October 29-nov 28, 1992
This chapter is probably one of the more important in the word of God because it establishes the covenant relationship between God and His elect. Even though this chapter deals particularly with the nation which God had just delivered from bondage in Egypt (Israel), the covenant itself is binding upon all men of all times. Christ did not void this covenant; rather, He enforced it and empowered His elect to keep it. He made this very clear in Mat 5:17-20.
Because fallen man detests any responsibility, many, under the name of Christianity and grace, have removed Matthew from their Bibles. Not only have evil men removed Matthew, but they have reduced the total of the law to just the most obvious and surface of meanings. Christian ministers, with very few exceptions, no longer search for the expanded and deeper meanings of the law of God.
(Someone left a pamphlet on the Church door, 10/24/92, from "The Grace School of the Bible." It was the most blatant division of the word of God I have ever seen. It teaches that the only part of God's word which is for us today is Romans through Philemon. The rest is for another people at another time. Human, sinful nature does not want to be under any kind of obligation, so they "rightly divide the word of truth" into many parts to escape any responsibility.)
See the separate document on the covenant which I took out of this document.
And now the covenant itself was to be inaugurated by sacrifice, the sprinkling of blood, and the sacrificial meal. This transaction was the most important in the whole history of Israel. By this one sacrifice, never renewed, Israel was formally set apart as the people of God; and it lay at the foundation of all the sacrificial worship which followed. Only after it did God institute the Tabernacle, the priesthood, and all its services. Thus this one sacrifice prefigured the one sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ for His Church, which is the ground of our access to God and the foundation of all our worship and service... (Edersheim)
Ex 24:1, 2, the Lord gives unto Moses specific instructions on what to do with the words of the covenant which he had just received. He tells Moses to bring up Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the 70 elders of Israel, but only he (Moses) can ascend near to the Lord; the rest must remain afar off. Furthermore, the Lord specificality forbids the people in general from approaching near unto Himself.
The Lord had just given the terms of the covenant with Himself; He had promised them blessings unspeakable if they would abide by, do what the terms called for (chs 20-23). Now the two parties of the covenant must enter into the agreement, which they do by eating a "covenant meal" together.
But before the people and their God can enter into this covenant, Moses must make some preparation.
 Moses was the mediator of the old covenant (the one which is about to be sealed with the people). Anyone who wanted to approach unto the Lord had to go through him or, after he died, follow his instructions. Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant, opened the way for everyone to approach the Lord through Himself.
 Under the old covenant, the people could not bear to have the Lord speak directly to them; therefore, the people backed off and ask Moses, and latter the priest, to speak for God to them. Jesus the Messiah was God with us, speaking God the Father's words directly to man. This was unheard of under the old covenant.
Vs. 3-8, the preparation.
 Moses returns to the people and gives them all the words (conditions which the Lord established for the people to keep as their side of the covenant) of the covenant which the Lord had given him from 20:22 through 23:33. He left not a thing out: "This is what you are agreeing to in order to obtain the promise of Ex. 19:5, 6." They has already heard the decalogue.
 Notice that the word all is used four times in v. 3. Moses spoke all the words of the Lord unto the people; he did not leave out a thing. Specific mention is made of all the judgments.. (4941 1048) Decision in a case of law, ..plural, of series of decisions in both Ex 21:1 & 24:3, cf. Deut 7:12, &c. In other words, any controversy which came up between people of all classes was to be decided according to the revelation of God in His law, Det 19:17; 25:1.
Controversy, note these passages:
Hosea 4:1, Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
Micah 6:2, Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord's controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the Lord hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.
2 Chronicles 19:8, Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levities and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the Lord, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem.
Jer 25:31, A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord.
The Lord gave a select nation, Israel, the words and conditions of His law telling them how to settle every controversy which might arise between man and man. Furthermore, He tells in His law how to settle disputes between man and Himself. He promises that if this particular nation will follow His laws in all their controversies with man and God, He will bless them above all the nations of the earth. The Lord's blessing is available to every nation under the sun.
Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
 Even after Moses explained the many conditions upon the promise, the people say All the words which the Lord hath said well we do, v. 3.
V. 3, Sin deceives the natural man: "We will do all" they cry. Sinful man places himself with God: "Ye shall be as gods.." He believes he can please God by his actions; he believes he can be as holy as God. Be ye holy as I am holy.., and fallen man believes he can be as holy as God is holy apart from Christ and the grace of God.
Only when man sees he cannot do all the words of the Lord can he be saved, and the Lord here in the giving of these laws is showing man he can not do all. But man hasn't given up yet. In fact, fallen man will not give up hope that he can be like god in holiness and righteousness and wisdom. It usually takes a traumatic experience to force fallen man to turn loose of his false hope.
We will do all the words.. I wonder, was it the excitement of the blessings which they heard proclaimed which were attached by obedience to the law that moved them to make this promise? (Although Hengs points out that this agreement was God working in them to make them agreeable.) People seem to be this way in our day: they don't appear to be able to hear past the blessing part of the word of God; they seem to be totally detached from reality and responsibility. Actually, they do not want to hear anything more.
