Hebrews 12:23
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New International Version
to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

New Living Translation
You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect.

English Standard Version
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,

Berean Study Bible
in joyful assembly, to the congregation of the firstborn, enrolled in heaven. You have come to God the judge of all men, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

Berean Literal Bible
and to the assembly, to the church of the firstborn having been enrolled in the heavens, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous having been perfected,

New American Standard Bible
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

King James Bible
To the general assembly and 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,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to God who is the Judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect,

International Standard Version
to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to a judge who is the God of all, to the spirits of righteous people who have been made perfect,

NET Bible
and congregation of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous, who have been made perfect,

New Heart English Bible
to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And to the church of the firstborn ones who are written in Heaven, and to God The Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous who are made perfect,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
and to the assembly of God's firstborn children (whose names are written in heaven). You have come to a judge (the God of all people) and to the spirits of people who have God's approval and have gained eternal life.

New American Standard 1977
to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,

Jubilee Bible 2000
to the congregation of the called out ones of the firstborn, who are registered in the heavens and to God the Judge of all and to the spirits of just men made perfect

King James 2000 Bible
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, who are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

American King James Version
To the general assembly and 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,

American Standard Version
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Douay-Rheims Bible
And to the church of the firstborn, who are written in the heavens, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect,

Darby Bible Translation
the universal gathering; and to [the] assembly of the firstborn [who are] registered in heaven; and to God, judge of all; and to [the] spirits of just [men] made perfect;

English Revised Version
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Webster's Bible Translation
To the general assembly and church of the first-born, who are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Weymouth New Testament
to the great festal gathering and Church of the first-born, whose names are recorded in Heaven, and to a Judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,

World English Bible
to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Young's Literal Translation
to the company and assembly of the first-born in heaven enrolled, and to God the judge of all, and to spirits of righteous men made perfect,
Study Bible
An Unshakable Kingdom
22Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to myriads of angels 23in joyful assembly, to the congregation of the firstborn, enrolled in heaven. You have come to God the judge of all men, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.…
Cross References
Genesis 18:25
"Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?"

Exodus 4:22
"Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD, "Israel is My son, My firstborn.

Psalm 50:6
And the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself is judge. Selah.

Psalm 69:28
May they be blotted out of the book of life And may they not be recorded with the righteous.

Psalm 94:2
Rise up, O Judge of the earth, Render recompense to the proud.

Luke 10:20
Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Hebrews 2:12
He says: "I will proclaim Your name to My brothers; I will sing Your praises in the congregation."

Hebrews 11:40
God had planned something better for us, so that together with us they would be made perfect.

Revelation 6:9
And when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony they had upheld.

Revelation 6:11
Then each of them was given a white robe and told to rest a little while longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers, were killed, just as they had been killed.
Treasury of Scripture

To the general assembly and 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,

the general.

Psalm 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to …

Psalm 111:1 Praise you the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, …

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the …

Ephesians 1:22 And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head …

Ephesians 5:24-27 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be …

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which …

1 Timothy 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take …

the firstborn.

Exodus 4:22 And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus said the LORD, Israel is my son, …

Exodus 13:2 Sanctify to me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the …

Deuteronomy 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, …

Psalm 89:27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.

Jeremiah 31:9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them…

James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should …

Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. …

which.

Exodus 32:32 Yet now, if you will forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I …

Psalm 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written …

Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject …

Philippians 4:3 And I entreat you also, true yoke fellow, help those women which …

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him…

Revelation 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into …

written. or, enrolled. God.

Hebrews 6:10-12 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, …

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Genesis 18:25 That be far from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous …

Psalm 50:5,6 Gather my saints together to me; those that have made a covenant …

Psalm 94:2 Lift up yourself, you judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

Psalm 96:13 Before the LORD: for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he …

Psalm 98:9 Before the LORD; for he comes to judge the earth: with righteousness …

Matthew 25:31-34 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels …

John 5:27 And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he …

2 Thessalonians 1:5-7 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that …

1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he …

the spirits.

Hebrews 11:4,40 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, …

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit …

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now …

1 Corinthians 15:49,54 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear …

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the …

Philippians 1:21-23 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…

Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: …

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers …

Revelation 7:14-17 And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are they …

(23) And to God the Judge of all.--The order of the Greek seems to require the rendering, and to a Judge (who is) God of all. Up to this point our thought has rested on the heavenly world and those who from the time of their creation have been its inhabitants. Men who have passed through this earthly life have no essential right to citizenship in the "heavenly Jerusalem." They come before a Judge (comp. Hebrews 9:27). "The Lord shall judge His people" (Hebrews 10:30), severing between His servants and His foes (Malachi 3:18; Malachi 4:1), condemning the wicked, and receiving the righteous to His own dwelling-place. This Judge is "God of all"--of angels and of righteous souls (Wisdom Of Solomon 3:1), and of Christian men who "draw nigh" to the celestial city. How characteristic of the writer and his theme is the introduction of these solemn words into the midst of this description of Christian privilege and blessing.

