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Chapter 88

 

“Behold the Blood”

 

And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.” (Exodus 24:1-18)

 

Exodus 24 opens with an expression of the law’s strictness and severity; a divine prohibition is given and a wall of separation between God and man is erected.

 

“And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.” (Exodus 24:1-2)

 

            The Lord God commanded the seventy elders and the children of Israel to worship “afar off.” He said, “they shall not come nigh.” Throughout the legal dispensation, under the types and shadows of the law, the people were never allowed to draw nigh. Those two precious words, “draw nigh, could never be heard from the top of Sinai’s fiery mount. The law says, “Stay away. Keep back. If so much as the hand of a beast touch the mount, it shall be slain!” Those sweet words, “draw nigh,” could only be uttered at heaven’s side of the empty tomb of our risen Redeemer. But, blessed be God, there is now a Door open in Heaven; and over the Door the Lord God has written these words in the precious blood of Christ, — “Draw nigh.” The blood of the cross has opened the way for sinners to draw nigh unto God!

 

            Yet, at the same time, this twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus introduces us to a scene without parallel in all the history of the Old Testament. Before the chapter closes, we see Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel in the very presence of the holy Lord God, and not only are we told that “He laid not his hand on them,” but they were thoroughly at ease in his presence, for they did “eat and drink” before him (v. 11).

 

Moses A Type of Christ

 

Why was an exception made for Moses? Jehovah called Moses up into the mount, and he was allowed to draw nigh. Only Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, the elders, and the children of Israel were forbidden to come near. In verse 13, we see that Moses brought Joshua with him into the mount. But only these two were allowed access to God in the mount. Why? Were they better than the others? No. Were they more holy? No. Were they more righteous? No. Were they personally entitled to this great and high privilege? Again, the answer is, No. — But Moses and Joshua were both types of our Lord Jesus Christ as divinely appointed mediators between God and his people.

 

            Moses represents justice satisfied. And justice satisfied demands release. Joshua means “Jesus” or “Jehovah saves.” How often the Lord God would have destroyed Israel in the wilderness had not Moses stood between God and his people (Exodus 32:10-11, 32; Deuteronomy 9:19, 25; 10:10; Psalm 106:23).

 

“They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea. Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.” (Psalms 106:21-23)

 

            Moses represented the law and justice of God. And Moses represented the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, by whom the law and justice of God are fully satisfied. Moses and Joshua together represented the perfect mediation of Christ, his acceptance with God as our Mediator, and our acceptance with God in him.

 

An Altar and Sacrifices

 

And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do” (v. 3). — The “words of the Lord” refer to the Ten Commandments recorded in Exodus 20. “The judgments” refer to those statutes found in chapters 21 to 23. The children of Israel presumptuously and ignorantly, with one unanimous voice, said, “All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” Then Moses built an altar.

 

            “And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord” (vv. 4-5). Without question, the altar was built according to the instructions given in Exodus 20:24-26. It was an altar made of God’s material, without steps, portraying Christ our Altar (Hebrews 13:10).

 

            Near this altar, Moses set twelve pillars to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The young men sent to offer sacrifices unto the Lord were probably the firstborn of the children of Israel, from whom the Levites would later be taken.

 

            The burnt offerings and peace offerings they sacrificed upon the altar unto the Lord were sacrifices of thanksgiving. But for what were these sacrifices of thanksgiving made? - Everything symbolized in what we have seen. They gave thanks to God for the law he had given, revealing God’s holiness, and for the law’s fulfillment by a mediator, by a representative man. They gave thanks for all that was typified and prophesied by these things: God’s acceptance of his people by the Mediator-man, through the Altar and Sacrifice of his own making and providing, Christ Jesus, our Savior.

 

Behold the Blood

 

Everything we have from God is by blood, the precious, sin-atoning blood of Christ. Every approach of God to man is by the blood. And every approach of man to God must be by the blood. The Word of God puts special sanctions upon blood, the blood of beasts as well as the blood of men, because “the life of the flesh is in the blood;” and “ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

 

“And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” (Exodus 24:6-8)

 

            “Behold the blood of the covenant.” — Those words, uttered by Moses as he sprinkled the people with the crimson life-stream, forcibly remind us of John’s, ‘‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’’ (John 1:29). A covenant is an agreement between two parties. In the Scriptures, it is a testament, a divine disposition, a pledge of grace, a bond of perpetual blessedness. The covenant was beautifully expressed in Exodus 12. “The blood shall be to you for a token.” That was the experience and assurance of the covenant in man. “When I see the blood.” That was the safety and security of Israel.

 

            It was covenant blood that Israel was called to behold. Such is the blood of his cross. We have been “reconciled to God through the death of his Son.” When he instituted the Supper, our Savior said, “This cup is the new testament (covenant) in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22. 20).

 

            Be sure to observe when this blood was shed. As with the death of Christ, so with the sacrifice here. It was after God was honored by his servant Moses. — “Come up unto the Lord…and worship” (v. 1). Before the cross was reached, Christ had this testimony, that he pleased God (Matthew 3:17). Moses came near the Lord, while the others worshipped “afar off.” The Lord Jesus was transfigured upon the mount, just as Moses was here called up to God before the people, as if to indicate God’s acceptance of his obedience as our Representative.

 

            The blood was shed after the Word of the Lord had been revealed. — “Moses told the people all the words of the Lord” (v. 3). Christ did not die until he had finished the work and declared the words the Father gave him. — “I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me” (John 17:8). The way was made plain before the sun went down.

 

            The blood was shed after an altar had been built. Christ our Altar was made by the incarnation, when a body was prepared for him by the Holy Ghost, by which redemption could be accomplished (Hebrews 10:1-7).

 

            What does the blood signify? Blood shed declares that sin has come in, that the law has been broken, that God’s holiness has been violated. But, blessed be his name, the blood of innocent victims suggests substitution and the removal of sin by a divinely accepted Substitute. That Substitute is our Lord Jesus Christ. He suffered for us, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24). And blood shed and accepted by God declares salvation accomplished, redemption obtained, and sin put away. Isaac was saved when the ram took his place on the altar (Genesis 22:13). And God’s elect were saved by the blood of Christ when the Lamb who is God took our place (Revelation 13:8).

 

            Behold the blood again, and see where this blood was sprinkled. It was sprinkled on the altar. — “Moses took half of the blood and sprinkle it on the altar” (v. 6). The altar represents the claims of God’s holiness and justice. Before the people could be blessed, his justice must be satisfied. Before the sinner can be saved, Christ must offer himself without spot unto God. The halving of the blood between the altar and the people indicates the double character of the sacrifice of Christ. — He both fulfils the law and makes peace. — By doing the Father’s will, he obtained redemption for us. In him every attribute of God is satisfied, and every need of man fully met. — He both brings in everlasting righteousness and gives us peace. — “Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness” (Psa.107. 8).

 

            Then the blood was sprinkled on the people. — “Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you.” The blood on the people speaks of the work of God the Holy Ghost applying to our hearts the redemption Christ accomplished. It speaks of life bestowed. The blood sprinkled brings us into contact with life, the life that was offered to God for us. — “The life is in the blood!” All the value of the sacrifice is now ours. — “We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1.7).

            Blood sprinkled speaks of reconciliation. It was the blood of the covenant (Hebrews 9:14). We are “made nigh by the blood” (Ephesians 2:13). Blood sprinkled brings faith. Israel had presumptuously asserted their ability to obey God’s law. Now, as far as it is pictured before us here, they speak not of their ability, but of faith in Christ. After the blood was sprinkled on them, Moses read the book of the covenant, of God’s promise, in the audience of the people, declaring Christ’s work finished, and they said, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient’’ (v. 7). With that expressed faith in the Substitute, the blood was sprinkled upon them (v. 8). The blood sprinkled unites redeemed sinners to the Lord our God.

 

“Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.” (Exodus 24:9-11)

 

            Here is a blood-sprinkled nation, “an holy nation,” by virtue of God’s own covenant and God’s own sacrifice, in communion with the holy Lord God. They are eating and drinking with pleasure, in the fulness of their welcome and acceptance in the beloved Sacrifice! There we are, living in the blessedness, peace, and joy of God’s immediate presence, rejoicing in God’s sovereignty, in his grace, and in his salvation, rejoicing in God our Savior (Revelation 7:14-15).

 

Redemption Portrayed

 

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.” (Exodus 24:12-18)

 

In the remainder of this chapter Moses is separated from Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel, resuming his mediatorial position, to receive from God the two tables of stone which he had written. For this purpose, he is called up to meet the Lord in the Mount, where he remained forty days and nights alone with God. During this time the glory of the Lord was displayed before the eyes of Israel for seven days, a glory “like devouring fire;” and then the Lord gave him a pattern of redemption, by which he was commanded to make the ark of the covenant, the mercy-seat, the golden candlestick, the table of showbread, and the tabernacle, all portraying Christ our Redeemer and our salvation by him. Behold the blood, and believe God! Behold the blood, and rejoice in Lord!

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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