HEBREWS – Chapter 12



Tuesday, May 21, 2024; March 6, 2012

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Heb. 12:1-2:  Now then, as for us, seeing we have this great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God.


“The many heroes of faith enumerated in chapter eleven become to the writer an amphitheater of spectators cheering the Christian runner on toward the goal.  Indeed, they are more than spectators; they are witnesses (Greek “martyrs”) interpreting the meaning of life to him.  They encourage us by their own lives, which makes clear the certain success of our persistent participation, to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.


The sin that so easily entangles us describes the hampering effects of a clinging robe (euperistatos) which could refer to those sins of drifting, dullness, lack of spiritual exercise, or immaturity, which any or all could lead one to lose the race of life.   Earlier Greek manuscripts of Hebrews, however, give a different word, (euperispastos-different spelling) which means ‘easily distracting.’  This word fits in well with the figure of a runner whose eyes would be fixed only on the goal.  This goal is Jesus who as a man participated in our human experiences.  He is not only the object of faith’s vision, but He is its greatest encouragement for He is its author and perfecter.  As author, He himself participated in believing.  Jesus blazed the trail of faith for Christians to follow.  His human experience, like ours, was controlled by faith and not by sight.  He is also faith’s perfecter; for all that faith hopes for finds its consummation in Him.  Jesus is a further example of encouragement to faith in that the endurance of the cross was the price He willingly paid for the joy set before him.” (A. C. Purdy, Commentary. P. 739; F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary)


This great Cloud of Witnesses is part of that crowd of Revelation 5: 11-13: …I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders (church); and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”  Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and that are in them heard I saying, “Blessing, and honor, glory, and power be unto him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”


The writer has given us a remarkable list of heroes of the faith, but it is not to them that he wants us to look.  While their walk of faith can encourage us and testify that the faith-life is the only life worth living, the greatest example of the faith-life is Jesus.  We’re to fix our eyes on Him.  Though we are surrounded by that great cloud of witnesses who are cheering us on, Jesus is the man to watch. 


Heb. 12: 3-4: For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.  You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.


That scripture should burst the pride bubble of all who magnify their suffering.  Christians are encouraged to consider Jesus, to study carefully His life of steadfast endurance for the joy of the Kingdom which is a greater joy than anything we might suffer through life’s journey.  This is not to minimize the suffering of many through physical pain, loss of loved ones, loss of livelihood, home, family, lameness, blindness, etc.  


1 Peter 3:14:  If you suffer for righteousness sake, happy are you, be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.


1 Peter 3:17: It is better, if the will of God be so, that you suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.


1 Peter. 4: 16:  If any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.


Here believers are encouraged to regard their sufferings less than Christ’s sufferings as a small price to pay for the prize to be secured at the end of the race set before us.  Choosing the cross, resulted in Christ being exalted to the right hand of the throne of God.  But he didn’t win it for Himself alone.  One of the promises is: To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne… (Rev. 3:21).


In order to receive the reward, we must finish the race though weariness may tempt us to give out and quit.  The life of Jesus, therefore, is a call to perseverance, for the contest is not a short dash to glory, but a distance race calling for endurance.


When the writer says the Hebrews have not yet been called upon to seal their faith with their own blood, it implies they may have to give up their lives in the future.  The Christian life is not for sissies, but people who are willing to live for Christ and to die for Christ.  For many the cost of living for Christ is a higher price than they want to pay with their lives.


Hebrews 12: 5-8: Have you forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, or faint when you are rebuked of him.  For whom the Lord loves, he disciplines everyone He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as a son.  If you endure discipline, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father does not discipline.  If you find yourself without discipline, you could ask whether or not you belong to God.  No discipline at all could mean you’re not in the family.


Now the writer explains the meaning of suffering and hardship as a discipline of a loving Father, whose purpose in it is to educate his child.  Thus, in the case of the Christian, suffering for doing wrong is God’s educational process by which we are fitted to share God’s holiness.


However, we must not get into heresy that all trouble and suffering of a Christian is due to sin.  This is truth stretched too far out and was part of the error of the Faith movement.  Peter wrote that a Christian may suffer for well doing and we may suffer for being a Christian.  Also, Jesus taught that we may suffer that the Glory of God may be revealed.


Jesus suffered, but it was not due to His Sin. Yet, he submitted unto His Father to suffer for the redemption of man.