Notice Det. 28 gives the blessing part of the law first. We want to hear the blessed part, but not the curse part. Example: I went to a fellowship meeting in IL (91) at the invitation of Tom Butler who was saved from our little salvation book. As I sat with three other preachers, one said to another who had preached an encouragement message, "The kind of message you preached is what is needed." Now, I am not against this, but Christians want to spend their time in the blessing part of the law (the sermon on the mount), with no reminder or thought of the cursing part of it. Now certainly, there must be the blessing part proclaimed, and the Lord was the perfect teacher. He proclaimed the proper balance between the blessings and the curses of the law.
 Vs. 4-8, the blood sacrifice takes place between the first agreement of v. 3 and the second agreement of v. 7.
Israel agrees to the first recounting of all the words of the Lord which he had received on the mountain, so that very evening Moses records all the words which he had just spoken to the people that day. He lets the people sleep on what he had said to them that day. Early the next morning he gets up and builds an altar representing and twelve pillars which represented the twelve tribes, all the people.
And he sent young men.. There were so many sacrifices that Moses had young men of the congregation help with the offerings. Accordingly, there would have been a vast amount of blood shed. Moreover, he is going to sprinkle blood on millions of people. How much blood would be required? Only the Lord knows what took place at the foot of the mount in this sealing of the covenant. We do know this: there were many animals slaughtered for the blood. Two points here:
A) Moses was unable to do all the offerings, so he sends young, strong and active young men to assist him. God gives strength of youth to be used under the guidance of the older generation; this is an important point. Notice that as the young man Joshua used his strength under the guidance of Moses, he was exalted by the Lord more and more until finally he was the man in charge. Undoubtedly, this is why the Lord ordained that strength be with youth and wisdom be with age. Thus, as the youth use their strength under the guidance of age, God will exalt them when He is ready.
These young men who acted as servants at this ceremony, could well have been regarded as substitutionary for the whole of the people, and they alone sprinkled with the blood. But this is not the way the text reads.
B) the slaughtering of the animals should have drove home to the people the seriousness of what was going on.
Moses has the offerings prepared and saves the blood from the living sacrifices which he divides into two parts. He takes half of the blood and puts it upon the altar, God's part of the covenant. Then he takes the book which he wrote the day before containing all of the words which he received from the Lord on the mountain (chps 20-23:33), and this time he reads it to all the people. Again, he tells the people what God will require of them in order to obtain the promise of 19:5, 6 if they enter into this covenant, as well as what will happen if they don't keep His requirements.
 Notice that the offering is called a peace offering, v. 5. It was the blood of oxen which bought peace here. Under Christ, it is His blood which purchases our peace with God.
V. 7, they swear again that they will do all of the words of the Lord. It is amazing how anyone could turn down the grace of God after seeing the holiness, justice, righteousness, power and majesty at work before their eyes as these people saw on the mount, but these people (who had fled from the holiness of God in ch 19) say that they will do everything.
The natural man feels it is easy to obey and please the Lord. Only God's Spirit can give the proper humility and attitude toward the word of God.
On the other hand, we cannot say that because of the grace of God I am not or don't want to be under these laws. Because we already are. The precepts are in effect regardless of whether or not they are written down and we read them; they went into effect at creation. God's standard of righteousness has always existed from eternity past. Although God doesn't lay anything out in these verses that wasn't already 'built into' man, man's corrupt nature kept (keeps) him from knowing many of these things are sin. This is why we must have divine revelation.
V. 8, Moses then takes the other half of the blood and sprinkles it on the people, and thus the people entered into a covenant of blood with the Lord God. (Sprinkle.. would refer to dipping the hyssop into the blood and swinging it toward the alter or over the people.)
God had given them the promise, 19:5, 6. The people said, "we want it." Then God explained twice what the requirements would be in order to obtain that promise, and the people accept the requirements. The covenant was then sealed with the blood of the sacrifice. The people agreed to the conditions to obtain the promise, as well as agreed to the results if they did not keep the conditions. (Cf. 20:5; 23:20-23.)
Observe these points about The Blood, one of the most important points in Scripture, Hebrews 9:22.
[The text below will be found in almost its entirety in the documents on the Covenant and on Infant Baptism.]
1) the covenant was not in effect until the death of the sacrifice and the blood shed, cf. Heb. 9:16-28. The new covenant was not in effect until the death of the sacrifice and the blood shed. Also, Moses wrote the law of the covenant in a book. Under the new covenant, the same law is written in the heart, Heb. 8:10. Both had to be sealed with blood before they were in effect. (The following point from my study of the covenant.)
The significance of the blood in the Old Testament
"The shedding of Blood" was necessary to the validity of any covenant between tribes or individuals. The rite of blood signifies the exchange of blood on the part of the contracting parties, and therefore the establishment of physical affinity between them. An alliance based on blood-relationship was inviolable. (ISBE, p 675.)
The division of the blood had reference to the two parties to the covenant, who were to be brought by the covenant into a living unity; but it had no connection whatever with the heathen customs... (Pagan custom mingled the blood of the two parties together. Keil, vol I, pg. 158.)
Keil gives these further reasons for the blood:
A) a pure life for the impure life of the offerer, and thus restoring fellowship between the pure God and the impure offerer through the expiation (atonement, satisfaction) of sin.
B) the sacrificial blood signified the principle of the divine power and grace communicated to the people through the sprinkling of the blood, foreshadowing Christ.
C) the one blood divided between the two, the alter of the Lord and the people, signified unity between the Lord and His people.
