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Hebrews 10:32-39 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:57 mins 55 secs

Hebrews Lesson 173  September 17, 2009

NKJ Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

 

NKJ Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

 

Open your Bibles to Hebrews 10. Now last time we started roughly back around 26 with some review. We got down past verse 32 into the latter section, but we had a little glitch in a number of little things last week (technologically) which meant that I came down here at 6 o'clock for something expecting the printers to work and to print my notes, and none of the printers worked. So we were going from memory. That's not always a good thing. So we're going to pick up some loose ends at the end of the chapter tonight in order to make sure I've got some things clarified plus go into a little more detail in a couple of the passengers because the questions that were raised last week. So we're going to start primarily in verse 32 where we have a shift in tone. 

 

Let's sort of review a minute – 26 and 27 give us the warning. This is an exhortation passage. Exhortation is a word that means to challenge, to encourage somebody to a course of action. Each of these sections that we've gone through has a teaching section and then an application section in other words.  Verses 19 to 39 are the application or challenge section; 19-25 lay the basis in terms of what we have in Christ; 26 and 27 are really the warning itself that if we sin willfully after we've received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin. 

 

I pointed out the way that's translated it sounds like a negative; but it's positive that even though if we sin willfully there's still a sacrifice for sin because the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross ended all problems with sin. But there's still a problem. You don't just to get away Scot free.

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

 

...deals with the fact that there is judgment even for believers in terms of the Bema Seat, the Judgment Seat of Christ where believers will be evaluated on the basis of how they've lived their spiritual life. That which is produced by the sin nature is wood, hay and straw. That which is produced by God the Holy Spirit will be gold, silver and precious stones. Only that which is produced during our walk by the Spirit has eternal value; only that survives the evaluation judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ. Only that is the basis for rewards on into the Millennial Kingdom and into eternity.

 

There is a very sober reminder in verses 28 to 31 that there is accountability in Scripture for all believers. He goes back to the Mosaic Law and says even under the Mosaic Law which was a lesser covenant there is a serious punishment for those who were disobedient; and how much more severe the punishment will be for those who are living their spiritual life based on a superior covenant which the New Covenant is. Then that point from 28 to 31 focusing on judgment ends with a statement: "it's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God". 

 

We have to take this seriously. Grace doesn't mean there's no responsibility; grace doesn't mean there's no accountability; grace doesn't mean that there's no future negative evaluation on believers for failure in their life. There is at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and there's a risk of losing out on the great potential that we have in the spiritual life.

So the tone shifts from 31 to 32. Then 32, it's no longer negative; it's the positive. The writer is saying," But remember how you were in the former days. Remember when you were first saved." He's addressing these believers about how they went through all manner of adversity and suffering and hardship. He reminds them of the details of that suffering and that hardship, and he wants them to recall how they're focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and they're focused on the Word of God and on God's provision for them. Their relationship with God got them through those difficult times.

 

We all go through hard times. Sometimes we go through difficult times in adversity because we're just living in the devil's world. And because we're living in the devils' world if you're a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ whether you're walking by the Spirit or not if you're in rank carnality, apostasy thumbing your nose at God, the Holy Spirit still lives inside of you and so He's going to be working to bring you back. That's called divine discipline. You still are a child of God whether you want to admit it or not. Therefore the devil's got a target on your backside. 

 

So you basically have one or two options. You can continue to resist God and then have to deal with all the problems of living in the devil's world on their own resources and still being a target of Satan and also being the object of divide discipline from the Holy Spirit. Or you can get right with God so that all of the things that we go through in life and the hardships, the suffering everything else can have a positive long-term spiritual benefit in our lives. 

 

So in verse 32, the writer of Hebrews says:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:

 

 ..the earlier days when. 

 

Now we don't know how far back this was. This could have gone all the way back to the period right after the ascension of Christ in the early church.  Remember after the ascension there are about ten days ago that go by and then you have the day of Pentecost. God the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost and what happened? Peter preached and five thousand got saved. The next day four thousand got saved. So during the next two or three years from approximately 33 to 37 AD, there were thousands of Jews in Judea and in Galilee that came to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, and that included a large number of Levitical priests.

We don't know for sure, but all of the indications in Hebrews are that those to whom this is written were former priests. The writer goes into  all of the details related to the Mosaic sacrifices, the Levitical offerings, all of the ritual of the Temple as if his readers fully comprehend the significance of all of these things. That would be true of priests. So the assumption is that that the original recipients were Jewish priests who have gone through a tremendous amount of suffering and loss in their lives because as they took their stand for Jesus and as the decades went by through the 40's, 50's and now the early part of the 60's there's been more and more of a hostility from the Jewish establishment (the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees and the Sadducees) towards these Christians, those who believed that Jesus is the Messiah.

As that hostility has increased there has been the experience of more and more of a persecution. Those who were originally priests and saved probably stayed within that role and within that function for a while; but it would not be long before they began to realize as they were taught and as the New Testament revelation was given realizing Jesus is the fulfillment of the Levitical sacrifices and they begin to leave and/or were kicked out, or removed from their function.

Now if you go to Jerusalem to an area just west of the Wailing Wall, which is the western retaining wall on the Temple Mount, there is an area called – an area where you go down in a building where they excavated after the '67 War when the Jews retook Jerusalem. Everything in the Jewish Quarter was destroyed by the Arabs after the War of Independence. So they used that opportunity to dig down below the foundations of all these houses. They found what they called the Herodian Quarter and it was they believe the residents of the priests so that they were just to the west of the Temple Mount. There were a couple of bridges (walkways) where they could just walk out of their houses and walk across these walkways into the Temple Mount. Well, they would have been of removed from their living quarters; and I think all of that's part the background here. 

 

So the writer is saying,

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated,

 

Now that's an important word in an important phrase because it indicates their salvation. It's the Greek word photizo, the basic root is phos for light. It's where we get our word for photograph and other words related to that, like illumination. It's the same word that's used in Hebrews 6:4 where we read:

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,

 

It's a clear word for salvation, those who have come to understand the truth of the gospel.

 

and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,

 

We saw when we went through that study that the word translated tasted there isn't the word just of sampling something, like when you're going to the grocery store and you have all the different people out there on Saturdays giving you a little taste of this and a little taste of that, and give you a sample to see what it tastes like and hopefully they'll sell it to you. It's not that. It's a word that means to completely take something in and to fully experience something. It's the same word used when Hebrews 2 states that Jesus Christ tasted death for all of us. It's to fully experience something, not just to get a little light experience. So it has the idea and communicates that these were completely and fully saved.

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:

 

The word there for suffering is the Greek word pathema which comes from the verb pascho. That's the root, which is where we get the word "passion" meaning suffering, that word that's used for the Passion of Christ comes from the word pascho meaning to suffer. So the passion of Christ doesn't have to do with emotion; it has to do with suffering. This is just a general term for their suffering.

 

In verse 33 we read:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;

 

Now the word reproach is a word that sort of loses its impact today. These are people who are ridiculed and insulted and verbally assaulted because they're Christians. People made fun of them. They called them names. They yelled at them, all kinds of things. But it deals with the verbal assault that came because they were Christians. They were being rejected by their peers, by their family and their friends because they believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

 

Then the second word, "tribulations" has to do with the suffering that comes as a result of affliction. So we could translate it adversity. So partly while you were made a spectacle, i.e. a visual. Everybody saw this. It's out in public. It's the Greek word theatrizo where we get our word theater. It has do with…

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;

 

So it shows that they stood together. Those who weren't being treated that way came alongside and helped and encouraged those who were being treated that way.

 

They didn't just say, "Well if I identify with you, if I come over your house; they're going to start doing this to me."

 

They hung together as a group. 

 

Now a better way of translating it (because I just think that's a little awkward in the English, especially in the New King James Version - I've given you a sort of expanded amplified translation here):

 

On the one hand, through both verbal insults and ridicule as well as physical affliction, you were made a public spectacle. But on the other hand, by becoming sharers with those who lived through this.

 

So they participate. They encouraged them. They hung together as a group. So this has gone on probably for a couple of decades as the adversity increased. 

 

Then we come to verse 34. Now verse 34, if you're using a New American Standard, NIV, NEV or one of the other translations other than the King James or the New King James you have something a little different. I didn't catch this last time. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.

