I remember the expression on my 99 year-old grandfather’s face the first time he watched me pull a compass, a video, and then a photo album up on my iphone. It is really incredible to think that a camera, telephone, a GPS navigation system, and a host of other tools, along with infinite access to the world’s public information and entertainment is available as a download that fits in the palm of your hand. But it’s even more incredible to think that the God of the universe can be “downloaded” into us individually!
Think of the intimacy level involved with having God indwelling us. Remember that when God’s presence dwelt with the ancient Hebrews under the Old Covenant, Moses was warned not even to touch the base of the mountain: “You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 19:12).
But in Hebrews, we see a contrast between Mt. Sinai (symbolic of the Law, commandments, bondage, and legality) and Mt. Zion (symbolic of God’s dwelling place, the New Covenant, worship, and the priesthood)*:
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18-24)
Some would read this verse and suggest that it is strictly for the age to come, or after we’ve died and our spirits have departed. But the writer of Hebrews is saying “You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God” (emphasis added). Remember, “The one who is joined with the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17). Since our spirits are ever in union and communion with God, we are already positioned in Zion, as it were. Or perhaps, it is accurate to say that Zion is already in us. Oh, Holy Spirit, help us to absorb that!
I would suggest, as you are reading this, that you go back and read that Hebrews 12:18-24 passage again until it’s really internalized in your spirit. Do a concordance search of the word “Zion” and see what scripture has to say about this city of God, which sometimes refers to all of Jerusalem, other times to a specific mountain of temple worship, and is always symbolic of God’s rulership, delight, and kingship. Certainly Zion is representative of our hearts, if indeed He reigns there.
The nature of God does not change. It did not change from the Old Covenant to the New. He is still holy and awe-inspiring and mighty in battle against His enemies; His wrath and His judgments are terrible. But the access and inheritance that we have through Jesus Christ and His blood is almost too much for our minds to comprehend. Fear and trembling and even death that are associated with Mount Sinai and the Law are juxtaposed with joy and life and glory and inheritance and a community of like-mindedness and power found in Mount Zion!
As we meditate on the names of God, on His character and His will, and on the fact that He is intensely personal and intimate with us – closer and more accessible than any friend or spouse or relation – He will be magnified beyond any problem or fear in our lives. Making space for His presence will transform our outlook.
And in this heart knowledge of who we are in Him, we will transform the world.
*See Kevin Connor’s Interpreting the Symbols and Types