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Protective Angel
Dec 26th 2011, 05:26 PM
These verses seem strange. Need the understandable meaning.
:hmm:

Hebrews 6: 1-6 (KJV)
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement.
And this will we do, if God permit.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the wotld to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

-SEEKING-
Dec 26th 2011, 05:45 PM
Try reading it in a few other versions as well. That usually does it for me.

-SEEKING-
Dec 26th 2011, 05:47 PM
And of course put it in context to what the whole chapter is saying. Trying reading chapters 5 and 7 as well. I think you will then have a clear understanding. I find that when a few verses are taken out of a whole chapter it's much more difficult to understand what's being said.

Jemand
Jan 1st 2012, 08:08 PM
These verses seem strange. Need the understandable meaning.
:hmm:

Hebrews 6: 1-6 (KJV)
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement.
And this will we do, if God permit.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the wotld to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Ever since the early days of the Protestant Reformation, Hebrews 6:4-6 has been one of the most controversial passages in the Bible. David L. Allen, Dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes in his commentary on Hebrews in “The New American Commentary” series,

"Hebrews 6:4-6 is considered by many to be the most difficult interpretative passage in the Book of Hebrews, and some would say in the entire New Testament."

On page 370 of his commentary, under the heading, "Five Major Views Described and Examined," he discusses five interpretations of the passage. He lists them as follows:

(1) the Loss of Salvation view
(2) the Hypothetical view
(3) the Tests of Genuineness view
(4) the Means of Salvation view
(5) the Loss of Rewards view

The controversy and the difficulty arose is the 16th century when John Calvin and a few other Roman Catholic dissidents originated a new doctrine known today as the Perseverance of the Saints. This 16th century doctrine is the basis of all of the various “once saved, always saved” doctrines that we have today, and it gave rise to interpretations (2) – (5) listed above.

I am including in this post some highlights of a Bible study that I wrote several years ago on Hebrews 6:4-9 in which some key questions are answered:

1. Were the people in this passage who “have fallen away” genuine Christian?
2. If they were, upon “falling away,” did they lose their salvation?
3. Can such a horrible things actually happen, or is this passage only telling us about a hypothetical scenario that has never actually occurred and never will occur.

Heb. 6:4. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
5. and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
6. and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
7. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;
8. but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
9. But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. (NASB, 1995)

Up until the 16th century, this passage was universally interpreted as teaching that a Christian could lose his salvation, and the large majority of Bible scholars today still hold to that position. Indeed, this passage of Scripture gives us the most detailed description of what it means to be saved that we find anywhere in the Bible, and the end of these saved persons who subsequently fall away from the Christian faith is eternal damnation in the fires of hell. This was also the doctrine of our earliest Baptist forefathers before some Baptists heard a brand new doctrine that had been recently conceived by some men in Europe, and spread this new doctrine among their Baptist brothers causing it to take over like a firestorm.

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews wrote his Epistle using the terminology and phraseology of the very early Church. Therefore, in order to accurately interpret the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is essential to have a solid background in the writings of the very early Church and the terminology and phraseology that they used.

The phrase in verse 4, “those who have once been enlightened,” is a reference to water baptism. Indeed, Justin Martyr (died in 165 A.D.) wrote that the term “enlightenment” was used as a synonym for water baptism of converts to Christianity and he uses the term “the enlightened one” for a person who has been baptized. And the Pe****ta, an ancient Syriac translation of the Greek New Testament, renders (when translated into English) the phrase in verse 4, “who have gone down into baptism.”

The phrase in verse 4, “have tasted of the heavenly gift,” was variously interpreted during the first 1500 years, but it was ALWAYS interpreted as describing a born-again Christian. Some, for example, saw it to be a reference to the Eucharist; others saw it to be a reference to the teaching of Christ in John 6:31-58. Still others saw it to be a reference to the forgiveness of sins; others saw it to be a reference to the blessings conferred upon the Christian believer.

The phrase in verse 4, “and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,” is an obvious reference to receiving the Holy Spirit, something that, in the New Testament, happens EXCLUSIVELY to those who have been saved.

The phrase in verse 5, “and have tasted the good word of God,” is a clear reference to the Christian’s experience of hearing the word of God preached and taught and the consequential experience of it in his life as a believer.

The phrase in verse 5, “and the powers of the age to come,” is a reference to the miracles that were performed by the Apostles and other Christians as a foreshadowing of the kingdom to come, and to the other blessings that Christians experience now in part but shall experience in their fullness in the future kingdom.

