Moses told the people all that the Lord had said to him when he was on the mountain; for the children of Israel were so terrified by the awful thunders and lightnings when the Ten Commandments were given, that they entreated Moses to go and hear what the Lord God would say, and then tell it to them afterwards. He repeated in their ears all the laws which we have been reading in the last few chapters; and the people, with one voice, declared that they would obey them. Herein Moses was a picture of Jesus the Mediator; he stood before God on his people’s behalf. And when we read that none except Moses was allowed to go near the majestic presence of Jehovah, it plainly teaches the great truth that God has appointed only one Mediator between Himself and fallen man. That Mediator is Jesus, Who was both God and man; and “there is therefore no other name under heaven, given among men, by whom we must be saved,” except His alone!
A very solemn covenant was made between the Lord and Israel; and it was a picture of the covenant of grace that exists between God and believers, through Christ. This agreement or covenant was now to be repeated to His people. The first thing Moses did was to build an altar at the foot of Mount Sinai, and set up 12 pillars to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. The altar represented God’s part of the covenant; the pillars represented the people’s. Then animal sacrifices were offered on behalf of all the people, because sinful man cannot draw near to God or make any agreement with Him, except through blood-shedding. But the blood of the lambs and oxen can never take away sin! Therefore, their purpose was to show forth the atoning sacrifice – the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. It is only because He was sacrificed for us that we enjoy any liberty to come into the Lord’s presence, or even to pray to Him.
Moses took the blood of the slain oxen, and divided it in two parts. He sprinkled one-half upon the altar, representing Jesus offering up His life to save man – as Paul says, “By his own blood he entered in once, into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:12). This means that by dying for us, Jesus made a perfect atonement to God for our sins; and it never needs to be, nor ever can be, done over again. It was finished once and forever.
Having sprinkled the altar with blood, Moses – on God’s behalf – turned to the people. “He took the book of the covenant, and read it in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” They were eager to promise obedience to all that He had commanded them. Then Moses sprinkled the other half of the blood upon the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning these words.” Their obedience and religious services would never meet with acceptance from the holy God, except through the shedding and sprinkling of blood. And this also signified that since they were now a redeemed people who had been bought with innocent blood, they were to give themselves and all their possessions to the willing service of the Lord. We have also been “bought with a price” – even with Christ’s precious blood. And therefore, we are to live for His glory, and not our own.
When Paul was writing to the Jews of his time, he showed them how all the sacrifices and all the things that were ordered by the law of Moses, were in-tended to teach about Jesus Christ and His salvation; and he speaks of this very time that we are now reading about. He says, “When Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament [or covenant] which God hath enjoined unto you” (Heb. 9:19, 20). Now that blood – the blood of goats and calves – was the blood of the Old Testament times, which could not take away sin at all; and it was only meant to foreshadow the blood of Christ!
Brothers and sisters, when we hear that the Lord Jesus has shed His blood for us, and borne our “sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24); what ought we to do? Surely we must not cling to our sins, as if we did not want to part with them! Rather, we should confess them to our Savior at once, and beg Him to wash them away in His precious blood which cleanses from all sin. Go and ask Him without fear; for if He loved you dearly enough to die for you, He will be very ready to forgive you, and to teach you to live for Him. And remember that there is no other blood, and no other Savior in the whole wide world, who can take away even the least of your sins. The blood of Christ can wash away all sin, and nothing else can wash away any; so be sure to go to Him and cry, “Lord, save me, for my trust is only in You!”
Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 of the elders of Israel were permitted to see a glimpse of the glory of the Lord, in order to satisfy them that God was truly with them. Nothing is described of what they saw, except for what was under His feet. Then the Lord called Moses to come up to Him on the mountain. The cloud that covered the mountain for six days was a token of His majestic presence there, but Moses was sure that He Who called him up would also protect him. Even those glorious attributes of God which are most terrible for the wick-ed are a matter of rejoicing for the saints.
Lord, may we always prize the invaluable privilege of having our Almighty Mediator, our Lord Jesus, standing before Your Divine presence for us at all times. Blessed be His name for bringing us near to You, by His own blood and righteousness! Amen.
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