The Exodus Event: Getting Acquainted With God 

Dr. Rubel Shelly at Woodmont Hills: Does Loving God and Man Summarize the Law for us?

Click for the Egyptian background
Click for the Mount Sinai musical idolatry of a trinity
Click for the testimony of Christ in the prophets.

See this review of Shelly for the pattern. The Bible and ancient theologians understand that music was the MARK which so altered the idolaters that the Levites could see whom to slay with the sword.

Getting Acquainted With God (Exodus 19:1-17a)

If you have been following Dr. Rubel Shelly on th Exodus, you might notice that four major events are left out.

First, the crossing of the Red Sea as a type of Baptism. This type has elements of the creation by the wind or Spirit of God, the flood event, the "void and empty" condition of Israel in Jeremiah 4 and Christian baptism. The exodus event is the type but the spiritual reality is now a pattern for Christian practice. Paul said:

MOREOVER, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 1 Cor 10:1

And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 1 Cor 10:2

Second, this is an example of "the gift of the Spirit" following the type of baptism:

And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 1 Cor 10:3

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 1 Cor 10:4

Third, The Miriam event where Moses recited the "song" but Miriam led the women out (escaped) using the Egyptian prophetesses musical instruments and form of dance. This may be the prototypical example of insubordination.

Furthermore, it was prophetic of later attempts to usurp the role of Moses as God's choice for revealing the Word.

Fourth, Dr. Shelly misses the failure through instrumental music in worship.

Paul jumps forward to the worship of Osiris under the "incarnation" of the golden calf. This included instrumental music which always ignores God's words. For this folly, Israel lost the Book of the Covenant and were cursed with the Law of Moses "because of transgression."

But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 1 Cor 10:5

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 1 Cor 10:6

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 1 Cor 10:7

"The triumphal hymn of Moses had unquestionably a religious character about it; but the employment of music in religious services, though idolatrous, is more distinctly marked in the festivities which attended the erection of the golden calf." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Music, p. 589).

Our review will be in black.

Dr. Rubel Shelly: I must have been in the eighth grade. I was the spelling champion for my class and had to represent the group in an all-school spelling bee. It was a terrible experience. I dreaded it for days. Oh, I was cramming and practicing and trying to get all the rules down in my mind. You know the ones I'm talking about: i before e except after c, and so on and so on and so on forever . . . And I didn't sleep well the night before the big event. Then came sweaty palms, butterflies, the works.

Spelling bees are unmerciful. There are no second chances. No matter how many words you've spelled correctly to that point, you only have to miss the next one to be disqualified. Surviving the first or third or seventh round doesn't mean a thing, unless you can step up and get the next word letter-perfect too.

That's the way some people think life works: one mistake, and you're a failure.

Spelling bees are to get you used to living in the real world. While the secular pattern may not fit a spiritual situation, if we use it then everyone knows that living a perfect life for 70 years will not save you if you decide to murder your wife. Total sobriety will count for little when you drink two beers or a glass of wine and go out and murder someone with your auto.

James will show that if you live by the law you will die by the law. For instance, showing partiality would bring the entire weight of the law down upon law keepers. Many of the religious practices in "contemporary" worship are based on the Monarchy period under the kings. Therefore, by this legalism James would say that if you "mispell a word" you deserve to lose.

I am just not sure of advising people that the goodness of God is a priori authority to not insist upon an obedient heart. Paul agreed with James:

> Well; because of unbelief they were broken off,

> and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: Romans 11:20

For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Romans 11:21

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity;

> but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness:

> otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Romans 11:22

And remember that God's laws do not mean that He is like an evil dad or soccer coach which may have plagued some early lives. Rather,

Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. Ex16:4NIIV

Test in Hebrew is:

Naca (h5254) naw-saw'; a prim. root; to test; by impl. to attempt: - adventure, assay, prove, tempt, try.

God provided relief for innocent sin but if you murdered someone with a high hand there was no mercy. And if you deliberately violated a clear commandment of God through Christ through Paul then the word "grace" does not apply to you.

How can we be so tentative about what seems like absolute commands such as that of Baptism given by Christ and defended by everyone for centuries when it may just be God saying: "I will test you to see whether you will walk by faith and obey."

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. Lu.7:30

The Mount Sinai event makes absolutely no sense unless you grasp that Israel was beyond redemption in Egypt. God brought them out to vindicate His own Name which was just getting blackened even among the Egyptians who lived on a higher level than the Hebrews.

God knew that they would violate His commandments and this would prove that the Exodus was not a "paradigm" for Christian community and worship. Rather, it should prove to them that they were being excised from Egyptian society.

Paul refutes Dr. Shelly by saying that the Exodus event is a model of what not to do.

Dr. Rubel Shelly: That's the way some of you were taught to think about religion -- and you were taught it on the authority of the church, the preacher, and the Sunday School teacher. You were left with a view of God from your training that is both wrong and unhealthy:

God has set life up as a continual series of testing situations and is monitoring you so he can condemn you for getting it wrong.

I keep thinking that I didn't live anything like Dr. Shelly's experiences. And one doubts that one religious group is any worse than others in trying to enforce Christian principles. However, we are at a loss to understand where the notion of "one slip and you are out" comes from.

Therefore, rather than upbuilding we seem to detect a bit of anti-sectarianism which needs to "burn down the old" structures before you can, as with the Aztecs, rebuild and relight the fires every 52 years and 52 weeks.

Dr. Rubel Shelly: It doesn't matter how many rounds you've survived so far. It doesn't matter what you've gotten right. If you sin in this setting, you're out. You're condemned. You've fallen from grace and are lost. Why, you might not even know until Judgment Day that you got something wrong back there that you thought was right at the time! You'd be judged lacking and thrown into hell. Just like a school spelling bee, you only have to miss one to be disqualified.

That view of life and faith is a mockery of the truth and a wicked misrepresentation of the nature of God.

It most certainly is and we wonder just who it is being mocked.

The view of hell for sassing the preacher, or for a welfare recipient not tithing or for a 94 year old man for not singing all comes from the preacher. No one in their right mind pays any attention to authority freaks.

We believe that Dr. Shelly is setting up an extreme model of the "old and deleterious" so that our new contemporary system will look better. The issue isn't about heaven or hell it is about establishing an aura of wanting to obey all of God's commands, examples or inferences without respect to how God is gonna be the bad bogy man parent of our childhood. I simply cannot identify with that level of authority from family or seventy years being around churches of Christ.

We suggest that what happened to Israel was based upon their ignorance of the "baptism event" in the Red Sea and the Spiritual food directly from Christ who was the Rock and the Spirit following them (1 Peter 1:11).

By rejecting Christ's view of baptism there is no co-perception and no ability to read the word "as it has been written" without improvizing with horror storys.

The Fear of Yahweh

Dr. Rubel Shelly: After approximately two months of travel, the Israelites who had fled Egypt under Moses came to the vicinity of Mount Sinai. What happened there was crucial for all that follows in biblical history. The people remained there for nearly a year, and fifty-nine chapters of the Pentateuch are devoted to what happened there (cf. Ex. 19:1--Num. 10:11).

What awe must have been felt by the people at the base of that mountain. As Yahweh prepared to reveal his presence to them (i.e., a theophany), the sights and sounds routinely associated with such an event were evident. "On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled" (Ex. 19:16). "When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance . . ." (Ex 20:18).

Now I don't think it is a bad thing for people to be "afraid" and to "tremble" before God. That is, it surely isn't a bad thing for us to know that God is powerful, mighty, and formidable.

At certain stages of childhood, that is about all we understand about our parents.

They are bigger than us, and we can't get by with defying them! More often than not, that's a good lesson to get fixed in a child's mind. "Don't move!" has probably saved millions of children from getting burned, hurt by animals, or running into traffic. As adolescents, we test the limits and want to know why the rules are as they are. Rules are no longer just rules to be obeyed. We want to know why there are any rules at all or why the rules can't be different than they are. So we change some of them -- and eventually realize there was a good reason for things being as they were when we came onto the scene! That final phase is called "maturity" and reflects a time of authentic participation not only in the letter of the law but in its spirit as well.

I'm not so sure Israel ever moved very far out of childhood. The history of that nation has it mired in immature challenges against God's authority. Every law was a challenge. Every prohibition was of something desirable. Every limit had to be tested and every barrier crossed! Doesn't that sound like spiritual childhood to you?

Yahweh never wanted the spirit of the people to be dominated by the sort of fear that can be generated by noise, smoke, and lightning. How can I be sure? After all the sights and sounds, warnings and boundaries, Moses told them so! He told them that the "fear" (i.e., awe, reverence) God wanted from them was not the "fear" (i.e., terror, nightmare-causing horror) they were feeling at that moment. Just read the full paragraph from which I lifted the opening verse earlier:

When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die." Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin." Then the people stood at a distance, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was (Ex. 20:18-21).

Did you catch it? Moses first said, "Do not be afraid." Then he went on to say that Yahweh "has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin." What? "He didn't come and manifest himself in this scary-to-us theophany to make us wet our pants, cringe, and dread him!"

He did exactly that--for those who would deny Him the power as Son to communicate more than a "core" gospel. When you accuse the apostles of being confused interpreters of the Word to confused churches you do need to fear. God even as Jesus is not "meek and mild" but a Lamb Who carries a Rod of Iron.

The event was not all that overpowering to sincere people. However, the Israelites who were evil and were being excised from Egypt to protect God's own Name, did not and would never want to hear the true meaning of God. They needed to have it filtered through a preacher. Back up and see what probably truly frightened them:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbours. Exod 20:17

The thundering and lightening and the noise of the trumpet was not an "act of worship" but went with the warning against doing what people ordinary did.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. Exod 20:18

And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear:

but let not God speak with us, lest we die. Exod 20:19

These people were not in tune with The Book of the Covenant which demanded personal righteousness the violation of which could not be forgiven by trying to seduce God with wine, women and song in a very short time. Consistent with many other examples, their "rising up to play" in song and music always said: "We will not listen to God."

Dr. Rubel Shelly: Moses said. "No, he has revealed himself as the All-Powerful God here so we could sense his presence, so you could know that I am not misleading you but acting for him, and so we would band together to trust and follow him in this wilderness time."

And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. Exodus 20:20KJV

"Don't be afraid," Moses told them, "for God has come in this way to show you his awesome power, so that from now on you will be afraid to sin against him!" Exodus 20:20LIV

God had just rescued them through the Red Sea event. Did they really need a lot of noise to convince them that God was their Leader? This is not respect but fear. You don't try to impress a criminal that you are the good guy worthy of being honored. When one has fatally violated God's will they need fear to prevent further damage but this had nothing to do with saving their souls:

Yare (h3372) yaw-ray'; a prim. root; to fear; mor. to revere; caus. to frighten: - affright, be (make) afraid, dread (- ful), (put in) fear (- ful, -fully, -ing), (be had in) reverence (-end), * see, terrible (act, - ness, thing).

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. Ge.3:10

And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Ex.2:14

And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. Ex.34:10

Dr. Rubel Shelly: In his commentary on these verses, John Durham suggests translating the word rendered "test" in v.20 with "experience" or "see" -- a less common but permissible way to read the verb (Heb, nsh) in the original text here.

The use of "you must not be afraid" followed by "in order that there might be reverence (fear) of him before your face" is a deft touch of didactic narrative. Yahweh/Elohim comes to Israel at Sinai to give them so vivid and unforgettable an experience of himself, including his own statement of the principles for live in relationship with him,

that they will not only not forget but will follow his way as a first priority of life.[1]

But, they did: they rose up in musical idolatry and God abandoned them to worship the starry host.

The word is:

Naca (h5254) naw-saw'; a prim. root; to test; by impl. to attempt: - adventure, assay, prove, tempt, try.

It is rarely interpreted to indicate that God was just giving Israel a "visual aid" in the hopes that seeing His might they would so love Him that they would just naturally obey Him.

Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. Ex.16:4KJV

Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. Exod 16:4NIV

This does not sound like God thought that He had so impressed them with the noise so common to pagan worship that they would just naturally obey Him No. God knew what they would do but He needed to show and prove to the Israelites that they were not so superior that God rescued them because of their own goodnes. This was the Jewish belief in predestination as Paul confirms in Romans 9-11.

While Israel seemed lost and beyond redemption even in Egypt, God never left them without excuse. Therefore, He brought them out. Later, when they committed their sin of idolatry, God sentenced them to captivity and death. However, He always left a out: if you don't begin to honor me you will be captured and die. Even later, the most fatal sin was demanding a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations. Still, God left them room to repent. Nevertheless, the sentence for their sin in Egypt would finally be carried out. Then, we cannot look back and say that God never gave them a chance. Grace is a second chance.

Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord? Ex.17:2

Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. De.6:16

Paul interprets this event as people who were blind and deaf and just didn't want to hear the Book of the Covenant:

And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 2 Cor 3:13

But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 2 Cor 3:14

But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 2 Cor 3:15

They were not "afraid" because they removed themselves from God's presence and closed their ears. When you do not love the truth God sends strong delusions through strong deluders.

So, it is truly stretching it to say that God acted as a role model whom He prayed they would imitate. No. He is the Infinite God of the universe. He blinded Israel at Mount Sinai and they trusted His grace rather than obey His will. This is why, then and now, it is not possible to read Moses without having rose colored glasses over these events and thereby incarnate them as unlimited forgiveness for unlimited sins.

Even today, people are blind but:

Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 2 Cor 3:16

Alexander Campbell:

Seeing God as a "good ole boy" who is just an image on PowerPoint to nudge us toward confirming to His will is motivated by the God-like ecumenical urge to fellowship others. Some even appeal to the Campbells:

However, after personally denouncing "open membership" or an ecumenical movement with denominations Alexander Campbell based the impossiblity of fellowship upon the folloing among other facts.

"After speaking then of the corruptions of Christianity in the perversion of the ordinances of baptism, the Lord's Supper, the Lord's day, preaching, etc.,

he inquires if it is not probable that the ordinances of prayer and praise have likewise been perverted.

"How many disciples of Moses," he exclaims, "are yet to be found in the professed school of Jesus Christ!

and how few among the teachers of the New Testament seem to know that Christ's ministers are not able ministers of the Old Testament, but of the New!

Do they not, like scholars to their teacher, run to Moses to prove forms of worship, ordinances. discipline, and government in the Christian Church, when asked to account for their practice?

On this subject, I think we may rest satisfied, that since the great Prophet has come, whom to refuse or disobey is death, who is a faithful son over his own house, that all worship and forms of worship, ordinances, discipline, and government

belonging to the Christian Church, must be learned exclusively from the New Testament.

And every appeal made to Moses or the prophets to confirm any form of worship, ordinance, or any part of Christian discipline or government

is sending Christ the Son to Moses the servant to be instructed.

It is a perverse impeachment of the wisdom, goodness and care of the Church's head."

