If a hand chooses to leave the body it will no longer be governed by the brain through the nervous system and will fail to receive blood from the heart to maintain its muscles, sinews, and operation. In a short time it will become a rotting piece of dead and decaying flesh. Sadly, this is what becomes of “believers” who refuse to gather regularly with other believers. What’s more the body is now short of a hand. The believer that wilfully refuses to meet regularly with other believers robs both himself and the body of Messiah.
The second half of chapter 10 uses the former establishment of eternal atonement and the eternal security of those who receive Yeshua as a foundation for confidence in relationship to God.
Yeshua has not only made all believers, regardless of tribe or ethnicity, priests (1 Peter 2:9), He has also given every believer access to the Holiest place (the heavenly holy of holies) in the eternal present, not locationally in the same sense that Yeshua is seated at the right hand of God, but spiritually, in the sense that God dwells in and with us through Yeshua and by His Spirit. To understand this locationally is error, it leads to many heretical teachings, whereas to understand it transcendently (trans-locationally) is righteousness, a faith that accepts the future descent of the heavenly glory and the manifest dwelling of God on the new earth. We do not bring heaven down, God does. We do not affect the second coming, God does. To say otherwise if abhorrent blasphemy, idolatry of the worst kind.
Because we are secure in God through Messiah we are to hold on to and proliferate the profession of our faith, and intentionally look for ways that we can inspire and spur one another on to good works. We are not to cease meeting together in the flesh, but are instead admonished to continue to encourage one another in our faith as the day of judgement approaches. We are to turn from willful sin relying on Messiah’s strength in us because there is no further sacrifice, His sacrifice is it. We are admonished to remember our free obligation to be faithful to Yeshua and not become guilty of perpetual lawlessness, given that the rejection of the perfect Messiah and His covenant is far worse than the failure to keep the Torah of Moses.
The writer then reminds his fellow Jewish brothers and sisters in Messiah of the former days (prior to 60 C.E.) when they first came to faith in Yeshua and were persecuted alongside others who professed faith in the King Messiah. The early Jewish believers are encouraged to continue to endure with joy (transcendent), just as they did in the beginning, and to disregard earthly possessions and temporary accomplishments, instead keeping their eyes on the eternal possession, their inheritance, that which Yeshua has purchased for them. Their confidence in Messiah comes with a great reward.
Finally, the writer quotes Isaiah 26:20 and Hab. 2:3 as both a warning and an encouragement. The latter clause concerning “drawing back” (turning away from God) is redeemed by the words, “But we do not belong to those who shrink back to destruction, but are of those who have faith and are saved.”
Previous verses (Heb. 10:16-18):
16 “This is the covenant which I will make with them After those days, declares the Lord: I will put My laws upon their hearts, And write them on their mind,” He then says, 17 “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will no longer remember.” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, an offering for sin is no longer required.
BOOK TO THE HEBREWS Chapter 10:19-39 (Author’s translation)
19 Therefore, fellow Jewish brothers and sisters, since we have free, plain, confidence, boldness, security to enter into the holiest place by the blood of the Messiah Yeshua 20 by a new, recently slaughtered, freshly killed and living way which He inaugurated, renewed, consecrated, dedicated for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh, body, 21 also a great high priest over, on, in, among the house of God, 22 let’s approach with/in a true, whole, well-constructed heart, inner person, centre of being in full assurance of faith, trust, belief that is innocent having our hearts, inner persons, centre of our being sprinkled, washed, purified from a wicked, delusional, spiritually evil conscience, consciousness, moral perception and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let’s hold firmly, keep, possess the profession [projected testimony], in the knowledge of our faith, hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let’s consider how to provoke, incite, irritate, rouse one another, brothers and sisters in all-encompassing love and good deeds, 25 not abandoning, forsaking assembling ourselves together as is the habit, manner, way, moral practice, modus operandi, custom, perpetual intention of some people, but comforting, encouraging, exhorting, desiring one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. 26 For if we continue to sin, wilfully, in malice after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there remains no further blood sacrifice upon sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation, a constant phobia of judgment and “the fiery zealous indignation which will consume the adversaries/oppressors” [Num. 16:35 LXX “kai puros zelos”]. 28 Anyone who has despised, rejected, violated the Torah[H] of Moshe[H] died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severe a punishment do you think that one will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded, makes as unclean, unholy, common the blood of the covenant by which that one was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace, kindness, charity, practical love? 30 For we see, perceive, understand, know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” [Deut. 32:35] And again, “The Lord (YHVH) will judge His people.” [Deut. 32:36; Psalms 135:14] 31 It is a terrifying, fearful thing [a constant phobia] to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But remember the former, first days, when, after being enlightened, you endured, your eyes have seen a great fight, struggle, contest of sufferings, tortures, 33 partly by your being made a public spectacle through insults and distress, and partly by becoming companions, fellow participants with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to me in my bonds [alt. to the prisoners] and accepted joyfully the seizure, spoiling, extorting of your possessions, knowing, having learned in your souls that you have for yourselves [alt. have in heaven] a better and lasting substance. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your free, plain, bold, confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of patient endurance, so that when you have done the will, desire of God, you may receive what was promised. 37 “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. [Isaiah 26:20; Hab. 2:3 LXX] [Hebrew text Habakkuk 2:3: “For yet a vision to an appointed time and it shall speak, blow, to the end/goal and it will not lie though it waits, wait for it, coming it has come, it will not hesitate.”] 38 But My righteous one will live by faith; [Hab. 2:4] And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” [LXX and a summation of Hab. 2:5-20] [Hebrew text of Habakkuk 2:4: “Behold, now, pay attention, he is lifted up (has drawn back through pride) and is not upright in his soul, behold, and the just/righteous, by his faith shall he live.”] 39 But we are not among those who draw back [through pride per Heb. Hab. 2:4] to destruction, damnation, but of those who have faith, trust, belief for obtaining the salvation, preservation of our souls.
