Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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HEBREWS - Chapter 6

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Hebrews 6

Supplemental Commentary:

I.  SUPERIORITY OF THE NEW DISPENSATION OVER THE OLD  1, 1 -- 10, 18 (continued)

2.  A Superior High Priest  4, 14 -- 7, 28 (continued)

6, 1-3:  An Appeal for Progress.    1.  Dead works: i.e., sinful works.    2.  Doctrine of baptisms, may refer to the distinction in effects between the baptism instituted by Christ, and other ritual ablutions.  Laying on of hands: the sacrament of Confirmation.

6, 4-8:  Danger of Apostasy.    4.  Impossible: i.e., morally impossible, or very difficult.  Those who have apostasized refuse to repent.  Enlightened: baptized.  One baptized passed from the darkness of sin to the light of divine grace.  Baptism was sometimes called "Illimination" by the early Fathers.  Heavenly gift: redemption.  Partakers of the Holy Spirit: sharers in the charismatic gifts, such as speaking in tongues, prophesying, etc.    5.  Tasted the good word of God: experienced the consoling effects of the gospel.  Powers of the world to come: the miracles of the Messianic age.    6.  And then have fallen away: have rejected completely the Christian religion.  To be renewed again to repentance: or better, according to the Greek, "To renew (them) to repentance," thus making the impossibility on the part of the preacher.  It would be practically impossible for a preacher to awaken repentance in such perverts, for whom Christ has become an object of hate and mockery.  They are likened to barren soil (8).

6, 13-20:  Certainty of God's Promise.    13.  When God made his promise to Abraham: see Gen. 12, 2 f; 13, 14-17; 15, 5 ff; 17, 5 ff; 22, 16 f.    15.  After patient waiting: many years intervened between the promise made to Abraham and the birth of Isaac.

16-18.  The promise made to Abraham finds it complete fulfillment in the Christians, who by faith are the true descendants of Abraham and heirs of the promise (Gal. 3, 29).  Two unchangeable things: namely, God's promise to Abraham, and the solemn oath with which He confirmed it.    19.  Anchor . . . reaching even behind the veil: our hope is anchored to Christ in heaven.  The allusion is to the veil which hung before the Holy of Holies in the temple, and behind which the High Priest entered on the Day of Atonement.  Christ, our High Priest, has entered behind the veil which separates God's presence from this world.    20.  Forerunner: Christ has entered into heaven first, to prepare a place for us (John 14, 2 f).


Confraternity Bible:

An Appeal for Progress  1 Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching concerning Christ, let us pass on to things more perfect, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith towards God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms and the laying on of hands, of the resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment.  3 And this we will do, if God permits.

Danger of Apostasy  4* For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, who have both tasted the heavenly gift and become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 who have moreover tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, 6* and then have fallen away, to be renewed again to repentance; since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and make him a mockery.  7 For the earth that drinks in the rain that often falls upon it, and produces vegetation that is of use to those by whom it is tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but that which brings forth thorns and thistles is worthless, and is nigh unto a curse, and its end is to be burnt.

Expectation of Better Things  9 But in your case, beloved, we are confident of better things, things that promise salvation, even though we speak thus.  10* For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work and the love that you have shown in his name, you who have ministered and do minister to the saints.  11 But we want every one of you to show to the very end the same earnestness for the fulfillment of your hopes; 12 so that you may become not sluggish but imitators of those who by faith and patience will inherit the promises.

Certainty of God's Promise  13 For when God made his promise to Abraham, since he had no greater to swear by, he swore by himself, 14* saying,
"I will surely bless thee, and I will surely multiply thee." 
15 And thus after patient waiting, Abraham obtained the promise.  16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and an oath given as a guarantee is the final settlement of all their disagreement.  17 Hence God, meaning to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his will, interposed an oath, 18* that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to deceive, we may have the strongest comfort---we who have sought refuge in holding fast the hope set before us.  19 This hope we have, as a sure and firm anchor of the soul, reaching even behind the veil 20 where our forerunner Jesus has entered for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech. 
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*

4: Impossible: i.e., extremely difficult.

6: Make him a mockery: by apostasy.

10: God would indeed be unjust if He punished sin without rewarding good works.

14: Gen. 22, 16. 

18: Two unchangeable things: namely, the promise and the oath.