The last couple of chapters in Exodus have been very similar, with God laying down many, well beyond ten, laws the Israelites MUST follow. Exodus 24 takes a break from that and we are back to God and Moses near the top of the mountain.
“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.’” – Exodus 24:1-2
Although God said earlier in Exodus that He would reveal Himself to the people, He only does so through Moses which is not a true revealing. God could make everything very simple with a revealing, but chooses not to. Why? God works in mysterious ways. 🙂
“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 24:8
This is my opinion, but a God who needs a blood covenant is not the definition of a perfect all-knowing God. Sprinkling blood on people doesn’t bind anyone to following the laws.
“Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel.” – Exodus 24:9-10
At first this seems to state that God did reveal Himself to many people, but these verses contradiction Exodus 24:2 in which God commanded ONLY Moses to approach. If the others could not come near as stated, did they really see God revealed? Or did they convince themselves the clouds looked similar to God given they expected to see God? Sort of like the Jesus on burnt toast we see in today’s society.
“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.” – Exodus 24:12
How convenient that no one but Moses can see God and receive the tablets of stone. Given that many Christians credit Moses as the author of Exodus it is quite suspicious. I suppose I could write a book saying God spoke to me and the masses would then follow me because I said so!
“Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God.” – Exodus 24:13
Another contradiction. God commands only Moses to climb the mountain, but Moses brings Joshua. None of the following verses state that Joshua didn’t come near God. If Joshua went to the mountain with Moses, he must have been near God.
“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.” – Exodus 24:15-16
Um…what did Moses eat or drink at the top of the mountain. Seven days is a long time with no food or water. Where did he poop?!?! 🙂
“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 24:17-18
Translation: Moses made fire because he was cold and the Israelites decided to call the fire God. Sigh. Forty day and nights? Again, what did Moses eat and drink if he had to stay on the mountain? And the purpose? Some magical number God came up with because of his many times broken covenant with Noah?
To sum up Exodus 24, Moses heads to the mountain to receive the laws on tablets. There’s a contradiction between verses on who goes to the mountain. God says no one but Moses, but at one point there are several Israeli leaders and at another point Joshua goes with Moses. This doesn’t disprove God by any means, but it brings into question the accuracy of the Bible (as if it weren’t already inaccurate for hundreds of other reasons). What we can say for certain, however, is a fire on a mountain is NOT evidence of God.
Coming Soon: Exodus – Chapter 25: Offerings for the Tabernacle