TABLES OF STONE
18And he gave unto Moses,...two tables of stone, written with the finger of God. (Ex 31:)
Add to this confusion the fact that many of the churches, especially those who declare and demand that there are no more laws also and equally demand that those who openly declare themselves to be non-believers, especially those in government, observe the Biblical concepts (as they interpret them) on abortion and those governing moral purity such as homosexuality and marriage.
I see these issues as confusion and cause for the inability of any of us to "believe" anything of substance as things presently stand. Am I alone in my thinking? If you have doubts as I have, then why don't you join me in a search into the shadows to see if we can come up with the substance that casts those shadows:
16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (Col 2:)
Paul tells us that it's Christ who casts the shadows we're exploring. Then it seems to me that if we follow Christ, that is Jesus, we can better learn what the shadows are able to teach us.
1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (Heb 10:)
The law, which is the shadow, is not what we're to look at and study if we want to find out what God expects and demands of us. We have the substance, and we no longer need the shadows. If this is the case, then it would seem to me that instead of trying to get the Old Testament laws back on our court room walls, we should be doing all we can to get those behind the bench to learn and obey the laws Jesus brings to us.
But this only adds to the conflict we're researching. If Jesus did away with the laws by His death, then there are no more laws. This being true (as is supposed by those churches), then how can we possibly expect to get our courts to follow our demands to follow a law that no longer exists, and has been replaced with grace, the lack of law?
4For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. (Heb 8:)
We've arrived at our beginning, the handing of the law to Moses on the mount:
15The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deut 18:)
24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (John 14:)
There will be another like Moses. We know this to be Jesus, who we might call a "second Moses" as applied here.
What is there about Moses that we might adjudge to be like Jesus? Is there any comparison we might make?
First we see that Jesus is a spokesman for God, that what He says is God speaking. Of Moses God said that he represents God in the flesh to the people of Israel. And we know by example of those who opposed Moses that whatever Moses said, God supported.
Moses was a lawgiver. It was through Moses that God's people were given the law. According to many of the churches, Jesus is the One who abolished the laws Moses presented. If this is true, then our example begins with Moses, and concludes with Jesus. If this makes sense to you, more power to you. But for me I think the substance clings to the shadow a bit closer than the last image presented.
18And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. (Ex 31:)
12And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. (Ex 24:)
18And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. (Ex 24:)
Did you notice that Moses is not alone during his trek up the mountain? Joshua is there with him (Ex 24:13)? Just how far Joshua went is up for debate, but it seems rather clear that while Moses had nothing to eat or drink for 40 days, neither did his servant Joshua.
I've heard tell that we can go a long time without eating. I suspect 40 days would have depleted any excess fat Moses might have been carrying. However as I understand it, 3 days to a week is as long as a person can go without water, especially in a desert situation, and climbing high mountains to boot. Wouldn't you call this a miracle? I wonder why no one has said anything about this miracle in my hearing?
Second, notice that God gave Moses the tables of stone with the Ten Commandments written on them. Is this significant? I think so, especially since this is part of the shadow we're looking into, the substance of that shadow we're supposing effects us today.
1And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. (Ex 34:)
28And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. (Ex 34:)
In these verses we find many issues that deserve a comment. First we see where Moses was the very first person to break the commandments, and he broke them all at one time. Second we see where Moses had to hew out the stones for the Ten Commandments, where the first time God did all the work. Third we find that Moses again spent 40 days on the mountain without food or water. And forth the commandments were the very same (in this new set, the New Covenant) as those in the first covenant, the first set of tablets of stone.
29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. 30And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. 31And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. 32And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him. (Ex 34:)
Moses was given commandments by the Lord, and those commandments he relayed to the people. Jesus said:
49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. (John 12:)
Jesus relayed the commandments He received from the Father to the people.
1And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. (Mat 17:)
I find it interesting that the first time Moses went up to the top of the mountain and spent 40 days with God that his face didn't shine when he came back down from the mountain. It was after his second time up the mountain, the time that in my mind represents the shadow of Christ and the New Covenant that this occurred.
With Moses it was only his face that shone, which frightened the people. With Jesus it was His entire body that became light, even His clothes as I read the passage above. Jesus was "transfigured," whereas Moses, the foreshadow of this event, was reflecting the light that he had been in the presence of.
23And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: 24And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. (Lev 16:)
When Moses was with the people he wore a vail to hide the glory of the Lord that inundated him. When he was with God he removed the vail. Jesus showed His glory to only His closest disciples, and told them to tell the vision to no one. When He was with the masses all anyone saw was the common flesh of a man. Aaron, on the Day of Atonement, was to remove his fancy High Priest garments, that were a show for the people, and to put on a simple "holy" garment when he went behind the Vail to commune with God. Is any of this significant? Is there anywhere in the Bible that will give us something better to go on? something that will help us better understand what is being told to us here?