  Jesus said of the sickness of Lazarus:  John 11:4:  This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.


John 9: 1-3: As Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  His disciples asked him, saying, master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, neither has this man sinned, nor his parents; but the works of God should be made manifest in him.


The analogy of the Father-son relationship is that the proper attitude to take toward discipline is that of submission.  A son who respects his father will submit to Godly discipline administered in love. 


Heb. 12:9-11:  We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.  Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”


Our fathers of the flesh are given the responsibility to train us up in the way in which we should go that we may accept responsibility, be responsible people, and follow after the Lord.    Our Father God trains us that we might be partakers of His holiness.  So many things people get involved in is not profitable to their lives; nor is  profitable for the righteousness of God in our lives.  The Lord will train us in what is profitable for us that we may grow in unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ  (Eph. 4:13).


The Mother’s heart is all accepting, and the Father’s heart sets boundaries of accountability.  When the Lord set me into the Office of Pastor, he gave me the Father’s heart.  However, as the men of our church will testify, I am very careful to not usurp authority over men, or over women for that matter.  Yes, I gently bring correction that the saints may not go off- course and lose the race of life.  I was raised under a gentle hand as a child and had great respect for my Father.  Those who cannot submit to the gentle hand of the Father, then “suffer” the education process of Father God.  I trust the Father to put his children “on course.”


When we come into the rest of God in all circumstances, then we live a life in the Kingdom of God which yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.  There is nothing the world has to compare with that state-of-being.  The peaceable fruit of righteousness is in the Kingdom of God.


We trust the Lord totally that the circumstances of our lives are dictated by God who directs our destinies through His unfailing, omniscience, and whose all-loving nature actively promotes our highest welfare. 


Hebrews 12: 12-14:  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but rather let it be healed.  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord;


Along with the discipline of God, the writer now urges self-discipline and the discipline which comes through the power of pulling ourselves together and get back in the running going forward in courage and faith.  Those who are weak in faith (the lame ones) could be turned aside and permanently damaged by our failure to persevere.  As much as lies within our power, we are to try to heal them and help them to overcome.  The Greek word for “lame” is a figurative description of someone wavering between two beliefs.    Final failure to finish the race of life comes from continuous weakening. 


Hebrews 12:15: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;  It is not just the responsibility of the pastor, but “the power of the corporate body to make sure that no one of its members misses the grace of God or that none lack the grace of God and fall behind by not keeping pace with the movement of divine grace which meets and stirs the progress of the Christian.” (Westcott Commentary, P. 406; F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary)




The church is to guard against the growth of any bitter root, an expression which, coming as it does from Deut. 29:18, probably means a person whose heart has been turned away from the Lord and who becomes a root-bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, thereby causing trouble within the Christian community and defiling many besides himself.


12:16-17:  Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.  For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.


The church is also to make sure that no second Esau arises among them, a person who is sexually immoral or Godless, and a person who does not value spiritual things.  The writer warns that a decision like Esau’s is irrevocable. 


Esau is an example of someone with this fatal indifference to things of the Spirit.  Here was a man of the world, a sportsman, someone who lived for earthly pleasure even though he grew up in a home where the revelation of God was the central fact of life.



Esau cried genuine tears, but his father wouldn’t reverse his decision.  Jacob inherited the blessing.  But don’t think that Esau suddenly became a spiritual man.  He didn’t.  It wasn’t God’s blessing he sought.  He wanted the double portion of his father’s wealth which went with the birthright.  He did not want to come into submission to his younger brother.  Esau never cared for the spiritual promises that went with the blessing.  In later years when he became wealthy he remained indifferent to the Abrahamic promise.


This application of the Esau story is clear:  when a person who knows the truth comes to the place where he despises God’s offers, no second repentance is possible.  The writer is reinforcing what he said in Chapter Six about the impossibility of bringing enlightened people to repentance again.  Having tasted the best of God’s revelation, there is nothing more to attract him.


Consider how gracious and gentle has been our experience with God.  As Christians and because of the perfect Law of Faith in Christ, we have a far greater advantage than those under the old covenant.  The end of the educational process is much more glorious than the previous.  The old covenant was inaugurated at Mount Sinai, a mountain which could not be touched.


Heb. 12: 18-21:  For you have not come unto the mount that might not be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (for they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart; and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.)


For his final comparison between Judaism and Christianity, our writer describes two scenes for us. First, he takes us to the earthly Sinai, and then to the heavenly Zion.  As we read the description of what happened at Sinai, he wants us to sense two things: the inaccessible nature of God and His unapproachable holiness.  He wants us to feel the terror that kept men at a distance from God under the Old Covenant.  That way we will better appreciate the grace and gentleness that draws men to Him under the New Covenant.


As we study the scene of the Israelites staring at a mountain burning with fire, darkness, a storm, swirling smoke, shattering trumpet blasts and a deafening voice reverberating off the sides of the mountain as God speaks, we see a fear-stricken people who were afraid to hear the voice of God.


So great was the presence of the Holiness of God that if an animal touched the mountain it had to be slain from a distance.  The Israelites were so terrified at the voice, that they begged Moses to do the speaking instead of God. 


Heb. 12: 22-23:  But you have come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 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.”


In this city in the realm of the Third Heaven (the Spirit), there is no distinction between humans and angels, neither does he differentiate between the saints in heaven and those still on earth.  He says to the readers, “You have come…,” therefore, we are to include ourselves in the festal assembly.  In referring to believers, the writer lumps them all into one category, “the church of the first born.”  He gives this title to Jesus’ church because the Lord is God’s firstborn Son, and all true believers are in Him.   Every person whose name is written in the “Lamb’s book of life,” is in this church.  Our citizenship is in this city right now (Phil 3:20).  What’s more, the apostle says, We sit together with them in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6).   You have come”--- not you will come.  This is not future but present, Now, you have come!


The holy presence of the Judge is not a threat to the Christian.  Why?  There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:1).  The matter of the believer’s guilt for sin will never be raised, for all sin was laid on Christ.  With the sin barrier removed, any true believer can stand in God’s presence unafraid. 


However, every Christian must appear before God to give an account of himself (Rom. 14:12).  We will all be judged on the basis of our allowing Christ’s Kingdom to flow through us for His Holy purposes.



Francis Frangipane posted a teaching on March 5, 2012, The Real Jesus.  “Not only is Jesus our Savior, He is also the “author and perfecter of our faith.”  When the writer says to the spirits of just men made perfect.   “Grab with both hands the thought that Jesus is the “perfecter of our faith.”  The faith Christ started in us, He is now working to perfect.


The fact that Jesus is the “perfecter of our faith” is important because even if we seek to move in prayer and spiritual authority, even if we fearlessly continue to persevere, even if we continue forward with motives purified by love, it is the power of faith that undergirds all…”


Hebrews 12:24: And to Jesus “the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.


Abel’s blood cried for revenge; Christ’s blood pleads for forgiveness and pardon for sinners.  Because of Jesus’ shed blood, the holiness and majesty of God which once barred man from His presence now draws us to Him.



Verses 25-29 is the writer’s final warning against refusing God. 


12:25: See that you refuse not him that speaks.  For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from that speaks from heaven; whose voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.  And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Wherefore, we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire.


The contrast between the old covenant (which to the writer of Hebrews was the highest expression of all religions) and the new is as great as the contrast between terror and grace.


There were five warnings in the Letter to the Hebrews:


1.     Against neglecting the truth and drifting from the Lord (2: 1-4).

2.     Against unbelief (3: 7-14).

3.     Against falling away (6: 4-8).

4.     Against the willful rejection of God’s provision in Christ and despising the Holy Spirit (10: 26-31).

5.     Refusing to listen when God Himself is speaking to you.


The more light a person has, the more he is responsible to walk in that light.  He is saying, it is inexcusable for us not to listen to the Lord when He speaks to us.


Thus, if to refuse God’s covenant made on earth (through Moses) meant death, then to refuse God’s covenant made from heaven (through Jesus) means far greater punishment.  The refusal is not simply the refusal of a covenant, but of God who invites us to join Him in the covenant relationship.


Paul quotes Haggai who predicts a super shaking like an earthquake which not only shakes this globe, but everything out in space as well.


Hag. 2:6 For thus says the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.


  At Sinai his voice shook the earth, but according to the prophecy of Haggai, God now plans to shake the entire universe (Mt. 13:31; 2 Pet. 3:7).  Only those things belonging to an unshakeable order may remain.  Christians belong to just such a kingdom, one that cannot be shaken.  This is the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. 


