What does Hebrews 12:24 mean?
ESV: and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
NIV: to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
NASB: and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
CSB: and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel.
NLT: You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
KJV: And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
NKJV: to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Verse Commentary:
This verse completes a comparison between how God presented man with the old covenant, versus how He presents man with the new covenant. At Mount Sinai, the people of Israel were shown that God is absolutely holy and unapproachable by sinful man. This is why God used clouds, fire, trumpets, and so forth to inaugurate His covenant through Moses (Exodus 19:9–20). On the other hand, Christ offers us a new covenant, one which removes the barrier between men and God (Hebrews 9:24), and which allows us to approach the throne of God with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). As a result, we "come to" this new covenant in a tone of peace and rest, rather than one of fear and judgment. This scene is depicted to include celebration, angels, and the departed Christians who wait for us to join them.

Here, Christ is mentioned as the final component of that glorious scenario. Earlier in the book of Hebrews, it was mentioned that Christ's work in heaven was the "real" sacrifice which the blood offered in earthly temples was meant to symbolize (Hebrews 9:23–28). Once again, Jesus Christ is mentioned as the "mediator" of this new covenant. This is from the Greek term mesitē, which literally means someone who goes between two parties to resolve a dispute. In modern English, we might call this person an arbitrator. Christ, and Christ alone, serves to bridge the gap between sinful men and a perfectly holy God (1 Timothy 2:5–6).

Earlier in this letter, the writer mentioned Abel, whose untimely death did not prevent him from being counted as an example of godly faith (Hebrews 11:4). In that reference, it was said that Abel "still speaks," in spite of his death. Of course, Abel's blood was shed without his consent (Genesis 4:8), in an act that demanded retribution (Genesis 4:10). In contrast, Christ's blood was shed of His own will (John 10:17), and rescues mankind from the penalty of their own sins (Isaiah 53:5).
Verse Context:
Hebrews 12:18–29 summarizes the lessons given through chapters 11 and 12. Those living under the new covenant have the advantage of looking to Christ, rather than to the law. The Old Testament was given through ominous signs, dire messages, fire, and sacrifice; it involved material things in a material world. God presented Himself as unapproachable, symbolic of His holiness. The New Covenant offers something better, and something beyond rituals and earthly needs. Also symbolically, Christ gives us an ability to approach God which the old covenant could not grant. While prior things can be changed and destroyed, the destiny offered to believers in Christ cannot. That is the ''kingdom that cannot be shaken,'' and our worship for God ought to reflect reverence as a result.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 11 explained the victories of some of the Old Testament's greatest heroes. It also explained their sufferings and persecution. This chapter uses those examples as a ''cloud of witnesses'' to prove that God does not abandon us when we suffer. In many cases, He uses those experiences to ''train'' us, as if we were athletes, to make us stronger. In other cases, it's the same kind of discipline that a child receives from a loving father. Unlike the old covenant, which rightly inspired fear and dread, the new covenant offers us peace. As with any other matter of truth or falsehood, we should cling to what's true, so that we can be part of ''a kingdom that cannot be shaken.''
Chapter Context:
Hebrews chapter 12 builds on the example of the heroes of the faith mentioned in chapter 11. The main point of this lesson is that these figures endured suffering and hardship, yet held to their faith in God, which allowed them to achieve victory. Chapter 12, in particular, points out that earthly hardship is not a sign of God's displeasure, or abandonment. Rather, it's part of living in a fallen, godless world. And, in many cases, it's a form of ''training'' the Lord uses to mold us into more powerful instruments. This, as with other passages in Hebrews, leads into another explanation of why we should take these ideas seriously, and sets up a few final practical lessons in chapter 13.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
Accessed 7/17/2024 12:17:53 PM
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