Here is an interesting question that reveals a theological/doctrinal conundrum for most of Christendom.
Was Jesus on Mt. Sinai?
Before answering that question, let’s consider what all of normative believers in Messiah know to be truth,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 [a]He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. John 1:1-3
For [a]by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He [b]is before all things, and in Him all things [c]hold together. Col. 1:16-17
Clearly, the Messiah was present at or, actually, before Creation!
Even the authoritative Aramaic translation of the Torah, Targum Onkelos, reads,
And they heard the voice of the Word of the Lord God walking in the garden in the evening of the day (Gen. 3:8)….. Behold now the heavens, and number the stars, if thou art able to number them; and He said to him, So will be thy sons.And he believed in the Word of the Lord, (Memra da Yeya,) and He reckoned it to him unto justification. (Gen. 15:6)
It acknowledges the presence of ‘the Word of the Lord’ at Creation and in dozens of other places in the Torah!
So, Was Jesus/Yeshua at Mt. Sinai?
Let’s consider one other concept, before answering that.
Even if they do not always agree on the finer points of the ‘echad’ (one/united) nature of the Father and the Son, Christendom widely regards Jesus/Yeshua as being of the same essence, and in perfect unity with the Father.
Messianic Rabbi Itzhak Shapira would argue for Yeshua as a ‘manifestation of the Father,’ demonstrating one perspective of the connection between Father and Son from a very Judaic source.
The bottom line is that even Yeshua said, ‘I and the Father are one,’ and ‘If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.’
So, knowing that Jesus/Yeshua was at Creation and acknowledging His unity with the Father, was He at Mt. Sinai during the giving of the Torah?
Frankly, that seems like a total ‘no-brainer,’ but prior to digging deeper in the Scriptures, I’m not sure I ever contemplated the answer, or more importantly, the implications!!
Consider Exodus 24:9-11,
Then Moses went up [a]with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet [b]there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, [c]as clear as the sky itself. 11 Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Besides having this wonderful flavor of the Divine Holy One desiring so much to be with His people and seeing that desire manifest again at the ‘Last Supper’ as He eats with His people, this is an amazing account of humans in the presence of the Living God.
BUT, can humans see God the Father face to face?
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. John 1:18
Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. John 6:46
I think it is clear from multiple angles that Jesus/Yeshua was on Mt. Sinai, and He is the One Moses spoke with and the elders ate with.
Why is this significant?
Well, the Torah, God’s instructions, sometimes called ‘Law,’ was given on Mt. Sinai and Moses knew God face to face. Additionally, parts of the Torah were spoken from the Mountain directly to Israel. Targum Onkelos translates Exodus 19:16-17 as,
And it was the third day at morning; and there were voices, and lightnings, and mighty clouds upon the mountain, and the voice of the trumpet exceedingly strong; and all the people trembled who were in the camp. And Mosheh led forth the people out of the camp to meet the Word of the Lord; and they stood at the lower parts of the mount.
Jesus/Yeshua gave the Law!
Let that sink in!
Yeshua gave the Law!!!
This poses a sizable conundrum for most of Christendom that argues that Jesus ‘did away with the Law.’
The theological and doctrinal implications are staggering.
Yeshua also said,
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15
Ponder the sheer gravity of that statement and its implications!
Do you know what His commandments really are?
Other related thoughts: James 4:12 refers to Yeshua as the Lawgiver.
Could Yeshua die for a covenant His Father made? Or, was He ‘sent’ before the covenant was made, and was HE the One who made the covenant with Israel, the Bride?
Who walked through the pieces at the Abrahamic Covenant? Gen. 15:1 says ‘the Word of the Lord’ came to Abram… Did Yeshua make that covenant as well? (I think so…)
And, a personal aside: Pondering this is so HUGE, that it makes me giddy with excitement and filled with a holy fear/dread all at the same time! No wonder Rav Sha’ul would burst into praise saying,
Oh, the depth of the riches [a]both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him [b]that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory [c]forever. Amen.
Added 3/24/14: Here is an excellent post I was reminded of that deals with this same topic from some different directions further confirming the presence of Yeshua on Mt. Sinai!