Hebrews 12:23
Parallel Verses
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,

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,

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;

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,

Hebrews 12:23 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

To the general assembly - Πανηγυρει. This word is joined to the preceding by some of the best MSS., and is quoted in connection by several of the fathers: Ye are come - to the general assembly of innumerable angels; and this is probably the true connection.

The word πανηγυρις is compounded of παν, all, and αγυρις, an assembly; and means, particularly, an assembly collected on festive occasions. It is applied to the assembly of the Grecian states at their national games, Olympic, Isthmian, etc.; and hence a speech pronounced in favor of any person at such festive assemblies was called πανηγυρικος λογος, a panegyrical discourse; and hence our word panegyric.

The first-born - Those who first received the Gospel of Christ, and who are elsewhere termed the first fruits: this is spoken in allusion to the first-born among the Israelites, who were all considered as the Lord's property, and were dedicated to him. The Jews gave the title בכור bechor, first-born, to those who were very eminent or excellent; what we would term the head or top of his kin. The Church of the first-born is the assembly of the most excellent.

Which are written in heaven - Who are enrolled as citizens of the New Jerusalem, and are entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of the Church here, and of heaven above. This is spoken in allusion to the custom of enrolling or writing on tables, etc., the names of all the citizens of a particular city; and all those thus registered were considered as having a right to live there, and to enjoy all its privileges. All genuine believers are denizens of heaven. That is their country, and there they have their rights, etc. And every member of Christ has a right to, and can demand, every ordinance in the Church of his Redeemer; and wo to him who attempts to prevent them!

God the Judge of all - The supreme God is ever present in this general assembly: to him they are all gathered; by him they are admitted to all those rights, etc.; under his inspection they continue to act; and it is he alone who erases from the register those who act unworthily of their citizenship. Judge here is to be taken in the Jewish use of the term, i.e. one who exercises sovereign rule and authority.

The spirits of just men made perfect - We cannot understand these terms without the assistance of Jewish phraseology. The Jews divide mankind into three classes: -

1. The Just Perfect, צדיקים גמורים tsaddikim gemurim.

2. The wicked perfect, רשעים גמורים reshaim gemurim.

3. Those between both, בינוניים beinoniyim.

1. The just perfect are those,

1. Who have conquered all brutal appetites and gross passions.

2. Who have stood in the time of strong temptation.

3. Who give alms with a sincere heart.

4. Who worship the true God only.

continued...

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...

which.

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...

*etc:

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...

Library
Shaking of Heaven and Earth. December 22.
"Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but heaven" (Hebrews xii. 26- 29). This is one of the royal texts of Scripture. It declares one of those great laws of the kingdom of God which may fulfil itself once and again at many eras and by many methods; which fulfilled itself most gloriously in the first century after Christ; again in the fifth century; again at the time of the Crusades; and again at the great Reformation in the sixteenth century,--and is fulfilling itself again at this very day.
Charles Kingsley—Daily Thoughts,

March 26. "Jesus, the Author and Finisher of Our Faith" (Heb. xii. 2).
"Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. xii. 2). Add to your faith--do not add to yourself. This is where we make the mistake. We must not only enter by faith, but we must advance by faith each step of the way. At every new stage we shall find ourselves as incompetent and unequal for the pressure as before, and we must take the grace and the victory simply by faith. Is it courage? We shall find ourselves lacking in the needed courage; we must claim it by faith. Is it love? Our own love
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Voice of the Blood of Christ
Now, we have in our text "blood" mentioned--two-fold blood. We have the blood of murdered Abel, and the blood of murdered Jesus. We have also two things in the text:--a comparison between the blood of sprinkling, and the blood of Abel; and then a certain condition mentioned. Rather, if we read the whole verse in order to get its meaning, we find that the righteous are spoken of as coming to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel; so that the condition which will
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

The Shameful Sufferer
"O love, thou fathomless abyss!" for this love of Christ is indeed measureless and fathomless. None of us can attain unto it. In speaking thereof we feel our own weakness, we cast ourselves upon the strength of the Spirit, but, even then, we feel that we can never attain unto the majesty of this subject. Before we can ever get a right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand his previous glory in its height of majesty, and his incarnation upon the earth in all its depths of shame. Now, who can
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Cross References
Genesis 18:25
Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

Exodus 4:22
Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son,

Psalm 50:6
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.

Psalm 69:28
May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.

Psalm 94:2
Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.

Luke 10:20
However, 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 declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises."

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