Sunday, February 28, 2016

The 'Mosaic Covenant Confirmed' (Exodus 24).

God promised Abraham multiple descendants and a homeland to bless the world (Gen.12:1-3). Abraham’s family grew while in Egypt but they became enslaved. They cried out under oppression and the Lord God called Moses to lead the Israelites and brought ‘His mighty acts of judgment’ upon Egypt and their gods. Pharaoh let the Israelites go (Exodus 7-12, 12:12), but Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his troops to pursue Israel. The Israelites appeared to be trapped by the Red Sea until the Lord divided the sea and the Israelites walked through on dry ground. Pharaoh’s entire armies followed Israel into the see only to be drowned. The Israelites trusted in the Lord and in His servant Moses. Then the Lord miraculously provided the Israelites with ‘manna and quail’ and ‘water from a rock’ despite their grumbling and complaining. Then in Exodus 19-20 we have the account of the ‘giving of the law’ and that brings us to the story of the ‘confirmation of the Mosaic Covenant’ from Exodus 24. You can watch the video and read the comments below. 
The Lord told Moses to come up to him, but the Israelite people were not to come up the mountain. Moses was to take Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, but only Moses could approach and draw near to the Lord. God wanted the representatives to come up to him but they were to stay back and worship from a distance. When Moses told the Israelites all the Lord’s words and laws they agreed with one voice that they would obey all that the Lord had said. The Lord revealed his will directly to Moses who made it known to the representative leaders of Israel. Then after they agreed to obey the Lord Moses committed everything the Lord said to writing. So Moses had the unique role of receiving the direct revelation from God and he was responsible to preserve the revelation in writing.  

Early the next morning Moses built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars; one for each Israelite tribe. There they sacrificed bulls as offerings to the Lord. Moses gathered the blood from the sacrifices, sprinkled half of the blood on the altar and he put the other half in bowls. Then Moses read the ‘Book of the Covenant’ to the people and once again they agreed to obey the Lord. After this Moses sprinkled the blood on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.” God used this ceremony to show the binding nature of the relationship between God and His people. The shedding of the blood communicated the ‘life and death’ seriousness of the covenant bond so that their oath and the blood bound them to be faithful to the Lord of the covenant. 

Moses’ read what the Lord required of them, the people took an oath to the Lord and the covenant ceremony sealed their commitment to be faithful to what the Lord had said. The shedding of the blood symbolically represented the consequence for disloyalty to the covenant. Now that the people were bound in covenant relationship with the Lord we’re told that their representative leaders, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders went up with Moses and they saw the God of Israel. What exactly they saw is unclear but beneath it was something like a pavement of sapphire as clear as the sky. So these representative leaders of God’s people saw something of the presence and glory of God and they ate and drank and the Lord did them not harm them.

The Lord told Moses to come up to the mountain and wait upon Him. Then the Lord would give Moses the tablets of stone on which the Lord would write is law and commands for their instruction. The people were bound in covenant with the Lord and their leaders had seen something of God’s glory. Now it was time for Moses to go up the mountain and receive further revelation of God’s will for His people. Aaron and Hur stayed behind to settle disputes while Moses and Joshua went up on the mountain of God. The cloud settled on Mount Sinai for six days and it looked like a ‘consuming fire’ to the Israelites at the base of the mountain. On the seventh day God called Moses so Moses entered the cloud and stayed on the mountain 40 days and nights.

The Lord Jesus instituted a new and better covenant with his people when he gave his disciples what we call the ‘Lord’s Supper’ (Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8:6). When we take this ceremonial meal by faith we are renewing our oath to be faithful to our Lord. By faith we also participate in the body and blood of Christ and we proclaim that our Lord bore the curse due us for our unfaithfulness (1 Cor.10:16, 11:26, Gal. 3:13). When Moses sprinkled the blood on the people Moses said ‘this is the blood of the covenant’ (Ex. 24:8) but when Jesus inaugurated the supper he said, ‘this is the new covenant in my blood’ (Luke 22:20). The curse that would come upon the party violating the covenant relationship is symbolically depicted by the blood or wine in the ceremony or meal. Moreover, in better new covenant Jesus himself experienced the death due to us for breaking the covenant and we, as believers ‘in Christ’, receive the blessing due to him (Gal. 3:12-13).


No comments: