Hebrews 12:18-29: What Mountain Do You Call Home?

You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”

Hebrews 12:18-21

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

Notice the comparisons of the two mountains …
Mount Sinai vs Mount Zion

  • Physical mountain
  • A place of flaming fire
  • Darkness
  • Gloom
  • Whirlwind
  • A trumpet blast
  • A terrible voice
  • Can’t be touched
  • City of the living God
  • Angels in joyful gathering
  • Assembly of God’s children
  • God, himself, as judge
  • The spirits of the righteous made perfect
  • Jesus, our mediator
  • The sprinkled blood, speaking forgiveness

Mount Sinai is dark and frightening. Even Moses, who walked closely with God, finds it terrifying. Mount Sinai is totally unapproachable – why!?? We read in Exodus 19 how the Lord descended on Mount Sinai in fire. The whole mountain shook with His presence. He had already instructed the people through Moses to not come close to the mountain, to not touch it, even animals could not touch it and live. This appearance of God surrounded in mystery and terror was designed to instill a healthy fear of God so that the Hebrew people would not go on sinning (Exodus 20:20).

When we have a vision of God in His holiness, His majesty,
we have a greater sense of our sin —
a greater sense of the distance between us and Him.

Pastor Paul Kemp

In sharp contrast, notice how Mount Zion, the city of God, is festive! There’s joyful praise, relationship, forgiveness, victory! Also notice it is present tense – this is OUR REALITY! Paul writes in Ephesians that we are made alive, raised up, and seated in the heavenlies! Because of our position in Christ we share in His victory — we are no longer under Satan’s power, no longer compelled to follow the world. True, we do not yet fully experience the city of God but the author of Hebrews encourages us to have an eternal perspective – to rejoice in what will one day be ours!

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-7

What makes the difference
between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion?

The blood of Jesus makes all the difference! His blood cleanses us from all sin – past, present, future. The author of Hebrews has consistently illustrated for us the benefits of the new covenant. In the old covenant there was an annual reminder of sin but now, He remembers our sin no more! Jesus’ blood purifies our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. We have peace with God! The blood of Jesus satisfies God’s righteous requirements for life and holiness!

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide–
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Would you be whiter, yes brighter than snow?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow–
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Would you do service for Jesus, your King?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Lewis E. Jones, 1899

In Genesis, Abel’s blood called out to God for judgment against his brother, Cain. BUT Jesus’ blood has paid for our redemption, it cries out our forgiveness. We are no longer guilty! This is shouting ground for sure!

No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are “in” Jesus Christ. For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death.

Romans 8:1 Phillips

The author of Hebrews ends this beautiful contrast of two mountains with a warning and an exhortation. His warning – “See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks!” The consequences for rejecting the voice of God is serious. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart! Instead, thank God for calling you, and submit to His Lordship!

Our God is a jealous God, a consuming fire — we worship Him with reverence, holy fear, and with gratitude because in His great love for us, in His mercy, He has placed us in His unshakeable kingdom!

Let’s use our holy imagination today, dear friends, as we anticipate our final redemption, as we picture the coming of the new heaven and new earth! Let’s celebrate as with the angels, singing hymns of praise to the One whose blood cancels our debt and sets us free!

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!”

Revelation 5:11-12

Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply