O.T.Handout 14: Song of Moses, meaning of 40, Aseret Hadiberot, Noahide Laws, JST Gen 34, holy order of God,
Tabernacle in desert:gate, altar,laver,menorah,showbread,Atlar of Incense, holy of Holies, Veil, Ark of Covenant April 2014

The beautiful Song of Moses in Ex 15 was unlikely spontaneous as Moses let the nation into the wilderness. This is a part of Jewish liturgy, performed several times daily and was offered as a prayer= tefilah. Similar to modern Shacharit or morning prayer or the Shemoneh Esrei- the basic prayer of Judaism, recited while standing and facing the ark that houses Torah scrolls. Consists of praise, petitions, thanks, including a full 19 blessings of praise, petitions and thanksgiving to God. Compare Deut 32 and the Psalm of Nephi (2Ne 4:15-35), D&C 25:12, 45:71, 109:39, 84:98-102, 133:56).

Themes: Lord is a man of war; He overthrew those who rose against us; Who is like You among the Gods: People will hear and be afraid. Lord reigns forever. After a time of testing, the Israelites found wells and shade. The Lord knows when to test us and rest us! During this Exodus the Hebrews became a nation, called Israelites.

The number 40 is a ceremonial number of cleansing (Lev 12), separating epochs. Other symbolic numbers from scripture: 3, 7, 18, 10, 40, 70.
1. Rain fell for “forty days and forty nights” during the Flood
2. Spies explored the land of Israel for “forty days.” (Num 13)
3. The Hebrew people lived in the Sinai desert for “forty years”. This period of years represents the time it takes for a new generation to arise.
4. Moses’ life is divided into three 40-year segments, separated by his fleeing from Egypt, and his return to lead his people out.
5. Several Jewish leaders and kings are said to have ruled for “forty years”, that is, a generation. (Examples: Eli, Saul, David, Solomon.)
6. Goliath challenged the Israelites twice a day for forty days before David defeated him.
7. Moses spent three consecutive periods of “forty days and forty nights” on Mount Sinai:
8. He went up on the seventh day of Sivan, after God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, in order to learn the Torah from God, and came down on the seventeenth day of Tammuz, when he saw the Jews worshiping the Golden Calf and broke the tablets
9. He went up on the eighteenth day of Tammuz to beg forgiveness for the people’s sin and came down without God’s atonement on the twenty-ninth day of Av
10. He went up on the first day of Elul and came down on the tenth day of Tishrei, the first Yom Kippur, with God’s atonement.

The Ten Commandments = Halacha= Law. Ten = Aseret Ha diberot=the way (These are not suggestions!)
When the Israelites accepted the Ten Commandments from God at Mount Sinai, they committed themselves to following a moral code of behavior. These are a special set of spiritual imperatives. Greek = Decalogue.
1. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of slavery in Egypt.
2. You shall have no other gods but me.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.

Rabbis teach that the first five sayings, to the left side of the tablet, concern man’s relationship with God (belief in God, prohibition of improper worship, prohibition of oath, Shabbat=Sabbath, respect for parents). The second five sayings, on the right side of the tablet, concern man’s relationship with other people (prohibitions of murder, adultery, theft, false witness, coveting). Judaism teaches that our relationship to our parents is akin to our relationship to God because our parents created us. Disrespect of parents is considered an insult to God. Thus, respect for parents is included on the right side of the tablets with the other sayings that concern our relationship with God.

Among Orthodox Jews, the Seven Laws of Noah (Noahide Laws) were written by Moses Maimonides (12th c.) and date to a.d. 220:
1. The prohibition of idolatry.
2. The prohibition of murder.
3. The prohibition of theft.
4. The prohibition of sexual immorality.
5. The prohibition of blasphemy.
6. The prohibition of eating flesh taken from an animal while it
is still alive.
7. The requirement of maintaining courts to provide legal
recourse.
According to Rabbinic tradition, these laws are derived exegetically from the six commandments which were given to Adam in the Garden of Eden, Gen 2:16 and a seventh precept, which was added after the Flood of Noah. According to Judaism, the 613 commandments given in the written Torah, as well as their explanations and applications discussed in the oral Torah, are applicable to the Jews only, and non-Jews are bound only to observe the seven Noahide laws. To read the 613 (mitzvot) commandments, click on www.jewfaq.org. Jews base their special identity upon these commandments, many of which refer to ancient temple practices and are not currently in effect. Only about 1/3 apply to modern life. But the Restoration of all things is not complete. The Third Temple will be built in Jerusalem ( yeru-shalem=to establish peace) and animal sacrifices will resume for a time there!

Judaism also teaches that the two tablets are parallel. In other words, our duties to God and our duties to people are equally important. If, however, one must choose between performing a duty to God or performing a duty to a person, one should first perform good deeds for another person. These are different from Exodus 34 – the first code of the covenant placed a great deal of emphasis on social matters, such as the treatment of slaves and just compensation for losses caused by negligence or theft. In this abbreviated “code of the covenant” the emphasis falls on Israel’s obedience to God, which had so quickly been interrupted by Israel’s idolatry and apostasy. The prohibitions of verses 12-17 forbid those contacts with the Canaanites which might lead Israel to turn from God. Compare the JST Genesis 34 where Moses is told to prepare two more tablets, but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is taken away and instead the Israelites receive the Lesser Gospel. The Prophet Joseph restores in Exodus 34:1-2 a lost portion of scripture.

For I will take away the priesthood out of their midst;
therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them.

These tightly-woven verses, with repeated reference to faces and forward movement and to the idea of the center (their “midst”), flow beautifully together in Hebrew. The weave is chiastic: the Lord tells Moses that as a result of His taking the priesthood out of their midst, His holy order shall not go before them (lit. to their faces) for His presence (His faces) shall not go up in their midst.
The phrase “shall not go before thee” elsewhere occurs in Exodus when the Lord tells Moses that His presence shall not go before his people into the Promised Land. Because of their rebellion, his angel shall go before him, but not his presence (Exodus 33:2-3).

The Joseph Smith Translation explains what it all means: His presence cannot go before them, because with the fullness of the priesthood, the holy order, taken away, and its attendant sacred ordinances thus also taken away, there can be no access to the face of God. The phrase “my holy order,” rendered back into Hebrew, yields: “the order of my holiness.” Though not attested anywhere in the Hebrew Bible, the phrase does reflect, as every reader knows, Psalm 110:4: “Thou art a priest after the order of Melchisedek”

The Tabernacle of the Lord in the Wilderness
Tabernacle means “tent,” “place of dwelling” or “sanctuary.” It was a sacred place where God chose to meet His people, the Israelites, during the 40 years they wandered in the desert under Moses’ leadership. It was the place where the leaders and people came together to worship and offer sacrifice.

The tabernacle was first erected in the wilderness exactly one year after the Passover when the Israelites were freed from their Egyptian slavery (circa 1450 B.C.). It was a mobile tent with portable furniture that the people traveled with and set up wherever they pitched camp. The tabernacle would be in the center of the camp, and the 12 tribes of Israel would set up their tents around it according to tribe. The instruction on how to build the tabernacle was first given to Moses in the wilderness, who then gave the orders to the Israelites.“…make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8, 29:45-6)

The tabernacle consisted of a tent-like structure (the tabernacle proper) covered by rug-like coverings for a roof, and an external courtyard (150 feet by 75 feet). The whole compound was surrounded by a high fence about 7 feet in height. The fence was made of linen hangings held by pillars. The tent (tabernacle proper) was divided into the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The tent was made of acacia wood boards overlaid with gold and fitted together to form the walls, measuring 45 by 15 feet. On top, four layers of curtains acted as a roof to shield the tabernacle from sun and rain:

The innermost layer was woven with fine linen and embroidered with figures of cherubim (angels), the second layer was made of goat’s hair, the third layer was made of rams’ skins dyed red, and the outermost layer was There was only one gate by which people could enter into the tabernacle courtyard. The gate was 30 feet wide. It was located directly in the center of the outer court on the east end. The gate was covered by a curtain or screen made of finely twisted linen in blue, purple and scarlet.

The one and only gate is a representation of Christ as the only way through which one could fellowship with God and worship Him. To do this, one must enter in through the gate to the place where God dwelled. Jesus said in his famous “I am” statements:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). The curtains were pinned to the ground with loops and clasps.

The brazen altar, bronze altar, or altar of sacrifice was situated right inside the courtyard upon entering the gate to the tabernacle. The Hebrew root for altar means “to slay” or “slaughter.” The Latin word alta means “high.” An altar is a “high place for sacrifice/slaughter.” The altar stood raised on a mound of earth, higher than its surrounding furniture. This is a projection of Christ, our sacrifice, lifted up on the cross, His altar, which stood on a hill called Golgotha. The altar was made of wood from the acacia tree and overlaid with bronze (usually symbolic of judgment on sin in the Bible), measuring 7.5 feet on all four sides and 4.5 feet deep. Four horns projected from the top four corners and a bronze grating was inside to hold the animal.

The altar was the place for burning animal sacrifices. It showed the Israelites that the first step for sinful man to approach a holy God was to be cleansed by the blood of an innocent creature. For a sin offering, a person had to bring an animal — a male one without blemish or defect from the flock or herd — to the priest at the tabernacle gate.

The laver, or basin, was a large bowl filled with water located halfway between the brazen altar and the Holy Place. Although God did not give specific measurements for the Laver, it was to be made entirely of bronze. The priests were to wash their hands and their feet in it before entering the Holy Place. The laver was located in a convenient place for washing and stood as a reminder that people need cleansing before approaching God. The priests atoned for their sins through a sacrifice at the brazen altar, but they cleansed themselves at the laver before serving in the Holy Place, so that they would be pure and not die before a holy God.

