Not Just a Cloud, but a Person

When people think about the ten commandments, and their revelation on Sinai, this revelation seems to somehow lack the spiritual excitement of other moments in Scripture. Yet, the revelation of the ten commandments was such a supernatural event that the children of Israel were terrified by the event itself. We read:

“All the people experienced the thunder, the lightening, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled. Standing at a distance, they said to Moses, ‘You, speak with us; and we will listen. But do not let God speak with us, or we will die’” (Ex. 20:18-19).

They were so overcome by the power of the event, they did not want to speak to God directly. They were so overwhelmed by the supernatural that they were paralyzed by awe. Why were they so fearful? What was actually happening here? Consider the words of the apostle John in Revelation 4:5, with Exodus 19 and 20 in mind; he writes, “From the throne came forth lightnings, voices and thunderings; and before the throne were seven flaming torches, which are the sevenfold Spirit of God.”

John is describing the throne of the Living God in the 3rd heaven, a description very similar to that of Exodus 20. Here, at the Sinai revelation, is the moment when heaven and earth kissed as the condescending presence of God manifest upon the mount; and by that meeting, a people were given a special purpose.

Often, words such a spirituality or religion are used as a means of escape from the restraints of the material world. They represent a language expressing mental, emotional, or physical detachment from the immediate responsibilities associated with human life, and the often tragic situations where human life is found.

Biblical faith is not detachment, or whatever escapist language may be utilized. Rather, it is the power of God’s presence manifest in the midst of the barren wilderness of human experience. Echoing the words of Exodus 19:6, the apostle Peter writes:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9).

When Moses is called heavenward, to the summit of Sinai, he does not stay or reside there; rather, he is sent back down. Consider others who have ascended:

Enoch, walked with the Lord and was taken up to heaven until the set time when he will be returned for the Lord’s purpose. Moses, ascended Sinai in order to receive the commands of the Lord that would distinguish the people of Israel from the world, as a light. Elijah, was taken up bodily into heaven, also to be kept until the set time. Isaiah: witnessed the heavenly worship of the Lord and returned with prophetic warning and hope for Israel. Ezekiel, was take to the 2nd heaven, beheld the vision of the appearance of a Man sitting upon the throne of heaven, also returning with prophetic warning and hope for Israel. John, was called into heaven in order to receive the contents of the Book of Revelation and returned to deliver that message. Paul, was blinded when Yeshua/Jesus manifested to him on the road to Damascus, a turning point in his life. He also ascend into the 3rd Heaven, and return to fulfill his calling upon the earth. Then, of course, there is Messiah Yeshua/Jesus, Who ascended into heaven, as the first fruit, to be the firstborn of many brothers(Ro. 8:29), Who will return for His Bride.

Yet, there was a Christophany upon Sinai that is often overlooked. Why? Can Messiah be present where the Law, the Torah, is being revealed? Most certainly.

In Exodus 24:9-11, Moses, Aaron, Nadav and Avihu, and the seventy elders of Israel ascended Sinai, into the smoke, the flashings and thunders and, “They saw the God of Israel, and under His feet was something like a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the very heavens. Yet He did not raise His hand against the nobles of the children of Israel. So they beheld God, and ate and drank.”

It wasn’t just a cloud upon Sinai, or an amorphous spirit presence. There, upon Sinai where heaven and earth kissed, Yeshua/Jesus sat enthroned, and He shared communion with the leaders of Israel, when this nation of priests in the midst of the darkening world was established.

Here, God in the person of the Son, descended in order to deliver the ten words, and the remainder of the covenant to Israel. The Word, later to be made flesh (Jn. 1:14), speaks His Word to Moses, engraving it upon the stone tablets (Ex. 24:12) with the very hands that will later be nailed to the Cross. Why? For those chosen to remember that they are not called to a creed, a list or a dogma, but to a Person, with Whom they are to have a personal relationship, and share communion.

While we press on in the upward calling of Christ (Phil. 3:14), we must remember that we have been dispatched on an earthly mission, to shine as light in the darkness, as a city on the hill, even in the midst of the valley (Matt. 5:14-16).

Messiah did not remain detached, trapped or disconnected in the heavens in order to set us on our priestly mission, no, He descended with the power of heaven for us to know that while we are walking along the Way, He is right here with us. Faith in Christ should not be the reason for our withdrawal, but the power of our involvement.

Be well. Shalom.