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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Hebrews 12

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-3

Fifth Exhortation: The Supreme Example of Christ Jesus- Hebrews 12:1-3 exhorts us to persevere as did those under the Old Covenant in order to obtain our promised glorification, which rest was initially made available for them. We see the emphasis upon perseverance in the phrase "run with patience," and "Him who endured." He bases his exhortation on those under the Old Covenant who fulfilled their divine callings and obtained eternal rest, and particularly upon Jesus Christ as our supreme example of perseverance in obtaining eternal glorification at the Father's right hand ( Hebrews 12:1-3).

The Example of Jesus' Perseverance- Jesus knew beforehand exactly what was to take place at his death and crucifixion. Note Matthew 20:17-19.

Matthew 20:17-19, "And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again."

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Hebrews 12:1 — "Wherefore" - Word Study on "wherefore" - Strong says the Greek word τοιγαρου̂ ν (G 5105) (wherefore) means, "truly for then, i.e. consequently." BDAG translates this word "for that very reason, then, therefore." Thayer tells us that this particle introduces "a conclusion with some special emphasis or formality…" The Enhanced Strong says it is found 2times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as "therefore 1, wherefore 1." Strong says it is a compound of ( τοί) (5104), meaning "surely" (BDAG), ( γάρ) (1063), meaning "for," and ( οὐ̂ ν) (3767), meaning, "therefore, consequently, accordingly, then" (BDAG).

1 Thessalonians 4:8, "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not Prayer of Manasseh , but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit."

Comments - Perhaps in Hebrews 12:1, after such a lengthy list of Old Testament examples, the author chose a particle with strong enough emphasis to reach back to the beginning of this long passage preceding it. Since Hebrews 12:1-3 serves as the climax of the epistle, it is possible that τοιγαρου̂ ν reaches back to the beginning the epistle, so that the cloud of witnesses refers to all of the Old Testament passages cited by the author.

Hebrews 12:1 — "seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses" - Comments- In Rick Joyner"s book The Final Quest, he is told that this great cloud of witnesses are able to behold us as we do the work of the kingdom of God on this earth. This book says that these witnesses cheer us on like parents cheer their children on to accomplish greater things than they did. 253]

253] Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, North Carolina: Morning Star Publications, 1977), 137.

Who are these witnesses? Kenneth Hagin believes that the previous verses give us a clue. Hebrews 11:29 says, "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise." Therefore, the great list of men and women of faith in chapter eleven are considered as a part of this cloud of witnesses. 254]

254] Kenneth Hagin, Following God's Plan For Your Life (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1993, 1994), 2-3.

Paul is drawing a picture for his readers in Hebrews 12:1 of a Grecian race, where the runners are down on the field running a race, and the audience is in the grand stands cheering them on. The Hebrews , who were familiar with this Greek athletics, could easily picture such a comparison. We, God's children, are running a race as this cloud of witnesses, made up of all those people of faith who have preceded us, is watching how we run the race. There are some Christians who have experienced visions in heaven and have come back to tell us about it. Some have said that those in heaven are told of many of the events that are taking place here on earth. Though they may not know every detail, they certainly are watching us from the grandstands. They are not as interested in the carnal affairs of man as much as they are interested in how we, as God's children, are running the race that God has set before us. Perhaps Paul could say this because he had been given heavenly visions on numerous occasions and had learned about this cloud of witnesses ( 2 Corinthians 12:1).

2 Corinthians 12:1, "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord."

Kenneth Hagin tells of a vision he had in heaven where his deceased sister speaks about this issue. She said to Hagin, "You, see, people up here are not interested in the natural side of life of those living on the earth. They are not concerned about whether or not you buy a new dress or a new suit, or how much money you have in the bank. They are concerned about spiritual things. They don't know what happens in your life in the natural realm, but they know everything you do spiritually. They know when you make a decision for Christ." 255]

255] Kenneth Hagin, Following God's Plan For Your Life (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1993, 1994), 5-6.

We do have a verse of Scripture in Luke 15:10 that tells us the angels in heaven know when a sinner repents.

Luke 15:10, "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."

So would the saints in heaven know the same thing that the angels see on earth, for they live together.

Another way of describing this cloud of witnesses is to say that these heroes of faith listed in chapter eleven serve as testimonies for us and encourage us to press on in the race.

Hebrews 12:1 — "let us lay aside every weight" - Word Study on "weight" - Strong says the Greek word "weight" "ógkos" ( ὄγκος) (G 3591) means, "burden (hindrance)." The Enhanced Strong says it is used one time in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as "weight 1."

Comments- A weigh is a "burden, impediment, or hindrance." These are things that hinder our Christian growth and also cause us to experience a heavy weight or burdensome feeling in our spirits. Song of Solomon , "weight" is an appropriate word to use here.

Illustration- As a University of Florida college student who ran track, I remember watching a jogger who was running with heavy boots. He was strengthening his leg muscles for boxing. Those boots were like weights holding him back from running his swiftest pace, of which I was striving to do, being dressed with lightweight clothing.

