The Berean Expositor
Volume 20 - Page 99 of 195
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The figure called polysyndeton (or "many ands") is employed in the description of
both covenants. Let us notice it:--
"For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, AND that burned with
fire, AND unto blackness, AND darkness, AND tempest, AND the sound of a trumpet,
AND the voice of words."
"But ye are come unto mount Sion, AND unto the city of the living God, the heavenly
Jerusalem, AND to myriads of angels, a full assembly, AND to a church of firstborn ones
having been enrolled in heaven, AND to God the Judge of all, AND to the spirits of
righteous ones having been perfected, AND to the Mediator of the new covenant--Jesus,
AND to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
It will be seen that a due observation of these "ands" will help us to keep each feature
in its place.
The A.V. leads one to read: "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn", as
though it were one company. Paneguris, the word translated "general assembly", means
an assembly met together for some festal or joyful occasion, and the construction of the
passage necessitates the translation: "And to myriads, a festal assembly of angels."
We learn that myriads of angels were associated with Sinai and the giving of the law;
"The chariots of the Lord are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is
among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place" (Psa. 68: 17; see also Deut. 33: 2). If
these angels were at mount Sinai, they shall also be at Mount Sion, and there they will be
a "festal assembly", for "marriage of the Lamb" will have come.
This church is the church of the firstborn, a special company, those who did not
despise their birthright, nor barter it away for a morsel of meat. This same company is
referred to as: "The spirits of just men mad perfect", each expression having been used
in the context of chapters 11: or 12: In 12: 9 we read of "The Father of spirits"; in 11:
"the righteous" are in view (10: 38; 11: 4, 7, 8), and in 11: 40 it is the perfecting: "God
having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be perfected."
The close association of the "better thing", the "better country", and the "better
resurrection", with this perfecting shows that here in Heb. 12: we are taken to that time
when the church of the firstborn shall complete and enter into its inheritance. Here
Abraham will set foot in that city for which he looked; Moses will receive that reward
unto which he had respect; all who believed, yet died, not having received the promise,
shall enter into their birthright. The mediator is not Moses, neither is the blood the blood
of bulls and goats: "Jesus" is the Mediator of the new covenant, and this blood of
sprinkling speaks better things than that of Abel.
This heavenly Sion is before the apostle right through the epistle. The "so great
salvation" of 2: 3 is connected with the "world to come" of which the apostle spoke in
2: 5, and the "glory" unto which the Captain of salvation was leading (2: 10). The
words: "He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (2: 11), the thought of the Captain
being "perfected" through sufferings (2: 10), find their echo in the words: "God is not