Exodus 30 – The Altar of Incense

The plan so far – Seems the plan and set up that Jehovah was designing was going to last “forever” and throughout the generations of the sons of Aaron. So what happened? I think the Bible will tell us in the upcoming books. But for now let’s stick to the script:

Exodus 30 describes an altar made out of shittim wood that Aaron will burn incense on every morning when he dresses the lamps. It is an altar that is specific to incense only:

Exodus 30:9 – Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.

We are introduced to 2 new types of offerings: 1) meat offering 2) drink offering

I will note that, in future verse, “drink offerings” were NOT meant exclusively for Jehovah. They were made to another ‘god’ and, we will soon find out, the Hebrews/Israelites favored the benefits of the drink offerings to this other ‘god’ over Jehovah.

What is “strange” incense? Unfortunately we are going to find out just exactly what the punishment is for strange incense in the Tabernacle of Jehovah.

We are reminded of who is giving the instructions to whom:

30:11 – And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto Jehovah, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague upon them, when thou numberest them.

Why would an ALL KNOWING god require a census (aka a “numbering”) of his own people? Why would he need to tax them? So now we see that every man that is counted has to pay a ransom to Jehovah to avoid the punishment of a PLAGUE! Also note, this is not a basic ransom, this is a ransom of the SOUL!:

30:12 – When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto Jehovah, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague upon them, when thou numberest them

Just how limited is Jehovah’s power that he requires a census and a ransom/tax of the people he supposedly “chose” and vows to “protect”?

The concept of a Census will be extremely important in upcoming books. For now we are told that the ransom is half a shekel based on the shekel of the sanctuary (which the author clarifies is 20 gerahs, so we can assume he believes the reader would know what a gerah is). We also learn that the census is based on those 20 years old and older.

This “tax” or “atonement money” goes to the service of the tabernacle as an “atonement for your souls.”

More death threats from Jehovah regarding Aaron and his sons:

30:20 – When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto Jehovah. So they shall wash their hands and feet, that they die not: and it shall be statute for ever to them, even to him and to his see throughout the generations.

Ask yourself this, did Aaron and his sons follow the rules laid out by Jehovah out of devotion and honor to Jehovah, OR, out of fear of death?!

Jehovah demands spices:

  • 500 shekels of myrrh
  • 250 shekels of sweet cinnamon
  • 250 shekels of calamus
  • 500 shekels of cassia

He also demands:

  • A hin of olive oil for ointment/anointment to anoint the Tabernacle, the Ark, the Table, and the Candlestick
  • This oil is only for Aaron and his sons and the aforementioned anointments
    • It is NOT meant for man’s flesh
    • Anyone who duplicates it or anoints anything else will be “cut off from his people”

More spices:

  • Stacte
  • Onycha
  • Galbanum
  • All mixed with frankincense, equally weight mixed to create a perfume to be set up in front of the Testimony
    • Anyone who duplicates this incense “to smell thereto” will be cut off from their people

Interesting demands from the supposed creator of all, heaven and earth.

Once again, if the Bible is applicable to mankind today as it was in the time of Exodus, where are all the herbs, ointments, stones, and incense?

 

 

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Exodus 28 – The regalia of Aaron and his Sons. Precious stones. Death sentences.

Now we get details on what Aaron and his sons will need to wear as they “minister” to the so called creator of Heaven and Earth who somehow NOW needs to be ministered to while presiding upon physical objects, when we went through an entire book of Genesis where this was not needed.

What’s interesting is the amount of precious stones required for these outfits:

  1. Sardius
  2. Topaz
  3. Carbuncle
  4. Emerald
  5. Sapphire
  6. Diamond
  7. Ligure
  8. Agate
  9. Amethyst
  10. Beryl
  11. Onyx
  12. Jasper

Now the Israelites are miners? Is the desert where they are wandering during the time of Exodus full of these minerals? The 12 sons of Israel were all given characteristic and traits, yet NONE of them were considered miners. Are these stones they carried with them out of Egypt?

All stones all set in gold. 12 to represent the 12 children of Jacob. Do the characteristics of these 12 stones match up to the characteristics of the 12 children of Jacob? Are the 12 children of Jacob simply references to 12 precious stones found in the cultures of the Middle East at this time?

I will probably come back to this section because I wonder if the color/characteristics/properties of these 12 mentioned stones carry more context and symbolism in this section of Exodus.

