“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken–that is, things that have been made–in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27 ESV).
Our text from Hebrews 12:26-27 represents good news or bad news, depending on your perspective. For instance, let’s consider this passage from an analytic viewpoint…
“Scientifically, the end of the world must be viewed as a foregone certainty. Whether from the failure of its energies when the sun is at last burned out, or by the cataclysmic engulfment of the earth by the sun, one or the other being certain to come eventually, the earth must be viewed as having a terminator at the end of its course. There can be no scientific projection of an eternity for our earth.” (1)
While that clinical outlook is rather bleak, we can take no solace from an overview of history either…
“What does this world depend upon? Governments, politics, administration, education, legislation? These things are the fundamentals of history – the things men reckoned on, rested on, and counted on to keep human life going – but every one of them is something that can be shaken.” (2)
The same may be said of our political institutions….
“Men want to make the world safe, but no man can make this world safe, nor can any world organization such as the United Nations make it safe. It is not even safe for me to walk at night down the street on which I live.” (3)
The good news is that eternity will be far different from these assessments of our world today. Instead, the value system of eternity will exemplify the virtues of “…a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). This echoes Jesus’ encouraging message from Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” (NET).
So in view of God’s promise to “shake not only the earth but also the heavens,” we would do well to adopt the spiritual perspective reflected in our passage from Hebrews 12:26-27…
“According to Haggai 2:5-7, all things in the world will be ‘shaken’ in the coming judgment period, but the things which cannot be shaken will remain -that is, God’s kingdom (12:28), His salvation (Is 51:6), Christ’s words (Ma 24:35), and those who do God’s will (1 Jo 2:17).” (4)
(1) Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on Hebrews 12”. “Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/hebrews-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999. [verse 27]
(2) Ray C. Stedman and James D. Denney, Adventuring through the Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to the Entire Bible (Discovery House, 1997).
(3) J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee, “Hebrews 12:15-29 Danger Signal: The Peril Of Denying” Copyright 1981 by J. Vernon McGee
(4) Institute for Creation Research, New Defender’s Study Bible Notes Hebrews 12:27 https://www.icr.org/bible/Hebrews/12/27/