Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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HEBREWS - Chapter 12

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Hebrews 12

Supplemental Commentary:

II.  EXHORTATIONS  10, 19 -- 13, 17 (continued)

2.  Other Virtues  12, 1 -- 13, 17

12, 1-13:  Constancy.    1 f.  The allusion is to the contests in the Greek amphitheater, with crowds of spectators watching.  Jesus is our goal.    5.  See Prov. 3, 11 f.  God punishes as a loving father.    12.  See Isa. 35, 3.    13.  Prov. 4, 26.

12, 14-17:  Peace and Holiness.  This includes various exhortations.    15.  Root of bitterness: see Deut. 29, 18.    16.  Profane: because he bartered away his spiritual privileges.    17.  No opportunity for repentance: his act was irrevocable.  He had bartered away his inheritance, and forfeited the blessing (Gen. 27, 34.38).  Even though Esau had repented sincerely, the lost blessing could not be regained.

12, 18-29:  Sinai and the New Sion.  See Ex. 19-20; Deut. 4, 11 ff.  Sinai as representing the Old Covenant.    22-24.  Sion, the heavenly Jerusalem, representing the New Covenant.    23.  Firstborn: in the sense of heirs.  We are co-heirs with Christ, and our names are written in heaven.    24.  Sprinkling of blood: the blood of Abel called for vengeance; that of Jesus calls for mercy.    26-28.  God's voice shook the earth at Sinai (Ex. 19, 18).  At the end of time, God will again shake the whole world (Ag. 2, 6.7.22), only the spiritual realities of the new dispensation (a kingdom that cannot be shaken) will remain.    29.  Our God is a consuming fire: He will ultimately destroy all His enemies.  (See Deut. 4, 24; 2 Thess. 1, 8).

Confraternity Bible:

Constancy  1 Therefore let us also, having such a cloud of witnesses over us, put away every encumbrance and the sin entangling us, and run with patience to the fight set before us; 2 looking towards the author and finisher of faith, Jesus, who for the joy set before him, endured a cross, despising shame, and sits at the right hand of the throne of God.  3 Consider, then, him who endured such opposition from sinners against himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.

4 For you have not yet resisted unto blood in the struggle with sin.  5* And you have forgotten the exhortation that is addressed to you as sons, saying,
"My son, neglect not the discipline of the Lord, neither be thou weary when thou art rebuked by him. 

6* For whom the Lord loves, he chastises; and he scourges every son whom he receives."
7 Continue under discipline.  God deals with us as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not correct?  8 But if you are without discipline, in which all have had a share, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  9 Furthermore, we had fathers of our flesh to correct us, and we reverenced them.  Shall we not much more obey the Father of spirits and live?  10 For they indeed corrected us for a few days, as they saw fit; but he for our benefit, that we may share his holiness.  11 Now all discipline seems for the present to be a matter not for joy but for grief; but afterwards it yields the most peaceful fruit of justice to those who have been exercised by it.  12 Therefore brace up the hands that hang down, and the tottering knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet; that no one who is lame may go out of the way, but rather be healed.

Peace and Holiness  14 Strive for peace with all men, and for that holiness without which no man will see God.  15 Take heed lest anyone be wanting in the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble and by it the many be defiled; 16 lest there be any immoral or profane person, such as Esau, who for one meal sold his birthright.  17 For know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no opportunity for repentance, although he had sought after it with tears.

Sinai and the New Sion  18 For you have not approached a mountain that may be touched, and a burning fire, and whirlwind and darkness and storm, 19 and sound of trumpet, and sound of words; which sound was such that those who heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them; 20 for they could not bear what was being said: "And if even a beast touches the mount, it shall be stoned."  21 And so terrible was the spectacle that Moses said, "I am greatly terrified and trembling."  22 But you have come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, 23 and to the Church of the firstborn who are enrolled in the heavens, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, mediator of a new covenant, and to a sprinkling of blood which speaks better than Abel.  25 See that you do not refuse him who speaks.  For if they did not escape who rejected him who spoke upon earth, much more shall we not escape who turn away from him who speaks to us from heaven.  26* His voice then shook the earth, but now he promises thus,
"Yet once, and I will shake not the earth only but heaven also." 
27 Now by this expression, "yet once," he announces the removal of things which can be shaken---created things---in order that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.  28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we have grace, through which we may offer pleasing service to God with fear and reverence.  29 For our God is a consuming fire.


5-6: Prov. 3, 11-12.

26: Ag. 2, 7.