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Moses, Aaron, Nadab, 'Abihu, and the seventy elders as.
cend Sinai. They see God. Moses there forty days, receiving divine communications.
After the ratifying of the covenant, Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, ascended the mountain ; Moses bowing in adoration near its summit, and the others worshipping afar off.
A new vision burst upon their astonished sight. They saw the God of Israel ;' not, indeed, any personal similitude, but some most extraordinary manifestation of his presence; a splendid effulgence, a divine glory, surpassing every thing that the imagination can conceive.
Beneath it, and on which it seemed to rest, there was, as it were, "a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were, the body of heaven in his clearness.”
The sapphire is a very precious and costly stone, of a fine sky-blue color; of which the apparent pavement was made, looking like the clear, pure azure of the concave above us, in a day without clouds, when the eye seems to penetrate the infinite.
If such was the vision of Sinai to the enraptured sight of the worshippers who were then on it,
what will be the glorious manifestation of the Di vine Presence in heuven to the redeemed who sur. round the throne of God and of the Lamb !- Shall we be there to witness it ! We are told that e
upon the nobles of the children of Israel," (the chosen and highly honored men who were permitted to see this sublime sight,)
the Lord laid not his hand : also they saw God, and did eat and drink.—The overwhelming glory did not consume them. They were near the perculiar presence of God; and yet lived, so as to eat and drink again like other men; or, as some of the ancient commentators interpret it, (in a spiritual sense,) their eyes feasted with a ravishing delight on the splendid vision.
Moses had other communications to receive from Jehovah. A voice from the divine glory addressed
" Come up to me into the mount, and be there : and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.”
In obeying this direction, Moses bestowed a most distinguished honor upon one individual who was with him on the mount. It was a mark of confidence not to be forgotten by the Israelites, showing chat he who bore it, was doubtless des. tined to some very conspicuous station in the future progress of their affairs.
He took Joshua with him, and ascended still
nearer the divine presence. Before going, however, he directed the elders to await their return; saying that if it became necessary to have any matters of difficulty adjusted among the Israelites, Aaron and Hur were invested with the requisite authority.
For six days Moses and Joshua were near the cloud which hung round the summit of the moun. tain, and directly over which was "the glory of the Lord.” On the seventh day, "God called unto Moses, out of the midst of the cloud. 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. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud;" where he remained, without food or drink, forly days and forty nights.
During the same space of time, Joshua also remained on the mountain; but in what particular spot; how he was sustained; what he did ; and whether he had any communication with Moses, or the elders ; we are not informed. We know, however, that he again accompanied Moses, when the latter descended from the mountain. This, and many things of a similar kind, connected with the facts recorded in the Scriptures, it might gratify our curiosity to know; but God inspired good men to write the Bible just as it is written, and we are sure that he knew best how it should be done.
The forty days which Moses spent on the summit of the mountain, near the divine glory, were days full of momentous importance to the children of Israel, and indeed to all mankind. He then received particular instructions from God respecting the building of the tabernacle, or holy place of his residence as Sovereign of the Jewish nation; the ark of the covenant, in which the tables of the law were deposited, with the blossoming rod of Aaron, and the omer of manna that was gathered in the wilderness; the mercy-seat and cherubims over the ark, between which the Divine presence was manifested in a visible heavenly glory, and where Moses came to consult Jehovah, and receive his instructions in the government of the Israelites; the golden table for the show-bread; the golden candlestick; the altar of burnt-offerings; the court of the tabernacle; the setting apart of Aaron and his sons for the priest's office; the splendid garments which, in the discharge of their sacred duties, they were to wear; the mysterious Urim und Thummim in the breast-plate of the high-priest, to be used when he went in before the divine presence, to make inquiry of the Lord, with difficult questions of duty; the manner of consecrating Aaron and his sons,
to hallow them, to minister unto the Lord in the priest's office,” by sacrifices and offerings, and other religious ceremonies; and the morning and evening burnt-offerings, at the door of the tabernacle," day by day, continually."
A volume, or even volumes, might be written to explain these interesting things, and show, so far as it can be ascertained, their import and practical moral uses. They entered deeply into the principles of the divine government over the Jews; the forming of their character as God's peculiar people; the preserving of the knowledge of himself, and of his laws and worship in the world; and the preparation of events, age after age, for the fulness of time, when the great Redeemer of mankind, the Messiah, should appear.
But it would make our history, it is feared, too prolix to go into these particulars. The author must omit them; recommending to his readers, however, to consult, on these and kindred topics, those valuable works to explain them, to which they can easily be referred, and which there is no difficulty in procuring.
After giving these instructions to Moses, which was done in the most minute and circumstantial manner, -so that the very pattern of them was showed him on the mount,-Jehovah added these memorable words :
There,” (in the tabernacle,) "I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons,