Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26
Matthew 5:38-42;Acts 23:1-11
Hebrews 9:15-22; 10:28-39
They Saw God
Waters parting, pillars of fire, water from rocks and food from the heavens. It doesn’t seem that it could get any better than this! Try to imagine just one more time what it must have been like to be one of the Hebrews. Imagine the excitement in your spirit and the conversations around the campfires at night as folks recall all they have experienced over the past year or so. I am sure that at times it all seemed like a dream to them, one they could not believe they were honored to live out.
As the Hebrews continue their journey a mountain comes to view in the distance. Though it may look like all the other mountains around, there is something special about this one. Little did they know just how special it would be and how the experiences of the next stop of the journey would define their lives, not only in their generation, but also for centuries to come. It would be on this mountain that their lives and the lives of all who would come into the family of the Hebrews would be defined as different from all other peoples. They never imagined the events of this mountain would cause them to be hated, shunned and even put to death in generations to come.
Mount Sinai would become a mountain of covenant, a mountain of marriage for the Hebrews. It would be on this mountain that the God of their forefathers would take them to be His for all eternity.
The ceremony would begin with the killing of an animal. Its blood would be poured upon the altar of marriage. This blood would look back to the sin of their father Adam and forward to their full redemption in Messiah. The terms of the marriage, the Torah, would be read to the people as an invitation to individually and as a community accept the wonders of this event. We read the words of the Hebrews as they accept by saying, “We will do and obey.” I wonder just how many boxes of Kleenex it took to get through that wedding?
With the setting painted before you; read slowly and carefully the words of Exodus 24:9-11. No, that was too fast. Read it again. Moses, the elders and the leaders were invited to the reception which followed the ceremony. We are not told why all the people were not invited. That is a mystery I have yet to discover. The scripture states that these men were called to go up the mountain and there they saw God. Try for a moment to wrap your mind around the last three words of the last sentence, “they saw God.” They saw through the floor of the throne room of heaven, and there they saw their Creator.
In the Renewed Covenant it states that no man has seen God and lived. Is there a contradiction between the words of Torah and the words of the Renewed Covenant? I think not. These men on Mount Sinai did not see the fullness of YHVH on that day, but rather they saw the person of Yeshua, the Manifested One. They saw the same Yeshua the disciples would see centuries in the future. They saw the same One you and I call upon today, the same One we long to see return.
I am asked often just how these men and women of old were “saved” in the “Old Testament.” The words of this Torah portion explain it very well. They were redeemed on that day the same as you and I are today. They, as we, are called out of our lives of bondage and slavery. They, as we, are brought to a place of the blood sacrifice. They, as we, are brought to a place of covenant, of Ketuba, of a wedding invitation. They, as we, are then given the choice to say we do and we will obey. They, as we, are invited to a reception, a feast where we will see Him face to face, and have a meal at a marriage supper to celebrate the event. They, as we, long for the day when the house is ready, the bride complete and an eternity with Him begins.
For hundreds of years Christianity has taught that the Hebrews in the wilderness just did not have the fullness that we have today. Did you notice in the readings that the elders were invited to a pre marriage supper of the lamb? Did you notice that they have already seen Him, talked with Him and have eaten the covenant meal with Him? Did you notice that these are events you and I are still longing to experience?
Maybe the Hebrews did not miss out. Maybe in their history, which is recorded in Torah for all to read, we see the wonders of this unspeakable relationship between a people and their God. We, through them, can begin to understand more clearly the love that burns deep within us for One we know, but have never seen.