In the 24th chapter of Exodus, at the foot of Mt. Sinai, Moses splashes ”the blood of the covenant” on the people of Israel. He thus foreshadows both the finished work of Christ for us and also the fellowship of Christ with us.
Then, in a scene unlike anything else in the Old Testament, except for the visions of Ezekiel, Moses and Aaron, and Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu, along with the seventy elders of Israel, ascend the mountain.
They see God. To be sure, as when Peter, James and John saw the glory of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, it is a veiled and partial glimpse of His glory, for no sinful man can gaze at the very face of God, the full glory of God, and live. That pleasure must wait until heaven.
Yet still, amid this glory of God never before seen by the eye of man, they eat and drink in God’s very presence, for the blood of the covenant has brought them into fellowship with God.
Our relationship to God is often pictured on the pages of the Bible as a feast, a banquet, a great supper.
Isaiah describes heaven like this: “On this mountain the Lord will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines.” In the last book of the Bible, an angel is heard saying: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”
Israel’s greatest festival revolved around a meal – the Passover. In good times or bad, as an expression of our closeness, we may dine together, have an anniversary supper, a funeral luncheon, a wedding reception, a birthday party, a church picnic. It should not surprise us that Jesus, on the night of His betrayal, instituted a new memorial meal for His believers to celebrate together, in close fellowship as they confess the same Lord, the same faith, their agreement in the teachings of the Master.
But what an incredible thing! Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and the seventy elders of Israel. They see God! They eat in His presence. And because of the blood of the covenant, the Lord does not lift His holy hand against them, sinners though they are. Only by the blood can any of us stand in the very presence of God, here and hereafter. Here on earth, in the word, the water and the blood, we are given a foretaste of that heavenly feast where the promise is fulfilled: “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst” (Rev. 7).
So says our Savior: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”