Hebrews 12:26
Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Shook the earth.Exodus 19:18-19; Judges 5:4-5. The terrors of Sinai were, moreover, a type of a more terrible revelation of judgment, when not only shall the earth tremble, but the earth and the heaven shall be moved, and all that is transitory and mutable shall pass away. The words of Haggai 2:6 are taken as a prophecy of this consummation. The reference of the prediction of which this forms part to the first coming of the Messiah is passed over; it is only as bearing upon the last days that the words are quoted here.

Now he hath promised.—This whole time of waiting is included in the “now.” It is as if the words were: “now we have this promise, and are looking for its fulfilment.”

I shake.—Rather (according to the better reading), I will move (or, make to tremble).

Hebrews 12:26-27. Whose voice — Namely, Christ’s, who appeared to Moses at the bush, gave the law, and conducted Israel through the wilderness; see on Exodus 3:2; Isaiah 63:9; 1 Corinthians 10:9; then shook the earth — When, at the giving of the law, he spoke from Sinai, and the whole mount quaked greatly, Exodus 19:18; but now — In the gospel times; he hath promised — Or declared, saying, (Haggai 2:6,) Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven — Meaning, probably, the abolition of the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of the Jews, with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, Matthew 24:29; John 4:21; John 4:23; and even the overthrow of the heathen idolatry, John 16:11, and the propagation of the gospel throughout the world: changes which, in the nature of things, could not take place without great commotions, and the shaking of governments and nations. Dreadful commotions and wars preceded the coming of Christ in the flesh, of which see on Haggai 2:6 : but the shakings here intended must be those consequent on his so coming, and productive of the events now referred to. They may, however, look forward even to Christ’s second coming, and the final consummation of all things. For this word, Yet once more — Or once for all, not only signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken — The total subversion of the Jewish commonwealth and church, with the ordinances of Moses; as of things that are made — Namely, by human hands; or constituted or appointed only for a time; (the verb ποιειν, here used, frequently meaning to constitute or appoint, as chap. Hebrews 3:2; Mark 3:14, in both which passages it is translated to appoint, as it is also in many other places;) that those things which cannot be shaken — A dispensation to be changed no more; may remain — Fixed on a perpetual basis; even that eternal kingdom of righteousness and peace which God hath established by his Son Jesus Christ. This inference the apostle rightly draws from the expression, yet once more. For, as it implies that God would make but one alteration more in the religious worship of the world, it certainly follows that the form to be substituted in the room of the things to be shaken or removed, shall be permanent. The gospel, therefore, will remain to the end of the world, as the only form of religion acceptable to God. And then, as the words also imply, the heaven and the earth shall themselves be removed, as things made and intended only to endure for a time; and those things which cannot be shaken, the new heaven and the new earth, shall remain, to be the inheritance of God’s people for ever, Revelation 21:1, &c.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.Whose voice then shook the earth - When he spake at Mount Sinai. The meaning is, that the mountain and the region around quaked; Exodus 19:18. The "voice" here referred to is that of God speaking from the holy mount.

But now hath he promised, saying - The words here quoted are taken from Haggai 2:6, where they refer to the changes which would take place under the Messiah. The meaning is, that there would be great revolutions in his coming, "as if" the universe were shaken to its center. The apostle evidently applies this passage as it is done in Haggai, to the first advent of the Redeemer.

I shake not the earth only - This is not quoted literally from the Hebrew, but the sense is retained. In Haggai it is, "Yet once it is a little while, and I wilt shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come." The apostle lays emphasis on the fact that not only the earth was to be shaken but also heaven. The shaking of the earth here evidently refers to the commotions among the nations that would prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.

But also heaven - This may refer either:

(1) to the extraordinary phenomena in the heavens at the birth, the death, and the ascension of Christ; or.

(2) to the revolutions in morals and religion which would be caused by the introduction of the gospel, as if everything were to be changed - expressed by "a shaking of the heavens and the earth;" or.

(3) it may be more literally taken as denoting that there was a remarkable agitation in the heavens - in the bosoms of its inhabitants - arising from a fact so wonderful as that the Son of God should descend to earth, suffer, and die.

I see no reason to doubt that the latter idea may have been included here; and the meaning of the whole then is, that while the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai, fearful and solemn as it was, was an event that merely shook the earth in the vicinity of the holy Mount, the introduction of the gospel agitated the universe. Great changes upon the earth were to precede it; one revolution was to succeed another preparatory to it, and the whole universe would be moved at an event so extraordinary. The meaning is, that the introduction of the gospel was a much more solemn and momentous thing than the giving of the Law - and that, therefore, it was much more fearful and dangerous to apostatize from it.

26. then shook—when He gave the law on Sinai.

now—under the Gospel.

promised—The announcement of His coming to break up the present order of things, is to the ungodly a terror, to the godly a promise, the fulfilment of which they look for with joyful hope.

Yet once more—Compare Notes, see on [2599]Hag 2:6; [2600]Hag 2:21, 22, both of which passages are condensed into one here. The shaking began at the first coming of Messiah; it will be completed at His second coming, prodigies in the world of nature accompanying the overthrow of all kingdoms that oppose Messiah. The Hebrew is literally, "it is yet one little," that is, a single brief space till the series of movements begins ending in the advent of Messiah. Not merely the earth, as at the establishment of the Sinaitic covenant, but heaven also is to be shaken. The two advents of Messiah are regarded as one, the complete shaking belonging to the second advent, of which the presage was given in the shakings at the first advent: the convulsions connected with the overthrow of Jerusalem shadowing forth those about to be at the overthrow of all the God-opposed kingdoms by the coming Messiah.

Whose voice then shook the earth: the sin and punishment of gospel despisers and rejecters, is aggravated by the Person concerned in both. It is that Jesus, the great Angel of the covenant, speaking now by his blood, whose voice at the delivery of the law on Mount Sinai, and selling Israel in a church state under that covenant dispensation, Exodus 20:1,19 Deu 4:12 5:2,4,22, did shake the mount, Exodus 19:18 Psalm 68:7,8 114:4,7; and not only the literal Sinai, but that low, earthly condition and state of Israel coming out of Egypt, and bearing its reproach as a common people of the earth, together with other nations, Joshua 5:9. This he removed away, and brought them then into a church state with himself by covenant, which church state obtained the name or title of heaven, Matthew 21:43, and is by the prophet styled the old heaven, Isaiah 65:17, which was to be shaken and removed also.

But now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven: but now the same Jesus so shaking them had promised, and had at this time in part fulfilled what he spake, Haggai 2:6,7, even after the prophets little while was expired, and Christ the desire of all nations was come; that yet

once more he would shake the Israelitish church state, pitched till the time of reformation; not the earthly one only, as he did at Mount Sinai, which yet Jesus literally did at his death and resurrection, Matthew 27:51,54 28:2, and the heavens also by his star, Matthew 2:2, light to the shepherds, Luke 2:9, his baptism, Matthew 3:17, transfiguration, Matthew 17:5; his prayer, John 12:28-30, his passion, Matthew 27:51 Luke 23:44,45, effusion of the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:2-4: but this is also a powerful, moral shaking, so as to change and remove that heavenly church frame pitched in the Jewish tabernacle; that he might pitch a tabernacle himself more heavenly and spiritual, whereof Jesus should be the Lord High Priest and Ruler, as well as Minister, Hebrews 3:1,2. Whose voice then shook the earth,.... That is, at the giving of the law on Mount Sinai: Christ was then present; his voice was then heard; which was either the voice of thunder, or the voice of the trumpet, or rather the voice of words: this shook the earth, Sinai, and the land about it, and the people on it; which made them quake and tremble, even Moses himself; see Exodus 19:18

but now he hath promised, saying in Haggai 2:6

yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven; not only the land of Judea, and particularly Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of it, who were all shaken, and moved, and troubled at the news of the birth of the Messiah, the desire of all nations, the prophet Haggai speaks of, Matthew 2:2 but the heaven also; by prodigies in it, as the appearance of a wonderful star, which guided the wise men from the east; and by the motions of the heavenly inhabitants, the angels, who descended in great numbers, and made the heavens resound with their songs of praise, on account of Christ's incarnation, Matthew 2:2. How the apostle explains and applies this, may be seen in the next verse.

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

(14) He compares the steadfast majesty of the gospel, with which the whole world was shaken, and even the very frame of heaven was astonished, with the small and vanishing sound of the governance by the law.

(l) It appears evidently in this that the prophet speaks of the calling of the Gentiles, that these words must refer to the kingdom of Christ.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 12:26. Like as the author has stated the fact, Hebrews 12:25, as a sign of the inferiority of Judaism to Christianity, that God in connection with the former was One ἐπὶ γῆς χρηματίζων, in connection with the latter, on the other hand, One ἀπʼ οὐρανῶν χρηματίζων, so does he now in like manner urge, as a further proof of that inferiority, the circumstance that God then only shook the earth, but now in accordance with the prophecy will shake not only the earth, but at the same time also the heavens.

ἐσάλευσεν] is to be understood in the literal sense, not, with Estius and others, in the figurative.

τότε] then, sc. at the promulgation of the Mosaic law. Comp. Exodus 19:18 (where, however, the LXX., probably in reading הָעָם instead of הָהָר, translate: καὶ ἐξέστη πᾶς ὁ λαὸς σφόδρα); Jdg 5:4 f.; Psalm 68:9 [8], Psalm 114:7 : ἀπὸ προσώπου κυρίου ἐσαλεύθη ἡ γῆ.

νῦν δὲ ἐπήγγελται λέγων] who now, on the other hand, has promised as follows. A constructio ad sensum, since the words form the second member of the relative clause; but, notwithstanding that, a bound is suddenly made from the preceding subject ἡ φωνή to the subject contained in the οὗ, namely, God Himself.

νῦν] now, has certainly the sense: in regard to the present Christian period (more exactly: in regard to the epoch of the consummation of the divine kingdom by the coming again of Christ). Grammatically, however, νῦν κ.τ.λ. has arisen from the contracting of two statements in one, and is to be resolved, with Schlichting, into: nunc vero commovebit non solum terram sed etiam coelum, sicut promisit apud prophetam, dicens, etc.

ἐπήγγελται] in the middle sense, as Romans 4:21. See Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 246.

The citation is from Haggai 2:6, but reproduced in a free and abbreviated form (LXX.: ἔτι ἅπαξ ἐγὼ σείσω τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὴν ξηράν).

ἔτι ἅπαξ] Faulty rendering of the LXX. instead of: yet a little while.26. whose voice then shook the earth] Exodus 19:18; Jdg 5:4; Psalm 114:7.

but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more] Rather, “again, once for all.” The quotation is from Haggai 2:6-7, “yet once, it is a little while” (comp. Hosea 1:4).

but also heaven] “For the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26).Hebrews 12:26. Οὗ ἡ φωνὴ) as being One whose voice. Hereby is explained what kind of speaking that was on earth, and what kind of speaking of oracles, χρηματισμὸς, this is from the heavens. Therefore the article τὸν in Hebrews 12:25 does not prevent it from being one and the same person who spoke on earth and who now speaks from heaven. There is however a Mimesis,[85] and the feelings of those are expressed who do not acknowledge Him that speaketh.—τὴν γῆν) Γῆ ἘΣΕΊΣΘΗ, the earth was shaken, Psalm 68:9, רָעָשָׁה, and Haggai uses this same word. The psalm mentions, that even the heavens dropped at that time, namely, those near to the mountain; but Haggai speaks of the whole created (made) heavens.—νῦν, now) The apostle shows not only what GOD now has promised, but what He is doing (is to do).—ἐπήγγελται) He hath promised. It is a promise intended to excite the hope of the saints, although the ungodly are terrified at it: therefore this passage contains an admonition entirely evangelical: comp. ch. Hebrews 2:3.—ἔτι ἁπαξ ἐγὼ σείσω οὐ μόνον τὴν γῆν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν, yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also heaven) עוד אחת מעט היא ואני מרעיש ונ, LXX. ἜΤΙ ἍΠΑΞ, Κ.Τ.Λ., and Hebrews 12:21, ἘΓῺ ΣΕΊΩ, Κ.Τ.Λ., yet once I will shake the heaven and the earth and the sea and the dry land, etc.; and Hebrews 12:21, I shake the heaven and the earth and the sea and the dry land. The apostle brings the two verses into one, by which he shows that it was one and the same shaking, of which the one verse of Haggai denotes the beginning, the other the end. For that shaking began at the first coming of the Messiah; it will be finished at the second: concerning the former, comp. Matthew 3:17; Matthew 27:51; Matthew 28:2; Acts 2:2; Acts 4:31 : concerning the latter, Matthew 24:7; Revelation 16:20; Revelation 20:11. There is an illustrious testimony given by Sir Isaac New ton on Daniel, p. 94: “And there is scarcely any prophecy concerning Christ in the whole of the Old Testament, which does not, to some extent at least, refer to His second coming.”—ΣΕΊΣΩ, I will shake) Others read σείω. The LXX. have both, as we have now seen; but σείω, I will shake, expresses the promise.[86]

