Crossing the Red Sea
READ Exodus 14:9,12
What are the Israelites doing?
Demonstrating where their faith is (God can’t save/deliver us).
Demonstrating where their heart is (in Egypt).
Shows that they never were fully onboard with this deliverance thing, anyway.
READ Exodus 14:21-22
What do you think the Israelites were saying to themselves when Moses divided the sea?
“I don’t believe it.”
READ 1 Corinthians 10:1-5
What is Paul teaching us here about the parting of the Red Sea?
It was a “baptism” of sorts - they were leaving the worldliness of Egypt.
They were committing to follow the Lord.
They were “crossing through the valley of the shadow of death” (the wall of water) which is baptismal symbolism of death and rebirth.
The Lord’s Wilderness of Sanctification
What does it take to distract Israel from God’s greatness?
Three days without water in the desert.
A bitter well.
What kind of tree made the water sweet?
It wasn’t the tree - it was Jehovah - “I am the Lord that heals thee” (v25).
The “tree” is symbolic of the Cross.
He could have made the water sweet without the wood - but sometimes we need a physical prop.
READ Exodus 16:1-4
What is the “Wilderness of Sin”?
It is the Lord’s testing ground for their faith.
It is the Lord’s “wilderness school”.
Discovery of the true desires of our hearts and understanding of our personal weakness.
It is the Israelites' preparation ground for Sinai.
How are the Israelites doing so far?
Not so good - they are swearing by the name of God that they would rather be dead in Egypt than alive but dying in the wilderness.
If they have “even a desire to believe” they don’t show it much; but they sure aren’t acting on that belief - they don’t have faith in the God they swear by.
How does one enter the Lord’s “Wilderness School”?
Baptism is the gate?
They have “performed” the baptism by water via their Red Sea crossing.
But the baptism by fire is always an inner, individual “baptism” and is predicated upon them living the gospel covenant; which only a few show that they have done.
Why is His school be held in the Wilderness?
We must leave behind the “flesh pots of Egypt” or Babylon.
We must be “delivered” into the Wilderness - deliverance from physical danger (slavery, in this case) and deliverance from sin through the birth of the spirit (still in progress, in this case).
To receive training in the Ways of the Lord, without distraction from the World.
To be proved - the wilderness is both refuge/asylum AND trial/tribulation.
READ Exodus 16: 9, 12
What is the Lord trying to teach the Children of Israel?
In the Lord’s Wilderness School, He takes care of all worldly needs (it is about sufficiency not excess, however) - He will continue to preserve their (miserable, faithless…) lives.
The quail and manna are a temporal sign of His love and power as their God.
But outward signs are not enough - they must “come near before the Lord” to truly know Him.
The food keeps them alive long enough to do that.
READ John 6:35, 48-51, 63
Why did the Children of Israel eat manna and are dead?
He is talking about spiritual death not physical death.
They did not eat of the “bread of life” - Christ.
They only focused on the temporal benefits of worshiping God - i.e. staying alive physically in the wilderness.
They missed the fact that physical life or death is really nothing if you don’t find the Lord; the primary reason we are here on earth is to come unto Christ and be redeemed from spiritual death; that is how you “live forever”.
READ D&C 88:66-68
How are Christ’s words “spirit,” “truth” and “life”?
Good intentions are not enough.
You must be taught the words of truth or you cannot have faith.
You can only have true faith unto salvation in something that is true - otherwise the object of your false hope will let you down in time and your faith will fail.
The truth of the living bread is “eaten” or taken into your soul by covenant - like food, His Spirit becomes part of who you are; it changes you by giving you health and energy (if it is good food and you have been eating spiritual “junk food”), and enables you to do things you could not do before, which in turn affects who you can become (sanctification).
After those true words about how to be saved have been acted on in faith… Christ’s actual “words” or promise to us of eternal life, given when He ministers to you in the flesh, is what truly gives life. His words prophesy or promise an eternal life that you will experience and as a God of Truth, He cannot lie – no matter how improbable His promise seems to you at the time.
The Sinai Temple
READ D&C 84:19-23
What did Moses plainly teach to the Children of Israel?
That the greater priesthood holds the key to the mysteries and the knowledge of God.
That without the ordinances (covenants) of the mysteries of the kingdom and the authority of the High Priesthood After the Holiest Order of God, the power of godliness is not manifest to men in the flesh - in other words, they cannot enter into the presence of the Father in the flesh, which is how you obtain the knowledge of God.
That you must sanctify yourself to receive these great blessings and enter into God’s presence.
READ D&C 93:1
How should they have sanctified themselves to enter the presence of the Lord?
Forsake their sins.
Come unto Christ.
Call on His name.
Obey His voice (personal revelation).
Keep His commandments.
See also D&C 67:10-14; D&C 88:67-68 (again).
READ Exodus 19:5-6, 10-11
Who was invited or called to receive this High Priesthood and enter into the rest or presence of God?
ALL of the Children of Israel.
