From Pastor Scott Powers
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. – Hebrews 12:18-24
It turns out that the good ole days weren’t so good.
What a contrast the Hebrews author depicts when describing Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. It was a fearful experience for the exodus generation to approach God at Sinai. There was a blazing fire, darkness, gloom, a whirlwind, the blast of a trumpet, the pangs of death for anything that touched the mountain, and the unbearable command that invoked fear and trembling in the people and in Moses himself.
God is depicted as holy, wrathful, and requiring a mediator between Him and the people. That is still true today. Moses, as imperfect as he was, was God’s choice to mediate the covenant we now know as the Old Covenant. The Law of God given at Sinai was a yoke around the neck of the Israelites that none were able to bear (Acts 15:10). It demanded perfection. To sin at one point of the Law, was to sin in all points of the Law (James 2:10). It was laborious, impossible, and condemning. This was intentional. It created hope in the hearts of the Hebrews for something better, a Messiah.
Thankfully, there is a change for the better. The author says it best: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.”
The Old Covenant led to the New Covenant. The Old Covenant created hope out of despair. It pointed to a better covenant. The New Covenant offered a better mediator, Jesus. What kept the Israelites at a distance in the Old Covenant was taken away by the New Covenant. Remember, the curtain that separated the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom when Jesus died. The blood of Jesus was shed. Our sins were washed away by the blood of the lamb. Access to God is now unrestricted. Now, we have a high priest who gives us unlimited access to the Father. Through Him, we have an eternal home and an eternal hope.