The Word: Jerusalem – A kingdom that cannot be shaken

Published 10:01 am Friday, October 27, 2023

The attack by Hamas terrorists on the country of Israel on the morning of October 7 has shaken people. The barbaric nature of the Hamas tactics should disturb all of us. Kidnapping civilians and beheading women and children is unjustifiable. The conditions among the two million people who live in the Gaza Strip and the “collateral damage” as a result of the aerial bombardment should disturb us. But what has shaken so many is to see this special part of the world embroiled in warfare once again. For many this war is a fulfillment of Bible passages like Matthew 24:6 where Jesus warns of “wars and rumors of wars” as a sign of the close of the age.

The author of Hebrews points to another group of people who were shaken by the events they witnessed – God’s children as God came down on Mt. Sinai to give them the ten commandments. In Exodus 20 we read that the people “were afraid and trembled” and ultimately they ask Moses to serve as a mediator between them and God. 

But now listen as the author of Hebrews compares that day to the day we are facing. “For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.” (Hebrews 12:18-19)

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But the kingdom that we turn to and trust in is not an earthly kingdom or any city that we can visit or touch. The author of Hebrews continues, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24) 

All those who believe that Jesus died for their sins have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus that washes away their sins so that they can gather with God’s saints on earth and the saints in heaven around God’s throne. They are God’s chosen people. That assembly of saints is the heavenly Jerusalem. There need not be any trembling or doubt because of the one who stands with us as our mediator. It is the same Jesus who died for our sins so that we can be declared forgiven and holy. So the author of Hebrews says, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” (Hebrews 12:28) Pray that people everywhere would know the peace of having a kingdom that cannot be shaken – a heavenly Jerusalem.

Rev. Matthew Sorenson is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at pastor@stjohnsfarmville.org.