Today we begin Exodus chapter 24.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
Moshe came and told the people everything Adonai had said, including all the rulings. The people answered with one voice: “We will obey every word Adonai has spoken.”-Exodus 24:3
Over the last several chapters, we have witnessed the Lord present His covenant to Israel.
Do you remember the key difference between the Mosaic Covenant and the covenants that God made with Noah and Abraham?
The covenants that God made with Noah and Abraham were UNCONDITIONAL.
Since it was all on God to fulfill the conditions of these covenants, no formal acceptance from the opposite party was needed.
However, since the Mosaic Covenant was conditional, it required a FORMAL ACCEPTANCE from Israel.
Again, this FORMAL ACCEPTANCE is also known as a RATIFICATION.
Let’s examine and review some important details that set the stage for this monumental ratification of this revolutionary covenant between man and the Creator of the universe.
The Lord tells Moses, Aaron and his two sons Nadav and Avihu, and 70 of the chief Elders of Israel to approach Him.
Recall that in Hebrew literature, rounded numbers are often symbolic.
In the Bible, the number 70 represents totality or completeness.
So although the phrase “70 of the leaders” here can be taken literally, what is also being communicated is that this group represents Israel completely.
Next, notice that everybody except Moses was to bow down before the Lord from a distance.
This shows that there are different levels of permitted holiness marked by boundary lines that only certain chosen people were permitted to cross over.
In fact, there was a stone fence that separated the Holy Mountain where God’s presence was from the Valley floor where the people were and ONLY MOSES was allowed to cross that boundary and step unto Mount Sinai.
I’m getting ahead of myself here, but we will see this identical pattern at work in the Levitical priesthood where only certain designated individuals were allowed to enter certain areas with each area having different degrees of holiness.
And also a quick reminder, the location we’re talking about here is ABSOLUTELY NOT the traditional Mount Sinai site on the Sinai Peninsula but is in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Apostle Paul and the historian Josephus testified to this FACT as well.
So Moses goes up to the mountain and returns with instructions to repeat all the rulings God had given to Him.
This is a perfect opportunity to quickly revisit a couple of Hebrew words I expounded on quite thoroughly in the past.
In verse 3 where it says Moses spoke all “the rulings” or in some other translations it may say “judgements“, the original Hebrew says Moses spoke God’s “MISHPAT” and “DABAR“.
Recall that the Hebrew word for “commandment” from the 10 commandments is DABAR and that the phrase the “10 commandments” is actually a misleading translation.
DABAR means “word”, so the “10 Commandments” should more properly be rendered as the “10 Words”.
Do you recall what MISHPAT means?
MISHPAT refers to God’s system of justice but should more properly be defined as “God’s saving justice“.
However, it is probably much better to translate MISHPAT into another word that we are much more familiar with.
And that word is the Gospel.
The 10 Words of God serve as the preamble to the Gospel, which follows immediately after.
You CANNOT separate one from the other.
For a thorough treatment of this topic, check out this article.
So Moses repeated the 10 Words (commandments) and then afterwards all the rules and regulations (the Gospel).
The people in unison responded by saying “We will obey every word Adonai has spoken”.
This type of verbal acknowledgement and acceptance were how covenants were ratified in ancient times.
Afterwards, notice we’re told that “Moses wrote down all the words of Adonai”.
The laws given up until this point in time were recorded right there on the spot!
Not at some later time like some liberal scholars or theologians would have you believe.