“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.”
already, Moses means drawing out, because he had been drawn out of
the Nile, the great river of Egypt, that drawing out having its ultimate
application to the Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom Moses is a type, and of Whom
it is written, “Out of Egypt have I called my son,” Matthew 2:15.
light-bringer, and as Israel’s high priest he is also a type of the true
High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. Nadab the willing one is another
type of Christ Who was willing to die for the Father’s glory, and the
redemption of men’s souls; and Abihu my father is he; father of him,
is yet another type of Christ living and dying for His Father’s glory and
the redemption of men’s souls.
elders seem therefore to represent the believers of both the OT and NT ages,
their being commanded to worship reminding us that worship is the highest
privilege accorded believers in every age; and since worship is the
expression of love for God, we are being reminded that the ultimate
expression of that love is the presentation of an obedient life, as it is
written, “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than
sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams,” 1 Samuel 15:22.
“And Moses alone
shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the
people go up with him.”
permitting Moses alone to come near, while the others had to worship at a
distance, points to yet another truth connected with the Lord Jesus Christ.
His sacrifice was first for His Father’s glory, His expiation of man’s sin,
great work though it was, being secondary.
worship man must stand as it were at a distance: the expiation of his sins,
and the redemption of his soul, being excelled by the Lord’s offering of
Himself first for God’s glory.
“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.”
“... all the
words of the Lord” refer to everything that God had said, but “the
judgments” related more specifically to His instructions, ordinances and
laws that were to govern their relationship with Him.
foolish people, unaware of their own sinfulness and inability to do what
they promised, said, “All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.”
How much wiser they would have been to say, “We lack the power to meet God’s
standards, to obey His commands, but we cast ourselves upon His mercy, and
beseech Him to uphold and bless us according to His infinite love and grace,
not because we are worthy, but because He is of very great compassion.”
attitude is exemplified in that of the one whose words are recorded in Mark
9:24, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with
tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
believe; help thou mine unbelief” seems to be a contradiction in terms. It
isn’t. He was simply acknowledging that his belief was weak and faltering,
but in spite of that it was sincere, and he was begging the Lord to respond
to it, not in proportion to its paucity, but according to His limitless love
and mercy. That same earnest humility in the presentation of our own
petitions will go far to secure the measure of blessing described in
Ephesians 3:20, “... exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or
“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.”
“... the words
of the Lord” were the Ten Commandments, and it is deeply significant that
Moses’ next act was to build an altar “under the hill” i.e., at the foot of
the mountain. He seems to have known how completely Israel would fail in
keeping that holy law, and how much therefore that altar would be needed in
connection with the expiation of their multiplied sins, for he knew that
“without shedding of blood is no remission,” Hebrews 9:22.
pillars are generally believed to have been twelve stones, representing the
twelve tribes, and their close proximity to the altar declares symbolically
the nearness of the place of remedy to the place of transgression. The type
was fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ came down to where we were “dead in
trespasses and sins,” and presented Himself as the perfect propitiation,
available to every sinner who will trust Him as Savior and Lord, as it is
written, “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy
heart, that thou mayest do it,” Deuteronomy 30:14. The Lord Himself is the
personification of the Word, see John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There was no way He could
have come nearer to us than by becoming man and taking His place here
“And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt
offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord.”
“young” here means “teenagers,” and the time was prior to the setting up of
the Tabernacle and its worship ritual, the lesson symbolically taught in
this being that worship is to be marked by spiritual vigor which is the
counterpart of the mental and physical energy and freshness of young
The burnt and
peace offerings were expressive of worship, in contrast with the trespass,
sin, and meal offerings, which had to do more particularly with the
expiation of sin.
instruction also in the fact that the animals to be offered were oxen, i.e.,
young bullocks, the most costly of all the offerings. God sets a far higher
value on worship than on service, and a question we would do well to ask
ourselves is, What does the worship I present at the Lord’s Supper cost me?
How much time do I spend during the week in preparing for that most solemn
of all Church meetings?
for worship indicates all too often that little or no time has been spent in
“And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the
blood he sprinkled on the altar.”
The blood in
the basons was used as described in verse 8, while the other half was
sprinkled on the altar: it was all for God; but since it represents the
precious blood of Christ the lesson being taught is that the Lord’s
sacrifice was first for His Father’s glory, and then for the expiation of
“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
on verse three relative to the people’s rash words. In that verse it is said
that he “told the people,” i.e., he informed them verbally, but here
he repeated the words by reading them: they were recorded in a book: there
could be no future question as to the terms of the covenant they were
promising to keep.
“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
Two truths are
connected with this sprinkling of the blood on the people: first, it warned
them that infraction would forfeit their lives; but second, it pointed -
though they didn’t realize it - to the precious blood of Christ which alone
could make atonement for sin.
“Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and the seventy of the
elders of Israel:”
on verse 1 for the significance of these names.
“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
simply a manifestation of God, but not His actual person, for it is written,
“And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and
live,“ Exodus 33:20; and again, “No man hath seen God at any time....” John
clear blue like the sky, hence the further description “like the body of
heaven in his (its) clearness.”
“And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also
they saw God, and did eat and drink.”
understand this to mean that they ate and drank there at the mount after
having offered sacrifice, while others take it to mean that they survived
this encounter with God, their eating and drinking being a metaphor for
their continuing the ordinary activities of life. The former however, seems
the more likely.
“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.”
The fact that
they didn’t die confirms that what they saw was a manifestation of God, but
not His actual person; and relative to their eating and drinking, they lived
to resume their ordinary lives, which included eating and drinking.
here is to the Ten Commandments.
“And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua; and Moses went up into the
mount of God.”
here means aide: assistant: attendant.
“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.”
must not approach any nearer than the foot of the mountain; and while Moses
and Joshua were up there with God all questions, problems, complaints, were
to be addressed to Aaron and Hur for settlement.
“And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.”
“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.”
The fact that
the Divine glory upon mount Sinai was covered by a cloud implies that its
full effulgence would have destroyed a mortal beholder.
The six days
during which Moses waited may perhaps represent the believer’s natural life;
and the seventh - number of perfection or completeness - the completion of
his earthly life, and his entry into heaven.
“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.”
4:24 God is described as a consuming fire, “For the Lord thy God is a
consuming fire, even a jealous God,” and in 9:3 “... the Lord thy God is he
which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them (the
“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.”
into the cloud may represent the Lord’s ascension to heaven at the end of
His post-resurrection ministry. But since four or forty is
the number of trial or testing, the spiritual lesson here may be the
reminder that the interval during which we await the Lord’s return, is also
a time of testing. Sadly, it all too often reveals our weakness and
9:9 informs us that during those 40 days and nights he neither ate nor drank
anything, so that this may be also a foreshadowing of the Lord’s experience
in the desert when He neither ate nor drank for forty days and nights, see