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22 By contrast, we have already come[a] near to God in a totally different realm, the Zion-realm,[b] for we have entered the city of the Living God, which is the New Jerusalem in heaven![c] We have joined the festal gathering of myriads of angels[d] in their joyous celebration![e]

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  1. Hebrews 12:22 The Greek verb is in the perfect tense indicating that the fullness of our salvation and our entrance into God’s heavenly realm has already taken place. See also Rom. 8:29; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-4.
  2. Hebrews 12:22 Or “Mount Zion,” which is not a literal mountain but an obvious metaphor for the realm of God’s manifest presence. Mount Zion was once a Jebusite stronghold conquered by David (2 Sam. 5:6-9) who made it the capital for his kingdom. This is inside the walls of present-day Jerusalem. Zion is used in both the Old and New Testaments as more than a location. Zion is referred to as the place of God’s dwelling (Pss. 9:11; 48:1–2; 74:2; Isa. 8:18). God’s people are called “Zion maidens” (Song. 3:11; Zech. 9:9) or “people of Zion” (John 12:15). Zion is the heavenly realm where God is manifest (Pss. 84:7; 102:16; 110:1–2; Rev. 14:1).
  3. Hebrews 12:22 This is the fulfillment of Abraham’s vision (Heb. 11:10) and what Israel’s ancestors had seen from afar (Heb. 11:13). The New Jerusalem is not only a place, but a people who dwell with God in their midst. It is a city that is a bride or a bridal-city coming out of heaven to the earth (Rev. 21:9-14). We are not going to the New Jerusalem; we are going to be the New Jerusalem! The breastplate worn by the high priest over his heart with its precious stones was a miniature scale model of the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is the amplification of that breastplate, a metaphor of transformed sons with their names engraved upon the precious stones. See Rev. 21:2-4. The Aramaic can be translated “You have already received communion on Mount Zion.”
  4. Hebrews 12:22 See Deut. 33:2; Dan. 7:10; Jude 14; Rev. 5:11.
  5. Hebrews 12:22 This is much more than an assembly of angels. The Greek word panēgyris was used in classic Greek literature for civic festivals and celebrations which drew people from all parts of the empire and included all the various social classes. These were times of great joy and festivities with people wearing white robes and with garlands on their heads. (See Philo, Gaius 12; Isocrates, Panegyricus 43, 46.) This verse teaches that we have already entered into the festival of angelic bliss through Jesus Christ.

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