Archives

Exodus 35-40:

Building of the Tabernacle / Tent of Meeting:
Moses tells the Israelites this is what the Lord has commanded: “Take up among you a collection for the Lord. Everyone, as his heart prompts him, shall bring a contribution to the Lord. . ”  Thus, all the materials for the Tabernacle were gathered from donations from among the people.  God also calls expert artisans (Bezalel and Oholiab, etc. ) to work on the construction of the Meeting Tent.  Once the Tabernacle “mishkhan” is later consecrated and sanctified, it is no longer referred to as the Tabernacle, but now, the “Tent of Meeting” or “Meeting Tent.”  God will now dwell with His people, meet and have fellowship with them.  The people brought so many contributions that they had more than enough and Moses had to tell them to stop bringing contributions.  Yahweh dictates to Moses all of the specific materials and dimensions for the construction of the Tabernacle.  It is a heavenly blueprint that images the Tabernacle from Heaven.  “The veil was woven of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, and of fine linen twined, with cherubim embroidered on it.” This is the veil in front of the Holy of Holies that is later torn when Jesus dies on the Cross.  The inner sanctum of the Holy of Holies of Yahweh is made accessible to all peoples through the death of Christ.  For now, the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat of Yahweh will lay hidden behind the veil in the Sacred Space of the Meeting Tent. The other Sacred objects, such as the Ark, the Table, the Altar of Incense, are often made of “acacia wood” and covered in gold, signifying Christ and the Incarnation.  The Altar of Holocausts is made with acacia wood and plated in bronze.  The Courtyard also has the bronze laver for washing.  As one enters the Tabernacle they proceed from “bronze” objects into objects covered with gold to “pure gold” as sanctity and Sacredness increases deeper into the Tabernacle.

The Meaning of the Tabernacle / Tent of Meeting:
The Tabernacle will be a “new Eden,” where God will once again dwell with His people in a Sacred Space.  The Edenic Outpost of the Tabernacle will be an outpost of sanctity and holiness in a sea of chaos, desert, and wilderness.  The Cherubim on the Tabernacle harken to this idea of the Cherubim guarding the Garden of Eden.  The Menorah in the Tabernacle harkens to the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden too.  The same colors decorate the veils and curtains: violet, purple, scarlet, and white. Different materials (gold, bronze, wood) show varying gradations of sanctity and holiness in the Tabernacle. The deeper one goes into the Tabernacle the deeper one goes into holiness and Sacred Space.  Only the High Priest can go behind the Veil to the Mercy Seat and Ark of the Covenant (the footstool of God) once a year on the Day of Atonement (“Yom Kippur”).  This is the most holy place in the Sacred Space of the Tabernacle.  There are varying zones and gradations of Sacred Space around the Holy of Holies.  They also have varying degrees of Sacred objects and priests of varying Sacred Status that can access varying zones of the Sacred Space at specific Sacred Times (Feasts, Festivals, Sabbaths), all governed by specific policies and procedures dictated by God.  Yahweh is distinct from us.  There is an “otherness” to Yahweh.  Being in the very presence of God is dangerous.  Hence, breaking any of these rules or regulations or procedures can, and would, very likely lead to someone’s death.  One must be “whole” and sanctified and consecrated to enter the Tabernacle, and only at the proscribed times and with the proscribed actions.  Anything else risks the ritual purity of the Sacred Space and the presence of God leaving, and quite possibly the life of the offending person.   Ritual purity is crucial to maintaining the Sacred Space of the Tabernacle / Tent of Meeting.  This has nothing to do with immorality or sins, but is about “ritual purity” and being able to access the Holy Place of God.  To maintain this relationship and fellowship with God, one must follow God’s rules, be obedient to His requirements for the Covenant.  Then, God will bless the people and dwell with them.  Breaking the rules, will result in God cursing them, and leaving His people (as happens later in Israel’s history).  For now, it is all about re-establishing this “outpost of Eden” in the midst of the Israelites and progressing on God’s mission to sanctify His “firstborn son” of Israel.  This plan will lead Israel to proclaim Yahweh to the nations, drawing the Gentiles back into Covenant with God.  This is fulfilled obviously with the coming of Jesus, the Gospel and the New Testament.  The Tabernacle at Mt. Sinai, however, is the first step.   The Trinity also lay hidden in the Tabernacle from the Courtyard (which is Christ) to the Holy Place with the tongues of fire Menorah (which is the Holy Spirit) to the Holy of Holies (which is God the Father).  The three zones in one Tabernacle reveal the three persons of the Trinity of the one God.

Priestly Vestments:
The priests and High Priests vestments are similarly described with similar colors and materials.  Violet, purple, and scarlet yarn and “fine linen.”  Gold is threaded into the Ephod.  The names of the twelve tribes are also inscribed into it.  The breastpiece is filled with four rows of precious stones, twelve in all, matching the twelve tribes of Israel. The High Priest is the representative of all of Israel.  He is the intercessor and mediator before God for his people Israel.  He alone can enter the Holy of Holies once a year.  He has consecrated Sacred Status, who can enter the Sacred Space, on a specific Sacred Time, and perform Sacred Actions. Bells of pure gold are sewn into the bottom of the garment.  Later, Jewish tradition holds that the bells are there partially to know when the High Priest is performing the priestly actions in the Holy of Holies, and if he is struck down by Yahweh for making a mistake, then they would know. Supposedly a rope was tied around his ankle too so they can drag him out if he dies while in the Holy of Holies, since no one else could enter there within.  As the High Priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the Mercy Seat on the Day of Atonement one can imagine the bells ringing, just as the bell rings three times at the consecration of the Eucharist in the Catholic Mass.   The other priests also wear “tunics of fine linen” just as Jesus wore a seamless tunic as He was brought to the Cross and crucifixion.  Jesus sacrifices Himself as both priest and victim.  The plate of gold on the head that says “Holy to the Lord.”

Tabernacle Completed:
“Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished; and the people of Israel had done according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; so had they done.” (Ex. 39:32)  Then, they brought everything they had made and presented it to Moses.  “And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. And Moses blessed them.” (Ex. 39:43)  Then, the Lord has Moses anoint and consecrate everything to Him to make it holy:  “Then you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture; and it shall become holy.  source link 10 You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar; and the altar shall be most holy.  http://moneyrebound.com/how-much-money-do-you-need-to-be-happy/ 11 You shall also anoint the laver and its base, and consecrate it.  http://goldiesplace.org/about-us/ 12 Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tent of meeting, and shall wash them with water,  13 and put upon Aaron the holy garments, and you shall anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve me as priest.” (Ex. 40:9-13)  After they had did all that Yahweh commanded, the Tabernacle was finally erected, consecrated, and finished, just as God had instructed. “So Moses finished the work.” (Ex. 40:33)

The Glory Cloud of the Lord Fills the Tabernacle:
Now, God dwells again with His people, just like again at Eden.  The microcosm of Eden is complete.  The Restoration has begun, first with Israel.  Yahweh leads His people Israel, and Israel has fellowship with their God.  “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  buy voltaren tablets  And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would go onward; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not go onward till the day that it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.” (Ex. 40:34-38) Thus, ends the book of Exodus, the Lord stays with the camp of the Israelites throughout their wanderings in the wilderness.

Exodus 34:

Renewal of the Tablets:
Moses intercedes yet again for the Israelites: “This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.” (Ex. 34:9) The Lord promises to work “awe-inspiring deeds” if Israel would but keep His commandments. “I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Take care, therefore, not to make a covenant with these inhabitants of the land that you are to enter; else they will become a snare among you. Tear down their altars; smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their sacred poles. You shall not worship any other god, for the Lord is ‘the Jealous One; a jealous God is He.” (Ex. 34:11-14) God again commands the Israelites to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and to keep the Sabbath. He tells them to keep the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost).

Moses Face is Radiant:
Moses stayed on Mt. Sinai for forty days and forty nights, “without eating any food or drinking any water, and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” (Ex. 24:28) Moses skin and face had become radiant while he conversed with God. When Aaron and the other Israelites saw how radiant his face had become, “they were afraid to come near him.” Then, Moses veiled his face. “When he finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.” (Ex. 34:33) Only when Moses spoke with the Lord did he unveil his face. St. Paul hints that the veil remained over Moses face because they would later not recognized Christ: ” But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.” (2 Corinthians 3:14)

Exodus 32-33:

