18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Jews are well-acquainted with the story of Mount Sinai. This is the place where God met with Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments, establishing the Old Covenant. Think about that. Mount Sinai is the place where the Old Covenant was established. It was where the people of Israel assembled at God’s command and came under the law. Too many Christians today are trying to worship at Mount Sinai.
Mount Sinai was a terrifying place. God descended in fire and smoke, with the blast of a trumpet of such volume that we can’t begin to imagine. God spoke, and the people begged Moses to ask God to speak only with him because they couldn’t handle it. And while they were instructed to assemble near the mountain, touching it was strictly forbidden under punishment of immediate death. Believer, you have not come to that mountain.
“You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”
This is one of the most beautiful passages of Scripture. Just trying to picture all of these things and hearing the loving voice of my Father whispering this to me moves me deeply every time.
Recall from chapter 11 of Hebrews that Abraham dwelt in tents, waiting for the city to come. In this passage, we see that we have come “to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” We have come “to the spirits of just men made perfect.” They did not achieve perfection. They were made perfect. Just like you and I.
Notice the most important thing at Mount Zion. Or I should say the most important person. Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, is at this mountain. That means He is not at Mount Sinai. When we try to worship at the wrong mountain, we have no Mediator there. Don’t go back to religion. Jesus isn’t there.
We are under better blood that speaks better things. Abel’s blood cried out to God from the ground after his brother killed him. It demanded judgement and vengeance. But the blood of Jesus speaks better things. It speaks grace and forgiveness.
God’s voice is speaking again, but not with the judgement they heard at Mount Sinai. He is speaking righteousness, and His voice is shaking heaven and earth to remove man-made things so that only those heavenly things that cannot be shaken may remain. Notice that without grace, we can’t serve God properly.
It simply isn’t possible to overstate the importance of receiving the gift of grace. Our God is a consuming fire. We see that at Mount Sinai and even more in the book of Revelation glimpses of what that looks like. But we have the opportunity now to receive grace and worship at Mount Zion. Brave grace, and inherit an unshakable kingdom.