 

Now that's one reading.  The New King James I think says:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:34 for you had compassion on me in my chains,

 

And the New American Standard says:

 

NAS Hebrews 10:34 For you ashowed sympathy to the prisoners,

 

Well, that's totally different. One is the writer saying, "You had compassion on me," indicating that he knew them and that they treated him even though he was in prison. The other is you have compassion on the prisoners. Now the bottom line on this in terms of application shows that their compassion for those who weren't going through suffering for those who were going through suffering. 

 

But there is a variation in the text. But the majority of manuscripts (not just the Majority Text but a number of even be the older manuscripts with one exception) all have the word here indicating chains or the prisoner. There is just a difference between a desmos and desmios. So there's just the introduction of the Greek letter for i, the iota. 

 

Then there's always that famous statement by Edward Gibbon that it doesn't make an iota's (We traditionally mispronounce lie a long i) worth of difference. 

 

But it does, because one talks about prisoner and the introduction of the iota into the middle of the word means being in chains, also the addition of the personal pronoun. That is in the majority of manuscripts so I think that's a superior reading: "that you have compassion on me in my chains". Even when he was going through imprisonment and there were many who were thrown in jail because of their stand for the gospel. This was true even of the Apostle Paul.

 

A good chapter for you go to…just hold your place here in Hebrews 11 and turn back with me to 2 Corinthians and we will look at 2 Corinthians 11. Let's go first to 2 Corinthians 6. 2 Corinthians 6, Paul is responding to this assault from various people that he really wasn't qualified to be an apostle. These Judiazers, troublemakers, were coming in and questioning his credentials. So he begins to in chapter 6 began to give some of his credentials.

 

In verse 4 he says:

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 6:4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,

 

Now I want to stop and I want you to think about this because everyone of us goes through tough times whether it has to do with health problems, whether it has to do with financial situations or a job or just the personnel that we have to deal with at work that are just as arrogant or as unpleasant as they can be, or whether we're having to deal with our own family members who are as arrogant and unpleasant as they may be, or whatever the circumstance may be. We all go through times. There are times we get down. There are times we are tempted to say, "Woe is me" and groan about the things we are going through. It's really good when you're really feeling down and rejected and that things are tough is to stop and read through these two chapters with the Apostle Paul. It sort of makes you realize you're not alone and it's not that bad. No matter what you've gone through it's: "trust me; it's not that bad".

 

Paul says:

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 6:4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations,

 

 That's physical affliction.

 

in needs, in distresses,

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 6:5 in stripes,

 

That means taking the Roman flagellum which was like a cat of nine tails where the end of the whip had these strips of leather into which they wove pieces of metal and stone and bone and whatever they could find that would rip the flesh off of you and be whipped. So "in stripes" means you're not wearing stripes like a prison garment; but you're being whipped. 

 

in imprisonments,

 

So Paul talks about many times he was thrown in prison.

 

in tumults,

 

In the middle of a riot, there's a riot that occurred in Ephesus because of their preaching of the gospel.

in labors,

 

It's hard work being in the ministry. Some people don't know that; some pastors don't know that. Some missionaries don't know that. That's really sad, but if you're really doing what you should be doing it's tough being a pastor. 

 

One of my favorite books that I read years ago when I was in seminary because you need to understand this if you're going to be a pastor was a book that was all about Sarah Edwards the wife of Jonathan Edwards. The title says it all, Marriage to a Difficult Man. It ought to be required reading for every pastor's wife because it's not easy being married to the guy who's going through the whippings and the imprisonments and the tumults and the labors and fastings. 

 

in sleeplessness, in fastings;

 

…times where Paul's traveling and there's no food camping out on the side of the Appian Way or somewhere else. There's no food. 

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 6:7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

 

He goes on and describes the various things that he's gone through.

 

Then in verse 8 he says: 

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 6:8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report

 

That's being slandered.

 

and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 6:9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed;

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 6:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

 

So that's sort of a summary overview.

 

Then if you turn over a couple of chapters to 2 Corinthians 11, he goes into the little more detail beginning in verse 23. Again he's responding to the attack that he's not a qualified apostle. 

 

In verse 23 he says:

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? -- I speak as a fool

 

He's just being rhetorical there. He says:

 

I am more: in labors more abundant,

 

So he's done more; he's worked harder than any of the others. He's traveled more.

 

in stripes above measure,

 

Those are the same stripes: the beatings, the whippings. 

 

in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

 

That doesn't look good on your pastoral resume if you're applying for a church. 

 

"What have you been doing the last ten years?"

 

"Well, I've been in and out of prison a few times. I've been accused, found guilty and they've beaten me and whipped me."

 

"Okay, let's move on to the next candidate."

 

in prisons more frequently, in deaths often

 

That means in risk of his life frequently.

 

Verse 24 he says:

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 11:24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.

 

See according to the Pharisaical tradition according to the Law you couldn't give more than forty of lashes with a whip. So they would only give 39 to make sure they didn't miscount. They didn't want to make a mistake and give one too many.

 

So from the Jews, five times he received thirty-nine lashes. That was an incredibly painful.

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 11:25 Three times

 

I was beaten with rods;

 

This is where you take out long hard rods and sticks, beaten with those. 

 

once I was stoned;

 

…and left for dead. That was in Damascus.

 

three times I was shipwrecked;

 

Now we really know of one in the book of Acts, but there were obviously two other times when he is shipwrecked. 

 

a night and a day I have been in the deep;

 

In other words, just drifting on the water not knowing what would happen.

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 11:26 in journeys often, in perils of waters,

 

That would be the idea of floods camped outside on the road somewhere in Greece. You have all these mountains around you and flash floods.

 

in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 11:27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness --

 

So all of this is what he went through, what the Apostle Paul went through and the others went through as well. 

 

Go back to Hebrews 10. As these former priests were going through all of this, they are reminded that the one who is writing this to them has gone through it as well.  He has gone through the same sufferings that they're going through. He has been imprisoned and they visited him and took care of him when he was imprisoned.

 

Then the next phrase says that they joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.

 

Now this raised a number of questions for different people, which is good. I was like people who are thinking about what the text says. One of the questions, all the questions seem to relate – well, how does this relate to the believers' orientation to the authority of government if they're trying to confiscate property?  Don't we have the right to defend property? Only people in Texas would ask that. You've got a realize that. Texans still have that sense of the importance of private property and the Word of God clearly defends the private ownership of property. From Genesis to Revelation there's no basis for communal ownership of property in terms of government. 

 

Now if in the early church where people sold what they owned and they gave it up and gave it to the church; that was voluntary. That was neither mandated by Scripture nor imposed by government. It was a freewill decision and everybody had the right to share whatever they want, to share with whomever they have the right to share it, because they're the ones who own the property. 

 

But here we have the phrase "plundering of goods". There are several things that we ought to say about this to try to address some of the questions that I was asked during the week and asked after class last week. First of all, the word that's translated plundering there is a noun. It's translated like a participle; but it's a noun. The stealing, the theft of goods is the word harpage, which as a noun means robbery, plunder, greediness in the passage; it is translated other ways in the Scripture. It is a cognate of the verb harpazo, which means to steal or to snatch or take away. Harpazo is the verb that's used in 1 Thessalonians 4 for believers being caught up to be with the Lord in the air. That's why I think Hal Lindsey called it the great snatch in Late Great Planet Earth. That's the meaning of harpadzo. It was translated by a Latin word rapto, which is where we get our word rapture. So when people tell you the word rapture is not in the Bible; it's in the Latin Bible. It's the Latin translation of this Greek word. So that's the idea is to steal something, to take it away. You can only plunder something if people have a right to ownership. This is a negative concept. It has to do with somebody's taking that which is not theirs in which they have which they have absolutely no right to. 

 

Now we really don't know what the circumstances were that brought about this plundering. We don't know if this was done through an action of the civil authorities sanctioned by the Romans or instigated by the Romans. We don't know if this was sanctioned by the religious authority (the Sanhedrin). I think that's more likely explanation, but we really don't know. We don't know if this was just the result of the mob action where there was a riot or something of that nature in Jerusalem. There was the intensity of emotion and the Christians were blamed and so they tore up their houses and stole what they owned. 

