Hebrews 12:22–23, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 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,”
As we approach the end of the epistle to the Hebrews we find in chapter 12 that the author once again compares the glory and perfection of the new covenant with the imperfection of the old. At this point, the original audience of the book should have been convinced of the superiority of Christ to all who came before Him. However, lest the audience should have any lingering doubts, today’s passage once again reminds us that under the new covenant we have something far better than under the old.
In the first half of chapter 12, we read of the need for us to strengthen ourselves and avoid sin so that we will persevere in faith until the end of our lives. As verses 18–24 make clear, we must do this because of the better covenant we now live under. For we have not come to Mount Sinai and the restrictions made there regarding our access into God’s presence (vv. 18–21). Rather, we “have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering” (v. 22).
We must strengthen ourselves for the race ahead because of the better days in which we live. We no longer live anticipating the coming of the Messiah; rather, we live after the Messiah has come. We have come to Mount Zion, only now it is not the physical Mount Zion. As the rest of verse 22 makes clear, it is the heavenly Mount Zion to which we have come — the heavenly city where perfection already reigns.
In some ways, this statement seems hard to believe. After all, when we look around, we see that perfection is not yet here. It is hard to understand how we can be in the presence of “God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (v. 23).
At present, there is a separation between what we experience and the realities of heaven. Yet, at the same time, by faith, there is no such separation. Christ has come and accomplished all of the work necessary to bring about the renewal and consummation of all things. When we are united to Him by faith, we join Him in heaven (Eph. 2:4–6) even though this reality is not yet manifested fully in our day-to-day experiences. We no longer sit under types and shadows but live positionally in heaven. In Jesus, our position has changed, and this heavenly reality is guaranteed to become an earthly one as well.
Because of our new position, our worship is more than just a collection of earthly believers or the offering of a single individual. Rather, when we worship in Spirit and truth, we join the great throng already surrounding the throne of glory. When you worship the Lord, remember that you worship with the saints of all the ages.