So, we need to look at Moses schedule after Israel received the Law on the first Pentecost. Part of it is found in Exodus, and part in Deuteronomy.
First of all, Moses goes up on the mountain for 40 days.
De 9:9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:
Then he has to hurry back down the mountain to find the people have been worshipping a golden calf.
De 9:16 And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you.
17 And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.
Moses repents before the Lord another 40 days.
De 9:18 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights:
Then Moses takes and destroys the golden calf. [The order of these events is not perfectly clear.]
De 9:21 And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.
Next Moses makes an ark and prepares two more tables of stone.
De 10:1 At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.
Ex 34:28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
Finally, Moses comes back down.
De 10:5 And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me.
There are three periods of 40 days here, allowing a day for destroying the golden calf, a day to make the ark, and a day to prepare the second set of tables, we get 123 days. This places Moses return on the Day of Atonement. This is not a precise proof since we are estimating the extra three days, but it all works out very neatly making the third 40 day period line up exactly with the season of Teshuvah. He that has an ear will hear.
So, Moses returns from the mountain on the Day of Atonement. What does this signify? If we ask why did Moses return on that day, the answer would be to set in place a pattern that points to future events relating to the coming of the Lord.
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