Chapter[ 1 ] 6 continues a discussion about the lack of spiritual development introduced in the previous chapter (see Heb 5:12-14) where the writer admitted that the subject of Melchizedek is hard to explain (see Heb 5:11).
Chart HEBREWS 6 OUTLINE
1. The peril of those who have fallen away (Heb 6:1-8).
2. Encouragement by not being overly condemnatory (Heb 6:9-12).
3. God's oath to Abraham ensures that Jesus has entered heaven and has become High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 6:13-20).
The early readers of Hebrews were encouraged to be steadfast in the faith. The
peril of those who have fallen away is described. The kind Holy Spirit encourages
them more by not being overly condemnatory of them. Then an appeal is made
to God's oath to Abraham to ensure the infallible claim that Jesus entered heaven
and had become High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (see chart HEBREWS
6 OUTLINE). The topics of Melchizedek and the Priesthood of Christ will be
resumed in chapter 7.
6:1, 2 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ,
let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from
dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying
on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Therefore [wherefore].[ 2 ]
Once again, a chapter begins with "therefore" or
"wherefore" to indicate a connection with what has been said before. The need
for milk and not solid food leads in the direction of a thought the Holy Spirit now
pursues. In spite of the spiritual dullness of His readers, the Spirit proceeds.
Leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ [let us leave the
elementary doctrine, teachings, the doctrine of the first principles, the
principles of the doctrine, the word of the beginning, of the Christ].
[ 3 ]
unusual that since the Holy Spirit has just informed the readers that they are not
ready for solid food they would now be able to stretch their minds into deeper
studies. Were they any better off than the Corinthians to whom Paul wrote (see
Evidently so, for now the Spirit proposes to end the discussion of "elementary
principles" in order to go on "to perfection" or "to maturity."
It was essential that He go on to other
topics.[ 4 ]
Some of these ideas were difficult for Jewish minds to grasp. An important point is that
the priesthood of Christ necessitated the
complete ending of the OT Law insofar as it being binding upon Christians (see
note on Heb 7:12).
Let us go on to perfection [and press on to what belongs unto, maturity, full
growth].[ 5 ] The inspired writer desires to immediately lead the Hebrew Christians
onward toward maturity in the faith. He will do this by explaining how Christ
fulfills OT prophecies and how He now serves as the only true High Priest of
Christians.[ 6 ]
It is a challenge for any teacher to "throw a strike." That is, his teaching must
not be so simple that everyone becomes bored. Neither must it be so difficult that
most cannot understand it. It has been my experience that many brothers and
sisters in Christ appreciate well-prepared lessons. They like to hear presentations
that offer them more than first principles. They want a challenge to learn deeper
and more advanced material. If you are a teacher, try it. Teach the Bible on a
higher level and perhaps a little faster than you have in the past. Give them at
least three months of this method in order for them to "catch up" with you or "be
brought up to speed." I think you will be surprised in the reception you get.
Not laying again.[ 7 ] In this passage, laying a foundation is another way of
describing the teaching of fundamentals.
The foundation [a foundation, foundations].[ 8 ] It is not the intent of the
Hebrew writer to continue teaching basics. In order to stem the tide of apostasy,
the people desperately required more advanced teaching.
Of repentance [and of repentance].[ 9 ] Except for numerous instances where
God is said to have repented (changed His mind), repentance is basically a NT
word (see Lu 13:3, 5; Ac 2:38; 11:18). Some exceptions are:
Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not
lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for
God said, "Lest perhaps the people change their minds [repent] when they
see war, and return to Egypt" (Ex 13:17).
And the children of Israel grieved [repented] for Benjamin their brother, and said, "One tribe is cut off from Israel today" (Jg 21:6; also 21:15).
Yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried
captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who
took them captive, saying, "We have sinned and done wrong, we have
committed wickedness" (1Ki 8:47).
I listened and heard, but they do not speak aright. No man repented of his
wickedness, saying, "What have I done?" Everyone turned to his own
course, as the horse rushes into the battle (Jer 8:6).
Therefore say to the house of Israel, "Thus says the Lord GOD: 'Repent,
turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your
abominations'" (Eze 14:6).
In addition to the few appearances of the words "repent" and "repentance" in the
OT Scriptures, the general idea of repentance is taught over and over. People
were often directed to turn from evil ways, to rend their hearts and humble
themselves before God. These alternate terms may not be exact synonyms for
repentance but they teach a similar lesson.
From dead works.[ 10 ] Several Jews who claimed to be Christians continued
some observances of the Law (see Ac 21:20). There was no salvation at all in
doing that. The works of the OT Law were "dead" because they did not produce
life as does the gospel. The blood of Christ cleanses the conscience from dead
works (Heb 9:14).
The Hebrew writer may have had in mind two distinct types of "dead works."
First, there were works of the Law. They were dead in the sense that they could
not justify (Ga 2:16). Some Jewish Christians were prone to go back to that Law.
The original readers had obeyed the gospel of Christ. They had become
Christians. They should have stopped following the works of the Law never to go
back to them. The reason for this is that he who attempts to be justified by the
Law, by so doing, becomes a transgressor and falls from grace (Ga 2:18; 5:4).
Secondly, the writer may have meant sinful works in general. The works of the
flesh lead to death (Ga 5:19-21). Christians who may have become involved in
either type of error needed to repent.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now
ashamed? For the end of those things is death (Ro 6:20, 21).
And of faith toward God [and faith in God].[ 11 ] Faith is the victory that
overcomes the world (1Jo 5:4). In his address to the Ephesian elders, Paul spoke
of his testimony to both Jews and Greeks:
Testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith
toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Ac 20:21).
I wonder why the Hebrew writer did not say faith in Christ instead of faith in
God. Perhaps he was purposely using OT terminology to describe those who
"believed" in God. The recitation of the list of faithful saints in Hebrews 11
illustrates the necessity of faith as well as obedience in OT days. "But without
faith it is impossible to please Him" (Heb 11:6). Remember it was unbelief that
prevented the Israelites from entering God's rest (Heb 3:10, 11, 19). Without
faith in Christ there is no salvation (Ac 4:11, 12). The Savior implied that belief
in God required faith in Jesus also (see Joh 14:1).
