Way back at the burning bush [Exodus 3:6], “Moses hid his face, being afraid to look at God.” And for good reason. As God explains later [Ex. 33:20], “No one can see Me and live.” Yet here [Ex. 24:10], not just Moses, but even the priests and elders, “saw the God of Israel,” who “raised no hand against them.”
The Covenant between God and Abraham was the National Covenant, a Divine agreement that Abraham’s seed will be eternal, that his descendants will inherit the Land of Israel, and that this nation — despite periods of dreadful persecution and affliction – will eventually bring the glorious light of God to a universe darkened by ignorance, transgression and warfare [Genesis 15].
We’re used to thinking of time in a linear fashion with a past, present and future. The Torah operates in a different dimension with the past and future blending with the present, and with events in the future sometimes impacting the past.
What makes Moses, Moses? He is certainly the consummate prophet, the man of God whose code of law commands us to this very day. He took a bedraggled people from slavery into freedom. However, the central characteristic of Moses was his love of the Jewish people.