Not Law but the Law-Giver

Rubel Shelly: We sometimes get to this section of Holy Scripture only to read the Ten Commandments and to remind ourselves how terrible the world has become by ignoring them. From there, it is a very short step to sounding a stern warning about the terrible punishment that awaits the people who have chosen to live in defiance of God. Are all these things true? Indeed. But is that the point of this part of Exodus?

The Ten Commandments were not the basis of Israel's covenant with Yahweh nor the intended focus for its life in community. The point was never the Law but the Law- Giver. Before listing the "must-dos" for the Israelite community, there was a recitation of the "already-done" by Yahweh. Thus the Ten Words affirm the inseparable relationship of law to grace within biblical religion. From beginning to end, grace is both the background and platform for law.

If this means that God issued the ten commandments to be the perpetual rule but put a personal relationship ahead of the laws then this is a grave mistake. Why? Why, because the ten commandments were intended to govern a covenant of grace. When Israel sinned at Mount Sinai and lost the covenant of Grace, the ten commandments were to govern a people who had deliberately abandoned a covenant walk with God. How did they lose the covenant of grace?

It happened this way:

The Abrahamic Covenant was still in effect prior to Mount Sinai. Abraham was not honored because he had an intimate relationship with God or practiced the religion of faith-only. Rather, God told Isaac the basis of the Covenant:

And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Gen 26:4

Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. Gen 26:5

Whatever God commanded Abraham was a commandment and Abraham's faith existed only because Abraham didn't try to do away with the "commands, examples and inferences" based on his intimate trust in God.

In Egypt, Israel worshiped idols which included the musical worship of various Egyptian deities (Eze 20:7). They were told to "throw away" the old abominations. They had a history which said that the gods lived in the musical instruments. When you played, you seduced the demons into speaking to you through "lifeless instruments."

Israel refused to repent and obey Yahweh. As a result, they were insulting the name of Yahweh. Therefore, His first impulse was to destroy them totally in Egypt. There was nothing in Israel worth saving (Eze 20:8).

Only to protect His Name, God brought them out into the wilderness to keep the Egyptians from making fun of Him. This was a covenant of grace.

God first gave Moses the ten words or commandments. After swearing to keep the oral (written on the heart) form of the Book of the Covenant--a renewal of the Abrahamic Covenant--the Israelites, perhaps under the influence of the mixed multitude escaping from Egypt with them, grew impatient for Moses to come down from Mount Sinai with the written code of about 70 laws. These laws were good and could be kept. They put the ten commandments into practical forms. That is, they were enabling legislation. (Eze 20:11).

That Book of the Covenant was conditional and not based on "good intentions."

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine: Exodus 19:5

And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Exodus 19:6

And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. Exodus 19:7

And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. Exodus 19:8

However, after repudiating the covenant, God gave them the Law of Moses.

Theodoret claimed that the Jews brought liturgical music from Egypt and Philo wrote that "Moses learned rhythm, harmony, meter and everything concerned with instrumental music from the Egyptians." This is why Moses knew that the noise at Mount Sinai was not the sound of defeat or of victory. Rather, it was the "sound of them singing that I hear."

"The Jews sang in the type of the Egyptian threnodies (elegies for the dead):

"Thus they made a golden bull (the golden calf), the image of an animal that was held to be the most sacred in that land; they offered unholy sacrifices, performed impious dances and sang hymns which differed in no way from the pagan mourning songs. Philo, De specialibus legibus

"This reference probably indicates the use of songs from the cult of Osiris... it can hardly be denied that Egyptian influence on Jewish musical practices was quite significant. This would stand to reason because of the high quality of Egyptian cultic music.

The tambourine or timbrel, a hoop of bells over which a white skin was stretched, came from Egypt. Miriam used this instrument to accompany the singing and dancing on the shores of the Red Sea (Ex. 15).

"The trumpet... was the signaling instrument of the Egyptian army. The name of the Sistrum (2 Sam 6:5) was mena'ane'im. It was the Egyptian kemken used in the cult of Isis.

The music during the transferring the Ark to Sion

and the dances of the women at the Shiloh (Judges 21:21), were similar to the Egyptian liturgy and parades.

"As Herodotus reports, women sang the praises of Osiris while liknesses of the gods were born about and, during the festival of Diana at Bubastis,

"The Egyptians do not hold a single solemn assembly, but several in the course of the year. Of these the chief, which is better attended than any other, is held at the city of Bubastis in honour of Diana. The next in importance is that which takes place at Busiris, a city situated in the very middle of the Delta; it is in honour of Isis, who is called in the Greek tongue Demiter (Ceres). There is a third great festival in Sais to Minerva, a fourth in Heliopolis to the Sun, a fifth in Buto to Latona, and a sixth in Papremis to Mars.

"The triumphal hymn of Moses had unquestionably a religious character about it; but the employment of music in religious services, though idolatrous, is more distinctly marked in the festivities which attended the erection of the golden calf." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Music, p. 589).

Rubel Shelly: Obedience to law is not the basis of redemption. To the contrary, deliverance was by love and mercy rooted in the covenant with Abraham and expanded now in these covenant provisions for his descendants.

