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Hebrews 2:2-4 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:1 hr 4 mins 1 sec

Hebrews Lesson 23    August 18, 2005


NKJ Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


I have an update. I get these from the Berean Call. This is related to the theory of evolution. I thought that this was an interesting insight. If you are familiar with evolution, they have a family tree for human ancestry. One of the oldest alleged ancestors of man is the australopithecines. The one that they found was a female so she is dubbed Lucy. That's what this is about. The writer states:


The discovery of one of the most complete skeletons of an australopithecine since Lucy has cast serious doubts on the current theories of human origins. The 2.6 million year old fossil of Australopithecus Africanus is indisputably arboreal. (That means it ran through the trees.) Its 3.2 million year old ancestor Lucy who is called Australopithecus Aphaeresis was bipedal. 


The only two known partial skeletons of homo habilus the earliest member of our genus also have more apelike body proportions. (In other words they are probably apes rather than Homo sapiens.) In the April 1996 annual meeting American Association of Physical Anthropologists Dr. Lee Burger stated, "One might say that we are kicking Lucy out of the family tree." 


So that means that there will be one less piece of evidence, but it will be some time before that will show up in any of the textbooks or any of the museums or anywhere else. Stick that in the back of your notebook and the next time you go down to the Museum of Natural Science look around and see if they have Lucy in the family tree. Then go to the curator and say, "Why don't you keep up to date here?" 


I'm just a rabble-rouser. I did that back in high school. I went up to the University of Houston in about 1969 and they still had piltdown man in the display in the biology department at the University of Houston. They had all of the different skulls. It had been known since the early 1950's that piltdown man was a hoax. And yet the University of Houston Science Department promotes all of these frauds. This gives you a clue to the integrity of most of the evolutionists.  They wouldn't like me saying that but nevertheless that's true. 


Hebrews 2


Last time I had built an environment for us to appreciate what is going on in Hebrews 2:2. We had to stop right in the middle of that as we were building to a crescendo. We need to back up a little bit and get our traction going again before we hit the center part of this passage so that we can appreciate its particular impact. So let's review briefly. We are in Hebrews 2:2


NKJ Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.


NKJ Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,


Therefore. We see it is a conclusion from everything said in Hebrews 1:5 down to Hebrews 1:14 which focused on the superiority of the Lord Jesus Christ. What the writer has been saying is that in light of everything we have learned from Hebrews 1:5 down through the end of Hebrews 1, Jesus Christ is superior to the angels. He has been elevated over the angels. He sits at the right hand of God the Father. He is going to bring in the future a kingdom of righteousness. He is royalty related to the title Son of David. He is going to establish His kingdom on the earth. In light of all of these facts and because of these things he draws a conclusion. 


"We must give" means that it is not optional. That means it is mandatory. We must give a more earnest heed to the things. What things? That is the doctrine that has been taught not only up to this point in this epistle but everything taught since the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. 


Lest we slip our anchor and drift off course in the Christian Life. This is serious folks. The Christian life is serious. This is the most serious thing that you will be engaged in in this life. I don't know what comes second, but it is a distant second. There is nothing else more important in your life than your relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. If that is right, then it impacts everything else in your life. If that is wrong, it will mess up everything else in your life. 


The writer goes on. "For" indicates an explanation. He is going to explain the significance of verse 1. 


"If" is a first class condition. It assumes the reality of the protasis. That is the first part of the clause. 


We will briefly review some of the exegetical points we made last time. "If" is a first class condition. The protasis is assumed to be true. That means that the word, the message that was communicated by the angels.  That is a reference to the revelation of the Old Testament communication to Moses. How do we know that? We know that because there are passages from the Old Testament that talked about this message of divine revelation in the Old Testament and that angels were part of it.


NKJ Deuteronomy 33:2 And he said: "The LORD came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came with ten thousands of saints; From His right hand Came a fiery law for them.


Stephen in his final message before the Lord took him home referred to the angel who spoke to him on Mt. Sinai. It is probably the Lord Jesus Christ.


NKJ Acts 7:38 "This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us,


NKJ Acts 7:53 "who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it."


NKJ Galatians 3:19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.


It is clear from the Scripture that the angels were involved in the giving of revelation. There are a couple of different elements. You have the Lord Jesus Christ being the ultimate source of revelation. You have God the Holy Spirit as the one who is initiating the revelation. It is God the Holy Spirit who oversees the process and guarantees that the prophet or the apostle writes without error in an infallible manner. It is God the Holy Spirit who is moving the prophets along according to I Peter 1:20-21. 


Then you have angels who are witnessing the whole process because everything that God is doing with man in human history is related to the angelic conflict. So the angels are involved because they are standing as witnesses to God's procedures with man. It is like a huge courtroom and everything is involved in this legal scenario. This is why we will see in a few minutes when we get back into our flow of thought we will come to Deuteronomy 32 where Moses gave his parting speech to the Israelites just before he went to be with the Lord and they went into the land. When Moses gave his final speech he called upon heaven and earth to witness it.  When he says heaven, he isn't talking about the stars and the starry sky and the galaxies because they're not personal.  He is talking about the angels that inhabit the heavens. When he talks about the earth he isn't talking about the physical dirt, he is talking about the people who inhabit the earth. He is calling upon all creation and persons (angels and human beings) as witnesses. 


What is a witness? Witness is a legal term for a testator - someone who is giving legal evidence in a courtroom trial. So that is the role of the angels. We will see it not only in Deuteronomy 32 but also in a couple of other passages that we will go through in the Old Testament. The angels are present as courtroom witnesses.


NKJ Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,


 Here is the aorist middle indicative of ginomai indicating something that comes into existence.


Literal translation:  If the message communicated through angels came to be steadfast or established and every transgression. 


I pointed out last time that the word steadfast in the Greek is the word bebaios. That word shows up again in the next verse. The writer is clearly drawing connections here between what he says in verse 2 and what he will say in verse 3. 


The word for reward means recompense. 


Literal translation:  If the message spoken through the intermediate agency of angels became unalterable (and it did) and furthermore every violation and careless infraction received just recompense then in light of that how can we neglect salvation. 


If the infraction of the Mosaic Law or treating it lightly received the kind of penalties that the Jews received in the Old Testament, then in light of that how can we neglect the great salvation that we have today? That is his argument. 


Let's go back and see (this is where we finished last time) how God recompensed, repaid, and punished Israel when they treated the Law lightly. The trap we fall into as believers is to think that it is covered by grace and all we have to do is confess our sin.  We think that we can just move on and God will deal with us in grace. We deceive ourselves into thinking that divine discipline for the carnality in our lives is not going to be all that tough. We think we can handle it.  Well, let's see what happens with Israel.


Turn in your Bible to Leviticus 26. We ran through this last time but I want to go back and pick it up again and point out some things by way of review to make sure everybody here is on board.  Leviticus 26 spells out the blessings that God promises Israel for obedience to the Law and the cursing or the discipline that God promised them if they are disobedient to the Law. The blessings begin to be spelled out in verse 3. 


NKJ Leviticus 26:3 ' If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them,


It is not just learning them. It's not just having a statute notebook or a command notebook or a doctrinal notebook. It is learning them to the degree that it changes the way you live.  You perform them. You keep them. 


NKJ Leviticus 26:4 then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.


Isn't that great meteorology? Notice that in the real universe in which we live there is a direct cause-effect correlation between the physical universe and the spiritual realm so that human disobedience would affect what happened meteorologically in Israel. You cannot learn that in a science book. You can't learn that in any empirical studies or in a laboratory. It goes back to showing the limitations of human knowledge. It is the same principle that I pointed out when we studied the fall. When God created Adam and the woman and placed them in the garden there were a lot of things they could learn about the trees. They could talk about the different kinds of trees. They could talk about the different shapes of the leaves and the sizes of the trees. Some were tall and thin. Some were broad and bushy. Some produced big fruit. Some produced small fruit. There were all kinds of empirical data.  But there was one thing they couldn't learn. That was that if they ate from one particular tree they would die spiritually. The only way they could properly interpret the physical data was if they had an interpretive grid provided from direct divine revelation. The same thing is true of Israel. They were an agricultural society. They were farmers. God says specifically that if things are going well and things are productive and you have a good economy and your farms are producing then that is the result of obedience. But if you are disobedient the opposite will happen. There will be a drought. The crops will dry up.  You would not have productivity because He was disciplining them. There is a direct correlation between their economic prosperity and the lack of it. 


Now that was true for Israel. This is part of the Mosaic Law. This is important to understand. It is not true today. Why is it not true today? Because the Mosaic Law was a temporary covenant for Israel. This was not true for the Moabites. This was not true for the Assyrians.  This wasn't true for anybody living up in Western Europe. It was only true for Israel because this was a legal contract between God and the Jews.  Now there may be certain parallels that we can see in history because that is the way God built things in terms of the divine institutions. That's not what is happening here. This is talking about what God expects of His covenant people – the nation Israel. 


