Exodus Chapters 33 to 34—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Exodus 33

Exodus 33:1–2, YHVH…my Angel/Messenger.Who is YHVH and who is the Angel? If YHVH is the preincarnate Yeshua, then who is this Angel?

Exodus 33:7, Moses took his tent.There comes a time when the anointed servant of the Most High can no longer tolerate the sinfulness and faithless of the people he is leading. Even Yeshua, in frustration, despaired on several occasions at his disciples for their lack of faith. Once, in desperation, he cried out, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” (Matt 17:17). Holy men (and women) of Elohim are in a different place spiritually than the people they lead. As anointed and divinely appointed leaders, to lead YHVH’s people higher, they must be ahead of the people and their walk should be a little, if not a lot, higher. Their job is to lead people into a higher and deeper walk with YHVH. Sometimes, in frustration when they feel they have been less than successful in their mission, they must remove themselves from the people for a season to draw closer to YHVH for strength, wisdom, guidance and spiritual renewal as Moses did in this case.

A man who is holy or set apart unto YHVH can’t abide in an unholy situation. It’s anathema to him and causes every fiber in his being to cry out in frustrated disgust. He is in a different, higher world that carnal people know nothing about. This is why Moses had to separate himself from the Israelites—a stiffnecked and rebellious people who didn’t have a heart to follow Elohim.

Exodus 33:12–13, Grace.The mainstream church places a great deal of emphasis on the message of grace. The biblical doctrine of grace finds its roots in this chapter in the Torah and not in the apostolic writings as the mainstream church teaches. 

The noun grace (Heb. chen) is found six times in chapters 33 and 34. The adjective gracious (Heb. chanan and channuwn)as an attribute YHVH’s character is found three times in chapters 33 and 34. Six is the number of man and three is the number of Elohim. That is to say, the grace of the entire Godhead covers man completely even when his children turn away from him and give into golden calf worship. His grace for his people rejoices or triumphs over his fiery and consuming judgments (Exod 33:4; Jas 2:13; Pss 85:10; 89:14; Mic 7:18; Eph 1:7; Rom 5:8) that they deserve for their stiff-neckness and sinful rebellion against his commands (Exod 33:3).

The Hebrew word for grace is chen/IJmeaning “favor, grace, charm, acceptance.” The Hebrew word chen (found 69 times in the Tanakh), which is translated as grace, in this verse is equivalent to the Greek word charis/cariV, which is found 156 times in the Testimony of Yeshua and is translated as grace 130 times in the KJV.The equivalency of these two words is confirmed by the translators of the Septuagint (the Greek Tanakh) who used charis in place of chen when translating the Hebrew Tanakh into Greek beginning in the third century b.c. 

According to The TWOT, in the vast majority of occurrences of chen in the Tanakh, the focus of attention is not on the giver, but on the recipient. The emphasis is on the relationship of the superior to an inferior (e.g. a king to his subjects). What this teaches us is that despite sin and rebellion against him, YHVH (the king) is gracious (to humans, his subjects). Contrary to what many in the church have been led to believe, the grace of Elohim is a very prominent theme in the Tanakh. Examples of this include Noah who found grace in YHVH’s eyes (Gen 6:8), or the children of Israel although dead in their sins in Egypt and deserving of YHVH’s wrath, they were saved by the blood of the lamb. There are a number of other references to the grace of Elohim in the Tanakh as well (Gen 18:3; Exod 3:21; 33:16,17; 34:9; Ps 84:11; Zech 12:10).

Exodus 33:14, My Presence will go with you.YHVH’s Presence led the Israelites through the wilderness and into the Promised Land. Yeshua will lead his people through the wilderness of life and into the Promised Land of their eternal inheritance in his kingdom. Where is his Presence today in and among his people?

Exodus 33:15, If your presence goes not with me.Moses refused to take one step forward without YHVH’s presence leading the way. How earnestly do you seek the presence of YHVH in your life? Is it your heart passion? Is his leading presence more vital to you than life itself? Do you feel spiritually lost, dried up and, in a sense, even dead when YHVH’s presence is absent from your life? What was David’s heart passion in this regard? (Read Ps 84:1–12.) Yeshua taught that his life and presence comes as we abide in him (John 15:1–4). What are rich benefits of abiding in Yeshua, the true vine? (See John 15:5–17.)

Exodus 34

Exodus 34:1–35,

Prophetic pictures of Moses’ second ascension of Mount Sinai.

Moses’ second ascension of Mount Sinai is a prophetic and allegorical picture of the saints’ resurrection and glorification at the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah.

According to Jewish tradition, Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the second set of stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments on the first day of the sixth biblical month or 30 days before Yom Teruah, which occurs on the first day of the seventh month. Forty days later on Yom Kippur he descended from the mountain carrying with him the second set of tablets as a sign of YHVH’s forgiveness of the children of Israel after the golden calf incident. This signaled YHVH’s renewed relationship with Israel after they had repented of golden calf worship. 

We know that in biblical times a biblical Israelite bride, while waiting for her betrothed to arrive from his father’s house, would hear a shout and the sound of the shofar in the distance as her bridegroom approached (Matt 25:6 cp. Matt 24:31; 1 Thess 4:16; 1 Cor 15:51–52). If she were alert and not asleep (as were the ten virgins in Matt 25:1–13), she would have had time to put on her wedding robes, trim her lamp’s wick (an ancient version of a flashlight), and have it filled with oil and ready to light as soon as he arrived, since he would be coming at night time. 

Prophetically, the Scriptures indicate that the saints of Yeshua are to be resurrected and to meet the returning Messiah Yeshua in the air at the seventh or last shofar blast most likely on Yom Teruah (Day of the Trumpets also known as the Day of Shouting or Shofar Blasts, see 1 Thess 4:16; 1 Cor 15:52; Rev 11:15–18). From the time the saints begin hearing the shofar blasts in the distance signaling the arrival of Yeshua the Bridegroom until their ascension (at the resurrection) to meet King Yeshua in the air roughly seems to correspond to Moses’ ascension of Mount Sinai on the first day of the sixth month. That being so, then Moses’ descent with the stone tablets—the tokens of a renewed covenant between YHVH and Israel on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)—would correspond to Yeshua returning to earth with his just-resurrected saints. As Moses saw the glory of YHVH in the cleft of the rock the second time he ascended Mount Sinai (Exod 33:18–23; 34:5–9), and as he descended in a glorified state, his face shining with the glory of YHVH, so the saints will resurrect to meet Yeshua in the air, see his glory, and will return with him with their own glorified immortal bodies (1 Cor 15:42–54; 1 Thess 4:16–17).

First John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of Elohim, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” These resurrect­ed saints are those who have heeded YHVH’s call to come out of Babylonian, golden calf-type religious systems (i.e. Christo-pagan churchianity, Rev 18:4) where paganism has been mixed with the truth of the Scriptures. These same saints are now waiting to enter into an everlasting (marital) covenant with YHVH-Yeshua (Rev 19:7–9). They are those who love Yeshua and his the Torah-commandments (Rev 12:17; 14:12).

In the end times there will be a great spiritual revival as many people are saved and come to faith in Yeshua out of the great tribulation period (Rev 7:14). Some of these new converts to Yeshua the Messiah will be native Israelites, along with many Gentiles, who have been spiritually grafted into the nation of Israel, and all of whom have repent of the golden calf worship of Torahlessness and false religious systems. If we can trust the end time prophetic chronology of the fall biblical feasts, we see that this momentous and glorious event will occur in the time period leading up to the Day of the Trumpets when many people will wholeheartedly repent and receive the covering of the blood of Yeshua for their sins, as pictured by the Day of Atonement. This will be a continuation of the process of the rebirth and reunification of the two houses of Israel (loosely speaking, Ephraim who is he church, and Judah who are the Jews) that began in the apostolic era. 

The Bible likens this process to branches being grafted into an ancient olive tree, or to the unification of Jews and Gentiles becoming into the “one new man” Israel of Elohim through faith in and the blood of Yeshua the Messiah (Rom 11:13–24; Ezek 37:15–28; Eph 2:11–19; Gal 6:16).

Exodus 34:1, Cut two tablets…I will write. The first set of tablets YHVH not only hewed out himself but he also wrote on them the ten statements (Exod 24:12; 31:18; 32:16), while YHVH had Moses hew out the second set of tablets upon which YHVH then wrote the ten statements. Why didn’t YHVH hew out the second set of tablets as he had done with the first ones? 

One reason is this. The two stone tablets are symbols of the human heart which is divided into two main sections: the left and right ventricles. In Scripture, the heart represent the essence of a person’s moral character and mind (Exod 9:7; Deut 30:6; Job 38:36; Pss 44:21; 64:6; Prov 12:20; 14:33; 15:14; Jer 9:26; 17:9, 10; Matt 12:34; 15:19; Acts 2:37; Rom 10:10; 1 Cor 2:9; Heb 4:12; 1 Pet 3:4). The human heart can be hard, like stone (Job 41:24; Ezek 11:19; 36:26; 2 Cor 3:3) or soft like flesh (2 Cor 3:3 cp. Acts 2:37; Heb 8:10; 10:16). It is upon the human heart that YHVH writes his laws (Ps 40:8; Jer 31:33; Ezek 11:19–20; 2 Cor 3:3; Heb 8:10; 10:16). 

