Read Exodus Chapter 19. After you have read the chapter, read the passages below to help you dive deeper into the Chapter. Conclude in Prayer.
“It was not possible for those who exit the land of bondage, who walk along the way of the wilderness, to reach the land of promise, and to settle down in Jerusalem, without receiving the divine commandment and Law. The people received the Mosaic Law, presented to them in a way that suited their spiritual childhood. Yet, at the same time, they carried in its depths the secrets of the “Divine Word”. For what is the Law, but the Word of God, Who is alone, the Leader, the Savior, and the fulfiller of the soul; who leads it to the bosom of the Father, and brings it into His divine glories?” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
“In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.” Exodus 19:1-2
"The figure 3 as we said before, refers to the resurrection of the Lord Christ, on the third day. It is as though God wants us to have an encounter with Him through the commandment, in the glory of resurrection, so as not to look at it as orders, statutes, and laws, but as a secret of resurrection in the divine glories. Through resurrection, the commandment, with all its cross and burdens, becomes sweet and enjoyable. Its difficult way would turn into an easy yoke, a light burden, and a fellowship in the passions of Christ, to enjoy His glories.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
“The choice of the location (the Mount of Sinai), was not without meaning. According to the scholar Origen, ‘Sinai’ , like the wilderness of ‘Sin’, means bush or temptation, where man is committed to have the spirit of sound discernment, in order not to fall into temptation, through visions of a false bush. According to him, ‘Sinai’ means that the soul started to acquire the ‘sound judgment’, through receiving the divine commndment or Law, to become capable of enjoying the divine secrets and the heavenly visions.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
FROM SLAYING THE LAMB TO GIVING THE LAW - "The Pentecost too we observe, that is, the fiftieth day from the passion and resurrection of the Lord, for on that day he sent to us the Holy Paraclete whom he had promised. This was prefigured in the Jewish Passover, for on the fiftieth day after the slaying of the lamb, Moses on the mount received the law written with the finger of God.” - AUGUSTINE
FIFTY-DAY INTERVALS IN SCRIPTURE - "But the fifty-day period is also praised in Scripture, not only in the Gospel, because the Holy Spirit came on the fiftieth day, but even in the Old Testament. Therein fifty days are numbered from the celebration of the pasch by the killing of a lamb to the day on which the law was given on Mt. Sinai to the servant of God, Moses” - AUGUSTINE
“And 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 children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”” Exodus 19:3-6
WHO MAY ASCEND THE MOUNTAIN - "Now when I go up eagerly into the mount or, to use a truer expression, when I both eagerly long and at the same time am afraid (the one through my hope and the other through my weakness), to enter within the cloud and hold converse with God, for so God commands: If any be an Aaron, let him go up with me, and let him stand near, being ready, if it must be so, to remain outside the cloud.” - GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS
“Before speaking of the goal of the Law, God proclaimed His practical love for His people, saying: “I bore you on eagle’s wings” (Ex. 19: 4) As though He wanted to clarify that mutual love, is the basis of that Law. He loved us, and bore us by the Holy Spirit (eagle’s wings), and brought us to Himself, namely, to His divine bosoms, in order to experience His love, and to recognize His fatherhood. The goal of the Law is: “You shall be a special treasure to me above all people; For all the earth is Mine. And you shall to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19: 5, 6) Although He does not need all the earth, yet He desires us to be His own, with the privilege of sonship; a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation, dedicated to Him, and bearing His holy nature.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. Exodus 19:10-11
“As it was on the (third month) of their departure from the land of Egypt, they had to be ready for God’s coming down in their sight, on the third day. Thus, this Book, bore several confirmations of our receiving the power of resurrection in us. The people would not have benefited from the Law, unless they recognize the possibility of keeping it through Christ, risen from the dead; Grantor of the new nature; and Who was capable of keeping the divine commandment. Concerning the sanctification and washing the clothes, all that revealed the need for internal and external preparations, before ascending the Mountain of Knowledge (as Moses did), and recognizing the divine secrets.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
“Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death…whether man or beast, he shall not live.
