By your endurance you will gain your lives.
The episode of the golden calf finds a parallel in the days of the Kings of Israel. In the ninth century B.C.E. Ahab marries the Tyrian princess Jezebel who reintroduces devotion to Baal worship. Before long Israel is deep in apostasy and God sends Elijah the prophet to minister to the wayward Northern Kingdom. Elijah’s efforts culminate to the test on Mt. Carmel where again we have as in the golden calf incident, Israel worshipping a false god in a wild dancing party (Exod. 32; 1 Kings 18).
The events on Mt. Carmel ended a three year drought inflicted on the country through Elijah as an results of their Ba'al worship. Rabbinic historians say that the drought only lasted fourteen months; why then did both Yeshua and James mention that it lasted three and half year (Luke 4:25; James 5:17)? Joseph Fitzmyer explains that the drought lasted fourteen months straddling over a three and half years period, and that this duration of the drought paralleled the length of the period of distress in apocalyptic literature (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 12:6).
In both the golden calf and the Mt Carmel episode we have an impatient people turning to a wild idolatrous party. In the one they wait for Moses to return with the Torah, in the other they wait for the rain (the Hebrew words for ‘rain’ and ‘Torah’ are of the same etymological family). Will it be the same at the end of time? Hear these Words of warning from the Master, For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man (Matt. 24:37-39). Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 24:46-51).
These last 2,000 years of waiting for the return of the Master may seem long, but not as long as to those from whom the revelation of Messiah has been withheld. We have the assurance that, After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him (Hos. 6:2) (a day is as thousand years to the Lord (Psalms 90:4;
2 Pet. 3:8)).
May we patiently wait for him, each day doing our best to follow in his footsteps and shining the light of his Torah to all around us. May he find us and ours doing so at his return.
May it be soon, even in our days!