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Contrasting Testament Beginnings (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
April 27, 2022 6:00 am

Contrasting Testament Beginnings (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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The New Testament remembers this relationship a little different from let Moses speak to him.

We don't want any part of this. We are in Hebrews chapter 12 verses 8 through 24. Hebrews chapter 12 verses 8 through 24 beginning in verse 18. For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire and to blackness and darkness and tempest and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of the words so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore but they could not endure what was commanded and if so much as a beast touches the mountain it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow and so terrifying was the sight that Moses said I am exceedingly afraid and trembling but you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem to the innumerable company of angels, to the General Assembly and the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven to God the judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. Well, the writer of Hebrews is writing to an audience that is familiar with the passage he is quoting from Exodus. You've got a better chance at understanding what's going on if you have at least a basic familiarity with the subject and the contrast of testaments, their beginnings when God first gave the Old Testament and when God gave the New Testament.

That is what the writer is contrasting to his audience and for those of you not up to speed on what's going on in Hebrews we have these Jewish believers because the first church was all Jewish and then the Gentiles of course came in but there were Jewish believers who were pressured by their family and their community to leave Christ that he is not the Messiah, that they have to come back and practice the Old Testament rituals and they were beginning to succumb to this, they were beginning to turn away from Christ and so he writes this letter to tell them that if they do the consequences would be severe but not only that, that what they have turned to in Christ is much better and they knew this and so he makes this appeal to them. He had just pointed in the previous paragraph to Esau. He was a man in the Old Testament who was what we would say today is a man's man and he had no appetite for spiritual things but he did have an appetite for carnal things, for natural things, for things of the flesh, for common things but when it came to the invisible things of God, Esau really was not impressed and so the day came when pressure was put upon his flesh and he sold his spiritual blessings for food. His reasoning was, well I need food now, what good is a spiritual blessing, I can't eat that, I'm hungry and he justified it and in so doing he forfeited the spiritual blessing and the writer is saying, remember Esau, he forfeited what God had for him, he made the wrong decision and he paid for it and the time came when he wanted it back and it was too late and he sought it with much tears.

He couldn't get it back. You Hebrews, you're on the identical path of Esau. You are about to forfeit something very spiritual and wonderful and unique and better for that which is transient, which is short-lived, which is not what you think it is. They wanted relief from the religious pressures.

Esau wanted relief from hunger. Valid but not worth, not worth sacrificing your relationship with God to satisfy your relationship with your own nature and circumstances and predicament. And this is what the persecution of the saints has always been about.

Will you renounce Christ so you can escape the suffering or will you go to your death preaching the gospel? So he says don't reach backwards for the visible things while letting go of the invisible thing that has impressed upon you its reality. He says this to the Corinthians. He says, while we do not look at things which are seen but at the things which are not seen for the things which are seen are temporary but the things which are not seen are eternal. He's saying there are invisible things about God that you know, you very much are in touch with. And yeah, you cannot see them with your physical eyes but you have another pair of eyes.

They're spiritual. You see the reality, the truth, the goodness of God in this life because he is able to show it to you and you are able to catch it. What you see from God is more real than what you see here because what God has is everlasting and everything you see in this life is temporary. And so now we look at verse 18. He says, for you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire and to blackness and darkness and tempest and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words so that those who heard it beg that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.

So here is another wave of his sharp contrast between Christianity that they were now part of and Judaism that they had left behind. And all of this runs parallel to our lives. When we leave behind the world, we come to Christ, it is the same experience. There are the same temptations to pull us back in time. If you serve the Lord especially, there will be those temptations to make you say it's not worth it, it's not true, give it up and you'll have to battle against yourself, your natural self and the enemy and the spirit and you are supposed to win. God believes you are supposed to prevail because he is with you. But he's pointing back to the day when Moses was giving the Ten Commandments and the law, the law of the Jews, we call it the Mosaic law, known as Judaism. When he had come down from Mount Sinai and he was given the law, the storms surrounded the mountains, smoke and darkness and thunders and lightnings and prohibitions, it was a spooky time.

If you are in a safe place, a storm can be quite amusing, thrilling and fun if you feel that it can't get to you. But if you're living in tents and you're out in the wilderness and there's lightning and thunder and darkness and wind and all those things coming right from God, it could be terrifying. That was their experience. And so he's going back and saying, this is how you received the law of Moses. You received it on a stormy day with lightnings, it was so intense, you didn't want to hear anything from God. You were so afraid of God, his majesty and his power and made such an impression upon you you just wanted someone to go between you and God and that was Moses, the stand between you two.

A mediator is what it would be known as. And he's writing to them and he's trying to impress upon them, remember where you came from because I'm going to show you where you are going and you make the choice. Personally, he had already made his decision. He was aware of these things. He knew of their experiences.