The Golden Calf Incident:
Moses was delayed on the mountain. Jesus delayed in His 2nd Coming? So, the people gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us a god who will be our leader.” Getting the Egyptian idolatry out of the Israelites after 400 years in the pagan culture would take more time and effort, for the Israelites quickly revert to worshiping a calf deity. Aaron fashions a golden calf for them. Then, they cried out “This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” Aaron built an altar for the calf saying “tomorrow is a feast of the Lord.” The people then offered holocausts and brought peace offerings. In mockery and antithetical imitation of the Theophany of the Covenant, “Then they sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.” (Ex. 32:6) In ratifying the Covenant “they ate and drank and beheld God,” but now, in this demonic mockery, they ate and drank and “rose up to revel.” Rose up to revel is probably a Semitic euphemism for sexual immorality and pagan ritualistic orgies. God immediately informs Moses to go down to the people “for they have become depraved.” Is this how the current culture is descending into depravity before the return of the Lord? God then wished to let His wrath blaze up and consume them. However, Moses acting as intercessor and mediator for his people saying “Let your blazing wrath die down; relent in punishing your people.” (Ex. 32:12) Moses is the prefigurement of Jesus as Mediator of the Covenant and intercessor for his people before the Father, just as Jesus, the One true Mediator, would assume that role. “So the Lord relented in the punishment He had threatened to inflict on His people.” God heeded the intercession of Moses. When Moses and Joshua came down the mountain, they heard “cries of revelry.” As they drew near to the camp, they saw “the calf and the dancing.” With that, Moses angered flared up and he threw down the 10 Commandments, breaking them. Moses then threw the calf in the fire and ground it down to powder. He then scattered the powder into the water and “made the Israelites drink.” Moses then instructed the Levites to kill the idolaters. “Now go up and down the camp, from gate to gate, and slay your kinsmen, your friends and neighbors! The Levites carried out the command of Moses, and that day there fell about three thousand of the people.” (Ex. 32:27-28) Here, on Mt. Sinai, 3,000 people fell in the Old Covenant, but then, at Pentecost of the New Covenant, Acts says 3,000 were saved on the first day. 3,000 died under the Law, but then, 3,000 saved by grace and faith and the Spirit in the New. Moses told them you have committed a “grave sin.” “Perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin.” Moses continues his role as Mediator and priest to make atonement for the people. Moses asks the Lord “If you would only forgive their sin!” The Lord answers “Him only who has sinned against me will I strike out of My book,” that is, the Book of life where God writes down the names of those saved.

The Lord Distances Himself from the Israelites but Remains Close to Moses:
The Lord then informs Moses that He Himself will no longer be accompanying the Israelites directly, as “You are a stiff-necked people. Were I to go up in your company even for a moment, I would exterminate you.” (Ex. 33:5) The glory of God would destroy the sinfulness of the people along with the people themselves. “When the people heard this bad news, they went into mourning..” Instead, the Lord will “send an angel before you to the land flowing with milk and honey.” Moses used to pitch the “meeting tent” some distance away “outside of camp.” As Moses would go in the tent, “the column of cloud would come down and stand at its entrance while the Lord spoke to Moses.” (Ex. 33:9) The Lord and Moses spoke “face to face.”

The Lord shows Moses the glory of His back:
Moses requests to see the Lord’s glory, but God tells Moses “My face you cannot see, for no man sees Me and still lives.” But, there is a place in the hollow of the rock that Moses can stand, where as the glory of God passes by, “I will cover you with My hand.” After God passes by, “I will remove My hand, so that you may see My back; but My face is not to be seen.” (Ex. 33:23) Approximately 1,500 years later, God would indeed show His glorified face to Moses. At Jesus’ Transfiguration on the mountain, Jesus speaks directly with Moses and Elijah: “And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli′jah, talking with Him.” (Mt. 17:2-3) Moses finally sees the face of God in Jesus Christ, and he appears finally in the Promised Land.

