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The Twofold Significance Of Mount Horeb, The Mountain Of God
In Exodus 3:1, we read that Moses came to the Mountain of God, Mount Horeb. And in verse twelve we read:
And He said, “Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be the token unto thee, that I have sent thee: when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God on this mountain“.
The word of God refers us to a mountain and this mountain is called by two different names, Mount Horeb or Mount Sinai.
Mount Horeb is called the mountain of God, Exodus 3:1,12; 18:5; 24:13; Numbers 10:33, and 1st Kings 19:8.
God refers to His Mountain by two different names, the same way that a twenty four hour day is referred to as the day part and a night part, yet one day. In scripture, God is referred to as light and is of the day, such as the Lord’s day, day of visitation, all of the feasts days, and the Sabbath day. This is God’s side and a positive side of God’s dealings. With every positive side, there is also a negative side. The Mountain of God, Horeb, consists of a light side or a positive side as well and Mount Sinai consists of a night side or negative side.
The Difference Lies in The Heart And Attitude of The People.
Many people approach the Bible in the same way as the people approached Mount Horeb. This same Book can be to some as light and of the day, and others approach this Book as of and in the night. If all churchgoers approached the Bible as of the light and of the day, the Holy Bible would say the same thing to everyone. It is when the Bible is looked at according to the night or dark side that there are many differences, quarreling and fighting. This is one of the reasons why there are so many different church denominations.
This is not a problem with the Holy Book; it is a heart and attitude problem with the reader. Even though God is dealing with all His churchgoers, some approach the scriptures from the light side and some from the night side.
Two Types of People at The Mountain of God.
Exodus 19:3, And Moses went unto God and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain saying, “thus shall thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel”.
The two types of people are the house of Jacob and those of the house of Israel. The interesting thing about God’s statement is that the same man Jacob is referred to as Israel in many other places in the scriptures. His name is called Jacob before his conversion and God changed his name to Israel after his conversion. Genesis 32:28.
The People Were to Feast With God
Exodus 5:1, And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, ” Thus saith the Lord, the God of Egypt, ‘Let My people go that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness’.”
Exodus 10:9, And Moses said, “we will go with our young and with our old, and with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord”.
When the people were in Egypt, they were told to get a lamb for every household, kill it, and feast on the lamb all night. This was in type, Christ, who would become the lamb of God, John 1:29. This is also called a feast to the Lord.
Exodus 12:14, And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.
This was the time when the Egyptians had God’s plague poured out upon them. As long as God’s people were feasting on the lamb, they were protected from the plague. The house of Jacob and the children were under grace, not law. The people didn’t have to do anything but put blood on their doorposts and feast on the lamb for their protection. The plague was poured out upon the Egyptians because of God’s judgment of sin defined by God’s law. The light part of the day did not occur to the people until they had consumed the lamb. It was at this time that the night had to give way to the day. The people had within them, the lamb in type, being Christ, which paid the ransom for sin which is within us all.
Mount Horeb Represents The Day
God led them through the shores of the Red Sea. By crossing over, they were in type out of Egypt and out of the world. Now they were to meet with God at Mount Horeb, the Mountain of God.
Exodus 19:4, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto Myself. 5, Now therefor, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My Covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people; for all the earth is mine: 6, and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shall speak unto the children of Israel.”
In God’s statement, there are three things mentioned. The first one is to hear his voice, the second is to keep His covenant. This is the Covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Exodus 2:24. The third is that they were a holy priesthood, (See our article, God’s Priesthood). God’s priesthood , typified by the entire nation, would deal with man and sin within man.
When Moses had spoken these words of God to the people, they said, “All that the Lord had said, we will do”. This statement by the people caused a big problem for God. The people didn’t have a heart for God, didn’t know Him, or for that matter, didn’t know themselves.
The people didn’t have to do anything to escape Egypt and three months later arrive at the Mountain of God. The only thing that they were required to do was to feast and eat, not the food of Egypt and of the old creation, but feed on the food created by God and of the new creation, water from the split rock and manna from heaven. John 6:33.
