|New International Version (©2011)|
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,
New Living Translation (©2007)
No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering.
English Standard Version (©2001)
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,
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels in festive gathering,
International Standard Version (©2012)
Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to tens of thousands of angels joyfully gathered together,
NET Bible (©2006)
But you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the assembly
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
But you have come to The Mountain of Zion and to The City of THE LIVING GOD, to The Jerusalem which is in Heaven, and to the assembly of myriads of Angels;
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to tens of thousands of angels joyfully gathered together
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
But you are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
American King James Version
But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
American Standard Version
but ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels,
But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels,
Darby Bible Translation
but ye have come to mount Zion; and to the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem; and to myriads of angels,
English Revised Version
but ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels,
Webster's Bible Translation
But ye are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Weymouth New Testament
On the contrary you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the ever-living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to countless hosts of angels,
World English Bible
But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels,
Young's Literal Translation
But, ye came to Mount Zion, and to a city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of messengers,
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:18-29 Mount Sinai, on which the Jewish church state was formed, was a mount such as might be touched, though forbidden to be so, a place that could be felt; so the Mosaic dispensation was much in outward and earthly things. The gospel state is kind and condescending, suited to our weak frame. Under the gospel all may come with boldness to God's presence. But the most holy must despair, if judged by the holy law given from Sinai, without a Saviour. The gospel church is called Mount Zion; there believers have clearer views of heaven, and more heavenly tempers of soul. All the children of God are heirs, and every one has the privileges of the first-born. Let a soul be supposed to join that glorious assembly and church above, that is yet unacquainted with God, still carnally-minded, loving this present world and state of things, looking back to it with a lingering eye, full of pride and guile, filled with lusts; such a soul would seem to have mistaken its way, place, state, and company. It would be uneasy to itself and all about it. Christ is the Mediator of this new covenant, between God and man, to bring them together in this covenant; to keep them together; to plead with God for us, and to plead with us for God; and at length to bring God and his people together in heaven. This covenant is made firm by the blood of Christ sprinkled upon our consciences, as the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled upon the altar and the victim. This blood of Christ speaks in behalf of sinners; it pleads not for vengeance, but for mercy. See then that you refuse not his gracious call and offered salvation. See that you do not refuse Him who speaketh from heaven, with infinite tenderness and love; for how can those escape, who turn from God in unbelief or apostacy, while he so graciously beseeches them to be reconciled, and to receive his everlasting favour! God's dealing with men under the gospel, in a way of grace, assures us, that he will deal with the despisers of the gospel, in a way of judgment. We cannot worship God acceptably, unless we worship him with reverence and godly fear. Only the grace of God enables us to worship God aright. God is the same just and righteous God under the gospel as under the law. The inheritance of believers is secured to them; and all things pertaining to salvation are freely given in answer to prayer. Let us seek for grace, that we may serve God with reverence and godly fear.
