Bible Threatenings Explained
By Gary Amirault
For those who are unfamiliar with Dew format, under this heading we discuss Scriptures which have often been used to prove our Father gets something out of toasting people forever. We believe our Father is love and more importantly, a loving Father. In the earthly realm, a father who would endlessly torture his children would be locked up for child abuse. If he murdered his child, he might even get capital punishment.
Somehow, many of us have been duped into believing the Creator of us all who is love, could also put people through anguish that Hitler, Manson, Nero, and Phalarus put together could not dream up. Somehow many of us have been brainwashed into believing that our heavenly Father can be the most sadistic creature ever imaginable and still call Him, love.
Well, if He is what the fundamentalists say He is, then He is the most awful thing imaginable. The God of the typical church sounds more like Satan than the One who loved us so much that He gave His Beloved Son for us, that we might live . . .and live we shall because His love will save us and we will all one day experience that love and be changed . . .all of us.
Look for what is lovely. Look for the highest picture you can conceive. It will fall far short of the love the Father has for all His creation. When one views the Scriptures with love in their heart, the plan of the Creator begins to make sense. His use of evil, suffering, tearing us and then reviving us, and even being turned over to Satan by an apostle that our spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord begins to make sense when we see that our Father's motive in doing all things is love. Remember not only is His motive towards us love, He is love!
Now, let us turn to a Scripture that used to give me great problems when I was in several denominations that taught one could lose their salvation. One of the classic texts they used to bring people back under fear, which casts out love, was Hebrews chapter 6, verses 4,5, and 6.
For it is impossible to those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
I can't tell you how many times I have heard hell-fire preachers take this to prove that one could walk away from the Lord and go to hell, or to prove there is a hell where the Creator one day was going to burn His own children eternally. Remember, these people in this verse, according to the hell-fire view, have received the gifts, have received Jesus, and now are turning away from Him. A "born-again" believer is a child of the Creator. This person, again, according to orthodoxy, is a child of the Most High. This teaching that one can "lose their salvation" has as many holes in it as this text has words.
First of all, all Scripture is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Tim. 3:16) In order for it to be "profitable" to us, it must be "rightly divided" (2 Tim 2:15) or else we can twist it to our or other peoples destruction. Under the Mosaic law, a father should stone to death a rebellious son. (Deut. 21:18-21) If we take that scripture and say "all scripture is for us and we are to obey it," then many of us will have to kill our children even thought we would go to jail as a result of "obeying" the Word of God.
This Scripture regarding stoning rebellious children dealt only with Israel, in the land of Israel, under the Mosaic Law which has been done away with. This law never was for anyone accept for Israel. Those who try to tell us that the Mosaic Law is still for us today conveniently skip over these types of laws knowing it will put them in jail so they focus on tithes, ceremonies, the ten commandments, and the like.
We can read about these laws and by the spirit gain much understanding about spiritual things reading about the people of Israel in the land of Israel, but to apply those laws to gentiles outside of Israel which have been done away with, is to twist the Scriptures to our own destruction. We will suffer much loss of love, joy, and peace trying to keep those laws today.
This same principle we just talked about with Moses' Law also applied with the New Testament. If Jesus told Peter to do something, it doesn't mean He told you to do it. There have been people in church history who drowned trying to walk on water. We can learn much from Jesus' conversation with his disciples, but be careful in how you apply it. Unless Jesus directly tells you to walk on water, it would be wise to take a boat.
Now with this is mind, let us look at this passage in the book addressed to the Hebrews. Are you a Hebrew? Even if you are of the religion of modern Judaism, it does not make one a "Hebrew." If you are not a Hebrew, be careful about applying this scripture to yourselves or anyone else. Secondly, this letter was specifically written to Hebrews living at a very crucial time in Christian history. The range of dates for its writing ranges from 60 A.D. to 90 A.D.. Most scholars believe it to be written just before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.. If that is the case, then the parallel the writers makes to the 40 years the children of Israel seeing God's work in the wilderness and the trial Jewish believers were going through at that time is very interesting. (Heb. chapter 3) If this letter was written near 70 A.D., then we are approaching a time period of around 40 years after the crucifixion.
It is hard for us to look at this time period from the point of view of a Jew living at this time, but give it a try. Picture yourself being born in 40 A.D. in Caesarea. It is now 68 A.D. and you are 28 years old. Rome is still occupying Israel, the temple is still up. Each year your family takes a trip down to Jerusalem to come before the Lord with sacrifices. Although Yashua was crucified several years before, the Priesthood, the Sanhedrin, the animal sacrifices are still going on. In order for your sins to be cleansed for the year, your family goes down to Jerusalem at Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles each year.
Every Sabbath, your family attends the local Synagogue for song, fellowship, hearing Scripture readings, and prayer. One day one of the members approaches you and tells you that forgiveness of sins can only be forgiven by faith in Yashua, who died in the previous generation. This fellow Jew invites you to a gathering of like-minded Jews meeting on the following day in someone's house. You decide to come to the gathering, even though your family told you that this group is a dangerous cult that idolizes a dead man. Picture your father who loves you saying, "They claim He was resurrected, but we haven't seen Him. They cause much trouble and they even fight amongst themselves. James, the brother of this rebel, still keeps the laws of Moses, but this Paul, says our laws mean nothing. They are confused and are going to cause us trouble with the Romans. Stay away from them. They are heretics!"
Despite your father's warning, you attend this "agape feast" anyway. Picture a little gathering of perhaps 30 people. They are all so loving! They seem so joyful. The 3 or 4 hour afternoon is filled with wonderful songs, stories about what this Yashua did, and hope of wonderful things to come very soon. A sick person is prayed for and immediately healed. A woman speaks in a very strange language and another gives the interpretation. In all, it is a wonderful afternoon. These people seem very harmless and sincere. You decide to attend a few more of these meetings and find yourself beginning to believe that there may be something to what they are saying. Perhaps you even join in some of the songs, or have someone pray for you and feel the prayer was answered.
