Refuse Not Him That Speaketh, Heb 12:18-29

In Heb 12:18-29, Paul exhorts the Hebrews to “refuse not him that speaketh”.  He contrasts the manner in which God spoke to the Jews from Mt Sinai when he gave them the old covenant with the way Jesus speaks to them before fulfilling the new covenant.  The point is that “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”, Heb 12:25.

God speaking from Mt Sinai, v.18-21.

God appeared to Israel in the wilderness after they left Egypt.  In Ex 19:10-11, they were to sanctify themselves for two days, and the Lord would come down upon mount Sinai, the third day.  These days are a prophetic reference to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Each day is typifies 1,000 years (2 Pet 3:8) and the third day typifies the millennial reign of Jesus, which begins with his return to the earth.

God warned Moses to set bounds so that the people wouldn’t touch the mount.  Whoever touched it would be put to death, Ex 19:12-13; Heb 12:20.

On the third day, the Lord descended upon the mount.  There were thunders and lightnings, a thick cloud, smoke, fire, and the sound of a trumpet exceeding loud.  The whole mount quaked greatly, Ex 19:16-18; Heb 12:18-19.  The trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Ex 19:19.  Notice the voice of the trumpet in Rev 1:10; 4:1.

God spoke to the people and gave them the ten commandments, Ex 20:1-17.  When they heard God’s voice, the people feared.  And they told Moses that they didn’t want to hear God speaking to them directly.  They wanted Moses to hear from God and to tell them what he said, Ex 20:19; Heb 12:19.

In Heb 12:21, Paul adds a detail given to him by the Holy Spirit that is not recorded in Exodus.  The sight of the mount was so terrible, “Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake”.

Jesus speaking from Mt Sion, v.22-28.

By contrast, the Tribulation Jews are going to hear Jesus speaking from heaven, Rev 14:1-2, where are:

  • Mt Sion – Rev 14:1; Ps 48:1-3.
  • The heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God – Rev 21:2, 10-27.
  • An innumerable company of angels – Rev 5:11.
  • The general assembly – Eph 4:8-9, the Old Testament saints taken up to heaven when Jesus rose from the dead
  • The church of the firstborn – Col 1:18.  We are already in heaven before the Tribulation.
  • God the judge of all – Ps 58:11; Ps 75:7.
  • The spirits of just men made perfect – these are the spirits of the just men who have died in the Tribulation, before the Lord’s return, Rev 6:9-11.  They were “made perfect” by suffering a while, 1 Pet 5:10.

The one speaking will be Jesus.  He is the mediator of the new covenant, v.24; Heb 8:6.  Notice the reference to his appearing in Heb 9:28.

His blood that he sprinkled speaks better things than the blood of Abel, v.24.  Heb 9:11-15; Heb 11:4.

His voice will not only shake the earth, as in the Old Testament, but the heaven also, v.26, in fulfillment of Hag 2:6.  See Is 24:1, 18-21.

And what remains after everything is shaken is a kingdom which cannot be moved, v.28.  This is Christ’s kingdom.  This is the one the Jews receive, Acts 1:6.

The proper response to Jesus speaking, v.28-29.

The right response to his voice is to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear, which are not the same thing.  Some say that the fear of God is reverence.  This is not so.

Reverence is honour or respect shown to God.  And fear is terror, 2 Cor 5:11, an emotion combining dread and wonder inspired by God’s authority and power.  It is accompanied by trembling, Phil 2:12.  For our God is a consuming fire, v.29; Deut 4:24.

To study the prior lesson, see Duties of Tribulation Saints. To study the final lesson, see Commands, Instructions, Closing.