Exodus 24


‘Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach the LORD; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.” When Moses went and told the people all the LORD’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.” Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Exodus 24:1-8

The Covenant Confirmed

At this point in time, we remember that Moses has already been on the mountain, Exodus 19:3, where he received the book of the covenant that was to be sealed.

Here we see Moses as a type of Christ in that Moses alone was the mediator of the covenant, and he was permitted to approach God, Galatians 3:19.

Moses here was to once again, return to God on the mountain, but this time he was to take the families heads of Israel. Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders were to worship from a distance, while Moses went closer to God, Acts 10:41. The rest of the Israelites were to stay away from the mountain, Exodus 19:12-13.

The book of the covenant were the words spoken of back in Exodus 20:22-23:33.

Huey, in his commentary, says the following concerning how covenants were made.

1. They ate salt together, Leviticus 2:13 / Numbers 18:19.

2. They ate a sacrificial meal together, Genesis 31:54.

3. They exchanged articles of clothing, 1 Samuel 18:1-4.

4. They walked between the divided pieces of slaughtered animals, Genesis 15:10 / Genesis 15:17.

However, it mustn’t be thought that the covenant act here would necessarily have conformed to any one pattern.

These burnt offerings would have been given in reference to sin whilst the peace offering would have been given in reference to recognition of God’s mercy.

This is the first covenant that God made with Israel. It was consecrated with the blood life of animals. When we come to the New Testament a new and second covenant would be consecrated by the blood of Christ, Hebrews 8:6-9:28 / Hebrews 10:19-22.

Notice that none of the blood was sprinkled on the pillars, it was through the sprinkling of blood twice that established the covenant. This is the blood of the Covenant! Exodus 24:8.

Jesus Himself on the night in which he was betrayed instituted the Lord’s Supper, saying, ‘this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many unto the remission of sins,’ Matthew 26:28.

Why was the covenant established in blood?

Coffman, in his commentary, gives us the following.

1. It stressed the serious, even fatal, nature of sin, in that only blood, indicating death, could cleanse it.

2. Particularly, it was a type of the sacrifice of Christ ‘for the sins of the whole world’.

3. In God’s view of a covenant, ‘before it could be in force, a death must have occurred,’ Hebrews 9:15-17.

4. Not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood, Hebrews 9:18.

5. This also constituted a reminder that death was the penalty for breaking the covenant.

6. It symbolized the unity between God and Israel since the same blood was sprinkled upon both, upon God in a figure, at the altar, and upon the people also, Exodus 24:7.

7. ‘The blood symbolizes the grace of God in man’s redemption.’

We should note that this is now the third time Israel has promised God to obey the covenant, Exodus 19:8 / Exodus 24:3 / Exodus 23:22.

‘Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.’ Exodus 24:9-11

Here we find that Moses represents the God-ordained leader of the people. Aaron, Nadab and Abihu represent the religious leadership and the seventy elders were the civil leaders, who were highly respected by the people.

The text tells us that they all saw God, we must remember this is figuratively speaking as God doesn’t have any physical appearance, Exodus 33:20-23 /Isaiah 6 / Ezekiel 1 / John 4:24. Here God reveals Himself in a manner that was discernible by the human eye, but they didn’t see the face of God, Deuteronomy 4:15 / 1 John 4:12 / 1 Timothy 3:16.

The blue of the lapis lazuli may suggest that the elders saw the sea of glass before the throne of God, Revelation 4:6.

Notice that they also ate and drank, which tells us that many of the sacrificial offerings were eaten in fellowship with one another in the presence of God. In other words, the sacrifice was offered to God but then eaten by those who made the sacrifice.

‘The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.” Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.” When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.’ Exodus 24:12-18

We know that the ten commandments were written on tablets of stone, Exodus 31:18 / Deuteronomy 5:22. However, the instructions concerning the tabernacle and the function of the priests were written on the common writing material of the day.

Aaron and Hur, Exodus 17:10-13, stayed with the elders, and Moses and Joshua, Exodus 17:8-16, stayed together for six days before God appeared to Moses only. Moses then went to meet God and he stayed with God for forty days and nights, Deuteronomy 9:9.

It was during these forty days and forty nights that he fasted. Only three people within the Scriptures have fasted for the same time period, Moses here, Elijah, 1 Kings 19:7-9 and Jesus Himself, Matthew 4:2.

Notice the mention of the cloud again, the cloud represents the very presence of God, Moses enters God’s presence. To the Israelites, God’s glory looked like a consuming fire, and although they couldn’t see God or Moses, God left them reminders of His glory and presence, to help them trust what they could not see.

Go To Exodus 25


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."