The Sealing of the Covenant (Exodus 24:1-11)
Walk through the Word 2023 • Sermon • Submitted
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Israelites were going to and in Egypt.
They were brought into Egypt through Joseph to be saved from the famine. They were later put into slavery by the Egyptians.
God would deliver them from slavery and bring them into the promise land through Moses. Within this time, God establishes his covenant relationship with the nation of Israel, establish the Law and Sacrifices, the tabernacle, and guides them to the promise land.
After the Exodus, Moses and the Israelites returned to Mt. Sinai.
"Chapter 24 describes the sealing of the covenant between God and the Israelites. Having been invited to become God’s special possession (19:5), and having received both the general obligations (20:1–17) and the detailed obligations (20:22–23:33), the Israelites unanimously affirm their willingness to accept the terms of God’s covenant.” (Alexander, T. Desmond. Exodus. Ed. John H. Walton. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2016. Print. Teach the Text Commentary Series.)
Preparation for ratification (24:1-4a)
Preparation for ratification (24:1-4a)
Exodus 24:1–2 (ESV)
1 Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. 2 Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”
Those called up to the Lord
Moses - Mediator
Exodus 20:19 (ESV)
19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”
Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu
Priesthood - Aaron is the High Priest and Nadab and Abihu are his children
70 elders of Israel
Elder leader n., an older person in the community involved in important religious and social decisions. (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.)
God appoints 70 elders to help Moses to bear some of the burdens of the people. (Numbers 11:16-17)
Worshiped the Lord together.
Worship - to worship ⇔ bow down v., to worship, conceived of as bowing down to a deity. (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.)
“The verb in its original sense meant to prostrate oneself on the ground as in Neh 8:6 “worshipped” (KJV, RSV) but more correctly “prostrated p 268 themselves” (NEB, JB, NAB) as the phrase ʾārṣâ “to the ground” requires. Prostration was quite common as an act of submission before a superior.” (Yamauchi, Edwin. “619 חָוָה.” Ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament 1999: 267–268. Print.)
Exodus 24:3–4 (ESV)
3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” 4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Moses declared the words and law of God (3a)
Words - word (statement) n., a brief statement (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.)
Rules - regulation n., an authoritative rule: (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.)
Moses reads out all the words and laws the Lord gave his as the understanding of the Covenant relationship. (Ex 19-23?)
People respond to the words of God. (3b)
Agreement to the Words of the Lord.
Moses writes down all the Words of the Lord. (4a)
Ratification of the Covenant (24:4b-8)
Ratification of the Covenant (24:4b-8)
Altars of the covenant (4b)
Exodus 24:4 (ESV)
4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Altar n., a raised structure on which gifts or sacrifices to a god are made; often made of stone: (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.)
Pillar memorial n., a pillar (made of stone) set up as a memorial (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.) 12 Stones represent the 12 tribes.
“While the twelve pillars clearly represent the Israelites, the altar possibly represents God.” (Alexander, T. Desmond. Exodus. Ed. John H. Walton. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2016. Print. Teach the Text Commentary Series.)
These structures seem to represent the 2 parties in the Covenant relationship. (God and the Israelites)
Sacrifice of the Covenant (5)
Exodus 24:5 (ESV)
5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord.
Whole burnt offering n., a kind of sacrifice that included the acceptable parts of the sacrificial animal being completely burnt up. (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.)
“Atonement and sanctification are fundamental to creating a covenant relationship with God.” (Alexander, T. Desmond. Exodus. Ed. John H. Walton. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2016. Print. Teach the Text Commentary Series.)
to make atonement v., to cleanse from sin or the defilement of sin, most often by sacrifice (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.)
Sanctification - to dedicate to the service of and to loyalty to deity—‘to consecrate, consecration, to dedicate to God, dedication.’ (Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains 1996: 537. Print.)
Sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. The only way sinful humans can come into the presence of the Holy God is through the forgiveness of sins.
This is important for people of all ages. We need to be atoned and sanctified in order to have relationship with God. Jesus is our atonement and sanctification.
Peace offering n., a sacrifice that was intended for alliance and friendship with the God of Israel, which was also associated with promises and vows. (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.)
“Whereas the whole carcass of the “burnt offering” was placed on the altar and consumed by fire, only a part of the fellowship offering was burned on the altar. The remainder was eaten by the worshipers. This is the first mention of fellowship offerings being made in the Old Testament—a fitting introduction, because these offerings symbolize the existence of a harmonious relationship between God and those eating the sacrifice.” (Alexander, T. Desmond. Exodus. Ed. John H. Walton. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2016. Print. Teach the Text Commentary Series.)
Blood of the Covenant (6-8)
Blood for the Altar (6)
Exodus 24:6 (ESV)
6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar.
“As an obvious symbol of life, blood plays an important role in the sacrificial rituals. The shedding and sprinkling of blood are associated with paying a ransom and cleansing, respectively. Since the concepts of ransom and cleansing together constitute atonement, the burnt offerings atone for the sins of the Israelites.” (Alexander, T. Desmond. Exodus. Ed. John H. Walton. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2016. Print. Teach the Text Commentary Series.)
1/2 of the blood is thrown against the altar. This is the offering for the forgiveness of the sins of the people. Thinking about atonement and sanctification, this blood on the altar was for the forgiveness of their sins and showing their loyalty to Him.
Blood for the people (7-8)
Exodus 24:7–8 (ESV)
7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Moses reads the Book of the Covenant (7a)
Most likely, what Moses wrote in verse 4.
This is a written record of the covenant relationship with it’s stipulations. Think of this like the contract to be signed as the agreement between two parties.
“The noun “book” would be the scroll just written containing the laws of chaps. 20–23. On the basis of this scroll the covenant would be concluded here. The reading of this book would assure the people that it was the same that they had agreed to earlier. But now their statement of willingness to obey would be more binding, because their promise would be confirmed by a covenant of blood.” (Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible. Second Edition. Denmark: Thomas Nelson, 2019. Print.)
People’s response of obedience (7b)
The people commit to being obedient to God. This is accepting the covenant relationship and wanting to be part of it.
Moses sprinkles the blood on the people as a sign of the covenant. (8)
“The sprinkling of blood on the people cleanses them from the defilement caused by sin (cf. 29:20–21). This is necessary in order to sanctify them as a holy nation.” (Alexander, T. Desmond. Exodus. Ed. John H. Walton. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2016. Print. Teach the Text Commentary Series.)
This is the event that sealed the covenant relationship between God and the Israelites.
Exodus 19-20 - We see God coming down to Mount Sinai and giving them the 10 Commandments (with other laws - (21-23))
Hear we see the people of Israel accepting the terms of the Covenant and will obey.
Covenant Ratified (24:9-11)
Covenant Ratified (24:9-11)
Leaders go before the Lord (9-11a)
Exodus 24:9–11 (ESV)
9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.
Leaders go before the Lord (9)
Same leaders called before the Lord and Worshiped. (vs 1)
Saw the God of Israel (10a)
Saw - to see v., to perceive by sight or have the power to perceive by sight. (The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible 2017: n. pag. Print.)
God of Israel - another title used to identify the one true God. It is an identity at the God in relationship with Israel.
What happened in vs 10?
Exodus 33:17–23 (ESV)
17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
“They saw the Lord.” Some see this as a vision and not an actual encounter with God because to see the Lord would mean death. Others see this as an understanding of the Glory of God shown around them. Some say that they only saw the Lords feet because of the rest of vs 10.
There is danger for a sinful human to see the Holy God, but the Lord can reveal himself if he so chooses. In this case, I believe, they actually saw the Lord because of the burnt offering (forgiveness) and God calling them. It says that they, “beheld the Lord, and ate and drank.” (vs. 11)
Floor of Heaven? (10b)
Exodus 24:10 (NET 2nd ed.)
10 and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear like the sky itself.
Under His feet… pavement of Sapphire
Pavement of Sapphire is a heavenly idea.
Ezekiel 1:26 (ESV)
26 And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance.
Ezekiel 10:1 (ESV)
1 Then I looked, and behold, on the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared above them something like a sapphire, in appearance like a throne.
Clear as the Sky - The idea of God living above in Heaven and Humans living on the earth below.
“What is described amounts to what a person could see when prostrate.” (Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible. Second Edition. Denmark: Thomas Nelson, 2019. Print.)
Leaders eat with the Lord (11)
Exodus 24:11 (ESV)
11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.
God spares them (11a)
“he did not stretch out his hand An idiom for causing harm. The fact that Yahweh refrained from harming the elders is mentioned here because of previous warnings against getting too close to the divine presence, lest one be destroyed (e.g., Exod 19:10–24).” (Barry, John D. et al. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016. Print.)
The Atonement for their sins through the Burnt offering.
God fellowships with them (11b)
“they beheld God All the participants—not just Moses—see Yahweh in visible form. Ultimately, this is a unique event,” (Barry, John D. et al. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016. Print.)
“They beheld the glory of God on the mountain and ate and drank in His presence. You would think v. 11 would read, “They saw God and did fall on their faces in fear.” But it says that they saw God and “did eat and drink.” Because of the blood on the altar, they were able to have fellowship with God and with one another.” (Wiersbe, Warren W. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993. Print.)
Lessons from the Covenant
Lessons from the Covenant
Covenant relationship for Israel
God initiated the relationship with Israel through the call of Abraham, The Exodus, and the giving of the Law at Sinai.
Israel have a choice to accept or reject the offer of the Covenant relationship. They accept and promise to obey.
The covenant relationship is ratified with a burnt and peace offering. Forgiveness of sins and fellowship meal.
The Israelites are to live out their live understanding that they are in a unique relationship with God through the Covenant.
Covenant relationship for Church
God initiates the relationship with all through Jesus Christ (Jews and Gentiles)
We all have a choice to accept the covenant relationship with the rules and stipulations. (Receive and Believe by faith)
The relationship is ratified by the offering for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
The church now lives out their lives in a unique relationship with God.
Romans 5:6–11 (ESV)
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Jude 24-25 - Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.