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Hebrews 12

March 3, 2010
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Heb 12:1-29

12:1 THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

1.       Great cloud: Both the Greeks and Latins frequently use this term to express a great number of persons or things.

2.       Surrounded: Another allusion to the Olympic games where the eyes of the principal men of their country were fixed upon them causing them to do extraordinary things.

3.       Everything that hinders: Christians, professing to go to heaven must throw aside anything which weighs down their hearts, or things of the world that would hinder them in their Christian race.

4.       Let us start, run on, and continue to run, until we get the goal.

2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. [Ps 110:1.]

1.       Looking from the world and all secular concerns to Jesus and all the spiritual things connected to Him.

a.       This is still an allusion to the Grecian games: those who ran were to keep their eyes fixed on the mark of the prize.

b.      All should consider Jesus as their leader in this contest and imitate His example.

2.       Author & perfecter: The captain, or leader, or the inventor of a thing.

a.       The brabeus: to judge in the games and it was his business to admit the contenders and give the prize to the conqueror.

3.       Every Christian is a condender in this race of life.

4.       The heavenly course is begun under Jesus, and under Him it is completed.

5.       He is the finisher, by awarding the prize to them that are faithful unto death.

6.       The joy set before Him: The joy of fulfilling the will of the Father, tasting death for everyone and enduring the cross, Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, appearing in the presence of God for us, and interceding for us as our Mediator. 

3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

1.       Observe Jesus’ conduct, examine His motives, and follow in His steps, and you will receive strength, no matter how great your opposition, you won’t grow weary if you continue to look at Him, you will have the courage to go on, and never faint in your mind.

2.       Here is a continued allusion to the participants in the Grecian games, who, when exhausted in strength and courage, yielded the palm to their opponents and were said to be weary or exhausted, and/or having lost all courage.

4 You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.

1.       Many of these Christians already mentioned were martyrs for the truth, lost their lives.

2.       He’s saying to these Hebrews that though they have had opposition and persecution, they have not been called to seal the truth with their blood. (Be martyred)

5 And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him;

1.       You have forgotten: This quotation is made from Prov. 3:11-12 and shows that the address first appears to be from Solomon to his son or some fatherly man to a person in affliction, but it is from God Himself to any person in persecution, affliction, or distress.

2.       Do not neglect the correction of the Lord because if a man doesn’t profit by it, (who sees the hand of the Lord in it) he doesn’t humble himself under the mighty hand of God.

3.       Don’t be discouraged or despair.

6 For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.

1.       This is the reason why we should neither neglect correction or be discouraged, because it is proof of the fatherly love of God Almighty and shows He desires the very best for us.

7 You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline?

1.       If we submit to His authority, humble ourselves under His hand, we will find that He deals with us as loved children, correction us that we may be partakers of His holiness.

2.       He acknowledges by this that we belong to His family, and that He, as our Father has us under proper discipline.

3.       There is a maxim among the Jewish rabbis: “The love which is not conjoined with reproof is not genuine.

8 Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God's children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. [Prov 3:11,12.]

1.       Illegitimate offspring: bastards are neglected in their manners and education because their fathers care little for them. 

2.       Discipline: does not imply stripes or punishments, but the whole discipline of a child, both at home and at school.

9 Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live?

1.       Should we not submit to the Father of spirits from whom we have received both body and soul who corrects us only for our profit that we may live and be partakers of His holiness.

2.       And live: This alludes to the punishment of the stubborn and rebellious son, (Deut 21:18-21) who is to be stoned by the men of the city to death.

a.       Had he been subject to his earthly parents, he would have lived.

b.      Same with our heavenly father, Be in subjection and live.

10 For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.

1.       The chastisement of our earthly parents lasted only a short time, and they ceased to correct when we learned obedience; so will our heavenly Father when the end for which he sent the chastisement is accomplished. (God doesn’t delight in the rod.)

11 For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness — in conformity to God's will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].

1.       It is by discipline that obedient children, scholars, and great men are made.

2.       It is by discipline that Christians are made.

3.       Who have been trained by it: This is still an allusion to the Grecian games: the candidates for the prizes were trained to the different kinds of exercises in which they were to contend when the games were publicly opened.

12 So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, [Isa 35:3.

1.       This is a person almost worn out and fatigued and totally discouraged.

2.       These are exhorted to exert themselves, take courage, with the assurance that they shall conquer if they persevere.

13 And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.

1.       Take the straight path that is before you, not the crooked, rough, stony, and thorny way by which you will be inevitable lamed and totally prevented from proceeding in the way.

2.       If you go the straight path, even though you have been wounded by getting into the wrong way, that which was wounded will be healed and all impediments removed.

14 Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.

1.       Holiness: a life of purity and detachment from the world.

2.       Without this detachment and sanctity no man will see the Lord.

3.       To see God, in the Hebrew phrase, is to enjoy him.

15 Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it —

1.       Miss the grace of God: Lest any person should come behind, or fall off from this grace, or Gift of God; this state of salvation

2.       Bitter root: this signifies a poisonous plant: The Hebrews call every species of poison a bitter.

3.       The root of bitterness is a man holding unsound doctrines and endeavoring to spread them to the church.

4.       Cause trouble and defile: this alludes to the effects of poison taken into the body and contaminates and corrupts every part of the body including the blood.

5.       Bad example and false teaching have corrupted thousands, and are still causing desolation in the world and In the church.

16 That no one may become guilty of sexual vice, or become a profane (godless and sacrilegious) person as Esau did, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. [Gen 25:29-34.] 

17 For you understand that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected (disqualified and set aside), for he could find no opportunity to repair by repentance [what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], although he sought for it carefully with [bitter] tears. [Gen 27:30-40.] 

1.       The firstborn, in patriarchal times;

a.       Had a right to the priesthood, (Ex 22:29)

b.      Had a double portion of all the father’s possessions, (Deut 21:17)

c.       Was lord over his brethren, (Gen 27:29,37; 49:3)

d.      In the family of Abraham, the first-born was the very source where the Messiah and the church of God were to spring.

e.      The first-born had the right of conveying special blessings and privileges when he came to die: Isaac and is 2 sons, Jacob and Esau, Jacob and his 12 sons.

f.        These rights were the most noble, honorable, and spiritual in the ancient world.

2.       When Esau wished to have the lordship over the whole family conveyed to him, and sought it earnestly with tears, his father wouldn’t change his mind because he now perceived that it was the will of God that Jacob should be made lord of all.

18 For you have not come [as did the Israelites in the wilderness] to a [material] mountain that can be touched, [a mountain] that is ablaze with fire, and to gloom and darkness and a raging storm,

19 And to the blast of a trumpet and a voice whose words make the listeners beg that nothing more be said to them. [Ex 19:12-22; 20:18-21; Deut 4:11,12; 5:22-27.] 

20 For they could not bear the command that was given: If even a wild animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death. [Ex 19:12,13.] 

21 In fact, so awful and terrifying was the [phenomenal] sight that Moses said, I am terrified (aghast and trembling with fear). [Deut 9:19.]

1.       The dispensation of the law begat terror: it belonged only to the Jewish people, and was so terrible that they could not endure that which was commanded and would not communicate with them except through Moses.

2.       Even Moses said that because of the revealed glories, the burning fire, the blackness the tempest, the loud-sounding trumpet, and the voice of words were so terrible that he said, “I exceedingly fear and tremble.

3.       The Gospel dispensation in contrast to this made God touchable, able to communicate with, and showed His tender grace.

22 But rather, you have come to Mount Zion, even to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless multitudes of angels in festal gathering,

1.       The church is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem means the church of the New Testament.

2.       The great assembly of believers in Christ is here opposed to the congregation of Israelites assembled at Mt. Sinai.

3.       Tens of thousands of angels  attend God when He manifests himself in any external manner to mankind; they were there when He gave the law at Mount Sinai (Ps 68:17):when he c0mes to judge the world.

a.       Dan 7:10 “Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.

4.       Though angels make up a part of the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem, they also belong to the church below.

a.       Christ has incorporated them with his followers, for “they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation.

23 And to the church (assembly) of the Firstborn who are registered [as citizens] in heaven, and to the God Who is Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous (the redeemed in heaven) who have been made perfect,

1.       The Gospel first-born, (elsewhere are termed the first fruits), whose names are written in heaven opposed to the enrolled first-born among the Israelites.

a.       These are entitled to all rights and privileges of the church here and of heaven above.

