Hebrews 12:1 we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses
Elder S. Dilworth Young
"Do we not have a greater cloud of witnesses than did Paul? We have his witnesses, and in addition we also have the witnesses of modern times. We have the witness of Joseph Smith, who saw and talked with God the Father and his exalted Son. We have the witness of Brigham Young, of John Taylor, of Wilford Woodruff, and of the remainder of the Prophets of the Lord unto President David O. McKay in our day. We have the witness of the more than 80 apostles, who have done mighty works since the day of Joseph Smith. We have the witness of those who faced the hostile hosts in Missouri and Illinois; and of those, too, who walked with faith into these mountain valleys, offering up their daily prayers for help and strength and succor. We have the witness of the Church grown strong, and of its hundreds of thousands of happy members.
"But most of all we have the witness which enters into the heart of each of us, the living testimony given by the power of the Holy Ghost. Let us not fail to bear that witness." (Conference Report, April 1968, Afternoon Meeting 85.)
Hebrews 12:1 let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us
Neal A. Maxwell
"...we must realize that the weight of the cross is great enough without our also carrying burdens that we could jettison through the process of repentance. Paul gave us wise counsel in this regard when he said, '. . . let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.' (Hebrews 12:1.) It is much more difficult for us to carry the cross when our back is already bent with the burdens of bad behavior." (Deposition of a Disciple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 74.)
Hebrews 12:1 let us run with patience the race that is set before us
'Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided...but be diligent unto the end' (DC 10:4)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Sometimes that which we are doing is correct enough but simply needs to be persisted in patiently, not for a minute or a moment but sometimes for years. Paul speaks of the marathon of life and of how we must 'run with patience the race that is set before us' (Heb. 12:1Heb. 12:1). Paul did not select the hundred-meter dash for his analogy!" (Cory H. Maxwell, ed., The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 242.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"...we are to 'run with patience the race that is set before us' (Heb. 12:1), and it is a marathon, not a dash. When you and I are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we like our timetable better than God's." ("Endure It Well," Ensign, May 1990, 34)
Neal A. Maxwell
"There is a difference...between being 'anxiously engaged' and being over anxious and thus underengaged." (Conference Reports, Oct. 1976, p. 14)
Hebrews 12:2 the author and finisher of our faith
Jesus is the author of our faith because he "wrote the book" on our individual salvation. He "wrote the book" on salvation so that we may find our names written in his special book of remembrance-the Book of Life. How did he do it? He 'finished [his] preparations unto the children of men' (DC 19:19), and the finishing of his preparations made possible the finishing of our faith. Hence, he became both the Starter and Finisher of our faith-even the 'Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending' (Rev. 1:8) of our salvation.
Charles A. Callis
"How wonderful it is to have a finisher of our faith. There are many beginners in this world, but there are few finishers." (Conference Report, Apr. 1945, p. 46)
Hebrews 12:3 consider him that endured such contradiction
"[The Lord] descended, in suffering, below that which man can suffer; or, in other words, suffered greater sufferings, and was exposed to more powerful contradictions than any man can be. But notwithstanding all this, he kept the law of God, and remained without sin." (Lectures on Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 5:2.)
Hebrews 12:3 lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds
Neal A. Maxwell
"Having all been richly nourished by this general conference, it is fitting to focus prescriptively on the few in the Church who remain spiritually undernourished, including those who have grown weary and fainted in their minds. (See Heb. 12:3.)
"A few of these few have had their faith scorched, such as by the circumstances of wrenching or unrelieved sickness, grinding economic pressures, loss of a loved one, or deep disappointment with a spouse or friend. Adversity can increase faith or instead can cause the troubling roots of bitterness to spring up. (See Heb. 12:15.) A few have been overcome by the preoccupying cares of the world, those wearying, surface things of life. (See Matt. 13:6-7.) Emerson's plea is surely appropriate: 'Give me truths: for I am weary of the surfaces.' ("Blight," in The Complete Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, New York: Wm. H. Wise & Co., 1929, p. 874.) A few are fatigued by unconfessed sins. A few tire from milling about haltingly in the 'valley of decision.' (Joel 3:14; see also 1 Kgs. 18:21.) A few, foolishly focusing on something other than Jesus, the Sure and True Foundation, are drained by disappointment. (See Hel. 5:12.)
"Whatever the preceding causes, any fainting in our minds brings a loss of spiritual consciousness and, with this, the inclination to charge God foolishly. (See Job 1:22.)" ("Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds," Ensign, May 1991, 88)
Hebrews 12:4 Paul paraphrased
"In your fight against sin, you have not yet been persecuted to the point of bloodshed (as I have)."
Hebrews 12:5 My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord
Neal A. Maxwell
"Even when righteously chastised or rebuked, we need not faint, for in the correcting is renewing love: 'My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.' (Heb. 12:5-8.)
"One's life, therefore, cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free. President Wilford Woodruff counseled us all about the mercy that is inherent in some adversity: 'The chastisements we have had from time to time have been for our good, and are essential to learn wisdom, and carry us through a school of experience we never could have passed through without.' (In Journal of Discourses, 2:198.)
"Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, 'Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!'" ("Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds," Ensign, May 1991, 88)
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth
H. Burke Peterson
"Let us remember-trials are an evidence of a Father's love. They are given as a blessing to his children. They are given as opportunities for growth.
"Now, how do we approach them? How do we overcome them? How are we magnified by them? There seems to be a reason why we lose our composure in adversity-why we think we can no longer cope with what we're faced with here in this life. There is a reason why we give up, why we 'fall apart at the seams' so to speak. The reason may be so simple that we lose sight of it.
"Could it be it's because we begin to lose contact with our greatest source of strength-our Father in heaven? He is the key to our enjoying sweetness in adversity-in gaining strength from our trials-he and he alone.
"As a reassurance to us, let us read from the New Testament: 'There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.' (1 Cor. 10:13.)
"Did you get the significance of that scriptural promise-we will have no temptation or trial beyond our ability to overcome-he will provide a way for us to rise above-whatever it may be." ("Adversity and Prayer," Ensign, Jan. 1974, 19)
Orson F. Whitney
"There is always a blessing in sorrow and humiliation. They who escape these things are not the fortunate ones. 'Whom God loveth he chasteneth.' "(Heb. 12:6) When he desires to make a great man he takes a little street waif, or a boy in the back-woods, such as Lincoln or Joseph Smith, and brings him up through hardship and privation to be the grand and successful leader of a people. Flowers shed most of their perfume when they are crushed. Men and women have to suffer just so much in order to bring out the best that is in them. (IE, November 1918, 22:5-7.)" (Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 4: 231.)
Ezra Taft Benson
"May God bless us to be grateful, even in times of trouble and reverses. We all have our reverses: 'Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth' (Hebrews 12:6). It is in the depths where men and women learn the lessons which help them gain strength-not at the pinnacle of success. The hour of man's success is his greatest danger. It sometimes takes reverses to make us appreciate our blessings and to develop us into strong, courageous characters. We can meet every reverse that can possibly come with the help of the Lord. The Lord taught the Prophet Joseph Smith that every reverse can be turned to our benefit and blessing and can make us stronger, more courageous, more godlike (see D&C 122)." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 465.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"There is another dimension of suffering, and other challenges that come to us even though we seem to be innocent. These come to us because an omniscient Lord deliberately chooses to school us...A good friend, who knows whereof he speaks, has observed of trials, 'If it's fair, it is not a true trial!' That is, without the added presence of some inexplicableness and some irony and injustice, the experience may not stretch us or lift us sufficiently. The crucifixion of Christ was clearly the greatest injustice in human history, but the Savior bore up under it with majesty and indescribable valor." (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 31.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"...brothers and sisters, no one ever promised us that discipleship in the last days would be a picnic in the park." ("The Great Plan of the Eternal God," Ensign, May 1984, 23)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Moreover, those who stand before the throne dressed in white are they who have 'come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' There is great experience in tribulation that brings to pass much good. The person who goes through life without pain or sorrow, and who is not called upon to sacrifice comforts and partake of hardships, never receives the full value of life. We came here for experience, the benefits of which are not to be limited to this mortal life, but to be of value to those who receive the exaltation in the Kingdom of God." (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 3: 202.)
Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons
Ezra Taft Benson
"We should learn to accept counsel. All of us need counsel. Sometimes there is need for reprimanding. I do not suppose that any of us who served for any length of time have not been on the receiving end of some pointed counsel that was for our benefit. 'Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth' (Hebrews 12:6).
