Letter To The Jews / Chapter 14

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14: Moses And The Messenger

Moses was chosen by YHWH, although he was brought up in the household of Pharaoh. He was 40 years old when he first tried to deliver his people Israel, but instead he had to flee to Midian. There he saved the Midianites and watered their flock, and became shepherd to those Gentiles for 40 years.

YHWH then appeared to Moses and told him to return to Egypt and deliver Israel. After Moses brought out Israel, with miracles and wonders, along with a great crowd of Egyptians, YHWH said to him while on the holy mountain: “Look! I send a messenger before you, to keep you on the way, and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Watch yourself before him, and listen to his voice. Do not provoke him, for he will not put up with your transgressions, for my name is within him.” 1

Thus, this messenger would be similar to Joseph, who was also sent before your forefathers, to preserve Israel as a remnant in the earth. But what angel spoke to this people, so they could listen to his voice? Yet even while YHWH was saying this to Moses, tradition overpowered your ancestors, and they built a golden calf to worship.

When Moses learned about this, he became incensed, and said to YHWH: “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin. They have made a god of gold for themselves. And now, if you will bear their sin - but if not, please wipe me out from your book which you have written.”

And so Moses was willing to sacrifice his own life on behalf of Israel, and to bear their sins, if YHWH would not. But YHWH said to Moses: “Whoever has sinned against me, I will wipe out of my book. And now, go! Lead the people to where I told you. Look! My messenger will go before you. And in the day of my visitation, I will visit their sin upon them.” 2

In speaking about those days, Isaiah said: “In all of their affliction he was afflicted, and the messenger of his presence saved them. In his love and in his mercy he redeems them, and he bears them and carries them all the days of eternity.” 3

Yet most of that generation, the generation who heard Moses and saw YHWH's miracles and wonders, died in the wilderness.

And the people became afraid of YHWH and said, “Do not let me hear the voice of YHWH God any more, or let me see this great fire any more, so that I do not die.” YHWH said they spoke well, and he said to Moses:

“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers, and I will put my words in his mouth, and he will speak to them all that I will instruct him. And whoever does not listen to my words, which he will speak in my name, I will call him to account.” 4

This prophet like Moses would be similar to, or even the same as, the messenger YHWH would send before them, in that if the people did not listen to his voice, YHWH would hold them to account.

This was the reason YHWH punished your ancestors so severely in the wilderness. For Moses was no ordinary prophet but, says YHWH, “he is faithful in all my house. Mouth to mouth I speak with him, and plainly, and not in riddles; and a likeness of YHWH he sees.” 5

Yet Moses was not allowed to lead your ancestors into the land promised to them; and so he anointed Hoshea, whose name means “Salvation,” and renamed him Joshua,6 meaning “YHWH Is Salvation.” And so YHWH's name was put into this one, and he became a type of messenger who would keep Israel on the way, although he himself was not an angel.

However, after they had entered the land, Joshua saw a man standing in front of him, with a drawn sword in his hand, and he identified himself as “prince of the host of YHWH,” at which Joshua bowed down, and the prince of YHWH's host told Joshua to remove his sandals, “for the place on which you stand is holy.” 7

1 Exodus 23:20,21. 2 Exodus 32:31-34. 3 Isaiah 63:9. 4 Deuteronomy 18:16-19. 5 Numbers 12:7,8. 6 See Numbers 13:16. 7 Joshua 5:13-15.

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