He's saying as he's been saying throughout this Hebrew document, our faith is better because it is superior. Now you cannot say that to so many people today. They get offended. You know, I don't feel I am obligated to make someone feel comfortable when I disagree with them. I don't have to be nasty and mean.

I don't mean that way. I'm not excused. We're not excused there. We're not to be nasty and mean. But we are to be firm. And we're not as Christians trying to, you know, make everybody fit in somewhere. We stand by what we say. You have to renounce false faiths. Here is why they are false. If you are going to embrace the true and this upsets many folks.

Well, they're going to have to be upset. I'm always puzzled by people who come from another church or even another religion come here and hear the word and get offended. Well, what did you think we're going to preach? What your church preaches? What your religion preaches?

Of course not. You're going to preach opposite of that. And as we go through, for instance, if I say when we get to the mediator in this section, if I say to you the Bible says there's one mediator between man and God and that is the man Jesus Christ, not Mary. If you're coming from a Roman Catholic church, you might get very offended at that. Well, that's your problem.

I don't mean that rudely. But I'm not going to change the message to accommodate views that I think are false in anyone. It's gotten so now you cannot speak against homosexuality. Well, I can because it's condemned by God.

Now that doesn't mean he hates the individuals. You have to always say, you say that so much that they don't even listen to that anymore. They just want you to accept it. And you say, look, I'm not trying to hurt your feelings. I'm not trying to make you just feel as though you're unimportant.

It's quite the other way around. I'm trying to let you know you are very important to God. God is long suffering, willing that none should perish. But perish they will if they die rejecting him. And preaching lies to you and accommodating your sin is not going to do anything for you but damn your soul.

You can find that anywhere in the world. Christ did not do it. John the Baptist did not do it. Paul did not do it.

Peter did not do it. And they murdered all of them for standing up for the truth. Words have a meaning with men and with God too. In the end he will judge.

And so it's serious stuff what he's writing to them. He says, remember how the law was given. But he is also telling them as throughout this document and throughout the New Testament that the Old Testament was one part, the beginning part of the New Testament.

It is obsolete now but it was critical, essential we had to have it. Peter says it this way. He says, of this salvation, that is in Christ, the prophets have inquired and searched carefully who prophesied of the grace that would come to you. Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ was in them and indicating when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. He's saying, you know Isaiah 53 for example. Christ is the author of that. And he is also the one that has fulfilled it. The Old Testament prophets are writing about him. They did not fully understand all these things.

We do because we've seen them come to pass. We've experienced them because he's been with us. He's given us his Holy Spirit. And Peter continued, he says, to them it was revealed. And not themselves but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things which angels desire to look into.

Peter was saying to the church that was being persecuted incidentally, he was saying the prophets have told all about Christ. We've got the evidences. You should be rejoicing in this. You should find power in this.

This is true. We're not following fables of men. We have not created our own religion according to our own preferences. This is by the revelation of God, not the speculation of men.

It is alive and it is powerful. Paul wrote to the Romans, he says, but now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by so that we should serve in the newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. You've got to make a break from everything that is interfering and contrary in your thinking when it comes to Jesus Christ and to God.

You've got to break from those things. And so he says here in verse 18, and to blackness and darkness and tempest. So that giving of the law, stormy, severe storms hold on to that as we move around. But one of the things God was saying to the people when he revealed the law to them is, I'm not to be trifled with. God is a consuming fire.

The writer to Hebrews will quote the Old Testament with that. He's been preaching it throughout. But God is not someone to fool around with. It does him no honor to refer to him as the big guy in the sky, the man upstairs. Those are insults to him. He is more than that. He is the ultimate. He is holy and high and pure and lofty and every splendid thing that we can think of and more.

And to downsize him to be somebody walking around upstairs does not work in your favor. God was revealing himself to the people. He was saying, I'm not like anything you've ever seen anywhere else. And let's start off getting this understanding right. In verse 20 of Hebrews 12, he continues, For they could not endure what was commanded, and if so, as much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow. This is Exodus 19.

Exodus 20, you get the Ten Commandments. But first, God makes this grand entrance called a theophany. God making an appearance through a created object. Here at Sinai, it was a storm, the clouds. He spoke to the people and they knew this storm was unlike anything else they had ever been in contact with. It created a distance between the people and God.

You don't just walk over to me. This was upheld even into the days of Solomon, into the days of Christ, with the veil in the temple that only the high priest once a year could enter behind. And even then, he had to be very careful. Of course, when Christ was crucified, that veil in the temple was torn in two. God's saying, I'm doing it differently now. But the contrast is stark. It is right here before them.