Moses was trying to establish Zion again - a PEOPLE, not just a single PERSON, who could stand in God’s presence.
READ Exodus 19:12, 16-17, 23-24
Why can’t the people ascend Mount Sinai past the “bounds”?
Most of them have not sanctified themselves sufficiently to enter into the presence of the Lord.
They will burn up in His glory if they come into contact with Him.
The bounds protect unprepared people from being utterly wasted in God’s presence.
What is God doing in these verses?
Nothing - He is just being.
We break (burn) ourselves against His perfection and inherent glory.
He is not “punishing us” - we punish ourselves with a “flame of unquenchable fire”.
The “burning” is both physical and spiritual.
READ Exodus 20:18-21
What is their response to the Lord’s invitation that all should enter into His presence?
They don’t want to come into His presence.
Send Moses “the Prophet”.
He can stand between us and God.
We will follow the prophet.
We are afraid to go ourselves into the glory, lest we die.
They refused to come unto Christ.
How does Moses reply to their concern?
He knew this was God’s plan from the beginning and told the people not to worry.
He is here to prove you – but He wants you to come unto Him.
God wants a “kingdom of Priests and a holy nation” (see 19:6).
Even if you must go through the refiner’s fire first – it will be more than worth it.
READ D&C 84:24
How did the Lord react to their rejection of His offer to come unto Him themselves, but to send Moses instead?
The Lord was NOT pleased with their desire to place Moses between Himself and them.
The Lord wanted ALL of the Children of Israel to enter into His rest.
There is no such thing as group salvation; membership in a Church will not save you.
It is their PERSONAL salvation that is at stake - Moses’ election was already made sure, but the rest of the Israelites had yet to receive that blessing.
The prophet’s role is to PREPARE them for that event, not to stand between them and God.
The Ten Commandments
READ Exodus 20:2-4, 7-8
What is the common theme in the first four of the Ten Commandments?
The proper relationship between us and God: that He is the only God that exists, so we should worship Him.
First Commandment: “I am” the Lord your God; Yahweh is God (“I exist”) v2.
Second Commandment: No other gods before me - do not worship idols (gods who don’t really exist) v3-4.
Third Commandment: Do not take the name of God in vain – since I exist, treat me (God) as a person not an object; v7.
Fourth Commandment: Keep the Sabbath day holy – worship me; draw close unto me and I will draw close to you; v8,
READ Exodus 20:12-17
What is the common theme in the last six of the Ten Commandments?
How we should treat our fellow man.
Fifth Commandment: Honor parents.
Sixth Commandment: Not to kill.
Seventh Commandment: No adultery.
Eighth Commandment: No stealing.
Ninth Commandment: No false witness.
Tenth Commandment: No coveting.
READ Matt 22:36-40
How does the Aaronic Ten Commandments come alive in Christ’s Celestial law?
If you love the Lord with all thy heart, soul and mind, you will do the first 4 commandments (really, all ten).
And if you love the Lord, you will love your neighbor as yourself, and keep the other 6 commandments.
If you ARE – if you love the Lord with all your heart and love your fellow beings as well - then what you DO just flows naturally.
But if you do not love God and your fellow men (you are not yet spiritually alive), but keep the Ten Commandments regardless, you will gain light through your obedience (God is no respecter of persons and obedience to eternal law merits light) and hopefully understand the deeper spiritual foundation of the behaviors that you are exhibiting, so you can begin to embrace them and love God.
In Chapter 24, the Children of Israel make a covenant by sacrifice to keep the commandments of the Lord. What does the Lord command them to do next?
Build a tabernacle.
Build the Ark of the Covenant to go in the Tabernacle.
What is the difference between making a covenant by sacrifice and making a covenant to sacrifice?
The first is efficacious (in affect) - the Lord requires the sacrifice of all earthly things in order to lay hold of faith unto salvation (see the Lectures on Faith).
The second is a promise to sacrifice in the future - but is not yet in affect.
READ Exodus 25:8, 22
What is the purpose of the Tabernacle and its Ark?
Enables the Lord to easily visit His people - abide with them.
It is a temple.
It is a portal to heaven.
READ JST Exodus 34:1 and Leviticus 16:2
What happened with regards to the tabernacle as a result of Israel's breaking their covenant with The Lord?
After that, just the High Priest was allowed to enter and just once a year! (talk about being under condemnation!).
The High Priesthood was removed from them – including from the High Priest.
The Law of Moses
READ D&C 84:25-27
Having given up the right to know God themselves, what does the Lord do for the Children of Israel?
In His mercy, He gives them a remedial process of outward ordinances/covenants and a priesthood that enables it.
What does "preparatory gospel" include?
It includes repentance and baptism for the remission of sins – which enables the Holy Spirit to animate you.
Carnal commandments – behavioral guides to enable living with more light.
It includes the ministering of angels – to teach the higher commandments and impart further light.
READ Luke 24:25-27
What did Christ teach the two on the Road to Emmaus about the Law?