NKJ Leviticus 26:6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.


He promises rain and agricultural productivity. Then he goes on to explain that there will be peace. There would be no warfare.  He would eliminate predatory animals. The wild animals are going to be removed. There would be no military invasion. The sword would not go through their land. Is that true today? Not at all.  Just watch the news on any given day. Now you have the Jewish army, the IDF, against the settlers in Gaza. It is a terrible thing going on right now – giving up the land and retreating. It's not going to work. It is just going to give more opportunity to the terrorists. 


What people especially in this country and the West do not understand is the root issue that is going on in Israel. It is a spiritual issue. It is a war between the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the false god of Islam. The false god of Islam is ultimately Satan. Satan is out to destroy the Jew. I don't have time to go through and do a full analysis like I did about four years ago. If you are interested go back and listen to it in Daniel. I am convinced from my study of the Koran that Allah is just a pseudonym for Satan because Allah hates the Jews. So Allah cannot be confused with the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible called out the Jews. The God of the Jews loves Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their physical descendents. The Jews are the apple of His eye. So that can't be the same god that is known as Allah. Allah hates the Jews. It is clear from reading the Koran that at the end of time the servants of Allah are called upon to destroy and annihilate every Jew and every Christian. The Koran in fact says:


The rocks and the trees will cry out, "Here, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Over here, there is a Christian hiding behind me. Slay them."


This is the so-called peaceful religion of Islam. Don't buy the lie. This is nothing more than PR at its very worst. There are a number of excellent analyses. One of the best is done be Dr. Urgen Canter. Dr. Canter grew up and was raised a Muslim. He is now the provost of the seminary at Liberty University. He has a PhD in theology. He was converted to Christianity when he was 19 years of age.  His brother is also a believer and has his PhD in theology. They are seminary professors and speakers and have written a couple of books. It is important to understand these things in light of Biblical prophecy. 


NKJ Leviticus 26:6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.


NKJ Leviticus 26:11 I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.


Starting in verse 16 we have a description of the five stages of divine discipline. It starts with terror, health problems and disease.  Their enemies would profit from their work. 


NKJ Leviticus 26:16 I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.


NKJ Leviticus 26:17 I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.


We move into the second stage.


NKJ Leviticus 26:18 ' And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.


God is negative. He is not positive like all of the religious pastors who are into health and wealth and prosperity today. God is very negative toward sin.


NKJ Leviticus 26:19 I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.


NKJ Leviticus 26:20 And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.


There is drought and famine and economic recession.


Then in the third stage of discipline we have an interesting description. 


NKJ Leviticus 26:21 ' Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins.

NKJ Leviticus 26:22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate.


I pointed out last time that the real ironic thing is to watch what's happening in this country because the modern eco-pagans who are out there operating on an evolutionary viewpoint of reality and an evolutionary viewpoint of environmentalism. They want to reintroduce things like the red wolf up into Montana and black bear into Arkansas and Connecticut and other places like that. It has gotten worse than that.  You see that God says a mark of prosperity in a nation is that we remove these terrible animals so that there is peace in the land and people can farm without worrying about these predatory animals. 


This is according to an article that I downloaded today hot off the Internet. This is from the AP. 


"Lions stalking deer in the stubble of the Nebraska cornfield. Elephants trumpeting across Colorado's high plains. Cheetahs slouching through the west Texas scrub.  Prominent ecologists are floating an audacious plan that sounds like a Jumangi sequel." 


They want to transplant African wildlife to the great plains of North America. Don't you love it?  Somebody emailed that to me today and said that only someone with Bible doctrine could really appreciate the humor here. It is almost like a Saturday Night Live skit. The more people get immersed into paganism what do they do? They worship nature. It has been that way ever since the Tower of Babel and before. We have studied this again and again and again. There is a Biblical view of the right use of the environment and responsible care of God's creation. It is not the glorification of creation or the attempt by man to preserve creation. That is God's job. 


He makes it very clear in the Mosaic Law that He would, if Israel was obedient, remove these predatory animals from their environment. Obedience to God's Word does change your environment. It is going to change the ecosystem. It will to take these animals out of the way.  Some may become extinct because that is God's plan. There is nothing wrong with this. When you operate on an evolutionary model where you have deified and glorified creation and the creature and man, that means that it is man's responsibility to care for creation. Otherwise it will all fall apart and we will have global warming. 


Incidentally that is another fraud foisted on man today. We had a great presentation at the Conservative Theological Society meeting last month by Charlie Clough who is the chief meteorologist at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He was giving some fascinating facts and data about the analysis that is producing all of the global warming conclusions and everybody wanting to get on board with the Kyoto Agreement. The news media never mentions the fact that there is another protest cite out there where 18,000 scientists protest all of the conclusions related to global warming. They protest the conclusions that back up the Kyoto Accord. We never hear that side of it from anybody. He showed some graphs related to temperature changes. You find that the graph that global warming advocates present showing that there is a gradual warm up in terms of the average temperature in Manhattan since 1855. They put the graph on the overhead. It shows that the average temperature in Manhattan is 6 to 8 degrees higher that it was 150 years ago. They ask what the cause is and conclude it must be global warming. But if you go 40 miles north of Manhattan to West Point where there hasn't been urban sprawl where you don't have the concrete jungle that retains warmth and affects the temperature taken in the city, you find that the average temperature at West Point isn't flat. It has actually declined a minute amount. There are other places you go on the planet and you don't have any temperature change in the upper atmosphere. It is just another example of junk science that is based on evolutionary presuppositions. 


If your presupposition is false, your conclusions are going to be false. It doesn't matter how intricate your logic is. It doesn't matter how accurate your logic is. If your starting point is wrong, your conclusions will be wrong. So we are making all kinds of decisions that are devastating.  From the analysis that I have heard in the last couple of weeks related to the tiles on the orbiter, the reason that we didn't hear about tiles falling off or any of these other things is that up until 1998 they used a Freon based substance for gluing on the tiles. But the EPA outlawed Freon in 1998. NASA had to be environmentally friendly so they had to come up with another chemical base to make their tiles. It is not as stable as the Freon base. So once again man approaches science from an evolutionary viewpoint. It changes the way he draws conclusions and it becomes dangerous to human environment. This is why theology matters. Ideas matter. The Word of God matters. It makes a difference in the real world in which we live.


Stage 4 is described in verse 23 through 26. 


NAS Leviticus 26:23 'And if by these things you are not turned to Me, but act with hostility against Me, 24 then I will act with hostility against you; and I, even I, will strike you seven times for your sins. 25 'I will also bring upon you a sword which will execute vengeance for the covenant; and when you gather together into your cities, I will send pestilence among you, so that you shall be delivered into enemy hands. 26 'When I break your staff of bread, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will bring back your bread in rationed amounts, so that you will eat and not be satisfied.


Stage 5 is described in verses 27 through 39.


NKJ Leviticus 26:27 ' And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, 28 then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29 You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you. 31 I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas. 32 I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. 34 Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies' land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35 As long as it lies desolate it shall rest -- for the time it did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt in it. 36 ' And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a shaken leaf shall cause them to flee; they shall flee as though fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when no one pursues. 37 They shall stumble over one another, as it were before a sword, when no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. 39 And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; also in their fathers' iniquities, which are with them, they shall waste away.


That is the land that God promised Abraham.


There is the promise of ultimate restoration that is part of what we are seeing today when Israel is restored to the land. 

NKJ Leviticus 26:40 ' But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me,


The Mosaic Law laid the basis for Israel. This is the contract that God gives them. "Obey Me when you are in the land of prosperity. If you disobey Me the most horrible things will happen to you in history."


Now let's flip over to Deuteronomy 32. Now remember when God gave the Mosaic Law to Israel. According to Galatians and according to Acts 7 angels were part of the process. They were witnesses. Now we come to Deuteronomy 32 where Moses reiterates the Law and gives his final message to Israel. It is sort of a national anthem for Israel. It is predictive prophecy even though it was given in the past tense. It is what is called prophetic perfect. The future was so certain that it was spoken of as if it had already happened. 


NKJ Deuteronomy 32:1 "Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.


What is he doing? He is saying that this is a legal document and you are the courtroom witnesses to the veracity of how God is going to deal with Israel. In the first part of the chapter it spells out the blessings but then when we get down to verse 15 we start getting into the curses again – the discipline. It talks about how Israel known as Jeshurun in this passage grew arrogant. They grew fat and they kicked. They were arrogant. They rejected God. 


NKJ Deuteronomy 32:17 They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear.


Idol worship is not just the worship of wood and stone. There are demons that are behind those false religions. It goes on to outline their problems.


In verse 20 He specifies the judgment. 


NKJ Deuteronomy 32:20 And He said: 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, Children in whom is no faith.


When did God hide His face from Israel?  He has been hiding it for the last 2,000 years as they went through persecution after persecution. They were driven out of England. They were driven out of Spain. They were driven into the ghettos of Eastern Europe and rounded up by the Nazis and taken into the prisoner of war camps. As they cried out to God from Auschwitz and Dachau and the other prison camps and torture chambers, God hid His face from Israel. That is exactly what He promised. God is true to His word. 


NKJ Deuteronomy 32:21 They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.


That is Romans 11. 


NAS Romans 11:24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?


God calls out gentiles into the body of Jesus Christ today. Eventually it is going to cause the Jews in jealousy to turn back to Jesus Christ. There is this recognition of horrible punishment that God brings upon Israel. That's why we are warned in Hebrews 2:2-3.


Now turn to Joshua 23. This is Joshua's parting statement to the Jews. Now most of the conquest generation has died so he is addressing their children. This is his farewell address. He reiterates these same warnings. 


NKJ Joshua 23:11 "Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the LORD your God.


Remember that I pointed out many times lately that the theme of Deuteronomy is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to keep His Word. How do you know if you love God? You know you love God because you are obedient to His word. It is the same thing that Jesus said. "If you love me keep My commandments." John says the same thing.


NKJ John 14:15 " If you love Me, keep My commandments.


It's not if you love Me, you will feel good, feel fuzzy inside or have an emotional uplift. You'll sing great little praise choruses and everybody will hug each other. It doesn't say that. To keep His commandments you have to know His commandments. To know His commandments you have to study His commandments. To study His commandments you have to sit in the pew and listen to somebody who is trained in the original languages of the Word of God and who teaches in Biblical exposition, not just give you little homilies about how to live your life. The Word changes the way you think about everything in life from politics and law to education, to physics, to geometry, to biology, to zoology, to business ethics. Everything is changed. The Word of God is not just a little story about how to get saved. It's primarily about how saved people live in this world to fulfill the original dominion mandate that God gave Adam. That is to exercise dominion over the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and the beasts of the field and to bring into control under God's Word everything on the earth.


Joshua 23 tells us to love God or else. 


NKJ Joshua 23:12 "Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations -- these that remain among you -- and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you,


They hadn't killed all of the Canaanites. There were still a few left. They disobeyed God. They didn't annihilate every man, woman, and child. They acted like a bunch of modern liberals and said, "We can't kill them all. This is a sweet little baby. He's innocent." 


God said, "No, he is not innocent. He needs to be killed. The whole line needs to be blotted out."  When you operate on human viewpoint you don't understand the horrible nature of sin. So you live in self-deception. God said to take every one of them out. Annihilate everyone of them.. 


Never marry an unbeliever. If you are single, never date an unbeliever. You never know where your emotions are going to take you. Don't even become close friends with an unbeliever. Their pagan views, opinions, and ideas will influence you. I hate to say this but it is even true of believers who do not operate on the Word of God. They can be as dangerous to your life through their human viewpoint paganism as an unbeliever. You think that they are a believer so it doesn't really matter. They are saved. Yeah, but their soul is loaded with garbage and you let them influence you because you have let the camel's nose under the tent as it were. 


So Joshua warned them not to marry them. 

NKJ Joshua 23:13 "know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the LORD your God has given you.


That is what happened in the book of Judges. At the beginning of the book of Judges they were spiritually mature and successful. At they end of the book they are led by a womanizer named Samson who can't get anything right. He was only concerned about fulfilling his own physical appetites. The Jews were living in a culture that was visibly no different from the Canaanites that they were supposed to annihilate. They had become completely paganized in those years. 


There is this warning that you dare not disobey God or there are horrible consequences. 


Now let's jump ahead a few centuries to Isaiah. Now remember that Isaiah was a prophet. The role of prophet was to act as a legal prosecutor for God, standing in God's place arguing the case of the Law. "This is what the Law says. You violated the Law. God said these are the legal consequences. I am announcing them to you." That was the role of the prophet. As part of that he foretold events but the role of the prophet was not primarily as a predictor of future event. He was one who announced consequences for disobedience to the Mosaic Law. That was his primary role. That is why often these are often given in a riv format. Riv is a Hebrew term for a lawsuit. That is how they were presented. It is a technical legal document. 


NKJ Isaiah 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: "I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me;


Where have you heard that before? You heard that in Deuteronomy 32. Do you think maybe there is a connection? Could be! You see he is making this specific connection right up front that what he is doing is merely an extension of what Moses said in Deuteronomy 32.


NKJ Isaiah 1:3 The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master's crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider."


Right away we know that Israel is getting ready to have God's legal case brought against them.


NKJ Isaiah 1:4 Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward.


Yahweh is the name specifically associated with the covenant God made with them. 



NKJ Isaiah 1:5 Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints.


NKJ Isaiah 1:6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment.


NKJ Isaiah 1:7 Your country is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour your land in your presence; And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.


What does that remind you of? That is going back to the third and fourth cycles of discipline.  You see that everything that is said here is merely the extrapolation of those stages of discipline.  Isaiah is reminding the nation of what's going to happen. 


Then we skip over a couple of chapters to Isaiah 3.


NKJ Isaiah 3:1 For behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, Takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah The stock and the store, The whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water;


What is going on here? The fourth stage of discipline - economic collapse and economic catastrophe. 


He takes away the leaders of the land in verses 2 and 3. 


NKJ Isaiah 3:2 The mighty man and the man of war, The judge and the prophet, And the diviner and the elder;


NKJ Isaiah 3:3 The captain of fifty and the honorable man, The counselor and the skillful artisan, And the expert enchanter.


NKJ Isaiah 3:4 "I will give children to be their princes, And babes shall rule over them.


God gives nations the leaders they deserve so that when a nation goes into rebellion against Bible doctrine (and this nation is in rebellion against the Word of God). They have the political leaders that they deserve. They have no sense of freedom and no understanding of liberty and no understanding of absolutes. They have no understanding how to properly interpret the Constitution and no understanding of what is involved in war against terrorism and no understanding of how to unify a country in such a war because they are divorced from reality.  That's what happened in Israel and that's why God is announcing judgment in Isaiah 3. 


Then we see another installment of this in chapter 29. There is a woe to Jerusalem. 


NKJ Isaiah 29:1 "Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! Add year to year; Let feasts come around.

Ariel is another name for Jerusalem. It means lion of God. 


NKJ Isaiah 29:2 Yet I will distress Ariel; There shall be heaviness and sorrow, And it shall be to Me as Ariel.


God is saying that He is the source of all of the suffering that is going on right now. He is the source of the suffering that the Jews went through in the holocaust. Why? It is divine discipline on the nation for their disobedience to Him. 


Now have I built my case? Let's go to Hebrews 2. When we get to Hebrews 2 we read what almost appears to be an innocuous little statement. 


NKJ Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,

How did it become established? Through the constant application of it by the Lord Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate stated as the Lord of the Armies in the Old Testament.


NKJ Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,


Let's drive the point home. If God lowered the boom on Israel like this, if He picked up a 2 x 4 and hit them again and again and again with it in some of the most horrible suffering, anguish and misery that any group of people have ever experienced in history, He did it for a reason. He did it because He loved the nation. He did it because they violated His standards. If God did that to Israel in the Old Testament and we have a greater Lord than they had in the Old Testament and if we have a greater revelation than they had in the Old Testament and is the church is greater than Israel in the Old Testament, do you think that we are going to escape? Not at all. God expects more of us because more has been given. That is the thrust of what the writers of Hebrews is saying at this particular junction. It is a dire warning to the readers not to give up. He is saying that in light of everything that Christ is, in the light of everything Christ has done and is currently doing for you as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to pay the closest attention possible to everything we have been taught lest we drift off course and reap incredible penalties and discipline in the same way that the Jews reaped those penalties in the Old Testament. 


At the first of what? At the first of the incarnation, at the first of His ministry. That is from the time that He was inaugurated in His ministry at the Jordan River through His baptism by John the Baptist. 


The message of the Lord was confirmed. There is that same word again that we had back in verse 2 that was translated steadfast. 


The message was confirmed to whom? To us, the second generation Christians. This is not the generation that Jesus taught. It is not those who were eyewitnesses to His ministry. 


There is embedded in this statement a subtle and clear statement of recognition that here that revelation was coming to a closure. It is confirmed by those who already heard. The past tenses here are very important. 


Let's pay attention to what the verse is saying. How shall we flee? How shall we get out from under this divine discipline? The verb here is ekpheugo from the compound verb of pheugo meaning to flee plus the preposition ek meaning out from. It's a future middle indicative. The middle voice is a dynamic middle for intensity. 


