From Eternity Past


Chapter 27—God Gives His Law on Mount Sinai

This chapter is based on Exodus 19 to 24.

Soon after the encampment at Sinai, Moses was called up into the mountain to meet with God. Israel was now to be taken into a close and peculiar relation to the Most High—to be incorporated as a church and a nation under the government of God. “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, 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: and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” EP 209.1

Moses returned to the camp, and to the elders of Israel he repeated the divine message. Their answer was, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” Thus they entered into a solemn covenant with God, pledging themselves to accept Him as their ruler, by which they became, in a special sense, the subjects of His authority. EP 209.2

God purposed to make the occasion of speaking His law a scene of awful grandeur. Everything connected with the service of God must be regarded with the greatest reverence. The Lord said to Moses, “Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, ... for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.” All were to occupy the time in solemn preparation to appear before God. Their person and their clothing must be freed from impurity. They were to devote themselves to humiliation, fasting, and prayer that their hearts might be cleansed from iniquity. EP 209.3

On the morning of the third day, Sinai's summit was covered with a thick cloud, black and dense, sweeping downward until the entire mountain was wrapped in darkness and mystery. Then a sound as of a trumpet was heard, summoning the people to meet with God. From the thick darkness flashed lightnings, while peals of thunder echoed among the surrounding heights. “And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: ... and the whole mount quaked greatly.” The hosts of Israel shook with fear and fell upon their faces before the Lord. Even Moses exclaimed, “I exceedingly fear and quake.” Hebrews 12:21. EP 210.1

Now the thunders ceased; the trumpet was no longer heard; the earth was still. There was a period of solemn silence; then the voice of God was heard. Speaking out of the thick darkness as He stood upon the mount, surrounded by angels, the Lord made known His law. EP 210.2

“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” He who had brought them forth from Egypt, making a way for them through the sea, and overthrowing Pharaoh and his hosts—He it was who now spoke His law. EP 210.3

God honored the Hebrews by making them the guardians and keepers of His law, but it was to be held as a sacred trust for the whole world. The precepts of the Decalogue are adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all. Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellowman, and all based upon the great fundamental principle of love. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:27. In the Ten Commandments these principles are made applicable to man. EP 210.4

(1) “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Whatever we cherish that tends to lessen our love for God or to interfere with the service due Him, of that do we make a god. EP 211.1

(2) “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” EP 211.2