I agree with the scholars who see (in Heb 12:18-24) seven images reflecting Mount Sinai that are then contrasted with seven images reflecting Mount Zion. Here’s how that breaks down.
“For you have not come to
(1) what may be touched,
(2) a blazing fire
(3) and darkness
(4) and gloom
(5) and a tempest
(6) and the sound of a trumpet
(7) and a voice whose words made the hears beg that no further messages be spoken to them” (Heb 12:18-19).
Then a few verses later, “But you have come to
(1) Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
(2) and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
(3) and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven,
(4) and to God, the judge of all,
(5) and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
(6) and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
(7) and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Heb 12:22-24).
The stark contrast between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion is evident by the author’s use of seven images in both sections.
Today is Tuesday of Passion Week, and on this day Jesus spoke parables and taught many things to his disciples and any crowds that gathered (see Matt 21-25).
“A Coming Day”
April 15, 2014
Tuesday of Passion Week
The disciples of the Lord beheld the fig tree dead.
“How did it wither?” they asked Jesus.
This is what he said:
“Faith—and if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed,’
You can cast it in the sea, for
Such prayer is approved.”
The temple in Jerusalem would not last forever,
For Jesus said, “No stone will be
Left on another.”
Jesus spoke in parables about a coming Day,
When all who scorn the Master’s Son
Shall be cast away.
The Son of Man will one day come, but the day and hour
No one knows, not even him, but
Only the Father.
Jesus taught about the judgment day and vindication,
When the nations gather to his throne
In these teachings Jesus spoke with great authority
And answered questions aimed to stump him
Overcoming every challenge, Jesus showed his wisdom
And continued steadfast on his path
As Second Adam.
Today is Monday of Passion Week, and on this day Jesus cursed a fig tree and cleansed the temple (see Matt 21, Mark 11, Luke 19).
“With Zeal and Holy Flame”
April 14, 2014
Monday of Passion Week
The temple courts were interrupted
By Jesus as he came
With zeal and holy flame
For God the Father’s name
That was dishonored there.
The holy temple housed the robbers
Who, from sinful vices,
Sold the sacrifices
At inflated prices
In that place of prayer.
He drove out the thieves and overturned
Every chair and table,
An act that was a symbol
Of judgment on the temple
And rebels everywhere.
Just like the fig tree that he cursed,
The people bore no fruit,
So he put ax to root,
And sinners resolute
Would soon his judgment bear.
Today is Palm Sunday. Reflecting on the language used in Matthew 21, Mark 11, and Luke 19 about that event, here’s a poem called “Hosanna.”
April 13, 2014
“In the village,” said the Savior,
“Find a donkey that is tied,
On which no one else has sat.
Bring it so that I may ride.”
To the Master came the donkey,
Guided by the two he sent.
And they threw their cloaks upon it
Right before he climbed and went.
Toward Jerusalem he journeyed,
As the crowds were laying palms,
Shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is he
Who in the name of Yahweh comes!”
Then Pharisees commanded Jesus,
“Teacher, stop these words they shout!”
But Jesus said, “If they were silent,
Rocks themselves would still cry out.”
Over at Mathew Sims’ blog “Grace for Sinners,” I wrote a guest post entitled “Preaching Crucifixion or Cross?”