15But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD: 16They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge. 17And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. 18They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat. 19And when they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments. 20Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads. 21Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court. 22Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away: but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before. 23And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; .....28And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession. (Ezek 44:)
This is something yet to come, perhaps far in the future. We see the very same pattern demonstrated here that we've been looking at with Moses, with Jesus, and with the Levitical priesthood. Coincidence do you think?
21Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Gen 3:)
Lots of fairy tales have been drawn from this verse. But to my way of thinking the coats of skin God made for the pair is the very same perishing coat of skin each of us is wearing today. If this be so, then the question can be raised: What were they wearing before they were kicked out of the garden and made to wear coats of skin?
4Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:)
26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:)
We're to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, to keep our own garments clean. And those who succeed in doing this will be the ones who will be serving the Lord throughout eternity, before His face. They will be the ones, the Zadok priests, who will be "changing their clothes" when they leave God's presence so they don't "sanctify the people."
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. ...14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:)
A new beginning. Noah was a new beginning. Abraham was a new beginning. Moses was a new beginning. And here we have the most important beginning, at least that effects us today.
The Word was made flesh. Does this mean Jesus was pre-existent and became flesh? Is Jesus the Word? Or is the Word of God within Jesus, and it's through Jesus that God, the Word, was made flesh? I'm not going to get into this debate at this time, it will only detract from our purpose, which is to learn what we can from Moses as a type and a shadow of our time.
Jesus had the "glory of the Father" vailed in a fleshly body, a "coat of skin" if you please.
Notice that the Word "dwelt among us" through Jesus. In the Old Testament, God dwelt with His people through Moses and through the Tabernacle. Does this tell us anything? Let's dig a little deeper into this matter and see if there's anything buried below our reach:
30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:)
Where Jesus was the beginning of God's purpose for us, the Church, it is assumed that this is the end of everything as far as Jesus is concerned. Many denominations begin and end their doctrine with this very statement, "it is finished." What we're looking into here is if this is true, if Jesus did indeed mean that everything about the Old Covenant is now done away with, or that there might be more, that Jesus can't be set on the shelf until He chooses to return in the future and set up His Kingdom, whatever that might consist of.
17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:)
For some odd reason I can't help but read this to say that Jesus wants His followers to teach and to fulfill the law. Can you read it any other way? I guess it can be read otherwise because there's a lot of folks who are placing their bet on the hope that Jesus didn't mean what He said when He said what He said here.
16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: (Mat 19:)20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (Mat 19:)
Jesus was asked as straight of a question as could ever be asked. And the reply He gave the man was as straight and clear as could ever be given. Why can't we hear it? The man in question knew exactly what Jesus was saying, and it wasn't something he wanted to hear. We don't want to hear it today either, but turning a deaf ear to Jesus is not going to get us what we think we want.
To this point the man is in the clear. What is it about what Jesus said that caused the man to become disillusioned?
We want to load everything we own in a huge motor home with a tail of trailers in our attempt to follow Jesus. And we want to tell Him where to go, somewhere that will suit our fancy. But like the man in the story, that's not the way Jesus works, and it causes us to, not turn away, but rather to change the picture Jesus presented us. We change Jesus' words to say "Keep all you have, don't worry about the poor, and sit on your couch and wait for a fluffy white cloud to come whisk you off to Never-Never Land." We can believe this all we want, but if it isn't what Jesus is saying, than all our "belief" isn't going to get us anywhere but with the rest of the unbelieving world.
34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:)
Moses we saw was a lawgiver. He brought the law of God to the people. Jesus, the One to follow, also brings us a law, a new law, which really isn't new, but a law that wasn't being followed:
3But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mat 9:)
I don't find where Jesus did away with the old law, the destruction of the Temple did away with the sacrificial system, the nucleus of the old law as it applied to the Jews. Jesus did add to the law, and He caused the law to be even stricter than the law the Jews had to follow to remain in good stead with God:
27Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. (Mat 5:)
These and many other "But I say" Jesus added to the laws we must follow. In the Old Testament it was what a person did that constituted a sin. Now it's what a person thinks that is against the law of God. In the Old Testament all that was expected because of sin is the sacrifice of a sheep or two. Now it's to pluck out an eye or to cut off one's hand. I can't for the life of me see this as being an elimination of the law as is so widely taught.
14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:)
24God is a Spirit: (John 4:)
God is Spirit, and as Spirit He came to dwell among men in the flesh, that is, the flesh we call Jesus.
5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:)
Flesh can't be in the presence of Almighty God. We have to become Spirit if we want to be where God is. Jesus came to give us the opportunity to become like He is, that is, to become Spirit. How can flesh become Spirit? That of course is another, and a very complicated subject. Let us say God has told us the role we have to play in this transition, and that is to be born again through the Spirit of God.
6But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (Heb 8:)
We have two issues in particular worth taking a close look at in this statement. First we see that the Old Covenant is no more. But at the time of the writing of Hebrews we see the law was still in effect "waxing away" and "ready to pass away." Jesus had long been risen at the time of this writing, so what is there still to "pass away"? Could Paul be referring to the Temple that was to pass away and cause the laws to be defunct? If so, then it's not the cross that is responsible for the laws being passé, but the loss of the Temple. And if we consider that Jesus is the New Temple, a Tabernacle of flesh (while He walked this earth, and as we're to be) then we can see even clearer how this application can be made.
God is about to make a New Covenant. In the picture we were given on the mount through Moses we saw where Moses broke the first set of laws, which was a demonstration of the breaking of the laws by the people of God. Here in this passage of Scripture we again see this breaking of the old laws presented as the reason for a need for a new set of laws. Again returning to the laws Moses broke and had to have replaced, we see how the second set of laws, which could easily be taken as a foreshadowing of the laws we now live under, were exactly the same as the ones that had been broken. We see that the New Lawgiver has only strengthened those laws on stone, He hasn't done away with them. Jesus followed and obeyed the laws, He didn't disregard them as we're told we can do today. And if we look at the state of the world and of the churches, we can easily see the result of setting the laws of God aside. It has not caused us to grow in Spiritual maturity, but to become just like the world we're supposed to separate ourself from.
If the Old Covenant hasn't been done away with, and it's the same as the one (the "law" part of the covenant) that Moses brought down from the mountain, then what is the difference between them?
First let's take a look at the laws God gave Moses on the mountain. We see there are two sets of rules God gave Moses. First there's the law, the Ten Commandments. These are written on stone, and placed in the Ark of the Covenant. These are to endure forever. Where is the Ark of the Covenant now?
When Solomon built the Temple everything was replaced that was once in the Tabernacle. Everything that is but the Ark of the Covenant. Only larger cherubims were added to the Holy of Holies that overshadowed the Ark and the cherubims that were a part of the Mercy Seat. Jesus is the fulfilment of the Ark of the Covenant. I don't think there's many people who will argue that point. The Ark is gone, as Jesus is gone. And whatever was inside the Ark is gone as well. What was inside the Ark? We find that the Ark contained the tables of stone with the law written on them (Heb 9:4). According to Hebrews the Ark also contained Aaron's rod that budded, and a pot of manna. Is this important? Yes it is, but again something outside the scope of this study.
What about the rest of the laws God gave to Moses on the mount that he wrote down and placed with the Ark? We see where the book Moses wrote was not placed in the Ark, but alongside the Ark (Deut 31:26). They are not part of the laws God gave His people, but are instead a part of the covenant God made with the people of the land, of old. This has been replaced (and not listed in Solomon's list (1Kings 8:9) or in Paul's list (Heb 9:4), the discrepancy a story in itself.), and what we now live under... for the moment. Are those laws Moses wrote in a book still in effect? They are still in effect as far as our conduct is concerned, but not as it effects our status with God. These laws include such things as what is considered unclean; touching a dead person or animal; combining various seeds for planting and the like. These Paul made clear are no longer a part of our service to the Lord... for the moment.
The other change that has taken place is that the laws are no longer written on stone, for those who are in the will of God and who are led by the Spirit (Rom 8:1-16). The law for them is written on the heart. It is a part of them. They obey the laws because it's what God wants of His people, not because there's a punishment for those who fail to obey the law. And it's this difference that causes one person to see the laws written on stone, and another to see it written on the fleshly parts of the heart.
12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Rom 2:)
Even supposed non-believers can have the law of God written on their heart. And as we see here and in so many other places, it's those who do what the law says that will be justified, not those who claim to hear the law but say the law is not for them anymore.
2Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2Cor 3:)
We're no longer to obey the laws because God wrote them on stone tablets, but because it's written on our hearts. If a person doesn't respect or obey the law, what does that tell you about their heart? And if the law is not written on a person's heart, then what does that tell you about their relationship with God and the Holy Spirit? And if a person isn't led by and in possession of the Holy Spirit, what does that tell you about their salvation?
1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. (Psalm 80:)
1Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. (Psalm 123:)
17So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. (Joel 3:)
10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:)
16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:)
20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him (John 14:)
47But Solomon built him an house. 48Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50Hath not my hand made all these things? (Acts 7:)
24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:)
16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1Cor 3:)
1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Rev 21:)
The laws are no longer written on stone, but they're still alive and active in the world today. Have you found them?
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