"MOSES AT SINAI!" and "THE 10 COMMANDMENTS!"
LAST TIME WE STUDIED THE WANDERINGS OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS OF SIN, and their sin of disobedience and lack of faith, which they had against the Lord and against Moses. Despite all that God could do for them, they were never happy, never satisfied, and they were continually complaining, murmuring, and griping about everything and wishing they were back in Egypt.
NO WONDER THE LORD HAD TO SAVE 'EM BY HIS MERCY, certainly not by His justice! If He'd been just, He'd wipe 'em all out—just as He would us. But in His mercy He saved us. He forgives us for our sins because He's merciful! (Titus 3:5)
1. NOW THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL ENCAMPED AT REPHIDIM AT THE FOOT OF MOUNT SINAI. "All the congregation of the Children of Israel journeyed from the Wilderness of Sin‚ after their journeys‚ according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim." (Ex.17:1.) This was about 1500 years before the birth of Christ.
2. HERE'S THE WADI FEIRAN, A LITTLE OASIS. From here they no doubt followed this wadi, which was most certainly the Feiran, which finds its source near the base of Sinai. No special halting place is mentioned, but the following are some of the scenes along the route which they undoubtedly passed.
3. HERE THEY PITCHED IN REPHIDIM, AND THERE WAS NO WATER for the people to drink. Rephidim is district, not a particular place. The place shown here can not be far from this Rephidim camp, because it was near the base of Sinai.
4. HERE THE PEOPLE MURMURED AGAIN—ON ACCOUNT OF THE LACK OF GOOD WATER. When Moses carried their complaints to the Lord, he was directed to strike the rock in Horeb and water would spring forth for the people.
THE NAME OF THE ROCK WAS CALLED MERIBAH, OR CHIDING, because Moses scolded the Children of Israel there, for their lack of faith in the Lord and their doubting. He did, nevertheless, in mercy bring them forth water from the rock! (Is that where he struck it twice?) No‚ that I think was the next time. Twice Moses had to bring them forth water from the rock.
5. HERE WE SEE A LARGE ROCK WHICH IS STILL CALLED ROCK HOREB. The fact that the rock was in Horeb indicates its nearness to Sinai. This peculiar boulder, standing all alone and not far from the Mount of God has been claimed by some, for many years‚ to be the rock which Moses struck to bring forth water. It certainly is a spectacular, large boulder. It's called the Moses' Stone, by the Arabs.
6. HERE'S THE PASS AT REPHIDIM. Remember that Esau joined Ishmael in this very region, some 500 years before. One of his sons was Amalek and in Ex.15:15 Amalek is called a duke—in other words, he was a ruler of his people. They're a warlike people, and while Israel was camped here in Rephidim, the Amalekites attacked them.
HERE THEY'RE HAVING TO BATTLE for the first time since they had left Egypt. They're having to fight here at the Pass of Rephidim. They were attacked here because it's easy to defend a pass. 3-6 million people passing through the land would be a little hard to attack! So the Amalekites waited until they came to this narrow pass, where they could only come through a few at a time. Then they fell on them!
7. MOSES SAT ON TOP OF THIS BIG ROCK OVERLOOKING THE PASS. This is the summit of Jebel Serbal. Here we're introduced, for the first time, to Joshua, who led Israel in the battle against the sons of Esau and Ishmael.
7A. MOSES TOOK HIS STAND ON THIS JEBEL SERBAL SHOWN HERE. As long as he held out his hands above the raging battle, in other words‚ as he held up his hands in praise to God, the Israelites kept winning. But the minute his arms got tired and dropped, they would start losing. Now it didn't mean that God couldn't possibly help the Israelites win without Moses' arms sticking up in the air!
THE POINT WAS THAT HIS HANDS LIFTED UP TO GOD WERE A SIGN THAT THEY WERE UTTERLY DEPENDENT UPON GOD, and not upon their own strength! It was just simply a sign to them that it was God who was winning the battle for them. If they ceased to depend on God‚ like when he'd bring his hands down‚ they would lose. Well his arms got tired, and so what happened?