D) "In the blood sprinkled upon the alter and then the people, the natural life of the people was given up to God, as a life that had passed through death, to be pervaded by His grace; and then through the sprinkling upon the people it was restored to them again, as a life renewed by the grace of God."
E) the blood united Israel and its God, transposed Israel into the kingdom of God, "in which it was filled with the powers of God's spirit of grace, and sanctified into a kingdom of priests, a holy nation of Jehovah."
Blood spoke of life, and was regarded very highly by the ancients. Thus, in the ancient world before Christ, there could be no binding of two parties pagan or otherwise without the use of blood in some form or another. Accordingly, even though the significant has been totally lost to us in the "Christian" Western culture, what Moses did in regard to blood at God's instruction in Exodus 24, was very obvious to Israel. They realized precisely what was going on with the shedding of the blood. I suppose it would be similar to signing our name on a contract today. (See baptism doc for a little more on blood and circumcision.)
The significant of blood in the New Testament
We need to look at the NT to understand the significant of the covenant mediated by Moses between the God of Israel and Israel.
The Book of Hebrews was written to compare and point out the difference between the old covenant and the new. In He 9:1-10 we see that the old covenant required many separations between the people and their God. He was "in the tabernacle's Holy of Hollies" and could only be approached through a priest, the blood of a sacrifice, and then only once a year by the priest.
1) Hebrews 9:9, all the carnal ordinances (rites, rituals,
ceremonies, including the sprinkling of the blood on the alter)
required under the first covenant could not satisfy the conscience.
2) 10:22, the second covenant (or New Covenant), which the first foreshadowed, provides the sacrifice of Christ and the shedding of His blood.
3) 9:10, the true reformation was the sacrifice of Christ which did away with the old offerings &c.
Heb 9:11ff: Everything required to approach the Holy Heavenly Father prefigured Christ and what He would do. The purpose of Christ was to deal with the heart. Christ, as High Priest, offered up Himself as the sacrifice for sin; He then took the blood of that sacrifice, His own blood, and sprinkled it on the alter before the Heavenly Father. The other half of His blood, He sprinkled on the hearts of His people, thus, purifying and cleansing their hearts and conscience, v. 14.
As a parenthesis, let us mention a few words about the temple
V. 11, even His body was prefigured by the tabernacle of the Old Covenant.
Mat 12:6, But I say unto you, That in this place is [one] greater than the temple. Mark 14:58, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. Mat 26:61, And said, This [fellow] said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. John 2:19-21, Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.
Obviously, according to these passages, particularly Heb 9:11, Christ's body (which is now the Church) is the only greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; it is His body which Ezekiel (chapter 40ff) describes as the new temple for the people of God (Christ built Ezekiel's temple). Thus, the old temple made with hands was replaced with the new temple made without hands, 1 Cor 3:16, 17, 19. See also, 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21; Rev 3:12; 11:1, 2, 19; 21:22, &c.
Back to our text:
Heb 9:18-22 refers to Exodus 24 where Moses sprinkled the blood of the peace offering upon the people, the book of the law and the instruments of the ministry (ministry of mediation between God and His people). Paul makes a clear distinction here between the Old and New Covenant. The Old only affected the outside as the blood was sprinkled on the outside of the people of God; whereas, the New affects the heart, the conscience, because it is sprinkled on the inside of the people of God by the Spirit of God upon regeneration.
Heb 9:23-25, the ordinance given to Moses which consisted of purifying all things by sprinkling them with blood, was only a figure of the true sprinkling which Christ would do with His own blood many hundreds of years latter.
Heb 9:26, although this is not really in our study at this point, we will make a note of this while we are here: the end of the world.., 9:26. The context of this phrase here and in 1 Cor 10:11 (cf. Gal 4:4; Eph 1:10) requires that this end of the world must refer to the end of the old Hebrew world, ie. the world of the old covenant, He 8:13.
Heb 9:27, 28, one death, one judgment, one offering for sin and a second appearing.
Back to our text:
Observe: There are actually two laws of the covenant referred to by the NT authors, and the context of the usage will make clear which is being referred to: 1) the method of approach to the God of the covenant (carnal ordinances), 2) the actual law of the covenant (ten commandments).
He 10:1-6, the law must be the law of 9:10; 10:8, ie. carnal ordinances &c., which could not deal with the heart or conscience; therefore, the law of the Old Covenant (carnal ordinances &c) could not purge the conscience of sins, v. 2. In fact, v. 3, rather than the law cleansing the conscience of sins, it only brought to remembrance again those past sins. If the law (carnal ordinances) of the Old Covenant could have solved the problem of the heart and conscience, if obedience to the law (the carnal ordinances) would have pleased the Heavenly Father, there would have been no need of Christ and the New Covenant, He 10:4-7.
(Note that the primary purpose of circumcision was to remind the people of covenant-responsibilities. Therefore, circumcision would not remind the people of how holy they were; rather, it would remind them of how short they were of their responsibilities. The problem which Christ confronted during His earthly ministry was over the fact that the religious leaders looked as circumcision as the mark of their holiness, covenant-faithfulness. Christ called them whited sepulchers full of dead men's bones. How many today look upon some outward visible sign as the proof of their holiness?)
