Israel's Leaders Confused Having God's Spirit with
Having His Authority
The Quest to Be Like God Gone Awry
God certainly wants mankind to be like Him, after all He made
us in His image (Genesis 1:26). And He did give us dominion over the creatures He created (Genesis 1:28) (though not to eat
them as we can see from the following verse in Genesis 1:29).
In the Sinai Desert
after the Exodus from Egypt, when Moshe was fatigued and complained about his burden (Numbers 11:11), God put Moshe’s
spirit on the 70 elders. When Yehoshua ben Nun heard that Eldad and Medad had prophesied in the camp, he mistakenly encouraged Moshe to arrest them. Moshe’s reply in Numbers 11: 29 indicated God’s intention
for all the nation to attain the level of prophesy.
In the Garden of
Eden, Eve wanted to be like God. Adam edited God’s command (Genesis 2 : 16, 17) so Eve didn’t have the benefit
of the actual law when the Satan, negative inclination or impulse ( Genesis 8:21), or the angel of death, in the form
of the snake challenged her. She thought she wasn’t allowed to touch a tree in the middle of the garden (Genesis 3 :
3) as opposed to not eating of one particular tree. The serpent then said she wouldn’t die (Genesis 3 : 4) and that
her eyes would be open and that she would be like God knowing good and evil.
The theme of being
like God appeared again in Korach’s rebellion in the Sinai Desert. In Numbers 16 the unfolding rebellion revealed the
complaint in Numbers 16 : 3 that Moshe and Aaron lifted themselves above the assembly of the Lord. God’s judgment was
clear. He destroyed all the rebels, but the negative inclination to be like God by virtue of having His authority continued
on and expressed itself in the future.
Israel was intended
to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation not by imitating God’s authorship or by usurping His authority, but by
incorporating His virtues and becoming like Him spiritually. Unfortunately we never reached this dimension of our destiny,
and our failure cost our people dearly.
An episode cited
in the Talmud shows that Israel embarked on a path which negated the rule of Divine Law. The Torah states that a clay oven
in which a dead lizard is found must be destroyed (Leviticus 11:29-33). The Sanhedrin decided that it could be purified. When
Rebbe Eleazar dissented and a voice from heaven reminded them all that Rebbe Eleazar was right, they declared that the Torah
doesn’t come from heaven, but from the earth. This precedent meant that the sages would democratically decide the law
rather than enforce God’s own Divine law. This resulted in Judaism being shaped by men rather than by God. God did not
give rabbis 2000 years ago a mandate to generate substitutions for His written laws. The rabbinical application of democracy
was tantamount to a rebellion against God, but somehow these rabbis did not fear God. Israel now became a nation which believed
it was complying with the Torah and living by God’s law, but was instead living by man made laws fabricated by men who,
no matter how well intended, were still capable of erring. The nation following what they believed were Divine Laws expected
blessings. Instead they received curses which increased in severity. The written Torah warns against altering the written
word (Deuteronomy 4:2; 13:1; and Joshua 1:8; First Kings 2:3). And God holds us responsible for compliance with these laws.
But if the nation believes that the rabbinically presented laws are Divine and that they should be getting blessed, many become
confused, many become disillusioned and many abandon the Torah and God altogether. This is the state of most of the Jewish
people today. Christian clerics of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries were quick to invent their own religion which became Christianity
when Emperor Constantine had them formulate it at the Council of Nicea. Now 2 billion Christians and 12 million Jews are living
a delusion about the veracity of their respective religions. These two peoples as well as a billion or so Muslims believe
their religion is based on the true and genuine will, intentions and words of God.
The purpose of this
article and of Torah universe is to point us back to God’s written Torah
in the hope that we will begin to comply with God’s Laws and recreate a Torah Republic ( rule by God's Law as opposed
to a democracy -ruled by majority) so God will bless us in this critical period in our history. If we embody the
virtues of our Creator we can attain a level of performance which will certainly enable us to be like God and become a partner
in our Father’s business venture – that of transforming the earth into His Kingdom – the prophetic 'olam
habah' which we pray for. We will need to conquer our natural, egoistic drives
and replace them with God's desires so He will have nature do our positive desires.