Chapter XII: Moses in the Dispensation for Restoration|
I. GOD USES A MODEL COURSE IN HIS DISPENSATION
The Reason for Establishing the Model Course
The purpose of the Dispensation for Restoration is ultimately accomplished when man fulfills his responsibility and thus obtains Satan's voluntary submission and has dominion over him. However, Satan did not obey or submit to God, and later he would not obey or submit to Jesus, who would come as a First Ancestor and a True parent. Certainly he would not submit to anyone else. Being man's creator, God therefore assumed the responsibility to make Satan submit.
God established Jacob as the representative through whom he would show the model course for subjugating Satan. This sheds light on the meaning of Amos 3:7, which says, "Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets." There is far more to the entire course by which Jacob led Esau to submit than Jacob's individual efforts. It is the model course worked by God, through Jacob, to show the way to gain the voluntary submission of Satan, working through Esau.
Jacob's course for subjugating Satan is the pattern that Moses followed on the national level. Jesus, the Messiah, came to teach all of mankind how to elicit Satan's voluntary submission; as man's True Father, or First Ancestor, the Messiah has to pioneer the course that will be the pattern for all mankind to follow in substantially subjugating Satan. Jesus himself substantially subjugated Satan by following the model course that God had already shown through Jacob and Moses. In the same manner, any person can make Satan submit by following the course of Jesus. Acts 3:22 tells us that Moses said, "'... The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.'"
This is a reference to the coming Messiah (Jesus), who was to follow Moses' course. In John 5:19 Jesus said that he was following the pattern that God had shown through Moses' model course: "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the son does likewise.'" Moses was the model that Jesus followed.
From an external viewpoint, it may seem that Jacob was merely the head of a family in a tribal age, whereas Moses was the leader of the Israelite nation, and Jesus was the Messiah. Yet, these three men did follow similar patterns in their life courses because God had set up a model course in his dispensation.
II. MOSES' AND JESUS' COURSES FOLLOWED THE PATTERN OF JACOB'S COURSE
As already stated, Jacob's course was a course to elicit Satan's submission. Any course for subjugating Satan must follow the path which is the reverse of the one by which Satan gained his wrongful dominion. Let us compare the courses that Moses and Jesus took with the model course of Jacob.
A. When Adam and Eve did not keep God's commandment and did not overcome the trials of temptation from the archangel, they fell. At the ford of the Jabbok, Jacob fought an angel at the risk of his life and gained the victory over him, then receiving the name of Israel (Gen 32:25-28). God tested Jacob by placing the angel in the position of Satan, and consequently the victory in that struggle indemnified the trials which Adam and Eve had failed to pass. The purpose of the trial was not to drive Jacob into misery but to establish Jacob as the person who could complete restoration on the family level by having him restore dominion over the angel.
In order for Moses to become the person who could complete the national restoration of Canaan, he also had to overcome a trial at the risk of his life, a trial in which God tried to have him killed (Ex 4:24-26). In order for Jesus to become the person who could complete the worldwide restoration of Canaan and lead all mankind to the Kingdom of Heaven, he also had to win a fight against Satan at the risk of his life. He did this through his 40 days in the wilderness (Mt 4:1-11).
B. The Fallen Nature was formed because of the spiritual and physical falls. Jacob and Moses had to meet certain conditions in order to eliminate symbolically the Fallen Nature. In buying the birthright from Esau, Jacob used bread and lentil pottage (Gen 25:34) to initiate the course of indemnity for the Foundation of Substance, the bread and pottage symbolizing the fresh and the spirit. In order to initiate the course for the Foundation of Substance in his course, Moses gave the Israelites manna and quail, the manna and quail again symbolizing the fresh and the spirit. John 6:49-53 shows that Jesus followed this model course: "'Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. ... [U]nless you eat the fresh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. ...'" In the worldwide course of restoration, fallen man can meet the Indemnity Condition to Remove the Fallen Nature only by believing absolutely in Jesus and living as he instructed (Jn 3:16, Mt 28:19,20).
C. Because of the Fall, even man's dead body belongs to Satan. However, because Jacob was already blessed and sanctified, when his body was embalmed for 40 days and he was mourned (Gen 50:2,3), the condition for his dead body to be separated from Satan was also met. Since Moses followed Jacob's model course, on the foundation of his merits he also met the condition for his body to be separated from Satan. Thus, the archangel fought with Satan for Moses' body (Jude 1:9). Accordingly, after Jesus' death there were also unusual phenomena that occurred concerning his body (Mt 28:12,13).
D. Because of the Fall of the first human ancestors (during their growth period), Satan gained wrongful dominion over man. To indemnify this, God designed conditions based on the numbers that represent the length of the invaded period. Thus, in the process of restoration through indemnity, God has worked his dispensation by having man meet the numerical conditions that represent that period.
For example, when Jacob returned from Haran to Canaan, there was a three-day period of separation from Satan (Gen 31:22), that period being the period necessary to initiate a new dispensation. There was a three-day period of the same kind when Moses initiated the course to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into Canaan (Ex 5:3). Also, Jesus spent three days in the tomb (Lk 18:33) to separate from Satan before beginning his world-wide course of the spiritual restoration of Canaan.
Jacob had 12 sons in order to restore in his lifetime (horizontally) the vertical indemnity conditions of the 12 generations from Noah to his time, which had ended up being claimed by Satan. For the same reason, there were 12 tribes under Moses (Ex 24:4), and Jesus had 12 apostles (Mt 10:1).
Satan's wrongful control of the seven-day period of creation was indemnified by Jacob having 70 family members (Gen 46:27), by Moses having 70 elders (Ex 24:1), and by Jesus having 70 disciples (Lk 10:1), each group taking the central role in its respective course of restoration.
E. The staff, which is capable of smiting injustice, pointing out the way, and providing support, is a symbol of God's Word, and thus a symbol of the Messiah to come. Jacob entered the land of Canaan leaning on his staff as he crossed the Jordan (Gen 32:10), and Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea with his staff (Ex 14:16), This foreshadows fallen mankind's crossing from the sinful world into the ideal world led by the Messiah and depending on the Messiah, who smites injustice. Jesus, who smites injustice as the "rod of iron" (Rev 2:27 12:5), had to lead all mankind from the world of suffering across the troubled sea of this world into the ideal world.
F. Eve's sin was the root of sin, which bore fruit when Cain killed Abel. Thus, Satan invaded man and produced the fruit of sin through a mother and son. According to the principle of restoration through indemnity, a mother and son should reverse this course by mutually cooperating to bring about separation from Satan. Thus, it was by his mother's initiative and through her cooperation that Jacob received the blessing and was able to meet the condition for separating from Satan (Gen 27:43). Through the cooperation of his mother, Moses came to be in a position to fulfill God's will (Ex 2:2). Jesus also was helped by his mother in fulfilling his mission (Mt 2:13).
G. The central person in the Dispensation for Restoration must follow a course of restoration that leads from the satanic world to the heavenly world. Jacob walked the course of restoration from Haran to Canaan (Gen 31-33), and Moses walked the course from Egypt to Canaan (Ex 3:8). Jesus also offered his whole life to transform the satanic world into the ideal world.
H. The final goal of the Dispensation for Restoration is to completely demolish Satan. Therefore, Jacob buried idols representing Satan under an oak tree (Gen, 35:4), Moses destroyed the idol of the golden calf (Ex 32:20), and Jesus, through his words and power, was to annihilate the sinful world and gain Satan's surrender.
III. THE DISPENSATION FOR RESTORATION CENTERED ON MOSES
A. Overview of the Dispensation
The principle of the Dispensation for Restoration was the same in Moses' time as in the previous dispensation, in that he had to restore the Foundation of Faith and the Foundation of Substance in order to establish the Foundation for the Messiah. However, in the Dispensation for Restoration centered on Moses, we discover that there are two differences from the previous dispensations. First, Moses stood on the successful Foundation for the Messiah which had already been established by Isaac's family and the merit of this completed work applied toward Moses' meeting his own indemnity conditions. Second, the level of the dispensation had expanded from the family level to the national level. God chose Moses to lead the Israelites from the satanic world of Egypt into Canaan, which represented the Kingdom of Heaven. In other words, God worked his dispensation to restore the Kingdom of Heaven (Canaan) on a national level.
