Summary: We have received and been brought into a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. It is in us, and we in it. What security!
“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”
Chapter 19 of Exodus begins with the statement that the children of Israel were now in their third month after moving out of Egypt.
By the way, let’s take just a little rabbit trail here before we go on, and discuss something that I think is important for us to note.
As I chose my wording for that opening sentence, I almost said that the children of Israel ‘escaped’ from Egypt. I caught myself and changed that, and I don’t want to pass on from here until I explain why.
The children of Israel did not escape Egypt. They went out. They were delivered by the mighty hand of God, and with Moses leading they simply left. It’s not an escape when your captor no longer has the power or the inclination to hold you.
If you read Exodus 19:1, you will note that it says, “In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt…”
Can you see why it’s important to be careful how we repeat what the Bible says? There is an old hymn that talks of the blood of the Lamb being ‘spilt’. These days we would say ‘spilled’, but the meaning is the same. The problem with that is, it makes it sound like an accident; or at the very least, that someone else had the power in themselves to make it spill out.
The truth is, Jesus deliberately poured out His blood to atone for your sins and mine. It was planned from eternity past, and He did it on purpose for you. It wasn’t spilled. Always remember that.
Now let’s get back to Exodus 19 for a moment.
It was in the third month after they went out, and they came to Mount Sinai, also called in the Bible, Mount Horeb.
This is where God came down to meet them; more specifically, He met with Moses there, and gave the Law. First God gave instructions to Moses for the people, regarding their preparation for His meeting them there.
There is a lot to be said from those early verses of Exodus 19, concerning our approach to God and remembering who it is we come to, and also the fact that He was coming to talk to them, and to give something to them. They are not told to say anything; to ask anything; just to prepare themselves and be there in attendance to Him. We could say much about this, but it is not our primary focus today.
For now, go with me to Exodus 19, and let’s read verses 10-25. (read)
As we leave here now and go to our text of study, I’ll ask you to be mindful of the awesome nature of events these people witnessed at Horeb.
We talk a lot about the failures of the children of Israel in the wilderness, and if we are wise we see those things as lessons and warnings for ourselves. But let’s ease up on them just a bit today and take note of the unfathomable power they witnessed, as God came down to the mountain.
Thunder, quaking of the earth, and this would be just plain eerie, the sound of a ram’s horn trumpet that kept getting louder and louder. Now please, tell me that you wouldn’t be shaking in your boots if you were there.
And does this make you think of anything else you’ve heard of from scripture?
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” I Thessalonians 4:16
So this is not some allegory; some symbolic reference, Christians.
There really will be a trumpet blast, and I believe it will be heard the world over, and I think this should help us get an idea of how hardened the hearts of men are and will be then, that they will hear that, witness the disappearance of millions, and yet continue to reject God.
It will be a real sound, a real blast, and the precedent set for belief in a literal trumpet blast is that it was heard two months to the day (the third month) after the children of Israel went out from Egypt, as they stood near the Mountain that God shook.
A man recorded it in history. We will hear it again.
SINCE WE RECEIVE A KINGDOM
Going to our text now, I want you to see that we receive a kingdom.
Various commentators I researched did not pause to make anything of the use of the word ‘receive’, or as it is in your other translations, ‘receiving’, but I thought it was noteworthy that every use of the precise Greek word, here translated ‘receive’ in Hebrews 12:28, denotes a personal sort of giving and accepting. The first part of the word is ‘para’, which means ‘beside’.