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me (Joh
[6:2] Of the doctrine of baptisms [with instruction, the teaching of, about,
washings, ablutions, immersions].[ 12 ] Translations are divided between baptisms
and washings or about cleansing rites. About half of them render the Greek word
for baptisms. About half, washings or the equivalent. Some commentators also
try to make this passage refer to Jewish washings of cups and pots. The main
argument to support the latter position is to call attention to the plural
BAPTISMOS baptisms. To me, this is not at all conclusive. I really do not see
the Holy Spirit needing to point out that He was leaving a discussion about the
ceremonial washing of pots and pans. He could have used words that applied
more directly to these Jewish practices (see Heb 9:10; see chart BAPTISMS).[ 13 ]
"Baptisms" is a good rendering.[ 14 ] There are at least seven baptisms mentioned
in the NT, one of which is the baptism taught as obedience to the gospel of Christ
(see chart BAPTISMS). Speaking of it, Paul said there is "one baptism" (Eph 4:5;
see chart GREAT COMMISSION BAPTISM).
Of laying on of hands [the, and of, imposition, of hands].[ 15 ] Laying on of
apostles' hands imparted certain spiritual gifts for the church in the first century.
When the completed revelation came, all of the gifts for confirmation of the word
ceased (see 1Co 12:1-12; 13:10; Eph 4:13; chart LAYING ON OF HANDS). An
important idea to understand about laying on of hands in NT times is that only
through this means the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were passed on to others
by one or more of the the apostles. The only Scriptural laying on of hands today
is for the purpose of giving public recognition, to appoint to a work or an office
or, possibly, when praying God's blessings on another.[ 16 ]
Of resurrection of the dead [resurrection, the, and of, resurrection, of the dead].[ 17 ] The Sadducees denied the resurrection (Mt 22:23; Ac 23:8). So did Greek philosophers (Ac 17:18, 32). Since Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, some have concluded that the OT is silent about the topic of the resurrection from the dead. Not so (see charts OT RESURRECTION SCRIPTURES A-D). The bodily resurrection of Christ was preached in every sermon recorded in the book of Acts. Belief in it is absolutely essential. Teachers must not neglect it. It is not enough to believe in life after death as did the Greeks. The resurrection is the hope of Christians. It is imperative that it be taught clearly and correctly.
And of eternal judgment [and eternal judgment].[ 18 ] There needs to be more teaching today about the judgment of God, a judgment that is eternal in its effect.[ 19 ] Whatever verdict be rendered on that Day will be everlasting (see Mt 25:41, 46).
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one
may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done,
whether good or bad (2Co 5:10).
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Heb
He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy
still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him
be holy still (Re 22:11).
Did the OT Jews have any concept of a judgment day? Yes, they did. The idea
of God being Universal Judge dates back at least to Abraham, when he bargained
with the Lord about Sodom (see charts JUDGMENT IN OT A and B). Many
references in the Talmud confirm the Jewish belief in both a judgment of nations
and an individual judgment.[ 20 ]
Upon what basis will man be judged? First, and somewhat surprisingly, it will
be according to opportunity, advantage or privilege. In accordance with this
principle, Jesus said to Chorazin and Bethsaida:
But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of
judgment than for you (Mt 11:22; compare Mk 6:11).
The same concept is taught in the passage about the flogged servants.
But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Lu 12:48; compare Joh 3:19; 9:41 15:22).
For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and
as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (Ro 2:12).
Secondly, judgment will be done on the basis of works (see charts JUDGED BY
WORKS A and B). Although faith is absolutely essential, I cannot recall even one
passage that says it will be according to faith (see Heb 11:6). The Judge of all the
earth is well aware that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17, 26).
The six items mentioned in verses 1, 2 may be easily thought of as either OT or
NT truths. Some commentators insist they are all OT doctrines. Others claim
they are NT teachings. Jewish Christians were in great danger of falling away.
They could rationalize that, under the Old Law, they still could believe in all six
of these things. They could argue that a reversion to Judaism would not change
their faith very much. Did not the OT teach repentance? Were there not several
Jewish BAPTISMOS washings including John's baptism? Does not the OT teach
the resurrection? Eternal judgment? Of course, it does. So what is the big
problem? The insurmountable problem is that all these doctrines put together
cannot save one soul without the perfect High Priest, Jesus Christ. It is
absolutely essential that Christians understand this. Without Him, all of the
repentance, washings and "correct" doctrines in the world will not matter. There
is no salvation without Him (Ac 4:11, 12).
6:3 And this we will do if God permits.
And this we will do [and this will we do, we shall do this]. The Hebrew
writer seems to have had some degree of control over the message he wrote. "The
spirits of the prophets are subject to prophets" (1Co 14:32). However, the content
was not of his own unfolding.
For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke
as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2Pe 1:21).
When both the inspiration of the Spirit and slight regulation by the writer work
together, they are accommodative to each other. More importantly, they make the
revelation suited to the readers (see note on Jude 1:3).
If God permits [if God permit].[ 21 ] As the human penman continued to write
the book of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit monitored the spiritual brightness and
dullness of the readers in order to temper the depth of the revelation accordingly.
His intent was to inspire the writer to record that from which, due to the degree
of spiritual alertness, the readers could benefit.
6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have
tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and
have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they
fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for
themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
For it is impossible [it is impossible].[ 22 ] The word ADUNATON impossible
appears at the beginning of verse 4 in the Greek text. All the translations I have
checked say "impossible." Some of the commentaries say it would be difficult.[ 23 ]
The Holy Spirit said impossible! He voices a similar warning four chapters later:
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries (Heb 10:26, 27).
For those who were once enlightened [for those, as touching those, who have
once been enlightened].[ 24 ] The light-giving word had once enlightened these
pathetic folk. As a psalmist wrote, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light
to my path" (Ps 119:105). Again:
The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the
simple" (Ps 119:130).
Jesus encouraged His disciples to be faithful. So did the apostle John and others.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1Jo 1:7).
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (Joh 8:12).
Sons of light are light in the Lord. Christ is the shining light of the entire world.
Those once enlightened had become Christians. They had begun a walk in the
light (1Jo 1:7; compare 2:9-11).
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as
children of light (Eph 5:8).
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor
of darkness (1Th 5:5).
If the lexicons are correct that being enlightened was "once for all" we may infer
that it alludes to baptism. Hearing, believing, repenting, confessing faith in
Christ--all these are continued throughout a Christian's lifetime. The only event
that is realized "once and for all" is salvation. Salvation involves the one baptism
into Christ for the remission of sins. Being enlightened, therefore, is more than
hearing the gospel.[ 25 ] It is to obey it. One is enlightened when, by obedience to
the gospel, he is delivered from the domain of darkness, and transferred into the
kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1:13).
The Holy Spirit reminded the Hebrew Christians that after being "illuminated"
they "endured a great struggle with sufferings" (Heb 10:32). When a Jew was
baptized, his fellow-Jews excluded and excommunicated him. They cut him off
from fellowship. The excommunication process included regarding of the new
Christian as dead. It was a time of CHILAH sorrow. This made it "legal" to
seize his property.
Anyone who truly understands, believes and obeys the truth should, by so doing,
become inoculated from falling away. The blessings of the gospel themselves
should motivate everyone to remain faithful. Every enlightened person should
remain a faithful Christian forever. But, alas! That is not always the case.
And have tasted [who have, and, and who have, tasted].[ 26 ] The experience
of these first-century Hebrew Christians was not some scanty, watery or shallow
tasting. The Greek text suggests that they had decisively perceived and actually
partaken of the heavenly gift, the good word of God and the powers of the age to
The heavenly gift, [of the heavenly gift].[ 27 ] To taste means the same as it does
in Hebrews 2:9, to experience something (see note there). The heavenly gift is
salvation in Christ (see Eph 2:8, 9).
For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to
the world (Joh 6:33).
And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall
never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst (Joh 6:35).
Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the
flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you (Joh
To eat the flesh of the Son of God is more than partaking of communion (see
note on Joh 6: 53). It involves all one does to be dedicated to Christ and to seek
eternal life (see Joh 6:27, 51, 58; compare Joh 20:31).
And have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit [and were made, became,
have become, partakers of the Holy Ghost].[ 28 ] "Partakers of the Holy Spirit"
probably refers to Christians who possessed miraculous gifts but by disuse had
come to neglect or ignore them. Some Jewish Christians, even gifted ones, came
to forget confirmatory signs giving evidence of the truth of Christ. Their
indifference and disregard for their gifts allowed them to drift back into Judaism
where there were no such gifts (see notes on Ga 3:2-5). How could one who
performed miracles ever deny the Messiah? Judas did it. He went out on the
limited commission with the other apostles. Along with them, he cast out demons,
healed the sick, cleansed lepers and raised the dead (Mt 10:1, 8; Mk 6:13).
[6:5] And have tasted the good word of God [and tasted the goodness of the
word of God].[ 29 ] The "good word of God" is the living and active word (Heb
4:12). It is the word that is like a fire and like a hammer that shatters rock (Jer
23:29). It is the word that sanctifies (Eph 5:26). It is the sword of the spirit (Eph
6:17). It is to be preached in season and out of season (2Ti 4:2). It is the living
and abiding word by which people are born again (1Pe 1:23). It is God's revealed
will. It is recorded in the Bible. Christians, in the early days of the church, had
basically the complete revelation that we have today. Before it was all written
down, they received it orally. Inspired men and women revealed it to every
And the powers of the age to come [and the works of power of the world to
come].[ 30 ] The "age to come" is the church age (see note on Heb 2:5). It came
with power (see Mk 9:1). The apostles received power when the Holy Spirit came
upon them (see Ac 1:8; 2:1-4). They laid hands upon many others who received
power (see Ac 8:18, 19). Like so many thousands of other Christians in the first
century, the Hebrew Christians had experienced first-hand the miracles performed
by the power of the Holy Spirit. These were not just "nominal Christians." They
had a substantial amount of knowledge. They were real sharers in several aspects
of the new life. To say that they were never saved in the first place is to deny the
[6:6] If they fall away [and have, if they then, if they shall, commit apostasy,
and then fell away, have fallen away, by the way-side].[ 31 ] This is one of the
more than 2,500 warnings of the possibility of apostasy in the sacred writings.[ 32 ]
If people were not Christians at one time they could not fall away. Apparently
some forsook the Savior to return to the shadows of the OT. The purpose of the
Holy Spirit in giving information about falling away is to issue a severe warning
that it is possible for Christians to fall away. Could the warning be any plainer
Although some had fallen away, keep in mind that the Holy Spirit did not say that all of His readers had done so. In fact, He said these encouraging words:
But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things
that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner (Heb 6:9).
To renew them again to repentance [to restore again, to renew again unto
repentance].[ 33 ]
The reason these apostates could be reclaimed was that it was
possible to renew them again to repentance. Stubborn rejection of Christ made
others incapable of coming back. They had erected emotional or intellectual
barricades to their own repentance. They effectively prevented their own
restoration and salvation. They repudiated the only true Source of remission of
sins. They sought forgiveness through a system that offered none. Can such a
person ever be saved? No, as long as he persists in his stubbornness. Yes, if he
returns to Christ. Apparently, the people described in the present context were
beyond help. They were so obstinate they would not return. Sadly, they had gone
back to the OT Law where there was no real forgiveness of sins. Only the blood
of Christ provides that. Beware of accepting any system of thought that does not
offer pardon through the blood of the crucified Savior.
Some Calvinists have argued that those who fell away were never Christians in the
first place.[ 34 ] It they are
right, we are asked to believe that a dim enlightenment, a weak taste of the word,
a fake partaking of the Holy Spirit had much to do with their falling away, which
was not actually a falling away, because they were never saved to begin with. If
words have meaning, the Calvinistic position is ridiculous.[ 35 ] If it was impossible
for a Christian to fall away, why did the Holy Spirit give so many warnings about
Since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God [crucifying, they have
crucified, afresh, the Son of God on their own account, to themselves, as they
do the Son of God].[ 36 ] These were not just Christians who accidentally wandered
away or sinned in a moment of passion. They were Jews who had become
converts to Christ. They had once understood the truth of the gospel. They had
witnessed miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit. These enlightened folk had
rejected Christ to return to Judaism. In doing so, they gave up their only hope of
remission of sins. Once again, they were lining up with the very people who
crucified the Son of God (see Ac 2:23, 36). By joining them, in effect, they
expressed agreement with those who had shouted, "Crucify Him!" They said,
"His blood be on us and on our children!" (Mt 27:25). If given the opportunity,
would they have crucified the Son of God again? Actually, by crucifying Him
figuratively they hurt themselves terribly. They rejected His blood's cleansing
power. In its place, they acquired a weight of guilt corresponding to that of those
who literally crucified Him.
The apostates were joining their fellow-Jews who were looking for a future
Messiah, someone other than Jesus. They were in a spiritual predicament. Under
the Law, there was no salvation for them and there was no future Messiah coming
to save them.
And put Him to an open shame [and put him to open shame, hold him up
to contempt, and making a show of him].[ 37 ] When the apostates rejected Christ
as Savior, it was as though they were mocking the ignominious[ 38 ] death of the
crucified Savior. They no longer could say He was good. He was either what He
claimed to be or else He was an impostor guilty of the charge of blasphemy (see
Mt 27:65). According to the OT Law, one who blasphemed was worthy of death.
And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death (Le 24:16).
Apparently anyone who rejected Christ as Savior chose to regard Him as a
criminal worthy of the open shame of crucifixion. Those who so regarded the
Lord were guilty of a terrible sin.
6:7, 8 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and
bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from
God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being
cursed, whose end is to be burned.
For the earth [for land, ground].[ 39 ] Everyone who lives on the earth should
have some degree of familiarity with simple agriculture. Rain falls. Grass grows.
Things like that. Some liberal theologians say that since most people today do not
live in an agricultural society they cannot understand such verses as this!
Which drinks in the rain [which has drunk, drinketh in, the rain].[ 40 ]
Moisture in the soil is essential for the roots to absorb necessary water by osmosis.
Without water plants die.
That often comes upon it [which cometh, falls, oft upon it].[ 41 ] By mentioning
the rain that falls on the earth from time to time, the Hebrew writer alludes to the
spiritual blessings of God, especially to the revealed word. The Song of Moses
gives this beautiful description of the teaching of God:
Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops
on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass (De 32:2).
And bears herbs [and produces, brings forth, bringeth forth, vegetation].[ 42 ]
An invitation was given to Israel to return to the Lord (Ho 14:1). If they would
only return to Him, God promised them:
I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his
roots like Lebanon. 6 His branches shall spread; his beauty shall be like an
olive tree, and his fragrance like Lebanon (Ho 14:5, 6).
In the parable of the sower, the seed is the word of God (Lu 8:11). The soil is
the hearts of men and women. God is expected to cause growth (1Co 3:7). Fruit-bearing is required. Jesus said:
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every
branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit (Joh 15:2).
Useful for those by whom it is cultivated [meet for, useful to, them for whose
sake, sakes, it is also, also it is, tilled, dressed, who cultivate it].[ 43 ] One of the
joys of farming is to stroll across a newly planted field and see the young shoots
of corn or other plants coming up. On a sunny, spring day, hopeful thoughts of
a coming harvest of a good and useful crop flood the mind with gladness.
Receives blessing from God [receiveth, partakes of, a blessing, from God].[ 44 ]
God provided the earth. He created plants that produce the seed. He sends the
rain. The farm receives a blessing from God. But the Hebrew writer is alluding
to spiritual blessings. God made man as a creature of understanding and choice.
He gave him the seed (the word of God). This is a great blessing from God.
[6:8] But if it bears thorns [but that which, beareth thorns, but bringing
forth thorns].[ 45 ]
And briars [and thistles].[ 46 ] What if, after good seed is planted in a field and,
after good rains come to water it, most of the sprouts are thorns, thistles and
briars? The farmer who walks through such a field must be heart-broken.
It is rejected [is rejected, found worthless].[ 47 ] The farmer who has a field of
thorns realizes his crop will be a failure. Undesirable plants have taken over. In
the spiritual application, the seed of the kingdom (the word) produces Christians.
How do you think God feels when they do not develop properly? When they turn
their attention to unworthy, worldly pursuits or doctrines that exclude salvation by
And near to being cursed [and nigh, and is nigh, unto a curse, cursing].[ 48 ]
The Holy Spirit says that the field of briars is near, nigh or close to being cursed.
Can the crop be saved? Is there a hint here that maybe, just maybe, the field of
briars can be salvaged? Is it possible that with careful, painstaking work it can be
reclaimed? Can it be replanted with good seed and still produce a satisfactory
Sometimes when a plant does not produce fruit as it should, it just has to be
condemned. The fig tree Jesus cursed had leaves but no figs. Like hypocritical
Jews who pretended righteousness but responded negatively to Christ, the fig tree
was deceptive. Jesus cursed it (see notes on Mt 21:19-22; Mk 11:20-24).
Whose end is to be burned [its end, and the end, is to be burned].[ 49 ] The
thorny field could not be saved. The roots of the briars and thistles were too
strong. Uprooting them would only tear out the tender corn plants. There was
only one thing to do--burn it off. The Holy Spirit was not giving a lesson on
agriculture. He was talking about souls, not soils. Would all of the Hebrew
Christians who were looking back longingly at the OT Law be forever lost?
Would they all spend eternity in hell? Please read on.
6:9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes,
things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.
