The book of Hebrews contains some of the deepest and most controversial passages in the Bible.
For example, Hebrews 6 offers a brutal and unanesthetized warning against apostasy stating that those who commit the sin of apostasy cannot be “renewed” to eternal life. Also, Hebrews 11 is a beautiful commentary on faith, and how the saints of the Old Testament are saved through faith in the future Christ.
But Hebrews 12 may be one of the deepest passages on spiritual worship, and what it really means to present ourselves before the Consuming Fire in a correct worship attitude.
Unlike the Israelites who came to a physical mountain to witness God’s display, the writer says:
Hebrews 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
The believer must come to this amazing realization and shutter!
When we come before God in worship, whether at church, at home, at work, in your car (yes, while driving!), we must recognize the fact that we join a continuous worship taking place in the spiritual realm.
- We come into a spiritual sanctuary called Mount Zion, the “city of the living God,” and the “heavenly Jerusalem.” This is not an earthly cathedral, a modern sanctuary with the latest media support and state of the art sound system, or a house meeting. This is a spiritual place where worship happens in spirit and truth at any hour of the day. As children of God, we always have access to this place when we enter in worship.
- We are not alone when we worship. The ESV translation states that “innumerable angels” join our praise and worship in a special kind of gathering, a festive gathering, one of celebration and joy. Revelation 5:11 quotes such a high number of angels in worship, that we cannot discern it: “myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands!” Mediate on that the next time you bow your head and pray!
- When we engage in authentic worship we also join in the “assembly of the firstborn,” who are in heaven. The firstborn are those saints who have passed away and are now with the LORD.
- We also come together with the “spirits of the righteous made perfect…” that is we join other believers who have had righteousness imputed to them by the grace of God through their faith in Jesus. We are not alone!
- We come to the “sprinkled blood,” that is we are able to come before the “throne of grace” via the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, via the shedding of His blood. That is how humans are able to join this heavenly multitude in spiritual worship.
- But ultimately we joint to “God, the judge of all” and to “Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant.” He is the reason for such a festive spiritual worship event, He is the One who creates the opportunity for such, and He is the one who mediates our participation in such worship!
Next time you feel down due to the pressures of this world, remember to join the worship in the spiritual realm and “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Heb 12:28-29