2.       Written or registered in heaven: This alluded to the custom of enrolling or writing on tables the names of all the citizens of a particular city, and those who were registered were considered as having a right to live there, and enjoy all its priviliges.

3.       All genuine believers are a citizen of heaven; that is their country and there they have their rights.

4.       Every member of Christ has a right to, and can demand, every ordinance, covenant benefits, of the church of his Redeemer.

5.       God alone can erase from the register those who act unworthily of their citizenship; Judge here is to be taken in the Jewish use of the term; one who exercises sovereign rule and authority.

6.       Made perfect: to make complete, consecrated, consummate in character.

24 And to Jesus, the Mediator (Go-between, Agent) of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks [of mercy], a better and nobler and more gracious message than the blood of Abel [which cried out for vengeance]. [Gen 4:10.]

1.       The mediator of the new covenant, the Lord Jesus opposed to Moses, the mediator of the old.

2.       The blood of Christ, our High Priest in contrast to the blood sprinkled on the people by Moses.

3.       God accepted Abels sacrifice, and was well pleased with it because he was a righteous man and offered his sacrifice by faith in the great promise; but the blood of Christ was infinitely more precious than the blood of Abel’s sacrifice.

4.       The AMP bible adds the phrase (which cried out for vengeance)that this was the blood Cain shed; the problem with that is that the blood of Abel called for vengeance, but the blood of Christ for pardon.

a.       The blood of Abel offered not good to any human creature, and only called for vengeance against him that shed it.

b.      The truth is, the sacrifice offered by Abel is that which is intended and, as we have already understood, was pleasing in the sight of God, and was accepted in behalf of him who offered it; but the blood of Christ is infinitely more acceptable with God because it was shed for the whole human race, and cleanses all who believe from all unrighteousness.

25 So see to it that you do not reject Him or refuse to listen to and heed Him Who is speaking [to you now]. For if they [the Israelites] did not escape when they refused to listen and heed Him Who warned and divinely instructed them [here] on earth [revealing with heavenly warnings His will], how much less shall we escape if we reject and turn our backs on Him Who cautions and admonishes [us] from heaven?

1.       Jesus Christ, the mediator of the new covenant now speaks from heaven, by his Gospel to the Jews and to the Gentiles, having in his incarnation come down from God.

2.       Moses, who spoke on the part of God to the Hebrews; every transgression of whose word received a just recompense of reward, none escaping punishment; consequently, if you turn away from Christ, who speaks to you from heaven, the punishment is much more severe, in contrast to the privileges are much more important and glorious.

26 Then [at Mount Sinai] His voice shook the earth, but now He has given a promise: Yet once more I will shake and make tremble not only the earth but also the [starry] heavens. [Hag 2:6.]

1.       At the giving of the law of Mount Sinai, it seems from this that it was the voice of Jesus that then shook the earth, and that it was He who came down on the mount; but others refer this simply to God the Father giving the law.

2.       Shake the earth and the heavens; could refer to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem where the total abolition of the political and ecclesiastical constitution of the Jews, the one signified by the earth, the other by heaven; for the Jewish state and worship are frequently thus termed in the prophetic writings. (Hag 2:6)

a.       It may also refer to the final dissolution of all things.

27 Now this expression, Yet once more, indicates the final removal and transformation of all [that can be] shaken — that is, of that which has been created — in order that what cannot be shaken may remain and continue. [Ps 102:26.]

1.       The whole of the Jewish political and religious system, which had been in a shaken state from the time that Judea feel under the power of the Romans.

2.       God never designed that the Jewish religion should become general, or permanent.

3.       The Gospel system, which cannot be moved by the power of man and is God’s design that this last dispensation of His grace and mercy shall continue until the earth and the heavens are no more.

28 Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship, with modesty and pious care and Godly fear and awe;

1.       The kingdom of God is one in which God reigns among men and in the hearts of those that believe and this cannot fail because it is the last dispensation.

2.       Let us always remember that we have boldness to enter into God’s presence by the blood of Jesus, but always tempered with modesty and Godly fear.


29 For our God [is indeed] a consuming fire. [Deut 4:24.]

1.       The apostle teaches us this great truth: that sin under the Gospel is as abominable in God’s sight as it was under the law, and if not repented of and receive forgiveness through the blood of Christ will find that fire will consume him which would have otherwise have consumed his sin.


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