TWO OF THE MEN HELD HIS HANDS UP FOR HIM‚ AND THEY DECISIVELY DEFEATED THE AMALEKITES. Moses prophesied, at this time, that Amalek should be thus defeated from generation to generation, and the future generations of Israel justified the truthfulness of his words. It seemed like these poor Amalekites never could win a battle! They got licked almost every time they tried to fight with the Jews after that.
8. HERE JETHRO, HIS FATHER-IN-LAW, COMES OUT TO MEET MOSES. Remember‚ Moses had been gone for some time in the land of Egypt. He had been working previously in this very desert for Jethro‚ the priest of Midian, and had married one of his daughters, Zipporah, Now Moses returned with all these millions of Israelites following after him! What a sight it was!
THIS WAS THE LARGEST SINGLE MASS MIGRATION OF A NATION IN ALL HISTORY! A very miracle in itself—that an entire nation could pick up and move! Of course, in some ways, it's almost more miraculous that they should be preserved for 40 years in the wilderness!
THEY COULD HAVE ACTUALLY MADE THE TRIP IN 40 DAYS! Why didn't they make it in 40 days? They sinned and doubted God and murmured against Him, so God just let'em stay out there!
BELOVED, IF YOU SIN IN MURMURING AGAINST GOD, and complaining about your lot, complaining about circumstances and conditions under which you're living, and griping and murmuring against God or your leaders,
GOD MAY JUST LET YOU STAY THERE that much longer!—or ten times as long, or many, many times, hundreds of times as long—like He did to the Children of Israel—until you learn to be patient! "Tribulation worketh patience!" (Romans 5:3.)
OUT CAME JETHRO WITH MOSES' WIFE AND HIS TWO SONS, Gershom and Eleazar. He met Moses here at Rephidim.
9. HERE'S ANOTHER SCENE NEAR SINAI. You remember that Jethro was a priest of Median. He took great interest in Moses and offered valuable suggestions in regard to organising his work, so that it would take some of the petty responsibility from the shoulders of this great leader.
UP TILL THIS TIME‚ POOR MOSES WAS TRYING TO JUDGE EVERY ARGUMENT that came up. I have a tough enough time judging arguments that come up just between the children in my own family! He was trying to judge all of them—one man against 6 million people!
SO JETHRO, WITH THE WISDOM OF GOD, said, "Now listen, Moses, don't try to take too much on yourself! Don't try to do this all by yourself. Appoint captains of hundreds and captains of tens and captains of thousands and so on, and let them take the case first. If they can't settle it‚ then take it to the next highest officer and if he can't settle it, take it to the next one and finally to you." Here we have the first institution of the court system, from one court to a higher court.
10. HERE WE HAVE A MAP. Three months to the day had passed since Israel had departed from Egypt. They camped upon the plain before Mount Sinai. They had traveled about 200 miles and already they had had a great variety of experiences. 200 miles in 90 days—that's an average of about 2 miles a day.
BUT WHEN YOU CONSIDER YOU'RE MOVING ABOUT 6 MILLION PEOPLE, to make 2 miles a day, you're getting quite a little progress! Remember, they stuck around some of these places for quite awhile—that's why they didn't get there really fast. Besides, they were learning a lot of things God wanted to teach 'em, like camping, and they were suffering for some of their unbelief!
11. HERE THEY CAMPED BEFORE MOUNT SINAI—a very rugged, precipitous mountain‚ as you've seen in some of these other pictures. God immediately called to Moses from the mountain—commanded him to come up to Mount Sinai. Later on they had to put a fence around it, to keep anybody from even touching it—because they were afraid. God said that if they even touched it, they'd be killed!
12. HERE'S AN ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH OF MOUNT SINAI. As you see here, its head is often wreathed in clouds and obscured from below.—Sometimes by great storm clouds, and lightning and thundering coming from the vicinity of the summit of this great mountain, even as it did in the days of Moses.
PRETTY SOON YOU'RE GOING TO CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN and see what the top looks like! It's a very interesting hike. We're going to take that climb in just a few moments. The mountain was wrapped in thick clouds, God's Word says, and Moses went up‚ apparently alone.
GOD GAVE HIM SOME FUNDAMENTAL LAWS AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS! The first time‚ no doubt, just orally and Moses came down and recited them to the people.
13. HERE ARE THE RUGGED FOOTHILLS OF SINAI. This is called the Hill of the Elders. Immediately following this, God directed Moses to take Joshua and 70 elders part way up the mountain. Here they tarried seven days. This area, which they were said to have spent that seven days in, one of the foothills of Sinai, is called, to this day, the Hill of the Elders, by the Arabs who live in the area. They're familiar with this story, that has been handed down by tradition‚ as well as the Words of God.
14. MOSES WAS CALLED UP ON THE SUMMIT into the thick clouds, and God talked with him for 40 days and 40 nights. God gave him explicit instructions regarding the construction of the tabernacle, which is a huge tent, and all of its equipment—which was to be a place of worship for the Children of Israel, during their wilderness wanderings.
MOSES DIDN'T CARRY 40 LUNCHES WITH HIM EITHER! He fasted and prayed 40 days and 40 nights. That was a miracle alone—'cause nobody can last 40 days and 40 nights without food! There's only two other people in the Bible we ever hear that fasted 40 days and 40 nights, and who was that? Jesus, just before His temptation & Elijah. (1Kgs.19:6-8.)
HE GAVE EVERY DETAIL EXACTLY HOW IT WAS TO BE MADE, every measurement, the kind of pegs they were to use, hooks and knops, and the kind of wood they were to use. God knew what was best because they were going to have to be toting this tent around, just like one of these huge circus tents, for 40 years.
15. HERE WE SEE AN ARTIST'S CONCEPTION OF THE CAMP OF ISRAEL, at the foot of Mount Sinai. While Moses was up there communing with God, the people waited impatiently below. God also gave Moses the Ten Commandments written on the tablets of stone.
16. THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SEEMED TO HAVE VERY SHORT MEMORIES! It didn't take 'em any time at all to forget that God was their God and that He'd helped them to get out of Egypt, escape from their enemies, had fed them miraculous food from the sky, brought water from the rock, and done all kinds of miracles for them!
THEY IMMEDIATELY SAID, "WHERE IS THIS GUY MOSES? We don't know what's become of him! Let's make ourselves a god of our own!" So they melted down all their earrings, bracelets and necklaces that they had taken from the Egyptians. All that jewelry they brought didn't bring them much blessing! They stripped the Egyptians at least, that was one good thing.
THEY MELTED IT DOWN IN TO A NICE BIG MOLTEN CALF. Now this was not a new idea‚ they worshipped the very same kind of sacred cows in Egypt. So they were very familiar with that type of worship.
AARON RELUCTANTLY AGREED TO DO IT. Remember‚ he was not really the great spiritual leader that Moses was, he was only the mouthpiece for Moses. Later on he tells Moses, "Well, I just threw the gold in the fire and out came this calf." That was one of the lamest excuses you ever did hear!
THEY BEGAN TO WORSHIP IT AND THEY SAID, "THIS BE YOUR GOD, Israel, which brought you out of the land of Egypt!" Can you imagine that! That this hunk of metal was supposed to have brought them out of the land of Egypt! How dumb can people be! How stupid can they be?
THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL THOUGHT THAT MOSES WAS GONE FOREVER! After all, he'd gone off without his lunch! He's up on top of Mount Sinai 40 days and 40 nights, nothing to eat, so they thought surely he must be dead!
SO ON THE URGENT REQUEST OF THE PEOPLE, AARON CAST THIS GOLDEN CALF. The people adopted it as their god and worshipped it vehemently, and they had regular orgies. Some of you kids that I took to see "Solomon and Sheba" remember that horrible disgusting orgy that they had around that god. Well this is the sort of thing they had around this god.
WICKEDNESS WAS ESSENTIAL TO THE WORSHIP OF THE HEATHEN DEVILISH IDOLS, just as righteousness was essential to the worship of the true God. In fact, some of their temples were actually nothing better than houses of prostitution! Their so-called Vestal Virgins were just a bunch of prostitutes! They had a very vile filthy terrible religion!
