Do Not Refuse the One Speaking

by Frank Jones


See to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven. (Her 12:25)

"Sinai, once definitive for relating to God, is now outmoded. These verses convey both a temporal and spatial contrast between the two speaking events, and they imply that the new covenant speech requires special attention .... God did speak from a mountaintop at Sinai, but that was in reality an act of condensing; he now speaks from the true heaven, Zion above. Since his new covenant speech comes from heaven itself, the warning is all the more serious. ... For the listeners of this sermon, the injunction not to 'refuse the one who is speaking' must have given the impression that the preacher before them demanded attention to his words. Such an impression was probably intentional: the preacher evidently saw himself standing before his addressees as God's spokesman, delivering his words." (Griffiths, Jonathan. Hebrews and Divine Speech, LNTS, 149.)