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During these beginning days of God’s Church, at times there was some confusion as to what to do regarding the Deal of Rules given through Moses. Paul and Barnabas had been shouting out the good news of Jesus to both Jews and Not-Jews. But sometimes after they left a city, people who didn’t know God (or know God well) would slip in and confuse others by saying, “You know that even if you’re not a Jew, you still need to obey some of the laws of Moses.”
When Paul and Barnabas heard about it, they told them, “NO way! Uh-uh! That’s not true!”
Paul and Barnabas were absolutely right about this, but rather than argue back and forth about it, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas and some others would travel to Jerusalem to talk to God’s special messengers and leaders there. The leaders in Jerusalem ultimately agreed with Paul and Barnabas and sent a letter back to Antioch making this clear. That made the people in Antioch very happy.
As the first Christians continued to try to sort out the two covenant deals, someone wrote a letter to all the Hebrews who had become Christians. (Hebrews were all the children who came down from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
In this letter to the Hebrews, the writer talked about how everything in the Covenant of Rules was just a shadow of real things in the unseen world.
Do you know what a shadow is? Yes. It’s a flat gray version of something REAL. Look at your own shadow. It moves when you move. And it can give someone a little idea of the shape of you. But, it’s not the REAL YOU, is it? No.
Or what about the shadow of an apple? It looks kinda like an apple, but you can’t eat a shadow because it’s not the real apple.
So the Old Deal of rules was really just the shadow deal. The sacrifices and the priests… the walls, the Altar, the Wash Bowl, the spices, the Lampstand, the Bread Table, the Big Thick Curtain, and the Ark… as well as the physical children of Abraham, and the earthly city of Jerusalem… All of those things were just shadows of something REAL in the unseen.
The letter to the Hebrews goes into lots of details about these things. And we’ve already talked about some of them, but I wanted to mention one more — Mount Sinai.
The person who wrote to the Hebrew Christians said, “YOU have not come to a mountain that can be touched… or where there is darkness, gloom, storm and fear. There is no trumpet blast or a frightening voice.
Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands of angels celebrating together. You have come to the Church of the firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven. You’ve come to God, the Judge of all. You’ve come to the spirits of the righteous made perfect. You have come to Jesus the dealmaker of a new Deal between God and man. And you have come to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
Wow. That‘s a lot of wonderful things he just mentioned. But, let’s talk about that part about Abel. When sinful Cain hurt innocent Abel, God said that Abel’s blood cried out to God from the ground. It cried out for justice — Fairness and punishment for the guilty!
Well, Jesus’ innocent blood fell to the ground too… because of our sin! But Jesus’ blood cried out something very different. It cried out to His Father, “Justice is served. I took the punishment for the guilty.”
So for all of those who will let their sins be washed in the blood of Jesus, the Lamb… NOW it is His blood that sets them apart as special. And His blood cries out to His Father something much better than Abel’s. His blood cries for forgiveness, mercy, redemption, and free, free, freedom!
For those who will truly come to Him, that mountain of darkness, gloom, storm and fear is not the mountain that Jesus is offering for us to go up anymore. It’s a brand new mountain — Mount Zion. But it’s not a physical mountain; it’s a mountain in the unseen.
Of course even before this time there were Heaven-seers like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, David, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel and many others who had seen with those Heaven-Eyes. But most people had chosen to only see with their natural seen-world eyes. And everything the Jews had been doing in the Deal of Rules was based on the shadow. So the Jews were used to a physical temple, an earthly Jerusalem, an earthly kingdom, a physical mountain, and the physical family of Abraham. Their lives were all wrapped up in the shadows.
So as you can imagine, it was very important that these new Christians SEE that this deal was not based on shadows this time. This was the Real Deal — the Heavenly Jerusalem where only those with the Faith of Abraham are the REAL children of Abraham.
So now in these days of Jubilee, instead of fear and trembling, smoke and fire… there is a joyful song whispered on the breeze from Mount Zion. And it says, “Bow to My Son, and you can be free, free, free!”
Come to Mount Zion, the City of the Stars.