Seeing Sonship at Sinai
Citizenship → Sonship
Consequentially, they began to realize their familial identity in Covenant with God like never before (Ex. 6:7-8, 19:4-5, 17; 2 Cor. 6:16-18). Apparently, in conquering Egypt, God wasn’t forming a Kingdom for mere citizens. Much more than citizenship, God was seeking sonship! Much more than civil subjection, God was seeking the paternal honor that comes from dearly begotten children! A closer look at these majestic scenes of royalty will reveal the making of a family – the sons and daughters of Jehovah (Deut. 32:18-19).
“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” - Psalms 103:13-14 [Deut. 1:29-31]
In fatherly goodness, El-Ira taught His children godly fear to remove from them the godless fears that plague the wicked (Ex. 20:20, Deut. 4:10). My reader, this would produce childlike joy in the Israelite people. Can you believe it? All hail the tenderness of the terribleness at the holy mountain of El-Ira! For, the most fearful occasion of terrible majesty to date was for their security, to make Israel the object of divine pity forevermore (Ps. 103:13). The fearfulness of the affair was always for their spiritual fortification and never their destruction (Deut. 5:29). Therefore, this was a thoroughly gracious experience (Heb. 12:28-29). The sights and sounds were for the security of their salvation. Compassionately, the LORD unveiled a fiery display of Consuming Fire, seeking to prevent Israel from being burned up in the divine protocols of the consumption that was soon to come.
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” - Exodus 20:20
Where the word of a King is there is power (Eccl. 8:4). In speaking to frightened Israelites the word, “Fear not”, while defending the divine purpose of making Israel “fear”, God was acting to dispel worldly fear and ensure godly fear (Ex. 20:20). Of course, these two kinds of fear influence human emotion in profoundly different ways. No one is happy in Hell, but God would have redeemed men to be happy at Sinai! Why? Because the fear of the LORD is the essence of true happiness. “Happy is the man that feareth alway…” (Prov. 28:14)! Yet, what could Israel possibly be happy about, except that they spiritually perceiving that God was happy with them (Deut. 28:63)? This inward realization comes with the fear of God. Paternal instruction made the people see the fatherliness of this fear (Mal. 1:6). One must learn to look upon God the Consuming Fire and cry Abba – which is to say that He is El-Abi! For, in reality, Sinai was a celebration in which God was rejoicing over Israel (Deut. 28:63, 30:9).
As a divinely loved child, every one of them received of Jehovah’s words while sitting at His feet (Hos. 11:1, Deut. 33:2-3). Can you believe it? It wasn’t all utter prostration in the torment of fleshly fear! Rather, so great a revelation of the love of God was inwardly revealed to their souls (“Yea, He loved the people…” – Deut. 33:3; Ex. 20:20), that Israel graciously “sat down at [Jehovah’s] feet” to receive the word of God! As the Wilderness shook at the power and majesty of the voice of the LORD at Sinai (Ps. 29:8), Israel worshipfully gave glory to God (Ps. 29:1-11). What initially frightened Israel the most, later became the most cherished subject of conversation: “and in His Temple doth every one speak of His glory” (Ps. 29:9). Therefore, at the thought of Sinai, the people learned to “give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness” (Ps. 30:4). They learned to sing of His thunder rather than cry against it (Ps. 29:3).
“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” - Psalms 2:11-12
Don’t think Sinai was without hugs and kisses in the Family of God. Disturbed “church members” of the modern era need to understand the rejoicing of those who trembled before the King at Sinai, even as wise men will understand this reality with the King upon Zion in the Latter Days (Ps. 2:11). In a sinaic nursery, the newly adopted children submitted to the paternal care of their Father. The untouchable mountain of holiness was an ecological wonder to behold, as fire burning above promised certain death to all presumptuous trespassers (Ex. 19:21-25; Num. .15:30-31), and the streams of holy water flowing below gave life to the assembled congregation (Hab. 3:9-10, Ex. 32:20, Deut. 9:21). Nature itself was celebrating the event alongside the people (Ps. 68:7-11)! Water issuing from the holy slopes of Sinai as a brook cooled the tongues of those who congregated before the heat of El-esh-oklah (Hab. 3:9-10, Ex. 32:20, Deut. 9:21). Ah! What a scene.
“The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary. Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.” - Psalms 68:8-11
This doesn’t sound like God frightened the people senseless without happiness (Deut. 33:29). Does it? Israel might have been thus, if God didn’t hush their ungodly fears through the word, “Fear not” (Ex. 20:20), and further assure them with the aforementioned happy revelations. Most confused believers today would flee from Sinai, while Elijah fled to Sinai in a time of desperate need (1 Kings 19:8). He found refuge in running to El-esh-oklah, because this Name is a strong tower of safety for believers (Prov 18:10)! Could this be what strengthened the 70 Elders of Israel to ascend partway up Sinai with Moses and the Priests, where they saw God and pleasantly ate and drank in the presence of God (Ex. 24:9-11)? Think about it. The Priests told the people in Ezra’s day, “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).
“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. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.” - Exodus 24:9-11
“…and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.” – Lev. 23:40
“And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice...” - Deuteronomy 12:7
“And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters…” - Deuteronomy 12:12
“But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose…and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God…” - Deuteronomy 12:18
“…and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household…” - Deuteronomy 14:26
“And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God…” - Deuteronomy 16:11
“And thou shalt rejoice in thy Feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates…thou shalt surely rejoice.” - Deuteronomy 16:14-15
“And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God.” - Deuteronomy 27:7
If ever there was a picturesque scene of a heavenly banquet here on earth below (Lk. 13:29), it was at Sinai’s Feast at altitude on the slopes of Sinai in Exodus 24:9-11. This was an original moment of pure joy, yet even this was a mere shadow of things above (Ex. 25:40, Heb. 8:5). The happiness of this occasion resounds throughout the ages in the legislation of Feasts ordained for all the people at appointed times. Because Jehovah was rejoicing over the people (Deut. 28:63, 30:9), the LORD wanted to replicate and perpetuate the rejoicing of the people before the LORD forevermore (Deut. 28:47). Therefore, the most remarkable feature of Israelite Feasts is that they “rejoiced before the LORD” (Lev. 23:40, Deut. 12:7, 12, 18, 14:26, 16:11, 14-15, 27:7; Note: men were required to attend the Feasts, but women and children were not forbidden). The Feast at Sinai was a prototype for all the Feasts that would follow.
Hypothetically speaking, would you have ascended Sinai for the Exodus 24 Feast? Perhaps not. But if you saw Jesus at Sinai you would. If only you had eyes to see the happiness of the occasion you would find strength to come near at such a time as this, for “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). Do you think the Royal Priesthood and Elders hauled heavy loads of food and water partway up Sinai to have a Feast before the Glory of God? Or do you think Jesus cooked them food and spread a meal before them to ingratiate the happy occasion (Heb. 12:28-29)? I’m sure the 70 Elders felt like the Apostles were made to feel when, “as soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.” (John 21:9).
Undoubtedly, all throughout the Theater of redemption, Jehovah gave Israel every reason to rejoice before the LORD without ceasing (Php. 4:4). Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been so damning for Israel to “serve” the LORD without joyfulness and gladness of heart all their days (Deut. 28:47). Think about it. “Shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25). God isn’t unjust. Therefore, according to Micah 6:8, the LORD showed them everything they needed to know to do justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with their God. This is a mandate to sons not bastards (Heb. 12:5-10). Can you believe it? Let the Messiah plead! If you aren’t yet seeing more sonship than mere citizenship in the formation of the Kingdom of God in Israel (Lk. 15:11-32), then there are a lot of weighty things you aren’t seeing in the Law.