Heb 10:7 Everything in the volume of the book spoke of the work of Christ, and thus the insufficiency to the law (carnal ordinances as well as the commandments). Note that Christ did indeed replace (fulfilled) the whole of the law: he replaced everything that spoke of His sacrificial death and payment for the sins of His people, He 9:10 & 10:8. Everything spoke of:
(a) Christ doing the will of the Father. V. 9, the Father's will was that Christ take away the first law of the covenant (ie. carnal ordinances) that He might establish the second with the sacrifice of His own body and blood, v. 10.
(b) His priestly function of offering the sacrifice before the Father for His people, vs. 11, 12. Notice that His sacrifice established Him at the right hand of the Father in the position of all power and glory. He will remain there till his enemies be made his footstool. This is in accord with the eternal covenant between the Father and the Son.
(c) making His people perfect forever, v. 14. This perfection is dealing with the heart and conscience of His people as His Spirit writes His laws, the ten commandments, upon their hearts and forever separates their the guilt of their sins from them, v. 16, 17. Thus, there is no need for further offerings for the sins of His people because they are forever remitted, v. 18.
(4) the one time offering of Christ and the remission of the sins (contrasted with the covering of sins under the old law of the covenant, and its carnal ordinances) of His people gives them boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, the new and living way. His people can now draw near to the Father with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water, v. 22.
He 10:8ff, clearly the authour of Hebrews in this passage is not talking of the ten commandments; rather, he is talking of the carnal ordinances which were required under the Old Covenant for covering one's sin and approach to the Holy Heavenly Father in the old tabernacle (v. 20). The New Covenant consists of 1) placing the law of the covenant upon the heart (the ten commandments) which the Old did not, and 2) assuring the conscience of remission of sins, 8:10 & 10:16ff. Thus, the New Covenant, Christ, provides boldness to enter into the very presence of God which was forbidden under the Old. Heb 10:23ff, not only is the author of Hebrews dealing with the law which governs the conscience (carnal ordinances), he is also dealing with the ten commandments; when we sin willfully (presumptuously, v. 26), there is no sacrifice which can clear the conscience. (I am sure we can safely add, continually sin willfully. This understanding alone would satisfy the total of Scripture. Cf. Num 15:30 & 1 Jn 3:4)
(from Covenant document to here. See that document for more of this.)
The above gives us the first and most important point about this passage: the sprinkling of the blood upon the people prefigured the work of Christ and His shed blood sprinkled upon the hearts of His people through faith. This offering and sprinkling can be viewed no other way without denying the purpose of the shed blood of Christ, Heb 9:18ff. It was only through the shed blood sprinkled upon the people that these elders representing the whole of the people, could ascend into the presence of the Lord God of Israel. It all spoke of the coming work of Christ.
The OT washings and sprinklings spoke of the work of Christ, His shed blood which washes us from our sins. See Washings.. Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5; Heb 9:10 and Sprinkling.. He 9, 10, 11, 12 & 1 Pet 1:2. These passages clearly tell us that the OT washings and sprinklings spoke of the blood of Christ sprinkled upon the heart of the believer. Furthermore, circumcision spoke of a covenant of blood. The new covenant is sealed by the blood of Christ, thereby doing away with all the OT rites and rituals which spoke of the Work of Christ.
(We cover the use of blood in the covenant and the washings and sprinklings in my document on the covenant and on baptism. See there for further detail.)
The covenant: God had said, "Do this and I'll bless you and you will live and prosper. Fail to do this, or do this over here, and you will have My wrath and judgment against you. You will die at the hands of disease and the sword, as well as captivity." The people said, "We agree to that" and it was sealed in blood. All the rest of the law expands upon this basic law as given in Ex. 20-23:33.
V. 4, pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. V. 8, he sprinkled it on the people.. There is an implication that he sprinkled the blood upon the 12 pillars which represented the people, doing it all within the sight and understanding of the people.
[Vv. 3-8 cont., point 6] The covenant was binding upon the people whether they agreed or not, Lev. 25:42, 55; 26:13. They were bought and paid for servants of God; therefore, the people were obligated to follow the terms of the covenant whether they agreed to or not.
In Exodus 25, God continues with the requirements needed to approach Himself, the blood sacrifice. The blood would remind Him of His side of the promise or covenant as they kept their hearts right and sins confessed. These rites and rituals which were required to approach Him were very rigorous, costly, time consuming, detailed and binding. They all pointed to the work of Christ and were done away with in Him, Heb. 8, 9.
 The covenant made in Ex. 24:3-8 was renewed in the land of Moab, just before they went into Canaan. Notice especially Deut. 28:58-68 and 30:18-30.
Joshua renewed it, pointing out God's holy requirements to these people again; again they said, "We will do it all," 23:2 - 24:28, 24:21. [I believe we will find that in every case, it is a promise by God that if they will obey and serve Him and Him alone, He will bless them abundantly; if they grow indifferent to the Lord their God and serve the gods around them, then they will have the Lord God's hand against them. The people agree to this every time, as they do in Joshua.]
Exodus 24:9-11, the people and God.
 We know that they did not see any similitude of God; they only heard His voice and saw what we have recorded here, Deut 4:15
 Notice who went up onto the mountain with Moses at the Lord's command: Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel.
A) Nadab & Abihu: in Lev 10, these two men offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
Strange... 2114, twot-541, It is used for some action strange to the law.. The basic thought is of non-acquaintance or non-relatedness. The feminine form, "The Strange Woman," often in Prov is the adulteress. Webster (1828), The primary sense of the root tran, is to depart, to proceed. Thus basically, strange would define anything which departs from the norm. Men consider others strange who depart from the norm of human behavior; God considers others strange who depart from the norm of God's behavior as revealed in His law.
(a) first and primary, fallen man thinks someone is strange when that person acts contrary to the norm for fallen man. This leaves society open to all sorts of oppression when it is controlled by unregenerate men. They will pass laws against and move against those they consider strange. And of course, the faithful Christian will be considered strange.
(b) equally as obvious is the fact that anything which takes place contrary to the revealed law of God is strange.. "Strangeness" is in terms of the law of God. Thus, the strange woman in Proverbs; she acts in a way contrary to the law of God.
(c) we can easily follow this through into every area. Nadab & Abihu offered strange fire before the Lord by, in some way or another, making the required sacrifice in a way which was contrary to the revelation of God. They sought to enter into the presence of God in a way unauthorized by God. How many people, both believers and unbelievers, are making the same attempt today? The result will be the same as it was for Nadab & Abihu: death. Maybe not as quick, but just as sure.
These young men offered a fire before the Lord which was contrary to His law. I believe that we can safely assume that as a result of their experience in Exodus 24 in seeing the glory of God, they became presumptuously bold and familiar with the Lord. "We saw God on the mount; we know more about God than the people do; therefore, we feel it is alright to do it this way instead of the way commanded by God's law."
(d) the work of Christ provides boldness to enter into the presence of The Holy Heavenly Father, but His work does not give one authorization to violate the established laws of God. (Boldness.. see the Covenant study.)
B) Seventy of the elders of Israel: From what I understand, the Hebrews from this time on traced the tradition of the elders back to this time on the mount with Moses. They held (and the Jewish religion today holds this for themselves also) that these elders were given special revelations from God which were not written down. [Documentation: the video film, The Other Israel.] This idea about the elders would correspond with the situation with Nadab & Abihu; as a result of seeing the glory of God, they saw themselves above the law.
(However, when Moses went to Israel in Egypt, they already had elders in places of authority. We do not know how many elders there were, but we do know that Moses called them together.)
(a) seventy.. The number 70 is of no mean significance: According to Bullinger, (Number in Scripture) it is a combination of two perfect numbers, seven and ten. (As 17 is a combination of these two numbers.) Seven is the number of spiritual perfection; ten of ordinal perfection, or the perfection of Divine order. The system of calculation called "decimals," revolves around the number 10. "Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete." 70, "As compared with the sum of two numbers, the product exhibits the significance of each in an intensified form. Hence 7x10 signifies perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance. Both spirit and order are greatly emphasized."
(1) There are 70 nations listed from the sons of Noah, Gen 10.
(2) Abraham went into Egypt with 70 souls, Ex 1:5.
(3) The Lord calls 70 men of the elders of Israel unto Himself upon the mount.
(4) The Lord Jesus sent 70 disciples out, Lk 10.
(5) Jerusalem kept its sabbaths by 70 years of Judah's captivity in Babylon, Jer 35:11.
(6) 70x7 were determined upon Jerusalem to complete its transgression, and bring in everlasting righteousness for it, Dan 9:24. Of course, that everlasting righteousness was Christ.
(b) seventy.. This is an obvious reference to the Lord's choosing seventy out of Israel to follow Him while He walked here on this earth hundreds of years latter, Luke 10. The reason the Lord chose them was to go bear witness to the nation of Israel. Of course, the nation rejected the witness and crucified Him, and then the gospel went to the whole world. Note v. 17: the seventy returned rejoicing that even the devils were subject unto them through the name of Christ. The devils were subject, but Israel was not. Consequently, unless God opens eyes of individuals, they will be harder than the devils themselves.
Likewise, the nation of Israel rejected the witness of the seventy in Exodus 24 and build the calf.
It is indisputable that the Lord built and is building His kingdom on earth based upon "seventy."
(c) special "revelations" of God, including "special gifts" from God, result in special responsibility before God. No doubt this is why Nadab & Abihu met such a sudden and sure death for departing from the law of the Lord in their sacrifice. After all, had they not seen the very glory of God, yet they still tried to serve Him in the office into which they were placed by God in a manner which seemed best to them.
C) Aaron is also with the party which ascends up to the Lord.
(a) Hur also went up to meet the Lord. Evidently, he is the servant of Aaron. Just as Joshua, Moses' servant, is not mentioned in 24:9, neither is Hur mentioned until v. 14.
D) of course, Moses and his servant Joshua went up.
 V. 10, the people had to ascend to the Lord; the Lord did not descend to the level of the people.
A) The Lord came down to the mountain, thereby placing Himself within their reach. He had to come down to the level where man could understand and commune with Him, but He could not come down yet all the way to the level of man.
B) The peace offering is made and now the people can go up to the level of the Lord on the mountain, but there still is not the direct contact and free access with the Lord. Moses still had to mediate between the Lord and His people.
C) After the sacrifices and the tabernacle are established, the Lord is able to dwell among the nation, but He still dwells not, in general, within His people.
D) Man cannot ascend into heaven, nor can man bring God down to his level; therefore, the Lord must make the preparation for communion with Himself.
