The Lord Ratifies the Covenant
1 But to Moses the Lord said, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from a distance. 2 Moses alone may come near the Lord, but the others must not come near, nor may the people go up with him.”
3 Moses came and told the people all the Lord’s words and all the decisions. All the people answered together, “We are willing to do all the words that the Lord has said,” 4 and Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. Early in the morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain and arranged twelve standing stones – according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls for peace offerings to the Lord. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and half of the blood he splashed on the altar. 7 He took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people, and they said, “We are willing to do and obey all that the Lord has spoken.” 8 So Moses took the blood and splashed 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.”
9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear like the sky itself. 11 But he did not lay a hand on the leaders of the Israelites, so they saw God, and they ate and they drank.
12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me to the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandments that I have written, so that you may teach them.” 13 So Moses set out with Joshua his attendant, and Moses went up the mountain of God. 14 He told the elders, “Wait for us in this place until we return to you. Here are Aaron and Hur with you. Whoever has any matters of dispute can approach them.”
15 Moses went up the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the Lord resided on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day he called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in plain view of the people. 18 Moses went into the cloud when he went up the mountain, and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
C H Spurgeon
Exodus 24:1-2. And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.
Nearer to God than the people were allowed to come, but still at a distance from him. It was a covenant of distance, — bounds were set about the mount lest the people should come too near. Yet they were near unto God as compared with the heathen, but far off as compared with those who now, by the teaching of the Spirit of God, have been brought near to God through the precious blood of Jesus. Moses alone could come near to Jehovah on mount Sinai, the people could not go up with him, — nor even with the man who was their mediator with God, for such Moses was; but you and I, beloved, can go up with him who is far greater than Moses, —with him who is the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ at Jesus, for God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Exodus 24:3-8. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
There is a double power about the blood; — towards God an atonement, that is the blood sprinkled on the altar, — and towards ourselves a sense of reconciliation, thus must the blood be sprinkled upon us that we may prove its cleansing power.
Exodus 24:9-10. 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.