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Friday, March 30, 2012

Coming Soon To A Place Near You!

~ Coming Soon ~

Ok, I am going to go out on a limb here and express my opinion on the below Verse found in Revelation 22:12


" Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done".
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be".

"Behold, I am coming soon"
I take that literally- especially in this present age. Let me give you the short version of why I believe that the Lord's return is just right around the corner. If you look in the Bible you will see that God is very much into numbers. 40 was one of His favorites- Noah & the whole rain thing = 40, Jonah preached to the Ninivites 40 days, the Irsaelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, Jesus was tempted for 40 days and so on. All through the OT & NT we see the 40's repeatedly.

But for now- as it relates to the above Scripture let's just look at the number 7. God created everything and then on the 7th day He rested. It is Written that 6 years will a man toil the fields and on the 7th the ground will lay barren. Those are the two biggies that most people can recall off the top of their heads- but let me give you a few more.

There are SEVEN notes in the musical scale. All other pitches are only variations of these. Man named the notes but God fixed the sounds, even as God fixed the days of the week, and man named them.

Noah took the clean beasts into the ark by SEVENS (Genesis 7:2) SEVEN days after Noah went into the ark the flood came. (Genesis 7:-10)

Before Aaron and his sons entered their priestly work they were consecrated SEVEN days. (Leviticus 8:31-36)

When Israel took the city of Jericho God told them to march around the city SEVEN times. Thus, on the SEVENTH day, when they marched around the city SEVEN times, they COMPLETED their marching. (Joshua 6:1-16)

There were SEVEN FEAST days of our Lord. (Passover, Unleavened, First-fruits, Pentecost, Atonement, Trumpets and Tabernacle). (Leviticus 23:1-44)

There were SEVEN branches on the CANDLESTICK in the Holy Place in the Tabernacle

Solomon was SEVEN years in building the Temple and kept the Feast for SEVEN days.

Job had SEVEN sons. When his friends came to visit him they sat SEVEN days and SEVEN nights in silence, and afterward they were required to offer a Burnt Offering of SEVEN bullocks and SEVEN rams.

Naaaman washed SEVEN times in the Jordan.

The Saviour spoke SEVEN words from the Cross.

SEVEN men of honest report were chosen to administer the alms of the church in Acts 6:1-7.

There were SEVEN years of plenty and SEVEN years of famine in Egypt during the days of Joseph.

SEVEN times in the Book of Revelation blessing of the Lord are promised to His people. These are called the "BEATITUDES" of Revelation. These are found in Chapters 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14. 

There are SEVEN Dispensations (a certain order, system, or arrangement; administration or management)
---> Innocence, Conscience, Government, Patriarchal, Law, Grace, and Millennial Age.

SEVEN times the Book of Life is mentioned in the Bible.

The Book of Revelation is a Book of SEVENS. We have SEVEN churches, SEVEN seals, SEVEN Trumpets, SEVEN Personages, SEVEN vials, SEVEN dooms, SEVEN new things. SEVEN SEVENS make up this Book .

Even the duration of Israel's great punishments was based upon this law of SEVENS. Their captivity in Babylon was for SEVENTY years, ten periods of SEVENS. (Jeremiah 25:11-12; Daniel l9:2) 

The Number 7  is the COMPLETENESS of all things.

Jesus said to "forgive SEVENTY times SEVEN" In other words, He is saying, "Keep on forgiving until you are complete."

Ok; so enough with the examples of the number 7.
But this is what I want you to understand.

From the time that Father Adam to the date of this writing has been almost? exactly?? (you be the judge) 6000 years- six thousand years of toil for man. Which means that the next thing to come would be 1000 years to rest (6+1=7... right?!)

How can we possibly have a 1000 year resting day (Sabbath)?

Those of you that are familiar with the Books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation know that it is Written that Jesus would return and reign on earth for a thousand years. Well... there is your 1000 year long Sabbath isn't it?

So; if we are at the tail end of 6000 years of working and we are entitled to a resting phase- then it goes without saying that Jesus's Return is absolutely imminent.

"Behold, I am coming soon"
You better believe it! LOL

As for the remaining part of the Scripture "My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done"

If you did a little then you get a little- if you did alot then you get alot.

For those wondering how I came to the conclusion that we are nearing the end of the 6000 years.... It was a simple case of mathmatics.

If you start with Adam as being born in year one of the Old Testament and count forward to Abraham, you will find that he was born one thousand nine hundred and forty eight years (1948) after Adam. Israel returned to her rightful place in the year 1948. Add the years between Adam and Abraham and then Abraham to Israel's Return and then Israel's Return to right now; this very minute.

But mostly because Elijah said there would be 4000 years until the birth of the Messiah and then 2000 years until destruction and the Messiah's return. I trust Elijah! 

From the creation of Adam to the year of the flood there were 1656 years

From the flood to the "seed" promise made to Abraham there are 427 years

Galatians 3:17 says "And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law (meaning the giving of the Ten Commandments), which was four hundred and thirty years after,..." Here we are told that the giving of the Ten Commandments came 430 years after the "seed" promise made to Abraham.

"And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord."

We are here told that there were 480 years from the Exodus to the 4th year of Solomon when he began "to build the house of the Lord."

With 1 Kings 6:1 providing the bridge to the temple we have now entered the period of the Kings. There are 286 years from Solomon's 4th until the beginning of the reign of Hezekiah.

There are a total of 406 years in the listings of the kings and 601 years from the listing of kings to Jesus Christ.

Thus from Adam to Jesus Christ is 4000 years:

ADAM ---> FLOOD 1656 years

FLOOD ---> ABRAHAM 427 years

ABRAHAM ---> EXODUS 430 years

EXODUS ---> TEMPLE 480 years



4000 years

Since the calendar that we have in existance now wasn't invented until well after Jesus was born - Biblical scholars speculate that Jesus was born somewhere between 4 BC  and  2 AD- in any event when we crossed into the twentieth century- we crossed into the 6000 years between Adam and Jesus's Return.

The Lord said "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." {MAT 24:36 KJV} But notice, the Lord did not say the YEAR could not be known, just the day or the hour. Thus it is not unthinkable or unBiblical to think that the Lord might reveal the year of His return.

If you have the eyes to see. Eh?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today I Walked

I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked

I walked today where Jesus walked,
In days of long ago.
I wandered down each path He knew,
With reverent step and slow.

Those little lanes, they have not changed,
A sweet peace fills the air.
I walked today where Jesus walked,
And felt Him close to me.

My pathway led through Bethlehem,
A memory's ever sweet.
The little hills of Galilee,
That knew His childish feet.

The Mount of Olives, hallowed scenes,
That Jesus knew before
I saw the mighty Jordan row,
As in the days of yore.

I knelt today where Jesus knelt,
Where all alone he prayed.
The Garden of Gethsemane,
My heart felt unafraid.

I picked my heavy burden up,
And with Him at my side,
I climbed the Hill of Calvary,
Where on the Cross He Died!

I walked today where Jesus walked,
And felt Him close to me ....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Story of Moses- Torah Teachings

The Birth of Moses
Moses Parents

Levi's grandson, Amram, the son of Kehot, married Jochebed, and she bore him three children. Their first child was a girl by the name of Miriam, who was later to become a great prophetess of the Jewish people. The second child was Aaron, the highest priest of God, famous for his extraordinary love of peace. Next to his brother Moses, he was the greatest leader of our nation in his time. It was Amram's youngest son Moses who was destined to lead the children of Israel from Egypt and to receive for them the Holy Torah on Mount Sinai.

The Birth of Moses

The day approached when, according to the Egyptian astrologers, the liberator of the children of Israel was to be born. Since they did not know whether he would be of Jewish or Egyptian descent, all male children born that day, were to be thrown into the water by order of King Pharaoh. This same day, the seventh of Adar, Jochebed, Amram's wife, gave birth to her third child, a boy. Right from the first moment of his birth, it became apparent that he was an extraordinary child, for the house was filled with a radiant light. His parents tried everything possible to prevent his falling into the hands of Pharaoh's men, who were continuously searching for newborn Jewish children. After three months, Jochebed saw that she would not be able to conceal her child any longer. She therefore made a small, water-proof basket in which she put the child and set. him down among the papyrus reeds growing on the brink of the Nile. While Jochebed tearfully returned home, her daughter Miriam remained nearby to watch the baby.

