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A tale of two mountains


A tale of two mountains
Posted on July 12, 2020  - By Leni B

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, 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, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12: 22-24

Remember Mount Sinai? Yes, that’s the mountain linked to the old covenant; the mountain where God spoke to Moses, gave the Law and instituted the covenant with the Israelites. It was a covenant of judgment and fear though.

This mountain was marked by an awesome display of God’s power that caused the people to fear and tremble before Him (Hebrews 12:18). God demonstrated His awesome holiness, and no wretched sinner could come near this mountain and live after seeing His holiness. Power was demonstrated through the physical means of thunder, lightning, fire, and smoke. The main purpose of all these signs was to show the people that they could not approach this holy God and live. Mount Sinai represented the Law.

By contrast, Mount Zion (mentioned in Hebrews 12:22) is the mountain of the new covenant: a picture of people in joyful worship, freed of condemnation, and standing in purity before a holy and righteous God. Mount Zion reflected God’s glory and emphasised righteousness. It is approachable, unlike Mount Sinai, and open to anyone who comes to God through Jesus Christ, for He has met the terms and stands in their place.

Unlike Mount Sinai, Mount Zion is open to all who come to God through Jesus Christ, for He has met the terms and stands in their place

The blessings of Mount Zion

In coming to Mount Zion ― that is, by becoming a believer — we “come” to seven other blessings seen in Hebrews 12:22-24.

  1. The heavenly city — Heaven itself.
  2. The joyful assembly of angels.
  3. The church of the firstborn whose names are enrolled in heaven. This is the body of Christ; the indication that they are firstborn seems to follow the pattern of verses such as James 1:18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13, where saved Christians are referred to as the firstfruits of God. While an earthly family can have only one firstborn, all Christians share in this honour as children of God.
  4. God, the Judge of all. On Mount Zion, we can enter into God’s own presence and live, because of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus.
  5. The spirits of the righteous made perfect.
  6. Jesus ― our mediator of the New Covenant. When we come to Mount Zion, we come to our Saviour, Redeemer and only Mediator with God the Father.
  7. The sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel and through which we have redemption. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice because it was offered in faith, but it had limited atoning power. The blood of Christ, however, was sufficient to cleanse the sins of all men for all time.

Responding to the new covenant

How should we, who live under grace, approach this holy God?

The blood of Christ is sufficient to cleanse the sins of all men for all time

  • We must not ignore Him who is speaking (v.25). In these last days, God has spoken to us in His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). The blessings of receiving the second covenant are greater than those of receiving the first. But the consequences for refusing the second are also greater (Hebrews 10:28-29).
  • The new heaven and earth will include the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. This is the Kingdom we receive, which cannot be shaken. It is eternal. For this, we should show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.
  • We must have a worshipful life by offering holy service to our awesome God. What joy awaits the redeemed of the Lord as they return to Zion! They will enter Zion with singing and everlasting joy will crown their heads. They shall obtain gladness and joy. Sorrow and mourning shall flee away (Isaiah 35:9-10). Now, that is reason to thankfully worship God and look forward to Zion!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we praise and thank You for Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son through whom we can approach You, our Father, without fear or judgment. A time is coming soon when all Your blood-bought children will be gathered together in Your heavenly city. Father, the reality of our future being in heaven with You renews our hope in this broken world. But we confess that it is not the mansions or rewards that our hearts long for — only You, Father. For it is You who are heaven to us. Till we see You face to face, give us the grace to show You our gratitude by leading a life of worship that pleases You. This we pray in the powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Leni B

About Leni B

Leni B is a wife and mom to two teenagers, who loves the God of the Bible. Apart from ministering at home, she helps lead a Bible study for a small group of women as they study, and find strength from, God's infallible Word together.



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