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From:    Dean and Susan Wheelock
To:            heb_roots_chr@hebroots.org
Subject:       A Reluctant Bride (Part 1 of 2)

              Dean and Susan Wheelock have a ministry called Hebrew
roots. They produce a quarterly magazine called Hebrew roots. If you
would like to receive the magazine, please send an e-mail to Dean and
Susan at: (HebrewRoots@aol.com) or write them at the following address:

                                   Hebrew Roots
                                      P.O. Box 400
                               Lakewood, WI 54138


    In order to receive the magazine, you need to provide your snail
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                           Hebrew Roots - Issue 00-1
                          The Wedding of the Messiah

                            Part III Reluctant Bride

         I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt
                          My covenant which they broke
                         Though I was a husband to them
                                 Says the LORD.
                                 Jeremiah 31:32b

                                   (Part 1 of 2)
    Marriage is a divine institution, ordained of God and is to be   honored
among all peoples. This being true in the human realm, how much more is it
true when the One who ordained marriage is a marriage partner  Himself? The
Scriptures are absolutely clear that God considers His  relationship with
the children of Israel to be a marriage relationship.
    "'Return, O backsliding children,' says the LORD; 'for I am
      married to you."' (Jer. 3:14a)
    The betrothal of HaShem (Hah Shem = the Name) to the children of
Israel, which took place when HaShem encountered Moshe (Mow-shay = Moses) at
the Burning Bush (See Issue 99-3), was a difficult one for both parties. It
might seem strange to us that even though the  children of Israel knew they
were in a betrothal relationship with the very Creator of the Universe, yet
they continually tried His patience with their frequent murmuring whenever
trouble arose during their wedding march to Mount Sinai. This disposition
toward murmuring was indicative of the fact that the children of Israel
constituted a reluctant and untrusting Bride, right from the very beginning.
    To illustrate, let us review the events that took place even prior to
the exit of the children of Israel out of Egypt. In this way we will see
how, right from the beginning, the Bride lacked emunah (ee-moo-nah =
trusting faith or confidence) in her Husband, the God of Abraham, Isaac  and
    ~ A Shaky Betrothal ~

    Prior to the time when the children sure the children of Israel   became
betrothed to the God of Ya'acov (Yah-cove = Jacob), the Bride was living in
the home of her adoptive/foster father, the evil Pharaoh of Egypt. It
was at Moshe's Betrothal meeting with HaShem when God expressed
His commitment to bring the children of Israel out of their  Egyptian

    "And the LORD said: 'I have
    surely seen the oppression of My peo-
    ple who are in Egypt, and have heard
    their cry because of their taskmas-
    ters, for I know their sorrows. So I
    have come down to deliver them out
    of the hand of the Egyptians, and to
    bring them up from that land to a
    good and large land, to a land flow-
    ing with milk and honey, ..." (Ex. 3:7-8)
    Even though HaShem had expressed His commitment to His chosen Bride, she
was not secure in her relationship with Him. Chapters 5 and  6 of Exodus
tell about the lack of emunah on the part of the Bride. Apparently many
members of the Bride were afraid that God was going to  punish them if they
did not go out in the desert to worship Him as directed, for it is written:
    "...'The God of the Hebrews has
    met with us. Please, let us go three
    days journey into the desert and sac-
    rifice to the LORD our God, lest He
    fall upon us with pestilence or with
    the sword."' (Ex. 5:3)
    Because that generation of the children of Israel had experienced cruel
bondage, it appears they projected that same trait onto HaShem, as
evidenced by their words, "lest He strike us."
    To make matters worse, additional afflictions were placed upon them by
the Pharaoh as a result of Moshe's arrival on the scene. Moshe tried to
reassure the children of Israel that God indeed was going to take them out
of their bondage, but they would not listen:
    "So Moses spoke thus to the chil-
    dren of Israel; but they would not
    heed Moses, because of anguish of
    spirit and cruel bondage." (Ex. 6:9)
    It was into this situation that HaShem brought a series of plagues upon
the Pharaoh and his people. The purpose of these plagues was not to convince
Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go, for if that had
been their purpose, then God could have accomplished the Exodus quickly by
immediately bringing on the slaying of the firstborn and taking His Bride
out to the wedding. Yet, God did not choose to do it this way. Rather, He
spent nearly one full year bringing various plagues upon the Egyptians (only
the first three plagues were visited upon the children Israel as well) in
order to show the betrothed Bride that He would be a good Husband and
  "Yes, again and again they tempted God,
  And limited the Holy One of Israel.
  Thev did not remember His power:   
  The day when He redeemed them from the
  enemy, When He worked His signs in Egypt,  
  And His wonders in the field of Zoan;
  Turned their rivers into blood,   
  And their streams, that they could not
  drink. He sent swarms of flies among
  them, which devoured them, And frogs,
  which destroyed them...." (Psalm 78:41-45)
     Finally, after a betrothal year during which they saw the various signs
and wonders of HaShem, the children of Israel were given the opportunity to
accept or reject the offer of the Bridegroom. The Bride
accepted His offer as we see evidenced by the Passover experience.
     ~ Fear of the Unknown ~
   Like any young bride who is taken out of her father's house during the
night, the children of Israel were both elated and also somewhat
apprehensive. They very much wanted to trust their Husband, but they
had lingering doubts about His ability to actually accomplish what He had
set out to do. At first was a wonderful celebration:
    "... and the children of Israel
    went out with boldness." (Ex. 14:8b)
    They left during the early morning hours (while it was still dark) on 15
Aviv, with baked cakes of unleavened bread. The bread was not leavened
because they had to leave in haste:
    "And they baked unleavened
    cakes of the dough which they had
    brought out of Egypt; for it was not
    leavened, because they were driven
    out of Egypt and could not wait, nor
    had they prepared provisions for
    themselves." (Ex. 12:39)
    On their way out they stopped and picked up the bones of their ancestor
Joseph, as had been promised him when he died:
    "And Moses took the bones of
    Joseph with~him, for he had placed
    the children of Israel under solemn
    oath, saying, 'God will surely visit
    you, and you shall carry up my bones
    from here with you."' (Ex. 13:19)
    However, the faith of the children of Israel wavered before they had
finished their exit from the land of Egypt. HaShem, in His infinite mercy,
took them in a direction that would protect them from having to
experience war so early in their departure (by way of the Reed [Red] Sea).
He was visibly with them all of the way:
    "And the LORD went before
    them by day in a pillar of cloud to
    lead the way, and by night in a pillar
    of fire to give them light, so as to go
    by day and night." (Ex. 13:21)
      ~ Faltering Faith ~
    The story of the Exodus is a story of faltering faith. Over and over
again the Bride lost her faith in HaShem whenever difficulties arose. The
first display of discouragement occurred on the banks of
the Reed (Red) Sea, when they saw the approaching army of Pharaoh.
Immediately the Bride cried out to HaShem and questioned Moshe concerning
their plight:
    "And when the Pharaoh drew
    near, the children of Israel lifted
    their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians
    marched after them. So they were
    very afraid, and the children of Is-
    rael cried out to the LORD.
    "Then they said to Moses, 'Be-
    cause there were no graves in Egypt,
    have you taken us away to die in the
    wilderness? Why have you so dealt
    with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?
    Is this not the word that we told you
    in Egypt, saying, "Let us alone that
    we may serve the Egyptians?" For it
    would have been better for us to serve
    the Egyptians than that we should
