For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly 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 that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. – Heb. 12:18-24.
As soon as this is read, first you see two mountains: Sinai and Zion. Then your next thought is – the first is associated with the Old Covenant; while Zion represents the New Covenant of Christ.
Next, we look further into the details. And when we add to this the Old Testament narratives about the giving of the law in Exodus, something else comes to our attention. The event on Mt. Sinai conveyed fear and distance; all the people didn’t have access to God. In fact, they were told not to come near and Moses was terrified.
Contrast that scene with what is taught in Hebrews about the access we can have to God through Christ. One statement of this truth is back in Heb. 4:16, after the affirmation that Christ is our great High Priest: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
God is to be feared and respected. Yes. But we have access to God through Christ, which is depicted as Mt. Zion, “the assembly of the first born, enrolled in heaven.” Yes. Jesus is our faithful high priest and our Mediator, the Mediator of the New Covenant.