The chronology of events cannot be debated:

the good news of rescue from slavery came prior to the law.

First: God had promised deliverance to Israel but when it came time, His better judgment was to leave them in Egypt to be destroyed. Why? Why, because under the Abrhamic covenant there were commands to be kept in order to be "justified by faith." Paul told the Jews where they had gone astray:

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts. 1Co.7:19

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Ga.5:6

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Ga.6:15

Second: Faith-only didn't work because God told Moses to quit crying out to him, raise his hand and march through the red Sea.

Third: They were baptized unto Moses in the Red Sea. This was obeying a commandment. If they had not gone through the Red Sea in "baptism" they would have been destroyed or returned to the "world" in Egypt and slavery.

Fourth: They received "the gift of the Spirit" only on the saved side of the Red Sea. This was post keeping God's commandments.

Fifth: The Law of Moses was to regulate lawless men. It had no intention of ever having any kind of saving power except saving one from the death penalty if they murdered.

Sixth: The gospel command for faith, repentance and baptism as confession is not based on the Law of Moses, the Law of self-righteousness or any other kind of law.

Conclusion: The promise of salvation has been paid for and given to everyone. However, not everyone is saved prior to obeying the commands of Christ. One who isn't anxious to do whatever God even hints at just does not have the love to be a Covenant Keeper and God puts them back under law. A sure sign of this lostness is the restoration of the priesthood, sacrificial offerings through music and a keen lust to restore Sabbath worship.

Some More Missing Ingredients:

Dr. Shelly missed baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Next, he has just plain skipped the Covenant Breaking musical ceremony at Mount Sinai. Because of this musical idolatry, Moses broke the ten commandment tablets which went along with The Book of The Covenant.

God gave a second set of "ten words" which are unlike the first which were broken, broken, broken and would never be restored as part of a Covenant of Grace. The second law was in addition to the Book of the Covenant:

These are the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb. Deut 29:1

No literate Bible student would suggest that obedience to the Law of Moses would save people any more than not spitting on the Mayflower would make you more spiritual.

National Worship To Protect The People

The new commandments helped insulate Israel from death and destruction in Canaan. The tenets were 613 "thou shalt" rules which absolutely had to be kept to prevent death because Israel had forfeited a close encounter of the God kind.

The Covenant Dr. Shelly speaks about was lost and The Book of the Law took its place.

Therefore the Good News or "gospel" was thrown away by the musical worship of Osiris. Then, came the Law of Moses.

Rubel Shelly: Neither can the theology of biblical faith be argued: the Good News of deliverance comes before our duties to or performance under law.

Gospel before demand,

grace before law,

God's good deed in Christ before human good deeds for Christ -- the order is fixed and constant.

Hearing the Gospel confirms in the human heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And that He is God Incarnate with the authority to dispense His Grace any way He wishes.

After one accepts that gospel by faith, the next question is "what do I do now?" Jesus said that preaching the gospel would call for this question and believers could be baptized and their sins would be remitted: something never possible under the Law.

Therefore, believing in Christ opens the door so that we can be "in" or in connection with the purchase of remission. The way to get "in" demands obeying a very specific command: no obedience, no grace.

Christ still died for your sins but if you deny that He has the right to command you about how to accept His grace then you have "rejected the counself of God for your life" and there the door to the "throne room" remains closed. This was the failure at Mount Sinai.

Gospel is like The Book of the Covenant. If we, like Corinth, turn to musical, charismatic rituals to replace worship "in spirit" or in the mind we just become a "laughing stock" and god never allows us to shake the priestcraft and advance to eating "meat."

When one accepts the "gospel" it demands baptism. Only then do we become "co-percerviers" or have a clear conscience and are able to advance beyond the tit to eating Christ's doctrine which is "steak." Baptism is not keep a law but accepting God's Grace.

Gospel is demand. The demand is that you must comprehend the meaning of God abandoning His majesty and glory and taking on the form of the servant. If you are still engaged in performance preaching or music then you have not taken off humanity and, by nature, defend Moses more than Christ.

Paul finally resolved "to preach only Christ and Him crucified" to the Corinthians simply because they were still carnal. Therefore, he fed them milk but they never got adult enough to eat the meat of the Doctrines of Christ.

If you are just preaching the core gospel you are insulting your audience.

Rubel Shelly: Thus the beautiful "Eagles' Wing Speech" that begins this narrative:

Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites" (Ex. 19:3-6).

And thus the immediate prologue to the Ten Commandments: "Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery . . ." (Ex. 20:1-2).

But! But, they did not obey God's voice nor keep His Book of the Covenant which was a covenant of grace with no priesthood.

In the Christian fulfillment of the type, the evangelist (not located very long) goes and tells the people: "You see what I did to the Jews and How I died to pay the price for the remission of sins. Now, therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant you shall be my treasured people."

Just because God bestowed His Grace this did not mean that the people were His chosen people. Until and unless people obey the New Covenant their bodies will be left in the "wilderness."

