Two Illustrative Examples
7When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. 8But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it. 9Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. 10For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. 11Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
13For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying: 14“I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.” 15Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. 16Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.Heb 6:7-20
These two illustrative examples are simply brilliant when you consider them in the light of what the writer of Hebrews has been talking about. Before I unpack them I would suggest that you take the time to read them a number of times and figure out for yourself what the writer is doing by using these examples. With each example consider the following biblical questions:-
Have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” [NLT]Romans 10:18
Did the people of Israel in the writer’s time hear or read the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” [IVV]Romans 10:18
Did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, even in the time of Moses and Paul and most likely in the time of the writer of Hebrews. [NLT]Romans 10:18
Did those who received the letter get the connection to what the writer intended through these illustrations? Do you? Read these two brilliant illustrations several times until you get what the writer is saying. Both illustrations offer great insight and cover all the bases. Realise that these comments have been made for the Hebrew Christians in the days before Nero’s persecution broke out but after Nero became emperor in AD 54. The chances are strong that many of theseJews who had become Christians had actually heard Jesus’ teaching on these two topics. How is that possible? Remember I told you in Gem 2044 “This great salvation was:-
- mentioned by the Lord Jesus Himself
- then delivered to us
- by those who heard Him speak
These Jewish Christians most likely heard it from Jesus Himself or were told by believers who heard it from those who had heard it from Jesus directly. So therefore the words of Jesus Himself were likely ringing in their ears at this moment. “Oh yes, Jesus said this . . . and that . . .“
Can you think of some of the teaching of Jesus or Paul which fits right in with these illustrations?
See what you can come up with. I will share my thoughts with you in the next Gem.
To do good Bible study you need to follow the author’s thread or point they are making. Don’t stop too soon.Ian
Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.Denis Waitley
We all start from a position of ignorance about the Bible; just make sure you don’t stay in that position. The answer is in your hands. The Bible. Get to know it.Ian
What we can or can’t do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capacity? Usually it’s a belief we hold!Rick Godwin