Exodus 24: The Covenant Confirmed

1 Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar.

-Nadab and Abihu are two of Aaron’s sons. These are the same two elder sons who later are killed by God after attempting to offer “strange fire” in Leviticus 10.

2 Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”

-The, again, is symbolic to our current status with God. We have no standing, no matter how much we may try to consecrate ourselves and wash ourselves clean, to come before God. We are not worthy. The priests and elders are allowed to approach closer than the rest of the people because this symbolizes their authority that is given by God. But only Moses is allowed to go all the way up because Moses was chosen by God.

3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” 4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

-Since the Levites have not been segregated off without land yet, one can only assume instead of counting Ephraim and Manasseh separately, Joseph was counted as one tribe encompassing both. Otherwise, it does not make sense why Moses wouldn’t just make 13 but this must be so because there were 12 sons of Jacob/Israel. The only other possibility is Moses had already received instructions that all Levites would be priests and we just haven’t read about it yet.

5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. 6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

-Blood covers over sin. This is why sacrifices were necessary as a payment to cover over sin. This was also pointing to how Jesus was the sacrifice that covers over our sin permanently. The blood was needed to cover over the sin and wash the people clean so that they can be accepted before God.

9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

-We know from John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12 that “no one has ever seen God”, referring to God the Father. So if no one has seen God, How are these 74 men able to see Him and eat and drink with Him? Did they only see His feet? Is this like the nanny from Muppet Babies and you can only see the legs and never the face? I’m not necessarily trying to be funny just trying to describe the image in my head at trying to understand this passage. They seem to clearly see His feet if they can see clear sapphire underneath. But it says “they beheld God” which implies they completely saw Him. Since God is Spirit and the Holy Spirit is a Spirit, then once again, they must have saw the Son of God. But this description seems more than a man if it were Jesus and it does not say an angel. But keep in mind how Jesus is described in Revelation 1:13-16, “and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength”. We must realize that Jesus is not only our bridge and arbiter between God and man in terms of salvation but in a more direct sense in terms of appearance. Even in heaven, we will not see God. Can you imagine this? In all eternity, we will still not see Him face to face. But we will see Jesus Christ face to face, and in this way, we will see the Father. This is in both the literal and the figurative sense.

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

-Its clear from before that while it seems Joshua got to go further than Aaron and the other elders, he did not go all the way and got to be at the mount with God and Moses. God had said “Moses alone” earlier in verse 2 and there is no reason to assume that he broke this command before God by bringing Joshua. Hur was mentioned in Exodus 17 though I had not commented on him. We learn from the genealogies that Hur was of the tribe of Judah and would have likely been around the same age of Moses and one of the elders of Israel. He is the great grandson of Perez, son of Judah. We know from the names of the 70 in Genesis 46 that Perez’ sons Hezron and Hamul are already listed which may suggest Judah and in turn Perez had children exceptionally young to where this line would be one generation ahead of Levi’s. Moses is the great-grandson of Levi but Hur is the great-great grandson of Judah but because of this, they were likely about the same age.

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

-The significance of six days and then being allowed to go fully up the seventh is obvious as it relates to the sabbath. Its possible Joshua was with Moses these six days but then was left behind on the seventh. The number 40 is another number that is seen often in the bible and seems to relate to God’s work. During the flood, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. 40 days is also the amount of time Jesus fasted in the wilderness and was tempted by satan. 40 days is also the amount of time Jesus spent on Earth after His resurrection and before ascension.

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