Thursday, 2 May 2019
…whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:26
The author finishes the thought which began in the previous verse. The words, “whose voice then shook the earth,” are speaking of the revelation of God on Mount Sinai. That is recorded in Exodus 19:18 –
“Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.”
This same God, who so powerfully displayed His splendor at Sinai, “has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Here, the author is quoting from Haggai 2:6, 7 –
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
This is speaking of the coming Messiah, the “Desire of All Nations.” This tells us that just as the Old Covenant shook the earth, so would the New. Haggai was speaking of Christ’s first advent and the shaking of the earth in a manner which would realign all things, not just in Israel, but all nations. A new order of things would come about where salvation would be offered to all, and the people who were considered God’s people would be set aside. And those who were not considered His people would be called by His name.
But, the idea of both earth and heaven shaking certainly has a future application in the second advent of Christ as well. What began in His first advent will be fully realized in His second. Further, Israel will again be called His people when the time prophesied in Scripture comes about. A fuller explanation of what is meant in this verse will come in the verses ahead.
Life application: At the receiving the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai, it said, “the whole mountain quaked greatly.” This same sentiment is also recorded in the Psalms, giving more insight into the awesome display –
“O God, when You went out before Your people,
When You marched through the wilderness, Selah
8 The earth shook;
The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God;
Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” Psalm 68:7, 8
Imagine how awesome it was to stand and receive the Law at Sinai. Given the glory that was revealed then, it should be understood that Scripture testifies that what occurs for us in receiving the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord is even more awesome. What Israel received by sight, we receive by faith. And it is faith which is reckoned to us for righteousness under the New Covenant. Let us live by faith, and let us endeavor to hold fast to that faith no matter what difficulties lie ahead of us. We have a sure word, and the absolute hope of glory in what that word reveals – JESUS.
Lord God, when You shake the world, only that which is unshakable will remain. May our faith be strong and never shaken, and may we be a testimony to Your glory until Christ comes for us. And someday, the nations of the earth will endure the trial of Your purification before His second coming. May those who are wise realize what is happening and call out to You in faith. When the time of shaking comes, give Your people wisdom. Amen.