Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. (Exodus 19:20)
It is interesting that the text tells us that the LORD descended upon the mountain and that Moses ascended. There is an interesting concept revealed here that recurs throughout the Scripture, albeit not always in an obvious way. To be clear, the concept is that God descends and His people ascend, that is, they go up to meet Him. David hinted at this when he asked, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?” (Psalm 24:3).
There are other Scriptural references that make it clear we are to “go up” to meet with God. Isaiah says, “Let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob” (Isaiah 2:3). Whether one lives on top of a mountain or in the lowest valley, we always to “go up” to Jerusalem because we are going to meet with the Almighty. That we can go up to meet with Him implies that He has come down to us. There are at least three times mentioned in the book of Exodus stating that God came down to meet with Moses and the people. This idea is alluded to in other passages as well but one of the most interesting revelations to spring forth from this concept was made by the apostle Paul who wrote:
“When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? (Ephesians 4:8-9)
The “He” being referred to is Messiah; He is the One who descended that we, like Moses at Mount Sinai, might “go up” — be reconciled — to God. He is the One who has always initiated reconciliation and restoration between God and man. No where and at no other time is this more emphatically demonstrated than when God became flesh and dwelt among us. He descended that we may ascend. Furthermore, also according to Paul, He will once again descend and call us up to meet with Him “And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Blessings and Shalom,