Hebrews 12:21-25
Heb 12:21 (KJB)
And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
Terrible - Fearful
Exceedingly fear - Greatly terrified or afraid
Quake - Trembling through fear
The scene at Mt. Sinai was so awesome that even Moses had great fear which caused him to tremble. Even though Moses had a great relationship with God, the awesomeness of God had overwhelmed him. This was the essence of the law, if they had broken the law the very God who gave it with thunderings and trumpet like sounds, would be the same one to dole out the punishment. The Lord wanted them to know that He is not one to fool around with or to provoke in any manner. The same power which God exuded on Mt. Sinai was the same power which would bring about the downfall of both Judah and Israel. God was also showing Israel that He was real and not like the false gods of Egypt who were nothing but figures of stone. God showed Himself to be above and beyond those gods, which were no gods, in Egypt.
Heb 12:22 (KJB)
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Innumerable - A vast number, also used to denote ten thousand
This verse begins a short comparison of the method of approaching God under the Old covenant versus the New Covenant. Under the Old covenant, to approach God would have meant death unless it was according to the way God had given, normally through the sacrifices and the High Priest once a year. Now under the New covenant, we come through the Lord Jesus Christ, and the approaching is peaceful because those who are born again, have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. (Col 1:20 KJV) And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Under the New covenant, the war is over, and the redeemed may approach God at any time. The city which the Patriarchs had looked for has now come and all true believers have entered in through the blood of Christ. No longer did a person have to wait once a year for the High Priest to make an atonement, now the believer had direct access to God any time they needed. The first century Christians had lived at the beginning of the age of fulfillment of the very thing the Patriarchs sought for by means of living on the promise. The promise will reach its ultimate fulfillment on the last day, when the last one is saved and that will usher in the final events of earth’s history. The vast number of angels are mentioned here because the ultimate promise is of eternal life in Heaven where the angels live. They still minister to the believers in the course of our earthly walk. (Heb 1:14 KJV) Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Heb 12:23 (KJB)
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
General assembly - Festive gathering - It describes the joyful praise and celebration in the heavenly Jerusalem.
Here was a great declaration which would have boggled the minds of the first century church which was living in the midst of an empire which was bent on wiping them out. First they are told that they have come unto the general assembly which carries with it the meaning of a great festival of joy and celebration which overshadowed the fear which was experienced at Sinai. Then they were called the “church of the firstborn” which means that every believer, no matter who it is, is on equal footing with every other believer. In the Old Testament economy the first born in a family was entitled to a double portion of the inheritance and here it is being told that all Christians are viewed as firstborn. The names of all the Christian were written in Heaven before the foundation of the world. (Rev 17:8 KJV) The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. So every believer is written in the Lamb’s book of Life. Then we are told that we come unto God the Judge, something which was impossible under the old covenant. God will judge all the unbelievers on the last day. The believers were judged in Christ on the cross and we were found not guilty because of the faithful sacrifice of Christ who completely removed our sins and all the accusations against us. (Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Then we are told that we have also come to “the spirits of just men made perfect.” (Rev 7:15-17 KJV) Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. {16} They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. {17} For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. These are they which have came through life on earth with all its hardships and temptations but became saved and when they put off their mortal bodies, they are now in their spirit bodies awaiting the resurrection when they will be united with their bodies but this time the bodies will not drag them down, for sin will have been abolished and their bodies will be totally righteous. (2 Pet 3:13 KJV) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Heb 12:24 (KJB)
And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
In addition to everything else that we come to, we come to Jesus who is the mediator of the new covenant. If it was not for Jesus and His sacrifice, we would not be able to enjoy all the benefits of salvation. (Heb 10:22 KJV) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. The blood of sprinkling may be an allusion to the fact that the blood of Christ has cleansed our consciences. The conscience is the inner man and when that was renewed, it was resurrected and made alive unto God. The blood of Christ has allowed believers to come into the kingdom. The blood of Abel cries from the ground concerning the condemnation of Cain. This is akin to the believers who are in Heaven right now awaiting the final consummation of the ages. (Rev 6:10 KJV) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? The similarities is that Abel was put to death by his own brother, Cain and Christ was put to death by His own brethren in Israel but Christ’s blood has effected salvation whereby Abel was the recipient of that salvation.
Heb 12:25 (KJB)
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Refuse and refused- Reject or avoid
The admonition is that we must not reject the Lord Jesus Christ and all He has to say because if Israel was unable to escape the judgment of God who spoke to them on earth at Sinai, how do we think that we will escape the judgment of God who now speaks from Heaven. As Christians it behooves us to be as obedient to God as we possibly can and to never reject anything the Lord Jesus Christ has to say in the Word of God. Christians will be subject to chastisement if they ignore the warnings of Scripture. The unbelievers will not escape the judgment of God because those in Israel who were rebellious like Korah, were judged for their sins against God. Those Hebrew Christians this letter was written to who had wanted to go back to the Mosaic law would also face the chastisement of God and this is what the writer wanted to avoid in their lives. If the blood of Christ is rejected as the only payment for sin, then they could only look forward to judgment and then damnation.