Moses' second speech, Part 15
Aug 04, 2012
Deut. 5:22 says,
(22) These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain from the midst of the fire, of the cloud and of the thick gloom, with a great voice, and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.
Hearing God's voice, of course, is the essence of Pentecost. Second, He spoke the law. Third, He spoke it to the "assembly," the kahal, which is the Hebrew equivalent of the NT word ekklesia, translated "church." The purpose of Pentecost was to write the law in the heart of the Church, but it could only be accomplished by hearing His voice.
(23) And it came about, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders. (24) And you said, "Behold, the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire; we have seen today that God speaks with man, yet he lives."
In Exodus 20:18-21, we are not told that it was the elders and tribal leaders who approached Moses to request that God stop speaking to them directly. We learn this here in Moses' speech. They were acting on behalf of the people.
In requesting that God stop speaking to them, they became a Pentecostal Church without the ability to hear God's voice. And so they did not hear the rest of the law by direct revelation. This established a pattern that many have followed to this day. Many have a genuine initial Pentecostal experience, but then they rely upon their "Moses" of the day to tell them the rest of the law; however their leaders tend to instruct them in the laws of men. This results in legalism, having numerous rules of holiness that actually destroy or hide the divine law.
Furthermore, the pattern established by Israel is seen by the fact that many churches are diligent in teaching the Ten Commandments to the children, which Israel also heard directly; however, none of them received the rest of the law. And so the church has little or no revelation of the law beyond the Ten Commandments. Their ability to hear that revelation is yet blocked by Israel's refusal to hear, which blinded and deafened the Church from that day forward.
Any time we refuse to hear any portion of God's word, we become deaf and blind in that area. As Moses said later in Deut. 8:3, "man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord."
(25) Now then why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer, then we shall die. (26) For who is there of all flesh, who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?
The problem is that God is a consuming fire, and anyone who draws near to Him will be baptized by that fire (Matt. 3:11). That fire consumes the flesh, causing the old man to die. That soulish man--the first Adam--has already been sentenced to death, but if we identify with him, our survival instinct will cause us to try to keep that old man alive instead of allowing him to be crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6).
Hence, it is the old Adamic man of the flesh that rejects the law of God, because it fears death. It convinces men that the law brings death, rather than life. And, indeed, it is so. The law does indeed kill the old man in order to allow us to identify with the New Creation Man that is "the last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45).
Hence, the old man fears the law, while the New Creation Man embraces it, for the law reflects the mind of Christ that was in Paul (Rom. 7:25). The day will come when the Church as a whole will realize that their blindness to the law was their inheritance from the elders of Israel who refused to hear the word of God. When they understand this, they will repent on behalf of those elders and renounce their fear-based decision, and ask God to reveal the law to them.
Then will come the revival of Nehemiah 8:8-18, ushering in the Age of Tabernacles.
However, in Moses' day, the elders told Moses in verse 27,
(27) Go near and hear all that the Lord our God says; then speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.
The elders did not realize that if they wanted the law of God to be written on their hearts, they had to hear God's voice directly. They had to allow the fire of God to kill the flesh man, because the flesh would not receive the law. The flesh serves the law of sin--not the law of God (Rom. 7:25). Paul says the flesh wages war against the New Creation Man (Rom. 7:23). Hence, one cannot write the law of God upon the old man. The old man must be consumed by the baptism of fire in order for the law to be written on the heart of the New Creation Man.
When the elders wanted a man to hear and obey, they set up the Church to hear the teachings of men. They set up a mediator between God and men to reveal the heart of God to them. Moses, as a man, could only persuade their carnal minds to be obedient--with limited results. Man's organizations and denominations, then, are only as successful as man's ability to reveal the heart of God to the people, along with the people's ability to hear God's voice through the man that is teaching them.
Jesus Himself, the original Law-giver, later came as one like Moses to be the true Mediator between God and man. He revealed the heart of the Father to those with ears to hear. He then sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost to allow those disciples the opportunity to do what their forefathers under Moses had refused to do at the Mount. The results are recorded in the book of Acts.
In the end, no one can bypass hearing God's voice, whether one hears directly or through some agency on earth. The Cardinal Rule is Be led by the Spirit. And know too that the Spirit does not lead anyone to commit sin, which is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Lawlessness is the lack of faith, because faith comes by hearing and obeying. Moses continues in Deut. 5:28,
(28) And the Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, "I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken."
Really? Was God pleased with their refusal to hear His voice? Not at all. But God had already planned their inability to hear His voice, because it was God's intent that Pentecost should not be fulfilled until after Jesus had died on the cross. Even so, God then expressed His heart, as Moses tells us in the next verse:
(29) "Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!"
God's desire is to have direct contact and fellowship with His people. Psalm 95:4 expresses it as well, saying, "Today, if you would hear His voice." This is repeated in Heb. 3:7 and 15 and again in Heb. 4:7.
So God established an indirect relationship with Israel, which became one of the main features of the Old Covenant. Hence, the people had a "bondwoman" relationship with God, typed by Hagar, as Paul tells us in Gal. 4:24. A bondwoman may hear God but has no decision-making authority and must submit all revelation to men for approval. The fulfillment of Pentecost in Acts 2 had the potential of creating a Sarah Church that would be free to hear God and to be obedient apart from the veto-power of denominational systems of men.
This is the fifteenth part of a series titled "Moses' Second Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones