Mount Sinai and Mount Zion

Written by Joel on August 27th, 2010

Sunrise on Mount Sinai

Aug 22, 2010
21th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 12:18-29

Audio is unavailable because I lost my voice recorder.


Opening – Hurricane Ivan

In September 2004. I was a student at Bethany College in the northern panhandle of WV. The first time I had ever seen a flood. The mountains literally trembled and fell all around us. I saw homes which were swept away on the Buffalo Creek, which was now a raging river. Homes drifted along the river like a log and exploded into bits as they crashed into bridges and overpasses. It was terrifying.

The writer of Hebrews recalls for us Israel’s encounter on Mount Sinai, that blazing fire of darkness and gloom, the tempest which could not be touched. When they were so afraid to hear the voice of God.

Sinai Exodus 19:1-20:21

Transition: Verse 18 – You have not come to this! We have come to Zion.

Zion (verse 22ff)

A glimpse at heavenly worship with the Angels and saints. It speaks of presence, intimacy, closeness which was not experienced at Sinai.

Contradiction(?) – God is this, God is this. God’s voice still shakes the earth (verse 26).

We hold on to these two images of God: One distant and one near.

God is the powerful, fear-invoking, terrifying presence; but also the close, living one worshiped by the saints and angels. God remains the powerful untouchable God of heaven, yet now we are called into his presence – unlike mount Sinai where hearing his voice caused the people to fear and tremble, that approaching him would mean immediate death; Now because Christ leads us to the summit encounter with God is still as awe-inspiring as it ever was but now we are called into the heavenly courts to conduct our worship. We are no longer distant observers but intimate worshippers along with the saints and angels and in the company of Christ.

Consuming fire

All will pass away except the spiritual. This gives us hope that we can already encounter Mount Zion in our worship here on earth. We are called to a worship that cannot be shaken because it is grounded in our awesome God.


Leave a Comment