The "we" indicates we as believers. It includes both the writer and his readers. That means he treats them as if they are believers. He is assuming they are believers. He is not treating them as unbelievers. That's crucial for understanding Hebrews. Hebrews is not a book to unbelievers giving them warnings that they might not be saved. It is a book to believers warning that they have been given so much and should not treat it lightly or God is going to bring serious consequences into your life both in time and in eternity.


There is divine discipline. This is expanded on later in Hebrews 12. 


NKJ Hebrews 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;


It's a clear statement that when we are disobedient God, because He is a father and because He loves us, will scourge us like somebody being whipped with a cat of 9 tails. You will be chastened by the Lord. Don't be discouraged though when you go through that divine discipline. 


NKJ Hebrews 12:6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."


It is a sign of your legitimacy. If you go through that divine discipline because of disobedience it indicates that you are a legitimate member of the family of God and you have been disobedient and God is training you through punitive discipline. 


NKJ Hebrews 12:7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?


NKJ Hebrews 12:8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.


You are an illegitimate son, a bastard in the spiritual life and you are not really saved if you aren't being disciplined for your disobedience. 


NKJ Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?


NKJ Hebrews 12:10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.


That is our human fathers. When we were disobedient they spanked us. Sometimes when they got serious they took out a belt and spanked us. Sometimes they had a homemade switch or they had a paddle. My grandmother was a schoolteacher down in Jones Elementary. I went to visit her one time. She was a sweet white haired little old lady. She had a paddle. It was about 8 inches square with ½ inch holes bored in it. Those Mexican kids would smart mouth her and she would take them in back of the blackboard. In those days you could do that. They wouldn't sass her anymore.  I didn't think about sassing her after I saw her do that once. But that was back when parents could discipline children and teachers could discipline children because the culture understood the principle of authority and that the role of parents and teachers is to train children so that they can function as adults.


A similar word is used in II Timothy 3:16-17.


NKJ 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,


The Greek word there is paideuo. It has to do with instilling and training and discipline in a child.  There are really two aspects to discipline. There is a training discipline and a punitive discipline.  The training discipline is when the Lord takes us through various tests to give us opportunities to apply the doctrine we've learned. We are able to take the things we have learned in the classroom of the local church and put them into practice in our life. It is little application. If the local church isn't a classroom and you don't learn anything, then you end up failing the tests. Life gets pretty miserable as a believer. Now you are into punitive discipline. Punitive discipline comes in three wrappers.


  1. Warning discipline as seen in Rev 3:20. This isn't a knock for salvation despite what some of you may have been told. It is addressed to believers. The verse before that says that God loves them. The verb there in the Greek is phileo. God doesn't have phileo love for unbelievers. In the Scripture only believers are the object of His phileo love because phileo speaks of an intimate love. It talks about a familial kind of love. It is not the same as agape. The people addressed there are believers but they're out of fellowship. So there is warning discipline. God is knocking to be let back into the church and be part of their spiritual life and to have fellowship with them. 
  2. Intensified discipline is indicated in Hebrews 12:6. If you are out of fellowship God is going to discipline you with a scourge like a father will discipline a son. 
  3. Dying discipline or the sin unto death. If you stay out of fellowship long enough and are carnal long enough God takes you out of the ball game. I John 5:16


NKJ Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,


What does that word neglect mean? It is the Greek word ameleo. It is the aorist active participle that indicates that the action of the verb precedes the action of the main verb. It is a future tense.  Preceding the need to escape is the action of neglect. First comes the neglect, and then comes the need to escape discipline. The aorist active participle of ameleo means to overlook to neglect, to treat something lightly or carelessly. You wake up in the morning and think that you could sleep another hour or two. Maybe I just won't listen to that tape today. Or maybe you don't show up in Bible class. Maybe you think you are too tired after work to go one night. That eats us up after awhile. We treat the Word carelessly. We don't take it seriously. We don't realize that this is the most important thing in our lives. 


Then we come to the word salvation. This isn't talking about justification salvation. This is talking about glorification salvation. It is where we are headed. We are in training right now. We are in discipline. We are in training like the soldier in boot camp preparing for a future role, a future responsibility. To understand the meaning of this word we have to go back to the last verse of chapter 1. Remember that there are no chapter divisions or verse divisions in the original text. 


NKJ Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?


The concept of soteria in 1:14 is in relation to the previous quote in verse 13 which is a quote from Psalm 110:1 which is talking about the time that the Lord Jesus Christ returns at the end of the tribulation when God makes His enemies His footstool. He establishes the kingdom. So the context for soteria is not here today. The context for soteria is in the future at the end of the tribulation period at the time Jesus Christ returns to the earth to establish the Messianic, Davidic, 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom. So the concept of soteria in 2:3 and 1:14 is formed by that whole string of quotations given in chapter 1. You can't go in and say, "How is soteria used in the rest of the New Testament?" That doesn't tell you anything. It is how it is used here in relation to these passages. That indicates from the Old Testament passage that salvation had that future Messianic reign in mind. In the Old Testament the concept of salvation to the Jews is always in terms of their deliverance from their enemies and their enjoyment of those blessings that God promised them in the land. Therefore the meaning of salvation in Hebrews 1:14 and 2:3 is related to the total deliverance from the enemies of God and the kingdom rule as defined by the six Old Testament quotes in the first chapter. So the salvation that we are talking about in verse 3 has to do with what happens in the future – that full realization of all of our blessing in training for ruling and reigning with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom. The idea is that if we aren't focused on that personal sense of eternal destiny then we are going to make mistakes today and God is going to discipline us just as severely as He did the Jews in the Old Testament because we are treating contemptuously or lightly or carelessly what God is doing in terms of our future destiny and training us for that. 


This was initially spoken of by the Lord and confirmed to us by those who heard Him. Those who heard Him refer to the disciples or those who were eyewitnesses to His ministry.  .


NKJ Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?


This is a very important passage right here. The word there is sunepimartureo. You can tell that the root is martureo. It is the Greek word from which we get the word martyr. It means a witness.  It has to do with giving legal testimony. It has to do with witnessing at the same time as something. 


This is a very important concept. Sunepimartureo is a present active participle. This is why grammar is important. A present participle means that the action of the participle is contemporaneous with the action of the main verb. The main verb in the previous sentence is that which was confirmed to us. It is a past tense. It is an aorist tense. It goes back to being spoken.  That means that the action of sunepimartureo is contemporaneous with a past action that is completed. What that says is that God even by the time of Hebrews 2 (probably about 65-66 AD) is no longer bearing witness to His Word in the same way He did at the beginning of the church. It was through miracles. It was through signs and wonders. Those were restricted to the early stages of the Church Age because they did not have a completed canon. The apostles were there and it was authenticating their ministry. This is why you have the phrase in II Corinthians 12:12. 


NKJ 2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.


That is the word miracles. To be an apostle you had to be an eyewitness to the resurrection and you had to be directly commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ. There are religious hucksters today that claim to have the gift of apostle but none of them are old enough to have witnessed the resurrection or to have been commissioned directly by the Lord Jesus Christ. So no one today is legitimately giving signs of miracles because it violates the plan and purpose God had for those miracles. There is a movement today called the Signs and Wonders Movement that came out of Southern California in the 70's and blossomed in the 80's. The fruit turned rotten in the 90's.  Today it is putrefying in all kinds of places. It gave rise to the Pensacola Revival and the Toronto Blessing where people thought they were close to God because they ran around the church barking and yelping like dogs and laughing like hyenas. This is just height of blasphemy and is dishonoring to God. But there are a lot of people today who do not learn the Bible. They have this silly emotionalism and think that it's Christianity. 


NKJ Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,


The apostles and prophets were the foundation, not the building. You only lay the foundation once and that was laid in the first century. The church is built on top of that so that it is not necessary to repeat them from one generation to the next. Once is enough just like the miracles of Jesus don't have to be repeated in every subsequent generation. They were reported by eyewitnesses that give a recorded statement in the Word of God and that is good enough for all eternity. God doesn't need to send a messiah every generation. He doesn't need to send a messiah with confirming signs and wonders in every decade or in every century. Once is enough. So God bore witness to His revelation. That's what you see in this passage. These things were spoken by the Lord and God bore witness. Then there were miracles. The purpose of miracles was to confirm revelation. When revelation ceased with the closing of the canon it was no longer necessary for these miracles to continue. Since their purpose ceased, God ceased miracles. It isn't putting God in a box. This is accepting God's word for what it is. He said that He would operate in different ways at different times. 


What's the conclusion here? The conclusion is that this is the first warning. It is a serious warning. It gets worse. The believers that are being addressed in this epistle are in danger of not just falling away in their Christian life and suffering some temporal discipline but losing the ability to rule and reign as companions with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Millennial Kingdom and into eternity. This is so serious that the writer of Hebrews is giving them a strong reprimand in these warnings. You must not fall away. You must treat the Scripture seriously. Don't treat the word in a casual manner because this matters not only for today but for all eternity.


We will come back next time and start with verse 5.