MOSES WAS UP ON THE MOUNTAIN WITH THE LORD. This time God wrote the Ten Commandments in tablets of stone, with the very finger of God! How many of you saw "The Ten Commandments"? You saw God was writing almost like lightning on the stone. We don't know just how He did it‚ but He sure did it, because the Bible says so and we believe it!
17. HERE'S MOSES WITH THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, as he's lifting them up in anger, when he sees the Children of Israel all dancing around that molten golden calf and worshipping everybody but the right God!
AARON ASKS WAS THIS THE FIRST MENTION OF WRITING? I'm not positive, but as I recall‚ it's the first mention of writing in the Bible. There is a very interesting thing about this. When I was a boy in grade school, they used to teach us that our alphabet came from the Phoenicians—great trades people along the coasts of Israel and Cyprus and clear over to Great Britain, the world's greatest traders in their day. Well since that time, archaeology has dug up things.
WHEN I WAS IN UNIVERSITY, THEY SAID THAT IT SEEMS THAT THE ALPHABET WAS INVENTED BY SOMEONE IN THE VICINITY OF SINAI, Now how about that! Just exactly what kind of characters this was written in, we're not at all sure. Whatever it was, it was something they could read or Moses could read to 'em.
GOD WROTE IT AND MOSES BROKE IT! Here's one case where someone broke the whole Ten Commandments with one blow! Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets. "When he saw the calf, his anger waxed hot‚ and he cast the tablets out of his hand, and he broke them beneath the mount."
18. —AND THAT'S NOT ALL HE BROKE! Moses chastised Aaron and the people. He burned the golden calf‚ melted it down, and he ground it to powder. He mixed the powder with the water and made the people drink it! He was real mad, I'll tell you! He showed a little discipline once in awhile. God's Word called him the meekest of men, but that righteous indignation of his could rise up and he could really show the wrath of God!
19. MOSES THEN INTERCEDED FOR THE PEOPLE. Now we see the very heart of dear old Moses! In spite of Israel's inexcusable sin, he turned unto the Lord and said, "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin and they've made them gods of gold. Yet now‚ O Lord, if Thou wilt forgive their sin; if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy Book‚ which Thou hast written!"
THE LORD ASSURED HIM THAT ISRAEL WOULD BE FORGIVEN. However, God first said to Moses, "You and this people that you brought out of the land of Egypt"—He didn't even want to own them any more, He was so disgusted with them! Moses said, "Lord, they're your people! You brought them out of the land of Egypt! If You're not going to save them, don't save me either!"
NOW THERE WAS A REAL PASTOR! There was a real spiritual leader! He says, "God, if You're not going to save my people, don't even save me!" He wasn't going to desert them no matter how bad they were. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had some preachers like that today? God bless old Moses‚ he really loved those people! It was the love of God in his heart, of course.
20. THE LORD NOW DIRECTED MOSES TO HEW TWO OTHER TABLETS OF STONE, and He would write upon them, as He had on the first. Poor Moses had to go back through the mill again and spend another 40 days up on Mount Sinai!
MOSES NOW RETURNED TO THE PEOPLE WITH THE ENGRAVED STONES, AND HIS FACE WAS AGLOW with the glory of God! After this second long term up there with God, he had contracted some of the radiance of God, until his face literally glowed—a little bit of God rubbed off on Moses, and his face actually shined!
IF YOU LIVE ENOUGH WITH GOD, LIKE MOSES DID, A LITTLE OF GOD WILL RUB OFF ON YOU too and your face will shine! It may not shine like Moses' did‚ but you'll be happy and your face will shine with joy and the Spirit of the Lord!
21. THIS IS AN ANCIENT SCROLL written on in ancient Jewish characters, very old, made of either sheepskin or papyrus. Papyrus was made of the reeds that grow in rivers—the first paper made by Egyptians.
ALL THE LAWS FOR THE CONDUCT OF ISRAEL ARE RECORDED FROM EXODUS 35 THROUGH THE ENTIRE BOOK OF LEVITICUS TO NUMBERS 10, To those who would understand the Jewish religion, or in fact, the New Testament, a knowledge of these laws is necessary. Moses evidently wrote these and then read them to Israel during their year at Sinai and repeated them often to them in later years.
THEY WERE NO DOUBT WRITTEN DOWN ON A SCROLL VERY SIMILAR TO THIS ONE that you see here. This is an ancient Pentateuch which is the first five books of Moses. This is, of course, a copy—because that would have had to have perished long ago.
THOSE JARS THAT THEY FOUND AROUND THE DEAD SEA recently, with parts of the Book of Isaiah in them, sealed with clay‚ had been preserved for 2000 years! Some scrolls can be preserved an awfully long time!
GOD SAW TO IT THAT THEY WERE PRESERVED, because they destroyed the higher critics of Isaiah—claiming there were two Isaiah's and that Isaiah couldn't have possibly have written those prophecies, because they were too accurate and they came to pass too perfectly—just the way he said! They said therefore the prophetic part of Isaiah must have been written a long time after the first Isaiah‚ by some other Isaiah.
NOW THEY HAVE DISCOVERED ACTUAL SCROLLS OF THE WRITING OF ISAIAH, which date way back before the prophecies were fulfilled, So now they can't deny that Isaiah wrote it, and they were prophecies!
HERE'S ONE OF THOSE ANCIENT SCROLLS. This is the five books of Moses‚ the Pentateuch, used in Jewish worship. Sad to say, most of the time this is shut up in what they call an Ark, a beautiful gold—encrusted case‚ in the front of the synagogue—where they open the doors and draw back the curtain‚ and there they revere the Words of God.
MOST OF THEM NEVER GET ANY FURTHER THAN THAT! They never open it and seldom read it, and they don't know really what it says. They're kept in ignorance about what the Bible actually says—just like some other religions keep their people in the dark about the Bible. They have one favourite book that they study about the Bible, a commentary‚ called a Talmud.
THEY KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT THE BIBLE ITSELF and most of them are surprised when you read them some of the things that the Bible actually says. The Talmud is a commentary on the Bible, written by very famous scholars and rabbis of the past. Just as the Roman Catholics study their tradition, the traditions of the church, the traditions of the elders, instead of the Bible, so the Jews study the Talmud instead of their own Bible.
YOU KNOW PROBABLY MORE ABOUT THE BIBLE THAN MANY OF THESE OTHER PEOPLE who don't study the Bible. After all, if you read it, you're bound to know more about it than people who don't. Anyhow, thank the Lord, they preserved these writings of Moses. Remember, it was written from right to left, not from left to right like we do now. So that they could read it, it was rolled from the left scroll to the right-hand scroll.
22. HERE IS AN ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH OF MOUNT SINAI. The mountains of the Bible are indeed very interesting. In the New Testament there is the Mountain of Temptation, the Mount of Transfiguration, the Mount of the Sermon on the Mount‚ the Mount of Crucifixion, the Ascension, the Mount of Olives, and so on.
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT THERE'S MOUNT MORIAH‚ where the temple was built; Mount Gilead; Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan River; Mount Carmel, where God performed miracles for Elijah and he slew the 600 prophets of Baal; Mount Seir, which is the rock city mountain of Petra, carved out of solid rock; Mount Hor, which is the mountain where Aaron died; and Sinai, which is, of course, the most historic and the most revered, as well as the most interesting.
THIS MOUNTAIN IS A MASSIVE SOLID GRANITE BOULDER, two miles long and about one mile wide and nearly a mile high. Sinai is the highest peak farthest to your right; the flatter top is called Ras Safsaf, the Hill of the Willows.
23. HERE'S A LITTLE CLOSER VIEW OF MOUNT SINAI, You're seeing Jethro's Pass there, that gully that runs up the side of Mount Sinai. It leads to the summit of Ras Safsaf.
24. HERE WE SEE A CLOSER VIEW OF THAT PASS, which leads up to the summit. It's like a deep canyon. This is the only way you can possibly get to the top of this very preciptous mountain, which is just steep sheer cliffs all the way around, except for this one narrow pass.
