Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Tale Of Two Sons

Abraham and Isaac
Jews and Christians alike are familiar with the story in Gen 22 where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac. Much has been written about it, and it even is referred to simply as the Binding or Akedah in Hebrew. It is a famous story. "It is one of the most widely read passages of Scripture in the Jewish liturgy, recited during every morning service and also during Rosh Hashanah" - The Akedah - the Binding of Isaac [1]. And believers know that the Binding is a foreshadow of God the Father sacrificing his Son Jesus Christ. Searching for parallels between Isaac and Jesus yields at least 30 Similarities [2], including these, you can easily find other lists.

  • Each son is called the only son of his father.
  • The sons had been born with divine intervention.
  • Both were named by God before birth
  • The son was laid upon the wood/cross, which they carried.
  • Both were obedient unto death.
  • The sacrifices take place near each other (Mt. Moriah OT, Mt. Calvary NT).

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

But "Abraham had TWO sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman" - Galatians 4:22. In the Gen 22 account, Isaac is referred to as Abraham's only son "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." There are several explanations of this seeming contradiction - Yahoo Answers [3].
  • "Abram" was the father of Ishmael and "Abraham" was the father of Isaac: thus "Abraham" had only one son.
  • Ishmael was the son of a concubine and not an heir.
  • Ishmael and Hagar had been disowned by and legally removed from the family.
  • Isaac is the only son of the promise, the covenant.

Ishmael was 13 years older than Isaac
Paul uses the two sons of Abraham to talk about the two covenants. But there is another, older connection between the boys. While Genesis 22 gets read frequently, Genesis 21 is not so widely known. Genesis 21 is the account of Ishmael and Hagar being banished from the family of Abraham. Where else have we seen this - one sacrificed, one sent away?

Like Cain and Abel [4], the story of Isaac and Ishmael foreshadows a ceremony at the Tabernacle hundreds of years later. Consider this, one was (almost) sacrificed, one was sent away. This is exactly what happens during Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement in English. Two goats were selected, one goat sacrificed for the Lord, and one goat (Azazel) to be removed, Azazel in Hebrew is often translated scapegoat in English. The Azazel goat bore the guilt of the nation of Israel. This has been brought out by Julia Blum in her book Abraham Had Two Sons [5].

Consider these very specific parallels

The High Priest lays hands on the live goat
and puts the sins of Israel on its head
Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering -  Lev 16:15
Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son (Isaac). - Gen 22:10

Send it (Azazel) away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. - Lev 16:21
He (Abraham) gave it and the boy (Ishmael) to Hagar, and sent her away. - Gen 21:14

He shall release the goat in the wilderness. - Lev 16:22
Ishmael grew and dwelt in the wilderness. Gen 21:20

The supernatural son Isaac represents righteousness, and he was (almost) sacrificed. The natural son Ishmael represents sin and was sent away. It is not a perfect parallel with Leviticus 16 because the order is backwards. Ishmael was sent away before Isaac was sacrificed. And of course Isaac wasn't actually killed like the goat. And unlike the Azazel, Ishmael must have stayed in contact because we read in Genesis 25:7 that both Isaac and Ishmael buried their father Abraham.

But like Cain and Abel [4], the parallel between Isaac and Ishmael with the two goats of Leviticus 16 is there.

But God Had Two Sons

We realize that Isaac (and the first goat) represent Jesus the Messiah as we discussed above. But what about Ishmael and the Azazel goat? Who do they represent?

The Churches of God teach that Satan is represented by the Azazel goat. See how this will play out in the future.
Rev 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

God: the most popular
scapegoat for our sins
The dragon is Satan, the Azazel who "shall bear on itself all their iniquities" because he "deceived the nations". The angel is the "man who stands in readiness" some translations say "a fit man", the abyss is the wilderness. You can read more about The Day of Atonement at United Church of God God's Holy Day Plan - Atonement [6].

Others disagree with this interpretation, and teach that Jesus fulfills the symbolism of of the both goats. As best I can tell, because Jesus is righteous, He does not fit the symbolism associated with Azazel.

But we just saw other lesser types of the two goats, like Cain and Abel, and like Isaac and Ishmael, perhaps there is another type that fulfills the two goats. That is, maybe there is an Old Testament fulfillment of the two goats. Julia Blum makes that argument in Abraham Had Two Sons [5].

Christians are used to the phrase "son of God". Plenty of verses show that believers are considered sons of God even in this life, like this one, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" -  Romans 8:14. But there are only two that God calls "My Son" and "firstborn" in the Bible. Most will guess Jesus as one of them, "Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son (Jesus), My Chosen One; listen to Him!” - Luke 9:35. And  "He (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead so that he himself may become first in all things." - Col 1:18.

The other is the nation of Israel, "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord, Israel is My son, My firstborn." - Exodus 4:22. Both points in one verse. We don't normally think of an entire nation as a son, but that's what it says.

It's straightforward to see that Jesus fulfills the type of the sacrificed goat. How does the nation of Israel fulfill the type of the Azazel? Julia Blum:

Every Christian and Messianic believer knows that Genesis 22 symbolizes the Sacrifice of Yeshua and that Isaac going to the altar in Genesis 22 is a type of Yeshua. However, if we follow this logic, then we realize that Genesis 21 symbolizes the part of the sacrifice that was sent–alive–to bear the sins and iniquities of the peoples. Thus, Ishmael, the son who was sent into the wilderness, is a type of… Israel, the scapegoat!

Possible migration of the ten "lost" tribes
Consider what happened to the nation of Israel, it was one kingdom under Kings Saul, David and Solomon. Then in the days of Solomon's son, it split in two, the Southern kingdom dominated by the tribe of Judah, the Northern kingdom dominated by the tribe of Ephraim, but also called Samaria. The Northern kingdom fell away from God more quickly than the Southern kingdom, and it was exiled first, becoming known as the Ten Lost Tribes. Read a more thorough history at The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy [7].

2 Kings 7:23 The LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.
The Southern kingdom were more righteous, but their sins caught up with them and were also taken captive.

Like the Assyrians, the Babylonians deported vanquished peoples to maintain tighter control over conquered territories.
As their cousins in the northern kingdom of Israel fell into captivity by Assyria more than a century earlier, Judah's inhabitants now were taken to Babylon. The Downfall of Judah—Exile to Babylon [8]

Both kingdoms were exiled due to idolatry, exile being likened to the wilderness. The Jews never lost their national identity like the rest of the tribes of Israel.

That is the parallel with the Azazel goat, Israel the firstborn son was exiled, sent away. Jesus, also called the firstborn son, parallels the first goat, sacrificed for sin.  And in a counter-intuitive twist, in this instance Ishmael represents Israel. Israel was sent away before Jesus was sacrificed like Ishmael was sent away before Isaac was (almost) sacrificed. In a sense, the second goat was a prophecy that Israel would be exiled to the wilderness of this world. Judah returned to Jerusalem, but was exiled again after the destruction of the second Temple in 70AD, miraculously returning to their homeland in the 20th century. That is, Judah was sent away after Jesus' sacrifice.

Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, one was sacrificed, one was sent away.

God had two sons, Jesus and the nation of Israel, one was sacrificed, one was sent away.


1. http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Prayers/Daily_Prayers/Akedah/akedah.html
2. https://derekspain.com/2014/03/10/the-answers-30-similarities/
3. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071211132625AACGfxt
4. http://jlfreeman-1.blogspot.com/2016/08/a-tale-of-two-siblings.html
5. https://www.amazon.com/Abraham-Had-Sons-Julia-Blum/dp/1517737966
6. https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind/atonement-removal
7. https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-united-states-and-britain-in-bible-prophecy
8. http://www.ucg.ca/booklets/bible-and-archaeology-part-2/downfall-judah-exile-babylon

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Work Versus Work

I am a Sabbath keeper, but I'm not Jewish. Most people have some idea of what Sabbath means, many can probably recite the commandment "Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy". And many can tell when the Sabbath occurs whether they themselves keep it or not. But even in a small congregation, people will differ on HOW to keep it holy. For instance,
  • Is it OK to watch TV?
  • Read a book?
  • Do household chores?
  • Eat in a restaurant?
  • Drive a car?
  • Turn on lights?
  • Cook a meal?
There are two Hebrew words translated as work, avodah and melacha, both used in the Sabbath commandment. "Six days shall you avodah, and do all your melacha." - Exodus 20:8. And in Genesis 2:2-3, it says that God rested from HIS melacha in creating the Sabbath day. Well, I thought it would be easy and helpful to understand the difference between the two words for work, so that I too could rest from my avodah and my melacha on the Sabbath. Not as easy as I thought.

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Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

Avodah seems to be the easier word to define. It generally means the labor we do, especially to earn a living, or the kind of work that makes one tired, also described as obligatory work. When God gave the Ten Commandments [1], the first thing He says is "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." - Exodus 20:2. That word slavery, also translated bondage, is avodah. Do avodah type work, then rest. The word avodah is also translated worship in the context of the work done in the Tabernacle.

Melacha is a little harder to define. It says God rested from melacha, not avodah. I think it is safe to say that God does not tire out like man, and didn't need rest like us. It says three times in Genesis 2 that He rested from His melacha, which was His work of creating - not like creating the heavens and the earth, which He created out of nothing, but taking that creation, specifically earth,  and fashioning it into something new. He fashioned the dry land, created plants and animals and mankind. He created the heavens and the earth, He made the plants, animals, and man. Mankind has a limited ability to fashion the world into new things too, that is, we make stuff according to our will. "Melacha is transforming into a higher state, through intelligent intervention." - Big Creator, Little Creator [2]. It sounds like entropy [3] to me, something else I don't understand.

Is the Sabbath a prohibition on creating, ie. a prohibition on making stuff? In some ways, we can't help but transform things into a higher state. Even making a cup of tea, or toasting a slice of bread transform the universe a little.

Not My 39 Rules

Jewish rabbis define melacha as any activity which would have been necessary to build the Tabernacle in the wilderness - What is the Shabbath? [4] They list 39 such activities. At first, it seems like a good idea to simply list what can and can't be done, no more struggling to figure it out. But the 39 rules become contradictory and impossible to observe in their own right. For example, it is forbidden to turn on a light switch, except by an automatic timer. Even the light bulb in your refrigerator must be unscrewed on Friday lest it come on when you open the door. The original rule this is based on was not to kindle a fire on the Sabbath. I see their sincerity, but can't agree with their conclusion - as best I understand it, electricity is not fire. It seems that the 39 rules violate the Torah itself, ""You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." - Deut 4:2. And they kind of admit the 39 are added, "The Torah specifically mentions two melachot, kindling a fire and carrying." - Melacha - A Unique Definition of Work [5], two, not 39.

As another example, some Jewish people employ a Sabbath goy, goy not guy. This is a non Jew who does the things the Jew "can't" do, like light candles, turn on lights, etc. My problem with that is the Sabbath command is for everyone in your household, "but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you." - Exodus 20:10. That is, it forbids your servants from working too, meaning others doing work on your behalf - The Shabbat Goy [6].

Nor are all Jews in agreement on melacha however. A sect of Jews call Karaites don't accept the 39 rules of the Rabbis. Neither do they agree about kindling a fire. "The Sages forbid both lighting a fire on Shabbat and leaving a fire burning on Shabbat that was lit before Shabbat" - Mikdash Me'at [7], meaning no hot meals. (At the other end of the spectrum, the United Church of God teaches "God, it appears, was telling them to not kindle industrial fires on the Sabbath" - No Fire on the Sabbath? [8]). The Karaites also interpret the prohibition on carrying differently too - Mikdash Me'at [7].

I do admire the Jewish people. Of all the sons of Jacob, they are the only tribe to preserve the Hebrew language, the scrolls, the history, and the culture of ancient Israel. And I have learned much about the Bible from Jewish sources.

Christians in general don't even care about the Sabbath question because they believe the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath, were done away with. They weren't. Or they believe Sunday is the Sabbath and apply some of the Biblical prohibitions to Sunday, but not as strictly as the Jews.

But doesn't this all seem too hard? (And I haven't shown the half of it) Especially for the Sabbath commandment since "the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" - Mark 2:27. And don't forget "call the Sabbath a delight" - Isaiah 58:13. I had sought an easy way to help me decide if an activity should be embraced or avoided on the Sabbath, and I found no easy way. It is tempting to make a list of do's and don'ts, but the lists I've seen don't work. They were written before the light bulb, and couldn't have anticipated it. Or the toaster, or the electric oven, or the microwave oven. Or plumbing.

After all the articles I've read and the research I've done, I don't feel I have the answer to "what is melacha?". The best I can summarize it is this, avodah is repetitive work, melacha is creative work. Presumably, the people who heard the command at Sinai knew what it meant. The only real guide is the Bible itself, but we sometimes need some help interpreting and understanding the text. Unfortunately, it seems there is not a verse in the Bible that people, even believers in the same congregation, don't disagree about. An old joke goes, "if you have two Jews, you have three opinions". I think that's people in general, not just Jews.

So let me examine the two melachot we do have from the Bible and give my uncredentialed opinions. I don't believe we can treat interpretations like a smorgasbord, picking whichever meaning we find most convenient, we need a Biblical basis.

Kindle a Fire

Exodus 35:3 “You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.”. Billions of people live in cold climates where a heating fire is a necessity, not a luxury. So it can't be talking about a heating fire. At the other extreme, is it forbidding the lighting of a candle? The rabbis make a rule that you must burn Sabbath candles, then forbid you to light them. While we have electric lights today, in the before time, candles were light. We all know the perils of getting up in the dark without light. "It can hardly be thought that this is to be taken in the strictest sense, as an entire prohibition of kindling a fire and the use of it on that day, which is so absolutely useful, and needful" -  Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible [9]. Gill continues "and even for the preparation of food, which must be had on that day as on others, the sabbath being not a fast, but rather a festival." I like what Susan Hooge [10] wrote about kindling a fire on the Sabbath, "The whole focus is on the kindle part… it is not on the cooking or heating aspect of a fire." That is, in those days, there was a difference between starting a fire from last night's ember and kindling a fire from scratch.

What about cooking on the Sabbath? This generates lots of strong opinions. Even people who teach against it admit to making coffee or toast, cooking in the strictest sense. Their objection is based on transforming the ingredients from raw to cooked, so to them reheating leftovers is OK, but cooking is not. Remember that melacha involves transforming the universe according to our will. The only verse in the Bible about cooking on the Sabbath concerns manna, at best I find it ambiguous.

Exodus 16: 23 Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” 24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field.
Some interpret the bake and boil to mean baking and boiling for two days worth, that is cooking ahead and the "left over" refers to leftover cooked manna. Some interpret the bake and boil to mean baking and boiling for that day (Friday), and the raw manna was left to be baked and boiled on the Sabbath. Otherwise why would it mention the manna not growing worms as on other days? Or that you will not find "it" in the field? I favor baking and boiling each day (option 2). As for making an elaborate meal from scratch, is that not already forbidden as avodah? The rule of thumb that I like is similar to preparing food for a camping trip - "ready to eat" or "ready to heat".


Jeremiah 17:21-22 "Thus says the LORD, “Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day nor do any work (melacha), but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers."

Load, also translated burden, is the Hebrew masa. "It is a fact that every instance of the word masa throughout the entire Tanach implies a "heavy load" or a "heavy burden" -  What Is The Sabbath? [4]. Carrying a pen, a key or a Bible may be forbidden by Jewish rabbis, but is not a heavy load.

What is Jeremiah 17:21-22 talking about then? The same thing that Nehemiah saw taking place in Nehemiah 13:15-18. He saw the people carry loads (masa) for the purpose of buying and selling on the Sabbath. Melacha must have a goal or purpose. Buying and selling on the Sabbath was already prohibited (v18 did not your fathers do the same?). Buying food, whether from a store, a merchant, (or a restaurant?*) is what Nehemiah is talking about here. As for carrying heavy loads, is that not also already forbidden as avodah?
15 In those days I saw in Judah some who were treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sacks of grain and loading them on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs and all kinds of loads (masa), and they brought them into Jerusalem on the sabbath day. So I admonished them on the day they sold food. 16 Also men of Tyre were living there who imported fish and all kinds of merchandise, and sold them to the sons of Judah on the sabbath, even in Jerusalem. 17 Then I reprimanded the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing you are doing, by profaning the sabbath day? 18 “Did not your fathers do the same, so that our God brought on us and on this city all this trouble? Yet you are adding to the wrath on Israel by profaning the sabbath.”

*Restaurants on the Sabbath are a controversy of their own. It sounds very much like the Sabbath goy, paying someone to do something for you. Of course the day is less work for you if someone else cooks and serves your dinner. Not for them though. That cook, that server, that dishwasher, are all working like a Sabbath goy for you. What will you do when everyone keeps the Sabbath and there are no goyim left? The complication that I see is when traveling, your options are few.

And In The End

I had hoped that understanding avodah and melacha would help me better understand Sabbath keeping, after all, it's right in the commandment "Six days shall you avodah, and do all your melacha." It is referring to two types of work, but I can't tease out the subtleties of the terms, especially melacha. I've given my opinion on a few matters, I differ with the Jews on some things, with Christianity on some things. And they are MY opinions, I don't speak for any church. But they are opinions based on reading the Bible and reading lots of other points of view. And in the end, everyone should decide their practices based on the Bible. Maybe the point is that it isn't supposed to be all THAT easy. It has to be mindful. We need to think about what we are doing on the Sabbath using the Bible as our guide, not a list, and not convenience.


1. http://jlfreeman-1.blogspot.com/2015/12/ten-little-known-facts-about-ten.html
2. http://www.aish.com/sh/t/e/Big_Creator_Little_Creator.html
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_thermodynamics
4. https://www.karaiteinsights.com/article/shabbat.html
6. http://peshat.com/index.php?itemid=10
7. http://www.karaites.org/uploads/7/4/1/3/7413835/mikdash_meat_section_3_shabbat.pdf
8. http://bible.ucg.org/bible-commentary/Exodus/Sabbath-regulations;-Offerings-for-the-tabernacle;-Artisans-called/
9. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/gill/exodus/35.htm
10. https://bewellwithyou.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/making-fire-and-cooking-on-the-sabbath/

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse: Apocalypse?

Aug 21, 2017, people in the United States (and only the United States) will be able to see a total solar eclipse, coast to coast. Is this just an ordinary astronomical event? Or is it a sign from God Himself? Big deal or no?

According to NASA(Eclipse2017) [1], "This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina." And according to Wikipedia(Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017) [2], "The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was during the June 8, 1918 eclipse." A big deal in the sense that it's been 99 years since the last eclipse like it.

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

 X Marks The Spot

There will also be a total solar eclipse seven years later, April 8, 2024 to be exact. Its path will travel from southwest to northeast, intersecting the 2017 eclipse path like a giant X.

The path of this eclipse will cross the path of the prior total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, with the intersection of the two paths being in southern Illinois, in Makanda, just south of Carbondale. A small land area, including the cities of Carbondale, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Paducah, Kentucky, will thus experience two total solar eclipses within a span of seven years. Wikipedia(Solar eclipse of April 8, 2024) [3]

And this area of Illinois is known as "Little Egypt" - Wikipedia(Southern Illinois) [4].

After 99 years, two total solar eclipses visible from the US appear seven years apart, and Little Egypt sees them both. One cannot miss parallels with the Bible. Let the speculation begin.

Why do people think an eclipse would be a sign of the end of the world? Historically, people feared eclipses. "So it’s perhaps not surprising that there’s a long history of cultures thinking of eclipses as omens that portend significant, usually bad happenings." - Smithsonian Magazine [5]. Now that we understand what causes them, and can predict them far into the future, we don't fear them, even if viewing one may cause some unease. Some folks will blame an eclipse for bad events, but there are always eclipses, and always bad events. There are about two eclipses every three years.

How about the Bible? If you read certain verses in isolation, ignoring context, you could get a sense that the sky is falling. Consider these.
  • Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in the heavens above 
  • Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars
  • Amos 8:9 It will come about in that day, declares the Lord God, that I will make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight.

Doesn't that sound like an eclipse is a big deal? Not really. The heavenly signs or "wonders" in the Bible are much more dramatic than a total solar eclipse. Matthew 24:29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (text in uppercase is a quote from Joel 3:15). Note these heavenly signs are severe, and come after the Tribulation. Or how about the rest of Acts 2:19 quoted above "and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and vapor of smoke." That sounds more serious than an eclipse. The point is that they are describing supernatural heavenly events, not natural heavenly events.


Still, it is hard to miss the parallels with the Bible. Two total solar eclipses, seven years apart, pointing to Little Egypt. One interpretation might be that something bad is going to happen in southern Illinois. But it seems more plausible to me we are being directed to look at the time when ancient Israel was in Egypt. Pharaoh had a dream, interpreted by Joseph of seven fat years followed by seven lean years. Problem is, if it is a sign, is 2017 the beginning or the ending of seven fat years?

What Others Are Saying

Ancient Egypt suffered ten plagues before letting Israel go. The ninth plague was a plague of darkness, see Exodus 10:21-29. One of the reasons for the darkness was to show God is in charge, even of the Sun, and not Ra the so called Sun God. The plague of darkness lasted three days, so it was not an eclipse, which only last a few minutes. But it was the final warning to Pharaoh before the death of the firstborn. Rabbi Solar Eclipse Recalling Egyptian Plague [6].
Just as the original plague of darkness was meant as a warning to Egypt, Rabbi Lazar Brody, an American-born Hasidic rabbi and teacher, understands this present-day manifestation to be a divine message.
“In Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), the sun represents the nations of the world, and the moon represents Israel,” Rabbi Brody told Breaking Israel News. “This eclipse is only over the United States. That is a shout from above, saying,  ‘America, get your act together, Come back to the Almighty and cast away all your legalization of what the Torah calls abominations’.”
One problem I have with this interpretation is the identity of Israel. The modern nation of Israel is Predominantly Jewish, that is, descendants of Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. America is also an Israelite nation, descendants of another son, Joseph. Regardless, it appears like a warning to America.

