Is it without any surprise that anything that is biblical whether doctrinal or archaeological is controversial? Proverbs 25:2 ” It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of Kings is to search out a matter.” So it comes as no surprise that there is controversy over the location of the real Mount Sinai, from where God handed Moses the ten commandments. I personally like the evidence for the real Mount Sinai at Jabal al lawz in Saudi Arabia. Not only is it fenced off, or concealed, but the top of it is literally scorched earth and melted rock to this day.
It must have been an awesome and fearful site for the Israelites, seeing God turn up upon that mountain, and so, it is with little wonder that we read in Exodus 20:18-19, ” And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” The people were fearful of approaching their God and this is the subject of this post. Do you fear God? Do you fear him in a loving way, through the revelation of the knowledge of truth born out of relationship with Him, so that we are aware of the cost for us to be free from the law of Moses? Or is your relationship based in knowledge, duty and indoctrination to a person or church? Perhaps you have a foot in Christ(a belief) but you struggle with sin(drunken parties, drugs, pre marital sex)?
You have to ask yourself? Would I have been like the Israelites who turned in fear; or would I be like Moses and gone into that dark cloud of the unknown, with God. What wonder, what glory the Israelites had been blessed with to see with the natural eye. Yet because of their lack of faith, many perished in the wilderness not even entering into the promised land. Exodus paints a vivid almost horrifying picture of an awesome and fearsome God, that has come to give the law and righteous decrees for living a righteous life. Punishment for anyone who would transgress His laws was mostly death or a life of being cursed. This old testament covenant that God handed to Moses was in a face to face relationship, unlike our covenant with Christ, which being born out of faith is generally without seeing. God said Moses was the meekest of all men, a man whom He spoke to face to face as a friend, not in parables or cryptic dreams. but with direct speech with no hidden meanings. Numbers 12:3; Exodus 33:11. This was a man in whom God had a direct relationship with as you do with a close friend. Yet even Moses failed because he lost his temper and struck the rock instead of speaking to it, as commanded by God. He was forbidden to enter the promised land. In fact the entire generation, from 20 years old up, that left Egypt, died in the desert because they refused to listen to God. Numbers 20:12, 1 Cor 10, The truth for you and me; is that when we either die or face the second coming of Christ ourselves. ” For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor 5:10.
So how do you think you will go with the picture that has been painted in Exodus and Deuteronomy of the fearsome and Holy God standing in all His glory, with hosts of Angels and the full Glory of God bearing down on us. Will we fear and try to run and hide? Be jubilant and happy because we have finally seen our saviour face to face? Or perhaps you will be indignant and defensive and tell God exactly how you feel and how dare He do the things He has done, and the grief He has caused you and others?
Exodus 19:10-15. ” And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai…..And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.”
However despite the ceremonial washing the people were too afraid and they chose Moses as a mediator between them and God. Paul talks about this experience of Moses in Hebrews 12, reminding us that through Christ we have a perfect mediator who has provided a perfect sacrifice that has appeased God, and given us peace with God through Christ. We have no need to fear God, if we are listening to Him and are being obedient to His voice. In fact through Christ we escape the wrath of God. Luke 21:36. ” Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
Roman 8:1. ” There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Moses was faithful in what he did because he listened and obeyed the word and proclaimed it to the Israelites. But we know that Christ is the living word who became flesh, John 1, and being without sin because He was conceived of the Holy Ghost. He became the perfect sacrifice to fulfil the law of Moses. And whilst the Jews were sacrificing the lambs for Passover, the true lamb of God was also being sacrificed for all of all mankind. So in three days as Moses and the people waited for God to turn up on Mount Sinai, Christ was resurrected from the grave by the Glory of God. That whosoever believes on Him will also be resurrected and not taste death. This is for the Jew first and then the gentile, for Christ came to save His own, but they rejected Him, even so we know he forgave them for it is recorded, ” Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. So if we believe in Christ we can dispense with the law and its burdensome rituals and enjoy freedom in Christ.
But grace is not a licence to sin for God is a Holy God and so, we also, need to be holy(1 Peter 1:16). Holiness is not something that can just be just obtained or given to us, as if it was something that could be easily bought. It comes from our lifestyle choices, it comes from time with God through prayer and reading the word. And we know that if we are a reader and not a doer of the word, then we are hypocrites. James 1:23. Holiness according to Webster sates, ” Applied to human beings, holiness is purity of heart or dispositions; sanctified affections; piety; moral goodness, but not perfect.” But not perfect, that almost gives us hope doesn’t it! The bible is not politically correct, it does not matter how much we object, God is not going to change His mind about His law nor conditions for eternal salvation.(Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8) God handed down the law to Moses and set it in stone, stone tablets. Jesus is the cornerstone of our salvation, a safe and sturdy foundation on which a wise man can build. How do you build if you have no instructions? How do you work righteousness if you do not know what is right or wrong? If the law has been done away with, can I murder, commit adultery, or steal?
” The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:22-24
Matthew 5:17-20. ” Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.“
Christ came to fulfil the law by His death, being the perfect peace offering between man and God, that whosoever shall believe on Him, shall have everlasting life. This is because Christ’s righteousness, His blood that was spilt as a sacrifice for us, becomes the perfect offering that was offered once and exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees; when we believe on Christ it is accounted to us as faith and His blood becomes our righteousness before God; this is not of our own doing because we being inherently sinful, would never by own selves, or even abiding by Moss’s law; would ever be able to appease God. Not even Moses made it to the promised land along with those above the age of 20, except for Joshua and Caleb, who wandered for 40 some years before dying in the wilderness; because sin has consequences, and because of their unbelief and disobedience to the law they were judged. This was the purpose of the law, that sin could be made apparent and the appropriate sin offering could be made. But the law could never be perfectly walked out, so there needed to be a better way; and Christ fulfilled this through his death, and His blood offering so that we might be free from the law of death sin and death(Romans 8).
So knowing that, even though Christ came and died, so we could share in His victory, Unfortunately no matter how hard we try, we will always keep on sinning(Romans 7:15-25) and we know that the penalty of sin is death. This is the war that goes on in our minds and bodies everyday; and whoever says they are without sin is a liar and makes God a liar(1 John 1). But we know that there is no condemnation to those who are led by the spirit and not the flesh (Romans 8). If we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul; if we love our neighbour as ourselves, if we are led by the spirit. We will have nothing to fear from God. If we walk in the light and not darkness, if we walk in forgiveness and not unforgiveness, if we do our best to be holy. If we stay in relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit. Have you been baptized in the Holy Ghost?
Revelation 3:18-21. ” I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
” 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.”
Moses went and stood before the Lord, seeing God before him on a clear sapphire stone. How was it that Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy were not consumed?
John 1:18. ” No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. ”
We know that when Moses wished to see the glory of the Lord as recorded in Exodus 33, he had to be hidden. Because God said, ” Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” Exodus 33:20. So despite all that has happened on Mount Sinai, being face to face with the Lord, and even going higher towards His Glory, who was hidden in the dark cloud; Moses on this occasion had to be hidden ‘lest he be consumed’. Surely then when Moses and the seventy were before the Lord, they were before the pre-incarnate Christ, the word. No man has seen God at any time but Christ. The people had to wait three days for the Lord to appear on Mount Sinai, as was Christ’s body being in the earth before he was resurrected. Christ is the word made flesh, Moses received the law or words written in stone and instructions on justice, right and wrong. Heb 10:16, “… I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.” Christ is the rock or stone upon which a wise man is to build, noting His teaching to fulfil the law by loving God with all your heart mind and soul, and love your neighbour as yourself Luke 10:27. The church is built upon revelation of His spirit with ours, which He compared to being the rock that He would build His church(Matthew 16:18). Christ was standing on the pavement between man and the Glory of God, who was hidden in the dark cloud. Christ was preventing the Glory of the Lord from breaking out against the men and consuming them. Christ’s stands in Heaven interceding on our behalf. Roman 8:34 The reason God was so harsh on Moses, when he hit the rock rather than speaking to it. Was because speaking to the rock was to be Messianic prophecy speaking to the rock who is Christ out of which comes everlasting water. John 4:14. ” but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
In Exodus 19:21 the Lord says ” charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish,” charge as to impose upon them as a command. As already discussed the Israelite’s were to wash their clothes as commanded by the lord. We know that without faith it is impossible to please Him(Hebrews 11:6) and we also know that a faith without works is dead(James 3). If a person claims to have faith in God through Christ, only to continue in sin, then where is difference between an unsaved person of the world and the example laid done for us, firstly by the prophets and then Christ and the Apostles. The Christian Church should be the lighted beacon that shines before men, so that they would be convicted and want to lay down their lives. So who is leading, as an example, to them who are lost that they might be convicted of their sin and flee to safety in Christ?
1 John 2:15-17. ” Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Where is the fear of the Lord if a person is sinning? God will judge the dead and the living, and sinners will go to a place void and away from God. God will hold us accountable! Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow. Only Christ can wash away our sins, only in Christ will we find peace with God. Where will the sinning Christian go when He returns, who thought nothing worthy of the noble sacrifice of Jesus. Will they find forgiveness? The time has come to wash our robes and prepare for the return of the King, King Jesus. Let us wash our robes in the word of God, which separates evil from good. Matthew 7:21-23.
” Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
In Exodus 19:24. God commands Moses to be careful on how he should approach the mountain. The Lord says, ” but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them.” The Lord is speaking about himself in the third person. The Lord warns Moses and tells him what to do lest the Glory of God, over which He has no control, would break through upon them and they would die. It seems that people love to hear about what God will do for them. The prosperity gospel is one example; but as soon as you mention judgement you are branded as being legalistic and unforgiving. Do you not know that God is going to judge everyone, and just because you claim that you are a Christian, that does not mean that all will go well for you. Repentance implores us to turn away from sin and do good, we cannot have one foot in the world and in the Church. There is a saying, ” Don’t be so spiritually minded that your no earthly good. Smith Wigglesworth said, ” Yes, but do not be so earthly minded, that you are no spiritually good.”
1 Timothy 1:8-10.
” But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
” Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. ”
Nothing has changed when it comes to sin. If you are living a knowingly sinful lifestyle then, you will be punished. Under old testament law homosexuals and adulterers were put to death. In no way do I mean to single this sin out, however God is never going to accept it. When you stand before God like Moses did, we will all need our mediator Jesus there on our behalf, but if we are leading deliberate sinful lifestyles then I believe God’s glory will break out against us. It is never too late to repent, Jesus is more than able to forgive, time and time again. Now is the time for washing our garments; wash them in the word of God making sure your life lines up with scripture. If you are in Christ, then the law is your guide to write and wrong; the last time I checked murder will bring you before the courts and give you (mostly) a jail term. Just because your a Christian….” Your Honour, my client is a Christian and this very fact alone precludes him from the law of the state. Despite the fact he freely admits murdering 12 people and producing 100 kilos of Methamphetamine for sale too 1000’s of people netting him billions; your honour. my client says that Jesus has forgiven him.” ” Oh I am very sorry counsel, I was totally unaware, you should have mentioned it earlier. Mr Smith you are free to go and here’s your money back.”
Revelation 20:11. ” And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place them.”