Speaking the Truth in Love

Speaking the Truth in Love

We Have Come to Mount Zion

   A. In Heb. 12:18-29, the Hebrew writer contrasts the things that
      occurred on the mountain when the Law was given to Mount
      Zion to which we have now come.
      1. His purpose is threefold:
         a. To cause us to grasp the greatness of our Mount Zion;
         b. To warn us to not refuse Him who now speaks from
         c. And, to encourage us to serve Him with reverence and
            godly fear.

I. Heb. 12:18-21 (See chart #1 below)
   A. The whole mountain was on fire and quaked violently.
      1. A trumpet sounded louder and louder, and God began to
         speak His Law.
      2. The people were terror stricken and did not want God to
         speak to them any longer. Ex. 19:16-19; 20:18-21
      3. Moses said, "I am exceedingly afraid and trembling." - 12:21
         a. There is no recording of this in the O.T.; thus, we have
            additional information from the Holy Spirit.
         b. This is done several times in the N.T.; e.g., 2 Tim. 3:8;
            Jude 14

II. Heb 12:22-24 - He now gives a beautiful description of the Mount
   Zion to which we have come. (See chart #2 below)
   A. "But you have come to Mount Zion and the city of the living
      God, the heavenly Jerusalem"
      1. We have not come to the literal Zion and Jerusalem, but to
         the true dwelling place of God in heaven.
         a. As the throne of David was in the literal Jerusalem, the
            throne of Christ is in the heavenly Jerusalem.
         b. Heaven is the headquarters of the King of the spiritual
            kingdom of which we are citizens. Phil. 3:20-21
   B. "To an innumerable company of angels"
      1. Literally, "myriads, tens of thousands."
         a. Again, this shows that verse 22 refers to heaven rather
            than to the church on earth.
   C. "General assembly"
      1. Literally, "public festival gathering."
         a. Verse 23 points to the church or kingdom here on earth.
   D. "Church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven"
      1. One is not handling aright the Scriptures when he uses 12:23
         to teach that the church should be called "the church of the
         firstborn"; that is, "the church of Christ who was the
      2. The term "firstborn" is plural in the Greek; thus, it is    
         literally the church of the "firstborn ones."
      3. All of us who are Christians have the birthright, not       
         through family descent, but through registration in heaven.
   E. "To God the Judge of all"
      1. Not as the Israelites who were terrified at Mount Sinai, we
         are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace. Heb.
   F. "To the spirits of just men made perfect."
      1. This refers to the O.T. worthies and all the faithful of the
   G. "To Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant"
      1. 1 Tim. 2:5
      2. Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant which is
         established upon better promises. Heb. 8:6
   H. "To the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than
      that of Abel."
      1. The blood of Abel cried for vengeance (Gen. 4:10-11), but
         the blood of Christ speaks of mercy, redemption, and
         forgiveness (Rev. 1:5; Eph. 1:7).

III. Heb. 12:25-29
   A. Verse 25 is a very important verse in this section of Hebrews.
      1. We need to listen to Him who now speaks from heaven.
         a. God now speaks through His Son. Heb. 1:1-2
         b. His Son now speaks to us through His word, the New
            Testament, the gospel. Mark 1:1; Heb. 2:3-4
      2. Those who refuse to listen to the New Testament will not
         escape. Heb. 2:1-2; Acts 3:23
   B. Verse 26
      1. When God spoke from Mount Sinai, His voice shook the
         earth, but through the prophet Haggai, God promised saying, 
         "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven."
   C. Verse 27
      1. The Hebrew writer explains how the "yet once more"
      2. "Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those
         things that are being shaken, as of things that are made    
         (the O.T. things, DJR), that the things which cannot be     
         shaken may remain (the N.T. things, DJR)."
         a. The expression "as of things that are made" - refers to
            the physical things, the physical system as opposed to
            the spiritual system.
      3. This verses indicates that God would not make just a small
         alteration, but a total removal of that which was given on
         Mount Sinai.
      4. The things of the Mosaical system - the Levitical           
         priesthood, the tabernacle, the gold plated instruments of  
         worship, etc., - were destined to be removed.
      5. God has now established that which cannot be shaken, the
         New Testament system.
         a. Most commentaries teach that the "yet once more"
            refers to the coming destruction of the earth and the
            ushering in of the eternal kingdom. However, that
            interpretation does not fit this context.
   D. Verse 28
      1. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which
         cannot be shaken..."
         a. "Are receiving" is present tense and means "to take to
            oneself; to receive something transmitted." (Logos)
            (1) "Therefore we are grateful for receiving a kingdom
                that cannot be shaken..." (RSV)
            (2) "So let us be thankful, because we have a kingdom
                that cannot be shaken." (NCV)
         b. Thus, the kingdom exists now.
            (1) This fulfills Daniel 2:44 as well as the "yet once
                more" prophecy in Hag. 2:6.
            (2) The angel told Mary that God would give Jesus the
                throne of David and of His kingdom there would be
                no end. Luke 1:31-33
            (3) He was raised up to sit on David's throne. Acts
            (4) Those blood-bought individuals in the kingdom
                (Col. 1:12-14) are the blood-bought individuals
                  who are the church (Acts 20:28).
      2. "Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably    
         with reverence and godly fear."
         a. "Let us" - Used 12 times in the book of Hebrews as
            the writer's means of encouragement and exhortation.
         b. He continues with the manner in which we to serve
            (1) Because of what God has done, let us consider our
                fearful responsibility.
         c. The word "reverence" is an unusual one in this verse.
            (1) It is the Greek word "aidos" and means "the idea of
                downcast eyes); bashfulness, i.e. (towards men),
                modesty or (towards God) awe:--reverence,
                shamefacedness." (Strong)
            (2) This reminds us of the publican in Luke 18:13.
         d. We need to be humble and lowly before the Lord, being
            aware of our weaknesses and unworthiness, and
            pleading for His mercy. Micah 6:8
      3. "For our God is a consuming fire."
         a. God's great demonstration on mount Sinai was to cause
            the people to fear and respect Him.
            (1) Should we not much more fear and respect God
                today since He has given us the true Mount Zion,
                the everlasting kingdom which will remain forever?

   A. Thus, we have not come to a mountain which was on fire and
      shook violently, but we have come Mount Zion, the city of the
      living God, and to the church of the firstborn ones who are
      registered in heaven.
      1. Let us not ignore Him who now speaks from heaven.
      2. Since we have received a kingdom which cannot be shaken,
         let us serve God with reverence and godly fear.
      3. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living 
         God." Heb. 10:31

Chart #1
The Mountains Contrasted - Heb. 12:18-24
We Have Not Come To:
The mountain that may be touched
That burned with fire
Blackness and darkness and tempest
The sound of the trumpet
Begged that the word not be spoken
They could not endure
Anything touching the mountain was to be destroyed
A terrifying sight

Chart #2
The Mountains Contrasted - Heb. 12:18-24
But We Have Come To:
Mount Zion 
The city of the living God
The heavenly Jerusalem
Innumerable company of angels
The general assembly
Church of the firstborn (registered in heaven)
God the Judge of all
The spirits of just men made perfect
Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant 
The blood of sprinkling (speaks better things)