With Questions and Proposed Answers
Background and printed text: Exodus 19
Exodus 19:1 In the third month to the exit of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, they came from the Thorny Desert in this day. 2And they journeyed from Corpses. And they came-to the Desert of My-Thorns [Sinai Desert]. And they camped in the desert. And Israel camped there in-front-of the mountain.
3And Draw [Moshe] ascended unto the Elohim. And Yehovah called unto him from the mountain to say, “So shalt thou say to the House of He-Will-Heel [Jacob], and thou hast told to the children of Israel, 4 ‘Ye—ye saw what I did to Egypt! And I carried you upon wings of eagles. And I brought you unto me.
5 “‘And now, if, hearkening, ye will hearken into my voice, and ye shall guard My Covenant! And ye shall be segregated to me from all the peoples. For all the Land is to me! 6And ye, ye shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy race to me!’ These are the speeches that thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”
7And Draw [Moshe] came. And he called to the elders of the people. And he put to their faces all these speeches that Yehovah commanded him. 8And they answered─all the people─together. And they said, “We will do all that Yehovah spoke!”
And Draw [Moshe] returned the speeches of the people unto Yehovah.
9And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe], “Behold I am coming unto thee in the darkness of the cloud for-the-sake-that the people will hearken via my speech with thee. And they will also believe via thee to Hider!”
And Draw [Moshe] told the speeches of the people unto Yehovah.
10And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe], “Go unto the people. And sanctify them today and tomorrow. And they shall launder their garments. 11And they shall be straight-forward-ones to the third day. For Yehovah will descend to the eyes of all the people upon Thorny Mountain in the third day. 12And thou shalt border the people around to say, ‘Guard-ye to yourselves to ascend into the mountain and to touch into his edge! Each toucher into the mountain: dying, shall die! 13Thou shalt not touch a hand into him! For stoning, he shall be stoned, or shooting, he shall be shot! If beast, if a man: he shall not live! They shall ascend into the mountain when extending the flow!’”
14And Draw [Moshe] descended unto the people from the mountain. And he sanctified the people. And they laundered their garments. 15And he said unto the people, “Be-ye straight-forward-ones for three days. Touch-ye-not unto a woman.”
16And he was in the third day when being the morning. And he was voices and lightnings and a heavy cloud upon the mountain, and the very strong voice of a shofar! And all the people that is in the camp quaked! 17And Draw [Moshe] exits from the camp with the people to meet the Elohim. And they positioned themselves in the undermost-part-of the mountain. 18And Mount-of-my-Thorns [Mount Sinai] is smoke─all of him—because Yehovah descended upon him in fire. And His smoke ascended as the smoke of the furnace. And all the mountain much quaked! 19And the voice of the Shofar was walking and very strong.
Draw [Moshe] will speak and the Elohim will answer him via the voice!
20And Yehovah descended upon Mount-of-my-Thorns [Mount Sinai] unto the head of the mountain. And Yehovah called to Draw [Moshe] unto the head of the mountain. And Draw [Moshe] ascended. 21And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe], “Descend! Witness into the people lest they will fragment unto Yehovah to see! And many shall fall from him! 22And also the priests who are approaching unto Yehovah shall sanctify themselves lest Yehovah will blow-up into them!”
23And Draw [Moshe] said unto Yehovah, “The people will not be able to ascend unto the Mount-of-my-Thorns [Mount Sinai], because Thou, Thou testified into us to say, ‘Border the Mountain and sanctify him!’” 24And Yehovah said unto him, “Go! Descend! And ascend thou, and Aharon with thee. And the priests and the people shall not fragment to ascend unto Yehovah lest He will blow-up into them!”
25And Moshe descended unto the people.
I. The Third Month’s Journey (verses 1-2)
The Israelis had now been away from Egypt for more than two months. They had most recently been in Thorny Desert. On this very day, they traveled from Thorny Desert and from Corpses, and they came to the Desert of My-Thorns—that is, to the Sinai Desert. They camped there in the desert, and in front of the mountain (Mount Sinai).
1. Why did Yehovah walk the Israelis into desert lands instead of lands where there were many plants and animals? Yehovah determined to show others far into the future that He can easily supply what humans need to live and do well in places where there are no provisions—certainly not enough for a group of any larger size. He also put the Israelis in a position to depend upon Him in order for them to know that humans live by what Yehovah speaks, and not just by having plenty of food.
2. Why did Yehovah wait until the third month to do what He is about to do, rather than immediately doing these things? This showed the Israelis of that time, the Israelis of the future, and all readers of the text that Yehovah had no trouble sustaining the Israelis and supplying them for months regardless of their having no faith in Him! The Israelis did fine.
3. What kind of a desert would be described as Thorny Desert? It is a desert with some plant life (and thus some rain), but the plants include many that have thorns (and are therefore not good for some types of domestic cattle). It is a desert that can harm humans who are either careless or who don’t know about some of the thorny plants. (There are deserts in this world that are known to never get any rain at all.)
4. What kind of a land would be called Corpses? It is either a land where dead bodies were found or where some war had taken place, and the slain were left for others to find. (There could be other reasons, but I couldn’t think of any.) It is a place that just doesn’t sound … hospitable.
5. Why would a place be called the Desert of My Thorns? I can think of one reason, and I am certain that there are other possible reasons. (Unless the Bible gives the reason or the reason is discovered elsewhere, the reader won’t know the reason.) One reason might be because someone who named the area also claimed it as being his/her own, including claiming its thorns as his/her property! (I, personally, like thorny plants; some produce beautiful flowers.)
6. The text states, “they camped in the desert.” Where else would they have camped? Deserts can include bodies of water (seas). The Israelis once camped by the sea. They are now camped where no water is present; yet, they have the Rock that supplies more than all the water they can use.
7. Why did they camp in front of a mountain? Yehovah’s cloud led them there. They always have this cloud that is leading them while they are on this journey. This mountain will be very important to the Israelis.
II. Moshe Ascends unto the Elohim (verses 3-4)
Moshe ascended unto the Elohim (the Gods). Yehovah called unto him from the mountain in order to say, “So shalt thou say to the House of Jacob, and thou hast told to the children of Israel…” Yehovah will be communicating many things to Moshe so that he will tell them to the Israelis.
Yehovah continued, “Ye—ye saw what I did to Egypt!” They had, of course. Yehovah then said, “And I carried you upon wings of eagles.” (See the questions regarding this.) He also said, “And I brought you unto me.”
1. How did Moshe know to ascend (go up) unto the Elohim? The next statement tells how Moshe knew: “Yehovah called unto him from the mountain.” Moshe was a prophet; therefore, Yehovah communicated to Moshe what He desired Moshe to know.
2. Was ascending the mountain to come to the Elohim (the Gods) scary for Moshe? The text doesn’t indicate that it was scary for him. Moshe was over 80 years old. He had feared Yehovah for years (and thus had done what was right); this wasn’t so different than coming to the Elohim in the bush that burned and wasn’t burned up.
3. What did Moshe see while in the mountain? The text doesn’t tell what he saw, but rather what he heard; Yehovah’s voice came from the mountain.
4. What does the Elohim mean, and why does it mean this? The Elohim means the Gods. It is plural. Yet, there is only One God. Still, He is all the Gods that there are! He is the God of the land and the God of the sea, the God of the heavens and the God of the depths. He is the God who gives life and the God who can save lives. Thus, He calls Himself the Elohim—the Gods!
5. What is a house in, “So shalt thou say to the House of Jacob”? First, it doesn’t refer to a structure or a building in which folks live when it is used like this. Instead, it refers to all the persons who participate with and are part of Jacob’s offspring. Thus, it includes the following:
- Jacob’s descendants
- The women who have married Jacob’s descendants
- The slaves who are owned by Jacob’s descendants
- All who have joined Jacob’s descendants to become part of the people (cultural group) of Jacob
6. Why did the Elohim make a distinction between the House of Jacob and the children of Israel? I propose that Yehovah had the later scatterings of Israel in mind when He used the children of Israel. While the House of Jacob refers to a unified group, the children of Israel can refer to a very scattered group that becomes very different groups according to very different cultures. Two cultures in lands distant from each other don’t form one house. Thus, whether they are unified (the House of Jacob) or scattered (the children of Israel), what the Elohim is about to describe is still Truth.
7. What are the children of Israel? They include all of Israel’s children, grand children, great grandchildren, etc., but they also include others who have joined themselves to Israel (Jacob) as if they were born to him, though they weren’t. Adults can have their own children by birth, but they might also have other children born from other parents who come and who become part of the family; they become children of those parents with the same responsibilities and the same care.
8. The Elohim said, “so shalt thou say…” He also said, “…and thou hast told…” Why is He wording these things in these ways? The first expression, “so shalt thou say,” is what Moshe must do in the future from the time of the command. “and thou hast told” is for a future time looking back on what Moshe told (the children of Israel) centuries ago. Thus, the text is indicating two very different timings for these communications: the first is given while Israel is unified (the House of Jacob), and the second is given even when Israel will be very scattered (the children of Israel).
9. The Elohim said, “Ye—ye saw what I did to Egypt!” To what event is He referring? While it is obvious to a reader that He is referring to the Israelis’ exit from Egypt and the events that took place before this exit, including all the plagues, what isn’t so obvious except to a careful reader is that He is also referring to a future event that He will again do to Egypt. Almost no information will be given at this time regarding this event, but other texts much later in the Bible will describe events that will happen in Israeli and Egyptian future times. The next question will give strong evidence to this.