Application: all modern efforts to lower the Lord in any way to the level of fallen man is totally unscriptural and anti-christ. Those efforts are an abomination to the Lord and have His wrath against them as sure as it was against Nadab and Abihu. Death is the result of trying to reduce the Lord to the level of man. The work of the Spirit of God is to bring man to the level of God. Note Rom 8:29: the work of the Spirit is to form Christ in the individual believer; the work of the Spirit is not to form God in the image of the individual.
PROBLEM WITH THE MODERN VERSIONS: THEY ATTEMPT TO BRING GOD DOWN TO MAN, NOT MAN TO GOD.
 Notice what they saw, v. 10: they saw God.. What did they see? Only they and the Lord knows what they saw. We do know though that what they saw had to be within the limits of 33:20-23. It was in some form of manifestation which the human eye could see the divine form. Ezekiel saw the likeness of a man, so maybe they saw something similar, Ez 1:26. If they did see a person, that person would have been the same Person Abraham saw in the plain and Joshua saw when he first went into the land of Canaan: a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. My Bible marg gives Mat 17:2 & Rev 4:3 as cross references.
 V. 11, he laid not his hand.. Vs. 5-8, the peace offering has been made, the blood shed and offered before God, and now these men can safely approach the God of Israel (Jesus Christ).
 V. 11, did eat and drink. The elders, as the representatives of the people of Israel, eat and drink before the Lord. This meal would have been a covenant-meal eaten by the two parties to seal the covenant. The meat came from the peace offering which had just been made.
1) They "received in this covenant meal a foretaste of the precious and glorious gifts with which God would endow and refresh His redeemed people in His kingdom." (Keil) "Thus 'to see God, and to eat and drink,' was a foretaste and a pledge of the perfect blessedness in beholding Him hereafter. It was also a symbol and a type of what shall be realized when, as the Alleluia of the 'great multitude' proclaims the reign of the 'Lord God omnipotent,' the gladsome, joyous bride of the Lamb now made ready for the marriage, and adorned with bridal garments, hears the welcome sound summoning her to 'the marriage supper of the lamb.'" (Edersheim)
2) They receive in this meal, continues Keil, "a tangible pledge of the glory of the goal that was set before" them.
3) "The sight of the God of Israel was a foretaste of the blessedness of the sight of God in eternity, and the covenant meal upon the mountain before the face of God was a type of the marriage supper of the Lamb, to which the Lord will call, and at which He will present His perfected Church in the day of the full revelation of His glory (Rev. xix. 7-9)."
Exodus 24:12-18, the Lord and Moses.
Now that God had set apart His reconciled people unto Himself, it was necessary to have some definite place where He wold meet with, and dwell among them, as also to appoint the means by which they should approach Him, and the manner in which He would manifest Himself to them. To reveal all this, as well as to give those "tables of stone," on which the commandments were graven, God now called Moses once more "up into the mount." Edersheim
After the meal, evidently all parties return to the camp. Then the Lord speaks further to Moses out of His visible glory upon the mountain and tells him to come up to Himself on the mountain top, and the Lord will give to him the commandments which He had written upon the tables of stone. When Moses departs, he leaves Aaron and Hur in charge (if any have any problems which cannot be resolved, then they come to Aaron and Hur because Moses will be in the mount with the Lord.) Moses takes his minister, Joshua, with him, and ascends back up the mount to meet with the Lord.
The glory of the Lord covered the mount with a cloud, and, evidently, Moses and Joshua had to wait another six days before ascending on into the presence of the Lord. Moses remained before the Lord in the mount for 40 days, counting the initial 6 days.
 Notice where the word of God was. The Lord already had the law written on the tables of stone. He calls Moses up to get the tables. Thus, the law of God was established in the heavens long before man was even created. Heaven and earth will pass away before the word of God passes away. Matthew 24:35. The only way that man can receive or understand it is if God gives it to him.
 Notice the tables of stone, signify the hardness of men's hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:1-5. God giving these tables to Moses show us that the only way man can receive and understand God's word is if the Lord gives to him that understanding. The promise in 2 Corinthians is that understanding will be given through Christ.
V. 12, the tables of stone signify "the hardness of our hearts, unless God writes his laws in it by his Spirit, Jer 31:33, Eze 11:19, 2Co 3:3, He 8:10,10:16." Geneva
 Notice Moses' mountain top experience. It was like no man ever had, but notice the purpose of that experience. It was not for his own edification. Rather, it was to equipt him in God's service. There he received the law and further revelation from God for instructing the people of God.
It is a poor rapture that does not come down upon legislation with a new force, a firmer grip, and a deeper conception of its moral solemnity. Know whether you have been with God upon the mount by knowing how much law you have brought back with you; and when you would read the law, read it after you have been long days and nights with the Lawgiver. Parker. (He goes on to point out that the law has not been rightly read if it results in harsh stern words. The law, rightly read, will create grief over its violation. "In the name of righteousness, holiness, tenderness, beauty, harmony, music, truth, do not on the one hand, and do on the other.")
Thus, "Mountain Top" experiences from God have purpose: they are to better equip us for His service. Experiences which do not give a firmer grip on and understanding of God's law-word, more love for His law-word, more of a desire to obey, serve and please Him according to His word, and make us more effective in God's service, are not from the Lord.
