The Gospel of the Kingdom
“King in Jeshurun”- Num. 23:21, 24:7, Deut. 32:15, 33:5, 26-29; Rev. 15:3
“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My Covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a Kingdom of Priests, and an Holy Nation…” - Exodus 19:4-6
“God the Consuming Fire”
“The LORD who Sanctifieth Us”
“The LORD Our Lawgiver”
“The Living God”
“The LORD Our Husband”
“The Terrible God”
The full implications of Jehovah-M’Kadesh were yet to be realized (Ex. 31:13; Lev. 11:44, 45, 20:7-8; Lev. 19:2, 20:26, 21:8, 23; Lev. 22:9, 16, 32; 1 Pet. 1:16; Ps. 111:9; Ps. 145:17). The newly called saints of the Ecclesia were unlearned about their own saintliness, neither did they expect to be led to the very “sanctuary” of Jehovah alone with God in the Wilderness (Ex. 15:17, Deut. 32:12), nor could they have imagined that the LORD would soon command them to construct a “sanctuary” that God might “dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8). Amazingly, the most eye-opening experience was yet to come! One more episode of divine proving was planned by the Godhead, howbeit this one was totally unprecedented.
“…God is come to prove you” – Ex. 20:20 [Psalm 103:13] à The Gospel of the Kingdom
The destruction of one Kingdom was for the setting up of another. Egypt was crushed that God might be crowned as “The LORD in the Midst of the Earth” – Jehovah B’Kerev Harets. In the aftermath of divine war, Jehovah-Sabaoth led the newly purchased people in captivity to Sinai like the spoils of war are laid before the feet of a great King (Ps. 68:18). However, instead of being enslaved as captives in some cruel way, as earthly magistrates might do, the Israelite people were granted citizenship in the Kingdom that God was setting up upon the earth (Ex. 19:6, 34:10, Deut. 4:7). As always, God wanted them to be willing bondservants as freemen (Ps. 110:3, 1 Cor. 7:22) – a requirement that is impossible in the flesh of Adamic Man (Rom. 5:12-14, Mk. 10:27, Jn. 1:12-13; Deut. 10:12-13, Micah 6:8). Knowing this, God made the impossible imaginable when the Israelites were showered with gifts and loaded with benefits at the foot of Sinai (Ps. 68:16-21, Eph. 4:8, Php. 3:20).
With the scenes of the Theater coming to this, the people were soon to realize like never before that “the Kingdom of God is at hand” – and, in repenting and believing the Gospel, the citizenry of Israel will submit to the Lordship of their newly coronated King (Mark. 1:15, 1 Cor. 12:3). As with all majestic occasions of royalty and splendor, the people had to be sanctified and made ready (Ex. 19:10-11). The deific splendor about to be unveiled was humanly unimaginable (1 Cor. 2:14). Why? Because, God said to Moses, “the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai” (Ex. 19:11). As foretold, on the third day, “the trumpet sounded long” (Ex. 19:13) and the descent began: “there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the Mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled” (Ex. 19:16). Then Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to the nether part of the Mount “to meet with God” in near proximity (Ex. 19:17). From this location they beheld the “fire” and “smoke”, while “the whole Mount quaked greatly”, and “the trumpet…waxed louder and louder” (Ex. 19:18-19)! Moses himself was totally overcome by the experience: “…so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake” (Heb. 12:21)!
If only Moses were alive today, he would tell the confused Christians of the Gentile Church Age that this experience wasn’t all bad. Contrary to popular opinion, this most terrible experience was a gracious act of El-Ira! Moses lived on for 40 more years to testify of this fact yonder in the Plains of Moab to the Children of the Exodus Generation (Deut. 5:29). I know that some of you will find this agreeable, but it’s not what you think. I’m not talking about the experience described by John Newton in the famous hymn, Amazing Grace, when he said:
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear,
the hour I first believed.
No one gets relief from El-Ira (Heb. 12:28-29). “His Ways are Everlasting” (Hab. 3:6). According to Moses, this is not a fear to be relieved by grace (Deut. 5:29)! This is a fear that is taught and instilled by grace and, thereafter, kept by grace without intermission or relief forevermore (Lk. 12:4-5, 2 Cor. 5:11, Heb. 4:1, Rom. 11:20, 1 Pet. 1:17). If you fancy the words of John Newton in this majestic occasion, you’re missing the point. This isn’t the only time he got it wrong either. In another famous hymn, called, Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder, Newton’s perspective on Sinai is further clarified in respect to the grace of God in salvation.