1. The Foundation of Faith
a. The central person for restoring the Foundation of Faith
Moses was the central person who had to restore the Foundation of Faith. However, God appointed Moses to a dispensational position somewhat different from that held by the previous central persons, Adam, Noah and Abraham. First of all Moses stood in a position representing God, even "be[ing] as" God (Ex 4:16; 7:1); secondly, Moses was the model for Jesus. That is, since God's spirit would dwell in Jesus, God's establishing Moses as his representative means establishing Moses as the model for Jesus.
b. The Required Offering for the Foundation of Faith
Because of his special dispensational position, Moses did not have to make a symbolic offering of things as Abel, Noah and Abraham did. He was able to restore the Foundation of Faith by fulfilling a 40-based indemnity period of separation from Satan. There are two reasons for this.
First, Moses stood on the foundation of the three successful symbolic material offerings by Abel, Noah and Isaac. Second, with the establishing of the victorious Foundation for the Messiah by Isaac's family, the age had passed in which a sacrifice was the offering required in place of the Word, and Moses had entered the age in which God's Word was to be received directly. In other words, the Dispensational Age of the Foundation for Restoration had ended and the Dispensational Age of Restoration had begun.
Since the Dispensation had been delayed so long -- even from the time of Adam -- an indemnity condition was necessary to restore this long span of Satan's invasion. It had to be a condition based on the number 40, which is the number that symbolizes separation from Satan. In the Dispensational Age of Restoration, the Foundation of Faith could be restored through indemnity by man remaining united with God's Word during a period of separation from Satan, a period based on the number 40, instead of by his making a material offering.
2. The Foundation of Substance
The central person for the dispensation to establish the national Foundation of Substance was Moses himself. As was already explained, Moses was the central person responsible for establishing the Foundation of Faith, which is the vertical relationship with God. In doing so, he was in the position of Jesus, because he was standing as God to the people (Ex 4:16; 7:1). For that reason, Moses was in the position of a parent to the Israelite nation. Yet, as a prophet with the mission of pioneering the way for Jesus, Moses was also in the position of a child to Jesus.
Therefore, he was also able to be the central person, or stand in the Abel position, for the national Foundation of Substance. This is the same principle that applied when Abel, in the parent position, successfully made the offering and established the Foundation of Faith which originally should have been established by Adam.
If the Israelites, in the Cain position, had loved Moses and had obeyed him absolutely after he established the Abel position for the Foundation of Substance, then the Indemnity Condition for Removing the Fallen Nature on the national level would have been met. Moses' vertical relationship with God would have been established in the horizontal order among Moses and the people, and the national Foundation of Substance would have been established.
3. The Foundation for the Messiah
If Moses had passed through a 40-period for separation from Satan centered on God's Word, then the indemnity condition to restore the national Foundation of Faith would have been met. If the Israelites, centered on the victorious Moses, had restored the Foundation of Substance, then the national Foundation for the Messiah would have been established. On this foundation, the Israelites were to receive the Messiah and be reborn and cleansed of the Original Sin. Then they would have realized the Original Nature and would have become perfect persons. However, the Israelites did not trust Moses, and the national course of the restoration of Canaan ended up being prolonged two times.
B. The First Course of the National Restoration of Canaan
In order for Moses to become the central person representing the Israelites for the course of indemnity that would restore the national Foundation of Faith, Moses spent 40 years in the Pharaoh's palace, the center of the satanic world. Although to the world he was a prince because he was raised as the son of pharaoh's daughter (Ex 2:10), Moses was actually raised by his own mother who lived in the palace as his nurse, and she instilled in him a deep awareness of the God of Israel and of his heritage as one of the chosen people. Finally, he left the palace, preferring to suffer with God's people rather than to enjoy the sinful, ephemeral pleasures of pharaoh's palace (Heb 11:24). Through his 40 years in the palace, Moses fulfilled the 40-period of separation from Satan and restored the Foundation of Faith.
In establishing the Foundation of Faith, Moses at the same time qualified himself for the Abel position in the Foundation of substance. The Israelites, who were in the Cain position, had to faithfully submit to and obey Moses, who was in the Abel position. This would have restored the national Foundation of Substance. If this had been done, the Foundation of Substance would have been established during the period of the Israelites' return to Canaan under the leadership of Moses.
With this purpose in mind, Moses fulfilled the condition for starting the dispensation. Moses confirmed his determination before God and the Israelites when he killed an Egyptian who he saw beating a Hebrew (Ex 2:12). After seeing Moses act in such a way, the Israelites should have trusted and united with Moses. Then, through Moses, they would have been told by God to travel to the promised land of Canaan by the direct route through the territory of the Philistines, and they would not have had to go the longer way across the Red Sea and through the wilderness of Sinai. By their uniting with Moses during a 21-day journey to Canaan, the Foundation of Substance would have been successfully established, and this course would have indemnified Jacob's 21-year course in Haran, Exodus 13:17 says, "When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land or the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, 'Lest the people repent when they see war and return to Egypt.'" This passage shows that God's original plan was to have them take the route through the land of the Philistines, which was a faster, more direct route.
However, instead of trusting Moses, the Israelites exposed Moses' killing, and Moses had to escape from Pharaoh, as recorded in Exodus 2:15, "When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses." Moses went to hide in the wilderness of Midian, and thus the first course of the national restoration of Canaan could not even begin.
C. The Second Course of the National Restoration of Canaan
1. The Foundation of Faith and the Foundation of Substance
Because the first course of the national restoration of Canaan could not even begin, the forty-year period of indemnity which Moses had established for the Foundation of Faith while he was in Pharaoh's palace was invaded by Satan. Therefore, Moses had to establish a second 40-year period of separation from Satan. He did so through his life in exile in the wilderness of Midian. Through this he was able to restore the Foundation of Faith for the second national course.
At the end of this period, God appeared to Moses and said,
... I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites. ... And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me and I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people, the son of Israel, out of Egypt. (Ex 3:7-10)
1. Though Moses had killed someone, he had done so in defense of another person and knowing full well that if found out he would lose his very privileged position and his life. Thus, it was a sign of righteousness and a sign that he was willing to stand with the Israelites.
Through his forty years in the wilderness of Midian, Moses restored the Foundation of Faith and at the same time established his position as the central person for the Foundation of substance. God's dispensation began with Moses' establishing the foundation to start the course of national restoration by striking the Egyptians with three miracles and ten disasters (Ex 4, 7-11). The Israelites witnessed these and came to realize that Moses was the true leader sent by God. on this basis, the second course of the national restoration of Canaan was finally able to begin. However, the fact that the Israelites were at last following Moses did not mean that the Indemnity Condition for Removing the Fallen Nature was an accomplished fact.
Satan was able to invade during this dispensational course and caused this long period to be handed over to him. To restore this lost indemnity period on a national basis, the Israelites, in Cain's position, had to submit to Moses, obey him, and remain one with him throughout the entire period, until their arrival in the land of Canaan. consequently, the Israelites had to enter Canaan having been obedient to Moses during their entire course in the wilderness. Only then could the national Foundation of Substance have been established.
God already knew that, although the Israelites trusted Moses enough to begin the journey to the land of Canaan, they did not have complete faith in him. God was afraid that if they went via the direct route, their fear of battle (Ex 13:17) would revive their faithlessness, and they might easily return to Egypt and leave his dispensation unaccomplished. For this reason, God instead led them across the Red Sea and through the Sinai wilderness, even though it would take more time. God continually showed them his grace by performing miracles. He was trying to make it difficult for them to fall into disbelief and go back to Egypt. As a result, Moses started the Israelites on what should have been a twenty-one month course through the wilderness.