 

I think the most likely scenario is that this was a direct result of their belief in Christ. It's not just a general action of being the victims of thieves, being the victims of some sort of government action; but it's specifically directed to them as Christians so it's directly related to their faith in Christ and therefore their witness.

 

One question that several people thought of: what's the implication of this for the believers' response today? If something similar were to happen today whether it is an official government action or whether it is some other kind of action, what is the believer to do? Does the believer have a right to protect on his own property? Does the believer have a right to use violence in the protection of his property? If it is an illegal government action, does the believer have a right to protect his property? What about circumstances in Nazi Germany when you had believers who were singled out because they did certain things?  Maybe they were supporting Jews or hiding Jews and they would lose everything and be arrested. Do you have the right to protect yourself even to the point of using violence in order to protect your own private property? 

 

As we think through this I think we have to be very careful in how we understand this passage. The passages itself is not focusing on the circumstances that gave rise to the loss of property; it's focusing on the believers' mental attitude after he had lost the property. The mental attitude is one of joy. He wasn't griping, complaining, bearing a grudge. The believer recognizes that our material possessions are just that. They're here today for us to enjoy they may be gone tomorrow; but we're not going to be emotionally attached to our things. I know it's hard for some of you, but we're not going to be emotionally attached to our things to where the loss of them wipes out our mental attitude of joy as believers. We need to be focused on the Lord and recognize that there's something greater coming. The issue that happens when we lose whatever does we lose we need to realize that God's still in control and there's a reason for it.  So when we have that loss we need to focus on the lesson that God has for us, and how we can respond in a way that honors and glorifies Him. 

 

Now the second thing (having said that), there are some lessons I think we can learn from this. First of all, we have to recognize that down through the ages from the early stages of Christianity in the late 30's all the way up to the present, Christians have been persecuted by mobs, by totalitarian governments, and by religious powers. It started with the Sanhedrin in the early church. The Apostle Paul was one example. Before he was saved when he was Saul of Tarsus he was out dragging Christians out of their homes and throwing them in prison and in some cases they were being stoned to death. Persecution began very early. Perhaps we can learn some things up from those examples.

 

Today such things happen in many places around the globe. In Islamic countries if you become a convert to Christianity, they have the right to take your life and in many cases they are executed because they convert to Christianity. 

 

Another thing we should point out is that because we don't know the exact circumstances surrounding this attack, we're limited in how we can make application. We do not know whether the action that was taken was consistent with Roman law. We don't know if the action taken was somehow justified by Rabbinic Law or Sanhedrin. We don't know if the action was from a mob. We don't know if the individuals had any recourse or whether they were just overwhelmed by a force that was obviously so great and so powerful that there was no way which they could they could resist. We don't know to what degree they were able to resist or if they tried to protect themselves or their own property. We have no idea. We do have examples in Scripture where people did protect themselves and their property at different times and it was fully justified. 

 

So let me make a couple points. First of all, the Bible clearly recognizes the validity of the private ownership of property. In fact it is at the very core of Scripture going back to Genesis 1. When God created Adam and Eve (created the man and the woman) Genesis 1:26-27, He gave them the real estate deed to the planet. They were placed in dominion over everything on the planet. So they have the right of ownership; and then it develops from there. 

 

When you get into other passages later on for example in the Mosaic Law and the Exodus and the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20: 15-17), we have a clear recognition of the validity of private ownership of property. The commandment "you shall not steal" recognizes that someone has the right to own something; and you don't because they own it. You cannot take it from them. You shall not steal. 

 

NKJ Exodus 20:15 " You shall not steal.

 

NKJ Exodus 20:16 " You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

 

NKJ Exodus 20:17 " You shall not covet your neighbor's house

 

This is a mental attitude; but it's the mental attitude that leads to thievery. 

 

you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

 

The "is your neighbor's" implies the right of ownership and the right to protect his own property.

 

We have biblical examples under point number 2. There are biblical examples of those who protected their private property. One of these is that Abraham after the Chedorlaomer alliance came down through of the land that God had promised Israel, came down through Canaan and assaulted the area around Sodom and Gomorrah and took Lot and his family captive. They took a huge amount plunder with them; and they headed north. Abraham gathered his servants and went after them and rescued Lot of his family and took back everything that these brigands had stolen from the cities to return those goods back to their rightful owners. So there's clear recognition throughout the Old Testament for both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom and the United Kingdom as well that whenever they were being attacked by foreign powers they had the right to protect the land that God has given them and to defend it from those who are going to a steal from them.

 

So third point, the Bible clearly recognizes the right of self-defense and the defense of property through the use of deadly force. This is seen in Luke 22:35-36 and then verse 38. The scene here is towards the end of Jesus' ministry on the earth. He is with His disciples. He refers to an earlier incident in His ministry when He sent the disciples out and He told them not to take anything with them, to only to the House of Judah and the House if Israel and that God would supply for their needs along the way.  In those instructions He told them not to take the moneybag, not to take a knapsack, not to take their overnight bag or an extra pair of shoes or anything - no weapons. 

 

But then in this chapter He's going to change the orders because now He's been rejected as Messiah and so the disciples have a different mission. They're going to be going out into the world beyond Israel where their lives can be threatened. They're going to be traveling along these roads where they can be assaulted by robbers and all manner of people. So they need to be able to protect themselves. 

 

So in verse 36 he said to them:

 

NKJ Luke 22:36 Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack;

 

Your overnight bag…

 

and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one

 

In other words, buy what you need in order to protect yourself along the way. Buy yourself a nice Glock or HK45 or something of that nature, or go out and get yourself an AR15, whatever you need in order to protect your private property. There's clearly a recognition here of the principle of personal ownership of weapons in order to defend your property. 

 

You can go back into the Old Testament and there's a principle that's recognized in the time of the Philistines when the Philistines were dominating the Southern Kingdom of Israel during the reign of Saul (or just before the reign of Saul actually) when Samuel was the judge and the prophet that we're told that the Philistines had iron so they can make iron weapons. That was the latest greatest technology. They had iron weaponry. So they had blacksmiths that could forge the iron and made extremely strong swords, spears, spearheads, etc. Then it states in the text that they prohibited (because they dominated the area), the Israelites from having blacksmiths. 

 

So that meant that the Jews were restricted to bronze materials. That's why they called it the Bronze Age. So bronze is a much weaker medal than iron. So when iron meets bronze, guess who wins. So what this recognizes is down through history the way a superior power maintains its control over an inferior power is to prevent them from having access to the same technology that they have so they can't protect themselves. 

 

Now we live in a world today when we have pretty advanced technology. We have all kinds of weaponry. We have fully automatic weapons; and we have a lot of other things that are available to enhance the accuracy of weapons. According to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the reason you have the right to bear arms is to protect yourself from the encroachment of the bullies including the tyranny of government. But if the government has access to fully automatic weapons and M16's and machine guns and everything else and all you have is access to a 22 single shot, guess who wins. The Founding Fathers understood that the citizens had to have the right of ownership weapons so they could protect themselves from the encroachment of government, which was a problem they had with the British.

 

Last week I heard a great story. A friend of mine was from a Washington State. He's retired military up there working out of Fort Lewis. When he first moved up there, because he's a good Texan, he went into apply for his concealed handgun license. He went in and he had no idea what was going to be involved in getting his CHL up in Washington State figuring it was the People's Republic of Washington State so he would have a lot more problems getting it there than he would in Texas. 

 

He went in and said, "What do I need to do in order get by CHL here?"

 

She said, "Well, if you have a driver's license and Social Security card, we can run a background check on you. It's $60 and you can have your CHL. We'll take your fingerprints and you can come back in two weeks and get it."

 

He said, "Well, I'm from Texas and at least in Texas you have to at least show some sort of competency with your weapon. You have to go through a little class and you have to go to the range and demonstrate your competency." 

 

He said this lady didn't even look up from the paper. She said, "The Second Amendment doesn't say anything about competency."

 

I thought that was great. We don't want to forget that. That is really our concealed handgun license: the second amendment. Or that's what its intent was. But of course the courts have eroded that particular freedom.

 

But Jesus recognizes that here in Luke 22. In fact He gives that mandate. You need to be able to defend your life, your property. Now that doesn't mean you should always defend it the same way. The right to do something doesn't mean you should do it all the time. There are other circumstances where you may not exercise that particular right depending on what else is going on. If you're a pastor or a missionary for example you may choose not to do what you have the right to do in order to not let that become a distraction to your ministry. You may choose to be put in prison when you shouldn't be simply because that is going to give you an opportunity to do what you want to do and if you fight it you are going to get killed and that ends your ministry. So there are extenuating circumstances for all of these things. 

 

When Jesus told them that they should carry a sword, two verses later the disciples said:

 

NKJ Luke 22:38 So they said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said to them, "It is enough."

 

So they were armed. This is just before they went to the Garden of Gethsemane. So when they went to the Garden of Gethsemane, they had two swords.  Guess who had one of them. Peter and that's why he took of Malthus's ear. So that is a clear recognition that believers have the right of self-defense and to defend their property. 

 

But from the early stages of persecution on believers did not generally have the opportunity to defend themselves because they were overwhelmed by the superior forces of the state, or the religious institution, or whoever it was. So they have no opportunity to avail themselves of the means of protection.

 

In the early church one of the earliest historians in the early church was a man by the name of Eusebius who wrote down many, many stories. He was the first church historian. In one of his writings he gives the story or description of the persecution during the time of Decius. Decius was a Roman Emperor in the early part of the late part of the third century. So he describes the sufferings of Christians in Alexandria in northern Egypt during that time. 

 

He says of them:

 

Then all with one impulse, rush to the houses of the pious (That's the believers) and they dragged forth (This describes kind of a riot. Everybody got worked against the Christians) whomsoever anyone knew as a neighbor and spoiled and plundered them. They took for themselves the more valuable property. But the poor articles and those made of wood they scattered about and burned in the streets, so that the city appeared as if it had been taken by an enemy. But the brethren withdrew and went away.

 

Then he quotes this passage:

 

Took joyfully the spoiling of their goods (and then he wrote) like those to whom Paul bore witness.

 

Of course we don't believe Paul wrote Hebrews, but he did. 

 

So that is why I put that little note in there. So this is what is going on in the in the early church. 

 

Each generation has to decide how they're going to handle persecution and how they're going to handle the defense against those who are persecuting them and whether there is room to challenge these things in courts or whether they have to fight. There've been cases when they've done both down through church history or whether they are going to perhaps not fight for the sake of a higher reason. So these are not easy decisions, but the Scripture doesn't tell us specifically what to do. I think it lays down the principles because each believer depending on the circumstances has to decide how they are going to respond to the circumstances. So the rules related to doubtful things are what come into play. 

 

The point though in Hebrews 10:34 is the mental attitude. They joyfully accepted the plundering of their goods. It doesn't say they passively accepted it. It doesn't say they accepted it like a bunch of wimps and weenies and girlie men. We don't know if they resisted in any way whatsoever or what they did. It's that in terms of the loss of their houses, their homes, all of their possessions, they recognized that this is nothing in this life compared to that which we have in the future. So they joyfully accepted the plundering of their goods because they knew (causal participle there) because you knew that you have a better enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Once again it is a matter of looking to the future and understanding your eternal destiny and living in light of that eternal destiny.

 

Then he gives the conclusion in verse 35. Verse 35 is really the center of this last part: "therefore don't cast away your confidence". Don't give up. No matter how tough things get going, don't fade out in the stretch as a believer. Don't wimp out. No matter how tough things might get, no matter how discouraged you might get at times; don't use that as an excuse to become a failure in your spiritual life. 

 

So this is the conclusion.

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:35 Therefore do not cast away

 

apoballo meaning to throw away, castaway.

 

your confidence, which has great reward.

 

The word for confidence has the idea of certainty or assurance. It originally comes from the word that describes the confidence of a public speaker, that he is assured of himself and his ability to speak. So it came to mean confidence and assurance. Don't throw away you're confidence (your assurance) in your eternal destiny. If you hang with it there's great reward. Reward is that which is given to the believer on the basis of his walk with the Lord, his spiritual life. 

 

So what do you have to do in order to continue? You need endurance. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

 

Endurance is what gets you through the tough times. It is the Greek word hupomone. It's the same word used in James 1:2-4 when James says:

 

NKJ James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

 

Notice the same theme there that we have here. Whatever the testing is, it's always a testing of something. What is it in James 1? The testing of your faith. 

