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Exodus 20:

The Ten Commandments (“The Decalogue,” or deca logos – “the ten words”):
Yahweh makes sure everyone knows that the Ten Commandments do not come from Moses or any human.  He says: “And God spoke all these words, saying,

(1) “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. http://oceanadesigns.net/wp-json/oembed/1.0/embed?url=http://oceanadesigns.net/envira/bahama-blue/  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous (“impassioned” is a better translation). God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousandsof those who love me and keep my commandments.”

(2) “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”

(3) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. source  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

(4) “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

(5) “You shall not murder.”

(6) “You shall not commit adultery.”

(7) “You shall not steal.”

(8) purchase generic isotretinoin online  “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

(9)  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,” [you shall not cover your neighbor’s wife]

(10) “or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” [you shall not cover your neighbor’s goods]

The Ten Commandments are summed up with the words of Jesus, who quoted the Shema from Deuteronomy: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mk. 12:29-31)  The first three Commandments are for worshiping God, and the next seven Commandments are respecting your neighbor.  The Israelites greatly feared Yahweh as they witnessed Him in the “thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking,” and “so they took up a position much farther away.” (Ex. 20:18) Moses answers the people saying, “God has come to you only to test you and put His fear upon you, lest you should sin.”

Moses as Mediator:
The awestruck Israelites beg Moses to speak and mediate for them before Yahweh.  Following the theophany and the Ten Commandments, Moses is instructed in the “Covenant Code” of how to judge all matters related to Israel.  The Ten Commandments offer a general guideline for Israel to follow and established Moses as Yahweh’s regent and arbiter before the people.  Yahweh instructs Moses to make an altar of un-cut stones upon which “you shall sacrifice your holocausts and peace offerings, your sheep and oxen.” (Ex. 20:24)

De-Sexualizing Religion:
Yahweh also tells Moses that when he makes the altar “And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’” (Ex. 20:26)  In the ancient pagan religious cults, sacrifices to the “gods” were often times accompanied by sexual orgies and prostitution. Yahweh here is reiterating in no uncertain terms the de-sexualization of religion.

The Uniqueness of the Ten Commandments:
They are the only example of a covenantal relationship between a deity and an entire people.  The Commandments focus not only on the people’s relationship with their ruler, but morality is also intimately defined by their relationship toward their individual neighbor.  One cannot be moral and holy while treating their neighbor sinfully, thus raising the interpersonal and social moral obligations of each individual.  They are very simple rules and statements.  Not ambiguous or subjective.  They are simple, and absolute.  Yahweh gave the Commandments outside of Israel so as to be binding to all peoples, not just Israel or any one tribe.  They are binding for all peoples in all places and all times.  The Commandments are not relative, but absolute.  Each Commandment is directed to each person individually, addressing each person in Hebrew in the singular to emphasize the personal nature of the obligations.  Yahweh identifies Himself as the liberator of slaves.  And, what God demands in exchange for leading the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt is simply moral behavior.  The proper treatment of their fellow human beings is a foremost on God’s mind.  We are to love God first, but also to love God through loving our neighbor.

Other Insights into the Commandments:
(1) There are many false idols in today’s world.  It is not just a relic from ancient history when people bowed down to carved statues and other “gods.”  People obviously make idols out of many things today which they bow down to worship in effect, such as: money, sex, materialism, status in society, etc.

(2) Yahweh declares if anyone takes His name in vain that He will not them “hold guiltless” (Hebrew word y’nakeh), or in effect, if they sully God’s name then God will not cleanse their name.  One can think of Jesus’ statement about future persecution saying: “the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” (John 16:2) Not only are they breaking the fifth commandment to not murder, but they are also taking the name of the Lord God in vain, and in the most perverse way imaginable, by murdering another person in the name of God.  One thinks of the murderous Islamic jihadis killing people in service to Allah while yelling Allahu akbar (“God is great”).

(3) Keeping the Sabbath “holy” is to keep it “separate” or “distinct” (Hebrew kadosh).  The Sabbath is to be set aside and separated from the rest of the work-week.  It is not only work that matters.  God matters too.  We are to honor God in our rest, just as He rested after the six days of creation.  A day of rest, a sacred time, is also when generally speaking family and friends come together.  The Sabbath highlights that man is made for more than just work, but for leisure. Leisure in a philosophical sense of resting one’s body and spirit, enjoying the world.  We partake in leisure of the Sabbath also by worshiping God (we go to Church!) and honoring the family.  The family is the domestic church, which produces and nourishes souls for eternal communion with their Creator.  The family also is Trinitarian in nature.  The love of the husband and wife produces a child, just as out of the love of the Father and the Son comes the Holy Spirit.  The parents are co-creators with God the Creator.  The Sabbath is like a weekly retreat from our lives to reflect on all that we have done.  The Sabbath, or going to church on Sunday, is like a weekly public announcement to the world that God created the world and we are going to honor Him.

(4) The father and mother are co-creators with God.  We honor parents because they gave us life.  Parents then form the building blocks of civilization through having children and establishing families.  Totalitarian regimes and ideologies often times try to tear down the family, so as to assert state or political control over individuals, such as what happened in communist Russia and China.  The building up of families bolsters society and civilization, while the tearing apart of families destroys society and civilization.  How many woes today in society, such as drugs and crime, are brought about by the dissolution of the family?

(5) The Fifth Commandment does not say do not kill, but do not “murder” (Hebrew word for murder is ratzach).  Do not murder innocent people.

(6) Obviously adultery is contradictory to the good of spousal and family life. It threatens the fabric of society and civilization.  It is an offense against the spouse, the family and community at large, and God.  Jesus often spoke of His relationship with the Church as a husband and wife marriage.  Yahweh in the Old Testament also speaks in spousal language between Israel and Himself bound in a Covenantal marriage.  To cheat on ones’ spouse is to mock the sacramental character of the marriage.  It makes a mockery of the sacred union between God and the Church, which marriage is an image of.  Husband and wife mirror Jesus and the Church.  To break the sacramental vow is to sin against the image of Jesus and His Bride.  Yahweh often times chastised the Jews as an unfaithful spouse when they slipped back into idolatry to worship other “gods.”

(7) In His prohibition against stealing, God is affirming the other Commandments.  Do not steal another person’s life, that’s murder.  Do not steal another person’s wife, that’s adultery.  Do not steal another person’s justice or reputation, that’s bearing false witness.  Do not steal another person’s belongings, that’s coveting.  Stealing human beings, such as in human trafficking, kidnapping, and slavery, is forbidden.  In the prohibition about stealing, and coveting your neighbor’s goods, Yahweh is declaring then that ownership and private property are good things. Private ownership is a good thing for people and society.  Tyrannical regimes (such as the Communists and Socialists have done) often times begin oppressing the people by stealing their land and private property. This is an offense against not stealing.

(8) Do not bear false witness means essentially do not lie.  Lying is strictly prohibited.  Jesus very harshly condemned lying saying it is in imitation of the Devil, for “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)  Many of the great scandals and evils in history have been built upon lies, such as African slavery, Communism, Nazism, anti-Semitism, etc..

(9 & 10) Not coveting your neighbor’s spouse or your neighbor’s goods is prohibited because it leads to more sins, and worse sins, of murder, adultery, theft, lying, etc..  Lust in the heart, if not held in check, can lead to sinful actions.  Jesus knew this, and so, He further warned against even looking lustfully at a woman, “But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt. 5:28)  The Nine and Tenth Commandments are unique in that they legislate thought, not actions. Jesus reaffirmed this regulation of thought and heart.  We must keep our minds and hearts in check to not covet and to not lust.

The Ten Grumblings of the Israelites in the Wilderness, The Ten Commandments (“Statements”), Ten Utterances at Creation, and The Ten Plagues:
The pattern of ten goes throughout the Exodus. There were ten plagues on the Egyptians, ten grumblings or murmurings in the wilderness by the Israelites, and Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.  These match the ten utterances of God in Genesis on the creation of the universe and the world. This bears witness that Exodus is in fact a type of second creation (or, third creation after Noah and the flood).

Exodus 16-19:

The Manna and the Quail:
From Elim, the Israelites set out into the desert of Sin.  Just as the Egyptians had suffered ten plagues sent from Yahweh, so now too, the Israelites will be tested by God with ten trials, the first of which was the bitter water at Marah.  The next test the Israelites suffer is hunger. They grumble to Moses that they are starving and have nothing to eat.  The Lord then said to Moses, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.  Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.” (Ex. 16:4)  In the morning God promises to give them bread to eat and in the evening flesh to eat.  God says, “In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the Lord, am your God.” (Ex. 16:12) Here is a frequent pairing in Scripture of bread and meat. Moses later instructs Aaron to put some of the manna in the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments tablets. Jesus, who is the Eucharist, is carried in the new Ark of the Covenant, Mary.

Manna Foreshadows the Eucharist:
In John 6, Jesus references the manna in the desert as a sign of Himself in the Eucharist as the true bread from heaven.  This typology and foreshadowing of the Eucharist are obvious, and perhaps, the most striking of all the events of Exodus. The description of the manna even resembles that of a Communion host – white wafers.  Just as the Israelites live off the manna from heaven for their 40 years in the wilderness until they reach the promised land of Israel, so too, the Church lives off the body and blood of Christ in our earthly pilgrimage until we reached the promised land of heaven. “The Israelites ate this manna for forty years, until they came to settled land; they ate manna until they reached the borders of Canaan.” (Ex. 16:35)  God nursed the Israelite nation like a mother to a small child giving them food and water for forty years in the desert.  For forty years, He sought to break them of their slave mentality, and nurture them into a more mature faith and dependence upon Him.

Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse and the Eucharist:
“Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32)  “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;  he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” (John 6:48-58)

Quail:
“In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.  On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?” for they did not know what it was.  But Moses told them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. ” (Ex. 16:13-15)  Manna is a conjunction of the words what is this?  Again, the miracle of the manna and the quail link the bread and the flesh together as one miraculous event, in which Yahweh feeds and sustains His people.

Manna Regulations and the Sabbath:
Moses instructs the Israelites that they should gather “an omer for each person.”  Moses further tells them, “Let no one keep any of it over until tomorrow morning.” (Ex. 16:19)  This was part of God’s test of them.  Yahweh was providing for their “daily bread,” just as Jesus included this line in the Our Father prayer “Give us this day our daily bread.”  We are to trust that God will provide for our needs each day.  “Morning after morning they gathered it, till each had enough to eat; but when the sun grew hot, the manna melted away.” (Ex. 16:21) On the sixth day, Yahweh provides extra manna for the following day, the Sabbath, when they are instructed to not collect any food.  This demonstration shows that it is indeed a miraculous event.  The manna rains down from heaven for six days a week, but on the day before the Sabbath, extra manna comes down and does not “become rotten or wormy.”  On the Sabbath, the manna miraculously does not come down.  This is the beginning of God’s commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day by resting.  “On the seventh day everyone is to stay home and no one is to go out.” (Ex. 16:29)  The manna from heaven is linked to the Sabbath and the seventh day of creation when God rested. In the Eucharist that we receive on the new Sabbath, we become new creations in Christ.