We also see instructions on making golden bells and pomegranates. Aren’t pomegranates found on the earth, so isn’t it illegal to make figures of them?

So what happens if these instructions aren’t followed?

Exodus 28:35 – And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before Jehovah, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

So there is a “sound of Aaron” that he needs to make when he goes in and out of the holy place section of the tabernacle (where the ark is stored behind the veil), otherwise HE WILL DIE.

?

What is the sound of Aaron, a trumpet? Why would he need to die?

Not only that, Aaron needs to wear a plate of pure gold, which is engraven on it the phrase “HOLINESS TO THE LORD (KJV)”, or, looking at Hebrew interlinear “Holy to Yahweh” which is connected to a mitre that Aaron wears on his head. This plate will hang, with blue lace, over the forehead of Aaron.

Aaron’s sons will wear coats (chest and back), girdles (waists and legs), and bonnets (hats), and now we find out that these instructions are being passed on to Moses “and thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him” so that they can minister to Jehovah in the priest’s office.

28:43 – And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

There’s the forever word again. Take a step back and ask if this is still applicable today. Where is Aaron’s seed? Are they wearing the proper clothing? Not only that, punishment for iniquity is DEATH. Not correction, not punishment, not jail, not a fine: DEATH.

It’s 2018. Where is Aaron’s seed today and where are these articles of clothing? We are told this statute was “forever”. Once again the biblical concept of “forever” doesn’t match up with ours. What does that say about the rest of the references of “forever” in the Bible?

 

Exodus 21: More SPECIFIC cultural judgements; Eye for an Eye!? WRONG!

I made the point that this particular exodus story and the message behind it was NOT meant for the world, but for a specific set of people of a specific culture in a specific time in a specific geographical area. In fact, I could make the argument (regardless of what the modern churches say) that this can also reflect the Bible over all.

Need more evidence? Exodus 21 proves it.

If the message of the Old Testament was truly meant for the world, how do you reconcile the content of Exodus 21 – 23 with peoples in different parts of the world who have no concept or knowledge of: servants/slaves, oxen, sheep, vineyards, fields, corn, donkeys, dowry, money, etc.

With this reasoning, I can now say that the 10 Commandments were NOT meant for the entire world as they were initially spoken in the Bible, but only for the specifics mentioned above. I reiterate, these are good moral dogmas to stand by, but the Bible is NOT needed for cultures and societies to come up with these rules on their own.

So rather than break down each commandment and judgement I’m going to list a few that stick out more than the others:

  • If you buy a Hebrew servant (slave) they will serve for 6 years and then leave for free afterwards. Guess the non-Hebrew slave is screwed for ever.
  • The idea of ownership of another man/woman is normalized, even to the point that if a servant “loves” his master, the servant can plead with judges and have himself bound to his master FOREVER (note the cultural significance of an ear ring!):

Exodus 21:6 – Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

  • A MAN CAN SELL HIS DAUGHTER TO BE A MAIDSERVANT!
    • Repeat that one multiple times and tell me that the Old Testament and the commandments of Jehovah are applicable today.
    • If a man sells his daughter today, they would be arrested, yet there are cultures that participate in similar dowry type deals, and they are looked down upon as primitive. So why isn’t the Old Testament looked down upon as primitive!
  • Murder

21:12 – He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death

  • So if that man is put to death by smiting (or stoning, or other capital punishment) will those that killed him be put to death because they broke this commandment?
  • A man who kills another (with ha*elohim’s assistance) will be given a refuge to flee to
  • Death sentence: kill your mother, father, steal a man to sell, curse your mother or father
  • If you fight a man and wound him, but he lives, the you will pay for the loss of the wounded mans time and ensure he is completely healed
  • Here’s one for the record:

21:20 – And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money

In other words, it’s ok to kill your slave servant, because all they are is “money”!

  • The infamous “eye for an eye” verse. Exodus 21:23… BUT WAIT, there is context to this quote!

21:22 – If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

Wait for it!

21:23 – And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

THERE IT IS! The context of the infamous “eye for an eye” quote, aka the oft repeated “The bible says eye for an eye so lets bomb the shit out of them!” belief of the modern warmongering Christian types. Put to rest! It’s not a blanket statement as they use it today. There is context to it that is very specific because it regards a woman with child miscarrying because of two men fighting AND THEN you apply “eye for an eye” if there is continued “mischief”. Verse 23 is absolutely tied to the context of Verse 22.