IN ANCIENT DAYS‚ IT WAS EVEN MADE A FORTRESS and they were able to hold off great armies‚ because this is the only way to get to the top. This is still called Jethro's Pass. Why it was called after Jethro, we don't know. Perhaps was the first one to discover it—remember, he had sheep in that area.
THE MONKS OF ST. CATHERINE HAVE IMPROVISED STEPS over some of the rougher parts, as we will see later when we take this hike right up to the top of the mountain.
25. HERE YOU CAN SEE HOW ROUGH THE MOUNTAINS ARE IN THE DISTANCE. You're standing up on one of the shoulders of Mount Sinai here, looking into the plain down below—where, no doubt, the Children of Israel were dancing around the golden calf. Over where you see the little white spot is where we're told the golden calf was. When Moses returned, he could see Israel's idolatrous worship from here. Then he got mad and threw down the Ten Commandments and broke them.
26. THIS HIGH PLACE, that you see there‚ with an altar on top of it, is said to have been the very place on which the golden calf was worshipped!
26A. THE ASCENT BECOMES MORE PERPENDICULAR as this top is neared.
27. HERE YOU SEE SOME OF THE WILLOWS on the summit—from which Ras Safsaf gets its name, the Hill of the Willows.
28. WE'RE COMING UP ON THE LOWER PART OF THE MOUNTAIN‚ ON RAS SAFSAF, looking up towards the highest peak, which is Sinai.
29. WE'RE NOW LOOKING BACK FROM SINAI, Ras Safsaf appears like a sea of granite peaks. St. Catherine's Greek monastery is located there in the valley between the peaks.
30. THAT LITTLE VALLEY‚ BETWEEN THE PEAKS of Mount Sinai and Ras Safsaf‚ has a little stream running through it. Perhaps that may have been where Moses got his drink of water.
31. NOW YOU'RE APPROACHING THE MONASTERY.
32. THE BEAUTIFUL MONASTERY OF ST. CATHERINE has stood here for centuries. It contains many very rare manuscripts and relics.
PART OF THE BIBLE WAS DISCOVERED HERE. When you study the history of the Bible, how we got our Bible, the various manuscripts that it was taken from, frequently you'll see mentioned Codex Sinaiticus, which simply means the Sinai manuscript. It was found up here. Parts of the New Testament were written on the top of this mountain. It was originally a fort, since then it's become the monastery of St. Catherine.
33. HERE IS A CLOSER VIEW OF THE MONASTERY, completely isolated away from everybody, in the top of this lofty mountain. My grandfather visited Mount Sinai‚ and climbed up here. He had to hire a guide and a chain of burros to get up there. It was a very interesting‚ worthwhile experience, he said, to visit this famous monastery, where a part of our own Bible was discovered.
YOU KNOW, PEOPLE THINK THAT THE BIBLE IS JUST A LOT OF FAIRY TALES! I'll never forget, after I gave one of these lectures one night, a fellow came up to me—he looked at me with dumbfounded amazement, and said, "It really did happen! It's true! We saw the actual places, we know it's so!"—Ha!—Of course we do!
34. THIS IS THE CHAPEL OF THE MONASTERY. Look how huge it is and very beautifully furnished.
35. HERE'S THE ALTAR. Very beautiful to look at, but it's a shame they have to waste so much money on all these gold and silver decorations that might have helped to feed the poor, or done something much more useful.
36. HERE YOU CAN SEE SOME OF THE GREEK CLERGY. They do look like Jewish rabbis, don't they? That's because of the ancient Eastern orthodox type of costume—with a long beard and the mitre type of head gear. These are the monks of St. Catherine's monastery.
37. THESE ARE THE BEAUTIFUL GARDENS. They've coaxed the thin soil on the flintly rocks and they succeeded in growing some plants and small trees. From here we'll continue our ascent of Sinai.
38. NOW THE ASCENT BECOMES VERY STEEP and very difficult. As you can see here in the photo, we find steps have been built by the Catherinian monks‚ to be top of the mountain‚ also archways.