After washing their hands and feet at the laver, the priests could enter the Holy Place, which was the first room in the tent of the tabernacle. There were three pieces of furniture in the Holy Place: the menorah, the table of showbread and the golden altar of incense.

The menorah, also called the “golden lampstand” or “candlestick,” stood at the left side of the Holy Place. It was hammered out of one piece of pure gold. Like for the laver, there were no specific instructions about the size of the menorah, but the fact that it was fashioned out of one piece of pure gold would have limited its size. The lampstand had a central branch from which three branches extended from each side, forming a total of seven branches.

Seven lamps holding olive oil and wicks stood on top of the branches. Each branch looked like that of an almond tree, containing buds, blossoms and flowers. The priests were instructed to keep the lamps burning continuously. The light shone upon the table of showbread and the altar of incense, enabling the priests to fellowship with God and intercede on behalf of God’s people. Just as the lampstand was placed in God’s dwelling place so that the priests could approach God.

The table of showbread was a small table made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It measured 3 feet by 1.5 feet and was 2 feet, 3 inches high. It stood on the right side of the Holy Place across from the lampstand and held 12 loaves of bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The priests baked the bread with fine flour and it remained on the table before the Lord for a week; every Sabbath day the priests would remove it and eat it in the Holy Place, then put fresh bread on the table. Only priests could eat the bread, and it could only be eaten in the Holy Place, because it was holy. “Showbread” also was called “bread of the presence” because it was to be always in the Lord’s presence.

The golden altar of incense, which is not to be confused with the brazen altar, sat in front of the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. This altar was smaller than the brazen altar. It was a square with each side measuring 1.5 feet and was 3 feet high. It was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. Four horns protruded from the four corners of the altar.

God commanded the priests to burn incense on the golden altar every morning and evening, the same time that the daily burnt offerings were made. The incense was to be left burning continually throughout the day and night as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It was made of an equal part of four precious spices (stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense) and was considered holy. God commanded the Israelites not to use the same formula outside the tabernacle to make perfume for their own consumption; otherwise, they were to be cut off from their people (Exodus 30:34-38).

The incense was a symbol of the prayers and intercession of the people going up to God as a sweet fragrance. God wanted His dwelling to be a place where people could approach Him and pray to Him.

The Holy of Holies was a perfect cube — its length, width and height were all equal to 15 feet. A thick curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. This curtain, known as the “veil,” was made of fine linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn. There were figures of cherubim (angels) embroidered onto it. Cherubim, spirits who serve God, were in the presence of God to demonstrate His almighty power and majesty. They also guarded the throne of God. These cherubim were also on the innermost layer of covering of the tent. If one looked upward, they would see the cherubim figures. The word “veil” in Hebrew means a screen, divider or separator that hides. What was this curtain hiding? Essentially, it was shielding a holy God from sinful man. Whoever entered into the Holy of Holies was entering the very presence of God. In fact, anyone except the high priest who entered the Holy of Holies would die. Even the high priest, God’s chosen mediator with His people, could only pass through the veil and enter this sacred dwelling once a year, on a prescribed day called the Day of Atonement.

The picture of the veil was that of a barrier between man and God, showing man that the holiness of God could not be trifled with. God’s eyes are too pure to look on evil and He can tolerate no sin (Habakkuk 1:13). The veil was a barrier to make sure that man could not carelessly and irreverently enter into God’s awesome presence. Even as the high priest entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, he had to make some meticulous preparations: He had to wash himself, put on special clothing, bring burning incense to let the smoke cover his eyes from a direct view of God, and bring blood with him to make atonement for sins.

So the presence of God remained shielded from man behind a thick curtain during the history of Israel. However, Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross changed that. When He died, the curtain in the Jerusalem temple was torn in half, from the top to the bottom. Only God could have carried out such an incredible feat because the veil was too high for human hands to have reached it, and too thick to have torn it. (The Jerusalem temple, a replica of the wilderness tabernacle, had a curtain that was about 60 feet in height, 30 feet in width and four inches thick.) Furthermore, it was torn from top down, meaning this act must have come from above.

Within the Holy of Holies, shielded from the eye of the common man, was one piece of furniture comprising two parts: the Ark of the Covenant and the atonement cover (or “mercy seat”) on top of it. The ark was a chest made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold inside and out. It was 3 feet, 9 inches long and 2 feet, 3 inches wide and high. God commanded Moses to put in the ark three items: a golden pot of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the two stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. We will discuss these three objects in further detail below.

The atonement cover was the lid for the ark. On top of it stood two cherubim (angels) at the two ends, facing each other. The cherubim, symbols of God’s divine presence and power, were facing downward toward the ark with outstretched wings that covered the atonement cover. The whole structure was beaten out of one piece of pure gold. The atonement cover was God’s dwelling place in the tabernacle. It was His throne, flanked by angels.

God said to Moses:
“There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.” (Exodus 25:22)

“O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Isaiah 37:16) Above the ark and the atonement cover, God appeared in His glory in “unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16). This light is sometimes referred to as the Shekinah glory. The word Shekinah, although it does not appear in our English bibles, has the same roots as the word for tabernacle in Hebrew and refers to the presence of the Lord. Because the ark was God’s throne among His people, it was a symbol of His presence and power with them wherever it went. There are quite a number of miracles recorded in the Old Testament surrounding the ark: With the presence of the ark, the waters of the River Jordan divided so the Israelites could cross on dry land, and the walls of Jericho fell so that the Israelites could capture it (Joshua 3:14-17, 6:6-21).

Articles in the Ark of the Covenant
The three articles represented some of the most embarrassing and disgraceful events in the history of the Israelites.

First, the pot of manna:
“This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer [portion for one man] of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.’” (Exodus 16:32)

God had provided this bread-like food for the Israelites when they grumbled during the wanderings in the desert. It was bread from heaven! He continued to provide the food daily and faithfully, but the people were not one bit thankful. They complained and wanted something else. The pot of manna was an uncomfortable reminder that despite what God had provided for them, the Israelites had rejected God’s provision.

Second, Aaron’s staff that had budded: The people, out of jealousy, rebelled against Aaron as their high priest. To resolve the dispute, God commanded the people to take 12 sticks written with the names of the leader of each tribe and place them before the ark overnight. The next day, Aaron’s rod from the house of Levi had budded with blossoms and almonds. God confirmed his choice of Aaron’s household as the priestly line.

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die.’” (Numbers 17:10) The staff reminded the Israelites that on more than one occasion, they had rejected God’s authority.

Third, the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments: God had chosen the Israelites as His special people. For the Israelites to qualify for that distinction, God had demanded one thing. They must obey His Law, the Ten Commandments. This was a conditional agreement: “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6)

The Israelites had said heartily, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do,” in response to God’s covenant (Exodus 19:8). But how did they fare in fulfilling their end of the contract? Miserably. It was impossible for them to keep the Ten Commandments perfectly. Over and over again, they violated God’s holy Law, and God made it clear to them the consequences of their sin by sending plagues, natural hazards and foreign armies upon them. The stone tablets in the ark were a reminder that the Israelites had rejected God’s right standard of living.

These three articles were preserved in the ark throughout Israel’s history as an unpleasant symbol of man’s sins and shortcomings, a reminder of how they rejected God’s provision, authority and right standard of living. It pointed to man as a helpless sinner.
It may have been uncomfortable to think that God’s splendor was so close to the three articles associated with man’s sinfulness. But this is where God’s provision comes in. When God looked down from His presence above the ark, He did not see the reminders of sin. They were covered by a necessary object — the atonement cover

The Atonement Cover
Every year, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. Bringing burning incense to shield his eyes from a direct view of God’s glory, he sprinkled blood from a bull onto the atonement cover for his and his household’s sins, then sprinkled blood from a goat for all the sins of Israel. God promised that when He saw the blood, it would cover over man’s sin. (To atone for means to cover over — hence the name atonement cover.)

The Israelites found acceptance with God by believing His word to be true — that when their sins were covered by blood, God temporarily overlooked their sins as if they had been obliterated. But Jesus Christ has become our permanent atonement cover. Through Jesus’ blood, our sins have been covered over. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, but the provision: His own Son. Jesus lay down His life for us as an innocent sacrifice so that God would look on us and see His perfection. The atonement cover was God’s throne in the midst of the Israelites. God is on His throne today in heaven and Jesus, our high priest, is at His right side. When we come to God now, we approach a throne of grace.

Articles in the Ark — Revisited
The three items in the ark that served as a sore reminder of man’s shortcomings have taken on a different meaning since Jesus Christ redeemed us from our sins. Let’s review the three articles and see how they point to Christ.

First, the pot of manna: When Jesus came and walked on earth, he didn’t reject God’s provision. Rather, He became God’s provision to us. Manna, the bread from heaven, in itself did not impart life. But Jesus told us that He is the true bread from heaven.

“Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.’” (John 6:32, 48-50)

Second, Aaron’s budding staff: Jesus didn’t reject God’s authority. Instead, He submitted Himself to the Father’s will and died on the cross. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38) But He came back to life like Aaron’s budding rod, “the firstfruits from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:15-26)

Third, the Ten Commandments: Jesus didn’t reject God’s right standard of living. He lived a sinless life and obeyed God’s law perfectly, becoming our perfect sacrifice and intercessor. His sacrifice instituted a new covenant that was not based on the Law.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:20-22). (From: The Tabernacle Place.com)

Shittim wood: A desert Acacia tree of the Near East. Hard wood that endures well and has a high polish. Ideal for the tabernacle.
Cubit: unit of measurement 18 inches in length.

