From the beginning, God’s Holiness created a problem for us. How can we—broken, sinful and finite beings approach an Infinite, Holy and Eternal God? Surely His Holiness will consume us!
That is what the people of Israel realized the instant God’s presence descended on the top of Mount Sinai when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19 & 20, Deuteronomy 5). When the people heard the thundering voice of God and saw the fire, smoke and lightning that covered the mountain, they were afraid. “You go near the LORD and listen to all that He has to say, and then tell us what the LORD our God tells you” the people said to Moses. God’s holiness was too much for them. They wanted a human representative—some kind of intermediary to communicate with God through. So God gave them what they asked for. From the time of Moses, God raised up a series of prophets to communicate His word to His people.
But this was not a permanent solution—this was not the way that it was supposed to be. God still desired to dwell with us, to restore the perfect fellowship that was lost back in the Garden of Eden. But the question still remained; how can broken, sinful and finite beings bear the presence of an Infinite, Holy and Eternal God? The solution is for God to descend and become like us—to dwell with us so that one day we could bear to dwell with Him. This is what we celebrate this season of Advent—that because we could not bear to be with Him, He came to be with us!
This is what we read in the opening lines of the Book of Hebrews:
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Hebrews 1:1-3a)
Jesus is “the exact representation of God’s being”—presented to us not in a thundering cloud of smoke and fire that shake the mountains, but as a baby born in a manger. God with us…God as us…God for us.