St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
A General Overview of the Old Testament
A Discussion led by The Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Old Testament — Exodus: Chapters 19 – 24
The beginning of the chapter has the Israelites arriving at Mt. Sinai (or Mt. Horab) where they will stay for the next eleven months. This eleven month period will occupy the rest of Exodus, all of Leviticus, and a portion of Numbers. First Moses goes up the mountain alone to talk to God. There God tells him that the Israelites are God’s special people and he shall always be with them and give them a special place as long as they promise to keep his commandments. When Moses returns and tells his people of this covenant, they all agree that that is what they should do.
Then God conveys to Moses that he shall show himself on the third day on Mt. Sinai. However, the people were instructed not to get to close to the mountain or touch the mountain or they shall die. After God sounds the trumpet, they may then be allowed to climb the mountain. When Moses went up the mountain again, this time with Aaron, God instructed him to tell the people again that they dare not touch the mountain. Then the Lord gave Moses the Ten Words or Ten Commandments. (These are split up differently among different religions.) God also instructed Moses how to build an altar out of natural, unhewn stone.
The next few chapters covers a whole series of regulations, many of which are from different time in history or from the future. Among these the Israelites were told not to bow down and worship other Gods. God also promised that he would one by one drive out the other peoples from the promised land. He did not promise this all at once for fear the wild beasts would take over.
Next a group of elders is finally permitted to go to the mountain and see God. So this group ventures up the mountain with Moses and Aaron. Moses then reads God’s covenant to them and smears the blood of a lamb on the altar, which is where the blood of the covenant originated from. Now the elders, Moses, and Aaron get to see God and they do not perish from this experience. Then God commanded Moses to go to the top of the mountain to get his commandments. He went up in a glorious cloud. He was there a total of forty days and forty nights. Then he gave the Israelites a description in great detail how they should build the arc of the covenant, which was a great box that would house God’s commandments.