Exodus 24:17
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) The sight of the glory of the Lord.—To the Israelites in the plain below, the appearance on the top of the Ras Sufsafeh was “like devouring fire.” A light like that of a conflagration rested on the top of the Ras Sufsafeh all the time that Moses was away.

24:12-18 A cloud covered the mount six days; a token of God's special presence there. Moses was sure that he who called him up would protect him. Even those glorious attributes of God which are most terrible to the wicked, the saints with humble reverence rejoice in. And through faith in the atoning Sacrifice, we hope for greater honour than Moses ever enjoyed on earth. Now we see through a glass darkly, but when he shall appear, then face to face. This vision of God will continue with equal, if not increasing brightness of joy; not for a few days only, but through eternity.Many Jews understand the "tables of stone" to denote the Ten Commandments; "a law," the law written in the Pentateuch; and the "commandments" (or "the commandment"), the oral or traditional law which was in after ages put into writing in the Mishna and the Gemara. But it is more probable that the Ten Commandments alone are spoken of, and that the meaning is, "the tables of stone with the law, even the commandment." 14. he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us—There is a circular valley or hollow a good way up on the brow of Jebel Musa, which was their halting place, while he alone was privileged to ascend the highest peak. The people stood below, as in the "outer court," the elders in the "holy place," Moses, as a type of Christ, in "the holy of holies." He saith

like it, for it was not

devouring fire, as appears by Moses’s long abode in it. Note here, whatsoever the elders of Israel saw before, the people saw no similitude of God, as Moses observes, Deu 4:15. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount,.... For when God spoke out of the cloud, the glory of the Lord flashed out like devouring fire; it was not devouring fire, but it was like it; it was like a great blaze of fire, which consumes all that is in its ways; it was such a large body of light, and so clear and bright, that it looked like devouring flames of fire; and being upon the top of the mount was very visible, and seen at a great distance in the eyes of the children of Israel throughout, their camp. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like {l} devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

(l) The Lord appears like devouring fire to carnal men: but to them that he draws with his Spirit, he is like pleasant sapphire.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 17 - Meanwhile, to those below in the plain, "the glory of the Lord" on the summit above them, was like devouring fire on the top of the mount. They had but to lift their eyes thither, and they saw his wonderful glory - showing like a huge fire - on the spot from which he had spoken to them (Exodus 20:18). This manifestation continued certainly for the first six days; whether it lasted longer or not is open to question. Through their consecration with the blood of the covenant, the Israelites were qualified to ascend the mountain, and there behold the God of Israel and celebrate the covenant meal; of course, not the whole of the people, for that would have been impracticable on physical grounds, but the nation in the persons of its representatives, viz., the seventy elders, with Aaron and his two eldest sons. The fact that the latter were summoned along with the elders had reference to their future election to the priesthood, the bearers of which were to occupy the position of mediators between Jehovah and the nation, an office for which this was a preparation. The reason for choosing seventy out of the whole body of elders (Exodus 24:3) is to be found in the historical and symbolical significance of this number. "They saw the God of Israel." This title is very appropriately given to Jehovah here, because He, the God of the fathers, had become in truth the God of Israel through the covenant just made. We must not go beyond the limits drawn in Exodus 33:20-23 in our conceptions of what constituted the sight (חזה Exodus 24:11) of God; at the same time we must regard it as a vision of God in some form of manifestation which rendered the divine nature discernible to the human eye. Nothing is said as to the form in which God manifested Himself. This silence, however, is not intended "to indicate the imperfection of their sight of God," as Baumgarten affirms, nor is it to be explained, as Hoffmann supposes, on the ground that "what they saw differed from what the people had constantly before their eyes simply in this respect, that after they had entered the darkness, which enveloped the mountain that burned as it were with fire at its summit, the fiery sign separated from the cloud, and assumed a shape, beneath which it was bright and clear, as an image of untroubled bliss." The words are evidently intended to affirm something more than, that they saw the fiery form in which God manifested Himself to the people, and that whilst the fire was ordinarily enveloped in a cloud, they saw it upon the mountain without the cloud. For, since Moses saw the form (תּמוּנה) of Jehovah (Numbers 12:8), we may fairly conclude, notwithstanding the fact that, according to Exodus 24:2, the representatives of the nation were not to draw near to Jehovah, and without any danger of contradicting Deuteronomy 4:12 and Deuteronomy 4:15, that they also saw a form of God. Only this form is not described, in order that no encouragement might be given to the inclination of the people to make likenesses of Jehovah. Thus we find that Isaiah gives no description of the form in which he saw the Lord sitting upon a high and lofty throne (Isaiah 6:1). Ezekiel is the first to describe the form of Jehovah which he saw in the vision, "as the appearance of a man" (Ezekiel 1:26; compare Daniel 7:9 and Daniel 7:13). "And there was under His feet as it were work of clear sapphire (לבנת, from לבנה whiteness, clearness, not from לבנה a brick),

(Note: This is the derivation adopted by the English translators in their rendering "paved work." - Tr.)

and as the material (עצם body, substance) of heaven in brilliancy," - to indicate that the God of Israel was enthroned above the heaven in super-terrestrial glory and undisturbed blessedness. And God was willing that His people should share in this blessedness, for "He laid not His hand upon the nobles of Israel," i.e., did not attack them. "They saw God, and did eat and drink," i.e., they celebrated thus near to Him the sacrificial meal of the peace-offerings, which had been sacrificed at the conclusion of the covenant, and received in this covenant meal a foretaste of the precious and glorious gifts with which God would endow and refresh His redeemed people in His kingdom. As the promise in Exodus 19:5-6, with which God opened the way for the covenant at Sinai, set clearly before the nation that had been rescued from Egypt the ultimate goal of its divine calling; so this termination of the ceremony was intended to give to the nation, in the persons of its representatives, a tangible pledge of the glory of the goal that was set before it. The sight of the God of Israel was a foretaste of the blessedness of the sight of God in eternity, and the covenant meal upon the mountain before the face of God was a type of the marriage supper of the Lamb, to which the Lord will call, and at which He will present His perfected Church in the day of the full revelation of His glory (Revelation 19:7-9).

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