When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain” (Ex. 19: 12, 13).
"In order for our inner Moses to ascend the mountain of knowledge and to enjoy the divine secrets, we shall have to keep our senses, like seeing or hearing, from getting preoccupied by material things, or carnal thoughts. By that, neither man nor beast would ascend with us; only our inner Moses, to get to enjoy “what eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man” (1 Corinthians 2: 9). Our inner man would be lifted up to seek what is greater than senses and sensed things - the godly themselves.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
“Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.” Ex 19:16-17
THE THIRD DAY IS APPLIED TO MYSTERIES - "The third day, however, is always applied to mysteries. For when the people had departed from Egypt, they offer sacrifice to God on the third day and are purified on the third day. And the third day is the day of the Lord‘s resurrection. Many other mysteries also are anticipated in this day.” - ORIGEN
“The fathers compared between the encounters of God with people, in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, Moses set boundaries for the people, but in the New Testament, the Word of God, Himself comes and sits on the mountain (Matthew 5), surrounded by sinners as His children, and He opens His door to all whom are seeking His sonship. ...In the old days, He dealt with humanity as though with little children, who becomes afraid as they hear the terrifying voice. But in the New Testament, He speaks to us as mature children, seeking our love and friendship.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
“St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, believes that the sound of trumpet symbolizes the preaching of divine incarnation, something that prophets sounded high, to proclaim to humanity its imminent coming. But, with the coming of the apostles, and their ascension to the holy mountain, “The blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder” (Ex. 19: 19), they proclaimed it more strongly, so that their voice and message reached the ends of the world.”
“Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.” E x19:18-19
“God descended on the Mount Sinai in fire. Himself being Fire, and His minister around, preceding Him as a flame of fire (Psalm 104: 4), consuming everything that is wood, weed, or straw, and purifying at the same time, what is gold, silver or precious stone.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
THE GOSPEL PROCLAIMED BY MANY - "And this is pictured for you in the writings of Moses. For the God of all came down in the likeness of fire on Mt. Sinai, and there was a cloud, and darkness, and gloom and the voice of the trumpet with a loud ringing sound, according to the Scripture. The notes of the trumpet were, it says, few at first, but afterwards they waxed longer and became louder and louder continually. What then was it which the shadow of the law signified to us by these things? Was it not this: that at first there were but few to publish the gospel tidings; but afterwards they became many?” CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA
“The Lord is in the light as well as in the darkness. He is in the light, for the beginners, with whom He speaks clearly, but for the more advanced, He speaks. With the apostles, he does not speak as He does with the multitude, but mystically saying “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 8: 8). This is the meaning of “... darkness surrounded Him” , meaning mysteries surrounded him. That is why the Book of Exodus says that the people were down at the base of the mountain, while Moses alone went up the Mount of Sinai in a thick cloud because all the people of God, except for Moses, were still not capable of recognizing the secret. That is why the Book says: “He made darkness His secret place” (Psalm 18: 11).”
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the Lord, and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near the Lord sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break out against them” (Ex. 19: 21, 22).
"The mountain was transformed into a ‘Most Holy’ place, through God’s descending on it. So the Lord feared for His people and priests, lest they perish because of their curiosity, by breaking through the awesome divine sanctuaries. Only Moses and Aaron ascended the mountain; Moses, as a representative of the divine Word, and Aaron, as a representative of the priesthood of the Lord Christ. Christ is, alone, the divine Word, and the Priest who enters into the divine sanctuaries; and without Whom we perish.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
Heavenly Father, we thank You for as You came down to meet Moses on the mountain, so You have come down to meet us. You O Lord took flesh so that you can call your people to you as you called Moses to come up the mountain. Lord, please help us to sanctify our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits so that we can prepare for your coming. As Moses and Aaron ascended the mountain, we too O Lord ascend to Your Holy Altar to receive Your Word. Thank You O Dear God for this grace that is beyond our words or expression. Amen.