"Brethren, if you can receive counsel, and will seek it, you will prosper in the work; if you cannot, you will not be magnified. I have seen a few over the years who were determined to pursue their own course, their own program. I have come to see that receiving counsel is a test of obedience by which the Lord magnifies His servants." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 333.)
Hebrews 12:8 if ye be without chastisement...then are ye bastards
Bruce R. McConkie
"Since a bastard is an illegitimate child, one born out of wedlock, Paul aptly and pointedly uses the term to describe those who are not sons of God, who have not been adopted into the family of God as joint-heirs with Christ. (Heb. 12:5-8.) According to his terminology there are sons on the one hand and bastards on the other. The sons inherit the fulness of the Father's kingdom; the bastards-never having been born of God-are cast out of the eternal family as though they were illegitimate; they become 'servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.' (D. & C. 132:16.)" (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., p. 74.)
Hebrews 12:9 the Father of spirits
Joseph B. Wirthlin
"God truly is our Father, the Father of the spirits of all mankind. We are his literal offspring and are formed in his image. We have inherited divine characteristics from him. Knowing our relationship to our Heavenly Father helps us understand the divine nature that is in us and our potential. The doctrine of the fatherhood of God lays a solid foundation for self-esteem." ("Fruits of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ," Ensign, Nov. 1991, 15)
Carlos E. Asay
"We are the children of God-all of us. He is the Father of all spirits (see Heb. 12:9Heb. 12:9). The spirit or breath of life within us was sired by God, and so was the spirit that inhabits our bodies. When we speak of the twin concepts of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, we speak of spiritual ties of great significance." (The Seven M's of Missionary Service: Proclaiming the Gospel as a Member or Full-time Missionary [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], chap. 1)
"I like the thought that he is my father. When Jesus prayed, he didn't pray, 'My Father which art in heaven'; he prayed, 'Our Father which art in heaven' (Matt. 6:9), and that is a wonderful thing. That is why our Primary children sing 'I am a child of God.'" ("Call of the Prophets," Ensign, May 1981, 31)
Thomas S. Monson
"The Apostle Paul told the Athenians on Mars' Hill that we are 'the offspring of God.' (Acts 17:29.) Since we know that our physical bodies are the offspring of our mortal parents, we must probe for the meaning of Paul's statement. The Lord has declared that 'the spirit and the body are the soul of man.' (D&C 88:15.) It is the spirit that is the offspring of God. The writer of Hebrews refers to Him as 'the Father of spirits.' (Heb. 12:9.) The spirits of all persons are literally His 'begotten sons and daughters.' (D&C 76:24.)
"For our contemplation of this subject, we note that inspired poets have written moving messages and recorded transcendent thoughts. One writer described a newborn infant as 'a sweet new blossom of humanity, fresh fallen from God's own home, to flower here on earth.' (Gerald Massey.)
"William Wordsworth penned this truth:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
("Ode on Intimations of Immortality.")
"Parents, gazing down at a tiny infant or taking the hand of a growing child, ponder their responsibility to teach, to inspire, and to provide guidance, direction, and example." ("Invitation to Exaltation," Ensign, June 1993, 2, 4)
Robert D. Hales
"The doctrine of the family begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them. The Apostle Paul taught that God is the father of our spirits (see Heb. 12:9). From the proclamation we read, 'In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life.'("The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102)." ("The Eternal Family," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 64)
Hebrews 12:11 no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous
Neal A. Maxwell
"Clearly, patience so cradles us amidst suffering. Paul, who had suffered much, observed in his epistle to the Hebrews: 'Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby' (Heb. 12:11).
"Patience permits us to cling to our faith in the Lord when we are tossed about by suffering as if by surf. When the undertow grasps us, we will realize that even as we tumble we are somehow being carried forward; we are actually being helped even as we cry for help!
"One of the functions of the tribulation of the righteous is that 'tribulation worketh patience' (Rom. 5:3). What a vital attribute patience is, if tribulation is worth enduring to bring about its development!