The Water from the Rock at Horeb, and Jesus and the Holy Spirit:
Here again, the Israelites are tested, and murmur and grumble against Yahweh and Moses. “Give us water to drink.” (Ex. 17:2)  The Lord answers Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink.” (Ex. 17:5-6)  The water flowed out of the rock at Horeb.  This prefigures Jesus offering us the life-giving waters of the Holy Spirit. Again, in the gospel of John it reads: “On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted, “If you are thirsty, come to me and drink! Have faith in me, and you will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside you, just as the Scriptures say.”  Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone that had faith in him. The Spirit had not yet been given to anyone, since Jesus had not yet been given his full glory.” (John 7:37-39)  Jesus is the new Moses, providing not just water to quench our thirst, but the life-giving waters of eternal life.

Battle with Amalek and Moses’ Raised Hands:
Amalek came and waged war against Israel. (Ex. 17:8)  This is the fourth trial and crisis to befall the Israelites.  The Amalekites were another race of giants that existed here. Moses then commands Joshua to pick his best warriors to go engage the Amalekites in battle, and as long as Moses keeps his hands raised up, “Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight.” (Ex. 17:11)  As they rested Moses’ tired arms upon Aaron and Hur, his hands remained steady till sunset. “And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” (Ex. 17:13)  The Lord instructs Moses to write down this victory over Amalek “as something to be remembered.” “I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens.” (Ex. 17:14)

The Israelites arrive at Mt. Sinai:
The most likely location of Mt. Sinai is probably Jabal al-Lawz (28° 39′ 15″ N, 35° 18′ 21″ E) in Northwest Saudi Arabia.  There are many fascinating similarities to Jabal al-Lawz and the scenes described in Exodus, not the least of which is the top of the mountain is blackened as if it has been exposed to extreme fire and heat.  Many other details found in the next few chapters of Exodus match archeological and geographic features of the Jabal al-Lawz mountain and vicinity.  There is a large split rock formation that seems to have had water flowing out of it as the wear on the rocks indicates.  There are pillars around the mountain, presumably demarking a distance the Israelites should stay away from the mountain when Yahweh is there.  There is an altar of stones at the base of the mountain with painted reliefs of a calf or cow worship. The local nomads refer to it as the mountain of Moses. The list of similarities and matching descriptions goes on and on.

Israel, God’s Special Possession, a Holy Nation:
Yahweh tells Moses, “Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Ex. 19:5-6)  This is one of the most important lines in the Jewish Pentateuch.  God tells Moses and the Israelites, if, if they keep His covenant, then they will be God’s special people, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.  God is preparing them for a new Covenant.  A fulfillment of the old Abrahamic Covenant but now a deepening of it. God is drawing the Israelites out from the nations and separating them as a special, holy people to Himself alone.  Yahweh is drawing them into a new special relationship.  St. Peter draws on this same Exodus imagery and wording and applies it to Christian’s new creation in Christ.  He says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

The Great Theophany:
Yahweh tells Moses “I am coming to you in a dense cloud.” Tell the people to go sanctify themselves, “wash their garments and be ready for the third day; for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people.” (Ex. 19: 10-11)  Yahweh will descend on the mountain on the “third day.” The mention the third day echoes the three days of Jesus in the tomb, and on the third day Christ rises from the dead. The people are to prepare and make themselves holy for three days in preparation, even to wash their very clothes. Yahweh tells them to “set limits for the people all around the mountain” and “take care not to go up the mountain, or even to touch its base. If anyone touches the mountain he must be put to death.” (Ex. 19:12) They are to be stones or killed with arrows.  Only when the ram’s horn resounds, can they go to the mountain.  Moses warns the people, “Be ready for the third day.” (Ex. 19:15)

The Terrifying Presence of Yahweh on Mt. Sinai:
“On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God; and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder.  And the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the Lord to gaze and many of them perish.” (Ex. 19:16-21)  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  The Israelites were rightly terrified and afraid at the powerful presence of the Lord.  God came in a great display of power highlighting this seminal moment in the history of God’s people and the history of the world.

Exodus 12-15:

The Passover Ritual of the Sacrificed Lamb:
Yahweh prescribes the ritual for the Passover: on the tenth of the month of “Abib,” later known by the Babylonian name of “Nisan,” (this day, in the March-April timeframe, would now mark the beginning of the Jewish liturgical calendar) each family should procure a lamb, which “must be a year old male and without blemish.” (Ex. 12:5)  Yahweh is again instructing the Israelites to slaughter a god of the Egyptians, such as the ram-headed god Khnum.  This may have played a role in the Israelites overcoming a psychological barrier to their liberation.  By sacrificing one of the Egyptian gods (ie, a lamb), they psychologically prepared themselves to stand up against a collective 400 history of slave mentality. Each family should “take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb.  That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.” (Ex. 12:7-8)  The exodus covenant is sealed in blood.

Eat the Flesh of the Lamb:
“Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord.  The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 12:11-13)  The blood on the door is “a sign” for us, not God, to assure us that He will spare the Israelites despite the death happening all around them.  The Bible states five times that they must “eat” the flesh of the lamb. The Passover ritual would not be complete until they ate the flesh of the lamb.  So, it was not enough just to sacrifice the lamb, they also had to eat it entirely.  This is a foreshadowing of Christians eating the flesh of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Prefiguring Christ, the Lamb of God:
The year-old male lamb without blemish to be sacrificed has obvious typological significance: It prefigures the Christ as the unblemished Lamb of God sacrificed for our redemption, and the lamb eaten at the Passover meal anticipates our eating the flesh of Christ in the Eucharist.  Jesus celebrates and transforms the Passover ritual at the Last Supper, where the memorial meal becomes the new exodus from sin.  Just as the Passover had led to the freeing of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and from the bondage of Pharaoh, so too would Christ’s sacrifice free us from the bondage of the world and the devil’s slavery to sin.  The blood of the lamb was put on the doorpost as protection against the destroyer and death. So too, it is Jesus’ blood that covers us and protects us from evil and death.  Just as they ate the lamb, so too, do we eat the flesh of Christ in the sacrament of Communion.  Through Christ’s sacrifice of the Cross and the Eucharist, we passover from death into life in the new exodus to the eternal promised land.  St. Paul uses this same paschal imagery too: “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Cor. 5:7)

Remembrance and Civilization Progress:
Yahweh tells them “This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate..” (Ex. 12:14)  The idea of remembrance is a very important one in the Torah.  Thomas Cahill writes in his book The Gift of the Jewsthat the Jews were the first to break out of the cyclical worldview that dominated history, that is, nothing progresses scientifically, culturally, or morally.  The Jews were the first to break out of this cycle.  He writes, “The Jews were the first people to break out of this circle . . . It may be said with some justice that theirs is the only new idea that human beings had ever had.”

Feast of Unleavened Bread:
“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. . ” (Ex. 12:15)  The unleavened bread (“matzah”) is a reminder of their hurried departure from Egypt.  The bitter herbs are meant to remind them of the bitter bondage of slavery they endured, and from which, Yahweh freed them.  Leaven is also symbolic of sins and evil influences that Israel must now remove from themselves.  This is why Jesus warns the Jews with the same paschal imagery, “Beware of the leavenof the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (Lk. 12:1)  Leavening is a process of fermentation of dough, which chemically breaks down and degrades the substance.  It is a form of decay and decomposition.  Symbolically, it represents sin and death.  The number seven echoes the seven days of creation, as the Israelites pass over in the exodus into a new world.  Yahweh is deadly serious that the Jews must observe the seven days of unleavened bread or they “shall be cut off from Israel.” The Feast of Unleavened Bread was intertwined with the Passover meal, just as the sacrifice of Christ became one with the bread of the Eucharist.  The unleavened bread clearly denotes the Blessed Sacrament, which Christ transformed into His very own Body and Blood.

Death of the First-Borns:
“Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.” (Ex. 12:29)  “There was not a house without its dead.” (v.30) This could also serve as a means of despoiling the Egyptians (who adhered to the firstborn primogeniture laws) of their priestly class and proper sacrifices. At last, Pharaoh and the Egyptians have finally had enough.  Pharaoh summons Moses and Aaron, and demands them “Leave my people at once, you and the Israelites with you!” (Ex. 12:31)  The Lord also made the Egyptians well disposed to give the Israelites “whatever they asked for.”  (v.36)

The Departure from Egypt:
The Israelites had been in Egypt for 430 years.  “Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.” (Ex. 12:37)  This was a crowd of mixed ancestry, so not just Jewish Israelites. There may well have been up to 1-2 million+ men, women and children total departing from Egypt.  The dough they brought out of Egypt was not leavened, so “they baked it into unleavened loaves.” (Ex. 12:39)

The Passover Regulations:
The Lord then lays down His regulations for partaking in it.  “No foreigner may partake of it.” “No transient alien or hired servant may partake of it.” Anyone who wishes to join in the observance of it “must first be circumcised, and then they may join in its observance just like the natives.” (Ex. 12:48)  This is no ordinary meal.  This is a covenantal ritual.  Only those circumcised into the covenantal relationship with Yahweh may partake of it and eat of the flesh of the lamb.  This is the same in our Catholic Church.  You must be baptized and initiated into the Catholic faith in order to partake of the Mass and holy Eucharist.  You must be brought into the sacramental Catholic fold in order to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Lamb of God.  It is not surprising then that Yahweh instructs them “you may not take any of its flesh outside the house.” (Ex. 12:46)  So too, we are not to offer the Eucharist outside the house of God or the Catholic community of believers.

Not Break Any Bones:
Next, Yahweh tells them, “You shall not break any of its bones.” (v.47) This, of course, is directly applicable to Christ on the Cross showing Him to be a prophetic type of paschal lamb.  St. John tells us: “but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.. . For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.” (Jn.19:36)  Contrary to typical Roman crucifixion practices of breaking the bones of the condemned (in order that they may die more quickly), the Roman soldiers do not break Jesus’ bones.

Paschal Lambs “Crucified”:
Later, sacrificial Paschal lambs were in a manner of speaking “crucified.” According to the Mishnah, at the time of the Temple, after killing the lamb, the Jews would pierce it with “thin smooth staves” of wood through the shoulders in order to hand and skin it.  In addition, a second skewer of wood was thrust “from its mouth to it buttocks.”  The two beams of wood then would form a cross shape, upon which the lamb was hung.  A second century Christian, St. Justin Martyr, describes the same thing.  He wrote: “For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of a cross.  For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb.” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, 40)  One can imagine the crucifixion of thousands of lambs across Jerusalem each year at the time of the Passover feast; thus, preparing the Jewish mind to accept the reality of the crucified Christ as the ultimate and final sacrifice.

Consecration of the Firstborns:
The Lord then instructs Moses to consecrate to Him “every first-born” of “both man and beast, for it belongs to me.” (Ex. 13:1)  This means to set apart for the service of divine worship.  The eldest sons and animals of Israel belong to Yahweh because He spared them in the tenth plague of His passing over Egypt.  The firstborn sons likely would be brought into sacred and priestly ministry, while the firstborn animals are kept for religious sacrifice.  Note: Later, in Num. 3:12 and 8:14-18, the Levites are chosen as substitutes for every firstborn son consecrated to God. The change occurs after the golden calf rebellion at Mt. Sinai.  The tribe of Levi ordained itself “for the service of the Lord” after the apostasy and idolatry of worshipping the golden calf.  Firstborn sons, thereafter, have to be redeemed or brought back into the liturgical ministry at the price of five shekels. (Num. 18:15-16)

Phylacteries:
The Lord tells Moses: “It shall be a sign on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead.” (Ex. 13:9)  This is what inspired the Jewish practice of wearing the small leather boxes containing Scripture verses, phylacteries or tefillin, to their left arm and forehead during prayer.  This is also described in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.  This was probably meant figuratively, although later generations took it literally as well.  The phylactery contains the Shema prayer (Deut. 6:4): “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  The prayer, quoted by Jesus (Mk. 12:30), continues: “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.”  “Jesus later criticized the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees, who “do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.” (Mt. 23:5)

The Mark of the Beast:
It is interesting to note that in this monotheistic declaration in worship of Yahweh bound to their foreheads and hand, is later mocked and mimicked by the Antichrist with the mark of the beast.  The Book of Revelation reveals that anyone who “worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand . .” (Rev. 14:9)  The Holy Spirit seals us on our heads, and Satan, in his demonic counterfeit seals, and condemns, his followers with a mark on either their forehead or right hand.

Diversion into the Wilderness of the Sinai:
God could have led the Israelites directly into Canaan and the land where the Philistines dwelt.  However, “God did not lead them by way of the Philistines’ land, though this was the nearest; for He thought, should the people see that they would have to fight, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” (Ex. 13:17)  The Egyptians patrolled this area in north Sinai with a series of military forts.  So instead, God led them south from Ramses and Pithom to Succoth towards the desert along the way of the Red Sea.  Again, the Israelites are leaving not as slaves but as a conquering army. “In battle array the Israelites marched out of Egypt.” (v.18) They also brought Joseph’s bones along with them to bring back to Israel.

A Column of Cloud by Day and a Pillar of Fire by Night: 
“The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.” (Ex. 13:21)  The column of cloud and the pillar of fire never left its place in front of the people. Yahweh marches at the head of the Israelites.  It is God’s preternatural power and manifestation of His holy presence.  Isaiah wrote of it as  “He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them.” (Is. 63:11) St. Ambrose wrote the fire designated Jesus Christ and the cloud the Holy Spirit.  The cloud foreshadows Baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, who cools our passions.  St. Paul in writing to the Corinthians said, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;” (1 Cor. 10:1-2)

Yahweh the Warrior:
Pharaoh remained obstinate and changed his mind exclaiming, “What have we done!”  With that, “Pharaoh’s whole army, his horses, chariots and charioteers, caught up with them as they lay encamped by the sea, at Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.” (Ex. 14:9)  Pharaoh came back for revenge and vengeance upon Moses and Israel.  Just then the Israelites look up and see the Egyptians, and become terrified.  They complain bitterly to Moses, “Far better for us to be the slaves of the Egyptians than to die in the desert.” (Ex. 14:12)  Moses answered them: “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.” (v.13-14)  Yahweh is the divine warrior ready to fight for Israel.  Then, Yahweh does some defensive battle maneuvers to guard the rear. The angel of God, who had been leading the Israelites, now moved behind them.  This angel is the one who mediates and manifests God’s presence to the world. The column of cloud also left the front and went behind them.  Thus, they stood in between the Egyptian camp and the Israelites; blocking the Egyptians and protecting the Israelites.

The Miraculous Crossing of the Red Sea:
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” (Ex. 14:21-22)  This is undoubtedly a miraculous event, and not simply a freak natural phenomenon.  It is perhaps the greatest miraculous event recorded in the Exodus and the Old Testament.  Yahweh is manifesting His divine power and delivering His people Israel with powerful miracles and wondrous signs.  The Israelites march through as with a “wall of water” to the left and to the right.  The Israelites passed through the water as on dry land.  Soon, the Pharaoh and the Egyptian army were in hot pursuit through the midst of the water.  The Lord cast “a glance” through the fiery cloud that threw the Egyptians into a “panic” and they “sounded the retreat.” (v.24)  “For the Lord was fighting for them against the Egyptians.”  Yahweh then tells Moses to stretch out his hand again over the sea, and “at dawn the sea flowed back to its normal depth.” (v.27) Pharaoh and the charioteers were caught in it and drowned.  “Not a single one of them escaped.” (v.28)  “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. When Israel saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.” (Ex. 14:30-31) This is Yahweh’s mightiest act of deliverance for Israel and is frequently called as such in the Old Testament (Ps. 66:6; 106:9; Is. 51:10; 63:11-13)

Allegorical Baptism of the Red Sea:
The crossing of the waters of the Red Sea is a type of Baptism.  The people of God are brought out of bondage and slavery by being baptized in the waters of the Red Sea to free them from the oppressive Egyptians.  Similarly, Christians are Baptized in the sacramental water and made free of the stains of original sin.  We cross over into a new life in Christ.  St. Paul made the same allusions too: “and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” (1 Cor. 10:2)  The Egyptians were the stain of sin that the waters removed from the chosen people, Israel.  The waters of Baptism end the control of the devil in our lives and put to death our enmity with God.  We reemerge on the other side with a new faith and a new life.

Moses’ Hymn to the Lord as a Warrior:
Moses sings a song to Yahweh, a victory hymn honoring the Mighty Lord.  In verse 2, he says the Lord is my “savior;” in verse 3, “The Lord is a warrior.”  (Ex. 15:3)  In verse 13, “redeemer.”  Moses mocks the gods of Egypt again saying “Who is like to you among the gods, O Lord?” (v.11) Pharaoh and his charioteers “sank into the depths like a stone.” (v. 5) There are similar visions of the wicked sinking like stones in the sea (Jer. 51:63-64; Lk. 17:2).  This also is a foreshadowing of the future destruction of the antichrist’s kingdom of “Babylon.”  “A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone and threw it into the sea.” (Rev. 18:21)  The second half of the hymn is directed at future conquests over Canaan, the Philistines, Edom, and Moab.  Nations will tremble before the warpath of Yahweh.  The prophetess Miriam, Aaron’s sister, takes a tambourine and leads the women in dancing and praising God.  She represents a type of the Church, leading the faithful in songs of divine praise.

Bitter Water at Marah:
Moses then leads them from the Red Sea for three days through the desert without finding any water.  They arrive at Marah, where the people grumbled again (already) that the water was “bitter.” (Ex. 15:23)  The Exodus generation is infamous for their “murmuring” and “grumbling” against God and Moses.  Years later, Moses will look back at them as “a perverse and crooked generation.” (Deut. 32:5)  This, however, is the first of their crises, a lack of drinking water.  Each crisis highlights their precarious situation in the desert and their reliance on Yahweh’s providential care.  The Lord then pointed out to Moses a “certain piece of wood. When he threw this into the water, the water became fresh.” (Ex. 15:25)  The waters of Marah are made fresh by the wood.  Tertullian pointed out that this is a prefigurement of the wood of the Cross of Christ making holy and life-giving the waters of Baptism. (Tertullian, On Baptism, 9)

Oasis at Elim:
At long last, the Israelites come to Elim, “where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.” (Ex. 15:27)  This oasis had plenty of shade and water for the weary Israelites.  This location is still a dramatic oasis in the desert today with water and palm trees.

Exodus 7- 11:

Yahweh is Greater than Nature:
The God of Israel then confronts and conquers Pharaoh and Egypt, and all the gods of nature that the Egyptians worship.  God will get Pharaoh to release Israel by smiting Egypt with ten plagues.  One of the primary purposes of Genesis and Exodus is God disassociating Himself from nature, that He is outside of nature and greater than nature.  Man is no longer to worship nature or the things of nature.  God is outside of nature.  He existed before nature and the universe.  He is the very Creator of the whole cosmos, not confined to it.  Additionally, Yahweh is judging and showing His superiority to the pantheon of Egyptian deities. Yahweh is discrediting Egyptian polytheism.

Yahweh’s Plague Judgments of Egyptian Deities:
Yahweh is revealing Himself, His name, and seeks to, in effect, destroy the competition of idolatrous so-called deities through ten plagues. Speaking of the plagues on Egypt, the Book of Numbers says, “The Lord had also executed judgments on their gods.” (Num. 33:4) Similarly, the Book of Wisdom says, “For they went far astray on the paths of error, accepting as gods those animals that even their enemies despised; they were deceived like foolish infants. Therefore, as though to children who cannot reason, you sent your judgment to mock them.” (Wis. 12:24-25) The pseudepigraphical Book of Jubilees also highlights this point: And the Lord executed a great vengeance on them for Israel’s sake, and smote them through (the plagues of) blood and frogs, lice and dog-flies, and malignant boils breaking forth in blains; and their cattle by death; and by hail-stones, thereby He destroyed everything that grew for them; and by locusts which devoured the residue which had been left by the hail, and by darkness; and of the first-born of men and animals, and on all their idols the Lord took vengeance and burned them with fire.” (Jubilees 48:5) One can imagine the consternation and disbelief of Pharaoh and the Egyptians as their gods fail them in each successive plague:

 (1) First plague of Nile water turned into blood is against Hapi, god of the Nile and flooding, and Khnum, guardian of the Nile;

(2) Second plague of frogs is against the frog goddess Heket, depicted as a frog, who represented fertility and the flooding of the Nile;

(3) Third plague of gnats (or lice) is against the earth god, Geb/Seb;

(4) Fourth plague of flies and insects is against Uatchit, the god manifested as Ichneuman fly; and Kheper, god of beetles and flies;

(5) Fifth plague of diseased cattle is against Apis, the bull god, and Hathor, the cow goddess; and Amon, god associated with bulls;

(6) Sixth plague of boils and sores is against Shekhmet, the goddess of disease control, Imhotep, god of medicine, and Serapis, god of healing;

(7) Seventh plague of hail is against Nut, the goddess of the sky, and Shu, god of the atmosphere;

(8) Eighth plague of locusts is against Senehem, the god of pest control; Seth, protector of crops, and Isis, the goddess of life;

(9) Ninth plague of darkness is against Ra, Aten, Atum, and Horace, all gods of light and the sun; and Thoth, the moon god;

(10) Tenth plague of firstborns’ deaths is against Osiris, the god of life and patron of the so-called divine Pharaoh himself.

Other Symbolism:
Moses is now 80 years old. There are traditionally three 40-year divisions of Moses’ life.  Pharaoh’s royal headpiece featured a cobra representing the serpent goddess Wadjet. When the occultist magicians throw down their staffs they become serpents, representing Egyptian power. However, Moses’ wooden staff represents a sign of the Cross.  When Aaron throws it down before Pharaoh, it too became a serpent and swallowed up the serpent-rods of Pharaoh’s sorcerers.  This anticipates the “swallowing up” later of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army that chases the Israelites into the Red Sea.  And, later symbolism is reflected in the Cross of Christ swallowing up sin and death.  After the third plague of gnats, though “the magicians tried to bring forth gnats by their magic arts, they could not do so.” This is a turning point in the plagues.  The magicians finally confess that Yahweh’s power exceeds their own dark occult powers. They declare to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” (Ex. 8:15)  This finger of God is revealed in the third plague because it is the power of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity.

Moses as Mediator: 
Moses as mediator and intercessor is a constant theme throughout Exodus.  Moses pleads to Yahweh on behalf of the Egyptians and the Hebrews throughout Exodus. After the plague of frogs, Moses “cried to the Lord” to relieve the plague of frogs on the Egyptians. Moses as a type of Christ also foreshadows Christ as mediator and intercessor for his people.  Moses is depicted throughout Exodus praying efficaciously to Yahweh on behalf of his people, “and the Lord did as Moses had asked.” Jesus is the new Moses leading the new exodus to the promised land; just as Moses’ first miracle was changing the waters to blood, so too, Christ’s first miracle at Cana was changing the water to wine.

Three Cycles of the Plagues:
The plagues are grouped into three cycles of occurrences (ie, 1-3, 4-6, 7-9), with the tenth plague (10) as the climax.  In the first cycle of each plague (1, 4, 7th or blood, insects, and hail), Moses is instructed by God to go to Pharaoh “early in the morning” and wait for him, then issue the warning.  God is giving Pharaoh time to convert.  Before the second cycle of each plague (2, 5, 8th or frogs, pestilence, and locusts), God tells Moses to “go to Pharaoh” directly in his palace and forcefully confront him there.  In the third cycle of each plague (3, 6, 9th or gnats/lice, boils, and darkness), these are inflicted without any forewarning from God or Moses.  So, there are three cycles of plagues that go from a warning to confrontation to punishment without warning.  The three cycles also increase in severity and intensity from one cycle to the next. The three cycles of plagues climaxes with the worst plague of all, which is the 10th plague, the killing of all the first-borns.  The plagues also represent a reversal of the order of creation of life found Genesis 1: The Lord makes darkness prevail over light; waters become foul and unable to support life; He destroys plants, trees and fruits; He brings death to fish, frogs and cattle; and ultimately kills some human lives.  There is a play on words here too for Pharaoh to choose.  God tells Pharaoh to “send” His people, or He will “send” another plague upon him.

Apocalyptic Nature of the Plagues:
The apocalyptic prophet Joel wrote that, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Joel 2:31) These are events depicting the end of the world.  However, the plagues of the Exodus foreshadow these events. The first plague is the Nile turning to blood, and the ninth plague is the three days of the sun turning to darkness.

The Three Days of Darkness:
The three days of darkness has long been in the apocalyptic mind.  Yahweh set a plague of three days of darkness over Egypt in order to set Israel free.  Jesus remained in the tomb for three days; as the light of the world died, the world remained in darkness for three days from Good Friday to Holy Saturday till the morning of Easter Sunday.  In the Book of Revelation, darkness also overtakes the sinful world of the antichrist, although three days is not specifically mentioned.  After the fourth trumpet, “a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them became dark.  The day lost its light for a third of the time, as did the night.” (Rev. 8:12) Similarly, after the fifth bowl is poured out on the antichrist’s kingdom, “Its kingdom was plunged into darkness.” (Rev. 16: 10)  Various mystics through the centuries have also prophesied about a three days of darkness shortly before the end of the world.

The Ten Plagues of Exodus and the Plagues of the End of the World:
There seem to be a lot of overlap and comparisons in the plagues against Pharaoh and the Egyptians in the Exodus and the plagues against the Antichrist and his kingdom, referred to as the trumpet blasts and bowls in the Book of Revelation. The judgment upon Pharaoh and the kingdom of Egypt is a type and forerunner to the judgment and punishment leveled against the antichrist and his followers.  The dramatic intervention in Exodus by God with miracles and wonders and judgment to extricate the chosen people from slavery under a tyrannical antichrist figure and bring them to the promised land is but an echo and foreshadowing of the dramatic events of the end of the world.  Here are the plague similarities between Exodus and the Book of Revelation:

1st Exodus plague, Nile’s Water turn to Blood:
Revelation 2nd Trumpet: “something like a large burning mountain was hurled into the sea.”  “A third of the sea turned to blood, a third of the creatures living in the sea died.” (Rev. 8:8-9)
Revelation 3rd Trumpet: “a large star burning like a torch fell from the sky.” “It fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.”  And, “a third of all the water turned to wormwood.”(Rev. 8:10-11)
Revelation 2nd Bowl: “The sea turned to blood. . . every creature living in the sea died.” (Rev. 16:3)
Revelation 3rd Bowl: “on the rivers and springs of water.  These also turned to blood.” (Rev. 16:4)

2nd Exodus plague, Frog Infestation:
Revelation 6th Bowl: “I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet. These were demonic spirits who performed signs.” (Rev. 16:13)  Just as Yahweh sent a plague upon Egypt of a frog infestation, so too, at the end of the world will the demonic frog spirits come forth from the Beast, antichrist and false prophet.  God condemns them just as He did the demonic frog deity Heket of Egypt, whose magicians also performed false “signs.”

3rd Exodus plague, Gnats/Lice: 
Revelation 1st Trumpet: “A third of the land was burned up, along with a third of the trees and all the grass.” (Rev. 8:7) The land is burned up in Revelation, similar to how Yahweh had Aaron “strike the dust of the earth” in order to turn it into gnats/lice.  In both plagues, the land of the earth and its inhabitants are stricken.

4th Exodus plague, Flies:
Revelation 5th Trumpet: “The sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the passage.  Locusts came out of the smoke onto the land, and they were given the same power as scorpions of the earth.” (Rev. 9:2-3)  This does not equate exactly to “flies” but the idea of a swarm of flies darkening the air and other insects like locusts and scorpions are analogized.

5th Exodus plague, Death of Livestock:
1st Trumpet, again the land of the earth is struck killing lots of plants and animals.  This is the only equivalence to this plague.

6th Exodus plague, Festering Boils and Sores:
1st Bowl “Festering and ugly sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast or worshiped its image.” (Rev. 16:2)
4th Bowl: the sun “was given power to burn people with fire.  People were burned by the scorching heat.” (Rev. 16:8)

7th Exodus plague, Fiery Hailstorm:
1st Trumpet, “there came hail and fire mixed with blood, which was hurled down to the earth.” (Rev. 8:7)
7th Bowl: “Large hailstones like huge weights came down from the sky on people, and they blasphemed God for the plague of hail because this plague was so severe.” (Rev. 16:21)

8th Exodus plague, Locusts:
5th Trumpet: “Locusts came out of the smoke onto the land, and they were given the same power as scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or any tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” (Rev. 9:3-4) Just like the locusts of Exodus only affected the Egyptians and Pharaoh, and not the Hebrews, so too, the locust-demons of Revelation will only torment those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (i.e., Christians) and follow the antichrist.

9th Exodus plague, Three Days of Darkness:
4th Trumpet: “a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them became dark. The day lost its light for a third of the time, as did the night.” (Rev. 8:12)
5th Bowl: the Beast’s “kingdom was plunged into darkness, and the people bit their tongues in pain.” (Rev. 16:10)

10th Exodus plague, Death of Firstborns:
6th Trumpet: “a third of the human race was killed” by fire, smoke and sulfur. (Rev. 9:18)  “The rest of the human race, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, to give up the worship of demons and idols made from gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk.” (Rev. 9:20)  There is not an exact match for the killing of the firstborns, but a general plague killing a third of the human race.

Exodus and Revelation’s Parallels:
It is interesting too that Revelation calls “‘Egypt’ where indeed their Lord was crucified” referring to end-times Jerusalem. (Rev. 11:8) The parallels from Exodus’ plagues to Revelation’s end-of-the-world plagues are unmistakable: from the waters turning into blood and the life forms in them dying; to the infestation of demonic “frog” spirits; to the striking of the land and its creatures; to infestation of flies and demonic locusts; to festering boils and sores; to fierce fire and hail storms; to the three days of darkness; and to the mass killing of human life.  The plagues of Exodus are a sign and foreshadowing to the plagues of the end-of-the-world.  Just as the Hebrews were separated and singled out by Yahweh for special protection, so too, those Christians sealed with the Holy Spirit on their foreheads will be saved by God in the end.

The Seventh Trumpet:
The 7th Trumpet is never revealed, but St. John is told to “seal it up” till the proper time when the “mysterious plan of God” is revealed.  In the end, amid lightning, and rumbles of thunder, and earthquakes that will lay waste the entire earth, on the last day, as sin and suffering and death are, at last, vanquished and our eternal existence begins, God will say, in the same final words of Jesus on the Cross, “It is done.” (Rev.16:17)

Sacrifice, Idolatry and Abomination:
At one point after the plague of flies, Pharaoh agrees to permit Moses to go “in this land” to offer sacrifice to Yahweh. But Moses protests saying, “It is not right to do so, for the sacrifices we offer to the Lord, our God, are an abomination to the Egyptians.  If before their very eyes we offer sacrifices which are an abomination to them, will not the Egyptians stone us?” (Ex. 8:22)  Slaughtering flocks and herds of these animals was unthinkable to the Egyptians, who worshipped these animals’ representations as their gods, such as Apis and Mnevis the bull gods; Hathor the cow goddess, and Amun and Khnum the ram gods.  The Hebrews sacrifice the Egyptian gods as an offering to the one true and eternal God, Yahweh.  Hence, Moses insisted on offering the sacrifices to Yahweh at a three days journey into the wilderness.  Yahweh probably ordained the sacrifice as a means to disassociate the Hebrews from the idolatrous animal gods of the Egyptians.  For the Hebrews had been enslaved in Egypt for over 400 years and had become undoubtedly attached and tainted in some manner and form to the Egyptian idol worship.

Silver and Gold:
In fact, before the 10th plague, when the Lord knows Pharaoh will finally capitulate and release the Israelites, He tells Moses, “Instruct your people that every man is to ask his neighbor, and every woman her neighbor, for silver and gold articles and for clothing.” (Ex. 11:2) The Egyptians, after the ten plagues, were undoubtedly well disposed, to get rid of the Israelites with anything they sought.  Yahweh tells them they will be very agreeable to give them whatever they want at that point. The Israelites then leave Egypt finally, not as slaves poor and sullen, but as a conquering army, filled with “gold and silver” from their oppressors.  Unfortunately, that idolatrous religion from Egypt persisted with the Israelites.  Some time later, in the desert wilderness for 40 years, it will probably be this same “gold and silver” from the Egyptians that Aaron and the Israelites will meltdown into the “golden calf” to worship at the base of Mount Sinai. (Ex. 32:2-4)

The 10th Plague and the Killing of the Firstborn Sons:
Yahweh tells Moses that: “Every firstborn in this land shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh on the throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl at the handmill, as well as all the firstborn animals.” (Ex. 11:5)  This is probably an answer in-part to the bloodthirsty call by Pharaoh earlier to, “Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews.” (Ex. 1:22)  Just as the Hebrew slaves had been unable to protect their children, now the powerful Egyptians could do nothing to protect their children.  This echoes Yahweh’s earlier call to Moses and warning to Pharaoh: “Thus says the Lord: Israel is my son, my first-born. Hence I tell you: Let My son go, that he may serve me. If you refuse to let him go, I warn you, I will kill your son, your first-born.” (Ex. 4:22-23)  Israel is, in fact, the chosen nation and people that Yahweh will reveal Himself and His laws to the world.  Israel is Yahweh’s firstborn nation, and Jesus Christ born of the Jews will be God’s firstborn Son.  Again, the type and foreshadowing hold true; just as the Egyptians tried to kill the sons of the Hebrews and Moses, so too later, Herod will try to kill all the firstborn Jewish sons of Bethlehem and the baby Jesus.

Exodus 1-6:

Exodus Overview:
The book of Exodus is broken up into two halves: the first – the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt; and the second – the establishment of the Covenant at Mount Sinai. The Israelites leave Egypt not as slaves or refugees but as a plundering army with gold and silver, dramatically attesting to the power of God’s deed. From there, they cross the Red Sea and enter into the slower drama of the wilderness experience in the Sinai Desert. There are four main themes associated with the book of Exodus: (1) Revelation (God reveals to Moses and Israel His name, YHWH); (2) Salvation (from Egypt and through the Sea and in the desert); (3) Covenant (the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai); and (4) Glory (YHWH comes to dwell with the Israelites in the Meeting Tent, Tabernacle and Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant.)

The Sons of Israel in Egypt:
Joseph and all his brothers eventually died, and “a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt.” The Israelites were “fruitful and increased,” and “became so numerous and strong that the land was filled with them.” Jewish scholars have pointed out that “fruitful and increased” echoes the story of Creation when God told Adam and Eve to be “fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). This implies a type of “Second Creation” with the forming of the Jewish nation. God charged this specific group of people, the Israelites, with spreading monotheism to the whole world and a universal ethical and moral code. In short, they would make the one true God known to the world. The Jews would become God’s people who would prepare the way, and eventually, give birth to the Messiah.

The Midwives and the Hebrew Boys:
The Pharaoh and the Egyptians, however, grew fearful of them as a foreign people and a foreign bloodline in their country. So, set taskmasters over them, and “reduced them to cruel slavery.” “Thus they had to build for Pharaoh the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.” The King of Egypt then orders the midwives working for the Hebrews “if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she may live.” (Ex. 1:16) “The midwives, however, feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt had ordered them, but let the boys live.” (Ex. 1:17) After the king confronted the midwives, the Pharaoh then orders all his subjects to: “Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews, but you may let all the girls life.” (Ex. 1:22)

The Slaughter of the Innocence:
This, of course, is a foreshadowing centuries later of King Herod’s decree to slaughter all the first-born males in Bethlehem, the slaughter of the innocence. Evil feeds off the blood of the most innocent, like the practice of infant sacrifice to Molech. King Herod was troubled by the Magi’s prediction of a male Savior born at the time, so in a jealous rage he tried to kill him, by killing all the young male babies. “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under..” (Mt. 2:16) Here too the Egyptians seek to snuff out the life of the Israelites by slaughtering all the newborn males. One source from the Midrash actually relates that Pharaoh was warned by his sorcerers and astrologers that a male savior of the Israelites was about to be born. This would explain why he sought to kill all the young male infants. This would be repeated again in the time of Jesus’ birth. Pharaoh was a type and forerunner to Herod, just as Moses was a type and forerunner to Jesus. Jesus is, in fact, the “new Moses.”

Water and the Birth of Moses:
Moses was born to ordinary Levi parents. However, “When she could hide him no longer, she took a papyrus basket, daubed it with bitumen and pitch, and putting the child in it, placed it among the reeds on the river bank.” (Ex. 2:3) Pharaoh’s daughter came down the Nile River bank and saw the basket among the reeds had her handmaid fetch it. She was “moved with pity” upon seeing the baby Hebrew boy, and decided to have one of the Hebrew women (his own mother) nurse him. Later, after “the child grew” Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him as her son, and called him Moses because “I drew him out of the water.” This is meant as a direct allusion to Noah’s Ark. The Hebrew word tevah is used for both Noah’s Ark and Moses’ wicker basket. Just as God had established a new world with the Flood and saving Noah from the waters in the Ark, YHWH would now establish another creation of the Jewish nation by pulling Moses from the waters. These are, of course, forerunners and a typology for Jesus, who makes us new creations through the waters of Baptism. The precursor creations of Noah and Moses give way to the truly new creation brought about by Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Moses Flight from Egypt:
After Moses had grown up, he witnessed an Egyptian striking a fellow Hebrew, and so, Moses slew him. Soon, the affair was known and Moses became afraid that Pharaoh would try to kill him. Moses fled to the land of Midian in the Arabian Peninsula. There, Moses is invited into the House of Jethro who has seven daughters. He marries his daughter Zipporah and have a son, Gershom.

The Burning Bush:
While tending his flock near the mountain of God, Mount Horeb, “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush.” (Ex. 3:2) “As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. So Moses decided, ‘I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.'” (Ex. 3:3) God called out to him from the bush “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” God tells Moses He is the God of his father, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has heard the cry of his people in affliction in Egypt. “Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey..”(Ex. 3:8) God then tells Moses that He is sending him to Pharaoh and to lead His people the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses responds, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?” God answers him, “I will be with you.”

I AM:
Then, Moses asks God if the Israelites ask him what is the name of God that sent him. “God replied, ‘I Am Who Am.’ Then He added: ‘This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.'” (Ex. 3:14) God tells Moses that His name is the verb “to be.” God is existence itself. God essence is being itself. “I Am Who Am” forms the letters YHWH, or with the Hebrew vowels, Yahweh. Yahweh is “Being,” “I Am,” or simply “Is.” The Hebrews considered the name of God too holy so subsequently through the Torah God is referred to simply as “Adonai” or “Lord.”

Jesus and I AM:
This is why Jesus’ proclamation centuries later that He is I AM is so shocking and the Jews were so scandalized. John chapter 8 has an incredible dialogue between Jesus and some of the Jewish hierarchy. They claim that Abraham is their ancestor and father. But, Jesus tells them: “‘Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him.” (John 8: 56-59) Jesus claims the name of God, and so, claims equality with God. Jesus and I AM are one.

Moses’ Mission:
Yahweh gives Moses his mission. “I am concerned about you and about the way you are being treated in Egypt; so I have decided to lead you up out of the misery of Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Ex. 3:17) Yahweh then tells Moses to assemble the elders of Israel and go to the Pharaoh to “permit us” to go three days journey into the desert to offer sacrifice to the Lord. God tells Moses beforehand that Pharaoh will not permit it but will force God to work “wondrous deeds.”

Moses’ Objections:
Moses objects to God, “suppose they will not believe me, nor listen to my plea?” God then changes Moses staff into a serpent. Then, He commanded Moses to take hold of the serpent, and when he did, it became his staff again. God then tests Moses again by turning his hand leprous, and back to normal again. Moses complains to the Lord again, “If you please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past, nor recently, nor now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Ex. 4:10) The Lord losing patience with Moses commands him: “Go, then!” Yet, Moses persisted “If you please, Lord, send someone else!” Then the Lord became angry with Moses and said, ‘Have you not your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know that he is an eloquent speaker. . . He shall speak to the people for you.”

Moses’ Staff of God:
God commands him to take his shepherding staff with him by which Yahweh will work miracles. Moses remains a shepherd, but now he is the shepherd of the Israelites. This is also reminiscent of the humble David and his sling defeating the giant Goliath. Moses and his shepherd’s staff defeats the military might of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army.

God’s First-Born Son:
The Lord instructed Moses, “‘So you shall say to Pharaoh: ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my son, my first-born.'” Israel is God’s firstborn who He called out of Egypt. Israel is a foreshadowing again of Jesus, who is God’s firstborn and only Son. He too is also called out of Egypt.

Pharaoh’s Obduracy:
After Moses and Aaron make the request of Pharaoh to let the Israelites go for three days, even using the word “please” (“nah” in Hebrew) he refuses. Moses was essentially asking Pharaoh to allow the Israelites to offer animal sacrifices to Yahweh, but the Egyptians worshiped animals. The Israelites would in essence be sacrificing the gods of Egypt. Instead, Pharaoh tells the Hebrews, and their taskmasters and foreman, that they shall now have to gather their own straw and make the same amount of bricks for “They are lazy.” “Off to work, then!” Moses then bitterly complained to the Lord, “you have done nothing to rescue them.” (Ex. 5:23)

God’s Response:
Yahweh answers Moses, “I am the Lord. I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery. I will rescue you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as My own people, and you shall have Me as your God. You will know that I, the Lord, am your God when I free you from the labor of the Egyptians and bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your own possession – I, the Lord!” (Ex. 6:7-8)

The Four Promises and Four Cups:
These are the traditional verses why Jews drink four cups of wine at the Passover Seder. Each cup represents a divine promise: (1) “I will free you.. ” (2) “I will deliver you.. ” (3) “I will rescue/redeem you.. ” (4) “I will take you to be My people.. ” These are the same four cups of wine that Jesus and the Apostles celebrated at the Last Supper – the first Mass and Eucharist – and the next day at the crucifixion. Jesus frees us, delivers us, redeems us, and makes us His people. “And I will take you to be My people” is reminiscent of the ancient Jewish marriage contract (ketubah) in which a woman accepts a marriage proposal from a man and the man takes a wife. Israel and God are often shown metaphorically to be in a marriage relationship and covenant. This foreshadows the true Bridegroom and Bride, Jesus Christ and His Church. With Jesus’ Holy Communion and Crucifixion, He seals the marriage of Himself with His Church. Jesus and His followers are one, just as husband and wife become “one flesh.” The faithful of the Church are the bride to the Messianic groom Christ. In Heaven to come, as depicted in Revelation, the Church is at the “wedding feast of the Lamb.” The Bridegroom and Bride are united forever in the marriage of God and man.

Genesis 37-50:

Joseph and the Jealousy of His Brothers, the Sons of Israel:
Jacob, or Israel, now settled in the land of Canaan. Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, “for he was the child of his old age.” The special love of his father drew the jealously of the other sons. “When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.” (Gen. 37:4) To make matters worse, young Joseph began having dreams of his brothers bowing down to him. This only infuriated the brothers more. And so, they plotted to kill him. “They said to one another: ‘Here comes that master dreamer! Come on, let us kill him..” (Gen. 37:19-20) After throwing him in an empty cistern, they came to their senses a little bit. Judah convinces the brothers: “What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother our own flesh.” (Gen. 37:26-27) So, they decided rather than killing Joseph, they would sell him into slavery to a caravan of Ishmaelites.

Joseph as a Type of Christ:
Joseph is a type of Christ, a forerunner figure of the Messiah. Joseph is the beloved son of the father, Israel, just as Jesus is the beloved Son of God the Father. Joseph is rejected by his own people, his own family, just as Jesus is to be rejected by his own town of Nazareth, and eventually spurned by many of the Jewish people. Joseph’s brothers are enraged at the father for his special relationship with the son Joseph, just as later, the Pharisees are enraged at Jesus with His special relationship with God the Father. They want to kill Joseph, even though he is innocent, just as they want to kill Jesus, though He committed no sin. Joseph is thrown into the pit (well) of death but comes out to save others, just as Jesus dies on the Cross and rises to save others. Joseph is brought by the Ishmaelites into Egypt, just as Jesus would be brought to Egypt too.

Twenty Pieces of Silver:
It is interesting to note that the brothers sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. It reads: “They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.” (Gen.37:28) One cannot help but think of Judas’ betrayal of Christ. “They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Mt. 26:15-16) Whereas Joseph’s brothers spared his life and did not spill his blood, the Pharisees, in the deepening darkness of sin in the world, saw to it that Jesus was crucified; they killed their brother. They cried out before Pilate “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” (Mt. 27:25)  

The Question of Onan and Masturbation:
Judah and Tamar had two sons, Er and Onan. When God was offended by Er, He took his life. So, then Judah told Onan, “Unite with your brother’s widow, in fulfillment of you duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.” (Gen. 38:8) Onan, however, did not obey. Onan “knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother’s widow, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother. What he did greatly offended the Lord, and the Lord took his life too.” (Gen. 38:9-10) Many have used this passage as a condemnation of masturbation. Although masturbation is a sin and outside the realm of normal sexual relations, I do not think that is the main point of this passage. God is greatly offended because Onan did not obey his father and selfishly did not do his duty towards his brother’s family, as would have been customary at the time.   

Joseph and Pharaoh’s Dreams:
After Joseph was brought into Egypt, he was assigned to a certain Egyptian, Potiphar, a courtier of the Pharaoh and his chief steward. After being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was thrown into the royal prison where he was confined. However, after correctly interpreting some dreams for others, the Pharaoh summoned Joseph to his court because of perplexing dreams he was having. The Pharaoh dreamed of seven fat cows, and then seven ill cows. Then, he had another dream of seven healthy ears of grain, and then, seven shriveled ears of grain. Joseph answered Pharaoh: “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams have the same meaning. . . Seven years of great abundance are now coming throughout the land of Egypt, but these will be followed by seven years of famine..” (Gen. 41: 29-30) Joseph then counsels Pharaoh to set up reserves of food to survive the coming years of famine. Pharaoh was greatly pleased by Joseph’s advice. Pharaoh then told Joseph, “I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” (Gen. 41:41) Joseph becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man. Later, Joseph would have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

Famine and Joseph’s Rations:
Following the seven years of abundance, came seven years of famine, just as Joseph had interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. When famine struck the whole region, they came to Egypt to obtain grain rations from Egypt’s abundance, that Joseph had established. Joseph is perhaps a type of Christ again providing a Eucharistic grain for the world. Caught up in this great famine are the land of Canaan, his family and his brothers. His brothers eventually come before him in the court of Pharaoh to ask for rations of grain. Joseph recognized them, but they do not recognize him. After submitting his brothers to some tests, he eventually confides in them that it is he, Joseph, their long-lost brother. “But his brothers could give him no answer, so dumbfounded were they at him.” (Gen. 45:3)

Joseph’s Faith and Forgiveness:
Joseph tells his brothers not to be distressed. He tells them: “It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.” (Gen. 45:5) Again, this will echo the mission of Jesus who is sent ahead of us as the firstborn to save the lives of many. (Jn. 3:17) Joseph demonstrates his great faith and acceptance of God’s will to save many people and be exiled into Egypt. He tells his brothers: “God, therefore, sent me on ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. So it was not really you but God who had me come here; and he has made of me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.” (Gen. 45:7-8) “Joseph then kissed all his brothers, crying over each of them;” (Gen. 45:15)

Israel and his Sons in the Land of Egypt:
Then Joseph sends for his father and the rest of his family to come stay with them in Egypt (the land of Goshen) and escape the famine. When they told Jacob/Israel that his son Joseph was still alive, he too was dumbfounded. Then, Jacob and all his descendants migrated to Egypt. They settled in the region of Ramses. Before dying, Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim. Israel blessed the sons: with his right-hand he blessed Ephraim, even though he was the younger, and with his left hand he blessed Manasseh, even though he was the firstborn. Joseph protested this, but Israel told him: “I know. . . Nevertheless, his younger brother shall surpass him, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” (Gen. 48:19)

Israel’s Twelve Sons and the Twelve Tribes of Israel:
In Jacob’s last testament, he addressed and prophesied over his twelve sons, who were to become the twelve tribes of Israel. These are: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph (later, Manasseh and Ephraim), and Benjamin. (Gen. 49)

The Scepter of Judah:
Jacob’s prophesy over Judah is of particular note as it is one of the earliest prophesies concerning the coming Messiah. Jacob says to Judah: “You, Judah, shall your brothers praise – your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you. . . The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs. While tribute is brought to him, and he receives the people’s homage.” (Gen. 49:8-10) Jacob prophesies that the Messiah shall come out of Judah. The connection is made more explicit in the Gospel of Matthew, linking back to this prophesy from Jacob: “‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’” (Mt. 2:6) Jesus Christ is, of course, born in the town of Bethlehem in the land of Judah. Jesus is the Messianic Son of David, who is from the Tribe of Judah.

Joseph Forgives them One More Time:
Joseph forgives his brothers again and reassures them: “Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve his present end, the survival of many people. Therefore have no fear.” (Gen. 50:20) Joseph then remained in Egypt, and lived to an age of 110 years old.

The Curious Question of the Patriarchs’ Ages:
Pre-Flood Lifespans:
There is an interesting phenomenon happening throughout the Genesis narrative of early human history: Age is decreasing. That is, the length of a human life decreases from Adam and the beginning of the world down to Joseph and Moses. This is particularly true of the Antediluvian Patriarchs: Adam lived to be 930 years old; Seth 912; Enosh 905; Cainan 910; Jared 962; Methuselah 969; Lamech 777; and Noah 950 years old. According to the Bible, “Pre-Flood” people lived apparently to great lengths of age and years, up to nearly 1,000 years old.

Post-Flood Lifespans:
After the Flood, Noah’s son, Shem, lives only up to 600 years old; Shelah 433 years; Eber 464 years; Peleg 239 years; Reu 239 years; Serug 230 years; Nahor 148 years; Terah 205 years; Abraham 175 years; Isaac 180 years; Jacob (Israel) 147 years; Joseph 110 years old; and Moses 120 years old. As we can see, the Pre-Flood people lived well into the 900’s, while the post-Flood people’s age began to exponentially drop from generation to generation. From immediately after the Flood in the 600’s to 400’s to 200’s and down to what we would typically consider now a possible regular, albeit long, human lifespan of 120 years.

God Intervenes to Limit Lifespans to 120 Years:
In looking back to Genesis 6, God is increasingly upset about the amount of wickedness spreading on the Earth. He says: “Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” (Gen. 6:3) At this point before the Flood, as wickedness is spreading over the world, God decides to limit the lifespan of man down to 120 years. This is where we come to modern times age length with Joseph and Moses. David laments in the Psalms about even shorter ages: “The years of our life are threescore and ten [70], or even by reason of strength fourscore [80]; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10)

What Happened?:
It is all pure speculation, but it is interesting to ponder. Is it literal, allegorical, or a different measure of time? Most biblical scholars would argue that the ages are allegorical and not literal. Perhaps, their great longevity was meant to be symbolic of the wisdom and influence of the Patriarch. Others argue that they were measuring time by a different calendar, such as by months or lunar cycles. But, the ancients were very gifted for astronomy and measuring the cycles of the Sun and moon. This mathematical approach does not add up though with births and deaths and match family trees. For example, if Abraham was 175 months old that would mean he lived to be 14.

The Wages of Sin are Death:
We might consider that the Biblical texts are actually telling the Patriarchs actual age. We know that God created humans to live forever. Adam and Eve were in a preternatural condition where they would not die. However, God did warn Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil, or they would die (Gen. 2:17). They did not die immediately, but certainly over time their bodies began to wear down, and though they lived hundreds of years, they did eventually die. Their preternatural gift dissipated. That preternatural life then dissipated from generation to generation. The letter to the Romans says, “For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) Perhaps this is a theological truth that as sin increased, the lifespan of man decreased. Sin is life-destroying.  

Other Musings on the Flood:
First off, this is all pure speculation, but it is somewhat interesting to think about.

Perhaps, the Flood created a devastating climatic change to the planet. Perhaps whatever cataclysmic occurrence happened it damaged a protective layer on the Earth’s atmosphere. Maybe after that point more damaging cosmic radiation made it into the atmosphere, which would damage and age humans on a molecular level; the cells and genetic material being damaged by more direct cosmic radiation. Who knows? Genesis does say about the Flood “on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.” (Gen. 7:11) Maybe the opening of “the windows of the heavens” is alluding to the penetration now of damaging radiation, which could decay and age cells at a much more rapid pace. The cellular mutations would break down and eventually no longer be able to reproduce themselves; thus, more rapid aging and death.

God Intervenes Again in the Future World Renewed:
The prophet Isaiah wrote about the future world to come. He said: “No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.” (Is. 65:20) Apparently, in the future renewed world if someone does not live to be 100 years old, they would be considered cursed, and one who dies at 100 years old only the age of a child.

Genesis 24-36:

Jacob and Esau:
Jacob and Esau were twins born to Isaac and Rebekah. When Rebekah was pregnant with the twins they “jostled each other so much” that Rebekah consulted with the Lord “what good will it do me.” The Lord answered her:

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger. When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first came forth red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came forth, and his hand had taken hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. (Gen. 25:22-26)  

Special Blessing:
When Isaac was about to die he requested Esau, his firstborn son, to come to him so he could offer his deathbed “special blessing” upon him. Previously in Genesis it was only God who blessed humans, now humans can also bless other humans. As Esau goes out in the country to hunt for game to feed his father, Rebekah his mother calls to Jacob. She instructs Jacob to deceive Isaac by covering himself with hairy skins to make Isaac, with his failing eyesight, believe it was the hairy Esau and receive Isaac’s blessing rather than his brother. When Isaac feels the hairy coverings on Jacob, he is convinced it is his firstborn son, Esau, and offers his blessing upon him, that is, Jacob. This act of deception by Jacob and his mother is condemned in other places in the Bible (Hosea 12:4; Jer. 9:3).

Clothed in Christ:
However, there may be another point to the story too. It may be an allusion to the true Firstborn Son of God, Jesus Christ. We, as baptized-disciples of Christ, have, as Saint Paul tells us, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14) or “clothed” ourselves with Christ (Gal. 3:27). We, in effect, are like Jacob. We are clothing ourselves with Christ in order to receive the blessing of God. God is giving us the blessing owed to the Firstborn Son. God does not look at our sins, but sees only His Firstborn Son in our stead, we who have put on Jesus Christ. Like Jacob, we receive the blessing of the Father that was due to the Firstborn Son alone.

No Intermarriage with Canaanites:
Esau lost his birthright and special blessing to Jacob. Some commentators have suggested that this was because Isaac and Rebekah disliked Esau’s Canaanite wives. Esau’s wives (a “Hittite” and a “Hivite”)“became a source of embitterment to Isaac and Rebekah.” (Gen. 26:35) Indeed, later Isaac charges Jacob “You shall not marry a Canaanite woman!” (Gen. 28:1) Later, “Esau realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac, so he went to Ishmael. . . married Mahalath.” (Gen. 28:8-9) Isaac, like his father before him Abraham, did not want their children, sons of the promise of God, to be led astray by a wife from outside the Covenant. There was to be no intermarriage to people outside of God’s people, the people of the Covenant. God sought to preserve His Covenantal people with a strict monotheism and morality by not coopting the idolatry of the pagans around them. It would also preserve the Abrahamic bloodline to the birth of the Messiah to come, Jesus.

This is made explicit in Exodus:
“Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God— otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods.” (Exodus 34:11-16)

 and again in Deuteronomy:
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (Deut. 7:1-6)

The Curse of Canaan:
Part of the reason Abraham and Isaac forbid marrying Canaanites was that they were considered to be under the curse of Noah, as recorded earlier in Genesis when Ham, one of Noah’s three sons “saw his father’s nakedness.” (Gen. 9:22) Some commentators have theorized that there is more than meets the eye. Perhaps Ham had masturbated his inebriated father, or raped him, or even slept with Noah’s wife, his mother. These types of incestuous acts sometimes happened in the Old Testament in an interfamilial power struggle seen as a means to usurp the authority of the father. (see Jacob’s son Reuben or King David’s son Absalom). Or, in the case of incest with Lot’s daughter’s they perhaps did a similar thing of getting their father drunk and sleeping with him. As it reads, their two children produced the Moabites and the Ammonites:

Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.” (Gen. 19:36-38)

“Saw nakedness” or “uncover nakedness” is an idiomatic phrase used in the Bible to mean have intercourse with.  (See Lev. 17-18; Ez. 16:35-37, 22, etc.).  Thus, Ham had sexual intercourse with his mother, Noah’s wife, as Noah lay incapacitated.  Ham was intent on usurping the leadership role in the family and taking control through his own lineage, that is, Canaan is the illegitimate son of Ham and his mother/Noah’s wife.  This is why Noah levels the curse not against Ham, but against the illegitimate son of the incestuous union, Canaan.  Noah will not let Ham take control of the family through Canaan, especially through this despicable deed.  So, Noah issues a curse upon Canaan:

So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants, He shall be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. “May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.” (Gen. 9:25-27)

The curse Noah placed on Canaan, Ham’s son/Noah’s grandson, is filtered down to the descendants of Canaan:

Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth and the Jebusite and the Amorite and the Girgashite and the Hivite and the Arkite and the Sinite and the Arvadite and the Zemarite and the Hamathite; and afterward the families of the Canaanite were spread abroad. The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations.” (Gen. 10:15-20)

The Hebrews, and later, the Israelites are not to intermarry or intermingle in any way with the sons of the cursed, idol-worshipping Canaanites.

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman:
It is because of this, centuries later Jesus has an interesting interaction with a Canaanite woman. As read in Matthew:

“And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.” (Mt. 15:21-28)

Jacob’s Dream / Jacob’s Ladder / Stairway to Heaven:
Jacob sets out from Beer-sheba for Haran in Paddan-Aram (Mesopotamia). On his way for this journey, he has a vision at Bethel (“House of God” he later calls it):

“He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.  And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Gen. 28:12-15)

God renews his Covenantal promises to Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. Jacob awakes from this amazing dream declaring this is “abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven!” (Gen. 28:17) Jacob sets up a memorial stone there to mark the spot of his vision of God’s abode, and promises to give 1/10 of everything back to God.

Jacob, Laban, Rachel and Leah:
When Jacob finally arrived in Haran, he met Rachel at a well. He stayed in Haran with his uncle Laban. He agreed to serve him for seven years if he could marry his daughter Rachel. They agreed. However, when the seven years was up, Laban brought Leah to him to consummate the marriage. In the morning, after figuring out he was duped, Jacob demanded to know why. Laban agrees then for him to marry is elder daughter Rachel, but only after serving him for another seven years. Somewhat surprisingly, Jacob agrees again. It is Leah, however, who then births him four sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.

Jacob’s Children and the birth of Joseph:
Rachel, however, was still barren, so she provided her maidservant Bilhah as a consort for Jacob to birth him children. Bilhah then birthed him the sons, Dan and Naphtali. When Leah became barren, she too gave Jacob her maidservant Zilpah as a consort. Zilpah provided Jacob two sons as well, Gad and Asher. Jacob then had some more children to them: Issachar, Zebulum, and a daughter, Dinah. God finally heard Rachel’s prayer for a child, and then, she bore Jacob another son, Joseph. Eventually, with Jacob and Laban falling out of favor, Jacob gathered his wives and family and set out to return to Isaac and the land of Canaan.

Esau forgives Jacob:
Later, Jacob sees Esau coming towards him with 400 men. Jacob feared Esau’s revenge and bowed to the ground seven times before his brother. Esau, however, had forgiven him and wanted to be reconciled with him. “Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, and flinging himself on his neck, kissed him as he wept.” (Gen. 33:4) Jacob in return offers Esau generous gifts from his wealth, which Esau accepted. This is an on-going narrative through Genesis of family and sibling rivalry at first and reconciliation later. Genesis stories develop this theme of forgiveness.

Succoth / Booths:
As Jacob and Esau depart from each other, Jacob journeys to the town of Succoth. “There he built a home for himself and made booths for his livestock. That is why the place was called Succoth.” (Gen. 33:17-18) Succoth would later become the place of the first encampment of the Israelites after fleeing Ramses and Egypt (Ex. 12:37). Esau for his part settled in Seir. “Esau is Edom. These are the descendants of Esau, ancestors of the Edomites.” (Gen. 36:8-9)

Jacob Wrestles an Angel / Changes Name to “Israel”:
Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”  He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”  Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there.  So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.  Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.” (Gen. 32:24-33)

Later, God confirms the Covenant with Jacob and his name change to Israel. With the Angel’s blessing on Jacob, he receives a new corresponding name, “Isra-El,” or he who prevails with God.” And so, God speaks to Israel:

“And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So his name was called Israel.  And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you.  The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.” (Gen. 35:10-12)

Genesis 12-23:

Abram / Abraham:
The next section in Genesis begins with the calling of Abram (Abraham). “Whereas Yahweh had scattered humankind in all directions, now Yahweh calls someone to follow a particular path away from Babylon, the place of dispersion, to the land of Canaan.” There, God makes an everlasting covenant with Abraham to become a great nation.

Melchizedek:
Abram meets a mysterious figure called Melchizedek, who is both priest and king, who offers up “bread and wine.” (Gen. 14:18) He is referred to as the “king of Salem,” probably the precursor to Jerusalem. His title is the king of peace. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews refers to Melchizedek as a form, or prefigurement, of Jesus Christ. He is both priest and king, who offers bread and wine to God, and have their priesthood directly from God, and not from ancestors of Aaron or Levi. Hebrews declares Jesus is a “priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb. 7:17) This itself a quote from the Psalms, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Ps. 110:4) Jesus, who is priest and king, offers his body and blood up under the species of bread and wine at the Last Supper.

The Covenant:
Yahweh makes two promises to Abraham. “He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,’ he added, ‘shall your descendants be.’ Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.” (Gen. 15:5-6) The Lord then requests Abram to bring him a three years old heifer, a three years old she-goat, a three years old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. He splits them in two and placed each half opposite the other. Abram then falls into a deep slumber (recalling the deep sleep God put on Adam when he made Eve from one of his ribs). Yahweh speaks to him in his sleep about the future history of Israel, and their future slavery and exodus from Egypt. Then, “there appeared a smoking brazier and a flaming torch, which passed between the pieces. It was on that occasion that the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘To your descendants I give this land. . .” (Gen. 15:17-18) The sign of the Abrahamic covenant is circumcision, just as the sign of the covenant with Noah is the rainbow. Every male shall be circumcised at eight days old, “Thus my covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting pact.” (Gen. 17:13) Yahweh then tells Abram that he and his wife Sarah, although “ninety years old,” will bear a son and shall name him Isaac. The Abrahamic Covenant is the foundation for all Monotheism. This is the first definitive break in human history from polytheism and paganism.

The Three Visitors:
The next interaction I believe hints at the Trinity. It reads: “The Lord appeared to Abraham . . . Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby.” (Gen. 18:1) The three visitors seem to speak together as “they.” When Abraham offered to make them some food, they respond “‘Very well,” they replied, ‘do as you have said.'” He bakes them “three seahs of fine flour” to make them bread, associating the bread with the Lord in Eucharistic overtones. Later in the passage, however, the Lord is distinguished as one of the people, while the other two are referred to as angelic messengers.

Sodom and Gommorah:
From there, they all walk towards the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord said “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.” (Gen. 18: 20-21) The two angelic beings keep walking toward the towns, but the Lord remained standing with Abraham telling him his intent to destroy the cities. Abraham then begins to intercede for the towns, “Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?” (Gen. 18:23) Abraham pleads with him that there were “fifty innocent people” there, would you still destroy them? The Lord vows to spare them if he finds fifty people there, then Abraham continues to intercede for them. How about 45 people? 40? 30? 20? 10? The Lord responds, “For the sake of those ten,” he replied, “I will not destroy it.” (Gen. 18:32)

Lot, and Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed:
The two angelic messengers go to Sodom where they find Lot, who is Abraham’s nephew. Lot offers to bring them into his house and “bake cakes without leaven” (Gen. 19:3) for them, again, with overtones of a Eucharistic meal. Later, however, “all the townsmen of Sodom, both young and old – all the people to the last man – closed in on the house. They called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to your house tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intimacies with them.'” (Gen. 19:4-5) Lot protested against the “wicked thing” they were trying to do, and even offered up his two daughters to appease the mob, but they would have nothing of it.

At this point the two angelic beings intervene as “they struck the men at the entrance of the house, one and all, with such blinding light that they were utterly unable to reach the doorway.” (Gen. 19:11) The angels told Lot and his family to flee the city in the morning because the Lord was about to destroy it. As the sun was rising “the Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord out of heaven. He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.” (Gen. 19: 24-26) The next morning Abraham went to look at the plain and saw “dense smoke over the land rising like fumes from a furnace.”

Jesus referred to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah saying of those that reject the gospel, “Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” (Mt. 10:15) Saint Peter also refers to the immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah and their subsequent destruction. He says “and if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction, reducing them to ashes, making them an example for the godless people of what is coming.” (2 Pt. 2:6) Jude makes a similar statement saying that Sodom and Gomorrah were punished for their fornication and “indulged in unnatural lust,” or “went after other flesh.” (Jude 7) Clearly, one of the aspects of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah that cries out to heaven is the homosexual act. Modern apologists for homosexuality cite that the sins of the cities of the Plain were “rape” or even “inhospitality,” but this deflects from the truth. The Bible holds these two cities as the most extreme examples of inhospitality specifically because they sought to commit homosexual rape, and even the rape of angelic beings. The unnaturalness of these acts adds to their particular depravity.

The Birth of Isaac:
Yahweh fulfills his word towards Abraham and Sarah with the birth of Isaac. Abraham is 100 years old. Sarah remarks “God has given me cause to laugh.” (Gen. 21:6) Sarah, upset by the presence of the slave-girl Hagar and her son, Ishmael, who she bore to Abraham, forces them from their presence, saying “No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!” (Gen. 21: 10) Many point to this initial division between Isaac and Ishmael for the current and ongoing disputes millennia later between their descendants, the Jews and Arabs respectively.

The Testing of Abraham:
God tests Abraham by telling him to “Take you son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” (Gen. 22:2) Abraham takes Isaac to the site, whereupon he “took the wood for the holocaust and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders,” (Gen. 22:6) then he, “built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.” (Gen. 22:9-10) At this point, an angel from heaven stops Abraham from going through with it, but Abraham has proved his faithfulness to God. God says to him, “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” (Gen. 22: 12)

Isaac and Jesus:
The parallels between Isaac and Jesus are striking. The location where Abraham was to sacrifice his son was at Mount Moriah, the site in Jerusalem of the Temple. The pagans of the day had offered child sacrifices there to the fire god Molech. God shows in this episode that he is vehemently opposed to child sacrifice and this evil practice is to no longer be practiced. Child sacrifices to Molech have reemerged in our latter days in the present evils of abortion. Isaac prefigured Jesus. Isaac was to be sacrificed in the same location where Jesus offered up himself in the sacrifice of the Cross. Jesus is the only Son of God, with whom he loves. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt. 3:17) Jesus walks the way of the Cross, also with beams of wood on his shoulders. He goes up Mount Moriah to Golgotha, where he would be fixed to the wooden beams of the Cross as a sacrifice – for all. As John wrote later in the gospel, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn. 3:16) God the Father, out of love for us, sacrifices his only begotten son – the very act with which he tested Abraham.

Genesis 1-11:

The Bible Overview:
The Hebrew Bible (the Torah, the prophets and the other books) is unique in the history of the world. It was the first book and religion to establish monotheism and a code of ethics around the world. It was divinely unique in a number of ways, with concepts unheard-of in the ancient world, and which transformed us into the modern world we know now and accept: (1) It proclaimed a universal God. (2) It posited an invisible, incorporeal God. (3) It declared a moral God, not capricious like the pagan gods and the deities of myth. (4) It presupposed a God outside of nature and beyond nature, unlike the pagan who worshipped nature and natural beings. (5) It suggested a God Who loves and wants to be loved, again unique from the selfish and capricious pagan gods. (6) It declared a universal human worth that all humans are “made in the image of God,” and therefore, of immense value and dignity. This was a world-changing concept never seen before in the history of the world. (7) Due to each individual human’s dignity, there are universal human rights that cannot be lawfully taken away by man.

All of the horrible atrocities and evil ideologies, such as human sacrifice, wanton disregard for human life, savage warfare, slavery, incest, idolatry, nature worship and superstition, all begin to fade away as the light of divine revelation is manifested to the world in successive revelations. God reached down from Heaven to guide us through the childhood and adolescence of human formation of conscience and morality. From the Garden to Eden, to Noah, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to Moses and the Ten Commandments, to the Israelites becoming God’s Jewish nation, to the Temple, and the prophets, and then, at long last, to the revelation of the Son of God, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God came into the world to undo the destructive power of Original Sin and free mankind to become Children of God. The Bible stands alone in revelation, in law, in prophecy, in internal coherence, and truth. It is the most widely read book and the most important book in the history of the world. It forever altered the arc of human history. It introduced earth-shattering ideas into the course of human civilization, and singularly prepared the world for that most important moment ever to happen, the Incarnation of the Son of God. The world has never been the same since.

Genesis 1-11:
The Creation of Man:
The Hebrew Bible is a conversation that lasted more than a millennium.   The Bible begins with two creation accounts or myths. This time period is “prehistory.” After creating all living things, which is “good,” then Yahweh creates man, which is termed “very good.” Adam is created from the ground (“adamah”). The only living thing not created from the ground is “woman.” Only in seeing woman, is man completed and in their complementarity does he fully understands himself. The man and the woman together bear the image of God. This is manifested in the pro-creative nature of the husband and wife, creating new life in likeness of their creator. The first man and woman were naked and not ashamed. They bore a primordial innocence, and preternatural life in the Garden of Eden (the original harmony of Creation).

Jesus Declares Two Genders – Male and Female; and Heterosexual Marriage:
Jesus, when he was challenged by the Pharisees on the teaching of marriage and divorce, referenced that it “was not so from the beginning.” Jesus taught a radical indissolubility of marriage between one man and one woman: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh.” (Matt. 19:4-5)

The Fall:
That all changes with the Fall from innocence. The devil, mythologized as a serpent, tempts them to disobey Yahweh. Eve listens to the devil, and persuades her husband Adam to disobey as well. With that, humanity is brought into “the human condition” we know today: birthing pain, patriarchal societies, hard work toiling the land, disease and death.

Protoevangelium:
Yahweh then offers the first prophecy of a future Savior and “the woman” who will crush the head of the serpent. Eve fell to the serpent, but the second Eve will crush the serpent’s head. “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Gen. 3:15) It is through the Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ is born, God becomes man. With the Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception, the stain of sin and the line of inherited corruption is broken. She alone is the Ark worthy of bearing God. In the woman, God the Son becomes flesh to take away the sins of the world.

Enoch:
In the generations from Adam to Noah, was Enoch. Genesis 5:12 reads: “Then Enoch walked with God, and he was no longer here, for God took him.” The implication, much like what happens later with the prophet Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), Enoch does not die, but is taken alive to heaven. Enoch and Elijah are perhaps the two great prophets sent back at the End of the World to confront the Antichrist. (Revelation 11)

Noah and The Flood:
Chapter 6 of Genesis also deals with the origin of the Nephilim (ie, the Giants). It says: “the sons of heaven saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. . . At that time the Nephilim appeared on earth (as well as later), after the sons of heaven had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.” This episode directly precedes the flood. The wickedness of man also leads Yahweh to limit man’s lifespan to 120 years (as opposed the hundreds of years lifespans previously, such as Adam who lived to 930 years old). Yahweh warns Noah that He is about to destroy the world because of its “corruption” and “lawlessness.” The Biblical account of the flood is similar to other flood stories from Mesopotamia, such as The Epic of Gilgamesh. Yet, the Biblical account is strikingly different in the way in which God preserves Noah, as opposed to the opposition of the deities in the Mesopotamian traditions.

Rainbow:
After God destroys most of the known world in the flood, he gives a sign of his promise never to do so again, the rainbow. The rainbow is the “sign of the everlasting covenant” God establishes between himself and all mortal creatures. Those who misuse the sign of the rainbow today again mock God with brazen disregard for his laws.

Sacramental View:
The waters of the Flood are analogous to the waters of Baptism. Just as the waters of Baptism wash away Original sin, so too did the waters of the Flood wash away the sinful world. Universal humanity (i.e., the world) seems to follow the path of Christian initiation. Just as the infant world is baptized in water, the later adolescent world is baptized in fire. At the End, the world is consumed and transformed by fire (2 Pt. 3:7), just as the fire of the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and all believers at Pentecost and Confirmation (Acts 2:3) making them a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). This final conflagration ushers in a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1).

Carnivores:
Another interesting note is that after the flood Yahweh tells Noah, “Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants.” (Gen. 9:3) The Antediluvian world is depicted as strict vegetarians. It is only after the flood, that animals, including man, become carnivorous. God grants a concession to humanity in its propensity towards violence, so that they are now allowed to eat meat (but must observe certain restrictions regarding the handling of animal blood. Gen.9: 2-4; Lev. 17:11)

The Tower of Babel:
The last story in this section is the Tower of Babel. “The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.” (Gen. 11:1) This story highlights human arrogance attempting to trespass into the realm of God. They do this by trying to build a tower that reaches up to God. In Babylonian times, this probably refers to the Babylonian ziggurats, a sort-of original skyscraper. It was then that the Lord came down to see what they built and decided to “go down and there confuse their language” and then he, “scattered them from there all over the earth.” (Gen 11:8-9)

New Blogging Feature – 29 January 2018

I have added a new link called the “Old Testament Blog Site.” I plan on doing more regular entries, not articles per se. I plan to begin this new addition to the website by blogging the books of the Old Testament. This will be good for me, and hopefully all involved, in re-familiarizing ourselves with the books of the Old Testament, as well as creating a more dynamic blogging interface. I plan on reading through Michael W. Duggan’s “The Consuming Fire: A Christian Guide to the Old Testament” as one of my guidelines among other resources. I should, God willing, post regular updates to the blog, in addition to continuing regular contributions to the Articles area.