Four Mountains Hebrews 12:18-29

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Last week we looked at Faith’s endurance.  We saw that Faith calls us to self discipline reminding us to focus our eyes on Jesus and consider Him as the example we are to follow.  We also saw that Faith encourages us in God’s discipline reminding us that His discipline is proof that we are truly His children.  Faith also reminds us to strengthen our weakness that we may be healed and teaches us to strive for peace with all men and holiness.  Finally we learned that faith warns us to persevere that we do not come short of God’s grace.

This week we will be looking at Hebrews 12:18-29.

Here the author of Hebrews uses 2 mountains to represent the 2 covenants.

The first mountain is described in verses 18 to 21.

18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.” [1]

The mountain he is using to represent the old Covenant is Mount Sinai. The first thing he tells us is that we have not come to a mountain that is physical or can be touched. He then continues with a description of this mountain.

Notice the language he uses to describe the Mountain .

A blazing fire:

Darkness and Gloom:

And finally a whirlwind:

This is a visual description reminding the readers of Mount Sinai and what it looked like when Moses went up to get the law.

This was enough to strike fear Into the Heart of even the strongest. With this very graphic description the author describes Mount Sinai.  This was designed to evoke a very emotional response.

He wanted them to understand the fear and trembling Israel went through as they were waiting receive the promised Covenant that Moses went up to get from the Lord.

But he didn't just stop with describing how it looked. He continued with a description of how it sounded to Israel.

His description clearly shows how Israel felt with the presence of God on the mountain.

This description is as follows:

The blast of a trumpet:

And the sound of Words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further words be spoken to them.

The preacher added a Capstone to his description by saying in verse 21 “ and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, ‘ I am full of fear and trembling.’”[2]

Clearly this is a scary place to be.

If you are standing on good works and following the law then this is the mountain you stand on.

It is clear that the author of Hebrews is talking to those who have trusted in Christ because he started out saying you have not come to this mountain, and it continues in vs 22 to 24 by describing the Heavenly Mountain that we have come to.

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.[3]

Here we see by contrast that we are citizens of the Heavenly Jerusalem the city of the Living God. This place is also populated by myriads of angels and of course Jesus the mediator of our new covenant.

Notice in verse 24 the author of Hebrews mentions Jesus the mediator in context of being sprinkled with blood which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

The contrast here is that the blood of Jesus is the blood of forgiveness; the blood of the New Covenant whereas the blood of Abel is the blood of accusation accusing his brother of murder.

So here we are at a crossroads. Which mountain do we want to find ourselves on? The first mountain covered with darkness gloom and raging storms a place filled with danger destruction and terror.  This mountain is a mountain of separation from God.

The second is a mountain filled with peace light hope and a loving Saviour.  This is the mountain where we will be with The Lord forever.

Matthew 7:13-14 reminds us to:

13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.[4]

You will notice I have titled this message four mountains.  That is because as I started reading this passage I was reminded of two mountains that Moses discussed in Deuteronomy. This was just before they were to go into the Promised Land and Moses was preparing Israel to walk on with the Lord.

Deuteronomy 9:1 starts a passage where Moses gives Israel instructions before crossing the Jordan to take the promised land.

Deuteronomy 9:1 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

9 “Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven,[5]

These instructions continue for many chapters but I only want to cover a few that Moses uses to encourage them to listen to the commandments of the Lord, and warn them of the curse if they do not listen.

These instructions involve Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal.

Deuteronomy 11:26-29 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.

29 “It shall come about, when the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.[6]

Moses tells them when you go in to take the promised land you are to put a blessing on Mount Gerizim and a curse on Mount Ebal.

Think about this two mountains one to be blessed and one cursed.  They can be seen for miles and will remind them of the blessing and the curse.

Deuteronomy 27:1-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

27 Then Moses and the elders of Israel charged the people, saying, “Keep all the commandments which I command you today. 2 So it shall be on the day when you cross the Jordan to the land which the Lord your God gives you, that you shall set up for yourself large stones and coat them with lime 3 and write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over, so that you may enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. 4 So it shall be when you cross the Jordan, you shall set up on Mount Ebal, these stones, as I am commanding you today, and you shall coat them with lime. 5 Moreover, you shall build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones; you shall not wield an iron tool on them. 6 You shall build the altar of the Lord your God of uncut stones, and you shall offer on it burnt offerings to the Lord your God; 7 and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and eat there, and rejoice before the Lord your God. 8 You shall write on the stones all the words of this law very distinctly.”[7]

Where was the altar built? It was built on Mount Ebal.

