Interpreting the Bible can be difficult, especially when personal biases, opinions, and conflicting views are involved. For centuries, the Bible was interpreted as a book full of allegories and metaphors.
The Scriptures were viewed as figurative language for the most part. In more modern times, literalism was the predominant view. This pendular swing of extremes still prevails.
Spiritual discernment—given by God's Spirit—is needed for understanding what is meant to be figurative and what needs to be understood in a more literal sense.
Above all, it's important to remember the Bible is God's revelation given to all humanity. Because it's from God to us, the Bible needs to become personal for us. Not our own personal interpretation but as a personal message from God to us.
Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to tens of thousands of angels joyfully gathered together and to the assembly of God’s firstborn children (whose names are written in heaven). You have come to a judge (the God of all people) and to the spirits of people who have God’s approval and have gained eternal life. [vss 22-23]
You have come to Jesus, who brings the new promise from God, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better message than Abel’s.
Be careful that you do not refuse to listen when God speaks. Your ancestors didn’t escape when they refused to listen to God, who warned them on earth. We certainly won’t escape if we turn away from God, who warns us from heaven. [vss 24-25]
(Hebrews 12:22-25 GW) [Context– Hebrews 12]
You have come to Jesus, who brings the new promise from God
Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
Where are we told that we've come to? How is this place described?
Who is gathered at this mountain? How many people or peoples are mentioned?
Who is spoken of by name and what two things are included with Him?
What is the strong warning given here? How is its serious nature reinforced?
This heavenly mountain—Mount Zion—is in stark contrast with the dark, foreboding mountain of Mount Sinai where Moses received the Law. Mount Zion represents not only heaven, the dwelling place of God, but a new relationship with God through Jesus.
This is the fifth and final warning given in the book of Hebrews. It is far more personal than the previous four warnings. Simply put—rejecting the New Covenant of grace is a rejection of Jesus, God's Son.
The Old Covenant was a Law that required obedience, an obedience the nation of Israel couldn't and didn't keep. The New Covenant is more personal. It is relational. It provides the opportunity for a new relationship between God and humanity.
Jesus came to provide the means of reconciliation and restoration of relationship with God for all humanity. A relationship of trust—faith—based upon God's kindness and favor—grace—gained through the Lord's death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
If this description of Mount Zion—the heavenly Jerusalem—is figurative, why is it spoken of as actual and present?
Why do you think it's necessary to have this detailed description of Mount Zion?
What stands out to you about this fifth and final warning?
Do you understand how personal and relational the New Covenant of grace is?