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From the editor: Registered in Heaven (Heb 12.23)

J Grant

The Epistle to the Hebrews was written first for Jews who had become followers of the Lord Jesus and had been banished from Jewish society for that cause. They gathered together with Gentiles who had taken the same pathway, and consequently Paul states that Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) were "all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3.28). The teaching of the epistle is relevant to all believers no matter whether they be Jews or Gentiles.

Towards the end of the book (12.22-24), with the Jewish background in view, the writer brings to the attention of the reader the great prospects that lie before all Christians, both Jew and Gentile. The promises are stated clearly.

"Ye are come unto Mount Sion". What a contrast with the darkness that was in Mount Sinai when the Law was given. In the former there was fire, blackness, darkness and tempest and all this because Israelites were confident that they could stand up to the demands of God's law. The claim was made by Israel after Moses returned from the mountain top in Sinai when the people stated, "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do" (Ex 19.8). In later generations Mount Zion was where David had captured the heights from the Jebusites (2 Sam 5.7), where later the Temple in Jerusalem was placed. But, following that, the nation once again failed.

Now, spiritually, Christians enjoy what God has given them. Nothing is lost to any Jews or Gentiles who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus. Christians have come to the "city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb 12.22), the centre of authority and the place where it will be. There will come a day when this city will be the heart of rule and worship on heaven and earth.

Now further attention is given to the church. It is the general assembly, the universal gathering, which now takes our attention (Heb 12.23). The gathering of those who are part of the church, Jew and Gentile, will be very great and come from all the centuries which follow the events recorded in Acts 2. What a mighty gathering this will be. None will be lost, all will be gathered in. This is a promise to all church age believers. It will indeed be a "festive" gathering marked by joy. With assurance we can anticipate this mighty gathering, knowing what a promise and a privilege we have who have placed our confidence in the man who died at Calvary.

But pause again! The names of those who will gather are "written in heaven" or, as JND translates it, "registered in heaven" (v.23). This reminds us of the words of the Lord to the seventy commissioned by Him: "your names are written in heaven" (Lk 10.1-20). The Lord reminded those who had gone out to preach that the Adversary could not destroy their work. But what the writer to the Hebrews recorded is not for disciples of that time alone. How joyful, yet how solemn is this register. What joy it gives to the heart when our name is registered in heaven, where no errors are possible. For others there is no appeal for further consideration by the Lord to change this register, since it has all the authority of heaven behind it. No one can enter a name into it falsely, and no one can erase what has been entered. The security of the Christian is eternally sound.

Little wonder that the writer stated, "let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Heb 12.28). What a climax. The Lord Jesus Christ has died, has been raised from the dead, and has gone to glory. The spirits of the just, justified by faith while they were alive on earth, will have been made "perfect"; they are fitted for glory due to the death of Him who came from heaven to accomplish such triumph. Throughout the heavens and the earth there will always be joy for a victory as great as this. The register in glory has safely kept the names of all believers. Let us rejoice daily in how great was the triumph of Calvary.


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