(Exo 19:1 NASB) In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.
Exo 19:1: The events in this chapter describe the making of what we have called “the Mosaic Covenant.” The term Mosaic Covenant is not in Scripture. It also is referred to as “the Old Covenant.” This term is used in Hebrews, but only in reference to a comparison with the New Covenant (Heb. 8:13).
The important issue to remember here is not the term that is used. The important thing to remember is that this is a covenant, or a binding agreement, between two parties. That is what we have in this chapter. Israel is going to make a covenant with Elohim and Elohim is going to make a covenant with Israel.
(Exo 19:2 NASB) When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain.
(Exo 19:3 NASB) And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel:
(Exo 19:4 NASB) ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.
Exo 19:4: Elohim is pointing out that Israel has been a recipient of His free grace (or favor) through no merit of their own.
(Exo 19:5 NASB) ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;
Exo 19:5: Elohim chose Israel (Psalm 135:4).
This is what Elohim is proposing to the people. If they obey His voice, then Israel will be His own possession. We are told the same thing as believers in Yeshua (Titus 2:14, Eph. 4:22-28).
(Exo 19:6 NASB) and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. ‘These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
Exo 19:6: This is another fact of Scripture. When we trust in Yeshua as Messiah, we become a part of Israel. Elohim says here that Israel is to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Peter quotes this passage in reference to all believers (1 Peter 2:5,9). This same reference is used by John for all believers in Revelation (Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:6).
(Exo 19:7 NASB) So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD had commanded him.
Exo 19:7: Moses is going to present the covenant to the elders of the people. They have the opportunity to say whether or not they want to be a part of it.
(Exo 19:8 NASB) And all the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.
Exo 19:8: The elders of the people agreed to abide by all that Elohim had spoken. This is the Covenant itself. It is the agreement by the people to do all the Instructions of Elohim. The covenant is not the Torah itself.
The people did the right thing by agreeing to the Covenant. This fact is demonstrated when Elohim commended their response (Deut. 5:27-28). The next verse tells us what their problem actually was. It wasn’t that they didn’t mean what they said. The problem is that their hearts did not fear Elohim (Deut. 5:29).
What was needed for the Covenant to work is for Elohim to provide us with a new heart to go along with our agreement to follow Him. That is what we have through the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). Notice that the New Covenant is still only with Israel and Judah. It still involves the writing of Torah. Both times the covenant was made with a mixed multitude. The only difference between the alleged Old Covenant and the New Covenant is that Elohim will write His Torah on our hearts and minds. He fixes our problem that we had with the original Covenant by giving us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:24-28). While this New Covenant will not be fully consummated until the return of Messiah, we see the shadow of this fulfillment when we are redeemed through the blood of Yeshua. Paul tells us this in Romans 10:4-10. In that passage Paul quotes Moses as telling the people that Torah is right there in front of them, in their hearts and on their lips (Deut. 30:11-14).
(Exo 19:9 NASB) And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I shall come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.
Exo 19:9: Elohim is going to come to Moses in a thick cloud. All of the people will hear these words of Elohim so they will know that this covenant is with Elohim and that they will believe the words of Moses forever.
This isn’t the only time Elohim is clothed in a cloud. When Yeshua returns, He will be clothed in a cloud to reclaim all of creation (Rev. 10:1-3).
(Exo 19:10 NASB) The LORD also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments;
(Exo 19:11 NASB) and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
Exo 19:11: What does Elohim mean when He says that the people are to be consecrated today and tomorrow? If we combine it with the command to wash their garments, then it means they are to be washed and clean also.
This is probably a foreshadowing of baptism. Baptism is a cleansing to prepare people to face Elohim, or to be a part of His Covenant.
(Exo 19:12 NASB) “And you shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.
(Exo 19:13 NASB) ‘No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.”
Exo 19:13: If any person or beast touches the mountain, then they will be killed. No one is to even touch the offending one who touched the mountain. They are to be stoned or shot through with an arrow.
(Exo 19:14 NASB) So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments.
(Exo 19:15 NASB) And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”
Exo 19:15: The people were to wash for two days and wash their clothes. They were not to engage in sex for the next two days.
(Exo 19:16 NASB) So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.
Exo 19:16: Elohim appeared to them on the third day. This is a shadow of the resurrected Messiah who also appeared as the earth quaked on the third day from the rock hewn grave in the mountain (Matt. 28:1-11).
(Exo 19:17 NASB) And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
(Exo 19:18 NASB) Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.
Exo 19:18: The people witnessed the lightning flashes, the thick cloud, the loud trumpet sound, and they trembled. This type of appearance to the people frightened them greatly. They said they did not wish to face Elohim again in this manner. Elohim said they were correct in not wanting to face Him in this way again. So, in order to give them His words again, He will send His Word made flesh in the form of the Prophet, Messiah. Moses tells them that they will be accountable for everything He says (Deut. 18:15-19).
(Exo 19:19 NASB) When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder.
(Exo 19:20 NASB) And the LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
Exo 19:20: Moses went up to the top of the mountain to meet with Elohim.
(Exo 19:21 NASB) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, lest they break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
Exo 19:21: The people were not to gaze upon the cloud and try to see Elohim. If they do, the will die.
(Exo 19:22 NASB) “And also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out against them.”
(Exo 19:23 NASB) And Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for Thou didst warn us, saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.'”
Exo 19:23: Mount Sinai was a form of the Tabernacle. The top of the mountain where Elohim was physically present is a picture of the Holy of Holies. Only Moses was allowed there. The sides of the mountain is a picture of the Holy Place. The priests are allowed there. The area surrounding the mountain is where the altar was built and is a picture of the outer court when the altar of sacrifice was present also.
(Exo 19:24 NASB) Then the LORD said to him, “Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest He break forth upon them.”
(Exo 19:25 NASB) So Moses went down to the people and told them.
Exo 19:25: Moses went back down the mountain to bring Aaron and the priests back up with him. Strict obedience was the difference between life and death for the people.
Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
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Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
Fort Smith, Arkansas