7/25/2014 by J.A. Brown
With the Messianic/Hebrew Roots movements (or whatever you prefer to call them) rising in prominence, more and more people are beginning to see Torah through a new lens. Now that is not to say that we all see it through the same lens, but with resources abounding today in the form of concordances, lexicons and the mighty Internet, Truth is being spread rather rapidly. People are leaving the Christian “Church” in droves, recognizing that it is an apostate body that has rejected the Commands of YHWH Elohim, and instead chosen the doctrines, philosophies, and commands of men. Yet for the many that are now studying Hebrew and/or keeping Torah, the question often comes up: did Torah exist prior to being given at Mount Sinai? Christian scholars (and even some Jewish ones) are quick to say, ‘no,’ but is there actual evidence within the Torah itself that could refute this? Let’s examine some texts from the Torah to see if maybe, just maybe, Torah was a little more expansive pre-Sinai than we’ve been taught.
A topic that many people avoid, sacrifices are a major part of Scripture. A theme from Genesis through Revelation, we all know at least the basics about sacrifices. Something (or someone) has to die to pay for sin. Sin brings death, according to Romans 5:12, and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23, Ezek. 18:4-20). Yeshua died to be the final sin sacrifice and to pay the penalty for all sin for all time. That’s usually where the buck stops for most people on the issue. They think that prior to Yeshua, mankind offered continual sacrifices for continual sins, but then Yeshua died to end it. But what if I made the claim that prior to Mount Sinai, there was no such thing as a “sin sacrifice” being offered? Sure, you can bring up Abel, and Noah, and Abraham, and Jacob, and so on. But what did they offer? It needs to be understood that different sacrifices are offered for different reasons. I will be writing an article to cover the different kinds of offerings more in depth at a later date, but for now here are the basics. There are (just to name a few) burnt offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings, freewill offerings, and meal offerings (these are not all, just the ones I want to bring up). Each of these are different, and each one is offered for a very specific purpose. Abel offered a minchah (Gen. 4:4), or tribute (gift) offering. This was not done to atone for sin, but rather out of freewill and thanks. Noah built an altar and offered olah (Gen. 8:20), or burnt offerings. These are also not to atone for sin, but rather are meant as an “ascending offering” which was intended to bring the offerer “up” and make him closer to YHWH.
Abraham was going to offer up Isaac his son as an olah (burnt offering) as well, according to the story in Gen. 22. In Genesis 31:54, we are told that Jacob “offered a sacrifice” yet this was a covenant between two men, Jacob and Laban. Note that the Hebrew word used for “offered” and “sacrifice” are both zebach, which simply means a sacrifice OR a slaughtering, such as for food. This was a symbol between two men, and they ate the meat of the slaughtering afterwards. This was still not an atoning, sin sacrifice. In fact, if you look in a simple concordance, you’ll find that the first mention of an actual sacrifice FOR sin is not until after Sinai. So what does this have to do with proving Torah existed PRIOR to Sinai? Just that, in all the examples listed above, how did these men know how to offer a sacrifice? How did they know how to offer a burnt offering, or a gift offering? They had to be told how, right? We know from the incident of the golden calf and Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu that you can’t just go and make an offering to YHWH however you see fit. It MUST be done only in the way that He prescribes. So at the very least, the Torah instructions for burnt offerings and gift offerings existed prior to Sinai, right? I think there is enough proof for that.
It is my personal belief that YHWH Himself taught Adam how to properly sacrifice as the first thing Adam needed to do. Adam was now covered in sin (and shame) and could no longer come before YHWH as he had previously been able to do.
Genesis 3:21 tells us that “YHWH made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.” What skin was this made from? Well, we really don’t know. But I believe it is safe to say that YHWH is not wasteful. Why take skin (the word in Hebrew, ore, literally means “hide”) and waste the animal it came from? No, I believe YHWH clothed them with the animal’s skins, and then showed Adam how to properly sacrifice, not only showing him how to sacrifice an animal in a proper way, but also showing him that death is required to cover sin. In this case, Adam and Eve’s nakedness was a sin, and they needed to be physically covered. But think about it for a moment: why did they need to be covered right then and there? After all, they were husband and wife, and seeing one another’s nakedness is completely fine. There was no one else around yet, because they had not been born. Eve was the mother of all living (cf. Gen. 3:20), so no one else was there yet to be able to see them. Except, of course, for YHWH and perhaps maybe the animals. But remember, the physical teaches the spiritual. Death of the sacrificed animal was required to cover their physical nakedness (shame). In the spiritual sense, death of a sacrifice is also required to cover the spiritual aspect of sin. The important lesson being taught here is that death is required to cover sin. This points directly to Yeshua as our perfect atoning sacrifice.
