SITE NOTICE | MORE..WordPress Widget v1.6! New, CSS-friendly version of the Sermon Browser is now available with further customization. Please note that updating from the previous version will reset all of the saved widget settings. .. click for more info!
I must of course make the typical comment that we do not know for sure who wrote the book of Hebrews. The earliest recipients knew, and the church has traditionally accepted the book as in some way apostolic and in every way authoritative. We shall refer to the author as... the author.
One other note. This is a treatise that sets out to prove the superiority of Jesus and the New Covenant. It was not written to address our current problem. But when it does address it, there is no doubt as to the intent. Judgment is coming.
Hebrews 2:3. The author refers to a non-existent escape for those who neglect their salvation. Escape from what?
Hebrews 3:6. We are Christ's House. IF. If we hold fast, firm to the end. And if not?
Hebrews 3:12-19, 4:11. Serious warning here. Serious comparison. Israel tested the Lord. He passed the test, they did not. The disobedient did not enter in. Unbelieving evil hearts today will likewise be rejected. No exceptions mentioned. No change of heart , either, in future eons.
Hebrews 6:2. The doctrine of eternal judgment is listed here as one of the basics of the faith. That's why Universalism must be treated as a major illness in the Body. It must be dealt with severely, as a cancer that spreads its death slowly and surely throughout. There is a judgment coming. It is eternal.
In the Universalist book of doctrines, assuming that even false teachers have a system for their theology, the page that should describe eternal judgments is blank.
Hebrews 6:4-8. Thorns and briers that grow on an otherwise blessed earth will be cursed, and in the end, burned. Pretty clear language.
Hebrews 8:10-11. Here is a message to Israel, directly from Israel's original Bible. A new covenant is coming. The old written covenant needs to be replaced. In the old covenant days, it was possible to live in the Kingdom, and not even know the Lord. Prophets were raised up to call people back to obedience, and knowledge of the Holy.
Not so in the new covenant. Everyone who is a part of that covenant will, by definition, know the Lord. No one has to tell a born again Jew or Gentile, "Know Jesus." He already knows Him. That's how he qualified to be a part of the covenant to begin with.
Carried even further, in that coming worldwide Kingdom, the government that shall be upon His shoulders, the same principle will apply. Kingdom people will obviously know Who is the King!
So, no, this is not a passage promising endless salvation to everyone who ever lived. This is an announcement of the New Agreement between God and His own special people.
Hebrews 9:15. Only those who are called receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 9:28. Jesus will come again. (Only once, by the way!) He will come to receive to Himself those who are eagerly waiting for Him. I wonder just how many people in today's world could answer to such a description, "waiting eagerly for Jesus."
Hebrews 10:26-39. Here is perhaps the most terrifying passage of Hebrews. Universalists should heed it well. Non-universalists should do the same.
If one has come to Christ but continues in his sin, as Paul allowed to be possible in Romans 6, he can expect nothing but judgment. Fiery indignation. God not in a "good mood", oh decidedly not!
Why so angry, Lord God?
They have trampled the Son of God underfoot.
They have counted the blood of Jesus a mere common thing.
They have insulted the Spirit of grace that was trying to convict them and bring them to repentance.
A God to be feared.
Why has all of this teaching about our God been dropped from the discussion, not only by Universalists but by most of the rest of us too?
Hebrews 12:8-11. Chastening. There, you see, all this talk of judgment is merely about a temporary corrective measure. No, the chastening discussion is directed to true sons, and it is about the here and now.
There is another group mentioned. Bastard sons. Here and now, they receive no correction. Spoiled. And ripe for the judgment described graphically in the rest of the book. Chastening and judgment are two separate subjects.
Hebrews 12:14. No holiness, no vision of God, ever.
Hebrews 12:17. Esau is used as an example of the unchangeableness of God's judgment. Isaac, the God figure in the story, cannot bless his own son because of his breaking of the rules. Man can be forgiven all sin. But there is a sin against the Holy Ghost which cannot be forgiven. Those who despise the workings of the Spirit in their lives will be cast out forever from the blessing. "Depart from Me," Jesus will say. "I never knew you."
We must not mistake God's mercy and grace activated at Calvary for repentant sinners, with the on-going workings of the Spirit in the life of His sons. The writer of Hebrews is especially emphatic about this.
Hebrews 12:25-29. Did I say that this book is not about eternal judgment? Yet in 8 of its 13 chapters we have mention of this terrifying subject. Here is one last look.
Israel refused Moses. They did not escape judgment. Much less will we escape if we refuse Jesus. Israel witnessed the shaking of the earth. We will see the shaking of heaven and earth. In the final shaking only the Kingdom will survive.
There is a Kingdom. There is a non-Kingdom. Our God, the consuming fire, will utterly destroy that which is not His Kingdom.
"Gentle Jesus, meek and mild." Yes, in the manger. Yes, at His first coming. "I will give you rest." Yes.
He will also give the world judgment. To misunderstand this aspect of Who He is, is fatal.