The phrase in verse 6, “and then have fallen away,” can be properly interpreted only to be speaking of falling from grace and the Christian faith, something that can NOT happen until AFTER a person is saved.

The phrases in verse 6, “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame,” tell us of the absolutely horrendous consequence of a Christian falling from grace, making the death of Christ on the cross for his sins to be of no effect. This passage expressly speaks of a person who has heard the Gospel, believed it, was saved and baptized, repented of his sins, and enjoyed the blessing of being a born-again Christian—but who subsequently chose to reject Christ and return to his sins. And the fate of such a person could not possibly be any worse—it is “impossible to renew them again to repentance.” Most obviously it is not impossible to renew an unsaved person to repentance if they have repented but not been born again and then fall back into sin. Therefore, the person spoken of has necessarily been born again but has fallen away from the Christian faith. And the born-again Christian who, of his own free will, chooses to reject the Christ who redeemed him is beyond redemption and damned to the fires of hell for eternity.

Verses 7 & 8 are an analogy used to support the author’s statements. Just as the ground which once brought forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled received a blessing from God, and the ground that now yields thorns and thistles is worthless and ends up being burned, so the Christian which once brought forth good fruit unto God but who now brings forth bad fruit ends up being burned in the fires of hell.

Verse 9 tells us that the author has been warning his Christian readers about things that do not accompany salvation, things that happen to Christians who fall away from the faith. Nonetheless, he is reassuring them that that he does not expect them to fall away, as some others had done, but is convinced of better things concerning them, and things that, in their case, accompany salvation, even though he felt that he needed to warn them of the horrendous consequences of apostasy from the Christian faith.


Because of the severity of the Greek word translated “impossible” in verse 6, some very early Christians rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews as not being a part of the New Testament Canon, but its place in the New Testament Canon is now well established and its warning is stern.

BoB/335
Jan 3rd 2012, 03:58 AM
http://www.raystedman.org/hebrews2/heb2comm1.html is a commentary on this passage that ends with the following:

Consistently throughout Scripture those who are genuinely Christ's do not fall away into apostasy. Thus Paul reminds the Philippians that the God who began a good work in them would complete it on the day of Christ. What our author fears is that there may be among his readers many who claimed to be Christians, perhaps witnessed for him, participated in the church, yet have refused to repent. Turning back from the light they have perceived, they prove to be enemies of Christ and not a part of the people of God at all!

This commentary starts with the statement:

"Here the clashing proponents of Calvinism and Arminianism have wheeled and charged, unleashing thunderous volleys of acrimony against one another, only to generate much heat and little profit."

So in answer to the OP, we all need some clearing up here and there are greater minds than ours who struggle with this so why not us too.

david
Jan 9th 2012, 09:42 PM
For me, I see two possible (plausible) explanations for heb 6:1-8:
1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits.
4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and have fallen away, to renew again unto repentance, since they recrucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. Hebrews 6:1-8

Expl 1. Paul assumes that no one has fallen away to disqualification yet, and is saying to those immature in Christ who believe they need to repeat baptism, that they don't need to get re-baptized, with two reasons (vs 4-6 & 7-8). First, that would require Jesus being crucified again and put to open shame. It would shame Jesus in front of others because that would make him look like his first baptizing of you didn't work. In this case, "to renew again unto repentance" would mean "to be regenerated again and then be baptized again." Rebaptizing would also require another regeneration.. and no one can be born again a third time. Second, if you keep dwindling on the basics of Christ including baptism and not moving forward then that proves you are not bearing fruit, and non-fruit bearing trees will be cut down (Matthew 3:10). This is related to the parable of the fig tree and its owner:
And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ Luke 13:7

Expl 2. Paul assumes that some may have fallen away to disqualification already (but not necessarily everyone) and is saying we can only move forward "if God permits (vs 3)" and gives reason for this: if you were already disqualified from the prize, you can't move forward anymore (see 1co 9.27). Vss 4-6 says, for in the case of those who were already disqualified, they lose their chance to repent due to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin (Mt 12:31). Those who have witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit and saw irrefutable evidence that God was supporting the one named Jesus, proven by his deeds through the Holy Spirit, and still set aside this evidence, would be blaspheming against the Spirit. These reject the gospel, believing in their minds that Jesus deserves to be crucified again and this rejection manifested in public puts him to open shame. They recrucify Jesus “to themselves” (not actually crucifying him), a private blasphemy (cf. heb 10.29 – “trampling underfoot the Son of God") and expose him to open shame, a public blasphemy (“profaning the blood of the covenant"). In exceeding chapters it mentions Esau who was one such a disqualified person due to blasphemy against the Spirit. It says, "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God…that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears (Heb 12:16-17)." Esau could not be renewed again unto repentance, since he was "rejected." In this case “repentance," using the definition as used in the passage about Esau, can be interpreted "another chance." Esau did both private and public blasphemy: he “despised his birthright” to recrucify Jesus in his mind (ge 25.34) and exposed Jesus to public shame by proclaiming he was not any use to him, feeling that a single meal was worth more (ge 25.32-33). Vss 7-8 is a parallel illustration of vss 4-6. The believer drinks the rain (tastes the power of the Spirit) but brings forth thorns and briers which are not useful for “whose sake it is tilled,” meaning both not useful for the farmer (private blasphemy) and the other land or believers around him (public blasphemy). Again, it is very similar to this parable:
"A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. "And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer (note: the Holy Spirit); and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'" Luke 13:6-9

You may ask, why would falling away be blasphemy? That's not the only condition for blasphemy. Jesus said "that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes... From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more (Luke 12:47-48)." The more you are given, the more is expected from you. If the Spirit (who is the person of the trinity associated with works of power and divine miracles - jdg 15.14 (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Jdg+15%3A14), ac 1.8 (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Ac+1%3A8), 1sa 10.10 (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=1Sa+10%3A10), mt 12.27 (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Mt+12%3A27)) has shown you much about Jesus through his works, then more faith is expected from you and less backsliding. Backsliding after sharing in the Holy Spirit for an immense degree would constitute blasphemy.

IMINXTC
Jan 9th 2012, 10:01 PM
Addressed primarily to the believing Jews, Hebrews contrasts the superiority of the New Covenant to the Law - Christ is better.

Chapter ten, for example, disabuses the Hebrew of the notion that, after having seen the things of Christ, there could remain a place of sacrifice in the Old Covenant if he should turn away or disregard Christ. His sin is not covered by the inferior sacrifices of the law, which served as a mere shadow or type of Christ's all sufficient grace.

"For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins." Hebrews 10:26

Hebrews is best read as a complete letter, and further teaches that turning back is evidence of an incomplete or insincere belief from the beginning, and, therefore, condemnation.


"But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." Hebrews 10:39

Furthermore, the notion of being saved more that once, is shameful in light of the efficacy of the cross.

Chapter six details the experience of one who, having come to a full understanding of salvation in Christ, eventually turns away in unbelief.

His initial repentance was not and is not salvation but in this case represented a temporary turning followed by an eventual turning back.

.

Jemand
Jan 10th 2012, 07:52 PM
For me, I see two possible (plausible) explanations for heb 6:1-8:
1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits.
4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and have fallen away, to renew again unto repentance, since they recrucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. Hebrews 6:1-8

Expl 1. Paul is saying to those immature in Christ who believe they need to repeat baptism, that they don't need to get re-baptized, with two reasons (vs 4-6 & 7-8). First, that would require Jesus being crucified again and put to open shame. It would shame Jesus in front of others because that would make him look like his first baptizing of you didn't work. In this case, "to renew again unto repentance" would mean "to be regenerated again and then be baptized again." Rebaptizing would also require another regeneration.. and no one can be born again a third time. Second, if you keep dwindling on the basics of Christ including baptism and not moving forward then that proves you are not bearing fruit, and non-fruit bearing trees will be cut down (Matthew 3:10). This is related to the parable of the fig tree and its owner:
And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ Luke 13:7

Expl 2. Paul is saying we can only move forward "if God permits (vs 3)" and gives reason for this: if you were already disqualified from the prize, you can't move forward anymore (see 1co 9.27). Vss 4-6 says, for in the case of those who were already disqualified, they lose their chance to repent due to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin (Mt 12:31). Those who have witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit and saw irrefutable evidence that God was supporting the one named Jesus, proven by his deeds through the Holy Spirit, and still set aside this evidence, would be blaspheming against the Spirit. So they reject the gospel, believing in their minds that Jesus deserves to be crucified again and this rejection manifested in public puts him to open shame. They recrucify Jesus “to themselves” (not actually crucifying him), a private blasphemy (cf. heb 10.29 – “trampling underfoot the Son of God") and expose him to open shame, a public blasphemy (“profaning the blood of the covenant"). In exceeding chapters it mentions Esau who was one such a disqualified person due to blasphemy against the Spirit. It says, "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God…that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears (Heb 12:16-17)." Esau could not be renewed again unto repentance, since he was "rejected." In this case “repentance," using the definition as used in the passage about Esau, can be interpreted "another chance." Esau did both private and public blasphemy: he “despised his birthright” to recrucify Jesus in his mind (ge 25.34) and exposed Jesus to public shame by proclaiming he was not any use to him, feeling that a single meal was worth more (ge 25.32-33). Vss 7-8 is a parallel illustration of vss 4-6. The believer drinks the rain (tastes the power of the Spirit) but brings forth thorns and briers which are not useful for “whose sake it is tilled,” meaning both not useful for the farmer (private blasphemy) and the other land or believers around him (public blasphemy). Again, it is very similar to this parable:
"A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. "And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer (note: the Holy Spirit); and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'" Luke 13:6-9

You may ask, why would falling away be blasphemy? That's not the only condition for blasphemy. Jesus said "that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes... From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more (Luke 12:47-48)." The more you are given, the more is expected from you. If the Spirit (who is the person of the trinity associated with works of power and divine miracles - jdg 15.14 (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Jdg+15%3A14), ac 1.8 (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Ac+1%3A8), 1sa 10.10 (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=1Sa+10%3A10), mt 12.27 (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Mt+12%3A27)) has shown you much about Jesus through his works, then more faith is expected from you and less backsliding. Backsliding after sharing in the Holy Spirit for an immense degree would constitute blasphemy.

We know for a certainty that Paul is not “saying” any of this because Paul did not write the Epistle to the Hebrews. The ancient Greek manuscripts of the Epistle to the Hebrews do not name Paul or anyone else as the author, and we know that Paul was not the author for the following reasons:

1. The style of the writing in the epistle is very different from Paul’s writing style.

2. Paul’s Greek was not nearly as polished as the Greek found in the epistle.

3. The grammar in the epistle is very different from Paul’s grammar.

4. The vocabulary in the epistle is very different from Paul’s vocabulary.

In answer to theses objections, Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens (c.150 - c. 215) wrote that Paul penned the epistle in Hebrew for the Hebrew Christians, and that Luke translated it into Greek for the Greek Christians. Linguistic analysis of the epistle, however, proves that that was not the case.

It must also be noted that explanation #1 totally ignores the author’s description (vv. 4-6) of the persons he is teaching about. Moreover, explanation #1 incorrectly assumes that the persons the author is teaching about are immature Christians even though the author expressly says otherwise in vv. 4-6, and never suggests that these Christians had not been bearing fruit prior to their falling away, that is, committing apostasy from the Christian faith. Furthermore, explanation #2 incorrectly assumes that the sin committed was blasphemy even though the author of the epistle expressly says that the sin was apostasy. Please see post #4 in this thread.

Jemand
Jan 10th 2012, 08:10 PM
Addressed primarily to the believing Jews, Hebrews contrasts the superiority of the New Covenant to the Law - Christ is better.

Chapter ten, for example, disabuses the Hebrew of the notion that, after having seen the things of Christ, there could remain a place of sacrifice in the Old Covenant if he should turn away or disregard Christ. His sin is not covered by the inferior sacrifices of the law, which served as a mere shadow or type of Christ's all sufficient grace.

"For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins." Hebrews 10:26

Hebrews is best read as a complete letter, and further teaches that turning back is evidence of an incomplete or insincere belief from the beginning, and, therefore, condemnation.



Furthermore, the notion of being saved more that once, is shameful in light of the efficacy of the cross.

Chapter six details the experience of one who, having come to a full understanding of salvation in Christ, eventually turns away in unbelief.

His initial repentance was not and is not salvation but in this case represented a temporary turning followed by an eventual turning back.

.

Hebrew 6:4-6 gives us the most detailed description of what it means to be saved that we find anywhere in the Bible.

Heb. 6:4. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
5. and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
6. and {then} have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (NASB, 1995)

It is impossible to renew these persons to repentance for the very reason that they were genuinely saved, experienced the blessings of being saved, and then committed apostasy from the Christian faith.