Studies in Torah

Parashat Ki Tisa (כי תשא): Exodus 30:11-34:35

This week’s Torah reading is called כי תשא Ki Tisa (“when you take”), covering Ex. 30:11–34:35. The Torah reading shows us how Messiah Yeshua represents His people before His Father as Aharon walks through the sacrifices and prayers on the Day of Atonement.

We also see Messiah Yeshua in Moshe’s response to the sinful spectacle with the Golden Calf. Moshe’s simple confession of Israel’s sin to the Lord and his willingness to pay the price himself are all echoes of our Messiah Yeshua’s heart. God rejected Moshe’s profound offer of atonement because He has already prepared for Messiah Yeshua to make the atonement Moshe wanted to make for Israel.

Ki Tisa discussions

Exodus 30:11–34:35: You are not ‘just a number’ to God

Exodus 30:11–34:35: Learning the Creator’s heart at the golden calf

Exodus 30

Day of Atonement foreshadowed

The theme of Exodus 30 is what was to happen in front of the veil between the Holy Place and Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle. Moshe (Moses) was to make the oil and use it to anoint everything for the Tabernacle. It’s all about atonement, about Yom haKippurim, Hebrew for the Day of Coverings, a.k.a. the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:11-15; Hebrews 9-10). It’s boring if you just sit there and read it. But if you ask God while reading this, “What did you have in mind?” it becomes fascinating. What God set up here is not mere ritual. It’s a picture of the Messiah’s actions to atone for the deviations of the people of God from the guidelines of Heaven.

Exodus 31–33

Pattern of the mountain starts to become a reality

In Exodus 31, we meet the two men (beside Moses) whose work and talent were used to make the Tabernacle which began as the “pattern shown on the Mountain” a living, functional reality. However, he gives them a reminder that they are still supposed to keep the Sabbath, no exceptions. They can’t break the Sabbath, even for the sake of building the Tabernacle or they will be “cut off from their people.”

Golden calf and its aftermath

The golden calf is synonymous with syncretism and rebellion against God. This incident profoundly shaped how Israel developed as a nation and how it devolved into two nations later. It also shows us how a small, powerful minority can change the character of a nation and indelibly mark it for good or bad.

Two tablets of the Testimony and the golden calf

This is a very heavy section of scripture. God tells Moses about the people’s rebellion and calls on Moses to check on the people. God tells Moses that he is willing to take very drastic measures to punish the people and promote Moses to an even higher level.

‘The man’ intercedes for rebellious Israel after the golden calf

This is a very heavy section of scripture, which is why we are spending two weeks reviewing it. When Moses comes down from the Moses, he takes very drastic measures to clean up a massive rebellion against God in the camp of Israel involving the golden calf idol.

How do we find favor in God’s sight?

The events in Exodus 33 were a direct consequence of the golden calf in Exodus 32. After that incident, God commanded Moshe (Moses) to move his personal tent outside the camp where the people of Israel were camping. God is a gentleman. When He is not wanted, he leaves. Moshe was a “shadow,” a teaching representation, of God; and Aharon (Aaron), of God’s Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus).

Parallels to Exodus 31–33

1st Kings 12: Idolatry of the ego

Idols are actually as prevalent in modern times as they were back in the days of Rehoboam and Yeroboam (Jeroboam). Bowing down to a statue as a representation of a divine is not as common in our world, but what is common is spiritual idolatry — the core of physical idolatry.

Deuteronomy 9-10: Israel must remember her rebellious acts before ridding the Land of its rebellious peoples

God required Israel to fear Him, walk with Him, love Him and serve Him with all their hearts and souls. Notice we have to fear Him first, then walk in His ways, then we love Him and serve Him and others. Many Christians teach that the first thing we need to do to respond to God is to love Him, but that is not what God tells us. Our first response to Him should be fear. Loving God comes later, after we have cultivated an appropriate fear of God and have learned to walk in the ways He calls us to walk.

Exodus 34

God reveals Himself to Moshe in a special way during second 40 days on the Mountain

The Book of Exodus records that the phrase “God spoke to Moshe…” occurs 150-plus times each in the TaNaKh (Torah, Prophets and Writings). God spoke to Moshe (Moses) more than any other person recorded in the entire TaNaKh. This gives us a small glimpse of how highly God esteemed Moshe and how Yeshua’s followers should hold Moshe in more high esteem than they do. When Moshe came back down the second time, he was changed forever.

Moshe gets to know God personally while getting the replacement tablets of the commandments

Some commentators believe God was angry at Moses for breaking those tablets with the 10 Commandments, but I don’t believe so. When Moses broke the tablets, Moses was simply acknowledging the fact that the people had already broken the covenant that just 40 days earlier they had promised to uphold when they said, “What you say, we will do.” So it was appropriate for Moses to break those tablets. But it was also appropriate that the tablets had to be remade. Moses had a friendship with God that His contemporaries did not have. Paul says that thanks to Yeshua, we can approach God without a veil.

Parallel to Exodus 34

John 15:1-11: Face to face with the Vine

If a branch is not productive, the vineyard owner sends out workers to prune away any branches that are sickly or unproductive. When one prunes a branch, it is removed. It can no longer get nutrients, water, etc. When it no longer abides in the vine, it dies. To live, the branch must remain attached to its source. Part of remaining in the vine is wanting to be connected to the vine, wanting to be connected to God and being in His presence. That is our great hope: to know God and be known by Him.

Haftarah: 1st Kings 18:1–39

Eliyahu of YHWH challenges Ahab and Yezebel of Ba’al and Asherah

The clash on Mt. Carmel between Eliyahu (Elijah) and the priests of Ba’al was part of bigger clash between a rebellious king of the northern kingdom, Ahab, and his foreign queen, Yezebel (Jezebel), and her false gods. Among the prophets of the north who Eliyahu saves from the purge of YHWH’s servants was ObidaYah (Obidaiah), possibly the same one who wrote a short book of the Bible.

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