Not Be Ashamed Of The Gospel

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,
  for it is the power of God to salvation
  for everyone who believes, for the Jew first
  and also for the Greek. “ – Pau (Rom 1:16)

Why are there people who are ashamed of the gospel of Christ? That’s beacuse they feel that with the gospel comes difficulty and opposition. We will face opposition from believers as well as unbelievers. Sometimes the opposition may come from even our own family. It is indeed hard to preach the gospel today.

For many will mock & despise us. Sometimes those who believes in the gospel will encounter difficulties.  Sometimes these difficulties will drive us away so that we would not dare to continue believing. That is why they leave the faith and did not dare to continue

But Paul said he is not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God. He can save those who believe. Even though today it faces massive opposition, even though it appear as if many cannot accept it and reject the gospel.

It doesn’t change the fact that it is the power of God. It is able to save those who believe. Though many do not believe, God knows there are others who are willing to believe it.  Let us not be ashamed of the gospel, let us continue to preach to save those who will believe.

Pt 1.5 Believing The Power Of Gods Word

Let us not focus on those who do not believe and mock us. Let us seek out those whoa re willing to listen willing to believe.  Perhaps those who believe in it are bounded up and in trouble. But the gospel of God is unchained.

Even though Paul was imprisoned, but the word he wrote continue to preach the gospel across all era and time.  Perhaps we see many who preached the gospel failed and fall away in faith. Perhaps they no longer believe in the gospel anymore. But the gospel will continue to save whoever who is willing to believe. We need to believe that Gods word will be victorious in the very end.

Can we still believe in this? Am I speaking out of a blind faith? Am I deceiving myself? Or desperately trying to comfort myself?

That depends if you understand the power of God. If you can still believe he will save those who believe.  It depends if you know that the gospel is the power of God. If we know this we will not be ashamed of it. Even if we are bounded up we know his words will still stand.

If we know it is the power of God, we will face up our difficulties with courage. We will not be ashamed of the gospel.  We will not be sad when others mock us. For God is God almighty. Do we still believe in his power? That is why we need to rebuild our faith in God.

Pt 2: I Am The God Who Remembers My Covenant

“I have also established My covenant
  with them, to give them the land of
  Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage,
  in which they were strangers.
  And I have also heard the groaning of
  the children of Israel whom the
  Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have
  remembered My covenant.”-YHWH (Ex 6:4-5)

God told Moses that he is a God who remembers his covenant. He is here to save Israel and to keep to his part of the covenant. While man often forget the covenant they made with God. God will never forget his covenant. He will never forget his promises to man.

Ex 12:40-43 tells us that 430 years have passed, but God fulfilled his covenant with men. During that period, Israel thought that God have forgotten about them in Egypt.  This is because they have no experience with God. They knew that their forefathers spoke direct to God. But 430 years have passed. Israel had not seen any miracles nor have they seen the power of God.

Pt 2.1 : The Faith To See What Is Unseen

They have not heard or seen a prophet of God. Their experience were only handed down by their forefather. Their only link between their forefathers and them was the grave of Joseph. Which serves as a reminder that one day God will take them out of Egypt.

They knew that God had chosen them to be his people, and promised to give them the land of Canaan. But generations have passed to the extent that 430 years have slipped by, they have not seen the power of God nor heard the voice of God.

Can they still keep their faith and believe? Can they still pass that faith to the next generation? Have God truly forgotten them? Have their forefathers place their trust on the wrong God? We are talking about 430 years and not 40 years.

The Author of Hebrews tell us

“These all died in faith, not having
  received the promises, but having
  seen them afar off were assured of
  them, embraced them and confessed
  that they were strangers and pilgrims
  on the earth.” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 11:13)

The fact is that their forefathers did not receive the promise land. It was faith that took them out from their home city to come to Canaan. Their faith allowed them to continue keeping the word of God in the midst of difficulties. They held on to their faith till the end, even to their deathbed.

To the world these men were pitiable and miserable. Even though they respected their unchanging faith. They will say that these people did not receive the promises of God. It appears as if their faith is futile, and they have followed God in vain. But the author of Hebrews tell us that they have seen from afar and embrace it with great joy

Their faith is like a telescope, enabling them to see their heavenly home. That is why they remain steadfast to the end, holding on to their faith. That is why they did not give up, for they believe in the promises of God. They knew God is almighty. They knew that God is a God who remembers his covenant. He will bring it to fulfilment.  They held on to their faith and not abandon it.

Pt 2.1: The Reminder Of Joshua

“And you know in all your hearts and 
  all your souls that not on e thing has
  failed of all the good things which the
  Lord your God spoke concerning you.
  All have come to pass for you; not one
  word of them has failed”- Joshua (Jos 23:14)

While exodus teaches us how God kept his covenant and saved Israel, Joshua reminded us that God is a God who keep his commandment. He have given the land of promise to the descendent of Abraham. Joshua knew that he is going to die, so he left his last words for Israel. It is recorded in Jos 23:15-16.

