Given the magnitude of Moses’ ministry, it makes sense that he was involved in multiple events spanning a three day interval of time. We have already discussed the exodus from Egypt and the ninth plague. This time we will discuss the Lord appearing before His people at Mount Sinai, after the exodus.
In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” Exodus 19: 1 – 6
Here God spoke and declared that He would make the twelve tribes of Israel into a nation. This was no small event. God made a covenant with Israel, and on the basis of obedience to that covenant Israel would be a light to the world and ambassadors of God’s goodness and mercy. Moses told the people God’s words, as instructed, and the people responded.
All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. Exodus 19: 8
Upon hearing the response from Moses, God gave further instruction, and met with His people.
The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.” So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that they were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. Exodus 19: 9 – 18
God met with His people on the third day. Just as Jesus met with His disciples on the third day after His death. When God met with Israel there was lighting and thunder and a cloud and the people trembled and a trumpet sounded. Matthew tells us that on the day of Christ’s resurrection there were similar events – an earthquake, lightning, people trembling, trumpeting.
And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said…” Matthew 28: 2 – 6
The parallels between the two accounts are astounding:
|There was lightning and thunder
||The angel’s appearance was like lightning
|There was a quaking mountain
||There was an earthquake
|The LORD descended in fire
||The angel of the Lord descended from heaven
|There was a cloud
||The angel was clothed white as snow
|The people trembled
||The guards trembled
|There was a very loud trumpet sound
||The angel trumpeted the truth of the resurrection
Given all these similarities, we can be confident in thinking that the account of the third day appearance of God on Sinai is a type, a foreshadow, of the third day appearance of Christ.