Exodus Chapter 19

The Israelites have been delivered from Egypt and are wandering in the wilderness at this point of the book of Exodus. Moses has established judges for the people, to ease his burden and keep them strong in the Lord. The people have been blessed with many miracles already and are sustained daily by the Lord. Exodus continues:

1 In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
3 And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
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 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:
6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

After three months, they have arrived in the land of Sinai, which is a desert in the wilderness. They camped near mount Sinai. Moses went to pray to the Lord, in the mountain. The Lord told him to talk to the people about what they had witnessed in Egypt and to tell them that if they would be obedient and keep their covenants with him, they would be the treasure of the Lord, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. They would have the power of the priesthood of God, which would set them apart as a holy people, different from all others on the earth. This is an amazing promise to those who reverence and love the Lord. It is the same promise that exists today, to those who are willing to make covenants with the Lord through the proper priesthood authority.

7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him.
8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.
9 And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord.

Moses did as he was told, and the people chose to be a covenant people with the Lord. Moses returned to the Lord with this response and was told that the Lord would come to them in a thick cloud. The people would hear the Lord and then believe Moses from then on. Moses told this to the people. I think that the Lord has appeared many times in the cloud, because the human eye cannot look upon him. This gives imperfect humans the opportunity to be in the presence of God and hear his words, and to have some physical representation of God to witness. I think that this may have also been to require a certain degree of faith that seeing the Lord would not have required.

10 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

The Lord told moses to have the people sanctify themselves for the next two days. They were to be clean physically and spiritually. This was in preparation for the appearance of the Lord to the people upon mount Sinai. They were instructed not to go into the mountain or even touch any of it. If they did, they would die. When they heard a trumpet sound, they were to come to the mount.

14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.

Moses went to the people and told them to do these things the Lord had commanded.

16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
20 And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish.
22 And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them.
23 And Moses said unto the Lord, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
24 And the Lord said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them.
25 So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.

On the third day, they witnessed thunder and lightning. Then a cloud went on the mount and a trumpet was heard. The people gathered at the base of the mountain. The mountain was shaking and had smoke and fire coming from it because of the Lord. The trumpet got louder and Moses spoke. God answered him and then the Lord appeared on mount Sinai. Moses was called up to the mount because he was the chosen prophet of the Lord. He was told to tell the people to stay where they were, so they would not die from seeing the Lord. Moses was told to go and return with Aaron, but no one else. Moses did as the Lord commanded him.

In our own lives, we need to follow these same commandments given to the Israelites. When we are preparing to do and witness sacred things of the Lord, we need to be sanctified, clean and worthy. We must be worthy before entering the waters of baptism. When we desire to enter the holy house of the Lord, his Temple, we must be worthy as well. We have not been promised death upon entering, if we are not clean. However, being unworthy to enter the temple and make covenants, and yet doing so, would bring destruction to our souls, which is far worse then physical death. I am grateful that I was baptized, have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and have been worthy to enter the holy temples of the Lord. I believe that the temple is God’s holy house and that He could be there. I know that in order to be there, I need to be living worthily and preparing myself. I cannot imagine my life without the blessings that can be received through temple attendance. I hope that I will continue to sanctify myself and become worthy to be in the presence of the Lord some day.

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