Hebrews 6:4-8

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,

5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;

8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

Those who think the warning in these verses is hypothetical — Stam, KJV Commentary, Wuest

Those who think the warning is addressed to Jews who were never saved — Ironside, Vine, Pink, Wuest

Those who think the warning was to Jews saved under the Kingdom who could lose their salvation — McLean

After all, they were baptized by Christ with the heavenly gift of the Holy Spirit starting at Pentecost and continuing until Israel fell. They were the ones who had tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, which happens to be the focus of the book of Hebrews according to Hebrews 2:5. These Hebrews are the ones with the God-given ability to walk in God’s statues (Ezekiel 36:27) because the law of God is written in their hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-10) and they have no need that any man teach them (1 John 2:27).

For the Holy Ghost-baptized Hebrew people to fall away from what their Messiah had provided them would be to put Christ to an open shame and would constitute blasphemy on the level of blaspheming the Holy Spirit Himself. — McLean, page 87

once (v.4) = once for all — without need of repetition

enlightened (v.4) — the truth was made clear

partakers (v.4) = hold with — the tense states a mere fact, not a finished act with continuing results

powers (v.5) — used of miracles

fall away (v.6) = to deviate from the right path, to turn aside — tense is “if they fell away”

to themselves (v.6) — so far as they are concerned

The apostate crucifies Christ on his own account by virtually confirming the judgment of the actual crucifiers, declaring that he, too, has made a trial of Jesus and found Him no true Messiah but a deceiver and therefore worthy of death. — Wuest, page 118


In these verses (7-8) the writer presents an analogy in nature. The abundant and frequently renewed rain, represents the free and reiterated bestowal of spiritual enlightenment and impulse to these Hebrews. One piece of ground reacts by producing herbage good for food. This is the Hebrew who accepts the New Testament by faith. On the other hand, the ground that receives the same rain, but produces thorns and briers, is likened to the Hebrew who being the recipient of the pre-salvation work [sic — I don’t agree with him here and see no evidence of this in the text] of the Spirit, yet turns his back on Him and goes back to the First Testament sacrifices, the apostate who can look for nothing but certain judgment (10:26-31) — Wuest, page 119

I’m not convinced by any of the commentaries. I think, perhaps, that these Jews had been saved at Pentecost and received the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom sense. But now the Kingdom was being withdrawn. Some, I’m sure, moved on into the Body of Christ, but whether they did or not, they were being urged not to go back into dead Judaism but to maintain their faith in the risen Messiah.

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