I hope this becomes clear to any reader that has used the “eye for an eye” concept to justify hurting or killing others. Will the Bible, or one of the authors of the Bible expound on this verse in the future? Time will tell but for now, the first instance of this quote is clearly tied to specific conditions. Suddenly the contradiction of the “eye for an eye” quote and Jesus’ teaching of “turn the other cheek” has become clearer.

Some more judgements from Exodus 21:

  • If a man smites his slave and they lose an eye or a tooth, the slave is allowed to leave for the eye/tooth’s sake
  • If an ox gores someone, the ox will be stoned and not eaten
    • If the ox has shown aggression in the past, and the owner knew it but allowed the ox to eventually gore someone, then the ox AND the owner will be stoned
  • BUT, if an ox gores a slave servant (male or female) the owner will pay 30 shekels of silver, and the ox will be stoned

That’s it, a human life (just because it’s a servant) is only worth 30 shekels of silver! Can you see how these mandates are incompatible today and around the world, whether modern times or historical? So when someone tells me the Bible is applicable today in it’s entirety, I say NO, once again.

 

 

 

 

 

The Exodus: An Observation

It suddenly occurred to me, thanks to Moses’ song, that there is something key we are missing in the Exodus story.

  • We are told the Israelites are the “chosen” people. So far this term has NOT been used. I made a case based on the Jehovah/Sarah story that he is in fact a surrogate father for this lineage
  • They are promised a land of Milk and Honey, which is their destination, HOWEVER
    • They seemed perfectly fine in Egypt, in fact, they will reiterate this many times in the future that there was plenty of food and water for them there.
    • Egypt sounds like a land of “milk and honey” why couldn’t Jehovah the almighty god, just turn the tables and give Egypt to the Israelites and make the Egyptians their slaves?
  • Did Jehovah purchase the land of “milk and honey” which is why they must go there? Moses already said he has purchased his people.
  • OR did Jehovah inherit the land of milk and honey the way Moses said he inherited his mountain?

Purchase, inherit, travel. Sounds like things man does on a daily basis. Not things a supposedly almighty, all powerful, omnipresent god does. So what’s going on here?

It’s this type of information that, as a Christian, I was not told about, it was not discussed, and it completely changes what the Bible is telling me at this point. Which is why I decided to start this blog of my journey back into the Bible.

I’ve asked other Christians around me if they knew about these strange anomalies in the Bible that don’t mesh with modern Christianity, for example:

  • The acceptance of polygamy
  • Incest and familial marriage
  • Animal sacrifice
  • Child sacrifice
  • A focus on riches, silver and gold
  • Genocide of the first born males
  • Burning a prostitute (Judah)
  • The massive disconnect between the teachings of Christ (as modern churches interpret them) and the behavior and actions of “God” Jehovah and the Israelites in the Old Testament
  • the list goes on….

The most common response:

“Well I know there’s a lot in the Bible I don’t understand, but God works in mysterious ways, and I have to focus on the good stuff in the Bible. Besides it’s not for us to understand the Bible, no one will fully understand it.”

There’s nothing mysterious about what Jehovah has done up to this point in Exodus. Plus this answer is a major cop-out. I think the Bible is very clear, at least on a contextual level. If there’s some sort of code that was originally used, numbers/vowels/consonants etc. then that is another story.

Back to Exodus

 

Genesis: A quick redux. Genesis grade: A-

Genesis was an interesting read in that I started to find tangents and parallels taking place that I was not aware of before. I’ve heard people say the Bible is perfect, infallible, and the “word of God”. Well to be honest, I would think the word of God wouldn’t come off like a typical incomplete novel that was still in the works. Sounds critical of me to say but that is the truth. The timeline is erratic, a lot of information and data is missing, and I almost get the impression it was a series of stories squished together to try to fit into one.

Some major observations and questions I come across as I quickly review my findings:

  • Creation. Two stories and they do not match
  • Why is it important that precious stones exist in the lands where Jehovah and the Garden of Eden are placed?
  • Adam and Eve are assumed to be the first two people on earth but after reading the story again and comparing Genesis books 1 and 2, I no longer think that is the case: Cain is afraid of ‘whosoever’ he comes across will want to kill him despite the insinuation of modern translation that he is only the 3rd person on earth.
  • Elohim and Jehovah: Different traits, characteristics, actions
    • Elohim seems cosmic, universal, ethereal, spiritual “Elohim’s spirit floats over the waters”
    • Jehovah seems earthly, worldly, physical “he walks in the cool of the evening”
    • They give different instructions to Noah regarding animals to bring on the Ark and what animals they are allowed to eat
    • Elohim’s offerings are of bread and wine, oil and drink offerings
    • Jehovah’s offerings are beasts and blood, and rejected Cain’s offerings of first fruits
  • The patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Esau, the sons of Jacob and Esau) are all well off, lot’s of flocks and land. They live lives that TODAY would be considered sinful and evil
    • Lying and cheating their brethren
    • Having multiple wives, including wives of slave women
    • Having multiple children with multiple wives
    • Treating their children unequally in terms of their inheritance
    • Disobeying their fathers
    • Not paying heed to the promises of Jehovah “do not fear” yet they do and bring chaos to those around them (Pharaoh, Abimelech, etc.)
    • The non-Jehovah special lineage (Ishmael and Esau) really didn’t do anything wrong compared to their counterparts
  • There is no mention of a priesthood until we find out about Melchizedek, King Priest of the Most High God, who gives thanks with bread and wine (Jesus like) but not the blood and burning flesh of Jehovah
  • There is no mention that evil done by man is caused or influenced by the Devil/Satan.
  • Jehovah is not omnipotent or omniscient “I came to see for myself if the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah is true”
  • With all the knowledge we know about ancient Egypt, many data points are missing in the Genesis description of Egypt (Pharaoh names for example)
  • For one event to happen (the reunion of Joseph with his brothers which saves them from the drought) a WHOLE LOT of other steps were put into place to cause this event, as claimed by Joseph that it was all part of a master plan. Why would an omnipotent god need to do such a thing?
  • Big questions pop up why many of the events and geographical sites mentioned in Genesis are all big mysteries. Where is the evidence?
    • Where was the Garden of Eden and why is it not around today with Jehovah walking around it. Where is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Where is the “flame of a sword” that protects the Tree of Life? Where are the rivers Havilah and Pishon?
    • Do we know where Sodom & Gomorrah really were?
    • Where was the Tower of Babel?
    • Did the Nephilim who were offspring of the sons of Elohim and the daughters of man leave remains behind? Why do we not know the whole story of how that took place and what happened to those that “fell” in Genesis?
    • Is there physical evidence of the great war of kings in Genesis 14? It was of a grand scale and surely something would be left behind. And where did these kings come from?
  • “Israel” was NOT monotheistic, they CLEARLY worshiped other gods, they KNEW of other gods, they POSSESSED other gods (Jacob hiding his family’s idols from Elohim)
  • The patriarchs and the 12 sons of Israel are not boasted about, they clearly are human teetering on a wickedness that modern Christians would condemn. Will this be the case in future books ahead? SPOILER ALERT: I’m jumping ahead and spoiling the narrative by saying no, they get special treatment in future books and their wickedness still exists, if not worsens. This tells me there are yet more authors with different intentions in our future.

Some odd impressions about Jehovah I took that conflict with modern church teachings that I think the bible clearly insinuates:

  • Jehovah was a surrogate father, after all it was until “he did that thing when he visited Sarai” who the bible clearly says both her AND Abraham were beyond child birthing age, did she give birth to Isaac. Was Abraham really the father when it was only by a visit from Jehovah that she gave birth? The precedent was set in Genesis 6 when we are clearly told the spiritual/heavenly beings ARE able to breed with the daughters of man.
  • Jehovah clearly starts to sound like an earthly, tribal god. His physical form means he can walk the earth but is not always on earth because other times he appears in dreams to the patriarchs. He needs physical specificity in the case of: sacrifices (he enjoys the smell of burning flesh), Sodom & Gomorrah (he needs to see the evil for himself)
  • The 12 sons of Jacob and Jacob himself were pretty wicked, yet were protected by Jehovah despite their sins.
  • Jehovah has dragon and/or volcano traits to his being and I think we will see more of this in Exodus.

The “sins” of Adam and Eve all the way down to Jacob (who admitted to the Pharaoh his days have been short and evil) do give a very humanistic aspect to these early peoples, an aspect that even modern man can associate with: deceit, family conflict, land issues, weather related catastrophes, widespread wickedness, and much more.