 It is, therefore, a cause for gratitude and worship and also for awe, for we must not forget that our God is a consuming fire, who destroys all transient and temporal things in order that which is timeless and unchanging may emerge in full glory.


Today is a day of mercy.  However, the Holiness of God does not change.  His Holiness is still a consuming fire.  Because of the blood of Jesus, we enjoy His presence and gentleness, but one day we will have to stand before Him and account for our lives.  Everything in our lives that is wood, hay and stubble will be consumed.   Only that which yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness and love will stand in that day.



Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church, 10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX


Scripture from K.J.V.; Quotes from Francis Frangipane as indicated from teaching, The Real Jesus, 3/5/12; C. S. Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews; F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary, Gerald F. Hawthorne; Westcott Commentary; A. C. Purdy Commentary. 




(Hebrews 12:24-29)


Heb. 12:24: And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel.  SEE THAT YOU REFUSE NOT HIM THAT SPEAKS.


This is speaking blood.  The blood of Abel cried out to the Lord from the ground. (Gen. 4:10).


12:25: For if they refused not Him that spoke on earth, how much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that SPEAKS FROM HEAVEN.


Jesus blood speaks to God on behalf of sinners; it pleads not for vengeance, but for mercy.  It speaks to sinners in the name of God.  It speaks pardon to their sins and peace to their souls.  When God speaks to men in the most excellent manner, he expects our attention.  Jesus now speaks from a higher and more glorious throne, Heaven.


Then indeed His voice shook the earth. (Deut.4:10-15)  “And the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire: you heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only you heard a voice…. Vs. 15:  Take you therefore good heed to yourselves; for you saw so manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spoke to you in Ho’reb out of the midst of the fire.”


We have heard glorious Words from Heaven in this place in the past few months.

We heard of the heat wave in the Southwest, of the floods in New York and many more national disasters that are soon to affect our nation.  We heard here last Sunday night that from this place the oil of the Holy Ghost will flow to this city and to areas round about.  What are we to say about Words from Heaven that are this great?


When the Lord spoke to Israel in Deut. 4:1, He said, “Hearken, O Israel, to the statutes and to the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that you may live and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers gives you.  You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish anything from it, that you can keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you….(vs.7) For what nations is thee so great, who has God so near to them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we can upon him for?  And what nation is there so great, that has statues and judgments so righteous in all this law, which I set before you this day?


America is a nation with a history of mercy righteousness, and justice.  However, we are seeing the Word of God that He spoke from the fire trampled on by liberals and politicians who do not fear God or respect his laws.


Hebrews 1:8 &9 tell us of the righteousness of the Lord’s Kingdom.  It is a Kingdom for ever and ever.  “You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above your fellows:


This then is the “key” to the anointing of the oil of the Holy Ghost. 1 John 2:27-29 tell us this anointing which you have received of Him abides in you.  It is the Holy Spirit of Truth and of righteousness.


Zachariah 4:11-14:  Then answered I, and said to him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?  And I answered again, and said to him.  What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty THE GOLDEN OIL out of themselves?  And he answered me and said, Know you not what these be? And I said, No, my Lord.  Then said He, These are the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.




We have heard the Voice from Heaven in this place.  It is by the gospel from heaven that God shook to pieces the Jewish nation, and introduced a new state of the church.


When God speaks to men in the most excellent manner, the guilt of those who refuse him is the greater.  It was by the sound of the gospel trumpet that a new kingdom was erected for God in the world, which can never be so shaken as to be removed. 


If  we turn away from him that speaks from Heaven:  whose voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, saying, yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.  And this word, yet once more signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and GODLY FEAR; FOR OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE.


We cannot worship God acceptably, unless we worship him with godly reverence and fear.  As faith so Holy and Godly Fear is necessary to acceptable worship.


The Holy Spirit is moving upon the earth.  Many have refused him.  We have so watered down the truth of the Word of God that the Voice of the Blood of Jesus is speaking and the earth is shaking.


Do not take lightly the words spoken in this place.

Rev. 11:3,4,5, and 6: I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy 1260 days clothed in sackcloth.  These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.  If any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devours their enemies and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.  These have the power to shut heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.:


Verse 12:  And they heard a great voice from heaven.

Verse 15:  And there were great voices in heaven, saying,

“The kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”




Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church. 10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX


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