*From the *Navarre Bible Commentary
From: Hebrews 12:18-24
Striving for Peace; Purity; Reverent Worship (Continuation)
 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 entreat that no further messages be spoken to them.
 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 first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,  and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.
18-21. The text recalls in detail all the physical signs which accompanied the manifestation of God on the heights of Sinai (cf. Ex 19:12-16; 20:18), and to these it adds other things taken from Jewish oral tradition.
All this helps to inspire feelings of religious reverence and fear, which explains why the people begged God not to speak further, for they were afraid they would die. To assert his transcendence God forbade anyone to put foot on the mountain (Ex 19:12, 21); this was a way of showing this as yet uncivilized people the difference between the true God and idols.
22-24. The sacred text dramatically contrasts two scenes--that of the establishment of the Covenant on Sinai, and the vision of the heavenly city, the dwelling-place of the angels and saints. The comparison implies a rhetorical question: if the setting of the Old Covenant was so solemn and awesome, and if the Covenant itself was so supernatural and divine, what must not be said of the New Covenant?
We have therefore overwhelming reasons for staying faithful: what awaits us is not an austere and vengeful God but, rather, the joy and splendor of the heavenly city. For the Hebrew people Mount Sinai was the most important symbol of their special connection with God, reminding them that the Almighty was also the Supreme Judge who claimed their exclusive devotion and who abominated idolatry. Similarly, another mountain, Mount Zion, on which the Temple was built, represented God's protective presence in the midst of his people. Both mountains, Sinai and Zion, prefigured the mountain from which the Messiah-King would reign and towards which all peoples would flock to worship the true God (cf. Ps 2:6; Is 2:2).
The vision which Judaism, on the basis of Scripture, had elaborated of heaven as the "new Jerusalem" is now extended: not only is it the holy mountain, the source of the light and glory of Yahweh (cf. Is 8:18; 28:16; 60: 1-11; Ps 50:2; 74:2; Joel 3: 17), the city of peace (cf. Is 33:20); it is the city where the angels and saints dwell and rejoice, the demesne of the living God and of Jesus--the heavenly and everlasting Jerusalem, which is also illustrated in the Book of Revelation (cf. Rev 21:15-17; 22:1-5).
Concluded on the next post...