 

Now faith has a couple of different nuances and the reason we need to understand this is that the writer of James is emphasizing the same themes that the writer of Hebrews is saying. That is when you're going through a tough time it's a test of the doctrine in your soul, not the ability to believe but what you believe. Do you really believe what you believe? Does it really make a difference when you hit the tough times in life when you go around the corner and you run into a brick wall and your life seems to fragment all over everything. You don't know what the expectation is. I mean you're expecting something good and you got something bad. It is a test of your faith. Is the doctrine in your soul really going to give you stability and hope and happiness and joy even in the midst of the tough times? What you believe, do you really believe it or is it just something that you think you believe?

 

So we have the same themes of joy in the midst of testing and the need to endure. So James says:

 

NKJ James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

 

Or mature result. That's the idea of the Greek – completing something, completing the process of your spiritual growth. 

 

So the writer of Hebrews says:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance,

 

Endurance is what gets you from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity.

 

so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

 

After you've lived your life walking by the Spirit and obeying the Word…

 

you may receive the promise:

 

The promise is related to the inheritance. 

 

Then we come to verses 37 and 38, which take two Old Testament passages and blends them together by way of making an application. Now as we've gone through Hebrews we've seen a number of places where the writer of Hebrews has taken Old Testament passages that don't really look like what you have in your Old Testament; and he sort of massages them under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit and puts them together in order to make a point. He's drawing an application; he's not giving an interpretation of the original text. He's simply applying an underlying principle that's there in the original text.

 

So in verses 37 and 38 he quotes from Isaiah 26:20 and joins one phrase out of Habakkuk 2:3, 4. He takes from Isaiah 26:20 the phrase "for yet a little while or in a little moment": He takes that one little phrase out of Isaiah 26:20 out of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of that verse. After that he quotes from Habakkuk 2:3-4. But he changes the word order and switches a couple of clauses around in order to apply the principle, add a couple of things and apply it to their situation. 

 

Now there were certain things that they have in common and that we have in common. For example in Isaiah's time, the people in Israel faced a national threat. There was a national security threat to Israel and that was the announcement of judgment that God gave through the prophet Isaiah that eventually God was going to bring in the Babylonians, and they were going to wipe out the Southern Kingdom of Judah and destroy it and the people would be taken out of the Land. So this was the warning; but within that warning was promise that the nation was nevertheless secure in God's care. This would not totally destroy the nation, but eventually God would bring them back. 

 

That is the context of Isaiah 26. It is a passage that focuses on the security that we have in God's promise. So go back and just briefly look at Isaiah 26. It's a passage of great promises. 

 

It starts off:

 

NKJ Isaiah 26:1 In that day

 

This is that day that Israel has been brought back to the Land. 

 

this song will be sung in the land of Judah: "We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.

2 Open the gates, That the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.

 

Of course that hasn't happened in history yet. 

 

Then we have those verses you hear so frequently.

 

NKJ Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

4 Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAHWEH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.

 

That is a reference to what the righteous believe, and gives them future hope.

 

Now go down through the chapter and you come to the end of the chapter, that's where we have the verse in question, verse 20 where there is a call to the people (a cry to the people) to enter into the chambers of God

 

NKJ Isaiah 26:20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past.

 

That's the phrase that the writer of Hebrews picks up. What he is doing is he's going to connect these two events, late 8th century under Isaiah when Isaiah is warning of coming destruction under the Babylonians and then Habakkuk, which is written around 605, a hundred years after Isaiah when it's on the verge of happening. 

 

He's going to tie these together and say. "You may think that your life's going to fall apart and there's insecurity everywhere. But there's security only in God's plan."

 

So he marries that quote with the third verse of Habakkuk 2.

 

I'm going to stop there because it's nine o'clock more and we're out of time. There's too much to say about this so we'll wrap up the last couple of verses. We have 10:37, 38, 39 to finish chapter 10. That will then set us up to go into the next chapter, which is a favorite chapter for many people. We'll have to find out what faith is. I'll leave you with a teaser. Hebrews 11:1 is so frequently quoted as a definition of faith, but is it? 

 

NKJ Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

 

Is that a definition of faith, or is it something else? Come back next week. 

 

Illustrations