Rubel Shelly: If the experience of God and our salvation through his grace lingers with us, what could be more natural than to give him our exclusive allegiance, to honor his name, and to worship him? But those are commandments one through four! And if the experience of God in community is real and authentic, will we not treat one another with respect? So what place would there be for theft, lies, broken promises, or ill-will toward one another? But those are simply the final six commandments!

The example has been missed. The people experienced God but their salvation was not based on grace-only but by obedience in a type of baptism. Then, they were not "once saved always saved" when they refused to obey the "doctrines" of the Covenant relationship of grace.

The people were never so pure that they would, by nature, keep the commandments they had flung themselvs from. However, because there was no salvation based on the laws, the people did not steal because there was a penalty and they were afraid to steal.

Somehow contrasting God's grace to God's Law must, based on past sermons, mean that God's Grace is contrasted with keeping God's Spiritual laws.

But! We have already said that these tablets were broken, busted and therefore abrogated. Moses would have to make his own second set of tablets which were not the same as the Tablets of the Covenant.

Specificially because of their musical worship of Osiris the Israelites lost the Abrahamic Covenant. Fittingly, when Paul defines the promise of the Spirit or the promise made by the Spirit Christ (1 Peter 1:11) as including baptism to get "into" Christ, he leapfrogged all of the Monarchy, all of the ten commandments and all of the exodus period. He appealed to the covenant made with Abraham.

> Those living in relationship with Abrahamic covenant would not get over the effects of sin without obeying God in a form of baptism. Neither can we bypass the Law period without obeying in baptism and being willing to listen to the Word of God.

> In the same way, however, we break that covenant when we adopt the musical worship of paganism or when we appeal to the Law of Moses for our creed. As a result, God puts us back under legalism to regulate the lawless

> Under the Law Levites were made into "clergy" like flaming cherubim to keep the Israelites away from the Tabernacle, today clergy and teams use the Monarchy period as proof-text. Levitical musicians, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, being restored is evidence of a new form of legalism.

> All but the clergy were strangers and could never come boldly before the throne of Grace under the Old Testament of Law.

"A stranger," that is, one, neither a priest nor a Levite, who should intrude into any departments of the sacred office, should incur the penalty of death. ROBERT JAMIESON

As a priestly class outlawed in the Idealized Temple, the Levites were the Musical Worship Teams to be mediators and to keep the people away from the temple. See how Josephus defines the restoration of the Levitical singers and a Seeker-Center.

Based on Alexander Campbell's test of fellowship, musical worship teams based on the Law of animal sacrifices would honor David more than either Moses or Christ. Therefore, he would not be able to meet with you as the Team keeps the "strangers" safe away from God's presence.

No wonder Jesus could summarize all the Law and the Prophets with only two commandments:

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees,

Now, Jesus didn't "summarize" the law and prophets with only two commandments. Jesus was preaching Christian Doctrines and not two commandments. The Saducees especially had grand religious festivals and controlled the temple which had nothing to do with worship in Spirit. Therefore, in response to a hypocritical question Jesus was defining the foundation upon which the Old Covenant was built:

Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. Matthew 22:29

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, Matthew 22:31

I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Matthew 22:32

And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine. Matthew 22:33

Therefore, Jesus was not defending the Law of Moses "added because of transgression" but of the Abrahamic Covenant which still demanded obedience as the test of faith. The Sadducee clergy whom Jesus would fire had little luck so the Pharisees whom Jesus would also fire conspired:

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. Matthew 22:34

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: Matthew 22:35

In refuting Joe Beam's use of the Hand Washing event, as does Dr. Rubel Shelly, to try to silence those deemed "Sectarian," we noted that these people were defined by two broad terms applied specifically to the book peddlers:

First, they were professionals even taking widow's homes to support their self-appointed "offices."

Second, they had the ability to improvize on the Law of God and make it meet the needs of the Post-Denominational world.

Jesus specificially condemned them because they ignored God's Laws just so they could enforce their own laws. Jesus still condemned this as proof that they had no grace relationship with the Father.

Rubel Shelly: they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "

> 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment.

> And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matt. 22:34-40).

The Scribes were the "book writing" sector of the false clergy consisting of Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes. Therefore, this is not a "new covenant consisting of two commandments," but it was condemning the Jewish clergy who:

> Did not love the Lord their God with all of their heart.

> They did not love their neighbors as themselves or they would not take money for long sermons.

And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Mk 12:39

Which devour widows houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. Mk.12:40

Ancient Pharisees and Scribes are condemned because they did not honor the "peg." However, if they had done so, Jesus would not give them authority to ignore the rest of the commandments which were giving for man's benefit and not his enslavement. Fear of obedience is still the enslavement under the bondage of the Law to which many yearn to return.

In showing the original meaning of faith as related to baptism, Clement of Alexandria also observed:

In Chapter XIII.-Virtue Rational, Sin Irrational, Clement notes:

Obedience is founded on commands.

For the life of Christians, in which we are now trained, is a system of reasonable actions-that is, of those things taught by the Word-an unfailing energy which we have called faith.