Let us love and sing and wonder
Let us praise the Saviour’s name
He has hushed the Laws loud thunder
He has quenched Mount Sinai’s flame
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He has brought us nigh to God
If this is agreeable to you, my reader, you need to reconsider your perspective. This thunder can’t be hushed (Ps. 29:3). It’s only going to get louder! Jesus didn’t come to remove the thunderous display of majesty at Sinai, which was a divine firework display fit for a King! Apparently, what happened below among the redeemed sinners of Israel at Sinai, happens above in the realms of eternity among sinless beings in the third Heaven, because on both occasions the celebration of the King is centerstage (Rev. 4:5). Even so, neither can Sinai’s fire ever be quenched; no, not even by the blood of Jesus! Why? Because there is no competition here. Sinai is not a mountain of justice that rivals Calvary as a mountain of grace. No such comparison is made in Scripture! Howbeit, famous hymnwriters like Jehoida Brewer, in Hail Sovereign Love, have slandered Sinai and perpetuated a false narrative.
Indignant Justice stood in view,
To Sinai's fiery mount I flew!
But Justice cried with frowning face,
"This mountain is no hiding place!"
'Ere long a heavenly voice I heard,
And mercy's angel soon appeared,
He led me on with gentle pace
To Jesus as my hiding place!
Misconceptions about Sinai prevail among Christians today because of certain fundamental misunderstandings about the Law. When reading Romans or Galatians, newborn Christians misconstrue the teachings of Paul and so perpetuate the ancient slander (Acts 21:21, 28).
This proposal is completely unbiblical. Essentially, in just two lines, this hymn is a remake of Amazing Grace following an erroneous interpretation of the historical plot and storyline of Sinai. The author’s sentiments about Sinai certainly don’t line up with the testimony of Scripture. For, he speaks of Sinai as if the holy mountain should be fled from as a man fleeing from Hellfire! Contrastingly, Moses said he brought the people near “to Meet with God” (Ex. 19:17). Think about it.
Did Moses bring Israel to the base of Sinai to look upon the merciless and graceless flames of Hell burning upon its holy slopes? No! Newton, in gazing upon the fiery blaze of Sinai, might as well be describing how men feel when looking into the open cavity of Hell – a sight that is an abhorrence to all flesh (Isa. 66:24)! This is no way to speak about the visible appearance of El-esh-oklah! Remember, God said to Moses, “the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai” (Ex. 19:11). What the people beheld, in gazing upon the Devouring Fire (Ex. 24:17), was declared by Moses to be God Himself, when he said: “For the LORD thy God is a Consuming Fire, even a Jealous God.” (Deut. 4:24). Therefore, to speak of the holy landscape of Sinai as a hellscape, is to abhor El-esh-oklah! Understand? Think about how personally insulting this is to Jehovah, when such blasphemous misrepresentations of God’s Person are brazenly committed in “worship” without the slightest awareness of profaning the sacred Name (Matt. 12:31-32).
My reader, if God is hellish to you then you are on a dangerous path of eventual reprobation. If your misunderstandings of the Kingdom of God include monstrous blasphemies, in that you ascribe hellish characteristics to God at Sinai and thus have come to hate Horeb, then your current estate is comparable to the Apostles when they abhorred the Cross of Calvary and denied Christ like treacherous apostates. Dormant apostates are rife with personal offences against biblical truth; therefore, they can’t rejoice at the hearing of the Gospel (Matt. 16:21-23). These despicable slanders of El-esh-oklah should be an abhorrence to Christians everywhere. Instead, they are lyrical melodies in songs about Calvary! …as if Jesus shed his blood to erase the memory of Sinai from believers! My reader, be sure of this: if the New Covenant was formed to quench Mount Sinai’s flame by the blood of Jesus, then an apostolic letter would not have been written to the Hebrews showing the immortality of this gracious experience, strongly exhorting the people:
“Wherefore we receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a Consuming Fire.” - Hebrews 12:28-29
Messianic Jewish believers are taught to savor the gracious thought of El-esh-oklah, while Christian believers of the Gentile Church Age abhor the memory of El-esh-oklah. You can tell how poorly many prominent biblical commentators think about Israel in the Exodus Generation, given what they say about how God brought Israel to Sinai to frown upon them – even as the fires of damnation were inflamed against them! Such interpreters obviously don’t see Jesus in the Wilderness, like the Apostle Paul did (1 Cor. 10:4). What about you, my reader? “How readest thou?” (Lk. 10:26). Do you see Jesus in the Wilderness? Do you see Jesus at Sinai? In reading the Law, if you can’t see Jehovah’s Salvation in the Exodus and the Baptism (1 Cor. 10:1-2), or in the Manna and Living Water from the Rock (1 Cor. 10:3-4), then you’re certainly not going to see Jesus at Sinai. Nevertheless, He is there!
