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Featured Fall Away, Hebrews 6:4-6

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by rlvaughn, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Hebrews 6.4-6:
    What is Hebrews 6:4-6 teaching about falling away?

    Seems the 3 main ideas I have seen are:
    • Those once enlightened, etc. are born again, and if they fall away they cannot be renewed to repentance (saved).
    • Those once enlightened, etc. are born again, and the argument is a reductio ad absurdium -- a hypothetical argument against falling from grace from the absurdity of such a possibility.
    • Those once enlightened, etc. are among the born again, but professors rather than possessers, and if they turn away from Christ are blinded, given up, etc., and cannot be saved.
    Perhaps these are not the clearest explanations, but maybe you can make do! What does Hebrews 6:4-6 mean? Do you hold some variation of the above, or perhaps something else?

    [Additional note: when I write "among the born again" above, I mean people who are professed Christians, church members, with nothing outwardly noticeable that distinguishes them to true born again believers.]
     
    #1 rlvaughn, Feb 4, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  2. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Perhaps the Jewish version of these verses will aid in understanding (though I would consider that you already actually know but are creating instruction in righteousness for those who may not know).

    1Therefore, leaving behind the initial lessons about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of turning from works that lead to death, trusting God, 2and instruction about washings, s’mikhah, the resurrection of the dead and eternal punishment. 3And, God willing, this is what we will do.
    4For when people have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, become sharers in the Ruach HaKodesh, 5and tasted the goodness of God’s Word and the powers of the ‘olam haba — 6and then have fallen away — it is impossible to renew them so that they turn from their sin, as long as for themselves they keep executing the Son of God on the stake all over again and keep holding him up to public contempt. 7For the land that soaks up frequent rains and then brings forth a crop useful to its owners receives a blessing from God; 8but if it keeps producing thorns and thistles, it fails the test and is close to being cursed; in the end, it will be burned. (CJB version)
    I put the qualifier in bold so that it would not be missed.

    Now, no doubt there are the stronger translations such as the CEV that would state:
    4-6But what about people who turn away after they have already seen the light and have received the gift from heaven and have shared in the Holy Spirit? What about those who turn away after they have received the good message of God and the powers of the future world? There is no way to bring them back. What they are doing is the same as nailing the Son of God to a cross and insulting him in public!
    Or the NASB (which is my personal preference) would state:
    4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
    So, how is this all resolved?

    While one may place the selection upon either that the person was not really saved to begin with, or that the statement is a hypothetical demonstrating the absurdity of such an argument, neither the interpretation nor the passage supports a refutation of the OSAS view, and it most certainly does not present a problem to those who are old school Baptists (pre 1960's) who are perseverance or preservation of the saints thinking (which I am).

    IF one was to state that the passage is about believers loosing salvation, then there is a violation of Romans 8, and such as the parable of the young man who refused to go to work in the field, then repented and worked. Such a conflict cannot take place in the Scriptures.

    The passage is not about the ability of the "shallow ground" person that is sometime presented as initially responding to the gospel and then falls away. For that is never the presentation of the believer for the true believer does persevere and is preserved.

    Therefore, my own view is simply a combination of the two standard views.

    I take the passage as a presentation that certainly a believer has the capacity to "fall away" not from salvation but from mission and appointment of ministry as all believers are so appointed.

    Perhaps one such as were exampled by the Corinthians who made an open mockery of the Lord's table and early died, or the presentation of one such as believer who has been so choked out by the thorns (cares) of this life that they are left as redeemed but have "sacrificed the permanent upon the altar of the immediate."

    The passage does address a believer.

    It is a believer who has so submitted to the world, falling under the control and thinking of the worldly that they eventually even bring ridicule and mock the precious Lord Jesus Christ.

    They are as Peter warming his hands, swearing, as the typical fishermen most often do, that he never knew the Christ.

    They are as Peter when asked by the Lord as to the level of his love could only respond that he was the Lord's friend.

    They are as Peter when talking among the gentile believers in the assembly saw certain Jews come in and immediately separated himself from the Gentiles and was openly rebuked by Paul.

    They are as Peter who tradition states initially ran from death, met an angel, and turned back again to face the fate of death.

    Such a person never rises to be restored to that position that they were once appointed.

    Quick illustration:

    I know a former preacher of the gospel. He lead a double life. One hidden from the assembly and the other presenting as if he was the closest friend and companion of the Christ. Eventually, he chose to leave the ministry before he double life was discovered and proceeded to make a shameful shamble of his life.

    Much later, he came to his senses, repentant and pleading God's mercy and grace.

    He has been restored "to the faith" and if one were to hear him, see him, they would never know of that ruined life.

    But he will never preach the gospel from the pulpit. For all the education and all the skill, he will never again be the pastor of a thriving congregation. Never again be able to look into the eyes of those he claims to love and not see the sorrow and pain he put in them.

    He will never be "restored" to that place of fellowship, honor, and appointment though he crave it with great tears of regret. He knows it will never be his. There is "no way back" from the journey he took.

    Hence the practical application of Hebrews 6.
     
  3. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    This is the interpretation I have always held to.

    Matthew Henry wrote:

    John MacArthur and the late R.C. Sproul held to the same view as Matthew Henry. If the passage referred to true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, how could anyone ever be sure any temporal turn from obedience would not imperil their souls?

    Edited to correct grammar.
     
    #3 Reformed, Feb 4, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
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  4. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    IMO and if no one else presented this I believe this epistle/letter has been is written to the THEN present day church at Jerusalem of which 20-30 years ago 3-5000 were was brought into the church.

    This letter is addressed to that church "TODAY" that was born on the day of Pentecost.

    The church being 20-30 years old had brought in additional “believers” and had now become a mixed multitude of believers. Some true some questionable.

    Many who had participated in the events which happened in Acts Chapter 2.

    Many had grown weary waiting for Jesus return and had departed and gone back to Temple worship (though still “believers”). Some were tempted.

    So Paul (or whoever) under inspiration is asking these Jerusalem Hebrews why they wanted to go back to a system which 20-30 years ago) came right up to the door of repentance saw the miracles of tongues (even participated in it) and the works of the Holy Spirit through the acts of the apostles confirmed by the Holy Ghost, heard of the wonderful things to come yet for the most part turned away.

    Because of this they as a nation were not now allowed to be brought back to repentance (UNLESS GOD PERMIT).

    But to those who were faithful but perhaps being tempted to back away or withdraw from NC worship back to OC worship (with blood of bulls and goats never able to take away sin) and were warned not to do it and the writer stated they believed “better things” of them.

    IMO this passage is speaking at a national level of individuals of Hebrews not individuals on a one by one basis.



    HankD
     
  5. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    Why just this section of Hebrews? Go through the entire book, these 'falling away' are described as brethren, partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the good word of God, received the knowledge of the truth, sanctified by the blood of the covenant, referred to as 'His people'. They entered not into His rest because of unbelief. Even Moses and Aaron were refused entrance into His rest because of their unbelief.

    Are Moses and Aaron in hell?

    Does Christ's atonement cover the sin of unbelief?

    Are there other sins that His atonement doesn't cover?

    Check out chapter 10:

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins,
    27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.
    28 A man that hath set at nought Moses law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses:
    29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
    30 For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
    31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb 10

    These in chapter 10 had 'received the knowledge of the truth', were 'sanctified by the blood of the covenant', called 'His people'. It's not just 'any ol' sin' that's in view here, but a specific sin (returning to apostate Judaism) of which a specific people (professing Jewish Christians), of a specific time (the very generation that judged Christ to be worthy of death) were under pressure to do.

    There was to be no repentance granted for those that fell away and returned back to that apostate system that killed Christ, because by returning they crucified the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame (Heb 6:4-6), but there was only a certain fearful expectation of judgment which would devour the adversaries before that generation passed away (Heb 10:37), for those that had trodden under foot the Son of God and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing and done despite unto the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:27-29) by falling away back to the apostate Judaism they been delivered from.

    THAT is a very crucial message contained within the book.
     
    #5 kyredneck, Feb 4, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
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  6. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Yes, how could they want to go back to the Temple worship? Once one understands that the animal blood sacrifices were but a shadow of things to come to go back means you go back to a system which cannot take away sin.Not only that one would be blaspheming the blood atonement of Christ by saying the animal sacrifices were a better choice.
     
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  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Hank, under your interpretation are you saying that this is something that could have only happened before the destruction of the temple, while the sacrifices were still being carried out?

    Thanks.
     
  8. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Cause it's my thread and I get to ask the question! :Biggrin

    On a more serious note, the reason is that it is the section of Hebrews I am studying at the moment. But your point is well taken, that there are many such warnings in the book of Hebrews (and in the New Testament in general).
    So, in saying this, specific to the time, what are you saying happened to those Jewish believers who returned to apostate Judaism? Did they lose their salvation? Are they in hell? Or are you interpreting this as them losing their conditional time salvation, but not their eternal salvation?

    Thanks.
     
  9. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Yes that is my theory. Israel was being offered the blessing of God as the primary role in the evangelization of the world - the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant to the Gentiles.

    However they would not accept.

    Acts 18
    Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
    6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

    I believe they will (the veil will be removed) at a future time.

    2 Corinthians 3
    15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
    16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

    HankD
     
  10. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    One person I read explained it as a loss of rewards. Would you concur with that way of expressing it?
     
  11. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Hank, do you know of someone who has written at length on this, that you would recommend? Thanks.
     
  12. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    They would suffer the same fate as the apostate Jews. Acts 3:23, Luke 21:22-23, Hebrews 10:27, Revelation 18:4

    I hold to eternal security of the saints. If those falling away were indeed sanctified by the blood of the covenant [Hebrews 10:29], no. By returning they took 'fellowship with her sins and received of her plagues' [Revelation 18:4, Luke 17:32].

    Yes.

    On another note, compare:


    6 and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

    ...with:


    31 Therefore I say unto you, Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Mt 12

    I believe the sin of Mt 12:31 is precisely the sin of Heb 6:6. And I believe it's applicable only to that generation that murdered Christ.


    20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world* through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first. 2 Pet 2

    No doubt Peter, as an apostle to the circumcision, is addressing exactly the same ‘falling away’ that was occurring in Hebrews. I have difficulty thinking that those that have truly "escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" could ever become eternally damned.

    *the world John 18:20
     
    #12 kyredneck, Feb 5, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  13. Darrell C

    Darrell C Well-Known Member
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    The text does not refer to those who are born again, but to Hebrews who are ignorant of the First Principles of the Word of God, and who need to go on unto perfection, which is the more complete knowledge of the Christ prophesied in the First Principles of the Oracles of God.

    But you have to expand your context for that to be seen:


    Hebrews 5:10-6:6
    King James Version (KJV)

    10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

    11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

    12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

    13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

    14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.


    6 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

    2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

    3 And this will we do, if God permit.

    4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

    5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

    6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.



    Those described in vv.4-6 are those described in chapter Five. They are Hebrews who have not yet embraced the Christ and the New Covenant, and are identified as ignorant of the ABCs of Christ.

    The error some make, and this due to the boundaries their system of theology places on them, is to conclude that the descriptions given to those in vv.4-5 can only be applied to Christians, when in fact it refers to the convicting ministry of God in the lives of unbelievers. "Enlightenment," for example, is something God does for unbelievers in regards to that which is perfect, the Doctrine of Christ as revealed in this Age, the Gospel. The Comforter enlightens unbelievers to the truth, which truth, when they reject, will bring a more severe penalty than those who rejected the Covenant of Law:


    Hebrews 10:26-29
    King James Version (KJV)

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

    28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

    29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?



    The wilful sin, erroneously applied to believers by many, is that of rejection of Christ, His Sacrifice, The New Covenant, and the Ministry of the Comforter (the Spirit of Grace).

    So in view are not believers and unbelievers, but unbelievers of two different Ages.

    In Ch.5, we also see those who are not yet believing, and how they would "crucify Christ unto themselves again" was to continue to offer up sacrifice under the Law, which was a figure for the Sacrifice of Christ.

    So it is hard to make those who are ignorant even of the foundational principles of Christ, and who need to go on unto perfection...

    ...born again believers.


    God bless.
     
  14. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Think both points 2 and 3 express it well!
     
  15. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    I don't.

    This was my own brainchild but I'm sure there are many others before me with something similar or the same..

    HankD
     
  16. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I understand. Thanks. It does seem that your points and those of Darrell C & Kyredneck have some overlap along the lines of the timing, etc.
     
  17. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Hebrews 6:4 is speaking of apostates;

    4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

    5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

    6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

    7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

    8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
     
  18. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    How would you define apostates?

    Thanks.
     
  19. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Hello RL, the bible defines apostates as those who fall away into perdition...The figure of thorns and briers is always used of apostates;
    ezk2:6;
    2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.

    3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.

    4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God.

    5 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.

    6 And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.

    7 And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.

    isa10:
    6 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.

    17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;

    18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth.

    19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.

    20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

    21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.

    22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
     
  20. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    You still take this to mean infinity in a pain amplifier [hell]?
     
    #20 kyredneck, Feb 6, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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