Exodus 24:1
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD--you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of Israel's elders--and you are to worship at a distance.
The Love of Thine Espousals'Alexander MaclarenExodus 24:1
Belief and DisobedienceExodus 24:1-8
God's Covenant with IsraelJ. E. Twitchell.Exodus 24:1-8
The Blood of the CovenantJ. M. Sherwood, D. D.Exodus 24:1-8
The CovenantJ. W. Burn.Exodus 24:1-8
The Sealing of the CovenantH. T. RobjohnsExodus 24:1-8
The Sprinkling of BloodJ. Vaughan, M. A.Exodus 24:1-8
The Strictness of God's LawS. S. ChronicleExodus 24:1-8
The Covenant MadeH.T. Robjohns Exodus 24:1, 2, 9-11
The Vision of God for the Selected FewD. Young Exodus 24:1-2, 9-11
A Vision of GodJ. Orr Exodus 24:1, 2, 9-12

I. THOSE SELECTED FOR THIS VISION. That Moses himself went up was a matter of course. It was good for him to be there for the strengthening of his own faith. He himself would rejoice in the assurance thus given that the promise of the people was accepted. As to those who went up with him, it is clear that in the revelation something was being done to prepare them for official positions afterwards. They got this glorious sight not because they deserved it more than others, but because they needed it more. Moses required helps in order that he might be a mediator between God and the whole nation, and so these men, the seventy elders in particular, needed help in acting as mediators between Moses and the people. Doubtless it was intended that they should go down again among the people and be witnesses as to what they had seen. Would it not give an elder greater influence in after days if the people took knowledge of him that he had been with Moses in the mount? Notice, that in spite of this great revelation, Aaron soon fell away into the great transgression of the golden calf, and a little later Nadab and Abihu perished before the Lord for their disobedience. And may we not say that their sin was all the greater, just because they had been favoured with a privilege which they had failed to profit by?

II. THE VISION ITSELF. "They saw the God of Israel." There is a mysterious yet most instructive reticence as to exactly what it was that they saw. As to what shape and form were seen nothing is said; and even concerning the circumstances nothing more is ventured than an indication o! the sapphire work on which he stood. And since we find this reticence of description it behoves us to put corresponding restraint on our conjectures: we may infer that the purpose of this vision was to give a plain and encouraging contrast between what was now seen and what had been seen before. When God's people are at peace with him - and there was a symbolic peace at this time - then there is a cessation of such terrorising manifestations as we read of in ch. 19. When we see all that strange mingling of terrible darkness, light, and sound, which make up the thunderstorm, we know that Nature is striving to recover her balance. That balance recovered, the body of heaven resumes its clearness; nay it often appears in even more than its accustomed beauty. All the dark and frowning appearances of God, all things that shake and confuse the soul, are meant to lead on to a calming and attracting revelation of God such as this revelation to Aaron and his companions but feebly typifies. First, the presence of God is made known amid thunder, lightning and smoke, and everything trembles to its centre at but the touch of his feet: then there is the change to where he is lifted clean above the polluting earth. Instead of disturbance there is unruffled peace, the beauty and profundity of the cloudless heaven. Thus by this outward symbol should we think of the quiet, untroubled heart where dwells the reconciled God. The more complete that reconciliation, the more settled the peace which we have with God, the more may the state of our hearts be indicated by the language which is here employed.


1. They were made to feel unmistakably God's benignity towards them. He did not lay his hand upon them. That they were not swiftly stretched in death upon the mountain side is spoken of as if in itself a subject of congratulation. The negative must come before the positive. The thought of complete salvation from danger must precede the thought of positive growth and enrichment. It was scarcely credible that men should see God and live. How dependent we are for our conclusions on narrow experiences, sometimes on most superstitious fears! The day is coming when, if we only accept all purifying ministrations, we shall not only see God and live, but also wonder that so long we should have been able to live without seeing him.

2. This benignity is particularly experienced in their being allowed to eat and drink before God. It is in the companionship of the table that social intercourse is commonly supposed to reach its perfection. This eating and drinking before God indicated that a certain composure of mind had been attained, and that the company had some real enjoyment of the position in which it was placed. There is a setting forth of the Divine blessing which ever rests on true fellowship of the saints. As many as are right with God personally are drawn together for united enjoyment as well as for united service. There is no place where the hearts of men are really one but when they are gathered before him who has the sapphire work under his feet. There, and there only, do we find the secret of that penetrating harmony which dissolves and utterly destroys all discords. - Y.

Behold the blood of the covenant.
I. He sprinkled THE BOOK in his hand. It was the Bible of his day, and yet it needed sprinkling. And we hold our Bibles — do they need sprinkling? The Bible is the transmitted mind of God — it is perfect truth, it is essential holiness — must it be sprinkled? Human words are all unclean. The mind of God must pass to men through the organs of the human voice — and that humanity mingling even with the revelation of God, wants washing. The materials of which the book is made are human. And again and again with our defiled hands we have soiled it — and we never open the book but it is a sinner's hand that touches it. Our Bibles need the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus.

II. And he sprinkled THE ALTAR — for he had reared it. The altar was a holy thing — dedicate, consecrated, yet for the manhood which was associated with it, it needed the sprinkling of the blood. And we have our altars. You rise in the morning, and you set up your altar on your bedside-and when you rise from your knees, how many wandering thoughts, what coldness and dulness of soul, what mixture of motive, calls out for mercy. The altar of the bedroom — it must be sprinkled. You come down, and you gather round the family altar. But is there no one there, in that little assembly, whose heart is wrong with God? Does the worship of the family all go up in purity? Is it not a dull thing — that family prayer each morning — a mere routine? And does not it want the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus?

III. Moses sprinkled THE PEOPLE. There is no part of man that does not need that sprinkling.

IV. The sprinkling of the blood was the token THAT WHATEVER IT TOUCHED BECAME COVENANT. We have our covenanted Bibles and our covenanted altars; we ourselves are in covenant with Christ. Do you know that the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is on you? And all that you must recognize if you would obey God. You must not rely upon "All the words that the Lord hath spoken we will do." But you must go as a sprinkled and covenanted people, or you will not go at all.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. THE SACREDNESS OF BLOOD. This is taught both in Old and New Testament.

II. THE CHRISTIAN COVENANT IS A COVENANT OF BLOOD. The blood of the eternal Son of God, shed on Calvary, sprinkled on the high altar of heaven and on all who approach with penitence and faith.


IV. THE LORD'S SUPPER is a memorial and a solemn public ratification of this Divine blood covenant. It sprinkles us afresh with the blood of the great atonement.

(J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)


1. Revealed faithfully.

(1)"Words." for direction and encouragement.

(2)Judgment, for warning.

2. Revealed intelligently.

(1)Not an appeal to superstition and credulity.

(2)In language which all could understand.

(3)Under circumstances attesting Divine origin.

(4)An appeal to reason, piety, interest.


1. Unanimously.

2. Heartily.

3. Specifically.

4. Speedily.

III. PERMANENTLY EMBODIED. A written revelation is —

1. Necessary.

2. Advantageous.

3. Important.


1. Altar and pillars — representing God and people.

2. Young men — symbolizing strength and earnestness that should be exerted in keeping covenant engagement.

3. Sacrifices.

(1)Burnt-offerings, to signify dedication of people to Jehovah.

(2)Peace-offerings, as typifying Jehovah's reconciliation with people.

V. RATIFIED WITH BLOOD. In conclusion —

1. Christ is the Mediator of a better covenant.

2. That His blood is sprinkled on the altar of God (Hebrews 9:12), and in the heart of His people (Hebrews 9:13-15).

3. That He has instituted a "perpetual memorial of His precious death until His coming again" (1 Corinthians 9:25).

(J. W. Burn.)

I. THE PREPARATION AND SEPARATION. God and Israel were to bind themselves in sacred oath. God was ready. Was man ready? Reverence and humility were required, a deep sense of the full meaning of all that was to be said and done. Special preparation is always demanded for special exhibitions of the Divine glory and power, and for special seasons of covenanting with God. Man is never ready for pledges of love and loyalty until he has sanctified himself through penitence and prayer.

II. THE PEOPLE INFORMED. Let the leaders of God's host plainly point out the path. The need of our age is not speculation but declaration of things revealed by those who have been on the mount with God, have beheld His glory, and have received a message for dying men. The people would know what God has said, not what men imagine or guess. How about our Father in heaven? What are His purposes of grace? What are the conditions of blessing? These are the burning questions of our age and of all ages. If any one has been on the mount and heard the voice, let him come down and tell us what he knows. The world is waiting.

III. RATIFICATION OF THE COVENANT. Deliberation is always demanded before pledges of acceptance and obedience are made. No act of human life is more solemn than that of covenanting with God. Before men begin to build, they should count the cost. Many who run well for awhile afterwards halt and turn back because they started under the impulse of a sudden and ill-considered emotion. Christianity is righteous principle put in practice.

IV. SEALING THE COVENANT. Remember the hour, the spot, all the circumstances attending your public avowal of faith in Jesus Christ, and your covenanting with God and with His people. How have these vows been kept? How have the conditions of blessing been fulfilled? God has never failed you. Have you failed Him? Oh, these covenants! How many have been broken! These vows! How many have been slighted! We should frequently go back to the altar "under the hill," and recall the sealing blood.

V. NEW VISIONS OF GOD. This doubtless was a far more distinct vision than the former, when the law was given amid clouds and darkness and tempest. That was a display of majesty; this is of love. The language of the former was: Obey and thou shalt live. The language of the latter is: Love and confide. A little while before the vision was of a Law-giver. Now it is of a Saviour, inspiring confidence and peace. The mercy-seat appears. God's glory is seen in the face of Jesus Christ, typified by the sapphire stone and, as I suppose, by the dimly outlined form of the world's Redeemer.

(J. E. Twitchell.)

S. S. Chronicle.
"The Bible is so strict and old-fashioned," said a young man to a grey-haired friend who was advising him to study God's Word if he would learn how to live. "There are plenty of books written now-a-days that are moral enough in their teaching, and do not bind one down as the Bible." The old merchant turned to his desk, and took out two rulers, one of which was slightly bent. With each of these he ruled a line, and silently handed the ruled paper to his companion. "Well," said the lad, "what do you mean?" "One line is not straight and true, is it? When you mark out your path in life, do not take a crooked ruler!"

(S. S. Chronicle.)

Suppose, says the late Archbishop Whately, two men each received a letter from his father, giving directions for his children's conduct; and that one of these sons hastily, and without any good grounds, pronounced the letter a forgery, and refused to take any notice of it; while the other acknowledged it to be genuine, and laid it up with great reverence, and then acted without the least regard to the advice and commands contained in the letter: you would say that both of these men, indeed, were very wrong; but the latter was much the more undutiful son of the two. Now this is the case of a disobedient Christian, as compared with infidels. He does not like them pronounce his Father's letter a forgery; that is, deny the truth of the Christian revelation; but he acts in defiance in his life to that which he acknowledges to be the Divine command.

I. WHAT OCCURRED? The Law had been given, amplified (chaps. 21.-23), and endorsed by the people (Exodus 24:3). Necessary now to uncover that atonement which is ever the ground of God's dealings with man. Hence the altar. No soul was to touch it, for the atonement is the creation of God. Still man had a part in these covenantal transactions, hence twelve pillars = twelve tribes. But sacrifice on the altar — the burnt offering = life surrendered — and the peace offering = communion with God and one another. The sacrifices were slain by young men = the flower of Israel. The Levitical priesthood not yet. Every age has its own special service for God. The blood was preserved. Now the blood stands for life. Half disappeared in fire on the altar. Gone! = forfeited life of the sinner. Half thrown back upon the people = life restored to man. How Israel ascended to a higher plane of life (ver. 9). In the only possible way — representatively. Then came the vision of God (ver. 10). Then the banquet (see Song of Solomon 2:3, 4).


1. Salvation has its ground in God and God alone. Calvary potentially before the Christian era, actually since, the Divine ground of salvation.

2. Forfeited life is given back to man on the ground of Christ's atonement. Life, capacity, faculty, are all given back now to be man's very own.

3. Now again to be given back to God in consecration. Being now my very own (in the sense just hinted), I give my own to God. This self-surrender is vital. The surrender is to be complete in intent and purpose. And the obligation presses now. Delay is disloyalty.

4. There will then be peace. With God; with ourselves; with men.

5. Life will move on a higher level (vers. 9, 12, 13). (Emphasize the meaning in the words "And BE there": "And Moses went up into the Mount of God.") Valley men have no idea of the bracing atmosphere, the brilliant light, the wider view, the grander visions, to be found on the mountain-plateau. It is so in Switzerland; so with the mountains celestial.

6. There shall be visions of God (ver. 10). Bushnell says: "So gloriously has my experience of God opened His greatness to me, I seem to have got beyond all physical images and measures, even those of astronomy, and simply to think God is to find and bring into my feeling more than even the imagination can reach. I bless God that it is so. I am cheered by it, encouraged, sent onward, and, in what He gives me, begin to have some very faint impression of the glory yet to be revealed."

7. And banquetings and satisfactions of soul (ver. 11). As the body has its nutriment, so the soul. No more "husks." High thought befitting immortal man. Manna: "Hidden manna." Here on earth. At the marriage supper of the Lamb. Thereafter to all eternity.

(H. T. Robjohns, B.A.)

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