Heb 12:23 - To the general assembly3831 and2532 church1577 of the firstborn,4416 which are written583 in1722 heaven,3772 and2532 to God2316 the Judge2923 of all,3956 and2532 to the spirits4151 of just men1342 made perfect,5048
To the general assembly (πανηγύρει)
Const. with αγγέλων of angels, with comma after angels. Rend. to a festal assembly of angels. This and the next clause show what the myriads consist of, - a host of angels and redeemed men. Πανήγυρις, N.T.o , is a gathering to celebrate a solemnity, as public games, etc.: a public, festal assembly. Frequently joined with εορτή feast. See Eze_47:11; Hos_2:11; Hos_9:5. The verb πανηγυρίζειν to celebrate or attend a public festival, to keep holiday, occurs occasionally in Class.: not in N.T.: lxx once, Isa_66:10. The festal assembly of angels maintains the contrast between the old and the new dispensation. The host of angels through whose ministration the law was given (see on Heb_2:2, and see on Gal_3:19) officiated at a scene of terror. Christian believers are now introduced to a festal host, surrounding the exalted Son of man, who has purged away sins, and is enthroned at God's right hand (Heb_1:3).
And church of the first-born which are written in heaven (καὶ εκκλησία πρωτοτόκων απογεγραμμένων εν ουρανοις)
This forms a distinct clause; and to the church, etc. For εκκλησία assembly or church, see on Mat_16:18; see on 1Th_1:1. The myriads embrace not only angels, but redeemed men, enrolled as citizens of the heavenly commonwealth, and entitled to the rights and privileges of first-born sons. Πρωτότοκος first-born is applied mostly to Christ in N.T. See Rom_8:29; Col_1:15, Col_1:18; Heb_1:6; Rev_1:5. Comp. Heb_11:28, and Luk_2:7. Properly applied to Christians by virtue of their union with Christ, the first-born of all creation, the first-born from the dead, as sharing his sonship and heirship. See Rom_8:14-17, Rom_8:29. The word also points to Christians as the true Israel of God. The analogy is suggested with the first-born of Israel, to whom peculiar sanctity attached, and whose consecration to himself God enjoined (Exo_13:1, Exo_13:11-16); and with the further application of the term first-born to Israel as a people, Exo_4:22. The way was thus prepared for its application to the Messiah. There seems, moreover, to be a clear reference to the case of Esau (Heb_12:16). Esau was the first-born of the twin sons of Isaac (Gen_25:25). He sold his birthright (πρωτοτοκία), and thus forfeited the privilege of the first-born. The assembly to which Christian believers are introduced is composed of those who have not thus parted with their birthright, but have retained the privileges of the first-born. The phrase church of the first-born includes all who have possessed and retained their heavenly birthright, living or dead, of both dispensations: the whole Israel of God, although it is quite likely that the Christian church may have been most prominent in the writer's thought.
Which are written in heaven (απογεγραμμένων εν ουρανοις)
Απογράφειν, only here and Luk_2:1, Luk_2:3, Luk_2:5, means to write off or copy; to enter in a register the names, property, and income of men. Hence, απογραφή an enrollment. See on Luk_2:1, Luk_2:2. Here, inscribed as members of the heavenly commonwealth; citizens of heaven; Phi_4:3; Rev_3:5; Rev_13:8, etc. See for the image, Exo_32:32; Psa_69:28; Isa_4:3; Dan_12:1; Luk_10:20.
To God the judge of all (κριτη θεω πάντων)
Rend. a judge who is God of all. Comp. Dan_7:9 ff. God of all his first-born, of those whom he chastens, of all who are in filial relations with him under both covenants, and who, therefore, need not fear to draw near to him as judge.
Spirits of just men made perfect (πνεύμασι δικαίων)
The departed spirits of the righteous of both dispensations, who have completed their course after having undergone their earthly discipline. Notice again the idea of τελείωσις, not attained under the old covenant, but only through the work of Christ, the benefits of which the disembodied saints of the O.T. share with departed Christian believers. Vincent's Word Studies.