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PRCT Greenville Pre-Conference #1 - Rick Phillips on "What Cannot Be Shaken"

The 2010 Greenville PCRT Conference opened with a talk by Rev. Richard D. Phillip on Hebrews 12:25-29, titled "What Cannot Be Shaken."

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 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.  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12 takes us on a geography tour of the Bible. We are shown the two great mountains of redemptive history. The first was Mount Sinai, a mountain of foreboding--a place of darkness and gloom. This place showed the danger and peril of divine wrath. But then we are shown Mount Zion. The blood of Jesus has turned Mt. Sinai into Mount Zion. We are invited to come up and live on this mountain and live.

This passage is the fifth and final warning in the book of Hebrews against the danger of apostasy. The language "see to it..." occurs repeatedly throughout this letter. "See to it" that you do not fall away" is the great concern of the author. Now, the author is arguing from the lesser to the great. He is arguing from the lesser of Mt. Sinai to the greater of Mt. Zion. If the Israelites did not escape the danger of turning from God at Sinai, how much worse is it if we turn away from "Him who speaks" from Zion?

Many make the mistake of thinking that the God of the Old Testament is a God of anger and the God of the New Testament is a God of grace. There can be no greater mistake. The Jesus of Mt. Zion spoke more about Hell than about Heaven. If we are threatened with eternal punishment for breaking the Law, how much worse will it be if we do not believe the Gospel.

Verse 25 argues from the Law to the Gospel. The author is trying to impress upon his hearers the eternal significance of Jesus. In verse 27 the writer introduces the idea of the earth-quaking power of God. The shaking of Mt. Sinai was a precursor of a greater shaking of the heavens and the earth in the New Covenant.The author quote Zechariah as saying, "yet once more, I shake not only the earth but also the heaven." What he means by this is that the things of this world are all going to pass away. As John notes, "The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16-17)are all fading. The contrast between the Bible's view of history and the world's view of history are being contrasted. In the eyes of the world, the things that are seen are thought to lass forever. In the sight of God, those things will be destroyed. Only those whoa re rich toward God in Christ will be left standing. The Day is coming when everything in the world will pass away.

The great example of the passing away of all things is the Roman Empire. Interestingly, this is the context of the epistle to the Hebrews. It is most likely written to Jewish believers in Rome. The question that people in Rome would have asked was, "Which will last, Rome or this little Christian sect?" In time the might and glory of Rome would exert all of its strength against this little people. The ironic thing is that this little sect would overcome by faith.

We learn from eschatology that we do not need to fear loosing the respect of men. We do not need to worry about being called "Fundamentalists" because we care about being thoroughly biblical. Our eschatology should press us forward and onward with regard to our desire to be pleasing to God by holding fast to His word. The word of God is the only thing that will remain. Will we sacrifice our doctrines for the world?

In 2 Peter 3:11-13 we read, "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." What sort of people ought we to be in light of this doctrine? We ought to be holy people--godly people. The earth will be shaken but the things of Christ will abide forever.

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