The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out against them.”-Exodus 19:24
In my last post, I explained how the people even after undergoing the proper purification rituals according to Moses’s instructions were still NOT allowed access to God’s Holy dwelling place (Mount Sinai) at the time.
The reason was because these purification rituals only cleansed the people EXTERNALLY but did not bring about the INTERNAL or spiritual cleansing necessary to gain access to God’s Holy Place.
However, notice that both Moses and Aaron were able to enter into God’s presence!
What’s happening here is that another important God pattern is being established.
This pattern will be fleshed out once the Wilderness Tabernacle is built and will also be transferred to the Temple.
The pattern is this.
It is ONLY the High Priest (Aaron in this case) who can enter into the Holiest of Place of God.
And notice that God told Moses to “Go down and bring Aaron with you”.
So the other principle set down here is that the High Priest (Aaron) can only enter God’s Holiest Place upon God’s command.
A lesser priest is NOT permitted such access.
Now notice another interesting thing.
Moses had even higher access than Aaron.
He was able to enter and leave God’s presence, stand on Holy Ground, and as the Scripture says even look into God’s face.
So Moses was in a special category that was higher than the High Priest.
What’s awesome is that when we study the attributes of our Savior Yeshua, we clearly see that He fulfilled both of these roles.
He is our High Priest as Aaron was to the people.
And He is our Mediator as Moses was to the people.
Another interesting point I want you to notice is that pretty much as soon as Moses gets to the top of the mountain, God immediately tells him to hightail it back on down to warn the people to NOT to cross over the fence serving as a boundary around the mountain and a barrier between the people and God’s holy dwelling place.
Why would Moses have to warn the people about this?
Moses even questioned God about this instruction.
“The people cannot come up Mount Sinai,
because you yourself warned us,
‘Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’”
But God wasn’t having any of it.
It was like God already knew the people were going to disobey God’s command and so Moses was ordered to go down again and warn them!
I notice a powerful and profound lesson being communicated here.
Don’t we all have a strong tendency to want to disregard God’s instructions and do things our own way?
In spite of many clear and specific instructions about what we are to eat and not eat, what special days to observe, and how we are to separate ourselves from the ways of this world, etcetera, don’t we just love to make excuses and cling to our unbiblical traditions and customs instead?
Thank God we have a Savior who has paid for our transgressions, but let’s not make light of it.
One final point about this portion of Scripture.
It concerns the word “priest” being used here.
Obviously this term is NOT referring to Levitical Priests, because the Levitical Priesthood has not been set up yet.
So who in the world are these “priests” being mentioned here?
The answer is the they are the first born sons of the families of Israel.
In the ancient Middle Eastern cultures, it was customary for the first-born sons to take on the “priestly” duties of the household.
So they would have the honor of sacrificing to the household gods and officiating over family religious rites and worship services.
Of course, that would be put to an end, once the Levitical Priesthood was established.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest
who has ascended into heaven,
Yeshua the Son of God,
let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way,
just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us in our time of need.”