But, beloved [yet in your case, beloved].[ 50 ] The writer of Hebrews called his
readers "beloved" by inspiration. That implies that the Holy Spirit loved them.
This is very encouraging. Dear reader, if you are drifting away from Christ, be
sure of this one thing. God still loves you. To Him, you are "beloved." Come
back to Him while you can.
We are confident [we are sure, feel sure, are persuaded].[ 51 ] It is encouraging
when someone believes in you. When a youngster steals or lies, his parents and
others may lose their trust in him. Loss of trust is very difficult to overcome.
Confidence has to be re-established. It may take a long time. In the context of
these verses, Christians were toying with a complete desertion of Christ in order
to return to Judaism. In spite of that, the Holy Spirit had a degree of confidence
that they would turn, that they would pull out of it, that they would be
strengthened in Christ and, finally, make it to heaven.
Of better things concerning you [better things, of better things, of you].
[ 52 ] The Hebrew writer was convinced that the Hebrew Christians were
better than a field of briars that needed to be burned off, better off than those who
had fallen away.
Yes, things that accompany salvation [even things having to do with, and
connected with, things that belong to, salvation].[ 53 ] What are things that
accompany salvation? First, there is faith (see chart THROUGH FAITH AND
PATIENCE A and B at verse 12). Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Ro
10:17). To their own hurt, some weak Christians stop attending worship and Bible
study entirely. That is one of the worse things they can do. Then if they quit
studying the word of God at home, they completely lose one of the vital things that
accompanies salvation. They lose the indispensable feeding on the Word of God
that brings or increases faith. Other significant things that accompany salvation
are love, hope and good works (see chart JUDGED BY WORKS at verse 2). Without
faithful Bible study and regular attendance at church services it not likely that faith
will remain strong (see Heb 10:25). A weak faith dims one's hope (see note on
Ro 8:24, 25) and causes love to grow cold (compare Mt 24:12; Re 2:4). In the
case of at least some of the Hebrew Christians, works and love were not totally
abandoned (see verse 10).
Though we speak in this manner [even though, even if, we thus speak, speak thus, we speak like this].[ 54 ] The Holy Spirit offers hope to His weak readers. The prospect of burning a field of briars is unpleasant (see verse 8). Much more so is the doom of Christians who fall away from Christ. It is impossible to save some of them. But, even then, with the realization of God's mercy and grace, there is still a tiny glimmer of hope for those who fall away. What is impossible with men is possible with God (see Mt 19:26; Mk 10:27; Lu 1:37; 18:27).
6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you
have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and
For God is not unjust [for God is not unrighteous, so unjust].[ 55 ] The
Hebrew Christians were showing both work and love toward God's name. God
is not unjust. He does not forget that.
To forget your work [as to overlook your work].[ 56 ] The Hebrew Christians apparently had forgotten to study the word (see note on Heb 5:12). However, they were still performing works of kindness to assist their brothers and sisters. It has been often said that works do not save, but think about it. They just might (compare Mt 25:31-40). Right here is an example. A reason the Holy Spirit had confidence in the Hebrew Christians was because of the importance of their works. In spite of their lack of progress in the faith, they were still maintaining works of genuine kindness toward other Christians. These works went up as a memorial before God (see Ac 10:4, 31).
Dear reader, how long has it been since you, as an individual, have done any
benevolent work? One should never cease doing acts of kindness in the name of
Jesus Christ.[ 57 ] The work one does may save his soul at last. You ask, do I not
know that man's works do not pay for his salvation? Yes, I am aware of that. I
also know that, according to this verse, God will not forget one's good works (see
And labor of love [and the love].[ 58 ] The versions with "labor of" are generally
considered to be inaccurate in this instance. Those two words may be an
interpolation.[ 59 ] Labor without love is worthless (see note on 1Co 13:3).
However, the idea of "labor of love" is Scriptural. Paul encouraged the
Thessalonians by his continual prayers for them wherein he mentioned their "labor
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and
patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father
Which you have shown [which ye showed, have shewed].[ 60 ] Love does not
mean much unless it is shown. Husbands and wives express their love by words
as well as by deeds. In the same way, Christians show love toward God and
toward each other.
Toward His name [his, to his, name, for his sake].[ 61 ] The name of God
stands for God Himself. Love shown toward God's name is shown toward Him.
The love shown in deeds of kindness toward other Christians is, in effect, shown
toward Christ (see note on Mt 25:40).
In that you have ministered [in serving, in that ye, having, by having,
ministered].[ 62 ] The writer alludes to what was done in the past. The Hebrew
Christians had rendered excellent service in the past. That was good, but it was
To the saints [the, unto the, saints].[ 63 ] Ministering to the saints is recognized
by the great God of the universe. The fact that the Hebrew Christians were
continuing to minister to the saints showed a spirit of earnestness, diligence and
perseverance. This would assure their salvation if they continued to the end (see
And do minister [as you still do, and still do minister, and still
ministering].[ 64 ] It is not enough to rest on past accomplishments. One must keep
on serving the Lord to the end (see note on Col 4:17).
6:11, 12 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the
full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but
imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
And we desire [but we desire earnestly, earnestly desire].[ 65 ] What would
your desire be for every member of the church where you worship? I would like
to see each one attend every regular Bible class and worship hour that
circumstances permit. I would like to see each one involved in private and daily
Bible study. I would like to see everyone looking for opportunities to do acts of
kindness to others. I would like to see them teaching others the precious gospel
of Christ. I would like to hear them singing and praying. I would like the faith,
hope and love of each Christian to grow stronger.
That each one of you [each one, that every one, of you].[ 66 ] Karl Marx
considered the individual to be just a part of the masses, expendable for the good
of the state. In contrast, the Holy Spirit deems each one, each individual,
important (see Mt 16:26). In a general sense, Christ saves the church (Ac 20:28;
Eph 5:25), but He saves people as individuals. Each one is born again (Joh 3:5).
One may try to get lost in the crowd or claim the works of others in the
congregation, but that will not impress God. The emphasis here is upon what each
individual is to do. No matter how humble or exalted a Christian may be, the
work of each one is looked upon and remembered by the Lord and, I would like
to think, He does so with a smile.
When you come to the genealogy chapters in the Bible, do you tend to skip over
and not even read the long lists of names? Do you secretly wish that the Holy
Spirit had not included them? Consider a different point of view. What if your
own name had been omitted? Your child's name? Your grandchild's? You see,
individuals take on a greater importance when they are of one's own family.
Individual names are important to God. He told Moses, "I know you by name"
(Ex 33:17). To Cyrus, king of Persia, He said:
For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you
by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me (Isa
The Lord has interest in the detailed circumstances of His people. "But the very
hairs of your head are all numbered" (Mt 10:30). There is joy in heaven over one
sinner who repents (Lu 15:7). All Christians are members of the family of God
and, as such, are important to Him. The Good Shepherd calls His own sheep by
name (Joh 10:3). An example of the Lord's personal knowledge of an individual
is the case of Nathanael. Jesus said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you
were under the fig tree, I saw you" (Joh 1:48).
Show the same diligence [to show, do shew, may show, the same
earnestness].[ 67 ] The present verse teaches us that the Holy Spirit strongly desires
Christians to continue all of the fine works and the love in which they are engaged
as they exhibit eager concern and diligently strive to enter heaven (see note on Heb
To the full assurance of hope [to have, in realizing, the full assurance of
hope, unto the fullness of hope].[ 68 ] Desire and expectation are elements of
hope. Christians hope to be raised from the dead. They hope for eternal life.
They desire and expect the accompanying blessings (see Heb 10:35, 36).
Until the end [unto, even to, the end].[ 69 ] Diligence to the end of life is
essential to salvation. There is no retirement from the service of God while on
earth we dwell.
[6:12] That you do not become sluggish [so that you may not be, that ye be
not, you will not be slothful, lazy].[ 70 ] The writer urges the Hebrew Christians
not to become lethargic, lazy, shiftless or sluggish.
But imitate those [but imitators, followers, of them, of those].[ 71 ] It is a good
idea to imitate those who are strong in the faith. Imitate their faith, their love,
their prayers. Imitate their work for the Lord. Imitate their instruction of the lost.
Paul urged the Philippians to do this very thing (see chart BE IMITATORS).
Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you
have us for a pattern (Php 3:17).
Who through faith.[ 72 ] In Hebrews 11, we shall see examples of faithful men
and women who inherited the promises. Consider Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham,
Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Samson, Jephthah, David,
Samuel and the prophets.
And patience.[ 73 ] Faith and patience go together. They complement and support
each other. Without faith there is little patience. Patience and living faith are
companions. Paul spoke proudly of the Thessalonians' perseverance and faith
(2Th 1:4). Their faith had been severely tested by persecution (Ac 17:5; 1Th 1:6;
2:14). The testing of faith produces endurance (Jas 1:3; see charts THROUGH
FAITH A and B).
Inherit the promises [have been inheritors of the promises].[ 74 ] Christians are
promised a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2Co 5:1, 2), a
promise to be at home with the Lord (2Co 5:6-8), a promise of future rest (Heb
6:13, 14 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear
by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, "Surely blessing I will
bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you."
For when God made a promise to Abraham [for when God made promise,
the promise, to Abraham].[ 75 ] One of the most prominent, celebrated and
renowned men of faith in all the Bible is Abraham. God made several promises
to him but He confirmed one of them with an oath. That oath was, in part,
"Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." It was
probably about twenty-five years after the birth of Isaac that this particular promise
was made.[ 76 ] It came right after he offered Isaac (see chart PROMISES TO
ABRAHAM A and B).
And said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have
done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son-- 17 blessing
I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the
stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your
descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the
nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice"
Because He could swear by no one greater [since he had no greater by whom
to swear, to swear by, since he could swear by no, by none, greater].[ 77 ]
Abraham understood there was only one Great God of the universe. No one was
greater than God, so He could not swear by anyone greater than Himself.
He swore by Himself [swore, he sware, by himself]. It was after Abraham
offered Isaac that the Lord said:
By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing,
and have not withheld your son, your only son (Ge 22:16).
This was God's way of imparting a firm guarantee to Abraham that what He said
would come to pass. God's holy character, power and authority were on the line.
What He said would happen! Since He is unchangeable, His promise to bless
Christians is just as strong as was His word to Abraham. He can be trusted
absolutely. Just as an anchor holds a ship, so His word holds true (see verse 19).
[6:14] Saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you" [saying, Surely I will, I will
surely, bless thee, blessing I will bless thee].[ 78 ] This phrase is a Hebraism that
strengthens and magnifies both the blessing and the multiplying. Long after the
death of Abraham, during the life of Moses, another promise of blessing was given
to the Jews.
For the LORD will greatly
bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as
an inheritance (De 15:4).[ 79 ]
And multiplying I will multiply you [and multiply thee, and I will surely
multiply you].[ 80 ] Many years prior, God had promised Abraham, "I will make
you a great nation" (Ge 12:2). The particular promise to multiply him was given
to him after he offered up Isaac (see Ge 22:16-18).
6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
And so [and thus].[ 81 ] Abraham waited patiently for the promise to be fulfilled.
He waited for the promised blessing (Ge 12:1-3). He waited for a son. After
Ishmael was born, he waited for Sarah to have a son. His logic said that, without
children, his descendants would not increase in number.
After he had patiently endured [Abraham, having had long patience, by
patiently enduring, waited, after waiting patiently].[ 82 ] Abraham had
remarkable patience as he waited for the promise to be eventually fulfilled. The
example of his patience is cited to encourage Christians to be patient throughout
life and not lose faith.
He obtained the promise [obtained, he got, he attained, the promises].[ 83 ] In
what sense did Abraham obtain the promise? In the past, he had been given at
least nine promises (see charts PROMISES TO ABRAHAM A and B; compare
Heb 11:17). It must be that, in some sense, he received the fulfillment of the
promise. Yet, the same Holy Spirit who said "He obtained the promise" inspired
these words in the NT:
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen
them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they
were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Heb 11:13).