Where were the stones with the law placed?  They were also placed on Mount Ebal.  There was no mention of either to be placed on Mount Gerizim.  The law leads to a curse, and with the curse God provided a provision with the altar of sacrifice.

There was no need for sacrifice on Mount gerizim because only perfect people are allowed to go there.  The mountain that spoke of blessing was only for those who obeyed God’s word in everything.  

Was there anyone ever in all the history of mankind who obeyed so completely that he would be entitled to go on the mountain of blessing?

There was only one. His name is Jesus.  

He was entitled but He chose to walk the path of Mount Ebal to become a curse and sacrificed Himself on the altar that we may be given the gift of righteousness so that we may also walk on Mount Gerizim the mountain of blessing.

Paul tells us that Jesus became a curse for us in Galatians 3.

Galatians 3:10-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.[8]

As we near the end of Hebrews we come to a final warning.

In verse 25 we see the opening to this warning.

25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. [9]

The preacher’s reference to “Him who is speaking” brings us around full circle to the beginning of the book where he wrote in Hebrews 1:1-2.

Hebrews 1:1-2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.[10]

He continues by reminding us that there is no escape for those who refuse Him.  Again by this language the preacher is reminding us of his first warning in Hebrews 2:1-4.

Hebrews 2:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.[11]

Hebrews 12:26-27 continues by reminding us how God shook the earth at Mount Sinai.

26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. [12]

Here he says how much more terrible will the shaking be when He shakes the universe on that final day of judgement.  This is a reminder of the prophecy in Haggai 2:6.

6 For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.[13]

Hebrews 12:28-29 finish this final warning with an encouragement to steadfast service.

28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.[14]

This unshakable kingdom is the same one John describes in Revelation 21:1-4.

Revelation 21:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”[15]

We are nearing the end of Hebrews.  As we look back over the Book of Hebrews if we learn only one thing it should be the importance of being steadfast in our faith.  Regardless of how difficult the circumstances we need to stay focused on Him looking for that eternal kingdom.

Winnie Bennett gave Mary a Christmas letter and I was very encouraged by It.

I want to read it because in her quiet wisdom she is encouraging the same thing.

Dec 2016    78 ¾ yrs on this earth - I have served God for 58 years - haphazardly for many years,”Partially” until 5 years ago. Cancer struck and my life almost ended!  “But God!”

     God Almighty communicated with me even while I was in a “coma”.  I remember it like this: I prayed for God not to let Satan have or touch my mind! In the corner of that hospital room, God caused me to look up, and He brought to me some Scripture verses - communicated - with me, assuring me that I belonged to Him now, that Satan could not get close enough to Him to take me out of His arms.  This message came from verses I had taught in Sunday school years ago!

     The last 5 years were a time of learning and using my knowledge of God and Christ and the Holy Spirit to experience many situations that I refer to as “God things” multiple in number.

     Prayer - I had forgotten that Prayer is Power and is also very powerful.  God has communicated that He still has work for me to do - people to share with - Souls that I need to pray for and people in need that I am able to help.

     Should this be my last Christmas, I want to say to you, “If you are a Christ Follower, believe that Christ is God Incarnate, and His Holy Spirit lives within you, (Born-Again), Christian, I look forward to spending Eternity with you in Heaven.  If you have Chosen another way, or road to eternity may you have a happy holiday and many more to come.  Love  and Prayers    Winnie Bennett

[1] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 12:18-21 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2016. <>

[2] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 12:21 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2016. <>

[3] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 12:22-24 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2016. <>

[4] Bible Gateway. "Matthew 7:13-14 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2016. <>

[5] Bible Gateway. "Deuteronomy 9:1 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2016. <>

[6] Bible Gateway. "Deuteronomy 11:26-29 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2016. <>

[7] Bible Gateway. "Deuteronomy 27:1-8 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2016. <>

[8] Bible Gateway. "Galatians 3:10-14 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2016. <>

[9] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 12:25 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <>

[10] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 1:1-2 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <>

[11] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 2:1-4 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <>

[12] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 12:26 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <>

[13] Bible Gateway. "Haggai 2:6 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <>

[14] Bible Gateway. "Hebrews 12:28-29 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <>

[15] Bible Gateway. "Revelation 21:1-4 (NASB)." Bible Gateway. n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <>