The Letter to the Hebrews: a commentary & meditation
"You have come to the city of the living God, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant"

Scripture: 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 entreat 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 first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously 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 shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven." 27 This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what 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.

Meditation: The author to the Hebrews contrasts the giving of the law on Mount Sinai and the new covenant of which Jesus is the mediator. In the giving of the law on Mount Sinai(see Deut.4-5 &Exodus 19), we see a manifestation of God's majesty and his might. We also see his absolute unapproachability and the terror of God. No one could approach God and live. Christ has established a new covenant and a new relationship with God. Jesus now opens the way for us to approach God boldly and confidently. Jesus is the perfect priest and the perfect sacrifice who makes the unapproachable approachable at the cost of his blood. His sacrifice made it possible for sinners and enemies of God to be the friends of God. Christ gives us access to the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city of God, and to the joyful assembly of angels and saints who surround God's throne.

The author to the Hebrews exhorts us to heed the voice of the Son of God. Moses was the mouthpiece through which God spoke to the people of the old covenant. Jesus is the voice of God, the living Word of God made flesh. Since the gospel is the full revelation of God, we have a double responsibility to heed it as God's word for today. If those who hear the gospel reject it, then a worst condemnation awaits them then that of those who rejected the old covenant. In the day of the Lord, when this earth shall pass away and the new age begin, everything that can be shaken will be destroyed. What remains is that which belongs to God and his kingdom. This world as we know it will pass away; but one thing will not pass away, that is our relationship with God. It will last forever.

God is a consuming fire. The fire of his love, his Holy Spirit, both purifies and transforms us, removing sin and uncleanness and making us pure and holy as God is holy.

"Lord Jesus Christ, let your word and the fire of your Spirit burn in my heart and transform my mind that I may live in the joy of your presence now and forever."

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(c) 1999 Don Schwager