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Text: Hebrews 6:1-12
Paul said Jesus Christ is our passover. If a Jew is celebrating the passover, that tells you about his lack of understanding the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It tells you he doesn’t accept it.
The verses we’re about to study are a dire warning against rebuilding the temple and instituting any of the Old Testament system prior to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of all the folks that I’ve read who handle these verses in Hebrews Peter Ruckman was the most honest about them. He got Christians thinking in the right direction about these verses, but (of course there is a “but”) I think he limited it to individuals where plural pronouns were used.
The great falling away deals with the open rejection of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the most holy piece of ground God has on this earth. Good Christian men have advocated rebuilding the temple because they believe the prophecies of the rebuilt temple are instructions to do so. Ezekiel 40-48 is most notable, but has to do with the Lord Jesus Christ physically being here on earth during his Millennial Reign. Prior to that, any rebuilding of the temple for the purpose of revamping the sacrificial system is a wholesale rejection of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember we are in the last days here in Hebrews (Hebrews 1:2). And the book is called Hebrews, not Gentiles, so God is dealing with the Jewish nation. What He’s about to say deals with a nation physically putting themselves back under the law, a curse.
The building of the temple will happen before the antichrist shows up. But it looks like this building of the temple is not necessarily led by the Holy Spirit of God. In the past I thought it might have been, but at this time it looks like it can’t be. If a Jew were to begin sacrificing again while Jesus Christ is absent in body, it is the equivalent of rejection of his sacrificial work in the body and the subsequent work of the Holy Spirit in the absence of his body.
Instruction to grow in grace (vss 1-3)
- …let us go on unto perfection… (vs 1)
- The law was the schoolmaster to point Jews (first) to Jesus Christ.
- Galatians 3:24-25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
- Faith in Jesus Christ was graduation from the Old Testament law.
- The first milk doctrines that moved from the Old Testament to the New Testament, and moved beyond the walls of the temple were:
- Repentance from dead works and of faith toward God
- John the Baptist preached repentance to prepare the way of the Lord.
- Under the old system the Jews would sin and pay the wages thereof.
- Under the new system of repentance from dead works and faith toward God they should no longer live under sin, but live unto righteousness.
- It’s no longer paying wages for dead works, it’s repentance from dead works and living a life of faith that is pleasing to God.
- …of the doctrine of baptisms…
- John the Baptist came baptizing outside the temple and for the remission of sins.
- There were ceremonial washings of the sacrifices and the priests would have to wash themselves too. But baptisms would not be limited to temple sacrifices or priesthood. It would go beyond the walls.
- Furthermore there would be a washing by the spirit of God.
- …of laying on of hands…
- …of resurrection of the dead…
- …of eternal judgment…
- These Hebrews are being instructed to continue to grow in grace
- Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness, so to move back under the law is going in the wrong direction. There is no way to get to the finish line going in the wrong direction.
- Peter, the apostle to the Jews, said in 2 Peter 3:17-18 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
- Grow unto perfection is also mentioned by Peter in 1 Peter 5:8-11.
Impossible prospect of returning to temple worship (vss 4-6)
- Understanding these verses has to do with whether or not Paul is dealing with an individual or the nation as a whole. The plural pronouns tell you he is dealing with a group of people.
- As a nation God had moved the Jews beyond the temple and sacrifice worship.
- The other part of this is figuring out why restoration is impossible. Is it impossible BECAUSE they had been enlightened and were going against that enlightenment?
- Or is it impossible because it’s impossible to finish the race by going the wrong direction?
- Paul is describing the progression of spiritual growth among the Jews in verses 4 and 5.
- Paul says as a nation God has brought the Jews this far as he gives four blessings among the Jews.
- Been enlightened
- Tasted of the heavenly gift
- Made partakers of the Holy Ghost
- Tasted of the good word of God and powers of world to come
- If the Jews go backwards to pre-Christ era, there is no way to grow by regressing backward. The Lord is not going to be sacrificed again.
- Falling away is defined as moving from grace back under the law.
- Galatians 5:1-6
- The Jews will do this when they reinstitute temple sacrifices with a rebuilt temple.
- Believe for a while… Luke 8:13. No root = no Jesus Christ.
- Tragedy of the fall is in 2 Thessalonians 2:2-12. The push for temple rebuilding and temple worship is part of the mystery of iniquity that doth already work.
Illustration of God’s spiritual growth in that promised land (vss 7-8)
- God is close to harvest time. He broke up the ground, planted, watered, dressed it and is going to be looking for fruit.
- The only thing that matters at this point is who has grown in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ like Peter said.
Inspiring words of encouragement (vss 9-12)
- So the readers are on the right track.
- Faith and patience (vs 12), see Revelation 13:9-10, 14:12