Joshua reminded them that Gods word will always come to past. That is why man ought to keep his covenant with God. 

If we go against the covenant we made with God, then God will allow the curse of the covenant to come upon us.  But on the flipside, if we keep the covenant, then we would receive the promise that comes with it.

Joshua reminded Israel that God is a God who keeps his covenant. We being his people must choose to keep our covenant with God.

Do we know that God is a God who keep his covenant? Will we choose to keep to our side of the covenant? So What Covenant have we made with Jesus?

Pt 2.2: The Covenant Of Baptism

The first covenant we made with God is the covenant of baptism. It is when God forgives our sins, he turn us from being a sinner to a child of God. The result of that covenant is for us to inherit the kingdom of God.

What is our side of the covenant? What are we suppose to do? How should we hold on to it?

We need to obey the word of God, change ourselves and become a new man. Have we went against this covenant? Have we transgress this covenant? Have we became a new man? Or do we remain our old sinful self at the point of Baptism

If one could remain consistently zealous and faithful to God it will be something good, but how many of us could persist for so long? Is our faith just like the time when we first believe? Or have we change our faith and stop being zealous for God?

Sometimes we allow the things of the world to ensare us. As the result we forget our covenant we made with God. we only thank God for forgiving our sins, but we have forgotten to keep our part and be a new man.

Is this the only covenant that we have?

Pt 2.3:  The Covenant Of Marriage

We have also made a covenant of marriage before God. The modern world thinks that marriage is merely between 2 parties, but we have in fact signed the marriage covenant before God. It we believe that marriage is instituted by God, than we will conduct our life of marriage before God and receive our blessing.

Have we forgotten our marriage covenant? Jesus told us that the two will become one flesh. Do we go against that covenant? If we want godly offspring who will serve God, we have to do our part to keep this covenant before God.

Have we taken this covenant lightly?

Pt 2.4: The Covenant Of Holy Communion

There is a third covenant that we have signed, that is the covenant of the Holy Communion. In that covenant we are to remember the death of our Lord. We must not let him die in vain. We must not trample the blood of Christ and let it be flowing for nothing.

We often thank God for dying for us and giving us salvation, but have we learnt to respect the blood of Christ and to give honour to it? Have we trample on his blood without realising it?

A Christian ought to know that Christ will come again, that is why we hold the holy communion often. But sometimes in the midst of doing so we have forgotten what it is meant to remind us of?

The Holy Communion is here to remind us that God is will come once again. This is something we so often neglect. We tend to forget that Christ will come again and the world will be destroyed. If we know that the world will not be there in the future. Will we continue to love the world and invest all our time and effort in it?

We often tell ourselves to focus on the things in the world, till the state that we have forgotten our goals and our status as Christians. Will we choose to be like our forefathers who recognise that they are sojourner on earth?

Conclusion

The world is indeed beautiful and full of comfort. But one day it will be destroyed. At that time we would meet with the God who introduced himself to Moses. He is God almighty and he is a God who remembers his covenant. Do we remember our covenant with him? Will we remain steadfast till he comes again?

Important Note:
1. The Author do not condone unhealthy life style or the necessity of going against Jewish diet law.
2. The Author is not saying eating fat, unclean meat is the great lifestyle to have
3. The Author thinks that the Jewish diet law is healthy lifestyle and beneficial to health.
4. But men in their own wisdom who tagged scientific research to supplement the word of God
5. By so doing, they had went beyond the word of God, added to the word of God

Introduction

So far in this series, we have looked at the following

1. The Fall Feast (Part 1)
2. Pauls Explanation Of Col 2 (Part 2)
3. Day Of Atonement (Part 3)
4. Feast Of The Tabernacles (Part 4)

Recently, a colleague of mine showed me the website that advocates not eating of pork. The article that he was referring to sparked off to an interesting debate. It is one of the rare time when we see people of other faith advocating the importance of abstaining from pork

Out of curiosity i open the linked article, it seem to have originated from a Christian group that advocate the following of the Mosaic Law regarding clean and unclean animals. As the video began by making reference to Lev 11. The group is trying to make use of the video to explain why God wrote the law regarding food in Lev 11.

The issue of clean and unclean meat had always been a controversy in Christendom. Sometimes it spin up parody site such as “God hate shrimps.” It also drove many people to  work hard to provide scientific explanation to supplement the Law of God. It has also led to many crazy experiment in  YouTube as many well meaning Christian fought hard to justify the reason behind the dietary requirement.

Interestingly, those article seem to focus much on the dangers of unclean mean but did not attempt to explain scientifically how clean meat overcame those dangers. But I guess it is easier to find fault with something rather than discover benefits.  Perhaps they may have discovered to their horror that the same problem exist in clean animals and decide to omit the information in goodwill.

Clean And Unclean Animals In Torah

While everyone is busy condemning unclean meat and justifying the word of God via scientific methods. I have decided to look into the Torah to see how the Law of Moses talks about the matter.

In a nutshell, here are my discovery

1. The law of clean and unclean animals pre-dates the Torah and even Noah’s Flood
        a. God allow 7 pairs of clean animals, 1 pair of unclean animal into the ark (Gen 7:2-3)
        b. Eating of meat is forbidden in the pre-flood world (Gen 1:29)
        c. Abel kept sheep mainly for sacrificial purpose as that was how God taught Adam. 

2. After the flood, God gave all moving creatures to Noah and his descendent for food
        a. Men is allowed to eat every herb, land creatures, fish and birds (Gen 9:3)
        b. But the eating of blood is forbidden (Gen 9:4-7)

3. This remain so until God gave the Law where Israel must eat clean meat (Lev 11:46-47)
        a. Clean and unclean animals are determined by their physical traits
        b. These had nothing to do with Tapeworms or any scientific evidence we see on internet

In fact, if we study the reason and definition of unclean animals, you will realise God is very clear in his definition. Sadly man tried very hard to use human research and freak experiment to make explanation on behalf of God . But by adding our own perspective and research we have unknowing go beyond the words of God and his intended meaning.

Do Not Supplement The Word of God

While many Christians are careful not to take away words from the bible. God do not want us to supplement to what he is teaching. For God specifically said in the Torah

“You shall not add to the word
  which I command you, nor take
  from it, that you may keep the
  commandments of the Lord your
  God which I command you”- YHWH (Deut 4:2)

Trying to supplement the word of God with scientific research is a form of disrespect. For by so doing, we are effectively telling God that his command is unclear and unfair, and his revelations are incomplete. That is why we need to help it to reach perfection by adding our own words to Gods word.

Let us learn Gods definition of clean and unclean animals and let us learn to accept it as it is. Let us not be wise in our eyes, adding  unnecessary “Coke on pork”experiment to say something that the Lord have not spoken. For by doing we only damage our own credibility as many of these experiments are proven to be a hoax.

Let us return to the scriptures and understand God definition of clean and unclean animals and let us study the reason why one animal is regarded as clean while others are not.

Clean And Unclean Animal As Defined In The Mosaic Covenant

I have compiled the information as described in the law of Moses in this diagram below

In simple words here are the definition of clean and unclean animals according to the law of Moses

Question To Consider

Before I end off, here are some questions for my readers to consider

We would examine these in greater detail in the second part of this post,.

Introduction

So far in this series, we have looked at the following

1. The Fall Feast (Part 1)
2. Pauls Explanation Of Col 2 (Part 2)
3. Day Of Atonement (Part 3)

According to Jewish Calendar, this evening marks the beginning of  feast of the Tabernacles.  Today let us look at the feast of the Tabernacles according to the Torah of Moses. In this article we would look at the feast from the following perspective

1. The Feast And Its Purpose
2. Priestly Sacrifice And Its Role In All Feast under The Mosaic Covenant
3. Tabernacles And The Wilderness Journey
4. Christ Fulfilment Of The Feast
 

The Feast And Its Purpose

Under the Mosaic Covenant there are 3 passages in the Torah that talks about the Feast Of The Tabernacles.

Lev 23:33-43  is the most detailed explanation of the feast. Let us look at the feast in details 

1. There is a convocation (gathering) on the first day of Tabernacles (Vs 35,39)
2. For 7 days sacrifices are meant to be made to the Lord (by Priest) (Vs 36)
3. On the eight day there is another Convocation (Vs 36,39)
4. People are to rejoice using Fruit, palm, willows  (Vs 40)
5. All Native Israelites are to dwell in booths (Sukkot) (Vs 42)

God explained the need for dwelling in booth in his own words.

“that your generations may know
  that I made the children of Israel
  dwell in booths when I brought them
  out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord
  your God.’”- YHWH (Lev 23:43)

Other records of the feast is found in Deut 16:13-17 and the offering the priest ought to sacrifice in the feast are detailed in Num 29:15-40. 

There are also other commands that are given to Israelites on sabbath year (Deut 31:10-13). they are to read the Law as a nation together.

Priestly Sacrifice In All Feast under The Mosaic Covenant

While today man Christian and Karite Friends are so hyped up about constructing Sukkot. One of the most important aspect of every feast of the Lord is often ignored. The most important aspect of all feast is sacrifice. In every of the Fall and Spring Feast Of Mosaic Covenant, they were tied to special sacrifices.  When you compared the amount of sacrifices made, the Feast Of The Tabernacle tops all the feast.

