Ki Tisa – כי תשא – “When you take”
Torah: Exodus 30:11-34:35
Haftarah: 1 Kings 18:1-39
Brit Chadasha: 1 Corinthians 8:4-13
And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies), then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’ ”And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.” (Exodus 32:25-29)
The event that took place with the golden calf was something huge. It was the golden calf that triggered the Leviticus Priesthood and set other things in motion. According to the rabbinic scholars this was the first Shavuot (Day of Pentecost/Feast of Weeks), the day that YHVH wrote down His ways for all to see. It is highly possible that this is the day that death was defeated according to Paul.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (Romans 5:13-15)
When Moses came down and saw what was going on we see just how serious sin is, it took extreme measures to save Israel from YHVH’s wrath. He made the people drink the liquefied golden calf and about 3,000 were killed that day without hesitation. This was a serious day that was meant to glorify God and unite YHVH and His people as one, a day that the world was given the faith to walk in, but evil twisted it into what we see in the golden calf. It is more than a coincidence that the golden calf was raised on the same day that the tablets were ready to be brought down.
What happened to Israel was a demonic perversion of truth, the same type of perversion which caused Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and offer it to Adam. In the eyes of Israel, they were not turning their back on YHVH; they were simply worshiping Him through the calf. Aaron did not even plan to make the calf.
And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” (32:21-24)
Many believers think that Aaron was just as guilty as the rest of Israel because he was the one who took the gold and made the calf, and although the calf was made through Aaron’s hands, to pin the blame all on him may not be completely true.
So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices. (Psalm 81:12)
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:24-25)
Aaron saw that their hearts were set on evil and simply acted the way God would have and it appears that Moses recognized that. When we refuse to accept the truth, our heavenly Father will let us loose to follow the lie which is why it is important for us to cling to His word and know His truth versus man made theories, traditions and all doctrinal lies that do not perfectly line up with all of the scriptures. Although Aaron made the golden calf, he along with the rest of the Levites did not participate in the golden calf celebration. It was the Levites who responded when Moses asked, “Who is for God?” They were the ones who killed 3,000 that day which saved all of Israel. What we read this week is a sad picture of Israel at a low point; an event so sad that YHVH felt the need to bring restitution to it and we can find that restitution in Acts chapter 2.
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:37-42)
When Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets it marked the defeat of death and an introduction to the faith that God wants His people to have. When Peter spoke on the day of Shavuot, years later, it marked solidification between God and His people by providing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which causes us to walkout His faith perfectly. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is key to our salvation today because not only does He cause us to walk in Torah, be He also brings us to guilt for our sins and reveals truth to us. In the first Shavuot about 3,000 were killed. In the Shavuot of Acts chapter 2; 3,000 were saved and I would venture to say that it was a far better salvation than ever before because YHVH’s words are no longer on stone tablets, nor our they on animal skins or thin pieces of paper; God’s words are now written in the hearts of all those who believe and are His people.
Acts chapter 2 marked the beginning of a new era, a new covenant with better promises and guaranteed salvation for all who give their lives up so that He lives within you and manifests His presence I you. Before it was about the words written on stone tablets, today it is about those same words written on your heart. Let us all praise YHVH for His wonderful plan of salvation, for His grace and mercy because without His love and kindness towards us, there would be no hope at all.