In the first week I shared how revelation of the Father is progressive. I had quoted Hebrews 1:1 but didn't give that reference. It says in old times the Father spoke in many parts and many ways to the fathers by the prophets, but in these last days has spoke to us through His Son..."
Last week part 2 was about how we are in 'the acceptable year of the Lord', but showing the other side of His person is 'the day of vengeance of our God.' I mentioned Jesus couldn't tell them there would be a roughly 2,000 year gap between 'the acceptable year of the Lord' and 'the day of vengeance of our God", but didn't explain it. This 2,000 year time or '2 days' prophetically, is for Gentiles to be given the chance to enter into covenant with the God of Israel.
Paul spoke of this in Ephesians 3:1-11 where he wrote in v5-6 it was a mystery that was only revealed starting at Pentecost:"...that Gentiles might be fellow heirs..." He says the same in Colossians 1:26-27, about the "myst
ery kept secret from ages and generations" that Gentiles would be fellow heirs. That mystery being "Christ in you (Gentiles), the hope of glory." And again in Romans 16:25-26, about the revelation of the mystery that all nations (Gentiles) would given the opportunity to come to know the God of Israel.
So there again we see a progression of revelation. Even in Acts 1:6-7 when they ask if the risen Jesus would restore the kingdom to Israel, the Lord tells them it is not for them to know the things the Father has placed within His own authority. But the time to bring the kingdom to earth will come...again, a progression of revelation within the set framework of who God is.
Why the Mosaic Law and why so harsh?
Paul wrote in Galatians 3:19 the law of Moses was given because of sin. In Romans 3:19 he wrote it was given "that all the world may become guilty before God." In Acts 14:15-17 and 17:30 he said God had previously overlooked man's ignorance of sin.
Romans 5:12-14 says sin was in the world from Adam to Moses, but God could not hold mankind accountable because they were ignorant of God's ways. There was no standard in the earth saying this is right and this is wrong. That's why Moses was given the Law. It defined right and wrong.
All this means God gave Moses the Law so that He could show mankind what sin was, and what righteousness was. Exodus 19:6 says God intended Israel to be a whole nation of priests to God, therefore as a nation of priests, they were to act as intermediary between God and the rest of the nations of the earth. Israel was to reveal to all the nations the ways of God. They failed.
"My little brother(s) and/or sister(s) got away with much more than I ever did."
If you're not an only child nor the baby of the family, you will most likely agree with that statement. The first child is where mom and dad treat that child according to all their discussions about how they would raise their children, all they've read, all they've experienced. That means the letter of the law. Perfection required. Swift and harsh punishment was served for any wrong doing. (For many if not most of us, lol)
I'm not suggesting God was new to parenting with Israel so He learned a few things, my point is God had to deal with Israel according to the perfection given in the Law. So He seems angry and vindictive in the OT.
Do you still love me?
But just like the parent who brings the wrath of the law down on a child, it is the law that is wrathful, not the parent having to apply the law. How many young children having been disciplined, asked through teary eyes; 'Do you still love me mommy?'
Doesn't that mom assure her child her love for her is unchanged, but she had to discipline according to the rules? Rules that were meant to protect the child and raise that child to be a responsible and successful adult. Mom wasn't angry, the rules showed the child what right and wrong is, and therefore it was the rule that is angry. The rule, the law demands perfection.
Paul would write about this in Romans 4:15 saying:"The law works wrath." And in II Corinthians 3:6-9 he calls the law a "ministry of death", "condemnation", and "the letter of the law kills". (relationships between God and man, or person to person) But the Spirit gives life.
God gave the law so He had to discipline according to the law. But the law is angry, condemning, and no one can be justified by the Law of Moses. James 2:10 says if you live by the Law, if you break 1 law you become guilty of all.
While some nations had laws similar to the 10 Commandments,
God Himself spoke these out and Moses wrote them down, which defined moral law, sanitary/dietary law, and worship law. Because God issued these 613 laws to Moses, He had to hold them to that standard within that context and that age and that culture.
There was nothing in the history of mankind from God up to that point, that told man what was healthy to eat and not eat, how to live and treat one another, and how to approach God.
Because He was presenting these standards to mankind, causing all of mankind to be found guilty before God, He had to deal with Israel according to that law He gave. A higher revelation than the law was given when He sent His only Son. That was the opportunity to deal with mankind according to His own heart:"If you've seen Me you've seen the Father." Jesus said in John 14:9
Picking up sticks, putting them in a basket
In Numbers 15 the Lord gives commands for people who sin in ignorance, and how once they find out they sinned, they may make an offering to the Lord and it will be forgiven, because it was done in ignorance.
Continuing His instruction in v30-31 the Lord says if a person sins willfully because they despise the Word of the Lord, they will pay with their life, for they have despised God's laws. The next verses, 32-33 give an example:A man is working by gathering firewood on the Sabbath day. He is brought before Moses.
Was this a sin of ignorance, or did the man know what to do and despised the law of Moses by sinning purposely? In v35 the Lord said the man had to be executed for he knew what he was doing. Was that God's heart? No, it was the law. How do we know it wasn't God's heart?
Because in the higher revelation which is the person of Jesus, in John 8, He forgave the woman caught in a much worse sin than picking up sticks on the Sabbath:The act of adultery. The Jewish leaders, going from the law, wanted to execute her. That was their context. The angry God of the OT. The perfection demanded by the Law. Jesus brought the higher revelation of the way the Father's true nature is, and forgave her. The gospels are the interface, the changing of context from the Law of Moses to grace.
In Numbers 15 the Lord clearly made an example of the man picking up sticks, but it was within the context of Israel having been given the law of Moses, which defined sin for Israel and mankind. There was little grace in the law for that wasn't its purpose. Its purpose was to define sin. Therefore God had to deal with Israel accordingly.
Next week we'll wrap this up...I hope this has been food for thought and rearranged some understanding of why the Father seemed so angry in the Old Testament. Until next week, blessings,
http://www.cwowi.org and email me at email@example.com