These are comments I made on Facebook to a man named Charles.

Charles, I'd like to comment on Hebrews 12:28 that you mentioned.

 

28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

 

You said: "Then in verse 28, the writer says, we are receiving a kingdom which antecedes back to the thought in verses 22-23."

 

Since you said verse 28 "antecedes back" to verses 22-23, then can you explain WHEN you believe the consummation of the present tense "receiving" of the kingdom of verse 28 was fulfilled?

 

Do you believe we are in the kingdom now? When did we get in it? When did THEY get in it, because at the time Hebrews was written, they were "receiving" it.

 

If you believe we are in the kingdom now, what do you make of the following passage in the same chapter, which comes BETWEEN verses 22-23 and verse 28 (well, it includes 28) and is therefore in the very same context?

 

Hebrews 12:25  See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

26  Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

27  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

 

Obviously this kingdom that cannot be moved was what was coming after God shook the earth and removed the things that COULD be removed. Then the KINGDOM, that could NOT be moved, would come in. And according to this passage above, this hadn't happened when Hebrews was written. Can you explain, please? When were the things shaken and removed? When did the kingdom that couldn't be moved come?

 

*****

Charles, I don't think you know my position. I believe the kingdom is here today as you do. I am not questioning that. What I am questioning is how some scriptures are being interpreted.

I appreciate that you mentioned that Jesus said the kingdom had come upon them even before He was crucified. Obviously, this was a process that began in the days of John the Baptist because Jesus said that even at that time men were pressing into it (Luke 16:16).

But we still have our problem with Hebrews 12:25-28. It is in the same context as the kingdom's coming. God was going to shake heaven and earth. How? He was going to remove the things that could be shaken, and the things that couldn't be shaken would remain. What was going to be removed? What NEEDED to be removed? (See Hebrews 8:13.) What was going to remain?

I particularly like this that you said: "AT HAND does not mean 2000 years later." Amen, Charles, amen!

Philippians 4:5  Let your moderation be known unto all men. The LORD IS AT HAND.

1 Peter 4:7  But the END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

Revelation 1:3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the TIME IS AT HAND.

Revelation 22:10  And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the TIME IS AT HAND.

If "at hand" doesn't mean 2,000 years later, I guess we have to accept that everything in Revelation has happened already, right? THAT is MY position, Charles. NOT that the kingdom hasn't come but that it HAS come--that the city of God is here, that Mt. Zion is here, that the heavenly Jerusalem is here. It's a done deal. It was AT HAND when the New Testament was written but it's finished now, 2,000 years later. It can't be "at hand" for 2,000 years, just as you said.

Revelation 3:12  Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Here we see the "city of God" mentioned again. Is this not the SAME city of God mentioned in Hebrews 12? Does God have TWO cities? And this new Jerusalem, is it not the "heavenly Jerusalem" mentioned in Hebrews 12? Does God have TWO "heavenly" Jerusalems?

Revelation 21:10  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

Is this not the heavenly Jerusalem of Hebrews 12 that you said was the church? Is it not the city of God? Whatever it is, it was "at hand" when John wrote. That means it can't still be coming 2,000 years later.

You mentioned this verse:

1 Corinthians 15:24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

I will respond with:

1 Peter 4:7  But the END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

The end was coming and Peter said the end was AT HAND, which you said does NOT MEAN 2,000 years later. So the end, when Jesus delivered up the kingdom to God, has happened because it was "at hand" when Peter wrote.

Jesus said Jerusalem would pay for all the blood of the righteous slain on the earth. They had stoned the prophets, they would kill Jesus, and they'd persecute His followers. They were going to "fill up the measure" of their fathers. And their punishment was "at hand" (not 2,000 years away) when John wrote Revelation:

Matthew 23:32  Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

33  Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

34  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

35  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

36  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

38  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

The damnation of hell, Charles, and paying for all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, was coming upon THAT generation. 

Revelation 18:24  And in her was found the blood of PROPHETS, and of SAINTS, and of ALL THAT WERE SLAIN UPON THE EARTH.

The city destroyed in Revelation was the city that filled up the measure of her fathers and killed the prophets and stoned those sent to her. It was the city that Jesus said would pay for the deaths of all the righteous slain on the earth. That city was Jerusalem.

And after she was destroyed, after God removed the things that could be removed, what do we see emerging and remaining? NEW Jerusalem, the city  of God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Yes, we have come to the city of God, we have come to Mt. Zion, and we have come to the heavenly Jerusalem.  The things that needed to be removed (Judaism, the sacrifices, old Jerusalem, all that pertained to the old law) have been removed. God shook heaven and earth, and what remains is the glorious city of God, New Jerusalem.

##

One more thought, Charles. You said:

 

"By virtue of their conversion to Christ men were still receiving the kingdom. People were still being born into it. People are still receiving the kingdom today."

 

You seem to be saying that we are continually receiving the kingdom, as new people are baptized. But that can't be what this is saying because it culminates. God was going to shake something and remove it. And in its place something, the kingdom, would remain. A process was going on there.

 

Look at these verses in this same chapter:

 

Heb. 12:18  For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

19  And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

 

The old law, old city, old way of life, old Jerusalem, was going to be shaken and removed, and the new Mt. Zion and new and heavenly Jerusalem would remain. If you think we are STILL COMING to this, then that would mean the old law is still in effect. The new city has come or we are still in the old one. And the only city coming was New Jerusalem.

##



Charles, you said:

"At hand is just that at hand. I believe most of the events of Revelation have passed and refers to the time of the Roman Empire under the reign of Domitian around 96 AD."


 

I know you are finished with the discussion, so I'll just leave you with these thoughts:


 
Revelation 1:3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the TIME IS AT HAND.
 
Revelation 22:10  And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the TIME IS AT HAND.
 

Revelation 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must SHORTLY COME TO PASS; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
 
Revelation 22:6  And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must SHORTLY BE DONE.
 
John 12:48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the LAST DAY.
 
1Jo 2:18                Children, IT IS THE LAST HOUR, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that IT IS THE LAST HOUR.
 
John didn't say, as you did, that SOME of the things were at hand. He said the whole thing was at hand and would come to PASS and be DONE SHORTLY. And, seeing that many antichrists had already come (I John 2:18), he told them it was the last HOUR.

The KJV for this verse says "last time." And Jude talks about this time. He also, as does John, shows how the falling away had already come. (See verses 14-19.)

And John  and Jude weren't the only ones. Peter and Paul said the same thing:


 
1 Peter 4:7  But the END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

Philippians 4:5  Let your moderation be known unto all men. THE LORD IS AT HAND.

1 Timothy 6:14  That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, UNTIL THE APPEARING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST:

Not till Timothy DIED, but until Christ APPEARED! Paul expected Christ in Timothy's lifetime. He expected Him because Christ TOLD His followers He was coming in that generation.

Matthew 24:30  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the SON OF MAN COMING IN THE CLOUDS of heaven with power and great glory.

31  And he shall send his angels with a great SOUND OF A TRUMPET, and they shall GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

34  Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS, TILL ALL THESE THINGS BE FULFILLED.

Notice also:

1 Corinthians 15:51  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

"We" would not all sleep. Not Charles and Tina, but Paul and the ones to whom he was writing would not all sleep by the time the events of I Corinthians 15 took place.

But we have more:

James 5:7  Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord . . .

Not till they died, but until the Lord came. You may say they were confused and THOUGHT He was coming in their lifetime. Well, He TOLD them that's when He was coming. You may say, "Well, even HE didn't know." I don't know about you, but if Jesus and the writers of the New Testament were THAT confused, I don't think I'd listen to much of anything they said. They didn't know the day or the hour, but they knew signs that showed them the time was near. John was able to know that it was the last hour. He knew it was imminent.

And look at this:

Hebrews 10:37  For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

"A little while" is like "at hand," isn't it, Charles? It doesn't mean 2,000 years.

I could go on. And lest you are thinking, "Oh, well, a day is like a thousand years with God," well, in heaven there's no time. But God was speaking to people on earth with all of this. He was telling these people how imminent the return of Christ was. And if "shortly" and "a little while" don't mean anything, then "at hand" doesn't either and we are right back where we started and you can't use it as an argument any more than I can. AND we might as well FORGET trusting God to use words we can understand.

The Lord was at hand in the lifetime of the people to whom Jesus and the New Testament writers spoke, Charles. The events of Revelation took place "shortly." Not some of them, as you said, but ALL of them. All that was written in the prophecies has been fulfilled. God couldn't make promises to a people under a covenant and end the covenant with promises still hanging, then come back thousands of years later and try to work on fulfilling the promises He made before He ended the covenant. The "end of time" (never mentioned in the Bible, by the way) came and went, and you and I missed it. It was the end of the age, the end of the old covenant, the end of Judaism--not the end of the earth, which lasts forever.

Psalms 104:5  Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Ecclesiastes 1:4  One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Yes, the "heavens and earth" passed away. But that was just the things that Hebrews said would be removed--the old covenant worship and the things pertaining to Moses and the old law. And, really, why would God destroy His own heaven? What's wrong up THERE that it needs to be destroyed?

Isaiah 65:17  For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Isaiah 66:22  For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

2 Peter 3:13  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

God shook heaven and earth. He removed Judaism and old Jerusalem. And we are left with the city of God, new Jerusalem.

Thank you for the discussion. I've enjoyed it.


Tina Rae Collins

January 25, 2010