Torah Stories Surrounding Judah
There are a number of statements made regarding Judah that, when studied in context, give further credence to the idea that the Torah existed prior to being given at Sinai. By Judah, I mean the person who is the patriarch of the Jewish people. First we’ll look at one easily proven, and then we’ll examine one that is implied, but in all fairness may or may not be the case.
Genesis 38:6-11 – “6Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of YHWH. YHWH killed him. 8Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and raise up seed to your brother.” 9Onan knew that the seed would not be his; and it happened, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother. 10The thing which he did was evil in the sight of YHWH, and He killed him also. 11Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, until Shelah, my son, is grown up;” for he said, “Lest he also die, like his brothers.” Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.”
Now this is a rather peculiar story. The firstborn of Judah was evil, so YHWH killed him. The next son of Judah was also evil, so YHWH killed him, too. But notice the phrase Judah uses when he tells Onan, his second son, that he must raise up an heir for his dead brother. He says, “perform the duty of a husband’s brother.”
Now a section of Torah Law (instruction) from Deuteronomy.
Deut. 25:5 – ” 5If brothers dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside to a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in to her, and take her to him as wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her.”
Judah obviously knew that giving Tamar to Onan was not only “proper” but it was Onan’s DUTY. The next section may seem like a bit of a stretch, but please bear with me. It is related to this story.
Now you may or may not put much weight in classical Jewish writings, teachings, and laws. I do not believe that the Talmud was Divinely inspired, yet I do believe there is some truth to it. And I am thankful that at the very least, the Jews have kept pretty good records of how they have done things through the ages. Now that’s not to say it’s all correct, but many of their writings CAN help to fill in a few of the gaps. I also feel this way about a couple of the Apocryphal books, Jasher and Maccabees. Now this is not the time or place to try and build up a defense for these writings, but suffice it to say I believe Maccabees to be an accurate HISTORY book, and the same goes for Jasher. As far as I can tell, there is nothing in either book that contradicts the Torah (or any of the rest of Scripture). I digress.
Jewish commentary and the book of Jasher both refer to Tamar as the daughter of Shem.
Jasher 45:23 – “And in those days Judah went to the house of Shem and took Tamar the daughter of Elam, the son of Shem, for a wife for his first born Er.” Now this could mean that Elam was the son of Shem or, more likely, that Elam was “of the house of Shem” and a few generations later. Either way, it is what it is.
Now Shem was the son of Noah, making him the great-great-great (to a few generations)-grandfather of Judah. So it may seem like Judah giving his great-great-great (whatever)-cousin to his son as wife is…absurd. But remember, Shem lived to be 600 years old, and had many children throughout that time. It is quite possible that Elam was born to Shem late in life, and likewise Tamar born late to Elam or, as I said, that Elam was merely “of the house” of Shem. Remember, people said Yeshua was the “son of David” yet we know David lived MANY generations before Yeshua was born. At any rate, it is still very possible and plausible either way.
These same accounts of Jewish Midrash and the book of Jasher (in 16:11) also state that Shem WAS Melchizadek, the king of Salem [Ancient Jerusalem] and priest of El Elyon (El Most High). Now, this is all to set up the next verse we’re going to read in Genesis. But before reading, here’s a quick summary of what happened following the verses we read above. Judah promised to give his youngest son, Shelah, to Tamar as a husband when Shelah grew up. However, Tamar (probably supposing that Judah was never actually going to give Shelah to her as husband) decided to dress like a prostitute with special garments and a veil over her face to seduce Judah as he walked through the city. Judah’s wife had just died, so it says he sought “comfort” on account of that. Anyway, Judah goes in and lies with Tamar, but does not pay her. She asks for his signet, staff and cords (we’ll come back to this one) as a pledge that he will send payment after returning home. Judah delivers these items and goes home. He then sends her the payment, but she is nowhere to be found, and no one knew that it was her. That brings us up to the verse 24 here.
Genesis 38:24 – “24It happened about three months later, that it was told Judah, saying, ‘Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has played the prostitute; and moreover, behold, she is with child by prostitution.’ Judah said, ‘Bring her forth, and let her be burned.’”
