Egypt controlled the Sinai Peninsula for most of its history; therefore, the "far side of the desert" in Midianite territory cannot mean the Sinai but must refer to the far western part of Arabia near the Gulf of Aqaba. Now, just as God directly intervened in salvation to call Abraham, God again takes the initiative in calling Moses to be His messenger and to cooperate with God in saving the children of Israel CCC For many Christians and Jews, no other scene in salvation history is so dramatically remembered as God calling Moses from the burning bush that was miraculously not consumed by the fire.
Exodus Moses was looking after the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led it to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God [Elohim]. Horeb is also called Mt. Sinai 31 times in the Pentateuch, beginning in Ex It is possible that Mt. Horeb was the Midianite name of the mountain where Moses saw the burning bush, but perhaps the name of the holy mountain became known to the Israelites as "Sinai" after the theophany of the burning "bush," or "tree," which in Hebrew is rendered sene.
The burning tree will become an emblem of the manifestation of Yahweh's spirit indwelling the desert Tabernacle and later in the Jerusalem Temple. Jon Levenson writes The conjunction in Exodus 3 of bush or tree we do not know the precise meaning of sene and fire is not surprising in light of later YHWHistic tradition.
In the encounter of Moses and the burning bush, two of YHWH's emblems "tree and fire "clash and neither overpowers the other. The two will appear again in tandem in the menorah, the Tabernacle candelabrum which is actually a stylized tree, complete with "branches," "almond flowers," "calyces," and "petals" Exodus Leveson, Sinai and Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible, pages Note: For a New Testament reference to fire as a metaphor for God, see Hebrews : Let us therefore be grateful and use our gratitude to worship God in the way that pleases him, in reverence and fear.
For our God is a consuming fire. Question: In the Book of Genesis how did God manifest His visible presence to Abraham in the ratification covenant ritual in Genesis chapter 15? Answer: God manifested his visible presence in the form of fire. In the covenant ratification ceremony in Genesis God walked between the bodies of the sacrificed animals in the form of a flaming torch and a burning brazier. Question: In Moses' first supernatural encounter with the God, what are the three parts of the manifestation of the Divine? This is the first time God's holy covenant name is used in the Book of Exodus.
It is the angel of "Yahweh" who is described as appearing to Moses in the flames verse 2 , but in verse 6 the voice Moses hears from within the burning bush identifies Himself as the voice of the God of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Fathers of the Church, like St. Augustine, believed the angel of Yahweh was a manifestation of the pre-Incarnate Christ who was active in the plan of salvation before He became God enfleshed and that the Most Holy Trinity was present in the manifestation with God the Son present as the angel of Yahweh, the voice from the bush identified as the God of the Patriarchs being God the Father, and the fire that did not consume the bush, God the Holy Spirit.
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Clement of Alexandria, Christ the Educator 2. In the burning bush theophany God called Moses to liberate his people in a dialogue that can be separated into five parts:. Please notice that interspersed among God's five part dialogue, Moses will make four objections concerning his call and his mission. Exodus b b Moses, Moses! Calling to Moses from the burning bush God warned Moses to take off his sandals and not to come near. These instructions are similar to the instructions that the captain of the army of Yahweh will give Joshua forty years later as Joshua stood near the walls of Jericho when Joshua was told: Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.
The Fathers of the Church saw Moses' sandals, probably made of dead animal skins, as a symbol of the perishable works of the earth. Ambrose wrote: Pass by like Moses, that you may see the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob and that you may see a great vision. This is a great vision, but if you wish to see it, remove the sandals from your feet, remove every bond of iniquity, remove the bonds of the world, leave behind the sandals which are earthly St.
Ambrose, Flight From the World 5. Ambrose also made the comparison between Moses being ordered to remove his sandals and Jesus' command to His Apostles to go and spread the Gospel of salvation without taking any earthly possessions with them, not even their sandals, in Mark : Likewise Jesus sent the apostles without sandals, without money, gold and silver, so that they would not carry earthly things with them.