But your father finds out where you have been these last few weekends and is furious. It is the Tabernacle season and the family must go, according the Moses Law which is binding on every Jew, to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices for their sins. What do you do? Some followers of Yashua, still offer animal sacrifices, others say it is like offering swine's blood. If you do not go to Jerusalem with your father, he will disown you as a son. Are these wonderful afternoons worth losing your entire family?
These are some of the things that were going on in the minds of Jews at this time in history. Many Jews left the Yashua movement because many leaders of the Messianic movement claimed the kingdom of Yahweh would be established within the generation that saw Yashua crucified. The length of a generation had or was about to pass. Many Jewish believers began to go back to the Mosaic system of animal sacrifices. Many believed in Yahshua and gave sacrifices. The church in Jerusalem with James as its head never broke away from the law.
At this time, the Jews as a nation began to rebel against the Roman system. The need for loyalty among all Jews became very important. Jews that hung around gentiles, especially Romans, were looked down upon as disloyal to their nation. In short, there were great reasons in this time of Jewish history for Jews to give up the hope in the Messianic Movement and go back to all the traditions of Moses, especially since the Priesthood and Temple were still up. It was not yet destroyed.
Try to picture yourself in this point in history. There were many in these "agape feasts," as they were called, who were not truly converted; they "tasted" of the good word of God and the powers of the age to come. One can taste of something but not eat it, not consume it. There are many sitting in churches today, listening to preaching, singing songs, seeing healings, being healed, and paying tithes, and yet not quickened in the Spirit. There are many who have been quickened, but never leave first grade. This writer is exhorting Hebrews to enter into something they are not entering into. Some aren't quickened and he is preaching to them, and those that are "born from above," he is exhorting to get out of first grade, elementary principles of Christ. He is exhorting all to press to perfection not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrines of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment, or as some translations have it, judgment of the ages. (Heb. 6:1-3)
The writer is trying to burn all bridges for everyone, "tasters" or "born from above" folks. He is telling them not to look back. Our Father was warning all the Hebrews at this time through this book that He was going to completely put an end to the Mosaic system. Shortly after this, the Romans completely destroyed the temple and the genealogical records and kicked the Jews out of the only "lawful" place they could offer animal sacrifices.
The writer of Hebrews spent many words comparing the Mosaic system with the "better way." Jesus Christ was a "better revelation" (1:1-4), a "better hope," (7:14) a "better Priesthood," (7:20-28) a "better Covenant," (8:6) "better promises," (8:6) "better sacrifices," (9:23) "better possessions," (10:34) "better country," (11:16) "better resurrection." (11:35)
The writer of Hebrews is closing all doors except one. The sin problem has always been one of the conscience. The only way for the conscience to be cleansed is through the blood of the Messiah. Mixing it with the blood of bulls and goats will not produce a pure conscience. How many Christians today mix their faith in Christ with law? Honestly, now.
If this Scripture was saying that if one falls away, that there is no hope of being saved, then there is no hope for backsliders. Most churches that teach that salvation can be lost are full of backsliders coming to the altar every week to get saved again! This Scriptures shows that works of the flesh will not produce life, nor will those works be acceptable to our Father. They will be burned, as verses 7 and 8 point out.
In chapter 5, the writer says that some of the people he is writing to ought to be teachers by now, but they have need of milk since they are obviously unable to eat solid food. They cannot exercise their spiritual senses to discern good from evil. Is our Father going to roast these followers of Christ because they are too young in the Lord to discern good and evil? Of course not!
The writer of Hebrews' main purpose in this letter is to clearly show this group of Hebrews who were mixing Mosaic Law with Faith that in order to grow to maturity, to bring forth the works of the Holy Spirit instead of the flesh, to bear good fruit, one must continue to put off Moses. Have no faith in types and shadows which avail nothing. Go beyond the ABC's of repentance from dead works etc., on to maturity. Going back to the Levitical sacrifices was dead works which would not cleanse the conscience. Faith would not grow, therefore no fruit of the spirit. Such a person would be saved "so as through fire." (1 Cor. 3:15)
The book of Hebrews is a book of ABCs which most Christians do not understand because they do not understand what fruit bearing is all about. They do not understand that "law keeping," such as going to church every Sunday, will not produce the fruit of the Kingdom. The ten commandments is called the ministry of death in 2 Cor. 3:7. Many pastors teach that the ten commandments are to be kept. I tell you no matter how well one keeps them, all they can ever do you is sentence you to death. The closer one thinks they are to keeping them, the more self-righteous that person will be, trusting in their own righteousness instead of receiving the gift of Life which comes by faith.
What the writer is saying to the Hebrews is that the blood of bulls and goats system is over. What the Creator once sanctified was done away with and replaced with something much better. A spiritually fruitful life of doing the work of the Father and bearing good fruit could only come from the Messiah. This Scripture has nothing to do with eternal punishment or losing one's salvation. It is a book to show one how to produce the works and fruit of the kingdom through the Holy Spirit. It is a book that clarifies the difference between works of the flesh (which is really what most of us produce) and works which are done by the Father through us. These latter works will not produce pride and self-righteousness because we can't take any credit for them. That is the difference between lawkeeping which we play a part in, and faith which is of the Creator. One will burn, the other will stand. One will suffer loss in the lake of fire and be saved so as through fire, the other will receive a reward. But in no circumstance is this book even hinting of eternal torment or losing one's salvation. That is added by preachers and pastors who rule with fear. You will know them by their fruit.