The system is the commandments of the Lord,

which, being divine statues and spiritual counsels, have been written for ourselves, being adapted for ourselves and our neighbours.

Moreover, they turn back on us, as the ball rebounds on him that throws it by the repercussion.

Whence also duties are essential for divine discipline, as being enjoined by God, and furnished for our salvation.

And since, of those things which are necessary, some relate only to life here, and others, which relate to the blessed life yonder, wing us for flight hence; so, in an analogous manner, of duties, some are ordained with reference to life, others for the blessed life.

The commandments issued with respect to natural life are published to the multitude;

but those that are suited for living well, and from which eternal life springs, we have to consider, as in a sketch, as we read them out of the Scriptures.

Therefore, rebellion against the idea that God gives laws to enable His grace should be put away when we become full-grown believers.

Now, Jesus didn't say: "If you love God and fellow man then you can forget all of the law. Rather, personal righteousness and social justice are the key "pegs" upon which the rest of the Law and Prophets hang. Hang does not mean summarize but:

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Mt.18:6

The living bible says:

All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them.

Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others." Matthew 22:40

The Abrhamic Covenant Under The Law

The Law of Moses was not to establish community and worship for the Jews. Rather, it was to protect the people from Canaanite Baalism which was quite identical to their worship in Egypt and their musical idolatry at Mount Sinai.

Chrystom notes of the curse of the Law:

What wonder that ye know not Christ, seeing ye knew not Moses, and God Who was manifested by such wonders? But they not only knew Him not:

they also insulted in another way, by their idol making.

"Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven" (v. 42.)

Hence these same "customs" date their origin, hence the sacrifices:

they were themselves the first that made sacrifices to their idols! For that is why it is marked,

Note: The meaning is: Stephen was accused of speaking against "the customs,"-sacrifices, temple, feasts, etc. Therefore he significantly points to that critical conjuncture. from which these "customs" date their introduction: namely, the Provocation at Horeb.

Prior to that, he tells of "living oracles," life-giving precepts:
after it
, and as its consequence, sacrifices, etc.,

those statutes which were not good, and ordinances by which a man shall not live, as God says by Ezekiel.

Not a word of sacrifice till then: and the first mention is, of the sacrifices offered to the calf. In like manner, "they rejoiced," "the people ate and drank, and rose up to play:" and in consequence of this, the feasts were prescribed: kai eufrainonto, fhsin: dia touto kai eortai.-'Epishmainetai might be rendered, "he marks," "puts a mark upon it" (so the innovator, who substitutes, touto kai Dauid epishmainomenoj legei): we take it passively, "there is a mark set over it-it is emphatically denoted."

The people were excluded from the animal sacrifices to which music made a loud, crashing sound. The common people worshiped out in their communities by keeping the law and practicing social justice. When the elders fired God and demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations. If non-military age males or women were incidentially at the temple, when the "music" sounded the gates were closed and they were put "outside the camp."

An in all temple-states, the common people were not involved in the temple worship rituals:

"Each of the important deities had, in one or more of the Babylonian cities, a large temple in which he or she was worshiped. Temple services were generally conducted in open courts containing fountains for ablution and altars for sacrifices.

Only the high priest and other privileged members of the clergy and court were permitted to enter the cella, or inner part of the temple,

which held the special statue of the deity. The needs of the deity were provided for in accordance with impressive ceremonies carried out by a vast institutionalized clergy that included

priests, musicians, magicians, soothsayers, dream interpreters, astrologers, and hierodules (temple slaves or prostitutes). Sacrifices of food, drink, or incense were offered daily. Numerous festivals were held, the most important of which was the celebration of the new year at the spring equinox. [Encarta Encyclopedia]

In the Female realm honoring Eve, Mary, Sophia Zoe:

"Asherah: She is the Queen of Heaven, in other languages and ages identified as Ashtoreth, Athirat, Astarte, and Ishtar. Yahweh, the Hebrew God elevated to become the sole deity , was Her consort.

Her "male" priestesses were known as kelabim, the faithful "dogs" of the Goddess, who practiced divinatory arts, danced in processions, and served as hierodules (prostitutes or concubines), qedeshim, in the company of other priestesses.

Elements of the goddess worship were largely erased in a cultural purge c. 630 BCE by King Josiah, at the behest of Yahweh's priests, who required supremacy."

What is rarely translated as "synagogue" always existed. This was not for "worship" in the usual ritual sense but was a school as the early church was school and not a pagan worship center.

Even at the time of Christ it is believed that no more than ten or twelve thousand "professionals" stalked the people's money at the temple. Others honored God in their own communities and the place of education was the synagogue. That place never had a "praise service" and no musical instruments which have a rationale only in connection with the animal sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem.

Smith defines music as worship as idolatry and the Jews knew that it had no place outside of the temple, in Jerusalem and in connection with animal sacrifices. Therefore, a key lesson of the Exodus event is totally lost on those who restore the Law by restoring legalistic music.