O.T.Handout 14: Song of Moses, meaning of 40, Aseret Hadiberot, Noahide Laws, JST Gen 34, holy order of God,
Tabernacle in desert:gate, altar,laver,menorah,showbread,Atlar of Incense, holy of Holies, Veil, Ark of Covenant April 2014

The beautiful Song of Moses in Ex 15 was unlikely spontaneous as Moses let the nation into the wilderness. This is a part of Jewish liturgy, performed several times daily and was offered as a prayer= tefilah. Similar to modern Shacharit or morning prayer or the Shemoneh Esrei- the basic prayer of Judaism, recited while standing and facing the ark that houses Torah scrolls. Consists of praise, petitions, thanks, including a full 19 blessings of praise, petitions and thanksgiving to God. Compare Deut 32 and the Psalm of Nephi (2Ne 4:15-35), D&C 25:12, 45:71, 109:39, 84:98-102, 133:56).
Themes: Lord is a man of war; He overthrew those who rose against us; Who is like You among the Gods: People will hear and be afraid. Lord reigns forever. After a time of testing, the Israelites found wells and shade. The Lord knows when to test us and rest us! During this Exodus the Hebrews became a nation, called Israelites. The number 40 is a ceremonial number of cleansing (Lev 12), separating epochs. Other symbolic numbers from scripture: 3, 7, 18, 10, 40, 70.
1. Rain fell for “forty days and forty nights” during the Flood
2. Spies explored the land of Israel for “forty days.” (Num 13)
3. The Hebrew people lived in the Sinai desert for “forty years”. This period of years represents the time it takes for a new generation to arise.
4. Moses’ life is divided into three 40-year segments, separated by his fleeing from Egypt, and his return to lead his people out.
5. Several Jewish leaders and kings are said to have ruled for “forty years”, that is, a generation. (Examples: Eli, Saul, David, Solomon.)
6. Goliath challenged the Israelites twice a day for forty days before David defeated him.
7. Moses spent three consecutive periods of “forty days and forty nights” on Mount Sinai:
8. He went up on the seventh day of Sivan, after God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, in order to learn the Torah from God, and came down on the seventeenth day of Tammuz, when he saw the Jews worshiping the Golden Calf and broke the tablets
9. He went up on the eighteenth day of Tammuz to beg forgiveness for the people’s sin and came down without God’s atonement on the twenty-ninth day of Av
10. He went up on the first day of Elul and came down on the tenth day of Tishrei, the first Yom Kippur, with God’s atonement.

The Ten Commandments = Halacha= Law. Ten = Aseret Ha diberot=the way (These are not suggestions!)
When the Israelites accepted the Ten Commandments from God at Mount Sinai, they committed themselves to following a moral code of behavior. These are a special set of spiritual imperatives. Greek = Decalogue.
1. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of slavery in Egypt.
2. You shall have no other gods but me.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.
Rabbis teach that the first five sayings, to the left side of the tablet, concern man’s relationship with God (belief in God, prohibition of improper worship, prohibition of oath, Shabbat=Sabbath, respect for parents). The second five sayings, on the right side of the tablet, concern man’s relationship with other people (prohibitions of murder, adultery, theft, false witness, coveting). Judaism teaches that our relationship to our parents is akin to our relationship to God because our parents created us. Disrespect of parents is considered an insult to God. Thus, respect for parents is included on the right side of the tablets with the other sayings that concern our relationship with God.

Among Orthodox Jews, the Seven Laws of Noah (Noahide Laws) were written by Moses Maimonides (12th c.) and date to a.d. 220:
1. The prohibition of idolatry.
2. The prohibition of murder.
3. The prohibition of theft.
4. The prohibition of sexual immorality.
5. The prohibition of blasphemy.
6. The prohibition of eating flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive.
7. The requirement of maintaining courts to provide legal recourse.
According to Rabbinic tradition, these laws are derived exegetically from the six commandments which were given to Adam in the Garden of Eden, Gen 2:16 and a seventh precept, which was added after the Flood of Noah. According to Judaism, the 613 commandments given in the written Torah, as well as their explanations and applications discussed in the oral Torah, are applicable to the Jews only, and non-Jews are bound only to observe the seven Noahide laws. To read the 613 (mitzvot) commandments, click on www.jewfaq.org. Jews base their special identity upon these commandments, many of which refer to ancient temple practices and are not currently in effect. Only about 1/3 apply to modern life. But the Restoration of all things is not complete. The Third Temple will be built in Jerusalem ( yeru-shalem=to establish peace) and animal sacrifices will resume for a time there!

Judaism also teaches that the two tablets are parallel. In other words, our duties to God and our duties to people are equally important. If, however, one must choose between performing a duty to God or performing a duty to a person, one should first perform good deeds for another person. These are different from Exodus 34 – the first code of the covenant placed a great deal of emphasis on social matters, such as the treatment of slaves and just compensation for losses caused by negligence or theft. In this abbreviated “code of the covenant” the emphasis falls on Israel’s obedience to God, which had so quickly been interrupted by Israel’s idolatry and apostasy. The prohibitions of verses 12-17 forbid those contacts with the Canaanites which might lead Israel to turn from God. Compare the JST Genesis 34 where Moses is told to prepare two more tablets, but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is taken away and instead the Israelites receive the Lesser Gospel. The Prophet Joseph restores in Exodus 34:1-2 a lost portion of scripture.

For I will take away the priesthood out of their midst;
therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them;
for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them

These tightly-woven verses, with repeated reference to faces and forward movement and to the idea of the center (their “midst”), flow beautifully together in Hebrew. The weave is chiastic: the Lord tells Moses that as a result of His taking the priesthood out of their midst, His holy order shall not go before them (lit. to their faces) for His presence (His faces) shall not go up in their midst.
The phrase “shall not go before thee” elsewhere occurs in Exodus when the Lord tells Moses that His presence shall not go before his people into the Promised Land. Because of their rebellion, his angel shall go before him, but not his presence (Exodus 33:2-3).

The Joseph Smith Translation explains what it all means: His presence cannot go before them, because with the fullness of the priesthood, the holy order, taken away, and its attendant sacred ordinances thus also taken away, there can be no access to the face of God. The phrase “my holy order,” rendered back into Hebrew, yields: “the order of my holiness.” Though not attested anywhere in the Hebrew Bible, the phrase does reflect, as every reader knows, Psalm 110:4: “Thou art a priest after the order of Melchisedek”
The Tabernacle of the Lord in the Wilderness
Tabernacle means “tent,” “place of dwelling” or “sanctuary.” It was a sacred place where God chose to meet His people, the Israelites, during the 40 years they wandered in the desert under Moses’ leadership. It was the place where the leaders and people came together to worship and offer sacrifice.
The tabernacle was first erected in the wilderness exactly one year after the Passover when the Israelites were freed from their Egyptian slavery (circa 1450 B.C.). It was a mobile tent with portable furniture that the people traveled with and set up wherever they pitched camp. The tabernacle would be in the center of the camp, and the 12 tribes of Israel would set up their tents around it according to tribe. The instruction on how to build the tabernacle was first given to Moses in the wilderness, who then gave the orders to the Israelites.“…make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8, 29:45-6)
The tabernacle consisted of a tent-like structure (the tabernacle proper) covered by rug-like coverings for a roof, and an external courtyard (150 feet by 75 feet). The whole compound was surrounded by a high fence about 7 feet in height. The fence was made of linen hangings held by pillars. The tent (tabernacle proper) was divided into the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The tent was made of acacia wood boards overlaid with gold and fitted together to form the walls, measuring 45 by 15 feet. On top, four layers of curtains acted as a roof to shield the tabernacle from sun and rain: The innermost layer was woven with fine linen and embroidered with figures of cherubim (angels), the second layer was made of goat’s hair, the third layer was made of rams’ skins dyed red, and the outermost layer was There was only one gate by which people could enter into the tabernacle courtyard. The gate was 30 feet wide. It was located directly in the center of the outer court on the east end. The gate was covered by a curtain or screen made of finely twisted linen in blue, purple and scarlet.
The one and only gate is a representation of Christ as the only way through which one could fellowship with God and worship Him. To do this, one must enter in through the gate to the place where God dwelled. Jesus said in his famous “I am” statements:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). The curtains were pinned to the ground with loops and clasps.

The brazen altar, bronze altar, or altar of sacrifice was situated right inside the courtyard upon entering the gate to the tabernacle. The Hebrew root for altar means “to slay” or “slaughter.” The Latin word alta means “high.” An altar is a “high place for sacrifice/slaughter.” The altar stood raised on a mound of earth, higher than its surrounding furniture. This is a projection of Christ, our sacrifice, lifted up on the cross, His altar, which stood on a hill called Golgotha. The altar was made of wood from the acacia tree and overlaid with bronze (usually symbolic of judgment on sin in the Bible), measuring 7.5 feet on all four sides and 4.5 feet deep. Four horns projected from the top four corners and a bronze grating was inside to hold the animal.

The altar was the place for burning animal sacrifices. It showed the Israelites that the first step for sinful man to approach a holy God was to be cleansed by the blood of an innocent creature. For a sin offering, a person had to bring an animal — a male one without blemish or defect from the flock or herd — to the priest at the tabernacle gate.

The laver, or basin, was a large bowl filled with water located halfway between the brazen altar and the Holy Place. Although God did not give specific measurements for the Laver, it was to be made entirely of bronze. The priests were to wash their hands and their feet in it before entering the Holy Place. The laver was located in a convenient place for washing and stood as a reminder that people need cleansing before approaching God. The priests atoned for their sins through a sacrifice at the brazen altar, but they cleansed themselves at the laver before serving in the Holy Place, so that they would be pure and not die before a holy God.
After washing their hands and feet at the laver, the priests could enter the Holy Place, which was the first room in the tent of the tabernacle. There were three pieces of furniture in the Holy Place: the menorah, the table of showbread and the golden altar of incense.

