Mount Zion vs. Mount Sinai

(Exodus 19:1-20; Hebrews 12: 18-29)

“For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched, that is ablaze with fire, and to gloom and darkness and a raging storm, and to the blast of a trumpet and a voice whose words make the listeners beg that nothing more be said to them” (Hebrews 12:18-19); “but rather, you have come to Mount Zion, even to the city of the living YAHWEH, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless multitudes of angels in festal gathering, to the assembly of the first born whose names have been written in heaven, to YAHWEH, who is the judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, to YAHSHUA, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things that the blood of Abel” (Vs.22-24).

The difference between the experience at Mount Zion and Mount Sinai is worth noting for us to realize the wonderful grace of God toward us.  When God came down to Mount Sinai to meet the people of Israel, He came expressing vehemently His holiness through fire, in a dense and black cloud that enveloped the mountain. At that time, He declared His covenant with the people and gave them the Ten Commandments. At that time, Israel had a glimpse of the extent of the holiness of God; and not being able to bear it, they begged Moses to speak to them, instead.

No More Condemnation

(Romans 7:18-25; 8:1, 2, 14-18)

The heavenly court has decreed that there is now no more condemnation for those who have been acquitted by the blood of the Lamb of God; for those who live by the demands of the Holy Spirit, and have accepted the complete work done by YAHSHUA at the cross, Who fulfilled all the demands of the law.  There is now no more condemnation, says the heavenly Judge, after hearing the Defense attorney, who had taken the guilt upon Himself, offering to pay with His own life. The offer was accepted and the Judge stamped with the words, Paid in full!

Paul acknowledges his weakness under the demands of the law and cries, O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24) When we stand condemned by our own guilt, is because we have not accepted God’s forgiveness; with that, we have made the decision to stay in the unhappiness, miserable state of mind. Forgiveness is a beautiful gift, wrapped in a beautiful box, that when one accepts, it multiplies to more wonderful gifts, as in salvation, freedom, peace, love. It is the key that releases us from the chains of all sins, great or small; no size is too great or too powerful that the blood of the Lamb cannot wash away.  He paid for our sins and confirmed by saying at the end of His ordeal, It is finished; it is all paid in full!  Paul, after acknowledging the power of sin in his life under the law, asks the question, Who will release and deliver me from this body of death? Not because he didn’t know it or hadn’t had the experience of forgiveness, for he answers the question by saying, O thank God! [He will] through Jesus Christ our Lord! The transitional word, therefore on the first verse of chapter eight, gives us light to know that there is victory through YAHSHUA in his complete work of fulfilling the law – O thank God, YAHSHUA will! In accepting His forgiveness, there will be at that moment no more condemnation of any kind registered in the books of the heavenly court, only forgiveness (Romans 8:1-2).

When I See the Blood

(Exodus 12:12-13)

 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the Lord. The blood shall be for a token or sign to you upon the houses where you are, when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt (Ex. 12:12-13).

The Lord God constituted Passover for Israel at the time when they left Egypt, as a memorial of their deliverance from bondage to Egypt and as a future signal pointing to YAHSHUA the Son of God, Who was to come as the perfect Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sins of mankind. Before then, Jacob’s sons were not yet an established nation. They were residents in Egypt for many years, as in 430 years. God promised Abraham that after that frame of time, his descendants would leave for the Promised Land as He had promised him. When the new Pharaoh arose to power, who did not know Joseph, neither the background history why he and his brothers landed in Egypt, things changed for all of them. They no longer enjoyed the freedom they used to have, but were subjected to hard labor mercilessly. Theirs is a story of contrast:  blessings and hardships, but God had a plan for the offspring of Abraham. Because Abraham believed God’s word, he was promised blessings upon him and his posterity. Choosing Moses with the help of his brother, Aaron to lead his people out of Egypt, God performed great miracles before Pharaoh through them to show Pharaoh that He was and is the only true God, above all the Egyptians’ gods. Pharaoh’s heart became hard with every judgment God sent to them, until the slaughter of all the males in the land of Egypt, for which Jacob’s sons’ families were sealed with the blood of the sacrificial lamb they had killed that day.

Holy Unto the Lord

(Exodus 39; 40: 34-38; I Cor. 6:16-19; II Cor. 6:16)

The ministry of Moses in the wilderness was one of sanctifying the people to present them holy to the Lord (Exodus 19:10-11). In Israel’s experience of Mount Sinai, when God descended to the Mount to meet with them, they experienced the unapproachable holiness of God: thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain…Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, for the Lord descended upon it in fire; its smoke ascended like that of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly (Ex. 19:16,18). God, desiring fellowship with men, formed the nation of Israel to be that vehicle through whom God would review Himself to the nations. They in return, would come to know the existence of the true and holy God. Forty years in the desert, a frame of time seemly long, but not in the mind of God, it took for the nation of Israel to be set apart and consecrated holy unto Him. Although they never achieved the position of complete holiness, they came to experience the extent of God’s holiness when trembling with fear, and falling back at the holiness of God, said, You (Moses) speak to us and we will listen, but let not God speak to us, lest we die (Exodus 20:18-19).

