verses 4-6 describe the enlightened, but unregenerate, is seen in verse nine and the following verses. Here the Holy Spirit turns, as it were, from a description of those who had rejected Christ, and addresses the truly born-again Hebrew Christians. He calls them “beloved.” And He says, “ But, beloved, we are persuad ed better things of you" —He had re- f e r r e d to the unregenerated as “ those” (verse 4). Of “ you,” be loved” of God, “we are persuaded better things” than merely an intel lectual knowledge. “We are persuad ed . . . things that accompany salva tion.” These words unmistakably prove that, in the preceding verses, the born-again souls were not in view at all. And in verses 13-20, which follow, we find one of the strongest passages bearing upon the eternal security of the believer to be found in all the Word of God. The illustration is giv en of Jehovah’s promise to Abraham, at which time God confirmed His Word by His oath. According to the law of Moses, two or three witnesses were required to establish a fact in point of law. And here we read that by God’s Word and God’s oath—by these two “ immutable,” unchange able things, we have a hope, “ an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” What could be more plain, more reassuring, my friend? REAL LOCUSTS? Q. Not long ago I heard someone say that the “ locusts” which John the Baptist ate (Matt. 3:4) were not real locusts at all but were a kind of lentil. Is this right? A . I do not think so. In Leviticus 11:22 the dietary laws of the Mosaic code allowed the eating of locusts. They are prepared even today in the East by being slightly roasted, dried in the sun and salted. I have seen the native children in Africa eating ants in this manner. Evidently the very poor in Palestine had no other source of protein. Only the fleshly part is eaten, the head, wings and legs being removed.
descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and heard Peter’s sermon, as recorded in the second chapter of Acts, was “ in company with” the Holy Spirit. But, you will remember, the record tells us that some mocked and said, “ These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:13). To witness the power of the Holy Spirit is one thing; to be baptized by the Holy Spirit is another. 4. They had “ tasted the good word of God, and the power of the world" for ‘age’) to come” ; that is, they had heard the Word of God, and had seen the dead raised, the lepers cleansed, the eyes of the blind opened — enough to convince them that Jesus was their Messiah and Lord. Concerning these, the Holy Spirit says: “ It is impossible . . . if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.” If they deliberate ly refuse to accept Christ as the only One who can save them, then they are doing the very same thing their fathers did; for they “ crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Moreover, if this passage of Scrip ture was written concerning Chris tians, it is very discouraging to those who hold “ the falling away” doc trine; for they say a man can be saved, “ fall away” or be lost, and then be converted again; whereas this passage from the Word of God says, “ It is impossible . . . if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.” Do you not see the lallacy of this doctrine? This one passage alone contradicts it definite ly and finally. But please note further the illus tration given by the’ Holy Spirit in the verses which follow; it bears out the fact that verses 4-6 were writ ten concerning those who had been “ enlightened,” but not regenerated. In other words, the saved man “ bringeth forth” fruit; but the man who rejects the Heavenly Gift bears “ thorns and briers.” We are not saved by our good works; but we are saved unto good works. And “by their fruits ye shall know them.” Yet another proof of the fact that
W H A T A B O U T HEBREWS 6? Q. I believe in eternal security; that is, I believe if a person is truly saved, that God will keep him accord ing to His promises in Romans 8:38, 39 and John 10:27-29. How ever, people keep bringing up He brews 6:4-6. Can you give me an explanation of this passage? A . The verses to which you allude seem to puzzle many people but they should not. One needs to read them carefully in the light of the context. The author of Hebrews, who I be lieve was the Apostle Paul, states: “ 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 world to come, if they shall fall away, to re new them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” In these words the Holy Spirit refers to Hebrews, many of whom were intellectually convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. But because of bitter persecution, they were go ing away from the light they had, returning to Judaism. Four things are said of the privi leges these Hebrews were rejecting: 1. They were “ enlightened.” So also is every man who hears the Gospel, whether he accepts Christ or not. These were enlightened, but not born again. 2. They had “ tasted of the heaven ly gift.” Now it is one thing to taste; it is another thing to eat. Christ Himself is the Heavenly Gift. How many sinners have been under con viction, have admired the beautiful life of our Lord and yet have refused to open their hearts to Him. They are among those who have only “ tasted of the heavenly gift.” 3. They had been made “ partakers of the Holy Ghost.” Now the word “ partakers” in the Greek means those who had been “ going along with” the Holy Spirit, “ in company with” Him. Every Jew who witnessed the
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