HEBREWS 10:19-39 (line upon line)
19 Therefore, fellow Jewish brothers and sisters (adelphos[G], echay/achiym[H]), since we have free, plain, confidence, boldness, security (parrhesia[G], bihyot[H]) to enter into the holiest place (ho hagion[G], haKodesh[H]) by the blood (aima[G], bedam[H]) of the Messiah Yeshua[H] (Ho Christos[G], Ha-Mashiach[H], Iesous[G], YHVH [Mercy] Saves) 20 by a new, recently slaughtered, freshly killed (prosphatos[G], chadash[H]) and living (zao[G], chay[H]) way (hodos[G], derekh[H]) which He inaugurated, renewed, consecrated, dedicated (egkainizo[G], chideish[H]) for us through the veil (ho katapetasma[G], baparochet[H]), that is, through His (hautou[G]) flesh, body (sarx[G], vesaro[H]),
19 Therefore, fellow Jewish brothers and sisters, since we have free, plain, confidence, boldness, security to enter into the holiest place by the blood of the Messiah Yeshua[H]
“Therefore, fellow Jewish brothers and sisters,” With few exceptions, when a Jewish New Covenant writer uses the Greek “adelphos” (brother, or the pl. brothers, by implication brothers and sisters), equivalent to the Hebrew “echay” or “achiym”, the writer intends it to be understood to refer to his ethnic Jewish brothers and sisters. While the teaching (spiritual principles) pursuant to the familial noun can be received and applied by all believers, this is nonetheless a secondary application.
“since we have free, confidence, security to enter into the holiest place by the blood of the Messiah Yeshua” Our confidence, security, freedom as believers is in Messiah through His eternal blood atonement. Therefore, we have been given continuing access to enter into the holiest place of intimacy with God. The holy of holies of the earthly hamishkan (Tent of meeting) and hamikdash (temple) are a sign that point to the holiest place in the heavens where Messiah is now seated in the right hand of the Father, while we remain on earth. However, Messiah in us as the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son, has brought the yet future manifestation of the holiest place (re. residing in the new Jerusalem that descends Rev. 21:22-23) to us according to His transcendent nature as resurrected King. He is both locationally seated in the right hand of God and trans-locationally present in us. The resurrected Messiah is not bound by matter, time, space or location.
We do not ascend to the heavens in order to access the holiest place, to the contrary, the message of Scripture is that God’s manifest presence and person descend to dwell with and in us. Those who seek to ascend have failed to understand the access that believers have been given in Messiah to a holiest place that is unbound by the locational limitations set by the human mind as it perceives this sin affected temporal world. Neither matter, nor time, nor space, nor any other created thing can impede the access of the believer to the holiest place through the blood of Messiah.
This is why Yeshua said, “But the hour comes and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeks such to worship Him.” -Yochanan (John) 4:23
Therefore, locational worship, while significant as a sign pointing to the holiest place of intimacy with God, is nonetheless preceded and succeeded, or proceeded from, in the trans-locational worship found in God through Messiah Yeshua.
Put simply, we don’t need to ascend to the “holiest place” because our great High Priest Yeshua Who resides there also resides in us by the Holy Spirit (Spirit of the Father and the Son).
It is foolish then, to claim (as some do) that we can ascend into the heavenly holy of holies through certain practices, prayers, invocations and processes. This is the modus operandi of witchcraft. To the contrary, in Messiah the trans-locational manifest presence of God is eternally present with us. We await the fullness of that manifestation at the return of the King Messiah and following the judgement (haDin-the Day of Judgement), when the new Jerusalem will descend from the heavens and God will dwell with humanity, the city being devoid of a temple because God Himself and the Lamb Yeshua will be its temple and its perpetual light (Rev. 21:22-23).
Those who practice locational faith (a companion to emotional faith) will find to their detriment that there are locations that offer no inspiration. Whereas those who practice transcendent faith in Messiah Yeshua will find that their faith is trans-locational.
***FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY*** or skip to next verse…
For further study the following commentary on Hebrews 9:27 refutes the false teaching that believers can travel trans-dimensionally into the heavens (an occult teaching akin to astral travel) that misunderstands the words of Rav Shaul (Paul) recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:1-5:
“And just as it is appointed for people to die once, and after this, the judgment,” -Hebrews 9:27
This verse puts death to the false claims of those who say they have died and literally been to heaven and have come back to shared their experiences. While according to Scripture (2 Cor. 12:2-4) one can claim to have experienced a vision of paradise (Gan Eden, Bosom of Abraham ref. Luke 16:19-31) as convergent with the third heaven (not heaven but a part of Sheol), one cannot legitimately claim to have actually, physically or metaphysically entered the heaven of heavens (John 3:13; Heb. 9:27; Luke 23:43)[note that Elijah was taken into “hashamayim” the heavens pl. and not into the heaven of heavens in particular (2 Kings 2). Also in the case of Enoch who “was not”, heaven is not mentioned (Gen 5:24).
The Scripture does not say “it is appointed to human beings to die and spend time in heaven and then come back for a while and die again etc…” But, “It is appointed to human beings to die once and then the judgement”, not “and then some other things and then the judgement”, but “and then the judgement” which by necessity precedes what Christians mistakenly call “heaven”, but is actually the Olam haba (world to come). Only following the judgement do we dwell forever in the Olam Haba (World to come), prior to that the redeemed await the judgement in Paradise (Bosom of Abraham, Gan Eden). Those Scriptures used to support the counterfeit experiences of those who have “passed” and been revived, when examined closely, affirm the present text rather than being divergent in their meaning.
This verse also puts to death the false idea of the ghosts of human souls, which in reality are demonic spirits (false elohim [gods]) masquerading as departed human souls. This is extremely important in light of the many foolish misinterpretations of Hebrews 12:1 and 1 Samuel 28:3-21.
According to this verse there are two steps between the present temporal life and the Olam Haba (world to come) [mis referred to by Christians as “heaven”]:
1. The death of the human being as a result of the sin affected world
There are no intermediary stages mentioned, nor does the wealth of Scripture support such stages. Those who teach otherwise teach apostasy.
An explanation of the verses commonly used in an attempt to circumvent the truth of Hebrews 9:27.
My commentary on 1 Samuel 28:3-21
The allusion to the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 is referring back to the list of those witnesses to God’s faithfulness who are listed in Hebrews 11, commonly known as the Faith Chapter. These witnesses, as can be seen from Hebrews 11, are the now deceased patriarchs and heroes of the Jewish faith. The writer of Hebrews, a Jew and a Kohen (Priest), knows that the witnesses he is referring to are deceased and that many of them are buried throughout the land of Israel, and that they are therefore uncontactable according to the teaching of Scripture regarding the dead (Hebrews 9:27).
In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16) Yeshua explains that while the dead are conscious, they are not able either to traverse the chasm between Gehinnom (torment) and Gan Eden (Paradise) nor (re: Lazarus etc. once they are finally deceased [Hebrews 9:27]) are they able to traverse the distance between Sheol and the present world. In my article on Saul, Samuel and the Witch of Eyndor, I explain why the events of 1 Samuel 28:3-21 are not describing the dead spirit of Samuel called up but rather an evil spirit that fools both the witch and Saul, and is subsequently used by God to condemn Saul (ref. see link above).
The writer of the book of Hebrews is using the deceased Jewish witnesses of Hebrews 11 as a figurative example. When he says:
“Therefore, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses lying around us, let us also get rid of every weight and entangling sin. Let us run with endurance the race set before us, focusing on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of faith.” –Hebrews 12:1-2a
He is making a drash (inquiry/comparative teaching) regarding how we should act in light of the figurative (not literal) cloud of witnesses that are buried throughout the land of Israel. We must remember that the writer is probably writing from the perspective of a priest living in the Land of Israel prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E (A.D). He then qualifies this teaching by instructing us, not to focus on the cloud of witnesses, but on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of our faith (The faith that our Jewish forebears shared in the coming Messiah Yeshua).
We cannot engage with this cloud of witnesses because they are deceased and according to Scripture (Hebrews 9:27) they are uncontactable. Those who do seek to speak to the dead are in fact speaking with demonic forces rather than the spirits of dead people (1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Corinthians 10:20-21; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.” –Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Therefore, not only are we unable to engage with the dead witnesses of Hebrews 11-12, we are also commanded by God not to attempt to speak with the dead.
1 Peter 3:14-21
“If you suffer for righteousness' sake, be glad: and don’t be afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify (Kiddush) HaShem (Merciful) Elohiym (Judge) in your core being (heart): and be ready always to give an answer to every human being that asks you the reason for the hope that is in you with humility and reverent awe: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conduct in Messiah. For it’s better if God’s will is that you suffer for doing well than for doing evil. For Messiah also at one time suffered for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Ruach (Spirit). By Whom (The Spirit) He also went and made proclamation to the ruachiym (spirits) in prison (phulake: foo-lak-ay). Who were formerly disobedient, when at one time the longsuffering God waited in the days of Noach (Comfort), while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is eight souls (nefesh) were saved by water (mikveh: gathering of water). This figurative likeness being a representation of the immersion (baptism) that now also saves us (not the washing of the flesh but the earnest seeking of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) Messiah.”
–1 Peter 3:17-21
In the context of Peter’s letter, the community of believers is being encouraged to share their faith with anyone who asks, and not to shy away from suffering if that is what God’s will entails. Peter then offers Yeshua as an example of One Who suffered and shared His message in the Spirit of God. It is explained that Yeshua’s suffering puts to death the sinful practices of the flesh and resurrects each believer in the life giving Spirit of God. It is by this same Spirit that the resurrected Messiah (not in Sheol) transcends time and space, and thus traverses time and space by the Spirit, to proclaim His saving work to those spirits of human beings who were still living in the flesh at the time of Noah prior to the flood. The text explains that during the time of Noah only eight imprisoned spirits heard Yeshua’s message received it and were delivered through the figurative tevilah immersion (baptism) of the flood, which the author shows to be a prefigure of the same tevilah immersion (baptism) that believers in Messiah have received unto salvation.
From the p’shat (plain) meaning of the text and the subsequent, remez (hint), drash (comparative) and sod (mystery), we see that it does not place Yeshua in Sheol in relation to His proclamation but shows that it is by the Spirit of God following His resurrection that He spoke to the imprisoned spirits of humanity past. This text is not teaching anything even remotely to do with communicating with imprisoned dead people or angelic spirits. To the contrary, it simply teaches that God is just and that all humanity from Adam to the end of days has and will have an opportunity to either reject or receive the message of Messiah. This text shows how in the Spirit (of God), the resurrected Messiah transcends time and space and manifests the supernatural reality that He was both literally and figuratively slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).
2 Corinthians 12:1-5
Boasting is necessary, though it is not beneficial; but I will go on to visions and revelations [a]of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ, who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. -2 Corinthians 12:1-4 NASB
V.1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not beneficial; but I will go on to visions and revelations [a]of the Lord.
What Rav Shaul (Paul) is about to speak of is a “vision”, a “revelation” and not a physical or metaphysical event. Therefore, based on the very nature of either a vision or a revelation, the events described are already presumed unreal, not actual, neither physical nor metaphysical, but instead, something seen in the imagination, mind’s eye or spirit.
V2. I know a man in Christ, who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven.
Rav Shaul is possibly speaking of himself in the guise of apologetic self-promoting rhetoric like that employed elsewhere in his works. Alternatively he is relaying the vision experience of a trusted fellow believer, perhaps one of his brothers among the Jewish Church fathers.
He states clearly “whether in the body I don’t know, or out of the body I don’t know, God knows…” He is describing the experience of a vision. Those who experience visions have all kinds of feelings and sensory adventures but are not literally in the places they are visioning. Rav Shaul is not espousing “out of body experience”, which is an occult practice connected with Gnosticism, transcendental meditation and other false religious beliefs. To the contrary, Biblical Judaism abhors this idea viewing it as a form of witchcraft. Instead, Rav Shaul is alluding to the difference between experiencing a vision as if it were inside us verses experiencing a vision as if we are looking outwardly at it (both occurring within the mind’s eye or consciousness but neither occurring outside the body). In neither case does the spirit leave the body. Biblical Judaism teaches that the human soul (Body, mind, spirit etc.) is a unity unseparated until death when the spirit leaves and goes to Sheol.
The Greek harpaso is poorly translated here by the NASB. In the context of this vision it means “caught away” and not caught up.
Rav Shaul is right to give the interpretation to God, saying “God Knows”. Yes, God does know, in fact, so as to avoid confusion God has authored His word to say, “No one has ascended into heaven, except He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.” (John 3:13), and “it is appointed for people to die once, and after this, the judgment…” (Heb. 9:27).
V.3 And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows..”
He repeats, “whether in the body I don’t know, or out of the body I don’t know, God knows…” because he is bewildered by the vision experience he is referring to and rightly understands that it was not a tangible, literal experience. Neither a physical or metaphysical reality. In Biblical Hebrew thought and interpretation something repeated is firmly established. Therefore, Rav Shaul has firmly established that he doesn’t know where the “man” was. As explained, the Scripture tells us where he was not.
V.4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
The Greek harpaso is again poorly translated here by the NASB. In the context of this vision it means “caught away” and not caught up. We know this because the Jewish writer refers to paradise (Gan Eden, the Bosom of Abraham), which is a part of Sheol, meaning that the qualification of heaven, written as “third heaven” refers to the convergent presence of the Messiah in both the heavens and paradise simultaneously, following His resurrection. Following His resurrection the King Messiah being unbound by time, space, situational and locational being etc. In short, regardless of the issue of traversing the heavens as believers, this text is referring to a convergent form of paradise (in Sheol) and not to the heaven of heavens.
Therefore, the text of 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 does not teach that a person (perhaps Paul) ascended to the heaven of heavens, something that would contradict the words of Yeshua and the teaching of Hebrews 9:27.
Regarding the Resurrections of Lazarus, the Son of the widow of Nain etc.
All (those temporally resurrected) had not yet passed into Sheol but were in transition sleep. Meaning unconscious but the spirit had not left the body according to ancient Jewish tradition (3 to 4 day period of unconscious sleep, the first stage of death/passing). This means that the person cannot communicate with the living, nor are they yet in Sheol (When Yeshua says "Today you will be with me in paradise" to the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43) I believe the word "today" is used in an eternally present sense. Alternatively, some pass over more quickly than others, although with regard to time and space how could we even begin to determine the measure by which we could access such a process?)
In all these cases of temporal resurrections (they are exceptions, and include Elijah raising the woman's son) the resurrected are resurrected within four days of death, and their spirits have not entered death finally with regard to entering Sheol.
"Appointed unto man once to die" regards the spirit's entry into Sheol and not the transition period of soul sleep (a euphemism used by Yeshua [John 11:11]). No one in transition sleep (first stage of separation) can communicate to the living. Therefore, the point I made regarding ghosts being demons remains the same, ghosts are not wandering human spirits.
HEBREWS 10 COMMENTARY CONTINUES HERE:
20 by a new, recently slaughtered, freshly killed and living way which He inaugurated, renewed, consecrated, dedicated for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh, body,
“recently slaughtered” For the first century Jewish recipients of this scroll the death and resurrection of Yeshua had occurred less than 30 years prior to the writing of this work. Yeshua’s recent sacrifice is being called to mind in order to inspire those who have already become weary in the faith. The writer reminds his believing Jewish brothers and sisters that they have been witness to the sacrificial death of Yeshua that has inaugurated a new way of living strengthened by the Spirit of God, purchased by the body of Messiah.
“through the veil, that is, through His flesh, body” The torn body of Messiah Yeshua is here compared to the torn parochet veil which guarded access to the holy of holies of the temple (tent of meeting). Just as the physical veil was torn allowing the priests to see past it into the holy of holies and by extension giving them access to that place, so the body of Messiah was torn in order to give access to the holiest place of intimacy with God to the priesthood of believers over whom He is the Great High Priest.
21 also (kai[G]) a great high (megas[G]) priest (hiereus[G], Kohen Gadol[H]) over, on, in, among (epi[G], al[H]) the house (ho oikos[G], habeiyt[H]) of God (Theos[G], Elohiym[H]), 22 let’s approach (proserchomai[G]) with/in a true, whole, well-constructed (alethinos[G], shaleim[H]) heart, inner person, centre of being (kardia[G], beleivav[H]) in full assurance (plerophoris[G]) of faith, trust, belief that is innocent (pistis[G], uve’emunah temiymah[H]) having our hearts, inner persons, centre of our being (kardia[G], levaveinu[H]) sprinkled, washed, purified (rhantizo[G], urechutzeiy[H]) from a wicked, delusional, spiritually evil (poneros[G], metohariym behazayat levaveinu meiruach ra’ah[H]) conscience, consciousness, moral perception (suneidesis[G]) and our bodies (soma[G], habasar[H]) washed (louo[G]) with pure (katharos[G]) water (hudor[G], bemayim tehoriym[H]).
21 also a great high priest over, on, in, among the house of God, 22 let’s approach with/in a true, whole, well-constructed heart, inner person, centre of being in full assurance of faith, trust, belief that is innocent having our hearts, inner persons, centre of our being sprinkled, washed, purified from a wicked, delusional, spiritually evil conscience, consciousness, moral perception and our bodies washed with pure water.
“among the house of God” Both ha-beiyt (the house) and har-beiyt (mountain house) are euphemistic Hebrew names for the Temple in Jerusalem. The idea is being used here to point to the house of God that is built of living stones (1 Peter 2:5).
“let’s approach with/in a true, whole, well-constructed heart, inner person” As the phrasing explains, we approach in a true, transformed, well-constructed centre of being. This is a spiritual approach which is symbolised by the physical signs of the temple and its processes. We are not physically ascending into the holiest place in the heavens.
“in full assurance of faith” We need not concern ourselves with personal doubts and failures because it is the faith imparted by God that indwells us. In a very real sense we have faith because He first gave us faith. Therefore, having received Him, our faith is reliant on Him and is not subject to our doubts, without which faith cannot exist.
“purified from a wicked, delusional, spiritually evil conscience” Note that the conscience of a fallen human being is by nature “poneros” (wicked), in and of itself unable to discern properly between right and wrong because its inclination is to call right that which is wrong.
“our bodies washed with pure water.” With regard to ritual washing, tevilah bamikveh (immersion in the waters): mayim chayim (living waters) from a fresh living source are used (underground spring, mountain water, pool etc.). However, with regard to the purification through which the believer enters the holiest place in Yeshua, the living waters of the sin affected creation cannot cleanse the inner person. This is why the writer uses the Greek “katharos hudor” (pure water) and why the Hebrew translation reads “bemayim tehoriym” (waters that purify). The water spoken of here is not the physical waters of immersion but the transcendent water of the Holy Spirit, the same prophetic outpouring of water Israel eagerly anticipated each Sukkot in the kinetic prayer of the water libation right (Isaiah 12:3-5).
In approximately 32 C.E. (A.D.) Israel celebrated Sukkot the feast of Shelters. For seven days they watched the High Priest pour out water upon the altar inside the Temple grounds. They prayed for rain and that God will send the promised Messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression. On the final day of the feast called Hoshanah Rabbah – ‘The Great Salvation’, a Rabbi stands up among them and yells out at the top of His voice…
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me,
as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
–Yochanan (John) 7:37
The water that had just been poured on the altar had been taken from the pool of Shiloach (Sent), where Yeshua had healed a blind man only days before. (John 5)
The priests of Israel were required to wash themselves completely before entering the temple (Exodus 30:19-21; Leviticus 8:6; Mishnah Yoma c. 3. sect. 3.). This too was a sign pointing to the need for those who become priests in Messiah to be purified with a better purification, one that is of everlasting effect.
“Then will I sprinkle pure water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, I will cleanse you.” -Ezekiel 36:25
23 Let’s hold firmly, keep, possess (katecho[G], nachaziykah[H]) the profession [projected testimony], in the knowledge (homologia[G], behoda’at[H]) of our faith, hope (elpis[G], Hatikvah[H]) without wavering (aklines[G]), for He who promised (epaggello[G]) is faithful (pistos[G], ne’eman hamavtiyach[H]); 24 and let’s consider (katanoeo[G]) how to provoke, incite, irritate, rouse (paroxsusmos[G], leoreir[H]) one another, brothers and sisters (allelon[G], iysh al-achiyn[H]) in all-encompassing love (agape[G], ahavah[H]) and good deeds (kalos ergon[G], ulma’asiym toviym[H]), 25 not abandoning, forsaking (egkataleipo[G], al-na’azov[H]) assembling ourselves together (episunagoge heautou[G], et-keneisyateinu[H]) as is the habit, manner, way, moral practice, modus operandi, custom, perpetual intention (ethos[G], kederekh[H]) of some people, but comforting, encouraging, exhorting, desiring (parakaleo[G]) one another; and all the more as you see (blepo[G], birotechem[H]) the day (ho hemera[G], hayom[H]) drawing near (eggizo[G]).
23 Let’s hold firmly, keep, possess the profession [projected testimony], in the knowledge of our faith, hope, without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
Both the first century Jewish believers and all subsequent believers are admonished to hold firmly to profession (continued pronouncement) of the Good News of Yeshua based on the faith we have due to His immutable faithfulness.
In practical terms believers are being warned not to allow their grip on the foundational doctrines of faith to be loosened through weariness, disillusionment, or by the secular and false religious worldviews that surround all human beings. We are to guard the projected testimony of the Gospel of Yeshua in us, individually and corporately.
As we have previously discussed the first century Jewish believers living in approximately 60 C.E. were under tremendous pressure from their families and the wider body of ethnic-religious Jews, many of whom had come to despise the Jewish sect HaDerekh (the Way). Therefore, the writer of Hebrews is tasked with prodding them and waking them from the slumber of disillusionment, reminding them that the One Who called them is faithful.
24 and let’s consider how to provoke, incite, irritate, rouse one another, brothers and sisters in all-encompassing love and good deeds,
Notice the depth of meaning in the text of the original languages. Our provocation of one another toward good deeds is to be multifaceted. Notice that the word “encourage” is not employed yet, certainly not in the modern sense of the word. Rather at times inspiring good deeds in fellow believers will require us to incite, provoke, even irritate other believers in all-encompassing love, both through our good deeds and in order to prompt good deeds in them. This is not the trite “encouragement” of the secular world or of modern emotionalism born of a pervasive victim mentality, rather it is the raw provocation of a loving God. We are to provoke others through and unto good deeds in the same way the prophets of old did. If you choose to walk in this, as Messiah did, expect to upset people. This is not an instruction for the faint hearted. Thank God He is the strength of our hearts.
25 not abandoning, forsaking assembling ourselves together as is the habit, manner, way, moral practice, modus operandi, custom, perpetual intention of some people, but comforting, encouraging, exhorting, desiring one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
The Greek text literally reads “not neglecting to synagogue (assemble in a specified place) ourselves together.”
The great rabbi Hillel says:
“Do not separate yourself from the community.” -Avot 2:4
“assembling ourselves together” While it is true that meeting online via various media platforms and interactive computer software is in some way beneficial, it is not what is meant here. Not in context, not in principle. “assembling ourselves together” means in physical proximity, engaged in all aspects of godly relationship. Online meetings alone are not a sufficient example of obedience to this instruction. We may submit to governing bodies in this regard for a time, however, if the meeting together of believers were to become illegal as a general and ongoing point of secular law, the writer of the Scroll to the Hebrews, inspired by the Holy Spirit, affords us the mandate to refuse that law. Any secular law that contradicts the Law of God is by nature a law of rebellion and should be refused.
Re. covid-19 protocols. While the separation of infectious members of the community is mandated by Scripture (Torah) for a period of time, in order to protect the wider community, there is no Scriptural mandate for “locking down” or imprisoning the entire community in their separate households or otherwise, for any length of time.
In short, Scripture teaches a reasoned approach to combating infectious illness that does not shut down the necessary interactions of societal life. The current overreach of world governments in an attempt to control the covid-9 outbreak is in direct opposition to the instruction of Hebrews 10:25. A godly response to a health crisis like the one we are currently faced with is to act discerningly, holistically, intentionally but not through fear mongering and the suppression of Biblically moral human rights. We are admonished to meet together in person. And so at some point in the near future we will.
“The day” refers to Yom HaDin (the day of judgement) [Isaiah 2:12; Joel 1:15, 3:14; Zechariah 14:1; Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Peter 3:12; Rev 16:14].
“not abandoning, forsaking assembling ourselves together as is the habit, manner, way, moral practice, modus operandi, custom, perpetual intention of some people,” It has become fashionable among many believers today to criticise those leaders and members of our communities who speak rebuke to those who are failing to meet the godly standards set for the believing community. If a community leader dares to decry the actions of those who are disobeying God’s Word, that leader immediately receives criticism from self-righteous Christians, who, having been convicted by the word spoken, choose to respond by challenging the “negative” attitude of the speaker. And yet, here in this verse we have a father of the faith rebuking those who have ceased meeting with other believers, and who have made it their habit not to meet with other believers.
Jewish tradition states that among those that go down to Gehenna and perish, and have no part in the world to come, are those "who separate from the ways of the congregation (community of faith)" -Talmud Bavliy Rosh Hashanah, 17. 1.
Why? Because outside of the faith community, individuals lose sight of sound doctrine, being without fellow believers to correct their errors (something every human being needs), they descend into disbelief. The Proverb “Bad company corrupts good character” applies both corporately and individually. If I am outside of the community of faith I have already disobeyed the command of God to remain in the community. I myself have therefore become the bad company that corrupts my character.
I am weary of hearing believers say “I’m a Messiah follower but I don’t like the Church”, and “I’m a Christian but modern Churches are all off the rails, so I don’t go”. There are two errors in this thinking: first, ecclesia (body of believers, Church) is the gathering “assembling together” of believers, therefore, a person cannot go to Church, so saying “I don’t” or “I won’t go to Church” is redundant, we are Church; second, in order to remain a healthy member of the body of Messiah one must gather, assemble together with other believers.
If a hand chooses to leave the body it will no longer be governed by the brain through the nervous system and will fail to receive blood from the heart to maintain its muscles, sinews, and operation. In a short time it will become a rotting piece of dead and decaying flesh. Sadly, this is what becomes of “believers” who refuse to gather regularly with other believers. What’s more the body is now short of a hand. The believer that wilfully refuses to meet regularly with other believers robs both himself and the body of Messiah.
Additionally, the context of Hebrews 10:25 denotes a local, even specific kehilah (community). It is an admonishment to remain committed in an ongoing way to a specific community and is therefore also a rebuke against those who go from community to community to serve their own spiritual needs rather than committing to and serving a specific community. In this context failing to meet together with other believers on a regular basis is synonymous with failing to commit to a specific kehilah (congregation). “Living stones” (1 Peter 2:5) are not put in place so as to remove themselves whenever they feel like it and seek out another building. This is an act of sabotage. The removal of even one stone can weaken and eventually topple a building.
Refusing to meet with other believers not only robs the community, it also robs those unbelievers outside the community of faith of the opportunity to witness the Gospel through the love we have for one another:
“A new commandment I give to you all collectively and individually, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you all collectively and individually also love one another. By this all people will know, come to understand that you all collectively and individually are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” -Yeshua recorded in Yochanan (John) 13:34-35
Scripture for further study: 1 John 3:10-11, 14, 18; 4:7-8
Some may have genuinely experienced harm in the community of faith and have deep hurts, but the answer is not to shun the family of Messiah. If and uncle molests a child unbeknownst to the family, does that make the entire wider family guilty? Of course not. But healing and restoration is needed, something that cannot take place outside the family. The answer is in the following clause.
“but comforting, encouraging, exhorting, desiring one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
We are to comfort one another. In hurts, in conflict, in loss, in repentance, in holiness, love justice, reconciliation. And this we must do more and more, because with every breath the day of judgement draws nearer. We are admonished with love and awe to remember God’s holiness and work out our faith in fear and trembling. If we do so we will see the death of the false teachings of hyper-grace and hyper-law, and will be participants in a community of faith that goes from strength to strength in Messiah Yeshua.
26 For if we continue to sin, [sin perpetually] (hamartano[G], im-necheta[H]) wilfully, in malice (hekousios[G], vezadon[H]) after receiving (lambano[G]) the knowledge (ho epignosis[G], yediyat[H]) of the truth (ho aletheia[G], haemet[H]), there remains no further (ouketi[G], lo-yisaeir od[H]) blood sacrifice (thusia[G], zevach[H]) upon sins (hamartano[G], al-hachataiym[H]), 27 but a terrifying expectation, a constant phobia (tis phoberos echdoche[G]) of judgment (krisis[G], hadiyn[H]) and “the fiery (puros[G], eish[H]) zealous indignation (zelos[G], kinah[H]) which will consume (esthio[G], tochul[H])” the adversaries/oppressors (hupenantios[G], et hatzorariym[H]) [Num. 16:35 LXX “kai puros zelos”].
26 For if we continue to sin, wilfully, in malice after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there remains no further blood sacrifice upon sins,
“For if we continue to sin wilfully* after receiving the knowledge of the truth” This refers to a lifestyle of intentional sin lived according to the evil inclination or fallen nature. It does not refer to individual sins that believers commit from time to time as they continue to undergo sanctification in this world. It should be understood as “For if we continue to intentionally live a lifestyle of sin…”
*The Torah distinguishes between wilful and unwitting sins (Leviticus 4:1-5:13; Numbers 15:22-31
“there remains no further blood sacrifice upon sins” In short, the sacrifice of Yeshua is the only means of redemption from sin and salvation from eternal punishment. There is “no further sacrifice” other than the sacrifice of Messiah. The text does not say “there is no sacrifice” but, “there is no further sacrifice”.
This text is not saying that those who receive Messiah and then turn their back on Him cannot be saved, rather it is saying that Messiah’s sacrifice is their only means of salvation. Nor does it teach that those who genuinely receive Yeshua can lose their salvation. Fools and heretics teach this verse as proof that a believer can lose salvation, and that a believer who continues to sin is doomed to damnation. We should ask, “Is there any believer who does not sin?” The answer is of course “No!” But we are being sanctified.
If it is true that a person can lose salvation then Messiah’s ability to save is weak and our receipt of it relies on our efforts to perpetuate it and not His. This is blasphemous idolatry, it is anti-Christ, anti-Biblical, anti-Gospel, anti-metanarrative of Scripture. Without fail and consistently Scripture teaches that there is always an opportunity for salvation up until death and judgement. What’s more, Yeshua teaches that those who genuinely receive Him have already passed from death into life everlasting (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14), and that our salvation is entirely reliant on Yeshua, our role in it being to receive Him, and His work in us being to sanctify us unto the judgement and the world to come.
“For through one sacrifice He (Yeshua) has made perfect forever (not temporally) those who are being sanctified (made holy within time and space)…” -Hebrews 10:14 Author’s translation and explanation
“Therefore there is now no condemnation to them who are in Messiah Yeshua, who walk not after the flesh (sinful nature), but after the Spirit (of God). For the Torah of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has constructed me free from the Torah of sin and death (indictment).” -Romans 8:1-2 Author’s translation and explanation
27 but a terrifying expectation, a constant phobia of judgment and “the fiery zealous indignation which will consume the adversaries/oppressors” [Num. 16:35 LXX “kai puros zelos”].
“The fiery zealous indignation” (kai puros zelos) The writer is quoting the Septuagint version of Numbers 16:35. The adversaries in the account of Numbers 16 are Korah and his rebellious retinue, who had questioned both Moses and the Lord regarding the appointment of Moses and Aaron as spiritual leaders of Israel.
The writer of Hebrews is warning the Jewish recipients of his work that rebellion against Yeshua, God’s ultimate anointed One (appointed leader over all Israel and the nations) will be met with a fiery wrath like (but not the same as) the punishment that consumed those who rebelled against God’s appointed leaders following the escape from Egypt. The escape from Egypt symbolic of escape from bondage to sin and therefore a poignant reminder concerning the redemptive work of Yeshua in God. Thus, aside from Yeshua’s sacrifice “there is no further sacrifice”. Those who rebel against Yeshua must repent before Yeshua in order to return to right relationship with God.
28 Anyone who despised, rejected, violated (atheteo[G], yafeir[H]) the Torah[H] (nomos[G]) of Moshe[H] (Moses, drawn out, resurrected) died (apothnesko[G], mot[H]) without mercy (oiktirmos[G], yamut beliy chemlah[H]) on the testimony of two or three witnesses (martus[G], eidiym[H]). 29 How much more severe (cherion[G]) a punishment (timoria[G], haonesh[H]) do you think that one will deserve who has trampled underfoot (katapateo[G], sheromeis beragelo[H]) the Son (Ho Uihos[G], et-Ben[H]) of God (Theos[G], Ha-Elohiym[H]), and has regarded, makes (hegeomai[G], veoseh[H]) as unclean, unholy, common (koinos[G]) the blood (ho aima[G], et-dam[H]) of the covenant (ho diatheke[G], ha-briyt[H]) by which that one was sanctified (hagiazo[G], mekudash[H]), and has insulted the Spirit (Pneuma[G], Ruach[H]) of grace, kindness, charity, practical love (charis[G], ha-chesed[H])?
28 Anyone who despised, rejected, violated the Torah[H] of Moshe[H] died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Nomos[G] & Torah[H] here refer specifically to the five books of Moses.
“Rejected the Torah” This does not mean “refused it once or twice” but is in reference to wilful and ongoing law breaking. In short, an intentional and perpetual lifestyle of sin. Hence, “without mercy” because mercy is offered to all alongside forgiveness, but only the repentant receive it. This corresponds to the reference to “wilful sin” in verse 26.
“died without mercy” In the case of the rebellion of Korah this concerns a corporeal death. This is a physical sign pointing to the second death of those who reject the King Messiah Yeshua (Rev. 20:14).
It is interesting by way of prophetic symbolism, to note that given the meaning of Moses name (Moshe - drawn out/resurrected one), we could read, “Anyone who rejected the instruction of the drawn out/resurrected one, died on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” This too is a prophetic sign pointing to Yeshua.
“two or three witnesses” Devarim (Deuteronomy) 17:6, 19:15.
29 How much more severe a punishment do you think that one will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded, makes as unclean, unholy, common the blood of the covenant by which that one was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace, kindness, charity, practical love?
“How much more” is the second clause of a rabbinical form of argument called “kal v’chomer” (lit. easy and substantial). Some call this method “light and heavy”, and it is close in practice to fortiori, a Latin phrase which literally means "from the stronger (argument)", a technique employed in legal arguments.
We know that the Torah of Moses and its sacrificial system cannot atone for sin:
“For whosoever shall keep the whole Torah, and yet breaks it in one point, that one is guilty of breaking it all.” -Yaakov (James) 2:10
If then one who despised the Torah that could not atone eternally was put to death (corporeal), how much more will the one who despises the eternally effective sacrificial blood of Messiah Yeshua, suffer a death that is incorporeal, eternal. The blood of Yeshua atones eternally, and the refusal of it denotes eternal condemnation for the refuser.
“who has trampled underfoot the Son of God” This is the stronger descriptor (portion) that completes a kal v’chomer argument begun in Hebrews 6:4-6, where we read:
“4 For it is impotent, weak in the case of those who have once been enlightened, illuminated, seen the light [alt. have already lifted up their eyes to the light: alt. #2 have descended to immersion[A]], and have tasted, eaten of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers, partners of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted, eaten the good breathed word of God and the powers, miracles of the world to come, 6 If they also then fall away, to renew them again to repentance, returning, because they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to public shame.
Rejection of Messiah Yeshua’s sacrificial blood shed during His death on the cross is worse than crucifying Him again (metaphorically speaking) [Heb.6:4-6], because it denies even the effectiveness of the crucifixion.
“the blood of the covenant” refers specifically to the blood of the new (better) covenant in Messiah Yeshua’s blood (ref. Heb. 9:20, 13:20; Ex. 24:8;Matt. 26:28; Mk. 14:24).
30 For we see, perceive, understand, know (eido[G], yada’enu[H]) Him who said (ha-omeir[H]), “Vengeance is Mine (Liy nakam[H]), I will repay (ashaleim[H]).” [Deut. 32:35] And again, “The Lord (YHVH) will judge (yadiyn[H]) His people (amo[H]).” [Deut. 32:36; Psalms 135:14] 31 It is a terrifying, fearful (phoberos[G], mah-nora[H]) thing [a constant phobia] to fall into the hands (cheir[G], beyad[H]) of the living God (zao Theos[G], Elohiym chayiym[H]). 32 But remember (anamimnesko[G], zichru na[H]) the former, first (proteron[G], harishoniym[H]) days (hemera[G], et hayamiym[H]), when, after being enlightened (photizo[G], oru[H]), you endured, your eyes have seen (hupomeno[G], eiyneiychem[H]) a great (polus[G], rabiym[H]) fight, struggle, contest (athlesis[G], neshatem[H]) of sufferings, tortures (pathema[G], inuyim[H]),
30 For we see, perceive, understand, know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” [Deut. 32:35] And again, “The Lord (YHVH) will judge His people.” [Deut. 32:36; Psalms 135:14] 31 It is a terrifying, fearful thing [a constant phobia] to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But remember the former, first days, when, after being enlightened, you endured, your eyes have seen a great fight, struggle, contest of sufferings, tortures,
“It is a terrifying, fearful thing [a constant phobia] to fall into the hands of the living God.” For the faithful follower of Yeshua, having become a child of God it is an awesome and secure thing to fall into the hands of the Father, but for the one who rejects God’s loving sacrificial offer of redemption, reconciliation and life in relationship with Him (v.29), it is a constant phobia, a terrifying reality, to fall into the hands of the Judge of the universe without blood atonement to speak in his defence.
“remember the former, first days” Both the writer and many of his recipients are first century Levites, priests, many of whom came to faith very early in the development of the body of Messiah.
“And the Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” -Acts 6:7 KJV
“you endured, your eyes have seen a great fight, struggle, contest of sufferings, tortures,” Sadly the persecution and suffering being referred to here was that of their own Jewish brothers and sisters. The early persecutions suffered by Messiah following Jews were perpetrated by the illegitimate religious leaders of the first century C.E. and are highlighted in the early accounts of Shaul’s (Paul the apostle’s) actions against his fellow Jewish brothers and sisters who were Messiah believing and therefore considered apostate by many of the first century C.E. Jewish religious ruling class.
We know that Jewish persecution of Messianic Jews is being addressed here because the scroll was written no later than 70 C.E. and while the persecution of both Jewish and Gentile Messiah followers did begin to increase at that time, empire-wide persecution of all Messiah followers regardless of ethnic or religious associations did not occur on mass until 250-51 C.E. (A.D.)
33 partly (pa’am[H]) by your being made a public spectacle (theatrizo[G]) through insults and distress, and partly by becoming companions, fellow participants (koinonos[G]) with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy (sumpatheo[G], hitzta’aretem[H]) to me in my bonds (desmon[G]) [alt. to the prisoners] and accepted joyfully (meta chara[G], besimchah[H]) the seizure, spoiling, extorting (harpage[G]) of your possessions (huparchonta[G]), knowing, having learned (ginosko[G], midatechem[H]) in your souls (benafshechem[H]) that you have for yourselves [alt. have in heaven] a better (kreitton[G], kinyan tov[H]) and lasting (meno[G], vekayam[H]), substance (huparxis[G]).
33 partly by your being made a public spectacle through insults and distress, and partly by becoming companions, fellow participants with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to me in my bonds [alt. to the prisoners] and accepted joyfully the seizure, spoiling, extorting of your possessions, knowing, having learned in your souls that you have for yourselves [alt. have in heaven] a better and lasting substance.
“you showed sympathy to me in my bonds [alt. to the prisoners]” In the case of the singular reading the writer (probably Barnabas, almost certainly a Levite) was imprisoned because of his faith. In the case of the plural reading it refers to numerous Jewish believers imprisoned for their faith in the early days of the growth of the body of Messiah.
“accepted joyfully the seizure, spoiling, extorting of your possessions, knowing, having learned in your souls that you have for yourselves [alt. have in heaven] a better and lasting substance.” All believers have a better substance an eternal possession that transcends the temporal possessions of this world (11:10, 13-16, 26, 35; 13:14; Matt. 5:11-12; 6:19-21; Rom. 8:18).
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” -Romans 8:18 NIV
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
35 Therefore, do not throw away your free, plain, bold, confidence (parrhesia[G]), which has a great (megas[G]) reward (misthapodosia[G], sachar rav[H]). 36 For you have need of patient endurance (hupomone[G], lesavlanut[H]), so that when you have done the will, desire (thelema[G], retzon[H]) of God (Theos[G], Elohiym[H]), you may receive (kolumbao[G]) what was promised (epaggelia[G], et-hahavtachah[H]).
35 Therefore, do not throw away your free, plain, bold, confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of patient endurance, so that when you have done the will, desire of God, you may receive what was promised.
The first century Jewish believers are admonished not to give up on their faith in Yeshua the King Messiah, but to instead endure by keeping their eyes on Him and remembering the promise given to them by God, that of an everlasting inheritance.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” -Matthew 5:11-12 NIV
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV
37 “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. [Isaiah 26:20; Hab. 2:3 LXX] [Hebrew text Habakkuk 2:3: Kiy od chazon lamoeid veyafeiach lakeitz velo yechazeiv im-yitmahemah chakeih-lo kiy-bo yavo lo yeachar “For yet a vision to an appointed time and it shall speak, blow, to the end/goal and it will not lie though it waits, wait for it, coming it has come, it will not hesitate.”] 38 But My righteous one will live by faith; [Hab. 2:4] And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” [LXX and a summation of Hab. 2:5-20] [Hebrew text of Habakkuk 2:4: Hineih upelah lo-yasherah nafsho bo vetzadiyk be’emunato yichyah “Behold, now, pay attention, he is lifted up (has drawn back through pride) and is not upright in his soul, behold, and the just/righteous, by his faith shall he live.”]
37 “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. [Isaiah 26:20; Hab. 2:3 LXX] [Hebrew text Habakkuk 2:3: “For yet a vision to an appointed time and it shall speak, blow, to the end/goal and it will not lie though it waits, wait for it, coming it has come, it will not hesitate.”]
The sense of the Hebrew texts of both Habakkuk and Isaiah is that of an urgent coming. The language is conveying the eternally present, now and yet fully aspect of the redemptive work of God (“coming it has come”).
Messiah and judgement will speedily come upon all. Therefore, to become focussed on this temporary existence to the degree that we lose sight of the urgent expectancy of Yeshua’s return and the coming judgement and world to come, is one of the greatest threats to the spiritual condition of a believer in any generation.
We often hear of people desperate to predict the second coming, the judgement etc. They ask, “Do you believe the day is near? When do you believe He will return?” For all intents and purposes the response of the Scripture to every believer in every generation is “He will return now, He will return in a thousand years, do not ask when He will come but rather, ask ‘When He comes, will He find me faithful’?”
38 But My righteous one will live by faith; [Hab. 2:4] And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” [LXX and a summation of Hab. 2:5-20] [Hebrew text of Habakkuk 2:4: “Behold, now, pay attention, he is lifted up (has drawn back through pride) and is not upright in his soul, behold, and the just/righteous, by his faith shall he live.”]
“See, the enemy (Babylonians, spec. the king of Babylon) is puffed up;
his desires are not upright--
but the righteous person will live by his faith, trust.” -Habakkuk 2:4
The writer reminds the Jewish recipients of his work that their ancestors were once faced with a seemingly insurmountable enemy, the Babylonian Empire of ancient times, yet God eventually reduced that empire to nothing as punishment for its pride and idolatry. He further reminds them that throughout the oppression of Israel by the Babylonians there were a righteous remnant of Jews who lived by faith in God and were kept set apart for deliverance.
Thus, the difficulties faced by the early Messiah following Jewish recipients of the Scroll to the Hebrews (approx. 60 C.E.) are being likened to Israel’s past sufferings in order to encourage the first century Messiah followers toward the certain promise of the glory (deliverance from their enemies) to come.
“Be patient therefore, Jewish brothers and sisters, regarding the coming of the Lord. Behold, the vine dresser waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has longsuffering patience for it, until He receives the early and latter rain. So also you be patient; establish, brace your hearts, inner being, centre: for the coming of the Lord draws near.” -Yaakov (James) 5:7-8
“And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” This is a paraphrase based on the Septuagint. However, it is also a summation that pretexts the woes to the wicked recorded in Habakkuk 2:5-20. This phrasing is not included in the Hebrew text of Habakkuk 2:4 and should be understood as an added warning against “Shrinking back”, which means “denying the faith”(v.39).
39 But we are not among those who draw back [through pride per Heb. Hab. 2:4] (hupostole[G], min-hansogiym[H]) to destruction, damnation (apoleia[G]), but of those who have faith, trust, belief (pistis[G], hama’amiyniym[H]) for obtaining the preservation, salvation (peripoiesis[G], lehatziyl[H]) of our souls (psuche[G], nafsheinu[H]).
39 But we are not among those who draw back [through pride per Heb. Hab. 2:4] to destruction, damnation, but of those who have faith, trust, belief for obtaining the salvation, preservation of our souls.
“Draw back and be destroyed” is the counterpoint to “Repent (turn toward), Believe and be saved”.
The writer is aware that he is by and large addressing true followers of Messiah who need to be encouraged through the use of both warnings and affirmations.
“We are not among those who turn their backs on God and suffer the torment they have chosen over relationship with Him, but we are those who trust, believe, have faith in His holy and pure character, and in Messiah obtain the salvation of our entire being, the preservation and perpetuation of life everlasting.”
Copyright 2021 Yaakov Brown
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.