(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
There is one more serving of Hebrew ‘Let Us’ in Hebrews 12. It is in verse 28, but I have included the context of verses 26 through 29 to better understand what is being said:
...but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
What is this shaking all about? The writer of Hebrews is referring to an Old Testament prophesy in Isaiah 34:2 through 4
For the indignation of the Lord is against all na- tions, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them....And the mountains shall be melted with their blood. All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll....
Revelation 6:12 through 17 sets the time when this will happen:
I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth. ...Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is roll- ed up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And [all people]...hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
The sixth seal is one of the 21 judgments poured out upon the earth during the Tribulation period, the last 7 years of earth’s history before Jesus Christ returns in glory as “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!” (Revelation 19:16). Just when, during those seven years, this particular seal judgment occurs has been much debated. But this is definitely part of the shaking of both heaven and earth about which the Lord warns us in Hebrews 12! Let’s look more closely at verse 27 of our featured Scripture:
- How severe is this shaking of heaven and earth? So severe that it indicates “…the removal of those things that are being shaken….”
- Just what are the objects of this shaking? “…the things that are made….” This refers not to what God has made, but what sinful man has made! For instance in…
✞ ...Revelation 18 there is the prophetic record of the future destruction of Babylon, the economic, social, and political structure of society! It all collapses into a useless pile of rubble! ✞ ...Genesis 11 is another example of sinful human- ity’s attempt at building a great work apart from God. The tower of Babel was man’s attempt to reach the level of God! In the end, the result was an- other useless pile of rubble, as well as the con- fusion of language leading to the dispersion of mankind across the globe!
- What is the purpose of this shaking? “…that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.” If “…those things that are being shaken…” are what sinful man has made, then “…those things that…cannot be shaken…” are what God has made – His kingdom, His Son, His redeemed people – if they are firmly grounded on Jesus!
Hebrews 12:28 – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” If the shaking is not directed at us, why do we need to have grace to serve God acceptably? Why? We will also experience the shaking!
- The Tribulation is also referred to as Daniel’s seventieth week. It comes from a controversial passage, Daniel 9:24 through 27. The controversy is on the interpretation of verse 27 especially. Premillenial Dispensationalists (of which I am one) believe that Seventy weeks (verse 24) refer to seventy times seven years, or 490 total years (taking into consideration the 360 day lunar year of the Jewish calendar). It is far too complicated of a subject to completely lay out here. Maybe we could in a few future Gems – perhaps a hundred or so!
✞ Much of this interpretation involves the last seven year period (the seventieth week). Premillenial Dispensationalists believe it refers to the final seven year period before Christ returns in glory! And most of the book of Revelation covers this per- iod, called the Tribulation! ✞ The Rapture is referred to in I Thessalonians 4:14 through 17 and Revelation 4:1 and 2 (see also II Thessalonians 2:3-8). This is when the Church (mostly Gentile believers from Pentecost to the Rapture) is taken out of the world, and God again focuses on His covenant Jewish people! ✞ This seventieth week of tribulation is a horrendous time of persecution for God’s people! It is to this time Jesus refers when He said in Matthew 24:21 and 22: For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were short- ened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
So, during the Tribulation, Jewish believers, and those “…of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues…a great multitude…” (Revelation 7:9), won to Christ by Jewish evangelism (see Revelation 7:4-8), will experience great tribulation!
- That means those of us of the Church Age escape persecution, right? Why, then, do we need grace to serve God acceptably during the shaking if we won’t be here when all is shaken?
✞ Because there is preliminary shaking! Jesus told us in Matthew 24:6 through 8: And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against king- dom. And there will be famines, pestilen- ces, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
- It is not like trouble occurs from zero to 90, all at once! There is usually a build up. And we are in that build up!
✞ Many Christians, like myself, live in the relative peace, safety, and prosperity of the United States of America. But that does not mean we do not exper- ience shaking! The novel Coronavirus has shaken us! And that on top of many experiencing other crises, sometimes that which intensely shakes us! ✞ What about persecution in other countries? There are places in this old world were people wonder if they are not already in the midst of the Tribulation because their troubles and persecution is so severe! ...according to...The Center for the Study of Global Christianity...a Christian think- tank..., 900,000 Christians have been 'mar- tyred' in the last decade, equating to 90,000 a year and one every six minutes. (Independent, UK publication, article by Peter Walker, January 13, 2017).
So we all need God’s grace! No wonder this Hebrew ‘Let Us’ is directed to us all!
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28, 29).
And that last phrase of verse 29, “For our God is a consuming fire…,” what does that mean? The Lord is nothing to be trifled with! All that He has prophesied will come to pass! So, “…let us have grace…”!