In an early interaction, God told Moses that He will send his angel to guide Israel along the way. The people of Israel were warned not to disobey God’s messenger because he would not forgive their transgressions if they rebelled against him. (Ex. 23:21)

Moses approached God with a very bold request indeed; He asked for God to personally accompany Israel instead, refusing to move anywhere without His own personal presence (Ex. 33:12-16). Why did he take the risk of challenging God? Why did Moses disagree with God?

In the end of incredible experience of seeing the back of God, hearing the words that described his fundamentally gracious and forgiving nature (Ex. 34:6), Moses disclosed his reason: “…because this is a stiff-necked people. Pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Your own!” (Ex.34:9) In other words, Moses’ argument was as follows: God should go with Israel and forgive them, precisely because they are stiff-necked people!

Since God said that angel would not forgive Israel if they rebel against him (Ex. 23:21), Moses knew that his only hope was to persuade God Himself to come instead. While being hidden in the cleft of the Rock, Moses became aware that YHWH (unlike his angel) was able to forgive “iniquity, transgression, and sin” (Ex. 34:7). Moses understood that given Israel’s sins only if God will go with them would Israel have a chance for a future.

Hassidic Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (who may have been my relative on my mother’s side) once prayed this way:

“Lord of the universe, I want to propose a deal. We have many sins. You have much forgiveness. Let us exchange our sins for Your forgiveness. And if You should say that this is not a fair exchange, then my reply is: If we had no sins, what would You do with all Your forgiveness?”



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  2. Now, imagine if this prayer by Rabbi Yitzchak had been offered by the great comedian and former Rabbi Jackie Mason instead. Nice teaching moment, brother.
  3. And this is what G-d has done by taking the sins of the world on Himself in Yeshua, and giving us not just His forgiveness but His righteousness.
  4. G_d being righteous can never make a mistake. HE said it and HIS WORD had to bring back results. HIS WORD is final and authoritative. To G_d be the glory
    • Yes. But we this does not mean that he tells us from the beginning what his final word is. In the case of Moses it needed to be teased out (so to speak). But since I know theology probably better than a lot of heresy hunters on this forum, I do realize how crazy this sounds (Moses disagreeing with God). :-).

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  5. I once had an extensive discussion with a man whom claimed that Moshe' was not allowed to enter the promised land because Moshe' had committed murder. My argument was that yes Moshe' had killed an Egyptian soldier in defense of a Hebrew slave being beaten. Did Moshe' sit down and plan or device a way to take a life? I believe not and this would be considered "Premeditated Murder". If we walked in our home and found a man attempting to harm our loved ones what would our reaction be?
    • Does not G-d have a reason for everything He does or does not allow? Don’t things happen in life for a reason? Could it also be true that G-d did not allow Moses to enter the promised land because Moses represented the Law? And We cannot enter the promised land based on keeping the Law? Joshua led the children of Israel into the promised land as a representative of Yeshua Messiah. The epitome of G-d’s grace and mercy. Is this not true?

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  6. I have been wanting to read back into my Bible “arguing” (the Spirit Himself intercedes). Many have shown me in the Bible that I could not have been saved (TEN COMMANDMENTS) before I converted to Christianity, but I was! Unfortunately, I learned to read without an argument (intercessor). This led to identity problems. Your classes and research have been a big asset in reidentifying Jesus. (Example: In John 3:21 I can now identify with God turning my darkness into light instead of identifying as one who loves the darkness John 3:19.) Thank you!!!!
  7. In have a question . When Moses went up to meet God to receive the Ten Commandments did Joshua go into the cloud with him when he was receiving them and would Joshua have seen God too? The other possibility was that Joshua was further up the mountain than the seventy elders etc but not as far up as Moses. I have been reading it the past few days and I'm just wondering what Joshua was learning in this experience about leadership. Thanks
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