The heavenly gathering you and all who are born again have come to together is located in the spiritual Mount Zion, the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, The Kingdom of God.
In order to comprehend the heavenly gathering, we focus our hearts and minds on the things that are above.
“Therefore, if you have been raised with the Messiah, keep focusing on the things that are above, where the Messiah is seated at the right hand of God. Keep your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life has been safely guarded by the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you, too, will be revealed with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 ISV
Messiah Jesus is seated at right of God’s throne.
“Therefore, having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles us, let us keep running with endurance the race set before us, fixing our attention on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of the faith, who, in view of the joy set before him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 ISV (Ephesians 1:20)
God seated us in Messiah in the heavenly Mount Zion, the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem.
“You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience. We also all once lived among them in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Messiah — by Grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua; for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:1-10 WMB emphasis added
Thinking on on the last 3 chapters of Hebrews is vital to understanding those heavenly things.
In Hebrews chapter 11, the apostle recounts the acts of faith of God’s old covenant people. He concludes,
“These all, having been commended for their faith, didn’t receive the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 WMB
In the following chapter, he begins with by commending Messiah Jesus for fulfilling God’s plan of salvation, (12:1–3). Then shows how and why God disciplines us, (12:4–13 ). Next, a call to holiness, (12:14–17). He then reveals God’s unshakable kingdom, (12:18-29).
God’s unshakable Kingdom.
Here, the apostle draws the contrasts between the old covenant and the unshakable kingdom of God’s new covenant with born again by the Spirit believers in Messiah Jesus.
The old covenant.
“For you have not come to a material object all ablaze with fire, and to gloom and darkness and storm and trumpet-blast and the sound of words — a sound of such a kind that those who heard it entreated that no more should be added. For they could not endure the order which had been given, “Even a wild beast, if it touches the mountain, shall be stoned to death;” and so terrible was the scene that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
The great festal gathering.
“On the contrary you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the ever-living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to countless hosts of angels,to the great festal gathering/ panēgyrei and [to the] Church/ ekklēsia of the first-born, whose names are recorded in Heaven, and to a Judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus the negotiator of a new Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks in more gracious tones than that of Abel.”
“Be careful not to refuse to listen to Him who is speaking to you. For if they of old did not escape unpunished when they refused to listen to him who spoke on earth, much less shall we escape who turn a deaf ear to Him who now speaks from Heaven. His voice then shook the earth, but now we have His promise, “Yet again I will, once for all, cause not only the earth to tremble, but Heaven also.”
Here the words “Yet again, once for all” denote the removal of the things which can be shaken—created things—in order that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.”
“Therefore, receiving, as we now do, a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us cherish thankfulness so that we may ever offer to God an acceptable service, with godly reverence and awe. For our God is also a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:18-29 WNT.
In the last chapter of Hebrews, the apostle first exhorts brotherly love and undefiled marriage, (13:1-3). Then, points to Messiah’s unchanging nature, 13:5-14. Then, sacrifice, obedience, and prayer, (13:15–19 ). He finishes with a benediction and farewell, (13:20–25).
In view of Hebrews 11:39-40, I think spirits of just men made perfect in Hebrews 12:23 are old covenant believers who died long ago.
~ Bill Bremer
Bill Bremer is Founder and Managing Director at Kingdom Relationships Colorado.