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
CommentaryClarke'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.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
written. or, enrolled. God.
LibraryShaking 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).
The Voice of the Blood of Christ
The Shameful Sufferer
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?"
Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son,
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.
May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.
Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.
However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises."
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