Exodus 30-31:

Tabernacle Sacred Objects:
The Altar of Incense: made of acacia wood and plate it with “pure gold.” Again, humanity of wood and pure gold of divinity, just as Christ is one person with two natures, human and divine. Census tax: “a half shekel” is given for contribution to the Lord.  “The rich need not give more, nor shall the poor give less, than a half-shekel in this contribution to the Lord to pay the forfeit for their lives.” (Ex. 30:15)  The bronze laver: the bronze laver shall have water in it, and Aaron and his sons “shall use it in washing their hands and feet.” This is reminiscent of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper.  “When they are about to enter the meeting tent, they must wash with water, lest they die.”  (Ex. 30:20) The anointing oil:  “take the finest spices” (myrrh, fragrant cinnamon, cane, cassiall, olive oil) and “blend them into sacred anointing oil.”  It shall be used to consecrate the meeting tent, the ark, the lampstand, the altar and the laver.  “When you have consecrated them, they shall be most sacred; whatever touches them shall be sacred.” (Ex. 20:29) The oil is also used to anoint and consecrate Aaron and his sons as priests.  The Catholic Church also uses holy chrism in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick. “The incense shall be treated as most sacred by you.”  The Incense: mix in storax, onycha, balbanum and “pure frankincense”.  “Gold, myrrh and frankincense” used here in the Tabernacle, are the same three precious items the magi brought to Jesus, Mary and Joseph at Jesus’ birth. (Mt. 2:11) Jesus is the new Tabernacle, dwelling amongst His people.  The Sabbath: God tells Moses again to keep the Sabbath holy, and “as something sacred. Whoever desecrates it shall be put to death.”  Keeping the Sabbath is serious business!  “Anyone who does work on the sabbath day shall be put to death.” (Ex. 31:15) “When the Lord had finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the commandments, the stone tablets inscribed by God’s own finger.” (Ex. 31:18)

Exodus 28-29:

Priestly Vestments:
The priests shall wear sacred vestments to include a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a brocaded tunic, a miter, and a sash.  Just as the Tabernacle colors, so too the priests vestments “shall use gold, violet, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen.”  Royalty, kingly, sacrifice, and righteous purity. Onyx stones shall bear the 12 names of the tribes of Israel.  The breastplate should have four rows of “precious stones” with the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.  The “Breastpiece of Decision” shall have “Urim and Thummim” over his heart so he can discern the decisions of Yahweh.  The white fine linen tunic is reminiscent of the “seamless tunic” Jesus wore at the Last Supper and to the Crucifixion. Jesus is the High Priest, wearing the garment of the High Priest, who offered Himself up as the sacrifice.  He is priest, prophet, and king.  Priestly vestments are part of the inheritance of the Catholic Church with her priestly vestments, and special vestments for the Bishops and Pope, such as the miter.  Aaron and his sons shall be anointed and ordained and consecrated to the priesthood.  This is another inheritance to the Catholic Church that of anointing, ordaining and consecrating.  The Catholic Church, sacraments, priesthood, and liturgy all have a very Jewish feel to them, and for good reason.  That is where they came from!

Priestly Sacrifices:
At the consecration of the priests they are to “with fine wheat flour make unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil.” (Ex. 29:2)  The unleavened cakes and wafers are striking in image to the hosts of the Eucharist. This may be foreshadow again of the Holy Eucharist to come.  They are also to “wash them with water.”  They use water for ritual purity, reminiscent of Jesus instituting the priesthood at the Last Supper and He washed the Apostles’ feet.  Aaron and his sons are to lay their hands on the bull and then slaughter it, pour some blood on the “horns of the altar” and the rest pour out “at the base of the altar.”  Then, slaughter a ram and burn it, as a “sweet smelling oblation to the Lord.”  Take the other ram and slaughter it, and sprinkle it on Aaron’s vestments so “their vestments may be sacred.”  Then, they are to take “one of the loaves of bread” and “one of the wafers” and make a “wave offering” to the Lord. Again, this is a kind of Eucharistic bread and wafer “wave offering” to the Lord. We see “bread” and “flesh” linked together in the priestly sacrifice and offering to the Lord.  “At the entrance of the meeting tent Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket.” (Ex. 29:32).  “They themselves are to eat of these things by which atonement was made..” “Two yearling lambs as the sacrifice established for each day; one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at the evening twilight.” (Ex. 29:38-39)  These are sacrificed with “fine flour” “cereal offering.” Yahweh promises to consecrate the meeting tent and the altar, saying, “I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites and will be their God.” (Ex. 29:45)

Exodus 25- 27:

The Tabernacle:
The presence of God moved from Mount Sinai to the Tabernacle. This is where Yahweh would reside with His people now. So, commenced the building of the Tabernacle, as dictated by God. The Tabernacle intensifies Mt. Sinai as Moses was initially “not able to enter the tent of meet.” (Ex. 40:35). The Tabernacle completes Sinai too, as Mt. Sinai is the marriage, now the couple, Yahweh and the Israelites, must live together in their new relationship. The Tabernacle is the “principal bridgehead in the Old Testament to the doctrine of the Incarnation.” God once dwelt in an edifice, but later, in the person of Jesus Christ. This begins with the Tabernacle. “They shall make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst.  This Dwelling and all its furnishings you shall make exactly according to the pattern that I will now show you.” (Ex. 25:8-9)  Moses is show by divine revelation what God’s sanctuary, or Tabernacle, should look like.  “You shall make an ark of acacia wood..” The building of the Ark of the Covenant.  It shall be wood covered in gold, symbolizing Christ.  Christ is earthly, human, made of wood, but covered in the divine, made of gold.  He is perfectly human and divine.  The Ark should have two cherubim on them, and “between the two cherubim on the ark of the commandments, I will tell you all the commands that I wish you to give the Israelites.”  (Ex. 25:22). The Mercy Seat of Yahweh, where God dwells in the Tabernacle in the midst of the Israelites.  The golden table for the Showbread.  Again, it is made of acacia wood and plated with pure gold, representing Christ’s combined humanity and divinity.  Yahweh commands showbread to be present before Him “always.”  The Lampstand or Menorah, made of pure gold.  The lampstand is shaped like a tree with branches.  Christ is the vine and we are the branches.  We can do nothing without Him.  He is the light of the world. This is the symbolic “Tree of Life.”  The Tabernacle itself is a type of the Garden of Eden.  The Tree of Life grows in the Garden of Eden.  The Tabernacle is made with “fine linen” representing the purity and righteousness of God.  The sheets shall have “violet, purple and scarlet yarn.”  Purple representing the color of royalty, a king.  Scarlet representing sacrifice, blood and atonement. The Tabernacle is covered in “goat hair” and “ram’s skin dyed red.”  Christ is the most humble, and simplest of persons.  The Holy Tabernacle of God is covered in simple goat hair, just as the divinity of Christ lay hidden in a frail human form. Christ is also the sacrificial ram of God whose blood is spilled in atonement of our sins, thus the red dye. The Tabernacle walls are also made of acacia wood and plated with gold.  Christ, in His “golden” purity and divinity, is crucified on the wood of the Cross. Again, the pattern of wood overlaid with gold.  The Veil.  It too shall be made of “woven violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, and of fine linen twined, with cherubim embroidered on it.” The same colors for kingly royalty, sacrifice and atonement, and righteousness and purity. It separates the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies with the Ark.  Also, the construction of the Altar of Holocausts, made with bronze (which is generally used for sacrificial atonement offerings) and the Court of the Dwelling. Oil for the lamp is also made of “crushed olives.”  Jesus’ spirit was crushed on the Mount of Olives on the night of His betrayal and arrest. So too, our pride and egos must be crushed by the stone of Christ, so we will become the purest of oils burning for the love of Christ.

Exodus 21- 24:

Laws and Regulations:
Yahweh begins to dictate His laws and regulations to the Israelites.  These are placing moral and ethical boundaries on behavior.  He limits retribution to “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Ex. 21:23-25)  This does not proscribe violence as many today commonly think, rather this places a limitation on violence.  Yahweh introduces the moral idea of proportionality.  Likewise, slaves are to be released upon the seventh year, “he shall be given his freedom without cost.” (Ex. 21:2)

Breaking the Ten Commandments deserves death:
What ensues is a list of proscriptions for dealing with people who break the law, which often times results in “must be put to death.”  Murderers are to be put to death.  Kidnappers “shall be put to death.”  Whoever strikes or curses his mother or father, “shall be put to death.” (Ex. 21:17)  “You shall not let a sorceress live.  Anyone who lies with an animal shall be put to death.  Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed.” (Ex. 22:17-19)  “Never mention the name of any other god; it shall not be heard from your lips.” (Ex. 23:13)  Like the Canaanite ritual, “you shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” (Ex. 23:19)

Keep the Feast Days:
Yahweh instructs the Israelites to keep the feast days, most probably Passover, Pentecost and Booths.  “Three times a year you shall celebrate a pilgrim feast to me. You shall keep the feast of Unleavened Bread.” (Ex. 23:14-15)

