Vos Group #46 — Summary of Revelation in the Period of Moses

We continue our #VosGroup series in pages 175–182 of Vos’ book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to consider ancestor worship and animism before moving to a summary of Part I of the entire book and specifically, revelation during the period of Moses.

The movement from the Abrahamic to the Mosaic is a movement from lesser to greater directness of access to God. This “greater access” appears especially when we consider what Vos called the “typical proportions” that Moses acquires in an “unusual degree” of Moses. And Exodus 32–34 is key in this regard. Not only does Moses offer himself vicariously to make atonement for sin (Ex. 32:30–33), illustrating the Melchizedekian priesthood of Christ, but he gains access to God in an unprecedented way.

God promises Moses “the divine presence and rest” in the land (33:12–14). God speaks to Moses “face-to-face (33:11)” in the tent of meeting and shows Moses his “glory” as he hides him in the cleft of the rock and declares his name (33:14–20). What Abraham saw in the form of a smoking firepot and a blazing torch, Moses sees in fellowship on a mountain—a mountain that looks back to the mountain of Eden and upward and forward to Mount Zion.

The essence of the covenant bond—the secret of God’s friendship—is with Moses in a unique way, as a sort of first-fruits in the Old Covenant. Moses sees God, knows God, fellowships with God. In fact, Exodus 34:27ff. Moses is on the mountain with God for 40 days and nights without food or water and his transformed in his countenance. He does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

A second major theme that Vos develops is that the tabernacle is a concentrated theocracy. That is to say, the tabernacle dwelling of God is the end to which the entire Exodus aspires–the reality to which it is directed. Finally, all of this conspires to help us recognize that the sacrificial system is a means to a higher end of fellowship with God.

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