Numbers 7 – 8; Anointing of the Altar; The Levites Perform; More on Jehovah

Numbers 7

Numbers 7 describes the anointing of the Altar, and all the families, princes, and offerings made.

Each day a Captain from each of the 12 tribes gives their offerings. After looking it over, once again I conclude these people were NOT poor, subsistence pastoralists. Plenty of silver, cattle, gold, and flocks to offer. Plenty of SHEKELS.

Shekels: So were these shekels only to trade amongst themselves? Were shekels used to trade with foreigners? Why would a tribe of people under one god need a currency? After all, imbalance in a currency means there are rich and poor; the haves and have nots. Apparently this god is ok with this type of societal structure.

Compare this to the teachings of modern Christianity where such items are not of importance. This, to me, is a giant contradiction between Old Testament and New Testament.

So after 12 days of lavish offerings…

Numbers 7:89 – And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spoke unto him.

From a mountain/volcano top down to a mercy seat after 12 days of offerings. These are the actions of the god who supposedly created the heavens and the earth. This god requires extravagant offerings before he could speak from the mercy seat.

Compare this to the Jehovah in Genesis, and tell me they are the same. My thesis that the Jehovah in Genesis is not the Jehovah in Exodus/Leviticus/Numbers stands. This Jehovah requires rituals and offerings to “charge” himself to a point where he can speak out.

Numbers 8 – The Levites Perform their Duties

Remembering that much of what we’ve seen in previous verse was instructions on what to do in the future, we now see the Levites in action, following their orders. Much of Chapter 8 is just repetition and description of these instructions.

Fortunately, no one brought strange incense or touched something they shouldn’t have, so it looks like everyone survived this ritual. This may sound facetious, but I was truly expecting another set of events. After all, NO ONE is perfect. We are all human. We all make mistakes, we trip, we stumble, we forget, we confuse. You do any of these in certain situations under this god and you end up dead!

Levites seem to have performed as planned.

Numbers 8 – Jehovah Boasts; My Response!

Again, as if he needs to remind the Israelites about his deeds:

Numbers 8:17 – For all the firstborn children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.

Is this supposed to impress the Israelites? Sure, they lived under duress of servitude to the Egyptians, but even as they wandered the wilderness after being carried out of Egypt, they WISHED TO BE BACK IN EGYPT! So it’s obvious their conditions weren’t ideal, but they were conditions they were ok with.

What does this tell me? They probably had decent relations with Egyptians. So here comes a god that kills all the first born of people the Israelites probably didn’t really hate to the point they would want the first born killed. I’m sure the Israelites were well intimate with Egyptian families. After all, not all Egyptians were Pharaohs, there were common people in Egypt! It takes one sadistic person to call for or enjoy the death of INNOCENT CHILDREN. Do I think the Israelites wanted to see their Egyptian counterparts lose their first born? They were human after all, and the concept of childhood innocence probably wasn’t lost on them. When you hear a baby cry, mankind, regardless of color or creed, run to the call. Jehovah was fine with killing them. Jehovah is NOT mankind.

But Jehovah killed them all, and now he boasts about this genocide. Most would say he did a good thing, I say he did a bad thing and is boasting about it to remind the Israelites of the fear they need to live under so the same doesn’t happen to them.

There are people in my life I really do not like, in fact, it borders on a type of hate that I know is not good for me, but it’s there. I have to be honest. To be more honest, regardless of how much I dislike these people, I DO NOT WANT TO SEE THEIR CHILDREN KILLED!

I probably wouldn’t have revisited this vile set of actions by Jehovah, if he hadn’t boasted about it to the Israelites. It caused me to ponder further, re-evaluate the story, and realize more and more about Jehovah and his personality.

Did Jehovah ever feel remorse for killing so many innocent people in Egypt? He didn’t show any remorse about killing Aaron’s sons.

Surprisingly, The Book of Numbers is doing a great job quoting things that make me look back and evaluate Jehovah’s past and present actions. The chapter ends with more mundane details on the Levites within the Tabernacle, details no longer applicable to the modern world.

Here’s one good thing: Those serving in the Levitical priesthood get to retire at age of 50 from serving within the tabernacle. BUT, they must continue to service those who do serve within the tabernacle.

Ask yourself this: Are These a FREE PEOPLE?!

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Leviticus 24 – Lamps, cakes. VENGEANCE! (huh?)

Leviticus 24 describes rules regarding the Tabernacle. How to prepare lamps and cakes for the table. Keep lamps and cakes in mind as you progress through chapter 24.

In an odd break in the narration of these rules, we are suddenly given a story!

Leviticus 24:10 – And the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelite woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp; And the Israelite’s woman’s son blasphemed the name of Jehovah, and cursed.

We find out he is from the tribe of Dan, and even given his lineage by naming his mother and her father. So what does the forgiving and righteous god do? He tells Moses:

24:14 – Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.

How do we go from cakes and eternally lit lamps to this? Who knows. The seriousness of this matter, while interrupting the narrative of mundane rules regarding the tabernacle, takes a new turn. A few points to note here from verse 10:

  • OF COURSE, the “bad guy” was part Egyptian
  • The Israelites were not pure blooded, they were obviously intermingled
  • Despite being part Egyptian, he was still said to be of the tribe of Dan, through his mother, so this culture was matrinlineal
  • How much past their time in Egypt did this take place for a MAN to still have an Egyptian father. Was he fathered in Egypt? Or were the Israelites still in contact with Egyptians in their travels?
  • I still conclude these people weren’t isolated from the rest of their world.

Here’s more from this “forgiving” god:

  • Whoever curses his god shall bear his sin
  • Whoever blasphemes the name of Jehovah will be put to death (stranger or Israelite)
  • He who kills a man will be put to death
  • He that kills a beast will make it good, beast for beast
  • A man that blemishes his neighbor, the same will be done to him

So here’s the verse that has sent many Christians into the deluge of cognitive dissonance when they learn of Jesus’ teachings and suddenly realize they are not compatible with the rules of Jehovah in the Old Testament:

24:20 – Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.

Jesus spoke directly to this verse in the New Testament, but this Old Testament verse is STILL used today, by modern Christians, to justify violence or evil against other people. What is interesting is the concept of “eye for an eye” was discussed in previous verse, being the rule to follow when a pregnant woman was injured in the event of two men fighting with each other. Now it’s a general rule regarding just about any harm done.

Here’s the problem: Jehovah does not close the loop with this concept, he does not close the judgement. If I take my neighbors eye, then my eye should be taken. So doesn’t the person who took my eye also deserve his eye to be taken out? And so on and so on? How is this logical? Do we ASSUME that once the second eye is taken that justice is served and the case is closed, despite not being explicitly stated by Jehovah?

Take murder for example, if  a man murders another man, then the killer is murdered. Problem is is that family may want to murder his murderer, and the cycle can continue through the generations. This mandate from Jehovah lacks moral balance, and this verse has caused many lives to be taken and destroyed for the last two thousand years, and continues to this day.

Which is surprising that, for many Christians, this verse usurps Jesus recommendation of “turn the other cheek”. Well I wouldn’t say surprising, but definitely disappointing.

For those who reference this verse to justify murder or violence towards another man, why are you only picking this verse out of the mountain of commandments stated in Leviticus? Who are you to pick and choose which commandments to follow? If you are going to follow this verse word by word, follow the rest of Leviticus. Show me your altars, your flock of unblemished animals for sacrifice, your olive oil lit lamps, your fields, your tents. You get my point.

Who are you to pick and choose which verse to follow and which to ignore?!

The folly of modern religion today, man picking and choosing his verses to fit the modern church and modern society, yet claiming the Bible, in its entirety, is valid for all the world at all times in the past and in the future.

Side note: This is a really odd chapter, to start off with mundane rules and then break off into a story that has nothing to do with the tabernacle, and then concludes with the rules of distribution of vengeance. Whoever numbered these verses did a very odd job when it came to this chapter. Yet we are told the Bible is perfect and inspired by the holy spirit. The only inspiration I see is someone mixing two completely different writing structures into one chapter (expository and narrative) making it worse by making both structures completely out of context of each other.

Leviticus 18 – Cultures, Nakedness, Abominations

Jehovah speaks to Moses telling him to tell the Israelites:

Leviticus 18:3 – After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.

So there are cultural practices and norms that Jehovah does not want them to do, practices they did in Egypt, and practices of the people of Canaan.