We should consider the people’s answer very carefully. They said, “all that the Lord had said, we will do”. When they were in bondage in Egypt, what if God had said to them, “since you are My people and in bondage to the Egyptians, I want you to deliver yourselves out of Egypt, then go to the shores of the Red Sea, and then I would like you to cross over to the other side. When on the other side, if you become thirsty, I want you to drink water from the split rock, then when you get hungry, because there is no Egyptian food on the other side, I would like you to call down the heavenly manna to satisfy your hunger”.
This kind of instruction from God and the people doing it of their own strength sounds ridiculous as it was meant to be. The people leaving Egypt and arriving three months later at the Mountain of God took no effort on their part, they only had to rely on the leading of God, through Moses.
Mount Sinai Represents The Night
Since Mount Horeb has a twofold significance, it may also be called Mount Sinai. Exodus 19:11,18, 20-24; 34:2-4; Galatians 4:24-25; Hebrews 12:18-21.
When the people replied, “all that the Lord had said we will do”, the people removed themselves from God’s grace and put themselves under law, meaning, they were no longer protected by the blood on the doorposts and in a house feasting on the lamb as they once were, but now, they were removed from God’s protection and placed themselves under the judgment of God just like the Egyptians once were. The negative attitude of the people brought about a change of atmosphere and conditions, along with a name change to the Mountain of God Mount Horeb, to Mount Sinai, and caused a separation between God and His people. Now the Mountain of God was no longer called Mount Horeb but Mount Sinai.
At Mount Sinai, the sinfulness of God’s people was exposed, and it became a boundary that God had set between himself and the people. The thick clouds created darkness and there was loud thunder and lightning with a long blast of a trumpet. And in Exodus 19:16, we read that all the camp trembled.
There was none of this negative side earlier in the chapter. It only came about because the people didn’t know themselves or the One who had delivered them out of Egypt. God wanted His people to continue in His Covenant relationship that He had with the Fathers, feast with them, and spend time with them as Moses did.
God had no intention of giving any laws or commanding the people to obey any law. Exodus 20:1 says that God spoke all these words and didn’t command anything of the people. God was revealing Himself and His Divine Nature as to what kind of God had rescued them. The law that we read about in Exodus twenty is a reflection on the inner character of God as the law maker. There is no record that Moses was told to keep any laws. He was on the same Mountain for forty days and forty nights that the people were not allowed even to touch. Moses attitude was of the positive side, not like the people who were on the negative side standing far off and trembling, Exodus 20:18. When Moses came down the Mountain, his face shone. Exodus 34:35. This was a type of transfiguration. His face shone because he was infused with God and spending time with the Lord, and not by keeping any laws.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 7:12 that the law is Holy, just and good. And in verse 14, he says the law is spiritual.
1st Thessalonians 5:8, “but let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith, and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.”
One of the first things a Christian does when he is called of God is to think that he has to do something for God. It’s part of the human experience. The people are never told that God just wants them to fellowship, rest and mingle with Him.
We are vessels to contain God’s spirit within. All the laws, statues and commands are within God’s Spirit. If the Spirit of God and Christ are mingling with our spirit, John 14:23, we can’t help but be doers of the law. Why? Because the law is a law of love and as a Christian grows, he can’t help but grow in love toward God and his fellow man. Why? Because we read in 1st John 4:16 that God is love. The Divine Nature through God’s Spirit needs to be infused in us all. That was the purpose of Mount Horeb. Instead, the people thought they could be doers of whatever God says by their own strength, which caused the atmosphere to change on God’s Holy Mountain. God knew that the law would put demands on the people that they were not able to keep. Only through His Spirit will men become law abiding people, this through no effort of ourselves but through the Spirit of God mingling with our spirit.
The law was given on Mount Sinai under darkness. We see the results of people trying to keep God’s laws with their own strength.
God says in Exodus 3:12, that the token that Moses was sent by Him to deliver the people out of Egypt was when the people were brought to God’s Mountain, Mount Horeb, not mount Sinai. Today, most Bible teachers in teaching the people refer to Mount Sinai and the keeping of God’s commandments, not spending time with Him like Moses did.
We who are of the day, will feast with God on Mount Horeb
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