Well that seems rather brutal, doesn’t it? Now remember, Judah did not know that it was Tamar he had slept with. Nevertheless, what is the judgment that Judah pronounces? Does he pronounce that she is to be stoned? Nope. Shot through with an arrow? No. He pronounces that she should be burned. Burning is a very specific punishment given in Torah, and is not given for just any capital offense. But who IS supposed to be burned with fire as a punishment?
Leviticus 21:9 – “9The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the prostitute, she profanes her father: she shall be burned with fire.”
Jewish Midrash along with the book of Jasher both claim that Tamar was the daughter (or granddaughter, or descendant) of Shem. It also says that Shem was the priest known as Melchizadek. So could it be that Tamar was to be burned with fire, because Judah KNEW this commandment to burn the daughter of a priest who plays the prostitute? I believe this is the case. But like I said, Scripture itself never explicitly states that 1) Shem was Melchizadek and 2) Tamar was of the line of Shem. You can choose for yourself.
Next we have the rest of the story as I mentioned above about the staff, signet and cords that Judah gave to Tamar as a pledge. The staff was common for people of that day. It helped with walking/hiking, which they did a lot of, but more importantly it was a necessary tool for shepherding. Genesis 38 states that Judah had a flock of sheep, and in one instance (verse 13) it is said that Judah was going up to shear his sheep. So that explains the staff. What about the signet? Most translators agree this was a signet ring. It was a mark of authority, and it showed Judah’s prominence in the city. Notice that when the men found Tamar to be pregnant by prostitution, they didn’t convene a court; they came and told Judah, and HE got to decide what to do. This shows his place of power. But the third item mentioned is rather peculiar. “Cords” is how most versions of Scripture translate this, though some mistakenly read “bracelets.” The Hebrew word in question is pathil, which is a twisted cord of threads. This specific word is used only a handful of times, and the majority of those times it is used in reference to the twisted blue thread of the priestly garments (cf. Ex. 28:28; 28:37; 39:3; 39:31). However, interestingly enough, it is ALSO used in the following verse in Numbers.
Numbers 15:38 – “38Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them that they should make themselves tassels [lit. tzitzit] on the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put on the tassel of each border a cord of blue.”
The word used to describe the blue cord required for the tzitzit is pathil, the same type of “cord” that Judah had. Interesting how there appears to be evidence of tzitziyot prior to this command given post-Exodus. Remember, all of these instances are JUST from Genesis 38 and the story of Judah and Tamar.
Out of all the proofs of pre-Sinai Torah, the one that is probably the most hotly debated is that of the commands regarding the Feast days. By Feast days, I mean those listed in Leviticus 23. Surely Passover was not kept prior to the exodus from Egypt, right? While it is never explicitly stated so, there are a number of instances where we can infer such. Again, I will say, it is never EXPLICITLY stated; however, it is – in my mind – clearly implied.
Exodus 12:40,41 – “40Now the time that the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41It happened at the end of four hundred thirty years, even the same day it happened, that all the armies of YHWH went out from the land of Egypt.”
So Exodus says that the Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years, right? Yet this seems contradictory to what YHWH Himself told Abraham in Genesis.
Genesis 15:13-16 – “13He said to Abram, ‘Know for sure that your seed will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years. 14I will also judge that nation, whom they will serve. Afterward they will come out with great wealth, 15but you will go to your fathers in peace. You will be buried in a good old age. 16In the fourth generation they will come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full.”
So the prophecy given to Abraham stated that the Israelites would be “afflicted” in a foreign land for 400 years, whereas the account from Exodus says it was 430 years. Could it be that YHWH was simply rounding down to 400? Why would He do that here, and not in every other place? No, YHWH doesn’t need to round up or round down; He is VERY specific. So what is the true understanding of this seemingly contradictory passage? Simply put, that the descendants of Abraham WERE afflicted for 400 years, but the time that they spent in Egypt would span 430. It is not 430 years from the time that Jacob moved into Egypt during the famine; rather, it was 430 years from the time Abraham was given this prophecy to the time the Israelites came out of Egypt. The following is a quote by David Wright of Answers in Genesis:
“When we think of the children or people of Israel we typically think of Jacob, his 12 sons, and their descendants. Remember though, the promise was not made to Jacob, but to Abraham. What Moses is subtly pointing out is that the nation of Israel did not start with Jacob, but with Abraham (Genesis 12:2 reveals that the nation of Israel began with him). Therefore, this passage is including Isaac and Abraham in the nation of Israel. Also, 430 years prior to the exodus is when Abraham first lived in Egypt. There is no contradiction or difficulty. Simply put, the nation was named after Jacob/Israel, but it started with Abraham.”
So the time that Abraham, from being given the promise, until the Exodus, was 430 years. Then what spanned the 400 years that YHWH spoke of? Consider this.
Genesis 12:4 is when Abram was first called, being 75 years old. 25 years later, when he was 100 years old (according to Gen. 21:5) Isaac was born. What could have happened 5 years later that started the 400 years of “affliction”? Well, we’re not told the specific time, but we do know that “after Isaac was weaned” Abraham held a feast. What is notable on this day is that Ishmael, Abraham’s son by his [Egyptian] handmaiden, Hagar, mocked. Now we are not clearly told WHO Ishmael mocked, but it is a fair assumption he mocked either Abraham or, more likely, Isaac. This could be when Isaac was 5 years old, a common time to be weaned in the Ancient Near East. Thus with being mocked (afflicted), the 400 years started, though the 430 years had started 30 years prior, when the promise was first made.
So you’re probably wondering: what was the point of all this? Simply to say, that the day when the Israelites came out of Egypt was the anniversary of when YHWH said “your seed will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs.” That is why Exodus 12 says, “430 years, even THE SAME DAY.” What day did the Israelites come out? On the First Day of Unleavened Bread. What did Abraham do on the anniversary of that day, when YHWH told him they would be “afflicted for four hundred years”? He was making a blood covenant, just like Passover was a blood covenant.
Genesis 15:8-17 details the covenant that YHWH made with Abraham. This covenant is often times called the “Covenant of the Pieces” because Abraham took a heifer, a ram, and goat and cut them in half and laid them open. He also took a turtledove and a pigeon, but these he did not cut in half. These animals were sacrificed in order to form a covenant. Notice, however, that Scripture is very clear that Abraham cut these sacrifices open during the day. On Passover, the lamb is slain in the afternoon. In the evening, the meal is eaten. In the evening, after the setting of the sun, Abraham fell into a deep sleep. That is when YHWH “passed through” the pieces in the form of a “smoking, flaming torch.”
If the covenant being made (taking place by the slaughtering of animals in the afternoon) was on Passover Day, then on the First Day of Unleavened Bread is when YHWH spoke the words to Abraham, since it was after sunset (thus beginning the next Hebraic day). So this is how we get 430 years “to the SAME DAY” as mentioned in Exodus 12. Thus, we see the PATTERN of Passover. We see this again in Abraham’s life.
Genesis 18 gives us some very interesting insights into Passover and Unleavened Bread yet again. Recount, if you will, the Last Supper of Yeshua Messiah. What did He do? Prior to Passover taking place (when He was killed [See article Passover & The Last Supper: Are they the Same? for more on this]) Yeshua washed the feet of His disciples, as a way of serving them. Then, the following day was Passover (when Yeshua was killed) and after that was the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Now let’s look at Genesis 18.
Genesis 18:1-9 – “1YHWH appeared to him [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2He lifted up his eyes and looked, and saw that three men stood opposite him. When he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth, 3and said, ‘My Master, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not go away from Your servant. 4Now let a little water be fetched, wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5I will get a morsel of bread so you can refresh your heart. After that you may go your way, now that you have come to your servant.’ They said, ‘Very well, do as you have said.’ 6Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Quickly prepare three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.’ 7Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a tender and good calf, and gave it to the servant. He hurried to dress it. 8He took butter, milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them. He stood by them under the tree, and they ate.”
So Abraham helped them wash their feet, and then got them bread, along with a meal.
Genesis 18:9-15 – “9They asked him, ‘Where is Sarah, your wife?’ He said, ‘See, in the tent.’ 10He said, ‘I will certainly return to you when the season comes round. Behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.’ Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old will I have pleasure, my master being old also?’ 13YHWH said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “Will I really bear a child, yet I am old?” 14Is anything too hard for YHWH? At the set time I will return to you, when the season comes round, and Sarah will have a son.’ 15Then Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’”
A couple of phrases need to be corrected here. The first is “the season comes round.” This phrase in Hebrew is kaet chai’ya, which LITERALLY means “this time of life.” So when is the “time of life”? Why, the Spring of course! Spring has been known for ages upon ages by virtually every major culture as the “time of life.” It is the time the flowers blossom, and leaves return to the trees. So we can safely say that YHWH said He would return at “Springtime.” What month does Passover take place in? The 1st Hebraic month, called “Aviv.” Aviv means “Green” or “fresh.” It is, again, the time of Spring, the “time of life”!