Rabbi Berkowitz points out that there is unusual timing in the 2017 eclipse because it occurs 40 days before Yom Kippur  -  Eclipse 40 Days Repentance [7]. This is considered to be the time when both Moses and Jesus fasted for 40 days. It is meant to be a time for repentance.

However, Rabbi Berkowitz also believes the eclipse is a warning to North Korea, based on a 100 year old Jewish prophecy about an eclipse "where kings of the East will suffer great loss, and kings of the East clearly refers to the despotic leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un" - Eclipse Portends Destruction of North Korea [8]. I find that a stretch.

I'm Not A Prophet

It is easy to get caught up in signs, heavenly or otherwise. The 20th century has seen significant world events that coincide with Shemitah years - The Mystery of the Shemitah [9].  In recent years, we have seen the "Tetrad of Blood Moons" surrounding the latest Shemitah year. I wrote this in July 2015 - Shemitah, She WHAT? [10].
So the signs keep piling up on the Shemitah year of 2014-2015. As it says in Luke 21:25 "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars". Four back to back lunar eclipses, also called Blood Moons, all four known as a Tetrad, occur in 2014-2015, three of them during the Shemitah year, all of them on Biblical holy days. The removal of the dead Ground Zero Tree of Hope happened on the first Blood Moon of the Tetrad, Passover 2014. A blood moon is considered a sign to Israel. March 20, 2015 saw a total solar eclipse, the middle of the Shemitah year. Solar eclipses are considered a sign to the world.
But nothing happened.

Blood Moons Around Shemitah Year

Some people predicted financial collapse in 2015, a Shemitah year, based on events in 2001 and 2008, the two previous Shemitah years.

But it didn't happen.

Some expect something major to happen in Israel because 2017 is 100 years since the Balfour Declaration where Britain declared support for a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine  - Wikipedia(Balfour Declaration) [11], and 50 years since the Six Day War when the Jewish people regained control of Jerusalem, and possibly a Jubilee year . The year is not over, but nothing yet. Rabbi Jonathan Cahn [12] has written extensively about the warning prophecies fulfilled by 9/11 and events in years since.

But no apocalypse (TEOTWAWKI) yet.

Apocalypse used to mean "a disclosure of knowledge or revelation. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden, a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities. ... Today, the term is commonly used in reference to any prophetic revelation or so-called end time scenario, or to the end of the world in general." - Wikipedia(Apocalypse) [13].

Repent Early, Repent Often  

That doesn't mean these heavenly signs don't matter. It may mean we read too much into them. It may mean we don't understand God's plan as much as we thought. It may be that God is patient, giving warning after warning. The real heavenly signs will be unmistakable, supernatural signs, not natural predictable events. But I can't help thinking the timing and location of these natural events, however predictable they may be, are still signs, specifically warning signs, gentle warning signs if you will. And the point is to get right with God sooner rather than later.


1. https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_August_21,_2017
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_April_8,_2024
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Illinois
5. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-eclipse-anxiety-helped-lay-foundation-modern-astronomy-180963992/
6. https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/93188/major-solar-eclipse-recalling-egyptian-plague-darkness-divine-message-us
7. https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/93319/eclipse-40-days-repentance-begin-signals-end-era-america-warns-rabbi/
8. https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/93235/jewish-prophecy-predicts-solar-eclipse-portends-destruction-north-korea/
9. http://www.shemitah-blood-moons.net/
10. http://jlfreeman-1.blogspot.com/2015/07/shemitah-she-what.html
11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration

13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Story About Dinah Is Not About Dinah

The story of Dinah is told in chapter 34 of Genesis. You can read it in just a few minutes. Except for the first verse of the chapter, everything happens to Dinah or around Dinah, but not by Dinah, her only action in the story is to go out to see the daughters of the land. She is raped by Shechem, the prince's son, who offers to marry her. Dinah's father Jacob lets his sons handle the matter. They deceive Shechem and his father. Two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, kill all the inhabitants of the village and plunder it. At this, Jacob is angry.

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

No words of Dinah are recorded. No thoughts or feelings of Dinah are recorded. Indeed, she is silent throughout. This maelstrom of deceit and violence and plunder and anger swirls around Dinah, but it appears no one ever thought to ask her how she felt, or what she thought.

So I submit that the story about Dinah is not about Dinah.

The story of  Dinah has many facets however. As Grant Luton of Beth Tikkun [1] says, if a Bible verse can be taken two ways, do it. Dinah's name means Judged or Vindicated - Abarim Publications [2]. One facet of the story then involves justice for Dinah.


Many articles I've read focus on blame. Who is responsible for Dinah being raped? Some suggest that it was Dinah's own fault being where she shouldn't be. "That Dinah was responsible for the whole sorry affair is a common take on this event by many Bible commentators, scholars, and preachers. Many people believe that she was a hussy, a disobedient young woman with a taste for the things of the world" - Rape of Dinah [3]. This is called blaming the victim. It still happens. After multiple rapes and assaults New Years Eve 2015 in Cologne Germany, "Mayor Henriette Reker enraged people by focusing on women’s actions instead of the men who carried out the assault" - Women Need Code of Conduct To Prevent Assault [4]. As for Dinah, some blame everyone, Jacob, his sons, Leah, Dinah, Shechem, etc.

