From Sinai to Zion: Hebrews 12:18-21
“18) For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19) and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20) For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” 21) And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.”
When the children of Israel left Egypt, their route took them to Mount Sinai. The goal was for the people to meet God. But there was a problem; the people were sinful, while God was holy. A huge wall of separation remained between them.
The whole experience as recorded in Genesis 19 was accompanied by warnings, fear and separation. On the one hand, God was awesome. The trumpet blew, the mountain quaked, and smoke was everywhere. It was almost volcanic.
On the other hand, it left the people scared and trembling. God was distant, mysterious, threatening and unapproachable. Something had to happen to bridge the gap between God and man.
That something was the life, ministry and atonement of Jesus Christ. There was no way sinful humanity could reach God, so God had to find a way to reach sinful humanity. The gospel became that bridge.
The believer no longer stands before Mount Sinai. Jesus made it possible for us to ascend Mount Zion as talked about in Hebrews 12:22-24. The threat of death is gone because Jesus died for us. He removed the judgement. Intimate fellowship with God is now possible.
But there is a problem, some Christians and churches still act like they are at Mount Sinai. Their message is full of threats and judgement rather than love and forgiveness. Instead of inviting people into relationship with an awesome, holy and loving God; they pronounce threats, warnings, condemnation and judgement. They are stuck at Mount Sinai.
They fail to bring people to Mount Calvary. They fail to show them John 3:16-17. They leave the gospel out. The pathway from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion always passes through Mount Calvary.
It is there, at the foot of the cross that the revelation of God is colored in. That’s where the love of God is painted in red. That’s where God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that those who believe in Him can be forgiven, made clean and become children of God. That’s where eternal life is imparted.
Those who are born again take their eyes off Mount Sinai and fix their gaze on Mount Zion. They develop a totally different view of God. They join the assembly of the redeemed. They are welcomed into the city of the living God. They take up residence in the heavenly Jerusalem. They begin the journey of knowing God personally.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global