The second phrase we need to define is “at the set time.” This is all one word in Hebrew, which is the word moed. The plural of this word, moedim, is the word YHWH uses all throughout Leviticus 23 for “appointed times.” The word moed as it is used here is singular, meaning “appointed time.” So YHWH told Abraham that He would return “in the spring” at “the appointed time.” Passover is the first “appointed time” to take place in the Spring! But wait, we’re not done yet.
Let’s have a glance at Genesis 19.
Genesis 19:1-3 – ” 1The two angels came to Sodom at evening. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. Lot saw them, and rose up to meet them. He bowed himself with his face to the earth, 2and he said, “See now, my masters, please turn aside into your servant’s house, stay all night, wash your feet, and you can rise up early, and go on your way.” They said, “No, but we will stay in the street all night.” 3He urged them greatly, and they came in with him, and entered into his house. He made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.”
Yet again, we find that the angels are offered to “wash their feet” prior to eating what? Unleavened Bread! Notice last time, Abraham gave them regular bread. Now we have a time AFTER that incident, and they are being given unleavened bread. Coincidence? I don’t think Scripture contains any coincidences.
So to recap, we have Abraham sharing a meal with the angels, offering them to wash their feet, and having bread with them. Next, they head over to Lot’s house, where they have Unleavened bread. Again, in the Gospels, we are told that Yeshua had a meal and washed the feet of the disciples, then was slain the next day. Following at the next evening started the First Day of Unleavened Bread. So meal, foot-washing, unleavened bread. How interesting.
Lastly, we’ll jump forward to the time the Torah was given from Mount Sinai, and look at another type and shadow that Scripture describes for us in the very DAY that the Torah was given. First, however, a little information. Did you know that the Holy Spirit (Ruach Ha’Qodesh) filled people BEFORE the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts? Indeed, it even filled people BEFORE Yeshua was even born on this earth! Need proof? Here are a few verses (in no particular order) showing people who were “filled with the Holy Spirit” prior to Pentecost (Shavuot) in Acts.
Psalm 51:10,11 – ” 10Create in me a clean heart, O El, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”
Exodus 35:30-34 – ” 30Moses said to the children of Israel, “Behold, YHWH has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31He has filled him with the Spirit of Elohim, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of workmanship; 32and to make skillful works, to work in gold, in silver, in brass, 33in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all kinds of skillful workmanship. 34He has put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.”
Numbers 24:2 – ” 2And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of Elohim came upon him.”
2 Chronicles 24:20 – “20The Spirit of Elohim came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says Elohim, ‘Why do you disobey the commandments of YHWH, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken YHWH, He has also forsaken you.’””
Micah 3:8 – ” 8But as for me, I am full of power of the Spirit of YHWH, and of judgment, and of might, to declare to Jacob his disobedience, and to Israel his sin.”
And let’s not forget John the Baptist [Immerser]:
Luke 1:15 – ” 15″For he will be great in the sight of YHWH; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.”
Also, John’s mother:
Luke 1:41 – ” 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
So how about that, huh? People could be filled with the Spirit BEFORE Pentecost in Acts. So then what changed in Acts? Well, the Spirit was already available, but it was only given to a select few people. Indeed, we find there are many more people in Acts that we are told were filled with the Spirit than there are recorded in the Tanakh [Old Testament]. Even though some WERE, the Spirit was, for lack of a better way to describe it, not fully accessible to all people.
Just to hammer it into the ground and make sure my point is clear, the Spirit WAS available to people back then, but only to a select few, and never to a whole multitude at once. Keep this in mind as we go back in time to the giving of the Torah.
Exodus 19 tells us that “in the third month” the camp of Israel arrived at the base of Mount Sinai. After three days of cleansing and setting themselves apart, YHWH spoke from the Mountain. This day was Shavuot, otherwise known as the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost. The Torah was handed down through Moses on this day. We find a very interesting parallel between Shavuot here in Exodus and the one mentioned in Acts. This is why I said to keep it in mind. You see, the Spirit was available prior to Shavuot in Acts, but only to a few. Torah was available prior to Shavuot in Exodus, but only to a few. Tradition (and the pattern in scripture) shows us that proper teaching and instruction (lit. “Torah”) was passed down through Abraham’s lineage. Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and so on. Indeed, even Jewish tradition teaches that Shem (the son of Noah) was the righteous one, who taught the Torah to his descendants including Abraham. Thus, we find that Torah was being taught, but only to a few. Prior to Acts, the Spirit was poured out on people, but only to a few. After Shavuot at Sinai, Torah was given to a vast multitude all at once! (Remember: Exodus 12 tells us that the Israelite men totaled 600,000, not including women and children). In Acts, the Spirit was given to a vast multitude all at once.