It is right here before us. And so many Christians, again, they don't know who they are when it comes to the Bible. Many Christians think they still live in the Old Testament under the law. And they try to bring other people under that. They'll say things like, well, that diet was for them to keep them healthier.

And you know what? Really, that diet was just to separate them from everyone else. If you say, well, they were living longer.

Look, there were other people living longer and they were eating as much bacon as they could get their hands on. You have to understand where God was going with these things or else you're going to go in the wrong direction with them. And the result will be you will not be as fruitful as you would like to be. The beauty of the New Testament, when Paul comes along, he says, look, food is not what's going to make you right with God. It's your understanding and your obedience towards him, your quest for him, your hunger and thirst for him, holiness and righteousness. Those things register with God. But, oh, God, look at me. I don't eat chocolate.

I eat vanilla. I mean, that's just not going to, God's going, wow, you are really a deep individual. So how does the church get there?

By not knowing who she is, her identity. And he is trying to say, know who you are. You're no longer the people in the wilderness under the law. Yet you are the law of Moses. You are now under the law of grace. That includes much of the law of Moses.

It is not lawlessness. It had gotten so intense on that day, Exodus 20. Then they said to Moses, you speak with us and we will hear, but let not God speak with us lest we die.

Unfortunate. I mean, you know, it's difficult if you put yourself in their place. They were terrified by the storm around them.

If you've ever been close to a lightning strike, you know how terrible that can be. And if you've got them all around you and know where to go, this was the people that was, they were unraveling. And so they said, Moses, God is too much for us.

We need someone to go between us. And it was, of course, Moses. Now we have Christ, but we don't have the same attitude. We don't want someone to speak to God for us because God has invited us to speak to him directly. We're not terrified of God as they were. I mean, there is certainly a reverence and that can be terrifying. If we are in blatant sin, then the wrath of God may be upon you. But as a rule, we walk in communion with Christ.

The communion table is a meal. It is a happy, it's a happier place. I don't want to say it's a happy place. It's just that's been messed up. But it is a, it is supposed to be a joyful experience based on his sacrifice. So the New Testament remembers this relationship a little differently. The same God, the same Yahweh. John writes this, he says, that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled concerning the word of life.

He's talking about Christ. I walked with him. I touched him. I used to lean back on him. We reclined at meals together. That's drastically different from let Moses speak to him.

We don't want any part of this. Revelation chapter 1, John writes, when I saw him, this is after the death, resurrection, and ascension in years after, I fell at his feet as dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, do not be afraid. I am the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, the A to Z. I sum it all up. I am God. And so when, much of that's paraphrased, if you don't have the verse in front of you, Revelation 1, verse 17, so you make sure you can separate what is comment from the pulpit versus what is quoted scripture. So when he says, again, in Revelation 1, 17, I fell at his feet dead, but he put his right hand on me. We have a God that is approachable, that will touch us, that we can touch in return. Albeit now, not physically, but spiritually, which is, as I began to try to outline, is eternal.

It's far-reaching. And so we again refuse unworthy expressions of our God. He is no less awesome to us today than he was on that day when Moses gave the law. But we have a different relationship because of Calvary, the place where Christ was crucified. Those Jews out of Egypt, they needed that terror to sort of shock them out of the influence of all the idolatry and the godlessness that they had been in as a people for over 400 years while slaves in Egypt.

They were not slaves the entire 400 years, but a great part of it, they were. And God began to filter out this irreverence in their heart, and we watch it in their wilderness experience. Many of them died because they treated God as though he was not who he said he is. In verse 21 of Hebrews, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, I am exceedingly afraid and trembling. Well, these words are not found in scripture at this event. They are in the scripture with Moses when he first met God there on Mount Sinai in Exodus 3. We read, Moses hid his face where he was afraid to look upon God. But what this is is expressed here is through the Jewish tradition, the verbal tradition that was preserved and the Holy Spirit greenlighting this commentary on those events because they were real. So on that day, even Moses was jarred. Here's Moses. He's been in front of God.

He's been dialoguing with God. And yet God shows up in such an intense way, makes us such a dramatic impression on the people that even Moses, the great lawgiver, was, whoa, this is a bit much. Now, if you've been attending here any time, you know my great disdain for the trivializing, the reduction of that word in our language called awesome.

It's so out of hand. And it's done for every single thing. The people of God, we reserve that word for things that are truly awesome. You giving me a lot of cash would be awesome.

Small denominations and brown bags. But it would not match the awesomeness of God. That one day when we see him eye to eye, face to face, there is nothing going to be awesome as that. That day in the wilderness, God was awesome.

He is no less awesome because he does not perform this way now. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Yastin of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply log on to That's We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Hebrews right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-26 10:45:40 / 2023-04-26 10:54:46 / 9

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