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Former missionary, now public educator. Lover of the Word of God & Jesus Christ. Avid linguist.
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The Unshakeable Kingdom to Come!
Hebrews 12:18-29
This was a tough passage, with all the background bits necessary to fully comprehend it.  Tough one for my first arc, too! Comments welcome!
#kingdom
#newcovenant
#Worship
Published March 21st, 2018
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Main point summary
Arc
notes
Main point summary
What lies in front of the Christian is not a presently physical realm or tangible order, but a heavenly one that transcends what we have touched, or heard, or seen, or known here on earth. All that exists will be consumed by the fire of God except that which is acceptable to Him, that is, our humble and grateful and acceptable worship - acceptable, as in reverent and full of awe!
Arc
editing
NT
Hebrews 12:18-29
esv
For you have not come to z what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest
and a the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words b made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.
For they could not endure the order that was given, c “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”
Indeed, d so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
progression
ground
But you have come to e Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, f the heavenly Jerusalem, and to g innumerable angels in festal gathering,
and to h the assembly 1 of the firstborn who are i enrolled in heaven, and to j God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
and to Jesus, k the mediator of a new covenant, and to l the sprinkled blood m that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
series
negativepositive
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking.
25a
For n if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
25b
actionresult
At that time o his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, p “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates q the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.
ideaexplanation
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving r a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus s let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
for our t God is a consuming fire.
Action-Reason
restate
Ac
Rsn
bilateral
This Kingdom to come: It cannot be touched. It cannot be seen, like a "blazing fire" or "darkness and gloom". It cannot be felt, like a "tempest". It cannot be heard, like "the sound of a trumpet" or "a voice". Those things were utterly terrifying; their restrictions, too tough to handle.
Mount Zion, the "holy hill" of Psalm 2:6, 3:4, 15:1, 43:3, and 99:9. God's "holy habitation" (Psalm 46:4).
"The assembly of the firstborn", or the Church of Jesus Christ, the firstborn of God, the firstborn (even before Adam) of all creation. The names of those of the Church are written in heaven.
God, Himself, along with all of those who have already passed into the next life ahead of us, or "the spirits of the righteous made perfect".
Jesus, the go-between of a new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:8, 9:16). He is Moses, Aaron, and every high priest there ever was rolled into one. He is our Great High Priest.
"the sprinkled blood", or purifying blood, "that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel". God said to Cain that Abel's "blood is crying to me from the ground" (Gen 4:10). The blood of Jesus has soul redeeming power that Abel's did not. It "cries out" on our behalf.
In the former covenant, God spoke from Mount Sinai, from a cloud or a pillar of fire, and His presence rested on the Holy of Holies. His presence was humanly tangible, terrifying as it was. To refuse Him then was quite astonishing. But, now He speaks from His throne in heaven. If we could not receive Him and His Word when He was right before our eyes, how much less will we receive Him when He speaks from above? Yet, He speaks now from a far greater place, a place of final and everlasting authority. This new covenant will not go away as the former one did.
MHC: The former covenant has been removed, but the new covenant will never be removed. It is an everlasting one, and will remain until it is perfected in heaven.
"...acceptable worship..." :: Worship with "reverence and awe", gratefulness for the unshakeable kingdom of Jesus Christ to come!
"...our God is a consuming fire." :: God's righteousness consumes all that is not acceptable. His fire burns away the chaff, the tares among the wheat, the unholy among the holy. Thanks be to God that the instruments and developments and "fruits" of the devil will all be consumed with fire and done away with forever! Amen.
discourse
Comments
Eric Judd
This is a big chunk! My first comment would be to break this down further into propositions - I only see v. 25 has been broken up (unless you're trying to macroarc?). Also you'll want to have the whole passage connected by one big arc; you'll need to think through how these pieces go together in that way.

I think I might try this arc myself to see how I would connect it; I suspect there is more going on in 22-24 than series. I can comment that 25b is likely not a result of 25a but may more appropriately be a Ground - you could replace the preposition "For" with "Because" and it wouldn't lose any of its meaning. In fact, the ground of 25a looks like it would be 25b-28. You are correct that 18-21 and 22-24 are a Negative-Positive; perhaps the first half can connect to the second half as an inference.

One thing I like to do with the main point summary is include the logic of the passage in it; this way, you highlight what the passage is highlighting.

This was definitely a tough passage for your first one! I think there is a lot more here regarding the arc, and that might bring out more insights. One thing I try to do myself is to intentionally not interpret anything until the arc is finished - essentially, look at the passage purely from a literary standpoint and determine the logic of it. This helps with the logic, because some parts of passages I thought were the most important end up not being the main point of the passage after all. Props to you for being ambitious in starting with this passage! I might post a link to mine when I finish if you want to compare and comment - the best part of arcing is iron sharpening!
Sujay Thomas
As a beginner 'arcer' myself, you taking this chunk up is very encouraging! I think v28 is definitely something that can be broken up to strengthen our insights into the passage. Haggai 2:6-9 has very similar echoes. Would there be any connections? It'll be cool to see/hear the end product. I enjoyed reading Eric's comments as well - I look forward to his arcing!
Eric Judd
This was not an easy one! One comment I should've made was how useful the "Mine" column is - paraphrasing the biblical text in order to test the logical relationships. It helps focus on the main thing.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.