These are the final words of Hebrews 12. Paul builds a challenging picture of the anger of God becoming increasingly evident, and this happened to the Hebrews, when the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple occurred a few years after he wrote these words. The righteous were severely tested by events; and it is possible something comparable is looming in the final years of our Gentile world.

Paul reminds them of the “blazing fire” (verse 18) their forbears experienced in the wilderness when “Moses said, ‘I tremble with fear’” (verse 21). Paul paints a parallel picture of events to come. “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels” (verse 22), to a time, which is now so near when “the spirits of the righteous (are) made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant” (verses 23,24). How busy “innumerable angels” will be in the events leading to the creation of “the city of the living God”!

Paul writes of Abel at the dawn of history who was the first to have his “blood” shed through living righteously before God. Paul uses those who refused to heed God’s words when he “warned them on earth” as examples for us.

No one seems to be heeding the warnings today; all minds seem closed to the idea of there even being a God to whom they will be ultimately responsible. Does this attitude affect you and me? God’s message through Micah is very apt, “Do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly? But lately my people have risen up as an enemy” (2:7,8).

Paul writes of the final “removal of things that are shaken – that is, things that have been made – in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain” (verse 27). Our world faces a final shaking, this could include a physical shaking but to what extent we cannot tell. Let us be among those who “cannot be shaken”. Soon we will read Haggai, “For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations” (2:6,7). Our Hebrews chapter has this challenging conclusion!

“Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”