After the giving of the Torah, we find the golden calf incident of Exodus 32. Exodus 32:25-29 tells us that the tribe of Levi (Moses’ own relatives) stood with him, and they slew “about 3,000 men” that day. So after the giving of the Torah, the people rebelled, and 3,000 were met with death.
After the giving of the Spirit, we find the multitudes being cut to the heart by what Peter had said. In Acts 2:41, we are told that “about 3,000 souls were added to them that day.” So after the giving of the Spirit, the people were “cut to the heart” (convicted) and 3,000 were met with new life.
Isn’t the parallel here simply fascinating? I believe this shadow picture helps to solidify the notion that Torah DID exist prior to Sinai; it simply was not given to the vast multitudes yet. Just like how the Spirit ALSO existed prior to Acts 2; it simply was not given to the vast multitudes yet.
Miscellaneous Mentions in Genesis
We find there are still a couple other instances of Torah mentioned in Genesis that seem to really stick out. One involves Noah, and another takes us to Abraham again.
Genesis 7:1,2 – “1YHWH said to Noah, “Come with all of your household into the ship, for I have seen your righteousness before Me in this generation. 2You shall take seven pairs of every clean animal with you, the male and his female. Of the animals that are not clean, take two, the male and his female.”
Here we find that Noah was told to take seven pairs of every “clean” animal. However, this is HUNDREDS of years BEFORE the laws of clean and unclean were given as written in Leviticus 11. Do we have any evidence here in the first few chapters of Genesis that YHWH ever told Noah (or anyone before him) the difference between clean and unclean? No. Yet we know that Noah DID know the difference; how else would he have been able to take the right animals?
Genesis 26 tells of YHWH speaking with Isaac. He reminds Isaac of what Abraham had done, and also that He had made a covenant with Abraham.
Genesis 26:4,5 – “4I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and will give to your seed all these lands. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, 5because Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My requirements, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
Let’s look at these words. YHWH tells Isaac that Abraham kept His voice (what He spoke to Abraham), His requirements (lit. charge), His commandments, His statutes and His “laws.” This word “laws” is torot, the plural of Torah. So we are told that Abraham kept the torot BEFORE the Torah was given!
How is that possible? Because Torah was taught lineally. Passed from generation to generation, father to son, and so on. When the Israelites went into Egypt, they assimilated (their biggest flaw throughout the ages has ALWAYS been assimilation into different cultures and nations). We find proof of this in Ezekiel 20:8, which tells us that they did not forsake the idols of Egypt while living there. So the Israelites had become assimilated. They had mixed in with the pagan Egyptians. This is why they were so quick to make a golden calf as their “fallback” god. After living so long in a pagan-steeped culture, they had forgotten the instructions of their fathers. Indeed, do we find Jacob and his 12 sons worshipping and bowing to idols? Of course not! Yet, within just a couple generations as they multiplied greatly in the land of Egypt, they then began to forget El Shaddai who had made the covenant with their fathers Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham. That is why when YHWH brought them out, He made a covenant with them, and they ALL agreed to it.
Exodus 24:7 – “7He [Moses] took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people, and they said, ‘All that YHWH has spoken will we do, and be obedient.’”
The people agreed to it. This is basically like clicking “I accept” on the page of a website that brings up the “Terms and Conditions.” YHWH was offering to bless, prosper, and protect them. However, the offer was contingent upon the Israelites OBEYING Him. That was their end of the bargain. We find, as time went on (from Judges through the rest of Scripture) that they did not, in fact, obey Him. Rather, they continually disobeyed and walked in their own ways, doing what was right in their own eyes.
It should be enough that we know YHWH does not change. He said so Himself in Malachi 3:6. He does not change, and His Ways do not change. What was wrong 4,000 years ago is STILL wrong. What was unclean 4,000 years ago is STILL unclean. Whatever YHWH declared sin, will it ever be anything but sin? Certainly not! On the other hand, whatever YHWH said was right, will it ever be wrong? Never.
There have been many laws in place from the point of creation onward that no one would argue with. The law of gravity, the laws governing the sun and moon, etc. We do not think of these in the same light, but they are called “laws” even in the secular world, and we know that YHWH created them. I have listed just a handful of examples I have found in my studies of pre-Sinaitic Torah evidence.