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Did God Command Death At Mt. Sinai?

Posted Apr 01, 2020 by Brian Heckethorn in Character of God
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Many seem to believe that at Mt. Sinai, God told Moses that if anyone should touch the mountain or pass by the barriers that God would kill them that break through. Is this true? Could God be so crewl as to destroy those whom He had just saved? Or is there something else going on there that was missed.

God speaks to Moses and tells him to make sure no one break through the barriers that have been placed before the mountain. Why?

Exodus 19:24 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.

Who is the "he" here and what happens if they break through?

Edodus 19:12 says, "whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death" (this sounds like a command, doesn't it? We'll get into that later)

So whoever the "he" is in this chapter will break forth upon anyone who touches the mountain and "he" will put the transgressor to death.

Who is the "he" that will put the transgressor to death?

Moses and the Israelites knew first hand who it was that brought death.

Exodus 12:23 For the Lord will pass through to slay the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to slay you.

Who is the destroyer?

4 Maccabees 18:8 No seducer corrupted me on a desert plain, nor did the destroyer, the deceitful serpent, defile the purity of my virginity.

Revelation 20:2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years...

So we find a direct line from the "he" that will "break forth upon them" to the "serpent, who is the Devil and Satan" and can know that it was not God who would cause death upon anyone who came to the mountain, but rather that God was warning Israel not to come close to the mountain because...

1 Peter 5:8 ... your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Now that the "he" is settled, we also get a clearer picture of what God is really exclaiming in Exodus 19:12. He is not telling man a command to kill someone, or that even He would do it Himself. Rather, God is stating a warning to them, that there is someone else close by (the adversary), waiting for the slightest transgression because he, the devil, is seeking someone to devour or destroy.

This way of thinking takes me back to the law of Moses. With this light regarding the phrase in Exodus 19:12 "whoever [transgresses my command] shall be put to death" suddenly causes much of the laws Moses wrote to suddenly have new meaning; not as a command of force upon man, but rather as a warning that there is one who is watching and waiting for anyone to step out of line.