Lamentably, those who don’t see love in the Law will have a hard time seeing salvation at Sinai. However, because Jesus is there, divine wisdom made the experience as unforgettable as possible. Herein, salvation is secured, even as redeemed men in the New Testament are admonished to remember the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-2). Their souls were threatened with eternal loss if they failed to remember what their “eyes have seen” and their “heart” perceived, especially the day they learned to fear God at Horeb (Deut. 4:10; Ex. 20:18-21): when they came near and saw the burning Mount, and “heard” the voice of God proceeding forth from the devouring fire (Deut. 4:9-12). If only the Exodus Generation more deeply discerned all that there was to see in the glorious unveiling of Jesus before them, then they would have persevered. For, herein, the fearfulness of saintliness was revealed at Sinai (Deut. 33:2-3). The awesomeness of priestly kingship was revealed in the visible appearance of Melek-B’Jeshurun (Num. 23:21, Deut. 32:15, 33:5, 26; Rev. 15:3). Providentially, the proving was for perseverance (Ex. 20:20, Rom. 3:18)! The majestic splendor forced the prostration of the proudest people among the assembly of “Upright Ones” in Jeshurun. Herein, Israel was effectually gospelized at Sinai! Namely, in that they experienced the goodness of Isaiah’s proclamation, when he said, “Behold your God!” (Isa. 40:9).
Gospelization in this case meant that Israel experienced a total surrender to the Lordship of the King. Naturally, Kings rule over people by laws in the country they conquered. Good citizens comply with these laws (Isa. 63:8). Without these components there can be no Kingdom. Even so, this case isn’t any different, only the Israelite people didn’t possess the Promised Land just yet. The LORD brought the people before the burning mount of El-Chayim to meet with God first (Ex. 19:9-24, Deut. 4:24, 5:26; Ps. 78:43-54; Heb. 12:28-29), not only to see Jehovah… but to hear from Him as the Living God! With Sinai as El-Chayim’s pulpit, you can be sure that this wasn’t a dead sermon from some dead preacher preaching dead words to a dead people! …only tell that to those who believe the Law is just a dead letter! Proceeding forth from the Consuming Fire, a dreadfully loud voice proclaimed the Law - all hail the liveliness of Jehovah-M’Hokek (Isa. 33:22, Rom. 7:10)! Truly, Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder with amazement at the life-giving virtue of the Lawgiver, and so learn to cleave (“for He is thy life” – Deut. 30:20)!
“And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words. Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was King in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.” - Deuteronomy 33:2-5
“There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.” - Deuteronomy 33:26-29
While in the presence of Royalty, it’s hard to forget the Royal Law (Jas. 2:8, 1 Pet. 2:9). Those beholden to its beauty will flourish as the workmanship of God in righteousness (Ps. 90:17; Ps. 27:4). Morality proceeds from the majesty of the Moral One - a rule of law legislated and verbally declared by the King in the ears of the people; and, believe it or not: the voice of God was the deadliest force to mankind (Ex. 20:18-19, Deut. 4:33, 5:24-29, 18:15-19), the most earth-shaking force to nature (Ex. 19:18, Heb. 12:26), and the most magnified manifestation of God Himself (Ps. 138:2, Ps. 29:1-11), and therefore is it the most frightening to men (Deut. 4:10, Heb. 12:18-21). Nevertheless, the divine purpose at hand was sure. In realizing the audible deadliness of El-Chayim, Israel would learn to live obedient to the voice of God forevermore (Deut. 8:3). Can you believe it? Marvelously, the deadliness of El-Chayim produced life in Israel! Even as the loudness of “the voice of El-Chayim” produced quietness in their souls (Deut. 5:26, Isa. 30:15, 32:17; Ps. 131:2). All hail!
“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.” - Deuteronomy 4:9-10
Quietness comes in the confidence of a fully realized Covenant. This was a defining moment for the Church (Acts 7:38). At the “holy habitation” of God in the Wilderness of Sinai, when the people were “holiness unto the LORD”, and when there was “no strange god” with them, Israel began to see Jehovah as they had never seen Him before (Ex. 15:13, Jer. 2:3, Deut. 32:7-14).