Agonizomai: Heb 12 - 22-23 - Christ - Mediator of a New Covenant

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heb 12 - 22-23 - Christ - Mediator of a New Covenant

Heb 12 - 22-23 - Christ - Mediator of a New Covenant

Heb 12:22-23 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 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 that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

By contrast, all those who truly believe have come not to Sinai, but to Zion. But not the earthly Zion - not the City of David; they have come to the heavenly City of David which the earthy foreshadowed, a city in the intangible, spiritual, but real, heavenlies. Zion is the City of David and the City of God. David was the King of Israel, but God in Christ is the King of spiritual Israel and Lord of all the earth. His City both is and is not yet. The kingdom has both come and is coming. The King has come from heaven and returned there, is here in Spirit now, and will come again bodily at the last. And wherever the King is now honoured as King, there the kingdom is truly manifested - though not in the way that it will finally be.

These Hebrew professors needed again to have reinforced to them the fact that their history, their ceremonies and their covenant were gap-fillers until the perfect which they foreshadowed had come. But now that the real had come, of which these were merely markers, to turn back to the shadows would be folly. In fact, they would be in an even worse situation than before. Before they were condemned because they could not keep the law; now they would be doubly condemned if they rejected the grace that came in Jesus Christ.

All of those ceremonies and histories and laws - all of the stories about deliverance and about the past heroes of the faith, true as they were - accurate as they were - were written by the finger of God through the lives of the subjects, so that we who now live in the gospel age might be able to understand the heavenly things that were finally revealed in Christ. This all harks back to the sermon introduction, {Heb 1:1-2} and to other mentions of precedent by the Apostolic writers {1Co 10:11}

Note the language referring to the throng of heavenly angels in festal gathering from the Greek word paneguris from which we get "panegyric" in the English; all the heavenly host gathered together for a public celebration of praise. Added to this is the assembly of the firstborn - whether meaning those belonging to, and found in, the Firstborn of all creation (Jesus Christ) or those who are the inheritors of eternal life (through Him, which amounts to the same thing). These are gathered in the presence of God and of His Christ, as perfected saints - the church victorious and glorified. The Hebrews, and all the saints militant, have (note the language) have come (perfect tense - meaning something accomplished once for all in the past and not needing to be repeated) to all of this. Yet they are not yet in heaven bodily, or temporally, or spacially; yet they are there already through faith by virtue of their relationship to Christ, by the grace of God.

So, the believers stand in this place by faith in Jesus Christ under a new covenant. The Hebrews are taken back even beyond Moses to the second generation of humanity, knowing that the blood of Abel cried out to God from the ground - a cry for justice and judgement; "innocent" blood spilled onto the dust from which we are made, in Adam. Yet the believers are called in this new covenant to a cry from the ground of which we are made that does more than call for judgement or justice or vengeance; it is an eternal voice that cries out that justice has been done and judgement has been satisfied. This voice of Christ dwells in earthen vessels and calls out to the Father, testifying of completed atonement and of reconciliation.

This is positional salvation pictured. We already stand in this assembly by faith. It is sure. It is certain. God will bring it to pass and we must hold fast that certainty to the end. Enduring faith confirms what God has done. Remember - the point is to encourage the Hebrews to see beyond the merely temporal by holding fast to what they first believed, by wearying not in faith or in well doing. This passage alone is enough to refute the insidious and persistent heresy of "dominionist" (and now, some in emergent) theology by which misguided and deceitful professors attempt to bring about this heavenly perfection through the exertion of "spiritual" effort on earth. They try to make the earth a fit place for Jesus to return to in victory. Meanwhile, He is forced to wait until we get our act together. Heresy!


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