“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’” (Heb. 12:26).- Hebrews 12:26–27
We concluded last week by beginning to examine the final warning passage found in the book of Hebrews. We read in 12:25 of the awesome responsibility we have under the new covenant to remain faithful to Christ, for if Israel did not escape when God warned them through Moses on earth, we shall by no means escape punishment if we ignore the warnings now given to us from heaven.
Our responsibility to keep the covenant is so great because of the superior age in which we live. As verses 18–24 reminded us, we no longer come to God through the shadows of the old covenant. Rather, we have direct access into the presence of God by means of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (10:19).
Before we look at today’s passage, let us briefly discuss the concept of keeping the new covenant. We must always remember that though God calls us to keep the covenant, ultimately we cannot do so by ourselves. Rather, it is Christ who kept the covenant perfectly for us. It is Christ alone who is perfectly righteous and who has kept all of God’s commands both in the old covenant and in the new covenant (1 Peter 2:22). If we are in Christ, His faithfulness to the covenant is credited to us, and, thus, the Father views us as covenant-keepers. Nevertheless, we demonstrate that we are in Christ only if we obey Him (James 2:14–26).
Today’s passage further elaborates on the explicit warning found in Hebrews 12:25. We are told in verse 26 that 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.’” In verse 27, we are told that God will do this so that “the things that cannot be shaken may remain.”
Verse 26 refers to Mount Sinai and the trembling of the earth experienced by the Israelites (Ex. 19:18) that demonstrated the solemnity and responsibility of the old covenant. Yet this shaking was only a foretaste of the greater shaking to come. In Hebrews 12:27, the writer quotes Haggai 2:6 and the promise God makes to shake the entire universe at the coming of His glory. When that happens, only that which is unshakable will remain. Thus, to abandon Jesus would be to trust in those things that, at His coming, will be destroyed.
Where do you place your trust? Is it in money, status, or employment? Is it found in your relationships? Take some time to ask yourself where you truly place your trust. Ask the Lord to help you place your trust in Him alone, and begin to take some steps to trust Him more fully with all of your concerns.
Passages for Further Study
1 Cor. 3:10–15