The Book of Hebrews #67 chapter 12:18-29 pt. 3
The Book of Hebrews
Mount Sinai or Mount Zion? (part 3)
Hebrews 12:18-29
 
For the last couple of weeks we’ve been looking at the contrast between Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion.  It’s found in Hebrews 12:18-29.  THeis contrast between these two mountains is the author’s way of helping these Hebrews to see and analyze the choice that lies before them.  And it is a summary of all he has discussed for 11 chapters.
 
On the one hand there is Mt. Sinai, representing life under the law of God.  It is a place where you should expect judgment, wrath, terror and separation.  It is an unapproachable mountain that pictures all of the righteous holiness of a Sovereign God.
 
On the other hand is Zion.  It was the very representation of God’s love and mercy.  It was on that hill that the blood sacrifices of the people were met by the grace of God.  Zion is a picture of God’s grace and love as it is found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
 
And for those of us who have the privilege of 2,000 years of church history, the right choice is very obvious.  But to these original hearers, the choice was a brand new option.  And what the author is attempting to do is present in vivid color the superiority of Christianity to Judaism.
 
It all centers on Jesus and His fulfillment of everything that was Jewish.  And for 11 chapters, the author has laid it out there for them to consider.  And whenwe come to the closing verses of Chapter 12, decision time has come.  So He gives the contrast, and then says, "Now, what are you going to do about it?" Then without waiting for an answer, he tells them what they should do.
 
verse 25
 
Now in order to understand the response, we need to identify who is the one who “speaks”.
 
Who was it that was speaking at Sinai? It was God. Who is it that speaks in Christ? The very first verse of the letter answers that question.
 
Hebrews 1:1
 
Who spoke in Christ? God did and the best decision you can every make is to listen to what He has to say.  In fact, God said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son; Hear what he has to say.” 
 
Why is it so important to hear what God says through Christ?
 
Verse 25
 
He says, "Listen, if they didn't get away when they didn't obey at Sinai, you're not going to get away when God speaks from His Zion in the sky."
 
Now think about that through the eyes and history of the Jews.  Their ancestors died in the wilderness after escaping Egyptian captivity simply because they refused to listen and obey God. They never made the Promised Land. God came down in judgment on that whole generation of people, and they died.
And if God was speaking seriously from an earthly mountain, you'd better believe that He's talking straight stuff when He speaks out of heaven.
 
And so He says, "I plead with you, look at Sinai. If they didn't hear then and God did what He did, imagine what He'll do if you don't hear now."
 
We’ve already seen commentary on that back in chapter 10:28-29
 
If you think it was bad to disobey at Sinai, you haven't seen anything yet.  You can’t imagine the judgment that awaits the one who treads underfoot the blood of Jesus Christ.
 
Notice verse 26
 
If it was serious when God shook the earth, just imagine what it's going to be like when He shakes the universe. If people didn't escape the judgment when God shook the earth, do you think they're going to escape the judgment when He shakes the universe?
 
What does that mean?  I understand that to mean there's coming a day when God's going to shake the whole universe. IT is indicated in the Old Testament in a number of places.
 
You can read about it in Psalm 68:7-8
 
Even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God.  God shook things up.  IT was an awesome, fearful experience.  But the world hasn't seen anything yet.
 
Listen again to verse 26b
That's a direct quote out of Haggai 2:6. That's an Old Testament prediction. In Isaiah 13:13, Isaiah said it's going to happen.
 
In Revelation 6, you have a description. God's going to take the sky as if it was a fig tree with untimely figs, and He's going to shake the trunk and the figs are coming down, which means the whole universe collapses. All the stars fall out of the heaven like figs dropping off a tree.
 
And then he says, "The heavens are going to roll up like a scroll." Just like you pulled a Venetian blind down and let it go, the heavens are just going to go "whoosh," like that. God's going to close out the universe. And if you think it was serious to reject at Sinai in judgment, you can imagine what it's going to be when God comes down in the fury of the end of the age. And He's not done.
 
Verse 27
 
"Yet once more." What do those words mean? He offers a little commentary on Haggai’s words.
 
Haggai said, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." "Yet once more," what does that mean? It is the prophet’s way of signifying the removal of things that are physical.  The indication is God's going to wipe out the entire universe, leaving only that which is eternal. Anything that can be shaken will be shaken.
 
So what cannot be shaken? Anything that is you’rs in Christ.  The eternal realities of what it means to be a child of God through the blood of Jesus Christ; that’s what cannot be shaken.
Everything else is going to fall apart in this world when the horrible judgment of God comes screaming out of heaven. And only eternal things are going to remain.
 
Think about how Peter described that experience.
 
2 Peter 3:10-12
 
That's the end of the physical universe. That's the wrath of God.
 
John described it this way in
 
Revelation 20:11
 
And then 21:1
 
God is going to come in terrifying judgment. But we have the opportunity to be a part of an eternal kingdom.
 
verse 28
 
Literally he says, "Let us be grateful so we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire."
 
In my opinion, Hebrews 12:28-29 may be the sternest warning in the Bible. It's the sternest warning in the Book of Hebrews.
 
And He is saying to these Jews, "You've come all the way to the edge. Don't go back to Judaism. Don't go back to Sinai because if you're still living there when He comes again, it's damnation in a way that the world has never dreamed possible.
In fact, it's so horrible that the Bible even says if the days were not shortened, all flesh would be wiped out.”
 
And so you have your choice. You come to Sinai or you come to Zion. The choice is yours. You stand warned.  You either are going to face God in the blackness and terror at Sinai, with only your works, and they'll be consumed with you, or you come by grace to God at Zion, pleading the blood of Jesus Christ, and you find grace and peace and safety and fellowship in the presence of a loving God, and you find Jesus Christ, and you find full forgiveness, and it's all there.
 
And the Holy Spirit calls to you tonight and says, "Don't let anything take you back. Come all the way to Jesus Christ. Don't let neglect, unbelief, tradition, impatience or fear. You have only to fear if you go back and turn away from Jesus Christ.
 
Let's pray.

 

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