The Angel of the Lord:
The Angel of the Lord is Yahweh Himself, or in our New Testament Trinitarian understanding, more like God the Son in human form.  There is a purposeful blending of Yahweh and the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, a sort of haziness and mysteriousness about who is Yahweh and who is His angel?  Are there two forms of Yahwehs, as Judaic second temple literature contemplated?  The intentional mysteriousness about the Angel of the Lord is a foreshadowing and the slow reveal of the three Persons of the Trinity.  It is the obscured reality in the Exodus that God is three Persons, but who are one.  Yahweh says, “See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. Be attentive to him and heed his voice.  Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin.  My authority resides in him.  If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.” (Ex. 23:20-22)  Who else but God can forgive sin?  Certainly not an angel.  Who carries the authority of Yahweh? Again, not an angel.  This is something, or more precise, someone, greater than an angel.  The angel is Yahweh, and Yahweh is the angel.  Yet, he is Yahweh, but somehow, mysteriously distinct from Yahweh. Yahweh is the angel in physical form, or most likely the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ.  The words above presage the words of God the Father at the Transfiguration of Jesus: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Mt. 17:5)

The Warrior Angel of Yahweh and the Canaanites:
Just as the warrior Yahweh led the Israelites out of Egypt with signs and wonders and did battle with the Egyptians as a pillar of fire and cloud of smoke, so now too, the warrior Angel of Yahweh will do battle with the giant clans of the Canaanites to seize the Promised Land.  “My angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites; and I will wipe them out.  Therefore, you shall not bow down in worship before their gods, nor shall you make anything like them; rather, you must demolish them and smash their sacred pillars.” (Ex. 23:23-24)  Again, Yahweh, or the Angel of Yahweh, will do battle with His enemies and those who serve the demonic “gods.”

The Giant Clans and Descendants of the Nephilim Targeted for Destruction:
Just as Nephilim and their progeny were targeted for destruction in the Great Flood of Noah, so now too, their descendants who survived are targeted for destruction. The Canaanites and the giant clans, the descendants of the Nephilim, as seen back in Genesis 6:1-4, reside in the land of Canaan. They worship the fallen angels and devils through idolatry, and engage in cultic human sacrifice and orgies. Yahweh tells the Israelites they must be thoroughly wiped out and utterly destroyed.  The seed and the corruption of the Nephilim must be eradicated from the earth, and especially, from the Promised Land.  This is the only instance in the Bible where a group of people is targeted for total annihilation, a holy war.  The Hebrew word is kharam/kherem, or “devote to destruction.”  Wherever the bloodlines of the Nephilim and giant clans are found, they are to be eradicated. “I will have the fear of me precede you, so that I will throw into panic every nation you reach.  I will make all your enemies turn from you in flight, and ahead of you I will send hornets to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.” (Ex. 27-28)  There is no clear cut answer in the commentaries whether the “hornets” are real, literal hornets (very probably), or figurative for the fear of Yahweh, or some other sort of plague or ailment, like leprosy.  In regards to the Canaanites: “You shall not make a covenant with them or their gods. They must not abide in your land, lest they make you sin against me by ensnaring you into worshiping their gods.” (Ex. 23:32-33)

The Ratification of the Covenant:
Then, Moses and “seventy of the elders of Israel” went up the mountain (Mt. Sinai) to worship Yahweh.  The number 70 is significant because it was 70 nations that were scattered amongst the earth at the Babel event, when God disinherited the nations.  God will now, through the Covenant with the one Jewish nation, “His portion,” begin to reclaim all the nations of the world, represented in the 70 nations scattered at Babel.  Through the seed of Abraham, all the world will be blessed.  The Israelites then offer holocausts and sacrifices of young bulls to Yahweh.  Then, “Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar.  Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered: ‘All that the Lord has said, we will heed and do.’  Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words of his.'” (Ex. 24:6-8) Then Moses and the seventy elders went up, “and they beheld the God of Israel.” (Ex. 24:10)  And finally, they have the sacred meal: “they beheld God, and ate and drank.” (Ex. 24:11)  Jesus later renews the New Covenant in His blood at the Last Supper, His own sacred meal of the Passover, transformed into the Catholic Mass.  As Jesus said at the Last Supper: “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Lk. 22:20)  The sprinkling of the blood of bulls of the Old Covenant is replaced with the blood of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant.  Moses then passed into the midst of the cloud on Mt. Sinai into the presence of God, and “there he stayed for forty days and forty nights.” (Ex. 24:18)

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. 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.  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)  “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.