Some say it was consensual, and not rape, it is even the plot line of a book called The Red Tent - [5]. Many excuse Shechem because he wanted to marry Dinah, believing it is not the behavior of a rapist, like King David's son Amnon who raped his half sister then hated her after the fact - 2 Samuel 13. The translators of the Bible may have played into this notion by the language they used in Genesis 34:3.
New International Version - His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her.
New Living Translation - But then he fell in love with her, and he tried to win her affection with tender words.
New American Standard - He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her.
King James - And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
But Susanne Scholz [6] makes an argument that verse 3 means something quite different than these translators would have us believe. Here is how she might translate it.

He kept Dinah the daughter of Jacob close (captive), he desired (lusted after) the girl, and he tried to soothe her (hurt feelings).
I didn't find any English translation that spoke ill of Shechem, and I don't know Hebrew well enough to know the intent here. My point is that as far as the text goes, no one asked Dinah what she wanted (she was at Shechem's house till Simeon and Levi killed the men, but we don't know if it was her choice), but they all acted on her behalf. Apparently, no one asked God what He thought either. And lest anyone wishes to blame Dinah, remember her name means Vindicated.

Neither would I argue that murdering the village of Shechem is justice. It goes way beyond "life for life, eye for eye" -  Deut 19:21. They decided themselves what was justice for Dinah. In fact, they did the very same thing, after the men of the village were killed, they plundered the village and took their wives for themselves.
Gen 34:27 Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; 29 and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that was in the houses.

Promises, Promises

In some ways, Dinah's story seems out of place in the Bible. The chapters before and after chapter 34 detail a history of Jacob. In the middle of Jacob's history is Dinah's story. Why is it there? Why is it important enough to be in the Bible? Another facet is revealed through Dinah's story by linking it to Genesis 17 and Genesis 49. Genesis 17 shows promises made to Abraham and Sarah and their descendants (See all the promises made to Abraham at Abraham's Legacy [7]). Genesis 49 shows the promises being split between Judah and Joseph, specifically the blessings known as the birthright (national blessings) and the scepter (royalty). Note the term birthright in 1 Chronicles, and the term scepter in Gen 49.

1 Chr 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright. 2 Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph)
Gen 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, 
In plainer English.
God made these two promises, the birthright and the scepter, unconditionally to Abraham and re-promised to Isaac and Jacob. After Jacob, these two promises became separated. The scepter promise of the kingly line culminating in Christ and of grace through Him was handed on to Jacob's son, Judah, father of the Jews. ... The birthright was handed down through the tribes of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, while the scepter promise descended through Judah. - Sceptre Of The Kingdom [8].

But why Judah? The birthright is meant to pass to the firstborn, which was Reuben. But Reuben disqualified himself by sleeping with his father's concubine Bilhah - Gen 35:22, some describe it as rape of Bilhah. The second and third born sons were Simeon and Levi, disqualifying themselves by killing the men of Shechem and taking their wives. Without the story of Dinah, we would not understand why Simeon and Levi were skipped over. The birthright (scepter) then falls to Judah, the next son in line. Judah showed some flaws in his early life, but redeemed himself in the matter of Joseph - Genesis 44. After Jacob took the birthright and blessing that Isaac had intended for his brother Esau, he seemed to take care that he pass them to worthwhile sons. Here is what Jacob said about his first four sons in Genesis 49.
2 Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; And listen to Israel your father.
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn; My might and the beginning of my strength, Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4 “Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it—he went up to my couch.
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Their swords are implements of violence.
6 “Let my soul not enter into their council; Let not my glory be united with their assembly; Because in their anger they slew men, And in their self-will they lamed oxen.
7 “Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel.  I will disperse them in Jacob, And scatter them in Israel.
8 “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
9 “Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up.  He couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Here is Joseph's blessing, also Gen 49.
22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall.
23 “The archers bitterly attacked him, And shot at him and harassed him;
24 But his bow remained firm, And his arms were agile, From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25 From the God of your father who helps you, And by the Almighty who blesses you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 “The blessings of your father Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; May they be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.
Judah's scepter and Joseph's birthright is a huge subject, involving the lost ten tribes of Israel. For more information see 

Family Feuds

Mom Always Liked You Best
Another facet is revealed when we look at Jacob's family history. Jacob's reaction when he learns of Dinah's rape is silence, no thoughts or feelings recorded. Instead, he waits till his sons come in from the field. Dinah's brothers are clearly angry, but no reading on Jacob. The brothers deal deceitfully with Shechem and Hamor. Sadly, they learned this behavior from their father Jacob, who deceived Isaac for the blessing. Jacob and his mother Rebecca took matters into their own hands because Esau was Isaac's favorite, and Jacob was Rebecca's favorite. Jacob may have learned his lesson about deceit during the 20 years he worked for his uncle Laban, but he never got over playing favorites. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, which shows up several times in their history, with every son Leah named in Genesis 29:31-35, she hoped it would make Jacob love her. Some suggest that since Jacob didn't love Leah, he didn't love Dinah, and was indifferent to her plight. "Moses could be hinting that she was not one of Jacob's favorites, since her mother was Leah, not Rachel. After all, favoritism was a great sin Jacob dealt with much of his adult life." - Rape of Dinah [3]. The sons of Leah however felt the unfairness of favoritism, and they overcompensated. Contrast Jacob's reaction a few years later when his sons deceive him into thinking Joseph, his favorite son, was killed by a wild animal. Jacob is utterly inconsolable - Gen 37.

