Hebrews; Chapter 6
UNDERSTANDING OUR HIGH PRIEST!
Hebrews 5:12-14) [GNB] There has been enough time for you to be teachers—yet you still need someone to teach you the first lessons of God’s message. Instead of eating solid food, you still have to drink milk.
QUESTION: What are we being told here?
ANSWER: These, to who the author of Hebrews was writing, had been sitting under the instruction of the Word for enough time that they should have been able in instruct others, but they were “slow to understand” instead [vs. 11].
John 16:12) [GNB] I have much more to tell you, but now it would be too much for you to bear.
QUESTION: What can we learn from this concerning God’s will for our lives?
ANSWER: God doesn’t just want us to listen to His Word; He wants us to learn His Word. In fact, He wants us to learn His Word sufficiently enough to teach others.
13) [GNB] Anyone who has to drink milk is still a child, without any experience in the matter of right and wrong.
14) [GNB] Solid food, on the other hand, is for adults, who through practice are able to distinguish between good and evil.
QUESTION: What does toddlers drinking milk and adults eating solid food have to do with you and I as believers?
ANSWER: The author of Hebrews is telling us that if all we can understand of Christian doctrine, after having been taught it for an extended period of time, are the basic truths of it then we are “baby” Christians. If we have matured to “adult” status as believers, then we will have a greater understanding of His Word.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3) [GNB] As a matter of fact, my friends, I could not talk to you as I talk to people who have the Spirit; I had to talk to you as though you belonged to this world, as children in the Christian faith.
2) [GNB] I had to feed you milk, not solid food, because you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready for it,
3) [GNB] because you still live as the people of this world live. When there is jealousy among you and you quarrel with one another, doesn’t this prove that you belong to this world, living by its standards?
QUESTION: What is the result of our only understanding basic truths of the Gospel?
ANSWER: We will act like “men” [KJV], “like the people of this world” [CEV], or we will be “living and acting like mere men of the world” [WNT].
QUESTION: What do mere men act like?
ANSWER: They are jealous of one another and quarrel with one another.
On To This Week’s Lesson:
Hebrews 6:1-3) [GNB] Let us go forward, then, to mature teaching and leave behind us the first lessons of the Christian message. We should not lay again the foundation of turning away from useless works and believing in God;
2) [GNB] of the teaching about baptisms and the laying on of hands; of the resurrection of the dead and the eternal judgment.
3) [GNB] Let us go forward! And this is what we will do, if God allows.
Concerning “leave behind us the first lessons of the Christian message,”
“We understand this to mean the basic doctrines of religion that were taught in the OT and were designed to prepare Israel for the coming of the Messiah” [BBC].
“Up to this point the writer has shown only that the permanent elements of the old covenant remain and are exalted in Christ. The more difficult point, which it will require matured perception to grasp, is that Christ’s priesthood involves the entire abolition of the old covenant” [Vincent].
“Ceasing to continue in the state of babes, who must be fed with milk – with the lowest doctrines of the Gospel, when ye should be capable of understanding the highest” [Clarke].
QUESTION: What are the “first lessons” of Christianity?
ANSWER: Here are six “first lessons” of the Christian faith:
1) We should turn away from useless works.
2) We should have faith in God.
3) We should be baptized into salvation, into water, and into the Holy Spirit.
4) We should lay hands on others to appoint them for ministry, to pray for them, to prophesy to them, etc.
5) We should know that dead will be raised.
6) We should know that there is a coming judgment.
Hebrews 6:4-6a) [GNB] For how can those who abandon their faith be brought back to repent again? They were once in God’s light; they tasted heaven’s gift and received their share of the Holy Spirit;
5) [GNB] they knew from experience that God’s word is good, and they had felt the powers of the coming age.
6a) [GNB] And then they abandoned their faith! It is impossible to bring them back to repent again, because they are again crucifying the Son of God and exposing him to public shame.
QUESTION: Who are these people who this passage is referring to?
ANSWER: I believe there are 2 possibilities:
1) The Jews who “believed” in the coming Messiah, but rejected Christ as Him.
2) The Jews who accepted Christ, then rejected Him in order to align themselves with those Jews who wished to throw off Roman oppression; in otherwords, they rejected the One they had received for the sake of national unity.
Hebrews 6: 6b-8) [GNB] And then they abandoned their faith! It is impossible to bring them back to repent again, because they are again crucifying the Son of God and exposing him to public shame.
Hebrews 10: 23-31) [GNB] Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise.
24) [GNB] Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good.
25) [GNB] Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.
26) [GNB] For there is no longer any sacrifice that will take away sins if we purposely go on sinning after the truth has been made known to us.
27) [GNB] Instead, all that is left is to wait in fear for the coming Judgment and the fierce fire which will destroy those who oppose God!
28) [GNB] Anyone who disobeys the Law of Moses is put to death without any mercy when judged guilty from the evidence of two or more witnesses.
29) [GNB] What, then, of those who despise the Son of God? who treat as a cheap thing the blood of God’s covenant which purified them from sin? who insult the Spirit of grace? Just think how much worse is the punishment they will deserve!
[KJV] Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30) [GNB] For we know who said, “I will take revenge, I will repay”; and who also said, “The Lord will judge his people.”
31) [GNB] It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
QUESTION: What is this passage referring to?
ANSWER: I’m convinced that there were Jews who had received Christ who had then been encouraged by their non-Christian Jewish friends that they needed to abandon their divisive beliefs and reunite with non-Christian Jews in an attempt to overthrow Roman control.
NOTE: I’m convinced that to counter their outward profession of Christ through water baptism they were to reject Christ through the outward symbolism of walking on some blood that was to signify the blood of Christ.
Hebrews 6:7-8) [GNB] God blesses the soil which drinks in the rain that often falls on it and which grows plants that are useful to those for whom it is cultivated.
8) [GNB] But if it grows thorns and weeds, it is worth nothing; it is in danger of being cursed by God and will be destroyed by fire.
NOTE: God blesses good soil and rejects bad soil.
QUESTION: How do we apply these first eight verses to our lives?
ANSWER: There is a place of apostasy, but only in rare circumstances. But there is a place of backsliding [from which repentance is possible] that can occur when we don’t get into the Word of God, and apply its principles to our every day lives.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church