For the man who seeks the good is praised not for his sandals but for the swiftness and grace of his feet, as Scripture says, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, of those who bring glad tidings of good things! It became a custom of the covenant people, when crossing over from pagan territory back into the land of Israel, to remove their sandals and to shake the dust of pagan lands off their feet before treading on the holy ground of the Promised Land. Observation of this custom may be why Jesus told His disciples to "shake the dust off their feet" and move on when the Gospel of salvation they preached was rejected.
Those who accepted God's gift of salvation through Jesus Christ were then standing on "holy ground" while those who rejected God's gift remained on unholy ground Mt ; Mk ; Lk ; New Jerusalem Bible, page , note e. Question: Why was it dangerous for Moses or any man to come too near to God? When did it become possible for man to cross that holy threshold into God's presence?
Answer: Only Jesus Christ could step across that holy threshold. Jesus of Nazareth, the man who is God enfleshed, did not warn men and woman to keep their distance, instead He urged them to come closer, even offering the wounds in His hands for St. Thomas to feel His torn flesh and believe. Through His perfect sacrifice, death and resurrection He had the power to bring redeemed mankind into the Father's presence, saying: "Here am I and the children God has given me" Heb At this Moses covered his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Recognizing that he was in the presence of a deity, who identified himself as the God of his forefathers, Moses covered his face in reverence and in fear.
I have heard them crying for help on account of their taskmasters. Yes, I am well aware of their sufferings. After you have led the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.
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Exodus 8 And I have come down to rescue them from the clutches of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that country, to a country rich and broad, to a country flowing with milk and honey, to the home of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. God assured Moses that He was well aware of the suffering of the Israelites and it was now time for God Himself "I have come down to rescue them" to orchestrate their liberation.
Question: In this passage how many peoples did God mention and what is the significance of the last ethnic group mentioned? What do the numbers of peoples symbolize? Answer: God spoke of six different inhabitants of Canaan, and then the last group of people He mentioned, who are the 7 th group of people, are the Israelites. Six is the number symbolizing man and his rebellion, while the number seven symbolizes fullness, perfection, and the number of covenant.
The six nationalities of people who inhabited Canaan are people who have rebelled against God; therefore, He will dispossess them of the land and will give the land to the people who are in covenant with Him. Exodus 10 So now I am sending you to Pharaoh, for you to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.
Question: Why is God sending Moses to Pharaoh and what does Moses' mission have in common with Joseph's mission in Genesis chapters ? His question to God reflects back to the question that was put to him forty years earlier. Answer: Moses' question recalls the question the Hebrew slave asked Moses in Exodus : "And who appointed you to be prince over us and judge?
Exodus GNT - God Calls Moses - One day while Moses - Bible Gateway
Moses' question in Exodus is the first of four objections Moses will make concerning the mission God has given him. Question: What are Moses' four objections and what are God's four responses? Do you think Moses' hesitation is an indication of disobedience or something else? See Exodus and Numbers In response to each of Moses' objections, God graciously gave Moses the gifts he needed to complete his mission:.
Moses' objections probably do not suggest an unwillingness to be obedient to God's will for his life but rather his objections probably reflect his humility at being chosen to be an agent of God as well as an understanding of the difficulty of the mission and a lack of confidence in his own abilities. God will later describe Moses as the "meekest" of men Num Exodus 12 I shall be with you,' God said, and this is the sign by which you will know that I was the one who sent you.
Question: Why will worshipping on the mountain be a "sign" for Moses' people and when do they experience that "sign"? Answer: The sign will be the ratification of the Sinai Covenant. The promise of this sign will require the faith of Moses and his people because it will not be revealed until Exodus chapter 19, 50 days after crossing the Sea of Reeds Red Sea. Calling His people out of the world of nations into a covenant that is expressed in worship and fellowship with Yahweh is the whole purpose of the Exodus experience, and it is therefore, the primary "sign" of faith for the people.
Question: What was the first holy mountain that figured prominently in salvation history? Answer: Eden, the mountain that was home to the first earthly Sanctuary of God, was the first holy mountain of God. Moriah, Mt. Carmel, the Mt.
Exodus 13 Moses then said to God, Look, if I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is his name? Note: ancient Hebrew was written only in consonants; hence the four consonants YHWH, which scholars believe would have been pronounced "Yah-way," is what was written in the most ancient text of this passage. The so-called "four letter word," known as the Tetragrammaton, is believed by scholars to be the third person masculine singular form of the ancient Hebrew verb hwh, the verb "to be" Propp, Exodus, page ; Davis, Studies in Exodus, pages ; Navarre, Pentateuch, pages Moses' next objection reflects his careful discernment concerning the deity that was addressing him.
Moses had been exposed to the various gods of Egypt and had seen their priests perform "signs" and "wonders" offered as proof of the deity's power see Ex The priests of other Near Eastern deities also had wonders to offer to display the power of their gods Dan What proof did Moses have to present to the Israelites that it really was the God of the patriarchs who revealed Himself and gave Moses the authority to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moses offers the deity who has addressed him a test of His true identity: could He give a name by which the Israelites knew Him? If the deity gave a name known to the patriarchs the deity is legitimate. See Gen , ; , and ; ; ; ; ; etc. Biblical scholar, Dr.
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John Salihamer, writes: We are helped in our understanding of this verse by the fact that in the book of Genesis, the patriarchs use the name "Yahweh" Ge , 7 , though note that when God "appeared" to the patriarchs e. Thus Exodus ""I appeared to Abraham God significantly tells Moses: This is my name for all time, and thus I am to be invoked for all generations to come Ex b. Of all the names for God in Scripture it is this form of His name that is the most frequently used in the Bible about 6, times; Elohim is used about 2, times.
Throughout history God's Old Covenant people treated God's name with great reverence, declaring it too holy to be spoken aloud despite God's command in Ex Speaking God's covenant name was restricted to the priests worshipping in God's Temple in Jerusalem who pronounced His holy name over the people in the final benediction of the daily services, and so with the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD, God's holy covenant name was no longer spoken and the correct pronunciation of the name was lost.
The rendering of YHWH as "Yahweh" is a modern conjecture first suggested in the 16 th century by biblical scholar Gilbert Genebrard, professor of Hebrew at the College Royal in Paris but which has been accepted by biblical scholars today as the most likely rendering.
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You will find this rendering in the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible translation. This became a custom from the time of the 3 rd century BC when the ancient Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew Bible Old Testament into the Greek translation known as the Septuagint.
Biblical scholars have been arguing about the meaning of YHWH for centuries. Since biblical names generally have a discernible meaning, scholars have believed that YHWH can be reasonably translated. Based on etymology and context most scholars have agreed that YHWH is an archaic form of the verb "to be" hwh in Hebrew, pronounced "hawah" and should be translated "I am who I am" or "I will be who I will be," or for those scholars who believe the verb is in the causative imperfect masculine singular form: "He causes to be; brings into existence; He brings to pass, He creates" Propp, Studies in Exodus, page When God identified Himself as "Yahweh," Moses not only had proof of God's identity as the God of his fathers by the holy covenant name known to the patriarchs, but it was a name which revealed the true nature and essence of God "the deity who has always existed, who will continue forever and who will be with Moses and Israel in their struggles see CCC Titles identify the power and authority of the person who has the title, but in the Bible the name of an individual or a deity expressed the true nature and essence of its bearer see 1 Sam Peter's statement that those who desire to accept God's gift of salvation must accept Jesus Christ as Savior "for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" Acts ; quoted from CCC didn't just mean salvation can be won by simply saying Jesus' name, or expressing belief in His "name," but to claim His gift of salvation in His "name" is to accept on faith everything He taught about Himself and everything Sacred Scripture and the Church Christ's vehicle of salvation professes to be true about Him, including His fully human and divine nature, His resurrection from the dead, His ascension to the Father, and His power to save all humanity from eternal death by giving them the gift of eternal life, through His "name" CCC , John twenty-six times.
It is an interesting coincidence that God's holy covenant name, expressed in Hebrew by the four consonants YHWH, has a gematria value of 10, 5, 6, and 5 gematria is the value of each Hebrew letter that also served as a number symbol. Added together the numerical total of these four Hebrew letters is twenty-six.
Jesus also identified Himself in St. John's Gospel using seven "I AM" statements with a predicate nominative and four "I AM" statements without a predicate nominative see the www. John study: Chapter 8.
Related Exodus: Gods Plan, Gods People (Back to the Bible Study Guides)
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