    die in the wilderness."' (Ex. 14:10-12)
    The complaints of the children of Israel were not against Moshe
personally, they were really against the One who had delivered them out of
Egypt; their betrothed Husband, the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob. Moshe was merely the mediator between the Bride and her Husband.
    Of course HaShem was faithful to bring the Bride through the sea and
destroy the Pharaoh and his army. Yet, despite this second great miracle,
which completed her deliverance from Egypt, the Bride still
did not have confidence in her Betrothed Husband, even though He was El
Shaddai (God Almighty).
    The next complaint came after they had gone three days without finding
fresh water. When they did End water at Marah it was too bitter to drink:
    "And they went three days in the wilderness
    and found no water. Now
    when they came to Marah, they
    could not drink the waters of Marah,
    for they were bitter. Therefore the
    name of it was called Marah.
    "And the people murmured
    against Moses, saying, 'What shall
    we drink?"' (Ex. 15:22-24)
    Once again God provided for their needs by turning the bitter waters
sweet and all was fine until the next problem arose:
    "Then the whole congregation of the
    children of Israel murmured
    against Moses and Aaron in the wil-
    derness. And the children of Israel
    said to them, 'Oh, that we had died
    by the hand of the LORD in the land
    of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of
    meat arid when we ate bread to the
    full! For you have brought us out
    into this wilderness to kill this whole
    assembly with hunger."' (Ex. 16:2-3)
    It is clear from the following verses that their murmurings are really
against HaShem, even though they take the form of being against Moshe and
Aharon (Ah-rone = Aaron).
    "...for the LORD hears your
    murmurings which you make against
    Him...." (Ex. 16:8)
    This time food was provided in the form of quail in the evening and
manna in the morning. Once again, HaShem had proven Himself to be a loving
and caring Bridegroom.
    Despite the Bridegroom's constant miracles on behalf of the Bride, it
was once again thirst that caused her next outcry against HaShem. They were
camped at Rephidim, and there was no water to drink. Here Moshe was
instructed to strike the rock so that water would pour forth for the people
of the Bride. On this occasion it is said that the Bride 'tempted' her
    "So he called the name of the
    place Massah and Meribah, because
    of the contention of the children of
    Israel, and because they tempted the
    LORD, saying, 'Is the LORD among
    us or not?"' (Ex. 17:7)
    It is interesting to note that most of the complaints were about food
and drink, although all of her complaining was indicative of a Bride that
simply had not yet learned to trust her Bridegroom to
deliver her from harm's way. However, when a real test came forth, in the
form of the attack on the children of Israel by the Amalekites, the members
of the Bride who were chosen to fight, faithfully went forth in to battle
under the leadership of Joshua. Thus they were able to gain the victory
because Moshe held up the rod of God in his hand, thanks to support from
Aaron and Hur.
    "So Joshua defeated Amalek and
    his people with the edge of the
    sword." (Ex. 17:13)
    Perhaps this battle experience was needed for the Bride to finally learn
to trust her Bridegroom, for there are no other recorded instances of
complaining or murmuring prior to their reaching Mount
         ~ Wedding Jitters ~
    Up to this point in time, the Bride (the children of Israel) had not yet
come face to face with the Bridegroom (the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob).
She had seen manifestations of His great power
through the ten plagues of Egypt and the various miracles which He performed
for them during the Wedding March from Egypt to Mount Sinai, but had never
spoken to Him directly.
    Now came the big day, but once again the Bride was not quite up for the
occasion. It all started out pretty well. The instructions were established
on where the Bride was to stand and what she should
expect to witness. But the actual presence of the Bridegroom was so
overwhelming she just could not handle it. It was not only the thick cloud,
nor was it only the thunderings or the lightnings, but when the
sound of the shofar* was added to everything else, the Bride trembled with
    "Then it came to pass on the
    third day, in the morning, that there
    were thunderings and lightnings, and
    a thick cloud on the mountain; and
    the sound of the trumpet was very
    loud, so that all the people who were
    in the camp trembled....
    "Now Mount Sinai was com-
    pletely in smoke, because the LORD
    descended upon it in fire. Its smoke
    ascended like the smoke of a furnace,
    and the whole mountain quaked
    greatly. And when the blast of the
    trumpet sounded long and became
    louder and louder, Moses spoke, and
    God answered him by voice."
   (Ex. 19:16, 18-19)
    *The shofar that was sounded at Mount Sinai is called the 'First
Shofar.' It is said to be one of the horns that was taken from the
substitutionary ram that was caught in the thicket at Mount Moriah when
Avraham (Abraham) offered up his son Yitzchak (Isaac). The 'Last Shofar (or
Trumpet)' is said to be the other horn from the same ram, and it will be
blown on Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets) when Mes-
siah returns for His Bnde. A third shofar called the 'Great Shofar' is to be
blown on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), when Messiah and His Bride return to
earth to establish their one thousand year home. The
'Great Shofar' also signifies the closing of the gates of judgment for that
period of time.
    Traditionally, in the Ancient Wedding, the Bridegroom reads the Ketuvah
to His Bride. This wedding was no exception, for HaShem read His Ketuvah
(the ten commandments or words) in His own voice to each and every member of
the assembled Bride, as it is written:
    "And God spoke all these words,
    saying: ...
    "Now all the people witnessed
    the thunderings, the lightning
    flashes, the sound of the trumpet,
    and the mountain smoking; and
    when the people saw it, they trem-
    bled and stood afar off.
    "Then they said to Moses, 'You
    speak with us, and we will hear; but
    let not God speak with us, lest we
    "And Moses said to the people,
    'Do not fear; for God has come to
    test you, and that His fear may be be-
    fore you, so that you may not sin."'
    (Ex. 20:1, 18-20)
    This event instilled such fear in the Bride that she asked Moshe to
mediate with her Husband because she feared for her life. However, according
to tradition, before HaShem would agree to stop talking directly to the
members of the Bride, each and every one of them had to individually hear
the Ten Words (Heb. davar, or as we call them 'commandments') and agree to
observe them.
    This was the first and last time that HaShem, the Husband of the
children of Israel, spoke directly so that all the members of the Bride
could actually hear His voice. From this point on He only communicated
through Moshe. Later on He communicated through the Judges and, still
later, the Prophets. Finally, He has communicated to us through His Son,
Yeshua HaMashiach, as it is written:
    "God, who at various times and
    in different ways spoke in time past
    to the fathers by the prophets, has in
    these last days spoken to us by His
    Son, whom He has appointed heir of
    all things through whom also He
    made the worlds; who being the
    brightness of His glory and the ex-
    press image of His person, and up-
    holding all things by the word of His
    power, when He had by Himself
    purged our sins sat down at the right
    hand of the Majesty on high, having
    become so much better than the an-
    gels, as He has by inheritance ob-
    tained a more excellent name than
    they." (Heb. 1:1-4)
    Although the Bride expressed her desire to not have direct communication
with her Husband, nevertheless the children of Israel were committed to a
full marriage relationship with HaShem and He to
them, for the vows had already been made.
    HaShem had taken His vow first:
    ""'Now therefore, if you will in-
    deed obey My voice and keep My
    covenant, then you shall be a special
    treasure to Me above all people; for
    all the earth is Mine. And you shall
    be to Me a kingdom of priests and a
    holy nation." These are the words
    which you shall speak to the children
    of Israel."' (Ex. 19:5-6)
    Then the Bride had followed suit:
    "So Moses came and called for
    the elders of the people, and laid be-
    fore them all these words which the
    LORD commanded him. Then all
    the people answered together and
    said, 'All that the LORD has spoken
    we will do.' So Moses brought back
    the words of the people to the
    LORD." (Ex. 19:7-8)
    The final ratification, in blood, of the marriage covenant took place
following the setting forth of additional judgments (Heb. mishpat) from the
Ketuvah, concerning proper behavior (see Ex. 21-23):
    "And Moses took half the blood
    and put it in basins, and half the
    blood he sprinkled on the altar.
    Then he took the Book of the Cove-
    nant and read in the hearing of the
    people. And they said, 'All that the
    LORD has said we will do, and be
    "And Moses took the blood,
    sprinkled it on the people, and said,
    'Behold, the blood of the covenant
    which the LORD has made with you
    according to all these words."'
    (Ex. 24:6-8)
    Even though the Bride was too frightened to hear her Husband's voice,
there was no backing out now, for the marriage had been sealed.
        ~ The Chuppah ~
    The time the Bridegroom and Bride spend in the Chuppah (Who-pah =
wedding chamber), is supposed to be a time during which they become
intimately acquainted with each other and begin to develop the bond that
will hold them together over the years ahead. But how can a Bride enter the
Chuppah when she refuses to even listen to her Husband's voice? Because of
her reluctance to have face to face contact with HaShem, the vast majority
of the members of the Bride were excluded
from entering the Chuppah. Instead, a group of seventy elders, along with
Moshe (including his assistant Joshua), Aharon, Nadiv (Nadab), and Avihu
(Abihu) were invited to ascend the mountain up to a certain point. There
they personally saw their Husband, the God of Israel:
    "Then Moses went up, also
    Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and sev-
    enty of the elders of Israel, and they
    saw the God of Israel. And there was
    under His feet as it were a paved
    work of sapphire stone, and it was
    like the very heavens in its clarity.
    But on the nobles of the children of
    Israel He did not lay His hand. So
    they saw God, and they ate and
    drank." (Ex. 24:9-11)
    At this point they were not in the Chuppah itself, it was only the
entrance to the Chuppah. It was left to Moshe alone to fully enter the
Chuppah, although his assistant Joshua was allowed to go further up the
mountain while Aharon and the elders had to return to camp.
    "Then the LORD said to Moses,
    'Come up to Me on the mountain and
    be there; and I will give you tablets
    of stone, and the law and command-
