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Bible Study: Belonging to the Kingdom

January 1, 2030 - March 16, 2039

belonging to the kingdom

Bible Study: Belonging to the Kingdom

Belonging to the Kingdom

We are about to launch the very first Foundations Internship, a four-week internship where you can learn what it means to follow the King whose Kingdom is unshakeable, and how you can belong to the Kingdom that will remain. Following Jesus is often challenging, beautiful, good, hard, and true, all at the same time. The verse that has been instrumental in the conception of the Internship is Hebrews 12:28. In this blog, we will look at Hebrew 12:18-29 and dive into some details of how the truth of these verses impacts your life. We’ll also share some ways you can continue studying this passage in the future. You’re invited to belong to the Kingdom that remains.

Most people are all looking for a place to belong; for a purpose worth pursuing; for a person worth following; for a group to belong to. These are all elements of the Kingdom of God (New Testament scholar Scot McKnight outlines five elements of a Kingdom in this video).  

Let’s first read the passage from Hebrews, and then we will give you some pointers and tips for further study. We will end with an encouragement you can take from this passage.

Belonging to the Kingdom

Hebrews 12:18-29

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

belonging to the Kingdom that remains

Two mountains: which one will you climb?

This passage talks about two mountains, the first of which is Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. This mountain is terrifying! Just the description here in our passage is intimidating. Moses, who does go up the mountain, even says “I am trembling with fear.” This is not the mountain which we are to climb or even approach.

The mountain we are to come to is one where angels gather in joyful assembly. It is one where Jesus is present, mediating for us. It is not, however, one to take lightly; not at all in fact. While the former mountain was physically shaken by God’s power, this new mountain we come to is a mountain from which God will shake all created things, and only those things which cannot be shaken will remain. The shaking on this mountain is one that will have a more cosmic/universal effect.

Referring back to the five elements of any kingdom (according to Scot McKnight) on the first mountain, we witness a) God imparting a way of living, b) there is a promised land they are going to, c) there is a people (the Israelites), d) God Himself is king, and e) God is the one in charge. At the second mountain, everything gets enhanced: it is not even just global…it is now cosmic in size, and Jesus is the one through whom the new covenant has come. Jesus has given a fulfilled way of living (Matt. 5:17), He is the King over all (Matt. 28:18), and is that for all people (Matt.28:19). Here again, we have all five elements that make up a kingdom.

The writer of Hebrews is wanting his readers to see that what Jesus has done is cosmic: it affects everything. We can come to God through Jesus, and as we abide in Jesus, we will not be shaken (this is established in more detail in the verses just before this passage). The entire book of Hebrews establishes Jesus, the one who is unshakeable, as the victorious King-Priest of all creation.

So when reading these verses, be encouraged to “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2). Through Him, you will be unshakeable. But don’t come with a nonchalant attitude, come with thanksgiving and reverence. Coming to God through Jesus is a hope we have, through which we will inherit the Kingdom that cannot be shaken. It is eternal hope. We can look forward to a land that will last, a people who will forever love one another, a purpose that is the highest, a King who is the most glorious, and a way of living that is built on loving each other. This Kingdom is unshakeable. It remains and invites you to be a part of it.

 

Tips for further study:
  • Look back at these Old Testament references. (Haggai 2:6, Deuteronomy 4:24, Exodus 19:12,13, and more)
  • Look at what Hebrews says about Jesus in other places.
  • Check Hebrews 6:1-3 to see what a good foundation looks like.
  • Look at how the bible portrays mountains (like Sinai, Mount Zion, or Ezekiel 28 and its relation to the garden of Eden. For a more obscure one, Jesus giving the famous sermon on the mount from a mountainside).
  • Read the whole chapter and see if you find more interesting things.

 

To close off, ask yourself whether you would feel comfortable going up the mountain which Moses climbed. Then think about what Jesus did for you, making the way for you to approach God.

 

We hope that this short bible study has encouraged you, or maybe challenged you to go back into the loving arms of Jesus. If you read this and think “I need to know more about how to live like Jesus,” come join us on our Foundations Internship! Or if you have more time, come do a Discipleship Training School. Another opportunity, if you are more interested in going deeper into the bible like this, is to come do a Discipleship Bible School. Whatever stage you’re at in your walk with Jesus, we’d love to help you grow.

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Start:
January 1, 2030
End:
March 16, 2039
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