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 will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken — that is, things that have been made — in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 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, for our God is a consuming fire.Hebrews 12:25-29
The writer of Hebrews points us to see Jesus in a variety of ways:
- as the One in whom faith originates and matures (12:1);
- as One who disciplines us for endurance (12:3, 7);
- as the One who heals us through grace (12:12-15).
But toward the end of Hebrews 12, he adds that Jesus is the One who speaks to His people in the present, shaking both the heavens and the earth with His voice. This idea of “shaking” alludes back to the prophet Haggai who foretold of YHWH shaking earth and heaven and all the nations in order to fill His house with glory. The writer of Hebrews seems to understand a present-tense fulfillment of this text in his own time. Whereas the Exodus generation witnessed a “shaking” in their own day as they encamped at Sinai, the Hebrew writer anticipates an even greater shaking — one that is characterized as a shaking of both the earth and the heavens.
We are living in a world that shakes.
A world of school shootings and senseless violence.
A world of abortion and sex trafficking and countless other offenses against the most defenseless among us.
A world of war and rumors of wars.
Evil is called good; good is called evil.
These things cause the world to shake because they will not endure. The new heavens and the new earth is a promise of something unshakeable — an eternal kingdom that is secure, safe, founding upon God’s eternal promises. It is the same kingdom Simon Peter spoke of when he spoke of an inheritance that could never perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:4).
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.