It is quite easy to understand that there are things that are shaken -- things that have been made (and probably imperfect) on earth. The Lord promised to utter his voice and cause them to shake and be removed (Hebrews 12:26). But the reading of verse 27 got me thinking:

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” (verse 26 ESV)

This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken —that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. (verse 27 ESV)

Are there things that are imperfect in heaven that the Lord has promised to shake out? How does the phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken? What are those things that are shaken in heaven and on earth?

  • One what basis do you translate the verb σαλεύω as (to remove)? The verb is used in 14 verses of the New Testament and I am not aware any modern translations that translate the verb in the way you suggest. Just curious where this comes from?
    – Ken Banks
    Nov 16, 2018 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


User @Gina has been busily posting many posts about Preterism and has convinced me, perhaps the most literalist of the folks here that apocalyptic language has certain conventions that need to be taken into account. (Thank you @Gina!) That is, in apocalyptic language "shaking the heavens" and such is not about the physical makeup but rather the political structure of the regime.

For example, we need not understand that one looking over Babylon would see the stars literally dropping onto the earth when this happened:

[Isa 13:10-22 KJV] 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. 11 And I will punish the world for [their] evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. 14 And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. 15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined [unto them] shall fall by the sword. 16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. 17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and [as for] gold, they shall not delight in it. 18 [Their] bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children. 19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. 21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. 22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in [their] pleasant palaces: and her time [is] near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

The figure of "shaking the heavens" means that there will be a disruptive change in the politic. In the case of Isaiah 13, not only will YHVH trouble the land of Babylon but it will dissolve the very fabric of their governance, never again to be rebuilt. (The "heavens" here are not where God lives but rather the political structure).

The shaking described in Hebrews 12 is that of the demise of temple-centric Judaism. The final destruction of the temple, the obviating of the Mosaic covenant and the reorganization of the program of God to no longer be temple-centric and Israel-centric but to rather be Christ centric is of such a profound nature that it is rightfully described in apocalyptic terms.

The paragraph explains that the things that can be shaken are the things made by men. These are to be replaced with things made by God that are eternal. So for example the earthly temple is replaced by the temple made "without hands":

KJV Mark 14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

So too circumcision and mikveh (water baptism) are now to be performed supernaturally by the "operation of God" while the physical counterparts are now considered mere "shadows":

[Col 2:10-17 KJV] 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.**

The reign of the messiah is also accomplished "without hands":

[Dan 2:34, 45 KJV] 34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet [that were] of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. ... 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream [is] certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

In addition there are references to war in heaven, Satan being cast out and a third of the stars being dragged down from heaven with him. But these are likely figures of the Romans who killed 1/3rd of the Jews because they rebelled against Rome (though Zech 14 seems to have predicted 2/3rds).

  • Deleted the other comment to better clarify. Ignoring the preterism angle comment. Phrases like: ""shaking the heavens" means that there will be a disruptive change in the politic," "The shaking described in Hebrews 12 is that of the demise of temple-centric Judaism," and "But these are likely figures of the Romans who killed 1/3rd of the Jews" are still examples of spiritualizing the texts. I would argue that they are not based on a literal interpretation. Therefore I disagreed with your conclusions. Choosing to express my disagreement rather than down vote.
    – Ken Banks
    Nov 16, 2018 at 18:02
  • 1
    @Ruminator, happy to help. The Holy Spirit uses a multitude of literary devices, and the scriptures are literal in many places. But, in prophesy we have to watch for the metaphors and symbols. Prophesy will contain both literal and metaphorical language. The metaphors are all defined in the OT if we learn what to look for. As you pointed out, "shaking the heavens" is OT language for removing kingly / political authority from that land, & is an upset in political rule.
    – Gina
    Nov 18, 2018 at 8:23


At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” (verse 26 ESV) NWT X-Ref Exodus 19:18 “Mount Sinai smoked all over, because Jehovah came down upon it in fire; and its smoke was rising like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain was trembling violently.

The passage is about the God’s heavenly kingdom; 12:22-23; the elect, in their heavenly position. Vs. 25 tells of the faithless Jews who refused to follow God commandments etc. sent to them at Mt. Sinai and in due time lost their Kingdom to the Romans in 70C.E.

B The Next shaking

NWT Hebrews 12:27 “Now the expression “yet once more” indicates the removal of the things that are shaken, things that have been made, in order that the things not shaken may remain.”

Now we come to the next shaking by God’s Kingdom of vs. 28. and that Kingdom cannot be shaken as it shakes everything else (see Daniel 2:44 The “Kingdom” of Lord’s Prayer)
So what will the 2nd shaking do; it will clean out the heaven Satan The Devil and his Demons:-

[] Added

NWT Revelation 12:7-10 “And war broke out in heaven: Michael [Jesus] and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven. 9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. 10 I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!

And [] Added

NWT Revelation 20:1, 2 “And I saw an angel [Jesus] coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years [The rule of God's Kingdom]. . .

Followed by shaking the earth. This Shaking is during Armageddon:-

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NWT Revelation 16:14,16 “.the kings of the entire inhabited earth [all the world rulers], to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. … 16 And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Armageddon.

NWT Revelation 6:15-17 “Then the kings of the earth, the high officials, the military commanders [all the world’s military forces], the rich, the strong, every slave, and every free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they keep saying to the mountains and to the rocks: “Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne [YHWH] and from the wrath of the Lamb [Jesus], 17 because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Then Peace earth wide by God’s kingdom.

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