 Notice the nature of the service for which the experience equipped Moses: He was to take the tables back and teach to the people what the Lord had written. Though God's law is written down, teachers are needed to instruct the people of God in the law. Romans 10:14-21.
 Notice Moses' minister. Joshua, Moses' minister.. This is our second encounter with this young man. Exodus 33:11. He is one of my "more favorite" Bible characters. We first meet in the battle against Amalek, leading God's army into battle. In Numbers 14, we find him as a faithful spy into the land of Canaan. Here Joshua is mentioned in passing as the minister of Moses. We hear of him a few more times until finally he is placed in charge of the whole nation, as he is the one who brings it into Canaan.
Observe: very few people can be a "Moses," but everyone can be a "Joshua." Joshua was a person who served the Lord the best he could. He was not afraid of humility, hard work and discipline under another's authority. Here he is a faithful servant of Moses. As we follow Joshua, we see that as he faithfully does his best with the responsibilities given him, the Lord gives him more responsibility until finally he is given the whole nation. "Joshua" is within reach of everyone who wants to serve the Lord.
(I am reminded of the little children's song, "Dare to be a Daniel." I think a more needed song is, "Dare to be a Joshua." Christianity desperately needs people who will humbly and faithfully do what needs to be done where they are, and not where they wish they were.)
 Note the marvelous sight of the glory of the Lord is described in v. 17. Apparently, this lasted the full 40 days. In chapter 32, the people decide that Moses' delay in returning means that he is not coming back, so they prevail upon Aaron to build the golden calf.
Man's natural hardness without the spirit of God is unbelievable: the mount is burning like a devouring fire in the eyes of the children of Israel, but they build a calf anyway. They build the calf in the light of the fire of God's glory. They use the glory of the Lord to pursue their own evil desires.
Sin knows no limits nor restrictions. Without the work of Christ in the heart, man is capable of anything any place. Many times, we stand amazed at the hardness and blindness of many around us. Here we see that fallen man is unbelievable hard and blind. Even though Israel had the name of the Lord upon them, they still used the glory of God to pursue their own evil desires.
The Lord is compared to a fire several times:
To the believer, he is compared to a fire that burns away the dross.
To those who are in sin, he is compared to a devouring fire against evil,
Hebrews 10:26, 12:28.
He is also a fire against his enemies, who are the enemies of his church.
 Notice that Moses did not depart without leaving someone in charge, v. 14. Some did have matters in chapter 32; they came to Aaron and Aaron helped them build a calf.
A) Aaron: Obviously, Moses was the stronger of the two, and Aaron was very easily influenced by others. Moses stood alone (Joshua was always by his side) against millions of rebellious people; Aaron was swayed by anyone who was stronger than himself. In fact, his sister swayed him against Moses.
B) The golden calf: We will see more when we get there, but here we should mention this strange situation. Even though Aaron took part in (leader?) the building of the golden calf, he died, along with Moses, for striking the rock, Numbers 20:12.
Here we are shown that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. We are held accountable according to the talents which He has given us. He gave Moses a character which could not be swayed, so Moses is held more strictly accountable (and given more responsibility). Miriam also had a very strong personality, so she alone (and not Aaron) came down with leprosy even though Aaron joined with her in her rebellion against Moses. Moses seems to have understood Aaron's weakness. On the other hand, Aaron had a character which was easily swayed. Therefore, the Lord and Moses seem to be more tolerant of him. Regardless, they both died for the same offence: striking the rock.
We also see here that part of our responsibility is being responsible to find some one to fulfill those responsibilities God has assigned to us if we are unable to do it, or if we have to leave for some reason.
 Notice that Joshua must also have went up a ways with Moses, v. 14. Moses did not come down until chapter 32, and in 32:17, Joshua is mentioned as being with Moses again. Evidently, Joshua ascended up with Moses a certain distance and then waited for Moses to come down.
 Notece the number forty, v. 18. Moses did not come down for 40 days, which means that Joshua stayed up on the mountain by himself for the same 40 days.
Joshua stayed there with no encouragement from anyone. He was faithful to the command of another. Furthermore, even being alone he remained faithful to Moses' command for 40 days.
Without complaint, Joshua waited for Moses 40 days. Could we? Can we wait upon the Lord 40 days? Most of us cannot. It is said that it takes 40 times (once a day for 40 days) for something to become a habit. Can we stick out the forty days?
 The devouring fire on the top of the mount was obviously for the people's sake. The first time Moses met the Lord up here on this mount, it was in the burning bush and a still small voice. The still small voice was enough to cause Moses to follow the Lord faithfully for the next 40 years, but the devouring fire was not enough to get the people to follow the Lord for 40 days (they built the calf).
What was the difference between Moses and the people? Paul quotes Exodus 33:19 in Romans 9:15.
Observe Exodus 33:19:
A) In Exodus 32, while Moses was on the mount, the people persuaded Aaron to build the golden calf. The Lord tells Moses to get down and straighten out the mess which the people are now in.
B) Exodus 33, the Lord promises again to take this rebellious people into Canaan, but Moses seems to have lost confidence that the Lord can indeed do it with these people, v. 12.
C) Moses asks the Lord for assurance that the Lord will indeed fulfill the promise of taking the people into the promised land.
D) In response, the Lord promises to reveal His glory to Moses, and He does, v. 22.
