Hebrews – Chapter Twelve XLV

by Ed Urzi

“whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’ Now this, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27).

The passage quoted above calls upon an image from one of Israel’s less prominent (but equally authoritative) prophets…

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:6-7 ESV).

However, the Old Testament prophet Haggai was not the only prophetic voice to employ this imagery…

“Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger” (Isaiah 13:13).

The New Testament epistle of 2 Peter also expresses a similar idea in an apocalyptic framework…

“The day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day heaven will pass away with a roaring sound. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and be destroyed. The earth and everything that people have done on it will be exposed. All these things will be destroyed in this way. So think of the kind of holy and godly lives you must live as you look forward to the day of God and eagerly wait for it to come. When that day comes, heaven will be on fire and will be destroyed. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and melt” (2 Peter 3:10-12 GW).

Thus, we have four Biblical witnesses who testify to the approach of this all-encompassing, catastrophic event. That event will ultimately lead to the complete dissolution of the universe, along with every material thing we know today. To borrow an illustration from our text in Hebrews 12:27, everything that can be shaken, will be shaken during that time.

Nevertheless, that future reality should not provoke a sense of dread, fear, or apprehension among God’s people. Instead, we should join in the triumphal declaration of 2 Peter 3:13: “But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides” (NET).