26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.”
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Commentaries deal with this passage by saying it’s hypothetical or only for Jews (although they apply the rest of the book to us) or that it’s referring to those who profess faith but don’t really believe. I’m not convinced by any of these views. I think it’s written to Jews who were saved in the early Acts period and had the Spirit written on their hearts in the kingdom sense. Israel will again be in this same situation during the Tribulation.
sin (v.26) — present continuous tense — not an act but a condition
willfully (v.26) — seems to indicate deliberate, intentional, habitual sin, not sins of ignorance or weakness
The word “knowledge” is not the simple word gnosis, but the stronger word epignosis. When epignoses is used, there is the assumption of an actual direction of the spirit to a definite object and of a real grasping of the same: so the writer, by the use of this word, gives us to understand that he means by it not only a shallow historical notion about the Truth, but a living believing knowledge of it, which has laid hold of a man who committed this sin, was fully informed by the Holy Spirit of the issues involved between the First Testament and the New Testament, and also of the meaning and the implications of the New Testament (6:4, “who were once enlightened”) and therefore, he sinned with his eyes wide open. — Wuest, pages 183-184. [I think this is more support for my view (see below), although Wuest doesn’t hold it.]
certain (v.27) = a kind of
rejected Moses’ law (v.28) — Deuteronomy 17:2-7 — referring specifically to the sin of apostasy (turning to idols)
The words “of how much” (v.29) do not qualify “sorer,” [worse] but the entire clause. It is “by how much think ye shall he be thought worthy of sorer punishment.” — Wuest, page 185.
trampled underfoot (v.29) — an expression of contempt and scorn
counted (v.29) = conscious judgment resting on a deliberate weighing of the facts
was sanctified (v.29) — more support for my view (see below). The writer can’t be referring to the unsaved or those saved under grace where there is no condemnation.
insulted (v.29) = treated with insulting disdain. Again, I think this makes most sense when seen in the light of the Spirit’s coming in the kingdom sense (Hebrews 8:10). To willfully sin after the Spirit has written the law on the heart is to despise Him. (Zecharaiah 12:10).
To return to Judaism was to count the blood an “unholy” thing (koinos, common, i.e., having no cleansing value, no divine virtue). More too than this, it meant that the apostate thereby necessarily regarded the blood of Christ as that of a criminal, executed for His own crime. Thus it was not a case of disobedience, it was contempt of God’s grace through and in His Son. — Vine, page 306.
The ministry of the Holy Ghost within believing Israel caused them to walk in God’s statutes (Ezekiel 36:27), to sell all their property (Acts 2:45) and be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10). For them, willful sin was equivalent to blasphemy of the Holy Ghost; and there remaineth no more sacrifice for that (Matthew 12:31-32). — McLean, page 146.
The quotes in verse 30 are from Deuteronomy 32:35-36 (Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.’ “For the LORD will judge His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone, and there is no one remaining, bond or free.) More proof that this was written to those who are under the kingdom dispensation and not to those under grace. It was originally part of Moses’ final warning to the Israelites before they entered the Promise Land — And how did that work out for them?
The certainty of the punishment is assured by the word of God. The word “vengeance” is an unfortunate translation, since it coveys the idea of vindictiveness which does not reside in the Greek word. It is the full meting out of justice to all parties. The quotation is an adaptation of the LXX of Deuteronomy 32:35. The second citation is literally from LXX of Deuteronomy 32:36. — Wuest, page 186.
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