Where’s Jesus in the Revelation at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19)

The appearance of God on Mount Sinai is an amazing story.  The all-powerful God, creator of the universe, comes down in order to reveal himself to humanity and in his revelation he makes a promise to the people.  His promise is a conditional promise, contingent upon obedience.  Specifically, he says,

If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.  Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. (Exodus 19:5-6)

What a promise!  Oh to live up to the condition and be treasured, holy and servants of the Most High God.  Unfortunately, none of us are ever able to fulfill this condition.  We regularly disobey God and transgress his righteous decrees for loving God and loving others.  But Jesus entered into the world in order fulfill all that we are unable to do. He perfectly kept the covenant, proclaiming,

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)

Jesus fully kept the commands and instructions of God and so he became the recipient of all God’s promises to humanity.  He is the beloved Son, treasured dearly.  He is the High Priest and the holy one.  And all who are grafted into him become partakers of these promises, for we are his body.  As the Scripture declares,

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, (Galatians 3:26)

And [He] has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father — to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (Revelation 1:6)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1Peter 2:9)

And just as Moses served as the mediator between God and the people and declared to them the promises and the conditions, so also, Jesus serves as our mediator calling us to faith and urging us to follow God.  And just as Moses calls the people to be consecrated (Exodus 19:10), so Jesus sends his Spirit into our lives in order that we too may be consecrated to God, set apart for his kingdom.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1Timothy 2:5)

But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises…For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 8:6, 9:15)

Such a high priest meets our need — one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. (Hebrews 7:26)

It is only the holy and perfect who are able to enter into God’s presence and even then, he must invite each human into his sphere.  That is why God specifically invites Moses and then Aaron to come up the mountain (Exodus 19:20, 24).  This is why it is so important that we be found in Christ, clothed in his righteousness, because if we are not made perfect, purified and completely righteous because of him, there is never any hope of being able to come into God presence.  But because of Christ we can enter boldly into the presence of God.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19).

Let us never kid ourselves into believing that anything other than the merits of Christ are sufficient to come before God.  They are not; all who are not set apart and called by God are doomed to destruction, as the scripture declares,

Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish.  Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves or the Lord will break out against them. (Exodus 19:22)


About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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