39. HERE WE SEE WHAT'S CALLED THE FIRST GATE. Notice the amazing construction of this gate, built by hand labour—no cranes to lift that stuff up there! Those huge rocks were put up there by hand! It must have been very difficult! The monks call this road the Pilgrim's Steps.
40. THIS IS THE SECOND GATE. You notice the pass is becoming more narrow, more precipitous and more difficult as you climb higher.
41. HERE AT LAST IS THE THIRD GATE, or the upper gate, near the top of Mount Sinai.
42. NOW WE'RE STANDING RIGHT ON THE TOP OF MOUNT SINAL, looking out across the plain where Israel camped, across to the mountains and rough territory beyond. Notice there is a little shrine built up on top of the mountain. Here spread out at our feet is the wilderness of granite, just as Moses saw it when God met him here. No one ever inhabited this region, yet the basic laws which govern the entire civilised world were obtained within the boundaries of this very scene! We're now looking north.
43. HERE'S THE VIEW FROM THE SAME LOCATION LOOKING SOUTH WARD. Moses made two trips up here, remember, each of 40 days duration. Here the Ten Commandments were written on tablets of stone. God appeared and talked with Moses face-to-face, God's Word tells us.
44. WE'RE LOOKING ACROSS IN ANOTHER DIRECTION now from the top of Mount Sinai.
45. WE'RE GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN‚ LOOKING BACK UP AT SINAL. We made a long difficult hike. It takes a day to get up there‚ you spend the night at the monastery of St. Catherine's, then spend a day coming back down again—a very interesting trip.
46. HERE'S THE SUNSET ON MOUNT SINAL. We must leave Sinai‚ it's barren and desolate slopes still fascinating—there's something about it that thrills one's very being. We don't necessarily respect the places or have to worship the spots, but we certainly are thrilled with the events which took place here, which have affected all mankind!
WE SEE GOD'S GLORIOUS SUNSET, the beautiful painting in the sky. Some things God changes every night and changes every moment‚ but some things He leaves unchanged for centuries, for thousands of years—like old Sinai and His Law.
THE LAWS WHICH WERE GIVEN HERE ARE THE BASIS OF THREE OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST RELIGIONS—Judaism, Islam and Christianity. If you would know what God expects of mankind, study His Law of Love!
WE'RE NOT SAVED BY KEEPING THE LAWS, never was anyone saved by keeping the Laws! We're saved by His grace and His mercy. But if we love Him, He says, "If you love Me, keep My Commandments." (John 14:15.)
SO IF WE LOVE HIM, WE WILL KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF CHRIST, won't we? Not necessarily the old Mosaic Law or even the Ten Commandments, but the commandments of Christ, which are even more strict and more rigid than the old Mosaic Law.
THE COMMANDMENTS WHICH CHRIST GAVE LATER ON WERE AN ENLARGEMENT AND FULFILLMENT of the Mosaic Law, and were even stricter. When I was just a young fellow‚ someone asked me, "Don't you believe in keeping the Ten Commandments?" I said, "Why sure, of course." They said‚ "Oh, why don't you keep the fourth commandment then: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy?"
OF COURSE SATURDAY IS THE SABBATH DAY. All you have to do is look at a calendar, you see it's seventh day of the week. It's still observed by the Jews, recognised on down through history, so you know it has to be the Sabbath day. I learned my lesson after that!
YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO KEEP THE TEN COMMANDMENTS! I don't mean by that that you can go out and kill, commit adultery, and so on, and get away with it. But that the old Mosaic Law, the Ten Commandments, given by God to Moses‚ are fulfilled by Christ and enlarged upon by the Lord. The parts which were part of the Mosaic ritualism are no longer necessary.
YOU MIGHT SAY, SINCE CHRIST IS NOW OUR REST‚ WE HAVE ENTERED INTO THE REST OF GOD, which is our Sabbath, and we no longer are compelled to observe the Sabbath.
47. HERE IS A PICTURE OF THE ARK OF THE COVENANT and the engraved tablets of stone. The Ten Commandments, which Moses obtained on Sinai, were placed in a wooden box called the Ark of the Covenant, which played an important part during the centuries which followed. Several hundred years later it was placed in Solomon's temple at Jerusalem.
NOBODY KNOWS WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE ARK. When the temple was destroyed‚ it disappeared! Some people believe that perhaps God caught it up into Heaven, to be placed in the temple of God in the Heavenly City. It was a token and a sign of the presence of God with His people. When they deserted and forsook Him, God forsook them and He took the sign of His presence with Him! This box contained also Aaron's rod, which budded‚ you remember, showing his authority, and a sample of manna. (Heb.9:4,5.)
48. THE ARK OF THE COVENANT was placed in the part of the tabernacle called the Holy Place‚ which no one was allowed to enter‚ except the High Priest once a year. This tabernacle was actually a huge tent. The altar stood in the front court, where they offered blood sacrifices of animals—as a type of the coming of Christ and His sacrifice of His blood for our salvation.
TO THE RIGHT OF THE ALTAR THE SACRIFICE WAS PREPARED, while to the left was the laver, that great basin—a swimming pool for bathing filled with water, on the back of four cattle. The tabernacle was entered from the east, and through its curtained entrance, the worshippers approached the altar.
49. ALL THE WOODEN PARTS OF THE ARK OF THE TABERNACLE WERE MADE OF ACACIA—a tree such as you see here, which is found in this entire district of Sinai. It's a very hard wood and it's rot-proof against insects and worms and lasts practically forever. I believe it was the same type of wood which Noah built the ark from—in another place called gopher wood. (Gen.6:14.)
50. HERE IS ONE LAST PHOTO OF MOUNT SINAL, looking backward toward the plain. Sinai must have been very dear to Moses: here he had shepherded Jethro's flocks, here he witnessed the burning bush, here he had met Aaron. he had seen the cloud cover the mountain and lightning play upon its summit.
HE'D COMMUNED WITH GOD FOR 80 DAYS HERE and received the Law and Commandments up there. He lived for one entire year with Israel on this plain. He'd rejoiced when they were happy, and shared their sorrows, and had worried about their infidelity, their unfaithfulness. At last the morning came when he must leave the Mount of God for ever!
AS THE PILLAR OF CLOUD LOWERED UPON THE TABERNACLE, MOSES PREPARED TO MOVE. This was about 1500 years before Christ. Next we are going to follow the wanderings of the Children of Israel through the wilderness‚ as they go for 40 years, unto the Promised Land.
Review Questions for Chapter 11:
1. What was Israel's main sin during their wanderings?
2. Where did Israel move from the Wilderness of Sin?
3. Describe the country there.
4. Of what did they complain at Rephidim?
5. Is Rephidim a city?
6. How did Moses get water?
7. What was the name of the rock?
8. Who was Amalek?
9. Who attacked Israel at Rephidim?
10. Who led Israel in battle?
11. What part did Moses take?
12. Which army prevailed?
13. Who met Moses at Rephidim?
14. How did Jethro help Moses?
15. Where did they move form Rephidim?
16. How far is Sinai from Egypt?
17. What direction is Sinai from Egypt?
18. How long had they been en route?
19. To where did God call Moses?
20. What covered the mountain?
21. What did God give Moses?
22. Was the law oral or written first?
23. Who did Moses take into the mountain the second time?
24. Did he go alone to the summit?
25. What was written on the tables of stone?
26. What other directions did God give to Moses?
27. What did Israel think about Moses' long stay?
28. What did they request Aaron to do?
29. Did they worship the calf?
30. Where did they get the idea for such an idol?
31. What did Moses do when he saw their worship?
32. What became of the idol?
33. What did Moses ask God to do to the people?
34. Did God call Moses into Sinai again?
35. How long did he stay?
36. Did he get other tablets?
37. Describe Moses' appearance when he returned from Sinai.
38. Where in the Bible do we find the Law?
39. How long did Israel stay at Sinai?
40. What did they build during the year?
41. Where were the tablets of stone placed?
42. Of what kind of wood was the Ark made?
43. What hovered over the Tabernacle?