The Forbidden Recipe and the Special AngelMay 8, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Exodus | 1 Comment
Tags: commentary on Exodus, cruelty to animals, dietary laws, Exodus 23, food preparation, goat, goat milk, Old Testament Law, Sunday School lessons on Exodus
The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.
Why would God not want them to cook a baby goat in its mother’s milk? For one, it was a Canaanite fertility ritual, intended to magically impart extra fertility into the herds and crops, and, therefore, it would be an obviously sinful practice for God’s people.
Second, commentators also believe that such a cooking method would have been evidence of the type of callowness and cruelty that God did not want to see in His people. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly cruel person, nor an animal-hater, but, if you told me that you had prepared some succulent baby goat meat for me, I would probably be looking around for a knife and fork, although I guess the method of preparation does sound somewhat cruel.
Third, some scholars think that God prohibited the practice just because it was a dumb idea for goat herders. Wasting milk, possibly killing a breeding, or future breeding, goat, just so the meat would taste a little better was not forward-thinking enough for people who were supposed to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them by the Lord.
Whichever the case, it does appear in the Covenant Code right before this very important break in the list of laws:
Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
Who is this Angel, Who will make sure they stay in the “way” of God? The wording reminds us of John 14, where Jesus told His disciples He was going away. If this Angel in Exodus 23:20 was in fact a reference to the preincarnate Christ (as many theologians believe), then Jesus brought His people to God’s promised prepared place (Canaan) in the Old Testament, just as He is going to bring us to Heaven, the prepared place, under the New Testament. In the Old Testament He kept them in the “way.” In the New Testament He is also the Way.
There is a counter argument that the “Angel” in Exodus 20:23 could be a special appointed angel like Michael or a cherub or seraph, but I don’t think so.
Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
The statement “obey his voice” reminds us of the words spoken by God the Father from Heaven at Jesus’s baptism, and the words of Mary at the wedding of Cana. The clause “provoke him not” seems to foreshadow Psalm 2:12. The promise that “he will not pardon your transgressions” seems to attribute deity to the Angel, and to whom besides Jesus has God given the authority to pardon transgressions/sins? Finally, the last clause of the verse says “my name is in him,” and certainly only one Person can say that “I and my Father are one.”
But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
This is an early example of the “Christus Victor” motif in Scripture, in which Christ is seen as a warrior – a conquering hero – Who vanquishes His enemies and sets His people free.