Verses 22-24. - But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Here, as in Galatians 4, Zion and Jerusalem, ideally regarded, are contrasted with Sinai. The foundation of the conception is in the Old Testament. When David at length won the citadel of Zion, and placed the ark upon it, it was a sort of primary and typical fulfillment of the promise of rest, seen afar off by the patriarchs and from the wilderness. Psalm 24, which was sung on that occasion, expresses the idea of the King of glory being at length enthroned there, and his people of clean hands and pure hearts being admitted to stand in the holy place before him (cf. "This is my rest forever: here will I dwell," Psalm 132:14). In the Psalms generally the holy hill of Zion continues to be viewed as the LORD'S immovable abode, where he is surrounded by thousands of angels, and whence he succors his people (cf. Psalm 48; 68; 125; 132; etc.). Then by the prophets it is further idealized as the scene and center of Messianic blessings (cf. Isaiah 12; 25:13; 33; 35; 46:13; Micah 4; to which many other passages might be added). Compare also the visions, in the latter chapters of Ezekiel, of the ideal city and temple of the future age. Lastly, in the Apocalypse the seer has visions of "Mount Zion" (14.), and "the holy city, new Jerusalem" (21.), with the presence there of God and the Lamb, and with myriads of angels, and innumerable multitudes of saints redeemed. If, in the passage before us, a distinction is to be made between "Mount Zion" and "the heavenly Jerusalem," it may be that the former represents the Church below, the latter the heavenly regions, though both are blent together in one grand picture of the communion of saints. For so in Revelation 14. the hundred and forty-four thousand on Mount Zion seem distinct from the singers and harpers round the throne, whose song is heard from heaven and learnt by those below; while the picture of the holy city in Revelation 21. is one entirely heavenly, representing there the final consummation rather than any present state of things. And to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn (rather, and to myriads, the general assembly of angels, and the Church of the Firstborn), which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel (literally, than Abel). Of the several ways of translating the beginning of the above passage, the best seems to be to take μυριὰσιν by itself as including both the angels and the Church of the Firstborn, and to connect πανηγύρει with "angels" only. "Myriads" is a well-known expression for the LORD'S attendant hosts (cf. Jude 1:14; Deuteronomy 30:2; Daniel 7:10); further, καὶ, which throughout the passage connects the different objects approached, comes between πανηγύρει and ἐκκλησία, not between ἀγγελῶν and πανηγύρει, and the application of both πανηγύρει and ἐκκλησία to πρωτοτόκων would seem an unmeaning redundancy. The word πανήγυρις, which in classical Greek denotes properly the assembly of a whole nation for a festival, is peculiarly appropriate to the angels, whether regarded (as in the Old Testament) as ministering round the throne or as congregated to rejoice over man's redemption. "The Church of the Firstborn" seems to denote the Church militant rather than the Church triumphant; for
(1) ἐκκλησία is elsewhere used for the Church on earth (so also in the Old Testament; cf. Psalm 79:6);
(2) the phrase, ἐν οὐρανοῖς ἀπογεγραμμένων, expresses the idea of being enrolled in the books of heaven rather than being already there (cf. Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 21:27);
(3) the "spirits of the perfected" are mentioned afterwards as a class distinct. The word πρωτοτόκων may be suggested here by the firstborn of Israel, who were specially hallowed to the Lord (Numbers 3:13), and numbered as such by Moses (Numbers 3:43), or perhaps still more by the birthright (πρωτοτόκια) spoken of above as forfeited by Esau. God's elect may be called his firstborn as being hallowed to him and heirs of his promises (cf. Exodus 4:22," Israel is my son, even my firstborn;" and Jeremiah 31:9, "Ephraim is my firstborn"). They thus correspond to the hundred and forty-four thousand of Revelation 14, standing on Mount Zion, being "redeemed from the earth," and having "the Father's Name written on their foreheads;" seen distinct from, and yet in communion with, the saints in bliss, whose voices are heard above. Between them and the spirits of the perfected is interposed, "God the Judge of all;" and this appropriately, since before him the saints on earth must appear ere they join the ranks of the perfected: the former look up to him from below; the latter have already passed before him to the rest assigned them. Τετελειωμένεν ("perfected") expresses, as elsewhere in the Epistle, full accomplishment of an and or purpose with regard to things or persons (cf. Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 7:19, 28; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1, 14; Hebrews 11:40); the word is used here of those whose warfare is accomplished, and who have attained the rest of God. Their "spirits" only are spoken of, because the "perfect consummation and bliss both in body and soul" is still to come. In the mean while, with respect to the issue of their earthly course, they have been already perfected (cf. Revelation 14:13, "They rest from their labors"). Corresponding to the Lamb in Revelation, there is seen next Jesus the Mediator, through whom is the approach of the whole company to the Judge of all, and the accomplishment to the perfected. The "new covenant" is, of course, meant to be contrasted with the old one before Mount Sinai, under which there was no such approach or accomplishment. Then "the blood of sprinkling" has reference to that wherewith the old covenant was ratified (Exodus 24; cf. supra, Hebrews 9:18). The blood shed by Christ on earth for atonement is conceived as carried by him with himself into the holy place on high (cf. Hebrews 9:12), to be forever "the blood of sprinkling for effectual cleansing. And this blood "speaketh better things than Abel." His blood cried from the ground for vengeance, with the accusing voice of primeval sin; Christ's speaks only of reconciliation and peace. Some commentators (Bengel in the first place, whom Delitzsch follows)see in this contrast between Sinai and Zion a distinct parallelism between vers. 18, 19 and vers. 22-24; seven objects of approach in one case being supposed to be set against seven in the other, More obvious is the correspondence of the successive clauses of vers. 22-24 to the general ideas connected with the giving of the Law. The two pictures may be contrasted thus - The Old Covenant.
Sinai, a palpable earthly mountain, surrounded by gloom and storm.
The angels through whom the Law was given (cf. Hebrews 2:2; Galatians 3:19; Acts 7:53; Deuteronomy 23:2), unseen by men, but operating in the winds and in the fire (cf. Hebrews 1:7).
Israel congregated under the mountain, afraid, and forbidden to touch it.
The LORD, unapproachable, shrouded in darkness or revealed in fire.
Moses, himself afraid, and winning through his mediation no access for the people.
The blood sprinkled on the people to ratify the old covenant, but which could not cleanse the conscience.
The sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, inspiring fear. The New Covenant.
Zion, radiant with light and crowned with the city of God.
Festal choirs of assembled angels.
The accepted Church of the Firstborn, with free approach to the holiest of all.
The Judge of all, without his terrors, accessible, and awarding rest to the perfected.
The Divine availing Mediator.
The ever-cleansing blood of complete atonement.
The voice of that cleansing blood, speaking of peace and pardon.
Such is the vision by the contemplation of which the inspired writer would arouse his readers, amid their trials and waverings, to realize the things that are eternal. He would have them pierce with the eye of faith beyond this visible scene into the world invisible, which is no less real. If they were perplexed and disheartened by what they found around them - by the opposition of the world and the fewness of the faithful - he bids them associate themselves in thought with those countless multitudes who were on their side. The picture is, indeed, in some respects, ideal; for the actual Church on earth does not come up to the idea of the "Church of the Firstborn;" but it is presented according to God's purpose for his people, and it rests with us to make it a present reality to ourselves.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But ye are come unto Mount Sion,.... The Alexandrian copy reads, as in Hebrews 12:18 "for ye are not come"; which may seem to favour that interpretation of this passage, which refers it to the heavenly state; to which saints, in this present life, are not, as yet, come: but, by "Mount Sion", and the other names here given, is meant the church of God, under the Gospel dispensation, to which the believing Hebrews were come; in distinction from the legal dispensation, signified by Mount Sinai, from which they were delivered: and this is called Mount Sion, because, like that, it is beloved of God; chosen by him; and is the place of his habitation; here his worship is, and his word and ordinances are administered; here he communes with his people, and distributes his blessings and this, as Mount Sion, is a perfection of beauty the joy of the whole earth; is strongly fortified by divine power, and is immovable; and is comparable to that mountain, for its height and holiness: and to come to Sion is to become a member of a Gospel church, and partake of the ordinances, enjoy the privileges, and perform the duties belonging to it:
and unto the city of the living God; the Gospel church is a city, built on Christ, the foundation; and is full of habitants, true believers, at least it will be, in the latter day; it is pleasantly situated by the river of God's love, and by the still waters of Gospel ordinances; it is governed by wholesome laws, of Christ's enacting, and is under proper officers, of his appointing; and is well guarded by watchmen, which he has set upon the walls of it; and it is endowed with many privileges, as access to God, freedom from the arrests of justice, and from condemnation, adoption, and a right to the heavenly inheritance: and this may be called "the city of God", because it is of his building, and here he dwells, and protects, and defends it; and who is styled "the living God", to distinguish him from the idols of the Gentiles, which are lifeless and inanimate, no other than sticks and stones.
The heavenly Jerusalem: the church of God goes by the name of Jerusalem often, both in the Old and in the New Testament; with which it agrees in its name, which signifies the vision of peace, or they shall see peace: Christ, the King of it, is the Prince of peace; the members of it are sons of peace, who enjoy a spiritual peace now, and an everlasting one hereafter: like that, it is compact together, consisting of saints, cemented together in love, in the order and fellowship of the Gospel; and is well fortified, God himself, and his power, being all around it, and having salvation, for walls and bulwarks, and being encamped about by angels; and it is a free city, being made so by Christ, and, through him, enjoying the liberty of grace now, and having a title to the liberty of glory in the world to come; as Jerusalem was, it is the object of God's choice, the palace of the great King, and the place of divine worship: it is called "heavenly", to distinguish it from the earthly Jerusalem; and to express the excellency of it, as well as to point out its original: the members of it are from heaven, being born from above; their conversation is now in heaven; and they are designed for that place; and its doctrines and ordinances are all from thence.
And to an innumerable company of angels; which are created spirits, immaterial and immortal; very knowing, and very powerful; and swift to do the will of God; they are holy, and immutably so, being the elect of God, and confirmed by Christ: and saints now are brought into a state of friendship with them; and into the same family; and are social worshippers with them; and they have access into heaven, where angels are; and with whom they shall dwell for ever: and, in the present state of things, they share the benefit and advantages of their kind offices; who have, sometimes, provided food for their bodies; healed their diseases; directed and preserved them on journeys; prevented outward calamities; delivered them out of them, when in danger; restrained things hurtful, and cut off their enemies: and, with regard to things spiritual they have, sometimes, made known the mind and will of God unto the saints; have comforted them under their distresses; helped them against Satan's temptations; are present at their death, and carry their souls to glory; and will gather the saints together, at the last day: and, as to the number of them, they are innumerable; they are the armies of heaven; and there is a multitude of the heavenly host; there are more than twelve legions of angels; their number is ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands: and this makes both for the glory and majesty of God, whose attendants they are; and for the comfort and safety of saints, to whom they minister, and about whom they encamp: a like phrase is used in the Apocrypha:
"Before the fair flowers were seen, or ever the moveable powers were established, before the innumerable multitude of angels were gathered together,'' (2 Esdras 6:3)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. are come—Greek, "have come near unto" (compare De 4:11). Not merely, ye shall come, but, ye have already come.
Mount Sion—antitypical Sion, the heavenly Jerusalem, of which the spiritual invisible Church (of which the first foundation was laid in literal Zion, Joh 12:15; 1Pe 2:6) is now the earnest; and of which the restored literal Jerusalem hereafter shall be the earthly representative, to be succeeded by the everlasting and "new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven" (Re 21:2-27; compare Heb 11:10).
22, 23. to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church—The city of God having been mentioned, the mention of its citizens follows. Believers being like the angels (Job 1:6; 38:7), "sons of God," are so their "equals" (Lu 20:36); and being reconciled through Christ, are adopted into God's great and blessed family. For the full completion of this we pray (Mt 6:10). English Version arrangement is opposed: (1) by "and" always beginning each new member of the whole sentence; (2) "general assembly and Church," form a kind of tautology; (3) "general assembly," or rather, "festal full assembly," "the jubilant full company" (such as were the Olympic games, celebrated with joyous singing, dancing, &c.), applies better to the angels above, ever hymning God's praises, than to the Church, of which a considerable part is now militant on earth. Translate therefore, "to myriads (ten thousands, compare De 33:2; Ps 68:17; Da 7:10; Jude 14; namely), the full festal assembly of angels, and the Church of the first-born." Angels and saints together constitute the ten thousands. Compare "all angels, all nations" Mt 25:31, 32. Messiah is pre-eminently "the First-born," or "First-begotten" (Heb 1:6), and all believers become so by adoption. Compare the type, Nu 3:12, 45, 50; 1Pe 1:18. As the kingly and priestly succession was in the first-born, and as Israel was God's "first-born" (Ex 4:22; compare Ex 13:2), and a "kingdom of priests" to God (Ex 19:6), so believers (Re 1:6).
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