Exodus 24:12-18 12 The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.” 15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

A notable Hebrew Bible scholar says this about the Sinai experience and what it contributed to the Jews worldview;

“The Sinaitic experience is here presented as simultaneously supremely relevant to human experience and distant from it and foriegn to it. In its quality of indivisible charm and threat it is eminently exotic, lying outside the boundaries of what is familiar.” pg. 16

“Sinai was a kind of archetype, a mold into which new experiences could be fit, hundreds of years after the original event…That mold served as a source of continuity which enabled new norms to be promulgated with the authority of the old and enabled social change to take place without rupturing the sense of tradition and the continuity of historic identity. ” pg. 17

“The experience of Sinai, whatever its historical basis, was percieved as so overwhelming, so charged with meaning, that Israel could not imagine that any truth or commandment from God could have been absent from Sinai.” pg. 18-19 Jon D. Levenson, Sinai & Zion: An Entry Into the Jewish Bible

The author of Hebrews suggests that even such a basic and fundamental experience as Sinai, has been reworked in the life of the Church in light of Christ. Sinai itself takes on new meaning.

Hebrews 12:18-29 18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 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, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken- that is, things that have been made- in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Does the death and resurrection of Christ do for you and I, for the church what Sinai did for the emerging nation of Israel so long ago? Does it promote fear and awe in us? Is it the redemptive action of God by which all other things become normative and find their meaning in relation to it?