The Bride of CHRIST has never experienced such extent of God’s holiness; we have never realized the awfulness of sin and its power to destroy us, or we would have hated sin. In His holiness, the Son of God completed, paid in full the price of our redemption, satisfying His Father once and for all, so that we would be regenerated unto holiness and ultimately unto glorification. Living to satisfy the flesh’s sinful desires, defeats the purpose for which YAHSHUA died on the cross; Like Israel in the desert, the bride of CHRIST is left here for as long as God’s determined purpose of holiness will be accomplished in every believer’s life. For that reason, the Promised Holy Spirit came to earth to sanctify Christ’s bride and present her blameless and holy unto the Lord. As we think on how holy our God is, we find ourselves undeserving of His love and undeserving to come close to Him. As the Holy Spirit guides us, Moses guided the people to do what was right through their pilgrimage through the desert. When Israel chose to satisfy their fleshly desire instead, Moses faithfully stood before God to intercede for them, saying, Oh, these people have sinned a great sin and have made themselves gods of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin- and if not, blot me, I pray You out of Your book which You have written! Moses, as a go in between, offered to take the punishment of the people, so that they would not have to suffer the consequences of their doing. This is a true picture of what was to come in the Son of God, when He took yours and my place on the cross. Even though Moses’ ministry was not that of a substitutional ministry, He was a prototype of what was to come in the person of the HOLY SPIRIT. Until his death, he led the people in the direction God had shown him – the direction to God’s holiness.

Israelites Left in the Desert

After the number of days in which you spied out the land, even forty days, for each day a year shall you bear and suffer for your iniquities, even for forty years, and you shall know My displeasure (Numbers 14:34).

When God called Israel out of the Egypt, He gave them instructions and guidance on how to ordain their lives in order to enter the Promised Land successfully.  But Israel’s sin of unbelief and idolatry followed by the hardening of their hearts became a stumbling block on their way there.  In their stubbornness, Israel closed the eyes of their hearts to the miraculous deeds performed on their behalf, as in the opening of the Red Sea to save them from the Egyptian’s army;  how God had satisfied their hunger with heavenly manna;  the visible presence of God in their midst in a pillar of fire by night  to give them light on their journey and a cloud by day to protect them from the heat of the day. Nothing seemed to matter to them.

After having wandered for three days, they went through the wilderness of Shur, where there was no water. In panic, they murmured, complained and doubted and undermined the faithfulness of God. Yet, lovingly, God blessed them with twelve springs of water, one for each tribe, and seventy palm trees. God used the number seventy to form the nation of Israel; Jacob’s family consisted of seventy people when they left for Egypt. The number seventy is also connected with God’s punishment of Israel; so those seventy palm trees were speaking to them of future seventy years of captivity in Babylon. It is prophesized in the book of Daniel that seventy weeks of years (70×7) have been given to them to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness and to seal up the vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy (Daniel 9:24). That was the frame of time that God gave Israel for forgiveness in the number 70×7= 490 years. There is one more week of years left for the completion of God’s plan in the life of Israel.

Faith

Faith is the assurance, the proof and the conviction. (Hebrews 11, 12)

The assurance of things hoped for; the proof of things not seen; and the conviction of their reality.

Faith gives us understanding that the world was created by the Word of God and not by visible things; faith brings righteousness and causes obedience to act for the glory of God; perfect faith pleases God and moves Him to act on behalf of those who walk in it; faith is the tool necessary to approach God for one to believe that He exists.

Faith causes one to believe the unseen and faith brings salvation to those who embrace it; faith leads us to obedience to God’s commands and fixes our eyes on the hope, with expectation of our redemption; faith sets the hearts on the spiritual world and gives us the glimpse of the eternal world, where our home is; faith causes us to yearn for our heavenly home and puts us in remembrance that we are strangers here on earth.

Genuine faith goes through the tests believing to have received the promises from Him who is faithful to do what He says He would do and faith reasons God’s ability and faithfulness and believes in His promises.

Temptation at the Point of Our Need

YAHSHUA, at the starting of His ministry, fasted for a period of forty days and forty nights. He chose the Judean wilderness where He would be by Himself and away from it all. The Judean desert is located east of Jerusalem, and descends to the Dead Sea. It seems to be a place of contrast and beauty. YAHSHUA’S choice to spend alone with His heavenly Father was perfect in location and quietness. Forty days sounds like a long time for someone to go without food. But YAHSHUA’S purpose was always to do the will of His Father. Eating was not in His agenda, as when He met the Samaritan woman in the heat of the day and the disciples called His attention to eat. He answered them saying, I have food to eat of which you know nothing and have no idea… My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish and completely finish His work (John 4:32,34).

A Thousand May Fall at Your Side

                                                               (Psalm 91)

The storm is rising higher and higher. People are unsettled and confused at the noise of the daily news. What to buy more of, what to believe and what not to believe. Some of us have experienced the corona virus at the end of last year as well as at the beginning of this year. But because a red flag was not raised concerning its danger, some of us came out of it okay.  Life, in its routine, remained normal for us at that time, without the worries which are plaguing the world today.  Time and time again, the world experiences the flu season, contagious as it can be, without fear and anxiety. It comes, it leaves the territory, which is our body in a matter of days. It is just routine of the season in some countries. However, there is today a storm of great proportion plaguing the world, causing many to die or be enslaved to fear. This a reality one would not like to face, when the governments are taking over the freedoms of people and demanding obedience by order of martial law. Something strange is going on some say, without realizing the signs of the time.  That’s what it is, my friends, signs of the time.  It never stands still; rather it keeps going on and on at the tick of the clock, taking us to its end. Yes, even time will have to come to its end when eternity will rule.