Nakedness

The concept of “uncovering nakedness” has been somewhat ambiguous. When Noah’s nakedness was uncovered by Ham, it was such a serious event that Noah cursed his own grandson, (ironically Canaan). So there is more to this “uncovering” than I believe Ham seeing his own father nude. We get hints that “uncovering” a female relatives nakedness meant actually laying with her in a sexual manner. Did some perverse sexual encounter take place with Ham and Noah that the author didn’t describe? All we are told is that Ham told his brothers, who then came and covered their father (but didn’t look at his nakedness) yet Ham’s son was cursed for it all!

Jehovah lays out rules about “uncovering nakedness” and after reviewing Leviticus 18:6 through 18, it really does sound like a mandate to prevent incest within family members, blood or marriage relatives. Also included are “approaching” (as is used in verses 6-18) an unclean woman to “uncover her nakedness” or “laying carnally” with your neighbors wife.

IS JEHOVAH THE ONLY DEITY AROUND AT THIS TIME?

18:21 – And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy god…

Who is Molech? It is a deity? It is a concept/idea? Why is this name capitalized in the text the way a proper name is? Modern interpretation tells us that children were sacrificed to Molech by burning them. Was Abraham familiar with the deity or concept of Molech? After all he was willing sacrifice Jacob to Jehovah at his request, WITHOUT QUESTION! Is this concept of child sacrifice normalized to these Hebrew peoples at this time?

  • It is an abomination to lie with mankind as it is to lie with womankind
    • This the verse that tells us that “the Bible says” homosexuality is immoral (Leviticus 18:22)
    • What is the punishment for breaking this rule?
  • It is an abomination to lie with Animals
    • It is not considered an abomination but “confusion” (Leviticus 18:23)
    • Does this concept go back to Genesis 6, pre-flood world where (in Elohim terms) ALL CREATION (animals and man) were defiled?

18:24 – Defile not  ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations that are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

This verse :24 accomplishes multiple goals:

  • Lays down future law
  • Explains the reasoning for the supposed upcoming slaughter of the indigenous people of Canaan (who are related to the Israelites through Abraham)

Interesting chapter. We get some specifics on the people that are about to be genocided, and why Jehovah lays out certain rules to his people.

Sidenote: If Jehovah supposedly created the heavens and the earth and breathed life into ALL mankind, then he really screwed up by allowing his creation to go against him. This concept that creator does not have control over his creation flies in the face of what we are told “god” is today, that ALL THINGS are possible with god. Not only that, Jehovah has never claimed that these Canaanite nations, nor the Egyptians, were his creation. This is an assumption that is made.

Not only that, the whole PURPOSE of the Great Flood was a FAILURE. There is still “evil” on earth (yet the word evil hasn’t really been used, instead we get the term “defiled”.)

Not once has he said “my creation is compromised”. Is it because he is embarrassed by the creation? Or that he really didn’t create man and is merely responsible for this one group of people which he “inherited” according to Moses.

18:27 – (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.

This verse is talking about the future as if it were in the past (“as it spued” = past tense) yet the nations of Canaan, at this point in the narrative and timeline, have yet to be removed. This tells me this text was written long after the events took place. Which also tells me that much of the explanation of events could very well be made up to explain the past (Sodom & Gomorrah destroyed by volcanic activity – Explanation: the people MUST HAVE been wicked to suffer such a fate, etc.)

Also note: NONE of the defilement has been attributed to Satan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Exodus – Redux

After reading Exodus I came across two major conclusions:

  • The author of Exodus was not the same as the author of Genesis, or,
    • The author of Exodus was the same as Genesis, but since he/she was not around at the time, they could only aggregate the knowledge available to him/her via oral tradition or separate scrolls
    • Their knowledge source of information was incomplete, hence the giant hole in the timeline and narrative between Genesis and Exodus
  • Jehovah of Genesis is COMPLETELY different than Jehovah of Exodus
    • The only common theme was the “covenant” being passed down
    • Jehovah of Exodus, for some odd reason, is unable to appear to ANYONE
    • Jehovah of Genesis, was able to appear as a man to the patriarchs

Jehovah

I made my argument that it’s quite possible the Exodus Jehovah inherited the covenant and the people from Genesis Jehovah, which could entail that Jehovah is merely a TITLE, like the word Pharaoh.

