In Hebrews 12:18-29, the Author tells us that in coming to Christ, we, the People of God, have entered in to a Heavenly Jerusalem. We gather with the Saints through time and worship at the throne of God.
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom… But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect… (Hebrews 12:18-29)
We are to turn up to this Heavenly Gathering with confidence and joy (Hebrews 10:19-25) because in coming together we come before sprinkled blood which cleanses us from all sin. (Hebrews 12:24).
Yet, we are also told to mind our P’s and Q’s because when we enter this throne room we come before God – a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).
So, not only are we gathering for worship, we are gathering to witness God at work.
In Hebrews 12:26-27, the Author quotes the Prophet Haggai.
For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:6-7)
The Author of Hebrews interprets the prophecy this way: The inauguration of the Covenant at Sinai brought about a “shaking of the earth”. The arrival of Jesus and the New Covenant brings about a shaking of everything.
This includes a shaking of the nations, which you and I are, so that they (and we) might empty our purses into His treasury and enter in (Haggai 2:8).
And, as they are shaken, they come to the desire of all nations, Jesus Christ. And they enter, along with us, into His Kingdom. A Kingdom that can never be shaken.
A Kingdom which we are in the process of receiving and to which we come each Lord’s Day to worship.
And so, gathering for church is a gathering to the Lord. To His household. His throne room.
There, in our gathering, and singing, and reading, and hearing, and proclaiming, and our eating bread and wine, we become witnesses of the God who is shaking down the the kingdoms of this world so that only that which is built upon His Son will remain.
Among other things, this teaches us that our worship is the appointed means that God has assigned to reveal the Kingdom of His Conquering Son on earth.
When we gather on the Lord’s Day, like Joshua, we are entering the Promise Land. We sing, we pray and we rejoice before the Lord our God. The God who shakes down Jericho and saves a prostitute named Rahab.
Jesus promised us that the Gates of Hades (Death) would not prevail against the people of God. Instead, Hades itself is under siege by the Church through its worship.
This means that our worship of God is a powerful battering ram and each Lord’s Day we have the privilege of taking another swing at the gates so that the nations might come to life and join us.
One of the signs that we get this; that we understand the nature of the occassion, is that we aren’t singing with our hands in our pockets.