Epistle to the Hebrews (12:22-24)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering.You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24

Our author wants to talk about a spiritual mountain – Mount Zion as being the place where God symbolically dwells.

Mount Zion is mentioned in Revelation as being the place where the Lamb stood with 144000 blameless souls.

Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together.” Revelation 14:1

In Psalms we read:

It is high and magnificent;the whole earth rejoices to see it!Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King!God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers,revealing himself as its defender.” Ps 48:2

The book of revelation represent Mount Zion as a place of glory and as God’s holy city – Jerusalem:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. ..So he took me in the Spiritto a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” Rev 21:1,10

Mount Zion symbolically represents Jerusalem, it’s stronghold. It is where God reigns (Is 24:23) while Mount Sinai even though is a very important place represents God’s law. Our author probably wants the Jews to turn their eyes from the Law to God’s dwelling place. The glory of Sinai is gone, look at the everlasting glory on Zion. Mount Zion (Ps 125:1) is synonymous to security and glory. It is difficult for me to expose how significant these mountains are for the Jews, but from what I read from the scripture, I understand mount Zion as being the place where God is calling us to be. Mount Sinai was a fearful and terrible place which made the Jews want to run away. Sinai is a place where God wants to put a barrier between Himself and sinful man. But Mount Zion is a place of refuge.

The author wants to contrast Zion and Sinai as such:

  • You have come to God’s dwelling place where angels joyfully worship God. This is God’s permanent dwelling place.
  • In this place, God’s people are gathered to freely worship the Lamb. No more fear and trembling at God’s voice.
  • You have come to God Himself and have part in His glorious presence. No more exclusion like Sinai. Zion is representative of God’s glory in it’s fulness.
  • You have come to Jesus. This is the reason why Zion is not a fearful place like Sinai. Jesus stands as mediator and invites us. It is not Moses who stands as mediator but God’s Son Himself. Sinai brought fear and said woe to the murderers. Abel could cried out vengeance when pointing to the 6th commandment “Thou shalt not murder”. But the Son’s blood was shed for forgiveness says come to Mount Zion to worship.

Do you understand dear readers that God wants us to come to Him? The Israelites saw God under the law and were so terrified. Through Jesus, we are now called to come to this Holy God. God’s wrath is satisfied. Jesus has cleansed us from our sins and God is no longer hostile to us. This is grace. No more exclusion and fear of death if approaching God.  Let us go in God’s Holy presence without fear but with assurance because of the Lamb who stands there.

5 times our author says “You have come” and not “you will come”. The Israelites also came near Mount Sinai and but could not come closer. But you have already been brought to Mount Zion by our new Mediator, come closer to God’s presence. This is not terrifying Sinai. Come closer and worship the Holy God without fear.

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Posted August 19, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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