So, he did not completely and actually receive the total fulfillment of the
promises. He did not fully receive the fulfillment of the land promise, nor the
ultimate multiplication of his descendants. In his lifetime, the promise that through
him all nations would be blessed was not fulfilled.
Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of
many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants
be" (Ro 4:18).
What then? Abraham received the promise in that it was made so sure to him
that, in effect, it was a reality. Think about it for a minute. His life had already
been spared by miracle (implied by Ge 12:16, 17, 20; 20:2, 3, 11, 17). He had
already been given Isaac by miracle (inferred from Ge 16:2, 16, 21; 18:14; 21:1,
2; Heb 11:12). He had already offered Isaac and had been given him back again
as if by resurrection.[ 84 ] All of this made the promise so sure that when God
swore with an oath (Ge 22:16) that to Abraham there was absolutely no room for
doubt. Abraham believed God.
Jesus understood the certainty with which Abraham was given the promise. He
And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Mt 8:11).
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad
When Lazarus died he was carried by angels to "Abraham's bosom" (Lu 17:22,
25, 29). So in a fuller sense at the time of the writing of the Hebrew letter,
Abraham had received the promise in that he was with the Lord. It was not by
accident that Peter said:
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified
His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of
Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go (Ac 3:13).
Abraham, after about fifty years, enjoyed the promised land. Then he died. Abraham did not, in his lifetime, receive the full and complete fruition of his hope in God's oath-promise (see Eph 1:14; 2Pe 3:13), but he patiently waited. Our hope for eternal life rests on strong assurance like that given to him. We, too, must patiently wait (Ro 8:25).
6:16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is
for them an end of all dispute.
For men indeed swear [men, for people, verily, indeed, swear].[ 85 ] An oath
is usually an appeal to God in order to substantiate or ratify a statement. The Law
regulated the use of oaths (Ex 22:11). Swearing usually consisted of two things:
(1) the swearer called upon God to witness the truth of what he said or promised
and (2) he called upon Him to punish him if he lied. In Scripture, we have record
of various human beings who have sworn. The first example is contained in what
Abram said to the king of Sodom:
But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the
LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will
take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take
anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich'" (Ge
Paul came near to swearing when he said, "Now in what I am writing to you,
I assure you before God that I am not lying" (Ga 1:20; compare 2Co 11:31).
Various formulas were used for swearing, including, "As the Lord lives" (1Sa
14:39) and "Indeed the LORD be between you and me forever" (1Sa 20:23).
Sometimes the hand was raised toward heaven (Ge 14:22; De 32:40) or was placed
under the thigh (Ge 24:2; 47:29). At least once a burning torch was passed
between the divided parts of slain animals (Ge 15:8-18).[ 86 ]
By the greater [by a greater, by a greater than themselves].[ 87 ] Sometimes men swore by something or by some one. Jacob swore to Laban by the fear of his father Isaac (Ge 31:52, 53). It was also done by the life of a person being dealt with (1Sa 17:55), by the life of the king (1Sa 17:55), by one's own head (Mt 5:34), by the angels, by the temple (Mt 23:16), by Jerusalem (Mt 5:35), as well as by God Himself. Swearing by a false god was forbidden (Jos 23:7).
And an oath for confirmation [and the oath is final for, as a, confirmation,
as making matters sure].[ 88 ] Joseph swore to his father Jacob that he would carry
his body out of Egypt (Ge 47:31). It was a confirmation to the patriarch that his
son would follow his instructions. That put his mind at ease and he died.
Is for them an end of all dispute [is to them, in all their disputes, in every
dispute of theirs, is the end of every dispute, of all strife].[ 89 ] An oath has put
an end to many an argument. An example of an oath ending a dispute is when
Abraham swore that he would not deal falsely with Abimelech (Ge 21:23, 24).[ 90 ]
Abimelech seemed satisfied with the oath.
6:17, 18 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of
promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by
two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have
strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before
Thus God [so when, wherein, since, God].[ 91 ] God used an oath to end
dispute. It removed all doubt (see verse 16).
Determining to show more abundantly [desired, willing, being minded, to
shew, to show clearly, more convincingly].[ 92 ] It is not necessary for God to
swear in order to make His word binding. It is binding with or without an oath.
He did it for man's sake, since humans usually place more confidence in
statements made under oath.
To the heirs of promise [unto the heirs of the promise].[ 93 ] The purpose of
God's oath was to make his promise to Abraham stand out as firm, clear and
dependable. The oath to Abraham was not so much for him because he already
believed God (Ge 15:6; Ro 4:3). It was made for the benefit of the heirs of the
promise, that is, both Jews and Christians who might need added assurance.
The immutability [the unchangeable character, the unchangeableness].[ 94 ]
(see verse 18).
Of His counsel [of his purpose].[ 95 ] The word "counsel" or "purpose" tells us
that the promise made to Abraham was in God's plan and purpose. His purpose
had to do with the salvation of mankind.
Confirmed it by an oath [intervened, interposed, he interposed, with an
oath].[ 96 ] Zacharias, father of John the Baptist realized that God guaranteed His
promise by an oath. The emphasis should be placed on the latter part of the statement
of John's father Zacharias "might serve Him without fear." He, by inspiration,
spoke the confirmation of God's oath to Abraham.
The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: 74 To grant us that we,
being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear
(Lu 1:73, 74; compare Ac 2:30).
[6:18] That [so that, in order that].[ 97 ]
By two immutable things [through two unchangeable things].[ 98 ] Two
immutable or unchangeable things are (1) God's oath with His promise to
Abraham and (2) His oath with His promise that Christ would be Priest after the
order of Melchizedek.
In which it is impossible for God to lie [in which it was impossible that God
should lie, prove false].[ 99 ] God cannot lie, and He cannot break His promise.
The word of God is absolutely trustworthy (see Mt 24:35; Joh 14:6, 17; 1Jo 5:6).
