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Exodus Twenty Four

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Exodus 24:1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.

seventy of the elders. No explanation is offered as to how these were chosen, along with Aaron and his two sons. Possibly they were among those appointed to Moses to help in the work of judging (Exodus 18:25). The number seventy may have been significant in commemorating the seventy founders who had migrated to Israel with Jacob (Genesis 46:27).

Exodus 24:2 And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.

Exodus 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.

will we do. This affirmation in effect sealed the promise made by the people in anticipation of God's revealed law (Exodus 19:8), placing them firmly in the Sinaitic covenant.

Exodus 24:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Exodus 24:5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.

Exodus 24:6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

will we do. This affirmation in effect sealed the promise made by the people in anticipation of God's revealed law (Exodus 19:8), placing them firmly in the Sinaitic covenant.

Exodus 24:8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

Exodus 24:9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:

Exodus 24:10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

saw. How these men could “see God” and yet live (contrast Exodus 33:20), is perhaps resolved by the reference to this event in Deuteronomy 4:12: “And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude: only ye heard a voice.” No man has seen God in His triune essence at any time (John 1:18). Thus no man can—or should ever attempt—to make an image of the Godhead. This supper in the presence of God, as the great covenant of the law had been accepted by the people and sealed with a blood sacrifice on the twelve-pillared altar, is a type of the coming “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:6-9).

the God of Israel. This appearance of God to the elders was a theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Note John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16.

Exodus 24:11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

Exodus 24:12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.

Exodus 24:13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.

Exodus 24:14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.

Exodus 24:15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.

Exodus 24:16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

abode. The Hebrew for “abode” is shakan. It was from this word, and the concept of God's glory—here seen abiding, or resting, on the mount of the law, and later resting on the tabernacle—that the term shekinah originated for the glory cloud (Exodus 40:34).

Exodus 24:17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

Exodus 24:18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

forty days and forty nights. It is noteworthy how often this particular time is mentioned in Scripture. It was also the period of maximum rainfall during the great Flood (Genesis 7:4) the period of Elijah's travel to Mt. Sinai (1 Kings 19:8), and the period of Satan's tempting Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2). Forty days was the period God gave Nineveh to repent under the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:4), and also the period of time Christ was seen by His disciples after His resurrection (Acts 1:3).