Moses Saved
The day was hot, and King Pharaoh's daughter, Bithya, came out to the river, accompanied by her maids, to take a bath in the cool waters of the Nile. Suddenly, she heard the wailing of a small child. Presently she found the basket, and in it an infant boy. Intrigued by the child's beauty, Bithya tried to figure out a way to enable her to keep him for herself and save him from death, for she understood that this boy was one of the children born to a Jewish family, and therefore condemned to death.

The child refused to be nursed by any of the Egyptian maids-in-waiting, and continued to weep. At this moment, Miriam came over to the princess and offered to procure for the child a Jewish nurse, who would keep it as long as the princess thought necessary. Bithya was glad of this solution. Miriam rushed home and brought her mother, whom she introduced as an experienced nurse.

For two years the baby was left in his mother's care. Meanwhile Bithya told Pharaoh about the boy she had found and adopted. Her father did not object, although the foundling was of Jewish descent; for his astrologers had told him that the one who, according to the constellation of the stars, had been predestined to become the liberator of the Jews and to threaten the life of King Pharaoh, had already been placed at the mercy of the water. Moreover, they further said, it was the fate of this boy to die because of water. Thus, they felt sure that the danger had already been averted. Moses was taken to the royal court, where he grew up as the princely adopted son of King Pharaoh's daughter.

Moses Becomes Tongue-Tied
Once it happened that Moses was playing on King Pharaoh's lap. He saw the shining crown, studded with jewels, and reached for it and took it off. Pharaoh, who was superstitious like all his fellow-Egyptians, and who in addition was always afraid of losing his throne, asked his astrologers and counselors for the meaning of this action of the infant. Most of them interpreted it to mean that Moses was a threat to Pharaoh's crown and suggested that the child be put to death before it could do any harm. One of the king's counselors, however, suggested that they should first test the boy and see whether his action was prompted by intelligence, or he was merely grasping for sparkling things as any other child would.

Pharaoh agreed to this, and two bowls were set down before young Moses. One contained gold and jewels, and the other held glowing fire-coals. Moses reached out for the gold, but an angel directed his hand to the coals. Moses snatched a glowing coal and put it to his lips. He burned his hand and tongue, but his life was saved. After that fateful test, Moses suffered from a slight speech defect. He could not become an orator, but his words were nevertheless to carry weight, for it was God's words that were spoken through his lips.

Moses' Early Adventures
Moses Flees Egypt

Moses grew older and began to take a personal interest in the suffering of his brethren, the children of Israel. He made it his business to go out to Goshen, to talk with the slaving Jews and try to alleviate their plight as much as possible. Often he put his hands and shoulders to work to ease the burden of an aged Hebrew. Through his influence with Pharaoh, who appreciated and esteemed Moses' wisdom, effective measures to ease the plight of the slaves were introduced little by little, for Moses had to be careful not to arouse Pharaoh's suspicions. One of these measures was to grant the slaves a day of rest, and Moses saw to it that this day was Shabbat (Sabbath).

One day Moses went again to Goshen to bring hope and courage to his fellow Jews, amongst whom he had become very popular. They appreciated his friendliness and the help he could give them, and they were astonished at his keen mind and the readiness with which he learned and mastered the knowledge of the holy teachings of the Levites. That day he happened to observe a scene not uncommon in Goshen. An Egyptian overseer in charge of ten Jewish labor squads, each under a Jewish supervisor, hit one of his charges. Seeing that the Egyptian was persecuting the Hebrew unjustly, Moses came to his rescue and killed the persecutor. Having assured himself that there was nobody who had witnessed this scene, he buried the body in the sand and returned to Pharaoh's palace.

Soon, thereafter, he visited Goshen again. This time he saw two Hebrews quarrelling. When he warned one of them not to raise his hand against a fellow-Jew, he retorted: "Who made you chief and judge over us? Perhaps you intend to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian?" It grieved Moses to see that there was such a wicked and irresponsible person among his fellow Jews, and he knew, moreover, that his life was now in danger. Indeed, one of these men inform against Moses to Pharaoh, and Moses was condemned to death for the slaying of the Egyptian taskmaster. But as the executioner's axe came down on Moses' neck, a wonderful miracle happened. Moses' neck became as hard as rock, and the axe bounced back. In the confusion that followed, Moses escaped and fled to the land of Cush. There he stayed for many years, and because of his intelligence and wisdom, became the king of the natives.

Moses in Midian
A conspiracy and upheaval in the government of Cush forced Moses to flee again, and he went to Midian. The priest of Midian, Jethro, had once been one of King Pharaoh's foremost adviser's, but because of his friendly attitude towards the Hebrews, he had to leave Pharaoh's court. Jethro then settled in Midian, and became the highest priest of the land. A man of great intelligence, Jethro soon realized the silliness of idol-worship, and gave up his priesthood. The people of Midian began to hate their former priest and persecuted him. Often it happened that Jethro's daughters were driven away from the communal well when they came to give water to the flocks of their father, and had to wait to the very last, until the other shepherds were gone.

On the day Moses arrived in Midian, he saw the rough shepherds chase the daughters of Jethro away from the well. Moses stood up for the girls, and helped them water their sheep. On that day they returned to Jethro rather early, and he was astonished to see them back so soon. His daughters told him about the unexpected help. Jethro immediately invited Moses to his house and not long thereafter he gave him his oldest daughter Zipporah for a wife. Zipporah bore Moses two children. The first one he called Gershom ("a stranger there") in commemoration of the fact that he was a stranger and exile in the land of Midian, and the second he called Eliezer, "God is my helper," in gratitude for God's protection.

The Divine Ambassador
GOD Upholds the Covenant

The children of Israel could no longer endure their terrible suffering and persecution at the hands of their cruel overlords. Their cries for help, their supplications and prayers, coming from the very bottom of their hearts, pierced the heavens. God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and decided to deliver their descendants from bondage.

GOD Reveals Himself
Moses took care of the flocks of his father-in-law Jethro. Once when he had driven his flocks far out in the desert, a small lamb got lost. After searching for it all over the hills of the desert, Moses found it near the Mount of Horeb. He took the tired little animal in his arms and set out to return to the flocks. Suddenly an unusual sight attracted his attention.

He saw a thorn-bush burst out in flame, but although the flames burned continuously, the bush did not turn into ashes. His curiosity aroused, Moses stepped closer, and out of the thorn-bush, he heard the voice of God calling (Exodus 3:4) : "Moses, Moses!"

"Here I am," replied Moses.

God continued to speak to him saying: And He said, "Do not draw near here. Take your shoes off your feet, because the place upon which you stand is holy soil. I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Moses covered his face; for he was afraid to look up to God.

God then told Moses that He had heard the crying of the children of Israel in distress; and that He would deliver them from the hands of the Egyptian oppressors and bring them back into the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. He, Moses, was the one to go to Pharaoh and lead the Jewish people out of Egypt.

Moses hesitated to accept this great mission. He was afraid he was neither worthy nor able to carry out such a great task. God assured him, however, that He would be with him. Still Moses begged to be relieved of this mission. He feared that the children of Israel would not recognize his authority to speak as their leader. If he told them that God had sent him, they would demand to know His name.

God told Moses to identify Him to the children of Israel as the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Who has now come to redeem them from slavery and take them to the land He had promised their ancestors.

The Miraculous Signs
To further impress the children of Israel, Moses was to perform for them miraculous wonders with his staff. It was the staff that Adam had taken out of the Garden of Eden, and that had served Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It had the inscription of God's Holy Name on it. Jethro had taken possession of this wonderful staff after Joseph's death. He planted it in his garden and no one had since that time been able to pull it out of the earth, until Moses came and removed it easily, thus proving his just claim to its ownership.

Now God told Moses to throw this staff on the ground. Moses did so, and the staff turned into a serpent. Moses fled in terror, but God ordered him to grasp it by its tail: Moses did so, and the serpent changed back into a staff.

Again God bade Moses put his hand into his bosom. When Moses took it out it was stricken with incurable leprosy. Then he again put his hand into his bosom, and when he pulled it out, it was clean as before. Finally, God told Moses that if he were to pour water on dry land it would turn into blood. All these signs God gave to Moses to be able to impress upon the children of Israel that God had sent him to them.

Moses made a final attempt to be relieved of his mission, hoping that God Himself would bring about His people's salvation. "I am tongue-tied," Moses pleaded.

But God told him that the One who gave the human being the ability to hear, see, and speak, could surely remedy this handicap! He then told Moses that Aaron would serve as his spokesman. Then God ordered Moses to return to Egypt, since there was no longer any danger for him there.

Moses Returns to Egypt
Moses Accepted As Leader

Moses returned to his father-in-law in Midian, and asked for his approval to return to his brethren in Egypt. Jethro gave him his blessing, and Moses set out for Egypt. God then ordered Aaron to meet Moses. They met in the desert by Mount Horeb, where Moses told his older brother of the great Divine mission they were to carry out.

Back in Goshen, they visited the sages and leaders of the children of Israel. Having performed the miracles as God had instructed Moses, they told the people of the good tidings. The children of Israel believed in the Divine mission of the sons of Amram, and new hopes and faith filled their hearts.

Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh

Moses was eighty years old, and his brother eighty-three, when they entered the palace of King Pharaoh. Fearlessly, they went past the heavy guard of men and wild animals that surrounded his inner chambers, and which permitted no unbidden visitor to enter. Nobody had ever been able to see the King of Egypt in person, and speak to him, except his astrologers and counsellors. Astonished and frightened by their sudden appearance, Pharaoh asked the two brothers what they wanted. The message sounded like a command: "Thus has the Lord God of Israel said, `Let My people go, that they may feast to Me in the desert.' " Pharaoh haughtily refused, saying that he had never heard of the God of the Israelites, and that His name was not registered in his lists of gods of all nations. He further accused Moses and Aaron of a conspiracy against the government, and of interference with the work of the Hebrew slaves. The miracles they performed in his presence did not greatly impress him, for his magicians could do almost as well.

On the same day Pharaoh ordered his supervisors to increase the demands on the children of Israel and to make their burden still heavier. If they had time to think of liberty and worship of God and similar ideas, quite unbecoming of slaves, then they must be getting too much leisure, Pharaoh thought. Whereas they had been supplied with the raw materials heretofore, they now had not only to produce the same amount of labor, but in addition, they had to procure their own raw materials for the bricks. The children of Israel were physically unable to cope with such an impossible task, and they suffered even more than before. In desperation the children of Israel bitterly reproached Moses and Aaron for making their fate even worse, instead of helping them.

Deeply hurt and disappointed, Moses prayed to God. God consoled him and assured him that his mission eventually would be successful, but not before Pharaoh and all of Egypt would be smitten by terrible plagues, in order to be adequately punished for oppressing the children of Israel. The children of Israel would then also see and recognize their true and faithful God.

The Ten Plagues

1 - Blood
When Pharaoh persisted in his refusal to: liberate the children of Israel, Moses and Aaron warned him that God would punish both him and his people. First, the waters of the land of Egypt were to be turned into blood. Moses walked with Aaron to the brink of the river. There Aaron raised his staff, struck the water, and converted them into streams of blood. All the people of Egypt and the King himself beheld this miracle; they saw the fish die as the blood flowed over the land, and they turned with disgust from the offensive smell of the sacred river. It was impossible for them to drink of the water of the Nile, far-famed for its delicious taste; and they tried to dig deep into the ground for water. Unfortunately for the Egyptians, not only the floods of the Nile but all the waters of Egypt, wherever they were, turned to blood. The fish died in the rivers and lakes, and for a whole week man and beast suffered horrible thirst. Yet Pharaoh would not give

2 - Frogs
After due warning, the second plague came to Egypt. Aaron stretched forth his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs swarmed forth. They covered every inch of land and entered the houses and bedrooms; wherever an Egyptian turned, whatever he touched, he found there the slimy bodies of frogs, the croaking's of which filled the air. Now Pharaoh became frightened, and he asked Moses and Aaron to pray to God to remove the nuisance, promising that he would liberate the Jewish people at once. But as soon as the frogs disappeared, he broke his promise and refused to let the children of Israel go.

3 - Bugs
Then God ordered Aaron to strike the dust of the earth with his staff, and no sooner did he do so than all over Egypt bugs crawled forth from the dust to cover the land. Man and beast suffered untold misery from this terrible plague. Although pharaoh's aids pointed out that this surely was God's punishment, Pharaoh hardened his heart and remained relentless in his determination to keep the children of Israel in bondage.

4 - Wild Animals
The fourth plague to harass the Egyptians consisted of hordes of wild animals roving all over the country, and destroying everything in their path. Only the province of Goshen where the children of Israel dwelt was immune from this as well as from the other plagues. Again Pharaoh promised faithfully to let the Hebrews go out into the desert on the condition that they would not go too far. Moses prayed to God, and the wild animals disappeared. But as soon as they had gone, Pharaoh withdrew his promise and refused Moses' demand.

5 - Pestilence
Then God sent a fatal pestilence that killed most of the domestic animals of the Egyptians. How the people must have grieved when they saw their stately horses, the pride of Egypt, perish; when all the cattle of the fields were stricken at the word of Moses; and when the animals upon which they looked as gods died smitten by the plague! They had, moreover, the mortification of seeing the beasts of the Israelites unhurt. Yet Pharaoh still hardened his heart, and would not let the Israelites go.

6 - Boils
Then followed the sixth plague, which was so painful and horrible that it must have struck the people of Egypt with horror and agony. God commanded Moses to take soot from the furnaces, and to sprinkle it towards heaven; and as Moses did so, boils burst forth upon man and beast throughout the land of Egypt.

7 - Hail
Now, Moses announced to the king that a hail-storm of unprecedented violence was to sweep the land; no living thing, no tree, no herb was to escape its fury unhurt; safety was to be found only in the shelter of the houses; those, therefore, who believed and were afraid might keep in their homes, and drive their cattle into the sheds. Some of the Egyptians took this counsel to heart; but the reckless and the stubborn left their cattle with their servants in the fields. When Moses stretched forth his staff, the hail poured down with violence; deafening thunder rolled over the earth, and lightning rent the heavens, and ran like fire along the ground. The hail did its work of destruction; man and beast who were exposed to its rage died on the spot; the herbs were scattered to the wind, and the trees lay shattered on the ground. But the land of Goshen, untouched by the ravages of the storm, bloomed like a garden amidst the general devastation. Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and acknowledged his sins (Exodus 9:27). "I have sinned this time. The Lord is the righteous One, and I and my people are the guilty ones. Entreat the Lord, and let it be enough of God's thunder and hail, and I will let you go, and you shall not continue to stand."

Moses replied: "When I leave the city, I will spread my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, in order that you know that the land is the Lord's." And it happened as Moses had said: the storm ceased-but Pharaoh's heart remained hardened.

8 - Locust
The next time Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh, he appeared somewhat relenting, and asked them who was to participate in the worship the Israelites wanted to hold in the desert. When they told him that everyone without exception, young and old, men and women, and animals, were to go, Pharaoh suggested that only the men should go, and that the women and children, as well as all their possessions should remain in Egypt. Moses and Aaron would not accept this offer, and Pharaoh became angry and ordered them to leave his palace. Before leaving, Moses warned him of new and untold suffering. But Pharaoh remained adamant, even though his advisers advised against further resistance.

As soon as Moses left the palace, he raised his arms toward heaven and an east wind brought swarms of locusts into Egypt, covering the sun, and devouring everything green that had escaped the hail and previous plagues. Never in the history of mankind had there been such a devastating plague of locusts as this one. It brought complete ruin upon Egypt, which had already been thoroughly ravaged by the previous catastrophes. Again Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and implored them to pray to God to stop the plague. Moses complied, and God sent a strong west wind that drove the locusts into the sea. When relief came, Pharaoh's obstinacy returned to him, and he refused to liberate the people of Israel.

9 - Darkness
Then followed the ninth plague. For several days all of Egypt was enveloped in a thick and impenetrable veil of darkness which extinguished all lights kindled. The Egyptians were gripped with fear, and remained glued to their places wherever they stood or sat. Only in Goshen, where the children of Israel dwelt, there was light. But not all of the Jews were saved from this plague. There were a few who wanted to be regarded as Egyptians rather than as members of the Hebrew race, and who tried, therefore, to imitate the Egyptians in everything, or, as we call it, to assimilate themselves. They did not want to leave Egypt. These people died during the days of darkness.

Again Pharaoh tried to bargain with Moses and Aaron, bidding them depart with all their people, leaving their flocks and herds behind as a pledge. Moses and Aaron informed him, however, that they would accept nothing less than complete freedom for the men, women, and children, and that they were to take all their belongings with them. Now Pharaoh became angry and ordered Moses and Aaron to leave and never to return. He warned them that if they were to come before him again they would die. Moses replied that it would not be necessary for them to see Pharaoh, for God would send one more plague over Egypt, after which Pharaoh would give his unconditional permission for the children of Israel to leave Egypt. Exactly at midnight, Moses continued, God would pass over Egypt and smite all first-born, man and beast. Of the children of Israel, however, nobody was to die. A bitter cry would sweep Egypt, and all the Egyptians would be gripped with terror, lest they all die. Then Pharaoh himself would come to seek out the leaders of the Hebrews, and beg them to leave Egypt without delay! With these words, Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, who was seething with rage.

The Passover Sacrifice
On the first day of the month of Nissan, two weeks before the Exodus from Egypt, God said to Moses and Aaron: "This month shall be to you the head of the months; to you it shall be the first of the months of the year. Speak to the entire community of Israel, saying (Exodus 12:2-31), "On the tenth of this month, let each one take a lamb for each parental home, a lamb for each household." On the tenth of this month, let each one take a lamb... a lamb for each household... . a lamb for a household . . . And you shall keep it for inspection until the fourteenth day of this month... And this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste it is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord... And I will see the blood and skip over you, and there will be no plague to destroy [you] when I smite the [people of the] land of Egypt. And this day shall be for you as a memorial, and you shall celebrate it as a festival for the Lord; throughout your generations, you shall celebrate it as an everlasting statute. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the preceding day you shall clear away all leaven from your houses... And it will come to pass if your children say to you, What is this service to you?' you shall say, It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, and He saved our houses!"

Moses told all this to the children of Israel. It required a great deal of faith and courage for the children of Israel to carry out this Command, for the lamb was a sacred animal to the ancient Egyptians. But the children of Israel eagerly and fearlessly carried out all that God had ordered.

10 - Death of the First-Born
Midnight of the fourteenth to the fifteenth of Nissan came, and God struck all first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of King Pharaoh, down to the first-born of a captive in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the cattle, exactly as Moses had warned. There was a loud and bitter wail in each house a loved one lay fatally stricken. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron during that very night, and said to them: "Arise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord as you have said; and take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also." At last, then, the pride of the stubborn king was broken.

Meanwhile the Hebrews had been preparing for their hasty departure. With beating hearts, they had assembled in groups to eat the Paschal lamb before midnight, arrayed as they had been commanded. The women had taken from the ovens the unleavened cakes, which were eaten with the meat of the roasted lamb. The preparations were at last concluded, and all was ready. At the word of command, the whole nation of the Hebrews poured forth into the cool, still Eastern morning. But not even amidst their trepidation and danger did they forget the pledge given by their ancestors to Joseph, and they carried his remains, with them, to inter them later in the Promised Land.

The Exodus from Egypt
Thus the children of Israel were liberated from the yoke of their oppressors on the fifteenth day of Nissan in the year 2448 after the creation of the world.

There were 600,000 men over 20 years of age, with their wives and children, and flocks, crossing the border of Egypt that day a free nation. Many Egyptians and other non-Israelites joined the triumphant children of Israel, hoping to share their glorious future.

The children of Israel did not leave Egypt destitute. In addition to their own possessions, the terrified Egyptians had bestowed upon them gifts of gold and silver, and clothing, in an effort to hasten their departure. Thus God made His promise to Abraham, that his descendants would leave their exile with great riches, come true in every detail.

Leading the Jewish people on their journey during the day was a pillar of cloud, and at night there was a pillar of fire, giving them light. These Divine messengers not only guided the children of Israel on their way, but also cleared the way before them, making it both easy and safe.

The Splitting of the Sea
In Hot Pursuit

The shortest route for the children of Israel to the Promised Land, would have been straight across the land of the Philistines. However, God wanted to give the newly-born Jewish nation the opportunity to throw off the remnants of Egyptian influence, and to educate them in the new ways of a holy life, through the Divine Torah which was to be given to them on Mount Sinai. Furthermore, the shortest way to the Holy Land would have involved the people in a war with the Philistines, and it was doubtful whether the children of Israel, who had just left centuries of continuous slavery behind, would be strong enough to fight like free men; they might decide to return to Egypt rather than face a bloody war. Therefore, God led the Jewish people in a round-about way. Instead of following the coast of the Mediterranean Sea all the way to the Promised Land, they were led southwards through the desert.

After three days, Pharaoh received word of the progress of the children of Israel. The unexpected direction of their march made him think that they had gotten lost in the desert. Pharaoh now regretted that he had permitted them to leave. He immediately mobilized his army and personally took the lead of his choicest cavalry and war-chariots in hot pursuit of his former slaves. He reached them near the banks of the Red Sea, and pressed them close to the water, in an effort to cut off their escape.

Fear gripped the children of Israel as they saw the pursuing hosts of their enslavers. Some groups among them were ready to fight the Egyptians; others preferred to drown in the floods of the sea than risk defeat and return to slavery. A third group of frightened and feeble people began to complain against Moses, fearing that he had lured them out of the safety of Egypt to die in the desert. "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us to die in the desert?," they exclaimed (Exodus 14:11), "Is it not this the thing [about] which we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, Leave us alone, and we will serve the Egyptians, because we would rather serve the Egyptians than die in the desert." But Moses, calm and firm in one of the most trying moments of his life, said: "Don't be afraid! Stand firm and see the Lord's salvation that He will wreak for you today, for the way you have seen the Egyptians is [only] today, [but] you shall no longer
continue to see them for eternity."

Then Moses led the Israelites onwards until they came to the very borders of the Red Sea. The pillar of cloud now changed its position; for, retreating from the front to the rear of the Hebrew hosts, it floated between the two armies; over the Israelies it shed a brilliant light, while it spread a veil of darkness over the Egyptians. But the Israelites seemed now helplessly hemmed in by overwhelming dangers: the Egyptians were close behind them, and the waves of the Red Sea were breaking at their feet.

The Miracle of the Red Sea
Then God spoke to Moses: "raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and split it, and the children of Israel shall come in the midst of the sea on dry land." Moses did as God ordered him. He raised his staff, and stretched his hand over the sea; a strong east wind rose and blew the whole night. The waters of the Red Sea were immediately divided and gathered into a wall on either side, leaving a dry passage in the midst. The Israelites marched at once along that dry path which extended from shore to shore, and gained the opposite side in safety.

The End of the Egyptian Army
The Egyptians continued their pursuit, without hesitation, in the same track. But the wheels of their carriages became clogged in the bed of the sea, and slipped off. They were unable to proceed; and they felt that they were once more vainly struggling against the Lord. They turned to flee, but it was too late; for at the command of God, Moses stretched forth his staff, and the waters resumed their usual course, closing over the chariots and horses and warriors, over the whole force of Pharaoh (Exodus 14:28). "Not even one of them survived."

Thus God saved the children of Israel from the Egyptians on that day. Israel saw His great power; they recognized God and believed in Him and in His servant Moses.

Israel's Song of Praise
Then Moses and the entire congregation sang this Song of Praise to God for their miraculous rescue (Exodus 15:1-18):

1. I will sing to the Lord for He is most exalted; the horse with its rider He cast into the sea.

2. The might and retribution of God was my salvation; this is my God and I will glorify Him, the God of my father and I will exalt Him.

3. The Lord is master of war, the Lord is His Name.

4. He hurled Pharaoh's chariots and his army into the sea; the elite of his officers were drowned in the Sea of Reeds.

5. The deep waters covered them; they dropped into the depths like a stone.

6. Your right hand, 0 Lord, is adorned with power; Your right hand, 0 Lord, shatters the enemy.

7. In Your great majesty, You destroy those who rise up against You; You send forth Your fury, it consumes them like straw.

8. At the blast of Your nostrils the waters piled up, the flowing streams stood erect like a wall; the deep waters were congealed in the heart of the sea.

9. The foe had said: I will pursue them, I will overtake them, I will divide the spoil, my lust shall be sated upon them; I will unsheath my sword, my hand shall annihilate them.

10. You blew with Your wind, the sea enveloped them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like You among the supernal beings, 0 Lord! Who is like You, resplendent in holiness, awesome in praise, performing wonders!

12. You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them.

13. In Your loving kindness You led the people whom You redeemed; in Your strength You guided them to Your holy abode.

14. The nations heard it and trembled; pangs of fear gripped the inhabitants of Philistia.

Food in the Desert
Moses Sweetens Bitter Water

Leaving the shores of the Red Sea behind, the children of Israel entered the dreary wilderness of Shur, and proceeding through a pathless waste, found no springs or wells, so that they were parched with thirst. At last they arrived at a spring; but when they put their lips to the fountain, they, who had so long been accustomed to the delicious and far-famed water of the Nile, found it utterly unpalatable. It was bitter and brackish, and has caused the place to be called Marah, that is, Bitterness. Dehydrated from thirst, the unfortunate people murmured against Moses, exclaiming, "What shall we drink?" Moses prayed to the Lord, and in answer to his supplications, the Lord showed him a tree, and bade him cast some of its wood into the water. No sooner was this done than the bitterness was changed into sweetness, and the Israelites were saved from the agony of thirst.

There, in Marah, God gave the Jewish people certain laws and commands, and told them that if they would obey God, nothing like what had happened to the Egyptians could happen to them. For God Himself would take care of them, and heal all their wounds.

Meat and Bread in the Desert
Weary and hungry, Israel reached the desert of Zin, and again they began to raise their voices against Moses and Aaron for leading them into a place where there was neither bread nor meat to still their hunger. They said (Exodus 16:3): "If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat, when we ate bread to our fill! For you have brought us out into this desert, to starve this entire congregation to death."

God told Moses that He would give the children of Israel a heavenly food, that would rain down from the skies. This the children of Israel would gather every morning in an amount sufficient for a full day's needs. Only on Friday they were to gather a two days' supply, so that they would not have to go out and gather food on the Shabbat. And God had Moses and Aaron tell the children of Israel: "At dusk ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God." Thus it happened..

In the evening, birds came and covered the camp, so that everyone had more meat than he could possibly eat. In the morning, however, fine grains, like dew, covered the ground. The people of Israel asked what it was Moses replied that it was the heavenly bread God had given them to eat. Everyone was to gather as much as he needed for the day, but no more. Nothing was to be left for the next morning, for it would come down daily. The children of Israel called this bread from heaven "Manna." It was pure white' food and tasted like the finest and most delicious foods imaginable: Whatever taste one desired, the manna had. They gathered the manna, some more, some less. But when they measured what they had, they found that nobody had more or less than he needed.

Some men, however, disobeyed Moses' order and kept some of the manna for the next day. But in the morning it had become rotten and inedible. On the sixth day, the children of Israel gathered a double portion, one for Friday and one for the Shabbat. They prepared all the food for the seventh day in advance. Only on the Shabbat day the manna gathered on the previous morning was not spoiled. On the Shabbat morning some people went out to gather manna, in defiance of Moses' order; but they did not find anything. Moses became angry at this disobedience and he told these unruly people in the name of God: "How long will you refuse to observe My commandments and My teachings? See that the Lord has given you the Shabbat. Therefore, on the sixth day, He gives you bread for two days. Let each man remain in his place; let no man leave his place on the seventh day." Following that the children of Israel rested on the seventh day, the Shabbat.

For forty years God fed the Jewish people this heavenly bread. At God's command Aaron filled one jar with manna and kept it in the holy Tabernacle, so that the generations to come would be able to see with their own eyes what God had given to the children of Israel in the desert after he had taken them out of Egypt.

Water from a Rock
From the desert of Zin, the Jewish people made their way to Rephidim, another waterless place in the desert. Again they grumbled against their leaders for leading them through places where they and their flocks were in danger of death through thirst. God ordered Moses to take the Elders of the people to a rock which he was to hit with his staff. From the dry stone, a well would then spring forth, giving ample water to quench the thirst of the children of Israel, and their livestock. Moses did as God had commanded him, and once again man and beast were saved. The place where this happened afterwards was called "Massa" (trial), and "Meriva" (strife), in commemoration of the lack of faith in God and Moses, which the children of Israel had displayed in that place.

Amalek's Attack
While the Jews were still in Rephidim, the Amalekites, a mightily and fierce people, descendants of Esau, and well-trained in the art of warfare, suddenly attacked the people of Israel. It was an unprovoked and cowardly attack upon a tired and weary people, just liberated from slavery, on the way to their homeland.

Moses put his disciple Joshua in charge of the troops who were to fight against the Amalekites. Then Moses, together with his brother Aaron and nephew Hut, went up to a hill, to pray for God's help in the battle. The battle lasted a whole day until the Amalekites were finally defeated and routed. God ordered Moses to record the treacherous attack of the Amalekites for everlasting memory. Together with this memory went an oath to wipe the Amalekites -- the incarnation of all evil -- off the face of the earth. There could be no peace between Israel and Amalek for all time to come.

Jethro's Visit and Advice
At that time, Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, heard of the miracles God had wrought for the children of Israel, and he decided to visit Moses in the desert. He took his daughter Zipporah and her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, and brought them to Moses. Having been informed by Jethro that he was coming and bringing with him Moses' wife and children, Moses, accompanied by the entire community of Israel, went out to greet them. Jethro, a man of great experience and much knowledge, was very much impressed by Moses' account of the historic events that had occurred to the children of Israel.

Courts of Justice
Jethro was likewise impressed by the law and order that prevailed in the camp of Israel, though they had been mere slaves a little while before. However, he criticized Moses for taking upon himself the entire burden of dispensing justice in all matters of argument and dispute that arose in the large community of the children of Israel, numbering several million souls. He suggested that Moses institute a system of judicial organization, wherein there were to be smaller and larger courts. There were to be appointed judges and officers of different rank-officers of a thousand, officers of 100, of 50, and of 10. They were to shoulder the burden of straightening out all major and minor disputes of the children of Israel. Only matters of far-reaching importance were to come before Moses himself. This suggestion of Jethro was well taken, and immediately put into effect.

Jethro did not stay long with Moses and the children of Israel. He returned to Midian to preach about the greatness of the God of Israel among the heathens. His descendants, the Kainites, remained friendly towards the Jewish people for many centuries.

The Revelation on Mount Sinai
On Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the first day of the third month after the exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel reached the desert of Sinai and camped near the mountain. During the few weeks of traveling in the desert under Divine protection, with daily miracles, such as the manna and the birds, the miraculous sweetening of the water, the defeat of Amalek, and the crossing of the Red Sea, the Jewish people had become more and more conscious of God. Their faith grew more intense daily, until they attained a standard of holiness, solidarity, and unity, never achieved before or after by any other nation.

Moses ascended Mount Sinai, and God spoke to him the following words (Exodus 3-6): "So shall you say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel. You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles' wings, and I brought you to Me. And now, if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples, for Mine is the entire earth. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation."

Moses returned from Sinai and called for the elders of the people and put all these words of God before them. Unanimously, with one voice and one mind, the people answered: Naaseh Venishma - "Everything God has said, we will do." Thus they accepted the Torah outright, with all its precepts, not even asking for a detailed enumeration of the obligations and duties it involved. When Israel had voiced its eagerness to receive the Torah, God spoke to Moses again (Exodus: 20:17): "Go to the people and prepare them today and tomorrow, and they shall wash their garments. And they shall be prepared for the third day, for on the third day, the Lord will descend before the eyes of all the people upon Mount Sinai. And you shall set boundaries for the people around, saying, Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.' No hand shall touch it, for he shall be stoned or cast down; whether man or beast, he shall not live. When the ram's horn sounds a long, drawn out blast, they may ascend the mountain."

The Revelation on Sinai
The dawn of the third day broke amid thunder and lightning that filled the air. Heavy clouds hung over the mountain, and steadily growing sound of the Shofar horn  made the people shake and tremble with fear. Moses led the children of Israel out of the camp and placed them at the foot of Mount Sinai, which was all covered by smoke and was quaking, for God had descended upon it in fire.

The Ten Commandments
The blasting of the Shofar horn grew louder, but suddenly all sounds ceased, and an absolute silence ensued; and then God proclaimed the Ten Commandments as follows:

1. "I am the Lord, your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

2. You shall not have the gods of others in My presence. You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness which is in the heavens above, which is on the earth below, or which is in the water beneath the earth. You shall neither prostrate yourself before them nor worship them, for I, the Lord, your God, am a zealous God, Who visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons, upon the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, and [I] perform loving kindness to thousands [of generations], to those who love Me and to those who keep My commandments.

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain, for the Lord will not hold blameless anyone who takes His name in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it. Six days may you work and perform all your labor, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord, your God; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities. For [in] six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.

5. Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days be lengthened on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you.

6. You shall not murder.

7. You shall not commit adultery.

8. You shall not steal.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbor."

Moses Receives the Torah
The entire people heard the words of God, and they became frightened.

They begged Moses to be the intermediary between God and them, for if God Himself would continue to give them the entire Torah, they would surely die. Moses told them not to be afraid, for God had revealed Himself to them so that they would fear Him and not sin.

Then God asked Moses to ascend the mountain; for he alone was able to stand in the presence of God. There Moses was to receive the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments, and the entire Torah, to teach it to the children of Israel. Moses went up the mountain and stayed there forty days and forty nights, without food or sleep, for he had become like an angel. During this time, God revealed to Moses the entire Torah, with all its laws and the interpretations thereof. Finally, God gave Moses the two stone Tables of Testimony, containing the Ten Commandments, written by God Himself.

The Golden Calf- Rebellion
Moses had promised the children of Israel that he would return after forty days. The fortieth day had arrived and the people became anxious and nervous. During Moses' long absence, the Egyptian riff-raff that had accompanied the children of Israel since their exodus from Egypt spread the word around that Moses would never return and that they had better choose another leader to be the intermediary between them and G-d. The children of Israel did not realize that Moses had meant that he would return after the completion of forty full days. Therefore, when the sixteenth of Tammuz, which was the fortieth day since the Revelation, arrived, and Moses had not returned, they stormed against Aaron and Hur, Miriam's son, who had temporarily taken over the leadership of the Jewish camp, demanding that they make an idol to take Moses' place.

In vain did Hur try to talk the excited group of ringleaders out of their plan. His persistent refusal to go ahead with it enraged them so much that they killed him. Now Aaron saw that there was little chance of stopping them. He would only share a similar fate, and the people would have committed the indelible crime of having murdered their own High Priest.

Aaron Plays for Time
Aaron knew that Moses would return the next morning. He therefore decided to play for time. He asked everyone to bring his own and his wife's gold and jewelry for the purpose of making the idol. Thus, he thought, he would delay the whole affair, since he expected that the people would refuse to part with their precious jewelry and ornaments. But contrary to his expectations, the mob willingly parted with their gold, though the women did refuse to be a party to it. Aaron had no other choice but to take the heap of golden rings, chains, and bracelets that had been piled up before him and throw it into the melting-pot. Applying their knowledge, the Egyptian conspirators made the gold assume the form of a calf.

When the children of Israel saw it, they believed that it was to be their representative before God, and they wanted to pay homage to it. But Aaron made another desperate effort to delay the idolatry. He told the people that on the next day he would build an altar, and proclaim a special day of worship.

Meanwhile, God informed Moses of the downfall of the children of Israel, and of the severe punishment that awaited them. They would die, and a new people, descendants of Moses, would take their places, to carry the torch of the Divine Law among the nations of the world.

Moses was greatly distressed. In moving words, he prayed and implored God to spare the Jewish people. Moses recalled God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and for their sake begged God's forgiveness. Finally, God's mercy was aroused, and He promised to spare the people of Israel.

Moses Return
Assured of God's forgiveness, Moses descended from Mount Sinai. Exactly forty days had passed since he had gone up, and in his hands he carried the Tables of Testimony, written by God Himself. At the foot of the mountain his disciple Joshua awaited him, and together they approached the camp of Israel.

When they came within hearing distance of the camp, shouts of jubilation and joy reached their ears. Moses soon saw what was going on. In despair, he threw the Tables of Testimony to the ground, shattering them into small pieces. A people who could worship a golden calf so soon after they faced God and heard His voice say, "Thou shalt not make thee a graven image," did not deserve this treasure, Moses thought. Then he took the golden idol, ground it to dust and spread the dust over the water, which he made the people drink. Thus he showed them the impotence of their idol, and the foolishness of their action.

Punishment of the Guilty
Taking up a position near the entrance of the camp, Moses said: "Whoever is with God, come to me!" The entire tribe of Levi gathered about him, and Moses ordered them to slay every one guilty of worshipping the Golden Calf, regardless of his position and relationship to them. That day, the seventeenth day of Tammuz, three thousand men of the children of Israel lost their lives, in punishment for their idolatry.

The next day Moses again told the people that they had gravely sinned against God, and that he would now go to pray for atonement. Moses went up to Mount Sinai, and prayed to God for forty days and forty nights, while the people mourned their dead, and made atonement for their sin.

Second Tablets
After Moses had descended from: Mount Sinai, God told him to hew another pair of tables, similar to the one he had received the first time. Moses was then to ascend Mount Sinai for the third time, when God would inscribe upon them the Ten Commandments, as He had done before.

On the first day of Elul, Moses went up to Mount Sinai and stayed with God for the third time, for forty days and forty nights, neither eating nor sleeping. God inscribed the Ten Commandments on the tables and told Moses He forgave the children of Israel.

GOD Forgives the People
Holding the newly made tablets in his hands, Moses stood on Mount Sinai and God taught him how the children of Israel could make atonement for their sins through real repentance and prayer. God proclaimed the "thirteen attributes" which the children of Israel were to recite on their days of repentance (Exodus 34:6-7): "Lord, Lord, benevolent God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness and truth, preserving loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and rebellion and sin; yet He does not completely clear [of sin] He visits the iniquity of parents on children and children's children, to the third and fourth generations."

Moses bowed down before God and said: "If I have now found favor in Your eyes, O Lord, let the Lord go now in our midst [even] if they are a stiff necked people, and You shall forgive our iniquity and our sin and thus secure us as Your possession"

In reply, God told Moses: "Behold, I will form a covenant; in the presence of all your people, I will make distinctions such as have not been created upon all the earth and among all the nations, and all the people in whose midst you are shall see the work of the Lord how awe inspiring it is that which I will perform with you."

It was the tenth day of the month of Tishrei -- Yom Kippur -- when Moses returned to the camp of Israel, with the new Tables of Testimony in his hands. Moses' face shone with a Divine light that frightened Aaron and the children of Israel. They drew back in awe when Moses approached them. On learning of this, Moses covered his face with a veil. Without delay, he proceeded to teach the children of Israel the entire contents of the Torah which God had given him on Mount Sinai.

The Scouts and Their Evil Report
Moses Sends Scouts to Canaan

While the children of Israel were camping in the desert near Kadesh-Barnea, and the land of Canaan was not far away, they demanded that Moses send a group of scouts to spy out the country, so that they might be informed of its strength and weaknesses.

God told Moses to fulfill the people's request, whereupon, Moses selected twelve eminent men, each one a leader of his tribe, and sent them on this mission. Among them were Joshua of the tribe of Ephraim, and Caleb, Miriam's husband, of the tribe of Judah. Before they left, Moses told them (Numbers 13:17): "Go up this way in the south and climb up the mountain. You shall see what [kind of] land it is, and the people who inhabit it; are they strong or weak? Are there few or many? And what of the land they inhabit? Is it good or bad? And what of the cities in which they reside are they in camps or in fortresses? What is the soil like is it fat or lean? Are there any trees in it or not? You shall be courageous and take from the fruit of the land."

The twelve men left on their mission to spy out the land of Canaan. They crossed the entire southern part of the country till they reached Hebron, the dwelling place of giants. While in Hebron, Caleb went to the Cave of Machpelah to pray to God.

The scouts had become so impressed and overawed by the size and strength of the inhabitants of the land, that they decided the land was unconquerable. Only Caleb and Joshua did not lose their faith in God, and knew that He would keep His promise. The spies took back with them some of the choicest fruits of the country, such as figs, pomegranates, and grapes which were so heavy that eight men had to carry one cluster of grapes on two poles.

Return the Spies
After an absence of forty days, the twelve scouts returned to the camp at Kodesh with magnificent specimens of Canaan's produce. But the account they gave was not altogether cheering. A beautiful country, truly, said the spies, and a land that flowed with milk and honey, but a country with strong cities inhabited by formidable men, among whom was the fierce race of giants, the terrible sons of Anak. Not a province but what was occupied by warlike tribes, the Amalekites in the South, the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites in the mountain passes, and the Canaanites in the plains and on the banks of the Jordan.

The people's hearts sank within them; they felt unable to encounter such powerful foes; but Caleb, wishing to inspire them with hope and fortitude, exclaimed: "We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it." Alas! His cowardly companions would not hear of encouragement; they began to exaggerate the danger (Numbers 13:32-33): "The land we passed through to explore is a land that consumes its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of stature. 33. There we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, descended from the giants. In our eyes, we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes." They upbraided Moses and Aaron and proposed in their blind folly to choose a captain who might lead them back to Egypt. At night (it was the night of Tisha B'Av) the people wept in their tents, voicing their bitter complaint against Moses and Aaron for leading them into such a predicament. Now they were stuck in the desert, a prey to thirst, hunger, and wild animals. They would do better to return to the slavery of Egypt than die here.

In vain did Joshua and Caleb try to allay the excitement and despondency of the people. They pointed to the excellence of the land, and to God's promise, which was a better guarantee than all military power and strategy. But the people were in a mood of defiance and revolt. They would have stoned Joshua and Caleb, had God not saved them from their hands, by causing His cloud of glory to appear over the Sanctuary.

Penalty for the Revolt
Then God declared to Moses that, as a punishment for their disbelief, the people should be smitten with pestilence and die; from Moses alone should descend a great and mighty nation, bearing God's name and spreading His truth. But Moses entreated God to forgive them. And the Lord said: ""I have forgiven them in accordance with your word. However, as surely as I live, and as the glory of the Lord fills the earth... that all the people who perceived My glory, and the signs that I performed in Egypt and in the desert, yet they have tested me these ten times and not listened to My voice, if they will see the Land that I swore to their fathers, and all who provoked Me will not see it. But as for My servant Caleb, since he was possessed by another spirit, and he followed Me, I will bring him to the land to which he came, and his descendants will drive it[s inhabitants] out. this desert, your corpses shall fall; your entire number, all those from the age of
twenty and up, who were counted, because you complained against Me. "

For forty years, God continued, the Hebrews would lead a wandering life in the desert, one year for each day spent by the spies in their journey of exploration; to their children was to be reserved the conquest of the land which they themselves dreaded so much; and of all their vast hosts, Joshua and Caleb alone, the brave-hearted and loyal followers of Moses, were to be permitted to enter the Land of Promise.

The Rebels' Second Disobedience
Then, all the scouts, except Joshua and Caleb, died a sudden death. When Moses brought these words of God to the children of Israel, they mourned deeply. Finally, in their despair, they decided to make good their sin by an immediate attack against the land of Canaan. Moses begged them not to do anything without God's orders. He warned them of certain defeat, but they persisted in their plan and marched out of camp. As Moses had predicted, the rebellious troops of the children of Israel were vanquished by the armies of the Amalekites and Canaanites. Those who escaped the sword returned disheartened and repenting.

Punishment for the Desecration of Shabbat
Once, while the children of Israel were camping in the desert, a man by the name of Zelophehad, committed an act of public desecration, of the Shabbat by gathering wood in front of everyone on the Shabbat day. He was brought before Moses and put in temporary custody, till God should pronounce his penalty.

By Divine judgment he was ordered to be led outside of the camp, and to be publicly stoned, in atonement for his great sin. Although Zelophehad died the death of a sinner, he called the attention of all of Israel to the holiness of the Shabbat and to the consequences of its desecration.

Punishment for Blasphemy
Among the children of Israel lived a man whose father was an Egyptian and whose mother was a Jewess. Once he got into an argument, and in his lack of reverence for God, blasphemed the Divine Name. He, too, was brought before Moses and put under guard till God should pronounce his punishment. Again God told Moses that the blasphemer was to be brought outside the camp and stoned in front of the entire community, as a solemn warning to all.

The Last Year in the Wilderness
Miriam’s Death

All through their years of wandering in the desert, a well coming out of a rock had provided the children of Israel with water. This well accompanied them wherever they went. It was a miracle with which God favored the children of Israel because of the merits of Miriam, Moses' sister. On the tenth day of Nissan, in the fortieth year of their journey (2487), the children of Israel reached Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin. It was there that Miriam died to the great sorrow of the Jewish people. Not only had they lost their great prophetess, but with her death, the well ceased to give them water.

The People Grumble Again
Stricken with thirst, the children of Israel again began to quarrel and murmur against Moses, saying that they would rather have died a sudden death by plague, like their brothers, than perish by thirst with their herds.

The Sin of Moses and Aaron
God told Moses to take his staff and, together with Aaron, to assemble the entire people. Then, before the eyes of all, he was to order the rock to bring forth water. Moses and Aaron assembled the entire community before the rock and said to them impatiently: "Hear now, ye rebels; are we to bring you forth water out of this rock?" And Moses raised his rod and hit the rock with his staff twice. Immediately water flowed from the rock in great abundance, enough for the men and animals.

But Moses and Aaron had disobeyed God! Instead of talking to the stone, as they had been ordered to do, they had hit it with the staff. Thus, they had spoiled the opportunity to show the people that even a rock would obey God's command and give forth water, at the mere word of God. For Moses and Aaron, even this seemingly slight deviation from God's word was a grave and unpardonable sin. Their punishment was very grave, for God told them (Numbers 20:12): "Since you did not have faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly to the Land which I have given them."

Thereafter, the place where this had happened was called "May Meribah," the Waters of Strife, because there the children of Israel had quarreled with God for lack of water.

Aaron’s Death
From Kadesh, the camp of the Jews travel led to Mount Hor. There God told Moses that Aaron was to die now. Moses took Aaron and his son Elazar, and together they ascended the mountain before the eyes of all Israel. In a cave near the peak of the mountain, Moses took the priestly robes off Aaron and put them on Elazar. Then Aaron lay down, and God took his holy soul back to heaven. Aaron was 123 years old when he died (on the first day of the month of Av, 2487). The death of Aaron was deeply mourned by all Israel.

The Brazen Serpent
After the children of Israel left Mount Hor, they had to journey all around the Land of Edom. Tired of traveling and marching, they again murmured bitterly against God and Moses. As a punishment God sent fiery serpents from whose sting many of the people died. Then they repented, and implored Moses to entreat God for pardon; he interceded, and his prayers were accepted by God. God commanded him to make a serpent of brass, and to place it upon a pole; and any man bitten by the fiery serpents who would look up to the brazen figure, as a symbol of his reliance on the Divine power and assistance, would be healed.

Conquest of the East of the Jordan
Finally, the children of Israel reached the frontiers of Edom, Ammon, and Moab, directly on their route to the Promised Land. But these nations refused to let the Jews pass through their countries. God forbade the children of Israel to make war upon these people. Therefore, the Jews had to march all around these countries, until they reached the River Arnon.

Defeat of Sihon and Og
From there Moses sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, asking his permission for the children of Israel to pass through his land. Moses promised to use only the highway, and to make full reparations for any damage that might ensue. They would purchase their food and water from the natives.

Sihon refused this request and mobilized his entire army against the children of Israel. Sihon was defeated, and the children of Israel took possession of his entire country. The next king to challenge Israel was Og, the giant king of Bashan. He too was vanquished and slain by Moses, and his land passed into the hands of the children of Israel.

The Division of Trans-Jordan
These, two lands, the lands of the Amorites and of Bashan, were superbly suited for the raising of cattle and sheep. It so happened that the tribes of Reuben and Gad owned great numbers of flocks. Therefore, the leaders of these two tribes approached Moses and asked to be given the land of the Amorites and Bashan as their share of the conquest, instead of their due part in the land of Canaan, across the Jordan. Half the tribe of Manasseh joined the two tribes in their request. Reproachfully, Moses asked them whether they would have the nerve to sit by idly, watching their flocks, whilst their brethren would wage war against the natives of Canaan. But the men of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh assured Moses that not only would they fight shoulder to shoulder with the rest of Israel, but that they would also be in the forefront of the fight for the Holy Land. All they requested was that their families and flocks be permitted to remain on the east side of the Jordan till they returned after the complete conquest of Canaan. Moses agreed to this, and the women and children of these tribes of Israel were immediately settled in Transjordania. Their men, however, were among the vanguard of the Jewish troops. Only after the entire Holy Land had been conquered, did they return to their families and flocks, to settle on their permanent heritage in Transjordania.