The menorah, also called the “golden lampstand” or “candlestick,” stood at the left side of the Holy Place. It was hammered out of one piece of pure gold. Like for the laver, there were no specific instructions about the size of the menorah, but the fact that it was fashioned out of one piece of pure gold would have limited its size. The lampstand had a central branch from which three branches extended from each side, forming a total of seven branches. Seven lamps holding olive oil and wicks stood on top of the branches. Each branch looked like that of an almond tree, containing buds, blossoms and flowers. The priests were instructed to keep the lamps burning continuously. The light shone upon the table of showbread and the altar of incense, enabling the priests to fellowship with God and intercede on behalf of God’s people. Just as the lampstand was placed in God’s dwelling place so that the priests could approach God.

The table of showbread was a small table made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It measured 3 feet by 1.5 feet and was 2 feet, 3 inches high. It stood on the right side of the Holy Place across from the lampstand and held 12 loaves of bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The priests baked the bread with fine flour and it remained on the table before the Lord for a week; every Sabbath day the priests would remove it and eat it in the Holy Place, then put fresh bread on the table. Only priests could eat the bread, and it could only be eaten in the Holy Place, because it was holy. “Showbread” also was called “bread of the presence” because it was to be always in the Lord’s presence.

The golden altar of incense, which is not to be confused with the brazen altar, sat in front of the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. This altar was smaller than the brazen altar. It was a square with each side measuring 1.5 feet and was 3 feet high. It was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. Four horns protruded from the four corners of the altar.
God commanded the priests to burn incense on the golden altar every morning and evening, the same time that the daily burnt offerings were made. The incense was to be left burning continually throughout the day and night as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It was made of an equal part of four precious spices (stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense) and was considered holy. God commanded the Israelites not to use the same formula outside the tabernacle to make perfume for their own consumption; otherwise, they were to be cut off from their people (Exodus 30:34-38).
The incense was a symbol of the prayers and intercession of the people going up to God as a sweet fragrance. God wanted His dwelling to be a place where people could approach Him and pray to Him.

The Holy of Holies was a perfect cube — its length, width and height were all equal to 15 feet. A thick curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. This curtain, known as the “veil,” was made of fine linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn. There were figures of cherubim (angels) embroidered onto it. Cherubim, spirits who serve God, were in the presence of God to demonstrate His almighty power and majesty. They also guarded the throne of God. These cherubim were also on the innermost layer of covering of the tent. If one looked upward, they would see the cherubim figures. The word “veil” in Hebrew means a screen, divider or separator that hides. What was this curtain hiding? Essentially, it was shielding a holy God from sinful man. Whoever entered into the Holy of Holies was entering the very presence of God. In fact, anyone except the high priest who entered the Holy of Holies would die. Even the high priest, God’s chosen mediator with His people, could only pass through the veil and enter this sacred dwelling once a year, on a prescribed day called the Day of Atonement.

The picture of the veil was that of a barrier between man and God, showing man that the holiness of God could not be trifled with. God’s eyes are too pure to look on evil and He can tolerate no sin (Habakkuk 1:13). The veil was a barrier to make sure that man could not carelessly and irreverently enter into God’s awesome presence. Even as the high priest entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, he had to make some meticulous preparations: He had to wash himself, put on special clothing, bring burning incense to let the smoke cover his eyes from a direct view of God, and bring blood with him to make atonement for sins.

So the presence of God remained shielded from man behind a thick curtain during the history of Israel. However, Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross changed that. When He died, the curtain in the Jerusalem temple was torn in half, from the top to the bottom. Only God could have carried out such an incredible feat because the veil was too high for human hands to have reached it, and too thick to have torn it. (The Jerusalem temple, a replica of the wilderness tabernacle, had a curtain that was about 60 feet in height, 30 feet in width and four inches thick.) Furthermore, it was torn from top down, meaning this act must have come from above.

Within the Holy of Holies, shielded from the eye of the common man, was one piece of furniture comprising two parts: the Ark of the Covenant and the atonement cover (or “mercy seat”) on top of it. The ark was a chest made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold inside and out. It was 3 feet, 9 inches long and 2 feet, 3 inches wide and high. God commanded Moses to put in the ark three items: a golden pot of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the two stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. We will discuss these three objects in further detail below.

The atonement cover was the lid for the ark. On top of it stood two cherubim (angels) at the two ends, facing each other. The cherubim, symbols of God’s divine presence and power, were facing downward toward the ark with outstretched wings that covered the atonement cover. The whole structure was beaten out of one piece of pure gold. The atonement cover was God’s dwelling place in the tabernacle. It was His throne, flanked by angels. God said to Moses:
“There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.” (Exodus 25:22)

“O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Isaiah 37:16) Above the ark and the atonement cover, God appeared in His glory in “unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16). This light is sometimes referred to as the Shekinah glory. The word Shekinah, although it does not appear in our English bibles, has the same roots as the word for tabernacle in Hebrew and refers to the presence of the Lord. Because the ark was God’s throne among His people, it was a symbol of His presence and power with them wherever it went. There are quite a number of miracles recorded in the Old Testament surrounding the ark: With the presence of the ark, the waters of the River Jordan divided so the Israelites could cross on dry land, and the walls of Jericho fell so that the Israelites could capture it (Joshua 3:14-17, 6:6-21).

Articles in the Ark of the Covenant
The three articles represented some of the most embarrassing and disgraceful events in the history of the Israelites.
First, the pot of manna:
“This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer [portion for one man] of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.’” (Exodus 16:32)
God had provided this bread-like food for the Israelites when they grumbled during the wanderings in the desert. It was bread from heaven! He continued to provide the food daily and faithfully, but the people were not one bit thankful. They complained and wanted something else. The pot of manna was an uncomfortable reminder that despite what God had provided for them, the Israelites had rejected God’s provision.

Second, Aaron’s staff that had budded: The people, out of jealousy, rebelled against Aaron as their high priest. To resolve the dispute, God commanded the people to take 12 sticks written with the names of the leader of each tribe and place them before the ark overnight. The next day, Aaron’s rod from the house of Levi had budded with blossoms and almonds. God confirmed his choice of Aaron’s household as the priestly line.
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die.’” (Numbers 17:10) The staff reminded the Israelites that on more than one occasion, they had rejected God’s authority.
Third, the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments: God had chosen the Israelites as His special people. For the Israelites to qualify for that distinction, God had demanded one thing. They must obey His Law, the Ten Commandments. This was a conditional agreement: “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6)

The Israelites had said heartily, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do,” in response to God’s covenant (Exodus 19:8). But how did they fare in fulfilling their end of the contract? Miserably. It was impossible for them to keep the Ten Commandments perfectly. Over and over again, they violated God’s holy Law, and God made it clear to them the consequences of their sin by sending plagues, natural hazards and foreign armies upon them. The stone tablets in the ark were a reminder that the Israelites had rejected God’s right standard of living.

These three articles were preserved in the ark throughout Israel’s history as an unpleasant symbol of man’s sins and shortcomings, a reminder of how they rejected God’s provision, authority and right standard of living. It pointed to man as a helpless sinner.
It may have been uncomfortable to think that God’s splendor was so close to the three articles associated with man’s sinfulness. But this is where God’s provision comes in. When God looked down from His presence above the ark, He did not see the reminders of sin. They were covered by a necessary object — the atonement cover

The Atonement Cover
Every year, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. Bringing burning incense to shield his eyes from a direct view of God’s glory, he sprinkled blood from a bull onto the atonement cover for his and his household’s sins, then sprinkled blood from a goat for all the sins of Israel. God promised that when He saw the blood, it would cover over man’s sin. (To atone for means to cover over — hence the name atonement cover.)

The Israelites found acceptance with God by believing His word to be true — that when their sins were covered by blood, God temporarily overlooked their sins as if they had been obliterated. But Jesus Christ has become our permanent atonement cover. Through Jesus’ blood, our sins have been covered over. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, but the provision: His own Son. Jesus lay down His life for us as an innocent sacrifice so that God would look on us and see His perfection. The atonement cover was God’s throne in the midst of the Israelites. God is on His throne today in heaven and Jesus, our high priest, is at His right side. When we come to God now, we approach a throne of grace.

Articles in the Ark — Revisited
The three items in the ark that served as a sore reminder of man’s shortcomings have taken on a different meaning since Jesus Christ redeemed us from our sins. Let’s review the three articles and see how they point to Christ.

First, the pot of manna: When Jesus came and walked on earth, he didn’t reject God’s provision. Rather, He became God’s provision to us. Manna, the bread from heaven, in itself did not impart life. But Jesus told us that He is the true bread from heaven.
“Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.’” (John 6:32, 48-50)

Second, Aaron’s budding staff: Jesus didn’t reject God’s authority. Instead, He submitted Himself to the Father’s will and died on the cross. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38) But He came back to life like Aaron’s budding rod, “the firstfruits from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:15-26)

Third, the Ten Commandments: Jesus didn’t reject God’s right standard of living. He lived a sinless life and obeyed God’s law perfectly, becoming our perfect sacrifice and intercessor. His sacrifice instituted a new covenant that was not based on the Law.
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:20-22). (From: The Tabernacle Place.com)

Shittim wood: A desert Acacia tree of the Near East. Hard wood that endures well and has a high polish. Ideal for the tabernacle.
Cubit: unit of measurement 18 inches in length.

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