2. The Tabernacle in the Dispensation for Restoration
At the beginning of the third month after the Israelites had left Egypt, they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai. There, God gave Moses special directions. God told him to consecrate the people (Ex 19:10) and reinforce their faith. Then Moses went up Mount Sinai with seventy elders and met God (Ex 24:9,10). There, God showed his glory to his people, as we find expressed in Exodus 24:15-17:
When Moses went up on the mountain, and....the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.
This was also to show them that God was personally working with them. God took these measures so that the people of Israel could have absolute trust in him.
God called Moses to the mountaintop and asked him to fast for forty days so that he could receive the two tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments (Ex 24:18). During the time that Moses fasted on the mountain, he received instruction from God concerning the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle (Ex 25-31). When the forty-day fast was over, he received two tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments engraved on them (Ex 31:18).
When Moses came down from the mountain, he found that the Israelites had already lost their faith in God and were worshipping a golden calf as their god (Ex 32:2-4). During the forty days that their leader was away from them, the Israelites had lost their faith and rebelled against the very God who had guided them with so many miracles. When Moses say this, he was greatly angered, and at the foot of the mountain, he threw the tablets to the ground, breaking them (Ex 32:19).
God appeared to Moses again and gave him instructions to cut out of stone two tablets like the first (Ex 34:1). After Moses finished his second forty-day fast, he gain received the Ten Commandments, written on the two tablets. The Israelites then built the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle, with the tablets as the core.
a. The significance of the tablets and the arch of the covenant
(i) The significance of the tablets
Adam and Eve were created by the Word. If they had perfected themselves, they would have become perfect incarnations of the Word. However, because of the Fall, they lost the Word.
The tablets inscribed with God's Commandments, which Moses received after the forty-period of separation from Satan, have a special meaning. They are the substantial representation of the Word, symbolically representing the restoration of Adam and Eve from the satanic world. Thus, the two tablets, as symbols of Adam and Eve, also symbolize Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who would come as the substantial incarnations of the Word. This is the reason that Jesus is symbolized as the "white stone" (Rev 2:17) and the "Rock" (1 Cor 10:4).
Moses' receiving the tablets with God's Words also demonstrates that the Dispensational Age of the Foundation of Restoration had passed. In other words, the age during which man could relate to God only through material offerings had passed, and fallen mankind had entered the Dispensational Age of Restoration, in which man could relate to God through the Word.
(ii) The significance of the tabernacle
Jesus compared the temple in Jerusalem to his body (Jn 2:21), and Paul state that Christians are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16). The temple is the image-representation of Jesus. However, during their course through the wilderness, the Israelites could not build a temple, and so they built the tabernacle instead. Thus, the tabernacle, which was a miniature type of the temple, was also a symbolic representation of Jesus. For this reason, when God ordered Moses to build the tabernacle, he said, "'...let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst'" (Ex 25:8). Accordingly, the tabernacle is the symbolic messiah which the Israelites where to attend during their course in the wilderness.
(iii) The structure of the tabernacle
The tabernacle was composed of the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place (Ex 26:33,34). Only the chief priests could visit the Most Holy Place, and that but once a year, for the offering of sacrifices. Within the Most Holy Place was the ark of the covenant, within which were the two tablets of stone, symbolizing Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and heaven and earth. We can consider the ark, then, in a narrow sense, a microcosm of the cosmos, and also, a microcosm of the tabernacle. The Most Holy Place symbolizes Jesus' spirit self and the invisible substantial world, and the Holy Place, which was the ordinary place for the offering of sacrifices, symbolizes Jesus' body and the visible substantial world.
b. The purpose of the dispensation with the tablets of stone and the tabernacle
From God's viewpoint, once the Israelites had left Egypt it was imperative that they make it to Canaan without turning back; it was necessary to enter Canaan at all cost. To this end, God sought to inspire the Israelites to have faith in him by continually performing miracles, beginning right at the start of the dispensation.