18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.
20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.”
21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
mountain (v.18) — Sinai (Exodus 19:9-25; 20:18-21; Deuteronomy 4:10-24)
may be touched (v.18) — tangible
God’s purpose for that day is expressly recored in the Old Testament: “... I will make them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they shall live upon the earth …” (Deuteronomy 4:10; cf. Exodus 20:20). God was warning them from heaven with an awesome demonstration in order that they might fear and obey Him. — KJV Commentary, page 1709.
beast (v.20) — If an animal touched the mountain, the people could not touch it but had to kill it by stoning or with a spear.
shot with an arrow (v.20) — not in best manuscripts
general assembly (v.23) — most commentators think this refers to the angels in verse 22 — a festive gathering
spirits of just men (v.23) — those saved before Christ’s death who were not, until that point, made perfect and who had still not been resurrected.
Abel (v.24) — His blood cried for vengeance. Christ’s blood is better — it cries for mercy