"Patience, in turn, allows us to have the needed experience, as noted in the stunning insight the Lord gave to the Prophet Joseph Smith: 'All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good' (D&C 122:7)." ("Patience," Ensign, Oct. 1980, 29-30)
Hebrews 12:11 chastening...yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercise thereby
Neal A. Maxwell
"Paul reminds us that meek and lowly Jesus, though the Lord of the universe, 'endured contradiction of sinners against himself.' (Heb. 12:3.) Smaller variations of these contradictions or hostilities will be felt by His disciples.
"...Paul observed, 'Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.' (Heb. 12:11.) Such 'peaceable fruit' comes only in the appointed season thereof, after the blossoms and the buds.
"Otherwise, if certain mortal experiences were cut short, it would be like pulling up a flower to see how the roots are doing. Put another way, too many anxious openings of the oven door, and the cake falls instead of rising. Moreover, enforced change usually does not last, while productive enduring can ingrain permanent change. (See Alma 32:13-16.)" ("Endure It Well," Ensign, May 1990, 33)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Anne Morrow Lindbergh wisely cautioned: 'I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable' ("Lindbergh Nightmare," Time, 5 Feb. 1973, 35).
"Certain forms of suffering, endured well, can actually be ennobling. Annie Swetchine said, 'Those who have suffered much are like those who know many languages; they have learned to understand and be understood by all' (quoted in Neal A. Maxwell, We Will Prove Them Herewith , 123).
"The Apostle Paul spoke from considerable personal experience when observing that 'no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous' (Heb. 12:11). You and I are not expected to pretend chastening is pleasant, but we are expected to 'endure it well' (D&C 121:8). Only afterward is 'the peaceable fruit of righteousness' enjoyed by those who 'are exercised thereby' (Heb. 12:11). But what demanding calisthenics!" (Neal A. Maxwell, "Enduring Well," Ensign, Apr. 1997, 7-8)
Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees
Gordon B. Hinckley
"There is so much of distress in this world. There are those, so many of them, who cry out in loneliness and fear with a desperate need for listening ears and understanding hearts. There are single parents struggling to rear families. There are houses that need painting, yards that need cleaning, whose owners have neither the strength nor the means to get it done." ("Magnify Your Calling," Ensign, May 1989, 49)
Thomas S. Monson
"Unaltered is the divine command to succor the weak and lift up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. Each of us has the charge to be not a doubter, but a doer; not a leaner, but a lifter. But our complacency tree has many branches, and each spring more buds come into bloom. Often we live side by side but do not communicate heart to heart. There are those within the sphere of our own influence who, with outstretched hands, cry out: 'Is there no balm in Gilead ... ?' (Jer. 8:22.) Each of us must answer." ("With Hand and Heart," Ensign, Dec. 1971, 132)
Neal A. Maxwell
"You and I all know individuals who do much quiet good by following the scriptural injunction about lifting up the hands that hang down (see Heb. 12:12; D&C 81:5). Some of those hands which hang down once grasped the iron rod and then let go, having simply given up. Hence, those hands need to be reached for..." ("The Pathway of Discipleship," Ensign, Sept. 1998, 9)
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace...and holiness, without which no man can see the Lord
Bruce R. McConkie
"Jesus said: 'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God' (Matt. 5:8), meaning that every person who perfects his life shall see God, here and now, while he yet dwells in the flesh, and that if he continues in grace, he shall also see and dwell with him everlastingly in the realms of immortal glory.
"As revealed to Joseph Smith, the divine law enabling man to see Deity is couched in these words: 'Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.' (D. & C. 93:1.)
"Through Joseph Smith the Lord also said to all those who hold his holy priesthood: 'It is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am-not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual. For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.' (D. & C. 67:10-11.) And the revelation on priesthood says that without 'the power of godliness,' which is righteousness, 'no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.' (D. & C. 84:21-22.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 228.)
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently...lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you
Neal A. Maxwell
"Paul warns those of us on the path of discipleship to be diligent, 'lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you' (Heb. 12:15). Travel on the straight and narrow path occurs in company with other disciples, imperfect as we all are. Side by side, as we all are, means that there are ways in which we can become offended or even embittered. Given the imperfections of all of us in the Church, offenses will come and disappointments will occur. How we handle these is crucial. We must be quick to prune any personal sprig of bitterness so that our wills can be truly swallowed up in the will of the Father as we put off the natural man and the natural woman. Jealousy, resentment, and self-pity can all keep us from becoming alive in Christ." ("Becoming a Disciple," Ensign, June 1996, 19)
Hebrews 12:17 when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected
Certain sins disqualify us for certain blessings-even if we repent. The story of Esau is a good example. Succumbing to the flesh, he gave up his birthright. He could never get it back. Similarly, when we succumb to the whims of the carnal man, we give up the blessings of initial obedience. We may repent 'carefully with tears' and thereby obtain forgiveness, but we still lose the blessing we might have received had we been obedient in the first place. Hence, he who never sins is always better off than the repentant sinner. As President Benson has declared, "it is better to prepare and prevent than it is to repair and repent." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 285.)
Carlos E. Asay
"...you can, if you are not careful, squander the prospects of the immediate future. Just as Esau despised his birthright and sold it for a 'morsel of meat' (Heb. 12:16), so may you through neglect and myopic living forfeit all that the decade ahead could have to offer." ("Would You Sell?" New Era, May 1985, 36)
Hebrews 12:18-21 The children of Israel could not endure the glory of Mount Sinai
Bruce R. McConkie
"What God did for Moses, in the sight of all Israel, was a type and shadow of what he will do for all the faithful saints when they, through the sanctifying power that is in Christ, become as Moses their prophet and prototype.
"Before all Israel, attended by a display of omnipotence that defies description, the Lord Jehovah came down upon mount Sinai and spoke audibly so that all the assembled millions of the chosen people heard his voice. By way of preparation, the people had cleansed their clothing and sanctified their souls. Then as his harbinger the Lord sent 'thunders and lightenings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud.' In this setting, and while the mount quaked and was wholly on fire, with the smoke ascending as from a furnace, 'the Lord came down upon mount Sinai,' appearing and speaking to Moses.
"It was then that the great lawgiver received the Ten Commandments and other glorious revelations. But the people themselves went not up upon the mountain lest they be consumed by the glory of God's presence. So strict was the command that they not partake of more than they were prepared to receive spiritually, that any living thing, whether man or beast, that overstepped the prescribed bounds was slain. (Ex. 19:9-25; 20:1-23.)
"To all of this, well known to his Hebrew brethren, Paul alluded and then drew his doctrinal conclusions. No longer is there a restraining barrier to keep the people from seeing and communing with their God. The mountain is no longer Sinai but Zion. And all those who have cleansed and perfected their souls, shall be welcomed on the heavenly mountain, and in the heavenly city...the city of exalted beings. And there, in that heavenly realm, where the saints shall see and know, as Moses alone did in Israel, shall be found such might, display, splendor and omnipotence, that the doings of Jehovah on Sinai, incomprehensibly glorious as they were, shall be but a blurred image in comparison." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 230.)
Hebrews 12:22 come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem
The term 'heavenly Jerusalem' should be distinguished from the city of Enoch which is to descend from heaven to become part of the New Jerusalem (see commentary for Ether 13:3-11). The latter descends at the beginning of the Millenium; the former descends after the Millenium when the earth has become celestialized. Hence, it is described by John who saw the celestialized earth in vision (Rev. 21:10-22:5).
Bruce R. McConkie
"The heavenly Jerusalem is the capital city on the celestial earth. It is the place from which this celestial sphere will be governed. It is a symbol of God's eternal dominion over his own. In the extended and full sense the whole earth in that day will be a celestial Jerusalem. It was Paul, our friend of days gone by, speaking of those who would ascend the heights and receive eternal exaltation, who said: 'Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.' (Heb. 12:22-24.) The city of the living God, where saints and angels dwell! The Church of the Firstborn, the Church in heaven, all of whose members are exalted! Just men made perfect through Him who hath redeemed us with his blood! What greater glory can there be than to be one with those who dwell in such a city?
"Our friend John, also an apostolic colleague of days gone by, saw in vision the Celestial City in all its glory and perfection, and it was his privilege to record for us as much of what he saw as our spiritual stature permits us to receive. He saw 'that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God' (Rev. 21:10)" (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 701.)
Hebrews 12:23 the Church of the Firstborn
"This term (church of the Firstborn) occurs in the New Testament (Heb. 12:23) and also in several places in the Doctrine and Covenants (76:54, 67, 71, 94; 77:11; 78:21; 93:22; 107:19). It has reference to those who inherit the fulness of salvation and exaltation. They belong not only to the Church of Jesus Christ (who himself is the Firstborn), but they constitute a church, the membership of which consists only of those who are exalted and thus have the inheritance of the firstborn. They are joint heirs with Jesus in all that the Father has and are thus the Church consisting of the firstborn. This is what the gospel does for those who obey it fully; it causes them to be born again and gives them an adoption in the eternal patriarchal family so that they have an inheritance as the firstborn even though they are younger in actual chronology (see also Gal. 3:26-27)." (Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings of Robert J. Matthews: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 413.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"And as The Church of Jesus Christ is his earthly church, so The Church of the Firstborn is his heavenly church, albeit its members are limited to exalted beings, for whom the family unit continues and who gain an inheritance in the highest heaven of the celestial world. (Heb. 12:22-23; D&C 93:22.)" (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 46.)
Hebrews 12:23 the spirits of just men made perfect
Bruce R. McConkie
"[The spirits of just men made perfect] are in the paradise of God awaiting the day of their resurrection and final inheritance among exalted beings. 'There are two kinds of beings in heaven,' the Prophet wrote, naming the first as 'resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones,' and the second as: 'The spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.' (D. & C. 129:1-7.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 232.)
Hebrews 12:25 Paul paraphrased
"See that ye refuse not Jesus. For if our fathers were unable to escape punishment for rejecting Moses who was mortal, how much more will we be unable to escape punishment for rejecting that Jesus who is divine."
Hebrews 12:26 Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven
The death of Jesus Christ was accompanied by terrible earthquakes felt in both hemispheres (Matt 27:51; 3 Ne. 8:12). These destructions came by the voice of Jehovah; he described the burying of certain Nephite cities declaring, 'the inhabitants thereof have I buried up in the depths of the earth, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face' (3 Ne. 9:8).
But the wickedness and abominations of the last days will also require burial by earthquake. The Savior declares that, this time, he will shake the heavens and the earth.
Neal A. Maxwell
"Joel said, 'The heavens and the earth shall shake.' (Joel 3:16.) Haggai said, speaking for the Lord, 'I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea.' (Haggai 2:6.) Isaiah, using somewhat different words, said, 'The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard.' (Isaiah 24:20.)
"Centuries later, Paul, referring to that same day of judgment, said, speaking for the Lord, 'I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.' (Hebrews 12:26.) Still more centuries later, the Lord, speaking through the Prophet Joseph Smith of the last days, said, 'The heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble.' (D&C 43:18.) Still later the Lord said, 'I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.' (D&C 84:118.)" (Things As They Really Are [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 94.)
Hebrews 12:27 that those things which cannot be shaken may remain
James E. Talmage
"The things of God are not to be shaken even by the boom of man's heaviest artillery; they shall abide in spite of bomb and shell. But the works of human craft shall be shattered. Not only so as to material structures, but likewise man's sophistries, erroneous theories, conjectures, philosophy, and such science as is falsely so called.
"Institutions of human origin may persist long years, but shall surely come to an end. In and after the resurrection they shall have neither place nor name. Institutions established by the authority of heaven alone can endure." (The Vitality of Mormonism [Boston: Gorham Press, 1919], 357.)
Hebrews 12:28 serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear
L. Tom Perry
"It is not enough to behave reverently; we must feel in our hearts reverence for our Heavenly Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Reverence flows from our admiration and respect for Deity. Those who are truly reverent are those who have paid the price to know the glory of the Father and His Son. As Paul admonished in Hebrews, 'Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.' (Heb. 12:28.)" ("Serve God Acceptably with Reverence and Godly Fear," Ensign, Nov. 1990, 71)
Hebrews 12:29 our God is a consuming fire
Isaiah asked, 'Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?' (Isa. 33:14.)
"God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. 'Our God is a consuming fire.'" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 367.)
"Now, those who cannot abide the law of the celestial kingdom cannot abide the glory of a celestial kingdom. All Christians are looking for celestial glory, but can they abide it? They cannot; it would consume them, for 'our God is a consuming fire.' They think they could abide a celestial kingdom; but they could not. They will have to abide another kingdom and another glory, according to the lives they lead and the knowledge they possess here." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 14: 152.)