See how often the "wrong" son got the birthright.
  • Abraham - the promises went to Isaac, not Ishmael the firstborn.
  • Isaac - the blessings went to Jacob, not Esau the firstborn.
  • Jacob - the birthright went to Joseph the eleventh born, and the scepter went to Judah the fourth born.
  • Joseph - Jacob blesses Ephraim and Manasseh, crossing his hands so the younger gets the larger blessing, also adopting them as his own sons, making them full fledged tribes of Israel.

These missed birthrights have led to family feuds between nations. Many Arabs are descended from Ishmael, their hatred of Jews is obvious. Muslims claim that Ishmael was the rightful heir of Abraham - Wikipedia(Ishmael) [13]. Some scholars believe Esau's descendants are the nation of Turkey - Studies In the Word [14], nation-level feuding with Israel. Again, see the material on Judah's scepter and Joseph's birthright.

Dinah was born to the unloved wife. All Leah's offspring would have felt the unfairness of favoritism. Unfairness is universally understood, even by animals. In experiments, researchers gave chimps a cucumber or a grape as a reward for a task. A chimp who received the cuke, after seeing his fellow chimp get a grape, became upset and flung the cuke at the researcher - Monkey Fairness [15], see footage of the experiment at Frans de Waal, TED talk [16] starting around 12:30. This and similar experiments have shown other animals have a sense of fairness as well - Animals Can Tell Right From Wrong [17], even crows - No Fair Crows Say [18] . It doesn't take a sophisticated system of right and wrong to recognize unfairness. If animals can feel the sting of unfairness, Leah and her sons would have been acutely sensitive to it.

Lessons From the Story of Dinah

The Bible doesn't tell us what happened later to Dinah, there is speculation she had a daughter, and it seems she went to Egypt with the family - Gen 46:15, but nothing about Dinah herself. We see many lessons, big themes, in the story of Dinah, like deceit,  justice, birthright, favoritism, and fairness. In one sense it is a part of Jacob's history, in another sense it is a microcosm of that history. We see these many facets to the story, but we know very little about Dinah herself. The story of Dinah is not about Dinah.

Discussion Questions

Shechem means ‘shoulder’ or ‘saddle’, the shape of mountains encircling ancient Shechem. How does the meaning of his name affect Dinah's story?

What would have been justice for Dinah?
How should justice have been done?
Could Jacob have prevented the bloodshed? How?

How have you handled unfairness in your life?


1. http://bethtikkun.com/
2. http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Dinah.html
3. http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/RA/k/1566/Rape-Dinah.htm
4. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/mayor-of-cologne-says-women-should-have-code-of-conduct-to-prevent-future-assault-a6798186.html
5. http://anitadiamant.com/books/the-red-tent/overview/
6. http://www.lectio.unibe.ch/01_2/s.htm
7. http://abrahams-legacy.org/promises-made.html
8. http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.CGGWeekly/ID/654/Scepter-of-Kingdom-God-Part-One.htm
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._H._Allen
10. http://reluctant-messenger.com/judahs_sceptre_josephs_birthright.htm
11. http://www.churchathome.org/pdf/America-and-Britain.pdf
12. http://www.stevenmcollins.com/books/
13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael
14. http://www.studiesintheword.org/Turkey.htm
15. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/09/0917_030917_monkeyfairness.html
16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcJxRqTs5nk
17. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/wildlife/5373379/Animals-can-tell-right-from-wrong.html
18. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-02/no-fair-crows-say 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Other Ark of Moses

Two different Hebrew words are translated ark in English, tevah and aron. At their simplest, they both mean box. Tevah is used to describe two things in the Bible, Noah's ark, and the basket the infant Moses floated down the Nile River in. You might say that Moses was the new Noah. See The Ark Of Moses [1] for more details on tevah. Aron is used to describe the ark of the covenant in the Tabernacle, called Aron HaBrit, sometimes ark of testimony Aron HaEdut, sometimes simply holy ark Aron Kodesh.

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

Ark of the Covenant with Kapporet
After insisting that two different words are used, you're probably wondering what the ark of the covenant has to do with Noah's ark. Noah's ark was covered inside and out with pitch, in Hebrew it reads "to kafar it with kofer" - Gen 6:14, where kafar (or kippur) means cover, many translations say "pitch it with pitch". And it turns out the ark of the covenant had a cover called the kapporet, the same root Hebrew word as kafar or kippur. Kapporet is only used to describe the cover of the ark. In English, the kapporet is called the mercy seat, but "Jewish translations traditionally avoid the translation 'mercy seat' " - Wikipedia (mercy seat) [2], so I will stick with kapporet. This covering (kapporet) appears to have a slightly different function than the other coverings described by kafar - Day Of Coverings [3].

Noah's ark / Moses' ark

Depiction of Noah's Ark

Let's examine some of the similarities and differences between kafar and kapporet, and between Noah's ark and ark of the covenant.

Noah's ark was a (large) wooden box covered inside and out with pitch.
The ark of the covenant was a wooden box covered inside and out with gold.

In Noah's ark, the pitch (kofer)  covered wood.

The kapporet was pure gold, with two cherubim outstretched over it. It rested on top of the ark of the covenant, literally a cover.

The ark of the covenant contained things.

Noah's ark contained people and animals.

The ark of the covenant contained the Ten Commandment tablets of stone, Aaron's rod that budded, and a jar of manna, though at the time of Solomon's temple, Aaron's rod and the manna are not mentioned - 2 Chron 5:7-10.

Noah's ark held eight people, and two of air breathing animals.

The people were inside Noah's ark and couldn't go out.

The people were outside the ark of the covenant and couldn't go in.

The kapporet was sprinkled with blood.

Noah's ark was smeared with pitch, that is, covered completely.

The ark of the covenant was carried with two poles, which were never removed.

Noah's ark traveled by floating on the water.

The ark of the covenant was NEVER to be opened, it was only seen once a year by the high priest, and maybe by the priests that carried it. Three items were placed there by Moses, and there is no provision or ceremony to open it EVER.

People and animals left Noah's ark.

We don't know where Noah's ark is.

We don't know where the ark of the covenant is.

Noah is a savior and deliverer, that is, a type of Christ.

Moses is a savior and deliverer, that is, a type of Christ.

Blood sprinkled on the ark of the covenant and kapporet cleansed the nation of Israel from sin year after year on Yom HaKippurim. There's the kapporet covering sin.

Noah's ark cleansed Noah's family (all mankind at the time) once. Some say the flood cleansed the earth of mankind.

Noah's ark and Moses' first ark (tevahwere temporary, used once.
The ark of the covenant (aron) is permanent.

Cover My Ark

This other ark of Moses, its cover (kapporet), and its contents are rich with symbolism. For example, w
hen the Old Covenant was ratified, Moses sprinkled blood on the people . On Yom HaKippurim, the High Priest sprinkled blood on the kapporet of the ark, which contained the Ten Commandments tablets. Note the strong connection between the Ten Commandments and the Old Covenant, "And he (Moses) wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments - Exodus 34:28. See Ten Little Known Facts About the Ten Commandments [4]. 

Everything about the ark of the covenant points to Jesus Christ in some way - Ark of the Covenant: An Earthly Symbol [5]. He is symbolized by both the High Priest and the sacrifice, and even the furniture of the Tabernacle. 
Heb 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
The ark of the covenant, wood covered in gold, pictures a human Jesus covered with the divine. The kapporet pictures His work of cleansing through the sprinkling of blood. "Just as the blood on the mercy seat, the blood of Christ stands between the Law of God and the Presence of God." -  The Symbolism of the Ark of the Covenant [6]. The location of the ark is in the Holy of Holies, the innermost part of the Tabernacle. The original tablets of stone engraved with the Ten Commandments symbolize Jesus, the Lawgiver and Law keeper. Aaron's rod pictures His resurrection, a dead stick brought to life and bearing fruit. The manna was called the bread from heaven, but Jesus is the true bread from heaven.

But the ark of the covenant also pictures each believer. The apostle Paul referred to his own body as an earthly tabernacle. The innermost part of a man is his heart and mind. "If we are a type of a Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) for Adonai, than it stands to reason that we also contain an Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark). This ark is our heart." - The Glory Of The Ark [7]. Ezek 36:26 says "I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." As the Old Covenant was written on tablets of stone, the New Covenant is written in our hearts and in our minds, Jer 31:31. 

Aaron's rod that budded
Continuing the analogy, the rod, a walking stick, pictures us "walking in the newness of life" - Rom 6:4. We were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13), given a new life at baptism, and expected to bear much fruit (John 15:8). And one day resurrected to eternal life. It also pictures the authority of God's chosen - Useful Bible [8]. 

And the manna, the bread from heaven. John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” The Feast of Unleavened Bread teaches us to take in "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor 5:8) for a lifetime. This is how we actually write the law of God in our inward parts, in other words, we have a part to play internalizing the word of God. It is also expressed simply as "give us this day our daily bread" Matt 6:11. But it's not about physical bread, "man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD" - Deut 8:3, Matt 4:4.

A Place To Meet The Divine

But what is the point of the ark of the covenant? Is it to hide God's word and our new life, never to be seen by anyone ever again? NO. The purpose of the ark and the kapporet was not to hide things, but  to communicate with God Himself. In Exodus 25:8, God tells Moses to build a holy place for Him, "Let them construct a sanctuary (literally, a holy place) for Me, that I may dwell among them. And Exodus 25:22 "There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat (kapporet), from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel."

Shekinah Glory Between the Cherubim

God's glory, known to some as the shekinah, came down from heaven to rest between the cherubim, and He would talk to Moses there. Just as Moses made a holy place in the innermost part of the Tabernacle, we are to make a holy place for God in the innermost part of ourselves (the heart and mind) where He can dwell.

Discussion Questions

Why were those three items placed in the ark of the covenant? What do they have in common? 

Why would the rod and manna be removed from the ark? By whom?

Why is blood sprinkled on the kapporet, but pitch is smeared on Noah's ark?

How do the carrying poles of the ark of the covenant picture Jesus?

Why were the poles never removed?


1. http://jlfreeman-1.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-ark-of-moses.html
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercy_seat
3. http://jlfreeman-1.blogspot.com/2017/06/day-of-coverings.html
4. http://jlfreeman-1.blogspot.com/2015/12/ten-little-known-facts-about-ten.html
5. http://www.lamblion.us/2010/03/ark-of-covenant-earthly-symbol.html
6. http://feedingonchrist.com/the-symbolism-of-the-ark-of-the-covenant/
7. http://www.synagoguechm.com/messages.html
8. http://www.usefulbible.com/hebrews/what-was-in-ark-of-covenant.htm