Daily Update #207
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.’ 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
The contrasts in Hebrews continue to challenge and thrill us!
Here the author sets up a sharp contrast between the encounter of his people the Israelites with him at Mount Sinai (see details in Exodus 19) and the encounter of his people in Christ at Mount Zion, the city of the living God.
It doesn’t get starker than this. At Mount Sinai the people can’t come near the mountain. It is burning with fire, covered in gloom and a raging storm. The sound of the trumpet as the Lord God of Hosts draws near is deafening. People are begging for the noise to stop. Moses himself, although he met God as a friend, was terrified (Deuteronomy 9:19).
At Mount Zion the people are drawing near, approaching and entering the city of the living God, which is our heavenly Jerusalem. The angel assemblies we see number in the millions, in their joyful assembly. Our names are written in heaven, we are members of the church of Jesus, the first born from the dead. While God is our judge, there is no fear in us since we are the righteous, made perfect through the sprinkled blood of the Lord Jesus himself. He mediates the new covenant, and we are the beneficiaries of it. While the blood of Abel cried out for vengeance on his murderous brother Cain, the blood of Jesus is freely shed in love for us and makes us clean and perfect in God’s sight.
Inclusion swallows up exclusion
Love and welcome swallow up fear
Sacrificial blood freely shed by Jesus deals completely with our guilt and unworthiness
The conclusion we need to draw is clear, the Lord Jesus is indeed the Christ, whom God has set above all people and things and anointed with the oil of joy. Let us put our faith and trust in him, in his precious promises and his glorious salvation. Let us make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy, because this is essential if we are to see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). How we live today really matters and so we need to remain in Jesus at all times.
Maybe today would be a good time to examine ourselves carefully, in our thoughts and words and deeds? Are we truly doing everything we can to live in peace with everyone? Is there an extra mile which we can and should be going, to express our gratefulness for, and love of, our saviour Jesus? Is there anything which we can do (or stop doing?) which would lead us to be more holy, kept separate for the Lord Jesus and dedicated to honour and serve him? By the outpouring of our grateful thanks, how can we live more effectively for him? Food for thought.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Tomorrow’s passage: Hebrews 13:1-8