Hebrews 12: 21-25a

Sunday, May 7, 2017, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Ps. 15:1:  Lord who shall bide in your tabernacle? Who shall dwell in your holy hill?  He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.  He that backbites not with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor.”


The test of this abiding is in our attitude to our fellow man.  The man fulfilling these conditions is never moved from his residence on the Holy Hill nor excluded from the hospitality of the tent of Jehovah.  Friendship with Jehovah flows into that man/woman.


Zion is only mentioned in the Old Testament.  The New Testament word for the Hill of the Lord is Sion.  Sion is mentioned twice in the Old Testament and seven times in the New Testament (King James Version).


Hebrews 12:22-24:  You have 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 firstborn, 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 speaks better things than that of Abel.


When one approaches the Holy hill of Mt. Zion, it is through a need for redemption and forgiveness.  It is to worship Him in the fact that the blood of the Lamb (slain before the foundation of the world) is applied to us.  It is to receive reconciliation.


There lies a road to repentance that goes directly to Mt. Zion.  It demands a life change which leads to worship of the Lord and sacrifice to self.  It demands the living sacrifice of Romans 12: 1-2:


I beseech you brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  Be not conformed to this world, be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.


From the lofty heights of Zion, and its praise and worship, there can be seen another road which leads to Mt. Sion.  It is a highway of holiness.  From the heights of Mt. Zion, a frontier looms ahead for the believer.  It is the mountain of Holiness.  The Lord imputes His righteousness to us, just as he imputed to us our Salvation through the Blood of the Lamb.   We are carried by His grace to a place called Mt. Zion until we are able to lay down our lives along with His Jesus Christ and walk in the Spirit in a place called Sion.


Through the Blood of the Lamb, we come unto Mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and we enter the Gates of Righteousness. 


He that does these things shall never be moved (Ps. 15:5).  This is a picture of the Overcomer, who is a pillar in the Temple of God.  These are the true citizens of Sion and the character of the Godly, and the man after God’s heart.


 There is presently in the earth a Sion company who are ascending progressively into the realms of the Spirit, the church of the Firstborn which are written in Heaven, the City of the Living God,  the Heavenly Jerusalem  Like eagles we are soaring from the realm of dust into the heavenlies!


In Psalm 24, the Savior who triumphed through suffering is the Shepherd who leads his own through this pilgrimage.  He is seen ascending to the place (THRONE) of power and authority.   


24: 1-2: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.  For he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.”


Then we see some accompanying the King as He approaches the place of power, and others wait, guarding the entrance.


24:3-4:  “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place?  He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”


 This is a man of impeccable behavior and pure motives, who never sets his mind on what is false and who never swears to a lie.


Psalm 85:11:  Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.  The Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.  Righteousness shall go before Him; and shall set us in the way of His steps.


I gave a prophecy last week that Truth will begin to roll from the bowels of the earth and it will lift us into the righteousness of heavenly places.  


Righteousness, like saving grace, is a planted seed which grows until it occupies the place of beauty it is destined to possess.  Salvation begins with imputed, unmerited favor which must grow until we work out our own salvation in fear and trembling.


The writer of Hebrews extends this truth by recording a mighty appeal to higher ground in the twelfth chapter.  After calling the people of God to make straight paths for their feet (12:13-14), and pursue…peace…and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.


The writer of Hebrews turns the spotlight on the true destination of every believer, Mt. Sion.  He compares Mt. Sinai and Mt. Sion by saying that Mt. Sinai had the character of judgment, like the schoolmaster---who disciplines with legalism.  God took Moses into the womb of His presence and in the glow of intimate contact revealed the Ten Commandments (the Law). 


The Lord again reveals Himself to us today in the intimacy of His Mountain. 


And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.  But YOU (Christian) have come to Mount Sion and to the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly, and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven.  (NKJV – Heb. 12: 21-25). 


There is a difference between the Mt. Zion at Jerusalem and the Mt. Sion (or Zion) of heaven.  There is a difference between Mt. Sinai and the Mt. Sion of heaven.  Sinai leads first to Mt. Zion.  The law takes the hand of its follower and walks him/her to Mt. Zion (symbolic of redemption) in Jerusalem.  There, they were taught the forgiving atonement of a merciful God; neither place (Sinai or Zion) based its authority on close intimacy with the Lord God.  Both places were necessary.  The guilty sinner observes the Law and weeps before God for forgiveness and help.  The Blood of Jesus is then applied.  Standing now in the righteousness of God, he or she is encouraged to seek the higher ground of the secret place of the Most High.  The secret place is metaphorically described by the writer of Hebrews as Mt. Sion. 


The soul of man continually reaches higher because God causes him to thirst for more.  Once redeemed, his quest is give me more, more Lord.  We continually thirst for more.  We loose ourselves from man’s glory and seek to live in God’s Glory.  The quest of the believer on earth is from glory to glory.  The glory is on these two mountains because of the Lord.  The Sion we embrace on earth is the gateway to the true city of God in heaven.  Our fellowship with Him in intimacy, while bound by flesh, can approximate the intimacy enjoyed by those in heaven, the general assembly.  He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.


