Earthshaking Thanksgiving

mountncHow do you prepare for an earthquake accompanied by a tsunami? Hebrews 12:25-29 points you to a shaking greater than “the big one” expected here in the Northwest.

You are receiving an unshakable kingdom. Listen to the God who speaks. God has spoken from heaven, v.25. By comparison, Sinai is an earthly revelation. God came down to the mountain to meet with his people. Now God has spoken in his Son, Hebrews 1:1,2; 2:1-4. The shaking at Sinai (Hebrews 12:18-21), awesome though it was, is minor compared to God’s present speaking in Christ. You are accountable!The content of the message is v. 24, the mediator, Jesus, and the call to repentance, faith, and new obedience in him. This revelation is greater and clearer. Therefore your accountability is higher, see 2:2,3. The speaking in the Son is the ultimate revelation. “The author represents Christ as a portion of heaven come down to earth. In His voice we hear a heavenly voice, not a voice of earth. . . . Note that the author lays great stress on the words yet once more; the shaking is one that cannot be repeated; it is the final shaking, and therefore it represents the final transformation of the whole world or universe. The author further says that this final shaking signifies the passing away of all things that were made and therefore can be shaken, in order that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews, page 87).

Only unshakable things survive. God promised through Haggai to shake the heavens. This came as an assurance of the glory of the new temple, Haggai 2:3. The greater glory of the new temple will be that of the presence in it of the Messiah, Haggai 2:6-9. God has shaken the earth and heavens. The reference is to Christ’s coming. The kingdoms of the earth are overthrown before him, Daniel 2:44,45. The old order, including the ceremonial system, was changed. The new covenant, the unchanging kingdom of Christ, is established. You are members of it, Hebrews 12:22ff. God’s shaking of creation includes the entire last days, see Hebrews 1:1,2. The process is complete in the final day, 2 Peter 3:10-14. Even then your kingdom is unshakeable, Hebrews 12:28. God’s consuming wrath is a fire which also purifies and refines the church.

Worship God acceptably. Give thanks! Your response comes from God’s gift. The unshakeable kingdom you are receiving from him includes: the full revelation in Christ Jesus, Hebrews 1:1,2; God’s rest, which is your salvation, Hebrews 3:7-4:11; your hope, Hebrews 6:18-20; the new covenant, and its high priest, Hebrews 8:6ff. Give thanks instead of speculating about the final shaking. With the eye of faith, the heavenly reality is here for you.

Worship knowing that your God is a consuming fire. He summons you as his people to worship him. God has a high calling for the church. It’s primary duty is to glorify God. Worship reverently. Reverence grows out of knowing God, understanding who he is, and appreciating the depths of his redeeming love. Your worship is connected with and results in the life described in Hebrews 13. This reverence includes a holy fear and awe. God is the righteous Judge, Hebrews 12:23. God is a consuming fire. He destroys his foes, but purifies you, his people.

The consummation of the great shaking is coming. Bring your worship—and yourself—as a thank offering to the Lord.

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
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