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Exod. xix. 9, 16. At the same place he spake to the Israelites, out of the darkness, cloud, and thick darkness, Deut. iv. 11. v. 22. He also led them through the wilderness in a pillar of a cloud, Exod. xiii. 11. In which cloud, he occasionally manifested himself; and I think we are to conceive that in this cloud he shone forth, in the sight of these persons mentioned in our text at this time, as afterwards when the tabernacle was set up, he appeared in the cloud, above the mercy-seat, in the holy of holies; see Lev. xvi. 2. compared with Ezek. i. 4. And by these several supernatural phenomena, he proved himself to be the God of heaven, and the Lord God of Israel. I will again recite the scripture before me: “ Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel." This stands connected with all related concerning the covenant transaction between Jehovah and the people of Israel.
The whole had been confirmed before they had been admitted to this near access, wbich shews that all our spiritual drawing nigh to God is founded on the blood and sacrifice of Christ; he is our purifier and our peace. Their going up further on the mount was in obedience to the divine command: the persons who drew near had received a divine call, see ver. 1. and they obeying the divine orders, were favoured with a sight which must yield them infinite and
unspeakable satisfaction: “And they saw the God of Israel,” the glory and presence of the God of Israel, a most wonderful favour, a full proof of his favour unto them. Some render it, they saw the glory of the God of Israel ;' others,
they saw the place where the God of Israel stood.' “ 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 its clearness.” It is by some rendered thus, · Under the throne of bis glory was as it were a work of precious stone. The sapphire is also mentioned in Ezekiel's via sion of God's throne and glory, Ezek. i. 26. It is a very precious transparent stone, the colour of the sky; it is most pleasant and comfortable for the eye to look upon, of a blue colour: it was one of the jewels in the breastplate of the highpriest, and is mentioned as one of the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem, Rev. xxi. 19. It reads in the Hebrew, according to Ainsworth),
And they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet as it were the work of sapphire brick, and as the body of heavens for clearness. Some translate it thus, · Under the throne of his glory was as it were a work of precious stone." Ainsworth says, the work of brick might call to their remembrance their brick work in Egypt, Exodus i. 14. and chap. v. 16, 19. from which bondage the Lord had now completely delivered them. It was to signify that the throne of biş
glory should be erected among them, and his church should have her foundation laid with sapphires, Isaiah liv. 11. which denoted its durability, it being a hard stone, and consequently durable. The saints should be like it, very precious and transparent, as one with Christ, as founded upon him, as clothed with his righteousness, purified in Iris blood, and polished and wrought up to a conformity to him, by the grace and energy of the Holy Spirit. " 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 its clearness."
This clear heavenly appearance did express the favour of God towards them that keep his covenant. His feet, the instruments of motion, standing in a clear heaven, were expressive that all the passages of his providence to his people are mercy and truth, grace and kindness, upon the account of the blood of the everlasting covenant of peace: he is at perfect peace with his church, he is the God of peace; he saith, “Fury is not in me.”
· Thus the God of Israel appeared to Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, in a clear heaven with a sapphire pavement; which stonė, Poole says, is of a clear sky colour, mixed with golden spots, like stars in the sky; in a clear sky, like the body of heaven for clearness or purity. This might also be expressive of the clearness and purity which becomes the people of God, they being heirs of heaven and glory, with all the blessings of immortality.
I come, thirdly, to shew, that this was a proof of Jehovah's grace and acceptance of them, and the sacrificial transaction; it was altogether a merciful display of the divine majesty. This head will be an explanation of these words, " And upon the nobles of the children of Israel , he laid not his hands; also they saw God, and did eat and drink."
A sight of God following upon these covenant transactions, was a proof of Jehovah's grace; it, was a testimony of the gracious acceptation of these persons and their services; it was a
; display, of his mercy; by it he acknowledged himself to be the God of Israel. These nobles, or select and choseu men, were not hurt or affrighted by this glorious appearance of God unto them; they wept up to the mount by the express command of God; it was not the fruit of their own temerity ; no, it was the fruit of faith, in obedience to the Lord's revealed will; and therefore though they saw this great sight, the God of Israel, the glory of the God of Israel, the place where the God of Israel stood, under the throne of his glory they saw as it were a work of precious stone, yet he “laid not his hands upon them.” They saw God and lived, they were not hurt nor filled with dread, all was well with them, they were none of them dismayed or killed; they saw the glory of God, and rejoiced in their sacrifices as sacred memorials of good things to come; they had as full evidence of their services being accepted as though they had eaten and drank. Some Hebrew writers say, “ They fed their eyes with the brightness of the majesty of God' Our Lord says to his disciples, “ Ye shall eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones.". Luke xxii. 30. Though I should rather conceive, that after this wonderful interview with God and sight of Christ, they eat and drank on this occasion of the sacrificial food, in token and proof of the covenant which was confirmed between the Lord and them.
These great transactions having taken place, the covenant being confirmed, the nobles having been admitted to a sight of the God of Israel, and having eaten and drank, i.e. having feasted on the peace-offerings, great joy must doubtless be the blessed fruit and effect of all this.
Moses, the typical mediator, is called by the Lord, to come up into the mount, and remain there. The Lord promiseth to give him tables of stone, and a law, and commandments, which the Lord had written, that Moses inight teach the same unto the people: Moses instantly obeys; he and his minister Joshua, went up into the mount of God. It was called the mount of