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18 Now Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke, because the Lord had come down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled violently.

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18 [a]You have not approached that which could be touched[b](A) and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm

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  1. 12:18–29 As a final appeal for adherence to Christian teaching, the two covenants, of Moses and of Christ, are compared. The Mosaic covenant, the author argues, is shown to have originated in fear of God and threats of divine punishment (Hb 12:18–21). The covenant in Christ gives us direct access to God (Hb 12:22), makes us members of the Christian community, God’s children, a sanctified people (Hb 12:23), who have Jesus as mediator to speak for us (Hb 12:24). Not to heed the voice of the risen Christ is a graver sin than the rejection of the word of Moses (Hb 12:25–26). Though Christians fall away, God’s kingdom in Christ will remain and his justice will punish those guilty of deserting it (Hb 12:28–29).
  2. 12:18 This remarkably beautiful passage contrasts two great assemblies of people: that of the Israelites gathered at Mount Sinai for the sealing of the old covenant and the promulgation of the Mosaic law, and that of the followers of Jesus gathered at Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the assembly of the new covenant. This latter scene, marked by the presence of countless angels and of Jesus with his redeeming blood, is reminiscent of the celestial liturgies of the Book of Revelation.