And YAHWEH said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in a darkness of clouds, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may be faithful to you forever.” And Moses told the words of the people to YAHWEH. And YAHWEH said to Moses, “Go to the people and set them apart today and tomorrow; and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day YAHWEH will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set boundaries for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely die. Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.” And Moses went down from the mountain to the people.
In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the wilderness of Sinai. For they traveled from Rephidim and came to the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. Israel camped there before the mountain. And Moses went up to the ELOHIYM.
The transliteration of this word is YEHVAH, it is the name of the Israelite ELOHIYM. I will use the euphemism “YAHWEH”, because it is also the “unpronounceable name of the Israelite God.” It is usually translated “LORD” (all capital letters) in English Bibles.
Now put on your climbing boots and let’s go follow Moses up and down Mount Sinai. The journey begins in Exodus 19:1-8. This is the first trip of Moses up the mountain.
And YAHWEH called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the sons 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 become for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
Think about the Ten Commandments. How many sermons have been preached, books have been written, movies have been made, monuments have been constructed and court cases tried in which the focus was on the Ten Commandments. Now what would you say if I told you they weren’t about the actual Ten Commandments. What they called the Ten Commandments in the examples above were not the commandments written on the two stone tablets Moses received at the top of Mount Sinai and brought down to the Israelites! All you have to do is follow Moses up and down Mt Sinai until received the stone tablets to discover The Real Ten Commandments.
A quick note before we start the journey. I need to tell you about two words I will use in the translation below. The first is the transliteration of this Hebrew word (Hebrew is written from right to left):
Moses set the people apart, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives.” And it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thundering and lightning, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of shofar was very strong, so that all the people in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet the ELOHIYM, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because YAHWEH came down upon it in fire and its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled exceedingly. And it was the sound of the shofar long and became louder and louder. Moses spoke, and the ELOHIYM answered him by a voice. And YAHWEH came down upon Mount Sinai, to the head of the mountain. And YAHWEH called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
Once again Moses returns without the stone tablets. The third trip of Moses is recorded in Exodus 19:14b-25.
And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and he put before them all these words which YAHWEH had commanded him. And all the people answered together and said, “All that YAHWEH has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to YAHWEH.
And YAHWEH said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to see YAHWEH, and many of them fall. And also, the priests, those approaching to YAHWEH, shall separate themselves lest YAHWEH burst forth among them.” And Moses said to YAHWEH, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for You warned us, saying, ‘Set boundaries around the mountain and set it apart.’” And YAHWEH said to him, “Away! Go down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to YAHWEH, lest He burst forth among them.” And Moses went down to the people and spoke to them.
Moses came down the mountain without the stone tablets.
Moses is standing at the base of Mount Sinai with the people when the ELOHIYM speaks from the top of the mountain to the people. The ELOHIYM speaks the words recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 – the words that have long been wrongly called the Ten Commandments. No tablets have been mention in the account up to this point.
Be sure to note that Moses did not receive or bring any tablets back with him on the first trip. Now Moses begins his second trip which is recorded in Exodus 19:9-14a.
Transliterate means to change the Hebrew letters in the closest equivalent English letters -- ELOHIYM. When we transliterate a word we simply change the symbols but do not bring the meaning across from Hebrew to English.
The Hebrew word ELOHIYM is usually translated “God” in English Bibles. The second word is this: