Hebrews 12:23
Parallel Verses
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,

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,

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,

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,

Hebrews 12:23 Parallel
Vincent's Word Studies

To the general assembly (πανηγύρει)

Const. with ἀγγέλων of angels, with comma after angels. Rend. "to a festal assembly of angels." This and the next clause show what the myriads consist of, - a host of angels and redeemed men. Πανήγυρις, N.T.o , is a gathering to celebrate a solemnity, as public games, etc.: a public, festal assembly. Frequently joined with ἑορτή feast. See Ezekiel 47:11; Hosea 2:11; Hosea 9:5. The verb πανηγυρίζειν to celebrate or attend a public festival, to keep holiday, occurs occasionally in Class.: not in N.T.: lxx once, Isaiah 66:10. The festal assembly of angels maintains the contrast between the old and the new dispensation. The host of angels through whose ministration the law was given (see on Hebrews 2:2, and see on Galatians 3:19) officiated at a scene of terror. Christian believers are now introduced to a festal host, surrounding the exalted Son of man, who has purged away sins, and is enthroned at God's right hand (Hebrews 1:3).

And church of the first-born which are written in heaven (καὶ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρωτοτόκων ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς)

This forms a distinct clause; "and to the church," etc. For ἐκκλησία assembly or church, see on Matthew 16:18; see on 1 Thessalonians 1:1. The "myriads" embrace not only angels, but redeemed men, enrolled as citizens of the heavenly commonwealth, and entitled to the rights and privileges of first-born sons. Πρωτότοκος first-born is applied mostly to Christ in N.T. See Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15, Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 1:5. Comp. Hebrews 11:28, and Luke 2:7. Properly applied to Christians by virtue of their union with Christ, "the first-born of all creation," "the first-born from the dead," as sharing his sonship and heirship. See Romans 8:14-17, Romans 8:29. The word also points to Christians as the true Israel of God. The analogy is suggested with the first-born of Israel, to whom peculiar sanctity attached, and whose consecration to himself God enjoined (Exodus 13:1, Exodus 13:11-16); and with the further application of the term first-born to Israel as a people, Exodus 4:22. The way was thus prepared for its application to the Messiah. There seems, moreover, to be a clear reference to the case of Esau (Hebrews 12:16). Esau was the first-born of the twin sons of Isaac (Genesis 25:25). He sold his birthright (πρωτοτοκία), and thus forfeited the privilege of the first-born. The assembly to which Christian believers are introduced is composed of those who have not thus parted with their birthright, but have retained the privileges of the first-born. The phrase "church of the first-born" includes all who have possessed and retained their heavenly birthright, living or dead, of both dispensations: the whole Israel of God, although it is quite likely that the Christian church may have been most prominent in the writer's thought.

Which are written in heaven (ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς)

Ἁπογράφειν, only here and Luke 2:1, Luke 2:3, Luke 2:5, means to write off or copy; to enter in a register the names, property, and income of men. Hence, ἀπογραφή an enrollment. See on Luke 2:1, Luke 2:2. Here, inscribed as members of the heavenly commonwealth; citizens of heaven; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8, etc. See for the image, Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28; Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20.

To God the judge of all (κριτῇ θεῷ πάντων)

Rend. "a judge who is God of all." Comp. Daniel 7:9 ff. God of all his first-born, of those whom he chastens, of all who are in filial relations with him under both covenants, and who, therefore, need not fear to draw near to him as judge.

Spirits of just men made perfect (πνεύμασι δικαίων)

The departed spirits of the righteous of both dispensations, who have completed their course after having undergone their earthly discipline. Notice again the idea of τελείωσις, not attained under the old covenant, but only through the work of Christ, the benefits of which the disembodied saints of the O.T. share with departed Christian believers. Comp. Hebrews 11:40.

Hebrews 12:23 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the general.

Psalm 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

Psalm 111:1 Praise you the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers...

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

Ephesians 5:24-27 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing...

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake...

1 Timothy 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

the firstborn.

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

Exodus 13:2 Sanctify to me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

Deuteronomy 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he has...

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 be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes...


Exodus 32:32 Yet now, if you will forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray you, out of your book which you have written.

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

Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Philippians 4:3 And I entreat you also, true yoke fellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also...

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 the lake of fire.

written. or, enrolled. God.

Hebrews 6:10-12 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed toward his name...

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 with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked...

Psalm 50:5,6 Gather my saints together to me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice...

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 shall judge the world with righteousness...

Psalm 98:9 Before the LORD; for he comes to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

Matthew 25:31-34 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory...

John 5:27 And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-7 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God...

1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously:

the spirits.

Hebrews 11:4,40 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous...

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

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

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

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: but I follow after...


Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Revelation 7:14-17 And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes...

Cross References
Genesis 18:25
Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?"

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

Psalm 50:6
The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah

Psalm 69:28
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

Psalm 94:2
Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve!

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

Hebrews 2:12
saying, "I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise."

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