Rubel Shelly: The particulars of the Ten Commandments and similar texts in the Bible reflect the divine ideals for those who are living in covenant relationship with God and in community with each other. They mark both the noblest things toward which we should aspire and the most destructive behaviors we should avoid. Ultimately, however, they boldly underscore our inability to live up to the ideal -- either of God or self-expectation -- and point us to Christ for his redeeming grace.

But, we have noted that the Covenant reflected the pre-Mosaic period. That period had no priesthood, sacrifices were voluntary, there was no colleciton plate, there were no "preachers" but only teachers to "bless the nations" and there was absolutely no ritualistic worship with musical instruments. In fact, God had commanded Abraham to leave Ur which was the seat of a great "tower of Babel."

Look at the Worship Outlawed For Abraham Who Kept Laws But Which Made His Faith Count

"The rectangular central shrine of the temple, known as a 'cella,' had a brick altar or offering table in front of a statue of the temple's deity. The cella was lined on its long ends by many rooms for priests and priestesses. These mud-brick buildings were decorated with cone geometrical mosaics, and the occasional fresco with human and animal figures. These temple complexes eventually evolved into towering ziggurats.

"The temple was staffed by priests, priestesses, musicians, singers, castrates and hierodules (Temple Prostitutes). Various public rituals, food sacrifices, and libations took place there on a daily basis. There were monthly feasts and annual, New Year celebrations. During the later, the king would be married to Inanna as the resurrected fertility god Dumuzi..." [Tammuz/Inanna or Ishtar were worshiped by the women at the temple in Jerusalem.]

Asherah: Queen of Heaven, Ashtoreth, Athirat, Astarte, and Ishtar. Her "male" priestesses were known as kelabim, the faithful "dogs" of the Goddess, who practiced divinatory arts, danced in processions, and served as hierodules, qedeshim, in the company of other priestesses. Goddess worship were largely erased in a cultural purge c. 630 BCE by King Josiah.

"there may have been large numbers of eunuchs, as well as temple slaves. Merlin Stone believes that "sacred women" celebrated their sexuality and fertility by making love in Eanna in Inanna's name. This seems to be supported as that H.R. Hays says that there were temple prostitutes associated with Inanna, which is not too out of line as that she is supposed to be the goddess of prostitutes." (Interpreter's Dict of the Bible, Music, p. 461).

Inanna or Ishtar is the Zoe or Eve-Zoe or Sophia-Zoe "female instructing principle" and had male "musical teams" and was known as the beast. Solomon also had his male and female musicians which can also be translated "concubines."

Rubel Shelly: No, biblical religion is not a spelling bee where one false move banishes you. It is not based on fear of punishment. It is more like a soccer game where you keep getting jostled or knocked down, sometimes fumble or get scored on, and depend on the rest of your team just to keep you in the game. Then, at the end, even if you are dirty and drained from the experience, the coach will put his arm around you, congratulate you on your good plays while seeming to forget the broken ones, and say, "Let's go, my child. The table is set. It will be good to be home after what we've just been through."

Ritualistic or celebrative religion is based solely on the same kind of fear. The fear was defined by the "burden laded" on the back of the people as "pack animals" by the Jewish clergy. This is defined as "spiritual anxiety created by religious ritual." If you quite creating this anxiety and selling it as spiritual worship then the seekers will go home and the faithful few will have a great burden taken off their backs.

It begins with the creation of endorphins to cure the pain of anxiety created by harmonic singing calculated and honed over the years to create the most powerful "spiritual" effect. However, when the endorphins wear out you will know that you have become addicted to a morphine-like drug and need to return for bigger and bigger fixes. Jesus came to eleminate the whole rotten mess.

The message of such sermons is: "If you don't attend here but attend one of those old sectarian groups" then we are going to fix you with a psychological "implant" which will turn around like a sharp stone if you even think about returning to them.

"The next time someone is late for a meeting, and especially if they are habitually late, it may be that they are not so much disorganized as addicted to the stimulation that is provided when trying to rush for an appointment. Researchers suspect that the produced excitement, even though negative, can become an addictive stimulant."

We submit that if one deliberately breaks all of the rules depending on the good graces of the "coach" we are going to find ourselves kicked out of the game. And, we repeat, the grace centered cult of today seems to suggest that "we know we gonna bust some rules about worship but then the grace of God will judge us on our goal-kicking aspirations."

If you become innovative, progressive or improvising in the rules of the coach and the game then this sermon is going to get you into a heap of trouble.

Why? Why, because it ignores why God brought Israel out of Egypt, how they broke the "marriage vows" before the "certificate" could be written, how they fell back into the old Egyptian rules of "wine and musical soccer," and lost those ten commandments which were gone with the wind at the foot of Mount Sinai.

Law is for the lawless and is not intended to save. However, if you are going to give people the liberty of breaking the rules of spelling, soceer or "Godcraft" then the message of the Exodus event has been lost along with the component of baptism before they gained security from sin.

The whole, massive "program-driving" cult of today's church belies the belief in grace and religion expressed in living right and treating others right.


[1] John I. Durham, Exodus (Waco, TX: Word Books, Publisher, 1987), p. 304.


Rubel Shelly Sermon Reviews

Home Page

 9.28.09  1000