When YHVH creates a person, he initially embeds in the human heart or conscience a basic concept of morality or of right and wrong, that is, the basic tenets of his laws (Rom 2:14–15 cp. 2 Cor 5:11). 

Once sin comes into a person’s life and a person choose to go against the laws of Elohim that he has written in their as yet undefiled heart, they are a pure vessel like the first set of stone tablets that YHVH made and upon which he wrote his laws. 

However, when sin enters a person’s life and they go against their conscience or the laws that YHVH wrote on their hearts when they were created, man’s heart becomes defiled and hardened by sin. 

At some point along the way, a person has to make a choice to either remain in his sin-hardened heart condition, or yield to the conviction of the Spirit of Elohim (John 16:8), and be cut to the heart and repent of his sin (Acts 2:37). If a person makes the latter choice, then YHVH will give the person a new or circumcised heart upon which he will write his laws anew. 

However the choice to change from a stoney heart to a heart of flesh is that of the person. That’s why YHVH had Moses cut out the second set of tablets upon which YHVH then wrote his laws again. 

The children of Israel are a biblical metaphor representing each of us. YHVH gave Israel his laws at Mount Sinai, and when they then sinned at the golden calf, their hearts became hardened against Elohim. They then had to repent of their sin, and make the choice to obey YHVH’s commandments. This was represented by the second set of tablets upon which YHVH wrote his laws again, but this time on a heart of flesh. After the sin of the golden calf, Israel remained faithful to Elohim until after the death of Joshua (Josh 24:31; Judg 2:2). Similarly, each of us was created as a pure, undefiled and sin-free vessel at the time of our birth. Eventually we committed our first sin and we went downhill spiritually from there. At some point, we became awakened to our sinful state and chose to repent of our sin and submitted ourselves to obey the Word of Elohim (Yeshua the Messiah) and receive his Spirit. That’s when YHVH wrote on the second set of stone tablets and began to write his laws on our hearts again.

Exodus 34:4, Took in his hand. Evidently, the two stone tablets were small enough to fit into one hand. With one hand free, it made climbing the mountain a little easier especially for an aged person like Moses who probably used a staff as a walking aid.

Exodus 34:5, Proclaimed the name. YHVH identified himself by name as if he really needed to do so. Perhaps this was to impress upon Moses the glory and majesty of being in the very presence of the Creator. It would also indicate to Moses the intimate nature of his encounter with the Almighty and Kadosh One, who was willing to share his personal name with his Moses his friend.

Exodus 34:6, YHVH…YHVH. The name YHVH is mentioned twice in this verse defining YHVH’s attributes. Why? Perhaps it was to reveal to Moses that there were two YHVHs: YHVH the Father and YHVH the Son. This is in response to Moses asking him to slow him his glory. What Moses saw was the glory and characteristics of both the Father and the Son.

Exodus 34:6–7, The attributes of YHVH’s mercy. He is:

  • compassionate
  • gracious
  • abundant in kindness
  • abundant in truth
  • a preserver of kindness for thousands of generations
  • a forgiver of iniquity, willful sin (transgression) and error (sin)
  • cleanser of our sins

Merciful (verse 6)in Hebrew is the word rachuwm/ OUJRfrom the root word racham/ OJRmeaning “to love, love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, have compassion.” The TWOT explains that this word refers to a deep love (usually a superior individual for an inferior) rooted in some deep natural bond. It is used for the deep inward feeling we know as compassion, pity, or mercy. This word is found 47 times in the Tanakh, and frequently refers to the love of Elohim for his people (see Ps 103:13; Mic 7:17). Often Elohim’s mercy and grace are linked together (note Exod 33:19; 34:6; 2 Kgs 13:23; Pss 86:15; 111:4; 112:4; 145:8). His mercy and graciousness are at times unconditional upon those he chooses to favor (Exod 33:19), and is upon those who repent of their sins as well (Deut 13:17). The Tanakh elsewhere frequently exults in the attributes of YHVH’s mercy or compassion (see Deut 4:31; 2 Chron 3:9; Neh 9:17,31; Pss 78:38; 102:13; Joel 2:13; Jon 4:2.) Again, can there be any doubt that the “God of Old Testament” is just as loving and merciful as the “God of the New Testament?” It stands to reason that they are, for they are one in the same Divine Personage—and his character is unchangeable (review Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8)!

Numerous parallel passages in the Testimony of Yeshua can be found that are built on these foundational Torah principles of YHVH’s grace and mercy ( Heb 4:16; Rom 3:24; Eph 1:17; 2:4,8; Tit 1:4; 2:11; 3:5; 1 Pet 1:3; Jude 21).

Exodus 34:7 mentions three categories of “sin.The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash describes them as:

  • Iniquity (ah-own/ayin-vav-nun sofit) is an intentional sin that YHVH forgives if the sinner repents.
  • Willful sin GAP (pesha/pey-shin-ayin): is sin that is committed with the intention of angering YHVH that will be forgiven with repentance.
  • Error VTYJ (chatah/chet-tet-aleph-hey) is a sin committed out of apathy or carelessness.

Exodus 34:14, (and Deut 6:4). The phrase another God, resh R in echar (another) is enlarged so as not to confuse with dalet s so that word would read echad (one) in Deut. 6:4 (Tikkun, p. 207).

Exodus 34:18, The Feast of Unleavened Bread. Keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a sign of coming out of Egypt and putting Egypt out of us (when we remove the leaven from our homes). It pictures putting off the rudiments of this world and not having nothing to do with them any longer. This is why it is apropos to mention this feast directly after the golden calf incident. In verse 20, donkey­—an unclean animal and a metaphor of the Egyptians killed in plague of the firstborn—was to be redeemed by a lamb or killed. This teaches us that without the shedding of the Yeshua the Lamb’s blood, YHVH’s judgment against is severe and final.

Exodus 34:20, Firstborn of a donkey. See notes at verse 18.

Exodus 34:21, The seventh day.As with the mention of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in verse 18 it is appropriate to mention the Sabbath after YHVH’s warnings to not go get involved with the heathens or to go whoring after their gods. This is because the Feast of Unleavened Brea is a yearly reminder of our coming out of Egypt and forsaking paganism to serve and obey YHVH. Similarly, the Sabbath is a weekly reminder for YHVH’s people to come away from the profane things of this world for one day each week and to realign our focus on him and those spiritual things of his which are set-apart. 

Exodus 34:22, At year’s end. In Judaism, the fall feast of Yom Teruah (also known as Rosh Hashana meaning “head of the year,” which is the rabbinic Jewish, non-biblical name for this day) marks the beginning of the new year. However, this verse states that the Feast of Ingathering or Sukkot is the year’s end, and thus should mark the new year, not Yom Teruah. At the same time, the Scriptures state that Yom Teruah marks the first day of the seventh month, not the first day of the first month (Lev 23:24) as many Jews erroneously proclaim. Now add to this the fact that YHVH clearly states that the month of the abib is to be the beginning of the new year for the Israelites (Exod 12:2 cp. 13:4), which occurs in the spring just prior to Passover (Lev 23:5). There is no mention here of the seventh month beginning the new year. Between what the Scriptures say in Exodus 12 and 13, and then in chapter 34 compared with what the rabbinic Jews teach, when does the new year begin? YHVH’s word is clear. The calendar year begins in the spring, however, the civil or agricultural year ends and begins again in the fall at Sukkot when the last of the year’s harvest was gathered in, and the new crops are planted. The new civil year (not the biblical calendar year) begins when the autumn rains (in the Scriptures called the “former rains”) would began to fall on the parched land of Israel. These rains would soften the top layer of soil allowing the Israelite farmers to sow (literally, scratch in) their grain into rain-softened soil. This harvest would come into fruition in the spring starting with the barley harvest in the early spring and the wheat harvest in the late spring. 

Exodus 34:24, Neither…desire your land. YHVH promises to protect the Israelites property (and presumably their jobs and sources of income as well) while they are away keeping the three pilgrimage (aliyah) feasts of YHVH.

Exodus 34:25, The Feast of Passover. Passover is a feast or chag like Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles (see notes at Exod 12:14). This is because Passover falls overlaps into the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Exodus 34:29, His face shone. Moses’ face shone after coming from the presence of YHVH bearing the Word of Elohim is a prophetic type of Yeshua, the Word of Elohim incarnate who came to bring the spiritual light of YHVH’s Word to this dark, sin-filled earth of which the idolatrous children of Israel were a prophetic picture (John 1:9).


6 thoughts on “Exodus Chapters 33 to 34—Natan’s Commentary Notes

  1. Natan I noticed your blog is on wordpress.I have just started a blog there also.Please tell me how do you contact their help/ support their forums are not helping me.Thank you

  2. Babylon, the mixture of Elohim’s Word with paganism, is alive not only in Christianity but also in Rabbinic Judaism; the fact that they celebrate the ‘Babylonian New Year’ on Yom Teruah is but one example of this.

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