Hebrews 12:1 — "let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us" - Word Study on "beset" - Strong says the Greek word "beset" "euperistatos" ( εὐπερίσπαστος) (G 2139) means, "skilfully surrounding i.e. besetting", as (a competitor) thwarting (a racer) in every direction." BDAG says it means, "easily ensnaring." Thayer gives the meaning, "to prevent or retard running." Strong says this Greek word is made up of ( εὐ̂) (2095), meaning "well" (Strong), ( περί) (4012), meaning "around," and ( ἵστημι) (2476), meaning, "to stand" (Strong). Thus, this compound Greek word literally means, "easily surrounded." It is used only one time in the New Testament.

Comments- This word gives us a picture of runners moving on the track so as to hinder other competitors from gaining a good position. One runner will position himself so as to hinder his competitor.

Comments- A weight can represent things that we do that are not necessarily sinful, but they hold us back from receiving God"s best in our lives. Sins represent those strongholds in our lives that we fail to lay at the altar in a crucified life. Kenneth Hagin says that weights are things are things that may be legitimate affairs of life, things that are not wrong in themselves, but they weigh us down from following the path that God has called us down. He also says that sins not only hinder our relationship with the Lord, but they dull our spirit so that we are not as responsive to the Lord as we should be. 256]

256] Kenneth Hagin, Following God's Plan For Your Life (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1993, 1994), 8-11.

If we do not lay aside these weights and sins, then life will become a heavy burden. Jesus warned us that if we come to Him, that Isaiah , if we follow His plan for our lives, we will find a life that is burden-free.

Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Hebrews 12:1 — "and let us run with patience" - Comments- The two words "run" and "patience" are almost a contradiction until we learn the ways of the Spirit of God. Running implies pursuit while patience implies rest. The word "run" reveals that we have a purpose and course to follow in this life. It means that we must pursue this course with intensity, not becoming distracted with the cares of this world. On the other hand, the word "patience" reveals that there is a rest in God that removes the anxiety of striving for the goals that are set before us. We see this same wording in Hebrews 4:11 when it says, "labour…to enter into that rest…" Kenneth Hagin teaches that there is a time and a season for all things and we must learn to patiently wait for God to fulfill His Word in our lives. 257]

257] Kenneth Hagin, Following God's Plan For Your Life (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1993, 1994), 18.

Hebrews 4:11, "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."

God sets before each of us a plan and purpose in this life. This plan is our calling or our destiny. Each person has been given a slightly different race to run. The closer that we look unto Jesus and the less we focus on the cares of this life, the clearer we will see the course that God has for us to run. Each of us has a specific calling from God for our lives.

We are to learn to wait upon the Lord daily and become strengthened by Him, otherwise, fatigue will overcome us as we run. This is not an easy lesson in life to learn, nor an easy balance to manage. Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

"Never set out upon a ‘project'. My Life is not project but overflow.

"Thou hast already witnessed the verdure of life that has sprung forth where the waters of My Spirit have flowed. How can any doubt remain? But the flesh dies hard; it is true. Even Jesus learned obedience through suffering and self-discipline. And Paul admonished: ‘Endure hardness as a good soldier.' All that comforts the flesh weakens the Spirit.

"I could by adversity strip from thee the comforts of life, but I will bless thee in double portion, if of thine own accord ye do as Paul and lay aside every weight, and resist the divers temptations that continually beset thee and run with patience the course as I set it before thee. ‘Running' and ‘patience'. - In these two words I have combined the intensity of purpose and the quiet waiting upon Me which ye needs must have, else ye be overtaken in the race by fatigue of body and soul.

" Song of Solomon , as I have told thee before, Come to Me and pour out thy praise and thy love and thy worship. I will bless thee and guide thee and use thee in My own good time and pleasure. Thou shalt not be disappointed." 258]

258] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 88.

Hebrews 12:1Comments- A believer has no real desire to lay aside weights and hindrances until he sees himself on a clear course. That Isaiah , we will see the need to lay aside everything in this world that will hinder us when we are able to see the race that is set before us. A Christian with no clear calling does not know what to lay aside. These types of Christians are partly involved in the vanities of this world and partly involved into the things of the kingdom of God. But, when we see that God has called us to a task, and if we will yield our hearts to finish that task, we more clearly see the vanity of the pursuits of this world. This is the person that is willing to lay aside weights and sins.

Illustration- One good illustration of this is found in the life of Peter the apostle in John 21. Peter decided to go back to fishing after Jesus" resurrection. But when Jesus met him by the Lake of Galilee and gave Peter a clear commission, Peter forsook his old career once and for all. Peter could now clearly see the course that he was to run.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2 — "Looking unto Jesus" - Word Study on "looking" - Strong say the Greek word "looking" ( αφορά ω) (G 872) means, "to consider attentively."

Comments- This verb means more than just "looking at." The idea is to focus our attention upon something while ignoring other distractions. Many people know about the Scriptures, for they were raised in Christian homes. However, not everyone "looks at with expectation" that Jesus will come to their need. To the degree that we look unto Jesus for our needs determines the degree that He is able to author and bring our faith to fruition.

Comments- In addition to the great cloud of witnesses of how to persevere in faith, Jesus Christ stands out as the ultimate and perfect example for us to follow. The author of Hebrews saved Him as the last of these witnesses because of His perfection in a life of faith.

Tom Leuther says that the Lord spoke to him, "To the degree that I am your shepherd is the degree that you shall not want." 259]

259] Tom Luther, "Sermon," Calvary Cathedral International, Fort Worth, Texas.

Illustration- Having run track in college, I learned the importance of focus and concentration while racing. It is this concentration that allows a person to overcome the pain and maintain a fast pace against competition. Someone who is looking around will be out of focus and perform poorly in such a race. Focus is everything in a race.

Hebrews 12:2"the author and finisher of our faith" - Word Study on "author" - Strong says the Greek word ἀρχηγός (G 747) means, "a chief leader." BDAG says it means, "a leader, ruler, prince," and can refer to an "originator, founder, one who begins." Koester notes that it is a compound word consisting of ἀρχή (first) and ἄγω (to lead), denoting a both leader or a founder, with the translation "pioneer" reflecting both aspects of this word. Koester says the word ἀρχηγός is used in the LXX for those who led the children of Israel in the wilderness ( Numbers 10:4; Numbers 13:2-3) and into battle ( Judges 5:15; Judges 9:44; Judges 11:6; Judges 11:11, 1 Chronicles 5:24; 1 Chronicles 8:28; 1 Chronicles 26:26, 2 Chronicles 23:14, Nehemiah 2:9, Judith 14:2). 260] This Greek word is used four times in the New Testament ( Acts 3:15; Acts 5:31, Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 12:2). Luke calls Jesus Christ the " ἀρχηγός of life" ( Acts 3:15), and " ἀρχηγός and Saviour" ( Acts 5:31). The author of Hebrews will use the analogy of Jesus Christ and Moses, who led the children of Israel in the wilderness ( Hebrews 3:1-6). Jesus will later be called the author and finisher of our faith ( Hebrews 12:2).

260] Craig R. Koester, Hebrews , in The Anchor Bible, eds. William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 228.

Acts 3:15, "And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses."

Acts 5:31, "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

Hebrews 2:10, "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."

Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Comments- This two-fold description of Jesus Christ may be a reference to His office as our Apostle and High Priest referred to in Hebrews 3:1. When we begin this journey by faith, we must continue it and finish it by faith. Note:

Galatians 3:3, "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"

Joyce Meyer said that what God starts in our lives, He will finish; however, what He did not start, and man started from his own will, God is not obligated to finish. 261]

261] Joyce Meyer, Enjoying Everyday Life (Fenton, Missouri: Joyce Meyer Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 8 February 2010.

Hebrews 12:2"who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame" - Comments- Jesus' life can be characterized as a life of endurance.

Hebrews 12:2 — "and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" - Comments - The divine attribute of Christ Jesus sitting as the right hand of God is carried throughout the epistle of Hebrews , since the theology of this epistles focuses on Jesus' present-day ministry as our Great High Priest.

Hebrews 1:3, "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"

Hebrews 1:13, "But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?"

Hebrews 8:1, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;"

The apostle Peter also mentions Jesus' present-day office at the right hand of God in Heaven.

1 Peter 3:22, "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."

Hebrews 12:2Comments- Jesus Christ Himself endured the Cross because He was focused on the eternal things of God. Jesus accepted shame in this life because He knew His Father would reward Him with glory and honor at His right hand.

We can say that as believers, we walk by God's time-frame and not by man's time frame. Paul said this same thing, but in a different way in 2 Corinthians 5:7, by saying, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." We as believers look towards the eternal things, while the world looks at the temporal things of this earth. Paul said the same thing several times in his epistles.

2 Corinthians 4:18, "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Colossians 3:2, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

This is the secret to how great men of God endured suffering, because they were looking for eternal things.

1. Abraham's suffering involved living in a tent all of his life. Therefore, he looked for a heavenly city:

Hebrews 11:10, "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."

2. Job's revelation of God in Job 38-41helped him to focus on heavenly things and to look beyond his suffering. With this mindset, he stopped praying for the deliverance of himself and was able to prayer for the deliverance of his friends, thus receiving deliverance for himself:

Job 42:1-3, "Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not."

3. Paul the apostle was looking for a crown, so he ran his race as if to win:

2 Timothy 4:8, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judges , shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Comments- Note these insightful words from Sadhu Sundar Singh regarding the Cross of Christ. Jesus Christ endured the Cross not for six hours nor for three and a half years, but for the entire thirty-three and a half years of His earthly life.

"When I became incarnate, I bore the cruel cross for man's salvation, not for the six hours of My crucifixion only, or even for the three and a half years of My ministry, but for the whole thirty-three and a half years of My life, in order that man might be delivered from the bitterness of death. Just as it is painful to a cleanly man to stay for even a few minutes in a filthy and unclean place, so those who abide in Me find it most distasteful to have to live among vicious people; and this is the reason why some men of prayer, distressed by the foulness of sin, have abandoned the world and gone to live as hermits in deserts and caves. Consider this, then, when men who have been sinners themselves feel the presence of sin so hard to bear that they cannot endure the company of their own kind, so much that they leave them, and never wish to return to them again, how extremely painful and hard a cross must Mine have been, that I, the Fountain of Holiness, should have had to live for more than thirty-three years constantly among men defiled with sin. To understand this and rightly to appreciate it is beyond the powers of man's mind, and even the angels desire to look into it (1Pet. i 12). For before the creation they knew that God is Love, and yet it was to them a most wonderful and amazing thing that the love of God should be such that, in order to save His creatures and to bring to them eternal life, He should become incarnate and bear the cruel cross." 262]

262] Sadhu Sundar Singh, At the Master's Feet, translated by Arthur Parker (London: Fleming H. Revell Co, 1922) [on-line], accessed 26 October 2008, available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/singh/feet.html; Internet, "V The Cross and the Mystery of Suffering," section 1, part 7.

Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Hebrews 12:3 — "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself" - Word Study on "consider" - Thayer says the Greek word ( ἀναλογίζομαι) (G 357) means, "to think over, consider, by weighing, or comparing."

Hebrews 12:3 — "lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" - Comments- We must partake of Jesus, the Bread of Life, if we are not to faint and to give out of strength.

Illustration:

Matthew 15:32, "Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way."

Mark 8:3, "And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far."


Verses 1-29

Perseverance - Hebrews 12:1-29 places emphasis upon our ability to persevere through the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ. The previous revelation of our access to God's throne will become the basis for our ability to persevere against persecutions and difficulties in this life because we maintain our justification before God as we continually come before Him with Jesus our High Priest there to faithfully intercede in our behalf, as the author exhorts us to do in Hebrews 10:19-39. The author exhorts his readers to persevere in their divine service by referring to the list of examples from the Old Testament and the supreme example of Jesus Christ ( Hebrews 12:1-3) as the greatest example of perseverance in receiving eternal glorification at the Father's right hand. If we are to persevere, we must endure chastisement as a measure of our physical perseverance ( Hebrews 12:4-13), pursue holiness as a measure of our spiritual perseverance ( Hebrews 12:14-17), and hear God's Word as a measure of our mental perseverance ( Hebrews 12:18-29).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. 5th Exhortation: The Supreme Example of Christ Jesus — Hebrews 12:1-3

2. 5th Doctrinal Discourse — Hebrews 12:4-29


Verses 4-13

Endure Chastisement (Physical Perseverance) ( Hebrews 12:4-13) - We are to endure divine chastisement as a measure of our physical perseverance. With this exhortation the author uses the natural illustration of a father's discipline over his son. Because we are still in our sinful, mortal bodies, this journey will require times of chastisement in order to keep us on the right path, so we are not to grow weary; for when we do not lay aside such small weights and hindrances of sin, our Heavenly Father will bring chastisement to bring out attention to these areas. We are to keep our path straight by enduring chastisement and discipline. The supreme example is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was never chastised by the Father, but He did endure suffering, event unto death ( Hebrews 5:8), who is mentioned as our example in Hebrews 12:1-3.

Hebrews 5:8, "Though he were a Song of Solomon , yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;"

Illustration- Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts regarding divine discipline and correction:

"Have I not said that unless ye experience chastening, ye may well doubt thy sonship? Why then, shouldst thou shrink from My rod of correction? Ye are not the teacher, but the pupil; not the parent, but the child; not the vine, but the branch. Discipline and correction must come if ye would be brought into conformity to My divine will. Shun nothing My hand brings to bear upon thy life. Accept My blessings and My comfort, but do not despise My sterner dealings. All are working toward thy ultimate perfection.

Do ye hope to be made perfect apart from the corrective process? Do ye expect to bear large fruit without the pruning process? Nay, My children, either bend in submission to My hand, or ye shall break in rebellion. Godly sorrow yieldeth the good fruit of repentance, but if ye be brittle and unyielding, ye shall know a grief of spirit for which there is no remedy. Keep a flexible spirit, so that I may mold thee and shape thee freely - so that I can teach thee readily, nor be detained by thy resistance." 263]

263] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 94.

Again:

"Resist Me not and harden not your hearts. Provoke Me not to use My chastening rod, for I love thee. I would not drive thee with a whip, nor bridle thee with rein and bit to prevent thee from plunging into error; but only let Me look into thine eyes, and I will guide thee in love and gentleness. I take no pleasure in the affliction of My children. In love I chasten to prevent the deeper suffering that would be involved if I allowed thee to go on in a path of evil. But My heart is glad when thou walkest close, with thy hand in Mine, and we may talk over the plans for each day's journey and activities - work and pleasures - so that it becometh a happy way that we travel in mutual fellowship." 264]

264] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 171.

Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

Hebrews 12:4 — "striving against sin" - Comments- The root word of ἀ νταγωνί ζομαι (G 464) means "to agonize."

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Luke 13:24, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."

1 Timothy 4:10, "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."

Hebrews 12:4Comments- We quickly notice in the New Testament epistles how the word "blood" becomes synonymous with Jesus Christ's redemptive work on Calvary. We have a much better understand of this when we clearly view the tremendous suffering that Jesus Christ endured and the shedding of blood that he experienced during His Passion. The film The Passion of Christ produced by Mel Gibson, which was released March 2004, is one of the most accurate accounts of Jesus' sufferings every produced on film. 265] When people view this film, they all come out of the movie and comment on how much blood was shed during the film. In the same way, those who witnessed the events of Calvary were also compelled to talk about the blood of Jesus Christ because it was the shedding of so much blood that became the signature of this particular death by our Savior.