[85] See Append.

[86] And that reading in the larger Ed. is not reckoned among those to be approved; on the marg. of the 2d Ed. it is equal to the reading σείω, and is decidedly preferred in the Germ. Vers.—E. B.

AC Vulg. Memph. and Theb. read σείσω. But Df and Rec. Text σείω, with less authority.—ED.Verse 26. - Whose voice then shook the earth (see Exodus 19:18, "The whole mount quaked greatly," though there the LXX. has λαός instead of ὄρος: but cf. Judges 5, "The earth trembled," and Psalm 114:7, "Tremble, thou earth," etc., with reference to the phenomena at Sinai; also Habakkuk 3:6, 10): but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. The prophecy referred to is Haggai 2:6, 7, "Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts." Again, ver. 21, "I will shake the heavens and the earth" (cf. lea. 2:19, 21). The prophecy was uttered with reference to the second temple, the glory of which was to be greater than the glory of the first, in that it should be the scene of the LORD'S final revelation of himself to his people. Its first fulfillment is rightly seen in Christ's first coming (cf. Habakkuk 2:9, "And in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts;" and Malachi 3:1, "The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple"). But the language used points evidently, even in itself, to a further fulfillment; nor do readers need to be reminded here of the pregnant and far-reaching sense of all Messianic prophecy. "Illustre est testimonium Psalm Newtoni ad Dan. p. 91: vixque in omni V.T. aliquod de Christo extat vaticinium, quod non, aliquatenus saltem, secundum ejus ad-ventum respiciat" (Bengel). The ultimate reference is what is seen dimly afar off in so many of the prophetic visions - the final dissolution of the whole present order of things, to be succeeded by the kingdom of eternal righteousness (cf. Psalm 102:25, etc.). By the heaven that is to be shaken in that great day is meant, of course, not the eternal abode of God, but that which is created and visible (τῶν πεποιημένων, ver. 27). This final shaking is set against the local and typical shaking of Mount Sinai in two points of contrast - its extending to the whole creation, and its being once for all (ἔτι ἅπαξ); and from the latter expression the removing of the things thus finally shaken is in the next verse inferred. This inference, though not following necessarily from the expression itself, is involved in the general drift of Haggai's prophecy, taken in connection with other cognate ones, in which an entirely new and heavenly order is pictured as rising over the ruins of the old (cf. Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22, referred to in 2 Peter 3:7, 10, 13, "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." Whose voice (οὗ ἡ φωνὴ)

Connect, after the parenthesis, with speaketh better, etc., Hebrews 12:24.

Shook (ἐσάλευσεν)

See on Luke 21:26, and comp. σάλος tossing or swell of the sea, Luke 21:25. See Judges 5:4; Psalm 113:7.

He hath promised (ἐπήγγελται)

See Haggai 2:6. The quotation is adapted from lxx, which reads: "Yet once will I shake the heaven and the earth and the sea and the dry land." The Hebrew for "yet once" reads "yet a little while." In Haggai's prophecy, he comforts the people for their sorrow that the second temple is so inferior to the first, predicting that Jehovah will move heaven and earth and sea and land, and will fill the house with his glory; and the glory of the latter house shall exceed that of the former. The discipline begun on Sinai will then have its consummation. This shaking of heaven and earth was typified by the material shaking at Sinai. The shaking predicted by the prophet is applied by our writer to the downfall of worldly powers before the kingdom of Christ, Hebrews 12:28; comp Hebrews 1:8, and see Zechariah 14.

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