My responsibility as a shepherd is to prepare you to meet your Bridegroom, Yeshua. Just as Sha’ul said to the congregation in Corinth, “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I betrothed you to one husband, to present you to Messiah as a pure virgin. (2 Cor. 11:2)” [1] In this week’s Torah portion Moses prepares the people to meet with Adonai.

[Read Exodus 19]

In verse 1 we find the context for the entire meeting, both time and place. The “third month, that same day” according to most scholars refers to the first day of the third month. If we remember back from (Ex. 12:1) that Nissan was set as the first month and Pesach occurred on the evening of the 14th day (12:18). This means that the children of Israel left on the 15th day, and had been traveling for 46 days (30 day months) by the time they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai. The next day Adonai tells Moshe, “Be read for the third day. For on the third day Adonai will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” This would have put the “theophany of theophanies” 50 days after Pesach. Who remembers what is 50 days after Pesach?

In verses 4-6 we find Adonai initiating a covenant between Himself and Bnei-Yisrael. This covenant is contingent on two things: 1) “Listen closely to My voice”; 2) “Keep My covenant.”  We also see that He initiated the relationship, “You have seen” (past tense) two different aspects of Adonai’s character; Firstly, Judgement against the Egyptians and secondly His compassion toward Bnei-Yisrael as He carried them as an eagle carries its young. Hertz states that “particular treasure” sounds more precious than it really is, and although the Jews are God’s instrument to accomplish His plan, the work is far greater than the instrument.[2] Friedman askes the question that since their treasured status is based upon their adherence to the covenant, “What then is the purpose of their being chosen?”[3] The answer is found in the covenant with Abraham where Adonai states that “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Gen. 12:3)” This is also why Israel is called to be a kingdom of priests, for their function was to “bring the nations closer to God and Righteousness. This spiritual Kingdom constitutes the highest mission of Israel.”[4]

When Israel is called to be a “holy people”, holy does refer to the fact that they are set apart for God’s particular use, but is also means “holy in just the way that people naturally understand it on first reading.” The people are made holy because of the presence of Adonai that would dwell with them, and “Israel will be consecrated if the people will live the life that their divine covenant required of them.” [5]

In verse 8 we see the initial response of the leaders (elders) of the people, “Everything … spoken, we will do.” This is total agreement with the terms, and is synonymous of the response to a marriage proposal. Also in the way that Moses is shuttling back and forth, he is acting very much like a matchmaker. J In verse 10 we see the people setting themselves apart and washing their garments, just as a bride prepares to meet her bridegroom.

Then Adonai comes down to meet with those who have chosen to be His people (vs. 16-20)! The “thundering” or kol can also be translated literally as sounds or voices. The lightening, thick cloud or shroud of darkness, and the call of the shofar all announced the coming of Adonai to speak with His people. Behold “our God is a consuming fire! (Heb. 12:29, Ps. 50:3)”

In all of this we see our own calling to meet with Adonai. Fifty days after Yeshua died on Passover, the Ruach HaKodesh fell in the Temple on Sukkot. Luke writes (Acts 2:1-4). Here we see the sound of rushing wind, the fire that burned but did not consume and the speaking out in all languages the praises of Adonai. Remember our two parts of the covenant, listening closely to His voice and keeping His covenant? Although some in Yeshua’s day were good at keeping the covenant externally, Yeshua said to them, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:25-30)

Just as Beni-Yisrael, we also love Adonai because He first loved us. [1 Jn. 4:17-19] And we also know that the Brit-Chadasha (New Covenant) is the same as the Mosaic Covenant; it is contingent that we “continue in His kindness.” [Rom. 11:21-24] So how then did Beni-Yisrael manage to keep the covenant at all? Well, [Rom. 11:1-6] shows us that even at its worst, there still remained a remnant of believing Israelites/Jews. And that being said, throughout history there has always been a remnant of believing Jews. How then shall we “continue in His kindness?” [Rom. 11:18-20] Humility and the fear of Adonai.

Part of the mystery that was revealed through Yeshua, is that Gentile believers would also be grafted into this same calling as the Jewish believers. Paul (Sha’ul) said to the Gentile believers in Rome, “to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service. (12:1)” As such, all believers in Yeshua have the same calling or the same purpose of being chosen. Since Yeshua took our death, or the death we deserved, we are now called to be a blessing to the World by living the life that Yeshua lived (see Rom. 12 for how). Our responsibility is to “bring the nations closer to God and Righteousness” which is now our spiritual service.


[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.

[2] J. H. Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs. (Soncino, London, 1960), 291.

[3] Richard Friedman, Commentary on the Torah. (Harper, New York, 2001), 231.

[4] Hertz, Pentateuch. 292.

[5] Friedman, Commentary. 232.