Exodus Jehovah carries many human traits that are frowned upon, even today: Jealousy, quick to anger, dishonesty, hypocrisy, materialism, self consciousness, and arrogance. He boasts about characteristics he does not show (he is forgiving, he is gratious) while at the same time clearly demonstrating behavior antagonistic to these boasts.

His self consciousness regarding how the Egyptians viewed him was mind boggling. Surely the creator of heaven and earth wouldn’t care what part of his supposed creation (the Egyptians) thought of him? But he did! And Moses was able to convince Jehovah that he would look bad in the eyes of the Egyptians if he slaughtered his own people, so Jehovah changed his mind. Is this a trait of the true creator of the universe? Or of a lesser deity with strong human like characteristics of indecisiveness and spite?

Jehovah’s long winded, mundane, repetitious displays of his “powers” in Egypt were enough for me to close the book up, move on and never look back. They weren’t as impressive as I was told they were, after all the Egyptian magicians were able to recreate the majority of them, it’s just that Jehovah’s powers were one step above. One small step, not enough for me to say or conclude he is the most powerful god.

Israelites

The Israelites of Genesis are completely different than those of Exodus. In Genesis, the 12 sons, including Jacob their father, perform wicked deeds, murder, soliciting prostitutes, carrying gods that they need to hide, commit adultery, break oaths, etc. and YET, no punishment from Genesis Jehovah.

The Israelites of Exodus are weak and timid, fearing thunder and lightning, and don’t seem to be convinced of Jehovah’s powers as being absolute. They show little trust in Moses, and they clearly stated they preferred the slavery of Egypt where they at least had good food to eat, over the slavery of Jehovah. A captivity with Jehovah where they starved and thirsted in the desert, and when they spoke out, they were chastised. Their punishments have been swift, abundant, and harsh. No time outs, no prison time, no forgiveness… straight to death.

I loathed the arrogant Israelites of Genesis, and felt sorry for the Israelites of Exodus.

They went from one slave owner to another, except that this new one is quick to sentence them to death for just about any reason and by their own words they wished they were back in Egypt. Who’s the bad guy in this situation? Pharoah or Jehovah?

Moses

A great magician, almost killed by the deity he reluctantly served, who, we must not forget, TRIED TO KILL HIM. In the beginning it felt as if Moses was performing his service to Jehovah out of fear, and no doubt about it, he doubted himself as a viable servant. But towards the end, Moses seems to become sadistic, cocky and angry, even to the point where he COMMANDS Jehovah to show himself. This, of course, is after he realizes that he has the ability to change Jehovah’s mind regarding certain decisions about acting out on his anger towards the Israelites. It’s an interesting relationship, where Moses seems to be finding his boundaries and slowly crossing them. Moses is no longer the self doubting, uncooperative servant to Jehovah, he’s almost become an equal by being able to change Jehovah’s mind while also balancing the ability to harness Jehovah’s power to control the people and retain his elevated status as the sole intermediary between man and their god.

No doubt Moses has powers, but again pointing to the question that his power comes from an omnipotent god, he needed a rod/staff to perform his powers. Not only that, his staff was more like a ranged weapon, where it needed to be raised/aim to truly work.

The fact that Jehovah does not appear before the Israelites, and that Moses is the sole intermediary started to give me the idea that Moses was using the concept of Jehovah to fear the Israelites into servitude, and leveraged natural events like volcano eruptions, thunder, lightning, lava, smoke, fire, and brimstone to point to the powers of the god that just couldn’t appear to anyone but him. Yet, again, Jehovah supposedly appeared multiple times in Genesis in the form of  man without all the thunder and demonstrations of power.

On that note, it no longer seems preposterous that Moses also manipulated man’s fear of natural cataclysmic events, in this case a volcano, to lay fear and control a population. If you tell the people that the god exists in the volcano, and if you approach it you will die, thus you can not see the god, and that volcano continues to display its cataclysmic powers, you can bet that controlling the people would be feasible. I’ve laid out my theory on the volcano, and I will strengthen this theory in upcoming verse.

Exodus Overall

If I knew NOTHING about the bible, the morals and dogmas, the modern interpretations, and was handed the book to read and was told “Here, read this, this is the one true god and the one true path”, by the end of Exodus I would return the book and say “No thanks”.

There is NOTHING about Jehovah that I, if I was in search of a god to follow, would find appealing. There is no evidence he created the universe beyond his own claims. There is no evidence he even created the people he leads around or the land he is leading them to, only that he *inherited* it all. He is severely flawed, to the point he makes himself look bad while trying to display godly powers. He seems to be more of a Devil than the Devil himself (which is a side topic all together and I WILL revisit this idea). After all, all source of evil is from him, and he even says so himself, and so far there’s been very little good to balance out the evil, destruction, and death.

There is absolutely NOTHING in Exodus that would tell me that this book was meant for the world, especially with all the specific cultural and geographical details that make no sense anywhere but in the Middle East at that time, and in the minds of modern Christians who tend to bend and twist the Bible to fit into the current era.

Exodus gets a big thumbs down for the mundane and incessant Jehovah boasting in regards to his dealing with Egypt and his boasting regarding his righteousness. The down to the thread details of the ark and the tabernacle and the FACT these items and rituals no longer exist AS INSTRUCTED tells me Exodus is a book of history, not a book for today.

We don’t need drawn out rituals with sprinkled blood and flayed animal carcasses and burning flesh placed upon gold encrusted furniture for modern man to know that it’s not OK to lie, cheat, kill, steal etc.

If I was a potential convert, Exodus has completely turned me away, there would be nothing more to read. I would not want to follow or worship this god, nor do his instructions regarding bullocks, rams, sprinkling blood, altars, punishments of death have any meaning to life today. Time has proven this to be true, without all these instruments, life has moved on. No one is being sentenced to death for working on the Sabbath, yet that is what Exodus has proclaimed “for ever”. The priesthood of Aaron was “for ever”. The covenant “was for ever”. The rituals were “for ever” Etc.

I journey on, because I know the story gets better and my arguments will solidify. I no longer fear to be honest about the Bible, because my only source is the Bible itself.

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

 

Disclaimer

I am a student of science, history, anthropology, archaeology and reason. These are what pay my bills, what secure the material items I need for daily life, and what have not meshed well with my early religious teachings. I have had what some would call supernatural experiences. I enjoy reading about others supernatural experiences and phenomenon. I am not a fan of the moral corruption seen in Hollywood, heard in modern pop music, or the hypocrisy of politics. There are days where I walk this world feeling like we have entirely abandoned God, where everywhere I turn there is corruption and greed.

But, one day I came across some information that made it all fall into place. The key to the puzzle. They key that provided AN answer to (note I’m not saying it is the absolute answer) and made much of the questions I have had lingering about science and religion suddenly have an answer I could explain.

  • Did primitive peoples really build the megaliths all across the world, a feat we could not perform today even with modern power equipment?
  • Why do we believe in ghosts and spirits? Are they really the spirits of our loved ones?
  • Is every evil attributed to Satan or does he have minions/demons who work for him as well?
  • Can demons really possess a body? Just who are these demons and why do they exist?
  • How can the patterns of dictatorships, massacres, genocides cycle throughout the generations with little interruption? It’s like a broken record skipping over and over again the same lyrics.
  • Why do people pray to Jesus and God asking for menial things like “please let us win our baseball game” or “please let me win the lottery” or attribute the smallest, unimportant events in our lives to God’s actions?
  • How could some self proclaimed religious people be so evil?
  • Just what in the world are flying saucers and aliens and why do some people believe they are one in the same with angels?
  • Why do many ‘pagan’ religions have similar creation and end time stories?
  • Why is the bible considered ‘hypocritical’?
  • Just how many ‘end time’ events have occurred since creation?
  • Is there math or astrology in the bible? How do the stars fit in?

These are just a few that I can think of for now. The clue to what has filled in the blanks for me will come soon in my blog posts. It is triggered in Genesis, and it led me on an adventure that opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities about our past both biblical and scientific.

It may bother some as I pepper in this information into translating scripture, but call it part of me putting the puzzle together in my own way. If the pieces truly do not fit, then I will not include those in the finished product. But it will be a learning process and an experiment, so I will be trying to fit these pieces in as they correlate.