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The Glad Tidings

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    Mount Sinai and Mount Zion

    “This Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” As there are the two covenants, so there are two cities to which they pertain. Jerusalem which now is pertains to the old covenant—to Mount Sinai. It will never be free, but will be replaced by the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, “which cometh down out of heaven.” Revelation 3:12; 21:1-5. It is the city for which Abraham looked, the “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:10; Revelation 21:14. There are many who build great hopes—all their hope—on Jerusalem which now is. For such the veil remaineth “untaken away in the reading of the old testament.” 2 Corinthians 3:14. They are in reality looking to Mount Sinai and the old covenant for salvation, and it is not to be found there. “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more (for they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart; and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake); but ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:18-24.GTI 189.1

    Whoever looks to the present Jerusalem for blessings, is looking to the old covenant, to Mount Sinai, to bondage; whoever worships with his face toward the New Jerusalem, and who expects blessings only from it, is looking to the new covenant, to Mount Zion, to freedom; for “Jerusalem which is above is free.” From what is it free?—Free from sin; and since it is our mother, it begets us anew, so that we also become free from sin. Free from the law?—Yes, certainly, for the law has no condemnation for them who are in Christ Jesus.GTI 190.1

    But do not let anybody deceive you with vain words, telling you that you may now trample God’s law underfoot,—that law which He Himself proclaimed in such awful majesty from Sinai. Coming to Mount Sion,—to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling,—we become free from sin,—from transgression of the law. The basis of God’s throne in Zion is His law. From the throne proceed the same “lightnings and thunderings and voices” (Revelation 4:5; 11:19) as from Sinai, because the selfsame law is there. But it is “the throne of grace,” and, therefore, in spite of the thunders, we come to it boldly, assured that from God, the Judge of all, who sits upon the mercy-seat, we shall obtain mercy. Nay, more, we shall also find grace to help in time of need,—grace to help us in the hour of temptation to sin,—for out of the midst of the throne, from the slain Lamb (Revelation 5:6), flows the river of water of life, bringing to us from the heart of Christ “the law of the Spirit of life.” We drink of it, we bathe in it, and we find cleansing from all sin.GTI 190.2

    “Why didn’t the Lord bring the people directly to Mount Zion then, where they could find the law as life, and not to Mount Sinai, where it was only death?”GTI 191.1

    That is a very natural question, and one that is easily answered. It was because of their unbelief. When God brought Israel out of Egypt, it was His purpose to bring them to Mount Zion as directly as they could go. When they had crossed the Red Sea, they sang an inspired song, of which this was a part: “Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed; Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation.” “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which Thou hast made for Thee to dwell in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established.” Exodus 15:13, 17. If they had continued singing, they would very soon have come to Zion; for the redeemed of the Lord “come with singing unto Zion,” and everlasting joy is upon their heads. Isaiah 35:10; 51:11. The dividing of the Red Sea was the proof of this. See verse 10. But they soon forgot the Lord, and murmured in unbelief. Therefore “the law was added because of transgressions.” It was their own fault—the result of their sinful unbelief— that they came to Mount Sinai instead of to Mount Zion.GTI 191.2

    Nevertheless, God did not leave Himself without witness of His faithfulness. At Mount Sinai the law was in the hand of the same Mediator, Jesus, to whom we come when we come to Zion; and from the Rock in Horeb, which is Sinai, flowed the living stream, the water of life from the heart of Christ. Exodus 17:6; 1 Corinthians 10:4. There they had not merely the picture, but the reality, of Mount Zion. Every soul whose heart there turned to the Lord, would have beheld His unveiled glory, even as Moses did, and, being transformed by it, would have found the ministration of righteousness, instead of the ministration of condemnation. “His mercy endureth forever;” and even upon the clouds of wrath from which proceed the thunders and lightnings of the law, shines the glorious face of the Sun of Righteousness, and forms the bow of promise.GTI 192.1

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