This is especially true regarding the two promises confirmed by an oath.
Whatever God says is true whether or not there is an oath (compare Mt 5:18).
If we are faithless, he remains faithful; he cannot deny Himself (2Ti 2:13;
compare 2Co 1:20).
We might have strong consolation [we may have a strong
encouragement].[ 100 ] The purpose of God swearing in connection with the two
promises mentioned is that Christians would have a strong encouragement from OT
Scriptures that salvation is indeed found in Christ Jesus. It was according to God's
purpose all along that salvation should be made possible by Christ. If Christians
went back to trusting the OT Law for salvation they would contradict the purpose
of God. To do this is equivalent to deserting a life raft to return to a sinking ship.
It is like returning to a burning building to perish after being rescued.
Who have fled for refuge.[ 101 ] The idea of fleeing for refuge was introduced
in the OT along with the setting aside of six Levitical cities to which one who
accidentally killed another could flee for safety (Nu 35:6, 12; De 19:1-7). There
were three cities on each side of the Jordan River. The cities on the east were
Bezer, Ramoth and Golan (De 4:41-43; Jos 20:8). Those on the west were
Kedesh, Shechem and Kiriath-arba (Jos 20:7). Additional cities were designated
later (see 1Ch 6:67-81). A manslayer could flee for safety to one of these cities.
So long as he remained therein he was safe from the avenger of blood.
Christ is our refuge. Sinners have claimed God's protection by fleeing unto Him
and into Him by faith and baptism (see Mk 16:16; Ro 6:3; Ga 3:27). As long as
they live faithfully in Him they are safe from sin's penalties (1Jo 1:9).
To lay hold [to seize].[ 102 ] Paul used a similar expression[ 103 ] when he said,
"Lay hold on eternal life" (1Ti 6:12).
Of the hope set before us [on, upon, the hope set, that is, before us].[ 104 ]
The Christian's hope is Christ Himself who has gone into heaven. Hope gives
strength to aid the Christian to remain steadfast (Ro 8:24). It is because of it that
one perseveres (Ro 8:25). Hope is a helmet to protect (1Th 5:8). It is essential
to hold fast to the hope (Heb 3:6). It is through hope that one draws near to God
6:19, 20 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,
and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has
entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the
order of Melchizedek.
This hope we have [which we have, which hope we have].[ 105 ] The
trustworthy Scriptures are the source of information about the hope Christians
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that
we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope (Ro
As an anchor of the soul [as anchor, we have this anchor, to the soul].[ 106 ]
In ancient times, an anchor was often used as a symbol of hope. Socrates said,
"To ground hope on a false assumption, is like trusting in a weak anchor."[ 107 ]
Epicetus wrote, "A ship should never depend on one anchor, or a life on one hope."
Wealth is a weak anchor; fame is still weaker. What then are the anchors which are strong? Wisdom, great-heartedness, courage -- these are the anchors which no storm can shake.[ 108 ]
Both sure [a sure, a hope both sure, secure].[ 109 ] The Christian's hope is both
sure and steadfast. It pertains to the resurrection of the dead (Ac 24:15). It is laid
up in heaven (Col 1:5). It is a blessed hope that will come to fruition when the
Savior appears (Tit 2:13). It is a living hope because of the resurrection of Christ
from the dead (1Pe 1:3).
And steadfast [as steadfast, and firm].[ 110 ] The Greek suggests a figure
picturing Christians walking toward heaven upon their hope. Hope in Christ does
not break down or crumble as one walks. It is steadfast and sure.
And which enters the Presence behind the veil [and enters, and a hope that
enters, entereth, and entering, into that, into the inner shrine, which is, that
which is, within the curtain].[ 111 ] The veil of the temple separated the holy place
from the most holy place. The holy place is a type of the church and the most
holy place a type of heaven. In this figure, when one enters within the veil it is
equivalent to saying he enters heaven. Our hope is predicated on the resurrection
of Christ from the dead and His ascension into heaven. As High Priest, He has
entered the heavenly sanctuary. There He offered His crucified body for our sins.
There He intercedes for us (Heb 7:25).
[6:20] Where the forerunner [where Jesus has gone, whither as, as a, where
as, forerunner a forerunner].[ 112 ] In ancient times, when a king planned
to visit another country, he would often send a forerunner ahead of him to see that
things were ready for his reception. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ
(Isa 40:3; Lu 3:4-6). In a similar way, Christ has gone into glory before us in
order to assure us that it is possible for us to enter heaven. Because He entered
heaven, we are assured that we shall be able to follow Him there. We will be
admitted to heaven because our Forerunner was.
Has entered [is entered, Jesus entered].[ 113 ] Christ entered into heaven itself,
into the very presence of God (Heb 9:24).
For us [on our behalf].[ 114 ] Jesus entered heaven for us. He is our precursor,
our prototype. He entered heaven to present His sacrifice to God. He also
entered heaven to become King of His kingdom, the church, and to reign as High
Priest who intercedes for us. He has accomplished His work of redemption. He
now reigns in heaven. He is the firstfruits. We are the crop.
Having become High Priest [being, become, made a, an, high priest].[ 115 ]
He went to heaven in order to perform his functions as Priest and King as well as
to prepare a place for His own (Joh 14:1-3).
Forever.[ 116 ] Jewish priests were limited in tenure because of human frailty.
Not so with Christ. He will reign as High Priest throughout the entire church age.
According to the order of Melchizedek [after the order of Melchizedek].[ 117 ]
This verse gives a summation of what has been discussed (Heb 6:13-19).
Difficulties with regard to Melchizedek are not yet resolved. At least, some
background for the treatment of this great OT priest has been presented. Chapter
7 continues the discussion.
And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest (Heb 7:15).
The idea of "succession" is not inherent in the word "order." The NEB has inserted an idea from thin air with its "in the succession of Melchizedek." The NIV translators have also overstepped the meaning of "likeness" with "just like" Melchizedek (but see note on Heb 7:1).