That it also testifies of Christ - it points to Him, for those with eyes to see.
What is our modern day "Law of Moses"?
For the Strength of Youth.
The Word of Wisdom.
Tithing (vs. consecration).
Cultural Sunday observances.
Anything that focuses people on outward performances and is easily measurable and observable: behaviors and standards.
What are the advantages of these "Laws"?
Obedience to standards enables increasing in the Spirit - being filled with more light; which can enable you to receive even more IF you ask for it.
They are clear/plain, which is especially important for concrete thinkers (80% of the population).
What could be a danger of this approach?
We fixate on the outward performances while omitting the weightier matters (the desires of the heart or your intent; your will or whole soul).
It is less effective - “The study of doctrine and the teaching of doctrine will change behavior more than the study of behavior will change behavior.” (Boyd Packer).
It can produce "mindless drones" with blind faith but no "well of living water" or "oil of the Spirit" within them, if they do not press on past the "what" to the "why" of the gospel.
READ Galatians 3:24-25
What does Paul teach us about the purpose of the Law?
The Law of Moses was intended to lead us to Christ.
It is not a “law” unto itself for salvation.
Let's explore some of the ways that the Law was designed to point people to Christ rather than being an end of itself...
READ 3 Nephi 12:19
Why would The Lord give a Law that the Israelites would never be able to come close to living?
To break their hearts and make their spirits contrite when they finally admit that they can't live the Law and will not be saved by their own merits.
The Law is supposed to be impossible to live in reality, so that people are forced to turn to Christ.
To expose our imperfections and pride.
What happened when the Israelites failed to keep these commandments?
They had to offer up the sacrifice of an animal.
READ Alma 34:13-14
Why did the Law require the sacrifice of an animal?
To point to the infinite and eternal sacrifice of a God.
To remind them that only ONE sacrifice is needed - all the others are in similitude of that one.
Blood, the symbol of life and the symbol of this fallen world, is required to make a covenant efficacious or binding; until Christ’s sacrifice ended it (see 3 Nephi 9:19-20).
READ 3 Nephi 9:19-20
What is the sacrifice required of those seeking to live the higher law?
Broken heart and contrite spirit; your whole soul, which is the only thing that we can sacrifice that is really ours to give.
Let's read about the Day of Atonement...
READ Leviticus 16:7-10, 15, 21
Who does the goat of the sin offering represent?
What does the sprinkling of that goat's blood before the Mercy Seat represent?
Christ's suffering in the Garden before the Father where He bled from every pore while taking upon Himself (although undeserving) the sins of the people.
Who does the "live goat" or “scape goat” represent?
We are laden with sins and yet are allowed to escape into the wilderness.
While the other goat is killed that we might live.
What is the difference between the two actual goats?
Nothing - they are interchangeable - either could have been chosen to fulfill either of the two roles.
On the actual Day of Atonement, we see this same story play out in real life...
READ Luke 23:14-25
Christ, of course, is the one the people demand to be sacrificed, but how is Bar-abbas the "scapegoat" who represents us?
He is also literally a "Son of the Father" – bar (son of) abba (the father).
He is laden with sins – treason and murder.
He is allowed to go free while Christ is killed in his place and for his sins.
Why was the veil in the temple torn at Christ’s death?
As Christ dies on the cross, the veil of the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem is rent from top to bottom showing that the Father was a witness to Christ's blood being shed before His throne.
READ D&C 88:32-33
In summary, why were the children of Israel given the Law of Moses?
They were a stiffnecked people (see Mosiah 3:14).
It is all they were willing to receive.
Because they would not RISE UP THEMSELVES and accept the Lord's invitation to be in His presence and become His sons and daughters but wanted Moses to stand between them and tell them what to do.
To act as a preparatory gospel; God is patient and had not given up on them, even in their sins and stubbornness; they were still “His people”.
The Law had within it temple worship, with all of its symbolism of Christ and entering into God’s presence.
The Law truly testifies precisely and intimately of Christ, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
Sadly, the Law backfired and they viewed the fact that they had it as making them better (the “chosen people”) than those around them who did not have the (significantly limited, particularly in comparison with what they might have had…) light and knowledge they had been given; they made the Law an end in itself, as if zealous adherence to it would please God and save them – they missed the whole idea that it was a remedial law meant to humble them while it led them back to the higher law and the presence of the Lord; they were “chosen” to be an example of foolishness, so that we could choose to be wiser than they had been.
READ Alma 12:28-30
Why does the preparatory gospel include the key of the ministering of angels?
Angels are sent to prepare people; after they have repented, been baptized and kept the carnal commandments - they are ready for more, for the baptism of Fire available through the Melchizedek priesthood, which they no longer held (except Moses, personally).
They are allowed to behold a proxy of His glory (through the angel).
Angels minister to men to testify to them of His word and of the coming of Christ, preparing them to receive Him (see also Alma 32:23 and Moroni 7:22).