25 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, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 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.
The warning passage that runs from Hebrews 12:25–29 comes from the superiority of the New Covenant over the Old Covenant presented in the previous verses. The emphasis of this section is on the application of God’s Word to experience in order to receive rewards in the eternal state.
See that [take heed]
The words “see that” are a sharp command calling attention to the importance of paying attention to God’s Word.
you do not refuse Him who speaks.
Unbelief refuses to listen to God’s Word. God speaks to us through His Word. Some people do not take God at His Word. They reject the foundation of their belief system.
For if they [Jews of the Exodus] did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth,
Old Covenant believers did not escape temporal judgments for refusal to obey the Law (He 3:7–19).
The argument is from the lesser to the greater. If divine discipline was certain on those who did not respond to God’s speaking on earth, then how much more certain is discipline on those in the age of grace who do not heed His speaking from heaven. The contrast is between two modes of God speaking.
shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
Since Old Testament believers did not “escape” discipline, how can those of the New Covenant escape divine discipline?
whose [God] voice then shook the earth;
God’s “voice” on Mount Sinai shook the earth (Ex 19:18).
but now He has promised, saying,
The promise is from Haggai 2:6, referring to the breakup of the present order of creation.
“Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
In addition to shaking the earth previously, God will do it again in the future. This quotation from Haggai refers to the eternal aspect of God’s promise following the Millennial Kingdom.
These words are an explanation of Haggai 2:6.
“Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken,
The “removal” here is complete destruction, not simple transformation (2 Pe 3:10–12). “Removal” means to transfer to a new basis, to transpose. God will transfer this universe, which is under a curse, to a new entity, heaven itself (Re 21:1).
as of things that are made,
God will remove “things that are made”; that is, creation.
that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
This purpose clause indicates that there are some things that cannot be “shaken.” These things will “remain.” Only things of eternal value will remain after God executes an eschatological event upon the earth. After the shaking, the result will be an eternal kingdom. The Millennial Kingdom will usher in the Eternal Kingdom.
Christians are to build their lives around eternal values.
Since there is an eschatological shakeup coming whereby the material order of creation will disappear, there will only be an eternal kingdom that remains. Therefore, Christians should build their lives around eternal things, not temporal.