When God talks about the feast, he mentioned of the sacrifices before the constructing of sukkot. The purpose of the Sukkot is to serve as a reminder of the wilderness journey while the sacrifice is for God directly. 

Here are all the feast and their sacrifice requirement as stipulated under the Mosaic Covenant

Note: This diagram did not factor freewill offering or the sacrifices of those attending the feast.

The reason why the feast of the Lord had sacramental effects came from the animal sacrifice.

Interestingly, the number  of animal sacrificed was the greatest at the feast of Tabernacles. It is the single feast with the most sacrifices is done. Have you ever wondered why is it so?  I can help remembering how Job would sanctify his children by sacrifice.

“It may be that my sons have
  sinned and cursed God in
  their hearts.”- Job  (Job 1:5)

Perhaps God is doing this to sanctify his children. For God is dwelling among unclean people.  He is using mandatory sacrifices to sanctify his people, for he know not everyone would come to offer sacrifices. The true sacramental effect of all the feast lies not constructing Sukkot or reading of he law. It is given through the sin sacrifice that is done every day during the feast.

According to part 3 .We understand that the tabernacle is sanctified during the day of atonement. For God instructed the high priest to purify the temple with blood. The feast of tabernacles happens 5 days after, you will notice that the amount of sacrificial animals was decreasing as the days goes by. the number of bulls fell from 12 on the first day to 7 on the seventh day. (Num 29:12-38)

The author of Hebrew talks about these sacrifices  
 
“For the law, having a shadow
  of the good things to come,
  and not the very image of the
  things, can never with these
  same sacrifices, which they
  offer continually year by year,
  make those who approach perfect.

  For then would they not have
  ceased to be offered? For the
  worshipers, once purified, would
  have had no more consciousness of
  sins. But in those sacrifices there is a
  reminder of sins every year.
 
For it is not possible that the blood of
  bulls and goats could take away sin”- Author of Hebrews (Heb 10:1-4)

Prophet Samuel also tell us that God would rather want obedience more than sacrifices.

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
  As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
  And to heed than the fat of rams.
  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
  And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”- Samuel (Sam 15:22-23)

These sacrifices are meant as a reminder for sins, to teach Israel to obey the words of God. ‘

Tabernacles And The Wilderness Journey

God instructed Israel to build tabernacles and stay in them for 7 days. This action is meant to teach the younger Israelites the story of how God made Israel to dwell in booths. During that 7 days they would recall the stories of Israel and their 40 years in the wilderness.

Interestingly when God sent Moses before the Pharaoh he said

“‘Let My people go, that they may
  hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”- YHWH (Ex 5:1)

God kind of regarded the entire Journey of the Israelites in the wilderness as a giant feast of the tabernacles. Interestingly most of  its participants did not survive the journey and enter Canaan.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites followed Moses into the wilderness. They followed Moses into the red sea, they had food and water provided by God. They were led by the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.  They suffered all the way to the land of Canaan, yet in the midst of those suffering God grace is shown to them .

The purpose of constructing the tabernacles is to serve as a reminder. This reminder is mentioned off by Moses in (Deut 8:14-17) . That is the spirit and the purpose for constructing the sukkot.

How Christ Fulfils the Feast Of The Tabernacles.

When Christ had sacrifice himself on the cross for us. There is no longer a need for us to perform any sacrifices as required by the law of Moses. By taking away the sacrifice, the sacramental effect of the feast is now made obsolete.

Paul in 1 Cor 10:1-11 drew parallel of the journey to our Christian life

Like wise today we as Christians were called out of Egypt and were baptised into Christ. We are lead by the Holy Spirit of God. We have manna in the word of God and we drink from the rock that followed us in the journey.  Instead of journeying towards Canaan, the modern Christian walk with Christ onto heaven. 

Will we finish this journey?  Will we enter our promise land which is promised to us in the new covenant? That depends on the attitude we lead our lives in this world.

Let us not have the same unbelief as the wilderness pilgrims. For we know that almost 99.999% of them failed to enter the land of Canaan. They fail because they were unable to hold on to Gods promise and they were not willing to obey God when he told them to enter the land of Canaan.

Just as God called Israel out of Egypt to enter the land of Canaan . Christians are called out from the world by Jesus. To Christian, the world is just like the wilderness, it is a temporary dwelling for us. . As Christian we ought to keep the spirit of the Tabernacles, to believe in the salvation of Christ and obey him. We read how the majority of the people died in the wilderness and were unable to inherit that promise land. They did so out of unbelief.

At the same time let us remember that it is Christ who called out out to this wilderness. Even though it is difficult. God will help us with the journey. We need to bear with the difficulties we need to face in life. We may not need to build tabernacles but we ought to carry our cross to follow Christ.

God will help us in this journey. He will lead us safely to the promise land. May we all finish our feast of the tabernacles. May we all enter the promise land at the end.