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” - Micah 6:8 [Hos. 12:6, Ps. 101:1; Matt. 23:23, Lk. 11:42]
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” - Matthew 23:23
“But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” - Luke 11:42
How do you read the Law? What stands out to you at Sinai? According to Micah, there are two quintessential revelations that bring about submission in the souls of true Israelites, and these are justice & mercy (Deut. 10:12-13, Micah 6:8; John 1:47, Rom. 2:28-29, 9:6-7). As the Messiah openly stated, these are the weightier matters of the Law: “judgment, mercy, and faith” (Matt. 23:23). In other words, this is what the Law is all about! God divinely reveals to men “judgment” or “justice” & “mercy” so that through “faith” souls can be saved. Luke, recounting the same event, describes these divine revelations as “judgment” and “the love of God” (Lk. 11:42). In this case “mercy” and “the love of God” are being used interchangeably. So, here’s the question: do you see this in reading the Law? Apparently, the Pharisees didn’t.
“Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” - Matthew 23:24-33
According to Jesus, if readers do not see mercy, love, and faith in the Law, then they are blind to the weightier matters of the Law like the Pharisees of the 1st Century. Such readers could be called “Pharisaical Christians”. Accordingly, in being blind to the weightier matters of the Law, the Pharisees lived in want of true conversion to God that results in a cleansing within through the Holy Spirit (Matt. 23:24-33, Ps. 51:10). Fearfully, the same confounding stupor blinds readers to salvation by faith in the love of God at Sinai. the Law was first delivered at Sinai! This would certainly indicate that love was definitively unveiled at Sinai! You don’t believe it? Remember, sacrifices for atonement (as a typological Gospel Message) were made at the base of Sinai. Hereby, the blood-sprinkled people found power and sincerity to swear to God according to the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 20:7, 24:8, Isa. 63:8)! Ezekiel, comprehending this, looked upon Sinai and understood it to be a Mountain of Love for Israel – namely, in that Israel’s time spent there was “the Time of Love” (Ezek. 16:8). Let me explain.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth Good Tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth Good Tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” - Isaiah 52:7
The Israelites were effectually Gospelized at Sinai. Justice and mercy are essential components to any Kingdom – and much more in the Kingdom of God. Gospelization in the formation of the Kingdom of God makes possible citizenship through sonship in the realization of God’s reign through justice and mercy. At the divine pulpit of Sinai, the people heard the most powerful preaching of their lifetime communicate to them “judgment” and “mercy” or “the love of God” (Rom. 1:16-17); therefore, in defense of true Gospelization, Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:16-17 as an accurate description of salvation: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4). Of course, this is because “judgment” and “mercy” or “the love of God” are quintessential revelations that bring about submission in the soul by “faith”.
The Ten Commandments
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” - Exodus 20:3
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…” - Exodus 20:4-5
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” - Exodus 20:7
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” - Exodus 20:8
“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” - Exodus 20:12
“Thou shalt not kill.” - Exodus 20:13
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” - Exodus 20:14
“Thou shalt not steal.” - Exodus 20:15
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” - Exodus 20:16
“Thou shalt not covet…” - Exodus 20:17
The first 4 Commandments pertain to the spiritual health of the people in a vertical relationship with God. The latter 6 Commandments pertain to the spiritual health of the people in a horizontal relationship with one another. In other words, the overflow effect of having vertical communion with God made possible horizontal godliness (Deut. 10:12-13, 30:19-20, Micah 6:8, 2 Cor. 6:16). In summation, according to Jesus, this is to love Jehovah with all the heart, soul, strength, and mind vertically, and to love your neighbor as yourself horizontally (Lk. 10:25-28, Deut. 6:4-5, 30:19-20). Evidently, the revelation of these things in truth will bring sinners into the Kingdom (Mark 12:28-34). If sinners are enabled by divine grace to discover the meaning of justice & mercy or the love of God as it is in truth, these men will be saved in the experience. In being transformed from sinners into a saints through salvation, these men will walk humbly with God in the bliss of citizenship through sonship (Micah 6:8, Hab. 2:4).