The Israelites experienced God Almighty at Mt. Sinai in the wilderness. It was a fearsome encounter.
"...And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God and they stood at the foot of the mountain... and there were... thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound so that all the people in the camp trembled. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, 'Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish.'"
How different God's word to us as recorded on the final page of Handbook 2! But (we) have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem... (Handbook 2, Article 42) There are no thunder and lightning flashes, no whirlwind and gloom and darkness for us.
"For we have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them... And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, 'I am full of fear and trembling.'
But we have come to Mount Zion..."
Has Almighty God changed? Has He softened His image since Mt. Sinai -- changed into a gentler and more approachable God? Scripture tells us this is not true!
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (He is, He was, He will be!)
He is the same God the Hebrews glimpsed on Mt. Sinai; it was then and is still a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. He is still a consuming fire.
"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."
And now I grasp for the first time the wisdom hidden in the depth of Jesus' words for the fear of the Lord is also the beginning of wisdom and understanding.
"...no one comes to the Father but by Me."
Until this moment, and to my shame, I did not fully comprehend what Jesus did for me.
"For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross..."
Colossians 1:19, 20
"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us... we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him... Therefore... we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..."
Romans 5:1, 8
Without Him I would live and die, engulfed in darkness, subject to God's wrath, separated from God, my Father, forever.
"...His hour had come that he should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the uttermost."
The following Scriptures make it sound so soothing to enter into God's presence that I never fully grasped its meaning.
"Since we have a great high priest who passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need."
"Since therefore we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is His flesh, and since we have a great High priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in the full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean and our bodies washed with pure water."
Hebrews 10:19, 22
For this is the true knowledge of God and also of me.
God Almighty was and is and always will be unapproachable for me. Ignoring or not perceiving His awful majesty I have not prepared my heart to meet Him face to face.
The knowledge of the fear of the Lord came too late for Adam and Eve; perhaps it did not come at all for the o.v. church: I hope it has not come too late for me!
"For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of the cross, whether things on earth or things in heaven..."
Colossians 1:19, 20
"And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He now has reconciled you in His fleshly body though death, in order to present you before Him, holy and blameless and beyond reproach..."
Colossians 1:21, 22
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser, teach a righteous man, and he will increase his learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of God is understanding."
Proverbs 9:9, 10