Further in Hebrews 13, the writer clarifies this journey. 


Heb. 13:9-13:  Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.  For it is good that the heart be established by grace; not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.  We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.  For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.  Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.


Just as Jesus would not be sacrificed inside the gates of religion, but was carried outside the gate, so we must follow Him outside the gate.  The gate of religion is not the gate of righteousness.  The gate of righteousness is arrived at only by the highway of holiness. 


Earthly Mt. Zion emphasizes the intermediation of blood and goats (those sacrifices man may bring).  Mt. Sion emphasizes the ultimate sacrifice of anything which stands between us and God.  Just as Jesus bore the reproach of religion, so must we! 


Most of us here have been rejected and persecuted by religion.  To enter Sion requires a commitment, but to be able to abide under the shadow of the Almighty makes the commitment worth it.  (Paraphrased from En Punto by: C. R. Oliver)


Rom. 11:26: All Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob.


Psa. 24:3-8:  Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?  Who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face.  Lift up your heads, o you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.


The Chief Shepherd of Psalm 24 is the King of Glory!  This Psalm of the King of Glory reveals One who is All -Creating, All- Holy, and All- Victorious.


This is a vivid description of the Lord ascending into the heart of the individual believer.  It could also be applied to the infilling of the Holy Ghost, and His entrance through praise into our hearts. 


11 Pet. 1:19:  “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, unto the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”


The King is coming!  Open up and receive him, O earth!  He shall come into the earth!  (Rev. 21:3)  I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.


This Song is the ascension and the arrival of the King in Sion.    Sion is where the Throne of God is eternally established and sure against all attacks of an enemy. (Psa. 2:6; 87:5)



Mic. 4:1-2 “It will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains.  It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it.  And many nations will come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about his ways And that we may walk in His paths, for From Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”


The Lord will gather and assemble His people.  Though they may seem like sheep who are lame and driven away, they will constitute a remnant.  They will again form a strong nation, by having the Lord rule over them in Mt. Sion.


 Mic. 4:9:  “Now why do you cry out loudly?  Is there no king among you?”


The rulers and leaders have become corrupt.  However, in Chapter 5: 1-5, a future King is prophesied as the one who will rule Mt. Sion:


Mich. 5: 1-5:  Muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek.  But as for you, Bethlehem, Eph-ra-thah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth from Me to be ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago. From the days of eternity.  Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child.  Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel, and he will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord.  In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God.  And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth and this One will be our peace.”


These verses describe the supernatural flow (uphill) of the river of God bringing the nations into the Kingdom!  The worship of the Lord will triumph over all other religions.  This is a reversal of the dispersion of Babel (Gen. 11).  These verses are for the Church, God’s Sion.


Mountains in the bible are symbolic of Kingdoms.  These verses are es-cha-tol-o-gical of the Kingdom of God because both verses speak of the last days.


Heb. 12: 22-23: “But you have come to Mount Sion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood wish speaks better than the blood of Abel.”


The Lord is building the church of the first-born.  His law flows from Sion to the peoples of the earth, and the issue is peace.  The prevalent conditions are seen in the light of that latter day.  The prophets assure the people that in the last days, God, according to His grace and His promises, will establish His people in peace.  There would come a day when all nations would flow into the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Glorious church of the Overcomers.   He contrasted the future glory with the present gloom of sin and idolatry, and the pride and haughtiness of man which must be brought down.


In this city in the realm of the Third Heaven (the Spirit), there is no distinction between humans and angels, neither does he differentiate between the saints in heaven and those still on earth.  He says to the readers, “You have come…,” therefore, we are to include ourselves in the festal assembly.  In referring to believers, the writer lumps them all into one category, the church of the first born. He gives this title to Jesus’ church because the Lord is God’s first born Son, and all true believers are in Him.   Every person whose name is written in the “Lamb’s book of life,” is in this church.  Our citizenship is in this city right now (Phil 3:20).  What’s more, the apostle says, We sit together with them in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6).   “You have come…not you will come.  This is not future but present, Now, You have come.


The Lord is bringing together living stones, put together, fused together without the sound of a hammer, without the organization of man-made religious systems.  We, who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness are being brought together by the Spirit of God into a relationship and unity which only God can do.


This latter day Sion is described by all the prophets.  It is the temple that Ezekiel saw.  John on the isle of Patmos saw it as a City.  Isaiah saw The Holy Highway;   Micah saw it as the Mountain of Enduring Peace.   He also saw the future of the restoration into the Kingdom of God and great events of the latter days.  Paul saw it when he said, “WE HAVE COME TO MT.  SION, AND TO THE CITY OF OUR GOD.”


Rev. 14:1: I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V. unless otherwise noted.  I entered into the labors of C. R. Oliver, En Punto, Zadok Publications; F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary, Micah, David J. Clark.  Also quotes from sermon delivered by: Carolyn Sissom in 2002 and 2011, The Mountain of the House of the Lord.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.

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