In this section of the Bible the most powerful manifestation of God to this date is recorded. Nothing in history compares to it; however, I believe that it is prophetic of an even greater manifestation in the future.
The timing of Israel’s encounter with God will define the second of the Biblical festivals, Shavuot (described in Leviticus 23). Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai on the first day of the third month (about 42 days after the Exodus from Egypt). After a few days (we will assume seven days total), God descended onto the mountain and a covenant was made between God and the nation of Israel. The exact timing is not specified but after their arrival, there was a three-day purification period. Later the festival of Shavuot is specified to occur on the 50th day following the Shabbat after Passover. I therefore arrive at the speculation that an additional four days were spent at Mt. Sinai after their arrival before God initiated the covenant.
The manifestation of God on the mountain must have been awesome. Israel was terrified at what they were experiencing. A great cloud hovered over the mountain. Lighting flashes broke forth from the cloud with attending thunder. The earth shook with a great earthquake. Smoke ascended from the fiery presence of the Lord on the mountain. Finally, there was the sound of a great “trumpet” which grew louder and louder. Before speaking to the assembled people, God called Moses up on the mountain and warned him concerning any of the people attempting to ascend the mountain to approach God. Later, in the book of Leviticus, a detailed method for approaching God was revealed.
The First Trumpet, The Last Trumpet
There are many theories concerning the sound coming from the mountain. The Bible simply stated that they heard “a voice of a very strong shofar”. This is translated as a “trumpet” in some versions. This is the first time that this sound is mentioned in the Bible. I believe that it was the sound of God’s awesome presence interacting with the atmosphere of the “Space-Time Continuum”. At any rate, we could rightly call this the sounding of the “First Trumpet”. I want to introduce this thought because the Messianic Scriptures speak of the “Last Trumpet”. It is associated with the coming of the Lord and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus spoke of this phenomenon (NAS indicates references to the Hebrew Scriptures in ALL CAPS):
But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other (Matthew 24:29-31, NAS).
This is the “Last Trump” or the “Great Trumpet” which is sounded at the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to Him (2 Thessalonians 2:1). I maintain that the same phenomenon that was witnessed on Mt. Sinai will be witnessed at the coming of the Lord. The awesome power of God will strike fear in the hearts of all mankind just as it did to the Israelis at Mt. Sinai. Therefore, the Bible prophesies that:
So that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippines 2:10-11).
There is one additional thought that I want to set forth from this section. God spoke what we call the “ten commandments” in such a way that every Israeli heard His voice. Some believe that God spoke with a great booming voice from the summit of the mountain. I believe that the Bible gives us insight into what really happened that day. Several hundred years later, the prophet Elijah found himself at Mt. Sinai waiting to hear from the Lord. The same phenomena occurred as described in the Exodus account. However, God was not in any of these things. Finally, God spoke to Elijah in a “silent, small voice” (I Kings 19:12). This is the voice of the Holy Spirit who guides every born-again, Son of God.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:14).
There are many more subjects that I could address from this section of the Bible but that will have to wait for another season. Shalom, may the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob grant you peace in the week to come.