And to the spirits of just men made perfect.--The last verses of Hebrews 11 are at once called before the mind by these words. The "righteous" men have "by faith" run their course (Hebrews 10:38; Hebrews 11:4; Hebrews 11:7; Philippians 3:12); they have obtained the promises (Hebrews 6:15; Hebrews 11:1). The analogy of Scripture forbids us to consider their present state as the full consummation; for that, these "spirits" and we who are yet "in the body" await the day of the resurrection. These words, however, do not refer to the period of the Old Covenant only; indeed they do not in strictness belong to that period at all. The spirits of the righteous servants of Christ join the same fellowship; and only when Christ was manifested does the state to which the name "perfection" is thus given seem to have begun. What was received by those "spirits of the righteous" when they saw the day of Christ, we cannot tell; but. the teaching of Scripture seems to be that they were raised to some higher state of blessedness. These are the new inhabitants of the world above; they have come into the presence of God by means of the blood of sprinkling, through Jesus.

To the general assembly,.... A "panegyris", the word here used, was a public and solemn assembly of the Greeks, either at their games, or feasts, or fairs, or on religious accounts; and signifies a large collection and convention of men; and sometimes the place where they met togethers (i); and is here used, by the apostle, for the church of God, consisting of all his elect, both Jews and Gentiles, and the meeting of them together: they met together, in the infinite mind of God, from all eternity; and in Christ, their head and representative, both then and in time; and at the last day, when they are all gathered in, they will meet together personally; and a joyful meeting it will be; and a very general one, more so than the assembly of the Jews, at any of their solemn feasts, to which the apostle may have some respect; since this will consist of some of all nations, that have lived in all places, and in all ages of time:

and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven; by the "church", is not meant any particular, or congregational church, nor any national one; but the church catholic, or universal, which consists only of God's elect, and of all of them, in all times and places; and reaches even to the saints in heaven: this church is invisible at present, and will never fail; of which Christ is the head, and for which he has given himself: now the persons, that belong to this church, are styled the "firstborn"; who are not the apostles only, who received the first fruits of the Spirit; nor the first converts among the Jews, who first trusted in Christ; but also the chosen of God, who are equally the sons of God, and born of him; are equally loved by him, and equally united to Christ, and interested in him: they have the same privileges, honours, and dignity, and shall enjoy the same inheritance; they are all firstborn, and are so called, with respect to the angels, the sons of God, as Christ is with respect to the saints, the many brethren of his: and these are said to be "written in heaven"; not in the earth, Jeremiah 17:13, such writing abides not; nor in the book of the Scriptures, for the names of all are not written there; nor in the general book of God's decrees, which relate to all mankind; but in the Lamb's book of life, kept in heaven; and is no other than their election of God: and this way of speaking, concerning it, shows it to be personal and particular; that it is firm, sure, and constant; that it is out of the reach of men and devils to erase it; it denotes the exact knowledge God has of them, and expresses their right to heaven, and the certainty of their coming there: now all such, who are truly come to Sion, are openly come to this assembly and church, and appear to be a part thereof, and are among the firstborn, and have their names written in heaven:

and to God the Judge of all: the Ethiopic version reads, "the Judge of righteousness", or the righteous Judge: some think that Christ is here meant; who is truly and properly God, and is the Judge: all judgment is committed to him; he is Judge of all; he is ordained Judge of quick and dead; for which he would not have been fit, had he not been God: true believers come to him by faith, and that, as their Judge, King, and Governor; and it is their privilege, that Christ is and will be the Judge of all at the last day and hence is his coming to judgment desirable to them. But since Christ is spoken of in the next verse, as a distinct person, to whom the saints come, God the Father seems rather to be designed here: and it is one of the privileges of the saints, in the present life, that they have access to God: all men are at a distance from him, in a state of nature; and they naturally run further and further from him, and have no desire after him; and, when they are made sensible of sin, they are afraid and ashamed to come to him; nor is there any coming to God, but through Christ; and this is a fruit of God's everlasting love, what follows upon electing grace, is an effect of Christ's death, and owing to the quickening grace of the Spirit; it is performed in a spiritual way, and is by faith; it is a coming to the throne of God, even to his seat, to communion with him, and to a participation of his grace: and it is their privilege that they have access to him as the Judge of all; not only as a Father, and as the God of all grace, but as a Judge, and a righteous one, to whom they can come without terror; for though he is just, yet he is a Saviour, and the justifier of his people, on account of the righteousness of his Son; whose sins he pardons in a way of justice, through the blood of Christ; and is their patron, protector, and defender, who will right their wrongs, and avenge their cause:

and to the spirits of just men made perfect; which may be understood of the saints on earth, who are "just men"; not naturally, for so no man is, but the reverse; nor in opinion only, or merely externally, as the Scribes and Pharisees were; nor by the deeds of the law; nor by obedience to the Gospel; nor by faith, either as wrought in them, or done by them, though by the object of it; nor by an infusion of righteousness into them; but by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto them: and these are "made perfect"; not as to sanctification, unless in Christ, or in a comparative sense, and with respect to the parts of the new man, but not as to degrees; for no man is without sin, and the best stand in need of fresh supplies of grace; but as to justification, Christ has perfectly fulfilled the law for them, and has perfectly expiated their sins, and perfectly redeemed them from all sin, and has procured a full pardon of them; and they are completely righteous through his righteousness; and the "spirits", or souls of these are only mentioned, because the communion of saints in a Gospel church state lies chiefly in the souls and spirits of each other, or in spiritual things relating to their souls; and their souls are greatly affected, and knit to each other: though the saints in heaven may be here intended, at least included; whose spirits or soul's are separate from their bodies; and they are the souls of just men, for none but such enter into the kingdom of heaven; where they are made perfect in knowledge and holiness, in peace and joy; though they have not their bodies, nor as yet all the saints with them. Now, believers, in the present state of things, may be said to be come to them, being come to the Church below, which is a part of that above; as also in hope, expectation, and desire. The apostle seems to have respect to some distinctions among the Jews: they divide mankind into three sorts; some are perfectly wicked; and some are perfectly righteous; and there are others that are between both (k): they often speak of , "just men perfect" (l); and distinguish between a just man perfect, and a just man that is not perfect (m); as they do also between penitents and just men perfect; See Gill on Luke 15:7.

(i) Vid. Philostrat. Vita Apollen. l. 8. c. 7. (k) T. Hieros. Roshhashanah, fol. 57. 1. & T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 16. 2. Derech Eretz, fol. 19. 4. (l) Zohar in Gen. fol. 28. 2. & 29. 1. & 39. 3. T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 18. 2. & Roshbahanah, fol. 4. 1. Pesachim, fol. 8. 1. 2. (m) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 6. 2. & Avoda Zora, fol. 4. 1.23. written in heaven—enrolled as citizens there. All those who at the coming of "God the Judge of all" (which clause therefore naturally follows), shall be found "written in heaven," that is, in the Lamb's book of life (Re 21:27). Though still fighting the good fight on earth, still, in respect to your destiny, and present life of faith which substantiates things hoped for, ye are already members of the heavenly citizenship. "We are one citizenship with angels; to which it is said in the psalm, Glorious things are spoken of thee, thou city of God" [Augustine]. I think Alford wrong in restricting "the Church of the first-born written in heaven," to those militant on earth; it is rather, all those who at the Judge's coming shall be found written in heaven (the true patent of heavenly nobility; contrast "written in the earth," Jer 17:13, and Esau's profane sale of his birthright, Heb 12:16); these all, from the beginning to the end of the world, forming one Church to which every believer is already come. The first-born of Israel were "written" in a roll (Nu 3:40).

the spirits of just men made perfect—at the resurrection, when the "Judge" shall appear, and believers' bliss shall be consummated by the union of the glorified body with the spirit; the great hope of the New Testament (Ro 8:20-23; 1Th 4:16). The place of this clause after "the Judge of all," is my objection to Bengel and Alford's explanation, the souls of the just in their separate state perfected. Compare Notes, see on [2597]Heb 11:39, 40, to which he refers here, and which I think confirms my view; those heretofore spirits, but now to be perfected by being clothed upon with the body. Still the phrase, "spirits of just men made perfect," not merely "just men made perfect," may favor the reference to the happy spirits in their separate state. The Greek is not "the perfected spirits," but "the spirits of the perfected just." In no other passage are the just said to be perfected before the resurrection, and the completion of the full number of the elect (Re 6:11); I think, therefore, "spirits of the just," may here be used to express the just whose predominant element in their perfected state shall be spirit. So spirit and spirits are used of a man or men in the body, under the influence of the spirit, the opposite of flesh (Joh 3:6). The resurrection bodies of the saints shall be bodies in which the spirit shall altogether preponderate over the animal soul (see on [2598]1Co 15:44).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.
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