The Covenant Meal with the God of Isra'el

24: 9-11

    DIG: Why does God let Moses and the seventy elders see Him but not Moses alone?

    REFLECT: In what sense have you seen the LORD?

    Through their dedication with the blood of the covenant, the Israelites were qualified to ascend Mount Sinai and behold the God of Isra'el. There, the covenant meal would conclude the ratification ceremony (also see Genesis 31:43-54). The solemnity of the occasion is underlined by the fact that the participants saw a theophany, or the preincarnate Jesus Christ.

    Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Isra'el went up and saw the God of Israel (24:9-10a). The word saw here is not the normal Hebrew word meaning to see. It is a stronger, more intense term that is commonly used of prophetic visions. Its use here underscores the uniqueness of this event.463 But what that means needs to be understood in the light of other Scriptures. Actually, no one has seen God because He is a Spirit and because of our sin nature. If we saw him before the Eternal State (see my commentary on Revelation Fq - The Eternal State) and without resurrection bodies, we would die. The Bible tells us that: No one has ever seen God, but the only and unique Son, who is identical with God and is at the Father’s side – Christ has made ADONAI known (John 1:18 CJB). All we know about the Father right now is through the Son. We do not know how God the Father looks, feels or thinks, because God has told us: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares ADONAI. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).464 One day, however, we will see Him face to face (see my commentary on Revelation Fx – His Name Will Be On Their Foreheads). Here at Mount Sinai, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Isra'el did not see God the Father, but they saw a theophany, the second person of the trinity, Yeshua Messiah.

    What they saw was similar to the description of the throne in the vision in Isaiah 6:1-8. Under His feet was something like a blue pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself (24:10b). The pavement made of sapphire reminds us of the sapphire throne seen by Ezekiel, who said that high above the throne was a figure like that of a man (Ezekiel 1:26). But God did not attack, or raise His hand against Moses, or Aaron, or Nadab, or Abihu, or the seventy elders of Isra'el (24:11a). On the contrary, the covenant was finally ratified with a meal (Genesis 26:30; Luke 22:15-20), and they ate and drank before God (24:11c).465

    They celebrated the fellowship offering that had been sacrificed at the conclusion of the formal ceremony (24:5). And as they ate and drank, they received a foretaste of the precious and glorious gifts that God would award His redeemed people in the messianic Kingdom. The covenant meal upon the mountain was a type of the wedding supper of the Lamb, where Jesus will present believing Jews and Gentiles from all ages as a bride to be proud of, without spot, wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without defect (see my commentary on Revelation Fg – For the Wedding Supper of the Lamb Has Come). At the conclusion of the covenant meal, the representatives of the nation left the mountain along with Moses and returned to camp.466

    Israel’s history continued for almost fifteen hundred years after this memorable occasion. But never again did their elders see the God of Isra'el, and never again did they eat and drink in His presence. Sin had its way with them. Their very next act was to break His Torah by worshiping a golden calf, and the next time we see them drinking it was of the waters of judgment (32:20). How wonderful to remember that what Isra'el (through their official heads) enjoyed for a brief time, is now ours forever!467

    For believers, the bread and the wine serve as a physical reminder of the New Covenant, and confirms the covenant relationship between God and His people. Jesus made that point very clear when He said: This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you (Luke 22:20 CJB). Even though it is not like the covenant mediated through Moses (Jeremiah 31:31-34), the Renewed Covenant restores what the Mosaic Covenant promised to the Jewish people. Therefore, Mount Sinai, then, and the bread and the wine, today, both reflect the covenant meal, indicating there is peace between God and His people.468

 

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