“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,”
King James Version (KJV)
12:23 To the general assembly - The word properly signifies a stated convention on some festival occasion. And church - The whole body of true believers, whether on earth or in paradise. Of the first - born - The first - born of Israel were enrolled by Moses; but these are enrolled in heaven, as citizens there. It is observable, that in this beautiful gradation, these first - born are placed nearer to God than the angels. See #Jam 1:18|. And to God the Judge of all - Propitious to you, adverse to your enemies. And to the spirits - The separate souls. Of just men - It seems to mean, of New Testament believers. The number of these, being not yet large, is mentioned distinct from the innumerable company of just men whom their Judge hath acquitted. These are now made perfect in an higher sense than any who are still alive. Accordingly, St. Paul, while yet on earth, denies that he was thus made perfect, #Php 3:12|.
Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firtborn. The universal church of Christ. The first born son in Israel inherited the birthright (Ge 25:31 1Ch 5:1), but all the saints have the birthright and hence are called the first born. They are enrolled, not on earthly registers, but their names are written in heaven. And to God the Judge of all, who will inflict judgment in behalf of the persecuted church. And to the spirits of just men made perfect. To the fellowship of all the sainted dead now perfected above.