265] The Passion of the Christ, directed by Mel Gibson, 2004, Los Angeles, California: Newmarket Films.

Illustration- Jesus has, in fact, been obedient unto death.

Philippians 2:8, "And being found in fashion as a Prayer of Manasseh , he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Hebrews 12:5-6Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - In Hebrews 12:5-6 the author is quoting from Proverbs 3:11-12.

Proverbs 3:11-12, "My Song of Solomon , despise not the chastening of the LORD neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth."

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My Song of Solomon , despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

Hebrews 12:5 — "despise not thou the chastening of the Lord" - Comments- The book of Psalm tells us that David endured the chastening of the Lord and he was not discouraged by it. Note:

Psalm 119:71, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."

Psalm 119:75, "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."

How do we despise the chastening of the Lord? Can a child avoid his punishment? If we examine a passage from the New Testament on chastisement, we can better understand this matter. In 1 Corinthians 11:30 it says, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."

Note that this verse lists the effects of God"s chastisement in a progressive order. God first allows problems to come into our lives to get our attention. These problems weaken us. If we still persist, God will allow sickness to come into our lives. Finally, if we continue in sin, God will take us home early to be in heaven.

Thus, we can despise the chastening of the Lord by not responding to Him when we are made weak or become sick in our bodies. If we despise Him, our chastisement intensifies. For example, when my second child was four years old, she took upon the habit of hitting her older sister and hurting her. At first, I scolder her for her deeds. But when she repeated her bad habit, I spanked her. However, this did not cure the situation. I then took her aside, spanked her and then explained that I would spank harder the next time she hit her sister. Sure enough, she did it again. As a father, I had to keep my word in order to deal with this problem. I spanked her with my hand on her bottom a little harder. Finally, I had to take off my belt and spank this four-year old child. After this spanking which hurt, I spun her around on the bed and jumped into her face with all of the fierceness that I could muster and threatened her not to ever do this again. She was so terrified at this type of punishment that she never hit her sister again. In order to remedy the situation, I had to intensify the severity of her punishment for her own good. I have never spanked her older sister like this, but as a loving father, I did what it took to deal with stubbornness and her despite to my earlier spankings. Our heavenly Father works the same in our lives.

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Hebrews 12:6Word Study on "scourgeth" - Webster says the word "scourge" means, "to punish with severity, to chastise, to afflict."

Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Hebrews 12:8 — "then are ye bastards, and not sons" - Comments- The Jews of the New Testament kept records of everyone's descent. Josephus tells us of the painstaking care that the Jews have taken to keep records as old as two thousand years of their ancestry. All Jews of the Diaspora kept accurate records, which were sent to Jerusalem for safekeeping.

"For our forefathers did not only appoint the best of these priests, and those that attended upon the Divine worship, for that design from the beginning, but made provision that the stock of the priests should continue unmixed and pure; for he who is partaker of the priesthood must propagate of a wife of the same nation, without having any regard to money, or any other dignities; but he is to make a scrutiny, and take his wife"s genealogy from the ancient tables, and procure many witnesses to it. And this is our practice not only in Judea, but wheresoever any body of men of our nation do live; and even there an exact catalogue of our priests" marriages is kept; I mean at Egypt and at Babylon, or in any other place of the rest of the habitable earth, whithersoever our priests are scattered; for they send to Jerusalem the ancient names of their parents in writing, as well as those of their remoter ancestors, and signify who are the witnesses also. But if any war falls out, such as have fallen out a great many of them already, when Antiochus Epiphanes made an invasion upon our country, as also when Pompey the Great and Quintilius Varus did so also, and principally in the wars that have happened in our own times, those priests that survive them compose new tables of genealogy out of the old records, and examine the circumstances of the women that remain; for still they do not admit of those that have been captives, as suspecting that they had conversation with some foreigners. But what is the strongest argument of our exact management in this matter is what I am now going to say, that we have the names of our high priests from father to son set down in our records for the interval of two thousand years; and if any of these have been transgressors of these rules, they are prohibited to present themselves at the altar, or to be partakers of any other of our purifications; and this is justly, or rather necessarily done, because every one is not permitted of his own accord to be a writer, nor is there any disagreement in what is written; they being only prophets that have written the original and earliest accounts of things as they learned them of God himself by inspiration; and others have written what hath happened in their own times, and that in a very distinct manner also." (Against Apion 17)

Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340), the ancient church historian, testifies to the Jewish tradition of keeping accurate records of their ancestry.

"But as there had been kept in the archives up to that time the genealogies of the Hebrews as well as of those who traced their lineage back to proselytes, such as Achior the Ammonite and Ruth the Moabitess, and to those who were mingled with the Israelites and came out of Egypt with them, Herod, inasmuch as the lineage of the Israelites contributed nothing to his advantage, and since he was goaded with the consciousness of his own ignoble extraction, burned all the genealogical records, thinking that he might appear of noble origin if no one else were able, from the public registers, to trace back his lineage to the patriarchs or proselytes and to those mingled with them, who were called Georae.

"A few of the careful, however, having obtained private records of their own, either by remembering the names or by getting them in some other way from the registers, pride themselves on preserving the memory of their noble extraction. Among these are those already mentioned, called Desposyni, on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. Coming from Nazara and Cochaba, villages of Judea, into other parts of the world, they drew the aforesaid genealogy from memory and from the book of daily records as faithfully as possible." (Ecclesiastical History 1713-14)

And in these detailed records, if one was born without a father, this child was declared a bastard in the public records. John Lightfoot quotes Simon Ben Azzai as saying:

"Hence, that of Simon Ben Azzai deserves our notice: ‘I saw (saith he) a genealogical scroll in Jerusalem, in which it was thus written - N, a bastard of a strange wife.' Observe, that even a bastard was written in their public books of genealogy, that he might be known to be a bastard, and that the purer families might take heed of the defilement of his seed." 266]

266] John Lightfoot, The Whole Works of the Rev. John Lightfoot, D.D. Master of Catharine Hall, Cambridge, vol 11 , ed. John Rogers Pitman (London: J. F. Dove, 1823), 12-13.

Therefore, when the author of Hebrews writes to the Jews, they well knew the offence of being called a bastard. It was a title that haunted them and their children for generations to come. The Jews would understand Hebrews 12:8 to say that it is much, much better to receive chastisement than to be declared a bastard.

Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

Hebrews 12:9 — "shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Hebrews 12:23, "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"

Hebrews 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Hebrews 12:11"unto them which are exercised thereby" - Comments- We are trained and disciplined by divine chastisement.

Hebrews 12:11Comments- The fruit produced in our lives is righteousness. So the purpose of chastisement is to produce holiness and righteousness in our lives and so that we will become obedient to God.

Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

Hebrews 12:12Word Study on "lift up" - Strong says the Greek word "life up" ( ἀνορθόω) (G 461) literally means, "straighten up."

Hebrews 12:12Comments - This quote is from Isaiah 35:3. It means to put strength back in hands and knees.

Isaiah 35:3, "Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees."

Note a similar use in Ezekiel 7:17, where God is judging his children, Israel. Chastisement has a way of causing weak hands and feeble knees.

Ezekiel 7:17, "All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water."

I hear in words of Hebrews 12:12 my track and field coach in college yelling to us as we worked out on the race track to relax and keep our stride as we made the turn for the final lap. Our hearts were pounding and lungs gulping for air, and pain filled our bodies. We wanted to quit and fall down on the grass, but his voice brought enough fear and encouragement to make us return to our proper form and stop running so sloppy from fatigue; for a cumbersome stride wastes precious energy. Then the coach would yell, "Only one more lap to go. You can do it." Somehow inside each of us we found the strength to ignore the pain and push ourselves one more time to reach the finish line. The coach exerted discipline on the team for our good. In the midst of physical pain from the work out he more closely watched over us and he was most carefully exhort us.

I also hear my pastor telling me, the morning he sent me off to the mission field in July 1997, "Don't quit on your first day, and don't quit on your worst day."

Hebrews 12:13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Hebrews 12:13 — "lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed" - Comments - Other modern translations read:

NIV, "so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."

RSV, "so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed."

ASV, "that which is lame be not 1turned out of the way (put out of joint), but rather be healed."

Goodspeed, "so that limbs that are lame may not be dislocated but instead be cured."

Weymouth, "so that what is lame may not be put entirely out of joint."

Hebrews 12:12-13Comments - Staying on the Path- Hebrews 12:12-13 refers the need to keep our physical bodies on a particular path. If we go back to the opening verse of this passage in Hebrews 12:1-17, we understand how it mentions that we are to run a race with patience. I used to run track in college, and I understand how a slight leg injury can be magnified severely when forcing the legs to run with that injury. Every athlete had to deal with an injury at some point in time. The way he treats this injury will determine the speed of it being healed. If he attends to it, the injury will soon cure. But, if he ignores it, the injury will become severe and he will be put out of the race. Thus, we understand the phrase "lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed" to refer to out need to take precautions for healing along this journey, rather than ignoring our injuries and causing more severe problems.


Verses 4-29

Fifth Doctrinal Discourse: The Need for Divine Chastisement and Holiness - Hebrews 12:4-29 gives us the fifth doctrinal discourse in the epistle of Hebrews with a discussion on divine chastisement, which produces holiness, which allows us to receive God's Word.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Endure Chastisement (Physical Perseverance) — Hebrews 12:4-13

2. Pursue Holiness (Spiritual Perseverance) — Hebrews 12:14-17

3. Hear God's Word (Mental Perseverance) — Hebrews 12:18-29


Verses 14-17

Pursue Holiness (Spiritual Perseverance) - We are then exhorted to pursue holiness as a measure our spiritual perseverance. With this exhortation the author gives us another sobering example in the life of Esau, who failed to receive his promise after having been given the blessing ( Hebrews 12:16-17).

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Hebrews 12:14 — "Follow peace with all men" - Word Study on "follow" - Strong says the Greek word "follow" ( διώ κω) (G 1377) means, "to pursue." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 44times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "persecute 28, follow after 6, follow 4, suffer persecution 3, misc 3."

Hebrews 12:14 — "and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" - Comments - Frances J. Roberts writes, "Without holiness, no man shall see God. This could be as truly stated, ‘Without a tender heart and sensitive, attentive spirit, none shall see God', for without these, no true holiness will ever be attained." 267]

267] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 15.

Scripture Reference- Note a similar verse:

Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."

Hebrews 12:14Comments - The Greek grammar in Hebrews 12:14 makes it evident that the phrase, "without which not man shall see the Lord" modifies the word "holiness" (masculine), and not "peace" (feminine). Song of Solomon , if we work towards peace, but others do not allow it, this will not separate us from God. Holiness is our responsibility, regardless of the actions of others.

These Hebrews were being persecuted. They needed to strive to live peacefully, yet maintain holiness in a perverse generation ( 1 Timothy 4:10).

1 Timothy 4:10, "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."

We are to make great efforts to live at peace with others and not indulge in sin. This often means walking away from strife and arguments. It means holding our tongues when we want to speak out impulsively. It means forgiving when we do not feel like forgiving. We are to show mercy, whether or not we have been shown mercy. We are to walk in humility and submission even though it means shame and persecution from others. This pursuit means crucifying the flesh on a daily basis. It is not an easy pursuit, and we are not successful all of the time. Therefore, it is something that we must keep before our eyes and always endeavor to achieve.

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Hebrews 12:15"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God" - Comments- The same Greek word ὑ στερέ ω (G 5302), translated "fail" in Hebrews 12:15, is used in Romans 3:23. We find a similar statement in Galatians 5:4, "ye are fallen from grace." We have fallen short of God's glory. Let us not fall short of God's grace

Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

Galatians 5:4, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

Hebrews 12:15 — "and thereby many be defiled" - Comments- The tongue of bitterness can corrupt many hearts and plant seeds of sin in other lives. However, a righteous Prayer of Manasseh , using God's Wisdom of Solomon , does not have to be embittered because of what others say. Note Proverbs 11:9.

Proverbs 11:9, "An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered."

Illustration:

Deuteronomy 29:18, "Lest there should be among you Prayer of Manasseh , or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;"

Hebrews 12:15Comments- We must understand Hebrews 12:15 to be a similar statement to the ones made in Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:28-29; Hebrews 12:25. In all of these passages, the author warns his readers against falling away from God and losing their salvation.

Hebrews 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

Hebrews 12:16Word Study on "profane" - Strong says the Greek word "profane" ( βέ βηλος) (G 952) means, "heathenish, wicked."

Hebrews 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Hebrews 12:17Comments- Esau could not get back his birthrights. Many people today are selling their privilege to eternal life for a "morsel of meat" in this lifetime.

Hebrews 12:16-17Comments- The Example of Esau- Note that Hebrews 6:4-6 does not describe the only person that will go to hell after backsliding, because all backsliders will go to hell. This passage describes the only type of backslider who cannot repent and be restored back to God. It is a person who backslides willfully and knowingly after rising to maturity in the faith. The author has given us the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness whom God destroyed ( Hebrews 3:7-19), and he will later give us the example of Esau who found no repentance, though it sought it with tears ( Hebrews 12:16-17).


Verses 18-29

Hear God's Word (Mental Perseverance) - We are then exhorted to hear and receive God's word from Mount Sion as a measure of our mental perseverance. With this exhortation the author uses an Old Testament comparison of God delivering His Word to the children of Israel from Mount Sinai. In Hebrews 12:18-29 the author makes a clear contrast between the way man communicates with God in the new covenant with the old covenant. He emphasizes the negative aspects of Mount Sinai in Hebrews 12:18-21 when the children of Israel were gathered around it to hear the voice of God. In Hebrews 12:22-24 he emphasizes those who are already in Heaven to assist in our redemption. He then interprets this Old Testament event under the New Covenant ( Hebrews 12:25-29).

Hebrews 12:22Comments - This heavenly city is the city for which the patriarchs were searching ( Hebrews 11:10).

Hebrews 11:10, "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."

Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Hebrews 12:23 — "and to the spirits of just men made perfect" - Comments- Hebrews 10:14 says that we have been "perfected" by the one-time offer of the blood of Jesus Christ. According to Hebrews 12:23, this perfection is referring to the born-again spirit of Prayer of Manasseh , which reads, "and to the spirits of just men made perfect." God is now at work in the life of every believer to bring him into perfection, spirit, soul and body.

Hebrews 10:14, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."

Comments - At a.m. Monday morning, March 28, 2011my brother Jerry called me from the hospital to inform me that our mother had just died. I hung up the phone and the first thing that I felt an urge to do was go to God's Word. The Lord then quickened to me the phrase "and to the spirits of just men made perfect." I understood that Mom had just been made perfect in spirit, soul, and body when she left this life and entered the gate of heavenly Jerusalem. Although our spirits are made perfect at the time we are born again, our soul and body must wait until we reach Heaven in order to partake of this perfection.

Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Hebrews 12:24Comments- Both Abel and Jesus shed blood because of their faith in God. The book of Genesis tells us that Abel's sacrifice was superior to that of his brother Cain ( Hebrews 11:4), and in his death his offering still speaks of right standing by faith in God ( Hebrews 11:4). Yet, Christ's sacrifice is far superior to Abel's in that it paid for the sins of all of mankind, while Abel's sacrifice only made atonement for his sins. We can understand Abel's sacrifice and death to be a type and figure of Christ's future death and sacrificial offering unto God. Hebrews 12:23 tells us that "the spirits of just men were made perfect," referring to Christ's work of redemption to bring us to perfection.

Hebrews 11:4, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh."

Hebrews 12:22-24Comments - A Description of Heaven- We can imagine leaving this earthly life and going to Heaven. We first approach the Heavenly city (but ye are come unto mount Sion) and we immediately feel the very presence of God everywhere (and unto the city of the living God). We enter the city (the heavenly Jerusalem) and see the host of angels as they go about their divine duties (and to an innumerable company of angels). We meet our loved ones and the saints of old (to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven). We approach the throne of God and sense His holiness and understand why He created Hell (and to God the Judge of all). As we meet with the saints we begin to understand their immortal characteristics (and to the spirits of just men made perfect). Soon there is a stir as Jesus walks us to greet us (and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant). We notice the scars on His hands and feet and began to realize the sacrifice that He made for you and me (and to the blood of sprinkling), a sacrifice that far exceeded anything that we could have done as mortals on earth (that speaketh better things than that of Abel).

Paul, whom the early church fathers bear witness as the author of the epistle of Hebrews , was caught up into Heaven and saw these things ( 2 Corinthians 12:1-4). The vivid description contained in Hebrews 12:22-24 very likely serves as a description of what he saw and experienced during this heavenly rapture.

Hebrews 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

Hebrews 12:25Comments- We must understand Hebrews 12:25 b to be a similar statement to the ones made in Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:28-29; Hebrews 12:15, warning us of divine judgment for those who refuse His voice.

Hebrews 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

Hebrews 12:26 — "Whose voice then shook the earth" - Comments - Exodus 19:18-19 tells us that God's voice shook the entire mountain when He spoke from Mount Sinai to the people.

Exodus 19:18-19, "And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice."

Deuteronomy 4:11-13, "And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone."

Deuteronomy 5:22-26

Psalm 68:7-8, "O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah: The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel."

Hebrews 12:26 — "but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven" - Comments- The Old Testament quote in Hebrews 12:26 is most likely a paraphrase taken from Haggai 2:6, "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;"

Hebrews 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Hebrews 12:28Word Study on "let us have grace" - The Greek construction ( χάριν ἔχω τῷ χριστῷ ἰησοῦ) or ( χάρις τῷ θεῷ) 268] or some variation of this phrase is found no less than thirteen times in the Greek New Testament ( Luke 17:9, Romans 6:17; Romans 7:25, 1 Corinthians 10:30; 1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 9:15, Colossians 3:16, 1 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:3, Philemon 1:7 [t.r.], Hebrews 12:28). It is properly translated in a variety of ways; "I am grateful to God," or "I thank God," "Let's give thanks," or "with thanks to the Lord."

268] Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993, 2006), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), Hebrews 12:28.

ESV, "let us be grateful"

NET, "let us give thanks"

NCV, "let us be thankful"

NIV, "let us be thankful"

NLT, "let us be thankful"

Rotherham, "let us have gratitude"

RSV, "let us be grateful"

However, there are a number of modern versions that translate the word χάρις (G 5485) as "grace."

ASV, "let us have grace"

BBE, "let us have grace"

Murdock, "let us grasp the grace"

WEB, "let us have grace"

YLT, "may we have grace"

Hebrews 12:28Comments - Taking the Greek word χάρις (G 5485) to mean, "divine grace" rather than "thanks," we can say that it is only by God's grace that we are able to live a life of holiness and well-pleasing unto God, who is a consuming fire. The grace of God empowers us to persevere in the Christian life as described Hebrews 12:1-27. In other words, holiness is a product of divine grace, something a Christian cannot obtain without the empowering of the Holy Spirit, and High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, and divine providence of God the Father.

Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:29Comments - Hebrews 12:29 is probably taken from Deuteronomy 4:24, "For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."

One of the characteristics of fire is that it consumes. We do not expect fire to burn without performing its natural behaviour, which is to consume. In like manner, one of God's divine characteristics is to consume all that is sinful, since He is a judging God. If an unregenerate man stood in the presence of God he would instantly be consumed by God's presence, because His character is similar to that of fire in that He consumes all that is evil. Thus, the author of Hebrews says, "For our God is a consuming fire."

Illustrations - We find examples of God consuming people with fire in the book of Leviticus and Numbers.

Leviticus 10:1-2, "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD."

Numbers 16:35, "And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense."

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Deuteronomy 9:3, "Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee."

Also: —

Psalm 18:7, "Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth."

Psalm 68:2, "As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God."

Isaiah 30:27, "Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire:"

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Hebrews 12:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/hebrews-12.html. 2013.

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