“The Place” – Five Big Promises God Made at Mt. Sinai

 

Mt. Sinai is famed as the location where God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses. Many may not realize God also made five big promises at Mt. Sinai about “the place” that were key to the Israelites’ destiny and the building blocks to the future Messiah.

The place – five promises made by God:  lead the Israelites to the land He promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the place for their descendants to possess; the place to establish a kingdom; the permanent place for His Name to dwell; the exclusive place for Israel to observe the Passover; and the place for the Judgement Seat of Israel.[1]

God didn’t say exactly where the place would be. Great faith in these promises was required for a fledgling nation of people who had just fled the only life they had ever known – slavery in Egypt.

Moving to the place seemed like an impossible task, especially for a ragtag nation of former slaves without a military. Doubts and lack of faith by the Exodus generation would cost them from seeing God’s promised land.[2]

Finally the Hebrews readied to enter Canaan and sent spies on a recon mission. They found the land occupied by many enemies with their kings and militaries. It was nothing new…along their journey to the place, the local inhabitants went to war to defend their lands to keep out the Hebrews.

Enemy nations each had a king with a Seat of the Throne in a fortified city, the monarchy’s base of power, protected by a military. A kingdom for the Hebrews would also require a king; a Seat of the Throne; and dominion over a land with boundaries, but the wandering Hebrews were a people isolated in the desert wilderness without a king or even a country.

A permanent place for the Name of God to dwell required a temple to replace the temporary Tabernacle tent with its Most Holy chamber. Fundamental to a theocracy, this temple had to be located near the Throne in the nation’s capital protected against heathen enemies.

According to the Law, the Passover was to be celebrated at its appointed time requiring sacrifices to be offered by the priests of God at a central permanent place of worship. This temple would need enough open space to accommodate tens of thousands of people and priests who would attend the annual Passover to offer sacrifices.

For a theocratic government, the Judgement Seat had to be located in close proximity to both the Throne and its temple.[3] The most important and most complicated cases of the nation were to be judged in finality in the place God chose.

None of these promises seemed like the remotest reality to the Israelites who, after 400 years, were starting from scratch after escaping from under the harsh rule of Pharaoh. Yet, against all odds over the coming centuries, these five prophetic promises did become a reality.

Israel conquered its enemies and took possession of the land promised by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob where each of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel were allotted their own land. Their formidable military protected the nation even before the establishment of a kingdom.

A King, the most famous in Hebrew history, born in Bethlehem in the lineage of Judah, fulfilled the royal prophetic blessing of Judah by his own father, Israel. This giant slayer, King David, initially ruled without a Seat of the Throne until he conquered and occupied the fortified city of Jebus or Salem, soon thereafter called Jerusalem.

King Solomon, son of David, built the  the Temple on Mt. Moriah still known to this day as Solomon’s Temple. Its Western Wall remnants have become a most holy place in Israel today.[4] The new Temple in Jerusalem was consecrated and blessed by King Solomon where the first sacrifices offered on its permanent alter were burned by fire sent down from heaven.[5]

The Passover was observed at its appointed time at the Temple where sacrifices were offered by the priests of God.[6] Later, King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple and pillaged its gold contents. During the Persian Empire, the Temple was rebuilt, its gold contents returned, and the annual Passover pilgrimages resumed until Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome in 70 AD.

Lastly, the capital city of Jerusalem became the Judgement Seat of Israel under the reign of Solomon where both civil and criminal cases were decided. In a theocratic government, God’s Law served both as the civil and criminal code.

Civil cases, initially decided by King Solomon on the porch of the his palace, were eventually judged in the Hall of Judgement.[7] Criminal cases involving the highest level of offenses, including capital death cases, were tried in the Chamber of Hewn Stone.[8] The Chamber or Hall was built into the northern wall of the Temple which also served as the meeting place for the 70 elders of Israel, later to become known as the Great Sanhedrin.[9]

God’s five big promises at Mount Sinai laid the ground work for the place and future, more specific Messiah prophecies. Over the coming centuries prophets Isaiah, Zechariah, Jeremiah and Micah would reveal prophecies foretelling details about the Messiah who would come from the House of King David.[10] Isaiah’s prophecy of “My Servant” described a cruel sacrificial-type judgement, during the period of the Second Temple, could only be rendered in the Judgement Seat of Israel.[11]

Complete fulfillment of all five big promises made by God at Mt. Sinai about “the place” fulfilled the prophetic promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah as well as set the stage for the Messiah. What are the odds it was all just an extraordinary coincidence?[12]

 

Updated September 26, 2022.

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REFERENCES:
[1] Genesis 17, 22, 35, 49; Exodus 23, 33; Deuteronomy 12, 16, 17.
[2] Numbers 14. “The Twelve Tribes in Canaan.” Maps Database Source. map. 2020. <https://mapdatabaseinfo.blogspot.com/2018/05/32-map-of-promised-land-joshua.html#
[3] Exodus 18; Deuteronomy 1, 17, 19; Numbers 11.
[4] 1 Kings 6; 2 Chronicles 3.
[5] I Chronicles 6; Leviticus 9; Nehemiah 11.
[6] II Chronicles 8.
[7] 1 Kings 3, 4, 7.
[8] Schoenberg, Shira. “Ancient Jewish History: The Sanhedrin.” 2017.  <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-sanhedrin>   Shachter, J. and Freedman, H.  “ Sanhedrin.”
[9] Exodus 18; Deuteronomy 1, 17; Numbers 11; I Chronicles 19.  Shachter and Freedman.  “Introduction to Sanhedrin.”  Soncino Babylonian Talmud. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/index.html>  Ariel, Yisrael. “The Chamber of the Hewn Stone.” The Temple Institute. 2014.  <https://www.templeinstitute.org/illustrated/hewn_stone_description.htm>  Ariel, Yisrael. “Blueprints for the Holy Temple.”  <http://www.templeinstitute.org/blueprints-for-the-holy-temple.htm>
[10] Isaiah 7, 9; 11; Jeremiah 23, 33; Zechariah 3, 6, 12.
[11] Isaiah 52-53. Sanhedrin 16a, 17a. Shachter, J. and Freedman, H.  “Sanhedrin.” Josephus.  Antiquities. Book IV, Chapter VIII.14; Book XX, Chapter IX.4. “Ancient Jewish History: The Beit Din.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2017.http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-beit-din>
[12] 2 Chronicles 6.

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