From Mount Sinai to Mount Zion
You haven’t come, after all, to something that can be touched–a blazing fire, darkness, gloom and whirlwind, the sound of a trumpet and a voice speaking which the hearers begged not to have to listen to anymore…The sight was so terrifying that even Moses said, “I’m trembling with fear.”
No: you have come to Mount Zion–to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to where thousands and thousands of angels are gathered for a festival; to the assembly of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people who have been made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which has better words to say than the blood of Abel. [KNT]
From these verses, do you have a Mt. Sinai view of God? Or a Mt. Zion view of God?
The first section is an obvious reference to the Mt. Sinai experience with Moses. The second section is the new covenant experience of God mediated by Jesus. It’s not that God changed, but rather His form of mediation. Also, it seems God revealed Himself as appropriate to the humans of the time and their receptive abilities.
So with the Mt. Sinai view of God, you’ve got an emphasis on God’s holiness and humans’ unworthiness to be in His presence.
With Mt. Zion, you see an emphasis of grace, reconciliation, relationship, and joy.
Sinai, you’ve got the oh so delightful images of the untouchable, blazing fire, darkness, gloom, storm, trumpet blast, and a voice you beg to stop. Yeah!Woo hoo! Let’s party.
Zion brings us the images of the city of the living God, thousands of angels in joyful assembly partying hard, the church of the firstborn, God, the merciful judge of all, spirits of the righteous made perfect, Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and His blood which has much better things to speak than Abel’s.
Real quick on the blood thing in case you’re as confused as I was: In Genesis 4:10, after Abel was killed by his brother Cain, Abel’s blood “cried out” to God for judgement. By contrast, Jesus’ blood cries out forgiveness, reconciliation, relationship, peace, and joy.
So if your view of God is the old Mount Sinai scary, unapproachable, doom and gloom view, then your view of God is very outdated, like walking around today in parachute pants thinking you’re the most up-to-date hipster on the scene. That’s how ridiculous that view of God is today, after Jesus has done what He has done to bring us into intimate relationship with YHWH, clearing the path to Him which is now obstacle-free.
Yet some of us choose to walk around in our parachute pants, ignoring the fact that they went out of style some thirty years ago. Hey, it’s what we know, they’re comfortable to us, and still feel right for us today.
Go ahead and donate those suckers to Goodwill, or Broad Ripple Vintage, and step into A.D. It’s so good, so much better, so much more reality.
God is approachable now, thanks to Jesus. Very approachable. Stop living so B.C.
In Jesus’ name.