This past Sunday, my pastor preached from Exodus 20, the giving of the Ten Commandments. As this was God’s inauguration of the Mosaic covenant, I found the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews description interesting as compares the old covenant to God’s new covenant established through the blood of Christ and His resurrection.
“For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, ‘If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.’ Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I tremble with fear.’ But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly 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 that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:18-24)
On the one hand, we have the Israelites at Mount Sinai with Moses as their mediator between them and God. The description is one of terror and fright. Even Moses admits his great fear. The presence of God was terrifying. The people were not holy. They rightly feared death if God were to speak to them.
On the other hand, we have Mount Zion where there is a great gathering and celebration by God’s people. The images used here evoke worship, praise, and joy. Christ is the perfect mediator of His people through His blood which brings forgiveness and atonement to those who believe. Thanks be to God!