Agonizomai: Hebs 12 - 18-21 - Christ - The Jehovah of the Law

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hebs 12 - 18-21 - Christ - The Jehovah of the Law

Heb 12 - 18-21 - Christ - The Jehovah of the Law

Heb 12:18-21 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”

The writer now embarks upon a contrast between law and gospel, between the outward and the inward, between the carnal and the spiritual. Two mountains are invoked - the first by implication and the second by actual name. These mountains are Sinai and Zion. At one the covenant of the law was given through Moses, and at the other, the covenant of grace was established in history by the incarnation, death and resurrection of the Redeemer. This contrast continues the writer’s theme of reminding the Hebrews of the superiority of the gospel of Christ over the law and the traditions of Israel.

In this first part, the outward nature of things past is highlighted. These were things that could be touched and seen. They represented heavenly things as figures, or they heralded things to come, or they showed the need for a more excellent way. They terrified the hearers by revealing the unattainable holiness of God and pointing to the miserable corruption in the hearers which always caused them to fall short. They illustrated the unbridgeable gap that existed, the chasm between God and man that was brought about by the fall of mankind in Adam and the fruits of that fall in all of Adam’s seed.

The law was the law, but it could not bring peace with God. Instead it brought terror. Even Moses trembled, though he was the mediator between God and Israel. But what was needed was a true mediator that could not only stand between God and man, but could also bring true and eternal peace to man from God. Moses trembled because he was only a figure of that true Mediator Who was to come.


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