“They Will Not Believe Me.”

The bush at St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, which monastic tradition identifies as The Burning Bush.

In Exodus chapters 3 and 4 God spoke to Moses through the thorn bush that burned without being consumed.

1 Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” 2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” 3 Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— 5 “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

6 The Lord furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 “If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. 9 But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”  Exodus 4

Moses said repeatedly that the elders of Israel would not believe him. This passage defines the word belief for the rest of the Word of God. As Abraham told the rich man in hades, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”

Josephus, the first century AD Jewish historian, tells the Romans that Moses is their lawgiver.

Belief, the way Moses uses it in Exodus, is a legal term. It is used the same way a jury foreman would use the word when he announces, “we believe the defendant is guilty.” Believe means to examine the evidence and come to a reasoned conclusion. That is way it is used in Exodus.

Modern secularists use the word belief to mean nothing more than a personal opinion. When they ask, “What are your beliefs?” on a subject, they mean nothing more than “What is your opinion?”

But the word Abraham uses when he talks to the rich man in Hades is best translated either persuaded or convinced. Examine the evidence. Be convinced, persuaded. Because if you are not convinced, persuaded by the words of Moses, nothing will convince you to believe.

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