Hebrews 12:22-29

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Hebrews 12:18–29 (NIV)
18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 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 to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:22–24 (NASB95)
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,23 to the general assembly and church 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, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
“Zion” was Referred to in Several Different Ways in the OT
It Referred to the Mountain that Jerusalem was on
It Referred to Jerusalem Itself
It Referred to God’s People
And it Referred to the Future Place Where God will Dwell Forever with His People
The New/Heavenly Jerusalem
The City of the Living God
When Christians Draw Near to God By Faith in Jesus…
We Approach the Heavenly City of God…
Where Tens of Thousands of Angels are Enjoying a Joyful Assembly
We Draw Near to the Church of Jesus Christ…
Who Have Their Names Registered in Heaven at this Very Moment
“Firstborn” is Plural
Because of the Firstborn, All the Faithful are Considered Firstborn
This Means that the Church is Made of Heirs Who will Inherit the City of God
We Draw Near to God Himself, the Judge of All
But We Don’t Fear His Judgement…
Because We Have Complete Confidence in the Atoning Work of Jesus
And Because Our Faith in Him Leads Us to Live Holy Lives
We Draw Near to the Spirits of the Righteous Made Perfect
Those Faithful Who have Gone on Before Us
Their Spirits are Made Perfect…
And They Await the Day that Their Bodies will Be Made Perfect as Well
We Don’t Have Our Faithful Loved Ones with Us…
But in Christ They are Never that Far Away
They’re Just Beyond the Invisible Curtain, in Heavenly Realm
We Draw Near to Jesus, the Mediator of Our New Covenant with God
Without His Mediating Work on the Cross, on His Throne, and as Our Priest…
We Would Have No Hope of Drawing Near to Any of These
We Draw Near to the Sprinkled Blood of Jesus that Grants Us Access to God’s Presence
Abel’s Blood Cries Out for Justice
Jesus’ Blood Provides Atonement and Justice
Under the Old Covenant:
God’s People Drew Near to a Mountain with Fear
There was Darkness, Judgement, Gloom, and Exclusion From the Presence of God
Under the New Covenant:
God’s People Draw Near to Something Far Greater
We Get a Picture of Access to the Heavenly Realm
Just Beyond Veil is the City of God
With Angels and the Spirits of the Righteous Celebrating and Worshiping Alongside Us
With God the Judge and Jesus the Mediator at His Right Hand
We as the Community of Firstborn Children of God…
Can Draw Near to These Things Because of the Sprinkled Blood of Jesus
Under the Old Covenant, God’s People Could Only Come So Close and Then No Closer
But Under the New Covenant, We are Invited to Boldly Come to His Very Throne Room
But Do We Really Have Access to All of These Things Right Now?
This is the Already and Not Yet Aspect of the Kingdom
We Do Have Access to All of These Things Right Now
But When Jesus Returns, We will Have Fuller, Complete Access
We are Already Able to Approach God Through Prayer
But We are Not Yet Able to See Him and Enjoy His Personal Presence
We are Already Citizens of the New Jerusalem
But We Do Not Yet Live There
As Christians, We are Called to Embrace the Future as if it Were Already Fully Present
Hebrews 12:25–29 (NIV)
25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
This is the Final Warning Passage of the Book of Hebrews
It is Similar to the Other Warning Passages of the Book
If Bad Things Happened to Those Who Turned Away From the Old Covenant…
How Much Worse will Be the Fate of Those Who Turn Away From the New?
Hebrews 12:25 (NASB95)
25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
“Refuse” is the Same Word as “Begged” in Verse 19
The Israelites Didn’t Want to Hear God’s Voice Anymore, Out of Fear
Those Who Turned Away From God Did Not Escape Judgement
When Christians Decide They Don’t Want to Hear Jesus Anymore…
And We Turn Away From Him…
We Will have Even Less of a Chance at Escape
Hebrews 12:26 (NASB95)
26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.”
The Author Quotes a Prophecy From Haggai
After the Exiles had Returned to the Promised Land…
They Still Hadn’t Rebuilt the Temple
Haggai 2:1–9 (NIV)
1 on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’
6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
This Shaking of Heaven and Earth was a Good Thing for God’s People
God’s House will Be Filled with Glory and His Spirit is with His People
Then We See this Shaking of Heaven and Earth Again a Few Verses Down
Haggai 2:20–22 (NIV)
20 The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.
This Shaking of the Heavens and the Earth is Still a Good Thing for God’s People
All the Kingdoms and Powers of the World will Destroyed
Hebrews 12:26 (NASB95)
26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.”
Hebrews Presents this Prophecy as if it is Still Yet to Come
Hebrews 12:27–29 (NASB95)
27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.28 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;29 for our God is a consuming fire.
There’s Coming a Day When the Things that Were Made will Be Shaken
The Heaven and the Earth
All that is Opposed to God will Not Last
But His Kingdom will Not Be Shaken
His Kingdom will Never Be Destroyed
This Kingdom We are Presently a Part of…
And at Jesus’ Return, We will Receive it in its Fullness
Peter Spells this Event Out Very Clearly in 2 Peter 3:10-13
2 Peter 3:10–13 (NASB95)
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
Hebrews 12:27–29 (NASB95)
27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.28 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;29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Since We Look Forward to this Wonderful Kingdom…
The New Jerusalem…
The New Heavens and New Earth…
We Should “Have Grace”
This May Refer to Being Thankful
Only with Thankful Hearts can We Offer God Acceptable Service/Worship…
With Respect
We Must Worship God with Respect…
Because He is a Consuming Fire that Deserves and Demands Respect
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