    ments which I have written, that you
    may teach them.'
    "So Moses arose with his assis-
    tant Joshua, and Moses went up to
    the mountain of God....
    "Then Moses went up into the
    mountain, and a cloud covered the
    mountain." (Ex. 24:12-13, 15)
    The unique characteristic of the Chuppah is that it has a covering or
canopy under which the Bridegroom and Bride spend their intimate honeymoon
time together. The cloud which covered the top of the mountain served as the
canopy for the Chuppah. HaShem was there along with Moshe, who stood in for
the Bride as their mediator or representative. Had the Bride not been too
frightened to hear God's
voice, perhaps the cloud would have rested over the entirety of the camp of
Israel and they would all have been in the Chuppah together, learning the
Torah (instructions) directly from their Husband, HaShem.
    "Now the glory of the LORD
    rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud
    covered it six days. And on the sev-
    enth day He called to Moses out of
    the midst of the cloud. The sight of
    the glory of the LORD was like a
    consuming fire on the top of the
    mountain in the eyes of the children
    of Israel.
    "So Moses went into the midst of
    the cloud and went up into the moun-
    tain. And Moses was on the moun-
    tain forty days and forty nights."   
    (Ex. 24:16-18)
    ~ The Adulterous Bride ~
    While Moshe (who was also a member of the Bride) was personally getting
to know his Husband (HaShem)in a most intimate way in the Chuppah on the top
of Mount Sinai, the rest of the Bride (except
for Joshua) settled down in the camp to await his return. According to
tradition, they knew that Moshe was to be gone for forty days. However, they
made a mistake in the counting of days. They assumed that the day on which
Moshe ascended the mountain would be counted as the first day
of the forty days. However, there seems to be something special about a time
statement that includes both "days and nights." That something is the
implied instruction that "forty days and forty nights" means exactly what it
says, a full forty days and a full forty nights.
    Thus it was that the children of Israel erroneously expected Moshe to
return on the fortieth day from his ascent up the mountain, when he really
was not due back until the following day. Here is what Rabbi
Moshe Weissman quotes from the Midrash:
    "When Moshe did not return by
    noon, the Bnai Yisrael knew that he
    could no longer be expected on that
    day, for both his ascents to the moun-
    tain as well as his descents therefrom
    always took place in the early morn-
    ings. According to their calculations,
    the forty days had already passed since
    they included in the total the day of
    Moshe's departure. In reality, that day
    was excluded since it was not a com-
    plete twenty-four hour period (because
    Moshe had still been in the Camp dur-
    ing the night preceding that day). "   
    (The Midrash Says, Vol. 1I, p.315.)
    When Moshe did not appear as expected, those in the camp who were the
most reluctant members of the Bride began to agitate for a physical image of
God so they could worship what they perceived to be the image, instead of
worshipping the real thing:
    "Now when the people saw that
    Moses delayed coming down from
    the mountain, the people gathered
    together to Aaron, and said to him,
    'Come, make us gods that shall go
    before us; for 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."' (Ex. 32:1)
    According to tradition, Aharon was not sure what to do so he tried to
buy some time hoping that Moshe would return soon and put an end to their
speculations. For this reason, he asked them to "break off'' their golden
earrings and give them to him, fully expecting they would not do so. To his
surprise, they complied with his request. Seemingly unsure of himself and
not knowing what to do next, Aharon went ahead and melted the gold and made
a molded calf.
    What is most interesting about this calf is that the people called   it a
representation of the god that brought them out of Egypt.
    "...Then they said, 'This is your god, O Israel,
     that brought you  out of of the land of Egypt!'
    "So when Aaron saw it, he built
    an altar before it. And Aaron made
    a proclamation and said, 'Tomorrow
    is a feast to the LORD."'
    (Ex. 32:4b-5)
    It seems highly unlikely that Aharon believed they would be keeping a
feast to YHVH by worshipping the golden calf. Thus, Aharon's suggestion to
delay the festivities until the next day was probably another attempt on his
part to stall the people in their pursuit of worshipping this idol.
    For the Bride this was a most terrible turn of events, because God looks
upon idolatry as being equivalent, in the spiritual realm, to adultery in
the physical realm. Symbolically what happen was that the Bride sought to
commit adultery at the very time when she should have been in the Chuppah
with her Husband in an intimate relationship with Him:
    "The LORD said to me: 'Son of
    man, will you judge Oholah and
    Oholibah? Then declare to them
    their abominations. For they have
    committed adultery, and blood is on
    their hands. They have committed
    adultery with their idols, and even
    sacrificed their sons whom they bore
    to Me, passing them through the fire,
    to devour them." (Ezek. 23:36-37)
    Oholah and Oholibah are names for the house of Israel and the house of
Judah, for Samaria and Jerusalem were the capitals of the two houses of
    "...Samaria is Oholah, and   
    Jerusalem is Oholibah."   
    (Ezek. 23:4)
                  (End Part 1 of 2)


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