The Lord Yahweh established His covenant with the people of Israel. He descended upon Mount Sinai with glory like a devouring fire.
Moses read the Book of the Covenant, which contained Godís promises and laws for the people. If they listened to His voice, then He would be their God. The people said that they would obey all that the Lord had spoken. So Moses took the blood of animals and threw half of it on the altar and half on the people. He said, ďBehold, the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.Ē
Then Moses, Aaron, his sons, and seventy elders went up on the mountain and saw God. He shielded them from His full glory so that they would not die from seeing Him. So they ate and drank before the Lord a meal sealing and confirming the covenant.
Godís covenant with Israel in Exodus 24 is a great example of His grace in giving them the privilege of being His own people. Ultimately, this would culminate in the birth of the Messiah, who would be one of them. But there were also conditions to the covenant. When Israel disobeyed, God could nullify the covenant.
We have so much more! We have not come to Mount Sinai that blazes with devouring fire, but 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.
For not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood, as we saw when Moses took the blood and sprinkled all the people. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
We have been sprinkled with the Blood of Christ, the Son of God, which is the New Testament, shed for the remission of our sins. We eat and drink the Covenant Meal in His Body and Blood. The elders ate and drank in the presence of the Lord as a sign and seal of the covenant. We eat and drink in His presence a far greater meal that is a sign and seal of His eternal Testament with us.
So we share in a much better covenant than the Israelites had. We have a heavenly calling. Jesus is the high priest of our confession, who was faithful to God who appointed Him, just as Moses also was faithful in all Godís house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses Ė as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house does. Moses was faithful in all Godís house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over Godís house as a Son. And we are His house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
We saints are a letter from Christ, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. This is the new covenant promised by the Lord, that He has put His law within us. He is our God and we are His people. We shall all know Him, from the least of us to the greatest. For He has forgiven our iniquity, and will remember our sin no more.
So we have forgiveness in Christ, who has accomplished all things. The Israelites had forgiveness by faith in the promises of the future coming One. But we trust in Him who has already come. We see Him clearly; they only from a distance, as in a shadow. It is not that they had less salvation than we do. Full forgiveness is for all who have faith in Christ, whatever historical date they lived in.
We also face a similar dilemma. If we disobey, will God reject us? God rejected His people Israel if they did not obey the covenant laws. But it is not that they had to be perfectly sinless. If they took seriously His regulations and repented when they failed, He would not become angry with them, but freely forgive. The same with us. Our sins cannot separate us from God because of Christís work on our behalf. Yet if we flaunt our forgiveness and act like we can get away with whatever we want, then repentance and faith can slip away.
It is not that we have conditions on our salvation. Salvation is always free. It is simply that saving faith trusts in Christ; it does not act as if Christ is our blank check to get away with whatever trespasses we want to commit. We must not act arrogantly by saying, ďOur sins cannot destroy us because we are Godís people!Ē That is what Israel said, and they were punished, repeatedly and severely.
But make no mistake. We have the same Lord Yahweh. The same One who stood on Sinai with Moses has also made a covenant with us. The same pavement described by Moses as a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness, is described by John in Revelation as a sea of glass, like crystal. There are not two separate gods, the angry one of the Old Testament, and the kinder gentler one of the New. No, there is only one God.
This one God reveals Himself in His Son. As a burning brightness shone on Sinai when God appeared, so also a bright cloud overshadowed the Mount of Transfiguration. There Saints Peter, James, and John saw God in the person of Jesus Christ, who had come to establish His covenant with men.
He did not call us up to the mountain to Him, but He descended to us. He came to live among us. He came to suffer and shed holy Blood, better than all lambs, goats, and bulls put together. He has sprinkled us with this Blood, and He has said to us, ďThis is My Blood of the New Testament.Ē With this Blood we are Godís people forever. We trust Him and His Blood for full atonement. We are made His, and nothing can take that from us, since nothing is stronger than the sprinkled Blood.
All glory be to Him. Amen.
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