Some points I’m looking to get clarified in future books:

  • The devil was not accused of involvement in any of the evil actions taken by the peoples of this day (save for the serpent who people insinuate is the devil but Genesis does NOT specify this). The evil comes from man himself, no credit is giving to the devil/Satan
  • The difference between El*elyon, El Shaddai, Elohim, and Yahweh. I no longer believe they are one in the same and have multiple Genesis verses to prove my point. I’m hoping it gets clarified in further verse.
  • When the flood occurred it was (again, different reasons were mentioned pertaining to the difference between Elohim and Jehovah) because the world was overly wicked. There is NO mention of CORRECTION to keep the world from becoming overly wicked again. All we have is a flood that wiped out the wickedness but no measure to prevent it from happening again.
    • SO, BIG QUESTION: Can the world ever become as wicked as described in the pre-flood days?
    • Just how did the author(s) of Genesis define “the world”? Was it the entire globe? The middle east specifically? The eastern hemisphere which we find that not until at least 1492 people thought was the entire world?

Overall my latest study into Genesis really opened my eyes about details NOT discussed by any church officials, bible studies, or conversations with fellow Christians of many denominations. All I get from them is broad assumptions (Adam was first man; Jehovah is the only god; the patriarchs were faithful and role models).

Let me say this, the patriarchs get a big NO WAY in terms of being role models. It can not be denied that their lifestyle would not mesh with modern times, whether the lifestyle of a modern Christian or an average US citizen (polygamy is now illegal).

The big hypocrisy between modern church goers and Genesis: Today it is frowned upon, if not outright illegal, to own slave servants or to marry multiple wives. But that’s what the patriarchs did and it was not frowned upon by Jehovah or Elohim! So why do people point to Genesis and say there are things in there that we should be doing? Isn’t it all or none? Do we get to pick and choose which rules we follow listed in the bible? I know future books of the Bible are really going to hammer this point home.

There is much much more to discuss regarding Genesis, but I need to move on to Exodus for the purpose of this blog. Genesis complete. Overall status: Confused but still open to the word of the bible, not convinced modern science meshes with Genesis, but I know there are many more themes to come in future books so I move on.

I give Genesis an A- because it is absolutely fascinating, but mysterious (thanks to all the missing information) so it puts me in detective and critical thinking mode. I think there are multiple authors and multiple stories squished into one, which is glaringly obvious, but because it warrants more questions it incites my imagination and critical thinking skills in looking for more proving data. Flaming swords, magic trees, Nephilim, giant sea and land creatures (Leviathan and Behemoth), tribal war gods: sorry to say it has a Lord of the Rings feel to it all. If someone does not take it serious I can see why, it’s not that hard to see. I loved the imagery I got from it all (Jehovah, who is given no physical description, “walking” in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden, or the Elohim floating over the cosmic waters) so I give it an A- in terms of its effect on my mind and how I place myself in this world.

Let’s see what Exodus does.

Genesis 2:11 Good Gold and More

What piqued my interest was the description of Havilah, where there is not only good Gold and Onyx (a precious metal and precious stone), but also bdellium, a resin probably once used as an incense (and now used for makeup brushes).

So why the mention? What was the author trying to explain? Obviously these 3 materials were of importance to the culture at the time the words were put into writing, but there is no mention of it’s significance to the Garden of Eden, to Jehovah God, or to Adam and Eve.

The author wanted the reader to know there were good things in Havilah. So is there a place in the Middle East where we can find these three valued materials?

I don’t know. I will research but I will say this. The instant I read this verse I thought of the Annunaki, who according to Sumerian texts, came to this planet to mine for Gold. Who also have a creation story that archaeologically speaking, pre-date the Bible with many similarities.

Because I am curious about the cultural relevance, I will continue to look into the significance of these three materials. In our culture, gold is highly valuable for it’s decorative nature. But we must remember that gold has industrial value as well, and value is often culturally defined. For some people in this world, Gold was merely a decoration and other precious stones were more valuable. For others, Gold was so valuable it resulted in slavery, greed and death in their quest to obtain it.

What would you do for a nice chunk of Gold? Would you stay in possession of a gold plated bible? I know there will be more Gold references later in the Bible so I look forward to seeing how it is portrayed and why.

images.duckduckgo.com
A God approved Bible? Is owning Gold a good thing in God’s eyes? Gold was obviously important in Genesis Book 2. Is it just a mere metal or is there more to this story?