Balaam and Balak
Frightened by the fall of the lands of the Amorites and Bashan, the kings of Moab and Midian, implacable foes for many generations, united for the purpose of a common attack upon the children of Israel. Balak, the newly elected king of Moab, had been put in charge of the plans. Thinking of the surprising victories of the outnumbered troops of the Jewish people Balak came to the conclusion that these victories could only be attributed to some form of magic. He believed that the only way to destroy the victorious Jews was to outdo them in magic by a spell stronger than theirs.

Balak, therefore, sent messengers to Balaam, the greatest magician of those days, asking him to come to Moab to curse the people of Israel who were threatening to overrun their lands.

Balaam knew that he could not do anything against God's will, and he so informed Balak's envoys, even though his personal hatred of the Jews made him only too willing to follow the call.

However, Balak was persistent. He sent an even more imposing delegation of princes and nobles and promised Balaam more gold and silver. Balaam received the deputation with the respect due to their rank. Regretfully, he told them that even if Balak gave him a full house of gold and silver, he could not go against God's command. He asked them, however, to stay overnight, because only at night was he privileged to receive Divine inspiration. During that night, Balaam had a vision in which he was informed that he might go with Balak's men, but that he was not to say anything save the words that God would put into his mouth.

Balaam's Ass
When your donkey speaks to you, it will forever change your relationship with your donkey!

Balaam rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. But God was angry at Balaam's eagerness to do harm to the Jewish people, and He sent an angel to hinder his way, The ass saw the angel of God with a drawn sword, and she tried to evade him by stepping off the path. Balaam, who did not perceive the angel, got angry and hit the ass in order to guide her back to the path. A little while later, the angel with the drawn sword blocked the way on a narrow vineyard path, fenced by walls on either side. Trying to avoid the angel, the ass pressed herself close to the wall, thereby hurting Balaam's foot. Again Balaam hit the ass. Now the angel placed himself squarely across the path where there was no chance of avoiding him, so this time the ass lay down, refusing to move forward. Now Balaam was in such a rage that he savagely hit the ass with his staff for the third time. At this moment, God gave the ass the faculty of speaking.

The ass asked the astonished Balaam why he had beaten her these three times. Her master, stupefied, though still in a rage, replied that he would have killed her, had he only had a sword handy. Yet while Balaam spoke, God opened his eyes, and he saw the angel with the sword drawn in his hand. Balaam bowed in reverence. The Angel told Balaam that it was he who had blocked the way, and that Balaam had done an injustice to the ass. Balaam excused himself, saying that he had not known that God wanted to prevent his trip, and that he was ready to return. But the angel replied that he should continue his journey, remembering to say only that which God would tell him.

Balaam's Blessings
When king Balak heard of Balaam's arrival, he went out to meet him and took the prophet up to the heights sacred to Baal. There they built seven altars, upon each of which they sacrificed an ox and a ram. Then Balaam went alone to a solitary place, hoping to receive the word of the Lord. When he returned to the king, he had beheld a vision, and he felt inspired. He stood near his burnt-offering before Balak and the princes of Moab, and urged by an irresistible impulse, he broke forth into blessings. "How can I curse whom God has not cursed?" Balaam (Numbers 23:8) exclaimed. He went on to praise the marvelous people which will never lose its identity among the nations of the world, and concluded with the words (Numbers 23:10): "May my soul die the death of the upright and let my end be like his!"

Hearing Balaam's divinely inspired praise of Israel, Balak became angry at Balaam for blessing his enemies instead of cursing them. Balaam replied that he could say only what God put in his mouth.

Again Balak prepared sacrifices, and Balaam waited for an inspiration to curse the Jewish people. However, God put praise and blessings into his mouth. "God is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill? I have received [an instruction] to bless, and He has blessed, and I cannot retract it. He does not look at evil in Jacob, and has seen no perversity in Israel; the Lord, his God, is with him..."

The last time Balaam took a full view of Israel's camp, he exclaimed "How goodly are thy tents, 0 Jacob, thy dwellings, 0 Israel! As valleys stretch out, as gardens by the river-side; as aloes planted of the Lord, as cedars beside the waters. Water shall flow from his branches, and his seed shall be in many waters; and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. God who brought him forth out of Egypt is for him like the lofty horns of the wild-ox; he shall eat up the nations that are his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces, and pierce them through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a lioness; who shall rouse him up? Blessed be every one that blesseth thee, and cursed be every one that curseth thee."

Now Balak was really angry, and he ordered Balaam to return home. Before he left, however, Balaam told Balak that the only way to harm the people of Israel was to seduce them into sin. For only then would God punish His people.

The kings of Moab and Midian acted upon this shrewd advice of Balaam. They arranged a big feast in honor of their idols and invited the children of Israel to participate in the ceremonies. Many of the Jewish people fell for this ruse and participated in these heathen celebrations. Amongst them was Zimri, a prince of the family of Simeon, who was not ashamed to let the entire Jewish community witness his evil conduct.

Pinehas Champions the Honor of GOD
Pinehas, the son of Elazar the high priest, was among those who saw Zimri's shameless conduct. In his zeal to defend the honor of the Torah, he took a spear and entered Zimri's tent. Finding the ignoble prince in the company of the daughter of a Midianite prince, he killed them both with one thrust of his spear.

By this brave act, Pinehas stopped the plague which had begun among the children of Israel, and which had taken a toll of many thousands of dead among those who had allowed themselves to be seduced by the Midianites.

Pinehas' action was rewarded by a Divine covenant of peace and everlasting priesthood.

Following the outrageous attempt by the Midianites to seduce the children of Israel into sin, God ordered Moses to declare war against the Midianites and smite them. In the ensuing battle not only did the five princes of Midian fall with their vanquished troops, but also Balaam, the instigator of all this trouble, was slain.

Moses' Passing

End of The Desert Journey

When the children of Israel arrived at the Jordan, facing the city of Jericho, God ordered them to be counted. There were more than 600,000 men over twenty years, besides the members of the families of Levi. Among the adults there was not one, except Joshua and Caleb, who had been older than twenty years at the time of the exodus from Egypt. All the older generation had died in the desert, during the forty years' wandering, as God had decreed, in punishment for their rebellion.

Installation of Joshua
At that time, God told Moses to go up to the mountain of Abarim and see the Promised Land, for like his brother Aaron, he was not to enter the Promised Land, because they had disobeyed God's order in the Desert of Zin.

Moses then asked for a successor to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land, and God pointed to his disciple Joshua. God ordered Moses to put his hands on Joshua's head to invest him with full authority of leadership, and to present him to Elazar and the entire community. Moses could now die in peace, satisfied that his beloved flock would have a worthy shepherd.

Moses’ Farewell
On the first day of the eleventh month in the fortieth year after the exodus from Egypt, Moses began to review the entire Torah with the children of Israel. He reprimanded them for their sins against God, and exhorted them to observe His holy commands for all time to come. Calling upon heaven and earth to bear witness, Moses warned the people of Israel of the inevitable doom that would befall them in the event that they forsook the Torah and disregarded God's commands. They would then lose their land, their homes, their independence, and would be hunted and persecuted by a cruel world. But never would God forsake them entirely. At the height of their sufferings, they would turn to God again, and He would save them from extinction and return them to a glory greater than before.

Moses wrote down the entire five books of the Pentateuch, word for word, as dictated to him by God. This scroll of the Torah was put into the Holy Ark, next to the Tables of Testimony.

Moses’ Death

Moses blessed the people of Israel for the last: time and ascended the mountain of Nebo on the seventh day of Adar in the year 2488. He stood on top of Pisgah across Jericho and looked upon the Holy Land, for which he had longed all his life, but which by God's order, he was never to enter. Thus died Moses, God's faithful servant and Israel's loyal shepherd, in the land of Moab, in full view of the Holy land, towards which he had led the children of Israel during forty years of wandering through the desert. Moses was 120 years old when he died.

Moses was the greatest of men. His prophecy was of a higher order than that of all other prophets. He was closer to God than any human being ever was. God Himself took his holy soul to heaven and buried his body in a cave, hidden from all human eyes.

For thirty days, the children of Israel mourned the death of their greatest leader. But they did not fall into despair, for left to lead them was a worthy successor to Moses, his devout disciple-Joshua.