Chapter 24

The Covenant Ceremony

    • Then God told Moses to to bring Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, (Nadab and Abihu were Aaron’s sons) and 70 of Israel’s elders to come up the mountain to bow down and worship. Then He told Moses to come the rest of the way up the mountain alone.

    • Moses went to the people and told them all of the Lord’s commands and rules. The Israelites responded in unison that they would do everything the Lord had said.

    • Moses wrote down all of God’s instructions. Early the next morning, he built an altar and set up twelve pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel at the bottom of the mountain. Then Moses sent some of the young Israelite men to sacrifice bulls as a peace offering to the Lord. He took half of the blood from these sacrifices and sprinkled it on the altar; the other half he put in basins. After this, Moses read the Book of the Covenant aloud to the people, to which they again responded that they would obey everything the Lord had commanded.

    • Moses then took the blood and sprinkled it on the people saying, “This blood confirms the covenant that the Lord has made with you by giving you these instructions.”

      • Guzik explains this covenant affirmation process, “In the previous verse (Exodus 24:3), Israel verbally agreed to a covenant-relationship with God; but there is a sense in which this is simply not good enough. They must do specific things to confirm their covenant with God. First, the word of God must be written…Second, covenant was only made in the context of sacrifice. Sacrifice admits our own sin and failing before God, and it addresses that need through the death of a substitute…Third, covenant was made when God’s word is heard and responded to. Our covenant with God is based on His words and His terms, not our own words and terms…Fourth, covenant was made with the application of blood. As the nation received the blood of the covenant, the covenant was sealed. ”

      • These passages describe the elements involved in God’s making the covenant with Israel official. Guzik speaks about the New Covenant that God has with us and reminds us of the words Jesus spoke at the Last Supper, “The blood of Jesus’ covenant saves us: this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28) Our dealing with God through the New Covenant follows the same covenant pattern:

· Words of God read

· Sacrifice must be made

· Receiving God’s words

· Receiving the Blood of Sacrifice”


        • The following New Testament passages describe the New Covenant pattern that Guzik refers to:
              1. 2 Corinthians 3:3 explains that now God’s law is, “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
              2. Jesus says in Matthew 26:28 that He is our sacrifice, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
              3. Romans 10:9 discusses our acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
              4. Ephesians 1:7 describe how our covenant is sealed, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” And 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that upon our acceptance we are a new creation, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
    • Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders went up the mountain and saw God. Underneath His feet was a clear, brilliantly blue surface like sapphire, as clear as the sky. And even though the Israelite nobles saw God, He didn’t harm them. They all ate a covenant meal and drank in His presence.
      • Who did these men see- God the Father or Jesus the Son?
      • Kaiser writes, ““That Moses and his company ‘saw the God of Israel’ at first appears to contradict Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; and 1 Timothy 6:16; but what they saw was a ‘form [‘similitude’] of the Lord’ (Numbers 12:8, just as Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:26) and Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1) saw an approximation, a faint resemblance and a sensible adumbration of the incarnate Christ who was to come.”
      • Not only that, in this particular case, Morgan points out that no description is actually given of the form of God, “The account of this experience is reverently reticent. No description is given of the form which the manifestation took. All the description attempted is that of the footstool of Deity.”
      • “The blue of the sapphire may suggest that the elders saw the sea of glass before the throne of God (Revelation 4:6). “Ezekiel 1:26 sees God as seated on a sapphire throne, over a crystal ‘firmament’ (verse 22), and the thought is taken up again in the book of Revelation.” (Cole)
    • Then the Lord told Moses to come up to Him so that He could give him the stone tablets on which He had written the laws and commands. Moses placed Aaron and Hur in charge of the nobles and told them to wait there for him to return, then Moses and his assistant Joshua went up the mountain to God.
      • Thomas clarifies, “Joshua accompanied Moses for a distance and there waited six days (a solemn reminder of God’s unapproachableness), when Moses was called higher to a personal and private interview with God, which lasted nearly six weeks (Deuteronomy 9:9).”
    • When Moses went up the mountain, the glory of the Lord settled on the mountain in a cloud that remained for 6 days. On the 7th day, the Lord called to Moses from the cloud. The appearance of the Lord’s glory looked like a burning fire to the Israelites watching from below. Moses went into the cloud and stayed there for 40 days and 40 nights.


      • Jewish rabbis created a word that describes God’s glory which is often revealed in the form of cloud and fire- shekinah.
      • Kaiser explains where the word comes from, “When the glory of God ‘settled’ on the mountain, the same word (sakan) is used as the ‘shekinah’ glory (cf. John 1:14, the Word ‘tabernacling’ among us).” The ancient Greek word for dwelt in John 1:14 sounds very much like the Hebrew sakan. (Kaiser)
      • What is the Shekinah Glory from gotquestions is an excellent article that includes a more detailed explanation. The following quote concludes the article and gives some exciting biblical insight into what we as believers will one day behold, “But when we get to heaven, we will see both the Son and the Father in all their glory, and the Shekinah will no longer be veiled (1 John 3:2).”