10. The Elohim said, “And I carried you upon wings of eagles.” When did He do this? He certainly didn’t do this in the recent events of Israel’s coming out of Egypt! Nothing describes eagles or humans being flown on the wings of eagles during the original exit from Egypt. Thus, this must refer to a future event. Such an event is described in Isaiah:
Isaiah 40:27 “Why wilt thou say, Jacob, and thou hast spoken, Israel, ‘My way is hidden from Yehovah, and my justice has crossed-over from my Gods!’? 28Didn’t thou know?─if thou hadn’t heard? The Gods of the universe─Yehovah─Creator of the ends of the land─will not be weary! And He will not be exhausted! There is no successful-searching to His understanding 29Who gives to the weary-one power; and He will multiply might to the no-abilities-one! 30And youths shall be weary and shall be exhausted. And chosen-ones, stumbling, they shall stumble! 31And waiters-of Yehovah shall exchange power! They shall ascend a pinion [where pinions are the very small feathers on wings] as eagles! They shall run, and they shall not exhaust. They shall walk, and they shall not weary!”
Other texts describe the use of eagles to fly Israelis and other ‘good guys’ to Mount Zion during a future time called the Tribulation. The Elohim will truly carry the children of Israel upon wings of eagles!
11. When did the Elohim bring the children of Israel unto Him? He hasn’t done this yet! This refers to a future time when He brings them unto Mount Zion—a different mountain than the one being described in this text (Mount Sinai). He will bring them unto Him, since He will be there in that mountain!
III. Promises, Promises! (verses 5-6)
Yehovah continued, “And now, if, hearkening, ye will hearken into my voice, and ye shall guard My Covenant!” Yehovah told the Israelis what will happen to them: “And ye shall be segregated to me from all the peoples.” He then claimed ownership of all the land: “For all the Land is to me!” Yehovah assigned Moshe to speak these speeches unto the children of Israel.
1. What does hearken mean? It is a combination of three things: hearing, listening, and doing—that is, obeying.
2. Why did the Elohim say if? He knew that the Israelis won’t hearken into His voice (for the most part) for many centuries. They will perfectly hearken at a future time.
3. What will be the result when the children of Israel will hearken into the Elohim’s voice? The result will be their guarding His Covenant and their being segregated to Him from all the peoples.
4. What does guard mean? First, no one can guard anything unless it is in the person’s possession. The person must have the object (or person) to guard. Since what is being guarded is the Covenant, the children of Israel must both know of what the Covenant consists and they must believe this Covenant. Then, they must obey this Covenant (that is, any parts of the Covenant that tell them what to do). Since the Covenant is given to the children of Israel as a group (and not as individuals), the entire group must be guarding it at the same time in order for it to be being guarded. (If part of the children of Israel is guarding and the other part isn’t, it isn’t being guarded!)
5. Why guard a Covenant? Is someone trying to steal it? Many have tried to steal it, claiming that it is theirs when they either aren’t even Israelis, or they are individual Israelis claiming the Covenant for themselves instead of recognizing that the entire group is in mind.
Consider this: Yeshua summed up the Covenant’s goal:
Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came. And having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” 29And Yeshua answered him, “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hearken Israel! Yehovah, our Gods, Yehovah is One! 30And thou shalt love Yehovah thy God with all thy heart and with all thy being and with all thy mind and with all thy strength!’ This is the first commandment. 31And the second is like this: thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There isn’t another commandment greater than these.”
Now, since every Israeli born and everyone who joins himself/herself to the Israelis are or become part of the Covenant, every person in these categories is a living representative of that Covenant. Thus, to guard the Covenant is to guard them. If an Israeli is guarding the Covenant, then, he/she is also loving his/her neighbour (who is a representative of the Covenant) as himself/herself, and is thus willing to risk his/her life to save that neighbour’s life—to guard each representative of the Covenant.
The Elohim commanded these things many centuries before the time when these things must be done in order for Israel (and the world) to survive! (There are yet many centuries before the time of the Tribulation, when the Israelis will fulfill this command.)
6. What does segregated mean? It means to be intentionally separated from other groups in culture and in other ways.
When one group forces segregation on another group, it is generally from fear of the group being segregated. This is one form of racism—the view that a particular race is inferior (lower in qualities and behaviours) to another race. Yet, the fact that fear is involved shows that the group that segregates the other group actually sees the other group as superior in some ways. Forced segregation leads to many forms of cruelty against the segregated group.
When one group voluntarily segregates itself from other groups, this is generally done to preserve traditions and culture, and for the sake of the safety of the group segregating itself. Members of other groups sometimes grow very suspicious of the segregating group because they don’t know what secret practices are being done and what secret views of others are being held. The suspicions sometimes lead to accusations, and the accusations to violence even when the group that segregates itself is doing absolutely nothing wrong, and doesn’t view other groups in a bad way.
When Elohim segregates a group, as He will do to Israel, it is so that the group can serve the other groups in beneficial and even life-saving ways. This form of segregation doesn’t mean staying apart from the other groups, but rather involves being different in beneficial ways from the other groups.
7. In what ways will the Israelis be segregated from all peoples? They will be segregated in the following ways:
- The way they dress will be different (for examples, they must wear a ribbon of blue around their outer garments and four blue tassels on the corners of their outer garments)
- The way they eat will be different (for example, they must eat only land animals that have entirely split hooves that are in the forms of two toe sections, and that bring up a food pellet to re-ingest from it; thus, they cannot eat pork, since pigs don’t bring up a food pellet)
- The way they teach will be different (since they will use themselves and their practices as teaching tools)
- What they consider important will be different (since they will be centered on the Teachings of Yehovah)
There are many other differences that will keep the Israelis segregated from the other races and peoples. Yet, if anyone from the other races and peoples desire to become part of the people of Israel, that person can (with one or two exceptions that the Torah—the Teaching of Yehovah—lists).
8. Why did the Elohim say, “ye shall be segregated to me”? Segregation always indicates separation from, but also separation to someone or something. Yehovah is the owner of the people of Israelis; their segregation will be to the Elohim, doing what He determines for them to do.
9. Why doesn’t Yehovah desire all the peoples of the world to be segregated to Him? That wouldn’t be the most beneficial. Every cultural group has its purposes and excellencies; they need to be pursuing those things. The Israelis are segregated to be priests between members of the other cultures and Yehovah. There is no need for everyone to be a priest; others must produce other things and serve in other ways. (Anyone can be a fearer of Yehovah and a doer of righteousness; that has nothing to do with this segregation.)
10. Doesn’t this mean that the Israelis are special above all the other peoples of the world? The Israelis are segregated to serve (as in, slave for) the other peoples of the world! If being a slave to others makes one special, the Israelis are special. If being a slave makes one above others, that makes no sense. If being given an assignment that differs from the assignments given to others makes one special, what about the other assignments that others are given? Yet, the Israelis will lead because they will do what is right. (The other peoples and races will have some members who will also do what is right, but other members will determine to stand against doing right, and will eventually rebel against Yehovah.)
11. What does all the land being to the Elohim have to do with the segregation of the Israelis? What land is this? If Yehovah had said, “For the land is to me,” He would probably have been declaring His ownership over Israel. By saying “all the land,” however, He indicates that the entire planet’s land that is above water belongs to Him! Therefore, He can segregate one group of creatures (humans) made from that land to be His own property! (All humans are made from soil; their physical bodies are made from things that grow from the soil.)
12. What is a priest? A priest is a person who takes information and messages from a deity (a god, or the real God), and delivers those messages to humans; the priest also takes information and messages from humans, and delivers them to a deity (a god, or the real God). Thus, a priest is a ‘go-between’ from a god to man and from man to a god. Priests of the Gods of the Bible act as ‘go-betweens’ only for Yehovah (that is, the Elohim) and humans, and they always accurately give communications from Yehovah. (Many consider themselves to be priests who are not Biblical priests of the Elohim, and many are considered priests when they are not. Most are priests to false gods—gods who really aren’t gods at all.)
13. What is a kingdom of priests? It is a kingdom made up entirely of priests! Thus, even the Israeli children will behave as priests when the Israelis are a kingdom of priests!
14. What does holy mean? It means owned; it doesn’t mean anything more than this, less than this, or different from this.
Ownership is so important in the Bible. It always has to do with responsibility, and relationships are always built on ownership. Slaves in the Bible were often greatly loved, and stating that one is another’s slave was very good (showing willingness to serve).
15. What is a holy race? It is a large group of individuals who come from just one set of ancestors, and all members of that group are owned by the same owner(s)!
16. What race is this, and who owns this race? This is the race that comes from Isaac and Rivka (Rebecca) through Jacob and his two wives and two concubines.
Since the text says, “ye shall be … a holy race to me,” the owner is the Elohim!
17. What is the position of the many who joined themselves to Israel, but are not part of the race of Israel, having come from many other races? If they have the faith of Avraham, they are children of Avraham as much as if they had been born to Avraham!
Galatians 3:7 They who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Thus, though they were not born from Avraham, they are still accounted as offspring of Avraham. The same is true regarding Israel. Many who are not originally of the race of Israel, but who joined themselves to Israel have become joined to the race that belongs to Yehovah! Besides this, a race always includes the women who have married into it; otherwise, there would be no race anywhere.
Thus, the position of those who have become part of Israel either by marriage or by some other permanent means is the same as those who are direct offspring from Isaac and Jacob.
18. The Elohim said, “These are the speeches that thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” It appears to be just one speech. Why is it considered speeches? Each part of this one speech is in itself a complete speech. (Perhaps you can tell by the questions that I asked about each part!) The children of Israel need to hear and understand every speech!
19. Did the Israelis understand these speeches when Moshe told them? They didn’t understand—or if they did, they didn’t believe these things. The Israelis under Moshe didn’t guard the Covenant. They were segregated, but it was from the strong Hand of Yehovah, not from the faith that they held in common.
IV. Moshe Presents the Speeches (verses 7-8)
Moshe came to the Israeli camp. He then called to the elders of the people. He then put all these speeches that Yehovah commanded him directly to the faces of these elders.
All the people answered together. They said, “We will do all that Yehovah spoke!”
1. Why did Moshe call the elders of the people? The elders first had to hear what the Elohim said to Moshe, and then they could tell those whom they served as leaders. They needed to understand in case there were questions.
2. Why does the text state, “he put to their faces all these speeches that Yehovah commanded him”? Moshe made certain that he saw them and that they saw him face to face in order to be certain that the elders understood just how important this is. This communication had to be very direct and very clear.
3. If Moshe was speaking only to the elders, how could all the people together answer Moshe? After the elders told the Israelis what the Elohim had said, the Israelis then came together and assured Moshe that they will do all that Yehovah spoke.
4. Did the Israelis do all that Yehovah spoke right after this event? No! At this time, though, they thought that they would obey.
V. Moshe Returns Speeches to Yehovah (verse 8)
Moshe then returned the speeches of the people of Israel to Yehovah (as if Yehovah hadn’t heard).
1. Why did Moshe return the speeches of the people unto Yehovah? Didn’t Yehovah hear what they said? Yehovah did hear what they said. Yet, both Moshe and Yehovah desired to converse with each other, and Yehovah had more to say to Moshe. Moshe was reporting to Yehovah as one under the command of a commanding officer.
2. Why did Yehovah come in the darkness of a cloud, according to this text? Yehovah did this so that the people of Israel will hearken by means of Yehovah’s speech with Moshe. The Israelis needed to see wonders and great miracles with mystery in order to hearken to what Moshe said. Thus, Moshe needed to go out of their sight with great fanfare in order for them to be convinced enough to hearken. The Israelis would not have believed Moshe, had Yehovah just spoken directly to Moshe without all the show.
3. Yehovah then added, “And they will also believe via thee to Hider!” When is Hider, and will they believe Moshe to Hider in Moshe’s day? Hider can refer to two very different things. First, it refers to the beginning of the period of time just after the revealed periods of time end. The Bible reveals the periods of time from the creation of the world unto the creation of the New Earth. Anything beyond that hides from humans, since the Bible doesn’t describe what will occur (except for a small period of time at the beginning of the New Earth).
Secondly, I propose that Hider refers to Yehovah Himself Who intentionally hides Himself from view so that humans can live by faith.
If these both are correct, the Israelis will believe Moshe to Hider—that is, to the period of time right up to the end of this planet and the creation of the New Earth once Israel comes to faith, and they will believe Moshe to Yehovah—that is, all the way to faith in Yehovah Himself!
VI. The Darkness of the Cloud (verse 9)
Yehovah now said unto Moshe, “Behold I am coming unto thee in the darkness of the cloud for-the-sake-that the people will hearken via my speech with thee. And they will also believe into thee to Hider!”
1. Why does the text again state that Moshe told the speeches of the people unto Yehovah? Besides the answer that I already proposed above, this shows one very important part of prayer: communicating to Yehovah what others said to Yehovah. It shows what a priest truly does.
If anyone asks you to pray for him/her, that person is asking you to take on the role of a priest! It is a very important responsibility!
VII. Moshe Again Tells Yehovah the Speeches (verse 9
Moshe now had more Israeli speeches to tell Yehovah.
1. Why does the text again state that Moshe told the speeches of the people unto Yehovah? This shows the reader that Moshe heard a number of speeches from the Israelis, and that Moshe personally communicated these speeches to Yehovah to obtain Yehovah’s responses (if any). Moshe wasn’t with Yehovah to only hear what Yehovah had to say, but also to communicate to Yehovah what the Israelis had to say.
VIII. Sanctification and the Dangerous Descent (verses 10-13)
Yehovah said unto Moshe, “Go unto the people. And sanctify them today and tomorrow.” He then told them what to do: “And they shall launder their garments.”
He then told Moshe how the Israelis must behave: “And they shall be straight-forward-ones to the third day.” Yehovah gave the reason: “For Yehovah will descend to the eyes of all the people upon Thorny Mountain in the third day.”
Yehovah now warned of great danger by telling Moshe of the restrictions: “And thou shalt border the people around to say, ‘Guard-ye to yourselves to ascend into the mountain and to touch into his edge!’” (He was telling them to not ascend into the mountain, and even to not touch into the mountain’s edge!) Yehovah gave the reason why: “Each toucher into the mountain: dying, shall die!” Yehovah made the warning very specific: “Thou shalt not touch a hand into him!” If a person were to throw a stone to or at the mountain, “stoning, he shall be stoned!” If a person were to shoot an arrow toward the mountain, “shooting, he shall be shot!” Even if an animal goes to the mountain, or if a man tries to get up the mountain, “If beast, if a man: he shall not live!” This was a very strong warning!
Yehovah finished this speech by telling when the Israelis will ascend into the mountain: “when extending the flow!”
1. What does sanctify mean? It is the verb form (the action form) of holy; thus, it means to cause something to be owned (that was either unowned before, or had different ownership).
2. Why did Moshe need to sanctify the people if Yehovah already owned them? While Yehovah owns all things, the Israelis still hadn’t formally had their ownership transferred to Yehovah! Thus, the Israelis were still unowned, and they needed to witness this transfer of ownership.
3. Why did Moshe need to do this “today and tomorrow”? Sanctifying several million individuals took time—that is, two days.
4. What process was involved in sanctification? The text doesn’t give the steps. Thus, sanctification can be accomplished in a number of different ways with the very same result: the person or group becomes owned by Yehovah!
5. Why did they need to launder their garments? They had to be clean (versus unclean, not versus soiled or dirty). Being clean in this way meant that they could participate in the congregation of Israel; if they were unclean, they were not to be part of a congregation (until they were clean). Congregating means coming together and assembling for a single purpose.
6. What does straight forward ones mean? This means persons who do not deviate (turn aside to go another way or to behave a different way) from either a behaviour, a way or road, or from an instruction.
Yehovah commanded that the Israelis must remain as they are (sanctified and with laundered clothing) to the third day. If they weren’t being straight-forward, they would instead return to their normal ways of living, ways that were crooked and that caused them to become unclean (sin always makes a person unclean).
A person can become unclean without sinning, and normal processes in life will cause a person to become unclean. There is no sinfulness in becoming unclean. Sin, however, always makes a person unclean, as I mentioned before.
Being straight-forward, then, indicates continuing as clean (versus unclean), and doing what is right in the eyes of Yehovah.
7. Why, again, will Yehovah descend upon Mount Sinai in the third day? Yehovah will do this so that the Israelis will hearken to Moshe when he gives the speeches of Yehovah to them.
8. What does “border the people around” mean? This means to have them stand around the border of the mountain (Mount Sinai) so that they will surround the mountain (and be a witness of what occurs).
9. What does “Guard-ye to yourselves to ascend into the mountain” mean? This sounds like it means that the Israelis must ascend into the mountain—that is, this is how it comes across in English. It is the opposite in Hebrew; this guarding is to make certain that they don’t ascend into the mountain. The next sentence shows this.
10. Why was Yehovah so strongly against any Israeli ascending into the mountain and even touching the very edge of the mountain? I propose that this has everything to do with End Times events (events that the Bible declares will occur during the End Times, which include the seven years of Tribulation that will occur many centuries from today). Another mountain will be important at that time: Mount Zion. (It is presently a small hill in Jerusalem, but it will be raised a huge mountain during the Tribulation.) When Mount Zion has been raised into a huge and very tall mountain, it will be a refuge for Israelis and friends of the Israelis who are willing to risk their lives for Israeli brothers and Israeli persons in need. Only those who are willing to risk and give their lives for the Israelis and friends of the Israelis will be permitted entry to this mountain; the rest will be kept out and will eventually be killed (unless they also become intentional heroes and heroines before it is too late). Yehovah, in the form of Yeshua, will descend on that mountain (Mount Zion); all who have the faith and life-saving behaviour of Moshe will be granted entrance. Those (Israeli or not) who touch Mount Zion and who are unwilling to risk their own lives to save the lives of Israelis and their friends will not live!
11. According to verse 13, what will happen to an Israeli who throws or slings a stone at Mount Sinai at this time? That person will be stoned to death!
Stoning involves having a group of folks surround the person about to be stoned, who is in the middle of a circle of these folks. They then take stones and rocks, and throw them as hard as they can at the person in the middle, hitting the person in any way they can until the person is dead. They then take the stones thrown, and cover the person. When the Israelis did this, it was usually a quick death; one rock to the head of the person would knock the person out, and the rest of the thrown rocks would ‘finish the person off.’ This kind of execution showed the contempt and anger of the crowd against the person being stoned, since that person was considered endangering the entire crowd by bringing the fierce anger of Yehovah against them if they didn’t stop this person.
Stoning was also used against innocent persons later in Israel’s history; such stonings are murder, and Yehovah keeps an account of them.
12. What will happen to an Israeli who shoots an arrow at the mountain at this time, and why? The Israeli will be shot with an arrow! I propose that this also refers to events on the future Mount Zion when enemies of Israel will shoot arrows at inhabitants of Mount Zion. Later in the Tribulation, they will not succeed in harming anyone, but they themselves will be shot with arrows and will die!
13. What will happen if a bull goes too close to Mount Sinai, and crosses onto the edge of the mountain? The bull must be put to death!
14. Yehovah told Moshe to say, “They shall ascend into the mountain when extending the flow.” What does this mean? The word for flow (as in the flowing of waters, or the flowing of objects that are in motion) is the word Jubilee. (That is what Jubilee means.) Jubilee is a time of flowing—that is, when Israeli slaves of Israelis flow back to their own inheritances, and when Israeli lands temporarily sold to fellow-Israelis flow back to their owners. Debts flow back to a debt-free accounting (meaning that those who owe debts now owe nothing).
The extending of the flow, or the extending of the Jubilee will occur near and at the end of the Tribulation. That is when the Israelis (who are willing to risk and give their lives to save the lives of their brethren) will ascend into the mountain at that time (Mount Zion). The Israelis will be in faith at that time, and will be truly clean before Yehovah (cleansed from all unrighteousness—that is, from all things that are sin).
IX. Sanctification and Women (verses 14-15)
Moshe descended from the mountain to come unto the people. He then sanctified the people. Afterward, they laundered their garments.
Moshe said unto the people, “Be-ye straight-forward-ones for three days. Touch-ye-not unto a woman.” (See the questions.)
1. What water did they use to launder their garments? They used the water flowing from the Rock (the Rock being Messiah Himself).
2. Why did they have to launder their garments? What does this picture? Garments can picture several things in the Bible:
Genesis 38:19 And she put on the garments of her widowhood.
Isaiah 59:17 And He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing.
Isaiah 61:10 He clothed me with the garments of salvation; He covered me with the robe of righteousness…
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…
Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she shall be arrayed in fine, clean and white linen. For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Laundered garments indirectly picture righteousness. The Israelis were not righteous, but they were told to do certain things that picture future events.
3. Why did Yehovah command the Israelis to not touch unto a woman? Were women inferior, unclean and to be avoided? They were not inferior in any way.
A woman might be on her menstrual cycle, in which case she is unclean (but not at all sinful from this). If a man and a woman have sexual intercourse, they are both unclean (but not at all sinful if they are married to each other). The idea was to remain clean for these couple of days.
A woman wasn’t be avoided, but physical contact with a woman was to be avoided during these several days so that there would be no uncleanness beyond what was beyond the control of the Israelis. Yehovah’s command was as much to the women as it was to the men!
4. Was there a problem if an Israeli man or woman was already unclean by something beyond what he or she could avoid? No. This command was exactly as given:
They were commanded to
- Be sanctified
- Launder their garments
- Refrain from touching a woman.
This didn’t stop them from holding their babies (male or female) and from doing the things that were normal to life.
X. Sound, Earthquake, Smoke and Terror (verses 16-19)
The morning of the third day after Moshe’s sanctification of the Israelis, the entire camp heard voices, saw lightnings, saw a heavy could upon the mountain, and heard the very strong voice of a shofar! Everyone in the camp began to shake from the terror of these things.
Moshe and the Israelis exited the camp to meet the Elohim (Gods). They positioned themselves right under the mountain (without going near enough to touch it).
All of Mount Sinai is smoke because Yehovah descended upon him in fire. His smoke ascended as the smoke of the furnace! All the mountain greatly shook with an earthquake. The voice of the shofar was walking—traveling along the land—and was very strong!
1. Who was in the third day (verse 16)? The event about to be described is he.
2. What four things did the Israelis witness on this morning of the third day? The Israelis witnessed the following:
- A heavy cloud upon the mountain
- The very strong voice of a shofar
3. What is a shofar? It is a ram’s horn that has been hollowed out so that it can be blown like a trumpet. The following is a picture of a shofar:
By Olve Utne,
a Temani (Yemeni Jewish) style shofar made from a horn of the greater kudu.
The following is a picture of the animal called the greater kudu from which ram’s horns like the above are acquired:
(Uploaded by L0k1m0nk33 at en.wikipedia)
The following is a picture of a man blowing the shofar:
4. Why did all the people in the camp quake?
- The voices were very loud; they probably sounded like thunder!
- The lightnings were very bright, and they hadn’t been there moments ago.
- The heavy cloud upon the mountain suddenly had appeared; the Israelis didn’t know what was in the cloud.
- The shofar had a very strong voice! It was very loud, and it lasted quite a while!
With all these things together, the Israelis were terrified of the largeness and power of this God Who had also caused the terrifying plagues in Egypt!
5. If the people [singular] was so afraid, why did this group exit with Moshe to meet the Elohim? The Israelis were curious, and they figured that they should stay with Moshe. (Moshe is safety.)
6. Where did they go? They positioned themselves in the ‘undermost’ part of the mountain—that is, as close as they could come without actually beginning to go up the mountain.
7. Did Mount Sinai become smoke? The mountain didn’t become smoke, but rather it was totally surrounded by smoke over all of its surfaces so that all the Israelis could see was smoke.
8. Why did Yehovah’s fire cause so much smoke? This way, the Israelis could not look upon Yehovah; He was still hidden! Yet, He descended upon the mountain in fire, so that they could see His fire! (The fire didn’t burn up the mountain; it was still there when Yehovah’s fire was gone.)
9. How does the smoke of a furnace ascend? It goes up very rapidly because of its great heat!
10. What fifth thing did the Israelis also experience at the same time? They experienced a great earthquake of the mountain! Thus, they saw, heard and felt these things!
11. The text says, “the voice of the Shofar was walking.” What does this mean? I would not have known what this meant except for an experience I had as a child. I was near a lighthouse when clouds moved in. Modern lighthouses can use their light when it is clear, but they can also use their horns when it isn’t. The sound will warn ships that there is danger in the waters if they get too close. Now, when the lighthouse horn sounded, it was loud! It was so loud, that the concrete walkway that stood about ten feet above the water vibrated. The vibrations were so strong, that I as a child felt as if I would slide into the water! The horn sounded for about five seconds (which seemed like forever). When it stopped, I thought I would hear silence, but I didn’t! I could hear the sound continue across the water. It was quieter, but it continued for a number of seconds! It was walking! This is what the Israelis experienced with the sound of the shofar! It had the loudness of a blasting horn of a lighthouse!
XI. Moshe and the Elohim Communicate (verse 19)
Moshe will speak to the Elohim, and He will answer Moshe via the voice!
1. What did Moshe say to the Elohim? The text doesn’t say what he said.
2. How could Moshe’s voice be heard with the much greater sounds occurring? The Elohim could have heard Moshe had he whispered, or even had he spoken to Him in his thoughts! The Elohim isn’t hard of hearing.
3. What did the Elohim answer? Again, the text doesn’t give this information.
4. Did the Israelis hear the answer? They did! I just don’t know if they understood! (The Hebrew language sometimes uses voice for thunder!)
XII. Yehovah Descends; Danger is to the Israelis (verses 20-22)
Yehovah descended upon Mount Sinai’s head. Yehovah then called to Moshe, summoning him unto the head of the mountain. Moshe ascended.
Yehovah said unto Moshe, “Descend! Witness into the people lest they will fragment unto Yehovah to see! And many shall fall from him!”
Yehovah also warned, “And also the priests who are approaching unto Yehovah shall sanctify themselves lest Yehovah will blow-up into them!”
1. Hadn’t Yehovah already descended (verse 18)? He had already descended as fire; I cannot tell from the text whether He then descended in a form other than fire, or whether this is telling the reader again that He descended (in person).
2. Why did Yehovah call to Moshe to come unto the head (top) of the mountain? Yehovah desired that the Israelis see Moshe ascending to speak in person with Yehovah. Yehovah knew that the Israelis would not have believed any report stating that Yehovah spoke directly to Moshe to give what Yehovah is about to give unless the Israelis saw Moshe ascend to this terrifying God.
3. It seems that Yehovah was about to tell Moshe something when Yehovah suddenly commanded Moshe, “Descend! Witness into the people lest they will fragment unto Yehovah to see! And many shall fall from him!” If this is true, what was happening? The Israelis began “to fragment” (that is, to come out of the group and split up into small groups) to follow Moshe up the mountain in order to see Yehovah! If they were to do this, they would be killed! (They are not ready to see Yehovah; Moshe is.)
4. Were the priests any more ready than the Israelis? No! Any of them approaching unto Yehovah also had to sanctify themselves lest Yehovah would blow up into them!
5. What does blow up into them mean? The Hebrew word has the following acceptations (accepted uses): to break through or down or over; burst, burst open, breach; to break or burst out (from womb or enclosure); to break into or open; to break up or away, break in pieces; to use violence. I saw this as describing blowing up into the priests if they violated.
6. What did the priests have to do to sanctify themselves? They had to both declare and demonstrate that they are owned by Yehovah (and not by false gods)! (The Israeli priests were as pagan as the Egyptians, as were the rest of the Israelis—a few being exceptions.)
XIII. Confusion Over Ascending or Not (verses 23-24)
Moshe said unto Yehovah, “The people will not be able to ascend unto the Mount-of-my-Thorns [Mount Sinai], because Thou, Thou testified into us to say, ‘Border the Mountain and sanctify him!’”
Yehovah replied, “Go! Descend!” Moshe had to deliver Yehovah’s communications to the Israelis. Yehovah gave more commands: “And ascend thou, and Aharon with thee.”
As for the rest, Yehovah said, “And the priests and the people shall not fragment to ascend unto Yehovah lest He will blow-up into them!”
1. Why did Moshe say unto Yehovah, “The people will not be able to ascend unto the Mount Sinai because Thou, Thou testified into us to say, ‘Border the Mountain and sanctify him’”? Had Yehovah said that the people should ascend, or had He said that they must not ascend? Yehovah had said that the people must not ascend, but He also said (verse 13): “They shall ascend into the mountain when extending the flow.” Moshe was confused by this.
2. Aren’t the two statements about ascending or not ascending the mountain in conflict with each other? They would be except for one little detail: they have very different timings. The Israelis must not ascend Mount Sinai at this time; they will die. They Israelis must ascend Mount Zion far into the future in order to live. Moshe didn’t immediately realize the difference in the timings of Yehovah’s statements.
3. Did Yehovah explain to Moshe what had confused Moshe? Why, or why not? Yehovah did not explain these things to Moshe. He left it up to the readers and Moshe to figure out both statements so that they are not in conflict with each other. Timing will so often be the answer in what appears to be conflicts in the Bible.
4. Why did Yehovah desire that Aharon ascend with Moshe? The Bible always establishes that at least two witnesses must be present for a testimony to be legally valid (that is, to be considered in a court as acceptable). Had Moshe alone said what Yehovah said and did, the Israelis would not be required to consider Moshe’s testimony as valid. If Aharon accompanies Moshe and can testify what Yehovah will do and say, the Israelis will have two witnesses.
XIV. Moshe Descended the Mountain (verse 25)
Moshe then went down the mountain to return to the Israelis. He had life-saving information.
1. What was the purpose for Moshe descending Mount Sinai at this point? It was to bring Aharon up with him to meet with Yehovah.
2. How did the Israelis respond to Moshe’s arrival? While the text doesn’t give this information, the Israelis had been terrified by the sights and sounds on Mount Sinai. Moshe had gone up, and had returned without harm. When both Moshe and Aharon now ascend Mount Sinai, they won’t be so afraid.