E) The key is in v. 19, And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. Romans 9:15, For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
We find some other passages concerning this "problem" in Hebrews where we are told that the people could not enter in because of lack of faith, 3:19. The reason they lacked faith is because the Lord did not give it to them, He 4. Furthermore, all of these things happened to them for our example, 1 Cor 10:11, Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
We will not peruse the thought of God's sovereignty at this time, so let it suffice to say this: According to God's eternal purpose and plan, it pleased Him to give Moses a receptive heart so all it took to call him to continual faithful service was a gently voice at the bush. On the other hand, it pleased God not to give the people an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear at this time, Deut 29:4.
Even though it served God's purpose to not open their eyes at this time, the people were still responsible for their hardness in sin, and they died for it. As Paul says in Romans 9: if the Lord chooses to leave one in their hardness in sin and holds them responsible for their sin, who can question Him? Who can say to the Lord, "What doest Thou" because He does not chose to call someone out of their hardness and the results of their hardness?
Obviously, no one. All we can do is praise the Lord that He saw fit to draw us out of our hardness in sin.
 until we.. Moses and Joshua. The passage reads as though Joshua also went up into the mountain with Moses. Moses did not come down until chapter 32, and in 32:17, Joshua is mentioned as being with Moses again. Evidently, Joshua ascended up with Moses a certain distance and then waited for Moses to come down. Moses did not come down for 40 days, which means that Joshua stayed up on the mountain by himself for the same 40 days.
A) There is an extremely good point in this: Joshua stayed there with no encouragement from anyone. He was faithful to the command of another, Moses. Furthermore, even being alone he remained faithful to Moses' command for 40 days.
B) Joshua's faithfulness to his responsibility to Moses is astounding: he waited for Moses 40 days with no complaint. Could we? Can we wait upon the Lord 40 days? Most Christians cannot. It is said that it takes 40 times (once a day for 40 days) for something to become a habit. Can we stick out the forty days?
 forty days and forty nights. We need to consider this number forty for a moment before we leave this chapter. Bullinger (1894) says here:
FORTY has long been universally recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence, and the uniformity of its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement-(not judgment, like the number 9, which stands in connection with the punishment of enemies, but the chastisement of sons, and of a covenant people). It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). This is certainly the case where forty relates to a period of evident probation. But where it relates to enlarged dominion, or to renewed or extended rule, then it does so in virtue of its factors 4 and 10, and in harmony with their signification.
There are 15 such periods which appear on the surface of the Scriptures, and which may be classified:- (Numbers in Scripture, pg. 266, 7.)
Keil concludes his thoughts on Ex 24 with:
In all these cases [where 40 is used] the number refers to a period of temptation, of the trial of faith, as well as to a period of the strengthening of faith through the miraculous support bestowed by God.
Observe: We think of this 40 days as being for Moses' benefit, and it may well have been, but there is much more to it than Moses. Every place the number 40 is used, it refers to a period of temptation, a period of the trial of faith. It refers to a period of the strengthening of faith through the miraculous supporting grace of God, e.g., it rained forty days and forty nights, Genesis 7, 40 days after the ark rested upon the mountain, Noah sent forth the raven, Genesis 8, and Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness:
A) 40 days and nights: would Joshua be found faithful to his God and to his human master, or would he turn around and go back to the camp. Moses had not told him how long he would be gone (Moses did not know).
Note that the Lord had to supernaturally sustain both Moses and Joshua during this 40 day period.
B) Would Aaron and Hur be faithful to their calling of v. 14. Their responsibility was to keep the people faithful to the command word of the Lord.
C) Would the people be faithful? They had promised undying faithfulness to the law of the covenant twice before the blood of the covenant was applied, and promised once after the blood was shed. Now comes 40 days and nights of testing to see if they will be faithful. We know the outcome; they were found unfaithful and all that generation perished for their unfaithfulness. (With the exception of two: Calab and Joshua. I believe we can safely assume that Calab did not partake of the worship before Aaron's calf.)
The 40 days testing found only Joshua faithful (and Moses who was before the Lord). Thus, the 40 days testing showed again the necessity of the new covenant.
The old covenant which wrote the law on the table of stone could not hold their evil hearts in check, although the people were held responsible for their sinful actions. The law-word of God caused a temporary fear and trembling, but it did not change the heart of people. As we mentioned in the study of the covenant, there were exceptions to this rule: there were a limited number of hearts changed (Joshua and Calab for a example).
Because the Lord Jesus was found faithful during His forty day and night testing, we who are in Him by faith are now more than conquers through Him that loved us and gave Himself for us.
One last reminder: In 24:3 & 7, the people, in their high emotional state, promised to do all the words of the Lord. The words were no sooner spoken than the Lord put them through a forty day test.
When we say we have faith, we can depend on the Lord to prove us to see if we really do have faith.
More often than not, the testing shows us that we need a special work of the Spirit of God. It is the trial of our faith that shows us our need of the work of Christ in our hearts.
I must say that the major area of trial is faithfulness to our God given responsibilities. the words of vs. 3 and 7 were no sooner spoken that the Lord put them through the 40 day testing. We are assured here that as soon as the commitment is made by any one, the Lord will try their commitment and faith:
James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
This is the only way to show the individual the truth about himself, about the Lord and about the situation. Trials of our faith must come if Christ is to be formed in the people of God:
1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: